Last updated: 30 April 2008
This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX, DSX, and DS models. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS 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: small plastic gear Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 19:56:16 From: Glenn Craig (firstname.lastname@example.org) Sorry to bug you but I am looking for a replacement for this gear that got eaten by a worm gear that was way too tight. This little gear (shown in photo) is (or was)a 24 tooth- the last small gear before the final worm drive on an ETX90EC. Does anybody have these things? Thanks for your time, Glenn CraigMike here: Try ScopeStuff (link on the Astronomy Links page).
Subject: focus control disappeared on ETX 125 EC Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 16:18:22 From: Graham Young (email@example.com) I wonder if you please could help, I have an ETX125 EC and without warning, the focus knob loosened (grub screw),and came off,!!! Then the connecting focus "bar", slowly disappeared inside the tube. please have you any suggestions, Can I simply take the back off the tube, and push it back through, I would greatly appreciate your veiws, many thanks graham , oswaldtwistle,lancs, UKMike here: See the article "Focus Shaft Fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: EXT-125 power panel issue Sent: Monday, April 28, 2008 10:59:14 From: Blue Moon Woodcrafts - Peter Perrone (firstname.lastname@example.org) I saw your site and figured maybe you have some suggestions for me. I got my 125PE used but seldom at best. The original owner never used the included AC adapter. I tried it and when turned on it smoked that part of the power panel circuit board that the jack is soldered to. The scope still works fine via the internal batteries. I checked with Meade and they will only repair the scope if it's sent to them, they don't provide parts. It's simple enough to replace the panel so do you know where one can be bought? I'm also considering wiring the jack to the internal battery lead connection points on the board but can't tell if the jack wiring passes thru any resistors or other circuits on the board. The power supply is the one sold by Meade as an accessory and its output is 1.5 amps. Thanks for any help you can provide. Blue Moon Woodcrafts - Peter J. PerroneMike here: It sounds like the polarity might be have been reversed on the AC adapter or on the ETX control panel. As to a replacement, you might try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page). There is a battery cutoff switch, that cuts power from the batteries whenever an external power source is connected.
Thank you very much I'll check it out. Do you know which post on the panel jack should be positive, center or side? Blue Moon Woodcrafts - Peter J. PerroneMike here: As noted on the FAQ page, the center pin is positive.
I just checked the power supply output itself and the polarity was reversed on it. So much for made in Taiwan. I reversed and resoldered the connections and things seem to be working OK now. Thank you again, very much. Blue Moon Woodcrafts - Peter J. Perrone
Subject: ETX Dust Cover Thread Sent: Monday, April 28, 2008 08:27:21 From: Patrick Mullarky (email@example.com) Love your ETX site! I'm trying to track down a spec. for the ETX 90 and ETX 125 dust cover threads for a project and possible product. I checked a huge number of articles and references, but came up empty regarding any actual specs. Of course, I could simply measure the threads, but considering the trouble some people have even removing the "standard" dust cover, the thread measurements (and finish) are somewhat critical. Where would you start looking for some kind of thread spec. ? Thanks! Patrick Mullarky Kirkland, WAMike here: Don't have that info.
Subject: re: Mead ETX125 circa 2006 Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2008 20:44:51 From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) You wrote: > 2. We undid the az, rotated by hand counter clockwise till it hit the > stop, moved the tripod so the tube pointed polar north and level. First error: you should rotate the tripod so that the power panel is facing -west-. For an LNT-equipped scope (if it offers Auto Align (not Easy) it has the LNT module (it's in the red-dot finder)), leave the scope fully CCW. If it does not have an LNT, point the scope due north before clamping that axis, leaving the power panel facing West. > 5. Speaking of backlash, I searched everywhere for settings and found > none, so I could not adjust them, which is probably a good thing. Backlash is set by doing the Train Drives procedure, found under Setup>Telescope>Train Drives It's probably an appendix in the manual. Performing that procedureshould markedly help your GoTo's have fun ---dick
Subject: melting the glue for the secondary mirror on an ETX? Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2008 18:36:20 From: Guy Brandenburg (email@example.com) I looked at your website on ETX's. An acquaintance of mine has a Meade compact scope of some sort - he didn't recall which - that he said his step-parent left in a car trunk on a trip from the deep South to Washington, DC. It got so hot that the glue (or whatever) that holds the secondary in place melted and the secondary slid down the corrector plate. He is not sure whether it was an ETX (a maksutov design), and thought it was a SCT of some sort. Any idea what they glue these secondaries on with? Guy Guy Brandenburg, Washington, DC My home page on astronomy, mathematics, education: http://home.earthlink.net/~gfbranden/GFB_Home_Page.html or else http://tinyurl.com/r6fh2 ============================= "Education isn't rocket science. It's much, much harder." (Author unknown)Mike here: See the article "ETX-90RA Secondary Baffle Fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. However, it will likely be required that the ETX optics will need to be recollimated. This is not a task to be undertaken lightly as it will require a lot of patience and perhaps assistance. It may be best to contact Meade for the repair. But it you want to undertake it, there are collimation articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: Gap in ETX-125EC RA mount Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2008 11:02:23 From: John C. Sun (firstname.lastname@example.org) My pre-owned ETX-125EC shows a gap between the top and bottom halves of the RA mount. Functionally the mount works perfectly, but would you happen to know what had been modified on this scope that resulted in this gap? Attached is a picture for clarity. Thank you for your time.
Subject: Mead ETX125 circa 2006 Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2008 08:56:31 From: Dan Newell (email@example.com) Can you offer advice on aligning a Meade 125etx? We were almost successful but let me tell you what we did and maybe you can spot our error. I used to be a Celestron employee just before the lawsuit so I am well versed in the North and Level technology, or so I thought. I may have just enough knowledge to be dangerous, so here it goes: 1. Being purchased in 06 this scope may or may not have the new tech. It had the GPS unit and I was wondering if that might be creating a conflict; I think we may have better luck turning off the GPS and entering data manually. What is your take on this? 2. We undid the az, rotated by hand counter clockwise till it hit the stop, moved the tripod so the tube pointed polar north and level. 3. We tried updating the data in the hand control with standard time and setting to PM, military time and neither made a differrence. 4. In centering the alignment stars we tried to use the up and right arrow keys to eliminate backlash and that did not seem to help. 5. Speaking of backlash, I searched everywhere for settings and found none, so I could not adjust them, which is probably a good thing. 6. We made sure the tripod was level. 7. Aligned the finderscope so we could hopefully choose the correct alignment star. 8. We used a nice power supply, charged, plenty of amps, tip positive, the works. THE RESULTS: After doing the above setup procedure, we used the auto align and the 2 star manual align as well as the quick align. We were given align successful messages in the auto and the quick align, but not the 2 star manual, so I will stick to the auto align. After aligning, slew commands were off, but oddly it was not consistent. For that reason I cannot say it was off 15 degrees (daylight savings), trying to go below the horizon (AM vs PM maybe??)Mike here: Several comments. First, current and past ETX models do not have GPS, at least not from Meade. Did you mean the LNT module (which does not have GPS capabilities)? Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES on the AutoStar? If not, do them. For more information on non-PE model alignments (ie, non-Auto Align) see the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. For more information on the PE models (with LNT) see the "Premier Edition / LNT Specific Tips" section on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Keep in mind that the HOME positions for Auto Align and non-Auto Align modes are different.
Subject: Can I use a big diameter eyepiece in ETX-125PE? Sent: Friday, April 25, 2008 18:00:18 From: Mike Shneyder (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am just learning my first steps with the ETX and I am already facing a problem. Recently I purchased a Baader Hyperion 17 mm eyepiece to compliment the 26 mm Meade that came with the scope. But Hyperion has a 2" diameter body just above a 1.25" barrel and this body interferes with plastic red-dot finder bracket, which is installed on top of the rear cell. The Meade 26 mm is a small diameter eyepiece and it does not have this problem. I also believe that previous versions of ETX-125 did not have this problem as well since they did not have this style finder bracket. Can you advice me what to do? Hyperion is a nice EP and I would like to keep it. Plus I would like to get a 1.25" to 2" adapter for 2" eyepieces and it is even bigger than Hyperion. The eyepiece diameter is too big or EP holder tube is not long enough. I can cut a relief in the finder bracket, but I would rather not. It is already flimsy enough. Do you know how the eyepiece tube is installed in the rear plastic cell? Is it threaded or glued? Maybe I can replace with a longer one. If I could make it 10 mm longer, it would be a solution. I own a lathe and can do my own work. I hope there is a simple solution. Other people may already asked you the same question, I just could not find anything related on your website. Thank you in advance for any help. Mike ShneyderMike here: You could use the eyepiece at the rear port. You would need a Visual Back to attach the eyepiece. See the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page for one example. You can get a 1.25" to 2" adapter; there is one discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page.
Thanks for your response. But I would still like to know how to replace the eyepiece tube. Do you know? MikeMike here: Well, you could replace the eyepiece holder but that would require a lot of modification. You would have to cut the telescope to accommodate a larger opening. And then you would have to mount the 2" eyepiece holder by drilling additional holes in the telescope tube. To do all this safely you would want to remove all the optical components from the tube. And once you get the 2" eyepiece holder attached you would then have to put all the optics back in and recollimate the optics, something that is not easy with the ETX models unless you have an "optical bench" or are prepared to spend a lot of time adjusting the optics.
I am sorry for not making myself clear. I do not want to install 2" port directly in the plastic cell. All I need is to make the eyepiece holder a little longer to eliminate interference with finder bracket. Yesterday I posted the same question on cloudynights.com. So far there is no answer. Here is a picture of my setup.
Thanks, Mike. I have an idea how to make a short extension of the tube in case I am not able to replace the tube with a longer one. Mike ShneyderMike here: See the solution in the article "Eyepiece Extension" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Thank you for your help, Mike. I already know that Agena and Scopetronix offer 1" long EP barrel extensions. Agena also offers 23 mm extension with a brass compression ring for the scope's EP tube. The latter one is quite good, I just not sure if it will hold an EP with a barrel groove like Hyperion.Mike here: I would avoid Scopetronix. See the Editorial Page on my ETX Site.
Subject: parts Sent: Friday, April 25, 2008 12:28:53 From: Danhai@aol.com (Danhai@aol.com) wondering if you have a source for eyepiece thumb screws & viewfinder alignment screws for ETX-125EC Thank You Dan.Mike here: First, try Meade. If they won't send you the screws try ScopeStuff (link on the Astronomy Links page).
Found what I need at SopeStuff Thanks Dan
Subject: Scopetronix Sent: Friday, April 25, 2008 05:24:53 From: Alex Frade (email@example.com) I wish I would have read your editorial of Scopetronix prior to placing an order from them on 4/11/08. I went to their website and ordered a Flexi Focus, a dew shield, and an accessory tray all for my newly purchased ETX 125. I received an electronic e-mail ackowledging my order which I paid by credit card. To this day I have not received my order and my numerous e-mails to their contact information have gone without one single response. There's no telephone of address on the website and finally after researching on the internet I found a telephone number, that after numerous rings goes to a message that tells you that the memory is full. By know I have given up that I'll ever receive my order and suspect that they might not even be in business. I am in the process of contacting my credit card company to dispute the charge. However their website is fully operational and I wanted to warn others not to order from them. Clear Skies, Alex Frade
Subject: Feeding images from the EXT PE 125 to a Laptop Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 13:53:31 From: Phil Gayle (PGayle@SERENA.com) I've just bought the 6.0 version of Starry Night Pro and with all the great utilities I've been wondering if it's possible to connect a video feed to the scope and view images on the laptop in real-time? If possible how would I go about it? Thank You Philip GayleMike here: You would attach a video camera of some sort (electronic eyepiece or webcam) in place of an eyepiece. You would then run the video output to the appropriate software on your computer. However, keep in mind that "real-time" video may not be very useful except on brighter objects like the Moon. Also, you will need to be at the telescope to align it.
Subject: GPS ETX125PE 497 Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 08:55:55 From: Eckert, Dennis (Dennis.Eckert@flukenetworks.com) I've been reading thru the various posts on hooking up a GPS to my ETX, but I haven't been able to find an answer to what I think is a simple question. I'm pretty sure my Garmin 95AVD (older aviation version) outputs the $GPRMC string. I haven't built the RJ-11 to DB-9 cable yet to the GPS. I do have a connection to one AUX port to my laptop for running AutoStar Suite and AstroPlanner. I'm not interested at this point in buying the StarPatch solution if I don't have to. So, will the 497 read that string without me having to purchase any vendor solution like StarPatch? My 497 has Dick Seymour's latest patch applied. I turned off the GPS StarPatch read capability in the patch because I'm under the impression that I would have to buy the StarPatch package for the 497 to accept the GPS data. Dennis Eckert Everett, WAMike here: I'll let Dick respond:
From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) >> I've been reading thru the various posts on hooking up a GPS to my >> ETX, but I haven't been able to find an answer to what I think is a >> simple question. I'm pretty sure my Garmin 95AVD (older aviation >> version) outputs the $GPRMC string. I haven't built the RJ-11 to >> DB-9 cable yet to the GPS. I do have a connection to one AUX port >> to my laptop for running AutoStar Suite and AstroPlanner. You are -not- connected to an AUX port, you are connected to the serial port on the 497 Autostar itself (i sure hope). The AUX ports are **not** rs232 serial ports, and damage can be done to both PC and Autostar if you attempt to hook them up like that. (i have to write the above since other folks might -try- an incorrect AUX hookup) >> I'm not >> interested at this point in buying the StarPatch solution if I don't >> have to. So, will the 497 read that string without me having to >> purchase any vendor solution like StarPatch? My 497 has Dick >> Seymour's latest patch applied. I turned off the GPS StarPatch read >> capability in the patch because I'm under the impression that I >> would have to buy the StarPatch package for the 497 to accept the >> GPS data. If you do not patch the Autostar to do so, it will not natively understand GPS "sentences" arriving at the serial port. If you turn -on- the GPS patch in StarPatch, it will load the "demo" version of Chris Carson's (Mr. StarGPS) firmware. It -will- be able to understand the GPS message, and will display it on the screen soon after power-up. *BUT* It won't -set- the data into the Autostar. If you pay $79 for StarPatch, then the GPS data -will- get set when available. (and future firmware downloads/updates will take only two minutes, max). have fun --dick
Subject: Re: Need some help getting a 125 to work; can you help Sent: Monday, April 21, 2008 22:52:03 From: Michael (email@example.com) I have the EC model. There is the controller for focusing. I thought when it was plugged in it would focus. I thought it was internal. It sounds as if I don't know the machine properly. I took the manual control knob out of the bottom of the box. The spring and shaft were in the OTA and the rear cell assembly was loose and flopping around inside the OTA. I put it back together and I now can focus with the control knob. I would bet a lot of money the scope is not collimated correctly. What else needs to be done to insure it is inserted correctly. It appears that there is only one way for the rear cell assembly to put installed. I do not know how to collimate the scope yet. I assume the electric focuser is on the outside of the scope. I'll go back and look at the different models and see what they should look like. I don't want to spend the money of a supercharge just yet. If I read enough I may be able to do that myself. Certainly not to his standards but we'll see. Do you have any suggestions? And again thanks for your help and time. MichaelMike here: There is a battery operated handcontroller (the user-installable battery goes in the handcontroller) for the Meade electric focuser. There is a separate handcontroller for the ETX (standard handbox that came with the ETX EC models or and AutoStar). The AutoStar will control the focuser if the focuser cable is connected. Perhaps this article will help: http://www.weasner.com/etx/showcase/focuser/meade-focuser1247.html. As to a "star test" for collimation and doing a collimation yourself, see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. However, be aware that doing the collimation yourself, while not impossible with ETX Maksutov-Cassegrain models, is difficult and you can make things worse instead of better.
Subject: My alignment issue Sent: Monday, April 21, 2008 17:29:11 From: Steven M. Wyatt (firstname.lastname@example.org) I think I may have it worked out. I have adjusted the Time Zone to -4 UT (because that is where I am) at the suggestion of someone else, and turned off Day Light Savings. Just did an alignment ('cause it is now dark). The scope is not dead on as I would like, but pretty darn close. I wanted to thank you all for you suggestions. I great to know that there is some good support out there. Thanks again (vielen dank..tusen takk) Of course I am open to any additional suggestions too! /steven/
Subject: ETX-125 - problem with alt motor Sent: Monday, April 21, 2008 06:24:28 From: Finn Stokes (email@example.com) I am emailing you from South Australia. We have just purchased an ETX-125 (picked it up today) and are having problems with initial allignment - We kept getting error messages during the sequence ('motor drive error'). We then tried calibrating the motors after resetting the scope also with no success. It seems that our scope works in three directions - both sideways directions and downwards but not upwards. Bofore the reset, when we tried to move the scope upwards from the autostar hand controller it made a quiet internal noise but wouldn't move. It now makes no sound at all and still won't move. Is it worth us attempting to fix the problem or should we (a) try to contact Meade or (b) return to scope to the suppliers? Cheers Finn StokesMike here: Could you be overtightening the axis lock? If not, then try reversing the AutoStar cable.
The axis lock is as loose as we can make it without the scope tipping forward. We reversed the cable and it began to turn downwards both when it was supposed to turn down and when it was supposed to turn up. We turned the scope off and on again and this time the autostar seemed to lose all power when the telescope attempted to turn up. We again turned it off and on again and this time it started to turn up but smoke started coming out of the base and possibly right arm (or it could have just looked that way as the smoke from the base coiled past) of the telescope so we quickly switched it off... not sure where to go from here.Mike here: Smoke? Was the cable inserted correctly (pin orientation)? Were you using the internal batteries or an external power source? At any rate, smoke is obviously not a good sign and could be a sign that there was a failure pending and that was causing the problem. At any rate, assuming you didn't cause the short by using an improper power connection, you should contact the dealer for an exchange.
We were using the internal batteries and the cable seemed to be plugged in properly. Interestingly, the smoke happened when the telescope seemed to be functioning properly. even after the smoke started it was still turning up until we noticed it and turned it off.Mike here: It was likely an intermittent connection someplace inside. I still recommend contacting the dealer.
Thanks for your help Mike. We will return it to the dealer - I'm not game touching anything else as I will start to worry about warranty...
Subject: 125 EC Horizontal lock limit stop question Sent: Saturday, April 19, 2008 02:05:18 From: Julian Plant (firstname.lastname@example.org) Greetings from a newbie in Surrey UK! I have just acquired a 125 EC which has not been used for five years. Previous owner no help on the matter, no warranty etc heyho. The horizontal travel is approx. 340 degrees before hitting a solid stop in either direction i.e. it will not perforn a single 360 degree rotation and I understand from other postings that it should do more than this. It is not possible to perfom a full 'goto' without graunching and me hitting abort, I feel that this is probably not right!! The stops are very solid and absolute. Having said that, everyting else performs as it should, first light I saw Saturn and was over the Moon, hmm, I need to rephrase that but you know what I mean :o) Any thoughts or suggestions gratefully received, many thanks in advance, best regards, JulianMike here: There is likely some obstruction in the base that is preventing full movement from hard stop to hard stop (normally a rotation of slightly less than twice around). The typical sources of the problem are: wiring (use caution when rotating the telescope as you could cut the wire), debris, or a broken hard stop that has shifted. You would have to open up the base to check.
Thanks for your swift response Mike, you have confirmed my suspicions, the good thing is that the electrical functions are operational so the wiring sounds ok. A job for the morrow then, will let you know how it goes! Many thanks again, JulianMike here: The wiring could still be intact but damaged. Be certain to check it.
Just had to laugh, removed the plastic base and then realised that I hadn't a clue what to do next, I guess the screws that can be seen at intervals when the base is rotated have to come out. Anyway, spotted an aluminium post that I guess is the end stop, that is intact. Without removing the whole assembly I can go no further and don't want to mess the whole thing up! Base back on, needs a bit of thought. all the best, JulianMike here: There are a couple of "hard stop" articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: Need some help getting a 125 to work; can you help Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2008 20:14:09 From: Michael (email@example.com) I got a 125 supposedly new never used. But when I got it I could see thru it, there were two noises inside the OTA of something loose, the controller kept reinitializing, the electronic focuser would slew but not focus, and the scope arrived with the horizontal lock lever and the manual focus knob were in the bottom of the box. I was not able to put the manual focus knob on because the shaft was not in the hole. I put the lever back on its nut and I can basically lock it down. I took it apart and found the rear cell assembly off and it was flopping around inside along with the spring and shaft. I cleaned everything and replaced everything where it belongs. Now I can look thru the scope again and get an image. It is out of focus and I cannot focus electronically or manually. The manual focus knob just keeps rotating without apparent movement of the mirrors focal point. The electronic focuser creates no noise when pressed appropriately. I can get the scope to slew. I have not tried to track as I can't focus. I'm still trying to figure out how to get to the polar alignment part with the 497 but that's just I haven't looked hard enough. What do I do? The seller is talking to me and I'm to call Meade tomorrow and discuss fixing it or sending it in for repair and get an estimate. Can I fix it? Did I do something wrong or overlook something. I appreciate all your help so far and I don't know quite honestly how you do it. Thanks again. MichaelMike here: Wow! It sounds like it was in bad shape. Hope you didn't spend too much money on it. It sounds like the focus shift is disconnected. See the article "Focus Shaft Fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page if you want to attempt to fix it. As to alignment steps, there are many tips on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. If you didn't get a manual you can download for your telescope at Meade's site (see the FAQ page on the ETX Site for a link to the manuals).
The focus shaft does work. I guess I was too tired to see it last nite. But the electronic controller for the focus does not. I can use it to track and slew but it will not focus. Any ideas? MichaelMike here: Do you mean the focus motor runs but the focus shaft doesn't move or that the motor doesn't run?
I don't hear anything running when I press on the in or out button on the electronic focuser, Mike.Mike here: So you are using the focuser handcontroller and not the AutoStar for focusing. Have you checked the battery? You might try using the AutoStar to control the focuser (assuming it is the Meade Electronic Focuser for the ETX).
Yes, I'm using the manual focus control knob but I'm still having problems focusing. I can go from one stop to the other with the manual focus control knob and not be able to focus far away. I can focus nearby objects though. Which buttons work on the 497 to control focus? I used the electronic focuser again tonite and it continues to slew. I don't know how to track with it yet. But I cannot get it to focus. Michael PS: You've got to be incredibly busy. I thank you for your time.Mike here: Now you have me confused. The Meade focuser replaces the manual control knob. Since you say you are using the manual focus knob lets address that focusing problem. If you can focus near objects but not objects in the sky then it sounds like the mirror (which is the moving part for focusing) is not positioned correctly. You would have to disassemble the rear cell to properly position. Then you would have to recollimate the telescope (not an easy task). At this point you may want to consider contacting Meade, or perhaps Dr Clay Sherrod for his "Supercharge" Tune-up Service.
Subject: RE: ETX 125 AT Alignment Issue Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2008 18:17:53 From: Steven M. Wyatt (firstname.lastname@example.org) Sorry to say Mike, Nothing worked. Calibrated Motors, then re-trained. All after a reset. I used a torpedo level to make sure everything was level. Tripod, and even used the level to ensure the fork was centered over the control panel for home position, by using the small triangle by the DEC knob as that appears to be the center, and the red LED on the control panel appears to be the center. Then pointed True North using a compass. Alignment stars were WAY off. Worse than before. Then re-aligned the scope by pointing to Polaris. Was closer, but GOTO just wouldn't GOTO. Same issues as before. Even my alignment stars wouldn't be close in GOTO. Saturn wasn't even in view, and other targets were just way off. I'm suspecting an issue with the scope, which is disappointing given that it's not that old. And knowing Meade, it may be weeks if not months to get it repaired under warranty. :( I really like the scope. My daughter, neighbors kids and I have a great time with it. Just sad to think that after so little use (due to winter) that it's not working properly.Mike here: Did you correct for your local Magnetic Variation when using the magnetic compass? One other thing you can easily try: reverse the AutoStar cable.
Not sure what you mean by " local Magnetic Variation". When you mean reverse the AutoStar Cable, do you mean the hand controller? And take then end in the controller and put that in the control pad on the scope and the other end in the hand controller? I don't recall ever changing it around, but if that's what you mean. I'll try that. Hey, I didn't expect an answer right away. You must be very dedicated to the ETX crowd. I really appreciate any help. I'm just hoping it's just me and not the scope. Everything seemed fine when I got it in October. Then it pretty much sat for the winter since it was too cold (for me at least). It was suggested by a member of Meade4M to check the Time Zone, which appears to be correct according to NASA. -5 UT for Eastern.Mike here: Depending on your location, True North and Magnetic North can vary up to about 20 degrees. To calculate Magnetic Variation (also known as Magnetic Declination) for your location use one of the sites on the Astronomy Links page.
Thank you again Mike, I'll try this tonight. Looks like I'm off by 14 + degrees here. I can see how that could make a difference. Cross your fingers! :)
I have had my scope connected to my computer using the Meade Software, for imaging. Do you suppose that may have messed things up? Unlikely, but you never know. 1 person said this messed his up. And another even suggested reloading the AutoStar software.Mike here: The software controls the telescope AFTER you have done the alignment. But reloading the ROM can help resolve some issues. If you do that I recommend doing a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES following the update.
Subject: ETX 125 AT Alignment Issue Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2008 10:34:46 From: Steven M. Wyatt (email@example.com) First Off.what a great site. I find myself getting lost in there sometimes. J I'm hoping you, or someone, may help me out. I purchased my ETX 125 last October. It was from Meade's Outlet store, and for the most part, is a great scope. But the last several nights, (since the weather has finally cleared and is getting more comfortable for viewing here in New England), I've been having trouble getting a half way decent alignment. Unless I'm aiming at the wrong star (Polaris), I don't know what's wrong. This is what I have done (last night). Now I have tried these steps several times making changes to settings: Changes: a) Location - by zip code and then by closest city b) Time - both with and without Day Light Savings set 1) Reset Scope 2) Re-Trained Drives 3) Set in home position 4) Leveled scope and aimed at Polaris 5) Easy Align (2 stars - Capella and Sirius) 6) AutoStar said alignment was successful Now, when I try goto I'm like no where close to a target. Saturn is always too high and to the left (looking through Finder Scope), then eyepiece. Orion, Mars, my alignment stars and even Polaris always seem to be low and to the left. Now, if AutoStar says my alignment was successful...why am I always consistently off? I'm contemplating getting a reticle eye piece to aid in the training (to be more precise) and in the alignment process (to be dead on center), but I would think that I would at least be in the right "neighborhood" of the targets after the alignment. I know it's not a battery issue as I use the Power Supply. The knobs are secure, so I don't see that there would be any movement there. Any suggestions? Thanks Mike. Any suggestion is greatly appreciated. I've read so many websites and tried so many things, I beginning to think there may be an issue with the scope itself.Mike here: You didn't say you did a CALIBRATE MOTOR. You should do that. Also, you said you were aiming the telescope at Polaris. Is the telescope mounted in Polar Mode or Alt/Az? Since you said you were aiming the telescope at Polaris I'll assume you have in Polar Mode. Have you set the AutoStar for Polar Mode?
No, I have the scope in Alt/Az. You know, last night prior to training I did forget to calibrate first. You do that first, right? Else it just throws the training off. I did calibrate the other day in my trials as well, but that didn't have much effect. Is there a proper way of calibrating? The way I did it the other I just hit the button, the scope moved left/right and up/down. That was is. Should it too be in the home position, or does It not matter. Perhaps I'll try that again. Oh, and thanks for such a quick reply.Mike here: It really doesn't matter where the telescope is when doing the CALIBRATE MOTOR. It just measures the encoders output. However, it should be done whenever swapping power sources or after a recharge if using external battery or when the power gets low. With the telescope in Alt/Az you point the telescope towards True North and not AT Polaris. For more on alignments, see the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Thanks Mike, I'll give this all a shot again tonight and let you know how I make out.
Subject: PE 125 and Eyepieces Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2008 19:57:45 From: Brian Everheart (firstname.lastname@example.org) so glad i found your website. i have had the PE 125 now for around 2 weeks and want to make sure i am using it correctly. i think i had a mistake in judgement when i trusted a guy at a scope shop on what the most powerful eyepiece i can use with the scope is. he told me a 9.5mm was.....sold me an epic ED.....after further research, it appears the max practical magnificaiton is 500x which means i can go a lot more powerful. question is, what is the most powerful eyepiece i can use with the ETX 125pe is....i recently purchased the #126 barlow but dont have it yet... what brand of eyepiece do you recommend? what is the most powerful one you would recommend with this scope? with a 9.5mm and no barlow, is not normal to view saturn, and barely be able to see the rings? Live in a community north of dallas, on the NW corner of lake lewisville...there is light polution in the area.... Thanks, and i look forward to your response! Brian Everheart Little Elm, TXMike here: Keep in mind there is a theoretical maximum magnification for any telescope based on its aperture. See the FAQ page for info on how to calculate that magnification as well as how to calculate magnifications for any eyepiece with your telescope. Whether or not you can effectively use that max magnification depends on the object being viewed, the viewing conditions, whether or not the telescope has reached "thermal equilibrium", and the condition and quality of all the optics used (telescope, eyepiece, Barlow Lens). Bottom line: don't expect to use 500X for the ETX-125. As to eyepieces, see the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page as well as the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.
Thanks for the quick response. Would you consider the Epic ED and Expanse to be quality eyepieces? I like that they have big exits....Mike here: I have no experience with them but if you search the Site for "Epic eyepiece" you will find some comments.
Subject: Autostar and USB and StarPatch Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2008 18:40:24 From: Patty & Doug (email@example.com) I've gleaned much info from your site and appreciate it very much. The most recent was today when updating Autostar for my new etx125 using a USB-to-Serial adapter (Belkin-F5U409). As you probably have already guessed CRASH! Searching your site I saw the suggestion to try StarPatch (Richard Seymour, April 2006) and your question, after that suggestion, wondering if it was more tolerant. It seems to be, at least with the mine. First time it worked without a problem and it is fast!. I cannot thank you enough for all the help you, Richard & Dr. Clay have given my wife and I since we bought out Etx90EC back in the late 90's. Sorry it has taken me 10 years to say thanks! Doug McConnaughay Waxahachie, TX
Subject: A comment in re John Watson's e-mail on your feedback page. Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2008 14:28:30 From: PHIL G (firstname.lastname@example.org) In reference to John Watson's post: Your reply (in part): "Alternatively, if you do not need to move the telescope, you could align it the night before and use the SLEEP or PARK functions in the AutoStar. " There is a simple trick to relocating the telescope after aligning it and then bringing it inside for the night. I have my "favorite" spot in my driveway marked with three shallow holes drilled with a masonry bit (concrete drive, not Macadam as the Brits call Asphalt). The legs of the tripod fit in them and if one were to carefully pick up the whole rig and then bring it back another day your original alignment should be *very* close. I have this set to a fairly good Polar alignment orientation (not drift) and it makes my setup go MUCH quicker! Helps to set up for Solar observing as well. In a wood deck one could simply drive three small nails in to mark the leg position. On a grass surface one could perhaps drive three pieces of plastic pipe in for the legs to fit in. Of course using vibration pads may complicate this... Regards. Phil G
Subject: Re: The fine work you did on my ETX-125 Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2008 08:51:04 From: P. Clay Sherrod (email@example.com) Wonderful report and thanks so much for taking the time to write. And you are most welcome! 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 ----- From: Mark > Hi Dr. Clay, > > Thank you, Thank you, Thank you...?? Did I say Thank you? > > I was able to take my scope out last night. Michigan weather has not been that good > this winter.? I had a blast.? I went through almost all of the Meade guided tour and > the Urban tour you loaded for me.? Every go-to was dead on.? I did the 2 star > alignment only once and observed till my fingers were stiff as a board. I love your > Urban tour. It was a pleasure to observe something different than what I usually hunt > for. > > I can't wait till I take it to the Cherry Springs Starfest this May and get under some > nice sky's and observe the other tours you set up for me. > > One last Thank You... > > Respectfully > > Mark
Subject: ETX-60 or 114EQ-ASTR? Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 20:15:17 From: Dave Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org) I recently purchased an ETX-125PE for myself and my Dad loves it. I want to get him a decent scope however the 125 is wayyyy too much scope for his desire to look at the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, etc. I just found on www.sportsmansguide.com the ETX-60 Backpack edition with the tripod, backpack, 3 eyepieces, and built in Barlow for $99, or with my coupon and club membership it's only $79. I also noticed they have the EQ-114ASTR for about 40 bucks more. Which would be your suggestion for the price? Obviously the 114 has a much larger objective, however I was thinking something more portable and easier for my Dad (who's up there in years) to setup and use would be more beneficial. Is the ETX-60 a steal for $79 or should I go for the gold? Thank you, sir, for your help! - DaveMike here: The ETX-60 (you sure it is the ETX-60 or is it an ETX-80, which is the only model that I know that includes the built-in Barlow Lens) can be a disappointment to some users due to the short focal length and small aperture. Your dad might prefer the larger aperture of the 114EQ-ASTR. On the other hand, the ETX has the AutoStar GOTO controller and will track objects in the sky automatically. The 114EQ-ASTR only has manual tracking (I think). For more on how well the ETX refractors models perform see the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page for my ETX-70 comments as well the Helpful Information: User Observations page for other users comments.
Subject: re: How best to drive my ETX-90EC from my iMac -- 50 feet away? Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2008 17:15:54 From: richard seymour (email@example.com) For simply -controlling- the telescope, put the Keyspan USB-to-serial adapter at your MAcintosh, and simply run the -serial- line the 50 feet. You can use telephone extension cords for the "cable", or make your own. At the telescope end it needs to be a "handset"-sized connector. For that matter, OPT sells 25 foot and 50 foot "Meade 505-like" cables which will handle the length and connectors for you. RS232 serial lines and signal level are excellent and designed for long runs. USB is -not- designed as a long-run protocol. Unplug everything at *both* ends if you are expecting nearby thunderstorms. have fun --dick
Subject: ETX Sites... Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2008 09:52:11 From: Chris Harvey (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm Chris Harvey and I participate in the ETX news group, you will probably have seen me post occasionally. Just wondering if I would qualify for a link from your ETX links page? I've got a link to you in my resources of course. This is my ETX page: www.flitemedia.com/photography/astro.php Then I have my Nikon D50 night sky page separately here: www.flitemedia.com/photography/night-sky.php The reason being that I wanted to show what somebody can do with a DSLR on its own, then separately what I've done with my ETX-105 including using the DSLR. So, it's the ETX page I thought you may like to link to. I recognise many of the websites you have listed there. Out of interest, are you keeping a log of which Messier's you have seen? I'm now up to about two thirds of them with 36 to go, I have a journal of this offline, soon to be online, and I've only had a scope for two years. I think I'm going to start a page for the Caldwell catalogue as well. Just wondering if you had managed to see all the Messiers in your years of experience? Maybe you have even attempted or completed a Messier marathon?! Cheers and clear skies, ChrisMike here: I do keep a log book but haven't tracked how many of the Messier objects I've seen. Over the decades I've seen quite a few but I know I've not (yet) seen the all.
Subject: ETX Solar tracking Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2008 03:11:53 From: John Watson (email@example.com) I bought an ETX125PE, which I'm delighted with - the optics are superb and the Autostar (which I've never used before) seems both accurate and easy. However, I want to use the scope for solar observing with a full-aperture filter and I can't quite figure how to set it up to track (ideally alt-az, but it doesn't really matter) well enough for visual observing, when the Sun's out and I can't see any alignment stars! So naturally I'm turning to the ETX guru... Thanks and best regards JohnMike here: Solar tracking for visual purposes usually works fine at sidereal rate. Generally no need to set a specific tracking rate for the Sun. As to aligning, the simplest way is to use Auto Align and assume that the alignment stars are centered. This will work in Alt/Az or Polar. Alternatively, if you mount the ETX in polar mode you can just power on and set the Targets to Astronomical on the AutoStar. That will start the RA drive immediately with no need to align. Either way, then slew the ETX using the AutoStar to the Sun (with the filter installed). I use the shadow of the ETX to get it pointed at the Sun but there are some "sun finders" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page (look for both "sun" and "solar").
Thanks for a very fast response. You know, it just hadn't occurred to me to assume that the alignment stars were centered'... I use the 'smallest shadow' method for aiming my ETX90RA at the Sun, which is easy to do. All the best JohnMike here: The better the ETX Home Position the better the "fake" alignment will be. Alternatively, if you do not need to move the telescope, you could align it the night before and use the SLEEP or PARK functions in the AutoStar.
1. Good point. 2. In England it rains unpredictably - as they say, "no climate, just weather" !
Subject: How best to drive my ETX-90EC from my iMac -- 50 feet away? Sent: Friday, April 11, 2008 12:38:41 From: James Haight (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm a novice ETX-90EC operator. I've had the scope for about 10 years, but am just getting around to using it. I'm researching methods to remotely control the ETX-90 from my stationary iMac Intel Core 2 Duo using ScopeDriver X. For a good view of the sky, the scope must be about 50 feet from the computer. A Sabrent USB-RJXT extender adapter with 50 feet of Cat5e or Cat6 cable, connected to the scope via the Keyspan adapter, looks to be a solution. The possible rub: the rig will not support USB 2.0; it will drop to 1.1. I'll greatly appreciate any thoughts on the issue. Regards, Jim HaightMike here: You need a RS-232 cable run to control the AutoStar, which controls the telescope. So, the USB for control will be at the computer. But you would need a USB-serial adapter. I use a Keyspan one on my Macs and it works fine. This connection would only allow you to control the telescope, not see what it is seeing. So you would then have to add some sort of camera to the telescope. You could use a Firewire camera, a USB camera, or an "electronic eyepiece" which connects to a TV or monitor. An alternative solution would be to have a laptop computer (or other small or inexpensive) computer at the telescope and then control that from the iMac. If you use Mac OS X 10.5 you can use Screen Sharing. If you don't use Leopard you can still share a screen using VNC server and client software (both available in free versions).
Yes, I have the Keyspan adapter and have tested it using an additional 12 feet of USB cable. Works perfectly. Now, as to adding some sort of camera to the telescope, I thought I'd try another person at the eyepiece first. But now you have me chasing the various cameras you suggest! Thanks again. Jim Haight
Subject: What happened to Scoptronics? Sent: Friday, April 11, 2008 12:43:05 From: plechaty (email@example.com) I understand they went out of business. Did any other company or individual pick up their inventory and or line of products? I am interested in a DSLR Maxiview for a D70s Nikon camera. Thank you Bill PlechatyMike here: See the Other: Editorial Page on my ETX Site for some comments.
Subject: ETX PE - External 12v connector polarity Sent: Tuesday, April 8, 2008 23:49:39 From: Andy Chiu (firstname.lastname@example.org) I want to make a recharge battery box to supply battery power thru the 12V external connector. Please advise the center pole is (+) or (-) in order to connect it with correct polarity. Thanks. Best regards Andy ChiuMike here: Your answer is on the FAQ page on the ETX Site.
Subject: Accident with my new ETX 125 PE telescope Sent: Monday, April 7, 2008 13:32:21 From: Mr Clive Musselwhite (email@example.com) I have just made a stupid mistake with my ETX 125 telescope - I have a variable transformer which I have to switch to the 12 volt setting but I forgot and let it align on the 15 volts my scanner uses. At first it started aligning fine but then the Autostar started fading out, on and off, but not quite going off and the telescope suddenly went up to its extreme. I switched it off immediately and realised what I had done - sure enough, I hadn't switched it back to 12 volts! On restarting with the correct voltage the telescope seemed to be working ok but it hung on alignment north and I realised that the left arrow on the Autostar will not turn the telescope. There is also that hot electric motor smell coming from the drive chamber. Although the telescope is under guarantee I wouldn't send it back for something that I have caused, that would be dishonest. I have decided to wait until it has cooled down and try again tomorrow but I think I have probably burned out the left motor (I assume it a different motor for each direction which is why the right one works). I would be grateful to you again Mike if you could give your advice on this - silly I know - should have put a sticker somewhere to remind me as I've nearly done this before. Haven't used it for about a month due to cloud and cold but took advantage of a clear sky tonight (wish I hadn't). Thanks. Clive.Mike here: If you smelled something burning then you likely either fried a motor or some circuitry component. You could open up the base and see if you see anything burnt. You will likely have to return it to Meade for a repair.
Subject: Re: Aligning Without Polaris Sent: Friday, April 4, 2008 20:56:40 From: Steve Hollar (firstname.lastname@example.org) Mike, I just had to let you know, I went out tonight and experimented with the "Drift Method". I was absolutely blown away. The learning curve was easy once I matched what I was seeing with what I was reading. I didn't have the computer or camera connected. This was just a testing night. I used the good ol' Orion Nebula for my object. The nebula itself looked like it hadn't moved in about fifteen minutes. More important was a star right on the edge of the field of view. It sat right there. I was truly amazed. Thanks for turning me on to this. Hopefully I'll be taking some photos this weekend. Steve Hollar
Subject: astronomy of the moon Sent: Friday, April 4, 2008 06:35:25 From: Andres Hebberecht (email@example.com) I searched in all your newsletters,Mike's biografy,just for fun etc to find an answer to the following questions,which I guess they must be answred somewhere in your extensive letters....but I can't find it. what is the name of he boulder which lies on the moon's surface,roughly at 61 km south of mons pico and 32 km west of pico E ? I see a white dotted line ,some 170 km long from the end of vallis alpes to that boulder.It is difficult to see. Am I right or is it just imagination ? looking at your theft page I see your stolen "observing chair" which I would like to have one but I don't find it at starbound's nor at shop-it.where could I get this item and so stop my backpain at once.Thank you for your answer which is this time somewhat different and has nothing to do with scope problems. andresMike here: I recommend getting a Moon atlas or chart to help you identify objects on the Moon. They don't identify "boulders" however. There are also software programs that can provide charts. As to the Starbound Observing Chair, I recently got the replacement at OPT (http://www.optcorp.com) so they have them.
Thank you for your help,I'll start with the virtual atlas of the moon and will get in touch with OPT.I'll see first if they are alsoo in spain....thank you. andres.
Subject: re: MySky - Theory of Operation? (was MyStar) Sent: Thursday, April 3, 2008 21:55:57 From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) You asked: > how does it "know" the altitude and azimuth of the direction it's pointed? ...and your email address is "ieee", so i'll assume some level of electronic background. If one looks at how Meade's Level North Technology (LNT) module works, it probably hints strongly at the technology in the MySky. They use a magnetometer coil to accuately sense "north", and the MySky probably improves on that by using a Hall effect compass for the other angles. For the tips and tilts, the LNT module uses a dual-axis accelerometer chip to detect the direction of the local gravity vector. The MySky might use more than one to "average out" noise, or to provide coverage of difficult angles (such as the circuit board tilted straight up). The chip used in the LNT module is a MXD2020E from MemSic. http://www.memsic.com The chip uses a rising column of hot air as its "plumb bob". A hot wire heats the air, and it rises between a balanced thermocouple bridge. If the device is tilted, some of the thermocouples get warmer than the others. Unfortunately this device is -also- sensitive to lateral acceleration (shakey hands?) so slow motions (or giving the MySky time to average out the "noise") are required. I don't -know- that the MySky uses those chips, but they'd certainly be in the running... have fun --dick
Subject: Stuck Dust Cap on ETX-125 PE Sent: Thursday, April 3, 2008 18:44:52 From: dan colesworthy (email@example.com) I've been enjoying your site for several months and finally got up my courage and ordered one of the astro tube ETX-125 PEs from Astronomics. The shipment arrived here in Boulder, CO. in 3 days, and looked completely undamaged. I've been trying to assemble the scope, and can't get the darned dust cap off the scope! I must be doing something stupid! Unscrewing starts to remove the entire end of scope/lense assembly so that can't be it. It looks as though it ought to just pop off! So far I can't budge it. Any advice before I damage the scope or give up and try to return it? Thanks in advance, Dan ColesworthyMike here: See the item "Q. I can not remove the aperture or rear port cover or loosen the Declination/Altitude scale knob. How do I loosen it?" on the FAQ page.
Subject: Tripod Sent: Thursday, April 3, 2008 11:37:21 From: Richard Jackson (firstname.lastname@example.org) The telescope we have is the ETX-90ECMike here: Cheap and reliable don't always go together. I'd recommend the Meade #884 tripod for the ETX. Provides both Alt/Az and Polar mounting on a good stable mount.
Subject: Aligning Without Polaris Sent: Wednesday, April 2, 2008 15:49:25 From: Steve Hollar (email@example.com) I'm a bit baffled. On one of the posts, someone had asked how to do a Polar (Equatorial) alignment when Polaris was not visible. That is my problem at my house unless I decide to chop down a forty foot eucalyptus tree. This is what you said: "one that I use when I can't see Polaris, is to use the compass or guess where True North might be. Then do the first alignment star but instead of slewing the telescope, pick up the telescope and tripod and rotate it horizontally until you get the telescope pointed as close as possible to the proper star and then slew to center it, first in the finderscope and then in an eyepiece. You have now corrected for the initial HOME position. The second alignment star should be close and you should center it normally." So, you are saying to do a rough Polar Alignment, then pick an alignment star and literally turn the scope and tripod to point at the star followed by some tweaking with the slew controls to center? After that, I'm assuming you mean to do a regular Go To single star alignment, which would actually be a second star. I thought that the tilt platform, that had been raised to your latitude, has to stay pointing at Polaris. By moving everything, it will no longer be. Doesn't this throw everything off? Maybe I'm reading this wrong. Can you shed a bit more light on it? Thanks, and, I have learned so much from your site. It is a true asset for amateur astronomers. Steve Hollar Lake Elsinore, CAMike here: Whether in Polar (Equatorial) or Alt/Az, moving the entire telescope/tripod assembly to align the first alignment as close as possible will result in the system being in nearly the correct HOME position. In Polar mode, as long as you have set the tilt for your latitude, when you rotate the tripod horizontally to the first alignment star the Right Ascension axis should be parallel to the Earth's rotation. Again, you are correcting for positioning error in the initial HOME position. Then proceed with the second star alignment as normal. If you want to do a more precise polar alignment, do a "drift method" of correction.
Subject: MyStar - Theory of Operation? Sent: Wednesday, April 2, 2008 09:00:56 From: Doug Criner (firstname.lastname@example.org) MyStar acquires the time, date, and location from GPS. But how does it "know" the altitude and azimuth of the direction it's pointed? Meade says there are sensors - and some people seem to think they are magnetic? I can't visualize a magnetic sensor being accurate enough for azimuth. I can't imagine how a magnetic sensor could measure altitude. ____________________________________________________________ Doug CrinerMike here: I'm not familiar with a "MyStar". If you mean the Meade "mySKY" then it does use sensors to measure how it is moved. When you place it on a level surface after the GPS acquisition it "knows" the zero point. This is similar to how the iPhone determines that it has been rotated from a portrait position to a landscape position.
Thanks, Mike. Yes I meant mySky.
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