Last updated: 30 April 2009

This page is for comments and user feedback about the "ETX Classic" telescopes. ETX Classic models include the ETX-60/70/80/90/105/125 (EC, AT, BB, Premier Edition). This page also includes comments and feedback of a general nature. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to the ETX-90RA, ETX-LS, DSX, 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 for posting. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message per the Site Email Etiquette. Thanks. Remember, tips described on this site may invalidate the warranty on your telescope or accessories. Neither the submitter nor myself are responsible for any damage caused by using any contributed tips.

Subject:	Help for ETX-70 parts
Sent:	Thursday, April 30, 2009 11:50:51
From: (
Love the site. As an extreme Level 1 rookie, it's very informative.

I have a brand-new ETX-70. Got it as a gift a few xmases ago, along with
the tripod and the Meade case. To be honest, I used it maybe once or
twice, and only to look @ the moon. The famed "autostar" gizmo was too
much for me, and took far too long for me to page thru the menus to
set-up, when I only wanted to see the moon, so to be honest I basically
took this thing out, set it up once or twice, and said "cool" and put it

Then, this weekend, I found your site, and got it back out. I also had
battery issues, so I read about and just minutes ago bought the AC
adapter for it. I got the scope out just now, set it up...and promptly
have issues.

1) the scope would not rotate L to R  on it's own power, even when speed
it set to MAX. If I gave it a little push with my finger, it would go
fine, but if I let off the button, it would stop and no be able to
re-rotate unless I pushed it again. This happened in both directions, L
and R. It would go up and down fine though. The motor is heard to run,
but won't seem to get moving under it's own power.

2) The scope seemed to not be tight up & down, so I took two fingers and
gently tightened the lock know on the right side of the scope...which
promptly broke off in my hand from the right side...the side without the
numbers on the metal gauge to indicate the angle.

So, being near Irvine, I called Meade HQ, and was told they no longer
make the ETX70, and didn't have the part for it (they do have the left
know, which, naturally, has the threads in it). They recommend I trade
it in, throw in some cash, and get the ETX80.

I also spoke to the rep about my problem with the L to R rotation
slewing/azimuth (?) and he advised I leave the small metal blade lock in
the middle position, which it was. He then suggested the motor may need
help. This seems odd to me, as it works fine if I get it going.

So, I was wondering if you knew either a home-made fix for the broken
lock knob, or maybe a huge parts store who may have the part, though the
Meade rep could not tell me the name of the part or the part number.

Secondly, this sucks. Honestly, I have used this thing maybe 3 times,
and it is essentially a paperweight at this point. I expect more from
Meade. Your thoughts?

Thanks for your time and advice,
Mike here: First, be certain you have done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES on the AutoStar. That may solve the azimuth problem. Of course, you have to continue to hold the slew arrow down for the telescope to continue slewing (you said it stopped when you "let off the button"). Also, do not overtighten the axis lock or you can damage it (as you discovered on the altitude lock). And speaking of the altitude lock, see the articles "ETX-70AT Repair Guide" and "ETX-90EC DEC fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	ETX 70mm
Sent:	Wednesday, April 29, 2009 11:43:18
From:	Roger Schultz (
Hello, Just curious as to whether there is an attachment for the rear
port of the 70mm. For an eyepiece holder? I know there is a camera
adapter. But have not seen an eyepiece holder. Thanks! Roger Schultz
Email address
Mike here: Scopetronix has a "visual back". It is discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page. However, be certain to read the discussion about Scopetronix on the Editorial Page before ordering from them. Shutan sold the Apogee visual back discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page but Shutan has ceased being a telescope dealer. I should have mentioned the "Mini-Tele Extender" discussed on the Showcase Products page as well. Also, check BC&F Astro Engineering (link on the Astronomy Links page).


Thanks Mike, For all the great information! Roger Schultz

Subject:	Meade ETX 125 Visual Back
Sent:	Wednesday, April 29, 2009 07:26:49
From:	Warp (
Do you know of a source of an inexpensive visual back for the ETX125. 
Scopetronix used to have one - but I think they are out of business???
Thanks in advance.
Mike here: I think BC&F Astro Engineering (link on the Astronomy Links page) had one.
Subject:	OO
Sent:	Tuesday, April 28, 2009 13:19:13
From:	Test DWolf (
congratulation to successfull Venus occultation - great shots!
Especially for us Europeans, who could not see it...
Dieter (Munich, Germany)

Subject:	Meade 4504 Motors GEM Mount
Sent:	Monday, April 27, 2009 17:56:09
From:	Jonathan Nuttall (
I must first congratulate you on an amazing site, I have used its
information and tips for some years and I am now in a position where I
am about to add goto functionality to my Gazer Equatorial (GEM 1),
carrying my 10" orion reflector.

I purchased some 4504 motors and the accompanying meade starfinder
handset, and set up as per the meade instructions for said telescope.

I also changed the Az/Alt ratio as to meet the new 144 teeth rather than
that of the 100 teeth of the original worm gears. But all in all I have
been frustrated by the configuration, trying to set -/+ or reverse the
directions in all combinations has led to no success, so I am asking you
and your audience if anyone has any experience or knowledge that I could
learn from, it would be much appreciated.


Mike here: An excellent source of such info as "Steve Bedair's "Go To" Mounts" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	Inquiry
Sent:	Friday, April 24, 2009 19:24:26
From:	James Fowler (
I have purchased a used ETX 125.  It looks great and the objectives are
beautiful.  Saturn was vivid tonight.  I did encounter noises I wasn't
prepared for when I ran it in the slower speeds.  Especially when I
raised and lowered the tube.  It seemed to hesitate and respond much
slower than side to side.  Is this normal or are there things I can do
to help?

I like your website.  There is much info and a lot of it is beyond me. 
I usually use a simple alt/az mount and a Ger. Equatorial using Maks and
refractors.  The ETX is a new venture.
Mike here: I just noticed that your email was returned to you as UNDELIVERABLE and DELETED UNREAD due to the ambiguous subject line. As noted on the ETX Site home page, please read the Email Etiquette. Thanks for understanding. As to the hesitation, have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? If not, do them and let me know if that solves it.
Subject:	6" ETX
Sent:	Thursday, April 23, 2009 12:47:13
From:	greg orian (
Where might I find or look for a used 6" ETX.
Thankyou, Greg
Mike here: Actually, no where. There is no 6" ETX on the market. There will be a 6" when the ETX-LS model starts shipping this Spring.


What are the options if I am looking for a used 6" to 7"
Catadioptic/SCT/Mak/any comparable available ... until the 6" ETX comes
out ... ???
Thankyou, Greg
Mike here: Orion Telescopes and Celestron have 6" models. Meade had a 7" Mak (now discontinued but probably available used).
Subject:	Moon-Venus occulation - your pictures
Sent:	Thursday, April 23, 2009 10:21:06
From:	Nohr Tillman (
Hi Mike,
NICE! Glad you could capture it and share the shots!
It was full daylight here, plus a cloudy rainy day, so I didn't even
try. Ah well, Moon's likely to occult something else at sometime in the
future, right?
Nohr Tillman
Troy, MI, USA, Earth
Mike here: Sorry this one didn't work out for you. Like real estate, it always comes down to location, location, location!
Subject:	ETX 90 Mirror Problem / Fuzzy Blob
Sent:	Wednesday, April 22, 2009 17:56:29
From:	AOL CPCooke (
Great Web site  for all these years though there's so much there I'm
struggling to find the information I need.

I'm on my second ETX 90 and getting ready fro China to see the Eclipse.
However horrors! after a Test run  I suspect  my latest ETX has caught

Its quite common I have discovered in retrospect  I live in the
Caribbean and  There is a type of fungus which attacks Optical Lenses-
and local opinion is that my ETX has the dreaded lurgy.

Have you seen this before ? And how on  Earth do I  fix it? - Shipping
costs aren't that bad to Miami but I expect the cost of repair will
vastly out weigh what I can afford especially as I've purchase my ticket
to Shanghai now  :-)

So I need some safe instructions for dissasembly and reassembly of the
OTA  - the scope will get worse over time anyway so its time to

Heres the picture and it shows the sun (with filter) and the second
blob- its still there with different eyepieces. The photo is taken with
a Scoptonix adapter onto a little Canon Powershot

I only see this with bright objects - and the camera takes fine photos


PS Yes AOL have become most irritating over the years - I'm still with
them (just) but now down to free email only


Mike here: How are you taking the photograph? The glare that you see in the photograph looks like dirt and a reflection on the surface of an eyepiece.


Thanks for your quick and hope raising response

I'm using  the ETX scope then through top eyepiece then a Scopetronix
Digi-T adapter attached to an eyepiece (either a 40mm Celestron or a
Meade 26 mm Plossel) then the Canon Powershot camera fixed to the
adapter As you can see you get a nice sized image !

I'm going to give my eyepieces a good clean up - and give it another
shot over the weekend  I thought the OTA was pretty well enclosed so
maybe its just my eyepeices being a little overused.


PS the ETX has travelled well with me so far over the years , UK ,
Africa (twice) and now the Caribbean - its next big mission is Shanghai!
This ETX is comparatively new - I really miss the old RA series though
Mike here: Yep, cleaning the eyepiece should help. I've taken my ETX-90RA on several trips. Great travel telescope!
Subject:	Re: Converting ETX-60AT to ETX-70AT?
Sent:	Wednesday, April 22, 2009 06:39:24
From:	Donald Keirstead (
Thanks for the information.  I did not find an article on conversion,
but did discover an article by John Cooney on repairs, but no photos
showed up. I also found a technical tips article by Jean Michael Rayon
with excellent photos.  I plan to proceed with exchanging lens
assemblies, and also dismantling the defective ETX-70AT as far as
investigating why the azimuth drive does not function.  I guess I also
should confess that I now have a good ETX-70AT, also from ebay.  Yeah, I
guess I'm a nut!

I had a Celestron C8 Plus for many years, but it got too heavy and
cumbersome for me.  At 75, I am looking forward to getting back into my
favorite hobby.  I hope the Autostar will let me look at stuff, instead
of looking for stuff.  As soon as my cracked hip completely heals, I
will be getting outdoors at night.

Thanks again.

Donald N. Keirstead
Chelmsford MA USA
Mike here: Yes, the AutoStar will help you LOOK AT instead of LOOK FOR objects. Enjoy!
Subject:	ETX125 and Diagonals?
Sent:	Tuesday, April 21, 2009 22:29:55
From:	Warp (
I finally made it into the ETX club with a new 125.  My question to you
and your honest opinion - forgetting about the cost is it worth it to
use a 99% diagonal on the 125 instead of the stock built in flip mirror.
Do you really think there is a noticable visible difference?
Thanks in advance.
Mike here: A diagonal comes in handy for a second eyepiece or when you want to use a different style focuser. Of course, the higher the quality, the better the views. Whether the cost, weight, hitting the base, etc, is worth it, only you can say. I like having a Wide-Field Adapter at the rear port on my ETX-90RA.


Thanks for the reply.  So what are you using as a "wide field adapter"
and why - just what does it do for you?  I now have a ETX90 OTA which I
use as a guide scope on my SCT8 and the ETX125 which I'm just getting
put together.

Your site is a fountain of information - many thanks to you and the
member which keep it up.  My only real regret is that you can't purchase
the molded foam that comes in the Meade cases so you can build your own.
Thanks again!
Mike here: If you look at the photo at the top of the ETX Site home page, you'll see the WFA attached. I discuss it on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page. It allows me to switch magnifications by just flipping the mirror and refocusing.
Subject:	ETX-105RA "sticky" Right Ascension
Sent:	Sunday, April 19, 2009 07:54:33
From:	Nohr Tillman (
Not sure what the etiquette is for cc'ing a contributor, but thought I
might be able to help. I was reading the updates on your site and took
note of this one:

"The motion sticks at about 220 degs and won't go easily past 360 - I
haven't forced it. It certainly doesn't feel like a lubrication prob -
its a complete sudden stop - but not always. Stephanie"

This sounds a lot like what mine was doing after I tightened the motor
screw into the RA stop ring. Perhaps this one's screw has walked up in
the way of that ring? I'm willing to help with the surgery since I'm
into my ETX-125 right now.
Nohr Tillman
Troy, MI, USA, Earth
Mike here: Usually, people just email the person directly, with a cc to me.


Thanks, Mike. Just wanted to make sure I wasn't breaking protcol.
Nearly got the ETX-125 tuned up today. I'll post reports as I get them..

Oh, and thanks for the heads up about the April 22 lunar/Venus
occultation. Not sure I can pull Venus out the the sunlit sky, but I may
try if we're clear that AM.
Nohr Tillman
Troy, MI, USA, Earth
Mike here: You should be able to see it, assuming no clouds.


Cool! Thanks for the encouragement. I presume you mean through an ETX.
'Cause the sun needs to be below the horizon for me to pick out Venus
naked eye. I for sure have pulled the cresent moon down after the sun's
come up, but not tried a planet yet.
Good chance to practice!
Mike here: I was able to see Venus in the daytime with my ETX-90RA. You can see the photo I took on this page: And that was before GOTO computers; I used the setting circles.


Nice! Hadn't looked at that page yet.
Up here in the midwest, we're looking at 40% chance of snow on the 22nd.
Winter not done with us yet, evidently.
Mike here: 87F blue skies here in Arizona... Forecast for Wednesday morning is partly cloudy.


From:	Cussons (
I am busy getting the kids back to school this weekend and then, when I
am in a suitably zen frame of mind and I know I won't get interrupted, I
will take the RA drive apart and look. I freely admit that this
frightens me but it is s..t or bust, and its maybe bust.  I suspect I
need another person around to hold the top assembly whilst the wires are
disconnected?  Mike's book says this is tricky. Luckily my husband is
good at electronics and model engineering, but he is a very busy doctor
so I may have to join the waiting list.......
When I get the lid off I will be after all the help I can get.
Under Orange skies in London.
Mike here: Once you look inside you might be able to tell how serious (or not) the problem is. Of course, there is also the possibility that you will see nothing wrong at all.


Ok, bottom cover off and there are no obvious problems here. We think
the problem is above that in the area where you show the RA stop.

We are not sure how to get to this - top down or bottom up? Bottom up
means removing the large metal chunk below the drive gear/worm drive,
which currently won't yield and which my husband says he would have to
make a tool in order to remove. Your pic looks as though it was done
that way, but how? Top down seems to be via removing the support arms?
Thanks for your help.
Mike here: Sounds like some more serious "exploratory surgery" is in order.


Bottom up is how I went, and I think to only way to get to that area.

If you haven't already done so, de-soldering the battery box to get it
out of the way helps. (be sure to note the PC board markings - mine
weren't [-] and [+])

Try loosening the screws holding the RA motor drive/circuit board first,
to see if that frees up the motion. If it does, you have my problem.
Either way, we're going in it sounds like. I am assuming you have the
clutching/clamping discs out of the way already.

For the "big chunk" of metal, that is the main nut. If it has holes in
it for a spanner wrench, your husband can make a tool to fit if he
wants. I used two straight pin punches of the proper diameter and
leveraged on those with a large pair of plumbers pliers (we call them
Channel-locks in the States). Counter-clockwise to loosen.

That should let you get to the state of mine. At that point I stopped
because I didn't want to have to cut and re-string the upper-drive
Nohr Tillman
Troy, MI, USA, Earth

Subject:	re: Converting ETX-60AT to ETX-70AT?
Sent:	Friday, April 17, 2009 22:05:01
From:	richard seymour (
"If i recall correctly..."

There are some -very- old postings on Mike's site
(and perhaps on the Telescope Info page) by folks
who did determine that the ETX 60 and 70 are the same,
except for the front lens.

I think there's even an old article on installing an 80mm lens.

There's a possibility there may be "field stops" inside the barrel
which will cut off the edge of the light cone, but you should be
able to see them (if they exist) by looking through the scope with
the eyepiece removed.

have fun

Subject:	re: Shipping an ETX 125
Sent:	Friday, April 17, 2009 21:59:56
From:	richard seymour (
The biggest "secret" to shipping anything fragile is to pad it,
box it, and then put that box into -another- padded (bubble pack
is good, "peanuts" are lousy) box.  Provide at least an inch of
space between the outer and inner box walls, on -all- sides and ends.

Shipping damage happens to the exterior box, punctures (usually) only
reach into the one inch gap before the inner box.

good luck

Subject:	ETX 125
Sent:	Friday, April 17, 2009 20:55:50
From:	Gerald Jenny (
Boy am I in trouble I have not used my ETX 125 for about 4 months and
got it out this night and it does not light up just the small red light
on the panel the Auto star dords not light up at all. I was wondering if
you could maybe clue me as where to start to look. Great site thanks
Mike here: Have you tried swapping in fresh batteries? Also, check the HBX cable connections.
Subject:	Shipping an ETX 125
Sent:	Friday, April 17, 2009 13:07:57
From:	Lyle Fischer (
I need to ship an ETX 125 to a friend.  Other than locking the primary
mirror to the back of the cell, and removing the finder, what else
should I do to lessen the event of scope damage ?  (ie, unlock RA and
Dec locks?) - any pointers would be much appreciated

Lyle Fischer
Mike here: If you have the original box, use that. If not, use cloth towels for padding. Yes, brace the rear of the ETX and unlock the axis locks. If you still have the large plastic bag that the scope came in, use that as well. Remove any eyepiece and cover the eyepiece hole. Remove the internal batteries. Disconnect the AutoStar and its cables. Disconnect any external power cord. And be certain to insure the telescope.


Thanks Mike!

Subject:	focal reducer question!
Sent:	Thursday, April 16, 2009 12:53:33
From:	john (
hi, hope you are having a great day! i have a Meade ETX-125 telescope
and just bought a HIRSCH F6.3 SCT FOCAL REDUCER. I got it today and
found out it wont just screw on. I'm not sure what i need to do/buy.
Could you point me in the right direction. i have been looking for
solutions all day.

I think i need a T-Adapter, is that right? and what else would i need to
attach this to a eyepiece/camera all my stuff it 1.25" and the focal
reducer is a 2" .

thanks a million!

John Dalane
Mike here; What you need for the ETX is a SCT adapter. See the "SCT Accessory Adapter" on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page. You will also need a T-Ring that mates your camera to the focal reducer. Keep in that you will likely get some vignetting in the images.


thanks for the fast response. i will buy a SCT adapter. 
What would i need to get to attach the focal reducer to a webcam like
the phillips spc900nc webcam or a meade astrocam.. I have the webcam
adapter for the spc.

thanks again! 

John Dalane
Mike here: You will need to remove the lens from the webcam (to image without an eyepiece). Then you would need an adapter to hold the webcam against the focal reducer. If the focal reducer will hold an eyepiece, then you can keep the webcam lens for afocal photography, but you would still need an adapter to hold the webcam. Some adapters ("universal" type) are discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page.
Subject:	Re: strange accessory that seems to replace the diagonal flip mirror on etx80
Sent:	Thursday, April 16, 2009 11:55:39
From:	Peter Ashby (
OK we have the results back from the monochromator and he says ' the
image is centred on 3933nm, the calcium K line'
so it looks like its a Calcium K filter for an ETX.
Mike here: Well, that could be cool IF it is the complete accessory. I recommend checking on it more before using it to view the sun. Many solar filters will require a second filter that covers the telescope's aperture. Without this second filter, the telescope, the first filter, and/or your eye could be damaged.

And more:

Mike here: I think I discovered what it is. SolarMax BF10ETX for the ETX-60/70. Near the bottom of this web page:
is a photo and short description. It does need a blocking filter as well.


success at last - Thanks for that Mike, at least I know what I am looking at now.
Mike here: Now we can both sleep at nights, knowing the mystery is solved!
Subject:	Converting ETX-60AT to ETX-70AT?
Sent:	Thursday, April 16, 2009 06:13:11
From:	Donald Keirstead (
I purchased a good ETX-60AT on ebay.  I later purchased an ETX-70AT,
which proved defective in several ways.  I reached agreement on refund
from the seller and kept the defective scope.

It appears to me that the only discernible difference between the two
scopes is the objective lens diameter.  I have removed and replaced the
objective lens and mounting from the ETX-70AT.  I wonder if I can
convert the ETX-60AT to an ETX-70AT just by exchanging lenses and
mounting structures?

Any thoughts will be appreciated.

As many others have undoubtedly told you before, I have learned a lot
about my ETX form your website.  Thanks for creating and maintaining it.
Donald N. Keirstead
Chelmsford MA USA
Mike here: I don't have an ETX-60 to compare but if the ETX-70 OTA will fit between the ETX-60 fork arms, then you should be able to swap the OTAs. Just swapping the objective lens housings would probably not work as you would likely have to modify the focusing shaft attachment mechanism.


Thanks for your prompt response.  I hate to be a pest, but since the
focal length for both scopes is 350mm, I assumed Meade ground each lens
to focus at the same point.
Am I missing something?

Donald N. Keirstead
Chelmsford MA USA
Mike here: Yes, same focal point. I just don't know if the housing is exactly the same on both models since I don't have an ETX-60.


Everything appears identical except for the diameter of the object lens.


Subject:	ETX105 RA jamming
Sent:	Wednesday, April 15, 2009 10:37:07
From:	Cussons (
I've had my ETX105 for 4 or 5 years but it has suddenly developed a
sticky point on the RA rotation. I have read:

	ETX-90RA "sticky" Right Ascension movement fix
	Sent:	Sunday, June 24, 2001 15:59:25
	From:	Clay Sherrod

but my problem is present intermittently (but most of the time) even if
the RA lever is not fastened at all, and sticky is an understatement -
more like jammed. Is his advice applicable and how does it relate to the
105 without slowmo knob, or have I worn my baby out? The only change I
made at about the time the problem occured was to add a red dot finder
with minimal balance effect due to position, and in any case, I wouldn't
have thought that would affect that axis?

I've resolved numerous difficulties and queries by reference to your
site, grateful to you and everyone who contributes. I am worried this
one might need surgery.

London UK
Mike here: That tip is for the ETX-90RA (the original ETX model) and may or may not be applicable to the ETX-105. When you rotate the telescope in the horizontal axis by hand (with the axis lock unlocked), does it rotate nearly twice around, hard stop to hard stop? If not, don't force it as it could be a wire that is preventing free movement and you don't want to cut it. If it does rotate smoothly and fully, then a possible cause is that the lubrication just needs to be redistributed. Many times that is easily done by doing the horizontal rotation, back and forth, slowly and many times.


Thanks, Mike. The motion sticks at about 220 degs and won't go easily
past 360 - I haven't forced it. It certainly doesn't feel like a
lubrication prob - its a complete sudden stop - but not always.
Mike here: Could be a wire or other obstruction. You'll have to open up the base and have a look inside.


Thanks, Mike. Gulp! Open heart surgery.....Stephanie

Subject:	ETX 90 EC flip mirror damage
Sent:	Monday, April 13, 2009 21:00:04
From:	Tony Sigel (
I recently purchased a used ETX 90 EC and have found that the flip
mirror was "cleaned" by the previous owner, resulting in fine scratches
in its surface.  I'd like to replace it myself if possible. Is the part
available somewhere for purchase, and is this a fix that could be
undertaken by a careful amateur? I've searched your fantastic site and
found Peter Ashby's description of re-gluing his loose mirror,  and Doc
G's disassembly photos, but no description of the steps to take to open
the housing, remove the old mirror, and replace it.  An exploded view or
illustrated parts list would come in handy. Spending big $ to send it to
Meade is not an option at the moment. The eyepiece securing screw is
also missing and I'd like to know where to purchase that, too.

Thanks and best regards,

Mike here: There are two articles on "Flip Mirror Repair" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. As to a replacement mirror, you can try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page).
Subject:	Part needed
Sent:	Monday, April 13, 2009 10:25:33
From:	Jared Reznicsek (
I have been a fan of your site for years and have come to need a part. 
I must replace the cord between my ETX 90 and the Auto-star hand-box.
Mine has become frayed and thus, inoperable. I would like to know if you
have one of these to sell, and if so how much you would charge including
shipping to Portland, Oregon? Let me know if you can help as I would
very much like to avoid buying a whole new Auto-star hand-box and cord,
or buy a cord from Meade. I am willing to pay a fair price and am much
more interested in getting out under the stars again, rather than
hassling with pricing and out-of-stocks issues.
Jared Reznicsek
Portland, Oregon enthusiast
Mike here: As noted on the ETX Site Home Page, I am not a dealer of anything. However, you can easily make your replacement cable using the info in the article "Long AutoStar Cable" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	strange accessory that seems to replace the diagonal flip mirror on etx80
Sent:	Saturday, April 11, 2009 05:39:34
From:	Peter Ashby (
sorry if the pictures are a little out of focus it was tricky to get a
good shot, but does anyone know what this accessory that seems to
replace the flip mirror and fits in the back of an etx80 does, looking
directly through the little gold window you can get a view of the sun
(no telescope - naked eye here) the image is purple with a couple of
blue images to the side, so this is either a solar filter I guess or
maybe just a Hydrogen alpha filter? any ideas?



Mike here: I doubt it is a hydrogen-alpha solar filter (which normally turns the sun's disk a red-ish color). Maybe a CaK solar filter (which turns the sun blue)? But I've never seen such an ETX accessory myself. By the way, if it is PART of a solar filter accessory, there may also be a filter that attaches to the aperture of the telescope. So, I recommend that you NOT view the sun through this accessory until you learn more about it.


I have a friend who has access to a monochromator who says he will test
it for me, when we get the result I will try and remember to post here.

Subject:	Re: ETX-125 took a nose dive
Sent:	Thursday, April 9, 2009 08:29:18
From:	Nohr Tillman (
Cleared up last night so I could check the ETX-125 with a star. Seems
all is ok with the OTA:

Focused on Sirius with a 4.7mm EP. Both near and far focus resulted in a
donut with near-perfect width around the whole circle. I could see
diffraction rings inside the width of the donut, all evenly spaced. It
might have the slightest width variation, but tired eyes could explain
that. Slewing back over to Saturn resulted in it being as sharp as I've
ever gotten in the city. Seemed like I could see out to the edges of the
4.7mm and 26mm EP with no viginetting.

What did take a damaging hit was the right-angle finder. When it went
down, the OTA came back past the 90 degree stop (presumably the broken
piece is still in the arm) knocking the back of the finder. The glue let
loose between the tube and the prism, and one of the plastic mounting
screws was sacrificed. All recoverable, but nonetheless emabarassing.
Nohr Tillman
Troy, MI, USA, Earth

Subject:	drive failure in ETX125 PE?
Sent:	Tuesday, April 7, 2009 06:47:37
From: (
I am 'newbie' in astronomy and I have got Meade ETX125 PE scope which I
think is a great stuff. Unfortunately, I have experienced the situation
twice when the drive hit a hard stop and now when I look through the
eyepiece (e.g. it can be easily seen when I am observing the Moon) that
the details are moving slightly down for about  3-5 secs and then the
picture jumps up a bit. This happens again and again while I am looking
through the eyepiece, especialy with a high magnitute. I am not sure if
its ok or maybe I have damaged the drive.

Could you tell me please, if you know, what would it be?

Kind regards

Mike here: When the hard stop was reached, had you initially started the telescope up in the proper HOME position? As to hopefully curing the problem, have you tried a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? If that doesn't cure it, try a RESET, CALIBRATE MOTOR, and TRAIN DRIVES. Be certain to always start up in the proper HOME position, which means doing the proper rotation to the hard stop (for Auto Align).
Subject:	ETX-PE 105 LNT information request
Sent:	Monday, April 6, 2009 11:51:52
From:	German Alvarez (
Thanks for keeping the ETX site, it is a very valuable source of

The battery in my LNT only lasts for a few hours, other than that seems
to be working fine. I called Meade and they no longer have that part
available, also asked if the new LNT is electrically compatible but
could not get any relevant information.

My current intentions are to use the LNT from a newer model or repair
the LNT. I can handle the surface mount etc.

My questions are: * do you have any information about this failure, or
more detailed info about the electronics in the LNT.

* Compatibility with another LNT model

* Any other idea.

Telescope: ETX-PE 105mm, AutoStar #497

Thanks in advance for tour help, have a nice week.


Mike here: I would guess that maybe there is a short in a wire, such as might occur if the metal in the wire was exposed through some cut insulation. As to the LNT replacement, try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page); he may have the exact model you need. However, if the wire is inside the telescope and not inside the LNT module, then replacing it would not solve the problem. As to a new/different LNT model, other than the mounting, it should be the same.
Subject:	ETX-125 Meade AC Adapter Issues
Sent:	Monday, April 6, 2009 09:42:22
From: (
I just read a post on the site about a warning with the Meade AC
Adapter. I think I've had a similar problem. I took my ETX-125 out for a
spin after a long time of non-use, and it seemed just fine while running
on AA lithium batteries. I then removed the batteries to conserve them
and attached the Meade AC adapter. When the scope attemtped to slew to
the first guide star, it kept rotating in RA until it finally hit a hard
stop, but the motors kept running. I tried several times and the same
thing. I then put the batteries back in, re-tried it, and it worked just
fine. I'm going to address this issue with Meade at NEAF this weekend
and see what they say. I'm wondering if anyone has had the same problem.

Mike here: When changing the power source (i.e., from internal batteries to an external AC or DC power source, and vice versa), it is necessary to do CALIBRATE MOTOR. Did you do that?


No I trained the drives only.
Mike here: Normally, TRAIN DRIVES is not required when swapping the power source. But CALIBRATE MOTOR should always be done, especially if you see a random slew or odd motion.


Ok thank you.

Subject:	ETX-125AT RA Drive Gears Popping
Sent:	Sunday, April 5, 2009 09:58:46
From:	Nohr Tillman (
A couple of nights ago, while slewing to a planet, my ETX-125 AT started
emitting whirs and pops from the base. The RA drive gears were popping
and not moving the mount at all. It was not against the stop and the
mount could be moved manually.

Fearing the worst, I pulled the bottom cover off. Wires were intact and
nothing jammed in the gears. What was popping/slipping were the last two
nylon gears in the gear train between the plastic gear box and the worm
gear for the RA. Root cause was all three screws holding the plastic
gear box to the base were loose, one almost fell out.

I tightened all three good and snug. Result was an even tighter, more
authoritative motion than I've ever had from this scope. I'll have to
re-train the drive in Autostar at some point.

Might be a tip for someone else with this condition.
Nohr Tillman
Troy, MI, USA, Earth

Subject:	ETX-125 took a nose dive
Sent:	Sunday, April 5, 2009 09:01:41
From:	Nohr Tillman (
Packing down last night, I had the ETX-125 still attached to the tripod
while I was retracting the legs. This has always worke before and I do
one leg at a time slowly until the whole thing is back down stable.
Well, it leaned over with one leg still extended and I couldn't stop the

I wouldn't say it took a full hit on the concrete, but enough to flatten
about an inch of the dew shield threads. What's the story on how much of
a hit these can take before knocking the collimation out? Anything I can
check before I send it off to Clay?

Supposed to be cloudy for the next week so I won't be able to test on
the night sky to know if I am doomed or not.
Nohr Tillman
Troy, MI, USA, Earth
Mike here: You can do a "star test" on a "Christmas Tree" ornament or yard globe or even a chrome bumper. If the sun is glinting off the object then you can aim the telescope at the glint and do the star test.


Ok, cool, thanks!
Mike here: See the "Star Testing and Collimation" section on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page, especially the article "Star Test in Daylight".


Thanks for the tip. I just read all those out on your site. Just
eyeballing through the eyepiece tube, all looks symetrical. Baffles
still where they should be and all. Fairly certain it's ok, and I
believe I have the capacity to re-collimate if need be. I'm a meticulous
kind of guy anyway. Worst thing to work through is the shame of letting
it fall to the ground in the first place :-(

Subject:	ETX125 & LXD55
Sent:	Friday, April 3, 2009 16:50:49
From:	Brian DiGiovine (
Hello there and thanks for taking the time to read my question. I was
wondering if the ETX-125PE can be mounted on the LXD55 tripod, and what
would I have to do to make it work.

The main reason I want to do this is because I wanted to use a 1.25
diagonal, but I see in the picture on your site that you have one on
your scope. Does this present a problem with the chance of the visual
back contacting the stock mount and breaking something?
Sincere thanks,
Brian DiGiovine
Mike here: See the article "ETX-125 on a LXD75 Mount" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. As to using a diagonal on the rear port, there will be some physical interference. If you mount the ETX in polar mode, that won't be a problem, depending on your latitude. However, the aperture end of the OTA will touch the base at low declinations.


Thank you very much!

Subject:	Hello, I'm new to your astronomy site, and just bought a 
Meade ETX125EC, now looking for a used Meade #884 tripod, any ideas?
Sent: Friday, April 3, 2009 10:21:53 From: MicroJetPositions ( Kind Regards, Dean A. Kantis
Mike here: You can try Oceanside Photo and Telescope; sometimes they have used items for sale. Or try Telescope Warehouse or Astromart. Links to these three sites are on the Astronomy Links page.


You have done an outstanding job on your site, congrats.  Thank you. Any
links on "ET" discoveries or such?  Pictures of the "back side of the

Kind Regards, 

Dean A. Kantis
Mike here: Not yet.
Subject:	question
Sent:	Wednesday, April 1, 2009 16:49:11
From:	Zach Rebackoff (
From what I've read about you, it appears you are an expert on EXT. 
Therefore, perhaps you could help me.

I'm planning to sell an EXT-70EC Astro w/electronic controller and was
curious to find out what I might expect to sell it for.  Every accessory
it came with is still there and it's in excellent+++ condition. Only
used once!
Can you tell me what you think?
Zach Rebackoff
Mike here: First, please read the Email Etiquette item on my ETX Site home page; I discovered that your message had been returned to you as "undeliverable" due to the ambiguous subject line. Following the info in the Email Etiquette (good for all emails, not just email to me) will ensure receipt of your messages. Thanks for understanding. As to price, you can check eBay for current offerings. Typically, used ETX-70 telescopes will go for less than $100 at garage sales to $150-200, depending on condition. Keep in mind, that a new ETX-80 goes for around $250.
Subject:	Remote ETX Operation
Sent:	Wednesday, April 1, 2009 10:55:33
From: (
I recently saw an ad for a Wireless 4-Port USB Hub and one of the first
things that came to mind was how it could be used for wireless operation
of my ETX.

Previous efforts at this required a laptop co-located with the scope and
controlled using VNC over a wireless network from my desktop machine.
Video from the LPI was slow updating due to the 54 Mbs max bandwidth of
the router. The new USB hub claims up to the full 480 Mbs of USB 2.0. I
couldn't find anything about the range of the device. The configuration
I'm considering would be connecting both the LPI and the Autostar via
the 505 cable/USB serial adapter to the hub. The hub comes with a
wireless USB adapter for the computer. I should then be able to control
the scope with Autostar Suite and view/capture video from the LPI with
the imaging software

I haven't ordered the hub yet, it's $46 from, and am wondering
if you or Dick might have any thoughts, pro or con, about the setup. The
only drawback I can think of is 120VAC power for the hub power adapter
but I can probably use a small DC/AC inverter with a heavy duty gel cell
battery. I already have both and the power draw for the hub should be
minimal. You're thoughts are welcome.
Mike Hogan
Mike here: Interesting idea. I haven't tried a USB-serial adapter through a USB hub. But it *should* work.


Subject:	Re: Remote ETX Operation
Sent:	Wednesday, April 1, 2009 16:28:28
From:	Richard Seymour (
Memo: when asking "will this work?" it is EXTREMELY HELPFUL to include
the item's real name and product number, so we can make (semi-)educated guesses.

Based upon the specs/price, you're probably looking at the IOGEAR GUWH104KIT,
or's  item number CCYRUN  (now, why is it 1/3rd the price of the competitors?).

I have *not* tried any wireless USB device .. but i have done homework on them.
(mostly looking at other brands a few months ago, and they all share the same "weaknesses"
with regards to working with an LPI or DSI camera).

The best caution is from one of Buy.Com's "user reviews":
I received this today and immediately hooked it up. The installation is
not straightforward, but I got it working. I have the unit 3 feet from
the transmitter and the signal strength is "low", which I don't
understand. But worse than that, I plugged in my USB headset and got an
error message that the device doesn't recognize the USB headset and I
should contact IOGEAR. I did and the response I got was: "Unfortunately
not all devices are supported with this device. Any device that requires
isochronus endpoints will not work. The device needs to be able to
buffer the transmission. We can be reached at 8669464327. Thanks,
Service Support" This wireless USB device is a great idea, but it just
doesn't seem to work with common USB devices. Buyer beware! I plan on
returning the device because to pay $100 for something that can't
support the most basic USB devices is just unacceptable. I'd suggest
that if you're going to buy one of these, call the customer service
number that they gave me, select the technical support option, and give
them a list of every USB item you own to see if this device will work
with them. If not, I'd suggest that you pass on this product and go to

Note the "isochronus" [sic], and "not all devices are supported" (and 1-866-946-4327 free phone number,
call IoGear and get answers from -them-).

Video cameras are synchronous... (vs asynchronous)... once a frame starts coming out, it
wants to -own- the USB connection until its fully emitted.  If the IoGear's buffer is large
enough to handle the LPI's frame, it -may- work (or at least "overcome -that- hurdle").
The LPI helps here by having a fairly tiny image size.
If the serial adapter wanted to send or receive a byte during that interval, something
would get lost, delayed, or thoroughly confused.

The second issue is whether or not they actually support the chipset in the camera (i forget
which one Meade uses, and how it reports itself to the USB bus.. one of the Vista issues is
that Vista sees the -truth-, and Meade's driver doesn't try to attach to the device's
-real- hardware identifier... it's a shortcoming in Meade's driver).  
These wireless hubs are actually tiny computers, and -they- have to know how to talk 
to the USB device (LPI) you plug into them.  *Then* they negotiate with their (IoGear's) 
own driver in the PC to form the connection.

So if IoGear has never added the "Meade LPI" to the hub driver's list of "known" devices,
it won't hand it through to the PC.

The same argument could be made about their support of whatever USB-to-serial adapter 
you have... if they don't have it in their list of "known devices", it won't work.
Check with IoGear directly -first-.

..then tell us if it'll work
--have fun

And more:

Continuing on to IoGear's website ( ) and looking up the device,
they say:
Works with Peripherial like...

   * Printers
   * Scanners
   * External Hard Drives and Flash Memory sticks
   * Digital Cameras
   * Camcorders
   * Personal Media Players
   * USB Enabled LCD Monitors and Projectors
   * PDA's, Smartphones and Cell Phones

Will Not work with...

   * Webcams
   * USB Audio speakers
   * Bluetooth

The LPI is, in essence, a WebCam.
(Digital Cameras and Camcorders have the additional electronics and
storage needed to "buffer" and "packet" data being sent over the USB.
The LPI (and webcams) does not.

Also, on the device's spec page: "Operating Range:  Up to 5m (15 Feet)"

A USB cable can reach 18 feet.

have fun
(yes, the misspelling of "peripheral" is their fault... that's a cut-and-paste)


Thanks for the info guys. Sorry about not providing more details on the
device in my original message.

It seems the limitations pointed out by Dick shoot down the whole idea.
Too bad, it seemed like such a great concept but, as always, the devil
is in the details. Maybe in another year or two an alternative might
come along but for now at least it's still the two-computer setup.
Mike Hogan

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