Last updated: 31 August 2008

This page is for user comments and information specific to the ETX PE (Premier Edition). Feedback on the specific PE technologies (Automatic Alignment + SmartFinder, Level North Technology) will be covered here. Feedback on the Autostar Suite AE (Astronomer Edition) will be posted on the regular Autostar Suite feedback page. Items that are applicable to all ETX models (EC, AT, PE) will continue to be posted on the other appropriate feedback pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	Still No Succesful Align
Sent:	Saturday, August 30, 2008 17:47:46
From:	Jason (
Just bought my Meade ETX125PE and had it about a week. So far, after
several nights, I still have failed to get it to align. I've trained the
motors and done a sensor calibration. The LNT is being seen and
functioning correctly.

I'm pretty sure it is a set-up problem either to do with the time or
location. Would it be possible to get some step by step instructions
based on my location in the UK at 5226'56.58"N 037'24.60"E? Also, what
is my time zone and what should my daylight savings time settings be?
Looking forward to your wisdom :-)
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR (different than CALIBRATE SENSOR)? If not, do that. Then re-do TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes). As to Daylight Saving, if your location is observing British Summer Time then set it to YES. If you are problems with AUTO ALIGN try using EASY ALIGN. Remember that the HOME POSITION is different from AUTO ALIGN. However, in both cases put the ETX control panel (has the ETX ON/OFF switch) on the west side. Level the tube. Rotate Counterclockwise to the hard stop. Leave it there for AUTO ALIGN (the tube should be pointing southwest) or rotate it back to True North (not Magnetic North) on the horizon (for non-AUTO ALIGN modes). Also, have you selected a nearby city name in the AutoStar? If not, do that in the Site menu item. For more on non-AUTO ALIGN modes see the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. For more PE model troubleshooting see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	One  ETX125PE question
Sent:	Tuesday, August 26, 2008 15:47:26
From:	Lorin Spaulding (
I think I'm ready to spring for an ETX125PE, and I just want to assure
myself that the Astro tube version is identical to the Blue Tube
version. Is this true?

I know that the SmartFinder has been improved on the Blue Tube version,
but outside of that are they identical? I think I heard from Woodland
Hills that they were selling the Astro Tubes with the improved
SmartFinder, which in that case would make them a superb deal.

Thanks for all your help!

Mike here: Identical, for all practical purposes.


Thank you!


Subject:	re: Finally A Good Alignment!
Sent:	Thursday, August 21, 2008 17:32:38
From:	richard seymour (
You wrote:
> The thing I was trying to do was using the ETX's SITE program to enter
> in under the "CUSTOM" section, GPS coordinates for Latitude & Longitude
> (N & W). The only thing Meade forgot to mention is the (GMT) time has to
> also be entered too.

Actually, if you scroll down one more time in the Custom Site entry
screens, it asks for Time Zone.  You can -tell- it you're at -5.0

But your situation is why i recommend that folks use the "Nearest City",
and *then* edit that site to match your actual location (and site name).
Using "Nearest City" sets the time zone -for- you, and in the proper
"direction" (older Meade scopes used Positive offsets for the USA,
the Autostar uses the "proper" negative offsets)

have fun

Subject:	Second night out for my ETX 125 PE
Sent:	Sunday, August 17, 2008 21:18:58
I need help with my ETX 125 PE

The first night out it automatic align with out any problems but tonight
was a different story.

after I turn it on I did the counterclockwise set

the screen light up with automatic align finding level. it made 1 1/2
turn the finding north it took 1/2 a turn then it it the hard stop. I
tried many times with same results.

I also tried unlocking the horizontal lock turn the telescope
counterclockwise, it found north, it started looking for tilt after that
I gave up

Have you encounter something similar to my problem.
Mike here: Just to confirm, you did the CCW rotation to the hard stop and left it there? Also, did you have the ETX control panel on the west side so that the OTA is pointly roughly Southwest?
Subject:	Finally A Good Alignment!
Sent:	Sunday, August 17, 2008 19:35:02
The thing I was trying to do was using the ETX's SITE program to enter
in under the "CUSTOM" section, GPS coordinates for Latitude & Longitude
(N & W). The only thing Meade forgot to mention is the (GMT) time has to
also be entered too. I though last night that since I had already
entered in the Date & Time earlier, that would cover it. It doesn't and
after putting in the North & West coordinates, you have to finish by
putting the the GMT time. I'm in the -05.0 zone. Once that was put in,
bingo the scope finally had it's bearings!!

My whole approach to this was a typical Murphy's Law event. If you don't
know how to do it without someone there to oversee your own stupid
omitions or added goof's, who's going to tell you?? It's strictly, trial
& error(mostly error). It felt real good though, when the scope finally
aligned correctly!!! Again, that's what's great about your web-site, is
because others can learn and avoid the painful first time mistakes.
Again, thank you.

And an update:

Tonight I set-up again and this time while using the GPS coordinates, I
remembered to put in the -05.0 for the GMT time. That was why I couldn't
get anything. Once I did that, I used the exact set-up I e-mailed you

After the scope did it's intial search for the first star, I knew I was
in business since, finally there was A star somewhere in the RED Dot
finder's field! I put the star in my cross-hairs of the ocular and then
hit "ENTER".It then searched for another star and again A star was in
the FOV of the RED Dot finder. Set the cross-hairs on that and hit
"ENTER" once more and it stated I had a sucessful alignment. The acid
test was to have it GO TO Jupiter. I did and even though it was exactly
centered on Jupiter, again it was in the FOV. Once I centered on that,
the scope tracked the earth's rotation perfectly!!

What a relief!!! I was really dreading the thought of sending to Meade's
Repair Center.

I wanted to share this information with you since the ETX125 PE has a
totally different alignment than the CE models. The older models once
you go full C.C.W. your then suppose to turn back C.W. until the
Vertical Circles number are right above the Control Panel.Then you lock
the Horizontal Lock and then physically pick up the scope and point the
tube Northward. This won't work with the PE models according to Meade.

In anycase, I tried this method twice just to make sure I got the same
results and I did, so I guess the alignment procedure is finally done
for me. Just as a FYI, I choose the "Automatic" alignment to do this for

I also made a nice mount for the external battery adapter I sent you
pictures back last April.
Mike here: Yes, the HOME positions are different for Auto Align vs the non-Auto Align modes.


I modified the mount for attaching my external battery supply to the
ETX. I used the threaded rod that attaches the ETX's eyepiece tray. It
has a Custom thread so don't bother trying to find out what size it is.
It's neither Metric or English standard and Meade's C/S couldn't tell me
either. The item I used to thread to it is from a thrown-out piece from
a Tuttnauer Closing device. The thread is close enough that it turns
about 3 times before it binds and stops. It also has the two threaded
holes on the tappered portion where I put the two standard size
stainless steel hex bolts. The washers prevent the power supply from
slipping off the two attachment lugs that's standard to the Vector's
carrying case. All in all, it's a neat arrangement and adds some ballast
the tripod's base too.

The good thing is, that I don't ever worry about running out of power
with this arrangement. While doing the countless amounts of failed
alignments, the battery always had enough charge to handle any

Add the photo to my original post and it will round out the complete
package. The whole thing is less than $25 !

Once again, your web-site is the greatest!

John R.Sabella


Subject:	First Night for My New ETX 125PE
Sent:	Thursday, July 31, 2008 22:19:50
From:	Steve Hollar (
Just had to give you a report. I got the 125PE a couple of days ago. It
was that special deal for $698 with free shipping. What a deal it was.

I just got back in from some quick experimenting. First I tried the
automatic aligning function. No go. It would slew so far away from the
alignment stars that by the time I would get them centered, it would be
unsuccessful. I might add, I tried both the nearest city, about 20
miles, and my zip for my site location. After five times I gave up and
did a manual align. Although the stars were still off, they were within
perimeters to get a successful alignment the first time.

I learned on my ETX 70 to "always" use High Precision. That's what I did
tonight. The stars used were well within the FOV and then the objects
were almost dead center. Anyone not using High Precision are really
missing out.

Jupiter was my first target. Mike, I was blown away. I had no trouble at
all clearly seeing the black shadow of Europa as it made a transit of
that big beautiful ball. All other targets, Ring Nebula, a couple of
Globular Clusters, Wild Duck Cluster, were all outstanding. What a

Naturally I do have a learning curve going on right now. I'm going to go
back, reset the handbox, and enter my actual latitude and longitude,
then do a calibrate and train drives again. I'm sure the alignment
problem will be fixed by some tweaking.

One other thing, I made a quick Hartman Mask this afternoon too. I used
the three diamond pattern. It worked great. It is amazing how far off
your focus can be just by eyeballing it.

When I do some photos, I'll send them to you. Maybe this weekend.

Steve Hollar
Lake Elsinore, CA 
Mike here: If the Auto Align stars are way off but Easy Align is fine, then do a CALIBRATE SENSOR to correct the LNT sensor.


Mike, as usual, you were right again. The Sensor Calibration did the
trick. First thing I noticed when it slewed to Polaris was that it was
off by the same amount as the alignment stars last night. And I mean way
off. That was a good sign. I centered Polaris and the calibration was
done. After that, Automatic Alignment worked perfectly. Tracking was
also excellent.

I forgot to add, I am amazed at how quiet the motors are. My ETX 60 and
70 were quite noisy. At first I thought there was a problem with the
125. I actually had to put my ear to one of the fork arms to hear the
tracking motors.

Thanks again Mike. I'll try for some photos this weekend if something
doesn't come up.

Steve Hollar

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