Last updated: 31 August 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:	ETX 125 Motor Unit Fault related to this small piece of white plastic?
Sent:	Sunday, August 31, 2008 14:53:18
From:	Fred Rains (
Hey there, Mike. Please look at the attached photos of a small piece of
white broken plastic that was rattling around in the base of my ETX 125.
I bought the scope off of Astromart and had used it for about three
hours when problems developed - and continue. It exhibited the "random
slew" and also the random "motor unit fault" problems. The random slew
issue has been resolved by using the internal batteries instead of an
external a/c or battery source, as suggested in posts on your site,
however, the motor unit fault problem is no longer intermittent. As long
as I slew to different objects  every two or three minutes, it works
fine and shows good accuracy. The problem begins after four or five
minutes of tracking the same object. I have the Autostar 43e software
and have calibrated and trained the motors several times and done a
restart; the problem persists. I have also used a friend's Autostar and
swapped connecting cables - and swapped them end over end - with equally
negative results. Before I send it to the shop I wanted to get your's
and your reader's opinion on this.

When I was putting the telescope up last time I noticed a rattle in the
base. I pulled the back off of the base and the object in the pictures
fell out. It appears to be a portion of a larger piece and exhibits
jagged shear marks consistent with a piece of broken plastic.

I'm honestly hoping that this is something that I can order from Meade
and fix myself, but I hesitate to do anything more than take off the
back of the base unless I can get some guidance from someone.

So what do you think? Could the broken piece cause binding and be the
source of the "motor unit fault"?

I'm a long time ETX 90RA user/lover and have frequented your site since
it first began. Have really enjoyed it.

Thanks again.

Fred Rains
Birmingham, Alabama

photo photo

Mike here: Meade does not sell parts to users, so that option is out. As to what the part is, it sort of looks like a piece of melted plastic. It could be from the circuit board or from one of brackets holding a motor or gear. Either way, not something that could be easily repaired without further disassembly and troubleshooting.


Thanks for the quick response!

I think sending it back to Meade is my best course of action at this

Are you going to post the pictures on your site? If so, I'll wait a few
days to see if anyone has anything to offer.

Thanks again.
Mike here: You could also contact Dr. Clay Sherrod for his Supercharge Tune-up service.


I will check with Dr. Sherrod before I send it to Meade.

Thanks, Mike.

Subject:	Can a 2003 etx 125 use the 497 controller
Sent:	Sunday, August 31, 2008 13:40:39
From: (
Hello I need to know if the 2003 etx 125 can be used with the 497
controller. I have a chance to buy a used 125 and it does not have a 497
controller, I can not afford a new scope so used is my only option.
thank you  Patrick
Mike here: All ETX models except the original ETX (ETX Astro M, ETX-90RA) can use the #497 AutoStar.
Subject:	ETX-125 collimation - it ain't that hard
Sent:	Saturday, August 30, 2008 16:43:23
From:	john (
hey, i'm going to be buying a meade etx-125 for a friend soon. and just
bought a meade LXD55 mount. i want to put the etx-125 on the LXD55. i
went through your artical. do you have pictures of this process? i'm
kind of a visual person. i could do what you said but pictures always
reasures me especially when i'm going to be spending all my money of
this telescope. and is this process hard? for real! i don't want to do
anything that i will be hitting myself for the rest of my youth.

thanks for the reassurance! 

sincerely yours,
                       John Dalane
Mike here: First, if you haven't already, read the articles in the "Star Testing and Collimation Tips" section on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Second, be aware that you can make matters worse if you are not very careful when collimating the ETX. It is not that simple, especially without an "optical bench", and you have to take the ETX apart (which may invalidate any warranty), although you can use the techniques described to collimate the ETX, if you take your time doing it. Third, are you sure you NEED to collimate the ETX? Even my 12 year old ETX-90 hasn't needed it, and it is the one that has been used the most, including a trip to Australia in 1999.


hey mike,  i just started going through your stuff reading through it
and going over it a few times. i just want to take the meade etx-125 off
the mount and put it on my LXD55,=, to do that i have to open the 125
tube?right? or do i have to open up the tube? i don't have the telescope
yet so i'm not familiar with it yet.
Mike here: To remove the ETX OTA from the fork arms you just remove four bolts (two on either side of the tube) and then carefully pry the tube adapters away from the tube. Then you can mount the ETX OTA on the LXD55 but you will need to purchase mounting rings and a dovetail adapter for the LXD GEM head. You can get those from Losmandy or ScopeStuff (links on the Astronomy Links page) or from your favorite telescope dealer. By the way, see the article "ETX-125 on a LXD75 Mount" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. The LXD75 is very similar to the LXD55 mount.


thanks mike, i jst got an email from a friend link me to this
i'm so glad it wasn't what i thought before! thanks!

John Dalane
Mike here: Yes, unlike collimating the ETX (which was not designed to be user-collimated, nor is it normally necessary), the ETX-90/105/125 OTA can be easily removed from the fork mount.
Subject:	accessory holder
Sent:	Saturday, August 30, 2008 07:42:06
From:	kevin wonders (
I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. I saw some
where, a eyepiece holder that fits between the scope and the tripod. Any
help would be great.
Kevin Wonders
Mike here: See the Accessories: Tripods page for a couple. There is also a DIY one in the article "Accessories Shelf" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	mysky-update problem
Sent:	Friday, August 29, 2008 18:48:46
From: (
mike, after reading your 27 July report on updating your mysky I thought
i'd update mine - bad move!!!

I went to the update site & went through the steps as directed. the
program found the location, programmed ,remove and reinsert the SD card,
verified, and stated  "update completed".

I restarted the mysky & the screen showed version as before . I
redid the update with the same results,(DUH).

I also have the program on my laptop - same procedure-same result. I'm
stuck now. even reloaded ASU !

same result no1.3, GPS still on the screen.

have you had any reports or other instances of this problem? Any help
out there?

Thanks for your site , it's a god sent to us beginners/technically
challenged souls.
 clear skies
Art Mullen
Mike here: Have you tried to download the UPDATE application from Meade's site and then run that version on your computer? Or were you running the older version of the UPDATE application?


Since I don't have any idea what I'm doing-I uninstalled ALL " Meade"
apps. & reentered  mysky&auto-star suite ver.5.0. This is the disc that
came with the Mysky.

I updated the SD card, now ver. 1.2q appears. Looks like I'm going the
wrong way!!

Do I have to update the hand box to 43eg to get the latest mysky ver.??
I hesitate because the only time I tried to update - the hand box went
blank and had to be replaced,(warranty thank goodness).

Thanks for help & patientce
Art Mullen
Mike here: No, you don't have to update the AutoStar. Just run the mySKY update application. It should detect that it is an old version (assuming it IS an old version) and install the new one from Meade's site. Then it will download and install the mySKY update itself on the SD card. As I have noted in my mySKY review, I have not be able to do the update since my card reader is not recognized by Windows XP (although it works fine in Mac OS X).


Perhaps it is a "Vista" problem?? My lap top is running on XP & desk-top
Vista- so I may be twice blessed !! I'll try a new SD card just for
You are truly appreciated
art Mullen

Subject:	ETX-125PE and remote focus
Sent:	Friday, August 29, 2008 14:42:34
From:	Steven Burkey (
I am trying to find out if it is possible to remotely focus the 125.   I
have the DSI 3 for a CCD camera and the F3.3 Focal reducer, I am using
my computer in the house.  I need to use a remote focuser  with the
Autostar Envisage program as I can use the focuser in the program.  Is
there a focuser out there that will do what I want.
Steve Burkey
Mike here: You should be able to control the Meade #1247 electronic focuser. However, a word of caution: the #1247 focuser is not a good fit to the PE model. I posted a tip on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page on today's Site update which offers a modification to let it work.
Subject:	cataract surgery posting
Sent:	Thursday, August 28, 2008 15:55:01
From:	Hardy Pottinger (
I just read your posting from last year regarding your cataract surgery.
 I am anticipating having this done myself this fall and was wondering
what effect it might have on my astronomy hobby.  Thanks for your notes
and encouragement!  I'm looking forward to it.
Mike here: I didn't have cataract surgery. That article was by someone else; I suggest contacting the author directly. Best wishes.
Subject:	focus knob
Sent:	Thursday, August 28, 2008 13:05:51
From:	JayJay Clayton (
hi.. have a slight problem with my focus knob... i had attached a cable
extender but i didn't like the way it worked.. when turning it to the
left, it felt really loose; when turning it clockwise, it felt too
tight, so I took it off and put the original knob back on.  However, I
still have the same problem..counterclockwise feels loose, clockwise
feels too tight..

Looking forward to any suggestions.  seems like every time  i do
something to address an issue, I create at least one additional issue..
: )

by the way, had talked to you earlier about putting together a solar
power supply.. i got the vw solar panel clay suggested from ebay and
will pick up the jumpstart battery this weekend.  will let you know how
it all works out when i'm done with it..provided i don't fry my
telescope.  :  )

Many thanks
Mike here: Is there excessive "image shift" when turning the focus knob? If so, the article "ETX Focus Shift" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page may help.


it isn't the image shift, it's a difference in tension when turning one
way as opposed to the other..that didn't exist until i added the
extender cable.
many thanks.
Mike here: Glad to hear there isn't any image shift. That means the primary mirror is moving as it should during focusing. I was worried that it was shifting. So the next step would be to check the shaft itself (per that article I mentioned). I doubt that adding the focus cable would have caused any problem.


I think it's time to send it in for a supercharge.. along with the focus
knob issue, there's some backlash / jerkiness going on ..would be way in
over my head dealing with those issues.  many thanks.
Mike here: Dr. Clay can take care of you! Keep me posted!
Subject:	Plossl vs. "Super Plossl" eyepieces
Sent:	Wednesday, August 27, 2008 11:38:50
From:	Kevin S. Ladin (
Firstly, I just want to thank you sincerely for developing and
maintaining this wonderful website.  You can't imagine how helpful and
informative it has been to me as a novice ETX-125PE user.  My previous
scope was an Orion 6" Dobsonian reflector.  What a difference!  From
what I've seen so far, the ETX blows away the Orion in essentially every
area, even with its slightly smaller aperture.

My reason for emailing you is to figure out the difference (if any)
between the terms "Plossl" and "Super Plossl".  I just purchased the
Meade 4000 series eyepiece set along with the purchase of my new
ETX-125PE telescope.  I received a $100 discount on the eyepiece set by
doing so.  Problem is, they are listed on the Adorama website as
"Plossl", not "Super Plossl".  Is there a significant difference between
the two and if so, did I make a mistake purchasing the set.  I believe
it also comes with a set of four filters and a 2X Barlow.
Look forward to hearing back from you.  Thanks once again.
Kevin S. Ladin, M.D.
Mike here: As I noted back in 2003 (discovered by searching the ETX Site for "super plossl"), "Well, in general the Super Plossls are better but the difference is somewhat in the eye of the beholder. Depending upon how you use your ETX-90, under what conditions, and what your expectations are, low-end eyepieces may work just as well as higher priced eyepieces. You may see more coma or be out-of-focus at the field edge but if that doesn't bother you then why pay for something better. On the other hand, keep in mind that the weakest link in your optics will show up in your views. The ETX-90 optics are pretty high quality and can benefit from better eyepieces." You should be OK with the eyepiece set. As to the Barlow Lens, if it is a "shorty-style" then it will work fine with the ETX.
Subject:	Meade ETX Telescope Serial Number Location??
Sent:	Tuesday, August 26, 2008 08:15:51
From:	Osmonson (
I am trying to find out what the serial number is on my Meade ETX
telescope, would anyone know where to find this Serial Number?? Thank
Mike here: Some models didn't have serial numbers. But check inside the battery compartment or on the bottom of the base. Alternatively, if you have the brown shipping box, look on a label there.
Subject:	Meade DS-2090AT-TC Review  - THANK YOU
Sent:	Saturday, August 23, 2008 12:16:20
From:	Richard Willingham (
I purchased the DS2090 from Costco in the wild hope that the mount would
be sturdy enough to hang my homemade 6" RFT on it since I do not have
the time to build a proper mount.  Since you gauged the mount as flimsy
its going back to Costco unopened.  Thanks for saving me the time of
testing it.

Two questions

1.	Any suggestions for a mount for the RFT that would be inexpensive
and sturdy?

2.	I purchased the 50th C-8 to be manufactured in February of 1971. 
Are you aware of any collector item markets for oldies like this or is
it just an old scope without aniti-reflection coatings?

Thank you for your time.

Richard Willingham
Mike here: Well, you will have to define "inexpensive". Sturdy mounts for large telescopes usually cost a few hundred dollars. And then you have to add on mounting rings or adapters. But you could check out Vixen or Orion mounts. If you want a GOTO system, check out the LXD55 (used) or LXD75 mounts, which can use an AutoStar. As to selling the telescope, I'm sure there will be someone who would want it; checkout



Subject:	Chiefland Astronomy Village Star Party, 10/24/08-11/02/08
Sent:	Friday, August 22, 2008 17:13:20
Chiefland Astronomy Village, located in Florida's Big Bend, is hosting a
Star Party October 24 thru November 02, 2008.

Chiefland boasts about 20 acres of dark observing fields, tons of
electric for telescopes and some for RVs, restrooms, food, 4 vendors and
some truly awesome amateur set-ups.

$60 for the entire time, graduated down for less time.  Preregister by
Sept. 15
David Reddy
New ETX125 owner 

Subject:	ETX-60,70,80 Spec
Sent:	Friday, August 22, 2008 13:05:50
From: (
Would you happen to know if the ETX scope has an M42x1 thread on the
diagonal mount?
Pete Ferrentino
Mike here: I don't recall it being identified as such. It is not a standard size (i.e, SCT).
Subject:	Your website....
Sent:	Wednesday, August 20, 2008 15:51:26
From:	Eddie (
Your website is unbelievable! I just purchased a Meade ETX125 PE. 
What's the best place on your site to start for tips on setup?  There is
so much on your site, I'm a little overwhelmed.  Thanks in advance for
your help!

Eddie L.
Allentown, PA
Mike here: The place to start is the Site Guide on the ETX Site home page. Then depending on your interests you will have a better feel where to start.
Subject:	how many mirrored surfaces in the ETX125
Sent:	Tuesday, August 19, 2008 12:08:24
From:	JayJay Clayton (
Mike, how many mirrored surfaces are in the ETX125?   Am still trying to
find a consistent and easy way to measure position angle in double
stars.  If the number of surfaces is odd, (I think it is) then I think
East is going to be clockwise from North.  One of these days, I'll get
this... : )
Mike here: If you are using the flip mirror to direct the light up through the eyepiece hole there are 3 mirrors. Object viewed through an eyepiece in this position are reversed left to right but rightside up.
Subject:	Re: Help with ETX 125
Sent:	Tuesday, August 19, 2008 05:21:04
From:	Mike (
I just came back from my holidays in the alps.
I want to thank you for your help!
Before living, I could repair the damages on the PCB.
Mr. Henrik van Holthoon gave me the advice to make a bridge to replace
the damaged track. And it worked!!!
So I could use my telescope in the alps fot astro and nature observing.
It was very interresting and fun!
So, thank you once again!
Best regards

Subject:	Want to Buy ETX-125-AT, being in Pakistan
Sent:	Monday, August 18, 2008 01:57:40
From:	Humair Abbas (
Hope you'll be doing fine up there in the "skies" :)
I have been in love with the sky since ages. Just to quench my thirst, I
have been surfing the net to find a good-inexpensive telescope and have
decided to go for ETX-125-AT; after devouring reviews, user comments,
image results etc. for more than a week.

Was unable to find anyone to help me with the purchase till I came to
know about your site. Need your help on following points;

		Is ETX-125-AT recommend for a first-time-amateur user (not
		particularly interested in AstroPhotography)?

		How to get it, being in Pakistan?
Would appreciate if you can help locate some dealer/sub-delaer of
Meade's products working in Pakistan.

PS: I have tried to purchase it from Pakistan but only one shop (Shams
Store, Super Market, Islamabad) in capital city "Islamabad", had Meade's
telescopes available and that too only ETX 80-TC.

Dying to put my eye on the eyepiece and be lost in the universe.
Best Regards,
Humair Rizvi,
Model Town A, Bahawalpur, Punjab, Pakistan
Mike here: Yes, the ETX-125AT (or the PE model, which is newer) will make a fine telescope, especially when used from dark skies. As to a dealer, check the Meade site for international dealers:


I have checked on below mentioned site, but none are from Pakistan.
Anyways thanks for responding, will let you know when I get hold of ETX
as am onto it. :)

Subject:	re: solar power generator
Sent:	Sunday, August 17, 2008 16:48:39
From:	richard seymour (
The solar power system that link refers to has two or three
(to my eyes) major deficiencies...
First, the text on the first page says things like
"It takes 5-8 hours to charge a dead battery; 1-3 hours to top off a weak one."

However, the panel in the photo (as revealed by specs on the "tech specs" page)
is only a 5.5 watt, 0.35 amp panel.
If the 95 amp hour battery were indeed dead, it would take 95/0.35 hours,
or 271, or over 22 days of 12 hours a day sun to recharge with that panel.

For simply the purpose of running the ETX, you'd need about three hours
of sun time for every hour of telescope operations with that panel.
(Assume the ETX draws one ampere.  Thus for one hour of operation, you'd
need one ampere-hour from the battery.  One ampere at 12 volts is 12 watts.
So a 5.5 watt panel would take 12/5.5= 2.18 hours to replace 12 watts of energy.
Solar panels have three ratings, use the watts for an "average" value.

As it happens, i -use- a solar panel to keep my LX200gps battery topped up.
My battery is a 17 amp hour "JumpStart" battery, sold at auto parts stores
and stores like WalMart.  Typical prices range from $30 to $50, depending
upon sales.  Mike's site has a review of a lot of them on this page:

For the solar panel, i paid $22 for a 3 watt (so half the power output
of the panel on that website) VW panel... Volkswagen evidently ships their
cars and vans over with solar panels in the windows to keep them "alive"
in the dealer's lots... and folks sell the not-sold-with-vehicle panels
on ebay.  A quick example shows *two* panels for $14 plus shipping
as eBay item  110279101512  at
If you use their "search" window for "VW solar panel" you'll see dozens of auctions.
The one i bought had a cigarette light plug for attaching to the car, and that
fits my JumpStart's 12v output quite happily.  (the example ebay item above
does -not- have a cigarette plug, but they're easy to replace with one from
RadioShack).  Since my JumpStart has two 12v outputs, i could attach two panels.

For just an ETX, a 17 amp hour battery will last you through at least one full
overnight, or 3 or 4 "evening" sessions.  The JumpStarts come with a plug-in-the-wall
recharger, too, so you're not tied to requiring sunlight in the day to still enjoy
the night.

have fun
Mike here: I have used the Celestron PowerTank (7AH model) with my ETX, LXD, and LX90 telescopes. In fact, I have used it with two telescopes at a time for several hours or one telescope and an AC inverter to power a digital camera. I've even used it at temps around freezing and it has always outlasted me in duration.
Subject:	[none]
Sent:	Sunday, August 17, 2008 11:57:59
From:	Bill VanOrden (
I think what you are experiencing with your LX90 (and my friend Ken
Sikes plus two other local users) is what is now typical of Meade's
product QC and Support/Repair.

I am extremely good at the ETX/AutoStar scopes having had mine for many
years and "fixed" a large number of them for people at star parties.  I
have never been able to get the ETX125PE of Ken's to work correctly and
neither has Ken.  Meade said the RA Lock knob was broken and also
replaced something in the LNT setup.  That never fixed anything and the
scope came back from Meade damaged on the DEC fork arm, the pieces were
just thrown in with the scope in the plastic bag.  Ken is planning on
stripping the OTA from the mount and has plans to throw it away as that
is the value of it to him.  We are consulting on another mount to put it

My wonderful ED80 APO Triplet is the LAST SCOPE I will ever buy from
Meade.  The quality cannot be trusted.  I almost bought one of the My
Sky devices for my wife.  I sure am glad I didn't make THAT mistake!
Meade - Reliability - Quality  -  Support  =  InTheSewer  (my opinion)
Beevo (aka Bill VanOrden)
Mike here: Reminder - please read the Email Etiquette page; your message was originally UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing Subject entry. Meade is addressing the quality concerns. Hopefully we'll see some improvements soon.


I used YOUR link...


I doubt they will get it corrected and if they do it will be at a point
where they have lost credibility on their non-XMAS scopes.

A friend in Prescott has a 16" SCT that is just terrible on the

It's too bad.

Mike here: As I've noted before, Apple went through the similar problems back in the early-mid 1990s when the CEO at the time (Spindler) decided to try to save money by reducing the QA staff. That backfired on him (and he was eventually fired). The current Meade CEO seems to have followed a similar concept and it has backfired on him too. But hopefully, like Apple has, Meade can arise from the dead and return to its greatness.
Subject:	Editorials
Sent:	Saturday, August 16, 2008 09:37:25
From:	Bob Harris (
I just read on the ETX yahoo site that Scopetronix is out of business.
Do you know if this is true? I just placed an order (on Thursday for
$55) with them, gave a credit card number, and received a receipt. Am I
in trouble with this?
Bob Harris
Mike here: The Editorial Page on my ETX Site discusses Scopetronix.
Subject:	solar power generator
Sent:	Friday, August 15, 2008 09:13:38
From:	JayJay Clayton (
Hi; am wanting to get a solar power generator for my ETX125PE.  I ran
across this website and wanted your feedback about whether this homemade
solar power generator would work or not. Or if you know of something
else, would like to know that as well.
Thank you as always.
Mike here: As long as you get 12VDC and 1500mA to the ETX (with the proper polarity) you should be OK. I have seen other solar solutions powering telescopes but I don't know the manufacturers.
Subject:	RE: ETX-125 EC Troubles
Sent:	Thursday, August 14, 2008 14:37:22
From:	Jeff Goldstein (
Interestingly, I had to verify that the DEC innards were metal not
plastic, even though the DEC works great.  Evidently, that's their
yardstick for determining whether or not they have parts for the
ETX-125. Fortunately, mine were all metal parts.

If it were plastic inside the DEC assembly, they will not even fix it,
since they claim they have no parts.

This may be useful info for someone with the same/similar troubles.



	-----Original Message-----
	From: P. Clay Sherrod [] 
	Wow...that IS expensive.  I have no idea why they have gone up,
	other than the fact that it might be the obsolete model telescope. 
	Good luck on this.

	Dr. Clay
	Arkansas Sky Observatories
	Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
	Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
	Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)
		----- Original Message ----- 
		From: "Jeff Goldstein" 
		I just shipped it to Meade, today.  Their quote was 150 + 15
		shipping. Guess they went up.  It's still worth it since the
		optics were pristine and when the GOTO's used to work, it was
		really accurate.

And: the price of the metallic version repair is actually higher. 
That makes sense.  They do NOT have parts; I have the only parts in any
quantity of anyone, those having been bought right before Meade
discontinued servicing the older models.  And my supply is very limited.

Thanks for the information.

Dr. Clay

Subject:	Blown PCB ETX125
Sent:	Thursday, August 14, 2008 07:19:41
From:	Henrik van Holthoon (
Hallo Frenchman,

Can you not bridge the burned PCB wire from the side you can acces that
would much easier no need to take the scope apart however this will not
help if one of the active components are blown as well.

Good luck (Mzos SW France)

Subject:	Ring for the ETX 125
Sent:	Wednesday, August 13, 2008 22:13:37
From:	carl cohen (
Do you where I can get a clam shell type ring for ETX125, that would
allow me to attach things to it.
Dark Skies,
Carl Cohen
Mike here: Not certain what you mean by a "clam shell" ring. But if you mean a piggyback camera adapter, you can easily make one using the various tips on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page. If you want to purchase one, Oceanside Photo and Telescope (OPT) usually has them in stock. Alternatively, if you want a more heavy duty mounting attachment, Losmandy and ScopeStuff (links on the Astronomy Links page) has rings and dovetails that will go on the ETX-125. OPT probably has these as well.
Subject:	Weaver ETX 90 spotting scope
Sent:	Tuesday, August 12, 2008 20:13:32
From:	Dale Wesley (
I hope you can help me with a question I have about reducing the foal
length, hence the magnification of my Weaver ETX90 spotting scope.

I use my ETX as a spotting scope to locate and observe animals from a
distance. I want to reduce the magnification of my spotting scope to
around 15x to achieve a sharper image and larger field of view.

I have just ordered a Meade f3.3 Focal Reducer and back cell adaptor
from Optic Planet in the hope that I can achieve a lower magnification
as well as a larger field of view. However after reading articles on the
internet I am unsure it I can use the focal reducer to achieve this
Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated
Thank you.
Dale Wesley
Mike here: As long as the SCT adapter for the ETX fits, you should be able to mate the focal reducer. However, you will likely see vignetting in the field of view. Also, not all eyepieces may achieve focus with the reducer. There are alternative focal reducers discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page.


Thank you for your fast response.
Much appreciated.

Dale Wesley

Subject:	ETX125 not turning by right or left arrows on Hand piece
Sent:	Sunday, August 10, 2008 15:07:55
From:	Louis Welke (
I have a ETX125 telescope that worked very good until last night when
after it went through the steps of alignment which were counter
clockwise until the scope stops and then enter, it then leveled and then
wanted to turn to go north and I realized I didn't have it locked and so
while it was turning I locked it and it then pointed north and then
slewed to the first bright star and I pushed enter  and then before it
slewed to the second star I received a motor failure message that told
me various reasons for this which I felt none except that I locked the
clutch (as I should have before entering) but did this during the
turning to north .

Now when I turn my ETX on I can move the scope up and down by the hand
piece but get no movement right or left when I press these arrows or
even hear a motor operating, I can move the scope up and down and right
and left manually with the locks disengaged so I know there is no

I tried the calibrate motors in the setup and it only moved the scope up
and down and nothing else.

I bought this ETX125 this past April and it should be under a warranty
but wanted your opinion to see if there was a simple thing I  could do
before calling Meade.

I also have a 8" LX90 that I also use and is less than a year old and
wondered if the hand pieces were interchangeable in case the ETX hand
piece was faulty. I value your opinion very much and look forward to
your opinion on this.

Louis Welke
Mike here: Have you tried to do a RESET? Locking the axis while the telescope is moving (or trying to) should not have created such a failure. Check the AutoStar cable connectors and jacks for pin condition (not too depressed, dirty, bent sideways).


My apologies on sending you a message about my ETX125 having right and
left turning problems, because I then checked out the Meade #541 12 volt
adapter warnings that told me that a 7/31/08 posting on your site
mentioned a person having almost the same problem and then having
problems getting them to fix his scope.

I have a 3 yr assurance plan on my ETX purchased from Woodland Hills
camera in Mar. '08 and hope that it will be honored by Meade.

Louis Welke


I talked to a customer rep at Meade this morning and he told me to try
the reset which i did and no luck so he told me to send the scope in
after I got a authorization number and also to include a check for
return shipping.

I did all that and now comes the waiting.

Thanks for your comments, I will not trust AC adapters any more for any
Meade scope.

Lou Welke
Mike here: I've used my Meade AC Adapters many times over the past several years without any problems. Of course, it IS several years old.
Subject:	Help with ETX 125
Sent:	Saturday, August 9, 2008 12:50:31
From:	Mike (
my name is Mike, I am located in france. I have a real problem with my
Meade ETX 125 PE.

I hope you can help me....

I bought my ETX some days ago. I wanted to make a 12V DC cable by my
self. Unfortunately I made a wrong wiring.

This means I had the positiv and negativ 12V inverted. Some smoke came
out of the telescope. It seems that I burned some components on the
little PCB (the PCB with all the connectors)

I would like to diassemble this PCB (see picture) to look at the
somponents on it, but I dont understand how I can diassemble it... must
I diassemble the whole telescope?

If you look at the picture in the attachement you will see a track that
has turned black because of the short circuit! maybe the track is
damaged an there is no contact between both ends of the tracks, I dont

I wanted to go on holiday tomorrow with my new telescope (trip in the
mountains). I think it will not be possible.... I am so sad about my own

I really hope you can give me some informations or maybe you can give
some email adresses of person that vould help me.

Thank you very much in advance!
Best regards


Mike here: Well, you can take the telescope with you but you will have to use the telescope manually (just like astronomers did just a few decades ago). At least you will be able to look at objects. As to repairing the circuit board, you should remove the board before working on it (to avoid damaging it and other components inside the mount). HOWEVER, if you are not experienced with soldering on circuit boards then you probably don't want to tackle the repair yourself. Take the board (or perhaps the entire telescope) to an electronics repair shop; perhaps they can help you. Alternatively, contact Meade.


first of all, thank you for your answer!

Yes I could use it manually. But for someone who beginns with astronomy
its not very easy to find the stars/objects and follow them.

I have some experience with soldering of elctr. components. So its wirth
trying. Your right, I have to remove this small board. The problem is
that its soldered on the connectors for the handbox. So the plastic
plate wich has the connectors, the connectors and the board are 1 piece


I dont see any possibility to remove it. There is a plastic holder that
makes impossible to pull or push it out of the case


It seems that its tighten from the other side of the big metal plate

So I have to access to the backside of the metal plate.  Do
you know how to diassemble the telescope to get there? I think I have to
remove the tube and plastic covers...

Mike here: There are some disassembly tips on on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. But I don't know if they are in sufficient detail for you.
Subject:	ETX-125 EC Troubles
Sent:	Thursday, August 7, 2008 21:53:37
From:	Jeff Goldstein (
I tried in vain, tonight to fix a slipping RA Clutch in my ETX-125 EC. 
Based on your "Using the Meade ETX" book's recommendation of removing
the RA chrome clamp, then using it to loosen and unscrew the long bolt,
I could not get to the clutch.  I tried to separate the top half
(assuming the clutch was beneath this base).  No luck, so I just screwed
the bolt back in and tightened it.

But now, in putting it back together, I've really screwed things up. 
When tightening the long bolt back, I managed to shear a couple of the
delicate wires you mentioned.  I knew something was wrong when I did not
have Declination control at all.  I found the sheared blue and black
wires after removing the bolt, again.

Strange setup having a "slotted" bolt like this.  Obviously, the wires
run down the slot.  I had no idea this would be such a delicate job.

Now that I've screwed up the wires, what should I do?  Send it to Meade?
Dr. Clay?

The optics are very fine on the scope, and it's a shame not to have the
use of it.

I'm so sorry I tried to do this job, myself.  I thought I was pretty
good at fixing things. Until now
What's your recommendation?
Jeff Goldstein
Mike here: I'll let our resident hardware expert Dr. Clay Sherrod respond.
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
I am reading between the lines and guessing that this is a newer model
than the early EC models with the all-plastic base.  If this is a newer
one with metal inside the base and fork arms, the instructions for
tuning up the performance do NOT apply to the newer ETX scopes and as
many experts on Mike's site elude:  do not attempt to modify this
telescope....even the EC model was a very difficult subject to adjust
the RA clutch without damaging the wires....not something for the
inexperienced to attempt.

Because the wiring loom passes through the turntable and is very
critical for operation of the telescope, Meade will need to replace the
entire wiring loom, not just repair the two broken wires.  On the other
hand, if you can get it apart (I am assuming the wires are broken INSIDE
the turntable where you cannot get to them?) if you can get the base
apart, you can have a good computer electronic repair tech micro-solder
them back together properly.

You have entered "no man's land" when you attempt to separate the base
from the fork arms; it should never be done.

Very sorry for the troubles with the scope and I wish you the best on

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)


Ok, excellent advice from Dr. Clay.  I will send the scope back to
Meade. Lesson learned, here, the hard way.

Yes, indeed, I have the metal inside the base (therefore must be a newer

I'll try to get a repair number from Meade and send it as soon as I can.
Thank you again, for your superlative analysis of my "screw up" and

For the life of me, I could not get the top half (above the clutch)
apart, once I had the slotted bolt out.  Then, once I put it back, and
noticed it was nice and tight, I though things were fixed due to the
tightening.  Not so.  That replacement tightening of the slotted bolt
twisted, chewed up, and subsequently sheared the loom wires.

I'll let the experts at Meade charge me the "big bucks" to fix it. 
Would you say around $100?

The scope's optics are truly incredible!  I've seen the red spot on
Jupiter several times, Jupiter's moons eclipsing Jupiter, four of
Saturn's moons, and split some difficult double stars with these optics.
They're the sharpest I've seen, short of and APO Refractor!

I really appreciate the prompt reply and advice.

Most humbly and sincerely,

Jeff Goldstein


Best of luck on this; be sure and specify exactly what the problems
are....everything that you know
of.....when talking to Meade and ask them to fix it all; it will be the
same price anyway, about $75 typically.

Dr. Clay

Mike here: I just learned that Shutan Camera & Video has terminated operations as a dealer for telescopes and cameras. Shutan was an early supporter of the ETX and this ETX Site. The ETX Community and I'm sure all of Shutan's customers will miss them. I wish everyone at Shutan well in their new endeavors.
Subject:	Meade MySky Reviews
Sent:	Tuesday, August 5, 2008 13:32:22
I have a ETX125 PE and was thinking about getting the Meade MySky. I am
extremely glad I read the customer reviews(23 in total) at:
?%5Fencoding=UTF8&showViewpoints=1 After reading them, I think I'll
pass! Wow, I couldn't believe how bad the quality of the product is
according to the reviews.

Had you heard any of this?  Just a FYI.
John R. Sabella
Mike here: You can read my comments on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page.
Subject:	ETX 125 Stored for 3 Years
Sent:	Tuesday, August 5, 2008 11:59:46
From:	Phillip Burns (
I have had my ETX 125 stored for over three years. I am in a position to
start using it again but  want to know if there is anything  I should do
before I start operating it again. Also the Autostar has not been
updated during that time period. FYI,  it was previously tuned by Dr.
Sherrod. Thanks for your help.

Phil Burns
Mike here: You do not NEED to update the AutoStar but it won't hurt to do it. Of course, you'll need the right cable (a #505 serial cable, see the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page), a serial connection on your computer, and the right software (Meade's for Windows, or AutoStarX for Mac OS X). If you have only USB you will need a USB-Serial adapter but be aware that not all adapters work reliably with the AutoStar; see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page. As to checking the telescope, I hope you had removed the batteries before storing the telescope. If not, check the battery compartment for leakage and clean it up thoroughly if the batteries leaked. Also, remove the aperture cover and check the condition of the coating and look inside the tube. Depending on how and where it was stored, it is possible that bugs or moisture could have gotten inside the tube. Also, again depending on how and where it was stored, you should check inside the base and fork arms for corrided wiring and/or rust. Lastly, unlock both axes and slowly move the OTA by hand from hard stop to hard stop, in both directions, back and forth. This will redistribute the lubrication.


Thanks Mike. I did take out the batteries. The scope was stored in an
ETX case and was kept in a dry place. I will check as you recommended.
Thanks so much for your assistance.

Subject:	ETX90EC construction
Sent:	Sunday, August 3, 2008 14:49:45
From:	Dr Robert Pasken (
I have removed the rear port plastic assembly from my etx90 several
times and have all seen nothing more than a machined back with focus
assembly. There are no screws for collimation. This is in line with the
construction of other small Mak's like my OTI Quantum-4. The tubes are
machined to insure collimation. I went to the telescope tips section to
get the outline for cutting foam inserts and notice Doc Griner had a
disassembly page. When I went there the pictures clearly showed
collimation screws. The disassembly photos are identical to mine EXCEPT
the collimation screws. Anybody have a clue why mine would be different?
Mike here: The ETX was not designed to be user collimated (and normally no collimation is required). The mounting screws for the primary mirror are not accessible through the rear port. There are collimation tips on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.


That is not the point. The photos in the Telescope Tech Tips page about
collimation show three pairs of push/pull screws for collimation. My ETX
does not have those three pairs of push/pull screws. Once again when I
remove the plastic fairing that holds the flip mirror and the eyepiece
holder, the rear of the ETX tube does not have the three push/pull
screws shown in the Telescope Tech Tips page concerning collimation. In
my case it is a flat housing with JUST the rod used for focussing.
Mike here: I guess Meade removed them. If you want to submit updated photos I'll post them.
Subject:	Telescope Equipment Theft & ETX Purchase Question
Sent:	Sunday, August 3, 2008 13:23:10
From: (
Just found your website while googling to research ETX-125 scopes to
help me decide whether to purchase one.

First, I think your unfortunate theft experience was an inside job,
someone who definitely knew such equipment was there, if only your
astronomy equipment was targetted.  I'm probably stating the obvious. 
My parents house was broken into over 20 years ago when everyone- except
me- was away on a trip to Florida.  It was too much of a coincidence and
I think the perpetrators thought I would be gone too.  Thankfully, I
came home and must have interrupted the break-in, finding a rear door
ajar, basement door lock popped, and some of my father's tools from the
garage neatly on the floor in the garage  obviously used to assist the
break-in- but no one in the house.  Someone who must have been familar
with the layout of the house had to have done it, but we never found out
who.  Nothing was stolen, just the damage to the broken door locks. 
Only consolation is maybe that I didn't find them when they were deeper
in the house; might have turned tragic for one or both parties.

Secondly, I was intereseted in buying a scope primarily for lunar
viewing, and lunar photography if possible.  I have only owned a cheapo
60 mm department store scope.   I'm out of work recently, but am
determined to get a scope (got one of those "no interest on purchases
until 2009" credit cards before I got laid off).   I want to enjoy the
various 40th anniversary of the Apollo missions coming up over the next
few years.  Would an ETX-125 provide sufficient viewing power, and
astrophography capabilities, for viewing the moon?
Mike here: The astronomical equipment was all that was left as we were moving. They would have been the last items that I moved. As to using the ETX for lunar work, there are many fine examples of lunar astrophotography on the various ETX astrophotography pages. So yes, it can do that. And it will make a fine visual telescope as well.
Subject:	ETX125PE repair
Sent:	Saturday, August 2, 2008 05:56:35
From:	gesc (
I have an issue of broken plastic gear box housing of RA motor of
ETX125, but it seems hard for me remove the worm and gear from the
centre axis. Please advise how I replace this worm and gear or any
picture or links that help me in doing so.

If I send the ETX-125PE for repair, what is the charges and lead-time.

Anthony Chung (Hong Kong)





Mike here: There are some "gear" articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page; they should give you some information. As to repair, you could contact Meade or Dr. Clay Sherrod for his Supercharge Tune-up Service. Cost will run over $100 (USD) plus shipping.
Subject:	ETX 90 circuit board question
Sent:	Friday, August 1, 2008 23:05:17
From:	Laurence Hecht (
Does anyone know where the black wire from the battery case should
attach to the circuit board on the ETX 90EC?

While I was fixing  the RA clutch assembly, the black wire running from
the battery case disconnected. I re-soldered  it to Pin "1,"  next to
the red wire at the upper right-hand corner (looking from inside) of the
vertical circuit board. The controller powers, but only at high speed,
and it turns on with all the speed control LEDs flashing. If anyone
wants a version of EC for use as a prop in SciFi movies, this might be
the way to go.
Mike here: Does the article "Repairing Broken Battery Wires" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page help?

And an update:

Thanks for the reply. I've solved the battery connection problem
in the meanwhile. Now,  I am finding that the RA motor only goes at high
speed, whereas the Dec motor steps through the 4 speeds available on the
#491 controller. The other anomaly is that all four LED "speed" lights
blink when the unit is turned on, and only stop when a button is
pressed.  Any ideas?


Mike here: It sounds like there is still a wiring problem.

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