Last updated: 31 August 2009
This page is for user comments and information specific to the ETX-LS. Items that are applicable to all ETX models (RA, EC, AT, BB, PE, LS) 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 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.
Mike here: The new Meade ETX-LS telescope is now available! This feedback page allows current and prospector ETX owners to chime in on their thoughts about the new model. User observation reports with the ETX-LS are now being reported on the Helpful Information: User Observations page. If you don't already know about the ETX-LS, check out these web sites:
|Oceanside Photo and Telescope|
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback Sent: Sunday, August 30, 2009 19:15:19 From: Louis Welke (firstname.lastname@example.org) After talking to Meade about the problems I have with the ETX-LS and doing all the procedures that they want me to before giving up and send it to them and waiting weeks before I get it back I decided to try other methods myself and actually sometimes I get results that are closer to success sometimes and not so good other times. I am following the reviews of others that have the Ls and especially the ones that are getting their Ls back after sending it in to be fixed I understand that you might get a new Ls back after sending your other one in to be fixed. It will be interesting to see if this one will be the charm. I want to believe that they will make sure that a fixed or replaced Ls will operate as it should. Another question I have is what do you think about Optcorp plan that checks out a telescope you buy from them for a fee according to what scope you bought?? Isn't there any responsibility from a merchant to be sure the item they sell is in good working order?? Louis WelkeMike here: I have no direct experience with the OPT plan but I've seen reports of happy people who had it. But it is like any insurance. You pay but you may not need to have paid. Yes, we all expect that everything works perfectly out of the box but that doesn't always happen (obviously). It doesn't matter whether it is a telescope, a computer, a phone, a TV, or a car. It should work and continue to work for a long time. But sometimes things happen and it just doesn't work out that way. Dealers like OPT will support their customers when there are problems.
Subject: ETX - LS Feedback: Scope inoperative after firmware read error Sent: Saturday, August 29, 2009 15:19:24 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) After using the ETX-LS for less than three weeks, a message suddenly appeared "Error reading firmware. Please reflash memory." Since then, the telescope no longer works. I've tried to connect it to a computer to reprogram the flash memory but with no success. Is there a way to make the ETX-LS power on in a "safe mode" where it would just read the firmware (from a computer or maybe from a miniSD card or microSD card in a miniSD adapter) and immediately reprogram the flash memory? If not, I suppose it will have to be returned for repair. Rephrasing the question in a more general way: what is the step-by-step procedure to recover from a non-functional scope by reflashing the firmware into the scope's memory? Thank you for any help, Moshe BainMike here: As mentioned in the manual, if you insert the mini or micro SD card in the card slot with the software installed from ASU 5.8, then the telescope will boot from that and install the software.
It worked, thank you! At first it would not work because I was using a microSDHC card (in a miniSD adapter, of course). The ETX-LS does not seem to accept SDHC cards. But once I prepared a 2GB microSD card with V1.07 firmware (over 200MB download!) using ASU 5.8, put it in the miniSD slot and powered up, the scope booted into program mode on its own. It then took about 30 min to reprogram V1.07 into the scope's memory and now it is back in operation. It is strange that the ETX-LS will not read SDHC cards, given that it insists on having the card formatted using FAT32. SD cards don't need FAT32, as usually the largest available size is 2GB, which can be formatted using FAT (this is in fact the factory-standard format for SD). Why Meade uses the miniSD slot size is a mystery. Standard SD is much more widely available and can be read on most computers without having to use any adapters. It is also easier to handle because it is somewhat bigger --- especially in the dark. Ergonomically the whole thing is very poorly designed: the slot is too close to a thicker potion of the telescope fork, making it difficult to pull out the card. Also the card goes too far into the slot before it clicks in place. You need long nails or a small flat screwdriver to be able to press the card far enough in. ASU 5.8 would at first crash immediately on startup in my computer until I found out that it needs the font size of the display to be set to "normal" (96 DPI). I had the font size set to a bigger value to make text easier to read. So now every time I want to use ASU I first have to remember to reconfigure this option on my computer --- a pain since it requires restarting the computer. ASU 5.8 offers to "download and install new version 5.8 from the Internet" every time even though it is already installed. It also wants to download "ETX-LS V1.07" from the Internet every time even though it has already done that and version 1.07 is on the hard disk. And when you click "upgrade autostar firmware" it takes a long time to show the next screen. Just when you think the program has crashed again the next screen appears. The scope has a USB interface but the driver is a "USB-to-serial" type. It installs as a non-standard serial port that is not automatically detected by the software. You have to go hunt it down (COMx) in device manager. And ASU 5.8 does not retrieve the object list from the Autostar III handbox (though it will send the data to the handbox). The object information for comets and asteroids as displayed by the ETX-LS has completely wrong magnitudes (such as a comet with magnitude 147 ). This is for data retrieved by ASU from the IAU site. All in all, not the best "user experience" (as software publishers like to call it). I wonder how many more bugs are lurking there... Thank you again for your help. Moshe BainMike here: Glad you got it working. You might want to send your ASU problem report to email@example.com. Don't expect a response however.
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2009 14:55:18 From: John Fuqua (firstname.lastname@example.org) I received my ETX-LS ACF last week and played with it all weekend. It has yet to find Arcturus, the brightest star in the western sky at the moment, when in the auto mode (location is Florida Panhandle). Yet if I go into two star alignment mode it will find it close enough. I believe there is a flaw in the picture recognition software for that star in the auto mode. I have had successful auto alignments (not using Arcturus) but many more unsuccessful. I am still playing with settings but everything else seems to work. Initially with GPS it would not point at Polaris and was always 10 or 15 degrees off. After I restored the original settings it now points at Polaris/North every time. Have no explanation for that. Optical quality is great. I love the video out feature. I am using a 12 inch LCD monitor. I have tried taking photos but have more playing to do before I can comment one way or the other. It is a wide field of view. JohnMike here: During the Auto Align process, where does the OTA point just before it starts slewing to the first alignment star? Is the OTA essentially horizontal?
Yes it is horizontal and it seeks to find that position. Right before it starts to slew it is pointing to Polaris. I did call Meade and ask if it is supposed to point to true north or Polaris and I never really got a firm answer. But from my experience so far I think it should point to Polaris, at least if you are doing the 2 star alignment. Initially it pointed to the right of Polaris and it would point about the same distance to the right of Arcturus. After the system restore it started to point to Polaris. It just irks me it cannot find Arcturus which is very bright. I do not see how it can miss it. Gotta be a database issue. Of course now we are having rain so I do not know when I will get to try again. JohnMike here: Check the Daylight Saving setting. Also, it is possible that you need to adjust the CCD "finder" center.
If I use GPS I should not have to set the time at all. I am using the GPS setting. I have "aligned" the CCD finder. Saw no difference in finding Arcturus.Mike here: Well, yes and no. Check the Local Time in the Scope Info display.
OK will do. Skies cleared up some and I got to try again tonight. Now I cannot get the finder camera to center. Keeps saying cannot identify the star. Tried a couple. Next step is to hook up the video display and take a picture and see if the eclips is working at all. Ugh. New technology is great - when it works!
Subject: Meade Repairs Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 11:06:39 From: Bellomy, Robert S. (ROBERT.S.BELLOMY@saic.com) Statused my RGA with Meade today. The LS will have been with them 2 weeks as of Friday. They still estimate 2-4 more weeks. I emphasized to them that I was initially told it would be a 2 week turnaround. Apparently they must have a lot of repairs to make. I expressed my concern with it possibly taking as long as one month as I would like to use the scope. I am not convinced that they are working expediently, but I do want them to do a good checkout and repair. Did they give you any idea how long the repair would take on your scope?? Robert Robert BellomyMike here: Haven't heard anything.
Subject: [none] Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 20:13:36 From: Stephen Holland (email@example.com) My replacement ETX-LS ACF arrived yesterday. A warning to Canadian or other international readers of this forum...make sure Meade indicates on the shipping document that the telescope is a replacement under warranty at no charge. In my case they did not and UPS has charged me Canadian tax and a brokerage fee (C$240!!). Needless to say, I am very unhappy! I am attempting to resolve the issue with Meade and UPS. The replacement goes through it's automatic alignment procedure but it wasn't completely dark at the time (twilight) so it searched for 6 stars and gave me the successful alignment message. I do not understand why it failed to find Arcturus as this star was very bright at the time. I do have issues with the alignment after it "successfully" aligned. My first selection was Jupiter as it was very bright and an interesting object. The scope slewed to Jupiter but when it stopped and beeped, it was not in the eyepiece or the finder scope. I had to manually slew to Jupiter. Once centered it kept it there but it missed finding it automatically. When I have another clear night I am going to try entering the right ascension and declination manually for a recognizable star and see if the scope will correctly slew to the correct location. If it doesn't then I don't know what my next step should be.Mike here: I just discovered that your message from yesterday had been rejected as SPAM and deleted UNREAD due to the blank subject line. PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Site Home Page to avoid this happening in the future. Thanks for understanding. As to the alignment issue, have you done a CALIBRATE (formerly called "training") on the drives?
It seems like one step forward, two steps back trying to get my ETX-LS working properly. Last night, before dark, I did a calibrate ("training") of the drives and aligned the spotter scope as well. Then, at darkness, I tried the automatic alignment procedure again. This time it did find Arcturus very quickly and then proceeded to Izar. The scope spent a long time here and then announced the alignment had failed. So I selected the two star alignment from the menu. It repeated the finding of north (but not GPS and tilt/tip) and then slewed to Arcturus, asking me to center it (was already centered). Next, it went to Mizar in the big dipper and it was also centered. I hit enter and got the successful alignment message. I then selected Jupiter and the scope slewed to it. It was exactly in the center of the spotter scope but slightly off center in the eyepiece. So this is an improvement other than the automatic alignment failure issue. I'm thinking that further tweaking may get everything working and I wonder if the Eclipse CCD is causing much of the problems myself and others are having. I may experiment with the CCD adjustments available in the menu to see if this helps.Mike here: Since the first star was found during Auto Align, it does sound like the CCD "finder" needs some centering.
Subject: Re: ETX-LS Feedback Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 16:42:39 From: Professional Family Consultants (firstname.lastname@example.org) I retrained the drive this afternoon. Don't know yet whether it will help with the alignment but will test it out this weekend. The Autostar III version I have is 1.07 Regards, Francis Stewart
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback and Firmware Version Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 04:00:51 From: Michael Cox (email@example.com) ETX-LS Firmware: v1.07 Date Telescope Received: 5-Aug-2009 With the pertinent spreadsheet data out of the way I would like a brief mention of my experience and my impressions of the telescope thus far. This is my third Meade telescope purchase. My first two being a Polaris Newtonian Reflector and an ETX-90/EC (The gears on the 90/EC stripped out long ago and still need to be replaced). In spite of owning two telescopes previously I am still quite a novice when it comes to astronomy, but I find I know enough to get by for the most part. I am currently living in Tucson Arizona, which is where all my observing is done from. I received my telescope on the 5th of August and unpacked the next day on the 6th. Assembly was easy enough, and I merely had to wait on the stars to come out here in Tucson. This is where my extensive problems began. Flip the switch on and the Autostar lights up as expected, but there is no sound from the speaker as the start-up guide says there should be. The telescope goes through it's 12 - 15 min routine attempting alignment still so I'm not too concerned, but at the end it says "Alignment Failed". I spent one entire battery lifetime (Appx 6 - 7 hours) running the telescope through it's initial start-up and various menu functions to include: calibrating the finder, motor training, volume level, etc. It became quite frustrating so when the batteries died I decided I had had enough and packed up for the night. The next night I had two fresh sets of batteries (really do need to buy that AC adapter for it) and was determined to at least trouble shoot the problems effectively. After about an hour of the same problems I had come to the following conclusions: 1) The speaker on the telescope is completely inoperable 2) The telescope was consistently off by a similar margin while attempting alignment (not a large amount, but enough to put any objects out of the view of the eyepiece) 3) The Autostar has a tendency to freeze up during some menu commands when not aligned properly From here I decided to disable the GPS acquisitioning of the telescope and input my location manually. The auto align still failed after this so next I tried two star alignment. This worked fine and I got an hour or so of some viewing of Jupiter and such since I was getting frustrated again. At this point I had to switch out the batteries again and tried aligning the finder and training the motor a few more times to no avail. I have since been on vacation in California without the telescope, and just recently returned and have been putting off getting the situation solved. I contacted OPT, who I purchased the telescope through, and was advised to try updating the firmware to see if that helped. I also contacted Meade, and they were of the mind that it will probably need to be sent to them. I think I will probably try the firmware update, but am rather skeptical that it will succeed. On a separate note, when I purchased the telescope from OPT I also got the SkyAssurance 3 Year Warranty as well as the 3 Way Shipping. However, currently Meade DOES NOT cover the ETX-LS under their SkyAssurance program. I contacted OPT concerning this as well and received some helpful and quite timely information. Right now Meade is in the process of having a bid approved (By their third party insurance company, forgot their name) to have the ETX-LS added to the SkyAssurance plan, but it could be a few more weeks or perhaps even months before a Yes or No is sent back. You can thank Vince at OPT for that information, which he got back to me on the same day. Overall here are my ratings all things considered: ETX-LS : Fair to Poor (The telescope I received has had some major issues it seems to me, and it's only redeeming aspect that I see right now is it's optics are superb, far superior to my 90/EC) Meade : Average (Customer service was good, but they have offered little helpful advice overall and of course there is the fact that I got a shoddy telescope) OPT : Outstanding (For anybody who doesn't know it yet, they have stupendous customer service and have been quite helpful to me thus far in all aspects, and I got the telescope something like 4 days after I ordered it) Thanks for reading, and I hope everybody else has an easier time with their new telescopes than I have thus far. Clear Skies, Michael Cox
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback Sent: Monday, August 24, 2009 07:18:30 From: Professional Family Consultants (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have just received my replacement ETX-LS scope. The first was returned to Meade in July due to severe alignment problems. I tried out the new scope this weekend (South-central Saskatchewan, Canada) and, unfortunately, the alignment was way off. Four different attempts over the weekend resulted in an inability of the scope to find any of the alignment stars, and on some occasions was even pointing below the horizon. Each time I was told (by the scope) to try setting up in a clear area away from trees and buildings. But I was on a high hill in the country overlooking a valley, no trees, and not one cloud that could obstruct the stars in the sky. I will try to retrain the drive, but I'm not too hopeful. I don't know if Meade runs any checks prior to shipping out their scopes, but reading the reviews, I know I'm not alone in my frustration with this scope. Francis StewartMike here: Where does the telescope point after it completes its North and Level determination and just before it starts slewing towards the first alignment star?
Thanks for the quick response. Just before it starts slewing to find the first guide star, the scope is facing northeast. By the way, your LS site and responses to the reviews are great.Mike here: Is the OTA level before it starts slewing to the star?
Yes, it is level.Mike here: Mine was NOT level; had a bad sensor apparently.
Subject: etx-ls Sent: Monday, August 24, 2009 06:41:47 From: Murray Harris (email@example.com) I just purchased the ETX-ls with version 1.07 firmware, I have not had any of the issues mentioned. I have used telescopes, but this is the first one I bought for myself, and it worked as advertised for me. I set up in my backyard, where i have a good view of the NW and SW sky's. I flipped the switch and 12 Min's later I was looking at Jupiter and 4 of its moons. Jupiter was not dead center, but it did point to all the stars in the today's best tour. I have a fair amount of light pollution so was not able to make out all objects. I do need to get some lens's as all I have is the plossl 26mm that came with it an d a meade series 5000 14mm. Any recomondetions for lenses that would go well with this telescope would be appreciated. M HarrisMike here: There are several articles on eyepieces on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page. And of course, look through the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page. Keep in mind the theoretical maximum magnification for any telescope (see the ETX FAQ page if you are unsure how to determine that).
Subject: Re: ETX LS 6 ACF GPS problems Sent: Sunday, August 23, 2009 19:02:47 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) just got back from my cottage where the GPS readout gave me again a city that i have never heard of (close to my place anyway) but you were right the Lat long were dead on. Still at my home ithey are off by 20Kmh southwest. One thing to note is that if you reboot, calculation may differ by 1 to 5 seconds on the Lat. but not on the Long. Also my problem with alignment seems to be partial : sometimes its right on , then its way off, pretty strange. By the way i did get additional eyepieces and its making a big difference tx , I was wondering what people will use as a monitor with the LS , i just checked the video output through my tv and the image is crappy as if it was to be broadcast on a computer monitor only , any thoughts ? TX for your ideas and input Jean-pierre BrieMike here: I'm not surprised that the GPS "location" would vary a little bit each time. That's probably within the allowed error for commercial receivers. As to a TV monitor, I'm waiting to another ETX-LS and then I hope to try my old composite video Apple II color monitor (assuming it still works; it has been boxed up for about 20 years!).
Subject: The ETX-LS telescope Sent: Saturday, August 22, 2009 20:46:28 From: Louis Welke (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have tried many times to get my LS to work correctly and have tried moving the telescope to different locations but got the same results. Today I read with great interest your problems with the LS you just received and you seem to have the very same problems I have had in alignment especially to where the scope points when slewing to Arcturus and you get a message about alignment failure almost exactly like I do. I had all of your reviews on this 'scope printed out so I can tell Meade what the problems I am having and hopefully they will have heard these same problems from other folks besides you and I and will find out why this is happening. I am going to call them and I am sure that just like you I will be sending back my LS and hopefully get a LS that does what it was advertised to do. Thanks very much for sharing your experience with all of us about your LS and letting many of us know that these problems seem to be common with the LS and Meade will investigate why it is happening. Best of luck in receiving another ETX-LS that works great. Louis Welke
I have a few questions to ask you about sending back my ETX-LS to Meade. when you sent your LS back did you send it back by UPS ? and did you have to pay for the shipping? or is this something that Meade will cover? And what did you include with the LS when you sent it back? did you send them any eyepieces or hand controller? or just the LS by itself in the original containers. I am going to call them and get a return number but wasn't sure about what else I need to do. Thanks so much for your help. Louis WelkeMike here: Meade will tell you how to ship and what to ship. If they are going to repair the telescope, you will likely just return the telescope itself. If they are going to swap it for a new one, you will send back the telescope and the accessories that were in the telescope box. You will not need to return the tripod. I hope you kept the original shipping boxes. As to cost, that will vary depending on what Meade determines. Usually, the owner has to pay for return shipping but not always.
I called Meade today and of course they wanted me to calibrate the finder/sensor based on the problems I was having, I am sure you did the same thing without any luck but I will jump through their hoops and see if this does any good. Thanks for getting back to me so soon. Clear skies Lou WelkeMike here: Yep, I did!
Subject: Your Meade LS Sent: Friday, August 21, 2009 07:58:27 From: Bill Stewart (BStewart@StewartComputer.com) Over on CloudyNights.com there is a thread on "ETX-LS Reviews?". On that thread there was a link to your site and it was brought up that Meade should have double-checked that scope before sending it to you. I posted that I'd bet that you bought it off the shelf and didn't get it directly from Meade. Is that the case? I am glad to see that they are replacing yours and hopefully they will make it right. My ETX-125PE has been back 6 times and they refused to replace it. I am sure that you have a bit more 'pull' with Meade, but I am sure that you will give a honest review of the LS. Is it possible for you to post on the thread on CloudyNights? Can I say I wrote to you and post your response? Thanks, Bill StewartMike here: As I clearly mention my review, "Meade sent me an ETX-LS 6" ACF". However, it did not go through any extra pre-shipping tests just because it was coming to me. So, whether the problem was a defective level sensor, or one that went bad quickly, or one that was somehow damaged in shipment, I don't know. Hopefully Meade will be able to determine that when it arrives back at their office. And yes, I have been known for honestly reporting the good, the bad, and the occasional ugly on my ETX Site. That will not change. You may cross-post this response to Cloudy Nights.
Thanks for your reply Mike. I have NO doubt that your reviews will be totally fair. I am looking forward to reading them. Bill
Subject: ETX-LS6 Sent: Thursday, August 20, 2009 11:07:27 From: Bellomy, Robert S. (ROBERT.S.BELLOMY@saic.com) I am sorry to hear of your problem with the ETX-LS. I finally sent mine in and Meade received it last Monday. I will probably call them to get an update as to what they have found or are going to do. I will update when I get word. Best regards, Robert Bellomy
Subject: ETX-LS First Light Report Sent: Thursday, August 20, 2009 01:20:14 From: John Farrant (email@example.com) I hope you and the better half are settling down in your new home. Good luck to you both. I think that Richard Plowman's first light report was right on the button. Without an external monitor there is no way to tell if the built in camera is in focus or not. The software won't then be able to recognise star patterns. Result - alignment failure ... Is the lens holder a screw in type or is it fixed? Twisting the lens cap as you remove it could cause the lens to shift in or out. Maybe some of these alignment problems are simply a result of an out of focus CCD camera. Because of our experiences with the ETX-AT/PE we tend to look for the worse that can happen - electrical failure, software bugs etc. The ETX-LS looks solidly built and I wish Meade every success. JohnMike here: Good question about the CCD lens. My new ETX-LS is back in the hands of UPS and I haven't yet received the replacement, so I can't check mine. Things are slowly getting settled here. Now that my observatory is up and running, I have a place to go when I want to get away from unpacking.
Subject: ETX LS 6 ACF GPS problems Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 13:56:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) I bought my ETX in July and have used it quite a lot even though the weather has been rather tough on us up north ! ( i live close to Montreal) . Now my problem with the GPS seems to be constant : I use the scope in two different location 100 miles apart and both give me a GPS location of at least 50 miles downsouth (both different of course). I did try to input manually my location (montreal) but then the scope says the alignement is succesfull but the last star chosen (Arcturus) is way off the finder. So i have to resolve on my slighltly southward location but then the scope is usable , objects are in the finder but consistently in the lower field of view. I did try the alignment procedure a few times but it did not change anything. i still have the finder alignment to try though... Should i be considering getting a new scope from Meade? By the way i am a complete newbie here, and i have to admit i was a bit disappointed with my first glimpse at the stars, i thought the objects would be bigger and brighter Jupite for instance is like a small dot with two dividing lines. Still, i enjoyed the pleasure of nightwatching a lot and look forward for more intensive session (weather permitting) I have V1.07 and i am very interested in your use of the scope with a mac as its the only laptop i have. Keep on the good work and thanks! Jean-pierre BrieMike here: The GPS named location may be off but are the lat/long coordinates correct for your location? They were on my ETX-LS even though the named location was 100 miles south. As to the alignment star pointing error, is your problem like what I've reported with my ETX-LS (on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page)? As to objects, remember that stars will not be magnified due to their extreme distance. With Jupiter (and many other planets) you will be able to see the planet's disk (and cloud bands, as you've seen) as well as some moons. To get additional magnification you need to additional eyepieces and/or a Barlow Lens.
Subject: Carry Case Feedback and Alignment Issues Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 13:58:35 From: Paul Forbes (PForbes@apotex.com) Just found your web site...great. I have the EXT-LS with Autostar III with version 1.07 with the latest updates...I think. 2 items of interest: 1) Carry Case: I found a less expensive option ($100). I found a perfect size hard shell luggage case that the foam the unit was shipped in, fits perfectly. I will get more info and attach a picture if people are interested. 2) I have also had firmware issues and alignment. When I first fired it up...I got the message " error please reload firmware"....I downloaded the firmware on the mini SD and loaded and the EXT appears to attempt the alignment process. Unfortunately it says "unable to find the alignment star" and appears to give up leaving me in manual mode. I bought this a few months ago and have not had a very enjoyable experience and bit embarrassed when I show friends my dysfunctional telescope. I have called the tech support with unclear inconsistent suggestions.....I am about to try to "retrain the drive".... I think I have a great telescope but it has not reached it potential I am losing energy. It may have been made on Monday after a long weekend...feel like sending it back Any thoughts based on your experience. Paul ForbesMike here: Are you experiencing the same pointing errors I reported on?
Purchased the ETX-LS on July 8, 2009 from Khan Scope Centre Toronto Ont. The issue may be similar to the pointer error mention in some of e-mails on the website. I consistently fails alignment and trying 'tonight's best" it doesn't slew to any objects. I figure I need to try to "train the drive" although I find the instruction confusing. I am considering calling Meade and asking for a replacement since I have been hampered with issues from initial start-up. Cheers, PaulMike here: See my report on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.
I read the article. I look forward to reading how you are able to resolve the alignment issue. Regarding the mini SD card. When I tried to take a picture the program froze on me. I talked to Meade and they said I needed to use a better quality card although somehow my card worked when I uploaded the firmware....go figure. I am hoping to resolve the alignment before messing with the CCD camera. PaulMike here: Odd about the card. I haven't purchased one yet. I wonder just what one I should get!
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback Sent: Monday, August 17, 2009 19:17:58 From: Andrew Ashworth (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm an ETX-105 owner - sadly not using it enough but that's more about skies on the Isle of Man than my appetite or the product. I've followed your site for some years and have learned much about my 'scope and the heavens from you and the others who post to or through you your commitment is as ever to be commended and is much appreciated. Glad to see your move has also gone well and am envious of your dedicated Skypod facility I wish you the best of happiness in your new home. So pleasantries aside, to the point of this note.... I was/am still interested in the ETX-LS and in Meade generally. Having read your detailed 1st light experiences I expect I share your fear that this could be yet another debacle for Meade if they don't get this to work properly. I've read their accounts with their restructuring plans and it is so disappointing that their star product (sic) looks to be suffering from some of the same old quality / functionality problems. I can only hope they get themselves sorted else I fear we'll all be remembering the 'good old days' when Meade was a great optical co but lost its way ... Ah well, you can lead a horse to water but..... Best regards Andrew AshworthMike here: I'm sure Meade will get it sorted out. They have apparently sorted out the LX90 problems I had (before they switched me to a LX200). There have been only a few reported problems with the ETX-LS like I experienced. I'm looking forward to getting a replacement soon.
Subject: Macintoshes versus the ETX-LS Sent: Sunday, August 16, 2009 19:00:44 From: richard seymour (email@example.com) Just quickly reading your USB note, USB-A is the "command" end of a USB hookup (so the scope may command some external device, such as a disk drive), whereas USB-B is the "peripheral" end of a USB hookup... (so the scope is commanded by the external PC. have fun --dickMike here: Thanks for the clarification. I just assumed they were labeled A and B, top to bottom!
Do the sockets both have the same -shape-? USB-A is the flat wide connector USB-B is the "monopoly house" shaped connector. (and then there's dear old Apple... whose USB-A socket/cable for their keyboards had an interfering ridge and slot... you could use a standard USB-A/A cable for an Apple keyboard, but you couldn't use an Apple keyboard "USB" cable for -anything- else, not even as an extension cord for itself. grump grump grump.... typical Apple...) have fun --dick (2500 miles from his Apples)Mike here: They are shaped as you described.
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback Sent: Monday, August 10, 2009 21:04:05 From: Louis Welke (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am beginning to see situations that may cause the ETX-LS to fail to find alignment stars which then cause a failure for alignment. It seemed that usually my first alignment star that my LS slews to is Arcturus which is among the brightest stars in the sky I receive a verbal message that "the telescope's CCD finder camera is trying to find the alignment star" which tells me that unless the alignment star is visible and not hidden by clouds I will receive a verbal message that it could not find the star. Arcturus has always been bright and in a clear part of the sky so then a good alignment was made, but all the other stars that my LS slewed to were very difficult to see by eyesight maybe because they were behind some clouds so the CCD camera couldn't find those stars and so it failed to find that alignment star. So the entire alignment procedure is dependent on the CCD camera. Does this sound right to you ?? Lou WelkeMike here: Since the concept and technology behind the "LS" model is to use the imager to "see" the alignment stars, yes, if the stars are not visible or not easily imaged due to light pollution or other factors, then the alignment would fail.
Sent: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 10:13:11 Heres hoping that you have your ETX-LS up and running and also you don't have the problems I have with it. I haven't seen anywhere in the LS reviews about alignment failures After the scope slews and after several steps in the alignment it will then go to another alignment star in my case the first star was Arcturus which aligned right in the center of view after several steps it takes with the CCD camera it then went to Izzar which seems to be below Arcturus and a little to the right. After several steps involving the CCD camera the last motion brought the scope to where Izzar was right in the center of view, I then received a message that Alignment failed and to try again. How could alignment fail when the alignment star was in the center of view?? I was still able to call up Stars, Constellations, Planets, etc, and the scope would slew to the general area but not to the individual Star or Galaxy. However even with that a object in view would stay in view for over a half hour until the tracking couldn't keep up. It seems that even after alignment failure it will track objects you slew to but not the way it should (The tracking is slower than the objects movement) I really like this scope and the optics are first rate but wonder if the electronics are out of kilter. Louis WelkeMike here: Not yet. Was out last night trying to view Perseid meteors! And today, working with a contractor at the house. I recall in the ETX-LS manual there was some info about aligning the imager to the telescope optics. Don't know if that will help you though.
Thanks for the comeback so soon, I was also outside trying to view the Perseid meteors but didn't see very much at all. I will check out the manual about aligning the imager with the optics. As always thanks for your help. Louis Welke
Subject: [none] Sent: Sunday, August 9, 2009 21:33:32 From: yugugy kokl (email@example.com) Hi, I recently received my ETX-LS version 1.07 and turned it on the 1st night. It went through Find Home and North and Mount Tilt. It then goes to find stars like Arcturus and others, but it can never find them. I read the manual and it suggested that I Train the Drive, but this option does not show up in the AutoStar III menu. What do I do?!?!Mike here: Just discovered your message in my SPAM folder as there was no subject line. PLEASE read the Email Etiquette on the ETX Site Home Page; thanks for understanding. When did you receive the ETX-LS (for the table I'm preparing)? As to training the drive, see Figure 6 in the manual as well as Appendix A.
Hi, I received my ETX-LS on August 4th. As for the problems, you said go to Autostar Menu Tree and Appendix A. My Autostar menu does not give me the option to go to Setup then Telescope in order to train the drive. Also under the calibrate menu, the manual says there should be a Smart Drive, Finder Darks, and Finder Bias options, but these do not show up.Mike here: You got yours the day before I received mine. Unfortunately, mine is still in the shipping boxes as I'm still unpacking and getting organized from my recent move. Your manual must be newer (or at least different) than the one I downloaded from Meade's web site. In Figure 6 of the PDF manual I only see three items under Calibrate: Azimuth Drive, Altitude Drive, and Finder Center. The first two items would be what you select to TRAIN DRIVES (terminology has changed for the ETX-LS models). I hope to unpack the ETX-LS later this week (with some luck).
Subject: Your ETX site Sent: Friday, August 7, 2009 12:24:48 From: Bellomy, Robert S. (ROBERT.S.BELLOMY@saic.com) I am trying some different things with my ETX-LS, but still have concerns about the GPS and the scope not being able to find stars. A few nights ago, the GPS located me in San Clemente rather than Redlands. This occurred after I took the scope to the front yard where there are not any large obstructions and the view of the night sky is much better. Also, I have tried to use the SD card, but no joy. I am planning on packaging up the telescope this weekend and send it in to Meade. I will keep you updated on this issue. Did you receive your LS ?? Robert BellomyMike here: It is always possible that the GPS unit is bad. Got the ETX-LS. Hope to get it set up in a few days although unpacking and getting organized from the move still has priority!
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback Sent: Thursday, August 6, 2009 20:50:20 From: Louis Welke (firstname.lastname@example.org) Tonight I took out my ETX-LS telescope and tried again to get it to do what was advertised. It is strange that it seems to get a GPS fix and after it goes through several other functions and then it slews to Arcturus and yes Arcturus is in the viewing area it then goes through taking pictures It then slews to another star which does not show in the viewing area, It tries to find the star but can't and tells me to retry. After all that I move the telescope manually to a double star in the big dipper and it seems to keep it in the viewing area for quite a long time as if it was tracking it. I have not taken any pictures yet even though the camera is active but no SD card in the slot. Be aware that a SD card in the slot may be tricky to get back out and if left in there the telescope won't work the next time you power it up. Lou WelkeMike here: In my brief look through the PDF manual from Meade's site, I did see that the card should not be left in when the telescope is powered up. That seems to put it in the software update mode. I hope to get my ETX-LS unpacked in the next few days.
I was very happy that you will be joining us as ETX-LS telescope users. Instead of complaining about all the problems I have had with the LS This time something went right. On Thurs. 8-06 at about 10:30 Pm I activated my ETX -LS 'scope and the first time it slewed to Arcturus (after going through several other steps) but when it tried to slew to Altair it couldn't find Altair it then tried to slew to another star and failed again. I then began using it manually and it seemed to track good for a long time. I tried one more time to use it as advertised and had another failure. I then shut it down and went inside. About 12:30 am 8-07 I went back out and activated my LS 'scope again and after it slewed to several stars I received a message that there was a power failure and it was saving and the 'scope froze up and I had to turn it off and restart. After it went through all the steps again and after slewing I received the power fail message again. This time I powered up the LS using my Celestron Power Tank that supplies 12V output and after the LS went through the usual steps it began slewing first to Vega and then to Altair and to another star about 40 degrees above the eastern horizon (maybe Aldebaran) I then looked through the eyepiece and saw that third star almost in the center of view then I received a message that I have a successful alignment and proceed to explore the skies. The Moon was in the SE part of the sky then and clouds were coming in but when I told it to goto the Moon it placed it right in the center of view. I noticed a bright object next to the Moon and figured it was Jupiter and told it to goto Jupiter and it placed Jupiter almost in the center of view and even though it was clouding up Jupiter looked very good. So all in all I had a successful session and this told me that there is nothing wrong with my ETX-LS and it is the conditions at the time you use your LS that cause a a success or fail. Lou WelkeMike here: Seems like the ETX-LS will eat batteries!
Yeh you are right about eating batteries, I think I should have taken them out when not using the ETX-LS Lou
I'll be waiting to hear about you using the ETX-LS, it's great that all of us ETX-LS users can compare notes and help each other. Lou
Subject: RE: Meade ETX-LS 6 ACF Sent: Monday, August 3, 2009 10:06:21 From: Robert Bellomy (email@example.com) my autostar handheld controller version says 1.07. GPS appears to be way off. This time it located me in SAN CLEMENTE VS REDLANDS. I WILL COMPARE TO MY LX200R GPS.
Subject: ETX-LS AutoStar III version Sent: Sunday, August 2, 2009 11:24:21 From: Eddie Kennedy (firstname.lastname@example.org) I was one of the first to receive an ETX-LS, mine lives up to it's claims. My software version is 1.07 for the AutoStar III, on a positive again mine works as advertised and I would advise anyone if the scope doesn't work right just return it for one that does. I used my scope last night (8/01/09) it was cloudy so the only thing I could look at was the moon, the scope performed great at the image at 58x the 26mm that came with it. I say to you that have problems with these scope just return them and get one that works right. The date was Wednesday 6/3/2009 I used it the same night I recieved it a Balboa Park at the "stars in the park" star party. I am a member of San Diego Astronomy Association sdaa.org. From a satisfied Etx-Ls owner
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback Sent: Saturday, August 1, 2009 16:47:20 From: Dave Gmail (email@example.com) I was poking around looking for a site to review my initial experiences with the ETX-LS ACF. I found your site so I should let you know that I am using version 1.07. I was able to receive mine on July 16th and was fortunate to be able to buy it on-line without having pre-ordered it. I have no astronomy experience, so I figured this scope would help me learn the night sky. I have not been disappointed thus far. I have used it in the countryside and at home north of seattle - in a suburban setting. It has autoaligned each time properly, not counting the first attempt where a neighbors bright light caused issues. I have yet to use the SD slot - I thought it truly was SD. Looks like I will have to get the mini card and adapter mentioned on your webpage. So far, in my suburban setting, I have gotten to see the ring nebula and dumbbell nebula. So I give Meade a thumbs up for a properly working scope. I'll be excited to see what it can do with better atmospheric conditions and away from the city. Thanks! Dave
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