GENERAL FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 December 2007

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 Electric Focuser problems and review .
Sent:	Monday, December 31, 2007 19:26:48
From:	Frederick James Witney (fredwitney@fastmail.fm)
Seasons Greetings Mike .
 
Thanks to Marks post 01/08/04.

I have at last rejuvenated my ETX-125 AT`s Electric Focuser .

It worked fine ,but has been very very noisy and slightly jumpy ,not
smooth .

A strip down today , a clean and re-grease has made it a worthy unit and
sort of ,,,quiet (ish) now .

Its still a very expensive accessory but works well hooked up to the
Autostar controller .

Your  site is still the best Mike ,thanks
 
Fred

Subject:	ETX125 Lost Alt/Dec Movement
Sent:	Monday, December 31, 2007 15:24:55
From:	Bonnie Konowitz (BonnieK@salida-co.us)
Your site has been invaluable in helping me learn about my scope and
solve problems as encountered.  This time, however, I am unable to find
any method for troubleshooting and/or solving my latest issue which is
the loss of all alt/dec movement of the scope from the Autostar.

The scope is an ETX-125 AT with a 427 Autostar and is 2 years old.  
Meade replaced the original Autostar handbox under warranty in the 1st
year.  The last time I used the scope, about 2 weeks ago, everything was
fine.   Today I loaded a new tour I wrote (something I've done countless
times) and comet Tuttle.  After doing so I reinitialized the scope and
simulating a Easy Align it would only slew horizontally.  After once
again reinitializing I tried using the up & down buttons with no
movement however the left & right work fine.

I verified the clutch on the fork is not too loose or too tight.  I then
reversed the handbox cable as suggested on the site and no change.  I
also opened the base of the unit and saw no obvious problems there.  I
have to admit I am unqualified to go any further into the internal
workings.

Next I tried the Calibrate Motors which only moved horizontally.  Same
problem with trying Train Drives.

Next I performed the Autostar reset with no change.  Then I reloaded the
flash with the version it has (43Ea) no change and then updated to the
latest version 43Eg, still with no change.

At this point I am seeking advice on any additional troubleshooting
suggestions.  At a minimum it would be great if I could determine
whether it can be isolated to either something in the Autostar or inside
the scope.  I had to ship the whole scope for the last Autostar
replacement and if possible would really like to avoid the significant
cost, lost time and inconvenience if unnecessary.  Any suggestions are
greatly appreciated.

Wishing you and yours a Happy & Prosperous New Year,

Jim Konowitz
Nathrop, CO,  USA
Mike here: Two thoughts - the Right Tube Adapter has failed or a wire to the DEC motor has been cut or disconnected. If you lock the axis, can you easily move the OTA up and down by hand? If so, the RTA has failed. If that test passes, can you hear any motor running when you attempt to slew up/down?

And:

Locking the axis (on the fork) it is quite difficult to move the OTA up
& down.  There is no sound at all from the motor when attempting the
up/down slew.  Sorry, I should have mentioned that.....
Mike here: No sound is bad. Is there no sound at even the fastest ("9" on the AutoStar keypad) slew setting? If not, there is likely either a wire cut or disconnected or the motor has gone bad.

And:

There is no sound at speed 9 so it sounds like the problem is most
likely in the scope. Based on your questions it sounds like there is
either no easy way to determine if the Autostar is the problem or if it
is inside the scope. Unless you have any other ideas, guess I'll be
contacting Meade for instructions for sending it off to them for the
final determination and repair.

Thanks so much for your great web site supporting our ETX community and
your fast assistance with this.

Jim K.
Mike here: It is not likely to be an AutoStar problem. And a motor failure is not too likely. If static electricity is a problem, some spark could have messed up something in the AutoStar or the circuit board inside the ETX base but I really suspect a wiring problem.
Subject:	Happy New Year for the UK
Sent:	Monday, December 31, 2007 15:14:12
From:	PETER SMITH (psmithuk@btinternet.com)
Wishing you and yours all the best wishes for the New Year in your new
home.

Hoping for clear skies soon the old ETX has found a new home...(Free
"loan" to someone)... and the Celestrons just waiting for clear skies
although the little use its had so far makes me think it was the right
thing to do (well apart from the fact im going to have to wait at least
8 weeks for a wedge in the UK when there in stock everywhere in the US -
Meade and Celestron are "blocking" shipments to Non US customers outside
the US - will still allow items to be sent to US Forces etc ).

SkyAlign is just so much easier to use than the AutoAlign on the Meade
and the "Gotos" are amazing even better now im using a 12mm reticule
eyepiece during alignment!

My only regret...There's no equivalent resource to your exellent site
for the "Celestrons" .....

Have found links to some of my "articles" on your site other sites....

Will keep in touch even though I have moved to the "Dark Side" if thats
OK.

Peter Smith (UK)

Subject:	ETX 125 PE alignment not consistant
Sent:	Monday, December 24, 2007 23:09:58
From:	Ken Sikes (KGSikes@cox.net)
As you may (or may not) remember I was having star alignment problems
with my ETX 125 PE, thus no goto's on any objects. After talking with a
couple Meade dealers I was forced to sent my ETX back to Meade. I mailed
it out on 5 Nov 2007 after calling and getting a return repair order
number. I included a lengthy list of the  scopes problems . I called
Meade on Nov 21 and found out it did not get into repair until Nov 14
(it arrived there on Nov 8). The person I was talking to had no clue as
to the status of the ETX except that it was on the list to be repaired.

I waited another two weeks and called Meade once again, I found out even
less this time as far as the status of my ETX. I asked how I would be
notified when it was being returned and I was told It would show up at
my door !  How's that for customer service!! Dec 19 at 7:00 PM I
received a phone call from a Meade rep saying that my ETX was shipped
and I would be receiving it on Dec 21. I asked what was done to it and
all he would say was there would be a list. Again so much for the Meade
quality department. I was out of town until Dec 22 so I did not get to
open and inspect the scope.  When I picked up the box I heard something
rattling around and had a very uneasy feeling. I opened the box to find
the scope in a plastic bag and the left side Dec circle on top of the
plastic bag. The dec circle was broken off of the fork and just tossed
on top of the scope.

Since  this is a sample of Meade quality repair service I will never
have anything else to do with Meade. I have heard other horror stories
about Meade but was in disbelief until now.

As far as the repairs a check list was included listing the parts that
were replaced or adjusted. The RA Circle was replaced, a useless
decoration only part. The RA gear was adjusted , RA motor noise, check
GPS, electronics check, and checked RA and Dec alignment. Handbox update
and cleaned the RA motor.

When I tried to use the scope on the night of the 22 I had some better
luck, about 10 % of the time a goto would put a star near the edge of
the field of the 26 mm eyepiece, so basically the same problem. Tonight
I tried a different type of test. After the star alignment I did a goto
on Polaris of course it was off so I centered Polaris did a sync and
then performed a goto to Procyon, it hit center a goto to Rigel and it
was also in the field. I had some good results with Aldebaran, Capella
and Betelgeuse. Then I did a goto back to Polaris and it would overshoot
to the west every time.

During the test goto's if I would make any corrections using the
directional control buttons on the hand paddle the west over shoot on
Polaris was even greater. I thought maybe the Alt and Az locks were
loose, I tighten them as much as I dared. Can the gear ratio numbers be
set incorrect in the hand paddle or am I just expecting more than the
ETX is capable of ?

Ken Sikes
Mike here: Sorry to hear about the shipping problem; hard to say where that occurred but it does some odd that the DEC scale was outside the bag. As to your test, it is really an invalid test as syncing on Polaris is very prone to errors due to the convergence of RA near the Celestial Pole. So back up a step; did you do a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES when you got the telescope back from Meade?
Subject:	ETX Focusers
Sent:	Sunday, December 23, 2007 15:24:49
From:	Bill VanOrden (beevo@cox.net)
IMHO (for what it counts) the discontinued Meade focuser was
discontinued for good reason, it is junk!  I have had the displeasure to
be involved with 4 of them, one mine, 3 owned by friends and others. 
ALL of them would "click" and not change focus at some point in the
travel.  The plastic gear train is a poor at best design.  The older JMI
unit (I can send a picture if needed) has a large knob on the focuser
shaft and uses an Oring for a belt.  This allows you to use it manually
if you desire, something the current JMI or all of the Meade units do
not offer.
 
Beevo
 
Tempe, AZ (north of Oracle)

Subject:	Electronic focuser
Sent:	Friday, December 21, 2007 18:21:18
From:	avl net (avlnet@hotmail.com)
Would appreciate your suggestions on where I can buy an electronic
focuser which I could use for my meade ETX 125?

Thx
-Alfonso
Mike here: Meade has discontinued its model although you might still found one; check Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page). Also, JMI has one that will work (link also on the Astronomy Links page).

And:

Wow, that was a quick response, thx a lot.

Sorry to bother again, but I looked at both web sites and although I
found them I am not sure which one to select, since it does not say if
they will work with the ETX 125.

I did request additional information from them, but would appreciate if
can provide the name of any specific models which will work for my
telescope.

thx again
-Alfonso
Mike here: The (now discontinued) Meade #1247 Electric Focuser (see the review on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page) is one that will work. The JMI web site has their own model but their site shows that it is temporarily out of stock.
Subject:	RE: etx125 on my equatorial wedge
Sent:	Friday, December 21, 2007 15:51:48
From:	jon (zeron@btinternet.com)
i think i understand what you meant, but please find attached a picture
of the scope on the mount facing north and rotated completely
anticlockwise to the stop.
So ,mike please advise from hear,

Regards
jon

photo

Mike here: It appears that you are at the correct hard stop. Now just complete the setup by rotating the OTA/forks to move the eyepiece to be on top (about 120 degrees).

And:

Thanks, the only trouble i see now is that when i switch on and do
single star align for polaris the scope starts rotating clockwise and
the eyepiece position ends upsidedown instead of what i thought it would
do per rotating clockwise from where it is in the picture to an upright
position
jon
Mike here: When doing a One Star align it tries to position Polaris in the eyepiece on the correct side of the Celestial Pole. Try using a Two Star align.

And:

Ok, the reasoni used one star is in the after effect of aligning per
find polar,adjust mechanically,find other star eliminate half error per
handset ect,i can of course do this after a two star alignement i quess,

Ok mike,thanks,
jon
Mike here: Yes, the One Star alignment will help you align to the Earth's axis (I do this with my LXD75-8"SC) but with the ETX you have to accept the eyepiece position as the AutoStar rotates the OTA around the Celestial axis.

And:

Thanks mike, you are as always a great help,i can understand it a bit
better, does the etx know when a nights tracking of an object is near a
travel stop when past the selesial equator ,or will it continue to drive
when it reaches the hard stop position,

Regards
jon
Mike here: During GOTOs, the AutoStar will avoid the two built-in horizontal hard stops (assuming that the initial HOME position was correct).
Subject:	Meade MySky
Sent:	Friday, December 21, 2007 06:33:19
From:	PETER SMITH (psmithuk@btinternet.com)
Forgot to tell you I got a Meade MySky as well had a play with it last
night and so far everyone whos tried it thinks its great until you tell
them the price!

Plan is.... To make a quick release mount so that it can mount
co-aligned with the 25x100s on the big parallel mount ;)
 
Cheers
 
Peter

Subject:	etx125 on my equatorial wedge
Sent:	Thursday, December 20, 2007 15:57:20
From:	jon (zeron@btinternet.com)
Sort me out please, i have put my new  etx on the wedge in the polar
home position, i notice that i can revolve the scope clockwise two turns
then anticlockwise two turns, before i lock it up and do my one star
align ,should i position the scope one turn ie mid way,, as i have
noticed that before when i did my successful easy align ,when i searched
for mars and slewed to see where it would be later on the motor reached
the limit to turn it any more clockwise
 
Best regards
Jon
uk
Mike here: The polar mode alignment is almost the same. Leave the tube perpendicular to the fork arms for the first rotation and rotate CCW to the first hard stop (just like when in Alt/Az mode; about 120 degrees). Then rotate the tube back "towards" True North (about 120 degrees); the tube will be pointed down at the ground. Then raise the tube so that it is parallel to the fork arms. If the fork arms are pointed to True North (the Celestial Pole) you'll be OK. For more on polar aligning see the "Alignment Tips" section on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.

And:

Thanks for replying, im confused.
My scope is mounted on eq mount ,tube is pointing north parallel to fork
tynes,
Ill send a pic
Thanks mike
Mike here: Even on the wedge, it should look like the graphic in the article "Polar Home Position w/Graphic" on the AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	ETX and LX 90
Sent:	Wednesday, December 19, 2007 14:58:44
From:	Jan H Kolst (koja@tele2.no)
I've an ETX and an LX 90. I was wondering about the current consumption.
Since both can use the same ac/dc adapter I would like to know the
watt-consumption. I've bought an eliminator/adapter for 12 v 1,4 A.The
eliminator/adapter will only operate products at max.15 W.I think it
won't operate the ETX and LX 90,or will it?

I'm really enjoying my LX 90 because it so stable and accurate in
finding the objects.I've had the same Autostar version for 6 months
without calibrating afterwards and everything is working nicely.Hope
you'll have a nice and peacefull Christmas with your family at your new
place.
 
Season greetings
 
Jan
 
Norway
Mike here: I've operated my ETX-125 and LXD75-8"SC at the same time using the Celestron PowerTank 7AH model without any problems. And they use different Meade AC adapters (1.5A for the ETX and 2.5A for the LXD). You could be OK, at least as long as both telescopes aren't slewing at the same time.

And:

The eliminator/adapter will only operate products consuming max 15
watts, How much does the ETX and the LX consume? I'm asking because the
ETX and the LX stopped working when slewing to the first alignment star
using the NEW adapter.That is the Autostar went "black". Using the
normal ETX adapter everything works fine.The NEW adapter is Vanson AC/DC
marked 12V 1.4A  16.8 VA max.
Mike here: 1.4A could work (but perhaps unreliably) with the ETX since the ETX will want 1.5A. Adding the LX90 to the adapter will not work as the AC adapter is unpowered for both telescopes.
Subject:	re: Home Position, ETX-125EC
Sent:	Monday, December 17, 2007 21:50:27
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Yes, as Mike said, you pick up everything and point it north.
An easier way to -start- is to point the power panel -west-.

One comment in your note bothers me:
> Common sense tells me that after the CCW and CW rotation (which ends
> with the tube looking over the center of the computer control panel),

That shouldn't be correct.
I'm going to start with the power panel facing west.
You spin CCW until you hit the stop.
The telescope should now be pointing kind'a southwest.
Now, to requote your quote from the manual:
"Next turn the telescope clockwise until the fork arm is directly
over the computer control panel and lock the horizontal axis"
That says to put the -fork- over the power panel.

IF the power panel is on the west side of the mount,
then this should make the telescope itself point due -north-.

To get back to your ">" section above, this should put the tube
pointing 90 degrees CW from the power panel, and the -fork-
(the one with the DEC/Alt numbered scale) should be over the power panel.

Just trying to clarify...
have fun
--dick
p.s the above setup method is for the -EC models of telescope.
Folks with the -PE model stop at the hard stop, and then let
the LNT module take over

And:

From:	Mike Pilgrim (mpilgrim@bellsouth.net)
Thanks to both of you (Mike and Dick) for the quick and informative
replies.  Dick, you are very perceptive in picking up on my
misunderstanding (placing the tube .. instead of the fork arm .. over
the power panel). Prior to receiving your note however, I ventured out
to the back patio last night, and using my (misinformed) alignment, the
two "alignment stars" were visible in the viewfinder,  each requiring
only minimal "ARROW KEY" effort to center them. Once "Alignment
Successful" was confirmed, I then accomplished several successful "GO
TO" exercises; at least the targets were visible in the viewfinder and
in the scope, but admittedly required fine tuning to get them centered
and keep them there.  Even through my fumbling and misdirection, I was
fully amused to note that after 4 minutes of slewing on Rigel, it
remained exactly centered for me........ I can't wait for our next clear
night for viewing so I can employ the knowledge from both of you in
anticipation of finally "getting the picture" and development of a solid
foundation of understanding as I hope to soon employ Autostar Suite via
my PC, to include some astrophotography with my new DSI Pro.

Speaking of Autostar Suite, Mike I appreciate you pointing me (in a note
a few days ago) to helpful discussions on how to utilize the Networking
capability to accomplish port sharing on the Comm port.  My initial
thought was to have total control from my laptop located on the back
porch which will be connected via the USB/Serial bridge cable to the
scope.  If I understand the Networking concept however, using my
existing wireless LAN, I can configure the required 2nd PC here in the
confines of my office, and effectively have full control of that comm.
port on the laptop.  Perhaps that is the ultimate answer.  If so, then I
need to continue troubleshooting my Autostar Network connect failure. 
So far, I see evidence of the two PCs connecting, but after a few
seconds, the 2nd PC disconnects with a message "Read Timeout".  It's
probably a minor oversight, so I'll scour your web site for more answers
while I continue to overcome this glitch. (One never knows, but maybe I
have confused this concept too, thinking that 2 PCs are required.  That
sounds strange however, such as for the rare occasion that I might like
to take the scope to a viewing site away from home.  I can't imagine
that I'd require two PCs to enable AutoStar Suite, remote handbox, and
DSI.  Surely, I'll see the light before that opportunity presents
itself).

In the meantime, in the confines of my "test environment" here in my
home office, I can effectively switch between the remote handbox and
Autostar Suite by switching my Comm Port connection on the Laptop as
required.  I suppose my next lesson will be to hook up and see how the
DSI is going to work in that (single PC) mode.

So, to each of you, thanks for the expert advice on the proper alignment
procedure.  As you can see, I'm only now entering what will obviously be
a very steep learning curve.

Sincerely,

Mike Pilgrim, 
Boca Raton, Fl
Mike here: The AutoStar Suite networking does work with a single computer; in fact, that is how it gets around the serial port "in-use" problem by the multiple AutoStar Suite applications. You could still control the AutoStar Suite computer from another computer using something like the free VNC applications (which I use on my Macs; Windows versions are available).

And:

Thanks Mike.  As I have said, "I may be slow, but I'm old"......... I'm
beginning to understand (finally), and I have just now succeeded in
"connecting" my two PCs using Dick's helpful discussion of November 04,
2003.  With the laptop comm. port connected to the scope, through the
network connection I have the remote handbox active on my desktop PC. 
Looks like I can select all items on the remote menu tree, with my only
troubling observation being that "Reverse L/R" on remote seems not to
have an effect......Whether on or off, "W" moves scope East, and "E"
moves it West. On the "real handbox" ON/OFF works and produces desired
results.  I'm not going to worry about that detail for now, as I need to
go explore other functions from the Desktop PC............. And then
with my laundry list of questions, I'll dive back into relevant topics
on your web site.

Thanks again for getting me headed in the right direction.

Mike Pilgrim
Boca Raton, Fl

PS.  PCs here are:

Desktop: Pentium 4, 1gig memory, running WinXP/Pro, Internet connected
via DSL, and on a 4-system wireless LAN here in the house
Laptop: Pentium 4, 556M memory, WinXP/Pro, connected via wireless LAN to
the other PCs and to the Internet.

And:

>... with my only troubling
>observation being that "Reverse L/R" on remote seems not to have an
>effect......Whether on or off, "W" moves scope East, and "E" moves 
> it West.

This is correct.   (well, -you're- not doing anything wrong).

There is (what some of us consider) a bug, well, an operational
difficulty in Remote Handbox which causes this effect.

(you may safely ignore the following if you don't need the details):
The dirty details are that for all keys **except the major slew keys**,
Remote Handbox sends the appropriate keycode to the Autostar to cause
the Autostar firmware to "push" the keys involved. 

*Except* the slew keys... for those four keys, Remote Handbox does
-not- send the "push the left arrow key" code... instead, it sends
the "Classic LX200 Serial Control Protocol" code for "Move West"
(or north or south or east).  ( :Mw# :Ms# ,etc.) 
And -those- commands are not affected by the "Swap L/R" and "U/D" 
settings, since they directly invoke "spin CW", "spin CCW", etc.
They're not "keypad" commands, so the "keypad options" don't affect 
them.
Meade -could- have "done it right" by sending the keycodes,
and then the "swap" choices would hold true.
But they didn't.

(don't ignore the following)
have fun
--dick

And:

Dick, I truly thank you for clarifying the issue with the L/R movement
on the remote handbox.  Thanks.

I have just completed upgrading my AutostarSuite with the latest
download from Meade (Version 3.23).  I note that some commands in the
remote handbox are now slower to respond than what I experienced from
the actual CD version of the software (I think it is version 2.0). 
Nonetheless, I have a functional, networked system, so I think I am
ready to incorporate my DSI tomorrow.

After lots of reading through Mike's web site information, I realize
that I will need a focuser to facilitate full remote control from the
far side of the house, so I'm zeroing in on the Meade 1247 based on all
that I have read about it (compared to the alternatives).  If you have
another product for my consideration, I'd welcome your input.  At one
point I was leaning toward the JMI Motofocus, but soon learned it does
not accommodate Autostar Suite control.  What I liked about it was the
miniature size and very positive reports of it's performance. 
Unfortunately, it has that one very limiting factor for my desired
implementation.

Thanks again for your muchly appreciated assistance.

I'm particularly happy to have found you guys at this stage in my novice
astronomy experience.  My first and only previous exposure was circa
1988 (I think) when my 15 yr old son came to live with me.  He expressed
an interest in astronomy, to which my response was a garage sale
purchase of a 6", motor driven reflector scope.  Through many early
morning adventures (2am to 6am) my son and I experienced our first real
"bonding" experience which was highlighted by excellent piggy back 35mm
photos of Haley's comet.  My son then discovered girls, so the "bonding"
went by the wayside, along with the scope which quickly deteriorated and
ended up in the trash.

Jeff (my son) never again mentioned astronomy until two weeks ago when
he and his family arrived for our Thanksgiving holiday when he proudly
carted in his brand new ETX-125PE.  I knew then that I was about to step
into yet another hobby which I certainly have little time or financial
resources for. Nonetheless, I immediately located and purchased this
ETX-125EC, and from our discussions I believe you know the rest of the
story..... I have stepped in to the hilt.

My son and I maintain frequent email and cellphone contact, and through
this new-found and renewed mutual interest, we again are finding an
opportunity for some long, lost bonding opportunity.

Thanks for your help.

Mike Pilgrim
Boca Raton, Fl
Mike here: Glad we can be of some help. That is why I started the ETX Site back in 1996. Welcome back to the Universe, to both of you!

And:

You may be able to have your JMI and run it, too...

I believe the JMI can accept a "standard" 8 to 12v DC input
at its plug (especially if the plug is a "stereo" plug).

You can buy a Meade 909 APM (Auxiliary Peripheral Module),
which plugs into the ETX's AUX socket.  The 909 has a stereo
socket intended to accept "standard" focusers (such as Meade's
1209 microfocuser for the LX90 and LX200 families).

Meade only "supports" the 909 on LX90's and LXD scopes
(the autostar ignores it, otherwise)

My firmware patch kits bypass that marketing dunderheadedness,
and -allow- 909 operation on all 497-controlled Meade scopes.
(i have one on my ETX90 (for testing)).
It also provides illuminated reticle control from the Autostar.

The patch kits are downloaded from Mike's site (of course) as
sublinks from his "Autostar Info" page.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Home Position, ETX-125EC
Sent:	Monday, December 17, 2007 16:42:28
From:	Mike Pilgrim (mpilgrim@bellsouth.net)
Mike, as a "newbie", I'm struggling with the proper procedure for "home
position".  According to the book, "Begin by releasing the ETX
horizontal lock lever.  Turn the telescope counterclockwise to it's
stop.  Next turn the telescope clockwise until the fork arm is directly
over the computer control panel and lock the horizontal axis"

So far, so good.  Next, it says "With the telescope in the home position
(level and pointed North, press Enter".  This is the confusing part. 
What it fails to say is that before I press Enter, it apparently wants
me to pick up the tripod and locate the whole scope such that the tube
is pointing at true north.  Is that what it is trying to tell me?

I've looked high and low through your web site for clarification, but
failed to see the topic discussed.

Common sense tells me that after the CCW and CW rotation (which ends
with the tube looking over the center of the computer control panel),
then the intent is to have me to lift and turn the entire assembly such
that the scope is pointing north.  Pardon my inability to grasp, but I
think I'm suffering from "Oldhimer's".........as I just celebrated my
65th birthday.

It's a perfectly clear night in south Florida tonight, although quite
chilly for us (temp dropping now into low 50's)  The scope is perched on
the patio with Autostar and power plug applied, so I'm hopeful of making
my first successful sightings.  Today I trained the drives, aligned the
spotter scope, and I feel I'm ready, except for this nagging "home
position" question.
 
Thanks for a great web site.
 
Sincerely,
 
Mike Pilgrim
Boca Raton, Fl
Mike here: There are several articles on alignment on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. But after you do the rotation from the hard stop to place the fork arm over the control panel (about 120 degrees) you then pick up the tripod/telescope assembly and rotate the whole shebang until the telescope tube is pointed to point to True North on the horizon (keeping the tube level).
Subject:	ETX-125 modified electric focuser
Sent:	Saturday, December 15, 2007 04:15:50
From:	Japetus (japetus@freemail.gr)
there is someone at ebay that has recently started selling what he calls
"meade #1247 replacements". As we know, meade has discontinued the
production of the #1247 electric focusers for the ETX-125AT as they
won't fit at the 125PE.

Apparently the guy in ebay  took  the meade 1244 electric focusers
designed for the 105 and made a custom modification in order to fit the
125. As he says, this involves custom drilling of the telescope case so
it voids any warranties.

I wanted to know if any of your readers has seen this and perhaps tested
it in action...
 
Kind regards,
    Nick
Mike here: Haven't heard of any reports.
Subject:	Setting up the ETX125PE following a complete " RESET "
Sent:	Saturday, December 15, 2007 02:35:43
From:	Frederick Littler (frederick_littler@ntlworld.com)
Due to many things I have done a complete RESET on my ETX 125PE . The
tripod and OTA will be in a fixed and permanent position and operated
from a remote position via a laptop and handset and I will be operating
in the Polar Mode for photographic purposes. My question is do I have to
firstly do realignment in the Alt/AZ mode before proceeding to the Polar
mode or do I go straight into the Polar mode and then completely
re-align in Polar.

As usual Mike your help will be very much appreciated many thanks and
all the best for a happy Xmas.. Frederick.
Mike here: You can switch modes anytime but you have to do the alignment process with each switch to the mounting mode.
Subject:	ETX125PE Dew shield
Sent:	Wednesday, December 12, 2007 22:28:25
From:	Peter Kapetanic (pkap@garlic.com)
I just received an ETX125PE as a service award (30 yrs of working at the
same company), and am looking forward to using it.  After unpacking the
telescope, I find that I cannot seem to remove the dust cap. I turned
the dust cap CCW by hand and the black ring started to turn, but the
dust cap still would not separate from the ring. I believe that this
black ring is part of the glass and secondary mirror assembly at the
input side of the telescope.  If I continue to remove the whole ring
assembly from the main tube, will this cause damage or alignment
problems?  Do you have any idea how to separate the dust cap from the
ring assembly?
 
Thanks for your help
Pete
Mike here: Cool award! And congrats for the longevity. You should be able to loosen the cover by using a "rubber jar lid opener" or rubber gloves. Just firmly grasp the corrector lens housing and the cap and twist the cap.
Subject:	re: problems with the #1244 electronic autofocus with a ETX 105
Sent:	Saturday, December 8, 2007 07:35:05
From:	jimharpercolor@aol.com (jimharpercolor@aol.com)
I had one once that was mis-assembled.  Seems like I took the shaft with
gear and turned it 180 degrees and it worked great.

This was a long time ago, so I can't remember exactly which part, but it
was pretty obvious when I took the thing apart.

Jim

And:

From:	Stephen Bird (stephen.bird@btconnect.com)
This is a common problem with the #1244 as it is primarily designed to
fit the ETX90 despite the literature saying it will fit the ETX105. As
you can imagine with the diameter of the ETX90 being that much less than
the ETX105, it will be a tight fit at best and at worst as in your case
not fit at all, without modification! I had the same problem with my
ETX105 and a #1244, but managed to get it to fit with a little grinding!
I posted an article on Mike's site some time ago as have others.

Take a look at http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/focuser1244.html it
is an awfully long series of discussions, don't worry that the first
part of the message says it does not fit, it gets better! Around halfway
through there are photos and details of what to do to get the #1244 to
fit and work. Mine works happily and has done so for some years now.

Hope this helps.
 
Regards
 
Stephen Bird

Subject:	problems with the #1244 electronic autofocus with a ETX 105
Sent:	Monday, December 3, 2007 17:57:04
From:	Evan (ej.tj@ntlworld.com)
I am a virgin astronomer that has just purchased an second hand ETX 105,
in my excitement I bought a few extras, one of these being the #1244
auto focuser. After following the instructions within the box as to
fitting the focuser I found that the it did not operate correctly.

The problems appears to be that the motor gearing slips on the cog
attached to the telescope then will not turn.

I have removed it several times to try and determine the problem but to
no avail, I have also tried leaving the screw that connects it to the
telescope slighly lose but this does not help either. I did find that
whilst operating the motor if i applied slight pressure either to the
left or right of the motor it helped but I'm sure that this is not
correct.

I have therefore removed it and have currently got a flexi focuser
attached, I would however like to use the electronic focuser as I am
very keen to utilise all the telescopes features via my laptop.
 
I hope you can help
Many thanks
Evan
Mike here: I had a similar problem with a #1247 on my ETX-125 and nothing I did would help so I had it replaced.
Subject:	etx 105/guide scope
Sent:	Monday, December 3, 2007 05:38:45
From:	Gapnavigator (gapnavigator@yahoo.com)
I am wanting to use my 105 as a guide scope maybe, for sure imager. I
have a lxd75 with a sn6 that I use a dsi2c and a dsi pro(guide) with. I
currently have a 80mm achro for a guider on the 75. I am thinking that I
would really like to start using the 105 as a guide scope/imager. I am
wondering what all I will need to do this, plus still be able to have
enough back focus to reach focus with a visual back and diagonal. I am
thinking the LAR, visual back (field doubler without lens), #64 for
canon ae1?/........I would really love your input. I am also wondering
what the health of Scopetronix is now. Jordon had some serious problems
and alot of people were burned from what I can tell from Yahoo
astroland. CNC appears to be the same as scopetronix with a different
name? I also love my 105 for solar work. The problem with it is that the
flip mirror just does not give great views at all. Even after a trip to
Dr clay. It has great optics evcept for that flip mirror. I want to take
it out of the equation. If you could think about what I am wanting to do
and give your advice, I would be so grateful. I must add that my budget
is small due to being disabled and if it were not for Scott Roberts I
would be in really bbad shape astro wise. He has just always led me in
the right direction but is so busy with changes at Meade that I hate to
bug him now. I really need to get the stuff that might not be available
soon first. If I can. I am going to need rings too...which ones? I can
bolt to the dovetail that the 80 achro id on now. I would be happy to
email photos of what my setup is now if that would help with you giving
me good advice. Thanks so much for what you do. Your expertise has been
a staple in my astro diet for a long time...Kudos! One of these days I
need to get around to talking with you about dicks patch and Johansens
editor for the 75. I am awaiting a vista update for the dsi's and the
money for a usb to serial so that i can get away from 5 image failures.
being disabled makes all this quite hard and time consuming. I do worry
about back focus on the 105 though. maybe that is just with the field
doubler? Well I will stop now. Thank You so much.
Hulett Keaton
Mike here: You can read my thoughts on the Scopetronix situation on the Editorial Page on my ETX Site. Since you don't want to use the flip mirror (not a bad decision, by the way) adding a visual back will let you use many accessories at the rear port. If focus is a problem, adding a Barlow Lens may (or may not) help. As to rings, check Losmandy or Scopestuff. As to a USB-serial adapter, keep in mind that not all work reliably with the AutoStar; see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.

And:

Thanks so much. I finally found your page where you used some pieces
from Shutan a few years back. I found a 932 at a good deal on ebay, so
that is one option. I decided to go with the LAR and the Meade sct to
1.25 adapter. I have the variable extender, so that opens more options.
That way I can add sct accessories in the future..ie a FR. It really
widens my options all the way around. I found those at telescope.com so
that I did not have to chance the Scopetronix deal...and I say that with
great respect for Jordan. His scopes for kids Christmas charity was a
one of a kind for a long time. I wish someone would step in and fill
that role. Good luck on the move, and by the way..I have been enjoying
your sites for a long time. I depend on people like You, Scott R,
Stephen H, Mark S, and Chuck R. to give accurate and honest information
with nothing to gain but the good feeling that comes from helping
others...KUDOS!
Your Pal in Blue,
Hulett

Subject:	ETX - RA Gearbox broken
Sent:	Sunday, December 2, 2007 13:51:56
From:	sachin sarpotdar (saching@emirates.net.ae)
I live in Dubai (UAE) & have been using EX90 fo last 3 years( used 10
times only! )  purchased from US dealer since there is no dealer in our
country . .

Thanks to U & Inormous info. on your site . I never needed service of a
dealer. Last night , the telescope completely stopped moved in RA (
Horizontal position )., although DEC (vertical) movement is great .

When I opened the assembly, (1) Motor is working fine (2) The Plastic
Gearbox assembley is completely broken (3) Worm gear assembley (Brass ) 
is not moving freely.

( It seems the plastic gears got stuck inside box & rooted out due to
motor torque . BAD DESIGN & POOR QUALITY !)

Please suggest me (1) Telescope is out of warranty & there is no dealer
in the country . It is also very expensiv eto send the Telescope to US
for repairs. WHERE can I purchase spare gearbox assembley ?

(2) If spares are not available , What options do I have to put the
telescope back in action ?

Your reply will be hoghly appreciated.

Regards
 
Sachin
Mike here: You can try Telescope Warehouse or Scopestuff for gears. Links for them are on the Astronomy Links page.
Subject:	Tripod for ETX-125
Sent:	Saturday, December 1, 2007 19:38:53
From:	Walter S. Ritter (wsritter@comcast.net)
I recently purchased an ETX-125, but it does not have a tripod.  The
Meade tripods are quite pricy so I was thinking of using a tripod for a
surveyor's transit.  Can this work?  I haven't received the scope yet,
so I don't know how it attaches to the tripod. I would likely have to
make an adapter plate.  My surveyor's tripod is very stable and able to
carry a lot of weight.  There may be a problem with equatorial mounting
however, that could be addressed making of the adapter plate.  Anyone
else have this problem?
 
Steve Ritter
Mike here: If you search the ETX Site for "surveyor tripod" you will find several comments about this.
Subject:	ETX90pe sea gulling
Sent:	Saturday, December 1, 2007 09:58:21
From:	gscharaga@dslextreme.com (gscharaga@dslextreme.com)
I have a ETX90PE and a ETX125. When a bright star or planet is just
outside the field of view I get loops of light that enter into the area
that I am trying to observe.

I am using the 26mm 4000 series eyepiece. I don't have this issue with
the ETX125.

I took it in to the Meade service center and the problem still exists.

Any suggestions?
Mike here: Sounds like either the baffle or the tube interior is improperly coated. You could check to see if some coating ("flocking") is missing.
Subject:	Laser Pointer/Finder for ETX 125?
Sent:	Saturday, December 1, 2007 06:43:40
From:	jaribble@aol.com (jaribble@aol.com)
I have an ETX 125 PE and would like to affix a laser pointer to the tube
to use in place of the SmartFinder:

1) Any recommendations of a brand of laser pointer/bracket combination
that will closely hug the tube so it will still allow the standard Meade
aluminum carry case to close over it?  (I assume it will be attached by
double-stick tape.)

2) Does anyone fabricate a corded (or cordless) switch for such a laser
pointer setup?  Otherwise, pushing the momentary switch on the laser
pointer itself while it's attached to the scope presumably would knock
everything out of alignment.

Recommendations/thoughts highly welcomed.  Thanks.
 
Jim (JARibble@aol.com)
Mike here: The articles "Multiple Finderscopes on ETX" and "Laser Pointer Holder" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page might help you. I don't know of an external cord for laser pointers. You would likely have to make your own.

And:

Thanks.  I'll check them out.  

Subject:	GPS Datum differences
Sent:	Tuesday, November 27, 2007 21:47:09
From:	Andrew McNeil (aimcneil@albertapipefinders.com)
A quick(?) note on GPS Datum:

For the most part in the Continental US and Eastern Canada there is very
little difference between NAD 27, NAD 83, and WGS 84, but the datum do
shift in relation to each other, especially in the Northern latitudes
where there is little population. In some spots the difference is huge,
sometimes many Kilometers.

The reason for the larger shifts in the unpopulated regions is simply
due to where the surveyors have accumulated their error when projecting
coordinates onto the land.

When a land survey is performed there is always error introduced into
the set because of local conditions, imprecise instruments, and human
error. Typically the error is 'balanced' among all of the
bearings/distances so as to even out the survey. For example, if you
were to survey a 100m x 100m square, in a perfect world the angles
turned would each be 90.0000 and the distances would each be 100.000m.
In the real world, your last (closing) angle might be 89.5940 and the
closing distance may be 100.004m. A balanced survey would make all of
the angles and distances equal so each "balanced" station would have an
inside angle of 89.5955 and a distance of 100.001m. This example is
extremely simplified. The actual methods of balancing are much more
complicated; mathematical rules such as least-squared, compass, and
transit rules are used to properly 'weight' the data on a finished plan.

In the old North American Datums (NAD 27, NAD 83) it was more important
to have the populated regions agree with each other from datum to datum
so much of the error was accumulated and 'dumped' to various unpopulated
areas such as in the high-arctic, and even as far South as Northern
Manitoba, Northern Saskatchewan, and Northern Alberta.

For what it's worth, the Sony receiver on these robotic telescopes
(Meade, Celestron, etc) use the World Geographic System (WGS) 84 datum
because using the North American Datum (NAD) would be pointless/useless
in Brasil or the Netherlands.

You have a very cool and practical site.

Andrew McNeil
Meade RCX400 14"
N 55 10 53
W 118 48 15
Datum: WGS 84

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