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ETX CLASSIC FEEDBACK
Last updated: 31 December 2010
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This page is for comments and user feedback about ETX telescopes. ETX models discussed on this page include the ETX-60/70/80/90/105/125 (EC, AT, BB, Premier Edition). This page also includes comments and feedback of a general nature. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to the ETX-90RA, DSX, and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me for posting. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message per the Site Email Etiquette. Thanks. Remember, tips described on this site may invalidate the warranty on your telescope or accessories. Neither the submitter nor myself are responsible for any damage caused by using any contributed tips.

Subject:	MEADE ETX 125 RA drive cog spare
Sent:	Tuesday, December 28, 2010 14:26:24
From:	Brian Baldwin (brianbaldwin@yahoo.com)
Do you know of any suppliers for the plastic cogs in the Meade ETX 125
drive mechanism.  Basically the RA motor drive output cog has seized at
some point and the motor spindle has worn an elongated hole in th cog
centre so that it won't transmit any drive.  Attached are photos of the
cog which is 20mm dia.  I have tried web searches without success so any
help or direction would be most helpful,
 
Best wishes  for New Year 2011
 
Brian

photo photo

Mike here: See the article "Replacement Gears source" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech TIps page. That may help.
Subject:	re: Can ETX60 be operated using the Autostar 497
Sent:	Monday, December 27, 2010 14:19:04
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
As Mike wrote, the 497 (and new 497EP) is very happy to operate the
ETX-60, it's among the Setup/Telescope/Telescope Model   list of "known
scopes". Any version of the firmware will work.

However, you wrote:
>> If so, this would be excellent so I could get the Autostar 497 from Ebay
>> or Amazon and the USB cable to always get the latest updates.

What USB cable?

If you do not have an RS232 port on your PC/laptop, then: Yes, you will
want a USB-to-serial adapter, such as the Keyspan USA-19HS, to perform
updates and for remote control.
You will also need a Meade 505 cable, or a 3rd party equivalent, or a
home-built equivalent.
Mike's site has "how to" pages on making your own, linked from his
"Autostar Info" page:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar_info.html
An example is:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_cable505.html

If you already have a Meade 506 cable/converter for your 494, that will
NOT work with the 497 Autostar.  The 497 has an RS232 adapter built into
the handbox, so it does not carry the programming to operate a 506.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Re: ETX Repair
Sent:	Monday, December 27, 2010 12:56:04
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
The best test is a star...turn it a bit out of focus and see if both the
bright circular spot of the star (Fresnel pattern) is pretty much
circular AND that the dark shadow in the center of the pattern is also
circular.  If it is, then don't worry about the slight offset.....you
can be a bit off on the baffle and still have great performance.  Note
that the secondary is permanently affixed to the inside glass of the
front lens, so it cannot ever shift; the baffle can mechanically begin
to "wander" because it is simply glued on. Protection from excess heat
is always recommended to minimize this....

Best of luck on this....check the star image and get back with me.  I
can certainly repair it, but it is my guess your scope is performing
fine.

Dr. Clay
_____
Arkansas Sky Observatories
MPC H45 - Petit Jean Mountain South
MPC H41 - Petit Jean Mountain
MPC H43 - Conway West
http://www.arksky.org/

----- Original Message ----- 
From: George Layburn (glayburn@twcny.rr.com)

Dr. Sherrod,

I have one of the older ETX-90 telescopes. I just happened to notice
that the secondary mirror/baffle appear slightly out of center. I found
the topic discussed on Mike Weasner's ETX web site, he said Meade no
longer does this repair. And recommended you as a potential source to do
the repair.

Firstly is their a certain acceptable tolerance for that to be off
center? When I look through it at nearby (~500 ft away) ground targets
the image appears clean and clear. The focus appears fine.

Would you consider the telescope still useful? Will the problem
certainly become worse?

My next question would be how much would it cost (A best ball park
estimate, of course), to perform the service of remounting the secondary
mirror/baffle, I understand that a re-collimation would possibly need to
be done as well.

Any additional comments/observations greatly appreciated. I look forward
to hearing back from.

Thank You In Advance

George Layburn
Clay, NY
Mike here: If the baffle glue is breaking down, the baffle can come loose, potentially causing damage to the primary mirror.

And:

Thank you both for advice on this. Assuming I can do the "star test" and
everything appears fine, is it possible to remove the front lens from
the OTA and then add a small bead or a couple of drops of adhesive
around the little baffle tube where it attaches to keep it better
secured. I am hesitant without question to ever consider removing and
reinstalling the baffle myself.
And if so what adhesive would either of you specifically recommend as
safe to use.
I am very careful with doing things I wont make a mess of it, but I want
be sure I use something that will be strong enough for weather extremes
and not too thick to become an obstruction in the lens.

Thanks Again.
George Layburn
Mike here: See the articles "ETX-90RA Secondary Baffle Fix" and "Re-attaching the Baffle" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.

And:

I read both of those instructions, I have to be honest it sends chills
up my spine. If I could simply put a few small drops of an acceptable
adhesive on the outer edge of the baffle to both stop the drifting and
avoid it falling off. That would be something I would feel a lot safer
doing, of course after having made sure that the "star test" works in
the extremes of lower and higher magnifications.

Thanks,
George

And:

No....do not attempt to manually spread adhesive outside the baffle
tube...you will definitely end up with some degree of over-spill and
this will result in some image degradation since you are in the range of
the focal plane of the primary.  I would (if the star test turns out to
reveal problems) pull the baffle off....it will "pop off" if pulled
straight outward which is what you want....this leaves little or no
residue.  Once off, if the glue has not smeared, which I doubt it has,
do NOT attempt to clean it off...just leave it as it is.

The use some industrial strength contact cement applied with a sharp
toothpick along the flat edge of the baffle tube.  Then wait about 3
minutes to tack. You get only ONE chance to apply the baffle back in
place; if you apply it off center, you are going to leave glue on the
corrector plate.  So put the front lens flat on a desk with good
illumination directly beneath your line of sight and work from straight
above always. Use the perimeter of the shiny secondary spot as your
reference and slowly move the baffle closer to the spot, making sure you
are perfectly concentric with the edge of the secondary.

NOTE:  a tip:  sometimes closing one eye when very close to the
application point helps, because it prevents off axis parallax which can
fool you into placing the baffle off center.  Experiment with the baffle
dry several times before the actual applilcation.

Dr. Clay

And more:

Dr. Clay

Well I was thinking just contact dots to reinforce its current position.
So it doesn't fall off.
OK, You sound very confident that the baffle will just pull off without
damage to the mirror. I did remove the front lens assembly to see it
from the inside, then immediately put it back together.
From what I can see their is definitely a smudge of adhesive on a
crescent shaped edge of the mirror, I cannot determine if their is
adhesive on the inside of the corrector plate, difficult to tell even
looking from the front.
The mirror appears to be larger than the actual baffle, if I remove the
baffle and I cant perfectly center it back without some of the adhesive
being in the viewable part, would it be better to off center the baffle
so only a perfectly clean surface of the mirror is used?
I am under the impression that any attempt to clean the adhesive from
the mirror would possibly do more harm than good.
If I am seeing it wrong and the baffle is actually exactly the diameter
of the mirror, will a small crescent of adhesive on the outer edge of
viewable exposed mirror be a concern? If so is their a method for
cleaning it or will it be the lesser problem to just leave the residual
adhesive.
Do you have a particular recommendation for the contact cement.

I can't thank both you gentleman enough for this incredible help, I hope
I will soon have my proper marching orders with the best advice
available and everything will be OK when I am done.

Thank You so very much for the excellent advice.

George
At this point, my best advice is: Leave it alone and do a star test and see what it looks like. Don't ever jump into messing with optics. Typically what you do will be destructive and expensive to "undo" Dr. Clay

And:

I understand that if it looks fine it's working it's not broken don't
fix it. But what about the issue of that baffle possibly coming free and
falling onto the primary mirror. That is my main issue of concern.
Assuming all else is still working just fine.

George
Mike here: If it is continuing to move, it is a potential problem. You (or Dr. Clay) will likely need to address it.

And:

Dr Clay,

We come full circle now, Would it be possible Dr. Clay to just send the
corrector plate with baffle attached. And you actually know what your
doing? I am an experienced electronics technician, that doesn't give me
the greatest feeling of comfort messing with my treasured little ETX
that I haven't used in a while. I might have caught the problem sooner.
Most of what your recommending as a fix sounds on paper easy enough, but
in real life I know things can get touchy.

I know the star test comes first, that may not happen terribly soon
living in Syracuse, NY. I need to wait for a clear night, to perform the
first part.

If you don't feel that having a little bit of adhesive residue being
left behind on the viewable part of the mirror is a problem,  I think I
can do the fix without a major problem.

George.

And:

Believe it or not, I DO actually know what I am doing when repairing
telescopes.
The problem with removing the front and sending just that is very
simple:
You pack the front glass with a slightly skewed baffle tube and the
gorillas at UPS have their way at it....

It comes to me and no matter how bad it might be, I will fix it
(....because I know what I am doing....) and repack the front glass,
cell, with baffle properly installed again.  It goes back to UPS or Fed
Ex and they play basketball with the package and the packing material
repeatedly hits the baffle tube, knocking it askew or completely off.

NOW...that being said, if you carefully pack in such a way as to cut out
a block of Styrofoam that will allow the cell to fit into it and have a
second block that has a cutout for the baffle tube so that nothing can
hit it during transit, that would be a good solution.

Your call.

Dr. Clay
Dr. Clay,

I meant absolutely no insult in my comment, I meant it with deserved
respect. In my previous life I worked as a shipping clerk, in fact even
when I became a professional lab tech I frequently had to package
things. I am sure with a little bit of thought despite not having a full
shipping facility I can certainly find a way to package it even so the
UPS guy would have a challenge. I agree with you exactly 100%, it would
need to be very well packaged.
With that said, let me have a chance to make sure everything is actually
working properly. I saw their are stars out tonight but not for long but
just a little bit too cold for my tastes.
Now that I have been given so much education all in one day, I will
leave you all alone now. I will consider my options take a more close
look at things to get a better analysis of the potential benefits/risks
of doing it myself.

I will get back to you one way or the other, thank you again both of you
so much for all the advice.

George Layburn
Mike here: Actually, I'd recommend sending the entire telescope to Dr. Clay. That way, you won't have to deal with possibly re-collimating the optics when re-attaching the corrector lens. Re-collimating the ETX is not something to be undertaken lightly.

And:

Your probably right about that in the big picture. I will look at it, I
will consider my options, once I get my nerve up and feel confident I
might try it myself. If I start thinking this is a bad idea, I will pack
up the whole thing. I hope that Dr Clay wont mind that I have the
Microstar II on it.

George
My wife just mentioned that I have the Meade plastic carry case with the
foam lining, that also hold all the eyepieces and other accessories.
Pack the scope in that and mail the entire kit, in a well packaged box.
That should be a very safe method of transport.
OK, what are the odds that it will need a re-collimation just because of
relocating the baffle tube? I am never going to remove the corrector
from "the cell" It screws off the OTA and it goes back on the OTA. With
a now cleanly centered baffle?
If I decide to do this it will be treated like performing heart surgery
on a hummingbird.

And:

Yes, by all means do a couple of star tests after the scope has cooled
down for about an hour outside.  Choose a star near the meridian and use
a fairly high power eyepiece, NOT the wide angle 26mm Plossl because
that will give distorted images.

When the air has steadied, then examine both inside and outside of focus
and report back what you see....try to be objective about any changes
that you might notice.

Dr. Clay
Very likely that the scope will NOT need any collimation just because
the baffle tube has come loose.
I think that you will be able to do this surgery....you are scared
enough to be diligent in the process so I believe that you can certainly
do it!

Dr. Clay

And:

Thank you, I appreciate the vote of confidence.
Mike here: As long as you precisely the position of the corrector lens housing on the OTA before unscrewing it, the telescope will probably not need re-collimating, unless something else changed while the housing was removed.

And this:

I have these "high powered" eyepieces, The Scopetronix Zoom from
22mm-7.2mm, I find that the highest usefull one. I have a Meade 4000
9.7mm, and a Scopetronix 4mm that I honestly find almost painful to
focus on anything. I assume the Scopetronix at 7.2mm would be good
enough? Or should I use what might actually be the higher quality fixed
size the 9.7mm.
Looking like Thursday night here locally should not be in a deep freeze
and cloudy.  I get a couple of quick star tests off, and I'll let you
know.  Any point in my sending you a digital pic of it, you might look
at it say something else still. I am not in a rush to do this, I want to
make sure it's done right. And I really like the help, But I think I
have gotten my marching orders, pay attention be careful and it should
be fine after it's done, like nothing happened.  It's not going to be
that awful when it's over.

Thanks,
George

P.S. I know it's the holiday weekend, Dr. Clay and you Mike hope you
both have a Happy New Year, And may I add a belated Merry Christmas.
I'll keep ya posted on my next progress. They could always end up wrong
about Thursday and not a good night after all. But I will get too it.
Eventually.
Do I really care about the "star test" I am not leaving that baffle as
is no matter what. Do I just go for it, then either it needs to be
adjusted (collimated) or it doesn't. But I am never at the end of the
day leaving that thing as is. I'll do the star test in advance if you
think it adds to the exercise. I am thinking just go for it fix the
baffle. Then test it and it either worked or not.
Or do you consider it an important thing to do in advance star test
before moving the baffle location? I am trusting your excellent advice.
Like I said not about doing it fast but doing it right. I offered Mike
too document the process, with pictures. I wouldn't know about you
without his awesome web site. The best ETX site on the web.
And the great mighty Weasner hooked me up with you, (not directly but
from the blog page, with your link posted). I will make sure to give all
the proper credit to you. I hopefully do a proper job under your
guidance.
OK, now I really leave you guys alone till after the new year, unless I
get an opportunity before than to send something, I won't be expecting a
fast answer. Until after the New Year.
I think you guys might actually be waiting to see how it turns out
faster than I am. I am going to follow through on this project.

George

And:

Never a zoom for an optical test and never a wide angle...use the 9.7mm
Meade.

Dr. Clay
I had a gut feeling that question was going to be worth asking. I will
admit I really like the Scopetronix Zoom just for what it is, kind of a
neat thing. But I had a suspicion you would opt for the higher quality
albeit not as strong for the integrity of the result.
Consider it done.
Agreed the 4mm on an ETX-90 is just pushing the absolute limit to the
extreme.
Mike here: I'd say to do the star test. If the optics need collimation (and they may or may not), then that will indicate more "surgery" is required since you have to open the rear of the ETX to get access to the primary mirror mounting screws. Might as well deal with all the surgery in one "operation". Besides, the test is simple, if you have a "star", which can even be a Christmas ornament. See the "Star Testing and Collimation" section on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page for more on star testing.

And:

I have decided to listen to the good Doctor, I will get the opportunity
to do it on a real star. Sometime over the next few days.
I will then know if it needs a collimation job, I might just decide to
ship the thing. I know the Doctor can get it like new.
I hope the star test is OK, and I just do the very careful surgery. and
I get away with it and life goes on.

And this:

Subject:	J-B Weld Company - J-B WELD Product Information
Sent:	Tuesday, December 28, 2010 21:45:14
From:	George Layburn (glayburn@twcny.rr.com)
About remounting that baffle would it be fair to ask that the original
3M glue can be dabbed up and completely removed?

Looking in the front end of the corrector it looks like the stuff that
will all easily peel away to it's self on it's own.

Now for putting it back rock solid (Yes I will do the star test before
anything to know everything is still working) But planning ahead I love
using this stuff J.B. Weld. I have repaired everything with it.  It says
it works on glass, I have used it on plastic.

I know to use only the absolute minimum amount with a toothpick, and
also allow it to have time to start to set, this stuff takes about an
hour to get to the tacky point. Of course It will need to be carefully
monitored.

It can withstand any temperature extreme, when this stuff fails it means
I am watching the Sun go Nova. :-)

I know to use the minimum amount sparingly used to prevent ooze out.
Think it could work?

http://jbweld.net/products/jbweld.php

George Layburn
Mike here: While watching he sun go nova, remember to use a good quality full aperture solar filter. Wearing SPF-99 sunscreen would also be a good idea.

And:

...and no need to take that long trip to the beach, either.

Dr. Clay

And:

So I will take that too mean that done carefully, and extremely
sparingly it should work in the end?
:-)

Thanks again.
George
Mike here: Does it "outgas"? If so, then it should not be used around optical components.

And:

Dupont.
{Duco Cement)....but any good contractor grade glue will work if applied properly.

And:

Subject:	No Star Test Tonight.
Sent:	Friday, December 31, 2010 01:16:17
From:	George Layburn (glayburn@twcny.rr.com)
Thursday night had looked good, It didn't happen. nothing but thick
clouds. Oh well and the seven day forecast is all clouds and light snow.
So don't hold your breath waiting to hear about that star test.
I only do it to amuse Dr Clay. How messed up was the baffle, and it
still worked fine (I am assuming it's going to be fine). I must take
before and after pictures of the baffle, when I do the repair on it.

OK, Dr Clay. My wife is a mechanical engineer, she understands the
things in MSDS data sheets. She found a list of NASA approved adhesives
for use in optics. Turns out by the numbers the JB Weld has a lower
outgassing then the Duco Cement. unless she had a few glasses of wine
with lunch and has it wrong.

But she also swears that her father used Duco cement on everything, and
the stuff is awesome when used correctly.

Never would have thought what I consider model airplane glue be the way
to go. I will heed your advice about not using an epoxy, but what about this outgassing?

George

And:

Leave the front cell and lens out of the telescope for about 4-5 days
with the inside of the glass turned upward while the glue cures and the
baffle sets onto the glass.  Cover with a couple of large white
unscented Kleenex tissues to protect.  You will be good to go in less
than one week.

Dr. Clay
_____
Mike here: I've been under clouds for awhile. Even snowed yesterday. I woke up a little before 3 AM this morning and saw it was CLEAR! However, it was 24F; decided to not go outside.
A balmy 24 degrees and you stayed inside?
What I would not give for a clear night....

Dr. Clay
I had the chance a few nights ago it was 12, yeah even with the silks it
would have been cold. I don't even want to know what the wind chill was.
I could have braved it, but wasn't in the mood. Like I said not in a
rush.

OK, the both of you are nuts. C'mon brave up wear your silks and if your
serious cold means nothing.

George
Mike here: It should be clear again New Year's Eve night; I do plan to get out then. Temps should still be in the 20s.

And:

G'night, maybe where you live it will be clear. Not here. Hey the
weather could be worse.

It was always my intent to place the baffle in place and put the whole
thing the corrector assembly inside a protected environment and let it
set. I know I will be using a Ziploc bag and a large wire tie to cover
the OTA  opening when the corrector is removed. I am still going to do
the star test. Just for science. And then I deal with the thing.

Am I right is that glue they used originally like that stuff that they
use on things you buy from the store with that annoying glue that just
sticks to itself, the whole stuff is all going to peel off together. And
I am going to have a clean surface.

Subject:	Can ETX60 be operated using the Autostar 497
Sent:	Sunday, December 26, 2010 17:30:41
From:	Carl (carl@buchheit.ca)
I have a MEADE ETX 60 which I bought from Costco a few years back.  It
came with the limited 494 Autostar which seems to be impossible to find
updates for and difficult to update without an eeprom programmer
(assuming one can even remove the chip to place into the programmer).

Can the ETX60 be totally operated using the superior Autostar 497 easier
to use controller? MEADE's website does not list the ETX 60 specifically
for the Autostar 497. They only list ETX 90 and above, so it seems like
they are saying the ETX60 can't use it.

If so, this would be excellent so I could get the Autostar 497 from Ebay
or Amazon and the USB cable to always get the latest updates.
 
Thanks for your help and great website!
 
Carl Buchheit
Mike here: As mentioned on the Meade AutoStar updates web page (http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html), the #497 will work with all ETX models.
Subject:	Re: ETX CLASSIC FEEDBACK
Sent:	Saturday, December 25, 2010 06:36:23
From:	Max Catterwell (birder@gotadsl.co.uk)
I've only just discovered that you posted my comments. Firstly may I say
that I DID ring the company and pass on my delight with their service,
but did not post on any forums. I agree that to have done so would have
made sense,

I have yet to take the tissue paper covering off the tube of my 125, but
may do so today.

To put a question to you; should I be following the mechanical tune-up
instructions part one or not? I seem to have gotten the impression that
this was for earlier models. Although mine has never been opened, I'm
not sure how long the previous owner had had it. If the last digits of
the serial number are as I suspect a date, then it's the 21st of January
2007.

I have just made a small contribution to your site for your help.

Regards
Max Catterwell
Mike here: First, what problems are you experiencing with the ETX that indicates you NEED to do a tune-up? Until you actually use the ETX and see how it performs, I don't recommend doing anything to "improve it". And yes, many of the older tips do not apply to newer models.
Subject:	ETX70 AC Power Adapter
Sent:	Sunday, December 19, 2010 11:09:09
From:	DAS203@aol.com (DAS203@aol.com)
Thanks for your wonderful web site.  It sure has helped. 
 
I recently purchased from OPT a 120 vac to 12 vdc power adapter, Meade
#546.  A few minutes ago I attempted to utilize this adapter for the
first time.  Being an electronics guy by trade I have learned over the
years to keep a hand on the power switch, just in case.  Well, on
initial power up the red LED on the mount came on, rather dull, then
faded out.  I immediately killed the power switch, figuring I had just
burned up the electronics.  So I removed the AC adapter and reinstalled
the battery pack.  Much to my joy the scope powered up normally and all
functions appear to work.  The polarity of the #546 adapter appears to
match the battery pack.  Any thoughts on why the LED went out and was
there a danger of causing real damage?

I also purchased the #607 power cord at the same time to allow for
connection to my vehicle's 12 vdc source.  I modified the end by
installing a small box with the correct mating connectors for the #607
on one side and the 9 vdc adapter plug on the other.  I made sure the
box was wired to put the +12 vdc on the smaller of the two connection,
so it correctly plugs into the larger connector on the ETX70.  But after
the problems with the #546 I hesitate to even attempt to use this cord
until I hear back from you.
 
Thanks again.  David Stacy
Mike here: Have you measured the output of the AC Adapter? It sounds like it is not functioning correctly.

And:

Thanks for the extremely rapid reply.  Just measured the output voltage
and by golly, you are 100% correct.  It is way low, less that 2 vdc.  So
much for my electrical training, huh.
Mike here: Contact OPT for an exchange.
Subject:	re: ETX-125 Dew Shield
Sent:	Thursday, December 16, 2010 13:08:19
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
A commonly-used dew shield cap is a shower cap.
Available in a variety of sizes and colors...

If you'd like a stiffer cover, measure the aperture and call a local
metal pipe supplier to see if they have a similar-sized plastic pipe
cover.

A typical price for a 14" cover is about $8.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Re: ETX 70AT - Question on how to gear-up in 2010/2011
Sent:	Thursday, December 16, 2010 09:27:04
From:	Aaron Bueno (aaron_bueno@yahoo.com)
Thanks for your input Mike.  Definitely some things to consider.  Really
appreciate your time.

Happy Holidays,

-Aaron

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Mike wrote:
>> the ETX-70 will fit into some cases designed for the ETX-90

Note the "some".

Be aware that the ETX-70 tube is 1.5 inches longer than the ETX-90's.
(13 inches vs. 11.5, as measured from the rear port cover)

I'm using a small plastic toolbox as my case for my ETX-90, and the
ETX-70 doesn't fit.
Likewise, the ETX-70 won't fit into a small roll-aboard luggage that i
used to take the ETX-90 to New Zealand.

have fun
--dick
From:	Aaron Bueno (aaron_bueno@yahoo.com)
Thanks for the feedback!!

-ab

Subject:	ETX 70AT - Question on how to gear-up in 2010/2011
Sent:	Wednesday, December 15, 2010 14:49:41
From:	Aaron Bueno (aaron_bueno@yahoo.com)
First, thank you for your site. I've recently came across it and have
found it really a wealth of information.  And I appreciate your
consideration to entertain questions from the masses.  I have what I
hope is a fairly straight forward question from an Astronomy novice:

I have an ETX 70 AT and really enjoy it when I use it, which isn't often
enough. And I'd like to change that.

I have the basics kit, the telescope and tripod, and "expansion pack"
lenses and filters, but that's about it.

I've been searching for additional equipment/attachments but it's not
easy due to the age of my instrument. For example, after extensive
searching, the only case built for my 70 I've been able to find is in
the UK, which will incur added expense for shipping, etc.

Are there any suggestions, recommendations, or hints as to (essential)
equipment I really should have to make using my 70 a more enjoyable
experience (power or camera adapters, dew shield, computer software,
carry bag/case, etc.)?

Part two of this question is: due to the age of the telescope, are the
recommended "essentials" currently available for other models
potentially adaptable to the ETX 70AT?  For example, since we are on the
subject, will the 70 fit into the case built for an 80 or 90 (as I see
those still readily available)?

I'm nervous spending money on a whim and wondered if there was any
experience outfitting the 70 using parts for other models.

I really appreciate any guidance you might be able to offer.

All the best this Holiday season,

-Aaron 
Mike here: First, you can easily make a case that will hold the ETX-70 from items available at a local hardware or department store. You will find lots of tips on making cases on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. And with some modifications of the case liner, the ETX-70 will fit into some cases designed for the ETX-90. As to WHAT extra items you should buy or make, that depends on HOW you want to use the telescope, keeping in mind the limitations of the smaller telescope and lack of a sturdy mount. Yes, the ETX-70 can do some types of astrophotography but can't hold a lot of weight nor track very accurately unless you replace the tripod with a better tripod, especially one that would allow mounting in polar mode. Accessories which are 1.25" diameter or have the proprietary ETX rear port threads will work on the ETX-70. But again, you need to be somewhat cautious about weight. You can add a counterweight system (see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography) but that isn't a cure for overloading the telescope. Once you decide HOW you to improve your ETX-70, you might add up all the costs and see if getting a larger telescope is more what you think you NEED. Of course, as I frequent say, the best telescope is the one that gets used. If a larger telescope just ends up in the closet due to its size or cumbersomeness, then it is the wrong telescope.
Subject:	Install ETX-90 Tube on ETX-70 Yoke
Sent:	Monday, December 13, 2010 11:03:27
From:	Stoppello, Monte R. COL NGID (monte.stoppello@us.army.mil)
I am just beginning this hobby and have found your web site extremely
helpful. I have a ETX-70 with the basic auto star and tripod. I am
wondering if an ETX-90 tube assembly will fit on the yoke of the ETX-70?
The telescope is a Meade ETX, D=90mm F=1250mm f/13.8 (which I assume is
an ETX-90) that is for sale. If the price is right and it will fit my
ETX-70 yoke I would like to get this working.
 
Thanks,
MONTE
Mike here: See the article "Putting ETX-90 on ETX-70 forks" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Homemade Wedge for   ETX 125 PE
Sent:	Monday, December 13, 2010 10:48:05
From:	Miller, Bob (bob.miller@oregonstate.edu)
I've been enjoying you're site for quite a while now. This is my first
time emailing you. I've had my ETX125PE for several years now and have
only used it in the Alt/Az alignment. I want to work my way into
astrophotography and want to start polar aligning my scope and build a
wedge for it. I've used the search feature on your site and have found
reference to homemade wedges, but can't seem to find the text. Any help
locating the articles would be greatly appreciated!!

I live in Oregon and have a vacation home down in Sahuarita, just south
Oracle a ways! I love getting down there for the clear skies!! This time
of year on the Oregon Coast isn't too good for any viewing at all!!
 
Bob Miller
Mike here: There are many articles on wedges on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	ETX-125 Dew Shield
Sent:	Sunday, December 12, 2010 16:59:46
From:	Jim Anderson (thermalrider1@comcast.net)
I recently purchased a used ETX-125PE and have purchased the Meade dew
shield.  I would like to leave the dew shield attached since most of my
viewing is on the golf course directly behind my house.  I would like to
avoid cross threading the plastic/metal threads.  Does anyone have a
suggestion(s) for a "work-around" cover for the dew shield?  I would
like something that fits snugly either internally or externally.

Thanks, I've enjoyed sifting through the information your site contains.
 
 
SOARING:  There can be a fine line between "Hobby" and "Mental Illness"
 
r/Jim
Mike here: You can easily make a slip-on cover. Just follow the steps in my ""Hartmann Mask" Focusing Aid" article on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page, skipping the hole cutting steps.
Subject:	re: ETX 90EC Telescope - On/Off Switch
Sent:	Thursday, December 9, 2010 20:52:23
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
BinTel (Binocular and Telescope) in Melbourne is an excellent (and
authorized) service point for Meade equipment in Australia.
Give them a call, they may even be able to point you at someone (far)
closer to Perth.
info@bintel.com.au

The erratic power may be a cold solder joint where the power socket (or
Autostar cable) attaches to their circuit cards.
It could also be the handbox cable itself (weak wire-to-pin squish).
The bottom of the ETX=90 is easily removed, the three screws are hiding
underneath the rubber feet.
Remove the batteries *before* removing the base plate, and be careful of
the too-short battery compartment wires.

good luck
--dick

Subject:	Re ETX Classic Feedback from Max Catterwell in UK
Sent:	Wednesday, December 8, 2010 12:58:49
From:	Geoff and Sue (geoffandsue@talktalk.net)
Seasonal greetings from the UK.
 
I have viewed and much appreciated your ETX website for many years now.

Your reply to Max Catterwell rings very true as I cannot remember seeing
many favorable comments about ETX scopes on your site, only reports of
problems.

Hopefully I can redress this imbalance somewhat. I have an 8" LX200GPS
and also an ETX 125 and I have to say that I have probably had more
enjoyment from the ETX as it is so extremely portable. It has its quirks
etc but I find the optics excellent and with a GPS plug-in so easy to
set up and align.

I can only endorse what you say  the best scope for you is the one that
you use the most!
 
Best Wishes
 
Geoff Sentinella

Subject:	ETX 90EC Telescope - On/Off Switch
Sent:	Wednesday, December 8, 2010 18:39:00
From:	Rex Perry (rex.perry@bigpond.com)
My  Telescope On/Off switch light occasionally flickers and then turns
off on its own  seems like there's a faulty connection or similar.
Generally I can turn it on again straight away, but it is very
frustrating as I have to go through the whole start up process again.

Is this easy to fix and how do I get into the base to have a look?

I don't want to have to send it to the States for repair as I live in
Perth, Western Australia and can't seem to locate a Meade repairer here.

Any advice/assistance you can give me would be much appreciated  your
Site is great, have learnt so much from it....

Regards,
 
Rex Perry
Mike here: Three thoughts: (1) If the contact is dirty, then some contact cleaner from your local electronics store may help; just spray a small amount into the switch and turn it on and off (without the batteries inserted) several times. (2) Check the batteries and the battery compartment; very weak batteries, corroded batteries or contacts, or loose wires could cause intermittent connections. (3) If neither of those are the problem, then some major surgery may be required. You would have to completely open up the base of the telescope and remove some of the guts there to get at the control panel. To do that you have to remove the bottom plate and work your way in from there. Be certain to see the Section "Important Information BEFORE You Work On Your Telescope or Accessory (or in fact, almost Anything)" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	ETX-PE LNT Problem
Sent:	Tuesday, December 7, 2010 16:38:03
From:	Ludwig Krijgshaftig (ludwig.krijgshaftig@xs4all.nl)
Just read about your problem with the ETX-125 LNT SmartFinder on the
Mighty ETX site.

I had the same problem with my ETX-125PE a couple of months after purchase.

I was able to properly align the LNT SmartFinder (also not with a
removable lens) during the first months after purchase (now two years ago).
Then at some point it became impossible to lift the SmartFinder high
enough, something with the spring inside the LNT module I presume.
I had to aim way below a target to actually see it in the eyepiece. This
was doable for a while, but obviously not a real solution.

Since I live in Europe, sending the ETX back to Meade for repair would
be a costly option that I did not even consider.
Instead, I purchased a Telrad Reflex Sight for 45 USD at ScopeStuff.
Check it out. The Telrad is a much better (although bulky on the ETX)
finder than the SmartFinder.
LNT module is still on for initial setup (finding North and Level /
Tilt), but further alignment is with the Telrad.
If you also get the Telrad Dew Shield Plus for another 25 USD you can
also align on stars near Zenit without braking your back or neck.
Never went back to trying to repair or use the SmartFinder.

Kind regards,
Ludwig

photo photo

And:

From:	Frank Landers (epsanto2@comcast.net)
Ludwig, thanks for the information and the website address.  

I see from the pictures you enclosed there were two cables from the back
of the Telrad.  One looked like it ran to the back of the telescope, but
that is the location of my focusing knob.  I could not see where the
other cable connected to.  However, looking at the pictures on the
website, there were no cables.  Were the cables something you added to
your unit for your purpose or were they part of the Telrad unit as
purchased? When you first turn on your telescope, you allow it to go
through the level process using the LNT module, correct?  And when it
ask to center the brightest star, you use the Telrad system to center
the brightest start, correct? After you have centered the bright stars,
the telescopes GO TO function works as designed?

In talking to someone else, I understand that if my telescope were
mis-collimated, that could be my problem.  When initially unpacking the
telescope, it slipped out of my hands and back into the packing box, a
distance of approximately one foot.  Consequently, I think I need to
eliminate the possibility of mis-collimation being the source of my
problem.  If the telescope is not mis-collimated, then I may be time to
swap out the LNT for something more usable.

Thanks for the information and the recommendation. 

Frank
Mike here: I doubt that the telescope is mis-collimated. But it is worth a check. Do a star test and let me know how it looks.

And:

The cables on the pictures are not related to the Telrad, but to other
enhancements / accessories on my ETX. These are from to heaters to
combat dew on the corrector plate of the scope (the front end) as well
as on the Telrad. Latter one is not really necessary, the Telrad dew
shield works fine, but I have the tendency to forget to put it in the
right position to cover the Telrad projection window. Never mind about
that. The heater for the corrector late is important though if you want
to be able to do look at the stars for a number of hours. Perhaps when
you are in a very dry climate this is not necessary, but I am not that
fortunate. Dew is a killer and anti-dew heaters are the answer. I use
the Kendrick system (www.kendrickastro.com), but there are others in the
market.

Other enhancements you can see are a flexible focus knob (intended to
make it easier to focus when the scope is pointing at a high altitude),
not too sure anymore if I still like this very much, will revert soon to
the standard focus knob and see if I now like this better. Finally there
is also a support bracket for the LNT module. This one is from JMI
(www.jimsmobile.com) and protects the LNT module from damage, the
standard assembly to the scope is rather weak and could be broken easily.

Yes, when starting up the ETX I allow it to run its full automatic
alignment procedure. LNT module finds North and level. When it requests
me to align on two stars I just use the Telrad finder rather than the
SmartFinder to align, and then of course make sure the star is indeed in
the center of the eyepiece. This does require you to align the Telrad
finder with the ETX. Telrad is very easy adjustable with three
thumbscrews on the back. Normally the Telrad is closely enough aligned
and I use the first alignment star actually to align the ETX with the
star and also to fine adjust the Telrad to align with the ETX, then the
alignment on the second star is even better. After that all my GoTos are
spot-on. Until someone kicks the tripod of course and we can start all
over again...

Doubt whether your ETX is mis-collimated. It is not easy to
mis-collimate a Maksutov-Cassegrain. Unfortunately it is also far from
easy to re-collimate this type of scope. Would follow the advise that
Mike Weasner gave you earlier on: do a star test and see if it is OK.

Regards,
Ludwig

Subject:	ETX CLASSIC FEEDBACK
Sent:	Tuesday, December 7, 2010 14:39:28
From:	Max Catterwell (birder@gotadsl.co.uk)
I've just purchased, but not yet received, an ETX125PE. I decided to
start looking around for sites of interest and quickly found yours. The
first thing I read was Frank's feedback in Classic Feedback. I'm now
seriously wondering if I've made a huge mistake!
Clearly Meade are a crap company who have no interest in their
customers; this is a big mistake in any business. I WAS looking forward
to receiving my scope; I've now lost interest.
You're welcome to post this if you like. From here in the UK
Regards
Max Catterwell
Mike here: So, what is wrong with YOUR telescope? When you get it, let me know your experiences. Most people do not have issues with their telescopes. In fact, many people LOVE their ETX telescopes. Like anything, some small percentage of products will have problems. But never assume problem products are 100% of what is shipped.

And:

Hopefully you realise I have NO PROBLEMS WHATSOEVER with YOUR site, I
think what you've achieved is tremendous. My problem, if such it is, is
with a company who clearly is out to make money without any regard at
all for it's customers. One of the reasons Swarovski is at the top of
their game, is because there customer service is second to none; they
realise that the customer earns them their living. Another experience I
just had was with Samsung. I bought an NC10 netbook about fourteen
months ago. It developed a problem, and without much hope I contacted
them. Without me even asking they extended the warranty to cover repair.
Within five days a courier arrived at my house with a specially made
foam lined container to put my machine in; I didn't even have to pack
it. Four days later a courier returned it. Not only had it been
repaired, they had also updated the BIOS while they were at it. NO
CHARGE!! Superb customer support that will see me favouring them in
future purchases.
I may be 'lucky' and get a scope with no problems, but my excitement has
been diminished by Frank's tale. It wouldn't be a bad idea to move that
feedback section to further down the list, so it isn't the first thing
that people like me read.
All the best
Max
Mike here: Keep in mind that most people write to report problems or complain. Very few people write in with praises about their telescope. That's true for any product, not just telescopes. Did you post your favorable experience with Samsung on their web site or any other forum?
Subject:	re: ETX-PE LNT PROBLEM
Sent:	Saturday, December 4, 2010 15:52:04
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Some hints that may help (at least with the "brightest star" issue):

(a) buy a planisphere... that's one of the spinning-disc star maps.
I use one for/with all of my observing, since it helps give a "whole sky" perspective.
If you can find one with some star names on it, those are usually the
stars Meade uses for alignment.

(b) When it asks you to center the "brightest star", you can tap the "?"
key, and it will *name* the star it wants.  I find that much easier
(given the planisphere) than trying to guess which star it wants.
You can suppress the "brightest" message so that it always tells you the
name by using the menu to get to Select/Utilities/Brightest Star (enter)
and then scroll up/down to "Off".  Then tap (enter).
From then on, it will tell you the star's name from the get-go.

------
In no way am i going to try to defend Meade's red-dot finder.
As you can see from Mike's site, they've gone through (at least) three designs.
Can its "foot" be shimmed or shaped to lift the red dot the necessary inch?
On one design i've seen, the shape of the plastic leg had a solid back,
but only a relatively thin "web" pointing forward from that (with a
cylinder shape in the middle).
If you cut the web with a razor (or coping) saw, but leave the back
intact, you may be able to lift the nose of the red dot unit (again)
enough to lift the dot.

Close-up photos of your unit might help spawn other ideas.

good luck
--dick
Mike here: There are also Alignment Star charts on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	ETX-PE LNT PROBLEM
Sent:	Thursday, December 2, 2010 06:41:24
From:	Frank Landers (epsanto2@comcast.net)
I have an ETX-125 Blue Tube with the LNT.  Right out of the box, it
appeared to work great.  The key word is appeared.  Being as I bought it
at the onset of winter and am a warm weather viewer, it was several
months before I got it outdoors.  I called Meade support desk to ask if
I needed to align the LNT with the main tube and was told no.  My
mistake was I did not tell them I was new to astronomy, it was my first
telescope, and bought that model because of the "go to" functionality. 
True, you do not need to align it if you are not going to use the
computer function.  That part is on me.  Not being able to find anything
because the I did not align the scope or center the finder stars in the
LNT put a big damper on my viewing experience after seeing the moon.  I
called Meade back and got someone else who told me to align and train
the scope.  When I went to align the scope, I found when the unit was
adjusted as much as possible, the red dot on the LNT came up 1" below
the main tube target.  After several attempts to align it, I called
Meade back and was told I could either send the unit back or order a new
LNT, but I would be charged since it was now out of warranty.  I sent a
fax to Meade asking if that was the best they could do and never got a
response back and had I been told the rest of the story about not
needing to align the LNT and the main tube, it would still have been in
warranty.  I went ahead and ordered a new LNT unit.  When I went to
install it, the wires were short, I sent it back.  The second unit had
wires that were longer but still short.  I sent it back and got a third
unit with wires that were longer yet but  still short.  Meade told me
that was impossible since all the LNT units were the same and that I
should send the telescope to their repair center (yes, one of the
requirements for me to graduate from college was to demonstrate my
ability to correctly read a measuring stick.)  They said they would
credit the cost of the LNT I had purchased towards the repair bill, and
they would install a new one.  Great.  Two months later, I got the
telescope with the new LNT unit back.  I took it out and attempted to
align the LNT to the main tube again.  The results were the same as
before, 1" short of the main tube target.  I called Meade and asked for
a supervisor.  I was told I was speaking to one, explained all this to
him, and was put on hold while he checked on it.  I question the
validity of both these points in this conversation.  When he came back
on, he said he checked and the new LNT was working when it left the
repair center.  I asked why it would not align and he mentioned the
telescope has a two screw adjustment system and that it was difficult to
align it even for their techs after considerable training.  He told me I
should keep trying.   No "we're sorry you are having problems", no "we
will refund the $160 you spent on ineffective repairs", no "we will
report it and contact you if a solution is found", just "keep trying". 
Trust me, when you got the adjustment screw all the way in and it is
still 1" below the target, "keep trying" isn't going to get the job
done.

I must add, I even had a member of the local astronomy club who is
experienced with the bigger Meade telescopes help me and he could find
nothing with wrong in my approach nor could get it aligned either.

The optics in the telescope are very good; I use Vixen lenses and the
views of the moon are stunning.  My only complaint is with Meade's
customer service and the fact the LNT, in my opinion, is junk and Meade
seems to be taking no steps to correct the problem with either their
telescopes or their customers.  .

Frank             
Mike here: There are some LNT SmartFinder tips on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. If you have the LNT model with the removable lens, it is possible (and easy) to insert the lens improperly, which will make alignment impossible. Removing the lens and correctly inserting it will solve the problem.

And:

the LNT SmartFinder I have does not have a removable lens.  Also, I
looked through the Telescope Tech Tips - Premier Edition / LNT and as
near as I can tell, I do not see anything relating to the my issue.

Since buying my scope, I have talked to a couple people that have the
same problem and said the LNT was a good idea, but not effective.  This
is a major disappointment to me, but one that I will have to learn to
work around by bypassing the Go To function in the initial start up
procedure and do the true north thing.  I understand once this is done,
each time, the GoTo function works; it is the alignment issue that
causes me problems when centering the brightest star to figure out where
the telescope is in the sky.

I will keep watching your website in hopes a solution is discovered.

Thanks,

Frank
Mike here: I know the problem was addressed on the Site. Maybe it was just a short Feedback item. You can always add a replacement finderscope. Or just mark the offset on the SmartFinder lens with a dot.

And:

I will go back and review the tech section again.  Also, the other
suggestions you made are definite possibilities.  

Thanks again.
Mike here: Don't forget the "Site Search" function.

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URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/dec10/feedback.html