DS MODELS USER FEEDBACK
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade DS telescope models. Accessories and Feedback items appropriate to the ETX models are posted on other pages as appropriate. 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: Free Telescope Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2001 20:04:22 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Charles W Mansfield) How is it going? I'm Wayne from Coal City, IL. (60 miles south of Chicago). I can order a telescope from a safety catalog from work. I earned enough safety points. I could get a Meade DS-114EC or a 60AZ-D, or a ETX-60AT. From what I read on your website the ETX-60AT is not very good as far as technical problems. I have seen a lot of good about the DS-114EC. That is the one I'll probably get. It comes with SpaceExplorer software. Whatever that is. I have never owned a telescope before. Any suggestions Later WayneMike here: If you have never owned a telescope before, expect to spend time with it, learning it and the sky. To get the most out of any telescope, you have to do this. However, a word of caution: don't expect to see images like you see on the boxes or in photographs. Yes, you can get a lot of enjoyment from astronomy but you need to be certain your expectations are inline with the telescope's (and your eyes') capabilities. There are good things about the both models that you mention and there are limitations. All things being equal, you want as much aperture as you can get. That gets you higher magnifications, more details, and fainter objects. The downside of a lot of aperture is that the telescope is physically larger and may therefore be more cumbersome to move outside and setup. Always some tradeoffs you have to consider.
Subject: Positioner Gear Sent: Monday, January 29, 2001 16:05:06 From: email@example.com (Billy Burchfield) I'm Insearch Of An positioner gear for a DS-114 D=114mm F=910mm f/8 I have tried All kinds of shops tring to find the piece, but nobody has it I have wen't even went to www.mead.com To Email them about the problem But it seems that there is no Way to get hold of them, Just like other people I have tried calling there Hotline there was no Anwser. What should I do.Mike here: Have you faxed them? They also receive requests that way. Be explicit about the problem and they should contact you (phone) with instructions. Depending upon the nature of the item requested they may or may not send a repair part to you; they may request that you return the scope to them for repair. So, you do have to contact them one way or another.
Subject: don't download to your 495!! (yet) Sent: Monday, January 22, 2001 21:16:18 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: email@example.com Hi... i saw your note on Mike's site... before you trash your Autostar with Meade's currently-broken Updater, check out which version your Autostar is already running. The -newest- 495 firmware on Meade's site is v2.0i The v21ek is -only- for the 497. You can get your complete version number by selecting the Setup menu, and then scroll up a few times to "Statistics" press [enter] (it'll say something like "5.1k free") press scroll up once, and -there- will be the version number. If it's 2.0h or 2.0i -don't- try to update. You're already current. You may not have a flakey cable... you may just be seeing the effects of the flakey Updater. good luck --dick (read Mike's Autostar Feedback page for more tales of Updater hassles...)And more:
Jim, > I face it north (magnetic or polar) you want Polar (true) north. > and it will not slew to jupiter or saturn. its way off by almost > 150 degrees. Its begining to be a pain in the rear. "AH! There's the problem! You're supposed to FACE the scope". (sorry) > I have calibrated, recalibrated, set the thing to factory defaults.. and verified that it has the correct model of telescope? (i've gotta ask) > and.. the motor slews (slowest speed) when I am trying to hold > it stationary. now... by that do you mean the sidereal drive is running? (which it should) and/or are you "merely" experiencing creep-after-beep, which should stop after about a degree of drift. The 150 degrees off is quite puzzling. 2.0g isn't that much different than v2.0h or 2.0i with respect to planetary pointing. How well does it aim at *stars*?? The planets require accurate calculation (tho i've never seen it 150 degrees off). But the stars are -fixed-. If it aligns and star-points properly, then it's overall working... and an update (get the 2.1 Updater from Mike's site... not the A2.3 updater from Meade) A 150 degree error could also be indicative of the wrong time zone or longitude... remember that the USA is at -negative- time zone offset (so west coast is -8.0 hours). You might try choosing a relatively nearby city as your site, rather than customizing it. > I wish I would have spent the extra $$ and ordered the > Discovery Telescopes DHQ 8 inch DOB. This makes my > 2nd Meade instrument.. i am not impressed. There's always the "call tech support" route. Not that i've tried it personally. For -me- the deciding factor on the ETX90 was portability. I still drool at large aperture Dobs, but about once per two or three years i get to play with one for a bit, and i remember why i don't have one. When i walked into the store which sold me my ETX90, i was -really- intending to buy a used 8" orange-tube Celestron. Oh, well. > I tried my cable again.. it still will not work, > Starry Night wont pick it up either. Neither will TheSky program. Other things to try: connect cable. Fire up Hyperterminal on the PC, tell it you want to connect directly to COM1 (or COM2, whichever you're on)... set it to 9600 baud, 8bit, no parity, no flow control. Connect the cables. Fire up the Autostar ... somewhen during initialization you -may- see an "X" appear on the hyperterminal window. That's very good if you do. Now, type a control-F on your PC's keyboard. Nothing else. The Autostar should echo an "A" or "P" depending upon Alt/Az or Polar mount status. IF that works, you've got communication. If that works, you can try :GVF# (colon G V F pound-sign) Again... no additional keys. It should respond with its identification string, including the word Autostar and a time and date (when v2.0g was built at Meade) If the above does *not* work, disconnect the rs232 cable from the Autostar. Short together the cable's pins 1 and 2 ... Now anything typed on the PC's keyboard should appear on the screen. If they don't, your cable is flat-out bad. If the typing -does- appear on the screen, then REALLY suspect that you've got pins 1 and 2 swapped. Or the ends swapped. Or both. Here's the pinnage Autostar End of 505 connector cable -- rj11/rj22 +-----------+ 1- Data TO Autostar | 1 2 3 4 | 2- Data FROM Autostar +---+ +---+ 3- not used |___| 4- ground So, with only the PC connected, you should see -5v (yes, negative) or more if the red lead of a voltmeter is on pin 1, and the black lead is on pin 4. rs232 idles in a negative state. See the graphic on the DS114-EC Power Supply page which also nicely shows it. If the during-Initialization "X" appeared, but typing via Hyperterminal didn't work, then suspect the to-Autostar wire. And verify that "flow control" is set to "none" in the Hyperterminal setup. > Guess its not that important right at the moment > besides i dont have a laptop to take out in the field. I use a 100' telephone extension cord, myself... LOTS of exercise running up and down 3 flights of stairs... good luck --dick
Subject: Meade 4504 Sent: Saturday, January 20, 2001 23:54:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Wayne Scharphorn) the 4504 Richard Seymour mentions is a Costco distributed model that cost about $250..some folks got them for about $200 when Costco put out a coupon a while back but i believe it expired a bit ago.. most of us 4504 owner's have found it to be a great value for the price..but it does take some "tweaking" (and additional bucks) to optimize its performance..i would encourage anyone who is thinking of buying one or has one to visit us at the egroup Richard mentioned: http://www.egroups.com/group/Meade4504Telescopes for lots of friendly information about the telescope and some of its cousins, the 114eq dh4..etc the ds model line has a alt/az mount(and different motors) and is upgraded to the 495 autostar..the 4504 uses the 494 starfinder and as mention before is on a eq mount..but priced significantly different Thanx for the great site.. Wayne
Subject: Ds114/Autostar Sent: Saturday, January 20, 2001 08:14:17 From: email@example.com (Jimmy McVey) I am new to astronomy I started on Christmas 2000 with a DS60 (what a peice of junk) The focuser began to get really loose and wobbly (move up and down) after only 4 times of use. I couldnt see anything with it (excpet the moon)because the object would move out of the focus view with the slightest touch. I tried to tighten it down but was unsuccessful. So my wife and I returned it and went to Wal-Mart and found a larger scope, the DS114 with Autostar. I purchased the DS114 Scope, It has the Autostar 495. I wanted to to the firmware update to the handbox so I d-loaded the files from meade. When I run the update utility, it crashes upon loading I have emailed Meade about this and probably wont hear anything from them until next week. Do you think it is because I am running Windows 2000? Also I have tried and tried to make the 505 cable. I cant get any software to communicate with the scope. I d-loaded StarMap, and used Starrynight that came with my scope. I wired the pinouts EXACTLY like the instructions, I even reversed the wires, without any luck. I know my COM ports work because my Philips Nino HPC syncs with no problem. I guess I am going to thave to fork out 30 bucks for the cable from Meade. (ack) Unless maybe one of your faithful visitors to your website could be so kind to make me one and mail it to me (Wouldnt that be great!). Thanks for the help, info, and a GREAT website! Jim McVey firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: Sorry to hear about the problems you've experienced. Not being a PC user I have no experience with Windows2000. I know there were problems with the earlier Autostar updater and Windows2000 but I think the new one on Meade's site works OK with Windows2000. Have you checked the #505 cable info on the Autostar Information page?
Thanks Mike, I did try the info off the ETX site. Maybe its the cheap Radio Shack cable I am using? :) I will keep trying until I can get it to work, maybe I am doing something wrong but I am following the instructions exact. Thanks again Jim
Subject: meade ds114at vs meade ds114ec Sent: Thursday, January 18, 2001 07:41:08 From: email@example.com (pauline thompson weaver) i am a newcomer to star gazing, but have it's been a love of mine for many years. i'm looking at the meade ds114at and the meade ds114ec. any comments? pauline firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: re: Telescopes Sent: Tuesday, January 16, 2001 21:21:30 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) > I'm about to purchase a cheap telescope for my daughter's 11th > birthday and I've considered the ETX60AT or maybe the 70. Let me toss in a vote for the 4504 (German Equatorial)... it's also sold as the 114EQ-DH4 Meade also sells the DS-114AT And (to confuse everything) the DS model is also sold as 3 or 4 different models: Polaris, Jupiter, Saturn and (no name). *Some* of those have 1.25" eyepieces. Most have 0.96" eyepieces (but a phone call to Meade will get you a free 1.25" adapter) *i* started (in 1956?) with a 3" newtonian from AC Gilbert... with a plastic two-lens eyepiece. 80 power. It finally stopped being my "main scope" when the plastic spider holding the secondary mirror melted in the sun on the plains of the Serengeti in 1981. So i'd vote for a little more aperture... maybe a DS-90, or check out 4504 pricing (maybe $200 at Costco or Sam's Club with a Starfinder (494 Autostar)?) Check out ehobbies.com too... they're offering 10% off, plus (less?) 3% using their www.ebates.com site. And free shipping. good luck --dickAnd:
check out: www.geocities.com/zososcope he paid $350 at Wal-Mart, so my "$200" may have been a VERY optimistic memory glitch.And more:
So i got to the bottom of the website i just sent... and he -hates- the scope for its plastic... without trying it. Indeed, many people rate the 4504's German Mount far above that of the DS-114AT. But it's also heavier, and an equatorial, so it's harder to just slew around the sky. But the optics of the 4504 are exactly the same as the DS-114's. And they're not bad. Visit www.egroups.com/messages/Meade4504Telescopes for a pile of postings by (mostly) happy 4504 owners. good luck --dick (whose $18-in-1956 3" scope would now be $168 due to inflation).
Subject: DS-114AT scope User Review Sent: Monday, January 15, 2001 15:58:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (ZoSo) **Please post This on your DS section** Here is a Glimps of a review from a Amature on the DS-114AT www.geocities.com/zososcope Check it out! It's to the point!
Subject: Meade 4045 Sent: Sunday, January 14, 2001 15:02:13 From: email@example.com (John D. Heffernan) I was wondering if you and your band of Meade-people could help me out again. I have a 4045 (with 1.25" eyepieces) I am new to Astronomy (but not totally new to optical instruments) and I must say how great the 4045 is for the price.....unbelievable really. The one thing I that really needs improving is the finder..I am looking for a new finder that I can use. As the 'scope is kinda new I am squeamish about drilling the optical tube to mount a new finder...all that swarf and debris from the drill entering the tube..ugh!. I think my options are to buy a new finder that fits into the existing mount..limits me to 30mm with some modification of the existing bracket......the other and much more attractive solution in my view is to but a finder and bracket that I can fit onto the existing bracket on the tube. The screw holes are in line axially (referring to the optical tube) ...about 15-20 mm pitch (I havent measured them) so I could modify any bracket that is close with some drilling..(brackets, I will drill!). I would like to replace the mount too as the exisitng one is a bit flimsy..but this is not crucial. I notice from Sherwoods web page that Meade do a few finders with the correct hole alignment but I cant get a UK Meade dealer to give me any price / suitability info.....( I am in the UK, so registered USA dealers will not ship to the UK as prices charged by meade UK dealers here are 2x - 3x the USA price). I notice that Scopetronix (who will ship to the UK..nice afocal camera adaptor..thanks for the tip Mike!..I will be submitting pictures soon I hope) do some nice well-priced finders but their brackes have radially placed holes...shame!) The other thing I like the look of is the red-dot type of finder but again....I wouldn't want to drill mounting holes.... Also I am still looking for some manual knobs for the RA and DEC controls for the scope...... If you know of any solutions to my above problems, I would be really grateful.....Thanks. Regards, JohnMike here: Some finders come with self-mounting sticky tape so no drilling is required. For some finders you could probably strap it on. I use rubber bands to secure the Rigel QuikFinder on my ETX. Don't know about the knobs.
Subject: ETX60/70 vs DS60/70 Sent: Sunday, January 14, 2001 11:48:46 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Johnny Tolliver) I've enjoyed your ETX site and all the user comments. I'm about to purchase a cheap telescope for my daughter's 11th birthday and I've considered the ETX60AT or maybe the 70. With current pricing and special promotions, it seems I can also get a DS 60/70 with tripod and AutoStar 494 for nearly identical price to an ETX 60/70 with tripod and 494 -- $300 for the 60 and $350 for the 70 in both cases. It's not quite an ETX question, but can you help me choose between the DS and ETX lines? Thanks, Johnny Tolliver email@example.comMike here: I'm not certain but I think all the scopes in the DS line use 0.965" eyepieces, not the more standard 1.25" eyepieces. Not a huge difference but something to be aware of. I'm sure there are others differences as well but since I don't have any of the DS line I can't comment on them.
Subject: Meade DS-114 Sent: Thursday, January 11, 2001 18:06:08 From: AJerzewski@aol.com Fought with my new DS-114 since Christmas. This is my first telescope and I am completely new to the hobby. AutoStar was lucky to come within 25 degrees of the target star during the easy alignment process (both Alt and Az). It was impossible to easy align (it failed all but once out of about 50 tries - and when it 'worked' it did not even come close when I did the first GOTO). I'd spent 20+ hours trying to get the stupid thing to work - retraining, leveling, using different stars, nothing worked. Even when I manually slewed to my target after a failed alignment using the AutoStar arrow buttons, the automatic tracking rate was so fast I lost the object after a few seconds with the 25mm lens! I had to cycle power to stop the automatic movement and then just use the AutoStar arrow buttons after skipping the alighment process. I took the telescope back to the dealer and demanded an exchange. After some hemming and hawing with the manager they finally agreed. Alt gears did not have anywhere near the backlash movement of the first scope. Motors sounded different when running. Set up the replacement, did a quick training on it, got it pretty well level but not perfect. Alignment was successful the very first try. GOTO got my first three objects within the field of view and only required slight adjustments to center! This is what I expected when I bought the scope. Don't spend your time fighting defective equipment, demand that the dealer support you and exchange the telescope!
Subject: Meade DS-70 Sent: Tuesday, January 9, 2001 11:32:17 From: Mark_Hammett@Dell.com I am new to astronomy and I came upon your website. I recently acquired a Meade Ds-70 telescope. This is a basic refractor scope with a 70 mm main lens and it has a 9mm eyepiece (78 power) and a 25 mm eyepiece (128 power). What eyepiece would you recommend to get 256 power and a larger field of view? Does the smaller the number (9 vs. 25) indicate the greater the magnification? Thanks for your assistance to a fellow astronomer. Mark HammettMike here: I think you got the magnifications backwards; shorter focal length eyepieces yield higher magnifications with the same telescope. To calculate the magnification of an eyepiece, divide the telescope focal length by the eyepiece focal length. As to going for higher powers, keep in mind that the theoretical maximum is twice the aperture in millimeters. So for a 70mm scope that is 140X. With good optics you can exceed this on some brighter objects. See the Accessories - Eyepieces page for some comments.
Subject: Connecting cameras to a Meade DS90 telescope Sent: Tuesday, January 9, 2001 05:54:41 From: JDeSario@CullDyk.com (DeSario, Joseph) I recently received a Meade DS90 telescope as a gift, and would like to start off saying that I love it. I now want to begin taking some photos. I'd like to use my 35mm for the time being, but I'm not sure if I can. So my question is - If the lens on a camera is not removable, would I still be able to use it to for astrophotography? Or, are there camera adapters that may be purchased for non- removable lens cameras? If so, can you explain how these adapters work, and would you be able to point me in the right direction? Thanks, JosephMike here: You can see many examples of astrophotography done with cameras without removable lenses on my ETX site. Just focus the eyepiece for your eye, focus the camera for infinity, and shot through the eyepiece. Only short exposures will be possible but you can shot the Moon, brighter planets, and with the proper protection, the Sun. See the Accessories - Astrophotography page for some adapters.
Subject: Eyepiece upgrades for the 4504 Sent: Monday, January 8, 2001 21:24:34 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Trumble) Got the Meade 4504 package from Costco for Christmas (4.5" reflector with EQ mount and StarFinder GOTO computer). My 5 and 8 year old daughters and I have really enjoyed some quick views of the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn during a few clear COLD Colorado evenings. Nothing spectacular, but the planets and their moons are clearly recognizable. After scanning the web, it seems a popular opinion that upgrading the 0.965" eyepieces to 1.25" should improve our views. I've called Meade's support, and they're sending the 1.25" adapter for this scope free of charge. My questions are: - Can I assume any brand of 1.25" EP will work in this scope? - If so, can I get a significant improvement using economy EP's like Orion's Explorer II Starter Set, or Hands on Optics GTO Plossls? Or can I get much greater bang-for-my-buck by spending more? - Is there a point of overkill for this scope? It's easy to find EP's on the web costing much more than this whole system... Thanks for any suggestions! David TrumbleMike here: For the most part, any 1.25" eyepiece will fit. Whether they will work (or work better) will depend upon some factors. Having the best optics is always a good idea but you only get as good as the poorest optics in your system will deliver. So, don't good too overboard on price for the eyepieces. The only other question is whether they will focus on your system; if not be certain you can exchange or return for refund. Finally, don't forget the theoretical maximum magnification is double the telescope aperture in millimeters or 50-60x per inch of aperture. You can exceed this with good optics on bright objects but don't plan on it for dim nebulae.
Subject: re: ds60ec setup Sent: Monday, January 8, 2001 08:33:57 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Hi... I saw your note on Mike's site... one common cause of "too far" slewing is that the Autostar has the wrong idea of what -Model- of Telescope you have. (it therefore gets the gear ratios wrong). Locate: Setup>Telescope>Model[enter] and then scroll up/down to -your- model. Press [enter] to say "that one!" After doing that, you should also scroll (still in Setup) to "Calibrate" ... press [enter]. The motors will move a bit. After doing -that- a "drive training" sequence is recommended (both Az and Alt). Then try a setup.. things may get lots better (i hope). --dick
Subject: re: DS114 info Sent: Monday, January 8, 2001 08:33:25 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) To: Rddocret@aol.com Hi... I saw your note on Mike's site... another good source of DS114 (and its clone: the 4504) info is www.egroups.com/Messages/Meade4504Telescopes lots of interested owners and lookers... --dick
Subject: Help Sent: Saturday, January 6, 2001 04:22:49 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Garrett) I'm sure you get e-mails like crazy. I'm new to observing and my wife got me a ds60ec w/autostar for christmas. Scopes ok but autostar will not align. Do setup outside to train. no problem. Do two star align and thats all she wrote. First star is close. Do the centering and press enter. Select second star and the scope cranks about 30 d past the star. when I motor it back, it says alignment failed. It never comes close on the second star. Az only, alt is ok. Any suggestions? anyone else having this problem with ds or etx? ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG! Thanks for any help possible. Garrett GraingerMike here: Why things could be wrong: HOME position, base not level (assuming you are in Alt/Az), Autostar not set for the same mounting mode, date/time/site location wrong. Or perhaps you're misrecognizes that second star.
Subject: advice Sent: Friday, January 5, 2001 10:55:19 From: Rddocret@aol.com My husband bought me a DS114EC and autostar for Christmas(he spent to much for the set up). I had asked him for the etx70 or 90 for Christmas but he figured the bigger the better. I've been reading all of these horror stories on your site (which is great) about this scope, I'm wondering whether or not to return it and get an etx 90 . My expectations are to be able to see planets and star clusters etc.I would also like to be able to use the scope to look at land based objects. I would really like to observe Saturn with the rings! not a blur. Any recommendations would be appreciated on other scopes as well, my budget would be approx.$600. I saw an entry on your site to get an etx90 at sams for $400. that would give me extra for a barlow and tripod, obviously I am a beginner. I have been fascinated by the heavens since I was a little girl, I'm 40 now and have time to explore. Thanks, Diane.Mike here: You should be able to see Saturn's Rings and a lot more with the DS scope. Are you saying you can't? At any rate, what scope is right for you depends upon your expectations and how you will use it. There are a lot of telescopes out there which can do the job, once you decide what that job is.
Subject: yee-haw 4504 Sent: Wednesday, January 3, 2001 01:02:58 From: email@example.com (Evan Sutton) Oh boy! I was on your pages again and cant seem to stop myself from giving you an update on my affair with the 4504. I am now able to get the 4504 and auto-star setup fairly well most nights. I have been able to see about 4 faint nebula, the great orion nebula (no goto needed for that one) Saturn (maybe 1 moon?), Jupiter (at least 4 moons) and The andromeda Galaxy (I think) and Venus (hmm phases huh... perhaps). I have targeted and repeatedly missed (2 nights anyway) The Triangulum galaxy. I pretended to buy the wife a digital camera for Christmas (poloroid something-or -other, $150 at walmart), and so now have a psuedo-ccd imager. I cut a toilet-paper tube and notched it for the eye-piece thumbscrews to fit over the eypiece. Even with that I had no small amount of grief trying to get a picture of anything other then black holes ( I must have some 20 bit-maps of black holes now). I finally worked a deal where I would center the object in the .25mm eypeice, get the wife to shine a flashlight down the tube, hold the camera against the toilet paper tube and center the bright circle in the ccd screen. Then turn off the flashlight and take the picture. So I offer to you (free of charge) these astonishing images of Jupiter and Saturn imaged with the above referenced equipment (wal-mart special ccd imager, Charmin T-P adaptor, & photon-beam illuminated of-axes eyeball). My own analysis of these images reveals that whatever moon that is by Jupiter its clearly jumping out of its orbit at a phenominal rate in this image, .. remarkable. And the the rings of Saturn have clearly colapsed into the planet forming an oblong sphere of spinning gas and dusk. Subsiquent observations show that the Jupiter moon and the Saturn rings returned to there familiar configuration after the images. I cant imagine the odds that I would have captured these two hitherto unknown phenomenom on the same night in my backyard! So keep up the great site and I'll keep you posted on any new findings. Thanks, Evan
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