Last updated: 31 January 2001

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:	wayneski3@juno.com (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
Mike 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:	bjburch@venus.net (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:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	mcvey_1@yahoo.com

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
(read Mike's Autostar Feedback page for more tales of Updater 
And more:

> 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".
> 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
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

> 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

Subject:	 Meade 4504
Sent:	Saturday, January 20, 2001 23:54:42
From:	screi@peoplepc.com (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

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..


Subject:	 Ds114/Autostar
Sent:	Saturday, January 20, 2001 08:14:17
From:	mcvey_1@yahoo.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
Mike 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


Subject:	 meade ds114at vs meade ds114ec
Sent:	Thursday, January 18, 2001 07:41:08
From:	paulytat@power-net.net (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            paulytat@netscape.net

Subject:	 re: Telescopes
Sent:	Tuesday, January 16, 2001 21:21:30
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.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
check out: 

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.


for a pile of postings by (mostly) happy 4504 owners.

good luck
(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:	zoso50@ameritech.net (ZoSo)
**Please post This on your DS section**

Here is a Glimps of a review from a Amature on the DS-114AT


Check it out! It's to the point!

Subject:	 Meade 4045
Sent:	Sunday, January 14, 2001 15:02:13
From:	john_heffernan@appleonline.net (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


Mike 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:	jxt@crosswinds.net (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?

Johnny Tolliver
Mike 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 Hammett
Mike 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?


Mike 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:	davidtrumble@home.com (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

- 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 Trumble
Mike 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:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	wgrainger@earthlink.net

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).


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).

Subject:	 re: DS114 info
Sent:	Monday, January 8, 2001 08:33:25
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	Rddocret@aol.com

I saw your note on Mike's site...

another good source of DS114 (and its clone: the 4504) info is


lots of interested owners and lookers...

Subject:	 Help
Sent:	Saturday, January 6, 2001 04:22:49
From:	wgrainger@earthlink.net (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?


Thanks for any help possible.

Garrett Grainger
Mike 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:	e_suty@yahoo.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

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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Copyright © 2001 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
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