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DS MODELS USER FEEDBACK
Last updated: 8 June 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:	mounting a video camera on a Meade Autostarted mount
Sent:	Wednesday, June 6, 2001 21:13:50
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	lej@siscom.net
The answer about the motor noise is quite simple:

buy an LX-90!

It's a LOT quieter (you can muffle the whimpering from your wallet)

the "throw-away" optical tube assembly (OTA) will find many, many
 takers on Ebay...  for that matter, i'll take it!

It will have *no* problem with your camera, lightbar, shotgun microphone

(much more power in the drives)

The perfect answer!

--dick
Society for the Creative Use of Autostars (and associated Starfinders)

Subject:	User's Review of DS-114
Sent:	Wednesday, June 6, 2001 13:25:06
From:	Chris@csigeo.com (Christopher A. Bevers)
Just in case you wanted, I thought I'd shoot off a quick email on a
review of the DS-114 AT that I have had for about a month.  I've really
gotten into astronomy, and have learned a lot from various sites and
using the scope.  I would highly recommend beginners go to www.telescope.com and
use their educational pages - very helpful!

In any case, to get to the telescope.  I would not recommend this scope
to anyone, especially a beginner.  The optics are the best part about
the scope, and they are mediocre at best.  I've had so many problems
with the scope Meade knows my address by heart.  The eyepieces supplied
are worthless, and I had to call Meade for an adapter to use standard
1.25" eyepieces.  Once I started using Plossl eyepieces the viewing
improved, but the scope is difficult to use, mostly because it is a
motor driven scope, but the Autostar system just is not accurate enough
to be useful.  This is my suggestion for any beginners:  a goto
telescope sounds great, but unless you spend the big bucks, it will just
frustrate you.  The best beginning telescope is a Dobsonian, get about a
6" (you'll spend less on a 6" "Dob" than the DS-114 which is only 4.5"),
and buy a good book on star hopping. Once you're really into astronomy,
spend the big bucks on an 8" Nexstar from Celestron.  The best ""Dob""
on the market today is the SkyQuest (see Sky & Telescope) available from
Orion at www.telescope.com.

Subject:	Meade DS questions
Sent:	Tuesday, June 5, 2001 19:48:30
From:	kathy@zendner.com (Kathy Zendner)
Hi ... I also just purchased the Meade DS-127. I am also having problems
with the vertical lock nut on the DS mount that comes with the scope. I
have tried several different fixes recommended by other DS users. It
seems as though this is common with the DS mounts either the vertical
lock and or horizontal. You can remove the lock nut and then you will
see the bolt. It has a slot on the end. If you take a large slot end
srewdriver and insert it in the bolt;then while holding the bolt tightly
lightly nudge the OTA. If it moves at all then you have a bad mount. You
should contact Meade and have them replace the mount. I just found this
out last week and Meade is going to replace my mount. 
Kathy Zendner
kathy@zendner.com
================================================
Chuck Zendner,  ()  Email: chuck@zendner.com
ZWN Internet Services  http://www.zeewebnet.com/
Chuck & Kathy's Home Page http://www.zendner.com/
================================================
Note : The above email will contain misspellings, grammatical errors,
general confusion or may not make any since at all. These features are
added to represent the way I speak in person. I do not want to
misrepresent myself on the internet by using proper communication
skills.

Subject:	Meade Telescope Video Camera Mounting Plate Adapter
Sent:	Monday, June 4, 2001 12:28:55
From:	lej@siscom.net (Matthew A. Johnson)
Howdy!  I have a DSE60 Meade Telescope.  I love it!  
(Now the next paragraph does tie into this one so please be patient.)

As my wife and I were watching last years Christmas videos of the
family, we noticed that the manual adjust tripod we use for our video
camera was not cutting the mustard when it came to getting those special
gift faces. You know, Tears of joy, Misty eyes, giant smiles, and the
"what were they thinking" fake smiles.  We either missed the shot or one
of us was busy re-aligning the camera to get a shot and thus missed the
whole thing.  We have one fo those Sony's with the little screen that
folds out 90 degrees from the body and flips completely over so that you
can see what the camera sees from in front of the camera (Sorry for the
confusion with that last bit)

We decided that a remote controlled tripod was the way to go. To make a
long story short.  No one makes a reasonably priced one for a camcorder.
So I got to looking at my telescope tripod and lo and behold!  I had an
ideal!  Use the DSE60's tripod! It has a remote!  it rotates all the
direstions that one needs to fully capture the moment on video.

Now I assumed that Meade would make such a mounting to for a camcorder. 
I have looked all over the net for one but with no luck.  Then I found
your page! Could you please let me know if you have ever heard of or
seen any info on such an item.

Also, have you heard of a way to muffle the sound that those tiny little
motors make?

Thanks
Matthew A. Johnson
Mike here: Interesting idea. I don't recall seeing such a "reverse adapter" for mounting a camera directly to the tripod but you could probably make one fairly easily. As to muffling the sound from the drives, you could place a box lined with cloth over the tripod head.

Subject:	Meade DS model question
Sent:	Wednesday, May 23, 2001 11:43:55
From:	vangrunm@oit.edu (Michael Van Grunsven)
I love your site, lots of very useful information on it. I have a couple
of questions that I hope you or someone on your site may know the answer
to.

I have a meade model ds-127ec that I'm having problems with. The mount
on the scope is so loose that I can't even touch the focusing knobs
without pushing it out of alignment. At first I thought that the knobs
on the mount were just loose and not providing enough friction on the
drive gears, but I've cranked them down as far as I can an still no
luck. It seems like the knobs are bottoming out on the casing before
they are really tight. I was thinking of just adding some washers in
between the knobs and the drive gears in hopes that it would allow the
knobs to add more friction, but I thought I'd see if you or any of your
site visitors had any suggestions first. On a related note, it seems
that the tolerances on the drive gears are too large. I can manually
move the scope by hand about an inch in any direction before it
encounters any resistance. This is really irritating as it makes objects
move out of the field of view (even at low power) with only slight
pressure on the eye-piece or focus knobs. Any suggestions?

My second question is about software to control the scope. I'm a
software engineering student at Oregon Institute of Technology and I
want to write software to drive my scope as my senior project. I thought
I remembered seeing somewhere on you site that the command set for the
DS models is the same as the LX and ETX models, but now I can't find it.
Did I just imagine this? Do you know if the DS does use the same
commands, or know of somewhere with a command set for DS models?

Thanks and keep up the good work on your site,
Mike
Mike here: The Autostar understands some of the LX200 commands (see the item on the Autostar Information page); I don't recall any specifics about the StarFinder (what I think the DS has; but it is similar I think).

Subject:	re:  Meade DS127 and autostar #497
Sent:	Wednesday, May 16, 2001 21:54:01
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	sweiller@free.fr
All models of ETX,DS and LX will happily keep following an object
after it sets and (possibly) slowly smash into their bases.

The firmware only checks for "below horizon" at the initial GoTo.
It does not recalculate clearances during simple sidereal motion.

This has bothered me for over a year, too.

I will look into the code and see if there is an easy fix.
But i doubt it... as i remember it, the sidereal drive "merely" does
incremental motions, without recalculating absolute Altitude each 
 time.

(conversely, it is quite fun to follow a planet or the moon as
it sets behind the forest which forms my western horizon... to see
Venus shining from -between- tree branches 50km away is amazing...)

have fun...
--dick

Subject:	Meade DS127 and autostar #497
Sent:	Wednesday, May 16, 2001 3:04:13
From:	sweiller@free.fr (Sylvain Weiller)
I am concerned about what I think is a bug in the autostar program :

In late evening a couple of days ago, I programmed the autostar on Mars.
By that time it was above horizon but hidden for me by the nearby hill.
When I woke up during the night, I looked throught the scope on the Red
planet. After that I went back to bed. In the morning I had the surprise
to see the DS127 blocked on the mount at horizontal position while the
autostar still tracking ... Mars probably underground ! If there is no
confusion from me it seems that the program does not make any
verification when tracking to  pause the mount in case the object goes
below the horizon !! This could maybe act negatively on the motors ??
and then should be corrected.

BTW it is probably the same when the tracking has the effect to move the
scope in touch with the mount.

In my opinion, Meade should provide an option on menus to stop; if
wanted, the tracking  for both thoses problems. What do you think ?

Also I made a special page to show how to avoid a couple of problems
with the DS127 autostar. I you like you can make a link to :

http://sweiller.free.fr/ATMindex.html

Best Regards,

Amicalement,
Sylvain

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sylvain Weiller,
St Rmy ls Chevreuse (RER B),
FRANCE
LA N4842'07" LO E204'36" ALT 87m
E-mail: sweiller@free.fr
Site astronomique en franais :
"Au Paradis des Webcams Astronomiques"
http://www.astrosurf.com/sweiller
contributions  http://www.astrocam.org/
Membre de "Liste Astrocam" (astrocam@egroups.fr)
Membre de WEBCAMASTRO@egroups.fr

"Quand je vais me coucher, par beau ou par mauvais,
 Je me lve bientt, dans mes rves douillets !"
(L'astronome heureux, SW)

English Astronomy Web Site : 
"Teh Webcam paradise & 3D imaging"        
http://sweiller.free.fr/
and contribution to 
http://www.astrocam.org/
Also member of QCUIAG 
"QuickCam and Unconventional Imaging Astronomy" 
QCUIAG@egroups.com
http://www.astrabio.demon.co.uk/QCUIAG/
and also WEBCAMASTRO@egroups.fr
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mike here: Does sound like a bug. On the ETX scopes with Autostar, there is a PARK function that stops the tracking without losing the alignment. And it saves power too because it allows the scope electrical power to be turned off.

And:

Thanks a lot.
There is a park function which put the DS facing North and horizontal
and ask to cut the power supply. There is also a pause function which
turn off the motors but not the clocks. I don't think it is related with
the DS as it is the same computer-autostar #497 for all the models (you
can choose the scope inside the menus).

The problem is that when tracking goes subhorizontal there is no pause
function ! I don't understand why it would be only available with the
ETX ? Do you mean that on the ETX, if the scope goes below horizon there
is some kind of mecanical detection and the autostar goes into sleep
mode ?

Could you give me some further information ? Could you contact Meade to
see if they can solve this in the next upgrade (but I really wonder why
I would be the first to encouter this bug ?)

Best regards,

Amicalement,
Sylvain
Mike here: Have you reported the problem to engineer@meade.com? If not, I suggest that you report it, fully describing your system and how to duplicate the error. While you won't get a reply they do read the mail and that is how fixes get implemented. I haven't let the ETX track an object to the horizon; I'll have to try that test on my next free moment.

Subject:	aaagggggghhhhhhhhh!!!
Sent:	Saturday, May 5, 2001 20:15:19
From:	rnlacour@adelphia.net (Richard La Cour)
I just picked picked up a Meade DS-114 EC telescope with autostar. (it
looks like they have been clearing them out to make way for the new
scopes). After reading your site (which seems WAY more up to date than
Meades (which I cannot even log onto for 2 days since they are down),
I've got more of a headache now than when I bought the scope. Is there a
simple, beginner astronomer area you can recommend? After trying to
update the autostar to the 2.4 version I switched it out with another
because it just acted flakey. I ran into the expired elements problems
you have posted with the satelites (silly me thought everything was
point and click). Everything bad I've seen seems to have been mentioned
on your site, but I dont have the experience to know what the flying
?????? you guys are talking about. Even updating the autostar by
downloadiing the 2.4 software (which one readme.txt says to download the
roms separately to get to work on the 495 and another said the oposite)
seems an effort. You wouldnt know where a fresh beginner could turn to
could you? Or any clubs in the Orlando, Florida (which all satellites
have expired) area. Any help would be appreciated. I was hoping to adapt
the DC-114 with a camera for pictures, but since I cannot find anything
but the moon, I'm not sure of my options.

Thanks for any help you can give me. And sorry for the long paragraph!
-Richard LaCour

www.richardlacour.com (which I'm hoping to put some links and astronomy
data here if I can figure it out!)
Mike here: Sorry to hear about your problems. You can check the Sky & Telescope web site (www.skypub.com) for a club listing. You can read through the Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the Autostar Information page, some of which may be helpful to you. It does take some practice and some learning to get comfortable with what these new fangled scopes can do. Even when I started out with my 3" reflector 40 years ago there was stuff to learn. By the way, I took my 3" reflector outside for looks at Jupiter tonight. Brought back a lot of pleasant memories.

Subject:	DS or ETX
Sent:	Saturday, May 5, 2001 18:41:46
From:	abcuellar@hotmail.com (abcuellar)
Hy, I am planning to buy an ETX90EC but I saw the DS-90EC they both are
90mm telescopes. What is the diference between them?I want a telescope
that can see clear. I prefer a small clear image than a large fuzzy
image.
What is my best choice?
please
Help me

Oh,and COOL site  
Mike here: I have no experience with the DS-90EC, which is a refractor. It's focal length (1000mm) is slightly shorter than the ETX-90EC Maksutov-Cassegrain (1250mm). There are differences in size and mounting capabilities.

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Copyright © 2001 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
Submittals Copyright © 2001 by the Submitter
URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/dsJun01.html