GENERAL FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 28 February 2007

This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX, DSX, and DS models. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.


Subject:	First Eyepiece for ETX-90
Sent:	Wednesday, February 28, 2007 13:43:25
From:	Alexander David Grushky (grushkya@msu.edu)
I recently got the ETX-90PE model telescope and have been having a blast
with it. I saw Saturn with a 26mm plossl and it was incredible. Being an
astrophysics student here at Michigan State, one can imagine the joy I
had finally seeing these objects in the "flesh".

My question to you involves eyepieces. I'm looking to get some new
eyepieces for better magnification with planetary/deep space/nebular
viewing. There is a deal at a local discovery channel store for 3
packages:

1)3 premium 4-element plossl's(6.4mm, 12.4mm, 32mm), and an ND Moon
Filter all for $99.99

2)17.5mm modified achromatic eyepiece and the #126 Barlow 2x for $29.99

3)15mm premium 4-element plossl, #126 Barlow 2x, and the ND Moon Filter
for $49.99

I was wondering if you had any input into the quality of Meade's
eyepieces opposed to other brands, and also which of the above is the
best deal. Right now, I'm leaning towards getting the 1) and 2) package
for $130 and having the set for a while. I realize that the 6.4mm I'll
probably never get around to using, but it looks like a steal to get all
those pieces for only $99.99.

As an alternative, would you support the purchase of the 15mm plossl and
the 2x Barlow and then separately purchasing a 10mm? I realize I'm
rambling here but I just don't want to get suckered in to a bad deal.

Thank for any help you can give and thanks for the site!

-Alex Grushky 
Mike here: My recommendation would be EITHER 1 or 2, not both, and I would lean towards #1. Having a range of eyepiece focal lengths is a good idea. Yes, you can use a 2X Barlow Lens to effectively double your eyepiece collection (the 26mm becomes a 13mm) and that 17.5mm becomes a 9mm (approximately). As you can see, #1 has almost those plus more. Plus you get the Moon filter (handy unless you want to wear sunglasses while observing the Moon!). Meade eyepieces are fine when used with the ETX. Can you get better (higher quality, more expensive)? Yes. But do you really need them?
Subject:	ETX screw size help
Sent:	Wednesday, February 28, 2007 05:30:38
From:	Andrew Heard (ambheard@iinet.net.au)
I have lost the little screw thing which goes into the eyepiece holder
of my etx 125. It is the screw which you tighten to fix an eyepiece into
the eyepiece holder, and have to loosen to remove/change eyepiece.

Can you maybe tell me what the exact thread size/pitch/type is so i can
get a replacement from a hardware store,  or if not then maybe where I
might get a replacement part.

Thanks
 
Andy
Mike here: See the FAQ page. Also, contact Meade; they will likely send you a replacement. Or if you have some unused computer cables available, some of the screws used on connectors will work fine.
Subject:	Scopetronix
Sent:	Monday, February 26, 2007 14:09:00
From:	alexander.hobson@chumamfm.com
I just have a quick question, has anyone had a problem with Scopetronix
as far as ordering or contacting anyone there.  I emailed them to get a
shipping quote, didn't get anyone answering me, so I just placed the
ordered and didn't hear anything back.  Then I e-mailed again asking
about the status of my order, again didn't hear anything back. This is a
matter of a few weeks.  I did receive a notification from USPS about
Scoptronix contacting them to let them know a package was expected from
them, but the tracking number I got didn't go anywhere and I did get an
automated answer confirming my order.  Any way, I guess what I'm asking
is, are these guys OK to deal with, am I just catching them on a bad
week/month, or have you heard of problems with them?  Thanks Mike.
  
Alexander W. Hobson
Mike here: Scopetronix continues to be going through some difficult times. Some people are getting products and some are experiencing delays. We all hope that Scopetronix gets back on track and soon but we've been hoping that for months.

And:

I appreciate your thoughts about Scopetronix. I have a ton more I'd like
to order from them but not before I get something from them first.

Subject:	Post-surgical performance ETX-125PE
Sent:	Monday, February 26, 2007 05:29:36
From:	Littell, Charles C CIV USAF 88 CG/SCCV (Charles.Littell@WPAFB.AF.MIL)
Anyway, we had one clear night, reasonable viewing conditions.  I did a
careful setup including Long/Lat site info and training/sensor cal using
a reticle 9mm EP.  The result was goto performance that never put the
bullseye within a 15mm EP, but when I engaged the "High Precision" mode
to center nearby easy targets, it was dead on the money.  It was dark
enough that Andromeda was quite a sight, and for about 5 seconds I swear
the conditions stabilized to the point that I could make out spiral
structure.  More likely I was just having a PBS flashback, but it was
still enjoyable.

So my real first light experience was good overall, and my companions
were impressed enough to endure 15 degree weather for extended periods. 
Liberal applications of distilled spirits and hot tub therapy completed
the observation cycle.

Chas

Subject:	ETX-125 Power Supply Alternatives
Sent:	Saturday, February 24, 2007 08:12:04
From:	John Merry (jcmerry@us.ibm.com)
Thanks so much for all the time and effort you give to the "Mighty" web
site! I have recently started into astronomy and my first purchase is
the ETX-125. I bought it used and therefore am even more interested in
the wealth of information you are sharing to the public. I have spent
many hours pouring through your site and have enjoyed it.

The reason I am writing you is to get your help with external power
alternatives. I found a couple of power supply components laying around
the house and wonder if they could be used with my 125.

The first is an AC to DC adapter.
Input 120VAC 60Hz 35 Watts
Output 12VDC 1.6A

And yes I know to check, check again, and check one more time the
polarity! I need to change the plug and was thinking about adding a 1.5A
fuse. Would this work? Is the amperage too high?

I also saw where you stated the power needs to be regulated. How could I
tell? The power supply is from a chair massage pad!

Here is a picture:

photo

My second question is regarding using the cigarette lighter in a
vehicle. I have a cord with the cigarette lighter plug and fuse holder
and no other electronics.

This would be supplying power straight from the cigarette lighter to the
telescope without any filtering or regulating. With the right connector
and 1.5A fuse, is this safe for my scope?

Thanks much and have a great day!

John
Mike here: For the ETX line, 1600mA is fine (the Meade adapter is 1500mA). You can add a fuse to protect the circuitry if you like. Using a cigarette lighter socket is also fine. Under normal circumstances the regulated or not will not likely cause any problem. If your power (AC from the wall) is unstable, a regulated supply would help. The label on the "brick" will (may) indicate whether or not it is regulated.
Subject:	two postings with (i think) the same question...
Sent:	Friday, February 23, 2007 20:13:35
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
You struggled with FrancescMR's Spanish in the message titled:
"Meade ETX 125" on the general page,
but i -think- he was asking the same question that Mike Wride
was asking on the -PE page: "RA. Finderscope for ETX 105 Premiere"

Since Francesc also talked about angles above 60 degrees
being a problem, and "searcher" could be "finder".
(buscador could be taken as "seeker")
His comment on "no base to mount it" fits, too.

I'll see if i can come up with a bilingual answer,
but my Spanish is pretty rusty.

have fun
--dick

And:

(i apologize for my poor Spanish in the translated section below)

I believe you are asking the same question asked by Mike Wride
on Mike Weasner's "ETX Premier Edition" page:
How to add a "real" viewfinder, or one easier to use at tilt
angles greater than 60 degrees.

I added a viewfinder to my ETX90 using a saddle built from
two pieces of plastic water pipe.
One is 10cm long and 8 cm diameter, the other is 6 cm long and
more or less 3 cm diameter.
I cut them in half, which made two U-shaped pieces.
Then i sanded their backs, and glued them together on the flat surface.
I hold the finder on the telescope with rubber bands.

Drawings and more words are at:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/finder-bracket.html

have fun
--dick

(me disculpo por mi espaol pobre en la seccin traducida abajo)

Creo que ests haciendo la misma pregunta hecha por Mike Wride
en la pgina del  "ETX Edition Primero" de Mike Weasner:
Cmo agregar un viewfinder (buscador) "verdadero",
o uno ms fcil utilizar en la inclinacin pesca 60 grados
con caa mayor que.

Agregu un viewfinder a mi ETX90 usando una silla de montar
construida de dos pedazos de la pipa de agua plstica.
Uno es el 10cm largo y el dimetro de 8 centmetros,  el otro
tiene 6 centmetros de largo y ms o menos dimetro de 3 centmetros.

Los cort por la mitad, que hizo dos pedazos en forma de "U".
Entonces enaren sus partes posterioras, y las pegu juntas
en la superficie plana.
Sostengo el buscador en el telescopio con las gomas.

Los dibujos y ms palabras estn en:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/finder-bracket.html

tiene usted diversin
--dick

And:

From:	FrancescMR (tevarim@telefonica.net)
Debo confesar que mi E-mail, no era suficientemente entendedor.
1) Te felicitaba por el artculo.
2)  Preguntaba si el sistema de fijacin del soporte era suficiente para
su funcin.
3) Yo quiero cambiar el SmartFinder de mi telescopio : primero por
incomodo y poco estable . Por otra parte es mecnicamente dbil  un pequeo
golpe y se rompe, esto ya me ha pasado. Por esto me intereso tu
articulo.
4) Yo tengo un ETX- 125PE, he tenido problemas con el Autostar, ya tengo
el tercero , me quedaba bloqueado. Sabes si alguien ha tenido problemas
con el Autostar
Saludos cordiales,  Francesc
 
I should admit that my E-mail, was not sufficiently listener.
1) it congratulated you for the I articulate.
2) he/she asked if the sistema gives fixation he/she gives the support
it was enough for its function.
3) I want to change the SmartFinder he/she gives my telescope: first for
I inconvenience and not very stable. On the other hand it is
mechanically weak a small blow and it breaks, this has already spent.
For this reason I am interested your I articulate.
4) I have an ETX - 125PE, I have had problems with the Autostar, I
already have the third one, it was chocked. You know if somebody has had
problems with the Autostar
Cordial greetings, Francesc
Mike here: There are many tips on the LNT/Smartfinder on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page and on the AutoStar on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. As to replacing the finderscope, check out the Accessory Reviews: Finderscopes page for some ideas.
Subject:	Re: Tricks to replacing form arm in ETX125
Sent:	Thursday, February 22, 2007 08:37:33
From:	Richard (rick_245@yahoo.com)
I eventually was able to reinsert that arm.

It takes a small amount of force, but when it fits, it just slips in
fine.  The trouble is fighting it for an hour first!

CS

Richard

Subject:	re: In need of repair suggestions for ETX 90
Sent:	Tuesday, February 20, 2007 21:11:28
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
As Mike suggested, contact Meade.
They have a flat-rate repair fee and will fix anything they find.
(so be sure to describe everything that's amiss).

My ETX90 had a similar misadventure when the moving parts in
the base cut through two wires...  it also damaged the
Autostar, which was repaired with the scope.

good luck
--dick
From:	Mark Gerald Dilley (dilley@wisc.edu)
Scope mount is on its way to Meade, they won't ship the parts for the
ETX but with the flat rate repair hopefully all the little quirks of the
mount will be remedied.

Mark  

Subject:	RE: Using Autostar Controller for Automatic Focus
Sent:	Tuesday, February 20, 2007 07:11:24
From:	Gene Gingras (genegingras@comcast.net)
Thanks for your quick reply. I was using the scroll keys instead of the
up/down.

Concerning the 200mA power supply:

I experienced the "Motor Fault" msg. I dug out a 12vdc/1.7A supply and
rigged it up to try. I used for over 3 hrs. with no problems.
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
> I tried pressing a number key to select
> focus speed then use scroll keys

Ummm... you need to use the *slew* keys,
not the scroll keys.

good luck
--dick

Subject:	Meade ETX 125
Sent:	Tuesday, February 20, 2007 06:58:50
From:	FrancescMR (tevarim@telefonica.net)
Felicitaciones por el articulo, El soporte esta montado sobre la
cubierta de plastico  Queda sufientemente rigido 

Hace  un ao compre un MEADE  ETX  125,  he cambiado y 3 autostar por
averias, que el representante no puede explicarme. Otro de los problemas
es el buscador de punto que es poco estable y muy incomodo en angulos
mayores de 60 grados. Quisiera cambiar el buscador por uno optico pero
mi telescopio no tiene ninguna base para montarlo . Me interesarian mas
detalles de tu invento.
Saludos  Francesc
 
Congratulations for the I articulates you, The supports this mounted on
the cover gives plastic it i rigid sufientemente

To MEADE there is bought ETX 125 for one year, I have changed and 3
autostar for mishaps that the representative cannot explain to me.
Another gives the problems he/she i the searcher he/she gives punto that
i not very stable and very I inconvenience in angles bigger than 60
degrees. He/she wanted to change the searcher for one optic but my
telescopes doesn't have any it bases to mount it. They would interest me
but you detail he/she gives your invention.
Greetings Francesc
Mike here: Unfortunately, something may have been lost in translation as I'm not certain whether you are asking a question or making a comment.
Subject:	Observing 2/16
Sent:	Monday, February 19, 2007 22:33:37
From:	Bill VanOrden (beevo@cox.net)
I was set up west and north of you at the Picacho Peak State Park and
also saw that amazing Zodiacal Light!  I folded around 2:30 in the
morning.
 
Beevo
Mike here: Ah, confirmation! Thanks!

And:

It was one of the brightest ones I have seen in a while.

Beevo

Subject:	Using Autostar Controller for Automatic Focus
Sent:	Monday, February 19, 2007 08:41:53
From:	Gene Gingras (genegingras@comcast.net)
I have recently purchased an ETX90EC. It had the 1244 focuser installed.
I have plugged the focuser into aux port on ETX90 (tried w/ both ports).
I hold down the MODE button on my Autostar 497 controller for 2 sec. and
the Focus msg displays. I tried pressing a number key to select focus
speed then use scroll keys , but the focuser doesn't move. The
controller for the focuser works.

I was also wondering if anyone knows the amp output for the Meade #541
AC Adapter? I have one that plugs in and appears to work, it has an
output amp rating of 200mA.

Thanks for your help.  Great Site!
Gene Gingras
Mike here: Have you tried all the speeds? The Meade #541 is rated at 1500mA and that is pretty close to what the ETX-90 will require.
Subject:	2 Eyepieces to Buy for ETX-90EC
Sent:	Sunday, February 18, 2007 21:29:51
From:	S MAURER (shmgolden@msn.com)
I enjoyed reading the information on your site about eyepieces, however
I didn't see any recommendations about what you specifically recommend
(manufacturer, make and size) for two or three additional eyepieces for
someone to purchase to view the moon, saturn, and some deep space
nebulas and stars when using an ETX-90EC?  I've read the various
different websites lists and Excel spreadsheets about eyepieces but
their sites don't focus specifically on the ETX telescopes and what
works best with them, especially the ETX-90EC.  I don't know anyone else
personally that is into astronomy so I'm really relying upon the
internet information and books for a recommendation.  Also, any specific
websites that have the best deals on eyepieces?
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page for comments on eyepieces that work with the ETX models. Also, there are eyepiece comments on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	Snow on my scope.
Sent:	Sunday, February 18, 2007 16:32:01
From:	Stephen Olson (stephen99@comcast.net)
I brought ym scope out to cool down, went back out an hour later and
found snow on the lens. I brought it back in b/c I was afraid it would
freeze. I have not touched it, but should I do anything? Did I do any
damage? If it wasnt for bad luck I wouldnt have any.....thanks for the
help
 
Steve Olson
Mike here: Doubt any damage was done if you let it "air dry". If you see any "water spots" you can clean them off using the tips in the "Cleaning Optics" article on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	In need of repair suggestions for ETX 90
Sent:	Sunday, February 18, 2007 15:55:29
From:	Mark Gerald Dilley (dilley@wisc.edu)
Found my way to your sight from the Astromart forum.  Last night upon
powering up the horrid smell of circuit board/insulation burning was
followed by my ETX 90 AT mount rotating at MAX speed clockwise to the
hardstop.  Declination still is under control of either my hand box or
497.   I bought the scope for under $200 used from a dealer in Milwaukee
who had accepted it in trade. Considering the use it's got in the past
year it really doesn't owe me much. Still being in grad school going out
and buying a new mount would be cost prohibitive and considering the
little quirks its had since I bought it, tracking in RA is hit and miss,
I figured  I'd eventually take a look inside and find some information
on the net to tune up/frankenscope the mount.
 
Any pearls of wisdom?
 
Mark Dilley
Mike here: If you want to replace the circuit board, you can try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page) or contact Meade for a repair.

And:

From your experience it's the board that fried?

Mark
Mike here: Since that is the only circuitry suspectable to damage in the ETX base, yes, that is likely the source of the burning smell.
Subject:	RE: Doc Clay's Cleaning Kit from OPT
Sent:	Saturday, February 17, 2007 22:22:19
From:	Tom and Lori (lortom7@earthlink.net)
Thanks Doc, sounds like I'm good to go !!!

Thanks for the great product support, your prompt assistance speaks
volumes.

Tom

Subject:	ETX-125: Question about high power eyepieces
Sent:	Wednesday, February 14, 2007 08:31:33
From:	Rodriguez-canales, Jaime ((NIH/NCI)) [F] (rodrigja@mail.nih.gov)
First of all I really want to congratulate you for your awesome website
and your book. I recently started in the amateur astronomy, and I bought
an ETX-125 telescope. Both, your book and "Turn at left to Orion" are
really helpful and I am enjoying a lot my learning in astronomy.

I am really happy with the optical performance of the ETX. I have
experience evaluating optical instruments because I work with
microscopes (pathology and cancer research). However, I am a beginner in
astronomy, so I will really appreciate your orientation. I want to buy a
high quality eyepiece for planetary work as well as binary stars. I
understand that the better ones are the Zeiss Abbe Orthos, but sadly
these eyepieces are not more available. Now I am confused, because there
is an overwhelming offering and recommendations for high power
eyepieces, including Plossls (as the Tele Vue), Brandon, Orthos (as the
Baader; they said that are similar to the Zeiss), and Kellners (as the
Edmond RKE). Furthermore, currently there are good comments about the
planetary eyepieces from TMB.

I would like to ask your opinion on this. I want to buy quality, doesn't
matter the price. I don't care with the ultra wide fields, as Naglers.
And as I told you, I want the high power for both, planetary work and
binary stars. Finally, I have mild astigmatism, but I understand that
this is not a problem with high power view.

Please, I will really thank you any suggestion.

Sincerely,
Jaime   
Mike here: Check out the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page. Going for high quality eyepieces is certainly understandable. But keep in mind some points. The heavier the eyepiece the more likely the ETX will have balance problems. And while the ETX does have excellence optics, using eyepieces that could deliver higher quality the views will still be limited to the ETX optics. If you plan to use them someday with an even higher optical quality telescope, then getting them now is OK. The quality of the ultimate views may be more limited by your observing conditions than the telescope + eyepiece optical quality.

And:

Thank you very much for your reply. I really appreciate it. I will
consider your opinion for the selection of the eyepiece. And thank you
again for your website, as well as the book. More that the technical
tips, they gives a lot of enthusiasm and motivation for the beginner.

Perhaps you should consider to write a second book about scientific
research for the amateur astronomer. Seems that there are many areas in
which an amateur astronomer can do serious research (not only variable
star observation). But seems that there is not a general book for the
amateur astronomer with research inclinations.

Thank you again.
Best,
Jaime
Mike here: Dr. Clay Sherrod has written such a book: "A Complete Manual of Amateur Astronomy". See my review on the Accessory Reviews: Books page.

And:

Thank you very much again. 
Sincerely,
Jaime

Subject:	RE: Doc Clay's Cleaning Kit from OPT
Sent:	Tuesday, February 13, 2007 22:53:03
From:	Tom and Lori (lortom7@earthlink.net)
I finally got the courage to sit down and clean my ETX 125 with the
"Good Doctor's" cleaning kit from OPT.

It came out fine, but I do have a few questions:

1. I did notice near the edges in some spots that it looked like there
might have been some residue so I used the rinse on those areas and
re-buffed with a clean cloth.  I ended up doing this for a few areas.

2. Speaking of buffing, am I supposed to use a light circular motion to
get that buffed out look?

3. Finally, if there is still some lint from the (lintless cloths) on
the lens, is it ok to use the Wooster brush to lightly brush it away?

I am sure I could have put the kit together myself, but it is just too
darn convenient to have someone else do it for you.  I am satisfied and
look forward to a year or more of excellent viewing through my clean and
clear lens.

Thanks Doc Clay, and Mike for the info.

Tom
Mike here: I will let the creator of the "Cleaning Kit" respond. I know I've been happy with the results!

And:

From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
The spots you are having to clean up are typical on larger glass
surfaces; however I suspect that you are not using enough liquid and it
is drying out more rapidly than you are able to buff clean; always buff
with a clean side, never wet on wet and use whatever motion is necessary
to get the job done....just do not rub...buff only.

Thanks for the update and glad it worked out.

Dr. Clay
-------------
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)
http://www.arksky.org/

And:

Thanks for the info.  It looks like my last question was missed by
accident:

3. Finally, if there is still some residual fuzz from the cloths on the
lens, is it ok to use the Wooster brush to lightly brush it away, or is
the brush to be used at the beginning of the process?

Thanks again.

Tom

And:

Brush anytime at all to remove lint, residue, pollen or dust.  Some
people use canned air, but if you do, do it with caution and never shake
the can close to the glass.

Dr. Clay

Subject:	re:  EXT 125 remote control
Sent:	Monday, February 12, 2007 21:31:11
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
To answer (or attempt to clear up) some other of your questions:
(a) you cannot use a standard computer network CAT5 cable
**in place** of the Autsotar handbox cable.  The pinout is
incorrect, and may damage things.  You -can- use a CAT5
*extension cable* (one end male, the other female) -with-
the regular Autostar handbox cable.. the Autostar cable
handles getting the pinout correct, the extension cord
is a simple "straight through" extender.
Folks have achieved 50 foot cable runs by that method,
and a CAT6 would be better than CAT5 (thicker gauge wire).

(b) the only remote-control connection into the ETX125/Autostar
is the serial socket on the Autostar itself.  That takes
rs232c signals, which are what PC serial ports (COM ports)
put out.  The Autostar itself does not understand (nor have
voltage levels appropriate for) "modems" or "networks".
If you wish to control an Autostar over a "network", then you
need a PC to serve as a go-between.  The network talks to the
PC, and the PC then sends serial signals to the Autostar.
(for the truly nit-picky, you -could- conceivably use a pair
of modems in place of the serial cable, but the Autostar is not
programmed to -control- a modem.  The modem would have to auto-answer
and accept a "data leads only" hookup to the Autostar.  The modem
would also have to operate at 9600 baud, since that's the only
speed the Autostar normally understands.

As to wire: a serial connection to the autostar can easily be
run over 100 feet, if you're using 22 gauge wire or thicker.

(c) the maximum you can run a USB cable is 85 feet... and you
have to have an active (powered) hub every 18 feet to regenerate
the signal.  To achieve longer runs , you'd need something that
converted the USB signals to some other, longer-capable, system.
There are USB to Ethernet, and USB to Fiber adapters, but they're
pricey.  Eventually it becomes cheaper to station an obsolete PC
at the telescope end, and remotely control it, as Mike suggested.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	re:  Terabeam telescope question...
Sent:	Monday, February 12, 2007 21:03:04
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
You'll note that the "internals" photos you referenced were
of a 16 inch main mirror, not the 5 inch "white tube" ETX 125s.
Egad.. even the -secondary- is an 8" mirror!

That must've been a "base station" for the long-haul systems.
(as the ebay auctions  250035417368 and 250036075685 guesses, too).

have fun
--dick
Mike here: Oops! Didn't catch that!

And:

Subject:	Re: Terabeam telescope question...
Sent:	Tuesday, February 13, 2007 13:37:58
From:	Theodore Lazarakis (theo.laz@gmail.com)
Oops... there goes to show you how ignorant I am in the matter. :)   I
guess I probably misunderstood people and I thought that these Terabeam
devices contained a Meade ETX 125 mirror variant...  Oh well.  I did a
little further searching on the web and it appears that trying to
convert a Terabeam device into a telescope might require a lot of work 
(http://www.geocities.com/cliffweb03/Terabeam_telescope.html)... so I
guess I am going to stay clear of this project.  Thanks guys...
 
Theo Lazarakis.

Subject:	Terabeam telescope question...
Sent:	Monday, February 12, 2007 13:02:41
From:	Theodore Lazarakis (theo.laz@gmail.com)
I am an amateur astronomer "want-to-be" and while surfing the web I came
across postings of people that were discussing converting the Terabeam
optical network devices into telescopes.  Nobody really was sure exactly
how to do this but people were mentioning that the core-optics were
Meade's ETX125s although adjusted for longer (infrared) wavelengths. 
The reason why I am sending this email is because your name kept
appearing in many different websites as a person who had or may have
knowledge of how to accomplish this.  First and foremost I want to
apologise for soliciting you for information and rest assure that this
would be the only email that you'll receive from me regarding this
matter but do you know the difficulty associated with such a conversion?
Is it even possible?  I have heard people mention that the only way to
get the Terabeam instrument converted into a telescope is via a Schmidt
corrector plate.  Is this true and if yes do you know of which people to
contact regarding such a correction plate?  I believe that people have
been referring to this Terabeam device as the "white tube" (I have
searched your website for these keywords but I haven't been able to find
a definite answer).  Thank you very much Mr. Weasner and *any* help
would be greatly appreciated!  Once again sorry for the (perhaps
unwanted) solicitation for information...
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Theodores Lazarakis.
 
P.S.  The following link shows the internals of the Terabeam device:
http://www.auctionadvisory.com/headconfig.htm
Mike here: No problem. Communication is a main purpose of the ETX Site!
There are many discussions about the "white tube" ETX (Terabeam) on the ETX Site. This is the first "internals" image I have seen. All I know is what I've read on the comments on the ETX Site.
Subject:	EXT 125 remote control
Sent:	Sunday, February 11, 2007 20:51:33
From:	Don Betts (don@bettscompany.com)
Maybe you can clear something up for me on remotely controlling an ext
125 telescope.  The autostar software that comes with it has a
connection for comm port, modem or network.  So is it correct that you
can use either of these protocol or do you have to first go thru the
comm port then use the dial up to get into the computer that is
connected to the telescope or use the network protocol to use the
telescope.  I would like to remotely control my telescope for those cold
nights outside as I'm sure everyone has had to endure over the years.  I
would hope that you could just plug in a cat 5 cable into where the
autostar unit plugs into the telescope and use the autostar software to
align it, but I would like to have an answer before I do something like
that.  And if it only works thru the serial cable do you know where to
get a much longer cable than the small 6foot cable they send with the
telescope.  To me that doesn't make sense if you are going to remotely
control your scope from indoors to have a short cable.  Which brings me
to the dsi ii camera's.  Do you know if they come with long cables or is
it the same thing with the remote controlling.
 
Thanks
Don
Mike here: The AutoStar is controlled via a computer, either connected via the RS-232 cable or now via one of the Bluetooth adapters that are available. BT is a short range wireless so probably won't work well in indoors-outdoors situations. So, unless you run a long serial cable from the AutoStar to a computer indoors you will have to use a second computer at the telescope, which is connected to the AutoStar. Then if you use something like VNC (which I use on my Macs and is also available for Windows) you can control the telescope computer from the indoors computer. And yes, the USB cable supplied with imagers is short (typically about 6 feet). You would have to get powered USB hub to run a longer cable that reaches indoors.

And:

Thanks for the info Mike.

By chance do you know what the other two aux jacks are for on the EXT
125. I haven't found anything telling me what they are used for.  Is it
something like for a gps attachement to give you a better setup?

Thanks
Don 
Mike here: The ETX AUX ports are used by the Meade electronic focuser and GPS add-ons.
Subject:	Tricks to replacing form arm in ETX125
Sent:	Sunday, February 11, 2007 07:44:22
From:	Richard (rick_245@yahoo.com)
Thanks for your many lifesaving tips.

I had a bad connection in my DEC drive.  The black wire was only
intermittently connecting on the pc board connector.

My problem is how to get the fork tangent arm (not sure what to call
it..it's the arm that rotates and holds the OTA) back on through the
several washers so I can finish reassembly.  I know you can't pull those
bearings out, so how do you align all the washers/gears so the arm
slides all the way in?

Thanks.  I've googled all over the site without success.

Richard in the west end of the Antelope Valley, California
Mike here: Does the article "Part 4 - Eliminating Common "Rocking" in ETX Altitude Axis" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page help you?

And:

Thanks for the very quick reply, Mike.  That page doesn't say word one
about the metal bearings.  In order to get to the loose wire (now fixed
and DEC is working again), I had to pull the tangent arm and the two
plastic covers.  My ETX is 18 months old or so, and I'm looking at the
aluminum fork now.  The tangent arm goes most of the way in, the teeth
engage the worm gear, but the shaft doesn't go in the last 1/2".

Any ideas?
Mike here: Sorry. I thought you were looking for the order of the washers, etc. I don't recall any other advice. Perhaps someone will have a solution.

And:

I just can't see why it doesn't fit. 
I'll see if anyone has ideas.

Richard

Subject:	Doc Clay's Cleaning Kit from OPT
Sent:	Saturday, February 10, 2007 23:49:00
From:	Tom and Lori (lortom7@earthlink.net)
I just ordered Doc Clay's cleaning kit from OPT for my ETX 125 as I have
never cleaned it in the past 2.5 years.  I followed your advice of, "If
it's not that bad, leave it alone."  Now I figure that it could use a
cleaning.

My question is really this, is it ok to use Doc Clay's kit on my
eyepieces such as my Meade 3.3 Focal Reducer.  I recall reading
something like I should not use regular photo lens cleaners on them.  My
2x Barlow could use a cleaning too.

Perhaps these questions should go to the good doctor, but I thought I
would send it to you for the benefit of the group.

Thanks again, clear skies to you (soon since we are both in the LA area
and rain is on the way!).
 
Tom
Mike here: It should work fine on eyepieces and other other glass (coated or uncoated) optics. The only thing I would not clean with it is a front surface mirror; not because I think the solution would do any damage but because touching a front surface mirror is risky and damage is possible to the reflecting coating.
Subject:	Adapting an ETX-90 as a field scope
Sent:	Monday, November 20, 2006 08:38:47
From:	Jake Mac Lennan (d_maclennan@hotmail.com)
I use my scope primarily as a spotting scope for bird watching. I'm
trying to get the greatest width of field with my etx scope. What's the
limit and what would be the best lens for this purpose? I'm using a 40mm
Meade super Plossl. I find the field of view looks good, but  is
restrictively narrow at perhaps 1 1/3 degree.
Regards
   Jake Mac Lennan
Mike here: You could add a Wide Field Adapter (or a Focal Reducer); see the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page for a WFA. You could also use one of the wide field type of eyepieces (see the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page). In either case, while you will increase the field of view you will also increase the possibility of vignetting, which is more noticeable in daytime use.
Subject:	ETX 90
Sent:	Thursday, February 8, 2007 18:34:25
From:	Tim and Devon Lilly (suncruzers@comcast.net)
I have a ETX 90, and had put a flexible focuser cable on . The original
knob was not easy to get off but I treated it with kid gloves as not to
do any damage. Now as I focus the scope I notice the image shift sort of
side to side when I go in and out of focus. Has something come loose
internal? I hope this issue will be a moteratly easy fix! Thanks Tim
Mike here: If the image shift wasn't there before then one of two possible causes could be at work. #1 the optics have become uncollimated (not necessarily due to the focus mechanism) or #2 the primary mirror is binding up someplace as it moves during focusing. You can test for #1 by doing a "star test"; see the "Star Testing and Collimation Tips" section on the Helpful Information Telescope Tech Tips page. If #2, see the two articles on "image shift" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page for some possible guidance. If #1, you are better off returning the telescope to Meade for re-collimation unless you are willing to make things worse instead of better. If you do want to chance it, there are articles on collimating an ETX in the "Star Testing and Collimation Tips" section.
Subject:	scope starting position
Sent:	Tuesday, February 6, 2007 18:52:09
From:	Al Schepis (alschepis_4@msn.com)
Love your website! I'm a new EXT 125 PE owner with a question.

I've trained my drives. Am I supposed to go through the auto alignment
proceedure before I start each session of viewing? If not is there a
"home position" for my scope?

I'm using the alt/az mode.

Thanks and congrats on your piece in Meade this month.

Al
Mike here: There is a "Park" position which you can use if you don't plan to move the telescope between observing sessions. Just select it from the AutoStar menu tree and follow the onscreen prompt. If you do move the telescope you will need to do the alignment again. You can get away with the Park position and still move the telescope if you put the telescope back in exactly the same place for the next session. What "piece in Meade this month"?

And:

The Meade 4M website had a big piece about you yesterday. I'm surprised
you don't know about it! It included you prominent photo and a piece
about who you are(unless I dreamt it.) I'm sure you know the folks
there. You should give them a call.

Your response was extremely helpful. I'll send in my donation ASAP

Al
Mike here: I can't find anything recently on Meade4M about me. I wrote an article sometime back (and have been so busy haven't had time to write the next one); is that what you saw?

And:

Here's the link;
http://www.meade4m.com/advisors/m_weasner/
Mike here: Yes, I am a Meade4M Advisor and that is my area.
Subject:	Congratulations for your Astronomy work with the ETX.
Sent:	Tuesday, February 6, 2007 10:13:50
From:	miguelclaro@sapo.pt (miguelclaro@sapo.pt)
My name is Miguel Claro, i?m from Portugal ( Europe ).

First of all i would like to give you my congratulations for your
excellent work around the ETX.

I?m a amateur astronomer and i also have a web site where I publish my
astrophotography and astroart work (Astro digital images). All the
images are taken with the modest Meade ETX90ec.It would be for me an
honor, if you could visited it and let your words in the Guestbook.

The website are in portuguese but i also have an english link.

here they follow the links:

Tittle:

Astroarte de Miguel Claro

http://astrosurf.com/astroarte/


And my Astroarte favorite pages:

http://www.astrosurf.com/astroarte/autostar_e_iss.htm

http://www.astrosurf.com/astroarte/planetas.htm

http://www.astrosurf.com/astroarte/lua.htm

http://www.astrosurf.com/astroarte/astroartdigital.htm

Best Of ETX90:

http://www.astrosurf.com/astroarte/Bestofnet.jpg

P.S- My big limitation is the equipment, all the work are made with the
modest Meade ETX90ec.

Thanks for your attention, and one time more, my congratulations


With best regards


Miguel Claro

http://astrosurf.com/astroarte

Subject:	Problem with Flip Mirror on ETX105 LNT
Sent:	Monday, February 5, 2007 08:22:08
From:	Arthur Rees (arthur@lbarham.demon.co.uk)
The Flip mirror control knob shaft seems to have become disengaged from
the flip-mirror on my ETX 105-LNT. The knobs themselves are securely
clamped to the shaft.

How do I gain access to the flip-mirror assembly? Do I remove the
optical tube assembly by loosening the three screws on the back plate of
the scope? See attached picture.

Or do I remove the fours screws (two either side) near the fork arms of
the scope?
 
Thank you
 
Arthur Rees
Mike here: Check out the article "Doc G's ETX OTA Guidescope & Disassembly Photos" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	USB-cable conecting LPI to PC: Max.length acceptable ?
Sent:	Sunday, February 4, 2007 01:49:21
From:	Niels Peter Ditlefsen (0068300m001@stofanet.dk)
I need an advice on above subject, please.

Kind regards,and thank you for all the super articlels you make
available to us.

Niels Peter
Mike here: If you had done a search on the ETX Site for "USB length" you would have come across Dick Seymour's answer to this question (second hit in the search results list): "Individual USB cables have a maximum length of 18 feet (6 meters) before the signal has to be regenerated by an "active hub" (repeater) or similar."

And:

Thanks for your reply (even on a Sunday)

Believe me,  from this day on , I will do my homework and my search
before....

I do not know what to do without your fantastic site.

All the best to you and the remaining Sunday!

Niels Peter

Subject:	ETX Information
Sent:	Saturday, February 3, 2007 05:54:23
From:	Giorgio (gibi1956@tiscali.it)
I hope you could help me in finding solution for my problem. I purchased
a Meade ETX 70 with 495 Autostar and 505 cable with db9 (rs 232 )
reductor. Unfortunately my Laptop has not this kind of input connector,
It has just USB inputs. I could build the cable, but i need pin
disposition before soldering. Can I build a cable USB/ db9 ( male ). Can
you help me?. Thank you for reply.
 
Giorgio Bifani - Italy
Mike here: A simple cable will not do it. You need a serial-USB converter. See the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page; not all converters will work with the AutoStar. I use a Keyspan converter on my Macintosh laptops whenever I need to communicate with the AutoStar. You will also need to update the #495 to a #497 using the AutoStar Update application (Windows only) from Meade's site or AutoStarX (Mac OS X) or Lin_AutoStar (Linux) (see the AutoStar Info page for these last two).

And:

Thank you for the quick reply and compliments for your website and your
competence !!!
 
Giorgio - Italy 

And:

sorry for disturbing again, I hope it will be the  last time I disturb
you. I built the "Famous" USB-Serial interface Cable. I used a Vivanco
cable and It works very well on my laptop, after some configuration
settings  I did.

Ths astronomy software I utilize  is " Cartes du Ciel - 2.76 version". I
see there is a difference between the scope control panel on my home pc
and the scope control panel on my laptop. On my home pc I have 5
sub-windows for settings ( Configuration, Comm. settings, Coordinates,
Motor and Focus ). On my laptop i have only 3 sub-windows (
Configuration, Port Config, and Coordinates ) . The software and the
version is the same, can you explain me why this difference? Thank you
again for your patience.

Giorgio - Italy
Mike here: I don't use Cartes du Ciel; I suggest contacting the author.
Subject:	Additional Lenses
Sent:	Saturday, February 3, 2007 04:43:12
From:	Tyler Pearson (tyler.pearson@ntlworld.com)
Noted this on ebay: Celestron Plossl telescope eyepieces (eyepiece)
barlow

These should work with most telescopes, Celestron, Meade etc. that has a
1 and 1/4 inch focuser. This is a new, unused set of five Celestron
Plossl eyepieces and one 2x barlow lens. They come with dust caps for
top and bottom as seen in photo below of eyepieces. Here's the
description from Celestron - "Five Superior Grade Plossl Eyepieces --
1.25": 4-element design with a 52 degree AFOV (32mm has 44 degree) --
Superb color, resolution, edge sharpness and clarity. All eyepieces are
fully multi-coated for maximum contrast and resolution. Supplied are a
4mm, 6mm, 9mm, 15mm, and 32mm. Barlow Lens -- 2x 1.25": Complements the
Plossl eyepieces and gives you a total of ten power combinations. The
highest grade glass optics with fully multi-coated lenses are used so
there is no degradation of image."

Will these lenses work for a Meade ETX-125PE?

Thank-you for the excellent advise
Regards
Tyler
Mike here: The eyepieces will work. But whether the Barlow Lens will work depends on whether it is a "shorty" style or not. The ETX needs a shorty Barlow Lens to allow the image to reach a proper focus.

And:

Thanks for your response.
Here is the weblink for the lenses I purchased on ebay:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=019&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWN%3AIT&viewitem=&item=290078166538&rd=1&rd=1
With pictures of the lenses. Ar eyou able to tell fromthis if the Barlow
is a shorty style?
Regards
Tyler
Mike here: Hard to tell exactly without knowing the lengths of the eyepieces. But it might (or might not) be a shorty style. Ask the seller.
Subject:	Ra...EC...AT...PE
Sent:	Thursday, February 1, 2007 18:18:29
From:	Judy McConnell (judymcc@fastmail.fm)
I am buying second hand and cannot find what these letters stand for,
and what the development history is (to pick the better model).

I assume Right Ascension is the basic first one in 96, and the Premier
Edition with bells and whistles in 2005. Can you fill in my gaps?

And thanks, I will be trying for the 125
Mike here: You got the two end points correct. For the EC vs AT, see the FAQ page. The original ETX (now known as the ETX-90RA) had only a Right Ascension motor (and is not upgradable to an AutoStar capable model).

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