Last updated: 29 February 2008
Subject:	LNT level and true level
Sent:	Friday, February 29, 2008 14:10:18
From:	David (
Hope this question hasn't already been addressed but no matter what I do
my etx 125pe after easy alignment is off by a few degrees in the
vertical axis.  After alignment I check the scope tube with a spirit
level and find it is a few degrees downward.  This of course never
allows the scope to point correctly and secondly I have no idea about
the tilt corrections the LNT sends to the the scope.  This is the second
LNT I have now. The other was always ten degrees off horizontal  New LNT
corrected this but now the problem is in the vertical axis.  Any ideas
how I can verify the tilt corrections and how to adjust the LTN to
correct the horizontal error would be greatly appreciated.  I would like
to be able to use the GOTO capability of this scope rather than GO
Somewhere I have now.
Mike here: Remember, the OTA may not be level at the conclusion of the "level determination". Have you tried using the non-LNT alignment modes just to verify whether it is the LNT or AutoStar causing the incorrect alignments?
Subject:	Meade ETX-125 PE question
Sent:	Saturday, February 23, 2008 13:44:50
From:	Will Jones (
I am new to astronomy and have been reading everything I can find for
the past two weeks about buying a telescope. This will be my first
telescope and I am not to familiar with the sky yet so I was looking for
GoTo capabilities. My budget initially was around $500, but I found an
amazing deal on the web for the Meade ETX-125PE with the North American
Nebula on it. I checked and it is brand new and has the UHTC coatings,
autostar, etc... I initially was going to buy a  5" reflector because I
would really like some good deep sky views. Since I found this great
deal on the ETX-125 I figured it has to be the better investment, but my
question is this: Will I still be able to get some very good wide angle
views of globular clusters and nebula from the Maksutov-Cassegrain and
also what kind of eyepiece would you recommend for this? I was thinking
a Plossl 32mm for this or do you know of something that might work
better. Also, for my more precise viewing of the planets and stars I was
thinking of getting a 14mm Meade series 5000 Plossl. I think that for
most nights the 9mm Meade Series 5000 Plossl would have to much
magnification or do you think that is the better investment then the
14mm. So basically I am asking what you would recommend for a wide field
observing globular clusters, nebula, and galaxy eye piece and if thats
practical on the ETX-125PE. And what eye piece you would recommend thats
less than $100 for observing planets and splitting binary stars and
such. Thanks

-Hope to be soon astronomer Will...
Mike here: Yes, you can observe DSOs (Deep Sky Objects) with the ETX-125. Your eyepiece choices will be fine and even be useful if you decide at some point that you are hooked and get a larger telescope. However, keep in mind that most nebulae will appear as "faint fuzzy blobs" to the eye in most small telescopes. Bright, large globular clusters like M13 and M92 will look nice in the ETX-125, especially at low magnifications from dark sites. For more information on eyepieces see the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page.  By the way, the ETX-125PE "Astro Tube" model is being discontinued, hence the major price reduction.  But that only means you'll have a classic without sacrificing anything!
Subject:	re: ETX 125 PE telescope horizontal slewing won't go past the lock position.
Sent:	Monday, February 18, 2008 09:39:32
From:	richard seymour (
Something to remember when doing GoTo's
(especially to the moon or planets) is the need to
tap the [enter] key before tapping the [goto] key.

This causes the Autostar to recalculate that moving body's
position -now- (and firmly asserts the body's selection as
the object you wish to GoTo).

have fun

Subject:	ETX 125
Sent:	Sunday, February 17, 2008 10:34:40
From:	stuart little (
It seems from certain ads that the ETX 125 PE is being closed out. Is
there a replacement in the works? Any update would be appreciated.
Mike here: It appears it is just the "Astro" tube model that has been discontinued.


Thanks Mike.

Subject:	ETX 90PE purchased June 07, continued problems with SmartFinder (not so smart).
Sent:	Saturday, February 16, 2008 10:31:04
Can you help me please? I live in England and purchased the ETX PE last
June (a present from my husband). Whereas I am pleased with the overall
performance, I have had continued difficulties with adjusting the
SmartFinder to align as required. It was so floppy that it would not
stay high enough to align, so the adjustment screws would lock before
achieving the required position. The ETX has been back to the suppliers
in Stockport twice (they have tried to be helpful) and it is now more
rigid but impossible to align. In non-astro speak, it is still about 1/2
inch below where it should be and it has locked up.

I feel disappointed that it does not perform as it should. Sympathetic
colleagues have offered to try to prop it in some way but do I feel a
new product should do what it says it will do! As a relatively new
astronomer, I do need this to be accurate to be able to align

Your thoughts would be gratefully valued. Thanks,
Christine Reeves
Mike here: Checkout the various PE and SmartFinder articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page; perhaps one of those will help you. If not, let me know.
Subject:	ETX 125 PE telescope horizontal slewing won't go past the lock position.
Sent:	Saturday, February 16, 2008 03:38:07
From:	Mr Clive Musselwhite (
Just to let you know my replacement telescope has Autostar Aligned
successfully on five occasions without hitting the hardstop. Managed to
find Mars straigt away, although oddly the next thing I looked at was
the moon which it was well off on finding, then it found the Andromeda
Galaxy which appeared as a small white puffy mist but I was very pleased
to even be able to see a galaxy! Oddly, it was then unable to go back a
find Mars which it found staight away initially, or the moon. I tried a
couple of nebulae but it couldn't find them or they weren't visible
through the atmosphere.

Anyway, no need to reply to this one. Just to let you know the new scope
does align without hardstopping.

Thank you.
Clive M.
Mike here: Be certain you have done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES.
Subject:	re: Still can not get this ETX125 to function properly.
Sent:	Monday, February 11, 2008 20:27:59
From:	richard seymour (
> I turn the equipment on and it automatically begins to cycle through,
> I believe, the finding north and leveling routine.

It shouldn't do that... it should ask you which style of alignment
you want to perform, or at least say something like "press MODE for
menu and 0 to align" before launching itself into motion.

The "escape" key for the Autostar is the [mode] key.
Tapping it many times should stop activity (although chasing
a satellite, or being in a Tour, requires a -long- press of MODE).

When it's asking to center a star, it has turned the speed down,
so that you may not -notice- it's moving.  Feel free to tap the [6]
key, (the display should show a sort message about speed changing)
and then the slew keys should generate visible motion.

good luck


From:	John Sigler (
Folks -  I went to the calibrate motors and hit enter. It did nothing.
The display showed testing motors but nothing happened. After a couple
seconds the display went back to calibrate motors. It would help if the
literature explained what to expect after hitting a command. I then went
back to train drive and still could not get the telescope to slew with
the > keys. I turned the unit off and back on and hit the Mode key
several times, but the unit still acts like it is finding north and
looking for a star. How do I get some help with this thing?
John Sigler
Mike here: Try a simple potential fix: select RESET from the AutoStar menu. After it comes back to life you will have to re-enter your location. Once that is done, try to do the CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES.


>Folks -  I went to the calibrate motors and hit enter. It did nothing.
> The display showed testing motors but nothing happened.
> After a couple seconds the display went back to calibrate motors.
> It would help if the literature explained what to expect after
> hitting a command.

What -should- have happened was one axis (Az first, i think)
moves in one direction for about two seconds, 
then the other axis moves in one direction for about two seconds.
End of test. 
(display returns to "Calibrate Motors" as you saw).

> I then went back to train
>drive and still could not get the telescope to slew with the > keys. I
>turned the unit off and back on and hit the Mode key several times,
> but the unit still acts like it is finding north and looking for a star.

Do you mean it -moved- when finding North and looking for a star,
or it just claimed it was, but the motors were silent (they howl 
when moving at speed).

> How do I get some help with this thing?

er, approach dealer, say "exchange, please"?

Alternatively, you could open the bottom of the scope and see if
the cables have been pulled away from the power panel's circuit card.
Or inspect the copper traces on that card to see if they've been
blown away (see "excahnge", above).  There are thousands of reasons
it could not be functioning (bad handbox cable, for example... try
swapping it end-for-end.. which shuffles which wires do what)

A quicky test (assuming the "seeking North" did *not* involve motion)
is to unplug the Autostar and turn on the power.
If the motor cards are operating properly, they'll start to randomly
move and (perhaps) even run away.  Be ready to kill power.
If they -do- exhibit motion, that's good.
That's the motor controller cards picking up random fluctuations as
 "noise" and trying to operate upon them as "signals". 
If they both move, then the problem is -probably- limited to the power
panel or the Autostar itself (easy swap by dealer or Meade).

good luck

This page is for user comments and information specific to the ETX PE (Premier Edition). Feedback on the specific PE technologies (Automatic Alignment + SmartFinder, Level North Technology) will be covered here. Feedback on the Autostar Suite AE (Astronomer Edition) will be posted on the regular Autostar Suite feedback page. Items that are applicable to all ETX models (EC, AT, PE) will continue to be posted on the other appropriate feedback 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:	ETX 125 PE telescope horizontal slewing won't go past the 
lock position when switching on and setting up Autostar alignment.
Sent: Saturday, February 9, 2008 14:01:19 From: Clive and Claire ( I do hope you won't mind me asking you if the problem I'm having described in the Subject box above is normal for this type of telescope. It was bought new from Telescope planet last November and has been back for a horizontal motor sticking repair in January. The telescope has had about three hours use since new. I had it out tonight but it would not complete the Autostar alignment. When it was finding north it hit this lock place (I presume it is the same place that the telescope is rotated to counter-clockwise when putting it into its home position. Again, I was following the new moon but it also hit this position so I had to pick up the telescope and rotate it on its tripod before I could continue. Could you tell me if this is normal for this telescope or am I doing something fundamentally wrong? Thank you for your time. Clive.
Mike here: So it moved horizontally to point the telescope towards the Southwest when it reached that hard stop (which is the one you should have started at before powering on the telescope). That is not normal. Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? If that doesn't cure it, try a RESET, the CALIBRATE MOTOR, and then TRAIN DRIVES.


Thank you for getting back to me. I have done quite a lot of research
and trying out but I still get the hardstop (that's what its called I
believe) when the ETX 125 PE  is doing automatic alignment. I have
followed all your advice as I understand it, including the RESET and
entered country and closest town, etc.

I am starting by putting the telescope into the home position. After
reading from your feedback page I understand this is rotate the
telescope back and forth to about the halfway position between the
hardstops, lift the telescope and point it north and then to rotate the
telescope counterclockwise to the hardstop. This is the home position
for the LNT. It after doing this that I switch on the Autostar and press
0 for Autoalign. It completes the autoalign but on slewing using the
arrow keys it then hits the hardstop and I have to switch off. Could I
ask you if the procedure I have described is the correct one - I think I
was starting from the wrong position from what you wrote yesterday.

Thank you.
Mike here: There are TWO different Home Positions, one for the LNT alignment process and one for the non-LNT (AutoStar only) alignment process. You have them wrong. For all alignment modes you set up the telescope with the control panel on the side of the ETX base on the West side of the mount. For the LNT Auto Alignment mode you rotate CCW until you reach the hard stop AND then you leave it there. For the other alignment modes you rotate CCW to that same hard stop and then back ClockWise about 120 degrees to have the telescope tube pointing towards True North (but still level if mounted in Alt/Az mode).


Thank you very much. It is dark here in England and stars are out. I
will go and have another go. I think you mean I only have to do the LNT
mode since I have the newer version 'PE' ETX 125. I haven't had the
control panel pointing west so that will be my first thing to do.
Thank you.


O.K. Mike. I have just finished the LNT Auto Alignment mode. I made sure
the control panel was on the west side pointing west itself, rotated the
telescope manually CCW to the hardstop. I then locked the RA lever,
switched on the Autostar and pressed 0. The telescope slewed round,
adjusted level but when facing north hit the hardstop when on the tilt
function. I tried this twice with exactly the same effect. The telescope
cannot rotate 360 degrees without hitting the hardstop whether on Auto
Align or using the left/right arrow keys.
Thank you.
Mike here: Bad news. There is likely some obstruction in the base that is preventing complete rotation (it should be able to rotate horizontally nearly twice around between hard stops). The obstruction could be something simple to remove or it could be a wire that may or may not be so simple to remove. DO NOT force the rotation because if it is a wire you can cut it. You have two options: Open up the base and look inside to see if you can see the obstruction and if so, whether or not you can eliminate it. Or, since the telescope is still under warranty, contact the dealer where you purchased it.

And an update:

Just to let you know what has happened since you took the time to assist
me - thank you. I called Telescopeplanet and they say it will be picked
up tomorrow and a replacement left with me. So if that happens I will
try to set up and align the replacement tomorrow and very much hope that
it will slew past the 360 degree position nearly twice as you say. At
least I will have the chance to compare between the two telescopes for
what is normal. Hopefully, I won't have to bother you again especially
as I have learnt about the positioning of the telescope for the Autostar

Subject:	Still can not get this ETX125 to function properly.
Sent:	Saturday, February 9, 2008 13:53:51
From:	John Sigler (
I attempted to train the motors using the routine. I turn the equipment
on and it automatically begins to cycle through, I believe, the finding
north and leveling routine.  There seems to be no stopping this. I work
through the menu while this is happening to get to the train motors, to
the point where it says to line up on an object and hit enter. When I
hit the buttons to move the telescope nothing happens. If I try to line
it up manually by releasing the horizontal and vertical alignment
screws, it automatically starts moving again.  What gives? I am getting
very frustrated with this thing.
John Sigler
Mike here: I presume you did the CALIBRATE MOTOR that I mentioned back in December. Have you also done a CALIBRATE SENSOR (for the LNT)?

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