Last updated: 29 February 2008

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:	ETX-90 broken
Sent:	Thursday, February 28, 2008 12:28:07
From:	John Brogan (
Hello, I have an ETX90-EC that has a broken vertical declination part. I
pulled the scope tube off and found that the plastic part that connects
the tube to the clutch is broken. After a little internet searching I
came across an article about your ETX supercharge fix that can rectify
this problem and also possibly quiet the motor and more. I would be very
interested in sending this scope to you for the fix if still available.
Please send details. I love the scope and am highly motivated to get it
operating again.

Thank you,
John Brogan
Spokane, WA
Mike here: For the "Supercharge" Tune-up Service you need to contact Dr. Clay Sherrod directly. There are details on the service and other info on the ETX Supercharge page linked from my ETX Site home page. Or you can checkout the link "Astro Hut Right Tube Adapter Replacement (ETX-90EC/AT only)" on the Astronomy Links page or if you want to try a repair yourself see the articles "ETX DEC knob fix" and "ETX-90EC DEC fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	MySky
Sent:	Wednesday, February 27, 2008 21:50:44
From:	wayne hale (
Wonder if you have had any problems with your MySky?  Mine started
acting up after being put away for a couple months, batteries removed. 
I used the old updater program to update the card, probably a big
mistake.  It would start to find the GPS satellites but never finish. 
Trying to set it up manually would fail, you could enter the date, time
and location but then it would just freeze.

I see on the Meade website, there was a new updater available so I
downloaded and installed it and tried updating the card again.  Update
program runs much faster than the old one but now my unit freezes at the
inital start up screen, says "Starting mySky Version 1.2tc and there it
sits until I power it off again???

May have to haul the unit over to OPT and see if they have any good

Wayne Hale
Mike here: See my mySKY review on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page. I detail the good and bad experiences. I also experienced the same problem when I moved and had the unit packed (with the batteries removed). Plus I detail a new problem there.


Read your notes on your mySKY experience, pretty much the same as mine. 
It was fairly cold outside tonight when I first noticed the problem with
the unit saying it was doing a GPS find and alignment but it never
finished, the "done" screen would appear but pressing the button
corresponding to Done just started the unit over again.

I also downloaded the latest updater, have 1.2tc also but it just
freezes at the startup screen. Put in fresh batteries, same problem and
the unit was back at normal room temperature. Will call OPT and see if
they have any ideas or will exchange the unit for me since I purchased
it there or may have to ship it back to Meade?

Will let you know how it goes.


Subject:	New online night sky atlas
Sent:	Wednesday, February 27, 2008 21:09:04
From:	Gill Couto (
Please add a link to my chart-making website on your astronomy links
page, thanks!  Nice work, now I just might get an ETX.

Gill Couto
Astronomy enthusiast

Subject:	Telescope ad
Sent:	Tuesday, February 26, 2008 09:12:00
From:	Bill (
Thought that you might be interested in the interesting responses that I
have received from the Ad that I placed on your site a few weeks ago.

Got 3 emailed responses.

All three were what I would call "African Scams". They would send me
over-amount checks to cash, and then their "deliveryman" would pick up
the goods and also the excess funds from their check!.  They must have
lots of time on their hands to play with this  nonsense.

I am still waiting for a real purchaser.Regards,wpf
Mike here: Yeah, some jerks out there. That's why I have posted an "Online Buying Warnings" page. I wonder if their mothers would be proud of them.
Subject:	Meade Etx 125 Help! :(
Sent:	Tuesday, February 26, 2008 08:58:37
From:	luke welsby (
i recently purchased a second hand etx-125 (about a week ago) I have had
it set up running beautifully untill this afternoon. I got in from work
and fancied a quick scout of the mountains before the sun went down and
noticed i was able to slew left and right but not up and down.....I then
noticed that when i turned the scope counter clockwise there appeared to
be no hard stop. I am totally gutted and would hope there is an easy
solution to this. Please get me out of this rut as its the first clear
skies we have had here in a long time this evening!
Much appreciated, Luke
Mike here: First on the horizontal hard stops; could you rotate the telescope MORE than twice around? The hard stops are slightly less than two full rotations apart. As to the vertical movement, when you raise the OTA and lock the vertical axis, does the OTA stay put or does it want to fall back down?


I can spin the scope around continuously without any stops whatsoever.
When i raise the OTA and lock the axis it stays put. This is sooo
frustrating mike :(
Mike here: OK, it sounds like the hard stops are broken off. There are a couple of articles on "hard stop" repair on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Since the tube stays put vertically that means that the axis lock is OK. If you increase the slewing speed does the it slew? Could you be overtightening the lock? With the axis UNLOCKED can you hear the motor running when you press the UP/DOWN slew buttons?


Thanks i shall check that out asap. It does not slew if i increase the
speed or if i loosen the axis locks. With the axis lock unlucked i
cannot hear any motor running, this is the same case when it is locked.
Mike here: If you can not hear a motor running then it could be that a wire has been broken or a motor has failed. If you want to open the base and fork arm to check use caution so that you don't do further damage. If you want it repaired you can contact Meade (they may or may not offer to repair it) or Dr. Clay Sherrod for his "Supercharge" Tune-up service (link to the details on the ETX Site home page).


Im having great difficulty trying to open the fork arm as the OTA is
obstructing getting a clear path to the screws. Any suggestions?
Mike here: You should remove the OTA before working on the fork arms. There are four screws holding the OTA to the left and right tube adapters, two screws each side. You will need an allen wrench to remove them.


Thanks mike, Is there any possibility you could send me some direct
links with a step by step guide (and even photos if possible) of how to
take apart the total unit so i can see if the wire going from the bottom
base to the fork is snapped. Thanks
Mike here: There are many articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.


I have managed to get into the main part. I have attatched two photos
that show what im looking at. I am slightly baffled at where to go next.
I can see the teeth on the plastic ring have broken off but the metal
pins are still intact. Could you please give me some guidence.


Mike here: Since I've not had to repair one myself, I can only point to what is in those articles I mentioned earlier.


Hi, thanks for the reply.  I managed to fix a new stopper to the ring
which worked well, but as i was piecing together the mount i was testing
the motors throughout to make sure everything was working ok. So im at
the final stage of screwing the clutch down and i go to test the motors
and i get response from the motors. The autostar is firing
up fine and i go to the easy allign where i can auto slew, but the
motors are not responding. Now the strange part is, when i take the
autostar out, the motors begin to spin for a second or so. I am
completely baffled to as what is going on. I tried resetting the
autostar with no joy. Any advice?
Much appreciated
Mike here: If the motors run without the AutoStar connected that is good. That means they are OK (probably). If they don't run using the AutoStar that could mean data from the AutoStar is not reaching them, which could mean a disconnected or broken wire from the jack to the circuit board in the ETX base (or something more seriously wrong with the board, like a shorted out component, perhaps from static electricity). Anyway, check the wiring.
Subject:	Focal reducer for ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, February 26, 2008 06:57:22
From: (
Here is a link to  They have a focal reducer that
screws onto a 1.25" threaded eyepiece.  This should help in not having
to buy a LAR (Large Adapter Ring) and an expensive SCT focal reducer. 
It appears the focal reducer screwed on the eyepiece can go directly
into the eyepiece holder or use a 1.25" visual back for prime focus use.
 I emailed them to ask if it will work for both CCD and visual use and
the answer was yes. It claims to provide a nominal reduction of 0.5X.
effectively reducing the focal length of the telescope by half. The
drawback I see is when you change eyepieces, you would have to remove
the focal reducer each time. I do not have one and offer this for
information only. They responded to my email questions within minutes.

Jack Fox

Subject:	Re: ETX125 Lost Alt/Dec Movement
Sent:	Monday, February 25, 2008 17:24:10
From:	Bonnie Konowitz (
This is a follow-up on my problem that we shared numerous emails with
Richard Seymour about that began on 12/31/07 about the loss of all
alt/dec movement on my ETX-125.  As you're aware, even with all of your
assistance I was unable to pin down the problem to something that I
might fix.  I decided to ship the scope off to Meade based on their
assurance that they would fix it.

Meade informed me when the scope was received into repair on 1/15 and
estimated turnaround to be about 3 weeks.  I finally got the scope back
on 2/22 and it seems fully functional.  The only difference I notice
(besides it's fixed) is that the horizontal movement is quit a bit
noisier.  They also fixed the additional problem with the ~180 play in
the focus (for the 2nd time).  They charged $165 for the repair
including return shipping.

Meade does not seem to have the details of what the cause was.  The only
info they could tell me is that under the circumstances of the
malfunction they replaced all wiring and all gears for movement in all
directions.  Unfortunately we've had cloudy nights here in the central
Colorado Rockies since getting it back and nights are predicted to stay
cloudy until late in the week.  So as far as a detailed checkout it will
have to wait a bit.

A sincere Thank You to both you and Dick for trying to help me through

Jim Konowitz

Subject:	mead 90 etx
Sent:	Sunday, February 24, 2008 15:44:08
thank you for your helpin geting my etx going again  but tonight 24 feb
everything i looked at was within the 6+30 finder thats good compared to
the last2 weeks where everything ilooked at was miles of  tonight the
etx took of on its own idone the normal startup in the home position but
everything is miles away in ra/dec can you please help me again  thank
you so much p g
Mike here: Did you by any chance replace the batteries? Or have they been used a lot? Either way, do a CALIBRATE MOTOR. Also, if you haven't done a TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes) do that.
Subject:	ETX question
Sent:	Sunday, February 24, 2008 10:12:47
From: (
I'm new to this but was wondering if a telrad finder can be used on a
etx 125

also can binoviewers be used?

Mike here: Yes, you can use a Telrad. See the Accessory Reviews: Finderscopes page. And yes, you can use binoviewers. See the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page.
Subject:	Oracle Observatory
Sent:	Friday, February 22, 2008 06:53:19
From:	tomandklara (
What are your plans with the Oracle Observatory?  Are you going to
install a permanent site with a dome or roll-off?  Will you use a
concrete or prefabricated pier?  Location, layout, utilities and
equipment are all things I am interested in.  I do not have immediate
plans to build my own observatory, but someday hope to.  I would really
enjoy reading about the process of designing, building, equipping and
using a personal observatory.  I think this would be of great interest
to your readers and a great addition to your website.

Thanks again for your website and I look forward to reading more about
the Oracle Observatory.
Mike here: I'm still researching and contemplating the design of the building. We'll be building the house first and that won't start until the house in California is sold. I have the following books which are helping:

More Small Astronomomical Observatories (which includes a CD-ROM with the full text of the first volume Small Astronomomical Observatories)
Settinng Up a Small Observatory
My Heavens! The Adventures of a Lonely Stargazer Building an Over-the-Top Observatory

I just got the last two and haven't yet read them but the first one has a lot of good ideas in it. Once I get into the actual planning and building I will be documenting things on the Oracle Observatory page.
Subject:	reply to question about Meade1244 electronic focuser
Sent:	Thursday, February 21, 2008 03:16:04
From:	Xander (
I'd like to draw your (and Lynne's) attention to They made it their business to buy and ship
stuff from the US to europe when the seller won't/can't ship abroad.

I'm in no wat affiliated with them, so it's up to you to post this on
your site or not..
Kind Regards,

Subject:	ETX  125 Problem
Sent:	Thursday, February 21, 2008 18:01:35
From:	Karen (
I ordered a Meade off axis guider, but it will not fit my ETX 125. The
thread is female and  much too big. Do they make a adapter?
Mike here: Your dealer should have told you the Meade Off-Axis Guider #777 (see in my review at is for Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes, not the ETX models. However, there is a SCT Accessory Adapter that can be used; you can see my comments on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page on my ETX Site.
Subject:	Thank You!  You saved me good money.
Sent:	Tuesday, February 19, 2008 11:42:42
From:	Peter (
I just purchased a used ETX-125 PE and noticed the handbox was seriously
in need of an update. Well lo and behold, about 25% into the update the
power goes out on the handbox. Try as I might I couldn't get beyond the
title screen.  So I called Meade and they told my to try the safe boot
with the 999, so I did (about 20 times) and no go. The rep on the phone
said the handbox was probably a goner and said Id have to buy a new one
because they dont repair them. I placed the order and was not impressed
that I had to wait almost 2 weeks to go stargazing.  Then I stumbled
upon your site, and found the answer (press ENTER and V scroll). Voila,
the upgrade uploaded into the unit and it works fine.  I truly thank you
for your informative site.

Peter E 
Thunder Bay 
Ont, Canada
Mike here: Sometimes Meade's tech support is not all that it should be.
Subject:	Ring around Moon..
Sent:	Tuesday, February 19, 2008 08:46:49
From:	Ivan Dominguez (
Ivan here, one quick question do you know why last night there was a
huge ring around the moon? This is the second time I see it.

By the way, I understand if you don't want to answer this question as it
is unrelated to ETX have great day.=
Mike here: Ice crystals in the Earth's atmosphere. For a more thorough explanation, doing a Google search for "ring around the moon" will yield many results, including this one: ""
Subject:	RE: Alt/Dec Drive problems
Sent:	Sunday, February 17, 2008 12:08:11
From:	Mark Tumblety (
Sorry to be a pain! but reset, calibrate and train has made no
difference, any last thoughts?


Mike here: OK. One simple potential solution is to redistribute the lubrication; unlock the axis and slowly move the telescope tube up and down full-travel, several times. If that doesn't help, you will have to try some more serious stuff. You will want to check for grease on the encoders or too much on the gears. Use caution so that you don't break anything or cut any wires.


Thank you I will do the simple thing first, I am not sure I am up to
dismantling the mount.


I think this may be something to do with the encoder as having moved the
OTA up and down through its full travel, it will not consistently
respond to changes to slew speed, i.e. it travels at max only, however
on switching off it responds to slow speed, can I find out how to access
the encoder etc on your main website?
Mike here: Check the article "Cleaning the Encoders" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Repair EXT-125
Sent:	Sunday, February 17, 2008 09:12:32
From: (
I am not even sure what is wrong with this telescope since it was my
deceased husbands. It has a hard case and I know it was a good one but
needed something repaired.  I live in the Phila. area. Does anyone know
where I can go to have it fixed?  I want to sell it on ebay.
Mike here: You can check your local phone book for a Meade telescope dealer. Depending on what is wrong with it a repair could cost you $75 to $200 (or more). You could also contact Meade or Dr. Clay Sherrod (for his "Supercharge" Tune-up service; the link is on the ETX Site home page). It could be cheaper to sell it as-is but you would need to specify what is wrong with it.
Subject:	Meade1244 electronic focuser
Sent:	Friday, February 15, 2008 05:17:18
From:	Lynne Carter (
I have been thinking of getting an electronic focuser for my ETX 105 EC
and I noticed that the meade factory outlet is selling them off at
$29.99 however meade do not ship outside the USA and I live in the UK.
Is it against US law for someone in the US to buy one and ship it to me?
If not do you know of any person or organisation who would be willing to
do this for me? I will reimburse them for all purchase and shipping
Thank you, Lynne Carter.
Mike here: Not being a lawyer I can't answer directly. However, while it may not matter in this case due to the low cost, any item purchased in the United States for sale outside the USA is not covered by warranty.


Thank you for the advice, i just wish we had access to such great price
reductions in the UK. Keep up the good work with the site, it is very
useful to novices like me.
Lynne Carter.

Subject:	kit peak national observatory
Sent:	Friday, February 15, 2008 04:31:34
From:	Steven Dang (
was looking at a magazine "Sky at Night" edition #31 and they had this
great article about kitt Peak near you.

I didnt know that they offer their telescopes to visitors.  They also
conduct tours or you can observe with either their 16 or 20 inch scopes.

Was thinking that would be a dream excursion!

Have you been their for a visit?  If so would love to see any pictures
you have taken from Kitt Peaks.  Would be great to see it as part of
your Oracle visits except with a bit of a detour :)

Sorry to hear bout the thief of you equipment.
tel: 001 520 318 8726
Mike here: Kitt Peak is a great place to visit. Not counting a visit back in 1974, I have been there three times in recent years. You can see my reports of these visits on the "Other: Just for Fun!" page on my ETX Site.

And more:

Mike here: Thanks to your email I was prompted to scan some of the 35mm slides I took when I visited Kitt Peak in 1974. I've added them to the "Just for Fun!" page.
Subject:	Alt/Dec Drive problems
Sent:	Sunday, February 10, 2008 11:23:22
From:	Mark Tumblety (
I have an issue with my ETX 125, all works fine until the telescope
elevates to more than 45 degrees, at which point the telescope either
stops or continues to travel to a point beyond 45 degrees and then
stops, the only way I can rectify this is to release the mount switch it
off and back on, I have checked the max elevation setting which is set
at 85 degrees, I have altered this to 50, 75, nothing seems to change,
any thoughts please.
Mark (Bristol UK)
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES (both axes) on the AutoStar (assuming you are using an AutoStar to slew)?


Yes Mike I have Calibrated Motor and Trained Drives on both axes (I am
using the AutoStar)
Mike here: OK, do a RESET (you will have to re-enter your Site, etc). Then do a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES. Assuming there is no physical obstruction, doing the RESET will usually clear out any memory corruption in the AutoStar.


Thanks Mike, will do. 

Subject:	Re: Meade ETX-90 Computer Control Malfunction
Sent:	Saturday, February 9, 2008 08:42:58
From: (
Thanks a million for the response.  I was able to get it running again
by being a little rough on the switch, which must have some
corrosion(this telescope has been back and forth across the ocean). 
Interesting you can open the base..............I haven't been able to
figure out how to do that.  I'll have to look harder,

Best Regards,

Mike here: There are screws holding the bottom base plate onto the base itself.
Subject:	Removing Focus Knob on ETX125PE
Sent:	Friday, February 8, 2008 09:39:08
From:	Thomas Matthew Holl (
First let me say that I really appreciate you're web site as I am new to
astronomy and just beginning to learn about astrophotography. It is a
great resource of information and embodies the best things about the

I am having a problem removing the set screw that holds the focusing
knob on the focusing bar on my ETX-125PE telescope. It appears that
either the factory has set this VERY tight and/or they have stripped out
the hex wrench slot in the back of the set screw. Has anyone else
reported this problem and do you have any suggestions as to how I might
be able to get this know off? It will be rather difficult to install my
electronic focuser with this knob still attached!

I'm very sorry to learn of the recent theft of your LXD-75. I hope that
it is recovered in rapid fashion undamaged. Thanks again for your help
in this manner. Hope you can help.

Thanks again,

Thomas Matthew Holl
Mike here: The problem that most people report is that they are not getting the proper sized hex wrench far enough into the hole to actually go into the set screw. But I do recall one report where the user had to drill it out. As to the theft, recovery is getting less and less likely. I hope it all got a good home.
Subject:	Meade ETX-90 Computer Control Malfunction
Sent:	Thursday, February 7, 2008 05:51:39
From:	sandy steichen (
My ETX90 computer control stopped working.  I put in a fresh set of
batteries(right out of the box) and there is no motor control and the
LED does not light.  Two questions, is there any experience out there
with this happening, and is there a location in the NYC area I can get
it repaired?  Thanks for the help
Dale Steichen
Mike here: No LED light would mean that the telescope is not powering on. Could be a disconnected wire someplace inside the base. You can open the base and check. Don't know about a service place in the NYC area.
Subject:	etx problem #2
Sent:	Thursday, February 7, 2008 11:28:23
From:	Karen (
Thank you for helping with my slew creep. The drives slew like they are
full of rocks. The image bounces and the noise.    How can     I fix
Mike here: Sounds like it could be a lubrication problem. Try unlocking the axes and slowly moving the telescope by hand back and forth through several rotations (hard stop to hard stop; for telescopes that have hard stops). That can redistribute the lubrication. There is also a possibility that one or more gears are broken (teeth or mount); you would have to go inside to determine that. See the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page for more info.
Subject:	Re: Super Charge evaluation
Sent:	Wednesday, February 6, 2008 10:10:28
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
Hello Nikolas....
I do not discount my service since all fees are contributed directly to
science outreach programs throughout the south; I do however offer
discounts for some organizations and if you would be so kind as to
request such on the school letterhead I would be most happy to consider

Just for the record, a full service on the ETX telescope requires 5-6
complete days, a total of over 44 hours.  The fee is very reasonable I

Good to hear from you.

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)

----- Original Message ----- 
Hello, I have an ETX 90 EC and have read some info about your services
(referred by Mike Weasner).  I'm part of a large Astronomy Club in the
Washington, DC area and would like to try your service.  Would you
consider doing a tune-up/supercharge for a dscounted or no-charge rate
to benefit a local school.  In return after the service is complete and
all is as listed I would be more than happy to recommend your services
to other club members.  If you were to get even just 10 customers this
would probably be worth your efforts.

Let me know if there is anything we might be able to work out.

Thanks for you consideration and your great website.


Mike here: All reports I have received about Dr. Clay's Supercharge have been extremely positive.


Dr. Clay, no problem I will see what I can arrange from the school

Mike I just hadn't seen anything on the site about reviews of the
service.  Maybe I looked in the wrong place.  Do you have a section or
any feedback you could let others review?  I"m sure the service is
excellent however for some individuals/small groups the price is quite
high...more than half the cost of the basic scope.  Just trying to
justify it to those who would be using it the most.

Thanks in advance to both of you,
Clear skies (and hopefully a successful shuttle launch tomorrow!)
Mike here: There is no specific Feedback page for the Dr. Clay's Supercharge but if you search the Site for "supercharge" you will see many pages with comments.


The service of course is not mandatory, nor is it being forced on
anyone.  If your telescope is operating well, then I am the first to say
that you do not need it.  No need to attempt to justify something that
you have doubts about.

This is a service.....not a requisite.

Dr. Clay


I'm aware of that, however the ETX is suffering from slop, inaccurate
tracking and other such issues that I think someone with more experience
should handle.  There are no damaged/missing think it just
needs adjustment from poor QC before being shipped.  One thing I have
noticed his how loud the drive seems to be lately, is this normal?  I
don't remember it being so loud, especically when compared to other club
members scopes such as the Nestars etc.
Either way do you have and estimate of current turn-around time?
Thanks again,


Every telescope is different and many are very loud....sometimes you
will hear more chatter going one direction than another.  Normally that
is perfectly fine, but if the telescope begins to sound like it is
laboring, it very likely IS laboring.  The slop is something that is
inherent in many ETX scopes and can be taken out if done properly....not
all of it, but a great deal if not most of it.

If the scope is binding (i.e., perhaps related to the sound you are now
hearing) that could manifest into poor tracking...many, many things to

Turn time on ETX scopes if no parts are needed (although I normally keep
a complete stock of parts here and charge only my cost from Meade for
replacements and never a labor charge during Supercharge) is only 5-6
days before it is ready to ship back.

Dr. Clay

Subject:	ETX OTA removal.
Sent:	Wednesday, February 6, 2008 07:06:55
From:	aol (
Sorry if I have missed this but is there a page/site that takes you
through a tube removal for the ETX125
Mike here: See near the bottom of the article "My ETX-90EC Experiencse" on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	flip mirror on ext 80at
Sent:	Wednesday, February 6, 2008 06:50:22
From:	  (
just purchased this telescope, the flip mirror is a little smudged is
there anything i can do to clean it. i have been told i can clean it and
also i cannot clean it can you help many thanks nigel.
Mike here: Cleaning a "first surface mirror" like the flip mirror is not something to be undertaken lightly. You can easily scratch the surface and make things even worse. You could even knock the mirror out of alignment, likely requiring a return to Meade. But if you want to take the chance see the article "Cleaning Optics" on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	Eyepiece Selection guide
Sent:	Tuesday, February 5, 2008 10:39:37
From:	Dominguez Ivan-FID001 (
Hello Mike, 
I was reading your article under Miscellaneous - Eyepiece Selection
Guide -(last updated on 04/13/01) which has the different eyepiece
selection and guide, some how I cannot make sense out of this!!!!

I have a Meade MA4mm, MA12mm, MA9mm, and MA25mm how do these eyepieces
match the ones shown below? I see the first eyepiece is 25mm no problem
there, but how about the rest 4, 9, and 12mm? Do I assumed that 12.4mm
below is the same as the MA12mm? Also, the MA4mm is that shown under
VERY EXPENSIVE below and is it equal to 4.7mm? Please help me understand
how this works.

Selection Guide from your website:
ETX 60 / 70
25mm MA - w2 / d1 / m1 /pw / c1
plossl eyepieces (4-element, excellent light transmission) EXCELLENT
INVESTMENT: 56mm (2-inch) - n/a
40mm - n/a
32mm - n/a
26mm - 13.5X / (3.9 degrees) - w2, mw, c1
20mm - 17.5X / (3.0) - w3, d1
15mm - 23.4X / (2.3) - pw
12.4mm - 28.3X / (1.9) - m1
9.7mm - 36.1X / (1.5) - d3, p3*, sun1
6.4mm - 54.7X / (57' arc) -m3, p1, x1*, sun2, c2
super wide angle plossl eyepieces (6 elements - moderate light
transmission) EXPENSIVE:
13.8mm - 25.4X / (2.7 degree) (not recommended)
18.0mm - 19.5X / (3.5) (not recommended)
24.5mm - 14.3C / (4.6) (not recommended)
32mm - (2 inch) - n/a
40mm - (2 inch) - n/a
ultra wide angle plossls (8 elements, less light transmission) VERY
14mm (1-1/4" / 2-inch) - not recommended
8.8mm (1-1/4" / 2-inch) - not recommended
6.7mm (1-1/4") - 52.3X / (1.7 degree) - d3, m2, p2, c2, sun2
4.7mm (1-1/4") - 74.5X / (1.2 degree) - m3*, p3*
CLAY'S 3-in-the-box Selection: 20mm, 6.7mm (or 6.4mm), 4.7mmUWA, barlow


Ivan D.
Mike here: I'm not certain article you are referring to as I didn't see eyepiece article dated "01/13/01". Are you sure it is MY article or was it written by someone else? At any rate, the decimal point values are not that important, especially for short focal length telescopes as it doesn't add much change to the magnification (if you are uncertain how to calculate magnification, see the FAQ page). As to costs, some eyepiece designs are more expensive than other designs, even at the same focal length.


It was written by Clay but is part of the Miscellaneous field:


Polar Alignment Spreadsheet Aid  (10/08/07)
Drift Method Alignment Tutorial (04/27/06)
Starhopping Guide (and much more) (text, PDF) (09/04/05)
Brian King's NGC objects list (MS Word) (01/15/04)
Polar Alignment Tip, ETX-70AT Finderscope Thoughts (01/19/03)
High Temperature Warning (08/07/01)
Eyepiece Selection Guide (04/13/01) (THIS IS THE ONE)

I am just trying to understand how eyepieces work and the purpose of
each is....So 12.7mm is essencially the same as MA12mm? Thanks again for
your response.


Ivan D.
Mike here: Ah ha, you mean the one on the "Helpful Information: Observational Guides/References" page. I was looking elsewhere. Yes, 12.7mm is almost the same as 12mm. BUT the designs are different (as indicated by the "MA"). Normally MA eyepieces may be cheaper.


I see!!! So there are edifferences in prices I thought they were all the
same - thanks.

And more:

I've also noticed that he has posted 56mm as n/a what exactly does n/a
mean? based on the eyepiece code (e.g. p1, w1..etc)

I'm trying to find info on planets and when they are most visible -
there are lots of info in your website and it is great, I wish I can
read it all in one day I'm sure the info is there in you web- if you can
please point me to it will be greatly appreciated .
Ivan D.
Mike here: Eyepieces can cost from <$50 to >$500. As to a 56mm eyepiece, that would mostly be not useful on an ETX. As to planet visibility (as discussed on the Email Etiquette page, please don't mix questions), there are several useful links on the Astronomy Links page or just go to the Sky and Telescope web site (


Yes Mike I'm sorry for the oversight I got carried away with the same
Thanks for your response though!


Ivan D.

Subject:	ETX 125 declination Lock problem.
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2008 13:49:06
From:	aol (
Hi, and thanks for the site and previous responses.

My DEC lock is hardly good enough for stopping the tube from drooping
down from the home position ("O" on the scale).

I have read about the grease getting where it ought not, and causing
this type of problem. However the scope has only recently come back from
Meade, who appeared to have done a good job (I had to have a new control
panel fitted,and they did an adjustment on both RA and DEC).

Any ideas what could be the problem with the "Slack hold" that the dec
lock has?

And have you heard of a counter weight being used at the focus end of
the tube to help take off some of the weight of the objective end?As I
had the idea that this would help the weight on the DEC Lock.

Hope both questions are clear  Regard Steve.


Hi and thanks for the site, My declination clamp/knob is not very
possitive and the object lense almost seems to heavy to be supported by
the lock, and I was wondering would a counter balance be of use?,one
near the focus end of the tube?
MIke here: You might want to read the article "DEC lock mod" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Perhaps that will help. Also, there are several "counterweight" articles on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page. The article "Counterweight System" might be particularly useful.


Thanks everso for prompt reply and good advise.
By the way hope you got the scope disssapearances sorted out. Regards
Steve (Freezing cold in England)
Mike here: The thief has not come forward and asked if he (or she) could return the stolen items to me.
Subject:	Connections to a PC
Sent:	Tuesday, February 5, 2008 05:24:04
From:	David Browning (
I'm an IT researcher In Townsville Australia. We're busy having a play
with MySky with a view to producing a Celestial Navigation learning

Just wondering if you've attempted to connect a MySky to a PC/mac? If
so, what is the data format it outputs? Can you get NMEA sentences from
the GPs for example?

I'd be very grateful for any information or contacts who might have some
knowledge of this.

Many thanks

Mike here: Read my mySKY review on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page on my ETX Site. I discuss the mySKY, the connection between the mySKY and an AutoStar capable telescope. Don't know about the data formats but once you have the mounted the SD card on your computer (Mac or PC, if you have a SD card reader) you can look at the files the mySKY uses.
Subject:	Motor issues update and eyepiece question.
Sent:	Monday, February 4, 2008 11:13:15
From:	Dominguez Ivan-FID001 (
Ivan here were correct the issue with the motors had to do
with how much the knobs were tightened, thank you for your help.

Mike, I have one more question I'm currently using the following
eyepieces 4mm, 9mm, 12mm and 25mm along with a 2X Barlow. Saturn and
Mars are a bit too small regardless of the eyepiece I use (4mm is
actually very hard to focus and a bit blurry) do you think I should buy
different eyepieces or this is limitation of the telescope?


Ivan D.
Mike here: Mars is rather small at this time so unless you have a really BIG telescope, the views are likely to be disappointing. Saturn should be OK, at least the Ring System (although they are not as open right now as they have been and will be again). And increasing the magnification, as you have seen, is not always the best solution, especially as you get near the "theoretical maximum" magnification for your telescope. (Don't know how to calculate this? See the FAQ page.)
Subject:	Theft, Trip, etc.
Sent:	Monday, February 4, 2008 09:52:21
From:	Ken Winograd (
I just visited your site again as I occasionally do hoping to find a new
Oracle Observatory update. I'm delighted you're on your way to the
observatory again and can't wait to read the report, but what a bummer
to read about the theft of so much of your equipment. A drag and a half
for sure. I hope you had/have really good insurance. GOOD LUCK MIKE!

Enjoy the trip...

CU Ken
Mike here: I'm looking forward to the next Oracle Observatory visit! Although I'm still waiting for the first check, it looks like my insurance company will come through for me. I'm still awaiting the replacement telescope though; I have started replacing some of the stolen accessories.
Subject:	ETX-90EC wiring question
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2008 20:14:22
From:	David Kraeuter (
I bought my first telescope last summer at an estate sale--a Meade
ETX-90EC with accessories for $50. I don't know how old it is.

The scope works well but when I tried to adjust the tube vertically with
the HBX I could hear the motor running but the tube would not move.

My engineering friend took the scope apart and repaired the loose
linkage between the vertical drive motor and its associated gearing.
Unfortunately in working he accidentally broke the four wires--with
yellow, red, blue, and black insulation--off the circuit board that
controls the vertical motor. These wires run down the tine of the fork
into the base of the scope. We see the four points at "JP2" on the
vertical control circuit board where the wires need to be re-soldered,
but don't know the proper sequence in which to attach them.

I notice in your answer to another question that you know of no source
for a schematic for this circuit board. Any suggestions you or your
readers might have would be appreciated.
David W. Kraeuter

Subject:	ETX125-Play in the Fork Arm
Sent:	Thursday, January 31, 2008 10:18:42
From:	Anonymous
I have an ETX125 purchased in 2002.There is rotational play in the Fork
Arm relative to the base when the clamps are unlocked.I have been
informed that this will cause blurring of the image at higher
magnifications. Is there a "Fix" for this.

Peter Cox
Mike here: See if anything in the "Performance Enhancements" article Part 1 on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page helps.
Subject:	Meade mySky Review,dated 20 november 2007
Sent:	Thursday, January 31, 2008 04:46:20
From:	Niels Peter Ditlefsen (
The subject article ends with : " I will update this page as I use my
SKY more. Stay tuned."
Are there any updates to be found at your site ?
my SKY has  a  built in instructional video (Scott Rob.).Is it possible
to download this video to my PC  ? instead of using the small screen on
my SKY..

The my SKY-menu indicates a possibility to connect to Meade telescopes 
and to a computer, how is the the computer-connection arranged ?
Thank you for your  "SUPER-site"
Best Regards
Niels Peter
56.1N  10.5E
Mike here: Due to my move further work with the mySKY was delayed until very recently. As noted on the Accessory Reviews: Coming Soon! page, I will be posting a review of the Cable Set (which provides the connection to the AutoStar). Or, as noted in the earlier review, you can build your own cable.
Subject:	ETX90-EC external 12v power fault
Sent:	Wednesday, January 30, 2008 16:59:59
From:	Frank Jones (
I have been using battery power but now wish to use external power. The
power supply is working correctly and the ring of the power connector
makes connection inside the ETX, on the red wiring,  but the tip of the
connector does not appear to be connected inside on the circuit board or
the black wiring.

Any suggestions? Are there any problems in taking the motor unit out to
gain access to the circuit board? Have you a circuit diagram of the 
circuit board concerned and a wiring diagram of the telescope?
Mike here: It sounds like you need a proper plug. From reports on the Site I think a Coaxial DC Power Plug 5.5mm OD/2.5mm ID Radio Shack Cat# 274-1573A from Radio Shack (may also be called Adaptaplug "N") is what you need to make electrical contact with the existing ETX power jack.
Subject:	ETX-Spare parts
Sent:	Wednesday, January 30, 2008 16:53:22
From:	Darwinion (
Last Oct '07 my son and I stumbled upon the clearance sale that Meade
had on the ETX-125 UHTC's and we each purchased one.  Since then I have
read with some concern the issue of repair/replacement parts should they
become needed.  Some of those concerns being expressed on this site.

My question is, if I were to find a used autostar equipped ETX mount in
any condition as a potential bone yard for parts, would it need to be a
like ETX-125 mount, or would a 80, 90, or 105's also share the same
drive components?

Thank for a great site,
Mike here: Best results would be from an ETX-125 mount. I haven't personally checked all the components inside each model but I suspect that most are scaled appropriately.
Subject:	re: everstart jump starter hp450-2
Sent:	Wednesday, January 30, 2008 10:19:57
From:	richard seymour (
If it's like my JumpStart:
yes, you push the Test button
...and on mine, it turns on -all- of the bulbs if it's fully charged.
fewer bulbs is less charged.

have fun
From:	Alton Mann (
Thank you my center light will not come and there is voltage at the
outlets but none at the jumper hook ups


I think the best answer is to go to the store 
where you bought it and ask to read the instructions
on another unit of the same make and model.

Some JumpStarts have a separate switch to activate the 
Jumper cables (since they can dump a lot of energy,
they're doubly-protected).

have fun

Subject:	re: ETX slow creep
Sent:	Wednesday, January 30, 2008 10:02:37
From:	richard seymour (
Slow creep can also be affected by adjusting the
Anti-backlash Percentage  settings for the two axes.

Under Setup/Telescope

have fun


From:	Karen (
I have done all corrections suggested in E- mails. But when I shut the
ETX off and then restart it happens again. Must I reprogram after every
Mike here: You should not. Can you update the AutoStar? If so, try reloading the AutoStar software.

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