Last updated: 28 February 2009
This page is for comments and user feedback about the "ETX Classic" telescopes. ETX Classic models include the ETX-60/70/80/90/105/125 (EC, AT, BB, Premier Edition). This page also includes comments and feedback of a general nature. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to the ETX-90RA, ETX-LS, DSX, 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 for posting. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message per the Site Email Etiquette. Thanks. Remember, tips described on this site may invalidate the warranty on your telescope or accessories. Neither the submitter nor myself are responsible for any damage caused by using any contributed tips.
Subject: RE: ETX125PE Finding Level Problem Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2009 07:40:19 From: Geoff Aukett (Geoff@f14help.com) Changed the battery but still the same problem?Mike here: Could be the LNT has failed. Meade may be able to send you a replacement.
I will contact Meade in the UK and see what they say. Thanks for all your help. Regards Geoff
Subject: EP adaptor Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 20:59:20 From: Bert Denovan (email@example.com) I use a 6mm 0.965" EP for collimating my LX90 however I lost the adaptor for the 1.25" holder one night in the field somwhere. I asked around some of the Australian dealers and the only one that I could find cost AUD$40! The one that I lost cost AUD$10. For what it is there was no value in it and I was pleased to find an answer from a fellow Aussie on your site, Mike. Under Telescope Tips > Misc. Martin Lewicki showed how he had used a 35mm film canister to make the adaptor. This morning I made one based on his description and photo and it fits perfectly! Cost? Nil! Thanks Martin for the tip and thanks Mike for this great site. (I do have a ETXEC.) Cheers! Bert Denovan St Helens Tasmania
Subject: ETX125PE Finding Level Problem Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 12:41:49 From: Geoff Aukett (Geoff@f14help.com) Hope you can shed some light on this for me! For reasons I won't go into our ETX 125PE has been packed in its box for about 10 months now. Just got it out and there is a problem. As I'm sure you're aware, the first part of auto align process says "finding level" at which point the tube motors down until it hits the base? I have updated the hand box (43Eg), I have done a full reset but no change. Apart from this the scope seems to work fine, I guess some levelling device has got stuck? Is there anything I can do or do we need to send this somewhere to be fixed? Thnaks Geoff AukettMike here: Have you tried a CALIBRATE SENSORS?
As soon as I select CALIBRATE SENSORS there is a brief pause and then the tube motors down and hits the base?Mike here: Have you replaced the LNT battery? There are some LNT troubleshooting articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
No but I have a spare so I will try that. Have you heard of this before?Mike here: I don't recall that mode of error. But if the battery is weak, then almost anything could happen.
Subject: RE: My ETX125SE has sporadic jerky motion in RA. Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 06:44:48 From: Brian (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm feeling guilty at not getting back to you after your prompt and friendly response to my request for help. I did the motor calibration but just as I was setting up to do the train drives the clouds rolled in and they have been here ever since. It must be three weeks since I last saw the sky. Missed both the stunning brightest phase of Venus and the conjunction of Lulin with Saturn. Astronomy and England just don't mix. Anyway, in frustration at not being able to do the train drives OR to even use the bloody scope, I took off the DEC clutch cover and was gobsmacked to find that the DEC worm drive was all over the place. The three screws were all finger tight or more accurately finger loose and the worm was flopping around all over the shop. So, having tightened them and put the cover back on I now await a clear sky to re-do the motor calibration and then the train drives. Who knows, the scope might actually get better! Many thanks again and till the next update Best regards, Brian Martindale
Subject: Information request from a ETX-80 owner Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 15:15:07 From: steve zalewski (email@example.com) I was wondering if there are any other warnings that I need to be aware of for my Meade ETX-80 telescope. In order to cut down on the expense of AA alkaline or lithium batteries, I was thinking of purchasing the Meade AC adapter for the ETX-80, but now I'm wondering if that is a wise thing to do. I read on your site of some other AC adapter causing problems with another model Meade telescope, and I would like to know if you have heard of any problems using an AC adapter with the ETX-80. I also forgot to mention earlier, is it possible to use a 9volt alkaline or lithium battery in the scope in place of 6AA batteries? Thank You for your assistance in answering my questions. Sincerely, Steve ZalewskiMike here: The warnings about the Meade adapter have been for the model #941, not the #546 for the ETX-80. However, I don't know if the same supplier is involved with both models. If so, some caution might be appropriate. If you want to make do your own AC Adapter (using parts from Radio Shack, for example) there are several such tips on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Thank You again for your prompt reply on my AC adapter question. I was also wondering if you know if a 9 volt alkaline or 9 volt lithium battery could be used in the ETX 80 in place of the 6 AA batteries. I would think that handling that battery holder a lot to change 6 batteries would be more likely a cause for it to fail, or have a connection go bad in place of just replacing the 6 AA batteries with a 9 Volt. Thank You again for your help. Sincerely, Steve ZalewskiMike here: Owners have used the smaller ETX-60 with a 9V battery. However, the telescope will perform much better with 12VDC. I'd recommend going for a 12VDC power supply. Something like the Celestron Power Tank I discuss on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page.
Subject: 125 Sent: Monday, February 23, 2009 20:43:22 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) I have searched your website for about 3 hours now. Im having problems with my ETX 125. It stopped moving "up and down" It will rotate 360 degree on its base, but for some reason the gears wont engage when I try to raise it from lets say the horizon to Mizar. Sorry Im kind of a rookie at this, but was hoping your site had my fix, if not any ideas? Thanks DaleMike here: When you lock the vertical axis, does the tube stay put or does the front of the telescope tend to fall back down to the base? If it stays put but won't slew when you use the handcontroller, could you be overtightening the axis lock? It should just be finger-tight. If the lock is working properly, have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? (I'm assuming you have an AutoStar, although you didn't say that.)
When I lock the vertical axis the tube stays put. I double checked the tightness and it was finger tight. Also last time I did a calibrate motor and train drives was roughly 2 months ago when I moved from Phoenix to Surprise AZ Thanks for your time DaleMike here: Let me know what happens when you do the CALIBRATE MOTOR step.
The handbox says "testing motors" and it will only "drop' and turn to the rightMike here: Some movement is normal during the "calibration". If no error is reported then the AutoStar thinks all is well. When you try to slew or GOTO an object, have you tried increasing the slewing speed? What happens at the faster speed? Also, have you tried replacing the batteries?
It wont slew at all up, I can change the speed of the slew but it only works in RA (im thinking) since DEC is "up and down".........changing the slew speed has no impact and im running on straight A/C power with the cordMike here: Try using batteries and see if perhaps there is an issue with the DC connection. Also, try reversing the AutoStar HBX cable. And while you're at it, take a look at the HBX cable connectors and jacks. They should be clean, not bent sideways, nor too depressed.
I swapped the HBX cable and it works going down, still no "up". I dont have batteries to try tonight, so I'll drop you a line tomorrow after I pick some up
And an update:
couldnt wait, put new batteries in and it started slewing "up" went about 1 degree or 2 then stopped
And a further update:
I think I found the problem with my ETX 125. I slewed all the way "down" to the base of the scope(without a tripod on it)........I tried slewing up and it worked about half way up and then stopped. I believe the scope is mounted on the forks backwards and its at its slew limit. (if this is possible).Mike here: Is this a new ETX or have you had it for some time? It begins to sound like some obstruction is preventing full movement. You could open up the fork arm (if the warranty has expired) and look for some foreign object that is preventing free movement of the gears.
I bought it from a friend of mine here in AZ he takes good care of his scopes. I repositioned the scope the right way on the fork arm and now when I slew "up" the motor kicks in and it grinds alot......there is no obstruction. I have a feeling Im gonna have to send it off to get this fixed.Mike here: I'm confused. What you do mean by "repositioned...the right way"? As to no obstruction, with the altitude axis unlocked, when you slowly move the OTA up and down, can you feel anything that might prevent smooth movement?
It moves freely by hand, just seems like the gears wont engage. I dont wanna waste your time with this....I think i might contact Meade and see what it would cost to fix this Thanks for all your time and helpMike here: Meade, IF they will accept it for repair, will likely charge $75-100. You might also try Dr. Clay Sherrod for his Supercharge service (link on the ETX Site Home Page).
Subject: telescopes at Kitts Peak Sent: Monday, February 23, 2009 09:22:56 From: Dennis Holtsberry (firstname.lastname@example.org) I was enjoying your pictures from your 2008 visit to Kitt Peak. Was wondering about the building along the road, that looks like an inverted cone, in your panorama. Do you know anything about it? Thanks Clear skies, Dennis HoltsberryMike here: The cone-shape is distortion from the VR processing. It is actually a cylinder. As to which observatory or purpose, I'd have to check to see if it is on the Kitt Peak site map.
Subject: Re: #1244 focuser screw too short? Sent: Friday, February 20, 2009 18:30:28 From: Douglas Hornick (email@example.com) Since it appears that I won't be getting the required screw for my #1244 focuser I decided to try using it without the mounting plate which is item 2 on the instruction sheet. I was able to thread the screw and secure the focuser onto my scope with no problem then. I've run the focuser back and forth a number of times and it seems to be stable without using the mounting plate. My only problem is remembering which way the focus is being turned when I push the up/down buttons on the #497. Are there mechanical stops in the ETX 90 that prevents the focus from being turned too far out or too far in? If there is will the focuser stop turning if it hit a mechanical stop or will something break? DougMike here: The focuser will stop turning at the ends. At least, mine did on my ETX-125.
Subject: 12v or 9v for ETX 60 BB? Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 15:06:40 From: Kristine Hicken (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hello, thanks for your valuable time. I haven't been able to find a definitive answer whether I can use 12v or should convert to 9v for my ETX 60 BB.There seems to be two camps. Will it require a minimum of 1 amp? Thanks again for your time. Kris HickenMike here: I'm not familiar with an ETX-60BB model (there were EC and AT models of the ETX-60 and ETX-70, and a Backpack model of the ETX-80). Anyway, check the label on the Meade AC Adapter I discuss on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page.
Subject: ETX-70 ?? -80?? Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 08:01:44 From: Rose & Joe Schlatter (email@example.com) Is Meade still producing the ETX-80? I'm looking for a small scope on the order of the ETX-70 or -80. As best I can tell, the ETX-70 is a thing of the past, though some show up on eBay. I found an ETX-80 for sale but the Meade site does not list the ETX-80, and, from the photos of the one I found, it appears to NOT have a finder scope of any kind -- is this right?? I'm looking for a small go-to scope; I had an ETX-70 years ago and enjoyed using it -- of course, I had to realize that it was not going to give me the same views as my 12-inch Dobsonian. Thanks. Joe S.Mike here: Meade still shows the ETX-80 on their Product Guide page (http://www.meade.com/productguide/index.html). And like the ETX-60 and ETX-70 before it, the ETX-80 does not have a finderscope.
Subject: re: ETX 90EC connector order Sent: Monday, February 16, 2009 21:52:51 From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pinouts for all ETX (and LX90) connectors are here: http://jan.eaglecreekobservatory.org/pinouts.html good luck --dick
Subject: ETX70 OTA Only Sent: Monday, February 16, 2009 13:49:12 From: Tom Mote (email@example.com) Several years ago at the Texas Star Party I purchased an ETX-70 OTA for $100. There is no indication that it had been removed from a standard ETX drive. I am curious as to whether Meade used to sell the unmounted OTA and, if they did, why is it no longer available. I have it ring mounted on a larger scope and am quite happy with it. Thanks, Tom MoteMike here: I have never seen one available from Meade without the fork mount.
I bought it from one of the other TSP attendees who had posted a notice on the board by the dining hall. When I went to see it I was surprised to find that it was only an OTA. He did not give me any other info but, at the price he asked, I was happy to buy it As a matter of fact, I think I was able to do some swapping. That is one of the pleasures of star parties and after two or three years it is difficult to remember all the details. :-) Tom
Subject: ETX EC Sent: Monday, February 16, 2009 06:58:40 From: Tom Hutchins (THutchins@LSBC.NET) I just bought an ETX 90 EC (I already have the RA version) . Unfortunately it didn't come with any manuals.. DO you know if I can and an Autostar to this unit? It have an AUX port so I would think that its would be compatible.. the Manual on the Meade site is kinda vague as to Yes they do sell it but it refers to multiple units so not sure the EC it compatible.. I wont to buy one but wasted to be sure it was s compatible.. Thanks Mike and thanks for such a great web site.. Tom HutchinsMike here: You can download the PDF of the ETX-90/105/125 AT model from Meade's web site (http://meade.com/manuals/TelescopeManuals/ETXtelescopes/ETX-90%20w-autostar%20man.pdf). This manual will cover your ETX-90EC with the AutoStar #497. So, yes, you can add a #497 AutoStar (has number keys on the keypad). If you want to know the differences in the EC vs AT models, see the ETX FAQ page on my ETX Site.
Subject: ETX 90EC connector order Sent: Friday, February 13, 2009 21:29:13 From: Chris Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org) I've been scouring your site for information on the order to plug in the two 4-pronged connectors. I was trying to sell my telescope, and we set it up and got the "motor fault" message on the autostar. After doing all of the menu related things and reversing the autostar cord, powering on and off, still the same message, so I decided to take a look inside and lo and behold the there weren't any connections to the JP3 or JP4 prongs. so my questions are which one goes where? the one in the center gear box fits on the 1st four prongs or the 2nd four prongs (from left to right? They are in good shape and the wires are colored correctly. and then the other one will go in the other 4 prongs that are remaining, right? I've looked at "ETX-105EC DEC Wiring" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page; from an early post. and that didn't help.Please help! I gotta pay the rent! :)Thank you!!!ChrisMike here: Unfortunately, my ETX90EC base is still packed from my move to Arizona. I won't be able to get to it until we move into our new home (still under construction). Perhaps someone else will be able to respond.
Thanks so very much for the quick response. I'll be checking your site regularly, since it is the best one out there - and it's so hard to find a picture of the ETX guts... I appreciate it! enjoy the new home! -Chris
Subject: ETX-90 PE will not turn right. Only clicking noise. Sent: Friday, February 13, 2009 13:51:39 From: Jeff Johnson (email@example.com) You have a great website, thank you. I have learned so much from reading the information on this site. My ETX-90 PE , Autostar 497, has stopped turning to the right. It just goes "CLICK, CLICK, CLICK" The drive was trained immediately before the problem occurred. So, I must of trained the drive incorrectly. I assume it has reached a gear stop and will not go any futher. Should I train the drives again, or do a complete reset? Any advice is appreciated, Jeff JohnsonMike here: Clicking sounds could be a sign of a broken gear tooth or a broken gear mount. If a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES doesn't clear it (and it won't if there is something broken), check inside the base for evidence of a broken tooth or gear mount.
Subject: RE: EXT-125EC Sent: Friday, February 13, 2009 10:47:23 From: Ezequiel Lukin (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thank you very much
Subject: Re: scratches test of effects Sent: Friday, February 13, 2009 06:36:57 From: GH Many thanks Mike for your rapid answer.I will try to post a photo ..but it is difficult because these do not appeared except in one angle very had to take photos.can you remove my email and my first name from your 12 february update in the site for my privacy??? best regardsMike here: Do not use a flashlight aimed at the lens. This is not an effective indicator of problems. Name and address removed.
Subject: AC Adapter Sent: Thursday, February 12, 2009 20:09:16 From: andy blight (email@example.com) I just fried my daughters telescope. It was 40 minutes old.......I now have a very unhappy 5 year old. DONT use the Meade AC adapter! Powered on for the first time and it smoked, we haven't even put an eyepeice into the telecope yet. Now it will only move counter clockwise and up. AndyMike here: There have been similar reports of this happening in the recent past. Some warnings about this problem were posted on the Announcements: Warnings! page in 2008. Contact Meade immediately. Let me know what they say. I suggest contacting your dealer as well.
Subject: EXT-125EC Sent: Thursday, February 12, 2009 16:12:48 From: Ezequiel Lukin (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have an EXT-125EC with a broken Azimut gearbox, the bluish plastic frame is broken but the gears are OK, I called Meade and they do not sell parts , do you know where I could buy this part or an improved version? Thank you very much Ezequiel LukinMike here: See the article "Replacement Gears source" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Try them. Let me know how it works out.
Subject: scratches test of effects Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 23:56:32 From: GH How to differentiate between scratches in the coating of the corrector lens and scratches in the corrector glass itself??What is the effect of each one on the viewing in my etx 90??How to test this scratches??? Waiting for your reply.my best wishes and regards.Mike here: Well, there are "scratches" and there are "SCRATCHES". Scratches on the coating, if short and randomly oriented and very few in number, will likely not be noticeable in normal viewing. SCRATCHES that penetrate the glass surface of the corrector lens (or any lens, for that matter) will be problematic, especially if long, oriented in the same direction, closely spaced, and many in number. Anything that changes the optical properties of the lens will affect viewing to some degree. Depending on the circumstances, you may or may not notice a degradation in quality. Spikes may be seen on bright objects, or contrast may be reduced, or the if the SCRATCHES are severe enough, you may see multiple images. As to looking for scratches in either, you would want to use indirect lighting shining across the surface. You would need to use a magnifying glass to study the surface of the lens. Scratches in the coating would likely appear relatively smooth. SCRATCHES that penetrate the glass would likely have raised surfaces along the edges of the SCRATCHES. The appearance of the scratches or SCRATCHES would depend somewhat on WHAT caused them. Can you send me a photo of your ETX-90 corrector lens?
Subject: Quick question for you if you have time Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 16:34:00 From: Jason Baldari (email@example.com) My name is Jason and I have a quick question if you'd be so kind as to advise me. I'm about to get my first scope, and I'm limited to the $500 range. My choices are the Meade ETX 90, or I found that Bushnell makes a Northstar 127mm for the same price. Both are said to have similar features, but I know well the reliability of Meade. Should I go for aperture size, or old reliable with less aperture? I very much appreciate your advise. Many thanks, JasonMike here: Please see the Email Etiquette item on my ETX Site. Specific subject lines on emails are requested as discussed in the Email Etiquette. Thanks for understanding.
Duly noted on the Email etiquette; understandable. Just wanted to say thank you for getting back to me. Best, Jason
Subject: UHTC Upgrade Sent: Monday, February 9, 2009 23:38:27 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) I have an ETX-125 without UHTC. In your professional opinion... Is the UHTC really that much better then the standard coating? and 2nd. I really use my unit most every night but wish it had more. Would it be worth sending it back to Meade and having UHTC installed $350. and then to Dr. Clays $350. to be supercharged. The money isn't an issue. I just want everything out of it that I can. Thanks TerryMike here: Having UHTC is like making your 5" aperture telescope into a 6" aperture telescope in the light that actually reaches your eye. The image is noticeably brighter with UHTC vs the same telescope without it. As to upgrading to UHTC, did Meade quote you that price of $350 for adding UHTC? In the past, they did not offer such a service. As to Dr. Clay's Supercharge, that is worth it IF your telescope has mechnical and/or optical issues that need to be corrected or improved.
I called Meade customer service yesterday and, yes they would upgrade all optics in an ETX-125 to UHTC for $350.00. I don't know if they changed but they will now. The only problem I have had is the scope will shut off as if there is an short or something and I have to start over. Mirror shift seems to be more then in the past. I don't use internal power. I also have an electric focuser but I'm going to change back to manual. It looks nice but I think it could have been made with an manual control. Anyway have a great day and darker nights. Thanks TerryMike here: You might want to consider getting a new telescope, instead of upgrading the older one. That way you would get a new warranty. Perhaps the ETX-125PE model. It comes with UHTC standard. For nearly the same price as upgrading to UHTC and having Dr. Clay Supercharge it, you'd get a new telescope.
Subject: re: ETX-60AT Autostar hangs at daylight savings Sent: Monday, February 9, 2009 21:13:45 From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) That "hangs after DST" point is where the Autostar asks the scope "what are you?". So it can be caused by a flakey cable or connector to the scope, dirt in the handbox socket in the scope base, a loose wire or connector inside the scope, or a sick motor card. Or, a sick Autostar. If you've got a friend (or astro shop) with other Autostars or Autostar scopes, perhaps you could try the A/B swapping of your Autostar to their scope and/or their Autostar to your scope. Even attaching a 494 to an "inappropriate" scope (like an ETX90 or higher) should get the message "Use ETX Autostar with this model". If you -get- that message, then your 494 is communicating properly. If you -don't- get that message (and their 497 works on your scope), then it's your 494 at fault. good luck --dick
Subject: ETX-80AT-TC service manual Sent: Monday, February 9, 2009 12:05:57 From: michael witwicki (email@example.com) am using a Meade EXT-80AT- TC to do digital time lapse with two nikon D300 cameras. i have to hack the telescope and make a mount for the cameras. Wondering if you know where can get exploded view of service manual for it. I love all of the information you have put up on your website a real god send. Am already using gigapan that is mounted for nikon D300 and d70s cameras cheers Michael WitwickiMike here: Meade does not provide a service manual to end users.
Your fast on the key board, must be daylight were you are. any ideas for hacking ETX, or just keep googling and going through blogs, to find service manuals, this will be leading to wards HDR "high dynamic range time lapse, very few people in the world are doing it. I do have interest from Google, USC. My weekend projects. cheers Michael WitwickiMike here: There are many articles on disassembly (and possibly ruining) the ETX telescopes on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. The ETX-80 has some similarities and differences with the other ETX models.
Subject: ETX-60AT Autostar hangs at daylight savings Sent: Monday, February 9, 2009 08:44:51 From: Lee Shultz (firstname.lastname@example.org) Your site has a lot of really great information and I have used it in the past with my Meade DS-2114ATS-LNT. I just picked up a new ETX-60AT (it is new, but I bought it from someone that never even took it out of the box after they purchased it). The problem I am having is with the Autostar. It freezes up after I get to the Daylight saving option. I tried resetting, but it still goes through the date - time - daylight savings when I use the Mode button. I have used my autostar from my other telescope and everything works fine, but I would really not like to switch the autostar between the two so I can use them together. As you know, here in Arizona the night skies are a treat for observation. My wife and I live in North Phoenix and love the desert life, however we are having to go further away from home to get away from the city lights. We have friends down near Green Valley where we can really get away from the lights, but that is such a long trip to make. Any help with my problem would be much appreciated. Thanks, LeeMike here: The lock up at that point on the AutoStar #494 is typical of corrupted software in the AutoStar. Unfortunately, if a RESET doesn't clear it, there is no way to reload the software in the #494. It either has to go back to Meade or you have to get a replacement. If you do get a replacement, get an AutoStar #497. If you decide to just use the one you have, you will have to CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES each time you swap it between the two telescopes.
I was afraid that might be the answer. The only difference between the two controllers I have is that one is made in China and the other is made in Taiwan. The one made in China is the one that works. I'm not sure if that makes a difference or not or if the ones from Taiwan have been the problem and ones from China are not. Has anyone made this correlation? Thanks again, LeeMike here: The corruption could occur on any AutoStar, regardless of the source. It could come from batteries, static electricity, cosmic rays, etc. I'm not aware of any definitive study of reliability.
Subject: ETX-125EC and the #1244 Electric Focuser Sent: Sunday, February 8, 2009 18:53:02 From: Jan M. Hollis (email@example.com) Do you recall anyone modifying a #1244 electric focuser to work on an ETX-125EC ? I have not been able to find anything about this on your site. Cheers, Jan M. HollisMike here: Nope.
Subject: Question about non-illuminated reticle eyepiece. Sent: Sunday, February 8, 2009 17:24:53 From: Todd and Abbie Ausenbaugh (firstname.lastname@example.org) Will a Non-illuminated reticle eyepiece be useful in a dark sky at night?I have found they are cheaper than the illuminated variety but am concerned about seeing the crosshairs in the dark.I do thank you for your continued advise and help!Mike here: If the background sky is dark and you are looking at faint objects, then the crosshairs will be nearly invisible (black on black). If you are looking at bright extended objects (say to measure their angular diameter) then you should be able to see the crosshairs.
Subject: meade 125 pe gps? Sent: Saturday, February 7, 2009 13:03:55 From: Alexander kolusk (email@example.com) any way a cn16 celestron gps be hooked up on a 125PE? TANKS ALMike here: Don't know about the Celestron GPS. Does it have a serial port? For more on GPS and the AutoStar, see the "Other Information" section of the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
no it has a PHONE TYPE HOOK UP RJ11 OR SOMETHINGMike here: That is probably a RS-232 serial connection.
Subject: Varying Motor Speeds on EXT-70AT Sent: Saturday, February 7, 2009 12:21:20 From: Robert M (firstname.lastname@example.org) My scope has never GOTO'ed properly. I recently put in fresh batteries and have observed it while slewing up and down and around. For up and down slewing, the sound of the motor is not consistent and every so often it will stop for an instant. I do have the locks properly tightened. This may or may not be happening when turning, it is harder to tell. This explains why the scope always fell short, but was on its way, when slewing to the alignment stars. Is this a known issue? It may be a power problem. Is there a thread on the site with disassembly of the bottom section? Thanks!Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? As to the sound varying doing tracking, that is normal as the AutoStar moves the telescope in two axe (when mounted in Alt/Az).
Thanks for the quick reply. I was moving in only one axis at a time manually. Seemed to me the altitude gave a varying sound and paused for an instant at some point. I think the azimuth movement may have been more steady and without pausing, but its a bit tougher to tell. I have trained the drive, but did not calibrate. I'm probably going to do a RESET, CALIBRATE, AND TRAIN and see how it performs tonight.
And an update:
I was able to finally get the thing aligned by being able to pick the two stars, which I knew their location. I think my biggest problem is identifying true north. I have a compass and I'm in Alexandria, Virgina, with a declination of 10 degrees. I was identifying magnetic north and aiming the scope 10 degrees to the right (clockwise) of the needle indication. Upon beginning alignment, the scope would look for Sirius and fall way short. At that point, I manually centered on Sirius and picked Capella which it then found on its own. From then on, I was in good shape.
Subject: degree wheel not correct Sent: Saturday, February 7, 2009 09:03:44 From: Douglas Hornick (email@example.com) This doesn't look right. With the declination degree wheel at 0 degrees this is the angle of the tube. Also, I realize that the fork is designed to release the dec lock when slewing downward too close to the tripod base but in my situation it is beginning to release near tube level. If the tube is slewed slightly below level it will not come back up on it's own. I would understand if it was close to the base but this happens a few degrees below level. It seems the tube was installed mechanically misaligned with the dec clutch. On another note the guy I got the focuser from is going to look for a longer screw for me. All the screws at the hardware stores around here are metric. Doug Hornick
Subject: Trouble with telescope, needs repair Sent: Friday, February 6, 2009 17:19:26 From: William Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org) Does anyone know where i can send a ETX 70AT for repair. I see i can purchase another one on Ebay for about $150.00, i am sure its the electronics inside the housing of the telescope. I heard it pop, then sizzling! What should i do, fix or ditch? Thank you. BillMike here: Check with Dr. Clay Sherrod for his Supercharge service. Click the ETX "Supercharge" link on my ETX Site Home Page for more details.
Subject: [none] Sent: Thursday, February 5, 2009 10:46:20 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) Problems, problems, a couple of years ago i wrote you and got good advise about the use of battery eliminator for my telescope. Since then I've been extremely busy, moved to the south of France ( The Pyrenees) and have had no time for star watching. Finally established in my new abode I dug out the telescope, bought new batteries ( no time yet to find the eliminator), but while trying to align it I got the message there was a faulty motor. Contacted the seller only to find out that he did not sell it any longer, got a new address to someone who could do nothing. They said they could get me a new motor from Germany, but I would have to change it myself. And this is less than two years into the five year guarantee period. Information I get on the internet here in France is that many are facing the same problem, and no one seems to know where to look for proper instructions as to how to install the motor. Any suggestions? Perhaps a link directly to Meade? Hope to hear from you Ole Bendik MadsoMike here: I just discovered that your message was rejected as SPAM due to the missing Subject line. PLEASE read the Email Etiquette on the ETX Site Home Page to avoid this happening in the future. Thanks for understanding. As to the MOTOR FAULT, can you get to the AutoStar menu options? If so, try a CALIBRATE MOTOR, followed by a TRAIN DRIVES. If that stills fails, try a RESET, and then the CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES. If that still fails, check the batteries. If the old batteries had been left in the battery compartment for a long time, look for signs of leakage and corrosion in the compartment. If the AutoStar HBX cable was connected for a long time, check the condition of the pins on the connectors and jacks. They should not be dirty, too depressed, or bent sideways. Lastly, try reversing the HBX cable.
Thank you for your prompt answer. I did put in a subject line, but had problems getting through to you. In one of my repeated effort perhaps the subject line fell out. Sorry. No, nothing to do with the batteries,they are brand new, but I will go through the recommended procedures proposed by you. Get beck to in a few days ti9me Regards and thanks Ole Bendik
Subject: Re: ETX-125PE Problems/Alternatives Sent: Thursday, February 5, 2009 10:46:03 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) Well, here's my latest update. Telescopes.com refunded my original purchase, true to their word. I have no complaints about them. They were out of stock on the ETX125PE, so I ordered one from OPT. I also purchased their PAT inspection (only $69) to avoid another problem. The scope was shipped promptly and appeared good physically, but had a similar motor drive issue to the first unit I bought. The only direction it would slew was up. It was completely dead in all other directions. Any attempt to align resulted in MUF errors. Resets and calibrations did nothing to change this. According to the PAT checklist, it was working at the shop, but it didn't work for me, and the PC connection cable was left out of the box, so I'm not sure what to think of the PAT. They also failed to include a couple of free EPs that were supposed to come bundled, but I guess that's a moot point now. I will say OPT's customer service was great when I called them. They immediately gave me an RMA and emailed a return shipping label. I shipped it back Jan 16th and went to Costa Rica on vacation for two weeks (Man, talk about clear skies. Would I have loved to have a telescope down there!). Yesterday, OPT confirmed in an email that the return had been processed, and I should be getting a refund shortly. I asked for a refund on the PAT as well. So now I'm pondering the next move, and I'm determined to be more deliberate. Almost every online vendor, including OPT, seems to be out of stock on the ETX125PE. One shop (Astronomics.com) told me he had heard the model was soon to be discontinued and doubted he would get more in. I'm strongly leaning toward other options. The motor drives just seem too unreliable, based on my limited experience and the more thorough research I've done since my initial order. I'm willing to spend more to get a scope that actually works, and am strongly considering upgrading my budget to the 8" LX90, but I just read your odyssey from last year about your futile attempts to get a working LX90. Was the motor control issue Meade had with this model ever fully resolved, or are people still getting bad units out of the box? I continue to hear great things about Meade optics, but I'm appalled that they apparently can't produce a working motor drive on any scope costing less than $3000. Maybe I should start researching Celestron scopes in earnest. At this point I'm willing to stick with OPT as a supplier. I have also requested RMA for some ETX accessories I bought from them, in anticipation of buying another model. I was told on the phone at least that they would do what it took to make me happy, and I appreciate that. If they honor their word, they will continue to get my business. Everyone I have interacted with there has been polite and helpful. I can't recommend their PAT check though. Any thoughts on options? Thanks as always for your time and your great forum. DonovanMike here: Glad that both dealers took care of you. It would not surprise me if Meade discontinued the ETX-125PE in favor of the new ETX-LS 6" ACF. I hope they don't discontinue the ETX-90PE, or at least have a lower priced ETX-LS 3" in the wings. Perhaps you might consider the ETX-LS 6" ACF (although I don't think it is shipping quite yet). As to the LX90, it is a fine telescope. There is a new AutoStar version for it; hopefully that has finally resolved the issues I had. Of course, there is the LX200 models, as well as telescopes from Explore Scientific, Celestron, Vixen, Orion, and others.
Yes, I feel fairly treated by everybody but Meade. I originally ordered from telescopes.com because they were a large dealer and had a nice holiday promotion on the ETX, but I'd really like to have a go-to dealer that I have a good relationship with. I'm pretty new to telescopes, but have many years of experience with photo equipment, and I know how rare top shelf service is in this trade. OPT seems to be at or near the top of everybody's list, and their west coast location means less shipping time for me. My troubles seem to be primarily Meade problems, not dealer problems. Coincidentally, I just got an email from OPT confirming that they can get me a replacement ETX 125PE (though none is in stock) or apply the purchase price to another model. I think I'm going to go with the LX90. Already, I feel my feet on the slippery upgrade slope. I did read with interest your LX200 reports, but I think I can live with the LX90 (if it works). I have to have some money left for accessories. They are optically the same, are they not? Do you really think the vibration issue ultimately was software addressable? I was getting the impression from your posts and other Meade forum posts that it was likely a mechanical component and/or assembly issue. I'm curious how you feel about the LX200 electronic focuser after using it for a while. Beyond the heavy duty mount and drive, that seems to be the main upgrade from the LX90. Cheers, DonovanMike here: Yes, OPT has a fine reputation (otherwise, I would not have an ongoing relationship with them). The LX90 seemed to affect only a few users. Meade thought they could detect and correct the problem with software. I hope they are right! Yes, many accessories (eyepieces, Barlow Lens) will work fine with the LX90 telescope. Of course, you might want to consider some 2" eyepieces at some point for the LX90. OPT has a fine selection. As to the LX200 microfocuser, it works as designed. But its real purpose is for CCD imaging, rather than visual work. I like it but sometimes it is just easier to focus with the manual knob.
Subject: My ETX125SE has sporadic jerky motion in RA. Sent: Thursday, February 5, 2009 07:51:12 From: Brian (email@example.com) Great site, but I'm glad my ETX is smaller than the one you seem to use?. I have an LX200GPS that I have used for the past five years, as well as my ETX125SE, which I have had for two. I purchased the ETX second hand but it was in great condition and had been well looked after. There are two (perhaps even three) problems with the scope which may, or may not, be related. Cross-feed Problem The first problem, which I can live with and may even be an 'undocumented feature' of this model is as follows. When I am trying to move to centre a star, e.g. when aligning the scope, there seems to be cross-feed between the RA and Dec channels (more truthfully, Alt and Az commands; I only use it in Alt/Az mode). Frustratingly, when I am trying to centre an object, the scope will often move in a curving, diagonal motion, as though I am putting both Alt AND Az commands in to the handset at the same time. Trying to centre the object when the scope behaves like this is a bit like trying to ride a bicycle with the handlebars crossed, like you get at funfairs; you can do it eventually, it just takes some mind-bending drugs or advanced mental gymnastics to accomplish it! This does NOT happen every time I try to centre an object, perhaps it only happens at high levels of Altitude. It drives me so mad I can't think straight to document the problem accurately. Drive Backlash Also, there seems to be quite a bit of backlash in the drives, between me entering a command to move and the scope actually beginning to move. Sometimes the scope actually moves in the opposite direction before coming back to move in the correct direction. This seems to happen at all angles of Altitude and in both Alt and Az. Jerky Motion in Azimuth Now for the killer problem. I don't use the scope for imaging very often, but a friend sometimes comes round with his digital camera and we see what we can see. Also, I have seen this problem occur when using the LPI with the ETX; Images appear to be fine sometimes, but other times there is a distinct 'jump' in the image, in Az, as though you got the image correct for part of the exposure, then nudged the scope and got a second correct image for the rest of the exposure. Neither of us uses long exposures, typically less than a minute, but the jerk is sometimes there and sometimes not, depending, I guess, on where it happens in the drive cycle and the length of the exposure. I have spent ages with my eye to the eyepiece and I can definitely 'see' the object begin to drift off centre slightly before the scope suddenly jumps the image back the middle. This movement is very slight and wasn't even noticed by eye until we noticed the jerky images and then went looking for it. Also, this doesn't happen 'all the time'. You can watch for ages before you see it happen. However, it is always there, like an itch I can't scratch. Summary So, three problems; firstly the cross-feed between Alt and Az when moving the scope, perhaps only at high Alt angles; secondly the backlash which is annoying but not life threatening and thirdly, the jerky motion of the drive in Az As I say, I also use an LX200GPS and I realise that the plastic clockwork mechanism of the ETX is a little 'crude' by comparison but I am dismayed by the less than acceptable motion of the drives on the ETX compared with the LX. Any light you can shed on any of my scope's problems will be greatly appreciated. Best regards, Brian Martindale, Newbury, England.Mike here: First some troubleshooting. Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES recently? If not, do those. If that doesn't solve the problems, try a RESET, then CALIBRATE MOTOR, followed by the TRAIN DRIVES. Some of the symptoms you mention are typical of needing to do a TRAIN DRIVES. You didn't say what version of the AutoStar ROM you have but if it is not the current version (4.3Eg; but see latest items on the Announcements: Warnings! page first). If you do update the AutoStar, redo the TRAIN DRIVES afterwards. As to backlash, if the steps above didn't solve that, see the "percentages" articles on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Thanks for such a prompt reply and I now realise that I owe you some apologies. Firstly, I trawled the FAQ but found nothing that relates to my problems. It was only after I wasted half an hour writing the mail and wasted your time to boot that I found all the Doc Clay articles which seem to address most, if not all of my problems. Secondly, yes I have updated to 4.3Eg and I did calibrate motor, but not train drives (from memory, it was about 1 months ago when I updated). Lastly, my scope is NOT an ETX125SE, I don't think they ever made one, it is the ETX125PE. Now, I have been trawling through Doc's articles and I have the same problem that Lorenzo Rota had, do Doc's tips apply to MY scope? I have no idea of the year of manufacture and Meade only puts 'ETX' on the bottom, no mention of specific model designation. Is PE a specific model and do Doc's tips apply? Or is mine a different model? It came with LNT and Smartfinder (the original 'eyeglass' one, not the latest version). How many questions can one man have????? I am off to do a full Calibrate and Train, but I now realise that my OTA slop in Dec is not a feature, but a problem. Mine moves so much it scares me to death until I realise that I am using the lil ole' ETX, not the mammoth LX. So, how many of Doc's tips are applicable to my scope? I am quite competent mechanically (strip and rebuild car engines and transmissions, but then again, Meade don't make them!) and happy to do it all, but not if mine is a later version where he advises caution. Thanks again Mike.Mike here: Generally, the performance enhancement hardware tips from Dr. Clay only apply to pre-Premier Edition models. I always recommend a TRAIN DRIVES following an AutoStar ROM update. It avoids a "rubberbanding" condition. I await the results from the TRAIN DRIVES, and perhaps any backlash adjustments you might make in the AutoStar.
Subject: RE: ETX 125 PE shuts down after a few seconds. Sent: Thursday, February 5, 2009 03:07:45 From: Koen Bertels (firstname.lastname@example.org) I tried regular batteries, reset, motor calibration and train drives. Unfortunatly it still shuts down/resets when using the autostar.. Kind Regards Koen BertelsMike here: Definitely odd. Try reversing the AutoStar cable. If that doesn't help, check the condition of the cable connectors and jacks; look for dirty pins, bent pins, or pins that are too depressed.
Subject: #1244 focuser screw too short? Sent: Wednesday, February 4, 2009 19:46:21 From: Douglas Hornick (email@example.com) Has anyone ever had a problem with the Meade #1244 screw being too short? I've got everything seated properly but it doesn't seem to be reaching the hole. The instructions say the screw is supposed to be 1.75" long but here's a couple of pictures that says this screw is otherwise. Looks like I'll need to run to the hardware store today.
It's on my ETX 90 PE. I did find a statement on an eBay auction for this focuser that the person was including a longer screw since the one from Meade is too short. You can see from one of my pictures that the screw I have is 1 1/2 inches long and Meade says the screw should be 1 3/4 inches.Mike here: Let me know how it works out with the longer screw from the hardware store.
I guess I'm out of luck for now. Japan seems to only carry metric sizes in the hardware places I know of. I'll have to drop Meade an email and see if they can do the right thing and send me the proper size as stated in the parts list in the instructions.Mike here: Meade typically does not respond to email inquiries and has no published customer service email address.
Subject: Hardstops and Software Sent: Wednesday, February 4, 2009 17:32:16 From: Jan M. Hollis (firstname.lastname@example.org) When placing an ETX in the Home position, one is directed to loosen the Az lock and rotate CCW to the hardstop; then rotate CW by about 3/8 turn until the DEC scale is over the control panel. Is this necessary to synch to Autostar system to the hardstops? Or, does Autostar have some hardware means of its own for knowing where the hardstops are? Cheers, Jan M. HollisMike here: There are no electronic sensors for the hard stop positions (although Meade could add them, adding costs to the telescopes). The AutoStar counts pulses when slewing and so it needs a known starting point (the HOME position). Not all telescopes have hard stops however; the design of the ETX-90/105/125 do have them however to avoid cord wrap issues.
Subject: ETX90EC Polar tracking not working Sent: Wednesday, February 4, 2009 17:15:08 From: Bert Denovan (email@example.com) I have a second hand ETC90EC that I bought for a 'grab and go' scope about a year ago. The weather has not been kind to us in Tasmania and so I have not had a lot of opportunities to use it. But I know that when I first bought it and got it up and running I could hear the tracking motor going in both Alt/Az and Polar. I have just cleaned it up and went out to try it out and find that the motors only move in Az when the power is turned on. Sometimes I get the Alt motor to move very sluggishly after a few seconds grace from the time that the Az motor has ceased. I have set it into polar mode using the Electonic Controller but the tracking motor does not work. (I used to hear it plainly when I first bought it and I have had an RA and an EC in a past life.) In fact I cannot get it to move using the arrow keys once set in polar mode for the Southern Hemisphere! I have just tried it out with the 12v battery that I use for the LX90 and that did not make any difference. However if I use the scope in Alt/Az both motors are very robust and slew readily. At one stage I did put the AutoStar from my LX90 onto the scope (selecting ETX90 of course,) and that worked but it was a bit of a hassle getting the AS to work on the LX90 for a while afterwards so I would rather leave it off and use the scope for what I bought it for - and in polar mode. I can't see how using the AS would have affected the motors as surely the progamme would be in the AS Handbox and not in the ETX. Any ideas? Cheers! BertMike here: Try reversing the hemisphere and see if it works then.
I just did ..... and it doesn't. :o(Mike here: It almost sounds like the EC handcontroller is messed up somehow. Since the AutoStar works, perhaps the best solution (short of trying to find another EC handcontroller) is to get another AutoStar #497 (or #495, which you can easily upgrade via software to a #497).
Ahhhh, Shoot! As you Americans tend to say - and I hope that I have not transgressed any cultural taboos by saying that. I was sitting and re-reading the instructions for polar aligning and kept on reading past the part that I stopped at recently and found 'and finally press the 'Mode' button. With my wife standing there with my afternoon cup of coffee I have just rushed out to the shed and tried it out. Voila! It works. How can I express my apoligies enough? Thanks for your help, Mike and I will make sure that I read ALL instructions from now on. (Now how to get rid of this red face? Cheers! BertMike here: Ah yes, the manual...
Subject: ETX Diagram Sent: Monday, February 2, 2009 19:34:52 From: Cynthis (firstname.lastname@example.org) Excuse me, By chance do you have the ETX 90 EC Circuit Diagram or do you know where can I find it? Thank you Greetings CynthiaMike here: Sorry, don't have one of the ETX itself.
Subject: RSS Feedback Sent: Sunday, February 1, 2009 20:01:28 From: Tim Brown (email@example.com) I just subscribed. Tim Brown
Subject: Importance of Calibration Sent: Sunday, February 1, 2009 13:12:59 From: Steve Hollar (firstname.lastname@example.org) I've had some frustrating nights where every object I would slew to would be way off by as much as 15 degrees. I did the usual Calibrate Motors, Train Drives, even Calibrate Sensors. It would still be way off. I'm sure this was affecting tracking as an object would only stay within the field of view for a few minutes. Last night I decided to do a Calibrate Sensors again. Just to be sure, I checked my Latitude and Longitude to be sure they were correct. They were, but, I went ahead and re-entered them again. Daylight savings was off and the time was correct. I leveled the tripod to make the automatic leveling work far less. When it slewed to Polaris, it was off by maybe 2 or 3 degrees. I centered it and let it calibrate. I moved the scope back to my usual observing spot, where I can not see Polaris, and decided to do an Automatic Alignment. Both alignment stars were well within the field of view. When I slewed to my first object, the Orion Nebula, it was almost in the center. What a relief. Also, even using Alt/Az it stayed very steady. The moral of the story is calibrate, calibrate, calibrate. If someone is having problems with accuracy while slewing, don't just assume there is some major problem in the scope because you already did a sensor calibration. I certainly learned you have to stay with it. Maybe the leveling was the key. Maybe re-entering my coordinates. It's hard to say, but, whatever it was, systematically going through the steps worked. I might add, I just about had given up on Polar Alignment because I just could not keep a proper track. This may have solved it, so, I'll be trying it again some other night. Steve Hollar
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