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ETX USER FEEDBACK - 1996
Last updated: 22 March 1997

Many ETX users have written to me; here are their comments from 1996.

See the ETX Feedback Page for current comments.


Sent:	12/27/96 15:19
From:	cann@axionet.com (Doug Cann)
Tim Eastwood seems to be getting some vibration from somewhere.  Normally 
'slop' does not cause vibration. Only when things are too tight and 
springy do you normally get vibration. Does he get vibration when the ETX 
is off the tripod and or off its own three tripod legs ? ie. is there any 
vibration when the ETX is just sitting on its own base. Surely, the 
bearings are too big and the whole thing too 'small' to have much 
vibration in the ETX alone.  Good luck Tim.
Cheers.....Doug in B.C.


Sent:	12/27/96 10:14
From:	cann@axionet.com (Doug Cann)
How about a simple idea for a fast and easy dew cap.  Although it is made 
of paper, mine has lasted through several sessions. You will need a 
"field' version of a star atlas, I have Wil Tyron's. The field version 
has a black background that tends to reduce any small glare off the 
paper.  You make an 11 x 17 inch photo copy and fold it in half so that 
the 'black' is visible on both sides. It will be 5 1/2 x 17 inches at 
this point. The W. Tyron atlas is already 11 x 17 and if yours isn't, 
just enlarge or reduce it on the photo copier as needed. You now wrap it 
around the tube and tape it so that it is nice and snug and you should be 
able to slide it on and off but not slide down on its own when you look 
up high.  If you copy an appropriate chart, you will end up with a nice 
star field on the top of the tube. I used chart #11 which gave Orion's 
sword up front and centre once folded in half. Doubling the paper ie. the 
folding seems to work much better than a single sheet and it is stiffer 
and more durable. The folded edge should be at the top end of the tube. 
There doesn't seem to be enough glare, if any, off the inside surface of 
the paper to cause any problems.  If the paper gets damp, you should pull 
it off to dry it or throw it away and use another one. I made up six 
copies. It is easy to slide it up and down the tube and it can stay on 
when you put yor ETX away. Yeh yeh, I know it looks a bit like a Questar, 
but who's looking in the dark !!
It's cheap and cheerful and works for several hours even though it is not 
insulated.

Well bye for now.

Cheers.....Doug.


Sent:	12/26/96 23:59
From:	Admin@astromart.com (Astromart)
NICE JOB !!!!	
Since I passed the MAPUG group over to Todd I've kind of lost track of 
Meade equipment, having moved on to bigger and *better* equipment. I'm 
absolutely, completely impressed not only with what you've done with the
ETX, but with your web site as well. VERY, VERY nice !  	

I've toyed with getting one of those Casio digital cameras. Then I
decided that I probably had the same chip in the ST7. But, wow .. what 
results !	

Congrats on a great job !	

Robert Fields	
Robertf@astromart.com


Sent:	12/26/96 08:20
From:	mnhazel@minn.net (Sandy Hazlett)
Good idea on the Black and Decker Workmate, I have three of them and
hadn't even given them a thought but I will definitely try it!  I was a
bit wrong about the temps here, clear as a bell last night, but didn't
give it a try, the temps were headed down to -25F,the good news is we're
expecting a heat wave up to +2 tomorrow.  Cheers from the tundra.
                                    -S
                                    


Sent:	12/24/96 14:36
From:	otaylory@pacbell.net (Kirk Taylor)
Mike--
Thanks for the informative page.  It's interesting how we all seem to
have basically the same thoughts about this little scope...

I received mine just in time for the lunar eclipse, so "first light" was
a study of the umbral shadow crossing the Moon's surface.  Nearby Saturn
rounded out the particular evening's observations.

My ETX has no shakiness in the mounting.  In fact, I was surprised at
how stable it was!  Guess it depends on what you're used to.  My old
orange C8 didn't like me to be within a foot of the focus knob; the ETX
settles down in a couple of seconds.  My "pier" for the ETX is perhaps a
bit unusual, by the way.  I use a Black and Decker Workmate with the
legs folded under.  Then, to add height, I built a little chipboard
shelf unit kit to sit on top.  The resultant structure is very(!)
sturdy, high enough to use the crummy finder and the right height to sit
on a stool while observing.  Though this lashup could hardly be called
"portable" it is stable!

DRIVE MOTOR HINT -- haven't seen this one written down anywhere, but it
works:  To minimize the drive backlash, use the left hand to turn the RA
slow motion WEST until the object is just past center.  Now, without
releasing the slow motion, lock down the drive knob with the other
hand.  With practice, you can virtually eliminate the backlash.  I'm
consistently able to center objects at 250X.

My suburban Silicon Valley home has the benefit of some of the nastiest
light-and-garbage pollution around, so my observing tends toward the
Moon, planets and double stars.  The ETX splits the Lyra double-double
cleanly and as described in the January S&T; review.  Someone mentioned
Castor-- it splits beautifully at 150x-200x.  Even with the supplied 48x
eyepiece, it's elongated or split, depending on the seeing.  
The ETX consistently gives better images than the old C8... I was never
sure of Castor with the C8, for example.  Try M42 at about 125x.  I
found a nice diffraction ring around the 3 brightest stars of the
Trapezium which was esthetically pleasing... sure beats the * appearance
of the SCT's.

Feel free to use my name and address, though I may get flamed for my
remarks about SCT's.

Kirk


Sent:	12/21/96 07:29
From:	mnhazel@minn.net (Sandy Hazlett)
Surprise, surprise may be the supply is not as short as first thought. 
Got a call from the Nature Company on my phone machine last night,
returned the call this morning, and lo and behold they have an ETX for
me.  I will be going to pick it up later today, can't hardly believe
it.  I will follow up when I actually have it in my hands, other good
news the weather here is at least above 0 for the next few days.
                               Cheers
                                  -S
                                  


Sent:	12/16/96 16:26
From:	twestwoo@credit.erin.utoronto.ca (Tim Westwood)
Mike,
	Thanks for spending the time to put together such a helpful web
page. This page, along with other information on the web helped make my 
decision to chose an ETX for our first telescope.  I have just begun to 
use the scope and was wondering if I could get some feedback from other 
ETX users.  I am a bit troubled that the ETX doesn't seem to be very 
steady.  I have it mounted on a fairly heavy duty Bogen tripod and the 
vibration is not coming from the attachment from the ETX to the tripod 
but from the attachment of the fork and optical tube assembly to the 
drive base.  There seems to be a lot of "slop" in that connection (even 
when the drive is not operating) and touching anything on the top part 
of the scope (e.g. focus knob or slow motion controls) causes a fair bit 
of vibration.  I am wondering if this sort of vibration is typical of 
all ETX's or can something be tightened to reduce the vibration (and if 
so how does one go about doing this).
	Thanks (in advance) for your help.

Tim Westwood
(twestwoo@credit.erin.utoronto.ca)


Sent:	12/15/96 17:37
From:	mnhazel@minn.net (Sandy Hazlett)
Well your and the others comments sold me, I put in  my order with the
local nature company today, at the new price.  They have advised they
will give me the lead time bad news tomorrow.  That is not too much of a
problem as here in Minnesota it is very cold,and even though clear skies
alot, I would think that the temperatures would give the optics a real
fit, not to mention the observer.  But while I am on this topic any
rules on temp changes for the equipment and how to manage that problem. 
I will let you know what the word on the lead time comes back. By the
way you should probably get yourself on Meade's payroll as your page is
far superior and informative to theirs. 

A follow-up:

Now for the bad news.  The Nature Company got back to me today.  At this
point I am 5th on their waiting list and it looks like January.  That's
not a real problem as I will be out of the country part of the month and
traveling the rest.  Guess even with the price increase a backlog
remains.  It is not a panic as I am a fair weather person and would use
the cold months to figure the thing out.
                              Cheers
                                  S
                                  


Mike here: The January 1997 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine has an indepth review of the ETX. If you are not a subscriber, check it out at your local newsstand or library.


Sent:	12/13/96 12:05
From:	cann@axionet.com (Doug Cann)
Hi Mike,
Still no clear skies in Southern B.C. !!

A tip for the batteries.  Firstly, bend the side clips apart a bit.  This 
reduces the hold on the batteries.  Then, instead of a ribbon to pull 
them out as one person suggested, I wrap a piece of black electrical tape 
around the middle of each battery, make the tape long enough so that it 
wraps around the battery and then against itself, so that you end up with 
a small tab sticking out of each battery.  Removal is then really easy.

Concerning the three supplied tripod legs, I am at 49.15 degrees North 
and although the adjustable leg will go to 48 degrees and which is okay 
for short viewing sessions, I did get the optional shorter leg which goes 
in the lower hole in the base and actually results in a slightly more 
stable setup than the longer leg in the upper hole.

That's it for now and it looks as though I am going to miss the new moon 
again due to clouds.

Cheers,  Doug.


Sent:	12/11/96 08:13
From:	RAD2@tntv7.ntrs.com
Mike, thanks for your help.  The Nature Co. agreed to swap the scope 
after discussing it with a Meade Rep. They said it probably is due 
to a collimation problem - too many bumps along the way.
Nature Co. I'm dealing with is outstanding from a service
perspective. I've been told they are one of the largest in the US. 
Wanted to ask your advice on another subject. I've heard that the 
9.7 mm and 18mm SWA eyepieces are useful for this scope as well as 
the #126 Barlow. Sound right? Thanks again and keep this page going - 
it's great!

Mike here: Check my ETX Accessories for info on the 9.7mm and 2x Barlow Lens.


Sent:	12/9/96 19:18
From:  PhilipH540@aol.com
A further subject for discussion:  I wonder if any ETX users have 
successfully done CCD imaging with the basic camera adapter?  I 
would really like to learn what others have done in this area, 
including which sensor was used, how it was controlled by a computer, 
etc . . .
Phil


Sent:	12/9/96 11:58
From:	RIGELSYS@ix.netcom.com
Thanks for the pointer to the astrophotographs using the QuickCam...
Note that when one removes the IR filter to improve sensitivity, one
also increases chromatic aberration (the IR focus is way different from
the visible focus) through the refractive optics ... (the IR focus is
way different from the visible focus) this looks to be why the images
are not as sharp as they should be, for example, why Saturn has a blurry
halo.  Yes, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

I'm waiting for my color QuickCam, should have it tomorrow to try out,
perhaps thursday nite in my astronomy lab class.  One of the other
instructors who often shows up on Thurs. nites has an LC II in his
office, so he might be willing to drag it upstairs to see what the
QuickCam can do.


Sent:	12/8/96 21:04
From:	kaoyang@pc.jaring.my (kaoyang)
Dear Mike,	I got my ETX about 6 months back. I also recently got a 
Celestar 8 and comparing both the optics, I have yet to see any 
difference except the view from Celestar 8 is brighter. The ETX tripod 
is definitely not meant for places near the Equator (I live at Johor 
Bahru, Malaysia with a latitude of 1.5 degrees). A few weeks ago, my 
supplier gave me a short metal backing onto which I can attach the 
original extensible leg and it worked real fine. With that attachment, 
I can track the planets adequately.  Anybody having similar problems 
viewing near the Equator can contact me through e-mail. Merry Christmas.


Sent:	12/8/96 01:10
From:  PhilipH540@aol.com
My experience with the 45 degree attachment is that it does lock, using a 
two hand motion of first tightening the knurled ring and then rotating the 
assembly containing the prism clockwise until it tightens.  Then a little 
adjusting of both the knurled ring and the prism will lock it in a 
convenient upright position.
Check it out!

Phil


Sent:	12/4/96 12:45
From:	mike.bonnette@ussg.mhs (Michael Bonnette)
Hi Mike, I've use my etx for about 2 months now and believe the optics 
are as good as any out there.  Under my light polluted skies, the best 
magnification that is useful is about 125X, but as someone said 
everyone's mileage will differ.  I'm very disappointed with the mounting 
and the "clock" drive.  I believe Meade should offer the spotting scope 
with the option to get a mount similar to the LX-50, of course scaled 
down for the small scope.  If Questar can produce a stable mount and 
drive I would thing Meade could do the same.  I've enjoyed using the ETX 
but it loses some of the magic trying to use the drive or the so called 
finder scope.  I purchased a Bogen tripod (3021) for $75 and made "wedge" 
out of plywood, seems to work fairly well.  Looking for some aluminum 
stock to try my hand at making a wedge from metal. The biggest/best point 
for the ETX is it's portability, but after using it for a while I long 
for the light grasp of at least an 8". Well keep up the good work on this 
informative page.
Clear skies,
Michael Bonnette


Sent:	12/3/96 18:13
From:	jacquestrappe@magneto.cybersmith.com (Grandma Cybersmith)
I really like the setup of your page.  I was surfing around looking 
for good info and stuff on the ETX, and am interested now more than 
ever to purchase the scope.  I was kind of daunted when Meade raised 
the price, however.  Actually I think it is quite unfair, considering 
how many issues I saw in Sky&Tel; about it at $495, and at that price 
it was more of a reality.  Now... doubtful.  But I am glad I ran 
across your page, because Meade's page is pitiful (I do love Meade, 
though).  In any case,  our dealer in Boston is back-ordered through 
April, so I still will check with my brother in San Diego on 
availability there. Any news there?  Pop me an email if possible. I 
will be checking your page from time to time, and the photos I have 
seen have impressed me enough to get excited about owning my first 
quality telescope.
Thanks, 

Peter Taibi
Tech Support
Cybersmith
ptaibi@cybersmith.com


Sent:	12/3/96 05:53
From:	jeff169@pacific.net.sg (Lim Chin Lam Jeffrey)
Hello Mike
Thanks for your page, I am staying in Singapore, probably one of the
few here who owns this great little scope. I guess because of the
portability, a lot of us will be moving this scope around quite a bit.
To protect the OTA, you could, try purchasing three wrist bands and slip
it onto the OTA, this way you could resist dents; absorbs shock; absorbs
moisture; and prevents fingerprints/dirt from landing on the beautiful
aluminium body. Hope this bit helps.
Jeffrey Lim.
(Singapore)


Sent:	12/1/96 19:58
From:	Green_Spartan@msn.com (Henry Walczak)
I just got my Meade ETX very recently.  In fact the stores raised 
the price $100.
But...  

Perhaps you could point out, that the "Natural Wonders" type shops 
in most malls will match the price if you bring in the advertisement 
such as Sky and Telescope.

I know that the December issue lists it for $495 and the January's 
issue is $595.

I called around a few places and three out of three stores would 
match the price. A fourth one: the manager was not around to approve 
the lower price.

Regards,
New owner... (at the cheaper price)

Mike here: I have a confirmation of the $100 price increase (to $595) from my local The Nature Company dealer. Just in time for Christmas...


Sent:	11/30/96 15:58
From:	Greg_Randall@msn.com (Gregory Randall)
I've had my ETX since July, and love it. I've had the usual problems 
with the finder - any hope of a 90 deg finder?? - and the drive 
(using graphite for lubrication seems to work better than the grease 
that comes in it), but the optics are great. Did a Ronchi test on it 
and got no problems at all!! 
Set it side by side with a Questar, INTES 6", Quantum 6" and C5. It 
did well against them all. OK- the Questar maybe had a little better 
contrast (same resolution), and the 6"s and C5 gather more light, 
but it is a great scope.

Thanks for setting up this page. I enjoy seeing what everyone else is 
doing with their ETX. Your Gallery shots are great. I've not ventured 
into CCD yet - still using 35mm. Got a couple of pretty good shots of 
the eclipse. Trying to deal with shutter vibration on my Minolta - can't 
lock the mirror. If it's not one thing, it's another...


Sent:	11/27/96 09:11
From:	CHRON@SMTPGATE.sunydutchess.edu
According to the Meade ad in my current issue of Sky and
Telescope, Meade has just raised the price of the ETX $100.  It
is now $595.  I'm hoping that this is a printing error because I
was going to buy one for the original $495.  The review of the
ETX in the same issue still has the scope listed for $495.


Sent:	11/25/96 15:13
From:	phutcherson@mdyn.com (Philip Hutcherson)
Mike, your web page and comments helped me make up my mind about buying
an ETX.  I purchased mine a week ago (And just in time!  Apparently it
was the last one available in the Bay Area, and just before the $100
price increase!) and I think it is a marvelous instrument.  First light
was Saturn, then Andromeda, then Orion Nebula.  Polar alignment is a
little challenging since the spotting scope is next to useless when the
azimuth is set at 90 degrees as it must be for this process.  I am using
a photo tripod instead of the supplied little feet and tilting the
tripod head down to point the scope at Polaris.  
I am interested if anyone has used an eyepiece with a shorter focal
length than the SP 9.7mm?  I think there is a 6.7 and a UWA 4.7mm
eyepiece.  Does anyone have experience with either shorter eyepiece and
is the image superior to the combination of the 9.7mm plus the 2x barlow
lens?  

My only complaint about the accessories I purchased is with the
45-Degree Erecting Prism.  The one I purchased had a defect in that a
significant portion of the image was cropped near the top, when using
the 26mm eyepiece.  I took it back (Nature Company - I too recommend
them as a dealer) but upon testing the rest of the store's inventory,
each of the other units was similarly affected, although to a much
lessor degree.  I chose the best one but was left wondering if there was
some quality problem or design flaw with the part.  Prospective
purchasers beware.

Thanks to all the users who have posted comments!  You have helped
smooth the learning curve with my new scope.
 
Phil

Mike here: My 45 Degree Erecting Prism does not have the cropping that Philip mentions. Has anyone else seen this?


Sent:	11/25/96 11:00
From:	0bruinsma03@flnet.nl (P.H. Bruinsma)
Your MEADE ETX site is a very good idea!! Congratulations.
I don't know if this is the right place to say but I still have about 10
ETX ASTRO's at stock for users in Europe. First come first get!!

Focal Point
Overstag 2
1316 VB Almere
Official MEADE dealer
e-mail 0bruinsma03@flnet.nl


Sent:	11/18/96 20:52
From:	cnewman@inforamp.net (Cliff Newman)
I tried my hand at splitting some doubles.  Until I tried it I
couldn't see the point in the exercise but it can be quite 
challenging - and fun. I've split Almach in Andromeda and Mizar in
the Big Dipper. Anyone else have any adventures in this regard?
Cliff


Sent:	11/17/96 18:26
From:	cnewman@inforamp.net (Cliff Newman)
Mike,
I tried using my video camera to look through the ETX at a stationary
target. It seems to work OK, although I have no frame capture ability.
I'll try it on an astronomical object next to see what happens.

This would have been the weekend to do it: I took the ETX to my cottage.
I had two fantastic nights of seeing (somewhat marred by my forgetting
both the tripod and stanard legs! A slide projector table just doesn't
do it.) Saw the nebula in Orion for the first time: blew me away. Wish
I'd had the camera with me (but not without the tripod.)

Cliff


Sent:	11/22/96 10:45
From:	cann@axionet.com (Doug Cann)
Hi Mike,
I hope that all is well 'down south'.  We have now had one clear night 
but it was about 4 degrees below freezing.  My ETX took over an hour to 
settle down.  The sky was clear but lots of turbulence.  I usually use my 
ETX on a tripod and I am a little puzzled at all of the really negative 
stuff on the web about the finder scope.  I agree that it is somewhat 
difficult to use when in the 'table top' version because of the angles in 
looking up, but on a tripod it is just fine.  The image in the finder is 
bright enough to find what most people are probably going to use the ETX 
for and being in line with the main tube and having an upright image, 
makes it that much easier and better to use. I have located mine nearly 
as far forward as the alignment screws and bracket will allow and this 
avoids hitting your nose against it when you are using shorter, higher 
powered eyepieces. As far as finding faint objects, there is always 'star 
hopping'.  Reading some comments on the web, I think there are going to 
be some finders installed on ETX's that are as big as the ETX itself!!!.

The clock drive is working really well in sub zero temperatures and 
doesn't take any longer to 'take up' when you engage the lock. For quick 
viewing around the sky I tend to leave the lock on and just move the 
tripod head and dec. knob for keeping track.  Then when I want to study 
something, I don't have to wait at all for any backlash to catch up.

Well, that's about it from southern B.C. and I hope that we all have some 
clear skies.

Best regards,

Doug.


Sent:	11/20/96 16:52
From:	bob@alaao.ats.eds.com (Bob Stewart)
Hi Mike.  On any battery powered device using small batteries, try
putting a ribbon in the battery compartment before putting in the
batteries.  Removing the batteries is then as easy as yanking on the
ribbon.
Nice webpage.


Sent:	11/17/96 19:08
From:	cnewman@inforamp.net (Cliff Newman)
A couple of things I have done to my ETX have made life and observing
easier:
I added an Orion EZ Finder 1X finder (similar to Telrad). I mounted it
at the front of the tube. The sticky tape attachment doesn't inspire
confidence but it does simplify polar alignment (although still hard on
the disks in your neck). I'm not as PO'd at the much maligned finder
scope as most. I find it useful for zeroing in on faint objects that you
can't see through the EZ Finder.

I found an old hard sided two suiter suitcase in the garbage, cut up an
old foam mattress sheet about 3" thick, and cut holes in that for all my
accessories: EP and Barlow, flashlight, camera adapter, etc. No airline
I am familiar with will let me carry this on as hand luggage but it can
probably be air-dropped with no damage (except maybe to the fragile
looking EZ Finder). I'll need another bag for jetting about.

Keep up the good work, Mike.

Cliff


Sent:	11/13/96 20:14
From:	cann@axionet.com (Doug Cann)
Hi Mike, I like your 'ETX' page. I received my ETX in late July and I 
have been waiting to see some comments on the web.

I have the ETX bag and made the same observations you did. I put a liner 
in the bottom consisting of a one and half inch thick piece of camera 
foam.  I also cut two small oblongs to put on either side of the tube.  
The weight of the base and mount had put a couple of 'locator' dents in 
the foam.  Use 'camera' foam.  Regular foam gives off a gas that can 
affect coatings. !!

My ETX is great optically.  In addition to the 26mm., I have a 9.7mm as 
well as a Model # 126 2x Barlow.  (All Meade.)  I have also got a full 
set of Meade Research Grade Orthoscopics which work as well as any 
plossls I have borrowed.

Tripods.  I use a Manfrotto Model #144 and a Model #128 head.  The 
viscous bearings are great and the tripod is very sturdy.  I turn 
the azimuth head slightly after I have locked the R. A. drive to make up 
for the delay in the drive take up.  For visual purposes the images stay 
in the field even when the mount is slightly out of line with the 'pole'.

I have put some luminous arrows on the circle indexes and white circles on 
the tripod holes in the base of the mount to facilitate attaching to the 
tripod in the dark.  There is nothing in the manual warning about the 
possibility of the tripod head pushing up against, and possibly damaging 
the north/south switch button if you don't watch where it is relative to 
the pan head.  That switch should have been inside the base.  It's not 
something you change very often  !!.

With my eyepieces I can get up to 357x or 102x per inch.  Actually the 
image holds up pretty well. I find that on the 49 parallel and with 
the cooler nights, that the telescope takes about three quarters of an 
hour to cool down. The 'in' and 'out' disks are very similar with a very 
minor under correction. (Turn the focus knob about one sixteenth to one 
eighth of a turn to see if you have a problem.) Does anyone have any 
comments about their 'in' and 'out' observations. Pi Aquila at 1.4 secs. 
separation is quite easy to resolve.  Try Castor sometime !!.  Although 
2.8 separation, its a real dazzler but on a reasonable night it can be 
resolved.  Alpha Pisces is great.

I was surprised at the quality of the images and they are cleaner than 
any that I have ever seen through any Scm. Cass.  A good clean 
diffraction disk with a single ring and possibly a hint of another.  A 
mag. 3 or 2 star appears as Suiter, in his new book, Star Testing 
Telescopes, says it should.  Brighter stars cause a bit of a dazzle. But 
testing should be done on about a mag. 2 or 3 star anyway.  Now that I 
have 'finished' testing my ETX I am looking forward to some clear skies. 
My 6 inch reflector has taken a back seat for a while.  Has anyone looked 
through a 3 1/2 inch Questar as a comparison ??.

Well bye for now and you can add this to your 'page' if you wish.

Regards   Doug Cann.

More from Doug:

Here is another tidbit.  To get rid of some of the declination slack, 
here is a very simple but effective tip.  I don't know whether you have 
noticed that when the dec. is locked that you can move the tube up and 
down slightly. If you look at the knobs that move the telescope in dec. 
whilst you are slightly rocking the tube you will see that the knobs move 
slightly back and forwards - hence the play which transmits to some 
additional delay seen at the eyepiece when using the dec, knobs.  If you 
look again at the dec. knobs you will see that there is a small shoulder 
machined into the inside edge of the knobs and which sit up against the 
plastic sides of the right hand support yoke.  A black 'half inch' 'O' 
ring which you can get at a plumbing store just fits over the knob and 
'fills' up the gap between the inside end of the knob and the plastic 
face of the yoke.  The first time, I put an 'O' ring on both sides but it 
was a bit too stiff. So I just left the one on and it is perfect.  
Depending upon the slack or play in the dec. adjusting rod some 
telescopes may need one or in fact a ring on each side. I guess some 
telescopes may have no play at all and not need this.  It depends upon 
how 'close' the knobs are to each other.  You need to put a small amount 
of grease, not vaseline, on the 'O' ring before you slide it on.  This 
makes it easier to get it on, but more importantly it allows the 'O' ring 
to turn either against the plastic or the aluminium of the knob and not 
bind or stick. It really does smooth out the dec. control.  Note: there 
will still be some backlash in the movement of the telescope because of 
the internal design, but it just seems to take away some of the loose 
play in the rod.  For 25 cents it can't be all bad !!!.  Don't forget to 
wipe up any surplus grease or you will get it on the scope or eyepieces 
at some point in the future !!!.
In my last note, the small azimuth adjustment movement I referred to when 
making fine R.A. adjustments was in the actual azimuth head of the 
tripod.  The pan head has been tilted up to the polar alignment. This 
saves having to unlock the R.A. and wait again for the slack to take-up.

I hope that you are getting better weather than we are having up here on 
the west coast of Canada !!!.

Cheers,   Doug.


Sent:	11/12/96 11:25
From:	Maksutov@aol.com (Adrian & Jo Ashford)
I've just had a look at your ETX page and I think it's excellent --
well done.  I have a page of my own which you may care to look at with
the following URL:- ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/astronomy/.
Keep up the good work,

Adrian


Sent:	11/5/96 10:35
From:	cnewman@inforamp.net (Cliff Newman)
This is an excellent page. Thanks for providing it. I was blown away by
your photos in the gallery, especially compared with my own poor efforts
at lunar photography with my Pentax K1000. I'm wondering if you can do
projection photography with a Pentax. How about a video camera?

Cliff

Mike here: Thanks! I will be doing some Pentax eyepiece projection photography soon. Watch the Gallery page for the results. As to a video camera, hum, sounds like a good experiment.


Sent:	11/3/96 07:16
From:	tompokorny@sprintmail.com (Tom Pokorny)
Nice web site!

I just got my ETX a couple of days ago, and have really enjoyed using 
it.  The combination of great optics and portability can't be beat!  As 
for the mount and drive, what do you want for 500 bucks?  Actually mine 
works just fine for casual observing.  BTW, I got the exact same 
accessories as you when I bought the 'scope (9.7 SP, #126 barlow, erect 
prism).  

Great minds...  :-)

I have run into one problem.  I live in south Florida, and polar 
aligning the ETX makes it feel pretty unstable since the bottom leg has 
to be attached to the bottom hole and extended pretty far to accommodate 
my 26.4 degrees lat.

If you have heard anything to alleviate this (other than moving the where 
it gets cold) I'd love to hear about it!

Tom


Sent:	10/17/96 20:25
From:	dlent@eecs.uic.edu (David Lent)
I just read your ETX web page and I thought it was quite good.  Your 
eyepiece-projection photographs of the moon were excellent especially 
since you had to hold the camera in your hand.  I have one slight gripe 
though, the maximum useful magnification with a diffraction limited 
90mm telescope is 212.6x the 350x useful magnification could not be 
achieved even from space.  Thanks for created an awesome web page, 
I'll link your page to mine.

Clear Skies!
Dave,

www.eecs.uic.edu/~dlent/btel.html

Mike here: I was just quoting the magnification ability from the ETX specs as shown in its manual. I've seen reports online that some users have managed 500x. Your mileage may vary.


Sent:	9/28/96 18:53
From:	billa@znet.com (Bill Arnett)
Nice!  I've made a link to your page from my page of meade specs
www.seds.org/billa/meade/.
I have a quibble with your specs, though.  You state the obstruction 
is 9.6%. I suppose that is correct by area but this spec is usually
quoted by linear dimension so it should be 31%.

---
Bill Arnett                 "Science is a way of trying
San Jose, CA  USA            not to fool yourself."      -- Feynman
billa@zNet.com               URL: www.seds.org/billa/


Sent:	9/29/96 14:30
From:	nickz@tsrcom.com (Nick Zivanovic)
Nice page Mike. I've added a link on my Astrolinks page to yours.
nz

======================================
Nick Zivanovic
Hammond, Indiana USA 41:38'N 87:30'W
nickz@tsrcom.com  8" f/6.3 LX-200
www.tsrcom.com/users/nickz


Sent:	9/29/96 18:31
From:	jim-lowry@worldnet.att.net
Thanks alot for your web page.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it 
and the fine photos.  I own  both an ETX and an LX200 10".  I 
have held off on buying CCD equipment for various reasons, but 
am interested.  However, I have been looking into a Casio for 
business reasons....so now I am FASCINATED with your pictures.  
How did you attach the Casio to the ETX?  How did you figure 
exposure times?  Is it automatic?  Have you tried any deep 
space objects?  I would love to hear from you.

I would share my opinions of the ETX, but mine has a bad optical 
flaw and a new one is on the way.  But I love the scope, its design, 
and the general "feel" of it.  Also, too, the portability is great.  
I travel alot, and this will go everywhere with me.

Anyway, thanks again.

Jim, in the 'Burgh
Clear skies, and breathtaking vistas  (and Casio shots!!)

Mike here: The Casio camera was held by hand with its lens to the eyepiece lens. Since the Casio has an LCD view panel it was easy to see when the image was visible. The Casio has built-in exposure time adjustment, which for large bright objects worked well. Planets are another story however. See the ETX Gallery for some initial attempts at planetary photography. (I'll keep trying.)


Sent:	9/30/96 07:15
From:	talexand@riker.neoucom.edu
Hi Mike,
I enjoyed your ETX comments.  I have had one for about a month
now.  I came to the same conclusion you did about removing the 
bottom plate cover.  The latitude leg worked great!  I have 
enjoyed the scope so far.  i usually use it on a photographic 
tripod.  I am considering some other type of finder.  The 
attachment points are not good, as you noticed, and I am used 
to a Telrad on my dob.

Thanks for setting up this link.

Tom Alexander


Sent:	10/2/96 18:49
From:	76302.2246@compuserve.com
Mike:
I basically agree with your comments about the ETX.  I think 
it is a great little scope, and a fantastic bargain.  I live 
in Cortez, Colorado at 6500 feet under relatively dark and 
pollution-free skies. My second night out I was able to easily 
split the double-double (epsilon lyra) at 208X, and the image was 
superior to the one in my 12" LX-200!

However, I do have some minor gripes with regard to the way 
the scope is equipped and the accessories that Meade offers.  
First of all, the supplied finder scope is useless for polar 
alignment.  A small right angle finder similar to the one Meade 
use to offer as an option for the 2045 would be a godsend.  Also, 
many users would greatly benefit from a screw-on dew shade.  
Meade does not offer either, and Ron Ezra (Meade rep) tells me 
that they have no current plans to expand the options available 
for the ETX.  

Fortunately, I have learned that Tuthill is offering both along 
with other useful accessories (tripod, etc).  I have not received 
prices or descriptions yet, but his stuff is usually high quality, 
if a bit expensive.

Hope this is of interest.

Val Robichaux
vrobichaux@mem.po.com

Followup:

The info on accessories I requested from Tuthill is supposed to 
be specific for the ETX (will let you know when I get it).  
Can be had by sending a SASE (4 stamps postage, 9 X 12 size) to: 
                    Roger W. Tuthill
                    Box 1086e
                    Mountainside, NJ 07092
Val

Followup:

I received the same catalog as you but also got an ETX 
accessory sheet.  Tuthill accessories include a solar screen/cell, 
dew cap (apparently not screw on), isostatic tripod/wedge, piggy 
back mount, and a "how to" ETX video.
I was disappointed to find no right angle finder scope.  I think 
the finder supplied is semi-worthless.  It can't be used for 
polar alignment, and mine won't even focus sharply.  If you know 
of any supplier offering a r.a. finder scope in the 5 X 20 to 
8 X 24 range, I would appreciate hearing about them.

Thanks,

Val


Sent:	10/1/96 08:03
From:	mike.bonnette@ussg.MHS.CIBA.COM (Bonnette Mike MSM SGPP US)
Hi, I just received my ETX on Saturday 9/27.  So far it looks good.  
I haven't had much opportunity to use it.(clouds,rain,etc)  But 
Sunday night I was able to set it up on a shaky table an observe 
Jupiter above my house.  Good image at 48X ( the only eye piece I 
have) was able to see two equatorial belts and 4 moons.  Image a 
little wavy probably due to atmospheric disturbances or heat rise 
off the house.  Saturn was much less impressive but I was able to see 
two moons and the rings, with a higher power ep the image will 
hopefully be more detailed.  Trying to find tripod for it (bogan??) 
and get the finder (not very well engineered) aligned.  Looking to 
buy some ep's on the web page http://www.astromart.com or in the 
Starry Messenger.  No luck yet.  If you have any feeling about the 
"best" ep's let me know.  (Telvue, Brandon, etc??)  There is another 
web site for the ETX (http://metxug.elendil.com), this one has some 
good information about this scope.  I have located a couple of 
reviews of the scope on the web (www.mich.com/~bhalbroo/); 
this is an online magazine.
The ETX optically looks very good, but the mount is less than user
friendly.  Objects near the Zenith makes is difficult to get to the 
focuser or the manual slow motions.  One of the comments on the 
other web site said optically it was "equal" the Questar, I  
don't know if this is true (do not have a Questar to compare) but 
at $500 compared to $3500 it seems to be moot point.  Once I 
locate a suitable tripod and ep's, I will give you a further update 
on my impressions.  I've been out of the hobby for a number of years 
so I do not consider myself an expert, but personal comments are 
always valuable.

Followup:

I forgot to mention that some ETX users are looking for a 
carrying case/bag for this scope.  Some have found the Video 
camera bag at Wal-Mart works good but another user states:
"Another good source for bags are defunct MacIntosh Computer 
carrying cases.  Used computer stores occasionally carry them. 
I found one at a garage sale for ten bucks complete with pockets 
padding etc. It looks as if it were designed for the ETX."

Since you work for Apple, what do you think?  You could have a 
cottage industry supplying cases for the ETX. ( Just kidding).

There has been some bad press about the ETX:

"Please don't take offence but what's all the hype on the ETX scope.
It the low price? I looked thru one the other day and thought why? 
I saw much crisper and cleaner views thru a 90 mm refractor Model
395, next to it. Is it the combo of low price and portability?
Optically, it looks comparable to a small 60mm refractor of good 
quality.  Why don't all the model 390's and 395 guys get up and 
start a group themselves. They are a much more impressive scope 
optically....  Just some thoughts...... Wouldn't we all love a 10 
or 12 inch Maksutov-Cassegrain LX-200! How about a 14 inch LX-200 
Schmidt so we can put the C-14 to rest permanently!!!  I just don't 
get that ETX thingee...."

The above quotes are from the web site for meade advanced 
users (http://www.netsys.com/mapug).
The second quote, the writer seems to equate good with money.
Thanks
Mike B.

Mike here: I don't work for Apple but having owned one of the original Macintosh carrying cases many years ago, I would agree that it could make a very nice case for the ETX.


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