ETX USER FEEDBACK - 1996
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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sent: 12/15/96 17:37 From: email@example.com (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.
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
Sent: 12/13/96 12:05 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: 12/3/96 05:53 From: email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: 11/18/96 20:52 From: email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org 8" f/6.3 LX-200 www.tsrcom.com/users/nickz
Sent: 9/29/96 18:31 From: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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.
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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