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ETX USER FEEDBACK - APRIL-MAY 1997
Last updated: 3 June 1997

Many ETX users have written to me; here are some of their comments.

See the ETX Feedback Page for current comments.

Sent:	Saturday, May 31, 1997 06:39:17
From:	Moss5809@aol.com
Hi,     
  I am new to astronomy and the ETX is my first telescope.I like
the ETX overall but there are a couple of questions I would like
to put to someone who has used and experimented with there ETX.
  I would like to put a view vinder on it that is functional.I have
read about the 1X type like the one from Orion and Rigel.I am
considering one of these but have no idea which one works
best. Maybe there are other alternatives?
  I would also like to add more eyepieces.If anyone has opinons
from their experience with different eyepieces, I would like to
hear your opinons.
       Thanks,
        Randy       moss5809@aol.com
        


Sent:	Friday, May 30, 1997 11:56:14
From:	RafeM@aol.com
Hi Mike
Thanks for your excellent presentations on the ETX. A few nights
ago the catastrophe occurred. Stumbled in the dark over a newly
placed there metal plant stand (black metal, no plants on it),
invisible in the dark, (ok so I had turned the lights off to up
my night-vision), andf stumbled and down went the ETX on it's
bogen tripod. Fork mounting snapped and spotting scope broke off.
I've removed the tube which sits on the tripod again minus fork
mounting, astronimcal base etc. Collimation may be out though
from that big bang but it focuses fine right now at least on all
daylight visible events and things (cloudy nights haven't given
me a chance to see how it does otherise). All seems quite
repairable. The broken off fork refits with barely a hairline
showing. Spotter scope similar. So, my dumb question is -- any
idea from anyone on the best kind of glue to restick this all
together? And has this yet happened to anyone else?

All best

rafe martin


Sent:	Thursday, May 29, 1997 13:45:31
From:	aviana@impsat.net.co (Adolfo Viana)
i've using my ETX, and i've decided that using it near equator
coul be dificult in RA-DEC so i started to using it with the
AZ-ALT readings, that i get from any astronomical program, if you
set the scope well nivelated and set the ALT reading to zero,
then the escale is enough acurated to get the escope to the rigth
value, then if you know your place NSWE direcctions is very easy
to find the rigth AZ
clear skyes
Adolfo Viana
Bogota, Colombia
aviana@impasat.net.co


Sent:	Sunday, May 25, 1997 07:38:31
From:	tompr@csi.com (Tom Price)
Now that I've had a chance to experiment a bit more with my ETX
and take advantage of some better seeing conditions, I have a few
more things to contribute here:
[1] On my ETX as received, the left and right DEC setting circles
differed by nearly a degree in their readings. This is easy
enough to correct by unscrewing the setting circle cover a little
and moving the circle to read correctly.  The trick is to find
the correct setting.  To do this, set the scope's DEC for what
appears to be 90 degrees and then tilt the whole ETX so that
there is some object, Polaris or anything else, in the eyepiece.
If the object moves when the scope is rotated in RA, use the DEC
slow motion control to adjust it so the object stays in the
center of the field when the scope is rotated in RA. At this
point the scope is exactly at 90 degrees declination and the
setting circles can now be adjusted to show this and agree with
each other.  I'd recommend that all ETX owners check this out, as
it may be that the factory wasn't all that careful when
calibrating them.

[2] I bought the ETX field tripod advertised by Shutan for $149
and can recommend it highly.  It's a Bogen 3211 with a 3130
micro-fluid head and is very solid and easy to adjust. Orginally
Shutan was supplying the slightly cheaper 3030 head with this but
they found that the 3130 was smoother for polar aligning the ETX.
 The ultimate tripod head for the ETX would be the Bogen 3275
mini geared head, which is worm gear-driven on all three axes
with no clamps needed. That would run $137 as opposed to $56 for
the 3130 but might be worth it if the ETX were going to be used a
lot for astrophotography requiring precise polar alignment.

[3] Now that I have a good tripod, I've refined my ETX setup
procedure for regular viewing that gives me a adequate polar
alignment in less than 5 minutes and doesn't depend on Polaris.
Using a handheld magnetic compass and correcting for the local
variation, I rotate the tripod head so that it will tilt toward
true North and lock the rotating axis. I set and lock the ETX DEC
to my latitude, then rotate the ETX in RA and tilt the tripod
head toward North until the scope tube is pointing straight up.
Then I lay a small spirit level across the lens cap, parallel to
the DEC axis, rotate the fork in RA until the bubble centers and
then lock the ETX in RA. Then I turn the level so that it's
perpendicular to the DEC axis and adjust the tripod tilt to
center the bubble again. Now the ETX is ready to use and should
track well enough for any ordinary viewing or even short photo
exposure times. The best thing about this procedure is that it
doesn't depend on using Polaris, which can be VERY difficult
since the finder is impossible to use with the ETX at 90 degrees
DEC.

[4] The ETX owner's manual gives a procedure for using the
setting circles to star-hop from one object to another. This
works fine only if you use the upper RA setting circle if you're
in the Northern hemisphere. It won't work if you use the lower
setting circle that the manual says you should use for the
Northern hemisphere. That would seem to be an obvious error in
the manual.

That's about it for now.  I hope to contribute more in future
after I get a chance to look at some deep sky objects now that
we're past the full Moon.

	regards and clear skies,

		Tom
		


Sent:	Monday, May 19, 1997 23:22:29
From:	davis9@ix.netcom.com (Me)
Hi.  I am a new amatuer astronomer and recently purchased an ETX.  I 
like it, but find the viewfinder difficult to use after polar aligning.  
Do you know of a good replacement view finder for the ETX.  I would 
appreciate any help.
Thank you

Dan Avis

Mike here: The Orion EZ Finder seems to a popular replacement for many telescopes including the ETX. Check out my ETX Accessories - Finders web page for a brief user comment as well as the Feedback pages.


Sent:	Monday, May 19, 1997 18:19:29
From:	anspeca@pdq.net (Anthony N. Speca)
I am thinking about purchasing a Meade ETX.  I came upon your web
site and read through the Archives here and the ones posted at
http://metxug.elendil.com/index.html.  When I tried to join the
latter my email was returned.  Are they still operating?
While I have your attention perhaps you can answer a few
questions.  From the archives there seemed to be a flurry of ETX
activity last summer - fall but not so much now.  Has the
popularity of the ETX dropped?  Quality of the telescopes drive
system was thought by almost all to be very low.  Has Meade done
anything to improve it since then?  Also the order back log was
very long.  Has it shortened now?

One reason for purchasing the scope is to photograph my first
total eclipse from Aruba in Feb 1998.  Any comments or advice you
can give to me in this regard is greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.  And thanks for all the effort you put into
the weg page.  I learned a lot about the ETX in a short period of
time.

Tony 

Mike here: I haven't seen anything from the ETX User Group at all other than their web page. The activity on my ETX Feedback pages has definitely picked up this year. Of course, last year the telescope and my web pages were new so the activity was from new and potential users. But now the activity is coming from frequent visitors and the occasional new buyers. I doubt that the popularity has dropped. As to quality of the drive mechanism, it is probably normal for a $595 telescope with such high quality optics. If you want a better drive in the same size package you go for a 3.5" Questar but pay $2000+. And yes, many stores are apparently experiencing supply problems. Meade can't seem to make them fast enough! For the Solar Eclipse just be certain to use the proper protection for the telescope and your eyes. Except for close-ups of the sun's edge, I would expect that most pictures will be taken from Prime Focus. If you want more of the corona you will probably not even use the ETX. And thanks for the praise! I'm glad you have found the pages useful. I'm learning a lot from others as well!


Sent:	Monday, May 19, 1997 07:56:22
From:	tompr@csi.com (Tom Price)
I'm a new ETX owner (just a week now) and have enjoyed reading
all the information at this great website, especially all the
useful feedback comments. So far I've only had a couple of decent
viewing nights here in Rhode Island but I can say that the
optical performance of the ETX is really superb, much better than
I remember from my old RV-6 Dynascope which I finally sold back
in 1970. Based on a feedback message that I saw here, I've
ordered the Bogen 3211/3030 tripod/head combination from Shutan,
which I hope will overcome the principal shortcoming of the ETX,
the necessity to haul around a solid table from place to place in
order to use it.  Another shortcoming is the frequently-mentioned
inadequate finder that comes with the ETX, which I'll correct
with the Orion EZ Finder, currently backordered from Orion.
I've experienced no problems with the ETX drive and I've managed
to minimize the engaging delay by applying a very slight
counter-clockwise pressure on the R.A. slow motion knob while
simultaneously engaging the tracking lock. This seems to take up
the backlash. All of this assumes that the drive already has been
turned on for a few minutes.

In a message from Leigh Daniels (leigh@alexandria.com) outlining
a polar alignment method for the ETX, there is one small error in
an otherwise very useful procedure.  She says "3. Set and lock
your ETX to a declination that equals your co-latitude...".  This
seems to be incorrect; the procedure works perfectly if the ETX
declination setting circle is set to your latitude, not the
co-latitude.  Her statement would be correct if the spirit level
were to placed along the OTA tube rather than the lens cap.

Once my tripod arrives I plan to try some prime focus SLR
photography with the ETX.

	regards,

		Tom
		tompr@compuserve.com
		


Sent:	Monday, May 19, 1997 04:09:05
From:	wrf@christa.unh.edu (Wayne R Fagerberg)
I have a Meade refractor (390) and have had some big quality
control problems with it just as some of your respondents seem to
have had with the etx. I will check it carefully before I accept
it.  I don't know why Meade is not concerned with these problems
their rep is suffering.
  again thanks and happy viewing.
   Wayne
   


Sent:	Sunday, May 18, 1997 19:33:04
From:	mhar@concentric.net (mhar)
Mike: I have used a focal reducer that I bought from Orion Telescope
Center on my ETX and it worked out ok. I took some photos of the comet
with the reducer but I do not have them scanned yet. I will be trying my
hand at some deep space shots in the future and if they are good, I will
send them. I am thinking about buying a scanner but I have not made up
my mind on what kind yet. Do you know if a good scanner can be had for
less than 400.00, much less I hope?
Thanks

Max


Sent:	Saturday, May 17, 1997 06:25:55
From:	joebryan@cconnect.net (Joe Bryan)
You would think I was looking for the Holy Grail! I have called every
place in Sky and Telescope and Astronomy magazines. No one has Meade
ETX's or when I do call as in yesterdays case they just sold there last
2 units. I have a brand new Celestron Celstar 8 "4 days old" and I need
something more portable thats why I have been on this "Quest" for a
Meade ETX. The Celstar is about 400.00 more than an ETX, but I would
gladly trade it for an ETX. I even called Meade direct they were no help
at all. I have found used ETX's on the web but then people won't respond
to my e-mail or maybe they just changed there mind about selling. This
must be the greatest telescope in the history of mankind.
Later: I hit paydirt and found an ETX, got it for 550.00. He has had it 2
months. Now I just need to sell my Celestron Celstar 8. Brand new in box 
can ship anywhere next day air for free. Scope is 6 days old. 950.00.

A Little Later: Sold my Celestron within 24 hours of posting my add, got my 
asking price of 950.00 also, buy the way did I tell you I got my ETX like 
new for 550.00. Also I am going to start doing astrophotography with it I 
will send photos when I get some. Thanks Joe.


Sent:	Saturday, May 17, 1997 12:17:09
From:	venik@ix.netcom.com (Venik)
I have some experience in photography, however, very little practice
with telescopes. I occasionally use my 12" Newtonian, unfortunately, due
to its large size and a very unstable mounting, this does not happen
very often. How stable is ETX? I am planning to attach a large Pentax
camera (weights about 650g) - will the telescope be able to support it?
What kind of astronomical software would you recommend? My first photos
I am sending to you:-)

Mike here: The ETX certainly will not be as good as a larger aperature telescope for astrophotography. Also, the drive is not that great for long duration photos (see my deep sky gallery web page). The ETX is probably stable enough for the Pentax for eyepiece projection but may become a little unstable if you put a large format camera at prime focus.


Sent:	Friday, May 16, 1997 05:25:31
From:	wrf@christa.unh.edu (wayne fagerberg)
Michael,
  you've done a great job with the web page on the ETX. I am still
waiting for mine.  Have you thought about using a 2X or 3X teleconverter
at prime focus-- can it be done? What is the mag at prime focuse, no one
I talk to seems to be able to give a good answer.   Also, do you have a
cause for the streaking in you photos of Orion nebula?  Was it the
tracking system?
  Keep up the good work

Mike here: Thanks for the praise. As to the magnification at prime focus: if you assume that a "normal" SLR lens of 50mm is 1x, then the 1250mm ETX would be 25x. Don't know about using a teleconvertor at PF. Maybe someone else will comment after I post your inquiry on Sunday. As to the trailing, I plan to do a lot more testing but haven't had time. I've been traveling too much and when I've been home, it has been cloudy! My initial impression is that the drive jerks at some point. I plan to do some longer exposures to see if that shows anything.


Sent:	Sunday, May 11, 1997 15:54:56
From:	hjtrepp@www.cedarnet.org (Hank Trepp)
Hi Mike..
I am wondering what type of Bogan mount would you think might meet the
needs of the ETX?  I'm looking at buying and yes they are costly and to
think the tripod doesn't come with a mount!! From what I'm reading the
heavy duty Bogan Tripod would be the best bet.. But nothing was said
about the mount? HELP!
Also to Cliff Newman that EZ finder scope sounds like a winner to me!
What type of mount did he use?  Dove tail or the mounting Bracket for
the Schmidt-Cass.?
Here's a tip!  When storing my ETX I place in the mount for the eye
piece a 35 mm film can Plastic (Kodak) It works great.. Also in the 45
degree erecting prism use the 35mm film can there also.. Will help
prevent STUFF from falling into the scope.
Hank Trepp
May your days be great.. But, your night skys wonderful!


Sent:	Sunday, May 11, 1997 07:25:47
From:	urofreem@uxa.ecn.bgu.edu (robie house)
Mike
I appreciate all the info about scopes on your web page
I initially found it by searching yahoo.  
I have been interested in the ETX for several months but didn't know 
much about the scope other than what was in the catalog.  This will be 
my first scope and I want to make a good decision.  Portability and 
quality are main requirements.  Like other comments I have read on 
your page from other users my other consideration is the ranger scope.  
Reading the comments from other users has given me the info to make a 
good decision and awareness what to expect if I do purchase the ETX.
thanks
rob


Sent:	Saturday, May 10, 1997 14:47:48
From:	Bidwell@snet.net (T Bidwell)
I'm seriously considering purchasing the ETX.  I live in CT and
have access to fairly dark skies both here in the Northeast and
my hometown of Lynchburg, VA.  I'm interested in any advice you
can give me in regards to the ETX.  Please reference both it's
optical performance and portability.  I'm looking for a telescope
that is ultra portable yet offers good views of the moon,
planets, etc...As a previous owner of the Meade 2045, I can't
help but wonder how do they compare?  If you do recommend the
ETX, what accessories do you recommend I buy?  Your Web page was
a welcome site due to the little, if non existant, reviews of the
ETX other than Meade's reviews.  (It was great to have a non
biased, honest opinion.)  As a fellow avid astronomer thanks for
any advice and your time.
Sincerely,

Ray (c/o Todd Bidwell)<


Sent:	Friday, May 9, 1997 06:08:02
From:	jeff169@pacific.net.sg (Lim Chin Lam Jeffrey)
I have many wonderful moments with my ETX in warm and humid
Singapore's weather. I have come to realise that dew is not
a problem, in fact I have not encounter dew at all so far!
I have an improvised dew cap, but have never use them before.
Do you have the same luck or do Meade make their scopes with
EMC and Antifog coatings??

Jeff.


Sent:	Saturday, May 3, 1997 20:05:05
From:	TheDBarbee@aol.com
I've written to some of the posts about the mirror vignetting problem.  
Anyone who has that problem with the 26mm or longer FL ep's probably 
should return the scope to Meade.
Well enough for now!
Clear skies to all.
Regards,
-Don


Sent:	Fri May  2 09:28:57 1997
From:	rmcgee@dmv.com (MCGEE ROBERT)
Dear Mr. Weasner,
I enjoyed and appreciated all you had to write regarding the Meade ETX
scope.  I am just a beginner and have been searching for a good starter
telescope.  Your choice sounded very good to me.  My only problem is
finding one.  The best so far is FOCUS, but I have to wait nearly a
month to get it.  Do you know of any other suppliers where I might have
better luck?

Thanks for your time in answering this mail.

Sincerely,

Robert McGee<


Sent:	Mon Apr 28 13:56:33 1997
From:	cnewman@inforamp.net (Cliff Newman)
Mike: You mentioned you use a Pentax camera and have a problem with
mirror vibration: the Pentax has an "unannounced capability". You can
trip the mirror without tripping the shutter. All you do is very lightly
tap the shutter release with your finger. It takes some practice to know
how hard to tap it but it does work. Then you just press the shutter
release as usual and the shutter trips.
I have a question for the group: what wide field, low power, eyepieces
do ETX users have? I've been told that anything over 32mm is probably
wasted but I'm not sure why. I'd love to be able to use a good 35mm or
wider eyepiece. Anyone tried it?

Cliff

Mike here: I vaguely remember that many years ago I was able to do the mirror-trip trick mentioned but so far have not been able to reproduce it. Has anyone else?


Sent:	27 April, 21:44
From:	PhilipH540@aol.com
I have also used the basic camera adapter, although just once so far.
My impressions are:

The scope balances a little better with basic adapter vs the prime 
focus adapter.

Sometimes its easier to use the basic adapter because the viewing 
angle through the camera is the same as through an eyepiece.

The basic adapter will also provide prime focus with no eyepiece 
installed, at a slightly higher magnification, and with a reversed 
image.

I have only used the 9.7mm Meade Super Plossel with the Adapter 
and only taken photos of the Moon.  The reduced light vs prime 
focus requires an exposure of a few seconds, instead of about 
1/125sec with 400 speed film as with the Prime adapter.  This is 
to be expected because of the additional magnification.

You may find that the rubber eye rings on the Meade eyepieces are 
removable.

Good luck!  Short of a CCD, the basic adapter is the only way I 
can think of to get high-quality magnified pictures off your ETX.


Sent:	Wed Apr 23 23:42:37 1997
From:	karpurk@paloverde.com (Larry W. Karpurk)
I am looking for a 'scope for astro and terrestrial viewing and
photography, and have narrowed the field down to either the ETX or the
Tele Vue "Ranger".
I have seen some good photographs from the "Ranger" but as yet, I have
seen none from the ETX.

Are there any high quality astr/terrestrial photos out there?  

Has anyone compared the ETX to the "Ranger" ??

Please let me know what you think.

Thanks,

Larry.

Mike here: check out the ETX astrophotographic possibilities in the ETX Gallery.


Sent:	Mon Apr 21 17:14:37 1997
From:	cann@axionet.com (Doug Cann)
Hope all is well.  I have been away for two and half weeks in Italy.  I 
had a chance to see Hale-Bopp from a really dark site and it was (is) 
spectacular.  What a great ending this comet is giving us.
In Venice I was able to find the plaza where Galileo showed his telescope 
and Jupiter to the ruling Doge of the day in 1610.  It was great standing 
in the same spot 387 years later. Galileo was showing that other objects 
orbit other planets (the moons around Jupiter) and so began the great 
debate over the sun centered solar system. It must have been really 
frustrating for Galileo to have to denounce his 'proof' of the 'sun in 
the middle' system for the earth centered one.  A 1610 sketch of Galileo 
with his telescope in the plaza in Venice is often shown in books about 
Galileo.

In Florence I was able to see two of Galileo's telescopes and other 
equipment that he used. Although I could 'look' through one of his 
telescopes, it was pointing at a wall !! It was such a great feeling 
just to be able to look through his telescope and think back to how he 
must have felt at the time. Just imagine what he could have seen and done 
with an ETX !! I wonder how long he had to wait for one of his telescopes 
!! In Florence I was also able to see his house where he lived for more 
than twenty years.  It hadn't changed much !! 

Now back to reality. I hope to see Hale-Bopp tonight with my ETX and big 
binoculars for the first time in nearly three weeks. 

I hope that all is well with you.

Cheers.....Doug


Sent:	Mon April 21 1997 08:23am
From:	Isobutane@aol.com
You know, I bought an ETX yesterday based largely on what you have on your 
web page.  I can't say that I'm disappointed!  I took it out last night, 
and it was amazing, even in terrible skies.
Mark

Added info:

I came up with a new idea for astrophotography with the ETX.  I have a 
good 8 mm camcorder that takes decent shots directly through the lens, 
and then I can use Snappy to capture the images into my computer and 
then use Photostudio to enhance and clean them up.


Sent:	Mon Apr 21 00:39:02 1997
From:	oishi.hirofumi@imd.kenwood.co.jp (hirofumi oishi)
Greetings from Kawasaki, Japan (Near Tokyo).
I just happened to stop by your site, linked from Yahoo.  
Since I am an amateur astronomer, your honest, no bells and
whistles, comments on a portable Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope
ETX, helped me understand how good it would perform without
giga expensive special equipment.  It was also interesting to
know that ETX could mount the popular CASIO QV-10/10A/100 CCD
cameras.  (Now, QV-11 has replaced QV-10A in Japan.  It is more
or less same camera for resolution and size)
Only the disappintment was that I wanted to see more big pitures
that you took, especially, Saturn and Jupiter if I desired to
see.  

Anyway, if you are planning to enhance your equipment in the future,
I would like to hear about your honest comments on the product
that you puchase.

Bye for now.

Hirofumi Oishi

Email:  oishi.hirofumi@imd.kenwood.co.jp


Sent:	Sun Apr 20 19:31:29 1997
From:	pershey@en.com (Ed Pershey)
Picked up a Celestron 17mm Plossel this weekend. 73x with the ETX. That
fits nicely between the standard 26mm (48x) and the 10.5 mm Televue 
Plossel (119x). Figure that with the shorty Barlow that will result in 
three additional powers:
96x 146x 238x
Thinking about doing a little astrophotography and have been reading the
comments. I'd like to buy a used SLR camera body: something light weight
and as simple as possible. Old Olympus OM-1? A Nikon F-1? Wondering about
whether to try to find a totally mechanical body, or whether to go ahead
with an electronic shutter. Not having to worry about batteries would be
nice, but all mechanical bodies are heavier, generally, and weight is a 
big factor when you're hanging off the back of the ETX. Tips on what to 
buy would be great.

Wondering about the Meade Basic camera adapter. Noticing that the standard
26mm Plossel won't work, I'm thinking that the new Celestron 17mm, which 
is much shorter and has no rubber eye ring, would be ideal. Anybody else 
tried using the Meade Basic as Mike did?

Any additional tips on using the ETX for photography would be great!

Edward Jay Pershey
Western Reserve Historical Society
10825 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106
(215) 721-5722

Mike here: Thanks for the comments. As to electronic versus mechanical shutter, electronic could be OK if you have full control over it, from very short to very long. On the other hand if the exposure is calculated automatically, you will run into problems on some objects (similar to the problems I have with the Casio digital camera). When you do start some astrophotography, let me know the results. I'm still experimenting myself!


Sent:	Sun Apr 20 15:29:33 1997
From:	pj94taibi@aol.com
Hi Mike,
I have gleaned a lot of good info from your site over the months that I
have been monitoring it, waiting for my ETX to finally arrive. Since I 
have certain pressing issues, I will submit my story and comments of my 
experience at a later time.

I am new to the telescope user community, as my first telescope was a
Jason reflector purchased 13 years ago, whose poor mount and controls 
frustrated me enough to partially diminish my love for astronomy, and 
eventually (after trying to image Halley's comet) give it up. Therefore, 
I don't consider myself having previous experience using a telescope. I 
do know a bit about optics, and about what people like to see when they 
look at stars through a telescope (airy disk and rings, etc.). The 
optics of the scope are very good, but I am unsure about the mechanical 
end of things. Following then are some questions regarding the ETX I 
finally received.

I noticed from the start that tryng to move the scope by means of the
Dec circles was a bit stiff, so I shyed away from doing so until about 
week later, and found that the Dec circles unscrewed (both in opposite 
directions of course), and the coord templates also moved a bit..  Very 
alarmed, I calmly stopped myself and thought (hoped) logically that 
this was something that happened to be part of the disassembly
process, something that happened when you take the tube off the fork
mount. Am I right and is this a user fixable thing, or is this a real
problem (and how do I fix it)?

If there is a slight but steady wind, there is a lot of vibration in the
scope, which I assume is in the tripod legs.  Am I correct in assuming 
this will get better when mounted on a sturdy tripod, and that the 
vibration is not in the mounting/scope mechanism?

While the RA knob works very well in moving the scope, the Dec knob
seems to slip before it kicks in and can move the scope up or down. 
Is this normal?  The RA knob seems to work well, but just how far should 
I turn the RA lock to tighten it? It feels like it locks into place 
fairly well, and I don't get the same feeling when I try to tighten the 
Dec lock (I don't know how snug it should tighten). I know not to
tighten it too much.

I purchased the #64 T-adapter for the ETX, but it does not look the same
as the picture in the user's manual.  Of the two pieces, the longer tube
does not have the metal grip at the end as the first one has. I hope
this is just an aesthetic difference, but I am not sure if it is a bit 
shorter. How long should the assembly be? I haven't used it much, but
when I tried to focus the comet with the camera attached, I felt like it
couldn't quite focus right; the focus knob was all the way clockwise and 
needed to go a bit further to be in focus. I have a nagging feeling that 
the longer tube was switched with another Meade tube. Is this possible?

Thanks very much for any help you can give me, and I'll post my story
later.  Unfortunately, the bad weather here and (now) Noreaster have 
given me precious few clear nights of seeing, but I hope that others are
getting some good Hale-Bopp viewing in.

Peter Taibi  pj94taibi@aol.com

Mike here: I'm glad that you have found the ETX pages useful. I have never messed with the Dec circles and I don't plan to! But from your description it sounds like you were trying to move the scope by manually twisting the circle themselves as opposed to using the Dec control knob. Perhaps the Dec Lock knob is not fully unlocking and that is causing the stiffness you are experiencing. Remember, when you want to move the ETX a large amount in declination, unlock the Dec Lock and then move the scope (I just usually grab the tube and move the scope). For small adjustments after you have positioned the scope, lock the Dec Lock (I just tighten it until it doesn't turn anymore) and then use the Dec Control knob. If the Dec Control knob is slipping then perhaps the Dec Lock is not fully locking. I do not have any Dec Control problems with my ETX. The RA Knob and RA Lock are another story. About 90-95% of the time I can get a good lock. Other times the lock seems to slip right away and I have to unlock and relock it. Other users have reported problems and techniques to overcome the problem (comments available in the ETX Feedback archives). The ETX legs could be a source of the vibration on windy nights. A sturdy tripod may or may not help. However, I have used my ETX on windy nights when I thought I would have problems but I didn't notice any vibrations. As to the #64 T-adapter, the short piece can be used alone at Prime Focus or you can use both pieces in combination. The longer piece can not be used alone. As to focusing, I've only tried the combination with my Pentax and had no problems.


aviana@impsat.net.co (Adolfo Viana) said on Thu Apr 17 15:36:44 1997:
>did you know if the ETX can be computerized for use in Alt-Dec mode?
>who makes the encoders, rs232 conection and so on?

Mike here: I finally found the ad. JMI has several ETX accessories including a computeried attachment for the ETX. There's an ad on page 38 of the May 1997 issue of Sky & Telescope. No web page or e-mail address is shown; the phone# for info is 303-233-5353, or you can write to them at:

Jim's Mobile Inc.
810 Quail Street, Unit E
Lakewood, CO 80215



Sent:	Fri Apr 18 13:38:04 1997
From:	tjcase@wolfenet.com (Toxie G. Case)
One of the better pages that I have seen on the web, informative and
clean, nice page contrast, just the right amount of tech stuff.
Enjoyed your information on the Meade ETX, I would like to move up in
qualtiy from my department store tube but have not been able to find a
gallery for low end tube's and what to expect in image quaility, I was
very impressed, Thank you for doing that.
                   	Toxie Case
			tjcase@wolfenet.com
			


Sent:	Thu Apr 17 15:36:44 1997
From:	aviana@impsat.net.co (Adolfo Viana)
hi Mike
i found your page one the best on ETX 
i have a few questions, i hope you can help me
did you know how to make a polar alignment for the ETX near equator? i
think that using a tripod is not really a good choice because the
telescope strees the head of the tripod so it is very unstable

did you know if the ETX can be computerized for use in Alt-Dec mode?
who makes the encoders, rs232 conection and so on?

any help would be apreciated, thanks   

Adolfo Viana
Bogota, Colombia
aviana@impsat.net.co

Mike here: Thanks! I'm glad you like the ETX pages. As to polar aligning, a sturdy tripod might work (see my accessories comments for a photo of the ETX on a tripod). As to computerizing at ETX, I recall seeing an ad for one (probably in Sky & Telescope but I couldn't find the ad just now).


Sent:	Thu Apr 17 15:10:37 1997
From:	Han_Kleijn@compuserve.com (han kleijn)
Hallo,
I bought my ETX some weeks ago. The optics were fine but the RA
speed was terrible wrong ! With the motor running, a typical star went
in 10 minutes out of sight. After carefully checking the polar
alignment and monitoring the ETX RA-scale in a run of 12 hour, I found
that the RA motor had an error of one hour in the 24 hours !!. I'm a
beginning astronomer, but this was much more then acceptable and
reported by the dealer (10 minutes in 24 hours and in the review of Sky
& Telescope 1/97 the accuracy was even better !.)

The dealer offered me to take the ETX back and returning my money.
He had no other ETX as replacement. This would mean that I had to wait
3 months or more for an other ETX. It would also mean a drive of 700
KM back to the dealer.

I can not understand that the quality control of MEADE can accept
such an offset in the RA speed !! The dealer tested the telescope prior
to selling it to me, but also he did not notice the big offset. In 
Europe the price of the ETX is about US $ 1000,-  For such a price, I 
expect something which can keep a planet or star in sight for an half 
hour or so.

However giving the scope back, would mean for months no observing.
To identify the problem, I did some measurement and decided to
modify the scope electronics (and taking the risk). It worked out very
well. By changing the 2,5 Volt reference diode from a fixed LM385 to
an adjustable LM336 of 2,5 V, I'm now able to adjust the motor voltage
and therefore the motor speed. The RA speed is now spot on.  How to do
this, see the ETX.GIF file. The resistor of 3k9 was changed to 2k2 and
across the new reference diode a 22k potentiometer was connected. The
arm of the potentiometer was connected to the adjust-gate of the new
LM336. With this potentiometer the RA-speed can be adjusted plus or
minus 7 %.

I also tried a zener diode of 2,7 V. The voltage across a zener diode
is however is varying to much with the current and therefore the
battery voltage (some %). The result is a very unstable motor speed.
and absolute not practical.

If you want to know more, my E-mail address is: 
Han_Kleijn@compuserve.com          Compuserve address: 100103,23

Some more comments: The battery holder could in some cases shortcut a
battery. Many batteries have a metal cover. If on both sides the
outside paint is slightly damaged, the battery is short-cutted. One of
my batteries became pretty hot and lost most of its energy. I solved it
by putting some pvc tape on one side of the battery. This to keep it
isolated from the holder.

Meade is claiming that the ETX can run for 50 hours. My ETX is using
about 20 mA. A good battery has a capacity of 1100 mAH. The ETX should
then theoretically run for about 55 hours. Alkaline batteries with a
capacity of 2300 mAH should keep it running 115 hours.

Han Kleijn,    Date: 17-4-97

RA modification

Mike here: this will most certainly void your ETX warranty. Exercise caution. Neither Han, myself, nor Meade can be responsible for any damage that may result from attempting this modification.


Sent:	Tue Apr 15 15:15:25 1997
From:	rong@pogo.WV.TEK.COM (Ronald M Gilbert)
Mike.......I was reading your comments on "first impressions" and
           have a nice fix for the 90 deg. lens holder while in the
           "earth mode" of veiwing.  I just received my ETX last
           month and was bothered with the same problem.  I use a
           35mm film canister.  It fits great and can be held in place
           with the setscrew.  I found a black canister and you'd think
           that it came with the ETX as an accessory.  Try it!  Nice
           ETX page you have......Cheers, Ron Gilbert
           


Sent:	Mon Apr 14 08:24:15 1997
From:	aljones1@airmail.net (Alan Roger Jones)
I wrote earlier about the motor running backwords, I fixed that, but
it still will turn about an hour or so in RA in about 15 min. Has anyone
had this problem and were they able to correct it. I would like to use
it for short time exposures,but there is no way at this speed.
                      Thanks,Alan
                      Aljones1@airmail.net

A followup:

I talked to the service rep last night and he told me that a batch 
had gone out with the wrong gear ratio. Think they better have a
talk with quality control. Needless to say that the scope goes back.
                       Thanks,Alan.


Sent:	Mon Apr 14 07:14:01 1997
From:	jim.gauldin@worldnet.att.net (James Gauldin)
Hello,
	I am envolved in an astronomy club in Columbus Ohio.  Greetings 
from the cloud capital of the world!  If you would likt to see where 
I spend most of my time got to 
http://www-astronomy.mps.ohio-state.edu/~perkins/
and the club is at

www.fpi-protostar.com/cas/
anyway, I am looking into an ETX for my first scope.  No one in our club
(that I know of) has one and I have not been able to try one out. It
looks great but I am curious to know what accessories you found that you
needed after you bought it.  I would like to get it mailorder and get a
few things needed all at once.   I would likt to take pictures in the
next year so camera equipment would be later.  What have you found to be
a good range of eyepices?  Is there a large tripod of some sort to buy? 
Any thoughts would be appreciated.   Thanks!

Jim Gauldin


Sent:	4/12/97 15:30
From:	frodo@annapolis.net (richard berry)
I read one of the emails Jeffrey Elder sent you, claiming the world
record for ordering an ETX.  Well, I'll have to update that record.  I
ordered an ETX from Woodland Hills Camera (in CA) on Tuesday 4/7/97 and
received it on Wednesday 4/8/97 (next day Air to Annapolis Maryland).
rich


Sent:	4/11/97 18:49
From:	szanzi@alya.inet.it (Silvio Umberto Zanzi)
Dear Michael,
I visited your nice web page about ETX after a search through yahoo.

I'm going to buy a telescope soon. My interests are Messier objects.
Unfortunatelly I have a very low budget and I'll not be able to buy and
adeguate telescope for this task. I'm so evaluating the ETX.

Can you please write me your opinion about using this Meade product for
deep sky observation?

Thank you very much.

Silvio Umberto Zanzi.


Sent:	4/11/97 13:24
From:	teejay.riedl@siemenscom.com (Teejay Riedl)
I just bought an ETX last Saturday, and the weather in Wash DC has been 
nasty, so I've only had one night so far to do any observing. The first 
thing I've observed is that I need some higher-power plossls! Do you 
have any experience with the super / ultrawide angle lenses, and if so, 
do you think they're worth the additional cost? Keep me posted, & thanks 
for the web page!
Teejay Riedl
phaedrus@scientist.com


Sent:	4/10/97 13:51
From:	jlamb@pop.uky.edu (John Lamb)
I recently received my ETX from Shutan Camera, after a little over 3 
months from ordering.  But, the price was right ($495).  I just wanted
to pass along some info on a very good padded case that fits the ETX
perfectly.  It was purchased from Wal-Mart, with the store name on the 
box.  The case itself is a large camcorder case, found in the 
photo/video department, at a cost of $29.95 + tax.  This case is 
padded, is constructed of heavy weight fabric (probably nylon or 
polyester), and has a front zippered pocket with storage on the flap 
plus divided pockets at the rear of the front pocket.  The main 
compartment is zippered, and the lid has a zippered mesh pocket 
which holds the ETX tripod legs perfectly, with room left over.  
The case included a large shoulder stap.  The top is not zippered, 
but overlaps the sides and fastens with 4 heavy duty 2" Fast-lock 
type buckles.  There are also 3 padded dividers with Velcro tabs that 
can be used as desired.  I customized my case by cutting a foam block 
to support the front of the ETX tube, and 2 foam blocks on either 
side of the tube, then I covered these with soft cloth to prevent 
scratching (the sewing job was a bear!).
Thank you very much for your Web page.  It was extremely useful in 
providing the information needed to make a purchase decision.


P.S.
I noticed a problem last night with slipping in R.A., even with the 
R.A. lock engaged.  I haven't had a chance to take the scope apart 
and determine the cause or a solution.  If you have heard of this 
problem and know a fix for it, please let me know.  Thanks again.


Sent:	4/10/97 13:39
From:	leigh@alexandria.com (Leigh Daniels)
Hello Mike and other ETXers, 
Thanks for maintaining this site. I've benefitted a great deal from the 
information here. Here's my contribution. I'm also posting this on 
sci.astro.amateur.

If you use a video tripod for your ETX, here's a simple way to set your 
tripod head to a close Polaris angle before going out to observe. It 
requires a small carpenter's spirit level.

1.   Level your tripod.
2.   Mount your ETX on the tripod with the big lens cap in place. Make 
sure that the tilt adjustment of the tripod head is centered, that is, 
there is no tilt.
3.   Set and lock your ETX to a declination that equals your co-latitude. 
To find the co-latitude, subtract your observing latitude from 90 
degrees. Here's an example. Obs. lat. = 42N17. 90 - 42d17m = 48d43m. Set 
your ETX declination to 49.
4.   Adjust the altitude of the tripod head so that the ETX tube points 
approximately straight up. Now place the spirit level on the lens cap 
parallel to the declination axis and use the RA slow motion to level the 
tube. Now turn the level to be perpendicular to the declination axis 
(pointing toward where Polaris will be) and adjust the altitude of the 
tripod head so that the tube end is level. 
5.  Lock at this altitude and your tripod head is now very close to the 
correct polar alignment angle.
6.  At your observing site, first level your tripod and then use the 
azimuth adjustment to align the tube at Polaris and you should be in 
business. You probably won't see Polaris in the scope but your ETX should 
track adequately for most observing.

When I first tried this I used the above procedure inside, then set up 
the scope outside before sunset. I guessed where Polaris would be in 
relation to a nearby tree and set the azimuth. When Sirius came out, I 
locked the ETX onto it and let it track. It was a good guess because it 
kept Sirius in the 26mm eps field for 15 minutes before I moved on to 
other things. 

Hope this helps you spend less time aligning and more time having fun.

    Clear and dark skies,

    **Leigh
    


Sent:	4/6/97 09:36
From:	aljones1@airmail.net (Alan Roger Jones)
Hi, I just bought a EXT yesterday and it seems to do well. The problem
I am having is that when I set it up and polar align the scope and turn
on the motor drive with the motor control in the north position, it
turns clockwise. I have to put the drive in the south position to move
with the earths rotation. I am aligning the way it is shown in the
manual with the fork and the tube are parallel but when engaged it turn
the wrong way. Am I setting it up wrong or may the wiring be on the
worng poles. 		
   Any help would be appreciated, Thanks Alan Jones
         		          aljones1@airmail.net

Mike here: Set the scope up inside your home, have the scope tube horizontal with the eyepiece/finder side on top, and engage the drive. As you look down on it from above note where it is pointed. Let it run for about an hour and then come back to it. In the Northern Hemisphere, the objective end (opposite from the eyepiece end) should have moved to the right (clockwise) as seen from above the ETX. If it went left then the wiring or switch label is reversed. Not a critical item but something to note.


Sent:	4/4/97 06:18
From:	pfile@yagosys.com (rob pfile)
Just wanted to share my experiences using the ETX as a camera-guiding
platform for photography of Hale-Bopp.
I decided to try using the mounting holes on the bottom of the tube to
attach my camera to the scope. to do this, i first removed the
finderscope so the telescope could be turned over, so it was positioned
in the forks with the mounting holes on top. after hunting around some
at the local photo store, i found a very small ball-head mount for a
camera (bogen #3009.) unfortunately, being like a tripod head, this
thing has a 3/8" threaded hole in the bottom. my photographer friend
found a 3/8" to 1/4" converter sleeve which i screwed into the bottom of
the head. I then put a 1/4" diameter threaded stud (actually a 3/4" long
machine screw with the head cut off) into the ball head, then threaded
the whole mess into the mounting hole closest to the corrector plate.

after an extremely crude polar alignment, i took some 1 and 2 minute
guided exposures of Hale-Bopp (50mm f/2 lens; Kodak Royal Gold 1000)
that came out wonderfully. the ball head allows the camera to be
positioned almost arbitrarily, and the scope seemed to track well enough
even with the extra weight and extreme cold (we were in Yosemite)

hope this information is useful.

rob
pfile@yagosys.com


Sent:	4/3/97 21:46
From:	rsonner@ix.netcom.com
I am glad I finally found your web page.  I placed my order for a ETX
last May as soon as I saw the first adds, finally got it in July.  I
have been very happy with it for planatary and Moon views.  I dragged it
to Maui last November and got a good look at Jupiter etc.  I used a
small heavy duty Video tripod.  I also use a BIG Bogen video tripod
around home.  I would like to add a right angle eyepice to the finder as
I sometimes can not get under the scope at high elevations.  Roger
Tuthill is my dealer and is very helpfull.  Keep up the good work.
rsonner@ix.netcom.com


Sent:	4/2/97 18:12
From:	pershey@en.com (Ed Pershey)
After deciding that I wanted an ETX, I found that actually finding one
was pretty difficult. I put my name on a waiting list at one of our
local Nature Company stores...didn't hear for a two or three weeks, so I
called one Friday...they had just gotten one in and drove over there and
bought it right away. Nice little scope!
Last week I was in Chicago for a conference and stopped by Shutan Camera
(they advertise in Sky & Tel). They had the darn things in stock.
Anyway, I purchased a Bogen tripod, which they recommend and sell with
their ETX's. Its a Bogen 3211 tripod and 3030 head. Black, very stable
and easy to do polar alignments. Look into it.

I live in a suburb of Cleveland and the sky is pretty bright, but
luckily it has actually been CLEAR lately. Good views of Hale-Bopp. The
skies, however, have been pretty rough for high power. I purchased a
Televue Plossel 10.5mm (about 119x) and haven't been able to really test
the performance with it. Seems to be good, but Mars has been
disappointing at that power so far. The moon reappears in a week or so
and I'll see then.

I bought the ETX for its portability...we're off to CA, AZ, and NM this
summer by Amtrak! Plan to haul the little scope along. Can't wait for
those clear AZ and NM skies!

Ed Pershey
Cleveland Heights, OH


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