ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 30 April 2002
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT. Additional information on these models is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.


Subject:	ETX-70AT Serial Connection
Sent:	Monday, April 29, 2002 13:50:38
From:	r_shoesmith@madasafish.com (Richard Shoesmith)
Sorry to bother you again with another dumb question. Having read your
reply to my last e-mail I have purchased the #497 Autostar for my
ETX-70AT. Now which serial cable do I use and which port do I plug it
into, the AUX on the base unit or the Serial port on the Autostar.
Thanks in advance for your help.

Richard
Mike here: You'll use the #505 cable (purchased or make one using the info on the Autostar Information page). It plugs into the base of the Autostar.
Subject:	Turning a 60AT into a 70AT
Sent:	Monday, April 29, 2002 13:00:35
From:	TRAVIS.WHITLOW@newark.com
Here's my experience in trying to do what "Nevancik" wants to do to his
60AT.

Like quite a few 60AT owners, I got aperture fever after buying the 60,
so I started looking around for a way to get that extra 10mm. I found a
75mm diameter, 400mm focal length cemented achromat billed as an
"Edmund" at a reputable seller for about $38, so I thought I'd see if I
could make it work.

The 60mm lens in the 60AT sets in a molded plastic "adapter" that's
actually 75mm in (outside) diameter and drops into a 75mm (inside)
diameter fixture that's a part of the scope. Unscrew the retaining ring
and the 60mm lens and its adapter slide right out and the 75mm lens
slides right in. So far, no problem.

The original retainer ring has (of course) a 60mm opening. So I (first
mistake) cut this to provide a 70mm aperture. Placing the new lens in
position and screwing on the "new" retainer ring used up all the threads
inside the barrel, so it was no longer possible to thread the lens cover
or dew cap onto the scope (oops!). But I figured, what the heck. We'll
solve that problem later.

I made an adapter (1-1/4 O.D. at one end, 1-1/4 I.D. at the other) for
the eyepiece end of the scope to allow for the extra 50mm in focal
length the new lens added. And Voila! (At least initially), it seemed to
work.

Then came the night of the big test! The moon was about three-quarters,
so I thought it would be a good place to start. I brought it into focus
and ... I've never seen such pretty blues, reds and yellows. The
chromatic abberation was really really bad. So, on the chance it was a
bad match with the eyepiece, I switched. It didn't help.

The place I bought the objective allowed me to return it for a full
refund (HandsOnOptics. I found them to be a good place to do business).
The owner suggested that the baffling inside the scope might have been
the problem. I tend to doubt this because the baffles are a part of the
insert that holds the objective, which accepts either the 60mm or the
70mm. So Meade (or more accurately Meade's supplier) would have to have
two two production lines just for the baffling.

Bottom line? Making the change isn't impossible, but if you decide to
experiment, make sure that all the pieces work together before you
commit. And remember, your warranty goes away when you make these
changes.

There is a happy ending to all this, though. I put my 60AT back together
as a 60 and went out and bought a 90RA. Together, they make quite a
team.

Subject:	Re: ETX-70AT Aberration
Sent:	Sunday, April 28, 2002 21:00:57
From:	thomas.henry@mnsu.edu (Thomas Henry)
I just read the question from Richard Judge concerning an optical
problem with his ETX-70AT, and your reply to him.  You mentioned the
usual info with regard to chromatic aberration, but I didn't see any
mention of false color in his e-mail, and don't believe that's what's
causing his problems.

I'm no optical expert, but his description of the distortion suggests
astigmatism to me (the elongation that he describes).  Having tested
some five of these scopes now, I can report that the inexpensive optics
used in the ETX-70AT show varying amounts of astigmatism, all the way
from tolerable to rotten.  (The Sky and Tel review mentions this too). 
I have also seen coma in several of these, which could account for the
"ears" on planetary disks that another user asked about earlier this
month.  Since Richard didn't mention false color in his post, I suspect
that either astigmatism or coma are bothering him, not chromatic
aberration.  I can sympathize; one can get used to seeing extra violet,
but the other two problems are very annoying to the eyes.

In a nutshell, my experience has been that the optics in the ETX-70AT
are borderline, but given the low price of the unit, what should a
person expect!  In any event, the scope is usable---just don't expect
the sharpness of a more expensive refractor.

Best wishes,

Thomas Henry

Subject:	re: increasing the lens size of an ETX60
Sent:	Sunday, April 28, 2002 19:36:16
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	nevancik@hotmail.com
There have been postings (and photos) in the past by someone
who used the Meade Dew Shield to hold an 80mm lens in front of
his ETX70.  The postings were  at the Yahoo MeadeETX-60 group
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/meadeetx-60/

The dew shield is hard plastic, and threads into the front of the
telescope.
He removed the normal front lens, and held the 80mm in place with
retaining rings.

It worked (sort-of).  His 80mm lens was not very good, so the
viewing was not improved.  But physically, it -can- be done.

The person who did it has a website under:
http://www.data-plumber.com
and is Christopher Erickson

His descriptive web-page seems to have disappeared,
but the photos are at:
24.237.160.4/files/Astronomy/MyScopes/Meade-etx60/60to80/

and click on 
etx60-80-1.JPG
etx60-80-2.JPG
etx60-80-3.JPG

descriptive text at:    upgrading-etx60-80.txt

clicking on the other photos in that page would be instructive, too.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Re: Re: ETX 70 maint. question
Sent:	Sunday, April 28, 2002 12:54:34
From:	dsnay@charter.net (Dave Snay)
I must say, I amazed you followed up with me so quickly.
I went to the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston's public gathering last
night. I was able to peek through a couple of Mak's and a 17" reflector.
While the other scopes did provide larger and brighter images, I must
say that my 70mm performed just fine. The images in those scopes wasn't
any crisper, just bigger and brighter. I don't think I'll be touching
that mirror any time soon.
Thanx for the advice.

Dave

Subject:	Re: focusing
Sent:	Saturday, April 27, 2002 20:42:11
From:	nevancik@hotmail.com (Nicholas J. Evancik)
I am curious why then is the telescope set up so that it cannot work
with the accessories designed to be used by turning the knob that moves
the optical train from the built in diagonal to  the path straight
through to the back of the telescope. I cannot use the erecting diagonal
that meade designed to be used by screwing it into the back of the
telescope as it was designed to do. I cannot use a camera using the
meade camera attachment and T-mount adapter. Nothing that Meade designed
to work with this telescope by attachin it to the screw mount at the
back of the telescope will work as meade states it is designed to be
used. I also seem to have the reverse of vignetting in the telesope. It
seems that the field in the eyepieces are too large and it is difficult
to center my eye over the evepiece lense and view the entire field.
There must be something wrong with the telescope in order for it to not
be able to use the accessories that have been designed to be used with
it. Do you have any suggestions as to why none of the accessories I have
purchased to use with the meade will focus on an object that is more
than ten feet away from it ( The erecting prism, attached to thhe back
of the telecope will only focus on an image that is less than ten feet
away, it will not come to focus on any object farther than that or at
infinity, I cannot focus to photograph anything farther away than ten
feet away as well, which suggests the problem is that the lense is not
places properly in the tube and only a part of the focal range is
available when using the rear access to the focal plane, or that the
lens' focal length is not correct for the designed length of the tube,
that is is not precisely 350 mm but something loke 345 to 349 and so
using the rear access to the focal plane does not allow access to the
complete range of focus. If you have any theories as to why the
telescope cannot come to fucus at infinity using the straight through
the tube focal plane rather than the interanl diagonal focal method
Iwould greatly appreciate it.Thanks for all the help dp far, but I am
not trying to make and adaptation to perform something that the
telescope to do something other than it was designed to do. I am trying
to get it to do something it was designed to do.

Nicholas J. Evancik
Mike here: Yours is the first report that I recall like this. Perhaps you have a problem with the telescope itself that only Meade can fix. Other users have successfully used attachments at the rear port.

And finally:

Scopetronix sent the wrong diagonal. When I ordered it I asked for the
diagonal for the ETX 60AT and they sent me one for the catadiaptric
model of the ETX's The erectos prism for the ETX refractors have a lens
in one of the diagonal tubes that corrects the focal plane. WHen I first
had the problem I called scopetronix and wastold that it was probably a
problem with the telescope as the unit they sent me was the correct one,
but looking at It I see no lens inside, only a prism. Scopetronix agreed
to let me send the item back and will replace it. Thanks for the help.

Nicholas J. Evancik

End of 30 April update

Subject:	ETX 70 maint. question
Sent:	Saturday, April 27, 2002 5:11:31
From:	dsnay@charter.net (Dave Snay)
Love your site.
I have a question about my ETX-70. When I was looking at the moon last
night, I looked into the port for the eyepiece and I saw what looks like
lots of smudges on the mirror. Is there a recommended way to clean that?
I was thinking about using a Q-tip with alcohol, but I thought I'd check
with the expert first.

Thanx,
Dave
Mike here: Do you think that viewing that has deteriorated? If not, don't clean anything. A typical error is overcleaning. As to the flip mirror, that is a dangerous area to be messing around in. You can easily damage the mirror. If you think it does need cleaning, use extreme caution and follow the cleaning advice on the Buyer/New User Tips page.

And:

It's hard for me to tell. I'm very new to this. I was given the scope as
a christmas present this past year, so I don't really know what to
expect for images.

I'm going to try to get to a few star gazing gatherings in the area (if
the skies ever clear up at the right time!). I'll see if I can get
someone to take a peek through the scope and get their opinion of it's
images before I touch anything.

Thanx for the advice,
Dave Snay

Subject:	Re: 827 Right angle Viewfinder for ETX 70
Sent:	Friday, April 26, 2002 18:55:08
From:	hfreind@columbus.rr.com (Freind Harry)
Finally got my right angle viewfinder. Managed to install without too
much difficulty, even without instructions. What a difference!!!!. Can
find items with minimum hassle. It's now fun!!

Subject:	ETX 70AT aberration
Sent:	Friday, April 26, 2002 6:33:45
From:	richardjudge@btconnect.com (Richard Judge)
I am having a problem with aberration on my recently purchased ETX 70AT.
When viewing bright objects (Jupiter and Arcturus) there is serious
aberration to the left of the image. The Right hand side of Jupiter, for
instance, is perfectly focused but the left is distorted outward. I
initially thought this was due to the proximity of a bright Moon but the
Moon has moved away somewhat and the problem remains. Also Arcturus is
on the other side of the Moon but the distortion remains on the left. I
have checked the lens and mirror for obvious signs of damage or dirt but
they are clear. I have also tried rotating the eyepiece in the holder,
as I have read your advice, but the image remains the same. Today I have
searched the archives and there are a number of others who also describe
similar problems specific to the left hand side with both 70 and 60AT's.

Having given this a great deal of thought I think I may have a solution
of sorts and wanted your opinion of it.

If I look through the rear port on the scope at a light (without
eyepiece) there is a reflection on the right where the threaded bar for
the focus is attached to the optical tube. (There is a plastic tube
which contains the threaded bar that protrudes slightly above the second
field stop) Do you think that this may be causing the problem and if so
can you think of a way to resolve it?

Best regards
Richard Judge
Mike here: All low-end refractors suffer from some "chromatic aberration". This is due to the nature of light and glass. Different frequencies of light are defracted differently as they pass through the glass lens. Hence, not every color will arrive at the same point. The tube you mentioned protruding into the light path would not change the chromatic aberration. If the aberration has really become worse over time (rather than your observational technique improving as you gained experience), then something else is at work. Either the lens coatings have become less effective (possibly due to cleaning improperly or exposure to high heat), or they are dirty (even though you may not see it) which changes the refraction.
Subject:	Focusing?
Sent:	Thursday, April 25, 2002 23:16:33
From:	nevancik@hotmail.com
Hello Michael. I have had a ETX 60 AT for a little over 2 years now and
have only recently looked for info abouot small pronlems I have with the
scope. First. Using  my terrestrial adapter prism that was purchased
from scopetronix. I cannot get the scope to focus, except within 10
feet, which means mt telescope is somewhat myopic. I know that either
the objective must be moved or somehow the focusing range must be
ahnged. This aside. I ove my little telescope.

Second, and it is not a problem, CAn the objective on the ETX 60 AT be
upgraded to a 70 millimeter lense, As the tube size, and the focal
length of the lenses fo both telescopes seem to be the same. The only
difference SEEM to be the objective mount. I cannot figure out how to
ask questions on any other site, and even the Meade site does not seem
to give s way to email questions. I would greatly appreciate any info if
you have it, Or if you know of any other sites that would help, I soul
appreciate it. Thanks
Mike here: Have you contacted Scopetronix about the focusing problem? But there may be a simple solution: loosen the focus knob on the shaft and slide it further towards to the rear on the shaft. Be certain to point the telescope upwards at about a 45 degree angle to keep the shaft from slipping inside the tube. There is no upgrade from the 60AT to 70AT.

And:

Thank you.I have tried moving the focusing knob and that did not help. I
was wondering if there was a way of adjusting the position of the lense
in the tube, or repositioning the  range of the length that the tube
travels in the focusing path. I think if the objective were just 1/4 of
an inch further back from the fropnt of the tube  the proble would be
solved. It is strange about the upgrade through, becasue it seems that
the 70 mm version simply has a different lense cell and lense in the
same tube assembly. 350 mm foccal length on both.

Nicholas J. Evancik
Mike here: Have you discussed it with Scopetronix? As to an upgrade, where would you get the lens? Meade doesn't sell it separately?

And:

I bought my accessories from scopetronix. When I asked them about it,
they did not have an answer. I do not know how one would move the
objective lense in its cell. The cell sees to be placed on threads.
There are two small holes in the front of the cell, but it does not look
like the small allen wrench fits in them If the lense cell can come out
and there is enough room to nove it back a small amount, no more than  a
qurster of an inch, or inccrease the amount that the focusing screw can
move in or out, then the problem would be solved, but I do not know how
to work with the focuser or its gearing. I cant tell if there is anyway
to take apart and re assemble the tube assembly. Actually, I have had
this telescope for two years, and finally bought the meade tripod 4
months ago. Tonight is the first time I actually set up the automatic
controller. I have onlt beeen pointing and manually slewing the thing,
but tonight I set it to go look around at various objects in the
database.  AS far as the objective goes. Meade may not sell it, but if
they did I cannot see one thing that would stop a person from placing
the new lense and lens cell into the tube assemble for the 60AT.
Mechanically they are exactly the same telescope. Its like they were
made for the purpose of more easily making the 60 mm model by placing a
smaller lense and cell into the tube. I have been comparing the two
models in local stores (Wolf Camera) and the only visible difference is
the cell size and the lene size. It would jusr be a nice way to upgrade
If someone made the lense and cell available. If you know of anyway of
opening the tube assemble to get at the focusing mechanism or even
remove the objective to see if it can be moved to change the focal plane
slightly, or even know how I can email Meade to askthem about my
focusing problem I would appreciate it.
And more:
The way the telescope seems to be working, is that when you put the
erecting prism in place, the telescope seems to have myopia. The focal
falls just a bit before theend of the connection onto which you screw
the erecting prism unit. The amount it would need to move would be very
small.  It would be easier if it had ther opposite problem, as then all
that would be needed would be to screw a small extension tube onto the
back and then screw the prism onto that. It would easily escape a
quality assurance testing process.
And:
From:	nevancik@hotmail.com (Nicholas J. Evancik)
The objective in the ETX 60 AT is an achromatic lense at the front of
the tube. THE telecsope was designed to have the the erecting prismed
screwed onto the back of the tube into which you would also hook up a
camera extension tube and t-mount, Which means right now, as the
telescope is set up, I would also not be able to focus a camera and take
pictures of anything further away than ten feet. I do not believe that
meade would have designed the telescope to be able to use its own
accessories and to be able to use it as a telephoto lens and then have
it set up so that the accessories will not work, becasue the focal plane
of the telescope is too short. Therefore I believe that the condition is
an error in assembly, and that the solution lies in returning the lense
to it's correct position or to enable to focuser to focus in further
than it already does.  The telescope has been working this wsay since
the day It was purchased new. As I said, there must be a way of moving
the lens to the position that it should be in to make the accessories
usable.
And from our hardware expert:
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
There is NO modification short of actually CUTTING OFF THE TUBE at the
tail end to accommodate a closer focus.

This has nothing to do with any mechanical issues at all.  It would be
an absolute travesty to modify the ETX 70 in this manner.  It CAN be
done; the field will be severely vignetted for both visual and photo use
once done and at high magnification the image brightness will be reduced
substantially as will resolution.

Clay

Subject:	Updates ETX70AT
Sent:	Thursday, April 25, 2002 20:28:40
From:	ed.fides.carlos@comcast.net (Carlos Family)
I went to PA last weekend and looked around Friday night into Saturday
early morning.  Jupiter and Saturn were even brighter because it was out
in the country.

At around 2am-3am I started looking for IZ comet but around the N- NE
direction failed to find it.  As I was looking around I came across this
really big patch of blurry object.  At first I thought it my eye, then
was the comet but the more that I look into it the more it did not make
sense. It was more towards NE and was really low from were I was (up on
a hill surrounded by higher hills).  I tried to reconcile it with the
star chart from Skypub.  According to their log it was the M31.  How can
I confirm?  It wasn't bright really blurry almost like a puff of smoke. 
There was I thought a star to the lower right.

I bought the flexi-focus from Scopetronix, definitely much easier to
use.  A bit pricey but it does help a lot.  I also got the Meade filter
set.  The yellow and nuetral were helpful especially the other night
when I was observing the moon.  For Jupiter and Saturn, it seems to have
reduced the glare but not as much as I would hope. The blue was also ok
for the moon.  I don't know what the orange is for.  The product
description said it would help looking at Jupiter but it did not.  Maybe
I'm using it wrong.

Also, because of my encounter with M31 (I think), I'm trying to locate
M81/82 and M51. No luck yet.  Any suggestions?

Last thing, is there any reason why the Dec setting circle would point
to 90deg and when I look at the scope it's definitely not perpendicular
to the base.  Is my scope off?  If so is there an adjustment process for
these.  I did notice that when I was pointing to Polaris it was at 46deg
and not 43deg as most books have it.

Sorry it's a bit long....

Regards
Ed
Mike here: That was probably M31. As to finding other objects, let the Autostar be your guide! As to the DEC scale, see the FAQ page.
Subject:	RE: ETX-70AT
Sent:	Thursday, April 25, 2002 6:35:39
From:	Glenn.Giatto@gecapital.com (Giatto, Glenn  (CAP, GEFA))
Mike, thanks for the tips...I will try them out. I live in a development
outside of a small town, about 30 miles north of Philadelphia. There is
some definite heat sources about (parking lots, neighbor's houses, 
etc.). I guess I will try viewing multiple times to see if I can get any
differences.


I currently have the 2 standard eyepieces that came with the 'scope (9mm
& 25mm). It's tough to really see close with the 25mm (obviously), so
you can tell that the ghostly "ears" that I am seeing is through the
9mm. I am looking to get a Barlow.

I appreciate the feedback and love the site! 

Glenn

End of 27 April update

Subject:	827 Right angle Viewfinder for ETX 70
Sent:	Wednesday, April 24, 2002 15:31:14
From:	apfeffer@sbcglobal.net (A. Pfeffer)
Thanks for maintaining this very helpful site!  I too got 825
instructions (i.e., the wrong ones) with my new 827 viewfinder and
duplicated Harry Freind's experience.  Figured out how to attach it (so
that's what the hard-to-see Phillips-head screw on the back face of the
OTA is for!) and how to use the two adjustment screws to align (very
simple; I used the moon & 25mm eyepiece, but will refine later).  With
only the two screws and no locking screws the viewfinder barrel skews if
touched., so I'll try to keep my fat fingers away from it.  The thick
crosshairs suggest aligning a tiny bit off center so as not to block out
the object).  On the whole a very nice accessory, but why doesn't Meade
post instruction sheets on the Web & save itself time & stamps?

Art Pfeffer

Subject:	ETX-70AT
Sent:	Wednesday, April 24, 2002 8:54:35
From:	Glenn.Giatto@gecapital.com (Giatto, Glenn  (CAP, GEFA))
You have a great site, keep up the good work!

I received my 70AT for Christmas and have used it a few times. I have
enjoyed the portability and the wide field view of stars, etc. One
question I haven't seen asked (maybe I missed it) is regarding focusing
in on an object (Jupiter for example). I took your advice and focused
(as well as I could) on Polaris and then manually moved to Jupiter. I
could see planet and 4 moons. Problem is, I noticed instead of crisp
"ball", Jupiter resembles more of a oval with faint ears. I focused to
both sides of clarity and still notice ears. I am worried that the lens
is shot. Is that a normal sight in the 70AT or should the object be more
crisp?

Glenn
Buckingham, PA
Mike here: There should be no "ears" on Jupiter. But how is the "seeing" where you live? Are the warm rooftops in the line of sight to Jupiter? Parking lots or other heat sources? Do the "ears" move? What happens if you rotate the eyepiece in its holder? What about other eyepieces? I know, more questions. Just trying to narrow down the possible culprits before we assume that the telescope is at fault.
Subject:	Meade ETX-70AT
Sent:	Wednesday, April 24, 2002 5:04:23
From:	r_shoesmith@madasafish.com (Richard Shoesmith)
Having been a 70-AT user for only a week or so, your site was a welcome
find. I too suffered from some of the frustrations mentioned in some of
your posts and thought that a couple of my solutions might be of
interest to others.

1.	The Focus Control.

I removed the one supplied with the scope and made my own using a
propeller/motor coupling for a model boat. The flexible joint allows
movement of the focus control away from the axis and I find much more
user friendly.

2.	Re-focusing between eyepieces.

To overcome the large number of turns required of the focus control when
swapping between eyepieces I have made collars for two of my eyepieces
out of plastic drain pipe. It takes a bit of experimenting to get the
right lengths, but now when I swap eyepieces I have at most to turn the
focus less than one turn.

The attached photo shows both fixes in position.

ETX-70AT
I also have a question which maybe you or others could help me with. I have been unsuccessfully trying to control the scope from Starry Night Pro using ACP 1.3 as the telescope controller. The scope communicates, but refuses to point in the right direction when using the slew commands from within the Starry Night telescope menu. My scope came with the #494 Autostar which works fine. Is there any advantage in upgrading the Autostar to #497? Thanks in advance for any help and keep up the good work, a brilliant site! Richard Shoesmith
Mike here: That's a neat focus control! I don't recall the version number but there is an update to ACP (acp.dc3.com/meade.html) from the one that came with the #494 Autostar. And yes you can use a #497 Autostar and you'll gain the keypad and more current versions.
Subject:	ETX-60 dew-cap improvement
Sent:	Tuesday, April 23, 2002 14:54:47
From:	Benito@loyola.com (Benito Loyola)
I got the ETX-60 for less than $100 from Price Club during their sale
and have enjoyed it.  For the cost, it provides a pretty decent view of
the moon and planets, and it takes me through the alignment which has
gotten me learning a bunch of the bright alignment stars.  I also have
been squeezing every bit I can out of the little scope by investing in a
great set of Nagler and Pentax eyepieces...can't wait for the next
scope.  But living in the city I am near a street light and I noticed a
bit of reflection off of the black, but slightly shiny, interior finish
of my dew-cap.  So I just ordered some flock adhesive paper to line the
inside of the dew-cap with.  I figured this should help squeeze out a
little more performance.  So then I was thinking what's good for the
dew-cap should be good for the scope.  What are your thoughts about
lining the inside of the scope with flock paper and what is the best and
safest way to get inside.

Thank you

Benito
Mike here: I wouldn't do that. The inside is already properly coated. And you run the risk of damaging something.
Subject:	More on ETX-70AT Tips
Sent:	Monday, April 22, 2002 14:44:42
From:	thomas.henry@magician.org (Thomas Henry)
Recent e-mail-writer Michael is right; I should have mentioned the
longitude and latitude settings as part of getting accurate GOTO
results. But keep in mind that the Autostar only uses a geographic
coordinate accuracy of 1 minute of arc, and completely ignores elevation
(unlike most full-blown astro packages).  Who knows what the default
elevation is!  For this reason, there's only so much you can do to
improve your accuracy. However, you'll need accurate coordinates and
elevation for better software (I use Cartes du Ciel), so you really
ought to search them out anyway.

May I suggest you don't necessarily believe what you see on the
Internet? When I got my ETX-70AT last year, I checked the 'net and found
two different sets of coordinates for our little town; one set was
incomplete and the other differed by some 30 seconds of arc in longitude
(and these were from the USGS!)  Instead, I went to City Hall (yes---we
have one!) and one of the street engineers looked up the coordinates and
elevation for the intersection only 100 feet away from my home.  Most
cities have well mapped "benchmarks" that a worker can look up for you;
get some value for your tax dollars and ask them.

With regard to another of Michael's comments, I suppose "visual
satisfaction" is a relative quantity.  I can imagine Galileo being
absolutely ecstatic with a shot of Jupiter or Saturn through our little
scopes, compared to the rough instruments he used.  But the fact remains
that no telescope is ideal for all types of objects.  As an example, I
have a $200 3" Edmund reflector (about the same aperature as the
ETX-70AT, and a bit cheaper).  The views of Jupiter and Saturn are much,
much better than through the Meade (and it's not just the absence of
chromatic aberration either).  On the other hand, the Meade outperforms
it in the area of doubles and puts on an excellent show with deep sky
objects.

In a nutshell, I think of the ETX-70AT as a handy richfield scope. 
Sure, I look at planets in it from time to time, but that's not where it
really shines.

With regard to magnification, as mentioned in a previous post I prefer
clarity to larger size and tend to stick to the lower powers.  I own a
25mm, 9mm, 6mm, and a 2X Barlow but use the 9mm almost exclusively for
deep sky objects, of which I've cataloged many dozens of rewarding
views.  I haven't found the four colored filters to be of much benefit,
but I do use the fifth moon filter regularly.  When doing doubles, I do
in fact boost the power.  By the way, the best I've accomplished thus
far is a 3 arcsecond split---has anyone here bettered that with the
ETX-70AT?

Finally, there are lots of excellent colored doubles out there.  Albireo
is perhaps the best known, but if you're looking for an early evening
one this month, try Iota Cancri.  You'll find it at 8h46m42s,
+28d46'00".  It's a very colorful gold and blue.  Another excellent one
visible now is 24 Coma Berenices, again gold and blue. It's at:
12h35m06s, +18d23'00".  I find the double star catalog in the Autostar
somewhat disappointing, and so punch in several new ones by hand each
night.  My User Object menu is really growing!

And, oh, Vesta is currently well placed for early evening viewing; a fun
project is to plot its course over several nights.  This puppy really
moves.

Best wishes,

Thomas Henry

Subject:	etx-70at
Sent:	Monday, April 22, 2002 8:27:45
From:	surfgod_les@hotmail.com (Liam Crowther)
hi there, i wonder if you can help me. I live in the UK and am
considering buying a 70at from germany as it is cheaper! Could you tell
me if the instructions are multi-lingual and also whether the handset
can be set to operate in english or are they factory set for specific
countries. I am new to astronomy and this would be my first telescope-
obviously it wouldn't be much use if it spoke german and i don't.
    Thanks for any info. you can give me, Liam.
Mike here: I believe the foreign sold models that include the #494 Autostar do have some foreign languages in the Autostar but that English is one of the options. Don't know about the documentation. Perhaps someone else will respond once I post your inquiry.
End of 24 April update

Subject:	827 Right angle Viewfinder for ETX 70
Sent:	Sunday, April 21, 2002 11:05:16
From:	hfreind@columbus.rr.com (Freind Harry)
I love this sight. Not only is it informative, It permits me to ask what
might seem as "dumb questions" with some degree of anonymity. Here's my
latest:

Just got an 827 Right Angle view finder from my local dealer (after
about a five week wait) and it came with instructions for the 825 that
goes on the ETX 90 (not the ETX 70 that I have). Well I figured out how
to mount it (not exactly rocket science) and I did align it on a
terrestrial object a bit away.  I did call Meade and they are sending
correct instructions. But in the mean time.

1. Did I do it right? Been able to check out on land objects (No clear
sky lately for astronomical test yet). Seems OK.

2. If not. Any suggestions?

Anyone else "out there" have experience with the 827 right Angle view
finder?

Thanks 

Harry Freind
Mike here: As long as you have it attached so that it doesn't obstruct movement of the telescope tube in the forks or movement of the moving aperture lens, nor get in the way of swapping eyepieces, and you can still look through it, you should be OK. Just get the finderscope as precisely aligned as you can so that what it shows as centered as actually centered in the eyepiece.
Subject:	Autostar 494 for ETX70 scrolls too fast
Sent:	Sunday, April 21, 2002 7:51:19
From:	Strgzzr8@aol.com
Your site is an awesome resource.  It covers just about any question I
could come up with.  One problem I've not seen adressed regards my hand
controller. The second line of my Autostar 494 hand controller scrolls
too fast to read.  How can it be slowed down ?
Mike here: Use the UP/DOWN scrolling arrow keys to adjust the speed of the scrolling text. UP=faster, DOWN=slower.
Subject:	re: Thomas Henry's response to the Carlos Family (further down the page)
Sent:	Friday, April 19, 2002 12:54:07
From:	harmanm1@email.msn.com (Michael)
I've just read Mr. Henry's lengthy discussion about the ETX-70AT's
setup, abilities, and shortcomings, and I'd like to make a few comments:

I, too, own an ETX-70AT, and thoroughly enjoy it.  I follow the same
basic setup procedures as listed in Thomas' email, however, he left out
probably the most important point for new users:  The very first thing
you must do is know your site's longitude and latitude and setup your
scope as accurately as possible.  There are a lot of built-in city
locations, but they may not be accurate enough for your location within
the city; e.g., if you choose L.A., but live in a suburb that is not
listed, your alignment will be a bit off.

I found the exact coordinates of my own backyard on the internet.  I
also have the other sites we frequent, campgrounds in the nearby
mountains and deserts that we visit as often as possible, programmed by
name into my Sites.

As for "seeing", I would never limit myself to the two lenses that came
with the scope, and feel the 70 is perfectly suited for viewing Jupiter
and Saturn, particularly through my 2X Barlow and 9mm lens.  A 4-color
filter set is another great addition, but find them most helpful for
lunar observation.  I haven't had the pleasure of Uranus or Neptune, and
have heard they are not much to see, but I'll check them out when they
come around (or, rather, we come around).

On the subject of doubles.  I plan to stay up late enough tonight to
catch Albireo after it rises, provided the skies stay clear.  I read
where you can really see the color difference between the two stars with
a small scope -- I've seen them through 8", 12", and 20" scopes (OCAA),
but never through my own humble 70mm.  Can't wait!

Well, best regards to all.  I wish you all clear skies!

Michael

Subject:	ETX 60 AT
Sent:	Thursday, April 18, 2002 22:29:49
From:	jodiemiguel@email.msn.com (JODIE ERICKSON-MIGUEL)
Hello!. I have an ETX 60 AT telescope.  I don't really see a good
picture of the planets or the solar system so I bought the 128 3X barlow
lens and it was just okay, What do you recommend so I can view a great
picture? Do I need to buy another type of lens?.  I appreciate all your
help!.

Thanks,
Gary
Mike here: First off, read my ETX-70AT comments linked at the top of the "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page. Also, see the User Observations page. I suspect your expectations are exceeding the capabilities of the ETX-60AT. It makes a fine wide field instrument but provides limited magnification. If you want high magnification and lots of details you will need a larger (more expensive) telescope.
Subject:	Re:  Meade ETX 70AT issue
Sent:	Thursday, April 18, 2002 22:19:09
From:	ashtonm1@yahoo.com (Mike Ashton)
FYI...I returned the scope and got a new one...went home and tried it
out and it didn't work! The horizontal lock was broke. I was frustrated.
My wife returned it the next morning and this one works!! I was about to
give up...guess they just had a bad batch. Thanks for your help.

Mike

Subject:	Re: Motor Not Turning
Sent:	Thursday, April 18, 2002 14:48:07
From:	davematt@netcom.ca (Linda Walker)
1. Yes there are motor noises when I lock and try to slew.

2. Yes there are clicking noises when I unlock and move by hand.

Interestingly, when I lock, I can still move by hand fairly easily.

Don
Mike here: It sounds like the lock isn't locking. You can try to reposition the lock lever on its shaft so that it can more tightly lock. See the FAQ for info on doing this. If that doesn't do it I suspect that something has failed inside.

And:

Thanks for your quick responses. I will attempt to correct this weekend.
Otherwise I will return to vendor. They have agreed to full refund.

Don

End of 21 April update

Subject:	Motor Not Turning
Sent:	Wednesday, April 17, 2002 15:05:20
From:	davematt@netcom.ca (Linda Walker)
I've had a ETX-60 since Christmas. Its been great fun for me and has
certainly rekindled my interest in astronomy.

Took it out on Saturday and had a great evening of viewing using the
GOTO feature.

Took it out last night (Tuesday), and although I can make the scope go
up/down with the motor control, the side to side control makes noises
but does not turn the scope at all. Did nothing in between the two days.

When i shut the motor down and turn the scope by hand it makes a
clicking noise like something is not grabbing.

Any thoughts on my problem?

Thanks

Don
Mike here: When you lock the horizontal axis and attempt to slew horizontally using the handcontroller can you hear any motor noises? Does the scope try to move either left or right? When you unlock the axis and move the telescope horizontally by hand do you hear the clicking noises you mentioned?
Subject:	Re: help - ETX70AT
Sent:	Tuesday, April 16, 2002 20:03:24
From:	ed.fides.carlos@comcast.net (Carlos Family)
Update - Thanks to your and David T's advice I finally received my order
of the 3x Barlow lens and 4mm lens from Scopetronix.

I used the 9mm with the 3x on Jupiter and it's amazing.  We were
definitely able to see the details of Jupiter and it's moons.  We were
able to locate Saturn easily tonight Apr 16 since it was right below the
moon.  Now that was impressive.  Saturns rings were very clear and
pronounced. My kids did not have a problem seeing it.  My wife whose
been the skeptic was even impressed...

Then we turned scope onto the new moon.  Just using the 9mm we were able
to see the surface without any problem.  (ooohs and ahhhs!!!)

I'm really impressed by this ETX-70AT.  Money well spent specially when
my younger sound yelled out wow!!! when he saw the surface of the moon.
Also, definitely worth and highly recommend spending on the additional
lens. Downside with the scope - now I see why everyone was complianing
about the focus knob.  It was a pain to change.  It hard to reach, and
when I do the scope starts shaking.  It gave me a headache at times. I'm
thinking about getting the ScopeTronix Flexi-FocusT from Scopetronix. 
Has anyone used this or is there a more practical solution for this?

Another thing that was anoying a bit was the glare of the image.
Sometimes it worse when the object is bright.  For example Jupiter's
glare was worse than Saturn's.  I saw some filters for this scope, are
they worth the money? Or will I get the same result.

I did get the case just to make sure that I can protect my investments.
The #773 case is steardy but not at all what I thought it was.  It looks
a bit cheapy  and the foam inside was really cheezey but for $59 it
should do. I'm going to be hauling the scope around, so I'd rather have
something to hold it in properly rather that using the box.   It does
have some useful compartments for the lens including the pill and the
Autostar controller. Hope it lasts...

Anyway, thanks for all your advice and your site has been really
helpful.  I 'm really hooked into astronomy now.  Hopefully I've started
something with the kids.

Thanks again

Ed
Mike here: The Moon Filter is just like wearing sunglasses. I found it useful (see the Accessory Reviews - Filters page). The Scopetronix FlexiFocus is handy; see the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page. Or you can make one yourself (see the Telescope Tech Tips page).
Subject:	Meade ETX 70AT issue
Sent:	Monday, April 15, 2002 20:15:18
From:	ashtonm1@yahoo.com (Mike Ashton)
Hello, Love your site.  I recently bought a 70AT and like it alot. I'm
really new to telescopes. I thought the veiw would be a little larger,
but the quality seems high. After reading many stories on the model I
got I understand the size limits. Anyways...When I flip the telescope up
and down (not attached to the tripod...base and all) it makes a rattle
sound, like there is a screw rattling around in one of the sides that
holds the scope itself. It is not in the scope. It is on the left side
if you were looking into the eyepiece.  Everything seems to work
ok...but I wouldn't really know since I'm new. Do you think something is
wrong and I should take it back? Or do you think someone just dropped an
extra screw in when manufacturing? Thanks for your time.

Mike Ashton
Mike here: It could be almost anything from a piece of plastic or metal that has broken off to a small screw. Since any rattling sound is disconcerting and since the scope is new I'd exchange it.

And:

Thanks for your reply...I'm going to return it soon.

Subject:	re: Star Finder
Sent:	Sunday, April 14, 2002 21:15:41
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	hfreind@columbus.rr.com
(i think you mean the 494 Autostar?)("Starfinder" is/was the -particular-
model programmed for the 4504 or 114eq-dh4 German Polar Mounted scopes)

If your dealer cannot supply a 494 Autostar, consider buying
a 495 Autostar from www.ritzcamera.com  for $50.
(or a 497 from JCPenny.com for $69.99, if that sale is still on...)

good luck
--dick
Mike here: But the ETX-70AT ships with the #494. Unless he has the ETX-70EC, which is possible. Hence, my reason for asking for clarification.

And more:

hfreind@columbus.rr.com (Freind Harry) said:
> But what I am looking for is the "Right Angle Finder". The Autostar works
> great ONCE I GET ALIGNED. That requires me to find the right stars. If my
> dealer can't get it in soon, I will begin to look elsewhere.

Ahhh... what i usually call the "viewfinder" (a left-over term from 
camera days...)

good luck in the search...
--dick

End of 17 April update

Subject:	Star Finder
Sent:	Sunday, April 14, 2002 5:03:49
From:	hfreind@columbus.rr.com (Freind Harry)
I'm getting a bit frustrated in trying to obtain a starfinder for my
EXT70. Ordered one about 5 weeks ago through my local dealer and "it's
on back order". Any one know of an alternative to the one Meade
specifies?

Harry Freind
Mike here: Just to clarify, what do you mean by "star finder"?
Subject:	Re: Re: Re: Re: help - ETX70AT
Sent:	Friday, April 12, 2002 18:52:55
From:	ed.fides.carlos@comcast.net (Carlos Family)
That's exactly what my problem was. I was thinking that the scope is
like a camcorder that you can zoom in.  I read a couple of articles in
the Sky and Telescope site and they gave some tips which helped me
realize this yesterday.  So with this I went out again last night and
used the 9mm after spotting Jupiter with the 25mm.  Finally, I got to
see the bands of Jupiter clearly.  I showed it to the kids and they were
delighted.

Next stop Saturn...

Thanks
Ed
----- Original Message -----
> ... those two eyepieces are not "zoom" eyepieces.
> ...
> Mike Weasner

End of 14 April update

Subject:	focuser EXT 70AT
Sent:	Wednesday, April 10, 2002 13:39:47
From:	jbjacob@bellsouth.net (JIM JACOBSEN)
I have been through your site a few times looking for any information
about modifying a JMI focuser to work with a EXT 70AT. I have found in
the site where you have said that there is no focuser manufactured for
the 70AT but I was wondering if you have heard of anyone doing a
modification.
Jim Jacobsen
Mike here: Don't recall any mods for the ETX-60/70.

And:

I have written JMI about getting my hands on a broken unit in order to
see if it is possible to do a modification. If I get one, I will post
something on your site just to let others know somebody has tried.
Jim Jacobsen

Subject:	Re: help - ETX70AT
Sent:	Tuesday, April 9, 2002 21:19:48
From:	thomas.henry@magician.org (Thomas Henry)
Hello all,

This is in response to the Carlos family's and other's recent requests
for help with the ETX-70AT.  I'm no expert by any means, but here are
some ideas you might find helpful.

1. I always level the tripod first (and hence the base) with a bubble
level. This makes the telescope base a tangent plane to the earth at my
locale.

2. Next, I always use a bubble level to level the tube during Setup. I
ignore the altitude setting circle completely; a bubble level is far
more accurate.

3. Then (again during Setup) I set the time, accurate to 1 second or
better. I use a digital wristwatch for this.  I synchronize the watch to
my computer about once a week, and use the free government time-keeping
service to synchronize my computer every couple days.

4. I use Polaris to set the azimuth during Setup.

By following these four steps carefully, I have perfect Goto, every
night, even in the limited field of a 6mm eyepiece.

As far as observing goes:

1. The same questions keep popping up here repeatedly (especially with
regard to magnification). A good place to begin would be by scanning
Mike's site completely. Virtually every ETX-70AT question has been
answered here, so dig in!

2. With regard to focusing, Mike gave a great tip the other night that
most of us forget to mention to scope beginners: when trying to focus on
an extended object (a planet disk, nebula, etc.), concentrate on a
nearby star and focus that to a crisp image.  A pinpoint is best if
possible, but usually lousy seeing and the cheap optics of the ETX-70AT
make this impossible.  Just go for the crispest image you can.

3. About "seeing colors": this is a brain-eye thing and takes practice.
For example, it took my girlfriend months to train herself to see the
vivid gold and blue colors of Albireo.  Her eyes are fine---she just
needed to get her brain to process the data properly.  This is mostly a
matter of experience and practice.

4. With regard to higher powers and Barlows: Meade knew what they were
doing when they supplied 25mm and 9mm eyepieces. I have observed many,
many dozens of galaxies, globulars, open clusters and doubles with these
alone, getting nice, sharp and rewarding images.  If the seeing permits,
I ocassionally go to a 6mm (about 60X).  I never use the 2X Barlow for
anything other than tight doubles. In this case, I'm willing to
sacrifice crispness to get the split.  So, forget about
magnification---concentrate instead on clear images.

5. And finally, with regard to objects: everyone's always talking about
Jupiter and Saturn.  But the ETX-70AT with its short focal length really
isn't suited to doing a good job on these.  May I suggest double stars
instead?   My log book is filled with hundreds of double star
observations, some quite challenging.  These are tremendous fun,
rewarding, and often do-able on nights with poor transparency or bad sky
glow---they'll get you outside on nights you might have given up on
otherwise.  But if you're really committed to the planets, why not try
Uranus and Neptune, or the minor planets?  Draw sketches of what you see
over the course of a week or two and chart the progress.  This gave me
many wonderful nights of fun plotting their orbits back in the autumn
when they (Uranus, Neptune and Vesta) were up; I'm looking forward to
their return in a month or two.

I hope this gives the new users who wrote in recently some ideas on how
to have even more fun with the ETX-70AT.  There really are a zillion fun
things you can do with this scope, but seeing images like you would in a
photograph isn't one of them.

Best wishes,

Thomas Henry

Subject:	Re: help - ETX70AT
Sent:	Tuesday, April 9, 2002 17:46:39
From:	ed.fides.carlos@comcast.net (Carlos Family)
Thanks for the info.  I did read this.  I think you may be right in
expecting too much.  But that's OK as long as I did not buy a bad scope.
I tried using it terrestial, focus seems to work.  Someone responded on
my question as well and suggested the barlow lens.  I'll give that a
try.

Ed
----- Original Message -----
From: 
> You might also want to read through my ETX-70AT comments (linked from the
> top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page.  Also, there are
> some User Observations you might want to read though.
>
> Mike Weasner

And:

i did forget to mention that i saw some gray spots when looking at
jupiter.  i wasn't sure if it was dirt or what but as i moved the scope
it seems to have stayed in the same place.  any ideas on what they were?

thanks again
ed
Mike here: Probably some dust on the eyepiece, if they were spots not bands.

And more:

We went out again last night.  First time in awhile that the sky was
clear in the east.  I focused the scope (25mm) in a way that I can see
Jupiter in a wide range view, see other stars around it.  Jupiter was a
very bright object no details except it was really bright and looks like
a very big star using the naked eye.  However, there were three other
very small but bright objects lined up next to it.  They're almost in a
perfect row.  Would these be the moons of Jupiter or are they different
(stars)?

Also, this may sound like a stupid question but I'll ask it anyway. I
tried to focus in my 9mm into Jupiter.  I was able to get the same view
that I got above.  When I tried to zoom in, Jupiter became really
prominent but blurry. At the extreme end of the zoom the whole view is
on Jupiter but it was really fuzzy.  Somewhere in between it's a small
ball with I think some details.  I still can't make out the details but
I thought I did see some strands.  Now for the question, how far do I
zoom in from the view of the 25mm which shows Jupiter as a bright object
to see real details?  I'm afraid that I'm seeing things and do not know
when to stop zooming in.

My barlow lens are on the way can't wait for them to come in.
Thanks
Ed
Mike here: Yes, those were some moons of jupiter. As to the eyepieces and magnification, those two eyepieces are not "zoom" eyepieces. With the 9mm, when in proper focus objects will appear about 3 times larger than they did with the 25mm eyepiece. However, with the ETX-70AT that is still not a lot of magnification.
Subject:	60 etx
Sent:	Tuesday, April 9, 2002 15:37:11
From:	JohnF@attcanada.ca (John Fournier)
i have a problem with my focusing shaft and can't find the answer on
your site-when i turn the focuser clockwise it moves the lens back like
it should- whaen i turn the knob counter clockwise, the shaft moves out-
i have to push on the shaft to move the lens tube????
please help
thank you
And:
i think i found the problem with my focus shaft-the knob got loose as i
was trying to fit a longer gripper and when i retightened it -the knob
was not pushed right to the end of the shaft so there was too much play
in it. i am epoxying a shaft to the end of the knob to give a better
focus
thanks mike for a great site

End of 11 April update

Subject:	help - ETX70AT
Sent:	Monday, April 8, 2002 18:53:10
From:	ed.fides.carlos@comcast.net (Carlos Family)
I found you site via google and I'm glad that someone is looking at ETX
products.

If you don't mind me asking a few things.  I just bought the ETX70AT
model for myself and my kids.  We've had it for a couple of weeks and
we've tried it three times.  I'm not an astronomer so I really have no
idea on where things are but after reading some books and looking at the
Starry Night software that came with the scope I figured we could find
Jupiter easily.  So we tried.  There's this bright star/planet towards
the W/NW (from New Jersey).  When I focus the scope into it all we see
is a white ball/disc.  I would have figured I would have seen some color
but it was all white.  I tried focusing but the focus only made the view
smaller.  I know I'm doing something wrong but I cannot figure out what.
 I used both the 25mm and 9mm lense but neither one seems to work.  I
have to say it's been really cold and windy lately so I wonder if it has
something to do with it.

The autostar was hard to use because we have high trees.  So I tried
manually.  In anycase, do you have any recommendations or suggestions.
Am I expecting too much or am I getting what I'm suppose to be getting. 
Is Jupiter really visible through this scope with colors?

The manual also say not to clean the lense but when the scope came in it
had a smear or finger print on the lense.  Should I clean it or leave it
alone as the manual says?  If I can what can I use to clean it?

Thanks again.  I hope you could help.  I'd really like my kids to get
into astronomy.  I know I would have loved it if I grew up with it.

Ed
Mike here: Welcome aboard! Jupiter is about straight up during the early evening hours. It is very bright. Through the ETX-70AT it will appear as a small white disk but you should be able to see a couple of cloud bands along with up to four of the larger moons. You may be expecting too much for this small, short focal length telescope. If stars (or Jupiter's moons) appear as pinpoints then Jupiter will be in focus. The ETX-70AT makes an excellent wide field telescope but magnification is limited due to its short focal length. For questions on the Autostar, see the Autostar Information page on the ETX Site. For info on cleaning, see the Buyer/New User Tips page. You might also want to read through my ETX-70AT comments (linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page. Also, there are some User Observations you might want to read though.
Subject:	re: wide view plossl
Sent:	Friday, April 5, 2002 4:52:26
From:	tnjwilbur@yahoo.com (Ted Wilbur)
To:	radiodave4@juno.com
This may not be exactly what you're after but I thought I'd throw it out
there.  I have an ETX70 and I also wanted a wider view eyepiece.  I
purchased and love the Scopetronix 40mm ST Plossl.  I often do quick and
dirty alignments and get right to viewing. When using the extra low
power 40mm for this purpose, I have yet to have an alignment star that
didn't show up somewhere in the field of view.

As Mike mentioned, vignetting can be an issue if you're too close to the
eyepiece.  I usually hold my eye a good 1/2 inch away to eliminate this
issue. Focus is not a problem, crisp and clear.

Using the A squared + B squared = C squared length of hypotenuse formula
I came up with the following:

On the 70, the 40mm eyepiece fits Procyon and Gomeisa (Beta Canis
Minoris) exactly at opposite edges of the eyepiece.  If I did my math
right, the diameter of the field of view is 3 degrees arc, 4 min arc,
15.627 sec arc, pretty wide!

Subject:	Wide view PlÝssl respose-ETX-70
Sent:	Thursday, April 4, 2002 22:58:12
From:	SonomaPilot@mac.com ()
I have a Televue 32mm that I use for both my ETX-70 and 90RA, and it
works great for me. I have not tried it with a barlow, so I won't
comment on that. This was my first Televue product, and any other
eyepieces that I purchase will be from them ! I LOVE IT !!! I hope to
one day buy one of their refractors (TV-101).
Hope this helps,
 Mike Goddard

Subject:	re: ETX-60 (was: newsgroups)
Sent:	Thursday, April 4, 2002 22:50:22
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	steinyd@bellatlantic.net
regarding focusing: The ETX70 requires over 50 "twists" of the fcous knob
to go from end to end... if that still doesn't do it, try pulling the 
eyepiece out a little and clamp it with the screw.  That extra 1/4 inch
(5 mm) might do it.
Another trick is to focus on something -close-, then something a chunk
further away, then further.. each time assessing the quality of image
and how much twisting you have to do.  (close=100', middle=1000',
further=3 miles...)

Controllers: -any- of the 495/497 will operate an ETX60 and be upgradable.

"News"groups:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/meadeetx-60/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/etxastro/
and 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/meadeetxowners/

are my faves for that model (and Mike's site)

have fun
--dick
And:
Thank youf or the reply.   I have actually managed to be a bit more
patient and have figured out the focusing issues.  As you suggested, I
got up early the next morning and used the moon to focus.  Once I got
used to the focus adjustment, that next night I did quite a bit better -
able to focus on Jupiter and other constellations.

Being the first time that I'm using a telescope, I wasn't sure what to
expect.  However, I'm already finding myself saying, "there has got to
be more". Seeing Jupiter and other planets as brightly lit 'spots' is
exciting only to a point.

So I'm already considering listing the ETX-60 on ebay and moving onward
and upward (no pun intended).  Before I set my expectations too high and
spend money on something that might not get me what I'm anticipating,
could you help me to understand how much better (closer, colorful, etc.)
things will be if I chose a bigger scope.  How about the ETX-105EC or
ETX-125EC?  Should I consider another brand that will get me more for my
money?

Any suggestions or insight would be very much appreciated.  Obviously
its difficult for a newcomer to make such decisions as the scopes can't
be rented or borrowed for comparison.

Regards,

David Steinman
Mike here: The short focal length of the ETX-60AT (350mm) is why objects don't appear as large as you expect. If you go with a longer focal length telescope, you MAY get closer to your expectations. Read through the User Observations and look at the photographs on the ETX Site (although don't expect that the photos will show exactly what you'll see). Take a look at my ETX-70AT comments (linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page. There are some comparison photos there.

And:

David Steinman wrote:

> Once I got used to the focus adjustment, that next night I did quite a bit
> better - able to focus on Jupiter and other constellations.

Great! ... any new tool/instrument requires some practice before what -later-
appears "obvious" becomes clear.. or at least focused.

> However, I'm already finding myself saying, "there has got to be more".
Uh, oh... hide your wallet!  The "aperture envvy" bug is nibbling at you...

> Seeing Jupiter and other planets as brightly lit 'spots' is 
> exciting only to a point.
The ETX60 is a bit on the small side for detail views of the planets...
but it's a very  decent scope for wide-angle view of starfields and a
lot of extended objects.
Mike and i both started star-gazing with cheap 90mm(3-inch) reflectors.
The Meade DS-114, 4504 or 114eq-dh4 (all 4.25 inch) exceed that.
But they're still not going to deliver -to your eye- the images on the 60's
box. (to a camera, yes, with effort)

> So I'm already considering listing the ETX-60 on ebay and moving onward
> and upward (no pun intended).  Before I set my expectations too high and
> spend money on something that might not get me what I'm anticipating,
> could you help me to understand how much better (closer, colorful, etc.)
> things will be if I chose a bigger scope.  How about the ETX-105EC or
> ETX-125EC?  Should I consider another brand that will get me more for my
> money?

No matter what scope(s) you acquire, there's -always- a bigger and/or
better one (NASA won't sell you Hubble (yet), but it's being surpasssed
for some tasks by the 8-meter scopes in Hawaii and Chile).

Unless you can define your goals -now-, it's almost impossible to choose
"the perfect scope"... cost/portability/desires/tecchniques all factor in.
Do you require GoTo?  Are you willing to home-build mounts or components?
Do you want to see small things magnified large (planet work)? 
Or would you prefer large things made visible (wide-angle deep sky)?
Each question leads you to (perhaps) entirely different types of scopes.
(if this were transportation, it'd be like choosing between roller blades,
scooters, bicycles, sedan, sports car, minivan, dump truck.. each does 
something -far- better than all the rest, but cannot do something the others
can)(with range of prices to match... many bicycles cost more than what 
i paid for my car)
 
> Any suggestions or insight would be very much appreciated.  Obviously
> its difficult for a newcomer to make such decisions as the scopes can't
> be rented or borrowed for comparison.

Ahhh... but you CAN!  There's probably an astronomy club within reasonable
 distance of where you live... they have star parties where folks bring a wide
 variety of scopes and components.
You're welcome to wander from scope to scope and chat about what/how/why.
There are -massive- star parties (Texas, New York, Florida, California)
where hundreds of the "clan" gather...   but even small-to-middling are 
listed in Sky & Telescope, and can be found on the web.

Even here in the middle of light-(and cloud)-polluted Seattle there are
two monthly public viewing nights (well, same night, two locations)...
weather permitting.

There are even Bed & Breakfasts in Arizona and elsewhere which have a number
of scopes for their guests to use... 

it's a BIG hobby... you've only got the universe to discover...
there's probably not a single scope that might meet all of your needs.
Many of us have either bought/sold a sequence of scopes, or have accumulated
them to have a choice depending upon the need of the moment.  Some of us
are lucky enough to have chosen (or lucked into) one scope which meets 90%
of what we like to do (the ETX90 fits me, an ETX125 would provide better
views, but at the loss of some portability).  Sometimes other factors intrude.

The ETX60 won't bring much on eBay, i suspect, since they were sold new
for $100 last year... you might keep it as a quick-grab scope, or as a
pointer to where to look if you pick up a non-computerized style.
(my ET90 is being a -very- handy accessory to my new LX200gps... it knows
where to go, and help me figure out where the LX200 -should- be going)

have fun
--dick

End of 8 April update

Subject:	wide view plossl
Sent:	Wednesday, April 3, 2002 7:46:33
From:	radiodave4@juno.com (David A Tinney)
just have a question for ya......i need a wide view eyepiece for my
etx60at. i have a few already for magnification and someone told me i
can go with the orion sirius 40 or32mm wide angle is that ok to use with
a meade telescope?  i know meade says in there catalog that you should
only use there products but im thinking i can use
this.......yeah!....hope so........whats your input?......i just want to
get a little more view than the MA25mm that comes with meade.......as
long as its a 1.25 barrel which it is i think this will work with the
sirius plossl
 thanks again dave!
Mike here: There can be compatibility issues with some eyepieces, especially long ones or very wide angle ones. The problem can be vignetting (cutting off the image at the field's edge) or not reaching a focus. Off the top of my head I don't recall any ETX-60 or -70 users commenting on WA EPs. Perhaps someone has some direct experience.
Subject:	ETX 60
Sent:	Monday, April 1, 2002 19:22:45
From:	leonardcastro2000@yahoo.com (Leonard Castro)
I just bought an ETX 60 and I can't get it to work. When I try an easy
align with Sirius as the first star it just points straight up and the
motor keeps running. I then have to just turn it off. Could it be the
scope or the Autostar? I bought it at Service Merchandise for $30 but it
seems to be ok except for the declination marking is off about 35
degrees (any ideas on a fix for that?). Also, do you think Meade will
recognize the warranty?
Please respond, Leonard.
Mike here: See the FAQ for info on the DEC scale. As the alignment, have you checked ALL the settings in the Autostar (date/time/location/daylight savings/telescope model/mounting mode)? Are you setting the telescope up in the proper HOME position? See the Autostar Information page for more info on alignments. Right now I don't know if warranty work is required but if the telescope is new it should be honored.

And:

Mike, your website is fantastic!
Thanks for the DEC tip. Also, I connected a 12 volt DC 400mA adapter and
now it works fine. I guess batteries cause most slewing problems. Now I
just need to know how to connect it to my car battery for those beach
trips.
Thanks again, Leonard. 

Subject:	Newsgroups?
Sent:	Sunday, March 31, 2002 21:02:56
From:	steinyd@bellatlantic.net (David Steinman)
Thank you for your site!  I received a Meade ETX-60AT as a gift this
weekend and can see an upgrade in my not too distant future.  I've found
answers to questions and preliminary 'getting started' suggestions. Now,
if we can have one night without clouds I might actually get to use the
scope! ;-)

I have a couple of questions though that I hope you could answer for me.
First is that I can't seem to find directions on the site pointing me to
the entry point or manner to sign up for any of the discussion groups.
How are these handled?

Second, I want to upgrade the Autostar (#494) that came with the
ETX-60AT.  I would like to do this since it seems that starting with the
next model and up, they are firmware upgradeable to accept updated
celestial and satellite information.  Do you know which Autostar models
are compatible with the 60AT?  Is the 497?

I think I'm going to make my first purchases a 3x Barlow eyepiece, the
Digit-T adapter for my digital camera, the Astrofinder software/cable
kit and the 882 tripod.  If you don't agree with these items I would
greatly appreciate your feedback.

Thank you again for the information you are providing!
 
Regards,
 
David Steinman
Mike here: There are no discussion groups sponsored at my ETX Site. Email is how things are currently handled. However, there are discussion groups that discuss the ETX and Autostar. See the Buyer/New User Tips page for info on this. And yes, the #497 will talk to the ETX-60AT. To upgrade it you'll need the #505 cable from Meade or others or make one yourself. You may or may not like the 3X Barlow Lens; just be aware of the maximum magnification for your telescope (see the FAQ if you are unsure what this is).

And:

Thanks for your response.  I hope you might help me one more time.  I
took the telescope outside for the first time tonight.  I purchased a
Meade 884 tripod.  Forgetting about the Autostar for a moment.  No
matter what object I pointed the telescope at with either the 25mm or
9mm eyepieces, every object seemed perfectly round and no matter how
hard I tried to focus, never seemed clear or provided any color of any
kind.  Everything was washed out 'grey'.  Tonight is a perfectly clear
night, no haze. I was standing on the deck behind my home, no lights on
and turned the lights off in the house as well.  I keep looking at pics
on the web and know I should be seeing more and more clearly.

Am I doing something wrong? Might there be something wrong with the
telescope? I just received it as a gift (ETX-60AT).  I pointed it at
very large objects in the sky and some small.  Same results.

Help keep me from getting frustrated and hanging it up before I even
start! I know there is more to this.

Thank you in advance!

David Steinman
Mike here: It sounds like you are not turning the focus knob sufficiently to reach focus. Stars will appear as pinpoints when in focus. Jupiter will appear as a small round disk.

And:

It sounds quite simple enough but I am turning the focus knob completely
in each direction.  At this hour, the moon is appearing.  I am trying to
focus on it since it's the closest and brightest object.  I cannot bring
it in focus.  It sounds like there must be something wrong with the
scope.
Mike here: Since you have turned the knob fully in both directions without reaching a focus, there could be something wrong. When you turn the knob can you see the objective end of the telescope tube moving in and out?

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