Last updated: 30 April 2002
This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX and DS models. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	DEC scale adjusting
Sent:	Tuesday, April 30, 2002 19:26:15
From: (Carlos Family)
I'm trying to adjust the DEC to set it to 0 when the tube is at level. 
The FAQ say to unlock the DEC lock.  I tried to do this but I can't seem
to loosen it up.  Is it suppose to be that tight?  I'm afraid that I'm
loosening up the wrong one. Is it the direct opposite of the Vertical

Mike here: See the FAQ page for this. And yes, it is the side that had the numbers on the scale (opposite the DEC lock). I used a rubber "jar lid" opener to loosen mine.
Subject:	Re:  Quick question
Sent:	Tuesday, April 30, 2002 19:07:37
From: (Carey Mulvihill)
Many thanks for the speedy reply (further down this page).  After
talking with the Discovery story here in Baton Rouge, they helped make
up my mind for me.  As a special promotion for the ETX-105 they are
offering a free tripod with the purchase of an ETX-105.  I asked if it
was the deluxe field tripod and was told it was.  So the free tripod
offsets the $200 price difference between the scopes, as I was planning
to purchase the tripod anyway.  Just passing that on in case anyone else
is interested in this scope.

I'm also going to try to see if I can order the scope with the optional
UHTC group coatings.  I'm not sure if it's worth the extra $75, but
Meade claims they provide a 20% increase in light transmission.

I currently own a DS2114ATS (received as a gift a few months ago), but
have had lots of problems with it and am returning it to the Discovery
Channel Store.  I suspect it was a returned unit and was just reboxed
and sold to me as new (secondary mirror scratched and holder modified,
scratches on the tube, Loctite on the main base mounting bolt wasn't
holding which caused the scope to stop when slewing in the CW direction,
telescope seriously out of columniation, among a few other things).

I've also had some minor problems with Meade customer support (after
requesting a new secondary mirror I received a box with a 4.5" primary
mirror, a .96" eyepiece, a broken pencil, and a chewed up piece of secondary mirror was in the box), but your site in a major way
is influencing me to stay with Meade.  Maybe they should give you a
commission on ETX sales.

I plan to join your site and make a donation for your fine work.  Keep
up the good work.  Thanks.

Carey Mulvihill
Mike here: You'll enjoy the ETX-105EC! Keep us posted. And the UHTC coating claim by Meade is accurate (see the Dr. Sherrod's report on the Meade Announcements page).
Subject:	Firefighter lost about telescopes!
Sent:	Tuesday, April 30, 2002 17:30:34
I'm looking to purchase a meade telescope for me and my 8 year old son.
We are new to astronomy , but are looking forward to some backyard fun.
My son has an intrest in the night sky .So i want to get a scope that
will last and show more than the moon. The models im looking at are:
ETX-90EC , LXD55 also ETX-70AT.So if you find the time to write back  i
would appreciate it very much.
Mike here: The ETX-70AT and ETX-90EC make fine starter telescopes. The ETX-70AT is limited to small magnifications (meaning very little details on the planets) but is a superb wide field instrument when used from dark skies. The ETX-90EC is a nice all-around telescope, with good views of the Moon, planets, nebula, clusters, galaxies. I have no experience with the LXD telescopes. However, no matter which telescope you get be certain that your expectations are inline with its capabilities.
Subject:	Eyepieces vs. zoom lenses - Confused
Sent:	Monday, April 29, 2002 21:20:34
From: (Hank)
Hey...nice website.  I have been looking over some of the material
reviewed here and your comments which have been extremely useful. 
However I am perplexed over which zoom to buy.

I own an ETX125EC and decided to buy a zoom after reading some of the
comments.  Here is my question, after talking to three different
telescope shops, they all tell me different things about the zoom, so is
it a worthwhile piece?  Should I go ahead and buy discreet eyepieces for
the best quality?  I looked at the Meade 8-24 and the Vixen.  Basically
the same price.  If I want to look at planets and some deep sky
galaxies, will I be happier with a Super Plossl 9.7?  I am not
interested in the convenience of the zoom if I am loosing quality.  Is
the Meade zoom a better piece?

There is no local club to try out some pieces on my own.  Please help!!
I've got $180 to spend on some eyepieces and want to get something

Hank B.
Mike here: I have no experience with zoom eyepieces. They do sacrifice some quality over eyepieces of fixed focal lengths. But they also provide a lot of convenience and lower cost per millimeter(s). So that's the tradeoff you make. The Super Plossl 9.7mm from Meade has short eye relief if that matters to you.
Subject:	Re: Declination
Sent:	Sunday, April 28, 2002 18:45:53
From: (richard seymour)
(actually: re Sunrise/sunsest/local noon)
> I want to be able to calculate  sunrise sunset and noon time
> every where

The book i use for this type of calculation is Peter Duffett-Smith's
"Practical Astronomy with your Calculator"
Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0-521-28411-2

Your specific question is covered on pages 78 through 89.

The -truly- classic reference are books by Jean Meeus
(Astonomical Formulae for Calculators  and newer),
but they're more expensive.

good luck

Subject:	FoV
Sent:	Sunday, April 28, 2002 16:41:58
From: (Robert Eyre)
I've read a observations report and contained within it has: 03.42 
Aurora livening up some more after a short recession. Pulsating rays
jumping around all over the lower islands, and the glow spreading more
generally, a good 90deg+ FOV.

What is this FOV ?

I'm a rookie at this game ...... 
regards Bob 
Mike here: FOV = Field of View
End of 30 April update

Subject:	SAC database
Sent:	Saturday, April 27, 2002 3:42:58
From: (Steve Coe)
I have been looking over your excellent website.  I am planning to
purchase a 5 inch refractor and the LXD 55 system, which includes the
Autostar system and I am certain that some of the information on your
site will become very valuable once I have that telescope.

I noticed that you have several tours for the Autostar available and I
would like to turn your group onto the Saguaro Astronomy Club database. 
Members of SAC have compiled a database of over 10,000 deep sky objects
and they are available on the club website, at the address at the end of
this email.  The archive contains lots of text files that provide data
on a variety of astronomical objects of all types.  I hope that you will
find this free resource useful.

Thanks for your time and effort;
Steve Coe
Author:  Deep Sky Observing--The Astronomical Tourist
Saguaro Astronomy Club web site:

Subject:	Quick question
Sent:	Friday, April 26, 2002 9:53:50
From: (Carey Mulvihill)
I know you are busy as heck, but I have a question for you.  I'm
interested in either the Meade ETX90EC or ETX105EC as they're the only
ETX's I can afford.  I know they are both small aperture scopes, so many
deep sky objects are basically out for both scopes.  I'm looking for a
portable scope that I can bring around with me on some trips I take and
these seem to meet the bill.  At this time they will be my only scope
with a larger dob on the way some time in the future.

From what I can tell by reading reviews, comments, ect., the 105
obviously has 15mm more aperture.  I think it comes standard with a
right angle finder scope.  From user comments it has a sturdier mount
and smoother drive system (which are both items I think you have fixes
for on your excellent website, GREAT JOB BTW).

My question is that since Meade lowered the price on the 90 to $495, is
the 105 actually worth the extra $200?  Any advice you can give will be
appreciated.  Thanks.

Carey Mulvihill
Mike here: The ETX-105EC is a fine instrument but so is the ETX-90. If you really want to save and don't feel the need for a GOTO system, consider the ETX-90RA (while they last at many dealers). Or you can buy the -90EC today and the Autostar in the future (thereby saving $100 now). Having the Autostar will enhance your enjoyment but so will learning the sky as amateur and professional astronomers have done for centuries. As far as observing goes, both present similar views, with the edge going slightly to the ETX-105EC, but at the expense of portability. So, perhaps you need to decide how much portability you need and how much you are willing to sacrifice. If you are taking the ETX backpacking, the ETX-90 is the way to go. If you are driving everywhere, then the ETX-105 may be the better choice.
Subject:	...and people ask me why I drink
Sent:	Thursday, April 25, 2002 15:38:51
Update:  After getting ETX #3 I felt a little nervous about Q/C at Meade
and decided to have Dr. Clay give my scope a once-over...oh ok (twist my
arm) Supercharge it too!!!

To my horror the same flip mirror problem so evident in scope#2 reared
its ugly head on #3 Dr. Clay delivered the bad news but offered to make
it right instead of going through the hassle and questionable Meade
people. Then to add insult to injury my Autostar had a PROC TRAP2 error
upon startup. (It had been acting funny.) DR Clay informed me its "a bad
thing" After spending a few hours squatting in the corner of the room
while rocking and sucking my thumb I called Meade and they are sending
me a new handbox. Dr. Clay did get my mirror reglued and just wrote me
that the scope  performing like a champ (Just the scope) I can't wait
till it gets home safe and sound and I can hug it and tell it I will
never send it away again! I am looking forward to a long and pleasurable
relationship now that this nightmare is over.

Subject:	#124 & #126 Barlows
Sent:	Thursday, April 25, 2002 13:56:01
From: (Jose Manuel Fedriani)
I own an ETX-125EC and I'm looking for a barlow lens. Meade sells, as
you know, the #126 shorty barlow for ETXs, but now there is a new barlow
(#124). It seems to be the same product, but I'm not sure. What do you
think about it?

Mike here: I have no experience with the #124, only the #126 (which works fine on the ETX-125EC). The #124 is really for the ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT and has been available for some time.
Subject:	Mildew inside the lens
Sent:	Thursday, April 25, 2002 5:50:15
From: (Michel) [this is a bad email address]
I recently bought a used  ETX 90-EC which had been stored in a damp
basement.  Unfortunately, there are some spots of mildew on the inside
of the lens. My observations have been pretty good. Can I or should I do
anything about these mildew spots?
Mike here: Personally I think I would send it to Clay Sherrod or Meade for cleaning and tune-up (hard to say what else might be wrong from that environment). If you want to remove the corrector lens, make an alignment mark on the outside across the side of the ring and tube so that when you reattach it you can arrive at the same position. Use caution near the secondary mirror (don't knock it off). Or, if things are not too bad, leave well enough alone for now.
Subject:	45 Erecting Prisms
Sent:	Thursday, April 25, 2002 5:50:11
From: (Michel) [this is a bad email address]
I am right-eyed and at times have difficulty seeing into my 9mm eyepeice
(with my ETX 90EC) because the finder scope (90 degree) gets in the way.
Can I use the 45 Erecting Prism with my eye pieces for astronomical,
rather than terrestrial observations? Thanks for your advice.

PS: I'm looking forward to my new book from amazon. Congratulations!
Mike here: Yes, you can use it. On my ETX-90RA I keep a right-angle wide field adapter always attached so that I can easily switch between two different, already mounted, eyepieces. You can do the same thing with the 45-degree erecting prism.
Subject:	Re: Declination
Sent:	Wednesday, April 24, 2002 21:24:00
From: (salireza sajedi)
Thanks for your fast reply
I want to be able to calculate  sunrise sunset and noon time every where
and for this I shoud know real time mean time diference and declination
angle in every day of year one of the diagram is an especial cosine type
another is sine cosine type I think .
I need the exact diagrams.
Best Regards
S Alireza Sajedi
Mike here: This exceeds the scope of my telescope web site, and a short answer. You should refer to a book on astronomy or the web. You'll have to search for it as, off the top of my head, I don't recall where I've seen it.
End of 27 April update

Subject:	how can I find rotation of lenses
Sent:	Wednesday, April 24, 2002 16:29:39
I have a meade monochromatic 9mm eyepiece that I dropped and the plastic
retainer came out. I found two lenses and a spacer how can I find out
the rotation of these pieces. One lens is a dual element and is convex
on one end and flat on the other. The other lens is smaller and has a
more pronounced convex surface. How can I find out the order and
direction of these? Any suggestions or help would be appreciated.
Mike here: See the article "Eyepiece Designs" on the Telescope Tech Tips page; it should help.
Subject:	Declination?
Sent:	Wednesday, April 24, 2002 0:47:41
From: (salireza sajedi)
I need more information about angle declination and relative diagram
would you please hint me.

Best Regards

S Alireza Sajedi
Mike here: Can you be more specific about your question? Do you mean you don't understand what "declination" is? Do you have a telescope and its manual?
Subject:	June S&T
Sent:	Tuesday, April 23, 2002 18:52:30
From: (Ted Wilbur)
"...your greatest online asset is Mike Weasner's Mighty ETX Site" - June
2002 Sky & Telescope

Congratulations on the prominent site and book reference Mike!  This
recognition is very well deserved and a great accomplishment.  Watch
out, here come more emails...  ;)

Sent:	Tuesday, April 23, 2002 11:35:26
Can you get a solar prominence filter for the ETX125....?
Also, what bino-viewer and eyepieces work best with the 125.  I am
considering the Tele-Vue model binovue.
John Sinnar
Bend, Oregon can take the person out of the desert but you cannot take the
desert out of the person....from the edge of paradise.......
Mike here: See the New H-alpha Solar Filter mentioned on the Accessory Reviews - Filters page. See the Binocular Viewer on the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page.
Subject:	ETX 90 EC Servicing
Sent:	Monday, April 22, 2002 23:11:03
From: (Linda Jennings)
First of all please let me complement you on such an informative web
site. I have enjoyed the articles and found the information very useful.

I have recently purchased a sceond hand ETX 90 EC telescope, which I
must be honest, is fantastic. However, like everyone it seems, I am
experiencing slipage in the RA and Dec positions. I have read with
interest the articles addressing this problem, but feel that I do not
possess the necessary skills to attempt my own servicing, as I
obiviously do not wish to cause further damage. I have seen adverts by
companies within the US that carry out such servicing, but I wondered if
you have ever come across any in the UK?

If you have any information on such companies or any other suggeations I
would be very grateful.

Yours sincerely,

Duncan Cassidy.
Mike here: I haven't come across any non-dealer related servicing. But you can try your local dealers; they may have some resources.
Subject:	Sky and Telescope, seated observing
Sent:	Monday, April 22, 2002 22:24:04
From: (Thomas Brown)
Congratulations for getting two mentions in the June Sky and Telescope
[p. 60, and p. 68] to quote: "If you have an ETX or another
Autostar-controlled model, your greatest asset is Mike Weasner's Mighty
ETX Site..." Something we have known for years!

Incidentally I have just made what may be the best, cheapest investment
for my scope.  A cheap [$9.95] foldable bar stool.  This came about
because one of my neighbors is a "security light" junkie, who recently
installed a new set of bright lights which shine all night.  A gentle
request that he re direct one of the lights so that it doesn't shine
directly into the area of my yard which I used for observation resulted
in a "my family's security is more important than THAT stuff" type of
response. Rational conversation is hardly possible under that
circumstance.  I have found, however, that by observing from a seated
position with the tripod at its lowest level, some bushes actually
provide enough shade to block the worst of the lights. Hardly a perfect
result, but enough to allow me some observations [even the brightest
galaxies M 81 and 82 were visible.

Anyway, I bought a simple $9.95 bar stool, and, although not adjustable
[so that if the scope is pointed near the zenith I have to bend over] I
was surprised to find how much more stable observing is from the seated
position.  I guess I should have known this before, but long term views
of objects like Jupiter and the Moon are possible without the image
bouncing around and without much exhaustion.  A fundamental accessory, I
should have tried years ago!

Once again, congatulations about the two mentions in Sky and Telescope.

Tom Brown

Subject:	what I did to fix my drive
Sent:	Monday, April 22, 2002 17:52:53
From: (Louis Mazzella)
I was having a what I thought was problem with the drive on my RA. I
loosened and retightened the bolt from the base into the top. Then I
mechanically adjusted the drive and gearbox by tapping it with a screw
driver. This seemed to correct my problem

Louis Mazzella

Subject:	The Birds
Sent:	Monday, April 22, 2002 17:06:29
From: (Douglas+G+Canard++)
Just recently experienced a problem which led to a solution{so far}.

Today while doing some solar viewing and taking advantage of a clear sky
after many days of clouds here in Arkansas I went inside for a break and
came out  a few minutes later to find that an unknown avian perpetrator
had left a "calling card"on my ETX.Ah the humanity{avianity?},the
audacity,the anger.

"OK which one of you birbbrains did this?"I screamed at a tree full of
sparrows trying to look innocent and nonchalant.

"I have a pellet gun and a markmanship ribbon!"
I threatened.
These birds were obviously hardened delinquents since they didn"t so
much as ruffle a feather after being lambasted and threatened with deeds
"What to do about these happy little crappers?"I pondered.
Then my eyes fell upon my cat while it was lazing in the sun.
"Aha,"I said as the light bulb appeared over my head.
Off to the local thrift shop I went after remembering something I saw at
last visit. And there it still was gathering dust,a ceramic cat about a
foot tall in stature. I put it on a stool next to my tripod.
Will it work?So far it has{no more calling cards yet}.But these birds
can be very clever and determined as evidenced by that great movie by
Hitchcock.They may catch on someday.

Now if I can only get the cat to settle done and quite growling at my
latest yard ornament......

PS- Saw your website mentioned on page 60 of the June 2002 issue of Sky
and Telescope magazine.Congrats!

Subject:	Book
Sent:	Monday, April 22, 2002 15:52:45
From: (Shane Allen)
Looking foward to getting my hand on your book as I am buying an ETX in
the very near future.  Is there anywhere I can buy one in Australia, or
would I have to order via US or UK sites?

Excellent site!

Shane Allen
Colour Specialist
Mike here: I've received a report that has it.
Subject:	Leaking Batteries
Sent:	Monday, April 22, 2002 15:09:15
Yesterday I noticed that my 125 was running slowly so I changed the
batteries. But when I pulled it from the tripod I saw that 2 or 3 of the
batteries were leaking. They were in the correct way. What could cause
this to happen? They were brand new DuraCells.

Thanks Mike

Joe Kazup
San Diego, CA

BTW: I gave up on the Dimage 7 and went and got a CoolPix 995 , it seems
to be working much better. The only problem I have is that I can find
the remote release cable so I am having to use the self timmer. Got any
ideas where I could find it?
Mike here: Could be moisture or perhaps just a bad battery. As to the cable, I suspect any Nikon dealer, local or mail order, should be able to get it. I got mine from a local dealer in Torrance, CA.
Subject:	Meade Series 4000 Barlow Lens, 18mm eyepiece
Sent:	Monday, April 22, 2002 9:14:31
I write with regards to my query about the Meade series 4000
aprochromatic 2x barlow. I spoke to a local Meade dealer at the weekend,
he said he'd find out all he could and call me today - which he's just
done. Apparently the series 4000 barlow does not work in the ETX's, it's
designed for use in refractors or LX's....this is all he could tell me
but I thought i'd drop you a line as, obviously, everyone tries to get
the best out of there scope and, if you're using series 4000 eyepieces,
it would seem a logical step to combine them with the corresponding
Barlow.  On none of the websites I have visited does it mention that
it's not compatible with the ETX so if anyone's thinking about buying
it, treat yourself to a new eyepiece (or the #126 short focus) instead.

Also, I'd just like to mention that are advertising a Meade
18mm wide angle eyepiece at a very reasonable price. I picked one up in
the States and, while this is not a series 4000 or 3000, in the ETX125
it performs fantastically. Just thought I'd mention it as a cheap
alternative to the regular Series 4000 WA 18mm.
                                       Regards, Rob

Subject:	ETX manual?
Sent:	Sunday, April 21, 2002 22:17:59
From: (John M. Evans III)
Your Herculean efforts in support of the ETX community are wonderful.  I
just learned a ton about my prospective new scope.

I currently have an Edmund astroscan, which is fine for wide field and
ok for deep space.  So I was looking for a sharper instrument next, and
portability is paramount for me.  The ETX models are intriguing.

A few queries:
1. How portable is the 125?
2. How bright are the Messier objects at the 90,105, and 125mm
apertures?  Acceptable?  I understand that high magnitude star
splitting/planetary viewing is stellar.  (haha).
3. I have no interest in Autostar or motor positioning.  A clock drive
to track with the equatorial mount would be nice, but that's it.  So, is
there a cheaper version that doesn't include all that functionality in
the base?  And you mentioned being annoyed at having to slew, loud and
slow, mechanically.  Can I just use the scope manually?  How well does
that work?

Many thanks,
Mike here: The ETX-125EC is moderately portable, depending upon how much you can handle and how far you want to take it. The -105 is more portable and the -90 even more so (obviously). As with all telescopes, as you increase aperture the apparent brightness of objects will increase but you can see all the Messier objects in an ETX-90 (from a dark site and with luck and good eyes). The (still available) ETX-90RA (lower cost compared to the ETX-90EC) makes a fine totally manually instrument. But all the ETX models can be mounted equatorially and used manually.
Subject:	nebula filters
Sent:	Sunday, April 21, 2002 21:12:27
From: (Sandra Page)
I have an ETX 125 and I want to know what filter work good with it?  I
heard about Oxygen III from lumicon and the Orion ultra block filter.


Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Filters page.
Subject:	Link
Sent:	Sunday, April 21, 2002 17:30:51
From: (MindSpring Account)
Here is a link you may want to consider adding to your great site.

Mike here: Every time I heard their radio item I always said I should add them but always kept forgetting to!
Subject:	Piers and Deck
Sent:	Sunday, April 21, 2002 16:43:39
From: (Don Stefanik)
I don't know if you remember me but I emailed you a 3  months ago. I was
planning on getting the etx90 or 125. I was also telling you I was
wanting to make a deck and pier to mount the scope on. Well I have
completed my project!! I purchased a used deck and also an Orion 127mm

Here is where you can view the photos of my project.

End of 24 April update

Subject:	Maybe a good Idea to remind folks again
Sent:	Saturday, April 20, 2002 19:43:32
From: (Ron Q)

I really enjoy your site Mike even though I own a N5.

A nice gesture would be to remind observers about the alert posted by
Clay Sherrod last year regarding pollen and ruining the corrector

Good luck on your book.....I'll have to pick up a copy.

Ron Q
Lowell, Massachusetts

Subject:	Solar Filter safety
Sent:	Saturday, April 20, 2002 14:06:44
From: (marc.delaney)
Sorry to be a nuisance again, but need a wee bit of advice: I've just
got myself a JMB Glass Class-A Solar filter from Scopetronix (couldn't
obtain one locally) ) but it's got no info sheet. Although not new to
astronomy, this will be my first Solar observing. Can you briefly
outline what I should do to check the filter for possible defects ---
pin holes and such, and other safety precautions --- before I peer
through it?

This time round, I'll not say what a wonderful site you've got and how I
can't get over the effort you put into helping fellow ETXers, cause it
sounds patronising (but it's true!).

All the best for now,


(Wales, UK)
Mike here: Check the surface for obvious scratches and the glass for any cracks. Hold the filter up to the sky away from the Sun. Look through the glass for any bright spots (those pinholes). If you seen nothing wrong you should be OK.
Subject:	m81
Sent:	Saturday, April 20, 2002 10:32:59
From: (Josh/Ari Teasdale/Knight)
First off lets just say your website for the ETX is absolutaly the best.
 I have a ETX 90EC and am having a little trouble finding m81.  I know
roughly where it is in the sky buy cannot seem to find it in the scope. 
The fustrating part is that all the books say you can see it with
binocs.  Could you please shed some light on what I should be looking
for, is it distinct or can you hardley see it.

Mike here: Yes, it can be seen in the ETX-90. But you'll need a fairly dark sky. For more on M81 (and other Messier objects) see the SEDS Messier Catalog.
Subject:	motor not turning
Sent:	Saturday, April 20, 2002 9:09:36
We've had the same problem with our meade etx-70 telescope. When we
tried to slew the telescope horizontally. I am convinced that the bolts
holding the telescope to the tripod foul the movement of the etx 70.
Consequently the goto technology does not work. I've also had problems
with motor unit fault. The telescope has now gone back to meade and will
be returned to me on a 3 weeks turn around. Needless to say i am very
disappointed since my dad bought this telescope for my birthday in

daniel gregory
Mike here: It is possible to overtighten the bolts holding the telescope to the tripod. This will cause the bolts to intrude too far into the base. As you note, this can create some havic inside the base. This is true for all the ETX models. Thanks for pointing this out.
Subject:	Inclusion on Mighty ETX Astronomy Links webpages
Sent:	Friday, April 19, 2002 15:05:37
From: (penburyst)
Thanks again for the great website.  This site is simply essential for
any ETX user.  It is particularly pleasing to see so many contributions
from British amateur astronomers.  So many websites are completely US
biased. When my father died, my wife said I should spend some of my
inheritance on a telescope, as she knew this is what I had always
wanted.  Last year I bought an ETX90EC and I haven't look back since. 
In rediscovering this childhood hobby I have discovered a large number
of websites that I have found particularly useful, especially for
observers UK who are relatively new to the hobby like myself.  Please
would it be possible for you to include this site on your Astronomy
Links Website.

The site is called 'Useful Links For British Amateur Astronomers' and
can be found at


Michael Morris

(PS I haven't included a link to your page yet because I haven't yet
compiled a section on specific makes of telescope, this is a project of
the summer.) 

Subject:	Re: Electric Focuser
Sent:	Friday, April 19, 2002 10:03:52
From: (Mikael R)
I found a way to fix the problem!

When I did some more careful listening (put my ear against the focuser)
I did heard that It wasn't actually the copper gears that jumped, but
something inside the focuser itself.

So I dissasambled the focuser! (DO NOT DO THIS UNLESS YOU ARE WILLING TO

There I found a fairly small gear which was lying almost at the root of
the motor gear. So all I did was to flipp it so it was more centered to
the gear. I did a illustration to (hopefully) make it clear:

Small sketch:


 |    small-gear (the problem)
<-->  |  ___
<-->  v /   \  <-worm-gear
<--><-->| . |
 || <-->\___/
|   |
|   | <-motor
|   |


 |    small-gear (at it's new position)
<-->  |  ___
<--><-->/   \  <-worm-gear
<--><-->| . |
 ||     \___/
|   |
|   | <-motor
|   |

(I hope you understand my fine ascii art ;) )

So now the focuser run like a charm. I haven't had any jumpings since
the "modification".

Thanks for a great site, keep it up!

Best Regards
Mikael Rzewuski

Subject:	Sun sighting
Sent:	Thursday, April 18, 2002 14:37:55
From: (divenuts)
I never realized how difficult it was getting the Sun in the field of
view with those very dark filters. I came up with a very easy way to do
it consistantly. All I do is put a golf tee upside down at the end of
the OTC (mark the center with a sharpie) with a very small piece of
double sided tape or foam. You will have to find the Sun ONE time and
notice where the tee's shadow hits you favorite eyepiece. That's it!
When finished viewing take the tee and sticky off the OTC until the next
Clear skies,
Chuck Callaghan
Mike here: To those new to using telescopes: NEVER look at the Sun through your telescope or finderscope unless you have properly attached a good quality real solar filter over the aperture. NEVER use a solar filter that attaches to the eyepiece only. Failure to heed this warning will result in damage to your telescope AND your eyesight.
Subject:	question for you
Sent:	Thursday, April 18, 2002 13:40:46
From: (Grellas)
I just got the etx 90 but I don't have a tripod yet.  Any
recommendations?? I'm a college student.. so my funds are pretty limited
right now.  The #884 looks great... but $200 is pretty steep for me.

I'm also looking to get a case now.  Any recommendations?

Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Tripods and - Cases pages. Some possible solutions for you are mentioned there.
Subject:	observatories and domes
Sent:	Thursday, April 18, 2002 13:31:38
From: (Galactica 360)
Just checking your website.  Sounds like alot of fun.  I couldn't help
but wonder if any of your members would be interested in housing for
their telescopes.

Our company, Galactica360, manufactures UV resistant fiberglass,
clamshell style shelters in seven foot and twelve foot sizes.  If you
have a minute or two, please check us out.


Don Hoffman

Subject:	Orion Epic ED-2 Eyepieces
Sent:	Thursday, April 18, 2002 11:09:35
From: (Floyd Teter)
I'm wondering if anybody has tried one of the Orion Epic ED-2 Eyepieces
in any of the ETX scopes?  As an eyeglass wearer, the ED-2 line seems
appealing.  I checked the eyepiece review section, but did not find
anything relevant.  Sure would appreciate any thoughts, experiences, or
other feedback.


Subject:	Observational Guides
Sent:	Thursday, April 18, 2002 5:36:43
From: (Emanuel Gruengard)
What had happened to the excellent series of Observational Guides (and
other tips) by Dr. Sherrod? will he continue it?

Mike here: The series is still there, just nothing new lately.


From: (Clay Sherrod)
YES!  Absolutely I am continuing to write them, but I took a little
"hiatus away" from the maddening crowd recently to get a fresh
perspective on my writing!  One of my highest priorities is to continue
the GO TO Constellation Guides for the Mighty ETX site all the way until
all constellations are covered and then continue to write specifically
about observational opportunities for all astronomers and their

Good question, and thanks for the prod.

Clay Sherrod
From: (Emanuel Gruengard)
Thanks for the answer. I will continue to look for this enlightening
Could I suggest the following:
For each object list also its SAO number. This serves as a common
denominator for all Go To telescopes. For example, this will benefit
Celestron /JMI and other owners, where the method of specifying the
required object might be different from that of Meade. Additional:
several versions of the same controller might have different lists and
the SAO number will help.

And from Clay:
Very nice suggestion and one easily done.  Thanks!


Sent:	Wednesday, April 17, 2002 21:38:47
From: (BF)
Greetings from Australia.  I have always wanted a telescope and was
lucky enough to win an ETX-125EC with Austostar just before Christmas. I
think you have a great great site which is very informative even though
I havn't had much chance to practice what I're read so far.  It's also
very reassuring for a novice like me to know help is nearby.  I don't
know where you find the time to keep it updated so quickly.

I will probably ask more questions in the near future but in the mean
time would you tell me if your book is available in Australia?

Bill Farmakidis
Sydney, Australia
Mike here: The book should now be available worldwide but I don't have details on each country.
End of 21 April update

Subject:	YOU and Astronomy Day 2002
Sent:	Wednesday, April 17, 2002 6:39:47
From: (Clay Sherrod)
What are YOU doing to promote this fascinating science and study that we
are involved in?  National Astronomy Day is Saturday, April 20, and this
is YOUR chance to shine like the brightest star in the sky.

At the Arkansas Sky Observatory (ASO) site, we have posted several
suggestions that go over and above what might be planned for the
traditional star party, for those who are not participating in such....

Take a look at what YOU might do to contribute to the enthusiasm of
astronomy at:
Have a great Astronomy Day 2002!

Dr. Clay

Subject:	Hello-and help!
Sent:	Monday, April 15, 2002 15:10:17
From: (Howard)
My name is Howard Carr and I must say I am most impressed with your
site.  It is very informative, and greatly helped in my narrowing down
of the brand of telescope I plan to purchase to a Meade.  Now the

My family and I are casual observers (rookies), and would like to enjoy
the hobby more.  Through the afore mentioned research, I have narrowed
the choice down to a Meade.  We are interested in lunar and planetary
viewing.  There will be two primary viewing spots; just south of the
city of Syracuse, NY, and in the Adirondacks near Port Leydon, NY. 
While there is a bit of light near Syracuse, the viewing area near Port
Leydon is far from any major souces of light. The question is,  ETX
model or DS model?  I have read many reviews of both, and would like any
advice you can offer to help.  While I will not cause "hate and
discontent" if I do not agree with your advice, the advice is greatly
appreciated, and more importantly, respected.

Thank you for your valuable time.

Very respectfully,

Mike here: I have no personal experience with the DS line so can't comment on them. Like most telescopes, each design will have its pluses and minuses. Keep in mind that cost vs design vs aperture vs focal length vs mount vs GOTO (or no GOTO) are all parameters that should be considered, along with your expectations of the views and usability of the telescope. Many people have opted for a DS telescope. Similarly, many have opted for the ETX. (And also Dobsonians, and other Meade, Celestron, Orion, etc, models.)


Wow, talk about a prompt reply.  I barely had time to order your book as
well as "Nightwatch" from Amazon and you sent me a most pleasant note.
Thank you.

I am leaning towards the 70 as a beginner scope, although the DS-2114ATS
is a close second.  As for expectations, a decent view of Saturn and
Jupiter will be the keys, as this will (hopefully) spur the interest of
my three children to pay a bit more attention to science, and the
universe around us. They are pretty enthuiastic right now about getting
a scope, it is just a question of which type.

The 70 is rated higher than the 90 by The Discovery Store thru customer
reviews.  Have you heard any reason for this, or is it just customer

I know, more questions.

Thanks again for your time.

Very respectfully,

Mike here: The ETX-70AT makes a fine starter telescope HOWEVER views of planets may not live up to your expectations. See my comments on the ETX-70AT linked from the top of the "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page.
Subject:	Electric Focuser
Sent:	Monday, April 15, 2002 8:53:02
From: (Mikael R)
I got a small problem. I just recieved a Electric focuser for my ETX90,
everything works great but one thing. When I focus OUT everything goes
perfect and smooth but as soon as I focus IN the gears sometimes jumps a
'tooth' or 2. Seems like the force to turn the focus rod is to high.

Any ideas how to fix this? Did I install it wrong (small chanse but
could be :) or do I have to smear liquids on the rod to smothen things

Thanks for a great site!

Best Regars
Mikael Rzewuski
Mike here: Not having one I can't answer directly. Does the "jump" happen when first reversed or at random points during the turn? Is the "jump" really the image shift typical of this design telescope?


I did some heavy testing with the #1244 electric focuser and discovered
that I get *jumps* in the gear only in one direction (when the rod is
screwed backwards). I did put some silicon on the rod in hope that it
would make the movement more smooth... but it didn't help. So right now
when I focus it works like a charm in one way, but in the other the
teeth looses it's grip and the gears slipp..

Right now I don't got a clue what to do...


Best Regards
Mikael Rzewuski

Subject:	UHTC
Sent:	Monday, April 15, 2002 7:25:22
From: (Ted Wilbur)
Hi Mike,

On April 12 you responded to a question about the new Meade optical
coatings with the following:
"As to why you might not want the coating: extra cost
and you will never use the telescope except in light
polluted areas on bright objects."

On the surface this is kind of a shocker.  Perhaps I misunderstood Dr.
Sherrod's report, but it seemed to me that he felt the coatings were
excellent, that they provide better light transmission as claimed by
Meade, and also provid better contrast under light polluted or moonlit
skys and on bright objects.  His concern seemed to be with cleanliness;
that they may have a tendancy to hold on to film and debris and may be
more difficult to clean than standard coatings.

Did you mean:
They're only useful under light polluted skys and on bright objects and
not useful (can't be used) under other conditions.  This is my initial
impression of your comment.
The person asking the question is only going to use a telescope under
light polluted skys and on bright objects (not evident from the email)
Something else?

Mike here: Personally I don't think the new coating will be that useful on a small telescope from a light polluted sky and only on bright objects. It may help but is the help really needed on bright objects from light polluted areas?


Wont the coatings also help on faint objects?
Mike here: Sure but not if the light pollution overwhelms them.


Ah, I see your point, thanks.

End of 17 April update

Subject:	ETX Newsgroups
Sent:	Sunday, April 14, 2002 12:03:11
From: (AT&T Mail Server)
I came apon your newsgroup page for ETX-90 users. Do you have one for

Thank you.

Jim Meyers
Mike here: I don't have a "newsgroup" if you mean real news server (USENET-style) newsgroups. All I have is the Mighty ETX Site, which covers all ETX models. There are several discussion groups for the ETX; see the Buyer/New User Tips page for more on these.
Subject:	bonus pack electronic eyepiece
Sent:	Sunday, April 14, 2002 0:59:45
From: (jrd48)
Question, I am missing the electronic eyepiece which is suppose to be
part of the bonus pack on a used MEADE DS-2130ATE. Two questions; what
does a electronic eyepiece do compared to any normal eyepiece ? Second;
where can I get another electronic eyepiece & at what cost?

Thanks, JRD
Mike here: First off, if you were supposed to receive one as part of your purchase, contact your dealer. Adding one will cost you about $70, assuming you can find a dealer who will sell it separately. As to what is does, it is essentially a low-light video imager. It can also be used for astrophotography.
Subject:	ETX Slewing Problems
Sent:	Saturday, April 13, 2002 21:08:43
From: (David Buffington)
During the alignment proceedure, the scope drives straight up and
continues to drive. If you go to SETUP and CALIBRATE MOTORS, this will
cure this problem.
Mike here: Since many users see the slewing problem as a drive problem and not an Autostar problem, I've posted this tip here. Also, doing reTRAINing the drives can also help.
Subject:	RA setting circle
Sent:	Saturday, April 13, 2002 10:50:05
From: (Keith Baker)
Bought 2nd hand ETX90 and am confused.The RA seating circle according to
the manual the lower row figures should be used for the Northern
hemisphere but this looks opposite to what it is.Am I being stupid or
doing something wrong.I am a novice to all of - this
Thanks for your site which is invaluable to me

Leicester UK
Mike here: RA increases eastward. Use the appropriate side to match reality.
Subject:	optical coatings
Sent:	Friday, April 12, 2002 10:34:30
From: (Hawkey, Mitchell  MD)
this may be a stupid question but I am having a hard time locating the
answer.  it appears from Meade's website that you can order a scope with
standard or the UHTC coatings.  It would also appear that either coating
is the same price.  Are there any reasons why you would order one over
the other as the UHTC appears to be a better coating.  Why would a
person just get the standard coatings.  Are there tradeoffs?  Mitch
Mike here: The new UHTC coating is an optional, added cost item. Standard coatings are included with in the standard telescope prices. As to why you might want the coatings, see the Meade announcement; look for Dr. Sherrod's report. As to why you might not want the coating: extra cost and you will never use the telescope except in light polluted areas on bright objects.
End of 14 April update

Mike here: As a reminder, if you have subscribed to Site Update Notifications and have stopped receiving them, it is because your email address has been rejected for some reason or because your host blocks this type of email. If the email is returned, your address will be removed from the subscription notification list.
Subject:	ETX-125 and Electronic Focuser
Sent:	Thursday, April 11, 2002 6:27:37
From: (Wayne Kulick)
I just installed Meade's electronic focuser and I can't seem to get the
Autostar to recognize it. I hold the mode key down but when I scroll
through the menus, no "Focus" menu. Am I missing something?
LT Wayne J. Kulick
Mike here: Have you connected the focuser to the correct port?

And an update:

Disregard my question about the focuser. Helps if I have it plugged in
to the correct AUX port. The one on the control panel! Been a long night
Mike here: That's a typical error.
Subject:	Bigger ETX or build my own?
Sent:	Wednesday, April 10, 2002 19:52:58
From: (Ken)
Your site has to be the most informative on the net when it comes to ETX
telescopes. Thanks!

Well, I Received my ETX-70ET for Christmas last year. I think it's
great. However I live in on of the most light polluted areas in the US,
near Detroit Mi.

I am very interested in observing deep sky objects. My ETX-70 is ok in
darker skys, but I'd like to observe in my backyard. Therefore I am
considering purchasing another scope.

I would love a larger ETX, but I would prefer not to spend that much.
Therefore I am considering a dobsonian scope.

Since I always wanted to build my own anyway, I was considering
purchasing a kit for a dobsonian. While looking online I ran into a kit
for a 4 1/4" Reflector here:

I was hoping you can give a newbie some advice for my next scope. I
would like to keep it under $400 so I may just look around for somthing

Thanks for your time and your great site.

Ken Vallis
Mike here: Having a larger aperture telescope will let you see fainter objects from dark skies. It will also do a better job than your 70mm telescope in gathering in the light pollution in your area. Larger aperture means greater light gathering power, whether that light is from a distance galaxy or nebula or from your city lights. You can reduce this affect on some objects by using a broadband, narrowband, or light pollution reduction filter. As to making or buying, many companies sell Dobsonian telescopes at low cost. I haven't compared models and prices but I know that Meade and Orion have nice models.
Subject:	More advice!
Sent:	Wednesday, April 10, 2002 16:22:22
From: (David Steinman)
I want to thank you and some of the other guys for the quick and
valuable answers that have helped this 'newbie' get his feet wet in the
sky!  I've had such a good time in a short order with my ETX-60AT that
I'm about to make a purchase of something 'bigger and better'.  The 60
was a gift so no investment has been made yet otherwise I'd feel foolish
about doing this so quickly.

I set out to look for the ETX-125.  I went to the local Discovery Store
to ask questions, etc.  What I found out is that they are not going to
be carrying the LX90 any longer. Because of this, they are selling their
floor model at 15% off.  With a little badgering, they said they'd come
to 20% off.  This actually brings the LX90 and its full package (tripod,
LX90 Tripod, 45 degree eyepiece, LX90 Autostar) to within $200 of the
ETX-125 with the additional purchase of the Autostar 497, tripod, etc.,
etc.  This makes a very compelling argument for the LX90.

Now I need you to talk me out of it.  They are reinspecting the lens to
ensure there are no marks or scratches.  Is there anything else I should
be aware of? Are there differences in Meade products from year to year?
Any recent changes in the LX90 that I should be concerned about?

After scouring the web, I've found it difficult to find the LX90 for
anything under $1695.  I'm going to be able to get it for $1495 unless
you tell me otherwise.

Thanks in advance!
David Steinman
Mike here: As long as the floor model is in good shape, it meets your expectations, and you can handle the size, go for it! The LX90 is an incredibly good scope. Be certain to update the Autostar from Meade's site. Just a word of caution: the best telescope for you is one that actually gets used so be real certain you are comfortable moving it in and outdoors on a frequent basis. While at the dealer pick the telescope/tripod and see if you can easily carry it across the store. If not, unmount the telescope from the tripod and try that. Be certain you can reattach the telescope by yourself without dropping anything!

And an update:

It got to my car quite easily ... only took 10 guys and a forklift!  Ok,
a bit of sarcastic humor.  You are right though. The tripod is a bit on
the 'solid' side.  However, once home, I did mount the telescope without
the aid of my wife - who by the way, looked at the scope and said,
"where are you going to keep it"?

The scope is in great shape though they were missing one part that they
will retrieve from another store (holds the eyepiece to the rear of the
scope) so I can't use it for another day.

They said this scope was on the floor for about a year.  Do you know of
any year to year model change issues that I should be aware of? Is it
worth a call to Meade?

Again, thanks

David Steinman
Mike here: I never heard of any design changes in the LX90 model.
Subject:	Time to say thanks!
Sent:	Tuesday, April 9, 2002 23:32:30
From: (Susan Kletka)
You have the patience of a saint,my man! I have been reading your site
almost from the beginning and in those years have learned a great deal
about both astronomy and telescopes. I have read almost everything in
each new post and have had almost all of my questions answered without
having to ask. I like the self-directed possibilities that this site has
offered me. I can't help but notice though that almost every week
someone writes in and wants to put a 4.7 mm eyepiece or something close
to that and get Hubble-like views from their 90 mm scope. Each time you
offer a patient explanation why that is an unwise idea and where to look
to find out why. I don't know what the answer is long term- maybe
pictures of  those unsuitable eyepieces with a red circle and a line
through them!

My original 90 mm RA is still doing a good job after all these years,
travels nicely and sets up quickly. I was going to update to a larger
scope but the volume of complaints about the newer scopes has led me to
believe that Meade is selling rather expensive do-it-yourself kits
instead of finished scopes. Clay having started a very successful
cottage industry to finish what Meade started is testimony to that.

Thanks for all of your efforts. Ivan Kletka

Subject:	question re viewfinder
Sent:	Tuesday, April 9, 2002 16:30:33
From: (Peter Hayes)
Does anyone have experience with mounting Orion EZ Finder II Reflex
Sight (redot viewfinder) on the ETX90?  I tried using 2-sided tape--but
then the unit can't be easily removed for transport and it's not highly
stable in use.  You can't drill in screws that would anchor the base
piece for the finder.  Meade have no useful advice.  Any suggestions out
there?  Epoxy the base unit onto the right side of the scope?  Thanks
Peter Hayes
Dr. Peter Hayes, Executive Director
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Finderscopes page for some info what others have done.
Subject:	Power plugs
Sent:	Tuesday, April 9, 2002 10:38:27
From:	Marv.Sumner@ONIZUKA.AF.MIL (Sumner Marv C Contr CWNO/SCNC)
I read of folks thinking their power supplies are busted...
When I received my DC "cigarette lighter" adapter cable a while back, it
wouldn't even plug in!  A little experimenting showed the hole in the
connector to the ETX end of the cable to be a bit smaller than the pin
in the ETX socket.  Researching the Radio Shack catalog revealed that
there are many, many flavors of that type of connector available.  Mine
was fixed by just drilling the existing hole out by one "numbered" drill
size.  It has worked ever sense.  Meade evidentially got their flavors
mixed up & built a few bum cables.  The plugs and sockets are available
in many lengths, pin sizes and barrel sizes.  If your voltmeter suggests
you have a mis-matched connector, Radio Shack can supply the correct
part and a soldering iron.
Marv Sumner
And this:
Subject:	12 volt adapters
Sent:	Tuesday, April 9, 2002 11:57:31
Thought I would drop you a line, after reading several posts about the
12 volt adapter not working. I got an excellent buy on an ETX90EC at a
local pawn shop. Scope/standard hand controller/three tabletop legs/ 12v
adapter for $150.00. When I powered it up on batteries, it worked fine.
Plugged in the adapter, and..nothing. Checked the adapter with a
voltmeter. Working. Took me a few minutes. The plug end fit into the
scope, but it was not the proper plug. The insulator on the tip extended
too far back for the connector to make contact. Since I had another plug
end in my toolbox, I clipped the end, and, observing proper polarity,
replaced the tip. Works great now. I mentioned this to the guys at Scope
City, and they opinioned that the adapter was probably not original
equipment, but after reading your site, and guessing that Meade doesn't
build their own adapters, I would be inclined to think that maybe there
was an OEM screwup and that many scopes may have shipped with the wrong
adapter.  Point is, if the adapter doesn't work, check this before
deciding that the problem is with the scope. (though I don't mind
getting great pawnshop deals).

Thanks for all your hard work,

Las Vegas

Subject:	ToUcam Pro
Sent:	Tuesday, April 9, 2002 8:33:59
From: (Dishman, James)
Mike, do you know:

Philips ToUcam Pro, P/N 740KIs there any difference in the 740K version
sold in the US and the 740K version sold in the UK??
Mike here: I don't. Have you asked the vendor?
Subject:	Re: Re: Scopetronix ETX Field Doubler
Sent:	Monday, April 8, 2002 21:14:48
From: (Alex Kuziola)
Hi Mike, and thanks for the link.

I do have one question, though. When you say the image was "small" (when
you attached the Meade eyepiece projection adapter), do you mean that
the image of the moon itself was smaller (due to less magnification), or
that the adapter projected a small image onto the film plane?

I really want to get a decent shot of M42 before it hibernates for the
winter. I'm thinking of trying out a prime focus setup with a P.F.
adapter connected to the Shutan wide field adapter. I'm just afraid that
if I go with the "rear port -> large accessory ring -> f/6.3 focal
reducer -> S-C t-adapter -> t-ring -> OM-1" setup that I just won't have
enough back focus for it to work right. So I was thinking this might be
a viable alternative.

Well, thanks for all your advice!

Mike here: That is the same question. The image size is reduced because the adapter has the effect of shortening the telescope focal length. And depending upon your camera and its adapter you may have a problem reaching a focus unless you plan to do afocal photography.
Subject:	RE: RE: RE: RE: erratic slewing
Sent:	Tuesday, April 9, 2002 2:02:10
From:	Steve.Johns@LAKENHEATH.AF.MIL (Johns Steve Civ 48CS/SCBBA)
TWO other possibilities.... Frayed cable(s) or cold (as in
wiggly-waggly) soldered joints.  ;-)

Subject:	re: Loaded question...
Sent:	Tuesday, April 9, 2002 0:18:59
From: (Richard Seymour)
Like you, i've been planning on getting a 10" LXD55.

At this moment, they're not shipping yet (at least the LXD55 yahoogroup
hasn't burst forth with screams of joy (or horror).)

As Mike said, aperture alone does not determine a scope's performance.
(you can put 500 horsepower into a VW beetle, but don't try to turn
 corners at speed...)
By the numbers, you might expect to be able to attain the same useful
magnification from a 10" LXD55 as you can with any 10" scope.
But with a 2500 mm focal length (such as the LX200), 250x requires
"only" a 10mm eyepiece.  But with the 1000mm FL LXD55, you'll need
a 4mm eyepiece to achieve 250x.
And it'll be -much- harder to focus (cameras are the same way:
big F/numbers (f/16) have far greater depth of field (forgiveness
of focusing) than small F/numbers (f/1.4))
And the "eye relief" will be shorter (distance back from the eyepiece 
you can -see- the image) and the exit cone (diameter of light shaft
coming out of eyepiece) ... prices of the two (10mm and 4mm) being
roughly equal.  If you throw LOTS ($200 or more) of money at the 
eyepieces, you can overcome much of that (except the difficulty of
Result? You may find that the smaller aperture ETX125 delivers a more
useful, easy-to-see (but dimmer) image than the 10" LXD55.

All telescopes are compromises... unfortunately it's difficult to 
understand, assess (or sometimes believe) the trade-offs without 
looking through a bunch of them.  Try to locate a nearby astronomy club
and attend public star parties... where you can wander from scope to 
scope and -see- the differences.
In the LXD line, you might do far better with one of the refractors
instead of the 10" reflector, if raw magnification is your goal.
The ETX125 also has the far-less-hassle of the fork mount.
The LXD's GEM mount can be rather frustrating at times.
(if you say: "i've had nothing but trouble with the fork mount!",
remember that the same company is building the GEM mount...)

good luck

End of 11 April update

Subject:	Super toy
Sent:	Monday, April 8, 2002 12:41:31
From: (Edward L. Pavia)
Your name has been given to me as an excellant source of telescope
information and I humbly beg some help from you.

I have a condo on the beach in Florida and want to build a super toy for

I want to buy a high quality telescope with motorized drive (and maybe
motorized focus) and connect a "telescope video camera" to it so I can
scan the beach without having to look thru an eyepiece.  I would control
the pointing and focusing with a computer and viewing on the computer
monitor.  The condo is on the 25th floor and has a commanding view.

My budget is $3,000.00.  What telescope would you recommend?? Do you
know of any high quality telescope video cameras, I see some on the
internet for 1 to 2 hundred dollars which are probably very low quality
for this purpose.

I greatly appreciate any input you can give me,

Ed Pavia
Mike here: For your purposes you can probably use one of the ETX models. Which one depends upon how "close" you want to get (watching heavenly bodies, huh?). I suggest the ETX and its Autostar because you can add landmarks to the Autostar and add an electric focuser. As to video cameras, any high quality, lightweight camera will do the job. Sony has a new small DV camcorder that could do the trick. Just connect the camera to your Firewire interface (assuming your computer has one; current and recent Apple and Sony computers do). Apple even supplies the software (iMovie) for free. You will want a sturdy mount although for terrestrial use you can just sit the telescope/camera combination on its base on any flat stable surface. Your only problem might be the "look down" angle if the beach is too close to your building. Then you would need to pursue another mounting option. Go to a local telescope store and peruse the offerings. To attach the camera to the telescope, see the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography page.


Many thanks for the reply, and so quick.

I am surprised you would go for such a small scope, I was thinking along
the lines of an 8" one.

Also, how do you mount a video camera to a telescope, I was thinking
along the lines of a telescope video camera like made by Watec
Mike here: An 8" is possibly more than you would need, but it depends upon your intended purpose. Keep in mind that heat waves rising from the sand will distort the image and the higher magnifications you use the worse the view will be. As to attaching cameras, there are many options. Some are discussed on the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography page.
Subject:	Various
Sent:	Monday, April 8, 2002 5:19:18
From: (Bert Denovan)
G'day Mike,
I am having trouble getting through on your link, (my end)! hence the
direct approach.

If the problem that Mike is having is the same as I had with the 45deg
erecting prism (EP) attaching to the back of the OTA then I may have the
answer. The EP also swung around and would not sit tight on the ETX.  On
examination I found that the inner locking ring was not screwed
completely home.  A very small screwdriver into one of the two recesses
for a specialist tool and twisting the metal ring until it was tight on
the eyepiece and it fitted nice and snug.  But then I do not know what
you are talking about so I may be wrong.

As for a replacement for the double-sided tape; the instruction leaflet
for the Rigel QuickFinder suggests putting one sided tape with foam on
the bottom onto the bottom of the gadget and then securing it with two
cable ties.  I suppose this may not look very elegant but it would work.
 I will be using this system when the double sided tape supplied
eventually gives way as I was not careful putting the 1x on and it is
now looking a little unelegant!

Bert Denovan

Subject:	Astronomy Club
Sent:	Sunday, April 7, 2002 21:06:20
From: (Dave North)
First and foremost a personal message:  Thanks for the great site.  I
have an ETX 70 and visit your site regularly, and enjoy it very much.

I am the Vice President for the Sandusky Valley Amateur Astronomy Club
(SVAAC), and was hoping you might visit our web site and find it worthy
of a link on your "Links" page.

Thanks for you time Mike, I know you're a busy guy.

Wishing you clear nights,

Dave North

Subject:	Surplus Shack eyepieces
Sent:	Sunday, April 7, 2002 18:06:34
From: (RMT)
I'm a new owner of an ETX-105EC.  Have you had any experience with the
Surplus Shack's Super Plossl eyepieces?  Based on an email I received
from them, they build their own.

Thank you in advance!

Mike here: I have no experience with them.
Subject:	Scopetronix ETX Field Doubler
Sent:	Sunday, April 7, 2002 16:29:27
From: (Alex Kuziola)
I was just wondering if you have ever gotten any feedback at all about
Scopetronix's ETX field doubler. I was thinking about getting one to use
for prime focus with my new OM-1. It seems great, cutting down the focal
ratio to f/7, but as the old adage it sounds too good to be


Mike here: I don't recall any. Certainly nothing for posting on the Accessory Reviews pages. I have the Shutan (Apogee) one which I use with astrophotography as well as visual use.


Thanks for the what factor does your reducer reduce your
scope's focal ratio? Also, do you use a 35mm camera or a ccd imager for
Mike here: See the Shutan Wide Field Adapter writeup on the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page. As to cameras, my most used now is the Nikon Coolpix 995 although I have used a Pentax Spotmatic 35mm, other digital cameras, and the Sonfest SAC IV imager. You can see all of these discussed on the appropriate pages on my ETX Site.
Subject:	ETX question (what else?!)
Sent:	Friday, April 5, 2002 22:20:37
From: (david lubich)
First, thanks for producing such an excellent and friendly resource,
especially useful for those of us thinking of moving on from binocular
viewing. One question: I've seen 'closeout deals' on ETX90RAs for $200.
I appreciate that these lack motors and GOTO functions, but it seems
absurdly cheap. Are these optically identical to the EC models and, if
so, does this suggest that Meade may be about to cut prices on their
smaller ETX scopes?
Mike here: The tube and optics are the same for the ETX-90RA and ETX-90EC model. This is the original model ETX (circa 1996) and is rather unnecessary in the ETX product lineup given the EC model. The price dropped on the -90EC model a year or so ago.
Subject:	Re: Great Site
Sent:	Friday, April 5, 2002 15:31:33
From: (Mike Luis)
It's me again from last night, (loose thread, loose T adapter, 12v
adapter did'nt work)  I promised to keep you posted so here it is.

The ETX 125EC- Well I brought back the scope for an exchange. The owner
brought a new one out. I told him I wanted to check every thing in his
store. He agreed and thank god he did. The scope I brought back had a
loose thread on the back of it (if you remember), the new one he brought
up had a loose mirror. When you flipped the mirror back from the camera
to the eye peice, you could hear the mirror flap (tick - tick - tick).
It was if the mirror was only glued at the top causing the mirror to act
like a door swinging. The one I brought back, the mirror was not like
that at all, it was perfect. The owner had no other 125 scopes, he
offered me the one that was on display, he did'nt offer a descent
discount so I did'nt take it. So he gave me the Meade distributor's
address here in Toronto and to tell them that he sent me. The
Distributor had no more 125's in stock, he took down my phone# and name
then promised to set one aside for me when the next shipment comes in.
Well that's where things stand right now. The waiting game.

The T-Adapter - It was defective it did'nt even work on the other ETX125
with a firm thread, he replaced it. You were right, once tightened it's
totaly secure.

About the 12v Adapter. You won't believe this one. I told him my problem
with it(plug it in, and nothing works). So he takes adapter plugs it
into another scope and nothing happens. So cool, it's the adapter not
the scope I'm thinking. He grabs a new adapter and plugs it in. Guess
what happened. Nothing. Now I'm thinking uh oh, this scope is totaly
screwed. So he takes the new adapter and runs around the store pluging
it into every electronic scope he had. NOTHING. None of the 12v adapters
worked, new and old. He was pissed. So he basicly told me to do the same
thing with the adapter as he told me with the scope, go to the
distributor. Which I don't mind because the distributor is closer to my
house than his shop. Actualy the owner was very helpful.

So there it is. Atleast the T-Adapter thing is resolved!!

I'll keep you posted. I have a feeling more defects are on there way (i
hope not though).

A Canadian Fan
Mike here: Thanks for the update. Sounds like a bad batch of AC adapters!
Subject:	ETX-90 vs ETX125-EC and magnifications
Sent:	Friday, April 5, 2002 12:19:56
From: (Ryan Davies)
I've been looking at the 125-ec for a couple days now and i thought that
would be my next step up from a 90ec. i have a 6.7 series 3000 sp and a
2x barlow and the image quality is poor, and blurry. thats about 300x. u
said that u had a 9.7 and a 2x barlow together and jupiter was poor.
hows that? my 90-ec with the 2x and 6.7 is poor how is ur 9.7 and barlow
poor? isnt that half of the maximum magnignification of your telescope?
shouldnt you see more? if not i will not buy the 125ec. i want to see
detail in jupiter and i guess the 125-ec would guve me that. help me out
Mike here: Do the math: with the 6.7mm EP by itself you have exceeded the theoretical maximum magnification for the ETX-90 (180X). If you double that with the 2X Barlow Lens, image will get even fuzzier and dimmer. When I use the 9.7mm + 2X Barlow Lens I'm still going over the max but not as much as you. The image is "poor" relatively speaking but on good nights on bright objects, it is still usable. The ETX-125EC will yield higher usable magnifications but again, do the math.


but what im saying is that u have a 125ec and i have a 90ec. how was it
fuzzy in yours when the max magnification of the 125-ec is 500x.
shouldnt you be able to go up to that and the it will become fuzzy?
being at 300x shouldnt be fuzzy for yours or is it?
Mike here: See the FAQ for info on the theoretical maximum magnification for any telescope. For the ETX-125EC it is 250X, not 500X.


so...your saying the 125-ec is a waste if the max magni. is 250x. i
thought it is 500 because thats what it says on the meade site.

why would anyone spend 300 more dollars if the 125-ec is about the same
max magnification as the 90.
Mike here: I didn't say a word about anything being a "waste". I was just pointing out that there is some information you can use to determine this type of performance of a telescope. Did you read the FAQ page? It says the theoretical max is twice the aperture in millimeters. So, the ETX-90 is NOT the same as the ETX-125. You can exceed the max; the image just gets worse and worse. That is true for ANY telescope.
Subject:	RE: erratic slewing
Sent:	Friday, April 5, 2002 11:10:22
From: (E. de Mooij)
To:	Steve.Johns@LAKENHEATH.AF.MIL ('Johns Steve Civ 48CS/SCBBA')
Thanks for the tip, but I'm using a stabilized external Power supply, so
that can't be the problem. The strange thing is that my telescope seems
to act randomly.
Mike here: Maybe dirty encoders? Try slewing the telescope in all directions back and forth several times. Maybe that will help.


Yesterday I used my telescope again, but after having carefully aligned
the telescope, it missed Jupiter b 4 degrees, and after realigning the
telescope using different stars, the telescope was approximately 3
degrees of in another direction. I have tried realigning the telescope
several times but his didn't help. After I manually slewed my telescope
to Jupiter I had it tracked, but after 3 minutes The telescope was
already of by 40 arcminutes in azimuth. I also had the telescope track a
bright star in Ursa Major, but it didn't track that star well either.
After three attempts to track that star (about 7 minutes in total) the
telescope started slewing at max speed around the azimuth axis. When I
used the autostar to slew the telescope in another direction it stopped
slewing, but after I released the button, it started slewing at max
speed in that direction.

Ernst de Mooij
Mike here: Are you sure the power supply is delivering the proper voltage? Try switching to good batteries. You could also start from scratch and do a RESET, reCALIBRATION, and reTRAINing of the drives. Be certain you have the proper settings in the Autostar.

And this in reference to the power supply:

From:	Steve.Johns@LAKENHEATH.AF.MIL (Johns Steve Civ 48CS/SCBBA)
Stabilized it may be, but if they used 'dodgy' filter capacitors in the
final-filter of your supply, spikes and ripple are gonna get through!

Try using a BRAND NEW set of AA or C-Sized alkalines (like duracell) If
it's OK, problem solved... take your P/S to a Radio-TV fixit shop, and
have them replace the filter caps.  If it's NOT ok and still plays-up,
I'd guess the next step would be to check the de-spiking caps which can
be (usually) found soldered across the servo + and - terminals.  These
provide last-minute additional de-spiking so the servos/stepping motors
get nice clean drive-pulses and do their job properly (no noise)  If
they too are OK, I'd have to ask you if this is an 'immediate' problem,
or manifests itself only after a certain period of viewing/slewing... if
so, it could be a thermal/heat-related problem which you can quickly
isolate by judicious use of some 'freeze-spray' or a can of 'Air' held
upside down.  Careful.... -75deg F will severely BURN and may KILL areas
of skin it comes in contact with.  Just a teeny-tiny squirt (pssssst!)
using the attached nozzle-extension directly on the transistor or
IC(Integrated Circuit.. Black, lots of legs/pins, possibly a large metal
tab too) and a 5-10 sec wait for the result should quickly ID the
culprit.  Then, just call the Radio-TV shop, give them the part#, and
replace that puppy.  A bad P/Supply can cause these semiconductors to
fail in this way, as they are only designed to work with PURE,
well-filtered DC voltage(s).

Let me know if you need any more info.

From: (E. de Mooij)
I started from scratch before observing yesterday. And I'm using
Lead-accus connect externally and I checked the voltage prior, during
and after observing, and it was the proper voltage. I also talked to
someone else, and he thinks it's a hardware problem.

Ernst de Mooij
Mike here: If you have ruled out all the other possibilities then a hardware problem is certainly something to consider.
Subject:	Loaded question.....
Sent:	Friday, April 5, 2002 10:27:55
From: (S. Reiss)
If given the choice, which scope would you purchase?  The ETX125 or the
10" LXD55?  I'm having issues with the ETX that I own and am considering
returning it in exchange for the latter scope.  I'm having trouble
finding reviews on the LXD55 models.
Mike here: The LXD models are rather new. I haven't seen any real reviews yet. And since I have no experience with them I can't comment on them yet.


Thanks for your input.  The model I was looking at was the 10" LXD55. 
With me being very new to this field, I went ahead and called Meade. 
The person I spoke with said that he'd go with an ETX125 over the 10"
LXD.  Why?  He claims that although the 10" would gather more light (10"
vs. 5" aperature), the ETX obtains higher magnification and therefore
would more readily reveal detail on planets (Jupiter).

Huh?  I must still need to be studying because I thought that the
magnification didn't really matter.  Aperature was where you need to be.
 Well, you know the specs of the ETX, here is what is in the Meade
Catalog concerning the LXD55:

If someone were to say they preferred to see greater planetary detail,
which scope would you go with?
Mike here: The ETX-125EC has nearly twice the focal length of the LXD 10". Yes, the larger aperture of the LXD would allow a higher maximum magnification but for a given eyepiece focal length, the ETX-125EC would yield the higher magnification. See the FAQ page if you are unsure about magnification calculations. The LXD series is more a wide field instrument so for planetary details a different telescope would be better. Whether that is the ETX or something else depends upon your expectations and bank account.


Thank you for your advice.  As a beginner I have found that there are
many areas concerning astronomy and telescopes that I still need to
learn.  One thing I do realize is that I will never see the 'up close
and personal' images and detail that are provided by the Hubble
telescope with any telescope here on the ground.  What I am looking for
is a bit greater detail on the planetary images that I have seen so far
with the ETX-125.  Again, being new, I guess I expected to see much more
than the 26mm eyepiece that came with the telescope.  What I really need
to do, after reading your FAQ's, is get a more powerful eyepiece to
increase the magnification a bit. Clear skies would help too.  It's
rained on and off her in N. Texas the past 2 weeks.

Again, thanks for your advice.  Your site is a wealth of information.
Please keep up the great work!

Subject:	Right Ascension setting circle tape
Sent:	Friday, April 5, 2002 9:04:01
My ETX-125 is missing the increment strip (RA Setting Circle)
around the base. How can I replace that? (And do I need to??)

Take care

Doug Noyce
Mike here: If you really need one contact Meade; they will probably send you one. But do you actually use it? Many people don't, especially those with an Autostar.


As for the RA circle, I guess that is what I was asking. As a 'newbie',
I was not sure if I needed it for any type of 'precision' alignments,
but it seems from your response that I do not.

Question: Re: SAC CCD devices. Do you recommend the new SAC7, or the
older SACIV series? Also, I recently bought a 166Mhz Laptop for
exclusive use with the ETX125. SAC recommends 200mhz minimum. To your
knowledge, is this a 'speed' issue, or compatibility? Will the SAC7 work
with a 166? What about focal reducers? Recommend or no?

Thanks again for taking time to respond.

BTW, I want to post an "update" to one of your Finderscope reviews. Do I
just send it to you?
Mike here: If you have the Autostar you will probably not being using the RA setting circle. As to the new SAC7, I have no experience with that model. I have used the SAC IV though, which is nice. Image processing takes some horsepower so whether you will be happy with the 166MHz when a 200MHz (or faster) is recommended, only your experience will tell. Please do send Finderscope review to me for posting. Thanks.
Subject:	Reply to red dot finder double-sided tape replacement
Sent:	Friday, April 5, 2002 5:18:06
From: (David Tindall)
My suggestion is to try using a clear, neutral-cure  silicone sealant
such as 'Silastic'. This compound adheres very well and will not 'give
way' during extremes of temperature. Plus, it is far easier to remove
than double-sided tape if the need arises.

David Tindall. 
Queensland (Down Under).

Subject:	Electronic controller problem
Sent:	Friday, April 5, 2002 4:09:53
From: (Robert Wrobel)
Used my ETX90-EC for the first time last night and when turning on the
Electronic Controller NOTHING happens even after 4 minutes of waiting
(finally just turned it off). The indicator lights on the Controller
flash but the motor will not start operating until I push any one of the
slew buttons. Is this normal ??. I tried unplugging the Controller and
plugging it back in and still no good. Also the slewing works smooth in
Dec. but in R.A. the motor seems to "stall" and then rapidly move past
whatever I am trying to view. Should these problems warrant a return ??.
Oh yes, just returned from vacation in Puerto Rico and the visit to the
Arecibo Radio Observatory was AMAZING. The ride getting there was even
more amazing driving up those twisting narrow roads.

Bob Wrobel
Mike here: There can be two things that create this. One is that the telescope is set for terrestrial usage and so the Right Ascension drive does not turn on automatically. You can change this from the controller (see the manual). The second possibility is that the drive IS running; it may be too quiet to hear unless you get close to the base. If you watch the telescope, it could be moving but it will be like watching the hour hand of an analog clock. In this case it moves 360 degrees in 24 hours. As to the lag, check that the RA lock is fully engaged (but don't overtighten it). But some lag (known as "backlash") is normal.


Thanks for the quick response. I had already removed the "A" screw per
the manual for polar mode so thats not it. Once I touch any slew button
and the motor starts running it is easy to hear even outside. Even put a
doctors stethoscope on the base on initial start up but can't hear a
thing until I hit that slew button !!!  Thanks, Bob
Mike here: I would still check that it is not in terrestrial mode. I seem to recall someone mentioning some months back that their controller worked in reverse; setting it for astronomical really put it into terrestrial.


Mike, thanks again for the quick response. I reinstalled the "A" screw
and with both screws installed (terrestrial),the motor would still not
run even after slewing for a second or two. I removed the A screw once
again and now the darndest thing happened. The motor does not run now
even after slewing. At least before the motor would run after slewing
for a second or two. Does the controller have to be plugged in for the
motor to run after initial power-up??. I just came home now with my new
497 Autostar and don't know if this controller would help in
troubleshooting. I have spent over 20 years repairing and
troubleshooting large commercial and military aircraft and I'm not going
to let this problem beat me !!!.Any more suggestions ??????

Bob Wrobel
Mike here: I haven't tried disconnecting the handcontroller with the power on but I suspect this is NOT a good idea. So, I would suggest leaving it connected to the proper port on the base. You can use the Autostar in place of the standard handcontroller, just note that the tracking will not occur until you complete some steps on the Autostar for each session.
Subject:	ETX home page
Sent:	Friday, April 5, 2002 2:27:58
I have noticed that their are no reviews on the Meade 8.8 UWA and am
wondering if their will be one? I just bought one along with a 6.7 UWA.
I wanted 2 eyepieces that would interchange from my 12" LX-200 to my
ETX-125 and am itching to try them out will advise on the outcome. Also
finally got my ETX book you wrote waited long enough.
Thanks, Marty
Mike here: If you'll do a review of the 8.8 UWA I'll post it. Thanks for getting the book. I apologize for any inconvenience the delay in USA availability caused.
End of 8 April update

Subject:	Results of visit to dealer
Sent:	Thursday, April 4, 2002 17:05:20
From: (Mike Quinn)
The lens question I had was resolved as was the "backlash" question,
satisfactorily.  However the dealer found another problem.  Here is a
copy of a post I made to another group regarding that problem.  I
probably should have checked the scope out a bit more thoroughly before
I left the shop, i.e. checked it at a closer focus, etc.  The people at
Meade this afternoon were just plain crappy.  I was surprised.  The
problem now is that it barely focuses at infinity and there is some
image shift there.  Also, it won't focus at near objects, say inside 1/2

Anyway, here is the post:

Well, I thought I had a problem and took new my scope to the dealer.
They were great and showed me what I was doing wrong. They did however
find another problem. The scope will not focus in close and just barely
focuses at infinity. They got on the horn with Meade as they did not
have another one (they showed me the back room voluntarily). Meade told
me to send it up and it would take 3 weeks, roughly, to get it back. I
asked if I could run it up to Irvine as it is 2 hrs. from me. They said
sure, but it will still take 2-3 weeks. Then they got defensive. I asked
the guy to put me through to someone that could make the decision for an
even swap. He refused and said he'd talk to someone and call me back at
home. Well, I got home and no one had called and no one called after I
got there. They didn't call with a decision as to whether I could swap,
or even with a return authorization which is needed whether I ship it or
take it myself.

I'm not impressed with their customer service. It is marginal, at best.
I've heard nothing but good things about the 90 and 125, and perhaps I
got one from a bad run. I understand that possibility. But, when you are
in the customer service business, you best heed the second word in the
title of that business: SERVICE.

I will call them Friday morning and let everyone know the results.

Mike Quinn

Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh, but when you spend $1300 on a scope and
accessories, you should get some service.  BTW the dealer will handle
sending it back for me and they are being great, I just don't think I
should have to wait.

Thanks Mike,
Mike Quinn

Subject:	Great Site
Sent:	Thursday, April 4, 2002 15:46:42
From: (Mike Luis)
I am an amature astronomer. I just love astonomy. I have had scopes in
the past so I know what to expect. I just (today) purchased i think a
telescope which will last me for many summers and autum nights to come.
A Meade ETX 125EC. However I have 2 questions.

1. Have you ever heard that the 12v adapter does'nt work. I plugged it
in and nothing, however with the batteries It worked fine. So hopefully
it's just the adapter. I just want to know if the Meade ETX scopes have
ever had a problem with the 12v adapters. So far I'm disapointed.

2. About the Meade Camera T-Adapter, is the top of the adapter supposed
to be lose? Mine jiggles, and when I attach the camera the camera
does'nt seem secure. Oh ya one more thing, the part of the scope that
the adapter goes into, the ring. It keeps spinning so I can't tighten
the adapter to the scope.

Great Site 
Keep up the great work.

Mike here: There have been some reports that the external power connection jack has been disconnected (somehow) or the wire broken. But have you checked the adapter itself to verify that power is reaching the plug? As to the camera adapter, yes, the ring that screws ONTO the port on the rear of the ETX is loose but will tighten up as you turn it against the back plate. HOWEVER, that assumes that the threads on the ETX side are not loose; unfortunately there have been some reports of this problem. Since you just purchased the telescope I think a discussion with the dealer is appropriate.


Thanks for the quick reply.

Your right. The back part of the scope seems defected. It keeps spinning
and is not fixed, so trying to tighten the T-Adapter to the scope is
almost imposible. However I just talked to Meade Tech support peoplr and
they said that the top of the T-Adapter is not meant to be lose. Weird

As for the 12v adapter I was meaning to try it on something but I have
nothing to try it with.

Well in any case I'm exchanging the scope tomorrow (because of the loose
thread on the back of the scope) and am going to test the adapter I have
on one the ETX scopes he has in his shop. I will, for argument sake will
ask to compare my T-Adapter to another T-Adapter just to be sure.

Thanks for your help. I'll keep you posted.

PS. By the way I got the D-1 tripod with the scope. How would you rate
that tri-pod?

A Canadian Fan
Mike here: Maybe we are talking about different ends of the adapter. I was referring to the knurled ring that screws onto the back of the ETX. As to the tripod, I'm not familiar with it.


I've attached a jpeg. That top part jiggles causing the camera move like
crazy. But like you said the problem might be the back of the scope.
Mike here: Yep, that's the end. Once properly tightened down against the back of the ETX, it should not be loose. But since the threads are loose you will probably have difficulty getting it tight.
Subject:	red dot finder
Sent:	Thursday, April 4, 2002 13:54:09
From: (Henry Michaud)
May God bless you for your absolutely excellent site. I'm a newbie who
bought an ETX-125 EC about 2 years ago. I have never had any success in
getting the Autostar to do what it's supposed to do. I'm a bit leary on
opening up my scope and performing the perfomance enhancements suggested
by your contributers, especially Dr. C. Sherrod. I'm affraid of breaking
something you see.

Enough said, here are my questions. First, I have tried every type and
brand of double sided tape available around here (New Brunswick, Canada)
without any success. It holds for a day or so and my red dot finder
falls off. I installed it in the same location as yours by the way. I
cleaned the area of the scope where the finder mounting bracket is
attached with rubbing alcohol as suggested but no success. Do you or
your contributors have any suggestions? There must be a better way to
permanently mount the finder other than using tape.

Secondly, does anybody know of anyone on my side of the border who
offers the same type of ETX tune-up service that Dr. Sherrod performs?

Many thanx,
Henry M.
Mike here: I don't have a solution either but I'm now looking for one. After nearly two years, the tape on my Scopetronix LightSight gave up!
Subject:	Dr. Sharrod's ETX "Supercharge":
Sent:	Thursday, April 4, 2002 1:34:12
From: (Donald M. Sherrell)
Open Letter to all ETX owners;

I have just recieved my ETX125EC back from Dr. Clay Sherrod.  It was in
poor condition mechanically because of an accident.  It had slipped from
my grasp as I was tending to it following an observing session.  I had
actually finished wiping it down etc. and was lifting it into the Meade
carrying case when the scope slipped and went to the carpet only about
6"-7" but just enough to break the left Dec. arm tab which interfaces
with the OTA.  I took it to Meade for this and one other problem. The
arm was NOT fixed my Meade ( reason unknown), so the scope was out of
service for practically 14 months or so.

I decided to invest some of my tax refund for the "SuperCharge" service
offered by Dr. Sherrod at the Arkansas Sky Obersatory.  See ad elsewhere
on this Site. The stated and documented results from Dr. Sherrod's
service inspired me to further invest in the Meade Model #877 advanced
field tripod for the ETX125.

Now I'm all set to try out my "SuperCharged" ETX,  but the skys in and
around Los Angeles are under a heavy marine layer. I will have to wait
for my "Clear and Dark Skies" to put the scope through her paces.

I won't wait however to recommend Dr. Sherrod to all you ETX owners.  I
am very pleased with quick, accurate and custom service Dr. Sherrod
gives.  The turnaround time was fast.  The flow of information before,
during and after the scope was sent to Dr. Sherrod was forthcoming and
helpful.  The scope looks brand new and so does the case.  The service
report was detailed and the Tips were an additional bonus.  The
Certificate is frameable and the engraved Certification Plate on the OTA
is something that enhances the beauty of the scope and of which to take
great pride.

I highly recommend that anyone who has an ETX or LX90 to NOT wait on
contacting Dr. Sherrod for this outstanding service.  Thank you Mike for
recommending this service on your website and thank you Dr. Sherrod for
providing this needed service to myself and all those who have the good
sence to do exactly what I did......"JUST DO IT!!!" The ETX community is
in your debt Dr. Sherrod, and I personally applaud what you give back to
us from you store of knowledge and experience.

Donald M. Sherrell
Studio City  CA

Subject:	your book
Sent:	Wednesday, April 3, 2002 8:12:42
On 3-31-02 I got a letter from Amazon telling me your book is on it's
way to me. Kind of strange, since when I ordered it I was told by Amazon
it would not ship out until next December. I did check the UK Amazon
like you suggested and saw that it could be had there. Whatever the
reason I am looking forward to the book.

I also had Clay Sherrod rework my 90mmETX/EC and he did a great job
putting it into usable condition. When I bought it brand spanking new,
it could not find anything I asked it to "goto". After Clay did his
magic it works so well I can hardly believe it.

Thanks for being such a great friend to us ETX types.
Selwyn Malin

Subject:	Author, author
Sent:	Tuesday, April 2, 2002 18:04:53
From: (Kate / Tom)
I remember walking into a Borders book store in Philadelphia with my
sister-in-law when she asked, "So do they have your book?" Sure 'nuff,
they did. She was very impressed.

Just did a search on astronomy at Amazon, and first book on the list was
yours. I was very impressed.

Good on ya!

Subject:	your book
Sent:	Tuesday, April 2, 2002 17:51:20
Howdy from Texas
Just an F.Y.I note, I just received an e-mail from on the
shipment of your book. I should receive it in a few days now. Looking
forward to it.
Thank You
Mike in Texas

Subject:	Rainbow effect on planets
Sent:	Tuesday, April 2, 2002 10:09:16
From: (Edward)
I just got a new etx90ra. I dont know if this is serious, but I get a
little bit of rainbow color on planets like jupiter and saturn, ie - red
on one side, blue on the other. I'm pleased with the sharpness when I
look at the moon, but I'm new to this so your help is appreciated.    
I've used several eyepices including a meade 26mm super plossl.  The
effect is more noticable near the edge of the field and moving my eye a
bit seems to help.  Thanks.
Mike here: This could indicate something just slightly out of alignment but some coloration is normal since glass refracts different wavelengths into different paths. If minor, don't worry about it.
Subject:	Re: RA & DEC differences
Sent:	Tuesday, April 2, 2002 8:49:18
From: (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Jon
You are absolutely correct on some counts...the earlier Constellation
GO-TO Guides were giving elements for the 1950 epoch as reported in
Burnham's Celestial Handbook.  Later writings had updated those to
epoch2000.  You can easily CONVERT any of the 1950 epoch coordinates on
my Guides or Burnhams books by going to:

which is a handy conversion chart for doing just that on the Arkansas
Sky Observatory (ASO) website at .

Thanks for the update and glad you are using the constellation guides! 
This will help you tremendously!

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

----- Original Message -----
> Dr. Sherrod,
> I continue to enjoy your constellation guides with my LX90.  Your advice
> about using the 8.8UWA has increased my viewing ease greatly.  I had a
> question, though, which may have a simple answer and probably reflects my
> relative newcomer status:
> Using the Autostar(Ver.E) catalogs for objects, I can obtain very good
> location accuracy - down to having various objects appear in the field of
> the 8.8 eyepiece without further searching. Very nice. However, when I use
> the RA & Dec coordinates from your viewing guides, or from other sources
> such as S&T articles, I get a consistent "error".  I find that the object
> shows up in the mid-portion of the lower right quadrant of my finder scope
> (corrected image type).  I now automatically readjust the scope to show that
> area, with consistent success.  However, I am confused as to why the
> difference between internal and external coordinate accuracy.
> I usually use a manual two star alignment, initially.
> Any ideas?
> John

Subject:	Re: Declination Lock
Sent:	Tuesday, April 2, 2002 8:26:56
From: (Clay Sherrod)
To: (Mike Francis)
YES, you can cut into that with the Dremel tool....a very good way of
getting it off and I highly recommend it if you take your time and go

Thanks for the kind words and best of luck!!

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

----- Original Message -----
> Dear Dr.Sherrod,
> See Prev. communication:
> This is clearly a case where the small protruding threaded rod which holds
> the locking knob onto the fork trunion has stripped completely out of the
> knob inside....this is a very difficult thing to remove once this
> really stand a danger of breaking the OTA right support
> arm,
> the fork arm itself, or the hard stops inside the fork.
> You must hold the OTA assembly with one hand and gently pry under the
> fake
> setting circle with a very large blade screw driver while turning the
> knob
> takes a long time and you MUST go slow or you will
> break something inside....but it will eventually come off.
> Call Meade and tell them what happened and order a right knob/declination
> axis lock knob for your scope.....they will be happy to send you one!
> Clay Sherrod
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: (
> To: (
> > Clay, doesn't sound like a stripped lock.  Thoughts?
> > ---------------- Begin Forwarded Message ----------------
> > From:
> > Help! My 3 1/2 month old 125Etx seems to have a stripped declination
> lock.
> > On tightening it the other day,it turned a little too far and now it
> > won't
> > "unlock". the declination axis is locked,I can slew up and down and the
> > knob
> > on the fork moves when I move the OTA. The knob turns, but not freely.
> It
> > will go with equal stiffness in either clockwise or counterclockwise
> but
> > won't unlock the Dec. axis. I searched your site and found one similar
> > problem by a j pedicini back in Oct. 27, 2000 but am not sure if the
> > problem
> > is identical. The knob does rotate when I move the OTA up & down, But
> > even
> > if I hold the OTA I can't unlock the Declination gearing. I have the
> > "old"
> > model 125ETX. I'm hoping I don't have to send the whole thing back to
> > Meade.
> > It was purchased at The Discovery store in Southfield, MI.
>  I received the new declination lock and metal circle from Meade,and upon
> looking at it I was wondering if there was a way of drilling off the old
> knob or cutting it off with a high speed dremel cutting wheel,so that I
> wouldn't put so much pressure on the fork arm trying to remove it. I was
> also wondering if it is possible that the brass locking screw on the knob
> might be stuck into whatever fitting it threads into on the fork arm. This
> would present another challenge once I removed the knob. Any help here
> be greatly appreciated. I was amazed at your prompt response to my
> inquiry and am forever grateful for your help. I only wish I had my 125
> I was in Arkansas at the Diamond Crater state park last fall. I would have
> dropped it off for a supertune which I plan on doing as soon as the
> runs out or as soon as I learn all the do's and don'ts with this scope.
> Thanks again.The world need's more people like yourself and Mike Weasner.
>                                          Mike Francis

Subject:	The ETX book
Sent:	Tuesday, April 2, 2002 6:06:36
From: (McGinnis, John ETC)
Just to let everyone just shipped my book I ordered
back in February today. Can't wait to get it!

Subject:	Re:Hard Stop Question
Sent:	Monday, April 1, 2002 19:06:10
A quick update: I took the scope back to a local Discovery Store.  No
problem returning it, even though I'd bought it online.  I thought one
thing was interesting... when I told the sales clerk I wanted to return
the scope, before I could say why, she say "Oh, it's the motor?".  Seems
like they get a few of these back every so often :)

Subject:	Supercharge
Sent:	Monday, April 1, 2002 17:19:20
I want to thank Dr. Sherrod for his work on my ETX.  I had been a
frustrated rookie but now know that if I am careful and accurate, the
scope will be accurate as well.  Everything works much more smoothly and
the GOTO is amazing.  I'm glad this service is available.

D. Pool

Subject:	Re:Hard Stop Question
Sent:	Sunday, March 31, 2002 22:20:40
From: (John Chalfen)
Sounds like what I did when I had mine apart. There is a "V" groove in
the hard stops, and 2 "pins" on the base to move the hard stops. If one
of these "pins" is in the "V" groove you get a limited range of motion
from stop to stop.

Since new, take it back to where you got it. Not worth the effort to get
to the pins if under warranty.


--Sometimes I think that the surest sign of intelligent life on other
planets is the fact that they haven't tried to contact us yet.  (Bill
Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes)


Subject:	Refractor+reflector??
Sent:	Monday, April 1, 2002 5:14:50
From: (Thea Iding)
Thanks for answering my letter so quickly. I am very new in this field.
Is it possible that you can explain in short the differences between the
a refractor and a reflector. I would like to see the stars and not just
the moon - Will the 114 be suitable?
Thanks for your patience.
Joshua Iding 
Mike here: See the Meade site for info. Their page on how telescopes works should answer your question: Check the other links at the bottom of that page as well.
Subject:	Book
Sent:	Monday, April 1, 2002 6:24:13
I got the message below from Amazon this weekend. We are enjoying the
ETX's so much, I listed my ETX-90EC on eBay last week & ordered a new
ETX-125EC, so we've gone from a 70 in Dec to a 90 in Jan to a 125 in
April, this has got to be IT!

Greetings from

We thought you'd like to know that we shipped your items today, and that
this completes your order.

Thanks for shopping at, and we hope to see you again soon.

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