ETX-125EC USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 30 April 2003
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-125EC. 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:	Re: Advise
Sent:	Monday, April 28, 2003 20:34:51
From:	wrobinson@pghmail.com (Will)
I got lucky and found an ETX-125 UHTC in stock and purchased it on
Friday. It's enroute...

I was wondering if someone could give me some advice?  Here are my
questions:

1) I have a 12vdc power supply.  Can I use it instead of the $35 Meade
one? Anyone know the plug type and polarity?

2) I need to buy a case for the telescope.  What's the best bang for the
buck?  Which one do you recommend?

3) Is the 884 tripod okay with the ETX-125 in polar mode?  On your site
I read that the 883 is too shaky.

4) I bought an Econo Zoom II from Orion. I'll buy the $99 eyepiece set
from Meade.  Do you think I'll need a 2x Barlow?

5) What other accessories should I buy up front?  I did buy a moon
filter.

Thank-You, Willie Robinson
Mike here: You MAY be able to use the power supply. You'll need 1.5AH and a regulated one. See the Telescope Tech Tips page for more on Power Supplies; see the FAQ page for the polarity. See the Accessory Reviews - Cases page for some cases; also the Telescope Tech Tips page if you want to make your own. Yes, the #884 works in polar mode but depending upon your latitude you might prefer a more sturdier mount. With the $99 eyepiece deal there is normally little reason for most people to have a Barlow Lens. As to other accessories, that depends upon what you want to use the telescope for!
Subject:	ETX125 - excellent piece of kit
Sent:	Sunday, April 27, 2003 01:31:05
From:	bjwarman@lineone.net (Barry Warman)
Hi Mike -  I am just mailing you to say that following up from my
purchase of your book 'Using The Meade ETX' and copious visits to your
web page during 2002, my 125 arrived late in November - just as I had
driven off for an absolute beginners weekend on the other side of
England.  I collected it from Green Witch, a local astronomer and dealer
and after frustrating waits for clear nights finally managed to get
views thru mid December and January in temperatures well below zero. The
kit worked perfectly from the box and was well worth the wait, and with
your expertise (and others) and my familiarisation work during the
cloudy nights all the bells and whistles I had purchased with it, have
enhanced its beauty, usefulness, and has given me great pleasure
already.

It has also unleashed a nine year old monster, my very youngest daughter
came out one night in January, looking like an Eskimo, and now is the
proud owner of her own 4.5" scope.

For anyone out there still waiting delivery, its worth the wait and the
lens offer that came along with it is superb.

Thanks for a great site and book - invaluable to an absolute beginner.

Barry Warman MILT ESL
Gamlingay
Cambridgeshire
England

Subject:	ETX 125EC questions
Sent:	Tuesday, April 8, 2003 07:24:33
From:	Dubboy44@aol.com
Just received my new 125etx and have a couple of questions if you don't
mind. Figured I could get a more accurate and quicker response from you.

Question #1: How do I remove the photo port dust cover? Tried unscrewing
but didn't want to force it. (couldn't find anything in the manual).

Question #2: The instruction manual, page 6, item 7, states that the
"horizontal limit stop" prevents the scope from rotating 360 degrees to
avoid internal wiring damage. When I rotate the scope manually,CCW, the
scope comes to a stop but when rotating CW there is no stop. It keeps
rotating. I have refrained from going to far past 360 degrees for fear
that I may damage something. What do you think?

Thanks again for a great site and loads of good info!!  Am anxious for
clear skies to train motors and check it out as per your detailed
instructuions
             	       	       	       	       	       	                      Don S.
Mike here: 1. It does unscrew. Turn counterclockwise.
2. The stops are slightly less than 720 degrees apart.

And:

Thanks for the reply. You should write the manual!!
             	       	 Don S.

Subject:	Meade's ETX  promotion
Sent:	Sunday, April 6, 2003 22:56:57
From:	MMURPHY3@mn.rr.com (micheal murphy)
I've been a fan of your site for the past year and I am finally thinking
about taking a step up to an ETX 125.  I see Meade has a nice promotion
and is now including the autostar and the deluxe field tripod with the
purchase of this scope.  I was wondering, is the deluxe tripod adequate
for the ETX 125 or should you really have the advanced tripod for the
heavier 125 ?

Thanks for your advice !

M. Murph
Mike here: The heavier the tripod the better but the tripod included is adequate for starters.
Subject:	re:  MUF's on a ETX125
Sent:	Saturday, April 5, 2003 15:32:26
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	ian.darlington@arup.com
Work-arounds:

First: open the fork and the base and  -carefully- inspect the wires
(feel them, too... when my Dec wire was cut, it was invisible, but i
could -feel- the slice in the insulation... the RA Clamp nut had 
sliced through the insulation)

There's a website out there somewhere which shows an ETX125
modified to pass the Rec wires on the -outside-, instead of
through the column... the owner put an RJ11 jack on the outside
of the base and the fork arm, and runs a length of coil-cord
between them.

Another approach is to re-string the wire harness yourself...
pick one end, cut the connector off, solder the new wires to
the old ones, then pull them through (perhaps one at a time),
If you do the cut/solder/pull *one* wire at a time, and
test between each, you might get lucky and replace the damaged
wire before having to do all four.
Based upon your symptoms, i'd try the NOT red and black leads
first.

Of course, first checking with an ohmmeter to see that each wire
is continuous from the base to the fork, and that each wire is
not shorted to any of the other wires, and not shorted to the 
metal of the central shaft, would probably reveal the culprit.

good luck
--dick
And:
Dick,
Thanks for the suggestions. I am taking the scope back to the dealers
again so that they can sort it (now that I seem to have diagnosed the
fault for them!) and hopefully I have suffiently embarassed them that I
will get the work done for free, and maybe some freebies too!

Was interested to see that someone has done a bypass with rj11's and a
cable - I was eyeing up my telephone with a view to possibly doing that
a few days ago.

I was actually thinking it was the red or black wires, as when I shorted
between them, the RA motor stopped working.
And:
Um... since the red and black are the Power leads, i would certainly
expect it to stop working (perhaps permanently as traces are blown off
the power panel).

"Shorting" wires when the telescope is powered is *not* a good diagnostic 
method.  Severe damage can occur within milliseconds.

have (safer) fun
--dick

Subject:	power supply for etx-125
Sent:	Saturday, April 5, 2003 9:45:07
From:	Dubboy44@aol.com
I appreciate your excellent website and info on the Meade ETX scopes. I
am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my new ETX-125 in a couple of days.
(now all I need is some clear skies...20 degrees and snowing here in
nortern Michigan!) I have been rigging up power supply options after
getting several ideas from your website and have a couple of questions
if you could help. I have a 6 cell 12vdc lead acid battery (unknown AH)
and charger from an electric start lawn mower:

charger is rated: 120vac / 5w input ...14.5vdc 100ma output. (The actual
measured output is 9.8vdc.) Do you know if the charger will work as a
direct input to the scope?

The battery measured output is, in fact 12vdc.

I also have a transformer/power supply rated at: 120vac / 5w
input...12vdc 200ma output (actual measured output of 18vdc). Will this
work as a direct input to the scope?

I realize that the center pin is to be positive(+) with outer shell
negative(-). I also realize that you are not responsible for any action
I may take.

Thank you for your help and again, your website is OUTSTANDING!
             	       	       	       	       	       	       	Don S.
Mike here: Since the charger only outputs 100mA and transformer 200mA, they won't work. You really need upwards to 1500mA.

And:

Thanks again for your quick reply, Mike
Don S.

Subject:	early-model ETX125 advice
Sent:	Thursday, April 3, 2003 5:26:11
From:	mat.tizard@btinternet.com (Mathew Tizard)
Dear Michael and Clay,

I have recently purchased a second-hand Meade ETX125 plus accessories on
eBay. I live in the UK, and am moving to New Zealand in August. I will
be arranging to have it surface shipped (very slowly, and with *lots* of
padding) from upstate New York to Auckland NZ, so it is ready for me
upon my arrival.

The package includes a number of accessories, and a deluxe tripod and
hard case, and cost an even $1000, which seemed like a good deal
(especially when you consider the prices in the UK!). The scope's only
previous owner is an 83 year-old gent in Columbia county who cannot
manage to carry and set it up any more. It has had very little use since
it was originally bought.

Now, the thing which worries me, is that he tells me that he and his
wife bought the scope in 2000 (so it's out of warranty). I've noticed,
with dismay, on the excellent 'Mighty ETX' website that there have been
some serious problems with early-model ETX125s (and this would have to
be an early one). I'm writing really to see if you can offer me any
reassurance that such problems are not inevitable, and that the scope
should work properly, at least for some months.

I am reasonably technically minded, and am quite confident that if I can
find the parts and materials (washers of the right size and type etc) I
will be able to carry out some of the 'tune-up' procedures that you
recommend on the site. If I do these properly, am I likely to have a
nice well-behaved scope at the end of it, or am I doomed to the
early-model blues?

I'd be very grateful for any help or advice you can offer, to put my
mind at rest.

Thanks,

Mat Tizard
Mike here: As I've noted many times on the Site, the problem reports tend to exceed the no-problem reports because people ask for help when they are having problems, not when they are NOT having problems. But with that said, there was a problem with the 1999 model of the ETX-125EC; the shipping container did not protect well enough against damage and resulted in excessive image shift. There was also a problem with "random slew" that required a fix at Meade's plant (I seem to recall that a later Autostar update fixed it in software). If you do have any problems (except the image shift or poor collimation), you can do a lot to improve it using the Performance Enhancement articles from Dr. Clay on the Telescope Tech Tips page.

And:

I'm wondering if it might be a wise investment to ship the scope via Dr
Clay, and have him give it the full-treatment to make it the best scope
it can be when I get to use it in August in NZ.

Do you recommend this service, and if so which variant/s of the
different tune-ups, services, and supercharges will provide me with the
best value for money- if i just want to get the best out of what I have
got?

thanks,

mat
Mike here: Clay's Supercharge is a fine service (otherwise it wouldn't be mentioned on my ETX Site). You should discuss with him what you want to do.
Subject:	etx 125
Sent:	Wednesday, April 2, 2003 19:15:07
From:	dhester@ec.rr.com (dan hester)
I'm an "over 50" convert to the etx 125.  

Having only recently been bitten by the astronomy bug...I purchased an
Orion 130 reflector and enjoyed it very much.

But I've got to tell you...the etx has quickly become my favorite. I
bought the unit recently and had some problems with the
focuser...Discovery store gladly exchanged the unit.

This time...the "go to" didn't work too well, so I downloaded the latest
stuff off the Meade website and ..WoW...it worked perfectly tonight.

I just spent two hours looking at dozens of clusters, galaxies...saturn,
jupiter ...and the etx put every one dead center in the 25mm eyepiece. 
I only had to adjust jupiter slightly...it was almost straight up.

I'm crossing my fingers...that this etx will continue to work so
perfectly.  I reset after the download..calibrated and trained the
drives on Polaris.  thanks for a great site.  Dan

Subject:	ETX 125 blurry images
Sent:	Tuesday, April 1, 2003 19:49:39
From:	ronjac3@sbcglobal.net (ronjac3)
I'm new to the ETX and I can't seem to get a good clear image on jupiter
and saturn when I try using any eyepiece other the 26mm that is supplied
with the ETX 125 . I have a celestron 2x ultima barlow that i tried to
use with the 26mm eyepiece and I can't get it to focus clearly.I also
have a DS90EC and I don't have any problems when looking at the planets
with this scope when using higher power. The ETX  is new and I let it
sit outside for a least 45 min. prior to using it.

thanks, Ron
ronjac68@aol.com
Mike here: Do you mean you can't reach a focus with the 26mm + Barlow Lens or just that the view looks fuzzy no matter how good the focus? What other eyepieces are you using? All eyepieces or just shorter focal length ones (I'm assuming you are referring to the eyepieces that came with the $99 eyepiece deal). Fuzzy images can result from approaching or exceeding the theoretical maximum magnification (with any telescope), which is about 250X for the ETX-125EC, poor seeing conditions, not letting the telescope reach "thermal equilibrium" (longer than 45 minutes for the ETX-125EC), or poor collimation (which you can check for; see the Telescope Tech Tips page for collimation test articles).
Subject:	MUF's on a ETX125
Sent:	Tuesday, April 1, 2003 1:06:50
From:	ian.darlington@arup.com (Ian Darlington)
I recently switched on my ETX to find that both drives failed to
operate. Did a reset and whenever I try to recalibrate the motors I now
just get 'motor unit fault'. I have tried the standard controller but
that doesnt work either. Unfortunately the 'scope is out of warranty and
being in the UK, shipping it to Doc Clay is a rather expensive option.
Any suggestions on how I can fix this? my dealers' rather unhelpfull
suggestion was 'sell the OTA and start again'!!!

Regards,
Ian
Mike here: Some thoughts: low batteries, Autostar cable in wrong port, Autostar cable loose, grease needs to be loosened up (several rotations by hand, hardstop to hardstop, in both directions on both axes, will usually fix that). Was the ETX unused for a long period of time? If you have the standard handcontroller, can you slew with it?

And:

In order:
I have tried new batteries - the autostar was displaying power at 95%+
Pretty sure I got the right port. I have tried several times to see if had
come back from the dead, but to no avail
The scope turns freely in both axis already, and was fine before failure.
It was unused for 12 months or so, but it had been used for about 6 hours
the weekend before the motors went.
I cannot slew with the standard controller - all the lights blink on
power-up but nothing happens after you select a slew speed.
Is it possible for a fault in one axis to feedback to the autostar to
prevent the other axis from driving? It seems improbable to me that both
drives failed simultateously..
Mike here: If both the standard handcontroller AND the Autostar fail to work, the problem is in the ETX base (circuit board, wiring, or control panel). I suggest it is time to contact Meade or your local dealer.

And:

Thanks for advice,
Yesterday i tested the feedback theory, and removed the declination
drive plug from the distridution board, and the RA drive started working
again. I then bypassed the the Dec wiring through the clutch by
connecting some speaker wire from the pins on the distron board direct
to the Dec motor PCB. Lo and behold it started to run too. Looks like a
short between the Dec wires somewhere inside the RA is causeing my
grief. Time to give the dealer [who told me both motors were dead]
another call..
thanks for your advice though

Ian
an
Subject:	re:  Good 125 - odd Autostar problem
Sent:	Monday, March 31, 2003 22:07:23
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	KlaraColli@aol.com
> They are the telescope ignoring the object I selected and going
> to the next object in  Tonight's Best

You have to -lean- on the Mode key for many seconds (more than 3) to
"escape" from a Tour.

You then have to press [enter] to truly select an Object, 
before you can press [GoTo].
If the object's name is not on the TOP line of the display, it is
NOT truly selected... you will simply GoTo -back- to the last object
that had been truly selected... and Tours -select- their targets.

>  Autostar indicating it is slewing to the selected
> object, but the scope does not move;

Exact same cause... it is really GoTo'ing the place you are already AT.
Hence: no motion.

> and Autostar saying that the selected object is below the horizon
>  when it is not.  

If this is immediately after a Tour, it is probably the same cause...
Tours have many objects which are not visible at the moment you "take"
them... but the Autostar determines that by Selecting an Object, and
then quietly determining if it is below the horizon... if you are
leaving the Tour, and then not selecting a new target properly,
it will report the "below horizon" status of the object -it- last selected.

>  Is there a known problem with switching between Tonight's Best
> and selecting from the Objects menus?

No, but you DO have to truly SELECT the new object.

good luck
--dick

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