Last updated: 30 April 2003
Subject: Re: Advise Sent: Monday, April 28, 2003 20:34:51 From: email@example.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 RobinsonMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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.
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. MurphMike 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: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 --dickAnd:
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.
Thanks again for your quick reply, Mike Don S.
Subject: early-model ETX125 advice Sent: Thursday, April 3, 2003 5:26:11 From: email@example.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 TizardMike 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.
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, matMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (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 firstname.lastname@example.orgMike 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: email@example.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, IanMike 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?
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.
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 Ianan
Subject: re: Good 125 - odd Autostar problem Sent: Monday, March 31, 2003 22:07:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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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