Last updated: 30 April 2004
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.

Mike here: Email sent to me from 7am Pacific Daylight Time to 4:30pm PDT on Monday, 12 April 2004, was accidently purged prior to reading them. If you sent me a message during this time period, please resend it. My apologies for the inconvenience.

Subject:	Feedback for ETX-125 Supercharge 
Sent:	Friday, April 30, 2004 13:43:15
From:	"Frank Alvarado" (
First off, thanks for the great site with all the helpful information.

I would also like to let everyone out there know that if they have not
sent their scope to Dr. P. Clay Sherrod ( to get it
supercharged, they should do so at the earliest opportunity.  I was
never really satisfied with the way it worked, but after Clay's
overhaul, this little scope works wonders!  I highly recommend Clay's
service to anyone who really wants their scope to perform as advertised.

Thanks again, Frank

Subject:	Portable power supply for ETX-105?
Sent:	Friday, April 30, 2004 11:54:38
From:	"Ruben Ruiz" (
I will be using my ETX-105 for the transit of venus. I will be traveling
to another city, so I will not have a power supply (such as home or car)
for the ETX. Is there any kind of batteries or power supply that I can
buy to see all the transit (aprox. 6 hours) and that can be easily
carried with the luggage to another town? I guess that the normal
batteries will not last that long.

Mike here: You could take a bunch of batteries or you could get an external power supply. See the article "Power Supplies" on the Telescope Tech Tips page. Actually, good normal (non-rechargeable) batteries should last that long.
Subject:	ETX's on SkyShed Piers!
Sent:	Friday, April 30, 2004 11:35:51
From:	Wayne Parker (
I wanted to let you be the first to know that our SkyShed Piers now come
with holes in our adapter plate that accommodate an ETX as a standard

This means in addition to already supporting a wide range of scopes and
mounts in the standard configuration our piers also support ETX scopes
without any additional adapters.

Now I can take my 10" LX200 GPS off my pier and replace it with the ETX
in seconds. My wife likes it so much that she is making me build a new
10X14' SkyShed with 2 piers so that we can use our scopes together on 2
piers (isn't that sweet?).

With the ability to interchange the scopes quickly and with owning 3
Meade SCT's (long story), it will make for interesting scope
combinations in the ob and allow visiting astronomers to mount their
scope without need of adapter in most cases

Currently the configuration works in Alt-AZ mode only, but we're working
on an adapter plate for equatorial mode.

Even if you don't have an observatory, a permanent pier in the backyard
can sure increase scope time. We're now shipping piers all over the
world, mostly the US and Canada due to the weight and shipping cost, but
shipping to the US is pretty low priced considering.

More info coming in a big SkyShed newsletter next week.

Hope you have a great summer Mike.

Clear Skies!

Subject:	Could you give me tips on how to use the ETX 90EC properly?
Sent:	Thursday, April 29, 2004 22:41:26
From:	"Thanayut Xamountry" (QR25DET@MSN.COM)
I ve had my etx for over 4 years now and its just collecting dust.

My question is how do I align the etx using a compass because I have an
autostar? Does the telescope have to be pointing exactly north? Ive
tried aligning it and then using the autostar but ive never seen a
single deepsky object. I also live in Michigan where light pollution is
heavy but stars are visible.Some planets as well but theyare easy to
find since there bright in the sky.Is the light pollution preventing me
from seeing any deepsky objects? I even called customer service from
Orion telescopes and was told it was possible to see deepsky objects
even in light polluted areas. Is that true because ive had no luck?

My other question concerns a solar filter. Ive been told by a skeptical
family member that its impossibe to look at the sun even with a filter
it would still burn your eyes out.Is that true? Ive been thinking about
buying it but Im not sure. Is it possible to use the filter and see the
suns flames moving because most of the pictures I have seen seem as if
the sun was just a big orange inactive circle.

Well I know I asked more than just tips. Any help you can provide me
with would be most appreciated.

Thank you for taking time to read this
Mike here: See the alignment tips on the Autostar Info page; that should get you going. Keep in mind that a magnetic compass indicates Magnetic North, not True North. The Home position uses True North. If you can see the North Star "Polaris" you can use that to indicate where True North is. Yes, light pollution will interfere with seeing the faint DSOs. If really bad, even the brighter ones like M42 in Orion may be difficult. See the Accessory Reviews - Filters page for info on solar filters. There are two types: a regular solar filter which lets you see sunspots safely and the Hydrogen-Alpha solar filters which let you see prominences and lots of other details on the Sun.
Subject:	Star party sharing
Sent:	Thursday, April 29, 2004 21:10:55
Just wanted to share the experience of setting up my ETX 125 at a Star
Party Last Friday. Good seeing, and lots of kids and parents introduced
to astronomy.  We set our scopes up at an athletic field west of
Phoenix. Had about 20 eye pieces open trained on everything from the
moon, planets and clusters. Had scopes ranging from a huge 16 inch dob,
down to newbies with a 3" reflector. My ETX was trained on Jupiter most
of the night with a 26 mm eyepiece and you can't believe how many people
and kids were just in awe by looking at it. I was amazed how many people
are interested in astronomy, and it was just fun to answer all their
questions. I would highly encourage anyone with this opportunity to
share to take advantage of it. Really lots of fun.

thanks for your site,


Subject:	ETX105, ToUcam & Transit of Venus
Sent:	Thursday, April 29, 2004 18:54:12
From:	"Ruben Ruiz" (
I will be traveling to Europe for the transit of Venus with my ETX 105.
I would like to use my Phillips Webcam ToUcam in order to take pictures
of the transit. The problem is that when I place the ToUcam in the 1.25"
of eyepiece of the ETX (with the Adaptar I bought also), it behaves like
a 4mm eyepiece. Therefore, the sun is too big to fit in the picture! I
have seen in some web pages about field doublers to compensate this
problem, but they are attached at the back of the telescope. During the
transit the sun will be very high making it impossible to use any
attachment at the back of the telescope.

Does anyone have any idea on how to use the webcam through the standard
ETX eyepiece (at the top) avoiding the problem of having the sun so big
in the picture?

Many thanks,
Mike here: If you Polar Mount the ETX you likely won't have the clearance problem. Just a thought.
Subject:	Eyepieces for my ETX-125
Sent:	Thursday, April 29, 2004 09:21:53
From:	"Johan Huijben" (
first off, thanks a ton for making your great site, this is truly a big
help with many of the questions I have, since I'm only a beginner!

Hence my question: If I want a really good eyepiece for planetary and
lunar viewing on my ETX-125, is it wise then to buy a wide-angle
eyepiece (like a Nagler or a Vixen LVW) at around 7mm (271x
magnification, still crisp I believe?) or is there no advantage of the
wider view over let's say a 'normal' Meade Super Plssl (with 'only' 52
degrees viewing angle)? In other words: Is there any positive effect of
a large viewing angle for planetary/lunar viewing?

Second: Does a good Barlow like the Meade 2x apo Barlow affect the
quality of a good eyepiece like a Nagler? And at which angles/focal
lengths will vignetting occur?

I know it's a lot of questions, but you'll help me greatly if you would
help me out....

Thanks in advance.

Best regards, Johan Huijben, Oosterhout, The Netherlands.

PS: Keep up the good work!
Mike here: Having a wide-angle is normally of not much use on the planets although it can be nice when viewing the Moon, especially along the terminator. It is more suited to viewing star fields and large open clusters. With any Barlow Lens there is some image degradation vs a quality eyepiece of the same effective focal length. But the Meade #126 is still a good choice. There are some eyepiece tips on the Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page.


Okay, thanks, this will save me an awful lot of money on a wide-angle
short focal length eyepiece (astronomical products are almost twice as
expensive here in The Netherlands as it is, compared to the USA). So
then I might consider a good Vixen LV 7mm then (271x on an ETX-125)? It
sounds to me like that is the limit at which the ETX-125 holds
perfectly, am I right? Thanks for your help!

Best regards, Johan Huijben.

PS: Thanks for your VERY fast response, incredible!
Mike here: See the FAQ page for info on the maximum theoretical magnification.
Subject:	ETX90EC Purchase
Sent:	Tuesday, April 27, 2004 17:19:29
From:	"Lyle Fischer" (
I just purchased a Meade ETX90EC on astromart from a great guy - it is
pratically new and works great - albeit one problem.

It seems after slewing (which IS loud, but I owned and LX90 and LXD55 so
I'm used to it), when the unit starts to track normally, it sounds
almost like a small coffe pot brewing!  It rattles, slips, pops and
other unwordly noises.   It tracks just fine though!

Meade tech support told me this was S.O.P for this model - is that true?
Any way to reduce the noise?

Thanks for your assistance!

Lyle Fischer
Mike here: Slewing can loud although you could try the "quiet slew" setting in the Autostar if you have 3.1Ee. But during tracking the motors should be fairly quiet. If there is no movement in the image in the eyepiece then the motors/gears are tracking smoothly. You could try Polar Mounting and see if the noise (RA drive only then) helps.


Thanks Mike - wonedr why Meade said it was normal? Hmmm.
Mike here: Did you actually let them hear it?


No - I didn;t - but I described it like I described it to you - like a
coffe maker popping and whirring.  Guess what else? After it does an
easy align it won;t slew to anyting else!  It slewed to Sirius and had
it dead on - then to Arcturus - but when I asked it to go to Jupiter it
just sat and whirred a little.  Then, I sent it to Saturn - it did the
same thing!  Now I'm an old hat at Autostar and I did a reset - didn;t

Mike here: Well, since slewing to alignment stars is OK obviously motors/etc are OK. I suggest trying to download a new version of the Autostar.
Sent:	Monday, April 26, 2004 14:32:44
From:	"Dan Hester" (
After a couple of years of pure pleasure from my ETX 125, I finally did
it in this week. I accidentally reversed polarity on my 12 volt power
supply and fried my trusty unit. My fault. Dumb mistake. I called meade
and the unit was shipped for a month or so for repairs. No doubt I will
miss my old friend, but if Meade can repair it, great. I still think its
the best telescope for the money, unless an owner mistake like mine does
it in. Good seeing...and watch that polarity! Dan
Mike here: Ouch. Meade will be able to repair; probably replacing the circuit board.
Subject:	Re: Broken ETX arm
Sent:	Monday, April 26, 2004 12:18:33
From:	kate / Tom (
Faxed my problem to Mead yesterday (Sunday), received a call from
Customer Service today at noon.

$15 plus tax for adapter arm and sleeve which come together as a kit.

No muss, no fuss...if it gets here promptly. I'll let you know; their
Customer Service has a bad rep, but when they do something right they
should credit when credit's due, n'est pas?

fork arm


Replacement tube adapter arrived today...pretty darn good service!
Couldn't expect any better.

Subject:	a question about etx telescopes
Sent:	Sunday, April 25, 2004 21:32:16
From:	Stan Drery (
Hello, thanks for your time.(my name is john and i live in greece).

Do you think it is worth the money, if i choose the etx-90 instead of
the etx-70?

There is a $300 money differencebut maybe with the etx-70 i will have
to buy a lot of accessories to have a betterimage.Bye.
Mike here: The two models are drastically different optically. Do you want a short focal length refractor or a longer focal telescope? The choice really depends upon your expectations and planned usage.


I really want to have a satisfactory view of the planets and maybe use
itafter for taking astrophotos which expands verymuch the usage of the
telescope.( i think).

Thanks for reply.Bye.
Mike here: I think you would be happier with the ETX-90.
Subject:	a new website was opened. from Yoshi-K (Japan)
Sent:	Sunday, April 25, 2004 06:08:22
From:	"Yoshi-K" (
A few is English. but... Astronomical information of Japan is carried.


Best Regards,
Yoshikatsu Kida

Subject:	Broken ETX arm
Sent:	Saturday, April 24, 2004 16:47:25
From:	kate / Tom (
Somehow the end of the pivot for my ETX has broken so the tube cannot be
controlled in elevation. How do I get a replacement part?

fork arm
Mike here: Ouch. You'll have to contact Meade. Let me know what they charge. Alternatively, you can get one of the bases from Shutan Camera and Video (see the Dealer Specials page) or from Telescope Warehouse (see the Astronomy Link page).
Subject:	RE: Focuser knob damage to ETX 90
Sent:	Saturday, April 24, 2004 10:24:25
From:	"Keith Egger" (
Thanks for your help, Clay. I disconnected the OTA assembly as per your
instructions and was able to reattach the focus rod and all is working
fine now. An added bonus is that I was able to adjust the focus such
that I can now reach focus with the Shutan diagonal and my Antares EPs
-- which precipitated the original problem.

Thanks again for your help!
What a great and positive report....thanks for letting us hear the happy

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.)

Subject:	ETX-125 & Lap Top & Camera
Sent:	Friday, April 23, 2004 15:33:14
From:	jack (
I am looking to buy a laptop to use with my ETX-125 and a camera. Any
recommedations? I have been told to get a laptop with a serial port and
at least 512 mb and a big hard drive. Do you think OPT ad for the Canon
EOS is a good match for the ETX-125 , perhaps it is too bulky for the
ETX and a Nikon would be better. Does OPT sell an adapter to mate the
Canon EOS to the eyepiece?

Jack Dugan
Mike here: I don't recommend Windows computers to my friends... I just don't know enough about them (being a Mac guy). But you do need a RS-232 serial port OR a USB-serial converter. As to cameras, check out the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page for info on lots of cameras. And OPT should be able to help you make the decision and supply whatever adapters are needed.
Subject:	ETX125 motor drives
Sent:	Friday, April 23, 2004 08:03:02
From:	Dave Turner (
I think I'm jinxed. On the first cloudless night since I bought my
ETX125 the AutoStar 'died'. This is now working correctly thanks to your

The second cloudless night my telescope moved happily in RA but would
only move clockwise in declination viewed from the left of the scope.
(i.e. eye-piece to the right)

This occurs whether the EC controller or the AutoStar is used.

I am technically competent but am reluctant to void the warranty on the
scope since I imported it (legally) from Alexandria Virginia to the UK
during a visit in January this year. If its internal cables have gone
that's one thing but if 'chips' have failed that's another. 

Any ideas how I may sort this one out?


Dave Turner


Mike here: I presume you mean that the telescope will not raise in altitude. First off, when you lock it in place does it stay put at whatever angle you set it at. When slewing at higher speeds does it move up and/or down? Could you be not tightening the altitude (declination) axis lock enough? Don't over-tighten it though.


I wish it were that simple. The axis lock is tight enough. It's the
motor control itself. When I press up the telescope raises in altitude
as one would expect. However when I press down the telescope also rises
in altitude.

If I use the AutoStar the same thing occurs but with the added problem
that the telescope attempts to move past the end stop requiring a rapid
switch off before any damage can be caused.
Mike here: OK, now I understand what you are experiencing. With the Autostar, try a RESET, reselect the telescope model and mounting mode, do a CALIBRATE, and then do a TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes). Let me know if the same problem occurs while trying to do the training on the altitude axis.


Thanks I'll try that but this is happening with the standard EC
controller too! Could the AutoStar have changed a configuration within
the scope itself?
Mike here: No, the Autostar won't change anything in the base but I just want to see if it helps get the Autostar working.
Subject:	ETX125 Random Slewing
Sent:	Wednesday, April 21, 2004 09:39:30
From:	"Doucette, Mark (SudburyMinesMill)" (
Let me start by saying that you have built an excellent site. It sounds
like a suck-up but I really appreciate all the information available to

I've tried to sift through a ton of info on the random slewing problem.
In your experience does it seem more likely with external power sources?
I never had the problem until I started using a 12V portable power
supply. You know, the ones that you can boost a car with. It has a
cigarette lighter in it so I just plugged in the Meade cable. It
sometimes takes 5 or 6 boots to get it to behave. I will try it
consistently with AA batteries only but the thing eats them like water
(you already know that for sure).

Your thoughts are welcome.

Thanks again for the great site.

Mark Doucette
Onaping, Ontario
Mike here: Power irregularities or interruptions, no matter the source, can cause random slews. Depending on the cause, they can occur with batteries or external power sources. BUT if they are frequent happenings regardless of the power source, then you can probably rule out the power source as the culprit.

And an update:

I appreciate your response. I tested it extensively last night on
internal batteries only and it worked fine. I think the user that posted
the comments about the internal switch between external power and the
batteries may be on to something.

Thanks again for a great site. The Mighty ETX site is the true spirit of
the Internet. It is not porn. It is not spam. It even is not commerce.
It is the world community collaborating. That's what the Mighty ETX site
does. Thank you.
Mike here: Thanks. Could the cutout switch or the external power supply then.
Sent:	Tuesday, April 20, 2004 12:48:06
From:	"Jager" (
I'm looking to get an ETX-90EC, I understand from the people at the
Discovery store that the EC model comes standard with the UHTC lens, is
this true.

Harlen O'Brien
Mike here: First off, PLEASE read the Email Etiquette on my ETX Site; your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing Subject entry.
Haven't heard this. The ETX-90AT model (now the standard) includes the #497 Autostar and the #884 tripod, which were optional with the EC model.

And an update:

I finally got  a hold of Meade and The EXT-90EC does not come standard
with UHTC. Sorry for the time wasted.

Mike here: Thanks. Didn't think it did.
Subject:	Re: New ETX 125
Sent:	Tuesday, April 20, 2004 11:10:53
From:	"P. Clay Sherrod" (
Hello Henry and congrats on the new will very much like the
Meade; I am very surprised about the computer ease comment; the Meade is
SO much more user friendly and totally updateable....the Nexstar is a
very difficult and awkward controller to use.  You will enjoy doing some
astrophotography with the Meade and check out Mike Weasner's Mighty ETX
site for regular updates and photography tips and techniques.

The link is and you will find a
wealth of helpful information.

Good luck and enjoy!

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.)

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Henry 
Subject: New ETX 125

Dear Dr. Sherrod,

I just purchased an ETX 125 and think it will be fine for me.  I want to
do some astrophotography with a Canon D60 digital camera with plantets
and DSO's. What do you think?

An astonomer friend of mine from JPL suggested the Celestron Nexstar 5i
because of computer ease of use and a platform that supposedly vibrates
less. Also he didn't like the fork on the Meade scope because he thought
it would limit the field of view.



Subject:	Filter confusion
Sent:	Tuesday, April 20, 2004 09:15:54
From:	Cynthia Berens (
I am new to the Astronomy field and have some questions about color

What color filter producers are the best to buy from?

Are color filters colored glass or are they coated glass?

Is there a type of colored filter that is better to purchase over
others, not necessarily the color itself?

Any answers would be very welcome.
Sincerely, James Berens.
Mike here: High quality filters are best. Buying filters from reputable telescope dealers is OK. They can come in both types. You might want to look through the Accessory Reviews - Filters page.
Subject:	Best Eyepieces for Planet Viewing
Sent:	Monday, April 19, 2004 12:36:45
From:	"Mike" (
Was wondering what the consensus is for he bets eyepieces to use for
planet viewing? Currently have the stock 26mm, the 2X Barlow, and the
8-24mm zoom lens. Would really like Saturn's rings to stand out...

Many thanks!

Mike here: Well, it depends on the telescope aperture and focal length but in general you want 100X minimum. Details in cloud bands and more can be seen with upwards to 400X and higher. Of course, your telescope has to support that much magnification.


I have an ETX-125 EC.  I heard the wide angle, or ultra wide angle
eyepieces were good for planet viewing.  Which one's are better.
Mike here: You can read some reviews of wide angle eyepieces on the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page. But generally, WA eyepieces are best when you want WIDE FIELD views, like of star fields.


Many thanks, Mike.  I'll do that...

Subject:	Re: ETX-105AT
Sent:	Monday, April 19, 2004 03:20:28
From:	"Ivar Marthinusen" (
Thanks, I think this answered my question.

But I tried removing the OTA, but when I remove the four screws and bend
the arms outwards slightly, I am only able to slide it out a few
millimeters before it stops, and won't go any farther. Do you know what
the problem could be?

Ivar Marthinusen
Mike here: Did the little clips on the side of the OTA release?
Subject:	Use of filters?
Sent:	Sunday, April 18, 2004 21:17:49
From:	"JIM ARMOUR" (
I used my scope for the first time last night and I manually set it on
Venus. Initially I couldn't get anything to focus but after about 15
minutes I could see Venus (I think this was due to not allowing the
scope to adjust to ambient temp)however it was so bright You coulds see
little prisms around it I swapped to my 9mm lense and that just made it
bigger but the focus was not very clear. My question is "will filters
improve my Focus acuity?". Thankyou for considering my question.

Jim, Spokane WA
Mike here: Depending upon how high in the sky Venus was when you were observing you could see some atmospheric dispersion, resulting in the colors you saw. Using a filter can help reduce this effect but viewing when higher in the sky is better.


Thanks for your help and thanks for your web page, it is very
interesting and helpful.

Subject:	ETX-125 with horizontal motor problem
Sent:	Sunday, April 18, 2004 13:18:50
From:	"BENNY ---.." (
After of much reading on your web page I decide to go for an ETX-125, It
finally arrive today (I live in Mexico) , but things started bad for my
right out of the box. First when trying to engage the horizontal lock,
the leveler knob break, seems that I apply to much pressure on it , damn
! I was sure that knob was metal, butI was wrong. But the real
problem, and the reason of my email , isthatafter the telescope was
slewing fine in both axes it came to a hard stop on the horizontal ...
and after that , no more movement in that axe, I can hear the motor and
a clicking sound , but no movement . I already try to ease the
horizontal clutch (with a key since I have no more knob). Have I damage
my brand new scope ? please tell me what can I do since I'm in Mexico
and a scope return to Meadewill be quite expensive from here.

 Thanks for a great site

Mike here: Well, first off I think you were probably trying to overtighten the azimuth lock and that is why it broke. As to the hard stop, did you put the telescope in the proper HOME position before using the Autostar (I'm assuming you are using the Autostar). This requires a rotation to the first hard stop and then back to North (a rotation of about 120 degrees). If you didn't do this, do a RESET, set the telescope model and mounting mode in the Autostar, CALIBRATE, and TRAIN DRIVES again.
Subject:	Noisy RA Drive
Sent:	Sunday, April 18, 2004 09:30:05
From:	"Stuart Kendall & Melanie Duggan" (
Thanks for the information provided on your website.

I have a new Meade ETX 125 w/ autostar. At the higher speeds my dec
drive is very quiet and smooth but my RA drive is extremely noisy and
not so smooth either. It also appears worse when slewing to the left.
The drives have been calibrated and trained. Could it possibly need oil?
If not, what else could cause this problem?

Many thanks,

S. Kendall
Mike here: You can possibly redistribute the lubrication (which should probably be done with all new telescopes as they may have been on the shelf for months). To do this, unlock both axes and move the OTA from hard stop to hard stop, several times back and forth. Do for both axes. Also, be certain to not overtighten the lock when locking the axis.
Subject:	ETX-105AT
Sent:	Sunday, April 18, 2004 03:28:50
From:	"Ivar Marthinusen" (
Hi, and thanks for a great webpage.

I have a few questions about my telescope though. I know I found this on
your page somewhere, but I can't find it anymore. How do I take my
telescope out of the drive motor, so I can use it as a spotting scope?


I searched the entire Meade webpage for a customer support e-mail, is
there any? Living in Bangkok, I really do not want to call Meade every
time I am wondering about something.

-Ivar Marthinusen
Mike here: Meade doesn't provide email support. As to removing the OTA, see the bottom of my ETX-90EC article ( I'm not certain the steps are exactly the same but they should be similar.
Subject:	Low Latitude
Sent:	Sunday, April 18, 2004 01:42:08
From:	"Wahifol Wazri A.Wahab" (
I live in Malaysia.My question is, can the ETX series be used in the
country with low latitude such as Malaysia? I'm thinking of buying the
ETX105-EC. Thanks.


Wahifol Wazri
Mike here: The ETX can be used at any latitude. In Alt/Az mode the entire sky will be accessible. In Polar (equatorial) mode, some objects will be inaccessible due to the OTA reaching the base. With the Autostar, which is now standard with the ETX "AT" models, you can observe and track the entire sky using Alt/Az.
Subject:	ETX 90 greasy declination wheel 
Sent:	Saturday, April 17, 2004 09:42:23
I was trying to center Jupiter with the slewing buttonswhen my brand
ETX 90 stopped slewing up and down. It makes a rumbling noise but it
doesnt move upor down. (It goes side to side fine). I tightened the
clutch more but it does help.I removed the right OTA support and the
clutch is NOT broken. I think I might need to clean the declination
wheel. HOW DO I REMOVE THE FRICTION SURFACE that holds the declination
wheel in place? Does it simply pull off?, screw off? etc. Also, I dont
think I properly trained the motors, could this be part of the problem.

        Thank you,

        Todd Andersen
Mike here: First off, don't do major surgery unless really needed. Do a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES (don't forget to train both axes). See if that cures the problem. Also, you can possibly redistribute the lubrication (which should probably be done with all new telescopes as they may have been on the shelf for months). To do this, unlock both axes and move the OTA from hard stop to hard stop, several times back and forth. Do for both axes. Let me know.


THANK YOU! I'll try your suggestions and let you know.
And more:
I tried both train drives, and calibration. Again the horizontal is
fine, but the declination (up and down) the motor or gears in the right
arm just click, andthe OTA doesnt move. It the motor going too slow to
make the worm gear move the declination wheel?
Mike here: Does this happen during training? What happens if you increase the slewing speed?


Yes, during training. How doI increase the slewing speed?
Mike here: Press the number keys; 1 for slowest, 9 for fastest.


I just found that in the manual, sorry. I tried 2, 4 8 and 9 and it
still just clicks. Almost sounds like the worm wheelis sputtering
against the worm?
Mike here: If the telescope is brand new you may not want to mess with its guts (which would cancel the warranty). But if you do want to try, see the Performance Enhancement article "Part 1 - Mechanical Considerations and Adjustments" on the Telescope Tech Tips page.

And this:

Ive seen that and it looks daunting. The scope is brand new, Ive had it
since February but last night was the first time I turned it on and
hooked up the autostar. (its been too cold out). ShouldI just contact
Meade on Mondayand see what they suggest? Could this be a warranty

Also, could I have somehow changed the ALT ratio by accident? I had the
scope pointed at Venus and then used the slewing buttons to move it over
to Jupiter. When I was trying to slew up to jupiter, thats when the
buzzing, clicking, not quite grinding sound occured.
Mike here: Could be a warranty issue; so contacting Meade could be the right thing to do. As to the ratio, not likely that you changed it from what it should be. Doing a RESET, CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES (in that order) sets things correctly. So you might try that.


Thank you for all your help. Ive already tried the calibration,
reset,sequence and it still just seems to sputter. Ill contact Meade
on Monday and see what theysuggest.

Subject:	Damaged ETX-125
Sent:	Saturday, April 17, 2004 08:26:27
From:	"Robert Thompson" (
Had an accident with my Supercharged ETX-125. Mounted to tripod, it was
knocked-over. It hit a table, then the floor. Obvious damage was
sheared finder scope mounting screws and OTA dislodged slightly from
left mount. Left fork inner cover loose at the bottom.

Removed OTA from forks & removed left fork inner cover. Two plastic
posts for two lower rear screws were sheared. No other visible damage.

Replaced sheared viewing scope screws. Re-installed left inner cover &
used duct tape to hold bottom rear tight (hey, it works on airplanes.)
Remounted OTA.

Using normal controller, it operates normally. Focuses sharply, no
visible damage to mirror, glass, etc. Optically, think I was lucky.

Using Autostar I have a problem. When initializing, the horizontal axis
appear to be working normally, but the vertical axis is a problem. The
Autostar doesnt seem to know that its reached the correct declination
and will keep moving the OTA up until I shut it off.

Any troubleshooting suggestions? Any possibility its an unrelated
software problem?


Robert Thompson
Mike here: Ouch. But it sounds like you were somewhat lucky in that there wasn't more damage. As to the altitude problem, first option would be to reCALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES. It could be that something with the encoder changed/was damaged in the fall. Redoing the settings may help. Or if the encoder is truly damaged then you may have to return it to Meade.
Subject:	ETX 105 Focus Shift and Lens Cleaning
Sent:	Friday, April 16, 2004 15:51:13
From:	"Matt Greenwood" (
I was hoping you could answer a couple of questions for me. Firstly due
to a sticky fingered nephew I have a large fingerprint style smudge on
the front of the front lens on my ETX 105, what do you recommend is best
for cleaning it? (it has the UHTC coatings). I haven't touched it yet as
I don't want to make things worse.

Secondly a question about image shift while focusing. When focusing in
and out the image in the 26mm supplied eyepiece moves back and forth
around a quarter of the field of view, is this near normal for an ETX? I
bought my scope mail order and to return it(which I have had to do once
already)would mean another wait of around 4-5 weeks for replacement so
if this is pretty normal I will live with it. As I am still awaiting my
Meade eyepiece offer kit I have no high magnification eyepieces and am
thinking that any object in the FOV would probably move out of sight
when adjusting the focus.

Sorry if you've already addressed these issues before but I could not
find them on your site.

Thanks for any advice and for your help with the last problems I had a
few months ago.

Keep up the good work, M.Greenwood (UK)
Mike here: See the article "Cleaning Optics" on the Buyer/New User Tips page. Some image shift is normal with the moving mirror design used in the ETX (and other similar telescopes). But it should not be excessive. A quarter FOV with the 26mm eyepiece sounds excessive.
Subject:	Re: ETX90EC
Sent:	Friday, April 16, 2004 12:35:06
From:	Rich Byrne (
Any idea what the shipping time is from Meade to NJ ? I ordered the part
I needed for my ETX90 (thanks to you) It was the Right Tube Adapter. I
ordered it last Saturday and now it is Friday here in NJ 3:30 P.M. still
nothing. Hate to call and get the run around again. Was disconnected 3
times last week ordering the part. I told them to expedite it. I thought
"Pony Express" was out of business.

Rich Byrne
Mike here: Could take a week via Ground UPS. Which might be a next Monday arrival.


Thanks Mike. And we are expecting "Clear Skies" for the week-end. Just
my luck.

Rich Byrne

Subject:	Re: ETX 125 Maximum voltage input
Sent:	Thursday, April 15, 2004 09:34:47
From:	"Violette, Daniel R" (

I suspect this is "open circuit" voltage you are measuring (you have
nothing hooked up to the supply).  This is actually a normal range.  The
voltage drops (and regulates) when a load is applied.  Since this is too
high for the scope, best to make sure before hooking up.  You can hook
it to a 12v car light bulb (tape it on or the like) and measure the
voltage across the bulb when lit.  If you have various resistors and
other electronics knowledge you could rig something up more

Ohms law E=IR 12v=1.5A * R  R=8 ohms (ETX can draw 1.5 Amps)

P=EI  P= 12 * 1.5 = 18 watts so need large (or many in parallel
R-total=1/R1+1/R2+1/R3...) resistor to keep from burning them up right
away.  Measure voltage across resistors quickly as they heat up.

Dan Violette
From:	Don Sutherland (
Johnny Craig was wondering about a 12 volt adapter with a measured
output of 17.6 volts. If the adapter output is not regulated, this is
not a problem, as the voltage will drop down to 12 volts when the rated
load is connected to the adapter. Ifhis adapter is regulated, then it
is defective.

Most adapters are not regulated, and as the load increases, the output
voltage drops due to the resistanceof the transformer windings. This is
not a problem for an ETX as the Autostar and the drive boards in the
scope base have voltage regulators. The only effect of low voltage is to
limit the maximum slew speed.

What the ETX does not like is intermittent power connectors, which can
cause motor unit fault errors or the Autostar to restart.

Don Sutherland

Subject:	Problems with ETX-90
Sent:	Thursday, April 15, 2004 06:07:09
I need some advice about my ETX-90. I've only had it for a few weeks and
with the UK's poor weather have only used it a couple of times.( I
bought it second hand so do not have a warrenty ) Initially I obseved
the Moon and found it difficult to get a sharp focus even at x140. I put
this down to bad seeing, and or somewhat low end eyepieces. Recently
though, skys have been better and observing Jupiter still found it
difficult to see any real detail. I felt that there was potential to see
some detail in the main belts but it wouldn't resolve, this at x140.
Last night though I tested the ETX on some brightish stars and noticed a
distinct defraction ring and airy disc. The difraction ring though was
incomplete being around the lower 4- 8 o'clock position , in  the
eyepiece view,. With some diffuse light extending away in this
direction. Back to Jupiter and the Galilean moons exibited this effect
as well. Jupiters disc seemed 'mushy' around the 4 - 8 o'clock position.
I tried several eyepieces. They are all inexpensive ones but I found
that they all produced the same effect with an image that I felt lacked
contrast as well, with definate image breakdown at x200.

Could you advise me as to whether this is a colimation problem or
something else. And point me to the best source of information for
remedial action.

Best regards,
Chris Warburton.
Mike here: Assuming you have let the telescope reach thermal equilibrium then it does sound like you have a collimation problem. While not something to be undertaken lightly, you can attempt to correct this yourself (with a lot of patience and some risk of making things worse). Or you can contact your local dealer and have it returned to Meade for collimation. If you want to try it yourself, there are some articles about this on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	re:   ETX Question
Sent:	Wednesday, April 14, 2004 21:34:31
From:	Richard Seymour (
To: Kathy Koerber (
In Meade's Marvelous Marketing Parlance,
an "AT" is merely an "EC" with an Autostar attached.

"EC" is "Electronically Controlled"
"AT" is "Automatic Telescope"  
i.e. an Electronically Controlled telescope rendered Automatic
by the smarts in the Autostar.

There are a lot of folks thinking they've been short-shipped
by Meade since the -telescope- boxes say "EC".
But the whole package of Autostar and EC Telescope -is- an AT.

The  ETX60 and 70's have only ever been available with a 494 or
496 Autostar, so they have always been "AT's"

The ETX90/105/125 started life being sold -without- an Autostar
(it was an extra-cost accessory), so they had the EC name.

have fun
Mike here: Actually there was an ETX-60EC and -70EC model.
Subject:	ETX 125 Maximum voltage input.
Sent:	Wednesday, April 14, 2004 14:29:26
I purchased a 12V wall plug in AC converter from Wal-Mart. I tested it
with a little voltage meter I bought from Radio Shack. It reads 17.6V,
and this seems to be a good little meter. I have talked to two
different technical reps from Meade. One of them said it would be fine,
and the other said it would fry my instrument (ETX125EC). I get the
feeling that most of the Meade reps don't have any idea of what they are
talking about. Will it be safe to use the converter at 17.6V or
not? Johnny Craig  Wichita KS
And from our resident hardware expert:
From:	"P. Clay Sherrod" (
That is WAY too much voltage, but I doubt very seriously that the unit
is actually putting out that much voltage...I suspect the meter is
wrong.  I use these things pretty often and rarely do they go over 16V,
and defective when they do.

The Meade scopes: ETX, LXD, LX90, and LX 200 GPS - all love up to 15.8V,
but no more. Definitely NOT 12V or batteries.

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.)

Subject:	ETX125
Sent:	Wednesday, April 14, 2004 12:24:56
Sorry to bother you again, but a question about tracking;

Is it possible to take the scope out point it towards the Moon (for
example) and have it track without going through thealigning process?

Thank you.

Dan Cohen
Mike here: Yes and No. If in the Polar mounted mode and you align the polar axis to be parallel to the Earth's rotation axis, then yes. If you are in Alt/Az mode, then yes, but not necessarily accurately.
Subject:	lateral chromatic aberration in ETX125
Sent:	Wednesday, April 14, 2004 07:38:11
From:	Javier Garca  Monreal (
Thank you for your nice site!

I just bought an ETX-125 and Im making the first tests with it.

Im observing a strange effect that I would acknowledge if you can
clarify where it comes from.

In the observation ONLY of bright planets (Jupiter and Venus), I observe
a colored halo on the opposite sides of the planet, blue on one side and
red in the other. Im attaching a picture of Jupiter showing the effect
(dont pay attention to quality, it was my first photo!). The appearance
is similar to what I see through the eyepiece, it is not produced by the
camera. I have tried to rotate the eyepiece in its tube and the colors
remain in the same position, so, I dont think that it comes from the

On the other hand, the observation of bright stars looks nice. My shorter eyepiece by now is a 10 mm, so I can see the central spot and a bit more than guessing the diffraction rings. Nevertheless the effect is not visible. Could you give me any suggestions for tests for checking the origin or solving of this problem? Please consider that sending back to Meade from Europe is a long, long procedure. Thank you very much Javier Garcia
Mike here: Nice photo, even with the color aberration. What you are seeing could be due to a couple of things: atmospheric dispersion (if the object is low in the sky) or optics that are out of collimation. You can easily check for either; observe the object when high in the sky, do a "star test" (check for non-circular diffraction rings).
Subject:	ETX Question 
Sent:	Wednesday, April 14, 2004 07:01:08
From:	Kathy Koerber (
Forgive my ignorance on this one, and if the answer is already posted
somewhere, please let me know. I purchased an ETX-90 (with Autostar)
around December of 2002. Is it an ETX 90 EC or an ETX-90 AT? What's
the difference? I don't have all the paperwork in front of me and I
want to post it on ebay today, but when I did some checking on pricing
on various websites, I am seeing both the AT and the EC for sale. I'm

Thanks for your help. 

Mike here: See the FAQ page for info on EC vs AT designation.


I think I figured it out. The AT appears to only apply to the 60 and 70
models. I guess some websites are just using it wrong. Is that
Mike here: That was true originally but no longer.
Subject:	ETX90 not moving horizontally
Sent:	Tuesday, April 13, 2004 19:54:28
From:	"Lithgow, Dennis" (
I have owned an ETX90 with autostar for about 10 months and love it for
it's good optics and portability. I have always powered it from a car
battery and never experienced any problems. Last night I turned it on to
set up for the evening, it appeared to be fine until I asked it to align
to Acrux, it moved vertically no problem but didnt stop, it hit vertical
and motor kept running, no horizontal movement is possible? The clutches
are tight and the motor does not engage, I can't even drive it with the
cursor keys on the controller. Any ideas? Have you heard of this before?
I don't want to send it away for repair if I can help it as I live in
Australia and Meade doesn't.


Dennis Lithgow 
Mike here: Any time the Autostar acts up, you should do a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES. Sometimes, it is necessary to do a RESET, CALIBRATE, TRAIN DRIVES sequence.


Thanks, I will try it tonight, I am feeling less than confident though
as I can not move the scope with the cursor keys on the controller, I
have already done a factory reset but it made no difference.
Mike here: Yeah, the slewing arrows should still slew...
Subject:	eyepieces/going crosseyed
Sent:	Tuesday, April 13, 2004 11:44:31
Hello......I am writing you because I have read many things on your site
about the ETX-90. Well I received one for my birthday and am wanting
some more eyepieces than just the 26 that came with it. I was going over
the suggested chart on your site about what eyepieces are best for this
and that. Needless to say im going crosseyed. I do have a Meade 2x
barlow as well. So with that I was wondering what would you suggest
would be the best thing to buy instead of me buying lenses I dont need
and saving myself some money in the process..........Hope to hear
back.......and thanks alot....Jim
Mike here: Decisions, decisions, decisions... First off, decide what you really want to do with the telescope. Then you can decide whether you need more magnification or a wider field of view. Keep in mind that with the 2X Barlow Lens you know about the equivalent of two eyepieces: 26mm and 13mm.
Subject:	EXT 105: wiring a cigarette plug properly
Sent:	Monday, April 12, 2004 16:27:37
From:	"Niall Saunders" (
To:	Kaustav Bhattacharya (
You will be GUARANTEED to cause SEVERE damage to your Scope and
connected AutoStar if you connect the lead with the wrong polarity. You
can also be certain that Meade will NOT repair this under warranty.

It would DEFINITELY be worth your while to have this checked BEFORE you
connect things up. As Mike states, the centre pin on the ETX-105 is
positive (and as you have established, you need to be using a 2.5mm
power plug. However, there is NO DEFINED STANDARD - anywhere - as to
whether the black wire, or the white-tracered wire is the positive one.

If you do not know of anyone who can establish polarity, then please
feel free to send me the lead (with appropriate return postage and
packaging) and I will establish this for you - and will 'seal' the plug
end so that it cannot be inadvertently reversed in the future. I will
also double-check your soldered joints in the cigarette plug, and will
test the lead on my ETX scope so that you KNOW it will be working when
you get it back. (See my website for contact details).

Niall Saunders

Subject:	Re: ETX-125 Serial Number/Age
Sent:	Sunday, April 11, 2004 17:56:38
Thanks for the reply. I looked over you site and found what I needed to
know, ie whether it was a "new" ETX-125 with the Aluminum forks or not.
It turns out it an older one, I have yet to see how it works under the
night sky, maybe tonight.

I am pretty much of a DOB/Alt-Az type guy but this scope came along at a
decent price so I snagged it. My only other foray into GOTO was an
ETX-70EC which was somewhat underwhelming though fun. I am interested
to see how an F-15 Mak will perform on the planets and DSOs. I have a
couple of other 5 inch scopes, an old C-5 OTA and an Orion Space Probe
130ST, a 130mm F5 refractor fitted with a 2 inch focuser. It actually
works quite well even at high magnifications, surprisingly. It also
does about 3.5 degree FOV at 20X with an 6.5 mm exit pupil, the Milky
Way is pretty amazing if they skies are dark. The ETX-125 will be an
interesting scope by comparison.

I met you a few years ago at OPT, there was an event of some sort going
on and you were there, picking up an LXD-55 of some sort plus providing
support for the ETX crowd.

Anyway, thanks again and keep up the good work.

 Jon Isaacs
Mike here: That would have been one of the Meade Day events at OPT. Yep, got the LXD55-8"SC, which you can see on my LXD55 Site (
Sent:	Sunday, April 11, 2004 15:33:47
From:	Richard Seymour (
You tilt the wedge plate to an angle of 90 degrees MINUS your latitude.

Think about it: if you lived at the equator, Polaris would be
on your northern horizon.  For the RA (azimuth) axle to point at
it, your wedge plate would have to be vertical. 90-0=90.

If you lived at the pole, Polaris would be straight overhead.
So the latitude plate would be flat (parallel to the earth,
a picnic table would suffice), so that the RA axle (and the
forks, as Mike pointed out) would be pointing at the pole.

So for your 54 degree latitude, you would tilt the plate
to an angle of  (90-54=) 36 degrees from level.
Then attach the telescope base to it.
Orient the tripod so that the forks point at polaris
(or lift the telescope's barrel to point straight up 
relative to its (now tilted) base.  The scope barrel and
the forks should now -both- be pointing at Polaris.

have fun

Subject:	RE: Hi Looking for information
Sent:	Thursday, October 4, 2001 02:58:26
From:	"April Fleming" (
I really like to thank you for the information i cant wait to get
started and do you think around $2000 dollars for my first is good to
start with?

thanks again
Mike here: You can purchase a nice system for $2K but keep doing your research.
Subject:	Any other Motor Focusers for ETX-90?
Sent:	Sunday, April 11, 2004 11:33:38
From:	"Jack Meyer" (
Love your sites! I now have both an LXD55 (SC-8) and an ETX-90AT,
mostly due to the help I received from site when doing research for a
telescope purchase (or two).

My question: Is there any type of focuser (motorized or other) for an
ETX-90 that does not attach to the existing focus knob? The mirror
shift is driving me batty, particularly at high magnification. I would
love to find a motor focuser or maybe a Crayford type that simply moves
a drawtube containing the eyepiece or a star diagonal/eyepiece
combination. Anything out there that you are aware of?

Thanks and keep up the great work!

Jack R. Meyer
Mike here: Haven't seen any like that for the ETX series. Would be nice though.
Subject:	webcam with wireless on etx?
Sent:	Sunday, April 11, 2004 10:03:29
From:	"Kelleher" (
Do you know if anyone has found a way to put a webcam onto an ETX with a
wireless link back to the PC indoors?

I'm interested in using a (for example) ToUCam but don't want to take a
PC outside into the damp and cold and nor do I want to run long cables
from outside back indoors.

Thanks for any ideas...
Mike here: Don't recall any.
Subject:	What is Current rating of ETX AC 12v adapter?
Sent:	Sunday, April 11, 2004 08:56:46
From:	"JimBukowski" (
This is mostly all I need to know for now. Appreciate it.

Oh yes, another basic question?Why can't I seem to get to the meade
site (vs. dealers) and get specs like this from Is this
no longer there site? Where is it?

Thanks very much.
Mike here: 1.5A. Meade doesn't post that type of info.
Subject:	Re: jerky RA movement of ETX 125
Sent:	Sunday, April 11, 2004 07:52:10
From:	Perng (
Thanks for the advice. It didn't work, however. Last night I was out
again after calibrate and train drives the night before. Curiously the
jerky RA click occurred especially when looking at Jupiter. I was out
around 9:25pm EDT. Right after a two star alignment, I slewed to Jupiter
and It started to "click" for about a minute or so and then the tracking
became smooth and normal again. I then slewed to M105, M64, M63, M51. No
jerky clicks at all for more than 30 minutes. I slewed back to Jupiter,
the jerky movement came back for about 1 minute and died down after
that, just as the beginning of the night. I thought this is interesting.

To test if this is repeatable, I did the same M105 to M51 routine and
back to Jupiter. The click did not happen this third time. This is
really confusing. Not sure if this is a hardware or software problem. I
read a user report about random Dec slewing using a DC power supply. I
am going to test if that is the cause.

Here I have two other questions for you. First is a problem that I have
been experiencing since upgraded from Autostar 3.0 to 3.1Ee. At low
slewing speeds, 2 or 3, the left-right and up-down slews seem to mixed
up. This is especially noticeable with left and down slews. That is,
when I press left (down), it slews down (left) and just a tiny bit
movement to left (down). This is not observed at speeds larger than 4.
Have you heard of this? Any suggestions?

The second question is about what you can see in a 5" vs 8". I
understand you have both ETX 125 and 8" SCT. I am more interested in
comparison of DSOs. Let's start with a bright object first. How about
the cloud bands and GRS of Jupiter? I must say that Jupiter is a very
hard object to observe. So far, I can only see 2 bands and dark polar
zones but can't say anything about features in the bands. I can make out
GRS but only with great care knowing roughly where to look based on the
S&T GRS prediction.

My part of the sky is relatively dark. I can see M51 routinely without
any difficulty. But I can hardly make anything out of it, except a
larger patch right next to a smaller patch and that's about it. Can one
see some structure with an 8" SCT? The other example would be M1. For me
it's an oval patch and nothing more; in fact this is what I see for most
other DSOs. I would like to know how much more or better I can see with
a bigger scope. I am thinking of an 8" or 9.25"

Thanks for your feedback.

Mike here: A clicking sound could mean that something is catching (like a wire?). This could be bad (especially if that wire gets cut). You could open the base and check for some obstruction. As to the slewing movement oddity, there have been a few similar reports. As to aperture, obviously you want the largest you can afford AND WILL USE. As I've said many times, the best telescope is that one that gets used. Yes, DSOs and details on the planets are more evident in my 8"SC than my smaller telescopes but details, especially on DSOs, will vary depending upon the DSO.
Subject:	Hi Looking for information
Sent:	Wednesday, October 3, 2001 19:05:13
From:	"Thomas McShane" (
Hi hello from scotland, Happy easter

I hope you dont mind me emailing you, but im looking for some
information about telescopes i dont know if you can help but after
visiting your site it could be a good start for me, I am in a wheelchair
and have wanted to get in to this as a hobby for sometime but with alot
of telescopes i find it diffecult to use the, Information im looking for
is do you know a good telescope in the $2000 dollars mark that will work
on a laptop and be able to see throw my laptop? any inforation on this
subject will help me alot on buying the right telescope and not
spending my money on the wrong one

Thanks you
Thomas McShane
Mike here: Any of the "GOTO" telescopes from Celestron or Meade can be controlled via a computer. ANY telescope can have a video device attached which can send the video to a computer. Such video devices can be a camcorder, a webcam, or a dedicated imager (like the Sonfest SAC or the Meade Lunar Planetary Imager or an "electronic eyepiece). However, the image quality you see and the faintness of the image may not be what you are looking for. Also, remotely pointing the telescope for faint objects will be a challenge for the lower-end telescopes. But what you want to do can be done.
Subject:	ETX-125 Serial Number/Age
Sent:	Sunday, April 11, 2004 04:47:00
I just picked up a used ETX-125EC and I am interested if it is possible
to tell when it was manufactured from the serial number. Any ideas??

Mike here: You could contact Meade; they might tell you.
Subject:	Difference between Meade 125-EC and 125-AT?
Sent:	Saturday, April 10, 2004 13:42:21
From:	"Ernie Syndergaard" (
I have had an interest in amateur astronomy for some time and after
several reviews and searches I have found constant references/prices to
a 125-EC or the 125-AT.

If you probably can't tell by my question I am very new at this hobby.

I could not find and references (Even on Meade's site) of any

Their product catalogue shows and "AT" model but their manual only
references "EC"

I am thinking the "EC" is an older model name or line but nothing to
back it up.

Is there a difference and if so could you tell me what they are?

Thanks in advance.

Ernie Syndergaard

Colorado Springs, CO
Mike here: This is a frequently asked question so the answer is on the FAQ page on the ETX Site.
Subject:	EXT 105: wiring a cigarette plug properly
Sent:	Saturday, April 10, 2004 11:01:54
From:	Kaustav Bhattacharya (
I got my soldering iron out last night and wired up my cigarette lighter
power plug. I bought the plug, wire and connecting tip separately. I'm
not an electrician so I wasn't 100% sure if the white wire is positive
or negative or if the black wire is positive or negative. This means I
don't actually know if I've wired the plug as centre positive as is
required for the Meade ETX 105. How do I find out? Basically my
questions are:

1. What polatity are the white and black wires?
2. Have I wired the plug so that it's centre positive?
3. When I attach the jack plug to the other end of the wire, the wire
end has the word "TIP" on one side and the jack plug itself has  on it.
I have lined up + to the word TIP. Does this mean positive polarity?

I have attached two JPEG screen shots of what I've done, perhaps it'll
help you work out what I did. Until I'm 100% sure of the wiring, I don't
want to plug it in to the 'scope to test incase I fry it.  The cigarette
plug has a 1.5Amp fuse in it now, and it also has a red LED so you can
tell of the plug is seated correctly in the power pack.  The jack is a
2.5mm jack which I know is ok for the ETX.



(Woops, I just looked at the screen shots I sent you. In one of them, it's marked "red wire". That's wrong, it should read "black wire".) Kaustav
Mike here: Well, all I can tell is that the center tip is positive on the ETX and that black wires are usually wired to the negative terminal.


Ah,so I have wired the white positive cable to the centre, which is a
good start! :)  Now I need to work out which way round I attach the
2.5mm jack plug to the TIP of the wire... hmmm.... decisions,

Subject:	Free finderscope covers, free GoTo software that works, expensive USB-serial conversion
Sent:	Saturday, April 10, 2004 00:49:19
From:	"MMIC EOD" (
Easter's here and the skies are grey over France. My daughter got a
couple of Kinder Easter eggs, pretty universal in Europe. Inside is a
self-assembly (or Dad assembly) toy apparently designed by someone after
a particularly bad LSD trip. Throw away egg + toy, but keep the plastic
capsule the bits come in. One end fits perfectly over the finderscope
objective as dust cap and Sun shield (wot's the Sun ?), the other fits
neatly inside the finder eyepiece. They also fit my non-Meade plossl
eyepieces so I can leave them in the tripod tray (once I've reamed out
the holes so they fit a standard eyepiece.................)

Also let me recommend the Carte du Ciel freeware by Patrick Chevalley
[] at It is
available in a number of languages including good English. Another
labour of love like your website. Slightly idiosyncratic but controls
the ETX via Autostar impeccably with no tinkering required AND the guy
answers emails. Anyone found a source of cheap USB to serial converters
? Perhaps when Meade work out how to use emails someone will tell them
that serial ports on laptops have been dead for years.

Best wishes,

Steve Sales,

Subject:	ETX-125 Focus Problem
Sent:	Friday, April 9, 2004 23:29:01
Frustrated. Had my scope for almost a year now. Never had it auto point
or track properly, I seem to have tried everything I can read. Now it
seems it doesn't focus sharply. Beautiful night here in Seattle tonight,
and I saw Saturn's rings and Jupiter's color bands, but neither very

Used 9.6mm lens and a few others. Sometimes it seems to focus fine on
terrestial targets, and the moon is pretty sharp.

Any ideas? Maybe I'm expecting too much.

Thanks Mike.

Chris Nutter
Mike here: There are so many things that can affect image clarity, some of which have nothing to do with the optics in the telescope. Seeing conditions, not allowing the telescope to reach thermal equilibrium, dirty optics, etc, are some. Of course, it is also possible that your telescope needs collimation. You can do a star test to check. As to the Autostar, again, there are many variables. But at this point I suggest you upgrade it to the current version, CALIBRATE, and TRAIN DRIVES.
Subject: Seasonal Objects
Date: 4/8/04, 11:30
I'm trying to locate a simple guide to the deep sky objects in each
season.  I had an excel file with all the Messier objects, but in the
mist of changing computers, I lost it.

I love your guides that Dr. Clay has on his "guides" page, but I was
wondering if there was something simple.

Thanks, and have a wonderful Easter holiday!


Mike here: There is the "Messier Objects Listing" on the Observational Guides/References page.

Date: 4/8/04, 04:07
Could you please advize me how to orientate the wedge with repect to
this telescope and to polaris.My latitude is 54 degrees.I am under the
impression that the wedge is to be set at this angle pointing to polaris
with the telescope also pointing the same way in order to track the
stars. I find some of the web sites a little confusing on this
issue,there are few diagrams showing the set -up.
I would appreciate your comments.Thankyou
Derek Cattermole.DC60ASTR@AOL.COM 
Mike here: For an example, see the article "Yet Another Homemade Wedge" on the Telescope Tech Tips page. The fork arms are pointed at the North Celestial Pole so that the Right Ascension rotational axis is parallel to the Earth's rotation axis.

Subject: re: ETX90 electronic focuser
Date: 4/7/04, 21:49
From: Richard Seymour (
For spare parts, try Meade Europe  ( )

(closer, and possibly cheaper, than cross-Atlantic)

good luck

Subject: Winter condensation when taking the ETX-125 indoors
Date: 4/7/04, 14:27
First off, great site! I recently purchased the ETX-125, my first scope,
and your site is tremendously helpful.

The problem: winter in New England is cold and dry - I have a humidifier
running in my home to keep the relative humidity around 30-35%. The
result is that when I brought my scope in one night after observing, I
go condensation on the main lens. I let it dry without touching it as
recommended in the Meade manual, and later put the lens cap on.

I was reading "Doc Clay's" notes on this problem, and he seems to
suggest putting the lens cap on before bringing the scope inside. Is
this correct/proper/not going to damage my scope?

Thanks for your help. If you have a forum section I missed, just direct
me there and I'll ask again.

Mike here: If the night is really damp I bought on the lens cover before coming indoors. That is unless there is already moisture on the lens, then I leave it off.

Subject: ETX90 electronic focuser
Date: 4/7/04, 06:30
From: colin matin (
Just got hold of a electronic focuser for my ETX90 but missing is the
focuser gear and the long securing bolt.

BCF(uk) say they can't supply spare parts, unfortunately.

Have you any idea if I can get a replacement or the spec of the 1" dia
gear .ie number of teeth etc?

Colin Martin

Mike here: Try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page).

Subject: jerky RA movement of ETX 125
Date: 4/7/04, 05:49
From: Perng (
Bought ETX 125AT with UHTC in mid-January. So far I have been enjoying
the view.

However, after being grounded by the weather for pretty much the whole
month of March, I started to notice jerky RA tracking movement. I can
hear the "click" every 10-15 seconds or so and it's happening only in
part of the RA range. This never happened before. I tried to rotate the
scope from stop to stop back and forth several times in the RA
direction. But it did not help. I wonder if you have seen or heard
something like this and can give me some suggestions.

Thank you for the wonderful site.

Mike here: Rotating from hardstop to hardstop was my first suggestion. Since that didn't help, do another CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES. Also, don't overtighten the axis lock.

Subject: Re: Laser Yard Light Killer
Date: 4/7/04, 05:17
I seem to remember a mention of a laser that will temporarily shut off
yard lights.  I have done it with a spotlight through a stovepipe, but
the laser sounds simpler.
Does anybody know of such a device?
Dark Skies,

Jim Himley
Edgefield, SC
(Brand new owner of a brand new 125 ETX UHTC - more on this later.)
Mike here: Yes, there have been such reports.


Thanks for your reply re: Laser Yard Light Killer.
First light with my brand new 125 ETX UHTC last night.  Without
electronics/motor, easily resolved bands on Jupiter and three moons. 
Too unsteady with Barlow; will try to learn electronics ASAP.

Do you recommend a specific ETX bulletin board: i.e.: Yahoo or Cloudy

Clear Dark Skies,

Jim Himley
Mike here: I haven't visited Cloudy Nights group but the ETXASTRO Yahoo Group is pretty active.

Subject: Chess Dictionary Chesmayne 2004 edition
Date: 4/6/04, 12:35
From: ray reid (
The 2004 edition of the Chesmayne Chess Dictionary is now on-line at:-
A link to your web page has been added.
Yours sincerely,
Mike here: There is a dictionary of some astronomy terms here.

Subject: Baffle looks strange in my ETX
Date: 4/6/04, 05:56
From: Jason Shouler (
Interesting site you have here.

I hope you don't mind my asking a simple question of the ETX as I don't
know of any local users.

My ETX105 seems to perform well both optically and mechanically but I've
noticed if you look down the business end of the scope and study the
secondary baffle ( I think that's the right term) then the view is
rather disconcerting.

On mine it looks like someone has made a visit to the local tip, found a
bit of 3/4" rusty pipe, cut it to length,  plastered on some reflective
black paint (yes - not even matt!) without even bothering to remove the
rust and then fitted it into this optical wonder!  If you remove the EP
and view from that direction then you get pretty much the same

Do you think I've bought a turkey or do you recognize this description?


Mike here: There is one report (on this General Feedback page: ETX 105EC Lower Image Contrast) of a baffle problem. I have an update (further down this page) that his telescope is being exchanged.


Thanks for the quick response.

I was hoping that you might say "mine looks like that too" but from what
you say it looks like I could have a real issue.

Clearly I need to track down a local user so that we can compare side by
side (I'm in the UK).

I've contacted Clive to check it we can compare images of the baffle



Subject: 125 AT v. 125EC With Autostar
Date: 4/6/04, 05:30
I just picked up my new 125 after months of research and three hours of
demonstration with a very helpful salesman at Camera Bug in Atlanta.

I had specifically ordered a 125AT, but when I got home (a three hour
trip), I discovered that I had a 125EC (factory) upgraded with Autostar.

Question: What's the difference between an EC upgraded with Autostar and
the AT???

A direct reply will certainly be appreciated, as I am anxious to start
using my scope or trade it for the right one.
Thank you,
Jim Himley
Edgefield, SC
Mike here: As noted on the Announcements - Meade page, there is no real difference in the EC model vs the AT models. The standard handcontroller is no longer included (the EC model) but the Autostar #497 and the #884 tripod are included as standard with the AT model. It is just a designation change.


yep, that's what I found after a frantic call to my dealer.  Great
scope.  Now learning how to use it.

How do you slow down the scrolling on the hand control?
Mike here: See the FAQ page.

Subject: ETX Misconceptions
Date: 4/5/04, 18:07
From: Dan Hester (
I just finished another observing session with my  ETX 125 and came
inside to read the latest astronomy sites including yours.

You know, a lot of people...including seasoned observers, don't give
this scope enough credit.

I read an article by a well known reviewer who said essentially that the
Meade scopes are fact, one of the well known folks sent me an
e mail once when I asked him about the scopes before I bought one.  He
said " use it up...have fun with it while it lasts."   After thinking
about his comment, and reading your site, I decided to get the ETX 125
because ...darn was pretty.  Really pretty...and I can't believe
that discriminating observers could make that kind of comments if they
had ever tried the scope.'s been over two years.  My ETX 125 has never disappointed me. 
There have been a couple of glitches, but for the most part...the scope
always works well, has excellent optics...and it's still pretty...very

So, next time a high and mighty observer tells someone the ETX scopes
are a cut below their    expensive refractors or hand configured  
reflectors...just remember...if you can afford a Lexus, drive one...but
it does the same basic job as a  Ford or Chevy...and who sells the most
anyway?   Ford and Chevy...and Meade.   I would never have learned the
sky as quickly or probably even stayed interested if I hadn't bought
this scope.  Since...I have bought a reflector...a refractor and another
reflector.   But I always come back inside smiling after using the  Etx
125.  So will you.  Happy seeing...Dan
Mike here: Thanks! I drive a Toyota Prius, use Apple Macintosh computers, and use Meade telescopes. I guess I like what works best!!!

Subject: RE: ETX 105EC Lower Image Contrast
Date: 4/5/04, 12:46
A little more on this saga!

I have been in touch with the Meade customer support here in the UK and
they agree the primary baffle should be flat black and reflections (as I
have described) will cause problems.  As the scope is so new they have
advised me to return it to the retailer for a replacement.

For your interest (and perhaps future reference?) I have captured two
images showing the difference in reflectivity of the primary baffle
between the new and old scope. Both views are looking down the eyepiece
holder onto the flip mirror. Both scopes were aimed at a fairly bright
white sky.



Hope you find this interesting!! Kind regards Clive

Subject: Canadian Dealers
Date: 4/5/04, 07:40
From: Don Sutherland (
Chris was wondering about websites for Canadian dealers. There is a very
good directory of sites on the Sky News website at under Astronomy Equipment Retailers. Most sites
have prices posted and are competitive. I have had good experiences with
Kendrick, Perceptor, Khanscope, Efston and Alderblick.

Chris, if you don't have a good pair of 7x50 or 10x50 binoculars, get
one and get to know the sky a bit with a planisphere, before you buy a
Don Sutherland

Subject: meade etx 125at
Date: 4/5/04, 04:27
From: seng win (
Congratulations and thanks for such a good website for beginners, these
telescopes are expensive toys, and it gives people a chance to really
know the more about them before buying it.

but there is one model that is quite new and not on your website yet -
the meade etx 125at, i'm just wondering if there will be anything about
these on your website in the future, or if you know anything about them

can you also tell me if the etx 125 is good to see nebulas, galaxies,
comets and stuff like that? or just the planets and the moon?

Mike here: See the Announcements - Meade page for info on the ETX-125AT (versus the "EC" model); it really is not a "new" model. As to what you can see, read through the User Observations page as well as look at some of the photographs for indications of just what can be done with the ETX models.


thanks for the quick reply, it will take me years to save up for this
telescope - 2 years to 3 years, i am getting $50 a week pocket money.

i hope that by the time i have around $2000 AUD the cost of the model
higher than this one will drop, so i can buy a better one.


Subject: Hi
Date: 4/4/04, 11:49
From: Ravi Simhambhatla (
Your website has been a boon to me considering I am very new to
astronomy/photography.  I bought all my scope equipment after reading
through your site, so thank you for this priceless service.

I have attempted some photography of the Moon and Jupiter.  You can find
the pictures here:



Telescope: Meade ETX125-EC, AutoStar
Camera: Canon EOS300D, Lens is Canon 28-80mm
Mount: Scopetronix Digital-T
EyePiece: 2x Barlow, 40mm, 26mm, 18mm
Location: San Jose, CA, USA
Mike here: Be certain to read the Email Etiquette item; your message was almost deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the ambiguous subject.

Subject: polar reticle lost!
Date: 4/2/04, 05:35
From: Jenny Morgan (
I know, somewhere, I saw an eyepiece specifically for polar alignment
duty. It had a center point and then 2 (or 3) marks that when rotated
and aligned with stars near polaris, gave perfect alignment (assuming
the tripod and wedge are set correctly.  But, I can't find it

Do you know of such and eyepiece?

-Jenny Morgan
Mike here: Check Orion Telescopes and Binoculars (link on the Astronomy Links page).

Subject: lens cover issue etc 90ec
Date: 4/1/04, 19:06
Just attempted to get the telescope set up and I (am embarrassed to say)
cannot remove the lens cover. I assume it is threaded (as opposed to
"just popping off") and when I unscrew (counter clockwise) the lens
comes off, and it won't budge clockwise... Any ideas???

James Michael Jacobi
Mike here: It does unscrew. Try using rubber gloves to get a better grip on the lens housing and the cover itself.

Date: 4/1/04, 08:46
From: "Chris W." (
Hi, I'm looking for a telescope and I'm having trouble finding a good
site to buy from.  I'm just beginning to get into astronomy and I would
like a quality scope.  I've been looking around and I've noticed that
the Meade ETX is one of the most popular scopes around.  I would like
one with a 1.25" eyepiece that would give a good view of planets and
deep space views.  I have read that the Meade can see nebulae and what
not.  I was hoping that you would be able to help me in finding a good
site to order from that would send scopes to Canada.  I noticed that a
lot of American sites will not send things to Canada for some reason. 
If you could please steer me in the right direction I would appreciate
it a lot, thanks for your time.
Mike here: First off, please read the Email Etiquette item on my ETX Site; your message was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing subject entry.
I'm not certain which online dealers can deal with Canada; there are some export distribution requirements (I'm not a lawyer so I don't try to explain them). But I'll post your inquiry on the next Site update; there are many ETX users in Canada who visit my ETX Site; perhaps one of them will be able to help.

Subject: ETX 105EC Lower Image Contrast
Date: 3/31/04, 23:28
From: Cedarwood (
I recently had to replace my pre-UHTC ETX 105EC with a newer model
having the UHTC coatings. Able to make a direct comparison between both
models I was surprised to find that although the image brightness is
definitely greater (possibly 20%) there is a distinct decrease in
contrast, which is very noticeable. I have check for light leaks and
found none. I cannot account for this decrease in contrast. I have also
noticed that the coating on the front meniscus lens dose not have such a
deep blue hue, more dull than the older model.  I can report that the
resolution is just as good and star tests are textbook.  I should point
out that the contrast issue applies to terrestrial viewing.  This effect
is like manipulating a photo file where brightness is increased but
contrast is not. I could well imagine that unless a person had both the
old and new models side-by-side for a comparison, no one would be the
wiser. Have you had any other similar responses to the 'new' UHTC

Many thanks
Best regards
Clive Finlay
Mike here: I have seen no similar comparisons for terrestrial (daytime?) viewing.


Many thanks for your reply regarding this isuue.  I have scratched my
head over this one for several days and I think I have found the answer!
The lower contrast in the new 105EC UHTC appears to be a result of
flare eminating from the PRIMARY BAFFLE. As explained in my previous
email to you I have an older model 105 to compare with, and in doing so
I have discovered the primary baffle in the new 105 appears to be highly
reflective in comparison. Although the newer baffle has received the
'thread' treatment it looks as though it has missed some kind of
'blackening' stage resulting in stray light bouncing all around the
sides of the baffle. I have since observed the moon and have found this
flare very disturbing! I think I shall need to take this model back to
the supplier and try to explain what I believe is the problem. Have you
received similar querys regarding this problem of excessive reflectance
within the primary baffle?

Very many thanks for your time & interest Mike
Mike here: Certainly this could affect contrast. I recall only one such report but I think that was months (or years?) ago.


I have emailed cutomer support and if I ever get this one sorted out I
will let you know the outcome!

Best wishes and many thanks for your interest.

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