GENERAL FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 26 April 2005
This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX and DS models. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	ETX-105 tracking
Sent:	Sunday, April 24, 2005 09:39:49
From:	Joseph Harriss (joseph75007@aol.com)
Thanks for your efforts at making your site helpful.  

I have had my ETX-105 for about a month.  At first its tracking was so
smooth you could hardly notice it.  But now the tracking is jerky,
jumping every few seconds to keep up with the sidereal movement. 
Anything I can do to get the tracking back to its original smooth
operation?

Thanks,
Joe Harriss, Paris
Web site:  www.geocities.com/harriss75007/
Book site:  www.unlimitedpublishing.com/tower.htm 
Mike here: Jumping can be caused by several things but lets start with common ones. If you have changed power supplies, do a CALIBRATE MOTORS. If that doesn't cure it, do a TRAIN DRIVES as well. If still no change, do a RESET, CALIBRATE MOTORS, TRAIN DRIVES. If none of the above solves the problem then you mostly likely have ruled out the Autostar as the culprit. Then you look to mechanical sources. The simplest one there is overtightening the locks so don't do that. If you are not overtightening the locks, the perhaps some dirt has gotten onto the encoders or the lubrication needs to be redistributed. The simplest way to deal with either is to unlock the axis locks and slowly move the OTA by hand, hard stop to hard stop, several times in both directions. If that doesn't cure it, the problem is more serious, which may or may not be fixable by you.

And:

Thanks so much for the prompt and helpful reply.  I'll try your
suggestions.

Best regards,
Joe 

Subject:	Meade #541 AC Power Adapter
Sent:	Wednesday, April 13, 2005 20:02:56
From:	Raymond Negron (rnspeed@centennialpr.net)
Recently I ordered a Meade #541 AC Adapter from B&H Photo for my ETX90EC
UHTC.  When I check on the Voltage with my Voltmeter, it reads 15.4V.

Is this safe for the ETX 90?  It's supposed to be the AC Adapter to use
with the ETX90EC according to the Manual that came with the telescope. 
But I find this voltage reading strange.

Here I include a picture of the #541 AC Adapter.

photo
Thanks in advance Raymond
Mike here: Yes, that is OK. It is a 12VDC 1.5A adapter.
Subject:	Meade #884 Tripod PM (Preventive Maintenance)
Sent:	Saturday, April 23, 2005 15:27:49
From:	David & Sherry Wilson (sherryp@iquest.net)
PM (Preventive Maintenance) for the Meade # 884 tripod put locktight on
the latitude control latch screw.
 
Today found mine missing.
 
t David 

Subject:	qestion.
Sent:	April 20, 2005 08:09:37 PDT
From:	"bagpuss" (d.bagpuss@ntlworld.com)
i am very interested in buying telescope ETX 105AT but need to see
pictures that it can take because i wish to take pictures of Saturn's
rings.bought telescope last year but was not impressed would like to by
another but do not want to make same mistake please could you show me
some pictures it take or give me some pages to go to .........
thank
DICCON..........
Mike here: Just found out that your email was rejected due to the ambiguous subject. Apologies for that but it is discussed in the Email Etiquette on the ETX Home Page. Please read that item. Thanks.
As to astrophotography with the ETX-105 and larger and smaller ETX models, there are MANY examples in the Astrophotography galleries and the Helpful Information: Astrophotography sections on my ETX Site.
Subject:	The best focuser upgrade for the etx-90ra
Sent:	Friday, April 22, 2005 21:15:40
From:	The Brown Family (chrisbrown4@cox.net)
I have to report that I have had very good luck using an ordinary wooden
spring-type clothes pin on my ETX-90 RA focus knob to eliminate
vibrations when focusing!

I simply clip it to the knob, and I can just "tap" the knob with little
vibration, also, I can focus easily even when in polar alignment mode,
just clamping and unclamping the knob through the fork arms.

A side benefit is that when attached, the clothes pin mimics a 5-inch
focus knob, therefore enabling very fine focus...just the thing when
trying to coax 180-plus magnifications out of the Moon or Saturn!

The greatest benefit has got to be the cost...just two bits retail!
My two bits...
Chris Brown

Subject:	eyepieces?
Sent:	Friday, April 22, 2005 18:08:24
From:	Marc Cappiello (marccappiello@yahoo.com)
There's just one other area I would welcome your advice on.

Eyepieces!

Have just had a very fuzzy (poor conditions over London, misty) first
glimse of Jupiter (with my etx-105) using the 9mm that came with the
etx-70, could still just make out the cloud bands and see 3 small dots
(Io, Ganymeade and Europa), so not a total lose!

Anyway, the specfic advice I'm looking for is on realistic object size
against clarity (sharpness of image). Yes, I know an etx-105 is still a
small scope but the optics are truly amazing! So, in your opinion is
even a 6mm eyepiece clear enough to be worth using? I see a lot of 5mm
or even 4mm eyepieces around, these must surely give a larger but
inferior image??

Please excuse my ignorance but I'm eager to learn and I would like to
resolve the best image possible, atmospheric conditions aside.

I have read all the posts, eyepiece reviews and new user tips on your
site but couldnt find the answer, so any further help you be greatly
apreciated.

Weather permitting, I should have a 'proper' first light in a day or
two.

Many thanks,

Marc.
Mike here: See the FAQ page for info on the maximum theoretical magnification and how to calculate magnification.
Subject:	Urgent - horizontal tracking problems
Sent:	Friday, April 22, 2005 10:52:46
From:	mike.snowden@btinternet.com
I need an opinion on this fairly fast, so a prompt response would be
greatly appreciated.  I've been having some problems with tracking on my
ETX-105 UHTC.  When I first got it, a year ago, there was lots of
backlash, but by following the tips on the site, I managed to tune this
out.

In the last month, I have seen backlash return, and two other tracking
problems appear: The first is that sometimes after centering on an
object, after a few seconds the alignment will drift off to one side.  I
have reset/trained & calibrated until I am very bored, and tuning the
backlash percentages doesn't seem to help.

Another problem I have with the scope, is that I have got some minor
flip-mirror scratches, present but not immediately visible until after a
professional clean .  Last night I got an opportunity to set up another
105 next to mine and compare images.  The result was, his optics were
slightly clearer than mine, so I've decided to get the mirror replaced
for around GBP 80.

The other thing I noticed was that the way that the two scopes tracked
was different.  Mine was much jerkier  my scope would often drift
slightly, and then jump back onto position.  This was not particularly
noticeable through an eyepiece, but via the DSI was very noticeable. 
Taking Jupiter images, an odd one was even doubled due to a jump during
the exposure.  The other scope was much smoother, with a smaller range
of travel.

My immediate thought was that it felt like a sticky bearing or gear.  I
can have the whole mechanism replaced by my dealer  motor AND
gear-train, but at about GBP 100 per motor  a very expensive repair. 
Help!

Mike
Mike here: Some thoughts: are you SURE the flip mirror is the cause of the different views? Is your scope still well collimated? Are the optics (all of them) as clean as that other scope? Did you use the same eyepiece, not the same model but the SAME eyepiece when you did the comparison? As to the jerkiness/bashlash, it could be dirt on the encoders or just a needed redistribution of the lubration. Sometimes you can cure it by unlocking both axes and slowly moving the OTA by hand, back and forth, hard stop to hard stop. Also, if the batteries are weak, that could cause some problems in tracking.

And:

I know the flip mirror is scratched.  There is one small finger mark on
my main lens, but the rest is OK We used my eyepieces, and went back and
forth, mostly a 9.4mm.  I set both up scopes up with an identical setup.
 The only difference was mine had a flexi dewshield and the other did
not Out of focus, the ring looks circular, so I think the collimation is
good (and they'll redo that with the mirror anyway)

The batteries were new last time out - changed to try and cure the
problem.

With the "turning" redistribution method, should I slacken things off
completely, or leave some slight resistance?  I've already gone all the
way around loosely. Regarding the encoders, can they be cleaned
reasonably straightforwardly?  I don't remember seeing a tip about this,
and I haven't opened a base up yet...

Thanks

Mike
Mike here: For this tip, loose. As to cleaning the encoders, well it does require disassembly. See the article "Cleaning the Encoders" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.

And:

I missed that one - thanks.  That looks like a good few hours work...
Hitting our equivalent of a "Radio shack" (Maplin) and getting some
lithium grease looks like a good first step.

Subject:	ETX 90 vibration
Sent:	Friday, April 22, 2005 08:48:55
From:	John and Mary (jrfmef636@msn.com)
Can you help me with a frustrating problem? Whenever I barely touch the
scope when looking through the eyepiece, I seem to have a lot of
vibration that takes a while to settle down. I have been reading many
postings until I have almost gone blind, but have not seen anything like
my problem.
 
Thanks a bunch,
 
John
 
PS - great web pages
Mike here: You didn't specify what you have the ETX mounted on but for the moment I will assume a tripod. Vibrations can came from many causes, some easy to deal with and others less so. So lets start with the easy ones. If you have the tripod legs extended to their full height, reduce that to the minimum you can live with. You can set the tripod legs on "vibration suppression pads", which you either buy or make, or even do what I do since I normally use the telescope on a concrete patio: set the tripod on a small carpet (also works great for when you drop an eyepiece). You can also reduce vibrations by hanging a weight from the center of the tripod. Some people have even added sand to the inside of the tripod legs. By the way, if you search the site for "vibration" you will get lots of hits.

And:

Thanks. I have the deluxe tripod, as it came with the EX. as part of a
special sale. Moe of my vibration comes when I try to focus; seems like
the vibrations last for a long time. I put a larger knob on the focusing
shaft, and put a piece of foam on that to reduce my finger's impact, but
nothing seems to help.

John
Mike here: You can add a focus extender flexible cable (see the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page; you can also make one: see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page). Or you can add an electric focuser (see those same pages for commercial ones or how to make one). Or you can just add a clothes pin (the clamping type) to the focus knob. Clamp it on perpendilar to the focus shaft.
Subject:	Re: ETX 125ec  ra motor not working UPDATE
Sent:	Thursday, April 21, 2005 12:45:32
From:	Paul (pacawston@blueyonder.co.uk)
My RA gearbox is now fixed thanks to Mike Cooke at telescopehouse.co.uk
who are the official Meade dealer for the UK. I'm over the moon(so to
speak!) posted my duff gearbox off to them on Monday at 4.30pm by
Wednesday afternoon it was on my doorstep repaired, I couldn't believe
it.

Thank you all for taking an interest in this problem, your comments
where appreciated.

All I need now is a clear sky.

Regards,

Paul

Subject:	Front element protection filter for etx range?
Sent:	Thursday, April 21, 2005 01:07:13
From:	Marc Cappiello (marccappiello@yahoo.com)
Your site is awesome, just about everything you could ever need to know
about the Meade etx and lx range is on here, amazing.

However I do have a specific question.

Protection filters, I wont take any of my slr camera lenses out of the
house without having a uv or skylight filter fitted to them. I even have
a protection filter fitted on my 1000mm mirror lens! So, how come after
looking all over the internet I cant find any reference to protection
filters (even a zero effect type, plain glass) for telescopes? I may
sound very stupid to ask but having just got a scope I wanted to
safeguard the front element.

I hope to have something worthy of contributing to your awesome very
soon.

Many thanks,

Marc Cappiello
London,
England.
Mike here: There are two basics reasons for this: one is cost. For the optical quality needed for such a large filter, the cost would likely be way more than the cost of the telescope or nearly so. The second reason is that, unlike with cameras, normally telescopes are used in environments where front lens damage is unlikely to occur. So, given the lower risk and higher cost, such filters just haven't become common.

And:

Thanks for replying Mike and clearing that up for me.

May I ask you one more question? Well more of an opinion really.

I recently purchased 3 scopes (mail order returns so cheap but missing
things) an etx-70, 90 & 105, lol yeah I know what you must be thinking
and yes I am mad. Just about found the missing items on ebay (autostars
etc) now just the tripods to go. Been a lot of fun comparing the models.

Anyway, I was thinking about keeping the 105 and selling the rest or
selling them all and getting a new etx-125 pe version.

I guess my question here is since you recently used an etx-105 pe and
confirmed apart from the LNT it seems pretty much the same as a normal
etx-105 model. Even after buying a new 884 tripod the whole 'items as
new' (ie. the parts that should come with a new etx-105) will still only
be just under half of even the best store price! So if you were in my
shoes would you keep the 105 and then think of upgrading later perhaps?

Many thanks,

Marc
Mike here: If the used ETX-105 is in good shape mechanically and optically, and you don't mind purchasing the missing pieces, then there is no reason to sell it just to get PE. On the other hand, if you want/need PE, you want the original warranty, and you want a new scope, them that's what you should get.

And:

Guess I really should try out the etx-105 properly first ;)

Will post a first light report (may be of interest as a second hand
scope) and reviews of any extras I pick up, moon filters, LPR filter
etc. as soon as I had a chance to try them out.

Marc (soon to be watching the skies again!)

Subject:	Using ETX60 as a finder scope
Sent:	Wednesday, April 20, 2005 13:32:26
From:	Bob Christ (bchrist@tolisgroup.com)
Hello Mike - many thanks for the ETX information you have assembled that
has supported the use of my ETX60-AT.  I have recently purchased a
Celestron NexStar 9.25 GPS and am wondering if I can use my ETX60 as a
finder scope. Has such an implementation be documented??

Bob

_________________________________
Bob Christ
Executive Vice President
TOLIS Group, Inc.
Mike here: Yes, people have mounted several of the ETX models as finderscopes or guidescopes. Losmandy has brackets that work.

And:

Thank you Mike.

Subject:	telescope equilibrium
Sent:	Tuesday, April 19, 2005 10:37:02
From:	Tom Mesquitta (tom@mesquitta.com)
Whilst reading through the archives of your site, I came across some
information, regarding telescope equilibrium.

Dr Sherrod says that a 5 inch scope needs two hours to reach proper
temperatures. While this makes perfect sense to me, I was wondering
about dew. Surely if you leave a telescope out for two hours to reach
equilibrium, by the time you get round to observing, the lens would be
covered in condensation?

Or have i got it completely wrong and the condensation disappears once
the telescope is the same temperature as the air?

Yours confusingly

Tom.
Mike here: Thermal equilibrium applies to the temperature INSIDE the telescope tube. It applies regardless of whether dew will form or not. But yes, if the conditions are right (or wrong, might be more correct from an astronomer's viewpoint), then dew can form, not only while you are waiting for thermal equilibrium to be reached but even later during your observing session.
Subject:	ETX-105 case
Sent:	Monday, April 18, 2005 16:06:33
From:	Mike Snowden (mike.snowden@btinternet.com)
To: 	  peter
Sorry, I can't help here - I bought mine in the USA, due to it being
less than half the price there....   However, have you tried
http://www.telescopehouse.co.uk/?  Their web page lists it at 99

Now for a focuser!

    Mike

Subject:	Etx 105 problems
Sent:	Monday, April 18, 2005 13:55:48
From:	Cysmar@aol.com
I took your advice and faxed a letter to Mr. Scott Byrum. In it I
related how I had to return the one with a broken flip mirror and get a
new one from another dealer which came out of collimation the first time
and a chipped lens the second and so on.

I included rga #'s and what I'd like them to do for me (I asked for a
new 105 to be checked for all defects and sent overnight to me) .

It's been three buisness days and no response.

I'd like to resend the fax with the following addition: "This is the
second time I'm faxing to you aside from trying to deal with customer
reps many of whom have been rude. I'm trying to give Meade a chance but
you're forcing against the wall. You are leaving me no choice but to
contact an attorney."

I really don't want to do that Mike but they are really being difficult.
What should I do?
 Thanx  
Mike here: I wouldn't panic quite yet; while I can't speak for Mr. Byrum, I'm sure Meade had a lot of people traveling to Astronomy Day events all over the country, it not the world. You could call Meade to confirm they actually received the fax.
Subject:	ETX 125 Focus Knob Not Working
Sent:	Saturday, April 16, 2005 15:14:11
From:	Sascha Goldsmith (saish@yahoo.com)
First, please let me say thank you for all the information and helpful
advice you have posted online for us all.

I received an ETX-125 (not the deluxe model) in January.  As I live in
Michigan, it was too cold for me earlier to observe during the winter. 
Today, I set-up my scope, trained the drives, and attempted to align the
viewfinder.

Here is where I got stuck.  My focusing knob did not seem to affect any
image quality.  It seemed to spin freely without imparting any friction
to the pin protruding from the base of the optical tube.

I spun it both clockwise and counter-clockwise. Without using
appreciable pressure, the entire knob detached from the rod.

I looked at the knob, and there does not appear to be any threading in
it.  There is a small screw hole on one side, but at no point was there
a screw to insert there.  Should I purchase a screw of the requisite
size and apply tension to the underlying rod?

As an aside, the manual indicated that I should have received a set of
Allen wrenches with my scope, and they were not present.

Did I break my focus knob?  Or am I simply missing a screw?

My thanks in advance for any assistance you can help me with.

Regards,

Saish
Mike here: There is a small setscrew inside the side of the focus knob. If it is loose or missing the knob won't turn the focus shaft. If it is missing, I'd suggest contacting Meade for a replacement knob (easier to ask for that than the setscrew). Ask them to send you some allen wrenches as well. If you can see the setscrew (perhaps using a magnifier) then you will just need to tighten it using a small allen wrench (I don't have an accurate way to measure the size).

And:

Thank you so very much for the prompt response!  I will contact Meade
and have the replacement knob and Allen wrenches shipped.  I am relieved
that is all I will need and am very excited to be out sometime in the
next couple weeks when my ETX has 'first light'.

Thanks again,
 
Sascha

Subject:	etx-90ec Viewfinder-scope Thumb Screw replacements
Sent:	Saturday, April 16, 2005 15:10:34
From:	Michael Tate (michael@tate.org)
I was wondering if you knew where I could get replacement
set-thumbscrews for the 8x21 finderscope.  I purchased a used (out of
warranty) etx-90ec that is missing two. I can still align the
finderscope to the telescope but it is easily bumped out of alignment
without all the set-thumbscrews.
 
Thanks in advance,
 
Michael Tate
Fountain, Colorado
Mike here: Contact Meade; they will likely send you some.

And:

Great! Thank You

Subject:	Is the ETX Truly a good scope?
Sent:	Friday, April 15, 2005 09:51:24
From:	Ron Wright (rwright@greenridge.com)
Thank you so much for your web site.   It has been a great help.  And
maybe a little too much help.

As I stated before I am looking to buy my first real scope and I am
looking at the 105 PE UHTC.

As I read the reviews here on your site it seems that these scopes are
packed full of problems.  There seems to be a lot of negative feedback
and very little positive to say about them.   Even your own review of
the PE that you got was full of problems.

Now being that this site is to say that the ETX is a mighty scope I take
it that there are many people that are having great experiences with the
series and we are just hearing about the bad encounters.

It would be very helpful if the people who are having good luck with
their scopes will let me know what they are seeing. Are the optics Good?
Can you see good planets and deep space?  What about the magnification?
Is the useful Magnification rating true?  Is the autostar working for
anyone?

Having said all that will someone tell me is the ETX truly a good scope
or am I buying a box of frustration for $1000?  Espescily with the PE
versin.

Please forgive me if I am asking newbie questions, this is a once in a
lifetime purchase for me, and just want to make sure that I am making a
good decision.

On I parting note.  If I do end up getting the ETX this site will be
priceless for helping me with some of the problems.

Thanks again 

Ron
Mike here: If the ETX was not truly a good scope I would not be doing this web site and spending a lot of time keeping it going! I know we all expect everything to work 100% of the time right out of the box but that doesn't always happen regardless of whether we are talking about cars, telescopes, or computers. We can minimize problems by making good choices; I've chosen Toyota, Meade, and Apple. Yes, people do tend to write only when having problems so we don't see that many "no problems" reports (although you should check the Helpful Information: User Observations page; lots of real results there). The various astrophotography galleries will give you a hint of what you can see but keep in mind that photographs can be manipulated to show way more than your eye is capable of seeing (with any telescope).

And:

Thank you 
That was a big help.  I did not see that section.  

I ordered my scope tonight. ETX 105 PE

Thanks again for your site and your help.

Ron

Subject:	new telescope
Sent:	Thursday, April 14, 2005 20:00:24
From:	isacolic@optonline.net (isacolic@optonline.net)
Thank you for setting up your site.   I'm planning on buying a first
telescope and have decided on an ETX model (for ease of use and
portability).  Some members of a local club highly reccommended the
ETX90AT.  Would it make sense to get the ETX125? (It is within my
budget).  Do you reccommend the premier editions of the ETX?
Mike here: If you don't need the greater portability of the ETX-90, then the larger aperture of the ETX-125 will be useful. As to the new PE models, see my comments linked from the top of the current "Premier Edition" feedback page.
Subject:	Buying a ETX 105 PE UHTC vs 125
Sent:	Wednesday, April 13, 2005 23:31:54
From:	Ron Wright (rwright@greenridge.com)
I am about to by my first real scope.  In fact I was going to buy it
tonight until I found your site and used up my time reading the reviews.
I noticed that there are a lot of 125 users on your site and almost none
105.

I want a good scope and will really have to twist my wives arm for her
to let me spend over $1000.00.  I had decided on the ETX 105 PE with
UHTC.  Mead said that will effectively put me at a 5" Lens.

Now I have read your site and second guessing my decision.  The 125 AT's
are going for around  $800 plus.

Am I buying less scope for more money by getting the 105 PE UHTC?

Is a 125 AT a better scope?

Are the new bells and whistles worth the price of the PE for a very
newbie Good scope user?

I sure would like your thoughts on this as I will be buying a scope
hopefully this weekend.

Thanks in advance

Ron
Mike here: Certainly there seem to be less -105 owners than -125 owners or -90 owners. Couple of reasons for that: the -105 was released after the ETX-90 and ETX-125, and since it is between those two in size, many buyers will opt to go up (for more aperture) or down (for more portability or less cost). UHTC is like adding an inch to the effective aperture since about 20% more light gets to your eye. That is why Meade said the ETX-105 w/UHTC would be like a 5". For more on the Premier Edition models, read my comments (linked at the top of the Premier Edition feedback page, as well as the comments of other PE users.
Subject:	etx 105 problems
Sent:	Wednesday, April 13, 2005 18:38:31
From:	Cysmar@aol.com (Cysmar@aol.com)
I'm sorry to bother you again. I bought an etx 105 at about 15 weeks
ago. Out of those 15 weeks I've had it for about three weeks. I'm
sending it back for the third time now. The first time it came with a
broken flip mirror. The second time it came to me it was out of
collimation. I just got it back yesterday (april 12 after 3 weeks) only
to find it returned with a chipped corrector plate at the very edge. It
took a while for me to get a customer sevice rep without an attitude. I
finally found one (Collete internal ext 328) with whom I could talk.
They threw in a free focuser and overnight return shipping which is nice. 
What is bothering me is that I don't want any extras I just want to
enjoy the skies and my scope. Is there anyone to e-mail (it takes
forever to get a live person on the phone) to expedite the turnover time
and to make  absolutely sure that the scope is in working order when
it's returned for a maddeningly third time ? At this point if there was
an option to return the scope I would. I told this to them the second
time I returned the scope and it still came back damaged.

I know that you don't work for Meade, but you have a lot of dealings
with their scopes and was hoping that you could guide me through this
issue.

 Thanx a bunch 
 I really enjoy your site
 Clear skies
 Cysmar@aol.com
Mike here: Meade does not have a customer service email address. The best thing to do would be to fax them a letter detailing all the returns. Be certain you include the return authorization numbers and the dates. Let them know that you find it unacceptable (but in nice terms) to have to return the same product so many times. Keep me posted.

And:

Thanx a bunch 
 I will definately let you know what happens.
 clear skies

Subject:	Do It Yourself Supercharge: Has anybody tried it? If so, how did it go?
Sent:	Wednesday, April 13, 2005 07:53:17
From:	Kurt Russell (kurtr58@hotmail.com)
I have printed and read the "Creating the Perfect GoTo ETX" series. 
Most steps seem to be within my skill level.  So "I'm goin' in!"
Almost.... Before I started, I checked your site for comments from
anybody that had already tried it.  Clay Sherrod 's information is
undoubtedly complete and geared to weekend mechanic but I thought some
"user comment" would help out a bit.  Unfortunately, my searches did not
turn up anything.

Therefore, if you think there is some comment from somebody that has
actually attempted to follow Clay's guidelines, would you please point
me in the right direction?

I have considered sending my ETX 125 to Dr. Sherrod but as I am located
in Belgium I am a little concerned about shipping overseas and the extra
cost.  I might still do this if I decide time and skill constraints are
too tight.

This telescope is very important to me.  I inherited it from my brother
when he died in the summer of 2000.  He bought it in Chicago but never
had the chance to use it himself.  Even though he had always been a
stargazer and was always willing and able to describe what we looking at
in the nightsky, I paid little attention.  I had never even looked
through a telescope myself. After finally bringing this ETX to Belgium,
I set it up very carefully in December 2000.  I cried when I first saw
the cloud bands on Jupiter and the rings of Saturn.

Since then I make every attempt to get out there and look up, with or
without the scope.  I am certain that this GOTO was instrumental in
allowing me to jump right in.  Given the schedule I set for myself, I
probably would have given up if I had to hunt.  No problem now, though. 
I now enjoy sharing the view with my friends and family.  As for
strangers, I even toy with the idea of sidewalk astronomy on those
nights when the big bright things are not swallowed up by the local
light pollution.

I also inherited some very warm clothing from my brother.  Many sunrises
have found me on a lawn chair in February gazing up and fully contented
after a night gazing.  Of course, my office work suffers for a day or
two afterwards, but what the hell, eh?

Even my wife did not raise an eyebrow (much) when I brought home a 12
inch mirror I picked up during a recent trip to Taiwan.  I have not
built that scope yet, but someday....

To give you an idea of how deep this goes, I now see possibilties
everywhere.  The company I represent makes all sorts of film.  One type
is a super reflective silver reflector used in projection applications. 
We make it in 2 meter wide rolls.  My dream is to build a membrane
mirror stretched over a drum.  Pull a bit of vacuum and I think it will
form a paraboloid.  It has been done before but I am not sure the
coatings were as good as what we produce today.  nor were the films as
wide as we can produce.

Anyway, I digress.  In closing, I wish to thank you and Clay for all the
information you guys have made available.  I am ashamed I have not
contributed to the site.  Maybe if I sell that 12 inch mirror...

Clear skies (and the time to enjoy them!) to both of you

Kurt
Mike here: I do recall some users saying they have done the tune-ups as indicated by Dr. Clay over the years. But I sure can't recall the dates or who. Perhaps some will respond when I post your inquiry.

And:

From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
Thanks for the kind word and some insightful look at your observing and
dedication to the science!  Indeed, one can - if carefully working and
studying the layout of the scope - successfully perform major
improvements to the ETX telescope; however, I still stand by my favorite
saying: "If it ain't broke, don't FIX it!", which applies to telescopes
perhaps more than anything else.  If the telescope is tracking well,
doing good GO TOs and overall knocking the stars to your doorstep, then
enjoy it and put it to much use.  Why take a chance if the results could
STOP all of that discovery?

Dr. Clay
--------------------
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H45 (Petit Jean Mountain South)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain)
http://www.arksky.org/
And:
Gentlemen,
Thanks for the quick replies (how do you do that?)
kindest regards,

Kurt

Subject:	Re: Overtightened Declination knob for ETX 90
Sent:	Tuesday, April 12, 2005 10:02:26
From:	Frank Leone (frank.leone@us.ibm.com)
Dr Clay / Mike 
Your suggestion worked perfectly. Only a little scratch on the setting
circle and once the knob was off, I carefully/ slowly  loosened the
threaded rod with channel locks. If I had checked Mike's site before I
tried to tighten the knob it would have been clear. I should have done a
 look-up on 'overtighten' - there are plenty of cautions.

Thanks
And:
From:   P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
That is good to hear; if you call Meade and explain to them what
happened, they likely will replace this knob for you at no charge.
Let us know how this turns out!
 
Dr. Clay

Subject:	Fw: ETX 125ec  ra motor not working UPDATE
Sent:	Tuesday, April 12, 2005 03:22:20
From:	Mike Barrett (mm.barrett@btinternet.com)
Hi Paul,
 
I saw your message on Mike's site.

Before you go any further, you need to test the motor itself, as it may
well be faulty and possibly the cause of the burnt-out IC.

To test the motor, you will need to temporarily disconnect either the
red or black wire running to it.  This will eliminate any adverse
effects from the circuit board.  Briefly apply a voltage between 5 - 9
volts, either from a battery or suitably rated power supply( at least
500mA), making sure that the polarity matches the existing wiring
(positive to red, negative to black).   If the motor turns successfully,
at least your problem is restricted to the circuit board, which might be
obtainable from Meade UK, as well as the source Mike quoted in his
reply.

I assume the scope powers up and the other motor runs ok?
 
Hope this helps, regards, Mike Barrett

Subject:	lense smudged on etx90
Sent:	Monday, April 11, 2005 22:34:55
From:	steve (swilson1@fuse.net)
Had my etx90 less than one day and the lense is smudged all to heck and
back.I also beleive the lense has a light scratch on the inside surface
on the outer portion.Man im having a heck of a time here the more i try
to remove the smudges the worse it looks.Please if you can give me any
kind of instruction I would very much appreciate it.I havnt even had the
chance to see the stars with it.Paid extra for UHTC and I smudged the
thing within hours of playing around with it.I ve been using optical
tissues and some liquid cleaner that was provided in the cleaning
kit.Please tell me I didnt ruin the thing before ive had the chance to
even use it.
Thanks Steve(aka blockHead) 
Mike here: Depending upon what type of cleaner you used, you may or may not have ruined the coating. Check out my review of "Doctor Clay's Cleaning Kit" on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page as well as the "Cleaning Optics" on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.

And:

I bought the cleaner in a department store in the camera and telescope
isle,it has no smell and tasted like soap water i dont beleive it to
have broken down the coating atleast Im hoping it didnt.Thanks for the
reply.
Mike here: Regular lens cleaner is not recommended for the type of coatings used on telescope optics.
Subject:	Re: Overtightened Declination knob for ETX 90
Sent:	Monday, April 11, 2005 15:34:46
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
There is a trick, but your DEC knob is stripped and worthless now; you
will need to replace it;  force a very large flat blade screwdriver OR
putty knife between the setting circle and the flat plastic surface of
the locking knob and push OUTWARD very hard like using the blade as a
lever and wedge.  While doing this begin slowly unscrewing the knob with
your hand...you may need rubber gloves to get a grip; once it begins to
move, continue pushing with much pressure outward to force the threaded
rod to begin to move.  You have jammed it way to tightly into the
trunion.

If you are not careful, you will also break the trunion and the right
tube adapter....once it is out, your knob is worthless.
 
Let me know if I can help.
 
Dr. Clay
--------------------
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H45 (Petit Jean Mountain South)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain)
http://www.arksky.org/
 
----- Original Message -----
From:  Frank 
Dr. Clay - well I did it - I overtightened the declination knob trying
to decrease the movement play of the OTA.

The OTA is now locked into position and can be moved with the Autostar
or basic ETX controller. The knob on the right arm can be turned in
either direction but not loosened or tightened further.

Any ideas on how to loosen the knob without further damaging the right
fork? I have been able to remove the OTA but that does not help in
separating the knob from the arm.
  
The scope is out of warranty. 
  
thank you for any comments, Frank

Subject:	ETX-125 new??
Sent:	Sunday, April 10, 2005 22:31:33
From:	Raven50@aol.com (Raven50@aol.com)
I have been searching out a new scope, and I have been leaving towards
the ETX125.  I was reading on your site and noticed there is an old and
a newer version.  The P/N didn't quite match with the number i was given
for the scope i am looking at.

Meade P/N  0515-03-23  is what the scope says.

Is this a new or old fork mount style??  Thanks a lot for your time.
Tony
Mike here: Hard to say from that info since Meade doesn't supply specifics. But if it is a PE model then it is new.
Subject:	#1244 Focuser works in only one direction
Sent:	Sunday, April 10, 2005 07:33:16
From:	ranger (leofran2@connecttime.net)
I just installed the #1244 electronic focuser for my etx 90 and used it
in combination with an Everstart Power 12 volt pack. The focuser was
plugged into the auxiliary port at the base of the scope (per Meade's
instructions)  and the scope was powered by the power pack. Both of the
EXT 90's drives worked very well, but now the focuser works in only one
direction. Could this be because the focuser is a 9 volt device and when
I delivered 12 volts to the scope, it affected the focuser circuit?

In addition, and not being an electrician, the AA batteries 1.2v each
and in series would be 9.6 volts?. If true why would the base take a 12
volt power input?
 
As always, Thanks 
 
Frank
Mike here: The base can handle a range of voltage so that's not the problem. If you remove the focuser and then use its handcontroller, does the gear turn in both directions?

And:

no it does not. 
Mike here: With it removed there should be nothing to drag on it mechanically. Since the problem occurred with both the focuser handcontroller AND with the Autostar, it sounds like the motor has failed. Time to exchange it.

And:

I will call Meade tomorrow.

Mike, let me add my complements to the many others I have read on this
site. This site is tremendously helpful to all amateurs like myself and
I'm sure many veterans at this hobby. Your willingness to personally
address questions is a benefit we should not take for granted. Thanks
again for your help on my questions.

Frank
And an update:
Meade said they would replace it. 

Frank

Subject:	Re: ETX 125ec  ra motor not working UPDATE
Sent:	Saturday, April 9, 2005 07:37:13
From:	Paul (pacawston@blueyonder.co.uk)
I bought this scope in the end, it was too much of a bargain to miss out
on. The condition of the scope/optics is excellent.

I had a look inside the bas to see if I could see anything obvious to
find the fault with the RA drive. I noticed that there is an IC which
has burnt out on the RA drive printed circuit board (see attached
picture).

ETX
Mike here: Yeah, that would cause problems! You could try to find a replacement at your local electronics parts store or you could try to get a replacement circuit board. Meade won't supply one but you might be able to get one from Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page).
Subject:	etx case
Sent:	Friday, April 8, 2005 08:41:40
From:	Cysmar@aol.com (Cysmar@aol.com)
I've seen the doskocil seal tight extra large case(654) advertised as
big enough for an etx. It doesn't say for which model. I wanted to know
if it's good for the 105 ec. It's length and width are sufficient its
depth is only 8.25 inches. Do you think this case will afford enough
protection?
 Thanx
Mike here: Could be a tight fit since the ETX-105 (PE model) base is 8" in diameter.
Subject:	Thank you for the help!!!
Sent:	Thursday, April 7, 2005 18:28:13
From:	Dimitri Millas (dimitrim@mindspring.com)
The information was very helpful..  If you care to know, I plan to
finish my project of creating my own little observatory in Andros,
Greece sometime in the near future, maybe with in 5 years (a beautiful
place for you and your wife to visit someday).  I would like to have it
all computerized.. sit outside on the veranda with my laptop, telescope
and printer under the billion stars where it never rains but maybe twice
the whole summer and log everything I find.... I built my telescope and
I love it but I get frustrated with the Dobsonian mount.. If you have
any input for the best computerized controls please let me know or
anything else I should know for my endeavor..
 
Thank you again.
 
Clear Skys,
Dimitri
Mike here: I haven't investigated this yet myself. But you might check out the book "More Small Astronomical Observatories" from Springer-Verlag. I have it and it is full of nice ideas.
Subject:	ETX Hard Cases
Sent:	Thursday, April 7, 2005 17:44:26
From:	Peter Wibberley
Notwithstanding some of the remarks of reviewers, I have been trying to
obtain a Meade hard case for my newly acquired ETX-105.  However, these
seem to be impossible to obtain in the UK, and the suppliers here say
that Meade are just not sending any over.  Compounded with the fact that
the suppliers in the US I have spoken to say that they cannot supply
outside the US, the whole situation is very irritated.  What are Meade
playing at?

Regards

Peter Wibberley 

PS Thanks for the site.
Mike here: Hard to say whether it is Meade or just the archaic international trade laws.
Subject:	eyepieces for the 125ETX
Sent:	Wednesday, April 6, 2005 20:48:29
From:	Alan Seeling (firewalker25b@earthlink.net)
I have inherated a Meade 125ETX with some eyepieces (Plossl) for a Meade
ETX 70. 18mm. 26mm. 15mm.and a Barlow #124

does it make a difference in using these eyepieces in the Meade 125ETX.
 
Alan R. Seeling
Mike here: They will be OK.

And:

thanks again Mike, great web-sight you have  very informative I'll use
it often.

Subject:	Hey Mike couple of major newbis questions if you have time
Sent:	Tuesday, April 5, 2005 15:47:02
From:	steve (swilson1@fuse.net)
I know the answers to these questions can most likely be found on your
site,but for a complete newbie as myself its a bit of information
overload.Let me start with telling you the only thing I know about
telescopes for definite is which end to look through.My new ETX90A
w/UHTC is due to arrive anyday hopefully by this weekend.What I need to
know is which eye-peices would you advise me to aquire to get the best
quality veiw with this little telescope.I also would like to know how to
get some really good closeups of the moon,Ive seen alot of really nice
pics on your site and was floored by the quality of some of them.I know
your a very busy man but would really appreciate any advise from an
expert such as yourself.
Newbie stargazer
Steve Wilson
Ohio
Mike here: Read the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page. Also, there are some eyepiece tips on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page. For serious Moon observing I highly recommend a Moon Filter (see the Accessory Reviews: Filters page).
Subject:	ETX-125 Accessories questions
Sent:	Tuesday, April 5, 2005 14:30:27
From:	Bob Hendryx (hendryxfamily@comcast.net)
Greetings from a new ETX-125 owner!  Thank you for the excellent website
to gain and share information.

Regarding the ETX-125, I have two questions:

1.  Does the 5" Thousand Oaks Solar Filter fit the 125?  These
telescopes are listed by the manufacturer:

C-102, M- 4500, DS-127, M-4  APO, Sky Max 127 Tak FS-102, Tak-106 N, Tak
FSQ-106, Vixen 102

2.  I have read that some ETX-125 owners have used Pelican cases.  Does
the 125 fit in the Pelican 1600 case?  Or is the 1610 the smallest case
you can use?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Bob Hendryx
Mike here: I got one from Thousand Oaks for my ETX-90; worked fine. You should call them; I would think they have one for the ETX-125. Don't know whether the Pelican 1600 would work or not.
Subject:	Vibration Problems with ETX 90 EC on Deluxe Field Mount
Sent:	Tuesday, April 5, 2005 12:57:36
From:	Hoffman, Neil (NHoffman@KilpatrickStockton.com)
I recently purchased and etx 90 ec (just before deluxe edition came
out).  I have really enjoyed this scope, most particularly its optics. 
But I have found I have vibration problems.  Under what appeared to be
stable seeing conditions last night, I noticed that Saturn's ring
structure appeared somewhat fuzzy at 187X (using Meade ultra wide 6.7 mm
ep) with the tracking motors engaged.  I disengaged these motors (by
hitting the synch. function), and the image stabilized.  Saturn was
really quite beautiful then, revealing a clear cassini division.  This
is a remarkable scope given its aperture.  But I hate to think that I
will need to disengage tracking any time I want to go up to high
magnification.  Note that I am using the "deluxe field mount," which
came with the scope.  When the tracking motors were on last night, I
could feel a distinct vibration in the mount legs, base of telescope,
etc.  I did have the legs fully extended; was this the problem?  I have
to think that this issue has come up before with this scope (I believe
it was raised in the S&T review of the 125).  Is there an easy fix (or,
for that matter, any fix)?  Any help will be appreciated.

On a not wholly unrelated front, has anyone had good results using the
Meade deep-sky imager on the etx 90 ec?  If so, did this include actual
deep sky (as opposed to moon or planetary) imaging. ( My problem
suggests the answer, but I'm hoping my problem is solvable.)
Mike here: Yep, this vibration issue has come up over the years with the #883 tripod. I never use it with the legs fully extended; in fact, they are just about as low as they can go and still be useful to me. Also, you can add weight to the tripod or place it on "vibration suppression pads" or even add sand to the interior of the legs. There are some tips about this on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. As to the DSI, I don't specifically recall all the models used in the DSI photos I've received but you can read through the pages.

And:

Thanks.  I'll try these.   I hate the idea of using the etx like a 90 mm
dob everytime I want to go over 100x.

Subject:	
Sent:	Tuesday, April 5, 2005 01:01:30
From:	RogerandGarf@aol.com (RogerandGarf@aol.com)
Thanks much for your website...without it I think I probably would have
drop-kicked my ETX some time ago.  Since the clouds rolled in (again) I
thought I'd take the time to share something that all can benefit from:
better eyesight.  How?  Take bilberry.  British pilots used to eat
bilberry preserves before night bombing raids in WWII.  I sure can tell
the difference when I do a lot of reading, etc; you can get this at any
health food store.
Mike here: Glad you like the Site BUT PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page; your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing Subject entry.
Subject:	Re: Tube locking knobs on ETX90EC
Sent:	Monday, April 4, 2005 19:25:08
From:	Farbzilla . (farbzilla@hotmail.com)
Thaks Mike for the eyepiece info but I was still wondering about the
locking knob problems. Can you help? Oh yeah is Dr. P Clay Sherrod still
doing the Etx Tune ups? I am going to get one if so but I was hopin to
wait on that for a little while so I can get used to my scope but if i
can't figure out what is goin on I guess I will have to do it sooner
than later....Thanx again Mike...
Mike here: Yep, he is still doing them. As to the lock, from your description, I'm at a loss.
Subject:	Just want to say you have an excellent site
Sent:	Monday, April 4, 2005 10:33:12
From:	steve (swilson1@fuse.net)
Just ordered a meade EXT90A and will be a regular visitor to your fine
site.Keep upt the good work and clear skies always.
Steve Wilson
Cincy Ohio

Subject:	Kochab's polar alignment method!!
Sent:	Sunday, April 3, 2005 18:41:59
From:	trafaat1@telusplanet.net (trafaat1@telusplanet.net)
it sounds like an excellent method, however, the explanation is far too
lengthy!!  By the time I'm halfway through the article I'll have
forgotten what I read!!  Perhaps I need to take notes??

I just took delivery of an excellent 2 yr. old LX-90 from a RASC member
in Victoria, BC.  I live in rural SE Alberta and experienced astronomers
are few and far between.  If I hope to receive some practical assistance
then I need to travel 1.5 - 2 hrs.  However, great dark skies out here!!

Thanks.
TR.
Mike here: Depending upon the user's level of knowledge, the article may be too long, too short, or just right.

And:

Well, I suppose that at this point it's at the "too long" level.  I'll
figure it out over time.
Thanks for posting such an informative site.
TR.

Subject:	Tube locking knobs on ETX90EC
Sent:	Saturday, April 2, 2005 19:57:06
From:	Farbzilla . (farbzilla@hotmail.com)
I have a question regarding my ETX90EC I bought several years ago and
never really got a chance to use. Now that I have a chance to start
using it I ran into a problem regarding the knobs that lock the tube
into place. When I started to check the operation of the scope
everything seemed fine with all the axis movements. I removed the knobs
and on the right side when i removed the knob the threaded brass insert
that the knob threads into came out to. I was easily able to remove the
insert from the knob and brush a little krazy glue to the grip knurles
on the outside of the insert so it will not come out again when the
knobs are loosened or removed. The problem I am having is that now when
I tighten the knobs the scope is able to be moved up and down by hand.
The clutches or whatever is in there does not seem to be holding the
scope in place. When I press down on the Autostar the scope moves down
probably because of the sheer weight of the tube but when I push up I
can hear the motor working and no errors are shown on the display but
the scope does not go up. I cannot see that little insert coming out
being a problem because when it was out I looked in the hole and it did
not seem that the insert served no purpose except to thread the knob
into place. Am I right ? What could be wrong ? It worked just fine
before the insert came out but I cant see what other purpose it could
serve. Any and all information you can give in this matter will be of
great help because I am anxious to get out there and use my scope.....
Happy viewing....

Please respond to the same address...thank you
Mike here: The article "ETX-90EC DEC fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page may help you fix the problem.

And:

thank for the tip but I did not sheer it off and was able to brush a
little Krazy Glue on the outside of the insert where the knurles are. I
am totally sur that it is not spinning inside the hole. The other thing
that I did was remove the clutch mechanism on the right side and
degreased the and took one of the wifes light emory boards and scuffed
the friction points thinking that would help it did not. The knobs seem
to be tight just fine but there is no grip up or down so it only goes
down some because of the weight of the tube. I plan on getting a
supercharge for it but my next purchase was a tripod and I plan on
buying some eyepieces from Paul Rini Optics. It seems from what I have
been seeing regarding the Rini pieces is that for the money they are
great and the quaility of the outer casings are improved although not as
pretty supposedily as more expensive brands they I have read they
perform well. What do you think? I plan on purchising 4 pieces at once.
What 4 eyepieces do you think I should get first to be able to view with
the most options? Thanx Mike.....
Mike here: Keep in mind the maximum magnification of the ETX when purchasing eyepieces (see the FAQ page if you are uncertain how to calculate that). Depending upon how you plan use the telescope, four eyepieces might more than you will use. But something along the lines of a 40mm or 32mm, 12mm, and perhaps a 9mm or 7mm (or similar sizes).
Subject:	ETX 125ec  ra motor not working
Sent:	Saturday, April 2, 2005 09:55:50
From:	Paul (pacawston@blueyonder.co.uk)
I have the opportunity to buy a scope (as the subject reads).

I was wondering if you not too busy could you advise me of whether you
think it is worth buying with a view to repair it in order to get it
back to it's original state?

I am a beginner in this hobby but I am an experienced Electronics
engineer which might help!
 
Thanks,
 
Paul
Mike here: Well, it really depends upon the condition of the telescope and WHY the RA motor isn't working. If the motor is burned out or some other serious problem, you would have to replace it and Meade doesn't supply parts (although Telescope Warehouse might have parts). If a wire is broken you could fix that yourself. If a trace on the circuit board is blown, well, you'd have to troubleshoot that.

And:

Thank you for your comments, I appreciate your input.
and congratulations on a super website!

Regards,

Paul

Subject:	Jerky motion
Sent:	Saturday, April 2, 2005 08:56:55
From:	David Guibert (PlutoVIP1@cfl.rr.com)
Any idea what I need to do to correct a problem with my ETX-105. After
it's been out and slewing for a while it starts to jump in small
increments, then every now and then it gets a mind of it's own and
slowly moves over a few degrees. (I have trained it and updated it) It's
not cold out maybe in the 50 and 60's. I'm just a little hesitant to
look inside it just yet, my LXD-55 10" is down too.  I did a hyper-tune
and replaced the bearings to Teflon, on the LXD and found a holly mess
inside from the factory. How it even worked at all is beyond me.
Workmanship and inspections...quality control must not be high on their
list. I hope they (Meade) read this site.

PS. I still love their scopes, it's just the reliability on the
mechanics that suck.
 
David Guibert
Melbourne, FL
Mike here: Doing a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES may solve it. If not, do a RESET, CALIBRATE MOTORS, and then TRAIN DRIVES. If that doesn't solve it you may need to redistribute the lubrication; unlock the axes and slowly move the OTA by hand back and forth, hard stop to hard stop. Do this several times.

And:

Thanks, you're the man.
 
Dave

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