Last updated: 31 August 2001

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: Many Windows users are finding their computers have been infected by the SirCam virus and are therefore sending me (and anyone else in their email address book) files that they probably don't want to send to others. If you are running Microsoft Windows I strongly urge you to contact your favorite virus prevention software company and take steps to remove this virus from your system. Please note that I do not pass these viruses on to others nor can you get this virus from my ETX web site.

Subject:	2 Scopes Downunder
Sent:	Thursday, August 30, 2001 21:38:47
From:	nickb@tgmgroup.com (nick)
G'day Mike,
...been a while since I last wrote to you, but my news is good. I sold
all my 125 scopes, autostar, electric focuser etc and bought an LX200 8"
f10 scope. Clay Sherrod helped me find one in the USA using Astromart.
He is such a nice person to deal with and reviewed all aspects of my
dealings with the seller. I emailed the seller and well ...the rest is
history! Firstly,I got the scope shipped directly to Clay at Arkansas
Sky Observatory to which he performed his magic supercharge. He
performed miracles on the scope which is fully documented, set it up for
my long. Lat. Timezone etc, cleaned all optical surfaces, checked
mechanical and electrical components, star tested it, collimated it,
tracked stars, planets etc until he was satisfied it was all ok. He then
shipped it to me downunder and now I have a beautiful LX200 to play
with....my wife is getting jealous already!! It really is worth getting
your scope fine tuned by an expert and Clay Sherrod is just that! Thanks
Clay for your wonderful service and I recommend you to anyone thinking
about it. Mike, I still tune into your site and read the updates...good
PS....I still miss my 125 scope(s) as they are so cute, maybe I'll get
another one someday as they would be handy for trips and holidays where
the LX200 can be a bit bulky.
Regards Nick B

Subject:	dumb question
Sent:	Thursday, August 30, 2001 21:08:56
From:	jester@lcix.net (MAC)
I love you site, its packed with so much info.  Ive got a very stupid
stupid question.

I wanted to buy an ETX but am very new.  When you want to look at the
planet Saturn, how the heck do you do that?  Do you just punch in the
coords. and let the scope do it??  I am so new and no nothing about this
but I can not find info for such a new person as myself.

I thank you very much for your time and help.

Mike here: There are three ways to locate objects in the sky.
1. "Gee, what's that bright object over there?" So you just point the telescope at the object and view it. If it is a planet like Saturn, you will see something (like its Ring System). If it is a star, you will still see something (a pinpoint of light with perhaps some color).
2. You obtain some star charts (from some daily newspapers, monthly magazines, web sites, or software). You then use them to see what is visible at what times of the night. You also use them to determine exactly WHERE in the sky the objects you want to view are located. Then you can either use the Right Ascension and Declination coordinates of the object to locate it in the telescope or you "star hop" from one object to the next (like using a road map).
3. You use a computer GOTO system (like the Autostar). Following the initial alignment, you tell the computer what you want to see and it slews the telescope to the object.
Hope this helps.


I thank you very much for your time, I know understand and will get a
scope. Keep up the good work on the site, its the best one I found out
there and I've seen quite a few over the last few weeks.  No one
compares to yours.

Subject:	Total novice looking for advice on buying an inexpensive
but decent telescope
Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2001 16:35:26 From: snfrankel@sai.com (Steven Frankel) This question is more than likely beneath you (I read some of the comments on your site, and WOW). I got a real cheap telescope from World of wonders as a gift, and I want to upgrade to something that is much better, but not more than $300.00. Is that possible? I've been in love with the moon since I was a kid, and checking it out with a friends (his 6 year old kids actually) scope (which he said cost about $250.00), I saw such detail, I was amazed. I also have quite a view if NYC from my balcony, and would like to be able to use it to see terrestrial sights as well. I've looked around the web for about an hour and have seen so much info that I'm confused and frankly am wishing someone can guide me to the right scope for what I want to use it for. I've seen such great photo's that were taken with what seemed like inexpensive scopes (actually seeing the rings of Saturn, and detail of Jupiter). Am I asking too much of a $300.00 telescope? Also, am I going to have to buy many accessories such as additional eyepieces, a tripod etc. Money is a concern. I've seen Mead telescopes for about $300.00 (I'm sure there are many levels) as well as Bushnell and others. Can you help someone looking for advice? I would very much appreciate it. A clear cut recommendation would probably push me over the edge. Thanks for your time and I hope I'm not bothering you. Sincerely, Steve Frankel Steven Frankel Business Analyst Software Associates International, LLC.
Mike here: There are scopes of all kinds of capabilities and prices. From your location, a large scope (expensive or not) may be a waste due to the light pollution, assuming you don't want to take it to a dark sky location. The decisions you have to make (besides the cost) is what you expect to see with one and whether you want (or need) a GOTO computer system (or whether you are willing to learn the night sky). Almost any telescope can show you craters on the Moon but if you want to see details on planets you will need a telescope with a longer focal length than many inexpensive models. Today, you can get an ETX-90RA (not upgradable to the GOTO version) for around $300; it makes a fine telescope for many users. Or you can get one of the DS scopes from Meade at several price points. Alternatively, there are telescopes from Celestron and Orion (and many other reputation manufacturers), some with GOTO capability and some without. Like many hobbies, pretty soon you will want to add items to increase your enjoyment. So, yes, you'll likely be adding eyepieces, filters, a tripod (if the telescope doesn't come with one), a case (for traveling), etc, etc, etc. Hope this helps.

Subject:	digital imaging
Sent:	Wednesday, August 29, 2001 14:16:55
From:	dingopup2@home.com (dingopup2)
please help me with a quick question, i am about to purchase a meade
etx-60, and was wondering if there was any type of software/hardware out
there that you might know of that can take the image from the telescope
directly to a pc, so it may be viewed real time on screen?????

i've been looking on the web but have not seen anything like this yet.

Thank you,
Mike here: There are many ways to do this. See the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page for one such: the Sonfest SAC CCD imaging system. You can also use small video cameras like the QuickCam.

Subject:	Local astronomical club does good
Sent:	Tuesday, August 28, 2001 01:22:50
From:	soehnk@cableregina.com (Keith Soehn)
I just thought this news item might be of interest to you.  One of our
local RASC members (Regina Astronomical Society of Canada) just
discovered a comet!  He didn't use an ETX but his 20" Obsession dob
isn't too shabby.


Clear skies,


Sent:	Monday, August 27, 2001 17:58:27
From:	EdHiker@mediaone.net (Ed Johnson)
in the top part of my Astronomy page at:


A listing of the 9000 brightest stars, sortable by magnitude, HR number,
constellation, SAO number, position, common name, and double star

Runs in Excel 95 or later, the XLS file size is 1.6M


Subject:	ETX & SolarMax
Sent:	Wednesday, August 22, 2001 21:55:42
From:	tsanders@ev1.net (Thomas Sanders)
I was wondering if you have had any experience using Coronado's SolarMax
filter with any of the ETX scopes. I'm unable to find much "useful"
information on the net or message boards about this combination. I would
like to put together a dedicated solar observing scope for 35mm
photography that is fairly portable. Of everything I have found you seem
to have the best site on this scope however I didn't find any pictures
in the galleries of our Sun taken through a H-alpha filter and only a
couple mentions of it in the archives. If you have the time I would like
to give you my thoughts on this and ask for suggestions.
Thomas Sanders
Sugarland, Texas
Mike here: I'm hoping to receive an evaluation unit next month. Stay tuned...

Subject:	Thank for your Meade ETX Site!
Sent:	Wednesday, August 22, 2001 19:25:29
From:	dejesus38@hotmail.com (Luis A. De Jesus R.)
I just wanted to thank you. Your site saved me from taking my ETX-90EC
and setting it on fire.

I was having trouble getting my Autostar to work and information posted
on your site helped me get my scope working properly. I appreciate the
time you have taken to help us beginners and those pros with an ETX get
the most for every cent spent.


Luis A. De Jesus R.
Mexico City, MEXICO

Subject:	Lower Priced Eyepieces?
Sent:	Tuesday, August 21, 2001 20:14:48
From:	davidfenstermacher@msn.com (DAVID FENSTERMACHER)
great site!

quick ?:
the meade eyepieces are pricey.  are the cheaper eyepieces good 'enuff'
for a beginner like me?  52 bucks (scopetronics) v. 99 for the meade
seems like a big difference. if there is a spot on the website that
discusses this, please forward; as i can't find anything (OK - i'm new).

thanks tons,

Mike here: Many lower priced eyepieces work just fine with the ETX models. See the Accessories - Eyepieces page for some reviews.

Subject:	"Go To" as it is meant to be...
Sent:	Tuesday, August 21, 2001 16:33:06
From:	adriance@swiftkenya.com (Dave Adriance)
It's nearly midnight, but I just had to tell you about the amazing
viewing I've had for the last two hours.

We came home this evening to see the sky absolutely clear, dark and
still - first time in weeks, maybe months!  I quickly set up the scope
on the balcony and put it in home position.  Twice I used Fomalhaut and
Arcturus for a two star alignment, but both times I got a message on the
Autostar that the alignment had failed.  Strange...

So I tried using Arcturus and Antares.  The alignment registered and I
was off for a couple of hours of near-perfect "Go To" viewing.  Here in
Nairobi, Sagitarrius and Sciorpius are high in the sky.  I used your
constellation observing guides to hop around M22, M55, M24, M4, Wild
Duck cluster; Trifid Nebula, Lagoon Nebula; etc.  Nearly everything I
called up landed inside the field of view of the 26mm EP... some even
inside the field of view of my 8mm Radian!

This is truly Go To viewing as it is supposed to be... and I owe it all
to the Supercharge you did for me several weeks back but which I
couldn't really test until this evening.  My sleep will suffer... but
it's definitely worth it!

Many thanks and best regards,


Subject:	eyepieces
Sent:	Saturday, August 18, 2001 23:50:41
I have a 10mm radian which is great. I was wondering...I have a 2X
Barlow...is it a waste of money to buy a 5mm radian? Or do you get the
same view looking with the 10mm and Barlow? Also is it too much
magnification for the etx125? The guys at Shutan told me about the
formula for figuring max power,i.e. 50 times for each inch of objective

Mike here: Certainly 380X (doubling the 10mm with the 2X Barlow Lens) does exceed the theoretical max magnification but it can be done on brighter objects (Moon, some planets) under the right seeing conditions. Just don't expect crystal clear views. The less glass in the light path the better, so if you want to spend the money for a 5mm, fine. But for many users, it would be redundant.

Subject:	Is upgrading possible
Sent:	Saturday, August 18, 2001 14:23:14
From:	mahlon@kilroys.net (Mahlon Hale)
I have the original mighty ETX astro.  Is there any way to upgrade this
so that I have the Autostar?
Mike here: See this question/answer on the FAQ page.

Subject:	Another Question
Sent:	Friday, August 17, 2001 23:59:09
From:	bryanyork@msn.com (Bryan York)
Well I forked out the $99 to get the tripod for my etx-90m.  It
certainly helps.  My question is about focal length.  I know the larger
the diameter is the more light can be collected.  So does it go the same
for the focal length?  The higher the number the better the telescope
and what does the f/8 mean if they say focal length 910mm f/8.  I guess
what I'm trying to get at is I received a Orion catalog and I was trying
to compare the ETX I have with the scopes in the magazine.  Even the
large 4.5 inch reflectors that are 44 inches in length have less of a
focal length than my etx.  Does that mean the etx is better?
Mike here: Focal length, aperture, f/ ratios are all indicators of what a telescope can do. Comparing them between diverse telescope models may or may not really tell you anything. Depends upon what you want to do with the telescope. As you noted, large apertures can allow for more "light gathering" and also higher usable magnifications. Longer focal lengths provide higher magnification capability, to the limits of the aperture (sort of). The ratio of focal length to aperture is the f/ ratio. Just like with a camera, lower numbers indicate a "faster" optical system, capable of viewing dimmer objects. But again, comparisons can be invalid. If you have an f/8 3" telescope and an f/10 6", which do you think will "see" dimmer objects? Of course, the realities are much more complicated for a short email response. There are whole books on this topic.

Subject:	Left fork problem.
Sent:	Friday, August 17, 2001 19:29:45
From:	wes.trimble@sympatico.ca (Cecily & Bud)
I have a real problem. Was setting my DEC circle the other night and
thought it seemed kind of loose. When I took it apart to investigate the
small brass threaded insert had pulled out of the fork. Do you think
Epoxy will do the trick?
Awaiting your answer.
Wes Trimble
Toronto, Canada
Mike here: It should. See the "ETX Hints, Tips, Projects, & Products" article linked from the Telescope Tech Tips page.

And a followup:

As a follow up asking your advice on what to do about the LH Dec bushing
pulling out of the plastic trunion. I went at to disassemble the unit
tonight to try to epoxy the bushing back into the trunion and when I
went to undo the 4 socket head set screws to remove the OTA the screws
spun. They had never been tightend up when assembled. MY ADVICE IS CHECK
THE OTA SCREWS BEFORE USING THE ETX. Granted this may be a fluke but who
knows, maybe this is part of our OTA slop. I'm going to degrease the
unit while it's apart also.

There is excess grease but it appears to be a moly or graphite type thin
grease not a thick heavy goo. I hope that the epoxy on the bushing will
cure the problem since Meade told me that I had over tightened the dec
circle. All this on a scope that had never has the dec circle set as it
was right on from the factory.(I should have known something was wrong).

Will let you know what happens. Will Meade sell a LH trunion assembly
direct? They told me no!

Subject:	A few questions
Sent:	Friday, August 17, 2001 18:20:40
From:	tonienl@yahoo.com (tonie koop)
I'm sending you probably my 3 or 4th e-mail in just 2 or 3 weeks so i
sure hope im not annoying you already but i just don't know who else i
can ask these questions.So first of all

Can the ETX be manually moved to every direction without the internal
wires wrapping up

Can the ETX-125 be used without the table tripods (on its drive base).I
know the ETX-90 can but the 125 is much heavier and the drive base is
made only of plastic.If it can why are these table tripods anyway.

Is the Scopetronix Field Doubler only for use in photographic or CCD
imaging.On they're web-site they say that it "will provide wider fields
of view for your CCD imager or film camera while also reducing your
exposure times" but they say nothing about normal visual use .In
comparison the Series 4000 f/3.3 CCD Focal Reducer/Field Flattener they
say is not recommended for visual use .Is this the same,any idea??

Can the Meade 8-24 Zoom eyepiece be used with a Barlow

For the highest magnification I'm planning to buy a 9.7 mm eyepiece
which with a Barlow will give me 391x is this enough in you're
opinion(for highest magnification)how far can you push this scope under
normal seeing conditions for TERRESTRIAL VIEWING(important for me) and
at night for planets or double stars.On the Meade web-site they say 500x
but I've read even of 600x(under perfect seeing conditions off course)

I read lately on you're site about a lot of problems about collimation
of the ETX.Does that really affect the image if its a little out of
collimation.I've looked only once through a telescope will i notice
something if its out of collimation.

Have you heard about the new ETX-105 when is it gonna come out any
idea,its already on the Meade web-site.

Thanks for taking the time and reading this e-mail.Im wishing you all
the best.

Tonie from Bulgaria
Mike here: Emailing questions is not a problem. Unfortunately, as I noted on the Site Announcements page, I'm traveling now and so email responses are delayed. So, if you want more immediate feedback see the newsgroups and discussion groups mentioned on that page on the Buyer/New User Tips page. To answer your questions: On the ETX EC models there are hard stops to prevent the internal wires from wrapping. All ETX models can be used on a table top; the table top legs allow for polar mode but if you have the Autostar or want to do terrestrial viewing you can use the Alt/Az mode. I have no experience with the Scopetronix or Meade field doublers but they can be used for visual work; there may just be some image distortion however. I don't know if the ETX can focus with the zoom eyepiece/Barlow Lens combination; such a combination would also has some image deterioration due to the increased optical manipulation going on. As to max magnification, keep in mind that the typical max usable is twice the aperture in millimeters, or 250X for the ETX-125EC. You can exceed that on bright objects, depending upon the viewing conditions and the quality of the optics being used. Collimation is not a major problem with the ETX scopes; if it was it would be user adjustable (like with Newtonians). If the scope is a little out of collimation, most users will not be able to detect any change in image quality; there are so many variables in what can affect image quality that most people will not be able to see a small error. Yes, collimation can be tested for and if not excessive (due to abuse or something slipping), there should be no reason to get overly concerned. On the other hand, if stars do not appear as pinpoints or small dots at moderate magnifications (assuming excellent viewing conditions), then you may have some optical problem. But to really test and then correct it you really need to have the right equipment and experience to not make things worse. Yes, there is a model ETX; stay tuned. More info will get out there.

Subject:	EXT-125EC wake-up
Sent:	Thursday, August 16, 2001 20:53:38
From:	dmc@starstream.net (Clegg)
I am very interested in purchasing a Meade EXT-125EC, but after reading
about  problem after problem (random slew, Alt. clamp, etc.), is Meade
considering design modifications or a new line of scopes?
Mike here: Have you read all the positive comments as well? I haven't done any statistics on the positives vs the problem reports but NOT EVERYONE has a problem. And keep in mind that people tend to write when they need help with a problem and not write when things work perfectly. Just human nature. But if you prefer a redesigned mount, the just announced ETX-105EC has a newly designed fork mount. I don't yet know what's new or changed however.


Thank you for the information. You make a good point.

Subject:	ETX-90EC question
Sent:	Thursday, August 16, 2001 12:52:12
From:	egj@andrew.cmu.edu (Eddie Jones)
Do you have a suggestion for an AC adapter for the ETX-90EC, other than
the one Meade sells for $60?  I apologize if its already listed
somewhere else (I did find the one for the DS-114 in the Tech section,
but didn't know if it would work).


Eddie Jones
Mike here: Several people have used ones from Radio Shack and other sources. Search the site for "power supply" and you'll find lots of references, some even with suggestions.

Subject:	Re: ETX 90RA Flip mirror problems
Sent:	Thursday, August 16, 2001 11:49:18
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Jim
Actually you want that resistence and that "squeeky sound."  That is the
firm nature of the flip mirror to assure that it is precisely locked
into alignment with the main scope optics.  If it was just the reverse,
too loose, then you should worry.  Given much use, it will lessen
somewhat but this is actually desired and what you want.  I urge you to
not attempt to adjust or loosene whatsoever!

Thanks - good questions!

Clay Sherrod

-----Original Message-----
  Dr. Sherrod:

  I have searched the ETX sites that I know of and can't find a
  description that matches the behavior of my scope so I have taken the
  liberty of contacting you. I captured your e-mail address from Mike
  Weasner's ETX site. I hope you are not offended by my contacting you
  out of the blue like this.

  The problem I am trying to find a fix for involves the flip mirror on
  my less than 3 months old ETX 90RA. Mechanically, it works well, but
  the knob seems to bind slightly in both directions. I wouldn't mind
  that, but for the slight, but disconcerting metal on metal squeal that
  the mechanism makes, again, when turned in either direction.

  The squeal doesn't seem to be as pronounced when I turn the knob
  slowly.  I don't think it should sound like this at all; my concern is
   I am getting an early warning of a bigger problem headed my way.

  I am not mechanically challenged provided I have some idea up front of
  what I am looking for. You know as much about the mechanics of an ETX
  as anyone. Can you suggest a course of action for me to follow (other
  than ship it back to Meade since it is still under warranty)?

  Thanks, in advance, for your help, Jim

Subject:	Problem when using power
Sent:	Thursday, August 16, 2001 07:28:48
From:	martie.smit@za.eds.com (Martie Smit)
We bought the ETX-125 EC three days ago and I must say, it is an
excellent scope, I love it!

However, a little problem slipped in. When we bought the scope, we
specifically asked the dealer if we can use any 12V adapter to power the
scope, and he said yes.  Well, the batteries "ran out" and last night I
decided to put on the power via my 12V adapter I have at home.

Well, it gets power, but here is the problem. When I switch the scope
back on and press one of the buttons on the electronic controller, the
scope doesn't move as much as it did with the batteries. Secondly, when
I start slewing the big problem starts. To move it up and down and to
the right is no problem, but as soon as I send it to the left, the scope
will stop when I lift my finger from the button, but then it starts
moving to the left on it's own - without stopping!

Any idea what causes this problem or how to fix it?  I can't find
anything relating to this on the MEADE website or in the manual.


Mike here: Don't know what kind of 12V power supply you have but not all non-Meade ones will work. Some do (you'll find lots of comments about them by searching the site for "power supply". Meade (understandably) only supports their AC Adapter.

Subject:	ETX-90M
Sent:	Thursday, August 16, 2001 01:03:11
From:	bryanyork@msn.com (Bryan York)
Well today was the day.  I picked up my brand new ETX-90M.  Unfortuanlly
it's a bit hazy out as you know and I couldn't really see much.  I
started off with the supplied 25mm and could see just fine.  Once I
switched to the 9mm I could not see much of anything.  Using the 2x
Barlow produced no results at all.  From what I've been reading on your
site this is probable due to over magnifying for the current atmospheric
conditions.  Would you agree? I'm hoping to take a little trip out to
the desert or something this weekend to give it a real try.  Know of any
good local spots?
Mike here: Since I'm on travel I don't know what the LA weather is like. But atmospheric conditions can affect the viewing, especially at high magnifications. Remember that the max theoretical magnification is twice the aperture in millimeters, or 180X for the ETX-90. Have fun in the desert.

Subject:	ETX90ec autostar reset?
Sent:	Wednesday, August 15, 2001 19:43:17
From:	rowe54@midwest.net (Mike & Valinda Rowe)
I am so very new (have not viewed ANYTHING yet) to the ETX ec and
autostar.  Am almost too embarrassed to ask the following questions.

1.  Being in southern Illinois, if I get my telescope all set for
viewing will I need to do a "reset" when I take the telescope to Wyoming
on vacation in a few weeks?

2. The telescope came with a Meade 2x telenegative multicoated lense. 
What is it?  I cannot find it listed anywhere.

3.  Is the #932 45 degree prism just for terrestial viewing?

I know I will have a million more questions but these are a start. 
Thanks so much.

Mike here: Asking questions is OK but don't forget to check the ETX Site first; tons of info there. No, you don't have to RESET the Autostar when you change locations. Just change the Site location setting. The 2X telenegative lens is a "Barlow Lens", which effectively doubles the magnification of the eyepiece it is used with. Of course, it also reduces the field-of-view and the apparently brightness of the object being viewed. The 45prism can be used for either astronomical or terrestrial viewing. I've found it useful when you put one eyepiece in it and another eyepiece in the top hole. Then to change eyepieces you just toggle the flip mirror and refocus.


Thanks so much for the quick reply.  Yes, I have toured your site
extensively many times even before I got the ETX - that's how I decided
it was the right telescope for me.  But being so new I have to admit I
get lost in the advanced techno jargon.  Just like the "Barlow lens",
I've read about it, knew what it was and was even looking forward to
getting one - especially wanted one for the big trip out west where the
viewing is going to be great . . .didn't know that's what the 2x
telenegative was and had it sitting in my case!!!!  Maybe some day I'll
learn the language!!??

Thanks again!
Mike here: Yes, there is a lot to learn. Just don't try to learn it all at once. Only knowing a little bit won't decrease your enjoyment.

Subject:	ETX-125 EC Eyepiece Question
Sent:	Wednesday, August 15, 2001 14:22:57
From:	peterrossi@lucent.com (Rossi, Peter (Peter))
I am in the market for a low power eyepiece for my ETX-125 EC Telescope.
I am looking for suggestions.  Should I go with a 32mm or a 40mm?? 
Does anyone have experience using either one of these eyepieces??  Can
anyone recommend either Meade or Tele Vue??  I sure have a lot of
questions today, don't I??
Peter Rossi
Subject:	Mike, I Answered my own Question
I am so sorry.  I sent you e-mail to soon.  I did a search on your
FANTASTIC Web Site and answered my own question.  I think I will
purchase the Tele Vue 32mm Eyepiece.  Sorry I bothered you!!  Next time
I will search the Site first, I promise.

Peter Rossi

Subject:	Is it junk?
Sent:	Wednesday, August 15, 2001 00:45:53
From:	GUCH63@aol.com
What is the bottom line for ETX-125EC?
Out of the box it sounds like a piece of junk that needs $200 of work to
fix its factory problems.  Somebody reassure me that if I spend the
$1500 to purchase, supercharge and outfit this "precision" instrument
that Meade isn't really sticking me with the "Yugo" of the astronomy

Keep in mind - I really want one of these but I need the facts on
reliability and capability and whether there are better telescopes
beyond Meade products.  Clay - are you out there?  Thanks!
Mike here: Most ETX-125EC telescopes that are sold have not been through Clay's Supercharge and most users are perfectly happy with them. Would they have bought it if it had cost $100-200 more? Possibly not. Whether it makes you happy or whether you want to spend the additional money for a higher end telescope is your decision. Alternatively, buy a Dob for the aperture and low cost.

Subject:	Mastering The Possibilites... Or Do It Yourself
Sent:	Tuesday, August 14, 2001 21:24:14
From:	lancetay@home.com (Lance Taylor)
> maybe you could take some pics of your mods...i am interested in the
> carrying case you made and the space blanket.....
> jc

1 - Thermal Blanket... $15.88.... (ala transformed into a "Desert Storm
Scope Cover")...

1 - Blue Campers Foam Pad .. $9.99 & Velcro Strip $5.00... (ala
transformed into a "Dew Shield")...

1 - Large Luggage Case With Wheels & Handle $25, and a $9.99 tri-pod
"Duffle" bag...


1 - Dry Kewl (LX-50) Scope on the top of Mount Kobau (Star Party)...

See y'ah on top of the Mountain! I hope to have lotsa NEW pics when I
get back!

Lance Taylor 

P.S. - Toby, when I get back I'll do up a blurb on these projects to
contribute to your great website!


P.P.S. - Michael,  I suspect you could make covers for your ETX's easily
and cheaply this way to. I also have a smaller luggage case that holds
my ETX snuggly as well.
photo photo photo
photo photo
photo photo

Subject:	E Lyra
Sent:	Tuesday, August 14, 2001 08:50:20
From:	richcobb@compuserve.com (Rich Cobb)
I haven't seen anything about this on the site: 
I'm trying to split the double E Lyra. I can easily see the double
itself--even with binocs. But even using the 9.7mm eyepiece I don't
really see the doubling I expect. Is this beyond the capability of the
I'm really enjoying your site and the scads of helpful info!
Mike here: See my original report on the ETX-125EC for some info on viewing the Double Double Epsilon Lyrae.

Subject:	virus warning
Sent:	Monday, August 13, 2001 07:13:38
From:	afrisina@yahoo.com (Tony Frisina)
i received an email from al kaminski subject sears etx tote. attachment
scanned as virus infected not removable . think all at your site should
be advised.
Mike here: I'm sure many of you have experienced the SirCam virus that infects Windows-based systems. I have received emails from many site visitors that attempt to infect my system. I strongly urge all Windows users who have not protected their systems to visit one of the virus prevention software developer sites and get instructions on cleaning their system. Please note that the ETX Site does not propagate any viruses nor does the ETX Site subscription service.

Subject:	ETX drive base stops
Sent:	Monday, August 13, 2001 03:09:07
From:	Carlmon@email.msn.com (Carl Monson)
I've been reading up on the tech tips for tuning up the gear slop, etc.-
most of the tune ups I have already done, but it's nice to know I did
the right thing.

My problem is I bought just the mechanical base as surplus.  It had been
modified for aiming lasers or something, and part of their modifications
included adding physical stops which limited the rotation to about 60*
in Az.  I removed two of these stops and left in the one that seemed
close to where the original stop should be, but I'm not sure that is

I plugged an Autostar into it, and acheived 95% correct function (not
bad for $40!).  But, occasionally the drive tries to run through that
Az. stop to slew to an object, screwing up the alignment.  After all
this, I have two basic questions:

Is this normal behavior for the software- is the software smart enough
to know where the stop is?

Where exactly is the stop supposed to be?  Is it at the same point where
the magnetic sensors are tripped?

Any help would be appreciated- Carl
Mike here: I think there are a few things that affect the Autostar "knowing" where the hard stops are: starting out in the proper HOME position (including do the CCW/CW rotations), setting the proper model, and turning on Cord Wrap. Once all these are done it should not try to go past a hard stop, in fact, it should avoid them.


From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
No, the scope does NOT know where the hard stops are.  That is why they
must be there, to keep the wires form twisting and ultimately breaking
(major problem and repairs!).

If your slews are taking you past the hard stop, you have three

1) the wires are being twisted going to the DEC arm and will eventually
break/shear off; 2) your accuracy is not good; 3) the hard stops are
obviously not doing their jobs.

There is one hard stop about 120 degrees counterclockwise from due north
and another 360 degrees from that in Azimuth.  If either one of them are
overridden, which you are doing, there will be damage to your wire
INSIDE the turntable, an area that you cannot easily work on at all.

To note where the hards stops should be, do this:

1) set up your scope with the CONTROL PANEL on the west and aim the
azimuth/OTA pointing due north;  rotate the telescope in azimuth
counterclockwise (looking from above) almost exactly 120 degrees; that
is where hardstop #1 should be.

2) now, from that point, rotate the telescope (clockwise) BACK aimed at
north and then proceed to continue rotating clockwise until the scope is
aimed almost DUE WEST again....that is hard stop #2.

If you are daring, you can get inside this base and make yourself some
hard stops via brass screws or similar (even a superglued peg is better
than nothing at all).

I can almost guarantee you that if you continue to use the scope without
azimuth stops, you WILL break the DEC wire bundle.

Good luck on getting that fixed....still sounds like quite a bargain!!

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	Digital camera
Sent:	Sunday, August 12, 2001 23:00:25
If I didnt want proffesional type pics from my ETX 70 do you think the
jam cam 3.0 would be sufficient for moderate astro pics and
Mike here: I'm not familiar with the Jamcam but if it is similar to the Quickcam, then you can do some amazing things with it and a telescope. There are many examples of Quickcam astrophotography on the site; you can search the site for "quickcam" and you'll find lots of references.

Subject:	Why not a messageboard??
Sent:	Sunday, August 12, 2001 6:55:07
From:	mikaelr@hotmail.com (Mikael R)
Thanks for a superb site. Your site has been a great help for me, and im
sure to alot of other ppl out there with a ETX/LX telescope.

Now to my suggestion. Why not put up a Mighty ETX Messageboard on your
site? It would make it easier for ppl with problems to get help from
other site visitors, that has gained knowledge through your site.

I would also love the fact that then I can visit your site more often
becase of its continuous update by user posts.


Best Regard
Mikael Rzewuski

MIKAEL - "The man with the master plan"
Mike here: There are already several newsgroups and mailing lists that do this. See the "Discussion Groups and Mailing Lists" on the Buyer/New User Tips page.


Im aware of that but a messageboard on your site would more a official
one. I bet that the majoraty of users would post on your site rather
than the others.

Best Regars
Mikael Rzewuski
Mike here: I don't mind the work to do the site. It is sort of like being the moderator for a moderated newsgroup. I have some automated processes that help (using AppleScript).

Subject:	Difficulty with Mars
Sent:	Saturday, August 11, 2001 22:03:58
From:	darklord48@home.com (Anthony Evans)
I am having a difficult time with Mars.  I'm pretty sure it is Mars
because it is the very bright disk in the southern sky (I'm looking at
it between 9:00 and 11:00 PM Mountain time)

I have an ETX-90EC with the following equipment:

2x Barlow
30mm eyepieces and the following filters

Meade 4000 Series 80A-Blue
Meade 4000 Series 23A-Red
Meade 4000 Series 58-Green
Meade 4000 Series 12-Yellow

Whenever I look at Mars with any of these eyepieces I get no detail at
all.  Same goes with the filters and barlow.  The filters just put Mars
in the color of the filter but still no detail.  Am I doing something
wrong??? Any help would be great and can this be posted?

Mike here: I was just looking at Mars with the ETX-125EC. Other than a Polar Cap (North) all I could see was the major dust storm that is occurring on the planet. I suspect that is what you were also seeing. Rather than something being wrong with your telescope, the problem is Mars itself right now. On the other hand, the dust storm just indicates how dynamic Mars is.


Thanks for replying Mike.  I don't even see that.  It jhust shows up as
a white blob.  Is yours a etx90ec?  If I could even see the icecaps I
would be happy.  Are you using any kind of filter?
Mike here: As I said, I was using an ETX-125EC for last night's observations. No filter. Although I have used filters in the past, with both the -125 and an ETX-90RA, right now it wouldn't have made much of a difference. On the other hand, you might try wearing sunglasses while observing Mars. Seriously. It is still very bright and almost overwhelming, especially when viewed at small sizes, like with the ETX-90. For the best views possible, be certain to wait at least 30 minutes for the scope to reach thermal equilibrium, don't have any heat sources (roofs, parking lots, etc.) below Mars, and view it as close as possible to it highest point in the sky.

And this comment on Mars:

From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
I am getting all kinds of correspondence from people with scopes from
the ETX 90 to a 16" that have reported "nothing doing" on Mars.  The
contrast is indeed very low right now for the faint surface markings and
I suspect we still have a pretty good scattering of yellow dust.  I have
been able to clearly make out a concentration of low white clouds (frost
forming) in the NP region and also to a greater extent near the SP cap.


Subject:	Collimation warning
Sent:	Saturday, August 11, 2001 15:32:17
From:	dcanard@cswnet.com (Douglas G Canard)
Im glad you posted Dr.Sherrods warning.People should bear in mind they
will sacrifice their warranty and also that I only tweaked ONE screw and
ever so SLIGHTLY.If they start messing with too many screws they may be
asking for it.If my tip had anything to do with it maybe you should
trash it just to be sfe and avoid calamities.Let Meade deal with
it.Maybe the tip would be best as a reference ONLY.Sort of as a before
and after comparison test to see if anything changes after a properly
done collimation.All you would have to do is remove the cap at the back
of the scope and put a collimation tool up to it while looking at the
target.Make a note of how everthing lines up then leave it be..All I
know is the very slight adjustment I made was enough to move the
secondary silhouette quite noticeably.Very delicate stuff.Ive been doing
this to my reflectors and getting outstanding star tests and
resolution,however reflectors are not Maks are they? Thanks.
Mike here: In the interest of serving everyone I'll leave the collimation tip up but the warning will also stay up.

Subject:	Meade ATX-60AT
Sent:	Saturday, August 11, 2001 12:49:49
From:	bryanyork@msn.com (Bryan York)
Forgive me as I am new to the telescope seen.  I purchased the ATX-60AT
for $129.00 at Costco.  So cheap I could not resist. I could not get the
scope to focus clearly a star or a close object with ethier of the two
supplied eye pieces.  It seemed that one or two more turns of the focus
knob would of done it but I already reached the end of the thread. To
closes I could get was a circular blur.  I took the telescope back.  Do
you think there was something wrong with it? Or possible because I'm
using it in the city?

A local scope shop has the ETX/90M for $225.00.  I was thinking about
getting it.  I live in Los Angeles and will mostly be using the scope in
my back yard or occasionally taking a trip to the desert.  Any advice
would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks for the site!

Bryan York
Canoga Park, Ca.
Mike here: If the focus knob was reaching the back plate at the rear of the ETX then I suspect it just needed to be slide a little further out on the focus shaft. That has occurred with some ETXes. The ETX-90 Astro Model M (also known as the ETX-90RA or the original ETX) is a fine telescope. That's the one that started the whole ETX thing and the model that I bought five years ago (and still use). Just be aware that it CAN NOT be upgraded to use the Autostar GOTO computer.


Thank you so much for a quick reply.  I plan to buy to ETX-90m today.
I'll let you know how it works out.

Subject:	ETX125EC problem....???
Sent:	Friday, August 10, 2001 11:06:38
From:	Rabbitrv@aol.com
I have just received a second hand etx125 scope and couldn't wait to get
it outside tonight to give it a try, but alas, after setting up the
finder scope and pointing the ETX at alpha centauri to try to split the
formation. Through the finder scope the stars where crisp and clear but
upon looking through the eyepiece and trying to focus .... nothing but
little comets .....?? No matter how I tried to get the image corrected,
nothing was visible ....?? I brought the scope inside and  while looking
into the eyepiece holder (without eyepiece) I could see that instead of
concentric images, one of the mirrors, or whatever, was way out of
alignment and while moving the scope around, suddenly saw it move back
into its correct place ...? After searching your fabulous site, was
unable to find any mention of this problem. I thought maybe collimation
was my problem but this would not wobble around inside the main tube

Any help you can give would be very much appreciated.

Best regards .... Steve.
Mike here: Do you mean that the "flip mirror" moved? Did it just snap into place or does it shift? It is meant to move so that you can use either the top-mounted eyepiece holder or the rear port. But it should not move unless the lever on the back of the ETX is moved.

And an update:

I would just like to say I found some info on your site that allowed me
to fix the problem with my scope, it was the main miror had come loose
from the retaining shaft ...lol 

Everything is fine now, except the clouds have rolled on in ..... :-)

Best Regards ...... Steve.

Subject:	eye relief
Sent:	Friday, August 10, 2001 8:25:46
From:	mvgazy@hotmail.com (gfjyhgkjjg l,klnkjh)
I was just wondering if someone knew how to calculate eye relief? Is
there a "formula" or something?

Mike here: I'm not aware of any formula. Really depends a lot on the design of the eyepiece.

Subject:	ETX-90EC optics...
Sent:	Thursday, August 9, 2001 14:09:26
From:	chmuslim1@yahoo.com (Muslim Chechenov)
Hi! As an attempt to follow a good tradition established by other
grateful visitors, I want to say that your Mighty ETX web page is
outstanding! It really saved me from making several mistakes, helped me
to spend my money wisely and prevented some problems from happening.
Thank you very much! Now, here is my situation. I am complete newbie in
astronomy from Russia and during my visit to US I bought ETX-90EC, which
arrived with huge fingerprint on back side of corrector (shame on Meade
QC!). I had to remove it from OTA (not from it's metal housing, of
course) and clean it with Meade-sanctioned solution of isopropyl alcohol
and disitilled water without touching any mirror surfaces. I did
everything according the instruction. But when I finally get a good and
clear night to check the optics, I notced that star images inside and
outside of focus are not quite identical - while black spot in the
center appeared to be well centered in both cases, one of the images was
fuzzier than another, and I had to turn focus knob further to make it
look like doughnut. (But focused images look nice and sharp, with Airy
disk clearly visible) So, my questions are: is it a serious problem?
could it be because I messed with corrector? can I fix it myself? Thank
you very much...
Mike here: See Clay Sherrod's comments at the end of the "Collimating an ETX Mak" article on the Telescope Tech Tips page.

Subject:	Limiting magnitude for an ETX-90 RA?
Sent:	Thursday, August 9, 2001 13:16:22
From:	ssroy@ucalgary.ca (samir roy)
Hi, I had a question regarding the limiting magnitude of an ETX-90...
How many magnitudes does it add to the faintest star one can see near
the zenith.... say limiting magnitude at zenith is 4.5 ..  and I am
using a 10 mm Plossl [medium high magnification]??

Or better still what aperture in a good achromat is equivalent to an


Mike here: I'm not certain I understand your question. But you might see the "Limiting Magnitude Charts" on the "Observational Guides/References" page. As to an equivalent refractor, beats me. Probably large and expensive.

Subject:	More questions..
Sent:	Thursday, August 9, 2001 0:02:35
From:	EricB@cascadewholesale.net (Eric Berglund)
I'm sorry to bother you once again, but your wisdom is just unsurpassed
by anyone else. I've just got a couple of observation questions.

First, I'd like to say that the Autostar is working beautifully.
Obviously I should upgrade it from the 2.0 version, but it's working.
Anyway, this question is just because I have no idea what things are
suppose to look like.

This question concerns the Andromeda Galaxy. I did a go-to and found a
galaxy. (I think) The problem is, all the things I've read (User
observations of the Meade ETX-125) you/other people say that the
Andromeda galaxy fills the entire field of view. I'm using the 26mm
eyepiece. But what I saw was a fuzzy object that was fairly big (but
didn't fill the entire field of view by far), but it was very fuzzy.
When I think of "filling the field of view" I imagine looking at this
big white/fuzzy thing.

I appreciate any comments that may have. Your site is awesome and I look
forward to every update.


Mike here: The Andromeda Galaxy is large and from a dark site will appear quite impressive in a low power eyepiece. But it won't look like the photos you've seen showing swirling arms of stars. I have seen some "dark lanes" in an ETX-125EC from a dark site but in most small telescopes all that you'll see is a faint fuzzy blob. That's true for most Deep Sky Objects. You can tell shapes (round, oval, oblong, thin, etc) but will probably not see any structure.


Thanks for the response. That's what I figured, but it was still
impressive to see.


Subject:	Electric Focuser
Sent:	Wednesday, August 8, 2001 18:10:36
From:	marv.sumner@juno.com (Marvin C. Sumner)
I just now found your 29 July 01 blurb on the electric focuser vs. the
ETX-125.  I now understand what happened when I first received my

The focus knob on the new scope was not well attached to the shaft, so I
removed it to inspect the set-screw.  Well, with the OTA pointed
downward, the focusing shaft disappeared into the OTA never to be seen
again.  A lengthy visit to the factory got that fixed just fine, and now
Dr Clay's SuperCharging has corrected Mead's other mis-deeds.

Question: Would you recommend "parking" the focus system at one limit or
the other prior to bumpy travel?  If the innards were bottomed out
against something solid during travel, there might be some degree of

A related subject that I've not seen in Mike's pages:  Apparently the
electric focuser has no travel limit stops in it's gear train.  This,
coupled with a powerful motor and flimsy gear-shaft bearing mounts
courts disaster.  I was once lost in the search for focus and wound up
hitting the travel limits of the gears - - this scrambled the innards of
the focuser and all failed.  With the focuser removed from the 125, I
could feel the gears skipping teeth when running the motor.  A visit to
the factory got a replacement, but I'm apprehensive about it's future

Has anyone else had a similar experience?

Marv Sumner

Subject:	Re: Lens cap
Sent:	Wednesday, August 8, 2001 16:18:11
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Wayne
Most corrector cells do come loose from time-to-time so don't fret that
at all; the Mak retains collimation even if the lens (and attached
secondary) are backed in and out; there is a "sweet spot" however, and
that should be at maximum tightness.  For that reason I urge users to
NOT overtighten the nice metal lens cap.

Good luck!!

Clay Sherrod
    -----Original Message-----
    I am worried about the collimation because my corrector cell has
    turned loose several times when I unscrewed the lense cover. I have
    hand tightened it as best I can. Could this throw it out of

Subject:	Focal reducers
Sent:	Wednesday, August 8, 2001 15:15:41
From:	tonienl@yahoo.com (tonie koop)
A really nice website but the problem for me is that there to much
information to handle and I learnt about the site recently.So i've got a
few questions which i think are not mentioned,if they are please excuse

The focal reducer from shutan increases the FOV about 65%.Which doesn't
tell me much actually.How much f will become the ETX 125 with it??

Why is it not listed on the Shutan website the address is www.shutan.com

Is the Scopetronix Field Doubler good

How does the focal reducer actually work does it reduce the telescope
focal lenght or increase the eyepiece focal lenght??

Does the Meade f/6.3 Focal Reducer/Field Flattener work on the
etx.Because i'm living outside the USA and buying the Meade Focal
Reducer would be a lot easyer The other two focal reducers i have to
order over the i-net which is much to complicated for me.Not to mention
that if it is defect i have to send it back and waith for months before
the replacement unit arrives.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this letter,oh and by the
way out of pure curiosity after having such a popular site could you
please tell me how much hom many e-mails you receave per day and how
many time you need to answer them,just curious :)

Wishing you the best Tonie from Bulgaria
Mike here: Focal reducers shorten the telescope focal length, making the telescope like one with a shorter focal length. This can also widen the field of view, as you noted. (Your question about the ETX-125EC was truncated so I don't know exactly what you were asking.) You'll have to ask Shutan if they still sell it. Haven't received any comments about the Scopetronix Field Doubler but Scopetronix has a VERY good reputation with ETX owners. As I recall, the Meade Focal Reducer doesn't work with the ETX since it was designed specifically for a different scope. As to email, on the "Just for Fun" page you'll see an article on "Site Emails". Check that.

Subject:	Camera Adapter
Sent:	Wednesday, August 8, 2001 2:48:36
From:	melvincp@prdigital.com (Melvin)
Hi,I hope you can help me.I hace a ETX 70 an i want to use a camera for
astro photo but there is no way i can find in any stor at Puerto Rico a
ring that matcha any of my cameras.You have any site they sell it??I
have canon,nikon,bronica....you name it,my dad is a profecional
photographer but only since the Discovery Store get around there was any
god place to buy telescopes and accesories but no t mount only t
adapters.Thanks for your help...
Mike here: Check the dealer web sites listed on the Astronomy Links page on my ETX Site. Also, check the Accessories - Astrophotography page for some reviews of adapters.

Subject:	Question
Sent:	Tuesday, August 7, 2001 20:40:42
From:	l8nighter@yahoo.com (late nighter)
Is there any way that you can attach a LCD digital video camera to a ETX
so you could watch live video from your ETX on your computer?

Mike here: See the Accessories - Astrophotography page on my ETX Site.

Subject:	Supercharge-autostar code-LX90 manual
Sent:	Tuesday, August 7, 2001 17:28:47
From:	brass@uconnvm.uconn.edu (Emory Braswell)
I have come alive again with more questions!  But first I want to say
how pleased I am  with the "supercharge" my 'scope got from Clay! It
really is working smoothly now.

I guess that either I am braver in my stupidity than others or everybody
else knows what   the abbreviations mean which appear in the autostar
descriptions of stars.  Although I have been able to guess some of them,
where might I find out exactly what they mean?  Also, I have not been
able to find on the Meade site the manual for the LX90.  Is it available
for downloading?

Your faithful "lurker"  Emory Braswell
Mike here: Check the FAQ for manuals info. Check the Autostar database pages on the Autostar Information page.

Subject:	Electric Focuser
Sent:	Tuesday, August 7, 2001 15:51:45
From:	tvanderharst@kpmg.com.au (Vanderharst, Tony)
Having spent fantastic nights with my new ETC90EC looking at Moon, Mars
and everything else, I'm interested in buying an electric focuser.  I'm
using a steel base plate, which I bought in the UK and a steady camera
tripod, so I can angle the 'scope and get at the focussing knob whilst
viewing directly overhead.  However, the magnification I'm using makes
the picture very wobbly when focusing manually and is very hard to get a
sharp picture.  I'm assuming that an electric system will be easier. 
Are you able to make a recommendation between the JMI product and the
Meade one?  Either one is a special order item in Australia, because the
importers do not carry stock, so I would like to get the right one!

Thanks for you help and best wishes, TV

  Tony Vanderharst

>   kpmg  Information Risk Management
>     +61 (03) 9288 5166
    040 777 3648
Mike here: I only have the JMI one (on my ETX-90RA). If you have the Autostar I'd recommend the Meade one.


From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Both JMI and Meade are adequate focusers, but both focus very rapidly,
even set to "slow."  Nonetheless, it is a wonderful experience to not
have those horrible vibrations at higher magnifications via the electric

I opt for the Meade focuser because it is simpler and more compact
attached to the back of the telescope.  Both are very similar in all
respects....keep in mind that the Meade focuser will operated off of the
Autostar by pressing "0", focusing and then "Mode" back to your normal
viewing....thus you do not need two control paddles.

good luck and good observing!

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	Unmounting the ETX-90 EC
Sent:	Tuesday, August 7, 2001 9:02:32
From:	Florian.Schaaf@t-online.de (Florian Schaaf)
just looked at your site and ...wow... it' has grown so much! Keep up
that great work. As internet access in Germany is still rather slow and
expensive, I've got a two questions to you:

Is there a possibility to unmount the blue telescope tube from the mount
without damaging it? I would like to use it on a tripod as a normal
spotting/photographic telephotolens (I have the telephoto-adapter and a
Canon EOS 1, but it's all too shaky...) ?

The ETX listbot has stopped, will there be the contents of all the
contributions on your website or elsewhere?

Thanks for your kind reply...

Bye from Rdermark near Frankfurt / Main

Florian Schaaf
Mike here: I haven't heard that the ListBot will be archived anywhere. The ETX-90 (and ETX-125) can be removed from the fork arms. See the Right Tube Adapter replacement instructions at the bottom of my initial ETX-90EC report.

Subject:	quickcam setup?
Sent:	Tuesday, August 7, 2001 9:00:06
From:	SchmidWR@utrc.utc.com (Schmidt, Wayde R.         UTRC)
Can anyone provide details on how they connect their quickcam unit to an
ETX 70?  I can hold it reasonably still for several seconds of video
capture, but someone must have a better way.  Thanks very much.

W. Schmidt
Mike here: Search the ETX Site for "quickcam" and you'll find lots of references, some with mounting tips.

Subject:	Re: dust covers for ETX's
Sent:	Monday, August 6, 2001 17:11:18
From:	armtech@ix.netcom.com (Bitter Bastard)
Thanks so much for your ETX site.  I've gained a lot of knowledge about
my scope and even purchased a Barlow lens to better view the moon with. 
I may get into the fringes of home atronomy.

As to my question last week about dust covers, I've come up with a
simple device that works much better than anticipated.  FYI, the seran
wrap was a total bust.  I couldn't focus on any objects at either 48x or
96x, but it was the first thing I tried.

While perusing the local hardware store I found 5x7" pieces of glass
intended to replace windows in front doors and such.  Cost was $.97.  I
coupled that with with a rubber 4" pipe adapter.  Cost for that was
$3.97.  This is basically a 4" long by 4" diameter piece of rubber hose
used to connect two pieces of 4" water pipe.  It came with 2 hose
clamps.  I ran a rubber band through the back hose clamp and then around
the piece of glass.  I had to duct tape the edges of the glass to keep
it from cutting the rubber bands.  I then cinched down the hose clamp to
snugly fit the tube of the ETX-90 and installed it.  It simply slides on
and off.  Since the front lens of the ETX is slightly inset, there is no
danger of hurting the scope with this setup.  There is very little
distortion and it is completely impercetible under some lighting

I hope some of your readers might find this useful.

Todd Bowman
Minnesota, USA

Subject:	hi
Sent:	Monday, August 6, 2001 13:59:37
From:	corkymaxkasey@netzero.net (Gregory Masterson)
hi i just bought an ETX-90RA telescope along with a tripod.  i am
waiting for it to come in the mail.  I have a 10" Dobsonian (MEADE).  I
can see jupitor and saturn with my dob but there is really no detail. 
can i see lines on jupitor with this new scope?  I know that the optics
are exactly the same on both the 90RA and 90EC.  the 90RA is not a
"goto" but it will track.  I want to know if i am going to see thing
much better with this new scope han my old one.  i did the calculation
for power and the 90RA is a little more powerful.  I hope to be able to
take pix of the moon and maybe saturn, jupitor, and maybe venus.  Please
let me know what i am going to be able to see!!!

Mike here: Check the Astrophotography Gallery pages; you'll get an idea of what you'll be able to see with the ETX-90 scopes (except for those taken with the other models). The 10" Dob has way more "light gathering power" than the ETX-90 but I don't know what its focal length is. I suspect the ETX-90 will not give you better views of planets unless the Dob is in bad shape optically.


i don't know how you figure.  my dob is a focal length 1140mm.  and the
ETX is a focal length 1250mm.  If i did the calculations correctly
(focal length of scope / focal length of eyepeice) the ETX at low power
will give me 50x and the dob at low power will give a 45x.  i think the
ETX will be better. people on the web show pictures that they have taken
and they are much better than mine.  people also say that they have seen
the cassini division of saturn and the equatorial bands of juptor. 
people also say they have seen a moon of saturn which i have never even
come close to w/ my dob. well, write back and tell me what you think.
Mike here: Focal length is certainly a consideration. But they are close for the two scopes you mention. So, the with the same eyepiece you'll get almost the same magnification. But with the Dob the image should be brighter. Plus you'll be able to use higher magnifications with the Dob due to its larger aperture. I have seen cloud bands on Jupiter, Cassini Division in the Rings of Saturn, and occasionally Titan (the large moon of Saturn).

Subject:	Question re mounting an ETC
Sent:	Monday, August 6, 2001 12:38:49
From:	jay@jayware.com (Jay Moynihan)
Great website. I am contemplating ordering an ETX 90mm now with the sale
and all on the old model. Here is my question.

I have a tripod/wedge from a mid-1980's Celestron 8" SCT, (specifically
a "Super C8 Plus"). Do you know of an adapter for sale to attach the old
model (non-EC) ETX 90mm to this wedge?


Subject:	ETX-70AT versus ETX-90EC
Sent:	Monday, August 6, 2001 9:32:08
From:	peter.david@eu.effem.com
Hi Mike,  after nearly 25 years I am about to rekindle my startgazing
interests and have been looking around for a decent scope.  As I am sure
you are aware there are many opinions and views on the best 'starter'
scopes for people like myself,  but after much reading, and not entirely
unattributed to the excellent views and reports on your web page, I have
narrowed my search down to one of two Meade ETX's, the 70AT and the

I apologise for the 'basic' nature of my query, but I hope you can offer
your thoughts as I cant decide which package to purchase.

As I mentioned, I wish to buy either the 70AT or the 90EC,  this 
decision is based on my budget,  which is about 500 (about $700 these
days!!).  I can easily afford the 70AT with a few useful extras such as
a 2/3 barlow lens, dew shield etc,  as this scope is supplied with
autostar, tripod and carry case. However,  the obviously more capable
90EC has no Autostar or Tripod, the purchase of which would blow my
budget considerable (by UK prices!).

My main purchase criteria are:

1/  As a beginner, I really like the concept of GOTO as it will make my
initial viewing quicker and easier.
2/  The scope I buy must be portable as I will travel with it frequently
(living in a city location, I'll be looking less light pollution!!)
3/  I may want to use the scope for some terrestrial purposes
(holidaying on the coast).
4/  I know nothing, so the scope should be easy to set up and use.
5/  I will be starting out with lunar and planetary viewing, but would
like to be able to do some basic nebullae and deep space stuff.

Obviously the 70AT boasts a great package and will enable me to start up
straight away.  However, would it be best to purchase the 90EC and save
hard for the autostar and a decent tripod, delaying my immediate

Would the 70AT with additional eyepieces and barlow lenses give me
similar viewing pleasure to the 90EC?

Compliments on an excellent and unbiased web page, it has made my
ultimate decision a little easier.

Thanks and Regards,
Peter David
Mike here: Both telescopes make fine systems, with or without an Autostar. Do you really need the Autostar? Users such as yourself did without one for several centuries. Yes, it makes finding objects easier (sometimes) but does it increase your learning of the Night Sky? For light polluted areas, the Autostar can be an assist in finding dim objects. Which brings us to the next consideration: aperture and focal length. Many users are disappointed with their first looks through the ETX-70AT due to its short focal length (350mm; not much more than a typical 35mm camera telephoto lens). Objects will appear small, even planets. The ETX-70AT makes a dandy wide-field scope for observing wide expanses of the Milky Way but the ETX-90EC will make a better scope for more detailed views than the ETX-70AT can provide. Be certain to see my comments linked at the top of the "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT Feedback" page.


Many thanks for your feedback.  After reading several articles on your
web site I had come to a similar opinion.

Thanks and regards,
Peter David.

Subject:	Nikon Coolpix 995 Camera Settings
Sent:	Sunday, August 5, 2001 12:51:30
From:	DonMcClelland@webtv.net (Donald McClelland)
I thought I would try to tap your knowledge of digital cameras.

Undoubtedly you've discovered the Coolpix 995 is a feature rich camera.
What would you recomend for the basic settings in manual mode e.g. 1/4
or 1/2 second exposures for planets, "spot" for matrix, quality
settings, noise reduction etc?  I realize you couldn't have learned
everything about the camera now but as you learn if you could let me
know that would be great.

By the way the automatic timer has a very obtrusive strobe while it's
working (prohibitive for star parties).  If you know a remedy for that
let me know.

Thanks, Don
Mike here: I'm definitely still learning (only had the camera out of the box one day). Just did some shots of the Sun using the Scopetronix Digi-T. Tried the macro and normal modes. Wish the timer would work in normal; seems strange that it was designed to NOT work in normal mode. Only one shot came out OK. Haven't tried any other astronomical objects. Hoping to try Mars tonight. Anyone else have the CP995 (or similar)? I'm contemplating starting an Astrophotography with the Coolpix page.

Subject:	ETX 125 Photographs
Sent:	Saturday, August 4, 2001 16:28:30
From:	hevbound@netzero.net (hevbound)
I am new in astrophotography and was wondering why I am having
diffulculty taking pictures with my digital 280 kodak. I hold the camera
to the eyepiece but still get that looking through the tube look. I own
an ETX125 and am also using a 32 mm televue eyepiece. neither am I
zooming in on the moon with my digital camera. I am trying to get the
whole moon in the shot....any suggestions would be helpful.
 Thanks Brad
Mike here: With some digital cameras you have to put the camera into macro mode or zoom the lens to the max magnification. This is necessary to get the camera lens as close as possible to where the eyepiece focuses the image. The is the place your eye is when looking through the eyepiece.


Thanks....I will try that if the skies are clear enough tonight.

Subject:	Site
Sent:	Saturday, August 4, 2001 15:36:38
From:	wolfsi@earthlink.net (Wolfgang Siebinger)
I'm still a complete newbie with astronomy and my ETX125, but thanks to
your great web site I'm making big progress. Star gazing is great here
in Arizona. Most people worry about cold nights in the emails to you,
but here it's still 95F at midnight.

Thanks a lot for all your information!

Wolfgang Siebinger

Subject:	ETX
Sent:	Saturday, August 4, 2001 13:50:20
From:	tonienl@yahoo.com (tonie koop)
First of all i want to say you have a great site with lots of
information it did help me a lot on choosing which should be my first
telescope.I have a few questions i hope you can answer them.

why is the 14 UWA meade eyepiece not working with  the ETX  is it to
heavy ???

could you tell me if the ETX-125 is a good first telescope.I've read a
lot of good things about it,good optics,the autostar computer controller
has very nice options.But on the other hand problems like an unstable
mount (what about the Advanced Field Tripod #877,is it good enough for
visual observing with a pair of Vibration Suppression Pads it should be
rock solid)uncontrolled slewing and many more bugs with the software.Is
it a problematic telescope.I get the feeling most people complain about
the telescope before even reading the manual.I read about Clay Sherrod's
ETX-125EC Experiences who obviously knows how to work with the ETX maybe
if you get to know how the telescope works you would have much less

which color filters from the Series 4000 Filter Applications would you
recommend for the ETX 90 or 125?

could you also tell me which things to look at while buying the
ETX.Because the problem is I live in Bulgaria and the nearest Meade
dealer is near Atina which is about 1200 km from here I,m planing these
weeks to go to Greece and buy the ETX but I'm afraid not to buy a defect
telescope.I'll have one night in Greece to test the telescope so could
you please tell me what to look at when buying and on my first night

Which is better for a first telescope ETX 90 or 125 the only reason I
think about buying the 125 over the 90 is it has twice the light
collecting area

Why are the opinions on the 125 so different.Everyone agrees that the
optics are good but about everything else people seem to be or happy or
frustrated.Maybe it's all about what you expect from the telescope???

I wish you all the best

Tonie from Bulgaria
Mike here: There is a review of the 14mm UWA on the Accessories - Eyepieces page. There are some tips on the Buyer/New User Tips page that you should read. Also, see the one about buying a used scope; pointers there apply to new ones as well. As to filters, see the Accessories - Filters page. Which size telesope for you depends upon how you will use it. Extreme portability vs aperture. Opinions are like brains; most people have one. Experiences do vary and there are differences in scopes (just like cars and computers). If you don't read the car manual you will probably have some glitches or not use all its features to the fullest. Reading and understanding the manual is good practice. Applies to cars, wives (and husbands), computers, telescopes, and much more.

Subject:	Site
Sent:	Saturday, August 4, 2001 12:38:47
From:	Rabbitrv@aol.com
I would like to thank you for the great ETX page, I'm a new proud owner
of a ETX125EC but have not got my hands on it yet. Its coming from
Victoria sometime next week to me here in Perth Western Australia.

I'm learning as much as I can about this telescope before it gets here,
cant wait to get my Nikon EM and 500mm cat lens mounted, piggyback
style, should get some good pics...... :-)

Best Regards ....Steve Revell.

Subject:	ETX Spotting Scopes
Sent:	Friday, August 3, 2001 23:47:06
From:	nicnrick@mediaone.net (Nic, Natalie & Rick Happoldt)
I have heard than many people have taken their ETX OTAs off of the fork
mounts and mounting them GEMs and other mounts.  Now that Meade is
shipping both the ETX 90 and ETX 125 spotting scopes, I can't help but
wonder if there is a place for them on your site!  Perhaps a seperate
section that would talk about ownership experiences with these optics as
spotters, finders, guidescopes, and "quick look" instruments on photo

What do you think?


Subject:	First Light with Photography
Sent:	Friday, August 3, 2001 22:28:33
From:	DonMcClelland@webtv.net (Donald McClelland)
Wow!  Has this hobby taken on a new dimension.  Last week I bought a new
Nikon Coolpix 995 and just received the Scopetronix Digit-T adapter
today so I thought I'd take it out for a spin (pardon the pun). Boy was
it fun.  Took several pictures of Mars and one of the moon and then the
battery went out.  It's become clear that an AC adapter is definitely in
order.  I'll try to get one next week.  In the field I know I'll need at
least one if not two extra. With an AC/DC adapter I can charge one while
using the other.

Astrophotography has always been extremely intimidating but now with the
advent and advancement of digital cameras it's almost as easy as
pointing and shooting.  No doubt I have a hell of lot to learn but not
only am I not intimidated any more I'm now very excited about it. No
doubt your site was the major influence on this Mike and because of you
a new astrophotographer is born.

Clear Skies, Don

Subject:	CCD-ETX
Sent:	Friday, August 3, 2001 17:53:28
From:	salmanticae@eresmas.com (Carlos Cuervo)
Do you know how can I attach my Starlight Xpress CCD camera (MX5 Colour)
to the ETX 90 Meade? What kind of extension tube set I need?

Thanks for your answer.

Best regards

C. Cuervo
Mike here: I don't have one so can't say from experience but I suspect you will need something like the Shutan SCT Accessory Adapter. It is reviewed on the Accessories - Miscellaneous page.

Subject:	Getting Started page?
Sent:	Friday, August 3, 2001 10:51:52
From:	moazzam@ahmed.net (Moazzam Ahmed)
fabulous website! excellent information.

but I was wondering, is there a "Start Here" for newbies on your
website? I see lots of information but kind'a getting confused where I
should start as a newbie to view something other than the moon.

any suggestions?


Mike here: Start with the Buyer/New User Tips page.

Subject:	power supplies (surprise!)
Sent:	Thursday, August 2, 2001 20:49:40
From:	Jpmrph3@aol.com
I just made a power supply from a battery eliminator (wall wart) from
radio shack. My question is, if i leave it unplugged will i have to
input the info that i had to put down the first time i used it, such as
location and all that junk, everytime i use it. plus the max slew rate
seems to really move that little bugger around in a hurry! am I in
danger of frying things by using a 9 volt 800 Ma. power supply?

J.P. Murphy III
Redwood city, Ca.
Mike here: The Autostar remembers things when there is no power. My ETX-125EC does not have batteries installed and is only used with AC power. It is only plugged in when in use. As to the rest, see the various see the various power supply discusses on the Telescope Tech Tips page.

Sent:	Thursday, August 2, 2001 14:00:08
From:	eaa@peakpeak.com (Ed)
In Clay's response to "Stan's" question, Clay indicates that no further
RA motion is necessary. (See Clay's response below).

Step 6 directs to set the RA clamp, after setting the forks parallel to
the horizontal. Then in step 8, the OTA is set to Polaris with the DEC
to the proper latitude. This sets the OTA with the eyepiece upside down.

Step 9 then directs to MOVE ONLY the wedge/tripod for further
adjustment. What am I missing here, as the finder is not accessible.

Ed Auga

Subject:	Re: Clay's Kochab Clock
Sent:	Wednesday, March 28, 2001 16:57:07
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
if the telescope is pointed directly overhead (to set your latitude onto
the DEC circle) in polar position as shown, then when the DEC clamp is
released the top (lens end) of the scope is allowed to drop northward
only in DEC, the scope will end up pointing north with the eyepiece and
find upside down. No motion is necessary in RA if the forks are already
parallel to the ground.

Thanks and good skies!

Clay Sherrod
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Hi Ed - yes this is a confusing step and I get many questions about it. 
To put it very simply, you must, of course, rotate the scope back around
in RA to put the finder and eyepiece hold in the top position!  (I think
I just assumed every body would do that, because I knew to do it....but
at least I know they are listening and following the instructions!)

I appreciate the input....it really needs to be reworded and I will get
around to it shortly.

Thanks again -

Clay Sherrod
And more:
From: Ed (eaa@peakpeak.com)
I setup in polar last night, but have been using Alt/Az with the same
result. I say a degree or so, as I'm judging by the size of the moon in
the finder. If it was always in the same direction, I could find the
object, I think. But it's not, so I've not been able to find dim objects
without some degree of frustration.

The amount of error is different depending on the part of the sky I'm
going to.

I setup the system and offset to NCP (At least where I estimate NCP to
be!). I then selected "One star" align.

The AutoStar went to Polaris, then instructed me to "Move the wedge" and
not touch the arrow controls, and align to Polaris. I assume this is
contrary to your Kochab clock procedure??

Anyway, I did move the wedge, to align Polaris. After slewing all over
the sky, I set GOTO to Polaris. It did not come back to the original
setup position. So I suspect that you're right about the clutch

What is your "Super Charge" service backlog like? Thanks, ed.. 
Okay Ed, I see your problem.  Align using Kochab's Clock....ALWAYS use
the TWO STAR and scroll down to pick your own (not "easy") if possible. 
Two star zeros a lot of your alignment error (although it is still very
important to be level and as close to NCP as possible) and gives you
much more precise GO TO's.

There are those that argue in favor of one star, but I have found
considerably better accuracy after alignment with the TWO STAR whether
using EASY or the select-your-own mode.  The alignment error is what is
resulting in different degrees of offset from target vs. slew you are
seeing in different parts of the sky.

Good luck!

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	Thank You!
Sent:	Thursday, August 2, 2001 8:47:10
From:	Tbelia@usa.alcatel.com (Terry J. Belia)
On behalf of my 10 year old son and myself, I just wanted to drop a
quick line of thanks for the wonderful web-site.

Earlier this year, I purchased a Meade EX90RA. My son and I have both
enjoyed this scope very much. I'm not sure we would have had such an
easy time if not for the great information provided by you and your
readers. Whenever I need information about the scope or accessories,
your site is an easy place to go to get this information.

I even used your site to create an inexpensive carrying case using a
tool box and liner material that was provided on your site. Today, I
begin my search for lunar and other filters.

Thank you again,

Terry Belia

Mike here: Glad the Site has been helpful. I remember my experiences as a young kid with a telescope; I envy the newness and the excitement you and your son are now enjoying. Thanks.

Subject:	nebula/deep sky filters for ETX 90-EC
Sent:	Wednesday, August 1, 2001 17:15:02
From:	danielii65@yahoo.com (D T)
Do you think it is worth purchasing a nebula/deep sky filter for the ETX
90 EC?

If so which one?  (broadband or narrowband etc.)  Thanks in advance for
the info.

Mike here: See the reviews on the Accessories - Filters page.

Subject:	Digital Photography
Sent:	Wednesday, August 1, 2001 15:25:04
From:	DonMcClelland@webtv.net (Donald McClelland)
For a while now I've been mulling over the possibility of
astrophotography.  Normal CCD imaging seems prohibitively expensive for
deep sky so for starters I finally purchased a digital camera since I
needed a new one anyway.  I never used a digital camera before but I was
quite impressed (see Aug. issue of S & T) with the Coolpix.  There was
even a deep sky (M42) photo from a digital camera, though the scope was
much faster than the ETX's.  My question is this.  With the new Coolpix
995, with 60 second exposures with noise reduction possible, what am I
capable of doing with this camera?

Thanks for all your great work on the site!
Mike here: I just purchased a Coolpix 995 myself (it arrived on Monday). I haven't had time to even get it out of the box yet! But one of the things I'm planning to try is some many second exposures. I expect there will be some (to a lot of) "noise" in the image but maybe I'll be surprised.


That's great news.  Get ready for a myriad of features I can't even
begin to fathom.  One thing I found out from the camera store was there
is a small anomaly (a chip) in the control panel of some of the 995's.
On mine it is unobtrusive in one corner and it is under the glass so I
doubt that it would spread or grow.  The camera store clerk said it was
in the same spot in some of the camera's he's seen.  I hope I can glean
some information on what the camera can do from you in the future.  I'm
really excited about this.  By the way, what kind of photo processing
program do you plan to use, and will it be compatible with windows?

Thanks Mike and Clear Skies!  Don
Mike here: I'll look for the chip when I get the camera out of the box (this weekend?). I use Photoshop (Mac version; also available to Windows) for some image processing and the shareware GraphicConverter (Mac only) for most manipulations.

And more:

Photoshop huh?  There goes another $600+.
Is it true, that Amateur Astronomy is a "black hole in the sky that you
pour money into"?
But seriously if you know where I can get a good deal on it let me know.
Thanks Mike.
Mike here: There is a new, low-end Photoshop now from Adobe. I haven't checked into its features but it might do the job. I think some Windows users like Paintshop, which I think costs less than Photoshop.

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