Last updated: 31 August 2002
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-125EC. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	Thank you!
Sent:	Saturday, August 31, 2002 12:41:08
I wanted to personnaly thank you!  Your site not only helped my decide
to purchase a Meade ETX125C but showed how I could determine if it had
the improved fork and gears!  I also wanted to let you know that I have
ordered a copy of your book!

Paul Hachey
Pierrefonds, Quebec

Subject:	ETX-125
Sent:	Tuesday, August 27, 2002 17:04:21
From: (steve gilberts)
I'm sorry to take so long with an update.  I finally received a new
model ETX-125 around mid June.  Between a busy work schedule and weather
(and west nile virus laden mosquitos!) I haven't really been able to
give it a thorough workout, but it seems to be sound.  The finder scope
that came with it was in a torn box and seems to not focus evenly across
the field of view, and for some reason the three rubber pads on the
bottom of the scope's base are not in the correct areas. They have a lot
of fuzz sticking out from under them as though they were dropped on the
factory floor a few times. When I use the support plate there is a gap
caused by the pads which I hope does not cause any stress to the plastic

This was the very best one that Scott Byrum could find for me and he did
say that he ran it through a weekend test.  Aside from the finder scope
and the pads it does seem to be in working order and it is the new
updated model that I was originally promised.  Because of the time and
complications involved with the exchange with the first one I'm more
than willing to overlook the quirks.

Thank you again for your wonderful site and all the info that you and
the fellow ETX owners provide.

Steve Gilberts

Subject:	tripod
Sent:	Thursday, August 15, 2002 6:03:40
From: (Peter van Camerijk)
Here again a message of a very proud and happy ETX 125 user!

After trying lots of changes of my #883 Tripod I now found an truly
great tripod!!! It is the tripod of the EQ-6 Sky-watcher equatorial
mount. Its is truly awesome! I bought it together with a Celestron wedge
and this combination was more than half the price of the heavy advanced
field tripod and wedge from Meade (sorry mr. Meade!!!).

I now have a super sturdy platform for my mighty ETX 125 and last night
it had its "first light". Unfortunately it was very damp and that caused
lots of scattered light form petrochemic arae in my neighbourhood. Still
I could easily look at M57. I always start there (don't ask me why!! I
think becaus it is so easy to find). And the sight was great AND no
jittering during focussing!!!!! This is really great: the wedge and
tripod are so stabil that nothing can shake the whole thing!!

I haven't used the combination with my autostar becaus I have to do a
motortraining with a laserpen (this can be don inside your house on a
quiet place in peace and quietness that you need to train properly).

Well that's it for so far.
See you and have a nice holiday.

Subject:	erratic telescope operation
Sent:	Tuesday, August 13, 2002 15:09:20
I thought that I would relate my experience regarding erratic operation
of my ETX 125 in hopes that it might benefit others. For the last couple
of years I have experienced occasional problems with erratic operation,
random slews, and runaways. I tried resetting & retraining,
recalibrating motors, upgrading software versions several times and
several different power sources ( both 12V and 110V converters ) all to
no avail. Recently the problems started occurring more often; so I
decided that before sending it in for repair I would remove the bottom,
since it was very easy to do. Following information found on your site
and being very careful with the battery compartment wires the bottom was
removed. Inside I found that one of the two electrical connectors
attached to the control panel ( the one nearer the center ) was pulled
loose and barely hanging on the end of the pins. I found that when I
pushed it back in place there was tension on the wires, so I rearranged
where they were wrapped around another set of wires to gain a little
slack so the connector would stay in place. It appears with the tension
on the connector wires and the flexing of the other set of wires due to
rotation of the telescope in right ascension that the connector was
gradually worked loose. Finally my problem is solved! It has worked
flawlessly for the last two months.
    Forrest  Lundberg

Subject:	Performance Enhance a New ETX
Sent:	Monday, August 12, 2002 14:48:42
I just got a new ETX-125 -- I opened up the fork to confirm it was metal
-- and it was also grease heaven inside!  Hence, I want to degrease it
and Performance Enhance it per pages 161 -170 of your book.

But, some of your e-mails sound like the new ETX-125 telescopes are a
little tricky to work on, at least with the base/right ascension/azimuth
clamp and drive.  Hence, can I consider doing the following?

1. Use duct tape to help lock the declination setting circle (STEP #1,
PAGE 166)?

2. Use inner tube patching to fix declination slop in the OTA support
arm that connects to the tube (step #3, pg 167)?

3.  Degrease and improve declination clamp and clutch (step #4, page

4.  Degrease and adjust right ascension/azimuth clutch clamp and drive
(page 168) -- this seems to be the step that I should ABSOLUTELY NOT
consider attempting?

Thank you for all your help and the great tips and advise in your book.

Mike here: Gee, you just got a new one and now you want to potentially ruin it? Are you sure you NEED to degrease it? If I were you I'd leave things alone until I knew absolutely positively without a doubt knew that something needed to be "fixed" and then I'd wait for the warranty to expire unless I were sure I knew what I was doing. My advice: send me the questions again after you've used the telescope a LOT, have broken it in (not broken it), and still think it needs improving.
Subject:	RE: Repair questions
Sent:	Monday, August 12, 2002 10:48:30
From: (Mike Grusin)
Thanks very much for the response and tips.  To make things more
complicated, I tried everything again last night and had better luck
with the Autostar (it put all of "tonight's best" at least on the edge
of the 26 eyepiece).  The only things I changed were training on Polaris
per one of your user's tips (my normal site is blocked to the north),
and cranking down -real hard- on the drive locks (I usually tighten them
as much as I would think prudent for a mechanism including plastic
parts, but the azimuth drive in particular often "sounds" inconsistent
like it's slipping or binding).  Oh, one other change, I was on
batteries; I'm usually on the Meade-supplied AC adapter.  I may check
that for voltage/current problems. I also had a bright meteor pass
through my FOV, which was pretty neat ;).

I'm still going to call Meade and see what they think.  I also looked at
the "tune up" page; if Meade thinks the scope does not have any repair
issues, I'll probably make use of that service.

Thanks again for your help!  And as always, thanks for the great

-Mike Grusin
Anything, Anytime, Anywhere (by appointment)
"Bugs is the person I wish I could be, and Daffy is the person I
probably am" - Chuck Jones, 1912-2002
Mike here: Retraining can solve a lot of problems.
Subject:	etx 125 modifications
Sent:	Sunday, August 11, 2002 20:29:55
From: (thomas)
i read on your site about a guy that modified these so that the internal
clutch doesnt slip as much.  Mine etx125 currently slips all the time
now and is seeming cheaper by the minute.  I have the advanced field
tripod and i thought that would help me get this bad boy running right
but i think it needs some upgrades/modifications.

Mike here: See the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	My ETX125-EC
Sent:	Saturday, August 10, 2002 16:14:58
From: (John Smith)
Where do I start?  The scope looked great as it came out of the box, a
really nice blue/purple colour, i thought "Yummy!!"

After a few hiccups like trying to get my lap top to run the scope
through the electronic controller (Duh!) and anoying the heck out of a
lot of nice people, I bought the 497 Auto star for it.  It WORKED!! As
if it wouldnt!!  I even managed to down load some other bits for it from
the Meade site.  I got the astro software Starry Night sorted out and
even sussed ACP with the help of same nice people.

Will the scope GOTO properly? NOPE!!   One time it told me that the sun
was BELOW the horizon, time: 15:00 Hrs UTC South coast UK!!!!!! 
Hmmmmmmmmm said I or something like that, it IS getting better at
GOTOing now.  The optics are great, focuser
is...ummm.......crap......tooooooooo loose, also there is a "bit" of
image shift when changing focus.

But I like the scope and will be using it, how I dont know yet, for
OSETI here in the South Coast UK, hopefully with the help of Stuart
Kingsley. I offer this, my humble report, on bended knee and head
Mike here: For starters, you may need to get the current version of ACP. There were problems with an old version. As to the focus knob, there are replacements and alternatives that can help. See the Telescope Tech Tips page and the Accessory Reviews --> Miscellaneous page. Or you can use a "clamping clothes pin".
Subject:	Repair questions
Sent:	Friday, August 9, 2002 22:52:20
From: (Mike Grusin)
Well, after a few disappointing sessions with my 125 / Autostar, I'm
thinking it's time to send it back to Meade for a checkup.  I just gave
it the latest firmware, and carefully calibrated the motors using the
tips on your site.  But it's still having a lot of trouble finding its
way around; for example, I can do the two-star easy align, and it says
successful, but then it immediately can't find it's way back to the
first star in the align! It seems to get the altitude right, but the
azimuth ends up about 20 degrees "clockwise" (looking down on the
instrument) in front of the star (this behavior is pretty consistent). 
I've always had variable luck with the Autostar; sometimes it worked
great, sometimes it didn't, and sometimes it just seemed possessed
(randomly jumping to full slew for a few seconds, etc.)  The latest
firmware seems better-behaved, but it feels to me like an encoder in the
telescope may be going bad, etc.

My question is, does this sound like a common/fixable problem, or does
sending it back to Meade sound like the right thing to do?  Has Meade
been effective at fixing such problems?  Or are there other repair
places I should consider?  Is there a page on your site with repair
horror / success stories?

I'll note that my scope is WAY out of warranty; it was one of the first
ones off the assembly line (I preordered it way back when).

Thanks for any advice! -Mike Grusin
Mike here: There was a problem on some of the initial ETX-125EC telescopes that caused a random slew. I experienced it myself. See the last entry on the Announcements --> Meade page. As to Autostar misbehavior, it can be caused by many things: low batteries, bad connections, dirty encoders, or just a bad TRAIN DRIVES. If the last one, retraining the drives will help. In fact, it is required following the firmware update. If you want to have the telescope "tuned-up", see the ETX Tune-up Service on the ETX Site home page.
Subject:	RA pieces
Sent:	Friday, August 9, 2002 15:21:16
From: (Patrick McGeehan)
Hi Mike--Excellent site--and I admire your saintly patience.

I noticed a rattling from inside my quirky two-year-old etx 125's RA
arm, and when I looked, found a number of small plastic shavings
distributed un-intelligently within. I couldn't figure out where they'd
come from, so removed the motor (surprised at a design of only two
screws retaining what is motor, bearing, and circuit board) and found
the lower of the two mounting screws offered no resistance when I took
it out. The obvious answer is that the screw stripped, and that's where
the plastic bits came from, but the pieces literally add up to too much
for that to have been the case. And my hunch on the stripped screw is
that the local screw-driver terror assembled my scope, and that explains
the scopes life-long erratic behavior. (It's worked as advertised on
about five occasions.) And yes, the hard-stops are intact, and fine.

My question is, do you think it would be advisable to snip up some of
the junk plastic, and put it, along with a drop of plastic cement
(modeling glue) into the base of the stripped drive motor mount post, so
that the lower screw would then have some "purchase?" As it is now, the
drive motor rocks slightly about its one good screw, and I'm sure it
will torque itself loose on the one night there's both good seeing and
my scope actually goes to, and not towards something.

Thank you, Mike, not just for the answer to my question, but for the
outstanding body of information you and your fellow Star Chieftains
Our resident hardware expert responds:
From: (Clay Sherrod)
I assume that the stripped worm bracket is in the declination axis, but
you don't specify.  Do NOT use glue as this will not hold it; the
problem you have is very common unfortunately and is one reason that
many user overtighten the lock and ultimately strip the DEC lock out.

I would suggest getting three 6-32 x 1/2" stainless bolts and running
those through the existing holes of the mounting bracket....there are
three of them and you should replace all.  Go in from the inside of the
fork arm with the slotted side next to the gear and the other end of the
small bolts protruding under the DEC fake setting circle...put the nuts
firmly, but not too tight, to pull the bolt and bracket in completely
and put a drop of Locktite on the nut/bolt exposed end. This should
still allow enough space for proper rotation of the setting
circle....just in case, always rub some good lithium or similar grease
on that exposed nut to prevent friction from the aluminum circle.

Good luck....

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Thank you Dr. Clay:
You're absolutely right, the strip is in the declination axis, which I
sloppily called RA. (I'll have to clean up my act--I'm a binocular user
and hop inexactly. I bought the scope for less serendipitous gazing.)
The fault though is not in the worm gear bracket itself, but in one of
the two posts for the motor that drives that gear. I think a variation
of your suggested fix will work there, too.

Again, thanks very much to you, and Mike.
     Patrick McGeehan.

Subject:	ETX-125EC
Sent:	Saturday, August 3, 2002 12:06:43
What is the best you can do on this. This is for a gift and I do not
know much about telescopes.
Mike here: Depends upon what you mean by "best" and what your expectations are. Look through the User Observations page as well as the Feedback pages (see the Archives).

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