Last updated: 31 August 2002
Subject: Thank you! Sent: Saturday, August 31, 2002 12:41:08 From: HacheyP@aol.com 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: email@example.com (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 base. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. Peter
Subject: erratic telescope operation Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2002 15:09:20 From: email@example.com 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 From: I_M_Happy@msn.com (GREGORY PETERSEN) 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 167)? 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. GregoryMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 resource. -Mike Grusin Anything, Anytime, Anywhere (by appointment) mailto:email@example.com http://www.dimensional.com/~mgrusin "Bugs is the person I wish I could be, and Daffy is the person I probably am" - Chuck Jones, 1912-2002Mike here: Retraining can solve a lot of problems.
Subject: etx 125 modifications Sent: Sunday, August 11, 2002 20:29:55 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. tomMike here: See the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: My ETX125-EC Sent: Saturday, August 10, 2002 16:14:58 From: email@example.com (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 bowed........ JohnMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 GrusinMike 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: email@example.com (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 provide.Our resident hardware expert responds:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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.... Clay ---------------------------------------- Dr. P. Clay Sherrod email@example.com Arkansas Sky Observatory www.arksky.orgAnd:
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 From: Rhpeltz@aol.com 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).
Check the Feedback Archives for previous editions of the ETX-125EC Feedback pages.
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