Last updated: 31 August 2002
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT. Additional information on these models is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX 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:	Tuesday, August 27, 2002 10:37:31
From: (Jodie Nikel)
I would just like to thank yourself and the people who helped me to get
my ETX70 working. After many suggestions the problem was sorted and I
can now look forward to some spectacular viewing. Many thanks to all
those people!!

If any of those people would like to contact me again I would love to
hear from them. Unfortunately (with exception of Richard Seymoor) I lost
their emails and addresses when I had a hard disk failure last week,
which is why have not returned to their mail. Love to hear from them

Jodie Nikel
Leicester, England

Subject:	Finally got to see Saturn and Jupiter.
Sent:	Friday, August 23, 2002 10:50:29
From: (William Hernandez)
I had recently written to you about how I've been trying to see Saturn
and Jupiter, but when I tried to view them that they looked like stars.
Well a friend of mine showed me the planets earlier in the week and I
got excited about how neat it was to finally see them through his
telescope.  This morning when I got off from work, I set up my ETX 70
scope and with a little help from him I was finally able to see Saturn.
I used my 9mm eyepiece along with my 2x Barlow lens I could see Saturn.
It looked small in my scope, but I could actually see the rings.  There
wasn't much detail in color or the difference in color of the rings, but
the overall view of the planet structure was visible.  I think I saw one
of Saturn's satellites, but I wasn't too sure of it.  As I was getting a
little lesson on where and how to find Saturn, Jupiter was arising from
the horizon.  I pointed my scope towards Jupiter and sure enough it was
it.  Jupiter looked a little bit bigger than Saturn, but a whole lot of
detail was not visible.  I couldn't see the lines, or the big red spot
of the planet, but I did see at least three of Jupiter's moons.  It was
hard to tell, but I thought I saw a fourth moon.  I guess the way I
could tell if these were the moons was that they were all in a straight
line.  Now that I've seen them, I'm really looking forward to seeing the
planets again.

As my friend was showing me how to find them, I notice that these two
planets look like stars but without the flickering/twinkling of a star.
He told me that its one of the ways to tell if it's a planet or not.  Is
this true?

Would you recommend getting a higher power eyepiece and what power or
kind of lens should I try to get with my telescope so I could continue
viewing the planets?
Mike here: Congrats! Keep in mind that what you see is affected by the "seeing" at your observing location as well as the type and quality of the optics. What you describe sounds just right for the ETX-70AT. As to Jupiter's Great Red Spot, it currently isn't so red (more like pale pink) and very hard to see even with larger telescopes. And since the planet rotates, it might not have even been visible. When adding eyepieces, keep in mind the formulae for magnification and maximum magnification (see the FAQ page if you don't know these). You'll see that the ETX-70AT is limited in how much you increase the magnification. When viewed with the naked eye, stars do "twinkle", especially when near the horizon, and the brighter planets typically don't (although they can if the seeing is bad). The reason for the difference is that stars are really "point sources of light" (due to their extreme distance) whereas planets have disks (small though the disk may be).

Subject:	ETX 70 troubles
Sent:	Wednesday, August 21, 2002 14:06:25
From: (Frank X Bezak)
I am having some trouble with my ETX 70
I have yet to view the rings of Saturn or a clear picture of Jupiter.

I have a 25mm lens and 9mm lens and a 3x Barlow lens

I really don't understand what im doing wrong.  I find Jupiter with my
25mm then switch to my 9mm.  after getting a decent shot with my 9mm I
put the 3x Barlow in with my 9mm lens

All I see is a blur of light even after I try to focus it.
Any help would be much appreciated.

Frank X Bezak
Mike here: Two thoughts: If you don't have the 3X Barlow Lens designed for the ETX-70AT, you may not be able to reach a focus. Or your expectations may not match the performance, since at 116X you are getting close to the theoretical maximum magnification (140X) for the ETX-70AT. As you get closer to the max magnification, image quality deteriorates.


Do you have any suggestions? 

I know the ETX 70 is a smaller scope and may not be designed for such
things, but in your opinion, what do you think may be my best solution
for getting a decent glimpse of Saturn or Jupiter.
Mike here: Depending upon your expectations, the 9mm eyepiece with or without a 2X Barlow Lens can give good views. Several people have commented that they get good views with a proper 3X Barlow Lens.

And more:

I appreciate all your help Mike.  One last question... How do I know if
my 3x Barlow is correct for my ETX-70.

This is the best pic I could find of it
Mike here: Since I'm traveling I don't have access to my ETX-70AT manual but I think there is a Meade catalog number for the proper one as described in the manual (or perhaps it was the Meade catalog).

Subject:	ETX-70 and 497 Autostar
Sent:	Tuesday, August 20, 2002 21:10:24
From: (Joe)
I have tried to get the combination to work.  I have the 22e version of
software and it does list the etx-70.  I reset the autostar and trained
the drives but when I try for an alignment it goes about an 1/8th of a
turn and says "motor unit fault".  

It does work with the 494.

Any suggestions?  Thanks Joe
Mike here: Check the "cord wrap" setting (should be OFF but try it both ways). If you have the #505 cable upgrade the Autostar to the current version from Meade's site.

And an update:

It turned out to be the Alt and Az Pct.  My 494 was set at 25%.  When I
set my 497 to 25 %, viola, it works perfectly.  I want to thank Rafael
for his post and you for the site.

Subject:	#494 Autostar software upgrade?
Sent:	Tuesday, August 20, 2002 05:27:34
From: (Grzegorz Wrochna)
first off all I would like to thank you for maintainig the excellent
site with so much useful information on ETX. I heave learned a lot from
it, but one thing is still not clear to me.

I have bought ETX-70 in Germany. Unfortunately I do not speak German and
I would like to reprogram #494 Autostar with an English version of the
software. Where can I find the software? Is it possible at all? I have
found contradictory information in Meade documents. In several places
there are indications that it is possible:
" ... with the optional #506 AstroFinder Software and Cable Connector
Kit. Using the RS-232 interface, new or revised software may be
downloaded ..."

Autostar Update 3.5 Help
Operating Instructions - #506 AstroFinder Software and Cable Connector
Kit "Download a new version of the #494 Autostar software ..."

How To Use The Safe-Loader To Restore A Damaged Handbox
"For a #494, #495 or #497 Autostar, simultaneously hold down the "ENTER"
and the Scroll Down key ..."

In one place, however, the information is different:

Autostar Update 3.5 Help
How To Upgrade Your Handbox To A Different Revision Of The Software
"There is currently no means for upgrading the software in a #494
Autostar Handbox"

I would be grateful for an explanation.

  Best regards
    Grzegorz Wrochna
Mike here: Currently there is no update available for the #494. But if there ever is, the #506 cable would be required.

Subject:	ETX 70 Question
Sent:	Saturday, August 17, 2002 10:01:21
From: (Chris Conerby)
I stumbled across your website and have a question for you if you would
be so kind.

I've recently went to use my ETX70 and for some reason I can't seem to
lock it in place vertically.  What I mean by this is the optical tube
can't be locked in place it just swings downward.  Any ideas on what can
be wrong??


Mike here: It sounds like the Right Tube Adapter (RTA) has failed. See this page: for how it was replaced on the ETX-90EC model. I'm not certain if the steps would be the same. Contact Meade for a replacement of the RTA.
Subject:	ETX70AT
Sent:	Saturday, August 17, 2002 9:57:52
From: (kieran OHagan)
I love your website...took a little while before I finally found a site
dedicated to these wonderful scopes. I am curious...right now, I have
the standard eyepieces, as well as a 5mm Plossl eyepiece with the 2x
Barlow and 3x Barlow. What I would like to know it whether it would be
worth it to invest in a couple of the Series 4000 Super Plossl eyepieces
for this scope. Thanks again for a great site!

Kieran J. O'Hagan
Senior Court Officer/AEMT-II
"The World will end before We Ever Forget."
Mike here: Given the small aperture and short focal length of the ETX-70AT, the enhanced optical quality of the Series 4000 would likely yield limited improvement vs the cost, except when used in place of a Barlow Lens combined with another eyepiece.
Subject:	re: etx-60at, dated 8/14/02
Sent:	Thursday, August 15, 2002 14:51:30
From: (Michael)
I read the email from, and was amazed!  Granted, the
manual overlooks a few available functions (that I have since learned of
on your wonderful website), but I've been enjoying my ETX-70 from the
first night with no problems understanding how it works.

As for a couple of his specific problems (pardon the gender-biased

1) the manual spells out exactly how to change the country, the index
referred to is built into the Autostar database and starts with

2) the "Enter" and "Mode" keys do exactly that - you change the mode
with the "Mode" and scroll keys, then select an item with "Enter". 
Guess what the "GoTo" key does!

I suppose two sets of "up and down" keys does make it a bit confusing at
first, particularly since you can use either pair for some of the
"Setup" and "Utilities" functions, but where I come from I would never
hit the "Up" arrow to scroll "Down" through a list.  The built-in
Autostar database has a very simple logical structure that is outlined
pretty clearly in the manual, and it always reads from top to bottom.

With all due respect to all this person's suffixes, people like me, with
my lowly "AA", usually start by looking at the pictures. (The pictures
and diagrams of the scope and Autostar on the first pages of the manual
tell you which button is which).

I wish you better luck and less frustration, and hope you can start
enjoying the wonders we all share soon.


Subject:	ETX70-EC Finderscope
Sent:	Thursday, August 15, 2002 13:24:45
From: (Anton, Gus S.)
I have been reading reviews of many finderscopes for ETX's. But I have
read that there should be some type of mounting bracket on the scope
tube. What type of mounting brackets are available to mount
finderscopes? I have read that some amateur astronomers have used rifle
or shot gun finderscopes. Will regular mounting brackets work?


Gus Anton
Mike here: There are brackets available from some dealers. You can also use strong double-side tape and plastic wiring bundle straps. You probably don't want be drilling into the telescope so pick your solution carefully.
Subject:	ETX90 or ETX70
Sent:	Thursday, August 15, 2002 8:08:41
From: (Asad Qayyum)
I currently own an ETX70 and have the option to upgrade to an ETX90EC.
The question that's been eatng me up is whether it is worth the price
difference to upgrade. Would the difference in planetary viewing be
SUFFICIENT enough to justify the upgrade?

Your personal experience and choice would be much appreciated.

Mike here: See my comments on the ETX-70AT, linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page. If you consider the focal length difference, you can get a feel for the difference in the view. Of course, the maximum theoretical magnification is not that much different between the two telescopes. Whether the cost difference matches your expectations, only you can say.
Subject:	etx-60at
Sent:	Wednesday, August 14, 2002 13:36:25
I just bought a 60at from someone who hadn't even installed the
batteries. After trying to follow the manual last night, I understood
why.  The telescope is very elegant but the manual and user interface
are TERRIBLE. I don't have much experience with astronomy but I do have
an MIT BS and a PHD so one might think I shouldn't have too much
trouble.  WRONG.

I made a mistake setting the country (it didn't say you could hold down
the key to make it go fast or interrupt the unreadable warning message.
(any way to get it to scroll slower?)  The scope started slewing
(turning, I later discovered);  pressing a key should stop it; it
didn't. There must be a way in reset the country; I had Afghanistan.
look in the index. WHAT index.

The console keys say enter and mode but these are unrelated to what they
usually do.  Then there are arrow keys; which to use for which?  no
labels.  What about help? that's the speed button.  You want to go from
A to Z; which arrow do you use? Up, of course.  Wrong again.


They could have used a good technical writer and industrial

All I really wanted to do was look at a few stars and planets but maybe
I'll get hooked.  thanks
Mike here: It has been noted before that the manuals take some study and then a (long) visit to the ETX Site for more info. To answer your specific questions: The up/down arrow keys at the bottom of the Autostar control the text scrolling speed. And you can change the country from the Setup-->Site menu.


thanks;  I talked to Meade and the guy said that he has never had any

Subject:	Troubleshooting ETX-70AT Alt/Az Home Position Alignment 
Sent:	Monday, August 12, 2002 18:56:23
From: (Fernando de la Flor)
I recently purchased a Meade ETX-70AT with the #494 Autostar. I live in
the southern hemisphere in Lima, Peru.  I find it easier to align the
scope with the Easy Align routine. That is leveling the scope and
pointing it north with a small compass.  After setting the Home Position
and pressing Enter, Autostar takes you in automatic to a couple of
bright stars.  After reaching each bright star, one must press Enter
signaling the scope that the alignment object has been found.  The
problem is that in this last step, the servomotor continues to run
(making small adjustments) for over three minutes - even after reaching
the object.

Is this normal? And if not, what can I do to correct it?

I would appreciate any help I can get.


Fernando de la Flor
Lima, Peru.

P.S. Another problem is that for some objects the scope seems to take
the longest path both in Alt and AZ.
Mike here: The path the Autostar uses is no cause for concern. If I understand the problem correctly, the telescope continues to slew around after the BEEP while waiting for you to press ENTER to confirm the star is centered. That is not normal. I suggest doing a RESET for starters; that may clear out any corrupted memory locations in the Autostar.
Subject:	re:  focus knob stuck
Sent:	Sunday, August 11, 2002 23:36:05
From: (Richard Seymour)
If you call Meade's 800- number, they may walk you through the repair
procedure over the phone... have the scope and wrenches ready when you

good luck

Subject:	Troubleshooting a Computer-Telescope Connection (ETX-70AT with a #506)
Sent:	Sunday, August 11, 2002 15:20:01
From: (Fernando de la Flor)
I recently purchased a Meade ETX-70AT with the #494 Autostar.  I also
bought the #506 connector.  This last came with a bundled version of
Starry Night (2.1) and a copy of  ACP (1.2).  I run an IBM ThinkPad with
a com port. Individually all hardware and software runs OK. 
Unfortunately I cannot get a connection established between the computer
and the Telescope. I have tried every trick in my arsenal without luck.

I would appreciate any help I can get.


Fernando de la Flor
Lima, Peru.
Mike here: For starters, you may need to update the ACP (link on the Astronomy Links page). At the very least, check the info on their web page. Beyond that, be certain there are no other applications using the serial port, like fax software.
Subject:	focus knob stuck
Sent:	Friday, August 9, 2002 20:39:53
From: (Steve Brumley)

My telescope just fell over and hit the ground (the  tripod was not
level, I couldn't see in the dark). It looks ok but the focus knob is
stuck and the insides are probably scrambled. It  is an ETX 70AT. I did
try adjusting the knob with the hex wrench.

Do you know where I can get it repaired/ idea of cost? Or is there
anything I can try? My dad wants to monkey around on it but I told him

I would appreciate any advice, I am sick! 
Thank you very much, Amanda
Mike here: If the knob was pushed into the scope I suspect the focus shaft was pushed into the objective cell or perhaps was even bent.

From our resident hardware expert:

From: (Clay Sherrod)
Hmmm.  Depends on where it hit on the scope as to what could be wrong. 
I strongly suspect that it is a bit more complicated than just the focus
rod becoming "stuck."  Rather, I believe that Amanda is a bit psychic in
that the "insides are scrambled" and the focus sled is locked up from a

It would be worth a look inside.....carefully.  Remove the blue tube by
unscrewing it from the rear cell while keeping the scope mounted in
place in the fork will come right out.  At that point the
mirror is exposed in the cell (be sure to not touch it on its from
surface and always do this in a very clean room with no fan nor air
conditioning blowing), and you can attempt to move it by hand by
grabbing opposite edges and gently pulling while turning the focus knob
counterclockwise.  This should release the jam.  If not, then I would
look UNDER the mirror if possible and note where the rod connects to the
pin of the mirror cell and see if it is bent. If so, then it likely will
have to be sent to Meade for repair.

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Mike here: Clay, she has the ETX-70 refractor. It sounds like you thought she has an ETX-90.
Oh....well that WILL make a huge difference, but it still is important
to know where the scope landed and took the hit...if on the back end,
the you are certainly right on this Mike.....bent shaft OR the shaft is
jammed against the threaded portion of the rear cell, is the most likely
problem and not easily remedied.  It would certainly be worth having her
father go ahead and take a look inside to see if it can be dislodged or
straightened; I suspect the problem will be quite obvious once opening
it up.

Could you please tell me which screws? The 4 on the back? My dad is a
good guy but I know he will unscrew every single one he can find.

The scope fell straight forward. Fortunately, the tube was pointing up
or it would have landed on the lens. It was focused for the 9mm
eyepiece. I don't think the knob got pushed into the scope because it is
sticking out 3/8'' now. I shined a flashlight down the front and the rod
(looks like a big bolt) does not seem bent. The end of it is not
touching anything. I couldn't get a picture of this.

You are such nice people to be helping me like this, hopefully I won't
bother you too much more!
thanks, amanda
I would begin by taking the tube assembly off the fork arms and not
removing ANY screws, particularly the four on the back cell (I am not
sure which four you are referring to if not those....however if you are
talking about the two on each side which mounts the OTA to the fork
arms, that is a good place to start!  Once off, the tube must be taken
off the rear cell to gain access to the inside of the tube assembly.

Good luck!


Subject:	Planets look like stars
Sent:	Tuesday, August 6, 2002 10:50:10
From: (William Hernandez)
I have a ETX 70 scope and it came with the standard eye pieces, and I
recently got a 2x Barlow lens.  This morning I woke up and got my scope
to look at Saturn.  If I pointed to the right spot, I thought I would be
able to see the planet.  All I saw was a star or looked like a star.
Even with the Barlow lens, it stilled look like a star.  My question is
this, with this scope will all planets look like stars or would you
actually see them like it is guaranteed on the package?  I saw Venus, at
first it looked like a star, but then I noticed a half circle shape
(like the moon).  I'm still a little confused and skeptical.
Mike here: The ETX-70AT can be used to view planets but they are small. You can see the Rings of Saturn and cloud bands on Jupiter (as well as four of its moons). For more on what can be seen with the ETX-70AT, see my comments linked from the top of the "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT Feedback" page. You can also read through the various archives. And see the User Observations page as well.
Subject:	re:  Fw: #494 - ETX 70
Sent:	Saturday, August 3, 2002 21:48:19
From: (Richard Seymour)
I have an ETX70  (and an ETX90/ec and an LX200gps)

I have a (well, two) 497 Autostar

They work very well together.  All versions of firmware
 since the ETX70 was introduced.  497's and ETX70's work.

The 494 from the ETX70 will not work on an ETX90.

But (as Meade's support page also shows) the 497 Autostar
will operate -every- DS- and ETX- family telescope (except
the ETX90/RA, which has no computer control)

have fun

Subject:	2x speed actually 1x on ETX-70
Sent:	Saturday, August 3, 2002 19:03:54
From: (Jean-Charles Cuillandre)
First I have to congratulate you for the extensive effort of putting
together the web site.

I have a question regarding the slewing speed and I could not find an
answer neither on your web site or the documentation, maybe you'll know
about it:

The 2x speed is actually a 1x speed on my ETX70. I kept the button
pressed for 2 hours with a clip to be sure while having the SPEED
clearly set to 2x and sure enough the rate was the sideral rate. Did I
miss something about the setup of that wonderful little device?

Another question, does software control through the unit 506 allows to
pick intermediate speeds between 1x and 8x?

	Best regards,
				Jean-Charles Cuillandre.
Mike here: Are you saying the 2X speed is not twice the 1X speed? As to software control, that will depend upon the software and what commands it sends to the Autostar.


Yes, SPEED set to 2X, but it runs at 1X. One has to be patient to notice
it but after 30mn it is very clear by measuring the number of steps on
the indexed circle. Looks like you've never heard of this, have you
actually tested the accuracy of these speeds (like here it is off by a
factor of 2) - I haven't checked the other ones? 

I'll use Linux will fully controlled sequences, can this do the trick to achieve any speed?

Mike here: I just checked my ETX-70AT and there is no 1X slewing speed. At 2X it sounds like it is moving (foggy tonight so can't easily check it). As I increase the speed (actually decrease going through the settings) the sound and movement changes. I tried this in altitude. As to Linux, again it depends upon the software; the commands are sent from the application to the Autostar.
Subject:	Fw: #494 - ETX
Sent:	Friday, August 2, 2002 1:43:15
From: (Chris Sorensen)
CC: (Home (Wanadoo))
I just got an email from the store where I bought my ETX-70. They say
that I can't connect the #497 handbox on it. You told me I could. So, I
would really like to make sure it's possible before buying one. I also
sent an email at MEADE, but still haven't got an answer.

Please advise. Thanks alot.
Take care,


Mike here: See the Meade Autostar Update web page for Meade's answer.
Subject:	Spain again
Sent:	Thursday, August 1, 2002 11:25:46
From: (Turalsur)
When the susnset i see Venus(very small but sphere), Great, and continue
with a guided tour i see some stars and was easy to align this time.
(Vega and other stars) and the moon sees very fine.

The only question is when i look for a Galaxy (guided tour) i dont see
anithing, but im at my backyard, i live aoutside Seville but i think the
reason could be the light, is correcly to think i need a darker place to

im reding all i find there is a lot but im a luttle confused aboud the
eyepieces, to locate the  25mm, to magnify the 9mm and the telenegative
is this right, what extra eyepiece for my etx-70 do you recomend me.

Thanks a lot i continue  learning about this great word.

Mike here: Congrats on viewing Venus. Galaxies (and many nebulae) are mostly very small and very faint and difficult to see in any small telescope. You'll need a very dark site and well dark-adapted eyes. And then all you'll likely "see" (or think you see) is a small faint gray "smudge". As to eyepieces, the 25mm and 9mm plus the 2X Barlow Lens makes a fine starter set. Get used to using the telescope first.

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