GENERAL FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 14 October
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: As you have probably noticed there is a new search engine on the Home Page. I am trying out AlltheWeb. They have indexed over 1,000 pages from the ETX Site. Updates to their indexing may be delayed by a few days (or up to about a month) but it will provide a very complete search of the ETX Site. Please give me your feedback as you use this new search capability. Thanks.


Subject:	ETX-125EC Aux port information
Sent:	Saturday, August 31, 2002 15:53:25
From:	dholloway@cfl.rr.com (Darrell Holloway)
I am trying to determine what the technical specifications are for the
aux ports on the control panel on the ETX-125 in hopes of possibly
developing my own uses.  Has anyone found this sort of information via
Meade or otherwise know what the pin assignments are?

Any and all information greatly appreciated.  Thanks

Darrell Holloway

Subject:	Questions about Coronado Halpha filters
Sent:	Saturday, August 31, 2002 12:23:34
From:	denisjoye@hotmail.com (Denis JOYE)
I would like to equip my ETX-90EC with a narrow band Halpha filter.

I ask some questions directly to Coronado info center, but they
redirected me to their french distributor.

This french distributor told me that a combination of ASM40 and BF10
would be the best choice for my ETX90. Nevertheless, this combination
need a specific adapter for ETX-90 which is not available as a product.

Can you tell me if this adapter exists ? Have you ever heard of ETX90
users having equiped their instrument with such a filter ?

Best regards
Denis  JOYE - FRANCE
Mike here: Coronado does has an adapter for the ETX-90.

Subject:	Eyepieces
Sent:	Saturday, August 31, 2002 06:16:38
From:	vidap@sbcglobal.net
I just bought a 90ETX.  As you know it came with the standard 26mm
eyepiece and a 2X Barlow. I would like to get one additional eyepiece of
stronger magnification.  Which power eyepiece would you recommend if you
were going to get only one?
Love your website, incredibly helpful.
Thanks,
Barry in Texas
Mike here: See the Buyer/New User Tips and Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces pages for some ideas.

Subject:	Sonfest
Sent:	Thursday, August 29, 2002 21:27:18
From:	eregouf@hotmail.com (Dr. Paul Fougere)
You run a wonderful  web site.  I have  also bought your very helpful
book "Using The Meade ETX."  In this book, you mention the SAC imaging
people.  I have been trying to reach some live body at their site, but
it seems to be very difficult!  I have written many emails and a letter.
They responded to the letter about six weeks ago , but I have been
unable to reach them since.  Have you any idea how I can get through to
W. Snyder or any other person belonging to SAC imaging?

Thanks for your help.

Paul F. Fougère
Bedford MA

Subject:	Solar observing
Sent:	Thursday, August 29, 2002 11:27:53
From:	malco@ix.netcom.com (Mal Speer)
I am purchasing a Coronado Solar Max 40 for the ETX 105. Is there an
easy way to get the ETX to point at the sun?

Mal Speer
Mike here: See the Autostar Information page for the "Adding the Sun" article. Or you can make a "Sun Pointer" as described on the Telescope Tech Tips page.

Subject:	Feedback on Dr Sherrod's ETX tune up Service
Sent:	Thursday, August 29, 2002 06:30:25
From:	PCarr@uk.imshealth.com
After many years of serious interest in astronomy and wanting a
telescope the summer conjunction of the planets finally pushed me over
the edge and I decided to get one. Looked at some adverts, liked the
ETX-125EC, mentioned it to a friend who told me about your site. Great I
thought just what I need. Straight to the ETX-125EC feedback pages and
oh dear, what a lot of doom and gloom! Looked around the site some more
and found all the information on the tune up, so now we have doom and
gloom plus really scary stuff!

At this point I decided to mail Dr Sherrod to ask if the tune up really
was necessary, he said if you want it to work...

So I bit the bullet, got approval from the financial controller (AKA the
wife) and ordered an ETX-125EC UHTC plus a bunch of goodies to be sent
straight to Dr Sherrod. Well the first time it arrived the hard stops
were a little out only allowing an EIGHT DEGREE rotation in AZ. OK, so
you would become really familiar with a small strip of sky but not quite
what was required. Back it went for fixing. The second time it arrived
with only the usual Meade faults, binding gears, misplaced baffles,
badly mating clutches and so on so the supercharge went ahead including
fitting the electric focuser and the scope made it's way to me about a
week ago. Last night was the first time the clouds parted sufficiently
for a really good session and it was brilliant! Saturn in all it's
glory, spot on gotos, great focusing, and the whole sky to play with!

The only slight problem is that I now have a telescope that will happily
point straight to thousands of objects and I am familiar with about 10
of them. This is a problem I am really looking forward to dealing with.

So to the main point of this mail which is to extend my very great
thanks to Dr Sherrod for all his help, advice and especially for the
tune up service which judging by some of the mails you receive has saved
me a great deal of worry and effort in getting the scope to perform
correctly. As the service includes measuring the optical performance of
the scope under lab conditions it is really reassuring to know that
everything is working fine and is put together properly. So anything I
can't do now is probably my fault.

Once again great thanks to Dr Sherrod for his tune up service and I
would recommend it to anyone.

Thanks for a great site,

Pete Carr. 

Subject:	8-24mm zoom lens question: can it be opened?
Sent:	Wednesday, August 28, 2002 20:17:02
From:	reds@chicagonet.net (Carl J. Elitz)
Recently, I was careful to bring my ETX inside to avoid an impending
downpour, but mistakenly left my eyepieces outside and exposed. Both the
8-24mm zoom eyepiece and 26mm eyepiece were particularly soaked. When I
brought them inside the next day, I noticed that each had fogged up
inside. I was worried, but hoped the moisture would eventually
evaporate. Unfortunately, when it did there were watermarks left on both
eyepieces, on the inside. By far, the worst were on the zoom eyepiece
which also seemed to have tiny black spots inside each water spot, like
amoebas with a tiny black speck inside each. I assume some of the grease
from the mechanics were carried onto one or more of the lenses.

After calling Meade and confirming that they would not honor the
warranty on this type of damage, or agree to take the eyepiece back for
cleaning, I figured I had nothing to lose by trying to repair the damage
myself.

The 26mm eyepiece was an easy, albeit stressful, fix. I carefully opened
it by unscrewing the tube, removed the pair of lenses inside, sprayed a
solution of alcohol and distilled water on each of them, allowed them to
thoroughly dry and then reassembled the eyepiece tube. The eyepiece came
out working well and seems fine.

The zoom eyepiece is a tougher problem. I cannot figure out how it can
be opened without doing damage to the tube and/or the outer lens.  As
best I can tell, the outer lens is glued onto the tube, but the glue (if
it is glue)is rock solid, and I see nothing to suggest that it can be
pried off. Do you have any ideas? This was a $225 purchase, so it is
very frustrating.

Thank you.

Carl Elitz

Subject:	ETX90-EC vs 6" SCHMIDT NEWTONIAN LXD55
Sent:	Wednesday, August 28, 2002 09:54:45
From:	edelmann@hcst.net (Edelmann)
Just a fairly simple question here.  I have the opportunity to acquire
either an ETX 90 (at $545) or an 6" reflector LXD55 at $674. Obviously,
with it's case, etc., the ETX line appears much more portable.  However,
isn't it safe to assume that you're getting SOMETHING for the extra $130
or so???

In the simplest of terms, that's the question.... I don't see being able
to get the ETX105 or 125, so the difference is only between the 90 and
LXD55 6"...

thanks greatly,

john.
Mike here: You'll certainly trade portability for aperture. So perhaps that where you need to decide upon your priorities. Plus, the LXD models come with the Autostar standard; it is optional on the ETX-EC models.

And:

Thank you sir.... I guess the only other issue would be that (if I
stretch the budget a bit) the 5" Achromatic LXD55  might also be an
option... though it's another $106...

All things being equal, (ie., not worried about portability, etc.) and
given that I'm not too worried about photography at this point most
likely (thus the lower f ratio isn't quite so critical) is it safe to
say that the resolution and color and clarity would be greater with the
refractor (5") vs the 6" reflector, or would it be a toss up... (with
the added benefit that were I to do astrophotography, that the faster
reflector would be better?

Thanks...

john.
Mike here: Unless you get a high-end refractor you may see "color fringing" around objects, whereas with reflectors you typically don't see that. For the same aperture, quality refractors usually cost a lot more than quality reflectors. As to photography, faster can be better, especially for faint or extended objects.

Subject:	Tripod for my ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, August 27, 2002 21:08:40
From:	narmstrongca@yahoo.ca (Neil A.)
Here is yet another tripod for the mighty ETX. It is way better than the
standard #882 tripod. It is a little wobbly, any ideas on how to
reinforce it?
tripod
Mike here: You could hand some weight across the crossbars. If the legs are hollow, you could add sand or other filler inside them.

Subject:	Saw your website....
Sent:	Tuesday, August 27, 2002 11:31:02
From:	amy.lanigan@hp.com (Lanigan, Amy)
I'm sure you get tons of e-mails but I was hoping that you could take a
few moments to help me out.  I'm researching purchasing a telescope for
my boyfriend.  We travel quite a bit to ME, so portable is best.  It
would be used completely by adults, who are familiar with compass
navigation etc.  That said could you help me figure one that would be
best for a beginner.  I do want something motorized, we have a laptop
that we plan to dedicate for use with the telescope.  He is specifically
said he was interested in viewing the following:

Saturn's Rings
The Sun
Jupiter's Moons

I am also interested in photography in conjunction with the telescope,
so I would like something with images that are clear and sharp.    I
don't want to spend more than about $800 on everything (tripod, lenses,
carrying case and telescope).

Can you recommend a good starter telescope, something that we won't have
to "trade-up" in a year?

Thanks so much for your time!

Amy Lanigan
Mike here: There are many good telescopes in your price range. Obviously I'm most familiar with the Meade ETX line. If you want portability, good views, and a GOTO system, the ETX-90EC plus the Autostar is a good choice. You can add a tripod later if you want but in the meantime any stable flat surface (picnic table, for example) works great. For solar viewing you will need to purchase a quality solar filter (see the Accessory Reviews - Filters page). Visit a local telescope dealer or shop one of the sites mentioned on the ETX Site (Astronomy Links page). If you want to know more about the ETX line, visit Meade's web site or just spend some time (a few hours or days...) browsing the ETX Site.

Subject:	DR CLAY'S SUPERB 'SUPERCHARGE'!
Sent:	Monday, August 26, 2002 12:15:11
From:	dionimiranda@hotmail.com (Dioni Miranda)
Just a note of encouragement for scope owners to send their scopes to
Dr. Clay for his 'Supercharge' service. For $250, shipping and extra
eyepiece work included, he will turn your OK scope into an excellent
one. The difference in overall 'feel' of the scope is amazing: GOTOs,
slewing, and tracking are MUCH more smoother and accurate. Optics
collimated to perfection and Autostar expanded beyond expectation. If
you're thinking, like I did: 'Should I send my scope to someone I don't
even know...' etc, etc, in this case the answer is 'YES'. It's not only
the excellent work he does through his knowledge and experience, but the
patience, interest, and understanding that he demonstrates when
answering questions that might drive your average 'professional' up the
wall. Very positive experience - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Dioni

Subject:	Super Charge
Sent:	Sunday, August 25, 2002 14:16:25
From:	ccgriffinjr@yahoo.com (Chuck Griffin)
Dr. Clay did the Super Charge on my old ETX-90EC.  I say old because it
was one of the first 90-ECs.  I tried to use it three times before
giving up in disgust.  I thought that I must be the most inept user
ever.  I had an ETX-90 non-goto that I loved (still do).  The 90-EC was
stored for years before I sent it to Dr. Clay.  Lo and behold it wasn't
me after all, it was gremlins that had infested it directly from MEADE.
Dr. Clay fixed it.  He exorcised the demons, purged the gremlins, cast
out the bug-a-boos and fine tuned it so now it works just like Meade
said it would.  I won't stop using my Nexstar5 for most observations (it
is so reliable and has been since I took it out of the box) but the
ETX-90EC will definitely not be stored away in a closet any longer.  It
is, after all, an easy bundle to transport to remote sites (although the
Nexstar5 is really easy also to transport at only about twice the weight
of an ETX-90EC).  Anyway, just few lines to thank Dr. Clay Sherrod in a
"public forum" and highly recommend his professional and
courteous service to any and all ETX-90EC owners who are less than
thrilled with the way their little jewel is performing.  As we say in
the US Navy "BZ (BRAVO ZULU)" which is code for "WELL
DONE", this job certainly was well done.

C. C. Griffin
ETCM(SS), USN Retired
And:
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (P. Clay Sherrod)
Thank you so much Chuck and I am thrilled that the scope is finally
giving you the incentive to get outdoors with it!  Enjoy and keep
watching the Mighty ETX site!

Clay

Subject:	ETX-125EC Goto Functionality
Sent:	Friday, August 23, 2002 20:42:33
From:	cpires@attbi.com (Carlos Pires)
I am sending you this email because I could not find any answer for
these 3 questions even after I talked to Meade. Perhaps you can help:

- After I setup my ETX correctly and I choose a goto target in my
Autostar 497, I noticed that it turns always to the right (clockwise)
even if the object that is searching is closer to its left. Is this
normal? I wonder why it does not search the object the quickest and
shortest way. Something wrong with my ETX?

- I wonder about the fact that I installed a piggyback bracket with the
weights for balance, will it cause the ETX to go slower when the
Autostar is searching for a target?

- Kendricks is offering a 12 volts battery ($100.00) that connects to
the ETX using the standard extension. Because I do not wish to play with
the electrical components ( I know nothing about electricity), I
contacted Meade. They do not recommend anything else either than
batteries, however after talking back to Kendricks they assured me that
the battery will not  destroy the ETX motor. Could you please advice?

Thank You so much for taking the time to read my email and also thank
you for your website.

Carlos
Mike here: The Autostar tries to avoid the internal hardstops (on ETX models with hardstops, and the ETX-125EC is one of those). So, the direction it moves is hard to predict but there is nothing wrong with the Autostar. As long as you set the ETX up in the proper HOME position (and did the counterclockwise/clockwise rotations), you should be OK. A small amount a weight won't affect the slewing speed but the heavier the weight, the more chance there is for slippage when slewing, especially when going "uphill" (against gravity). External power supplies are OK if they supply the proper voltage and amperes. Meade even sells an AC Adapter for the ETX. Kendricks is a reputable source and if they say theirs works you should be OK. If you found out otherwise please let me know.

Subject:	Problem with new etx 125
Sent:	Friday, August 23, 2002 16:27:26
From:	luis_a_piedrahita@yahoo.com (luis piedrahita)
for many months I have been wanting to buy a telescope and after
reaching your site I decided to get a 125 etx.

My wife brought it to me from the States (I live in Quito-Ecuador).

I followed very carefully all the instructions but unfortunately I have
not been able to see anything through the eye piece.I followed the
troubleshooting guide (remove dust cover, flip mirror up, move fucus
knob ,etc) from the manual but still I do not see any light shining
through). When I look inside the optics system (I.e where you put the
eye piece) Y see a ground glass type screen reflecting from the mirror
that captures all the light and allows only shadows to be refected from
the mirror.

Is this the way it is supossed to be? Please help.

Thanks 
Luis
Mike here: I presume you have removed BOTH dust covers; one in the eyepiece hole and one that screws onto the objective end of the telescope. Use caution when unscrewing that one as you don't want to unscrew the objective lens itself. When you look into the eyepiece hole with no eyepiece inserted you should be able to see the small "flip mirror" and some light. It should be reflecting light that is entering the telescope tube. If you haven't already, I suggest trying the telescope out on a building down the street. Insert the 26mm eyepiece, point the telescope at the side of a building, and look through the eyepiece. You should be able to see something, although it may be severely out of focus and so very blurry. Turn the focus knob slowly in one direction. If the side of the building or window frames get sharper then you are turning the knob in the right direction. If the image is getting blurrier, turn the knob the other way. Eventually you should be able to get the building into focus.

And an update:

Thank you very much for your quick reply. We discovered a layer of
masking tape in front of the reflecting mirror that was blocking the
light exiting from the tube. We think that should be removed before
sending to the customer or stated in the manual. We didn't want to touch
the optics with anything but we ultimately removed it with a pair of
tweezers. You have a great web site. I'll keep in touch. Thanks again. 
Luis

Subject:	Counterweights for the ETX 125
Sent:	Friday, August 23, 2002 13:02:57
From:	r.laffoon@verizon.net (Larry Laffoon)
I read one of the recent posts about someone wanting "counterweights"
for the ETX 125 scope.  At the Scopetronics.com  site they do have
counter weights as part of their ETX-125EC Piggyback Camera Mount.

By looking at the pictures you can at the least get an idea of how one
could attach homemade "counterweights" to the ETX.  Regards, Larry
Mike here: The Scopetronix system is a nice one, according to reports. But it isn't the fully adjustable, counterweight that slides along a rod. I think that is what the request was for.

Subject:	ETX-90EC or DS70EC Mounting
Sent:	Friday, August 23, 2002 06:49:29
From:	HSchilling@birch.com (Schilling, Henry)
Mt question is this: Within a week I will have an ETX90EC UHTC and a
DS70EC.

I have read a lot about the ETX on your site and are a little dismayed
at all the trouble people have with the go to system. I have also read
that using the DS70EC mount solves a few of the issues. The question is:
would it be better to use the DS70 mount or leave it alone?

Henry J Schilling 
Birchtelecom-Corporate IT 
Lead-Computer Technician 
Mike here: Leave it alone unless you have direct evidence to the contrary. Remember, users write with questions when they are having problems. Few people write when everything is working well. So, the questions (ie, problem reports) will always exceed the praises. Also, keep in mind that you have to learn how to use the GOTO system so practice and experience help a lot.

Subject:	Narrowband filter
Sent:	Wednesday, August 21, 2002 15:06:55
From:	SpecialFX4238@aol.com
Hello, I have a question that I would like to be answered.  I have an
ETX-125 and I was wondering if it would be worth purchasing a Narrowband
filter for my scope.  Some people are telling me that I do not have
enough aperture to mess with one.  Although, some of the reviews on this
web site have said that they have greatly help.  I am lost, what should
I do.  Weasner could you please email me back at specialFX4238@AOL.com
                                                 thank you for you time
Mike here: For some objects from some light polluted locations they can be of use, even on small telescopes. However, it will work well only on the brighter objects.

Subject:	MyStarsLive
Sent:	Wednesday, August 21, 2002 15:05:32
From:	divenuts@gte.net (divenuts)
I found a very interesting website that allows you to create a starmap
anywhere in the world at any time and in any direction. It is a great
way to get an idea of whats out there when your ready to go. I hope you
find it as interesting as I have.....You probably already know about it.
Clear Skies,
Chuck Callaghan
http://www.mystarslive.com/

Subject:	ETX counterweights
Sent:	Tuesday, August 20, 2002 11:09:38
From:	jps@jswann.fsnet.co.uk (John Swann)
Ref the query regarding counterweights, BC&F Telescope House in London
have them. I think they manufacture them themselves. I use their system
on my 125 with a Nikon CP995 on the rear adapter. It works fine.

John Swann

Subject:	Polar Align
Sent:	Tuesday, August 20, 2002 10:04:36
From:	mike@e-axis.com (Mike Luis)
I just got my ETX 125 EC. However since I have never used a computerized
telescope, I really want to make sure I don't fry the gears. My question
is this, in polar or Altz alignment the Autostar works, right? But what
I'm curious of is if the Scope is pointing north(ALTZ) or to Polaris
(POLAR) and I select say VEGA which is way over head. Since the scope
can not do a 360 degree turn I am curious how it would find it? Would it
move vertically only or would the base move as well? I know it's a dumb
question but I really do not want to damage the scope on it's first
night out cause I know that the scope can't do more than a 90 degree
vertical.

I hope my question is clear. 

Great Site 
Mike
Mike here: Play the telescope and Autostar indoors in the light. You'll see how it operates. To answer your question, the base rotates as needed.

And:

Any way I don't know if this is clear enough. I'm a web designer, so I'm
more of a visual person and not great with words. I have made a little
animation to try to illustrate what I mean. Once I clear up this
question and get a good grasp on alignment, I would be happy to produce
a Flash animation in the same way to show how one can set up his/her ETX
(polar, ATLZ, etc..) or whatever would be usefull to ETX owners
(especially the new ones like me).

Anyway you can see the (FLASH 5) animation at this URL (my personal
site) www.m-axis.com/etx/

Mike

Subject:	Dr. Clay Sherrod Super-Tune
Sent:	Tuesday, August 20, 2002 09:21:18
From:	simmons_rich@emc.com (simmons, rich)
Just wanted to send along a word of praise for the fine work that Dr.
Sherrod does and the service he supplies.  I purchased an ETX-125 used
in February of this year, and went through many months of frustration
with the AutoStar and tracking.  When I discovered this site and Dr.
Clay's service, I felt I had nothing to loose by trying it.  What a
surprise I got!  To begin with Dr. Clay is one of the nicest people to
work with.  He is prompt, courteous, very detailed in his
communications.  We've all had Customer Service horror stories, what a
refreshing break to find this gentleman to work with.   OK, now to the
scope... When I sent the scope, it would not track, find sky objects of
any kind, had a great deal of slop in the gear drives, it was basically
junk.  In a very short period of time, my ETX was transformed into a
precision instrument of observing.  Set up is quick and precise,
tracking is excellent, and gotto function rarely if ever misses. This is
the best money I have spent for Astronomy equipment.  

Thanks Dr. Sherrod!

Sincerely,
Rich Simmons

Subject:	etx and cool pix
Sent:	Monday, August 19, 2002 19:47:06
From:	bradley@bv2design.com (BV squared Design)
A friend of mine told me about your site!

He told me he found information on how to combine his cool pix and an
etx telescope for amazing digital photos...

Can you send me information on this?

He mentioned the cool pix camera, some adapter and the etx...

Thanks in advance!!

Brad 
Mike here: See the Helpful Information --> Astrophotography page. The links to the Coolpix page are there. Also, see the Accessory Reviews --> Astrophotography page.

Subject:	Sun and Moon in one!
Sent:	Monday, August 19, 2002 13:59:20
From:	roma11@netvision.net.il (Roy Faiman)
My dad recomended I send you this composite I took of the Sun, and
seperatly of the moon, and combined the two to show their exact disc
size to an observer from Earth.
Enjoy it,
Roy F.
Sun and Moon

Subject:	Zero-backlash focussers
Sent:	Monday, August 19, 2002 5:02:52
From:	DAVIES_HYWEL_E_NONLILLY@LILLY.COM
I have read about and also seen the advertiments for zero-backlash
crayford type focussers for Schmidt Cassegrain scopes.

Is there anybody out there in the big wide world who sells /
manufactures something similar for the ETX 90, or any other ETX model.?

Thanking you in advance.

Hywel Davies
hywel.davies@zoom.co.uk
Mike here: Not that I've seen.
Subject:	GPS_SMALL SCOPES
Sent:	Sunday, August 18, 2002 0:09:21
From:	CORKERYDUO@aol.com
have enjoyed your site for a long time. this is my first e-mail inquiry.
do you hear anything about a 3-5 inch gps scope from meade??? if so what
and when.
thanks,
dave corkery
Mike here: Sorry, no info. If I knew I couldn't tell anyway!
Subject:	Looking for information
Sent:	Saturday, August 17, 2002 13:37:37
From:	BillorLeslie@msn.com (Bill Lawrenson)
I saw your website on Meade Telescopes. Maybe you can help me, I'm
looking for a website where I can get some information from people that
own the new Meade LX-55 telescope. I am thinking of getting one but I
herd that the fast f-4 will not have good viewing out to the edge. And
that the mount for the 10" is not sterdy. Any info you can give me will
help.  Thank You  Bill Lawrenson
Mike here: There might be a Yahoo Group on them. Also, check out the LXD55 Portal (link on the Astronomy Links page).
Subject:	RE: ETX-125 counter weights?
Sent:	Saturday, August 17, 2002 11:11:22
From:	starzdust@starband.net (John E. Persichilli)
I enjoy your website and was searching around for product information,
specifically, a counter weight system for my ETX-125EC. Do you know of
anyone making such an item? Would need to be similar to the losmandy
type or like the system that used to be available with the Celestron
ultima 2000 goto line of scopes.

Thanks,
John
Mike here: I don't recall seeing such a counterweight for the ETX line. There are some counterweight design articles on the Helpful Information --> Astrophotography page.
Subject:	Good protective camera bags to carry Celestron 5
Sent:	Friday, August 16, 2002 18:55:57
From:	Sallykil@aol.com
I will be traveling to Australia this October, and would like to have my
Celestron Nexstar-5 as carry on baggage.  The hard sided case is just a
little too big for international carry-on.  I'm  looking for something
that is well padded, in case I am not allowed to carry it on (it does
rather look like a rocket launcher!).  Any ideas or recommendations? 
Thanks, love your website and use it all the time,  Sally Kilburg
Mike here: Check the Accessory Reviews --> Cases page.
Subject:	Tracking Motor Vibration
Sent:	Friday, August 16, 2002 12:34:49
From:	Jeff.Workman@Sun.COM (Jeff Workman)
Hoping you can assist or point me in the right direction.  I am
experiencing pretty bad vibration from the tracking motor, to the point
that I can't really tell how sharp my focus is on stars.  I'm using the
Meade Deluxe Field tripod.  The vibration is less severe on dirt versus
on my deck.  Is this an issue with the scope/motor, or do I need to look
into procuring dampening pads and/or a better (decent?) tripod.  Thank
you.

And thank you for all the effort on your excellent web page.
Mike here: Since you indicate that soft surface has a dampening effect (which I have also noted on the Site), the problem is likely the mount. There are ways to reduce the vibrations: the pads or just add weight the tripod below the head. Or get a more sturdy tripod.

And:

Hello again.  I believe I forgot to mention that my vibration issue is
concerning my ETX 125 EC.  Thanks again.
Mike here: Even more a consideration since that telescope is almost too much for the Deluxe Field Tripod. I don't extend the leg extensions with my Deluxe Tripod and ETX-125EC.
Subject:	hi
Sent:	Friday, August 16, 2002 9:45:17
From:	tofic.nl@rendo.dekooi.nl (Louai Al Falahi)
my i ask u somthing about the etx90..how can i zoom in and zoom out? i
have the etx90 whith the optional autostar.. please tell me that
Mike here: You can change magnifications using different eyepieces and/or a Barlow Lens. See the Accessory Reviews --> Eyepieces page.

And:

Thank u verry verry much for ur tips.
Respect 
louai

Subject:	FYI
Sent:	Wednesday, August 14, 2002 20:02:35
From:	jmckinney2@cfl.rr.com (Jeremy McKinney)
I've been following your web site for a while. Excellent job! Just
thought you'd like to know, Meade has a special running. If you buy a
scope between Aug 1 2002 and Oct 31 2002 you can get 8 series 4000
plossols in an aluminum case for $99.00. Check out their web site. I've
got an ETX 90 and am trying my hand at astrophotography. Your site has
been an endless source of information. I appreciate your effort. Thanks,

Jeremy

Subject:	re: Meade Tripod #183 Repair
Sent:	Sunday, August 11, 2002 23:11:36
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	MegPitt@aol.com
Back when 883 tripods were dropping ETX90's and 125's like leaves,
Meade would replace/repair the damaged scopes (after all, it
was -their- tripod doing the dropping)

you might check... (and don't store tripods extended)

good luck
--dick
Mike here: That's true but that was from the leg clamp failing to hold adequately.
Subject:	Meade Tripod #183 Repair
Sent:	Sunday, August 11, 2002 12:27:49
From:	MegPitt@aol.com
I had a strange thing happen to my Meade #183 Tripod.  I have an ETX-105
and it was mounted to the tripod.  The long a short of it is that the
whole thing tipped over and fell about a foot and a half before the base
of the telescope struck my desk.  Luckily the telescope is fine but
somehow with the impact the screw from the Latitude Lock knob is bent
inside the housing.  It won't move in or out.  Any suggestions for
getting it fixed.

Thanks.
Mike here: Ouch. But you were lucky. You could probably force it out but that may make it worse. Does it hold for your latitude? If so, you may wish to leave it alone. That is, unless you alternate between Equatorial and Alt/Az.
Subject:	Doc Clay off to the mountain....
Sent:	Sunday, August 11, 2002 9:58:54
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Hello to all....just a quick note to let everyone know that I will be up
at the ASO for the next few days, both for the Perseids and to catch
some early morning comets I cannot image from here in Conway.  I will
not be in touch via e-mail until Tuesday morning but will be back for a
couple of hours then.  Back in full swing on Thursday!  In addition, all
Supercharged scopes and those in for repairs due out are on their way!!

See you Thursday and enjoy the Perseids!  Be sure and get the details at
www.arksky.org for observing and what to expect!

Dr. Clay

Subject:	SWA 13.8 or 18mm for my ETX-125 ?
Sent:	Saturday, August 10, 2002 11:32:33
From:	avolio@hotmail.com (Anselmo Volio)
I have a Meade ETX-125 and would like to get a new eyepiece.

Currently I am using the SP 26mm that comes included with the ETX and a
3x Barlow.

I am considering to buy a SWA 13.8mm or a SWA 18mm but don't know which
to chose.

I am also considering of buying in the near future a UWA 6.7mm

What eyepiece would you recommend me to get: the 13.8mm SWA or the 18mm
SWA?

Thanks

Anselmo
Mike here: Personally I don't have either eyepiece. I suggest you check the Accessory Reviews --> Eyepieces page as well as the Buyer/New User Tips page for articles on eyepieces. In general you'll need to decide WHAT you want to observe with the SWA eyepiece. Do you need more or less magnification (13mm or 18mm)? Do you need more or less field of view for the magnification used?
Subject:	Feedback
Sent:	Saturday, August 10, 2002 1:32:18
From:	roma11@netvision.net.il (Roy Faiman)
You're a good man and your contribution to the field of amateur astronomy is
immense.
Roy.

Subject:	Meade Possel Special for the EXT 90, 105 and 125 telescopes
Sent:	Wednesday, August 7, 2002 19:46:09
From:	john_clendinneng@videotron.ca (John Clendinneng)
Meade has a Possel special on till the end of October.

"Now for a limited time, to celebrate Meade Instruments' 30 years in
telescopes, you can buy a Meade telescope* and receive a full set of
Meade premium-grade Super Plssl eyepieces for only $99 additional. Never
before have we made such an incredible offer available for such a wide
range of our most popular telescope models."

The info is on the Meade Home page

www.meade.com

Regards, John Clendinneg

Subject:	ETX-90RA with 8x50 finderscope?
Sent:	Wednesday, August 7, 2002 17:13:00
From:	Brian.Anderson@ipaper.com (Brian Anderson)
I just swapped out the 8x21 correct image finder on my ETX-90RA for the
8x25 right angle model.  This is, of course, a huge improvement. 
However I was wondering if adding a Meade 8x50 straight through finder
to the right of the eyepiece would be feasable.  The image brightness of
the 8x25 is a bit low, and I could use the 8x50 through most of the
declination range of the scope.  I don't want to do anything drastic
like drilling holes in the OTA, but I might be able to use 2 hose clamps
to attach a dovetail bracket to the scope, and the finder to the
dovetail bracket.  There is always the option of using double-sided foam
tape, but I don't know if it will be strong enough.  And to top it off I
want to add a Rigel Quikfinder :-)

Is this lunacy, overkill or some other form of idiocy?  Or can this be
made to work and significantly enhance the scope's finder power?

Any and all feedback appreciated.

Brian Anderson
Mike here: People have added second finderscopes to their ETX-90 models. I have had the Rigel QuikFinder and Scopetronix LightSight alternatively mounted along with the right angle 8x21. So it can be done. See the Accessory Reviews - Finderscopes for more info. There are many reasons for having different magnifications and types of finders attached.
Subject:	Sky visibility forecasts
Sent:	Tuesday, August 6, 2002 23:02:51
From:	smiklas@pacbell.net (Stephen Miklas)
I don't know if you've seen this (or a similar) site:
http://cleardarksky.com/csk/index.html#clock_list
It gives graphic forecasts of visibility for many areas.
Mike here: Yep, on the Astronomy Links page. But thanks for the info. I might not have had it already.
Subject:	Telescopes
Sent:	Tuesday, August 6, 2002 14:11:58
From:	kenberman@mayanot.edu (Ken Berman)
Hi, I am looking to buy my first scope, I have read some of the reviews
on your site, and tons of "newbie" articles, but it seems like their are
almost as many opinions as their are scopes.  Taking the generally
consistent information into account, and my desire to get a little
better than beginner scope, for all around viewing, with a computer
controller, up front, I thought you might be able to give me a little
extra input, since you seem to be the web authority on ETX's?  I think
that I am getting a little information overload.  Anyways these are what
I have come up with.

I am interested in getting your opinion on choosing between the Meade
ETX 70, or 90EC or one of the DS series, and a Celestron 114GT, if you
have any experience with either of these telescopes, or the computer
controller systems that go with them, or would recommend another model
from another manufacture.

Thanks much, Ken Berman
Mike here: See my ETX-70AT comments (linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT Feedback" page) if you want a comparison of it to other ETX models. I've not used any of the DS telescopes nor the Celestron model you asked about.
Subject:	"Treasures of the Northern Hemisphere"
- An Exhibit of Fine Astrophotography by Jason Ware
Sent: Tuesday, August 6, 2002 8:03:45 From: Meade Instruments Corporation The online exhibit, Treasures of the Northern Hemisphere, highlights fourteen selections of amateur astrophtographer, Jason Ware's finest work. Much of the text and descriptions are in the astonomer's own words, and give greater insight as to how each image was made, and of the objects themselves. The exhibit can be found at: http://www.meade4m.com We hope that you enjoy this collection, and we welcome your comments. With best regards, Meade Instruments Corporation www.meade.com

Subject:	Barlow Lens
Sent:	Monday, August 5, 2002 18:51:39
From:	tedlandy@bigpond.net.au (Ted Landy)
What does Short Focus mean in reference to a shorty barlow?
Mike here: I think the short focus refers to the fact that the Barlow Lens will reach a focus on telescopes that have a limited focal plane position. The ETX is such a telescope, which is why the longer Barlow Lenses don't work.

And:

Thanks very much for that. Great site by the way..

Ted Landy

Subject:	On the NCP
Sent:	Monday, August 5, 2002 11:01:28
From:	dionimiranda@hotmail.com (Dioni Miranda)
Thanks again for a great website. I posed a question to Clay (who's
currently working on my ETX) concerning the North Celestial Pole, but I
think he might've misunderstood my question. Considering that I've
bombarded him with several rephrasings of the same question, but have
been unable to make myself understood, I've found a way to further
simplify it, but I thought I'd send the question to you instead before
he starts dreading receiving yet another email about the same thing!
Here we go:

Consider that my observing site (at sea level) is exactly 42 deg, 20
min, and 45 arc seconds North latitude, and I am looking above the
northern horizon at the exact time of the night when the star Kochab is
DIRECTLY 'up' from Polaris. I know that for an accurate polar alignment,
I will not need to offset the tripod/wedge 'left' or 'right' from
Polaris by 40' because I know that the NCP will be straight 'up' by that
anglular distance in the direction of Kochab (which, in this case, is
DIRECTLY 'up' from Polaris. OK, here's the big question!: If I were able
to measure EXACTLY 42 deg, 20 min, and 45 seconds of arc 'up' from the
northern horizon (remember that those numbers represent my exact
latitude), and I measure this angle right up from the ground along an
imaginary vertical line that passes through Polaris and Kochab (which is
directly 'above' Polaris) WHAT WILL I FIND THERE, AT 42 DEG, 20 MIN, and
45 SEC? THE NORTH CELESTIAL POLE or POLARIS?

And if it is, indeed, the NCP that I would find, then wouldn't offsets
from Polaris only apply to the 'left' and 'right' and never 'up' or
'down' to find the NCP. And here's the paradox: If you adjust your wedge
to your latitude and then offset 40' 'up' from Polaris toward Kochab to
the NCP, that means that after you finally lock your wedge 40' higher
than you started when in home position, YOU'VE ACTUALLY CHANGED
LATITUDES BY 40' NORTH WITHOUT EVEN MOVING!!!

Please help me understand this paradox! I can't get it off my head!

Attentively, Dioni

P.S. I HAVE read everything about accurate polar alignment (w/o using
the 'drift' method) on your site, including Clay's info on 'Kochab's
Clock' - the paradox is still there!
Mike here: Let me see if I can explain. Forgive me if I state the obvious. Polaris is not at the NCP, but offset about 1 degree. The amount of your latitude is (as you point out) is the distance from the north horizon to the NCP. At the time when Kochab is on the meridian there is no offset left or right.
Subject:	ETX Web Site Postings
Sent:	Monday, August 5, 2002 8:54:45
From:	vjp@allenbates.com (Vincent J. Piccoli)
First of all, I would like to thank you for setting up and maintaining
such a fantastic site.  I also want to congratulate you on an excellent
book, as well.  Both the website and the book were huge contributing
factors to my recent purchase of an ETX-125EC.

I would like to post two (2) messages to your site, if possible.  One,
regarding my horrible experience of buying a used scope without ever
seeing it first.  The second in praise of Clay Sherrod & his Supercharge
service, as he bailed me out of my troubles with the used scope.

1st Post: (The Perils of Buying a Used Scope)

Often I have read on this site many warnings against purchasing a used
scope sight unseen.  When I saw what I thought was a great deal on eBay
for a practically new ETX-125EC with a whole slew of accessories, I must
have forgotten the warnings.  I purchased this ETX-125 (with tripod,
#497 Autostar, 6 eyepieces, hard case & more) under the guise that the
original owner had purchased it in April, 2002 and needed to sell it due
to financial problems.

When I received the scope at the end of May, everything seemed to be in
order.  I had lurked around Mike's ETX site for a while and realized
that there were some people (I fit in this newbie category) that were
less than successful with GOTO's right from the start.  I wasn't having
any luck with the scope, so I tried a few things...  Autostar Update to
the latest version... Reset and re-enter all of my settings....  All my
scope wanted to do was slip on the DEC axis travel accompanied by a
rather disheartening clicking sound.  Twice, upon the first star in the
alignment process, the scope slewed straight up until the finderscope
bracket slammed into the fork assembly and made a horrendous noise.  I
reached for the power switch as fast as I could, but the damage was
done.  Some of the gears had been stripped.

Lucky for me, Clay Sherrod had an immediate appointment available for
his Supercharge service.  Clay got the scope fixed up quickly, although
he had to send the scope out to Meade for a replacement DEC motor
assembly.  Meade hung on to the scope for what seems to be a short
lifetime.  The scope works tremendously well, now, but here is the
summary:

I bought this scope used on May 18th, 2002 because I thought it was a
great deal.  I finally got to use it on August 3rd, 2002.  I spent over
$300 on repairs, shipping and Supercharging.

It doesn't sound like a bargain anymore, does it?

2nd Post: (P. Clay Sherrod's Supercharge Service, Worth Every Penny, and
MORE)

I sent my sick ETX-125EC to Clay Sherrod for his Supercharge service
because my scope wasn't slewing very well and wasn't tracking at AT ALL.
 When the scope was returned to me, I invited some friends over to try
out the new scope.

Some of my friends could not wait, so I aligned the scope at dusk in
ALT/AZ mode, and simply told the autostar that the alignment stars were
centered, even though I couldn't see them yet.  My guests could see
Venus as plain as day and asked if they could look at it in the scope. 
I then told the scope to slew to Venus, and what do you know.... There
was Venus, in the 26mm eyepiece.  I am truly impressed....  I did a
shoddy alignment, and it still found Venus. After a few minutes had
passed, Vega appeared almost overhead.  I told the Autostar to slew to
Vega.  A few seconds later, there was Vega in the eyepiece.  I was
genuinely amazed.  Over the course of a rather long night, ONLY TWICE
did my GOTO's not appear in the 26mm eyepiece.

At one point, We were looking at M31 in Andromeda.  It wasn't a
particularly good night for this due to some random light in that
general direction, but you could still make it out.  I walked some
friends out to the front to see them off, while everyone else decided to
take a restroom/coffee break.  After about 35 minutes later, we came
back to the scope, and there it was... M31 WAS STILL DEAD CENTER.

I cannot say enough about Clay Sherrod's Supercharge service.  If you
want your scope to function like you thought it should when it came out
of the box, THIS SUPERCHARGE SERVICE IS WHAT YOU NEED!  Clay was
extremely helpful, and kept me posted throughout the whole process. The
documentation of the testing that was returned with the scope was
amazingly thorough and detailed.  I cannot thank Clay enough for the
advice and guidance that he gave me during the repairs/Supercharge
service.  Clay is an extremely valuable member of the ETX/astronomical
community and probably does not receive enough thanks for all his
contributions.  I, for one, thank him.

The bottom line is:  My scope is working better that I could have
imagined since I sent it to Clay Sherrod.  P. CLAY SHERROD'S SUPERCHARGE
SERVICE IS WORTH EVERY PENNY, AND MORE!


Vince Piccoli

Subject:	Buying ETX accessories
Sent:	Monday, August 5, 2002 7:18:44
From:	iannewey@phoenixpearson.com (Newey, Ian D.)
I thought you may want to put this on your web site.

Hello all non-American ETX users. One of the first things that I noticed
when buying accessories for my ETX 70AT was how expensive it all is
compared to prices in the states. So I decided to do a bit of digging
around and I found a company in the states that were quite happy for me
to place an order from them and ship the goods over.

I ordered a hard carry case, a 4mm Plossl eyepiece and a 3x Barlow lens.
Cost of which in the UK would have been about 220. I paid 130 and that
included shipping. It took 4 days to get to me.

For those that may be interested, their web address is
www.sightandsoundshop.com.

Happy star gazing

Ian Newey

Subject:	New Comets - Orbital Elements and Ephemerides
Sent:	Saturday, August 3, 2002 23:05:04
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
For those of you anxious to try out the three new comets, the Harvard
Observable Comets list has now been updated to include:
2002 O4 (Hoenig - ~mag. 9.5 at present)
2002 O5 (Neat) -~mag. 13)
2002 O6 (unnamed but likely will be  a "SOHO") - ~mag. 7.0 to 9 (apparently
quite a comet!)

Following are the direct orbital elements AND daily ephermides for each
of the comets on the Harvard site:

2002 O4 - cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/Ephemerides/Comets/2002O4.html
2002 O5 - cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/Ephemerides/Comets/2002O5.html
2002 O6 - cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/Ephemerides/Comets/2002O6.html

Those using planetarium type PC or notebook programs can load these
elements directly by going to:
http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/Ephemerides/Comets/SoftwareComets.html
and loading for your specific program.

Those using Autostar can access the elements already arranged and
presented in entry form direct from:
http://www.minorplanetcenter.org/iau/Ephemerides/Comets/Soft16Cmt.txt

Comet C/2002 O4 has developed into a pretty nice comet, with a distinct
fan tail and growing slightly brighter by the day (see www.arksky.org -
"Current News") while C/2002 O6 is being described and surprising bright
and very well developed {!} by observers in Australia....remember that
this comet is very low in the southeastern sky at present and precedes
dawn by just minutes.

Dr. Clay
----------------------------------------
Arkansas Sky Observatory
www.arksky.org

Subject:	Meade Logo Clothing
Sent:	Saturday, August 3, 2002 15:08:18
From:	TommyMckeehan@peoplepc.com (Tommy Mckeehan)
Great web site.  I own a DS-114 and a ETX-90, so I am very loyal to
Meade.  I only purchase Meade accessories.  Is there any vendor that
sells Meade logo clothing such as hats or T-shirts?

Tommy McKeehan
Mike here: Not that I've heard. Certainly not like Apple Computer logo-ed items.
Subject:	Focal reducer for ETX 90
Sent:	Friday, August 2, 2002 17:32:44
From:	msfainc@earthlink.net (Morgan Spangle)
Is there a commercially available focal reducer for the ETX that you
know of? Scopetronix advertises one but it is not available...
Also, any tips on trying to record double stars on film?
Thanks (and what a great site!),
Morgan Spangle
Mike here: See the Shutan Wide Field Adapter write up on the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page on the ETX Site. As to photographing stars (double or otherwise), fast film, steady mount, short exposures.
Subject:	ETX90EC Enhanced
Sent:	Thursday, August 1, 2002 5:34:30
From:	kenbara@valuelinx.net (kenbara)
Disregard the Evolution, it was only FYI.

Finally settled on your recommended ETX 90 EC. Am going with a new UHTC
model-is the 20% light gathering improvment about right? Also, do you
est that Dr. Clay's supercharging this scope would add about 20%
additional enhanced operability?

Is Shutan the only source for the wide view (background, terrestrial)
lense?Does Meade offer one?

Thanks,
Ken
Mike here: I can't speak to the percentage of value offered by Clay's Supercharge. You'll have to decide for yourself. The Shutan Wide Field Adapter is made (or was) by Apogee. The Meade 45-erecting prism does not appreciately change the field of view as I recall.

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