ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 August 2004
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.


Weasner Experiences the ETX-70AT! (6/17/01)
QuickTime VR of the ETX-60AT
Movie (2.4MB) of the ETX-60AT TV Commercial (11/3/00)
Courtesy of Pyros Pictures

Subject:	Questions about aligning ETX70
Sent:	Sunday, August 29, 2004 15:40:28
From:	Jorge Soriano (jorge.soriano@tiscali.es)
When I set the ETX70 tube to its HOME position, (i.e. aligning the mark
in the vertical axis to 0) I realize that the tube is not absolutely
horizontal. If I set the tube using a bubble level, the DEC scale
displays 9. Is it correct?

How precise must be the site description to align correctly? Having
customized a site with a precission of 3', I can't align the ETX using
two stars (and obvious stars, Alkaid and Arcturus). The Autostar replies
an error message.

No problem aligning with just one star, but fails to locate objects
using GOTO.

Which one is working bad, the ETX or this novice?

Regards,
 
Jorge Soriano.
 Madrid. Spain
Mike here: The scale can be off; see the FAQ page for more info. As to alignment stars, what happens if you select different ones?
Subject:	ETX-70 Focus Knob Hex Wrench Size
Sent:	Thursday, August 26, 2004 21:39:22
From:	David DeRosa (dderosa@houston.rr.com)
I would like to reset the focus knob on my ETX-70, unfortunately I have
misplaced the hex wrench that was provided. What size wrench will I need
for the focus knob set screw?

Thank you very much for your help,
David DeRosa

Subject:	ETX70
Sent:	Wednesday, August 25, 2004 06:43:51
From:	Antonio Prieto Martin (aprieto@amper.es)
Do you know if Meade has any plans to develop a electric focuser for the
ETX70?
Mike here: No I don't.
Subject:	Tripod
Sent:	Tuesday, August 24, 2004 13:55:50
From:	Namour Meyer (namour@telkomsa.net)
I Have purchased a meade etx 60  and i need i tripod basic
 
How much and how much to ship to south Africa
 
Regards
Namour
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Tripods page as well as the Telescope Tech Tips page for some ideas. You won't need a real sturdy tripod but the sturdier the better. You could use a good photographic tripod.
Subject:	Meade ETX-70AT Telescope Autostar
Sent:	Monday, August 23, 2004 15:04:33
From:	Richard Mullay (richm4312@hotmail.com)
I would like to know if I can upgrade my ETX-70AT from a #494 Autostar
to the #497 Autostar handbox controller.  I spoke with a sales rep from
Telescopes.com, and he told me that this was not possible.  I spoke with
a rep from Meade Customer Service and he said the ETX-70AT can upgrade
to the #497 Autostar.  So which is the correct answer?  I would like to
know, because I could then use the Meade USB to RS-232 Bridge cable with
the #505 AstroFinder cable.  I believe I would have to use the #505
AstroFinder cable rather than the #506 even thouigh the #506 is
specifically for the ETX-70AT.  Please, I could really use your
expertise.   Also, I purchased the Flexi-Focus Focuser cable from
Scopetronix.  I tried to remove the original Focus Knob on the ETX-70AT,
however, the supplied hex key was too big.  The original hex key that
comes with the scope, was too small.  What size hex key should I use?

Anyway, I would appreciate your response.
 
Thanks.
 
Best regards,
 
Richard
Lodi, NJ    
Mike here: Yes, the #497 is fully compatible with the ETX-70. And you need to use a #505 cable with the #497. As to the focus knob, are you sure you are getting the hex key fully inserted? Many times it is only necessary to insert and turn it a little more.

And:

I will try to remove the set screw with the hex key that came with the
Flexi-Focus focuser.  I also have a hex key set which includes a size
5/64" hex key.  I will let you know how I make out.

Best regards,

Richard

Subject:	Meade etx 70 motor fault
Sent:	Sunday, August 22, 2004 08:11:06
From:	Alex (alex@engineers-say.com)
Just got my new Meade etx 70 powed up all fine next day switched on
motor fault showing

Replaced battery's still showing fault on auto star can you help?
Mike here: Check the connections. Are they in the right port, are they secure? Don't overtighten the axes. With the power off and the axes unlocked, does the tube move freely in all directions?

And:

Many Thanks for the quick response after checking your web site Out i've
come to the conclusion im a plonker I should have checked Out the web
site first sorry to have wasted your time. By the way I reset the auto
star then calibrated motor's then train the drive

Once again Many Thanks

Subject:	My new scope
Sent:	Friday, August 20, 2004 20:28:33
From:	Charles, Charles Nixon, Nixon (astronomer120@yahoo.com)
I fixed my 70AT again (How long will it stay fixed this time?:) ), but
i'm still setting my sights on the 125.  I'm getting it soon, I'll tell
you when I do.

CJ Nixon
astronomer120@yahoo.com
iChat:astronomer120

Subject:	[none]
Sent:	Tuesday, August 17, 2004 05:42:16
From:	Antonio Prieto Martin (aprieto@amper.es)
Do you think I can view M97 with my ETX70?
Mike here: Your message was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing Subject entry. To avoid email being classified as SPAM and therefore UNREAD, please read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page. Thanks.
All Messier objects _can_ be seen with the ETX but you will need a dark sky. Keep in mind that many DSOs will appear as "faint fuzzy blobs" and many are very small.
Subject:	re:  Help! Need 24 tooth gear for ETX70AT
Sent:	Monday, August 16, 2004 20:54:46
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
If you join and post on the Roboscope group, folks there
have many, many gears...

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/roboscope

good luck,
--dick

Subject:	70-AT
Sent:	Saturday, August 14, 2004 11:05:11
From:	Charles, Charles Nixon, Nixon (astronomer120@yahoo.com)
I just saw on your website that I never replied to tell you how my scope
fared.  Sorry, it completely phased my mind!

My scope is just fine now.  I opened it up and it turned out to be an
obstruction causing the drive to slow down (I guess autostar didn't pick
it up, because not once did it say there was a motor unit fault.

Sorry again for not sending this sooner,
CJ
astronomer120@yahoo.com
iChat: astronomer120

Subject:	Help! Need 24 tooth gear for ETX70AT
Sent:	Friday, August 13, 2004 15:04:57
From:	loumsc@earthlink.net
Please, can anyone tell me where I can get a replacement gear for the RA
gear box on my ETX70AT? It is a .5" gear with 24 teeth.

Thanx,

Lou Davidson
Mike here: You can try Meade (they may or may not respond) or try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page).

And:

Meade will not sell me the gear and Telescope Warehouse said he was
going to try and locate a gear and then he stopped responding. I am at
my wits end, about to file a new one out of plastic myself (ha ha)

Thanx for the quick response,

I bought this scope off of EBay and have since bought a DS2114, I am
giving the ETX70 to my 13 year old grandson but since it does not have a
finder scope I need to get both axis's working.

Thanx again, Lou

BTW  I would even take a used gear if someone has a broken scope laying
around for parts.
Mike here: I didn't expect Meade to sell one. They are very cautious about some replacement items.
Subject:	ext70
Sent:	Friday, May 21, 2004 22:35:33
From:	jason (jasondarke@hotmail.com)
Have just bought a new ext70 and used for a few times. Sideways movement
has stopped although i can hear the motor running. Tried your tip on FAQ
re moving the lever round but problem still esists and the lever is very
tight now. Is this a problem or should I try and tighten more? When the
lever is on min it feels very notchy, can you help.
 
Jason 
Mike here: Does this occur at all slewing speeds?
Subject:	ETX70 Power
Sent:	Wednesday, August 11, 2004 17:16:15
From:	Steve Short (steves@inductor.com)
Just wanted you to know that the ETX60/70 use 9V power while the bigger
ETX90 & up use 12V so you can correct you reply to Greg sent August 7th.

I just love your website and have found some really great information
here as have many of my friends that have ETX scopes. I am a member of
the Orange Count Astronomers club and also attend the "Go-TO" scope
meetings where we exchange ideas and help newcomers.

Thanks, Steve
Mike here: I was just quoting the specs from the Meade AC Adapter.
Subject:	meade 70mm
Sent:	Tuesday, August 10, 2004 05:54:48
From:	Strnckj@aol.com (Strnckj@aol.com)
i use a meade 70mm 350f/l f/5- it has the flip mirror system- i cant get
correct image out of it and would like to insert a standard CI 1.25
diagonal- do you know where i can get a focuser or what will fit?- also,
i might have to cut the OTA tube down to reach focus- is this possible?
thx john
Mike here: There is the Meade "#933: 45 degree Erecting Prism" that will give you a "corrected" image and will allow focusing.

And:

thx mike- i read some reviews on it and it says it stinks for astronomy
with all the ghosting-etc, actually, i wanted to use this in my 70mm and
covert it to a finderscope- i dont think this would bother me- do you
think this would make a better finderscope then a standard CI 50mm? (thx
for help- sorry to bother you- just a bit confused here)- john
Mike here: Most finderscopes are like 8x50 or 8x35 or something in that neighborhood. You could use the ETX-70 as a guidescope or finderscope though. For astronomical purposes, an erect image is not required.
Subject:	re:   Meade ETX-AT70
Sent:	Sunday, August 8, 2004 18:49:48
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
You don't state so explicitly, but i assume you have
a 494 Autostar (no numeric keypad) on your scope.

Let's start with a RESET:

Setup > Reset [enter][enter]

After that, tell it what model telescope you have
 (scroll to the ETX70, then tap [enter] to Make It So.)

Then try an align (i recommend Easy Align, it should
choose the stars for you, theoretically pre-filtering
them for above-horizon candidates).

If that works, we're done.

My suspicion is that either the Autostar has a bad idea of
which model you have, or that the "sign" bit on the DEC
Ratio setting is negative instead of positive.

good luck, report results
--dick
And:
From:	Rick Theis (rictheis@fastmail.fm)
So, what you're saying is to NOT turn the autostar on until AFTER I set
the scope in the Home position?  And here I was turning it on first and
following the steps IT told me to instead of turning it on afterwards. 
Ok, I'll try that.
Rick
Mike here: You can turn it on before or after you set it up in the proper HOME position. But you have to let the Autostar do its thing once you power it on.

And:

I'll confess, I'm at a loss here, but it's really not my first
telescope.  It's my second, my first was an old Meade my ex-gf bought
me, but it's long gone.  I'm not totally ignorant of electronic devices,
but I thought someone might be more willing to help me out of this
dilemma if I'd pretended to be LESS experienced.  Well, Richard at least
had a good idea by resetting the sign bit on the Alt Ratio setting, at
least that got the darn thing to start pointing in the upper half of the
horizon, but NOW it wants to point to 95-degrees for Antares as well as
Vega. I thought it was about time that telescopes for the masses had
gotten smarter, but now I'm wondering at the quality of the Meade
'scopes. I'm very quality conscious, since I deal with it on a
professional basis.  I currently work in the Office of Safety and
Mission Assurance for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (I was a
math-physics major), where I'm a Quality Assurance Engineer.  I've
worked on MER, MLS, TES, Galex, and now CloudSat (currently) projects, I
guess there's just no way to express my disappointment with the Meade
adequately without using four-letter words at this point.  I am
considering on donating it to a school for the blind (they'd never be
able to tell the difference, maybe?).
Regards and thanks for trying to help,
Rick 
Mike here: Thanks for the clarifications. I don't recall any similar reports and since you imply you are doing everything correctly it would seem that you have a problem telescope and/or Autostar. Since the scope is new I suggest exchanging it at the dealer.
Subject:	Meade ETX-AT70
Sent:	Saturday, August 7, 2004 21:40:36
From:	Rick Theis (vampyre@fastmail.fm)
HeeeelP!  I just purchased a telescope (see subj), and every time I try
to get it to align (no matter which alignment I use) - it tries to find
a star, which I know is above the horizon, below it!  Is there anything
I should do to "correct" the telescope?  Or is it because they are
manufactured below the Equator that it does this?

Needing help in Colorado.
Very Truly Yours,
   Rick Theis
Mike here: I received 16 (!) copies of your email. I'll answer the last one, assuming they are all the same message over the two minute period since they all had the same subject.
First off, be certain you have set the proper HOME position and settings (date, time, Daylight Savings, location) in the Autostar. Don't use a compass to locate North; you need TRUE NORTH, not Magnetic North, for the Home position. You can use Polaris to indicate the direction of True North. For more on alignment tips, see the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.

And:

Thanks for your quick reply ... I have NO idea why you got 16 copies and
I'm truly sorry if you did!

It doesn't seem to matter so much about the compass setting, that seems
to line up pretty well, but it's the altitude that seems screwy!  It
always seems to want to point below the horizon, even at circumpolar
stars!

Tonight I tried to point it North and UP, but it still sought Antares
below the horizon.

Arrrrrgh!    ;)
Rick
Mike here: I'm confused by your statement. What do you mean you pointed it up but it thought Antares was below the horizon? But lets start at the beginning. Describe the steps you use to set up and do the alignment.

And:

On more than one occasion I set the telescope at the zero position
(horizontally) and North (or a reasonable apporximation).  However when
I tried to get it to "find" a target, the motor would drive it close to
the declination, and past the horizon toward the nadir. Soooooo last
night I pointed it North and to the zenith, again it tried to find a
"target" at the nadir, instead of above the horizon. It's not even
close!  I've tried to use the "reset" with the same results no matter
where I set "home" for the scope.
Thanks for taking so much of your time with me,and
Regards,
Rick
Mike here: Ah ha! You are not doing the Alignment Steps as described in the manual. Once you have placed the telescope in the proper HOME position you then need to have the Autostar go through the Alignment steps so that it will now the current geometry of the sky at your location and time.
Subject:	ETX 70 POWER
Sent:	Saturday, August 7, 2004 01:35:25
From:	Ledley (gwledley@wcoil.com)
Was wondering if a 9v 800ma AC to DC would be proper to power a 70?
As always,thanks in advance.
 
Greg
Mike here: Perhaps not reliably. The Meade AC Adapter is 12VDC 1000mA.
Subject:	re: ETX Coma and focus problem ???
Sent:	Saturday, July 31, 2004 23:20:24
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
I wonder...

The front element of the ETX70 is an air-spaced doublet
(fancy words for "two lumps of glass, not glued together).

What if one of them was in -backwards-?

In most doublets, the outer surfaces of the pair of lenses
are the "flatter" surfaces (so the more curved faces are the
ones inside the doublet, facing eachother)

If one was backwards, the focal length would still be about
right, but the rest of the optical properties would get pretty
messed up.

good luck
--dick
And:
From: 	  spam2@k3pgp.org
Actually that's one of the things I had in mind when I referred to the
objective lens either being defective or assembled wrong.  If it wasn't
under warranty I would have torn it apart by now.

I've been looking at the plastic ring holding the objective lens in the
scope and wondering if I can get it apart without voiding my warranty. 
This problem has to be something dumb like something assembled in the
wrong order, etc.  The scope is so simple I can't think of much else
that would cause problems like this other than the objective lens
itself.

By the way one of the holes in the plastic ring holding the objective
lens in the scope is slightly egg shaped so someone else had that open
once before.  Hmmmmm......
And an update:
Looking at the front of the ETX-70 there is a plastic ring that holds
the objective lens in the scope.  There are two holes in that ring that
a tool is placed into to remove the ring.  One of those holes was egg
shaped in my scope so someone was there before.

I was thinking of making up a tool to fit those holes so I could remove
the objective lens when I thought, let's see just how tight that ring is
before going to all that extra work.

I grabbed two allen wrenches of the appropriate diameter, stuck them in
the holes and pushed ever so slightly and the ring turned!!!  I could
have probably turned the ring by using my two thumbs pressing on the
ring.

Anyway, there are indeed two lens that make up the objective that are
air spaced by a plastic spacer.  The second lens is much thicker than
the first lens and there is NO WAY it could be inserted backward as the
two lens would then hit in the middle due to the curvature.  HOWEVER,
the front lens (the one you see from outside the scope) can go in either
way!

I removed both lens from the scope and played around with them focusing
the image of a nearby lamp on a white piece of paper.  When using the
lens in the order and position as removed from the scope the focused
image had the same symptoms I was seeing when using the scope.  I then
turned the font lens around and refocused the lamp.  The problem was
GONE!!!

I put both lens back in the scope this time with the front lens (the one
you see from outside the scope) reversed from the way I took it apart
then ran outside with the scope as I already knew it was fixed.  I
focused on the same sign I could NOT read the other day and the image is
now razor sharp!!!!

Although I'm not 100% sure, I THINK the front lens is now in the scope
with the side with the MOST curvature toward the eyepiece.  So much of
meade quality control!!!  Too bad the signature of the person that
performed final inspection is so poor I can't read it....
And more:
The ETX-70 just passed the laser pen collimation test !!!  In fact
that's one of the reasons I wanted this scope.  I needed a beam expander
for a 780 nm laser to be used for some free space propagation tests. 
Cheap refractors make great leaser beam expanders and the ETX-70 is no
exception.  Provided you put the objective lens in correctly that is!
And another update:
I went outside with the ETX-70 and the first thing I saw from the front
porch was the big dipper so I set the ETX-70 on a table (I didn't bother
setting up the tripod) and homed in on Mizar.  Much to my surprise I
could make out it was a double star but just barely.  Each side of focus
the image turned into blobs of light with some color fringe.  This was
with the 25mm eyepiece that came with the ETX-70.

Without moving the scope I popped in the 9mm eyepiece and was even more
surprised.  Instead of the degraded fuzzy image I expected to see it
actually looked better than the 25mm eyepiece!  Now there was no doubt
as to what I was looking at as each star was a very distinct separate
image. Running to one side of focus I was just starting to see what
looked like a diffraction pattern.  However, on the other side of focus
I had the same blob of light with some color fringe.

Earlier today under full sunlight I focused on a high contrast black
with white letters sign.  Unlike before the image was now very crisp
with a well defined focus but there was slight  red, green and violet
fringes on the letters.  I was expecting much worse so this was no big
deal.

Firing a laser pen through the ETX-70 and focusing the image on a white
building several miles away the image is a well defined dot.  I was
viewing that image with an ETX-90 with a narrow band filter to make the
laser dot more visible since it was still daylight when I ran this test.
 Judging the dot size against some red bricks on the same building I
estimated the dot size to be less than 2 inches in diameter. 
EXCELLENT!!!!

I'm going to take the ETX-70 apart again to take some photos of the
objective assembly and document what I found on my website just in case
someone else runs into this same problem.  It's not worth sending back
to the factory for something like this.  But then again no scope should
ever leave the factory in this condition!!!
And although the problem has been solved, this response came in:
From:	andrew kirby (IFR) (andrew.kirby@BBSRC.AC.UK)
I think the problem is that someone has dismantled the optical cell,
probably to clean the lenses, and then reassembled the acromat with one
of the elements back to front!

A quick process of elimination should sort it out  let us know how you
get on.

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