Last updated: 31 August 2004
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.

Sent:	Tuesday, August 31, 2004 13:23:40
From:	rdl (
I recently bought a new ETX 105 with autostar here in Belgium. I took it
on vacation to Austria. I hadn't used it so long as I just installed the
very second set of batteries. When alligning the scope, the drives made
a rattling sound and the right-left motion stopped at once. The autostar
mentionned motor drive failure. I tried to reset, but the rattling sound
and failure occured again. Declination drive worked normal. Having no
service store available on vacation, I opened the base myself. I noticed
a 'plastic connection' between the gearbox and the final metal wormgear
axis. This connection has a ring over the wormgear axis, keeping the
gearbox and wormgear together. This 'arm' was broken in two!! Therefor
the torque developped by the drive on the wormgear didn't turn the
wormgear, rather pulled the gearbox and the wormgear appart, making the
theeth of the gears slip over each other, producing a ticking sound. I
imaging that the ring should keep the wormgear axis in position but also
allow the wormgear to turn. Instead the ring had gripped on the axis. It
now moved together with a piece of the torn arm like the hands of a
clock around the wormgear axis when I turned the wormgear. Could the
ring have tightend itself due to a lack of grease and the resulting
friction heat? I cannot imaging it has weared because I only operated my
scope for about 10 hours in total. Could it be the screw on the end of
the wormgear axis being tightend too hard and too deep, so the plastic
cover around the axis expanded and friction occured on the inner part of
the ring?

Back at home, I returned the scope to the dealer. I will have to wait
for FOUR weeks to get it fixed. Has anyone else experienced this



Subject:	Do you seriously believe?
Sent:	Tuesday, August 31, 2004 05:10:28
From: (
The image of the solar system taken with an ETX from the Hague? in your
planets section???

Sorry, but the ETX (even a 125) simple CANNOT image Pluto, the subtended
arcsecond size of which has to be way below the capabilities of the ETX
series. I have a Celestron C8 with perectly collomated optics, and  even
with a toucam pro 2 modified, in a perfectly clear and dark sky, I can
only just SEE Pluto let alone image it?

I got out5 as far as Uranus with the ETX/TOucam with no problem. I am
happy so say that Neptune would probably have been possible as well, but
Pluto...just no way..

Sorry Mike, to sound rude, but it just doesn't add up at all...

From: (
Here the comments of me (Job Geheniau) who took the picture.
First go to Mike's site to:

There is my picture and proof of Pluto. It's the ONLY picture of the
solar system that has not been photographed in The Hague but in Greece!
(much darker).

But ecven in The Hague it is possible, except that the rooftops stand in
the way.

Pluto has a magnitude of 15. Not possible to see with an ETX90, but no
problem to photograph with a webcam with LONG EXPOSURE control. It is a
stack of 16*40! seconds=640 seconds for a tiny 15 magnitude point.

That is more tahn enough.
Last I had my first supernova with my ETX90:

with magnitude 12. That was really no problem for the ETX. I could even
see it with a SINGLE 30 seconds exposure.

It took me 2 weeks to determine the exact place where I could find Pluto
with help of SkyMapPro (see Mikes Site).

And!! Normally I take pictures of planets with an Barlow. This picture
of Pluto was the opposite way. I used a double focal reducer. Because
Pluto always will be a point it makes no difference for me to do that,
only that my f-ratio is much lower.

With my double focal reducer my f-ratio is about f-3.5 (instead of f-45
for Saturn or so)!!!

So I can assure you it really is Pluto. If you look at the picture (I
attach it again) there is no doubt about it.

And I can NOT see Pluto but image it is possible. If I could SEE Pluto
than imaging would really be very easy.

Sorry Nick, to sound rude, but it just does add up at all...

Job Geheniau
The Netherlands

Just surf my website and you can see what IS possible with an ETX90.
Well I stand corrected.

Thanks for the clarification, but then every single astronomy magazine
and book in the world is wrong. They all claim an absoluet minimum of an
8 inch scope is required to get pluto, I think you should submit that to
the major magazines and see what they think/say

Excellent work

And more:
You indeed need a minimum of an 8 inch to OBSERVE Pluto. For deepsky
LONG EXPOSURE IMAGING it depends of the dark sky, the seeing, the
clarity and the final exposure time.

And magnitude 15 is not really very faint. Ergo, the magnitude of Pluto
maybe even higher (13.8 or so).

I had more difficulties with the Owl Nebula than Pluto. It's not really
that hard, but it takes some patience.

Here just some Google samples from the internet:

" This means that the Cookbook CCD camera delivers a picture to your
computer screen every 2 seconds, so that with a 4-inch telescope you
could locate Pluto in real time. Even with a 4-inch telescope, all of
the Messier objects and thousands of NGC objects are easily visible in
real time."

(by the way this advertisement (I dont have this cookbook ccd camera)
sounds a little too positive. 2 seconds exposure...thats my doubt :-) 

or this one with etx 105:


"In honor of Clydes discovery, I imaged Pluto on emulsion, using ISO400
negative film, with a 4-inch refractor (TV NP101) working at f/10.8"

Job Geheniau, The Netherlands

Subject:	PEC on ETX
Sent:	Monday, August 30, 2004 15:42:13
From:	Dominique Boutigny (
On your web page: you say that
the new "smart tracking" autostar command is only for GEM (ie. non ETX)
mount. From the 32Ea Reame file, I read that the training time for ETX
is ~24 minutes. So I am confused, is it working on ETX or not ?

Thanks for your help,

Mike here: PEC works for the ETX in Polar Mode (I've not yet done this personally).
Subject:	Lens Cleaning
Sent:	Monday, August 30, 2004 07:31:00
From:	Tom Collins (
I know I have seen it, but I cannot find the instructions on how the
clean lens on my ETX.  Where should I look for this information?
Mike here: Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips: Cleaning Optics.
Subject:	PEC function in Autostar 32E
Sent:	Saturday, August 28, 2004 18:45:35
From:	Tommy Lim (
Finally my ETX125 recovered from RA motor gearbox failure. Just done
some tuning on both axis. Now tracking without backslash or jerky, it
runs smoothly in both axis.

I also solved my low latitude(3 deg) problem on my new Eq. wedge. No
need to get a special adapter for it, just a minor modification on it.

These are my ETX125 setup in polar mode.

Can I have more information/guidance/tutorial/ about this new PEC function? How to use it? What is the theory or usage behind this? clear skies. Regard, Tommy Malaysia
Mike here: See Dick Seymour's PEC comments in the next message.

And: How about is I decide to end my observing session? Will this PE always remember my correction all the time? What is the steps to do it in Autostar handbox? Any stars that I can use it to track? Am i need to center the star all the time? Tommy Mike here: Grab the LXD75 manual from Meade's Site. PEC and the Autostar is described there.

Subject:	re:  What is PEC?
Sent:	Friday, August 27, 2004 20:47:59
From:	Richard Seymour (
How does one graciously say this?

Mike, your second sentence is flat-out wrong.

PEC in the Autostar works for -all- Polar mounted scopes. (it takes 24
minutes for the training cycle on my ETX90).

PE (Periodic Error) arises from the wavering of the thread on the worm
which pushes the final gear of your telescope. Since it repeats every
time the worm turns, it appears to have a "period", hence the name.

PEC (PE Correction) is done by having you (or a CCD Camera) Train it by
watching a star during one rotation of the worm. You slew (or autoguide)
to keep it -dead- centered. In the Autostar's implementation, every
150th of the worm's rotation, the Autostar notes how far from -its- idea
of where it is your guiding corrections have moved it. It remembers

After Training, you turn PEC on, and it proceeds to "play back" those
corrections in tune with the rotational position of the worm.  That's
PEC in action.

have fun
Mike here: Thanks Dick. I meant that. But I have gotten so used to the ETX being Alt/Az that I forget that!
Subject:	parafocal lens
Sent:	Friday, August 27, 2004 23:34:17
I would like to have a stronger power lens that is parafocal with the 26
mm super plossil that comes standard with the etx 90. But the question I
have is which Plossl should I be looking for. I see super plossl 3000
and 4000 for sale but never  any that just say super plossil as it does
on my lens. Are either of these what I'm looking for? thanks Bob
Mike here: You can buy a set of parfocal eyepieces or you can make some eyepiece that you may already have parfocal with each other. As to a shorter eyepiece that is parfocal with the 26mm, I don't know of one.
Subject:	re:   Meade non-standard sized Barlow?
Sent:	Friday, August 27, 2004 20:40:23
From:	Richard Seymour (
Call Meade  (800-626-3233  or 949-451-1450 )

Since it's an obvious manufacturing defect, they'll replace it.

have fun
From:	Kris (
I took the advice of calling Meade.  The barrel is not out of round and
does not have any perceptible burr,  It seems that the metal used in
manufacture was thicker than spec.  It appears to be a Q.C. problem with
a parts supplier.  Meade is sending a new Barlow and testing out the one
I bought to discover exactly what happened.  They were very anxious to
see it.

Thanks for the stone-sensible advice and a fantastic website!
Kris Torrey

Subject:	new ETX90 focus knob hasn't worked
Sent:	Friday, August 27, 2004 13:56:43
From:	judy licht (
My new Meade ETX90 focus knob hasn't had any effect.  Is there a trick
or a fix for this?  The scope slews etc., but the focus knob doesn't
seem to be connected to any mechanism inside. How much friction should
there be?  Is there a stop? I've turned it for 10 minutes with no

Thanks for any advice,
Mike here: When you rotate the focus knob, the focus shaft should move in or out of the ETX. Once the knob reaches the base, rotate it the other way. It will eventually stop. If the shaft does not move then the focus knob is loose on the shaft; use the (possibly) supplied hex key to tighten the setscrew. If the shaft is moving but focusing an eyepiece on a distant object does not change the focus, then the shaft has become disconnected. In that case, since the scope is new, I recommend returning it to the dealer for an exchange.
Subject:	Meade non-standard sized Barlow?
Sent:	Friday, August 27, 2004 13:28:25
From:	Torrey,Kristin (
In June I purchased a Meade Barlow for my ETX125EC from Scopetronix.  It
is supposed to be a 1.25 yet will not fit my scope's eyepiece holder.  I
discovered it will not fit anything I have that uses a 1.25 eyepiece. 
So I took it apart.  The lens housing fits but the chrome barrel is the
culprit.  It seems to be a thousandth or two too big to fit inside the
holders on my telescopes.  I cannot return it to Scopetronics since 30
days have passed and I used invasive diagnostics.  I am puzzled, and can
think of several explanations ranging from "counterfeit" to
manufacturing glitch.  Have you heard of this problem from anyone else? 
Is there an easy fix?  I can probably sand and polish but I would rather
not put a lens so altered into my optical tube.

Thanks for this magnificent website and thanks for any help you can

Kris Torrey 
Mike here: Could be a "manufacturing defect". But out-of-round or some sort of "burr" are the most common culprits when there is such a problem with a Barlow Lens or eyepiece.
Subject:	focusing
Sent:	Thursday, August 26, 2004 16:43:05
From:	David Blackborow (
sorry to trouble you but i may just be a bit thick
i have a etx105, is there any way i can adjust it so that i do not have
to refocus when i put in a different focal length eyepeice?
Mike here: Perhaps. You can make (or try to make) your eyepieces "parfocal". You can use a rubberband, some other device, or purchase parfocal rings to hold the eyepiece at the right position in the eyepiece. You will have to experiment to get the right positioning with your eyepieces.
Subject:	There is help out there for underachieving scopes
Sent:	Wednesday, August 25, 2004 15:34:11
From:	Bob Twardy (
Fifteen months ago I purchased a new ETX 125. During the first six
months that I owned the scope it went back to Meade on three separate
occasions for a total of three months. They never really fixed the
mechanical problems I was having and I was never happy with the
"service" I received from Meade. Recently I decided to send the scope to
Dr Clay Sherrod at the Arkansas Sky Observatory ( for a
SuperCharge. Dr Clay will evaluate your scope, do a 102 point inspection
and then fix what is wrong with your scope. I just got my ETX 125 back
and it is now in great shape. All the problems I was having in RA, DEC
and focusing have been eliminated. Two years ago I sent my Meade LX200
GPS to Dr Clay for Supercharging and got the same great results. If your
scope is not giving you the results you hoped for you might consider
giving Dr Clay's SuperCharge service a try. I'm glad I did.

 Bob Twardy
 San Diego, CA

Subject:	What is PEC?
Sent:	Thursday, August 26, 2004 02:52:34
From:	Kaustav (
I read in a recent Autostar #497 ROM upgrade readme file about something
called PEC. I did a search on your site to try and find out what PEC is
and what it does but didn't come up with a definition or explanation.
I'm sure there is one on your web site somewhere. Would you be able to
direct me to the correct URL?

Mike here: PEC = Periodic Error Correction. Only works with GEM (ie, non-ETX) mounts.
Subject:	Re: Secondary mirror has shifted.
Sent:	Wednesday, August 25, 2004 17:33:05
From: (
Thanks for the advice.  Putting it in a hot car sounds crazy, but that
is probably what caused it in the first place.  I will try it.


Subject:	Computer Control Panel repair
Sent:	Wednesday, August 25, 2004 16:07:29
From:	Kate Angier (
We just got an ETX-125EC with the Autostar handbox. This is a used scope
and works great. But...last night, while plugging in the handbox, the
entire computer control panel popped inside the base of the scope.
Everything is still connected, power still comes on & etc., but my
question is: can we repair this ourselves? We tried all the obvious
things (using various small tools to try to wiggle it back out) but
nothing worked. Is there a way to get inside the base and work at it
from the backside, or is that going to mess up something important like
the gears? And lastly, should we hold off on using the scope (with or
without the Autostar controller) while this piece is out of position?

Thanks for any advice. The one telescope dealer in the area
(Minneapolis, MN) said if we brought it in, they would just have to send
it to Meade. Just wondering if there are any alternatives.
And from our hardware expert:
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
Are you speaking about the entire control panel actually "popped loose"
from the scope's base?   Or did it "pop" as in electrical pop?  If it
came loose, it sounds like the scope has perhaps been tampered with by
the previous owner; you can indeed look inside (See Performance
Enhancements, Part I) being very careful to have the control panel
facing DOWN on the table on which you are working and resting the bottom
plate against something slightly elevated so as to not break the very,
very delicate wires coming from the battery compartment.

If the panel is loose, then it is going to have to be reattached via
Superglue in all probability, something that you likely can do, provided
that care is taken to not get any adhesive on any of the circuit board
bridges, etc.

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory
10 Observatory Hill Drive, Petit Jean Mt.
MPC/cbat Obs. H41 / Petit Jean Mountain
MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway
MPC/cbat Obs. H44 / Cascade Mountain
Thank you so much. I looked at the references (should have stopped there
first) and see several evenings of interesting work--as long as I have
it open I'm going to check out everything (I did notice alot of that
clutch trouble everybody mentions).

Subject:	hex screw solution
Sent:	Wednesday, August 25, 2004 14:53:46
From:	TruettNeathery (
I jammed a 3mm hex key and applied sideways pressure and got the screws
to back out. I'll have to try and find some new ones now.

Subject:	ETX stripped hex screws
Sent:	Tuesday, August 24, 2004 09:28:32
From:	TruettNeathery (
Yes, the hex screws holding the OTA to the arms are completely stripped
out inside, in other words, the interal recess where the hex is supposed
to be so an allen wrench can be used is completely round and not
hexagonal, as though they were stripped out by someone (not me) in an
attempt to remove them using the wrong size hex key OR tighten them in a
vain attempt to take out the slop in the dec. Also, it would seem
counterintuitive that someone would go ahead and do that to all 4

Now: Does anyone have an idea about how to remove and replace such a
small screw without damaging the flimsy plastic around the screws? I've
seen a drill bit that has reverse pitch used to remove screws but on
much larger and more robust applications. I have a reversible drill I
could, if this were a safe method.

Subject:	ETX locking up - FIXED (?)
Sent:	Sunday, August 22, 2004 10:00:51
From:	Bill VanOrden (
Remember my 125 that would intermittently lock up or reset during the
star party at Westercon?

If you do, you likely remember we thought cable or Autostar.  I repaired
what appeared to be an intermittent connection in my cigarette lighter
adapter and the scope ran all last night with nary a glitch.  Pointing
was scary accurate ALL OVER the sky too!

Damn, I love this scope!!

I will report back when I have used it for a second extended session and
then confirm fixed for sure at that point.
Beevo (aka Bill VanOrden)
Tempe, AZ
Mike here: Yep, I remember it. Glad you may have found the culprit!
Subject:	telescopes
Sent:	Sunday, August 22, 2004 05:00:28
From: (
My partner is very interested in aquiring a telescope but dont know
where to start looking for one or even what to start looking at.  Could
you please suggest a good entry level telescope that you dont have to
take out a second mortgage for hahahaha. I am in the uk so if you could
supply relevant info for this side of the ocean that would be great.

Thank you for your time and help.
Amanda Rusgrove
Mike here: There are many UK dealers listed on the Astronomy Links page. Check those. As to WHAT you should buy, consider WHAT you plan to do with it. As I'm fond of saying, the best telescope for anyone is the one that gets used. If it is too cumbersome to setup or too difficult for you to use, it just ends up in the closet. However, you also need to be certain that your expectations for what you will see are inline with what the telescope can dealer. For the ETX line, you can browse some more on my ETX Site, especially the User Observations page.
Subject:	Tune-up
Sent:	Saturday, August 21, 2004 13:53:32
From:	TruettNeathery (
I recently bought a 90EXT with few miles on it. Now I see why! ( I have
a C-8 but I needed something easier to setup and use - age has caught up
to me, no doubt)

The declination is so sloppy, getting within 1 degree appears to be
impossible. So - I downloaded the remedies from this website, and
decided I would start by doing the TRUNION TEFLON WRAP AND GREASE
proceedure by removing the OTA and exposing them to prying eyes.  I have
a large set of allen wrenches, I have been a mechanic for 50 years, so
no prob, right? It appeared that my wrenches were too big or too small,
trying both American and Metric wrenches, so I looked at the screw heads
with my flashlight, and the sockets have no HEX pattern inside, just a
round hole!

Is there a special wrench to remove the OTA from the arms? if so, where
can I get one? There was none with the telescope (private seller)

Thanks so much for your help and the fine website for those of us
orange-tube vets!
Mike here: They SHOULD be hex screws. The OTA is removable from the fork arms. See the last portion of my article on the ETX-90:
Subject:	ETX - Inversion of polarity
Sent:	Saturday, August 21, 2004 13:10:15
From:	Romn Montesinos (
Mi name is Roman and I write you from Spain.

Tonight I connect my ETX at a external battery and I invert the polarity
(!). The ETX is dead. The red led near the switch ON/OFF work but the
autostar and a AUX port dont trace signals of life.

Otherwishe the other AUX port is able to supply energy to an external

The questions is: have the ETX a fuse or  diode for protection?. In
positive case, is easy replace it?

Many thanks for all
Mike here: You might be lucky and only fried the Autostar. Unfortunately, you may have damaged the ETX circuit board, which will likely require a return to Meade.


It will go to the technical service of Meade.
Many thanks for the reply.


Subject:	another Reply to "Problem with battery use (doesn't work!)"
Sent:	Saturday, August 21, 2004 07:53:38
From:	Mikel Stoer ( 
In the case of Reply to "Problem with battery use (doesn't work!)"

Another solution would be to get a connector (on of the 2.5mm power
plugs from Radio Shack) and short the two lines on the back side
together. This in effect re bridges the circuit opened when the plug is
installed.  Cheap and elegant.  That being said when I bought my ETX125
I had this same problem, I promptly returned it to the dealer and got a
replacement but if it wasn't new or under warranty this would be a quick
 easy and economical way to work around the issue.


From:	Savage, Tom (
I solved the problem by soldering some thin wire onto the battery
terminals, drilling a small hole in the battery cover and soldering a
5.5mm plug onto the end of the wire. Plug into the external socket for
internal batteries, unplug it and plug in other power source when
available. This eliminates the chance of charging batteries up using the
other method. Slightly 'industrial' perhaps, but cheap and it saves
dismantling the thing!

I have another question. I took the telescope to my local astronomical
society to get tips in it's use. They suggested that the drive speeds
may be too slow. On 9 in takes quite a long time to move on it's
horizontal axis. It's a bit quicker on vertical but not much. They
commented that it's considerably slower that the 200s they have there.
Do you know what the speed should be for , say a 90 degree movement in
the vertical and horizontal planes, and if there is anything I need to
I have checked the Autostar and it does have the 105 in it's memory,
thanks in advance,
Tom Savage
Mike here: I haven't measured it but from Autostar docs it is probably around 5 degrees per second.


Thanks for your help Mike. I think it's probably working OK then,

Subject:	re:  Secondary mirror has shifted.
Sent:	Friday, August 20, 2004 20:35:59
From:	Richard Seymour (
I think the article you want is along the lines of this one:

...since the baffle tube moves with the secondary mirror, too.

Also this one:

If it has merely -slipped-, you could try inverting the telescope
so that gravity is in the correct direction to pull it back,
and apply -gentle- heat  (such as leaving it in a warm automobile)
until it slips back.. and then quickly moving the telescope to
cooler surroundings.

please excuse Mike's answer... sometimes he's so busy he
doesn't know which end of the scope is secondary...

good luck
Mike here: Oops! Good catch. That is the same problem I had a number of years ago on my ETX-90RA. Thanks Dick.
Subject:	Secondary mirror has shifted.
Sent:	Thursday, August 19, 2004 20:37:38
From: (
I have been reading your site off and on for almost 6 years.  It is a
formidable resource.  I recently noticed that the secondary mirror on my
6 year old original ETX 90 (not EC) has shifted slightly from the center
of the corrector lens as if it has slid on the adhesive that holds it on
there.  I recall reading about this in the past but could not find a
reference to it on your site.  I would appreciate any suggestions you
have on how to rectify this situation.  Thank You.

Tom Roller
Mike here: There are a couple of articles on "Flip Mirror Repair" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips. Maybe they will help.
Subject:	RE: Reply to "Problem with battery use (doesn't work!)"
Sent:	Thursday, August 19, 2004 00:43:30
From:	Savage, Tom (
Thanks Niall, and Thanks Mike for your earlier response. 

I too tried (half-heartedly) to get to the circuit board but eventually
admitted defeat.

I may forget about the internal batteries altogether. I imagine sending
it back to Meade may be expensive and not cost effective in the long
run, as I will probably end up with an external portable supply anyway.

Since I bought the telescope (which, incidentally, is out of warranty) I
have had just one clear night - the night I got it home.

As pretty as it is, sitting looking at it rather than through it does
become frustrating. However, I am making inroads into learning how to
set it up properly and to use the Auto star, so on balance it's probably
a good thing!

The storms have been entertaining though. (Though perhaps not for the
unfortunate communities who were all but washed into the sea in Cornwall
and Florida).

Subject:	ETX 125 motor problem
Sent:	Wednesday, August 18, 2004 06:09:32
From:	Richard Blaisdell (
Last night I some how hit reset and today while initializing the unit I
discovered that the DEC motor only goes up and nothing happens when
pressed down. I tried my manual controller and same thing. Nothing
happened. Either the motor is bad or something else that I can't figure
out. Please help if you can. Thanks, Rick Blaisdell
Mike here: Pressing RESET would not affect the drive itself. BUT you do need to reselect the telescope model, mounting mode, CALIBRATE, and then TRAIN DRIVES (both axes) again. Let me know the results.


Still nothing. All other three aspects run but not even any noise from
the motor when pressing Down. Same in manual controller. Left,Right,UP,
all fine. Down totally DEAD. Took bottom plate off to check connections
and all appears fine. rick.
Mike here: Since both the standard handcontroller and the Autostar exhibit the same problem, I would suspect something has failed inside the ETX. Probably time to call Meade.


Called Meade,was told to send it in for repairs. Oh well, it's still
under warrantee. BUMMER!!!!!!!!. Rick.

Subject:	Thanks Mike and Dr. Clay
Sent:	Monday, August 16, 2004 17:05:37
From:	rori (
Your website has been of enormous help to this first-time ETX user.
Several years ago I was forced to sell my Meade 8" SCT. I loved that
scope although it was a bit more than I (a 125 lb. lightweight) could
easily carry and transport. Since then I had been lusting for another
scope. A few months ago I saw an ad for the ETX series. The ETX-125
seemed to be the perfect solution for performance and portability, and
it had the GO-TO technology which was now affordable. But I knew nothing
about computerized scopes, so I was rather intimidated. Thanks to the
Mighty ETX site which I now read consistently, I have learned a lot and
feel more comfortable using my shiny new telescope. I even sent it to
Dr. Clay for the supercharge service right out of the box. With only
minor adjustments, he gave her a clean bill of health both optically and
mechanically, saying it was one of the finest ETXs he had seen. Music to
my ears! Now all I need is to catch a break with the weather. Thanks
Mike for your great website. Keep up the good work.


Subject:	Would you give a little advice on a beginner etx90?
Sent:	Sunday, August 15, 2004 18:57:24
From:	C (
I found your site through a search engine. I am buying a telescope for
my birthday (8-19) and after alot of searching, I think I will go with
an ETX 90 with autostar. Do you think this is approprate or would it be
too advanced for a beginner? I also would like to know what kind of
digital camera I can but to take pics like the ones I saw on the site.
Very lovely indeed! Im sure you get a hundred emails a day so I wont
bother you any longer. thanks alot for your time!
Chris Walker
Mike here: The ETX-90AT makes a fine telescope system. Users all over the world at all levels of experience are successfully using it. You just need to read the manual; although visiting this ETX Site does help! And almost any digital camera can take some types of astrophotographs. Visit the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page for more info and examples.
Subject:	Dark sky sites
Sent:	Saturday, August 14, 2004 21:24:13
I was wondering where you go for dark sky observing. I've heard about Mt
Pinos, but am trying to find anyplace else to go to, within easy driving
distance from  the south bay.

Mike here: Actually, I do my observing from my back patio. I live on the Palos Verdes Penisula, just to the south of the crest, so I'm blocked from much of the LA lights. I can even see the Milky Way from home! It is not perfect but it is convenient. Only the North skies are washed out. The South Bay Astronomical Society even has its monthly telescope observing a half block from where I live! Mt Pinos is excellent but VERY crowded with observers. Others will go to the deserts.


hmmm interesting. I had never thought about there. I guess I just took
it for granted everywhere around here is totally light polluted ( or as
in last night covered with low clouds from the ocean ).
Mike here: I was above the fog last night. It is actually nice when the fog covers the basin; blocks some or a lot of the light from there! The SBAS group also does some trips to the deserts.


Thanks Mike. I just checked out SBAS site. Going to look into them.

As for the marine layer, it crept up on me last night. I couldn't figure
out at first what was wrong with my telescope,  from the glances up from
the eyepiece. Til I sat back and really looked around. The clouds had
surrounded my location then constricted to right where I was aiming.
Mike here: That has happened to me too!
Subject:	Reply to "do i need a fuse when using an ETX 125 with 12v 7A/hr lead acid battery "
Sent:	Friday, August 13, 2004 13:03:49
From:	Phillips, Edward (
I would place a fuse inline just for that (Murphy Law) incident that we
all have every once in awhile.

Eventhough you are using a 12V/7Amp battery source to drive your
telescope you could have something happen like the gear getting debis in
them durning a skew and then binding up the gears or a short in the
electrical system.  This then would cause the motor to draw at maxinum
all 7 amps to overcome the binding and could even lead to a motor
melt-down in a worse case.  I built a 12V AC/DC source for my ETX-125AT
telescope and measured the current draw during skewing motions.  The
maxinum I saw was about 600 to 750 milli-amps, so I placed a 1 amp fuse
in the power cables from the 12V-1500Milliamp AC/DC source.  I figured
for cold nights it would be drawing a little more, so the 1 Amp fuse
should do the job.  When I build a battery source I will do the same. 
Just remember N-Corrector with Polarity + in center, - on outside as
described in the Weasner Articles.  Hope this helps..
Edward B. Phillips
Harvest, AL

Subject:	Terrestrial photography with ETX 90
Sent:	Friday, August 13, 2004 08:13:22
Thanks for the great site. I look at it frequently and greatly enjoy the

I would like to do some terrestrial photography with my ETX 90 and Canon
Digital Rebel camera. I know that I need a #64 T adapter and the
appropriate T mount for the Rebel. I looked around on your site and
could not find any discussion on terrestrial photograph.  If there is
already information on your site in this regard, could you guide me
there. If not, do you know any other source that I could investigate?

I assume, to control vibration, a cable release is necessary, as well as
mirror lock up. Should the camera be set to full manual mode?

Any thoughts here are appreciated.


Mike here: If you search the site for "terrestrial" you should get some hits. As with astrophotography, you can do prime focus (where the ETX is like a 1250mm telephoto lens) or use an eyepiece (either afocal or eyepiece projection). Depending which you plan to do, different adapters are required (but they are the same as for astrophotography). Either way, given the magnification you will want a steady tripod and either use a release cable (mirror lock up too if the camera has it) or the self-timer.
Subject:	Perseids Meteors 
Sent:	Thursday, August 12, 2004 21:28:42
From:	Brittain, Alan T (
I went out right after I got off work, since I work second shift it was
about 1:00 am Central time.   I stayed out about an hour, hour and a
half before going to bed.  A real good show.  Lots of meteors.   I live
about an hour southeast of Des Moines, Iowa.  Clear skies could see the
Milky Way from the northeast all the way to the southwest.   I estimated
about 30 to 40 meteors in that time frame.   Not a bad night.

Subject:	tripod 
Sent:	Thursday, August 12, 2004 19:08:04
From:	Aman Bhasin (
I came across your website while searching google.I am so glad with all
the information I am getting from here.Thanks

I had a question about tripod , is meade #884 good for ETX-90EC.

Also I got ripped off. I got my ETX-90EC and my autostar computer
controller from for $685.00 and will be spending a good $200
on the tripod which totals $985.00 and I just found ETX-90AT on for only $595.00 What do u have to say about that ........?

Thanks for your help
Mike here: Welcome aboard! Yes, the #884 works fine. Sorry that the dealer didn't provide the latest "model". You could contact them if it was a recent purchase and see if they will honor the AT model included items.
Subject:	EC vrs AT Question
Sent:	Thursday, August 12, 2004 05:34:31
From:	Glenn J. Carpenter (
I have an opportunity to get an ETX-125EC.
1. Can you tell me the difference between the current AT and the EC
lines. The savings to me is about $300.00.

2. Can Meade upgrade the coatings of a standard EC to UHTC?
Glenn Carpenter
Mike here: See the FAQ page for the comparison. UHTC is not available as an upgrade to a telescope with standard coatings.
Subject:	Delux Field Tripod Carry Bag
Sent:	Wednesday, August 11, 2004 18:53:39
I've taken my gear out about half dozen times (home ->car -> site -> car
-> home), and the tripod carry bag is visibly deteriorating: seams are
spreading, and the weave of fabric on the nose end has already split. 
Are these bags always this fragile, or should I complain to Meade/my
dealer about defective stock?

Speaking of quality control, I finally got my eyepiece set around 4-6
weeks ago: I haven't had a single really clear night since, but the moon
has been reasonable, even through haze limiting to around magnitude 2,
naked eye.  On taking out the lenses into a quiet environment, I found
the 32mm rattled. On checking, the lock ring inside needed a full turn
to secure it properly. Easy enough to do, but a little bit more of the
black coating looks slightly polished.... Sloppy to say the least.


Subject:	do i need a fuse when using an ETX 125 with 12v 7A/hr lead acid battery 
Sent:	Tuesday, August 10, 2004 07:23:45
From:	Stephen Simmons (
I know you've heard it all before but, Great Site!!!

Can you please help me as I do not want to "Fry" my prized 40th birthday
present, ETX 125 EC.

I would like to save on batteries by using a small 12V  7Ah lead acid
that I use when Radio controlled model flying.

Do I need to have any special circuitry or a fuse in line to prevent
overloading the telescope circuits or is it safe to assume it will only
draw the power it needs when connected directly?

I see from other articles on the site that the centre pin is + positive
on the connector and the outer - negative but no one mentions an in-line
fuse / resistor.

Thanks in advance hope you can help

Stephen Simmons
Mike here: Adding a fuse won't hurt but it really isn't required.
Subject:	Problem with battery use (doesn't work!)
Sent:	Monday, August 9, 2004 01:06:56
From:	Savage, Tom (
I have just acquired a second hand ETX 105 (I'm new to astronomy). Using
the 12V power supply it works OK. However, it won't work with batteries
(yes, they are new and in correctly!). I removed the base plate and
checked the wires to the battery compartment (as suggested here). They
are in place and continuity is OK. Any ideas what the problem may be and
how to fix it? (I don't know how to go about dismantling it further to
get to the circuit board components...) Or is it a 'return to base'
Tom Savage
Mike here: When the AC Adapter is attached, the batteries are disconnected. I suspect there could be a problem with the "cut-out" switch. That might need Meade to fix.
Subject:	re: DSX 125
Sent:	Sunday, August 8, 2004 18:57:32
From:	Richard Seymour (
The DSX models are the DS one-arm models with the ETX optical 

And they (or at least their manual) are/is on Meade's site,
you just have dig fairly deeply:

(that's a 936 KB pdf file of the manual)

have fun

Subject:	question
Sent:	Saturday, August 7, 2004 13:45:09
From:	arya qavamiyan (
i have another question,what Does LPI do?
Mike here: Please READ the Email Etiquette item; subject lines that are ambiguous are subject to deletion as SPAM.
As to the LPI, see the article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.
Subject:	DSX 125 AT ?
Sent:	Saturday, August 7, 2004 12:32:36
From:	Jay Surratt (
I just purchased an ETX 125AT from Discovery Store.  I have since
visited the Brookstone Store site and found the attached Meade DSX 125
AT.   Is this an all new scope from Meade?

It is not found on the Meade web site.  Anything you may know about it
is appreciated.

Mike here: The DSX line is a more "general consumer" oriented telescope system. It doesn't have the options that the ETX line has (like polar mounting and UHTC). Otherwise it is the same OTA and Autostar.
Subject:	Which eyepiece/barlow to keep?
Sent:	Saturday, August 7, 2004 12:09:36
From:	The Lightfeet (
First, thank you for taking time to review and (hopefully) respond.

I'm new to the field and, through various exchanges, I find myself with
an ETX-125 and two 26mm eyepieces; both Meade SP 26mm multi-coated.  One
is an LP, one is not.  I also have two 2X Barlows, one is the #126 and
the other the longer #140.

All seem equivalent in usefulness to their partners, but since I'm new,
I don't know which of each duplicate to sell and which to keep.  What
would you recommend?

Again, thanks for your time.

Ashley Lightfoot
Mike here: Either eyepiece should be OK. The longer #140 Barlow Lens may not work (reach a focus) with all eyepieces when used with the ETX. The "shorty" style #126 is safest.
Subject:	reticle eyepiece
Sent:	Saturday, August 7, 2004 09:29:50
From:	Michael Dolceamore (
I am replacing the bulb in my 9mm corded reticle eyepiece and was
wondering if you know the voltage?
Thank you,
Mike here: Nope. Probably 9 or 12VDC though.
Subject:	ETX/Barlow question
Sent:	Thursday, August 5, 2004 05:56:22
From:	Jon Crystal (
I'm in the process of getting my first scope (ETX70or 90) and am already
thinking about accessories. A Barlow lens seems high on the list. Can
you advise between #124 and #126? And what are the pro/con of a 3x
Barlow (#128?) vs. 2x?


Mike here: If you are going for the ETX-90 I would suggest the #126. If you are going for the ETX-70 then the #124 would be OK. 3X Barlows will deteriorate the image more than the 2X ones but depending upon your purposes, either can be OK. You might want to look at the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page.
Subject:	ETX 125 telescope
Sent:	Thursday, August 5, 2004 05:25:31
From:	Ian C. Binns (
Hello!  My name is Ian Binns and I am a PhD student at UVA. My professor
recently gave me the ETX 125 telescope to learn how to use.  However, he
did not have a directions manual or guide to go along with it.  He
mentioned your website, but there is so much information that I am a
little overwhelmed.  Do you have a particular part of your website that
I should use for help with the basics such as troubleshooting, setting
up, etc?  If you have a manual that could be downloaded or know of a
place that I could download one from, I would really appreciate it. 
Thanks and I hope to hear from you in the near future.


Ian C. Binns
Mike here: Start with the manual. See the FAQ page for info on that.


Thanks for your help.  I got what I needed.  

Subject:	re: How many ETX's?
Sent:	Wednesday, August 4, 2004 22:58:07
From:	Richard Seymour (
That's a question that's been rattling around one of the Yahoo groups,
too (maybe from you?).

Meade, to the best of my knowledge, has never publicly divuldged that
information... i've listened in to the stock market analyst 
teleconferences Meade gives on a quarterly basis, and they've never said.

But let's turn it around: how many of *which model* are you speaking of?
Only ETX 90./105/125?  Or is your projected product applicable to
the DS families, and the LXD's and the LX90?  And perhaps the LX200gps?

How many sales will you want to plan for before you decide to make
a "Go" of it?

There are many thousands of ETX90's on the market, lesser numbers
of (in probable order, due to product life) ETX125's and ETX105.

There are -more- DS's than ETX's (due to the market channels),
and lots of ETX60's and -70's

However, many of those "lesser" models are sitting idle in closets
due to complexity of operation or other problems.

Does your product require an -Autostar-?   
Can it work with a 494 Autostar?

Another bellweather would be Mike's book sales... if he's willing
to (or even knows) the quantities sold, that would be a round number
for second-market items.

To improve your sales prospects, i'd recommend hooking up with a major
distributor, such as ScopeTronix.  Yes, you may make less on a per-unit
basis, but you'll move MUCH more product. (and have benefit of their
advertising and credence to their wholesale customers).

have fun
--dick (we also test products... :-)

Subject:	#1209 Zero Image-Shift Microfocuser
Sent:	Tuesday, August 3, 2004 20:25:52
From:	Sergio Tognolotti (
Very great site for any ETX user!!! Great Job - Very very thanks for the
time and effort.

I have any question, it is possible to use "#1209 Zero Image-Shift
Microfocuser" in my ETX-125?

sorry for my poor english.

Bests regards! Sergio Tognolotti, Buenos Aires - Argentina,
Mike here: Thanks. I'm not familiar with that accessory. Is it for the LX200 series?


yes, its for the LX line, my best friend have one in your LX-90.
Mike here: OK. Just looked it up at Meade's site. It might work with the ETX but you would likely need a SCT Accessory Adapter (see the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page). However, weight and size could cause problems when used with the ETX line, assuming eyepieces would even focus when it was attached.


Thank you very much, it will comment to you if obtain some worthy
result, like always Mike, you are the main source that looks for all the
owners of ETX! Best regards!
Sergio Tognolotti, Buenos Aires - Argentina,

Subject:	s choices
Sent:	Tuesday, August 3, 2004 17:21:01
From:	shirley m feickert (
Mike I have three choices
1. used Meade LX200 10" f/6.3
2. used Meade LX-50 f/10 with Magellan ll.
3. New Meade LX90 8" (seen in S & K)
I want this be the last scope I'll get and keep. For deep sky , Which
one would You suggest?
I trust Your opinion

Mike here: Aperture is always best for DSOs HOWEVER there could be other considerations. The LX90 8" uses the Autostar, which you may find easier to use than the GOTO system on the LX200. But as Meade's ads say, the LX-90 could be your lifetime telescope.
Subject:	Meade Tripod 884 question
Sent:	Monday, August 2, 2004 14:49:17
From:	BENNY ---.. (
Just to let you know that your previous tip to "rotate from hardstop to
hardstop several times" worked just fine to ease a tight and bumpy RA
axis on my new scope.

Now I have a new question this time regarding my 884 Advanced field
tripod. I have read on my tripod instructions and as well as on Meade's
web page that my tripod can be setup in equatorial mode from a latitude
as low as 20 degrees , the problem is that in the graduated metal scale,
the last digit I can see is 25, when fully tilting the plate to its
limit I can see the "25" a little bit above the mark, but I'm not sure
if I'm reaching 20 degrees. I would like to start using Polar mode but
my latitude is 20.7170 N.

Thanks again for your kind feedback.

Mike here: Not having the #884 I can't answer directly but maybe someone else will respond. Glad the rotating trick solved the problem.
Subject:	motor unit fault with new ETX 125s
Sent:	Sunday, August 1, 2004 22:26:50
From:	Steven Hendley (
About a month ago I bought an ETX 125 (my first scope) and started
getting persistent "motor unit fault" error messages, usually after only
a few minutes of operating it (after aligning it). After speaking with
Meade, I returned that scope - as they suggested - and got another. It
works better. I've had it out twice just to check the autostar and it
put stars I had it slew to almost dead on in the eyepiece. But after 30
minutes or so tonight it brought up the "motor unit fault" again. I
re-aligned the scope and it put a couple of stars in the eyepiece again,
but then I got the "motor unit fault" error message after only about 10
minutes of operation.

I've read a few of the posts of other people with this problem. One, in
particular, had success taking the scope apart and cleaning the gears
and other internal workings. But I'm not sure I'm up for that. What
would you recommend? I could return the scope and try a third one. If
you think I should take the scope apart and clean the gears, could you
direct me to some specific instructions for it? I'm at bit of a loss as
to what to do.

Mike here: There can be many reasons for the Motor Faults. Typically they come from hitting one of the hard stops; that results from not putting the ETX into the proper HOME position when doing the initial alignment steps. If you are sure you did the rotations correctly then there are still other possibilities: loose connection; weak batteries, dirty encoders. It is easy to check the first two and sometime easy to cure the last. Especially with new telescopes (that may have sat on a shelf for some period of time) you can redistribute the lubrication by unlocking the axis and moving the ETX back and forth slowly by hand from hard stop to hard stop. Do this several times. I would avoid going inside at this point.


I've been careful to do the alignment correctly, rotating the scope
counterclockwise as far as it can go and then clockwise into the home
position. I also checked the battery power indicator on the autostar
last night after I got the first error message; it said I had 93%
battery power left.

I've also tried moving the ETX back and forth from hard stop to hard
stop a few times (I saw this mentioned on your site). I did this before
I started last night and immediately after getting the first error

What do you think? Take it back and try a third one? This is getting
frustrating as I'm really happy with the ETX when it works.

Mike here: Shouldn't be this much a pain so as long as you are certain you are not overtightening the axis lock, then I'd say swap it.

And an update:

Thanks for the very rapid responses to my questions. I already traded it
in for my third scope (by the way, the folk at the Discovery Channel
Store where I bought it are being very accommodating) and, so far so
good. I took it out tonight and it was pretty accurate going to various
stars I was using to test the autostar and didn't give me a single
"motor unit fault" message. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this
third time really is the charm.

And, as others have commented, your website is enormously helpful in
learning one's way around using the ETX. Thanks for maintaining it.


Subject:	[none]
Sent:	Sunday, August 1, 2004 20:35:01
From:	Mark Mittlesteadt (
I am designing a product for ETX's and in order to get funding (read
loan) for this project, I need to have a guess-timate as to how many ETX
owners there are world-wide.

Does anybody have any sales figures from Meade as to how many ETX's have
been sold to date?

Any information would be appreciated.


Mark Mittlesteadt
Wausau, WI
Mike here: First off, PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on my ETX Site; your message was originally deleted unread as SPAM due to the missing subject entry.
Meade doesn't publish sales figures directly. But you can surmise it is quite a large number.


Oops, sorry about having no subject...It was late and I was in a bit of
a rush.

I can see where Meade wouldn't publish sales figures, but there must be
a way to have some idea as to the number of sales of ETX's since it was

One often hears of reports on how many types of cars were sold, or other
products, if for no other reason than bragging rights.

If the ETX line is the most popular, surely there are some statistics
available somewhere. I'll have to keep digging.


Mark Mittlesteadt

Subject:	Re: Meade ETX125
Sent:	Sunday, August 1, 2004 10:00:44
From: (
Thank for your input...being a brand nwe scope and my dealer only ten
min from  my house I think a exchange would be my best bet.


Subject:	Choosing
Sent:	Saturday, July 31, 2004 14:27:58
From:	luis (
hi i own a celestron c102 hd and i cant find anything it really
fustrating and i was wondering if i should sell it and go for the etx 70
or 90 depending on how the cash goes of i i should perservere with me
current scope cheers
Mike here: Depends. If you are comfortable with your telescope and it does what you need, why switch? As you can tell from my ETX Site, the ETX line is a fine choice if you decide to get a new one.
Subject:	Using a green laser pen as a finder scope
Sent:	Sunday, August 1, 2004 09:14:56
From:	Spam @ K3PGP dot ORG !!! (
I recently replaced my ETX finder scope with a green laser pointer.  The
only problem of is you have to be able to see what you are trying to
point at naked eye!  If you're after something very dim then of course
you'll need the light gathering ability of a traditional finder scope. 
But some unexpected benefits were discovered the first night I used this

It's been a real pleasure using the laser finder as I no longer have to
keep shifting my view between the eyepiece and the finder scope.  Next
project is to stick one of these green laser finders on my 25 x 100

You can see details at:

Mike here: Yes, it works fine, just like the red dot finderscopes and have the same limitation!

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