Last updated: 19 August 2005
This page is for user comments and information specific to the ETX PE (Premier Edition). Feedback on the specific PE technologies (Automatic Alignment + SmartFinder, Level North Technology) will be covered here. Feedback on the Autostar Suite AE (Astronomer Edition) will be posted on the regular Autostar Suite feedback page. Items that are applicable to all ETX models (EC, AT, PE) will continue to be posted on the other appropriate feedback pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	Re:Can't seem to find North with 105PE Etx
Sent:	Tuesday, August 16, 2005 18:39:19
From:	Mike Hogan (
First of all, the LNT battery only powers the clock, not the Smartfinder
LED. Next, watch the Autostar display after you clear the Sun warning
and start-up message. It should say "Time" for about 1 second. This is
when the Autostar reads the time from the LNT. The Autostar then
displays Align - Automatic. If all this is normal, it indicates two
things, the clock is working and the LNT data connection to the Autostar
is working.

If everything is normal up to this point, and the scope slews from the
full CCW stop (home) to the full CW stop, about 720 degrees, when the
auto alignment starts, it is most likely the LNT magnetic null sensor
circuitry is defective. You will have to replace the LNT. It's pretty
easy, remove 1 screw and disconnect a connector. If the scope is new
Meade should provide a new one without any hassle.

Hope this helps.
Mike Hogan
From:	Nick DiLisi (
Everything seems to be working ok other than that. I sets the time, and
the startup is fine. Meade wanted me to send the scope to them. However,
I called the store that I bought it at ( and they are
working with their Meade Rep to get a replacement sent so I can swap it


Subject:	re: ETX setup - Daylight Saving option
Sent:	Monday, August 15, 2005 22:03:58
From:	Richard Seymour (
IF your telescope is overshooting the targets (slewing too far),
you may have dirt or grease occluding one or more of the
encoder vanes.

To test this, sit the telescope on a table, and point it at a landmark.
Turn it on.  Tap [enter] past the date/time/daylight questions.
Tap [mode] to escape from the Align prompt.
Now press [mode] for 4 seconds.  Release.
You should be seeing the RA/DEC readout.
Tap [scroll down] once to the Alt/Az readout.
Note the numbers (probably zero/zero).
Now slew the telescope a full 360 degrees 
(either right or left, it doesn't matter) until it
returns to pointing at the landmark.
The Az reading should have also gone a full 360 degrees
and returned to very close to the starting value.
Now slew the telescope from a level-barrel position
(i use a bubble level as a starting aid) to straight up.
(a torpedo level will let you check that you slewed 90 degrees,
or a level now on top of the corrector cover will do).
The Alt reading should show very close to exactly 90 degress, too.

If the Az reading only showed 350 degrees of travel, one encoder
vane is blocked.  If the vertical slew showed only 87.5 degrees,
that's also the hallmark of one dirty vane.

If either of those happen, at least you know the cause of the
poor GoTos... whether you open things up to fix it yourself,
or return it to the vendor (or Meade) is your call....

have fun
> Thanks for your suggestion. The telescope is brand new, so I hope that 
> there shouldn't be any dirt or excess grease anywhere, but I will give it a  try.
Your problems could range from that, through loose gears, simple adjusting
of the Azimuth clamp knob, etc.etc.  At least the "dirty encoder" can be
measured non-invasively.  The Alt/Az readout error would be consistent
across multiple tests if it were the problem.  Loose gears and clamps 
would have a wider range of results (and loose gears would show a
-greater- than 360 readout)

> Two questions - 
> during the automatic alignment of the 125PE, how close would you expect the  
> chosen star to be? One degree, five degrees?

It could be all over the map due to local magnetic disturbance.
There are towns near me with up to 16 degree magnetic variation
from the area "norm"... they're listed on aircraft piloting maps.
> Is the levelling and finding North process known to be affected by any  
> nearby mass of metal such as reinforced concrete beams?

Got a pocket compass?  Ask it.
Some tripods arrive with one -leg- magnetized as an accident of manufacture.
Those can wildly affect initial slews if you're not careful to always point the
same leg north.
> The reason I ask is that last night I moved my scope further from my  house, 
> and noticed a significant improvement in accuracy - by no means perfect,  but 
> better.
If you -ignore- the AutoAlign, and just use Two Star (And maybe Easy... i
don't have a PE scope, so i don't know which choices avoid the seek-north)
and manually start pointed due north, you may find the telescope is accurate.
Once the alignment stars have been centered (and try to make sure you're
centering the -correct- stars, although if you're recognizing a multi-degree
offset you probably are) the scope no longer uses the magnetic-derived data.

have fun

Subject:	ETX 125PE Autostar/LNT Issues
Sent:	Monday, August 15, 2005 19:40:07
From:	Jake Deschaine (
Hello Mike, greatly appreciate your site and all you've put together for
the Meade scopes. I recently purchased a Meade ETX 125PE scope and was
able to use it mostly successfully for a few nights (of course I had it
three weeks and it was cloudy all but two Friday nights, but anyway).

However, my problem started to crop up rather randomly. The scope
stopped recognizing the LNT module. I tried several resets and even
re-flashed the Autostar controller. I then tried taking the battery out
of the LNT module and putting it back in, that did not help either. I
called Meade and they sent me a replacement LNT module.

Thinking that would solve my problem I replaced the old LNT module with
the new one, to the exact same results. It didn't grab the time from the
LNT, it didn't turn on the SmartFinder, it was as if it was a 125 AT
instead of PE.

This is when I tried something rather strange, I took the cable that
connects the Autostar controller to the telescope and reversed it. That
is I put the end that was in the scope in the hand controller and vice
versa. This time it successfully found the LNT. The smartfinder would
come on, there was an option for Automatic alignment in the Align menu.

Unfortunately, this way, the scope has serious problems. Some of the
time the horizontal (sorry I'm new to telescopes) the Azimuth axis that
is, would not move when you used the arrow keys. I tried a couple
CALIBRATE MOTORS, but that resulted in a fault, which it told me to run
a calibrate motors to fix.

So, once again I switched the cable back to it's original position. This
time there were no motor faults and everything worked correctly, except
of course the LNT module. Which it didn't detect again.

Before I call Meade again, I wanted to see if there was anything else
you would recommend. I believe it is one of a few things, hopefully, 1)
the Autostar controller itself is having problems 2) the cable is bad
(are you supposed to be able to reverse it at all?) 3) some of the
connectors between either the telescope and the cable or the Autostar
controller and the cable are malfunctioning in some way.

Please let me know if there is anything I should have done that I
haven't or something else you can think of to try.

Thank you for any help you might provide, and for the great resource.
Jake Deschaine
Mike here: Strange. Reversing the Autostar is NOT supposed to make any difference but it does for some people. Could be the pins in the connectors are slightly bent out of alignment. But that doesn't explain your symptoms with the LNT. It almost sounds as though something internal to the ETX is having a problem between the LNT and the Autostar. That is best left to Meade to solve.


Mike, thank you for the response. I called Meade Customer Service today
and it looks like it'll have to be sent back. Assuming I send it out
tomorrow and they get it by Friday, what do you think my odds of having
it back by next weekend (27th that is) are?

Thanks again.

Jake Deschaine
Mike here: Three weeks seems to be a typical turnaround time. But it could take less or more time, depending upon a lot of factors.
Subject:	Can't seem to find North with 105PE Etx
Sent:	Saturday, August 13, 2005 14:36:28
From:	Nick DiLisi (
I have tried several times to get the scope to auto align to the north.
I have set everything that I could find in the manual up and then tried
auto align. It tells me to set the scope in the home position. I do
that. It seems to level ok, but when it says "Calc North" the scope
turns and turns until it can't turn no more (something like 2 times
around) and it sits there saying calc north. I have left it for like 1
minute but I am afraid since if I turn it off and unlock it, it won't
turn anymore so it must be and the end.

What am I missing? I updated to the 3.4ec version as well.

Nicholas DiLisi
Mike here: Does the SmartFinder LED turn on? If not, there may be a power problem with either the LNT Module battery or something else. If the power is OK, have you entered your site location into the Autostar? If you do an Easy Alignment, does the ETX point correctly to the selected alignment stars and give you accurate GOTOs? If not, have you done a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES? Lastly, it maybe that you just need to CALIBRATE SENSOR for the LNT.


The SmartFinder LED works fine. I set that up fine and able to spot find
the moon and then look thru the scope and the moon is there. I have used
a power card as well as batteries. I have entered the correct location
(19406 ZipCode) as well as the date/time. Is there an order to
calibrating and training.

I could not do an easy align because it was alittle cloudy and early
when I did this.

When I try a Calibrate sensor it behaves just like an auto-align. It
keeps turning trying to find north. I read some stuff about how the
controls need to be pointing west and done that as well but it does the
same thing.

When I point it in the general direction of north and told it to goto
moon then goto jupiter it was off but it went in the general direction.
Small adjustments to line up the objects in the smartfinder and then
looking thru the scope was cool.

I am going to try again and make sure I TRAIN Drives. I can't really
said I did a train drives.

Calibrate motors was really quick and it just rotated alittle and tilted

Like I said, when I do a calibrate sensors, it does the same thing as
auto align. Rotates till it can't rotate no more.

Another question, The Right Ascension label seems to rotate (like it is
not glued to the based) or tight on the base. Is it suppose to be that
way (I didn't think so). The Declination vertical circle also spins, but
if you align and tighten the dial on that side it is ok. It doesn't seem
that you can tighten or secure the Right Ascension.

Since it was the weekend, I could not call Meade Support
Mike here: The order is CALIBRATE MOTORS and then TRAIN DRIVES (don't forget to TRAIN both axes). Since the CALIBRATE SENSORS went screwy, I'm suspecting a bad LNT module; Meade can send you a replacement.


I was afraid of that :)

Even though I just bought it, it is the older style smartfinder/lnt with
the locking screw. The etx box was in the shipping box and the date
looked like it was shipped 1/2005.

What about the bottom label that displays the RA? Should that move or
should that be tight or glued? I guess it doesn't make a real difference
if the LNT works and GOTOs are working.
Mike here: See the FAQ page for info on the setting circle tape moving.
Subject:	Re: ETX setup - Daylight Saving option
Sent:	Saturday, August 13, 2005 01:12:22
From: (
Thanks for your response, I have read the info you referred to, but am
still confused.

Initially, I set the time to local time (BST or GMT +1) with Daylight
Saving = yes. But the first alignment star (Arcturus) was a long way
off. I centered the star using the arrow keys, and went to the second
alignment star (Vega). This was also way off. I then centered this as
well. When I then did a Goto to Arcturus, it was along way off 10-15deg

I also tried setting daylight saving off, but that made matters worse.

Optically the ETX125 seems very good, but so far I am totally unable to
use any of the Goto functionality - it is very frustrating.

I believe I have set up my home site correctly -  if I enter the 'LNT'
mode by holding down the Mode key, I get my home location with correct

Maybe my problem is not the time, but something else, but I have run out
of ideas.

Best regards
Mike here: Is this alignment star pointing error occurring when you do an Automatic Alignment as well as when you do an Easy Alignment?


I haven't tried an Easy Alignment - I guess I tried the Automatic as it
is meant to be more accurate. I'll try that out as soon as I get the
next clear sky.
Mike here: Not necessarily. It just automates the HOME position process and tries to make that more accurate more easily.
Subject:	ETX setup - Daylight Saving option
Sent:	Friday, August 12, 2005 14:06:42
From: (
I have been trying to setup my recently acquired ETX 125PE, but the
manual is not very clear about the 'Daylight Saving' option. I have
looked through a lot of the advice etc on your website, but cannot find
any specific reference.

I am based in the UK and currently the local time is BST (Daylight
saving) which is one hour ahead of GMT. I have tried setting the time as
BST with Daylight saving  both on and off, but the first alignment star
(Arcturus) is always some 10-20 degrees off to the left of where the
scope is pointing. I have tried training the drives as I know this is
something you recommend.

I guess I am doing something pretty stupid, but I cannot seem to get
aound this setup problem. I am assuming that it is caused by the time
setup, but maybe there is something else? Do you have any suggestions?

Mike here: If you search the site for "British Standard Time" you will found this:
Subject: re: question (Daylight Savings)
Sent: Friday, August 20, 2004 19:48:30
From: Richard Seymour (
The British term for "Daylight Savings" is "Summer Time"

You would answer "yes" if your civilian time was an hour
faster than your Standard Time Zone would indicate.

have fun

Subject:	ETX PE - Placement of the control panel
Sent:	Thursday, August 11, 2005 22:44:42
From:	John Zimmerman (
I recall from my ETX-125 EC days you had the control panel facing west,
and had the tube pointing north (1/4 turn clockwise from hard stop) for

The PE manual seems to be silent on this issue, although it's implied in
the non-automatic alignment options you face it west because the tube
should be pointing north.  But placement of the control panel seems to
affect automatic alignment.  With the control panel facing in the
traditional west direction, automatic alignment chooses Arcturas and
Altair (around 10pm Pacific Time, August 11).  In every instance, I get
'alignment failed'.  But when the control panel is facing south,
alignment succeeds with the same stars.  I suspect the difference has to
do with the distance the tube travels to get to the alignment stars.

John Zimmerman
Mike here: I have always placed it on the west side with my ETX-105PE and haven't had any problems. Have you tried different alignment stars?
Subject:	Here goes for the dumbest question of the year.
Sent:	Thursday, August 11, 2005 19:25:43
From:	Robert B. White (
After using GOTO, I have been getting manual control back by turning
Autostar off, and then on again. There has got to be a better way, and
to get the RED DOT turned on again. Help, please and with much thanks.


Mike here: I presume you mean the dot on the SmartFinder and not some other red LED. Go to the MODE menu (hold down the MODE key for 2 seconds) and scroll until you get to the SmartFinder items; then you can turn it on. OR are you talking about slewing the telescope following a GOTO?


Aye. The smart finder is the red dot I meant. Sorry. The other part of
my question, more clearly put is: after using GOTO a few times, I want
to begin to operate the telescope manually-that is I want to use the
Autostar controller to slew the telescope to where I wish it to go. I
don't know how to "get control back" from Autostar.

Thanks for your patience.

Mike here: Just use the left/right/up/down arrow keys at the top of the Autostar to slew the telescope to where you want it to point.


You know, I did that; and here is how crazy people can be: when I did
it, the scope appeared to not respond. Why? Well, now I know that I had
set the slew rate to some very low number and the rest is obvious. Sorry
for the trouble. Thanks again for the patience.

Mike here: No problem. Just part of the learning process! We have all been there!!!
Subject:	ETX-90PE Report
Sent:	Wednesday, August 10, 2005 22:10:47
From:	John Zimmerman (
I received my ETX-90 PE a day earlier than expected. It arrived in the
afternoon. Aware of all the problems reported with these scopes, I
carefully checked every aspect of this new acquisition. Here's what

Experience with an AR-6 and an ETX-125 taught me that Meade's attention
to fit and finish is very good. The ETX-90 was no exception. It is a
beautiful instrument - I really like the M-42 graphic on the tube.

The first thing I did after unpacking it was attach the SmartFinder lens
to the LNT module - this has been a problem other owners have reported.
My ETX apparently has the redesigned SmartFinder - there is no Lens
Locking Knob and Front Lens Adjustment Screw that was on the early
models. To attach the lens, you slip the small plastic tongue into the
slot on the side on the LNT module - there is a small plastic pin inside
the LNT module that snaps into a small hole drilled into the tongue, and
that's what holds it in place. I noted some plastic flashing around the
hole in the tongue that prevented it from slipping through the slot in
the LNT cover. Careful trimming with a knife removed enough of the
flashing to allow the tongue to slip through, and attachment to the pin
inside was easy. Because it was daylight, the red dot was too dim to
permit alignment, so I had to wait until night.

When I turned on Autostar for the first time, I was surprised to see I
was not prompted for site information. A site had already been entered -
I don't know if this ETX was a return, or if it was part of an
inspection process - there was a reassuring label stuck to the top of
the OTA declaring it was the Meade Quality Assurance Document, and was
inspected by #1530. At any rate, I let it go through the LNT process,
and everything looked fine (this was daytime). It was even pointing
roughly where it should. I then did what I planned to do all along.
Issue a reset, then upgrade Autostar to the latest version. After doing
that, I edited the site information for a nearby city to reflect my
local longitude and latitude. I checked the date and time. The date was
accurate. The time was off by about 2 minutes, as I had a direct feed to
the atomic clock on my computer. I changed the time in Autostar, and
learned that doing that will update the time LNT keeps. I trained the
drives on a local light pole. It was here I noticed some strange
behavior in the azimuth drive. It appeared that there was a small amount
of vertical movement when I slewed in azimuth. I made a note to watch
this when it got dark enough for astronomical viewing.

With nightfall, I really put the little scope through it's paces. My
earlier use was with the 'AA' batteries. This time, I used an AC power
supply. Because of the change in power source, I retrained the drives
using Polaris as the object. I also calibrated the LNT sensors.
Alignment of the SmartFinder was very easy - and I found myself liking
this much better than the optical finders ETX's are equipped with. As
befits the name, SmartFinder's red dot turns on automatically when you
are aligning, and turns off when you are done with alignment.

Alignment was fun to watch, and very rewarding. After the little scope
calibrated itself for north, level, and tilt, it slewed to the first
alignment star, Arcturas. It was perhaps 4 degrees off. After centering
Arcturas, it slewed to Altair. Here it was about 10 degrees off. And
this is why I like the SmartFinder - it's so much easier to see an
alignment star that far off than through an optical finder with a
narrower field of view. Once Altair was centered, and alignment was
complete, I tested the accuracy of the GOTO's to Polaris, Antares, M17,
M11, and Albireo, to name a few - they were all within a quarter degree
of where they should be. Tracking is likewise very good.

Optics, of course, are classic ETX. The refractor-like definition of
these scopes is awesome!

The only issue I see is a lot of play and sloppiness in the azimuth
gears - sometimes when I slew in azimuth the scope goes up in azimuth
about a half degree, then settles back down to where it was - this
suggests a loose motor board that wasn't screwed down tightly enough.
I'll be looking inside the base later this evening to see what's going

Overall, I am well pleased with the ETX-90 PE. I love the convenience of
LNT, and like the SmartFinder. Because all of my other scopes are larger
and heavy, the ETX-90 fills the bill of a very portable, easy to use,
high optical quality telescope. I had a Questar for a year and a half.
And I have to honestly say, if I had a choice, I'd take the ETX - the
quality of the optics are very close to the Questar, and the convenience
of LNT and Autostar make it a lot easier and more fun to use.

John Zimmerman
Mike here: Don't forget to CALIBRATE MOTORS when changing power sources.


Well, I wrote too soon. After giving that glowing report, I am now
getting a consistent motor fault error during alignment, and the azimuth
motor now only slews at high speed.  Tomorrow it's a call to customer
service and a trip to the factory for repairs.  Sigh.
Mike here: CALIBRATE MOTORS may cure it.


Calibrate worked Mike - thanks so much!

John Z

Subject:	Thanks -Re: Can I install a right-angle viewfinder on ETX-90 PE?
Sent:	Tuesday, August 9, 2005 14:18:45
From:	Ariel Caceres (
Thanks Mike, that's useful!

Sorry to learn that the the clouds decided to show up during your trip
to Oracle obs.

Wishing u clear skyes for next time!


Subject:	ETX Premier Edition Feedback
Sent:	Tuesday, August 9, 2005 08:46:34
From:	Mike Hogan (
In the current Update, 8/8/05, there is some discussion on the LNT
"Home" position. During the last 8 months, I've figured out a few things
that might be useful to others.

For a description of the function of, and prerequisites for using, a
PE-Series scope perhaps you could direct users to Buyer/New User
Tips>Miscellaneous>PE Series LNT Summary on the Mighty ETX site.

Here are a few additional comments. The Autostar has no preset "Home"
position that you can slew to. If you want to create one, use the
Telescope Status display (Mode for 3 seconds) to display ALT/Az,
manually slew until you get to 0/0, then add a new Landmark named

The "Home" position is the full CCW Az mechanical stop. Once Automatic
Alignment begins, the LNT will determine Magnetic North and Level, use
correction factors determined during a Cal Sensors procedure to
determine True North and True Level, then assign that position 0/0 for
Alt/Az. This position is not "Home", just 0 degrees Alt & Az.

After this, the Autostar will use Site time and location to determine
the current RA/Dec of the 0/0 Alt/Az position and from then on all
object positions will be calculated internally using these values.

If you use a magnetic compass as a reference for scope direction you
-must not- have it anywhere near the right fork arm. There is a
permanent magnetic drive motor there that will cause errors. Also, it
should not be on top of the LNT during alignment since the magentic
needle itself might interfere with the detector in the LNT.

A final note. Although the initial position of the base of the scope is
not critical, it should be oriented so Control Panel is in a generally
Western direction. The reason for this is that if the full CCW stop of
the base is East of South, the LNT will detect a magnetic null as the
scope slews CW past South during initialization. The Autostar seems to
detect this and correct for it, but not in all circumstances. Sometimes
erratic things can happen, so it's best to orient the base to the West.

For those that use the Park Scope function, they should refer to my
message regarding an anomaly with that feature elsewhere on the ETX

Mike Hogan

Subject:	RE: New issues with my ETX-125PE
Sent:	Monday, August 8, 2005 22:49:50
From:	Alfredo F. Bird (
Thanks for your reply. You may be right. The telescope did gather a lot
of humidity because I moved it from an A/C apartment to the outdoors and
humidity is very high at Culebra. In any event, I spoke with Meade
Support today and they want me to send them the unit so that they can
check it.

As for the non-automatic alignment, I did not. Maybe that would've
worked. I still feel that it is best that Meade look it over. I find it
hard to believe that my problems are typical.

Best regards,

Subject:	Meade LNT - Home Position
Sent:	Monday, August 8, 2005 16:57:36
From:	David (
When I do "Automatic Align" using the Level North system, it always
appears that the system "found" north about 20 degrees west of actual
true North.  It seems to be confirmed if I tell it to go back to the
home position, it will settle in that same spot, west of North.  I did
the "calibrate sensors" thing on Polaris, but no change.  Another
mechanical compass shows nothing odd about which way "north" is.  A
Meade telephone jocky said that is normal, and another Meade phone
person said it was sensor trouble.

Have you found that LNT goes "home" to the correct spot, or similar to
my experience above?
Also - nobody seems to be able to answer this other question.  When you
put a Meade telescope in the "home" position, is that only for the
purpose of allowing the scope to know where to go for the guide stars
during calibration, or is that position also used in the final
"calculations" after the 2 stars are confirmed.
Mike here: As the manual indicates, the telescope may not end up pointing North at the end of the process. The HOME position is only to give the Autostar a known starting point.


RE:  North resting position.
Which only shows how good the Meade phone people are - one said "normal"
(correct) and one started giving me an RA number before I told him I
wanted to investigate more.

And I did read that in the manual, but it still didn't seem right so I
wanted to hear if you experienced the same thing.  Rats - I was hoping
to take my telescope instead of a compass to find my way in the woods...

Actually, I just tried an electronic handheld compass in the same
location - it wouldn't work right, either - was showing north about 15
degrees west of Polaris - same as the telescope.  (i'm in MN - only 2
degree correction factor)

I suppose the proof of the compass accuracy is how close the first guide
star is found, regardless of where it rests at "home".  But we like
verification - and not resting "north" is a bad one.

Thanks again...Dave
If you are saying it is NOT used in the final calculations, then it is
what I suspected.  I'd think only things such as stars are used in those
- and "home" just helps find the stars before the calculations are

Of course, the question related to how accurate the after-calculation
pointing would be if the "home" position was not accurate to start....

Thanks again...
Mike here: If the HOME position is off, say by 15 degrees in Azimuth, then the first star will be off by some amount. A common fix for that is to pick up the telescope/tripod and shift it until the first alignment star is as close as possible to the FOV and then make the final adjustment with the Autostar. Then proceed as normal with the 2nd star.


Oh, I see - so basically that first star then helps orient so that the
home position becomes about where autostar expected it to be relative to
that star....

Well - I did some further checks.  First I did Level-North manually,
then slewed to the first guide star and noted how far it was off.  Then
turned the home sensors on, did automatic alignment, and let it slew to
that same first guide star - very close to the same spot, so the LNT
must be working after all, despite the home "resting" position appearing
significantly west of north...

Thanks again!  Super site !!

Subject:	New issues with my ETX-125PE
Sent:	Sunday, August 7, 2005 20:24:35
From:	Alfredo F. Bird (
First and foremost, thanks for your earlier suggestion on Calibrating
the Motors. It fixed my alignment problem right away. At least, before
spending a week in Culebra, PR which is a small island between the
larger island of Puerto  Rico and St. Thomas in the USVI. You can
imagine the blackness of the sky. It is so clear you wish the Milky Way
"cloud" would get out of the way. Anyway, after taking the telesope to
Culebra, it all started again. The motors were moving on their own,
maybe because of humidity or battery power? I have no idea. I replaced
the batteries, re-calibrated the motors, but nothing. I then got a Motor
Fault and finally, (drum-roll), managed to break my SmartFinder. Since I
could not get a replacement on time, I tried a "crazy glue" solution but
the angle between the glass and the leg was not right and I could not
align the telescope with it. After a couple of hours of frustrating
attempts to center the alignment stars without the SmartFinder, my nine
year old daughter gave up and we packed up and left the site only to
suffer the same results each night until our return. I did get to see a
couple of Messier objects the first night but that was all. Enough to
keep me hooked to this very frustrating hobby.

But enough of this. I'm wondering if the LNT sensors need calibration or
if the motor is just not working right, or something else is wrong. If
you were I, what would you do next?

Once more, thanks. You are probably doing more for Meade support than
they could ever realize.


Mike here: Well, humidity might have caused a problem if the contacts to the batteries became wet. Did you try NOT using an Automatic Alignment before or after breaking the LNT module?
Subject:	Can I install a right-angle viewfinder on ETX-90 PE?
Sent:	Saturday, August 6, 2005 14:59:51
From:	Ariel Caceres (
I recently bought a ETX-90 Premier Edition. I find the red-dot
smartfinder very difficult to use when looking at objects near the
zenith, not to mention the fact that the whole structure supporting the
smartfinder lens is so fragile that I need to re-align it with the
telescope every single time I go out observing. Is is possible to
replace the smartfinder by a right-angle viewfinder (ie. Meade #825
8x25mm)?  The first obviuos difficulty I face is that the ETX90PE does
not have the viewfinder  bracket supplied with the ETX90AT.

Thanks in advance for any advise!
Mike here: You would have use one of the techniques that you can see on the Accessory Reviews: Finderscopes page to mount it.
Subject:	ETX-90 PE Questions
Sent:	Saturday, August 6, 2005 08:10:31
From:	John Zimmerman (
I have some quick questions about the ETX-90PE.  1) It looks like the
Meade carrying case has been redesigned to accommodate the PE series. 
Does this mean the scope can be placed in the case without having to
remove the Smartfinder lens?  2) Did the #1244 electric focuser always
properly fit the ETX-90PE, or did Meade have to make a modification?

Thanks  John
Mike here: I don't have the answers to either but the focuser has been out way longer than the PE models. Since that part of the ETX (where it mounts) doesn't seem to have been changed, it should work.
Subject:	ETX105 PE France
Sent:	Friday, August 5, 2005 13:54:52
From:	jean-jacques langolff (
I bought my ETX 105 PE a few days ago.

I have already spend a few hours looking at the sky and i can say that
it's very nice. This was the first contact with the ETX, and the
aligment was not very precise, I had to use the arrow keys many times.
But we saw many things in the sky. very exciting. Today i am facing two

The first one :

I live in France and i wanted to set a new location instead of PARIS. I
went through the menu, add a site (using PARIS setting), then edit it to
modify the parameters, and finally select it. So every thing is fine, i
get my own location, it also should improve the alignment!

The first problem is the following: I switch off and on the autostar,
and i can see that my location is reset! (when presssing MODE for 2 SEC)
latitude is 0, longitude  is 0, and instead the name of my town, i get
<an_unused_site> on the display! Then i repeat the setting some times (4
or 5 times),and finaly i get the message : error : site_lis_full !!!! I
decided to delete all these <an_unused_site>, because i was not able to
select PARIS anymore!

The second problem:

I have read the documentation more deeply (the one in english because
the french one is for the ETX EC version) and i decide to try several
adjustment. So i made the sensor adjustment for the LNT.... And, and
since that in automatic alignment, went searching fot the North, the
front of the ETX point to the South! I remember that the first nignt it
was pointing to the north.

anyway when pointing to an object it goes to the right place and ANTARES
is still to the south_west.

Please do you have any suggestions for these problems?
I am really sorry for my english, hope you understand.
Your site is very very usefull.
Thank you very much.
Mike here: I had the same problem initially with my ETX-105PE (which you can read about from the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page). After a few RESETs of the Autostar, it worked fine for setting my location. As to alignments, did you do a CALIBRATE MOTORS (which is different than CALIBRATE SENSOR) and a TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes)?


Hello mike thank you for your quick response i will try your advices
asap. but can you explain why the reset command is so important! does it
means that the memory is not reliable ? and that sometime the factory
default param are lost when you receive your ETX? thank jean.jacques
Mike here: Sometimes someone (dealer or Meade) may have tested the unit and didn't return it to the factory default condition.

And more info:

i tell what i have done to set my country in the autostar.

So , first I have reset the autostar as you you told me. (during this it
seams to make a calibrate motor)

Then i have entered my town, set the latitude....I verify it is ok with
the MODE key, then i have powered it off and on.

So after the initialization I checked my setting, pressing MODE key, and
again I get the message (an_unused_site_...) with latitude and long set
to 0.

Same problem !
let's try something else.
I reset the autostar a second time, and i decided the set a zipcode
instead of a town.

So this time i have only set my zipcode, not the time nor the latitude
or longitude and i switch off the autostar.

I switch on and verify my setting using the MODE key, and hourra!!! my
zipcode was here.

Finally i went through the menu and edit the Latitude, longitude,
This time it is OK!
So i cannot tell you if it works because i have used a ZIPCODE or
because i have only set the ZIPCODE and then switch off the autostar the
first time.

I have a question about the precision of the aligment.

Assuming that every thing is Ok , latitude, longitude, time, mechanical,
electronical calibration ...

Is it normal to adjust again and again with the arrow keys the aligment
in the automatic aligment procedure  to point right to the star ?

What is the error that is acceptable, can we define it?
Thank you very much
Mike here: Yes, some centering will be required depending upon the accuracy of the conversion from Magnetic North (which the LNT uses) to True North.

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