GENERAL FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 1 September 2005
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.

Subject:	The focussing on my ETX105 doesn't glide - it jumps
Sent:	Wednesday, August 31, 2005 05:54:25
From:	Andrew Thurkettle (andy@shiretraining.org.uk)
I have come to the end of my patience with the focussing performance of
my beloved ETX105 which I have had for just under 8 months now.

I have installed a flexible focussing stem, and know that these can
cause problems, but the problem persists even when I refit the original
Meade supplied knob.

The way that it manifests itself is that the focussing knob feels as
though it is jumping from one focus setting to another without any
ability to reach intermediate settings, and that there is often a
'backlash' in the focus when I release any pressure on the knob. The
result is that getting an accurate focus is a bit hit and miss.

Is this a common problem, and are there any fixes that I could try. I am
confident in opening up the telescope and making fine adjustments, so
would really hate to have to send the scope back to Meade since I am in
the UK and don't want to be without it - it is too much fun using it
even when I can't get a good focus all of the time.

My response email address is         thurkettle@freenetname.co.uk

Andrew Thurkettle
Mike here: Please read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Site Home Page re: email addresses. Thanks for understanding.
As to the focus problem, no, it is not a common problem. If you want to try a repair yourself see the article "Focus Shaft Fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. It sounds like either the shaft is bent or catching on something OR the moving primary mirror is catching on something.
Subject:	Re: Meade ETX-125EC telescope
Sent:	Wednesday, August 31, 2005 07:29:15
From:	Thomas Nielsen (tnielsen@isd.net)
Yesterday I called Meade customer service and their REP advised me to
send the telescope to them.   The REP at Meade issued a RGA EP number
for the repair.   At a cost of $75 they will repair the telescope
(replacing any parts to update the unit), check the optics, and bring
the Autostar up to date.

This morning the unit was UPS ground shipped  to Irvine, CA.   Shipping
will take a week, repair about two weeks, and the return trip another
week.  About November 1st the telescope should be back here ready to
operate according to specifications.
 
Thanks again for your advice. 
 
Tom

Subject:	ETX 125
Sent:	Wednesday, August 31, 2005 01:18:05
From:	Karl J. Shaw (karljshaw@gmail.com)
Hello there, Mike, Karl Shaw here.  I met you up at the OPT open house
event 2 weekends ago and you gave me your card.  I have ordered and
received your book and I'm working my way through it.  Excellent, so
far.  I bought a Meade ETX-125 at the OPT event and a month previously I
bought a Celestron CPC800 from them as well.  The following email was
sent to OPT but I've had no response from them.  I sent them an email
previously and never did get a response from that one either. In any
case, if you could advise me I would greatly appreciate it.

This past weekend we took out the Celestron CPC800 and the Meade
ETX-125.  Both for the first time ever! The Celestron worked like a
dream.... what a joy to use.  I have a few questions and, please forgive
my ignorance but this is all new to me. Is there a better finder scope
for the Meade?  I don't like the position or the utility of the one that
came with the 125.  Do you have any experience with the Meade (or other)
Ultra wide angle eyepieces?  If so, would they be suitable for me?

Is there any filter or device to put centering cross hairs in the main
optics to align the finder scope with the image in the main scope?  We
found it very difficult to be able to tell the center point in the main
optics with which to match the image in the finder scope.. Reading the
Meade Instruction Manual, it says to "Tighten to a firm feel only, do
not overtighten the vertical lock and the horizontal lock.  If you
remember me, I am about 200 lbs and have fairly muscular arms and
forearms.  I have been finding that unless I really tighten the vertical
lock beyond what I would consider "a firm feel", the scope wants to sag.
I bought this scope a week ago at your in house event so my time with
it has been brief but I think that I am applying more torque to get the
scope to stay in place than is normal base on what I saw on the Meade
videos and in the Owner's manual. Any advice about these issues would be
greatly appreciated.
Best regards and thanks again,
Karl J. Shaw
Mike here: At the OPT event I did have a chance to try out one of the new Meade 5000 series WA angle eyepieces on the ETX-105. I forget which size (we played with several) it was but it worked great. For info on other wide angle eyepieces, see the Accessory Review: Eyepieces page. There are reticle eyepieces that provide a "crosshair" capability; again see the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page. Alternatively, use a high power eyepiece. Yes, "firm feel" is somewhat nebulous. The axis locks should be tight but not too tight. In the altitude axis the tube should stay in whatever position you put it when the axis is locked. If the lock is overtighten the scope will not move smoothly when trying to slew and there is a risk of damaging the lock mechanism. With some experience you will quickly get a feel for it.

And:

Thank you for the input, Mike.  Very impressive turn-around time. Both
myself and my telescope partner are licensed pilots and engineers but
the amount of torque required to keep the altitude axis on the main
optic tube is quite deceiving.  I would suggest to Meade that they
either re-design the friction knob so that it is easier to turn, or, in
the alternative, rethink their friction mechanism.  We both felt that
there was a potential problem with this particular scope because of how
much we were tightening the lock before the scope didn't sag.

In any case, thanks again for your help.  I am enjoying your site and
your book.
Best regards,
Karl J. Shaw

Subject:	DSX 90 AT
Sent:	Tuesday, August 30, 2005 18:23:46
From:	Planesmen@aol.com (Planesmen@aol.com)
Hi, First of all what a great site you have!  

Secondly as you might have guessed I have a problem with my Meade DSX
90AT .  (I am very new to all this)  When the telescope moves left to
right or right to left no problem but the up and down movement does not
move even the the worm gear is engaged in the head and is moving.  Using
the telescope in the manual mode is hard to do because the side knob
even though it is tightened down securely, the telescope tries to just
flop down .  Thanks in advance for any help.

frank T. Jozwiak
Mike here: It sounds like the altitude axis lock has failed. It can be damaged if overtightened. If the telescope is new I suggest trying for an exchange at the dealer. If it is not new your best bet would be to contact Meade.

And:

Is there any place on the web that shows the parts breakdown and offers
parts for sale?
The scope is out of warranty.
thanks, frank
Mike here: I am not aware of any DSX specific sites. There are some articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page that may help you if you want to attempt a repair yourself. Check out the DEC lock fixes.
Subject:	Re: Shutan Wide Field Adapter
Sent:	Monday, August 29, 2005 13:29:58
From:	Stephen Bird (stephen.bird@btconnect.com)
Try:
http://www.opticstar.com/Astro-Accessories-Imagers-SAC.asp?s=9d22bf50-8c7b-4615-82b8-2c56a9225868&p=0_10_5_0_0_1
 
The SAC imaging focal reducers attach to the eyepiece or CCD camera as
they are a standard 1.25" thread which means they don't restrict Dec
movement of the ETX like the Scopetronix items do. SAC sell in both
Europe and the US, so there are no import duty issues. They are good
value as well.
 
Regards
 
Stephen Bird
From:	Stuart Kendall & Melanie Duggan (spu_mel@hotmail.com)
I have placed my order, hope it comes before the astro. society
observing session on the weekend.
Many thanks again.

Stuart.

Subject:	Polar Home Alignment
Sent:	Sunday, August 28, 2005 09:52:12
From:	Terry Godfrey (terry.godfrey@materials.ox.ac.uk)
For photographic reasons I have recently begun to use polar alignment on
my ETX 125 (with #884 tripod).

If you could spare the time I would appreciate some feedback on the
following couple of points regarding Polar Home Alignment.

Firstly, I understand the need to rotate the RA axis counterclockwise to
the end stop and then clockwise to avoid the possibility of hitting the
end stops during observation (same as with Alt/Az) BUT..... with
reference to your book's section  ' Home Position for Polar Alignment', 
in Chapter 6, could you please explain why  it is important to start
with the scope upside down (step 3 on page 190)  ?  This is not
mentioned in Meade's User's  Manual and you do not refer to this step in
the brief polar home instructions on page 35 of the book.

Secondly, the polar home  instructions in Chapter 6 continue to include
fine tuning of the alignment to counter the offset position of Polaris,
approximately 0.7 ,  from true celestial north.

For this to make a realistic improvement to the final alignment isn't it
necessary to have the declination axis set 100% accurately rather than
simply  'eye-balling'  it between the forks which is the method
described in step 6 of the instructions. The eye is pretty good but I'm
not convinced it is possible to set reliably the declination to the
required accuracy that would make a difference.

Best regards

Terry Godfrey

P.S.    For what it is worth,  this is my 90 declination angle method
for a portable setup:

Before transporting my scope and tripod out to the garden for polar home
alignment,  I first set 90 declination indoors in the following way.  It
takes only a couple of minutes or so.

With the scope mounted on its #884 tripod in Alt/Az position, the
assembly is positioned beneath and slightly to one side of an
illuminated ceiling mounted room light in an otherwise darkened room. As
the OTA is swung upwards to a vertical position, a reflection of the
light source from the the scope's corrector lens will be visible on the
ceiling ( not very bright due to the good anti-reflection coating on the
lens).  Alternatively,  tape a small mirror to the centre of the 
scope's lens cover which provides a much brighter reflection. Clamp the
declination axis and then rotate the scope forks (i.e. RA axis)
backwards and forwards. The image on the ceiling will probably move in
an arc as the forks are moved. Readjust and clamp the declination axis
and try again. When the image appears to rotate about itself without
lateral movement as the forks are rotated, this represents a precise 90
declination angle as the scope's optics are now coaxial with the RA axis
of rotation.

I then carry the scope and tripod to the garden, set the tilt plate on
the #884 tripod to match my latitude, perform the CCW/CW rotation of the
RA axis to avoid end stop problems, clamp the RA axis when the eyepiece
is at the top and continue with the alignment of Polaris moving only the
tripod legs and fine tuning the tilt angle, ensuring that at completion,
the tripod base plate is level.
Mike here: While it is not strictly necessary to have the eyepiece on the bottom before rotating to the hard stop, I just find it easier myself. I recommend it because it is less confusing to some people since they only have to rotate the fork arms without worrying about the tube position. Certainly the more accurate you make the latitude setting the better the alignment will be. It is assumed that users had made that adjustment already and just sighted Polaris.
Subject:	Meade ETX-125EC telescope
Sent:	Sunday, August 28, 2005 06:53:41
From:	Thomas Nielsen (tnielsen@isd.net)
Hello, my name is Tom, in MInnesota,
 
I am looking for a way to have my grandson's unstable telescope yoke
mount corrected.   Are you still giving advice?
 
Thanks,
 
Tom
Mike here: Need more info. What exactly is wrong?

And:

Thank you for your rapid response.
 
The yoke is loose.  After tightening the two sides, the body of the
cylinder moves side to side.
And:
This telescope  seems fine except that the mount , that should be firm
and not allow any movement is very loose.   With a little pressure the
body of the cylinder moves.

Beyond installing the batteries or hooking up the power supply or
control, i am not familiar with the scope.  I am an engineer, retired,
and think I know enough to ask an expert for advice for trying to
correct this problem.

The problem seems to be on the left yoke as viewed from the back of the
scope. Is this servicable?
Mike here: See the FAQ page; it may be that you only need to adjust the locking lever.

And:

Thanks again for your rapid reply.  i am sure that my description was
not fully correct or adequate.  So now i have the telescope on the
tripod next to this computer.  Having tightened the sides and locks, the
body moves quite freely up and down.   If the  yoke is clamped against
the body this problem would probably be corrected.

If the yoke clamping of the body was tightened (about 1-2 mm ) this
problem might be fixed.

How is the yoke clamping pressure towards the body adjusted?
 
Tom
Mike here: If you are locking the altitude lock (on the right fork arm) and the tube will not stay in position then it is likely the "Right Tube Adapter" has failed. You will need to contact Meade for a replacement. If you want to try a repair yourself, see the article "ETX-90EC DEC fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page; the lock is essentially the same on the ETX-125.
By the way, from your descriptions it seems that you may not have read the manual. You might want to do that. If you have overtightened the altitude axis lock you may have damaged it. If you don't have a manual, see the FAQ page for links to manuals.

And:

You are correct.  I have not read the manual.  I will look up the  FAQ
for the  EC-90 ET fix and give it a try.  Also I intend to contact Meade
about this.  This morning I removed the screws for the alternate tripod
mounting and the motor housing came off revealing that the four screws
holding the base housing had been free with the plastic housing for the
screws free inside.  It is possible that this scope had been dropped and
this might have been the  reason for the broken screw threads and the
"play"
And:
Thank you for the advice you have given me.

Your web page material and those that write about you show me that you
are the main expert for this type of telescope.

Yes , you are correct.  I have not read all of the manual for this
telescope.   The parts that I have written have not discussed the type
of problem I have.   At least I have not seen that information.  My
quest is to get this scope back into its design and proper operation.

I do plan on correcting the problem of the failed screw support area of
the base housing.  This should merely correct the broken screw holes and
not correct the problem with the stability of the optical tube -fork
assembly.   As you indicated, it seems that  some physical damage has
occurred that has resulted in this problem.

This telescope has been in the possession of my 14 year old grandson,
who has three younger siblings .  It is probable that the telescope had
been shocked or tipped over  at least once in the last three years.

I will look at your web page and also plan to contact Meade if this does
not correct this problem.

Again thanks a lot for your memos.
 
Tom 

Subject:	Meade ETX-125-My first telescope
Sent:	Sunday, August 28, 2005 04:27:12
From:	Jefflevenson@aol.com (Jefflevenson@aol.com)
A good friend showed me your site last night. He has an ETX-90 and loves
it. I went on ebay last  night and found the ETX-125 (blurb below for
$475). I am located in the outskirts of NYC. I would like to do some
deep sky photography using a Nikon D70.

I am looking for portability, but I could be convinced to buy a larger
scope if the quality of the experience would be significantly improved.
As it will be my first telescope the ease of use is a top priority.

Will I find a scope that will satisfy the above criteria and not blow my
budget? I'd like any pointers you'd care to share.

Thank you,

Jeff Levenson

Closeout! This model features a Meade ETX-125 optical tube mounted on
the highly versatile DS-2000 mount, with full GOTO control and automatic
tracking at your command!  World-famous Meade 125mm Maksutov-Cassegrain
design (1900m focal length, f/15) for extremely high contrast and image
clarity.  Awesome image clarity and resolution in a highly portable,
compact telescope!

Standard equipment includes a 1.25" eyepiece holder, 8x21 erect image
viewfinder, Series 4000 26mm Super Plossl eyepiece for magnification of
73X and built in photo port for photographic applications using #64
T-Adapter sold separately.   Single fork DS-2000 altazimuth mount; full
length adjustable field tripod with aluminum legs; accessory tray; 497
Autostar control system with over 30,000 object database and guided tour
function;   battery pack for 8 AA size (user supplied)   batteries.

Product is new in box and carries full one year Meade factory limited
warranty.  Meade Instruments will pay shipping within the USA. USA
orders only. All sales final.
Mike here: That sounds like a DSX-125 model. The optics are the same as the ETX model but the mounting is different. Certainly you can get enjoyment out of the DSX. You will be able to use the Nikon D70 DSLR (see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page for more info) with the proper adapters. However, the DS mount will limit you on the types of astrophotography you can do (i.e., no long duration and vibrations can be a problem).
Subject:	eyepeice makwers
Sent:	Saturday, August 27, 2005 23:43:06
From:	bill bunch (lavenderbunches@sbcglobal.net)
I've looked thrtough your site and thanks for compiling so much info. I
am new an want to get a eyepeice/filter set. I've read don't buy chinese
but then some ads say everyone is selling chinese including the big
names. some of the brands on e bay are astrola, gso, celestron. I
understand the specs and the differences any recommendations are
consistent quality ffir 1.25 and 2 inch thanks
 
Bill
Mike here: There are differences from manufacturer to manufacturer and even from the same the manufacturer. Whether you will be able to tell the difference depends upon the quality, the telescope you'll be using them with, and your experience.
Subject:	Re: Shutan Wide Field Adapter
Sent:	Friday, August 26, 2005 11:24:16
From:	Stuart Kendall & Melanie Duggan (spu_mel@hotmail.com)
the scopetronix field reducer/field flattener attaches to the back of
the etx and is unable to reach focus when used visually.  You would
think that such an accessory would be commonplace considering the
f-ratio of the etx.

Thanks for your reply,

Stuart.

Subject:	I need to make mounting brackets for ETX-125 OTA
Sent:	Friday, August 26, 2005 11:00:04
From:	gsmithp@comcast.net (gsmithp@comcast.net)
I have just acquired a nice used ETX-125 OTA with no mount or
accessories of any kind.  It was too cheap to pass up so now I am
looking for a way to mount it without spending too much.  I am a metal
and woodworker so would like to fabricate my own if I can secure a good
set of plans or ideas.  I need to decide if I can use a dovetail or will
it need rings among other things. I want to ultimately end up with an
arrangement that would appeal to my grandchildren when they visit so it
doesn't need to be too portable.  Then we can all learn together. Thanks
for a wonderful site that I'm already visiting often.  Gary in Minnesota
Mike here: There are many many mounting tips on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page; you will find some excellent ideas there.
Subject:	Complete Overhaul of ETX 125 and Autostar
Sent:	Friday, August 26, 2005 10:07:13
From:	Paul Fougere (fougere@fastmail.fm)
Hi !  You have a beautiful web page.  A few years ago there was a web
site mentioned on your web site concerning  a Complete Overhaul and
tuneup of ETX 125 and AutoStar.  I have lost the reference and now I can
afford to get my beast tuned up.   Please send me the email or web page
of the tuneup guy. Incidentally, is there a reason that this service is
no longer featured on your website?  Thanks for your help. The beast is
one of the original set.

Paul F. Fougere
Mike here: Click on the "ETX Tune-up Service" on the ETX Site Home Page.

And:

Thanks for your quick reply.  I finally found that link!

Subject:	Answer to: General Feedback - ETX Gallery Pictures
Sent:	Friday, August 26, 2005 06:20:35
From:	Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com (Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com)
personally I have never used any 5x barlow so I don't know to say
anything about the 'Televue'.

But the ETX-125 - which we both have - very very very seldom will allow
you to use a 5x barlow.  The use of two or three good oculars in the
range of 40...9mm together with your 3x barlow will give you all the
magnification you need.

And don't even think about using a 5x barlow together with your Atik! 
Most planetary / moon shots with my ToUCam pro have been done with a 2x
barlow, only very view with a 3x barlow.  I know - by the really
excellent pictures you presented on Mike's site - that you are doing
very well in planetary imaging, but if you compare the ATIK 2C chip with
something like a 9mm ocular you end up over '1000x'!  In my opinion -
forget it.

Looking forward to see more of your pretty shots,
Dieter (Munich, Germany)

Subject:	Motor Fault Error - ETX 105 and Horizontal Slewing Issues
Sent:	Thursday, August 25, 2005 17:51:41
From:	C.J. Kern (cjkern@optonline.net)
I wonder if you can help me.  This is the second ETX 105 scope I have
after returning the 1st one I ordered as per Meade.  During auto align
(or any other alignment I may add) I am receiving a motor fault error
when the scope tries to slew horizontally.  In fact I can not get it to
slew horizontally using the autostar arrow keys either.  I have made
sure that everything is locked as the manual indicated but no luck. 
Now, this is the exact same thing that was happening with my 1st scope
and so I am wondering if it is user error or I'm having a sting of bad
luck.

Any thoughts or direction you could point me would be much appreciated.

Regards,

CJ
Mike here: You didn't indicate: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes)?

And:

I have selected Calibrate Motors however I did not see an option for
both axis.  How is that accomplished?  I am getting a feeling this is a
user error.
Mike here: CALIBRATE MOTORS is a one step, automatic operation. TRAIN DRIVES is done manually on both axes; some users don't realize there are two options under the TRAIN DRIVES menu item.

And:

I will attempt the TRAIN Drives; however I can not seem to get the scope
to move horizontally using the arrow keys.  It only moves vertically.
Had the same problem with the other 105 I had as well.

Wondering, they were both shipped from Montana and I am in NJ any
possibility something could have come loose during shipping?
Mike here: Is this true at all slewing speeds? You might also try reversing the cable to the Autostar. Also, be certain that you are not overtightening the lock. I doubt that any shipping problem occurred with both scopes.

And:

It happens with all speeds, and I have tried to reverse the cable.  I
might be over tightening the lock, how far should I tighten it?
Mike here: The locks are friction types. So it should be just tight enough to allow movement using the Autostar and to not move if you push gently on the tube. If you want to check that the drive motor is working, unlock the lock and press one the slewing arrows on the Autostar; you should be able to hear the motors running at a higher speed that normal (use a speed of 9).

And:

I just tried it and I don't hear anything.  Vertical moves and have
horizontal unlocked and I don't hear a sound.

Is there anything I can check on the motor?
Mike here: Well, given the motor faults and no sound from the motor, it would appear that a wire has become disconnected (or worse, broken) or a motor has gone bad. Did it ever work after you got it from Meade?

And:

No never worked.  The same with the first both acted the same way.  I
ordered the 1st one about 2 months ago.

You say a wire may have disconnected, any way to check and reconnect or
is that bigger then a bread box?
Mike here: You would have to open up the base. BUT since it never worked, CONTACT Meade right away.

And:

Thanks for your advice.  After our discussion last night I was planning
on doing that today.

Regards, CJ 
And an update:
As a follow-up; I contacted Meade and they are having me send the scope
back to them.  Thanks you again for your help and for running such a
great site.

Best Regards,
CJ

Subject:	Shutan Wide Field Adapter
Sent:	Thursday, August 25, 2005 15:21:20
From:	Stuart Kendall & Melanie Duggan (spu_mel@hotmail.com)
I am becoming frustrated by my very narrow FOV. Do you know of any
suppliers of the WFA in the U.K.? I cant seem to find any. Also, does
passing through a prism reduce the contrast of the image just as extra
lenses do?

Many thanks,

Stuart.
Mike here: You can try the Apogee name when searching. Also, Scopetronix makes a focal reducer. You can check your UK dealers for those. And yes, the image will deteriorate somewhat with the extra optics and the reduction. You may have already read my review of the Shutan WFA on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page.
Subject:	If I was going to purchase some filters for my etx105 what would you recommend to start
Sent:	Wednesday, August 24, 2005 11:25:48
From:	Nick DiLisi (nickd@emoneyadvisor.com)
I am interested in viewing the moon and planets (like Jupiter, Saturn,
Venus), and then I would say nebulas. What are the necessary ones vs.
the nice to have vs. waste of money to even buy that one.

Nicholas DiLisi
Mike here: An excellent description of filters is at: http://www.telescope.com/content/learningcenter/content2main.jsp?iCategoryID=29&iContentID=643&CCNavIDs=19,22,29. You might want to also look through the Accessory Reviews: Filters page on the ETX Site.

And:

Thanks. That was what I was trying to find. Google sometimes doesn't
have everything you are looking for :)
Mike here: Gee, I guess that makes me a better research tool than Google!
Subject:	ETX Gallery Pictures
Sent:	Wednesday, August 24, 2005 04:34:22
From:	James Jefferson-Wilson James (james.jefferson@bbc.co.uk)
how would the televue 5 X Barlow work on the ETX ? would it be "too"
much ? the 3 X Meade Barlow works well, but I don't know if the 5 X
would really improve the images or not ?
Mike here: Well, it will partly depend upon the eyepieces you intend to use. Keep in mind the maximum theoretical maximum magnification (see the FAQ page if you don't know how to calculate that). You might want to read the comments on the "5X Powermate" from Televue on the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page.
Subject:	RE: ETX-90 Focussing knob
Sent:	Tuesday, August 23, 2005 13:07:03
From:	Andy Briggs (andy@elmhurstsolutions.co.uk)
Thanks very much Mike - I think it's now definitely been established
that a 1.27mm key is required.

Best regards
  Andy 

Subject:	Insect in ETX-125 OTA
Sent:	Tuesday, August 23, 2005 08:04:01
From:	Hardy, Patrick (PHardy@cl-int.com)
I found a dead insect (looks like it may be a spider) on the primary
mirror of my ETX-125.  I imagine it crept in when I was changing
eyepieces (must have been quick!).  The insect is fairly big, but
dropped to the bottom of the mirror and appears not to have affected
optical performance.  However, I would like to remove it.  Can you think
of any easy way to do this?

Thanks for the site.  Proved invaluable when I received my scope and
found some manufacturing problems (I live in Argentina and sending it
back to Meade takes a long time  as I found out when my first ETX had to
be returned).
 
Patrick Hardy
Mike here: Well, getting it out may cause bigger problems than leaving it in unless you can turn the telescope upside down and gently shake it and hope the spider drops through the open eyepiece hole. Unless it is a really big spider that would leave some residue as it decomposes, I suggest leaving it alone if you can't get it out this way. The only other alternative would be to remove either the objective lens cell or the rear mirror mounting. Either could create collimation problems when you reassemble it.

And:

Thanks for that.  I did try shaking it out, but I couldn't get it to
drop through the primary baffle.  I just leave it and try something else
if it does leave a residue.

Patrick 

Subject:	Difference between Meade EXT 125 EC and Meade EXT 125 AT...
Sent:	Monday, August 22, 2005 19:03:15
From:	KyChapple (kychapple@comcast.net)
Can you tell me if there is a difference between the Meade EXT 125 EC
and Meade EXT 125 AT telescopes?

I've been looking at some on ebay and noticed the difference in the
description, then noticed that your site also listed both and that
Meade's site also listed both - but could not find out the if there is a
difference in the models?

Appreciate any feedback/insight you might have

Thanks, 

Ky.
Mike here: See the FAQ page.
Subject:	DSX-125 Comment
Sent:	Monday, August 22, 2005 18:12:30
From:	Christopher L. Morris (CMorris@clmnetwork.com)
I got back my DSX-125 (which was converted to an ETX-125) from Dr.
Sherrod.  He inspected and tested my optics and he said that they were
at 88% overall light transmission.  When I compare this to the published
transmission rates on the Meade website, it closely matches the
percentages for the UHTC.  What is interesting about this is that this
scope was not advertised or labeled as having the UHT coatings.  I am
wondering if maybe (just maybe) some of the DSX scopes are UHTC equipped
and are being sold as non-UHTC (perhaps they had a bunch of aging OTAs
sitting on the shelf that weren't selling, or were returned for various
reasons...its not a really good theory...just a theory).  Maybe some
other DSX purchasers out there have had similar experiences (or should
have their scopes checked).  I just find it a little hard to believe
that a company like Meade would let lenses this nice just "slip" through
by mistake, or that their quality control has that much room in their
bell curve (if mine is just a lucky one, then there should also be
corresponding "unlucky" OTAs out there that score far under the
published transmission percentages of the non-UHTC).  So....maybe the
thing for people looking for a nice OTA to do is buy a DSX....again,
just a thought...
 
Thanks,
Chris

Subject:	ETX-90 Focussing knob
Sent:	Monday, August 22, 2005 12:31:31
From:	Andy Briggs (andy@elmhurstsolutions.co.uk)
I hope you can help me (as you've always done wonderfully in the past,
for which I am eternally grateful!).

I've lost the Allen wrench for the focussing knob on my ETX-90 EC. It's
probably laying in a field somewhere. Now, the Meade manual states that
the scope comes with two wrenches, and the smaller of the two is for
removing the focussing knob (I've bought a Scopetronix replacement, and
need to get the knob off!). But...and herein lies my confusion....it
also states that the smaller wrench is a size of 0.05" . Now, looking at
the knob itself, I'd say the Allen socket is at least 2mm (sorry to mix
Imperial and metric units but I'm Imperial English, living in metric
Spain!) so much bigger than 0.05" (which is 1.27mm). The larger of the
two supplied wrenches (which I haven't managed to lose) is obviously too
big for the knob.

So...my question is very simple. What size wrench should I buy to get
the focussing knob off? Oh, also, less importantly, why does the Meade
manual describe the wrench as 0.05", when it's conventional to describe
Allen wrenches as 1/8", 1/16", 1/32" etc (and indeed that's how they're
sold in shops).

Then of course I have to find a shop here in Spain that sells
Imperial-measured wrenches, but that's another story.... :)

I'd be grateful for any help - I'm really confused about this.

Many thanks

Andrew Briggs
Mike here: I have no accurate way to measure the size but it should be noted that the actual setscrew is recessed inside that hole in the knob and has a smaller size than the hole itself. Many people who have trouble are not inserting the hex wrench fully into the setscrew slot. As to the Meade docs, well, I don't think they have ever been described as perfect.
Subject:	Upgrade EXT125AT to Premier edition
Sent:	Sunday, August 21, 2005 11:51:05
From:	Dave Dworak (daved@rionkk.com)
I was wondering if there was any way to upgrade my EXT125AT to the
Premier edition.  I bought it just before the new model came available. 
I am having a lot of problems getting the telescope alligned and
utilizing the features of the autostar.  It sounds like the new model is
very easy to allign.  If you have any info, or tips to get my model
alligned, that would be awesome!

Thanks,

Dave
Mike here: The LNT is integrate into the ETX so can not be added to a non-Premier Edition model. However, all it does is find North and Level, as well as supplying the date/time info to the Autostar. I'm sure you can do these steps. Be certain that you place the ETX into the proper HOME position, have the correct telescope, mount, date/time/DST, and site info in the Autostar. Also, don't forget to a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES. For lots of tips on aligning, see the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.
Subject:	Re:ETX 125 Versus ETX 125 PE
Sent:	Saturday, August 20, 2005 07:04:53
From:	mhogansr@comcast.net (mhogansr@comcast.net)
The LPI does not mount properly on the 125 PE.  The LNT module partially
blocks it from inserting all the way into the eyepiece holder, and
totally blocks connecting the USB cable.  This is when you install it
with the connector facing toward the front, the normal orientation.  It
will fit if you rotate it 180 degrees, with the connector toward the
rear, but obviously this results in a confusing image with up-down
left-right reversed.  Murphy must have been working at Meade when they
designed this.

I don't have the DSI, so can't comment on that.

Regards,
Mike Hogan

Subject:	Direct PC control
Sent:	Saturday, August 20, 2005 06:59:27
From:	Fred Lienhard (fredlienhard@yahoo.com)
Is there a way  to control my 90EC directly from my
pc, without the autostar?
I am a real greenhorn, but can build whatever I need.
Thanks for your time.
Fred
Mike here: No. Well, that isn't quite true. You can build a switch that simulates what the standard handcontroller does but then you would have to write the software yourself to control the switch.
Subject:	Lens cover for the ETX 125
Sent:	Friday, August 19, 2005 15:19:31
From:	Tom and Lori (lortom7@earthlink.net)
I noticed that after an evening of using my scope (here in So. Cal-
Orange County), the OTA is pretty cool/cold to the touch.  My thought is
that if I screw the lens cover on immediately, and bring the scope back
into the house, there will be no place for any moisture on the lens to
escape to.  Therefore, my question is this; how long do you recommend I
wait before I put the lens cover back on the scope?  Or does it really
not matter.
 
Clear skies,
 
Tom
Mike here: Well, I actually do both. If moisture has already condensed on the lens I leave the cover off (to let the moisture evaporate). If there is no moisture visible on the lens but I suspect that dewing is a problem I will put the cover on before bringing the telescope indoors. If dewing isn't a problem then I typically wait until I get inside before putting the cover on. So far, this technique has worked for me. And I leave in a fog-prone area (near the ocean).
Subject:	mars visuals
Sent:	Thursday, August 18, 2005 08:29:49
From:	cysmar@aol.com (cysmar@aol.com)
I just observed mars last night through an etx 105. It resembled a
gibbeous moon. Is that normal (does Mars show phases like venus ?) When
observing Jupiter,through the same scope, which I know doesn't show
phases, it always appeared as a sphere .
 
Thanx for this great site
Mike here: Yep, it will show phases (slightly). I posted a nice photo (Guest Galleries) on this evening's Site update which shows it very clearly.
Subject:	stellarvue red dot finder for etx-90
Sent:	Thursday, August 18, 2005 05:52:03
From:	Rob Murray (rem27@libcom.com)
I was having difficulty finding objects of interest in the 90 degree
finder scope on my etx-90ra. A fellow amateur astronomer suggested
adding a red dot finder.

I recommend to everyone, the stellarvue red dot finder, cost approx.
$20. Installation is simple,double-sided tape holds the finder's bracket
to the scope. Operation is simple and easy. Since adding the finder, the
time spent finding an object of interest has been reduced from minutes
to seconds.
 
Rob-Pittsburgh

Subject:	ETX 125 Versus ETX 125 PE
Sent:	Wednesday, August 17, 2005 09:01:08
From:	Rebecca Cover (rebecca.cover@ntlworld.com)
Love your website, I wonder if you could possibly give me some advice, I
already own the ETX 105 and am looking at maybe purchasing the ETX 125
but the new ETX 125PE is on the market.  My question is which one would
you choose.  I am really no good with the technical side of things as my
husband sets the scope up for me, however I have got some nice photos
with the ETX 105 using the LPI and wondering will I achieve the same if
not better results/images with the ETX125/ETX125PE and can you use the
LPI with the ETX125PE.  I have read the reviews on your website
regarding both telescopes and it appears that the new version still has
a few teething problems.
 
Many thanks for your time.
 
Becky
Mike here: Two questions you need to ask yourself: 1) Is the aperture and focal length really that significant to you to pay to move from an 105 to a 125. Many people would say not. 2) Since you already have experience setting up the ETX with the Autostar, do you really need the convenience of the PE model with its "Level North Technology"? Possibly not.
Subject:	Feedback on your ETX website
Sent:	Wednesday, August 17, 2005 04:10:40
From:	Danny Thomas (dt_astro@uk2.net)
Just a quick note to let you know how much I appreciate the information
and resources on your website.

First it helped me settle on buying an ETX125 as a portable scope for
visual observing and astrophotography. I then bought a second hand 125
that stopped working after a couple of hours. I went back to your
website, diagnosed a greasy clutch and repaired and tuned the scope up
in a few hours using the contributions on the site. It is now aligning
and going-to fairly accurately.

Thanks for a great site and a great initiative.
Best Regards
Danny

Subject:	Meade warranty in Canada 
Sent:	Monday, August 15, 2005 20:57:36
From:	Tom Robins (robins@shockware.com)
I have been told that Meade does not warranty any of it's telescopes
sold in Canada. Have you or any other Meade owners heard of this, I
would like to purchase a Meade telescope but if this is true I will need
to look at another company. Any info you may have would be helpful.
 
Thanks
Tom Robins
Alberta, Canada 
Mike here: I don't have a specific answer so will defer to Canadian owners. But products are usually warranted in the country in which they are purchased unles they are "grey market" products. Just curious; was it a Meade dealer that told you this?

And:

I was told by a telescope dealer in Calgary Alberta. He handles all
sorts of telescopes but no longer handles Meade because he is not able
to get some of his customers warranty on scope he has sold or on one
that he owns personally. I talked to him over the phone and he seems
very well informed on the matter. It seemed funny that a company as
large as Meade would leave everyone but it's US customers without
warranty. I don't believe that this is a "grey market" issue because he
has been in business for some time and is well know in the area as a
honest fellow. I will be looking in to it some more because I am still
very interested in the Meade product line and need to find out the truth
of the matter. any more info you can find will be very helpful and thank
you very much for the quick response.

Tom Robins.

P.S. Great site!
Mike here: I received this response from Meade: "Not true."
Subject:	SCAE
Sent:	Monday, August 15, 2005 20:09:29
From:	Dave (davec31@bellsouth.net)
Thanks for the photos from the August 13th SCAE.  I thank you for all
that you do for the amateur astronomer on "Mighty ETX" site.  I enjoy
your musings and photos from your "observatory" in Oracle.

Thanks again Mike,. I really enjoy your site.

Dave Cummings
Jacksonville, FL 

Subject:	Right Ascension Lock Does Not Engage Drive Motor
Sent:	Monday, August 15, 2005 19:15:10
From:	Eric&Betty (sydster2@wavecable.com)
My ETX 125's right ascension drive motor will not engage reliably. 
After swinging the telescope left and right, I engage the locking lever
and use the EC controller to drive the telescope.  The telescope will
sometimes drive to the left, but will not drive right and following a
try to go right will not go in either direction.  I've sent the
telescope to Meade for repair (back in November) and it worked okay at
first, but now seems to be as bad as before it was sent in.  Meade says
they can't help me unless I send it in again and pay for it again.

Do you have any suggestions on how to make the repairs myself?  It's
obvious Meade has no interest in helping me out.

Eric
Mike here: If it is a lock lever problem, see the FAQ page for how to adjust the lever.

And:

I doubt it is the lock lever, since it is set in the locked position
about the mid point of available travel.  Any other ideas?

Eric
Mike here: Position of the lever is not always a reliable indicator. It is easy to over or under tighten the axis lock. But it does sound like there is enough movement to properly lock the axis. So, could you be overtightening it? When the axis is correctly locked you should not be able to easily move the telescope tube by hand. It should be tight enough to allow the motors to engage yet not so tight as to prevent them from actually moving the telescope. On the other hand, there could be other problems. Do you have only the EC handcontroller or do you have an Autostar?

And:

I have the autostar controller also, but haven't used it lately.  I've
largely been using the telescope for terrestrial viewing in the summer.

Eric
Mike here: Try the Autostar just to rule out or in the EC Handcontroller as the source of the problem.
Subject:	ETX finderscope accessory - the answer to several problems !
Sent:	Saturday, August 13, 2005 13:41:02
From:	Paul Kinsella (kinny.home@virgin.net)
Have you come across this piece of kit, listed as a hot-product in last
months Astronomy Now over here in the UK ? Sorry if this looks like an
advert - it's not - I've just place my order and will provide feedback
if it looks of interest to our fellow users.

It looks like I'll be able to use those high-mag eyepieces without the
right-angle view-finder on my ETX-105 getting in the way, and I'll be
able mount my DSI just like it says in the manual (unfortunately not how
it is in the real world !)
 
http://www.epsilon-telescopes.co.uk/products.php
 
Have you come across any similar products to this over in the US ?
 
Many thanks for the website, it's still the tops
 
Regards
 
Paul
Cheltenham
UK
Mike here: I'll be happy to post your review. Don't recall seeing it in the US yet.
Subject:	DC adapter for ETX105
Sent:	Saturday, August 13, 2005 07:55:48
From:	Jan Bertrem (janbertrem@gmail.com)
I've just bought a Celestron Power Tank.  I tried to connect it to the
ETX but the car adapter that came with the power supplie won't seem to
fit in the 12 V jacket of the telescope.  It looks to be the correct
size, I've pushed quite hard but I'm afraid that if I'll push harder
I'll break something.

With kind regards,

Jan Bertrem
Mike here: The one that comes with the Celestron tank is for Celestron telescopes. You will need to buy or make an ETX specific one. There is info in the Power Supply section on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	comparing the ETX-125, LXD75 SC-8, and LXD75 SN-10
Sent:	Friday, August 12, 2005 17:01:25
From:	Todd
Thank you for your excellent websites.  I'm an amateur astronomer who
uses a 8" Dobsonian and would like to move to different scope.  I'm
considering the ETX-125, LXD75 SC-8, and LXD75 SN-10.  My interests are
mostly in visual viewing of the planets with some possible CCD imaging
in the future.  Obviously these telescopes vary greatly in their optics
systems and physical size.

From your first-hand experience with the ETX-125 and LXD75 SC-8 and
possible knowledge of the SN-10 what would you feel provides the best
images firstly of the planets and secondly of deep sky objects.  Also,
which of these scopes is best suited for CCD imaging?

Thank you for your courteous attention.
Todd
Mike here: Of those choices, the longer focal length telescopes (ETX-125 and 8"SC) will give you better views of the planets. The 10"SN will give you better views of DSOs. Depending upon the CCD, the LXD models will likely perform better than the ETX, although the ETX can still work fine with a CCD imager, as seen in many examples on the ETX Site.
Subject:	Powering Up the ETX-125
Sent:	Wednesday, August 10, 2005 22:30:46
From:	Michael W. Brewster (covellite@cox.net)
Hi. I just bought a Meade ETX-125 on eBay and it does not power up when
I insert the batteries (exactly as described in the manual).  Autostar
hand controller is connected prooperly.  Any thoughts on why this is
happening?   Thanks.
Mike here: Could be several causes. For example: The switch could be bad or disconnected. The battery compartment leads could be disconnected. The power circuitry could be blown. The battery contacts could be corroded. Open up the base and have a look for these.

And:

Thanks, Mike.   --  mb

Subject:	AutoStar 497 / 1244 Focuser Quirks
Sent:	Wednesday, August 10, 2005 19:48:08
From:	David P. Sherfy (thx1326@swbell.net)
This is a cross post... anyone with info or suggestions, please respond.

I have a Meade 1244 focuser mounted on my 90 and all seems to work well
with the hand controller - although you are limited to two speeds.

I tried plugging it into the AUX port and controlling it with the
AutoStar 497 in order to get the wider range of speeds.

When plugged into the AUX port, as soon as you hit the up or down arrow
key, the focuser takes off and runs for about 5 seconds and then
nothing.  If you press a number key, the display indicates the desired
speed selection but the focuser no longer operates. 

Powering down and back up - same thing - same sequence of events.

I tried a second 1244 focuser and also a second AutoStar - exact same
results.

More info:  Both AutoStars are running latest software with the StarGPS
system and Dick's patches.  I don't have a 'plain" AutoStar to try. 
Could it be that the StarGPS code is somehow interfering with the
Focuser function of the AutoStar?

Also... one of the 1244 focuser kits came with a black spacer to go
between the gear on the focus shaft and the housing - the other did
not?  Any ideas on the differences?

Suggestions? Comments?

Thanks in advance.

Warp
Mike here: While I don't recall any interference from non-Meade code, it would be good to restore the Autostar to its factory default condition. Then you will know if the focuser or the Autostar is the problem.

And:

From what I understand... You can't actually remove the StarGPS code
from the AutoStar... Or can you?  Do you know?  How would I restore it
to original factory direct condition?

Thanks for the reply!

warp 
Mike here: I would think a SAFE LOAD of the Autostar ROM would do the trick.

And:

From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
> I tried a second 1244 focuser and also a second AutoStar - exact same results.
 
I suspect crossed wires somewhere...

Does the focus menu come up, or are your runaways in the
normal "Slew" operation mode of the Autostar?

>I don't know how to remove the StarGPS function without loosing the ability 
to re-install due to registration #'s.

You can tell StarPatch to load the firmware with -no- options/patches
selected, and you'll end up with a "normal" Autostar.  It won't hurt
the registration key.  But neither Chris nor my patches go anywhere
-near- the focus code (i have an electronic focuser on my ETX90,
and it's quite happy).

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Attaching Finder Scope
Sent:	Tuesday, August 9, 2005 20:01:45
From:	Robert B. White (rbwhite@compusmart.ab.ca)
I have an ETX 125. While I like the red dot finder, at high declinations
it is almost impossible to use. I would like to mount an Antares 7X50
right angle finder on the ETX but I have no idea how to do it. I assume
one cannot or should not drill holes in the tube. I have seen pictures
on your sight of ETX scopes with camera piggy back devices and other
finders on them, so it obviously can be done. I would appreciate it if
you could tell me how, or direct me to where I could find that out.

Love your site. 

Regards,

RBW
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews: Finderscopes page as well as the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page for tips on mounting finderscopes.

And:

Could you give me a little hint on this: is it possible/desirable to
drill two small holes to use in fastening a finder scope bracket?
Mike here: Personally, I would not do that to my telescope. But if you want to attempt it, I recommend you disassemble the telescope before drilling. That way you will protect the optics. Of course, you will likely ruin the collimation, making it necessary to recollimate, something that is best left to Meade unless you have an "optical bench" available. There are some collimation tips on the Telescope Tech Tips page if you really want to try that but it is easy to make things even worse. So, read the articles I mentioned earlier and see if anything helps you in your project.

And:

Thanks. Glue is the answer.

Regards,
RBW

Subject:	stars return
Sent:	Tuesday, August 9, 2005 15:37:26
From:	Jim Anderson (flint117@gci.net)
Well the stars are finally returning to the night sky here in Fairbanks.
Last night I got up around 2:30 AM to make a bath room run, and took my
unusual look out the window to see If the stars had returned WOW! what
is this! Faint stars twinkling through the twilight and a bright planet
of the horizon. The scope is coming out of the shed and getting set up
this weekend. Three months of no stars has come to an end. I'll be
dancing in the yard in the twilight after just a few more of work.   YES
!!!
                                                               
                                                        Alaska Jim

Subject:	Further comments on "New issues with my ETX-125PE"
Sent:	Tuesday, August 9, 2005 14:49:10
From:	Ariel Caceres (ariel.caceres@gmail.com)
Checking your ETX Premier Edition section today, I came accross some
reported issues with an ETX-125PE ( Email from Alfredo Bird, relevant
section copied below) and thought of sharing something that happened to
me with my ETX-90PE, in case this would be of use.

I experienced exactly the same strange behavior of motors moving on
their own without apparent reason as decribed by Alfredo. It turned out
to be a bad contact in the cable between the scope and the Autostar
controller. While I wait for a replacement cable to arrive, I
temporarily solved the issue by unplugging the cable from both ends and
flipping it over so that the jack originally connected to the scope will
now be connected to the Autostar controller. This made the random motor
moves disappear.

Hope this helps.

Ariel

------------
Subject:    New issues with my ETX-125PE
Sent:   Sunday, August 7, 2005 20:24:35
From:   Alfredo F. Bird (afbird@adelphia.net)

[..] ..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 [...]
Mike here: Yes, many times reversing the cable can help solve such intermittent problems.
Subject:	Viewing from indoors or on my balcony?
Sent:	Tuesday, August 9, 2005 10:57:59
From:	owl-luvr (owl-luvr@verizon.net)
Would it be possible to use a telescope from the comfort of being
indoors, or is my only option to freeze my butt off in the winter and
use the 'scope out on the balcony?

Thanks again.
Mike here: Yes, you can absolutely use a telescope from indoors. That is as long as you don't mind deteriorating the otherwise nice views due to imperfections in the window glass pane (or multiple panes, making it even worse) and looking through a window screen (if there is one). You could open the window but then you would have some interesting air currents from the warmer inside air mixing with the cooler outside air. Bottom line: not recommended if you want to get maximum performance from the telescope.

And:

Thanks again, Mike, and nice to see you're on a Mac!

Subject:	spotting telescopes & deep space objects
Sent:	Tuesday, August 9, 2005 05:41:13
From:	owl-luvr (owl-luvr@verizon.net)
Can either the ETX 70 or any of the DS telescopes be used for deep-space
observing (Andromeda Galaxy, Whirlpool Galaxy, Orion Nebula, etc.) as
well as being a 'spotting 'scope?' Where I live, I can see the baseball
park for a Major League Baseball AA farm team to my right and a high
school football field to my left.

Also, would the image through either the ETX 70 or the DS 'scopes be
'backwards' or 'upside-down?' I recall that, when I first took my
Dobsonian outside, looking through the eyepiece yielded an 'upside-down'
image.

Many thanks for your continued assistance.
Mike here: Yes and Yes and Yes. However, keep in mind that aperture is an important consideration for DSOs. So the smaller ETX-70 may not let you see what you expect to see. You can add an "erecting prism" to correct the upside-down-ness.

And:

True. Aperture is king for DSO's.

Subject:	re: oracle cloud observatory...
Sent:	Monday, August 8, 2005 21:01:27
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Ummm...

How's about putting a mini spreadsheet on the Oracle "main" page,
showing a box-score of visit dates and weather... have you hit 50%
usable yet?

have (damp) fun
--dick
Mike here: 4 for 7 good ones. But a neat idea. Thanks!

And:

Subject:	re: packing the Toyota movie...
Sent:	Monday, August 8, 2005 20:59:14
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
umm... 

Where's Laurraine gonna sit?

have fun
--dick
Mike here: She doesn't like camping out. So, not a problem!

And:

But 3 times out of 7 you've ended up in a motel!

(i've had worse odds that find finding campsites in
popular areas)

have fun
--dick
Mike here: Small sample (so far).
Subject:	Meade competitor to Orion SkyQuest XT6?
Sent:	Monday, August 8, 2005 05:17:11
From:	owl-luvr (owl-luvr@verizon.net)
Good morning, Mike. I bought an Orion SkyQuest XT6 Dob telescope a few
years ago because it was recommended online as an excellent 'beginner'
telescope. Since purchasing it, though, it's fair to say I've almost
never used it, mainly because it's such a heavy thing to lug around and,
at the time of purchase, I was surrounded by obstructive trees. I'm now
in an apartment on the top floor (12th floor), so trees aren't the
problem...only the weight of the 'scope & mount is. My question is this:
Can you recommend a Meade in the $300-$400 range that's comparable to
the Orion SkyQuest XT6?

Thank you.

Brian
Mike here: Well, there are some considerations. If weigh is a problem then you will need to purchase a smaller telescope. Do you need a GOTO capability or not? In that price range you basically have two choices: the DS models or an ETX-70AT.

And:

Weight is an important issue, and yes, this time around, I want GOTO.
EBay, maybe?
Mike here: You might want to check Meade's site for the factory sale info. eBay can be risky.

And:

OK. Thanks again, Mike.
And:
Just checked...and it's an eBay Store site. Also, I don't see any good
replacements there for my Orion 'scope. I guess I'm stuck with it.

Subject:	How can I tell if my new scope has UHTC coatings?
Sent:	Saturday, August 6, 2005 16:52:38
From:	Rob and Tammy Pugh (robandtammy.pugh@verizon.net)
This may sound like an odd question, but I purchased a new ETX-125PE
from a store over the Internet and it arrived today. How can I tell if
it has UHTC coatings (which is what I paid for)? The lettering around
the front opening of the scope notes only "muliti-coated optics". Would
it say "UHTC" if the scope had it? The bar code sticker on the outside
of the box states that it is model number "0515-03-31", however, that
sticker was placed over the box's original bar code that reads
"0515-03-30"? Is there anything permanent on the scope itself that would
indicate whether it has UHTC coatings?

This was a significant purchase for us, and I want to be sure.
Thanks!
Mike here: Read my ETX-105PE experiences on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page; I have photos that show UHTC info.
Subject:	scope size vs light pollution
Sent:	Friday, August 5, 2005 09:56:19
From:	Andy Lancour (andy@spe-wi.com)
In a light polluted area, are you further ahead with a small scope or a
larger one - say 4" vs 8"? I guess I mean, do the effects of light
pollution get worse w/ larger scopes?
Mike here: I'm assuming you mean for viewing DSOs. A larger aperture telescope will let more light from the light pollution into the telescope just as it lets more light from the object you want to observe into the telescope. So, the FOV can appear brighter with the larger aperture telescope, which will reduce the contrast with the object being viewed. However, that said there are ways to reduce this effect. You can use one of the various types of light pollution filters (see the Accessory Reviews: Filters page), which increase this contrast. Maybe somewhat surprisingly, using a shorter focal length eyepiece can help since it reduces the sky brightness in the eyepiece FOV. However, that can also make the DSO harder to see if it is really faint and low contrast.
Subject:	re: problems with filters and etx
Sent:	Friday, August 5, 2005 00:55:46
From:	Damiano Fedeli
Thank you Mike for your quick answer. Unfortunately it happens with all
my eyepieces, not only with the meade 26mm. And it's not simply a focus
problem: also with vixen lanthanums it happens that parasite light
enters the eyepiece holder when I add a filter to  the eyepiece, making
the observation hard... I'll try with a parfocal ring: perhaps it solves

Thank you so much: if you come to Italy, I'll be glad to meet you here
in Florence!
Damiano
Mike here: I haven't seen that problem with other eyepieces. It sounds like maybe something on the filter ring is preventing the eyepiece from being fully inserted. Check for a "burr" or heavy paint.
Subject:	ETX-90 Electronic Focuser
Sent:	Thursday, August 4, 2005 14:03:06
From:	Wade, Thomas M. -- Temp (Twade-TYC@ssd.com)
I've read many of your tips and reviews and now and have run into
something I can't find the answerer for.

I have a ETX-90RA with a QCam attached using the scopetronix vis back
and webcam adapter.

This is real cool, however what I would like to be able to do is use the
Electronic Focuser via computer control.

The Question:    Can a some type of Serial or USB interface be put
together to replace the hand held controller without incorporating the
Autostar unit?

As for the tiny nob on the focuser.

I've found that the rubber pickup rollers from Xerox printers placed
over the nob make a good large and soft touch control.
 
Thanks for your time. 
 
Thomas Wade
Mike here: The Autostar is required but software like ScopeDriver (see the Accessory Reviews: Software page) has a focus control.
Subject:	ETX Supercharge
Sent:	Thursday, August 4, 2005 11:44:40
From:	Chris Morris (Chris.Morris@Hickory-Farms.com)
I just wanted to send along another great review of Dr. Sherrod's
Supercharge Service.  I just had my ETX-125EC serviced by Dr. Sherrod. 
He was able to find and solve a few problems that I didn't even know I
had (but would have surely made themselves known if they had gone
unchecked), as well as do a wonderful job cleaning, aligning, and fine
tuning my telescope to a condition that I didn't even think was
possible.

Dr. Sherrod himself was the epitome of a true professional.  He is every
bit as good in his field as any top surgeon is their field.

If you have a telescope, and you plan on hanging onto it (or even to
increase its resale value) I truly recommend that you invest in his
Supercharge Service.  It is worth every penny and then some!

Thanks,

Chris Morris

Subject:	problems with filters and etx
Sent:	Thursday, August 4, 2005 10:21:45
From:	Damiano Fedeli
I am an Italian stargazer! I and my girlfriend often visit your site,
looking for some ideas for our etx 90 EC. Thanks for the pretious
suggestions!!

We have a problem with our telescope: if we use an eyepiece with a
screwed filter (it's the same with all the types of eyepieces and
filters), the eyepiece stands out of its holder and doesn't fit as well
as without the filter. Parasite light, so, can enter the eyepiece

That's why in the holder there's an edge that prevent the eyepiece to
"fall" inside the mirror...what can I do?
photo photo
Did anybody have this problem? Excuse me if my English is not so good... Regards Damiano
Mike here: This is normal with the 26mm eyepiece that comes with the ETX. It is not a problem, other than you have to refocus when you add a filter.
Subject:	1.25" diagonal for ETX
Sent:	Wednesday, August 3, 2005 22:20:41
From:	WarpedCorp (warpcorp@swbell.net)
I have a good 1.25" diagonal which I would like to use on the back of
the ETx / DSX in order to eliminate the close quarters on top of the OTA
and to avoid having to remove the finder scope everytime I want to use
the binoviewers.  Clearance issues with the diagonal are not relavent. 
Can you tell me what parts I need to fit a standard 1.25" diagonal to
the back of the ETX?
 
Thanks
Mike here: See the "Visual Back" on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page.

And:

Thanks for the info... looks like both Shutan and Scopestuff have this
solution.  I'll have to try one to see how it affects reaching focus
with my various ep's.

Planning on leaving a illuminated cross hair in the top focus tube to
use as a finder / guide scope and putting a diagonal in the rear for
viewing.  With the flip of the mirror, I get the best of both worlds.

BTW... do you have any experience or knowledge about the Konus 150mm
Mak.  They seem to be going on Ebay for under $300.00.  Seems like a
'steal".
 
Thanks again! Lovin' this ETX!
Warp
Mike here: Nope
Subject:	Perseid Meteor Shower
Sent:	Tuesday, August 2, 2005 19:57:46
From:	Fraida Marcus (Fraida_Marcus@msn.com)
Hi, I know that the peak time for Perseid Showers is August 12th I would
like to know if anything significant be expected to be seen on August
10th and 11th.
 
Thank you!
Mike here: See this article on Sky and Telescope's web site:
http://skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/meteors/article_1557_1.asp
Subject:	Reversed Polarity - Damaged My ETX125EC
Sent:	Tuesday, August 2, 2005 05:38:53
From:	James Thursh (James@hts.co.za)
I did the worlds' most stupid thing by reversing the polarity from my
external battery (12v, 7AH) to the scope.  My battery has the same
cigarette lighter connection as a motor car and I have a generic (not a
Meade product) cigarette lighter plug with the correct adaptor at the
other end that fits my Meade ETX125EC.  Without noticing the little
switch on the cigarette lighter plug that swaps the output polarity, I
powered up my Meade passing the current in the reverse direction.  This
was not the first time that I was using the external battery.  I burnt
the small PC power board that is behind the on/off switch and had to
install a bridge to rectify the fault.  No major damage and quick to
repair by removing the base (3 Allen bolts) and then soldering in a very
short wire to bridge the fried bits, but I can't help feeling that I was
luck.  Perhaps a general warning to other new (I'm about 1 year now)
Meade users would be a good technical tip, and perhaps I qualify for an
award for the most ingenious method of destroying my telescope's power
supply?

If I'm not the first to have accomplished this feat then my humblest
apology for resurrecting the topic.  I must admit that having read
through some of the other emails and tips it will be some time before I
attempt anything else than putting my eye to the eyepiece.

Oh and by the way, that little switch on the cigarette lighter plug has
been by-passed too  wont happen to me again!

Regards to all readers.

James Thrush

South Africa
Mike here: No, you are not the first to make this mistake, nor will you be the last.
Subject:	Re: ETX125 - finder catching fork arm
Sent:	Tuesday, August 2, 2005 03:43:13
From:	Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com (Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com)
if you're placing the finder different - as Mike proposes - it may not
be a problem, but yes Tom, I have been always angry about that behaviour
too. It's not an issue of your scope. The finder hits the fork arm if
you set for very high declinations (around Polaris) in polar mounting. I
think this has never been reworked by MEADE (my ETX-125AT is about 3...4
years old)  I decided to live with it...

Clear skies,
Dieter from Munich, Germany

Subject:	great web site
Sent:	Monday, August 1, 2005 13:01:47
From:	Jim Anderson (flint117@gci.net)
I saw your web site on the Personal Pages of Astronomers web site, and
like it. Great web site

I invite you to my simple web site.                                     
                     I'm an amateur astronomer giving aurora tours, and
star parties in Fairbanks Alaska. http://Alaskastarparty.com

I've also found a great laser pointer Company on the web.       Wicked
Lasers. They sells quality High Power Laser Pointers            at
affordable prices, and their laser pointers have an excellent           
 high power Beam. http://www.wickedlaser.com

They offers a variety of Green Laser Pointers from 15mW~125mW

Tell them you want the " Alaska Jim Service "                           
     and get 5% off your Laser !   Every little bit helps right?

                                               Aurora Above                                       

                                                       Jim

Subject:	RA spinning
Sent:	Monday, August 1, 2005 03:59:42
From:	Michael Morris (michaelmorris4@hotmail.com)
I usually use my ETX 90 with the electronic hand controller with a polar
mount with no problems.  The scope track well.  Recently, I decided I
really ought to start using the Autostar again.  However, the scope
won't align or GOTO objects.  The problem is the RA axis.  When I go to
align the scope, the scope appears to move in the DEC axis to the right
position.  However, it just spins around and around in RA until it hits
the stop.  It does this in both polar and Alt/Az modes and when asking
the scope to go to an object.  The batteries are freshly charged.  I've
also tried it with my fully charged Astro-engineering battery pack with
the same result.

Is it a problem with the RA axis encoder?  If so, what, and how would I
find out/fix it?  If not, what else could it be?
 
HELP!

Michael Morris
Mike here: You didn't say; have you done the CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES steps?

And:

Has anyone ever told you're a bloody genius?  No!  Well then, you're a
bloody genius.  Running 'calibrate motors' seems to have solved the
problem.

Thanks

Michael Morris

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