GENERAL FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 August 2006

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:	Have Members of this Forum discussed complaints with Mead?
Sent:	Thursday, August 31, 2006 14:47:38
From:	Morley Horder (morley@eagleharborbooks.com)
With all the complaints about Mead's Tech support, manuals, quality of
some of the components, etc. , has someone tried to talk to them about
these issues?  If so, what has been their response? You'd think they'd
be interested to hear from their customers and give some kind of
response.

I love your site and (most of the time) my 105PE.

Thanks for all your work.

Morley
Mike here: They are interested in hearing from their customers when such conversations are calm and factual.

And:

Is there a way to get some of their responses (to calm and factual
questions) posted?  Or is it already there and I'm missing it?  It would
be great to know that they really are listening, making changes in light
of our concerns, AND letting us know when we're wrong.

Thanks,

Morley
Mike here: There are second-hand responses posted from the person who contacted Meade. Sometimes the posts discuss positive results and sometimes not so positive. These are typically on the General Feedback pages. Meade doesn't respond here to user congrats or complaints.
Subject:	? on Scopetronix
Sent:	Monday, August 28, 2006 19:27:08
From:	Evert D. Carter 3rd (skipd7@juno.com)
I have a question about Scopetronix?  Is it still in business ? They
have a backorder that I am waiting for and Rob has not answered my
e-mail.  Thank you Evert Carter 3rd Kent Washington.  skipd7@juno.com
Mike here: See the top message on the July 2006 General Feedback page in the Archive.

And:

Thanks Mike the reason I asked about Scopetronix is that the order was
paid for with a money order?  Thanks for your attention to my question!

Love your web site it has been a great deal of help for me.  Thank you.

Subject:	polarity of connectors. From your site I'm confused
Sent:	Friday, August 25, 2006 11:45:47
From:	Frank Ryan (frankryanjr@eircom.net)
As alwaysWhat a site!
You truly are the mighty etx-man!
 
Just a quick question.
I bought an external portable battery to power my ETX-125.
The cable at the end of the adapter lets you set the polarity... 
Which is the correct one!?
 
 
Kind regards,
Frank
Mike here: See the FAQ page for the info.
Subject:	Focus knob fell off...
Sent:	Thursday, August 24, 2006 13:39:04
From:	Pamela White (whitegemlab@yahoo.com)
and whatever it's attached to FELL IN!!  And it's rattling around in
there.  It's a Meade EXT--is it worth repairing or will it cost me as
much as a new telescope.  It doesn't have the AutoStar.
 
THanks,  Pam
Mike here: If the ETX model is an ETX-90, -105, or -125 see the article "Focus Shaft Fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.

And:

Thank you!

Subject:	Meade ETX70-AT
Sent:	Monday, August 28, 2006 13:04:43
From:	Mark Lennon (mjlennon@hotmail.com)
After very little use the chromed focussing knob on my 70 keeps falling
off and any attempt to tighten it with the little screw is instantly
foiled with the next attempt at focussing. Any known remedy, anyone?
Mark Lennon
Mike here: Are you certain you are actually turning the setscrew? Many people don't get the allen wrench fully inserted into the hole in the setscrew.

And:

Thanks for your very prompt response! Am actually using a broken
matchstick as I don't have an allen key! Will obtain one and try it.
Many thanks indeed, regards from Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Mark Lennon

Subject:	ETX  scopes
Sent:	Monday, August 28, 2006 13:03:41
From:	Michael Kutzner (mjkutzner@earthlink.net)
I enjoy your site alot, maybe one day I will buy a ETX.  I was wondering
where are the Meade ETX scopes made in?  They say the optics are made in
Ca. USA, but where are the scope assembled??
 
Thanks
  
Michael Kutzner
mjkutzner@earthlink.net
Mike here: I have seen telescopes assembled in the Irvine plant but they are also assembled elsewhere.
Subject:	No power from etx-90 to autostar
Sent:	Sunday, August 27, 2006 16:15:12
From:	Raymond Steverink (r.steverink@hhd.demon.nl)
I have a problem with my ETX-90 and Autostar. All worked fine until I
connected the etx90 to the Autostar with a faulty cable. The result was
that no display appeared on my Autostar. After replacing the faulty
cable by the regular one no display on the autostart. I tested the
autostar with another telescope and it showed normal operation (welcome
to Atostar etc).

It seems to me that there is no power on the HBX port on the scope.  The
light on the scope is lit (red led) when I switch it on. What could be
the problem?
 
Regards
 
Raymond Steverink
Huissen
The Netherlands 
Mike here: You could have blown the circuit on the circuit board in the base. If you open the base up and inspect the board you might be able to see the component that is fried. But unless you are experienced at soldering circuit boards you probably want to leave the repair to Meade.
Subject:	correctly mounting ETX-125 to 883 field tripod
Sent:	Friday, August 25, 2006 15:34:41
From:	Vince Fishbaugh (jollymon41@hotmail.com)
My name is Vince and I have a problem.  I have searched your site but
can't seem to find the answer, though I am sure the question has already
been asked.

I seem to have two different sets of instructions on attaching the
ETX-125EC to the 883 Deluxe Field Tripod.  One says to to have the
attachment knob that is furthest from the two hole covers for the table
tripod legs over the leg with the N for north marked on it.

The other says to have the leg with N between the two hole covers.

Do you happen to know which one is correct?  Being new to astronomy I
can't seem to make sense of it.

Thanks,
Vince Fishbaugh
Mike here: Since I'm on vacation I can't check mine but the ETX base will be centered on the tripod head when in the proper position. With the N leg on the North side, the ETX control Panel will be on the West side.
Subject:	Re: ext motors unreponsive
Sent:	Monday, August 21, 2006 14:01:53
From:	marbar (marbar63@peoplepc.com)
I have been using ac power and I never us the batteries. Your reply was
to check batteries
Mike here: Check the condition of the pins inside the HBX port on the ETX base; they should not be depressed too far or dirty as they won't make contact with the connector on the Autostar cable. Since you indicated you've tried two Autostars and two cables, the problem is not with the Autostar or cable.
Subject:	etx motors unresponsive
Sent:	Friday, August 18, 2006 12:45:46
From:	marbar (marbar63@peoplepc.com)
etx125 has been working great. when I did the latest update the motors
are completely dead. The autostar starts normally step by step. When I
try to calibrate the motors it stays in calibrate for a couple of
minutes the starts over. It  is useless right now. I tried to update it
several times but no use. change cord from my other autostar no change.
The  other autostar does same thing. Update has been accepted into the
autostar.
thanks Mike
Mike here: Have you replaced the batteries?
Subject:	Re: Meade 105 telescope motors etc
Sent:	Thursday, August 17, 2006 01:36:42
From:	Niall J. Saunders (niall@njs101.com)
Ron, as a proud owner of an ETX-105 myself, I wonder if you might be
suffering from the same teething problems as I had when I first acquired
my scope, many years ago!!

Apart from quite a few mechanical problems caused by the previous owner,
who had no interest in Astronomy, and had never even applied power to
the scope (but had, nonetheless, managed to break bits inside the drive
mechanisms) all of my problems were due to incorrect setup by myself.

As Mike will (and regularly does !!) confirm, start with the basics.
Download the latest software for your Autostar and also get your hands
on the associated Patch kit from Dick Seymour. Use this to upload a
patched ROM file into your Autostar and, once complete, do a RESET.

Re-enter all the appropriate details for your location, and your chosen
mounting method (Alt-Az or Polar). Double-check the information in the
'Telescope' section of the Setup menu. (Note that you now have access to
the values created by running a 'Training' exercise.

Make sure that you are running from a reliable power source (if you are
not already using one, that I cannot recommend strongly enough that you
try and get your hands on one of the 'jump-start' power pack available
from the likes of Maplins, or Halfords etc.). If you only have internal
batteries, then you MUST start with a fresh set for the following
stages.

The first thing you need to do is power up and 'Calibrate'.

Having done than, you need to carry out a 'Training' exercise - and this
is what should hopefully resolve your problem (or at least confirm that
there IS a further mechanical issue that needs attention).

You could just use the Meade routine, but I have found that the routine
that I first found on this site, and subsequently modified, is the one
that serves me best. Once I have put one of my Meade scopes through
this, I am quite confident that I will have totally eliminated all
rubber-banding - at least as far as the mechanics of the particular gear
train will allow.

You can find the routine at
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/saunders-optimised-training.xls and
this itself is discussed at
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/opt-train.html. I have mentioned
this quite a few times on Mike's site - and you can find all the
references by searching for "training niall" using the Google Search at
the top of the home page on this site.

Finally, once you have established a reliable set of training values,
WRITE THEM DOWN (preferably somewhere on the scope itself) - unless you
carry out some major modification to your gear train(s) it is unlikely
that you will ever need to change them. I am still using the same values
on my ETX-105 and LX90-200 that I first established years ago - and I
have had both scopes completely dismantled in the meantime.

All that is then left is to tweak the 'Percentages' so that a change of
direction whilst slewing is something that happens reliably and
'repeatably'.

And, if you have a CCD imager, but don't have a reticuled eyepiece, use
a couple of small pieces of masking tape on your monitor screen, or an
Overhead Transparency (read: water soluble) marker pen, to make a
reference 'cross' to help you re-centre your target when training.

Good Luck !!

Niall Saunders
Clinterty Observatories
Aberdeen, NE SCOTLAND

And:

From:	Ron Beare (ron@redi-image.com)
Thanks Niall, John and Mike, your help is much appreciated.
All these fantastic fixes for the ETX seem great, downloading this and
that to cure all the ailments of the 'scope. Fine if you enjoy playing
with computers and are on broadband, unfortunately we're not ( if its
like most things I try and download with big files, its log on and go
for your summer vacation! then the server drops out just as the last
little bit's arriving) With due respect, I bought a reasonably expensive
telescope to look at the stars, not to have to keep twiddling with
things to get the dam thing to perform as it should straight from the
box. I wouldn't expect to buy a DVD recorder/player costing half the
price of these scopes, then have to keep downloading software to get it
to perform the way the manufacturers tell us it should. Why dont Meade
just sell it in kit form at half the price for those who enjoy playing.
I only want to look at the stars as easily and conveniently as possible.

I've got a home made 8.75 inch Newtonian. The polar drive motor was
actually a car windshield wiper motor, speed control is nothing more
sophisticated than a rheostat voltage regulator. I can change direction
without any backlash as the worm gears are perfectly aligned. Once
visually centred onto an object it will stay there with reasonable
accuracy. It's just a bit to cumbersome to cart around in the back of a
reasonably sized car when you want to get away from the streetlights.

Sorry about that, I'll get off my soapbox now!

I haven't had chance to try any of the modifications suggested yet, but
I will give them a try. I know the backlash is mechanical as you can
actually see the movement when rocking the base, I'm going to try John's
suggestion regarding the worm gear grub screws. I must admit I haven't
stripped the thing down as far as he did, yet!

Many thanks again for your expert instructions, with any luck it will be
spot on before the dark night are upon us.

Regards
Ron

Subject:	Questions about eyepieces
Sent:	Tuesday, August 15, 2006 06:25:26
From:	Luis O' Conor (luisoconor@medilabsrl.com.ar)
Recently, I bought a Meade ETX 70 AT, used but in very good condition.
It came with various eyepieces: the two that cames with the telescope
(MA 9 mm and MA 26 mm) and the last owner bought: WA 18 mm, PLOSSL 5 mm
and a Barlow 2X.

Now, somebody offers me a Meade ETX 90 and my question is very simple:
the WA 18 mm, the PL 5 mm and the Barlow can be used with these
telescope?

Thank you, Mike for your answer!!!
 
Luis
Mike here: Yes, the 1.25" eyepieces will work in both telescopes just fine. If the Barlow Lens is a "shorty" style, it will also work just fine.

And:

Thank you, Mike!!!
The reason of my question was because I read in a Meade Catalogue that
there are "two types" of eyepieces, one for the ETX 70 and the others,
suitable for the ETX 90 / 105 / 125.
Bests regards from Rosario, Argentina,

Luis
Mike here: The ETX-70 comes with "MA" eyepieces and the ETX-90/105/125 comes with a higher quality "Plossl" eyepiece. But either type can be used with any of the ETX models.

And:

Again, thank you Mike!!!

Subject:	Re: My newly Supercharged ETX 125
Sent:	Monday, August 14, 2006 5:20:52 PM
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@arksky.org)
Wonderful report John and great to hear from you.
Enjoy that terrific telescope!

Dr. Clay
-------------
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)
http://www.arksky.org/


----- Original Message ----- 
> Hi Dr. Clay,
>
> Received my ETX 125 back from you a week ago last Saturday in great condition
> ( No damage to the box or contents). I was finally able to use it this  past
> Saturday nite  (We have been getting the typical marine layer that comes in at
> nite making it difficult to observe much of anything). I set it in home
> position and then performed the 2 star alignment. It only needed  a little  slewing
> to get each star centered. As Jupiter was the easiest object to go to in my
> area I "went to Jupiter" and it tracked and placed it dead center in the 
> middle of the 18mm eyepiece's feild of view. Needless to say I was very happy. 
> I'm really having fun again and can't wait to take it out to the high desert 
> for better viewing.
>
> Again, I want to thank you for your excellent work on my scope and also 
> for offering a much needed service.
>
> Thanks again
>
> John

Subject:	meade 105 telescope motors etc
Sent:	Sunday, August 13, 2006 07:18:01
From:	Ron Beare (ron@redi-image.com)
We communicated some time ago egarding my troublesome telescope  and
your quick fix suggestion sorted things out very quickly.

What a pity that Meade cant put as much detail into their instruction
manuals as you have in you book. Definately a best buy, one should be
included in every Meade telescope box.

Got my'105 ETX in December '04. Straight out of the box it came up
"motor fault". Long discussions on the 'phone with the dealer failed to
get any response from the damn thing so back it went and along came a
brand new replacement. OK fine. During the summer months it didnt get
much use and when put into action again came up with? "Motor fault " I
wasnt very pleased and as well as contacting the dealer, I e-mailed the
mighty Mike, whose simple suggestion to try reversing the conecting
cable on the autostar did the trick, much to my own and the dealers
surprise. All fine until just after xmas 05. "motor fault" apeared
again. All tricks failed so back it went under warrenty to the importers
who put in a new azimuth motor FOC. a few days before the guarantee
expired.

Knowing any interference inside during warranty period would invalidate
the guarantee, I resisted the temptation to explore. Having an
enginerring background gives me a little insite into what should be
going on once I did open the thing up.

Gear backlash has been a major problem from day one, both for me and
everyone else it would seem. Playing around with the % settings (now
interestingly increased to 99% not the 50% as in Mikes book) failed to
elimimate very slow take up in speeds 1 and 2.

I was hoping to find some mechanical means of adjustment to get the
gears meshing more accurately. Not a hope, I found fragile little wires
looping around all over the place and the motor and gearing are
reminicent of the sort of thing found way back in the sixties when
little battery operated toys were all the rage.

What a disapointment. In an age where DVD drive mechanicals can be
constructed to operate with micrometer accuracy why does a fantastic
telescope like the Meade have to have such a load of rubbish in its
drive?

Havent really found a way of making things any better yet, when I do I'
keep you posted. Until then I'll enjoy the finest optics in a little
scope that I've ever come accross, when the motor pcks in again, we'll
just use it manually, but it't not so much fun.

regards
ron beare
retford
notts dn22 8qb
UK

Subject:	Re: Meteor Shower
Sent:	Sunday, August 13, 2006 04:50:24
From:	Edwin Doe (edoe@comcast.net)
We went down to the beach to watch the Perseids last night (NJ Shore)
and saw a spectacular sight.  Directly over the ocean where the moon
would rise in about 45 minutes, 6 of us saw a beautiful fireball!!  It
took our breath away.  It went from north to south is about 1.5 seconds
and looked almost as bright as a small firework.  It arced over the
water parallel to the hoizon and about 20 degrees above it.  we were all
stunned and none of us spoke for about 10 seconds; then we all spoke at
once.  It was like a kid in a candy factory.  Unfortunately no one had
it on film.  Just thought you would like to know.  How was your
experience?  Thanks for listening.
 
Dr. Doe
Mike here: We had fog...
Subject:	Celestron SkyScout as a simple GoTo adaptor for any scope?
Sent:	Sunday, August 13, 2006 02:59:08
From:	Mike Barrett (mm.barrett@btinternet.com)
I've just read this preview of the Celestron SkyScout GPS astroviewer
http://skytonight.com/equipment/home/3539661.html , and it occurred to
me that if the unit was adapted to mount in a similar way to a red dot
finder, the "Locate" function could be used to bring guided goto
facilities to any scope - even Dobs.  Only a little ingenuity would be
needed to make the mount and if used in conjunction with a red dot or
optical finder, the resolution should be adequate for most popular
targets.
 
Watch this space for Meade's equivalent product? :-)
 
Regards, Mike Barrett
 
Hertfordshire, UK
Mike here: Interesting thought.
Subject:	ETX question
Sent:	Friday, August 11, 2006 20:52:22
From:	Richard Creaser (creaser@earthlink.net)
I am wanting to get into astronomy and have been looking at the Meade
ETX-125EC and found this and was wondering if you would give me your
opinion?

http://www.buydig.com/shop/product.aspx?sku=MEETX125ECU

$699 seems very cheap compared to other places I've looked and I keep
wondering if I am missing something. BTW you have a GREAT site.

Thanks
Dick

Richard Creaser
Mike here: Meade's Factory Outlet is selling an ETX-125PE UHTC for the same price. That includes the Autostar. The ETX-125EC you found does not have the Autostar but you could add one (new) for about $100.

And:

Thanks. I will probably buy one from the Meade outlet.

Dick

Subject:	Meade ETX125AT or EC or PE
Sent:	Thursday, August 10, 2006 06:17:06
From:	ron raguso (rraguso@railworks.com)
I'm only a novice and have been observing the heavens since I was 13
(1970) using a Tasco 60mm x 900mm refractor. A coupler years ago I
purchased another Tasco telescope 60mm x 700mm with autostar on a
close-out. The optics on the older model are better, but the newer
telescope makes it easy to find objects and keeps them in the field of
view. Unfortunately I live in the New York City area and observing is
horrible and I can not make out many objects that the autostar finds.
I'm contemplating on purchasing the Meade ETX125 model since it is my
price range. Based on being a novice and I only occasionally observe,
which of the 3 models do you recommend? I've seen EC go for $699 and the
AT go for $875.
 
Thanks, Ron    
Mike here: They are the same telescopes, just different items included. The EC model doesn't include the Autostar and tripod, the AT model includes the Autostar #497 and #884 tripod, the PE model also include the Autostar and tripod but also has the Level North Technology (LNT). If your Autostar is a #497 (has number keys) and you have a sturdy tripod you could just get the EC model. If you don't think you need the convenience of the PE LNT then you could get the AT model. However, one thing to seriously consider is the UHTC option available on the AT and PE models. One last thing to be aware of is that the EC model has been "discontinued" for a few years. If you find one it is likely not going to have any internal improvements that the AT and PE models have. This won't be a problem necessarily but you should know it.

And:

Thanks for getting back to me and your opinion. I didn't realize the EC
model was discontinued and lacks some improvements, so I'll strike that
model off my list. I'll definitely consider the UHTC option since it is
only about $100 more. I'll look into the PE model to see if the LNT is
worth the extra money.

One last question: How much better are these telescopes compared to my
refractor telescopes as far as light gathering and clarity?

By the way, you have a wonderful website.

Thanks again, Ron
Mike here: The ETX-125 will have better contrast, way longer focal length, and no chromatic aberration (which your refractors may have had). The larger aperture will mean more light gathering power and the addition of UHTC will mean even more light gets to your eye (it is like adding another inch of aperture to the light that gets to your eye). The larger aperture will also mean higher resolution.

And:

Thanks again. I appreciate your comments.

Ron

Subject:	De-forking the ETX-125
Sent:	Wednesday, August 9, 2006 15:53:57
From:	Darren Pursel (dpursel@cogeco.ca)
I have looked through the technical tips section of your web site, and
did not come across anything.

What I would like to ask you, is it possible to de-fork a Meade ETX-125
and find rings and a plate to mount it to a heavey EQ mount like a EQ6?

What are the possible pitfalls? (besides loosing the Autostar)

I would like to mount my scope on a heavey EQ mount and piggyback a
small apo refracter for wide field astrophotography. I would then be
able to guide or image with either scope.
 
Thanks,
 
Darren
Mike here: Definitely possible and the ETX-90/105/125 models are even designed to be removable. See the bottom section of this page for photos on de-forking: http://www.weasner.com/etx/90ec_comments.html. Losmandy and Scopestuff (links on the Astronomy Links page) have ETX rings. As pitfalls, none really, other than losing Alt/Az (Autostar) operation.

And:

Thanks alot Mike for your quick reply.

I have taken a look at the scopestuff website, and have ordered the
dovetail bar for the ETX-125. Now this will allow me to mount my scope
to a GEM.

My next questions: Is it possible to do this and then mount a scope
piggyback onto the ETX-125. I would like to mount a small refracter on
top of the ETX one I mount it onto a GEM.

Problems: Once I mount a dovetail plate to the bottom of the ETX, I will
not be able to put rings on th OTA to mount a smaller scope piggyback.
Right? There are no mounting screw holes on the upper side of the ETX
OTA to screw in another mounting plate.

Can you point me in the right direction?

Thanks Mike.

Darren
Mike here: You can use a camera piggyback to mount a telescope if it has a 1/4" tripod mounting hole (or you can add one). See the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page for a couple. Also, see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page for ideas on making your own.
Subject:	RE: Problems Aligning my ETX90EC - not sure if its auto star or the motor drive system
Sent:	Tuesday, August 8, 2006 23:18:30
From:	Richard Cook (rcook01@toucansurf.com)
Many thanks

Not sure I updated autostar correctly to be honest, I wonder if I did it
incorrectly and  corrupted the existing version. I checked your website
for detailed instruction on updating autostar (the meade instructions
were less than clear). Can you point me in the right direction and will
try updating again)

I also left the telescope unused and mounted for a long time, could this
have caused a problem?

Thanks

Richard Cook
Mike here: Lots of info on the Autostar on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. But using the Meade updater it is hard to do it "incorrectly"; you either update or you don't. But doing the CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES are still valid post-update steps to do, if you haven't done them. I always leave my ETX telescopes mounted but I leave the locks unlocked.

And:

Many thanks will give it a try to see if it resolves the problems.

Thanks

Richard Cook

Subject:	re: ETX-90 Thumbscrews.
Sent:	Tuesday, August 8, 2006 22:51:05
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
I -think- (But haven't truly verified) that they're
4-40 threaded screws.

So what i'd do is go to a hardware store with pick-a-nut bins,
and buy NYLON 4-40 screws (there's a faint chance you could
get wing-screws, but any normal screw head would suffice
as a "knob"

By using Nylon screws, you keep the good feature of making
the weakest part the screw, preventing damage to the rest
of the scope (threaded holes and viewfinder).

I also use nylon 1/4-20 hexhead bolts as my ETX90's Tripod Screws.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Problems Aligning my ETX90EC - not sure if its auto star or the motor drive system
Sent:	Monday, August 7, 2006 15:09:39
From:	Richard Cook (rcook01@toucansurf.com)
I'm looking for some advice on sorting out problems with my ETX, all was
well until recently when I took my telescope on holiday after trying and
failing to install the latest version of auto star on the handset. For
some reason I can no longer align the telescope, the motor seems to make
a louder grinding noise  than usual and when I try and align it sometime
hits the stops and is way off the alignment stars. Can anyone help? I
don't know of any local service centres either.
 
Many thanks
 
Richard Cook (Chester UK)
Mike here: After you did the Autostar update, did you do a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? You should always do this following any update of the Autostar software.
Subject:	Get a clearer picture?
Sent:	Monday, August 7, 2006 10:39:33
From:	Wesley Fry (wesley@fry4691.fsnet.co.uk)
Hi about a month ago  i purchased my first telecope, a meade 105 PE.
After a few little set up problems i managed to get the scope working
well. My question is this, when i goto jupiter i cannot get any real
detail. I can see the outer edge of the planet well and in focus but
cannot really see any cloud pattern. I have a x2barlow and lenses from
6mm to 32mm but cannot see much. When i do use the scope it is in a dark
remote location in the hills here in Dorset in the south of England. Not
sure what i'm doing wrong, any thoughts would be helpful.
 
Wesley Fry
Mike here: There are many possibilities: atmospheric (ours) turbulence, not letting the telescope reach "thermal equilibrium", approaching or exceeding the maximum magnification, or just that your expectations are too high. You can see at least two cloud bands but typically won't see details IN the bands with a small telescope. When visible, you should also be able to see the Great Red Spot (more a pale pink to the eye). For best results Jupiter should be high in the sky; don't wait to long after sunset to view it right now or it will get too low in the sky, increasing the atmospheric turbulence possibilities. Be certain to let the telescope "cool down" to the ambient air temperature; typically that takes about 30 minutes per inch of aperture. Use a moderately high power but don't get close the maximum (see the FAQ page if you don't know how to determine this for any telescope). As you get close and exceed the maximum, objects tend to break up and get fuzzy and dim. Lastly, if you are expecting to see the same image as you see in many photographs, you are expecting more than your eyes (not the telescope) are capable of showing you.
Subject:	ETX Help
Sent:	Monday, August 7, 2006 08:54:27
From:	Paul Sonkin (PSonkin@hummingbirdvalue.com)
I am trying to find an ETX user, user group or local astronomy club in
either East Hampton, Amagansett or Montauk on Long Island.  I have a
pretty long way to go in terms of learning but I'm trying to get a bit
more done each weekend.

Thanks again,

Paul.

Paul D. Sonkin
New York, New York
im: pds76543 (aol)
www.hummingbirdvalue.com
www.gsb.columbia.edu/faculty/psonkin

Subject:	ETX-90 Thumbscrews.
Sent:	Saturday, August 5, 2006 20:03:48
From:	Matthew Jenner (mjenner701@comcast.net)
I was wondering if you know of any place that sells replacement
thumbscrews for the ETX-90 viewfinder.  I've spent countless hours
searching.  Meade is also of no help.  I've tried calling Meade several
times, and each time I have been put on hold for over an hour, or the
phone just rings for hour.
Thank you for any help.

Matt.
Mike here: You could try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page) but Meade will probably send you some free (not including the cost of the phone call and your time).
Subject:	Uncontrollable behavior on ETX-125
Sent:	Saturday, August 5, 2006 06:19:30
From:	Kelly Carroll (soktober@gmail.com)
I have an unusual problem on my ETX-125.  While observing and slewed to
an object the OTA motors will suddenly move to point in the downward
position (OTA pointing towards the ground.)  If I don't turn it off I
believe that the motors would force the OTA against the bottom of the
unit.  I have recently updated the Autostar software to 43A, did a
reset, calibrate motor, train drives, and calibrated the sensors.  Every
heard of this happening?  Any suggestions?  Thank you in advance,
wonderful site Mike.
 
Best regards,
 
Kelly
Mike here: Did this just start happening? If so, try changing the batteries; they could be low. (Have you checked the battery level in the MODE display?) Some other solutions to try if not battery power: reverse the Autostar cable, check the conditions of the pins in the jacks and on the cable ends (they can become depressed and not make good contact).

And:

This has never happened before.  The scope is running on DC power from
the car.  I will check what you suggested and should have a chance to
see if it works tonight.

Regards,

Kelly
Mike here: Don't forget to try an alternative power source, such as fresh internal batteries.

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