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ETX USER FEEDBACK - AUGUST 1997
Last updated: 3 September 1997

Many ETX users have written to me with comments or questions. If you have any comments, suggestions, or answers to questions posed here, please e-mail them to me and I'll post them.

See the ETX Feedback Page for current comments.

Sent:	Sunday, August 31, 1997 06:42:15
From:	BirdoB@aol.com
While using the ETX over the past several months four (04) small
(approximately 1") pieces of plastic have worked their way out of
the base of the scope from the area where the top and base of the
mount are joined. Each piece was covered with what appeared to be
grease. I suspect these are "shims" of some kind. Should I
contact Meade regarding this? Other then this (possible) problem
the scope performs very well.
BirdoB


Sent:	Saturday, August 30, 1997 06:42:10
From:	gps@idt.net (George P. Stasiu)
I spoke with the folks at Pocono Mountain Optics and did some
research on-line since my last exchange of e-mail with you.  I am
told that the 9mm Nagler (made by Tele Vue) solves the problem I
complained about - namely gives good eye relief and a bright,
wide angle of view.  For this you must pay however - up to $230
per eyepiece.  Other good choices are the 8mm Ultra Wide Angle
Meade (or the 4.4 o6 6.7 UWA)  These pieces go for between $150
and $230.
Well, I guess cash solves all technical problems - and that sure
seems to be the case here.  I think I will hold off throwing more
money into the equipment and spend more on increasing my
proficiency with what I already have.

May your gazing be clear and rewarding,

George


The following is a clarification on mounting the Orion 6x30 Finderscope reviewed on the ETX Finderscopes page:
Sent:	Saturday, August 30, 1997 02:02:40
From:	tomg@icat.com (Tom Gideon)
I took the plastic back off of the ETX body, and drilled a 10-24
screw sized hole into the plastic at the very rear of the back
and also drilled one through the extrusion where the original ETX
finder went at the leading edge of the base.  The tube assembly
is a flush fit, and this front location is the only place you can
drill and place a flat-head screw (counter-sinked) into the
plastic back to allow for two point contact.
The base of the finder will have to be drilled to match these two
holes and the base needs to be parallel to the tube. Once these
holes are drilled, the plastic back should be placed back into
the fork, and the vertical component of the finder base will need
to be trimmed away on one side to allow the base to swing past
the 90-deg declination point.

It sounds harder than it is to do.

Tom


Sent:	Friday, August 29, 1997 05:07:44
From:	Fishee9@aol.com
hi, well, yesterday i brought my etx to "The Nature Company" and
showed someone my problem.  because i bought so much stuff in
that store, i assume, they gave me an equal exchange, no
questions asked.  i had the scope one year and one week.  the
warranty (as you know) ended in one year.  Now i have a brand new
etx and i'm lovin it...
thank you for your time,
love your website,

dave (fishee9@aol.com)


Sent:	Friday, August 29, 1997 01:52:13
From:	klement@daimi.aau.dk (claus pedersen)
Hello I want to buy a ETX, but the dealer in Denmark shows little
interest in selling such one to me and the price is also rather
high: almost 1.000$.
So I wonder if I could buy one from a dealer outside DK.
Do sombody have any suggestions?
Claus Pedersen
Musikhuset Århus
Denmark - 8000 Århus C.


Sent:	Friday, August 29, 1997 01:33:50
From:	gps@idt.net (George P. Stasiuk)
By the by, your photo's are outstanding.  I use my ETX in the
Catskills at elev. 4000+ where it is very dark, the sky is very
clear and there are minimal atmospheric disturbances.  I havn't
used it for photography yet, but your results are encouraging me
to do so.  Actually, Pocono Mountain Optics sent me the wrong
adapter for my camera - so I havn't had the chance.
Best,

George

George P. Stasiuk, Esq.
ESQUIRE ENTERPRISES
http://www.esqwyr.com
*********************************
gps@esqwyr.com
gstasiuk@aol.com
internic handle: gs1773
voice:  (201) 759-0579
fax:    (201) 939-4057
websites:   http://www.esqwyr.com


Sent:	Thursday, August 28, 1997 11:40:46
From:	wap@interlog.com (Wayne Powell)
An update.  Well further tests indicate that the Minolta Dimage-V
and other "zoom" small digital cameras (without removable lens
mounts) just don't work for eyepiece projection.  Although I am
not sure of the exact reason, it appears that the primary lens
(and/or ccd chip) is placed too far back in the lens assembly and
produces a severely vignetted and unusable image.  I traded the
Minolta Dimage-V (sob, sob, it's a great personal "point and
grin" digital camera) for a much cheaper Sony Mavica MVC-FD5 with
a fixed focus lens and it works perfectly.  I have attached two
hand-held eyepiece shots taken with a 12.5 Meade Super Plossl of
Jupiter (in very poor seeing - the heart of Toronto, Canada) that
clearly shows the storm bands.  Neither has been digitally
enhanced.  One is purposely over-exposed to show the moon(s).
Now I have a dilemma, the Minolt Dimage-V is a perfectly sized
compact camera with many features (including remote lens, zoom
and macro) and takes better quality pictures than the Sony
(though it eats batteries like they're going out of style).  The
Sony is twice the size (not practical to carry around), no zoom
and poorer picture quality.  But it does have a much better
battery system (infolithium), a rechargeable with no "memory"
that lasts a long time.  I wish I could have the features of both
... and still be able to use the camera for eyepiece projection. 
What to do, what to do.  I am tempted to give up on the eyepiece
projection with the small CCD still camera and stick with my SLR
mounted 35mm photography and eventually get a dedicated CCD
telescope imager/guider....


Sent:	Thursday, August 28, 1997 09:17:08
From:	Fishee9@aol.com
about one year ago i purchased the etx.... i love this
telescope.. Becuase i also have a 10" dob, my eye has become more
trained when observing.  when i look through the etx, i can see
things that other people might not see.  the etx's optical
performance is superb.  i viewed m57 recently and it was a good
show. the central star was not visible, but the "smoke ring" was.
I was very pleased with it.
i just wanted to say that up until now, the etx is in one
word....beautiful

thanx for listening,
fishee9@aol.com


Sent:	Tuesday, August 26, 1997 13:45:55
From:	Ray_Wartinger@wb.xerox.com (Wartinger,Ray C)
I've really enjoyed your WEB page - thanks for putting it up and
maintaining it.  Its an invaluable asset to the growing group of
ETX owners.  I just received my ETX last Thursday and am still
getting used to it.  My previous scope is a 6" reflector I bought
from Edmunds Scientific back in the 70's.  Its not a bad scope
but is difficult to lug around and has no motor drive.
Here are my first impressions of the ETX:
 - excellent optics, images are crisp
 - very portable, easy to set up.  I use a heavy duty Bogen tripod
   which seems plenty stable.
 - clunky drive, takes too long for it to "lock in"
 - slo-mo controls are adequate but not smooth operating,
   declination knob is really sloppy and scrapes and squeaks when
   turned.  I can't imagine how JMI's motorized declination
   attachment can possibly work well with it.  Has anyone tried
   lubricating this mechanism?
 - RA setting circle is very difficult to turn. I'm considering
   getting JMI's digital setting circles but would like to hear
   something good about it first.
 - Controls in general are difficult to get to and use.  RA lock
   and slo-mo are tucked up tight under the tube and hard for my fat
   fingers to use. Focus knob is also hard to use and is a bit too
   coarse.  I'm considering getting JMI's moto-focus to help out
   here.
 - Aiming is very difficult.  I guess I'm used to a longer tube
   (like 48" on my 6" newtonian) which is easy to aim and then fine
   tune with the finder scope.  With the ETX's short tube, there is
   very little to guide on and the finder scope is almost impossible
   to use.  I'm thinking of trying the reflex sight off my other
   scope.  It seems like if there were a couple of white stripes
   going lengthwise up the scope's tube you could at least have a
   reference to sight with.  Has anyone tried this?

Overall I'm fairly pleased with the ETX even with its
shortcomings, some of which are inherent in its compact size. 
I'm not happy at all with the plastic construction, especially
the cheesy way the base it put together - a single self-tapping
screw into plastic!  How long will this last?!?  (a strictly
rhetorical question, mind you)

Do you know of anyone who has computerized their ETX?  What about
lubrication?  Any info would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks a
bunch again for your excellent WEB page.

- - Ray

Ray_Wartinger@WB.Xerox.Com


Sent:	Tuesday, August 26, 1997 12:21:09
From:	gps@idt.net (George P. Stasiu)
Recently purchased a Meade ETX and am generally pleased with it.
I am rather annoyed however with the performance of the 9MM Super
Plossl eyepiece that I recently added.  It is hard to see
anything through it - the light coming through is very low.  Can
you suggest a better eyepiece with that magnification?  Using my
standard eyepiece with a shorty Barlow is way better.

Your comments (and Page) are appreciated.

George P. Stasiuk

Mike here: I have the same eyepiece I believe (9.7mm Super Plossl). There is certainly a dimmer view of the universe through it but not bad for bright objects like planets or the moon.


Sent:	Monday, August 25, 1997 18:06:39
From:	agcooper@lightspeed.net (Miller)
Hello! I must say that your site is great! It is an invaluable
well of information! Anyway, I myself am considering purchasing a
Meade ETX Astro Scope,  and have one or two questions about it.
My one  major question is if it is good at viewing deep sky
objects. Now, I realize that since it only has an aperature of
90mm it is not going to have the light collecting capabilities as
some other larger scopes have, but I want to know if it is
capable of viewing any deep sky objects whatsoever. I really hope
that this scope is capable of viewing some sort of galaxies and
nebulae. I know that I am not going to be able to see all of the
deep sky objects that are visible with larger aperatures, but all
I really want to know to finalize my purchasing decision that
this scope will be able to see 10 or 20 deep sky objects. Do you
think you could provide an answer for me. I will appreciate
anything that you have to say or suggest.
Thank you very much for your help,
Carl Miller

Mike here: The brighter objects like M42 in Orion will be easy. Dimmer objects like the M57 (Ring Nebula) will be more difficult but I saw it recently. I plan to go after M31 galaxy one of these mornings. So, yes, many deep sky objects can be seen.


Sent:	Monday, August 25, 1997 12:42:41
From:	101707.3644@CompuServe.COM (Mark and Caron Pitkethly)
I am a beginner and have been a keen watcher of the stars now for
about 3 years after rekindling a childhood fascination. Yesterday
I purchased my own ETX in France - so sadly my setting up
instructions are in French and I await the English instructions.
Can you help?? I am going to read your pages with interest and
let you know how I get on. I live in Yorkshire in England and our
skies are changeable but I intend to travel to see some dark
skies.

Mike here: You can probably get an English manual from Meade. Try writing to them.


Sent:	Monday, August 25, 1997 09:44:18
From:	total@totalsem.com (Dudley Lehmer)
I just purchased my first telescope, an ETX for my daughter (and
me) who is very interested in space. I really want to encourage
her in this area. So far I am pleased with the basic system. I do
want to purchase some accessories to improve my viewing. I went
to Meade's web page and looked at recommended eyepieces. They
recommend SP 18, 12.4, 9.7 or wide angle 4.7 or 6.7. I can see
from your pic's what the 9.7mm can do alone and with the 2X
barlow. I have two questions
1) The pic's using the 9.7 (128x) and with barlow (256x) are a
little blurry. I understand this is to be expected when you push
the magnification. Do you find the extra mag. worth the loss in
focus quality? From the pic's, I would tend to say it is worth
it, but I am interested in your experience.

2) Have you ever used any of the wide angle eyepieces? Does the
4.7 really give a 266x (1250/4.7) magnification, or is the
formula different for these wide angle eyepieces? If it is this
high a mag. how is the quality?

I did quite a bit of research before I bought my first telescope
and I want to thank you for your web page. It was VERY helpful.

One last question. Now that I have a telescope, I still have a
LOT to learn about finding objects, star charts etc. I purchased
a basic book and circular star chart with the telescope but I
would like your advice on resources for a beginner to learn about
locating planets and objects etc. (so far I have been able to
find the moon OK, ha,ha). Also I can understand the basics about
the star chart but need a good reference to find the planets.

Thank you again for your help and advice.

Dudley Lehmer

Mike here: Visually, the views at the higher magnifications are better than what is apparent from the photos. The loss of light is very noticeable when using the 2x Barlow and the camera but less so with the eye. However, you really do need steady seeing to use the higher magnifications. As to the wide angle eyepieces, I've not used any; perhaps will comment. There are several free and commercial software packages that do an excellent job in charting the sky. There are also several web pages that do it. Check out the astronomy links.


Sent:	Sunday, August 24, 1997 17:31:03
From:	gdbrock@fastlane.net (Glenn Brock)
While visiting Pocono Mountain Optics web site I found this:
----
Introducing! New upgrade accessories for the Meade ETX, from Apogee, Inc.:
* ETX Right Angle Finder Conversion                         $49.95
* LAR Adapter for the ETX (allows use of SCT accessories)   $29.95
* ETX to 1.25" Adapter                                      $29.95
* ETX Mini Tele-Extender                                    $29.95
----
www.rahul.net/resource/regular/products/pocono/
There were no pictures and I didn't find any of these items on
Apogee's web site.  Anybody seen this Finder Conversion kit? 
Wonder how it compares to the JMI kit?  I'm still a newbee and
could somebody tell me what the other three items are for.

Thanks,

Glenn Brock 
gdbrock@fastlane.net


Sent:	Saturday, August 23, 1997 18:31:04
From:	anspeca@pdq.net (Anthony N. Speca)
I've had my ETX about 3 weeks now.  This is a tough time in SE
Texas for good seeing so I have not used it much yet.  Actually,
after reading comments posted at your site I decided to order an
ETX for my upcoming trip to the Feb total eclipse - expecting a 4
- 6 month wait it showed up 3 weeks after ordering.  It turned
out that the local dealer, Texas Nautical, has a standing order
for them - he sells everyone he gets and quickly too.
Anyway, I have some good eyepieces from my old C8 but nothing
less than 20mm.  I want to buy a 10mm but don't know if this is
"too much" power for the ETX.  Also what is best - Plossl or some
other?   I've not bought Astronomy equipment in a long time.  I
would appreciate hearing from you or others.

Tony Speca
Kingwood, TX

Mike here: Congrats on the new ETX! I successfully use my Meade Super Plossl 9.7mm Multi-Coated Eyepiece ($85) with the ETX, even when doubled using the 2x Short-Focus Multi-Coated Barlow Lens ($53). The 9.7mm gives 128x, and doubled, 256x. Check out the updated "First Impressions" on my ETX web site for some new comments added resulting from my observations of Jupiter and Saturn at 128x and 256x. Also, see the Planet Gallery for pictures just posted. You can also check out the Accessories page for more info on Eyepieces. And don't forget these Feedback pages!


Sent:	Friday, August 22, 1997 10:48:30
From:	cann@axionet.com (Doug Cann)
We have had some very good nights for the past three weeks and
have enjoyed the return of Jupiter.  The ETX is still performing
well including the drive.  I always use the 'double double' in
Lyra as a test of the sky before I observe and then I go to Pi
Aquila (1.4 second separation) for a further test of the sky...or
the ETX !!  I guess its a summer habit !! On most nights I have
been able to see the 'space' between the two faint stars. Eta
Corona Borealis at 1.0 second just shows as an oblong ie no
space,  but that is really pushing the limits.
I still see lots of comments on the 'site' about tripods.  I am
still using my Manfrotto #144 with a #128 head and it has given
me no grief over the past 13 months.  I notice that some of the
Bogen and other setups that I have seen appear to have some sort
of extension or series of hinged plates that sit on top of the
tripod head.  This seems to add about 4 to 6 inches of additional
height that would possibly introduce some vibration. On the
Manfrotto, the ETX sits directly on the tilt head and is
therefore very close to the top of the tripod. It is very easy to
set the tilt head at the elevation of the 'pole' and have a very
stable set up.

I am now waiting for the delivery of a Meade SP 4000 6.4 mm
plossl eyepiece.  I will update you on its performance when it
arrives.

I hope that your skies are clear.

Cheers.....Doug in sunny BC.


Sent:	Friday, August 22, 1997 08:22:07
From:	rubis@ameritech.net (Randall Rubis)
Greetings,
I have just got my ETX and I plan on using it as a guide scope
for my 10" LX200.  I have a couple of pics on my www.ameritech.net/users/rubis/RANDY1.HTM web site showing
the ETX with a Meade 208XT attached.  Grab the pics if you want. 
Tomorrow I will have pics that show the ETX set on a dove tail
mount with rings holding the ETX and the CCD.  Keep up the great
work on the ETX!  Clear Ones.
-- 
Randy Rubis
Manager, Data Network Support
Ameritech Cellular Services

"Grab some photons tonight - it'll warm your heart and chill your bones"
Home Page http://www.ameritech.net/users/rubis/RANDY1.HTM


Sent:	Thursday, August 21, 1997 15:55:15
From:	agriggs@pacbell.net (Art)
Thanks for taking the time to respond.  I think you convinced me
to get another ETX but I'm going to really check out the drive
accuracy before I accept one.  (I already own a Meade Field
Tripod and a 2045 Wedge which works nicely with the ETX!)
Passing note, a search via Yahoo indicates your site is the only
one remaining on ETX.  There were some others when I first
discovered yours.  I'll keep visiting your web site.

- Art -

Mike here: Gee, I didn't mean to knock off the competition!


Sent:	Tuesday, August 19, 1997 23:34:10
From:	agriggs@pacbell.net (Art)
We "talked" sometime ago and you posted my comments regarding my
experiences with an early ETX.  (Great optics, poor tracking,
returned!)  Well, since then I came across a Meade LX50 Mak 7
which is what I really wanted.  The owner is Ron Smith, the Santa
Rosa College professor who is quoted in the ETX section of the
current Meade Catalog.  (Santa Rosa is the community "next door"
to me.)  Awfully nice scope, nice price, nice fellow.  He had it
for a short while and needed to sell it due to an old back
injury.  The OTA & mount weigh 50#, the total is 80#.  Well, Ron
suggested I check it out first and after three weeks I had to
take a pass.  For the same reasons, too heavy.  I have a disc
problem in my lower back.  I can lift the 50# but carrying it is
murder.  I'm on a extended job assignment and it wasn't going to
work out.  Great scope for a semi-fixed site though.
So, all that just to say I rethinking the ETX.  I love Mak
optics, particularly Meade's -  bright, high contrast, and clear.

My question to you is, how has your ETX worked out for you since
we last emailed? How is it holding up and how is the tracking? 
How many owners have problems with speed variations?  Would you
recommend it now?  Thanks. By the way your web site has matured
very nicely, cudos again!

Art Griggs, Sonoma, CA

Mike here: Thanks for the email and the comments on the ETX web site. I am still VERY pleased with my ETX. I may even take it with me on a trip to Indiana next month since I'll be there when the Saturn occultation occurs. Optics are still great. Drive is still acceptable for visual work and some short exposure astrophotography. Obviously the ETX is not suited to deep space astrophotography but then it was not designed for that. I've just been pushing the envelop to see what it can do. I have more tests at the photo lab going on PhotoCD; hope to have it back soon. As you can see from other comments in the ongoing Feedback pages, many users are very pleased with the ETX. I post all comments, good and bad, and right now the good outnumber the bad by a large margin. I'd like a larger scope myself and do plan to get one someday but for ease of setup and portability combined with great optics, the ETX can't be beat.


Sent:	Tuesday, August 19, 1997 01:07:55
From:	man_ldn@prodigy.net (Michael & Lori Nicholas)
Continued great work on this page.  I don't really have the guts
to do the drive modifications that many people are doing, but I
have noticed a problem in the warm humid weather that we are
having in western Kentucky.  It appears that the RA motor does
some noticeable jerking at high power (125x, 175x, & 250x), it is
not that noticeable at lower powers (48x & 86x).  Are there any
reasonable adjustments that I could be making.  Saw the progress
of  I believe Ganymede's shadow across the face of Jupiter in the
early AM on 8/17/97.  It also appeared that one of Jupiter's
cloud bands became nearly non-existent during the hour or so I
was observing.  I am really enjoying the ETX!!
Mike Nicholas
Paducah, Kentucky

Mike here: See Tom Price's July 14 comment in the June-July 1997 Feedback Archive for a discussion about adjusting the friction.


Sent:	Monday, August 18, 1997 05:59:01
From:	wap@interlog.com (Wayne Powell)
I just recently purchased an ETX and have found your page most
valuable.  Thank you for keeping it up!  I have a couple of
comments and will add more details later.
I was not pleased that the ETX didn't come with a cover for the
eyepiece holder.  However, I found that a Fuji film canister
(opaque with a black lid) will fit perfectly if you cut it down
to between 1/2 and 1/3 of its size.  With the cut edge cleaned
(you don't want to get any plastic burs in the scope) and
inserted, the new eyepiece cover fits in nicely, stopped at the
rim of the eyepiece holder by the film canister lid, and can be
held snugly inside with the set screw of the eyepiece.

As for a case, I purchased a hard body (and water tight) Pelican
EQ 1550 with Pick and Pluck Foam which is the perfect size for
the ETX and accessories.  The fit of the scope is snug as there
ia only 1/4" of breathing room between the scope base and the
lid, however it fits without any movement nor undue pressure. 
The price was $210 Canadian.  A bit pricey but it works great,
rugged, and attractive.  I will attach some pictures as soon as I
can.

Lastly, a question.  I purchased a new Minolta Dimage V CCD still
camera (with detachable lens) and am excited about the prospect
of taking some simple eyepiece projection pictures of the moon. 
However I tried it quickly last night and found it impossible to
focus (or perhaps the moon was just too bright?).  Can you give
me any hints on how I might set it up (i.e. how you have achieved
focus with you camera).  Once I have achieved some satisfactory
results I will send you the results and a review of the camera
(which I believe, with the detachable remote lens, should be a
good little camera for ETX moon eyepiece projections).

Thank you!

Mike here: As to the focusing question, with my Casio I can see the image on the LCD on the camera. So it is easy to focus. Also, since I'm using eyepiece projection with the camera focused at infinity, there is no change in focus from the setting for visual work. With the Pentax, it is another story. Since I don't use the Pentax lens, focus has to change. And since I don't have the JMI focuser (which might help) seeing the correct focus through the camera viewfinder is a MAJOR challenge on dim objects.

Added later:

Hmm..I tried it in daylight at luch today and noticed that I do
get an image in the Dimage V LCD screen, however it is completely
vignetted into a circular field (with, say, the 26mm Plossl) to
only about a third or less of the field visible to the eye. 
Hmmm...  Is there any modification that you had to make to your
CCD camera?  The Minolta has a zoom lens and a macro setting and
it is automatically (or permanently) focused.  I believe the
macro setting is a fixed focues of about 2.5"  I suspect that the
vignetting is occurring because I can't get the camera lens close
enough to the eyepiece lens??? (In the Minolta Dimage V the lense
assembly is something to behold!  Coated glass, etc.  But for
zooming, it moves a small lense (possible with the ccd
attached??) up and down the main lense tube. But I'm no optical
wizard.  I did notice that in the small vingetted are, the image
I can make out is very bright and only a portion of the full
field normally visible in the eyepiece.  This is with the camera
lense pushed up as close to and as on axis to the eyepiece as
possible.  Using the zoom the vignette hardly changes at all but
the image portion within the vignette does magnify and vice versa
(and remain in focus).  Now if I can only get it to project more
of the field on to the ccd, it might give a better metering for
the exposure (and some sort of useable image.  Any ideas on how
this is accomplished?  Should I give up with this little ccd
camera? Does your camera give a full field or is it vignetted
too?  Thanks for the help.  Sorry for being verbose.

I will be getting the JMI Motofocus and MotoDec.  I will also be
getting a Kenrick (??) KwikFocus (or making one) as it seems
indispensible for focusing a 35mm at Prime Focus and/or
projection.

Mike here again: With my Casio I can get the camera lens right up to the eyepiece when I hand-hold it but not when I use a mount I made (see the Gallery basics). With the mount I get the vignetting you see. I also get some vignetting when using my 9.7mm eyepiece but nothing too bad with the Casio. I'll post your additional comments and maybe some will have a solution for you.


Sent:	Saturday, August 16, 1997 20:25:09
From:	pershey@en.com (Ed Pershey)
The portability of the ETX proved true this summer. Carted it
along with me from Cleveland to California, Arizona & New Mexico.
Packed it in an old carry-on bag that I had, with homemade foam
rubber cushions. It survived just great. The weather, however,
proved disappointing. Only one good clear night the whole trip,
but that one was spectacular at the Grand Canyon. We stayed at
the old El Tovar Hotel on the South Rim, and after a rainy
afternoon, the skies cleared up beautifully later on. I set up
using the table top legs, on rocks along the walkway along the
rim. Jupiter at 238x was incredible and M4 was nifty. Star images
at 238x remained pinpionts and symmetrical. What optics!
We had stayed in San Diego in CA, so while I didn't get any
observing in there, I bought a Televue Qwik Point at Scope City.
Installed it only after getting home last week. This laser
pointer makes all the difference in using the ETX. Centering
Polaris for equatorial alignment is a breeze now. I mounted the
Qwik Point just using some double-sided mounting tape squares on
the ETX tube toward the front end of the optical tube. Seems
solid and in carrying the scope outside for three different
observing sessions it has retained its alignment.

Finally, I put another vote in for the Meade "Shorty" Barlow.
Especially with the 17mm Celestron Plossel, the images at 147x
are superb...even through the murkey skies of Cleveland!

Ed Pershey
Cleveland Heights, OH


Sent:	Saturday, August 16, 1997 16:21:27
From:	rcoutts@hookup.net (Rob Coutts)
I was on the site again last night gathering feedback from
various owners on eye-pieces. I currently have the standard SP
26mm and a #126 2x Barlow. I will probably get the 9.7mm and
12.4mm to avoid the duplication of powers.
What do you think of the UWA 6.7mm?

Rob


Sent:	Saturday, August 16, 1997 01:03:48
From:	orion@dwave.net
I concur with the individual comments regarding the JMI hard case
and right-angle finderscope. The problems become compounded when
you purchase both items.  With the right-angle scope in a near
vertical alignment, there is insufficent room to close the case
without undue pressure on the finderscope eyepiece.  The only
solution is to rotate the finderscope so that the finderscope
eyepiece is about 45 degrees to the viewing eyepiece. Then there
will be adequate clearance of the case lid. The finderscope can
still be used at this angle, but at an inconvenience.


Sent:	Thursday, August 14, 1997 23:44:10
From:	Jeff_Stevens@compuserve.com (Jeff Stevens)
I was hoping that you might be able to help me, regarding an
issue with the ETX scope that is causing me some confusion. I
recently purchased an ETX, and have been busy following the
instructions on how to Polar align the scope. I am happy with the
basic process, but there is one issue that is puzzling me.
According to the ETX manual, observers in the Northern Hemisphere
should use the lower RA scale, as opposed to the upper one. I'm
struggling to make sense of this, it appears to me that I should
be using the upper RA scale of the two.
After I had Polar aligned the scope I located Arcturus and
checked the declination - which was correct. I then intended to
set the RA scale in line with the right ascension for Arcturus
and then try to see if I could use the Dec/RA coordinates to
centre Vega in the eyepiece. Using the lower RA scale placed me
way off target, but the upper scale worked out approximately
right. Am I doing something fundamentally wrong ?

Thanks in anticipation,
                Jeff Stevens.

Mike here: It appears that some ETX scopes have the RA setting circle upside down. So, if one side works for you and the other doesn't, use the side that works.

Added later:

From:	Jeff_Stevens@compuserve.com (Jeff Stevens)
Many thanks Mike. I actually read an article about the ETX,
shortly after sending this note, in the January edition of Sky &
Telescope - they highlighted the problem as well.

Cheers,
        Jeff.
        


Sent:	Monday, August 11, 1997 23:41:08
From:	docsurf@wizard.com (Mike Eylar)
I'm a Police Officer in Las Vegas and I have for some time been
considering buying a Meade ETX Spotting scope.  I was hoping you
might have suggestions on the availibility of a used unit. Any
help would be greatly appreciated
Mike

Mike here: Check out the Starry Messenger Magazine. They specialize in used system advertisements.


Sent:	Monday, August 11, 1997 19:07:50
From:	Mjchapa@aol.com
Well, I'm pretty sure I saw the GRS on Jupiter the other night. 
The seeing was great recently, and banding was impressive through
129X (w/9.7mm SP).  With #126 2x Barlow, I'm getting OK results
at 258X on nights with good seeing, fuzzy (what a surprise)
otherwise.  I've noticed some chromatic aberation (I think that's
what it is) with my Barlow, has anyone used Meade's apo Barlow
for comparison?  I'm relatively color free with the SP 4000 line;
it just seems to be with the Barlow.  Otherwise, my very amateur
opinion of the Barlow is that it is very good, especially for the
low price.  The images are not losing a lot of brightness, like
I've heard predicted.  Still looking for Cassini's division on
Saturn...
Mike


Sent:	Monday, August 11, 1997 18:18:17
From:	orion@as.net (michael bridges)
Keep up the great work with your web page.  Your work adds value
to my efforts as a novice astronomer.  I find your web page a
great resource for new product descriptions, find your
photographs interesting, and sincerely appreciate your efforts to
support the science of astronomy.
I live in the High Desert not to far from you.  I frequently
stargaze at Red Rock Canyon, Owl Canyon campground (Near Barstow)
and visited Kennedy Meadows this past weekend.  I found other
astronomers at Kennedy Meadows. At 6,500ft, the view is great and
the camping is free.

Like you, I have a Casio QV-10 I frequently use.  I need to get a
better mount for it.  As technology marches forward, several
improvements to these cameras will be made in the next year to
make the ETX an even better toy.

I'm surprised that Meade Corporation hasn't made you an employment
opportunity in the ergonomics department.  I hope they develop a
bigger scope with the same portability.  I think that they, and
people like you are on to something good.

Once again,  keep up the great work!

Respectfully,

Michael Bridges


Sent:	Monday, August 11, 1997 12:49:30
From:	florian.clement@student.uni-tuebingen.de (Florian Clement)
Your ETX Web is great!
I also think of buying a MEADE ETX. Do you know how much it costs
here in Germany? 2.000,- DM, about 1.300 US $!!!

I don't know if that telescope is worth _that_ price. Maybe I'll
travel to the United States to get an ETX there, then I can pay
the flight with the money I save :-)))

best regards,

Florian
--
Florian Clement
http://www.jura.uni-tuebingen.de/~clement


Sent:	Sunday, August 10, 1997 20:20:14
From:	michael@isdr.cs.nsw.gov.au (Michael ROCHFORT)
I found a 2nd-hand but unused ETX for AUS$800. Meade have just
started to sell them in Australia by direct mail order for
AUS$895 so I am pretty pleased!
I took the scope home last Friday night but, as Spode's law
dictates, it was cloudy. However, it cleared up around 11:30pm,
and I couldn't resist getting out the ETX to look at Jupiter,
which was at about its highest point. Despite my suburban
location, the view was magnificent! Even with only the 26mm
eyepiece, 4 moons were visible, with one (I think Io) about to be
eclipsed by Jupiter. Detail was also visible in the bands.
Switching to the only other eyepiece I own, a Celestron MA 6mm,
for about 209x, the view was much less sharp, but much better
than the same eyepiece on my 4500 Newtonian.

Using the same eyepiece, I viewed Saturn. I could not see the
Cassini division, but could make out the shadow of the planet on
the rings, and the suggestion of detail in the planet itself.

The next night, I viewed Venus and the Moon before sunset. Venus
was its normal featureless disk - apparently quite small at the
moment - and the Moon was a magnificent crescent.

I will definitely be modifying the drive, as I had already done
to the (electronically identical) one for the 4500 newtonian
(Feedback June 29). My particular ETX seems to run about 10
minutes slow over 2 hours! When I measure the voltage across the
motor for the 4500 (using only an automotive dwell/voltage
meter), and compare this to that of the ETX, the voltage seems
about 0.5volt low. I will simply detach the existing wires from
the motor, and attach an exteral jack to a control box I made up
for the 4500 which contains a complete new circuit as outlined by
Han Kleijn on your Guest Contribution page. Being a 2nd hand
scope, I have no warranty to worry about losing.

In the absence of any gearing or clutch problems, I think this
voltage loss points to quality control problems with electronic
circuitry and/or assembly.

In the future, I intend to obtain, in order, a tripod much
steadier than my current photographic one, or a sturdy but
portable table,  a better 6mm eyepiece, an illuminated reticle of
9-12mm, the camera adapter, either the Orion EZ Finder or the JMI
90 degree finder kit (try using the existing finder for objects
near the zenith whilst lying on the ground!) and the JMI
Motordec/Motorfocus, and the #126 Barlow.

I am really keen to use my ETX for planetary photography and as a
platform for my 35mm SLR and collection of lenses for wider angle
astrophotography. When the drive is modified to be accurate, and
with some of the above additions, it will beat using a barn door
mount, and I have a great scope for visual use!

Again, keep up the good work with your page!

Michael Rochfort
Senior Technical Support Officer
Information Systems Division
Central Sydney Area Health Service
http://www.cs.nsw.gov.au
Phone 61 2 9515 7332
Fax 61 2 9515 7294


Sent:	Sunday, August 10, 1997 10:46:53
From:	wrf@christa.unh.edu (wayne fagerberg)
I have used a 2X converter on my camera at prime focus to enlarge
images and feel it works pretty well- altho it does soften the
focus a little.  Also, I recently purchased the table stand for
the ETX from JMI and am pretty impressed with it.  As is the ETX
can not easily adjust for lattitudes above 43 which the table
from JMI does in a whiz.  It is also much more stable than the
spindly legs of that come from Meade. You must turn on the drive
motor before you polar align however since it can not be done
once the scope is mounted on the table.  The drive motor on my
ETX is not very good and can only keep stars in field for 10-15
minutes and not at all steady enough for photography.
Wayne


Sent:	Sunday, August 10, 1997 10:33:59
From:	rcoutts@hookup.net (Rob Coutts)
Well Done!! I just bought my new Meade ETX yesterday at StarFest
97. StarFest is an annual star party held up in Canada every
August. I am very pleased with the instrument. I checked out the
Moon, Mars, Venus and Jupiter last night before the clouds rolled
in. A gentleman I met at the show who also owns an ETX gave me
this web site address. This is an outstanding site!! Once again -
Well Done!! I have book marked this page as I know I will be back
again quite often in the future.
	Rob Coutts
	Conestogo, Ontario, Canada
	


Sent:	Thursday, August 7, 1997 17:59:25
From:	Mjchapa@aol.com
I found some interesting discussion on the AOL astronomy boards
under Meade.  Maybe some others can share their (unbiased, if
there is such a thing) opinions of the C-5+.
With my ETX I've seen Galilean moons transit the disc and several
bands on Jupiter, but is it possible to see the GRS or the
Cassini division in Saturn's rings with this scope?  Thanks.

Mike Chapa
Dayton OH

Mike (W.) here: I remember being able to see the Cassini division in Saturn's rings with my Edmund 3" reflector in 1962 (I believe it was). I believe the ring plane was at more of an angle then than it is now. I don't recall seeing it when I was observing Saturn last Fall. But then I suffered from terrible seeing where I lived then. I'm anxious to see Saturn from my new location that has much better seeing.


Sent:	Thursday, August 7, 1997 13:32:29
From:	alvesm@ucs.orst.edu (Mauro Alves)
I am planning on buying a set of color filters for my ETX. My
questions are the following:
Is the regular starter set of filters #80A Medium Blue, #58
Green, #25 Red and #15 Yellow adequate for the ETX? Is planetary 
viewing with the ETX improved with the help of filters? which are
the best for this scope?

Thanks for the help.

alvesm@ucs.orst.edu

Your site is great!

Added later:

In a conversation with the technical spport from Meade I was told only to
use color filter whose light transmission is higher than 70%. I also asked
about nebular filters and the technician from Meade recomended me to look
for a dark site to.....

I think that this can be valuable information for the ETX owners.


Sent:	Wednesday, August 6, 1997 20:45:46
From:	charleshair@worldnet.att.net (CHARLES HAIR)
I got one of Jim's Kwik Focus caps for my LX200 10", and it
worked great. Being a half-blind old fart, I particullarly
appreciated it -- now I can see how good I am.  I made a small
version for my new ETX that I use as a "scout", and it works too.


Sent:	Tuesday, August 5, 1997 00:14:14
From:	xbj78@dial.pipex.com (Ron Simmons)
Have you given any consideration yet to Microsoft IE4's use of
Channels and Push Technology?
This is one web site that I would like to have arriving regularly
on my desktop.

Keep up the good work.

Ron

Mike here: Since I am currently on AOL and their offerings of web technology is limited, I doubt that I'll being doing any push stuff anytime soon. Once I move to cable modem technology, who knows what may happen with this web site!


Sent:	Tuesday, August 5, 1997 10:06:46
From:	stevego@mediabiz.co.uk (Steve Goodman)
Firstly can I say, "Great Site".  When I first started looking
into buying a telescope, I would never have imagined there is a
web site devoted to one model, let alone make of scope!
I need some help.

Please can you advise me in my decision to buy my first scope.

I am writing from London, where I live particularly high up and
have great views across London (probably 8 - 15 miles).  However
if  I get a scope, I would be interested in using it to also look
at planets and maybe move onto stars...

I am prepared to spend at least 500 english pounds (about 800 US
dollars) and would spend some more if required for a better scope
or accessories (perhaps a top limit of about the equivalent of
1,600 dollars - but equipment does look more expensive here than
the US).  I also want to buy new rather than second hand, and
this is partly due to some of the fundings coming by way of a
gift - and they have reasons for wanting it to be new (not just
mint 2nd hand)

I have been looking at a Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain - either a
little one - the 90mm ETX - or a bigger one which is an 8 inch
Meade LX10. I have been told I can buy adapters to get the image
the right way round for terrestrial viewing for both.

Ideally I need the scope to be fairly portable, since to get it
on my roof which is flat, could be quite difficult - but this is
not an absolute priority - so long as it is possible to do.  I
could take it out onto a patio.  Either way, there is a lot of
light pollution where I actually live (in a place called
Hampstead), so that may make a difference on having something
that is that much more portable. (Another telescope that has been
suggested is the Celestron C5+.)

I am still not even sure if I am better off with a Refractor or
Reflector!

Is there a particular Refractor you would recommend? Or which
Reflector should I go for - I have been recommended the ETX, but
then someone else described it as junk. Do I need a motor drive? 
- I am quite interested in doing some photography, particularly
of the Moon / Planets. Since I am quite keen on doing some
photography with the scope - will this make a difference in what
I go for?  How easy is it to take pictures through the scope (eg
of the moon)?  Is it easier with a reflector or does it not make
any difference? Will I be dissapointed quickly with a refractor?
Is a reflector too clumsy?

Can a reflector really be used for terestrial viewing?  (someone
has said that because of the mirror system and some spider
mounting, it is not that great for daylight viewing)

How much of a pain is it to track manually - is it worth getting
a motor?  I have also heard (from the person that described the
ETX as junk) - that the motor on the ETX is pretty useless as the
batteries wear down very quickly, causing the motor to run
slowly.

How much detail do you really get to see?

Some key advice that I have had was that aperature is all
important - and this, plus stability of a small telescope is what
is throwing me. Refractors only generally go up to about 3.5
inches or maybe 4 inches at a push - and they seem bulky and
relatively expensive.  For the same money, you can get a much
bigger reflector, but these are bulkier, and - apparantly - not
much good for terrestrial viewing.

Most of the time, my guess is it will be set up in a bedroom
looking roughly south out of a window.

I may consider taking it abroad with me on holidays, or around
the UK, if there is a big benefit to avoid light pollution - but
this might rule out something like the 8 inch LX10 .


I think I have narrowed it down to 5 :

Celestron Great Polaris GP-C102 (4inch refractor)
Celestron Firstscope 80 EQ (3.1 inch, but a fair bit cheaper)
Celestron C5+ (more expensive - but looks far more sturdy than
the ETX in the brochure, and still portable)
Meade 90mm ETX Astro - (looks a bit small, but that could be a
benefit)
Meade 8 inch LX10 - (looks a bit big, but that could be a
benefit?)
 
Sorry I have so many questions - but it seems impossible to get
any real advice here in the UK- there are no local astronomy
clubs which are anywhere near me, and I think Meade seem to have
the edge on range of products, accessories etc.

I did put out a similar question on the Advanced Meade User Group
site, but I am getting little in the way of response.

I have only been looking into this for a week or so, and I am
getting more confused all the time.  I never realised the choice
would be so complex!

Please help - I hope you can find the time
 Thanks
 Steve Goodman

A follow-up:




Thanks a lot for getting back to me.

I posted the enquiry on the MAPUG list, and only after realised I
could contact you directly and wasn't sure if you would read my
message on the list anyway.

Tried your site again yesterday, and downloaded the quicktime VR
of the ETX which was interesting - reminded me how it really
looks. From your note, it implies the ETX is not any good for
taking photos using the drive - am I reading that right
(particularly, I am quite keen to do high magnification shots of
the moon - and it did look like that can be done from the
pictures in your gallery!).

I have had an amazing response from the MAPUG list, and have been
replying individually, but there are so many Emails posted, it
looks impossible to read them all - for now I am just
concentrating on those that look directly related to my request.
I think I will have to Unsubscribe soon, and subscribe again when
I have better knowledge of the subject.

Nevertheless, I am beginning to think that the ETX is the one for
me, and maybe I will get a bigger scope later as well if I really
get into it. One question though, are the eyepieces
interchangeable between all Meades scopes?  And the adapters,
Barlows....?

Hope to talk again soon, I will let you know how I get on, but I
have heard there is a six month ETX waiting list in the UK!

Many thanks
Regards
Steve

Mike here: Yes, the MAPUG list is very active. I'm glad that many people responded to you; gives you a good perspective. The ETX can do astrophotography, as shown on my and Guest Gallery pages. The best shots are of bright objects like the Moon and planets where short exposures work. I'm still experimenting with longer duration exposures. Eyepieces, barlow lens, astrophotography accessories are all interchangeable, not only among the Meade scopes but any telescope that accepts the standard 1.25" components. Some telescopes use 0.965" and some use 2.0" so there are adapters available if you need them. You might contact The Nature Company (tnc@aol.com) or one of the USA dealers that advertise in the astronomy magazines. They might ship to you. Good luck.



Sent:	Monday, August 4, 1997 21:13:19
From:	Mjchapa@aol.com
Great Site!  I've had my ETX for about a month and am very
pleased.  I found the link from the FAQ--
http://metxug.elendil.com/newltr/newsindx.html to be something
else ... has it moved?
Cost aside, what do YOU think of the C-5+ v. the ETX?

Lastly, a little tidbit someone else may find useful.  I've found
the hood of my sport utility vehicle makes an excellent, stable
location to place my ETX.  Not to mention the fact that the
vehicle is already with me in the "field" or driveway.

Thanks.  Keep up the great site!

Mike Chapa
Dayton OH


Sent:	Monday, August 4, 1997 17:11:16
From:	man_ldn@prodigy.net (Michael & Lori Nicholas)
Is anyone currently using optical encoders to point the ETX?
Would appreciate comments.  In response to one user, the JMI
Motodec and Motofocus are excellent additions that improve the
handling of the 'scope.
I was told from Lumicon that if I bought the aluminum hardware
for the optical encoders from JMI, I could by more accurate
encoders and computer from Lumicon for a considerable savings? Is
anyone doing this or using encoders??

Mike Nicholas
Paducah, Ky.


Sent:	Monday, August 4, 1997 13:53:12
From:	chipcnet.cramse01@eds.com (Clay Ramsey)
As a beginning 41 year-old astrowannabe, I want to thank you for
putting up this page about the ETX.  I have been doing binocular
astronomy now for about 6 months, and am just about to succumb to
the more aperture bug.  I have been thinking strongly about a
Meade 6" Starfinder Eq Newtonian as my "first" scope, but am
being more and more swayed to consider the ETX as my first
telescope.  I really appreciate all of the real-life, no
marketing information you have provided.
Thanks again,

Clay Ramsey
chipcnet.cramse01@eds.com


Sent:	Monday, August 4, 1997 10:38:11
From:	ljanowicz@metrohealth.org (Larry Janowicz)
Mike, your page continues to be an amazing source of information
for the ETX!
There have been several good posts on tripods but I wanted to add
my two cents. I built my own wedge from 3/8" plywood which bolts
to the center post of a Bogen 3211 (using three 6 mm bolts). I
was not happy with either my Bogen fluid or regular heads because
there was not enough contact between the head and the base of the
ETX to provide a super stable connection, the head interfered
with access to the drive switch, and the center of balance for
the scope was not over the center of the tripod.

The sides of the wedge use plywood cut at my latitude angle, but
a clever individual could make easily make an adjustable wedge.
The front part of the wedge is left open so I can attach the
scope to the wedge using a 1/4" bolt. A wing nut on this bolt
allows me to secure the ETX base to the wedge. A larger hole
above the 1/4" mounting hole provides easy access to the power
switch.

Using the wedge to change the center of gravity over the center
of the tripod made a significant change in the stability of the
Bogen mount. JMI now has a commercially made version of this idea
(which is adjustable), but mine only cost me .60 for the three
metric bolts since I had everything else in my "useful scraps"
warehouse.

Larry Janowicz
Systems Analyst
The MetroHealth System
(216) 778-4053
ljanowicz@metrohealth.org


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