Last updated: 7 September 1999

This page is for user comments and information of a general nature and applicable to users of both the original ETX model (now known as the ETX-90RA), the ETX-90EC, and the ETX-125EC. Items specific to the ETX-90EC are posted on the ETX-90EC User Feedback page. Items specific to the ETX-125EC are posted on the ETX-125EC User Feedback page. 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:	 Use of ETX for Astrophotography
Sent:	Monday, August 30, 1999 14:12:24
From:	lrlott@magicnet.net (Loretta Lott)
Can you tell me how the ETX performs if a SLR is piggybacked on the
scope?  I guess you can purchase a bracket from JMI.  Most of the
pictures I saw on your website had the ETX piggybacked on another scope


Richard Lott
Orlando Florida 
Mike here: All my piggyback photos were done with the camera mounted on the ETX and the ETX mounted on the JMI Wedge and Tripod. It performs beautifully.

Subject:	 ETX page updated
Sent:	Friday, August 27, 1999 08:12:11
From:	jh@brainiac.com (Joe Hartley)
I've finally gotten around to updating my ETX and accessories page at

I've added reviews of the Kendrick Dew Remover System and the
Scopetronix portable power pack, and changed the pictures of my setup to
reflect the new gear.

         Joe Hartley - Computer Consultant - jh@brainiac.com
     12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI  02882 - vox 401.782.9042
Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa

Subject:	Very Basic Question
Sent:	Tuesday, August 24, 1999 19:51:57
From:	Shopdonos@aol.com
I am preparing to purchase an ETX for my first telescope and have no
idea what to do about a tripod.  Is the small table top model OK to
begin with or should I bite the bullet and go for the field unit?   Your
input will be greatly appreciated
Mike here: See the reviews of tripods on the Accessories - Tripod page. There are several excellent products listed. If you have a convenient place to set the tabletop legs then it will work for most visual observations. For astrophotography you may want to get a sturdier mount.

Subject:	Meade ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, August 24, 1999 05:54:28
From:	SRBevans@aol.com
I'm thinking about purchasing the Meade ETX with the computer
controller. Your pictures weren't taken through the Meade lenses, right?
You used a separate camera with a telephoto lens? For example, your pic
of the horsehead nebula looks pretty good. How does that picture compare
with an eye-view through the actual telescope? Better? Worse?

Where's a good source to buy the scope and controller? Any internet
sites that you know of? Thanks!!

Scott Bevans
Mike here: Many pictures were done with a 35mm mounted piggyback (as noted in the descriptions for the photos). That is how the Horsehead was done (which, by the way, can't be seen with the naked eye in the ETX). However, other photos were done at either Prime Focus or using eyepiece or afocal projection with either a 35mm camera or a digital camera. There are many good dealers listed on the Astronomy Links page on my ETX site.

Subject:	 Observations from a novice ETX owner.
Sent:	Friday, August 20, 1999 09:18:13
From:	bfoy1@clark.net (Barry Foy)
I purchased my ETX-90/EC about five months ago. Since then, this
excellent web site has been a major asset in helping me use my scope
effectively. I have had many experiences that seem to mirror those of
other users as reported on this site, but in some cases I have come to
different conclusions about ways of effectively using the ETX.

First, regarding the Autostar controller. I bought it with the
telescope, and after some initial problems found it just as wonderful as
its most positive users had reported. I used it for a week, then took it
back to the store for a refund. I judged that I would be better off
using my limited funds to buy lenses and other accessories. While I can
only be classified as a "novice of long duration," I discovered that I
could find every sky object I wished to see, using standard methods (my
previous experiences with binocular observations were a big help here.)
So the Autostar's much-touted (and very effective) go-to capabilities
were not really necessary. This was especially true after I began using
a Rigel Quickfinder and a 40mm eyepiece.

Second, I found the finder scope to be as bad as most people reported.
Oddly, the thing I had the most trouble with was the adjusting screws on
the mount; I never could get to the inner ones well enough to center the
scope perfectly. I followed one suggestion on this site and bought a
shotgun telescopic sight (Simmons 2-1/2x). Instead of placing it on the
original finderscope mount, I used standard rifle sight mounting rings
and base; I used double sided tape to secure the base to the ETX's
barrel. The whole assemble is very compact. The combination of the
'scope's long eye relief and precise click adjustments for the
crosshairs make this alternative work moderately well for astronomy, and
extremely well for spotting and birdwatching. I recently discovered a
way of taking advantage of the shotgun scope's long eye relief to
improve its usefulness for astronomy: I temporarily taped a star
diagonal - without an eyepiece attached - to the ocular of the scope. I
now had a right-angle finder scope! I am looking for a short rubber tube
of the right diameter to hold the diagonal to the scope more securely,
while allowing it to be easily removed for storage and terrestrial use.
Ultimately, I will get a good-quality 6x30 or larger RA finder scope,
and arrange to attach it with thumbscrews or knobbed bolts, so I can
remove it for storage or when using the ETX for terrestrial viewing.

The Rigel Quickfinder is wonderful, by the way.

Third, I followed another site suggestion and made a simple plywood
plate to mount the telescope more firmly to my Bogen tripod. What a

Fourth, K-Mart and a local custom canvas shop provided me with cheap and
secure storage and transportation for my ETX. I purchased a soft-sided
cooler, 18"x10"x12", labeled Arctic Zone. It had a plastic insert to
give it stiffness, a zippered lid, and very sturdy web strap handles.
Blocks and sheets of surplus dense foam from the canvas shop, cut to
shape, now fit the interior. I can carry the ETX and every accessory I
have (except the tripod) in something that looks like my picnic lunch,
rather than hundreds of dollars of optical equipment. Total cost: About
$35. I suspect I could roll it down a flight of stairs and not damage
its contents.

Fifth, I have found I really love my 40mm ProOptic eyepiece ($45 from
Adorama.) Its approximately 30x magnification and relatively wide field
make it good for initially finding objects, as well as for much of the
deep sky observing I enjoy. It works very well with a broadband light
pollution filter. It is also perfect for birdwatching.

I am looking forward to a long happy life with my ETX. The only
accessory I am anxious to have soon is a JMI "Laundpad". But since I
don't have $120 laying around, I am working on designing and making a
functional derivation of it, from plywood and Perspex. (Actually, it
will be more derivative of the mount for the Celestron C-5+.) If it
works, I will post specs.

Again, thank you for establishing and maintaining this excellent site.

Barry Foy

Edgewater, Maryland


Subject:	 Need some help.
Sent:	Wednesday, August 18, 1999 20:04:59
From:	Kattomm@earthlink.net (Tom Perrone)
I'm sorry to bother you but I'm a little confused.  I had my ETX out
tonight and I was looking in the north eastern sky for the andromeda
galaxy. According to the star maps it's at 42 deg in declination.  Why
doesn't the setting circle on the etx match that setting?  I never did
find the galaxy.

Thanks, I can sure use some info.

Long Island NY
Mike here: Did you have the ETX in polar align mode or alt/az? Also, when the base is perfectly level and the ETX is perfectly pointed horizontal does the DEC scale show exactly 0 degrees?

Subject:	 Web Site
Sent:	Tuesday, August 17, 1999 21:43:30
From:	geetduggal@pmail.net (Geet Duggal)

My name is Geet Duggal

I first of all wanted to comment on your truly EXCELLENT web site. I
purchased an ETX90 EC in May, and I love it. No problems for me. I am
also beginning to try astrophotography with the QuickCam CCD I built. If
you would like to check out my site and add it to your links section, I
would appreciate that. It is a fairly new site, but I am working on a
more informative, powerful website soon.

go to www.geetduggal.com and click on ETX90/EC on the toolbar on the

Thanks a lot, and once again, a wonderful website!

Geet Duggal
President - Frontier Computers and Services
Web Site Services, Computers, and Online Store

www.geetduggal.com and geet@geetduggal.com

Subject:	 Wide Field and 2" adapter ?
Sent:	Tuesday, August 17, 1999 02:42:44
From:	lombry@excite.com (Thierry Lombry)
I have a question about the Wide Field adapter you tested some weeks ago
in conjunction with the Visual back adapter from Shutan. You did not
tell in your report if you used a visual back of 1.25" or 2" diameter.
According Al Nagler the ETX (90 and 125mm) DO NOT accept a 2" visual
back or adapter... but ONLY 1.25" !!! Do you confirm this ? My question
is : can we use a SCT adapter and a 2" diagonal for example (TV or
shutan) on the new ETX 125mm ? It's very important because I want to use
a 2" diagonal for astrophotography and look at wide star fields using a
35mm or 50mm TV eyepiece (all coming on 2" only).
Thanks for your answer.
Mike here: The Shutan WFA is 1.25. However, there is a SCT adapter noted on the Accessories - Miscellaneous page. The ETX-125/EC should accept it since the rear port is the same (I believe).

Subject:	 Re: First Experience with New ETX 90/EC
Sent:	Sunday, August 15, 1999 16:59:32
From:	omega_particle@yahoo.com (Omega Particle)
After viewing with the ETX 90 again last night, I'll have to admit that
I was left wanting "more aperture" after viewing a few objects (a 125mm
model at least).

I was using the Meade 26mm eye piece, along with the Meade 2x Barlow. I
quickly realized that I didn't even want to use the 26mm alone, as at
48x magnification, I didn't seem to get much detail on objects such as
Saturn and Jupiter.

Also, I grew impatient with the Autostar, and quickly decided to
manually locate objects. The alignment procedure seems to be tricky,
however I'm sure it would get easier with practice.

I'm debating as to whether I'll keep the 90, or return it and get a 10"
or 12" dob for close to the same $$. With our skies here in Nashville,
it's likely that I'll have to trek to a dark location regardless, and
I'd like to have the most bang for the buck when we do go gazing.

Do you ever find yourself "wishing" for a larger scope? I realize this
scope is a great portable solution, but I think I could see so much more
with something of greater aperture.

Thanks for any comments.

Tracy Miller
Omega Particle
Mike here: I'd love to have an LX200 10" or 12" scope. But money and location keep me from it. For now, the ETX-90RA does the job for me. But someday....

Subject:	 mirror site
Sent:	Friday, August 13, 1999 14:37:43
From:	mariano@arclad.com (Luke Skywalker)
A mirror of this site is at:



Jos Mariano Franco S.
Gerente de Sistemas
Productos Autoadhesivos ARclad S.A.
Carrera 43A #14-27 Of..105
Medelln, Colombia
Sur Amrica

Correo Electrnico: mariano@arclad.com
Sitio en Internet: http://www.arclad.com
Tel: (574) 266-8006
Fax: (574) 266-0791

Subject:	 Is It Just Me, Or Are ETX/Meade Products Troublesome?
Sent:	Friday, August 13, 1999 14:02:32
From:	lking@divorceresolutions.com (Lawrence F. King)
I am interested in buying my first telescope as an adult.  I was pretty
convinced after quick review that a Meade ETX might fit the bill. I
subscribed to this listserv and have watched and read for about 2

Do you ETX owners REALLY recommend the product?  It seems like the list
is just bulging with defect stories, maladjustment, repair,
instructional deficits, etc. with the scope.  Does this just need to be
kept in context, or is the scope a bit too complicated or just
under-engineered?  Honestly, I don't want complexity and a host of
constant problems in a first scope.  I want  a reliable user-friendly
well-manufactured unit right out of the dang box.

THOUGHTS for a newbie?

THANKS!  This site is fabulous and maybe its just natural to hear of
problems on a listserv, but I have begun to wonder!

Lawrence F. King, J.D.
Resolutions(tm), A Center for Mediation
"Visions for a Cooperative Divorce(tm)"
E-mail: lking@divorceresolutions.com
Website:  www.divorceresolutions.com
8704 Yates Dr., Suite 220
Westminster, CO 80030-3682
(303) 657-9599 (voice) | (303) 650-6488 (fax)

Subject:	ETX125 & eyepieces
Sent:	Friday, August 13, 1999 08:13:23
From:	PUMPJET@aol.com
Has anyone ever mounted a bino-viewer to the Meade ETX scope???? If so,
where there any problems???

Mike here: Search the site for "binoviewer".

Subject:	 Solar Eclipse over Europe
Sent:	Wednesday, August 11, 1999 14:35:22
From:	j.blust@rol3.com (Jrgen Blust)
Today was a solar eclipse over Europe.

Unfortunately, I was not able to see it completely, because I had to go
to work today. At the most places in the zone of the total eclipse,
there where only clouds and much rain during the "show". At 11.32 GMT,
the moon disk covered the sun up to 98.8 percent for about 30 seconds in
Freiburg, Germany (48N 7.51E). I was very lucky, the whole morning it
was very cloudy and rainy, but at about 10.20 GMT you could see some few
blue spots, and for some short seconds THE SUN!

It was very impressing to see the dark moon dish walking slowly and
constantly towards the center of the sun. 11.00 GMT was my lunch-break.
With light-speed I went to a place where I prepared my ETX and the
camera for observing...

...When the slide film is developed, I will send you some shots and a
more detailed description of what we could see here with 98.8 percent

Best wishes and clear skies!
Jrgen Blust

Subject:	 Drive Mod
Sent:	Wednesday, August 11, 1999 11:16:51
From:	tmwayment@bibbs.com (Tayler Wayment)
I was thinking about performing the "Drive Modification for $10.50" on
your tech tips page on the Mighty ETX Site. It consisted of the normally
open pushbutton switch and the normally closed pushbutton switch and the
wire. You cut the drive wire to the motor and hook it to the normally
open switch and hook the normally closed switch to the resistor. I was
wondering .... I really don't care about the warrenty being void. I want
to know if there is a chance that by doing this I could ruin the circuit
board or short it our. Or is this pretty  safe to do aside from voiding
the warrenty. Please e-mail me back at      tmwayment@bibbs.com

thanks! Tayler
Mike here: If you do something wrong, you can mess up the board. So you're on your own. Neither I nor the contributor can be responsible for any damage that occurs. If you do mess up the board, consider that a good reason to get a Scopetronix Microstar II+.

Subject:	 Jumped a foot!
Sent:	Wednesday, August 11, 1999 08:25:48
From:	jdd411@execpc.com (John Dillon)
I was goofing around with on my astro the other night trying to put
polaris in focus, after doing a polar alignment.  I was using a meade
9.7 eyepiece,  I didn't have the barlow in at the time.  While looking
at the focus, an object went quickly through the fov.  I jumped a foot.
I looked up and could not see anything in the sky.  Judging from the
straight line pass, and the speed, I'm sure it was a satellite that I
couldn't see with the naked eye.  But it sure came as a shock,  I wasn't
expecting anything but polaris.  I laughted at myself because my heart
skipped several beats.  How often does that happen?
Mike here: Actually, with all the planes and satellites above our heads it does happen rather often. It has happened to me a couple of times, but then I've been observing for many years. But it is still a surprise when it happens. Now if only the Lottery would be so lucky for me!

Subject:	 Base drive motor
Sent:	Tuesday, August 10, 1999 20:02:28
From:	Kattomm@earthlink.net (Tom Perrone)
I just recently purchased the ETX not the EC version.  Paid $399, not
bad. I've been reading alot about how the RA drive is not so smooth,
kinda jerky. The mods you list all seem to modify the three pads the
base rides on but my scope doesn't have those pads.  Meade must have
changed the way they did things. My base rides on one center plastic
type of bearing.  It still has jerky movement.  No surprise there.  Does
anyone know of a mod to possibly fix this type of base? I've tried baby
powder and it seemed to help a little.  I've also tried dry graphite
powder.  They both seem to work but I'ld like a few more suggestions.

Also, will there be a upgrade to the EC for us with the old setup?

Thanks for all the support you give to ETX owners!

Long Island, NY
Mike here: I'm not certain which "pads" you are referring to. If you mean the "teflon pads", many users have replaced them and have smoother movement in RA. Search the site for "teflon". Also, check out the Scopetronix site for the ETX Hints, Tips, Projects, & Products. As noted earlier in the year, Meade does not plan to offer an upgrade from the original model. You can add the dual axis control by adding the Scopetronix Microstar and the JMI MotoFocus for electronic focusing. See the Showcase Products page for both.

Subject:	 ETX  Drive Problems ( drive will run with base plate off)
Sent:	Sunday, August 8, 1999 16:45:50
From:	mhar@cris.com (Max Harrell)
Meade told me to put clear finger nail polish around the base plate and
let it dry. You can then bolt it back on and the switch should work ok..


Subject:	 ETX and hobby questions
Sent:	Saturday, August 7, 1999 22:20:35
From:	thompson@leading.net (Gunner)
Please pardon this intrusion but you are the first "real person" I've
run across in my search for information.  First, I'm a rank beginner at
this astronomy hobby.  I'm on the verge of purchasing an ETX-90 EC and
am at the stage I'm simply looking for the "best deal" which isn't
necessarily the best price.  Any suggestions?  Which accessories?  Money
really isn't an object but I don't want to waste it either!   What
about this "certification" Roger W. Tuthill does... it appears to cost
about $100 more than the going rate, even in a mall store.

As you can tell I'm really kind of floundering in a sea of information
here.  I'll be in your debt if you can cast some pearls of wisdom my
way.  Besides, we "Mikes" have to stick together! 


-= Mike =-
Mike here: Many of the mail order companies offer the best prices and service. Also, your local The Nature Company and Natural Wonders provide excellent service. See the Astronomy Links page on my ETX web site for links to some dealers. Tuthill's extra service is valuable, if you think you need it. As to accessories, check the Buyer/New User Tips page. Lots of good suggestions there. Also, check out the various Accessories review pages. And since you are considering purchasing an ETX-90EC, read through the current and archived Feedback pages for the ETX-90EC and the Autostar.

Added later:

Thanks Mike!  As I dug deeper into your excellent site I found the
answers to those, and many more, questions.  I do appreciate your time!

Subject:	 Where
Sent:	Saturday, August 7, 1999 20:29:42
From:	art.morton-pc@attws.com (Art Morton)
Are you here in Seattle?  How much sky time you get during the year?  I
live in Edmonds and I am considering the purchase of a ETX-125EC.  The
sky has interested me since I was young.  Now I can afford optics, but,
is it worth it here, with all the rain?

Mike here: I live in California.

Subject:	eyepiece evaluation
Sent:	Saturday, August 7, 1999 09:10:59
From:	SMalin1@aol.com
Has there been any evaluation of the Scopetronix line of eyepieces. I
know you have done the 40mm but I was wondering if any other in the
Scopetonix line have been written about by either yourself or readers. I
just bought the 2X barlow and the 40, 15 and 9mm. Have not had a chance
to use them but hope to at Stellafane next week.
Selwyn Malin
Mike here: No other reports. Anxious to hear yours. Unfortunately it won't get posted until sometime in September when I return from vacation.

Subject:	 Thrill of pursuit/catch
Sent:	Saturday, August 7, 1999 08:42:08
From:	DonMcClelland@webtv.net (Donald McClelland)
I feel compelled to complement you on your comments on the thrill of
pursuit and the thrill of the catch in amateur astronomy.  It is
probably the most eloquent description of the two factions (schools
of thought) in amateur astronomy I have ever seen.  When I was young I
was frustrated trying to use a little department store 2.4 inch
refractor in light polluted skies trying to find galaxies, clusters etc.
Of course I didn't know better.  The autostar is revolutionizing
amateur astronomy bringing all these objects to the masses in light
polluted skies albeit dimly without the thrill (or frustration) of the
pursuit.  This, of course, is the electronically assisted (the catch)
side of amateur astronomy.  The other side of amateur astronomy is the
thrill of pursuit that I've been told can be extremely rewarding just
using good star charts, a finder or a telrad discovering these objects
as they come into your field of view for the first time knowing you
found them on your own.  Of course, this is best done with dark skies.
What the autostar does is allows you to do both (pursuit and catch) if
frustration gets the better of you.

Again, thanks for a fantastic web site, you're doing a terrific job!


Subject:	sci.astro.amateur
Sent:	Friday, August 6, 1999 23:07:35
From:	Lninyo@aol.com
Great site, thank you.
I want to recommend this as a good astronomy place... Deja.com: Read
Discussions.  Keyword:
sci.astro.amateur&GRPP=934005435.1707016259&title=Related&query=S.A.A Respectfully, Bob Smith
Mike here: The sci.astro.amateur newsgroup can be read directly by using a newsreader application or, as an alternative, using a web browser by going to the above link.

Subject:	ETX-125 -- A short coming from too short a fork mount!?!
Sent:	Friday, August 6, 1999 17:58:38
From:	GSEALOHA@aol.com
I live in Honolulu HI where the latitude as roughly 22 degrees N.  I'm
#7 on a waiting list with a local dealer, The Nature Co., for an ETX-125
model.  However, before I decide to make the purchase (when it arrives)
I was hoping to get one more piece of information/feedback fom either
you or anyone else reading this message.  I was reading a report on the
web from Sky & Telescope (www.skypub.com), which did a test preview of
the ETX-90.  Overall, they were pleased with the model, and when I did a
"test run" on it I was also pleased, (minus the whirring of the motor). 
I even had an opportunity to compare it against a Celestron 4" APO at
similar magnifications and founf them to be nearly identical in
rresolution quality.  However, when I did the test it was set in the
altazimuth mode (the base of the telescope being parallel with the

According to the test report (and I quote from the article) "At any
latitude lower than 45 degrees, a polar-aligned ETX-90/EC cannot view
objects near the southern horizon because the optical tube hits the base
of the mount."  Now I know this is a review of the smaller model,
however, I did some calculations based on a computer model of a cut out
of the ETX-125 from a magazine, which shows that this same problem would
occur.  I believe I remember reading about another individual on this
site who had experienced this same problem.  My question is this, have
you Mike or anyone else (especially those who live in the more southern
latitudes of the mainland or here in Hawaii) experienced this problem.

If this is true, this truely would be a shame and an oversight of the
designers of MEADE.  Friendly FYI -- I did a comparison of the LX200
series 8" (Meade) on the fork mount, the C5+ and the new Nextstar 5"
(both from Celestron), which are on a "single arm" bracket mount (for
lack of a better description).  All three models passed the computer
model test where the mount would not interfere when the telescopes were
polar aligned.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and I look forward to
reading any input you or others may have regarding this issue.

Respectfully submitted,
G. of Hawaii	P.S.  Thank you for creating this informative web site!!!
Mike here: All the ETX models have this "problem" in that the tube will touch the base before reaching some declinations, depending upon the observer's latitude. HOWEVER, when used in Alt/Az mode and using the Autostar on either the ETX-90EC or the ETX-125EC, this limitation is removed. And unless you are doing long duration astrophotography, polar mode is not needed when using the Autostar.

Subject:	 Drive Noise
Sent:	Friday, August 6, 1999 11:28:02
From:	TSpina@sr.csg.com (Spina, Tony)
Mike, does your ETX-90EC make noise when tracking? If so how does this
compare to the older ETX?

Thanks for the feedback... keep up the great work, it is very much
Mike here: There is motor "noise" with both models. As I noted in my initial ETX-90EC comments, its drive seems "hesitant" as it tracks. That is, it starts and stops, whereas the original ETX drive ran continuously during tracking. The ETX-90EC is a little louder but the difference in volume during tracking is not significant.

Subject:	 Sun Finding
Sent:	Friday, August 6, 1999 09:58:48
From:	gmartin@teleport.com (Gordon Martin)
I've owned my ETX 90 EC since April of this year. My purchase decision
was mainly due to your wonderful sight. I added numerous filters, and
eyepieces since then. I have a Thousand Oaks sun filter which I really
enjoy. It seems that I have better chance of viewing the sun then night
time objects due to the cloudy weather here in Oregon.

My tip for viewing the sun is:

1. Always use a filter designed for looking at the sun
2. To align with sun remove the filter, and look for the round light on
the main objective.
3. Move the scope by hand or with the controller till the round circle
of light is  centered in the objective.

Using the 26mm eyepiece the sun is almost exactly centered. I left the
scope in the back yard for an hour, returned, use this same procedure
and the sun was centered again.

Gordon Martin
Aloha Or.
Mike here: Neither Meade nor myself recommends this technique. You can damage the ETX by pointing it at the sun without the filter in place. The preferred technique is to look at the shadow of the ETX or the finder and when it is right, look through the eyepiece. I actually use the front and rear finder mounting screws. When their shadows merge, you are pointed at the sun. But ALWAYS keep the sun filter in place.

Subject:	 French Translations
Sent:	Friday, August 6, 1999 00:48:49
From:	lehuron@club-internet.fr (lehuron (Alain Gliksman))
I am an ex-editor of sailing magazines, author and translator, and in
the last months I developped a passion for sky watching.

Congratulations for your nice sites and all that wonderfull information
and feedback. Here in France the big brands have exclusive contracts
with importers and the importers don't try very hard ! High prices and
very little service.

I recently bought an ETX EC 90 while in Fort Lauderdale but had to wait
to be back in France to get the Autostar (about $200 !). For that price
I just got four pages of explanations, and not even the American
booklet. I do not even know the reference of the software.

I also have a 114/900 and a recent C8, and Celestron does not even
replies to my mails or letters about a colimation problem.

As for the magazines, they are too much dependant of the advertising and
practically never print a test of telescopes or computers, and just
relay the advertising in the editorial.

For alle these reasons I decided to have my own non-commercial page and
offer translations of interesting texts to help amateur astronomers and
create some interaction.

Ed Ting agreed with enthousiasm to let me print translations of some of
his tests. I would like to do the same with some texts from your sites.
Of course it would be clearly specified "extract from Mike Weasner site"
and the translation would be straight, without interferences from
anybody. At the same time I could offer a list of subjects being
developped in your own site. And of course I would Email you the
translations, which you could use in any way you like. Being on my own,
I must admit I shall be able to print only a few pages every week

What do you think ? I am writing the same letter to Mel Bartels.



Alain Gliksman, 4 Rue Barbier 78910 Flexanville France
Tel 00 33 1 34 87 23 38 - Fax 00 33 1 34 87 39 88 -Portable 06 14 117 228.

L'ternit c'est long, surtout vers la fin (X)
Mike here: Thanks. Sounds like a nice idea. I have no problem with this but you do need to honor the Copyright notices at the bottom of each one of my site web pages. And you need to include the original submitter's name and email address. I would love to include any English translations of submissions to your site that apply to the ETX models.

Subject:	 ETX solar interferential filter  (H-alpha)
Sent:	Thursday, August 5, 1999 23:58:17
From:	lombry@excite.com (Thierry Lombry)
I send you some useful information for users interested in the sun
observation in the hydrogen-alpha line. Coronado filters (URL :
www.coronadofilters.com) is currently designing a new GEMINI 2.5 filter
well suited for the ETX's.

Here are their comments:

Date : 05 Aug 1999 
From:  "David Lunt" 
To:  lombry@excite.com, Luxembourg 
Subject:  Solar interferential filter on ETX 5" and specifically the
GEMINI 2.5 model (which yield both 0.5 and 2A half bandwith), price
around 1390$.

Questions : Is the Coronado "Gemini 2.5" solar filter well suited for
the new ETX 5" of does it exist another more adapted to this Mak ? Can
you list me all adapters I have to buy to use such a filter on the new
ETX 5" ?

Thank you for your e-mail and your interest in our filters. Yes, the
Gemini 2.5 is a good solution for the new ETX-125. We are, in fact,
working on the design of a filter specifically for both the ETX models,
but this will not be available until early next year. Actually, the
filter for the ETX-125 will not differ greatly from the Gemini 2.5.

The only problem currently is that the prominence filter for the Gemini
2.5 is housed in a right angle eyepiece diagonal which does not work
very well with the ETX eyepiece configuration. We are designing a new
housing which will insert into the 'straight through' image position and
divert the image to the regular eyepiece position. The only additional
requirement is an adaptor plate to hold the narrow filter element on the
front of the telescope. These are available from Jim Kendrick Studio.

Regarding the 'bandwidth' yes, we have always referred to the 'half
bandwidth, i.e. the full width at half maximum transmission. However, we
have found, since becoming involved in the amateur market that a lot of
amateurs find this term confusing so we have changed to just calling it
the 'bandwidth.'

Please let me know if there is any further information you require.


David Lunt 
Coronadofilters, Italy.

Subject:	 finder scope
Sent:	Thursday, August 5, 1999 10:43:24
From:	Louis.X.Ruggiero@chase.com
This being my first scope maybe I'm doing something wrong.

As I focus an object in the finder scope, the object rotates around the
center of the finder.  Is this normal or should I take the finder back
for a replacement.

Thank you in advance for you help.
Mike here: It sounds like the optics are not perfectly aligned. Do you have the straight-through or right-angle finder? Assuming you are just using the ETX for astronomical purposes, the finder should be focused at infinity and no further refocusing would be done. So, as long as most of the field of view is in focus you probably don't have to return it unless you want to.

Subject:	 Hi!
Sent:	Wednesday, August 4, 1999 23:52:24
From:	bkion@rogers.wave.ca (Brandon Kion)
Hi I cam across your site and it is very good :), I was wondering if you
could help me answer a few questions about Meade's ETX 90 and 125?????
Okay well I am fairly new at Stargaizing and well I have see all the
talk on the ETX 90 and well I would like to know the price differences
between the two (90 and the 125) and the big differences between what
they are capable of and I would also like to know how much that Autostar
finder is???? Thank you :)
Mike here: There is a lot of information on the ETX-90EC ($595 US) and the ETX-125EC ($895 US) on my site. The biggest difference is that the ETX-90EC is smaller (90mm) and the ETX-125EC is larger (127mm). The Autostar works with both and costs $149 (US). You'll be able to see slightly fainter objects and use higher magnifications with the larger scope. But being larger, it weighs more and it more difficult to move around that the smaller one.

Subject:	 Goto or not goto?
Sent:	Wednesday, August 4, 1999 12:26:59
From:	pproulx@premcom.com (Peter Proulx)
I have the ETX90 RA,  I bought it shortly before the EC was introduced. 
Like alot of people I have been tempted to upgrade to the 125 and also
get the Autostar.  The extra aperture would be great but do I need an
Autostar....  part of the thrill is finding the object on my own.  Mike
and the others that have the Autostar, doesn't the Autostar take some of
the thrill away.    I am new to astronomy but I usually go out to view
specific objects after consulting publications and software to see what
objects will be out when I will be out. I have always found the
alignment process for my 90 easy and once you are set it is very easy to
move the scope to the object you want if you know the RA/DEC.  And
although you have 14K+ of objects in the database can you realistically
see all of these objects with either the 90 or 125?  Maybe I'm just
inexperience but it seems like the autostar is a lot of hype. There may
be the  argument that a casual observer might benefit from this
capability, how would they know what to look for?  Could my money be
better spent on other accessories?

In closing when I was a kid 30 years ago I was a shortwave listener, I
would fiddle with the fine tuning, gain and notch filter on  my tube
radio (Hallicrafter SB100) to try to tune in a particular station, it
was a thrill.  When I turned 30 I went a bought a top of the line German
radio that I just punched in the frequency and the radio did the rest. 
The thrill was gone! (luckily I still had my old radio).  I'm hesitant
to purchase an Autostar for the same reasons.

I am interested in comments!


Mike here: There are two thrills in many activities. The first thrill is the pursuit. The second thrill is the catch. The Autostar (like the digital entry shortwave radios) removes the thrill of the pursuit. But you get to the thrill of the catch much faster and usually more reliably. No, you don't need the Autostar if you take the time to learn the sky and use charts (or software). Either way you will get the thrill of the catch.

Subject:	 Hello
Sent:	Wednesday, August 4, 1999 11:33:15
From:	rodrickse@mediaone.net (Joseph Rodricks)
i have read close 35 different reviews for about 40 different tripods. A
simple question. For $200 or less, what is the best tripod for my 90 EC?
I use it on a table in Alt/Az mode now.
Mike here: The JMI Wedgepod is likely to be the best specifically for the ETX. Personal opinion.

Subject:	 Re: ETX Website
Sent:	Tuesday, August 3, 1999 23:24:41
From:	rsonner@worldnet.att.net (Robert Sonner)
The site looks better than ever!!  We appreciate your time, effort and

Bob S

Subject:	 Another question
Sent:	Monday, August 2, 1999 14:27:56
From:	david.paton@village.uunet.be (David Paton)
Thanks for your help with my last two mails. I've now managed to find a
shop here in Belgium that carries some Astronomy magazines, which are
really helpful for a beginner like me.

What I would like to ask is, does anyone know what the power
requirements of the ETX90 are in European models? I have a number of
power adaptors that are 12volts, but I cannot find specifications for
Amp usage or pin polarity.


Subject:	 Rechargeable batteries in ETX-90
Sent:	Monday, August 2, 1999 08:48:43
From:	odellsorder@hotmail.com (David O'Dell)
Thank you so much for the quick reply to my question about "Safe Loader
Mode."  Your site has been invaluable to me as the new owner of a Meade
ETX-90EC telescope, as Meade's instructions (both in their manuals and
on-line site) leave much to be desired.

Do you or any of your correspondents have any experience using AA
rechargeable batteries (Nickle metal hydride)in the ETX?

Again, many thanks!

Mike here: I've not tried rechargeable batteries in the ETX.

Subject:	 What do you think?
Sent:	Sunday, August 1, 1999 16:12:48
From:	benes99@ix.netcom.com (Phil Salimbene)
First of all thanks for the site you were definitely a visionary in

The reason for the note is to ask you for your personal opinion. I
believe you are closer to the topic than any one else on the planet.

Back in April, I ordered an ETX-125 from Sutan Camera.  I have not
received it or do I know when; but that's ok.  What concerns me is all
the down side news about the quality problems.  This alone is
interesting if it is true that a total of +20 scopes were shipped from

I don't mind the wait if in the end I get a good product.  In summary,
this is my take on things

a..     If the finder does have cross "bars", not cross hairs, not a
disaster that can be corrected

b..     the autostar seems to be getting good reviews

c..     chromatic aberration seems to be ok; one letter indicated that
"there was no chromatic aberration"

d..     big problem: the collimation seems to be off on most of the ETX
125 scopes, so much so that they needed to be returned

e..     vibration may be an issue. "vibration in the unit comes from the
fork mount itself. Meade needs to reinforce the arms of the fork"

I really enjoy this hobby and have up to now been using binoculars.  I
still like the "concept" of an EXT-125 scope but will Meade send me a
product that I will be happy with?  "send it back for inspection" and
"... waiting a few weeks" again is not a disaster but it is expensive,
painful and something I would perfer not to do.

What do you think?

again, at this point I am asking you for your personal opinion.


Phil Salimbene

One Elegante Drive
Edison, NJ  08820
Mike here: I'm glad the site has worked out. I certainly never expected its popularity when I started it in 1996, although I knew the ETX would be popular! I was supposed to visit with some Meade people last Friday night but we had to postpone it. I was going to get the opportunity to use an ETX-125EC but now that will have to wait a few more days. So, what is my personal opinion, based upon no experiences other than with a 3 year old ETX-90RA and a few month old ETX-90EC? The finder crosshairs sound similar to what is in my 1961 Edmund 3" reflector's finder. Wasn't a problem to me. I didn't try to place an object at the X but in one corner of the X, touching the hairs. Collimation could have slipped in shipment; I find it hard to believe (having visited the Meade factor) that many scopes were shipped that way. The original ETX and the ETX-90EC suffer from vibration when anything touches the scope, including fingers when focusing or the wind. The more sturdy the mount, the less the vibrations. This is true for most telescopes. This may or may not be the case with the ETX-125EC.

Subject:	Clarification of Terms
Sent:	Sunday, August 1, 1999 06:32:52
From:	Watahead2@aol.com
I am a potential amatur astronomer.  I was looking at the ETX 125 as a
first scope (currently I am learning the sky with Binoculars).  Can
someone explain (or give me a reference sorce for learning) what image
shift means?


Mike W. here: "Image shift" is being used to mean the movement of an object in the eyepiece as the focus is changed. When going from one side of proper focus to the other side, the image moves laterally across the field of view. When the eyepiece is the part that is moved when focusing, image shift does not occur. However, if a mirror is moved, image shift can occur.

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