ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 December 2001
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT. Additional information on these models is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX 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:	Scale problem
Sent:	Monday, December 31, 2001 8:24:25
From:	Caa656@cs.com
I recently purchased a Meade ETX 60 and am not understanding the manual.
Now when I put the telescope in the Alt/Az configuration at 0 degrees
my  telescope faces downward.  In the manual picture it shows the
telescope facing slightly upward in the same configuration.  Should mine
look like what it shows in the manual to look like. Please help...thanks
CHAD.
Mike here: See the FAQ for your DEC (Altitude) scale answer.
Subject:	Need help with ETX-70 Barlow accessory choice
Sent:	Monday, December 31, 2001 7:57:25
From:	ScottW@sc.rr.com (Scott B Wasserman Sr)
Need your help.  

Purchased an ETX-70 for my son and started working on acquiring some of
the items on the list titled, "Maximize your ETX-70 visual capabilities
to the limit By Using 5 Simple Items", dated July 31, 2001.

    ETX-70
    Meade MA 25mm eyepiece 1.25" (as supplied with scope)
    Meade MA  9mm eyepiece 1.25" (as supplied with scope)
    #140 Meade Series 4000 2x Apochromatic Barlow Lens 1.25"
    Meade moon filter series 4000 1.25"

Problem is the travel when focusing is not enough to include the use of
the Barlow.

When including the Barlow in the scheme, we can come close to focus, but
we reach the end stop on the focus travel before it comes completely
into focus.  Without the Barlow, both the 25mm and 9mm can be focused
with room to spare on the focus travel.

Can we be doing anything wrong ?  Could the factory have setup the focus
travel improperly ?  Are you sure the "#140 Meade Series 4000 2x
Apochromatic Barlow" works with the ETX-70 ?  (Seems longer than the
Meade #124 & #128 Barlows.)

Meade has a #124 2x Barlow Lens and a #128 3x Barlow Lens mentioned as
accessories to the ETX-70, but I think they are of lesser quality (3000
Series) than the #140.  I intend to purchase a LX-200 and would like to
purchase accessories that are of the highest quality and yet remain
interchangeable with both scopes.

Thanks for your help.

Scott Wasserman
Mike here: Yes, the #124 is the one recommended for the ETX-70AT. As to the report online, we'll have to wait to hear from the author of that.
Subject:	DEC scale, cord wrap
Sent:	Monday, December 31, 2001 5:18:08
From:	twopipers@home.com (george lilley)
I have a question about my ETX-70.  I have noticed that the elevation
scale reads -4 when the tube is leveled using a bubble level.  The first
night I used my ETX-70, I leveled the tube by sight, and through novice
bliss the goto seemed to work.  Last night (after becoming more of an
expert, second time through the manual), I did an alignment with the
scale at zero, making the tube elevation high, and found that the
alignment stars were outside of the field of view.  My questions is:

Do I align the elevation for the tube to be level with the bubble (scale
at -4), and assume the scale is out or set the elevation home position
to zero and adjust the tripod legs to level the tube (unleveling the
pedestal)?

One other small then what is "Chord Wrap" on the utilities menu, I
didn't see an explanation of it in the book.

Thanks

George L.
Mike here: See the FAQ for your question (and the answer) about the DEC scale setting.
As I described on the current Autostar Feedback page:
Cord wrap ON/OFF is used with the hard stops of some of the ETX models. If the cable connection goes into the rotating base of the ETX, then there are no hard stops and so the feature is OFF. If the cable goes into the fixed portion of the base then there are hard stops (to keep the internal cord from wrapping around the axle) so it should be ON.
Subject:	ETX 60 Polar Align Home Position
Sent:	Sunday, December 30, 2001 20:33:10
From:	vancegrn@primenet.com (Vance Green)
The Meade manual doesn't sufficiently describe the HOME position for an
ETX 60 in polar alignment....

I'm sure I'm missing it somewhere on your site, but thought it might
just be faster to ask!

Thanks in advance...
Mike here: See the Autostar Information page. The polar alignment position is the same for all the Autostar/ETX scopes.
Subject:	Motor failure
Sent:	Sunday, December 30, 2001 14:25:27
From:	KURTSOERENSEN@dadlnet.dk (Kurt Srensen)
It seems that I have the same problem with the azimuth motor. Shortly
before Christmas I bought a ETX 70-AT. It worked fine 3 hours, then the
azimuth motor stopped. I got a new telescope from the dealer. Alas, it
worked again for a few hours. Then the same problem arose. Could there
be a mechanical defect in the telescopes made right now.

Thank you for your excellent site and happy new year. And please
apologize my poor English.
Mike here: Seems like a few people are reporting random failures. Not enough info yet to discern a cause. Weak batteries or overtightening the axis lock(s) still remain high on my list though.
Subject:	CD question and more
Sent:	Sunday, December 30, 2001 11:04:43
From:	Jenny 
Hi, I just got the Meade ETX70AT  for Christmas.  An on line friend of
mine also got a new scope and gave me your site.  WOnderful!  I can see
I'm going to be a frequant flyer for awhile.

It's been cloudy since I got this toy and haven't played with it at all.
I can see from your posts that I should.  Seems lots of folks have had
problems with the motor.  Good to know.


OK, real question here.  This came with a CD.  As usual, it's for
windows only and I have a mac.   Is there critical stuff on there I must
have to use my scope or is it just star charts and stuff???  And, if
it's stuff I do need do you know if Meade has a mac version?

Thanks, I have your site bookmarked.  I'll be back.
Jenny
SW Michigan

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Visit me on line at

Artmakers Worlds

http://artmakersworlds.com
Mike here: The disk is a charting app and telescope controller for Windows. There is no Mac version of the CD-ROM but there are alternate applications should you want to get into that.
Subject:	ETX-70AT Zero Declination setting
Sent:	Sunday, December 30, 2001 10:54:30
From:	agnewrich@hotmail.com (Richard Agnew)
Thanks for having this site!
I have a question, please. I have been trying to set the ETX 70AT it in
the Alt/Az 'Home' position. When I put the scope at the zero declination
position according to the Dec setting circle, the scope actually points
about 5 degrees above the horizon.
Does that make sense?

Thanks,
Richard
Mike here: See the FAQ for your answer.

And:

Thanks very much Michael! This is a HUGE help. I owe you a lunch.

Subject:	ETX 70AT
Sent:	Saturday, December 29, 2001 15:41:00
From:	mervynshouse@btinternet.com (Oc)
I just bought an ETX 70AT and took it out for a trial.Impressive.A few
points.Is there anyone who has made their own carry case say out of
wood?Would it be possible for someone who has the plans for such a
homemade case to post them here?Seems to me if you had the tools and the
materials it would be very easy to put to gether a very nice wooden case
- small,compact and neat. Other point,as I said I took my ETX 70AT out
the other night.I accidently touched the front lense and left a small
finger print mark.I cleaned it off no problem but while doing so noticed
what I took to be the faintest little scratch - nothing major and you
have to look very very close to see it.Is this usual?I can't imagine
where it came from or indeed if it really qualifies as a scratch.I am
determined not to go near it or tamper with it (the 'scratch') but would
simply like to know if anyone else has this 'problem'(?)?

Regards
Mike here: I don't recall any plans for a ETX-70AT case. What case ideas there are are located on the Telescope Tech Tips page. Nice idea though. As to cleaning and "scratches", most people tend to want to over clean their telescope optics. Unless really badly smudged or "scratched", cleaning is usually not necessary. As to the "scratch", could have come from anything, including the cleaning process. Is the "scratch" into the glass or just into the lens coating?
Subject:	Making ETX60 and 70 stock eyepieces nearly parafocal
Sent:	Saturday, December 29, 2001 8:10:26
From:	edutton@infi.net (Ells Dutton)
I've noted a number of messages commenting on the long focus travel
between the standard 9 mm and 25 mm eyepieces that come with the ETX 60
and 70.  I have found that if the barrels are switched between the two
they become much closer to the same focus setting, not perfect but much
closer.  The barrels just screw off and are slightly different lengths
and that accounts for changing the focus point.

Ells Dutton

Subject:	etx 70
Sent:	Saturday, December 29, 2001 7:03:11
From:	jdslater@home.com (Jack Slater)
Based on what I read here I think I'm learning that I can't take pix
with this scope due to the alt/az set-up.  Correct?
Mike here: Any telescope must be polar mounted to take LONG duration astrophotographs (unless you add a field derotator). However, for short exposures, a telescope can be mounted Alt/Az.
Subject:	Cord Wrap
Sent:	Saturday, December 29, 2001 5:56:33
From:	hmessing@world.std.com (Howard Messing)
I just got an ETX-70AT. It is the third 'beginner' scope I have owned in
my lifetime and, so far, I am quite pleased. Third time is the charm!

My question: what does the 'cord wrap' option under the utilities menu
do?

Thanks.
Mike here: As I described on the current Autostar Feedback page:
Cord wrap ON/OFF is used with the hard stops of some of the ETX models. If the cable connection goes into the rotating base of the ETX, then there are no hard stops and so the feature is OFF. If the cable goes into the fixed portion of the base then there are hard stops (to keep the internal cord from wrapping around the axle) so it should be ON.
Subject:	Thanks & More
Sent:	Friday, December 28, 2001 10:55:58
From:	BothOfUs@RcnChicago.com (Dave & Stephanie)
First off, thank you for such a wonderful, helpful site.  I am as novice
as novice gets, and feel there is not enough time to learn all I can
about this spectacular activity.  Your site has streamlined much of the
research for me.

I received the ETX-70AT for Christmas.  Given the current subzero
windchills here in Chicago, I have been restricted to southern views out
of my 39th floor apartment window (< 180 degree horizontal, < 90 degree
vertical range).  I do have some (probably elementary) questions, but
let me first start with an answer:

The worm drive engagement for the Autostar motor is pretty sensitive
(up/down, in particular).  The recommended "'firm feel'" tightening of
the vertical lock has meant, for us, " until wife can't loosen" in order
for the gears to be fully engaged.  I recommend just to tighten/loosen
until up/down is fully engaged.  (I almost sent the telescope back when
it wouldn't go up!).

Questions:

If the gears are not fully engaged, and a "slip" occurs during slewing,
does Autostar know it has not reached its destination?  I am
hypothesizing about some magical internal compass here, but really can't
believe they only measure by the rotation of the gears.

I am a nerd in several (other) respects, namely with computers and
photography.  (Let me say that having the 70 as a 350mm telephoto makes
it completely worthwhile for me!)  How are other folks doing
photos/images through the eyepieces?  I have tried maneuvering my webcam
over the eyepiece...  Enough said.  Any special advice?  Are there any
options for CamCorders?  T-Adapter is not really feasible, of course,
just given the weight of the camera.

My first passes have been playing with the alignment (difficult to
confirm indoors) and nice views of the moon.  There is a remarkably
bright "star" due south (about 60 degrees above ground), which I have
commonly (offhandedly) called "Jupiter" in the past.  Even through the
9mm, I only see a brighter star when it is in focus.  Focal adjustments
either direction (yes it is difficult) create lovely colored balls, but
I am not sure if I am really seeing anything meaningful.

Any and all advice is much appreciated.

I will take another look at the "ETX SITE PLEDGE CONTRIBUTIONS" link, as
this has been a great help.

Thanks, again.

Dave A. in Chicago
Mike here: Anything which interrupts the movement of the telescope while slewing will mess up the alignment. See the Astrophotography page and the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography for more on attaching cameras. I suspect that is the star Sirius you are seeing since you should be able to see Jupiter's disk with the 25mm and 9mm eyepieces.
Subject:	Re:  ETX60 alt problem
Sent:	Friday, December 28, 2001 8:54:08
From:	hassj@indiana.edu (Jeffrey Hass)
Neither suggestion helped the alt motor problem, so I called Meade. 
They said someone in the factory got carried away with grease on the
clutch plate (never been inside the scope, so I'll take their word for
it).  They suggested I gently push the scope up and down with the motor
running (in the direction I was pushing) to better distribute the
grease. I did this and it worked pretty well and seemed to solve the
problem inside the house.  When i went out on a 20 degree night, I'm
sure the grease stiffened up, and it did not work quite as well--there
was some slipping, but I will keep moving it up and down a little more
to see if I can get it going consistently.  Before the grease stiffened
up, I was able to do a two-star alignment which worked, so at least
there was a little excitement here.

One more question--is it my bad eyesight, or are the two stock ETX60
lens (25mm and 9mm) very, very far away from being parfocal--in other
words, I need to do some substantial refocusing when switching from one
to the other?  Are there any quick fixes for this, such as changing the
depth on one of the eyepieces in the holder?  With my slipping scope, by
the time I manage to turn the very small focusing knob dozens of turns
to get the 9mm in focus, the scope is no longer pointed where I need it
to be.

Thanks and thanks again for the GREAT site.

Jeff
Mike here: Yep, loosening up the grease can help. And yep, the eyepieces are NOT parfocal however you can make them so. See the item on the February 2001 General Feedback page in the Feedback Archive.

And:

Great idea to make parfocal--thanks again.  Once I find the appropriate
distance with the o-ring suggested, I might be inspired to cut a piece
of 1.25" id pvc pipe or something.  If I only knew more about optics,
bet I'd know if that changes the focal length of the scope and which
way! Of course, one might ask why Meade didn't use a little extra
plastic and make the scope parfocal, but I'm sure that would be one of
millions of questions for Meade.
Mike here: It isn't the telescope that needs to be parfocal it is the eyepieces. And eyepieces that are not parfocal sets come from many sources.
Subject:	ETX-70AT Motor Issues
Sent:	Thursday, December 27, 2001 21:08:52
From:	chunjei@bellsouth.net (Adam)
I recently was viewing your webpage, and I noticed that another visitor
also was having problems with his ETX-70AT.  This, evidently, is a
common occurrence as I too am having problems with my motor (also the
azimuth, as it happens).  I noticed, in reading your article about the
ETX-70AT you purchased, that you didn't have any problems with the
motor.  I also noticed that you bought the telescope earlier this year,
in March, while Mr.  Doyle and I bought ours at practically the same
time.  This is surely an indication of some sort of manufacturing change
resulting in poor motor functionality.  I've reset Autostar numerous
times and nothing seems to help.  I did manage to get the Two-Star
alignment done, but when I went to GOTO the Moon, Autostart reported a
motor failure.  If you know why this is happening, or (more importantly)
if you know how to FIX this problem, PLEASE let me know.  Yes, I am
using brand-new batteries, and Autostar is plugged into the right place,
there seems to be no logical reason for this to be happening.  I'd
appreciate any tips.
Thanks,
   Adam
Mike here: Well, I don't know WHY this is happening to yours or anyone's telescope. There are many variables, including crimped wires, bad or broken connectors, overtight locks, etc, etc, etc. All any of us can do remotely is guess at the causes. I don't know how common an occurrence it is regardless of the cause (given that we only have a small snapshot of the world here). But I do agree that it is happening and it would be nice to find a fix. But no common themes have surfaced (except in the case of low batteries or inadequate AC adapters). What is known is reported on the feedback pages. So if you find a cure let us all know!
Subject:	New ETX60 user
Sent:	Thursday, December 27, 2001 20:15:02
From:	pcj@telusplanet.net (Marco-Polo)
Hi there, I just got an ETX60 for christmas and I have a lot of
questions.So far I have used it about 10 times in the past couple days
but only indoors, which brings me to my first question.I live in
Alberta,Canada and the temperature has been between 15C to 25C, I have
looked at the moon but am very eager to see the planets, I was wondering
 does the temperature affect the ETX60 from season to season? Does it
have any minimums or maximums on how high or low the temp should be
before you can use it outdoors? I want to take it outside to set the
autostar (or whatever its called) so it will automatically slew to the
planets I want to look at. Which brings me to my next question...can I
set the autostar indoors without being able to see the stars its
supposedly pointing at and then have it align properly? and last
question for now, I want to increase what I can see and also improve
clarity and was wondering if you can tell me what lenses I could
purchase to do this.Will the Barlow2x  give me what I am looking for and
also the PLOSSL lenses, which size works best?  Hope you can help and
give me the best advise possible, dont want to waste time and money on
something that does not fit well with my telescope,
Thanx
         Cindy
Mike here: Low temperatures will affect some components. The Autostar display will blank out at very low temps; you can avoid this by keeping it in a warm pocket when not in use. Low temps can also affect the grease used for lubrication and make movements sluggish. Also, going from a warm room to the cold outdoors can affect the viewing through the telescope. The air inside the telescope tube needs to reach what is called "thermal equilibrium" with the outside air. That will take about 30 minutes for the ETX-60AT. You don't HAVE to wait but the views will get better over time. And yes, you can learn to use the Autostar indoors (and you should). You can fake the alignments by just assuming the stars (you can't see) are centered. Once you get comfortable with the system then you can go outdoors in the dark and go through the alignment steps more easily. But you will want to align outdoors using real stars. As to extra eyepieces, you probably have a 25mm and a 9mm. Use those for awhile. At some point you will probably want to get a 2X Barlow Lens but only after you have learned to use what you have.
Subject:	Re:  Re:  etx70 HELP
Sent:	Thursday, December 27, 2001 19:52:17
From:	louis_mell@yahoo.com (louis mell)
THANKS FOR REPLY
NO IT IS NOT. ANYWAY TAHNKS.
SINCERLY YOURS
LOUIS

Subject:	Re:  Help - Motor Failure out of the box
Sent:	Thursday, December 27, 2001 19:00:11
From:	jeffdoyl@us.ibm.com (Jeffrey Doyle)
Back again with same problem  \
never got it to work for more than 5 minutes

Jeffrey J. Doyle
Mike here: Since new I suggest exchanging it at the dealer.
Subject:	ETX-70 Az axis problem 
Sent:	Thursday, December 27, 2001 11:57:35
From:	pmeade1@iegateway.net (PAT MEADE)
I purchases an ETX-70 recently. 
It worked fine for a while ( 5 hours approx.in all)
I was practicing aligning the scope today when I discovered that it
would no longer move on the Az axis. The motor spins but there is no
horizontal movement. I checked the Hor.lock,  I tested the motors, I
reset the scope , no joy! I took the bottom clip on cover off and had a
look at the gears inside. I saw that the large gear wheel is not
engaging the motors gear.

Do you know if the motors driving gear moves back and forward to engage
the large gear?
Do you have any information on the interior mechanics of these scopes?
Are these scopes know to wear out gears this quickly?

Thanks. 

Pat Meade. ( no relation to the makers unfortunately!)
Ireland,
Mike here: I don't believe the gears move away from each away. Is the azimuth lock fully engaging? That is, when locked, can you slew the telescope in azimuth at all using the handcontroller? If you try to move the telescope tube in azimuth by hand, is there resistance? If the answer to both of these of NO then the lock is not fully engaged. Since it was working I would exchange it at the dealer if still new. There is a lot of info on the Telescope Tech Tips page but I don't think you want to start there if the scope is still under warranty.
Subject:	question about my meade etx 70
Sent:	Thursday, December 27, 2001 11:56:44
From:	aouad26@hotmail.com (rita aouad)
I'm hoping someone can answer my question.  I recently purchased the
above and am having problems w/ the 2 star alignment/alt easy.  I've
tried setting it up to face north but when it slews it goes around and
around and doesn't stop at the star it's trying to locate.  I've been
using it manually but I'd love to try the "go to" and discover more. 
Lastly, in the manual it describes what you can see in the planets w/
the above but all I see are bright dots, nothing more.  Do I need a more
powerful lense? If so which one? I've only attached what came w/ it
which are the 2x and 3x.  The moon looks fabulous but I can't see
anything great w/ the planets.  thanks
Mike here: See my ETX-70AT Comments linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page as well as the User Observations page for what you can do with this telescope. As to the Autostar slewing continuously during alignment, try a RESET from the Utilities menu. Be certain to enter the location/date/time/etc correctly. If that doesn't help, you could try to TRAIN the drives (see the manual). Let me know what happens.
Subject:	#124 barlow lense info
Sent:	Thursday, December 27, 2001 11:01:59
From:	radiodave4@juno.com (David A Tinney)
my name is david and was just wondering if you could give me a little
information on the use of barlow lens,s i got a etx-60at for christmas
from my wife and i have been using it the past few days and i must say
its a wonderful telescope. i have already used it to look at the moon.
im still learning how to program autostar but thats no problem. im using
the supplied ma 25mm lens and the super great!  ma9mm lense im looking
into getting the optional lens,s......the one i got my eye on is the
#124 barlow lense......i was going to go with the #128 but i called a
local camera shop the carries mead equipment and he explained to me that
ill be better off using the 2x power instead of the 3x power being that
i told him i was going to use the telescope not only for the moon and
the stars but also a LAND telescope.....he explained with the #128 3x i
loose light to the telescope.......soooo my question is should i go with
the #124 2x......im sure it will improve my 2 eye pieces a lot.....im
new to this so hope im not bothering you but this little telescope is a
wonder and want to learn more.......so # 124 2x or 128 3x...which do you
think will give me the best for Land And Sky
thank you for your time and look foward to your email...
David Tinney-AA2XL
radiodave4@juno.com
dave2xl@hotmail.com
My Webpage
http://www.angelfire.com/ny2/dave2xl
Mike here: Yes, objects will appear much dimmer in the 3X Barlow Lens than in a 2X Barlow Lens. Also keep in mind that a 60mm telescope is limited to about 120X as usable magnification and then only on bright objects like the Moon. The 9mm + 3X Barlow would approach that limit and likely not get used too much.

And:

thankyou for your time and information mike and i think your website is
wonderful. as i told you im new to this hobby but very intrested. i will
visit your site often. so i think i will go with the #124 barlow for my
2 eyes pieces and as i get more experience maybe move up.......thanks
for returning my email.........david

Subject:	Hello! Question, please.
Sent:	Thursday, December 27, 2001 10:59:04
From:	dolszewk@winstead.com (Olszewski, Dorothy)
I gave me husband a telescope for Christmas and it included a 494
AutoStar hand box - neither of us are "technically literate."  Are there
any step-by-step instructions available for setting up the 494?
Thank you.

dorothy olszewski
Mike here: Read the manual, once, twice, three times. Then follow the steps in the manual with the Autostar in your hand. Do this in the daylight. Don't worry that you can not see the alignment stars; you just want to learn the steps before going outside in the dark. If you still want to learn more, see the Autostar Information page.
Subject:	Re:  Re:  Help - Motor Failure out of the box
Sent:	Wednesday, December 26, 2001 19:24:28
From:	jeffdoyl@us.ibm.com (Jeffrey Doyle)
appears to be the lock was too tight - kind of finnicky now, but
working.. Thanks for the assistance!

Jeffrey J. Doyle

Subject:	Can't see anything at all
Sent:	Wednesday, December 26, 2001 17:46:27
From:	japer411@earthlink.net (Jennifer Smock)
I am a beginner with the ETX70AT Meade scope. I can't see anything at
all thru it.yes the lens cap is off,yes I enetered everything correctly
in the startup procedure for autostar.It goes to say Rigel in the
alignment process but I don't see anything at all (9mm eyepiece).I tried
looking at the moon figuring that even if the bright suburban lights
were hindering my ability to see stars through my new telescope that the
moon would surely be visible......I saw incredibly bright light (white
light) that actually hurt my eye and is still hurting and it was pointed
at the moon. No craters ,no nothing just a round bright light and
focusing didn't help. I set the declination to 0 like it said and tried
to point it in what seemed to be north but nothing..no Rigel no Capella
no moon no saturn no nothin .....HELP if ya can.I really want to get
into this hobby.

Jennifer
Mike here: I suspect you just haven't found the focus position yet. Try it on a distant building or tree. Then try it on the Moon. When you reach a focus it the object will be distinctly clear and sharp. And yes, the Moon will be very bright; try sunglasses! (Just don't try this technique on the Sun! You need a real Solar Filter for that. There are also Moon filters than act like sunglasses when viewing the Moon.) Do all this with the 25mm eyepiece. Once you know that you can focus, switch to the 9mm. It will take many, many turns of the focus knob to reach a focus when switching eyepieces.

And:

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.I will indeed try that tomorrow
after the frostbite I got tonight trying to get the thing to work
subsides hehe Do you have any tips for getting correct alignment? I get
a beeping noise and the scope turns completely vertical which doesn't
seem right to me and again...I see nothing at all...even manually moving
it across the night sky gets me no results.My first telescope and a
little eager to get it to work.
Mike here: There are several alignment tips on the Autostar Information page. Practice indoors where it is warm and well lit.
Subject:	New ETX-60AT
Sent:	Wednesday, December 26, 2001 12:06:59
From:	gar@askgar.com (Gary Warner)
This is mostly happy story stuff, with one question at the end.  If you
are too busy for happy stories, please skip to the end and find
####QUESTION.

I bet Christmas is a busy time of year for your ETX site!

I just got my first telescope for Christmas.  Of course I ran out last
night to use it, and I was in heaven.  I'm 36 years old and have wanted
a telescope for as long as I can remember.

I have the ETX-60AT, with the nice big Meade tripod.  I've taped my
compass to the lens tray, and aligned the Az-Alt to zeros, pointed due
North.  Then I tried to Easy Align with the two star method.  No luck,
because I am very nearly surrounded by Very Tall Trees.  I got Rigel
nicely centered about 10:30 PM (Birmingham, Alabama) once it had cleared
the trees, but Procyon was still below tree cover, which is what my
telescope wanted to use for Star #2.

Anyway, I went to manual, and practiced finding things, and focusing
between my 25mm and my 9mm.  WOW is that a LOT of focus knob twisting
between the two!

I started out in Orion, which is the winter constellation that has
fascinated my son and myself for some time.  We say "our stars" together
whenever we see it.  We start at the belt and then go to Rigel, then
Sirius, Betelgeuse, Aldebaran, Castor and Pollux, etc, hitting the
"naked eye" hot spots in that portion of the sky.  We don't know jack
about anything else, but we've got those down.

I thought.

I went after M42/M43 almost immediately, and was amazed how many more
stars there were in the sky.  I could make out just a hazy dust around
them, and drew a little sketch under my redlight of what stars I could
see.  Then I took a "fist measure" of the distance to Aldebaran, and
tried to navigate to it while looking through the eyepiece.  I was so
proud of myself when I found it!  I made a sketch of it as well.

I did a little 9mm viewing of the moon, which was so bright it was
casting shadows of my telescope and myself, so I know it wasn't a good
"deep sky" night, but I had to try anyway.  I also checked out Jupiter,
which was a bit of a disappointment.  I was hoping for more detail than
I got.  I'm still hoping the fact I was not in a truly dark sky was more
of the reason than the fact I have a small scope.

Funny story, and then the question, I promise.

I took my sketches in and brought up my Starry Night Backyard software
to see how accurate my sketches were compared to what was in its map. My
M42/M43 wasn't bad, but my Aldebaran neighborhood was TOTALLY WRONG! I
couldn't figure it out!

Then I went back to the same time I did the sketch, and realized that I
had missed Aldebaran and was looking at Saturn!  My sketch was pretty
good for where Saturn was at that time, which was just over 3 degrees
from Aldebaran.  I was embarassed, but considered it a pretty good night
for my first night viewing with my first telescope, in the front yard,
under a bright moon, with the neighbors' Christmas lights still on.

*****QUESTION:

I also have a Nikon Coolpix 880.  I saw the Scopetronix Digi-T adaptor
for that camera on my telescope, and wondered whether you knew where I
could get some sample pictures taken with that combination.  I guess my
question is basically, is it worth it to try photography with such a
small telescope?  or should I stick to my sketches until I can afford a
bigger/better telescope.  Any thoughts?  I saw your Coolpix photos page,
but it hasn't had much updating.  Are you overall pleased with your
Digi-T? or no?  And, is the ETX-60 worth using for photography?  (Any
link suggestions to answer that question?)

Thank you for all your hard work!

Gary Warner
Birmingham, Alabama
Mike here: Thanks for the story. Always nice to hear them, even with the extra load of questions at this time of year. One reminder: use True North, not Magnetic North for your HOME position. They can be different. As to the Coolpix, I've been rather busy but am hoping to get some shots this week (assuming I get over this cold!). And yes, you can take photos using the ETX-60AT. Will you find them disappointing? Perhaps, perhaps not. I believe there are some photos in the Guest Galleries taken using an ETX-60 or -70.
Subject:	ETX-70AT 494 Autostar Hanging at Daylight Savings Setting
Sent:	Wednesday, December 26, 2001 8:18:58
From:	c.campbell@bigfoot.com (Colin Campbell)
Hope you had a brilliant Christmas - I'm trying to! I received a new ETX
70AT and 494 Autostar for Christmas. However, the Autostar appears to
have developed a fault. Every time it is switched on, on reaching the
Daylight Savings setting, it 'hangs', with 'Daylight Savings > NO'
displayed continuously. The selection can be changed until ENTER or MODE
is pressed. Pressing, or pressing and holding for more than two second
any of the buttons makes no difference. The four direction buttons still
work OK though! The obvious thing to do is reset the unit, but I can't
get to that option as I am forced to go through the Daylight Savings
setting every time (unless I am not aware of a way to 'escape' out of
this initial set up - MODE certainly does not work).

One other odd thing I noticed which may be relevant - after the first
set-up, when everything went well, I returned to change my 'Site'; when
reviewing, adding and deleting sites, at one stage I noticed random
characters were being displayed instead of location names - a sign of
some sort of corruption perhaps?

I downloaded the latest Meade updater program (ASU 3.0). As you know,
the 494 firmware cannot be upgraded (firmware version is 11Ec).

Any ideas as to how I get it working again, or perform a 'reset' by some
other method, e.g. by using the updater program?

All help will be much appreciated!

Thanks,

Colin Campbell

Lisburn, United Kingdom.
Mike here: This has been reported before (on a DS model). Our resident Autostar expert Dick Seymour thinks the Autostar is trying to communicate with the telescope at the point it hangs. So, something could be wrong in the Autostar or the telescope base. If the Autostar ROM is corrupted, running the 3.0 updater (even though no update is available) has been reported to cure the corruption. So, if you can do that you may get your Autostar back to life. Otherwise, exchange the system with your dealer.

And:

Many thanks for your quick reply and advice. Unfortunately, running the
updater has not given me any joy. I'll give my dealer a call tomorrow.
I'll let you know the resolution.

Subject:	etx-60at
Sent:	Tuesday, December 25, 2001 22:48:34
From:	layneliston@yahoo.com (Layne Liston)
My wife just got me the etx-60at for christmas.  I entered the day and
time and all other info, then I turned it off to take it outside.  When
I turned it on again, it asked for all the info over again.  The day was
still the same, but the time had been set back to 8:00 p.m.  I have
reset the hand controller still same problem.  Do I need to enter the
time everytime I turn it on.  Thanks
layne
Mike here: The time always defaults to 8pm (or 2000 if you're in 24-hour mode) on power up. The last date entered is remembered, as are the daylight savings setting, location, telescope model, etc.
Subject:	New ETX-60AT Owner with questions and issues!
Sent:	Tuesday, December 25, 2001 20:35:36
From:	jdslater@home.com (Jack Slater)
I posted the following 2 notes to alt.telescopes.meade on Usenet but it
looks like the real experts are here!  So:

"Wife (Santa) got me a starter scope for XMAS.  I'm wondering if the
"accessories" are really requirements.  (Tri-Pod, View-finder, different
focusing options, etc.) Any comments about this  or the scope in general
are appreciated.  Thanks."

and then....

Well...here I am answering post!  My 1st attempt outside 2nite (granted,
I've got a lot to learn yet but) and though I would get a quick glimpse
of the moon.  Well, after doing theintital Autostar lookup, I realized,
unless I already know where stars are located, its of no use!  So I have
to get some maps or sumthin' and get my bearings 1st.

NEXT however, I think I stumbled on a couple of design issues (unless
there are other ways to skin this cat that I don't see yet).  Changing
the focus (and also the viewing mirror switch) with "man" hands is
nearly impossible and is totally impossible when the scope is near
vertical and the back of the tube is between the supports!

Anyone have any comments on this?  Am I ready to exchange this for a
different kind?
Mike here: See the "Alignment/High Precision/Star Charts" on the Observational Guides/References page for charts of the Autostar alignment stars. See the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page for some focus aids. Or you can make you own; see the Telescope Tech Tips page.

And:

I just discovered I can return the 60 and get the 70 (includes the $100
tripod) for just a few more dollars.  Gotta be worth it just for that I
would think.
Mike here: You'll get 10mm more aperture but still have the same focal length (350mm).

And this:

will this be noticeable visually?
Mike here: Not likely.

And:

so the only benefit here is to get a $99 dollar tripod for $69 I guess.

Subject:	Re: ext-70-at
Sent:	Tuesday, December 25, 2001 14:16:11
From:	IAN486@aol.com
everything else if more expensive. i see some pictures in the maganizes
and they say like magnification less then 100x . could i see that. like
the galaxies and stuff. they are so beautiful in the pictures. Agian,
you havent awnsered my question, is there a site where i can see
pictures of stuff at different magnifications?
Mike here: I don't recall any such site. Again, your eye will not allow you to see images like you see in the photos.

And:

well then isnt it illegal to put pictures and say they can be seen with
the telescope, if they cant be seen?
Mike here: You can "see" the same objects, just not in the same way as photos. Whether that is illegal, fraudulent marketing, or just standard practice, only you, the consumer, can determine. But if you speak with your wallet then you will likely not buy any optical instrument.

And this:

so when they say we can see saturns rings with this telescope, we cant?
then whats the purpose of buying the 60 and 70 at if the only thing you
can see is the moon?
Mike here: Have you read my ETX-70AT comments (linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page. There I describe what can be seen with Saturn. You might also want to see the reports on the User Observations page.

And more:

ok i will, i saw some of them. im still having trouble finding the
pointer stars to align with. any tips?
Mike here: Learning the night sky will obviously help. See "Alignment/High Precision/Star Charts" on the Observational Guides/References page for charts of the alignment stars.
Subject:	Help - Motor Failure out of the box
Sent:	Monday, December 24, 2001 20:33:56
From:	jeffdoyl@us.ibm.com (Jeffrey Doyle)
During the setup of our new 70AT (just out of the box), we received an
immediate Motor Failure message.  The scope attempted to test the motor,
with the end result being the same message.

Is this just a bad one, or am I doing something wrong. Mind you, we're
newbies (me and son, 9) so doing some wrong is definitely a possibility.

Jeffrey J. Doyle
Mike here: Did you plug the Autostar into the correct port? Are the batteries good? Have you overtightened the axis locks? Just some thoughts.

And:

Yes, plugged into the right port, new batteries - it seems the problem
is with the AZ, not the ALT. When I do it "manuall" via the Autostar
controller, the ALT moves fine up and down, while the AZ will move for a
short while, then cease to move.
Mike here: Set the telescope model in the Autostar to the ETX-70AT. Do a RESET from the menu and then TRAIN the drives. See if that cures the problem.
Subject:	ETX-60AT
Sent:	Monday, December 24, 2001 17:55:18
From:	Tanktyler1223@aol.com
Sorry to disturb you again Mike, but when i was looking at the moon the
other day i could only see a big white circle.  I thought it was
probably just atmoshpere conditions, but i'm not sure.  Oh, and, one
more thing: how can i look at craters on the moon up close?
Mike here: Sounds like you didn't get to a good focus. You have to go through a lot of rotations of the focus knob to focus when changing eyepieces. Also, use the 9mm eyepiece for more magnification on the Moon. If you want more, consider adding a 2X Barlow Lens.
Subject:	HELP WITH MY ETX60-AT!!!
Sent:	Monday, December 24, 2001 17:41:06
From:	smash880@yahoo.com (Darin)
Hey thereI just got an ETX60-AT for Christmas, and I have been
struggling with it!  I live in Portland, OR.  All I want to do is setup
the remote Autostar thing, and be able to tell it to go to the moon, or
a planet, automatically.  I think it is called Autostar or something.
Anyway, please give me some help on at least setting it up so I can
enjoy it!!!  Thanks!  Sincerely, Darin (intermediate astronomer)
Mike here: I presume you have read the manual, several times. Have you practiced indoors setting it up and working with the Autostar? If so, and you are still having problems, look at "Alignment Tips" on the Autostar Information page; maybe they will help you. If they don't, let me know specifically what you don't understand.
Subject:	Re: ext-70-at
Sent:	Monday, December 24, 2001 17:15:53
From:	IAN486@aol.com
i think i am getting them in focus. When i move the eyepiece in and out
the its bigger and smaller. When it gets to the biggest i tighten the
eyepiece and then use the small focus. they all look the same. Is there
anywhere where i can see pictures of what i should see at different
magnifications?
Mike here: What gets "biggest"? Stars won't change in size and you don't want them to be their "biggest". You want them to be their smallest. Try focusing on the Moon. You should be able to reach a clear focus.

And:

ok i will try that. so when i move the eyepiece and the star gets bigger
that is not right?
Mike here: That is correct. Stars should be small. You won't be able to magnify them as their distance from the Earth makes them pinpoints of light.

And:

it was very cloudy tonite but i found a bright star. when i focused it
to verysmall, thats all it was very small, but when i started to unfocus
it a little, it became almost purple/pink. is this normal? this was on
like a 34X magnification. how would i see like the planets? pinpoints of
light? i can do that with my own eyes? or how about other galaxies what
kind of eyepiece or magnification do i need? is there anysite that will
show me pictures of what i should be seeing at different magnifications?
Mike here: Planets and the Moon will show some details. See the "Star Journey (ETX-60AT)" site listed on the Astronomy Links page. Perhaps that will help. Just don't expect to see what you see in photographs. Nor the same size. As you move into and out of focus, you will see some color fringes. This is normal with low-cost refractors. See my write up on the ETX-70AT (linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page for one example of what you'll see.

And more:

this was no low cost thing. it was a few hundred dollars. are you
telling me what i see in this is what i can see in my binoculars?
Mike here: I didn't say that. If you have a pair of 7x50 binoculars, you get 7X magnification (meaning that objects appear 7 times closer than they are). So, the Moon and planets will appear 7 times larger. With the 25mm eyepiece on the ETX-70AT you get 14X. With the 9mm eyepiece you 38X; much better than you get with your 7x50 binoculars. And you get an automatic GOTO and tracking system with your telescope, something you don't get with your binoculars. On the other hand, binoculars AND this telescope make nice wide field instruments. But if the telescope doesn't meet your expectations then you either have the wrong expectations or you have the wrong telescope. Perhaps you need something larger (and perhaps more expensive, but not necessarily so). Your decision, based upon what you want and expect from your telescope.
Subject:	eyepieces
Sent:	Monday, December 24, 2001 9:20:22
From:	Tanktyler1223@aol.com
i just got one of your telescopes for my birthday, and i wanted to look
at items in deep space.  After reading the manual, i saw that i needed a
smaller eyepiece to look at them.  Does the 9mm eyepiece work, or do i
need a smaller one?
Mike here: I just checked and I still have all my telescopes! ;-)
But if you are asking about a Meade telescope, which one? Some are better at deep sky observing than others. Adding a shorter focal length eyepiece won't necessarily make the views better. In fact, in many cases it makes it worse because the views will be dimmer and you will actually see less with your eye.

And:

oh yeah...i forgot to tell you.  it was a ETX-60AT.
Mike here: The ETX-60AT is a fine wide field instrument best used at low powers (in fact, it is limited to about 120X and that only on bright objects like the Moon). Star clusters and large nebula (like the Great Nebula in Orion) will look best at low powers.
Subject:	re:  ETX60 power supply
Sent:	Sunday, December 23, 2001 22:49:34
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	wschart@hot.rr.com
You asked:

1. Would a 9V radio style battery work?

Maybe... depending upon what you mean by "radio-style"
If you mean the typical small rectangular (fits in smoke detectors)
Eveready #522: no. Too little power.
But there -is- a "Radio" battery the size and shape of 6 AA cells
which -would- fit the size and shape of the battery compartment.
They're -usually- not Alkaline, they're usually carbon-zinc, and
 would not last very long in use.

2. Why 12V? Does this improve performance (slew speed, etc.)? Would a
standard, unversal AC adaptor, set to the correct voltage and polarity
work?

Yes.. i use a 500 ma 12 v adapter with my ETX70.  It's very happy.
(the fastest slews are faster, too).

Most of the reason you see 12v supplies cited at Mike's site is
because the ETX90/105/125 -are- 12v scopes.  They accept 8 AA cells.

The Meade 4504/114EQ-DH4 say "15v" on their power plug.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Mounting ETX 70 to 883 Tripod
Sent:	Sunday, December 23, 2001 19:23:23
From:	ETXSKYWATCHER@aol.com
I recently saw a posting on this site regarding mounting the ETX 90 to
the 883 Tripod.  I believe it indicted the ports for the autostar and
aux should be on the left side of the scope as you face northward.  Does
this also apply to mounting the ETX 70?  Also, am I correcting in
assuming the tripod leg marked north should be to the North side of the
tripod?  I am wondering how the method used to mount the ETX 70 on the
883 tripod affects scope alignment and tracking!

J. Chadick
Mike here: The ETX-70AT does not have hard stops in its base (unlike the -90, -105, and -125). So, orientation of the ports does not matter. Just point the tube to True North regardless of the orientation of the tripod.
Subject:	etx70 HELP
Sent:	Sunday, December 23, 2001 17:32:32
From:	louis_mell@yahoo.com (louis mell)
THANK YOU FOR A GREAT SITE FOR THE ETX USERS. MY NAME IS LOUIS I AM FROM
SWEDEN BUT I AM LIVING IN BRAZIL UNTIL JUNE 2002. DURING THIS TIME I
IMPORT A ETX70 FROM USA. I AM HAVING A FEW PROBLEMS HERE AND I WOULD
LIKE YOUR ADVISE.

1) WHEN IA M USING A EYEPIECE  MEADE SUPER PLOSSEL 20MM THE ETX SHOWS IN
THE EDGE A GREAT COMA THE STARTS TURNS IN LITTLE COMETS. THE CENTER IS
PERFECT BUT LET SAY:5 CM FROM THE END OF THE FIELS OF VIEW WITH THE
PLOSSEL 20 THE STARS GET A LITTLE TAIL. WITH THE 9 MM EYEPIECE  THE VIEW
IS PERFECT. I TRY TO TURN THE LENS ( OBJECTIVE) OR GIVE MORE PRESSURE IN
THE TWIST COLAR BUT WHEN I INCRESE THE FORCE ( TURN MORE THE PLASTIC
COLAR AGAINST THE LENS) THE COMET SHAPE GET WORST.THE PLANETARY VIEW OF
SATURN AND JUPITER FOR EXAMPLE ARE JUST SUPERB WITH THE 9MM AND THE 4MM
EYEPIECE THAT I HAVE.

2) READING ABOUT  AC A ADAPTER  I BOUGHT ONE ( NOT ORIGINAL) BUT IT
COAST 10 US AND I CAN CONTROL THE VOLTAGE FROM INPUT AC 120V 60HZ/AC240V
50HZ OUTPUT 1,5-3-4-4,5-7,5-9-12 VOLTS WITH CURRENT 500mA MAX AND THE
BEST IT HAS A CONNECTOR FOR THE ETX WITHOUT NEEDING EXTRA ADAPTOR. IT
HAS THE POSSIBILIT TO CHANGE THE POLARITY BY A BOTTON. HERE I DISCOVERED
THAT WITH 9 VOLTS IT HAD A OUTPUT OF 12 VOLTS BUT I COULD NOT MEASURE
THE AMPERAGE JUST NOBODY HAD A MACHINE FOR MESUARE THE AMPER RATE.

ANYWAY I DECIDE TO USE AND IT WORKED WELL? I CAN TRACK STAR FOR ALMOST
ALL NIGHT LONG WITHOUT PROBLEM.
BUT HERE COMES THE PROBLEM.
ONE NIGHT AFTER CHANGING THE POSSITION FOR DIFERENT TARGETS IT JUST NOT
STOP THE SLEWING. I WAS FORCED TO TRUN OF THE TELESCOPE AND ALIGN AGAIN,
CALIBRATE MOTORS,TRAIN DRIVE ETC. FOR MY SURPRISE DURING THE ALIGN THE
PROBLEM REPEATED SO I TURN OFF THE TELESCOPE, UNPLUG THE UNIT
CONTROL(DATA CONTROL) FROM THE TELESCOPE AND UNPLUG FRON THE AC OUTPUT.
WAIT A FEW MINUTES AND START ONE MORE TIME.
IT IS WORKING WELL.
WHAT HAPPENED?
I HAD THIS PROBLEMS WHEN MY SET OF PEN LIGHT BAT, WERE USED. DOES THE
POWER SUPIED BY THE 9 VOLTS ( IN REALITY 12V) ARE NOT ENOGHT FOR THE
TELESCOPE? NOW IT IS WORKING WELL.ANY IDEA?

3) AFTER I CHOOSE A TARGET THE TELESCOPE MOVES AND TRY TO CENTER IT IN
THE FIELD OF VIEW.I MAKE IT CENTERED AND PRESS ENTER TO SYNC THE
TARGET.AFTER IT I CHO0SE ANOTHER TARGET AND THE TELESCOPE MOVES THE NEW
TARGET. IT IS ALMOST IN THE CENTER OF VIEW ANY WAY I CENTER IT BUT THIS
TIME I JUST DO NOT PRESS ENTER TO SYNC IT.AFTER A FEW MINUTES I RETURN
FOR THE PREVIOUS TARGET THAT WAS SYNC. AND FOR MY SURPRISE THE TELESCOPE
CAN NOT PUT THE TARGET IN THE CENTER OF THE FIELD OF VIEW HOW IT WAS.
WAHT IS GOING ON?

4) THE NEXT DAY WHEN I TURN ON THE TELESCOPE IN THE SAME BASE(TRIPOD)
AND POSITON THAT THE NIGHT BEFORE IT SIMPLES JUST NOT ALIGN CORRECT, I
HAVE TO COMPENSATE A LITTLE PUTTING ONE OF THE LEGS OF THE TRIPOD HIGH
OR DOWN AND TWISTING A LITTLE,
AFTER IT IT WORKS AGAIN WITH NO PROBLEM.
I START TO THINK THAT USING THE POSSIBILITY OF SYNC THE TELESCOPE ALL
THE TIME MAKE IT LOOSES THE
ALIGNMENT?
IS IT CORRECT?
CAN YOU HELP ME?
SORRY FOR MY ENGLISH I HOPE YOU UNDERSTAND MY PROBLEM
SINCERELY YOURS
LOUIS
Mike here: Some AC Adapters do not put out constant voltage or can be subject to surges. This may be what you saw. As to SYNC, that is only intended for use when observing objects close to the object on which you SYNCed. It can help or hurt depending upon how far away you get from the object. I rarely use it or need it.

And:

THANKS FOR YOUR REPLY

PLEASE WHAT ABOUT THE COMA PROBLEM I REPORTED  WITH THE SUPER PLOSS 20MM
EYEPIECE? DID YOU KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT IT?
Mike here: Since you were not seeing that with other eyepieces I suspect the eyepiece is the problem. What do you see with the 25mm that came with the telescope? With the 20mm, do you hear a rattling sound when you shake it? If so, one of the eyepieces lens is likely loose.
Subject:	ETX70 Field Tripod
Sent:	Sunday, December 23, 2001 17:03:35
From:	AlAlborn@aol.com
I enjoy your site.  I'd like to share a problem I'm having with Meade.

I purchased an ETX70 in December, 2001.  They didn't come with tripods
then.  I promptly ordered a #882 Standard Field Tripod.  Upon receiving
the tripod, I immediately set it up.  All three leg locks promptly
broke.  This experience was repeated two more times.  I Understand that
Meade has a problem with this Tripod.  I wrote to their customer service
department and to my surprise I got no reply.  I'm preparing a consumer
complaint for the State of Virginia Department of Consumer Affairs, an
article for Consumer Reports, and a report for the Consumer Product
Safety Commission (Tripods are often purchased by children.  The small
parts pose a safety risk - choking, etc).

I'm surprised that no traffic appears on your site regarding this
tripod,  Do you get a number of reports similar to mine?  I'm giving
Meade until 31 Dec to respond...  then I start mailing (I'm a consumer
advocate).  I would be interested if anyone has complained.

Of course, I'm not thrilled having problems with a product that I
purchased when it's now given away for "free" with the Tripod (for $50
less than I paid for just the tripod).

Thanks,

Al Alborn
Mike here: There have been reports (posted on the Site) of older #882 tripods with this problem. When contacted (by phone), Meade (according to reports) sent a replacement tripod that didn't have the problem. I guess some dealers still have the older tripods in inventory. I'm not certain of Meade's holiday schedule but you might try calling them.
Subject:	ETX60 alt problem
Sent:	Sunday, December 23, 2001 12:19:01
From:	hassj@indiana.edu (Jeffrey Hass)
Great site!  

We just got an ETX60 for Christmas (well, we celebrated early) and have
been trying to familiarize ourselves with its features.  it was very
cool to be able to see the moons of Jupiter on our first night of
observing (tiny as they were).  One serious problem we are experiencing
right off the bat is with the automatic alt adjustment.  The motor makes
appropriate noises in both up and down directions, however the scope
frequently refuses to go up (it will always go down).  Having read the
manual and your pages, we have experimented with many different
tightnesses of the alt lock.  Making this more mysterious is the fact
that the scope seems to be going through up and down motions when doing
the two-star alignment program, but will then not go up using the arrow
keys (at any speed) even though the motor is turning.  Adding to my
suspicion that the scope may have arrivedd in a less than
fully-functional manner is my only other experience with a Meade
scope--my brother's very large Meade arrived with a defective
declination motor that exhibited similar symptoms.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks,
Jeff

=========================================
Prof. Jeffrey Hass
Center for Electronic and Computer Music
School of Music, Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47405

Phone: (812) 855-6401 Fax: (812) 334-0234
Email: hassj@indiana.edu
Web: http://www.indiana.edu/~emusic
=========================================
Mike here: Check the batteries. Also, you might try TRAINing the drives. Before you do that, check that the model is correctly set in the Autostar. By the way, nice to hear from IU! I'm an alumni, in case you haven't had time to see my HOME PAGE.

And:

Thanks for the quick reply!  I will check into all the suggestions
below. Batteries are new, so I'll check into the other two items.

I looked at your homepage--very impressive and looks like we had quite a
bit in common besides ending up at IU.  Our computer music studios use
primarily Macs (my first was an Apple II+ followed by a Lisa...), though
we have an SGI for a few odd things.  And I write lots of music for
band, so I'm glad yours was a positive experience--my hs band director
got me started on the idea of a music career very seriously.

Well, we hope to use out ETX60 as a starter, learning sort of thing for
both myself and my 10-year-old.  I'm sure it is underpowered, but
without adding too much expense, we might add either a Barlow or higher
powered eyepiece and figure out how to mount it so it stays close to
alignment each time.  Until I get the drive problem figured out, we
can't learn about alignment, though my brother has been aligning his
larger scope for years.  Don't think we'll end up with our own dome as
he has for awhile, but as the temperatures drop, a tent with a hole in
it sounds appealing.

So greetings from the Hoosier state and thanks again for maintaining
such a useful site--I'm sure I'll be a frequent visitor.

Best regards,
Jeff

Subject:	ETX60 power supply
Sent:	Saturday, December 22, 2001 20:45:09
From:	wschart@hot.rr.com (William Schart)
I have a question regarding the ETX60 power supply. The stock setup is a
pack of 6 1.5V AA cells held in a plastic holder, connecting to the
scope via a "9V" style connctor. Now 6 times 1.5V equals 9V. However,
the various references to power supplies on your set all list 12V.

1. Would a 9V radio style battery work?

2. Why 12V? Does this improve performance (slew speed, etc.)? Would a
standard, unversal AC adaptor, set to the correct voltage and polarity
work?

William Schart
Mike here: You'll find all sorts of power supply info on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Need your help.
Sent:	Saturday, December 22, 2001 15:19:15
From:	skamath@home.com (Shripathi Kamath)
I just got a xmas present -- the ETX 70AT, and am having problems
following the instructions for Alt/Az home position alignment as
documented.  may be you can point out what if anything I am doing
incorrectly.

The pointer for the DEC setting is at the 6 o'clock (lowest position in
the circle) when I look at it.

If I have to set the telescope tube in a 'level' (I assume horizontal
position, so that the telescope is in the 9 o' clock <-> 3 'o clock)
position, I cannot do it with the pointer reading 0 degrees, it instead
reads 90 degrees.  If I try to align the pointer at 0 degrees, then the
telescope points straight up in the sky, and when I try to follow the
alignment procedure, it goes haywire, and does not align, keeps looking
for many stars.

If I ignore the instructions, and place the pointer point to 90 degrees,
then it seems to work correctly, but I am not sure.

Can you please confirm if this is a common problem?  Or could it be that
my telescope is faulty?

Thanks in advance

Sincerely,

Shripathi Kamath
Mike here: See the FAQ for the DEC scale answer.

And:

Thanks a lot!  I didn't know if it was voiding warranty to do so, but
seems harmless enough.

Wish Meade would put this in their FAQ!


Subject:	ETX-70AT--Great Little Scope
Sent:	Saturday, December 22, 2001 13:50:09
From:	cpollack@city-net.com (Cynthia A. Pollack)
My husband is very interested in Astronomy and is trying to spark my
interest also.  So he bought me the ETX-70 as an early Christmas gift to
see if I would like it.  It turns out that the scope is a great little
scope! My husband has also been impressed with its capabilities.  He had
an extra Autostar #497 that he wasn't using, downloaded the latest
software on to it, and connected it to the ETX-70.  Now I have a larger
data base!  He also added the ETX-70 viewfinder and the Flexi-focuser
from Astronomics [this is a must have.  I have skinny fingers and it was
still tough for me to focus.] He still aligns it for me but after that,
I'm on my own and enjoying it a lot! Last night we went out to the
Amateur Astronomers of Pittsburgh Observatory.  Even though the
temperature was a chilly 25 degrees, it didn't affect the performance of
the scope.  Due to the cool, crisp night, viewing was spectacular even
with the moon's brightness.  We looked at Jupiter and it was easy to see
the bands with my 9 mm lens.  I didn't even need my 2x Barlow.  We
looked at some Deep Sky such as NGC 2169, and of course, the moon.  But
after two hours, I was frozen to the bones myself and called it quits
for the evening!!

My husband said without a doubt the most important thing to remember
with the Autostar for it to operate properly, is to make sure the
telescope is perfectly level before you align the scope.  This will
highly increase the accuracy of the Autostar.  He uses a round bubble
level.

It's a great little scope and I highly recommend it to beginners!

Cynthia Pollack
www.city-net.com/~rpollack

Subject:	RE: The most powerful lenses you can use on a ETX 70AT
Sent:	Friday, December 21, 2001 7:24:48
From:	jonacord@mw.mediaone.net (Jon Acord)
You page has been so much help, , You might have this or similar linked
already. http://www.geocode.com/eagle.html-ssi  Its a page to where you
give an address and it will give you the exact LONG, LAT to that
location.  Thanks again,  Jon Acord
Mike here: That page is on the Astronomy Links page but thanks for pointing it out.
Subject:	Alignment
Sent:	Thursday, December 20, 2001 19:49:15
From:	tsman039@earthlink.net (Charles S. Dudden Sr.)
I have a Meade EXT60AT. I have it since the end o November. When I first
used it the slewing worked fine and then it stopped working. The next
day it worked fine without any problems. Yesterday I took it out to use
it again. It would do the two star alignment without any problems
slewing. But when I told it to go to something like the moon or saturn
or any other object it would not slew at all. The only thing it did was
to make the noises like it was tracking and object. I tried again
tonight and got the same results.

What could be causing this. I have everything tightened snugly so the
gears engage so why won't it slew to anything? Any help or advise you
could give is greatly appreciated. I did see saturn both nights but I
had to manually point to it which took some time getting lined up. But I
was very happy to see it. I am just starting out in astronomy and a
little frustrated that this problem is happening.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Chip
Mike here: Could you be overtightening the locks? Are the batteries good? If you slew using the arrow keys (not a GOTO) will the scope slew?

And:

I think I figured it out this morning. I was playing with it in my house
and it would slew for the guided tour, and constellations but not the
solar system. I glanced over at the directions again for the "Go To"
exercises and it hit me that I missed a step. I was forgetting to hit
the ENTER key after selecting the object I wanted to see. When I did
this it calculated where the object was then I hit "GoTo" and it began
to slew to the object.

It is amazing how missing one little step can drive you crazy. Thanks
for getting back to me so quickly. Hope this was the problem. I'll find
out tonight when I go out and search the skies again.

Have a great holiday season and a Happy New Year.
Mike here: Oops. That is a commonly missed step.
Subject:	Re: ext-70-at
Sent:	Thursday, December 20, 2001 6:56:44
From:	IAN486@aol.com
Yea i guess the 70-AT is alright. Ill have to try the autostar tonight
after i get a compass. Where is a good site for star maps? also what
kinds of lenses should i get. i have a 25mm and a 9mm i think ill get
the 3x birate. do you suggest anything else?
Mike here: There are some star map sites listed on the Astronomy Links page. And for now, stick with the eyepieces you have until you determine how you really want to use the telescope. Then expand your accessories as the need arises.

And:

OK, after using the telescope one more night i have many new questions.
First of all, i got a compass finally and tryed to easy align the stars.
It asked me for capella or somethiing in that nature, but a tree was in
my way so i skipped it and went to Rigel, i thought maybe i found it but
was really not sure. I pressed enter anyway. It then pointed me toward
another star, it was directly in the middle of the eyepiece and bright.
SO i thought i did it. I press enter and it told me i was aligned. I
wanted to test it by going to the moon. It started to turn toward the
moon and then stoped and it was close but far off. So i know i didnt set
it up correctly. I really need help aligning the stars. How do i know
which are the correct stars to align? Also i tryed just looking at some
bright stars. I first thought i had saturn cause it had a big ring, or
at least it looked like it. I look at atleast 6 more stars and they all
looked EXACTLY the same. Same rings, same ring position, same spots,
same area? I know all the stars dont look the same, but what am i
seeing, they all look exactly alike!!!! PLEASE HELP!!!!
Mike here: If the stars are oblong, check the focus. They should be small pinpoints of light. Keep in mind that turbulence, both inside the telescope tube (resulting from moving the telescope from a warm indoor location to a cold outdoor location) and from the atmosphere can affect viewing. If the former, let the scope reach "thermal equilibrium" (about a half hour for the ETX-70AT) for best viewing. If the later, try a different night or move away from heat sources like chimneys, roofs, parking lots, etc. As to alignment star charts, see the "Alignment/High Precision/Star Charts" article on the Observational Guides/References page.

And:

ok, i will use the charts to help align, but when i used the 9mm to
magnify some of the bright stars, they all had the same rings and same
spots, except for the moon(obviously). Are there any pictures online of
what i should be seeing on different stars and planets at different
magnifications?
Mike here: Stars should like like small points, not ovals. Are you sure you are getting them in focus?
Subject:	alignment
Sent:	Tuesday, December 18, 2001 20:33:08
From:	dmorrison@kwic.com (dean morrison)
HI, I went out again tonight and I had some trouble with alignment
again. When I do the easy two star alignment I cannot see anything in
the eyepiece and I try to centre them but I just cannot seem to do it. 
also, when I try to focus nothing seems to change about the image
(although I have yet to see any images)  I am getting rather frustrated
because I really don't know what I am doing wrong.  Also, the batteries 
seem to be slowing things down after only an hour or so - is this
normal.  It is about 32 degrees out tonight, I thought maybe cold air
might inhibit battery production.  Anyway, if you could make any
suggestions I would appreciate it.  Thanks.  p.s. what is the ppurpose
of training the drive?
Jenn
Mike here: Lets deal with one thing at a time. So, first off, you say you can't see anything through the eyepiece. I suggest practicing during the daytime on land objects (buildings). Be certain to remove the cap over the aperture cover (it unscrews). Then point the telescope at a building. Turn the focus knob until the view in the eyepiece comes into focus. This may take many turns. If you found the image getting more blurry, turn the knob the other way. Eventually you should reach a crisp focus (assuming you are not viewing through a window). Now that you know you can actually see through the telescope, practice with the Autostar inside. Turn worry about not being able to see any stars; you just want to get familiar with the steps involved. As to the batteries, yes, cold temps will affect them. Training the drive is only necessary in rare cases with the ETX-70AT and matches the Autostar to the telescope's drive mechanisms.
Subject:	The most powerful lenses you can use on a ETX 70AT
Sent:	Tuesday, December 18, 2001 20:17:56
From:	jonacord@mw.mediaone.net (Jon Acord)
I am wondering what would be the most powerful lenses that works well on
the ETX 70AT. I have heard somewhere where you can put in a 4MM lens in
there and use a 3X Barlow. Every hobby shop I go to tells me something
different.
Thanks  Jon Acord
Mike here: See the FAQ for info on determining the maximum usable magnification with any telescope.

And:

I am still trying to figure this out but if you don't know about this
page, I found it to be pretty good on the hardware end of the ETXs
http://web.archive.org/web/20100105230338/http://home.att.net/%7Ejblessin/etx.htm
Mike here: That's a famous Site for ETXers. Jordan Blessing (Scopetronix) is well-known in the ETX community. Keep in mind that many of the items linked from that page are specific to the ETX Cassegrain-Maksutov models.
Subject:	ext-70-at
Sent:	Tuesday, December 18, 2001 19:03:40
From:	IAN486@aol.com
I just recieved the EXT-70-AT telescope. Using the 9mm lens i could see
some crators on the moon but that was about all!!! Will other lenses
help with this. I want to be able to see some planets and galaxys and
stuff. What should i do?
And more:
I also have trouble aligning the autostar thing. It wants me to find
certain stars, but i have NO clue where they are. How am i suppose to
find these stars?
Mike here: Jupiter and Saturn are visible in the night sky now. Galaxies and many nebulae will be a stretch for this aperture scope. See my ETX-70AT comments linked from the "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT Feedback" page. You could add a 2X Barlow Lens but you might be disappointed in the results. As to aligning the Autostar, use the Easy Align Two Star mode. The Autostar will pick the star for you. You just center the brightest star near where it is pointing. The initial pointing will be better the better you make the HOME position starting point and the more accurate your date/time/location entries.

And: how do i know that the brightest star is that of what it wants. I dont even know if im pointing straight north. it might be northeast or northwest. What would you recommend so that i would not be dissapointed. would th eext-90 be good? Mike here: Well, it does help to have some basic knowledge of the night sky. Like where is Polaris ("the North Star") and the locations of some of the brighter stars (that the Autostar uses). See the Autostar Information page for tips on alignment and some basic charts that can help you. But if you put the telescope in the proper HOME position and have all the other setups correct, the Autostar will guess at the locations of the alignment stars. The better your initial conditions the closer the Autostar will get. Then it is just a matter of centering the closest brightest star. And the ETX-90EC and Autostar works the same as the ETX-70AT. Hope this helps.


Subject:	Thanks to all for the help!
Sent:	Tuesday, December 18, 2001 3:25:27
From:	chitty@synopsys.COM (Tom Chitty)
After posting an email on your web page on December 14th, I received
email from two people, Rev. Dr. Foster, and Brian Runge, who took their
time to answer my questions. Also, you (Mike Weasner) answered my
questions about being able to see Jupiter, and I wanted to publicly
thank all three of you. Last night, I went out and was able to see
Jupiter and four of the moons, using my ETX-70AT and the 25mm and 9mm
eyepieces. Then, I looked at Saturn. I never thought that I would be
able to see, from earth, the rings of Saturn. Absolutely amazing! I was
so impressed, and the telescope kept tracking whichever planet I was
looking at. This is GREAT! I can't wait to get home tonight and go
outside again. Thanks for the great web site, and thanks for all the
tips and help.

Tom Chitty

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NCS-SPS Support           -----o-----       3501 Quadrangle Blvd
Voice: (321)235-7053          " "           Suite 200
Fax:   (321)235-7054                        Orlando, FL 32817

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Subject:	aligning
Sent:	Saturday, December 15, 2001 20:12:15
From:	dmorrison@kwic.com (dean morrison)
I just took out my ETX 70AT for the first time tonight.  I tried to do
the star alignment but the tube keeps pointing straight down to the
ground.  I am unsure what I have done wrong.  I appear to have set up
all of the information (ie. site location, time, etc.) but for some
reason this keeps happening.  And the motor keeps running but the scope
does not move.  Any suggestions?

Jenn
Mike here: Check your HOME position and your location in the Autostar. Be certain you have PM and not AM selected for time. You might want to check out some of the alignment tips on the Autostar Information page on my ETX Site. And following the alignment, the drives will run to compensate for the Earth's rotation. The movement is small, sort of like watching the hour hand on an analog clock.

And:

Thank you very much for your response.  What I did was I did a reset. 
Now things seem to be ok.  It is no longer pointing down toward the
ground but appears to be finding the stars for alignment.  Unfortunately
where I am (southern Ontario, Canada) we are experiencing some overcast
now so I cannot go out and check things out.  But the problem seems to
be remedied, perhaps it was in my setup.

Thanks again and i want to let you know that when I was looking at
telescopes I checked out your sight and I found it quite informative.  I
actually ordered my ETX a while ago but had to wait for it to be shipped
from California (that is what I get for shopping locally in my small
town I guess)  I just received it yesterday and prior to this had never
worked with a computer controlled scope so I guess I just need to get
used to it.
Mike here: Glad to hear it was solved. Actually cloudy days and nights is good when you get a new telescope. Gives you a chance to read through the manual (several times) and play with the telescope while you can see what you are doing. Takes the pressure off of trying to learn things the first night out.
Subject:	Mead ETX-60 FYI
Sent:	Friday, December 14, 2001 13:39:35
From:	PeteShea@Hiwaay.net (Peter M. Shea)
The Meade ETX-60 is currently $128 WITH the Starry Night software and
cable at Costco.  Looks like a good deal if you want to spread the word.

Pete

PS Thanks for all the info on the web site!

Subject:	ETX-70A and Jupiter / Saturn with normal eyepieces?
Sent:	Friday, December 14, 2001 5:28:11
From:	chitty@synopsys.COM (Tom Chitty)
I just got an ETX-70AT for Christmas (yep, early!), and so far it is a
great telescope, and easy to use - especially after finding your site. I
am trying to figure out if I should be able to see Jupiter's cloud bands
and Saturn's rings with the 9mm eyepiece provided with the telescope.
Or, do I need to get a 4mm, Barlow lens, etc so that I can see them
(more clearly)? I went out last night, and before the mosquitoes drove
me inside I was able to see Jupiter, but all I saw was a white-ish ball,
no detail. I believe I was also seeing a couple of the moons near it,
too. I guess the best way to tell is to watch the 'moons' for a while to
see if they move with respect to Jupiter?

Thanks in advance.
Tom Chitty
Mike here: Keep in mind the limitations of small scopes (aperture and focal length) when trying to determine what you can see and what you need to do to "see more". You can push the telescope past its theoretical maximum magnification (twice the aperture in millimeters, or 140X for the ETX-70AT) but you will likely see less rather than more details. See my comments on the ETX-70AT linked from the top of the "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT Feedback" page.
Subject:	What can you really see?
Sent:	Thursday, December 13, 2001 18:02:41
From:	chadrack@murray-ky.net (The Rev. Dr. Chad Foster)
I have really enjoyed my ETX-70.  I have seen great detail on the moon,
Saturn's rings, Jupiter and four of its moons, Mars, Pleiades (so much
more than meets the eye).  However, what else is there to see in the sky
with the ETX70's capabilities?  Are any nebulaes or galaxies actually
distinguishable in the ETX-70?  What other few things should I be
charting on my star chart that would be interesting?

Thanks,
Rev. Dr. Chad Foster
Mike here: The night sky is full of interesting objects: open and globular star clusters, double stars, nebulae (bright and faint). Let the Autostar Guided Tours be your guide. Keep in mind that the ETX-70AT is really a wide field instrument.
Subject:	ETX 60-AT
Sent:	Wednesday, December 12, 2001 17:24:57
From:	msoyster@tampabay.rr.com (Mary Soyster)
Hello!  Does anyone know where I can obtain an operating manual for the
ETX-60AT?
Mike here: See the FAQ. Same manual as the ETX-70AT.
Subject:	ETX-70 AT Ratios Feedback
Sent:	Tuesday, December 11, 2001 7:21:17
From:	betel@co.it.pt (Bruno Santos)
After reading the "Calibration, Training, Percentages: what they are and
what they do" in your site, I went on to adjust my ETX-70 AT.

Well, I decided to change the values in the ratios and these are what I
came up with (might be useful for someone else).

Original (Meade entered) Values:

Az Ratio -> +00.95197
Alt Ratio -> +01.01500

With these values, and using the tests you indicate, after a complete
turn off the Az axel (I used a stationary landmark for this), the
counter was off by +0644'32".
On the Alt axel, it was off by -0155'12".

I tried some diferent values, and the best ones I could find are:

Az Ratio -> +00.95190 (is off by +0001'43")
Alt Ratio -> +00.99500 (is off by -0003'12")

Of course these numbers where found for my scope, probably in a couple
of months these will be diferent because of wear, but they might be
usefull for someone.

I can also add that with these adjustments, planetary GOTO seems to have
improved a (big) bit. Now I can GOTO from Saturn to Mars and find them
both in the FOV with the Meade MA 9mm + Soligor 2x Barlow.

Bruno Santos.

Subject:	ETX-60AT - Slewing Problems
Sent:	Tuesday, December 11, 2001 6:45:53
From:	araphael@tsn.ca (Alan Raphael)
I've just purchased the ETX-60AT and have had some trouble with it.  I'm
not sure if I am doing something wrong, or there is a problem with the
scope.

1.  After about half an hour of viewing last night, the scope stopped
slewing up.  When slewing to a target it would easily move along the
azimuth and could move down in altitude, but when it needed to move up
the motors made the proper noises but it did not rise.  I checked that
the drives were engaged by ensuring the altitude release was tight. I
shut it off and tried to realign a few times with no success.  After
turning it off for 15 minutes and then realigning it worked well for the
rest of the evening - another 1.5 hours.  Any idea why it would stop
slewing up?

2.  I also had trouble getting the GO TO to go to some selected objects.
Once aligned successfully, I selected a named star (I don't recall
which) and it worked well.  I then tried another star and it slewed
slightly, did some fine tuning and said it was there when it clearly was
far away.  I selected something else and it worked.  Later on I tried
going to the original problem target and it now worked.  It was hit and
miss.  I also had trouble getting it to GO TO planets.  It seemed to
think it was moving but after a few slight moves and a pause it
announced that it arrived - but hardly moved.  I don't think it even
properly slewed to a planet.  Sometimes it even told me that Saturn was
below the horizon, but it was clearly high in the sky.  Any idea what
would cause this?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Many thanks!
Alan Raphael
Mike here: The problem you describe is rather odd. If the drives were slipping then the encoders would be off, creating errors for the next GOTO object. But since you indicate that the next object would be centered, something else must be wrong. So, since you have just purchase the telescope, do a RESET on the Autostar. See if that corrects the problem. Let me know.

And:

Thanks very much for getting back to me Mike.  

Actually, I figured it all out last night.  The first problem of the
lack of up movement on the Alt axis is likely a not tight enough or too
tight lock in.  I didn't have any problem with that last night.  The
other issue of hit and miss GOTOs are likely because I did not always
hit ENTER after selecting object (probably to eager to enjoy the scope)
so when I would hit GOTO it would do a little search pattern around the
current lock.  Last night, I made a conscious effort to hit ENTER after
each selection before hitting GOTO and had 100% success.  Actually, so
much success I killed my batteries. I think I only got about 7-8 hours
out of them in the last week, but being out in near freezing weather
hindered the battery life.  I believe I read on your site that the new
rechargeables (not the nicad) hold up better in the cold than alkaline. 
I had used Duracell Ultras.  Is this true.

Again, thanks for the help....and thanks for putting together and
maintaining your site!

Alan

Subject:	re:  ETX-70AT Question
Sent:	Sunday, December 9, 2001 23:05:53
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	jdelaney62@home.com
> Really needs a tripod...

Different strokes for different folks...

Just a comment: i -rarely- use a tripod for either my etx90/ec -or- my
etx70at. 90% of my observing is done from a tabletop, wide railing, or
piece of plywood C-clamped to a railing (with a lightweight photo tripod
serving as a "unipod" to minimize cantilevered bouncing of the plywood.
At my in-law's house i use a step-stool perched on top of their hot-tub
cover!

I -did- buy a used, moderately sturdy camera tripod, removed the
tilt/pan head (most are easily removed), drilled two holes in a thick
aluminum plate to match the ETX's holes, and drilled and tapped a 1/4-20
hole between them to mate to the tripod's mounting screw.  Lest you
think i own a machine shop, i had to buy the tap (finally an excuse: a
full set of taps, dies and handles... $12 at Home Depot).  I use nylon
bolts to attach the telescope... so if i cross-thread them in the dark,
the telescope's internal threads will -not- be damaged.

The aluminum plate could easily be wood, the tapped hole could be done
by buying a "blind nut" (about 50 cents) and dropping it into a hole in
the plywood (or plank... plywood warps less)

The tripod gets used on long camping trips... after i've scouted the
area for (and -not- found) suitable flat spots.

A -new- Bogen Manfrotto tripod can be bought for $99 at camera stores.
If you're requiring a tilted matches-latitude mount, check Mike's
"Telescope Tips" page for simple hinged two=wood-plates "wedges", which
(like my version of that style) can sit on a level surface (i c-clamp
mine to my c-clamped plywood plate), or to a tripod (i c-clamp mine to
my tripod's flat plate).

happy tripodding...
--dick

Subject:	re: Park Scope (was: ETX-70 AT info and question.)
Sent:	Sunday, December 9, 2001 23:05:37
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	betel@co.it.pt
Thank you very much for your Soligor information.
Many people in Europe will find it very useful.

Your use of Park Scope was correct.

I use it with my ETX90 frequently, and with my ETX70.

The two degree error -probably- was due to an error in telling it
the time (that position error would only require 8 minutes of clock error).

And that 8 minutes could be *accumulated* error from *four* sources!
(a) error the -first- time (when you aligned)
(b) error the second time
(c) error -between- (a) and (b)
(d) error in your Site's longitude setting!

(the longitude affects the offset the Autostar applies to the time
 to adjust for your distance from Greenwich (000 Longitude))

Another way to keep an alignment while you go inside to warm up
is to use the Sleep Scope function.  That stops the motors,
turns off the lights, but leaves the Autostar running (and the 
internal clock running).
Do NOT turn off the scope while you are warming up,
and just tap any key to wake it up when you return.

good luck
--dick

Subject:	ETX-70AT Question
Sent:	Saturday, December 8, 2001 23:01:34
From:	jdelaney62@home.com (John Delaney)
I bought my 10 year old son an ETX-70AT two years ago for Christmas.  We
used it twice to look at the moon, then we put it in the box and stuck
it in a closet.  We were recently talking about Christmas presents from
previous years, and I remembered the thing.  I took it out, and the
original batteries still work.  My question is about a tripod for the
scope.  I was just curious because it really needs a tripod.  My wife
was really upset because I bought this model since it does not come with
a tripod.  She said that I should have bought one of the cheaper
telescopes that included one.  Is there anything available, other than
the one that Meade offers, which costs 200 dollars?
 
John Delaney
Mike here: There are several options, including sturdy photographic tripods (for which you'll need an adapter plate). See the Accessory Reviews - Tripods page. You can also make the needed parts (including a tripod); see the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	ETX-70 AT info and question.
Sent:	Friday, December 7, 2001 12:37:49
From:	betel@co.it.pt (Bruno Santos)
First of, let me say thanks for your site. It as a lot of useful
information and it has helped me before.

Some weeks ago, I was looking for a Barlow lens to buy. After reading
many user feedback saying they could not use a Barlow other than the
Meade #124 or #128 (because the ETX-70 could not focus with them), I
went to some on-line shops to try to find one...

Well, I live in Portugal and, all the national stores told me I would
have to wait from 3 to 6 weeks for it... Not very good... After some
more digging, I found a Soligor Barlow 2x, wich they had in stock.

Soligor is a german manufacturer, so, it being and EU country, it would
be a lot cheaper than buying an American Made Meade... I took a chance
and am happy to report that it works just fine. If anybody out there is
looking into this, rest assured it works!

Now for my question... What exactly is "Park Scope" supposed to do?

Last night I was outside observing, everything was working great, all
GO-TOs were putting the objects in the FOV of the 9mm eyepiece. Then I
started to get a little (lot) cold, so decided to step inside for an
hour... I did a "Park Scope", the scope slewed to Home Position and told
me to turn it of, wich I did. I then left the scope right there and came
inside. After about an hour, I returned outside, turned the scope on and
Autostart asked me for date, time and daylight saving... It did not ask
for alignment (wich is what "Park Scope" is supposed to be used for,
right?)... Only after that, all GO-TOs were off by about 2 degrees...
What did I do wrong?

Oh, and before I forget, the batteries are new.

Thanks,
Bruno Santos.
Mike here: Park Scope is just that. It lets you come back later and start using the Autostar without having to go through the alignment process again. Of course, the accuracy of the initial alignment will affect how well it does one or more hours later. As to the accuracy of the updated time input.
Subject:	re: power to the ETX 60
Sent:	Thursday, December 6, 2001 23:12:59
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	jimdjordan@yahoo.com
If you look at the cover on the battery holder, you'll probably see a
notch in the plastic (my ETX70 has one).

The power lump has a two-snap connector (like the top of a 9v transistor
battery).  *that* attaches to the mating connector on the wires leading
to the ETX60's battery holder (you remove the holder).

Then the cover plate goes back on, and the wire snakes out through the
notch in the cover.

AT least that's how it works with my ETX70.

have fun
(more power to you?)
--dick

Subject:	re: 2eme (Autostar 497 with ETX-70)
Sent:	Thursday, December 6, 2001 23:12:46
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	antoine.correia@sames.com
(what in the world is "2eme"?)

anyway: the ratios are the same for the 494 and 497 Autostar.
 My 494 says: Alt: +1.01500     Az: +00.95197
 My 497 says: Alt: +1.01500     Az: +00.95197

--dick

Subject:	ETX-60 Question
Sent:	Thursday, December 6, 2001 11:09:49
From:	flapierre@juno.com (Francis J LaPierre)
I just purchased the ETX 60 model as a beginner astronmer and am
completely confused by the alignment instructions that came with the
scope...do you know of any reference material that might help out....(am
currently in contact with a member of a local club to help me, but I
wanted to at least get a head start...any info would be greatly
appreciate...great website...just started checking it out!... Frank
Mike here: See the Alignment info on the Autostar Information page.
Subject:	Power supply issue 
Sent:	Thursday, December 6, 2001 8:47:43
From:	jimdjordan@yahoo.com (Jim Jordan)
I recently bought the new Mead 60MM Telescope with the Autostar Computer
Control System. It requires eight user-supplied AA-size batteries but I
cant find an external power jack to use a DC power supply does anyone
know if I can just splice the wires to a DC power supply and what the
voltage and current should be?

Jim 
Mike here: Have you checked the Telescope Tech Tips page for the power supply info there? Or the Power Supply review on the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page?
Subject:	A Replacement ETX-70AT
Sent:	Wednesday, December 5, 2001 20:26:54
From:	thomas.henry@magician.org (Thomas Henry)
Well, I just got my warranty replacement ETX-70AT from Meade.  You might
recall that this was to correct the severe chromatic aberration I was
experiencing with the first unit.  In fact, the color correction is
better, with far less violet fringing in daytime sights.  Interestingly
enough, the residual color is now slanted toward yellow.  But like I
say, this really does have better color performance in general.

However, the motors seem a bit dicey.  I had four "motor failure"
announcements at the outset, but finally got past that somehow.  (By the
way, there were no obstructions, and the batteries were new, clamps set
appropriately, etc.).

However, the altitude motor makes a rather loud ratcheting noise, unlike
my previous unit which purred like a cat.  It does seem to slew okay,
though despite the sharp noises.

Both motors undulate when slewing, again unlike my first unit.  That is,
they now make a "urr-urr-urr" sound when in motion, rather than a steady
purr.  This is at the max slew speed.

Does anybody have ideas on whether I should be concerned about the error
messages or the new noises?

Thanks,

Thomas Henry
Mike here: Glad the optics are better. As to the drives, try a RESET and reTRAIN on the Autostar. If you kept the old one to use with the replacement scope, that could be the reason why you are getting the errors and funny sounds.
Subject:	etx 70 at
Sent:	Wednesday, December 5, 2001 7:52:44
From:	cetia@sinectis.com.ar (Cetia)
buenos dias:

mi consulta se debe a que no me puedo conectar con la pc ,compre el
cable original,se conecta y al poco tiempo se desconecta
automaticamente. modelo etx 70at

saludos
nestor russaz

Subject:	etx60
Sent:	Tuesday, December 4, 2001 6:45:22
From:	JohnF@attcanada.ca (John&Janet Fournier)
could you help me- i finally used my new etx60 last nite but could not
get it to align properly. there were several bright stars in the sky but
the scope would not slew to them. the scope tube does not appear level
at zero degrees on the scale as per instructions?

also i am having a hard time with north-do you set it up to magnetic
north? if not how do you determine true north for a particular location?
i finally centered on saturn and was very disappointed- at 14x i did not
see any rings - even at 28x- also had extreme difficulty focusing? what
would be appropriate power for this scope?

thanks for any help. my viewing location is in the city- not very good
Mike here: See the FAQ for info on an altitude scale that doesn't read correctly. And you should align to True North rather than Magnetic North (I should put this in the FAQ as well as it gets asked a lot). In some locations on the Earth there can be a difference in the two of up to about 20 degrees. There are web sites (see the Astronomy Links page) that can provide your Magnetic Variation. Or you can get it from your local airport. Alternatively, if you can see Polaris, it is within a degree of True North. Or perhaps your streets are aligned N-S, E-W. As to your expectations versus the telescope's capabilities, it does appear that you want more, however the small aperture and focal length of the ETX-60AT will probably not satisfy your expectations (see the FAQ for max magnification info).

And:

thank you mike- i just got in from a nite of fantastic viewing

i lined up the scope with polaris, leveled it perfectly, and the scope
found the 2 stars the first time- it worked perfectly-

i still can't make out any rings on saturn but maybe it's where i am
located-can't wait to see jupiter but i had to stop for the nite.

as far as the faq on altitude scale -i can not loosen the dial on the
scale so i use a level. thanks again for all your help- if all the other
etx users line up the scope carefully and make sure it is level
everything should work out great- can't wait to get a 125etx!!!(that
will take a long time i think)

Subject:	Autostar 494 upgrade?
Sent:	Monday, December 3, 2001 14:17:12
From:	john@jcollins.uklinux.net (John Collins)
Great site! Lots of info and nice constellation guides.

I have an etx-70 with the 494 autostar version  10E1. If I goto an
object and then move the scope with the autostar to centre the view, the
autostar immediately moves back to the original position. If I purchase
the 506 cable and software will I be able to download newer firmware to
rectify this problem?

john collins
Mike here: Currently there is no upgrade for the #494 Autostar. Suggest you try retraining the Autostar.
Subject:	2eme (Autostar 497 with ETX-70)
Sent:	Monday, December 3, 2001 8:29:56
From:	antoine.correia@sames.com
Thank you for your last response
Another question
What is the default value of the
- AZ ratio ?
- Alt ratio ?
for the ETX-70 and Autostar 494 ?

is it the same whith the ETX-70 and Autostar 497 ?

thank you for response

Antoine CORREIA
Grenoble FRANCE
Mike here: I can't get to my ETX-70AT right now; house in some disarray due to new bookshelf installations. I'll post your inquiry on the next Site update.
Subject:	ETX 70 AT problem
Sent:	Sunday, December 2, 2001 7:19:31
From:	WilkieAnny@aol.com
I purchased an ETX-70 AT a few days ago but I have been unable to gain
any useful image. There appears to be an obstruction. Every time I point
the scope at something there is a black band cutting across the field of
view. The flip mirror is in the right position. I tried the moon as it
is the easiest target but there was still this annoying black band and I
also could not obtain a focused image. I don't know if this is related,
but I am also unable to flip the flip mirror to the horizontal.Could the
actual flip mirror be damaged, or do you think something has become
dislodged and is blocking the view?

 Thanks.
Mike here: If you can not flip the mirror into its full 90 degree position or its straight through position, then I would suspect that it is somehow damaged or catching on something. If you look into the eyepiece hole on top can you see the mirror and its platform? If you remove the rear port cap, can you see the platform or is it moved out of the way?

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