Last updated: 31 December 2001
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-90RA (originally known as the "ETX Astro") and the ETX-90EC. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	Random slewing
Sent:	Monday, December 31, 2001 20:34:09
From: (Jim Bruss)
You have a great website! Especially for a novice such as myself, lots
of great tips and suggestions.

I have just experienced a problem which may have been addressed earlier.
I have the random slewing thing with my ETX-90EC. The scope just seems
to go where it wants! However, mine occurs both with the Autostar and
with the standard controller. Once in awhile it behaves normally, (does
not "randomly slew") but more often then not, it seems to have a mind of
its own. I have seen posts addressing this problem as it relates to when
the Autostar is used. Mine occurs no matter what I do or what contoller
I use. Is mine something new or have I just missed the answer. I am VERY
new to all of this and may have not understood other posts regarding
this problem.

Thanks again for the great website and any help you can provide. ( I
really want to start getting some pictures of the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn,

-- Jim Bruss 
Mike here: From the tests that Dick Seymour had a bunch of us run some months back (where the ETX was powered on without a handcontroller attached), it would appear that a connection to your handcontroller (either one) is not being made. Check the jack and see if something is keeping the connector from being full seated.
Subject:	ETX-90 and 8mm eyepiece
Sent:	Monday, December 31, 2001 20:29:34
From: (Daniel Krause)
I recently bought a new eyepiece for my ETX90EC. It is a Celestron 8mm
Nextstar Plossl. So far I've used it a few times and I've noticed that
nothing I look at will focus well enough to show anything close to a
sharp edge. The moon can be focused enough to show detail but Jupiter
and Saturn are out of the question. Is this a normal setback when
increasing the magnification or do I need to change something. Thanks
Mike here: Does the focus knob reach the backplate just before the eyepiece reaches focus? If so, you can loosen the focus knob setscrew and slide the knob a little further out on the shaft. (Do this with the OTA pointed upwards about 45 degrees to keep the shaft from slipping inside the tube.) If this is NOT the problem, then you may have an eyepiece that won't focus with this design. Lastly, with the 8mm you are getting close to the theoretical max magnification (156X vs 180X); objects will get fuzzier and dimmer as you approach and exceed this max magnification.
Subject:	ETX-90M 
Sent:	Monday, December 31, 2001 13:36:50
From: (Richard Biscaglia)
Many thanks for the great website and info. It's helped to ignite the
excitement to return to a hobby I long ago enjoyed and to remember to
just look around ( or at the very least just up! ) to find wonder and

I just received a Meade ETX 90M via mail-order. It appears to be a neat
scope if I can get it to work correctly. Meade says the scope will focus
from approx. 11.5 feet to infinity, I 'm finding that the focusing
adjustment knob just turns with no visual changes using the 25mm
eyepiece when attempting to focus on a stand  of trees approx. 200 yards
away ( I was trying to align the finder scope) or a flower pot 30 feet
away. It all just stays kinda fuzzy.

1. Does the focus adjustment knob have stops? I've yet to reach one, and
2. Is the mirror adjustment so fine on the ETX that I'm just way out of
adjustment  based on the focal points I'm choosing?

Many thanks for your help and have a Happy New Year!
Atlanta, GA    
Mike here: There are three "stops". One when the knob is fully turned in either of two directions and the focus shaft is either fully extended or inserted into the base. There is a third "stop" that will occur when the knob reaches the back plate on the ETX and prevents further movement of the shaft. Typically, any focus problems are due to the knob reaching the plate prior to reaching a focus. Fortunately, this is easily fixed; just loosen the setscrew on the knob and slide the knob a little further out on the shaft, then retighten the setscrew. When you are making this adjustment be certain that the ETX tube is pointed about 45 degrees upward to prevent the shaft from slipping inside the tube.


Many thanks for your help and detailed explanation. The focusing shaft
was actually not connected. It stuck our about and inch from the unit
and just turned freely not moving in or out. Not being familiar wit the
scope I didn't understand the problem. I applied pressure to the
focusing shaft and it caught what it needed to be treaded into and lo
and behold it works!

Subject:	ETX-90EC
Sent:	Sunday, December 30, 2001 15:10:20
From: (John)
I bought this scope to mainly view the planets in our solar system. 
Which eyepieces would be best to get to view them at the greatest
Mike here: Keep in mind the maximum magnification and magnification formulae (see the FAQ if you are unsure of these). Any eyepiece that keeps you below the max will due well. For the best possible views don't use a Barlow Lens but if you are willing to sacrifice some (a very small amount) detail, a 2X Barlow Lens is perfectly acceptable, again staying below the max magnification. See the Buyer/New User Tips page and the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page for info on eyepieces.
Subject:	Electronic Controller Modes
Sent:	Saturday, December 29, 2001 12:43:41
From: (Ron Duca)
I am trying to determine if my new ETX-90EC has a problem with its
Electronic Controller.

I Polar aligned my telescope on a #883 Deluxe Field Tripod.  Then,
following the directions that came with the tripod, I attempted to
utilize the ETX's motor drive to keep a celestial object in the field of
view of the telescope.  This procedure consisted of unlocking the Dec
and R.A. lock levers, centering a star in the telescope, locking the Dec
and R.A. lock levers and turning on the motor drive switch.  The
telescope attempted to track the star, but appeared to be moving too
fast and in the wrong direction.  It's as if the telescope thought it
was in the Southern Hemisphere.  I am in Oklahoma.

Following Meade's Electronic Controller Mode directions, I attempted to
make sure the telescope was in the Northern Hemisphere polar mode by
using the Mode button on the controller.  No matter what I try,
pressing, or pressing and holding the Mode button on the controller does
absolutely nothing.  The Mode button will not produce multiple lights on
the controller, steady, blinking or otherwise.

It appears to me that the controller is not functioning properly.  Have
you encountered or ever heard of this problem before?  My telescope is
about two weeks old.

Thanks for any assistance.

Ron Duca
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Mike here: There are a couple of possibilities. 1. The tripod is set up wrong. The ETX should be mounted on the tripod and its fork arms pointed towards Polaris (or True North). This would put the tilt of the tripod head to be set for your latitude. If you have it this way, then 2. The handcontroller may be set for something wrong. See the ETX manual for info on the setscrews on the back and which sets which mode.
Subject:	Meade #126 2x Short Barlow lens versus Meade #124 2x Barlow lens
Sent:	Saturday, December 29, 2001 11:23:11
Can the Meade #124 Barlow lens be used with the ETX 90?  It seems that
they always advertise the Meade #124 Barlow with the ETX 60/70 and the
Meade #126 2x Short Barlow lens with the ETX 90.  Is the cost difference
between the two lenses just for the advantage of having a shorter
Mike here: I searched the Site and could find no reports of the #124 being used with any scopes except the ETX-60 and ETX-70. I suspect the only problem would be focusing with some eyepieces.
Subject:	ETX-90RA vs ETX model m
Sent:	Thursday, December 27, 2001 13:48:01
From: (The Doyles)
I just bought a ETX-90RA from a local dealer, at least I think it is a
ETX-90RA.  The box says Meade ETX model M.  What is a model M?  Is that
another name for a ETX-90RA or is it a different scope?  If they are
different what are the differences.  I mainly want to know if the dealer
made a mistake in my favor or not.
if anyone knows please e-mail me at
Mike here: The same telescope. Eyepieces provided may differ you are OK either way.
Subject:	Observing session with my ETX-90EC
Sent:	Wednesday, December 26, 2001 22:05:50
From: (Doug Drossman)
My fingers are defrosting as I write so bear with me! After a few more
futile attempts at using the ETX-90 without an electronic focuser or
tripod I finally gave in and went out and bought them. I also picked up
the right angle spotter scope as well. Of course that night was overcast
but the next night was crystal clear, albeit a little windy. I had spent
the overcast night reviewing Clay's tune-up guides. (I didn't do any of
the internal mechanical stuff since I don't have the guts to!) Well, I
setup the #883 tripod and hooked up the Meade electronic focuser and
headed for Jupiter. BTW, setting up both the focuser and the tripod was
super easy and as far as alignment goes, I just do a one star and just
hit enter. After GOTO Jupiter, I can just slew over to Jupiter which I
can see in my 26mm. Tracking also works very well. It kept Jupiter
centered for about 35 mins. Well! All I can say is every penny spent was
worth it! First of all, the new spotting scope makes a world of
difference. Combined with the tripod, it has probably saved me a trip to
the chiropractor. And the focuser works very well except for the fact of
overshooting my focus point a little. It goes a little fast even at the
fine setting. But anyway Jupiter looked magnificent and moons were
clearly visible. I looked for the GRS, even at 390x, which, believe it
or not, was clear, and could not spot it. It was 12:20 AM in NY so maybe
it was not visible at that time. So after a bit I headed over to Saturn.
Unfortunately a tree branch was blocking it. I just picked up the tripod
and moved to another area of my terrace. After manually slewing to
Saturn, I was able to track fine. Well this time was a little different.
I couldn't bump up the power to 395x so I "settled" for 195x. View was
good but was a little hazy, Probably some light clouds or some poor
atmospheric condition. I am looking forward to spotting the Cassini
division someday. Well finally I pointed at the moon. Very sharp and
clear. Again a little hazy at 395x. I have to learn a little bit about
the moon so I know what Im looking at! I also found out about a few
astronomical clubs in my area like AAA and LIAG. Im defiantly going to
check them out. I would love to go to the next Mighty ETX stargazing
meeting. That would really be awesome! Well that's all for now. I am
going to head upstate NY this weekend searching for darker skies. City
viewing leaves a lot to be desired! I'll let you know how the weekend
goes. Great site and keep up the great work! BTW, I wonder how many
amateurs get pneumonia? LOL.
Doug D.
Mike here: As to getting pneumonia, I did, back in 1963. I had been outside all night with my Edmund 3" telescope.


I'll be sure to dress appropriately! 

Subject:	Re: Will a RA Scope work in a EC Base
Sent:	Saturday, December 22, 2001 21:32:18
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Hi Randy - the tabs are there on the 90, but just not as noticeable and
as painstaking to work around.  You can easily install the tube assembly
on the EC base....that will work great!  Congrats, and good luck with

Clay Sherrod

----- Original Message -----
> Hello Dr Sherrod
> Thank you for your contributions the the ETX site. I
> have an opportuniy to purchase a ETX-90EC mount and I
> own a ETX-90RA scope, I was wondering if the RA scope
> can be used in the EC mount. I seem to recall a recent
> post you made regarding a pin?? or tab?? that often
> breaks when people try to remove the scope from the EC
> mount. You also advised that the repair is quite
> laborious. I have removed my RA scope from the base and
> do not recall seeing any tabs??, so I was wondering if
> my scope may not actually work in the EC mount? Also, I
> have seen some machined aluminum Right Tube Assemblies,
> but would this help? The repair you suggest for the
> factory RTA seems to make the part better than original.
> Happy Holidays
> Randy

Subject:	ETX 90 Autostar
Sent:	Saturday, December 22, 2001 14:02:47
From: (Jonathan Olney)
Hi I am having difficulty focussing. Knob & mechanism feel sloppy. If I
focus on moon then should not a planet also be in focus? it does not
seem to be. Is not infinity, infinity? Can you help please?

Regards  John
Mike here: It should not feel sloppy. Is this a new scope? If so, an exchange at your dealer might be in order. There may be a slight focus shift as you change the tube orientation from horizontal to vertical; this could be considered normal as long as not excessive.
Subject:	Advice ETX90EC
Sent:	Thursday, December 13, 2001 10:52:50
From: (Gav mail)
I am currently looking to buy a ETX 90EC this will be my first telescope
and am not to sure what i should expect to see I am interested in deep
space and planets but i don't think it is powerful enough for this, I
have seen most of the pictures in your galleries and they have given me
a good idea of what the range is. The pictures of saturn and Jupiter are
good but there isn't alot of detail in them. Could you please tell me
what the ETX 90EC is like with full magnification on planets and deep
space if possible. I think the scope looks amazing and the size is
great, i would go for the 125 but is a little out of my price range

I would much appreciate a response.


Mike here: Read through the User Observations and the Buyer/New User Tips pages articles. You'll get a better idea of what you can expect. And keep in mind that "full" (or maximum) magnification is twice the aperture in millimeters, or 180X for the ETX-90EC. Depending upon your expectations, this may or may not be enough "power" for you.
Subject:	Meade ETX-90RA Telescope...
Sent:	Wednesday, December 5, 2001 16:20:00
From: (John Orsulan Jr.)
I have really enjoyed visiting your ETX-Website...I am thinking of
purchasing a current model ETX-90RA-(M) model with the 9mm and 25 mm MA
eyepieces...Are these lens as good as the lens included in the original
ETX-90RA? Thanks! John O. > Los Angeles///P.S. > Or should I look for a
used EXT-90RA, older model with the 26 mm Lens?...Any help would be
Mike here: Well, not quite but probably not noticeable to most ETX-90 users. And the original ETX only had one eyepiece bundled, not the two that comes with the currently shipping ETX-90RA models.
Subject:	Viewing nebulas
Sent:	Monday, December 3, 2001 8:16:08
I have recently bought an ETX90EC (1st scope owned) and although
planetary viewing is spectacular (well I am a beginner and easily
pleased) I am some what disappointed that I am unable to see nebula's
very well or not at all. I have been trying to view the Horsehead nebula
using 26mm, 9mm & 4mm eye pieces and nothing...! I have also looked at
the Orion nebula but only see a dull greyish cloud. - No colour's at
all. The only conclusion that I have come to is that I need to introduce
filters to my collection of accessories, thus I have been doing some
reading up on the Narrow / Broadband and Oxygen filters but am more
confused now. Can anyone please advise.

Devon, UK
Mike here: Nebulae will not show the colors that you see in photos. Greenish is about all you'll get. And viewing the Horsehead Nebula, while not impossible, is not gonna happen with the ETX-90.


Thank's for the feedback Mike, very much appreciated.

Does this mean that filters will not enhance Nebulae as described on the
Mead web site filter description or is it that I need a bigger scope?

Thanks again
Mike here: There are some comments about these type of filters on the Accessory Reviews - Filters page. Since these filters dim the image reaching your eye, they work less well on small aperture scopes.

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