Last updated: 31 December 2002
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:	ETX90 EC power switch
Sent:	Tuesday, December 31, 2002 5:03:35
From: (Gary Guardino)
You site has been very informative, keep up the good work.

The power switch on my ETX90 EC is erratic.

Do you have any info on replacing it?


Mike here: There are some mods on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Help!!!!
Sent:	Sunday, December 29, 2002 16:22:25
From: (Schlatter)
I am looking for a scope; my first scope.  I am a beginner and am likely
to be only a casual observer -- I will likely check the Sky & Telescope
web site to see what's big in the sky, pull out the scope, look at the
sky, then stick the scope back in the closet for a week or so, then drag
it out again for another quick look.  For example, I'll likely pull out
the scope when Saturn is in opposition later this year, marvel at the
rings, then stick it back in the closet.

I have been observing for a year now with my 10x50 and 16x50 binos and I
am beginning to learn my way around the sky.  Also, I purchased and have
read several books:
"Turn Left At Orion"
"Backyard Astronomer's Guide"
"Sky Atlas 2000" (or something like that)
and one other recommended book.

I have been to several star parties and looked at and through various
scopes ranging from homemade to those costing a zillion or so $$$$.

I had almost made up my mind to buy an 8-inch Dobsonian when I guy let
me borrow his for a couple of weeks.  I stored it in the garage and
quickly tired of hauling it in and out.

I live in a typical light-polluted suburb, however, I am 30 minutes away
from the Cherokee National Forest with some magnificent, completely dark
overlooks with 306 degree clear views.

At the same time, I realized that I am and will always be a casual
amateur astronomer -- I have lots of other hobbies -- amateur radio,
reading, gardening, hiking.

Then I discovered the ETX series, specifically the ETX90 and your site. 
I have spent the last week reading on the Internet everything I can find
about the ETX90EC and I made up my mind to buy one.

By mail ordering from Woodland Hills Camera & Telescope -- -- I can get the ETX90EC with UTHC
coatings, Autostar, and the 883 tripod for $793.00.   They throw in a
free 3X Barlow -- and -- if I purchase before 2-28-03, I can purchase a
big box of eyepieces from Meade for $99.00.

Then I posted a question on the sci.astro.amateur newsgroup about the
Autostar and I received a couple of responses telling me that the
ETX90EC is too expensive, it'll cost me $1,000.00 and for a little more
I can get a Meade LX90 or Celestron Nexstar 8i.  I checked and these two
-- even though they include some of the items that are optional on the
ETX90EC -- are out of my price range.

It seems to me that I should:
-- trust my research
-- realize that there is no one scope that's perfect for me or for anyone else
-- accept that I may get a lemon
-- and just go for it.

$793.00 plus shipping will bust my budget but I can handle it and it
seems to me that this is a good price for this scope.

I want to be able to see:
-- shadows of Jupiter's moons crossing the face of Jupiter
-- the division in Saturn's rings
-- the ice cap on Mars
-- the luminescence of galaxies and nebulae (nebulas ?)
-- and maybe, eventually, take some photos through the scope.

If you had to complain about your ETX90EC, what would be the complaint?

Is $793.00 a good price for scope, Autostar, and the field tripod?

Can I see all the stuff listed above -- say, over the course of a year?

THANK YOU for allowing me to unload on you and THANK YOU for your web
site -- it's VERY useful.

Joe Schlatter
Bristol TN
Mike here: You said one telling thing: with the Dob you "tired of hauling it in and out". I suspect the same thing will happen with any large telescope then. The best telescope for you is one that gets used and the ETX-90EC with Autostar would seem to fit that description. You will be able to see Saturn and its Rings (Saturn just passed opposition but is still in fine position), Jupiter's cloud bands (two, anyway), and some faint fuzzy blobs (galaxies and nebula), the phases of Venus, and of course, the Moon (and with a proper solar filter, the Sun). It will be a challenge to see shadows of Jupiter's moon. But the ETX-90 is a telescope that can be taken outside and setup on a moment's notice. It can provide you with a lot of enjoyment. So, what's to complain about the ETX-90? The biggest complaint is the finderscope position; when pointing the ETX towards the zenith it is difficult to look through the standard finderscope. You can do it though so you don't HAVE to replace the finderscope. Next "complaint" is the small aperture but then you want a small, portable telescope. And for its size, the ETX-90 is a "Mighty" telescope. Have fun!
Subject:	wire 
Sent:	Friday, December 27, 2002 19:37:15
From: (Janell Holmes)
i have a etx-90ec broke battery wires do  not know where they go on
elect board can you help  thanks lonnie
Mike here: As a courtesy to myself and others, please use a valid return email address when sending me email. It is annoying to get errors like this when I take the time to reply:

<<< 550 <> is not a valid mailbox
550 <>... User unknown
But there is a response from our resident hardware expert:
From: (Clay Sherrod)
On both the 125 and 90 the two battery wires attach to the side of the
control panel that is mounted FACING the wall of the drive base and
hence they cannot be accessed or repaired without major disassembly of
the drive base; the control panel should never be taken out by someone
who has not done so before, or without proper instruction.

You CAN refit the two wires by soldering to the two "base wire points"
from the connector that actually protrude all the way through the
control panel circuit board to the backside (the side that you CAN get
too); they are located at the front left corner of the control panel as
you face the open drive base with the control panel rotated to be at the
bottom or below.

SEE , the first photo
in this article shows the control panel in the proper position.  You can
see the red and black wires at the lower left going to the front corner
of the control panel board.  Red on left, Black on right; you must point
solder and be very careful to NOT cross or bridge your solder between
the two points....I would recommend taking the scope opened up and ready
to repair to a computer repair house in your home town.  They are used
to working with tiny point solders.

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory
MPC/cbat Obs. H43

Subject:	RA viewfinder or something else
Sent:	Thursday, December 26, 2002 21:58:48
Hi: What do you suggest for my ETX 90RA? Thanks,
Mike here: Right Angle finderscopes are useful but some people find it disorienting to look perpendicular to the direction the telescope is pointing. But it does have it uses, like when the telescope is pointed high in the sky and it is on a short table or tripod. There are comments on the Accessory Reviews - Finderscopes and Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products pages. What else could you get, see the Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the other Accessory Reviews pages. Lots of good ideas but keep in mind that what you could get should match what you need. So you need to decide how you want to use the telescope. Do you need a case because you travel with the telescope? Do you need more magnification because you want better views of planets and the Moon? Do you want to try some astrophotography? Decisions, decisions, decisions...
Subject:	etx 90ec problem,moving left/right
Sent:	Wednesday, December 25, 2002 3:39:35
From: (peter rabbage)
An excellent site for a beginner like me !

I have today just received a new etx 90ec for christmas. Lovely
!.....however with both the standard handset and autostar the telescope
moves up/down but not left / right. The motor whirs but alas! no
movement. Am i doing something wrong ? or does this sound like a faulty
telescope ?. I should note that the horizontal lock doesnt seem to work
either as I can move the telescope manually left/right no matter how
this switch is positioned..

Please please please help as im dying to use my new beauty !
many many thanks,

peter rabbage (gloucester uk)
Mike here: It could be that the Azimuth lock needs to be slightly adjusted. See the FAQ page for info on doing this.


A reply on christmas day! im impressed. Thank you so much. Your advice
was excellent.

Merry Xmas,

Pete :-)

Subject:	ETX 90 RA
Sent:	Tuesday, December 24, 2002 18:50:11
Hello and happy holidays: I got a screaming deal on a 90RA. I'd like to
use a photo tripod. What setup do you suggest?
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Tripods page. Also, Scopetronix ( has some photo tripod adapters. Keep in mind that you will need a sturdy tripod to avoid vibrations that will affect viewing.
Subject:	ETX 90 RA Drive not working
Sent:	Tuesday, December 24, 2002 11:20:09
From: (Jim and Laurie Oswald)
On 10-22-02 I Purchased a ETX 90 RA. I have had good luck with it so far
however about 2 weeks ago I brought the Scope in after viewing and
forgot to unlock the drive motor after turning it off. I keep it handy
and set up, with the motor drive being locked it bumped and moved
around. The motor still makes noise but no longer tracks. I did take the
base apart and found no damage. Question, can the gears in the motor
pack be damaged and if so can it be repaired or can a new one be ordered
from a parts supplier. I called Meade and they said it would need to be
shipped in for repairs and take about a month. I am not willing to be
down a month of not having a scope, I can make do with out a clock drive
but would like it working. I am mechanically inclined and willing to
work on it warranty or not.

Great Site, it helped me decide on what scope to buy and many useful
tips and links.

Thank You
Mike here: I never unlock the RA axis on my ETX-90RA when I finish observing. So I doubt that being locked caused any problem, unless it was overtightened. But I suggest checking out the article "ETX-90RA "sticky" R.A. movement fix" on the Telescope Tech Tips page. There are some other ETX-90RA right ascension drive articles there as well. Let me know if anything helps.


I did lubricate the gear with lubriplate grease (light weight &
white)about 4 weeks ago and snuged up the knobs a bit, (this did correct
the delay in the tracking mode). I took it apart again and found some
grease on the locking plate, I cleaned it off reassembled and ran the
drive in reverse (S ) for a while (10 min.)this seemed to to correct the
problem for now.
Thanks for the quick response.

Jim from WI.

Subject:	Re:  ETX90EC - No Speed control in RA
Sent:	Friday, December 20, 2002 10:02:52
From: (Ron Schulte)
Thanks for the quick reply. I guess I meant "tune-up" (J. Blessing's
Article - ScopeTronix) rather than upgrade.

As usually happens, I went back to the scope this morning and everything
seems to be working OK. Maybe "bad karma" yesterday., because I didn't
change anything. One question though - how best to replace the broken
upper DEC stop. I tried supergluing back once - didn't last long . Is it
"necessary" to prevent serious damage?

Your info is much appreciated.  Happy Holidays and "dark skies"!

Ron Schulte
Mike here: Glad it worked again. If you mean the Right Tube Adapter, contact Meade. They will likely send you a replacement.
Subject:	ETX90EC - No Speed control in RA
Sent:	Thursday, December 19, 2002 18:54:01
From: (Ron Schulte)
I have an ETX90EC that I'm working on to upgrade according to Mike's
suggestions. All has been working well until tonight when I can only get
a high speed response in RA (both directions) with either the Autostar
or hand controller. DEC speeds are OK. This is with no load. Also, if I
hold the direction button continuously the drive operates for ~30
degrees and stops, even with the button depressed. Let go and repress
the button and it goes another 30 degrees etc. Note that before this the
drives worked OK and it tracked OK. Any suggestions welcomed.
Thanks Ron
Mike here: What type of upgrade have you done?
Subject:	Question about Upgrading a ETX 90 RA with Autostar
Sent:	Wednesday, December 18, 2002 13:59:01
From: (Samir Kakkar)
I just wanted to see if anyone knows if an RA model can be upgraded to a
EC, I have a RA and am trying to see how I can either upgrade it or if
that is not possible then trade it in for a EC or better, Does anyone
know if meade offers such trade ins.

Thanks for the helpin advance.
Mike here: See the FAQ page.
Subject:	ETX info
Sent:	Tuesday, December 17, 2002 18:19:00
From:	Anonymous
Thanks for your Web site and informations.

I may like to buy a 90mm ETX.  I would like to know if there are an RA
and an Alt manual knob that can be used for exemple in case of loosing
any power suply ?


Mike here: The "EC" models do not include manual RA and Declination controls. The "RA" (original model ETX) does but it can not use the Autostar and has no electric slewing, only tracking in RA.
Subject:	ETX ra plastic slivers
Sent:	Monday, December 16, 2002 23:02:03
From: (Fernando Pertuz)
On this subject:

>Subject:	etx 90 ra
>Sent:	Wednesday, December 11, 2002 17:03:20
>when i was putting my scope away the other night i noticed this little,
>thin had a small curve in it black piece of plastic that came some where
>in the base. it was sticky on one side, do you know what this is any
>help would be appreciated.

These curved pieces of plastic about 3/4 " in length are bearings on the
RA there are 3 and are spaced 120 degress apart you will notice that
they go in a cradle like part of the base.

If they are not present, the scope will tend to jump while it is
tracking particularly at low latitudes. If they are lost they should be
replaced and you could use any soft plastic and cut it to shape.

I've seen that on many etx's these tend to fall off

Fernando Pertuz

Subject:	etx 90 ra
Sent:	Wednesday, December 11, 2002 17:03:20
when i was putting my scope away the other night i noticed this little,
thin had a small curve in it black piece of plastic that came some where
in the base. it was sticky on one side, do you know what this is any
help would be appreciated.

Mike here: Doesn't ring any bells for me.
Subject:	ETX-90RA
Sent:	Tuesday, December 10, 2002 19:55:03
From: (Matt & Julie Burroughs)
I recently got a ETX-90RA on my 30th birthday. I have been begging for a
scope for years and my wife, sister and Mother-in-law all pitched in and
got me one (after some research and pressure on my part). I live in
Clearwater, Florida and light pollution is an issue but so is the
weather after almost a week I finally got out to take a peek. I have not
figured out the polar alignment yet but I'm close. With the stock 26mm I
can clearly see Saturn with rings and maybe one moon, and Jupiter and
all four moons, and a slight hint of cloud bands. I am impressed but I
definitely need more power. I checked Scopetronix out and am going with
there lens recommendations (2X barlow, 40mm and a 15mm. This I think
will give me the most bang for the buck.

I have also been looking at a sight that has some of the best sky charts
real time I have found a It is a free sight and
you just need to sign up and put in your observation location. They also
have tracking of the ISS, HST, and various other satellites.

Anyway thanks for the resource. You and your sight have helped me in my
scope selection.

Matt Burroughs

Subject:	Right Fork Arm repairs...
Sent:	Tuesday, December 10, 2002 17:48:42
From: (Bobby L Hughes)
I wanted to pass on to your site the information I received concerning
'Right Fork Arm Tube Failure' in my Etx-90EC. Distraught, I contacted
Meade about a fix for this and the person in Customer Service was extra
helpful and at no time did they ask for warranty or proof of ownership
of my scope...within a week I had the part (right tube adapter) in hand
and following the instructions they included...the fix was done in less
than ten minutes. Everything was included in the kit and I couldn't be
more happy. Just be nice when you call....and I think they will be as
helpful as they can be...

Bobby Hughes

P.S. I love your website...I just need to get your book..:)

Subject:	Astrophotography: ETX-90RA enough?
Sent:	Tuesday, December 3, 2002 11:38:14
From: (Jose Manuel Fernandez)
I notice that the pics you took with an ETX90RA have modifications to
the tracking system. Isn't the original supplied motor and electronics
enough for a 10min exposure?

Will I need to tinker with my RA tracking system for piggy-backing an
EOS with a 300mm zoom lens?

Does the EC offer better tracking for this purpose?


Manuel Fernández
Mike here: I made the mod before I did the piggyback photos but not BECAUSE I wanted to do piggyback photography. I believe the EC tracking should better slightly better than the RA model tracking. Doing some guiding adjustments using a slow slewing speed and a moderately high power eyepiece can help.
Subject:	ETX90EC
Sent:	Monday, December 2, 2002 7:07:41
From: (André Diemers)
I have a etx 90EX and i would like a connection to my PC.

My question: is it possible the etx directly to connect over the RS232
to PC. And when, did you have a adress or a circut map?

Thank you
and sorry for my english... 
Mike here: To drive the ETX EC models from a computer you need the Autostar. That's where the intelligence resides, not in the telescope base.

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