ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 December 2003
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: Meade ETX 60-AT
Date: 12/30/03, 19:39
From: David Harding (davidkharding@hotmail.com)
I've tried everything, and I still can't get my telescope to align. It's
driving me nuts. I've trained the drives, and reset, and everything
you've suggested on your site -- nothing seems to work. What do you
suggest I do?

- David
Mike here: Please describe what you are doing to do the alignment and what is occurring.

Subject: Meade ETX 70-AT
Date: 12/30/03, 12:39
From: Jim Carvin (jimcarvin@hotmail.com)
I received a Meade ETX 70-AT for Christmas, but when I tried to set in
into the Alt/Az home position I discovered a very odd thing. Maybe I'm
reading this wrong, the manual says "Level the optical tube by lining up
0(degrees) on the Dec setting circle with the pointer". But if I set it
to 0 degrees the tube points straight up and a little back, not
horizontal at all as it shows in the picture in the manual. In fact, if
I set it completely horizontal it sits at 85 degrees at the pointer.

Am I wrong or is the Dec circle on the telescope wrong?

Thanks.
Mike here: Easy fix; see the FAQ page on my ETX Site.

Subject: etx 70 alignment question
Date: 12/30/03, 11:09
From: Bryan Clemons (ybry21@yahoo.com)
Just recieved a meade ETX 70.  Very happy with the optics...but I'm
having problems aligning the scope.  After it slews to its first
aligning star, I cannot use the motor control to move the scope...it
just makes a whirring noise but no movement.  I've tried locking and
unlocking the horizontal latch and tightening the vertical knob.

I'm dumbfounded because I can use the autostar to move the scope when
I'm NOT aligning it...and it moves on its own just fine during the
alignment.  I just cant seem to use the motor drive when I'm supposed to
center the alignment stars.

Eventually I just tried centering the stars manually after the scope
slewed to within close range.  Unfortunately, when I tried the goto
feature after my manual adjustments, the objects were still off.  I
wonder if the motor adjustments are required for the scope to register
the change...does that make sense? Any help is appreciated!
 
Thanks,
Bryan
San Diego
Mike here: I suspect the telescope IS moving, albeit very slowly. Have you tried to change the slewing speed to something faster? As to moving the telescope by hand, that will mess up the alignment; only use the Autostar to move the telescope.

And:

I was hoping it was something stupid like that.  I didn't think of
changing the speed...hopefully the default speed is the slowest and I
was just careless.  I look forward to trying it after work...thanks
mike!

Subject: ETX-70AT Telescope
Date: 12/29/03, 18:24
From: "Charles, Charles Nixon, Nixon" (astronomer120@yahoo.com)
I have a problem with my ETX-70AT telescope and I was wondering if you
could help me.

Iv'e had it for about two years.  I've taken very good care of it, I
have even gotten a carry case for it.  The problem I've been having is
that when I try to align the telescope with one- or two-star alignment,
it always says "alignment failed, check stars".  Also, it comes up very
short when tracking.  If I tell it to go to Betelgeuse, it ends up
somewhere near Rigel.  I've tried training the drives, but it doesn't
work.  What do you think I should do?

Thanks, CJ
Mike here: Some thoughts: Have you replaced the batteries? Have you checked the Autostar settings, including the year, Daylight Savings, telescope model, etc.? If none of that helps, do a RESET, CALIBRATE, and TRAIN DRIVES. Let me know.

And:

Okay, I have replaced the batteries and checked the autostar.  I'll
reset and calibrate, and train the drives.  Thanks.

CJ

Subject: EXT60 9mm eyepiece
Date: 12/29/03, 13:16
From: Carl Daniels (carl33594@hotmail.com)
This is a followup to a previous question.

The ETX60 has been focused as far as it will go and the Moon doesn't
come close to being in focus. Do you think some sort of extender on the
eyepiece would do any good?

Thanks for your input.
Mike here: If you slide the eyepiece outwards in the eyepiece holder can you then focus the image? If so, I suspect your ETX-60 is not doing the full focus travel that it should. If not, then there is likely nothing wrong with the telescope but the eyepiece may have a problem. Besides the 25mm, do you have another eyepiece to try out?

And an update:

Mike - You are really a top guy. I can't believe you take the time you
do with all the dumb questions and situations you get.

The problem turned out to be the mirror that flips the image to the rear
and top. There was just enough play in the control arm to come to rest
with the image just enough off center to prevent the 9mm eyepiece from
picking up the image. So now that I know what to look for, I can get
focused for viewing.

I did measure the travel of the focus knob and came  up with about 2
9/16 inches of travel. That seems to be plenty for the eyepieces I have
but I don't know what the actual specification is.

Thanks again 

Subject: re:  quick question on ac adapters
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 2003 18:11:12 -0800
From: Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
To: lensman@tampabay.rr.com
Although the rest of the telescopes Mike covers on his site
are rated at 12v (and accept/survive 15v), the ETX60 and ETX70
are rated 9v (and will survive 12.. but i would not go higher).

The cheap "12v" adapters -really- put out 15v when "unloaded".
(even Meade's does that).
So if you are buying an adapter for the ETX60, buy a 9v-rated 
adapter. (of at least 1000 ma capacity).

have fun
--dick

Subject: ETX-60AT focus, 9mm eypiece
From: "Carl Daniels" (carl33594@hotmail.com)
Date: Sat, 27 Dec 2003 19:13:09 -0500
I've had this scope for a couple of years, mostly in the closet. That is
because I have only been able to get the scope in foucus for viewing the
moon with the 25mm eyepiece. The 9mm eyepiece just will not come into
focus.

I do not have a barlow yet but I have ordered one.

I have looked through the website but did not find a similar problem.
I've also been to the MEADE service center but the rep was less than
helpful.

Any ideas as to how to get the 9mm into focus?
Mike here: Assuming the eyepiece is OK and that it is the 9mm that came with the telescope, then turning the focus knob A LOT should bring the Moon and other astronomical objects into focus.

Subject: Re: Celestron Barlow and ETX-60 compatibility
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2003 14:11:20 -0700
From: twsnagel@shaw.ca
Thanks for the advice, Mike.  

I purchased the "Celestron Eyepiece Accessory Kit" -- It should be
available for $99USD (with the purchase of a Celestron telescope -- see
the ad in the Dec. issue of Sky and Telescope)  It's available on Ebay
by itself.

All the eyepieces and the barlow work well with my ETX-60.

It's quite a good deal for 6 pretty good eyepieces, 7 filters, a 2x
barlow, and a nice aluminum briefcase to store them in -- with space for
3 additional eyepieces.

Tyler Nagel

Subject: quick question on ac adapters
From: "walt peifer" (lensman@tampabay.rr.com)
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2003 10:03:34 -0500
Christmas day and I've finally been "allowed" to set up my scope etx 70.
I've been reading your site for weeks. First question I've looked at the
AC adapters available and the all are rated at 12 volts.. I put 6 1.5
volt batteries in my scope, that a max of 9 volts output. What's the
deal on the adapters will these damage the drive/controller assembly?
 Walt
St pete florida
Mike here: No damage will result from the use of proper AC Adapters.

Subject: etx70 vs. etx90
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2003 09:48:51 -0500
From: Thomas Fioriglio (tfigs@optonline.net)
Sorry to bother you again but I have spent the past two days researching
the ETX70 and ETX90 and I am still confused.   My budget says to go for
the ETX70.  It seems they are about $200 apart and right now and for the
near future, that is a lot of money  (including accessories such as a 2X
Barlow.)  Anyway, I live is a light polluted area and I am interested in
seeing planets as well as some deep space objects such as clusters and
nebula. I was out last night looking at Orion's sword and also the
Pleides with my binoculars and was quite impressed.  If I can see more
like that, I would be happy.  As for the planets, I want to see more
than just a ball of light.  If I can see the rings of Saturn and make
out some cloud bands in Jupiter and some features of Mars, I would be
happy as well.  So what I am asking then, is which is better?  Is the
ETX90 really worth the extra money?  Is one better for deep space
objects than the other?  Is one better for heavy light polluted areas
than the other?  I appreciate you help.  Your site has been very
informative, I am just having trouble with some of these questions. 
Thanks again and happy holidays.

Thom
Long Island, NY
Mike here: Take a look at the Mars photos comparisons on the My Astrophotography Gallery - The Planets page. You'll see difference that the focal lenght makes in going from 350mm with the ETX-70 to the 1250mm with the ETX-90. Keep in mind that the focal length is the determining factor for magnification with a particular eyepiece. The ETX-70, with its shorter focal length, makes a nice wide field instrument.

And:

Wow!  Thanks for the quick reply.  Much appreciated.

Thom

Subject: images from the ETX 70
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2003 13:59:05 -0500
From: Thomas Fioriglio (tfigs@optonline.net)
Happy Holidays.  I am interested in the ETX 70 and I have been searching
your site.  I have found some very helpful tips.  However, I am having
trouble finding planet images using the ETX 70 on your site. Before I
purchase it, I would like to get an idea of what I will see in terms of
planets.  Is there a link on your site that will show me images taken
with the ETX 70?  If so, I am having trouble finding it. I saw images
using the ETX 90 and 125 but not the 70.  Thanks you for your help.

Thom
Mike here: Yes, there are images with the ETX-70, just not too many. But look through the Guest Astrophotography Gallery and read the text or look at the text embedded in the images; you'll find some. Also, you could look at my Mars photos that were done with several telescopes for comparison purposes; see My Astrophotography Gallery - The Planets.

Subject: Celestron Barlow and ETX-60 compatibility
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 15:00:01 -0700
From: twsnagel@shaw.ca
Is the barlow in the Celestron Eyepiece kit compatible with the ETX-60,
to your knowledge?

I have a chance to pick up the kit for a good price and I wanted to know
if the barlow would work, even for some eyepieces!

Thanks for the super site,

Tyler Nagel
Mike here: If it is a "shorty" style Barlow Lens, it will work fine. It not, it may or may not work with some or all eyepieces.

Subject: Autostar keeps moving after beep?
From: ROBMURR@aol.com
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 10:22:12 EST
I just got the ETX60 scope and have been thru the manual and cant find
the answer, nor do I have anyone with a similar scope to ask...hope you
can help. It finds objects just fine and tracks them but is there a way
to stop the tracking for a while to save batteries other than sleep
mode? The constant motors running is pretty annoying..I also cant
override the up and down motion with my hand controller while it is
tracking..is that normal? Up and down motions work fine with autostar
off.

Thanks for the great site!
Mike here: When using the telescope to view objects in the sky the drives run to compensate for the Earth's rotation. You can switch to "terrestrial" mode from a menu but then the object will move across the eyepiece field of view. While that won't be a problem at low magnifications it is a problem at higher ones. If you are concerned about batteries I'd suggest getting an AC Adapter. As to slewing in altitude, have you tried changing the slewing speed?

And:

Ok sounds like the scope is acting normally then. I did not try changing
the speed of the slew yet...Yes I found the terrestial mode and I can do
any movements just fine...I have a 12 volt gel cell I may hook up to it
at a later date...I suppose if I do my part and line up the scope better
it will do its part and stay fairly well lined up. I can always use the
sleep mode if I want to stop it for a few minutes while going in to warm
up. Thanks again!

Subject: Thanks for the help on ETX60!
From: ROBMURR@aol.com
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 15:09:20 EST
Re: ETX-60 scope questions! This is a neat little scope...

I ended up getting it for $100 from the pawn shop! Including the hard
case, tripod, tripod case and 45 deg finder as well as the normal stuff
that comes with it.... instructions also. Have a long way to go with the
instructions but I got it to point to things...I have really enjoyed the
site and will get your book shortly..

All the leg locks are broken I hope Meade will make that right.

I tapped a 1/4 20 screw hole into the metal base and attached it to my
too small photo tripod for now for testing.

I may have opened the door to a 90mm or bigger scope!

Subject: Question on the AutoStar Controller for ETX-70AT
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 08:22:03 -0800 (PST)
From: Don G (donduck73@yahoo.com)
I just Purchased a ETX-70AT and it came with the AutoStar Controller
#494. I noticed that they are no longer making the AutoStar Controller
#495 and was wanting to know if the #497 will work with the telescope. I
know the meade site does not mention that it will or won't work they
just say "The #497 database has been specifically chosen to be suitable
for observing with the ETX-90AT & 125AT". Any Information on this would
be helpful.

Don
Mike here: Actually, the Meade Autostar Update page (http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html) does state that the #497 will work with all ETX models. Of course, there will be many objects that won't be visible in the ETX-70 (nor in the other models as well!).

Subject: Etx60 questions please!
From: ROBMURR@aol.com
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 18:55:37 EST
I have found a used one of these with the 494? autostar controller.

Is there any known software bugs with the ext60 autostar?

How can I find the software version that I have?

I like your site I thought I looked everywhere for this info but might
have missed it.

Thanks
Rob
Mike here: The #494 has very limited versions right now. Typically 1.0 or 1.1. There is no user-installable upgrade available. When you power on the ETX you'll see the short version number; to see the full version number use Setup-->Statistics and scroll until you see it. And no significant bugs.

Subject: Altitude motor on ETX-70AT a bit peculiar.
From: "Penelope Stanford" (pstanford@waitrose.com)
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2003 21:21:07 -0000
I haven't used the motor on my scope for some time - clear skies and
time to look haven't come together often. (I had a good view, reached
manually, of Mars in summer, polar cap and differences in colour
clearly visible, though tinier than the miniature Earth at the
bottom right of IE.) When I came to use the Autostar again this
evening, I found I couldn't align it. According t o the way it was
moving, Capella, Vega, Bellatrix, Deneb, Dubhe, Aldebaran, and many
others were all crowded together at the zenith. The scope would start
off slewing in the right direction of azimuth, but then start to move
upw ards until the sound changed subtly, sounding less "determined",
slightly lower than the star position, and then continue up until the
scope caught on the horizontal lock. The motor would try to continue,
and the only way I could get it to stop was to turn off. Occasionally
the Autostar would report a motor unit error.

I replaced the batteries - these had been stored out of the scope. This
resulted in a more convincing display on the Autostar, which had been
flickering , but did not improve the slewing. I tested indoors, where
it was a bit warmer.  When I connected to Starry Night and tried the
guide stars inside, there was the same problem. I managed, with a lot
of trial and error, to align the scope roughly on Polaris, so that
Starry Night and the scope agreed, and the scope pointed in
approximately the right direction. I then tried to direct it to Mars.
It decided that it was below the horizon, though in the right
direction. It reported an elevation that was roughly correct. Sometimes
while slewing, the motor would run until it looked roughly correct,
and then decide to add a bit more movement.

I have adjusted the tightness of the altitude lock. I have reset the
Autostar, and checked the lat and long settings. (I did find that I
had set it to South once, but not this time.) I haven't retrained it
yet, as I'd like to do that in daylight.

Have you any advice?

Penny Stanford

Mike here: Given that the batteries were so low and errors occurred, I suspect that doing a TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes) should cure the problem.

And:

I've just found out how to reset to factory settings properly, and the
problem seems to be sorted. Can you tell me why it would happen?
 
Penny
Mike here: Some data corruption in the Autostar due to the low batteries perhaps.

And:

Thanks for the prompt attention. I didn't realise how bad the effect of
old batteries could be - so will monitor their charge more frequently.
Problem is, the children I would have phoned to look through it last
night will have to miss tonight because of high cirrus.

Subject:	Lunar Planetary Imager
Sent:	Friday, December 5, 2003 03:14:43
From:	ALPaterson@MarathonOil.com (Paterson, Alan L.)
I am thinking of buying the LPI for use on my ETX-60AT.  The Meade site
says that it is for use on all Autostar-controlled telescopes but the
guy selling it says it won't work with an ETX.  I presume it slides in
where the eyepiece goes.  The ETX has a 1.25" diameter hole.  Is the LPI
a different diameter?  If it is smaller, could I make some kind of
sleeve to bring it up to the correct diameter?

Alan Paterson
Mike here: Well, the LPI itself might work but the Autostar Suite software will only work with Autostar #497 telescopes. But I would think if you got a #497 (or a #495 and upgraded it to a #497; the cable to do that is supplied with the Autostar Suite) it would work. I don't have the Autostar Suite yet so can't comment directly on whether it would work with the ETX-60AT but I would think it would as long as you had the #497.

And:

I realised I will need to get a 497 handset and this is in hand.

Thanks for a fast response,

Alan

Subject:	RE: Question regarding purchase of ETX70AT
Sent:	Thursday, December 4, 2003 13:03:19
From:	a.curcione@virgilio.it
Hi !  greetings from Venice Italy, I just buyed last week an etx 70 used
from the web site www.focas.it

Is a reseller  of Florence and i paid it 262 euros. The scope  was 
showed in window shop and is totally warranted.

Adriano Curcione
Venice Italy

Subject:	Winterizing Meade 60 ETX
Sent:	Thursday, December 4, 2003 10:57:13
From:	v.provenzano@sbcglobal.net (Vincent Provenzano)
Thanks for such a great site it has indeed been a great help to me. I do
my viewing in the NorthEast where as the temperature goes down the
clarity goes way up. Unfortunately many times that I am outside in 20 to
30 degree temps the 60 ETX stops moving automatically (I assume from the
lubricants freezing). Can you give me any advice on setting up my scope
for better winter viewing.

Thank You

Vinny
Mike here: Yes, the telescope (and many people) don't work too well at those low temps. See the article "Cold Weather Performance" on the Observational Guides/References page. Not much you can do about the lubrication stiffening up but you can keep the Autostar functional by keeping it warm; use a handwarmer or keep it in your pocket when not actually being used. Also, battery performance will deteriorate at low temps so an AC power source would be best.

And:

Thank you for the quick reply, it was helpful

I hope you have a great holiday

Vinny

Subject:	camera tripod adapter for Meade telescope?
Sent:	Tuesday, December 2, 2003 17:18:22
From:	empoweredparenting@earthlink.net (JB INFORMATION STATION)
Today I received my new Meade ETX-70 telescope. I'm eager to learn how
to use it. My husband always said, "When all else fails, THEN you read
the instructions." ;) In this case, I will read first.

I didn't purchase the tripod because I have a commercial very sturdy one
and tho't I could use it; however, the threads in the bottom of the
telescope don't start until the hole is past the black plastic so the
"bolt" to fasten the telescope onto the tripod isn't long enough.

I called Meade and they said they don't make a tripod adapter, but they
told me to contact Scopetronic in FL. In seeking them, I found you and,
since I don't believe in coincidence, I figure I'm supposed to be here
to get the information I need. :)

Thank you very much, Mike.

Sincerely,
Joan
Mike here: Yes, Scopetronix has what you need. They are an excellent company to work with. And welcome to the ETX universe!

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