Last updated: 31 December 2003
Subject: Meade ETX 60-AT Date: 12/30/03, 19:39 From: David Harding (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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? - DavidMike 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 (email@example.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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 DiegoMike 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.
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" (email@example.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, CJMike 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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org 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" (email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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" (email@example.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 floridaMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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, NYMike 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.
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 (email@example.com) 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. ThomMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 NagelMike 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?
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 (email@example.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. DonMike 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 RobMike 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" (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 StanfordMike 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.
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? PennyMike here: Some data corruption in the Autostar due to the low batteries perhaps.
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 PatersonMike 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.
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: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 VinnyMike 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.
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: email@example.com (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, JoanMike 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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