Last updated: 31 December 2004
This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX and DS models. 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.

Mike here: Best wishes for a Great 2005 to all Site visitors and contributors! Thanks again for all the support throughout the past 8 years.

Subject:	Is the 1247 focuser ANY good?
Sent:	Friday, December 31, 2004 17:07:14
From:	Tim Klimaszewski (
While I wait for the ETX 125PEs to start shipping, I have been reading
all I can about the many and accessories available for it.

I was concerned by the review and discussions on your website on the
1247 focuser. It sounds like its a piece of garbage. Though some have
had good results, they seem to be the people that have taken tools to
it. Reversing gears, lubrication the unit. And the design has
non-adjustable components, and no clutch to prevent it from being over
driven. Then there's all that gear noise when it's functioning, and
stripping sounds when it isn't. How did this thing ever get on the

Is there any reason to believe that the device has been reengineered to
work like it's supposed to out of the box?


Mike here: I still have one attached to the ETX-125. At times it is less than desirable since I have to switch modes on the Autostar. But it certainly does come in handy to eliminate image vibrations due to focusing.


I guess that leads me to two obvious questions: Is there a better
electric focuser on the market that will work with the ETX 125 PE? Is
the 1247 typical of Meade quality?

I apologize in advance for two questions in one message.


Hey, get out there and party!
Mike here: Party? I have more important things to do -- like finishing up tonight's big Site update! Anyway, the Meade electric focuser is designed for the ETX; none of the others can say that. Whether it will satisfy you, only you can determine that. However, flexible cable focusers are almost as nice and cheaper. Scopetronix has the excellent Flexifocus (see the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page) or you can make you own (see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page).
Subject:	The future of "amateur" telescope technology
Sent:	Friday, December 31, 2004 13:17:37
From: (
Was just wondering: What with 8" telescopes being used to find
extra-solar planets, and $300 CCD cameras usable with ETXs that can take
pictures of deep-sky objects, what technology can we amateurs dare to
hope for in the future?  Since you probably have your ear closer to the
ground than most on this issue, what really cool stuff have you heard is
being developed?  Do you think we might someday see an amateur version
of a Keck-style interferometer capable of linking a couple of 8" scopes
so they function like one big meter-class scope?  By the way, how often
do you get to get out and observe, and what do you like to look at most?

Love your site,

Mike here: The future is very "bright" and "deep"... Combining ever increasing computer horsepower (and better software) will certainly add capabilities at the "amateur" end. I can imagine all sorts of neat things; especially if Apple and Meade would team up on design! Oh, for an "iAutostar" with wireless updating and control... As to observing, not as much as I would like (weather, day job, schedule conflicts) but I do enjoy all aspects of observing.
Subject:	Meade and Macs
Sent:	Friday, December 31, 2004 06:39:07
From:	Grycenkov, Victor N (
From what I gather, in order to use the LPI (and deep sky imager) on a
Macintosh, you need to have a PC emulator?  Is there any chance (that
you have heard) that the LPI and the deep sky imager will run natively
on a Macintosh without an emulator?


Victor N. Grycenkov 
 Staff Systems Engineer / Systems Integrator / Image Scientist 
 Lockheed Martin
Mike here: VERY doubtful that Meade will do a Mac version.  Maybe when Apple buys Meade...
Grinning...I've emailed Apple already!  What kind of performance hit do
you take with a PC emulator on a Macintosh--about 50% slowdown?

Thanks for you answer!
Mike here: The hit depends upon the software. See the articles "Update Autostar using a Mac" and "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.
Subject:	[none]
Sent:	Friday, December 31, 2004 02:33:00
From: (
Hi Mike, just a short email to say thanks for running the Mighty ETX web
site, and wishing you and your family a very happy New Year. - Gordon
McGowan, Nottingham, England
Mike here: Thanks. BUT PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page; your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing subject entry.
Subject:	Cleaning
Sent:	Thursday, December 30, 2004 21:54:47
From:	Charles Washington (
I have developed a cloudy coating with some spotting on the front lens
(meniscus??) of my ETX 125. The result of getting it wet with dew. What
is a recommended way to clean this without causing any damage?
Kind regards Charles
Mike here: See the article "Cleaning Optics" on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	Differences between #124 and #126 barlow lens
Sent:	Thursday, December 30, 2004 12:12:57
From:	Mike Manning (
Thanks for a great site!

My wife finally got the hint that I wanted an ETX-90 for Christmas!  I
am looking at purchasing a barlow lens, and see the #124 and #126 lenses
from Meade.  They say the 124 is for the 70, and the 126 is for the 90. 
The doc for the 124 says it will fit any 1.25" eyepiece though.

My question is - what is really the difference (other than $8-$10)?  I
have looked all over for an answer.

Best regards,

Mike Manning
Highlands Ranch, CO
Mike here: The #126 is more closely designed for the Maksutov-Cassegrain ETX models than the refractor models. It is slightly higher quality as well since the low-end refractor doesn't need the higher quality.


Thanks Mike:

I have been looking at this package the Discovery Store has that
includes a 5mm, 18mm and the #124 for $40.00 (you probably already know
about it).  My original question really comes down to the cost - is
there that much difference between the #126 and this package?  I did see
one feedback on your site that said the 5mm was probably overkill for
the ETX90, but it seems to be a good deal for the #124 and the 18mm wide

Your thoughts?



PS - I have really enjoyed your site.  Some of the photos are fantastic!
Mike here: Whether you will notice any appreciable difference depends a lot on your experience, how well you maintain the optics of the ETX, and the objects you are viewing.
Subject:	Homemade etx tripod
Sent:	Wednesday, December 29, 2004 19:29:45
From:	Allen Pinkall (
Thanks for the website! 
I've been doing some shopping for a tripod for my etx 90.  I'm currently
using a good camera mount tripod, it works good for just pointing and
looking, but I'd like to do more tracking and photography, and I've
struggled with using this tripod to get it aligned properly.  Do you
have a suggestion for a good tripod?

Just buying a good tripod would be easy enough, and most that I've
looked at are within my price range, but I love making stuff.  Are you
aware of any information on the web about homemade tripods?

Thanks for any help.  I'm eager to learn and do more with my telescope,
but I feel limited with my current tripod, and I don't know enough to
select one on my own.  I've read the reviews on your site, but again, I
don't have enough knowledge or experience to understand and use these
Thanks again!
Mike here: Check out all the homemade tripod articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Should be something there that will give you some ideas.
Subject:	Meade's Jan 3 Product Intro ?
Sent:	Wednesday, December 29, 2004 08:56:51
From:	Eric Smith (
I just visited the Meade web site.  At the very top of their page, they
imply there will be a mojor product intro on Jan 3.  What is this?


Eric Smith
Mike here: Probably a secret...
Subject:	LX200GPS
Sent:	Wednesday, December 29, 2004 11:25:24
From:	richard phipps (
I apologise for asking about this scope but it is relevant to all Meade
products.  In the Uk meade costs about $3000 more for the LX200 14" and
was very tempted to buy.  But was told that Meade forbid shipping to
UK!!!!  No wonder.  Would you know of a willing dealer who would ship.  
 It is almost worth flying to New York for $350 taking it home with
me...hardly carry it but UPS could assist I am sure.
Richard  Phippsd
Mike here: I'm not certain which are "Meade" rules vs International Trade rules. It is unfortunate that we are not yet one global economy.
Subject:	[none]
Sent:	Wednesday, December 29, 2004 06:18:13
From: (
I have a reflector scope and am just learning to read the maps and view.
Is what I see on map the same as what I will see through the lens.?
Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page; your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing Subject entry.
Reflectors reverse the image and turn it upside-down.
Subject:	Can I use the 506 cable for the ETX-125
Sent:	Tuesday, December 28, 2004 08:09:46
From:	Matthews MSgt Christopher D (
I had a DS-2114 telescope which I upgraded to the ETX-125....I have the
506 cable which I want to use for the ETX-125 but Im getting no
connection.  It looks like the same cable but different software....Is
there anything I can download to make the connection work without me
buying another $49 cheasy 505 telephone wire.

(please use my address in your reply thanks)

Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page regarding using reply-to addresses. Thanks for understanding.
The Autostar #497 only works with the #505 cable but you can easily make one for a few dollars (or less if you already have the parts); see the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.


Thanks Mike for the speedy reply.  Sorry about the alt e-mail address...

Subject:	etx-125
Sent:	Monday, December 27, 2004 19:07:47
From: (
I've been trying to align my new ETX-125 AT.  I go to the Easy Align
procedure and press "enter."  The Autostar does not perfectly locate the
stars, so I try to use the Arrow keys to move the telescope to find the
stars. Nothing happens.  The Enter, Mode and Go To keys work fine.  It
is as if the arrow keys die after I press the Enter key at the Easy
align function.  Am I doing something wrong?

Mike here: Some questions: Have you done the CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES? Do the keys work during the drive training? Have you tried a faster slewing speed?
Subject:	RSS Feed
Sent:	Monday, December 27, 2004 19:55:46
From:	David Rosenthal (
I love visiting your site the traditional way, when I have the time, but
the RSS Feed is nice for catching up with limited time to spend.

Do you have any info regarding the new ETX Scopes wth True
there an add-on for the ETX-90EC?

Dave Rosenthal
Mike here: Only the info on Meade's Site for the new PE models; I'm still waiting to get one. No direct upgrade from Meade.


That's what I thought you would say, but I had to ask....thanks

Subject:	AC Power supply for ETX125
Sent:	Monday, December 27, 2004 15:28:13
From:	H B (
I thought I would pass this product info along to you for your site. 
When I don't have time to head to a dark site to set up my ETX or LX200,
I setup in the front yard using an AC supply.  I originally bought a
regulated 13.8v, 3amp bench power supply from Radio Shack to power my
14" LX200.  However it works really well for my ETX powering the scope,
and scopetronix corrector and eyepiece heaters.

It has a cigarette lighter socket and binding posts/banana plugs for
power.  Also is a great to power the scope indoors for software uploads
and scope testing.
Clear skies....

Subject:	question
Sent:	Monday, December 27, 2004 13:11:24
From:	Jim Nosich (
I noticed in one of your pages you mentioned that you take pics with a
Nikon Coolpix.  I have a ETX 70, is there any way to use that camera
with that telescope?
Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette page on the ETX Home Page; your message was almost deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the ambiguous subject.
See the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page; lots of info there, including the Coolpix.
Subject:	Autostar
Sent:	Sunday, December 26, 2004 17:56:44
From: (
Just wanted to say thanks for te site, I got some great advice from
there. My autostar was "fried" and I found out how to fix it from there.
So Thanks again.

Subject:	ETX-125EC - Aligning the Viewfinder
Sent:	Saturday, December 25, 2004 15:05:36
From:	frank meltke (
I did find you in the web. Hopefully you can help me. I am not able to
point the main telescope at some easy-to-find, well-defined land object,
such as the top of a telephone pole as the viewfinder. In the viewfinder
I can see clearly a telephone pole or the top of an antenna.  But in the
main telescope I can see only white colour. As well if I use the
telescope in night time I can see a 1 Mile away light spot in the
viewfinder in the main telescope only a white outer circle. In the
middle of the circle I can see a "black" hole!

Whats wrong, what can I do to solve the problem?

Kind Regards

contraco Consulting + Software Ltd.

 Frank Meltke


Niederlassung Deutschland

 Diepenseer Strasse 10

 D - 15732 Waltersdorf
Mike here: That's a typical "not-in-focus" image you are seeing in the telescope eyepiece. Keep turning the focus knob. Once you have the object in focus, then you can adjust the finderscope until it shows the same object.


Thank you

Kind Regards

Subject:	ETX 105 AT vs ETX 90 PE
Sent:	Wednesday, December 22, 2004 19:17:30
From:	Paul Kirill (
A while ago I mentioned to my folks that I thought astronomy might be a
neat hobby for me and my daughter (5 y/o) to get into.  Now, a few days
before Christmas, I find myself with two telescopes in my kitchen (long
story involving a massive mail order fiasco)  an ETX 105AT and an ETX
90PE. I can't find any real life info on the PE bells and whistles, so I
thought I'd ask you your opinion.  I'm inclined to keep the 105 for its
steel bearings and larger aperture and send the 90 back.  What would you
advise?  Neither have UHTC (all sold out). Thanks for any tips!
Mike here: If you don't mind mastering the Autostar alignment (not difficult; users have been doing it for a few years now), then I'd keep in the ETX-105 just for its slightly larger aperture. ETX-PE info is limited right now to the marketing information from Meade (and on their web site). But I'm glad to hear that it has started shipping.


Thanks, Mike!  I think that is the icing on the cake.  I was leaning
heavily towards the 105 and now I'm sold.  Thanks for all your hard work
on a great site.  I'm really looking forward to my new hobby!

Paul Kirill
Richmond, VA

Subject:	Analysis Paralysis... I am all locked up.
Sent:	Wednesday, December 22, 2004 16:05:37
From:	Thomas G. (
I am currently in a state of analysis paralysis on my telescope upgrade
path (from an ETX-90).  I am sure that you get about a billion or two of
these requests a day, so I will understand if you do not have time to
respond, but I felt that I wouldn't be trying to get the best advice if
I didn't at least email you given your experience/knowledge/love for
astronomy and the Meade scopes.

I will first pose the two options that I have been considering:
Option #1
Sell ETX-90
Buy ETX-125
Theory: The ETX-125 seems to be more of a "do-it-all" type scope, so no
need for two.  Easy to set up, easy to tote around in the car etc.
Option #2
Keep ETX-90
Buy LX-90 8" or LX200 8" or LX200 7"
Theory: The LX-90, LX200s are pretty big for quick views.  With the
longer set-up/cool-down times it would be more of a "weekend" instrument
while the ETX-90 would be the "weeknight" scope.

I was convinced with Option #2 until I read the reviews on the ETX-125
(Dr Sherrod calling this the best scope he has used can sort of skew a
guys opinion on the best scope buying plan).  What we are looking for is
more of a "feeling" than something that can be described, but I will try
my best.  Our first scope was an ETX-70.  I think we had it for a day. 
We set it up, looked at Mars and said "That's it?".  Well, we took it
back the next day and the Discovery store let us exchange it for the
ETX-90.  We took it out the next day, saw the same things and said "WOW"
(more the feeling than the words).  The thought process was, $290 for
the ETX-70 felt like we weren't getting much.  The $600 or so for the
ETX-90 felt much better the next day.  Now, that being said, I am
somewhat convinced that if we started with the ETX-90, we would have had
the "That's it?" reaction, but the 70 lowered our expectations and we
were surprised by the 90.  So, what I am looking for is the old bang for
the buck on the "WOW-factor".  With the ETX90, the WOW-factor for us
sort of wears off outside of the solar system.  The Deep-Space stuff has
sort of a muted "cool" feel, but we quickly bounce on to the next
Deep-Space thing looking for another WOW.

So, coming full circle.  Based on the reviews, the ETX-125 definitely
seems like it would provide some degree of WOW-factor for solar system
viewing.  The LX-90 or LX-200s seem that they would be able to muster up
some more "WOW" for us in the Deep-Sky.  I can't lie and say that cost
is not a factor, if it weren't, I would buy the ETX-125 and one of the
LX200s (either 8 or 7).  I know that this can all be summed up as
"aperture itch", but part of me believes that it has to stop at an 8"
scope (due 100% to mobility).  So, the real question is, what do you
feel would provide the most "wow-factor", the ETX125 or one of the 7" or
8" Meades?  I think that the 8" would forever cure aperture itch (due to
the 10" seeming to be outside of my "theoretical limit" based on
mobility), but I don't want to sacrifice any of the solar system viewing
that seems to be reported by some SCT users.

Any insight that you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you very much,

Tom G.
PS:  By the way, I just visited the site again for the first time in
about a year or so and saw the book that you have out.  I have two
copies of the book going to small scope owners as Christmas gifts, and
one coming to myself.  You have a fantastic site, I just wish that there
were a "" type site for all of my interests/hobbies.
Mike here: Your email subject almost got your message deleted UNREAD as SPAM; you might want to read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page to avoid this happening in the future. Thanks for understanding.
Yes, aperture fever is a terrible thing to catch! One point to keep in mind when considering your upgrade path: will you be using that larger aperture from really dark skies? If so, then an 8" (LX90, LXD75, or LX200) would be great on DSOs. However, if you rarely get to dark skies then the ETX-125 will do almost as well (especially if you get UHTC, which is highly recommended). But I can tell you that Saturn viewed through an 8" f/10 is more awesome than the extremely nice view through the ETX-125.
Subject:	ETX125 on steroids....
Sent:	Wednesday, December 22, 2004 11:18:37
From:	Richard Seymour (
Take a look at:

(eBay item 3848778319 , the auction closed last month)

That's an ETX125 ... the ring gear is five inches,
which seems to match the OTA holder diameter.

It's surplus from Terabeam, a now-defunct company 
which used modified Meade ETX125's for building-to-building
infrared optical networks ("free space optics").

If you hear of "white-tube ETX125's", they're from Terabeam,

have fun

Subject:	night sky observation w/out scope
Sent:	Tuesday, December 21, 2004 15:25:44
From:	Nelson, Pamela O - ESA (
Back in October you responded to my e-mail question, I thank you very
much.  Another reader suggested I read the book Turn Left at Orion, it
has helped me quite a lot in appreciating the night sky with the naked
eye.  I was out emptying the garbage the first week in December and
decided to stop and view the clear night sky.  I actually spotted
Cassiopeia ('cause I remembered it could look like a "w" or a "m") and
to my right I saw the 3 tiny dots (stars) that were Orion's Belt!  I was
so over joyed and impressed with myself I did a little silent jig.

Last week I visited my nieghborhood Discovery Store, a soon to be
purchaser of the ETX-70 wanted to know what would they be able to see in
the night sky.  I remembered what you had said about the advertisements
on the box are not what they will look like in the night sky and also
read up on what you expect to see in a small telescopes so they won't
get their feeling hurt, I passed that info along and told them to go
online and visit  The clerk told me later they
purchased the ETX-90.

The ETX-70 does not see as much of the case as it did earlier this year
(I will not say how much time it spent in the case last year).   I found
a special packaged deal for the ETX-105 on the Home Shopping Network
( I am expecting one this Thursday (HSN told me (Meade) the mfg
handles the shipping of this item, I will look for the shipping address
on the label to see if they are correct).  It comes with all kinds of
things I read about on the ETX web site.  I do not know if I will ever
use all the extras, but for the price it is a bargin.  I know I will
need lots of help so instead of writing to you, I will read the manual
again and again..then read the ETX site and go back to the manual again
and again!.  Hopefully, years from now my grandchildren will be using it
as a beginner scope.

It is not that I have learned so much more about the night is
that I enjoy looking up and through a telescope so much more now!  Yes,
you are correct, the only good telescope is the one that gets used and
not stuffed in the closet.

I look forward to reading the "updates" every Monday and cannot wait to
see what Santa left for us at Christmas.

Clear dark skys to all (especially for Santa).


Subject:	ETX125
Sent:	Tuesday, December 21, 2004 15:00:35
From: (
I was wondering if the ETX125 will track the space station.  I am
assuming if the 125 will the new premier scope will as well.  I have the
premier one on order and cannot wait to get it..

What is the best way to sell my ETX125ec once I get the new premier?
Mike here: Using the Autostar, you can track it. See the ISS articles on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. As to selling your old telescope, I can post an ad for it on the FOR SALE page on the ETX.
Subject:	ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, December 21, 2004 12:22:26
From:	dorothy MORLEY (
Just to say what a great site. Just purchased an ETX90EC and have yet to
get to grips with it,your site has been very helpful in this
department.Had no problems as yet apart from not getting the finderscope
aligned properly,but quite close,just needed to nudge it a bit.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to U and family.
John Mills 

Subject:	++nightflight site relaunch
Sent:	Tuesday, December 21, 2004 04:28:02
From:	Erwin Matys (
we did a complete site relaunch of ++nightflight.

Most of the images were made using ETX-equipment and additional
photographic and digital equipment.

Happy Christmas,
Erwin Matys & Karoline Mrazek
Vienna, Austria, EU

Subject:	ETX90
Sent:	Monday, December 20, 2004 14:57:29
From:	Ken Lee (
You may not get this in time to advise me on this one but am going
to try anyway.  Am looking at a Meade ETX 90 Telescope Package on ebay
that is ending soon.

One of the questions asked of the seller was does it come with autostar.
It does no but has four speed electronic focus/pan/tilt.

How important is autostar?
Mike here: If you know your way around the sky or are willing to learn, you do not NEED the Autostar for finding and viewing objects. If you want to use the Meade LPI or DPI imagers at some point you will want to get the Autostar #497.


Thanks Mike for the quick reply.  I let the ETX 90 I was watching go,
and did some quick research too.  I can get a brand new one with the
autostar for about $150 more money.  Not real sure what I want to do yet
but I do like the idea of the scope tracking the stars etc.

Thanks again.

Ken Lee

Subject:	DSI / LPI
Sent:	Monday, December 20, 2004 13:37:15
From:	Bill (
I have a meade etx 90ec and am thinking about getting the LPI or the
DSI. I heard that you can use your laptop to automatically have your
telescope go to and track the object you want. I don't have the autostar
go-to controller, do you need to have it to do that?
Mike here: Yes, you must have an Autostar #497.
Subject:	A holiday comet
Sent:	Monday, December 20, 2004 07:26:38
From:	Charles and Carol (
Charles from Boston again just a quick note I had the opportunity to
observe comet Machholz C/2004 Q2 it was a very easy object to find. 
When fist observed in binoculars ( 7x 50 Swift Seahawks) it took on a
very distinctive look and one might mistake it for a globular cluster. 
Pointing my ETX 90EC at it(low power 32mm Tele vue pl = 39x) shows a
very bright core. which was noted by the S/T staff as 15 archminutes in
diameter.  I thought I observed a tail or dust jet faintly visible from
my location SW of Boston I look forward to further study of this comet
and will update you those observations as well.

I would also like to update you on My nephew Ryan age 10 who was one of
the recipients of an ETX 90RA last year from Jordan Blessing ,and
Scopetronics Scopes for Kids program.  I wont get into the particulars
of Ryan's situation but I will give a quick account of one of our
observations made while at Emerald lake Hillsboro NH.  The lake has been
the family get away location for years and affords us wonderfully dark
skies, and on this night of observing we were able to log M-31, M-42,
M-45, the double cluster in Peruses, Vega , Betelgeuse, Sirus, all of
which are stunning to look at  but for Ryan and though his very own
telescope they were especially unforgettable and for his uncle they
brought me back to a time and place we all know very well as armature
astronomers.  That special moment when the night sky became an intimate
lifelong friend providing countless hours of joy and wonder for us all.

I would like to thank all those at Scopetronics for that very special
gift that over the last year has meant so much to both Ryan and I, and
urge anyone who may be wondering if programs like these are for real, to
participate in any way they can through donations or submitting the name
of there special kid.  Its a feeling you wont soon forget.

Thank you, Clear skies, and Happy Holidays you and yours

Subject:	ETX 90 Problems!!!!!!
Sent:	Sunday, December 19, 2004 11:54:41
From:	Rob Burnett-Wood (
I am a total novice to astronomy, I have recently purchased an Meade ETX
90 c/w autostar, LPI camera, S Ploss 26mm eyepiece.

I have set it up, trained the drive and aligned it, fine.. no problem. 
However all I can see is hazy green doughnut shapes through it.. No
actual stars!!!

What am I doing wrong?

I have linked my laptop up to it to try and use the focus option in
Autostar the laptop links up fine, however still no change with focus or
lack of it.

Tonight is the first night the moon has been out and again when I looked
at the moon, it just looks hazy, no detail, just a white blob!

I can't even focus on anything during the day.

I have read the instruction from cover to cover, I have been on meades
web site and gone through the FAQ's, and can't find anything.

Is the telescope faulty? Should I send it back to where I bought it from?

Any help or advice would be much appreciated on this


Mike here: Set the LPI aside, set the computer aside. Set up the telescope and point it at a distant object in the daytime, something several miles away. Put the eyepiece in the eyepiece hole on the top of the ETX tube. Turn the focus knob in one direction while viewing that object through the eyepiece. It should go from blurry to sharper; if not, turn the focus knob the other direction. Keep turning until the image comes into focus. From your description it sounds as if you have no turned the knob sufficiently to get a focus.
Subject:	ETX 125
Sent:	Saturday, December 18, 2004 08:00:12
From:	Bruce Grace (
I just found your web site and think it's great.  The information is
invaluable.  So, here is my question.  My wife and I just ordered the
ETX 125 from the Discovery Channel Store.  Listed under Optional
Accessories was an eyepiece package (Meade Plossl, Wide Angle & Barlow
Lens Package) for $39.95.  We ordered that too, since I've read that
additional eyepieces make the viewing experience much better.  However,
when they arrived, the individual eyepiece packages said they were for
the ETX 60 and 70.  Have I purchased the wrong eyepieces?  I hope you
can help me.

Bruce Grace
Bruce K. Grace, Ph.D., CFA
Chair, Dept. of Accounting, Economics, and Finance
Morehead State University
Morehead, KY
Mike here: Eyepieces for the ETX-60/70 and other ETX models (and if fact, any telescope that accepts 1.25" diameter eyepieces) are fine.
Subject:	etx finder scope
Sent:	Saturday, December 18, 2004 00:05:39
From:	TPLATZ1969 (
I read an article on your site about a guy who used a shotgun scope as a
finder scope, I have a Meade ETX105 with a 5x21 finder scope and from
what I have read and so far experienced is that it sucks. I was
wondering how a shotgun finder scope would compare to something else
made for a telescope. If you have any advice it would be greatly
appreciated.  thanks  Tom Platz
Mike here: There are some gunsights discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Finderscopes page. There is nothing wrong with using one as long as you can determine a good way to mount it.
Subject:	Re: New ETX Level North Technology
Sent:	Friday, December 17, 2004 23:36:25
From:	Stephen Bird (
BC&F already sell an add on goody for the ETX that achieves the same
levelling and North pointing attribute that the ETX Premier has. It is
called the Alignmate Pro, and attaches to the eyepiece holder on the

Runs out at 90 UK pounds or

160 US Dollars from their US website.

With a Star GPS (or BC& F GPS Mate) and a red dot finder scope you would
have pretty much what the ETX Premier has. Not nearly as nicely
packaged, and a cost of 315 UK pounds or 460 USD rather than the 100 UK
pounds or 100 USD extra that Meade are charging for the ETX Premier.
Which probably makes trade in a real consideration.

Stephen Bird
Mike here: There can always be aftermarket add-ons that can accomplish new things. At least, until the manufacturer includes those capabilities as standard. Remember the Scopetronic Microstar series? It was a really nice add-on for the original ETX model. But then Meade released the EC model that had the same capability as standard. Now the Microstar is no longer available.


And of course the Meade ETX Premier solution is integrated and good
value compared to the cost of the EC models vs the aftermarket add ons.

The GPS option always seemed overkill to me. With 
you can get GPS co-ordinates that are more accurate than the resolution
shown on the Autostar, which begs the question as to whether an error of
plus or minus 0.5 seconds latitude and longitude makes much difference
to plus or minus 0.5 seconds using the speaking clock to set the time on
the Autostar as opposed to using the time signal from the GPS system.
But I guess it is handy if you view from various locations or just want
the built in convenience.

Now if they could just get the levelling technology to adjust the tripod
legs for you and set the wedge position for you according to latitude
for polar mount, as well as pointing true North, then it would really
take the effort out of setting up each night!


Stephen Bird

Subject:	Supercharge UPDATE and special!
Sent:	Thursday, December 16, 2004 09:22:26
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
In celebration of a banner year for the Arkansas Sky Observatory (ASO)
at its receipt of the Science Medal of Service for 2004, a limited
number of replica medals have been made for distribution as a "Thank
You" from ASO to our many fans out there....

For all Meade telescopes through February, 2005 or until supplies of
these special medals are gone, I will be sending a replica with each and
every Supercharged scope in addition to the "NOW FAMOUS" Supercharge
Prestige Plate affixed to the telescope and the Certificate of
Supercharge that accompanies every blueprinted Meade telescope, ETX, LX
or LX 200.  The cast brass medals have a space discovery theme on one
face and the well known ASO logo and date on the other.  There will be
no additional charge for this added bonus. Also accompanying every
Supercharged telescope will be the sought-after AutoStarPlus diskette
full of tours, comet and asteroid data, constellation and star data and
short cut tools for quick and easy - and enjoyable! - operation of your
GO TO telescope.

ASO Medal

ASO Medal

ALSO for the first 10 NEW telescopes received for Christmas or the holiday season, whether shipped direct to ASO from your dealer OR from YOU after you unwrap it from under the Christmas tree....there is an added $25 discount through January 2005 on all ETX telescopes! These openings and special bonus offerings will NOT last long and it is first-come, first-served. Contact Dr. Clay at or for scheduling YOUR next Supercharge slot! Visit for full details on how the Supercharge can give you the most benefit and pleasure out of your astronomical endeavors. Please note the new office address for ASO: Dr. P. Clay Sherrod Arkansas Sky Observatories 73 Tanyard Springs Petit Jean Mountain Morrilton, AR 72110 Thank you....and have a wonderful Holiday Season with a New Year filled with bright comets and discoveries from far away. Dr. Clay -------------------- Arkansas Sky Observatories Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC H43 (Conway) Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain)
Mike here: I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say "Many congratulations for this tremendous recognition of Dr. Clay's efforts!"
Subject:	New ETX Level North Technology
Sent:	Wednesday, December 15, 2004 23:40:48
From:	Eddy Puckett (
I purchased an ETX-125 last October and am very pleased with the results
overall.  I noticed that Meade now offers the ETX Premium Edition series
with the Level North Technology.   I don't know the details, but it
looks like it is an add on piece of hardware and I would assume an
upgraded version of the software as well,   Do you know if the Level
North Technology can be purchased as an upgrade for those of us who
already own the older versions?


Mike here: Real doubtful that there will ever be such a hardware upgrade.
Subject:	Should I buy a etx-105?
Sent:	Wednesday, December 15, 2004 17:24:37
From:	Andreas Kyriacou (
Thanks for such a great site, a very informative Read.

About a year ago I thought that I would give astronomy a go so I bought
a Tasco telescope to see if it was a phase or something I would continue
to do for a while, One year later and i'm still just as interested.

It is obvious that the Meade is by far a more superior telescope than
the Tasco (the current model that I own, not sure about the rest). With
the Tasco when I look at the "great nebula in Orion" all I see is a
small blur and when I look at Saturn I see no colour and just a white
dot with a ring around it. So I need clarification and advise on which
Meade I should purchase.

I am looking at spending approximately US$1200.00 on a Meade telescope.
Will I be able to see nebula in colour and will I be able to see Planets
such as Saturn and Jupiter in more detail using a ETX-105? I want my
next telescope to give me hours of viewing every night for years to

Kind Regards

Andrew Cyrion

South Africa

Mike here: The problem with seeing color in nebula isn't so much the telescope but the eye. It is not designed to see color at low light levels. With larger apertures, say a 20" Dobsonian, you can see rather amazing color in M42 in Orion but with more typical small telescopes all you will see is a green or gray wispiness. Planets however are another matter. You can see some color and more details on these brightly illuminated objects. Of course, the larger the aperture and the longer the focal length, the more details you will be able to see. But then you run into the size problem, where the telescope gets too cumbersome to actually set up and use. The ETX-90, -105, and -125 are nice compromises between size, price, and capabilities. And right now, Meade dealers have a good deal on non-Premier Edition ETX models with UHTC (PE models are just beginning to ship and are the new line of ETX telescopes). I recommend getting UHTC as it is like adding an inch of aperture to the image brightness.
Subject:	Titanium Batteries
Sent:	Wednesday, December 15, 2004 10:20:25
From:	Rori Baldari (
I was wondering if anybody has tried using those titanium e2 AA
batteries in an ETX. They're supposed to be better for hi-tech devices
than regular batteries, and perform well in the cold.

Subject:	Tube ring for ETX125
Sent:	Tuesday, December 14, 2004 17:20:34
From:	Tommy Lim KW (
Need your advice about the tube ring for my ETX125. I would like to
mount my ETX125 OTA on Equatorial mount,so, I need a pair of tube ring
that can fit the diameter of the tube.

Do you have any idea where to buy or whoever done this as well?

Hope can help.

Mike here: Losmandy sells OTA mounting rings.
Subject:	ETX 125 Portable Power
Sent:	Tuesday, December 14, 2004 13:07:57
What is your recommendation for a portable solution to power the ETX 125
and any reasonable accessories (internal or external to the solution).

I use the 541 AC/ DC power adapter with my ETX 125, and for many
applications, it works well.  There are times however, where a power
source is not available and / or you want to "cut the cord".  I read
through the portable power matrix you assembled with the help of your
readers.  Did you come to a conclusion or consensus as to the best or
recommended solution for portable power?  I am leaning towards the
Celestron Power Tank 7ah.  It looks to have enough power to get through
an entire night of powering the 125 with enough spare power to use the
red lantern on an observation table.  I thought there might be a Coleman
type solution (thinking outside of the astronomy box to less expensive
hobbies), but have not as yet found one that seems to be a better
solution than the Power Tank.


Huntington Beach, CA
Mike here: You can read my comments on the recently purchased Celestron Power Tank on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page.
Subject:	Spots on a 90EC corrector
Sent:	Tuesday, December 14, 2004 04:22:26
From:	Tom & Barbara Andrews (
Difficult to get an accurate image of this problem. This is a 2nd-hand
90EC. These spots are fairly uniform on the lower two-thirds of the
front plate, though in the photo you can only see them in the band of
light across the plate. The water droplets are from an attempted clean
with 1:3 isopropyl, which didn't get rid of them. I'm trying to follow
the "less is more" principle for cleaning, so I don't want to clean
again to see if the spots "move" unless you advise it. I obviously
haven't felt the plate in any way to see if there's a textured feel. My
main worry is that, though they're small, the spots seem to be "clearer"
than the rest of the coating on the plate. Can the coating have worn or
been carried off by anything?

I haven't had a clear enough night for extensive viewing, but images appear fine. In the brief seeing I did manage, there appeared to be a faint background glow which is what I imagine "light-scattering" must be. I'm looking for either reassurance or a too-bad sort of shock. Cheers, Tom Andrews
Mike here: You probably haven't removed the coating. You just need to do a better AND correct job of cleaning. See the "Cleaning Optics" article on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page. Especially see the last item about the "OPT Doctor Clay's Cleaning Kit"; you will see some similar photos in my review.
Subject:	Discounts on old model ETX-125's
Sent:	Monday, December 13, 2004 22:03:33
From:	Phillip Coker (
Went into Fry's at Sacramento CA yesterday and saw that the old model
ETX-125 which was marked down to $499.00 a few weeks ago is now sitting
on a tripod and marked $1099.00.


Subject:	Difference between Meade ETX-125EC and ETX-125AT 
Sent:	Monday, December 13, 2004 21:35:04
From:	Tim Liebig (
Quite simply - what is the difference between the ETX-125AT and the
ETX-125EC.  I just purchased a new (my first real scope) ETX-125.
Paperwork said AT but box said EC.
New Novice
Mike here: See the FAQ page on the ETX Site.
Subject:	New observer looking for advice on models
Sent:	Saturday, December 11, 2004 16:57:55
From:	PeeDee (
I am interested in purchasing a reflector scope and my budget is
$500.00. My wife wants to get me a scope for x-mas. I have been using a
spotting scope (for rifle ranges) up til' now to observe the sky at
night while camping. I usually set-up and let those with us look at
whatever we can  see in the night sky. I do hope to aquire a scope that
will give me vertically correct images (not upside down) , but don't see
much info about that in the product descriptions. Auto tracking sounds
like a great idea too. If that is not a realistic goal,then I can live
without it. If it is then it will allow me to attempt views of far away
objects during the day. I would like to see more than the moon. I don't
expect to see pluto with such a budget, but want a good quality scope.
Any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated.
 Peter J. Carreiro
Mike here: Check out the ETX-90 and perhaps the DS models from Meade. You can read User Observations on my ETX Site. You would need an "erecting prism" to correct images for terrestrial use although the ETX-90 has upright images, they are reversed left-right. Right now, Meade dealers are running a sale on the ETX-90 since a new model is to start shipping any day.
Subject:	RE: Right Ascension Circuit board
Sent:	Saturday, December 11, 2004 17:10:02
From:	Marcos Dager (
To keep you updated the tech guy from SATEC,S.A Costa Rica, send me the
circuit Board. When I got it I saw it was the older model. I tested and
did not work well, at low speeds didn't move the scope, they are going
to send me again the new model Circuit board. When I was Inspecting my
Scope I found the RA ring stop was broken and the RA movement was stiff
and some times did stop before normal stop. I ask the guys from SATEC to
send me this Part too, I already got the AMP MTA .100" IDC Connector
(AMP Part # 640442-4), so when I cut the Alt Cable to replace the Stop
Ring. I hope this will be the last repair.

best regards,

Marcos D.

Subject:	Proper polar home position
Sent:	Saturday, December 11, 2004 11:39:48
From: (
In your book Using the Meade ETX, figures 6-19 and 6-20 are both
described as "polar home position", but they look different.  In 6-20 it
appears like the scope is looking back over the tripod.  I am trying to
learn how to use the setting circles to find astronomical objects and I
was wondering if there is a difference between the two set ups.

When I have the scope configured like 6-19 the declination setting is 90
which seems correct.  I found the sun this am with no problem using the
setting circle method and just approximating where Polaris was in the

I want to go after comet Machholz using the setting circles.  Should I
worry about "Perfect Polar Position" or is centering Polaris in the 26mm
eyepiece good enough for government work?
Steve Petzold
Borrego Springs 2001
Mike here: Oops! 6-20 is NOT the HOME position for Autostar alignment. That figure really was intended to show the position of the fork arms in Polar mounting. For Autostar alignment, 6-19 bottom is correct. It is also a good starting place for manual aligning to the Earth's axis.
Subject:	re: Transformer
Sent:	Friday, December 10, 2004 21:05:25
From:	Richard Seymour (
It does not hurt to have a power supply capable of providing more
current (amps) than the scope needs.  In fact, it is helpful,
since the voltage will not "sag" under changing loads.

have fun
And more info:
From:	Schlatter (
I just read a query in which an individual asked if a power supply rated
at 2.0 amps will damage his ETX.

The answer is NO, a 2.0 amp supply will not damage the ETX.

Amperage is a measure of the current-handling capability of a power
supply.  Let's suppose you have an device -- such as the ETX -- that
requires 1.5 amps of current.  This means you must use a power supply
that provides 1.5 amps OR MORE and how much more does not matter.

It's not a matter of the power supply pushing amperage to the device --
the power supply pushes voltage to the device and the ETX requires 12
volts DC.  The ETX -- or any other device -- draws current from the
power supply and the level of current draw is measured in amperes, or,
amps.  The amperage of the power supply MUST EXCEED THE AMPERAGE

Thus, a power supply with a 2.0 amp rating is fine for the ETX, which
will pull only 1.5 amps.

Consider this analogy:  Suppose you have a device that uses water at the
rate of 1.5 gallons per minute and it is attached to a hose that will
pass only 0.5 gallons per minute -- the device will pull more water from
the hose than it can handle and the hose is likely to burst.  However,
if the hose can pass 2.0 gallons per minute, then the device pulling 1.5
GPM will not approach the capacity of the house.

Because the ETX needs 1.5 amps of current, you can use a power supply
that provides anything OVER 1.5 amps.  I power my ETX with a power
supply that I also use for my amateur radio equipment that has a
capacity of 10 amps.  An automobile battery has the capability of
delivering over 200 amps -- you can plug your ETX into your automobile
battery with no problem.

You will be fine with a 2.0 amp supply.

HOWEVER -- if you then plug into the power supply other devices such as
dew heaters, a laptop, or other devices, you may overload the power
supply.  Let's say the ETX draws 1.5 amps and you plug in some dew
heaters that draw 1.5 amps, you are now putting a load of 3.0 amps on a
2.0 amp supply -- the power supply will run hot and the voltage may drop
-- and -- the protective device on the power supply may trip, that is,
the fuse or circuit breaker will trip because you have overloaded the
power supply.
To power your ETX, you need a power supply that provides:
-- between 10 and 13.5 volts DC (which is common), DO NOT EXCEED 13.5
-- at a minimum of 1.5 amps -- and the higher the amperage the better
because that means you can run more devices off the supply.
Hope this helps.

Joe from Bristol TN

Subject:	ETX, Premier Edition
Sent:	Friday, December 10, 2004 07:44:10
From:	philip call (
I spoke to Astronomics this morning and was informed that they expect
delivery on the PE's to begin in 7-10 days.

So, we can hope to receive them in time for Christmas. Merry Christmas
to all and to all a good day.

Phil Call

Subject:	Re: 9.7mm Eyepiece Doesn't Fit
Sent:	Thursday, December 9, 2004 16:55:30
From:	Eric Ingram (
Thanks for the reply. Do you think it's possible to sand it down or
would it be easier to call Meade and see if they'll replace it for me?

Mike here: Well, you could file it down IF you can find the problem area AND if it only needs a minor filing. I would contact Meade or your dealer first.


I'll call Meade. Thanks for you quick reply!


Subject:	Transformer
Sent:	Thursday, December 9, 2004 14:21:03
From: (
I just got a great buy on a Yamaha external AC power adaptor
(transformer). It will change AC house current into 12 volt DC for my
ETX 90 EC. However, its output is 2 amps. I haven't used it yet because
I don't know if that two amps will mess up my ETX or its Autostar. What
do you think?
   Thanks again for a terrific site.
                                               George Dreitlein
Mike here: The ETX only needs up to 1.5A.
Subject:	Price drop on non-Premier Edition ETXs
Sent:	Thursday, December 9, 2004 13:19:49
From:	David Hanych (
Retailers have dropped their prices on new non-Premier Edition ETX
telescopes. See Oceanside Photo and Telescope ( and
Scopetronix ( for prices and package deals.

i wonder if they are trying to clear out stock to make room for the
soon-to-be-released ETX Premieir Edition scopes.The prices are so good
that I'm tempted to buy, but I'll wait untill I see a review of the new
PE models before doing so. Anyone looking for an discounted ETX scope?
Here's your chance.

David Hanych

Subject:	ETX-125 Detailed Info
Sent:	Wednesday, December 8, 2004 07:42:28
From:	Dunlap, Raymond (
I really enjoy your site but can't find any detailed info on the
ETX-125.  I plan to machine some adapters for my ETX-125 to use for
astrophotography and would like to know the exact thread specs from a
parts sheet if one is available.  I could then forward the final plans
for your site if anyone else has the desire to machine their own parts. 
These adapters are available commercially but it is more fun to make
them yourself.  If you know of any detailed sources for the scope I
would appreciate it.

Thanks for the help, 
 Doug Dunlap 
Mike here: Yes, I wish I had such info posted.
Subject:	ETX Azimuth Gearbox Problem
Sent:	Tuesday, December 7, 2004 20:21:47
From:	Stephen Streit (
I was out last night getting ready to watch the lunar\Jupiter
occultation (excellent show). Everything was normal I plugged everything
in but decided I wasn't going to look at anything else but the moon
since it was already 3:40AM local time so I didn't do an alignment and
the moon isn't hard to find :-). Anyway I went to slew along the azimuth
axis and my ETX-90AT made this horrible sound kind of like a coffee
grinder and a car starter on its last legs. At that point I released the
AZ lock and hand guided the scope along that axis for the duration of
the night. When I was packing up and took the ETX off its tripod I
noticed there was something rattling around inside, from there I just
decided to call it a night and check it out the next day. When I got
home today armed with some photos and info from the telescope tips
section I popped the bottom plate off my etx. I discovered one of the
things that was rattling around inside the case was one of the screws
that holds the 2 halves of the gearbox together (see arrow in
"extbase.jpg"). I did the first logical thing which was to screw it back
in after I found where it came from by referencing some pix on this
site. When I tried to screw it back in it just kept turning leading me
to believe the hole was stripped out. From there I took the gearbox
apart to find that the threaded holes for the two center screws that
hold the box together had cracks running down the sides (see arrows in
"etxgearbox.jpg"). I think what happened is these screws finally gave
way (overtightened at the factory?) and the gearbox pulled apart enough
for the gears to not properly mesh causing that horrible grinding sound.
I think I can clamp it and glue the posts back together but before I do
I wanted to know if you had ever heard of anything like this? What
causes it? How do I keep it from happening again? Is there a replacement
gearbox back available anywhere other than contacting the Mead
distributor? My scope is only like 6 months old and I've treated it with
the utmost care. I don't see how this happened.


Stephen S.

BTW: I've attached the pictures I referred to in my email.



Mike here: I don't recall any specific reports of this failure although I do recall a few other failures (cracks). I wonder if cold temperatures might have had something to do with it. Anyway, you could try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page) for a replacement gearbox; otherwise contact Meade.
On second thought, contact Meade first. Might be a warranty repair.


Thanks for the quick response! I'll check Telescope Warehouse and I'll
also check into the warranty. I dont think it was from cold weather
because I happen to live in sunny Florida now and I dont think its been
exposed it temps under 50F :-). I'll keep you posted with updates if you
wish to post this on your site.

Thanks again! Keep up the good work!
Well I went thru and read all the info that came with the scope and it
appears that its still covered under the warranty. I guess I'll button
it up and check into sending it to Meade. Thanks!

Subject:	Standard Hand Paddle Question
Sent:	Monday, December 6, 2004 06:40:46
I have an ETX-90EC with both the hand controller and the Autostar
controller.  When using the hand controller, after power on and slewing
to a target, the motors continue to run as if I were using the
Autostar(i.e. the motors sound like they are tracking!).  Each time I
move the display the motors seem to shift the display.  Is this normal?

Tom Hobbs
Mike here: When set for astronomical use, the RA drive motor should run. You can change this setting if you like; see the ETX manual.
Subject:	ETX Spotting Scope
Sent:	Monday, December 6, 2004 05:54:26
From:	Pete and Maggie Kasper (
I live in a condo directly on the ocean in Florida and I am considering
buying the ETX90 Spotting Scope for terrestrial subjects (beach and
cruise ships) as well as some astronomical views.  My condo balcony has
a full ceiling overhang therefore I have a limited astronomical view.  I
was wondering if you could tell me what you think of spotting scopes and
what I could expect from it.  Also is the UHTC worth the additional
Thanks M Kasper
Mike here: The ETX spotting is a fine high quality terrestrial telescope. You won't need UHTC for daytime use.
Subject:	How much light reflected by ETX lenses?
Sent:	Sunday, December 5, 2004 02:41:36
From:	Stephen Bird (
I exchanged mail with David on this subject. I THINK David was trying to
see how much light that reached the corrector plate, was transmitted to
the eye from the eyepiece having passed through all of the optics. And,
what difference UHTC made. Which is an interesting and important point
that he is looking at when choosing a scope, certainly I didn't do this
when i chose my first scope. It is different to how much of the incident
light on the corrector plate is reflected, the SOLE measure of which is
not a true measure of how good a scopes full optics are.

For each  refractive lens, each air <--> glass or glass <--> air
interface for TYPICAL optics will transmit around 96% of the incident
light, (I'm not sure if Meades refractive optics are TYPICAL). For each
reflecting lens the TYPICAL reflective surface transmits around 85% of
the incident light, (I'm not sure if Meade's reflective optics are
TYPICAL). UHTC improves this, and Meade quotes a figure of plus 20%, but
I am not sure if this 20% applies to each and every surface, what part
of the spectrum it applies to or which starting position the 20% is
taken from.

However if you take star light incident at the outside of the scope, it
has to cross / be reflected from the following interfaces for an ETX
with a typical eyepiece:

Air to corrector plate refraction
Corrector plate to air refraction
Primary mirror reflection
Secondary mirror reflection
Flip mirror reflection

Then it gets to the eyepiece,.... a 26mm SP has 5 elements, so IF they
were all separated by an air gap, you could add 10 more air <--> glass

All this adds up to a loss of the original incident star light of more
than 2%.

I guess this is why Meade keeps their advertising blurb simple by saying
UHTC increases light transmission by 20%.

Now of course light gathering power is another matter and requires a
little bit more math! But a 3.5", 4" or 5" mirror is obviously much
better at gathering light that a 1/5" pupil.

But with so many  variables to what makes a scope good, it is not easy
to choose the one that gives best all round performance balanced against
economy / portability, etc.,.

The best scope in my opinion is however, the one that will get used the


Stephen Bird
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
Thank you for this...however, I am not at all confident that I ever
mentioned any such value, since I do not get into specific
reflectivities of the optical surfaces during Supercharge; I do measure
the total system for light loss, primarily looking at degradation of
reflection in optics FROM ORIGINAL specs.....and this is where I believe
there is a mis-communication; because of conditions that I discovered
with the telescope, I made a note that his telescope HAD A DROP OF 2% of
total "factory spec" other words, if the telescope is
shipped with a total transmission of 90 percent, this would reflect (pun
intended....) a drop to 88 percent from a brand new telescope of the
same type.

For the record, I never quote each particular reflectance of any optics
nor optical system, only total transmitted light.

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain)
Thanks for the clarification on this Clay. I took a look at Meade's
explanation of light loss and UHTC, the basic theory from my Astronomy
101 notes seems to be in there somewhere!

Interesting how they play the before and after UHTC figures to best
effect. They also avoid the flip mirror loss and eyepiece losses.
Without sitting down with pencil, paper and a calculator, I do wonder
whether the eye actually perceives a total image brightness increase of
13% - 17% across the visible spectrum. But it is possible to see the
difference between image brightness for a Meade coated eyepiece and a
cheap non coated eyepiece that I picked up on my travels, changing
between the two was like putting sunglasses on!


Stephen Bird
And this:
You have actually answered your own inquiry:
The difference between using UHTC coated optics and EMC are similar to
the same differences (for the same reasons) as superceding your cheap,
non-coated eyepieces with fine quality fully coated eyepieces.

Note also that Meade does not (nor does Celestron, nor Televue, nor
Astrophysics, nor Orion.....) claim that they are including the
reflectivity properties of the flip mirror or eyepieces or barlows, or
any other items in the optical train:  Only the OTA optical assembly
which is the method by which all measurements in optics are done.  The
variables should be in the finite system, and not with other
measurement-altering parameters such as accessories.

Dr. Clay

Subject:	right angle finder scope
Sent:	Sunday, December 5, 2004 02:21:56
From: (
I've just purchased my first telescope - the 105. It's an excellent
piece of equipment and I'm sure I'll appreciate it more and more as I
get used to it. I've found these pages invaluable for tips on how to set
up the telescope. The comments on 'backlash' were particularly helpful.
After a few hours it's up and working extremely well and I've imaged
some of the obvious features in the sky (Saturn, Orion Nebula, Andromeda

Now, I have a simple problem. The eyepiece and focus ring assembly of my
finderscope has separated from the barrel. I notice that the surfaces
are well greased and there is a fine thread below the focus ring. Before
I damage it out of ignorance I thought I'd ask whether these two parts
are a push fit or whether they screw back together? Any help would be
Ian Belcher
Mike here: I don't have one of the current model so can't check the fitting of the finderscope eyepiece. However, since it adjusts the focus by turning, I suspect it could be screw-on.


Thanks for the reply. A speedy response when you must have so many
emails to attend to.
Keep up the good work
Ian Belcher

Subject:	Basic
Sent:	Saturday, December 4, 2004 17:12:24
From:	Mark Oristano (
Love your site.  I'm just getting an ETX-105PE and, as I'm a
photographer for a living, going to try my hand at the stars.  Once I
get up and running, and have just enough knowledge to be dangerous, I
wonder if I might be able to come up and observe one of your outings
some night, since I gather you live in Carrollton and I live in Dallas.

Otherwise, thanks for all the great info.

Mark Oristano
Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page; your message was almost DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the ambiguous Subject entry.
Not certain what gave you the idea I live in Texas. I don't.
Subject:	Re: ETX Operations w/Wedge
Sent:	Saturday, December 4, 2004 17:05:51
From:	Dave Hahne (
Thanks Mike.  I have been using a wedge for polar alignment.  After
further reading of the manual I realized that my second question about
auto tracking was a result of my misread of the manual.


Subject:	Tracking the sun
Sent:	Saturday, December 4, 2004 16:17:47
From:	Robert Edmondson (
First, thanks for the site.  I have been using it as a resource since I
bought my ETX 70 a year ago.  Since then I bought a 10" Hardin dob, but
I still use the ETX often because it is easy to move and set up.  Last
week I bought a Coronado PST but no first light - it has been cloudy
here in Lansing, MI.  I have piggy-backed the PST to the ETX and I am
looking forward to taking some pics.  I built a solar filter from Baader
film for the 10" dob and imaged well enough, but I am planning to put
more effort into the images with the PST - stacking, etc.  My question
is about the autostar tracking.  Is there a way to set the scope to
track the sun?


- Robert Edmondson
Mike here: Just do a normal alignment and assume the alignment stars are centered. Of course, the more accurate your HOME position the more accurate the "fake" alignment will be.


I just found your post to a similar question.  I will just set up a
2-star alignment and that should get it close enough.  Sorry for the
email clutter.

- Robert

Subject:	EFX for Nikon 80
Sent:	Saturday, December 4, 2004 15:55:15
From:	Regina Milkus (
I came across your website online. I would like to buy my husband a EFX
70 or 90 telescope for Christmas, primarily to use for photography. He
is currently into underwater photography with a Nikon 80 I believe.
Which would you recommend, and what accessories would I need to purchase
in order for him to do the photography. He also would like to be able to
hook it up to his PC. Any help is appreciated. Thanks, Regina
Mike here: See the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page; lots of info there. See the Autostar Info page for info on connecting to a computer.
Sent:	Saturday, December 4, 2004 15:33:50
From:	TPLATZ1969 (
Mike here: You want to use a reputable manufacturer. I have a Thousand Oaks one and it is good. By the way, please read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page; ALL CAPS is difficult to read.
Subject:	new Deep Sky Imager
Sent:	Saturday, December 4, 2004 13:45:58
From:	Catharine Davies (
I have benefited from your web site whilst gathering information for a
first purchase of a telescope with digital imaging capability.  Thanks
for this service!

I note that Meade is releasing its new Deep Sky Imager and wondered if
you had any info on it

Is the new Deep Sky Imager compatible with the ETX range?

Do I have to worry about any mis-match in performance between  imager
and telescope?

Have I understood correctly that there is to be a new (Premium?) 
version of the ETX telescopes released soon?

Could you suggest a package that would combine a manageable entry  level
kit (with PC based driving and image compiling) with a potential for 
satisfying high quality amateur imaging?

Stewart & Co.
Mike here: Yes, there is a new DSI from Meade; see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page. It works fine with the ETX and Autostar. Of course, the larger the aperture the better the results will be. Yes, there is a new ETX PE line from Meade; info on their web site. I'd recommend getting the largest telescope you can afford and can manage but keep in mind that the best telescope is the one that gets used, not the one in the closet because it is too cumbersome or difficult to move or set up.
Subject:	Availability of Premier Editions of ETX scopes
Sent:	Saturday, December 4, 2004 12:57:54
From:	philip call (
Like you, I too have been waiting for these scopes. I have had a
pre-order in with Astronomics since mid October for a ETX 125PE. A
replacement for my ETX 90.

Finally, this past Thursday I got tired of waiting and emailed them for
the latest info on delivery.

Today they replied and stated that delivery to the dealers should have
began the middle of last week. They further stated that the Vice
President of meade would be in monday and that he would fill them in on
all the details.

If I learn anything more i'll let you know.

Hang Tough!

Phil Call
Mike here: I heard that they would begin shipping at the end of November.
Subject:	Did I receive UHTC?
Sent:	Friday, December 3, 2004 14:36:34
From:	roger supak (
Recently purchased etx 125 UHTC. A label on scope specified UHTC but on
the lens that threads onto the tube it only said it was multicoated.
Shouldn't the lens be designated UHTC?Did I really receive the UHTC
Mike here: If the label says UHTC you should have it. The lens is not labeled with UHTC.
Subject:	ETX Operations w/Wedge
Sent:	Friday, December 3, 2004 07:32:59
From:	Dave Hahne (
A couple of questions about ETX operations when using a polar wedge. 
This is for an ETX-70.

1- What does Autostar actually do with the information from an Easy
Align when in polar mount mode?  Does Autostar actually correct for
minor errors in polar alignment?

2- Can Auto Tracking be used in polar mount mode?  The manual only talks
about using it in Alt-Az mode but it would seem to be an easier task for
Autostar in polar mount mode.

Thanks for any insights you can provide.

Dave Hahne
Poquoson, VA
Mike here: Any ETX model can be used in Polar Mode with the proper mount. And yes, the Autostar will correct for errors in the polar alignment.
Subject: filters
From: Tom Mesquitta (
Date: December 2, 2004 09:26:09 PST
I am considering to purchase some filters for my ETX-125.

Initially i was looking at meade, but a quick search (meade filters) on
ebay resulted in a brand called Hirsch, that offer 11 filters for
$87.99. They claim to be unrivaled in quality as their filters are not
dyed or coated like meade or celestron, but are naturally coloured.

Hirsch did not seem to have a website and i am wondering whether they
are the real deal, or a cheap rip off?

Any advice on the matter would be greatly appreciated.
Many thanks Tom
Mike here: Never heard of the company.
Subject: EXT-90EC Purchase
From: Terry Thompson-Manning (
Date: December 1, 2004 13:50:53 PST
I have been researching telescopes and purchased a Meade EXT-90EC for my
husband's Christmas gift.  It was my understanding that the 90EC and
90AT are the same in every way except one has an electronic remote.
However, since I made this purchase only hours ago, I am running in to
additional confusion.  I wanted to purchase the EXT-90AT with UHTC.  My
purchase, made at the Discovery Zone for the EXT-90EC stated on the
sales promo tag that it had UHTC.  Now that I've got the darned thing
home, I don't see that statement anywhere on the box.

Does the EC automatically come equipped with the UHTC option?  Or are
their marketing people just as confused as the shopping public?  I would
think on the box it might say UHTC - as their sales signs did - the only
thing the box says is "high resolution optics".

Your input would be very much appreciated.  I don't know now whether to
return it to Discovery Zone and purchase it elsewhere - maybe from a
store that actually knows about telescopes.  But the price of $545 I
thought was pretty good.  Wasn't it?

Thank you Mr. Weasner.

Terry Thompson-Manning
Highlands Ranch, CO  
Mike here: The UHTC label appears in two places: on the brown shipping box (not the box with the pictures) and on the underside of the telescope tube.


Thank you so much.  I'll check these locations.

Subject: Precise Portable Polar Alignment
From: "Gary G." (
Date: December 1, 2004 00:10:37 PST
I read with great interest the Kolchab clock method of polar alignment,
as polar aligning is something I get close... but not dead on. No matter
how many times I read and reread the info... it appears that in figure
4...June and December are incorrectly reversedaccording to the accurate
figures 1, 1A,1B, 1C and 1D. Has anyone else mentioned this? Believe me,
it is no big deal... but I just want to be sure I do the alignment
accurately as I am constantly "just missing" the proper polar alignment
with mymethods. Thanks for your time.

Gary Grender
From: "P. Clay Sherrod" (
The figures are indeed correct; remember that both Figure 4 and the
others are noting the actual location of Polaris relative to the North
Celestial Pole, and not the position of Kochab.  Although the figures
might be a bit confusing, just remember that the entire concept is very
simple:  you want to move your telescope's base (entire assembly as it
would be pointing out the forks toward the celestial pole) AWAY from
Polaris toward the star Kochab.  It can be done anytime, and on any
date, so don't let the graphics fool you or make it more complicated
than it really of luck!

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain)

Subject: Why would you polar mount an etx?
Date: November 29, 2004 14:39:24 PST
I've just taken the plunge and ordered an etx105 with autostar. I've
spent a great deal of time looking aroundyour fantasticwebsite but I
can't find any reason as to why you would polar mount a scope that has a
GOTO facility. Some posts do imply a little snobbery that polar is the
only true way to mount a scope but I would love your advice or at least
a link to where I can find the answer.

Stu Sumner
Mike here: There are a few good reasons to mount it that way. Long duration astrophotography (otherwise you get field rotation on the image), reduced vibration (since only one motor is running during tracking), and when attaching some accessories (if the fork mount/base would get in the way in some orientations).
Subject: Repair of a ETX Mount
From: "dc666" (
Date: November 28, 2004 18:31:25 PST
I have done a real job on my ETX Mount. First one of the RA Stops broke,
So the Scope only turned about 320 degrees! So I thought about taking
the stops out permament, problem was the wires leading to the Dec motor,
"Do not keep turning the bolt" instead turn it abuot once & take the
round nut just under the worm wheel gear & unscrew from there this way
you will save pulling the wires. More on this report with Photographs to
Come when I put it back togeather again!

Bye for now

Danny Cameron
Mike here: If a hard stop failed the ETX would rotate past that point, resulting in wire wrapping and possible damage. Are you certain a stop failed or did a wire get caught in something? Anyway, looking forward to your report. Thanks.
Subject: Happy Thanksgiving
From: "Allen Sellick" (
Date: November 28, 2004 15:07:47 PST
I wanted to take a monent and thank you for all the time and effort you
put into this web page, I would be lost with out it. I wish you and your
family the very best this Holliday season
Allen Sellick

Subject: Quick question
From: Michael Willett (
Date: November 28, 2004 10:58:10 PST
I recently purchased a Scopetronix piggyback mount for my ETX60, wanting
to try some deep space photography.  I'm confused about polar mounting,
however.  I have the Deluxe Mount (883) for the ETX.  I point the tripod
north and set for my latitude (about 39 degrees).  Setting the
declination for 90 degrees, I end up with the telescope axis
perpendicular to the base of the telescope, and angled 39 degrees to the
floor.  This doesn't seem right to me, somehow, it seems to align fine
when I set the "mount" to "polar".

This configuration seems very awkward for using the piggyback mount
because of the location of the counterweights on the eyepiece.

Does it sound like I have the right configuration for polar alignment?
It's similar to Figures 29 and 30 in ETX manual.


Mike Willett
Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page; your message was almost DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the non-specific SUBJECT line.
With the ETX mounted in Polar Mode, the fork tubes will point towards Polaris (in the Northern Hemisphere). If you have that position, you are in the correct orientation.
Subject: etx 90pe
From: "john reidy" (
Date: November 28, 2004 08:35:17 PST
great site,
one quick question
i am going to to states next month
and i hope to purchase the etx 90pe
it says all you need to align the scope is your zip code,

i live in ireland,
and we dont use zip codes,
how wouldi entermy location and,
would it work here at all,

many thanks,

Mike here: Since the PE models are not yet shipping (and I don't have one yet) I can't check this. But I would suspect there is still a provision for entering your location. At least for PE models purchased in the locale where they will be used...


thanks for answering so quickly
in the etx 90ec, would i be able to enter a town in ireland, its just,
if i buy the scope i wanted to know that i could set up the scope for my
thanks again for everything

Mike here: You can select countries and cities in the Autostar. Alternatively, you can enter a location's latitude and longitude.
Subject: ETX-125AT lateral image shift when focusing
From: "Frederic Ruciak" (
Date: November 28, 2004 05:44:36 PST
First of all, I would like to thank you for your site that fits
perfectly well with the spirit of knowledge sharing of the internet.

I am a beginner in amateur astronomy and I bought an ETX125AT UHTC nov
2004. I have to say that your sitereinforced me in that choice.

My very first experiences are promising but Iam observing a lateral
shift when focusing withthe focus knob.I had the opportunity to look
through an ETX105AT UHTCthat did not show at all this kind of lateral

Have you ever notice this kind of lateral shift when focusing? As far as
you know, is it normal or does it show a problem of assembly that would
justify to call for the guarantee of the product?

Thank you in advance for your answer.

Mike here: Some image shift is normal with this telescope design. However, it should be minimal unless the optics are out of collimation or there is something mechanical wrong with the focusing. If your image shift is excessive then I would recommend exchanging it at the dealer since it is new.
Subject: Tracking ISS
From: John & Andrea Beaderstadt (
Date: November 28, 2004 04:56:00 PST
In answer to Roy's post on 11/19 about tracking ISS, check out

You'll get ISS and other satellite (including the Shuttle) tracking
forecasts via automated email, configured to your local time according
to your location (I don't know if it works outside the US & Canada). 
I've been getting these emails for years and have found them accurate
right down to the minute.  A forecast for each pass will tell you it's
rise/set time and direction, the length of time it will be visible, and
the direction in which it will pass nearest to you (for instance, it
might rise in the SW, pass to your NW and set in the NNE; while each
pass takes ~10 minutes, the length of visibility will depend on the
angle between you, it and the sun).

Beady's Corollary to Occam's Razor:  "The likeliest explanation of any
phenomenon is almost always the most boring one imaginable."

Subject: A bad Deal (ETX 125 )!
From: Anonymous
Date: November 27, 2004 00:03:01 PST
First of all, thanks for the great website.

Three days ago i saw a scope for telescope through a local astronomy
club.I was so excited to purchase my first telescope, ETX 125, after
long time dreaming to own one. I contacted the person who was selling it, 
he is 60-70 years old ( My grandfather's age), i met with him and saw
the scope, He was so nice and told me that he bought the scope three
years ago, it was used once and there is nothing wrong with it. I was
not able to test the drive because there were no batterries. I trusted
him and i took his word for it. I paid him $600( with tripod and hard
case).I went home and bought batteries and tried the ETX 'sdrive and . I
was shocked when i found out that the scope does not slew vertically,
the inside vertical declination drive is broken. I feel like i lost $600
but i gained a precious lesson, NEVER TRUST ANYONE WHEN YOU ARE BUYING A
USED SCOPE. I also gained a precious website, your website, It is great
webiste which has more information than the

Is there anyway that i can purchase only the drive from meade? How much
does it cost.

Mike here: Meade does not sell replacement parts to users. You could try Dr. Clay Sherrod's Tuneup Service (details on the ETX Site) or check with Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page). You could also contact Meade.
Subject: 9.7mm Eyepiece Doesn't Fit
Date: Fri, 26 Nov 2004 23:24:16 -0800 (PST)
From: Eric Ingram (
I recently bought an ETX-90. The included 26mm eyepiece fits just fine
and works great. I then bought the #126 Barlow and a 9.7mm (1.25")
eyepiece for the telescope.

The 9.7mm eyepiece will not slide all the way down into the holder--it
barely goes in at all (not even to the thumbscrew). It'll fit just fine
into the #126 Barlow (as will the 26mm eyepiece), but just not into the
telescope. I've also checked to see if it would fit into the included
eyepiece holder that came with the tripod--it'll only fit in one hole
out of six holes (the 26mm fits four out of six).

Is it likely the metal ring on the eyepiece is bent slightly? Or maybe a
problem with the eyepiece holder on the telescope?

On the side, my ETX-90 came with the 8x25mm right-angle viewfinder. I
don't know if this was a mistake or if it's a common occurrence, but I
was excited nonetheless!

Thanks in advance!
Mike here: I suspect there is a metal burr or a little extra silver coating on the eyepiece tube. It could be out-of-round but that is less likely unless it was dropped or otherwise damaged.
Subject: How much light reflected by ETX lenses?
From: "David Hanych" (
Date: November 26, 2004 10:16:45 PST
Does anyone know what percent of incoming light an ETX scope's lenses

An ETX owner told me that Clay Sherrod's supercharging report on his ETX
90 indicated that only 2% of the incoming was being reflected (that is,
light transmission on his scope was 98%). Does this sound right?

David Hanych

Mike here: I trust Dr. Clay. You can read his report on the Announcements: Meade page on the ETX Site.
Subject: #126 or #140, whats the difference
From: Tom Mesquitta (
Date: November 25, 2004 18:41:20 PST
I have just purchased an etx-125, aswell as the meade eyepiece kit. I
want to purchase a barlow lens, but have been unable to find any
information on a comparison between the standard etx #126 and its higher
priced sister, the #140. Asides from one being telenegative and the
other being apochromatic, what are the pros and cons between the two?

Many thanks in advance

Mike here: Three basic differences: length, quality, and price. The ETX series works best with a "shorty" style Barlow Lens to allow all eyepieces to reach a focus. The #140 is higher optical quality, which is somewhat wasted on a small telescope. And generally the #140 sells for more money. But do you really need a 2X Barlow Lens? If you have the complete eyepiece set you might not get much benefit from one.


That makes sense. Thank you for the swift reply.


Feedback Archives

Check the Feedback Archives for previous editions of the Feedback page.

Return to the top of this page.

Go to the ETX Home Page.

Copyright © 2004 Michael L. Weasner /
Submittals Copyright © 2004 by the Submitter