Last updated: 31 December 2005

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT, and ETX-80AT-TC. Additional information on these models is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	ETX Site
Sent:	Saturday, December 31, 2005 09:37:07
From:	Roger Agopian (
I have received recently "Chrismas day" the ETX-70AT. Looking for
exhaustive informations about it Surfing  i have discovered your site
which is really fine with a lot of helpful tools,faqs and tutorials.

So, on the first hand could you help me in order to describe the cable
scheme between the ETX's RJ9 outlet and my PC's DB15 outlet (COM1);could
you confirm that communication between the two devices is standard RS
232C and what kind of frame do you use ( start bit, 8 bits information,
stop bit, hardware or software flow control; flow value ...); the major
reason is to telecontrol the telescope by the software delivered in the
Meade box  called "Sky Charts 2.75.3 Jully 2004"; it seems to have all
the fonctions to do that.

On the second hand,what is the optimal eyepiece i have to get in order
to observe mostly Messier's object ( X40 amplification), i do not hide
you that astrophotography will be a good challenge for me:
-a new 350/40=8.75mm i.e; 9mm roughly
-or using the 3X barlows delivered in the Meade box: 350X3/40=26.25mm i.e; 26mm roughly
Best regards and Happy new 2006 year,
Roger Stephen
Mike here: In order to communicate with the ETX-70 and its #494 Autostar, you need a Meade #506 RS-232 cable (which can not be easily homemade due to the electronics needed in the cable). Alternatively you can get a #497 Autostar and buy or make a #505 serial cable (details on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page). The telescope control software handles the communication protocols for you. When determining magnification keep in mind the theoretical maximum for any telescope (see the FAQ page for info on how to calculate this). 350X exceeds that for the ETX-70. Also, keep in mind that you will need a dark sky to observe many deep sky objects and many will appear very small and faint in the ETX-70.
Subject:	Found your site!
Sent:	Friday, December 30, 2005 23:14:34
From:	Terry (
I wish I could claim I just bought a full scale Mt. Palomar replica and
am planning to image the restraunt at the end of the universe but after
making some comments during camping my wife bought me an ETX-80BB. I'm
looking forward to using it in the high country (7000-8000 ft). I
recognize the limitations but I've always been interested and now I can
safely see if it's really a bug. I'm pretty stoked but alas we have the
storm of the century out in California.

I found your site and I think I can spend the next year just reading.
Thanks for creating a down to earth and comprehensive site! It's really
helped level my expectations but I'm really looking forward to first


Terry Kelley

Subject:	etx-70at
Sent:	Friday, December 30, 2005 08:53:34
From: (
i was just given a etx-70at as a christmas gift from my brothers and
have now decide to take up astromony as a part time hobby. I was just
wondering if this is a good telescope to start with, and what kind of
views i should expect to see. ps i live in northern ireland
Mike here: See my ETX-70 comments on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as reports from other users on the Helpful Information: User Observations page.
Subject:	ETX-70AT Deep Sky search problem
Sent:	Thursday, December 29, 2005 09:43:12
From:	Paul McColgan (
Hi! I'm a complete newbie and delighted to find all this information on
your great site. My new ETX-70AT is working satisfactorily except for
one point. It can search and find "stars by name" reasonably well, but
if I use the "Deep Sky" menu to search for the Orion Nebula, for
example, the scope makes a tiny movement, then the handset and tone tone
tells me it's been found, although the scope is pointing nowhere near
Orion. Any suggestions?
Mike here: Which option in the Deep Sky menu are you using to select the Orion Nebula?


I was using "go to", which works for the star by name menu; I've since
discovered that the deep sky menu requires the user to press enter
first, and then go to. This is what I do now and it seems to work.
Haven't had visibility to test the accuracy, but the scope now certainly
points in roughly the right direction.

Thanks again and have a good new year.

Mike here: Yep, ENTER to select it and GOTO to go to to it.
Subject:	EXT-80BB Focusing Causes Az Rocking
Sent:	Wednesday, December 28, 2005 13:04:39
From:	A.J. Farmer (AJ3U) (
You have a wonderful website.  I have spent a couple of evenings reading
and still haven't scratched the surface.

I purchased an EXT-80BB from a Discovery Channel Store.  From reading
your site, it sounds like you haven't seen one yet, so here is a link:

The focus mechanism moves the larger portion of the OTA at the end of
the scope in and out.  When the focus knob is fully clockwise, the tube
is fully retracted.  When fully counterclockwise, it is fully extended. 
The problem is when I am trying to do a fine adjustment it causes the
larger tube to rock to the left or the right so much that it moves the
object out of my FOV.  When looking down inside the tube with a light, I
can see that the focus knob connects to a threaded rod that runs up one
side of the tube.  The outer tube is not moving uniformly so when
extending, the right side of the tube moves before the left, and vice
versa.  It is as if the left side of the tube, the side without the rod,
is "sticking", or perhaps the seal between the larger tube and the
smaller tube has too much play.  The problem only occurs with a change
in focus direction.  I have not called Meade yet about this yet.  Would
you consider this a defect or a quirk of this type of design?

This is my first telescope.  I have used it only once, but I am very
excited about what I have seen so far.  Because of the problem, and
because I am realizing I may have purchased too "small" of a scope for
my interest, I am considering taking it back to the store and exchanging
for a DS-2130ATS-LNT.  So, my second question is do you think I would be
happier with the DS scope?

Thank you for your time.

A.J. Farmer, AJ3U
Mike here: The objective lens cell should move freely. This is the same design as on the ETX-70 and ETX-60. If it is dragging then you should contact the dealer for a replacement. Alternatively, it might loosen up with use but why wait that long.


Thanks Mike,

Thanks for the help.


Subject:	ETX70-AT and focus
Sent:	Wednesday, December 28, 2005 09:00:35
From:	Jerem (
In my last mail, i said to you that i'll try to make myself the ETX70
focus motor...but i don't know how to start...

Then, why Meade didn't sell a focus motor for the ETX70, and it is
possible to use the ETX90 focus motor on a EXT70?

Thanks a lot.

See you

Mike here: See the articles "ETX-70 Electronic Focuser" and "Electric Focuser for ETX-70AT" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. And no, the ETX-90 motor can't be attached (easily).


Subject:	ETX and bad user
Sent:	Thursday, December 29, 2005 13:19:14
From:	Jerem (
i'm sorry to ask you some bad questions but there is a long time i
didn't see the night sky because of bad job and little children.

Then, now i'm starting again to do my child'pleasure, i need help.

Perhaps for everyting, but the technology has changed in the ten years

My son want to know and see how is the deep sky an the planets, but i'm
poor, and i can't answer all his questions.

Then please help me to do something good and i'll be able to try by
myself. I just need the first help.

Very thanks a lot. please continue, i think the ETX70 is my first

See you
Mike here: See my comments on the ETX-70 on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	Hi
Sent:	Wednesday, December 28, 2005 16:55:34
From:	ubomr Janotiak, ml (
I am seding you hearty greetings from Slovakia. My name is Lubomir and
24 years old (11.3.1981), I have hearing stricken and my favorite
telescope MEADE ETX-70AT...Your web
is very very good.thanks...

My web is

Mike here: Please read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page; your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the ambiguous subject line. Thanks for understanding.
Subject:	re: ETX70-AT
Sent:	Tuesday, December 27, 2005 21:49:51
From:	richard seymour (
You wrote:
> Where i live, there is no pollution, ligth or environment,
> and i use the ETX on the roof of my house to be on the top
> of all the way (viewing N to S and E to W), that's why i don't
> understand!

The top of a house is actually a very -bad- observing location.

The heat rising from the house will cause all of the air
around you to be turbulent, which will destroy the clear image.
(this is part of the astronomer's term "seeing").

Try moving -away- from the house, and see if things get better.

For targets suitable for the ETX70, stars are going to be
points of light.  They look like that to Hubble, too.

For objects which are -not- single spots. try Jupiter, Saturn,
and Venus (when it's brightest, it's a crescent).
The Moon, of course.

Next try two things: the Orion Nebula... it's the middle
"star" of Orion's sword... but it's not really a single
star.  It's a swirling cloud of stardust -forming- stars.

The other object for which the 80 is near-perfect is M31,
the andromeda galaxy.  Unless you've got really -dark-
skies, you'll just see a fuzzy cloud... but that 'cloud'
is the extended core of another galaxy larger than the
entire Milky Way.  Billions of stars over 2,000,000 light
years away.

Mike has written a book: "Using the Meade ETX,
100 Objects you can really see with the Mighty ETX"
and it covers (with lots of pictures and sketches)
many months' worth of things to peer at with the ETX80.

have fun
Mike here: Dick Seymour and Dr Clay Sherrod also contributed to the book.
Subject:	re: ETX70 manual
Sent:	Tuesday, December 27, 2005 21:45:18
From:	richard seymour (
Specifically, the ETX70 manual is at:

All of the telescope manuals can be found under

have fun

Subject:	re: Everything is a tiny spec!
Sent:	Tuesday, December 27, 2005 21:42:22
From:	richard seymour (
As Mike said, stars -will- look like tiny point-sources when
you have the scope properly focused.  They look like that
to Hubble, too.

For objects which are -not- single spots. try Jupiter, Saturn,
and Venus (when it's brightest, it's a crescent).
The Moon, of course.

Next try two things: the Orion Nebula... it's the middle
"star" of Orion's sword... but it's not really a single
star.  It's a swirling cloud of stardust -forming- stars.

The other object for which the 80 is near-perfect is M31,
the andromeda galaxy.  Unless you've got really -dark-
skies, you'll just see a fuzzy cloud... but that 'cloud'
is the extended core of another galaxy larger than the
entire Milky Way.  Billions of stars over 2,000,000 light
years away.

Mike has written a book: "Using the Meade ETX,
100 Objects you can really see with the Mighty ETX"
and it covers (with lots of pictures and sketches)
many months' worth of things to peer at with the ETX80.

have fun
Mike here: Dick Seymour and Dr Clay Sherrod also contributed to the book.


Yeah, but you drew the pictures...

have fun


Sean Kovacs wrote:
> Hey Guys,
>   Thanks for the very needed input. I've actually upgraded to the
> ETX-90AT to > prepare myself for the long haul. Can the book be bought
> locally? As I will want it like now. :) heh

That depends upon where/what "locally" is for you... here in Seattle,
i can think of at least two or three area shops which carry the book.

The Patrick Moore astronomy series is carried by many telescope stores,
and possibly in the Astronomy section of college bookstores and science
For that matter, where did you buy the telescope?
They might have the  book...

have fun
Mike here: Amazon can get it to you quickly. Here's a link (shameless plug):
Subject:	re: ETX-80AT-TC computer connection problem
Sent:	Tuesday, December 27, 2005 21:34:33
From:	richard seymour (
On the DVD issue, Meade now has many of their videos online
(since they're 1 megabyte files, it helps to have a fast

They're all sourced at:

On the communication question:
What flavour of Autostar do you have?
If it has a full numeric keypad, it's a 497,
and the serial connection is made to the second
(smaller) socket at the bottom of the Autostar itself.
You need to buy or build a "505" cable.   The minimalist
wiring diagram for that is at:

If the Autostar does NOT have a numeric keypad,
then it's a 494, and you need a "506 cable/converter" set.
That, unfortunately cannot be home-built.
When you have one, it connects to the AUX port on the
side of the telescope itself.

Both the 505 and 506 speak rs232 to your computer.
Thus you need a computer with a "real" COM port
(a DB9 connector), or you'll also need a USB to serial
adapter (from $12 to $80)(avoid Belkin).

have fun

Subject:	Meade ETX 80 Versus Orion Dobsonian
Sent:	Tuesday, December 27, 2005 12:16:51
From:	Paul Thomason (
Great site!  I am an amateur buying a second scope.  My first was a $100
department store - more aggravation than help.  I really like the goto
ability of the Meade ETX80 but I worry about dependability.  If I buy
the Orion 6 inch Dob, I have no worries about failed motors or computer
glitches.  But, I lose the ability to easily find objects.  Have the
Meade products proved themselves dependable over time?  Can the scope be
used if the electronics eventually crash?  I am ready to buy either the
Orion Dob or the ETX 80 and am looking for that last bit of info to help
me make the decision.  Thanks!
Paul A. Thomason
Gibson City, IL
Mike here: Meade has been around since the 1970s. The ETX line since 1996. But astronomers have found objects in the sky without GOTO computers for hundreds of years. So GOTO is not required if you are willing to learn the night sky and how to navigate your way around it. The ETX can be used without the Autostar GOTO system but I wouldn't worry about crashing it. If you do you can always get another Autostar, one that can be updated by the user (the #497 instead of the #494 that comes with the ETX-80, which can not be updated by the user). BUT you left out one important difference between the two telescopes you are considering: APERTURE. The larger Dob will let you see fainter objects and it has a longer focal length than the ETX-80 to provide more details in what you see. I suggest you read my ETX-70 comments on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the ETX-60, ETX-70, and ETX-80 user reports on the Helpful Information: User Observations before you make your final decision to help you determine if the views through the ETX-80 will match your expectations.
Subject:	ETX-80AT-BB
Sent:	Tuesday, December 27, 2005 05:20:12
From:	TPH (
Hello! Just received my ETX-80AT-BB! Purchased the ScopeTronix
Flexi-Focus for it (on the ETX 60/70 accessories page), and since I
can't seem to find a set screw on the stock knob, was wondering how to
get that off to attach the Flexi -Focus? Didn't want to force anything.
Thanks for any help!
Shirley, MA
Mike here: I don't have an ETX-80AT-BB so can't say what you need to do. I'm surprised there is no setscrew on the focus knob (there always has been on other ETX models) but I guess Meade could have removed it to avoid it coming off "in the field". If the knob doesn't come off then you can't install the Flexifocus intended for the ETX-60 and ETX-70 models. Contact Scopetronix.
Subject:	ETX-80AT-TC computer connection problem
Sent:	Monday, December 26, 2005 23:08:39
From:	Ray Daniel (
Greetings from the UK. I have just purchased a ETX-80AT-TC and cannot
get the controller software to communicate with the telescope. The Meade
user manual doesn't say much about how to connect the PC and the
Telescope, can you shed any light on this?.  The DVD that came with the
scope is US format video only so it cannot be run on a UK DVD so I do
not have the benefit of viewing the instructional video.
Ray Daniel
Mike here: Do you have the #506 serial cable for the #494 Autostar? Do you have a RS-232 serial (not modem) jack on your computer? There are some videos online. See the Helpful Information: Tutorials page for several links.
Subject:	Everything is a tiny spec!
Sent:	Monday, December 26, 2005 19:12:32
From:	Sean Kovacs (
I just got the Meade ETX-80AT for Christmas. I got everything setup and
for some reason, everything I look at through the telescope is just as
small as looking up in the sky. Even when I pick the brightest stars in
the night, it's just a tiny ol' spec through the eye piece (like 1 pixel
of white on the monitor!!!). I'm going to go try some planets local to
us and see what it turns out to look like. I was wondering if my
expectations were too high.  I'm in Florida, near Tampa if that makes a
difference. Maybe my telescope is defective?

Thanks Mike,
Mike here: Yes, your expectations are WAY too high. Due to their distance, stars appear as pinpoints of light and so won't magnify. You will see some magnification on extended objects however. Whether they will meet your expectations only you will be able to determine. You might want to read my ETX-70 comments on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.


Thanks for the feed back...I took the ol' scope out again and had it go
to Sirius. I was playing around with the focus nob and i made the star
'bigger'...where it was a clear defined circle...with some spots? on the I'm not entirely sure it was in focus which made it so much
bigger(bigger than a pixel), or it was out of focus and made it that
big. I'm going to read the noob section as instructed.

Mike here: As I said, stars won't magnify. You had it out of focus.
Subject:	Great Site--May I ask for some advice?
Sent:	Monday, December 26, 2005 15:23:32
From:	Jeffrey Kotas (
I just purchased an EXT-80AT-BB for my son (I always wanted a telescope,
too).  When I took the device out of the box I noticed a rattling inside
the base.  After reviewing your site I removed the bottom cover and a
small black plastic part came out.  It looks like a sheared off bracket.
It has a cylindrical portion that is about 5 mm in diameter by 5 mm
long with a hole drilled through the center attached to a V shaped flat
plastic piece that sheared off at an angle after about 1 cm.  Any idea
what this  is?  And, do you think I should call Meade, return it to the
store or ignore it.  The drives seem to work fine, but I know nothing
about these things.  Thanks very much for such an informative site.
Jeff Kotas
Mike here: I can't say exactly what the piece is but I suggest returning it to the dealer for an exchange. No point in starting out with a potential problem.


Thank you very much for responding!

Subject:	instruction man in english for EXT-70 AT TEL/SCOPE
Sent:	Monday, December 26, 2005 07:19:33
From:	james.driver (
I am currently living in France and was recently bought a MEADE ETX-70AT
telescope which includes instruction manuels in French and Dutch only,
although the outside of the container does give some instructions in

Would you be so kind as to send me the appropiate documentation in
English to the following address


I have read some of your replies to customers questions on the
respective web sites with interest, however, I am not as yet at a stage
where I have questions .but no doubt it will arrive.
Many thanks in advance
Mike here: The manuals are available on Meade's web site. See the FAQ page on my ETX Site for info on manuals.
Subject:	ETX70-AT
Sent:	Sunday, December 25, 2005 16:23:51
From:	Jerem (
Again Jeremie from France.

Just a little question...

I'd buy a ETX70-AT with Autostar 494, Meade MA25mm, MA12mm, MA4mm, 3x
Telenegative multi-coated Barlow, 45 Erecting Prism.

On the boxe it's writing that i can see planets like saturn, mars...
very good...but all i can see it's a ligth in the sky, a lot of stairs
(just ligths) but never a planet (very goog view)

Then, i'm asking if i can do something with these materials, or if i
must buy other lenses, or i do something bad?

Where i live, there is no pollution, ligth or environment, and i use the
ETX on the roof of my house to be on the top of all the way (viewing N
to S and E to W), that's why i don't understand!

My son and me are very sad because of bad view.

How can i do, please help me to answer this question? Besause when i was
young, my father had a small telescop and he was able to make me see the
Saturn's rings, and me i can't for my son with a bigger telescope...

Very thanks for your answer and your ligths for my problem.

Mike here: Mars is small right now but Saturn should show its Rings. But the view with the ETX-70 will be small. If you use the 4mm eyepiece you should be able to see more with Saturn. Don't use the erecting prism for astronomical viewing. Keep in mind that the ETX-70 is more a wide field instrument than a high power telescope. And yes, the photos on the box are NOT indicative of what you will be able to see detail-wise.
Subject:	etx 70 external power
Sent:	Saturday, December 24, 2005 21:32:09
From:	Allen Sellick (
I just got a ETX-70 from Meade outlet store got a great deal ETX-70At
with Autostar and tripod for $99 But I can only find powercords for AC 
I also have a celestron power pack that I use for my ETX-125 so can I
just get a AC and cut off the end and put a 12v cigarette lighter plug
on the end?
Thank you and have a merry Christmas.
Mike here: Yep. Keep the same polarity. However, if you don't want to mess up the AC Adapter, consider getting an inverter. I use one with my Nikon D70 DSLR AC adapter (see the article "Battery + Inverter + Camera AC Adapter" on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page).
Subject:	Voltage of ETX-70 external power source
Sent:	Thursday, December 22, 2005 08:43:46
From:	Frantisek Kundracik (
firstly many thanks for your fantastic web-site, I have found many
usefull information on it!

I have just purchased ETX-70AT as my second (small and highly
transportable) telescope. I want to use power from 12V car-batery.
ETX-70AT uses 6 x 1.5V pack, but there are many recomendation on your
site, that higher voltage should be used for better performace (10 V for
example). An I have found your opinion (12V):

	Mike here: The AUX port is for optional accessories like GPS or
	other items. There are few such items for the ETX-70. See the
	Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page for info on Power
	Supplies; note that you really should use a 12VDC 1000mA source for
	the ETX-70.

Is it true? Can i use 12V as an external power supply?

Best regards

Mike here: The Meade one is 12VDC. You can read about the Meade adapter on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page; there is a photo there where you can see "12VDC".


many thanks, it is really easy and confortable to use car-battery...
I have allready a stabilized AC adapter switched to 9V - I will swich it
to 12V too.

Mary Christmas!

Mike here: Be certain to use a proper power cable; the center pin on the ETX external power plug is ppsitive.
Subject:	Autostar 494 vs. 497
Sent:	Tuesday, December 20, 2005 18:50:31
From:	Dave Hahne (
Other than being able to use the simpler serial cable, are there any
other advantages of switching Autostar controllers on my ETX-70AT?


Dave Hahne
Poquoson, VA
Mike here: More objects in the database (although won't matter much with the smaller ETX-70). Biggest advantage is user-installable updates.
Subject:	Meade Series 4000 2x Apochromatic Barlow Lens (1.25")
Sent:	Tuesday, December 20, 2005 05:47:37
From: (
I've enjoyed your website and the advice and information therein.  I
purchased an ETX 70AT a few months back based partly on the information
I gleaned from you.

I recently purchased the above-indicated Meade model 140 Barlow lens.  I
can't bring the telescope into focus using it.  Am I using it
incorrectly, or is the 140 not compatible with the focal length of the
ETX 70?  I've tried both the 25 mm and the 9 mm eyepiece, and the same
thing happens.  At the extreme end of focus the image just starts to
become recognizable, but certainly not in focus.
Thanks for any information you can share.
Ray C. Gainey
Mike here: There are 2X and 3X Barlow Lens models for the ETX-70 that ensures that eyepieces will reach a focus. For the ETX line you need to use a "shorty" style.
Subject:	ETX-70AT
Sent:	Sunday, December 18, 2005 15:14:50
From:	Jerem (
i'm writing from France, then sorry for my bad words...

First, i had buy a ETX-70AT to see the night sky, but it is very
difficult to use te focal.

I saw a motored focal and i wanted to know if it is possible to connect
it on the ETX base (with a autostar 494) ?

If ok then how to do, because i have a cable connected on the AUX port
with my computer?

Second, How to put a webcam on the ETX to see the star on my computer ?
It is a Logitec 3000 Pro (CCD captor) and what is the good connect?

Third, your web site is very good and i had a lot of informations.
Please continue to do it. Thanks.

Very thanks for your answer.

Jeremie, from France.
Mike here: There is no commercially available electric focuser for the ETX-70. However, there are a couple homemade systems discussed on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. For a lot less money you might want to consider a flexible cable (which you can buy from Scopetronix or make yourself; see the Telescope Tech Tips page again). As to a webcam, you will need to remove the lens and mount it on a tube that slides into the eyepiece hole. Then use the webcam instead of an eyepiece. For more on webcams see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page.
Subject:	Re: Meade ETX 80BB Lenses - can they be upgraded?
Mike here: I just noticed that Meade has an online manual for the "ETX-80AT-BB Backpack Observatory". It is essentially the same as the ETX-80AT model but comes with some other items.


Very thanks for your answer.

I will make by myself the focuser for my ETX-70.

All your website is full of answer. Please continue.

See you soon

Subject:	Use #947 with etx-70at
Sent:	Friday, December 16, 2005 20:11:55
From:	Brendan Furlong (
I've just purchased a Meade etx-70at with a #494 Autostar .

If I can get to see the rings of Saturn with it I'll consider it's paid
for itself :-)

My question is can I use the #947 Autostar controller with this model as
I believe from reading your excellent site that this is a much better
controller .

Any advice would be appreciated .
Mike here: As can be seen on Meade's Autostar Update page (, the #497 can be used with ANY ETX model.


Thanks for your help Mike .



Subject:	Collimating ETX70AT
Sent:	Friday, December 16, 2005 15:06:52
From:	Dave Jenkins (
I have read your response on the ETX 70AT and what I should see.  I have
read fax pages on what to do. I believe what I can see has gotten worse.
Do to this I believe the optics and mirrors are not aligned.  I tried
to view mars in the last 4 months as a point of reference with different
eye pieces including barlow lens and filters (including 28 to 5mm). All
I see is a pin "blob." No luck on anything in the night sky but some
moon pics.  However I can view a distant tree during the day.  Normally
all night images are distorted with a shadow, almost like viewing 2

So how can I properly step by step Collimate.  Or is there something
else wrong?

I have better luck with a telescope lens on my camera, I have been a
night photographer for some time as an fyi.
Mike here: There is no easy way to realign the optics in the ETX refractor models. In fact, other than the flip mirror or lens housing being tilted, there isn't much that can go wrong with the alignment. That said, there can be many other factors at work such as the seeing conditions, the magnication used, as well as the objects being viewed. Mars is small again so you won't be able to see much detail, if any. I do wonder about the distortion/shadow you mention though. When in focus you shouldn't see any shadow. Look at the star Sirius on your next clear night. It should appear as a very bright point of light. If it looks more like a comet then there is a problem.
Subject:	Meade ETX 80BB Lenses - can they be upgraded?
Sent:	Friday, December 16, 2005 14:27:29
From:	Dave Kutcher (
I have recently logged on to your site and have been impressed so far
with what I have seen. I bought a Meade ETX 80BB telescope for my
daughter for Christmas, and have also ordered a copy of your book. I was
wondering if the book contained any information concerning the 80BB
telescope, and if I could upgrade to stronger lenses if I wanted to. I
have not received the book as of yet, so I have not had the opportunity
to see if the answer to my questions are actually printed. If they are,
I apologize for not reading the material first. I want to make sure that
I can provide the telescope with stronger lenses if they are available.
Please advise when you might get the chance. Thank you in advance for
your help.
Dave  Kutcher
Mike here: Haven't heard of the ETX-80BB model; I assume it must be similar to the ETX-80AT-TC model. The book was written before this model came out (a couple of months ago). Some of what is discussed will still be applicable and some won't. And yes, you can use shorter focal length eyepieces and/or a Barlow Lens to increase the magnification. However, keep in mind that every telescope has a theoretical usable maximum magnification. If you are uncertain how to calculate magnification and the max, see the FAQ page.


Thanks for writing back and passing on the information. I purchased the
scope from the Discovery Channel Store. They have a few accessory kits
available for the scopes that they sell, but I was wondering if you
might know if other lenses that are sold might be usable. If I can pick
your brain once more, can you tell me if Meade has a catalog (printed)
available? I have noticed that they have a contest in the works for
submitting pictures for a new catalog, but I didn't see where you could
request one at this time. If you know of any catalog available, please
let me know. Once again, thanks for the response.
Mike here: Any 1.25" eyepiece will fit the ETX. As to a catalog, Meade has their products online at their web site. You can also call them (ph# online as well) and request a catalog.
Subject:	Do I need 933 Erect Image Prism?
Sent:	Friday, December 16, 2005 12:42:32
From:	Steve Frisch (
I purchased an ETX 70 AT for a Christmas gift.  I'm wondering if I
should order the 933 Erect Image Prism for terrestrial viewing.  At one
point the literature seems to imply that the image is reversed and then
I've seen other notes that say the image in inverted (upside down). 
Being reversed doesn't bother me as much as upside down.  I just thought
if it's needed, that I could order to be here in time for Christmas.
Thanks for a great, informative site!

Steve Frisch 
Mike here: Reversed left-right but correct otherwise. So you don't need an erecting prism.
Subject:	etx70:bargin
Sent:	Thursday, December 15, 2005 12:04:08
From: (
I noticed in a shopping market that they were selling etx 70's for
£119. But i'm not finished; It came with a extra eyepiece, barlow
lense, 45 degree ercting prism, travel bag and a camera adaptor. Deal or
no deal?
P.s came with autostar and the shop was lidl.
from Joseph Guy, aged 13
Mike here: Depending upon your expectations of what you will be able to see, it may or may not be a deal. Read my ETX-70 comments on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well the user comments on the Helpful Information: User Observations page.
Subject:	etx-70atcable
Sent:	Thursday, December 15, 2005 09:42:16
From:	Paul Palmer (
My mame is Paul Palmer I'm new to the ETX club 

do you know if the homemade cable

will work with the meade etx-70at.

Thank you for your site I can see it being a great help to me in the

cheers Paul 
Mike here: That is a #505 serial cable and only works with the #497 (and the older #495) Autostar. It does not work with the #494 Autostar included with the ETX-70AT. For that you need a #506 cable, which can not be easily made since it includes specific electronics. It is best to purchase it or purchase a #497 Autostar, which will work with the ETX-70.
Subject:	Control ETX-70AT with a  laptop
Sent:	Wednesday, December 14, 2005 14:49:54
From:	Sean O'Donnell (
Is it possible to control the Meade ETX-70AT with a  laptop ------ if so
what is needed?

Mike here: Actually, you need several things. You need a Meade #506 serial cable to connect a RS-232 port on your computer to the ETX-70 AUX port. If your computer only has USB then you will need a USB-serial adapter (I only recommend Keyspan and Meade for this). You will then need software to control the ETX. You have many choices here; your dealer can sell you a product from Meade which includes software as well as the #506 cable (which can not be purchased separately) or you can use one of the many third party applications to control the ETX (see the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page for comments on Astroplanner and Scopedriver). An alternative to purchasing the #506 cable is to purchase a #497 Autostar (the ETX-70 comes with a #494 Autostar) and then you can buy or easily make a #505 serial cable (details on making the cable on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page).


Thanks Mike fo imfo, will have a look later as I'm going awyay for a few

Subject:	Re: etx focuser tech tip
Sent:	Wednesday, December 14, 2005 00:23:00
From:	Beta Persei (
"Stuart Drayton" said:
>Hi and thanks for your reply.....thats exactly the problem I've had. I
>have sent the mail to the new address so might get an answer this

You are more than welcome! BTW, Mike: congrats for your amazing website!

Stuart: pls let me know if you succeed in getting the info, maybe I'll
be interested too.

Best Season's Greetings and clear skies,

Franco (aka Beta Persei) - Antares Legnano

Subject:	ETX70AT - Power supply
Sent:	Tuesday, December 13, 2005 14:55:01
From:	Mrio Salto (
I have just purchased a new telescope Meade ETX70AT but the seller have
no technical expertise to help me in the following questions:

-What for is the plug named "AUX" in the control panel, just on the
right side of the ON/OFF button?
-How can I do to  use a 9V separate power supply to replace the existent
6X1,5V dry batteries ?
My mail adress is:
Best regards
Mike here: The AUX port is for optional accessories like GPS or other items. There are few such items for the ETX-70. See the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page for info on Power Supplies; note that you really should use a 12VDC 1000mA source for the ETX-70.
Subject:	etx focuser tech tip
Sent:	Tuesday, December 13, 2005 11:51:45
From:	Beta Persei (
Hi Stuart, I've seen your enquiry about the subject on Weasner's
website. Maybe you are experiencing troubles reaching Mirko since the
"" domain has been modified into "".
Try it and good luck,

Beta Persei
45 35' N
08 51' E

Subject:	etx70
Sent:	Tuesday, December 13, 2005 06:17:12
From:	Antonio Prieto Martin (
How is possible to find a ETX70 in a discount supermarket by third the
price of 3 years agos in a specialized shop?
Mike here: As with many products that get updated or replaced by newer products, inventory is possibly being cleared out with the release of the ETX-80.
Subject:	Meade EXT 80 for son's Xmas gift?
Sent:	Monday, December 12, 2005 10:24:48
From:	Kathryn Zimring (
I'm thinking about purchasing a Meade EXT 80 for a Xmas gift for my 13
year old son.  He is a beginner and wants to see the moon, planets
etc...   I know nothing about telescopes, and wanted your opinion on the
Meade EXT 80.  I like the idea that it's computerized, but can you take
it off "computerized" mode and do it manually?   I would greatly
appreciate your expertise with this subject, for I'll need to order it
soon to be able to arrive for Xmas.

Thank you,

Mike here: I suggest you read my comments on the ETX-70, which is very similar to the ETX-80 on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page. Also, see the Helpful Information: User Observations page for more comments from other users as well as the ETX-60, ETX-70, ETX-80 feedback page, both the current one and the November 2005 one in the Feedback Archive. And yes, you can use it without letting the Autostar GOTO objects for you.
Subject:	ETX 70 AT
Sent:	Friday, December 9, 2005 05:17:49
From:	sry r (
I am plannning to buy an ETX 70AT Deame Telescope for a very good price.

I already read a lot of comments which are positive and negative

Could you tell me whether the purchase of this equipment is a good
purchase and if the images are clear and easy to see.

Specs included into package:

MA-25 mm
MA--12 mm
MA-4 mm
MAGNIFICATION 14x until 262,5
350 mm (barlow 3x 1050 mm)

Thanks or your response.

Mike here: Keep in mind that the ETX-70 is a low end refractor telescope with a small aperture. With that small aperture, the maximum usable magnification is limited to about 140X (see the FAQ page for info on how to determine this). For more on what you can see what the ETX-70 see my comments about it on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page and user reports on the Helpful Information: User Observations page.
Subject:	etx focuser tech tip
Sent:	Wednesday, December 7, 2005 10:32:04
From:	Stuart Drayton (
Hi Mike, I don't know if you can help but I'm trying to contact the guy
who wrote this 'Tech Tip' ( copy below). I mailed him but get a delivery
timed out error. Is there a way we can ask if any other user contacted
him earlier, made their own focuser and maybe still have the info he
speaks about.? Do you have any other ideas...I would like to make a
focuser and his one sounded quite good.

thanks for any help you can give and for a great site.



ETX-70 electronic focuser
Sent:  Saturday, February 12, 2005 06:33:04
From:   Mirko Mattioli (
it will be a great pleasure if you can to publish this memo on your ETX
web site. It's concernig a homemade electronic focuser for ETX-70 (but
probably works also on ETX-60) with very common components for a few
dollars. Hereby in detail.

"Specially when I use a webcam on my ETX-70 Telescope, is very difficult
(impossible?) to reach a good focus, due a movements of the mounting. On
the market I never found an electronic focuser, so I have decided to
build one myself. The philosopy was to use common materials at
low/effordable cost (sometimes with the right materials the cost is
below than "flexible" focuser knob on the market). This project is based
on a stepper motor in order to achive a precise focus using a digital
control pad, with the possibility to connect the system with a PC for
remote control and for save/load the focus positions usually used (i.e.
whith different eyepieces, or particular regions of the sky). The
stepper motor cames from "floppy drive" of the personal computer (a
new/sealed floppy drive = 10-15 USD) and it is interface with a
microcontroller (PIC or ATMEL = 10 USD) closed in a plastic enclosure
with 4 push-buttons ( movement +, movement-, fast movement +,fast
movement -) and with a 9 pin connector for serial cable to PC (cost = 10
USD). It's necessary to build a bracket in order to attach the stepper
motor; this bracket can be made from the alluminum cover of floppy disk;
the bracket will be fix near the original focus knob of etx (due the
small size of stepper motor), with the two screws above and below the
focus knob (see my datasheets for detail). Than is necessary di fitting
the stepper motor shaft with the focuser shaft of ETX telescope,
remouving the original knob. And that's it ! I don't have a personal web
page, so please e-mail me at for datasheets,
materials, microcontroller and pc software (if you need the
microcontroller already programmed and/or already soldered on electronic
circuit boad, please let me know: I will be very happy to send them to
you at the cost, NO extra-charge (max 40-50 USD).
Enjoy, Mirko"
Thanks and regards,
Mattioli Mirko - Italy

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