DS MODELS USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 December 2005

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade DS telescope models. Accessories and Feedback items appropriate to the ETX models are posted on other pages as appropriate. 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:	DS-2090 Meade Telescope
Sent:	Friday, December 30, 2005 16:06:29
From:	tim900@optonline.net (tim900@optonline.net)
I came across your site when searching for a solution to a problem with
a brand new Meade DS-2090 refracting telescope I bought my son for
Christmas.  After opening it up and assembling it, I ran the
initialization sequence once without a problem.  During a subsequent
initialization, I got a 'motor failure detected' on the autostar.  When
it runs its test, the vertical motion is noticed but there is nothing
happening on the horizontal motion.  I can't even use the arrow keys to
move it.  At this point I can't even access the reset menu or anything
else, it just keeps trying to test the motors to no avail.  Meade's
customer service lines have been busy and we'd just like to know if
there is anything we've missed in our attempts at solving this.  Any
help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you, 
T. Butler
Mike here: Check the connections as well as the batteries. If the Autostar stays stuck on the initialization display there isn't much you can easily do to correct it (assuming you have an Autostar #494 (no number keys on the keypad). Suggest you contact your dealer for an exchange.

And:

Needless to say, my son and I are extremely dissappointed.  I can't
believe an item like this could have this type of malfunction right out
of the box.

Thanks again.  Your site contains alot of very good info and I have it
bookmarked for future reference.  I don't think I'll be a Meade customer
anymore, though.

Thanks- T. Butler
Mike here: Could be many reasons for the failure including damage during shipment, damage in the store, or just a component failure. Unfortunate but it happens.
Subject:	Meade .965" eyepieces
Sent:	Thursday, December 29, 2005 18:12:25
From:	Gary Kliethermes (gary@thewebdepot.com)
Thanks for taking the time to answer everyone's questions!  I've learned
a lot from your site in the past 2 years.

I was searching your site to find what others were using for
astrophotography adapters with Canon 350D (Digital Rebel XT) when I saw
a couple of messages regarding the standard Meade .965" eyepieces.  This
question has also come up on other forums I frequent (such as the Meade
DS forum on Yahoo).  I have a DS 2130AT, and the standard .965 eyepieces
are almost worthless.  They're very dim, have narrow FOV's, and have
very little relief.   Get the free 1-1/4" adapter from Meade and
purchase some 1-1/4" eyepieces to match.

You can spend more on a single eyepiece than these scopes cost, but
Celestron makes a nice kit which I bought last year.  5 eyepieces, a 2x
barlow, 6 filters, and a nice aluminum case.  It's a great way to get a
range of decent 1-1/4" eyepieces to learn what works best - especially
for beginners learning how to use their scope.  They aren't the absolute
best eyepieces, but they are decent - and they're MUCH better than the
ones Meade includes with these scopes.  Highly recommended.
 
$129 at B&H Photo:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?A=details&kw=CEAK&is=REG&Q=&O=productlist&sku=261646
$135 (with free shipping) from Optics Planet:
http://www.opticsplanet.net/celestron-telescope-eyepiece-filter-accessory-kit.html
$139 from Telescopes.com
http://telescopes.com/products/Celestron_Eyepiece_and_Filter_Kit_-_1.25_Inch_Format_11535.html
 
Google "Celestron 94303" or search for it on Ebay to find the best deal.
 
Thanks!
Gary Kliethermes

Subject:	re: Calc North is always East.
Sent:	Tuesday, December 27, 2005 21:54:23
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Bizzare...
Tonight an LX90 owner posted a similar story, except -his-
unit was pointing due south (when claiming north).  Here's
what i wrote to him:
--------------
> When I do an alignment, the scope levels nicely. However, when it
> says it is "finding" north, the scope actually points due south.
> Is this normal?

No. In fact, it's truly bizarre... especially if you've
previously done a Cal Sensors operation (which tells the
Autostar how far off 'true' north from 'magnetic' north is
at your location).

The only thing i can think of would be if there's a large,
perhaps magnetized, metal object near where you're setting up.
(a close-by parked car or truck will affect LX200gps's in
a similar, but nowhere near so 180-off'ish a manner)

Are you under some power lines? Near a 600v DC subway power
feed in the Boston area?

> I know the manual states that the scope has no home position
> and may not point north during the alignment, but it just seems
> so off to me. Did I mount the scope correctly? When the scope
> finds the alignment stars, though, it's right in the area.

If it's getting the alignment slews fairly close, then everything
else is performing properly.

The magnetic sensor is a transverse coil balanced between two
current sources. Mag north is determined by the current flow
being 'nulled' when the coil is exactly perpendicular to the
earth's magnetic field at your location.
I don't know if having it wound 'backwards' would cause this or not.

Truly puzzling...

have fun
--dick
From:	Troy M. Barnhart (barney@rapidnet.com)
I'm in the Black Hills of South Dakota - just outside of Rapid City
around 10-15 miles.

And like I said in my reply to Mike - the compass (sitting on the tray
below the 'scope) points north while the "Calc North" continues over to
"Magnetic East."  Hahaha...

And as I said in my first email - I packed up the scope and took it to a
different area (mile or two away) and got the same results.

I tried calling Meade's support (literally) all day today, and all I
ever heard was a busy signal.

Thanks,
Troy

And:

This is the first workday after Christmas...
You may expect the load on the telephone system to subside
by, oh, Jan 20th?

have fun
--dick

And:

Thanks for all the advice.

Meade has a new LNT module in the mail for me...

Regards,
Troy

Subject:	Calc North is always East.
Sent:	Monday, December 26, 2005 18:58:46
From:	Troy M. Barnhart (barney@rapidnet.com)
I have a new DS2130-LNT.  

Has anyone run into a problem with the LNT sensor ALWAYS finding "Due
East" instead of "Due North"?  My "Easy" alignments are perfectly off by
about 90 degrees.  Even the "Two Star" alignment method tries to use a
"Calc North" component...

I'm reading and re-reading several Meade support websites and user
forums.

I've calibrated and trained motors and calibrated sensors. I've done
numerous resets and even replaced the LNT module's battery.

I've tracked and repeated several sequences of these steps, also...

I've tried setting up at several different sites (just in case I have
some geographical - magnetical anomaly around my home)

And it still always find EAST as my NORTH.

Did Meade manufacturing somehow install the chip with a quarter turn or
something?

As today's a Gubment holiday - I'll put a call into Meade tomorrow...

Thanks,
Troy Barnhart
Rapid City, South Dakota
Mike here: It does sound like something is out of line since you have done everything I would have suggested. Only other thing to check would be a magnetic compass to see if it exhibits the same error around the telescope. If that check is OK I suggest contacting Meade; they will likely send you a replacement LNT.

And:

Thanks Mike for the fast reply and the great website...

Nope, I've had my milspec compass on the tripod tray below pointing
north while the scope sat pointing east.

Happy Holidays,
Troy Barnhart
Mike here: Contact Meade.
Subject:	DS-2114-ATS-TC and a laptop
Sent:	Monday, December 26, 2005 09:03:49
From:	tbaker2268@peoplepc.com
This is my first telescope, and I am wondering if I can hook a laptop
computer to it ...

it has the Auto-star and what looks like a phone jack hook-up to the
right of the off-on switch for the auto-star.... keep in mind I am 53
yrs old and learn slowly... but this has been the one thing I have
always wanted , but wanted to raise my kids first.... they gave this to
me for Christmas... and I am like a kid in a candy store ...

but will it hook to the laptop? and what software do I need?
 
thank you,
Jack Baker
Mike here: You need a #506 serial cable (and pwrhaps a RS-232 to USB adapter if your laptop has only USB). You will also need software. The #506 cable is not easily made. Alternatively, you can get a #497 Autostar and make (or buy) the simpler #505 serial cable. For software, you can use any of many available free, shareware, and commercial applications. Voyager, Starry Night, Astroplanner, Scopedriver, and more. For some reviews, see the Accessory Reviews: Software page.
Subject:	refurbed TeleStar DS-2130AT
Sent:	Monday, December 26, 2005 00:07:11
From:	Tiger Moses (tigermoses@houston.rr.com)
Since this item on ebay is coming from Meade, based on what appears to
be a $399 list price scope, seems like a great deal.

I already have Starry Night Pro 5, and can find stuff in the sky with my
camera, so with the GOTO (or possible loptop integration) and living
away from the city, seems like if I want to start seeing things, this is
way to go.

As a semi expert, do you see anything obvious missing from kit?
http://cgi.ebay.com/TeleStar-DS-2130AT-70131RE_W0QQitemZ7574861768QQcategoryZ28181QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Thanks

Tiger Moses

I assume drive it to light duty to mount a 35 DSLR via Tmount,  but a
light digital with adapter on eyepiece seem plausable, yes?
Mike here: The DS-2130 is a nice telescope for starters, depending upon your expectations. For the price you will get some nice views. The only issue with mounting cameras will be the DS mount. It is not as stable when adding the extra weight. I can't say how much will be too much. Also, finding attachments that support the 0.965" diameter eyepieces may be difficult but I haven't looked so they may exist. You could use the 2" adapters but they are typically much heavier. But I have seen astrophotography using the DS models so it should be possible.

And:

I appreciate you taking the time to answer during the crazy holiday
season. I had often read on your site for people to contact meade to get
an adapter for 1 1/4 eyepiece use, and apparently they would issue it
for free?

Are they still that friendly?
Mike here: If you treat the support person as a friend, they will likely return the compliment.

And:

Again thanks for all your help.
I just ordered it!

It should be here in about two weeks I guess!

Subject:	ds 114ata
Sent:	Sunday, December 25, 2005 08:39:53
From:	Llms9718@aol.com (Llms9718@aol.com)
lens was covered with a dark cloth that was taped on to the lens, how do
you get the tape off and will it hurt the lens.  this was when I got it
out of the box.  Im afraid it will damage the lens as it is very sticky.
This is the lens on the optical tube which is the one closest to the
sky.

HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mike here: I presume this was a used telescope and that you didn't use tape to cover the lens. Anyway, see the article "Cleaning Optics" on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page; something there may help you. Whatever you do, don't use window cleaners or rub excessively hard as you can damage the lens coating. Depending on how long the tape was on the lens, the coating may already be damaged but until you get the lens clean assume the coating is OK.

And:

this was a brand new telescope, it had a dark cloth over the end where
you can adjust with 3 screws and 3 allens, tape is so thick im afraid to
try to get it off, i will return the scope if you think that might have
been a error, i didn't think that they would put tape over it.

the dark cloth was slide between the lens and housing, we pulled it out
and the lens is covered with very sticky tape.  i assume the cloth had
to come out, so sorry to bother you, but was really excited to get this
one gift.
tnx
Larry
Mike here: I don't have one of those models so can't say if it is normal for that to be there. I am supposed there was cloth covering the lens. Usually there is a plastic or metal lens cover to protect the lens.

And:

i actualle think where he pulled this cloth out of is the bottom of the
scope and not the lens.  instructions on this model are very bleak.
thanks for your help.  i pulled of the cap and was actually using it
upside down.
Mike here: That will make a difference! If the tape was on the back of the mirror then you are OK.
Subject:	Meade ETX same as Meade DS ??
Sent:	Wednesday, December 14, 2005 15:09:24
From:	Michael Erard (machurry@yahoo.com)
I was wondering if the Meade DS2130 can be polar aligned the same way
you described for the ETX models.

If no, will buying another tripod with an equatorial wedge fix the
problem ?

And finally, if the answer is still no, what is the longest pose i can
do with a piggyback camera using the automatic tracking of autostar,
let's say with a 50mm or 100mm lens, and not have any trails due to the
rotation ?

Thank you
 Mike
Mike here: Not with the mount it comes with. And you would have to make your own adapter for the DS telescope to use an alternative mount. Then you would have to tell the Autostar what "mount" you have in order to get the drive to work properly (assuming you want to continue using the Autostar). Typically the longest you'll be able to expose without evident trailing will be around 30 seconds.
Subject:	re: Meade DS-114 F-910 F/8
Sent:	Tuesday, December 13, 2005 20:13:15
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Here's what i'd do if i had your scope:
(a) Call Meade ( 800-626-3233 ) and tell them you want the
 " 1.25 inch eyepiece adapter for the DS-114 "  (it's free).
 Your eyepiece holder is really cabable of holding a 2 inch eyepiece,
 and Meade puts a piece of (basically) plastic pipe in it to reduce
the diameter to 0.96 inches.  However the eyepiece you'll want to
buy are the 1.25" diameter. ( 2" are far too expensive, 0.96" are
 usually poor... and if you're missing the 0.96 adapter, they'd
 be useless for you).  So the adapter (a piece of pipe 2" on the
 outside, with a 1.25" hole through it) gives you a known size.

(b) *now* (with the adapter in hand) go shopping for some 1.25"
 eyepieces.  Most Meade scopes come with a 26mm focal length
 eyepiece... which would give you 35x magnification.
You can figure the magnification by dividing the eyepiece's focal
length into the scope's 910mm focal length.  Thus 910/26=35.

Typical eyepiece focal lengths for the DS-114 are 26mm, 12mm,
9mm and (on good nights) 4mm.  If you have the 2x Barlow, that
turns a 26mm -into- a 13mm (so you don't need to buy a 12),
and would turn a 9mm into a 4.5mm (so you don't need to buy a 4).

Good places (i.e. cheap) to get eyepieces suitable for your
scope are Telescope Warehouse (Bill Vorce frequently has specials
listed at Mike's site: see
http://www.weasner.com/etx/dealer_specials.html
for some of them)   and www.surplusshed.com
Bill Vorce is more targeted to Meade-compatible, surplus shed kind'a
needs more knowledge on the buyer's part to avoid wasting money on
gadgets which aren't appropriate.

If you do use the 1.25" adapter, then you may need/want to buy a 1.25"
2x Barlow, to double the usable focal lengths of your eyepieces.
Bill Vorce usually has the "shorty" Meade Barlow for about $25.

In the Meade line of eyepieces, the model numbers indicate quality.
So a 5000 is better than a 4000 series (but the 4000's are -good-),
and the 4000 are better than the 3000's.

If you start with a 26mm, or 15mm, you'll have enough targets for
which that's the -perfect- eyepiece to last you many months.

have fun
--dick (who only had the 26mm, a 2x Barlow and an 8mm for many years)

Subject:	Meade DS-114 F-910 F/8
Sent:	Saturday, December 10, 2005 09:01:46
From:	Jobobnib@aol.com (Jobobnib@aol.com)
I purchased a display DS-114 Meade at Sam's for a mark down of $139.00.
The Eye Piece seems to have missing parts. The Viewfinder isn't like
anything described in the contents booklet. It has a Barlow 2x lenses,
but I don't know what that means. There is apparently another lenses
(eye piece) that is either missing.

This Unit came with Autostar #494 Computer Controller.

I am confused about the Viewfinder, the Eye Piece or pieces and what I
should have. I think I got a good buy, but have no clue as to what I
need to use this Unit. Can you help me with identifying what I have and
what I need to put this thing into action. I am a 65yo beginner from the
word go.

Thank You for any help
Robert E. Niblett
Mike here: If there are missing parts I suggest returning it to the dealer for an exchange. It may have been a returned product from a previous purchaser. As to what a Barlow Lens is, it extends the focal length of the telescope, effectively increasing the magnification of any eyepiece. A 2X Barlow Lens doubles the magnification for any given eyepiece.

And:

I think I got a great deal, but need to know your recomendations as to
what I need for an eyepiece. I only got the EyePiece holder and Barlow
2x lenses.
Thanks
Robert E. Niblett
Mike here: I still recommend you exchange it. If it is missing one part then you may also find other problems as you start using it. If you don't want to exchange it, then go to the dealer and ask that the missing eyepiece to be provided to you. Take the parts list with you.
Subject:	DS 2080 AT - Motor unit failure
Sent:	Thursday, December 8, 2005 14:25:18
From:	Soraya Ismail (rismail@iafrica.com)
I'm from South Africa and just bought a Meade DS 2080-AT refractor. I
maybe used the telescope for about 45 minutes and then I got the message
on the Autostar saying "Motor Unit Failure". I read the message that
followed and pressed "Mode" as it said. I switched off the autostar and
retired with the same result. I waited ten minutes and switched it on
again. The motor just started to turn horizontally continuously and I
had no control over it with the handbox. (I used new batteries when I
first used the telescope).

Please can you advise me on this. I am a bit concerned because I live in
South  Africa and there is no Meade support here.

Thank you

Mohamed Ismail
Mike here: Try a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES from the Autostar menus.
Subject:	hi
Sent:	Sunday, December 4, 2005 16:30:58
From:	JERRY GREER (cavalier1968@alltel.net)
On my Meade ds 90, the screw manageing the azmuth keeps popping out.  I
use the autostar 494 with it.  Any advice on how to fix?  This is the
same problem I had with my first ds90.
 
Thanks
 
Cav
Mike here: It sounds like the screw hole is stripped out. Perhaps some filler will help. Or you can contact Meade.
By the way, 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:	Meade DS-114AT Question
Sent:	Thursday, December 1, 2005 12:03:08
From:	Derek Carpenter (derekbc2004@yahoo.com)
I recently purchased the Meade DS-114AT telescope with the 494 Autostar
included. I was wondering if this telescope is a good one or not?!? Its
my first telescope, but I am familiar with constillations and planets
and whatnot. How is the quality of the telescope? Are the images clear
and crisp or do they use cheap lenses and other materials? I would
appreciate any feedback and informatiion as to the quality of this
product. Thank you so much.

Derek
Mike here: The DS line of scopes is certainly acceptable, depending upon your expectations. Check out the Helpful Information: User Observations page as well as the DS feedback pages for more info.

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Copyright © 2005 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
Submittals Copyright © 2005 by the Submitter
URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/feedbackDec05/ds.html