Last updated: 31 December 2005

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.

Subject:	Telescope Purchase Advice
Sent:	Friday, December 30, 2005 19:48:10
From:	Michael McLaughlin (
I've looked though your "Mighty ETX Site" for the last several months
(great resource by the way) because after nearly a year of saving I'm
just about ready to take the plunge and buy a new telescope.  I think
the ETX model is something I'm interested in and after typing ETX into a
search engine (a few months ago), up came your site.

I know you use a variety of scopes and thought maybe I could press you
for a recommendation.  I'll admit that I don't know a great deal about
telescopes, but I've finally learned a little about the night sky using
a couple of inexpensive books, an old pair of binoculars, and a star
wheel.  It's been a lot of fun (Jupiter is one of my favorite targets)
but now I want to see more.

I would love to eventually move into astrophotography (even if I'm no
good at it) and definitely want a scope that will allow me to do this. 
I don't mind putting in some hours with an instrument (and a few
dollars), as long as I get a good return for my investment.

I actually thought about the LX-200GPS UHTC 7" Mak.  As I read more
about it though, it seems to be less transportable than I would like
(awfully heavy).  It also appears to have been discontinued and if that
is the case then it would probably mean less/no support and fewer/more
expensive accessories down the road.

The ETX125-PE UHTC is probably my current choice.  I figure on buying a
hard case for transportability and to protect my investment.  Also many
Meade dealers are offering a set of 4000 series eyepieces and filters in
a hard case for $199.00 with a telescope purchase (do you like these
eyepieces?).  Also I suppose a dew shield and possibly a flex focuser
would be good buys.

I guess my question is; what would you buy and why?  I know that you
can't realistically be expected to match me with my perfect telescope,
but I would like to better understand what equipment you use and why you
use it.  What do you like and dislike about the ETX?  Do you think that
the UHTC is worth the extra investment?  What accessories or equipment
do you see as vital with an initial purchase?  Is the ETX going to keep
me happily snagging photos of the sky for years?   If it were you, would
you purchase the PE over the AT (if the ETX were your choice)?  Is the
ETX generally reliable, or will I have to send it in every other year
for yet another glitch?

Knowing the answer to these kinds of questions will help me decide. 
It's easy for me to look at something and say that I like it, but if
telescopes are like most of the cars I've owned then you always find out
things months or even years after the purchase (some good some bad). 
That is were your obvious experience can help me out (you've owned one
for years).

I won't be disappointed if you think I need to look at other options. 
That's why I'm asking BEFORE I buy it.  Sorry if these are mixed
questions, but they do all relate to my purchase (I did read the Email
Etiquette).  Any advice you can offer me would be greatly appreciated.
Mike McLaughlin
Sullivan,  IL
Mike here: First off, get the telescope you will use rather than sit in the closet either because it is too cumbersome to set up or because you find the views don't match your expectations. Aperture vs portability. The ETX-125 makes a nice compromise. UHTC is a definite winner; effectively adds 1" to the aperture in the light reaching your eye. Before jumping into accessories I suggest learning the telescope and deciding after that just what you want to do with it. You may find one aspect interests you more than other aspects and then you'll be able to make a better choice on accessories you want. As can be seen on the ETX Site, astrophotography can be done with the ETX but keep in mind that ANY astrophotography with a telescope is a challenge as well as rewarding. I enjoy all my telescopes. The ETX-90 is my most used telescope at home and the LXD55-8"SC the most used when I travel to Oracle Observatory. As to PE vs AT, do you need the Level North Technology or can you find your own way around the night sky and identify the Autostar's alignment stars and find your local True North and can you level the telescope yourself? If you can answer these questions, you can decide which is best for you.
Subject:	Meade ETX-105AT vs. -125AT
Sent:	Thursday, December 29, 2005 09:22:15
From:	J Martin (
To start - please forgive my inexperience with terminology, etc.
regarding telescopes.  I'm just out of the egg with this stuff, so bear
with me...  After reading and reading, and searching and searching, I
believe I've narrowed my choices to either the 105 or the 125. 
Basically, there is a $200 difference.  My question is whether it is
worth the $200 jump.  It seems that the accessories included will be
sufficient as I learn.  I know I want the UHTC coating when I order.  I
am considering the optional #932 45 degree erecting prism.  What are
your thoughts on the #126 2x Barlow lens?  And, a hard carrying case. 
Please let me know if I'm way off track, or sound like the ideal
consumer (let's see, I'll take that, and that...  oh, and that's
pretty...).  Now, what are your thoughts on dealers?  Actually, I think
I know what I'll do on that - buy from someone with a store locally. 
Gives me a little recourse just in case anything goes wrong.

...OK, your turn.  Thank you for your time.
Mike here: Size: it comes down to portability vs aperture. Which do you need more? UHTC is definitely a good thing to have. It is like adding an 1" of aperture in the amount of light that reaches your eye. As to the Barlow Lens, see the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page. As to cases, see the Accessory Reviews: Cases page. Dealers: Oceanside Photo and Telescope (I have a relationship with them), Shutan Camera and Video, and Scopetronix. But using a local dealer is always best.


I recently e-mailed you regarding the 105AT vs. the 125AT.

I had pretty much decided on the "125" pending your opinion(s).

Then, I went looking again...  came across the new "premier edition" -
nudges the money a bit, but I'd rather spend a little extra and get more
bang for my buck.  Let me know what you think of the two "125"s.

Thank you, thank you, thank you
Mike here: Do you need the Level North Technology or can you find your own way around the night sky and identify the Autostar's alignment stars and find your local True North and can you level the telescope yourself? If you can answer these questions, you can decide which is best for you.


I will definitely get UHTC.
Vendor - I think I'll use one that you've recommended.
I can't find a place on the "buy now" screen to specify UHTC, which I
know must be requested at time of purchase.  "Local" equals Atlanta. 
That's not so local for me.
Barlow - I'll research more.
Case - I'll research more.

Thank you for your time.  I'm excited about this new adventure into
space.  Wish me luck!

Subject:	re: Focus knob on EXT125AT not affiixed and no screw
Sent:	Tuesday, December 27, 2005 21:26:49
From:	richard seymour (
An alternate approach is to go to RadioShack and buy a
small "radio knob" from their pick-a-part drawers (you can
also find such things at good local hardware stores).

Try to measure the shaft diameter so you have some
idea of an approximate sizing (to the nearest 1/32"
is good enough, but even just barn-dooring between
1/16th, 1/8th or 1/4 will get you into the ballpark).

good luck

Subject:	General Comments on the Mighty ETX Site!
Sent:	Monday, December 26, 2005 21:54:30
From:	Mark Cloud (
I just want to say thanks for the great resource you provide at the
Mighty ETX Site!   Years ago as a youngster, with a cheap 3" reflector,
I remember the excitement I had looking at the stars.  Wanting to share
this with my sons, I bought a used DS2130 Telestar.  My wife and I
homeschool our boys (ages 16 to 9) and I am teaching astronomy to them
this year -- what a resource I have here to draw upon!  They are very
excited about all aspects of astronomy.  We've only begun and had a few
nights of viewing (weather in winter:(), but are out every chance we
get!  We plan to view all the Messier objects, and view as many
stars/NGC objects as we can (that'll take us a few years! ;)).  Of
course the planets, and the sun are on the agenda, too, as is some
astrophotograpy.  I just wanted to drop you a line and say 'thanks' for
the great accumulation of material, constellation guides, tips,
feedback, etc. that you provide here... Keep up the good work!

Many Thanks!

Mark Cloud
Joplin, MO

Subject:	telescope
Sent:	Monday, December 26, 2005 07:35:32
From: (
hope you can help us please we have just bought a meade etx 105pe they
seems to be two stickers on the mirrows inside the telescope where the
eye piece slots in please could you advise me on how to remove the
stickers as we can not see at all and is this normall thank you for your
help peter holt
Mike here: I am not aware that any stickers are placed INSIDE the telescope. Can you send me a photo of this?



its when you loof down the eyepiece without the eyepeice in  the sticker
seems to be on the flip mirrow thanks

photo photo
Mike here: Although it is difficult to tell from the out of focus images, it looks either like the flip mirror is NOT in place or something was not removed during assembly. When you look through the rear port with the flip mirror moved out of the way (your 3rd image), you should not be able to see the mirror at all. I suggest contacting the dealer for an exchange as there should be NOTHING touching the surface of the flip mirror.
Subject:	Focus knob on EXT125AT not affiixed and no screw
Sent:	Sunday, December 25, 2005 15:03:30
From:	David Roberts (
I just purchased the EXT125AT and the focus knob in the telescope will
not stay on or focus the instrument.  Do I need to send the unit back or
is there a local repair I can do?

David A. Roberts
Mike here: Have you tried tightening the setscrew on the side of the focus knob?


Thanks for the the prompt reply. That's one of the problems.  There is
no set screw.  Is there an aftermarket fix for this or am I just stuck
with having to deal with Meade.

Mike here: If there is no setscrew it is best to contact Meade; keep in mind that post-Christmas is always a busy time for their telephone staff. Are you certain there is no setscrew? If it is well inside the knob it can be difficult to see and one frequent problem that people have when inserting an allen wrench into the knob is that they don't get it inserted far enough. Word of caution, until you get the knob tightened down, do not tilt the telescope tube downward. Always keep it pointed upwards about 45 degrees to avoid the focus shaft from slipping inside the tube.


There is no set screw.  As far as the tube it has already been all the
way down and up.  So the focus shaft (whatever that is ...i'm new to
this is) may already be screwwed up.  I do have it locked down at a 45
degree upward angled.  Sounds like I may just be messed up.  I'll
contact Meade in the morning and email them tonight.   Thanks for you
help and I really appreciate your responding so quickly.  I got this as
a gift for a friend and was trying to get it up and running.  It looks
like it may be a bust.

Mike here: If the knob is still on the focus shaft then the shaft is still OK.
Subject:	Best to You
Sent:	Sunday, December 25, 2005 07:48:21
From:	shirley m feickert (
Best of the Holidays to YOU and Your Family
For All the help You give to so many of us

Thank You as well

Jim Feickert & Family 

Subject:	Re: Polarity
Sent:	Sunday, December 25, 2005 04:43:25
From:	Jan H Kolst (
I've tested the Power Craft wih the scope (ETX 90) and everything works
fine.  Thanks again for your enthusiasm and patience!
Best wishes for Christmas!

Subject:	Oracle Observatory
Sent:	Saturday, December 24, 2005 16:22:12
From:	Ken Toliver (
I hadn't been to your site in quite some time and just recently enjoyed
the write-ups on the Oracle observatory. The funny thing is; I did not
realize that it was YOU that had bought the property.

As your neighbor to the north (Scottsdale), I want to personally wish
you a Merry Christmas and clear skies for your coming trip. I am not
sure if you currently reside in Arizona but our skies have had a thin
layer of high clouds for over a week now. Having just gotten my
supercharged telescope back from Dr. Clay (and chomping at the bit to
test it out and submit a report!), I have been frustrated beyond

A clearing trend has been forecast and hopefully all we be well when you
get here!

Ken Toliver
Mike here: I live just south of LA; 8 hours from Oracle! Still planning on going 28-30 December. Thanks for the weather report!
Subject:	Power Craft
Sent:	Friday, December 23, 2005 12:19:18
From:	Jan H Kolst (
I've just bought a Power Craft model 69039 which has the following
technical specifications:
Battery 12V17Ah
Start aid 400A
Peak loading 900A
Output,lamp 3,6W
This instrument can be charged several times and is produced in Denmark.

I've bought this for my my car and boat and was wondering if it could be
used for my 90etx telescope as power supply.

I'm a bit worried about the polarity. The center is positiv for the
powersupply for ETX? As you probably know I'm not a technician.

Perhaps the picture doesn't tell you anything......

Mike here: Will work fine. Center pin in positive.


Yesterday I asked about" Power Craft" and the polarity(Center pin
positiv) How can I figure out that my new "Power craft" will give the
center pin positiv connection?

When I use my converter AC to DC ,connected to the houswiring, things
work fine.This connverter consists of :1 Transformer with a cigarette
inlet.2 A wire with cigarette outlet and connection to the scope. Can I
connect my "Power craft" to the (2) wire with cigarette outlet which I 
use with my converter?

Christmas greetings
Mike here: Should work fine. Most external power sources have the center wiring as positive. If you have a voltmeter you can measure the output from your AC adapter; note the direction of the needle swing or sign of the output. Then do the same thing from the external power supply; if the direction or sign is the same you should be OK. NOTE: I am not an electrical engineer so anything I say about electricity is subject to error and may cause damage. Use caution as I am not responsible for any damage to any equipment.
Subject:	broken etx 105ec
Sent:	Friday, December 23, 2005 09:30:25
From:	mail account (
I have just realised my up and down slew on my etx 105 now no longer
works, the left and right slew work fine. I was one minute using it, the
next it wouldn't do anything. Have you any incidences of the up and down
slew stopping on this scope. I have tightened the sides just incase and
checked on a separate hand controller but with no luck.
Terry poppy
Mike here: Need more info. Does the altitude lock hold the OTA in place when engaged? Or does the OTA want to fall back down to the base?


Right, I read some information on your excellent site and decided to
undo the bottom of the scope, behind the battery compartment. What I
found is pretty much lack workmanship. The wire loom feeding the motor
area had snagged around the cogs and the wire feeding the up and down
movement had been ripped in half.

I have now repaired the wire and the scope is now working, apart from
that is, it now does not locate the stars it is telling me it is looking
for when it first goes into align. I am not sure if maybe the autostar
was corrupted somehow so I am now in the process of downloading the
latest version.

I noticed a problem when I was aligned with Venus, I asked the telescope
to go to Vega whereas it never went anywhere near it. I then asked it to
go back to Venus and it went 120 degrees in the wrong direction.

Don't know if this may be of some use to your readers. Thankyou for your


Gloucestershire and North Wiltshire
Mike here: Don't forget to do a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES as well.
Subject:	re:  Taking an ETX to Chile
Sent:	Wednesday, December 21, 2005 21:35:10
From:	richard seymour (
Mike's answers are all correct.

I took my ETX90 to New Zealand, and can answer too:

> 1. Will the above telescope work down there or is it set up for the
>    northern hemisphere only?

It is quite happy in the southern hemi... just create a Site with
the proper latitude, longitude and time zone, and it'll be happy.
I suggest you start by telling it (you can do this before travelling)
to add Chile/Santiago to its Site list, and then -edit- that entry
to the proper location (this gets the Time Zone properly set).
Alt/Az setup in the southern hemi is -exactly- the same as the north:
start with the OTA level and pointed true North (yes, north).

> 2. Does it run on batteries? (I'm going to a pretty out of the way
>    place).

The ETX90 uses 8 AA cells, held in the base.  They'll last for
about 20 hours of use.

> 3. With Meade's Autostar do I just move the telescope by its paddle
>   to a 2 star alignment, and then "GoTo" after that?  (I know my way
>    around the sky fairly well).

Ahh... those Celestron reflexes...
Autostars are easier: upon power up, it'll offer "Align/Easy"
Tap the [enter] key, and -it- will choose, and self-slew to,
the two alignment stars.  You just center them.

> 4. If it gets knocked around in shipping down there is it easy to
>    collimate?

Tale of warning: remove the viewfinder bracket (a single screw from
the rear).  I took my scope in my roll-on handcarry, padded by clothing.
Peachy... until i did a local overnight plane-change.
Then it went from US hand-carry regulations (40 pound) to local (20
 pound).  Into the hold my soft-sided carry-on went.  By the time it
emerged from the baggage carosel at the other end, the viewfinder
bracket had been snapped off.  But the collimation was fine.
The ETX90 uses a -glued on- secondary, so it is -extremely- resistant
to loss of collimation.  Mine also spent a (literal) week getting put on
a UPS truck every day in Memphis for a tour of the city while i was
trying to convince UPS to send it to -seattle- (where it should've
gone).  Even with all of that (the internal shock-absorbing cardboard
was smashed flat), the collimation survived.

have a fun trip

Subject:	filters
Sent:	Wednesday, December 21, 2005 06:42:55
From: (
I live in a light poisoned area (Brooklyn), where street lights are
brightly visible even from my backyard , I'd like to know if any of the
light pollution filters sold by various manufacturers (orion, meade,
celestron...) will aid in  observing planets through an etx 105 uhtc ?
Mike here: They don't help much with planets since the planets are mostly fairly bright. They can increase the contrast with the sky background and that may make it easier to locate a faint planet BUT since they also reduce the light reaching your eye, it can be counterproduct, especially on a small telescope.
Subject:	ETX 125 AT/ EC Difference?
Sent:	Wednesday, December 21, 2005 04:44:19
From:	Andy Rayner (
Hi Folks
I have a question.
What is the difference between the ETX 125 At & EC?
Which would you recommend?
Mike here: See the FAQ page on the ETX Site.
Subject:	meade etx- 125PE image question
Sent:	Monday, December 19, 2005 13:34:10
From:	Christopher Dougherty (
I am looking into purchasing the meade etx-125 PE scope. I have been
using binoculars and wanted to know if the image from the meade is going
to be "right-side up" and non mirror image like binoculars. Thanks,
Chris Dougherty
Mike here: The image is right-side up but is reversed horizontally.


As you can tell I am new at this. I emailed you earlier today regarding
the image orientation. Do you just use your brain to convert the
mirror-image of the scope when looking at star maps? Some suggest using
a mirror on your chart table or photocopying the star atlas, flipping it
over and shining a light through it. Do you think that it would be
worthwhile to use an amici prism as a diagonal --which would fix the
image. I could exchange the diagonals when I wanted to take pictures....
what is your personal preference and how much do you think the amici
diagonal will diminish the image quality? Thank you again, Chris
Mike here: I don't find the image reversal a problem. However, Meade does have an "Erecting Prism" for the ETX; see the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page.


Is the "erecting prism" primarily for terrestrial viewing and does it
make astrological images less clear? Thank you for your patience. I just
want to be able make the most of my star hunting using the Star Atlas
and the ETX 125PE (which I will soon be ordering). I have been spending
many hours on your website and as a great number of people have already
told you, it is very helpful. Other visitors of your site have also been
very helpful in answering my questions. Thanks again, Chris Dougherty
Mike here: Yes, it is designed for terrestrial viewing and since you are adding more optics, there is some deterioration in the image (less important for daytime viewing). But it can be used for night time viewing but it is not important. Better to use your brain to make the translation from the chart to the image through the eyepiece.
Subject:	1st Annual ASKC Star Party
Sent:	Sunday, December 18, 2005 19:41:19
From:	david (
June 22-25, 2006
1st Annual ASKC Star Party
ASKC's Dark Sky Site, in  Butler, MO
Sponsored by The Astronomical Society of Kansas City (ASKC)

Subject:	ETX 125 and LX 200 8inch Comparison
Sent:	Sunday, December 18, 2005 13:22:24
From:	Frederick James Witney (
Can you help with a comparison between the ETX125 AT UHTC and the LX200
8inch also with UHTC .

I would like to upgrade ,,,but what would be the advantage
/disadvantages please .

I am very happy with the new ETX125AT and its portability etc.

Can you or anybody please give me a good reason to upgrade to the LX200
8inch or should I be happy with what I've got ?

Its going to be a big expense for me ,and I would like to hear about
other peoples experiences before I take the plunge ????
Best regards
Fred Witney
Mike here: Why should you upgrade? You have lots of money to spend. You want a larger aperture telescope. You want a more stable, professional mount. You want to do higher end astrophotography. You want better views. I have the LXD55-8"SC w/UHTC (same OTA as the LX200 8"SC) and there is quite a bit of improved differences between my ETX-125 (without UHTC) and the 8"SC.


I will take all your advise on board and probably get one in the new
year .

I took my first digital photos of the Moon last week with the ETX125 and
a Pentax istDS ,,,,not to bad for a first time rank armature .

I was very pleased

The truth is ............

Most were shocking ,two were great ,,my Pentax cable shutter remote
arrives tomorrow ???

Best Wishes for Christmas .
Fred Witney

Subject:	[Fwd: Re: [MeadeETXOwners] Does MEADE have a customer service e-mail address?]
Sent:	Sunday, December 18, 2005 09:39:53
From:	Allen Jensen (
Thought this might be good for your web site if it's not already there -
SkyAssurance for ETX via VAC - contact info.

Try - VAC is who is actually providing 
the coverage for SkyAssurance, or try the VAC phone number: 800-291-3392.

I was sent my info via E-mail - showed up 6+ months after I purchased 
the telescope.....


	Kevin wrote:
	I want to ask MEADE a simple question about Sky Insurance.  I don't want
	to call and wait on the phone for 20 minutes for a simple question.  If
	they had an e-mail address, I could send them my question in an e-mail. 
	I searched the MEADE web site and only found phone numbers, no e-mail
	address for customer support???
	My question is:
	I purchased sky insurance through the customer service phone number.
	MEADE charged my credit card, but I never received anything in the mail
	confirming my sky insurance purchase.  From what I can gather, from
	their web site, I was suppose to receive a certificate, but nothing has
	arrived and it's been 2 months?
	All I want is MEADE to confirm I have purchased sky insurance, but I
	don't want to be placed an hold for 20 minutes to find out?

Subject:	ETX125ec  AZ
Sent:	Sunday, December 18, 2005 04:15:23
From:	Ole (
Have problem with my AZ drive, when i allign the telescope and senter
the star manuly the drive starts working but it take 1-2 sec before it

When i have the star in the sentre the drive moves it back.

I had the telecope on service where thy tighten the slack i had on the
DEC drive, but i think they over tighten the AZ drive, it so tight i
can't almost even move it, must use both my hands to move it freely

Have any idea what i can do?

Ole Rulnes
Mike here: Part of the problem you describe can likely be cured by doing a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES. This should fix the "rubberbanding" when trying to center an object. It may also help the lag in slewing.
Subject:	Taking an ETX to Chile
Sent:	Saturday, December 17, 2005 13:58:48
From: (
I have an upcoming trip to the far south of Chile - almost to Terra del
Fuego. I'm considering buying a used ETX-90E with Autostar to view the
night sky from there. I am familiar with using "Go-To" telescopes and
operate an 11 1/2" Celestron, and a 12 1/2" Ritchey by computer etc.
    1. Will the above telescope work down there or is it set up for the
    northern hemisphere only?

    2. Does it run on batteries? (I'm going to a pretty out of the way

    3. With Meade's Autostar do I just move the telescope by its paddle
    to a 2 star alignment, and then "GoTo" after that?  (I know my way
    around the sky fairly well).

    4. If it gets knocked around in shipping down there is it easy to
Mike, thanks so much for your help.
Ted Wolfe
Mike here: Yes, the Autostar works in the Southern Hemisphere; see the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page for more on that. You should still be able to to use the Automatic Alignment with the LNT as well. Batteries work fine although depending upon how long you'll be "in the field" you may want to use an external power DC source. Yes, you use the Autostar handcontroller for GOTOs and slewing. Collimation is another matter and best left to Meade. While it is possible for a user to do it (see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page for several articles on collimation, it is not something you will want to try in the field. On the other hand, with a proper case you should haven't have any problem. And the ETX-90 is small enough for carry-on. Just check the tripod.


Thanks for your comments. I'll follow them.
I don't have a carrying case for the ETX any place you would suggest
where I could pick up a used one?
Ted Wolfe
Mike here: Other than eBay, no suggestions on used cases but checkout the Accessory Reviews: Cases page as well as the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page for some ideas. There are also some case dealers in the Dealers section on the Astronomy Links page.
Subject:	etx125 how can you tell it has uhtc ?
Sent:	Thursday, December 15, 2005 11:36:44
From:	rudi (
Is there a way to tell if the scope has uhtc? other than from the box?
thanks and kind regards


Subject:	UHTC
Sent:	Friday, December 16, 2005 20:29:02
From:	Steve Emma (
Is there a way to be sure I have UHTC on the scope I ordered online? The
Original Meade box it came in said it had the standard Meade optical
coating. The only sign I have that it may have the UHTC is a small
purple sticker on the ETX-90EC  tube.

Mike here: The UHTC label should appear on the bottom side of the OTA (Optical Tube Assembly). You can see a photo of this on my ETX-105PE comments on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page. That is how you tell if the scope has UHTC. I guess I'd better add this to the FAQ page!


Thanks Mike!  I was surprised at your speedy response to my question.
I've only owned my Etx-90 for a very short time, and I am realizing just
how much I have to learn about the scope and astronomy in general. I
can't begin to thank you enough for your dedication to the "sport" and
how incredibly helpful your web site has been to me already!!  I will
continue to view your site for the best information I have been able to
Clear skies to you(and all who share in the success of your web site)

Subject:	Telescope experiments
Sent:	Thursday, December 15, 2005 09:51:48
From:	Philippos Isaia (
I have a Meade ETX-125 AT and a DSI camera. I want to know if there is
any website or any book which tells what calculations or experiments I
can perform with it to study rotational periods of planets, stars
dimensions etc.


Philippos Isaia
Mike here: An excellent book on experiments is "A Complete Manual of Amateur Astronomy" by Dr. Clay Sherrod and Thomas L. Koed. I have a review of it on the Accessory Reviews: Books page.
Subject:	Re: ETX wires
Sent:	Wednesday, December 14, 2005 09:29:26
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
This is excellent, provided that the use has THIS exact control panel
circuit board.  Remember, there are three different types out there. 
This one is the most common.
Thanks for sending.
Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H45 (Petit Jean Mountain South)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain)
----- Original Message -----
From:  Jan H Kolst 

I got this from Terry UK Which might be of great help.
Jan Norway
----- Original Message -----
From: Terry 

I should say that it is not necessary to solder the wires on the
underside of the board. You can solder on the top side:

1= BLACK and 2= RED which means it is not necessary to remove the
circuit board.



And an update:

From:	Jan H Kolst (
Today my friend mended the connection between the battery compartment
and the scope.He exchanged the old wires with new and stronger wires. He
also organized the wiring better according to him.He had to remove the
motor to do it. I connected the scope and calibrated and tried inside.I
have to train drives(both) before I use it again which I really am
looking forward to.Everything is working fine so far. So thanks again to
both of you!

I was not able to take a picture of the wiring now.My camera is not
awailable right now.
Best of wishes to you both

Subject:	thanks
Sent:	Monday, December 12, 2005 10:11:00
From:	egm (
thank you for useful informations!
Egidio  Morretti , Pescara, Italy

Sent:	Monday, December 12, 2005 09:30:13
From:	Kylie Barnes (
Is there an e-mail address or contact that I can get to speak to Geoff


Kylie Barnes
Mike here: My apologies for NOT remembering ALL the names of posters of information to my ETX Site over the last 9+ years! Your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the Subject Line. To avoid this happening in the future please read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page. As to the name, have you tried the Search on the ETX Home Page? That's the only email address I am aware of.
Subject:	Etx 90
Sent:	Monday, December 12, 2005 07:45:34
From:	Jan H Kolst (
Hi again and thanks for the excellent page,
I've got problems in finding the correct wiring/connections between the
battery compartment and the input in the scope.The connections (both)
have come off inside the scope but they are ok in the battery
compartment.So here are my questions: Where do I fasten the RED and the
BLACK wire inside the scope? Is the RED on the TOP of the picture and

I've supplied a picture from my own scope taken when it was new and OK,
but I'm not quite sure what to do.

Best wishes

And from our resident Hardware Expert:

From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
Ouch....there is no answer to this unless I can see the inside face of
the control panel board; if you can take a picture of it looking from
the center of the RA base toward the board close enough where I can see
the wires I can tell you.  The reason that there is not a definitive
answer to this, simply by looking at your picture, is that some of the
boards have the black wire on the top pole while others have the red

Try to send me an image so that I can identify your source of this
control panel board.

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H45 (Petit Jean Mountain South)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain)


Thanks for the answer.I've just talked to an electro engineer and he
told me to bring the scope over telling me that it is no problem finding
this out. So I did that today.He is a colleague of mine at the
college.Perhaps this was not a wise decison?

If he tells me that he cannot manage it ,I'll send you a picture as soon
as possible.

Thanks again for your friendliness and a merry Christmas!
Excellent....let me know how it turns out.

Dr. Clay

Subject:	ETX-80 No Joy ---- Re: Answer to question
Sent:	Saturday, December 10, 2005 17:59:49
From: (
First ETX=80 I got had LOUSY optics (astigmatism) versus my good ETX-70
(which was a refurb from Meade Outlet.) My good ETX-70 with give me
Syrtis Major on Mars using a 2.5mm LV with a V-Blocker and a 21 Orange
filter. Cassini is no problem and I have seen shadow transits on
Jupiter. Wide-field, of course, ETX-70 is delightful.

The ETX-80 Azimuth drive (on the first unit I got) would only go about
90 degrees (pushing the right/left  buttons) and then stop until I
lifted and pressed again. Clutch wasn't very good either. So the mount
really didn't work well. I sent it back for refund.

Then I bought an ETX-80 from Discovery Channel. Cute --- came with a
backpack and a different (but lighter) tripod than the standard Meade
fare, and a dew cap and the 45 degree diagonal. Nice deal. But again,
the azimuth drive was seriously screwed up.... it would bind up and give
me a drive fault if you tried to go more than about 90 degrees. Also ---
and a more fundamental issue --- the ETX-80 doesn't seem to offer an
option to polar align. Alt-Az is all there is. NOT good if you want to
do photography longer than 90 second exposures. Also won't let you shoot
anything higher than 45 degrees or so above the horizon without slamming
the camera into the drive base. And of course, if the RA (oops---
Azimuth!) axis won't move more than 90 degrees without binding, you
can't point the scope south. No joy for sure if you are in the Keys.

I eventually "faked it" into working in Polar Alignment by setting the
Autostar as an ETX-70. (I had an 883 tripod on hand, expecting that the
Discovery Channel  unit would be too light.) Once I got the RA synched,
it was even willing to do GoTo's, and after a while the RA error wasn't
even horrendous. Shot M-42, M-45, and the Rosette. (Haven't stacked all
of them yet, so I don't really know what I have.) But large swings in RA
gave binding.

The ETX-80 optics weren't bad --- I could see a little detail on Mars
from the Keys. I would say that for planetary image sharpness, the
ETX-80 was almost as good as the ETX-70. More color around bright stars
when using the Digital Rebel DSLR at prime focus, but that may be lack
of processing... or the laws of physics. (I believe I have heard that
you should get more color from an 80mm f/5 than a 70mm f/5.)

So... that makes two ETX-80's with azimuth drive problems. One with bad
optics, and one that was more or less OK. But it appears that Meade has
taken away the polar alignment option for the ETX-80, which makes it
much less interesting to me. Okay, I know that Meade never claimed that
the ETX-70 was suited to prime focus photography. But I have been able
to do it. To me, the ETX-70 was an ideal travel scope: very compact,
sharp enough for a short look at planets, lovely on large deepsky
objects (blew my mind last year on Omega Centauri.) Perfect for eclipses
with a 2x teleconverter on your camera at prime focus. And a nice
widefield astrograph at prime focus. Just a great all-around travel

My conclusion is that I prefer the ETX-70. Too bad it is no longer being
sold. It was really a much more useful telescope than the ETX-80.

Subject:	New EXT-125AT /UHTC
Sent:	Saturday, December 10, 2005 16:56:28
From:	Ken Sheehan (
I was doing a search on the internet and found your site.  I have just
received my first telescope this week.  It is the ETX-125AT /UHTC.  Do
you have any hints on how to get the best out of this unit.

Last night we checked the moon.  Right away I decided I needed a filter
set, so I ordered a set of four on line.  I have a 26,14,9.7 and a
barlow X2.  It's been so cold out I have not had a chance to set it up
and use the auto programmer.  I am looking forward to that event. 
Tonight my grandson and I got a chance to get a quick glance of Venus. 
Earlier today we were looking at Pikes Peak.  We are just west of the
peak (about 30 miles I guess).  I found the 26mm was the best for
viewing the mountain.  Any advice would be appriciated.
Kindest regards,
Mike here: Until you get a Moon Filter you can just wear sunglasses; they accomplish the same thing when looking at the Moon. As to using your telescope, read the manual, three times, then play with the telescope indoors during the daytime to learn how to operate it and the Autostar. Then you will be more able to use it in the dark. There are lots of other tips on my Site. See the Site Guide if you are uncertain where to start.


Thank you Mike,  I downloaded the manual before I ordered the scope.  I
think I've gone through it a half dozen times.  I have been playing with
it during the day.  I've about go the hang of it.  I hope to be able to
see Saturn tonight.  It will rise to our east around 2100.  If you think
of anything else please feel free to pass it on.

Kindest regards,

Ken Sheehan

Subject:	Total Solar Eclipse Turkey 2006 Spotting scope for solar projection?
Sent:	Tuesday, December 6, 2005 06:32:29
From:	Morris Clive ADN/CYLLID (
I am an ETX owner and we have corresponded before.

I am booked to go to Turkey in March with my wife and 2 children.An old
astronomical friend of mine will be travelling with us,too. I wonder if
I could ask your advice again please,Mike.

I won't have space to take the ETX and I don't have a solar filter for
it anyway.

Back in the 1970s I used to use a 3" refractor for solar observing. I
have experimented with binoculars over the summer for solar projection
but the image was smaller than I would like. I am thinking  of a 60mm
spotting scope for solar projection to project an image onto a screen
but I am concerned about the concentrated rays of the sun from the
objective damaging the eyepiece or rubber on the inside of the focuser.

I know this isn't a query about the ETX,but do you happen to know if
anyone has used a spotting scope for solar projection and if so, did
they have any problems?

Many thanks,Mike,
Mike here: I don't recall any spotting scope reports like that.
Subject:	re: Help to choose which ETX
Sent:	Monday, December 5, 2005 21:43:57
From:	richard seymour (
Strictly speaking, i don't think the ETX60/70 actually -fit- the legal
definition of carry-on (the OTA is a schooch too long).
I don't have my ETX70 at hand to -measure-, but i remember this being
a factor in the past.  So if they're picky, it won't fit.
(hmmm... it -might- fit diagonally, instead of straight up)

The ETX90, however, *will* fit in US legal carry-on, but watch out
for mid-journey changes of carrier/legs which may move you from
"US Specs" to "local specs"... this happened to me in New Zealand,
and the ETX90 spent one leg in the hold/baggage handling system
which broke off its finder (if i'd thought it was going to be leaving
my tender clutches, i would've removed the finder bracket myself,
it's held on with a single screw (non-LNT version)).

Other than that incident, my ETX90 enjoyed the trip, well padded
by underwear in a soft-side roll-on luggage.

have fun
Mike here: I just measured my ETX-70 and it is 17.5" from the bottom of the base to the end of the OTA.


From: (
I used an ETX-70 for the last occultation of Jupiter, which was a
daytime event. Set it up in broad daylight, and just assumed that it
went correctly to whatever guide star was chosen. Then did a GoTo to the
moon, corrected the aim a bit, synched, and did a GoTo to Jupiter (which
was VERY close in any event...) Worked VERY well, and you could see a
couple of cloud bands. Was VERY nice and I was MOST pleased.

For an eclipse, I would try to find a t-threaded 2X extender for the
camera: 700mm is a great eclipse focal length which will let you capture
100% of the corona. 1250mm will require careful framing.... and you
DON'T want to have to be careful when the totality clock is clicking.
And f/10 is fine for corona ---- I used a Meade 2045 in Austria and got
a GREAT shot. Just use 400 speed film, and bracket like CRAZY.

Remember that you also get a new moon, and the ETX-70 is GREAT for
larger deepsky objects. (WILL show you the smaller ones, too... I have
done M-57 .... but the ETX90 or 125 is MUCH better for that sort of
thing. )

By the way, I have sampled two ETX80's so far, and no joy so far.
Mike here: What do you mean by "no joy" in this context?
Subject:	Help to choose which ETX
Sent:	Monday, December 5, 2005 20:35:25
From:	Glenn Malcolm (
My name is Glenn Malcolm and I am the president of the Riverside
Astronomical Society.  I also met you at Nightfall.  I am considering
buying an ETX 90 or 80 or 70 for my Middle  East solar eclipse trip.  I
have many telescopes but I do not have one that will fit in an overhead
compartment.  Since I am traveling light, I will carry all of my clothes
including the telescope and tripod in an overhead carry on bag.  I do
not intend to do any photography.  I know the 90 has good optics but
does the 80 or 70 have good enough optics for an experienced observer. 
I have never looked through an 80 or 70 but I know they are very
lightweight.  Any suggestion would be helpful.
Glenn Malcolm
Mike here: The ETX-70 and -80 are short focal length refractors (350mm). As such they don't really compare well to the ETX-90 and its longer focal length (1250mm). Depending upon what else besides the solar eclipse trip you plan to use it for, the ETX-70/80 may not provide you with you expect.
Subject:	ETX 90EC Tune up instructions
Sent:	Sunday, December 4, 2005 21:50:46
From:	Matthew Checketts (
Thanks again for your great website and volunteer efforts.  I really
appreciate it.  I have a question about the mechanical tune ups for ETX
scopes that are outlined on your website.  I really don't trust myself
to do it.  I want to get my scope in peak operational condition so that
I get more accurate slews and less weirdness overall.  I live in Mesa,
Arizona.  Do you know of any telescope stores around here that can
perform the tune-ups that you recommend?  Or is there anyone around here
that you really trust and know well that you could refer me to so that I
could pay them to do it?  If not, I will just try it myself. Let me know
what you think.  Thanks again!
-Matt C
Mesa, AZ
ETX - 90EC user
Mike here: Don't know of any stores that do that but for an "ETX Tune-up Service" I recommend Dr. Clay Sherrod's Supercharge; info on the ETX Home Page. He is the author of many of those tune-up articles.
Subject:	ETX Problem fixed
Sent:	Sunday, December 4, 2005 16:14:52
From:	Thomas Allen (
I emailed you sometime back concerning a problem I had with my ETX and
that I returned it about three times and never got the ETX fixed by
Meade.  I would like to thank you for your help on this matter.  You
contacted, I believe, Chris Dodge, who was nice enough to contact me and
we talked.  As a result, they replaced the ETX with a brand new one off
the factory line.  It seems to be working fine now.  You were a great
help to get me get the correct contact on this matter.

What we can ascertain from this incident is that (where I
originally purchase it) sent me either a used one that wasn't working
correctly or a pre-fabricated one that was not working correctly, and
they told me it was brand new.  The person I bought it from was named
Jason, and at the time when I first got it, it didn't work  called him
and he was pretty rude telling me it's not our problem now, you have to
send it to Meade (passing the back on a bad scope, I guess).  At any
rate, after sending it in the three times, Meade replaced it with no
questions asked.

All I can say is that I will not by anything more from
just from this incident, and thought I'd pass this on.  Do not know if
anyone else has had similar problems.

At any rate, I would again like to thank you for your help.  Appreciate
your kind and generous help, and if there is anyway I can help to show
my appreciation, please don't hesitate to email me.  Thanks again.
Tom Allen

Subject:	Scope Jumps
Sent:	Friday, December 2, 2005 17:21:03
From:	Paul Dumm (
Hello, Just lately when I'm looking through my scope, A ETX125EC the
object will drift to the left and then jump to the right. When it does
this I'm hearing a click in the base.

I've calibrated and train drives and this did not help.
Paul D.
Florence, AZ
Mike here: Some possible causes: stiff lubrication, broken gear tooth, loose gear shaft. Easy to fix the first; just unlock the axis and slowly move the OTA by hand from hard stop to hard stop back and forth several times. If the gear has a broken tooth, best bet is to let Meade fix it. If the shaft is just loose you can tighten the bolt holding it down, but you will have to do some disassembly. It will help if you can isolate it to the Altitude or Azimuth drive.
Subject:	Tele Vue Plossl or Nagler for ETX 105?
Sent:	Thursday, December 1, 2005 16:26:42
From:	Eric... (
Great Site. 

I have just bought a ETX 105 for my son and myself, I was wondering if
the diffrence between the Tele Vue Plossl or Nagler is suficiant enough
to warrent paying the extra .

Thanks Eric................
Mike here: Depending upon your experience, you may or may not find the difference significant.
Subject:	What is the configuration of your ETX?
Sent:	Thursday, December 1, 2005 11:49:07
From:	Mauricio Lpez (
Mike, in the photography in your web page, your ETX has an another
configuration than the usual , the view finder is diferent, what kind of
viewfinder is and what are his advantages?

And the configuration of the eyepiece holder is diferent, you put it in
the place of astrophotography, what is the advantage to do that? and
what is the performance of the telescope in this configuration?

Thank you again for your answer.
Mauricio Lpez
Bogot- Colombia
Mike here: It is an ETX-90RA. There are two finderscopes mounted: Apogee Right-Angle Conversion Kit and Scopetronix LightSight; these are discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Finderscopes page. The rear mounted eyepiece uses a Shutan Wide-Field Adapter; discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page.
Subject:	re: Arcturus (was: Hi there)
Sent:	Wednesday, November 30, 2005 22:03:39
From:	richard seymour (
One of my favorite books is the Dover (read: inexpensive) reprint of:
"Star Names, Their Lore And Meaning" (Richard Hinckley Allen)
ISBN 0-486-21079-0  $11 (when i bought it).
An unabridged and corrected reprint of a 563 page 1899 book.

Arcturus rates five full pages (plus another page in the Ursa
Major section)... among other fascinating tid-bits:
it was probably amongst  of the first stars to be named whose name
survives, it was first mentioned in Greek writing circa 800BC,
its appearence in the original King James' Book of Job xxxviii, 32
(although the modern Revised Edition changes it to "the Bear".
The original KJ said: "Canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?" (see
below)). In Pliny's time the names were reversed: Bootes was the star,
Arcturus was the constellation itself.  Even Chaucer referred
to it that way (ye sterres of Actour). Demosthenes (in a suit
against Lacritus in 341 BC) referred to it (as a way of saying
"before 30th September").  In Homer it's Arctos.
To the Chinese, it was Ta Kio, the Great Horn... and also the
palace of the emperor. (i won't cover the 15th century BC Egyptian
usage, since that probably wasn't "Arcturus", either)

Unfortunately, all of the above citations were affected/warped
by whomever was doing the translations from the original languages...
and sometimes they went through -many- translations, each with
the translator perhaps nudging it towards the vernacular of the day.
But by AD 140, when Ptolemy wrote it down, and in the Latin near
then, it's Arcturus (even as a character in a play).

(one of the other fun bits of this book is that it was written
when Greek and Latin studies were expected of all learned folk,
so it has:
And the passage from Horace's Odes ---
 Nec saevus Arcturi cadentis
 Impetus aut orientis Haedi --
is familiar to all.
---end quote---------------

Arcturus is also asserted to be the first star seen during
the daytime with a telescope (1635)

But when all is said and done, the book doesn't -give- a definitive
"meaning" to the name... and my own distallation of the pages of
citations and dozens of names, plus a dollop from the chapter
on Ursa Major, leads me to believe that it's really a corruption of
"Ursa Major", as exemplified by St. Jerome's usage of "Arcturus"
instead of Ursa Major in his Vulgate translation of the Bible.
(which is why it ended up in King James' Job).

have fun


From:	Carol Fehner (
Thanks to both of you, now I can answer the local kids!

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