Last updated: 31 December 2006

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT, ETX-80AT-TC, and ETX-80BB. Additional information 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:	New to Telescopes
Sent:	Saturday, December 30, 2006 06:13:58
From:	David Williamson (
My wife bought me a Meade ETX-70 in a sale at a local European
supermarket chain (Maybe not the best place to buy a telescope)I surfed
the net and found your site so I see my wife chose a great beginners
scope. I have managed to align it and when I tested it by asking it to
find the moon it did. So I presume that I did it correctly.

Anyway being new to Telescopes (I did have one when young) I was
wondering . When do you use the Barlow lens ? I can't seem to get it to
focus on anything . And what lens is best the  lens for which job. I
have the standard eyepieces which came with the set. 4 mm  12 mm and 25

Sorry if you have answered all these questions many times

David Williamson (Norway)
Mike here: A Barlow Lens will double (or triple) the magnification of a given eyepiece. So, your 25mm eyepiece would be like a 12.5mm eyepiece (but you already have a 12mm). The 4mm would be like a 2mm but that would exceed the theoretical maximum magnification for the ETX-70 (see the FAQ page if you are unsure how to calculate magnification and the maximum). As you get closer to the max the image begins to "break down" and get fuzzy and dim. On some bright objects, like the Moon, with good seeing conditions you can sometimes exceed the maximum with reasonable results. Keep in mind that the ETX-70 is more a wide-field instrument than one to show details on the planets. There are several articles on eyepieces on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	Meade ETX 80AT with autostar #497
Sent:	Friday, December 29, 2006 18:52:00
From:	vincenzo imerti (
Since this seems to be the most comprehensive and clear help section I
found about the ETX series scope I'd like help with a couple of

1st) Can I (buy) use a #497 with the ETX 80AT? It came with the #494 but
I read somewhere that you can connect the #497 to a laptop to use it in
connection with the Scope, and if yes what software upgrade/update or
hardware do I need?

2) also, my scope has an AUX input and I have no idea what it can be
used for? Any suggestions?

Thanks a lot and many compliments for your web site.

Happy new year to all my fellow AstroNutters!!
Mike here: Yes, the AutoStar #497 is compatible with the ETX-80, in fact, it works with ALL ETX models. As to software, there are many Mac and Windows applications that can control the ETX with AutoStar. For some, see the Accessory Reviews: Software page. For the #497 you need to buy or make a #505 serial cable (see the cable section on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page if you want to make this simple cable). NOTE: the computer needs a RS-232 serial port; if you have only USB then you will need a USB-serial adapter. See the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page. There are accessories specifically designed to use the AUX port, typically for power. The StarGPS add-on is one such accessory.
Subject:	etx80
Sent:	Friday, December 29, 2006 14:39:43
From:	Michael Morrison (
If I can get an etx80 for about $150 is that a good deal new.

Mike here: Assuming it is the complete system, yes, since the normal price is about $280 for a new ETX-80AT.


I just saw it at ritz camera in the box 50% off.

I don't know much about telescopes.. I used to have a piece of junk as a
kid.  I would love for my children to learn with me.

This would be a starter telescope.

Mike here: You might want to read through my ETX-70 report (Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page) as well as the ETX-60/70/80 user observation reports (Helpful Information: User Observations page). These models are all very similar. The ETX-80 may or may not live up to your expectations as it is really a wide field, short focal length telescope, meaning it will not provide high magnifications for detailed views of planets and other objects.


Thanks a bunch.   I went ahead and purchased it in the box for 140.  I
will have to decide to keep it or sell it.


Subject:	ETX-80 AT - Planet observation doubts
Sent:	Friday, December 29, 2006 01:46:01
From:	Karthik Shan (
Thank you very much for your website. Really appreciate your efforts.

I am an amatuer astronomer and just bought ETX-80 AT. I have been
supplied with two eye pieces - 9mm and 25mm. I have viewed the craters
of the moon and its mignificant. But I have a problem viewing Saturn. If
I do not use the Flip barlow, I only see a shiny dot and if I use the
barlow, I get a distorted image and I am unable to fine tune it.

Since I have read your website I am very clear that I dont need more
maginification OR eyepieces to get a look at Saturn and its rings.
Please can you let me know how can I see saturn with Eyepieces provided
with this telescope?

Will await your reply.

Thanks & Regards

Karthik Shan.
Mike here: Just to be certain, when you focus on the Moon using the Flip Barlow the image is clear but isn't when you focus on Saturn. Is that correct? If so, focus on the Moon and then go to Saturn and view it WITHOUT changing the focus. How does it look now?
Subject:	Re: ETX80AT-TC Alt drive issues
Sent:	Thursday, December 28, 2006 17:21:57
From:	Marcus Badger (
Thanks for your continued help. I tried all you suggested this evening
and the same problem is still presenting.

Despite that i managed to get some very nice views of the moon this
evening, as well as the (slightly moonshined out) orion nebula and a
slightly hazy saturn through quite a lot of atmosphere!

I'm guessing "get a little more serious" involves looking under the hood
- well I have screwdriver and soldering iron at the ready!

Mike here: Lets try a different troubleshooting technique. You can do this indoors. Confirm that the Mounting Mode is set to Alt/Az in the AutoStar. Start with the alignment you normally use (which I'll assume is Easy). When prompted to center the alignment stars just press ENTER to confirm they are centered. Does the problem occur? If so, repeat the process using a different alignment method, say 1 star. Does the problem occur? If you get one method to work with the vertical movement problem, select an object and have the AutoStar GOTO it. Repeat with several objects. Let me know what happens.
Subject:	What should i expect?-ETX-80
Sent:	Thursday, December 28, 2006 14:12:53
From:	Aaron Stern (
Hey, hope you enjoyed your holidays!

For Christmas, I got a Meade EXT-80-AT-TC(

We've only had one night to test it out( due to weather), which was
pretty uneventful( but the moon was amazing!) due to the fact that most
objecfts were under horizon and that were getting used to Autostar. But,
my question is what should I expect to see? I have these books about
space and the universe and I see these wonderful pitures or nebulae,
galaxy, clusterse, ect and im wondr if I should expect to see them. I
know I wont get some wonderful Hubble telescope image. If I can see such
objects, can you point out some objects that would be great to see( I
live in the northern hemisphere)? Do you think  M51( Whirlpool ) would
be in range?

Thanks in advance!
Mike here: You can see M51 (under dark skies)but it will appear as a faint fuzzy blob. As to what to expect, see my ETX-70 comments on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the ETX-60/70/80 comments on the Helpful Information: User Observations page.
Subject:	RE: ETX 70
Sent:	Thursday, December 28, 2006 09:52:04
From:	Manuel Thomaz (
Hello again, Just to ask you what did you mean by "... depending on what
other eyepieces you have, you could get the #124 Barlow lens to double
the magnification." I have 3 eyepieces MA25mm, MA12mm and MA4mm. Can I
use the Barlow Lens with this eyepieces? Sorry to ask you this but I am
a novice.

Thanks again.

Mike here: With the #124 Barlow Lens you will double each eyepiece's magnification. That means that the 25mm would be like a 12.5mm (which is close to what you already have with the 12mm), the 12mm would be like a 6mm, and the 4mm like a 2mm. However, a 2mm eyepiece would exceed the theoretical maximum magnification of the ETX-70 and so not be that useable, except on a bright object like the Moon.


Mike, You really are fast to reply. Thanks for your fast reply.


Subject:	Re: ETX80AT-TC Alt drive issues
Sent:	Wednesday, December 27, 2006 08:18:49
From: (
Thanks for the swift response, hope you've had a good christmas. I've
tried the to calibrate the drive as you suggested but it hasn't solved
the problem; the Alt drive is still very twitchy. When it tries to find
a star it overshoots massively upwards, and usually tries to point well
past vertical, and when its trying to track (after manually finding
something) it quickly wanders off vertically.

cheers and hope you have a happy new year!
Mike here: Check the cable connections; look for dirty, bent, or overly depressed pins inside the jack. If that isn't it, we'll have to get a little more serious. Do a RESET from the AutoStar menu; that will put the AutoStar back into the "factory default" mode. You will have to re-enter your location, etc, and do the CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES again. But the RESET will clear out any corruption in the AutoStar memory that might be causing the problem.
Subject:	ETX 70
Sent:	Wednesday, December 27, 2006 03:44:14
From:	Manuel Thomaz (
I just bought an ETX70 and have been very happy with the purchase. I
have seen Saturn with an 4mm eyepiece. It was fantastic. However I was
wondering if I need a different eyepiece to see nebulosa and galaxies
since it seems that with the 4mm the amplification is not enough.

Also could you please tell me what should I have to update my autostar
#494 and if it is possible to control my ETX70 scope with the PC.
Mike here: The ETX-70 is more a "wide field" instrument. You can see some galaxies and nebulae but they will generally be small and very faint. Given the short focal length of the telescope and small aperture there isn't much more magnification you can get out of it effectively although depending on what other eyepieces you have, you could get the #124 Barlow Lens to double the magnification. There is no user installable update for the #494 AutoStar. Many software applications will control the AutoStar #494, if you have the #506 serial cable (not easily made so purchasing one is really your only option). You will also need a real RS-232 serial port on your computer. If you have only USB, see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. For info on some software applications, see the Accessory Reviews: Software page.


Thanks for your fast reply.

Manuel Thomaz

Subject:	Poor pointing and tracking with a brand new ETX-70AT
Sent:	Monday, December 25, 2006 23:53:15
From:	Diego RODRIGUEZ (
Yes, I know ETX-70AT are no longer in production. But an European
supermarket chain offers them regularly at a unbeatable price,

So I bought my own two weeks ago. I had to replace immediately the
batteries shipped with the telescope. They were starting to leak
something, and losing power after few operations.

Since then, everytime I need to align it the easy way it's like a pain
in the ass. Virtually it never finds the target star in the 1st shot,
not even with the 25mm ocular, so I need to start the spiral search and
often I get a 'failed operation' message if I complete the whole thing
after a while.

Once 'alignment accomplished', after some seconds, and before the actual
tracking buzz begins, the motors drive the pointing a little off the
target, with no reason. If I correct it manually, Astrostar ruins it
after a few seconds, and then starts 'tracking' normally, but making its
best to keep the object off the center.  With the ocular 4mm I can t not
even keep the Moon in the eyepiece.
What can it be??
Diego Rodrguez
Barcelona, Spain
Mike here: When changing batteries you need to run the CALIBRATE MOTOR step from the AutoStar menu. Also, if you haven't done it, do a TRAIN DRIVES. These should help you, assuming there isn't anything wrong physically and you are not overtightening the axis locks. For some alignment tips, see the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	problem with telescope ETX-70 Meade
Sent:	Sunday, December 24, 2006 06:57:24
From:	Bernard Perroud (
I have bought a few days ago the above-referenced telescope in a
supermarket .

Once the Autostar has started, in touching  the differents  arrows in
the middle,  l can move the telescope only in three directions: on the
right side, left side and donwn side but unfortunately not on the up
side.( l can ear the motor trying to make the operation but without
Your advice ?
Thanck you
Bernard Perroud, Bonne, France 
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES (train both axes) from the AutoStar menu?


Merci. OK with calibrate motor but how can I get the TRAIN DRIVES in the
Autostarmenu ?
Mike here: Setup: Telescope: Train Drive. Do it for both axes.


Merci for your  precious help. All is now  ok.


Subject:	ETX80AT-TC Alt drive issues
Sent:	Saturday, December 23, 2006 14:37:58
From: (
I've just purchased an ETX80AT-TC in the UK - its my first telescope and
i'm having some issues with the Alt motor. I've set it up as instructed
but the Alt drive seems to constantly run at full speed when the
autostar intructs it to slew. This means that when it trys to algin
itself it consistantly overshoots in the vertical axis by Miles! I've
also had a few "Motor Drive Failure" error messages. I've tried training
the drives, resetting and replacing the batteries and running it using
my computer (through serial cable and AUX port) but nothing seems to

Is this a problem you've heard of with a fix or is it a return-to-meade

So far not too much of an annoiance as its been foggy for 4 days in the
UK now but with clear skies promised in the next few days i'm itching to
get it working.

Great site!

Marcus Badger
School of Earth, Ocean and Planetary Sciences
Cardiff University
Main Building
Park Place
Cardiff CF10 3YE
Mike here: You didn't say that you also did a CALIBRATE MOTOR from the AutoStar's menu tree. That needs to be done on first use (out of the box) and then whenever the power source is changed (swapping for fresh batteries, changing to/from AC power, or whenever battery power gets low and no new ones are handy).
Subject:	Astigmatic ETX-70 ATs?
Sent:	Thursday, December 21, 2006 08:44:31
From:	Maximiliano Guzman (
I bought one ETX-70 AT last week in a big store (179, irresistible). I
went last night to our observing place and set the scope in a few. No
problem at all with anything, in minutes I was finding everything in the
sky. My delusion came when I pointed to Betelgeuse, put a Meade UW4.7mm
in the eyepiece holder and tryed to focus. The image was first an
ellipse...then a small cross...and finally (in the other side of focus)
another ellipse turned 90 degrees with respect the first. ASTIGMATISM. I
tested it through the rear port, no mirror reflexion, and was the same.

So, next day I went to Lidl (the supermarket chain where I purchase the
scope) and bought a second one. New night, more testing on higher stars
with the second scope. ASTIGMATISM again, with the main axis in a
different angle. The alignement procedures were perfect as in the first,
and so the tracking and finding objects. Color correction is as espected
and saw in a fast cheap doublet like these ones. Mechanically wonderfull

What to do? I own a Meade 2080 LX6 that has shot dozens of
astrophotographs, a 10" dob, another 12.5" open tube dob, an small 15cm
newton, I owned one Vixen 90mm... and I like this small blue little
thing (do you know what easy is to put a scope in your backpack and walk
to take a glance to the sky that night? ), BUT I can not appart my mind
from the small crosses when I push the power...

Has anybody observed astigmatism in the lens of the ETX70 tubes? Is that
standar in them? Can I reclaim Meade? By now, Meade has not answered me
in anyway, and I have got a pair of their telescopes in a couple of
weeks. Do they treat their customers in this way? Is it because ETX-70
is a cheap telescope?

Clear skies and lots of fun.
Mike here: I haven't experienced that with my ETX-70. Does the problem only occur with the UW4.7mm eyepiece? Have you tried other shorter focal length eyepieces?


No I haven't. The 4,7MM is my shortest eyepiece, but with a TV 7.4MM SP
and a 2X Celestron Ultima Barlow it happens the same. I contacted Meade
and they have told me to send the TWO ETX-70 that I bought (the second
was for ensure myself that I was not seeing visions...) to the warranty
point at Barcelona where they will exchange the scopes for new and
tested (optics and electronics) units free of astigmatism (I hope they
will not exchange astigmatism for another problem).

Here I know some guy who bought one of these last year and he did not
experienced any major problem. Overall, I am sure that I will love this
small Meade. Its portability and easy to locate objects make it a fresh
blown of wind for who has been lost in aperture fever, astrophos, CCDs,
kilograms of equipment (computer included) transported to the camps...

I wander why not a small APO (the same 70mm/350mm) has been mounted in
this beautyfull mechanics.

I will let you know how all this will be ending.

Best regards and congratulations for your work in keeping this great ETX

Maxi Guzman.

Subject:	re: ETX 80 aling
Sent:	Saturday, December 16, 2006 15:34:05
From:	Richard Seymour (
Unfortunately, that's not correct for Alt/Az, even in the southern hemisphere.
Alt/Az Home is -always- pointed due true north.
(Polar setups point south).

Paulo's analysis is correct: the 13 W magnetic deviation means that
you point the scope East of where your compass needle points.

If you had a scope with the "LNT" module, you would have a
"Cal Sensors" procedure which would teach the Autostar
that deviation.  If you do not have the LNT module, you
must do it manually.

But once the alignment stars have been centered,
any error you may have made in your first "point 
north" is cancelled by the Autostar's knowledge of
the sky.

have fun
Mike here: I knew something was wrong when I typed it but I was still half-asleep!
Subject:	Alignment of ETX80 in England
Sent:	Saturday, December 16, 2006 12:57:08
From:	John Flannigan (
please excuse this basic question but I am a complete novice with this
telescope and astronomy too for that matter.

Anyway, I am unable to align the telescope. I level the telescope, put
it at 0 degrees and point it north but when it goes off to align it
never finds a star. Even when I do the search spiral it never seems to
pick up a bright star.

I would appreciate any help you may have for this. I wonder if it's
because I can't accurately plot where I am  I have to choose from about
5 cities, none of which are particularly near where I live  the closest
is about 80 miles away.

Being such a novice the GOTO facility is the main reason I bought this
telescope and I just can't seem to sort this out even thought the
instructions and the DVD are well presented  very very frustrating.
Your help would be most welcome
Mike here: Some questions: are you using True North or Magnetic North? (You need to use True North; or the direction where the North Star, Polaris, is located.) Are using 0 degrees on the altitude scale (which can be off) or are you leveling the telescope tube? (I typically just "eyeball" the leveling.) Is the first star about 15 degrees off? (Which would indicate a DST setting mischoice.) I doubt that your city choice is affecting the ability to align but the lack of familiarity with the night sky and seeing the bright stars that the AutoStar is using. The articles "Alignment/High Precision/Star Charts" and "Another AutoStar Alignment Stars Chart" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page might help you. There are also several alignment tips on the AutoStar Info page.


thanks very much for your prompt advice.

I've not being using True North so will adjust for that and I'll also
check the level of the tube.

I am a bit confused about daylight saving - I've got mine set to off at
the moment as we have put our clocks back after the summer - I'm
assuming we use GMT at this time of year.

I'll definitely be checking out the articles you have suggested.

Thanks again for your help and your great website.

Kind regards
Mike here: British Summer Time is the same as Daylight Saving Time, so you have that correct. I wish the world would stop that nonsense. Once I move to Arizona (to Oracle Observatory) I won't have to deal with it anymore (unless the politicians get control of the clocks there like they have elsewhere).


Ah, so Arizona has escaped playing with the clocks - good for them.

Sadly the UK has had the most miserable weather (and has done so for
what seems like months) so have not yet had the opportunity to test

Hopefully it will work fine.

Subject:	ETX 80 aling
Sent:	Wednesday, December 13, 2006 08:10:23
From: (
I live in Brazil, Pelotas City (3144' S ; 5219').
I have bought an ETX 80 Meade telecope and I'm having some problems to
aling the it.

The magnetic declination at my home is 13 40 W (, that
means the tube must go ~13  to E, is that right?
Since I know the declination value, do I need to do the compensation
every time or there is some way to "program" it in my telescope?

Sorry to buging you but I need some help.

P S: your home page is great
Mike here: The proper telescope HOME position is with the telescope pointed towards True South. So, yes, you need to set up in that position each time you start an alignment. And yes, that is the proper offset (I think that is still true for the Southern Hemisphere). For more on Southern Hemisphere alignments, see the Alignment Tips section on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	Tripod Spares Meade #882
Sent:	Sunday, December 10, 2006 14:26:12
From: (
firstly wanted to say what a fantastic site this is, particularly for
beginners like me!

I've recently bought a Meade ETX70 with a tripod.  The tripod needs a
replacement for one of the locks on the legs and a replacement rubber
foot for one of the legs.  I've had a quick only on the internet,
including Meade's website, but can't find the spares I'm looking for. 
Any suggestions on where I could get these parts from?

Many thanks, Tony
Mike here: Best way is to contact Meade directly (via phone); they will likely send you those parts for free. Alternatively, you could contact Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page).

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