Last updated: 31 December 2006
This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX, DSX, 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: High Power EP For ETX 125 PE Sent: Sunday, December 31, 2006 12:56:10 From: David Andrew (email@example.com) I have an ETX 125 PE . I have Meade 26mm and 15mm SP's. I would like a higher power EP for planetary work with good eye relief also a Barlow. What is the highest power I can use with the 5" scope?? And can you please help me with suggestions for the most suitable EP's and Barlow. In the mid price range. Thanks BarbaraMike here: See the FAQ page for info on the theoretical maximum magnification. As to eyepieces, see the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page; there are some articles there on eyepieces. Also, see the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page. As to a Barlow Lens, a "shorty" style is required for the ETX; a couple are discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page.
Subject: RE: 105 PE jerking Sent: Saturday, December 30, 2006 20:25:51 From: Eric Rosenzweig (firstname.lastname@example.org) I finally got out tonight. Brrrr. Anyway, I calibrated the motor and also took more care on the axis lock and it seems to be working fine. No jerking! However, after about 30-45 minutes objects do move out of center, to the left through the eyepiece. I can deal with that as long as it doesn't jerk. Thanks for your help. Have a great new year!Mike here: Glad that solved the problem. As to the accuracy of the tracking, doing an accurate TRAIN DRIVES on both axes can usually help that, as can a more precise HOME position, especially leveling, and precise centering of the alignment stars (using a high power or reticle eyepiece).
Subject: ETX-125 first experiences Sent: Saturday, December 30, 2006 18:37:56 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have never posted to the site before now (but have lurked often and learned a great deal), but I now feel I have some ETX experiences that I would like to share. I love my ETX! I purchased a 125 and considered myself very fortunate because I never experienced the type of problems so many people have written about on your website. Instead, I enjoyed many awe inspiring, fun filled hours of observing with it. So when it began to get sloppy and eventually a gear housing broke, I decided to send it off to Dr. Clay Sherrod for a repair & supercharge. What transpired next over many weeks was a frustrating, and sad saga in life of my ETX, which thanks to Dr. Clay and the great folks at Meade, eventually was happily resolved. To make a very long story somewhat shorter, Dr. Clay did a marvelous job supercharging my ETX. He is so rich in experience and knowledge that I would not hesitate to send another unit to him for a supercharge. However, my ETX started sprouting other problems which needed to be repaired by Meade. And as it turned out, every time Meade fixed one problem, another would occur. This happened several times and so it made several trips back to Meade. Of course the scope was not usable at all during this time and I was soon becoming very disappointed with entire situation. Having worked on my scope, Dr. Clay knew it didn't have that many hours of use on it and he intervened on my behalf with Meade to provide them with more technological information about my scope. In the end, I guess, the folks at Meade eventually decided that I must have just gotten a lemon ETX. (That is something that can happen to any company.) They replaced my original ETX with a new one. WOW, now that's customer service. I am very grateful to Meade and of course Dr. Clay for all they did for me. Right now, I am in the process of becoming familiar with this new ETX and am looking forward to clear skies again. Thanks to you Mike for an absolutely fabulous site. It has been a great resource to me and I look forward to having more time to peruse it. Cheers, Betty Rhodes -- Betty Rhodes University Communications & Department of Geography University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Subject: New EQ mount or repair 90EC ? Sent: Saturday, December 30, 2006 15:18:20 From: Joseph D. Rodricks (email@example.com) First thank you for your efforts and years of dedication, I cannot fully express my gratitude. Secondly, please forward this as needed (perhaps to Dr. Clay). My 90EC is several years old now. One drive has failed the other is sloppy. I got a DSLR for Christmas this year and and only a good tracking system short of better pictures. The thread mounts inside my ETX are broken, there is a circuit board problem somewhere (it gets no power but all the wires are connected properly). I think, simply the entire mount needs replacing. Should I buy a ~$300 EQ mount (like Orion's AstroView w/drives) or inquire into a total ETX90 mount replacement? Can this be done? Are the available since they have been discontinued? My goal is much less GOTO than it used to be, it's now about sidereal tracking and ability to fine tune long exposures through a reticle. I haven't ruled out an LXD75 mount yet, though that is probably a little out of my budget. I would really appreciate your advice and thoughts on this. Thank you for your time, and thanks again for all your work. -Joe RodricksMike here: You could get an equatorial mount or you could look for a replacement ETX base (try Telescope Warehouse; link on the Astronomy Links page). There are probably a bunch of LXD55 mounts out there since many users upgraded to a LXD75 mount. If you do go for a LXD mount, see the article "ETX-125 on a LXD75 Mount" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Would you recommend a new -90PE or an LXD-75 mount with -90EC OTA on it? As far as overall build quality and tracking ability?Mike here: The LXD75 mount is a nice mount (you can see "My LXD75-8"SC Experiences" on my LXD55/75 Site: http://www.weasner.com/lxd). But you will have to attach the OTA to it but once you do you will have a fine astrophotography system.
I'm going to order the lxd75 mount and a dovetail plate from OPT but I'll need some tube rings to mount the tube to the plate. Am I nuts or is it really hard to find 100mm tube rings? The outside diameter of my 90 measures 100mm so I assume any set of 100 tube rings will work right? Thanks again.Mike here: You might want some leeway to allow adjustment for optical alignment to the LXD75 polar axis.
Subject: Re: etx-125PE Wide Angle Eyepiece Selection Sent: Friday, December 29, 2006 15:42:05 From: Steve Brazill (firstname.lastname@example.org) Due to the holidays I was unable to respond sooner but I had to say thanks for the response and the speed of that response is amazing! I actually visited the Meade HQ in Irvine today and looked at various SWA & UWA eyepieces and it was amazing how nice these people were. Happy Holidays. Steve
Subject: telescope help Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2006 18:27:13 From: CATBUD@aol.com (CATBUD@aol.com) Any chance you live in NC and can help us allign ETX-90PE my son got for Christmas. He is very frustrated. I knew it wasn't simple, but thought we could follow steps. Can't get it to allign to the stars and thus haven't done anything but look at moon manually. Don't even know what questions to ask or where we are going wrong. THanks, CatherineMike here: Other side of the country. Have you read the manual, three times, and played with the alignments indoors? When prompted to center the alignment stars just assume they are centered (since you can't see them indoors) and press ENTER. Does everything go well indoors?
So kind of you to respond. We worked on it last night well past his bedtime, but it seemed to get worse each time. I tried to pay attention to what was going on so I could give you a better idea of our problem. Tried doing a reset and starting over, but each time the scope seems to be more confused about where it is...the last time it was pointing down at the base of a tree when it told me to center star. Several times it went through all the steps, I centered on stars I wasn't sure of since it didn't seem to be pointing very near stars, and then when we did the tour it pointed in the opposite direction of the moon. The manual tells us it will ask us to put in alt-az home position, but it never prompts us to do that. We place it in alt-az home position anyway (counter clockwise horizontal turn then lock) before we begin, and then turn it on, It tells us to put scope in LNT home position, but we have no idea what that means except that the letters stand for what it does next. We leave it in alt-az home position, press enter after it tells us to put in LNT home position, and it says it is finding North, Level, and Tilt. Then it aligns to two stars, prompts us to center each one. We center as best we can, then it says "successful allign" and we begin tour. It tells us it is going to moon, then it points in the opposite direction of the moon. Not even close. If you have any idea what we are doing wrong, please let me know. You know the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I have read posts in forums and see that others have trouble with allignment, but people talk about calibrating, setting coordinates and stuff that is way over my head. Thanks for any response, Sincerely, CatherineMike here: Did you enter your location using ZIPCODE or CITY NAME? I have found that CITY NAME works best. Are the Date/Time/Daylight Saving settings correct? There are two alignment modes with the PE model; one using the LNT and one not. It sounds like you have the correct HOME position for the LNT alignment (rotated to the hardstop and locked, tube level). You might try an Easy Align from the AutoStar instead of Auto Align to see if the same problem occurs. The HOME position is different: rotate CCW to the hardstop and then back about 120 degrees to True North, then lock; tube is still level.
We have tried both zip and city. After reset, it doesn't ask me for date/time ...says it is getting time. Just went downstairs and doubled check the time which he insisted was correct - it was off by a day and an hour. Asked us about daylight savings....We chose daylight savings time...is this correct? DS makes the time match the time on our wall. At your suggestion, re-read manual third time. Realized we were moving the Dec. knob as well as vertical knob. Oops. Manual says if Dec. knob is accidentally moved, make sure tube is level with drive base and recalibrate it back to 0. Don't know how to be sure tube is exactly level, but eyeballed it and put Dec. circle back to 0. We did try the "easy align", although we got there by accident and I recall it asking us to put telescope in north and we struggled to figure out which way north was I know I sound like an idiot. I had a general idea which way was north and just moved tripod to point scope that way while it was still in locked CCW. Should I use a compass? Should I unlock horizontal and move scope instead of turning the tripod? Where do I start the scope pointing before turning CCW then back 120 ? Can you tell I don't really understand this part? This afternoon, we are going to re-do the step where we look at a terrestial object and line up red dot with the view in eye piece just to be sure. I think it is done pretty well but can't hurt to make sure it is as precise as we can get it. So tonight, we will start again. I will try easy align if I you can help me understand that home position...if not I guess we will try automatic align again. With easy align, it names the stars as it finds them and I don't think it asked me to center...with auto align, it just said finding star and then prompts me to center. The only other stuff I found in the manual that is meant to help when auto alignment isn't working is: 1)Training the Drive.."trains the altitude and alzimuth motors to locate objects with more precision." tells me go to appendix C for detailed instructions which say to use terrestrial object, so I guess this could be done during day. 2) Calibrate Sensors..."calibrates to correct slight mechanical misalignment....when menu is selcted, telescope slews to Polaris then Autostar prompts to center Polaris and press enter. Autostar uses position of Polaris to fine tune the position of North adn also for detecting level." 3) "Tip: The GoTo key allows you perform spiral search...useful when scope slews to an object but it is not visible in eyepiece..sometimes occurs during alignment procedure. Press Goto when scope stops slewing..scope begins slow spiral search..press mode to stop and use arrows to center object in eyepiece." Wonder if this would have helped when the scope was pointing about 180 degrees away from moon and saying it was on moon? Do you think I should try any of the above options? So kind of you to help. Sincerely, CatherineMike here: When NOT using Auto Align, the Home position is with the telescope rotated CW 120 degrees from the hard stop. For more on non-LNT alignments see the Alignment Tips section on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. For troubleshooting LNT things, see the LNT section on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. CALIBRATE MOTOR (not "Sensor") and TRAIN DRIVEs are important. CALIBRATE SENSOR may be important if you think the magnetic north part of the LNT is incorrect. Except when your location is observing Daylight Saving Time you should answer NO to that prompt. Otherwise the clock will be one hour (or 15 degrees in the sky) off.
Hi there, spoke with Meade today about confusion with home position, alignment, etc... He told me when using auto - alignment, no need for home position, scope will go there itself. Suggested I train the drive, to be sure good alignment. Did that this afternoon. Went out tonight and attempted to auto-align. Received message that alignment failed because motor failed. Scope will move side to side but not vertically. even with vertical lock, tube not totally locked. Called Meade and they are sending UPS next week to pick up scope to either repair or replace. My son is sobbing. Likely to be 4-5 weeks before we have a new scope but don't know what else I can do. Store will not take it back - says must go back to manufacturer. Thanks for your help...guess I may be back in touch when new scope arrives. Sincerely, Catherine ColemanMike here: Maybe you did it but your emails didn't say so, but have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR? Also, you might try reversing the AutoStar cable.
Subject: Motor Unit Fault ETX 125 Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2006 18:03:51 From: Fabrizio Almazn (email@example.com) I write this e-mail to ask the following. I live in Mexico City and I bought an ETX PE 125 about 8 months ago, everything was working perfectly until today. Yesterday I tried to do my first astrophotographs with the scope and attached a Pentax DL camera with the proper T adapter and ring from Meade. Everything worked fine, but today I was setting everything up when I noticed that the RA motor axis was not working, and when I tried to calibrate motors, the following error was displayed "Motor Unit Fault" and the RA is not working. I checked everything (general reset, if the RA lock was not in place, if the scope was obstructed) and it still does not work, I believe something happened when I attached the camera and overloaded it without been aware despite I was very cautious. Do you know what happened and what has to be done in order to solve this issue? I appreciate your response, Best regards Fabrizio AlmaznMike here: Lets rule out the less serious problems first. Have you inserted fresh batteries? If not, do that. And then do a CALIBRATE MOTOR (required whenever changing the batteries). Do a TRAIN DRIVES. Do these steps WITHOUT the camera attached. Let me know how these work out.
First of all, thank you so much for your quick response, I really appreciate it. I followed your advice and inserted new batteries and still the same error is displayed, I tried to run the power with the AC adapter I have from Meade and still it presents the same error. After I turn the Autostar on, the message of press 0 to align and mode for Menu is displayed and when I press Mode or 0 Testing motors is displayed and the DEC works just fine but the RA still does not works.Mike here: Could you be overtightening the axis lock? Couple of other things to try: Reverse the AutoStar cable. Unlock the azimuth axis and slowly rotate the telescope horizontally by hand, back and forth, several times from hard stop to hard stop.
I tried what you proposed but it stills displays the same error. What should I do?Mike here: Time to get a little more serious. Do a RESET on the AutoStar to restore the AutoStar to its "factory default" condition. You will have to re-enter your information. If this doesn't solve it, then perhaps reloading the ROM will solve it. BUT I have to wonder if a wire in the base has been cut or disconnected. You might check for that.
I try to do a reset but Autostar won't let me pass from the first menu options, the one with o to align and mode for menu, if I press any of those Testing Motors appears immediately followed by the Motor Unit Fault. And how do I reload the ROM or open the base to see if there is a cut wire or a grease excess? Thank you.Mike here: If you want to reload the ROM you need to get the software from Meade's site (Windows only) or use AutostarX (Mac OS X; link on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page). You will need the RS-232 serial cable #505; you can easily make one using info on the AutoStar Info page. If your computer has only USB you will need a USB-serial adapter; see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page. To open the base, remove the three bolts on the bottom of the ETX mount.
I appreciate your response Mike, tomorrow morning I will try to reload the ROM and if that doesn't works I'll open the base and look for ripped cables or a grease excess or anything that looks out of order. Anyway, I greatly thank your website because it has a lot of useful information available for users and non users and your quick responses. Tomorrow I'll send you an e-mail reporting findings and hopefully the solution to the problem. Best regards Fabrizio Almazn
And an update:
I took the scope to the Meade's authorized dealer in Mexico and found out that the problem can be found in the mother board that controls the motor for the RA axis or in the motor, because the electrical current seems ok, ROM was reloaded and still the problem was there, no ripped cables were found, the DEC motor works just fine. Hopefully, today these guys will give me a response in order to solve this problem. Maybe they'll need to replace the motherboard or the motor but my scope still has warranty so I'll guess Meade will take responsability. Anyway, thank you so much for your advices I'll let you know the outcome so maybe other guys facing the same problem will know what to do. Best regards Fabrizio Almazn
Subject: Are ETX125/AT and ETX125/EC equivalent Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2006 10:01:55 From: Jim Wilson (firstname.lastname@example.org) I bought an ETX125/AT with UTHC and received a ETX125/EC. Are these the same? I only found one reference where someone asked the question in 2003 but that didn't seem to help. Thanks, Jim WilsonMike here: This question has been asked frequently. See the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page.
Ooops, sorry - thank you
Subject: RE: 105 PE jerking Sent: Wednesday, December 27, 2006 17:31:32 From: Eric Rosenzweig (email@example.com) I trained the drives, but did not calibrate the motor. I'll do that as well loosen the axis lock as I may have been tightening it too much. Unfortunately, sunny San Diego, has not been sunny this week. I'll let you know how it goes as soon as I can give it a try. Thanks again.
Subject: [none] Sent: Wednesday, December 27, 2006 12:04:20 From: John Dombalis (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thanks for the wonderful site. Quick question about the ETX 80. I tried briefly to use the AutoStar feature, and i had a question about "true north". I know, of course, that we have true poles and magnetic poles, but how do i find "true north" if all i have is the compass that came with the telescope? I'm in Raleigh, NC. Does my location have anything to do with it? Thanks, John D.Mike here: Glad you like the Site but did you miss that RED information on the Home Page about reading the Email Etiquette BEFORE sending email to me? Your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing Subject entry. Thanks for understanding.
and it is 8 50' W changing by 0 2' W/year. Now, my location is 35 46' 19" W, -78 38' 19" N. So it looks like i just add that number to the latitude. How does this help me on my compass, though? Thanks again...Mike here: If the value is W, then the Magnetic Pole is that many degrees West of True North. So, True North will be that many degrees East of where your magnetic compass is pointing.
Subject: 45 degree erecting prism question Sent: Wednesday, December 27, 2006 07:18:21 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) Fantastic site. I want to buy a 45 degree erecting prism for my ETX-90. Can you help me decide between the Meade 932 which screws directly into the ETX back, and the Orion 7216 which attaches via a 1.25" eyepiece barrel. I already own an ETX visual back which can accept this barrel. I would prefer the barrel mount since it could be used on other reflector scopes. Can I use the Orion 7216, or is there insufficient the focus travel at terrestrial distances? Thanks, Paul Nelles Mosinee, WisconsinMike here: I don't have the Orion model so can't comment on whether there will be sufficent focus travel or not.
Subject: ETX 105 Lens problem with dirt? Sent: Tuesday, December 26, 2006 15:24:33 From: Carlos Aviles (email@example.com) I have been waiting for clear skies here in Florida and I started observing terrestrial objects to help me with my viewfinder aim and train drive procedures with a new celestron 94303 set of eyepieces and noticed that while using a 32mm eyepiece, a small piece of "dirt" (at this magnification looks like an amoeba in a microscope) seem to float around the FOV. Going to higher power eyepieces and using the barlow only makes it worse to the point that with the 6mm eyepiece it looks like a dark spiderweb that covers 60% of the FOV. It happens with all the eyepieces even the one supplied originally with the scope, with or without the barlow lens and I did not noticed it at night but at that time I only used the 26mm. I was looking at a neighbors shingle roof and I can achieve very clear views even with the 6mm eyepice but this "dirt"( for lack of a better term ) is a big distraction. I am looking at some problem with my lenses? Any suggestions? I am going to spend the new years w-end in a remote area of Sautee, Georgia (no light pollution) and I would like to know if there is something I should try before the trip. Hoping for clear skies for all, Carlos AvilesMike here: Can you see anything on the corrector lens surface, the primary mirror, or on the flip mirror? These are the most likely places to it to be. If you can see it on the lens (outside, not the inside) you can clean it using the technique on the "Cleaning Optics" page on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page. If the problem is on the flip mirror, it becomes more difficult to safely clean (but it can be done). If the problem is on the primary mirror then you have a bigger problem that will entail some risk if you want to undertake cleaning it. The last place the "dirt" could be is on the secondary mirror but that is really difficult to get at so lets hope the problem is not there.
Thanks again for the prompt reply. I will need a magnifying glass (that I currently don't have ) as I tried finding it with with the naked eye with no success. As I have read all the warnings in your site about attempting to clean the lenses, I wanted to consult with the expert first. As it has not affected my enjoyment of the instrument I will take my time looking for it first. If my attempt at finding this "dirt" fail, this is something that I will send back to Meade or to Dr. Sherrod for repair as after reading the warnings I know I am better off letting the "pros" take care of it. Is using compressed air from a clean, dry and low pressure source an option? I finally was able to align the scope successfully, and everything is working correctly with the Autostar. A couple of nights back I was able to observe Saturn for a good 30-40 minutes, It is very rewarding. I am spending a lot of time at your site and I am amazed at the amount of information compiled in it. I know I am going to sound like a broken record, but I am very grateful that you take your time in keeping up this great website. I will keep you posted! G'day, Carlos AvilesMike here: DO NOT USE compressed air. Moisture from it can make things worse. Also, do not use window cleaner. Dr. Clay's solution discussed in that article is the best, assuming you can locate the problem. If you can't find it, you could send it to Meade or Dr. Clay.
Subject: Using DSX90 on a mountaintop? Sent: Monday, December 25, 2006 23:31:10 From: Andy Horanic (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have a DSX90 and am planning to hike it to a mountaintop campsite in the Smokies to record video/photos of celestial objects. I would appreciate your advice. I want to preserve the best possible video images on DVD and edit them at some future date...on a Mac when I get one. Id also would like to video the Sun/aurora as well. (Obviously weight, dew, and batteries are a concern too.) I have experience in image processing being a geophysicist for 25 years+...even worked at ARCO for 15, so hopefully have somewhat of a headstart. I have one 26mm eyepiece and no camera-Id like to plug a camera directly into my dvd recorder or ? have camcorder...and put off the Mac computer and software purchase for a later date. Please advise me. I'll likely be joining your website soon in the New Year-it is excellent and I much appreciate your efforts. Sincerely, Andrew Horanic Orlando, Fl.Mike here: You will need a lot of things to do all that you want to do. You didn't say WHEN you wanted to do these things but I hope you plan to get some usage before you go to the mountains. You can mount cameras (film, digital, video) to a telescope (see the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page as well as the Helpful Information: Astrophotography pages). To view/photograph the Sun you will need a safe solar filter (see the Accessory Reviews: Filters page). You won't use the ETX to photograph any aurora (Northern Lights) you might see; just set up the camera on a photographic tripod (or even a table), open the shutter and expose. Once you have the images/video in the computer you can edit all you like and put on DVD. I have been editing stills and videos and making DVDs on my Mac for a few years; works great.
Subject: etx-125PE Wide Angle Eyepiece Selection Sent: Monday, December 25, 2006 21:42:54 From: Steve Brazill (email@example.com) As a new ETX user, and new telescope user, I have come to love your site. I was given an ETX-90PE for my BDay which I upgraded to a ETX-125PE. I added the standard Series 4000 Eyepiece/Filter Kit so I have a broad selection of magnifications. Now as a new user I am enjoying the full moon view, as an example, from the 32mm or 40mm but I prefer the magnification of the included 26mm or a maybe the higher powers of 15mm or so for detail. (higher than that is just hard to get a crisp image) I have been looking at SWA or UWA eyepieces to try to get the magnification but still see the whole object, the moon for example. As a Chrstmas gift my wife got me the UWA Series 5000 4.7mm because the stroe recommended it. It seems too much magnification for me (and the piece has some obvious black spots in it). So, the question is, do you have a recommendation to allow full planet or moon view at a higher power? I have narrowed it by assuming I should stay with a 1.25 barrel size but could be wrong. Should I go with a UWA 18mm (to stay 1.25 barrel size) or am I better of with the SWA 24mm? Maybe I am better off with a 4000 series SWA 24.8mm. I am so lost on this one without being able to see through them and experience the FOV for myself. Just no real point of reference. Any help would be welcome. Again, thanks in advance for your help, SteveMike here: I don't have any wide angle eyepieces for the ETX so can't comment directly. But there are some reviewed on the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page.
Subject: 105 PE jerking Sent: Sunday, December 24, 2006 21:43:24 From: Eric Rosenzweig (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have a 105-PE that I just received back from Meade for the second time, both for the same complaint. Once I've centered an object there is noticeable movement (through the eyepiece) every 8 seconds or so. The first time I sent it in I could actually hear it click every time it jerked. This time back from Meade it's better, but instead of jerking left to right it's now up to down through the eyepiece. I can't hear anything now though. Regardless of the jerking, the object stays centered for an extended period of time. This last time, according to the paperwork I got back from Meade, they replaced the DEC wires, RA motor, RA PCB and adjusted the RA Encoder. (I got no paperwork back the first time) What's additionally frustrating is the note on the paperwork says they were repairing 'not tracking properly, intermittently tracking", which is pretty vague and not exactly what I described in my note to them that accompanied the telescope. I just don't know if I'm being too picky or not with this and thought I'd get your thoughts on this. I'll call them again next week after the holidays, but this has put a damper on my Xmas eve viewing. Hope you and yours have a great holiday, EricMike here: Could you be overtightening the axis lock? It should be just tight enough to keep the tube in position and yet allow the motors to slew it. Another thought: have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES (trained on both axes)?
Subject: ETX-90 won't slew side to side Sent: Saturday, December 23, 2006 21:32:48 From: David Blythe (email@example.com) Last night my ETX-90 AT seemed to get stuck and wouldn't slew side to side. It started out as an intermittent thump that made the image bounce, but finally became a grinding noise with the slewing stuck in either direction side to side (it would move up or down without any trouble). The scope is about 3 years old, with light usage. It has always been babied, and I don't know of any drops or damaging handling. Have your heard of this problem before? Is it fixable, and at what cost? Thanks for any advise, David Blythe Louisville, KYMike here: Couple of things to check: With the azimuth axis unlocked, when you press the left or right arrow keys on the AutoStar can you hear the slewing motor? With the azimuth axis unlocked, when you slowly and cautiously move the telescope by hand back and forth in azimuth can you feel any resistance? It could be that a wire inside the base was cut. If this is what has happened you might be able to fix it yourself (if you are so inclined). Alternatively, you could contact Dr. Clay Sherrod for his "ETX Supercharge" (link on the ETX Site home page) or contact Meade for a repair (typically about $75 minimum plus shipping).
Subject: my etx90 problems Sent: Friday, December 22, 2006 20:03:30 From: Rodney Clabaugh (firstname.lastname@example.org) I was just wondering if you had ever heard of this and if you have could you please help me. I just bought a etx90 on e-bay and when i go to do my alignment and i put the scope in "home" position its wrong. By that i mean that when the tube is in a level spot the pointer is set at around 30 degrees not 0 like it says its supposed to be at. Help me please.......RodMike here: Yep, I've heard of that. Which is why it is listed on the FAQ page:
Subject: Broken ETX-90AT gear box. Sent: Friday, December 22, 2006 09:19:34 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) My RA gear box for my ETX-90AT is broken. Is it possible to use back the original internal circuit and convert it to be used on a DIY fork mount with stronger gear and stronger motor? Thank you in advance for your answer. Lee, Malaysia.Mike here: Possibly. See "Steve Bedair's "Go To" Mounts" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page as well as the Roboscopes Yahoo Group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/roboscope) for more specific help. If you do attempt this, send an article to me and I'll post it. Include photos if possible.
Subject: question Sent: Friday, December 22, 2006 07:32:57 From: Trendowski, Raymond J. (Raymond.Trendowski@us.ngrid.com) I am new to telescopes. I had purchased my first scope, an ETX-125AT UHTC and ASTR (AutoStar, I believe) and they had sent me an ETC-125EC with a #497 AutoStar. What is the difference between the two, and should I send it back?Mike here: First, PLEASE read the Email Etiquette on the ETX Site Home Page; your message was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the ambiguous and SPAM-like Subject line. Thanks for understanding.
Subject: A "Good" Meade Customer Service Story Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2006 14:13:20 From: Carlos Aviles (email@example.com) Again thanks for helping me properly understand my new ETX and 497 Autostar. When I received the used ETX-105 telescope and 884 tripod from UPS, the scope was very well protected in it's case but the tripod was loose inside the carrying bag in the shipping box and one of the legs plastic cap that attaches to the tripod base was broken ( see attached picture). Not thinking twice about it I called Meade to order the broken piece and my wait time was only 3 or 4 minutes (last week before the Xmas rush and when the rep's computer went down and he could not help me immediately I was told to expect a call as soon as the computer system came back up. I figured it would be days before that happened but to my surprise about an hour later I received a call from the Meade representative and even after I disclosed that I was not the original owner and that the part was broken during shipment, they refuse to accept payment for it and told me to expect the part in about a week. Well today I came home and as promised the part came in and they did not send just a new cap but a brand new, complete leg for the tripod. Needles to say I am a very happy and grateful customer and wanted to share the result of my experience as sometimes we only hear the negatives and not the positives. G'day Carlos Aviles
Subject: Optical Tube Started To Unscrew On My ETX-125 Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2006 08:18:56 From: Ron Thomas (firstname.lastname@example.org) After a very cold night of observation with the dew shield on I attempted to remove the dew shield the following morning. I realized after several rotations that the tube was spinning and the dew shield was not! I screwed it back in until it stopped and was able to remove the shield by holding the tube securely. It has done nothing but rain since then and I am somewhat paniced that the scope is no longer in collimation. Will it be alright or did something bad happen? Thanks for the great site! I still have my shirt I ordered years ago! Ron ThomasMike here: You will likely be OK as long as you got it tightened back down. You could do a "star test" to check the collimation to confirm whether it not the tube is back in its original orientation.
Subject: Help Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2006 11:18:13 From: Argutus@aol.com (Argutus@aol.com) I live in Staten Island, NY. I did Astronomy when I was a teen using a 60 mm refractor. I want to start up again. I am interested in the Meade ETX-125A. In your opinion will this scope work for me? I would like to do some astrophotography with it. Planets, the Sun,Moon,Stars Galaxies&nebula. It's selling for $1048.00 at Telescopes.com. Your input would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Argutus@AOL..ComMike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Site Home Page; your email was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the SPAM-like subject line. Following the guidance there will avoid this happening in the future. Thanks for understanding.
Subject: Differance between ETX-90-EC ETX-90-AT and ETX-90-EP Sent: Monday, December 18, 2006 14:19:35 From: Eoin Byrne (email@example.com) I was looking around at ebay and the likes and have come accross a number of differing models of the ETX-90 scope. Can you tell me the major differances? What's nice to have and what is really worth the extra money. For example is the new one (EP?) that much better than thoes on sale secondhand? Can you upgrade from the older models? Sorry if this is a frequent question, but I had a quick look through the FAQ and could not see an answer. Regards, Eoin Byrne Dublin, IrelandMike here: See the "Q. What is the difference between an EC model and an AT model?" on the FAQ page. As to the PE model, the telescope, mount, and AutoStar are still the same as with the AT model but the finderscope is different with the PE model and there is an automatic north pointing and leveling available (the LNT module). The EC model can be upgraded to an AT by adding an AutoStar and the tripod. The AT model is not meant to be updatable to a Premier Edition model although you could get the LNT module separately and attach it to the ETX (there are no built-in attachment points on the EC/AT model to do this however). Note that there is also an ETX-90RA model (the original ETX model) that is not upgradable to an AutoStar controlled ETX.
Subject: autofocus 1244 Sent: Sunday, December 17, 2006 16:59:24 From: HAL CHASE (firstname.lastname@example.org) I recently purchased a Meade ETX 105AT with autostar. Do I need to purchase an auto focus 1244? I was directed to your website and saw previous messages about this auto focus unit. I am new in atronomy and before I get started wanted to know if I needed this. Please advise. Thanks! Hal L. ChaseMike here: No, you do not NEED the electric focus. It eliminates hand-induced vibrations during focusing but it not a requirement if you use patience when focusing. You can also add a flexible focusing cable to the focus knob if you find that vibrations are too much for you (see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page for more info).
thank you so much for your help. I have been reading about different telescopes and decided to purchase one. I went to your web site and read information about the auto focus and became more confused. thanks again. I need to find a star club in Des Moines. Hal L. ChaseMike here: Check your local telescope dealers. They will probably know of some.
Subject: Re: ETX Tuneup Sent: Saturday, December 16, 2006 19:25:29 From: James Hickerson (email@example.com) Hello, Mr. Sherrod, My ETX-125 EC (2005 vintage) is back together and appears to be operating well. Here is what I found with regard to the mechanical components when disassembled. The optical tube assembly was not touched, other than to remove it from the mount and reinstall it. 1. All the plastic parts had stress cracks, including the OTA mounting arms at the threaded brass inserts (all four) and at the forward ends where the arms clip to the plastic rear cover on the OTA. The threaded posts in the plastic fork arm covers were all cracked and split but two. I frequently work on my own motorcycles and have seen and dealt with this same problem on several motorcycle fairings and hard luggage sets made of ABS plastic, which I believe is what these parts are made of. I repaired the ETX parts the same way: with superglue and epoxy, winding fine copper wire around the posts to cinch them back to their original shape before gluing and then later rethreading them before reassembling. 2. The Altitude and Azimuth drives were thick with grease (Meade needs to take the grease gun away from some assembler), except for the Azimuth worm drive, which was bone dry. The Altitude drive clutch had grease on the plate surfaces, which explains why it was so difficult to clamp the scope when setting up. The backlash in the worm drives did not seem excessive in either drive prior to my disassembly, and the telescope had tracked very well prior to that. After degreasing and reassembling, the drives appear to be working well. I am not able to make torque measurements or do the types of testing that you do, so I was careful to not try and put excessive pressure on the gear sets when installing and adjusting the worm gear assemblies. I have not been able to check the scope out on star sighting because of the weather, but a "Training" test went well and the response of the scope was as good as I remember it being. A note: during the degreasing and (light) re-lubricating of the Azimuth drive gears I inadvertently got grease on the optical encoder sensor. Subsequently during testing the drive began operating properly, but then refused to operate in any but the highest speed with Autostar giving a "motor failure" warning. My wife, bless her heart, on hearing of my description of the problem remarked "it sounds like a 'bit' problem, rather than an electrical fault". This put me on to the encoder sensor, which I found to be dirty when I removed the circuit board. As soon as the encoder sensor was cleaned, the unit ran normally. An observation: Why Meade would spend the money for such lovely little permanent mold magnesium alloy castings for the fork arms, and then provide such cheap, poorly designed, plastic injection-molded support arms for the telescope is beyond me. Several of the plastic parts even had significant defects in them--cold shuts, places where the mold did not fill. It appears that their approach to systems engineering and quality are not comprehensive and holistic. At one time I thought an LX200 might be in my future, but I think I will look elsewhere now. (As you might guess, I am a retired design engineer with degrees in materials science and my wife was a computer technician). Sorry I didn't find out about your Supercharging service until I was well into this project. I am sure it would benefit me greatly. I had only happened across your "early" posts to Mr. Weasner's web site when I started. I may wish you have you work your magic on my telescope in the future. Thanks for answering my earlier e-mail. I will send a copy to Mr. Weasner. Jim James Hickerson Cedar Crest, NMMike here: Dr. Clay's Supercharge is definitely worthwhile considering.
From: P. Clay Sherrod (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thanks to both! Dr. Clay ------------- Arkansas Sky Observatories Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway) Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South) http://www.arksky.org/
Subject: Astronomy and Medical Topic Sent: Saturday, December 16, 2006 11:11:28 From: Niall J. Saunders (email@example.com) An excellent and useful description of what, to many, must be a very worrying prospect. I am looking forward to feedback from users who may have undergone either Lasek or Lasik surgery - I don't even know what the difference between them is - but the idea of laser surgery as an alternative to contact lenses or eyeglasses must have a certain appeal to astronomers. It certainly has been on my mind as my eyesight starts to deteriorate with age. Thanks for posting the article. Cheers, Niall Saunders Clinterty Observatories Aberdeen, SCOTLAND
Subject: Best scope for the money Sent: Friday, December 15, 2006 11:23:45 From: gregory hughes (firstname.lastname@example.org) First I want to say how much i enjoy your website. I've been studying your buyers tips and have found them very helpful, but yet I am still undecided of which etx i should get. My son and I love looking at the night sky through our little tasco 500x telescope, but we are both outgrowing it. We can see M31 and all the naked eye planets pretty easily. But we want to start exploring more and try to start taking pictures. From reading yor tips it seems that the etx 90 is the best scope for the money. With the etx 90 would I be able to see the great red spot on jupiter? and uranus and neptune? And also what is better? the etx 90 AT, EC or RA?? Im sorry to bother you, I know your busy and probably get bombarded with these questions all the time. please e-mail back. Thank you GregMike here: Yes, you can see all those but whether the views will live up to your expectations or not, only you can say. Of course, you will be limited to about 180x (although you can go higher under ideal conditions on bright objects), which will show Uranus and Neptune as small dots. As to the models, the RA is the original, non-GOTO ETX model from 1996. The EC and AT models are the same telescope. The AT "package" includes a tripod and the AutoStar, which the EC package did not.
Subject: Vibrations on ETX90 Sent: Wednesday, December 13, 2006 09:17:25 From: Henrik VAN HOLTHOON (email@example.com) I noticed somebody has problems with vibration on his ETX90, you think it is mechanical vibration but it seems to me of electronic nature. A high mass (ETX90) on a stiff spring (tripod) gives very high resonance frequency I do not think this will cause the system to vibrate only by touching it. To my opinion something is wrong with the control electronics of the ETX90 open end or weak feedback system? This is something for the Meade service people I think. I did not contact the person with this problem, can do of course if you feel I should do. Most regards HenrikMike here: Since the earlier email indicated the vibration occurred when touching the telescope I made the assumption it was physical, not electronic.
Subject: RE: ETX-90 mount vibration Sent: Monday, December 11, 2006 05:52:03 From: Frey, John (JR) (JRFrey@dow.com) Thanks for replying. It does not make any difference if it is on the tripod or sitting on a table. Even having the tripod inside the house, on carpeting and a pad, as soon as the tube is tapped no matter how lightly, the vibration does not stop for several seconds. By tapping it, I mean like barely touching it with the end of a fingernail. Thanks JohnMike here: Since you are seeing undamped vibrations with the ETX not mounted on the tripod it sounds more like like the OTA might be loose on the fork arms. Check the left and right mounting adapters. They should be flush against the OTA and the four screws (two each side) should be tight.
Subject: H-Beta filter question Sent: Sunday, December 10, 2006 18:17:41 From: Craig J. Kopra (firstname.lastname@example.org) I was debating on buying a H-Beta filter for those tougher nebulas, but after doing a little research it seems they are best suited for dark locations well away from city lights. Because I live in the suburbs north of Buffalo, NY, would it be worth it to buy one of these filters or should I settle for the Oxygen III type? I spend a better majority of time in the backyard observing/photographing (weather permitting) and rarely go to those remote locations away from the light pollution. Thank you again for your time. Best regards, Craig KopraMike here: Unfortunately, different light sources and different objects (emission vs reflection) work best with different filters. See the broadband, narrowband, and light pollution filter comments on the Accessory Reviews: Filters page. Keep in mind, that these (dark) filters work best with large aperture telescopes.
Subject: Looking for some guidance for purchasing 2nd step telescope Sent: Sunday, December 10, 2006 15:18:51 From: Bart (email@example.com) I hope this is an appropriate question to ask. My appologies if it is not. I have had a small telescope for several years. It was called a comet chaser, 4" reflector with not advanced features. My grandchildren are now expressing interest in looking at the night skys but really all we can see are craters on the moon. Planets and stars alike show up as nothing more than uninterestings small dots of light. I want very much to nurture this interest but in order to do that I think we need to be able to see some details of the planets and perhaps even some of the galaxys and nebula. Tracking of some sort would also be good as by the time 3 children hasve had a turn looking through the eyepiece usually the object (moon) has long since departed the viewing area. I've been trying to gather info on the internet but am lost in a fog of auto find, GPS and a meriad of technical terms. I would really appreciate some suggestions as to what I should be looking for. Lens diameter, type, tacking system etc. Perhaps even a suggestion as to make and model. My budget is $1,000 - $2,000. and I could go a bit more if I need to. I would really appreciate your opinions. Thanks, Bart Tecter Ottawa, CanadaMike here: There are MANY options in that budget range. And usually the best recommendation is to get the most aperture you can afford AND will use. Keep in mind that the best telescope is the one that gets used and doesn't end up in the closet because it is too large and/or cumbersome to set up. As makes and models with GOTO capabilities, there are many choices (as you may have discovered) but I would suggest sticking with Meade, Celestron, and perhaps Orion. Personally, I prefer Meade but there are many users who prefer Celestron or Orion. So, from Meade in that budget range you could consider the ETX-125, one of the LXD75 models, or even one of the LX90 models or LX200 models. For more on the ETX models, see the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page (my comments) and the Helpful Information: User Observations (comments from others). For some info on the LXD75 models, you could visit my LXD55/75 web site (www.weasner.com/lxd); I have the 8"SC model but there is some info on the other models there.
Subject: ETX: How to take apart? Sent: Sunday, December 10, 2006 14:05:50 From: Jose Luis (firstname.lastname@example.org) Can you please tell me how can I separate the fork assembly from the base in a ETX-90? There's a loose screw which went through the hole in the lower part of the base, while trying to fix a problem I have in the azimuth electronics. I need to remove from that zone, I think there's a jam danger. The nut below the lever, can it be loosen and removed?. Is there danger about cutting the altitude cables? I will appreciate much your help. Regards, Jose Luis
From our resident hardware expert:
From: P. Clay Sherrod (email@example.com) I do not recommend attempting to separate under any circumstances. The bad results will far outweigh the potential of the screw getting into a wrong area. NOTE that there is no way that the screw could fall all the way from the fork arm into the turntable base....they are totally separate components with no common opening. I suggest that you just forget the screw and if in doubt, simply do not jostle the assembly during setup. You cannot remove the bolt under the locking lever, since all altitude wiring runs THROUGH the bolt....attempting to remove the bolt will break every wire. Good luck...if the screw fell in the fork arm, which is what I am understanding here, then you have nothing to worry about in terms of an azimuth jam. Dr. Clay ------------- Arkansas Sky Observatories Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway) Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South) http://www.arksky.org/
Hello Dr. Clay, Thanks a lot for your answer. The screw fell into the hole because I was tryingto fix a malfunction detected in the azimuth motor. Altitude motor was OK, but azimuth motor was idle. I opened the base and disassembled the az motor housing. I tested the separate motor and it worked nice. Even I tested in another ETX base and worked as expected. Continuity between the miniplug and the motor contacts is OK. Conclusion: the cause is that the board miniplug to the motor does not yield current, confirmed by a meter. Alt motor had 12 v in the miniplug, but 0 v for the azimuth motor. I don't understand how it could happens, again. It did work many days and now, with no external causes, does not. Is there any additional test I can do? Should the board is damaged, the only solution is to find a new one, isn't it?. Or to find a new base. This is the second time it happens to me. You can remember I wrote to you regarding this item, about two years ago or so. Might the power supply is the culprit?. I use a 12v Varta lead battery with 1.2Ah capacity. I will appreciate your comments. Thanks and best regards, Jose Luis
Hi Jose....I would check both the FUSE in the power supply as well as the output; then check the actual plug for the power supply and the connection it is making in the base. If that check okay then you are correct: the small circuit board is very likely faulty, the one inside the control panel. Meade has been very good about supplying replacement parts....I suggest that you contact them about sending you a new board. Best of luck! Dr. Clay
> I am able to download the new firmware 43Ea into the Autostar, under this condition. > That's means that the power supply is correct. > When you refer to "the small circuit board, inside the control panel", is mit the one > at the back of the Computer Control window where the 12v plug is?, or the one inside > the base around the polar shaft which drives the motor?. This is the one that fails, I believe. > > When I had a similar problem about a year ago, I became crazy trying to get it. > Neither Meade USA nor the Spain dealer will provide a spare board. I had to search for > a spare complete base to show somewhere to fix the telescope. Fortunately I found it. > > I'll try to get the circuit, but I'm afraid I must find another base again. > > Thanks a lot for your information. > > Regards, > Jose
The board that has failed on you is the RA motor driver board, the one close to the RA assembly. Dr. Clay
Subject: Re: ETX Tuneup Sent: Saturday, December 9, 2006 13:12:26 From: P. Clay Sherrod (firstname.lastname@example.org) Wonderful and best of luck! Dr. Clay ------------- Arkansas Sky Observatories Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway) Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South) http://www.arksky.org/ ----- Original Message ----- From: James > Hello Mr. Sherrod > Just found your info on ETX performance enhancements on Weasner's > site. What a great service you have done for those of us who use > this lovely little telescope. Thanks. I am headed out to my shop > now to begin putting your instructions to use. I had assumed that I > would have to live with some of the problems you detail. I'll let > you know how it turns out. > > Jim > Cedar Crest, NM
Subject: re: Can an older ETX-125EC be upgraded to use LNT and a SmartFinderT? Sent: Friday, December 8, 2006 19:29:32 From: richard seymour (email@example.com) Well... I'm gonna have to completely disagree with Mike on this one... because i've done it. Piece o'cake. Just last Monday i received an LNT module from Meade, strapped it on my 1999-era ETX90-EC, and now i have a "truly ancient" ETX90-PE. The "Strapping" was done with a couple of hefty rubber bands around the OTA, the connection was easy, since the LNT module came with a loooong coiled cord which plugs into one of the AUX ports. The Autostar found it at the first powerup, as demonstrated by it saying "Getting Time" and immediately advancing to "Align/Automatic" (which you only get with an LNT) You -do- have to manually get to the Setup/Time and Date screens to adjust the LNT's clock to your local time and date. Once. The only thing i don't have is the red-dot -screen-, since that's ordered as a separate part (but i dislike red-dots, so i don't mind) The part i ordered was the LNT module for the DS-2000 for $65 from Meade's (relatively) new on-line parts department. 2/3rds of the way down: http://www.meade4m.com/4mshop/parts/index.html you'll see the LNT module and the red-dot screens. Click on the pictures to reach the order pages. have fun --dickMike here: I'm amazed that it works! Guess Meade designed the ETX better than I thought!
I will let you both know how it works out with my etx-125ec; I bought the LNT module this morning. This particular scope is missing the setting circle tape which makes using it manually somewhat problematical. Thanks to both of you for the help. Cheers, Robert K. Reinhardt
Subject: ETX-90 mount vibration Sent: Friday, December 8, 2006 12:30:24 From: Frey, John (JR) (JRFrey@dow.com) I have had this problem since I got the scope, but it seems to be bothering more and more as time goes on. The problem is that with the slightest touch, the scope seems to vibrate for several seconds. I read that this is a common problem with fork mounts. Is there a fix for this?? Thanks JohnMike here: You didn't say how you have the ETX mounted, on a tripod, table top legs, or just sitting on a flat surface. But I suspect you have it mounted on a tripod and possibly with the tripod legs extended to their full or near-full height. There are many ways to reduce vibrations through the tripod; use vibration suppression pads (the tripod sits on these), add some extra weight to the tripod, don't extend the leg heights any higher than needed, ensure that the telescope is fully secured on the tripod mounting head. You can use many alternatives to the suppression pads; you can buy a set of three, you can use thick sponges, you can set the telescope up on a soft surface (like grass or dirt), or you can do what I do and set the telescope up on a piece of carpet. The carpet has the added benefit of being a soft surface for when you drop an eyepiece and can making finding dropped items easier in the dark.
Subject: Can an older ETX-125EC be upgraded to use LNT and a SmartFinderT? Sent: Friday, December 8, 2006 08:20:35 From: Reinhardt, Robert - St. Francisville (Robert.Reinhardt@Tembec.com) I use an etx125ec manufactured in 2000 for my viewing. I would like to know if it is possible to upgrade the finder scope to a LNT Red dot (SmartFinder(tm)) such as the new etx125pe versions are using. I have not been able to find one of these for sale as a separate part. Could you give me some guidance on this please? Thank you, Robert K. ReinhardtMike here: It would not be easily done. You would have to run wiring through the base and fork arm and then into the OTA, assuming you wanted a "clean look" without a lot of dangling wires. And you would have to modify the existing circuit board inside the base to bring the extra signals out to the control panel. And it is true that Meade doesn't sale the LNT as a separate part. However, if you want some of the capabilities of the PE model you could add a red-dot finderscope (see the Accessory Reviews: Finderscopes page) and a GPS (see the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page).
Subject: RE: ETX125 SLEW PROBLEM Sent: Friday, December 8, 2006 04:46:44 From: Mike Edwards (firstname.lastname@example.org) Scope fixed! Scope despatched to BC&F Tuesday 05/12/06, returned Thursday 07/12/06 problem solved. Autostar handbox replaced & new cable. Thanks to Steve & Mike at BC&F. Magnificent service.
Subject: Broken plastic part in ETX125 Motor Sent: Thursday, December 7, 2006 17:51:52 From: Cagica e Felizardo Invest (email@example.com) Hello from Portugal: First I want to congratulate you for the value contribution to Telescope begginers like me. Well, that's it... Meade seems to keep the best practices of doing plastic parts to the motors that collapse. My ETX alzimuth motor broken in 13 months in the 6 time I was using the telescope ! Really bad luck. warranty, meanwhile, have gone ( only 12 months )...and now I'm seeking for a replacement motor. Do you know who have one ? Seems Spanish Meade dealers ( closest assistance ) take too long to arrange the scopes... so, Portugal dealer it's trying to do a metal part that substitutes the plastic one. But I don't know if this is a long time solution...better buy another motor expecting another crush after repair. Anyway, I asked around the internet and a person told me that have an ETX70 motor and he thinks it fits the telescope because it's the same motor. What do you think ? It's the same motor ? Thank you and I'm sorry to bother you. A nice Christmas to everybody !Mike here: Can you describe just what you mean by "alzimuth motor broken". The motor has died? The motor has broken off its mounting? The gearing has broken? Just what? As to an ETX-70 motor, I haven't checked but the motor might be different. As to a source of parts in Europe, check the Dealers section on the Astronomy Links page.
Thanks for your fastest answer. It was a part of a piece. ( the motor is the one that moves the telescope horizontally ) I'll send you 2 attachments ( the broken piece indication and the ETX125 motor - I think that was taken out from your site ) Alex - Portugal
Subject: ETX 125 electronic scheme was burnt out Sent: Monday, December 4, 2006 12:38:16 From: Liutauras (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have got an accident with mine Meade ETX 125 AT. I bought a 12volt AC adapter and connected to mine ETX. Accidentally I have seen a smoke and felt a smell of burned electronic. I suspect voltage fluctuation. The telescope now turns only one side vertically and one side horizontally furthermore my autostar don't detects star GPS. I have opened the base of ETX and found that small chip in electronic scheme was burnt out. The electronic scheme is located (attached) to motor and gears at the bottom of base (can be seen in photo http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/125rafix.html). On the on the electronic scheme is stated: ETX 125 2000 MEADE INSTRUMENTS CORP. 15-4506-02 REV C 637-2037 On the backside of the electronic scheme is stated: NCA34003-A RE021A2P1-1 CU31400320 Unfortunately in Lithuania (Europe) there is no Meade service, therefore I am applying to you. May you be able to suggest what microchips are used in this electronic scheme or is it possible to buy somewhere? Also my you have some ideas about star GPS? With best regards, LiutaurasMike here: There is a Meade service center in Europe (www.meade.de) that may able to help. If that doesn't work out, you could take the circuit board to an electronics repair place and perhaps they can get you going again. As to the AC Adapter, if the polarity was incorrect you could damage the circuity. The center pin is positive. You can see my comments on the StarGPS on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page ("StarGPS-LX Review").
Subject: Telescope Recommendation Sent: Sunday, December 3, 2006 11:03:11 From: debbie joyner (email@example.com) I am trying to make a decision on the perfect telescope for my husband, who plays at star-gazing and enjoys scanning the ocean horizon for ships, etc.... I have looked at Meade telescopes and had phone conversations with several salesmen. They have recommended the EXT105AT (what is the difference in this and the EXT105PE?) or the EXT80BB. What do you recommend? Also, can you suggest a type of super binoculars for panaramic viewing and/or concerts, plays, etc.? I enjoyed your site...particularly the cats, as I am an animal fanatic (horses, dogs, cats, birds, rabbits...we have them all). Thanks for your help! Debbie JoynerMike here: The AT and PE models are the same telescope on the same mount using the same GOTO controller. The only real difference is the finderscope and the LNT model. The AT model has a magnifying finderscope (which some users prefer) and the PE model has a "red-dot" non-magnifying finderscope (which other users prefer). In many situations for new users unfamiliar with the night sky, the red-dot style is simpler and easier to use. The LNT module simplifies the alignment process although it is not required to enjoy the views through the telescope. The ETX-105 and ETX-80 are totally different optical designs with different purposes. See my comments on the ETX-105 and ETX-70 (very similar to the ETX-80) on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as other user comments on the Helpful Information: User Observations page. As to "super binoculars" I don't have a breadth of experience but I do like my Orion 7x50 binoculars. If you want higher power you will need to tripod one or get one of the "image stabilizing" binoculars.
Subject: help with my new etx 90ec and autostar Sent: Saturday, December 2, 2006 21:21:52 From: Rodney Clabaugh (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have a question about my etx90ec that i bought on e-bay. When i plug in my autostar 497 that i allready owned from a previous etx, i get a message saying (use autostar on this model) No matter what button i push it never changes the prompt. I was under the impression that i could use the autostar 497 on this model even though i know it comes with the basic electronic controller. Any Help??? Thanks RodMike here: Yes, the AutoStar #497 (model with number keys on the keypad) will work with the ETX-90EC. By pressing the MODE key several times, can you get to the Setup menu? If so, you can select the telescope model from the Telescope menu. You will need to CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES once you get the telescope model selected. Alternatively, can you get to the RESET menu item?
I have since realized that the model of autostar I have is the one I got with my old etx60. It does not have the number pad on it. I think that is the reason why it does not work with my etx90. Is this true and if it is do you know where I can get a model 497 without paying almost as much as my telescope cost? Thank RodMike here: You can sometimes find a used #495 or #497 AutoStar online (the #495 can be made into a #497 via the #497 ROM file from Meade's site). Alternatively you can get a new AutoStar for $150-200, depending on the source.
Do I have the 495 auto star? The one I have looks exactly like the 497 except it is missing just the numeric keys. It has the data window that scrolls info and everthing..RodMike here: The #495 looks EXACTLY like the #497 INCLUDING the number keys, which is one of the reasons it can be upgraded via software to a #497. No number keys means a #494, which is not upgradable.
Subject: Your recommendation between a Meade ETX-125PE and Celestron NexStar 8 SE Sent: Saturday, December 2, 2006 14:46:21 From: Winston Can you please give me your recommendation for buying my first. My goal is to do lunar and planetary viewing, as well as some deep sky. As my knowledge and comfort level increase, I would like to do some astrophotography. I have narrowed my choice to two telescopes: 1. Meade ETX-125PE ($1,194) 2. Celestron NexStar 8 SE ($1,324) A few questions: 1. I have read some postings indicating that Celestron has had quality issues. However, for the price, the extra aperture would be nice for more deep sky objects. The quality issues concern me but I also read postings where people have had trouble with Meade as well. 2. Being a novice and not what you would call a "technical person", do either one of these have an advantage as far as getting them aligned and operating without a lot of hassle. 3. I know that neither is optimum for astrophotography, but is one more capable than the other for this purpose? 4. Which company is better from a customer service aspect and standing behind their product: Meade or Celestron? Thanks for your help. Your site is amazing! I wish there was a site for Celestron with this much information. Sincerely, WinstonMike here: I have very limited experience with Celestron telescopes and the company. That said, getting the most aperture you can afford AND will use is the best choice for most people. But before making that decision you need to determine just how you plan to use the telescope AND what your expectations are. Then you can make a choice that more correctly matches those. Certainly a larger aperture is better suited for astrophotography unless you plan to use a DSI model imager, then you will need an AutoStar controlled telescope (from Meade). From comments I have seen over the years, the AutoStar is usually noted as being a better system than the NexStar but they both do the job as designed. As to a Celestron telescope web site, there probably is something out there; there are also likely to be Yahoo Groups that support Celestron telescopes.
Subject: Re: Power switch fault(ETX125) Sent: Saturday, December 2, 2006 13:50:58 From: StpFerris@aol.com (StpFerris@aol.com) thanks for the reply, i am going to attempt the strip down and do the degrease and try for ther "perfect go to" (HO HO) that mike speaks of , and while im in there I will attempt the switch problem. OVER THE TOP!! steve.
Subject: Check out The Signal: News for Santa Clarita Valley, California Sent: Friday, December 1, 2006 08:12:24 From: Petz2@aol.com (Petz2@aol.com) Click here: The Signal: News for Santa Clarita Valley, California I'm still devoted to the ETX and you are a source for my inspiration. Steve
Subject: Re: Thanks Sent: Friday, December 1, 2006 04:10:03 From: P. Clay Sherrod (email@example.com) Wonderful report on all fronts.....I have the highest respect for your daily routine, having raised 5 wonderful children now all grown. Not perfect, but wonderful in my view. Give a hug to Elena and Dominic and congratulations on that new boy. You are right about astronomy: the sky can remove you from all the ills of the world with one look through an eyepiece.....something about our roots in the cosmos puts the mind in the idle mode that is so badly needed in today's world. Dr. Clay ------------- Arkansas Sky Observatories Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway) Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South) http://www.arksky.org/ ----- Original Message ----- From: "Jeremy" Dear Dr Clay, I want to thank you for the Orion tour which I undertook a few nights ago. I am a stay at home dad and astronomy is so relaxing for me after a hard day looking after them, it is rapidly becoming a pssion for me. I own an ETX125 and am having such fun with it. I must note for you that Meade Germany is an excellent branch and very helpful. Recently the screw on the finderscope broke and I rang them. Within a few days two replacements arrived. So thanks again and keep up the work with Mike Weasner. It is much appreciated. Jeremy......father of a very beautiful over two year old and also the beautiful new baby boy!
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