GENERAL FEEDBACK
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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 (tamtarn@iprimus.com.au)
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    Barbara
Mike 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 (zweige@cox.net)
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:	rhodes@uwm.edu (rhodes@uwm.edu)
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 (jrodricks@gmail.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 Rodricks
Mike 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.

And:

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.

And:

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 (steve@razzamatazz.com)
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, Catherine
Mike 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?

And:

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, Catherine
Mike 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.

And:

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, Catherine
Mike 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.

And:

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 Coleman
Mike 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 (bicharajo69@yahoo.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 Almazn
Mike 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.

And:

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.

And:

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.

And:

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.

And:

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 (jwilson@everlastingvalveusa.com)
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 Wilson
Mike here: This question has been asked frequently. See the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page.

And:

Ooops, sorry - thank you

Subject:	RE: 105 PE jerking
Sent:	Wednesday, December 27, 2006 17:31:32
From:	Eric Rosenzweig (zweige@cox.net)
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 (dombalis@hotmail.com)
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.
As to determining the "magnetic variation" (or "magnetic declination") for the difference in True North vs Magnetic North for your location, see the "Magnetic Variation Calcs" on the Astronomy Links page.

And:

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:	nellesp@mtc.net (nellesp@mtc.net)
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, Wisconsin
Mike 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 (aviles.carlos1@gmail.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 Aviles
Mike 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.

And:

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 Aviles
Mike 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 (ahoranic@yahoo.com)
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 (steve@razzamatazz.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,

Steve
Mike 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 (zweige@cox.net)
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,
Eric
Mike 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 (dblythe@westerfieldbonte.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, KY
Mike 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 (wclabaugh@sbcglobal.net)
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.......Rod
Mike here: Yep, I've heard of that. Which is why it is listed on the FAQ page:
Q. My Declination (altitude) setting circle is off, what do I do?
For the answer, see the FAQ page on my ETX Site.
Subject:	Broken ETX-90AT gear box.
Sent:	Friday, December 22, 2006 09:19:34
From:	lee100@mail.com (lee100@mail.com)
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.
As to the EC vs AT models, see the FAQ page.
Subject:	A "Good" Meade Customer Service Story
Sent:	Thursday, December 21, 2006 14:13:20
From:	Carlos Aviles (aviles.carlos1@gmail.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).

photo

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 (windycitylion2003@yahoo.com)
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 Thomas
Mike 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..Com
Mike 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.
As to the ETX-125, it is a fine instrument that can provide you with lots of enjoyment. I suggest you read my comments on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as other user comments on the Helpful Information: User Observations page.
Subject:	Differance between ETX-90-EC ETX-90-AT and ETX-90-EP
Sent:	Monday, December 18, 2006 14:19:35
From:	Eoin Byrne (byrneoin@gmail.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, Ireland
Mike 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 (hchase2@msn.com)
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. Chase
Mike 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).

And:

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. Chase
Mike 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 (mcrider@wildblue.net)
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, NM
Mike here: Dr. Clay's Supercharge is definitely worthwhile considering.

And:

From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
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 (niall@njs101.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 (shockazoo@comcast.net)
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
Greg
Mike 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 (henrik.van.holthoon@wanadoo.fr)
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
Henrik
Mike 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

John
Mike 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 (c_kopra@hotmail.com)
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 Kopra
Mike 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 (bart@tecter.ca)
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, Canada
Mike 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 (jlch@ya.com)
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 (drclay@tcworks.net)
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/

And:

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 (drclay@tcworks.net)
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 (rseymour@wolfenet.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
--dick
Mike here: I'm amazed that it works! Guess Meade designed the ETX better than I thought!

And:

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
 
John
Mike 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. Reinhardt
Mike 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 (mikee@timberframe.co.uk)
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 (incafeli@hotmail.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.

And:

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

photo
photo

Mike here: Try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page).
Subject:	ETX 125 electronic scheme was burnt out
Sent:	Monday, December 4, 2006 12:38:16
From:	Liutauras (liutauras.jasiunas@zebra.lt)
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,
 
Liutauras
Mike 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 (hot-coldvacations@earthlink.net)
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 Joyner
Mike 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 (wclabaugh@sbcglobal.net)
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   Rod
Mike 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?

And:

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   Rod
Mike 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.

And:

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..Rod
Mike 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,
Winston
Mike 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 (drclay@tcworks.net)
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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