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ETX USER FEEDBACK - DECEMBER 1997
Last updated: 31 December 1997

Many ETX users have written to me with comments or questions. If you have any comments, suggestions, or answers to questions posed here, please e-mail them to me and I'll post them.


Mike here: As we close out the Feedback page for 1997, I just wanted to say a public "thanks" to all the contributors to these pages over the last year. Much of the credit to the success of this "Mighty ETX Site" goes to you! I hope 1998 brings clear skies and much happiness to all of you.


Sent:	Wednesday, December 31, 1997 09:29:00
From:	AstroFrk69@aol.com
As you know, i have an etx, a 10 dob and a 17.5 truss, and if i
could only have one, it would be the etx.  I have a problem with
my R.A. slow motion knob.  Its loose.  It wobbles back and forth,
and i can pull it up and down.  I realized that there was a screw
holding the knob part on.  I un screwed that, and took the head
of it off.  There is a small lever i guess you could say standing
vertical which the knob rested on, like a bar.  From what i can
see, i think the bar originally was pulled as high as it could
go, then the knob itself placed onto it, then screwed on.  I feel
from going outside, coming inside, going outside, coming inside,
that the metal expanded and contracted to the point where the
screw loosened up a bit and the bar slid down just a little.  Now
my knob is wobbling.  My question is, do you know how i can get
the bar to stay all the way up as i put the knob on to secure it
and stop the wobbling?  if i don't do this, the thing wobbles and
i want it fixed.  please email me or place this in your page.  i
hope to get this fixed.  any info would help
thanx a lot mike,
Dave
AstroFrk@aol.com


Sent:	Wednesday, December 31, 1997 08:16:55
From:	ramonb@prodigy.net (ramonb)
First of all your Web Site is just great.
Second I would like to know if anyone has used the tripod from
Shutan Camera.  I would like to obtain a tripod for my ETX.  I
have seen comments on the Bogen tripods but not on this Italian
model.


Sent:	Wednesday, December 31, 1997 07:54:30
From:	mercalde@blarg.net (Michael & Shawn Mercalde)
I am the proud new owner of the etx and was curious as to the
possibility of taken deep space objects with a dedicated ccd
camera. True, the ra drive leaves much to be desired with regard
to long exposures, but the ccd is much more sensitive. Do you
have any suggestions regarding this???

Mike here: there are some CCD photos on the Guest Astrophotography pages. Check them out and write to the contributors for more info.


Sent:	Wednesday, December 31, 1997 07:32:03
From:	pstolten@ci.phoenix.az.us
Could you suggest a good book that would clue me in on how to
locate stars and planets and the like? It seems a lot of people
just "know" where to find things in the night sky. I am, shall we
say unlearned in this area. I appreciate your response to my last
email. Hope to hear from you soon.
Pete Stoltenberg
pstolten@ci.phoenix.az.us

Mike here: There are many good software packages that provide star charts. And of course there are the monthly magazines like "Sky & Telescope" and "Astronomy" But I haven't looked at astronomy books since the 1960s when I was an undergrad in Astrophysics. Any suggestions on good beginner books?


Sent:	Wednesday, December 31, 1997 06:02:05
From:	dhewins@vail.net (Doug Hewins)
Good morning, just uncrated a new ETX last evening, hurriedly
assembled it and took it outside to give it a try. After letting
it sit a while in the cold air (I live at 10,500 feet near
Breckenridge, Colorado) I focused on Saturn, which was up to the
southwest. The image was small but very clear and the tracking
worked well. Very pleased for our first efforts. Your site is
terrific and I'm sure will result in my spending quite a bit more
on some accessories. Thanks for your tremendous efforts and great
information. Doug.


Sent:	Tuesday, December 30, 1997 14:46:22
From:	boudreau@eng.umd.edu (Paul J. Boudreaux)
Just got my Feb 98 Astronomy magazine. Check out the idea of
Frank Tabrah on page 17. He used a  25mm x 25mm x 35mm right
angle prism and a cut off plastic film canister to make a jury
rig adapter for the finder scope. It looks like a clever (and
cheap - $8.25 from Edmund Scientific) idea to add a "right angle
finder" to slip over the eyepiece end of the ETX finder scope.
Paul Boudreaux


Sent:	Tuesday, December 30, 1997 13:45:06
From:	pstolten@ci.phoenix.az.us
Thanks for the cool work you're doing on the web. I like your
page an awful lot. The pictures you have taken are an inspiration
to me. I can see what can be done with a somewhat basic
telescope. Not that your ETX is basic by any means, but I mean
compared to these huge telescopes I see some guys toting around
costing thousands of dollars. It gives me something to shoot for.
Possibly in the future I can purchase a telescope like yours and
experience the excitement that you do as you see the cosmos with
your own equipment. I have purchased a pair of 10x50 binoculars
that surprisingly help me in seeing quite a lot that I could
never see with the naked eye. I have a great time checking out
the moon and many local star clusters and such. Keep up the good
work and thanks again for encouraging me by sharing your work.
     
     Pete Stoltenberg
     pstolten@ci.phoenix.az.us
     


Sent:	Tuesday, December 30, 1997 07:23:29
From:	man_ldn@prodigy.net (Michael & Lori Nicholas)
Continued congratulations on the quality of your site.  I
implemented the recent RA fix procedure with the 8/32 hanging
bolt.  I know it probably invalidated my warranty, but it seemed
worth the risk.  As luck would have it, the viewing conditions
here have been terrible.  On the two reasonably good nights in
the three weeks since I implemented the fix, it seems to work
very well!!!  I agree with the statement that Meade should have
implemented this system when they were planning production.  It
would have cost them pennies per scope.
I look forward to other ideas and feedback in the new year.

Seasons Greetings & Clear Skies To All

Michael A. Nicholas
Paducah, Kentucky


Sent:	Monday, December 29, 1997 13:57:20
From:	rmartin@pmci.com (Rodney Martin)
I just purchased an ETX Telescope on the advise of the sales
people at Natural Wonders.  I am a newbie to telescopes, but I
wanted the best I could get in that price range.  I have not yet
been able to fully use the ETX due to the lack of clear sky
lately, but I have been reading the feedback on your web page as
well as in the user groups.  It seems everyone is quite happy
with their ETXs on your web page but in the news groups I keep
seeing the advise to get a 8" or 10" dobs instead of the ETX as
your first scope...  Should I return the ETX and get a dobs or
will I not see much difference?  I love them portability of the
ETX but I also want to be able to observe alot of objects, not
just including the planets... what can I expect from the ETX and
the dobs?
Thanks!

Rodney

Mike here: I have no experience with Dobs but can say THEY ARE LARGE AND BULKY. And being large, you really HAVE TO WANT TO USE THEM. With the ETX, you can easily set up on the spur of the moment. With any larger scope you have to move more weight around and unless you are really dedicated, you will find the ETX getting used more. Yes, you can certainly see a lot more with the larger aperture scopes but only if you use it. I hope to get a larger scope myself someday (it won't be a dob) but for now will continue to get a lot of use out of the ETX, at home and on travel.


Sent:	Monday, December 29, 1997 06:36:11
From:	greasetattoo@earthlink.net (Greg Lehman)
Hi, I got a supposely Meade (made in Tiawan) scope for Xmas. I
was'nt too satisfied with this scope, then I logged onto the
internet and connected to your site.(Great Site!) I brought back
my, made in Tiawan Meade, to Wal-mart and headed down to the
Nature co. and bought a ETX. Nice...
I have a few questions though.... I want to purchase a couple of
eyepieces. Maybe 3 or so. What would you recommend for starters?
I also would like to get a 2x barlow. Any recommendations? I'm
kinda new to the astromony world. Oh yeah, how does one get rid
of these clouds?

Thanks
Greg from St.Paul, Minnesota

P.S. Keep up the great work......

Mike here: Check out the Eyepieces page. I have found that my two (26mm and 9.7mm) in combination with the 2X Barlow Lens provides me with enough versatility. I do hope to get a nice low-power wide angle eyepiece someday. As to getting rid of clouds, try moving to the Moon! A little expensive, but oh, those dark and clear skies!


Sent:	Sunday, December 28, 1997 16:40:36
From:	briley@thehub.com.au (briley)
i just thought i would let you know of my first experience of
using the etx astro scope ,well when i put the 1.5 volt cells in
the the clips and switched the drive on nothing happened , afew
moments later i took the base off the scope and noticed that the
1.5 volt cell were rely very very hot . it seems that some of
these cells have no insulated cover on them and thus the whole
cell is shorted out by he clips just thought i would mention it ,
there seems to be a whole range of cells and they are all
different in this respect.


Sent:	Sunday, December 28, 1997 10:32:11
From:	katetom@znet.com (Kate and Tom Harnish)
Thanks to Christmas in general, and a wife who not only indulges
but shares my interest in astronomy, the packages under the
Christmas tree this year included the Meade 6.7 UWA eyepiece, a
Bogen tripod, a JMI eqatorial wedge, motofocus, motodec, and
dual-control hand unit. Santa was good to me, yes she was. Have
spent hours together enjoying the added capability and
convenience. Combined they make ETX backyard astronomy much more
enjoyable.
I'm no optics expert, so all I can report regarding the Meade
eyepiece is that it made little things bigger. Duh. For the price
it seems like I should have more to say, but don't have anything
to compare it to. Had the standard Meade 26mm plus a Tele Vue
20mm and a barlow so this takes us to the edge (and beyond, with
the barlow). In lousy coastal seeing with a street light acroos
the way 6 of the stars in Trapezium were occasionally visible.
Lunar craters are really cool. Never could figure out what the
couple in the motel down the street were doing, though.

Finally, a short book review on "The Perfect Machine - Building
the Palomar Telescope" by Ronald Florence, 1994. Read it. Arthur
Clarke sez on the cover, "A perfect job of science writing for
the general public. Over to you, Pulitzer Prize Committee." Like
I said, read it, then visit the place, it's only about an hour
from San Diego, two from LA. A religious experience. Personally,
I wish the book had had less politics and more technology, but a
good read.
-- 
Tom

http://www.barnstorming.com
http://www.findingmoney.com

Mike here: see Tom's other comments on his new accessories on the Accessories - Tripods page.


Sent:	Sunday, December 28, 1997 06:42:02
From:	velensky@nbnet.nb.ca (Velensky, Lenard)
As I see is the case with many other ETX owners, there is much
dissatisfaction with the finderscope's usefulness with respect to
polar alignment, general usefulness and 8x21 specification. After
considering the alternatives I am looking into replacing the
finder scope with a right angled finder scope. I have checked the
finder scope section of your site but do not see any mention of
Tuthill's 6x30 right angle finder scope for the ETX. I posted a
message to an amateur astronomy newsgroup but received no reply.
Are you, or any of your site readers, aware of Tuthill's
replacement? If so how well does it work? Is it there own
manufacture?

Thanks for the excellent site,
Lenard

Mike here: There are several reviews of Finderscope replacements on the Accessories - Finderscopes page. A review of one from Tuthill is forthcoming.


Sent:	Saturday, December 27, 1997 08:33:57
From:	Ngc457@aol.com
Hi my name is Shawn I am real impressed with your web site.  It
is very nice and a benifit to those who enjoy  astronomy. I have
an award winning web site that caters to the deep sky observer. 
It has info on my club, satellite passes, planetary events and
Deep Sky Online which is a deep sky E-zine that is filled with
Star-hops, how toos, pictures and charts to help the deep sky
observer enjoy the sky more fully.   I am also looking for
observations how too articles.  Perhaps you or someone you know
can send some observations.
The URL for the Smoky Mountain Astronomical Society is 
http://members.aol.com/ngc457


Sent:	Friday, December 26, 1997 18:44:36
From:	elrond@miracle.net (elrond)
Just thought I would drop a line how the viewing is here in CT.
Clear skies and a balmy 45 degrees. No gloves needed!!! I got
some great views of orion's sword including M42. Thought the
longer I looked at the more detail I couls see, I could not make
out any color. You know the reddish blue normaly aquinted with
this area. I was looking at it through 4 different mag. 26 mil.
then with barlow alson 9.7 mil. then with the barlow. Anyone else
had any luck getting views of M42?

Mike here: I've seen M42 a lot, even this week when the temps have been down to 45 at my home in Sunny Southern California. Visually, M42 is always a green-ish or pale yellow/green. Photographically it comes across as red.


Sent:	Friday, December 26, 1997 18:19:12
From:	j.burgos@cgac.es (jl)
Congratulations for your pages, thant to you I get into this
fascinating world, and I chose an ETX.
However, here in my country (SPAIN) we have few people using ETX
and specially few dealers but what really upsets me is that I
have no chance to acquire the different gadgets, add on for my
jewl.

Could you recommend me a dealer in your country who ship overseas
in which you trust and at good prices.

Thank you in advance an have a Merry Christmas & a happy new
year.

Sincerely yours,

jlb


Sent:	Friday, December 26, 1997 16:04:58
From:	gglasscock@auburn.campus.mci.net (greg glasscock)
I'm a total rookie with a new ETX.  I need input on a couple of
lenses. Please tell me the differences in the SWA and UWA lenses
and any advise on what to get next.  I have only the stock 26mm
now.  Also is a filter a must for lunar observation? And finally,
are there any books you would recommend as a must?  Thanks very
much and look forward to covering every corner of your page. 
Greg


Sent:	Friday, December 26, 1997 14:27:23
From:	boudreau@eng.umd.edu (Paul J. Boudreaux)
I thought you and your web site readers might be interested in my
latest experience with the ETX. For XMAS I received Dr. Harold
Suiter's excellent book, "Star Testing Astronomical Telescopes".
I heartily recommend any ETX owner to get a copy or borrow one
from the library.  We, as ETX owners, are quite pleased with the
optical images we see in our instruments. But, like many of you,
I wanted to know how good , really, was the ETX. Well now I know!
It is "the best it can be" for its aperture and f number. After
reading only a few chapters from Dr. Suiter's book, I decided to
give my ETX the star test during the day using a spherical silver
Christmas tree ornament one inch in diameter. Using the virtual
image glint of the sun during the day off this ornament, I was
able to form a point source that I could place 265 feet from the
telescope. This is the right combination of Christmas tree
ornament size, distance, and situation to form a point source
smaller than the Airy disk that the ETX is capable of resolving.
I was using my most powerful eyepiece, a  6.4mm Super Plossel. I
also used the standard 26mm that came with the ETX and it too
gives reasonable star test images, but much smaller.  Suiter's
book gives all the details necessary in a very easy to read
non-mathematical-physics manner so that any would-be amateur
astronomer can easily understand it. What I saw amazed me! The
ETX passed all aspects of evaluation with flying colors! The
diffraction pattern inside and outside the focus point showed no
trace of misalignment, astigmatism, pinched optics, spherical
aberration or rough surfaces on the primary mirror. Only air
turbulence spiking showed up when gusts of wind fluttered by. One
benifit of this daytime test is that you don't have to star
track. It is a fixed and stable line-of-sight test that is under
your control (except for air turbulence).
As an added benefit, I was able to measure the time it takes for
the optics to come to equilibrium to give a stable image. You can
actually see the effects of the internal tube air currents settle
down as the telescope was brought in from a warm house (75F) to
the 35F outside by watching the shape change of the out of focus
diffraction pattern as it circularized.

Boy, I wish I had known earlier of this powerful technique for
quickly evaluating telescopes. I would really urge anyone
interested in buying a telescope to learn this easy procedure
before you buy any telescope. Once again the ETX has lived up to
its hype! I am more impressed with this little scope every time I
use it. I had already seen the test using a bright star in the
night sky. The inside focus diffraction pattern of circles and
the outside focus diffraction pattern of circules from the focus
point were essentially similiar in my ETX, but I did not really
know what that meant. Now I know and can evaluate changes that I
observe in the telescope and know what they mean. Its great to
know through your own measurements how really good the ETX is!

Have a Happy Holiday Season!

Paul Boudreaux


Sent:	Friday, December 26, 1997 10:34:51
From:	lsmith@zianet.com (Larry Smith)
My concern with the ETX has to do with it's clock drive.  I want
a scope I can take "piggy back" pics with (guiding thru the ETX),
and photos thru the ETX.  When the clock drive is engaged, can
the user still make adjustments in RA and DEC, like during an
exposure?  Is the mount sturdy enough to handle a camera either
piggyback or thru the scope?

Mike here: Check out the Showcase Products page. I'm currently evaluating the JMI piggyback mount. I have taken some pictures with it and will post them when I get them processed.


Sent:	Tuesday, December 23, 1997 21:22:03
From:	sjcardona@MCI2000.com (Scott A. Cardona)
Actually, I just have a question that I hope you can answer for
me.  I am trying to figure out the declination plate markings and
maybe you can tell me if they are right or not.  From the factory
the marking '0' is aligned with the indicator arrow when the
optical tube is at a 90 degree angle to the base of the telescope
(as it is on the cover of the instruction manual).  According to
the instruction manual the north star should be at 89.2 degrees,
but with the setting my telescope is set at it is not possible to
move the tube to that reading because it will hit the base or be
pointing backwards.  Before I manually change the setting
circles, I just wanted some of your input.  Am I doing something
wrong or are the setting circles incorrect from the manufacturer.
Thanks,
scott

Mike here: With the base flat on a table (i.e, with the ETX legs removed), move the ETX OTA (optical tube assembly) until it is pointed at the ceiling (i.e., straight up). The dec setting should show 90 degrees. With the OTA pointed straight at a wall it should read 0 degrees. When you have the ETX on its legs and adjusted for your latitude, just rotating the ETX in declination from its "normal" resting position (as shown in my "Mighty ETX Site" logo) to 90 degrees (i.e., for a polar alignment) would result in the eyepiece being upside down. You can rotate the ETX in Right Ascension to bring the eyepiece around to the top or side as you prefer. Then sight Polaris. If your declination settings do not read about 90 degrees when Polaris is in the field of view then it does sound like they are mis-adjusted.


Sent:	Tuesday, December 23, 1997 18:36:56
From:	WayneH7974@aol.com
Well, this hobby is making a few dents in my bank account.  Took
the #126 Barlow back to Natural Wonders and asked the manager if
he was sure about the price of $65 since Mead's ads and all of
the mail order houses had it for about $48.  He stuck to his
price as having been set by corporate so I asked for and got an
immediate refund.  I hadn't even taken the unit out of its
plastic wrap so it was like new.  I told him I would have gladly
paid $20 or $30 over suggested retail for the ETX itself as that
markup on a $600 dollar item was fair but getting $18 markup for
a $50 part was more than I was willing to bear.  If I could find
an address for the corporate office I'd drop them a friendly
note.
Went to the JMI store (factory) in Lakewood and ordered their
wedge and field tripod.  They don't have much of a showroom, the
one display case had two big bags of pink packing peanuts in
front of it.  The lady at a desk took my order for the two items,
they were out of the wedge but were busily making new ones.  I
was impressed with the Tripod as it seemed fairly sturdy and
specially made to accept their Wedge.  They were also out of
stock on the Moto-Drives.

I called Pocono Mountain Optics and ordered the Barlow, their
right angle finder kit, Erecting 45 degree prism and a Vixen
Lananthem 8 to 24mm zoom lens, on the recomendation of someone
who you posted on your web site.

I'll let you know what I think of all these goodies after
Christmas as it will take a few days for all of the stuff to
arrive.  Having clear skies would be nice too.

While browsing the Shutan Camera site, I noticed they had
some information specific to the ETX, mostly accessories but
their prices seemed close to Pocono's.
Wayne


Sent:	Tuesday, December 23, 1997 17:43:22
From:	elrond@miracle.net (elrond)
I was watching Monday night football on Dec. 22 when I feel
asleep. when I awoke about 3:00 am I was catching the last of a
program called Strange Universe. I was still half asleep when I
thought I heard an annoucer say "this program is brought to you
by The Meade ETX Astro Telscope. And as I looked to the screen I
saw a picture of the ETX with the moon as a back drop? Was this
all just my imagination? Or is the ETX so popular that it now
commands it's own commercial.


Sent:	Tuesday, December 23, 1997 09:04:02
From:	KIESCHEF@COWEN.COM (Kiesche III, Fred)
Like the new look. Funny, my ETX doesn't look quite as large as
yours!
Picked up a few eyepieces, but of course, when you buy new stuff,
the clouds roll in so I can't really give you a good review yet.
When I get a few days of good seeing, I'll post reviews.

My wife got a heavy box from a certain California-based binocular
and telescope store, so maybe Santa will be extra nice to me!

Thanks for the review on the JMI products. Have you (or anybody
else out there in ETX-land) used the Tuthill mount on the ETX?

And, anybody out there know of a **active** ETX mailing list like
the MPAUG list? If not, anybody interested in joining one if I
start it via my AOL account?

Fred Kiesche
(FKiesche@aol.com)


Sent:	Monday, December 22, 1997 06:01:24
From:	tkline@centraxgroup.com (Tim Kline)
This email has been a long time coming; the last time I bugged
you was in June when I was trying to decide which telescope would
be the gift for my 30th birthday from my wife.  Needless to say,
I was confident at that time - and even more so now - that the
ETX was a sound decision.
The evolution of your page has been very impressive with the
constant updates and the revisions/additions you've made; this
page definitely speaks to the amateurs of us out here who fear
being scoffed at for comments in MAPUG or other astronomical
forums.  The willingness of visitors to comment and leave
suggestions is a testimonial to the comfort level people feel
when visiting your page and sharing ideas/experiences with
others.

My initial intent was to send my first impressions immediately
after purchase of the ETX, however as those users out there who
have 2-year olds running around well know, time is a premium and
sometimes sleep overcomes the urge to get the scope out. 
However, that brings me to my first comment about the ETX:  with
limited time to view because of kids or just a busy schedule,
it's a no-brainer that the ETX is the scope for you.  Had I
purchased a larger reflector or refractor as I had intended, I
would have been one of those people who always had an excuse not
to pull out the telescope because of the time of setup and size
of the scope.  As it is, I can pull out the ETX and be viewing
within a few minutes and just get in 30 or 45 minutes of viewing
without any major hassle.

I feel lucky with my scope as I have not experienced many of the
problems other users have, and I am very pleased with the optics,
portability, ease of use and the clock drive.  In fact, after
doing a test on the clock drive 2 days ago, it was only off 1
minute out of an hour test run!  As with yourself, I purchase my
equipment through The Nature Company and would also give them an
A+ for friendliness, knowledge and commitment to making their
client happy.  I did have a problem with my viewfinder not
focusing right out of the box, so they sent their 'telescope
expert' to my house on his own time to check it out.  I came to
find out that this guy works part time at The Nature Company, the
local science museum and a local community college.  His role at
The Nature Company is simply to aid in setup and troubleshooting
for their telescope clients - for the entire South Florida area! 
So not only did I get my viewfinder replaced very quickly, but
also got a 2 hour introduction to astronomy and the use of the
ETX.

Now that my Nature Company commercial is over with, I have one
last thing to share with other users:  if you haven't already
received or ordered your solar filter for the upcoming
eclipse...DO IT NOW!!!!  I went through almost every ad in
Astronomy magazine and the pickings are VERY SLIM.  I finally
ordered direct from Thousand Oaks from your recommendation and
the fact that I wanted a Type 2 Plus that nobody else seemed to
be sure they could get in time.  They are quoting 4 weeks for
delivery - probably sooner they said, but they don't want to
promise before then.  Pocono Mountain was quoting 6 - 8 weeks and
said even then, "...you might not have it before the eclipse." I
found this same response from at least 4 other vendors...and most
of them were not very helpful.  I think Shutan in Illinois has a
decent supply of the Type 2 and is shipping in 10 days or so, but
the majority of the rest are giving the, "We should have some in
1 or 2 weeks." line...to me that smells of disspointment when the
eclipse is 1 week away and you still haven't had your order
filled.

So, there it is, one helpful paragraph out of a
noveletta...typical of someone that works at home and doesn't get
out much.  Enjoy your holiday season and we'll all be looking
forward to some bitchin' pics of the upcoming solar eclipse.

TTFN,

Tim


Sent:	Sunday, December 21, 1997 17:32:21
From:	ka5ysy@ix.netcom.com (Doug & Judy Stracener)
Hi Mike: Well, I figure that is a 20" or so etx.... nice large
eyepiece too, on your new webpage!!!
Seriously...the frames version is nice. Thanks for the good work
on the ETX scopes. I really enjoy mine with the  Televue zoom...
no eyepieces to get lost in the shuffle!

Merry Christmas from the Swamps of south Louisiana.

Doug Stracener


Sent:	Sunday, December 21, 1997 17:21:20
From:	BobKbusch@worldnet.att.net (Bob Kronebusch)
Hi, thanks for maintaining a great site.  I've learned a great
deal reading your archives and other pages.  I just purchased a
Meade ETX from a local Nature Company.  I got a great deal (I
think) because it was a 3-month old display model and the only
one in stock.  The Nature Company salesmanager gave me a nice
discount and was very knowledgeable about the scope.  I checked
it out as well as I could before packing it up and taking it
home.  The ETX appeared to work beautifully the first night with
great views of Saturn and Jupiter; tracking them both (at low
power using the standard eyepiece) for over 30 minutes.
The second day, I bought a 2X Meade Barlow and tried some
terrestrial viewing.  The scope would not focus completely on an
object 250 yards away with the Barlow installed.  With the focus
knob turned fully clockwise, the scope was just short of perfect
focus.  (It focused fine on objects closer than 250 yards.)  I
removed the Barlow, and the scope focused on the object using the
standard eyepiece only, but the focus knob was just short of
hitting the stop at full clockwise rotation. That evening, I had
the same problem viewing Jupiter.  The scope focused without the
Barlow, but the focus knob was almost at full clockwise rotation.
It would not fully focus with the Barlow installed.

Is it possible the mirror has somehow shifted inside the tube? 
Has anyone else had a similar problem?  Any suggestions? I like
the ETX and don't want to take it back.  Thanks....

Mike here: I've heard of some eyepieces not being able to be focused with the ETX but never a Barlow. I have the "2x Short-Focus Multi-Coated Barlow Lens" and it works fine.


Sent:	Saturday, December 20, 1997 03:08:18
From:	larsen17@online.no (Terje Larsen)
Hi sending a mail from Norway
I have just ordered an Etx from Meade.It costs ca 1150$in Norway
so I hope it's worth it.  I check out your site weekly and one of
the reasons I choosed the ETX is thanks to you and your web site.
It is wery useful for ETX owners and us who is waiting for the
telescope to arrive
Clear skies

Terje Larsen


Sent:	Friday, December 19, 1997 22:56:40
From:	eric@house8.com (Eric Paulson)
I am thinking about purchasing an ETX but one of my major
concerns is using it on a tripod - is there a way to do this? I
currently have a very good tripod that I use for large format
photography and would like to be able to use it for my ETX as
well. Do I have to purchase something extra to mount it to a
tripod?  The idea of being portable is one of its major selling
factors, but I can't imagine using the table top tripod out in
the field.
and thank you for providing a great resource for this telescope -
I am a web developer and love it when I find sites which actually
use the web for what I see as its real purpose - communicating
between people with like interests - instead of commercial junk.

Eric Paulson

Mike here: Check out the Accessories - Tripods and Showcase Products pages. Info on tripods there.


Sent:	Friday, December 19, 1997 18:25:16
From:	dmzjaz@earthlink.net (Nancy Ziehl)
I own the ETX and I admit it's pretty cool. I think it should be
stronger for x-tra terrestrial viewing,though. I can't wait to
hook it up to my camara.


Sent:	Friday, December 19, 1997 06:24:33
From:	kscriba@win.bright.net (K. Scriba)
I played with the ETX for just about an hour when it arrived,
mostly aligning the finder scope, so perhaps I'm jumping the gun
a bit, but:  I remember thinking "Wow, this is that loose knob
that people have been talking about," when I examined the
controls and touched the knob that turns the scope horizontally
on it's base.  It has tremendous side play. If you are familiar
with computer cables, you'll know that on serial/parallel/video
cables there is often a long finger tightenable set-screw on
either side of the plug to hold the plug locked in the socket. 
When the plug is removed from the socket, those set screws don't
fall out of the plug because they're held in somehow, but they do
flop around very loosely.  Same situation.  I can't remember
whether that was with the base locked or unlocked.
Question:  When I bought the 'scope, it came with the standard
eyepiece, and I asked about an additional eyepiece and was
advised to buy the 15mm. Should I have purchased a more powerful
second eyepiece?


Sent:	Thursday, December 18, 1997 21:09:43
From:	bcrew@interpath.com (Jonathan B. Crew)
I've been checking out the Astrophotography here at your site, it
looks really good! I want to talk about your April picture of
M42, The Orion nebula. It says you used prime focus, what is
that? I'm new to this, can you tell? Also what is a good eyepiece
magnification to use when viewing M42? I have a Barlow Lens, and
the eyepiece that came with the ETX. My wife and I are really
interested in studying the Orion area, so any info. would help.
Again my e-mail is not working so if you post this with a
response for me I would really appreciate it. Thanks.
 	Hope you skies are darker than mine,
	Brad

Mike here: Prime Focus is where the optics focus without using an eyepiece. For the ETX, that means the light path coming out the back (without being deflected 90 degrees through the eyepiece hole). As to viewing M42, the 26mm eyepiece works great. A wider angle one would be nice as well. There is an excellent article in the January 1998 Sky & Telescope magazine on viewing objects in Orion.


Sent:	Thursday, December 18, 1997 21:07:54
From:	LTHUEDK@aol.com
Just wanted to touch bases and tell you that the voltage
modification works fine.  The only thing I changed was using a
potentiometer with a long enough shaft to protrude through the
weighted base.  This way, the voltage can be tweeked, then
marked, for varying weights while the electricity is on.  Thanks
to H.K. for this elegant and easy circuit modification.
Also, thanks to Paul S. Edgecomb for the LED Drive ON indicator. 
Both changes have brought the scope's usefullness up a couple of
clicks.

Again, Mike, thanks for this forum!

Stephen Pitt


Sent:	Thursday, December 18, 1997 17:53:32
From:	rock-n-roll@mindspring.com (Jimmy Walker)
I've always wanted a telescope but never scratched that itch -
until last December.  I was in a Sam's Club and saw "a nice one"
for a hundred bucks. I came very close to buying it.  However, I
thought this would be a good opportunity to tryout the internet
(my brother's setup).  I learned within minutes that A) the
internet is a great tool and B) the telescope I almost bought is
not.
The first picture I saw of the ETX turned me off.  I wanted a
telescope that would look cool just standing in the corner.  Then
I stumbled on to your web site.

At the time I had no intention of buying a $600.00 telescope. 
But I was impressed by what I read.  Then I noticed people saying
the supply was down, the price was up and the forcast didn't look
any better.  So I got nervous and started looking around.  Sure
enough, I couldn't find one anywhere. Back on the net (your web
page) and I was clued to the Nature Store.  They had one (1), I
bought it and I love it.  And what do you know, it even looks
cool when it's just standing in the corner.

I can't Thank you enough for saving my butt!  Have a great
Christmas!

Ron Walker
Denver, CO

P.S.
By the way, I would say that LAX security passed the test.  I'm
not sure I read that in your writings.

THANKS AGAIN.  

RW


Sent:	Thursday, December 18, 1997 10:21:06
From:	Ray_Wartinger@wb.xerox.com (Wartinger,Ray C)
I finally got caught up on the feedback for the last couple of
weeks. Someone was asking about zoom eyepieces so I thought I'd
send you something about mine.  I bought a Vixen Lanthanum 8-24mm
zoom eyepiece from Orion.  I think it cost me about $200.  Turns
out I paid too much since I've seen it advertised from Adorama
for $175.
I really like this eyepiece.  First of all its very convenient
not having to switch eyepieces.  On the ETX I can go from 50x to
150x without moving my eye or disturbing the scope and with very
little refocusing needed.  This really helps when trying to
locate faint objects.  It also has very long eye relief which is
very important to me since I wear glasses.  I know all the
objections to zoom eyepieces, that design tradeoffs must result
in inferior quality, but to my eye, the image is very good.  I'm
not an expert in this area and I don't have that much experience
looking through supposedly superior optics, so I'd welcome any
feedback regarding this eyepiece from anyone else who's tried it.

My other eyepieces are the Meade 26mm that came with the ETX, a
Sirius Plossl 17mm, an old Edmunds 12.5mm (pretty lousy), and an
Orion 2x Barlow (not a shorty, darn!).  I'm considering getting a
higher quality replacement for the 12.5mm and/or something even
shorter in the 6-9mm range.  I also need to get a shorty Barlow. 
Any recommendations?  Anyone using the Sirius Plossl's?  Can
anyone provide a comparison between them and the TeleVue
Plossl's?  The Nagler's are a bit out of my price range for
single eyepieces but they sound really nice.

Have a nice Holiday everyone and I hope Santa brings you clear
skies!

- - Ray


Sent:	Thursday, December 18, 1997 04:46:18
From:	bortiz@intersrv.com (B Ortiz)
Congradulations on your web page. I have found it most
informative and usefull in my determination to purchase an ETX. I
have resolved that I would put up with the shortcomings of the
ETX even at the additional expenses that would be incured. I
purchased my ETX at a Discovery Channel Store since their return
policy seems to be fair and the availability and price at $595
also. I would not recomend buying a Bogen tripod from them, I
purchased mine, a 3001/3126 at Focus of NY $85 cheaper than they
offered. (Incidently, I had heared some improper comments about
Focus but can say that they impressed me when they talked me out
of returning my ETX to Discovery and purchasing a C5+ from them
since it was their opinon that the ETX had better optics). I
purchased a large camcorder bag at Wal-mart ($30) and am quite
satisfied with it. I can even enclose my EP and extras in a Plano
3620 ($2.67). I'm still perplexed with a few intems on the ETX
and hope that you may be able to assist me. 1. Whats the proper
way of adjusting the Dec circle and is each side done
individually (mine seems to be a few degrees off). 2. I can't
seem to read the proper RA & Dec when I move to a known star
after setting my Polaris RA & Dec which is 2h30m44s and
89d15m32sN. Maybe you can recomend a good primer that I may refer
to. Once I get this down I may be able to get to deep space with
some time spent in practicing observation procedures.
Thanks for the Help and Happy Holidays.
Boris


Sent:	Wednesday, December 17, 1997 22:04:28
From:	wayneh@mail.sisna.com (Wayne Hale)
Hi Mike, talk about small worlds!  I recently renewed an old
interest in Astronomy and have been surfing the net looking for
related topics.  I've been drooling over a Meade ETX for about a
month now and would have probably purchased one at a local
Natural Wonders store here in Denver but they had just sold their
last one.  I drove to Boulder to a camera store that claimed to
have a large selection of scopes but they didn't have one either.
I started out browsing a local Colorado astronomy page and
eventually spotted your ETX page.  I could hardly believe that
the Mike Weasner was the same one I've known for a number of
years!  I had to follow a bunch of links to find your page and
verify that indeed you were one in the same.

I spotted an ad in Sky and Telescope for an Orion store in SF,
not very far from where I'm staying for MacWorld next month.
Would like to get together with you during the week of MacWorld
and compare notes on Apple and astronomy.  I'm really torn
between getting a telescope, new G3 powermac or Metal Detector as
I have prospecting and mining history in the west as additional
hobbies.

Looking forward to hearing from you and if we can get together
for a bit in San Francisco.

Have a happy holiday season!

Wayne Hale

A follow-up from Thursday, December 18, 1997 22:02:54:

Well, I joined the ETX club tonight.  Wandered out to the Nature
Company and was drooling over the display ETX.  On Sunday they
said they had just sold the last one and wouldn't be getting
anymore for several weeks.  I happened to ask a clerk if they had
any in stock, thinking I already knew the answer.  He replied,
"oh sure, we just got a shipment of three or four that we weren't
expecting."  Well, I had to think it over about 1 nanosecond and
whipped out the trusty plastic and next think I know I'm $600
poorer.  Bought the soft carrying bag for it to, figured now or
later!

Of course by the time I get home and get it put together, the
cloud cover is 100%.  Earlier this evening at least a couple of
the planets were up although there was a lot of ice crystals in
the atmosphere and everything had a halo around it.

I haven't had it long enough to test out how accurate or
inaccurate as the case may be, the motor is.  Think I'll refrain
from making any modifications for at least enough time to make
sure everything else is working.  The RA control does seem a
little sloppy but that may be the way it is supposed to be.

Hope you have a great holiday, we'll have a few more things to
chat about at MacWorld.

Thanks for putting up the web site, there is a lot of intersting
material in it and I just scanned it quickly earlier this
evening.

Wayne

Mike here: If any other Mac and ETX users are attending MacWorld Expo in San Francisco in January, drop me a note. Perhaps we can all get together sometime.


Sent:	Wednesday, December 17, 1997 10:40:27
From:	biaweb@biausa.org (Paul S. Walsh)
In October, I spoke with a Meade rep about e-mail and why they
have no immediate plans.  He said they had given it deep
consideration but that they knew (and I agree) that they would
simply be overwhelmed to such a degree that they could not
provide top quality responses to every request without adding a
HUGE and expensive response department.  Guess who'd pay for
that.  I've had a little experience with such departments and
they ARE costly - even when staffed with IN-experienced
personnel. Add the high level of expertise demanded by both
amateur and pro astronomers and you've suddenly got a very large
financial nut to pass along to your customers. Imagine a $900.00
price tag on the ETX and you get the picture right away. It's my
belief that a site like this one is probably far superior anyway.
Here you get to "overhear" everybody's conversation.  There's
also no danger of the information being diluted by Corporate
Bias.  Don't forget that Meade just went public.  Their
stockholders aren't all going to care as deeply about truth and
beauty and we do.
-Paul S. Walsh ( filmdos@seanet.com )


Sent:	Wednesday, December 17, 1997 01:53:43
From:	iacono@aznet.net (Marc Iacono)
I have to say that your page is great!!! I just purchased my ETX
a few weeks ago and have been searching around the web for some
helpful hints, then I found your page. I learned more from it
than I did from Meade's instruction manual. The feedback,
accessories, photos.....it's all great. GOOD JOB! This page made
my bookmark list.
Clear Skies!!!

Marc Iacono


Sent:	Tuesday, December 16, 1997 07:49:20
From:	wongkff@hkstar.com (Wong Kwok Fai)
You have done a great job in introducing ETX.  Now I have made my
decision and will purchase my own tomorrow.  Thank you!
Francis Wong from Hong Kong.

Mike here: Thanks. As I have said here before, this site is a collaboration of many, many ETX users worldwide. My thanks to them.


Sent:	Monday, December 15, 1997 06:00:27
From:	kscriba@win.bright.net (K. Scriba)
I have been reading your pages with great interest these past few
days, and finally made the move yesterday -- ordered my ETX from
Edmund Scientific.
I'm delighted to see proposed solutions to the major problems
with the ETX (and am glad that I won't be caught by surprise when
I finally get the instrument toward the end of this week).  I
hope to have the sheet-metal screw replaced and the motor drive
lubricated and the finder scope modified with a 90-degree
attachment simultaneously ordered from Pocono Mountain Optics
before I put it under the tree for my son!  All of these fixes
are thanks to your website.

With regard to the RA motor & lubricant issue I have a
suggestion. I've found the best thing around for long-term
lubrication is dry lubricant with teflon.  You can buy it at your
local hardware store.  The can is an aerosol that looks and
sprays on much like the better-known WD-40, but when allowed to
dry leaves only a dry film of teflon-based lubricant.  It will
greatly reduce the friction coefficient without being a drag on
the motor system as grease inevitably must be, especially in the
cold outdoors, and no oil to go anywhere.

I looked up Meade on the web and find that they have no email
address. I wonder if they read the feedback on their product that
I see here? And if so, are they taking any action ...

Mike here: I would NOT lubricate the drive unless absolutely necessary. I have not done this to my 16 month-old ETX and don't expect to need to. As to Meade support, it seems they prefer doing support by phone and fax. Many Meade customers have commented that they wish they would accept electronic mail. I have no idea whether they are monitoring my ETX site or the MAPUG mailing list.


Sent:	Sunday, December 14, 1997 19:46:38
From:	PJS1234@aol.com
I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your etx web page.
I just bought a etx and I find the information and comments very
informative it has really helped me in deciding what additional
accessories seem to work well with the ETX. Looking foward to
following your web page in the future. Again thanks and keep up
the good work.
Paul Sabutis
pjs1234@aol.com


Sent:	Saturday, December 13, 1997 17:16:10
From:	bcrew@interpath.com (Jonathan B. Crew)
Great site! It made my decision to buy the ETX a solid one. My
question is in reguards to the setting circles. Let me say first
i'm new to astronomy, so here it goes. The R.A. setting circle,
is that band with the numbers on the top and the bottom supposed
to turn? Keep in mind that i'm talking about the actual band, not
the whole base. My E-Mail is not working so if you would post
this on your site for me to see a response to I would really
appreciate it. Keep up the good work!
	Clear skies,
	Brad

Mike here: The Right Ascension Setting Circle ring does move. Since the clock drive does not run continuously there has to be a way for you to move the circle to be at the correct value. So, you turn on the drive, locate a bright object visually that you know the RA value for, and then move the RA Setting Circle to that value. As long as the drive runs you'll have valid RA values.


Sent:	Saturday, December 13, 1997 10:15:59
From:	inez_mccormick@amdahl.com
I've been clicking around for weeks, and finally ended-up on your
page. THANK YOU!!  I thought I was the only person spending
nights outside with my ETX.  Great tips, suggestions, and
information!  Can't wait to use it tonight!  Keep up the good
work!!
inez_mccormick@amdahl.com


Sent:	Thursday, December 11, 1997 23:29:52
From:	ljf@ix.netcom.com
I am considering a telescope around the ETX's price.  Would you
recommend the ETX over Meade's Model 395 90mm refractor?  They
have approx. the same power and limiting visual magnitudes.  The
ETX is $615 while the 395 is $599.  I was considering reflecting
telescopes, too, but I think there poorer detailing and contrasts
have discouraged me toward them.  Also would you recommend Meade
over Celestron?
					,Lou
					ljf@ix.netcom.com
					


Sent:	Thursday, December 11, 1997 14:40:30
From:	jeff@communities.com (Jeff Crilly)
Anyone have any idea if Pentax SMC XL eyepieces will work with
the ETX?
I'm thinking about buying a short focal length, high quality
eyepiece for use with the ETX (and also my 8" f/6 dob). Probably
7mm, maybe 5mm.  I've been using a 3x barlow with the 26mm and a
15mm, and while it works, I think I could get a bit better
performance with a quality eyepiece.

This would be mostly for planetary viewing.  Maybe double stars
also, though I'm not into that too much.

I'm open to alternatives to the Pentax SMC XL units. My choices
seem to be: Pentax, Televue Nagler, or Vixen LV. (Though the
Vixen has a somewhat narrower field that the Nagler and Pentax.)

Thanks

jeff

Mike here: I briefly looked into Pentax eyepieces but when I saw the price I stopped. I've heard they are of excellent quality but oh, the price tag!


Sent:	Thursday, December 11, 1997 14:10:20
From:	AstroFrk69@aol.com
hi, my name is dave and i have a meade etx, a 10" dob, and i'm
having a 17.5 being built.  I would like to give you some of my
opinions and comments about the questions you had asked at
weasners web page.  the first question was:1) When changing
eyepieces do you expose the inside of your ETX?.....Yes you do,
the 45 degree angle mirror is exposed when u lift the eyepiece
out. that really isn't a big deal because you can just flip the
mirror down.  Nothing would get inside tho, that isn't a problem.
2) Can any 1.25" eyepiece fit the ETX?.....I would think any 1.25
eyepiece would fit into it.  As long as the company of the
eyepice is reliable, there should be no prob.  3) Is there a zoom
eyepiece available?....Televue is the only company i would deal
with when it comes to those.  But if i were you, stay away from
zoom eyepieces.  They get very distorted the higher the mag you
go.  And even the lower powers are slightly fuzzy.  it isn't
worth it.  just save and get individual eyepieces.  they are more
worth getting.  4) Are there a set of eyepieces that can be
interchanged without refocusing?..... I don't think so.  when
switching between one mm to the next, you are changing the
strength.  besides, focusing is a part of it :-) 5) Is the finder
scope on the ETX inconvenient or effectively unusable because of
its position? ..... If you polar align the scope, the focuser is
unusable.  It is blocked by the body and mount of the etx. 
Pocono mountain sells a 90 degree conversion kit that eliminates
this problem...unfortunatley, its another 100 bux :-) 6) What is
the maximum power you can effectively use for terrestrial
viewing?..... On a real good night, you might get it up to 325x. 
With the etx, you don't need that high of a power. 7) Can I ruin
the ETX by bringing it inside and out of the cold or would it be
a temporary matter of condensation that would not affect interior
optics? ..... This can happen with any scope.  After years of
use, its possible.  It isn't likely to happen, you shouldn't
worry about that.  If you treat it like a baby, and give it time
to heat up/cool down, there should be no prob.
People might tell you that the etx is only good for planetary
viewing, like the moon and planets.  NOT TRUE.  this scope is
great for deep-sky.  i look at glob clusters, open clusters,
nebula, this scope is great...if you have any questions, don't
hesitiate to email me...... good luck, and tell me how you make
out...
dave
AstroFrk69@aol.com


Sent:	Thursday, December 11, 1997 11:52:19
From:	cann@axionet.com (Douglas Cann)
Thought I would comment on a couple of your recent e mails you
have received.
Regarding the eyepiece inquiry, I would not recommend using a
zoom eyepiece.  Many internal lenses and compromises lead to
generally lower image quality and narrow fields of view.. It is
generally better to obtain two or three better eyepieces and a
barlow lens.

Concerning 'par focal' eyepieces, even with high quality sets,
you still need to fine tune each eyepiece. I haven't seen any in
30 years that were absolutely spot on and required no adjustment
at all. Both of my two sets of par focal eyepieces need fine
tuning. (Meade 4000 SP's and Meade Research Grade orthoscopics) 
Even so, par focal eyepieces are an improvement. Also note that a
par focal eyepiece from one manufacturer or set will probably not
be par focal with another manufacturer or a different set of par
focal eyepieces. i.e. I have to adjust between each 4000 SP and
again when I switch to the Orthos

The fellow with the 30% off deal...maybe it was because it had a
defective drive unit !!

Enjoy your ETX's

Cheers.....Doug....


Sent:	Tuesday, December 9, 1997 08:52:43
From:	jrm1@ptdprolog.net (J R Mellish)
You have a great web page!
I was interested in getting a telescope and had some questions I
had hoped you could answer.
1) When changing eyepieces do you expose the inside of your ETX?
2) Can any 1.25" eyepiece fit the ETX? 
3) Is there a zoom eyepiece available?
4) Are there a set of eyepieces that can be interchanged without
refocusing?
5) Is the finder scope on the ETX inconvenient or effectively
unusable because of its position?
6) What is the maximum power you can effectively use for
terrestrial viewing?
7) Can I ruin the ETX by bringing it inside and out of the cold
or would it be a temporary matter of condensation that would not
affect interior optics?

The ETX seems the scope for me because of its size.  Is the
Celestron C5 twice the scope for twice the price or are they not
equivalent in lens quality?  I really don't know anything about
telescopes except that I want a small Cassegrain.  Telescope
dealers around here don't know their product so I am frustrated
in getting answers to questions I have.  I appreciate your time
very much.

Regards,

Joe Mellish
jrm1@ptdprolog.net

Mike here: Nearly all 1.25" eyepieces will fit. Some really long ones or really short ones may not focus however. I don't have any specifics yet (keep watching the ETX pages if you do get the ETX). There are some zoom EPs available but no one has sent me any info about using one with the ETX. There are "parfocal" EPs that all focus at the same point. I believe most Meade eyepieces in the same line are parfocal except for the 26mm one that is included with the ETX. It seems to be a special case. The finderscope is so-so. There are many replacements or modifications available (see the Accessories - Finderscopes page). The max power is normally 60x per inch of objective aperature. This means for the ETX you would get 210x. However, you can easily exceed this, especially for bright objects (like a daytime terrestrial scene). However, any air turbulence would really mess up the view at the higher magnifications. As to condensation, the ETX is a sealed plastic and metal unit (except for the eyepiece hole). So as long as you let the condensation evaporate normally you don't have any problem. During the September Saturn occultation mine got really soaked from a heavy dew. There was no problem nor long term affects.


Sent:	Monday, December 8, 1997 11:15:09
From:	begreen@ptinet.net (Will Lockwood)
You've done a super job with your website! I am enjoying the
images, tales and links. Thanks for the great work.
I am looking for a good quality telescope to start my family off
with. I am trying to decide between new or used. Is there a good
source on the web for used telescopes? As to new scopes,
initially I looked at the Meade 4500 at the Nature Company. Then
I found  what appears to be the 4500's predecessor (model 14EQ-D)
on clearance sale. It has the same specs as the 4500 but is all
black. Do you have any thoughts or comments on this model?

Thanks for the feedback. Hope you've been capturing some great
shots during the recent planetary show!

Will Lockwood


Sent:	Monday, December 8, 1997 10:53:18
From:	hopewell@ctg.net (Meade Daffron)
Just wanted to say thanks for the VERY informative web page. I
was quite active in amateur astronomy in my teenage years, and I
just got back into the hobby this past weekend at age 32. The
story: I walked into a local Natural Wonders store last month and
the ETX caught my eye (they were only selling the "cheaper" Meade
refractors and 4500 reflector, and the ETX for $599). I was
looking through the ETX on display when a clerk came up to me and
asked if I'd like to take one home. I said I had other expensive
hobbies (amateur radio) and was just looking -- after all, my
wife was with me!
To my surprise, the clerk handed me a card that invited me to the
store's "associate's day" on Sunday, December 7. To make a long
story short (and get ready to scream "no fair"), I picked up my
ETX yesterday for 30 PERCENT OFF, or $420. Yeah, I got lucky. OK?

Anyway, on to my question. I got the telescope home and was
treated to a cold, crisp evening sky. I treated my wife and
myself to views of Saturn, Venus, the moon and M42 (even with the
moon out, it was still about as good as I remember it in my old
6-inch Criterion). I noticed, however, that my clock drive wasn't
following objects fast enough (yes, I was polar-aligned). I
brought the ETX inside and let the clock drive run during dinner.
After exactly one hour, it had only turned the ETX through about
50 minutes of right ascension.

I have read the postings on your site about drive problems and
their warranty-nixing solutions. Maybe you or the other ETX users
out there could help me -- is it worth going through the hassle
of contacting Meade and/or returning the ETX for another one? The
optics in mine are flawless, and I wouldn't want to risk trading
a mechanical problem for an optical one. In short, is the problem
I'm noticing similar to the others I've read about? Is my drive
merely slow, which would seem weird since it's a pretty simple
circuit (and the batteries checked out OK on my multitester). Or
am I just experiencing the jerky drive slip I've read about on
your postings, including the newest "fix" on your contributions
page? In summary, would you or other users recommend going
through the "let's swap scopes" game, or just implementing the
fixes myself?

Thanks and clear skies,

Meade Daffron (Uh, no relation, and yeah, it's cool to have a
personalized telescope!) Richmond, Virginia

A follow-up:

Well, I must say I'm impressed with Meade's tech support. I called all
the way across the country yesterday afternoon and had to leave a
message with their ETX guy's voice mail. (Hey, beats staying on
long-distance perpetual hold!) Two hours later, I received a call (at
home -- talk about customer service!) and talked with a lady named Amy
at extension 400 (thought some other users could use a direct extension
instead of playing phone roulette with Meade's automated system).

Amy said I should LOOSEN the RA nut about an eighth of a turn. That's
funny, my RA deck already wobbles slightly, and everything I've read
says the nut tends to loosen and it should be TIGHTENED! Anyway, it was
a rainy night here, so I'm gonna give it a try tonight and see what
happens. (Interesting, though, that it seems that my ETX is already
going through the nut-tightening problem two days out of the box!)

Amy said to call her back if that doesn't fix it. I'm not too impressed
with the drive, obviously, but my initial impressions of Meade's
customer service are A+.

I'll keep you and the group posted! Clear skies!


Sent:	Sunday, December 7, 1997 01:31:20
From:	jbarry@wcc.net (jbarry)
Just wanted to congratulate you on an awesome page. Especially
the QTVR object you created.
I have been interested in the ETX for a while, and your page had
a lot of useful info on it. I was dismayed to see the $100 price
jump in a year.  I hope the trend does not continue.

Once again, outstanding web site!

Joe Barry


Sent:	Saturday, December 6, 1997 23:47:01
From:	kbkaustin@worldnet.att.net (Robert Rupe)
Dear Mike, I'm so glad you have your great website.  My husband
got an ETX two days ago. Yesterday we got a large tripod (Bogen) 
(also at Nature Company) but I am concerned re: it can carry the
weight of the scope and whether it makes a difference that it's a
video/camera tripod. We can still return it if need be.  Any
recommendations? So far he loves the ETX--we got a quick glimpse
of the moon last night--he's impressed by the optics.  He has an
old Meade 6 inch reflector but can't find the lenses (we've
moved)--it has a huge heavy base that turns, but it's electrical
and too hefty to cart outside.  That's why I suggested this
little ETX because maybe we can take it out to more remote areas
(with less light)--which is what we did last night.  We're in
Austin, TX and development is catching up so we're losing the
real night sky. Anyway, last night our just-turned-four son Karl
got his first real closeup sight of the moon.  While he was not
as impressed as we'd hoped, he still thinks it's pretty neat we
can look at "outer space."  Looking forward to visiting your site
as often as our klutzy Internet connection allows.  Thanks again,
Ka Tresca and Bob Rupe (kbkaustin@worldnet.att.net)
PS any starter recommendations you can make (next lens purchases,
e.g.) would be most helpful.


Sent:	Thursday, December 4, 1997 22:43:50
From:	virtual@ix.netcom.com (Mark Stratton)
I have also installed the NGC max on my ETX. You do not need to
modify the housing or the base to allow the RA cable to pass
through. The cable can be routed over the bottom edge of the
housing (with the base plate off) and anchored on the outside of
the housing. When you re-attach the base plate, the cable will be
squeezed between the housing and the plate  but it will not be
harmed.
I was concerned with this myself when I installed the unit but I
have had no problems since installation.


Sent:	Thursday, December 4, 1997 22:32:58
From:	virtual@ix.netcom.com (Mark Stratton)
To:	rui-m-jorge@telecom.pt (Rui Jorge)
If I understand your question correctly you are using a 2 inch
eyepiece and slipping it over the 1 and 1/4 inch holder for the
ETX and consequently the barrel for the larger eyepiece is almost
touching the finder already...

I had picked up the right angle conversion kit from Pocono
however I stopped using it because I found that it interfered
when using other eyepieces(which were not as tall as the standard
26mm) on the ETX. In general I found that it was difficult to
look through the eyepieces with my right eye because the
converted finder got in the way.

As to your specific question right angle mirror in the conversion
kit is housed in an assembly that is wider than the original
finder body so I dont think that it would work for you.

Actually I am now using the Rigel 1x finder on my ETX and I like
it. Even though it is fairly large, its slips on and comes off
fairly easily and it very easy to realign.

Hope this helps.

Mark Stratton


Sent:	Wednesday, December 3, 1997 08:40:17
From:	Ray_Wartinger@wb.xerox.com (Wartinger,Ray C)
Hans G. Diederich wrote:
..................
I own an ETX and ordered a JMI NGC-Max Kit for this scope. The
following problem emerged:
  The RA-Encoder cable has to be *routed to the outside* with the
  big socket already connected to the cable. There is no advice in
  the kit manual how to do this routing.
................

The cable actually exits the base through the space (tight
space!) between the bottom of the base and the cover.  It pinches
the cable some but doesn't seem to be a problem.  This is not
explained very well in the instructions.  You may want to read
the two reports on installing and using the JMI computers on Mike
Weasner's Web page.

- - Ray


Sent:	Wednesday, December 3, 1997 06:51:16
From:	jimcota@willran.com (Jim Cota)
Well Mike, I just found your site and couldn't be much happier.
I'm thinking of buying a Meade ETX and, like you, was searching
around trying to find some additional information from people
that were actually using one. I plan to spend some time here
looking over your info and just wanted you to know (in advance!)
that I appreciate your efforts.
Thanks!

Jim Cota


Sent:	Tuesday, December 2, 1997 06:54:54
From:	envision@keynet.net (Joe Azzarelli)
Would you have any suggestions for someone looking for an etx
used? Anywhere on the web I might search.
Thanks.
-- 
Regards,

Joe

Joseph R. Azzarelli
Envision Digital Imaging
(815) 468-0182


Sent:	Monday, December 1, 1997 16:46:53
From:	fred@dke.com (Fred Kitman)
I'm interested in a used ETX with some acces.  Are there any
available that you can point me to?
Thanks

Fred Kitman, Pittsburgh, Pa


Sent:	Monday, December 1, 1997 00:40:14
From:	diederich@tzd.telekom.de (Hans G. Diederich)
I own an ETX and ordered a JMI NGC-Max Kit for this scope. The
following problem emerged:
The RA-Encoder cable has to be *routed to the outside* with the
big socket already connected to the cable. There is no advice in
the kit manual how to do this routing.

---( My question )----

Has anybody done this work already and can give me an advice to
do this properly and with as less harm to the ETX cabinet as
necessary? Hints are appreciated very much.

---( end of my question )----

It would be very glad to receive some information how to do this.
Perhaps you can help me.

tia
Kind regards
Hans G. Diederich

Dipl. Ing. Hans-Guenter Diederich (hgd)
 100333.3276@compuserve.com     ***    diederich@tzd.telekom.de
*Nur wer Chaos im Herzen traegt, kann Sterne gebaeren* (frei nach Nietzsche)


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