ETX USER FEEDBACK
This page is for user comments and information of a general nature and specific items applicable to the original ETX model (now known as the ETX-90RA). Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.
Subject: camera adapler Sent: Tuesday, February 29, 2000 20:15:52 From: email@example.com (Michael Rogers) I thought you guys might like to check out this Adapter for mounting mavica cameras to telescopes & microscopes. Maybe you can get a loaner to evaluate and test. www.stillwtr.com/leadapter/ Mike Rogers Des Plaines, Illinois --- Michael Rogers --- firstname.lastname@example.org --- EarthLink: It's your Internet.
Subject: advice Sent: Tuesday, February 29, 2000 18:46:37 From: BelikeJon@aol.com my name is John and i am about to purchase a telescope for taking pictures i was either going to buy a meade 390 or a EXT the 390 is going for 499.oo and the ETX is going for 799.00 with the tripod do you have any advice on with road i should take.Mike here: I have no familiarity with the 390. Look over this site for the types of photos you can take with the ETX. One thing you'll have to decide is WHAT type of photography you plan to do, WHERE you plan to do it, and your EXPECTATIONS are.
Subject: m42 observing report Sent: Tuesday, February 29, 2000 14:37:34 From: email@example.com (Robert Van Den Huevel) I got to see M42 from semi-dark suburb skies (Simi Valley) last night. What astonished me this time was that even at 48x in a 3.6" scope, with nasty streetlights interfering to boot, I could see definite irregular cloudy shapes, both the subtle persistent bluish white nebula and the eclipsing jet-black dark matter clouds to one side. The little triangular "notch" at one end was clearly visible. However, at 48x the image was already beginning to get almost unacceptably dark for me, a former user of a pair of 6" and 10" reflectors. What I would like to point out is that the accurate focus mechanism of the ETX plus its optical contrast seem to make it capable of discerning subtle structures. Keeping the power down helps too; I don't personally think the ETX is useful for deep sky over about 80x. Some day I hope I get to try it out side by side next to a 6" dob for comparison. There it is! Keep up the great work! -- Robert Van den Heuvel
Subject: Dew Shield - Clear Night Products Sent: Tuesday, February 29, 2000 11:29:20 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gary) Been a while since I've been to the site or written anything. I see things have changed, new columns, geez, feels like I've been in a time capsule...Anyway, Barry from Clear Night seems to have "reawakened" - he sent me a sincere handwritten apology about the customer service ?Customer Dis-service?" and sent me a refund! Well, I can be bribed...as I mentioned last time around (I think), the product is very nice - provided the new batch doesn't have the gluing problems, this can be a real winner. One suggestion: On mine, I attached my lightfinder to the dewshield so it wouldn't be in the way, and also i'd have the option to kind of rotate it around the scope, move it outwards, etc. - when the glue had problems, it threw off my alignment, and i think mounting it on the dewshield will leave it open to alignment problems with weather change (in case the shield shrinks or expands slightly with moisture or temperature) - I would recommend attaching a light site on the scope itself - the black plastic near the eyepiece seems as good as any other spot - hope this was informative! Happy seeing, Gary p.s. when is there going to be a section for the forthcoming NexStar 8? :)Mike here: Regarding the NexStar8, when you get a chance to catch up, see the EDITORIAL page.
Subject: Re: ETX Sent: Tuesday, February 29, 2000 06:36:52 From: email@example.com (Harish Dhawan) Thanks a million for your tip. It was really instructive and made me almost convinced that I need a Meade ETX. But I need some more help, hence this letter. Let me introduce myself. I am an amateur birdwatcher, photographer (mainly mountains and animals) and stargazer from India (delhi). I teach in Delhi University. Given the way the dollar exchange rate is, its impossible for me to buy enough equipment for everything, seperately. But after I read about the Meade, it seemed to be something with which I could do all three. So my first question: Can one do terrestrial photography with the Meade? There is some about it on your site, but not enough. A few other sites I saw had round photographs. The second: Apart from the standard eyepiece, what else should I buy. Here I am talking about the basic minimum. Maybe one wide angle for terrestrial photographs and one high-mag for deep sky. Please do guide me. The third question: Is there any reliable second hand market in the Meade, say of earlier incarnations of the ETX? Thanks in anticipation Harish DhawanMike here: Search the site for "bird"; you'll find some references to using the ETX for terrestrial use including photography. You will definitely want an image erecting 45-degree adapter for terrestrial use. They mount at the rear port of the ETX. And a Barlow Lens (usually 2X is fine). That will get you started. As to sources for used ETX scopes, check Shutan Camera & Video (link on the Astronomy Links page) as well as eBay.
Subject: Tripods, etc Sent: Tuesday, February 29, 2000 05:30:03 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Claude Wilson-Stayton) I want to add my endorsement to Jock Elliot's of the T & T Binocular "crutch" tripod. I purchased the wooden version ( $72 with shipping and handling.) My ETX mounts solidly to the tripods oversized 7'' head. It's practically vibration free, steadying in less than half a second after adjustment. As Jock points out, it doesn't allow polar aligning. If your backyard observing, like mine, requires numerous moves to see different parts of the sky, constant polar aligning isn't practical anyway. Anyone looking for a rock solid, inexpensive platform would do well to check out T & T's tripods. Along the same lines of inexpensive backyard observing, I offer this tip. I purchased a $4 canvas carpenters apron from Home Depot to carry eyepieces, etc. It's five pockets (three small, two large) easily accomodate my red filtered mini maglite, barlow, two extra eyepieces and the lens cap. There's ample room in the two larger pockets for a couple of filters to fit in with the eyepieces. The small center pocket even accomodates my glasses while observing. Since an average observing session involves about three or four moves to get aroud the trees, it's very handy to have everything go with me as well as being at my fingertips when I need anything. Thanks for a VERY helpful site. Claude Wilson-Stayton
Subject: Prices of ETX accessories downunder Sent: Monday, February 28, 2000 19:09:38 From: email@example.com Just thought I'd share this with you all ... If you ever doubt the value for money that the ETX represents in the US, just spare a thought for us in Australia. I just priced the electronic focusser at $597.00 Australian from our national Meade distributor. That's well over $300 US. Even with import duty etc., we are really being screwed downunder. At last check I think the ETX itself was about $1500 Australian (Somewhere around $800 US). That should make your decision to buy it even easier :-)))))
Subject: Thanks Sent: Monday, February 28, 2000 17:20:02 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dave & Kathy Brockway) Just wanted to tell you thanks for your ETX site. It has made the use of the telescope much more enjoyable. No need to respond. Thanks Dave Olathe, KS
Subject: scopetronix e-zoom post Sent: Monday, February 28, 2000 11:57:58 From: email@example.com (Robert Van Den Huevel) I mentioned in my previous posts/feedback that the ScopeTronix EconoZoom eyepiece had a bit of darkness/fuzziness below 10mm and had some color distortions at the edge of the field. I talked to ScopeTronix owner Jordan Blessing and he had this to say via e-mail: "The two effects you mention on the EconoZoom only apply to the ETX due to its limited aperture and long focal length. The same effect is actually more obvious when using a Televue/Meade/Vixen Zoom. The images are actually darker as well with these much more expensive eyepieces since the light must travel through 7 glass elements versus 3 for the EconoZoom. I was using 3 of them in N5's last night at a public observing event at the local Children's Science Center and they were sharp as a tack right to the end (since in the N5 the magnification is lower at the same eyepiece focal length). You can try to blame high power problems on the eyepiece, but in fact you have just reached the limit of your seeing conditions. You can spend well over $100 more for a zoom but it will just make you more disappointed ; )" I think this should be noted. Thanks! -- Robert Van den Heuvel
Subject: ETX125 & Opinions Sent: Monday, February 28, 2000 07:50:10 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ron McCafferty) Congratulations on obtaining your EXT125. I look forward to more reviews on the 125 vs. 90. I'm still on the fence as whether to upgrade from the 90RA. I have an opinion on your suggestion of splitting messages containing opinions onto a separate area. I regularly read the User feedback pages. Almost all messages contain an opinion of some sort. Perhaps messages containing ALL opinion could be moved to the new page. When you created the editorial page I expected to see more user contributions there. Perhaps you could open that area and perhaps give yourself an author's page? Thanks, Ron McCaffertyMike here: My intention for the OPINION page was to try to have the Feedback pages become more tips and Q&A oriented. Certainly, user opinions get blended into their comments so it is difficult to separate. I'm hoping that users will accept the responsibility and help us all get information into the proper areas. As to the ETX-125EC, maybe I should have gone into Radio Astronomy. The weather hasn't cooperated since I got it!
Subject: Your ETX site Sent: Sunday, February 27, 2000 22:32:23 From: MrSchmoo@aol.com I just wanted to write a short note of appreciation for such a great site. I am an avid ETX-125EC user and I have benefited greatly just from the few items I read on your site. Many thanks and I will be back often. Best regards, Mark Klesman
Subject: ETX Astro Telescope, Model M Sent: Sunday, February 27, 2000 17:09:08 From: email@example.com (gary) I am brand new to the ETX family and I have a quick question for you if you have the time. I purchased the ETX Astro Telescope, Model M at a rock bottom price from a JC Penny Outlet. I also got the autostar controller, only to find that it was incompatible with my model. Do you know if my model is upgradable to accept the controller? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Gary Sorge firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: The ETX Model M is the original model. The current model is the ETX-90EC, which supports the Autostar. There is no upgrade from the original model. Too much was changed in the base unit.
Subject: Links Sent: Sunday, February 27, 2000 01:00:56 From: email@example.com (astronomy world) Great site and extremely useful here in the UK, I wonder if you would place our Company site onto your links page as we have yours on our web site. our URL is www.astronomy-world.co.uk. Well you have very good and useful site. Congratulations and all best wishes Brian Rivers Astronomy World UK Ltd
Subject: Re: Need help with ETX RA Sent: Saturday, February 26, 2000 23:27:11 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (James Lyon) Yes, but how do I get at them? Mike Weasner wrote: > Visit my ETX web site and do a search for "teflon". One possible of > your problem is that the teflon pads have slipped.Mike here: From Meade. Or you can make your own (apparently).
Subject: Max. Image circle ETX 90 and ETX 125 Sent: Saturday, February 26, 2000 20:08:40 From: email@example.com (Andy Hurley) Great website ! I am looking to do some medium format eclipse photography. So I was wondering what the maximum image cirlce is for the 90mm and 125mm ETX's. I have not seen such info published anywhere. I would be using the scopes at prime focus. Any help along these lines would be appreciated. Thanks, dan
Subject: Purchasing a camera for my ETX? Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2000 13:23:20 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Shawn Rakestraw) You quite an impressive sight and I can only imagine how much you must know about the ETX. I'll get straight to the point....I am wanting to purchase a camera for my ETX90EC. I have heard that an Olympus OM1 is a good one to start off with, but I also have seen many photos with the Nikon F. After looking around on Ebay for some good prices, I am very confused by all of the different Nikon models. Any help at all would be appreciated greatly and if you do have some advice I will send you some pics one day soon when I get my camera. Thanx. Shawn email@example.comMike here: I hope you mean that my site is impressive... As to cameras, I'll post your message on the next site update. Some things to consider: 1) you'll want a camera with a removable lens (so that you can attach a T-Mount Ring between the camera body and the proper accessory on your telescope), 2) you'll want a camera with a "B" (or Bulb) setting so that you can keep the shutter open, 3) ideally, you'll want a camera that can have the mirror locked up (to avoid mirror-movement-induced vibrations), and 4) you'll ideally want a camera that has interchangeable viewscreens (to allow better focusing). One final thing to keep in mind: the ETX is not an ideal telescope for astrophotography. It can been done (as seen on my ETX site) but it can be challenging.
Subject: observing report! Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2000 10:55:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Van Den Huevel) FYI - ETX observing report: M42 was incredible last night at 31x, at that power being indistinguishable from the view I used to get in my Odyessy Compact, and the beehive cluster wasn't bad either, it barely fit in a 40mm eyepiece and the stars were razor-sharp. The moon was just downright incredible, especially at 48x still filling the FOV in a 26mm plossl, (I can't imagine the view thru a 15mm SuperWide!!) and great even at 160x thru the $65 Scopetronix EconoZoom eyepiece (3 elements - 22.4 down to 7.4mm) I bought last month, although there's something not quite right with the color on this piece compared to a single good plossl, I detect some orange and blue flaring at the edges of objects, although the focus is good and clear and the eye relief is better than most eyepieces I've used, overall. The ETX definitely is the hands-down, best overall useful telescope of those that I have had in my collection (the others being: Odyessy 10", Celestron C4.5, Comet Catcher 5.5" Schmidt-Newtonian, 60mm refractor), but its complexity is a little bit of an annoyance in casual observing - you cannot just plop one down and observe every time; it may take some care and some forethought - it's a delicate instrument, not really suited to dirt, moisture, and uneven observing surfaces such as car hoods and overturned trash bins, for lack of a good tripod (which I steadfastly refuse to buy, since by doing so the advantage of an ETX in portability becomes negligible). And the field of view is very narrow. But I'm definitely no beginner, so I don't mind the narrow field (which is no worse than my F4.5 Odyessy was, by the way). I admire the optical quality the most, the slow-mo controls are a nice plus if not a downright necessity that I've overlooked for many years in my quest for budget satisfaction, and the future capabilities are great to have. Plus at least 50% of my observing is terrestrial and besides being sharp as a tack at lower powers, the image is already right side up, although not correct left to right, but that's a very minor problem in my book. Why did I wait so long? Clear skies! -- Robert Van den Heuvel
Subject: Tripod for ETX90-EC Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2000 09:04:12 From: email@example.com (Doug Criner) Here is a posting I put on listbot, and I rec'd several favarable responses. Feel free to add it to your ETX site. ************** I've finally achieved a tripod for my ETX90-EC that I deem satisfactory in all respects - it's rock solid and versatile. The basic tripod is a Bogen 3233 photographic 'pod. (Bogen is the U.S. brandname for the Italian firm, Manfrotto.) It is very steady - I originally purchased it several years ago as a photo 'pod. The 'pod has a bubble level to help with alignment. It has one feature which is good for photography but unnecessary for a 'scope: a crank-operated height adjustment. (For a 'scope, it's more stable to leave the height cranked all the way down, and just adjust the legs for proper viewing height.) The next component is an offset plate to get the 'scope's center of gravity over the center of the 'pod. This is desirable if the scope is aligned in the polar mode, which is my standard approach, but unnecessary otherwise. Next is the tripod head, a Bogen 3047. This is a three-way head: pan plus two axis of tilt. The main tilt control can be used for a quick polar alignment. The second tilt control is nice for photography but unnecessary for a 'scope. With the 'pod, you need a Bogen 3048 quick-release plate. This quick-release plate comes with a 3/8-inch camera mounting screw, which is necessary to fit the ScopeTronix heavy-duty photo 'pod adapter (discussed below). (The standard Bogen quick-release plate that normally comes with the 'pod has a 1/4-inch mounting screw, which fits 99% of the cameras here in the U.S. and probably elsewhere.) For me, it's nice to have both quick-release plates - one that is used for photography and one for the ETX. (The 3/8-inch version is available from B&H Photo in New York City.) Finally, and the most important, is the heavy-duty ETX photo tripod adapter available from ScopeTronix. It is a very rugged piece of circular steel plate that covers the entire bottom of the ETX. An alternative adapter, at least for the ETX-90EC, is a U- or W-shaped bracket available from ScopeTronix and a number of other sources, such as Shutan; it is too flimsy. There are a couple of little gripes about the ScopeTronix heavy-duty adapter. First, the two thumb screws for mounting the adapter to the ETX-90EC are too long. One of them bottomed out on the threads of my 'scope before tightening. That problem is easily fixed by adding a couple of spacer washers on that screw. Secondly, the thumb screws can interfere with mounting the quick-release plate onto the Bogen head. This can be solved by playing around with the relative orientations of the quick-release plate and the adapter. It seems best to attach the quick release plate to the tripod's head first, and then attach the 'scope. Ideally, the thumbscrew heads should be just a hair smaller in diameter. ***************** Doug Criner, 8 Tartan Lakes Dr, Westmont, IL 60559-6157 Voice 630-986-9424, FAX 630-986-0585, Mobile 312-524-7000 email: firstname.lastname@example.org *****************
Subject: the ETX Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2000 22:18:53 From: email@example.com (Charles P. O'Hanlon) Whats the deal withe the ETX telescopes. All I read about them is that people are constantly sending them back or returning them for "fixing". I was interested in purchasing one, but after reading your site and others like it I think I'll stay away from it. Why would someone purchase a product with such a bad track record. Chuck O'HanlonMike here: If you look for the negative comments you'll see them. I don't think people are "constantly" sending them back. While I haven't taken a count, I think you'll find many more positive comments about the ETX, especially, the ETX-90EC. But you have to be happy with your decision so buy what makes you comfortable.
Subject: quicky note on GoTos... Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2000 22:35:20 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dick Seymour) The newest Sky & Telescope (April 2000) has fascinating articles on motorizing Dobsonians... and the details highly pertain to how our dear lil' ETXs do/could/should operate. The authors all have web sites, and Mel Bartel's zebu.uoregon.edu/~mbartels/altaz/altaz.html has lots of links to other folks and reference sites. --dick
Subject: G-3 Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2000 12:04:34 From: email@example.com (joe green) Would you be so kind to consider adding the G-3 variation to your website....in many ways similar...in some ways different (.965 exit, helical focus etc). Your site is invaluable for us 90mm mak folks....but adding an enlarging section on G-3 would draw much more attention from the G-3 crowd.....Thanks...... Dennis............ firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: Late last year I was considering expanding the site but as I noted in the recent Editorial I have decided to not expand behind the Meade ETX and DS telescopes. My reasons are explained in the Editorial.
Subject: ETX 125 ?s: Collimation and tripods Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2000 11:33:43 From: email@example.com (moose) I am now to astronomy and telescopes, so please forgive my ignorance. I recently got an ETX90, and decided to return it for a 125 (before seeing this site). I am now second guessing my decision, but that is another story. (I may still go back and cancel the order, and get my 90 back). But anyway: 1) how can I tell if my scope's collimation is out of whack? Are stars visually "lopsided" or something. What is a quick test? and 2) I bought a tripod with the purchase (ETX field tripod) but am thinking of returning it and getting a different tripod, so that I can use it with my med. format camera, Can any tripod be used with the ETX? Obviously, the mount is different, but is there an adaptor? Thanks.Mike here: Search the site for "tree" (as in Christmas Tree Ornament test). Also see, the Tech Tips page for a Collimation Test you can easily perform. As to tripods, you'll want a sturdy one. And yes, an adapter is required. Depending upon the tripod, Shutan and Scopetronix sell adapters.
Subject: ETX Eyepiece Problem Sent: Sunday, February 20, 2000 19:54:45 From: GREENH@aol.com I acquired an ETX-90 at Christmas. Being an astronomy-telescope novice, I've had problems (especially with Meade's manuals), but once I learned to find Polaris things became better. I bought the Barlow eyepiece to go with the standard 26 mm shortly after getting the scope. Early this week I ordered a 9.7mm Meade eyepiece in order to get more magnification. On arrival, much to my surprise its O.D. is too large to fit either the scope or into the Barlow. This seems like a pretty mundane quality control problem which should not happen with interchangeable parts. I've not seen a similar problem in a month of browsing your site. While trying to install the 9.7mm, I think I noticed some looseness in the scope base in the joint just above the attachment to the tripod (this must be the joint for azimuth rotation. With the elevation locked, small up or down force on the scope barrel caused a discernible, but very small elevation change in the scope. The motors were off, and I have not seen the problem when tracking the planets. I was so disgusted at my inability to use the 9.7mm that I didn't spend any time pursuing this further. Would appreciate your comment on either or both problems.Mike here: You mentioned that the 9.7mm eyepiece was too large. Is it a 2" diameter EP instead of 1.25"? If a 1.25", could there be an obstruction that is preventing it from being inserted? A burr, for example. As to the play you mentioned, there might be some but should not affect anything. By the way, you didn't say which model ETX-90 you acquired: an ETX-90RA (the original ETX) or the ETX-90EC.
Thanks for the response. My scope is the ETX90-EC. The 9.7mm eyepiece is a series 4000 1 1/4", and there are no burrs on either the eyepiece or the ID of the scope or Barlow (into which the 9.7mm won't fit). I suspect heavy chrome on the 9.7mm. It will take a micrometer to really pin it down.Mike here: Suggest you return it. Take your Barlow along to confirm the replacement will fit. If you can, you might also try the old eyepiece in a new Barlow just to see what happens.
It is being returned. Eagle Optical in Wisconsin (I'm in Arizona) said that they had gotten a few eyepieces back for oversize O.D., but no 9.7mm.
Subject: Hello Sent: Sunday, February 20, 2000 16:46:13 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bernie and Debbie Spess) Simple question, Is there a product that can attach to the telescope for a direct picture feed to a computer ?? We are new to this hobby. Thanks BernieMike here: There are CCD imagers. Also, some users attach QuickCams or other small computer video cameras to their telescopes. Search my ETX site for "CCD" and "QuickCam" for more details.
Subject: Tripod dreams Sent: Saturday, February 19, 2000 22:46:54 From: email@example.com (Mike Sweeney) After reading your page.. always a treat :) I had to aadd some comments. I found a *old* Camera Jr. movie camera tripod in the local used camera store for 100 bucks. This is a metal.. real metal and wood legged tripod. VERY sturdy and heavy ( ugh!) but it rotates on all 3 axis with easy cam locks and friction wheels. My ETX mounted right on it and it has worked like a dream. A whole lot cheaper then the so-called tripod from Mead. Just some thoughts.. if you want, I can always some digital snaps to show it off. I see the same tripod on eBay for 60-130 depending exactly on which model it it is. Mine has a nice handle and a 90 degree gearset to screw on the camera ( telescope) and they seem to be a bit more rare. Thanks again for the effort on the web site. Mike Sweeney -- "Great spirits always encounter violent opposition from mediocre minds" A.Einstein
Subject: corrector protector Sent: Saturday, February 19, 2000 21:39:40 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Van den Heuvel) Do you know of any filter or other type of thing I can screw onto the front of the ETX so that the optical tube is shielded from grit and sand, etc. but the unit can still be used for observing in the normal way? Thanks RobertMike here: You're talking about doing the same thing with your ETX as you (and many of us) do with our 35mm cameras. We put a UV or Haze filter over the lens to protect it. I expect that a large optically flat piece of glass would cost plenty. I've not seen any mentioned.
Subject: Mount For Red Dot Sight Sent: Saturday, February 19, 2000 15:04:36 From: RAN375@aol.com If you live in Pa. like I do you have a lot of time to think, because of never ending clouds in winter. I was sitting here looking at my ETX90 EC and I thought to myself I will never use the finderscope that comes standard with the scope, so I took it off. I use a Crossman Red Dot. When I removed the finder bracket I thought if I cut the circle in half maybe I could somehow mount the Red Dot on it. So I whacked it in half and held the Red Dot to it and it was not compatible. Then I thought if I could create a flat surface then maybe I could mount the Red Dot. So I came up with the idea of a Dowel Rod cut in half too. So I grabbed the mangled mount and went to the hardware and found that a 1 1/4" dowel rod fit perfectly. So I came back home cut the dowel rod 2" long and then ripped it in half to create a flat surface. Then I placed it in the mount and put a couple of screws through the mount into the dowel to hold it in place. Then I thought it would be nice to have a Dovetail to mount the Red Dot to so I could remove it when I packed my scope up for transport. So I started digging through some of my storage bins and came up with an old Bow Sight (bow sights have multiple pins that adjust up and down on a Dovetail) and the Red Dot's mount fit. So I tore the sight apart and cut the dovetail down to 2" and screwed it to the flat surface of the Dowel Rod. Now I have a removable Red Dot Sight and did not have to mess up my new TeleWrap Dew Shield. You should be able to get everything you need at a hardware except the Bow Sight parts. You may be able to get these at a Bow Shop (a lot of them have junk drawers with misc. parts in them) I used to own a Bow Shop, you should be able to find one that fits for a couple of dollars. Also you might try a Gunsmith or Gun Shop. Clear & Dark Skies Randy
Subject: Question Sent: Saturday, February 19, 2000 14:42:48 From: email@example.com (Ray Marchionna) First of all, your site is fantastic, it was the main reason that I bought the ETX-90. I have only one problem, when I attach my Ricoh 35mm SLR to the prime focus port, the triggering of the shutter makes the entire assembly jump enough to cause all of my pictures to blur. So far, all I have tried to photograph is the Moon. Even when I set the cameras built in timer, to eliminate the possibility of my shaking the assembly by touching the shutter release, I still have the problem. Fortunately, I don't seem to have many of the problems that your readers report, just this one complaint. Do you think counterweights would help ? By the way, I have experimented will several film speeds, all the way up to ISO 1000. I took the advice of a couple of your readers, and built the triangular tripod tray, and the leg clamp upgrade for the Meade field tripod, excellent ideas ! Thanks to you and your other readers. Keep up the good work. RayMike here: The vibration you are experiencing is common with many telescopes/mounts. Search the site for "hat trick" for a solution.
Subject: ETX-90/EC Barlow Question Sent: Saturday, February 19, 2000 08:45:47 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert J. Shooer) I recently purchased the Series 4000 #140 Barlow for my ETX, but all of the literature that I have read references the #126 Barlow. Is the #140 compatible with my equipment, or did I make a mistake? I currently have the 26mm Super Plossl and the 9.7mm Super Plossl (4000 series). Thanks. BobMike here: I did a search on the site for "#140" and the answer appeared in the first Feedback page listed (Feb 1999):
"From: email@example.com (Douglas E. Cann) The barlow debate goes on. Both the #140 and the #126 work in the ETX with no observable differences. I had both of them. I traded in the taller one towards another eyepiece. Nothing wrong with it optically....it just looked out of scale with the ETX and had a bit more 'play' when an eyepiece was installed. The #126 also works just as well in my 6" reflector telescope."I realize the search mechanism is not perfect but sometimes it works well.
Subject: Re: great site Sent: Friday, February 18, 2000 18:28:00 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (r r) Yeah the 2120B has the aperture, but its not computer driven. I have had scopes for 20 years now (a couple 4.5inch newtons), and now the 2120B, and ETX w Autostar. In 1 nite with the ETX in rural North Georgia me and my wife observed more Deep Sky objects than I had managed to find with charts in 20 years. Granted I am not to good with charts, but even my wife got into calling up "M31", hitting enter, and there it was. The ETX gets much more use, than the 100Lb 10" Meade2120B. Again great site, I have a friend who is about to buy a scope and I emailed him your sites URL. Thanks again
Subject: hand-carry for an ETX90/EC Sent: Friday, February 18, 2000 08:01:35 From: email@example.com (Dick Seymour) The ETX90/EC in its original Meade cardboard box meets Airline hand-carry regs (9 x 14 x 22). That's how mine made it home from the East coast. And there's even room for a few socks and t-shirts. (padding, right?) (and having it in the photograph-covered box convinced the security folks that i didn't have to cut through the tape it'd sealed it with.) --dick
Subject: Hello, Quick "?" Sent: Friday, February 18, 2000 06:24:53 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Derek Leath) I have not had much of a chance to use my ETX 90EC lately. But did get to use it a couple of night ago. And really love it so far. I also have a 10" Meade 2120 SCT. My "?" is I would like to put my ETX90 EC on one of my Bogan tripods, but I'm really not sure which adapter plate to get. The Easy Mount or the Scopetronix Tripod Adapter. Thanks for your Help. DerekMike here: See the reviews on the Accessories - Tripods page for some ideas.
Subject: Image Intensifier Eyepiece Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2000 22:19:47 From: email@example.com (Robert Van den Heuvel) Hi Mike, your readers certainly will be interested in this, although it is not directly ETX related. I have a home-built Gen II image intensifier eyepiece which I use to view faint objects. The idea was to increase the light gathering of my small scopes. The ETX is a perfect candidate for something like this, especially because it can track objects. The image intensifier, which I paid a measley $150 for, has the amazing capacity to show what looks like a tiny TV image of a deep sky object at the brightness you'd expect to see it with the naked eye in averted vision! Except that with the intensifier, you don't have to wait for your eyes to dark-adapt! I've put this unit on a 10" dob trained on M42 in dark skies and seen (a friend verified this) a CIRCULAR CLOUD around the entire region, shaped like an apple seen from the side, however quite faint and grainy. I've also used it on a Televue Genesis with favorable, similar results, although dim. I will try to post a review and digital photos of everything once I get it back from a friend, who has borrowed it for research purposes. An astronomer in Northern California bought 10 of these for a group of co-workers and posted an ad on Astromart to sell off his surplus. He was kind enough to save one of the better units for me. I had my machine shop at the University bore me a holder, put a 1.25" barrel on one side and a lens cell for a 10x photo loupe on the other, so I can magnify the tiny image comfortably. In between both is a widened barrel holding the intensifier, with a hole for a 3V cable going to a hastily stuck-on plastic holder that holds 2 AA batteries, which power the unit, and a simple on-off switch. There are several night vision sites on the web that will sell these types of intensifiers for about $250 each. Search for "optical image intensifier" at www.altavista.com, and you should be able to find something. There is a guy at RTMC who sells much nicer units for $2000 each, but these are Gen III units with much higher resolution... FWIW, enjoy this post! :-) Anybody who has questions is free to email me!! Robert Van den Heuvel
Subject: Re: got my ETX! Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2000 21:12:58 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Van den Heuvel) email@example.com wrote: > As to the vertical (DEC) lock, are you sure you are getting it tight > enough? Do not overtighten or you damage it. Duh on me. Whoops, it wasn't locked at all - the Dec slo-mo control only moves the scope when the lock is engaged. I called the store and they set me straight. Robert
Subject: ETX90 Tips and Suggestions Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2000 21:06:15 From: Speclgrl@aol.com Me again, thought I'd write in and send a few suggestions instead of questions this time. Now that I've had the ETX 90 for a month now, I've made a few improvements I'd like to share with your fans and followers. I bought the [#1244] auto focuser on Ebay [$60.00+] and am generally quite pleased with it. Focusing just can't get any easier, the stock knob is just plain ridiculous. I was thinking about buying the Scopetronics cable but after reading a few comments about the shake, I decided not too. Originally, I plugged the auto focuser cable into the base of the scope and used the Autostar controller to operate it but it takes too long to reach the focus screen through the keys and I also found that it ate up the AA's fast. So I bought a 9 volt battery and use the control box that came with the auto focuser. Sure it still eats through the 9 volt quickly but it is much easier to replace than 8AA"s when mounted to the [#883] Field Tripod. The only thing that worries me about the auto focuser is, when slewed to high latitudes the housing of the auto focuser box touches the fork mount slightly. The other thing that worries me is when I focus in on land objects, I'm not sure which way to focus and pray that the focus rod doesn't come undone. I don't think there is a stop and I really don't want to find out. For anyone who uses the [#883] Field tripod or equivalent, the first thing you want to do is buy some Velcro tape and attach three 1" squares of this wonder-tape to the side of the tripod base where the legs attach [fuzzy side]. Use the [prickly side] and attach them to the back of your Autostar, Auto Focuser or Standard controller. I can now read starcharts faster and not have to worry where the controller is. I also added some rubber feet to the tripod legs to minimize "shake" using large artist erasers and drilling out 5/16" holes, 1/2" deep. Another cool tip is to add another "bubble level" [available at Home Depot] to the top of another tripod leg to verify that the tripod is level. This one has "cross-hairs" instead of the bubble so aligning it to the "t" is simpler, faster and more accurate. We all know how much accuracy is, when setting up the scope at the beginning. I've found that spending an extra few minutes on setup, saves hours of slewing and centering. When setting the Tube to horizontal, it's very difficult [even with the Autostar red-light] to see 0o, so I took some white paint and touched up the indicator on the fork arm, now finding 0o is a snap. I also once almost dropped the metal tube cover onto the outside lens when I was storing the scope but now I locate the white dot of paint on the lens cover and align it with the white dot of paint I marked on the tube so it will never happen again. I saw a recent email on your site from a UK follower and am looking for a margarine lid instead of the metal optical tube metal lid. Well, thats it for now, I'm waiting for some more accessories that I bought using your "links" page [Apogee, Astronomics], I can't wait to test the 7-24mm zoom, the 40mm Plossol, or the [#932] Erecting Prism. I'll report back soon :) Thanks Again for the wonderful Site! Roberta Diamond firstname.lastname@example.org Boca Raton FL Ps: For anyone wanting state of the art star maps for your exact area "goto" ... http://www.fourmilab.ch/yoursky/cities.html ... this site has been a godsend :)
Subject: Are these Jupiter/Saturn Images Real ??? Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2000 10:27:34 From: email@example.com (Jose Rizal) These Jupiter or Saturn images are so detailed from all similar images in your archive that I wonder whether they really were taken with an ETX90? For example, take the image at: http://www.weasner.com/etx/guests/images/berry-jupiter02.jpg It is so close to a series of images from Sky & Telescope late last year or at least not taken with a scope of 4" aperture. for Jupiter its impressive: both SS and NN temperate zone belts are clearly visible, that it rivals an image taken by Jack Newton's massive Schmidt Camera [enclosed.] If these images are REAL, then your contributor has a technique that we could all benefit from learning about and spectacularly demonstrates ETX capabilities. If not, I'm not so sure it should remain posted. Best, JPMike here: First off, I assume that contributions are from honorable people. Second, his technique is briefly described (combining some 100 individual images). Certainly such manipulation can do wonders. Just consider the image of the Shuttle-Mir in orbit that was done with a 12" LX200 (www.meade.com/gallery/09a.html).
I just answered my own skepticism, they are real. I found Jim's web site; his technique produces ETX images as good or better than others with better equipment and similar technique. emmgraphics.com/pilot/astro/astroindex.html While I'm seen summed images and use the technique for frame grabbing, Jim's results are outstanding. As for the MIR, its a great picture. Has anyone tried to tried to locate it with an ETX? Its hard enough to track the fast moving Iridium sattelites.
Subject: ETX-90EC Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2000 11:39:04 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joseph Perez) I just purchased the ETX scope , from your personal experience, which additional eyepices would you recommend for my ETX-90, I currently have a Televue 9.7mm, & Televue 40mm, which I bought years back. Do you recommend the Barlow #126 from Meade? any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Best Regards: JoeMike here: Those are good eyepieces to have. Adding the Barlow will double your available magnifications so it can be a nice to have item. Also, check the Buyer/New User Tips page for some eyepiece recommendations as well as the Accessories - Eyepieces page.
Subject: Re: got my ETX! Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2000 08:16:50 From: email@example.com (Robert Van den Heuvel) I just got a break in the clouds and saw Jupiter! Roundest, clearest image I have ever seen, better than my 10" dob was! At 200x, tho, it was fuzzy, but I think that was because I was trying to shoot thru holes in intermittent cloud cover. The main limitation on the ETX90 is the aperature. I like brightness in my images. I would have got the 5" version but the cost is extraordinary. You'll have to do a side-by-side comparison for us on the site and let us know how much better it does on certain objects. As for the portability, the ETX90 is so small, it's like a toy! It's almost as portable as a large camera. And with a lightsight, easiest thing to use. Oh, I just got my Rini eyepieces. The 35mm is unbelievably nice. If it were not for the slight loss in color (not sharpness), I'd make it my #1 main eyepiece. Oddly, the 52mm shows the same area of sky, only at lower power and a narrower field. I will be posting a full review in your web page if allowed. Sorry for the verbiage. I'm excited. Oh, one more thing. The vertical slow-mo control doesn't work very well, it slips a lot especially when the scope is horizontal. Is this normal or did I get a "broken" scope and what is my recourse? Call Meade... right? Thanks, RobertMike here: There is a (sort of) side-by-side comparison between the -90 and -125 in my ETX-125EC and NexStar5 reports (linked from the ETX-125EC Feedback page). As to the vertical (DEC) lock, are you sure you are getting it tight enough? Do not overtighten or you damage it.
Subject: ETX 90 EC Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2000 19:13:51 From: Ronald08@aol.com Hi, I was wondering if it is possible to see any galaxies with a standard 26 mm eyepiece??? Also, my uncle just baught me the Meade Epoch 2000 sk-CD, and I was wondering if that would work on the ETX 90 EC??? Thank you! -AaronMike here: You can see a galaxy with 7x50 binoculars (in the Northern Hemisphere); M31 in Andromeda. And in the Southern Hemisphere you can see the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (actually neighboring galaxies). So, yes, you can see galaxies in the ETX with the 26mm eyepiece. But don't expect to see the same image as you see in photographs. All you will see with the eye is a fuzzy blob. As to the Epoch software, I believe it can be used with the ETX and Autostar. On Meade's web site they show the "Meade SkyChart Astro Software" as an accessory for the ETX EC models.
Subject: Meade Barlow won't fit Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2000 10:01:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org My Meade #126 Barlow won't slide into either the ETX90EC or 125EC. The 26mm fits great in both and into he Barlow, but not the Barlow into the scope! I can twist it into the 90, but not the 125. Any ideas? G. Squire email@example.comMike here: I have the #126 Barlow and it goes in fine. If the #16 Barlow is for standard 1.25" eyepiece holes, it should work. Is there a burr or protrusion on it someplace that keeps it from going in?
Subject: Dealer Inquiry Sent: Monday, February 14, 2000 14:56:20 From: DLC4851@aol.com Do you have an opinion or experience with Eagle Optics in Wisconsin ? I am contemplating purchasing a Meade telescope from them because of price and I wonder about their service, attitude, returns etc. I have read their website, but that is their side. I would like to hear someone's version who has purchased from them. Thanks.
Subject: Case, astrophotography Sent: Monday, February 14, 2000 11:47:36 From: Eric_Gregoire@ne.3com.com Bargain Alert!!! I was at BJ's ( a wholesale club here in New England, like Sam's Club...) and found an aluminum "tool" case (that's pronounced "Accessory Case" to us...) with die cut foam inside (almost identical to the large one offered by Orion) in the tool section for $30 ($20 less than Orion and it has a strap, some dividers and a tool palette, if you ever need it as an actual tool case) Just thought they'd like to know. Also... I was going to start doing a little Astrophotography with my ETX and remembered your comments to someone about counterweights. Do they make them for the ETX? Also thinking of grabbing the Shutan piggyback mount for some wide angle work (and maybe their wide angle adapter for viewing...I know you spoke highly of it) Clear Skies. Eric
Subject: got my ETX! Sent: Sunday, February 13, 2000 19:26:33 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Van den Heuvel) I emailed you last week asking about the usability of the ETX versus an AstroScan. I just got my ETX, and it is incredibly good on terrestrial spotting, and not so darn bad on the moon. I mean it is Fujinon-crisp! I think I almost died of shock when I saw the image... The size is unreal, like a big coke can, the hardware is hokey (it squeaks and jitters), but overall it's a blast to have it handy, and I have blown a whole day just looking thru it and marvelling at all kinds of things, ranging from long distance microscopy to the moon, when I can see it thru all this rain we are having here in southern california now. You don't have the wide field adaptor, do you? I'm currently dealing with the limited field of view of low power eyepieces... I like my viewing to start at 20x. I have a $60 Scopetronix Zoom that isn't reviewed on your site! It goes from 22mm to 7.4 rather nicely! I've found that the little scope isn't really capable of bright terrestrial images past about 110x, but for my needs that's good enough; it must be atmospheric limitations that I'm seeing over about 80x or so. You may laugh at that statement, but I do crazy things... I think I am going to start doing serious telephotography now that I can. Boy am I grateful I did not get an Astroscan. This thing has so much more precision, expandable future... and resale value, should I ever upgrade. Thanks for your recommendations. Sincerely, Robert Van den Heuvel P.S. -- I now have, thanks to the reviews on your site and elsewhere, ETX-90 RA 2 Paul Rini eyepieces (52mm and a new 35mm 55-degree design, both in the mail) 40mm Spectiva plossl 18mm Bertele Scopetronix EconoZoom 22-7.4mm adjustable focal length Scopetronix lightsight (total kick ass blast over the built-in finder) I am selling the 26mm plossl. It's eye relief is too short for a 26mm eyepiece, in my opinion... I wear glasses. The finderscope that came with the ETX is also up for sale, or maybe I should give it away or use it as a monocular in the car.Mike here: Check the Accessories - Showcase Products for my comments on a Wide Field Adapter.
Subject: Meade ETX Field Tripod Sent: Sunday, February 13, 2000 18:47:42 From: email@example.com (Steve Lee) I've been reading the information on your site for a long time, and am extremely impressed with what you have done with it. I'm a newbie, and have a few questions about Meade's Deluxe field tripod which I don't think have been covered. How snug should the mounting slots be when holding the mounting bolts? On my tripod, the two slots are different sizes (a manufacturing error?): one is small and the bolt has to be pretty much forced into it, and the other is very loose. From what I have been able to tell, the bolt in the loose slot is causing a LOT of vibrations because it seems to constantly jiggle back and forth. Also, please forgive my ignorance, but what is the "latitude lock lever" supposed to do? It is not really described in the instructions, and it does not seem to lock anything. Thanks for your time and for the site! SteveMike here: The knobs should not be overtightened or you can damage the threads. So, what is tight enough? Enough so that the telescope can not move in the vertical away from the tripod head. Check for a metal burr in the slot that seems snug. The latitude lock provides extra security to keep the tripod head from moving when a telescope is mounted equatorially (polar). The weight of the telescope adds extra stress so having two ways to secure the head is a good idea.
Subject: AvantGo channels for the Palm Pilot Sent: Sunday, February 13, 2000 09:49:22 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Phil Acker) Hi Mike, hope things are well. I just read the new software review's and noticed they were for the Palm Pilot. I just purchase a Handspring (Palm Pilot Clone) and am pulling down web pages when I sync. it to my computer. This is very handy as I can pre choose what web pages I like to read, then I can read them later in the day by just recalling them on my Palm Pilot (Handspring Visor). Maybe you would consider letting some of your review/ feedback pages, getting released to this site so use on the go Astronomers can read away from out Mac's (or PC's). Just a thought. avantgo.com/frontdoor/index.html avantgo.com/builder/ http://www.handspring.com/Mike here: It appears that any user can add a channel. Since I don't use my Palm online, I don't really want to setup an account there. If you would like to add my ETX site (or selected pages), that's OK with me.
Subject: ETX Sent: Sunday, February 13, 2000 02:01:21 From: email@example.com (Steve Grosvenor) Thankyou for an interesting and informative site. I have had my ETX90 EC for about three weeks now and had some good results with it. In this time I have built my own custom hardwood tripod, installed the latest software in my Autostar, and controlled the telescope with the demo version of Skychart II, using information gleaned from your web pages. My only gripe is the inflated cost of consumer goods here in the UK including telescopes and accessories. Magazine comparisons show a direct dollars for pounds pricing structure eg. :- USA UK(equivalent @ 1=$0.6) ETX90EC $595 $915 Series 3000 s/Plossls $50 $90 Autostar $149 $248 US retailers "are not able" to export Meade goods but I worked it out that I could have flown to New York and bought a telescope for the same price I paid here!(including the air fare). Even allowing for Import tax @4% and our value added tax @17.5% and shipping costs I think you will agree that we are getting a poor deal. Keep up the good work, Steve Grosvenor Dudley, West Midlands UK
Subject: Scope from Meade Sent: Saturday, February 12, 2000 19:18:29 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (dsiegel) For all the hard work you put into the site, you deserve a scope! Keep up the good work-Drew
Subject: Doskocil Cases in Airports Sent: Saturday, February 12, 2000 11:10:35 From: email@example.com (robert.masse) Just so that you all know...the Metal shield over the entrance to the x-ray machine has been incorporated on all flights for all airlines at Denver International Airport...just so that you know. I originally had the 90 and the Doskocil case...but upgraded to the 125 with the Pelican case with wheels. Great case but not considered a carry on unfortunately. happy trails rob
Subject: ETX user feedback Sent: Friday, February 11, 2000 22:58:27 From: Bish@systec.com (Peter Bishop) I have recently seen various posts on ETX web pages regarding a bad batch of #1244 focuser units, I was prepared for problems when I decided to buy one. I was also quite curious about the vast number of #1244 units available on eBay. Considering the "vertical" market for ETX accessories, I was a bit wary of the situation. Nevertherless I purchased a unit via eBay ($65 instead of the best discount price of $100) and can only say that I was less than surprised when in fact the gear had a 5/16" hole and the shaft was 3/8". Brute force and ignorance will only get you so far in this world, and it was soon apparent that the telephone was a better resouce than the hammer. Meade claimed ignorance of the fact that this was a common problem, but immediately offered to send a replacement. This should arrive soon, and I will just have to live with the frustration for a few days. So, if any of you are considering an eBay purchase of the #1244 focuser, be prepared to receive one of the bad batch (there's no such thing as a bargain). It will all be OK in the end, but be prepared to contact Meade to get the replacement part and live with the additional postal delay. This is obviously a Meade problem which they seem to be addressing with a healthy attitude (albeit with feigned ignorance of the situation). Another comment about eBay... watch out for "auction fever". I've been watching the #1244 prices, and have seen units sell for $91. This is ridiculous when Shultan are selling new units for $100. Where's the threshold for taking a risk on an auction? Everyone's will be different, but saving just nine bucks (under ten percent) on the new dealer price is questionable. Maybe Meade should have saturated the community with clear statements regarding the problem with the focuser and not left all of us potential victims of people trying to unload defective Meade products. In fairness, I must repeat that Meade have addressed the issue in a satisfactory manner, albeit on an individual basis. Rant over. Cheers Peter
Subject: Re: JMI Megapod Sent: Friday, February 11, 2000 11:51:52 From: Stantastic@aol.com firstname.lastname@example.org wrote: <
> Not speaking for or against the Megapod (I have Meade's Deluxe Field Tripod -- which also has a bubble level), but leveling the tripod and leveling the OTA are two different procedures. When setting up for equatorial alignment, leveling the tripod (at least the "head" of the tripod) should result in the base of the scope being level (that would require using the tripod's bubble level). Leveling the OTA should be the next procedure. Having the base of the ETX and/or the OTA out of level by a small margin should be acceptable and hopefully will be compensated for by the Autostar's "smarts." But I wouldn't go so far as to say that the bubble level is "not that useful." The more level you are to start with in both the base and the OTA, the more likely you are to have a successful GOTO when using the Autostar. Stan Glaser email@example.com
Subject: ETX-90EC and Astrophotography - Motor Drag Sent: Friday, February 11, 2000 08:49:07 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mavica, Steve J. LT BUMED) I have been experimenting with photography using my ETX-90EC using both eyepiece projection and prime focus. To date, I am not having much luck. I wear glasses so focusing has become a big challenge. I tried to take a few snapshots of the lunar eclipse last month and every shot was out of focus. Another problem I have encountered is tracking. This is the main reason for the email. When I mount my Minolta to the ETX for both prime focus and eyepiece projection, the tracking seems to be dramatically affected. Both RA and DEC motors seem to drag because of the added weight of the camera. Has anyone else had this experience or is the motor in my telescope going bad? Anyone know if there are any fixes to the problem? Thanks for any help, Steven MavicaMike here: The ETX is not a good telescope for astrophotography. HOWEVER, you can see many excellent examples of the shots that can be done on this site. But lots of experimentation and some luck will be required. The extra weight of a camera will unbalance the system (as it will on most telescopes). So you need to add a counterweight to rebalance the system. But that is only part of the problem. As you noted, focusing on objects, even bright ones can be a challenge. Some cameras have alternate viewscreens that work better for astrophotography. And then you come to vibration and tracking errors. Shutter and focal plane mirror movement can induce vibrations, ruining any image. You have to use the "hat trick" method of covering the ETX objective (without touching it), opening the shutter, uncovering the objective, making your exposure, recovering the objective, and finally releasing the shutter. The drive, even when perfectly polar aligned, is not accurate enough for high magnification astrophotography at long durations. Check through all the examples on this site and you'll see what is possible.
Subject: Driving to Irvine Sent: Friday, February 11, 2000 05:52:10 From: email@example.com (Fink,Al) Mike, your a better man than me. I work in Irvine, and to drive down to here on the 5 or the 405 in the rain with our typical CA drivers who don't drive in the rain....and when you actually didn't have to praise to you. I come in about 0400 and sneak out by 1400 I don't like the traffic period. by the way great site been checking in most everyday for the last 6 months or so...also don't concern yourself about others thoughts about the 125 great deal for all of us. Proud owner of a 90EC Alfred Fink
Subject: Adapters Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2000 15:01:49 From: Ronald08@aol.com For the ETX 90 EC, is it possible to magnify the power even with the adapter for taking photographs? If so, what is the name of the adapter?Mike here: You're talking using Eyepiece Projection. See the comments on the "Meade Basic Camera Adapter" on the Accessories - Astrophotography page. Also, see the comments on the "Shutan Mini-Tele Extender" on the Accessories - Showcase Products page.
Subject: (No Subject) Sent: Wednesday, February 9, 2000 13:07:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Charles Gutilla) One last update. I called the Discovery Channel Store locally and they agreed to let me exchange my ETX-90 with the faulty alt drive for a brand new one... even though my brother purchased it in NC and I live in TX. He e-mailed me a copy of the receipt. What a bonus. Saved me weeks without the scope and shipping charges.
Subject: Meade EP Barrel Sent: Wednesday, February 9, 2000 01:45:33 From: Sukun.Tanticharoenkiat@shell.co.th (Tanticharoenkiat, Sukun S SHLTHAI-HMA/3) Do you know whether the Meade EP barrel is a bit smaller than standard EP? I have the Meade series 4000 moon filter and it fits well with Meade series 4000 EP. However, when I try to thread the filter into the Celestron EP, the filter just slips into the EP barrel. It seems that the filter is a bit smaller for the Celetron EP barrel. I am purchasing the Lumicon LPR filter and the celestron discussion group confirm that the Lumicon will thread into Celstron EP. If so, then it should be too big to thread into the Meade series 4000 EP? Can you give any ideas about this? Thanks for your kind response. Best regards, Sukun T. Bangkok, ThailandMike here: Filters are supposed to be standard size to fit eyepieces. I hadn't heard of any problems with any manufacturer's eyepieces.
Subject: Place to buy eyepiece Sent: Tuesday, February 8, 2000 23:34:57 From: email@example.com (TongSay Vongpaseuth) Hi! I found your site while surfing on the net one day. Great site by the way. I am new to astronomy and I recently purchased EXT-90EC from Amazon.com. I was wondering if you know a good site where I can purchase 2x Barlow and some eyepieces? Does it matter what brand of eyepiece I use? Does it have to be a "Meade"? Thanks, TongSayMike here: You can use any brand eyepiece but remember that the higher the quality the better the view. Check the dealers section on the Astronomy Links page for several excellent dealers who sell accessories.
Subject: NexStar-8 Sent: Tuesday, February 8, 2000 21:30:45 From: firstname.lastname@example.org You and your readers may be interested to know that we are taking names for a waiting list on Celestron's just-announced NexStar-8 telescope! Same features as the NexStar-5 but includes field tripod... all for about $1900.00 bob.
Subject: doskocil case for etx Sent: Tuesday, February 8, 2000 20:59:52 From: email@example.com (Bruce Beckwith) I have used your site for almost two years now, since before I got my ETX-90. It is really a great, useful site, keep up the good work. I took my ETX to the winter star party last week. Based on the reviews on your site, I purchased the Doskocil Extra-large pistol case. I got it from wholesale hunter for $70 (www.wholesalehunter.com). The reason I was writing is that I flew American Airlines and they have institued a new policy for carry-on baggage in some airports. They have put a metal shield over the entrance to the X-ray machine in the security area and will only allow carry-ons that fit through the opening. I was very relieved that the Doskocil case fit through (although I had to take off the padlock in order to get it in). Security didn't even make me open the case and it fit easily in the overhead bin on both flights. Cheers, Bruce BeckwithMike here: United is doing the same thing.
Subject: Moomins UK etx forum Sent: Tuesday, February 8, 2000 13:01:17 The list owner of: "Moomins UK etx forum" has invited you to join their mailing list at ListBot. The list owner has included the following welcome message: =========================================================== Dear Mike and everyone, I have just started a new ETX discussion forum for users in the United Kingdom. It's for anyone who lives in or is about to visit the UK to swap ideas, questions, advice, anything - even good observing sites (we ain't got any deserts here in Blighty!). It's called moomins UK etx forum and can be found at: http://www.listbot.com Is it possible for you to include it on your links page to help get the ball rolling? - Sorry to be so cheeky but I feel like I'm having a party and no one's gonna turn up!! Thanks again for your help (this is'nt the first time you've helped me out!). Wish me luck!!!! Moomin =========================================================== Visit this list's home page at: Moomins_UKetx_users.listbot.com
Subject: ETX vs B&L 4000 Sent: Tuesday, February 8, 2000 11:41:23 From: BDoons@aol.com I am interested in getting a telescope like the ETX 90 . I hear so many good things about it. I recently saw on E bay a B&L 4000 that the owner says outperforms the ETX90. in that the controls are smother and it is made of metal. He also ststes that its' optical qualities are better. I would like your opinion. Thank You . Best Regards Ben
Subject: Software Sent: Monday, February 7, 2000 22:45:09 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Lonn) Thanks Mike for this new section. Been a reader for about 3 months. I have made several comments over that time frame all designed to share information and knowledge! Now on to the software question. Not much good to say about a Black and White Palm Pilot. In my humble opinion, old technology. Anyone have some good recommendations for some astronomical programs for Microsoft Windows CE? I have a Casio E-100, COLOR PDA. BTW my ETX-125 is great! No complaints on my end! I drive it with "THE SKY" software on a Dell laptop. "The SKY" is a great program and well worth the price. It is now compatible with the ETX-125/Autostar.Mike here: WinCE seems to have fallen out of favor. Palm and Handspring riding high. Rumors of new color Palms coming this Spring.
Mike I do agree that the Palm Pilot has captured 70 to 80% of the market. But every time a salesman comes to see me at work with a palm pilot, I show them my Casio, in color. I show them JPEG images, MPEG movies, MP3 Digital music, and lots of other stuff. I use a picture of my ETX-125 as wall paper. I give PALM a lot of credit for starting all of this. The units are very thin and light weight. The Casio is bigger, but then the COLOR is worth it for me. I would love to interface the E-100 with the Autostar. With 48 Meg of Compact Flash Memory I could store a lot of color deep space pictures for recall. I am sure it is only a matter of time. I sent an email to the folks who are making that astronomy software you have reviewed. The do not support windows CE. I gave both of them this web page to watch. I guessed this new section would generate a lot of feedback!!! They can get a new perspective from the astronomy group as to what the end user would like to see. They asked me what is an Autostar, I smiled. I said check out your web page for everything they ever wanted to know and was afraid to ask. I said some of the comments are very comical to say the least...Mike here: We'll see what happens. As to credit, I give credit to the Newton MessagePad for starting the PDA revolution. The potential for the Newton was so high; just the technology wasn't quite ready when John Sculley (Apple) shipped it.
Subject: ETX90-EC Sent: Monday, February 7, 2000 20:20:04 From: PadSquad23@aol.com First of all great job with web-site. I just bought the ETX90 in January and have been checking in on your web-site from time to time. I am a beginner to astronomy and telescopes so my knowledge of them is thus far limited although I am learning more everyday. My question to you is; I just got the Meade Super Plossl 9.7. When used with the 2x barlow for the most part it works well on distant objects that are not too bright. When it is a very bright object such as Jupiter there is a hazy look and I can't focus too well. Is this normal or what? I'm not sure so it's frustrating right now. Thank you, Scott in San DiegoMike here: With the 2X Barlow + 9.7mm eyepiece you are really pushing the magnification. On bright objects (Jupiter, Saturn) you might see some fuzziness. On the Moon, the view may appear sharper. However on faint objects, you probably can't detect the fuzziness but it is still there.
Subject: Question about eyepieces : Sent: Monday, February 7, 2000 19:50:15 From: Speclgrl@aol.com I wrote you earlier regarding the ETX90 with the batteries in reversed, do you remember that email. I traded the "backward" ETX in at Nature Co. and received brand new one. I am truly amazed with the telescope and w/autostar but I am more impressed with your website, you and your fans have provided me with a wealth of info regarding this scope. The reason I am writing you this evening is I have a few simple questions I'm hoping you can answer regarding additional eyepieces. Along with the standard 26mm I would like to add a 9.7mm. At Nature Co. the 9.7mm eyepiece is $83.00 but I saw a 7.4mm - 22mm zoom eyepiece on EBAY for $50.00. Can you explain the f/1 and the 52o FOV compared to the MEADE SP 9.7mm. Do you think the 7.4 - 22mm zoom is a wiser investment than the 9.7mm for starters. I already have a GTO barlow that I found on EBAY for $22.00 and an auto focuser for $60.00 Hey what can I say I love EBAY! For a closer inspection on the zoom eyepiece "go to" cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=251796405 Thanks :) Roberta Diamond email@example.com ps. Sorry to hear you missed the Eclipse it was wonderful from S. Florida :) pss: Thanks to all your fans who sent in Lunar pics. Great Job :)Mike here: I don't have a zoom eyepiece so can't comment directly. Some people like them and find them more versatile than having multiple eyepieces. Check the Accessories - Eyepieces page for some zoom eyepieces to get an idea of what to expect. You can also search the site for "zoom".
Subject: eyepieces Sent: Monday, February 7, 2000 13:53:57 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (neilbymouth) Thanks for your help on the "strange noises" eminating from my new etx - everything is ok now! I now want some tips on a first choice for an eyepiece suitable for planetary work. I have already got a 2x barlow and I've already viewed Jupiter and Saturn which both looked stunning (I've never seen them before!), but which eyepieces would bring out more detail. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Cheers, Maxine - U.KMike here: Check the Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the Accessories - Eyepieces page. Also, you can search for "eyepiece"; you'll get lots of hits.
Subject: EZFinder Sent: Monday, February 7, 2000 11:59:07 From: email@example.com (Justin Forder) I mounted my EZFinder on the ETX90 aluminum tube on the right hand side, reversing the mounting rails (the ones that grip the dovetail on the baseplate) so that the heads of the mounting screws are on the left. I stuck the baseplate to the tube with the double-sided foam pad. When polar aligning it is *just* possible to glimpse the red dot in the top of the finder, past the base of the ETX. Thanks again. Justin -- Justin Forder
Subject: Binoculars Sent: Monday, February 7, 2000 09:28:25 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ron McCafferty) I received a pair of Orion 9X63 binoculars for Christmas that have enhanced my ETX use considerably. Instead of using the ETX finderscope for finding new sky objects I first use the binoculars. The experienced Astronomers are no doubt saying "no kidding" that's why we recommend a pair of binoculars as everyone's first telescope. Anyway for those new users that send in email asking for tips on what accessories to buy I also recommend a good pair of binoculars and a good sky map. Ron McCaffertyMike here: I agree that good binoculars and a sky chart help tremendously. I recently purchase an Orion 7x50 Vista Binocular. My 30+ year old ones finally didn't cut it anymore. I got the Vista for its low weight. Very nice.
Subject: Food for thought :) Sent: Saturday, February 5, 2000 21:29:24 From: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Briar Richard) This is a great forum you have here, my friend. This site's the best thing to happen to amateur astronomy since the ETX. Just wondering...ever thought of opening a chat room?? I think it would greatly enhance your site. I've been to hundreads of astromomy sites and none had a "real time" chat room. You could invite experts to chat for scheduled times--a la AOL and all the sports sites--and our community could enjoy a more personal experience. So...what do ya think???? Again...thanks for the great site. Peace, Briar Richard
Subject: Dick Seymour Posting Sent: Saturday, February 5, 2000 09:39:10 From: email@example.com (Ron McCafferty Jr) Bravo! Well said. Ron McCafferty
Subject: Thoughts on Zoom Eyepieces? Sent: Wednesday, February 2, 2000 19:41:14 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kenneth Lewis) I have really enjoyed reading your web site and wanted to ask your opinion on the 8-24mm zoom eyepieces. I just bought a new etx-125 last week from Natural Wonders and have been pleased with its performance and wanted to buy some addition eyepieces. I was wondering if you have had any experience with the zoom eyepieces and if one manufacturer offers better quality over another. One mail order shop told me that they are all made by one manufacturer and then stamped with the different brand names. The $200 price for the zoom seems like a good deal if it can replace 4 or 5 other eyepieces without compromising quality. Thanks, KenMike here: I don't have any zoom eyepieces. But there are comments on the Accessories - Eyepieces page. You'll also find some references if you search the site for "zoom".
Subject: EC w/out Pan Head? Sent: Wednesday, February 2, 2000 09:43:46 From: email@example.com (Jeff Rothfus) Taking advantage of the 90/EC's ability to operate in alt/az mode, does it make any sense to purchase a tripod (Bogen/Manfotto, etc.) *without* a pan head? Saving a few bucks appeals to my darker side, but might there also be a performance benefit to not using a pan head ... in that the center of gravity is then kept closer to the apex of the tripod legs? Cheers, jeff ____________________________________________ Jeff Rothfus Saranac television
Subject: oh, my... (or: here's a guest editorial) Sent: Tuesday, February 1, 2000 23:24:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dick Seymour) In Mike's Feb 2000 ETX125/ec area, email@example.com (Rob\Karen Elgert) [well, Rob] reasonably vents his sheer frustration with his experiences with his quartet of 125's and Meade. I can respect and agree with many of his decisions and opinions. I thought i'd chime in (drat... i've gotta drop that idiom) with my take on my ETX and Autostar. Yes, I'm a 54 year old computer geek... and have been doing casual amateur astronomy since the mid 1950's. My Autostar and ETX90/EC perform very well... and for that I feel very fortunate. Part of why they perform well is due to those 40-odd years of experience with a variety of telescopes. I knew what to expect of that size telescope. Even so, I spent two hours picking the brain and experience of the shop's repair personnel before buying. That made Mike's site a valuable adjunct, but not an unpleasant surprise. I purchased the ETX for its portability, and realized the compromise I was making in terms of aperture, light-grasp, expected magnification. I have been very, very pleasantly surprised by the sheer ease of use and overall utility of the Autostar/ETX combination. It does what it's designed to do pretty well. And, since it -is- easily downloadable, I expect it to be able to do more in the future. Either through Meade's inventiveness or my own. That said, I would probably -not- buy a ETX125/ec. But that's for my own reasons. If I -had- to have a 5 inch scope, I'd choose either the Nexstar5 or a C-5+. But at the same price, with casual portability already lost, I'd go for an 8 inch. I'd probably skip the GoTo, it can always be added. In fact, a simple C-8 what I was expecting to buy when I walked into Rivers Camera in Dover NH. They had a fine selection which included a used C-5, a number of C-8's, and what became my used ETX90/EC. As I was poking thru the stock another customer was unhappily exchanging an ETX90/ec because "the planets were jumpy". Knowing what I now know, I'm still not sure if he was experiencing true bad-equipment failure, or just problems with either setup or the Autostar's version. (To avoid damaging anyone from curiosity: i paid $100 off list... anyone who bought at J.C.Penny's 30% off sale did far, far better). The ETX (and DS) line are, in a word, inexpensive. By decision and, thereby, design. In some cases that word becomes "cheap". It's yet another case of you get what you pay for... and frequently just a "little" more outlay may get you a much better item. The ETX90/EC doesn't have a near-competitor. The ETX125/EC does. There are many components of the ETX90 and ETX125 which suffer from Meade's attempt to both meet a price-point and make a profit. The "slot car" motors and plastic gears are among the examples. These are engineering solutions forced by marketing decisions. And if I want to buy a scope at that price range, I have to accept what current manufacturing can deliver there. Compare the ETXs to the Nexstar: "professional" gearhead motors, more steel, adjustable mirrors. But without manual clutches, so you cannot move the scope without power. I'm frequently unlocking my clamps to manually slew the scope for a variety of reasons... from just pointing it out the window to watch a ship sail by, to panning and tracking some random object overhead. I'd -love- better geartrains... but they'd kick the price up to where (for -my- reasons) I would have passed on the scope. I -do- have an issue with the runs-on-your-PC Autostar Updater. As Stan agrees, the user interface is horrid. It's one of those programs for which the phrase "user hostile" was coined. It's probably also some Meade programmer's beloved baby and defended as such. It masks behind a non-intuitive interface what is at heart a simple task: move a file to the Handset. It tries to simplify the task to such an extent that it makes some operations impossible, some through oversight. (just try to delete a tour... shy of completely scrubbing and reloading the Autostar). It'll improve (please?). It does have some helpful features: it can fetch Ephemeris and Tour data from a variety of sources. What it does to them after fetching can't be described where children might read... But I didn't pay $650 for Autostar Updater. It's a free "bennie", and I'm thankful for any effort in that direction. Nexstar's don't offer that option. (well, for those of us capable of reading/burning Eproms...) But the code -in- the Autostar I have nothing but praise for. Sure, it's got bugs... but, overall, they're tiny! And believe me, I stress mine! And pick, pick, pick at any nits I find. And transmit what I find to Meade. Again, choices have been made forced by price points... but the hardware and software design of the Autostar is very, very clean and flexible. Sure, they could've done more or better.. at a price. But they've created a flexible foundation for a family of products and functionality. Price drove component selection... hence its problems with cold weather. I wonder how the Nexstar is doing in that respect. When the ETX90 and the Autostar are together, they dance a beautiful dance... They (and the Nexstar) are, to me, a wonderful example of what "embedded computers" can do for classic instruments. Giving the scope (mild, sometimes obstinant) "intelligence" greatly adds to its functionality for me (and i've got many shelf-feet of well-worn star charts and atlases, thank you). Having the GoTo is like having a patient, knowledgable friend... I frequently use the scope as merely an indicator of where to point binoculars. In-city star gazing doesn't have many visible reference stars, and Seattle's frequent 50% cloud cover means having a scope pointing at an object so it's visible when the hole in the clouds drifts past greatly increases the number of interesting objects I can catch in an evening. I, crazy person I am, actually enjoy the "obstinance" mentioned above. It reminds me to engage my -own- brain to keep track of what's going on (or off). It keeps the observing session from becoming a mindless look-whirr-look-whirr-look session. One of us has to keep on our toes, just which one at which time isn't always guaranteed. Amateurs have had GoTo (or at least "point me there!") on telescopes for almost two decades... but for driven GoTo it's been at an incremental cost of about 500 to a thousand dollars. (Compare last year's price between a C-8 and Celestar 8 computerized). And those were usually with Polar mounts, and less flexibility. If we compare the ETX90/RA (what? $400?) and the ETX90/EC with Autostar ($750), the $380 is still visible... choose a #495 Autostar and it becomes $330. Likewise compare a C-5 with a Nexstar... You're seeing the leading edge of a new wave of reasonably-priced astronomical instruments. I also -do- play with my Autostar as a computer-toy or crossword (crossbyte?) puzzle. But that's frosting on my cake.. If it just did what it did as a telescope out-of-the-box I'd be pretty happy. The ability to update for improvment makes me happier. There are folks who are trying to use the 3 inch ETX for serious astrophotography. The Voice of Reasoned Wisdom (not mine!) says "You're Nuts!". More power to you! That same voice frequently speaks to me when I take "regular" photographs (wanna see my flashlight-illuminated hand-held time exposure of a fossilized rhinocerous skeleton in an African lava tube? It took a bit of convincing to get the vocally-doubting onlookers to wave those flashlights....), and i'll probably take a few shots through the ETX, but mainly I'll rely on Hubble and Keck for beautiful astrophotography. But that's -my- trade-off of time, effort and what I'm looking for in this hobby, not theirs. So, I'm happy with my 'scope. I haven't seriously threatened to throw it off my deck. But it's a personal choice, with recognized trade-offs. Your milage will differ. Mike's differs. Stan's differs, Rob's differs. There are other factors: many more people with no astronomy background are able to afford this class (and higher) of instruments. I've got Email harking back 6 years from people who bought LX-200 class equipment as their first telescope, and who were very, very unhappy that they weren't getting Hubble-like views from their eyepieces. For first scopes from Meade I'd probably recommend the DS line. Or any classic 4 1/4" or 6" reflector. Play with a reasonable aperture and poke around the sky. I'm of two minds on the "don't buy a GoTo as your first scope... you'll never learn the sky!' issue. I -still- haven't learned the sky. But i've seen a -lot- of it. Having the ETX point out constellations is -great-. Having it patiently take me on a tour through an unfamiliar one, or to the lesser-watched stars of familiar ones, is getting me reacquainted with the less stunning areas of the sky. I just have to remember to take my eye off the eyepiece and -look- at where the scope is pointing. I -use- my viewfinder as an additional telescope. And binoculars. (each -piece- of my observing equipment is very portable... i didn't say the entire -collection- was). I do live in (mild) dread of the day the Dec lock breaks. I also have the optimism that a phone call to Meade (whom i haven't called yet on any subject) will send a new part. Or that I can fix it myself, as another poster described. I live in more dread of having the secondary mirror and/or baffle tube detatch. I wish you all well... those of you happily skywatching through your ETXs, through your Nexstars, Dobsonians, Prontos, Questars, Celestrons, hand-ground, store-bought, whatever. They're all potentially finicky instruments in a demanding environment. Not everyone will make a good choice their first, second or 15th time. Your needs and demands will shift as you learn more about them. Even $36 Tasco plastic-lensed "disasters" can serve well, if their limitations are recognized and accounted for. It's all part of the fun (also known as "learning experience") of the hobby. Clear skies ... -dick (long-winded, too)
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