Last updated: 28 February 2002
Subject: ETX125EC for photography Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 12:01:27 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (ezy) Very interesting and informative web site! I'm sure this question has been asked many times, but I can't seem to find the answer in the Archives. I would purchase the ETX125EC in a heartbeat if I thought it would allow for crisp time exposure photography. Is the drive mechanism stable or accurate enough for longer duration astrophotography without sticking or jumping? "Longer Duration" would exclude sun, moon, Jupiter, Saturn, other very bright objects. Thanks in advance, Wade CalvertMike here: When mounted in Polar mode you would have less error but there would still be some. Since the telescope was not designed to do long duration astrophotography there is no way (currently) to do "periodic error correction". However, you can do long duration piggyback astrophotography and either just let the drive run or do manual corrections through a high-power eyepiece.
Thank you for the information, Mike. I like the portability of the ETX125EC with its hard case, etc., but I think I might be better suited with a larger scope and a better and more accurate drive capability. In order to get what I want, I'd have to use fairly long exposure times with the ETX. I still plan to read on your web site! A lot for me to learn there.
Subject: Binding ETX-125 Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2002 20:30:54 From: email@example.com (John Chalfen) Hoping someone has seen this or has an idea. While doing my pre-spring scope cleaning and checking, I noticed my ETX-125 was really bound up on the horizontal. Owning and ETX-90/EC (still owning with no fear), I opened the base of the 125 and adjusted the large horizontal nut. (boy, that was fun! what do they use to secure that bugger, concrete?) Anyway, loosened the horizontal so that it rotates freely on the base, with one exception. Near the hard stops, it still binds up. Not so bad that it won't rotate, but at "center" (about 1 full turn from hardstop) it becomes smooth as glass and glides perfectly. Any ideas before I go hog wild and pull the entire base off to see what the heck is going on? What could be in there besides the teflon(?) ring and the hard stop ring that would only bind at each hard stop? TIA for any and all ideas/suggestions. firstname.lastname@example.org (Anyone else out there think that Meade must get paid by the gallon for the amount of grease they use?)Mike here: Try rotating several times hard stop to hard stop to redistribute the gear grease. That seems to help in many cases.
Wow....That was quick! Already done the rotate/redistribute game...sorry I didn't mention that before. Didn't help much. *Sigh*...Looks like it may go the way my 90ec did. Spread across a table in many parts. Good thing I like to tinker with my scopes. Heh, wouldn't trade my 90ec or 125ec for anything though, I love them for what they are: A learning experience and a great scope when you get them the way you want them.
Subject: Re: ETX-125 improvements Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2002 3:24:07 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) To: Jeff If your scope has metal bearings in the DEC axis, then it is indeed a new and improved (vastly!) model. Do NOT worry about the tension in the azimuth axis...they are supposed to be that way....it does not hurt a thing for them to drag in this manner, nor does it work the motors any more unduly. It also does not affect the accuracy of the GO TO's at all. You should be glad that the clutch is tightly engaging the RA axis, rather than slipping as most do! I must urge you to NOT attempt any of the modifications specified on the ETX for earlier models on this NEW model scope....there are many pitfalls to attempting to adjust and fine tune this newer modification! Clay ---------------------------------------- Dr. P. Clay Sherrod firstname.lastname@example.org Arkansas Sky Observatory www.arksky.org ----- Original Message ----- I came across your e-mail of December 20, 2001 on Mike Weasners ETX website after returning home to New Zealand last weekend with a "new ETX-125". I had also e-mailed Mike Weasner prior to my trip to try and find out how I could tell a new 'scope from an older one - at the time he was not able to advise me. From the few comments in your e-mail, I get the impression that you may have a fairly good idea of what improvements have been made by Meade to this model and mention that only telescopes made after September 10, 2001 will have these improvements. For my own curiosity, can you please advise me what these improvements are? (a little late I guess but still curious!) The telescope I have purchased appears to be an improved 'scope with a MFR # on the box of 122001 - (is this the 20 December, 2001?), the store had said their last shipment was received just before Christmas 2001. If it is, then what I have found would all tie up - it has metal ball races fitted to the die cast fork arms (the actual trunnions are still plastic). (But both outer plastic fork arm covers have the small triangular pointer at the bottom of their respective setting circle). Unfortunately, the telescope appears to have some of the other bugs previously reported - the RA clutch does not fully release even though the lever feels quite free. The motor will still turn the telescope with quite a lot of torque even when the lock is fully released. Also the Dec clutch barely supports the weight of the tube without slipping (I am reluctant to overtighten the knob for obvious reasons). However, thanks to the wealth of information on Mikes website it looks as if the fixes and "fine tuning" I need have already been described in some detail. I hope you will not mind me contacting you this way but any information you can share will be greatly appreciated. Kind regards, Jeff ETX-125 Mechanicals vs. Serial Number Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2001 6:07:37 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) All of the newly-fitted Meade 125's were produced AFTER September 10, 2001, and that date code is on the outer shipping box. However, there are some with new dates than that which still have the old configuration.
Subject: etx125 deep sky views Sent: Sunday, February 17, 2002 12:46:27 From: MORDED@aol.com Hey, I just recently purchased a 125 etx scope after reading multiple glowing reviews from different sites including this one. They (the reviews) seem to imply that the scope will allow all messier objects to be viewed rather easily including galaxies. I have not ,so far, found this to be my personal experience. I have several other scopes and have been invovled in astronomy for about 5 years now, and so feel that I have at least a little experience behind the eyepiece. Am I expecting too much from this scope? M81 and 82 are dim smudges and when I go to the pinwheel and sunflower galaxies I see nothing at all in my scope! They are well within the listed magnitude capabilities. Are these soley dark sky issues? The place is relatively dark for urban skies where I observe from-you can just make out the milky way. Do others have the same views as I am getting? I would appreciate even a short response as I am somewhat confused at what I should be able to view in this scope....so far no crab nebula, no dumbell nebula, no ring nebula....but AWESOME planetary views. Thanks for your time. -StephenMike here: Your expectations of DSOs may be too high for this telescope. I've seen the Crab and Ring and other nebulae and galaxies from my Los Angeles light polluted sky with both the ETX-90RA and the ETX-125EC. Yes, most objects will appear faint and fuzzy. Keep the magnification to a minimum and getting to darker skies will help.
Thanks for the info. I was thinking about upgrading to the 7 inch mak. Any reviews on this one? I didn't notice any ,but I will try checking your search function again. Appreciate your response to my last question. If you can see those in the 90 I should be able to see them in my 125.Mike here: Since my Site is about the ETX and some on the DS scopes you won't find much on the larger LX series.
Subject: Celestron tripod Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2002 18:23:40 From: CAMDRA11@aol.com Would it be possible to mount a ETX 125 to a Celestron-8 Tripod, which I have. If possible what would I need to do it??? Thanks, Peter CamilloniMike here: I have no familiarity with this tripod but suspect you'll need some sort of adapter plate.
Subject: 125EC H-lock/limit stop question Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2002 13:54:55 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kris L Robinson) Great site, there is a lot of great information! My Grandfather just bought the ETX-125EC and I'm trying to get it set up for him but I've encountered a couple of potential problems. The manual states that the telescope should have 630 degrees of movement before encountering the limit stop but we appear to only have about 30 degrees. When trying to establish the home position, I release the Horizontal lock and rotate counterclockwise (~15 degrees) until it stops. Then when attempting to rotate it clockwise until the right fork-arm is above the computer panel, it stops short. Also, the horizontal lock doesn't seem to do anything, it turns manually with the same amount of resistance whether the lock lever is supposedly engaged or not. The motor still turns the base horizontally with the lock pushed left or right. Is there simply something I'm missing here? TIA!! -Kris RobinsonMike here: It sounds as though the azimuth (horizontal) lock is NOT disengaging. Normally, with the axis unlocked you can rotate the forks more than once around. It should definitely move more than 30 degrees with the axis unlocked. If the horizontal lock does nothing and this is a new telescope, returning it to the dealer for an exchange is the best course of action. However, if you want to try something, move the lock to the locked position, loosen the lock lever setscrew, lift the lever off the shaft, reposition the lever so that the lever will have more movement in the unlocked direction, and then tighten the setscrew. Try to unlock the axis with the lever and see if this additional movement will unlock the axis. If you want to get really into it you can try loosening the large NUT under the horizontal gear.
Subject: re: Problem with new style ETX-125, or How to Ruin a New Telescope Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2002 22:50:10 From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Well, it's not as bad as you thought.. in fact, you can remove one of the 125's minor irritations! The fix? run the DEC wires -outside- the scope. there was a posting in one of the yahoogroups with someone's photo series of modifications... and one was the -removal- of the Azimuth hard stops. To accompish that, he put a rj11 jack in both the base and the fork arm, and used an external coiled cord to join the two (no worse than an electric focus cable!). It looked quite neat. now, can i find it? (dig,dig...) yup: http://home.socal.rr.com/hotweb/enh/etx.html and click on the "Enhancements" item on the left menu. good luck --dick (ol' lemonade from lemons, omlettes from dropped eggs. spilt milk is still a problem...)
Subject: Another Supercharged 125 report..... Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2002 19:44:04 From: email@example.com (Brent Anderson) Here is another report on the fine viewing I am getting with this Supercharged ETX125, I cannot wait to get my SAC7 CCD camera! I will be sending you some pictures when I figure it out ;-) I took the scope out last night to see Mars before it got to low in the sky. It looked great, although a little small! What was really cool was Jupiter! I went to it after looking at mars for a couple of minutes and noticed one of the moons, IO I think, was REAL close to the edge of the planet. I put the Meade zoom in and cranked it down to 8mm. Jupiter was huge and I got it focused perfectly! I could see 6 or 7 bands and even make out some patterns and swirls! Then I watched IO transition across the face of Jupiter! I followed it for about 20 minutes and then went inside for a few. When I came out I could not immediately see it again, but after letting my eyes adjust, I picked it up as a bright pinpoint of light about 1/8 of the way across the face of Jupiter. While I watched I saw a small BLACK dot appear! I originally thought this was a speck on the lens, but it moved across Jupiter! It was the shadow of IO!! I watched until IO came out the other side and continued until the shadow had passed. I can truly say I was amazed at the clarity and viewing I got through the scope and the zoom eyepiece! WOW! I also tried out The Orion Nebula (M42?), the one in the scabbard. I manually tracked to it and was amazed when I actually saw the stars clustered up and surrounded by a glowing gas field with clearly defined shadows and lanes! Again, WOW! I just had to share this with someone! Thanks for letting me "bend" your ear! Clear, Dark Sky's! Brent Anderson
Subject: ETX-125 with wedge Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2002 8:13:02 From: EBLINN@sbcglobal.net I am curious to find out the best way to minimize "scope settle" after adjusting the declination screws on the wedge. I called Meade and they mentioned a screw or something that goes underneath the scope to support it. Do you know anything about that? Thanks, Ed BlinnMike here: Sorry, not familiar with what they are referring to. Perhaps it is just a screw that you place to be a "stop" against gravity.
And an update:
I just figured out what the Meade tech was talking about. On each side of the wedge are declination screws, on the left side there is another hex-screw below the declination screw. Attached to the declination screw is another hex screw that is perpendicular to the other screw. My best guess is that you are supposed to position the mounted scope in the vicinity of the alignment star, then tighten the secondary hex screw so that the scope rests on top of it. Once the scope is setting on top of it, make minor adjustments up or down, then tighten the declination screws on both sides. I will try it this weekend, weather permitting. Thanks, Ed Blinn
Subject: ETX125 Electrical problem Sent: Wednesday, February 6, 2002 14:57:03 From: firstname.lastname@example.org An update on my electrical problem. First I have the new model etx 125 (confirmed by meade) I decided to try and fix the problem myself. so I took the scope apart as much a I could. I discovered that there was one wire (red) that had been severed but I could not get it apart enough to fix the break. So I called meade and asked them how to remove the base. They were not able or willing to provide the information. I explained to them that this was my third problem scope and that I was attempting repairs because I was tired of paying shipping cost only to receive defective replacement scopes. The Meade representative said to just put the scope back together as good as I could and ground ship it to them and then fax the shipping bill to them for reimbursement. He assured me they would fix the problem as well as tune the scope, updated the autostar and field test it before sending the unit back to me. sounds pretty good to me. In closing I think that when someone writes you because of a defective scope you should recommend that they call meade and forget about the store were the purchase was made. I'll update you when I get the scope back in three weeks. I may be wrong Regards, John Clendinneng email@example.comMike here: How did Meade confirm that it was a newer model?
On the lower half of the shipping box there is a lable it has a manufacture code I read it to him and he said it was the new model. it looked like a date example 00341101
Subject: RE: "Missing" Screws on 125EC Sent: Tuesday, February 5, 2002 2:40:14 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Don Tabbutt) I just bought a new ETX125 and looked at those "missing screw" locations. It looks as though they are for mounting a "puller tool" to remove the ball bearings if necessary. Just a guess... Don
Subject: ETX-125 Table Tripod - Short Screws! Sent: Sunday, February 3, 2002 17:52:35 From: email@example.com (Audrey Bull) Recently bought a table tripod for ETX125. Unpacked it, fitted legs etc, then disaster struck when two of the legs collapsed outwards - the screw ends obviously not long enough to take weight of scope. I am worried that the threads in the base are damaged. Has anyone else had this problem? I returned the legs in question to supplier who readily replaced them with two new legs - but it disturbed me a little to find that the screw heads on these new legs were of different lengths, there dosn't seem to be any consistency regarding the screws it seems. I am also very wary in trying out the tripod with the new legs - have resorted to a pile of wadding on table for first attempt - just in case! Audrey UK
Subject: JUST PURCHASED ETX 125EC Sent: Saturday, February 2, 2002 20:32:12 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Alfred J. Franca) I JUST PURCHASED ANETX125EX AND AFTER REVIEWIN THE QUICK START GUIDE I ATTEMPTED TO UNPACK AND SETUP MY NEW SCOPE. THE OWNERS MANUAL STATES THAT THERE ARE POSITVE STOPS SO THAT THIS UNIT WILL NOT ROTATE BEYOND POINTS THAT WOULD CAUSE COLLISION SITUATIONS WITH THE TUBE ASSEMBLY AND OR EYE PIECES AND ITS YOLKS. I FIND THIS TO BE A FALSE STATEMENT AS CONTROL IN THIS MANNER SEEMS TO BE THAT OF A FRICTION CLUTCH DEVICE RATHER THAN THAT OF A POSITIVE STOP . I HAVE ALSO FOUND THAT IF ONE HAS TO MUCH FIRMNESS ON THE #6 VERTICAL DECLINATION LOCK THEN THE MOTORS WILL CONTINUE TO RUN EVEN AFTER YOU ARE NO LONGER PRESSING THE CONTROLLER. THERE SHOULD BE MORE DETAIL AS HOW THIS MECHANISM ACTUALLY WORKS OR PERHAPS I HAVE A DEFECTIVE UNIT? I ALSO NOTICED THAT THER ISE A CRACK AT THE UPPER RIGHT YOLK TO TUBE SCREW LOCATION ,PERHAPS OVERTIGHTENED AT THE FACTORY. HAVE NOT YET CHECKED OUT THE OPTICS. PERHAPS THE ORION STARMAX 127MM IS MECHANICALLY SUPERIOR WITH ITS ALL METAL MOUNTING STRUCTURE . WILL UPDATE ON OPTICS PERFORMANCE SOON. AL FRANCA BILLERICA MA. 01821Mike here: There are physical hard stops for the azimuth rotation. They are there to prevent internal "cord wrap" as the telescope turns on the base. As to a crack, I would suggest returning it to the dealer for an exchange.
Subject: RE: "Missing" Screws on 125EC Sent: Friday, February 1, 2002 5:16:13 From: TArman@rational.com (Arman, Tom) I found and installed six short flathead machine screws in the six holes and it "seems" to me to have further reduced the dampening time for vibrations. [The deck I view from is not very solid, so I have already added the Meade dampening pads under the tripod and a FlexiFocus to quiet down the vibrations.] Nothing scientific about the amount of the help; just seems better. (May be self delusion ;) TomAnd:
From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) Hello Tom and thanks for the update. However, I do think that your reduced vibration is likely due to "wishful thinking"; I have studied these curious "holes with no purpose" and do not think that they would either help nor hinder any aspect of vibration as they are not in a location that is vibration specific or has been identified as a torque-weakness area on the ETX mounting. At any rate, if it has helped YOU, then by all means leave them there! Sure can't hurt, right? Clay
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