ETX-125EC USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 28 February 2002
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-125EC. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.


Subject:	ETX125EC for photography
Sent:	Tuesday, February 26, 2002 12:01:27
From:	ezy@qconline.com (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 Calvert
Mike 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.

And:

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:	jchalfen@attbi.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.
jchalfen@attbi.com

(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.

And:

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:	sherrodc@ipa.net (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
sherrodc@ipa.net
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: sherrodc@ipa.net (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.
           -Stephen
Mike 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.

And:

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 Camilloni
Mike 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:	klr6@u.washington.edu (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 Robinson
Mike 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:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	bob.adair@worldnet.att.net
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:	brent_anderson@msn.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 Blinn
Mike 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:	jclendi2@csc.com
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
john_clendinneng@videotron.ca
Mike here: How did Meade confirm that it was a newer model?

And:

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:	don@tabbutt.com (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:	og@oggie.net (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:	alfranca@mediaone.net (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.
01821
Mike 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 ;)
Tom
And:
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (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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