Last updated: 28 February 2002
Mike here: Someone sent me an email with the subject of "RE: ETX-70AT". Unfortunately the message was scrambled prior to receipt and was unreadable. The only portion of the sender's address I could see was driffn or something like that. So, if you recognize this as something you sent me, please resend it.
Subject: ETX70 Optical Problem Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2002 12:34:02 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (s turner) My ETX70 has an unusual optical problem, planet images exibit a slight double image when on one side of the field of view (mag 70x or greater)which reduces as the image is moved across the field and vanishes at the other side of the field. Also a star can't reach a pin-sharp image except on the same side of the field of view, on the other side there's a very close double image. I've noted that when warming up after use, there is what looks like a stress mark/area slightly to one side of the centre of the flip mirror which disapears when warm. Could the image error be caused by a poorly mounted flip mirror and if so what can be done about it. I don't really want to change the whole scope as the cromatic performance of the main lens is very good, and I know this can be a problem with these scopes. Thanks Simon TurnerMike here: It does sound like something is out of alignment or adjustment. Dealing with the flip mirror is dangerous to the telescope's health. If still under warranty, contact the dealer.
Subject: star alignment Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 16:05:01 From: email@example.com (David A Tinney) just have a question for ya, i been out the past few nights looking at that full moon with my etx60at and its been really great. i think last time i wrote i told you i got the 2x barlow lens and what a big difference. heres my question, i just started using the telescope with the autostar doing the 2 star alignment. im new to this hobby so im having a hard time finding which star is the alignment star during set up. i was told its probally the brighstest star which the telescope slews to during the first step....after doing the 2 star alignment just to make sure it was correct i had the telescope slew to the moon. it was east at the time. it went to the moon on its own but!! it was off a little, i have to use the arrow keys to center it...is this normal? all in all its working good but i have to fine tune it where it slews.....any feedback will be nice.....but im thinking everythings ok it has been going in the rite direction...i guess it wont be perfect huh......by the way keep up the good work on the site......lots of info and i learned alot................daveMike here: If the alignment stars you centered on were the wrong ones (by some amount) you would get the align failed error message. So at least you have either been guessing correct or have been close enough. As to the Moon position being off, several factors can influence that (date/time, location, Daylight Savings settings) or that perhaps even the Autostar #494 software is getting a little out of date in its calculations. I think I've seen this same thing but then I've usually been pretty sloppy in my setups with the ETX-70AT (I get more serious with the ETX-125EC).
Subject: Question on Camera Adapters for the ETX-70AT Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 14:16:07 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Brian Fagnan) After reading some of your articles and doing quite a bit of research on your page and others, i would just like for some friendly advice. What would you think would be the best way to do through the eypiece astrophotograhy with a 35mm (pentax) camera on the Meade ETX-70AT? a basic T-adapter or with the Orion SteadyPix Universal Digital and Film Camera Mount? One other question i had that i could not seem to find on your website is do you know anyway to make or where to buy a counter weight system to balance the camera on the Meade ETX-70AT? Thanks for you time and great website Brian FagnanMike here: One of the problems you'll have with the ETX is axis slippage with a heavy camera attached. I'm not familiar with the Orion adapter but another problem is getting the camera to focus without its lens (prime focus or eyepiece projection). If you go with afocal photography you won't have the focus problem since you focus the lens to infinity. As to counterweights, there are some designs discussed on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: ETX-60 questions on lenses Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 6:25:56 From: Golfer3993@aol.com I have the ETX-60 and what's the highest possible magnification you can get on it with all lenses and eyepieces before the picture gets distorted or fuzzy? I'm thinking about purchasing a barlow lens for the ETX-60. Is it possible to use a 3X with a 9mm or will the picture not be crystal clear? If I can only use a 2X, is there any difference between the #140 long 2X barlow lens and the #126 short 2X barlow lens or is the real difference price? If you can use the #140 on the ETX-60, will the picture be that much better than viewing it with a short barlow lens. Is it true the #140 gathers more light and provides a better picture? I hope you there is a difference and you can tell me that the #140 is better for the ETX- 60. I just hope with the lens that when I focus I won't be stuck with the original picutre because it won't gather enough light for me to view further into the sky. Please write back with the answers to my questions. Thanks. Golfer3993@aol.comMike here: There is a theoretical maximum magnification for any telescope. It is discussed on the FAQ page. Once you review that you'll better understand how to proceed. As to the Barlow Lens for the ETX-60AT, I'd go with the recommended one (#124).
Subject: ETX-70AT User's Experience Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 3:44:53 From: Tom.Chitty@synopsys.com (Tom Chitty) I found your site back in early December, and after looking around at other web sites, asked for (and got) an ETX-70AT as an early Christmas present. I loved it! It was so cool to see Jupiter, rings of Saturn, and various stars, and be able to see some of the Messier objects. But, as a newbie, I didn't understand the concept of seeing, and I couldn't get the star diffraction patterns out of my scope. I figured it was a screw up on my part. After a month and a half of this, I realized that my scope or an eyepiece was the problem. Stars would look more like an asterisk, no matter how I focused it. Jupiter always had a blur around it - in one direction. I realized one night that my flip mirror was ever loose, an decided to take the scope back to the local Discovery Store, where my wife had purchased it. My new scope is much better than my old one. Everything is clear and sharp. I can now focus on a star, and then see the diffraction rings on either side of focus. I can not believe what a huge difference there is. When the weather has permitted (of course we have had night after night of clouds, including the night of the Moon's occultation of Saturn), I stay out much longer than before, and I can see more Messier objects that before. I just wanted to pass along a big THANK YOU to your site, and all the folks who have contributed to it. Great information, and people, including yourself, are so willing to help when you have a question or a problem. I have also learned to buy telescopes and accessories from local stores that have good return policies. Keep up the good work! Thanks, TomC
Subject: Re: New User needs suggestions Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 10:49:11 From: wilbur_ted@EMC.com (wilbur, ted) To: email@example.com I saw your post and thought I'd reply. I purchased an ETX70 under the same conditions you have cited, as a starter scope figuring I'd upgrade in a year of so if my interest held up. You should be able to see Saturn with the 9mm a little more clearly than you describe - although it's really small. Make sure to view it when it's as high in the sky as possible, these days that's early evening. It also helps to move the focus back and forth several times until you zero in on the sweet spot. The focus knob is a giant pain on the 70, I highly recommend you purchase a flexi-focus to make focusing easier. I purchased both the 2x and 3x Meade barlows made specifically for the 70, I don't know if they'll work on other scopes, if not I'll be forced to by new ones when I upgrade. I also purchased 40mm and 15mm Plossl eyepieces from Scopetronix that are -not- specifically designed for the 70 and they work great. These are not a wasted investment since I'll be able to use them on my next instrument. Balancing flexibility and budgetary issues, I suggest you pick up the Meade 2x barlow #124 and a quality eyepiece or two that you can use on your next telescope. Ted Wilbur
Subject: "Jerking" RA; eyepiece question Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 5:48:50 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Randy) Below is a discussion between Dr. Sherrod and myself about the skipping and jerking problem in my ETX-70's RA drive. His comments are included with his permission. If you feel that this is useful information, feel free to post it on your site. Here are the emails with Clay's reply listed first: Hello Randy and congratulations on some excellent handiwork....you found a problem that is all too common with many of the ETX scopes! The change in frequency (RPM you noted) is quite common for these scopes and should NOT concern you. They all do it and it is because the rapid slews are virtually taxing the little motors to their limits! Those eyepieces will work fine in your DOB and the ETX....however, the DOB mirrors are not figured as accurately as many other systems and really demand a higher quality eyepiece than what you are using for the best views. With very top quality the DOB will provide fantastic images. Way to go and keep in touch.....I think you should send this to Mike Weasner to post....he would love to have it! Clay ---------------------------------------- Dr. P. Clay Sherrod email@example.com Arkansas Sky Observatory www.arksky.org ----- Original Message ----- From: Randy Hello Dr. Sherrod. I wanted to say thanks for trying to help with my sticking/jerking RA motion of my ETX 70. I finally decided to open it up and have a look to at least see if anything was obvious and to do some logical troubleshooting. Since the jerking was occurring at roughly 1 second intervals (at max slew speed), I deduced that I should be able to look at the gear train for a gear(s) which turned at about that rate. As it turned out, the worm gear and 'counter' gear on the same shaft turn exactly at that rate. Running the motors without the base attached gave a smooth meshing and no anomalies. Hmmm. It must be something to do with the worm gear or the counter gear, I reasoned. There was a slight "hick" on a tooth of the counter gear. I carefully cut it off. I also used a small file to carefully grind away the casting flash in the area of the center bolt bushings and around the top edge of the base. It was noticeably rough. Then, from what you told me about grease and the clutch, I thought it would be a good idea to totally degrease the disk since it is Teflon mating to nylon. I used a mild cleaner and totally cleaned it. I also removed the main drive gear in the base and washed it with soap and water and used a toothbrush to clean every tooth. I then put a dab of Teflon grease on the tooth surfaces only. I also used the brush on the worm gear an its' counter gear then lubed those two gears too. I reassembled it and did some fast slewing indoors and a trial easy align.[I also re-trained the drives] I was pleasantly surprised! The motions were smooth and no slipping occurred whatsoever from what I could see. Only a real outdoor tracking test would confirm this. So, I went out on the first clear night and did an easy align which was totally trouble-free. Then, I centered on Jupiter and let her track outdoors at about 25 degrees F. I went inside to take my shower (I work 4pm-12:30 am) and check email. Then I went back out to retrieve the scope and check the tracking. After maybe 20 minutes or so, Jupiter was still there! I've had it out twice since and was able to show off its capabilities to my girlfriend and her 13 year old son who was captivated. It worked totally flawlessly! We could even see the darker cloud bands albeit barely on the face of Jupiter. While the tracking is now smooth and the slipping is gone, I can still hear just a very slight rhythmic rise/fall of motor rpm's as it did a fast RA slew. I suspect something very slightly off in the gear mesh. Maybe I bumped it while it was locked down and didn't notice. It did fall forward nose first into the sofa but it didn't seem to hurt it. I did notice something weird about the motor though. When I opened it up and looked at it, there seemed to be a little hook-like part of the plastic motor carrier that was smashed against the aluminum pylon located next to it. Moving the motor slightly caused the hook to fall off. I took a nylon wire tie and tied around the pylon to simulate the correct distance/gear mesh and it worked perfectly. Actually, gear action seems smoother now, much less backlash and quieter too now after this modification. I didn't want to post this on Mike's site. It's much too long but I just wanted to know if you thought that I was on the right track and to give you some data in case you encounter this kind of problem. I did have a question for you though. I have an Orion XT-8 Dob on the way. It accepts 1.25 or 2" eyepieces. Will my eyepieces (Meade 25, 9 and 5 mm for ETX-70) and/or #128 Barlow work? If not, what do you recommend for this dob? It's got an 8" aperture and a 1200mm focal length (F:6) Thanks for you help and clear skies! Randy
Subject: New User needs suggestions, Sent: Monday, February 25, 2002 17:29:59 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Freind Harry) Help needed. I have recently purchased a ETX70 as a "starter unit". The intent being that as I developed my interest, I would "upgrade" to a larger (better?) unit. I have finally mastered the Autostar unit and have achieved what I view as "modest" results. I live in a suburban area, and my expectations are minimal at this time. When viewing Saturn with the 9MM eyepiece (38x), I got what I would describe as a "dot with bulges". I do want to experiment with different eye pieces and am looking for some advise. Would I be better off getting a 2X Barlow or a 4mm or 5 mm Plossel eyepiece? Either of these combinations would increase magnification to about 75X (Give or take). I have beeen cautioned about the optical limitations of the ETX 70 so I would like to keep investment to a relative minimum in that I would expect to "upgrade" in a year so. Would like some "advise". Harry Freind email@example.comMike here: Look through the current and archived "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback pages; you'll see some actual user reports of various eyepieces and Barlow Lenses. While a Barlow Lens can effectively double the number of "eyepieces" you have, it is at the cost of some optical quality.
Subject: I am a beginner, wondering about the meade ETX 60AT Sent: Monday, February 25, 2002 13:00:55 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Adrian Lee) I am just a beginner in sky gazing, i always had the interest of star system system, i am currently looking at the meade 60AT and 70AT, what is my best bet? I am looking to spend no more than 350 dollars for the scope. I want to be able to see the moon in greate details, maybe some deep space nebulars, i have seen some amazing gallery pictures from the 70at. But seems like the 60AT is far more cheaper? what do you think?Mike here: The ETX-60AT is basically a discontinued model, hence the low prices. The ETX-70AT is the same focal length with very slightly more aperture (but probably not noticeable so by most observers). However, as is noted many times on my ETX Site, be certain your expectations are inline with what the telescope can deliver. You won't see a lot of details on the planets or in galaxies and nebulae.
Subject: re: Declination setting ETX-70AT Sent: Friday, February 22, 2002 20:31:00 From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org It's covered many, many times on Mike's site, including under the Telescope Tech Tips page. Examples include: http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/etx_dec_fix.html and http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/dec_circle.html Grab the knob (just like the Altitude lock knob) above the Dec scale and twist it anti-clockwise. It -will- loosen, and you can then spin the Dec scale to the correct value. Hold the disk and retighten the knob. good luck --dick
Subject: Declination setting ETX-70AT Sent: Friday, February 22, 2002 8:13:14 From: email@example.com (Peter Ankarsward) I bought a ETX-70AT telescope in Houston last month. As a beginner I did not know all the bits and pieces about how the telescope worked and when I got back to Sweden I discovered that the Declination setting circle showed 50-degrees when the scope was levelled in the Alt-Az home position (tube horizontal). Does anybody know how to adjust the setting circle? Regards, Peter
Subject: RE: etx-70 focusing set screw Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2002 1:18:37 From: FINNR@BOT.KU.DK (Finn N. Rasmussen) Thank you very much! In the mean time I found the original allen wrench provided by Meade. Alas, it seems to be too small for the screw head! I am afraid that it may damage the screw if I try to use it. Callipers measure the Meade wrench to be 1.25 mm. This is not a standard fraction of an inch (1 inch is 25.400 mm), but a nice metric measure). I wonder if not the screw head is "0.05 inch" which would be 1.27 mm. Maybe Meade has gone partially metric? My reason for un-screwing the focusing knob is of course to replace it with a Scopetronix flexi-focus( knob. I have noticed that other etx users have complained about too small allen wrenches - what do people actually do to loosen the focusing knob without spoiling the screw? Finn Rasmussen (FinnR@bot.ku.dk)Mike here: Many users have reported a similar "problem" only to discover they were not getting the allen key inserted fully into the setscrew. Be certain you are in fact reach the screwhead.
Subject: re: Astronomer's Control Panel (ACP) Compatibility w/ETX-60/70AT Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2002 23:15:56 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) To: Chuck.Stribula@osd.mil I have used the Meade CD which came with my ETX-70, and a 506 cable set, to control my 494/ETX70 from my PC. It works. As Mike said, you -cannot- convert a 494 (no numeric keypad) to a 497 (or 495, both -have- numeric keypads) by downloading. You -can- convert a 495 ($50 at Ritz camera, among others) to a 497 by downloading, and they both use the can-be-homemade 505 cable. You cannot build a 506 cable set at home. The 495 and 497 cannot use the 506 cable set. The CD which comes with the ETX70 and the one which comes with the 506 converter are, i believe, the same.. and really wants to receive the free updates available at the two vendor's sites. The patches/updates correct a number of minor, but confusing, autostar-related issues (such as showing the date as 2006). have fun --dickAnd:
From: Chuck.Stribula@osd.mil (Stribula, Chuck, LtCol, OSD-ATL) Thanks Mike. I'm amazed how fast you replied, especially to a novice like myself! Thanks Dick; this is quite helpful. I think I'll try to find a #506 cable without the software. I might try a polite letter to Meade first... I like the "GOTO" concept; it's probably opened the sky to a lot of folks (like myself) who otherwise might not take that first step. Reminds me of the old calculator vs. sliderule debates in engineering schools back in the '70s (and the DOS prompt vs. Macintosh debate of the '80s). Many people used to think (and a few still do) that "real" computers had to have command prompts & no menus/mouse. I think "GOTO" scopes will find their rightful place in the mainstream. Cheers, ChuckAnd this:
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2002 6:59:24 From: email@example.com (Roy Lindberg Jr.) I have used ACP with my ETX 60at and 494 controller with the 505 (? i think that's the right cable) with no problems at all. It seems to work fine for me.Mike here: You should have the #506 cable. Does it have a little box inline on the cable? If so, that's a #506.
Ya, it's the 506 cable.....Just couldn't remember the product #.....however, it does work just great with ACP.
Subject: Topic thread for your Autostar website Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2002 15:25:57 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (PM Glencross) I wrote a note to Dick Seymour and received a very informative reply that you may wish to post on your Autostar website. Also thank you for the web site it has been invaluable to me. The topic for below is: #494 handset/#506 cable vs. #495 handset/#505 cable P Mark Glencross ----- Original Message ----- From: "Richard Seymour" (email@example.com) To: "PM Glencross" firstname.lastname@example.org Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2002 9:09 AM Subject: Re: Telescope question for the expert > I am a newbie to a Meade ETX 70AT and have a question. I was told I should > upgrade my 494 handset to a 495 (and perform the software upgrade to make it a > 497). I already have the simple 505 transfer cable to do it and have > downloaded the latestmMeade ASU software. > > One question: is it worth the money and hassle to buy a 495 controller (and > upgrade to 497)? Is it that much better than the 494? > Also, is the astrofinder software supplied with the more expensive #506 cable > much better than the Starry Night/ACP software that came free with my > ETX 70AT scope? Mark, I believe they are -exactly- the same (so you'd end up with two copies of the same CD). **but i don't know that for sure** (my 506 was borrowed, and didn't come with the CD)(but i've read other folks grumping about having the two copies) > So my purchase options are either a 495 controller or the 506/Astrofinder > package, both route's cost $40-50. I don't know which is better. Opinion: since they're both the same price, and you -have- a 505 cable (which would add to the 495's cost), i vote for the 495. (throughout this answer, i'll say "495".. we both realize that it will become a true 497 after you feed it an update) But you don't -need- a 495... the 494 will operate perfectly happily. I find the 495 -easier-, since it's a single keypress (of a number key) to choose any of the 9 slew speeds.. no need to tap on the Speed key multiple times to reach the exact speed you'd like. I enter Comet and Satellite data via my keypad.. and that's much more boring when trying to key in 7-digit numbers by the scroll-key method required by the 494. The 494 has only half the User Body/Tour space (32kb) that the 495 offers. If you -didn't- have a 506 cable, you can (if you're a busy satellite chaser) fill UP that 32kb.. and the 494 will stop accepting additions and edits! When you "delete" an object via the keypad, it doesn't clear that space inside the 494. Only the Updater can clean it up. On the other hand, the 495 -can- "garbage collect" and truly self-clean that space ... without requiring a 505 and the Updater. The 495 has the additional "flashlight" LED on top... i find that handy. And, for me, a -big- factor is that i can -change- the 495's programming. Beyond the bug-fixes (and improvements) that Meade supplies, i can add small features that i find handy, or that other folks request (usually). The 497 has many more objects to putter around looking for. If you're planning to PC-control your telescope, the 495 can accept data over 10 times faster than the 506/494 combination. 900 characters per second versus the 494's 70. This greatly helps PC programs trying to control/monitor the telescope. Many programs (StarryNight, for example) work fine with -both- models, so that may not be an issue. (by the way.. in either case, you DO want to spend the time to download the various patches for both StarryNight and ACP.. they make control much, much better) And you don't -really- need to "upgrade" a 495 to a 497 to have most of the above reasons instantly implemented. IF the 495 arrives with a relatively current version of the firmware, it'll work fine for you right out of the box. The "hassle" of upgrading a 495 to a 497 is a one-shot, half hour operation. Then it's done. (unless Meade trots out a new update which fixes something that's been vexing -you-). My biggest hint for happy upgrading is to *walk away* from the computer for the half-hour download cycle. It'll beep when it wants you. So: there you have it: "it depends". and a firm "maybe" The firmware in a 494 is roughly equivalent to 21eK in the 497, in terms of bugs fixes, etc. So it's fairly "modern" (since then have mainly been model additions and the big database fix, but the 494 doesn't have that database). Since the 506 and 495 are equivalently priced, and you already -have- the CD the 506 comes with, it's a matter of adding the convenience of the full numeric keypad. *and* preparing yourself for future expansion. If you ever migrate up to an ETX90/105/125 you'll have the 497 ready to go. If you get an LXD55 or LX90, you'll have a swappable spare. This is one of those choice where coin-flipping can also provide vital input (you choose, you flip, and if you don't like what the coin says, then you know that the -other- answer is the one you really wanted) have fun --dick
Subject: Astronomer's Control Panel (ACP) Compatibility w/ETX-60/70AT Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2002 14:43:26 From: Chuck.Stribula@osd.mil (Stribula, Chuck, LtCol, OSD-ATL) What a great web site! I recently bought an ETX-70AT, and was wondering why, given it comes with software (Starry Night Bundle Edition & ACP), we would have to buy Meade's software just to get the #506 cable (vs. the #505 cable for the ETX-90+, which IS available without software). Meade tech support told me that ACP was not compatible with the ETX-60/70ATs as they use the Autostar #494. Yet, with the cable, I apparently can upgrade the #494 to a #497 via a software download from the internet. I haven't been able to get an answer out of the ACP support site. Does anyone know what the real story is on this? Mucho thanks deluxe. Cheers & Thanks, Chuck StribulaMike here: I can't answer the Meade marketing question. And the #494 can NOT be upgraded to a #497 with software. The #495 can however. But I thought the latest ACP would work with the #494 (not the one on the CD-ROM that came with the ETX-60/70AT). I could be wrong however.
Subject: etx-70 focusing set screw Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2002 6:34:54 From: FINNR@BOT.KU.DK (Finn N. Rasmussen) Does anybody know the exact size of the tiny Allen wrench (in Europe: "unbrako key") used to loosen the focusing knob on the etx-70? I have lost the original provided with the scope and needs to find a replacement. It looks like a fragment-of-inch thing and may be difficult to find on this side of the planet, where everything is measured in mm! Finn Rasmussen, CopenhagenMike here: I haven't measured mine; in fact I'm not even certain I know where it is!
Subject: ETX70 - Judder when viewing at high power Sent: Monday, February 18, 2002 0:13:56 From: email@example.com When using my ETX70 at say x 140 to view the Moon, for example, the tracking seems a little erratic. Ok I accept I could get a slow drift off target if not properly aligned, but not what happens. The 'goto' system seems to suddenly "remember" it is drifting and it lurches back in a series of judders to the area I was looking at - or trying to draw. The new position is usually slightly off the original centre. Another 'feature' is that while trying to use the controls to centre an object at a particular part of the eyepiece after pressing the [Go To] button, the 'scope thinks it knows best and often will not retain the setting I want and will drive back to some random position near to the target but not where I want it in the field of view. As you will appreciate this makes drawing lunar features or the measurement of double stars a frustrating experience. Is this a common problem with either the ETX range or 'goto' Alt Alt scopes in general ? Dave McCracken Lincoln (UK)Mike here: This "rubberbanding" is a common indicator that the drives need reTRAINing. Go to the Utilities menu and TRAIN the drives. Remember to do both Altitude and Azimuth. Let me know if that helps.
Subject: ETX-70AT focuser question Sent: Sunday, February 17, 2002 11:16:27 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Patrick Carroll) WOW what a great site! Thanks! My son picked up a 70AT - it was second hand and no manual. He really likes it (my Dobs are boring - no computer control) but we're having some trouble with the focuser... Turning the focus knob will only move the tube toward the eyepiece end; turning the knob in the opposite direction does not move the tube at all. Also, the shaft that the focus knob is on can be moved in and out of the OTA (like a plunger). The only way we can focus is to "gross focus" by pushing/pulling the focuser shaft in/out of the tube (distance depends on type of eyepiece), then pushing out a tad, then using the knob to fine-focus inward. If I turn the knob too much (bring the tube in too far), then I must push the shaft in (moving the tube out), and start over... I'm not sure that's that way it's supposed to work. Cam anyone verify that? Thanks PatMike here: It sounds like the focus shaft has been disconnected from the objective lens housing (which is the part that moves). I'll forward your inquiry to our resident hardware expert Clay Sherrod and see if he has any ideas. You can contact Meade at (800) 626-3233 (U.S.A. Only) or (949) 451-1450 and they will send you a manual.
And from our hardware expert:
From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) The attachment point for the focusing threaded rod is partially - but not all the way - stripped; the spring-loaded motion allows the focusing to take place in one direction, but not the other where the focusing action requires torque against the back of the rear cell of the telescope. I would suggest carefully removing the focus knob with the scope aimed "up" slightly from horizontal and attempt to provide some type of bushing (electrical tape should work) forced between the metal focus rod and the opening in which it goes into the tube; that should give enough resistance for proper focusing. There are other more sophisticated alternatives, but without sending the scope in for repair I do not recommend these. Clay
Subject: new beginner Sent: Sunday, February 17, 2002 10:24:34 From: Fabul8@aol.com I am a first starter in telescopes, I have a common interest on the universe etc... I am going to invest in a ETX 70AT and I would like to know what books you have for a beginner as far as learning the ETX 70AT and what are good beginner books on looking for stars and such. I am ready to learn.Mike here: There are many books for beginners. You can check the Accessory Reviews - Books for some user comments. Although not specifically geared to the ETX-70AT, you might want to check out my ETX book. You should also visit a site like Sky and Telescope. Lots of tips and info there. You should also read my ETX-70AT comments, linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page. And welcome to a wider universe!
Subject: ETX-70AT Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2002 19:47:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Steve Vallance) I am considering purchasing this telescope for casual observing of the night sky. I am just a very beginning person in astronomy and am wondering if this scope would be too much to start out with. I would like to be able to observe Jupiter and the rings of Saturn. Any input would be greatly appreciated. SteveMike here: See my comments linked at the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" Feedback page.
Subject: Broken ETX 60 Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2002 12:42:14 From: email@example.com I accidently dropped my ETX 60 last night (about a foot-and-a-half) and the diagonal mirror popped loose (I like the scope for what I use it for, but it's very cheaply made). Called Meade and they advise they'll fix it for $75 (it's out of warranty). If I add on my shipping cost, I'm really not far away from the price of buying a new one at Costco. I'll probably just try to fix it myself, but there are no guides about how the ETX 60 is put together (Meade was no help). So here's the question: How do you get the OTA off an ETX 60? Any guesses about a good adhesive for the diagonal mirror? Any help would be greatly appreciated.And from our resident hardware expert:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) Epoxy works wonderfully for attaching the diagonal flip mirror and this repair can be done with tweezers (tips covered in small cloth "gloves") and through the eyepiece port without the need for (and I certainly do NOT recommend) removing the OTA from the fork arms. The main concern when doing this repair, regardless of how you gain access to it, is to assure that the mirror is properly seated as firmly against the support arm as possible to assure proper optical alignment to 45 degrees. Clay Sherrod
Subject: Instructions Sent: Monday, February 11, 2002 15:00:18 From: email@example.com We purchased one of your Meade Ext-60/at telescopes at Costco for a Christmas gift. The instructions have been lost. How can we obtain the instructions? Thank you, Deborah Petaluma, CaliforniaMike here: I am not a Meade employee. You can contact Meade directly at (800) 626-3233 (U.S.A. Only) or (949) 451-1450. They will probably send you one for free.
Subject: ETX-70AT Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2002 6:11:16 From: NArmstro@cha.ab.ca (Armstrong, Neil) A short note to say that I did connect a 9 volt power supply backwards to the ETX and it didn't fry anything. I only did it for about 10 seconds. The motor didn't work and the red LED light was dimmly lit. After I realized what I had done, I changed the polarity to where its supposed to be and it works fine. No big deal. regards
Subject: Unusual aberation in ETX-60, Part II Sent: Saturday, February 9, 2002 20:21:12 From: AlanM@peoplepc.com (Alan McDonald) I had previously contacted you about an unusual aberration in my scope, and had pretty much concluded that it was due to a haze on my lenses that I successfully removed. I finally had a chance to check out the results with some great seeing the other night, so I was able to do some star tests at 110 power. I now can see much better, but it looks like the haze was just a contributing factor. As I come into and out of focus, I finally see circular diffraction patterns that are somewhat "text book." But as I get closer to best focus, a strange thing happens: the bright spot or center of light shifts to the lower left, and away from the center of the circles. The patterns then stops being circular, and flares out into two spikes. This is my best shot at what I see (although much smaller in the eyepiece):
Bear in mind that the center of the diffraction pattern is not the bright spot as I go into and out of focus - it is at the center of the three dots inside the larger "V". I created this image using Pocket Aberrator (http://aberrator.astronomy.net/), and I adjusted the parameters of coma, pinch, focus, and 3rd harmonic to get it (and then touched it up with an image editor). The biggest factors were coma and pinch, which is strange because neither of these is a factor - I relieved all pressure on the retaining ring, and it did not change things. Coma is not likely, as the view is the same when centered in the eyepiece, with and without the Barlow, and with all eyepieces. I've rotated the crown relative to the flint to see if that would help, and the image never really changed much. I've also rotated both lenses as a unit to see if the image or the angle changes on the "spikes", but it stays the same. The only thing that I am left with is the flip mirror that does not go to a full 45 degrees - but Clay Sherrod indicated that this condition should not affect things much (although I'm becoming less convinced, as it is the only optical element left in the path). I've tried to hold the flip at 45 with my hand on the lever (which I can do), but the scope shakes too much to star test it. I do not observe any scratches on the flip mirror, and while it probably has a haze on it as the lenses did, I'm not about to try to clean it. Any thoughts, or should I just contact Meade about a new scope? Once again, your help is greatly appreciated.
Subject: focus knob setscrew Sent: Thursday, February 7, 2002 18:09:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (gary) I just recieved my flexi-focus from scopetronix and it looks great! I wish I would have read the warning on installing the electric focus before I used the allen wrench that meade supplied with my etx70. The first turn and the set screw was stripped!!!! what a piece of junk I wish that they never gave me an allen wrench I would have went out and bought it myself for 50 cents any ideas on getting it out and do you know the size of wrench they gave me maybe If I use a good one it might work. thanks gary copestakeMike here: Several users have reported that the setscrew is very tight. Others have found that they were not getting the hexkey fully inserted and so not even reaching the setscrew. In the cases where the user did strip the setscrew they had to drill it out, requiring them to get a replacement knob from Meade.
I just got back from home depot with a new allen wrench that cost me 69 cents put it in the set screw a vola!!! cracked it open and installed the flexi-focus! Now why did meade give me a cheep 5 cent wrench that doesn't work when they could have payied like 15 cents for a good one??????
Subject: barlow Sent: Wednesday, February 6, 2002 20:32:08 From: email@example.com (Grant Brunet) Great site. I have an ETX-60, very happy, so far no problems, seeing lots of the night sky. I just purchased a Meade 2X Barlow, hoping to get a better look at the planets. I can't quite get it to focus(lots of travel on either end).I seem to get an almost focused planet with a ghost that is over the planet.Any thoughts. Thanks for you help GrantMike here: Did you get the correct 2X Barlow Lens for the ETX-60AT? That would be the #124.
Subject: Objective lens on ETX-60 Sent: Sunday, February 3, 2002 16:32:11 From: AlanM@peoplepc.com (Alan McDonald) Having had my objective out to clean the haze off the surfaces, I'm now not 100% sure I have the outer lens (the one with both sides convex) in correctly. One side of this lens has more curve than the other. With the side with greater curvature towards the sky, I get what I think is could be a better image, but focus is just barely reached with the objective cell focused to the full rearward position. I can't get even close to focus with the Barlow (Meade #126), as I run out of travel. Even though I can't quite get to focus, I see the diffraction patterns that all the star testing sites indicate I should see. With the lens flipped around so that the lesser curved surface is facing the sky, I reach focus with the objective cell much farther out from the inner stop, and focus is easy with the Barlow. But I'm left with that unusual aberration, and I never see the diffraction rings as the stars come in and out of focus. Which way should it go?Mike here: I've not taken mine apart but it does look like the flatter surface is on the outside.
Subject: UK offer on ETX-70AT Sent: Sunday, February 3, 2002 11:29:11 From: Robunos@aol.com Yesterday I bought an ETX-70AT from Sherwoods in Birmingham.(www.sherwoods-photo.com). I don't know if this is a UK-wide offer or not, but for £299 I got the 'scope, tripod, tripod case, 25 and 9mm e/ps,#128 3x barlow,#64ST camera adapter,and #506 Astrofinder software, which includes the #506 cable. I was so gobsmacked I forgot to tap them up for some batteries! Robin.
Subject: Re-New user ETX-60 AT Motor Fault Problems Sent: Sunday, February 3, 2002 11:07:43 From: Robunos@aol.com Just a thought. I bought a ETX-70 (yesterday!), and on fitting the batteries and switching on, it failed to power up. A quick check revealed that the snap connector that clips on to the battery box was loose. A quick tweak with pliers fixed it. It occurs to me that if Frank's was also on the loose side. it might work loose enough with moving the 'scope to cause a bad connection. Just an off-chance but easy enough to check. Robin.
Subject: slewing problems Sent: Friday, February 1, 2002 11:12:43 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Randall Lane Antoniuk) When my ETX 60AT slews from left to right it sticks and skips. This makes go to alignment impossible. Any suggestions? Thanks. Randy.Mike here: With the power off and the azimuth axis unlocked, rotate the scope by hand through several revolutions in both directions. That can improve the gear grease distribution and may cure the problem (if grease was the cause). As you are moving the scope through those rotations, go slowly and see if you can detect where any hesitancy (sticking) occurs. If you detect a location, go back and forth over that location several times. Let me know if this helps.
And a success:
Thanks so much! I hate myself when I have to bother people when the solution is so simple! Scope is working great now! Thanks a lot. Great website! Keep up the good work. You are helping us all maintain our sanity! Randy.
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