Last updated: 28 February 2002
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT. Additional information on these models is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. 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.

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: (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.


Simon Turner
Mike 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: (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 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 the way keep up the good work on the site......lots of info
and i learned alot................dave
Mike 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: (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 Fagnan
Mike 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
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.
Mike 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)
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!


Subject:	Re: New User needs suggestions
Sent:	Tuesday, February 26, 2002 10:49:11
From: (wilbur, ted)
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: (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 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

Way to go and keep in touch.....I think you should send this to Mike
Weasner to post....he would love to have it!

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

  ----- 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!

Subject:	New User needs suggestions,
Sent:	Monday, February 25, 2002 17:29:59
From: (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
Mike 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: (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

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: (Richard Seymour)
It's covered many, many times on Mike's site, including under the
Telescope Tech Tips page.
Examples include:

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

Subject:	Declination setting ETX-70AT
Sent:	Friday, February 22, 2002 8:13:14
From: (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 (
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: (Richard Seymour)
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
From: (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

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.

And this:
Sent:	Thursday, February 21, 2002 6:59:24
From: (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: (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

P Mark Glencross

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Richard Seymour" (
To: "PM Glencross"
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?


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

Subject:	Astronomer's Control Panel (ACP) Compatibility w/ETX-60/70AT
Sent:	Tuesday, February 19, 2002 14:43:26
From: (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 Stribula
Mike 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, Copenhagen
Mike 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
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: (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

Mike 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: (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.


Subject:	new beginner
Sent:	Sunday, February 17, 2002 10:24:34
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: (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.

Mike 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
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: (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
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

Thank you,

Petaluma, California
Mike 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: (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.


Subject:	Unusual aberation in ETX-60, Part II
Sent:	Saturday, February 9, 2002 20:21:12
From: (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

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 (, 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: (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

thanks   gary copestake
Mike 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

Subject:	barlow
Sent:	Wednesday, February 6, 2002 20:32:08
From: (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
Mike 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: (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
Yesterday I bought an ETX-70AT from Sherwoods in
Birmingham.( 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!


Subject:	Re-New user ETX-60 AT Motor Fault Problems 
Sent:	Sunday, February 3, 2002 11:07:43
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.


Subject:	slewing problems
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2002 11:12:43
From: (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.
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

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