Last updated: 28 February 2002
This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX and DS models. 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:	Hard Stops
Sent:	Wednesday, February 27, 2002 10:05:14
From: (Philip Jones)
I've heard discussion of the "hard stops" that exist on the RA axis of
the ETX-90EC. I currently own an ETX-70AT, which has no such hard stops.

Do any of the newer versions of the ETX-90, 105 or 125 have the hard
stops removed, or do they all still have the hard stops?

Philip Jones
Visiluna Productions
Mike here: They all have hard stops since the design of the base is the same for the EC models.
Subject:	Where do photos go?
Sent:	Wednesday, February 27, 2002 7:58:11
From: (Peter RosÚn)
I would just have a suggestion. I did not see my previous pictures on
your site untill by chance I looked in the Digital Cameras / Nikon
section. I expected them in the "Guest Astrophotography Gallery". The
most interesting feature as far as I am concerned is to see what others
have been able to do with the same model of telescope as my own more
than what camera they are using. I understand that this is my personal
point of view and might not be shared by everyone!

Sincerely / Peter Rosen
Mike here: I started out with just the Galleries (not even by telescope). Then I started getting so many inquiries about camera models that I decided to start that section. So, some things get posted to one section and some to the other section. Sorry for the confusion.
Subject:	TeleVue 15mm Panoptic
Sent:	Tuesday, February 26, 2002 18:46:35
From: (ivoryqueenowner)
I am looking at a 15mm Tele Vue Panoptic.  I have an ETX-90RA.  Have you
any experience with this eyepiece?  I have all your eyepiece reviews and
did not see anything close to this.  Scopetronix says it is excellent
for bino vue?  I have a shorty plus barlow.  Will this work with the
ETX, the Panoptic, and the barlow or am I trying to push the Scope's
Optics too much?


Brad Allred

Subject:	Re: altitude problem
Sent:	Tuesday, February 26, 2002 10:44:03
From: (
Writing about the scope I sent back to Meade to get the random slew
problem fixed. I got the scope back and tried to train the drives two
times and was nowhere close in either drive. So now I am in the process
of doing a clay sherrod tune up of the drives. I believe there is twice
as much grease as the first time I did the tune up. Not done with the
degrease so have not tried to retrain as of yet, will let you know after
I do this. Called Meade to find out what they did to the scope. I asked
if I could talk to the person who did the repairs and was told they
don't keep that info or what they did to the scope. What I was told is
that they check all of the electronics and clean and collimnate the
optics and send it out as if it were new. One question I have is can you
do away with the internal battery wiring and make a jump wire between
the terminals on the board? I want to go with ac converted power all the
time and if  I need to clean the scope again not to worry about the
delicate wiring. Thanks for all the help Brian.
Mike here: Regarding bringing the power outside, you could try the technique in the article "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT Power Supply" on the Telescope Tech Tips page or you could just use the existing wiring that goes to the external power jack.
Subject:	Your book; eyepiece question
Sent:	Tuesday, February 26, 2002 0:05:28
From: (Dimitris Rakopoulos)
I just ordered your book from I ordered it from
but they were quite late... I am really lookinf forward to it. I'll let
you know how it goes.

I have a guestion. I'm thinging of buying an eyepiece for my ETX90. I
was thinking the 4000 4.7mm. How good is it? And will I get good
results? I think it's over the theoretical magnification limit of ETX90.
Or is it better to get the 4000 6.7mm?

Best regards,
Dimitris Rakopoulos
Mike here: Yes, the 4.7mm will exceed the max. There's a review of the 6.7mm on the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page.


So, you think it's better to get the 6.7mm? I mean the 4.7mm is a good
eyepiece but now that I come to think of it I will be able to use it
only under very good circumstances.

Subject:	Book
Sent:	Monday, February 25, 2002 16:06:45
From: (
Once again thanks for the quick response.  I ordered from Amazon
UK and it's been shipped already so I'll have it within a couple
of days!

>--- Original Message ---
>Date: 2/24/02 8:37:05 AM
>I'm beginning to suspect the book is hung up in Customs... 
>Amazon.UK has it.
>Mike Weasner

Subject:	Meade Electronic Eyepiece
Sent:	Monday, February 25, 2002 11:32:10
Found your website via the folks at Meade.  Nice site.  I was told (by
Meade) that you did a review of the Meade Electronic Eyepiece.

I am considering purchasing one for my small DS-114.  Can you point me
to the review if there is one?


Mike here: I haven't personally used one but there are comments about it on the Helpful Information --> Astrophotography page. You can also search the site for "electronic eyepiece" and you'll get some hits.
Subject:	your book
Sent:	Monday, February 25, 2002 9:11:11
Mike I ordered your ETX book from Amazon a week ago and Amazon says it
will be sent out around next December. You write that it should be out
around now. A bit confusing to say the least. Amazon says it will be
published sometime in April I think.

Any enlightenment would be much appreciated.
Thanks much from,
Selwyn Malin 
Mike here: The book is available, at least in some parts of the Earth! Some buyers have gotten it through
Subject:	Using The Meade ETX
Sent:	Monday, February 25, 2002 5:39:26
This is Ron Tolles again in Spring Valley, CA with a question:  why is saying that my order for your book as entitled above will not
be available until December?  This is my second attempt to acquire your
book, and,I would really love to have it!  Is there a problem with's ordering of the book?  Are other people having this problem
with  Should I attempt to buy a copy elsewhere, and if so,
Mike, where?  Please e-mail me  Thank you for your
time & consideration.  Again, I dearly would love a copy of your book! 
Bye for now & clear skies.
Mike here: Buyers are getting it through I suspect a Customs delay coming into the USA.
Subject:	ETX advice sought and your book
Sent:	Sunday, February 24, 2002 06:26:41
Below is what Amazon says about your book. Do you know what the problem
Mike Isenberg

Items Ordered 	Price 	

1 of: Using the Meade Etx
: 100 Objects You Can Really See With the Mighty Etx (Patrick Moore's
Practical Astronomy Series) [Paperback]
   By: Mike Weasner 	
     - Availability: Not yet published 
     - Gift options: None
Mike here: Amazon.UK has it. I suspect a delay at US Customs...

Subject:	An Amateur Astronomer
Sent:	Saturday, February 23, 2002 19:13:06
From: (Richard Huang)
I'm a 15 year old from Toronto and ever since I was a child I was
extremely fascinated by the night sky.  I dropped by your page today and
found it very informative.  I'm planning on buying a telescope and found
that you suggest the Meade ETX-60 EC for beginnners.  I had a good pair
of binoculars to play around with last year to learn my way thorugh the
night sky.  HOwever, now I am really interested in purchasing a
telescope.  May you please give me your adivce on what telescope is
perfect for the amateur astronmer?  I find the Meade 90 very interesting
with all the reviews I have read, but I just want you to clarify
everything.  The feature I like the most about the telescope is its able
to help you locate the celestial objects, because I usually have hard
time finding it.  Hopefully you can give me some words of wisdom in
helping me buy a good telescope.

Thanks for your help,

Mike here: I have never recommended the ETX-60AT outright as a beginner's telescope. It can make an excellent beginner's telescope but I suggest you see my ETX-70AT comments linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page. Yes, a GOTO system can help you locate objects but you need to decide upon your expectations of a telescope and how you will use it before deciding which telescope is best for you. A different model might make the excellent beginner's telescope for you (and others).


As I mentioned in my previous note, I wanted to purchase a telescope
that is fit for a beginner.  I have great interest in Astronomy and hope
to pursue it as a career, therefore I want purchase a telescope to get
me started.  My main expectations for this first telescope is it being
able to view most of the celestial objects in the night sky with
clarity, different stars, and phenomenas in the night sky. Portabitlity
can also be considered, since it is very likely that I might bring it
somewhere with me when I go camping.  Also, being able to access it
fairly easily.  I have also read your site and is aware of the other
accessories that are needed in order to meet higher expectations.  Money
range will be around $700.

I am thinking of buying one of the Meade ETX models and I do not want to
make the wrong choice, so I wanted ask for your opinion.

I have been looking at your site for a couple of days now and I find it
very helpful and informative.  It is awesome, and keep up the good work.

Thanks once again for your help.

Clear Skies and good viewing, yours sincerely,

Mike here: Keep in mind that the smaller telescopes won't let you see really faint objects. Nor will any visual telescope let you see nebulae and galaxies like you see in photographs.

Subject:	what is that sound?
Sent:	Saturday, February 23, 2002 12:19:10
From: (Ryan Davies)
Hey mike, Thanks anyway for your help..

When i turn my etx on and hit a button on the electronic controller it
moves like it is supposed to. then i hear a small faint sound and i am
not even touching the controller. is there something wrong with it or is
it normal?
Mike here: See the FAQ page item:
Q. One of the drive motors runs continuously but I don't see any movement of the telescope tube. Is something wrong?

Subject:	Re: ETX advice sought
Sent:	Saturday, February 23, 2002 12:09:47
From: (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Mike
Good to hear from you.  I wish that everyone who is tempted to invest in
even the most expensive zoom eyepiece would write to me before they
do....the convenience of the multiple power zoom is greatly offset by
its lack of imaging definition, contrast and color clarity; you lose
about 12% of your total light through a zoom.  For the price an observer
is far better to invest in two reasonably good Plossls of fixed focal

Regarding Jupiter's red is tough right now.  It is NOT red as
in past years, but a very pale orange-pink color and very low
contrast....when you look for it (use the Sky & Telescope times...),
look at the South Equatorial Belt (the less dark of the two middle
belts, at the bottom in the ETX field) and study for an INDENTATION of
the belt, or "hollow" where the GRS is far easier to
see that than the spot itself right now.

Keep at will see it.  In the ETX 90 I would recommend a very
steady night and a magnification of at least 175x.

Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

----- Original Message -----
> Dr. Sherrod:
> 1. As we learn more and more about our new ETX-90EC outfit, I am curious
> about what power it takes to really see (given good viewing conditions) the
> great RED spot on Jupiter. We are able to see four moons, & some bands, never
> any hint of the red spot.
> 2. I am quite disappointed with the Meade series 4000 8mm-24mm zoom lens that
> came with our outfit. The images are not sharp. I've tried using it right out
> of the house (warm), & chilled for a couple of hours first. This was all
> previously owned equipment, but never used, or even out of the box. I remain
> extremely pleased with the electric focus I've written you about before.
> Thanks for you help & encouragement.
> Mike
> Decatur, Illinois
Mike here: Zoom eyepieces and Barlow Lens are a compromise. They work, but at a cost of some image quality.


Exactly, and a good point.  They "do" what is promised of them!


Subject:	ETX90 or 105 or 125??
Sent:	Friday, February 22, 2002 18:37:59
From: (Don Stefanik)
I have been reading up on the various scopes available. It sure can get
overwhelming. Well I've been on several other forums asking questions
and I'm getting down to my final few selections. I have been considering
the ETX90RA that I've seen listed for $179.95. As you know it's pretty
plan jane. I've been thinking about taking my 25year old 5in reflector
tripod and using it for the 90RA also to keep the cost down as a
starting beginner. Or should I just bite the bullet and go with the
ETX125EC. Get the Goto option and what ever else I need. I have already
purchased a Max View40 for my Olympus C-2100UZ. Hopefully it will
eliminate vignetting with this camera. Which way would you recommend me
going. Go with the ETX90 RA or get the ETX105EC or really go for the
gusto and get the best, ETX125EC and all options.
Thanks for your time.
PS. Just so you know I live in the country and have some pretty clear
unlit night skies.

I should have told you I'm in Canada so the price of a scope is 60%
higher here because of the exchange rate. So the ETX 90 RA for $179.95
US will be about $291.00 Canadian. For now I really don't want to spend
over a K$, but if I have too to do it right then I will.
Mike here: You need to decide HOW you will use your telescope and WHAT your expectations of views through it are. If you know the night sky or are willing to learn, a non-GOTO telescope is fine, although having GOTO does have its advantages. If you want to observe Deep Space Objects you will want aperture. If you want high magnification with lots of crisp details you'll need focal length and aperture. And then there is astrophotography... I know, decisions, decisions, decisions....


Thanks for the reply back.
I guess what I first want to do is just get to know the sky. Then and if
I want too I would get a bigger scope. I first thought about getting a
big 10in Dob. But now I just want to do some viewing with a scope that
is easy to use and move around. Once I get a feel for the sky and want
to see more I then would upgrade to a 10in Dob or something with Goto.
I'm not really sure about how much photo I want, could do. Sounds like a
lot of hard work stacking and such. Plus most have the Cool Pix 995 for
astrophotography. I have the Olympus C-2100UZ.

So for now it's between the 90,105 and the 125. I'll just have to makeup
my mind!!
Mike here: OK. The next thing you need to decide upon is portability or ease of setup. While none of these choices is difficult to move from inside to outside, you might want to consider whether you want to take the telescope on trips or just use it from your yard. The ETX-90EC (I'd go for the EC model instead of the RA model so that you can add the Autostar later if you want) is a nice portable telescope that still provides some excellent views of many objects. The ETX-125EC is a less portable telescope that will provide even better views. The ETX-105EC is sort of a compromise between the two. One thing to keep in mind is that the telescope that ends up in the closet or is inconvenient to move outside and set up on a moment's notice is the wrong telescope. By the way, almost any camera can do some forms of astrophotography, at least of the brighter objects like the Moon and brighter planets. There are many examples on my ETX Site.

And more:

I have a big yard Mike behind the shop. If you seen my farm picture it
is to the right of the big building or west. I would like to make a
small platform 8X8 and a foot high to get off the grass. That way no
cold wet shoes. I would probably put in a steel pipe into the ground in
the middle and mount the scope on that. Quick release when done.

I'm strongly thinking about the ETX105 because of the upgrades made to
this newer model. I already have a Galileo 185 80mm coming so this one I
can use to transport around when I want too.

I'm getting more comfortable with this idea as time goes by.
Thanks again Mike.

Subject:	Supercharge
Sent:	Friday, February 22, 2002 18:19:47
From: (divenuts)
I recently received my 'supercharged' ETX-125 from Dr.Clay.  In a word
"AMAZING"!  He transformed a pretty good scope to a precision
instrument.  I would highly recommend his service to anyone who wants to
upgrade their scope, short of buying one with a larger aperture.  I
recommend packing the scope in the original box packed inside a larger
box stuffed with newspaper or some other packing material. 
Communication with Dr. Clay is  prompt and concise.  If you have a
question, he has an answer...and fast.   It was easy and informative to
follow your scope from shipping to receipt.

You will get an initial evaluation from Dr. Clay clearly explaining what
he found and what he plans to do. Another intangible is his willingness
to explain and answer questions not related to what he is going to be
actually doing on the scope itself.  It is very reassuring to have this
communication and lets you feel confident that your scope is in good
hands.   If it's broken he will fix it...if its not quite right, he will
correct it. I sent in a scope that performed well and received back a
scope that was tight and precise. All the looseness and backlash I had
experienced was gone.

The AutoStar was loaded with excellent tours with explanations of each
item. You are able to send him multiple viewing sites and he will
customize the tours for optimal viewing from each location. I
particularly liked his Messier Tour and was thrilled to find each...
virtually dead center in the eyepiece. Every tour gives you a brief
description of what to expect....and it delivers! You will receive a
form containing his findings on each of the 83-point comprehensive
inspection and a service description of ALL the modifications and
adjustments....pretty thorough in anybody's book.

I might add that we sent payment independently of the scope and my
wife(I'll blame her) used the wrong Zip code and despite not yet
receiving payment, Clay had the scope on the way home BEFORE payment was
received. I will call that integrity and trust.

In summary, if you want your scope to perform....this is it!! I have
never met the man, but with all the e-mail conversations with Clay... I
believe I have a new friend. That's the highest compliment I can give.

Thanks Dr. P Clay Sherrod,

Chuck Callaghan
Dunedin, Florida

Subject:	Using the Meade ETX
Sent:	Friday, February 22, 2002 17:19:46
From: (
I ordered your book from Amazon a month ago and now it says the book
won't be published until April 2002. What's the hold up? I'm looking
forward to reading this one.
Mike here: I'm beginning to suspect Customs inspections...

Subject:	Which is a good barlow lense with the same resolution as a normal eyepiece?
Sent:	Friday, February 22, 2002 12:03:18
From: (Ryan Davies)
i recently got my orion telescope booklet and found a page of barlows. I
saw that there was a orion shorty plus 3 element barlow for $54. then i
see a meade 2x Apochromatic Barlow Lens for $85. i Dont know if the
orion one has the same good resolution as the meades barlow lense says
it does. Help me out and tell me what barlow lense of all is the best
that you recommend.
Mike here: Since I've only used the Meade #126 with the ETX, I can't you which Barlow Lens is the best of them all. But see the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page for some user comments.

Subject:	Clay Sherrod on tour?
Sent:	Friday, February 22, 2002 11:35:48
From: (Tim Roberts)
Any chance of Clay coming on a "Supercharge Tour" of the UK? There must
be a lot of people like me with an underperforming ETX125EC, suffering
from rubber banding etc, but who have tried and failed all the self-help
info. I am deeply envious of you guys in the States having access to
Sherrod's Supercharge Service. I've had my 'scope for well over a year
now, and although still have problems with it and don't get to use it as
much as I would like due to time/location, I am very grateful to you
Mike for setting up your site - there is so much info here now, it's
mind blowing. Cheers!

Tim Roberts
Durham UK  
(my astro site hidden in the depths of
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Well, I certainly can entertain such an idea.  I do get a considerable
number of inquiries from overseas, and many from the UK on both ETX and
LX telescopes...I do everything that I can to assist and advise from
across the pond, but there is nothing like actually getting my hands on
a scope.  I know of dozens of telescopes that have been either improved
or salvaged altogether via the Internet!

But a nice ticket on a cruise liner to England would certainly be strong
enticement for Clay's Great Tour.

Clay Sherrod
Mike here: You know that S&T cruise? Maybe we could have a future Mighty ETX Star Party Cruise...


NOT a bad idea!  Really....not a bad idea at all.  I bet Meade would be
willing to do a partial sponsorship as would some select dealers....(?).

But let's go to the Bahamas.


Subject:	Clay Speaks!
Sent:	Friday, February 22, 2002 9:46:35
From: (Philip Jones)
A great  big "Woohoo!" goes out to Clay Sherrod for his excellent photos
and words on the Saturn/Moon occultation in Robert Roy Britt's article
Philip Jones
Visiluna Productions

Subject:	Status of Your Book
Sent:	Thursday, February 21, 2002 18:56:26
From: (Paul Butler)
Amazon is showing that the book won't be published until April 2002.
What is the actual status of it?  I'm very interested in buying (and
receiving) a copy as soon as I can.


Paul Butler
Lovettsville, VA
Mike here: The book IS published but apparently some dealers are having some difficulty getting it in the US (probably due to dock security concerns). There is a report below further down this page that Amazon.UK is shipping it.
Sent:	Thursday, February 21, 2002 15:34:52
From: (Darrell Stroupe)
I just got a meade etx 90 ra and would like some advice on eyepieces
that will give me a greater field of view . I will mostly use the scope
for territoral pictures. I did buy the digi t mount from
scopetronix...........Thanks, Darrell
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page as well as the Buyer/New User Tips page.
Sent:	Thursday, February 21, 2002 7:22:00
From: (Jim Stout)
I ordered your new book from on Dec. 4, 2001.  Today, I was
told by Amazon that it will not be available until April of this year.
They told me to order it from Amazon in the UK.  I did order it today
and was told they have the book in stock.

It sure is strange that the book was written in the USA, but you have to
order it from the UK and pay air mail rates to have it shipped back to
the USA.
Mike here: The Springer "Practical Astronomy Series" is published out of the Springer UK office.
Subject:	ETX book
Sent:	Tuesday, February 19, 2002 19:57:22
From: (BOBCATH28)
Mike!, I'm still confused as to whether your ETX book is now
available!!Borders and Barnes and Noble know nothing of this book.Amazon
told me it wasn't available until March,or well beyond.I just want a
copy of this book!!Where AND WHEN can I get one!!!       Bob D.
Mike here: I appreciate your interest but I have no control over the distribution channels. I'm sorry that I have no info other than what I've posted on the Site. People in Europe are getting it so it should be available soon elsewhere.
Subject:	Re: Re: Another Skipping/Jerking Problem
Sent:	Tuesday, February 19, 2002 19:22:21
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Actually this sounds like heresy, but if it were me I would put a short
spray of WD-40 between the RA clutch and the drive gear, being extremely
careful (use those short "straws" that come with the can...) to not get
it anywhere else...and ONLY use a tiny bit;  hold the scope upside down
when doing so and allow the lubricant to penetrate between the two
surfaces (clutch and gear) that are closest to you.  Just a TINY
bit....that will work out the high spot, which is what you have.


Subject:	Fwd: Re: Daytime viewing of occultation
Sent:	Tuesday, February 19, 2002 18:11:39
From: (Donald McClelland)
Thought this correspondance with Clay would be helpful on your site.

From: "Clay Sherrod" (
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 03:22:55 -0600
Hello Don -
You can try several, as this is going to be VERY tough from your
location. the sky background color and intensity is VERY similar to that
of Saturn's rings.  Try the #80A (light blue) and a good neutral density
filter - if you can get your hands on a variable polarizing filter
(Meade and others make them) you can essentially neutralize the
reflected light of the sky and it will allow the ambient light of Saturn
to pass through.

Good luck out there!

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

----- Original Message -----
From: "Donald McClelland" (
Sent: Sunday, February 17, 2002 11:07 PM
Subject: Daytime viewing of occultation

> Hi Clay,
>       I have a question regarding the upcoming Saturn occultation event.
> Here on the West Coast it occurs at 3:20pm in the afternoon.  I want to
> show my co-workers using the 7" Mak and the 5" ETX.  Any advise on what
> filters to use for daytime planetary viewing?
> Thanks, Don

Subject:	USING the MEADE ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, February 19, 2002 17:19:30
From: (Scott & Ann)
I have been trying to buy your book from local stores here in Dallas, TX
 such as Walden Books and Barnes and Noble to use Christmas gift
certificates but was told they could not get it from the publisher.

Will it be available at these stores in the future?

Thank you for your help.

Mike here: Thanks for the interest. Sorry, I have no idea on the distribution channels. I have seen previous books in the Springer Practical Astronomy series in Borders and is (will be) carrying it so it shouldn't be too difficult for other bookstores to get it.
Subject:	big mistake with the 883
Sent:	Monday, February 18, 2002 18:17:44
Howdy from Texas, again.

Whoa!!! big mistake with the 883 tripod. As you may recall, I said that
I turned the mount 180 degrees on the 883 by removing the fine azimuth
pin and rotating the mount, thus making the North leg face south. Well,
this sounded good in theory and at first it seemed fine, the scope was
very stable with its center of gravity between the two other legs
(east-west). What I did not think of was the scope to far out in front
of the center of gravity. I am located at 29 degrees latitude, this
makes for a very low angle that the scope sits situated. The scope
nearly fell over. If it weren't for my backside being in the way, I
would be very sorry right now.

So as a warning, "DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS PROCEDURE." Use the 883 only in
alt/azi mode with the ETX-125.

Thank you and clear skies
Mike in Texas

Subject:	LXD55's
Sent:	Monday, February 18, 2002 18:05:42
Have you heard anything good or (anything) about the new LDX55's maybe
even a site, I have been loking for info, a review, ect. cant find
anything. I want can  get a LDX55 8inch or a ETX 125 without the tripod,
any pros or cons.???

Thanks in advance,
Mike here: Don't recall any reviews yet and I haven't used one to compare to the ETX-125EC.
Subject:	ext
Sent:	Monday, February 18, 2002 10:51:55
From: (Thomas Shimer)
i was wondering if you can help me?
i am looking at the etx 90 and the ds-2114at scope. i would like a scope
that will be suitable for both nature and astromical photos (planets,
nebulae and others). I will be shooting with both a nikon N70 and an
Olympus OM-1. please give any info on to which scope would be the best,
since the dealers have conflicting info.

thomas shimer
Mike here: Look at the astrophotography examples on my ETX Site for what can be done with the ETX-90 models. The ETX-90 is more portable than the DS telescope, so that may be a consideration. HOWEVER, it is also less suitable for really serious astrophotography. So is the DS telescope. So, you need to decide which tradeoffs are important to you. Also, heavy cameras will be a problem with either telescope.
Subject:	Another Skipping/Jerking Problem
Sent:	Monday, February 18, 2002 8:15:43
From: (Randy)
Hello Mike and I too would like to thank you for this great website.
It's a real service to your fellow enthusiasts!

I too have a skipping/jerking problem in the azimuth motor drive. I just
got the scope about 3 weeks ago and it has worked well until last night.
I went to do the easy align but the scope stopped far short of Sirius in
azimuth but elevation was fine. I noticed the sound of the motor
"speeding up" as the movement stopped like it was slipping. So, I
loosened the lock lever and repositioned it for a firmer locking but the
problem persists no matter where the lever is set. It does tighten,
however. I did as you suggested to the other  post about moving it
unlocked to redistribute the grease. This may have helped somewhat but I
can still see it jump just slightly as it travels. I have a tube of
Teflon grease from my RC hobby days. Is this the correct grease and if
so, how do I access the gear drive in the base for application?     
Clear skies! Randy
And this:
From: (Clay Sherrod)
No grease - there is likely already too much of that in there and that
could be the problem.  If observing in very cold conditions, the main
lubrication in the RA axis can become very stiff and eventually so hard
that it will cause the skipping that is being reported; I always see
more of this in cold weather climates than warm.

It is possible that the azimuth locking lever might need to be adjusted
slightly to get a "better grip" without overtightening, but applying
more grease is going to merely make matters far worse!

Thanks for the replies Mike and Clay. Actually, it does the slipping and
jerking while warm. I did reposition the lever also. If it helps, if I
slew the RA at max speed, it will "skip" or "bump" about once per
second. I just came inside from a test session of sorts. Alignment was
normal and I let it track Jupiter for nearly 15 minutes and it tracked
nearly perfectly. I brought it inside and it is still skipping at faster
slew speeds. I hate to return it and have it exchanged because the
optics are excellent with none of the problems described elsewhere on
this website. Do you have any suggestions? I'm not afraid of doing minor
"surgery" on it so any help would be appreciated.

Thanks again,

Subject:	Seeing and Transparency
Sent:	Monday, February 18, 2002 8:03:39
From: (Jerry Ott)
I would like to say that your ETX page is wonderful.  A huge amount of
work, I would imagine.  Although I don't own an ETX, I still find the
information of much importance to my viewing.

On your Seeing and Transparency page, I noticed that you list the
"Seeing" on a scale of 1-5.  Most observing reports I have read use a
scale of 1-10 and I am curious as to how the 1-10 scale differs from
yours.  I might assume, that the 1-10 scale might be applied to yours by
simply doubling the numbers.  Anyway, an explanation would be

From: (Clay Sherrod)
Actually, we use a scale of 1-10 at the ASO, but this is very difficult
for most observers to ascertain initially...I always recommend when
first starting out to only use a "1-5" and this being merely a "50%" of
the 1-10 scale.  The ASO scale has always been "1" worst, but images
still visible, and "10" absolutely perfect.  For your information, after
35 years of high resolution planetary and cometary work, I have NEVER
rated seeing at a "10"

For more detailed on how seeing affects imaging, go to my Image Archives
at the Arkansas Sky Observatory and pull up random dates since November
under will see thousands of images were have amassed
since the beginning of this current Jovian apparition....ALL with a
seeing rating of "1-10" as you state.  You will see that reasonably good
images can be obtained with very low (poor) seeing ratings!

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	Cheap LED Flasher
Sent:	Monday, February 18, 2002 7:21:54
From: (Arman, Tom)
Just saw and thought about tripod legs at star parties.


Subject:	RE: 6.7 mm UWA Plossl
Sent:	Sunday, February 17, 2002 23:40:06
From: (Jaak Lippmaa)
Thanks for this quick response.
Which eyepiece would in your opinion be most suitable for planetary

Jaak Lippmaa
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page as well as the Buyer/New User Tips page for some comments. Personally I've used the 26mm + 2X Barlow Lens with the ETX-90RA; works nice.
Subject:	Meade Scopes, etc.
Sent:	Sunday, February 17, 2002 17:14:31
Mike, first, thanks for your site.  It is what the internet was supposed
to be about..people sharing information.  I'm interested in buying a
telescope and have been checking out Meade and Celestron.  There aren't
too many places in my area where I can actually go and touch one.  The
Mead ETXs are cool, but I was advised to stay away from the 60 and 70
and go for a 90EC.  A local dealer quoted me a price of $800, $500 for
the scope, $100 for the Go To controller and about $200 for the low end
tripod.  A lot of cash for a 1st time scope.  I checked around on the
net and his price seems to be in line with what a lot of others are

After reading up a little bit, seems like I'm paying for miniaturization
because of the lens arrangement on the ETX. I see that I can buy a Meade
DS model for less and still get a Go To controller.

I also noticed on your site that you handle a lot of tech questions. 
Are these Meade ETXs more trouble prone that others, say the
Celestrons...if you're familiar with them.

If you've the time and want to share a little wisdom, I would appreciate
any thoughts you could share with a newbie.  I'm a sailor and took a
sextant course last year and that tweaked my interest in the sun, moon
and stars, GPS aside.


Jim Ventrilio
Mike here: Regarding Meade vs Celestron, some users of either telescope will need assistance of some sort, from the basics to more involved technical questions. Of course, the number of ETX Site visitors is also an indicator of the popularity of the ETX line. There are many sources of support on the Net, such as my ETX/DS Site, Yahoo discussion groups, and several newsgroups. My Site has been going for over 5+ years and Meade several decades. If either wasn't doing well neither would still be here! Yes, the ETX-90EC is a more capable telescope than the ETX refractors. And the DS telescopes are nice also. You need to decide if you need the compactness (ie, extreme portability) of the ETX-90EC versus the larger (less portable) DS telescopes. You also need to decide upon your expectations of your telescope and how you want to use it. If you want to see the planets, galaxies, and nebulae like you see in photographs, you will need way more than an amateur telescope. If you want to do serious astrophotography you may want to consider an LX (or equivalent) telescope. You can do pretty amazing astrophotography of some objects with the ETX and DS telescopes (as seen on my ETX Site) but if you want more you will need more telescope and a better drive and mount. Hope this helps.
Subject:	ETX poster
Sent:	Sunday, February 17, 2002 14:45:22
From: (Michael Wood)
Do you know where I can get an ETX poster like the one you have?  The
basement at my house has been declared "The Man Floor", and that's where
all my computers and my ETX-105 live.  One of those posters sure would
look nice on the wall behind where my ETX sits.


Mike here: I got it from Meade a few years ago at RTMC. Call them and see if they will send you a current ETX poster.
Subject:	H-Alpha filters and the Etx 90
Sent:	Saturday, February 16, 2002 22:10:56
From: (Douglas+G+Canard++)
The ads I"ve seen for the SolarMax H-Alpha filter by Coronado are making
me salivate.Have you or anyone else here had a chance to look through
one attached to an ETX 90?The Solarmax has a 40 mm off axis aperture at
a price of $875.The Solarmax 90 with a 90 mm aperture sells for
$4,295.Is that right?Why so expensive?What exactly is involved in the
manufacture of an H-Alpha filter?Rare earth elements?Gold pressed
latinum?Imagine all the astronomy gear you could get for four
grand.........sorry,I look at that price tag and.......8( Thanks, and
congrats on your new book!
Mike here: Regarding Hydrogen-Alpha filters, they are expensive to make due to the precision required (very narrow bandpass) that is temperature sensitive. And the larger the size, the more expensive it gets. I've looked through a SolarMax (a few months) ago but it was not attached to an ETX. Nice views though. They were going to send me one for evaluation but I suspect they are selling all they can manufacturer.


Thanks Mike!After doing some wide scope thinking on the subject and
considering what you said along with the fact that solar viewing is the
most potentially dangerous aspect of astronomy{my parents are scared to
death to look through my ETX at the sun,"only madmen stare at the
sun";)}that makes sense.How high a magnification did you use while
looking through the SolarMax?I figure  a 26 mm ep and a 2x Barlow lens 
would be pushing the limit with a n aperture of 40 mm.The more pricy
SolarMax 90 would be more prefered by me,or I could buy a car 8}.I hope
they are selling all they can make,then maybe they can afford to chop
the price some or maybe someone else can compete with those prices.The
ads I saw were taken by a SolarMax 90 and sure looked enticing!"My
kingdom for a filter!"{literally}Thanks again and Take care!
Mike here: I don't recall the specifics but we did see the entire solar disk with one eyepiece and a portion of the limb with another EP. Pretty nice. Actually, viewing the Sun can be safe WHEN THE PROPER PRECAUTIONS ARE TAKEN. The use of a high quality solar filter or H-Alpha filter along with some common sense (cover the Finderscope) can result in perfectly safe and pleasing viewing. You can see some comments on the Accessory Reviews - Filters page as well as in the Astrophotography Gallery - Sun pages.


Here"s a fool proof and safe alternative for those who don"t have the
means for solar observing or those plagued by cloudy climates.The Big
Bear Solar Observatory.This link is updated
daily. I got that
right..It has contrast enhanced white light and H-alpha images and also
magnetic and cak{whatever that is....}.

Subject:	prime focus magnification
Sent:	Saturday, February 16, 2002 7:19:29
From: (wisepotatochipowl)
Is there a formula whereby one can determine the prime focus
magnification for the ETX 125, or for any other scope?

Mike here: If you are talking about magnification when using a 35mm film camera, placing a camera at prime focus is like using a telephoto lens of the same focal length as the telescope. So, for the ETX-125 you would have a 1900mm telephoto lens. Since a normal 50-55mm lens is considered 1X, using a 1900mm telephoto would yield 35X.
Subject:	Jammed Azimuth = Exploded Battery??
Sent:	Friday, February 15, 2002 22:34:07
From: (Ken Black)
Thanks for the site!   The optimism and guidance given by you and Clay
have helped me to see the bright points of my ETX125, even though I have
had some of the mechanical problems mentioned by others.

I have two problems I haven't been able to find mentioned in your site
and was hoping that you, Clay, or another contributor could help me out
with a fix.

When my ETX came back from it's second trip in for warrentee repair at
Meade, there was a rattle in the base, like a small screw would make.  I
worked with Meade Tech Support over the phone, and since all hard stops
were still in place, and the screw seemed to be difficult to get to
(between the accessable base area and the plastic top of the base?),
Meade said it would cause no mechanical problems (not near drives,
wiring, etc.).

I decided to live with the rattle, as I only heard it when
packing/unpacking the scope.  BIG MISTAKE!  I took the scope out last
night, and it seemed slow to slew, and soon gave a motor unit failure on
the Autostar.  I thought the cause might be low batteries, so I changed
them, and the scope seemed to work okay.  Near the end of my session,
the scope seemed to be slow in slewing again, but since it was cold out,
I thought the temperature was affecting battery performance.  Well, all
of the sudden, I heard a loud "POP!" and then a "SIZZLE"!   I quickly
shut off the scope, and took it inside to check it out.

I was shocked to see battery acid leaking out of the battery
compartment! Opened the compartment, and the 2nd of the (Duracell)
batteries was cracked,and bubbling out acid!  After carefully cleaning
up the acid where ever I could, I inspected the eletronics and wiring as
best I could, and could see no damage.  However, I noticed that by
turning the scope in Azimuth from stop to stop, there are two areas
where it drags noticably (almost feels like a scraping?).

Is it possible that the previous loose item (screw?) lodged into the
Azimuth axis, creating drag which caused the batteries to become over
worked, with one exploding?  I no longer can hear the loose item rolling
around, so I think it did become lodged somewhere.  But, I have never in
my life had a battery explode like the AA did!  By searching the site, I
found a previous post where someone had a battery leak in their ETX
base, so possibly there is an associated electrical problem with some
ETX's.  Maybe the drag situation, the cold weather, and a marginal
eletrical situation led to the battery leak?

I just worked through some of the tips from the site to loosen the
Azimuth lock down bolt, and removed the clutch plate inside the base
(was hoping this would let me get into the top of the base and access
the foreign matter that is causing the problem).  Well, I wasn't able to
get much further in trying to get into the top of the base, as I became
worried that the wiring routed up through the screw was becoming too
twisted.   This must have been the case, as appear to have caused a new
problem.   Apparently the wiring became twisted during my messing with
the Az Lock bolt, and pulled down on the wiring going to the circuit
board in the DEC motor area.  The board was pulled loose (slanted
downward), with the other side tilted up and jamming the plastic DEC
gear.  Re-adjusting the Az Lock, I was able to move the circuit board
enough to hold it with my thumb and get the motor working again, but now
I do not see what secures this board in place.  It is now loose, and I
have found that if it droops, the DEC motor acts erratically. (Ran on
it's own, and shifts to high speed no matter what speed you run it).

So, I have two questions if anyone has guidance:
1.  Is there a way to get access into the top part of the base?  This
would be the portion between where the Az drive is, and the actual Az
lock (between the metal and the plastic?).   I may not want to take this
on myself, as I would be concerned that removing the gearing, etc, would
give me difficultiy in replacing it with accuracy.

2.  Also, how is the circuit board in the DEC fork arm secured?  Is
there an alternate way to secure it if I have bent or broken something
there  (didn't notice anything, but with all the plastic, it is a

While I am asking, I do have one other problem:  Apparently I bent the
plastic clip that helps secure the OTA to the Fork arm housing the DEC
drive.  Now when I replace the OTA, the forward portion does not clip
securely and there is a 1/4" gap along the forward edge between the Fork
and the OTA.  Was wondering if any one had this problem, and if they
know of a fix.  I guess I could ask Meade to send me a replacement OTA
support, but since I am now off warentee, not sure if they would charge
me, or how much.

Thank you for any guidance you can give!

Ken Black
Owasso OK
Mike here: Sorry to hear of the problem. From what I know of batteries, I doubt that the "load" would cause an explosion. What will cause a battery to leak or perhaps explode is having one or more inserted backwards. Things may appear to be OK (the device still works) but the battery overheats.

And from our resident hardware expert:

From: (Clay Sherrod)
Hello Ken - sorry about these problems.  Boy, when it happened to you ,

This is a serious problem, Ken and the scope must go back to Meade; the
problem in RA is definitely the loose screws lodged within the opening
around the turntable; I have seen this several times....they should not
have told you to continue to operate as is.

However, the battery problem is a total coincidence, totally unrelated.
You must have the circuits and wiring tested thoroughly.  They can
replace the OTA arm when you send it in.  My guess is that they will
totally repair all that is damaged for a flat $75.

Let me know if I can help....this scope really must go back for a
factory refurbishing.

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Thanks for the tips Clay.  I will call Meade.

Unfortunately, this will be the scope's third trip back.  First time was
for DEC lock not clamping, and whtn they fixed that, the DEC motor was
binding, sent it back for that, and it came back with the loose screw.

So far Meade is 0 for 2 on being able to fix a problem while not
creating a new one!  Think I'll talk with a supervisor this time to get
it some extra attention.  I am thinking of asking for a replacement
scope, but I don't know that I can call mine a lemon.  It has only had
one problem at a time, it's just that they keep making a new problem
when they fix one.

Even though I am out of warrentee, they may give me grace on it, since
they had taken it as warrentee work on the last two trips.

Thanks again.  I will let you know how it turns out.

And from Clay:
Please do let me know how it turns out, Ken.  If you eventually feel
like you need to send the scope to me, please feel free to.  It "can" be
fixed, I assure you.

Subject:	JMI Motofocus
Sent:	Friday, February 15, 2002 20:11:02
From: (Ken Krolikoski)
It appears that the JMI Motofocus may not work with the ETX-105. I just
received one and failed to get it to work properly. The drive belt slips
on the included large replacement focusing knob. It appears to work
somewhat in one direction (out) with less slippage. The focus knob
appears to be fairly free turning. Could it be that the ETX-90 focus
knob has less resistance?

At the same time I ordered the Rigel Systems nfocus controller which
replaces the JMI controller but uses the JMI motor. 
This gives the user more control over the speed of the drive motor if
the belt did not slip:-( It works as advertized except the adjustment
knobs are not glued in, and will fall out fairly easy. Also the battery
lid is poor construction. The unit is also bulkier than the JMI. However
it definitely had finer adjustment capability.

Subject:	a more stable 883?
Sent:	Friday, February 15, 2002 20:03:33




Subject:	congrats!
Sent:	Friday, February 15, 2002 15:43:01
From:	Michael Lum
Mike -

I just got email notification from Amazon about your new book!


Subject:	Re: Many thanks
Sent:	Friday, February 15, 2002 15:17:14
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Hello Selwyn....
That is great!  I remember that you were going to take it to the winter
star there you are!  I am glad it is showing off for you. 
Have fun down there in that warm sunny spot.....from here in Arkansas,
raining and about 35 degrees....


----- Original Message -----
> Hi, My name is Selwyn Malin and you did my 90 ETX/EC sometime last year. I
> just wanted to let you know what a wonderful job you did. I am at the winter
> star party here in the Florida Keys. The scope is working perfectly, putting
> whatever I ask it to in the field of the eyepiece. I simply can't thank you
> enough.
> Best wishes from,
> Selwyn

Subject:	6.7 mm UWA Plossl
Sent:	Friday, February 15, 2002 6:47:23
From: (Jaak Lippmaa)
I just found your site, and since I don't know who else to ask this here
goes. I own (for a month now) a Meade ETX90EC. This is a very fine
telescope indeed. In order to get increased magnification on planets I
bought the Series 4000 6.7mm UWA. The problem is, I cannot get a sharp
image anymore. Viewing conditions should have been almost ideal - remote
place, clear sky, -5 deg. Celsius, very little visual flickering. The
telescope itself should be OK since the 26mm eyepiece performs extremely
well. Does this mean that the 6.7mm eyepiece is too close to the
diffraction limit or is there something wrong with the eyepiece? How can
one test the eyepiece?

Jaak Lippmaa
Mike here: With the 6.7mm eyepiece you have exceeded the theoretical maximum magnification for the ETX-90 (twice the aperture measured in millimeters, or 180X). This guideline basically holds for any telescope, not just the ETX. As you get closer to the max, objects appear fuzzier and dimmer. Brighter objects (like the Moon) may appear OK but planets will be fuzzy, as you've discovered.
Subject:	filters
Sent:	Thursday, February 14, 2002 9:35:14
From: (Tim)
Just looking for some input on filters and tripods.

First of all is there a decent set of filters I can purchase (say from
Astronomics) for planetary viewing?  I specifically have in mind Jupiter
& Saturn.  What are the best?  Or would I be better off getting one or
two?  I am interested in gaining more clarity in viewing the
structures/clouds on the gas giants.  I don't want to waste a lot of
money getting a set of filters in which I use only one or two!

I already have the standard (#883) field tripod for my ETX-125.  But I
am not completely satisfied with it.  How does the #884 work?  I haven't
heard to much.

Any information would be appreciated!!!!

Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Filters page for info on some filters. Keep in mind that the smaller the aperture, the less dense the filters will have to be. And see the Accessory Reviews - Tripods page for info on the #884.
Subject:	Your ETX
Sent:	Thursday, February 14, 2002 6:10:48
From: (Ralph Encarnacion)
I notice on the picture of your ETX on your home page that you have a
90* prism on the back of your scope. Does that work out better than the
built in one? Where can I get one of those? Does the one from the 8"
SCT's work? I figured maybe the mirror is better on the one you added
than the one that is built into the scope. I have my ETX-90RA mounted on
a DS-70EC mount so I don't have to worry about the 90* eyepiece holder
hitting the motorized base. Do they make one that holds 2" eyepieces? Do
they make an adapter so I can put an eyepiece straight in the back of
the scope without using a diagonal? I would like to put my digital
camera on the back of the scope without using a diagonal. Sorry for so
many question. I got lucky and bought a ETX-90CE fork mount minus the
scope on Ebay for $50.00. I also bought a new  884 tripod yesterday. I 
will be alternating between the DS-70EC mount and the ETX-90EC with the
884 tripod to see which one works out better. The 884 tripod is rock
solid compared to the DS-70EC tripod. Each setup has its advantages and
disadvantages. With the DS-70EC setup you don't need a 90* finder or a
flexible focus knob. Plus it is a whole lot cheaper than buying an
ETX-90EC and tripod. You have to keep an eye out for all the wires so
that they don't get tangled up. I put up a page with lots of pictures of
my DS-70EC conversion incase you want to put up a link from your web
page. Thanks for
all your help.
Mike here: The right angle adapter is actually the Shutan Wide Field Adapter (focal reducer). It is discussed on the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page. Meade has the 45 degree erecting prism (discussed on the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page). To add SCT accessories to the rear port you'll need a Visual Back (see the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page).
Subject:	Sherrod's "Supercharge"
Sent:	Wednesday, February 13, 2002 17:33:23
You have a really great site here for the ETX user, and one of the great
things about it is the link to Dr. Sherrod.  I had him refurbish my old
Meade 4" SC and supercharge my new ETX 125 and I am delighted with his
work.  He also was willing to answer a number of questions for me and
did so very promptly.  He's a great guy and a great resource. Its
unusual to find someone who knows so much to be so willing to share his
knowledge so freely.

Subject:	If I lived in Ecuador..............
Sent:	Wednesday, February 13, 2002 14:03:42
From: (Douglas+G+Canard++)
I wondered if you or anyone else could answer something for me.I notice
that most commercially available equatorial mounts can only be used
within a certain range of latitude.If I lived on or near the equator or
at the north or south pole what would I do to polar align properly?Are
there special mounts made for such locations?or could I just tilt the
whole tripod accordingly?It would seem to me to allow the possibility of
lots of alignment errors since I prefer to have my mount as level as
possible before polar alignment,which for me makes a big difference when
using my setting circles,tracking, etc.Just musing......Thanks.
Mike here: There are some wedges that will go to 0 degrees latitude for equatorial mounting at the equator. Tilting the whole tripod may or may not work, depending upon the tripod design and the degree of tilt required. Afterall you don't want it falling over! As to equatorial mounting at the poles, that would be the same as alt/az mounting.
Subject:	Book
Sent:	Wednesday, February 13, 2002 13:56:14
From: (Gerald Mullen)
Just phoned Springer Verlag yesterday, Feb.12 re ordering Book. They
told me that the release is set for March 13. Thought you should know.
Keep up the great work on the site. Both you and Clay doing a great job.
Gerald Mullen

Subject:	Focusers
Sent:	Wednesday, February 13, 2002 9:06:17
I also have been using the ETX-90EC for about 8 months. As with other
users, I would like to minimize the vibrational effects of focusing. I
have been reading other users experiences from your (great) site, but am
confused as to a best buy. Any suggestions from you or others on what I
should purchase? The primary candidates seem to be the Meade Electric
Focuser, JMI InstaFocus Motofocus, and the ScopeTronix Flexi-Focus.  Any
others?  Also, I will be taking the scope on vacation (van) this summer.
Should I get the hard or soft case?  Thanks, all!
Mike here: Manual or electric focusers have their pluses and minuses. Manual ones usually cost less but don't completely eliminate vibrations. Electric ones require power and only the JMI one can be used with a manual override. You can also make your own manual one (see the Telescope Tech Tips page). As to a case, that depends upon how you expect it to be treated during your travels. Softsided works when it will never leave your control or be in a place where something can fall onto it. Otherwise, hardsided will be your safest choice.
Subject:	re: LXD55?
Sent:	Tuesday, February 12, 2002 23:13:53
From: (Richard Seymour)
john wrote:
>  I'm more interested in observing planets and satellites.

**and** satellites?

The LXD55 will not chase satellites.

Meade (so far) only programs the Alt/az mounts to do that.

...unless, of course, you mean "the satellites of Jupiter",
 instead of the Space station.

the LXD55 line has -shorter- focal lengths than the ETX90.
so the magnification for your given eyepieces will be -less-.
Far *brighter*, yes.
(the 8" should work out to about 4 to 6 times brighter than the ETX90).

If -planets- are really your goal, consider the refractor members
 of the LXD family... as a major flapping arm-wave statement,
those will deliver higher contrast images than the equivalent
or slightly larger reflectors.

Me? I'm seriously considering the 10" LXD55... but i will *not*
be getting rid of my ETX90.  No way.  Different beasties.
The ETX90 is an instant setup and observe system.
It takes longer to untangle an LXD55's tripod than to get the ETX90

The LXD's GEM mount requires -rigorous- mechanical alignment
(the polar axis -must- be pointed at the pole... it comes with
an internal polar alignment scope to assist that...)
But the LXD -is- a light bucket... at quite an affordable price...

have fun

Subject:	LXD55?
Sent:	Tuesday, February 12, 2002 12:43:15
From: (John)
I have an ETX-90EC scope.  I recently saw that Meade is releasing an
LXD55 Schmidt-Newtonian with the Autostar.  I was thinking on replacing
my 90 with the 8" version of the LXD55, as they're almost the same
price.  Is this a good idea?  I'm more interested in observing planets
and satellites.

Mike here: Certainly the 8" aperture has its advantages. But keep in mind that an 8" telescope is much larger and heavier than your ETX-90. If ease of movement is a consideration, you might find that the 8" will get less use than the ETX. For those short duration "spur of the moment" observing sessions, many people find the smaller scopes get more usage. Just a consideration.


But do you think that the 8" would give a substancial improvement over
the 90 to get one?
Mike here: Objects will appear brighter and you'll be able to get higher magnifications. So, yes, the views will be better than with the smaller ETX-90.
Subject:	Lens eyepiece cleaning
Sent:	Tuesday, February 12, 2002 4:33:31
From: (Bo Byrd)
The manual says not to do it but I been using my ETX-70 a lot and the
temp changes from outside to inside and it all dewing up has some very
visible stuff on the lens.  What are we supposed to do?  I'm terrified
of scrubbing off the coatings on the objective/barlows/eyepieces but
surely theres got to be something to do.

Mike here: For some cleaning tips, see the article "Cleaning Optics" on the Buyer/New User Tips page. You can also search the Site for "clean".
Subject:	Meade Electronic Eyepiece
Sent:	Monday, February 11, 2002 15:45:38
From:	SPIRITO@IHUG.CO.NZ (Excalibur)
Hi ya Mike. I'm looking forward to receiving my copy of your new book
from Amazon.  My Etx - 90 has been giving marvelous views of Saturn and
Jupiter which have been sitting in the sky right outside my back door as
I view from my deck.  I have had some fantastic nights viewing staying
up to 2 - 3 in the morning and the etx has performed well.  There is no
question about it, the portability and the ease of setup of these scopes
is the best thing about them.  I can be up and running in three or four
minutes if the urge takes me and the skies are clear.  Interestingly
enough I have had the scope for about 7 months (my first scope) and
didn't use the autostar until about 8 weeks ago.  I figured I would use
the scope manually for the first few months and I think it helped me
understand my way around the night sky a little better, I had to search
for objects myself and refer to an atlas.  To date the autostar has
worked well but I am still yet to put it too some stringent testing. 
I've added a Meade dew cap and the scopetronix flexible focuser and I
have been very pleased with both products.  Overall the scope has given
me a heap of enjoyment. Yes, it suffers from all the niggles that are
commonly discussed on the site but in the end of the day it keeps me out
looking at the stars for hours on end.  One day I might be brave enough
to have a go at the tune-up posted on your site, but I won't be rushing
into it unless the niggles start interfering with my enjoyment. My
question, the Meade Electronic Eyepiece, as advertised on, is
it any good?  The Meade distributor here in NZ didn't know what it was
until I sent him the Amazon link and I don't seem to have found any
comments on your site (which I may have missed).  In theory it could be
a lot of fun.  Keep up the good work mate and let us know when you are
visiting NZ .  You're coming over to my place for a beer.

David Hrstich
Mike here: There are some photos with the electronic eyepiece in the Helpful Information - Astrophotography section. You could also search the site for "electronic eyepiece". You'll get some hits.
Subject:	LX-90
Sent:	Monday, February 11, 2002 8:59:59
From: (Kate / Tom)
Gotta tell ya, Mike--and this may be heretical to ETX types (which
includes me...remember I've had the privilege of using two ever since
they first came out), but I almost peed my pants last night I had so
much fun with the LX-90. Really, REALLY had to go, but couldn't drag
myself away from one amazing view after the other.

I set the scope up, forgot to level the tripod (I discovered mid session
that one bubble was pegged at the end of the tube), did a 2-star
alignment, and then went through an entire sky tour and the scope put
every object in the eyepiece--most dead center! Probably 25 objects
including Messier, planets, nebulae, stars, etc. I was a little
disappointed when we went to the Double Cluster...until I realized I had
the 20mm in and the scope was pointing in the middle between them and
all I was seeing was the edges of each.

Silky smooth has got to the the best description of the instrument.
Focus is silky smooth, RA and Dec. movement are silky smooth. Heck even
the finish is silky smooth.

Using the ETX/LX-90 and Autostar tune up procedure off your site I had
the best observing session since my first scope in 1977, and saw more
celestial objects in one sitting (standing) than I ever have before. I
was blown away when it went from M31 to M32 and centered it up ever so
smoothly, almost as if to say "Ta-rah. See what I can do!"

ETX will still be my little travelin' buddy, no doubt, but--if you can't
tell--I'm in love.

Haven't got things set up yet to do some digital camera
astrophotography, but a quickie off the back porch produced this:

LX90 view
Next trick is to get my iBook and OS X running XEphem (free) and use it to control the scope. Then get Oculus running to pump the images onto the web. Then in my spare time... All of which is to say I (we) would love it if you gave in to your yearning for an LX-90 and did for the LX-90 what you did for the ETX!

Subject:	another etx 90 novice
Sent:	Monday, February 11, 2002 5:59:31
a grate site and loads of info thanks no look with theetx autostar steve

Subject:	ETX90EC & the cold
Sent:	Sunday, February 10, 2002 17:05:43
From: (MacAulay)
I was interested to read some of the feedback from users who have
experienced problems with their ext90ec in the cold weather. Last night
while the temp was -15 (that's MINUS 15C) I used my ETX90EC for several
hours without noticing any real affect except maybe the motors were
running a little slower. The problem must not be necessarily affect all
the scopes the same or maybe I just haven't had my turn yet.

John MacAulay
Lake Echo, NS Canada

Subject:	Meade #884 Tripod
Sent:	Sunday, February 10, 2002 16:50:37
From: (Tim Morley)
I was in my local Discovery Channel store yesterday buying an accessory
for my 125ETX-EC when the clerk asked me if I had the #883 tripod and
had I seen the #884? I replied that I had the #883 and was so
disappointed in it that I regretted purchasing it. The stability was so
poor with my 125 mounted to the #883, especially in polar alignment,
that I cringed every time I even touched it to view through the scope.
The clerk showed me the #884 and informed me that the store was
replacing the #883 with the #884 for 125 customers, no questions asked
as long as I had the original packaging and sales receipt to show that I
bought it there. Today I went back and made the swap. It's raining
tonight, so I can't give it a proper try, but I will say that so far the
difference is amazing! Stable, even set up for polar alignment. I can't
wait for it to clear and try it out. I agree with your comment that the
sliding rod for the latitude adjustment warrants watching and could slip
and let the telescope rapidly tilt to 0 degrees, but I'm more worried
about it going the other direction. I have a simple idea combined with a
quick trip to the local hardware store that should solve my worries.
Thanks for the great site you have, it's been an invaluable asset for my
new adventure into astronomy.
Tim Morley

Subject:	A Great Supercharge!
Sent:	Sunday, February 10, 2002 9:27:28
From: (Jim Wilkins)
I finally got to try my ETX-90EC last night after Clay Sherrod performed
his Supercharge magic on it.  It performed better than it ever has, GOTO
performance was excellent and tracking was great. Now, if I can find
someplace that has no trees and no Washington DC lights, it will be
great.  Polaris, for instance, with the naked eye, is the ONLY star I
see in that general direction.  Doesn't do much for faint clusters,
nebulae or double stars.

Thanks again to Clay for the work you put into really paid off.


Subject:	What should I expect
Sent:	Sunday, February 10, 2002 9:04:18
From: (John P Carbo)
It was great anticipation that I purchased my ETX -90 from   ebay.  For
the most part I am a satisfied camper and  expect with in the next few
weeks to master the use of the autostar.  I am writing to ask you what
should I expect see when I turn the scope to objects such as M31 .The
other night I focused on to what I though was Andromeda hanging in the
northwest skies of New England.  What was I saw was a pale formless
cloud ball.  I've tried every high power lens, every filter and its
still a pale formless ball of nothing.  It this Andromeda?, if so this
ranks as one of my greatest disappointments. What is a reasonable
expectation of my viewing when I observe deep sky objects?.

Warm Regards,

Mike here: For the most part, nebulae and galaxies will appear as faint fuzzy blobs when observing visually WITH ANY TELESCOPE you can afford. Sometimes you can see a hint of shape (circular, thin, oval, etc). Most times they will appear greenish. M42 in Orion is perhaps the most distinctive. There you can see wisps of nebulosity stretching across the 26mm eyepiece field of view (from a dark site). The Andromeda Galaxy M31 can show a hint of dark lanes with an ETX-125EC from a dark site. See the various User Observations and the Buyer/New User Tips page for more what to see and how it can appear.
Subject:	radio shack 12 volt D.C. converter power supply
Sent:	Sunday, February 10, 2002 8:55:42
From: (
I was wondering about the radio shack power supply, I bought the power
supply rated at 12 volts D.C. I had a friend use his digital volt meter
to see if there was to much power coming from the converter. The power
coming from the outlet was 119.9 without a load on the converter it was
putting out 14.9 volts D.C. is this to much for the etx 125? I wrote
earlier about down loading the latest software for the autostar that
went well, then the scope started to track funny in altitude the only
thing I changed was the power supply. I had the scope for two years and
had no problems until now and like I said the only thing I changed was
the power supply. I did send the scope back to meade have not gotten it
back yet but before I use the converter again I thought I would get your
opinion. I work as a fireman, the alarm systems in buildings use as a
backup power supply a 12 volt D.C. battery good for 7 hours. The same
friend is an electrician who would rig up this battery for me do you
think this is a good idea? The battery is rechargeable with a car
battery charger.
                                                      Thanks Brian
Mike here: You indicate that you updated the Autostar to the latest version. Did you reTRAIN the drives following that? If not, you'll experience problems. As to power supplies, there are several articles on them on the Telescope Tech Tips page. You can also search the site for "Radio Shack" and you'll find even more.
Subject:	My comparison of the 883, 884, and 887.
Sent:	Saturday, February 9, 2002 20:49:44
As an owner of an ETX-125, I was very dissatisfied with the tripod it
came with (the 883 Deluxe Field Tripod).  Thanks to some recommendations
from visitors of your site, I decided to send back the 883 and upgrade
to the 887 Advanced Field tripod.  Just recently, after all of the talk
regarding the NEW & IMPROVED 884 tripod, I decided to purchase it and it
finally arrived.

So here is my analysis of the three...

Positives = The 887 is, by far, the most stable.  The ETX 125 mounts so
securely that there is absolutely NO vibrations of the object in the
field of view.

Negatives =  It does not come with an accessory tray.  It does not come
with a carry bag.  It is very expensive.  It is a fixed height that is
too tall for sitting, and too low for standing.  So if you plan on doing
extended viewing with the ETX-125, your back will hurt from leaning

Positives =  You get a free carrying case.  You get an accessory tray. 
It is very easy to set up.  It is light weight.  IT has adjustible legs.
 It is much more stable than the 883.

Negatives = It is not quite as stable as the 887 (there still are some
minor vibrations of the object in the field of view).

Positives = Same as the 884, but you do not get a free carrying case.

Negatives = It is very unstable.  The problem is actually not with the
legs, but it is due to all of the knobs and platforms at the top.  It
takes 3-4 seconds for the image to stop bouncing around the field of
view.  Also, the accessory tray is not as nice as the tray for the 884.

I'm sure I left some stuff out, but that is everything I could think of
at this moment.


Subject:	ETX 90 EC
Sent:	Saturday, February 9, 2002 11:13:33
From: (MacAulay)
Received your web site address from a seller on ebay where I recently
purchased my scope. Just wanted to say excellent site and I'm sure I'll
be visiting regularly as I learn to use my new telescope.
Great job and a terrific help to new EXT users.
John MacAulay,
Lake Echo, NS Canada

Subject:	Scopetronix
Sent:	Thursday, February 7, 2002 16:38:04
From: (divenuts)
I wanted to pass on an endorsement of the integrity of Jordan Blessing
(owner) of Scopetronix. I had purchased a 12V Powerpack and later a
3-in-1 splitter to power my scope, dew heater, etc. Soon after
purchasing the 3-in -1 splitter, I  unplugged the 3-in-1 and pulled the
sleeve and wiring of the cigarette plug adapter out of the Powerpack. I
e-mailed Jordan assessing him of the problem and he said "send it in and
we will repair or replace the items". Within 2 weeks I had both pieces
back and working perfectly. No hassle or hesitation. I strongly
recommend Scopetronix to everyone and assure them of the highest quality
of products and service after the sale. I have and will continue to use
Scopetronix for all my accessory needs.

Many thanks to you Mike, and Jordan for making my hobby so satisfying
and fun.

PS...Whoops, I almost forgot Dr.Clay "Supercharged"
ETX-125 is in the mail as we speak!

An update on his superb service later......

Chuck Callaghan
Dunedin, Fla.

Subject:	sea air
Sent:	Tuesday, February 5, 2002 19:25:15
Great site. I'm going to Florida for the month of March, and want to
take my 90ETX along. We will be staying on the ocean. Will the sea air
be a problem with the body or lenses of the telescope. I know the sea
air can occidize a lot of things in a short time.Do you suggest cleaning
it with anything after use, or don't take it at all.? Thanks in advance.
Mike here: Just keep it covered when not in use and try to avoid direct exposure to ocean spray or air. If you need to clean it, follow the directions on the "Cleaning Optics" article on the Buyer/New User Tips page. Remember that salt is hard!
Subject:	Cold weather redux
Sent:	Tuesday, February 5, 2002 8:50:06
From: (Donald Davenport)
Responding to George's "wacky" ETX 90 behavior in the cold...

I got my ETX 90 in late December and, zealot that I am, bundled up for a
couple of dark nights of viewing in New Mexico.  Temp was in the
mid-teens. First the autostar display turned to gibberish.  Then, the
motors begin to slow noticeably and finally I got a "motor failure"
warning.  (Things returned to normal once the scope was back inside and
allowed to warm up a bit.)  I wrote Meade to see if there were operating
limitations but never heard back.  But, yes, I think anything under
mid-20's is getting pretty cold for plastic, grease and electronics, and
I try and keep my enthusiasm in check, no matter how dark the night.

Donald Davenport 

Subject:	Bernard's new LUNAR ATLAS!!
Sent:	Tuesday, February 5, 2002 6:25:05
From: (Clay Sherrod)
This is neat!  Bernard Fournier - using that incredible 5" ETX of his - 
has hit the big time!  Brian (my brother) and he have been working on
the following for several months now....this is something for ALL ETX
owners and operators to be very proud of!

Bernard has been a regular contributor for well over a year to the
Mighty ETX site and this is really a great result of much hard work on
his part!

Thanks!  CLAY
The ASO / Fournier On-Line Lunar Reference Atlas

Through the hard work of Bernard Fournier of the French Guyana and Brian
Sherrod of the Arkansas Sky Observatory, we have launched the first of
it type ON LINE LUNAR ATLAS - "The Fournier Lunar Atlas" that will be of
interest to many persons, from amateur astronomers to educators to those
who just merely find a fascination with the moon.

This wonderful tool, on, allows any person to key in a
generalized lunar area, and within a click be right there, with highly
detailed images of the primary features within that selected span of
lunar latitude and longitude.

The Atlas premiers at:

Each section will have (some sections are still under construction but
filling rapidly!) multiple images with a primary lunar feature as it
key. Each individual image provides the centroid lunar latitude and
longitude of the area and the lunar colongitude as well, and includes
the scientific name of the key lunar feature.

This ASO/Fournier Lunar Atlas will be a real treat for those who have
peered at any section of the lunar surface and "wondered what was there"
within a certain area.....from the Apollo Lunar landing sites to the
mountains the heavily cratered plains.

The map will provide INSTANT access to high resolution images of key
areas during meteor showers in which meteorite strikes of the moon are
predicted or expected, much as in the previous 2001 Leonid storms.

In addition, educators will find this Atlas wonderful for quick and
detail reference to the fascinating world of the Earth's Moon.

P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	re:  ETX125-vs-LX90
Sent:	Monday, February 4, 2002 21:44:19
From: (Richard Seymour)
You wrote:
> and the massive database on the LX90 would be a real plus.

Given the same firmware revision, the databases on the two scopes are
-exactly- the same.  The Autostar is -not- differently programmed for
the two models.  An ETX125 Autostar can run an LX90, and vice-versa.

Since the LX90 has a much larger mirror, you'll be able to -see- more of
the 30,000 object database, 'tis true.

If size-of-database is an attraction, consider the LX200gps... about
120,000 objects.

If astrophotography is a goal,  the LX90 can accept a CCD autoguider's
input, thought the $50  909 APM accessory.

have fun

Subject:	Vibration Damping Pads
Sent:	Monday, February 4, 2002 19:07:30
From: (Sullivan, James A)
I read a story in Sky & Telescope mentioning how much vibration-damping
pads improved the seeing. The pads are placed under the tripod feet. The
cost was well above my budget.

However, gel-filled wrist-rests for mouse pads are only $5-8 each and
work very well!

I found oval shaped gel sacks at Wal-Marts for $4.95.

Jim Sullivan

Subject:	Cold Weather
Sent:	Monday, February 4, 2002 19:06:34
I had a night where the temperature dropped into the high teens and my
ETX 90 went wacky. Couldn't even move the stting circle. Normal? Should
I have gone inside long before the temp went down to that point?
                                   Thanks for a great site,
                                                George Dreitlein
Mike here: "Wacky" is not too descriptive. But that is pretty cold for plastic, grease, and the electronics.
Subject:	Using the Meade Etx
Sent:	Monday, February 4, 2002 14:34:48
From: (Cliff (FreeNetName))
I wonder if you can help me.  I am in Hampshire, England and am a fan of
both the Meade ETX and your web-site.  I tried ordering your book a
couple of months ago through Amazon.  Today, I received a message
telling me that they are unable to obtain it.  Do you know how I might
be able to get hold of your book?

Thanks in advance,

Cliff Woodger
Mike here: Try again in about a week. The current availability is 2/15/02 (as far as I know). Or you could visit Springer's UK office!
Subject:	Bald Eagles through an ETX90
Sent:	Monday, February 4, 2002 13:24:43
From: (Matthew Bassett)
Yes, it's true! You can use your ETX during daylight hours!

Here is a poorly scanned photo of a bald eagle on the Connecticut River
captured with a Pentax P30 directly T-mounted to the scope. Fuji 800 @
1/125 January 2001.

Matt Bassett        888-909-9398

Subject:	COMET IKEYA-ZHANG, C/2002 C1
Sent:	Monday, February 4, 2002 5:54:34
From: (Clay Sherrod)
To all -
COMET IKEYA-ZHANG, C/2002 C1 is continuing to brighten and is expected
to reach naked eye brightness (albeit low on the western horizon!) by
late February.

I have posted complete details on the Arkansas Sky Observatory website

Clear skies and bright tails!

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	etx-125vs8"reflectors
Sent:	Sunday, February 3, 2002 13:33:55
it's me again-the guy who wants to see galaxies with an etx60.  Lol. 
I've accepted the fact that to really see what i want to see, i'm gonna
need like, a 16"reflector or bigger, but i have a question about
aperature and magnification. Now, I have a meade catalog that says that
the focal length of the etx125 is like, 1900mm, with an aperature of
only 5" and the maximum practical magnification is 500x. now, that same
catalog says that one of thier 8" reflectors has a focal length of
2000mm, aperature of 8" and also has a max magnification of 500x.  I
hope i'm not bugging you, but I'm really new at this.  Can you please
tell me if they are really close in similarity? I have heard that you
should go for aperature, but would these two telescopes see close to the
same things with some of the other specifications being so close?

Mike here: See the FAQ for the magnification formulae. The maximum "useable" magnification depends upon the aperture whereas the magnification yielded by an eyepiece depends upon the focal length of the telescope and the focal length of the eyepiece.
Subject:	ETX 125 Questioon
Sent:	Sunday, February 3, 2002 13:18:01
From: (Ken Snyder)
Quick Question:

Am now throughly convinced this is the scope for me.  Brand new to the
"Hobby" and am extreamly intersted in diving in head first.  Have done
quite a bit of research on scopes as well as talk to a few of my friends
who have the 90mm model and are very please with there's.....Now that
the decision is made where do I go?  Ebay? Various other online
brokers/sales reps, local stores where prices are more and will also
include sales tax? seem to have the best prices
from what I can I pose this question to you sir.


Ken Smyth
Dallas, Texas
Mike here: Pick a reputable dealer whether local or online. Local dealers can be of more immediate assistance if you have problems or questions. Online dealers can provide lower prices (usually). There are many good ones in both categories and some bad ones probably. Oceanside Photo and Telescope, Scopetronix, and Shutan Camera and Video are probably the most frequently mentioned ones. Buying a used telescope is OK _if_ you are willing to take some risks for saving money.
Subject:	Thanks
Sent:	Sunday, February 3, 2002 3:55:03
From: (Jonathan Nelson)
thanx Mike i realy appriciate your help on my etx problems and i have to
say your like my hero. your site is awsome and i use it all the time
when i have ?'s and stuff. so basicly what i am saying is keep up the
good work and thank you!    jon
Mike here: Of course, the ETX Site is a collection of stuff from many people!
Subject:	Great site and great work
Sent:	Sunday, February 3, 2002 3:26:43
From: (Dimitris Rakopoulos)
As of yesterday, I'm the proud owner of an ETX90 telescope.

I was anxious to test it all day but unfortunately last night the sky
here in Athens was cloudy...

I managed to check the optics though. In a distance, I was seing on a
balcony some black dots... I pointed the ETX there and they were...
piggeons! The resolution was great and even for a cloudy sky (not too
much light) I could see them perfectly.

At around 23:30, I saw the moon rise. It was some 62% full (according to
ETX's autostar), so I made a rough AltAz alignment (because I didn't see
the Polaris) and I pointed to the moon. The autostar didn't make it
absolutely correctly but for such an original alignment I think it was
great. Anyway, I centered the moon with the arrows and it stayed in
focus for 40-50 minutes. With the default mag of 48x it was bright and
quite impressive.. With a barlow 2x it filled the eyepiece but it was a
bit darker (due to the corol I guess). Anyhow, the resolution was great
and the optics seemed perfect. I think it was great.

I just wanted to share my first impressions from my new ETX.

Best regards,
Mike here: The image darkening with the Barlow Lens is due to a couple of factors. As you increase the magnification of an object, the object's light is spread out over a larger area, hence the apparent dimming. Also, as you add more glass to the optical path, there is some light loss (but it should be minimal).


I would like to share with you my second day of observation. I decided
to get on the roof of the building I live.

I had a full view of the sky although Athens creates some sort of "light
noise".. Anyhow, I aligned the scope. This time I could see Polaris so I
could align more easily. Sirius was found immediately and I didn't have
to fix the alignment at all! Capella was a bit out of focus but it was
easy to put it in the viewfinder...

Then, straight to Orion Nebula. Totally centered and crystal clear, even
though to it was due south (over the center of Athens - too much light
there)... The scope followed Orion Nebula for some time with no problem.
Then I went to Sirius again. Perfect focus! Then to Jupiter and 4 of its
moons... And then to Saturn... Perfect... Both of them were great with
the barlow 2x ... Great optics!

Then I tried something more difficult. I went to M36 and M37, two
planetary nebulaes in Auriga... M36 is Mag. 6.2 and I had never seen it
again.. It was great.. A new object in the sky.. Great feeling... ETX
kept following M36 and went to M37 with no problem at all... I tried
some other object with not that much luck... Athens is to bright ta
night! I'll try a new spot with less light...

Finally, the moon was rising on the other side of the sky. Slewing.... I
have it just a minute after it rised from the horizon... Perfect...

The second day was even better... ETX90 is great. Autostar is

Best regards,

Subject:	Response to
Sent:	Saturday, February 2, 2002 16:18:20
From: (Don G)
I, too, am considering a permanent pier for my -125. In fact I already
have one in the form of a 'C' band antenna mount. I had the previous
owner remove that ugly ~7-ft antenna as a condition of sale, but kept
the mount as a nice bird house and feeder post--if you can call a 5-ft
tall, 6-inch steel pipe and 16 cu ft of concrete a post. Anyway, been
thinking of kicking out the birds and torching that pipe down to
somewhere between 3 and 4 feet high. I think this baby would hold that
Meade 16-inch "cannon" easy. Now if someone would donate a Meade 16-inch
for years of evaluation....  I suspect one would need a plate for a
platform to mount a wedge of some kind on, and be able to dismount and
remount with a minimum of adjustment. Or is it better to dismount the
'scope only, once the wedge was adjusted?

Don Griffith
Mike here: I think I would leave the wedge mounted once adjusted and just remove the telescope.
Subject:	Loose Declination Lock
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2002 23:08:39
To: (Clay Sherrod)
Dr. Sherrod,

Sorry to bother you.  A few days ago I sent an e-mail to Mike Weasner
through the Mighty ETX site which was forwarded to you.  I am hopeful
you can lend a little more advice on the matter of my loose declination

Briefly, I have an ETX 125 that is about 18 months old and has until
recently performed quite well.  In the past few weeks my declination
lock has gradually loosened and required more and more tightening to
hold the scope.  Since my last inquiry I have de-greased the clutch
plate as outlined in your enhancement and the Scoptronix site.  There
was a massive amount of grease on virtually every surface on the
assembly.  After careful cleaning and inspection I reassembled the
scope, but the declination lock is just as loose.  The knob will turn
but not lock.  You had previously mentioned that there may have been
some "stripping" of the threads, and I suspect this is the case.  On
careful inspection I cannot see any stripped threads on the rod which
comes out of the locking declination knob, and presume the "stripping"
must have occurred from within the brass threaded sleeve inside the
right OTA support arm.  Does this sound correct to you?  If this is the
case, is there anything I can do to remedy the situation?  I did briefly
try to put a large washer between the metal plate and the fork arm. 
This did seem to allow the axis to lock, though I am concerned this will
exacerbate the problem in the long run, or worse, cause some other
damage.  I assume I can get a replacement right OA support arm from
Meade (my guess is this will cost $75-100).  But, thought I would see if
you have any other thoughts before I get the part.  I would hate to
replace this piece only to find out after that the problem lies

Thanks again for your time.

John Theodossy
Mike here: Meade used to send Right Tube Adapters replacements for free.


From: (Clay Sherrod)
Hello John-
I honestly don't think the large metal washer is helping you and indeed
might be making the problem worse in the long run.  Is the knob coming
to a firm "stop" when fully tightened?  Nearly all clamping issues come
about from symptoms as you are describing and I strongly suspect that
the DEC knob is to blame.

I would call Meade 1-800-626-3233 ext 226 and tell them what you have
just described; likely, they will send you a NEW knob at no charge.  If
they do charge it should only be about $15 for the replacement.

Let me know if you have success.


Subject:	re: Telescope Tradeins
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2002 13:49:20
From: (Richard Seymour)
Many dealers offer trade-ins, or at least provide a consignment-sale
mechanism (your scope sits in their shop with a price dangling on a

I bought my used ETX90ec from Rivers Camera in Dover, New Hampshire.
Mike suggested Shutan, and Captain's Nautical in Seattle will do
consignments (i don't know for usre about trade ins, but many will, i'm

There's also Mike's and  "classifieds" and eBay.

good luck

Subject:	Used vs New
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2002 14:13:27
From: (Jerry Rhinehardt)
Thanks for a great site. I have been looking on eBay to purchase a 90EC,
 105EC, or 125EC. I am reading on your site, however, that maybe that is
not a good way to go. If it were to come in misaligned or some other
problem, then you're out of luck. Are these units so sensitive that I'm
better off purchasing from a reputable dealer, in case it is damaged in
shipment? Or, do you feed it is probably safe to try a used one off the
auction.  Thank you for your time and advice.
Jerry Rhinehardt              Cornelius, NC
Mike here: Like purchasing any used product "sight unseen" there is a risk. So you have to decide if the cost savings is worth that risk.
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2002 12:06:33
From: (john carter)

Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography page as well as the Astrophotography page under the Helpful Information section.
Subject:	Great site!
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2002 9:09:02
From: (Pete Cavallo)
I received an ETX-90EC as a gift this past Christmas and I stumbled upon
your site a few days ago.  I've found your site very informative since
I'm now looking to add a few accessories.  The comments and reviews are
really helpful in pointing out what may not be practical with the
ETX-90, and conversely, what works well.  Specifically I'm looking into
color filters and a good Barlow.  I thought the 2x-3x variable Barlow
and the basic color filter set (#1) would be suitable.  The reviews here
have helped my research by pointing out the limitations of these, and my
selections will be more informed now (and a bit different).

I'm just getting started with it but I've had some early viewing
successes: Jupiter, Saturn, Pleiades, M31, M42.  A nice, easy to use

Great work!

Pete Cavallo
Dublin, PA

Subject:	electric focuser
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2002 6:26:30
From: (Jim Howard)
Just thought I would give you an update.  I got a different scope now,
the place I bought it from took the other one back, and ordered a new
one for me.  It has arrived, and I have used it a bit, but I don't think
the optics are as nice as in the old OTA.  It makes me think I should
have just sent mine to Meade so I could have kept that tube.  I think
some tuning on this one could get it back in line though, and may
consider Dr Clay's tune up.  It just feels rather bad that I should have
to tune a new scope.

As for the autostar, I took that in to the place I purchased it
(different place), and they didn't want to exchange it.  They sent it to
Meade for me, and I am still waiting to hear back.  This was a little
over a month ago now.

While my scope was out of commission, I picked up a visual back for the
CCD camera, an electric focuser (meade), and a couple other small items.
I really like the electric focuser, but it is a bit quick, as was
pointed out a few times on your site by various people.  I may try a
modification similar to what was posted on your site, although I don't
think it needs to be quite that complicated, since the focuser gets its
feed from the base of the scope.  I may just put a variable resistor in
line with the focus motor, so I can adjust the speed to whatever I want
on a whim.  I will let you know how that goes as well, once I undertake

Just thought I would drop an update in for you.


Subject:	ETX125-vs-LX90
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2002 6:17:09
Has anyone seen a comparison between the ETX125 scope and the LX90? I
did a side-by-side compare relative to the specs of both, but I can't
find any reviews relative to the functionality differences between the
2. Just the fact that the ETX125 doesn't come with a tripod or AutoStar
controller and the LX90 does is almost enough to make me go for the
LX90. Portability isn't a problem and the massive database on the LX90
would be a real plus.
Mike here: I don't recall any such comparisons. They ARE fairly different telescopes. If portability isn't a problem, the 8" aperture of the LX90 is a plus.
Subject:	Where is Saturn?
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2002 5:36:00
What a great site you have.  I just bought an ETX 90 RA.  I saw that
promotion Shutan has listed onl your site.  My question is:  I know
nothing at all about astronomy.  I want to see what Saturn looks like. 
The first things I looked at last week was the moon.  Then I aimed the
scojpe at a bright looking star above and to the right of the moon,!  IT was Jupiter with its four moons!!  Hey, the second thing
I look at is Jupiter....and I had no idea wher that might be.

In relatinship to the moon....or Jupiter..can you give me some guidance
on how I might find Saturn?  It has been around 9PM eastern time when I
have looked at the moon and Jupiter.

Any help will be appreciated.

Rowland Harris
Mike here: Sky and Telescope has "Monthly Sky Charts" on their web site. Other sites (see the Astronomy Links page on my ETX Site) have star charts as well. These will show you the locations of objects.


I don't know how to read a star chart.  I just got into this.   Is it
p;ossible to say something like..."It's above the moon and to the right
of Juplier," or, "oposite the moon in the sky" etc.  Something like that
that will give me an idea...and then I'll jsust start looking at things
until I find it.  Tkhis way, I'll be able to see it now.  Of course I
plan to LEARN how to read a star chart, but just don't know how at the
Oh, yes...How big would it aplpear through the ETX 90 , in relationshiop
to how large Jupiter appears?
Mike here: OK. When Jupiter is east of straight up, look a little to the west of straight up and you should see a bright orange-ish "star". if you've got the right one it will be Saturn. As to its size, the Ring system will appear about the same diameter as Jupiter's disk.
Subject:	884 vs 883
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2002 5:31:07
From: (Arman, Tom)
I bought the 884 (have used the 883).  No comparison!!! is stronger,
adjustable, has a great built-in wedge, "like a rock"!

The 884 has ROUND legs that telescope (two sections each leg). 883 has
legs of square cross section.

As to the bubble level missing, I bought a little level at Home Depot
that has two vials at right angles that I set on the base to level it.
Cost under $10.


Thomas D. Arman

Subject:	Other ETX Pictures
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2002 5:08:53
From: (Mike Willett)
Really enjoy your website.  I am experimenting with my ETX60AT and might
actually submit one of my pictures (if I can find one that's not too
embarrassing).  Anyway, I was wondering if people also submit other
photographs (of the planets, nebulae, etc.) that they have taken through
the ETX, or if you know of other sites that might have this content.

Thanks, and again, good job on your site.

Mike Willett
Mike here: See the Astrophotography page (in the Helpful Information section) and the various Astrophotography Galleries. There have been MANY photo submittals over the past 5+ years.

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