Last updated: 28 February 2003
This page is for user comments and information specific to the new Meade ETX-105EC. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	ETX 105 Cracked
Sent:	Thursday, February 27, 2003 11:12:00
From: (Chris Sinkinson)
Having read various things on your site I decided to plunge for the 105
EC which has just arrived. It's all cloudy so I couldn't take it outside
but I have tried it indoors and it all seems to be working well. I think
its construction and slewing sound a lot more healthy than a 90 EC I
have tried.

BUT! On pointing the tube straight up I noticed that on the inside arm
of the DEC lock as it leaves the mount and heads towards the tube there
is a crack in the plastic about 1 inch long and heading in a curve. I
don't know whether to contact Telescope House UK and return it or to not
bother. Everything else seems fine and I don't want to send it away and
be scopeless if it is only a cosmetic flaw. On the other hand, if this
could effect the mechanics in the future then I know I should sort it
out now under warranty.

Any opinion on this?
Thanks! And Thanks for the great site!
Mike here: If the crack looks like a fracture in the plastic I would suggest exchanging it. It could get worse over time and you'd be better off dealing with that now when new rather than later when you might have to convince the dealer that you didn't cause the crack.
Subject:	Replacement 105
Sent:	Thursday, February 20, 2003 5:46:35
From: (karengary)
as I haven't been able to explain myself clearly, I thought I would send
you a photo of what I think may be a problem.

The photo, is of the non-driven side of my 105,and where the arrow is
pointing, is where the black part(bush?) is able to move up and down
inside the bearing. I guess there is about 2mm of movement. Is this OK
or will the scope have to be returned once again?

Many thanks



From: (Clay Sherrod)
There is a bushing missing in this photograph...there should be a very
thin cylindrical shim made out of plastic that slips over the exposed
trunion to take out that play....

Meade can send another one if you relay the fork arm involved and tell
them that the bushing/bearing for the Right DEC axle is missing.

Good luck!

Dr. Clay

Subject:	another new scope.
Sent:	Thursday, February 20, 2003 4:02:33
From: (DAWSON Andy, MEMS Principal MTO)
In response to Gary's message dated 18th Feb, I can report that I have
had a very similar saga with an ETX 105 which was exchanged twice, plus
problems with finderscope and hand controller just to add salt to the

Both my local dealer and the UK distributors have been very helpful, but
it eventually becomes embarrassing to be seen regularly carrying
telescope boxes around town. It appears, however, that MEADE have a
significant quality control problem which is sad as the product is so
good when it works.

My current (third) scope is pretty good but I also noticed play in the
left (viewed from behind) Dec bearing. On investigation this turned out
to be due to the plastic spigot being slightly undersize within the
inner sleeve of the bearing.

Deciding to quit whilst I'm ahead, I fitted a thin plastic sleeve over
the protruding spigot and adjusted its' length so that it is very
lightly compressed into the gap between inner bearing sleeve and
undersized spigot by the Dec setting circle when refitted. In my own
case this completely removed the lateral play without interfering with
the loading or action of the bearing. I couldn't bear to swap the scope
yet again!

My own scope moves vertically from the horizontal position to just past
the vertical when it contacts the inner 'hard stop' which is, I believe,
intended to prevent the finderscope being driven into the support arm.

Hope this helps.


PS - Bloody good website!!!!

Subject:	Re: Help Repairing an ETX105EC
Sent:	Thursday, February 20, 2003 0:03:58
From: (Richard Seymour)
You can (and frequently WILL) get Motor Unit Faults
if you "borrow" another Autostar and do NOT perform a "Calibration".

Do:  Setup > Telescope > (enter)(scroll) Calibrate Drives [enter]

The two axes will move about 5 degrees each, and that's it.

After that, you should not have MUF's.
(if it's purely a tuning problem)

good luck
And in response to Dr. Clay's last:
I bought the scope while in Hong Kong. To send back to him will incur
substantial shipping cost. The guy at the shop told me if I send it back
to him, he will need to try and repair it himself (a few weeks) before
forwarding it back to Meade. This will take at least 6 months. I was
considering sending the scope back to him without the OTA (this will
protect the OTA and save me some shipping charges) but I doubt Meade
will accept this.

I have an astro trip coming in Mar, and I feel that rather than go
through the hassle, I'm thinking of selling the scope as defective w/o
autostar and get back some money to upgrade to a Nexstar 5 which is
having an offer now...unless Meade sells motherboards to their
customers...what do you think?

Thanks and Best regards
First, I am really sorry for all the inconvenience; frankly I do not
think that your dealer can fix it unless they have another scope to
salvage parts from.  Meade does not sell electronic components to
anyone; typically I try to keep some on hand, but do not have the one
for an ETX 105 at this time as they have not been out long enough for
salvageable scopes to come my way.

Personally I am not sure you will be happy with a NexStar, but whatever
choice you make I wish you the best...sounds like you really have had a
frustrating time with it.  If you were closer, I would just have you
send it here at no charge to you and I probably could get you going.

Dr. Clay


Hi Dr Clay,
Much obliged. I appreciate it. I don't mind taking up on your offer to
fix the scope and pay the return air fare. I don't think it will cost
that drastically more than to send it to HK. I frankyly have no faith
with him. Imagine me calling him long distance to talk about the problem
and he was alternating between talking to me and someone next to him
about buying vegetables and chicken!

Would you have been able to manage with just the drive without the
OTA...? That would certainly make it easier for me to send it in. At
least I know it will be given more attention than the HK dealer and
probably even Meade itself.

In the meantime, rather than impose on you immediately, I would like to
try a little longer and see if it can be fixed or at least improved to a
point where it MUF once every few hours only. The past few days, I had
it running in the house for about 15min to 30 min at a stretch and no
MUF yet. It only appears after a longer period now...not sure why.

I did alot of research prior to getting this scope and was convinced
that I have gotten a very good OTA for its size. I'm still reluctant to
give up optical quality for good mechanicals (if I had moved to a
Nexstar 5). Will hold on to my faith a little longer.

If it comes to pass, and you still have some free time to take a look at
it, I will send it to you.

Once again, thanks and best regards.
You just let me know...hopefully you can get it up and running without
having to send it; if need be I can indeed do the work without the OTA.

Dr. Clay

Subject:	another new scope!
Sent:	Tuesday, February 18, 2003 11:54:10
From: (karengary)
Many thanks for your speedy replies to past messages. I finally managed
to get a copy of your book from Telescope House in London and may I say,
it is an essential read.

On your previous advice, I returned my first ETX-105 because of ;
1. RA tracking motor not working
2. Unable to point above 87 degrees
3. Clicking/grinding noise from Dec lock arm

The scope was replaced by the store I bought it from, but this one had
difficulty in raising above 45degrees and I could hear something loose
in the Dec arm, so this scope too was returned.

As they had no more 105's in stock, the store kindly lent me an
(ex-demo) ETX-125 while a new 105 was to be shipped. Unfortunately, the
loan scope would not work with batteries, RA movement was stiff, yet the
lock wouldn't tighten, and the finderscope wouldn't focus!

Anyway, my new 105 has finally arrived today, and Meade have kindly sent
me the 884 Tripod and Autostar in line with the current deal.

The questions I wanted to ask are: 
1.There is some (slop?)up and down movement on the left side fork arm
where the Dec setting circle is. Is this OK or is it likely to get
2. How far is the scope supposed to be able to point above 90degrees? as
this one only seems to manage about 95degrees.

Once again many thanks for a brilliant site

Mike here: Sorry about the difficulties you've had but nice to hear that your dealer was so helpful. I'm not certain what movement you are talking about on the fork arm. Do you mean the fork is moving or the telescope can be pushed up/down when the axis is locked? If the latter, this is normal. As to how far past vertical is OK, 95 degrees is certainly OK since the telescope is meant to swing around in azimuth (or Right Ascension) when crossing 90 degrees.


With the axis locked,the movement is on the left hand side(dec circle)
and the up/down movement is where the left hand side of the scope enters
the fork arm.

I hope this makes sense

Thanks as always
Mike here: I'm not certain I fully understand; are you saying that the telescope wobbles on the left side where it connects to the left fork? If so, it shouldn't.


Just one more addition. I've taken the setting circle off, and there is
some looseness between the left hand arm of the scope and the bearing it
fits into. I hope this makes it clearer.

Will the scope be OK with this looseness as I really don't want to lose
my scope for another month.

Many thanks

Mike here: It sounds like there is some problem with the left tube adapter. I would suggest you contact your dealer.
Subject:	ETX105 question
Sent:	Monday, February 17, 2003 20:36:04
I wonder if a ETX105EC can be fit into a hard case for ETX125 (MEADE
Mike here: Should, with some packing mods.
Subject:	Subject: Help Repairing an ETX105EC
Sent:	Monday, February 17, 2003 15:53:36
From: (Al Adrian)
Just to add another data point.. I get "intermittent motor unit failures
too"  I'm pretty sure it's not cabling or power as I have a 14 AH gel
cell connected up to the power in socket with 12 gauge wire running all
the way, and it most often happens when I'm no where near the autostar
or other cables...  I looked into the scope a while back and the encoder
wheels appeared clean.. I'll have to have a look for this mysterious
"jamming" when I know what to look for .


Subject:	Re: Fwd:  Re: Re: Fwd:  Re: Help Repairing an ETX105EC
Sent:	Monday, February 17, 2003 7:04:39
From: (Airconvent)
It's the large white gear that is located next to the optical encoder in
the RA drive assembly. As it moves, a scrapping sound can be heard from
it intermittently. Unfortunately, i have checked that the hole from
which the axis of the gear is turning from cannot be adjusted which
leaves me wondering how the misalignment took place. I'll be trying to
unscrew the 3 screws holding the gear assemby to see if I can adjust it
from the other side. Else would have to entail removing the gear and
filing a groove on the frame...
Best Regards
And an update:
Just thought you might want to know what happened next.

I removed the grease and verified the gear is not scrapping the frame.
The jerkiness came from elsewhere in the gear train but I can't
establish where. I also managed to borrow another autostar c/w cable to
test my scope.

It had only ver 22e and when I plugged it in, the MUF came out almost
immediately, so reverted back to original controller.

This is getting very demoralising...I would have thought buying a
quality scope from a reputable manufacturer would be hassle free, but
this was not the case....sigh...
And this:
From: (Clay Sherrod)
This is clearly a connection or cable problem...the fact that it works
with the original hand controller and not the Autostar pretty well
zeroes in on that fact.....since it did not operate with another
Autostar, I would strongly suspect the pins at the control panel where
the Autostar plugs in....there is likely one bent or some debris across
one or more of them.

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory
MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway
MPC/cbat Obs. H41/ Petit Jean Mt.

Mike here: I agree with Dr. Clay. Check the pins on the base of the ETX as well as the wires running from the jack inside.


My scope came complete with an Autostar and I was having problems using
that autostar. I have since borrowed another one from a friend for
testing but his with older version 22e showed the MUF fault the moment I
plugged it in..not sure why.

I must emphasise that when the MUF fault happens, I am still able to
change speed and control the scope both ways but fault message continue
to be displayed. Only thing is scope refuses to track and if I press the
"Mode" button, it trains slightly to the top and right and then resets.

I have , on your advice , jiggled the connectors at both the scope and
controller end but the fault did not appear. A visual check seem to
indicate the connector looks ok...
And from Dr. Clay:
If all connections are good and the scope refuses to work with both
Autostars  AND the motors appear to be at least working then one of the
two circuit boards in the base is bad; I suspect the RA drive motor
control board.  This will require a trip back to Meade and I would not
tinker with the scope any further...what about the dealer who sold you
the scope?  Have you asked him to come to bat for you and replace the
defective telescope?

Dr. Clay

Subject:	Help Repairing an ETX105EC
Sent:	Sunday, February 16, 2003 7:32:06
From: (Airconvent)
I posted the following message in a few places seeking help on a problem
I'm having. I was hoping you are able to help out. I can't understand
why such a reputable company like Meade would have so bad quality
control on their mechanicals. Perhaps you they outsource to a
specialist? grease everywhere and gears that are misaligned....I was
thinking of upgrading to an ETX125 butis now wondering if going for the
Nexstar5 is a better idea...

I also bought your book. Its quite useful but I have a suggestion for
your next include disassembly pictures for the ETX,
especially the newer models like mine where it is difficult to find
resources on opening up the scope.

Thanks and Best Regards
I had been experiencing this irritating Motor Unit Failure  fault since
the day I received my scope. The scope works perfectly but at random
from 30min to a few hours, this fault will appear and the autostar will
do a test and restart. I tried alkaline batteries or gel batteries, I
flashed the autostar 2 times but nogo.

As the shipping back to the retailer would be costly, my friend and I
decided to take it apart and see what was wrong.

Upon opening it, I noticed the quality control of the RA drive at the
Mexican factory may not be up to standard. Grease was applied liberally
EVERYWHERE, even on plastic parts. We did a cleaning on the non moving
parts, making sure the optical encoder was cleaned. Then ensure all the
necessary screws were tightened properly (but not too tight)and then
closed up.

The dec portion was more difficult , we literally had to pull apart the
forkmount to remove the OTA. (I think the proper way was to unscrew the
forkmount but that needed us to remove the whole RA assembly which was a
no-no for us.) After that, the first thing we noticed that the dec gear
was located next to the clutch. There was oil on the clutch which
explains why I had to tighten very hard in order to lock the OTA
assembly! We cleaned up the oil, making sure the gear remained oiled and
removed all the excess grease just as for the RA assembly. With all the
screws retightened back. tried the autostar without the OTA but after a
while , the MUF fault appeared. Thought maybe the motor needed to be
loaded, so tried to re-install the OTA but realised we had to remove the
plastic assembly at the back before we can mount it on the forkmount. 
Once done and everything was re-installed. I tried the dec lock and it
locked better now with lesser slippage. powered up and sure enough,
after a while, the MUF fault appeared....I'm flabbergasted.

Next I restarted the scope and went to the alignment process but left
both the RA and DEC drive unlocked and observed the movement on the RA
gears. I noticed that the large white plastic gear next to the optical
encoder is scrapping its transparent plastic frame. This causes a jerk
movement instead of a free moving one.  I can see no way to adjust this
as the assembly is screwed together very tight. Could this be the cause
of the MUF? I'm thinking when tracking, the current is low and such
resistance will overload the drive at that gear setting...Or is it the
motor problem?

Anyone can help? The MUF fault now appears within 3-5 minutes of
alignment and in one case, I wasn't even aligned (i.e tracking) and the
MUF came out. Else I will have to incur a high $$$ shipping the scope
back to the retailer I bought from and he tells me the turn around time
is at least 6 mths as he wants to mess with it first before deciding to
return to Meade!

Any help/hints is appreciated.

Thanks and Regards

To Boldy Go Where No Meade has Gone Before
Captain, RSS Enterprise NCC1701R
Mike here: There can be several culprits for the MUF error: weak batteries or other power supply interpretations, poor Autostar cable connections (either end of the cable), dirty encoders, other electrical interference, or some mechnical fault. You didn't mention trying an AC Adapter. Assuming you didn't make things worse by opening it up, it sounds like you may have done everything else internally that you could do, which makes me wonder about the connections or other interference. Check the pins on the Autostar cable connector jacks. There have been some reports that the Autostar #497 that ships with some LXD55 models has the pins depressed; see this article on my LXD55 Site:
Check the cable itself; try jiggling the cable to see if that causes the MUF.


As I have mentioned in my mail, I did take everything apart to establish
the fault and yes, I did jiggle the cabling. I never used AC..since
there will not be any mains point when I take it outside but I did try a
gel 4AH battery.

What I noticed is the white plastic optical encoder scrapping its frame
when tracking. This causes a jerky effect each time the gear momentarily
jams. I don't think that is normal but the gear is fixed and I see not
reason why it should misaligned...I'm thinking long term this will
affect the motor..
Best Regards
And from our resident hardware expert:
From: (Clay Sherrod)
A motor unit fault (MUF) is typically associated with two major

1) a power problem, usually a bad or intermittent connection OR lower
voltage than should be used to operate the telescope....if you are
running from internal batteries then this is probably the cause;

2) a restriction that results in excessive torque in one of the drive
motors, usually the RA.

The excessive grease and muck inside the base would not lead to the
problem unless the grease has found its way to the encoder (a very small
white plastic disk and sensor assembly to the lower right of the

Look there to make sure this is completely clean...if not use a very
light touch on the end of a toothpick to pick off any debris or grease
that might be in the way.

However, I strongly suspect a power problem...can be in the cables to
the scope, to and from Autostar, or more likely batteries if  that is
your power source.

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory
MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway
MPC/cbat Obs. H41/ Petit Jean Mt.


Dr Clay does not think the gear scrapping on its frame is suspicious
also? I'm thinking of doing major surgery on the RA gear assembly to try
and realign the gear..
Best Regards
The "gear scraping on its frame?"  What does this mean?   By all means
if some gear is scraping on some frame that would indeed be suspicious.
Exactly what gear is suspect and how do you intend to go about
realigning it????

I am really curious.

Subject:	Beginner Questions
Sent:	Sunday, February 9, 2003 7:19:03
From: (Dennis Harpole)
Just got my 105 with free autostar and tripod. This is a great deal and
you may want to publicize it on your site. Details at most retail sites
or Meade. The 884 tripod is way more solid than the 883 that I had for
my 90RA. Can't believer they are giving it away....

Anyway, a couple of dumb questions.

1. How are people hanging the autostar unit on the tripod? I see
pictures, but nothing was supplied that looks like it would do this.

2. The home position is described but not illustrated. I'm assuming it
is with the ear (circle) of the fork are directly over the input panel
after rotating the base clockwise from the hard stop. Is this correct?

3. The first time I trained the horizontal motor it had took a lot to
move it. I re-trained it and it seemed to loosen up. Is this normal? The
RA lock lever is a  little fussy and I'm trying  not over
tighten it.


Mike here: Yep, great deal going on now. I use Velcro to hold the Autostar on the tripod. Just place one side (the prickly side) of the Velcro near the top of each tripod leg and the other (soft) side on the back of the Autostar handcontroller. Works great. Regarding the HOME position question, see the alignment tips on the Autostar Information page. Do a CALIBRATE and then the TRAIN. That may help the accuracy of the training. And yes, the axis locks take some getting used to.
Subject:	ETX 105EC UHTC
Sent:	Saturday, February 8, 2003 4:31:54
From: (Dave Daems)
I'm interested in buying the ETX 105EC UHTC. But I'd like to see what
the all-round opinion is about this one. I have an Optus telescope
D=75mm (3") F=750mm (30").

Mike here: See the User Observations page as well as the current and archived ETX-105EC feedback pages on my ETX Site.
Subject:	ETX Finderscope problems and 105 autostar question
Sent:	Tuesday, February 4, 2003 9:00:30
Sender: (Craig M. Bobchin)
I've been reading the board about the folks who had their finder scope
fall apart. I too had the same problem. I called Meade and they sent out
a new finder scope. My 105 is still under warranty, so that may have
made a difference.

Also I have a problem with my 105's autostar and I wonder if you can
shed some light on it.

When I slew to any object, be it during an alignment, the scope is
always off (I would estimate about an hour ahead). I've downloaded the
lastest version of the Autostar firmware, have reset, recalibrated and
retrained the drives more times than I can count. All to no avail.

Once I move and center the alignment stars, I have no problems slewing
to anything and the object falls in the center of the 26mm ep, and in
the field of view of the 9.7.

I have set the time and date correctly and have checked the daylight
savings time setting. All are correct. I've tried various permutations
also to no effect.

Do you have any idea what causes this?


Craig M. Bobchin
Mike here: Thanks for the info. As to being off by about 15 degrees on the initial alignment stars, that normally indicates a daylight savings time error, which is one hour. If everything is correct, including your location and telescope model, AND you have the telescope in the proper HOME position (using True North and not Magnetic North, which be up to around 20 degrees different in some locations), I'm at a loss as to what could be wrong.
Subject:	Re: vertical lock
Sent:	Sunday, February 2, 2003 21:55:55
From: (The Bostons)
I took my 105 to the Tulsa Astronomy Club's Star Party last Friday and a
very knowledgeable ETX'r verified for me that the vertical stop is
malfunctioning.  The barrel of the scope won't go to 90 degrees from the
base when it's setting flat on a table (no table tripod attached). No,
It's not what I'm reading on the Altitude Scale.
Mike here: Sounds like a trip to the dealer or contact Meade.


It left by USPS today. I've asked that Meade check all the
possibilities, vertical and horizontal stops, plus anything else that
may seem wrong.

Thanks for your assistance and encouragement.

Subject:	Etx 105 impressions
Sent:	Sunday, February 2, 2003 6:20:52
From: (Lorenzo Vernazza)
thank you for your beautiful site!

Reading comments of ETX owners here I decided to buy  an ETX 105 UHTC
with Autostar for Christmas: now I want to give my contribution, writing
my impressions.

Optics: seems to be very good, images are well contrasted, stars are
pinpoints. Unfortunately in my city near the sea the seeing is
frequently very bad, so I wasn't yet able to do a star test. I had a
Meade 2080 about 10 years ago, and I can say that on Moon and planets
(in normal seeing conditions) images are quite the same, or quite better
in ETX. In deep sky the 2080 was obviously superior, but not so much. In
my 4,5 mag. limit sky, I can see a lot of deep sky objects.

Autostar: fantastic! With my old 2080 I spent hours to find objects and
minutes to observe them. With ETX is exactly the opposite. With the High
Precision option on, objects are always in the middle of the eyepiece
field. Moreover I like that Autostar gives me descriptions about objects
(like mag., distances, etc).

I have noticed only one problem: sometimes when I turn on the map light
of Autostar it stops and the only way to make it works is to turn off
and than turn on the telescope (but so you have to do again the set up).
Have you ever heard about it? One thing that I don't like is the delay
in tracking when you move telescope with the keys, due perhaps to
mechanical imprecision of gears.

Weight and dimensions: very good. You can easily transport it, only
problem is that I use a little table as support, and it is very sensible
to the wind. Perhaps the solution could be a tripod, but so you loose

Other thing: I bought a Vixen LV zoom eyepiece, and this improve a lot
the pleasure to observe with the telescope. No eyepiece changes are more
required, and it has a good eye relief that permits you to wear glasses.

In conclusion I'm very happy to possess this telescope: only disappoint
are prices, in Europe telescopes and accessories are too expensive in
comparison to USA!!!

Clear skies
Lorenzo Vernazza
Varazze - SV - ITALY
Mike here: Be certain the proper telescope model is selected on the Autostar. Do a CALIBRATE and TRAIN the drives. If that doesn't help, see the article "Setting Percentages For Better Tracking" on the Autostar Information page.
Subject:	etx105ec
Sent:	Friday, January 31, 2003 21:23:40
From: (The Bostons)
In attempting polar alignment with my new 105, (I just got the table top
tripod), I find that the barrel of my scope won't go to or past ninety
degrees from the base when it's on the table tripod. This is what the
instructions and illustrations show in the tripod instruction
illustration and the manual as necessary to locate Polaris for polar
alignment.Thus, I can't bring Polaris into the field of view. (The angle
of the barrel to scope base is too small (probably 75 to 85 degrees).

One ETX'r at the Tulsa Astronomy Club opined tonight that this is a
malfunction and the scope needs to go back to Meade for repair.  I just
want to get your opinion before I "loose" my baby for a month or so. You
and Dick offered me some suggestions regarding my horizontal stop (which
wouldn't budge), and the suggestions were successful. Do you or any of
your devotees have any good suggestions to remedie this malfunction
before I send it back to the telescope doctors?  I sure don't want to be
without it for a month!!! Any Help????


Mike here: If the tube will not move to parallel to the forks then something is catching. If there is nothing external causing the catch then the problem is internal. Since the telescope is new I would suggest contacting the dealer for an exchange.

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