Last updated: 28 February 2003
Subject: Re: Barlow lens on etx125 Sent: Friday, February 28, 2003 2:46:16 From: email@example.com (John Chambers) Actually I bought a #140 Barlow lens for my ETX-125 based on Meade's advertising (Series 4000 Barlow made to match the Plossl series lenses). It reaches focus with all of my lenses (I have the Series 4000 Super Plossl set deal that I got with my ETX-125). It costs a bit more than their other Barlow lenses, but I'm quite happy with it.
Subject: ETX-125 UHTC or 8in LX-50 Sent: Thursday, February 27, 2003 18:50:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (James White) Hi, I've had now the ETX-90, ETX-125 and the ETX-125 w/UHTC...I just got the latest in Jan and it has the newer fork with the bearing system...I am having a case of aperature fever and have been conversing with somebody about trading my setup for his 8in LX-50...I'm not really familiar with those and was wondering what you might think...I've been a long-time follower of your site but have never posted anything before...I have the usual accessories for the 125 like the AC adapter, electric focuser, hard case and computer cable..with that being said would you think this being a fair trade...he says it's like new and in great shape...the big difference other than aperature would be the "goto"...I wouldn't have that but not sure if I really use it...like to slew around and hunt and peck...anyway, I value your opinon...thanks in advance.... Sincerely, James White West Palm BeachMike here: If you want to set up to larger aperture, there are several choices from Meade: the LXD55 series, the LX90 8", and the LX200 series. Cost and capabilities go in that same order. So you need to decide HOW you want to use the larger telescope and what your expectations are AND what your budget is. For more on the LXD55, see my relatively new LXD55 Site (www.weasner.com/lxd).
Hi, I guess really my question was more about the trade with the LX-50 8in...here is a guy who is looking for a more portable scope to it will get used and here I am looking for a bigger one...we've both sent pics of them and his and mine both look brand new...I know I could go and sell my setup on Ebay or something and probably get around 11-1300 for it. I see a link where they are selling the LX-50 8in and others like the LXD and stuff for about 1000 and under. My question is do you think the LX-50 is a good unit considering this one was purchased in 98 and although like new is it worth it now in price as it was before around the 13-1400 price. I'm thinking I want to get into astro photography so I think this is the way I want to do it but not knowing anything about the LX series and what it would be worth is why I was asking...anyway, thanks for the feedback...Mike here: The LX50 was sort of Meade's mid-line for a number of years so it was a good buy back then. HOWEVER, you need to check the prices of the various LXD55 models. New vs used. Newer technologies, UHTC, Autostar, etc., may or may not make a difference to you. Unfortunately I have no direct experience with the LX50 series.
Subject: Barlow lens on etx125 Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2003 15:32:35 From: email@example.com (Mike) I just bought a etx-125 and traded in my old scope but kept my barlow thinking I could reuse it. It is a Meade series 4000 #140 2x apochromatic. It is long and i was wondering if it will work or do I have to get the #126 barlow for the etx. Thanks for any information on this issue. MikeMike W. here: I don't have the #140 but I recall seeing reports that it would work. However, it may not reach a focus with ALL eyepieces. So whether it works for you or not might depend upon the eyepieces you plan to use with it.
Subject: Meade ETX 125-EC and colimnation Sent: Monday, February 24, 2003 16:32:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (jt_smithuk) Hi Mike!!!!!! Next line = HEEEEEELP!!!!!!!! Due to the crap weather here in the South UK I havent had a chance to use my 125 seriously for ages so it is still in "New" condition. When I DID use it a couple of nights ago I found the mirror moved violently from "side to side" when focusing and all objects looked at through anything "bigger" than a 25mm eye piece were fuzzy and misshaped, I could not focus on Jupiter properly at all, same with Saturn all stars were also "fuzzy" when using 20,10 and 4mm eye pieces. Now I am a poor person and cann't afford to send this beast back to the States for repair BUT I am mechanically competent and have collimnated my Dob and other Newtonians over the past 34 years in Astronomy so will have a go at this 125 of mine. Question...................What do you think is wrong and how do I sort it out etc and so forth etc et al............:-) yours most sincerely (with much bowing and scraping) your obedient servant......... John T SmithMike here: I'm concerned about the primary mirror moving "violently from "side to side"" during focusing. Can you elaborate? Is it loose?
Hi Mike, thank you for answering me. When I am trying to change focus after changing eye pieces, the image goes hurtling of to one side or another. When turning focusing knob to the left as one looks at it, the image moves left, the reverse for moving clockwise.Mike here: That is image shift and can be caused by several things. First off, take a look at the Telescope Tech Tips page for the image shift article (just as something to check). If that isn't it, then do a "star test" (to check the collimation). If the telescope is in collimation but the image shift is excessive (which it sounds like it is) then a call to Meade may be in order.
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: minimum magnification Sent: Monday, February 24, 2003 14:23:42 From: email@example.com (David and Michal Landau) I was thinking of buying the Orion Deepview 2" 42mm (with an apparent FOV of 52 degrees). would this fit into the "minimum range" of the ETX125? http://www.telescope.com/shopping/product/detailmain.jsp?itemID=5005&itemType=PRODUCT&iMainCat=6&iSubCat=36&iProductID=5005 thanksMike here: Will probably work but you may see a hint of the central obstruction. It may or may not be a problem for you.
Subject: RE: The best scope is one you'll use so........ Sent: Monday, February 24, 2003 4:41:20 From: RCosgrove@MFS.com (Cosgrove, Robert) thanks for the info. I went with the ETX125! First Light tomorrow night! No more binocs....after 2 years! take care. RobCos.
Subject: ETX125 vs 7" LX200GPS Sent: Monday, February 17, 2003 22:52:18 From: firstname.lastname@example.org Having spent a lot of time on your site and other places on the net I can find little in the way of comparisons between the EXT125 and the 7" LX200GPS scope. Have you or anyone you know done any comparisons between theses scopes. The cost of the 7" is paifull (2600+) with the new coatings so the question is is it worth it versus the $990 cost of an ETX125 with the new coatings? any info would be appreciated. Thanks, Tony Church email@example.comMike here: There are significant differences in the capabilities of the two telescopes, especially where the mounting is a factor. You need to decide WHAT you want to do with a telescope before deciding upon which model to get.
Thanks. I have decided to go with an ETX125 with UHTC and then move up later if I have the need. I am afraid that if I go with the heavier larger scope it won't get used as much and will be worth less to me than the easier to handle ETX. You site is great and I have learned much from it. I have an ETX70 now and should have my 125 in a couple of days. Thanks again for all you do for the newbie users like me... Tony Church
Subject: ETX125 Query Sent: Saturday, February 15, 2003 12:13:53 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Eric) Having been a great fan of your site for ages I have finally gone and bought myself an ETX125. Couldn't resist the great deal of free tripod and Autostar and the eyepiece offer from Meade! It arrived yesterday and after getting it all sorted out I tried it out last night, but seem to have a problem with the Autostar not recognising where the hard stops are in the RA plane. I have reset and retrained the scope three times now, but when I come to align the scope it starts slewing to stars, but always seems to look for stars that end up with the OTA turning and hitting the stops. Is this normal, or should the Autostar 'know' where the stops are and search for a more 'convenient' star? I have set up the scope on a tripod with the computer control panel facing west, then aligned the OTA so it is level and pointing north. I gather this is the correct alt/azi home position? Apart from searching for stars that were apparently in the 'dead' area between the two azimuth stops, the scope seemed to fail to bring any of the other supposed alignment stars into view. Am I doing something fundamentally wrong? I have a feeling I may be missing something very simple, but which is enough to throw the Autostar off track. As for the stops, I would assume that from the site co-ordinates and time, etc. , the scope should know where these stops are and either search for a more convenient star or slew the other way to get to a star. Or am I assuming too much. I DID get a chance to look at the moon and was very impressed by the sharp, contrasty image - much better than my old 4.5 inch reflector. Also saw Jupiter and its moons ( which also appeared as bright points as opposed to tiny dark dots in my other scope ). Any ideas or suggestions greatly appreciated. If there is a problem with these stops or the Autostar I'll have to take it back to the shop. By the way the Autostar shows build 26E when it powers up. Keep up the excellent work! Eric Jones Dover, EnglandMike here: The Autostar doesn't "know" where the hardstops are located. So I suspect your problem is with the HOME position: it sounds like you are not rotating the forks CCW until you reach a hardstop and then back CW about 120 degrees to True North. You have to do that every session.
Thanks for your thoughts. I was just searching your site and found the following which sounds exactly like the problem I am having. Subject: ETX125 hitting stops Sent: Wednesday, February 12, 2003 9:24:42 From: email@example.com (Mark P.) . . [full message further down this page] . .Mike here: If the telescope will not rotate by hand almost twice around from hardstop to hardstop, then something is wrong physically. Probably something protruding into the guts where it shouldn't be. If the telescope does rotate almost twice around then the HOME position was likely incorrect.
Subject: ETX 125 hitting hard stops Sent: Friday, February 14, 2003 7:59:18 From: firstname.lastname@example.org i too had the problem of an 'extra' hard stop when my ETX 125 came back from meade (for the second time) on a service problem. while rotating the RA it would hit a very hard metallic 'clunk' after just a short amount of rotation.. i immediately called meade and the tech said they have no idea what this could be but to send it back AGAIN. since my ETX has been at meade than at my house since i bought it i decided to just monkey around with it to see if it 'fixed itself'... so i just carefully and slowly began to rotate the RA axis until it finally cleared the obstruction... i then continued to do this for a little while until the scope showed absolutely no signs of this problem... from reading dr clay's description of a loose screw against the clutch plate i would imagine that the screw had dug a little channel into the plate and now clears it w/o problems... i know this isn't the proper fix but i'm just tired of sending my ETX back to meade... my other question is why didn't meade have any idea about the cause of the problem when dr clay knew what it was right away???? what's up with that???? tom
Subject: ETX125 hitting stops Sent: Wednesday, February 12, 2003 9:24:42 From: email@example.com (Mark P.) I've just spent a couple of hours searching your site for an answer to my problem. No luck. Actually Dick and Dr. Clay discussed it but I could not find and answer. I just upgraded to 26e a couple of weeks ago. Haven't had the scope out much but the other night it hit the hard stop during a go to. The scope is a year old and I do know how to align it. Indoor testing shows that sometimes during easy align it will go right to the hard stop. (Sirius) I thought it was the clockwise only problem Dr. Clay found but sometimes it will CCW during align. Now, after a successful alignment where it happened to choose two stars CCW of the hard stop, I CCW'ed it all the way around to almost the hard stop. I chose M42 which previously went CW to the hard stop. Anyway it went the right way (CW) and then hit the hard stop. To make a long story short, any ideas why my etx is suddenly hitting the hard stop? Cord warp is on with the little > in front of it. ETX125 is listed, Alt,Az is listed and I've done a reset. Thanks for any help. Mark P. rockville md na terra solsys orionarm... P.S. Reinstalled 26 ec. Did reset, calibrate and train. System will initialize on Sirius (clockwise) then move to Pollux (counterclockwise). But when asked to goto M42 Orion Nebulae(clockwise), it hits the hard stop. I've had this for a year. Ballbearing arms. Always worked perfectly until the latest upgrade. Should I go back to an old versions?Mike here: Well, the obvious question is "are you putting the telescope in the proper HOME position, including rotating CCW to the hardstop and then back 120 degrees to point True North)"? To hit a real hard stop would require nearly two full rotations from stop to stop. Does it actually slew more than 360 degrees during a GOTO? If the hard stop to hard stop is not nearly two full rotations then it is not a hard stop but some other object you may be hitting, including a wire (which would be bad if cut).
Humm......Now that's what changed. There is a definite hard stop at something less than 360 degrees. I used to be able to go around two times and now I can't. It is a definite HARD stop. Any Idea what I'm now hitting? If I go full counterclockwise to the hard stop and then back to putting the arm (with the alt numbers) over the control panel it goes almost 180 degrees. Like 170 degrees. Then from that position I can only rotate (CW) less than 180 degrees. Full rotation, from hard stop to hard stop is less than 360. Like I'm missing about 10 degrees. This is a new development. The scope has been perfect for the last year.Mike here: From the first hard stop to the proper HOME position is about 120 degrees. The first hard stop is with the telescope pointed about WSW so that you end up North after 120 degrees back CW. So it sounds like some internal component has moved. I suspect a wire.
And from our resident hardware expert:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) If the telescope has been properly rotated to determining the position of the hard stops as Mike has pointed out here, then there could very likely be a small Phillips head screw from the interior of the turntable that has come loose and is jamming the rotation of the unit....this is not common, but I have seen several with just this same symptom and that is always the problem. There are six very small screws, none of which are usually tightened securely and sometimes one or more gets loose in there. If this is the case, this is NOT something that you can fix yourself...it needs to go back to Meade for getting into the turntable....no-man's land as there are many wires that can easily be sheared and twisted off when accessing the inside of the fork assembly. Best of luck! Dr. Clay Arkansas Sky Observatory www.arksky.org MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway MPC/cbat Obs. H41/ Petit Jean Mt.And:
Thank you both so much. Not the news I wanted to hear. I may just be still in warranty. Gotta find my receipt. Mark P.
Subject: ETX DEC movement Sent: Tuesday, February 11, 2003 1:53:16 From: Bill B I have recently purchased an ETC-125EC as a portable supplement to my LX-200GPS. Prior to the LX-200 I owned an LX-90 and have customized both, so I am pretty familiar with some of Meade's products. However, with the ETX I'm wondering just how much movement in DEC should I expect after tightening the knob? If I REALLY crank down on the DEC lock, I can still push the tube down with one finger & moderate pressure. This is the new ETX-125 design with lots-o-metal. But the DEC is still strong enough to easily support even my heaviest eyepieces! It seems there is little information on the site specific to the newer ETX-125 with metal base & forks, new bearings, etc. I've tried to degrease the DEC, but after removing OTA & fork covers, I just can't get the OTA support arm removed (pulled out of the fork) to expose the gear (as in Jordan Blessing's tune-up site, largely non-applicable to the new scopes). These new scopes are very different from the older designs, and most information I have found offers little insight into this updated design. So, there is little I can do to remove excess grease because I can't get to the DEC gear and the plate that presses up against it when the DEC is locked--where I KNOW there is grease, because I can see it with a bright flashlight. However, I'm not sure that is the problem. There is a little ring, about 1/2" in diameter, that seems to be solely reponsible for applying all the pressure to the clutch when the is DEC locked. With something so small responsible for supporting all of this, is the moderate pressure to push down the tube acceptable? But that excess grease in the clutch really bothers me! Thanks, BillAnd:
From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) This should not be a problem; some motion with the finger test is normal; remember that the telescope when idle has no load on the gears whatsoever and can be moved freely in any direction. However while engaged and tracking (which you obviously never want to be moving with your finger when doing so...) the system has a load on the DEC gears and bearings and no motion is present. Keeping the telescope well balanced is crucial for proper operation....also I am getting the feeling that you are attempting to lock down WAY too tightly.....once you get the drive to engage, there is NO advantage on continued tightening....it not only will not take up slack, but over time introduce even more to the system. Best of luck! Dr. Clay Arkansas Sky Observatory www.arksky.org MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway MPC/cbat Obs. H41/ Petit Jean Mt.
And an update:
Thanks for the info. FYI, I am aware of the issues with over tightening the DEC lock. I was just trying to make a point as to the difference. I do not make it a practice to tighten it more than necessary. Lack of clarity is what I get for trying to compose email at 2:00 a.m. I was able to get in to degrease better (still can't get that support arm off the fork!), but it made only a slight difference. But as you state, pushing the tube is different than normal use. And besides, that applies more leverage than an EP will, since the EP is located closer to the center of rotation. Scope is working fine, and less grease did improve things ever so slightly! This new design sure is impressive when compared to the old. Bill
Subject: Thank you! Sent: Monday, February 10, 2003 12:24:12 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Paul) You have a real nice site. I've looked up at the stars for as long as I can remember, in awe. I'm a man of limited means and have never really considered a big investment in viewing the stars until now. I've researched allot and found the ETX125 to be my goal. Your site really confirmed that my decision was the right one. Thanks for all the info. I've decided to take the plunge and buy an ETX125. Right now you can get the ETX-125ec and they will throw in the field tripod and GoTo handheld free! ( http://www.meade.com/promo.d/etx_promo.html ) Plus, if you want the 8 piece eyepiece, it's just $99.00 (costs $650.00 normally) (http://www.meade.com/promo.d/plosslpromo.html ) WOW! What a deal! Your site simply ROCKS! Keep up the great work! Paul
Subject: etx-125 or 10" lxd55 Sent: Thursday, February 6, 2003 12:19:29 From: email@example.com (e lee) Great site! Want any insight you can give me since you owned an ETX-125 and an 8" LXD55. Which of the two do you think provides more value for the money? The portability of the ETX is nice, but I don't plan on transporting it, although I do plan to move the telescopy in and out of the house to the backyard. I plan to do planetary and "deep" space observing and was wondering if you preferred one over the other. If I decide on a LXD55 I haven't decided whether to go with the 8" or 10". Thanks, Ed Lee Freehold, New JerseyMike here: For spur-of-the-moments things I still use the ETX-90RA. For when I need more aperture and plan to do an extended observing session I use the LXD55 8"SC. The ETX-125 sits comfortably between the two. So, if portability (or ease of movement) isn't a criteria for you, then the LXD55 would be a nice telescope. Word of caution though: there are reports that the 10" SN is a bit too large to be stable on the LXD55 GEM mount and tripod. The 8" seems OK.
Subject: ETX accessories Sent: Wednesday, February 5, 2003 13:43:38 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (The Rousses) I am currently awaiting the arrival of a Meade ETX-125EC Astro that I just recently purchased & I want to know if my #128 3X Barlow lens (1.25") will work as well as the lunar & planetary filter set for the ETX-70AT. Thanks! RichelleMike here: Yes, they will work.
Subject: RE: ETX-125 vrs. LX-90 Sent: Tuesday, February 4, 2003 21:46:30 From: email@example.com (Nelson, Robert) Thanks Mike....I have read that a Maksutov is a little "clearer" than a Schmidt in the Cassegrains....is this true, and if so, does the 3" aperture difference more than make up for the clarity difference? Would I get a better planetary view with the LX-90? Would objects such as Saturn appear larger in the LX-90?....does the LX-90 positives justify the cost difference? If you had $2100, what would you spend it on? Thanks alot!Mike here: You will get more magnification and more planetary details out of the LX90. I now have a LXD55 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain, which has the same OTA as the LX90 8". I can say from experience that Saturn is much more impressive in it than in the ETX-125EC. However, for the lower price, the ETX-125EC is still a fine telescope. See my LXD55 Site for my 8"SC experiences (www.weasner.com/lxd). The LXD55 is positioned between the LX90 and the ETX-125EC and possibly worth considering for your purposes.
Thanks for your advice, I appreciate it. If I do get a new scope, I'm either gonna get an LX-90 or an 8" LX-200GPS (if I go "used" I may try for the 10"). Something I've been curious about....seems like most people say a Maksutov is a little clearer than a Schmidt, is this true? And if so, would the 3" additional aperture on the 8" (either the LX-90 or LX-200) make up the difference in contrast with the 5" ETX-125? Thanks so much for your time! RobertMike here: Maksutov's do exhibit more contrast than other telescopes. Depending upon the f/ ratio, Schmidt's may or may not be as good optically. But I haven't find contrast to be that much different on my ETX-125EC and LXD55 8"SC and the increase in aperture is VERY noticeable.
I sold my ETX-125EC yesterday to a guy in Austria....man, a used 125 sells for $1400 there, and that's with no accessories! I couldn't believe it!!!! Makes me glad to be where I am. I'm debating between the LX-90, the LX200GPS 8", the LX200GPS 10", the LX200GPS 8"/UHTC, or I may look at some of the Celestron products. Does the UHTC really make that much difference? Have you seen a side-by-side comparison of a UHTC and a non-UHTC same-model scope, or have heard from anyone who has? Do you know if the viewfinder in any of the above mentioned scopes is different than an ETX-125? Particularly the crosshairs? Do you have an opinion on any of the above mentioned scopes? What about Meade vrs. Celestron? Thanks Mike, I really respect and appreciate your input.Mike here: Check the Meade Announcements page for a link to Dr. Clay Sherrod's UHTC test results. Yes, the viewfinders are better. My only comparison of Celestron vs Meade scopes is linked from the top of the current "ETX-125EC" Feedback page.
Subject: ETX-125 vrs. LX-90 Sent: Tuesday, February 4, 2003 9:28:27 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Nelson, Robert) What would be the main differences (other than price and weight) between an ETX-125EC and an LX-90? Would the planets appear larger or more distinct? How about the lunar surface? I would think there might be a good difference in DSO's.....any difference in performance, ie. accuracy, slewing speed, etc? Thanks alot for your time! RobertMike here: There is one significant optical difference that you would notice right away: 5" aperture vs 8". Mechanically, the LX90, is more stable, and the drives are more accurate.
Subject: Image shift & electronic focuser questions Sent: Saturday, February 1, 2003 17:14:46 From: email@example.com (Piers Palmer) Does anyone know whether purchasing the electronic focuser for my ETX-125 eliminate the image shift I experience? I don't think my scope suffers from this badly, but it would be even better if I didn't have it. In any case, despite getting the scopetronix flexi-focuser, I still find it hard to focus at high power, with a combination of image shift and vibration. Anyone got any views?Mike here: Image shift is caused by movement of the mirror and/or focusing shaft. Adding the electronic focuser will not change it. If it is excessive you might want to see the Telescope Tech Tips page as well as the Announcements --> Meade page.
Subject: Re: URGENT Please help! Problems with ETX 125. Sent: Saturday, February 1, 2003 11:28:23 From: GHVideos@aol.com Many thanks, Mike, for replying so quickly. Yes, our stockist has been very helpful. Sorry, I should have been more specific. The control panel that the controller plugs into had a bit of movement in it, and by default, the controller was in polar mode, even though none of the screws had been removed. In fact when you used the mode key to return to alt/az mode, it didn't work - it just went back to polar mode. This was, however, an intermittent fault. I switched it on this morning and it worked fine in alt/az. However, I then switched it off and back on again about 30 minutes later and it was back to polar mode - you could hear the motors tracking! Regarding the vertical slewing, I tried what you suggested but the movement was still jerky. Unfortunately, the axis lock had to be tightened quite firmly, otherwise the OTA wouldn't lock. I only ever tightened it enough to lock the OTA. I did, however, notice that it had to be tightened more than the other ETX 125 that I had. Gladly, the situation has now been resolved. The supplier exchanged the ETX for the new Meade 8 inch SC-8 Schmidt-Cassegrain with Autostar. This certainly is alot of kit for the same money! Many thanks again for your help. I really do appreciate it. Take care. HughMike here: Thanks for the update. Is your new scope the LXD55 or LX90? I recently acquired a LXD55 8"SC and have a new website: www.weasner.com/lxd.
I've now got the LXD55 8"SC.
Subject: RE: Broken viewfinder on ETX-125 Sent: Saturday, February 1, 2003 6:35:42 From: AlanM@peoplepc.com (Alan McDonald) To: firstname.lastname@example.org I had the same sort of problem with one of mine, but I'm not sure where yours split - on mine, the eyepiece and diagonal were in one piece, and the tube with the objective lens was the other piece. I have two of these viewfinders - the one that I bought for my ETX-60 has threads at this joint, but the one that came with my ETX-125 did not. There were no threads, and it looked like it was a press fit with no adhesive either. I simply mixed up some strong epoxy, and used a finish nail to lay a small amount on the optical tube along the flange and shoulder (didn't want to get any inside the unit). I then pressed them together, gave the tube a slight twist to insure that it was set well and to spread out the epoxy better, and left it to cure. It has been great ever since! If yours came apart between the eyepiece and the diagonal, then I can't offer direct advice, but I would think the same thing would work. Just make sure that you do not get any epoxy on the eyepiece in a way that it glues that parts together that move while focusing. Also, I would not use any kind of "superglue" on this. It cures through a chemical reaction with water vapor in the air, and vapors that result can deposit on the optics inside the eyepiece viewfinder. This won't happen with epoxy - plus you have more time to work with it if something goes wrong. Just be sure that you can put it in the proper orientation and leave it alone until it is fully cured - checking too soon will weaken the bond. Good Luck! Alan McDonald
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