Last updated: 29 February 2004
Subject: Re: The user who wanted to know if the 506 and software was compatible with XP. Date: 2/28/04, 06:16 From: "Roy Lindberg Jr." (email@example.com) Yes they are compatible with windows XP. The cable is a simple com port cable and the software uses the com port. I have used MOST of the programs available for controlling telescopes on computers and they have ALL worked under Windows XP. Hope this helps... Roy
Subject: MEMORY-PROBLEM ETX-70AT WITH AUTOSTAR 494 Date: 2/26/04, 15:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I am owner of an ETX-70AT and last I noticed, that it is not possible to save any user-defined objects. Always a memory-error (ERROR: NO MEMORY) occurs, if I try to save any data. The memory-statistic always shows 0.1 KByte. (Just so after a reset) Now my question: Can you tell me, in which chip the ,user-data' are stored? And if so, is it possible to replace it WITHOUT loosing any other (internal) data? Thanks a lot for your answer and your help. Best regards from Germany. Karsten -- Karsten Kluge eMail: email@example.com Home: http://homepage.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/karsten.klugeMike here: There is some info on the #494 in the article "Repairing #494 Autostar" on the Autostar Info page. But the best solution would likely to be to get a #497 Autostar.
Subject: Screw-on Solar Filter for ETX-60/70 Date: 2/26/04, 15:23 From: Tyler Nagel (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm turning to you after a couple of hours of fruitless web searching. I'm interested in doing solar observation with my ETX-60 but I'm really concerned that I get a really good solar filter first. I don't want to risk my eyesight for a pretty view. I don't want to seem snooty in any way. I know that mylar filters have been used safely for years by astronomers, but I am concerned about pinpricks (even though they say they are harmless) and other damage. I like the greater durability of a glass product. The other requirement that I have is that it be screw-on, not slip-on. Your story about your experience with a slip-on filter in your review of the Coronado solar filter really got me thinking. I don't want to risk someone brushing my scope (it could be me, even) while I'm looking at the sun. I've looked all over, but I can't find a screw-on solar filter for the etx-60/70, glass or not. Do you have a suggestion? The other possibility would be fabricating a cell out of a screw-on dew cap, or lens cap, but I don't know if it's worth the effort. Thanks, TylerMike here: Scopetronix has these.
Thanks, Mike. Can't believe I missed such an obvious supplier.
Subject: request help please Date: 2/26/04, 14:31 From: LEE WILSON (email@example.com) please can you help me, my autostar is in german it is a 474 it does not support multlanguage, can the rom be flashed and where can i get from, i have a etx -70 at telescope would the autostar 479 be compatible with it? thanks for your time and any help. leeMike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page; your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM.
Subject: image detail Date: 2/25/04, 07:15 From: Luca Levoni (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hello, excuse my English, Im from Spain. Im owner of an ETX 70 with autostar. My question is, for planetary observation (Jupiter), is better 9mm eyepiece with x2 barlow (77x) or 5mm eyepiece without a barlow(70x)? I think that the second option give me the best quality image. Can you confirm this? The 5mm eyepiece with x2 barlow (140x) , maybe give me a poor quality image to see details from Jupiter or Saturn? Thanks Luca LevoniMike here: Typically image quality is reduced somewhat with a Barlow Lens. Whether you will notice the degradation will depend upon many factors, including the overall instrument optical quality, the optical quality of the eyepiece and Barlow Lens, the seeing conditions, and user experience.
Subject: Some questions about the ETX-70!! Date: 2/24/04, 21:18 From: Alex Gonzalez (email@example.com) Hi Mike great see you..you have great homepage and great way to answer all our questions about our new telescopes.I purcharse the ETX-70 and know it's a very good scope, you can have so much fun on it and becuase it's my first scope i dont expect too much of a view on it (there are much better that i may purcharse on the long run) this one is just to learn the basic and get the maximum of it. well anyway i have some questions about it: 1) I just went to a telescope shop here were i live (Monterrey, Mexico) it's the best one on all the city and i ask for the cable #506 with the astrofinder software so i can control my etx-70 with a laptop, now the problem that i had is that after first asking the dealer if it's compatible with windows XP, because it clarly says on the box only for windows 95,98 and NT so i ask the dealer what about XP and he told me it is not complatible with it, it's that true it cant run over windows XP (the astrofinder software that comes with telescope or with cable #506)???? 2) Now i am interested in astrophotograpy with this little toy, can i use a ccd camera (thinking about one of SAC7) on the etx-70 or it's too much cam for it?? can I use this kind of CCD camera with my ETX-70??? i know that for long exposures the etx-70 is not good but i lesast i could take some intreresting ones with this one...so..it 's ok if i can use it on it??? i am asking this because in the long run if i buy a bigger scope i could use this camera too with it so i kill 2 birds with one shot, so i need some advice about it. I think this is all..sorry if my english it's not very good, i am spanish native speakr but i guess i can defend myself very good on english, hope you can answer my questions and thanx to giving all etx users some real info about them. Sicerely. Alejandro Gonzalez (from Monterrey, Mexico)Mike here: I don't know if it will work with XP (since I avoid Windows whenever possible). But it may not. However, you can make (or buy) a #505 cable and use that with a #497 Autostar (which you would have to get). Then you could use just any of the Autostar programs for telescope control, including the Autostar Suite from Meade. Yes, you can use something like the SAC imagers, or webcams, or digital cameras, etc, with the ETX-70. OR you could get that Autostar Suite, which comes with the Lunar Planetary Imager. See my article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Autostar Info page for more info.
Subject: ETX 70-AT: Confirmation of magnifications Date: 2/24/04, 08:42 From: "Behan, Kevin" (firstname.lastname@example.org) I purchased an ETX 70-AT not so long ago as a 'beginners' telescope, and have been very happy with it so far - each clear night (few though they are here in the UK!) seems to reveal to me a new, breathtaking sight - the Rings of Saturn, the cloud belts of Jupiter, the Moon, my first double star (Albireo), the Pleiades.... A x3 Barlow Lens was included in the price when I bought the 'scope, and I am trying to work out whether it's worth getting a x2 as well. I have searched through various articles and feedback emails from your great site, and I believe that I've worked out that it probably isn't worth the expense, but I'd appreciate if you could cast your expert eye over this to make sure my understanding and figures are correct. ETX 70-AT - focal length = 350mm ETX 70-AT - aperture = 70mm Theoretical magnification limit = twice the aperture, so 70 x 2 = x140 Eyepiece magnification = focal length / eyepiece, so: Eyepiece No Barlow x2 Barlow x3 Barlow 25mm x14 x28 x42 9mm x38 x64 x116 6mm x58 x116 (x175) 4mm x87 (x174) (x262) So it seems to be that getting a x2 in addition to my x3 is pointless - I can get up to x116 magnification, but I can get that anyway; higher magnitudes exceed the focus limit. Is this all right? Many thanks for your help. Kevin BehanMike here: Your math is correct. So yes, there is very little need to get the 2X Barlow Lens.
Subject: ETX-70AT first (ever) observation - question Date: 2/23/04, 03:27 From: Alexander Deruwe (email@example.com) Google took me to your ETX site a while back when I started researching for a good starter telescope. Great site, thanks! A good friend of mine and myself purchased a used ETX-70AT. It is my first telescope ever; Kaneda used to have a grocery-store model years back. The same night we bought it we noticed a very bright "star" right smack in the center of my front window. Manually aligning the scope on it (we're still having massive troubles with the autostar alignment; no worries there though, we're attributing these to user error and will figure it out soon enough), I immediately recognised the "star" as Jupiter because of the cloud bands I think I saw. Focusing on it way differently also showed four moons. Now our question is the following: did we actually see the cloud bands on Jupiter (9mm Meade EP, 2x Barlow, good seeing) or are these bands just artifacts of messed up focus? I.e. should the cloud bands be visible only in the actual focus where the moons are also visible? I hope I explained this right. We're a little puzzled if we actually saw detail on Jupiter's "surface". If doubtful, purchasing a 5mm (or 4mm, but that would be pushing the scope's maximum) should provide better planetary views, right? Another quick question I'd like to ask: when i reverse the direction in which I'm turning the focus knob, it takes a couple turns before the focus actually changes. Am I correct in assuming we need to reset the focus knob as described in the manual? Thanks in advance for your time, Alexander DeruweMike here: Yes, you can see cloud bands on Jupiter with the ETX-70. The focus should be the same as for its moons, since both are effectively at the same distance. The max usable magnification (theoretically; exceedable on good nights on bright objects) for the ETX-70 is 140X. For more on the max and magnification see the FAQ page. The way the focus mechanism is designed it can take several degrees of rotation before a change may become apparent to your eye. So, I wouldn't recommend making any mods until you know something is needed. However, a focus knob cable or something other type of extender can help when focusing.
Subject: Etx 70 RA drive noise Date: 2/22/04, 18:04 From: Jack Fox (firstname.lastname@example.org) I was using my ETX 70 tonight. I have had it for 1 1/2 years with no problems, excellent go-to's. But tonight, it had a grinding noise when the RA drive began moving during slewing. It occurs in the same place and the gears would moan and slip whenever it passed this spot. I stopped it and turned it off. I manually rotated it and it would stop at that same point. With a little force it would move again. I brought it in the house and rotated it again, but this time it spins freely. What could have caused this? My warranty has expired. Is it easy to open the base and look inside to see if there is an obstruction without being an engineer? Thank you for all your help. Jack FoxMike here: Sounds like something may have failed or a wire wrapped up. You can easily open the base and take a look. There are several articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page (the ETX bases are similar for all EC/AT models). But whether you can repair it will depend upon what happened.
Subject: ETX-70 Date: 2/22/04, 10:21 From: Larry Harrison (email@example.com) Since the ETX-70s handset cannot be updated (as I understand from your site), the #506 cable goes into the AUX port on the telescope motor. So, the #506 cable is good only as a telescope guide through appropriate (certain) astronomy software? Thanks, Larry HarrisonMike here: You are correct. Currently Meade has not made a user-installable update to the #494 available.
Subject: ETX Sensitivity to Supply Voltage Date: 2/21/04, 17:52 From: Dave Hahne (firstname.lastname@example.org) The Meade power supply that came with the used ETX-70 that I bought has died. I have replaced it with a Radio Shack 12 VDC 1000mA power supply. The new supply puts out about 13 VDC (not sure what the original put out) when measured with a volt meter with no load. The battery pack, of course, is only 9 VDC. Question: How sensitive are the encoders to the supply voltage? I have had some alignment problems since making this change. Some I have tracked down to the azimuth lock down not being tight enough (I had also changed to a polar mount at about the same time as the power supply switch and this seems to have highlighted the slippage). I have tighten this up as much as I dare (when "loose" it is much stiffer than the altitude when loose). Should I train the drive again with the new power supply or are there other calibrations I should try? I have gone through the 5 part tune-up series put issues of the power supply are not mentioned. Any thoughts or pointers would be much appreciated. Thanks. Dave Hahne Poquoson, VA USAMike here: Yes, doing a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES when swapping power supplies can help. Let me know if it does for you.
Subject: ATX-70AT Autostar 494 Cable #506 problems Date: 2/21/04, 02:13 From: Peter Hutchison (email@example.com) I wonder if you could post the following question on your site. I am having problems trying to make my telescope operate from a PC...... I have an ATX-70AT with an Autostar 494. I would like to be able to operate the telescope from my IBM PC so I bought a #506 cable. The 506 cable is plugged into the AUX port on the telescope (does not seem to be a socket on the autostar). The other end of the 506 cable is a 4 pin phone cable. It doesn't seem to work when I plug it into the modem port on the pc (COM3)... the Astronomer's control panel says there is something else on COM3 (there is -the modem!!). After reading this site and a few others, am I correct in assuming I need an additional cable that converts the RJ11 phone socket on the end of the 506 cable to a 9 pin serial D socket? If this is the case why do Meade not include this in their pack? I am a novice and have spent nearly 2 weeks tinkering with this trying to make it work! I would appreciate it if anyone could give me any pointers Many thanks PeterMike here: The #506 (and #505 for the #497) plugs into a RS-232 serial port, not a modem port. There should be an adapter to convert to a DB-9 serial connection.
Subject: re: Autostar Language Date: 2/19/04, 12:00 From: Bob Evans (firstname.lastname@example.org) Again, thanks for you promt response, I tried the suggestion from your FAQ page but no luck!. I've learnt a little bit of German now so at least I can use the telescope. I will look out for a 497 as you suggested, and also look on e-bay as suggested by Vampire Le Stat who had the same problem last year. Thanks again Bob Evans
Subject: ETX-60AT Manual Date: 2/18/04, 18:30 From: Gus and Martha Lee Johnson (email@example.com) Does anyone out there know where I can find a copy of or download a copy of the users manual for the Meade ETX-60AT? Also what type of cable do I need to connect it to my pc? Thanks in advance for any help I can get, GusMike here: For manuals, check the FAQ page on the ETX Site. If you have the #494 Autostar you need to purchase a #506 cable (which can not be easily made). Alternatively you could purchase a #497 Autostar (or a #495 which can be upgraded to a #497) and then buy or make a #505 cable (info on the Autostar Info page).
Subject: ETX 70 Date: 2/17/04, 21:39 From: LouChurch (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have acquired an ETX 70 scope with rings and plan on attaching it to my LX200 8" SCT to use with my 201XTE guider. Any suggestions or comments would be very much appreciated. Has anyone else done this? and with what success? Thanks. Great site. LouChurchMike here: Should work. You'll probably want to get a set of Losmandy brackets.
Subject: Autostar Language Date: 2/15/04, 06:57 From: Bob Evans (email@example.com) I have recently been given an ETX 70AT, but the equipment is from Germany. The Autostar 494 controller obviously displays its information in German, is there any way to reprogram this to display in English?, or is it hard wired. Thanks for providing a great site full of information. Please repond to firstname.lastname@example.org Kind Regards Bob EvansMike here: You can try the tip on the FAQ page but it probably won't work. You could get a #497 Autostar and then you'd be OK.
Thanks for the promt response I will check it out.
Subject: Quality control on Meade (ETX-70) Telescopes Date: 2/13/04, 08:40 From: Krishnan Padmanabhan (email@example.com) Recently I decided to purchase a telescope for our children, and chose to order the ETX-70 from J&R in New York. I have so far returned two apparently faulty telescopes to them, and am awaiting shipment of the third. Both telescopes (in sealed Meade boxes) arrived with some fine dust on the body of the telescope (which was wrapped - not sealed - in a plastic bag). The plastic eyepiece holder cover was loosely held in one case and completely off in the other. The first unit was returned because the vertical drive would not engage unless the lock was tightened almost to the breaking point, and even then not consistently. The second unit had a small piece of tissue (looked like normal bath/household tissue) lodged within the eyepiece holder, which I found when I removed the plastic cover. Furthermore, there was sufficient lint on the *inside* of the objective lens (within the OTA), that it was clear that this was the result of some less than careful cleaning. A call to Meade established that this was "... not normal at all" and the unit needs to be returned. In going through your archives, I see a few reports of odd problems on new ETX-70 telescopes (e.g. "oil" in the battery compartment - from October 2003). I am beginning to wonder about the quality control on Meade's products recently or worse, if refurbished products are being passed off as new... This is just an FYI, in case others are noticing similar issues. Thanks. Krishnan.Mike here: Hard to say whether such problems are the norm or just an occasional hiccup. Based upon the percentages I hear about, I suspect someone just wasn't as careful as they should have been. Sort of like someone at Microsoft accidently letting Windows source code onto the Internet...
Subject: etx70-at computer control question Date: 2/12/04, 08:20 From: Joe Roberts (firstname.lastname@example.org) First, thank you for putting together such a fantastic collection of telescope information. I really admire you for doing it. Second, I'm writing because I have a question I'm hoping you might be able to help me with. My friend has a ETX-70AT, but the Autostar and tripod were stolen from his car. We still have the base (with the HBX and AUX ports) and I'm wondering if getting the #506 cable would let us control the telescope with a computer, or if we would need to get another Autostar also. (Does the computer tell the Autostar where to go, and then the Autostar tell the telescope? or can the computer directly control the telescope base?) We are interested in this because my sister has a Digital Rebel and we got the t-adapter and t-mount to attache the camera to the scope. We've taken a few nice pictures, but would really like to be able to easily track objects for longer exposures. If this was a higher model of ETX scope I'd just build the serial cable, but the #506 cable has the special electronics, and I'm guessing I'd still need that for the ETX-70AT. Thanks for any illumination you can provide, and again, thanks for such a great site. joeMike here: The Autostar does have to be the loop; the computer controls the Autostar, which in turn controls the telescope. Since a new Autostar would need to be purchased anyway, get a #497 (which works fine with the ETX-70); you can then make the #505 cable. And do updates too! If you can find a used #495 you can update it via software to a #497.
Subject: Help with etx70 serial conection Date: 2/9/04, 12:01 From: J Weaver (email@example.com) I have a Etx70at (autostar controler #494) and have just purchased the Meade LPI with the autostar suite. When trying to link my computer through the serial port to the AUX port witht the suplied cable I get a timed out error. I have tried 2 different computers both running Windows XP. I have no other serial devices to check my ports, but I show no conflict or system errors. I also ohmed my cable out and according to info on your site, and it checks good.Also when I attach the cable to the port the telescope fails to slew. Any sugestions as to what if anything I am doing wrong?Mike here: The first step is to get a #497 Autostar. The Autostar Suite (and the supplied #505 cable) does not work with the #494. But you can still use the LPI since it doesn't require the use of the Autostar for imaging. I describe this in my article Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Autostar Information page.
Thanks, oh by the way great site!!
Subject: ETX-70 Hard Stops and other questions. Date: 2/8/04, 14:27 From: R&JS (firstname.lastname@example.org) Does the ETX-70 have hard stops? I dragged out my ETX-70 -- which I have not used for months -- and went through some practice alignments in the living room in preparation for using it tonight. I rotated the scope on its base and found no hard stops -- are there hard stops? If not, what prevents cord wrap? Will my 497 controller work on the ETX-70? Finally, I understand the 494 controller on the ETX-70 cannot be upgraded as we do the 497 -- right? Thanks. ---- Joe S.Mike here: Neither the ETX-60 nor the ETX-70 have hardstops. Due to the design cord wrap is prevented on these models. Yes, the #497 will work. No, the #494 can not be (currently) user updated. Meade has not released any user-installable updates.
Thanks for your reply -- I really appreciate all that you do. ---- Joe S.
Subject: ETX 70-AT Camera Mount Equipment Confusion Date: 2/5/04, 21:35 From: "Roy E. Claverie, Jr." (email@example.com) I am completly confused as to what equipment I would need to take pictures with my ETX70-AT. I want to try shooting the moon and the planets. I have had some great looks at Jupiter I would have liked to capture. I have a Canon Rebel 2000 EOS 35mm camera. Everytime I find what I think I need I see a review or find another part that seems to contradict the first one. I think I need the T Adapter Meade Number 64 T Mount Adapter for Ext Telescopes and a Meade T Mount Ring for Canon EOS Camera Body. Does this sound right? Am I missing something here? Also how do these pieces work together? Does the T Mount attach to my lense, then the mount ring, and then the camera? Thanks, RoyMike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography page as well as the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page for LOTS of info. Yes, you need the 64T and a T-Ring to attach the 35mm camera to the ETX-70. The ETX then acts like a 350mm telephoto lens. The adapter screws onto the rear port of the ETX and the T-Ring screws onto the camera body (with the lens removed). Then Ring mates to the adapter.
Subject: ETX-70EC External Power Date: 2/5/04, 14:20 From: Mike (firstname.lastname@example.org) I think you have a fantastic site, it's helped me a lot in determining what scope I wanted to buy along with a few other forums. I have an ETX-70EC the power jack on the control panel states 12v. In theory should I be able to plug an external (12v battery) to the scope without damaging the controls? Keep up the great service you have going here. I'm sure it helps thousands of people with ETX questions. Thanks Again, MikeMike here: Yes, you can attach external power supplies. See the power section on the Telescope Tech Tips page for lots more important info.
Subject: ETX-70AT Date: 2/4/04, 04:48 From: Lee Johnson (email@example.com) A fantastic site and just to say keep up the good work. My question is this, I have a ETX-70AT telescope with a 9mm and 25mm lens, I usde the 9mm lens and I have no real problems in focusing and alligning but would like some advice on how to focus properlly in on objects and planets. For example the Moon looks very impressive and well focused in the 9mm eyepeice but when foucusing on Saturn or Mars, all I can see are the constellations and that's it. Do I need a 2x Barlow Lens or anything else? Kind regards, LeeMike here: Keep in mind that the ETX-70 is a short focal length telescope. Therefore magnifications are small compared to longer focal length telescopes. So Mars will appear not much more than a "pinhead" right now. Saturn and Jupiter will appear larger, especially with the 9mm eyepiece. Adding a 2X or 3X Barlow Lens will double or triple the size of the image you see.
Subject: ETX70 question Date: 2/3/04, 04:51 From: Kevin Wailes (firstname.lastname@example.org) Do you know of an accessory which would allow me to piggyback a camera on my ETX70? Thanks KevinMike here: Scopetronix has them. You could also make one; see the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page.
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