ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 29 February 2004
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT. Additional information on these models is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.


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." (royl@mchsi.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: karsten.kluge@ruhr-uni-bochum.de
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: karsten.kluge@ruhr-uni-bochum.de
Home: http://homepage.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/karsten.kluge
Mike 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 (twsnagel@shaw.ca)
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,
Tyler
Mike here: Scopetronix has these.

And:

Thanks, Mike.  Can't believe I missed such an obvious supplier.

Subject: request help please
Date: 2/26/04, 14:31
From: LEE WILSON (lee.wilson30@btinternet.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.
 
lee
Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page; your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM.
There is no user-installable upgrade for the #494. You can use a #497 with the ETX-70.

Subject: image detail
Date: 2/25/04, 07:15
From: Luca Levoni (llevoni@ranahispania.com)
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 Levoni
Mike 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 (alex_dj2004@yahoo.com.mx)
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" (kevin.f.behan@cgey.com)
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 Behan
Mike 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 (alexander@deruwe.be)
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 Deruwe
Mike 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 (jackfox@mindspring.com)
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 Fox
Mike 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 (lbharrison@bellsouth.net)
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 Harrison
Mike 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 (dhahne@pinn.net)
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
USA
Mike 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 (pwhutchison@tiscali.co.uk)
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
 
Peter
Mike 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 (bob_evans@tiscali.co.uk)
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 (gmlj@bellsouth.net)
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, Gus
Mike 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 (lchurch@netdirect.net)
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.
LouChurch
Mike 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 (bob_evans@tiscali.co.uk)
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 bob_evans@tiscali.co.uk

    Kind Regards
    Bob Evans
Mike 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.

And:

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 (manjusri@comcast.net)
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...
Followup on my Microsoft comment: it now appears that one of their "partners" released it.

Subject: etx70-at computer control question
Date: 2/12/04, 08:20
From: Joe Roberts (jroberts@cyberzaius.com)
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.

joe
Mike 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 (jwhawk04@yahoo.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.

And:

Thanks, oh by the way great site!!

Subject: ETX-70 Hard Stops and other questions.
Date: 2/8/04, 14:27
From: R&JS (rosenjoe@charter.net)
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.

And:

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." (roysbrew@comcast.net)
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,
Roy
Mike 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 (mbossie@pivot.net)
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,
Mike
Mike 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 (lee10@fsmail.net)
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,

Lee
Mike 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 (kevin_wailes@yahoo.com)
Do you know of an accessory which would allow me to piggyback a camera
on my ETX70?
 
Thanks

Kevin
Mike here: Scopetronix has them. You could also make one; see the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page.

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