GENERAL FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 29 February 2004
This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX and DS models. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject: ETX 125 motor unit fault error
Date: 2/29/04, 11:47
From: Karen Terry (windysea@candw.ag)
I also have a problem with the EXT-125.  Each time I have used it I get
the same error, the MOTOR UNIT FAULT.  Needless to say, I don't use it
much because it isn't dependable.

I have phone Meade and they told me to replace the batteries, I wasn't
using batteries, I had the  Meade power adaptor plugged into a UPS
(uninterrupted power supply).  I live in Antigua and anything electrical
of value you use a UPS and not a surge protector.

I have phone the company that I purchased it from and they told me
different steps in setting it up (turn counterclock wise until internal
hard stop, back clockwise until the arms line up, then lift the whole
thing and  point north, with the tube parallel to the ground).  They
also told me to check out your website!!  I still get the motor fault
error!  For me it seems to happen when I am trying to view the same
object for a period of time (e.g. the moon or Venus).

Do you have any other suggestions?  I have read your webpage on this but
there doesn't seem to be any different answers then what I have tired.

Please help!!
 
Karen Terry
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES? Have you set the proper telescope model and mounting mode? You can also try a RESET, CALIBRATE, and TRAIN DRIVES. Also, check the connections. Don't overtighten the axis locks. And if the problem still occurs, if you don't have the latest Autostar ROM, upgrade it using a #505 cable, Windows, and the software on Meade's site.

Subject: Star party
Date: 2/28/04, 18:50
From: Dan Hester (rdhester2@earthlink.net)
Any more word on the Star Party?  Be glad to have it here in North
Carolina if the site at    Dr. Clays is not available.  But I would
rather go there , of course.  Just offering.  Dan
Mike here: I will post on the Site when there is something new to post. And thanks for the offer. We'll see.

Subject: FW: Oops !!
Date: 2/28/04, 13:31
From: Nyah Gohil (Nyah.Gohil@bigfoot.com)
I have an ETX-125EC. The lever of the horizontal lock (the silver
plastic thing labelled  '9' in the instruction manual) has snapped in
the clockwise position (with the horizontal motor drive clutch engaged).
Will this affect the functionality of the telescope ?

Also, can I can simply just order this part and replace myself or would
I have to send the whole top assembly to meade to get it replaced ?
 
Thanks for you help.
 
Nyah
Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page; your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the ambiguous subject entry.
You do need to engage and disengage the axis lock so you must be able to move the shaft the lever is on. You could use a wrench to do that but the lever would be better. Contact Meade; they will likely send you a replacement.
Thanks for the reply. I'll get in touch with Meade.

Is it easy to replace the part ? I get the impression you know the
telescope inside-out. I thought you might have opened up the base
housing sometime in the past and had a look inside.

I don't want to open it up and bugger up any wiring/motors and ruin the
calibration or something like that (you probably figured I am a newbie).
Easy it ok to open up the housing to replace the part without ruining
anything else ?

Thanks again. 
MIke here: If only the lever is broken there is no need to go inside the base. You just loosen the setscrew on the side of broken one and lift the lever off. Place the new one on and tighten the setscrew. If you do want to go inside for some reason, there are many articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page that describe this.

And:

Thanks for you help. Much Appreciated.

Would like to take this opportunity to say that you have an excellent
website. It is one of the reasons I bought the ETX. I look forward to
reading all the info on it.

Nyah

Subject: 
Date: 2/28/04, 09:50
From: BlairLS20@aol.com
Hey guys,

Just wanted to say to everyone I love this site.

I recently purchased the hard case for my 125 from telescopes.com.  I
wish I would have read this page before purchasing my case.  The guys at
telescopes.com were great and everything went smooth, I received the
product faster than I had anticipated and the case was as promised.  I
did realize very quickly that it wasn't big enough to carry everything I
wanted.  I contacted Telescopes.com and these guys are something.  No
bitching they just told me to ship it back and they would be happy to
refund my money.  I can't say enough how enjoyable buying things from
these guys has been and I feel a little bad about sending the case back,
however I'm on the way to sears to pick up that craftmans tool case.

I would recommend that for the savings and what you get, don't buy the
Meade case, it's just too expensive and doesn't hold enough.


Thanks again.

Blair
Blairls20@aol.com
Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette page; your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing subject.

Subject: Attaching the ETX to the field tripod
Date: 2/28/04, 01:19
From: Stephen Bird (stephen.bird@btconnect.com)
To: Clivemorris@gwynedd.gov.uk
Clive,
 
To make this task a little easier, go to your local "model and hobbies"
shop and buy some white luminous paint and some adhesive white labels.
Paint an ahesive label with the luminous paint and allow it to dry
thoroughly, as some paints outgass and can cause problems with the
scopes optics. When dry cut two donut shapes from the adhesive label.
The inner hole needs to be the same size as the fixing holes on the
scope and the outer hole no more than 12mm (1/2") larger. Stick these
around the fixing holes on the base of the ETX.

Now instead of trying to locate two black holes on a black background
using light reflected from another black background, the luminous
surrounds give you a good target, and for light weight scopes such as
the ETX, it makes the job much easier.
 
Regards
 
Stephen Bird

Subject: how objects appear
Date: 2/27/04, 19:00
From: Carla Rowe (cbrowe@comcast.net)
Hi, this seems like a ridiculous question but... When I look at objects
through the view finder they appear to be at right angles. For example,
Jupiter's bands are in a vertical position. Is this normal? I am
positioned so that my head is in alignment with the scope. When I set
the scope up objects appeared as is, it is only when viewing sky objects
do the objects appear off. Any help would be appreciated.
Carla Rowe
Mike here: Jupiter's cloud bands are roughly oriented East-West. So when viewing Jupiter (currently in the East as darkness falls), its cloud bands can appear vertical with a telescope mounted Alt/Az.

Subject: Yahoo.groups
Date: 2/27/04, 13:27
From: yagis (yagis@piggysurf.com)
Is your site on the Yahoo.groups???
I am not sure if I am a member!!
 
Regards,
 
Billy.
Mike here: My ETX Site is on the web. There is an unrelated ETXASTRO Yahoo Group.

Subject: Mac cable
Date: 2/27/04, 10:16
From: Michael DiOrio (mpdiorio@mac.com)
I received my LX 200 serial cable from Charles Turner today.So he must
be getting the messages and orders through Paypal.
That;s good for us Mac dudes.
Michael

Subject: RE: Attaching the EXT90EC to the #844 Advanced Field Tripod
Date: 2/27/04, 01:35
From: Clivemorris@gwynedd.gov.uk
TWe are a family of 4 in a small house and space is very limited so I
store the ETX OTA and mount in a suitcase in an Ottoman trunk in our
bedroom and the tripod is kept to the side of my wardrobe. My 80mm
refractor( which is now over 100 years old) is kept in the shed.It is
much easier to mount on its tripod than the ETX.

With time I am sure I will find the attachment process easier but I
still think that Meade could have made the design Less fiddly.

Keep up your wonderful job with your website
Best Wishes,Clive(Morris)

Subject: cables
Date: 2/26/04, 17:19
From: Michael DiOrio (mpdiorio@mac.com)
I have a serial cable for my ETX 125 from Charles Turner and want one
from him for my LX200 gps but his emails are being returned.I paid him
through Paypal and Paypal says the transaction was completed. I was just
wondering if you might know what's up with him pr heard from anyone else
of any problem.
thanks
Michael DiOrio
Mike here: Sorry. No info.

Subject: finder on ETX105
Date: 2/26/04, 12:39
From: Jeff Phillips and ML Church (phichu@epud.net)
Thanks for a fabulous service!

My nose hits the finder when I use smaller eyepieces.  It's a shame,
because the optics are so good.  Has anyone suggested a solution?  I
read through about a year of ETX105 archive, but didn't see an answer.

Thanks,
Jeff
Mike here: Most users will rotate the finderscope in its bracket such that its eyepiece is pointed outward.

Subject: Attaching the EXT90EC to the #844 Advanced Field Tripod
Date: 2/26/04, 08:32
From: Clivemorris@gwynedd.gov.uk
I must admit I find attaching the ETX90EC to the #844 Advanced Field
Tripod a trifle awkward and not too easy to accomplish at times and find
myself wishing that Meade had devised a easier way of attaching the
ETX90EC to the field tripod. The bit I find awkward is aligning the
screws on the tripod to the holes on the bottom of the ETX90EC mount.

I am probably not the most practical person in the world I must admit
but I think some other observers must have trouble as well.

Am I alone,or is this a problem other folk have as well? Are there any
tips to make the task a little easier,please? I have looked on your
website

but I can't see anything

Best Wishes,
Clive.
Mike here: Yes, mounting a telescope/base on most tripods is not usually an easy process. Everything has to be aligned and then tightened down before you let go. With some telescopes this is a two-person operation. Personally, I leave my ETX mounted on the tripod under normal (non-travel) conditions.

Subject: new etx-90ec...how does it work?
Date: 2/26/04, 06:19
From: [removed]
I bought an etx-90ec with the autostar and many extra lenses for my Dad
this past Christmas. He has been extremely busy and hasnt had the
chance to use it. When I last visited I attempted to set it up for him,
but I was completely lost. I took it out on the back patio and simply
pointed it at objects. After realizing that I was seeing everything with
no magnification, I attempted to set up the autostar but was not able to
do that correctly either. It was too cold to stand out and keep trying
to set up this telescope, but I am going back to visit soon and want to
be able to set it up correctly for him. I need a lot of help! I dont
even know how to focus on an object! Could you please send me to a link,
or email me very detailed instructions on how to set up this brand new
scope with autostar?? I need very simple instructions. I was unable to
follow the instructions that were included as well as the instructions
on the actual autostar. And one more question should I set up the scope
without the autostar first, in order to get used to how it works? Thanks
for all your help! Your site has been very helpful.
Mike here: First off, here's what I alwsys recommend for new users: DO read the manual, three times. Learn to use the telescope indoors where you can see what you and the telescope are doing. This avoids the pressures and frustrations of trying to learn something new in the dark while being impatient to actually see something. For further info on the Autostar alignment process, see the Autostar Info page as there are several articles there. Once you've done these things, if you have specific questions or problems, feel free to write.

Subject:
Date: 2/26/04, 04:32
From: Todd (todd@contactmedia.com.au)
I left my 105 with my father, (the lucky sod lives atop a remote
mountain, in a dark, dank rainforest) for a considerable amount of time
so he could experience the wonder in his sky. Sadly, the fecund climate
helped my scope develop a nasty case of fungal/lichen/moss infestation
of the main mirror. (See attached photo, which actually looks worse than
it is). I've read a great deal about not touching the internal mirrors,
and have tried a blast of hp air, but to no avail. Terrestrial viewing
is somewhat foggy. Is this DYI fixable? (If so, how?) Or should I simply
take it to a shop?

Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance 

Todd F. Cole
ETX

Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Site home page; your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing Subject entry.
If the "fungus" is only on the surface you can follow the cleaning info in the article "Cleaning Optics" on the Buyer/New User Tips page. If the aluminization has been damaged, then it will have to be resurfaced.


Subject: Re: ETX125: Sidreal Tracking Motor Errors...
Date: 2/25/04, 20:34
From: John Manson (jmanson@telus.net)
To: Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com
Thanks Dieter:

I've been playing with this over the last few days.  Firstly, I removed
the motor control panel from the bottom and made sure that the optical
encoder didn't have any grease on it.  It looked clean, and the problem
didn't go away when I reassembled the unit - so that wasn't the culprit.

Mike had indicated that the probelm might be in the controller unit
itself, so I took that apart, and cleaned all of the contacts (There's
not much to the unit).  At this point I haven't been able to make the
'motor startup' problem reappear, so at this point I'm assuming that
cleaning the contacts on the controller was the solution - but since it
was an intermmittnent problem to begin with - the jury is still out.

There's an autostar waiting for me at the post office, so I'm hoping
that it won't matter anyways as I'll probably just use it instead. 
Looking forward to driving this thing from my palm pilot!!

Dieter - one question on the problem - when the motor doesn't turn on, I
find that the mode key doesn't work on the controller, so you can't
change from polar to alt modes using the keys - the only way you can do
this is to change the 'screws' on the back of the unit to force it into
a different default mode when you repower the unit.  If the tracking
motor initializes properly, then the mode key does work, and you can
switch modes using the keys.  Did you find the same??

John
And:
to keep it short: I never tried it (nor even knew there's a way to
change between Alt/Az and RA/DEC mode via the keypad...)  The only
keypads I know DO work in the 'problem state' are up/down, left/right
and speed setting. What I meant with switching to Alt/Az was to loosen
the knob of the mounting and set the whole telescope from polar to
horizontal orientation WITHOUT any logical mode switching. But it looks
like your cleaning has worked fine, so keep fingers crossed.

Enjoy your hobby,
Dieter 

Subject: New owner to an ETX telescope
Date: 2/25/04, 10:30
From: BurrDMB@aol.com
Having just purchased an ETX 105 - i've got to compliment you on your
site.  Its full of useful info and the links have helped me enormously
in my first steps into the wonderful world of astronomy.

I live in England in a small town on the south coast - called Wimborne,
and have the benefit of a southerly aspect and dark skies so i should
have no excuses for lack of suitable viewing. (my only excuse is lack of
experience!!)

Keep up the good work and you can be sure i'll be a regular visitor to
your site.

Kind regards from England and myself

David Burr

Subject: Use of Meade ETX series as ground spotting scopes
Date: 2/25/04, 09:44
From: Will_Bray@Dell.com
Trying to find user feedback and experiences using the Meades as
spotting scopes.  I'll of course use it as a telescope, but want to know
its performance for looking at ground-based objects.

Thanks.  Your site is a great service.

Will Bray
Mike here: The ETX makes a fine spotting scope; Meade even sells spotting scope versions (minus the base). Search the Site for "birding" or "terrestrial"; you'll get hits.

Subject: McNeil's Nebula Alert
Date: 2/23/04, 22:29
From: Lang Michael (p38mrl@hotmail.com)
I just stumbled across a news alert on Space.com about a new discovery
in Orion discovered Feb 8th by an amateur named McNeil. The report
claims he was using a 3 inch telescope.

Not sure if you have alerted the ETX folks, but this looks like a
fairily significant dynamic event that may be short lived.

Too bad I'm TDY in Lompoc with only a pair of 7X50's !

Mike Lang
Mike here: It was a CCD attached to a 3" refractor.

Subject: ETX 90 or 105 or 125
Date: 2/23/04, 19:46
From: my boss (mytinyfoot2002@yahoo.co.uk)
Concerning the portability and performance (optical and goto accuracy),
which one is better? I have a C8 now.
 
BF
Mike here: The GOTO system is the same. The smaller telescope is the most portable (obviously) and the largest will provide the best views (obviously). For more specifics, I suggest you read through some of the User Observations on my ETX Site.

Subject: Daisy Red Dot BB Gun Sight tip
Date: 2/23/04, 07:10
From: "Zak, Mark - BLS" (Zak.Mark@bls.gov)
I happened to be driving past Wal-Mart one day and remembered that this
site mentioned that the Daisy BB gun red dot sight would be a good tool
for aiming my ETX-90 RA telescope.  So I purchased the sight for $8.95
(this one doesn't have the light dimmer.)  I wasn't exactly sure how or
where I would mount the sight on the ETX-90.  Then I remembered that I
had some zip ties in my tool box.  At first I thought I could mount the
sight to the OTA, but the zip ties that I had were not long enough.  I
also wasn't too keen on strapping anything directly to the OTA for fear
of scratching the finish. Then I realized that I could strap the Daisy
sight to the top of the finder scope.  This has actually worked out
quite well because the Daisy sight sits high enough so that Polaris can
be viewed through the sight when Polar aligning (as we all know, Meade's
finder scope cannot be used to Polar align the telescope.)  
Instructions are included with the Daisy sight for how to adjust the
alignment.  Otherwise, align it the same way you would align the finder
scope.

This optional position of the Daisy sight is not the most elegant
solution, nor is it the sturdiest.  I used black zip ties, so they can't
be seen at night, but they are very noticeable in the daylight.  This
solution works fine if you do not transport your telescope frequently. 
I can see how the sight would be knocked out of alignment very easily. 
However,  if you use your telescope only in your backyard, this is a
very easy inexpensive modification that makes finding bright stars and
planets extremely easy.


Sincerely,
Mark Zak
Meade ETX-90 RA

Subject: I am a beginner
Date: 2/23/04, 04:08
From: Ishaq Ebrahim (ishaq@icegroup.co.za)
Recently I was invited by my colleague to experience a night with them
at their observatory. It was an amazing experience; I would also start
and make this my hobby, the question is: where do I start? I would like
to use a telescope from home. Would you please advice me on the
equipment to use as a beginner?

Kind regards

Ishaq Ebrahim

South Africa
Mike here: There is no simple way to start off answering this question. You might start with the Sky&Telescope web site (www.skyandtelescope.com); they have a section on telescopes and beginning topics. Once you have some basic knowledge, then you can decide HOW you plan to use a telescope and can start your research on telescope models, features, accessories, portability, etc. Of course, your budget enters into this as well. For info on the ETX and DS models, read through the User Observations, Buyer/New User Tips, and feedback pages on my ETX Site and LXD55 Sites.

Subject: ETX RA Lever
Date: 2/23/04, 03:20
From: geheniau@xs4all.nl
Also my RA lock broke! I am very carefull with my ETX90 but it's really
a bad plastic lock.

Do you or others happen to know where and how I can get/buy a new RA
lock. I live in The Netherlands, Europe, so......? For the time being I
use my broken and superglued lock again, but I hope I can get a new one.

Thanks,

Job Geheniau
The Netherlands
RA Lever

Subject: Re: Re: ETX125: Sidreal Tracking Motor Errors...
Date: 2/21/04, 00:46
From: "P. Clay Sherrod" (drclay@arksky.org)
To: John Manson (jmanson@telus.net)
Never attempt to remove the bolt from the RA axle; disaster follows 9
times out of 10 without question.  It is indeed best to clip the wires
at a "workable distance" and perhaps patch a bit longer wire when
fitting back together.  In some cases, if you are handy with wire
fitting, you might consider equipping the wires with snap clips for easy
removal in case you need access in the future.  However, soldering will
be just fine; I always recommend using heat shrink tubing for
reconnecting wires in the telescopes however, as I feel like it is far
easier and even safer when you consider the chances of renegade solder
accidentally dropping on any of the small control panels.
 
Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory
10 Observatory Hill Drive, Petit Jean Mt.
drclay@arksky.org
MPC/cbat Obs. H41 / Petit Jean Mountain
MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway
MPC/cbat Obs. H44 / Cascade Mountain
And this feedback:
From: Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com
Hi John,

I know the problem you described on Mike's site. It happens some times
with my ETX-125EC (about two years old). What I found out is that it
does not depend on battery power or temperature. If it does not 'kick
in' then there is nothing you can do (e.g. pushing with your hands or
tightening/loosening the RA clamp does not change anything)

What works fine with me is: If it happens I switch power off and move
the telescope either back into Alt/Az direction or in a direction where
the telescope 'tends' to move in the same direction (it's never 100%
balanced) as the tracking will and switch power on again. I never had to
do this more than twice to get it work and as soon as it tracks you can
set back into the desired direction. So for me it looks like the motor
may not start to track depending upon the 'initial resistence'. It never
happened to me with the AutoStar, only with the Electronic Controlller,
BUT most of the time (when going for planets or 'known' objects) I DO
use the EC.

May be that helps you,
Dieter

Subject: velcro strips
Date: 2/20/04, 22:54
From: jason Hughes (NICKELSONS@peoplepc.com)
I.m glad to hear I was not the only one to do this. I looked for accs.
plates and ways to mount my autostar and focuser control, but couldn't 
find anything under 100.00 so I went to home depot and was standing next
to checkout aisle and saw ind. strength velcro. I light went on in my
head and bang. It works fine if installed above eyepiece plate on tripod
legs. Again thanks for your quick tips Mike! michael nickelson defcon7y2 

Subject: 497 Autostar and 884 Tripod
Date: 2/20/04, 18:40
From: Paul Zadach (PZ886@msn.com)
I set up my new ETX 125 on the 884 Tripod but there seems to be no good
place for the 497 Autostar to be placed at when not in use.  In the ad
pictures, there seems to be a place to hang it on the tripod, as there
is in my 70 AT.  Am I missing something here, or do I need to create my
own system or buy an accessory?
 
Thanks,
 
paul
Mike here: Yep, you are missing something. A short strip of velcro. Meade doesn't supply it but you can easily add one piece (the sticky side) on each tripod leg and one piece (the soft side) on the back of the Autostar.

Subject: Viewfinder alignment question for ETX-125EC
Date: 2/20/04, 11:27
From: Darius Kaufmann (dariuswind@bigzoo.net)
Thank you for your ETX-125EC article -- It was very helpful, and I just
ordered the flexifocus.  I thought you might be able to help me with
something:

I find it difficult, time-consuming and a plain nuisance to align the
viewfinder with the eyepiece each time I go out with the telescope. 
Although I'm a beginner, I'm good with my eye and finger coordination,
but this is HARD to do at night.  (I don't have the luxury of aligning
with a terrestrial object during the day, since I have to break down the
scope between sessions.)

Are there any tips you might have, or accessories you would recommend,
to make viewfinder alignment easier?  At the moment, I dread dealing
with this each time I go out.

Thanks so much for your selfless work!

Regards,

Darius Kaufmann
Mike here: Why are you having to realign the finderscope every night? As long as you are not removing it or otherwise disturbing the alignment it should not need this every night. And yes it is a pain to align; just the nature of aligning almost any finderscope on almost any telescope. You have to use patience. I usually just work on one end or the other. For night time aligning using Polaris (in the Northern Hemisphere) as it won't move much in the time it takes to align the finderscope. Finger-tighten the three screws on one end; loosen the three on the other end; using your fingers hold that end of the finderscope such that the crosshairs put Polaris in the "crotch" of the hairs (do not put the hairs directly on top of Polaris, thereby hiding it); using your other hand gentlely tighten the three screws; tweak as necessary.

Subject: ETX-90C ETX90EC
Date: 2/19/04, 04:14
From: zage (age@bluewin.ch)
First please excuse my bad english,and excuse that I disturb you ! I
hope you can help me.

What is the difference between the scopes ETX-90C and ETX-90EC ??

It would be verry nice,if you could mail me an answer.

Many thanks and kind regards from Switzerland.
Georg
Mike here: I'm not familiar with an "ETX-90C" model. If you mean the difference between the AT and EC models, see the Announcements - Meade page on my ETX Site.

And:

Many thanks !!
Georg

Subject: ETX125: Sidreal Tracking Motor Errors...
Date: 2/18/04, 21:40
From: John Manson (jmanson@telus.net)
Firstly, a really great site - lots of great stuff - very much
appreciated for new ETX owners like me.

I've purchased a used 125 which is working reasonably well except it
needs work on the horizontal clutch which I plan to do myself.

But one problem which I haven't been able to find a 'fix' for is the
sidreal tracking operation when the unit is put into polar alignment
mode (I presently do not have the autostar - but one is coming).  About
one time in 20, the unit will initialize into sidereal tracking mode,
most other times the motor doesn't come on at all.  The controller is
set to default into polar alignment mode, so it should come on every
time I turn on the computer after it activates both horizontal and
vertical motors briefly.

In the horizontal clutch 'fix' page, it talks about an optical sensor on
the horizontal motor - could it be that the optical sensor is not
working properly such that the computer can't initialize itself in the
horizontal direction??

Any advice would be appreciated.
 
Thanks Mike.
 
John
Mike here: When you first power on, the Standard Handcontroller initiates a "calibration test", running both drive motors for a few seconds. Once that it is finished, it should go into what default mode you have set. Are you sure it isn't tracking in Right Ascension? The drive will be very quiet.

And:

This happens every time - both the horizontal and vertical motors run
briefly...

It is set to polar - north (left screw is out on back of unit)

yes it is very quiet - but it only runs about one time in 20 or 30
'reboots' of the computer.  The other times it is completly silent, and
won't track objects.  I can manually turn on the horizontal tracking by
keeping my hand down on the R-A controller in slow mode (speed 4 or so),
but it will come to a complete stop when I relase the button.  Except
every once and a while when the tracking does in fact activate properly.
Whatever calibration it is doing, it is not sucessfuly running the
'test' most times I suspect, so it isn't turning on the R-A motor.
Mike here: The calibration runs at each power on, not just the first one. It runs both drives. Sorry if I confused you. But since the RA drive does not kick in as it should, the fault could either be in the handcontroller or the ETX itself. Since you have an Autostar on the way, I suggest you don't do anything to try to "fix" this until you see how the Autostar works. If there are no problems, then the problem is likely in the handcontroller.

And:

Thanks Mike - good advice.

I also found an acticle on your site about grease in the optical encoder
system interfering with the calibration process - so if the autostar has
the same problem I'll look at that area.

By the way - I've got to do the horizontal clutch fix for the main shaft
(it is slipping), and I'll need to remove the bolt which has the wires
inside the bolt.  About how many revolutions is it safe to unwind the
bolt before running the risk of wire breakage?  Is it best to unsolder
the wires from the bottom, and pull them through, and reverse the
procedure when putting the thing back together?  I'm OK with soldering,
but I'm not too interested in modifying the unit to hang an external
wire - I'd prefer to leave it internal through the bolt as per the meade
design.

John
Mike here: I have forwarded the last to our resident hardware expert, Dr. Clay Sherrod.

Subject: ETX Finders: Which Image is better?
Date: 2/18/04, 10:48
From: dan ko (dankjv@yahoo.com)
I was trying out the ETX finders in a store. The straight through 8x21
had an upright image whereas the right angle 8x25 had an upright but
reversed image.  Is a correctly oriented image easier to use than a
reversed one when scanning the sky and looking at charts? I guess the
straight through might be better for terrestrial views because you can
look ahead where the action is while sighting an object. I also noticed
that the cross hairs on the straight though were out of focus without my
glasses on even though the image was in focus. Is this normal? The clerk
said that there is a diopter adjustment near the eye but I couldnt get
it to make the cross hairs sharp. What does it mean that you cant use
the straight through finder for polar alignment? Is it you cant or its
a pain in the neck? I would rather get an ETX105 with the RA finder than
have to buy one later for the ETX90. Thanks again for your help and a
GREAT web site. Dan.
Mike here: Finderscopes are obviously an aid to getting the telescope pointed at the right object. For astronomical use, orientation of the view doesn't matter ONCE you understand the orientation. It may take some time to learn to move the telescope to the left or down when the charts or your "gut" say up or right. As to straight-through or right-angle, both have their pros and cons. Some people can't handle looking down at the tube when the tube is pointed skyward, so a straight-through works best for them. But then, with the fork mounted Alt/Az ETX, you can't use a straight-through near the Zenith. Decisions, decisions, decisions. (Some people use both...)

And:

Based on this I can see why someone with an ETX90 would buy a RA finder.
But why does Meade ship 90's with the straight through finder? Is it
cheaper or better suited for the size of the tube? I can see the 90
being popular for terrestrial views and a properly oriented erect image
in the straight finder would be better here. Have you heard of any
problems with the RA finder being too close to the eyepiece in the
ETX90? If they all came with the same finder I would not have to
consider this when deciding between the 90 and 105. Thanks. I'm going to
love looking through my scope once the pain of indecision is over!
Mike here: The RA finderscope is a little tight on the ETX-90. I have the Shutan (Apogee) Right-Angle Convertor on mine and find it works well enough.

Subject: ETX Electronics
Date: 2/18/04, 06:22
From: John Zylka (zylka@worldnet.att.net)
To: Dale Kretzer (dkretzer@inreach.com)
Dale,

I found your message regarding ETX Electronics dated July 29, 1999 on
Mike Weasners site.  This might be a dumb question.  I am not very
knowledgeable about electronics; but I am interested in purchasing an
alternative to batteries.  My ETX-125 eats batteries.  In your message,
you mentioned a 12 volt DC power supply in the 500 to 300 ma range.  I
am interested in purchasing a 12 volt supply in either the 1.2 or 4.5
amper hour range.  Since you are talking milli rather than whole
amperes, would these power sources be too powerful or likely to burn up
my telescope?

Also, is your suggestion about the Radio Shack DC connector very much
cheaper than $22.50?  This is the price at ScopeTronix for the Meade
#607 25 ft automotive power cord.

John Zylka (jzylka@worldnet.att.net)
Mike here: There is a lot of power supply info on the Telescope Tech Tips page. For the ETX-125 you'll want 1500mA.

Subject: Temperature equilibrium for Binoculars
Date: 2/17/04, 17:07
From: Carl Schroeder (Plumber098@comcast.net)
Thanks for all the assistance with the website. Simple question I have
not seen the answer to in the 10 months or so that I have been looking.
Should I be concerned, or better yet, do binoculars have to reach
temperature equilibrium with the surrounding air to reach optimum
performance or are they less affected than a telescope?
Thank you
Carl Schroeder
Royal Oak Michigan
Mike here: Since the volume inside the tubes is (normally) much less than with larger telescopes, the cool-down time would be dramatically less. But if they have been stored at high temperatures, letting them cool down will improve the views. But whether you would notice or not might depend upon your experience as an observer, the objects being viewed, and the surrounding environment (ie, other heat sources).

Subject: My trials with Meade finally resolved!
Date: 2/17/04, 13:59
From: Michael Teige (mteige@yahoo.com)
You might not remember but awhile ago I was moaning about my ETX 90ec
that never, ever tracked correctly no matter what I or any of my other
stargazer friends did.

To top it off the #883 tripod legs failed and the scope took a bit of a
shock when I reached out to save it, missed my mark and it hit the
sidewalk. Severe damage occurred with the OTA and fork assembly. It was
still somewhat useable but in dire need of repair.

At first I got nowhere with Meade on the phone as they just blew me off
saying they would not support a 2 year old scope for free.

I sent them a fax telling them how upset this whole affair made me and
how my interest in stargazing has been greatly diminished due to all the
problems this scope had.

I said I was very disappointed in Meade and how the supervisor I spoke
to gave me horrible customer service by calling me at home and leaving a
voicemail that blew me off.

I had told him in a voicemail to not call me at home during work hours
as there would only be an answering machine to greet him.

He took the easy way out and gave me the brush off in a voicemail.

I called him back repeatedly but always voicemail and never a response.

Well after I sent my fax Meade called me back and told me they would fix
my scope for free no matter how damaged it was.

My wife called me and told me it arrived back today and I will take it
out for a spin tonight (if the sky is clear).

Meade did drop the ball at first but they recovered nicely and my faith
in them as a company is restored. My wife is not 100% sure if they fixed
my old scope or sent a new one but I will know right away once I get a
good look at it when I get home tonight.

If it is my old scope I sure hope the repair techs did lots of testing
on the tracking abilities.

I cant wait to start tracking sunspots again with my Badder solar
filter as we have been having some rare sunny days up here in the
Seattle area.

Later,
-Michael Teige
Monroe, WA

Subject: re: Cleaning the flip mirror
Date: 2/17/04, 08:32
From: Bart spreeuwenberg (bart_spreeuw@hotmail.com)
Yes, I'm sure it is dust on the flip miror. I had already tryed to
rotate the lens and the oculair.
and I can clearly see the dust hairs (just a couple) wirh my naked eye.
I don't see them as I use my 25, 9 or 6 mm oculair.
Mike here: Since they don't interfere with viewing you are probably OK with them being there. But if you want to try to remove them, get a air-bulb type dust remover from your local camera store and use to gently blow a shot of air from the squeeze bulb across the mirror. With luck, they won't land anyplace that would make matters worse. DO NOT use compressed air from a can. Nor should you blow air from your mouth. Doing either can result in moisture (or worse) getting on the mirror.

And:

Thanks for your tips.

I think I'll just leave them there, I'll let them pay some rent. Thank
for your help, now I know what to do.

Greets Bart

Subject: Altitude Setting on #884 Tripod
Date: 2/17/04, 08:31
From: Andy Jackson (4jacksons@sbcglobal.net)
I am useing a Meade #884 tripod with a ETX90-RA and having RA tracking
issues.  I can find no clear reference point on the tripods latatude
block that would indicate where the marks on the rod are to be fixed.

I am including a "Multiple Choice" diagram of the block in hope that you
can tell me if the latatude should be set in relation to point "A", "B"
or "C" (or "D-None of the above").

tripod
-Andy in San Antonio. 29:29:10.990N X 98:33:34.027W
Mike here: I don't have a #884 but I took a look at the manual (from Meade's site). It says on page 2:
"4. Determine the latitude of your observing location from a road map, atlas, or the LATITUDE CHART FOR MAJOR CITIES OF THE WORLD, provided in your ETX manual. Loosen the latitude control latch (4, Fig. 4) and adjust the latitude control bar (3, Fig. 4) so that your observing site's latitude is just visible above the flat surface of the tripod head. Retighten the latch. (See Fig. 4)"

Subject: ETX 90, 105 or 125 ?
Date: 2/17/04, 05:43
From: Amr Saif (amr@doctor.com)
I'm new to the world of telescopes and want to buy a good quality
telescope that will last for long time.  After reading many comments
compairing ETX series telescopes and veiwing Photos taken by them,  I
still do not know what is the real difference between them.  I
understand the technical differences between them, but what is the
difference in what you see at the end ? and what if I buy the most
advanced ETX-125 model will it satisfy me for a long time or I'll have
to shift to another in the future....  given that all what I want from a
telescope is to enjoy observing the sky and astronomical events.
Mike here: Typical advice: buy the largest aperture telescope you can afford AND will use. Note these two requirements may counter each other. The best telescope is the one that GETS used and doesn't sit in the closet because it is too cumbersome to set up. SO, you need to decide HOW you want to use a telescope, what your needs are (portability, astrophotography, etc.). And don't forget your budget; you will likely want to purchase additional accessories over time. You can read the User Observations page for actual user reports of each of those telescope models.

Subject: ETX Eyepieces and problem with dealer
Date: 2/17/04, 02:06
From: B F (aus99a@hotmail.com)
To: webmaster@joltz.org
I read your problem about the eyepieces.  It made me very angry that
they are doing this dishonest act.  I got mine ok through Camera House
in Sydney but you can only get the eyepieces through the store you
bought your scope from.  I would say you are 100% correct-  the store
you went to has used yours or someone's purchase to buy the eyepieces
for themselves!!

Which store was it? Contact their head office & contact Meade asap.
Threaten the store and tell them you are contacting Meade and the
Department of Fair Trading in your state.  The set should cost you
approx  AUD250-299.

Mike, Meade should be made aware of this.  Surely this in one very
special case where you can give this chap a contact email or fax number
at Meade. Things are so much harder for us over here for these matters.

Good Luck
Bill Farmakidis
Sydney
And:
From: joltz (webmaster@joltz.org)
Yeah in Australia the retailer has to send away for it for us, its $150
here. Every other store seems to do it except for the store I went
through, the authorised dealers page was basically a list of stores that
sold the meade products, I rang up a few of them they told me they cant
help me cause I went through a different dealer. Im thinking that there
has to be someone in Meade that handles and talks to the authorised
dealers, my problem now is how will i contact him/her.

Subject: ETX Eyepieces and problem with dealer.
Date: 2/16/04, 19:47
From: joltz (webmaster@joltz.org)
I was hoping maybe you could help me with a matter and point me in the
right direction.

When I purchased my ETX125 in October the store at the time had a
eyepiece set, the same one that Meade was offering as a redemption
offer. It was on sale for $600 claiming it has been reduced from $1500.
When I asked  about the eyepieces they refused to acknowledge the offer,
claiming it wasnt available in Australia, I told them it was and that
other stores were redeeming it, he then told me theyre store doesnt do
it.

A couple months later in December i had a small problem with my etx125,
so i returned it to my retailer for warranty.

When my telescope finally returned back to me, the store gave me copies
of all the original receipts and warranty work receipts to keep as my
records. On a copy of the sale receipt in the same hand writting i
noticed the following sentence, 'For proof of purchase for Meade eye
piece set'.

So obviously the store has redeemed the offer but kept it for themselves
or to either sell it at a higher price like i noticed in the window the
first time i purchased my etx.

I asked the store about this and they claimed that it wasnt for the
offer, they said that they cant get eyepieces to sell unless they sell a
telescope. Which i feel is a lie, as im sure Meade would make eyepieces
to sell to retailers. Ive been trying to contact someone in Meade but
there are no email address on theyre page, and I cannot call outside to
the US on my phone, i tried to call from a public phone but 5 minutes
cost me over $30 and i didnt have any other money to continue the phone
call, and calling again may eventually cost me to much money.

Would you know anyone i could email in meade in regards to their
reseller in australia? Or know of any stores selling the same eyepiece
kit that could honor another stores receipt? Or even maybe a 2nd hand
one i could buy at around the same price.

Paying $600 for something that should be mine for around $100-150 is
ridicoulos,  i feel the store has lied to me and being decietful also
and im not sure where to start.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.
regards
 
Ignatius
Mike here: I don't think retailers can sell the eyepiece set for $99 (USD); it is available only through Meade, at least in the United States. I don't know how Meade handles it in Australia. You might check the Meade International web page (www.meade.com/authdlrsintrnl/index.html) and contact some of the companies listed there.

Subject: Image shift with electric focuser
Date: 2/16/04, 16:28
From: "John D. Fuqua" (johnfuqua@gdsys.net)
I get an image shift when using the Meade electrie focuser in my brand
new ETX125.  Is this normal?

Good site.  Thanks
John

Mike here: Some slight image shift is normal with the ETX design (due to the moving mirror for focusing). But it should not be extreme. Using the electric focus CAN make it more noticeable due to the higher torgue applied to the focus shaft. HOWEVER, if the electric focuser is not mounted correctly it can push the shaft sideways which would result in abnormal image shifting.

And:

The image still stays within the eyepiece, at least with the 26mm which
is all I have tried at this point.  How would I know if the electric
focuser is not mounted correctly.  Seems to be simple in design and hard
to mess up when mounting.  Single screw.  Not enough torque??
John 
Mike here: You can tell if it is mounted incorrectly if it is cockeye-ed or makes a strange noise when running. If neither of these is the case, then you probably have it mounted correctly.

And:

thanks for the help 

Subject: Cleaning the flip mirror
Date: 2/16/04, 12:31
From: Bart Spreeuwenberg (bart_spreeuw@hotmail.com)
First of all. Thaks a lot, this site is an important thin for man kind.
Really great.

You already have helped me with mars viewing, but here's an other
question. I have a problem with dust on the flip miror. (really don't
know how that came there) I'm very afraid of damaging the inside of my
etx 70, but I have to remove it. I see it when I use my 4mm eyepiece,
its just a couple of dust things. Could you please tell me how I cam
remove it?
 
Greats from holland.
Mike here: Are you SURE the dust on the flip mirror is what you are seeing when you look through the eyepiece? If you rotate the eyepiece in its holder, do the spots stay fixed or do they move? If you remove the rear port, flip the mirror up, and view through an eyepiece held there, do you still see the spots? Cleaning the flip mirror is not something to be undertaken lightly; it is possible to knock it out of alignment, scratch its surface, and general make things even worse.

Subject: Which ETX Better For Terrestrial Veiws?
Date: 2/15/04, 10:08
From: dan ko (dankjv@yahoo.com)
Does aperature rule in daylight too - will the 90 show a dimmer image?
For daytime photography f ratios of 15-19 seem very slow compared to
camera lenses. Does this mean long exposures are required? Do all of the
models have a tripod socket on the tube? Is the 105 or 125 too heavy to
mount and use by the tube on a camera tripod? Does the straight through
or right angle finder have any advantages in terrestrial viewing?
Thanks for your help... Dan.
Mike here: The ETX telescopes can be used for daytime terrestrial visual and photographic purposes. Keep in mind that when you take photographs through a telescope it is like using a very long telephoto lens. For example, at prime focus the ETX-70 is a 350mm telephoto, the ETX-90 is a 1250mm telephoto, etc. When is the last time you saw a fast f/ 1250mm telephoto? Whether you want aperture (increased detail) or longer focal length will depend upon what you want to do. Light gathering power for daytime use is not really factor. Yes, the all have tripod mounting holes on the tube BUT, due to the increased magnification, you will need a STURDY photographic tripod to avoid vibrations due to mirror flip or shutter movement or even a slight breeze. As to the finderscope, the image is upside down, which can be distracting in terrestrial use. For daytime visual use you might want to consider the Meade "Erecting Prism"; see the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page.

And:

Thanks for the reply. Does this mean that I would see greater detail
with the larger scope not a brighter image in daylight? I have a 500mm
mirror lens (f8) for my camera and the images are fine on bright days
but there is a round dark spot in the middle which shows up when it gets
darker. I guess is the central obstruction shows with less light. That's
why I was wondering if a slower f ratio would show this obstruction
sooner as evening approaches. I just bought an ETX90 but am thinking of
exchanging it for a 105 or 125 if one would be better in daylight.
Thanks for a great site!  Dan.
Mike here: Unless you need the longer focal length, I doubt that you will get better images for daytime use with a larger aperture telescope. Remember, you will also be magnifying the heat waves that will be present during daytime use.

Subject: See you in March...
Date: 2/15/04, 08:07
From: Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
We're taking a 3-week driving vacation in New Zealand.

As of 6am on Monday 16th Feb, i expect i'll be offline until late
Tuesday March 8th. 

I'll be bringing the ETX90, and  that may be why the 10-day forecast
for the entire New Zealand South Island is wretched...

At the moment, we're not planning to bring the laptop (the dismal
weather forecast may change that, and we may have who-gets-to-use-it
battles). 

I -am- carrying down a set of 4504 motors to someone who had his die
(he has a 105 on order, so Meade's diabolical marketing system is
working).

have fun
--dick

Subject: Pelican 1610 Case
Date: 2/14/04, 08:54
From: m.a.g@comcast.net
I had recently purchased an ETX-125AT, after ten years of not having a
telescope at all. It really is great having such a nice scope, since the
last one I had was a home-built 4-1/4" newtonian. I want to thank you
for your site, it has helped me decide what I really wanted, and the
wealth of information you have compiled is extraordinary.

The real reason I am writing to you though is because I spent a long
time looking for a good hard case that wasn't going to cost me too much.
I have five children at home and I decided that having a top line hard
case was necessary! To keep myself from rambling too much I have found a
site that carries the Pelican 1610 hard case w/pick-n-pluck foam for
$150 plus shipping. You can find then at
www.all-pelican-cases-4-less.com, these guys really have the best prices
I have seen yet. If you happen to find a case somewhere else for less
they will also beat the price by 5%. They promised to ship within 24
hours and kept to it. Hopefully I am able to give a little back for all
that I have received from your site.

Thanks much, and keep up the great work.
Matt Gray

Subject: meade eyepiece deal
Date: 2/12/04, 13:59
From: otaku69@msn.com
Hey,  I love your site and I've been there many times and even posted a
few questions.  The new meade deal is awesome.  But unfortunetly I've
already purchased my telescope two years ago.  I was wondering if you
would be willing to make a posting for me, so that if anyone was out
there who was planning on purchasing a telescope without the special
deal would be willing to allow me to work with them  and order the
eyepiece set since they are not interested in purchasing it, I am
willing to pay a nominal fee for whoever is willing to help me out.

thanks alot
Jon Germano
olympia was

Subject: RE: New Telescope, Touchy Focus-THANK YOU for your help!
Date: 2/11/04, 12:15
From: Jake Myers (jacob.myers@insightbb.com)
I bought a flexible focus knob from the local store here in Lexington,
and it helped immensely.  I appreciate the help and the great service
you provide to beginners like myself.  Oh yeah, my ETX thanks you too!

Jake Myers

Subject:
Date: 2/11/04, 11:39
From: MICHAEL SANDERS (michaelsanders580@msn.com)
i was degreasing my ra clutch just like the scopetronix site said and
was really carefull not to pull the wires out of the center bolt . now
when i put it back together i get a motor fault on my autostar . my
keypad still moves the scope . what could i have done .

       thanks mike
Mike here: Please read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page; your message was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing Subject entry.
Have you done a CALIBRATE? If that doesn't work, do a RESET, CALIBRATE, TRAIN DRIVES. If that doesn't help, you may have left an encoder dirty (which the standard controller doesn't care about).

Subject: Trying to decide between ETX-90 AT- w/UHTC coatings and a EXT125-EC for the same price
Date: 2/10/04, 14:48
From: Mark_Taylor@longbeach.gov
Thank you for your site and all of the wonderful information!  My son
and I are beginners in this and I am looking to purchase our first
telescope.

I have done some research -- much on your wonderful site BTW -- and
think the Meade EXT will be pretty hard to beat.

I was planning to purchase the new ETX-90 AT- w/UHTC coatings but have
an opportunity to purchase a new EXT125-EC for roughly the same price. 
I am wondering if it is better to buy an older ETX-125 EC or the newer
ETX-90 AT.  I've tried to find a comparison between the older & newer
models (EC vs. AT) but have not had much luck.  What would you advise?

Thanks in advance for your help!
Mark

Mark W. Taylor
Mike here: See the Announcements - Meade page for the info on EC vs AT. As to which model, -90 or -125, keep in mind portability if that is a factor to you. I would definitely go for the UHTC option whichever model you decide to get.

And:

Thanks for your very quick reply.  

Mark

Subject: which barlow
Date: 2/9/04, 14:15
From: yagi (yagis@piggysurf.com)
Can you tell me which x2Barlow will be good purchase regarding quality.
I need shorty type either meade or Celestron. The Celestron has good
reviews.
 
MTIA,
 
Regards,
 
Billy.
Mike here: I have only the Meade #126 and find it OK. Yes, some people like the Celestron one. But if you have an ETX-60 or -70 you should really consider the Barlow Lens for the model to ensure that all eyepieces will focus.

And:

I have ETX125EC 

Subject: focus knob
Date: 2/9/04, 13:50
From: John Zylka (jzylka@worldnet.att.net)
I am trying to attach a flexible focus knob to my ETX 125.  Can you tell
me what size hex wrench is used to remove the existing focus knob?

Thanks.
Mike here: Unfortunately, my measuring tool has been shown to be inaccurate. I used the hex wrench that came with either the telescope or the Scopetronix Flexifocus to remove mine.

Subject: ETX 125 in extreme weather
Date: 2/9/04, 09:49
From: Keith McColl (dkmccoll@sympatico.ca)
I have a new ETX125. I live in Southern Ontario, Canada where winter
nights can get down to - 20 degrees Celcius quite frequently, and
sometimes even lower. I would like to store my 'scope in my unheated
shed, rather than carrying it in and out of the house. I have heard a
whisper that the UHTC coatings are vulnerable to cold. Is there any
truth to this? If so how can I protect my scope from this kind of
damage?
    Keith McColl
Mike here: I haven't heard about the UHTC and cold but storing the telescope in such cold temps will affect the lubrication, batteries (if you leave them in), and perhaps even make the plastics brittle. None of this is good. I don't recommend storing the ETX in an unheated shed at such low temps.

Subject: Spongey Dec clamp on (new) ETX-125
Date: 2/9/04, 09:22
From: "Davies, Paul G (GE Consumer Finance)" (Paul.G.Davies@GE.com)
First, thanks for a great site!!

I have been the proud owner of an ETX-125 for just over a week, and
though I have only have a single evening of viewing due to the weather
(February in the UK is not ideal!!) I am extremely impressed with the
optics.

That said, I have noticed that the OTA seems to be a bit springy, in
Dec. For example, with both axes locked, if I gently press the lens end
of the OTA in RA, there is almost no give, but if I do the same in Dec
(i.e. vertically up or down) the scope has a small obount of give. It
moves no more than (maybe) 3 or 4 mm, but feels like its clamped against
something made or rubber. When I do this I see the tube and the clamp
move, but the forks and base remain rock solid.

To be honest, this is more annoying than a major issue, except that it
means that when focussing at high mag, the image jumps up and down al
lot. However, If I attach a camera, the 'sag' in the dec clamp means the
scope points higher than it does with just an eyepiece, throwing the
alignment off.

Have you come across this before? Is there a solution?

BTW, have you ever though of adding a discussion forum to the site?

Thanks again.

cheers

Paul Davies
Mike here: The locks are friction-type, just like your car brakes. If you push your car while the brakes are on you can still move it. Same with the ETX; if you push the tube by hand it will move. Normally this is not a problem since you will be slewing using the handcontroller. However, as you note, when you add weight on the OTA, like a piggybacked camera, the optical axis can shift some, throwing off the Autostar's alignment. You can do a SYNC on a nearby bright object and get the alignment reset. Or you can add the camera before you do the initial alignment. The problem you see when focusing at high magnifications is (hopefully) not related; it is called "image shift" and some small amount is normal with moving mirror telescopes like the ETX (and others).
As to a discussion board, yes, I've thought of that but there are many alternatives (Yahoo Groups, Newsgroups, etc) that don't see any gain for me since I would moderate (read all postings BEFORE they get posted) anyway. As it is, since I use a Macintosh, I have automated some of the steps with Applescript, making it much easier to run the Site.

And:

Thanks for your reply. I appreciate that the locks are friction locks,
and that you can move the OTA by hand. I suppose in a mass produces
'scope tolerances are not going to be perfect, and there will be a small
amount of play in the mechanism. I was really more concerned that there
more give in the Dec axis than RA. Having said that, re-syncing the
'scope will probably solve (if not cure) the problem.

Do think the 'scope would benefit from a 'SuperCharge' tune up from Dr
Clay, given that it is brand new, and also that the cost of return
shipping from/to the UK would bring to the total cost to over $600 (!)
Mike here: As to the slippage, which you described as "more annoying than a major issue", doesn't sound like it you should spend big bucks for that. Since the ETX was not designed to be used that way (although people do it continuously and successfully), there isn't much that can be done to modify the clamping mechanism to prevent the slippage.

And:

Fair enough. Thanks for your thoughts.

cheers

Paul Davies

Subject: Re: h-alpha
Date: 2/8/04, 22:36
From: Robert Cantor (rcantor@att.net)
If you can still get one for $ 800 get several:

      Type: AS1 series thermally stable with hard non-degenerating coatings.
      Aperture: 40mm
      Wave length: 6562.8A (H alpha)
      Bandwidth: <0.7A
      
Prices on this page do not include shipping or adaptor plates. That
information is avaliable in the accessories section of the web site. All
prices are subject to change.

Package 1 is priced at $1,265.00 and designed for use on telescopes with
focal legths of <500mm.
-SolarMax 40
-T - Max 40
-BF 5

Package 2 is priced from $1,450.00 and designed for use on telescope
with focal lengths of <1000mm
-SolarMax 40
-T-Max 40
-BF 10

I did find one review which put the daystar and coronado about equal on
cloudy nights.

Bob C.

Subject: Viewing Venus with ETX and LX90
Date: 2/8/04, 21:34
From: Becky (rebecca.cover@ntlworld.com)
Sorry to trouble you, but I have a problem as I am quite very new to
amateur astronomy.  I have an ETX 105 and have recently aquired an 8"
LX90.  Here in the UK we have had awful weather.  But yesterday managed
to take both scopes out to have a look at Venus.  I dont know whether we
were doing anything wrong, we were using the 26mm super plossl eyepiece
that meade supplied with both scopes and also tried the 2 x barlow lens
but when viewing Venus, she seemed to be jittering about.  Is this
normal, could atmospherics cause this or is it because we didnt let the
scopes cool down. When viewing the stars though they seemed fine.

Thankyou for your help,
 
Becky (UK)
Mike here: If Venus was low in the sky, atmosheric turbulence will cause it to "dance about". Not letting the telescope reach "thermal equilibrium" with the outside air temperature will also cause the view to be less than crisp. See the article "Seeing Conditions and Transparency" on the Observational Guides/References page on my ETX for more info on viewing conditions.

Subject: Re: First test a success!!
Date: 2/8/04, 07:31
From: "P. Clay Sherrod" (drclay@arksky.org)
To: Larry
Wonderful and thanks  Enjoy!
 
Clay
--------------------
Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.)
http://www.arksky.org/

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Larry
    We got the ETX out tonight for its first post-supertune test.  It
    passed 100%!  My son and I brought it outside around 4:00 PM to
    align the spotting scope, put it in home position, and let it cool
    down.  At 7:30 I fired her up and did the easy align. After a quick
    and smooth slew first to Sirius and then on to Pollux she was
    aligned!  Then on to Saturn!  She was right on the money and tracked
    Saturn almost perfectly while I switched the my 6mm eyepiece. Under
    high mag Saturn was not quite as sharp as Ive seen her before bit
    the night is young and one cant expect too much living only 15
    miles from the ocean.

    The problems with the Dec are all gone. The tube seems to exhibit no
    backlash what-so-ever and she appears to track almost perfectly –
    even on batteries.

    Thanks sooooo much for your work. We are proud of the Supertune
    plaque our scope has earned.

    Well, back to my Observatory!

    Regards,

    Larry

Subject: ETX Upgraded
Date: 2/7/04, 20:18
From: JAMES W KREHMKE (jwkrehmke@msn.com)
Wanted to share the results of "first light" with my newly
"supercharged" ETX-90.  It has been several cloudy weeks since I
received the scope back from Dr. Clay.  I was almost quivering with
anticipation as I rushed outside on the first clear evening in weeks. 
Alpheratz and Castor were almost dead center when I aligned.  Slews much
smoother than before.  Starting go-tos, first was Venus - dead center, 
Saturn, ditto, then a quick tour of "tonight's best"  I never imagined
how it could be with such an accurate instrument,  Having no comparison,
I was satisfied with "sort of close, some of the time".  Now, I can
select a DSO and there it is, right in my 15mm eyepiece!  I highly
recommend this  professional service.
 
-jwk-
And:
From: "P. Clay Sherrod" (drclay@arksky.org)
Wonderful report and thanks...can you share some of that clear sky down
here in Arkansas??

Dr. Clay
--------------------
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.)
http://www.arksky.org/

Subject: Chewed up gear in RA drive of new ETX-125
Date: 2/7/04, 16:03
From: Kirk Norton (kirk0007@san.rr.com) 
I just purchased an ETX-125 from OPT in November 2003.  After reading
some of the suggestions on your outstanding site I decided to open up
the base of the scope to remove any excess grease from the RA drive
gears and look to see if any tuning up is needed.  I have had some
tracking problems, so I assumed they might be due to some of the known
problems discussed on your site.

As I was removing several huge globs of green grease from the plastic
gears with a toothpick I noticed that one of the gears (the long plastic
gear that engages the other plastic gear attached to the worm screw) is
pretty chewed up.  No teeth are broken, but they are damaged with many
gashes and dents visible.  There are also some small shavings of plastic
dangling between the teeth of this gear.  It seems to me that this would
have to be hurting my pointing accuracy.  If the teeth are changing
shape over time no amount of calibration or motor training is going to
be effective for very long.  The other gears seem to be okay.

I've attached a picture showing the chewed up gear and one of the
shavings.  The deformed teeth are very obvious.

gear damage
I have only use the scope a few times so far, and I have not run it into the stops, so I'm pretty sure I didn't do this. Should I return my scope to get a different one, or is this amount of gear damage normal? Thanks for your help. -Kirk
Mike here: Gear damage is not normal under normal operating conditions. Something would seem to have caused that wear. You can try to return it but since you made a modification (removing grease) I doubt that Meade or OPT would honor the warranty. You can try though.

Subject: ScopeTronix Flexi Focus
Date: 2/7/04, 10:02
From: Stephen Halliday (stephen@atomfire.com)
I am considering buying a Flexi Focus but wondered whether it can be
left attached to the ETX125 when the scope is stored in the hard flight
case or does it need to be removed each time the scope is used?

Cheers, Stephen Halliday (England UK)
Mike here: You would either have to remove it or cut out an slit for it to rest in.

Subject:
Date: 2/6/04, 20:28
From: Paul Zadach (PZ886@msn.com)
I'm really on the fence about purchasing a new ETX 125 AT with the
Autostar suite and case.  Do all the new 125s have the aluminum fork
arms or am I taking my chances? I don't want to spend $1500 for things
that don't work.
 
Thanks,
 
paul
Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page; your message was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing Subject entry.
The currently shipping models have the latest mods by Meade. That doesn't mean your dealer won't still have older models.

And:

Mike, your site is certainly the best one out there for the Meade
scopes. I apologize for not putting a subject line in my message. 
Thanks for your response.
Mike here: No apology necessary; I just need site visitors to understand that if messages look like SPAM they may get treated as SPAM.

Subject: ETX eyepieces
Date: 2/6/04, 14:41
From: Kelleher (markck01@12move.nl)
Hello, me again. I've just received a copy of your book (ordered via
Amazon in the UK) and it looks like it is going to answer many of my
questions.

However, on a first skim through I found the section called Blurry
Images in Chapter 2. This talks about eyepiece tubes and pieces of glass
coming loose whilst unscrewing filters.

In using my ETX-105 and seven eyepiece set bought under the Meade offer
I have sometimes found the silver tubes on the eyepieces to be loose. I
have been assuming that these tubes are just an outer holder for the
eyepiece proper and have been tightening them up as firmly as they will
go.

Am I doing the wrong thing? Should I follow the instructions in the
section Blurry Images to re-centre the loose glass before tightening the
silver tube? And do I risk breaking glass if I over-tighten the tube?

Thanks for your ongoing help and thanks for writing the book about the
ETX.

Mark.
Mike here: Yes, tightening the tube is OK. You won't damage the lens in the tube. As long as you don't see any problem, don't disassemble the tube.

Subject: h-alpha
Date: 2/6/04, 14:13
From: Robert Cantor (rcantor@worldnet.att.net)
I'm wondering if we could take a poll to see how many people are
interested in doing h-alpha viewing/imaging.  A vendor or two is
interested in producing h-alpha solutions for the ETX but needs a little
prodding that there'd be enough takers to make it worthwhile.

Thanks!

Bob C.
Mike here: Coronado makes adapters for their SolarMax H-Alpha system. Works fine on the ETX-70, less so on the ETX-90. I keep telling myself I want one but I keep putting it off. So you can count me as interested, if the price is right. We'll see what response we get.

And:

Well, maybe we can put together a group order.  I was thinking more of a
universal ETX mask, fitted to the 105 and having step up/down rings for
the others.  The 70 can get other solutions. They could all share the
same, tiltable rear cell.  I'd be more than happy to spearhead the
effort.  what do you think would be a reasonable cost?

Have you seen this?  great dso pics with a questar 3.5.  I never see ETX
pics this good - wonder why?

http://www.princeton.edu/~rvdb
Mike here: The problem with the longer focal lengths is the large f/ ratio when you stop it down for the front filter. The image brightness and crispness gets reduced a lot, at least with the Coronado system. The short focal length of the ETX-70 actually provided the better views. As to price, in order to compete with Coronado, it would have to come in under $500 and yet rival their image quality. Interesting photos; he has done some pretty serious work with a pretty serious system.
I don't think I understand.   Everything I've seen in H-alpha says they
require systems of f30-f45.   I thought the erf in front was supposed to
be matched to the unit in the back so as to give comfortable views?  I
imagine the etx 90+ mask would have to have 2 or 3 holes to get enough
light in. Personally I'd rather have just one scope to lug around, but
if the best way is to keep the 70 just for solar I could do that. 
Coronado's own 70mm scope uses their 60mm front element.  Pricing for
just the 60mm front and rear elements, no scope:

Package 1 is priced at $2,590.00 and designed for use on telescopes with
focal legths of <1000mm.  (the etx 70)
-SolarMax 60
-T - Max 60
-BF 10

Package 2 is priced from $2,865.00 and designed for use on telescope
with focal lengths of <1500mm   (the ETX 125)
-SolarMax 60
-T-Max 60
-BF 15

Unless you know of a comparative review, I don't know how to compare. 
Maybe you could do a shootout and get them to donate.  I have a 70 also
and could compare.  You can keep the 70 and I'll keep the 125  :)    The
only other manufacturers I know of are daystar, lumicon and solarscope. 
Lumicon said they were thinking about it, I believe daystar already has
something, and SS hasn't replied to me.  Do you have any info on quality
of these?  SS has great looking pics, same as Coronado.  THe others I
don't know about.  What if the price was $750?  I think if we can get 10
people we might have a shot at getting something.

Bob C.
Mike here: There are some comments on the SolarMax 40 on the Accessory Reviews - Filters page. It cost $800 (or did). It provides a 40mm front aperture for any telescope, including the ETX-70.

Subject: What kind of ETX?
Date: 2/6/04, 13:38
From: John & Andrea Beaderstadt (beady@pivot.net)
Just wondering what kind of ETX I've got.  We bought an ETX-125, with
deluxe tripod and Autostar, at Walmart last fall for ~$930 (still the
best price I've found on the rig).  I've seen 125s called "EC" and "AT,"
and I could swear my was called an "ATC" (but I no longer have the box
to confirm it).

So, what determines whether it's an EC, AT or whatever?

BTW, this scope replaced an 8" reflector on an EQ mount.  I have
problems standing and crouching, and this ETX (with observing chair) is
much easier for me to use.  The portability is also amazing; in its
hardcase, I can haul it, two roll-uptables, my chair, the tripod, and my
accessory shoulder-bag out to the car in a single trip.  Don't know why
I'd want to, but I can do it.   I'm also now looking into a Kendrick
observing tent which, I suppose, will require a second trip.  :-)

Unfortunately, since getting the ETX, the weather clamped down for
months, with virtually no observing chances (I admit to being a wimp; I
won't go out below 30 degrees above zero, F).  I've had some daytime
views of the moon, and a couple of looks at the Orion nebula and the
Pleiades, but that's about it.  I've been filling in my time by
rehearsing setup, and spying on the neighbors (which isn't that
interesting, since most of them are dead).

Your ETX page is a gold mine.  I don't recall how I found it, but thanks
for hosting it.

Beady's Corollary to Occam's Razor:  "The likeliest explanation of any
phenomenon is almost always the most boring."
Mike here: See the Announcements - Meade page for info on the EC vs AT models.

Subject: Clarification on the ETX technical site
Date: 2/5/04, 12:31
From: "Broussard, Phil" (broussard@covenant.edu)
In your web site for correcting ETX mechanical problems, located at

http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/etx_tuneup1.html

you have the following instruction:

2)  Declination "slop" in the trunions - at the top of each of your fork
arms are two beveled "trunions" which engage into holes atop the arms;
there are no bearings in these holes and there is usually a lot of slop
here, which will affect alignment and GO TO;  with the DEC clamp
engaged, gently rock the OTA back and forth and watch the tube in
relation to the top of each fork;  most of this play is a result of this
looseness.  This can be easily fixed with several (I use two) wraps of
plain Teflon white tape tightly around each of the beveled trunions as a
"bushing" to remove this slack; apply Lithium grease liberally around
the tape and then "work" the trunion inside the fork arm once replaced
to seat and loosen the axis for use.

My problem is that without photos, I am not sure what exactly the
trunion is.  Do you have a photo of this area of the scope?  Many
thanks, your site is a blessing to one who has been frustrated with ETX
problems.

Thanks for any help

Phillip Broussard
Mike here: I forwarded this to the author, Dr. Clay Sherrod.

And from the author:

From: "P. Clay Sherrod" (drclay@arksky.org)
Hello Phillip and thanks for writing.

The "trunion" in this description is the pesky little black "stub" that
protrudes outward from the OTA adapter (the thing that holds the tube
into the fork arm and swings) and passes through the "hole" in each fork
arm.  In the middle of each is a threaded hole, one for receiving the
DEC lock knob and the other for receiving the actual DEC setting circle
and knob assembly.

Hope this helps and good luck!

Dr. Clay
--------------------
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.)
http://www.arksky.org/

Subject: etx125 piggybacking
Date: 2/5/04, 10:21
From: "Rua, Jose (DHS)" (JRUA@miamidade.gov)
We are thinking of piggybacking a small solar scope onto our etx125.  It
will be a 3 lb. Coronado PST.  Do you think this might be appropriate
for the gears of the etx?  Thanks.  Jose Rua
Mike here: I had thought about doing the same thing but I haven't ordered one yet. Should be OK. You may or may not need to add a counterweight.

And:

Hi.  Thanks for the feedback.  We are also considering the H-Alfa filter
from Thousand Oaks.  That one is reported, when they finally arrive, to
have a 1.5 angstrom waveband verses the PST which is reported at less
than 1 angstrom.  Do you think that difference is significant for casual
solar amateur observing???
Mike here: The smaller the spread the better the views. I've looked through several Coronado instruments and there is no doubt that better is really BETTER!

And:

I asked because we are comparing overall costs for both systems.  The
Coronado with add-ons including: 18mm Coronado Cemax eyepiece, carrying
case, tripod eventually or piggyback system and even an optional
SolarMax 40 filter ($995!)    Our math shows a difference of almost a
$1000 more for the Coronado with the SolarMax 40 which is to supposed to
drop the passband to less than .6 angstroms.  Without the SolarMax 40 it
looks like the Coronado is still a "better" setup.

What do you think?  And again, sorry, would including the SolarMax 40,
dropping to .6 angstroms be significant?  (We are real amateurs,
patience, patience!)

Thanks, thanks, thanks for any feedback.
Mike here: I really haven't done much research on the H-Alpha systems other than looking through several Coronado telescopes and filters at OPT. Haven't bought anything yet.

And:

Thanks for your feedback.  We'll let you know how it turns out with what
we buy.

Subject: Star charts
Date: 2/5/04, 09:18
From: "George C. Stradley" (stradley@sbcglobal.net)
Dr. Sherrod's star charts
(www.weasner.com/etx/buyer-newuser-tips/starcharts) are great, but how
in the world do you print them without truncating?  I have tried
portrait, landscape, even 11 x 17" prints, but I still can't get the
complete chart.  Appreciate your help.
 
George Stradley
Mike here: Open them in a graphics application and set it to print them scaled to fit the page.

And:

Thanks Mike.  I figured out what I wasn't doing.

Subject: telescope repair
Date: 2/4/04, 10:27
From: a3290 (a3290@cox.net)
Hello, I have an "Autostar" ETX-90EC, I was just beginning to understand
how to use it and learn the very fundamentals of amateur astronomy ,
when we moved from Las Vegas to the Florida panhandle. ItI have not been
able to get it to work at all since then. Perhaps it was damaged in the
move ????? May I send it to you and have you let me know what I need to
do to get it working again ?
 
Thank you for your help
Anne White
Destin, Fl 32550
Mike here: I don't do repairs. But you can check out the "ETX Tune-up Service" (on the ETX Site home page). Alternatively you can describe what's wrong; perhaps we can resolve it through discussions or point you at possible solutions (on the Telescope Tech Tips page, for example).

Subject: ETX-125AT UHTC focusing knob
Date: 2/4/04, 07:50
From: Wanda D (wandaD@webtv.net)
Great site, keep up the great work.

now for my question. I own 3 SCT's and when I rotate the knob, the knobs
remain in place, not so with the ETX-125 AT is just got. The inner shaft
rotates out with the knob when the knob is turned counter clock wise,
and it rotates in when the knob is rotated clock wise, is this normal
for an ETX ? There isn't anything in the manual about this . It seems to
come to fucus just fine ,but I'm concerned about that inner shaft
sticking out of the back of the scope. Thanks Albert

My e-mail is wandaD@webtv.net   ( Wanda is my wife )
Mike here: The shaft moves in and out as your focus since the mirror is being moved. So, yes, the knob moving is normal.

And:

Thanks for the reply. Albert

Subject: Marco from Spain
Date: 2/4/04, 01:39
From: Marco Vidart (mvidart@eldiariomontanes.es)
I'm Marco from Spain again. In one optics shop from Madrid, they will
repair my damaged eyepiece holder. Do you remember that I told you that
the scope came with a very poor quality eyepiece?. No. The mystery has
been resolved. People of the shop I bought the scope had left the metal
part of a 26 mm. Super Plossl 4000 eyepiece INSIDE the eyepiece holder.
So, the 26 mm. eyepiece seems so bad, with the base made of rubber.
Would be the reason for the cheap price? Uhmm. I believe yes.

The problem will be resolved in a few days A new hole in my eyepiece
holder. >From here, and advice to the new buyers of a telescope. Inspect
it, search in a book or in Internet all the characteristics, or ask to
sombody about them. And, above all, buy the telescope in a optics shop.

Thank you for all.

Marco.
Mike here: Thanks for the update.
By the way, please read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Site Home Page, especially the part of Subject lines. "Marco from Spain" isn't that helpful as a Subject for people who want to quickly search the Feedback pages for a specific topic. Thanks.

Subject: May i borrow a telescope... in New Zealand?
Date: 2/3/04, 20:09
From: Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
I'm preparing to take a 3 week vacation in New Zealand...
we'll be self-driving a sleepervan around the South Island for two weeks,
and then a week on the North Island.
Feb 18 through March 9

My 10" LX200gps can't fit in my hand-carry
(but the ETX90 can... i can always buy socks and shirts in NZ).

The obvious question is: may i drop in on any Kiwis and trade tales
and Autostar-bashing for the odd peek through an eyepiece?

Does anyone have suggestions for must-dos and interesting places (with dark skies)

off-list replies to rseymour (at) wolfenet.com are invited..

thanks
have fun (i intend to)
--dick

p.s. this GUARANTEES that Meade will post an update during that period...
p.p.s. i will -not- be taking my laptop (i will be twitching a lot for a few days)
(and driving on the other side of the road...)
p.p.p.s.my apologies for posting this everywhere...

Subject: Meade telescopes
Date: 2/3/04, 05:53
From: ISO9000QA@aol.com
I am very interested in doing some "stargazing"

Could you tell me generally the pros and cons of the Meade DS's and
ATX's??  Comparisons?

Thanks so much.

R. S. Longdon
Mike here: I'm not familiar with an ATX model. But if you mean "ETX" then the difference comes down to optical quality and ease of use. There are more specific differences depending on the model (aperture, focal length, accessories).

And:

Would you please compare the Meade DS-2130 ATS to the Meade ETX-70?

magnification, ease of operation, etc.

Thank you.

Steve Longdon
Mike here: For the specs, see the Meade Product Guide page (http://www.meade.com/catalog/index.html). As to ease of operation, that will depend somewhat on your degree of experience but is comparable for both.

Subject: Star Party v3
Date: 2/3/04, 07:13
From: Charles and Carol (chascar@comcast.net)
Have you thought of maybe doing one near or in conjunction with
Stellarfane in Vt. that is the premier East Coast location.
Mike here: Anything is possible.

Subject: New Telescope, Touchy Focus
Date: 2/2/04, 16:16
From: Jake Myers (jacob.myers@insightbb.com)
I have recieved LOADS of help from your website, and I look forward to
donating soon.  I just recieved an ETX90 EC as an upgrade/trade for my
ETX70.  One thing I've really noticed is the focus on my 90 is EXTREMELY
touchy compared to the 70.  It is to the point where it is really hard
to get anything in focus at all.  Is this normal?  Is there a fix or a
way around this?  I really appreciate your help.  Thanks in advance.

Jake Myers
Lexington, KY
Mike here: Yes, the focus can be touchy. Use a flexible focus cable or larger knob or a "knob extension" can really help. You can find these tips on the Telescope Tech Tips page as well as commercial products on the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page. If you want to go "cheap" but effective, use an alligator-type clothes pin on the knob!

Subject: "Help!!!"
Date: 2/2/04, 11:49
From: yagi (yagis@piggysurf.com)
Love the site..,its got everything one can ask for, Includeing CATS *^ *
love em.

I bought a 2nd hand (5mths) ETX the week-end.

Upon opening the tightness screw on the right side fork mount the scope
dropped down with a crash onto the round flat motor houseing.

I cant hear any rattles or see that anything is broke. I have not had
the chance too look through the scope because of bad weather.

Please tell me how else can I tell if damage has been done.

Any re-assurance most welcome.

Many thanks for a great site.
 
Regards,
 
Billy.
S.Ireland.
Mike here: Please read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Site home page; your message was originally filed UNREAD as SPAM due to the Subject entry.
See the Star Testing and Collimation Tips section on the Telescope Tech Tips page.

Subject: ETX-125 ?collimation problem
Date: 2/2/04, 11:45
From: Geoffrey Lynes (geoffrey.lynes@ntlworld.com)
Thanks for a really useful site and an all round great internet
resource.

I purchased an old model second hand ETX-125 last year and despite the
weather here in England doing it's damnedest to stop me, I finally got
outside for a star test recently with disappointing results. When moving
from a focussed star image to either inside or outside focus, instead of
producing round defocused rings, the star image seems to explode outward
irregularly. The mess thus produced is stable, just irregular and
obviously not right. so I have discounted the seeing as contributing
here. Am I in need of recollimation? Sorry to have to ask such a
question but my only other scope is a Celestron 102HD, and I have no
experience with Mak-Cas optics.

The only other thing wrong with this scope appears to be slop on both
drives and rather a large amount of dust on the corrector plate, both of
which I will deal with after the optical problem is ironed out.

Thanks a lot
 
Geoff Lynes
Watford
England
Mike here: If the telescope was allowed to reach "thermal equilibrium" with the outside air temperature then it could be out of collimation. If you want to try collimating (not a trivial task) see the Telescope Tech Tips page. However, normally collimating the ETX is best left to experts with the proper equipment.

And:

Thanks Mike, Will review the situation again as soon as the weather allows.

Subject: Home Position Contradiction
Date: 2/2/04, 10:10
From: MSN/mjrdoc (mjrdoc@msn.com)
If I mount my ETX-125AT to the #884 Tripod as per the instructions for
Alt/Az: " Line up the mounting hole on the base of the telescope Marked
'High Latitude Leg' with the attachment knob that is closest to the
latitude control bar.", then the computer control would face East, not
West, when the tilt plate of the tripod faces North.

Now a simple work around would be to simply turn the tripod/telescope
assembly around so that the tilt plate faces South. But this would seem
to defeat the entire purpose of the mounting procedure.

I bought my ETX-125 and #884 tripod separately, before they were
packaged together. Possibly newer instructions straighten out this
contradiction. But if I follow the instructions, as described above,
that came with the Tripod, Home Position would be incorrect.

Could you please advise as to exactly how to mount the scope to the
tripod, have the tilt pan face North, and have the computer control face
West to achieve an accurate Home Position?  Should I disregard the
instructions pertaining to the "High Latitude Leg"?

Thank you in advance.

Dr. Miles J. Rosenthal
Mike here: I don't have the #884 but the control panel should end up on the west side.

Subject: Eye Piece Plug Drier
Date: 2/2/04, 06:42
From: Don Sutherland (don_sutherland@yahoo.ca)
Ken Martin was looking for advice on using desiccant in an eyepiece
plug. As you mentioned, this is probably not a good idea because of the
possibility of getting desiccant dust on the optical surfaces.

I remember reading on your ETX site, or maybe in an astronomy book, that
the adhesive used to hold the baffle on to the back of the corrector
plate on an ETC would be adversely affected if it were too dry.

Also, the coatings on the optical surfaces are in equilibrium with the
humidity in the atmosphere. Possibly the coatings would be degraded if
they were dried excessively.

I built a desiccant cartridge but I have never used it because I don't
want to have to write one on those "How I Ruined a Perfectly Good
Telescope" e-mails.
 
Regards,
 
Don Sutherland

Subject: ETX-105 alignment & #825 viewfinder effective angle of view
Date: 2/2/04, 04:32
From: Malcolm Stewart (malcolm_stewart@megalith.freeserve.co.uk)
First of all, many thanks for your excellent and informative website.  I
bought an ETX-105 kit with tripod and Autostar about 10 days ago, and
struggled initially with setting up and simply sorting out which part of
the manuals applied to what I had bought in the kit!  Your site helped
me enormously.

My reason for writing is that I now understand much better why I had
difficulties getting aligned to start with.  It's the effectively small
angle of view of the #825  8x25 viewfinder supplied as standard on the
105, when viewed through spectacles.  In my case, I'm 65 and need to
wear spectacles because I'm astigmatic.  In addition the adaptation of
my eyes is now quite limited, so I do need to wear spectacles when using
the 'scope and the viewfinder.

Using the 'scope, I've now measured the effective angular field of  < my
> viewfinder when < I'm > wearing spectacles.  It's as little as about 3
degrees, despite the published specification being 7.5 degrees.  (Other
people with different style spectacles may have a wider field of view.) 
Consequently, in my case, quite accurate initial alignment to true
North, and with the 'scope tube set horizontal is very necessary.  A few
days ago I used a sighting on Polaris to get an initial setting for
North, and for the first time I found both stars offered as part of the
Easy Align quite easily.  Thereafter, the 'scope found all objects with
ease, and brought them very close to the centre of the supplied 26mm
eyepiece. (I'm still awaiting the £99 set.)

(I also use binoculars extensively for birdwatching, and modern designs
such as the Minolta Activa range have solved the variable eye-relief
problem much better than Meade with their 26mm eyepiece.)

Cheers,

Malcolm Stewart
Milton Keynes, UK
www.megalith.freeserve.co.uk/oddimage.htm
http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/ms1938/

Subject: Dates in 2004
Date: 2/2/04, 14:39
From: The Blaisdells (blaisdell25@charter.net)
Please advise me as to when and if a Star Party in 2004 will occur.
Please place me in your update list.

Thank you, Rick Blaisdell
 Au Sable Forks,
 
I am a 56 yr. old (getting closer to 57 everyday) newbie with an
ETX-125EC purchased in Jan. 2004. And am hoping to connect with others.
And hoping that my wife will enjoy the event as well. She told me to buy
my scope. And I'm sure it will be an enjoyable vacation for us wherever
it happens. Thanks for your ETX site, it has saved me from many problems
and has enriched my limited knowledge.

 Rick.
Mike here: Thanks for the interest. Notifications are via the ETX Site. New dates are currently unknown as noted on the "Mighty ETX Star Party!!!" page.

Subject: Recommendations, suggestions
Date: 2/2/04, 02:43
From: Håkan Larsson (hakan.larsson@teligent.se)
My name is Håkan Larsson, and I live in Sweden. I have always been
interested in astronomy, and I am now considering buying my first
telescope. I found a preowned (but nearly unused) Meade ETX-90 EC, which
seems to be rather good. I don't know anything about which telescopes
are good or bad, so I have tried to gather information on the Internet.
That's how I found your site.

Since you seem to be very familiar with Meade's telescopes, I hope you
can answer a few questions for me...

1. Is Meade ETX-90 EC (with Autostar) a good beginner-telescope? I am
primarily interested in nebulaes.

2. Would you say 808 dollar is a fair price for this telescope +
autostar?

3. Do you have any other recommendations when buying your first
telescope?

I hope you have time to answer my questions.
 
Kind regards,
========================
Håkan Larsson
Mike here: Yes, the ETX-90 is a "mighty" little telescope. BUT whether it will meet your expectations, especially on nebulae, only you can determine. With its small aperture you may (or may not) be disappointed with views of "faint fuzzies" (Deep Sky Objects). See the Buyer/New User Tips page on my ETX Site for lots of info. As to the price, I can't speak to that (I don't do monetary conversions).

And:

Ok, thank you very much.

I discovered that section right now - what a gold mine! I guess I have
some reading to do.

/Hakan

Subject: Delayed Slewing
Date: 2/1/04, 18:02
From: Omdurman2@aol.com
I'm having a terrible time with my ETX 105. With up and down slewing
there is a terrible delay (sometimes as much as 10 -20 seconds) before
any movement occurs and then it will move all of a sudden and overshoot
the target. Difficult and frustrating to center objects for alignment or
for viewing. Same problem horizontally though much less - more of a
nuisance than a problem in this dimension. All of my viewing has been on
cold (below freezing) nights. Any suggestions - is it a cold related
phenomenon? Thanks!   TFortune
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES? But it could also be the low temps; the lubrication will stiffen up at low temps. However, you can adjust the backlash percentages; see the article "Setting Percentages For Better Tracking" on the Autostar Information page.

And:

Calibrated, trained (using Polaris) just before viewing session.
Percentage for Alt/Dec is set at 85 - so i guess its the cold right?  
TFortune

Subject: Re: ETX convert
Date: 2/1/04, 02:15
From: Kaustav Bhattacharya (kaustav@kaustav.uk.com)
Thanks for your response. That certainly is significantly cheaper than
the UK. I think that makes up my mind. New York purchase it is. I've
transported tripods in the baggage hold before by using copious
quantities of bubble-wrap. Next task... google a telescope shop in NYC
:) I'm sure there are a few around...  C'ya!
Kaustav

Subject: re: Strange ETX-90 Behavior
Date: 1/31/04, 21:01
From: Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
To: rosenjoe@charter.net
My i chirp in?

Have you ever observed the drop?

Does it just silently, mechanically fall (as Clay suggests),
or does the DEC motor kick in and drive it down?

If the former, follow Clay's methods.
If the latter, then Mike's "intermittent" sounds good.

My question would be: does the scope -know- it's drooped?
Before correcting a drooped condition, press [mode] for
3 seconds, then release, to bring up the Status Displays.
Is it still showing Jupiter's DEC?
Scroll down once to the Alt/Az readout...
Does it still think it's pointing UP at Jupiter (positive Alt)
or does it now think it's pointing down (resting on the base).

If "still thinking UP", i agree with Clay: mechanical.
If it thinks it's pointing DOWN, then you have strange
electronics problems.

good luck
--dick

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