Last updated: 28 February 2005
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:	RE: ETX125 clicks then image jumps HELP please!
Sent:	Monday, February 28, 2005 13:59:14
From:	Graham Hilton (
Latest news, I took the scope back last Thursday and got a call to say
it was ready to collect next day. The Dec drive was replaced and I
believe a shim of some sort was fitted to help with the cogs jumping as
per your info. When I got home there was complete cloud cover so I put
it in the garage did a dummy alignment and sent it off to look at venus
( pretend ). I heard a couple of muffled clicks within a few seconds and
then it stayed very quiet so I slewed it to look at a star. It seemed to
be running very quiet but of corse being in the garage I could not see

In the evening the sky cleared so I took it outside, aligned it and went
to look at venus properly. Sure enough it started to click again and the
image "dropped" as usual in the eyepiece. The clicks then seemed to fade
away but the image continued to jump in the eyepiece every 10 - 15
seconds, it was about 2 or 3 degrees centigrade so quite chilly. I am in
the process of taking it back tomorrow ( Tuesday) The repairman seemed
quite confident last time and he found the information you sent very
useful, however the fault is still there, the only real change is the
sound of the click - more of a clunk now which seems to fade away.

I'll let you know the outcome



Subject:	Store in Boston, Mass
Sent:	Sunday, February 27, 2005 16:39:39
From:	Mike Snowden (
My other half will be in central Boston next week for one day (and then
is going to Chelmsford).  I'd like her to pick up a #1244 focuser for
me, as they are half the price in the USA than in the UK, but she'll
only do it if she has the name and address of a store she can go
straight to.  Can anyone recommend somewhere suitable?

Why do I want an electric focuser after a year of a flexi-focus?  I've
now got the DSI, and I'd really like to get it fully linked up.  The
image jumps horribly when you touch the scope, and I've got that nice
focuser dialog staring me in the face...

Subject:	Eyepiece  procedure with barlow
Sent:	Sunday, February 27, 2005 15:29:47
From:	Dave Olkowski (
After reading alot of feed back from the site i get the impression that
a lot of people use the Barlow eyepiece. I was always under the
impression that the more glass light has to travel through the poorer
the image quality. For instance wouldnt it be better just to use a 13mm
eyepiece instead of a 26mm eyepiece with a 2x Barlow? Iam aware of the
cost difference but i would like to get your opinion.  Do you view with
or without the barlow.
Mike here: You are correct that for the best possible images a Barlow Lens should not be used. However, many users will not be able to discern any obvious difference, especially if using a good Barlow Lens. And it effectively doubles the available eyepieces assuming you don't duplicate the focal lengths for less money. I have a complete set of eyepieces so don't use a Barlow Lens normally but I did for many years.
Subject:	etx optics
Sent:	Saturday, February 26, 2005 22:04:10
From: (
Many times when the scope is out of focus there are cots and squigly
lines visible. Is this normal is this dust or dirt on the lens or is
this what meade meant when they said you would see spots if a flashlight
test would be done? I'm just a little nervous because i've had quite a
number of annoying quality issues with meade and the scope isn't two
weeks old. Don't worry the optics havent been touched by me and i don't
intend to.
Mike here: Depending upon exactly what you are seeing and the conditions you are seeing it in, it could be some dust on the optics OR the result of not reaching thermal equilibrium or just the normal result of being out of focus. If you are concerned, do the "star tests" as described on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Collimation concerns before buying
Sent:	Saturday, February 26, 2005 07:11:02
From:	litewavdave (
Sould I be overly concerned with collimation before buying an ETX? I
hate not being able to collimate this scope.
Thanks for your time!
Mike here: Generally, there is no concern. Normally it will take some pretty rough treatment (during shipment or in the field) to knock it out of collimation.



Subject:	etx vertical lock
Sent:	Friday, February 25, 2005 14:17:55
From: (
Is it normal for the ota to be able to be manualy moved up and down
after engaging the vertical lock to a firm feel?

It can definately be turned more but I don't Know what is too firm and
what isn't.

Bottom line is that it gives with little pressure.
Mike here: As I've stated many times on the Site (many I should put this on the FAQ page!), the ETX locks are friction-type. Just like car brakes, you can move the telescope (or car) with the locks engaged. Under normal usage you will be moving the OTA with the handcontroller so it won't be a problem.
Subject:	Clay Sherrod and Supercharge service
Sent:	Friday, February 25, 2005 13:50:40
From:	Chavez, Steven A (
Hi Mike: Have enjoyed your book greatly. Also, I don't know where to
post this but Clay has been great to work with. His Supercharge service
and customer service is second to none. I recommend him without
reservation. Thanks

Steve Chavez 

Subject:	ETX 125 Right Tube Adapter
Sent:	Thursday, February 24, 2005 17:04:35
From: (
I sent an e-mail the other day about the right tube adapter just
slipping around.  Your suggestions to read the Tech Tips are very
helpful, but I also contacted Meade about a replacement.  Meade rep
tells me that Meade no longer ships out that part and the scope must be
shipped to Meade for repair.  Repair fee is a flat $75.00 regardless of
problem, and takes about a week.  The $75.00 includes return postage.

I would still like to try to fix it myself; so, will tread softly until
that happens or I just decide to ship it out.  If anyone in the Orlando
area reads this note and can be of help, please contact me at Thanks much.
JD Ratliff

Subject:	Re: Autostar fried.
Sent:	Thursday, February 24, 2005 13:30:39
From:	James Ellis (
Good news, I got my scope back this week, all working again.
I'm not sure what was wrong, as BC&F sent it back with a new Autostar
but never said what they fixed.

Here is a Tip your readers might be interested in.

I got a new 2X Barlow today, it was made by Soligor.

I noticed that you could unscrew the lens from the front of the barlow
and it looked like it could fit unto the LPI imager.

So lets see what happes I thought, to my surprise it fits like a glove,
so, now I can protect my CCD Chip from dust and dirt, and at the same
time I can use the Barlow with my LPI,  You dont have to put the lens
back on the barlow to use it...just drop the imager with the lens into
the scope and you are ready to image, even the cap from the LPI fits
over the barlow lens. How cool is that

So For $25 you get a nice lens to keep your LPI clean, and you get a
Barlow also.....:-).

I done some test shots and it worked great, clear sharp images.

Hope you pass this on to your readers, and they find it usefull.

Bye for now

Jim Ellis.

Subject:	Using The G4 iBook With Autostar and LPI
Sent:	Thursday, February 24, 2005 13:08:07
From:	Taylor (
Many thanks for your ETX website, it has provided me with a ton of
resources I never thought possible for my ETX. I had been using Windows
machines in the past to control my Autostar and webcam cameras, but
since then I have "seen the light" and switched to a G4 laptop.

What methods do you use to physically connect your telescope to your Mac

As far as digital imaging goes, my old webcams won't work with my Mac,
so I'm considering using a Meade LPI (it's all I can afford, still in
college) and using the Sonix driver workaround
( Any suggestions on
some good Mac image capture software?

Thanks for all your help and great job with the site?
Mike here: See the Mac articles on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info and Helpful Information: Astrophotography pages.
Subject:	ETX90EC Completely dead
Sent:	Thursday, February 24, 2005 03:33:45
From:	Mike Jeremy (
I just got given an old ETX 90EC. Ive hooked up an external 12 V power
supply - Centre of the power pin is +ve. If I switch the unit on I don't
even see the red led light. I have verified that the power supply is
supplying power.

Given that the scope was a freebie I would really like to see if I can
get it going. I have an old autostar controller to drive it - I just
acn't get anything out of the scope when power is applied.

I know this is a real newbie question - but where do I start with this.
I am in Australia and the scope is well out of warranty so where do I
start with this??

Thanks for any help you can provide
Mike here: Have you tried using batteries?


Same deal - not a flicker. I believe that if I remove the rubber feet I
can get the baseplate off. Is it worth me trying to trace some of the
wiring and see if we have some broken wires etc?
Mike here: You can remove the base and check the power at the back side of the control panel and go from there.


Thanks Mike- I'll make it my Sunday Morning project - I'll have to dig
out the voltmeter I havn't used for 10 years ans see just how far the
power gets into the beast


Subject:	Re: Jumping image with ETX 125
Sent:	Thursday, February 24, 2005 03:00:52
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
Hi Jack...
Indeed I have identified a problem in manufacture on some telescopes;
there is a collar that supports the worm drive assembly in RA that is
being milled improperly on some runs, causing a severe binding of the
worm gear, and sometimes the actually breaking of this collar under
stress.  Very likely this is what you are seeing but it is very, very
difficult to identify without totally dismantling the drive system.  If
you look inside the drive base there is a small black "ring" that grips
the nylon shaft of a large spur gear that is the first nylon gear to the
left (on the side with the motor and gears) of the actual brass worm
gear.  That collar serves NO purpose but to hold the gearbox is perfect
position relative to the worm.  That is the collar that is pinching the

Being VERY careful, you can easily apply via the little "squirt tube"
some WD-40 into this collar and allow for smoother operation....I bet if
you can get a few drops in there (being very careful of the electronics
and encoder assembly) you can eliminate this problem.  You will have to
re-apply about every 2-3 months of heavy use.  Eventually it will get
Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H45 (Petit Jean Mountain South)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain)

----- Original Message -----
 From:  Jack
 Dr. Clay,

 You supercharged my ETX 125 back on May 27, 2004, certificate
 #0458-125. Soon afterwards, I contacted you about a problem that the
 image in my telescope moving after slewing to the object and making a
 clicking noise then jumping back.  It does this repeativly. I have
 seen recent emails from others at Mike Weasner's site with the same
 problem. Do you have any suggestions on what is causing this and how to
 fix it. It makes astrophotography impossible. Mine does exactly what
 theirs are doing. Can I fix it?  I do not know how to get inside the
 scope.  I don't want to send it to Meade, they may mess up your
 supercharge. Thank you for any suggestions you may have.
Dr. Clay
Thank you for your help.  Is there a site that gives instuctions on how
to take apart the scope? I have not attempted it because I do not know
where to start.  Thank you again for your assistance.
Mike here: There are many articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page on my ETX Site that should help.
Subject:	ETX-125 declination circuit board query
Sent:	Wednesday, February 23, 2005 22:41:54
From:	Philip Akers (
Would appreciate some help with the following!

One of the components of the declination motor PC board of my 2001
ETX-125EC has burned out.  The identification numbers have burned off
and I am wondering if anyone knows the ID numbers of the small, black
component that is closest to the spot where the two motor wires are
soldered to the board.  The component is about .150" wide times .200"
long and .060" thick.  Since Meade can't help me with the problem (I
have modified the scope), I have to try and repair it through my own

Alternatively, does anybody have the appropriate board for sale?

Thanks for any light you are able to shed on this matter.

You can e-mail reply to either or

Philip Akers
Mike here: I will post on the next Site update. You could try Telescope Warehouse for used parts. Link is on the Astronomy Links page.


Thanks.  Am happy to try anything (desperate)!

Subject:	etx accsessory quality
Sent:	Wednesday, February 23, 2005 20:56:48
From: (
As an etx 105 owner icouldn't be happier with the views that i'm seeing
in a light polluted area. However, I'm having trouble with the quality
of some parts.

1. The tripod doesn't lock under any circumstaces so i'm forced to view
in alt az mode . Not terrible, but I paid good money for the package.

2. The eyepiece part of the finder came off. I see that it's just glued
not screwed together, and the glue is still wet and gooey. My scope has
not been in extreme heat , just been in cold condition but not super
cold about 30 degrees.

This is a new scope. The first one I had came with a broken flip mirror.
Is quality control a problem with meade or is this just my luck.

In any case I need advice.
Thanx in advance.
Mike here: There have been some reports of the finderscope eyepiece coming off. Apparently there is something amiss with the assembly. As to the tripod, I don't recall any other such reports. But if you are unsatisfied I would suggest contacting the dealer for an exchange.
Subject:	Dust problems
Sent:	Wednesday, February 23, 2005 11:09:16
From:	Lawrence Bilton (
The other day i got my ETX-90 out and put my DSI in the eyepiece etc.
Once i had loaded my DSI on my laptop it came up with 2 blobs on the
live tab view, so i took the DSI out and checked the IR filter to see if
there was dust on that, there was not and feared of it being on the
telescope, so i put my 26mm EP in and i noticed 2 small blobs of dust,
when i bought my scope it came with a "Telescope major cleaning kit" is
this not a resonable thing to use to get rid of dust, it can be found
Thanks for your help, Lawrence.
Mike here: For those who don't get a cleaning kit, see the article "Cleaning Optics" on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	Solar Max H-Alpha filter for ETX-125 ?
Sent:	Wednesday, February 23, 2005 00:31:31
From: (
Could you advise me on a specific model H-Alpha type sun filter for my
ETX-125 ?
 Thank you very much,
Michael M. Ostrye
Mike here: Coronado Instruments has their SolarMax H-Alpha filter. They have (or used to have) an adapter for the ETX-125 but that scope isn't recommended due to its long focal length. The ETX-70 actually works best. You might want to check out their PST. Both are reviewed on the Accessory Reviews: Filters page.
Subject:	Vertical/Declination Lock, ETX125
Sent:	Tuesday, February 22, 2005 16:42:22
From: (
Tonight as I was setting up my ETX125 to view the moon, the vertical
lock slipped as I tried to lock the OTA into position.  Now I cannot get
the vertical lock to hold at all.  It won't tighten but just slips, and
it won't loosen all the way when I try to remove the knob and plate. 
Sounds bad, but I really hope it isn't.  After 4 hurricanes last year, I
hate to take on an expensive repair.  Thanks for your help.
J.D. Ratliff ( 
Mike here: The Right Tube Adapter has failed. You can try a repair (see the articles "ETX-90EC DEC fix" and "ETX DEC Lock Not Tightening Fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page). Or you can contact Meade; they may send you a replacement.


Thanks Mike and will get right on it tomorrow.  Appreciate your help.

Subject:	RSS-feed
Sent:	Tuesday, February 22, 2005 10:44:57
From:	Hans (
As you requested for a note, I can tell you that I am using your
RSS-feed as of today. Was just looking for info on the ETX90 en 105
models, when I stumbled over your interesting site. Not yet a serious
observer, but always been very interested in astronomy, thinking of
buying one of these models soon. Did some observing when I was a kid,
and looking forward to picking it up again as a hobby,
Hans Leenen / Amersfoort, Netherlands

Subject:	[Fwd: ETX  CD-Rom]
Sent:	Monday, February 21, 2005 16:58:27
From:	Jack Fox (
In this months April issue  of  Sky & Telescope on page 100 is a write
up on a new ETX CD ROM they may be of intrest to the group. I have
attached the email from the company about how to obtain a copy.

 -------- Original Message --------


 Mon, 21 Feb 2005 17:13:31 +0100

 Massimo Uberti
Dear Mr. Fox,
 Thank you very much for your interest in ETX CD-ROM.
 I have already  inform and send a demo copy to following sellers since
 January 05.
 The last 2  has interest to treat ETX-CD-ROM but they did not order any copy
 until now !

 1) OPT
 3) Broadhurst, Clarkson & Fuller Ltd
 4) Efston Canada
 5) woodlandhillscamera
 6) B&H
 7) Skies unlimited
 8) OpticsPlanet
 9) Shutan
 10) Astronomics
 11) High Point Scientific
 12) The Science Company
 12) Scopetronix
 13) Telescopes

 So at the moment there no copies base in US in any retailer,  probably they
 move on when has request from users.
 I actually have no possibility to accept credit card directly
There are two ways possible at this moment

 1) Submit your  request  to above astronomical point and wait reply 
 ( I would like you do it in any case)

 2) The best way  is using cash you simple put 34+6=40 US $ in a folded
 black photocopy shot or black paper  to avoid to see the money  trought envelope trasparency
and send to me with your name and address. I can  arrange some promotional airmail copy
 expedition. This is less expensive way 6 $ but will take aprox 7-10 days
 I used this method  25 years ago to subscribe to sky and telescope magazine! :-)

 2) With credit card order secure server to Italian astronomical retail   under english_flag- brand-instrument-maxfactory. But this
 cost  to you a lot , the shipment in US with UPS is  28 Euro  is quite the
 same price of CD-ROM. :-(  In this case you have to wait a little bit because
 actually on Miotti site is listed all my Italian languages products, and he is going to
 put it on line.

 Let me know what you decide, and sorry for inconvenience !

 Massimo Uberti

 PS. How did you notice the ETX CD-ROM ?
Mike here: Thanks. I haven't received that issue yet. I wonder how different the CD-ROM is from the tutorials that Meade has online?


Here is the website with details on the software. It takes a few minutws
to load. It sounds like it is detailed.
Mike here: Thanks. Windows XP only. Unlike the online tutorials (mentioned on the Helpful Information: Tutorials page).
Subject:	Difference between 90ec and 90at?
Sent:	Monday, February 21, 2005 10:33:37
From:	Martin Ersted DR UNG (
I really cant find the difference between the meade etx-90ec and the
meade etx-90ec,

Can anybody please help me on that?

Furthermore i got really bad feelings in buying an meade after reading
these posts: 

Any comments on those post? 

Many reguards 

Martin Ersted 
Mike here: See the FAQ page on the ETX Site. As to user comments, keep in mind that more people post negative comments or ask for help than report good things. If that was an indicator of how good or bad something was, Microsoft would have gone out of business long ago.
Subject:	meade 90 or 105 etx
Sent:	Sunday, February 20, 2005 12:00:00
From: (
I am looking into buying a meade scope for my son, wife and myself to
use. He is 6 years old and VERY bright. I have heard that Meade make
some of the best scope around for the money and would value your opinion
as to which to go for. We live in the southern UK where it is VERY dark
at night. I currently get cracking general views of the night sky with
my Leica 8x42's mounted on a tripod.

If you can advise I would be eternally grateful.


Nick Kendell, Devon, UK.
Mike here: Both are excellent choices. Unless you need the more portability of the ETX-90, I'd suggest the -105 for its slightly larger aperture. If you can, also get the UHTC option.
Subject:	Broken tooth on ETX 125 cog.
Sent:	Sunday, February 20, 2005 07:13:12
From:	Derek Lacey (
Have finally got my telescope back from the repairers!
I originally sent it off, knowing that a tooth was missing from the cog
between the sensor and emitter on the RA gearbox which meant it would
not track.

The autostar controller would only read 340 degrees turned when the
scope had phsically rotated 360 degrees!

When it returned 2 weeks later it had not been touched. I took it back
to the shop the next day and they were very good about the whole problem
and sent it back to BC&F with a note saying what the problem was.
Another 2 weeks later and it came back again. Still not fixed.

Apparently the scope is not supposed to rotate 360 degrees in all modes.
Whatever that is supposed to mean?? I didn't even bring the scope home
from the shop, instead the shop rang up BC&F and explained the fault to
them and eventually they said send it back and they would replace the
gearbox, which they have and the scope now rotates and reads the same.

However the dec lock is now so loose that it needs to be turned all the
way to the left to hold, before it was less than halfway, still at least
I have a scope that tracks now!!!

Maybe now I can do some imaging and send you some pictures.

Great site. Keep up the good work.
Mike here: Glad you finally got a repaired telescope. But did you mean the RA (Azimuth) lock? If so, you can reposition the lever; see the FAQ page.


Thanks for the quick response.

You're right, I did mean the RA lock. I read about repositioning the
lever on your site a while ago which is why I'm not too concerned about
it for now. Just want to finally use the scope properly.  Thanks anyway.


Subject:	barlows
Sent:	Sunday, February 20, 2005 06:37:38
From: (
I viewed Saturn and Jupiter in light polluted (poisoned ?) Brooklyn NY
through the etx -105. It was absolutely awesome even so.

Quick Question The 26mm sp 4000 with a 2x barlow will provide about as
much magnification as a 12mm in the 105 is there any difference between
using the barlow and the 12mm straight ?

Thanx in advance
Mike here: Barlow Lenses will reduce the light reaching your eyepiece compared to a single eyepiece alone. Barlow Lenses are a compromise. But with high quality eyepieces and a high quality Barlow Lens you may not notice the difference.
Subject:	ETX 90AT with UTHC or ETX 105AT without UTHC?
Sent:	Saturday, February 19, 2005 13:51:59
From: (
First thanks for such a great site. I'm going to buy an ETX soon and
your site would undoubtedly be even more useful to me when I get my

I have two options now: an ETX 90AT with UTHC or ETX 105AT without UTHC.
To simplify matters, let's say that both scopes cost the same and my
purpose is simply amateur observation with some astrophotography of the
planets and some deep sky objects using Meade's DSI. I will be observing
from a very light polluted city (Singapore) where the dimmest star seen
is 4th-magnitude.

Which telescope do you think fits the bill better, considering that they
cost the same and my budget does not allow for an ETX105 with UTHC?

Thank you.
Mike here: More aperture is always a good choice. The improved UHTC coating does allow more light to reach your eye (or camera) but so does more aperture. Plus you get other dividends of more aperture such as increased magnification.


Thanks for your reply. I read that I need a focal reducer for an ETX105
in order to take pictures of deep sky objects. Is a "MEADE SERIES 4000
SUPER WIDE ANGLE" a focal reducer for this purpose? Does it serve the
same purpose by widening the field of vision?
Mike here: One is NOT required but can be useful. Scopetronix has one as does Shutan Camera and Video. You can read about the Shutan Wide-Field Adapter on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page.
Subject:	ETX Question
Sent:	Saturday, February 19, 2005 05:24:23
From: (
To:	Bill Waters
I saw your post on Weasner's site and wanted to offer some assistance.

First, Mike has a great book called Using The Meade ETX.  This is the
owner's manual that you will always use, but never get from Meade.  I
think you can get it from Amazon.  Personally, I am always referring to
it and always pick up a new tip or idea.

Second, his suggestion to find a club nearby is great.  However if you
wanted to do a telephone tutorial, you can call me in CA at
661-263-6853.  Here are some pictures of me teaching an ETX seminar at
my astronomy club.

Just set up your scope in the house before you call and we can walk
through the easy align procedures and I will attempt to answer your

Don't get overwhelmed, I've been there and was assisted by my twelve
year old son.  The learning curve is not that steep.
Steve Petzold
The Local Group of Santa Clarita Valley

Subject:	dsi-lpi???
Sent:	Friday, February 18, 2005 20:01:30
From: (
What is the definition of lpi?---I must have missed something in the
directions on the dsi basic instructions.

Thanks for your help--Paul Terrill

ps- I think you should write the instructions for meade on the dsi
Mike here: The first low-end imager from Meade was the Lunar Planetary Imager, hence LPI. They recently released the Deep Space Imager, or DSI.
Subject:	MEADE ETX - 125AT w/UHTC coatings
Sent:	Friday, February 18, 2005 11:06:02
From:	Adam A. Filkins (
First of all, I want to thank you for the excellent content on your
site.  I do have one question for you though if you would be so kind as
to help me out.  I am looking at the ETX125AT because I am a VERY
amateur astronomer that would like to do some astrophotography.  I have
great cameras including Canon Digital Rebel, Minolta X7-A and a Minolta
Maxxum, all with various lenses.  I am looking to do both Prime Focus
and Piggyback photography.

I have heard contrasting opinions of the ETX for this purpose.  I figure
since you seem to be an authority on the matter, you might help me by
shedding some light on the subject.  Can I photograph Nebulas and
Galaxies with the ETX?  I am not looking to do them all, just some of
the more prevalent ones.

Any info that you might have for me would be greatly appreciated.  Thank
you and Clear Skies!

Adam A. Filkins

Vice President of Operations
Sandusky, MI
Mike here: The short answer is "yes", as you can see by the many examples on the ETX Site. BUT it will take work and patience (that's true for most any telescope/camera combination). Keep in mind that long duration astrophotography is more difficult, especially when going beyond piggyback astrophotography. So, take a look at the many examples in the Astrophotography galleries as well as the Helpful Information: Astrophotography pages. Then you can decide if those results are what you are looking to do.


Thank you so much for your prompt reply.  That is probably the most
honest and insightful answer that I have received about the ETX.  I was
wondering if you would answer 1 more question for me?  Will an LX50 be
able to use any Goto system other than the Magellen II systems?  I have
an Autostar controler, and I was wondering if I could use that with the
LX50.  Any info would be appricaited.

Adam Filkins
Mike here: The Autostar only works with Autostar capable drive systems. It won't work with the LX50; I least I don't recall seeing any mods to either the LX50 or the Autostar that would let the two "talk".
Subject:	ETX105 or ETX125?
Sent:	Friday, February 18, 2005 09:26:16
From:	Dave (
I'm on the verge of purchasing either the 105 or the 125 but not sure
which to go for. Now this may sound obvious to you guys but which one do
I go for? The 105 with its 4" aperture is obviously smaller than the 125
but with a focal length of 1470mm. Now the 125 has a nice 5" aperture
(aperture aperture aperture) but has a focal length of 1900mm!!!
Does this in effect cancel out the 125's 5" aperture????
Is the 125 really worth the extra 200 English pounds???
Mike here: Before you can make a final decision you need to decide HOW you plan to use the telescope. Do you need more portability? Do you need a larger aperture? Do you need the longer focal length? What is your budget? Does the budget include any accessories you might purchase? Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Subject:	ETX 105 Clicking
Sent:	Friday, February 18, 2005 05:43:22
From: (
I have the same problem as Graham
When tracking a object the drive clicks and the image jumps This does
not happen when you manually operate the drives at any speed
Look forward to your comments
Thanks for a very informative web page

Best Regards

Mike here: There is some further discussion of this a few messages further down this page.
Subject:	Coronado Pst
Sent:	Thursday, February 17, 2005 06:43:17
From:	Zinkova, Lyudmila (
I just got my PST and I could not find the sun, Can you, please, give me
some hints. What should I look for to make sure that telescope points
straight to the sun direction and to find the sun I should move my
telescope only up or down, but not to the right or the left. You write:
"I pointed the telescope at the Sun and then refined the pointing using
the sun finder". So I guess my question is how to point the telescope at
the Sun.

Thank you. 
Mike here: Well, as someone who has flown airplanes, it is easy for me for line up things by extrapolating lines of sight. If you find that difficult you can use the shadow of the telescope on the ground. Just minimize it. While that might sound complicated, in reality it is not once you get used to doing it. And once you get close, you can use the Sol Ranger (sun finder) on the PST to center the Sun.


I'll try that technique.
Thank you very much.

Subject:	etx horizontal lock
Sent:	Thursday, February 17, 2005 06:36:29
From: (
Is the horizontal lock supposed to be pushed all the way to the left to
lock it ?
It gets hard to move #/4 of the way.
Thanx in advance 

p.s. faaaaaaantaaaastic site
Mike here: Normally it should be about halfway, plus or minus some. Definitely not full to the edge of the slot.
Subject:	TeleVue Bino and ETX 125
Sent:	Thursday, February 17, 2005 04:09:22
From:	Steven Brooke (
I am a new ETX125 user (I purchased the Premium Version) and have
benefited greatly from your site. And, yes, I intend to contribute to
its upkeep.

My wife has difficulty seeing through the monocular viewer and I would
be willing to forego the expense of a binocular viewer if there is a
good one available. Is the TeleVue Bino Vue compatible with my scope? It
seems the best one available. And if so, what lens pair would you
recommend? Thank you in advance.


Steven Brooke

Steven Brooke Studios
Miami, FL
Mike here: Don't specifically know if the TeleVue one works but there are two others reviewed on the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page.
Subject:	Greeting's from Finland with comments about your site.
Sent:	Thursday, February 17, 2005 03:00:48
From: (
First I must thank you very much about your site! It has been an
incredible source of ETX information and helped me a lot when looking
for a telescope.

After some weeks of reading I made an order of Meades EXT-90 UHTC (with
tripod and LPI). I have now tryed this system for some days and so far I
am more than happy with it.

Without Your site I'll be still looking the sky from my balcony with
only a hint about the wonderfull world there is among the stars :-)

Best Regards: Marco Johansson, Helsinki - Finland

Subject:	884 Tripod Clips
Sent:	Wednesday, February 16, 2005 06:30:48
From:	Mike Hogan (
The problem with the C-clips, or snap rings, on the tripod screws is
that if they are not inserted properly they will expand beyond normal
limits and lose spring tension.  They must be inserted in the small
machined groove at the base of the threads on the scope mounting screws.
 If they are forced over the full screw shaft diameter, they can expand
beyond limits.  Fixes are:

1. Go to a hardware store and buy new rings of the correct size, then be
careful when installing them.

2. Take the old rings and squeeze them verrrry slightly. Too much and
you will not be able to install them in the grooves. If that happens see
fix #1. 

Hope this helps.

Another Mike
From:	Harden Schaeffer (
Thanks, Mike (both of you!).  This clears up a lot.  

And more:
From:	Ken Jeffrey (
Re: the query about the screw circlips on the #884 tripod, titled '884
Tripod Clips' and dated 14 Feb 2005.

I had this problem but solved it by simply placing suitable washers
about 1.5mm thick on the screws before re assembling onto the tripod.  I
did find that the clips needed flattening as they became distorted when
forced of.

The cause of this problem is the screws going in too far into the base
of the ETX and the clips then contact the base of the scope and are
forced off. The washers reduce the amount that screws into the scope and
prevent the clips hitting the scope.   I have been using my tripod with
this small mod for over a year without the problem reoccurring.

Can I ask a quick question;  I have seen it mentioned that the 884
tripod has a spirit level built in.  Mine does not.  Can you please give
any info.

Thanks and keep up the good work - a great site.

Ken Jeffrey
London, England
Mike here: I don't have a #884 so can't comment on the spirit level.
Subject:	re: ETX125 clicks then image jumps HELP please!
Sent:	Tuesday, February 15, 2005 22:44:32
From:	Richard Seymour (
The only time i have heard similar clicking in a 497 Autostar telescope
was when the motor was ever-so-slightly loose in its holder.
As -one- particular gear tooth would come around to the mating 
gear, the motor would "hop" up slightly ... and the click would
happen.  At the same time, the image would jump.. and it would
-miss- one tooth (so it gradually fell behind the star.)
(this was in a 4504 motor unit, and happened every 13 seconds in RA)

At slew speeds it didn't happen... only during sidereal tracking
(or slewing at speed one in Terrestrial).  
The "fix" was to shim the motor so it couldn't hop.

The same can happen if you are missing a gear tooth, or something
is caught in an inter-tooth gap, forcing the gears out of mesh
for that one instance.

good luck
From:	Graham Hilton (
Dear Richard and Mike, 
Many thanks for this information. The situation at the moment is the
local dealer is ordering a new dec drive because as  the ra was loosened
off with the ra knob, the clicking continued and only seemed to clear up
if I slackened the dec knob too.

It also seems to happen at low temperatures.

When the fault first developed I examined the ra drive myself and sure
enough the gears seemed to bulge slightly from time to time along with
the click happening.

Depending on temperature the clicking is between 10 and 14 seconds on
average but when it was returned after being away for 7 weeks at the UK
importers I tried it in the house before the scope warmed up and the
clicking  was every 4 or 5 seconds until it got warmer.

It eventually seemed to stop until I took the scope outside and the
temperature of the scope cooled again.

I'll print this off and give it to the man who is handling the repairs.

Thanks one again,


Subject:	re: Battery power problem
Sent:	Tuesday, February 15, 2005 22:32:23
From:	Richard Seymour (
That issue (batteries "don't work") after using power plug
can be caused by a couple of things:

(a) the wrong sized power plug... although the socket is designed
 for a 5.5mm outside dia, 2.5mm inside dia plug (center positive),
 a 6.1mm OD plug  -can- be crammed into it.  
Doing so will overbend the contact spring in the socket, which will cause (b).

(b) a weak/flexed outer contact spring... which is -also- the 
 battery disconnect... so if it's too weak (or bent) and cannot
 return to making "no plug in socket" contact, the batteries 
 are not reconnected.

The -fix- (besides using the correct power plug) is to 
(A) remove the batteries (trust me... do this)
(B) fashion a tiny L-hook in a long steel needle (a bio lab 
  dissecting needle with wooden handle is perfect for this)
(C) reach into the socket with the needle and pull the contact
 spring back into view... almost-but-not-at-all touching the
 center contact (if you touch it, and the batteries are in place,
 you will short circuit the batteries through the socket, and
 blow traces off the circuit boards)(trust me on -this-, too)

There have been a few postings about this across the years 
here on Mike's site.

have fun
From:	Niall Saunders (
I encountered this problem with my ETX-105, specifically after having
used the wrong sized power plug for the telescope.

What happens when you put a plug into the power socket is that the
curved 'springy' piece of metal down one side of the socket is pushed
out of the way by the barrel of the plug - and at the same time opens a
contact on the 'zero volt', or battery 'negative' line. It does this for
a very specific purpose, and that is to disconnect any batteries fitted
internally whilst the unit is being run from an external power source.
If this did not happen, then the external power source could act as a
battery charger, ultimately capable of charging internal batteries that
were never designed to be charged - such as typical Alkaline cells - a
dangerous situation that could quite possibly result in a very nasty

So, the spring contact is there for a reason, and is essential for

The problem you seem to be describing, and certainly the one I
encountered, occurs when this contact fails to return to its normal
position when the power plug is removed. When this happens you have no
'zero volt' line for the internal batteries, and the scope will not
therefore run off internal batteries.

Unfortunately the cure is not simple. You will be unlikely to be able to
fashion a tool that will successfully bend the spring contact back into
shape, and it really require a dismantle of the power socket and
judicious use of needle-nosed pliers. But, getting anywhere near the
power socket is a nightmare. Once assembled, Meade had no desire to make
dis-assembly of their scopes something that the average user would be
able to do.

Certainly, if you are keen (and as an Electronics and Mechanical
Engineer, with a lifetime of tinkering experience behind me, I was) then
it is possible to get into the guts of the base (a complete strip down
of the RA section is needed) and, once the side panel is removed, it is
then possible (with further determination, and a lot of courage) to get
right into the power socket and effect the necessary repair.

But, for the average user, returning the scope to Meade would be a far
more sensible recommendation.

To avoid this happening in the future - make sure that you use the
correct power plug. By far the most common size is one with a 2.1mm
diameter outer barrel, and one that has a 'shorter' length.
Unfortunately, 2.1mm diameter is too small for the Meade scope (perhaps
an intentional decision by Meade, to ensure take-up of their own
external power supplies and leads?). The depth of the socket is
standard, but the diameter of plug required is 2.5mm. I unfortunately
grabbed a lead that had a plug that was 3.1mm in diameter - and that was
what caused the damage to my power socket.

Finally, whilst on the subject of external power supplies, Mike is
repeatedly asked what the requirements are. The most critical piece of
information you need is that the external supply voltage is FIXED. Very
often this is not the case. Usually, with cheap AC to DC converters (the
little black 'wall-mushrooms') the voltage supply is totally
un-regulated. It may be stated as being '12V' (for example), but will
actually vary considerably - depending on how much load is being
attached to the supply. On a light load (or 'no-load') the voltage
available form these units can be almost TWENTY volts. Far from
desirable for a Meade telescope that has no internal voltage regulation
of its own (on certain critical circuits anyway).

Even if you manage to get away without blowing up any part of your
scope's delicate electronics - the very least you will encounter is poor
performance due to the fact that the 'Calibration' of your scope (a
critical stage for repeatable behaviour) will be constantly thrown by
the changing voltage. Good calibration requires a steady (i.e. constant)
supply voltage - anything else is a waste of time.

So, you will either need to ensure that the voltage supplied is constant
(some of the slightly more expensive 'switched mode' power supplies will
provide this - and typically those for digital cameras etc. are
excellent), or you would be best served by a large, external,
re-chargeable battery (such as you get in the automotive 'boost charge,
starter packs).

I prefer the latter solution. I do not charge the external battery
whilst I am using the telescope (as this in itself will affect the
constant voltage I am looking for) - instead I simply rely on the fact
that the current drain from my scope would take, on average, about two
weeks to discharge the battery - and that is only if I were to slew
around the sky all day and all night for that period !!!

If you are wanting to use a small AC-DC converter then - make sure that
it provides a constant voltage (of around 12V), make sure that it cannot
exceed about 15V, and make sure that it can provide about 1 Amp (1000mA)
without dropping below about 11V (certainly the voltage swing  between
no load and 1A load should be less than 1Volt for reliable operation).

In any case, mixing mains electricity and the outside world, adding some
damp and darkness, is a recipe for disaster - and will probably lead to
a localised encounter with a supernova that you really would just not

Hope this helps,

Subject:	ETX125AT  vs  ETX125EC
Sent:	Tuesday, February 15, 2005 20:58:23
From:	Marjie Adams (
what is the difference between the ETX125AT and ETX125EC ?
Mike here: See the FAQ page on my ETX Site.
Subject:	Battery power problem
Sent:	Monday, February 14, 2005 18:29:46
From:	Pat Perll (
Purchased ETX-125 December 2004.After going thru many batteries I bought
AC -DC power supply.Now scope will not work with internal batteries.
Called Meade for help and was told to return scope for service, they are
having a problem.I saw some reports of similar problem on the site. What
causes the problem ? Is shipping across country going to do more damage
than just only using external power supply.
Mike here: Have not heard that Meade is having a problem with this. But if something was damaged by the AC Adapter (assuming the voltage and polarity were correct) then it could be something with the circuitry. If you ship in the original shipping container it should be OK. Just remember to insert the foam at the rear of the ETX (assuming they still ship that way).
Subject:	ETX 125, Need assistance
Sent:	Monday, February 14, 2005 11:55:02
From:	Bill Walters (
My name is Bill Walters and I have just come by a Meade ETX125 astro
telescope with many accessories.  I have never had experience with such
equipment and am looking for someone to assist me with the newly
acquired equipment.  Can you suggest someone that would be willing to
give me that time and assistance needed to get me using this equipment. 
I am overwelmed with the technology.

Thank you.
Mike here: You can check for a local astronomy club; Meade's site and Sky and Telescope have listings. You can also check with a local telescope dealer who might be able to suggest a local group. If you will indicate where you live, we'll see if anyone who frequents the ETX Site lives near you and is willing to help out.


I live in Auburn New York,  and have a home in Pinehurst NC also. I
travel back and forth.

Subject:	884 Tripod clips?
Sent:	Monday, February 14, 2005 11:45:16
From:	Harden Schaeffer (
Can anyone help me?  Between a friend and me we have 3 #884 tripods, and
every one has the same problem: the first time or two we put a scope on
the tripod the little E clips on the mounting bolts pop off, allowing
the springs and washers to get lost.  Does anybody know of a way to make
'em stay on?


Harden Schaeffer
Goldthwaite, Tex

Subject:	ETX-125 corrector plate cleaning w/incorrect water/isopropyl ratio
Sent:	Monday, February 14, 2005 07:45:41
From:	Jim Lake (
I have an ETX-125 w/UHTC.  I held off as long as I could before cleaning
the corrector plate. I recently did so, mixing up a 3:1 distilled water
to 99% isopropyl alcohol plus a drop of Ivory dish soap.  The problem is
that I mistakenly used a 2:1 ratio of water/isopropyl - did this harm
anything?!  I'm not sure what to look for regarding possible UHTC
damage, etc.

I also cleaned one Meade series 4000 super plossel lens with this
solution.  I'm not sure how the coatings on lens hold up to cleaning
with this solution either.

The bright side was that being careful, I didn't visibly scratch
anything during this process and the corrector plate and lens sure LOOK
clean (haven't had a chance to use them yet since)!

Any comments are appreciated.


Jim Lake
Mike here: If you don't see any uneven portions in the coating you could be OK.
Subject:	OTA?
Sent:	Sunday, February 13, 2005 19:39:34
From:	It's me (
I know this is probably one of the more obtuse questions of the month,
but what does OTA refer to? Wild guess: optical tube assembly? I've seen
it quite a bit on your web site and in your reply, I can only imagine.
Thanks again for your assistance.
Mike here: you got it exactly right!
Subject:	RE: etx-125AT difficulties elevating and lowering the tube
Sent:	Sunday, February 13, 2005 19:25:00
From:	It's me (
Thank you for your suggestions,
Unfortunately I believe the difficulty - according to your suggestion
"the lock is NOT properly engaging" finding an exploded diagram, parts
list, possibly a schematic of the drive system would be enormously

Thanks again,
Mike here: For starters see the article "ETX DEC Lock Not Tightening Fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. If that doesn't help, there are several other articles there that might.


Thanks, I've  been looking at your page for tech info, and will look
specifically for the article you mentioned.

Subject:	Batteries for ETX
Sent:	Sunday, February 13, 2005 10:11:25
From:	Stephen Shainbart (
Do you know if I can use Lithium AA Batteries in my ETX instead of
regular Alkaline batteries?  I purchased Energizer Lithium AA batteries
which last much longer in digital cameras, so I was wondering if it
would be equally useful in the telescope or if the Lithium batteries
would cause a problem.  Thanks.
Stephen Shainbart
Mike here: I've never tried them but it won't hurt to try them. As long as they can handle the "power draw" of the slewing motors.
Subject:	ETX125 clicks then image jumps HELP please!
Sent:	Sunday, February 13, 2005 05:36:33
From:	Graham Hilton (
I bought my 125 in the USA last summer and shipped it back to the UK.

At first it worked fine and then in the autumn it developed a clicking
sound every few seconds and the image jumped in the eyepiece.

I took it to a local dealer who replaced the RA drive but the fault was
exactly the same when I took it home.

It went back a couple of times and eventually the dealer sent it off to
the UK importer who kept it for 7 weeks and sent it back saying "no
fault found" I realised that it was temperature dependent, I tested it
indoors after it arrived back very cold, the fault got better as the
scope got warmer.

I took it back to the dealer (again) who tested it in the cold and
replaced the RA drive again as he had heard the click happening.

Needless to say the fault is still there, I explained many months ago to
the dealer that if I slackened off the RA drive the fault still appeared
and the image jumped up and down in the eyepiece.

There  is a loudish click each time, I have since slackened off the DEC
as well as the RA today, resting the tube on the base, and the click
stops which makes me think the fault is in the DEC drive.

Removing the right hand DEC knob there are 3 screws visible and a worm
drive, I found that altering the tension of these screws has some effect
on the "click" for a while.

Could you please offer any ideas, thoughts etc. I would be very grateful
for any advise at all.
Best wishes
Graham Hilton
Mike here: There are some DEC repair articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page as well as some "performance enhancement" articles. Perhaps one of those will help you get rid of the problem.

(later) I've been thinking a little more about the problem. With the Autostar set to terrestrial mode, what happens if you unlock the DEC axis and press the slew up and down arrows? Does the ticking occur at each of the nine speeds? Repeat with the axis locked.


Thanks for your very fast reply.
I've never used the scope in terrestrial mode yet so I will give it a
try asap.

I left it on in the garage for a couple of hours today tracking an
imaginary object, and when I came back it seemed to be working OK.

I had a quick look at the tech tips page just now but it seems most of
the mods /repairs are for the earlier versions, the newer ones like mine
seem quite different now.

Still, I'll keep trying and let you know the outcome.

As far as I can tell the clicking does not occur when it is skewing to
an object, it only starts when it begins tracking..
Thanks again


Subject:	Etx125 homemade serial cable
Sent:	Saturday, February 12, 2005 08:12:32
From:	DH((Hotmail)) (
I have been looking for a wiring schematic for connecting the serial
port of a PC to the AUX port on my ETX125EC.

I know that you can buy them ready made, but I have all the bits and
pieces here and would like to while away these cloudy nights by doing
something (Im sure its possible)

I have had an ETX70AT and have learnt a great deal with it (I added
"Autostar" to it).Thanks for a great site.

Clear Skies
Mike here: Are you sure you want the Aux port? What do you plan to do?


thanks for the reply,
I want to control the scope from my PC (Skymap pro).
I assumed that the ETX125 was more like the LX200's than the
ETX70AT,(having got 2 AUX ports)

Looked at Saturn with it for the first time last night, this is one well
engineered piece of kit.

All the best
Mike here: You need to make a #505 cable, which connects from a RS-232 serial port to the second port in the base of the Autostar #497. Then you can use a computer to control the Autostar, which controls the ETX. For info on the cable see the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.


Thanks for that
of course; its all there
I guess I was just looking under ETX-125 instead of "Autostar"
so it works the same as my trusty ETX 70AT then
Ah well at least the cables no longer go around with the scope.
The design philosophy must have changed on the bigger scopes.
I liked the 70AT a lot , but this 125 is a scope that I know I am going
to like even more.
Thanks again
Great site.

Subject:	Broken Dec Lock
Sent:	Saturday, February 12, 2005 11:45:14
While preparing for some evening observations with an ETX 125, I
accidentally put too much torque on the DEC lock and sheared off the
screw.  The telescope had not been moving from the level position during
alignment so I thought I'd tighten up the DEC lock a little bit.
What do I do now?    Help :(
Steve Petzold
Two choices: try a repair yourself (see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page) or contact Meade for a replacement Right Tube Adapter.
Subject:	ETX125 Dec Lock - How tight is too tight?
Sent:	Friday, February 11, 2005 10:08:47
From:	Joe Hansen (
I read in the archives that some folks are only tightening this down
enough to "keep the nose from falling." This seems too loose to me as it
still allows for a push on the nose to move the alignment. Yet I don't
want to break the mechanism (and I don't even have a dew shield on it
yet). Any rule of thumb that you would recommend to would-be over
tighteners? Thanks.

- Joe Hansen,
Mesa, AZ
Mike here: Finger tight is one answer. Another is sufficiently tight so that the OTA stays in place. The answer is NOT tight enough to keep it from moving if you PUSH on the OTA. Since you will be using the controller to slew the telescope whenever the axes are locked you don't need to tighten the locks so much that you can't push it around.


Thanks Mike! I may put some counterweights on in the near future as well...

Subject:	Is it worth going NEW for OLD????
Sent:	Friday, February 11, 2005 05:50:22
From:	EBAY Account (
I currently have the ETX-70 AND ETX-125 models fully loaded and working
just fine. I read just about everything on your site and have now
started to  read the feedback on the 'PREMIER EDITION' scope from Meade.

It is a real state of affairs that you have not received yours yet when
over here in the UK they are now available and being sold. It's about
time yours arrived don't you think.

Anyway, I had been toying with the idea of maybe looking to go for the
new version with all its bells and whistles etc then I thought why
should I when my oldish model 125 was working fine, for how long I don't
know. So until all the most basic problems have been ironed out I will
give it a miss.

Why have all the equipment working on my 125 only to find that as others
have the electric focuser won't fit, what a cock up that is. A basic
principle of design is to make it better surely not worse and wouldn't
we all like to meet the Meade Design Team at a star party soon!!!!! Alas
this won't happen; I would go so far as to say they would hide their
Badges so as not to be found out eh!!!

I shall continue to read the site, each day and keep abreast of the new
scope issues that others are going through. It is hard enough already
without making or adding any more problems don't you think. I would also
raise the question about how many customers Meade is going to lose over
these issues, competition is hard enough without it being publicized.

Oh I must go, my WORKING SCOPE is calling me.What's want to
look at Orionokay then let's get you level pointing north in the home
position and we shall have a look..don't forget to train my've just changed from batteries to mains

I have just finished reading the book, fourth time that isgood bookbeats
Mills & Boon any day.

Bye for now


Subject:	etx-125AT difficulties elevating and lowering he tube
Sent:	Thursday, February 10, 2005 22:49:55
From:	It's me (
I guess this should be filled under 911- deceased scope, film at eleven.

I bought the etx-125AT, my first telescope, knowing absolutely nothing,
but hoping to create an occasion to learn.anything, and see some things
I'd never seen before. When following the instructions for setting it
up, to my horror, I discovered that once the scope began slewing in
search of whatever reference point the firmware set it to seek, it was
going to achieve those coordinates wether the mechanisim was pegged
against its stop or whatever-it could not be turned off. At least the
off switch had no affect, removing the power supply plug did nothing as
I had installed the batteries. Long story longer, I had to sit and watch
as the darn thing continued to strain against its stop trying to elevate
furter than it was designed , roatating further than designed and
couldn't turn it off or stop it. The elevation problem happened so fast,
which is to say, I expected that I could have pressed the control button
and stopped it, or flipped the off switch, byt the time I discovered
neither of these worked, it was too late, rotational movement I was able
to unlock the clutch in time for it to free wheel until the computer was
satisfied. Out of the box, the controller was defective, and meade
replaced it, I don't know if this was a malfunction of the replacement
controller or what. In any event I became  ill for a couple years,
ending up finally at Hopkins for spinal surgery, so I had to put away
the telescoping until just recently, it's been stored in one of those
hard cases, when I opened it up and tried to test it out recently, it
wouldn't elevate at allthe motor was running but whatever clutch or gear
train involved wasn't engaging. Additionally, it wouldn't operate on
battery power at all-new alkaline batteries, Nimh, didn't matter,
scrubbed the contacts-which really weren't dirty, as I don't/ didn't
store it with batteries in placeno availmaybe a fuseable link, or a
diode has croaked but the only way to power it up is with a power
supply. In any case, any suggestions would be helpful, Ie where to
procure a parts list, schematic, service  manual, source for parts,
suggestions of possible fixes? Anything I can get Haaaallllllpppppp???? 
 Thank you , anyone willing to wade through all of this and hazard a
Mike here: Sorry you have had some problems, both personal and with the telescope. There are many articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page that could help you, depending upon exactly what is wrong. I'm not certain why batteries won't work since AC does unless the wiring from the battery compartment has been disconnected. As to the altitude movement, if you unlock the axis, elevate the OTA, and then lock the axis, does the OTA stay in place or does it fall back down? If it stays put then the lock is properly engaging. If it doesn't stay put then the lock is damaged; see the Telescope Tech Tips page. If the lock is OK and you can slew by using the arrow keys on the controller, you could try a CALIBRATE MOTORS (needs to be done anyway when changing power sources) and then a TRAIN DRIVES.
Subject:	Etx-105 with broken flip mirror
Sent:	Thursday, February 10, 2005 21:20:30
From: (
Followed your advice and returned the etx to the dealer.
They had no more in stock, so I had to order from somwhere else.
I found an elite dealer that sold the etx -105 at (That's with the
tripod) plus a 10mm celestron eye piece and auto star suite for 599.00
plus 35 dollars shipping.
Itzchak S. Marcus

Subject:	Re: ETX Azimuth Gearbox Problem (Got it back from Meade)
Sent:	Thursday, February 10, 2005 14:06:03
From:	Stephen Streit (
I got my EXT-90 AT back from Meade the other day after sending it in to
get the Az gearbox replaced under warranty. I trained the drives and
everything seems to be good as new. It appears it made the 5,000 mile
journey there and back again ok, in the box it came in. The only problem
is somewhere in the interim while it was gone a fairly large finger
print somehow found its way on to the corrector that wasnt there when I
shipped it. I dont know if it was a careless Meade tech or if someone at
the post office thought my box was a security hazard and unpacked it. I
plan to mix up a batch of Dr. Clay's cleaning solution and rinse to take
care of that. I'm just glad to have it back.

Subject:	How do I use the Autostar with a Mac?  
Sent:	Thursday, February 10, 2005 13:31:07
From:	Catalina Jalaff (
Hello, my name is Catalina and I am from Chile. I have an ETX-90 EC
telescope and I dont know hou to use it with a Mac.

I would also like you to help me to look through the telescope because I
cant find any constellations or planets other than the moon and the
stars that you see with naked eye. I dont know what eyepiece should I
use or if I need put the 2x barlow before the eye piece ( because when i
do that i cant see anything).

Which are the best eyepieces you can recomend me.

I am a begginer in telescopes and i really want to learn because i find
it very interesting.

So i would apreciate any tips that can help me.

Sorry if there are mistakes in my writing but i do not write very well
in english.

Thank You

Catalina J.
Mike here: First off, see the article "Update Autostar using a Mac" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page on the ETX Site. There is good basic info there on connecting to a Macintosh. There is planetarium software that will control the Autostar from a Macintosh: AstroPlanner, ScopeDriver, Starry Night, Voyager III, etc. These are reviewed on the Accessory Reviews: Software page. You can also use the Autostar Suite and LPI from a Macintosh; see the article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Autostar Info page. For tips on aligning the Autostar, see the Autostar Info page. Before you decide what other accessories like eyepieces, you might want to look through the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the User Observations page. There is a lot of information to absorb but it should help you.
Subject:	Great service from OPT
Sent:	Wednesday, February 9, 2005 08:22:47
From:	Charlie Max Hubbard (
I've just purchased a new 8 inch SCT scope from OPT. This was a big
decision for me and a lot of $$$. I currently have a 4 inch reflector
and a ETX-70. I felt I was ready to move up a step in the love of this
hobby. Problem was there was so many factors and choices I did not know
which way to go. I had seen numerous reference to OPT (Oceanside Photo &
Telescope) on your sight, so I gave them a call. I spoke to Eric and he
went through several questions of what I wanted, then he took time to
explained the pros and cons of the different classes of scopes. He never
rushed and took his time with me. I told him to give a day or two to
decided and he said no problem. No pressure. I called him back two days
later with my decision. Without a lot of details let's just say that
Eric and OPT exceeded my expectations and made me feel confident in my
purchase. I will use them for all my future telescope and accessories
needs. I recommend any one who is a novice and wanting to move up to a
new level of astronomy, and are overwhelmed with questions and doubts,
to give them a call.

Thanks OPT!

Charlie (Max) Hubbard

Subject:	Vector Pocket Power for ETX scopes
Sent:	Wednesday, February 9, 2005 12:09:01
From:	Nesmith, Shawn (
I posted a message on another board for the Vector Pocket Power 12v
power supply for the ETX scopes.  I purchased one from Best Buy about a
month ago for $15.  It is the same unit sold by Scopetronix for $50. 
You may want to post something about it as a lower cost solution. 
Here's the link at Best Buy:

Shawn Nesmith

Subject:	etx 90 trunion 
Sent:	Tuesday, February 8, 2005 21:26:31
From:	Peter Spiessberger (
I am looking at you great site and I want to attempt the tune up on my
etx 90

I was reading the part about the slop in the dec and hoe you put tape
around the trunnion

Can you point out to me where the trunnion is (I think you are referring
to the main shaft that hold the ota )

And how do I get it out to put the tape on sorry for the silly question
but I just want to be sure that I know what I am pulling apart

That is all

Many thanks for you top site

kind regards

peter spiessberger
Mike here: Most times people think of it as the Right Tube Adapter. Search the ETX Site for "trunnion" and you'll get a hit.
Subject:	re: Meade ETX-125 vs LX90 in city viewing.
Sent:	Tuesday, February 8, 2005 20:08:38
From:	Richard Seymour (
I have an ETX90 in-city  (and a 10" LX200gps).

The ETX90 will deliver the major cloud bands on Jupiter,
and the Cassini division (and cloud bands) on Saturn.

The ETX125 would do a much better job at it.

The LX90 -does- have 2.6 times the light-gathering area 
compared to the ETX125.  So it -will- be able to magnify
things larger (before getting too fuzzy).

In-city, it's frequently the "seeing" which limits what you can
see before the scope's optics.  I've never been disappointed
with the ETX90's ability to deliver fine, crisp images.

In telescopes, the name of the game is "aperture, Aperture, aperture".
Which is a vote for the LX90.

But all telescopes are compromises, either for budgetary reasons,
portability (the ETX125 wins there!), or convienience (i do use
the ETX90 more "at the drop of a hat" than i do the LX200gps...
i can have the ETX90 "on a star" in less time than it takes
me to set up the LX200gps, even in Alt/Az mode.

Yes, it's a tough call... either scope will give you enjoyable
images... you could start with the ETX125 and later trade up
(it will probably maintain a high resale value)... for that
matter, you could buy a -used- LX90 (about $1000 to $1200).

good luck on the choosing...
have fun
From: (
Hello Richard and Mike,

I would like to thank you both for following up on my original query.

I will go for an ETX-125 and in a few years upgrade to an LX200.

I cannot tell you how impressed I am that you would go so far to
answering my questions as comprehensively as you both have.  You have
gone above and beyond what anyone would expect.

Thank you very much guys and happy viewing.

Paul Phillips.

Subject:	Declination Stops on ETX125
Sent:	Tuesday, February 8, 2005 09:44:43
I was reading up on the declination hard stops (from a feed on your
excellent site from the March 31, 2003 ETX-105 archive and noted that
Dr. Clay indicated that the hard stops for declination on the "newer"
ETX-105 and ETX-125 did not reach down the base as far as on the "older"
mounts. My scope is an ETX-125 with a 12/03 manufacture date and appears
to have the "metalized" arms as expected (just swapped out from an
ETX-90 last week so this scope should be "latest and greatest"). The
hard stops appear to extend from past vertical to within a couple of mm
of the base which sounds more like the old style (as an aside, found
this out at the store when the sales rep loosened the DEC lock and the
scope hit the base - no apparant nicks).

So my questions: Are my vertical hard stops okay? and did any damage to
the scope occur by it hitting the base from about a 45 degree nose
"dive"? Seems like the higher hard stop would prevent the scope from
actually impacting but the lower hardstop would give me more "southern
exposure" when in polar mode. For that matter a simple piece of foam
rubber  under the nose attached to the base might make a fine "pillow"
for the OTA.

Your thoughts? 

- Joe Hansen, 
Mesa, AZ
Mike here: Unless the optics were knocked out of alignment, you should be OK. And the pad on the base is a nice idea!


Thanks Mike! I'll let you know how the "first light" goes (still waiting
for clear skies)...

- Joe

Subject:	Meade ETX90 begginer set up
Sent:	Monday, February 7, 2005 15:50:10
From:	gary (
Hello, I am new to the telescoping world.  I of course have instructions
for my telescope, but would like to know if you can lead me to some sort
of classes for basic telescope knowledge.  I live in NJ and would
appreciate any advice you have to offer.
Thank you,
    Gary Regec
Mike here: Check for local user groups or clubs. Sky and Telescope has a search page ( and so does Meade ( Also, check with your local telescope dealer.
Subject:	Meade Deep Sky Imager, ETX-105 and Parfocalising rings
Sent:	Monday, February 7, 2005 13:40:45
From:	Mike Snowden (
The 1.25" rings I can find all seem to be the (BC&F) Astro Engineering
ones - AC385 (4 rings and key) or AC576 (1 ring and key).  Are these a
suitable type?

Mike here: Yep, should work fine.



Regarding the cleaned flip mirror with scratches, I talked again to BF&C
today.  Their comment was to look at a bright moon, and that would show
any problems.  A scratched mirror on a reconditioned scope would likely
be replaced FOC, but I have had the scope nearly a year.  In any case: 
Next bright moon - about a week away.  End of guarantee - about a week
away. We'll see.  I have looked at Saturn, and there is some specular
detail, but that may well have been my glasses.  Next time they get a
good clean first! If the DSI arrives first, that could give an
interesting check during daylight tests.

Yes, they should be fine. I actually use 1.25" O rings (from an
engineering shop), they cost about the same for a bagfull, as 4 of the
BC&F rings. OK they are rubber rather than metal, but they work fine.
The other thing I have found is that the 1.25" nose tube on the DSI is
very loose in the eyepiece downtube, so I have exchanged it for the nose
tube from a Meade Basic Camera Adaptor. It is chrome a good 1.25"
diameter along its whole length, with a T thread that is a direct
replacement for the nose piece on the DSI. Another good substitue would
be the BC&F basic camera adaptor with T mount thread and 1.25" fitting.

If you look at the DSI item, the design is not very good, it has a 1.25"
shoulder top and bottom, with a narrower waist in between. Quite what
that is designed to do I don't know! It can cause a marginal variation
in the quality of focus across an image if the camera does not sit
square in the eyepiece downtube.

Hope this helps.


Stephen Bird
Some rings have been ordered.  Since the adapter is 35, I'll see how bad
it is before shelling out.


London, UK (and another BT-ite)

Subject:	eyepiece CCD
Sent:	Monday, February 7, 2005 11:35:21
From:	Jon (
I seem to have a come up with a question that nobody can answer.  Think
baby monitor and surveillance camera.  I want to rig up some sort of CCD
widget to the eyepiece of a spotting scope that would relay a
terrestrial view to a small hand-held TV.  The idea is to eliminate the
need to stay glued to the eyepiece.  Something like Orion's Electronic
Imaging Eyepiece has potential, but will not work on spotting scopes
with a fixed eyepiece.  I could machine an adaptor for a small digital
cameral, but the camera's lens conflicts with the telescope eyepiece
lens creating vignetting and soft focus.  Any ideas?

/Jon Schwartz
Mike here: You could do the same thing with a webcam or any of the imagers. Do you really need the eyepiece (assuming it can be removed)? If you need it, just leave the imager lens in place and do afocal photography.


Thank you very much for the informative reply.  I did a Google for
Afocal and found a ton of info that will help me with this project.  The
spotting scope we have has a fixed eyepiece, so afocal will have to be
the game plan.

Be well


Subject:	Mighty ETX web page - hardware
Sent:	Monday, February 7, 2005 04:17:54
From:	Ken G (
G'day Mike. Its been a while since I've visited the site - you'll
probably be able to tell how long when I ask the question .

There used to be quite a few DIY items - wedges, tripods, flexible
controls etc. but they seem to have gone from the site.

Are they still there but I just can't find them, or have you removed
them to make way for other info?
Ken G.
(Brisbane, Australia)
Mike here: They are still on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	etx malfunction
Sent:	Monday, February 7, 2005 00:03:33
thanks for your quick response tried everything you recommended  and got
nowhere the telescope does move freely when engaged and it does stay in
place, tried to calibrate motors but altitude axis still did not work
instead I got the marvellous grounding noise I will try to go to the
shop this weekend will let you now what happened.
once again thanks for your support.

Subject:	ETX-90EC tune-up sources
Sent:	Sunday, February 6, 2005 21:44:15
From:	Philip N Grebel (
I would like to find a source for the tune-ups you mention in your page.
 Is there anyone in the Carolinas that you know of.  I have an ETX-90
that I just got and would like to have tuned up.  With the instructions
your articles gave I could probably do it if necessary.
Any help on sources would be appreciated.
Dr Philip N Grebel    PhD 
Mike here: The only source I know of is Dr. Clay Sherrod, as mentioned in the ETX Tune-Up Service article. But if the ETX is new, are you SURE it needs a tune-up?
Subject:	AC Adapter Variations
Sent:	Sunday, February 6, 2005 13:16:36
From:	Stanley Fisher, Ph.D. (
I have an ETX 90AT and the power circuit to the Autostar has failed.  It
is scheduled to go back for repair,  However, it made me think about
checking my AC adapters - I have many 12vdc adapters around the house -
for voltage output and found the was a good deal of variation from 12vdc
to 17vdc.  I was wondering if you knew how much discrepancy is
acceptable?  Thanks.
 Stan Fisher
Mike here: I would stick as close to 12VDC as possible.
Subject:	ETX90 DC power cord
Sent:	Sunday, February 6, 2005 13:15:23
I am taking Dr. Clay's advice to get a 12v "EverStart" dc power supply from WalMart.

However, I have a question about a dc power cord. I'm not wanting to
spend the money for a Meade power cord and I saw on your site that I can
get a cord from RadioShack as long as it has the type "N" adaptaplug.
But, I need some advice on the cord itself. Will just a regular 12v dc
power cord be all right? Or is there something else I need to watch for?
Do those dc cords have an "amp" rating that I need to bother with?

Any advice will be appreciated.


Mike Blazer
Mike here: As long as it can handle the 1.5A to the telescope you will be fine.
Subject:	Re: I still don't know whether to buy an ETX-70AT or ETX90EC(AT)
Sent:	Sunday, February 6, 2005 12:50:18
From:	Grant Robery (
Many thanks for your speedy response. I have a few more questions and
would really appreciate your comments:

- I went to the Astronomy Now Astrofest at the weekend and asked various
exhibitors about eht ETX range, one guy referred to the ETX 70 as 'a
toy' which I thought seemed unfair but it has put me off a bit, what
would your response to that comment be??

- I heard talk of a new ETX 80 coming out to replace the 70, first I
have heard of it and couldn't find anything online, do you know anything
about this and do you think it is worth me waiting instead of getting
the 70?

- Lastly as you can probably gather I am steering towards the 70
(pending your comments), I am confused as to lots of reference to focal
length and the like, it seems the 70 has a short focal length so does
that mean views of the moon won't be any good?

Many thanks again.

Best regards, Grant Robery
Mike here: The ETX-70 is not a "toy". It has its usefulness. Suggest you read my comments on the ETX-70, linked at the top of the current "ETX-60, ETX-70" feedback page.
Subject:	broken etx-105at
Sent:	Sunday, February 6, 2005 10:09:27
From: (
Thanks for the quick reply.
Since it is Sunday I can't get through to Meade today.
I just want to know if Meade has any service centers in the New York
area, or will I have to send it back to California and wait forever?
Mike here: You can contact a local Meade dealer; they may be able to help. What has broken?

Oh yeah, the flip mirror (discussed further down this page). Since it is new, I still suggest contacting the dealer where you purchased it.


I really appreciate the help and super quick responses.
Keep it up!!!! It's a great web site.
Itzchak Marcus

Subject:	"Etx 90 Viewing problem
Sent:	Sunday, February 6, 2005 09:04:43
From:	Bama fan (
Got the web site from yahoo group. Great site!

I am a novice and very interested in astronomy. I recently purchased an
ETX 90 AT with UHTC coating. I've been out viewing for 2 nights and have
some questions to ask hopefully i can find an answer here since this
site is so knowledgeable. By questions as below:

1) what's the different between ETX90 EC and ETX 90 AT? I ordered
ETX90AT with UHTC and the package arrived with box indicate ETX 90EC.
Which included #947 Auto Star and #884 tripod. The merchant said It is
the same. Is it?

2) I've been trying to local Saturn for 2 clear nights. All the stars I
saw were donut shape--a planet with a dark hole in the middle. I turn
the focus knob to zoom out, the donut shape getting smaller and
eventually turned to a pin of light. If I turned the focus knob to zoom
in, the  donut shape star turned bigger; the brightest star would appear
to have craters and some germ type objects movement (like seeing in the
microscope) and the shape was still a donut shape with a dark hole in
the middle.  I used tracking (go to ) to locate the saturn; and followed
the sky magazine to locate Saturn, and looked all the stars that around
the Saturn area. They all were donut shapes as descried above. No matter
how I focused it, either big donut or small donut or a pin point light. 
What can I do? The landscape scene appeared to be ok.

I used 26mm, 18mm alone and with 2x barlow.

Am sorry for such a novice. Thanks in advance.
Mike here: See the FAQ page on the ETX Site for EC vs AT info. The focus knob is not a zoom magnification control. When in focus, stars will appear as pinpoints of light. There will be no "donut hole" in the center of the star.
Subject:	Dew Shield part 4
Sent:	Saturday, February 5, 2005 22:49:11
From:	RobBug (
I have used the ideas posted in your site on how to make a dew shield
and I must say they work great!  I did make one refinement to the idea
of using a foam pad as a dew shield.  Instead of glue, use a sewing
machine and sew on the Velcro.  This worked really well and you won't
have to worry about the glue separating.  Also you can make the shield
to be adjustable.  Hopefully this will help.  Total cost if you have
your own sewing machine  $0.97 cents for a 12 x 18 foam sheet. $1.50 for
strip Velcro.  10 mins of your time.  No dew for the whole night 

Very Respectfully

Rob Bugary

Subject:	etx flip mirror system
Sent:	Saturday, February 5, 2005 20:21:41
From: (
I've just purchased an etx 105. In order to use it, the flip mirror
knobs must be vertical. I just can't get those knobs turn more than 60
or so degrees. After that they just turn around the shaft without doing
anything (the knobs are on tight). I hope it's not broken. If it is how
can i get it fixed without sending it back to meade. I live in Brooklyn.
Thanx in advance
Mike here: Something must be interferring with the movement. Since it is new I suggest contacting your dealer for an exchange.
Subject:	good promotion from Meade  ETX 90
Sent:	Saturday, February 5, 2005 11:43:15
From:	kish (
just to inform you that Meade is stating on their website that ETX 90,
upto 125 now are going for sale with FREE LPI imager and software set !

this is good news for those in usa.

Mike here: Thanks. That has been running for a couple of months now. But a good reminder.
Subject:	Very Helpful URL for newcomers with Telescope VIEW questions
Sent:	Saturday, February 5, 2005 11:45:53
From:	kish (
here is one great site, to check how big an object might look like thru
the eyepiece, before you go and buy a scope with Unreal Claims.

do pls check it out.

Mike here: It is already on the Astronomy Links page but your message is a good reminder for new ETX Site visitors.
Subject:	ETX 105 and Digital Cameras
Sent:	Saturday, February 5, 2005 08:13:32
From:	Jakob Jorgensen (
I have ordered a ETX 105 AT with UHTC. I am planning at some point to
try some astro-photography, I have both a Nikon D100 and a Coolpix 995.
I was thinking of using the Coolpix connected to the eyepiece, the D100
is much heavier. What is needed to do that and what eyepieces allow
this? Can you do the same with the D100?

Mike here: See the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page as well the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page. You can easily use those cameras.
Subject:	ETX 105 at an the mac
Sent:	Saturday, February 5, 2005 08:06:14
From:	Jakob Jorgensen (
Great site, just found it a few days ago!

I have ordered a ETX 105 AT with UHTC. I have an iBook 700mhz G3 and am
wondering about connecting it to the telescope. I have Starrynight Pro
4.5.2, what do i need to connect, also the scope comes with the LPI
imager and is there a way to connect that to the mac.

Mike here: Yes, you can use the Mac with both. See the articles "Update Autostar using a Mac" and "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page and the article "LPI with Mac OS X" on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page. The G3 may not work well with Virtual PC and the Autostar Suite however.
Subject:	Meade ETX-125 vs LX90 in city viewing.
Sent:	Saturday, February 5, 2005 02:43:33
From:	Paul Phillips (
Awesome website, I have learned a hell of a lot from it.

To further Amgad's question.  I have very specific requirements of a
telescope and was wondering if you could advise me.

I currently have a 10 year old meade 80mm refractor (900mm focal
length).  I want to upgrade it and am interested in the ETX-125PE or the
LX-90.  The LX-90 is a budget stretch for me, but I would be prepared to
stretch if it will suit me better.

I was told by a salesperson that I would not get much benefit going from
my 80mm refractor to the ETX-125, but I am not so sure I believe that as
the apeture more that 2 inches larger, the focal length is more that
double and the light collecting capability of the ETX-125 is 250% more
than the refractor I currently have.

The sales person says the exit pupil is very small on the ETX and thus I
will not see all that much more than through my current refractor.  He
says the LX-90 larger exit pupil will make for much better viewing. 
What are your thoughts on this?

I will be using the telescope 95% of the time in the city, I have a
backyard that is well shielded from street lights, but a city is a city
and is still nothing like a dark country sky.  I just do not have the
time to go to the country all that often.   I am really interested in
viewing the moon and planets and only have a small interest in viewing
galaxies.  What I really want is to be able to see the could belts on
Jupiter in reasonable detail and the Giant Red Spot, also I am
interested in seeing some cloud bands and the Cassini division on
Saturn.  I would also like to see some satelites (well the ISS is what I
would really like to view).  I have only a small interest in

I will be ordering the UHTC coating on whichever model I choose.

Will I be able to see all that in city lights with the ETX-125PE?

Will the LX-90 give siginificant improvement in city viewing?

What photos of Saturn posted on your website will most accurately
reflect what I can expect to see through the ETX-125?  Will it be
anything like the image posted by Lee Jeong Hyun on Feb 04 2005?  Would
I see that kind of detail through an LX-90?

I know you are busy and I appreciate your time.

Kind regards, Paul. 
Mike here: Baloney. I use my LXD55-8"SC, which is the same OTA as the LX90. I have a similar situation to yours and I find the views very nice. And yes, that view is very close to what your eye would see.


Wow!  Thanks for your prompt response. 

Though I am not sure I understand completely.  Are you saying that the
view is very close to what I will see through a LX90 or through an

Thanks again, Paul.
Mike here: You previously asked "Would I see that kind of detail through an LX-90?" so I answered that. So, yes, the LX90.


Thanks for clarifying, it seems from what you have told me the LX-90
would be the telescope I would enjoy more.  I think I will go for that

Just out of curiosity, which of the photos of Saturn posted on your
website would best reflect the view I would get from an ETX-125

Thanks, Paul.

PS:  The Internet used to be about sharing information before porn and
business came in.  It is great to see that there are people like
yourself who still care about sharing knowledge.  Well done on a truly
great website.
Mike here: Since the focal length of both telescopes is nearly the same, the size will be similar. In the ETX-125, Saturn won't appear as bright nor with quite as much detail.
Subject:	ETX-125 AT or EC?
Sent:	Saturday, February 5, 2005 01:02:23
From:	Steven Kurtz (
Can you tell me what the difference is between the AT and EC models?
Great website.

Mike here: This question gets asks a lot. Hence the answer is on the FAQ page on the ETX Site.
Subject:	re: ETX125-EC Vertical Drive
Sent:	Friday, February 4, 2005 20:26:53
From:	Richard Seymour (
When i purchased my (used) ETX90, i was able to measure over three degrees
of vertical travel, using the same test you are using.

GoTo's were still very good.

If your scope is beyond warranty (or maybe if it is not), you
can open the fork with the DEC Clamp, and investigate the mechanism.

Look in Mike's Telescope Tips  page for "worm end play" pages.
Your worm assembly could have one end=nut too loose.

There are many items which might contribute to your symptoms.
But first: how -are- the GoTo's????   If they're good, then
perhaps leaving it alone would be best.

My own telescope had three major factors giving the play:
(a) the worm carrier could flex on the plastic mounting.
  A small scrap of cardboard as a brace cured that.
(b) too much grease on the clutch.. it slipped easily
(c) a worm DEC shaft bearing (i have plastic, your have bearings).
 ... ah: your bearing hold-down screws could be loose, too.

good luck

Subject:	re: Autostar fried.
Sent:	Friday, February 4, 2005 20:21:05
From:	Richard Seymour (
You stand a moderate chance that the only thing that's fried is
the little circuit card behind the power switch.

All that's on it are traces of copper leading between the external
sockets and an internal connector for the inner workings.

Usually what you're seeing means that one of those thin traces
of copper has played "fuse" and opened the circuit from the
power supply to the Autostar and maybe the motor cards.

You could open the base and check.

From the sounds of it you purchased your scope in the US and
"self-imported" to Ireland.  You could -try- the UK Meade
distributor (they might fix it "for fee", and the part
(if you're lucky) is cheap).  That's BC+F at +44(189)261-6131

good luck
From:	James Ellis (
Will keep you posted, Will ship scope off to see what BC&F have to say
about repairs.

bye for now


Subject:	re: Meade ETX 125 At versus Meade LX90 LNT
Sent:	Friday, February 4, 2005 20:13:42
From:	Richard Seymour (
Only a 20% price differential???

Unless portability is a *prime* concern, go for the LX90.

If there's one rule of thumb in astronomy, it's:
Aperture Aperture Aperture.

Nothing else can provide aperture you didn't buy.

Telescopes work with -light-.  
Aperture determines how MUCH light you can gather.   
The LX90 gathers 2.5 *times* as much light as an ETX125.
20% price uptick for over twice the light is a great bargain.

(you can always get a hand-dolly to improve portability).

have fun

Subject:	Meade ETX 125 At versus Meade LX90 LNT
Sent:	Wednesday, February 2, 2005 23:29:03
From:	Amgad Botros (
I am considering whether to purchase the ETX 125 versus the LX 90 LNT. 
I have been advised that the LX 90 can be quite portable but obviously
offers significantly more capability for a 20% premium in price.  I am
OK with spending the higher amount for the LX, but would really
appreciate your views.  Many Thanks  A Botros Sydney Australia
Mike here: I think you meant that the ETX would be more portable. Anyway, the LX90 is a fine instrument with more aperture and the same ease of use as the ETX line. It is really like an ETX-200.


Many thanks for your reply. What would be thwe key differences between
the ETX200 and the LX90 with regards overall performance?

Many Thanks

A Botros
Sydney. Australia
Mike here: You misunderstood. There is no "ETX-200" model; the 8" aperture of the LX90 is 200mm and it is on a similar fork mount like the ETX models have. Hence, my comment that the LX90 is like an ETX-200. But the mount is more heavy-duty than on the ETX models. The largest ETX aperture is the ETX-125 or 5" model.
Subject:	ETX 90 : my platform lock has got loose
Sent:	Thursday, February 3, 2005 11:02:39
From:	lehuron (
The chromium plated lock on my platform cannot be pushed to full lock
and I have to push the fork at the start. I tried to tighten the small
screw on the lock but this is not enough. Is there a way of taking the
lock off to inspect the axis ? Is there a flat side on the axis for the
screw to be pushed on it ? I do not dare to dismantle the mecanism...

I have not used my ETX since August, due to initialising problems, and
maybe the gear is jammed ?

Thanks for reading. I hope you can find the time for a tip
Alain Gliksman
And an update:
Sorry Mike, I just found in the FAQ  an advice concerning my problem. If
there is nothing new on that issue, please do not bother. Sorry to have
taken your time.

Subject:	Autostar fried.
Sent:	Wednesday, February 2, 2005 16:28:21
From:	James Ellis (
Many thanks for a great Site, I have learned a lot since I found it a
few weeks ago.

I got my new EXT125 about 3 weeks ago, so I started to use it, but with
limited success, Goto's were off so much it was not funny. I trained the
drives, done the whole nine yards, as they say.

Finally I got my EXT to find Saturn, after a little adjusting I got it
in the middle of the 26 mm eyepiece but it would move out of the field
of view after 5 mins or so. Then I tried to .....goto Pollux, scope just
done a 360 move, and kept going.

Then 10 mins later the autostar shuts down, motor faults, the batteries
were new, but I only got about one hour 45 mins of use, ok It was cold
out, but not even close to freezing, it was about 3 Deg C.

Anyway the next day, in the house I fired up the scope, all seemed well,
so I connected the EXT to my Laptop, using autostar suit, everything
worked great, click on a star and the scope moved, dont know if it was
moving as it should, just testing it out.

So then I have this great idea, why not upgrade the autostar software. I
followed the instructions, all seemed well, but after about 45 mins or
so, nothing happened, it was locked up as far as I can tell. I had to
switch off computer and try again, only to find that autostar was not
working, As I found out later, I was not supposed to switch off
machine......I then used safe mode, but nothing happened, just kept
saying hand box was not updated. Then autostar shut down.....the
batteries were dead at this stage.  I think thats why the download didnt
work, the batteries must have been too low, to make the prosessor in
autostar work as it should.

Next day I got a 12V motorcycle battery, to make sure I had plenty of
power. In my rush to get things fixed I mixed up the battery
connections..........( yeah I know, dont even say it )......anyway I
switched on scope, and switched it off a second later, as I seen the
mistake..........too late, now Autostar wont even light up, and I got a
burning smell from the scope.......:-(.

I think I fried something inside, poor design from Mead, that they didnt
put some sort of protection, a simple diode would have saved my EXT from
getting fried.

Lessons learned......If you want to update software, use fresh
batteries, wait at least an hour, before thinking about switching off
computer, as it could take that long to download. If you use an external
battery, make sure, and then make sure again.....that you have the right
connections, as Mead didnt put a 10 cent diode into Autostar.

So Mike, do you know If I can get a new computer board for my scope, as
I dont want to have to send it back for repairs, as I live in Ireland,
and I dont want to have to ship scope to USA. I'm pretty good with a
soldering iron, so I guess I could manage to install it myself.

Again many thanks for a great Site, I hope my email will be of value to
your readers

Jim Ellis.
Mike here: Sorry to hear this. From your initial problem description, it sounds like either the power was already low (due to the cold temps) so the initial calibration (CALIBRATE MOTORS) was no longer accurate. Doing another CALIBRATE MOTORS (and possible TRAIN DRIVES) might have helped. Any time the power source (or level) changes, a CALIBRATION should be done. As to the circuit board, not likely. You can try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page). Good luck! Let me know how you make out.
Subject:	ETX125-EC Vertical Drive
Sent:	Wednesday, February 2, 2005 16:15:20
From:	Ole Rulnes (
Just woundering my vertical drive is tilting about 4 degreas when push
the end of the teleskope slightly is there some thing wrong with the
drive or what? 

please help

Mvh Ole Norway
Mike here: The axis locks on the ETX models are friction-type. Since under normal operations you don't push the telescope by the tube with the axis locked, some movement is not unusual. However, if the OTA slips while slewing with the controller, that could be a problem, depending upon whether or not you have added heavy accessories to the tube. But just pushing on the tube is like pushing your car with the brakes on. Yes, you can move it.


Hi Mike it's worse then that im afraid here is some picture if would
like to se how it looks like. I hope it's okay that i am sending you the
pictures of it.

photo photo
Mike here: I'm not certain what I'm supposed to see from those photos but again, pushing on the ETX tube with the axis locked is not a normal operation. Does a problem appear under normal usage?


When i am setting up the scope for polar aligment 90Degreas to make sure
it is straightit just tip back and forvard it's complitely louse, But
when i use the autostar up and down it works with out a problem except
when is straight up like in polar mode and looking at some thing
straight up. When the Axis is locked it so louse that you cam move it 4
degreas, it's like when the axlis isen't locked  but just for the four
degreas over that there is resistance.
Mike here: So you are saying that when pointing to the Zenith, the OTA slips about 4 degrees while slewing to or from the Zenith. That is not a good thing as that is too much slop in slewing control.


that's right what shall i do? Send it to a place where they fix
telescopes? Do you think it is expensive to fix? any idea

Ole From Norway
Mike here: If the telescope is still under warranty I would suggest contacting Meade or the dealer where you purchased it. Otherwise, you can look at the various DEC fix articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	ETX-105AT
Sent:	Wednesday, February 2, 2005 13:09:38
Thank you for your site, it appears to have a lot of good information. 
I am new to astronomy and just purchased an ETX-105AT and was looking
for feedback from others that have one.  The reviews I currently see
appear to be an older model.

John Ross
Manager, GIS North American Field Support
p: 763/424-1610
f: 763/391-1100
Mike here: Keep in mind there is no functional difference in an "EC" vs "AT" model. It was only a "what's bundled" change in nomenclature.


Thanks for the explanation.  Is one difference the version of AutoStar
Mike here: Same #497.
Subject:	etx malfunction
Sent:	Wednesday, February 2, 2005 00:05:10
Claudio here from Australia
I was out the other night with my ETX 125 when all of the sudden my
telescope stopped slewing upwards , the motors seem to be moving but
there`s no movement I was just wandering if there`s anything  I can do
to fix it or does the telescope have to go  to another trip to the
my Email Adress: is
Mike here: Some thoughts: With the altitude axis locked can you move the telescope tube up/down easily by hand? Does it stay in place if you let go? How's the battery power? Does it slew if you increase the speed on the handcontroller or Autostar? If you have the standard handcontroller, does that work OK? If so, try a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES. Let me know.
Subject:	ETX125EC vs ETX125AT????
Sent:	Tuesday, February 1, 2005 15:43:03
From:	Mike Huff (
I'm sorry if this is a dumb question, as I am relatively new to the ETX
Experience.  What exactly is the difference between the ETX125EC and the
ETX125AT?  I am currently researching these as well as the LX200 8"
Classic.  I know that in this case "Size Does Matter" and the LX200's
aren't that much higher on the used market.  Any recommendations or
suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Michael R. Huff
Solar Phoenix Inc.
Protem, MO
Mike here: See the FAQ page on my ETX Site.
Subject:	Subject:	Old Model ETX with UHT Coatings
Sent:	Tuesday, February 1, 2005 13:35:57
From:	Mike Snowden ( said:
>Hi there, Great site by the way and very informative. I am looking to
>buy an ETX 125, but i am wary of purchasing an old model from our UK
>suppliers. Am i right to assume only the new models with the aluminium
>forks have the UHT coatings. Thanks for any help. Graeme.

My understanding was that Meade-imported UK models all had UHTC.  You'd
obviously want to confirm this as a condition of sale, but the odds are
it should be.

Subject:	Meade etx 125 collimation
Sent:	Tuesday, February 1, 2005 08:16:39
I have a meade etx 125 mak and when I take off the corrector and
secondary and put cross hairs on the tube to see how far off the baffle
is to the center of the cross hairs the baffle is not near where it
should be.I have had numerious schmidt cass scopes and they also are
never centered but with them they can be adjusted.Not the Mak scope
though.Any suggestions.Thanks keith
Mike here: Well, first off, removing the corrector housing on the ETX models is not a good idea. You may or may not mess up the collimation. But the ETX design is such that all the optical components are factory collimated and under normal circumstances no user adjustment is necessary nor even (simply) possible. Whether your baffle is aligned or not you would need to do the collimation with a fully assembled telescope. There are some collimation articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page if you want to try it.


Thank you very much.Keith

Subject:	re: Help: Deposit left on flip mirror after use of lens duster air can
Sent:	Monday, January 31, 2005 22:15:15
From:	Richard Seymour (
What you might do is contact "Kenair",  and ask them:
(a) what IS the residue?
(b) what would be a solvent for the residue?
(pray for isopropyl alcohol)

You can access the flip-mirror by removing the back plastic 
assembly from the telescope... this doesn't enter the critical
OTA at all.  (don't remove the focus knob with the scope pointed down!)

You could also view this as "remove the OTA from the flip-mirror

Once you've got the main mirror, etc. safely away from the flip-mirror,
you can investigate such things as flowing greatly diluted solvent
(as long as it won't attack the plastic or the foam in the vicinity)
(this is why we prayed for isopropyl)

WARNING: Since it's a UHTC model, the coating on the mirror 
(and there may well, or should, be one) is VERY FRAGILE.
Solvents/solutions which would be painless on a uncoated 
front-surface mirror can really mess up the UHTC... in fact,
that might be why you had the problem you did.

good luck
From:	Mike Snowden (
10 minute clean booked at "Telescope House" tomorrow morning - will
update with reply worth posting tomorrow evening.  "You wouldn't believe
how common it is, and it's usually all right, but don't wait or the
coating will be affected" was the message.

And an update:
I dropped my scope off first thing this morning at Telescope House
( aka Broadhurst Clarkson and Fuller. 
As always, the shop was a pleasure to go to.  Dave took my scope as I
was pushed for time for a work meeting, and I came back at lunchtime.
The report was "We cleaned the flip mirror without any difficulty,
however, now it is clean, we can see some very faint circular scratches
that look like someone used a tissue on it".  He was also interested in
the notch I have cut in the hard case foam to clear the switch, and has
fed this back to the local Meade rep.  The clean was also free.  Nice
people, great service. Recommended (but I doubt many astro enthusiasts
in the SE area don't already know about it). DSIs are now stock items
from their Internet shop (and I have ordered one), Premier Series scopes
are still on advance order. So we'll see, once I get a nice bright star
to look at on a sharp night. The scratches were always there, but I
didn't notice them before - OTOH, he thought the mirror wasn't
particularly clean to start with, so my contrast is likely to have
improved.  If the scratches are significantly visible, then it's about
?80 and 2 to 3 weeks to have a factory repair including collimation. 
AND a chat with the vendor...


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