Last updated: 28 February 2006

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT, ETX-80AT-TC, and ETX-80BB. Additional information is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	ETX-70 collimation question.
Sent:	Monday, February 27, 2006 14:18:40
From:	Cathal A. Ferris (
I got an ETX-70 before christmas (the deal from the European chain
Lidl), and to date I am impressed by the little scope that can.

When I first tried the scope outside, I got really nice images of the
Airy disks of e.g. Castor, with both components clearly seperated.

It was about 3 weeks later that I got a chance to go out again, and
after 3 hours outside (thermally stable I think) I tried some more
high-mag work.

This time I saw the disks of all the stars I tried as inwardly curving
pincushions, that didn't seems to be affected by tube currents or
general atmospheric seeing. My guess is that the objective is strained
or out of collimation.

Is there a method by which I can determine the possible cause of this
optical defect, and how to rectify it?

I was using both the eyepiece ports, and a variety of eyepieces (MA 4,
12, 25 and PL 6, 26) with the 3x barlow and the 2x amici.

Mike here: Some possible causes: flip mirror not seated correctly (or has shifted), eyepiece not inserted properly, or the objective lens has moved out of alignment. The latter is least likely to have occurred (unless the scope has been hit on the objective lens housing).
Subject:	Meade #494 autostar ETX-70AT +  #506 Astrofinder 
Sent:	Tuesday, February 28, 2006 04:36:59
From:	ArmCon A/S (
The telescope and the laptop connects OK through the cable with an USB
to serial link, but then---

When I do try to control the scope with new destinations/parameters; it
cannot find the scope and thats it!!

All the figures disappears  and the visual red readings are then blank

So its only in the start procedure its OK, then it looses contact; why ?

I have the Starry night and the ACP configured OK I think and I see the
scope name in small red letters on the screen.

It tells me its a Meade 90 and 12,5 mm., as there are no other option,
to what I can find in the software CD-package, but perhaps the problem
arises from  that fact or?

Pls. let me have your assistance, even I'm a Dane the store , where I bought it, cannot help--
They gave me your adress
Thanks in advance
With my Best Regards
Yours Sincerely
Thorsten Vestergren
Mike here: What USB adapter are you using? The only reliable ones for Autostar communications seem to be ones from Meade and Keyspan.


Thanks Mike You are very quick

Its an adapter from a company called Sandberg USB to
serial link

I thought myself, that even that could be the problem not using the 232
one, but then I tried out the whole setting on my stationary computer
serial 9 pin connected and not my laptop with only USB, but that did 
not solve the problem either it was still the same even when serial
connected.--so ??

best regards Thorsten
Mike here: Hum. You can try the communications tests (details on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page). They might help determine whether it is a communications problem or an Astrofinder problem. You could also try Scopedriver or Astroplanner and see if they communicate with the Autostar. Info on them is also on the Autostar Info page.
Subject:	Meade ETX 70 AT Won't "GO TO"
Sent:	Wednesday, February 22, 2006 17:45:27
From:	Veronika G. Oceallaigh (
I have had this scope a while and I've never been able to get it to set
up correctly.  I've called Meade and they quote the book to me, which I
believe I'm following verbatim.   Using "Two Star Alignment," it just
points into my neighbors roofline from North.  Can you offer a short cut
I was told by another astronmer exists or, a better way to do this than
what Meade offers? I joined an astonomy club and another member can't
get his to work either. The instructor pompously told me the scope is of
poor quality and get rid of it.  I don't want to invest in another scope
until I master this. I hope you can help and thank you for your time in
Mike here: There are several alignment tips on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. Read through those. You can skip any steps mentioned there where it talks about "hard stops" as the ETX-70 doesn't have any on the Azimuth axis. If they don't help, tell me EXACTLY what steps you do to set up and align.
Subject:	etx 70 external power source
Sent:	Saturday, February 18, 2006 15:12:57
From:	David Hobson (
I've recently purchased a 12v jump starter and using a DC regulator am
running my etx 70 off 9v.  At the end of every session I quickly
reconnect the AA battery supply in order to keep my custom home site. 
Is this necessary, or does the scope remember details such as date and
site details without power. I am concerned about unnecessary wear on the
battery clip.
Mike here: The Autostar remembers site settings and lots of other stuff even when power is removed or turned off. But the date, time, and Daylight Saving always default to the same thing (last date entered, 8pm or 2000, and Yes/No).
Subject:	etx-70at
Sent:	Tuesday, February 14, 2006 09:51:33
From:	Freddy Guillaume (
A )   Bougth jan 2006 ; after a lot of head scratching trying to make
sens out of the user manual written in a more than dubious french i was
able to run an indoor satisfactory   test of almost all  lthe functions

Then the batteries ran out of juice

After reloading the six pack with fresh batteries  i  had some
difficulties (connecting cables being too short ) to find at once the
right position of the clips

Now the red led on the connector bord lights ok but the control padell
stays black and does not function any more

The local meade help desk says meade will ship a new paddel to my home
address . i possibly forgot to switch the pannel to off position while
reconnecting the batteries but it would seem incredble that no foolproof
device i s provided for such an instance   ( to be followed  in next

B )  I had a look at the various pictures showing the innards of
disassembled etx70 but found no trace of an optical codewheel !

could it be that the toothed wheel of the wormgear drive is  used as a
rudimentary optical disk ?

if it works and apparently it does , congratulation  to the genius who
developped  the  system  !!!
Mike here: If you disconnect or connect the Autostar handcontroller with power on you can cause problems. Sometimes it is just a memory corruption. With the #497 Autostar the user can reload the software but with the #494 (the one you likely have) there is no such option.
Subject:	ETX-60AT
Sent:	Friday, February 10, 2006 16:59:36
From:	Joe and Judy Moore (
I Have a ETX-60AT and what is the easiest way to focus without doing a
complete set up.. Just looking for the short cut.   Thanks Joe
Mike here: The easiest way to focus is to NOT change the focus from the previous night's use. I typically end and start all my sessions with all my telescopes with the 26mm (or 25mm in the case of my ETX-70). That way I'm always ready for the next night.
Subject:	Review of the new ETX-80 (well, 2 of them actually)
Sent:	Thursday, February 9, 2006 18:48:18
From:	Mark (Overberg@Direcway.Com)
very nice site.  Thank you for all your efforts to make this wonderful
resource available to us hobbyists.

My old ETX-60 finally gave up the ghost, giving intermittent Motor Unit
failures (MUFs) even on the 12v 1a Meade transformer, I decided to take
the plunge with OpticsPlanet's sweet offer on the new ETX-80. $279
included a new model tripod w/brace arms, a 4000 series Super Plossl 26
and  9mm E.P.'s, Autostar of course, a nifty compass/bubble level and a
free Electronic monochrome CCD eyepiece.  I was very excited to
experience the 33% aperture gain.  When it arrived, I first tried to
load the supplied (DVD?!) software, but I experienced install failures
on all 3 PC's I tried (XP).  Something wrong with the disk.

Then I pulled out all the goodies and went through the parts.  Hey,
those 4000 series EP's look sweet. There is a lot about the tripod that
I don't like though, right out of the gate.  First, the base of the
scope has to fit into a pocket.  This is probably safer for the scope,
but it sure is a lot tougher to line up the bottom screws this way.  The
next thing is the center brace.  It is pretty cheesy and the "lock" that
keeps it in place would likely snap if you gave a leg a good trip-over.
It doesn't really lock the legs into any position either, there is a
good deal of give in the assembly.  The next part gets worse.  The
accessories tray has to mount to one of the leg center braces, with two
long bolts and two wingnuts. The tripod won't fold up with the tray in
place, so yep, you'll be trying to assemble this thing, and disassemble,
in the dark.  Buy extra bolts and wingnuts. Also, while the forks LOOK
sturdier than my ETX-60, they seemed to be just bigger thin plastic ABS
covers, and felt more flimsy than the 60.

A few days later, my first clear night.  Time to put it to the test so I
placed the whole shebang in the garage for a few hours to acclimate the
scope to the cold.  I didn't get much farther.  When I moved the scope
onto the drive, and tried to calibrate and train the drives, I got the
dreaded MUF. DANG.  The batteries only had a couple hours on them from
the 60, so I put a multitester on the battery pack.  8 volts.  Should be
enough!?  So I put in new batteries.  They were fine. For about 2 hours.
The cold was dropping the voltage very slightly and causing more MUFs. 
I made sure I hadn't over tightened the locks, and was surprised to see
that the scope would completely engage the drive on the base axis even
with the lock in full open.  Hmm  Right out of the box too, the drives
were erratic.  Instead of a nice fluid motion, they were catching and
surging. Finally I put on the transformer and got rid of my MUFS, but
not the surging and catching.  After finally getting a good calibrate
and train, I put in the level and compass and put the scope in home
position.  Whoa.  The first of the 2 easy aligns was Sirius, and the
scope was easily 10 degrees short of it, and 10 degrees too low. Checked
all my inputs (time, date, zipcode, model, etc.) Nothing there. Tried
again, same problem.  This time I picked up the scope and manually
turned it to Sirius.  2nd star wasn't really close either, but by the
time I centered it, I got a good align. Well, a not too bad align.   I
decided to try to catch the rings of Saturn.  For funsies, I put in the
26mm (verrry nice EP) and tried to use the built in 2x Barlow.  Serious
light degradation.  So I popped in my trusty 3x Meade Barlow and it was
actually much brighter and clearer than the built in 2x.  MUCH.  As luck
would have it, with all the messing around I'm getting frost. The ETX-60
Dew shield is too small to fit, and I soon tossed out my mental note to
buy a ETX-80 shield when I searched the web and couldn't find one.  Not
yet anyway. Not available unless the 90 shield might work.

Obviously, I've had too many problems with this unit to keep it, so I
sent it back to OpticsPlanet who quickly and nicely sent me another new
one. I was hoping for better luck but it wasn't to be had. The only
difference with the new scope (and yes, I'm certain it was a new one as
I put a very tiny mark on the one I sent back, just in case) was it
didn't suffer the MUF problems.  The 2x internal Barlow was still very
bad, the drives still surged and caught,  the base lock still didn't
make the base free of the drive, and yet again, after calibrates and
trains, the Easy Align feature was still off in both axis.  I checked
the web and found another reference to the Autostar 10 degree problem, I
called Meade and was told to return it. When I told them it was the
second one I had a problem with, the tech dismissed it as a bad batch.
Perhaps. When I notified OpPlanet and asked them if it was possible to
get them to check out another 80 before replacing again, the person I
discussed the matter with reported that they were having a significant
number of problems with the ETX-80's, and suggested I try a different

I really liked the price of this scope and thought it quite a bargain
considering all the extras.  I've decided to go without for 6 months or
so and hope they get the  problems worked out on this scope.  For $280,
it could have been quite a bang for the buck.  I leaned towards the
Celestron 130SLT for a few minutes, but when I read a lot of poor
reviews about their single sided mount, I resolved to wait on Meade
awhile.  In the meantime, Maybe I'll find a nice deal on Ebay for a used
ETX-90 or 105 that somebody got for Christmas and decides they don't
really want.  One can hope.

Subject:	ETX70AT Fork Arm Problem
Sent:	Saturday, February 4, 2006 09:26:07
From: (
My ETX70AT is about four years old and is still working fine.  However I
have noticed a problem developing and I fear that it may become serious:
The movement in elevation, (declination), is starting to get a little
sloppy.  Checking it over I found that there is some movement in the
left fork arm. If I hold the right fork arm and push on the left arm
there is a very noticeable wiggle.  I tracked it down to the bottom of
the left fork arm.  It appears that the arm is held to the base with a
couple of screws or bolts and they are beginning to loosen.  I can't
figure out how to get to the screws to tighten them.  I'm afraid to just
start taking things apart without knowing what I'm doing.  Can you tell
me how to attack this problem?    Thanking you in advance ..............
Mike here: While not specific to the ETX-70, check out the article "Extending the Fork Arms" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page; it may help. Also, see the article "ETX-70AT Repair Guide"; it may also help.
Subject:	ETX 80AT-TC issues
Sent:	Thursday, February 2, 2006 13:38:47
From:	NWO Red
I do have the ETX 80 after returning the DS2114 Meade .

The tripod for the EXT 80 is cheap looking but it does have nice rubber
foot padding to stop vibration. I am not pleased with the optics thus
far. Mars and Saturn look like stars with the 25mm and 9mm plossl eye
pieces's . Meade wants me to send the ETX 80 back but not sure if I
should just yet . Everything else seems to be in working order right out
of the box.  Is there something that I am doing wrong to properly view
mars and saturn ? Basically I went back to my old trusty Astroscan  by
Edmund Scientifics .

Also should I use an external barrow lens instead of the built in one ?

Thanks in advance for your help and the great website

Mike here: Keep in mind that the ETX-80 is a short focal length telescope so you don't get much magnification with it. However, Saturn should NOT look like a star, that is, it should not appear as a pinpoint of light like the stars. Try it out on the Moon and then swing over to Saturn. Don't change the focus. See if you can see the Ring system. As to the internal Barlow Lens, no experience with that but it should work.

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