Last updated: 31 January 2001

This page is for user comments and information of a general nature and specific items applicable to the original ETX model (now known as the ETX-90RA). 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:	 Your ETX site
Sent:	Wednesday, January 31, 2001 17:22:32
From:	Ken.Toliver@dayzim.com (Toliver, Ken)
Before I found your site, I hadn't taken my old Schmidt out in over ten
years.  Recently I sold it for lack of time.  Then I found the ETX.

Since then, I've referred to your site for everything that I needed to
get going again.  I can't express enough my thanks for the in-depth
tips, reviews, and modification information.  You will see my pledge in
the near future.

I have one thing to ask; I am looking for a Meade #887 Advanced Field
Tripod at a discounted price.  Thanks to your site, I have been able to
buy everything at prices below regular retail, however I've had no luck
finding the tripod for less than $350.

Any suggestions?

Thanks again for everything,
Mike here: It is tough finding discounts on Meade products. Watch for sales. Or you can write to the favorite dealers frequently mentioned on the site.

Subject:	  Thank You Sir for your marvelous ETX Forum
Sent:	Wednesday, January 31, 2001 15:46:58
From:	marbla@naisp.net (Blais Klucznik)
I am a relatively new Meade ETX owner and would like to sincerely thank
you for the great and important service you are providing.

Blais Klucznik

Subject:	Quick Question
Sent:	Wednesday, January 31, 2001 04:12:23
From:	MikePattiDotson@aol.com
I have seemingly misplaced the two allen wrenches which came with the
etx.  how can you get a replacement.  I need one for the the focus knob
and I dont know what size it is.
Mike here: Which model ETX? To the accuracy which I was able to measure, it appears to be 1/16" for the ETX-90 focus knob. Many hardware stores sell allen wrench sets which should have one that works.

Subject:	 tripod plate from meade
Sent:	Tuesday, January 30, 2001 15:40:38
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	dcbk@qwest.net
Hello Denny - 
I am responding to your inquiry on the ETX web site concerning your
"object" that Meade sent you.  Obviously, what they sent is not at all
what you need, for there are many #883 tripods out there with the same
problem you are having.

Actually, the pivoting motion of the base of your scope on the tripod is
a very precarious situation, as the rocking motion can lead to the
telescope tipping if the momentum is great enough.  Short of grinding
down the top surface of the tripod head to level it out, there is no
solution other than demanding a replacement.

There should have been a flat plate in with the tripod (or possibly the
scope - mine came with the ETX 125, a later model) which gives a firm
and evenly distributed mounting to the tripod; you would recognize
it...it has 3 notches in which the rubber feet can be positioned (take
those things off!  they result in lots of unnecessary wiggle if in
contact with a surface; you're reduce your vibrations considerably!  Use
a very small screwdriver to gently pry under the rubber foot as they are
very firmly attached and once loose peel it off and throw the rascal

Anyway, back to the "object."  What Meade sent you is exactly what Mike
Weasner identified, a tripod mounting base for a telescope.  It is the
base from the #887 heavy-duty field tripod for the ETX 125.  Why they
sent that to you, I have no idea!  You will notice that the six (6)
small holes align to the countersunk 10 x 32 bolts under the base of
your scope.

This base has been adapted from the LX- type tripod to accommodate a
big, heavy adapter plate (the Meade "tripod adapter", #880) to marry the
ETX 125 to the LX-style tripod.  Hence the odd arrangement of holes.

Anyway, just thought you might like to know what you have.  Might be
worth something someday.....perhaps trade it back to Meade for a tripod
head that works?

Good skies and bright stars!
P. Clay Sherrod

Subject:	 What's this?
Sent:	Monday, January 29, 2001 17:37:27
From:	dcbk@qwest.net (Denny & Barb Cunningham)
Love your site, it's a godsend for us astronomy newbies!

One of the problems I had to address with the recent purchase of our
ETX-125 was a defective mounting base on the Deluxe Tripod that came
with it.  The problem was that the casting in the center of the plate (a
circle about 1" in diameter) was about 1/8" higher than the perimeter
ring of the plate-- which meant that the telescope couldn't sit flat on
the base.

Tripods were on backorder, so taking it back to the store wasn't a
viable option.  My call to Meade yielded what is (I assume) the stock
answer to any tripod/mount question pertaining to the 125: "oh, you have
to use the adapter plate that came with the telescope".  This confirmed
my fear that the "tech" hadn't really been paying attention when I
described the problem. I went through it again and he offered to send me
a new "centerbase"; I figured that meant the cast part that the
telescope (or, on the 125, the adapter plate) sits on, so I told him to
go ahead.

Attached you'll find some jpeg's showing what they sent.  According to
the packing list, this is a "centerbase for 883 part number 52-0002-04".
Whatever it is, it bears no resemblance to any part of my tripod.  Do
you have any idea what it might be?

(I eventually did get a replacement tripod from the Discovery Store,
which was fine-- I'm just curious as to what this part is that Meade
sent me!)

tripod head? tripod head? tripod head?
Mike here: I'm just guessing here but I suspect that it is the leg-attach platform of some model tripod. Which model I can't say.

Subject:	 dec drift
Sent:	Sunday, January 28, 2001 10:36:36
From:	begreen1@home.com (Will Lockwood)
Had a fabulously clear night on Friday and my new barlow arrived (Ultima
2x) with the Scopetronnix FlexiFocus. Needless to say I was eager to go.
Still early (about 7pm) and prety still with occasional 5-10 mph gusts.
The winds stopped after about an hour and all was still. A beatutiful
night. I set up for Alt/Az - easy alignment. Had a good sight on Polaris
and the scope leveled up nicely. (Question #1- when setting up for
North, I am assuming true north and not magnetic north, is that
correct?) My method was to triangulate the legs of the tripod (Meade
883) so that the N leg pointed at Polaris and the two other legs were
equiangular to the north position. First star for easy align was Rigel,
the scope slewed over, but was a couple hrs./degs off in alt and az. No
dogs barking yet. Find Rigel in the scope (Boy, the ETX90 finder is
almost useless, I have better luck sighting down the tube for rough
position. Then use the finder). Get Rigel nicely centered and lock, Next
is Pollox. Much closer this time. (Still no dogs barking, do I have a
quieter scope?) Center and lock. First go to is Jupiter. Great goto, I
can see Jupiter easily in the 26mm eyepiece.  It is magnificent. Now the
FlexiFocus pays off. Much better focussing. I can get a sharp focus in
seconds and no jitters, except from the few wind gusts.  (Will need to
do work to steady this mount. I found myself wanting a sandbag). Jupiter
looked great with the 26 mm. I could clearly see about 4 bands. Ok, time
for the barlow. Wow. Tougher to focus,  the Flexifocus is almost a
necessity here, but the results are worth it. Nice banding and I can see
enough to wish I had checked about the GRS. I have to do a nudge (at
very slow speed - I think 2) to better center the planet. All is good
for about 10 sec. and then the scope, on it's own slowly changes Dec. to
the original goto position for Jupiter. I bring it back to center, but
it insists on the original position. OK, I hold down the Enter key for a
couple secs and ask it to "Sync" to my correct position. It beeps in
achknowledgement and I do the Sync.Sync is done, but after a few secs it
goes back again. Finally after about tem minutes of trying to sync I
give up and manually sync, by losening the clutch and very gently
centering Jupiter. The ETX holds this position nicely now and I am able
to do a lot of experimenting with eyepieces. For the first time I am
able to use my 9.7 and enjoy it. (You were right Clay, the quality of
the air makes a great difference). Detail is holding up. Though it's
narrow FOV is somewhat wanting. My favorite combo is the 26 with the
barlow. OK, goto Saturn, easy slew. Owl hoots (does that count?) Saturn
is in the upper right of the fov, so I manually (with controller) tweak
it down to position. It holds for a few sec and then insists that it
knows better and returns to its original goto position (What am I doing
wrong, I let it lock (beep) before tweaking position.)Try sync again,
but it doesn't hold. I do the manual tweak instead and enjoy the great
view of Saturn. Air is so still that I can venture to a fuzzy, 9.7 +
barlow combo, but decide I prefer the 9.7 alone. Can see two large bands
on the planet and Cassini division. OK, now I try a tour of the
galaxies, first M32. Now I find  the meaning and necessity of parafocal
lens set. It took me a bit to locate the galaxy which, if I got it
right, showed up as a faint light grey smudge. I could not get a sharp
focus on it so I went to the nearest star and focused on it and then
returned. Not too interesting, so I tried M32 (at this point there is
ice frost forming on the tripod and OTA). Another grey blob, different
shape, but lacking any detail. What is a realistic expectation with the
ETX90EC on galaxies? By ten I am freezing and decide to call it a night.
It was a good night of viewing, but I find myself wanting to go deeper
and with greater detail. May have been the cold, but I think I'm getting
a fever, aperture fever. Thanks Clay for the good suggestions earlier
and particularly how to bring the scope in from the cold. It came at
just the right time. And thanks Mike for one of the most informative and
helpful sites on the Internet. You are a true asset to the community.
It's been cloudy since, so I think I will try some daytime testing of
the ETX to see if I can figure out how to get it to hold a position
change and will work on stabilizing the mount.

Clear skies,
- Will
Mike here: Yep, True North is what you want as the Earth rotates around that axis and not anything through Magnetic North. Since you indicated that the first alignment star was off by hours/degrees (sounds like at least 2 hours or 30 degrees) I suspect either a date/time/location error in your Autostar setup or that the ETX OTA was not pointed towards True North (you only indicated that the tripod was aligned on True North). As to the "creep after slew" problem, yep, that is what has been reported by others, including myself with 2.1ek (although I never had the problem in earlier 1.x or 2.x versions). As to viewing galaxies, with some effort (e.g., dark skies, averted vision, patience) about all you'll see is a faint fuzzy shape. However, the shape can vary. Some will be circular, some oblong, some large, some small. Don't expect to see swirling arms.

And more:

From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Will - sounds like you had a pretty good night, and you sound like a man
with incredible patience.  I took the liberty of forwarding your
declination (altitude) drift problems to the engineers at Meade since
this problem seems to not be going away!

Your home position procedure sounds okay and your thought regarding the
tripod legs is good.  However, make sure that your tube assembly is
LEVEL to the ground (zero degrees on the setting circle and use a bubble
level to assure that the blue tube is, indeed level before alignment; I
got the impression (probably wrong) that you were beginning on Polaris. 
You want the telescope tube assembly level and pointing due (CELESTIAL)
north; the best way to assure "celestial north" is to sweep up prior to
alignment and put Polaris in the center of your FOV and then unclamp the
azimuth and drop back down to level without moving the azimuth axis at
all; that assures a really close (not perfect, but good enough) true

Galaxies and all deep sky are tough for ANY scope, particularly the
galaxies; don't get disappointed in what you see compared to
photographs, as they do not show up as well as planets.  Just the fact
that you can SEE them millions of light years distant is impressive

Once you have located your galaxy (or faint nebula) in lowest power
(always start there), then go up to somewhere around 100x (your 26mm and
barlow gets you right there).  That will maximize your contrast WITHOUT
beginning any reduction in apparent light; it is an ideal power for the
ETX 90.

Your drift problem is common with everyone right now.  I finally
resorted to Polar mode and mounting (which you can easily do with your
-90 on the tripod).  Just change under "Telescope/Mount...." to "Polar"
and hit enter; line up on Polaris (with scope point at it, straight out
of the fork arms tilted to your latitude) and do the "easy" alignment. 
The drift is non-existent.

Sounds like you had a good night and your scope must have great
optics....keep us posted!

Clay Sherrod
And from Will:
Thanks for the speedy reply. Glad I caught you in. The OTA was also set
to North and left fork was over the control panel ( with the plugin and
pwr switch. What I didn't do this time was the initialization and
training. Is this needed for each sessions?  I'll do some daytime tests
to confirm this is a scope problem and not pilor error. If scope, I'll
contact Meade about the Autostar. My software version is 2.0g. If they
have a bug, they should fix it.

- Will
Mike here: Well, I'm in but watching SuperBowl stuff... Anyway, your setup sounds right. You don't have to do the initialization/training everytime although if things get wacky, it is good to recheck/redo them.

And from Clay:

Will, I'm not sure if the fact that you are experiencing the Dec./Alt.
drive drift (re-establishing the Autostar original GO TO position) is
GOOD news to me, but it does make me feel better about the 2.1 ek
software which I very much like...it took care of many, many other
problems over and above the 2.0 which came on the Autostar. 
Nonetheless, it does not take care of your problem;  Rick mentioned that
after many "corrections," re-centering the object time and time again,
that suddenly it QUIT!  This is exactly what I was experiencing with
mine in Alt.-AZ. and while still in version 2.0 firmware.  After several
re-centerings, the scope would "give up" and let me do what I needed to,
even after moving to yet object after object in GO TO.

But in Polar, I do not have the problem AT ALL, in either axis, even if
I must center in declination and RA with the arrow keys; it simply stays
precisely where I center it with no desire to go elsewhere (or back
where it came from!).

By the way - and Mike, take note - I did experience the Alt.
"re-correct" problem before I downloaded the 2.1ek, I just never had a
chance to really study it much for long periods of time; so whatever it
is, is occuring in BOTH versions.


Subject:	 ETX90EC
Sent:	Sunday, January 28, 2001 10:03:10
From:	scotexan@home.com (B & L Rodger)
What about a section on what can you see through an ETX90EC with Photo's
to back up Being a Newbie , I kind of expected a lot...I am pleased with
what I can see and am dumbstruck with looking at the moon. Lets take
Jupiter and Saturn....with a 26mm Jupiter I see a white spot and 3 small
white dots.  Saturn I see a white dot with Rings visible.

What can Newbies expect from   40mm , 26mm , 15mm & 7.5mm Eyepieces ,
also adding a 2X Barlow to these...what can we expect to see. This might
make people like me really get into observing. I love my telescope and
if i had clear nights all the time , I would be out there..i am in no
way disappointed , it is so exciting , but i would like to know what
yourself and others see , to inspire me to move forward with the
fantastic hobby.
Best Regards

SCOTEXAN Say's  : If only I could see a little Further  :O)
Please feel free to visit my site http://www.geocities.com/scotexan1234/index.htm
Mike here: There are several user comments on the Buyer/New User Tips page. Illustrating what the eye sees using photos is pretty difficult. You should be able to see some cloud bands on Jupiter, and possibly Saturn using the 26mm eyepiece with the ETX-90EC. And you can see the four brighter moons of Jupiter (when they are visible). Adding more magnification helps, to a point, and then the image begins to break down (get faint and fuzzy). Again, good seeing helps a lot. Using filters can also help (see the Accessories - Filters page).

Subject:	 Finderscopes
Sent:	Sunday, January 28, 2001 07:07:25
From:	info@casaseeli.ch (Jose de Queiroz)
i have also etx ec 90.
since 2 day i purchase a tellrad is great.
but also i have a  view 90 degres wish when i use it to polar 
alignement it just hit me the forch so  before i attenpt 90 degress just
what shall i do?
just use tellrad  and for terrestrial observations insert findscope 90
degress view?
best regards
jose de queiroz
Mike here: This is a typical problem: using a finderscope when the scope is pointed high in the sky or when some portion of the mounting gets in the way. The Telrad is a fine instrument but is pretty large. You might want to check through the Accessories - Finderscopes page for some alternatives. I have the Shutan (Apogee) Right-Angle adapter on my ETX-90RA, along with the Scopetronix LightSight. I also use a Rigel QuikFinder. Of course, mounting a second finderscope does require some experimentation to ensure it will work in all orientations of the telescope. Hope this information is what you were looking for.

Added later:

thanks do you think telrad is wrong for me..in fact telrad goes about 1
cm away from the tube , is that a probleme for me?
Mike here: A lot of ETX users like their Telrads. But for my tastes, it is too large for the smaller ETX models.

Subject:	 Re: condensation problems in cold weather
Sent:	Sunday, January 28, 2001 05:20:15
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Ken Martin
Good morning, Ken!
Hope you are liking your ETX 70; they are great scopes!  One of my most
impression M-31 views was lately though one in some VERY dark skies. 
The wide field of view and the excellent correction all the way the edge
of view at such low power is awesome.

You likelly have not hurt your scope in any way so far by bringing it in
unprotected.  Just remember, that if it has exposed glass - COVER IT! 
Also try and use the cotton pillow case if you can; I place my over my
scope PRIOR to bringing in and it slows down the intense condensation. 
The amount of humidity in the house (or lack of) will determine the
degree of moisture that you receive.

ONE FINAL NOTE, and something I really should have stressed on Mike's
site: DO NOT be tempted after a short time to "peek" and see if there is
any condensation on your lens or eyepiece!  A lot of people do, and sure
enough, if you uncover too soon, there WILL be from you peeking!  Just
leave it capped up until morning.

Another note:  If heavy dew or frost forms on the scope BEFORE you bring
it in:  1) do NOT cover the objective, only cover the scope with the
pillow case; 2) it is best to place such a scope in a garage or unheated
room and let it slowly loose the moisture; 3) and - above all - NEVER
wipe off dew or frost before bringing in; this will scratch your optical
coatings and merely make the problem worse.  If you cannot put in an
unheated room or leave outdoors, make sure the inside of the scope is
protected (plugged at the eyepiece end) and go ahead and bring in.  More
moisture will form all over the scope, but still leave it exposed (under
the pillow case) so that the moisture can evaporate naturally;  if, when
the dew is gone off the front lens, there are dried droplets or stains,
they can be removed with the cleaning formula specified in my last post
- but do so CAREFULLY!

Good observing!        Clay Sherrod
-----Original Message-----
From: Ken Martin
>I just read your post on Weasner's Meade ETX site. I've had an EXT-70
>for about a month now, and here in Oregon the nights have been quite
>chilly. Several of my evenings outside with the scope have been in the
>30's. Anyway I appreciate the advice on capping the scope before
>bringing indoors. I've noticed the scope really gets "wet" from the
>condensation when returning inside the house.
>I'm glad I came across your info before I just brought it in like I had
>been doing too many more times. I hope I haven't done any damage to it
>already. I wish Meade would be more complete in the manual about stuff
>like this.
>Thanks again for the great info.
>Ken Martin

Subject:	 Another reason for Polar Alignment
Sent:	Saturday, January 27, 2001 22:05:38
From:	mike@mike-hadley.demon.co.uk (Mike Hadey)
Hi Clay,

I just recently started using the ETX in Alt/AZ mode just to try out the
satellite feature.  I've been using it in Polar mode for quite a while
to us in conjunction with a Meade 2080 that I have had since the early
80's.  I originally bought the little 90 ETX to use at a lake cabin in
Northern Idaho.  The 8" was just too difficult to haul to the lake and
hike it around.  With the extremely dark skies at the cabin, I can see
almost as much with the ETX as I can with the 2080 in the light polluted
rural area near Spokane WA. where I (normally)live. It is also much
easier to toss in the jeep and head up the logging roads near the lake
for even darker skies.

I'm currently doing a 2 yr. stint in Scotland and I brought along both
scopes.  The light pollution is really bad here near Edinburgh and deep
sky objects are difficult in even the 8".  As you may know the 2080 is
your basic model with a synchronous motor drive and setting circles with
no veneer.  Even with accurate polar alignment, an observing session
aimed at faint objects has always been a chore involving lots of study
of a good sky atlas.

As you pointed out, the pointing accuracy of the ETX is very good in
high precision mode.  I figured out that even if I couldn't see the
object through the ETX, I could compare the star field view between the
scopes and get the 8" pointed where the ETX was looking very easily.
Using a 40mm eyepiece with the 8" provides about the same fov as the
26mm with the ETX 90.  The fist time I tried this it didn't work.  The
stars were there but the orientation was wrong.  Since the 2080 only
tracks in the RA axis, it has to be set up for polar alignment.  I
realized that the ETX in Alt/Az alignment provided a rotated view. 
Changed it to Polar and ... Walah!

Now I just have one small problem left.  For years I have been using the
"drift" polar alignment method describe in the Sky and Telescope site at
www.skypub.com/imaging/polaralign.html.  I've found by using an
eyepiece with cross hairs and a barlow, I can get good alignment very
quickly.  Even if there is an obstructed view to the North.  When I
first did the alignment for the 2080 after I got here, I couldn't figure
out why I was still getting lots of RA drift.  As you probably have
already figured out, the transformer I'm using is great for getting 240V
down to 110V to drive the synchronous motor, but it isn't worth a damn
for changing 50hz to 60hz ;)

From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Hello Mike - Scotland is, indeed,quite a ways from here!  It its
beautiful country, but all the skies of the British Isles definitely
leave a lot to be desired; I have found that daytime offers the deepest
clear of all, not a lot of help in astronomy!

No doubt, a 60hz requirement from a 50hz power source can be a real
pain, and has affected your drive accuracy tremendously.  They do make
60hz inverters (radio shack sells them reasonably) for European and
Mexican/South American use.  They ARE NOT entirely without flaws
however, and I have found considerable variation from 50hz in many
foreign countries (however very steady and predictable for the most part
in the Isles).

Your combination of using two scopes to center ONE is a novel idea, and
one well worth considering for those fortunate enough to have the luxury
of a smaller computerized "finder drone" for a larger aperture
telescope.  My first impression was, "...why not mount piggyback," but
that of course defeates the wonderful capability of the computer's
ability to find faint objects in lousy skies through which YOU cannot
see the object.

By the way, for long duration observing with your 2080, the drift method
that you mention (there are some alternate methods that a somewhat
quicker for a fork mount in my book A COMPLETE MANUAL OF AMATEUR
ASTRONOMY (still available through Yahoo and half.com) is an excellent
and high precision method of alignment for your large scope.  Are you
looking yet at the LX 90 since you are an 8" Meade fan?

Thanks! Clay Sherrod
And a reply:
Actually I use the ETX more than the 2080, even here, for the moon,
planets, globular clusters, bright nebula, double stars, etc. it is
great. As many have pointed out, the optics are really very good. And
when I get a break in the clouds, it's great to be able to run out, do a
quick setup and run back in again when it all goes bad.  Having the
database and the tours lets me get around the sky very quickly.  It is
only on really nice nights that I drag both scopes out to try to look at
faint stuff. I have a filter that helps a little with the sodium vapor
lights. When I get the monthly Sky & Telescope I will usually key in a
new Tour because it is so easy and I don't have to spend as much time
planning what I'm going to look at.  This month I put together a tour
from Alan Adler's article "The Season's Prettiest Double Stars" (see
attached). It was quick because I was able to find most of the doubles
in his table in an  Excel file that contains all of the Autostar SAO
database in it.  I just put an asterisk in a column next to the ones I
wanted, did a data sort, and then a copy & paste to the tour text file.
Easy. I was able to separte all of the ones that were above the horizon.

Thanks for the information on alignment.  I'll check out your book.  I
don't think I'll bother with the drive, I've given up worrying about
Photography until I can get back to my permanent mount in Spokane.  A
little drift is no problem if you are just looking.  Regarding the LX
90.  If I'm going for a new larger scope when I get back, I think I'd
really like the Meade 10". The 2080 has really been a good scope and if
the digital stuff continues to come down in price, I really won't need
the long exposures that suffer from an inaccurate drive.

We are heading up to the Isle of sky in a month or so where the skys
should be great (if not gray that is).  Anyway the ETX is sure handy for
trips like that.


Subject:	 Great ETX-90EC price!
Sent:	Saturday, January 27, 2001 13:35:05
From:	rcahn@erols.com (Russ Cahn)
Great ETX Site!

FYI Just purchased my 2nd ETX scope at Amazon.com of all places and paid
$495 for it!  Seems about $100 cheaper than most places.  They shipped
it in less than 24 hours too.


Mike here: Good price. In fact, the price HAS dropped at most, if not all, Meade dealers. See the "Dealer Specials/Sales/Etc" page.

Subject:	 Re: Wratten Filters
Sent:	Saturday, January 27, 2001 11:05:29
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Larry!  Great to hear from you....golly of course I remember you!  Wow,
talk about a small world.  It's really good for you to be in touch. 
Oddly, I still have some great old photos from around Scott as well.

Glad you are into astronomy and have gotten the ETX.  They are great
little scopes; as you might imagine from some of the postings, there are
some glitches with them, but nothing that can't be worked through.  I
absolutely love my ETX 125.

You mentioned you have a barlow....do you have just the barlow and the
standard 26mm or 25mm that came with it?  If so, you need to move up a
little in power.  I have put a chart on the ETX web site that you can
download and print and keep handy to determine you magnifications.  You
probably need a 9mm or thereabout.

Instead of going with real short focus eyepieces for high power, use a
barlow and longer focal length eyepieces; this gives you:  1) better eye
relief and less strain; and 2) keeps your face away from the telescope!

As for filters, here's my list and why:  JUPITER:  Wratten #58 Green
(great filter!); SATURN:  Wratten #92A Pale blue, and #11 Yellow
(super!); MARS (when it comes back around closer):  Wratten #21 Orange -
brings out much dark surface markings and shows bright clouds;  VENUS: 
definitely the Wratten #47 Violet, allowing you to penetrate a "little"
into the dense clouds.

Let me recommend a great supplier, and I recommend Meade for eyepieces
and filters;  for the price, they can't be beat.  If you get into other
accessories later (which you will) contact me and I will tell you where
to get the best bang for your buck.

I use Michael Webb, at Sight and Sound in Crossville, TN
(mshwebb@hotmail.com).  I have no connections or affiliations with him,
but he is an authorized Meade dealer with good prices, no nonsense and
very honest....stands behind his sales.  You will like doing business
with him. He is someone you can trust over the Internet.  He has always
done me right and given me the best prices.

I have some new star name charts coming out on Mike Weasner's ETX site
tonight to help you locate stars by name, primarily for use with the
Autostar in alignment, etc.  Be sure to look them up and download/print.

It's great hearing from you, and I hope you will keep in touch.  Mike's
site is an absolute godsend for all of us with the Meade ETX's; the
scopes are great, and the web site is our encyclopedia of "ETX

Best wishes and clear skies.....Clay Sherrod
-----Original Message-----
From: Larry Stobaugh
Hi Clay!

I was reading on Weasner's Meade ETX site this morning and ran across
your comments about Wratten Filters.  Decided I would send this to you
and ask where you recommend I purchase them.  I'm sure you have a
favorite place. If so, do they have a Web site?  I purchased my scope
from Astronomics and checked their web site but they don't seem to carry
the brand you specify.

I don't know if you remember me or not.  My name is Larry Stobaugh. I've
talked with you several times over the yearsI even took a beginning
photography class you offered a long time ago when you had the
camera/telescope shop on Park Hill.  I still have some of the night
photos we took on a trip down around Scott.

I just purchased an ETX-90 and am just getting started looking around. 
This is my first scope so I'm still very much a beginner.  I always
wanted to do this and now is better than never.  I hope to get a 125 one
of these days but I thought I would get my feet wet with the 90 first.

I just purchased a Barlow lens because I felt I needed some more
magnification.  Now it sounds like the filters (or filter) would be a
good thing to have also.  Do you recommend any particular color or is it
buyer's choice?

Hope to hear from you.  Thanks in advance.

larry stobaugh

Subject:	 Upgrade
Sent:	Friday, January 26, 2001 08:28:46
From:	Steven_Pierce@prodigy.net (Steven Pierce)
Your site is a real treat! I have an older ETX90, before the autostar
computer came out. Do you know if I can purchase just the autostar base
and change the base of my computer? I appreciate any advise or
information you may have.
Thank you!
Mike here: Glad you like the site. There is no upgrade for the original model ETX. Trading it in on a new model or selling it are the only two options. Both Scopetronix and Shutan will accept trades.

Subject:	 FAULTY ETX's at the stores
Sent:	Thursday, January 25, 2001 21:37:53
From:	gsalgado@adelphia.net (Geyzer J. Salgado)
Hi, Mike Great Web Site.  I have learned so much from it. 

Anyways I just want to let everyone know about expirience with the ETX.
I think that there is batch of bad or " Lemon " ETX's outhere, ( atleast
the model 90ec, im not sure if the others also), I have gone through 6
different ETX's before finding one that was not broken. After the last
one I returned me and the sales clerk started opening the ETX boxes so
that I could stick in batteries before taking it home to make sure it
worked. I tried 5 different ones before selecting one. They all read
Motor Unit fault on the autostar. Some would not move side ways, and
some would not move up or down, and one did nothing!. I wonder if meade
is aware of this HUGE problem. If anyone else has had this same problem
were the motors dont work please let  me know. I intend to call meade to
see what they have to say about it. It was rather dissapointing since I
love the optics but the mechanics and motor system needs to be fixed.
The store clerk was shocked to see that ALL the telescopes were faulty.

Subject:	 Battery life in the Focuser
Sent:	Thursday, January 25, 2001 21:28:25
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
> Does the Meade Electric focuser draw current even in stand-by?

This user had been seeing his 9v batteries dying in the separate focus 
controller, between viewing sessions.

So, I measured it tonight.  I was shocked. (gotta be more careful)

Without the focuser attached, battery draw is below a microamp.

With the focuser attached... no buttons pressed, 
 battery draw is a steady 2.8 milliamp. 
    Shockingly high!

With No motor attached, pressing an in/out key draws 1.4 milliamp
Pressing the Speed key draws 3.0 milliamp

Putting it all together, running the focuser motor draws 16 milliamp.

I forget a 9v battery's amp-hour rating (life), i'll assume 250ma-hr.

So the idle with-motor-attached life should only be about 100 hours.

Only 4 days!

Moral: disconnect your Meade #1244 Electronic focuser from your
 Focus Control paddle when not in use.

And more:
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Dick - This goes back to what I have been recommending to all users
wishing the add the Meade electric focuser.  My experience, and that of
many, many others, is that you will TOTALLY DRAIN your battery (9V
internal) or batteries (AA in the telescope base if attached to Autostar
or Standard Hand Control) within only ONE NIGHT.  I highly recommend
disconnecting the coiled cord at the end of each observing session as

For example, let's say that you operate your scope off AC current for
the night and you are done.  You disconnect the power source and put
your scope up in the Den for the night, leaving the focuser attached to
the base (been using Autostar).  EVEN THOUGH you disconnected the AC
power, the focuser now begins to drain your AA batteries in the base of
the scope!

BIG RULE:  Always unplug the focuser from the base when not in use!  You
are going to eat batteries like nobody's business!

Clay Sherrod
And a response from Dick:
No way ... nope... unless you have a defective scope.

My lil' AA cells would be melted pancakes if that was happening in
my ETX90... (not currently available for vot/ohmmetering).
I never remove my AA cells... i frequently disconnect the AC lump.
I rarely disconnect the focuser (i use its cable for "which way is
Home" reference)
My in-scope batteries last for months.. all drain can be accounted
for by sheer hours of usage.  (trips away from AC power)

And disconnecting the Autostar doesn't disconnect the Focuser's power.

Like i said: i can't VERIFY that my focuser doesn't see my batteries,
but it sure doesn't act like it.
A fall-back is to leave the AC lump -plugged into- the ETX base.
That opens the battery-to-everything circuit and serves as additional

p.s.  the current draw may be worse than measured... that was done
with a weak (about 5.8v ) battery (last year's smoke detector cull).
Higher voltage should induce higher currents...
And from Clay:
Dick -
You are right, I mispoke about the drain while connected to the ETX
base. Very important!  Obviously, when the power switch is powered down,
there is no current reaching the focuser.  My mistake.  If the power is
left on for long periods of time, it can indeed drain the batteries,
just as though it were plugged into the standard hand control that comes
with the focuser!

What makes you think the drain happens?  It seems to be very widespread,
and from your new message that is a pretty large drop!  My brother's
focuser on his ETX 90 RA will drain his 3-AA batteries within about 5
hours.  Before I realized what was happening, while the skies were
cloudy for weeks around Christmas, it sapped my 9V that I had in the
hand box for the focuser (did not have plugged into the base!)

Anyway, thanks.  Sometimes I AM wrong....like I said in my last message,
today is "stupid day" in the Sherrod household....even the cat is acting

And an update from Dick:
I checked... 
9v Eveready regtangulars are rated at 595 ma-hrs capacity.
So they'll last about 200 hours at 2.8 ma drain.

8 days.

However, as i guessed, my arm-wave errors were self-cancelling.
A fresher battery (8.0v) shows 4.3 ma drain, so that's 138 hours,
or 5.smidge days.
And then from Clay:
Dick, that is good information.  On some of the overnight battery
failure I wonder if there is variation in drain on some electric
focusers versus others.  Of course, low battery strength to begin with
could account of rapid loss.

Your figures I believe are reflecting ONLY for the amount of ambient
DRAIN you have discovered, and NOT the drain PLUS the amount of usage
through the motors themselves as they are utilized in the course of a
nights observing. Or do you have such a "mean" value for "average" usage
factored for the overall loss that you are stating?  Either way, the
drain is significant and seems to me a result of something more directly
affecting the circuitry than loss through resistance.(?)  I know from
(several) experiences that the 9v battery (fresh energizers) in some
units (two ETX 90's, one RA and the other EC) will go from brand new to
brand dead by morning if not unplugged.

I tend to believe that there is some significant differences in the
amount of drain between units, perhaps related to date of manufacture
(but Meade does not Date Code anything).  Anyway, thanks, that's good
information for the web site and for people to know who are using the
Meade unit.

Subject:	 Electric Focuser battery
Sent:	Thursday, January 25, 2001 11:43:59
From:	mike@mike-hadley.demon.co.uk (Mike Hadey)
To:	rick@pinefields.com
Hi Rick,

I just noticed the following comment from you on Mike W's site.  I must
have missed your earlier comments on the topic.

 "BTW, as best I can tell, the 9V battery currently in my focus paddle is
 still intact.  Maybe the problem with the battery fading overnight was a
 tired battery after all and not a relatively high idle current."

I just installed the focus paddle and had the battery go dead as well. 
I hooked up an ammeter (in series with the batteries) and found that it
was drawing about 4 ma with no buttons pushed.  I thought that maybe I
had (still have?) a defective paddle. I took the paddle apart and
figured out that there are no active components.  Just resistors and key
contacts.  I verified that there was no current when not hooked up to
the focus motor assembly.  I think any active electronics or diodes must
be in the motor assembly itself.  I haven't been in the mood to try to
tear apart the motor assembly and see how the electronics work.  I just
unhook the cable when I'm not using it.  How long have you had the thing
hooked up since you replaced the battery?  I would be curious to know if
it doesn't discharge.

Mike Hadley
And from Rick:
I think the problem I reported was a mix of an already fading battery (I
thought it was relatively new, maybe it wasn't) and the 4ma trickle draw
you report.  I'd expect this to be a "no contact, no draw" setup but
maybe someone thought the focuser would be more precise if the control
logic is hot even without any buttons being pressed.  I can imagine how
this could be the case.

For the record, the present battery, bought last week, is still alive
and well after being connected for most of this week.

And more on battery issues:
Subject:	 Re: battery death...
Sent:	Friday, January 26, 2001 12:04:02
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Dick - excellent suggestion about protecting the batteries during
travel.  I am going to go through my system today as you suggest and
look for power drains and misdirections.  I think probably if there is a
problem it might be in my ETX 90, as it is the one that seems to drain
through the base plug. The more I think about the amount of pull off the
batteries through an "inactive" focuser motor, the more it surprises me
that Meade has not done something about it sooner!
Thanks again.....CLAY
-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Seymour
>I've checked... the ETX power switch should -totally- disconnect
>all power to the AUX ports as well as the rest of the beast.
>If it's not doing so, then your power switch isn't doing its duty.
>(the power leads in the AUX port are the outer two, you could check
>continuity to the batterybox tabs while turning the switch on and off)
>There has also been at least one reported case of the adapter plug
>having an internal short such that the adapter tried to charge the
>battery pack... THAT melts batteries...
>When i pack my ETX for long (or bouncy) trips, i slip a scrap of
>thin cardstock between one battery's end and the connecting tab,
>then lead the scrap out of the battery box.
>Upon arrival and unpacking, i just pull the exposed tab to remove
>the cardstock, reestablishing battery connection.
>Regular paper, folded over once or twice to create 2 or 3 layers, alos
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Hey there - well, I was not TOO lazy and took a look at my focuser
instruction sheet from Meade and I can't find anywhere on it where it
tells me to disconnect the darned thing when not in use.  My version of
the instructions has a date code of "0799" and tells me in step six of
the instructions to "...plug the rascal in" and insert a battery.

Anyway, experience is the best teacher so we must be pretty smart, huh?

I have a feeling you'll figure out the drain before the week is out.
More later....CLAY

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Seymour
>i was lazy (and forgetful)... and didn't dig out the focuser's
>instruction sheet... i'm willing to cut Meade a little (-> <- that much)
>slack if the sheet says: "disconnect when not in use"
>More slack if they did it in BIG BOLD PRINT.
>They could'a avoided the problem with another component or two in
>the focuser's handbox, but good power-controlling components are pricey.
>(anything over $0.50 each).
>Thinking about how an I2C bus is implemented, it's entirely possible
>the drain i'm seeing is/are merely the pull-up resistors required by
>the bus spec.  The load's about right.

Subject:	 condensation problems in cold weather
Sent:	Thursday, January 25, 2001 06:03:08
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	mfriesco@directtvla.com
Hello in sunny Florida!
Mike - I am writing in response to your concern about condensation on
you ETX optics and accessories on cool nights.  This is most definitely
a problem and one that should not be taken lightly.  Even in Florida,
particularly on humid summer nights and cool winter nights, it is a

1)  condensation on the outside of you telescope will evaporate and is
not a significant problem.  Typically, simply let it dry and gently wipe
down any spots with a damp wash cloth (no detergent);

2)  EYEPIECES:  Alway completely cap up eyepieces  - BOTH ENDS - with
the plastic covers in which they came.  Never bring them in from a cool
night (or take out into warm air from air conditioning in your case!)
unprotected.  They are difficult to clean.  It is entirely SAFE to bring
them in, provided that they are in an AIR TIGHT container of some type; 
then simply let them equalize slowly to the warm temperature prior to
taking off covers.

3)  TELESCOPE OPTICS:  NEVER bring in your scope (or take outside) to
warmer temperatures than it is equalized to, particularly on humid
nights;  this will certainly cause condensation.  As to the ETX follow
the simple rules:  a) screw on the objective lens cap TIGHT, but not so
tight as to get it stuck; b) in the eyepiece holder, EITHER put in a
covered eyepiece to plug up the hole, or put in the plastic "stopper"
cap that came with the scope.  COVER BOTH ENDS of your finderscope as
well - DO NOT forget the finder!

Then, it is safe to bring indoors.  This will prevent moisture from
forming both INSIDE and OUTSIDE.  Outside moister can always be cleaned
carefully away, using the following method, but INSIDE stains from
condensation are not so easily removed, so the best rule is:  NEVER LET

4)  CLEANING OPTICS:  (by the way, this method and cleaning formula was
my original formula published in A COMPLETE MANUAL OF AMATEUR ASTRONOMY,
Prentice Hall, 1982, and has now been circulated widely by Meade and
others!)   Use ONLY white Kleenex tissue.  Make a mixture of 3 parts
distilled water to one part isopropyl alcohol and add (per one-half
gallon) 1/4 teaspoon of IVORY dishwashing soap.  Do not substitute!  Mix
well.  This is a perfect cleaner for delicate coated optical surfaces.

First remove all particles of dust/grit gently with a lens brush.  Then,
using Kleenex, rub the fluid gently across the glass in a slow circular
motion; before it has a chance to completely evaporate (from the
alcohol) get a clean second Kleenex and remove the residue.  Buff gently
with a third Kleenex.

Eyepiece and finders can be done the same way, but roll Kleenex into a
"pencil" to reach hard edge spots.  Works every time.

5) AVOID OVERCLEANING:  Do not clean optics unless absolutely necessary
and do not attempt to remove optics to clean the insides without
consulting first.

6)  MECHANICAL PARTS:  The mechanics and mounting of your ETX scope has
been designed for outdoor use and condensation-type moisture will not
harm them.

7) STORAGE OF YOUR SCOPE:  NEVER store your telescope, indoors or out,
in a plastic bag (like a leaf bag).  Convenient as it may seem, they
promote condensation and overheating within the bag.  When you leave
your scope outside for later, or after you bring it indoors still set up
cover it WITH CLOTH. The ETX (both the -90 and the -125) are PERFECT for
covering with a good soft cotten pillow case!

Hope these tips help you maintain a long and healthy life for your
telescope and its optics!

Good observing!
P. Clay Sherrod,  Conway Arkansas

Subject:	 PC-23-C
Sent:	Wednesday, January 24, 2001 21:28:37
From:	ve7cer@direct.ca (C Rogers)
High Mike Charlie here,are there any articles on the PC23C B&W video
camera.I did a search but found none.
Mike here: No articles that I recall. Sorry.

Subject:	Bino-Viewers
Sent:	Wednesday, January 24, 2001 12:36:22
From:	JCROECK@aol.com
Good afternoon,
My father was interseted in your Bino-Viewers and was told he could get
some information about them, along with customer responses, from your
site. I was unable to find anything. Could you please tell me if you
have any information on these and where I could find it?
Thank you,
Mike here: Check the Accessories - Eyepieces page.

Subject:	 Newbie
Sent:	Tuesday, January 23, 2001 20:02:24
From:	JWILKES1@satx.rr.com (Jim Wilkes)
Which ETX do you recommend for the beginning astronomer?  I live in a
suburban area with some light pollution and no real close dark sky area.
Is there that much difference in the ETX60,70,90 to justify the
additional money to get the bigger aperture?  Also, which eye pieces
would you suggest in addition to the 9mm and 25mm that come with the
scope?  Any info you can provide is greatly appreciated.

Mike here: If you read through the various Feedback pages as well as the Buyer/New User Tips pages you'll get a pretty good feel for what all the various models can do. The decision will really come down to money vs portability vs user expectations. Any telescope can either totally satisfy or totally dissatisfy and everything in between! As to eyepieces, that will depend upon the aperture and focal length of the telescope you get. Keep in mind the theoretical max magnification (twice the telescope aperture in millimeters).

Subject:	 ETX from the southern hemisphere
Sent:	Tuesday, January 23, 2001 19:09:06
From:	redaries@adinet.com.uy (Marcelo Peralta)
Dear Richard Seymour,

My name is Marcelo Peralta and I am a new user of a ETX 90 EC Meade
telescope and an Autostar 497. I have faced several inconveniences when
I tried to align the instrument. I have recently seen in Mike Weasner
web page that you keep in touch with users from Argentina and Venezuela.
I am writing from Uruguay and my English is very poor (this one mail was
translated by a friend of mine into English, so I could communicate with
you). So I would appreciate very much your providing me with the e-mail
addresses of owners of telescopes like mine in those countries, so I
could communicate with them in Spanish. I regret I am unable to
understand all information in Weasner web page, but it seems to me to be
very informative and complete.
I would appreciate your kind and soon reply.
Clear skies from these southern latitudes and best wishes for you.
Best regards,
Marcelo Peralta
Red de Observadores del Uruguay
Montevideo, Uruguay
Saludos y buenos cielos
Marcelo Peralta

Subject:	 the next(star) shot across the bow...
Sent:	Monday, January 22, 2001 21:27:14
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Have you noticed the newest member of the Celestron line?
the NexStar GPS-11  ... $2999.   has a GPS unit in it (and
an electronic compass) for those who have no idea where they are.

info at

among others... it's the lead item at http://www.astronomics.com/main/ --dick

Subject:	hi! i just got a meade etx-90 
Sent:	Monday, January 22, 2001 19:01:47
From:	Steve7386@aol.com
my name is stephen seto and i just bought a meade etx-90 and i cant see very much with it. sure i can get a better glimpse of the moon and see its craters but other than that i can't see anything. I tried buying a barlow lense and that didnt help very much, even though it provided me with a sharper image of the moon. any way i was hoping u could give me some advise on how to get a better view of the planets and some galexies.
thanks so much,
                         Stephen Seto
Mike here: What do you see when looking at Jupiter and Saturn (high in the sky shortly after sunset)? Or Venus (high in the western sky at sunset)? What do you see when looking at M42, the Great Nebula in Orion?

Added later:

i can see jupiter but it looks very much like looking at a star with the
naked eye. yes i can see 4 other stars revolving around it but they are
very dim and i can bearly see them. the same with jupiter. as for the
other planets i have not been able to see them as well as i had jupiter,
even so jupiter seems very small. for the galexys and deep space objects
like nubula i have been unable to see or even find any.  if there are
any tips on how i can increase my apiture or magnification on my scope i
would greatly appreciate it, i have already bought and used the barlow
lens but still the planets seem distant. thanks so much,
                         stephen seto.
PS. i live in san francisco and i was wondering if i could meet you some
time. my interest in space and stars led me to study physics at a young
age. i am now 15 and still deeply admireable of the stars and enroling
in a astro-physics independant study. because astro-physics is not much
of a course, i would love for a person with great knowledge of
stargazing and the universe to help guide me as i would learn more from
them than i would at school. if you know of any such people please
incorperate in the e-mail. Once again thank  you so much!
Mike here: First off, I'm sure there are some astronomy clubs in the San Francisco area. Check the listing on the Sky&Telescope web site (www.skypub.com; on the Resources page). As to Jupiter, you should be able to see a small disk, with 2 or 3 easily seen horizontal cloud bands. It should appear larger than any star. With Saturn, you should be able to see the planet's disk sitting inside the Rings. These views are possible with the standard 25mm or 26mm eyepiece. Adding a 2X Barlow Lens will double the size of the image you see. To find galaxies and nebula you will need some star charts. There are many web sites that can generate these (see the Astronomy Links) as well as books and software programs (see the Astronomy Links page for some of these).


thanks so much!

Subject:	 ETX-90EC and Condensation Effects 
Sent:	Monday, January 22, 2001 13:57:53
From:	MFRiesco@directvla.com (Riesco, Michael F)
I've been enjoying my new ETX-90EC tremendously, and had a question that
pertains to those of us that live in hot/tropical climates (I live in
South Florida, near Ft. Lauderdale).

This time of year, the nights are cool and the humidity level is quite
low -- so I don't worry at all about condensation when I bring my scope
back inside to my air-conditioned house.  But in the summer, when
temperature and humidity levels will be much higher, will I have a
condensation problem?  My thought is that the scope (and the air inside
it) will become warm and humid while outdoors.  Then, once I bring it
back inside into the air conditioning, the air inside it will rapidly
cool, and water will condense and form droplets on the internal optics
(lenses and primary mirror).  Eventually the droplets should dry, but
will they leave marks/stains on the optics that will then be impossible
to clean?  If so, I would imagine that this problem would compound
itself after a number of nights of humid-air use.

Is this a real concern, or am I just inventing something here?  Any
feedback from you (or any ETX-experienced South Florida readers of your
site) would be very much appreciated!

Regards, and thanks, as always, for the excellent site...

- Mike Riesco. 
Mike here: Condensation can be a problem, but may be more a problem going from the cool environment inside to a humid outside environment. I seem to recall glasses fogging up upon leaving an air conditioned building when I was in Florida some years ago. If you get spots, check the cleaning tips on the Buyer/New User Tips page. I'll post your message on the next site update.

Subject:	 LX 90
Sent:	Monday, January 22, 2001 08:45:56
From:	coyote@webaccess.net (Jack Harvey)
Your site was the best for technical info on the etx 125 I had.  The
problem is I have moved up (?) to a lx 90 which shares the autostar
controller similar to the etx.  Now I no longer have a good tech ref
site.  Have you given any thought to corrupting your site to include the
new LX 90?

Jack Harvey
Coyote Rim Ranch
5641 Rim Rock Trail
Fort Collins, Colorado 80526
Mike here: There is some LX90 stuff on the site but it is all Autostar related. The requests to add the LX90 to the site are increasing...

Subject:	 ETX 90 RA
Sent:	Monday, January 22, 2001 05:23:23
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	davchari@optonline.net
Good morning David -
Noticed your post on the great ETX site and had to write.  I have a
plethora of Meade ETX scopes:  the 90 RA, 90 ETX EC and the ETX 125. 
ALL of them are my favorites.  The most satisfying scope of all, to make
you feel better, is the the ETX 90 RA.  I like its simplicity and
"quick-to-set-up" attributes.  I also like clamps and slow motions!  The
RA motor works flawlessly and the optics are the best!  No, you did not
buy an inferior telescope.  I fear that in a short time, Meade may
discontinue this model in lieu of the more popular (and more costly) ETX

The 25mm MA and 9mm MA are excellent eyepieces; I have routinely seen
the planets (using a barlow) with the 9mm, with Cassini's AND ENcke's
division visible on steady nights.  The Orion nebula with your 25mm is
outstanding, perhaps a more striking image than in my ETX 125.

Don't thing your scope is inferior; in my opinion, it is the best-built
of all of them and certainly more sturdy!  Set-up is by far quick and
easy; be sure to remember to give it a hour or so on cold nights to cool
down outside before using.  It will give you years of discovery and

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to write.  Good luck and
great observing!

P. Clay Sherrod, Conway, Arkansas
And more from Clay:
I hope you have a better appreciation for the Meade ETX 90 RA; Meade
does not sell to discount stores any other version (other than the
eyepiece selection, which is still very good) than it does through
distributors throughout the United States.  Eventually this may change
(total conjecture), as I see more and more changes from metal components
in telescope manufacturers in recent months.  However, rest assured that
- no matter where you bought it - you have a wonderful scope that will
last a lifetime if periodic maintenance is performed.  Let me know if I
can help you further.


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

Thanks for your email.  I am really looking forward to trying the scope.

I was worried when I thought the scope could have originally come from a
discount store.  I did not know if Meade made cheaper ETX's for the
discount stores.

Thanks again for your words of reassurance.  I feel much better about my
purchase.  I just wish the weather was better so I could use the scope.

Regards, Dave in NJ

Subject:	 portable power for ETX
Sent:	Monday, January 22, 2001 05:16:48
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Good morning Alec:
I read your post regarding using portable power in the field. 
Rechargeable batteries are okay, even those that can be charged
seemingly indefinitely; but they are very expensive and long to charge.

I prefer AC power almost exclusively, but as you mention it is not
always practical.  For the price of two (2) sets of good rechargable
batteries you can nearly buy a WONDERFUL 12V portable power supply from
Wal Mart; there are two of them:  "EVERSTART" is the Wal Mart brand,
supplied by Eveready Batteries and the one I use ($59).  It can jump
start 30 automobiles off one charge!  Has a DC lighter plug for
operating your scope and is fused for surges.  Puts out 10 Amps max
which is plenty and provides a strong, steady stream of DC power, very
consistent.  Has warning lights if your connection is not good.  Is
reacharged in 24-hours (trickle).  Also has built-in (hidden) jump
clamps and can operate AC off an inverter; only weighs 8 pounts, heavy
plastic with tote handle.  The best I've seen.  Will power your scope
for about 30 hours non stop and has power indicators for the battery
level.  There is also a warning buzzer that goes off if our connection
is bad or fails and a warning for low batter.  Battery is easily
replaceable, but you should never have to. A great unit.  (it is also a
semi-flat black, which matches the Meade mounting and tube fixtures!)

Another option is the  Prestone unit (Also at Wal Mart - $79.95) which
is similar, but with less features (no warnings, connection lights nor
buzzer, or fuse).  It also does not have a front lighter jack and is
somewhat heavier.

I think you will find - for the price - that such units are
indispensable in the field and provide very reliable and steady DC
power; it appears to provide slightly less "powerful slews" to the scope
as does AC, but still is very capable of powering my ETX 125 with
focuser, all going at once.

Concerning DC power - Make sure, whether from a power source or you
vehicle, never use more than abour 20-25 feet of electric line between
your source and your scope, as I have seen some dropoff (particularly in
cold weather) of long power runs.  This is another ++ for a portable
power unit that can be located right by the scope, and not dependent on
where your automobile might be parked relative to the telescope.

Subject:	 ETX-90 Usage
Sent:	Monday, January 22, 2001 04:06:03
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Good morning Will -
Your experienced with your ETX 90EC are as expected; the scope is
performing just fine and things will come around for you.  Let me go
into a couple of points.

1)  The move to the Barlow lens is a good one, and it will definitely
help your image of Saturn and planets.

2)  Don't expect "textbook" images of the celestial objects as you have
seen them in ads and magazines; just remember that you are using your
own eyes and mind to explore now, not a recorded image!

3)  The higher the magnification, the less brightness there will be in
both the object you are observing and the background sky;  this is
normal and expected.

However, THE CONTRAST of, say the Orion Nebula against the background
sky will increase UP TO A POINT with higher power.  For deep sky, and
reaching your faintest limiting magnitude (expect about "11" on your
scope) about 25x per inch (about 90x for you) is obsolutely ideal.  Any
higher and there is reciprocity in resolution vs. contrast.  Any lower
and "backgroun light" diminishes contrast between faint images and the
dark background.

4)  Only use your 9.7mm on the very best night; a quick way to test your
"seeing" is to take a bright star and put it out of focus until it makes
a pretty good disk (your 9.7mm will be good for this test).  You will
see the dark central obstruction of your scope;  examine the bright
disk:  if you see "wavering" and motion as if water is flowing across
the disk, then your seeing IS UNSTEADY and incapable of high power.  It
IS NOT your scope....it is the air; use such a night for observing
around 100x at deep sky.

5)  The electric focuser will be a Godsend for you; be patient until it

6)  Remember, with practice, you can see as much at 150x as you can with
300x in your telescope!  You must train your eye to see those fleeting
glimpses of small detail on the moon and planets...but it is worth it
when you do.

7)  It may not look like the Hubble photo, but your first views of
Saturn through your ETX 90 is YOUR OWN....it should be something you can
never forget, no matter how small nor how void of detail it may seem. 
You are looking at it in "real time" over a distance of 800 million

Find somebody else at work the next morning that can top that!

Good seeing....CLAY SHERROD
-----Original Message-----
>Hi Clay:
>I currently have the ETX90EC and the 26sp works very well and provides a very
>sharp image. Sadly, I am not as satisfied with the tiny view of Saturn for
>instance and perhaps I should have gotten the 125 instead. I have a barlow on
>order from Scopetronnix, so perhaps things will look better soon.  I am learning
>about correct focussing methods and have waited for the great nights when all
>is still and the sky is calm. We had such a night last week and that is what i
>am basing my viewing expereince I related to you on. The viewing with the 9.7sp
>is ok, but darker and less contrasty. The shaky scope does make it very trying.
>Still, even when all had calmed down, it wasn't nearly as sharp as the 26sp. I
>left the scope out for an hour to cool down and the air was very calm. We'll
>see how the barlow works out. I think you are right and this may be my modus
>operandi for now.
>I did read both of your recent pieces and found them informative and helpful.
>Please keep up the great posts.
>Clear and still skies,

Subject:	 Nikon Zoom Eyepiece
Sent:	Sunday, January 21, 2001 21:18:41
From:	rbduering@yahoo.com (rick duering)
I was hoping that you could help me out. On your eyepiece page a
gentleman did a review on the Nikon zoom and stated that he bought it
through Markus Ludes of APM. Would you know this gentlemans address or
web address? I'm interested in this eyepiece.
Thank you,

 Rick Duering
Mike here: I don't know the address but have you tried to contact the writer of that review?

Subject:	 Re: Thanks for the posting
Sent:	Sunday, January 21, 2001 17:12:29
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Hello Will -
Thanks for writing; glad you're off and running with your ETX.  Once you
get settled in you will really enjoy it.  You haven't said if your ETX
is the "90" or the "125"; either one will present you with a lifetime of
enjoyment and your planetary views will improve as your scope is "beefed
up" to your expectations.

At any rate, always figure no more than 50X per inch of aperture, or
about 250x on the ETX 125 and about 140x on the ETX 90; at either power,
you can see a lot of detail....the key is in your patience and the
steadiness of the night air.  If the air is unsteady, it is like looking
across a long road on a desert in the middle of the day, with heat
currents rising so vividly that they look like water.  The sky at night
is no different, as the earth releases the heat it absorbed during the
day.  These currents can be "seen" in the telescope.  If you magnify,
say Jupiter, to 200x, you are also magnifying the unsteady air by the
same amount.

Nights that are hazy and foggy (smoggy) are your best as they "cap" the
heat and maintain a very steady temperature.  On such nights, it is
possible to go up to about 75x per inch of aperture.

As to mount, I recommend the most stable base you can put your scope on;
you have an excellent scope but it is no better than the shakes from a
flimsy tripod.  I have used a beefed up #883 tripod with my -125 until
recently.  I am now using in Polar mode and thereby switching the the
very heavy LX-type tripod that Meade puts on its 8" and above.  For
that, I also have to use the "wedge" to tilt the scope and mounting to
my latitude.

You will be very glad you invested in the electric focuser!  It is
amazing how the vibration disappears.  It is one of the best investments
your could have made in your scope.

Regarding eyepiece, I prefer to use a 2X barlow with lower power
eyepieces; that way you retrain eye relief and still get the power you
are looking for; in my -125 my favorite combination is the barlow with
the 26mm - the one that came with the scope!  The 9.7 is a GOOD
eyepiece, and I think between some bad nights out and your vibration
problems, you haven't had a fair chance to evaluate its performace.  I
really like the 15 mm Meade super plossl as well.  By the way, I think
Meade eyepieces are the best for the price (the Super Plossls 4000

Again, good to hear from you; let me know which scope you have.  By the
way, there is a tech tip on observing Jupiter that I posted on Mike W.'s
site last week, using filters to bring out the detail on all the bright
planets....check it out and see if it may help you some.

Thanks - keep in touch.
P. Clay Sherrod
Conway, Arkansas
-----Original Message-----
>Thanks for the very informative postings on Mike Weasner's ETX site.
>These are very helpful to me. I have been disappointed sometimes because
>my scope doesn't seem to be able to grab great details in viewing
>Jupiter and Saturn. This is my first real scope, so part of this is just
>my learning curve. Part of this is a lack of eyepieces and the
>incredibley touchy focusing on the ETX. I am beefing up my Meade 883
>tripod and getting a scopetronix remote focusser to help. I also
>purchased a Meade 9.7mm lens but it is a disappointment. It has poor eye
>relief and low contrast. What have you found to be the best lenses for
>your ETX? What tripod or base do you use for our ETX? Any other tips for
>getting a more stable mount or scope?
>Best regards and thanks again for the help and information,
>Vashon, WA

Subject:	What do you and others think of the new Autostar based LX90 ?
Sent:	Saturday, January 20, 2001 12:13:14
From:	MichaelRWrobel@aol.com
Forgive me if this question was posed already.   I have just returned
from Sweden, and have not had a good chance to keep up with the postings
on the site while I was away.

I noticed in the latest issue of Astronomy that Meade is advertising a
new version of the LX-90 that utilizes the Autostar for Computer
Control.   What is neat is that it supports the LX-200 style Alt-Azimuth
mount instead of the old LX-90 polar mount only setup.    I like the
price as well ($1695 for Telescope/Tripod/ and Autostar).

See what a little competition from Celestron can acomplish.

I have always been a 'amataur' astronomer but have always been reluctant
to get involved with buying a large scope for the frank reason that I
enjoy casually observing and have never gotten serious enough with the
hobby to convince myself that I could make good use of a large complex
scope.   I can always see myself hauling out the ETX for the improptu
clear night quick observation session.    However, it would be nice to
have a large scope to use when I take the time to drive to our astronomy
club's dark sky site.   For a night long clear night / dark sky
observation session, I could see myself taking the extra effort to use a
bigger scope on these occasions.   The apparent ease of use the new
LX-90 promises is very appealing to me.   What would make it perfect is
if Meade offered the new LX-90 with the 7" Maksutov-Cassegrian optical

I think I recall reading at one point in time, that you have experience
with using an  classic 8" Schmidtt Cassagrian Scope.   With the advent
of the Autostar, and the Altazimuth mount, it would appear that using an
8" Schimdtt Cassagrian is now within the Cost/Ease of Use criteria that
up until now, has kept me from even considering an 8" Schmidtt
Cassagrian telescope.   Aside from the obvious advantage the increased
aperature provides and excluding the differences in Tripod, Mount and
computer controlled drives; do you see an advantage in a casual
astronomer using an 8" Scmidtt Cassagrian.    Based on you experience,
are there any ease of use issues to be considered.    Will it likely end
up sitting in my closet in favor of using my ETX-90 EC due to its ease
of use.     In short, given the advantages of  the Autostar/Altazimuth
mount, do you think the new LX-90 8" would be a good step up for a
semi-serious visual astronomer such as myself.

I can never see myself as having the parience to do astrophotography or
deal with the current arcaness/expense of CCD imaging.     I have tried
to use my ETX-90-EC in polar mode I think once, and gave it up as
something I would not like to waste my patience with in the future.

I have seen the reviews about the LX-90 in the message board you have
provided a reference/link to.   They all seem to praise the LX-90.   My
question would be are they praising it as a better version of the LX-90
for serious astronomers, or are they praising it as a step up from the
ETX-125 EC for the more casual astronomer such as myself.

I latched onto the ETX bandwagon because of its versatility and ease of
use.   It lets me enjoy astronomy and birdwatching to a greater degree
than I have before.   The new LX-90 is interesting due to the promise of
a larger but still easy scope to use.    Given my casual level of
interest in astronomy, would it be a good step up from the ETX-90 EC, or
would the new LX-90 require me to become a 'serious astronomer' in order
to enjoy it.   I think that I am not alone in pondering this question.  
Unlike the other webpages devoted to 'serious atsronomy' yours does
cater to the casual observer who just so happens to thinks the ETX is a
great little scope for looking up at the sky.    Perhaps you or any
other ETX owners who have had experiences with the big 8" Smidtt
Cassagrian scopes can weigh in on the question of the new LX-90 serving
as a big version ot the ETX.

Clear Skys 
Mike Wrobel
Mike here: You might want to check out the LX90 eGroup discussion.

Added later:

Thanks for the response.

Right now, I take advantage of my Astronomy Club's 14" Dobsonian when I
make the drive (about 25 miles) to our observatory.  We also have a 16"
Newtonian permanently mounted on an equatorial mount.  We have recently
added a Computer Interface that essentially allows the 16" to interface
to some astronomy software.  We don't have GOTO capability for it, but
it will point out on a star map on the computer where the 16" is
pointing to.  My frustrations with using an equatorial mount stem from
trying to use this huge 16".  I find it frustrating and usually find my
self using the 14" Dobsonian instead.  One of my qualms about using a
big scope is their weight.  About a year and a half ago, I injured my
back to the point where my doctor restricted the amount of weight I
should haul around consistently.  I am capable of lifting up to 80-100
pounds when necessary, but I don't want to make it a habit.

The ETX is great in this regard.  A few of the members of my club have
8" SCT scopes.  I will be taking a closer look through them to help me
evaluate if I want to go out and get the new LX-90 8".  Like I said in
my original e-mail to Mike, I really like the Maksutov design because of
its 'ruggedness'.  It take my ETX out birding.  I treat it with a little
more gentleness than my other fellow birders treat their spotter scopes,
but it gets its share of bumps.  I have heard that the SCTs need to be
collimated fairly often.  This I would consider to be a downside. 
Although I won't be taking a LX-90 birding, I still would like a low
maintenance scope.  Since I already have access to two excellent large
aperture scopes via my astronomy club, I will be holding off on buying a
LX-90 in the hope they come out with a 7" Maksutov version.  I also
would like to get a chance to look through an ETX-125 EC before deciding
to get a LX-90.

Sent:	Saturday, January 20, 2001 09:54:31
From:	alec917@hotmail.com (Alec C)
Mike have you or anyone else on your ETX bulletin had any experience
with using Energizer Lithium AA batteries. It appears the some favor AC
adapters, except my plans are to take my scope to the mountains for the
weekend and AC would be difilcult to find.

Kind regards,
Mike here: Personally I prefer Energizer batteries to other brands but I use AC on the ETX-125EC.

Subject:	 viewfinder interference
Sent:	Saturday, January 20, 2001 09:29:32
From:	edutton@infi.net (Ells Dutton)
Wanted to pass on a tip about getting finder eyepiece out of the way of
the main eyepiece on the ETX125.  You can rotate it in the mount, where
it is held by the 6 alignment screws.  Then you need to (it will best if
you do) reorient the cross-hairs in the viewfinder by rotating the
finder eye piece as necessary.  This might break the glue bond that
holds the finder eyepiece but can simply be re-gluded.  I rotated mine
about 30 degrees and is great, but is a little disconcerting to see the
cross-hairs not physically aligned with the OTA but looking through the
finder while doing short slews soon convinces that it works just fine,
and is in fact the way to realign the cross hairs.  You could rotate it
90 degrees and then not worry about resetting the cross hairs, but then
is a little awkward to get at, especially from the nice comfortable
almost stationary lawn chair that I can do most my viewing from, in the
polar mode with the unit mounded on a pedestal (need to adjust height a
bit but a pile of cushions works well for that.).

Starry nights,
Mike here: I rotated the finderscope on the -125 when I first set it up. I didn't reposition the crosshairs however.


From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Mike, you're right, I have already tried it; furthermore, I can't get
used to the orientation..definitely prefer optical alignment to OTA!

Ells- Thanks for the information;  I, too have tried rotating the
finderscope, but somehow just can't get oriented with it off to the
side; creatures of habit, aren't we!  Hope your observing goes well!
Clay Sherrod
And from Ells:

That is the reason for rotating the cross-hairs.  With only a small
rotation (30) of the finder in its bracket and the equivalent rotation
of the cross hairs, the orientation is relatively easy to achieve, but
does take some getting used to, sure a lot better than banging away on
the finder.

And Clay's reply:
Ells - Thanks, yes, you're right the rotation would compensate, but it
might take me a little getting used to with the right angle combined
with the tilt (looking sideways at something that is upright, but
inverted).  It is a better idea than breathing on (another real problem
in cool weather) and hitting the finder repeatedly;  I am unable to use
short focus eyepieces as it is.  I will try your method and see;  good

Subject:	 Power problems on AC on recent post
Sent:	Saturday, January 20, 2001 06:52:28
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
I was interested to read in today's update (1-19-01) concerning the use
of AC vs. DC power in relation to "Motor Failure."  This is the issue
that I have spoken about repeatedly; when failure occurs operating the
ETX off AC power, immediately switch to DC (either batteries or power
source), re-initialize and your off and running again.  It's almost like
a "jump start."  Many times after starting up again on DC, the user is
able to shut down again and re-start in AC with no problems.  Sounds
like that is what is happening to your user in the latest post. Again -
DC power will ALWAYS contain less fundamental variables for failure and
interuption than will AC power.  I prefer AC, but it is a roller coaster
ride s sensitive as the Autostar and ETX system are.

Clay Sherrod
Mike here: Power related problems may be reason enough to contact Meade per the announcement from them.

And a response:

Mike - good point; there could be a combination problem with the
Autostar/scope and power all related to common recurring errors as well.

Subject:	 Simple Question, Please
Sent:	Saturday, January 20, 2001 06:28:00
From:	davchari@optonline.net (David McClary)
Very nice website!  I'm new to and just purchased a Meade ETX 90 RA. 
I'm waiting for it to arrive.

I am now curious as to whether I may have purchased a reduced quality
Meade ETX.

The reason I ask is my set comes with the MA25MM & MA9MM lens, not the
26MM SP as seen in most of the catalogs.  When I read some of your
emails, it looks like my ETX originally was purchased at SAM's Club
discount store.

Do you know if Meade made lower quality ETX's for these discount stores,
or is the only difference is that I am getting two base model lenses
instead of high quality lens.

I'm hoping that I did not purchase a lower quality scope.  I remember
when I purchased my first set of skis, I bought a set of K2 skis from a
chain store, turns out those skis were terrible and were lower quality
made especially for that chain.

Thanks in advance. 

Dave in NJ.
Mike here: Yes, there are different configurations sold in some markets. I suspect that while those eyepieces may not be "high quality" they are probably not "low quality" either. The views may not be as crisp as they could be but I can't speak from experience since I don't have these eyepieces.

Subject:	 what's a trunnion? we all ask... but...
Sent:	Friday, January 19, 2001 23:50:06
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	raybent@pnc.com.au
From your description, ("handwheel") do you mean the (effectively)
Axle behind the fork's clamping knob?

IF so, Meade will send one for free (just say (innocently) "it broke")
It's the "right fork adapter kit", fabled in story and song for
 breaking in earlier units.

(Mike's site even has a photo sequence of how to replace it...) [bottom of that page]

good luck

Subject:	 the new editorial
Sent:	Friday, January 19, 2001 22:47:27
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	rick@pinefields.com
ohhhh.... very, very nice...

nothing more need be said.
And from Rick:
Thanks, guys.  I hope the piece converts a few wavering wanna-bes.


Subject:	 Moved to Austalia
Sent:	Friday, January 19, 2001 00:45:25
From:	boborama@octa4.net.au (bob)
Just wanted to let you know that I've moved from England to Australia,
so my website, "Ostergaard's Forbidden Planetoid," is no more. It's
still listed on your links page, so you may want to delete it. [deleted]

I'm living in Alice Springs, and YOU SHOULD SEE THE SKY! I only
recognize Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Orion, the Pleides, Sirius, and a few
other celestial objects in that area, but the rest is unknown to me. So
far I only have a pair of Celestron 7x50s for observation. They're good,
but I miss my ETX, which I sold to a good friend and a dedicated amateur
astronomer before I moved. I'm glad he has it, but selling my
three-year-old ETX classic was the worst decision I ever made.

At any rate, a new scope purchase is in the future, so I'll keep you
updated. As always, thanks for your support and your website, which is
one of the best available.

Stay in touch.

Bob Ostergaard

Subject:	hello
Sent:	Thursday, January 18, 2001 21:23:12
From:	Dephkon@aol.com
Hi there.  My name is Jake and I am just starting in astrophotography. 
You site has been a blessing in my life   thank you so much.   I have a
question though.  What do you think of the T mount style camera adapter?
I dont have one yet but im going to get one.  Is it complicated to use?
Any info on the adapter would be appriciated.  Also can that adapter
be used with a digital camera?  thanks for you website and info.
Jake     (dephkon@aol.com)
Mike here: See the Accessories - Astrophotography page for info on the T-adapter and adapters for digital cameras.

Subject:	 tripod carrying bag
Sent:	Thursday, January 18, 2001 09:06:59
From:	thomcope@yahoo.com (Copenhaver Thom)
John Purcell was looking for a carry bag for the Meade ETX Field Tripod.
I borrowed one of those bags used to carry folding "soccer mom" chairs.
It seems to work just fine.

thom in omaha

Subject:	 etx tripod troubles
Sent:	Thursday, January 18, 2001 04:54:05
From:	raybent@pnc.com.au (ray bent)
mike, first time I've visited your website,looks great.
I've had some trouble with a brand new Celestron tripod collapsing under
my ETX 90ec to shorten the story I've got my money back ($400australian)
and built my own tripod, solid steel that can take my whole weight
(120kgs). However, the problem is getting parts out of Meade to fix a
broken trunnion arm. It is really a simple piece to remove and replace
(4 cap screws!). can you give me some advice without sending my 'scope
halfway around the planet ?

great web, I'll be back.

regards  ray bent
Mike here: Sorry to hear about your woes. Do you mean that one of the ETX mount fork arms broke? How badly? If you purchased the scope in Australia your dealer might be able to help. I seem to recall a recent posting from someone with a cracked ETX fork arm and Meade indicated it was NOT a trivial replacement, so he had to return it to Meade for the repair.

Added later:

Thanks for the reply.What actually broke was the right-hand trunnion
arm,within 1/2 an inch of the very end.There is a brass insert in the
plastic to receive the thread of the handwheel, well it snapped just
where the brass bit ends. I tried special glue but it wouldn't hold, so
I asked my brother (a toolmaker).He took about 30 mins. to fix it better
than new! So far its been working perfectly. The trunnion arm assembly
is really very simple to R&R , I must have done it 50 times during the
repair process. If anyone wants to know how to do it I'll be only too
happy to draw a diagram and some notes, but it is dirt simple, (when you
see an expert in a machine shop do it). ALL THE BEST FOR THE NEW YEAR.

Regards   Ray Bent
Mike here: If you want to do a diagram and writeup I'll post it on the Tech Tips page.

Subject:	 ETX-90EC "freshman" questions
Sent:	Thursday, January 18, 2001 00:51:04
From:	mksim@hotmail.com (Mui Kian Sim)
I'm fresh to backyard Astronomy and I just received my first telescope
ETX-90EC for my Christmas present and wanted to ask you some questions
regarding ETX-90EC:

1.)  I've plossl 26mm eyepiece and 8 x 21mm finder.  How big is the size
of Jupiter and Saturn that I can see from what I have?

Actually, I found Jupiter and Saturn week ago.  But, I'm quite
dissapointed because it appears as a small dot if seeing through my
ETX-90EC.  Do I need to buy any other eyepieces, i.e. the Barlow Lenses,
so that I can see a large image of Jupiter and Saturn?

2.)  I've difficulties to focus the image with the finder.  Do you have
any tips for doing this?

Anxiously waiting for your reply.  Thanx.

Mike here: Well, the image you see with the 26mm eyepiece is 48 times larger than what you see with your naked eye! But that isn't much when objects are far away. So yes, Jupiter and Saturn (and many other objects) will appear pretty small at this magnification. Adding a Barlow Lens or shorter focal length eyepieces is a typical "next step" (see the Buyer/New User Tips and Accessories - Eyepieces page for some thoughts). Howver, for many objects the 26mm (or longer focal length) eyepiece work just fine. Thanks for your clarification. Otherwise, I will be in ambiguous stage and keep searching for confirmation on what I can see through my ETX-90EC. Unfortunately, I can't get barlow lense in Singapore. I need to order it via Discovery store in the Internet. Again, thanks to your effort in putting up the useful ETX website. Regards from Singapore SIM

Subject:	 Tripod wedge
Sent:	Wednesday, January 17, 2001 19:31:30
From:	jshelto1@rochester.rr.com (jshelto)
I am getting a Meade tripod for my 125 and I have seen these wedges.
What is it they exactly do?

Many thanks Jim upstate Ny too cold to do anything now
Mike here: Wedges allow polar (equatorial) mounting of a telescope while keeping most of the telescope's center of weight inline with the tripod's central vertical axis. This enhances the stability of the telescope/tripod system. If the telescope is tilted from the mounting head without a wedge, the center of weight can be well off to one side of the tripod, thereby creating a stability problem. Wedges can also provide a mounting method with some tripods where none exists for the telescope model you are wanting to mount.


So I should get one for my new tripod then, because I plan on mounting
my ETX that way on a Meade tripod. Do you use one ? If so which one?
Again many thanks Jim " Snowy Upstate NY"
Mike here: As I stated, your system will be more stable with one than without if you plan to mount your telescope equatorially. I have my ETX-90RA on a JMI Equatorial Wedge with their Field Tripod (comments on the Accessories - Tripods page). It is similar to their combined wedge/tripod Megapod and Wedgepod products. There are others available as well.

Subject:	 Carrying cases
Sent:	Tuesday, January 16, 2001 15:27:11
From:	moripori@juno.com (Arthur J Wood)
Thank you for your extremely useful website. It has been invaluable in
getting me started with my ETX-M(90RA?).

I found a site for carrying cases which seems to be the one with the
lowest prices around. It's www.cases4less.com. They have Doskocil,
Pelican etc.

Arthur Wood

Subject:	 Re: 825 Meade Finder
Sent:	Tuesday, January 16, 2001 14:56:57
From:	sue1101@home.com (Sue Genovese)
Thanks for the help.  I did return the unit to Shutan with no questions
asked.  I just wanted to say that your site is the first place I go when
I log on.  It has answered all my questions so far and I'm sure there
will be many more.  Now if the weather here in Illinois will just clear
up I'd be happy.

Subject:	 ETX 90 astro
Sent:	Monday, January 15, 2001 10:55:53
From:	dlsms@earthlink.net (Dave Stevens)
Please help!
Hi I've had my etx for 3 years I have  3 lens, the meade super plossl
26mm  that comes standard and I have two Celestron lens , 12mm wide
angle and a 6.3mm plossl. I can see Jupiter and Saturn but I cant make
out the rings on Saturn it looks like one band. Jupiter fair, i can make
out the two strips across it but I cant see the spot at all. That's
about it I've been trying to see Nebula and other galaxies but it all
looks to blurry and dots of fuzzy light. what filters and lens's do i
need to purchase to see the good stuff??
I love Gods creation and I really would like to see more.
Thanks for your help!
Mike here: The Great Red Spot on Jupiter is fairly difficult to see with a small telescope. It can be done with good seeing however. You should be able to see the Cassini Division in Saturn's Rings, but again you need good seeing. Galaxies and nebula will look faint and fuzzy. So, there may be nothing wrong with your telescope or eyepieces nor any requirement to add more stuff (although filters can sometimes help; see the Accessories - Filters page). But if your three-year-old ETX was able to see these when new then you might have the slipped secondary mirror problem or the ETX might be out of collimation (or both). For the slipped secondary, take a look at the photo on the "Meade Facility Tour" page (linked from the "Just for Fun" page). If yours looks like this, you need to contact Meade to have it repaired. To check the collimation, see the "Collimation Test" on the "Tech Tips" page.

Subject:	 ETX battery options
Sent:	Sunday, January 14, 2001 18:21:03
From:	mdr@HONet.com (Michael Rathbun)
>From:   messageforproteus@compuserve.com (manuel robbins)
>Subject: battery comment


>On batteries, I have found rechargables to be undependable and leaky (if
>they have been charged several times.) To prevent leakage of battery goo
>into the telescope battery well, I place the battery pack into a (soft)
>sandwich bag before sinking it into the battery well.

This depends on what you mean by rechargable.  If you refer to the
"rechargable alkaline" type, I have to concur:  I have had a couple of
expensive devices damaged by leaking rechargable alkaline cells, and I
rate the watt-hours-per-dollar value of these cells very low.

On the other hand, I have had no problems using Nickel Metal Hydride
(NiMH) cells in both my ETX-60 and ETX-125.  (Not to mention about
fifteen other devices, including scanners, GPS receivers, shortwave
radios, flashlights, a Palm Pilot and several digital cameras.)

Among the various vendors that give good value and service, I rate
www.thomas-distributing.com very high.

Subject:	 Jupiter viewing suggestions?
Sent:	Sunday, January 14, 2001 14:35:29
From:	teb1013@hotmail.com (Thomas Brown)
Ever since I got my ETX 90EC over a year ago, one object which always
caused me a problem, was Jupiter. Basically no matter what I tried, the
disc looked fuzzy and with the exception of the N and S equatorial
bands, other details were few and far between [occasionally a glimmer of
an other band or two]. When I moved up to the 125 a few months ago, I
hoped to see more of this planet, especially based on the claims of the
Meade General Catalogue [I know this is an advertising catalogue, but it
does describe the limitations of the various diameters of scope, and
suggests that the Great Red Spot, even wirls and festoons should be
"readilly visible."  Well, I will admit that I can now see more than the
N and S bands quite easily, but the GRS, wirls festoons, on moon
shadows, seem beyond my efforts, and I have given this some serious
effort in various conditions.  I suppose the problem could be one of
several things:

1. An equipment problem: [dubious, the 125 readily shows the Cassini
Division and several of Saturns moons, and spits double stars, even
challenging ones readily and lunar detail is tremendous].

2. A problem with my eyes [I'm almost 50, is my vision going?].

3. Lack of viewing experience.  I'm trying to spend time viewing and
develop technique, but I'm pretty much by myself and don't know what to
expect. Jupiter is very bright and almost washes out the image, I've
tried various filters, especially the blue 80A and the Yellow-Green #11
but without much help.

4. Light pollution, but I've read that Jupiter, like the Moon should be
visible from within a city much less my suburban venue.

5. Acceptable views of these things are few and far between with a 5"
scope [yes, I've been using Sky and Telescope to make sure the GRS
and/or moon shadows should be visible] or require very good eyesight [#2

Comments? If anyone can see these things readily, what eyepieces are you
using, filters, and conditions, and how easy are they to see?

Thanks for the great site.

Tom Brown
Mike here: You left out one thing that can dramatic affect the views of any object: atmospheric seeing conditions. Heat sources in the local area (house roofs, parking lots, streets, etc.) can cause air turbulence that can "fuzz up" views. I've never seen that much detail on Jupiter myself (festoons, etc.) but have seen moon shadows. Experience, good viewing conditions, good optics (including not overpowering the magnification), and luck can all play a part. Keep at it.

Added later:

Mike, thanks for the answer.  I live in a suburban area, but not one
with lots of heat sources, at least not with Jupiter high in the sky. 
As I said, other objects including Saturn seem stable, in good
conditions.  I'll keep working on Jupiter.

Subject:	 Quick Finder and Vixen Lanthanum 15mm
Sent:	Sunday, January 14, 2001 14:17:19
From:	teb1013@hotmail.com (Thomas Brown)
Have finally had several days to brave the snow and try out a couple of
new accesories for my 125.

I had an Orion red dot EZ finder, but the battery clip came loose and so
I picked up a Rigel QuikFinder.  The Rigel, although it looks a bit
clunky sticking up from the OTA, is a great accessory.  Easily and
accurately aligned using three knobs, this finder puts two concentric
circles on the sky, so that you can actually get your target in the
middle of the smaller circle, and know it will be in the OTA's field of
vision. Far better than trying to center a red dot over the object.
Makes aligning the scope, or slewing to naked eye objects, even without
the Autotstar, a real snap.

I also picked up a Vixen Lanthanum 15mm eyepiece.  I had wanted a Meade
or Tele View Zoom, but was talked out of it by one of the bigger mail
order houses, which, with great authority suggested that a Zoom was
inferior and that, with the eyepieces I already had, the 15mm Lanthanum
was the correct choice for higher power viewing with good eye relief.  I
will admit that the sky looks a good deal darker and the image seems to
have a great deal of contrast.  But before I could really try this
eyepiece out, to see if it was an improvement over some of the Orion
Sirius models, I have, it froze up in the cold conditions, and I ended
up using the Orions after all.  Not as contrasty, but no clouding
either.  This happened on three evenings in a row, after only a few
minutes of using the Vixen eyepiece.  Maybe it'll do better in fair


Subject:	 Re: AC vs Dc
Sent:	Sunday, January 14, 2001 13:56:45
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	edutton@bouldernews.infi.net
Good afternoon Ells - Thanks for the communique.  I think you are
correct in your assessment of the AC power vs DC; All I am saying is
that there are many more factors that can arise in AC (power surges,
diodes that have gone bad, current regulation, etc.) within the
converter itself.

Your assessment of the Meade @ 16V, according some further tests, is
correct.  The ETX 125 does slew better, and there appear to be less
problems with motor fault and inherent tracking glitches.

I think the big problem with ALL power, whether AC or DC which I has
stressed is the importance of CONTINUITY into the scope, thereby the
Autostar.  Continuity from a "sourced" i.e., battery,  voltage is less
prone for continuity interuptions.  The above-stated variables on a
converter are things we simply cannot control.

Let me go a step further.  I am of the solid opinion that there are no
two Meade AC units alike, nor any other suppliers.  The unit (Meade)
which I have now @ 15.8 V performs perfectly.   There are a few
instances where I still use DC, but prefer for the most part AC when it
is working well.

By the way, one application where one should NEVER use the DC power is
DOWNLOADING or Cloning the Autostar; I have had the experience myself
and heard from several others of complete Autostar blackout with fresh
batteries, whereas going to AC, the problem was immediately rectified.

Concerning anchoring the input wire to the control panel from the AC (or
battery cable), this cannot be stressed enough.  I have tried several AC
adapter units, and have the Meade DC power cord, NONE of which fit
snugly enough against the power jack (in the scope) to hold securely if
something bumps or brushes against the cord.

Particularly troublesome to many has been the coiled Autostar, and
electronic focus cords as they drag across the power cord when slewing.

If power is interupted, you must re-initialize and re-align the scope,
but the glitch is also many times translated (if an arc occurs) as a
power surge which can disrupt some Autostar function, particularly on
very cold nights.

I have my cords securely attached to the tripod leg from both AC and DC
supplies, and from the leg to the base there is little slack (there does
not need to be).  Where I plug the female adapter plug into the base I
insert an end of a black plastic wire tie (from Home Depot, Wal Mart,
etc.) gently into the "hole" that accepts the cord; the tie serves to
shore up against the adapter plug and gently applies pressure to resist
movement and subsequent removal of the plug while the scope is powered

I, too, am very interested on Meade's report of Mike's random slewing
with the -125.  I have negligible "creep" in altitude but nothing like
he experienced.

By the way....I have never been happier than after I installed version
2.1ek software into the Autostar; it was a pain, but my tracking,
slewing, object centering and overall scope motion is improved, not to
mention an increase in function speed of the Autostar.  Interestingly,
the power problems I noted with AC converters was with the version 2.0
software; I have had the 2.1ek now for about three weeks and there is
absolutely NO power problems, much like you are experiencing.

Thanks for touching base...be in touch!
Clay Sherrod

-----Original Message-----
From: Ells Dutton (edutton@bouldernews.infi.net)
>I read with interest and general agreement you recommendations for ETX
>tune-up and operations on Weasner's, but am curious about your
>recommendation for DC over AC power to the 125.  Somewhere on Weasner
>about a year ago there were some exchanges on this and though I haven't
>reviewed them, the consensus was for AC.  Certainly my personal
>experience with about 15 months of use of the ETX is that the Meade AC
>adapter to 16V solved just about every problem I was having with the
>scope.  Also upgrading to 2.0i also helped take care for some earlier
>problems, although now I'm squeamish about upgrading to 2.1.  In any
>event,  in about 14 months with the AC adapter I can not recall a single
>AutoStar or power related problem on the AC converter power.  Never a
>random slew or fault.  Scope slews faster and smoother and I can't
>conceive of the hassles of using throw-away batteries, although at 10V I
>suppose you could be using rechargeables, or maybe a battery pack of
>some type.  Maybe the battery power problems I had were related to low
>battery power, but I have absolutely no fault with the AC converter, it
>is perfect in my book.  My concern is that some people might be lead
>astray if my experience is more common than yours, then again maybe you
>have a better DC power source/solution.  Talking to another 125 owner it
>did seem as though there was merit to anchoring the power line coming
>into the EXT power connector so that there is no movement of the wire in
>the vicinity of the connector, which is the default configuration I use
>by wraping the wire around the pedestal that I use.  Not sure if this
>has any impact.  Many of us had agree about a year ago that lot of the
>squirly things happening to AS may be RFI, which made some sense then.
>Your thoughts?  Will be curious what Weasner finds out about Meade's
>random slewing fix.
>Ells Dutton
Mike here: There were some discussions in 1999 or 2000 about preferring AC to DC on the EC line.

And a response from Dick Seymour:

From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Snake Oil...

(Ells, that's a reference to advertising wonderful health-giving
attributes to random fluids in a bottle)

My own take on power supplies agrees overall with Clay, although I'm
lazy, so i don't bother to anchor my AC adapter connector to my ETX90...
i'm also safer, since my ETX is usually just sitting loose on a
tabletop, or platform, or frozen hottub.  If the cable gets tripped
upon, i'd rather have it disconnect from the telescope than invite the
telescope on a short, expensive journey. Situations where it's
warranted, i tie the cable around the table leg, and then lead it to the
ETX.  My plug is a hand-soldered one, bought by the measurements
(5.5mm/2.5mm) and fits fairly snugly. Just lucky.

I have an ETX90/ec, with focuser.  I use a RadioShack unregulated 12v
500ma supply.  I chose it based upon on-Mike's-site reports of a 200ma
standard current draw by an ETX90 slewing with Autostar. Also price...
it is far cheaper than RadioSahck's 1A or 1.5A or unregulated supplies. 
It's 15v unloaded, and can slew speed 9 on both axes while cracking the
focuser with the LED headlamp on.

I also use normal AA batteries.. and monitored and measured their
performance, comparing it to the Autostar's "Battery Level" readout.
Fresh batteries are noticably slower when slewing than the AC adapter.

The 497 Autostar itself has a LM29315 5 volt regulator internally, to
deliver precise, clean power to the mc68hc11.  That has a voltage drop. 
If my voltage drops below 7.4 volts, (measured across the battery
terminals, or at the AUX port) i start to see erratic behaviour.  Since
low voltages can affect different systems randomly, I've only seen the
"motor falure... check batteries..." message once during about 5 battery
sets. (that was at 6.4v across the batteries).

The ETX60at amd ETX70at only use *6* batteries... 9 volts. I've
communicated (remember the Amazon, Mike?) with folks who have used 495
and 497 Autostars with those 'scopes, and they've reported that you
don't have many battery hours before it drops below the Autostar's
range... even though they could probably use the Starfinder to lower
voltages.  I suspect that the LM29315 exacts at least a 2v penalty drop.

Continuing to praise Clay's note, I have written to numerous people who
have -never- questioned their adapter's operation, when the erratic
symptoms -screamed- flakey or noisy voltages. Some of them have never
loaded batteries into their scopes, so they have no conception of
"sourced" operation. Folks: if things go weird, PUT IN NEW BATTERIES and
try again. Why Clay should be seeing better AC survival with 21ek vs.
2.0anything, i don't know. It's possible that it's "gentler", so not
inducing unnecessary load-related spiking, but i have no background on
which to base that guess.

From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Dick -
Thanks for the detailed response.  My main message is "...every unit is
different, and every unit is subject to:  1) glitch or, 2) failure.
Although I prefer the AC power, it has more variables that can result in
either one.  I am not a foot-stomping proponent of DC power by any
means, I believe that - with fresh supply and adequate voltage - there
is less likelihood of either 1) glitch or, 2) failure.

By the way, Dick, you need to be tying down your AC cord (or DC cord);
otherwise, one slip in your hot tub with libation in hand will result in
either:  1) glitch or, 2) failure. Thanks again...by the way, just got
in from the cold and my declination creep is back; pretty bad this time.
The scope has a mind of its own and keeps re-directing BACK to where it
ended up after the GO TO; after about five full-field opposite
corrections, it will stabilize and track perfectly. Gets stranger and
stranger all the time.
See ya - Clay
And more:
From:	edutton@bouldernews.infi.net (Ells Dutton)
Just for the record, my AC converter was purchased through a Meade
dealer and is a Condor D12-16-P that provides a car cigarette lighter
type socket, into which I plug the Meade 20'-foot car lighter cord -
came as a package deal from the Discovery Store.  Both connections are
very snug. I do agree that one does not wany ANY interruptions or
significant flucuations in the ETX or AS power.  That will cause all
sorts of problems.  I have used batteries a few times recently for
convenience and haven't had serious problems, as long as the AutoStar
says they are at about 50% or better.

From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Thanks for the info.  Mine, too is a Meade AC adapter and seems very
dependable; earlier "store" brands were quite unpredictable; I think
this is where we get into trouble with delicate electronics like the
Autostar.  By the way, Ells, I start experiencing significant odd
behavior in the Autostar (as well as delayed slewing, etc.) when my DC
battery power drops below 75%! I try to use my automobile battery as
much as possible when DC is needed.

As to slewing, you are absolutely correct in that it is MUCH better and
faster in AC than battery.  thanks!

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	ETX 90
Sent:	Saturday, January 13, 2001 18:13:13
From:	Misterjingle@aol.com
I want to take my ETX 90EC and use it for a spotting scope. What I'm
after is the eye piece that will attach to the back of the Telescope
(where the camera would attach) can you help me out on this one?  do I
need some type of adaptor?


Mike here: For terrestrial use, you likely want the "Meade 45-Degree Erecting Prism" (see my comments on the Accessories - Miscellaneous page). If you don't care about the image reversal checkout the "Shutan Visual Back" (described on the Accessories - Showcase Products page).

Added later:

Thanks Mike!

That's what I was looking for!   

"Your the Man"


Subject:	 Off-set plate
Sent:	Saturday, January 13, 2001 16:23:23
From:	btmazurek@home.com (Blake Mazurek)
I just bought a Bogen 3011 tripod with a 3030 panhead and am wondering
if you know how to get a hold of the off set plate like the one
mentioned by Steven Stanford on your site.  Where can I track a plate
like this down from?
Anything you can tell me would be of great help.
Blake Mazurek
Mike here: Unfortunately I don't. And Steven disappeared sometime ago.

Subject:	 Eyepieces
Sent:	Saturday, January 13, 2001 11:41:01
From:	farside@btinternet.com (Richard Morrison)
I am after some eyepieces for the ETX 90EC - barlow x 2 amongst others.

I am trying to increase what i can see in the sky - planets first etc.

Any ideas where i can get any for a fair price ?
Mike here: See the Accessories - Eyepieces page for some user comments on some eyepiece dealers.

Subject:	 ..in your opinion
Sent:	Friday, January 12, 2001 20:24:52
From:	bobcath28@peoplepc.com (Catherine Derouin)
I love your cool ETX website and go there often! Judging form the fact
that you own both a 90mm and 125mmETX, is there really much difference
between the two scopes optically when it comes to observing
Jupiter,Saturn, and the Moon?Will the 5" show me that much more?I am
seriously pondering the purchase of a 125mm ETX.Of course I believe that
the larger aperture is better! I want it for it's portability and
quick,easy setup.What I need to know,Mr.Weasner, is are you really happy
with your 125 and would you wholeheartedly recommend it to a total
stranger,who is looking to enjoy some casual lunar and planetary
observing,as well as some very casual snapshot photography projects of
both???Again,love your ETX page and keep up the great work!!I appreciate
Bob Derouin
Mike here: I don't actually "own" an ETX-125EC; it is on loan from Meade. I do own an ETX-90RA (purchased in 1996), which is actually the telescope I use most. Of course, with the -125 you'll be able to go to higher magnifications, see more details, see fainter objects. You'll have somewhat less portability and somewhat less money. So the decision depends upon your expectations and how you plan to use the telescope.

Sent:	Friday, January 12, 2001 17:05:18
From:	e-support@users.com (e-support)
Is there  an  accessory available to easily  attach the  autostar to the
meade  deluxe field tripod when not in use ?   Currently,  i  do not
have any way to safely put the autostar down when  using the
Thanks,   Jim Stout   Villanova,  PA.
Mike here: I use Velcro. I added the soft portion to the back of the Autostar handcontroller and wrapped the sticky portion around a leg. You could add some to all the legs or wherever you want to place the handcontroller. Works great and is inexpensive.

Subject:	 Meade etx 90 RA
Sent:	Thursday, January 11, 2001 20:34:33
From:	auctionsniper69@hotmail.com (Matt Meyer)
First off you have a great website. Next I have a question for you. I
just bought a meade ext 90, The older one without the auto star. I got
it for $200.00 Brand New, Factory sealed. I'm a bigginer in this field.
I'm just wondering should I keep this scope or should I sell it and
spring for a new one with the auto star, Or are there any better scopes
that you would reccommend. Please e-mail me back with any helpful info.

                                                Thank You
Mike here: That's a great price. The original ETX is a fine telescope. If you don't need the Autostar, and for several centuries no one did, then why spend the extra money to get one? On the other hand, as has been noted on my ETX site (glad you like it) having the Autostar allows one to see objects that might have been missed, especially in light polluted skies. The next question you have to ask yourself is whether a 90mm aperture will meet your expectations of what can be seen, versus portability and usage. You may or may not NEED a larger telescope that is more cumbersome to move and setup.

Subject:	 Rechargable battery for 125ETX
Sent:	Thursday, January 11, 2001 13:54:10
From:	boudreau@eng.umd.edu (Paul J. Boudreaux)
I thought your readers might be interested in this tip. While attending
a Hobby Computer Fair locally, I saw a lot of used computer equipment.
One group had lots of old Uninterruptable Power Supplys (UPS) that
companies and individuals often use to supply temporary power during a
power glitch or power failure. Usually these UPSs are able to supply
enough power to a personal computer system so that you can shut down and
save anything you are working with. Well, down to the tip - these UPS
often contain several (between 2,4 or 6)rechargable batteries about the
size of a few decks of playing cards, typically 6 or 12volts at 7
ampere-hour rating. I was fortunate enough to find one that had four
12Volt rechargable batteries in it for $3.00! The bad news was that
three batteries were dead beyond help, but the fourth was good. I pulled
it out and threw the rest of the junk in the recycling collection for
that sort of thing. After charging and discharging the battery a few
times, it now supplies my ETX for up to 23 hours depending on the
temperature outside. Next spring and summer, I expect better performance
for my $3 investment!

The point is that there are a lot of those UPSs floating around at flea
markets and such. Since most of the batteries are bad, owners will part
with them for next to nothing. All we ETX owners need is one 12Volt (or
two six volt) battery and we are home free. I used a Radio Shack battery
plug on a soldered zip cord lead from the battery to run the ETX. My old
Radio Shack AC Power Supply for the ETX now serves as my battery
recharger. No more AC line cords out there in the dark.

Paul Boudreaux

Subject:	Questions 
Sent:	Thursday, January 11, 2001 11:44:03
From:	Teamlunz@aol.com
I think your site is wonderful - so much great information!
Just a couple of questions:

With the recent offer from Meade to include a free tripod with the
purchase of an ETX telescope, do you believe they are coming out with a
new generation of ETX scopes?  Trying to lighten their inventory before
a new introduction.

Secondly, how do you think the new Celestron NexStar 80 compares to the
ETX-90EC.  Seems like the NexStar package is a good deal for the money.

I appreciate your feedback,  Thank you 

Glen Lunzman
Mike here: I don't know about any new generation (and if I did have pre-release info, and I don't, I couldn't tell you). Have no experience with the NexStar 80 so can't comment on it. Sorry.

Subject:	newbie here, need advice on which barlow to purchase
Sent:	Wednesday, January 10, 2001 13:40:21
From:	RJResCPA@aol.com
Am I glad I found this web page.
I am new to this hobby.  My wife gave ne a meade DS-60EC for xmas.  I
then began researching the hobby via the internet and decided to take it
back and upgrade to a Etx-90EC(which is currently on order). I got the
883 tripod ($199.99) for free in a package deal.  Also purchased an
autostar system.

My question is which barlow should I purchase, the meade #140 or #126
short, or a different company's barlow? What do you suggest for the 1st
eye piece also.

thank you for your time.

Bob Resendes
Mike here: The Meade #126 Barlow is the one recommended for the ETX-90 models. As to second eyepiece, see the Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the Accessories - Eyepieces page on my ETX site. Remember that with a 2X Barlow Lens you effectively have two eyepieces even though you only have one. With the 26mm, it is like also having a 13mm eyepiece. So a real second eyepiece should be sufficiently different from that.

Added later:

thanks for the prompt response.
When adding to my eyepiece collection, should I stick with meade, or is
there a better brand. After that barlow, for my 2nd piece, I am thinking
about getting a 40 mm, then my 3rd will probably be a 15 mm. (or do you
recommend something with a little more power.  I really want to check
out the planets and some galaxies) So I guess the question is, for the
ext-90, which brand should I get when buying a 40 mm and a then which
brand for a 15 mm or should I get a 10mm. (or ishould I just stick with
meade). Also, can you recommend a good on line/mail order site that you
use that have good pricing.

Thanks again.  Its been a week since I ordered the scope and I am
getting anxious for its arrival!!

I won't bother you agin (for a while)
Mike here again: There are obviously many brands of eyepieces available. For the ETX line it is really not necessary to go to the top (read "expensive") like Pentax. If you can handle some edge blurring, lower priced eyepieces are fine. Meade eyepieces are generally good but for many users they are too expensive. See the Accessories - Eyepieces page for user comments on other brands. As to dealers, check out the Astronomy Links page for many dealers. Good ones that I have personally dealt with are Oceanside Photo and Telescope, Scopetronix, and Shutan Camera and Video. If you browse through the various feedback pages you find assorted positive and negative comments on dealers. Your intended eyepiece selection is OK but keep in mind what the ETX-90 can actually do versus your expectations. At high powers many galaxies will be faint smudges with no discernable details or shape whereas at lower powers you may be able to see shape but likely no details. Don't expect to see spiral arms.

Subject:	 Re: ETX Model M
Sent:	Wednesday, January 10, 2001 10:05:30
From:	ajwood1@worldnet.att.net (Arthur Wood)
Many thanks for your very quick repsonse. As a neophyte astronomer, I
suspect that using a manual telescope vs a programmable one is a better
way to start and t find my way around the sky.
Arthur Wood/FL
Mike here: People learned the sky for centuries without a computer. So I think we can still do that in the 21st Century! Of course, with light polluted skies, many Autostar users have pointed out that they see things they never would have been able to find with the GOTO computer.

Added later:

I set up the ETX-M for the first time yesterday and tried to look at
Venus last night but there was light cloud cover. I think will need a
tripod for my viewing which I think will be best done from our beach.
What is the best and most inexpensive source for accessories?
Mike here: Good accessories are rarely inexpensive. You can pay a small amount for a tripod but then find it is too unstable and too prone to causing image vibrations. Read through the Accessories - Tripods page for some user comments.

Subject:	 water marks
Sent:	Wednesday, January 10, 2001 09:56:07
From:	acoholic@onlink.net (Andrew Coholic)
Oh yes, I forgot to give my 2 cents regarding another letter in which a
fellow complained of water marks forming on the corrector lens of the
etx after being brought inside after a cold viewing session.  My cure is
to place my etx, eyepieces, camera, etc in front of my fireplace, which
has a fan that blows the warm air over the gear.  The water evaporates
quickly, and no marks are left after.  I also point the OTA down, so any
standing water from heavy frost cannot pool on the lens.  I guess a
hairdrier would work also.

Andrew Coholic
Mike here: Thanks for the heating tip. Word of caution: direct heat from a hair dryer can melt plastics and do other damage. The same could happen with the heat being directed from the fireplace.

Subject:	one quickie
Sent:	Wednesday, January 10, 2001 09:28:40
From:	MikePattiDotson@aol.com
Last question from me..Name best barlow for etx90ec and are the zoom
lenses very good..Heard any positives or negatives about the 69.00
scopetronix one??I have went through your web site thoroughly
Mike here: Certainly the Meade #126 Barlow works well with the ETX-90 models. There is a brief comment on the Scopetronix zoom eyepiece from Robert Van den Heuvel on the Feedback page for February 2000 (in the Feedback archives).

Subject:	 etx90ec
Sent:	Wednesday, January 10, 2001 06:22:27
From:	Christian.Esser@t-online.de (Christian Esser)
Hello, iam a amatuer-photographer from germany, and i like to use the
etx90ec for taking photos. Do you think it would be the right things to
buy for taking pictures of saturn and or moon ???

Greetings to the u.s.

Christian Esser
Mike here: If you look at the examples on moon and planetary photography on my ETX site, you can see it can be done and can get info on how. Also see the Accessories - Astrophotography and the Astrophotograpy Gallery - Basics page on my site.

Subject:	 ETX-90/EC Moon Observations
Sent:	Tuesday, January 9, 2001 20:02:30
From:	berg@ans.net (Kevin Berg)
I've recently been spending a lot of time observing the Moon, and had a
question regarding the way I am observing it. By this I mean that I try
to observe the Moon using the 45 degree erecting prism (so that the
corrected image will match my Moon maps). However, at times when the
Moon is high, that darn prism gets in the way of the scope's base. Is
there any way around this problem? Would another type of prism work,
like the Orion Straight-Through Porro Prism?


Mike here: Depending upon your latitude, equatorially mounting the ETX can help provide more clear space for the diagonal in this situation.

Subject:	 ETX Model M
Sent:	Tuesday, January 9, 2001 17:31:44
From:	ajwood1@worldnet.att.net (Arthur Wood)
I was recently given a ETX Model M as a gift, but I can't find any
reference to it on the Meade website or anywhere else. Is it still
available and can it be upgraded to the ETX 60 computerised facility?
Arthur Wood
Mike here: Assuming this is a 90mm model, it is likely the same as the original ETX Astro model, now known as the ETX-90RA. It is not upgradable to any of the EC models.

Subject:	 Carry bag for Meade ETX Field Tripod
Sent:	Tuesday, January 9, 2001 13:39:14
From:	purcellj@us.ibm.com (John Purcell)
I have a Meade ETX Field Tripod and have been unsuccessful in locating
an appropriate carry bag.  Has anyone found a good source?  When I
locate a bag long enough to accomdate the tripod it usually also
accomodates a wedge which is more bag than I need.  Am I the only one
who transports the tripod in its box?  Thanks for any help.

John Purcell

My opinions are just that.
Mike here: I seem to recall someone mentioning a duffle bag that worked well. Got it from Walmart or KMart or someplace like that.

Subject:	Eyepieces
Sent:	Tuesday, January 9, 2001 09:21:33
From:	MikePattiDotson@aol.com
I need help.  I have had the etx 90ec for a 2 weeks now and I need a
good barlow lense and some eyepieces.  Can you please suggest the best
overall (quality vs price) and where to purchase.  I am a novice
.........very new and want to get the most out of my viewing experience.
 Can you please suggest the best overall barlow land a few good
eyepieces.  One last thing are the zoom lenses such as the one
scopetronix offers any good??

Mike here: Check out the Accessories - Eyepieces page as well as the Buyer/New User Tips page.

Subject:	 astrophotography?????
Sent:	Tuesday, January 9, 2001 03:31:01
From:	jjordan475@home.com (Joel Jordan)
Bought an EXT90_EC about a month ago w/autostar. I also bought the table
tripod and some other stuff. (EP's, filters etc.) Here's my question. I
have a minolta SRT-201T camera that I want to photograph the moon with.
If I buy a mount to fit the camera so it sits on top of the scope and I
set the scope for "Lunar" tracking will the weight of the camera ruin
the gears in the scope and how do I counter balance the scope to take
the weight of the camera??


Mike here: I don't have any experience with that camera so don't have any concept of its weight. If it is lightweight there is little probably in damaging the gears. But tracking may not be precise due to slippage. Scopetronix has a neat Piggyback adapter that doubles as a counterweight system. You might want to check that out.

Subject:	 GTO Eyepieces
Sent:	Tuesday, January 9, 2001 00:09:06
From:	csdemko@phoenixdsl.com (Cullen Demko)
I looked through the reviews on you page for the different eyepieces and
did not see any for the GTO eyepieces. Do you have any experience with
these and if so what type of results and quality compared to some of the
others? I would appreciate any info you might be able to give me.

Thanks again

Cullen Demko
Mike here: I have no experience with them but there are some brief user comments about some GTO items on the Feedback pages for February and March 2000 (in the Feedback Archives).

Subject:	 Meade 2045
Sent:	Monday, January 8, 2001 22:28:06
From:	mattshu@earthlink.net (Matt Seargeant)
I recently purchased a used Meade 2045 (I understand it as a precursor
to the ETX line) and wondered if you knew of any place on the internet
where I might find information regarding this scope.

At the moment, I am especially interested in finding a way to use my
Bogen 3033 tripod and Bogen 3126 head to polar align the telescope. It
seems impossible to get the thing to lock down at 34 degrees (the scope
is too heavy). So I am looking for a wedge set up that might work.

Any ideas?


Mike here: You might try the sci.astro.amateur and alt.telescopes.meade newsgroups.

Subject:	 ETX-125EC Pricing
Sent:	Monday, January 8, 2001 08:47:19
From:	RCULLEN@ttsonline.net (Robert Cullen)
Great site for information.

Can anyone explain why in the UK we pay 999 GBP (1,500 US Dollars) when
the 125 costs only costs 890 Dollars.

I can fly to the states, buy the telescope and get back with change (but
no warranty). It's not right if you ask me.


Robert Cullen MCNE
IT Director
Thomas Telford School
Tel: 01952 200000
Fax: 01952 293294
Email: RCullen@ttsonline.net
Mike here: World economics, The Euro, Shipping Costs, Exchange Rates, and probably whole lot of other reasons. Maybe someday the Global Economy will be real and we'll have one standard: Federation Credits.

Subject:	 flip mirror
Sent:	Monday, January 8, 2001 04:36:31
From:	iannelli@techmail.gdc.com (John Iannelli)
On the ETX90EC the i've noticed water spots on the flip mirror.It
appears to look like a water stain that must of come after defrosting on
some cold nights.How would you clean this tiny mirror and do it without
scratching it?I can see this stain at certain magnifications.
Mike here: I would follow the cleaning instructions in the manual. Use only a light touch with a very soft, very wet cloth. Let it dry. You might have to repeat it a couple of times. Of course, reaching it will require some work.

Subject:	 re: voice control
Sent:	Sunday, January 7, 2001 21:14:52
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	cowell@rochester.rr.com
I saw your note on Mike's site...

If you upgrade to v21ek (newest release), it may help with the run-away.
One (well, two) of the bugs fixed directly involved the :Q# (quit)
LX-200 command that ACP is probably using.

Which version of Autostar firmware, and which telescope are you using?


Subject:	 Re: etx-60 declination setting
Sent:	Sunday, January 7, 2001 09:44:42
From:	mffortuna@mediaone.net (Fortunas)
Thanks, that [flat rubber jar lid opener] worked great!


Subject:	 Good to see you again!
Sent:	Saturday, January 6, 2001 21:29:48
From:	billdean@home.com (Bill Dean)
Nice to see you at OPT again today. Hopefully we can get you out to the
desert for a star party when it warms up a bit more- been in the low
teens the last couple of months. I don't know if they brought it out
before you left but I hope you had a chance to look throught the Tele
Vue 102 with the Coronado AS1-90 filter as it was absolutely remarkable!

I signed up for the first batch of the 40mm filter set David was showing
and hopefully will be taking delivery sometime in April. I'm really
looking forward to it as I was simply floored by what I saw- don't know
if I'll be adapting it to the ETX or if I'll just pick up a fast
refractor but I wouldn't be too surprised if I give it a whirl with the
ETX. I'll let you know how it goes when I get it!

Regards and Happy New Year!

Bill Dean
Mike here: Hi! It was really nice seeing everyone again. That is such a great group of people, both from the store and the local crowd. And the views through the new filter were really nice. I'm hoping to get one too at some point. [I have posted a preliminary report on the Accessories - Filters page.]

Subject:	 Help with first pictures
Sent:	Saturday, January 6, 2001 20:07:49
From:	Bob@3DInventions.com (Bob Gruen)
My wife and I have just finished reviewing the first set of pictures we
have taken through our telescope.  We have a Meade ETX 125 and we are
taking pictures through the photo port on the rear of the telescope.  We
have connected the telescope to our Olympus 2020-Z digital camera using
the Olympus CLA-1 adapter and the Meade T adapter.

I have posted a few images to the web.  Here are links to a few:


These pictures show the aperture being illuminated to differing degrees
and two of the three pictures show a small blurred image of Jupiter in
the very center.  For all of these images, the subject was well focused
in the eyepiece of the telescope, the camera was set to autofocus and we
experimented with several different shutter speeds.

We are trying to figure out what we are seeing and why we are seeing it
the way we are.  What should we do to get started taking better
pictures?  Are there basic settings that we should follow (ie. manually
setting the camera's focal length)?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Mike here: There are several things to be aware of that are evident from your description:
1. At the rear port you are doing Prime Focus photography. For that you have to remove the camera lens, as the telescope acts a telephoto lens for the camera. Since you may not be able to do that with your digital camera, this setup won't work (but it will give the results you've seen). 2. You've noted that you focused the eyepiece. That's good but the focus position will be different at the two ports.
3. So, if you want to use your digital camera, shoot through an eyepiece (start with the lowest power eyepiece you have). Some cameras can autofocus correctly (mine does) and some may not. At any rate, focus the eyepiece for your eyepiece and then have the camera focus for infinity.
See the Accessories - Astrophotography for some mounting adapters.

Subject:	 reports
Sent:	Saturday, January 6, 2001 19:44:40
From:	ve7cer@direct.ca (C Rogers)
I don't own a Meade but do a Celestron C-5.Visit you'r sight often as
there is interesting info on it,and Celestron does not have a sight.I
was just wondering if any-one out there has a meade that worked  when
all I see is the problems all seem to have.Before buying my C-5 I
visited you'r sight many times but was turned off on buying a Meade
seeing all the problems with them everyone seems to have.Or is it just
me.  Charlie
Mike here: If you consider that the user comments of problems that are sent to me are just a small part of the tens of thousands of ETX models that have been sold since its introduction, and if you consider that people tend to report the negative versus the positive, I'd say the problem reports are small percentage-wise. But then I have no way of knowing the overall return rate (to dealers or Meade).

Subject:	 ccd imagery
Sent:	Saturday, January 6, 2001 07:34:04
From:	jms13@columbia.edu (Jeanne Mager Stellman, PhD)
I have just purchased a Meade ETX-90EC and am interested in pursuing
CCD-imagery.  I know that Meade sells Piktor Autoguider/Imager setups
but is it also possible to use a camcorder?  I don't own a camcorder so
I need to make a purchase, in any case.

If I do get the Autoguider/Imager, does this mean that I could actually
do everything the "Autostar" does,(i.e. "go to" specific celestial
objects) just through software control and the Piktor setup?

Thanks very much.  Jeanne Stellman
Mike here: Search the site for "CCD" and you'll learn more about CCD imagery with the ETX. You can also use some camcorders and get good results. Remember, the ETX mounting system can't handle a lot of extra weight. Remember, the ETX is not really designed to be a photographic system so long duration autoguiding is problematic.

Added later:

Thanks -- I'll search the site (which is very good, incidentally).  Do
you have an overall search mechanism or do I do each time period
separately? (There are great indexing systems available, which you
probably know about).
Mike here: The index covers the whole site, including the archives.

Subject:	 825 Meade Finder
Sent:	Saturday, January 6, 2001 05:15:17
From:	sue1101@home.com (Sue Genovese)
Your site has been a tremendous help for me.  I am new at this and your
site has helped me enjoy my ETX-90EC.  I have one question for you,  I
bought a 825 right angle finder and while focusing the unit the eye
piece came off in my hand.  I this normal?  It looks like it was glued
on,  if so do you have an idea of what glue to use to reatach it?

Ken Genovese
Mike here: Don't think that is normal. Best suggestion is to exchange it at the dealer. As to the glue, do not use plastic cement.

Subject:	 Meade electric focuser
Sent:	Saturday, January 6, 2001 00:16:40
From:	billcollins3@juno.com (William D.  Collins)
In reply to Stefan Keller-Tuberg's question posted 5 January in User
Feedback: yes, the slowest focuser speed is still too damn fast. Also,
the focuser will occasionally  "stick on," run away with the focus all
the way to a stop and continue to run no matter what keys you punch or
what connections you wiggle. The only remedy is to turn off the power --
frustrating, to say the least, especially if you've managed to get very
good alignment for the observing session.

Actually, I'm thinking of replacing mine with a flexible cable but if
Stefan comes up with a mod to slow down the electric one I'd love to see

Bill Collins
Walnut Creek, California

Subject:	 Astronomer's Control Panel
Sent:	Friday, January 5, 2001 06:49:36
From:	cowell@rochester.rr.com (david cowell)
Has anyone tried to use the ACP with or without voice control? I know a
lot of features are not accessible with the ETX-125 but in attempting to
slew at any speed the scope starts but will not stop until I hit a
button on the Autostar controller. I can get the voice control to work
but it takes a lot of training!
Thanks for a great forum!!
David Cowell

Subject:	 Meade Electronic Focuser
Sent:	Friday, January 5, 2001 06:25:43
From:	stefan.keller-tuberg@usa.alcatel.com (Stefan Keller-Tuberg)
When I purchased my ETX-90, I received an electric focuser for free and
I gladly accepted it. I've now gotten used to it and am reasonably happy
with the ability to focus the 'scope without "shaking the sky" but the
focus speeds are **far** too fast for my liking. Even at the "fine"
speed setting, I find that I have to tap the arrow keys for the tiniest
fraction of a second and even that results in too much focal travel to
finely adjust focus.

I believe that this problem is either being caused by the autostar
keeping the focus motor on for too long or too much angular inertia -
and I suspect the first.

I haven't yet opened the focuser yet to see if I can slow it down with a
simple electrical modification but I'm almost at that point. Are you
aware of any other similar comments about the electric focuser? Anyway,
I'd be delighted to send you some shots and results of my hackwork when
I get around to it.


Subject:	ETX-90RA at SAMS Warehouse re: ETX 90 RA? on ETX User Feedback Pg posted 1/3/01
Sent:	Thursday, January 4, 2001 22:05:06
From:	GJMIII@aol.com
Just thought I would comment on John's question concerning the ETX 90 RA
at Sams.

My local Sam's Warehouse here in Florida also had the 90 RA for $349.
Not being big into astronomy either, but always wanting a telescope, I
almost bought one as an impulse purchase just before Christmas. However,
I resisted the urge and went home to do some reading up on it on the
Internet before making a purchase I would later regret.  Luckily, I came
across this site.  The wealth of information I found here (Thanks for
such a wonderful site Mike!!!!!!) and the favorable comments along with
$495 being the best price I could find for the 90 RA on the Internet all
convinced me that I should make the purchase and two days later I did
(and I am very glad about it).  However, I do have a few comments.

1. The table top tripod included with the 90 RA is terrible......to
really enjoy the scope, you need a tripod or a pier or at least a sturdy
table at a decent height outside your house.

2. The focus control knob (and also the R.A. adjustment knob) is
difficult to reach when the scope is in certain positions relative to
the forks.  The flexible focus controller listed on the Miscellaneous
Accessories (Keyword to:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/misc.html#flexifocus) page of this site
resolves the problem but the $35 or $40 price tag is a bit high.  I made
one for $1.24 that works great (feel free to email me if you want
instructions and a parts list).  Add a clothes pin as others on this
site have suggested and focusing is now a breeze.

3. The ETX 90 RA at Sams comes with two lenses instead of the single 26
mm Plossl.  However, they are of the lower quality Modified Achromatic
line and include the MA 25 mm and MA9 mm.

4. The lack of "GOTO" functionality  and electronic control is
something to consider.  If you have not had it you will not believe how
it adds to the 	experience.  While the 90 RA does provide for R.A.
tracking, I did not use it.  Instead, I followed the lead from someone
else (Paul) who made a post to this site concerning a DS 60 mount
conversion for the ETX 90 RA  (see
http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/ds_mount.html ).  Science and Hobby
(Keyword to: www.scienceandhobby.com/meade.htm) was having such a
great deal on the DS 60 ($227 including shipping) with a free Autostar I
could not pass it up.  Paul's detailed plans and instructions (that he
will email you from the above link to the tech tips page on this site)
made the conversion a snap and I now have a "GOTO" ETX for about the
same I would have had to pay for an ETX 90 EC but I also got a full size
tripod, the Autostar and it was fun doing the conversion.  The converted
scope is an absolute blast......a wonderful purchase.........a barlow, a
few more lenses, and maybe a quickcam to play around with for ccd
imaging, and I will be set.

Based upon my own experience, if you stick with this for any time, you
will most likely end up wishing that you had gone for the 90 EC (or
maybe the lack of the EC will end up being the reason you don't stick
with this).  But if you are not sure and don't want to spend the extra
money right now, maybe a future DS 60 EC mount conversion is the route
for you also.  Try out the 90 RA and if you think that this is something
that you want to stick with for a while longer or at least spend some
more money on then shop the net and find a good deal on the DS 60 EC and
give the mount conversion a try.

Good luck,


Subject:	 Re: ETX 90 WEDGE
Sent:	Thursday, January 4, 2001 16:26:00
From:	kahunadad@earthlink.net (Brian)
Last message on this I hope...If you put the scope in polar mode (on the
controller at least) is the orientation of OTA perpendicular to the
forks (i.e. 90 degrees) or is it parallel to them as it is when you use
the deluxe tripod in polar mode per the instructions....Not sure I am
asking that right..If I understood the instructions correctly from meade
when you have the scope sitting on a table (no tripod) the ota is at a
90 degree angle to the forks and the autostar is in alt/azm....when you
lay the tripod head over to your degree you must put the ota parallel to
the forks and set the autostar to polar mode for it to track correctly
right?  with the wedge you keep the tripod at 90 degrees or level with
the ground, the wedge tilts your scope to the proper degree and you keep
the OTA 90 degree to the forks, and put the autostar in polar mode
correct?..Hate to be a pain but i think i am confusing alignments with
sory to bug you again..i should have asked you if there were any
advantages to getting the wedge if i already own the deluxe tripod..seems
that the tripod will tilt the scope to the correct degree....my scope seems
to "go to" great in alt/azm mode but is not very accurate at all in
polar.....maybe its me???
Mike here: Only the orientation of the base has to do with the polar vs alt/az mounting mode. The position of the OTA has nothing to do with mounting mode. If the base is tilted for your latitude, whether on a tripod or a wedge or by hand, the fork arms should point to the pole (true north or south). Once you have the mounting mode established, the you put the standard controller or the Autostar in the proper tracking mode. One disadvantage of a tripod vs a wedge when mounting in equatorial (or polar) mode is that the center of gravity of the telescope is shifted to the side of the center of balance of the tripod. Using a wedge keeps these two centers better in line, which enhances stability.

Added later:

thank you sir.....that clears it up

Subject:	 SAC-IVc
Sent:	Thursday, January 4, 2001 15:07:54
From:	JVanWinkle@ci.south-pasadena.ca.us (Jim Van Winkle)
Have you had any experience with the SAC-IVc and it's integrating
software? I have a 10" LX-100 and want something that will image nebulae
and galaxies reasonably well. I read your review of the SAC-IVb and your
attempt to image the ring nebula.  Have you had any sucess since then?

Jim Van Winkle
Granada Hill, CA
Mike here: Don't have the IVc but do have the software. Still haven't had time to work with it. Currently too many other demands upon my time (including the ETX site maintenance!).

Subject:	 cheap & easy etx90ec focus knob extender
Sent:	Thursday, January 4, 2001 12:29:23
From:	brian_spahr@DSTInnovis.com (Spahr, Brian (INV-EDH))
I'm new to the etx owners club and have recently recieved an etx90ec for
xmas.  In the few times I've used it so far (in alt-azi mode) for
observing, I've been annoyed by the focus knob when the scope is within
15-20 degress of the forks.  I think Meade may have had extra accessory
sales in mind when they designed this bit of engineering genius (ie. the
electric focuser option @ $100 +/-).  Anything larger than a big rat's
paw couldn't reach it when the scope is parallel to the forks!

Anyhow, an inexpensive (read cheap) & easy partial solution is to go buy
some plastic tubing with 1/2" ID and cut to approx. 1.75" length and
slide it over the focus knob.  This allows me to access the focus more
easily. The tubing I bought was vinyl with 5/8" OD and 1/2" ID.  The
1/2" ID fits well enough to turn the focus knob, but comes off easily if
desired.  I suspect that cold weather may cause issues (being vinyl),
but haven't tried it.  Inserting a piece of the tubing inside the first
peice of cut tubing that has been cut to 1.25" and sliced into about 2/3
of its original circumference adds a stop for the knob and strength to
the assembly.  Total cost of this under a $1 & ~10 minutes of my time. 
Hope this suggestion is of use.  Brian Spahr

P.S. Thinking of trying to use latex tubing next - similiar to the
ScopeTronix FlexiFocus.

Subject:	 movement of mirror during focusing
Sent:	Thursday, January 4, 2001 11:52:40
From:	iking@c2i2.com (Lori King)
I was wondering if when focusing, the mirror is suppose to move any to
the right or left? When I try to fine focus the image moves more to the
left than the right. Then centers its self. I don't think I get very
good focusing. Images are not very pinpoint. I am from the Tucson area
so the skies are very clear and still have a problem getting that
pinpoint focus.  Thanks for the info.  Clear skies Brian King
Mike here: You didn't indicate which model telescope you have or eyepieces you use. But some image shift is normal. If excessive and you have one of the original ETX-125EC telescopes from mid-1999, contact Meade for a repair. If you have a different model or newer ETX-125EC, it may be out of collimation, especially if images are not sharp. Try the collimation test (see the Tech Tips page).

Subject:	 ? about Dec setting circle
Sent:	Thursday, January 4, 2001 09:17:57
From:	jddias@prodigy.net (John Dias)
I used my ETX 125 and Autostar last night and ( once I entered the
correct time) it worked well. I do have a question, and Meade directions
are somewhat obscure; with my OTA level, my Dec circle reads 65-
shouldn't it read 0? As all worked well, I am not too worried - just
curious. Thanks , john dias
Mike here: The DEC setting circle can need to be readjusted over time. Loosen the DEC lock knob and rotate the metal plate with the numbers until it reads correctly. The retighten the knob. Note: there is no reason to completely remove the knob. As you note, this does not affect operation of the telescope. As with the setting circles on many telescope they are there for manually pointing the telescope and should always be verified and reset when necessary.

Subject:	 Re: Meade
Sent:	Thursday, January 4, 2001 08:39:42
From:	rwcarey@gte.net (Richard Carey)
I am looking for a discount seller of Meade telescope products. Would
you have any knowledge of sources? Thanks. Richard Carey
Mike here: There is very little discounting on Meade products except for sales and some bundling. Watch the Dealer Specials and Announcements page or the various dealer web sites listed on the Astronomy Links page for specials.

Subject:	 etx-60 declination setting
Sent:	Thursday, January 4, 2001 03:35:43
From:	mffortuna@mediaone.net (Fortunas)
Thanks for a very useful web page.

My ETX60 came with the numbered declination circle incorrect. When the
scope is level (as indicated by a bubble level), the declination reads
74 degrees instead of 0. I called Meade and customer service told me I
can loosen the knob on the numbered side and rotate the circle. The only
problem is the knob is not knurled and I can't turn it. I was thinking
pliers and a cloth but the knob is sloped. Is there a trick to loosening
the knob? I don't want to mar it by getting heavy-handed.


Mike Fortuna
Mike here: One of the flat rubber jar lid openers should work. (That is what I've used.) Or just about any similarly flexible high-friction item would work.

Subject:	 Shutan Tripod Plate
Sent:	Wednesday, January 3, 2001 21:49:21
From:	joshua.parker@nellis.af.mil (Parker Joshua L SrA 99 SPTG/DET 1)
Do you know if the mounting plate that Shutan sells will stay on the
tripod when the scope is not mounted on it?  Its a pain in the butt
taking that plate on and off, I would just like to leave it attached and
mount the scope when needed...

Thanks again

Josh Parker
Mike here: Yep, it will stay on. In fact, while the ETX-125EC is at Meade I have the empty tripod with the plate still attached.

Subject:	 ETX-90RA?
Sent:	Wednesday, January 3, 2001 20:54:23
From:	hobbitfang@email.msn.com (John Colon)

My local Sam's  Warehouse has the ETX-90RA for $349.  Is this a must not
pass on deal?  I haven't been able to find too much as far as pricing on
the RA model.  I'm not too much into astronomy at the moment, so the
extra $ for the new EC model may not be worth it (though I might kick
myself later on for not get the EC!).

Thanks for you help,

John Colon
Mike here: I still use my 4+ year old ETX-90RA (the original ETX model). Great scope. If you don't want/need the GOTO computer, then the ETX-90RA makes a fine instrument.

Subject:	 ETX 90 WEDGE
Sent:	Wednesday, January 3, 2001 11:53:01
From:	kahunadad@earthlink.net (Brian)
Just a quick couple of questions if I may..
1) Would I be throwing money away if I purchased one of Jim's Mobile
Mega Wedges for my ETX?  Would it make usage easier I guess is the real
2) If I did purchase the wedge when installed the ETX would have to be
in Alt/Azm orientation correct and the wedge would be tilted to my
location (41deg)...and would it track like being in polar mode?

I have had poor results with the scope in Polar mode..I have messaged
you site before and everyone was a help but I still cannot get it to
work the way I think it should.  It seems to work great (the go to
function at least) in Alt/Azm but not in polar, and I would love to be
able to keep the sites in my eyepiece for longer than a few minutes.
Any help you can give me would be great..Thanks
Mike here: A wedge puts the telescope in equatorial (or polar) mounting so it is tilted to match your latitude. If you put the ETX in polar mode (Autostar or not) then it will track objects if you have your scope polar aligned.

Subject:	 Web site
Sent:	Wednesday, January 3, 2001 10:27:20
From:	arnold@roosevelt.aps.edu (Tom Arnold)
What a great web site! I only had a few minutes before an appointment &
ended up being 30 minutes late! I just received the ETX90 for Christmas
& haven't had time to do anything other than unpack it & look at the
"parts". Since the weather has been crappy it hasn't been a big deal but
the weather is getting better & I'm anxious to start. Your web site will
be a great help. By the way, is there a section for first-time users who
are getting started right out of the box?

Keep up the great work. I envision returning again & again,

Tom Arnold
Albuquerque, NM
Mike here: yes, 30 minutes at the Site is not nearly enough! As to getting started right out of the box, READ and UNDERSTAND the manual. Play with the scope a lot indoors before going outside. Then you can read the various items on the Buyer/New User Tips page for more, hopefully, useful info. Have fun!

Subject:	 eyepiece info
Sent:	Wednesday, January 3, 2001 00:53:59
From:	gtonks@skyjackeurope.co.uk (Gary Tonks)
Thank you for your speedy reply regarding my question on a good eyepiece
for planetary viewing. The problem with asking dealers in England for
advice is they tend to push what they have left in stock. The stock of
Meade scopes and accessories is crazy.

I have took your advice and upgraded to a better quality barlow [meade
#126 instead of unamed chinese one] and purchased a series 4000 15mm
eyepiece [both these items were located from 2 different shops after
many phone calls].

Thanks again and keep up the good work.

Clear skies


Subject:	 ETX Site
Sent:	Tuesday, January 2, 2001 17:57:44
From:	rarland@earthlink.net (Richard Arland)
Just looked over your website. Nice job!

Tonight I bought an ETX-90 M (I guess that is now called the ETX-90 RA)
at Sam's Club for $349. I figured it was a pretty good deal since Pocono
Mt.OPtics has them for sale at about $500.

Are there any mods out there that talk about adding a DC power jack to
the side of the ETX base to power the unit on 12VDC via a micropower DC
voltage regulator to step the voltage down to about 5 volts? Just
wondering, as this would seem to make great sense in the light of having
to rip the bottom off of the ETX every time you need to change

What is the difference between the ETX-90M and the ETX-90RA? I gather
that the "EC" version is the one that has the star drive in the base
that hooks up to the computer or a hand controller. Is there an upgrade
available for the non-computer driven ETXs?


Rich Arland
Mike here: Check the Tech Tips page for some power modifications. Since you are new to the site you can be forgiven for not yet reading the oft-repeated mention that the pre-EC model of the ETX-90 is NOT upgradable to the EC model.

Added later:

Thanks for the quick reply, Mike.

I have just rekindled my interest in astronomy after a 15 year lay-off.
The ETX came a such a good price, I figured that I should buy it just on
general principals.

I gotta tell 'ya...I have too many "high end" hobbies. Between Ham
Radio, digital photography, competitive pistol shooting and astronomy,
I'm gonna have to get a third job!

Many thanks again for the response. I will spend some more time on the
site and not ask such stupid questions in the mean time.

Subject:	 Meade ETX 90 EC
Sent:	Monday, January 1, 2001 21:57:02
From:	HKShooter@redshift.com (Chris)
I was looking into upgrading my cheapo costco style telescope, which
isnt that bad for moon use, with the Meade 90 ec. I saw on your sight
that the first EP you  would recommend would be the barlow instead. I
saw  on Meade's site there is the #126 and the newer ( I assume style)
#140.My question would be which one would you recommend and why? What
are the major difference other than price?

Thanks for the info and I must say your site is great.

Mike here: For the ETX-90EC, the recommendation is the #126. There is no need to spend the extra money for the #140 although it works too according to reports.

Subject:	 Xmas Solar Eclipse
Sent:	Monday, January 1, 2001 12:07:05
From:	martinic@nbnet.nb.ca (Calvin and Vernita Martini)
Kudos to you and your guests on the xmas eclipse shots! They were

I live in Eastern Canada, New Brunswick, and we had 60%  coverage during
the eclipse. It was incredible! The day started out cloudy and I feared
that I would not see it at all. It cleared later in the day and the
eclipse was enjoyed not just by me  but from my extended family.

In  the past few days I have been enjoying my Orion glass filter alot
more! The views are excellent! I am a newbie, but I know what I like,
the color is yellow/orange, and I like it alot. I had my ETX-90 EC out
the other day and had wonderful views of many sun spots...one was HUGE!
I spent the better part of the afternoon just watching it....incredible

I hope that in the near future I will learn to do astrophotograhy. I
have a 35mm SLR, but hope to get a digital camera in the near future(it
seems to make things alot easier). Thank you to all who have contributed
to the astrogallery, it make me dream of doing it myself!

Happy New Year to all!

Clear Skies,


Subject:	 Setting up the ETX-90C
Sent:	Monday, January 1, 2001 10:12:36
From:	kevinmag@texas.net (Kevin Magruder)
Hi, Mike and thanks for the website!   I'm sure you're used to more
"technical" questions, but I'm new at this and having just received the
ETX-90C for Christmas, I'm not only anxious to start viewing, but also
confused by Meade's instruction manual.  I'm at the part where I'm
setting up the scope's field tripod for polar allignment.  I've followed
the instructions, but the setup "looks" strange .... I've got the
eyepiece of the scope over the "N" leg on the tripod so that the tube
opening is directly opposite the "N".   I live near Austin, Texas ... my
latitude is 30 degrees ... so I set the tripod's latitude settting for
30 degrees.  That puts the tube opening in an extreme upright ... close
to "straight up" position.   First of all, when I take the scope
outside, isn't the "N" leg of the tripod supposed to point north?  If
so, the tube opening is facing the opposite direction.  That doesn't
sound right.   And, one I have the tube opening in the northerly
directly, am I to presume that the latitude setting I've made on the
tripod was made so that the tube opening is vaguely in the  vicinity of
Polaris?   Is Polaris that high in the sky at that latitude?   It seemed
to me, as I was spotting Polaris the other night, that it was much lower
in the sky.   What am I doing wrong?

Kevin Magruder
Georgetown, Texas
Mike here: Well, you are doing it right and you're confusing yourself at the same time. In the Polar (or equatorial) mode, the ETX (or any telescope) is tilted to match your match your latitude. The lower the latitude the more extreme the tilt will be (and the lower Polaris will be in the Northern sky). The N on the tripod does go on the North side and the ETX fork arms will be pointed towards Polaris. If you rotate the ETX so that the DEC setting reads 90 degrees (assuming the setting circle is correctly aligned), the ETX tube will be pointed towards Polaris. You might want to read through the "Polar Aligning Techniques" on the Buyer/New User Tips page.

Added later:

Thanks, Mike!   I really didn't expect to hear from you today ... so I
appreciate it.

I've printed off all the info from your site and will review, especially
the "Hints & Tips".

I'm still confused, however.  I did as you directed.  First, however, I
had to rotate the ascension so that the scopes declination markings are
now on the side opposite the tripods "level" indicator ... the forks now
point at what would seem to be Polaris, and the Autostar plugs-in to the
same side as the dec markings and the tube points in the direction of
the "N" on the tripod leg..  Previously, I had the scope turned 180
degrees on the tripod so that the dec markings were on the  same side of
the tripod as the "level" indicator.

However, when I set the dec indicator to 90 degrees as you suggest, the
tube is now parallel with the forks and the viewfinder is unreachable as
it's now partially covered by one of the forks.   I know I must seem to
be making this more difficult then it should be ... I've actually read
the instructions a few times.  I think I just need a few more "graphic"
depictions of the polar setup ... I'll keep looking, but the way I've
got it now just doesn't look right.

I've even attached a photo for you to examine and, perhaps, tell me what
I'm doing wrong.   Thanks again, Mike.

Mike here: The way you have it mounted in the photo IS correct. To view Polaris or the near-polar region that is how things will look when the ETX (or any telescope) is mounted equatorially. When you swing the scope to point towards more Southernly objects, keep the eyepiece on the top side and you'll be fine. As you noted, when viewing Northward, the standard finderscope is difficult to use. That is why you see all the comments about other finderscopes on the Accessories - Finderscopes page. If you have the Autostar, you may prefer the simplicity and better access to the finderscope (in some directions) when mounting Alt/Az.

Added later:

Again, thanks, Mike.  I feel a little better about my ability to read
and follow instructions.  What you say, of course, makes sense and
explains why other users seem to favor the right-angled viewfinder! 
Until I set it up for my own eyes, I wasn't sure what the problem was. 
The way it is now shouldn't be TOO much of a problem as long as I don't
view too many objects located near due north.



NOTE:  You've got a GREAT website!  Keep up the good work .... it's a
God-send to the uninitiated, that's for sure!

Subject:	Eyepiece types
Sent:	Monday, January 1, 2001 09:10:38
From:	WKess66375@aol.com
What does optical type SR stand for? I know what
H and MA refer to but cannot find a reference to SR.  I received two H
and one SR with my telescope. I cannot focus the SR piece with or
without the Barlow lens.

John H.
Mike here: I checked the Orion Telescopes & Binoculars eyepiece information page for info on this but they didn't mention the SR type. They do mention the "H" (Huygenian) and "MA" (Modified Achromatic) types, along with others. I suppose SR is some sort of Ramsden eyepiece.

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