Last updated: 31 January 2002
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-125EC. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	ETX-125 upgrade
Sent:	Wednesday, January 30, 2002 16:10:58
From: (Stan Rife)
Has anyone explored the possibility of sending an old generation ETX-125
back to Meade to have it upgraded to the new mount? It appears, from
casual inspection of pictures, that the newer mount for the 105 and 125
has a lot of metal support in the Dec arms, as well as bearings instead
of nylon bushings. I wonder what other upgrades are in the RA assembly.
What do you think Mike/Clay...would this be economically feasible? Sure
does look like the new mount would not have as much flexure in it....and
the bearings in the Dec arms is, no doubt, a vast improvement over the
nylon bushings.

Maybe I'll sell my year old 125 and buy a new one. That would certainly
be the best route.

Stan Rife
Houston, TX
Mike here: Meade doesn't offer an "upgrade" service. In the past, their position was you could sell the old scope and buy a new one. The cost difference would likely be the same or even less than "upgrading". But that was for the original ETX-90RA to an ETX-90EC. But the response would likely be the same for the new base/forks for an ETX-125EC.
Subject:	"Missing" Screws on 125EC
Sent:	Tuesday, January 29, 2002 8:49:11
I was adjusting the DEC index on my new 125EC and decided to spin it all
the way off in order to "check under the hood".  I did find some very
sturdy looking ball bearing races in there (YEAH!).  What surprised me
though was my finding three locations where it appears that screws
holding the metal internals to the plastic arms are missing.  I can
clearly see threads on the metal plate and the plastic is drilled in a
cone shape such that a "flat head" machine screw would end up flush with
the surface of the plastic. These holes are positioned at 120 degree
intervals on a circle about 3 or so inches in diameter centered on the

Just for grins, I looked under the other side.  Same pretty bearing AND
the same three "screwless" holes!

Is this a factory screw up?   (Pun intended ;)

Should I find 6 appropriate screws and insert them?

Thanks for any help,


Thomas D. Arman
Manager of Software Development
Rational Software
8521 Six Forks Road
Raleigh, NC 27615
(919) 845-3201
FAX:  845-3250 
From: (Clay Sherrod)
no, no screws missing with any of us!  Your scope is fine; those holes
have been reported before and it seems that no one is quite sure what
their purpose is....I suspect strongly that it is being fitted for some
future application or option that may come available, or perhaps some
part of the assembly process.

These holes do NOT exist on the older model ETX 125's.

This has been reported by several people who also feel like something is
"missing" from their telescope.  However, rest assured that nothing is
going to fall off....we shall wait and see what the mystery holes hold!

In the meantime enjoy that scope....the new models are vastly improved
over the older units!

Clay Sherrod
Mike here: I suppose they could also be from the design that was later determined to not be required. But they were already manufactured that way.
Subject:	Loose Declination Lock
Sent:	Sunday, January 27, 2002 23:19:37
Thanks again for the great site.  I am using an ETX125 and have been
experiencing a gradual loosening of my declination lock (as has been
reported by others).  It is now to the point that the motor does not
engage.  I have reviewed the site and suspect I need to bite the bullet
and remove the OTA and degrease the clutch (as described in Dr.
Sherrod's Performance Enhancements Part 1 and on the Scopetronix site). 
I am hesitant to do this for fear of making something worse.  A plastic
washer underneath the metal plate on the "locking arm" of the fork
allows the lock to tighten enough that the scope is useable, although
not optimal.  My other concerns are that this solution is temporary and
sooner or later the grease on the clutch plate will prevent the lock
from tightening even with the washer; and that I may be doing some
damage to the clutch by having the washer in place.  So my questions are
do you think the washer solution is doing any damage?  Are there any
other solutions short of removing the OTA?

Thanks for any thoughts
John Theodossy
And from our resident hardware expert:
From: (Clay Sherrod)
It sounds as if the clutch is not the only thing that may be slipping;
if the clutch lock continues to turn tighter and tighter but will not
secure the scope, it is likely that the threaded rod is stripping from
within the locking knob assembly; frequently when there is way too much
grease and locking down is nearly impossible, the tendency is to
overclamp....this works for a while but eventually the parts begin to
develop more and more slack and you have yourself caught in a

I would strongly suggest going ahead and de-grease at this point and see
if LESS CLAMPING will give you just a bit more life to the overall DEC
clamping mechanism.

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	ETX125 and wide angle eyepiece question
Sent:	Sunday, January 27, 2002 13:35:18
From: (Leigh Goldstein)
I am wondering if some large eyepieces will work on the ETX125 due to

The Televue Panoptic 19 mm
The Televue radian 18mm.
16mm nagler type 5
13mm nagler type 6

problems were reported with:
The Televue Panoptic 22mm
can this be gotten to work with an extender?

Also, what is the maximum focal length that can be used in this scope to
give a large field of view?
I have seen 32mm mentioned, but with a wide angle lens can one go larger?

Thanks, Leigh
Mike here: I've used a 40mm on the ETX-125EC.
Subject:	Re: How to tell a new model
Sent:	Sunday, January 27, 2002 5:43:58
From: (Tom Demetruk)
I, too, am looking to purchase an ETX 125 in the near future.  After
reading Clay Sherrod's comments on December 20, 2001, I am looking for
this specific model.  Is his information correct? (see below).  As yet,
I've not seen one of the "newer" models -- has anyone out there seen
one?  Any advice you can give would be most appreciated.

I love your site.  It has been very helpful to me in choosing my new


                  ------ original posting ------

Subject:	ETX-125 Mechanicals vs. Serial Number
Sent:	Thursday, December 20, 2001 6:07:37
From: (Clay Sherrod)
All of the newly-fitted Meade 125's were produced AFTER September 10,
2001, and that date code is on the outer shipping box.  However, there
are some with new dates than that which still have the old

Short of taking apart the fork arms to look for metal bearings (they are
quite obvious), there is ONLY one way in which you can quickly spot a
NEW ETX 125 over an older one.

In order to accommodate the new bearings metal reinforcement, the 125
had to have new castings made for the fork arms.  OLD models had  a
"setting circle indicator arrow" (pointer) on both fork arms, even the
right one which was a "dummy" setting circle.  NEW ETX 125s do NOT have
the arrow pointing to the fake setting circle on the RIGHT fork arm, or
the one with no actual numbers on it!

If it has a pointer for the fake circle molded into the plastic...that
is an OLD telescope!

P. Clay Sherrod -
Arkansas Sky Observatory

                  ------  original posting ------
Mike here: There was one report that the "arrow" tip wasn't always true.
Subject:	How to tell a new model
Sent:	Tuesday, January 22, 2002 21:15:06
From: (Jeff Hyde)
I am about to purchase an ETX-125 EC during a visit to the USA. Can you
please tell me what to look for to ensure the 'scope I buy has all the
recent upgrades and fixes.

I would hate to get back and find I had some of the problems that have
been reported on your site in the early stages of this 'scopes

I am upgrading from an ETX-90 RA which I bought just before the EC model
came out (it's always the way!) but have had several years of great use
out of the 90. I want to play around with some CCD imaging using a
Cookbook 245 camera and feel the ETX-125 will be that little more
useful, especially with the EC capability, while still being reasonably
portable. Any comments on using it for CCD imaging would be welcome.

Thanks for the great site and really useful feed back forum.

Mike here: There is currently no known (publicly, at least) way to determine a newly manufactured one from an older one. There have been some ideas but they are not guaranteed so won't help you. The dealer should be able to tell you when it was received from Meade but even that may not help since improvements may continue to be made. As to CCD imagery, see the Astrophotography section as well as the Galleries. You might also search the Site for "CCD".
Subject:	Re: check mount warning
Sent:	Saturday, January 19, 2002 9:06:19
I downloaded version eb to replace version ek and did a quick test and
the check mount warning is gone. Now all I have to do is train the
drives and am ready to go. One quick question, do I need to "reset"
before I train? I don't want to reenter all the personal data
(locations, name, etc.). then reset and have to do it all again.

Thanks again for all your help.

Mike here: Super! You "should" RESET but I rarely do after downloading a new update. The reset is supposed to be automatic (and not losing data in the process). So, just do the reTRAINing and see if that's all you need.


From: (Richard Seymour)
Check Mount:

The usual 20 questions:

Did you try Setup > Telescope > CALIBRATE?

Power Supply?  How are your batteries?

Does it work (slew) OK with simply the slew buttons?
(MODE out of the alignment, and just slew.)

Does it work with the "original hand controller"?

Are -both- axes affected the same way?
 (if so, then it's probably NOT dirt in the encoders, since that
   would tend to affect only -one- axis)

Contradictory statements??:
> Everything works normal but I get this warning on all attempts to slew. 
"normal" and "all attempts"?  Does GoTo work?
> I will reset and retrain 
retraining requires slewing ...

My main candidates are (in order):
 flakey power,
 need to Calibrate,
 something jamming the works so it can't move
 dirt/grease in encoder disks.
and (of course)  flakey power.

good luck

Subject:	check mount warning
Sent:	Friday, January 18, 2002 17:54:51
I have an ETX 125 that I've been using for about 9 months. Great scope
made even better with this site to use as a resource for info, thanks
everybody!  The last couple times I've been out I get the "check mount"
warning. Everything works normal but I get this warning on all attempts
to slew. Thanks again Mike and to all the rest of the frequent

Ron Thomas
Mike here: Are you sure you've started out in the proper HOME position (including the rotating to the hard stop then back)? You could also RESET and reTRAIN. Also, don't overtighten the axis locks. Let me know.


The first thing I checked was if I was in proper home position (yes).
The night it happened it was very cold, about 15 degrees. I have since
set up in the house and test run the scope with the warning still
showing up. Could the cold temperature have something to do with my
problem? I will reset and retrain and let you know if it clears up. I've
been meaning to upgrade my handbox anyway, (still running 21e).
Mike here: Rotate the scope from hard stop to hard stop and up and down (0-90 degrees) several times to distribution the grease. Maybe that will help.
Subject:	Training ETX125 in polar alignment
Sent:	Sunday, January 13, 2002 23:24:03
From: (Warren Stockton)
I recently bought a new ETX125, and have had a tough time getting it to
track right.   I have worked through the Tech tips and have done most of
the tricks mentioned, trying to get the scope to behave.  (I avoided any
of the tips that might void the warranty, since the clutch slippage did
not appear to be a big problem, but will eventually become an issue
judging by the amount of grease that was applied at the factory)

I have updated the AS to 23Eb, following the steps in the tech tips and
it is getting better.  I started using the scope in Alt/Az mode but have
since changed to Polar, since this seems to work more reliably.

The problem I have is in training the scope because I do not have a good
terrestial target available.  (Everything is either too close, or lacks
definition)  The tech tips mention using Polaris in Alt/Az mode as the
training target.  This evening I decided to try re-train the scope in
polar mode, again.  After doing a reset,  I set the scope in polar home
postion, but the entire scope, tripod etc. was pointing west.  I then
slewed the scope around so that the OTA was pointing to the North and
used Polaris as a training target. Question 1:  Was this valid?  (The
scope seems to track better, but I have made several changes)

When I bring the scope indoors, it collects a lot of condensation.  I
remove the eye-piece and replace it with the original cap (typically
before bring the scope indoors).  I then wait until the scope has warmed
up and all the condensation to evaporate before replacing the front lens
cap and packing the scope away. Question 2:  Is the cap in the eye-piece
aperture sufficient to prevent condensation forming inside the OTA?
Question 3:  How should the scope be positioned while it still has
condensation?  Should the OTA be level, inclinded up/down, or should it
be vertical?

Question 4: What would you suggest as the shortest eye-piece (maximum
power) that can be used with the ETX125?  (I tried an LV2.5 mm, but this
is almost impossible to focus using the electric focuser)

Thanks, in advance.

PS.  You have a great site.

Warren Stockton
Mike here: I'm confused by your statement "the entire scope, tripod etc. was pointing west". That's not the HOME position. The Polar HOME position is with the tube AND forks pointed at Polaris. It sounds like you have not tilted the ETX base for your latitude; this is required for Polar mode. Training on Polaris in Polar mode won't give you reliable results in the azimuth training since the scope will just be rotating around its RA axis. Condensation is a pain. Leave everything open to the air; don't plug or cover anything. If the condensation turns into "running water" then leaving the tube pointed upwards about 45 degrees is probably best. Keeping in mind the theoretical maximum magnification of the ETX-125EC, the shortest focal length eyepiece that would yield this max is a 7.6mm. I've used my 9.7mm with a 2X Barlow Lens (yielding an effective 4.8mm) and have used a 4.3mm eyepiece on the ETX-125EC. On bright objects with really good seeing you can get away with this on bright objects like the Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn.


I picked an arbitary position in the western sky as a "home position" so
that that after I slewed the scope 90degrees on the RA axis, it was
approx. pointing at Polaris.  I figured that if Polaris was the best
choice for training the scope in Alt-Az mode, then if the RA axis
(forks) was pointed 90 degress away from Polaris and the lattitude bar
set to 40 degrees (my lattitude), then Polaris should ge a good
"stationary" object for training in Polar mode.  My question is with
this setup, if there would still be too much movement with Polaris?

The first night out with the scope, I did have a small puddle form in
the front lens when I brought  the scope indoors, which left water
marks.  I could remove the marks with an alcohol/water mixture, but I
don't know how I would deal with water marks if they formed on the
optics inside the OTA.

One last item:  I have the #884 tripod, but it does not have a bubble
level. Is this an ommision on Meade's part or is my tripod missing some

Thanks again
Mike here: OK, that helps. Any target that is stationary during the training will work as long as there is both an Altitude and Azimuth change during the training. So, your technique should work. I don't know if the #884 includes a spirit level or not.
Subject:	Motor Unit Fault
Sent:	Saturday, January 12, 2002 11:52:28
Have been looking through you website and have found it helpful.  I am a
novice and just purchase a used 125 with ACC. Hope it was not a mistake
to go for a used one. The scope looks to be in good condition and not
used very much. It was purchased in 12/99. With the weather very cold
and cloudy here in the mountains in South West Va, I have been trying to
understand the basics of operating the scope, looking forward to better
weather. I have a few question and have run into a message that I do not

1. When the ACC starts up it displays a message "c(99) Meade [1.3]"  Is
1.3 the ACC software release number?  If it is, then based on the info
on your site I would assume you would recomend that I get the 505 cable
set and update the ACC code to V21.EK?

2. I assume the data entered under"Location" will only effect the
initial accuracy of the pointing to the ACC selected alignment objects
during easy align. I am 100 miles from Roanoke Va which is in the table.
Should  I enter my latitude, longitude &  -5hours for a new entry
"Troutdale"  and set this to be the scopes location?

3. After doing the manual align and selecting Alt/Azt. & enter,  the
scope start to skew to the first alignment object (Rigel). Then stops
with "Motor Unit Faulted" .  When I following the display messages ---- 
mode, testing motors, then back through the align process I get the same
messages. There are no batteries in the base but I am using the AC power
converter. I would think that batteries would not be needed with AC
power. The question is how should I proceed to resolve this issue. One
other point on this subject that may be of interest. I have been able to
use the key pad (1-9) to control movement speed in the horizontal plain.
I have not been able to detect any speed change in the movement in the
vertical plain. I have observed that as the scope moves closer to the
alignment star and just before the error message appears, the horizontal
speed movement slows but vertical speed does not.

4. In your write up on tuning the scope you seemed to make a point of
having the dial with numbers on the smaller fork be set very precisely
during the align process and a mod (small amount of duct tape) to keep
it from moving. I am confused about this as the dial looks to be for
visual reference only. ie (not a actual mechanical part or sensor of the
motor drive). This dial would help in getting the scope level if it did
not slip after it was set with using a level. I must add I do not think
it is appropriate for me to do any mods before I get past the motor
fault message, learn more about the ACC and scope and see if I have the
issues you describe which the mods fix.

Thanks, King

King Spainhour
Mike here: The current version of the Autostar #497 ROM is 2.3Eb (released on 1/11/02). Updating is a good idea. Grab the 3.0 Windows software updater from Meade's site and then you can update. Location accuracy will affect the alignment; adding your own location (site) is easy. As to the motor error, have you reTRAINed the drives? If not, try that. In fact, do a RESET and then TRAIN to completely clean up the Autostar. Then enter your location. Regarding the Altitude (Declination) scale, some users like it to be accurate, others don't care. Personally I hardly ever use it.
Subject:	#884 Tripod
Sent:	Wednesday, January 9, 2002 15:34:38
From: (Jeff Osborn)
Based on input from your Web site, I am very shortly going to purchase a
125-EC and come clean with a contribution.

However, I have one dilemma. I haven't seen any comments on the new 884
tripod for the 90/125.  Is the 884 any more substantial a mount for the
ETX125 than the 883 or should I still go for the 887.  I am more
concerned about storing the 887 than paying for it.

I note that both you & Clay definitely recommend the 887 and will go for
it but would like feedback from either of you two ETX gurus (You must
know that you've been elevated to that status) on the 884 first.

P.S. - Where can one get a case for the 887 if that is the choice?

P.P.S. - Please don't feel embarrassed to loudly announce the release
date for your book, I've contacted both Amazon and Border's and am now
aware it should be this month.

Thanks for the advise to date.
Mike here: There hasn't been a real review yet of the #884. It is more sturdy than the #883 however. As to a case, there are some tripod cases mentioned on the Accessory Reviews - Cases page but not specifically for the #887.
Subject:	External 12 Volt DC power 
Sent:	Wednesday, January 9, 2002 13:53:26
After reviewing your site, I decided to purchase the ETX-125EC.  Got it
last weekend. My question: What is the polarity of the center pin on the
external 12 volt recepticle?

Mike here: See the FAQ on the ETX Site.
Subject:	ETX125EC
Sent:	Tuesday, January 8, 2002 18:57:44
From: (jimxx)
I plan to buy the subject scope soon. After brosing your site, I did not
find any area discussing terrestrial observations/applications. I live
in Colorado with 360 degrees of mountains around my home to explore.
Could you reference me to any discussions of such explorations with the
subject scope? Also I was wondering if I would be able to write/revise
Autostar programs for such site details?
Thanks, Jim
Mike here: The ETX line makes a fine terrestrial instrument. Many users have used the ETX-90 models for bird and small animal watching. You can search the site for "terrestrial" and you'll find a few references. For the Cassegrain-Maksutov models you'll probably want the 45 erecting prism (see the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page) to make the objects viewed correct left-to-right. And yes, you can set up landmarks in the Autostar but I don't recall if you can make them into Guided Tours (but you might be able to do something like that).

Subject:	Weight vs. convenience of ETX 125EC
Sent:	Saturday, January 5, 2002 18:15:18
From: (Ken Martin)
While the comments Tom Brown made as to the portability of the ETX 125
vs. the LX90 may be true is his case, I upgraded to the LX90 from an
ETX70. Yes, the LX90 is a bit heavier, and it is best to take tripod and
the scope outside separately, rather than one assembled unit.

That *minor* inconvenience is well worth the view through the 8"
aperture of the LX90 !! Personally, I do not find the LX90 too
cumbersome to take outside for an evening in the driveway, or to pack up
in the trunk for a trip to a dark sky location.

If you're capable of lifting 30 pounds (the weight of the LX90), you can
easily handle this size telescope, and the rewards are well worth it!

Ken Martin

Subject:	ETX 125 vs. 10" LXD55
Sent:	Saturday, January 5, 2002 17:20:16
From: (The Tobin's)
First I am a proud owner of an ET 70, 495 controller, 9 mm MA - 25 mm MA
- and 20 mm SP eye pieces, 2x Barlow, deluxe tripod, Flexi focus, Baader
solar filter, and have just added a Nikon Cool Pix 995 and a Scopetronix
Digi-T this Christmas. I have have great success with this set up (with
a great deal of help from your excellent site). But am looking to the
future with a larger scope (under $1000).

I have seen the new 10" LXD55 complete with tripod and controller and
wonder if you had any comment on it compared (pros cons) to the ETX125,
which start around the same price?

Your input would be greatly appreciated.

Mike here: Guess you missed my answer to the same question on last month's ETX-125EC Feedback page (in now in the Feedback Archives). There I said "I have no experience with the LXD models but certainly a 10" f/4 will provide different views than the 5" f/15 ETX-125EC." However, keep in mind the portability/usability/expectation items I have mentioned many times on the various feedback pages.
Subject:	#884 Deluxe Field Tripod
Sent:	Saturday, January 5, 2002 14:08:41
From: (Arman, Tom)
Just got my 125 and the #884 Tripod... What a difference over the #883!!
Round telescoping legs, strong tilt table, excellent leg spreader
(spring tensioned), accurate latitude adjustment via calibrated steel
rod.  Very sturdy!

If you haven't seen one, you should take a look.  Makes the #883 look
like a kisd toy!


Thomas Arman
Manager - Software Development
Rational Software 
8521 Six Forks Road - Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27605
(919) 845-3201 OFC
(919) 845-3250 FAX 

Subject:	Is ETX-125 mucj better than ETX-90?
Sent:	Saturday, January 5, 2002 6:43:48
From: (Shoa Aminpour)
I am trying to make up my mind regarding purchase of an ETX-90 or
ETX-125! Common sense says that ETX-125 should be better because it
collects twice the light, on the other hand I see too many second hand
ETX-125s on sale! can someone think of a reason? Perhaps ETX-125 is not
worth twice the price?
I appreciate all your comments.
Mike here: As I've said many times on the ETX Site, you need to determine how you want to use a telescope and what your expectations are before deciding on a model/size. Is portability important? How portable? Is high magnification important? Is light gathering power? Etc. I haven't checked on the resale market but they may be selling to upgrade to larger telescopes or they have found that the -125 is TOO large for them or they may have had problems (real or imagined).
Subject:	RE: New model 125 w/metal bearings.
Sent:	Saturday, January 5, 2002 4:29:30
From: (Wesley Trimble)
With all the trouble that some people have had with the Dec arms and
locking device in your opinion is it worth selling my old model 125 just
to buy the upgraded model to negate the possibility of any future

I have serviced the Dec locking clutch as described on the Scoptronix
site when I had the brass bushing pull out of one of the trunions. In
this instance I roughed up the remaining hole and reset the brass
bushing in industrial grade epoxy.

So far so good, but who knows farther down the line.
Mike here: I doubt it. You'd have to find a dealer who could assure you that the scope you purchased was an "upgraded one" and I don't know if they would do that. If you later determined that it was NOT the LATEST "upgraded" one you would want to exchange it and that would make the dealer (and you) unhappy. Seems like a path not worth pursuing. But if you do, let me know the results.
Subject:	Question about tripods for ETX 125
Sent:	Friday, January 4, 2002 22:07:47
From: (Gerald Koh)
I am thinking of buying a tripod for my ETX 125. I am just a beginner.
Would you be kind enough to let me have your view whether I should buy
the Advanced Field Tripod for the ETX-125EC or the #883 Deluxe Field
Tripod. The cost difference is not a major factor here, but I would like
to get one with best performance, ie stability.

I hope that you can help me. Thanks.


Mike here: The #887 Advanced Field Tripod is the better choice for the ETX-125EC.
Subject:	New ETX 125 (old model)
Sent:	Friday, January 4, 2002 17:46:23
From: (Greg Carlton)
Like the user that wrote the message on 12/30/01, I also received a new
ETX 125 for Christmas.  After reading the comments on your web site, I
have learned that my scope is an older model.  Since it was purchased
from Sears with a credit card, I am confident that I can return it.  My
question is, are the changes in the newer model substantial enough to go
through the trouble of returning this scope in order to purchase a newer
model from another dealer?

As far as I can tell, there is nothing else wrong with the scope other
than being the older model.  However, the Autostar controller frequently
gets confused and can't figure out how to go back where it was or
anywhere else.

Please advise me as to whether the improvements with the new scope are
worth the trouble of returning the older model in order to purchase the
newer model.

Thank you very much for your advise, and I really appreciate the
information distributed on your site.

Mike here: I doubt that you will really be able to tell any difference in the two models. Yes, there are some (unspecified) improvements but whether they will be enough to return the one you have and then convince another dealer to sell you a "new" model, only you can say. As to the Autostar problem you briefly mentioned, have you TRAINed the drive?
Subject:	Re: ETX 125 base removal
Sent:	Wednesday, January 2, 2002 14:35:43
From: (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Steve are lucky (there, I said it.)  That break is the worst of
all possible electrical problems you can have....glad you got it going.

I very much recommend doing away entirely with the internal batteries
for all operation; get a good DC power source from the Automotive dept.
at Wal Mart and/or the #541 AC adapter from will be amazed
at the difference.  Your slews are faster and more precise and there is
no motor unit fault.  Anytime the scope is in that much cold with
batteries, you can pretty well expect to limit your observing time.

Remember when out in such cold to protect the Autostar as it also is
cold-sensitive; keep it in your pocket at all times to keep the LED from
going blank or doing odd things (mine talks Martian when too cold.....)

Thanks for letting me know....glad for the successes!

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

----- Original Message -----
> Hi Dr Sherrod,
> I managed to degrease my ETX 125 and tighten up the declination
> using teflon tape. I also reset the declination setting circle
> and made the modification per your tech tip at Mr Weasner's ETX
> site. The only thing I haven't done is add the rubber bushing to
> the suport arms. I tried, but was unable to reassemble the OTA to
> the arms. The teflon tape alone seems to have reduced the play
> in dec by about 90%. I'm quite happy with it and may just leave
> it at that until someone decides to machine real bearings that will
> fit the arms.
> I did heed your warning about getting into the base, but Murphy
> rules when degreasing the RA clutch. After reassembling the drive
> gear the declination axis no longer worked. Further testing
> revealed a wire had broken going to the declination circuit board.
> I managed to get enough of the wire up through to the fork arm to
> find the break and carefully soldered it back together. After
> wrapping it tightly with a small amount of tape and putting
> everything back, the drive worked perfectly. (Yes, I know, I
> am lucky.)
> We have used it three times since Christmas; our only three clear
> nights hear in the northeast. The optics are superb. Jupiter, Saturn,
> and M42 are excellent - better than I remember on my 8-inch Newtonian.
> The only problem is that after a couple of hours in the 25-degree
> temperature, we get the dreaded 'motor unit fault' message when
> slewing in RA. Has the cold affected the battery life that much,
> or should I be looking elsewhere for the problem? Should I get the
> AC Adapter?
> Thanks in advance,
> Steve Arruda
> > From: "Clay Sherrod" (
> >
> > Steven - Why do you want to get into the base?  If there is a rattle and it
> > does not hamper observations, you are advised to leave it alone.
> >
> > Getting into that base area that you are talking about ("the turntable") is
> > the single most difficult disassembly that there is, requiring cutting all
> > four wires going into the DEC axis and removing the entire upper assembly
> > from the base.  It is virtually impossible to get back together properly.
> >
> > I suspect that there is one of eight (8) chrome screws that has come loose
> > in there.  It will NOT interfere with the operation of the scope, so I would
> > certainly advise to save yourself MUCH grief and just let it rattle!
> >
> > Let me know if you need further assistance, but seriously, you don't want to
> > get into the turntable assembly, as one wrong move results in sorting out
> > the main control panel.
> >
> > Best of luck!
> > ----------------------------------------
> > May the brightest stars shine for the pathways of your discoveries in coming
> > years, and may the tails of comets dust your footprints to remind you of
> > origins long ago.....
> >
> > P. Clay Sherrod -
> > Arkansas Sky Observatory
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > > Mr Sherrod,
> > >
> > > I purchased a used ETX 125 and heard a rattle in the base. It is not in
> > > the motor
> > > compartment, but rather from the compartment above containing the RA
> > > clutch. I have
> > > been searching Mr Weasner's site, but it is not clear to me as to how I
> > > get in there.
> > > I'd like to find the culprit without having to send it out. So, my
> > > question is, how
> > > is it removed.
> > >
> > > Thanks you,
> > >
> > > Steven J Arruda

Subject:	More ETX follow up
Sent:	Wednesday, January 2, 2002 9:17:58
From: ( Wayne Hale)
Clay Sherrod performed his magic on my 125 and reported it is in fine
shape now.  The excessivly tight focus shaft was due to NO lubrication
on the threads of the focus assembly inside the OTA.  Clay is sending
the scope back today (1-2-02) and I hope to have it by the weekend or
early next week and will give a full report on how it works.

True to their word, the MEAD factory sent three new rubber mounting feet
to replace those I had to remove and reposition.


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