Last updated: 31 January 2003
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT. Additional information on these models is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	Extension cable for ETX-60AT not working
Sent:	Thursday, January 30, 2003 18:42:06
From: (Wayne Ahlers)
I recently purchased the orion monochrome video eyepiece intending to
operate the ETX remotely.

The controller is marked 35-4700-03. After reviewing various messages on
your site it seemed simple enough. I first tried a 25 ft radio shack
8-wire extension cable. I checked to make sure it was indeed straight
through and verified continuity and no shorts. When I plug it in the
Autostar goes into a self test mode and after you push all the buttons
declares test failure. Plugging it directly into the ETX gives the
normal start up initialzation.

I then tried the other suggestions which was to use a standard ethernet
cat 5 cable and female to female coupler, this results in no display
whatsoever with two different cables, one only 10 ft

All of this with fresh batteries.

The ETX was a very low cost BJ's special, is there something unique with
the controller??  Any advice appreciated.

Wayne Ahlers
Mike here: I don't recall anyone trying the extension cable concept with the ETX-60AT #494 Autostar. Seems like it should work though.


Thanks, great site.

Subject:	Maximum magnification for ETX-70?
Sent:	Wednesday, January 29, 2003 5:16:26
From: (Schlatter, Joe A Jr [LTD])
The rule of thumb that I have seen for maximum magnification is 50 X
aperture in inches.  The 70mm ETX-70 aperture is approximately 2.8
inches. 50 x 2.8 = 140X.  Thus, the rule-of-thumb max magnification with
the ETX-70 would be 140X.

What magnifications have other ETX-70 users obtained before the
magnification starts to blur the object being viewed?

Joe Schlatter
XT-8 8-inch Dob
And a box full of eyepieces

Subject:	German #494 Controller...
Sent:	Tuesday, January 28, 2003 14:08:33
From: (Vampire Le Stat)
Firstly thanks for your site. It is really well constructed and a
fantastic source of information.

I have just been given my first ever telescope for my birthday, a Meade
ETX 70AT. The only problem I've come across is that the controller
language is set to German. I can not find anywhere in the Menus to
change the language setting so am I right in thinking that the language
is a function of the software and can only be changed by overwriting the
preloaded software?

If this is correct; I guess i need my laptop and one of the cables to
reload the software. Soooooo...... would a #505 or a #506 cable be more
suited AND is there any chance you could send me a URL link for the
current, correct English software please.

Many thanks from a Newbie Astronomer(UK),
Mike here: Turn on the telescope, press "ENTER" for the date, "ENTER" for the time, and then "ENTER" for Daylight Savings. Next press MODE once and then press the up arrow key (lower left of the keypad) once. Press ENTER twice to reset. You should now be at the language prompt. I really must put this on the FAQ page! There is currently no update for the #494 Autostar. But if there were you would need a #506 cable.


No Good Mike,

Still comes up in German. Initial screen is:

(C)00 Meade (10G)

I think I will need that cable and the correct software link. Thanks for
your help anyway, any chance you could send me a link for the Software

Thanks Again,

Mike here: Guess you have a German-only language. Unfortunately, there is NO software update for the #494. But if you want to monitor the Meade Autostar Download page, I link to it from the Autostar Information page on my ETX Site.
Subject:	160 to 180 degrees out
Sent:	Tuesday, January 28, 2003 9:32:24
From: (Schlatter, Joe A Jr [LTD])
I was reading the updates on the ETX-70AT site and have a comment and a


One gentleman reported that his scope was slewing 160 to 180 degrees out
-- not to insult anyone's intelligence -- but -- VERY CAREFULLY enter
the date and time and double-check each entry before hitting ENTER --
A.M. is not the same as P.M. and stars are in different locations from
day to day.

How do I know?  Because I kept swearing at my ETX-70 until I realized
the date was January 22 and I had left it at January 13.


1.  Can I swap the 494 controller from the ETX-70AT with the 497 (I
think that's the model number) that comes with the other ETX scopes and
that has the numeric keypad?
2.  I ordered the software and 506 cable from Meade.  When I installed
the software, it comes bundled with Starry Night.  I already have Starry
Night installed so I skipped that part.  Now, the Astronomer's Control
Panel will not set the scope time to the computer time -- when I try to
do that, I get an error message.  Do I need to have Starry Night running
when I am using the ACP?


Joe Schlatter
Bristol TN BROC
Mike here: The #497 works with all ETX models. As to ACP, I don't use it so can't comment directly. But you need to have a current version of ACP to avoid a year number bug.
Subject:	etx-70at for photos
Sent:	Saturday, January 25, 2003 21:27:15
From: (mike coco)
Would you consider the etx 70at a good beginner scope to use with a
Nikon 5700? I have never even looked through a telescope, but I am
addicted after look at photos of the moon!

I thimk my concern is will the scope be "bright' enough.

I don't expect miracles at the price, but I would like to be able to
take moon shots in particular.

Thanks for any input.
Mike here: You can see many examples of ETX-70AT astrophotography on my ETX Site. For the Moon you can get many excellent photographs. Other objects are more challenging but can be done. Whether the results are what you want will depend upon your expectations. However, keep in mind that the ETX is not suited to long duration astrophotography. See the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page as well the astrophotography galleries.


Thanks so much for taking time to reply! I am so excited about this new
"discovery" (astrophotography) that I can't wait for dark!!

Subject:	ETX-70AT Slewing -- Problem?!?!
Sent:	Saturday, January 25, 2003 19:34:28
From: (Kevin D. Cooke)
For my recent b-day, my wife suprised me with an ETX-70AT...  I've never
owned a telescope before, so I know I'm in way over my head  :-)

Being a computer geek and mechanical tinkerer by nature, I've been
devouring all that I can as I wait for it to warm up and spend many
hours outdoors surfin' the skies!  Your site has been a tramendous help
(though I still can't seem to determine what the actual differences are
between the Autostar 949 and 947 -- but that another question entirely).

The thing that is troubling me most is some drive noise after slewing. 
All seems to be operating well -- but to be honest, I don't know exactly
what proper behavior of the EXT-70AT is...

The symptom is this: 30 seconds or so after slewing, the drive(s) are
making a subtle whining noise.  The unit is not moving anywhere, but the
drives seem to be trying to say something to me :-)   The whining is not
the same as when I'm slewing; it's slow, it's fast, it's very random.

Is this normal?  Is there something I can do to quite this?  Is the unit
faulty?  Your feedback and knowledge would be immensly helpful. TIA.

-Kevin Cooke
Mike here: In order to compensate for the Earth's rotation and tracking objects in the sky a telescope has to move in "Right Ascension". If a telescope is mounted in a polar (or equatorial) mode then only one drive has to run continuously to keep an object centered in an eyepiece. If the telescope is mounted in Altitude/Azimuth mode then two drives have to run: the Altitude drive and the Azimuth drive. So, what you are hearing is the drive motors moving the telescope by small amounts. You won't see the tube moving unless you watch for a long time (like watching the hour hand on an analog clock). As to the difference between the #494 and #497 Autostars, the #494 has a smaller database (more appropriate to the ETX-70AT) and no keypad whereas the #497 has a larger database and a keypad.


THANKS...  Of course, that makes sense!  I feel a bit foolish now  :-)

One follow up question on the 949 versus 947.  Aside from the keypad and
more memory, it seems there is also a difference with the connectivity.
With the 947, computer connectivity is accomplished via a true RS-232
cable (505) that piggybacks off of the Autostar handheld.  For the 949,
there is no RS-232 connector and so computer connectivity is
accomplished directly to the scope through the use of a proprietary
cable (506).

In both cases (with a 949/506 or a 947/505) I can use a PC to locate and
slew the scope to celestial objects.  Is this true?

Thanks again for a wonderful site and your personal help!

Mike here: You are right about the connectivity. The #497 uses a simple to make cable and then you can control the telescope from a computer and update the ROM in the Autostar. The #494 Autostar uses a proprietary cable but once you have that you can control the telescope from a computer. However, currently there is no update for the #494.
Subject:	Re: ETX 90 v ETX 70
Sent:	Friday, January 24, 2003 10:15:24
From: (Andy Stentiford)
I see what you're saying...

I have worked with different scope types over the years and have a basic
knowledge of the optics systems of SCT's, MC's, Refractors, Newtonians
etc. I have always had a basic understanding that the primary mirror is
just doing the same job as the lens in a refractor. I assumed that we
moved to reflectors at larger sizes simply due to the inherent problems
in producing (and supporting) large lenses or systems of lenses. 
Therefore, even though a 90mm MC has a different optical system, it
still theoretically has a smaller aperature - and hence light collecting
area -  than a 70mm refractor.  However, I do see that the MC Reflector
theoretically has more surfaces available for UHTC coatings, giving a
possible increase in "seeability"

Also, the faster (f5) ETX70 scope should be better all round, right?

Apologies if I am being naive or appear to be splitting hairs - I just
would like to have an idea why the 90 is so expensive relative to the 70
if the 70 is, to all intents and purposes, just as good.  If the 70 is
not as good, please could you let me know in which areas the 90 wins the
"head to head" race so I can make an educated purchase.  I have searched
your site (and the net) for a comparison, but have come up with

Thanks for your patience! :o)

Mike here: See my "ETX-70AT Comments" linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT Feedback" page. The ETX-70AT is a short focal length telescope (350mm) vs the ETX-90 (1250mm). That accounts for a BIG difference both in f/ ratio and what you will see when looking through the telescope. Whether "faster" is better will depend upon the overall telescope and use. In simple terms, you'll get more magnification from the ETX-90 for a given eyepiece than you will with the ETX-70. Also, low end refractors can show some "chromatic aberration" which may be distracting to you.
Subject:	Correction
Sent:	Friday, January 24, 2003 9:33:31
From: (Philip Jones)
In response to a request on the ETX 60/70AT page,

Subject:       New with an ATX-70
Sent:   Wednesday, January 22, 2003 8:03:06
You suggested that he change motor speed by selecting 1-9 on the numeric

Please note that the #494 controller that comes with the ETX70AT does
not have a numeric keypad. Instead is had a "Speed" key that that allows
the user to cycle through the various speeds by pressing it repeatedly.
Philip Jones
Mike here: I must have been asleep when I responded!
Subject:	RE: ex. 70 a/c adapter
Sent:	Friday, January 24, 2003 6:28:12
From:	dhamilton@Exchange.FULLERTON.EDU (Hamilton, David)
Thanks for the fast reply. I have considered doing both a motor
calibration and a training of the drive. One other thing I did yesterday
was to check supply voltage which was 118 volts then check adapter
output. I was surprised to find that output @ 16.35 volts D.C. This does
concern me. Please be advised that I am a commercial and industrial
refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic, approximately 80% of my
work involves electrical/electronics. The 6 AA batteries have supply of
9 volts D.C. and the adapter is rated at 12 volts D.C. This higher
voltage would certainly explain the much faster/livelier slew rate but
could also damage the motor and other circuitry. Meade was suppose to
have sent a replacement adapter to me on Monday via U.P.S. which I still
haven't received as of Thursday evening. It should have since I only
live about 30 miles from their Irvine facility. This is the first
telescope I've ever had and really enjoy it. I am sorry to say that I am
having very bad luck with Meade products. The first scope would not let
me past the 3rd stage of initialization being daylight savings 'yes/no'
I returned that scope for an exchange. That scope kept going into 'Motor
fault' the scope I presently have doesn't have the set screw in the
focus knob and I haven't been able to get the knob off so as to install
a flex-focus and now I have this adapter problem. I have looked over
other scopes on the computer and at stores and have found the Meade line
to be the best looking and very impressive overall but they certainly
seem to have quality control problems. I am looking to upgrade before
long to something in the 125m.m. size. At this point I am not sure I can
consider a Meade offering. Please keep in touch as your time allows,
also if you have any contacts at Meade, please feel free to forward this
e-mail to them as I still have hope ( though fading) of being a happy
Meade customer. Thank you for your attention in this matter.
Mike here: Many people have had problems removing the focus knob. Most times when there were problems it was because the hex key wasn't inserted far enough. I can't image that your scope doesn't have this setscrew.
Subject:	70 vs. 90
Sent:	Thursday, January 23, 2003 21:10:32
From: (Steve Bodin)
Just a quick correction to the post on light gathering power of ETX 70
vs ETX 90.

The correct formula:  pi* (diameter/2)^2

ETX70 equals 38 sq. cm.
ETX90 equals 58 sq. cm. deducting the pawltry 5 sq. cm. for the secondary mirror block

And that is a 150% increase in light gathering power. And since the
price of a telescope is proportional to the square of the aperature, I
think the Meade line is an excellent value all the way across.

Clear skies,
Steve Bodin

Subject:	Powering the ETX-70AT - Another Solution
Sent:	Thursday, January 23, 2003 18:28:01
From: (john o'connor)
Powering the ETX-70AT has always been a big problem for me.  I went
through dozens and dozens of AA batteries but they are very frustrating.
 Meade claims about twenty hours life per six pack, but I was lucky to
get five or six hours before the telescope started getting sloppy about
going to and moving around with the arrow keys. So I bought an AC
adapter with a twenty five foot cord which solved the problem when I had
an AC source nearby.  But too often I was out in the field and had to go
back to using the AA battery pack.  Finally I went down to Walmart and
bought a twelve volt lead acid lawn mower battery from them, and a
variable voltage reducer from Radio Shack.  Total cost was fifteen bucks
for the battery and about sixteen for the reducer.  I replaced the plug
on the reducer with a 9 volt connector which snaps right into the one on
the telescope.  This solved all my problems.  I get a true 9 volts going
into the telescope, (I found that the AA battery pack very quickly drops
down to about 7.5 volts or so), and I have never run out of power.  I
have used the rig for three consecutive ten hour nights with no
degradation in performance, and I am sure I could have gotten a lot more
than that.  I have an old automobile 12 volt charger in my garage that I
use to recharge it.  Recharging usually takes less than an hour.  I
carry the whole shebang around in a 5 gallon plastic pail and still have
room in the pail for accessories, maps etc.  The pail fits between the
legs of the tripod, and with the lid in place, I have a small but handy
work space. (I notched the top lip of the pail for the wire).

One caution, however, be sure to MAINTAIN THE PROPER POLARITY when
putting this rig together.  I think that if this isn't done it will fry
the innards of the 70AT the first time it is turned on.

Regards, Jack O'Connor  

Subject:	etx 70 a/c adapter
Sent:	Thursday, January 23, 2003 10:05:49
From:	dhamilton@Exchange.FULLERTON.EDU (Hamilton, David)
Great web site, glad I found it. 

My wife and daughter gave me the ETX 70 for Christmas. Hopefully you 
might be able to assist with a problem I am having when using the a/c
adapter. When going through the easy two star alignment, the telescope
slews 160 to 180 degrees opposite of where the stars are actually
located. Even after correcting to proper alignment useing the hand box
controls, the scope will slew opposite of the selected planet/star. This
condition does not exist when using the battery pack. I spoke with Meade
customer service, they have no idea what is/would cause this condition.
They are currently sending me a new adapter which I doubt will correct
this problem as the scope motors operate properly useing the adapter.

Thank you for your attention in this matter.
Mike here: Never heard of this problem before. One thought though: with the AC Adapter connected do a CALIBRATE on the Autostar. See if that corrects the problem. Let me know.
Subject:	ETX 90 v ETX 70
Sent:	Thursday, January 23, 2003 6:20:02
Just to let you know that the Christmas ETX 70 is behaving incredibly
well! (unlike the Scottish weather :o).  A recent outing to the Royal
Observatory for an open night really put it through it's paces, and it
delivered clearer, sharper images thru the newly purchased 5mm Plossl
than their larger (8" and 10") portable 'scopes - these Meade babies are
optical gems! (OK, so their SCT's had REALLY seen better days, but even

Question: I have the opportunity of purchasing an unused ETX90 RA for
the same price as an ETX 70, and was wondering whether this is a
worthwhile purchase.  I ask because the ETX90 (Autostar Driven EC model)
is usually listed at almost DOUBLE the price of the ETX 70.

However, by my simple calculation, the 90 has a smaller light collecting
area than the 70:

ETX 70: pi*7.0 = 22.0 sqcm
ETX 90: pi*9.0 - pi*2.7 = 19.6 sqcm

So why are the 90's so pricey?

I know the 90 RA's are not autostar compatible and have a higher f-ratio
that the 70's making them less good at astrophotography, but there must
be something MAJOR in their favour to compensate for the price
difference, right?

Am I being naive? :o)

Many thanks for all your ETX support!

Andy Stentiford
Edinburgh, UK
Mike here: The ETX-70 is a refractor and the ETX-90 is a Maksutov-Cassegrain and so have totally different optical designs and manufacturing. Hence the price differential. They also have different focal lengths and therefore different uses. The ETX-70 is more a wide-field instrument than the ETX-90. So, you need to decide just HOW you plan to use each model and what your expectations are.
Subject:	help with my ETX70 please
Sent:	Thursday, January 23, 2003 5:06:15
From: (Andy PHILLIPS)
I was given an ETX 70 for xmas but having problems setting it up. I go
through making it level and pointing north (home position), go to easy
two star alignment but when it slews to the first star for alignment,
the book said to look for the brightest star, but the stars all seem the
same brightness !! I have tried and got it to pick another star but have
again the same problem ! I have read the instructions till I am blue in
the face and spent many hours trying to get it set up. I have also train
the drives but this has not changed anything, still no bright star to
fix onto. I was told to go for this model as it is easy to set up ! What
can I be doing wrong.I have also gone to the Mead web site for downloads
to update my handset (494) but see lots of downloads but not for that
model.Are there any updates for this hanset? I know it is hard to help
when you are not here but is it me or the scoop?.Please help
Andy. from the U.K.
Mike here: Stars are not all the same brightness; however if you are in a light-polluted area you just need to learn to recognize the proper "brightest" star (assuming you have set up the proper HOME position and have configured your Autostar with the right date/time/location). See the article "Alignment/High Precision/Star Charts" on the Autostar Information page for some charts showing the alignment stars. You can use these to help you recognize the stars in the night sky. You are correct, there is currently no update for the #494 Autostar.
Subject:	Help with Tripod Purchase
Sent:	Wednesday, January 22, 2003 23:30:14
From: (Dave Weisbord) [bogus email address]
I recently got an ETX-60AT. I realize I need a tripod. I have heard
mixed reviews of the 2 tripods that Meade makes for this scope.

Anyone have a recommendation on an inexpensive-modest priced tripod? I
know I will have to buy or fashion an attachment.

Does anyone have any experience with Orion's tripods. They have their
Paragons on sale for very reasonable prices.


Mike here: There are some comments (not necessarily for the ETX-60AT) on the Accessory Reviews --> Tripods page. You could also check out Scopetronix, Shutan, OPT, or other online dealers for alternative tripods. Check the Dealers Specials page too. Keep in mind that you will want a sturdy tripod to avoid vibrations.
Subject:	meade ETX-70AT question from bonny scotland
Sent:	Wednesday, January 22, 2003 13:31:31
From: (will pitcairn)
I recently purchased a new ETX 70AT, I don't think the az motor is
working properly, it seems to jump and lags when I use the hand
controller, subsequently when I tried to 'train' the motor I had little
control over the horizontal. It does seem to track and skew using the
goto. But I have not had a clear night to try it on any real objects

Could it be a loose drive clamp, the horizontal clamp on the base does
need to go all the way to the end stop to operate in this jumpy fashion.
NB the vertical movement is very smooth.

Regards Will 
Mike here: It sounds like you are probably over-tightening the axis lock; don't go full throw on the lever. It should be just enough (usually about mid-way) to keep you from moving the telescope by pushing gently on the side of the tube.
Subject:	New with an ATX-70
Sent:	Wednesday, January 22, 2003 8:03:06
I got an ATX-70 for Christmas and have a few questions:

1)  After setting up for a 2-star alignment and selecting "enter" on my
Autostar the scope moves fairly quickly to the first star where it tells
me to center it and select "enter" again. When I use my arrow buttons to
center the star it moves very slowly. Slow enough that it is dificult to
"catch" the star as it moves. On two ocassions (once inside and once
outside) when using the arrow keys the scope moved very quickly, but on
all other ocassions it moved too slow to easily center the stars. I
always use my 25mm eyepiece to "setup" and "locate" my objects. When
using my arrow keys should it move quickly or slowly? I can't figure out
how to make it go fast or slow. I don't know what I did on those 2
ocassions to make it move quickly. I read a lot on your website about
the rh knob and how tight it should be. I have tried from very loose to
very tight and the scope never moved faster or slower than before.
Sometime it doesn't even move at all.

2) When turning on the Autostar I come across the "Daylight savings
time" question. The only thing I can find in the manual is that I can
enable it or disable it. I would think that the computer knows when it
is daylight savings time or not by the date entered. Is this more for
areas in the world where daylight savings time is not used? In the US
should it always be enabled?

3) If I am fortunate enough to get everything aligned what should I be
able to see? I have seen the rings of Saturn and Jupiter and it's moons.
  All I see at best focus (with a 6mm eyepiece) is a bright blob for a
planet (and it's moons) and one big ring around Saturn. When I use my
4mm or 6mm with 2x I can never find my object even if centered right
before switching (I suspect here that the Autstar was not tracking
properly and my not have been aligned properly).
Should I be able to see distinct detail in the rings of Saturn?
Should I see cloud layer detail on Jupiter.
Should I be able to see deep space objects (nebulas,...)
How much will light pollution affect the detail?


Kenny Lehman
Mike here: Use the number keys to change the slewing speed, 1 = slowest, 9=fastest. DST on or off depends upon your local politics. Not all states and/or locations in the USA honor it, hence the need to select it manually. As to what you can see, check out my ETX-70AT comments (linked at the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT Feedback" page as well as the User Observations page. Light pollution will affect the contrast and faintness of what you will see.
Subject:	Re: New ETX-70 align errors
Sent:	Monday, January 20, 2003 20:15:02
In a message dated 1/19/03 7:46:30 AM Pacific Standard Time, MWeasner writes:

<< Could the date or time be mis-entered?  If not, recheck your location and 
 telescope settings.  If that doesn't help, try a RESET and CALIBRATE.  If 
 that doesn't help, TRAIN the drives.  Normally you don't need to do the 
 RESET, CALIBRATE, TRAIN stuff except when upgrading the Autostar (and no, 
 there is no update for the #494 Autostar yet) or if it acts up. >>


Thanks, Reset and training the drives fixed it. After I did that I set
it up last night and GOTO Saturn was right smack in the middle of the
FOV. ETX-70 is an absolutely GREAT beginners scope, only problem is that
we've only had it since Christmas and I already want a -105.

Thanks for the help and the great site.

Jerry Neuberger

Subject:	Repair Parts for ETX-70
Sent:	Monday, January 20, 2003 8:50:12
From: (Dave Turpin)
Where can I purchase repair parts for my ETX-70?  My daughter turned my
unit while the motors were locked and I'm sure that the gears are
stripped.  I haven't located anyplace to order such parts.  Please

Dave Turpin
Mike here: There is no place to purchase official Meade parts. You can contact Meade; some user-replaceable parts they will send for free or a small charge.
Subject:	New ETX-70 align errors
Sent:	Saturday, January 18, 2003 18:26:33
We got a ETX-70 for Christmas (11E firmware) and the first few
alignments were dead on, but as we've used it more and more the
centering on the alignment (easy align) stars has begun to drift. Last
couple of times we've tried to align it the alignment stars have been
off by huge amounts. For example we tried last night and the first
alignment star was off by 120 degrees in azimuth and 40 degrees in
elevation (star was NE and scope was pointing S when it said it was
looking at the star). Home position is good, I've got a very good
compass and have tried mag and true (-13) and the scope still wanders
WAY off the area trying to find alignment stars. Any idea what would
cause this?


Jerry Neuberger
Mike here: Could the date or time be mis-entered? If not, recheck your location and telescope settings. If that doesn't help, try a RESET and CALIBRATE. If that doesn't help, TRAIN the drives. Normally you don't need to do the RESET, CALIBRATE, TRAIN stuff except when upgrading the Autostar (and no, there is no update for the #494 Autostar yet) or if it acts up.
Subject:	ETX-70AT modifications
Sent:	Saturday, January 18, 2003 16:41:04
From: (Schlatter)
I made a couple of mods to my ETX-70AT.

One -- adding the Scopetronix flex shaft focuser -- is not news to

The second one is a minor mod that may be of interest.  Check it out:

You are welcome to link to this page if you think this is worthwhile.

Joe Schlatter

Subject:	Meade ETX 70AT
Sent:	Thursday, January 16, 2003 16:31:36
I recently purchased the ETX70AT fot my seventeen year old daughter, and
I find I'm using it more than she! My beef is the poor design of the
focus control. It is EXTREMELY hard to use at most angles, not to
mention when the nights get cold as they are here in Illinois in the
middle of January. I've seen a flexible cable that attaches to /
replaces the existing knob, but have been unable to aquire one. Only 2
places I can confirm carry them, but they are out of stock for a minimum
of 3 weeks. Any suggestions / leads to cut this time down to a
reasonable expectation would be appreciated. Thank You, Craig.
Mike here: There are homemade versions; see the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Autostar software version question
Sent:	Wednesday, January 15, 2003 21:21:55
From: (Schlatter)
What is the latest version of software for the ETX-70 with the 494
controller?  I see different versions on the Meade website but am not
certain which of these is for the 494.  I assume if software says its
for the 497, I can't load it into the 494.

Will I find on the Meade web site both software and firmware upgrades
AND data updates?  How often do they put up data updates?

I have downloaded and installed the tutorial from your web site but I'm
not certain what to get from the Meade web site.

ANOTHER QUESTION:  I have been using my ETX-70 heavily since purchasing
it three days ago.  Weather is cold -- 15 degrees in the backyard. 
Tonight, I told it to GOTO a star -- it got halfway there and I got a
MOTOR UNIT FAULT error.  I think all I need to do is replace batteries,
reset, calibrate, and train the drive.

I have the Meade AC power supply that I will use from now on.
Joe S.
Mike here: Currently, there are no upgrades for the Autostar #494. What is installed is the current version. I don't know what would happen if you tried to install a #497 ROM into the #494 but it would either fail gracefully (leaving the #494 OK) or it would corrupt the #494 (requiring a call to Meade). The links to data on Meade's page are just that. They don't flag them as the data changes. Likely was the batteries. You may or may not need to RESET, CALIBRATE, and TRAIN. Most likely not.
Subject:	Tripods
Sent:	Wednesday, January 15, 2003 14:35:38
From: (Paul Harris)
Hi Mike, yet another question I'm afraid.

I finally got all of the accessories for my ETX-70 and instead of the
standard tripod, they've sent me the deluxe one!

I did feel a bit guilty, but all of the messing around that I had to put
up with salved my conscience a bit :-).

As you know, this one has the option of Alt/Az or an equatorial mount.

I understand the difference between the two, and it seems to me that
using the equatorial mount would mean that only one motor would have to
be tracking to allow for the earth's motion.

However, although the 70 has an option for equatorial mounting, the
tripod notes say to use Alt/Az.

What would you recommend?


Mike here: For most purposes, Alt/Az works the best. The telescope/mount is more stable in all orientations, the telescope can reach all portions of the sky, and for new users, it is easier to set up in Alt/Az. Yes, Polar provides single-drive tracking, which can reduce image vibrations from the drives, and it is a must for long duration astrophotography. Try both if you like and see which you prefer.
Subject:	New user
Sent:	Wednesday, January 15, 2003 9:56:14
From: (Joaquin Martinez)
Hello!..  My name is Joaquin Martinez and I live in Puerto Rico. 
Recently, for Christmas, for a long time I wanted a telescope ans
because nobody gave me one for Christmas, I bought one for myself. It
was the ETX 70 from Meade and I must tell you, it was one of those
fabulous gifts that you said, hey! this was money well spent.  I bought
it from Discovery Store here in San Juan, it was in sale 299.00 plus
tripod and hard carry case.   Very good deal.  I am not an expert in
astronomy,just a rookie, but since the first moment I put the telescope
together, I was able to see the most beautiful stars and planets in
Puerto Rico that you can't imagine.  I saw Saturn with its rings and
Jupiter with its four moons and the moon with all these craters and
maria, that I was not even worried about the mosquitoes around me,
hahahahaha.  I must tell you , it was fascinating looking at the stars
with my new telescope.  I even went to a place in Old San Juan, its a
castle called El Morro Castle, it's a 14th century Spanish fort for
protection of the city against invaders, and I was there, in the middle
of the night, with my telescope fascinating looking at the stars, that
easily past two hours without notice.  I was so happy and 'hooked' with
my new telescope that I began 'surfing' in the net until I found your
web site.  It is OUTSTANDING AND WONDERFUL to see a page with so many
information about the ETX that even you published a book about it.  Good
for you......

Mr. Weasner I REALLY want to buy your book, but this is now tricky part.
Can you tell me please how to get your book and please I am requesting
if you can dedicate the book to me please?  It is possible to buy the
book direct from you and you can sign it please?..It will be very happy
to me reading a book written by a ' master' in ETX and also a fighter

I am looking forward to hear from you and if I discover new adventures
with my telescope, I will be more than happy to give my humble oppinion
to your site.  Thanks again and YOU are an inspiration to a lot of
people.  God Bless you Mike.

Very truly yours,

Joaquin Martinez
Mike here: I don't sell the book but you can buy from a dealer (online or local). I appreciate the desire to have one autographed but I can't get into the selling business to provide autographed copies.
Subject:	Re: Awesome site! I have a question for you regarding my etx.
Sent:	Tuesday, January 14, 2003 20:50:53
After some testing with the hand controller that came with it, i
determined that it was the controll panel on the scope that was the
problem. I returned it to the dealer tonight and got another one. I
reset autostar and did a new calibration so it will work with this
scope. Tomorrow I will train the drives if its not too cold and see how
it works out. So far it seems to be working, I just have to hope that
this one doesnt have significant image shift in the FOV during focusing.
The only problem that I had tonight with the new scope is that out of
the box it was in polar mode and I cant get the hand contoller out of
it. However this really isn't much of an issue since I will be using
autostar anyway.
Thanks alot.

Subject:	Meade ETX 70AT & Autostar 595 controller
Sent:	Tuesday, January 14, 2003 13:06:24
From: (Dr. Dale Dacus)
I got the ETX 70AT for xmas and decided to upgrade the controller from
the included 494 to a 595 controller. I did this because I already had a
505 cable made to connect to the laptop. But, I cannot get the "easy
align" to work."align" works fine with hte included controller.  Is the
595 controller not compatible with the 70AT or am I missing something.
The 70AT isn't listed when I do the "setup" "telescope model" in the 595
program. Any suggestions ?
Dale Dacus
Mike here: The #495 is compatible with the ETX-70AT. But I recommend you upgrade it to version 2.6Ec using the ROM update and application on Meade's site. That will turn the #495 into a #497 Autostar. It could be that your #495 ROM is too old to show the -70.
Subject:	Re: Question about my ETX 60
Sent:	Monday, January 13, 2003 22:48:07
From: (Richard Seymour)
For what it's worth:
I have an LX200gps, an ETX90ec and an ETX70 (exactly the same mechanicals
as an ETX60)

My wife considers the ETX70 as being FAR noisier than the other two scopes.
(combined.. i frequently have all three running)

have fun
From: (tailbone)
Thanks for the info. I was a little worried that something may be amiss
and without any previous experience with these telescopes it was
difficult to make a judgement. Did some rudimentary viewing last night
and I was really impressed with the craters on the moon but the
brightness was a little hard to take (no filter) as was the freezing
cold temperatures here in Calgary, Alberta.
Mike here: A Moon Filter or a Polarizing Filter can really help. Sort of like wearing sunglasses during the daytime.
Subject:	Question about my ETX 60
Sent:	Monday, January 13, 2003 19:35:45
From: (tailbone)
I stumbled across your site and find it a great resource for the novice
like me as well as the accomplished stargazers. I have a question that
maybe you can help me with. I recently purchased an "open box" ETX 60
(for about $120) and it seems to be in order. I have a 15 day return
priviledge a was wondering if there might be something wrong with my
machine. While I was setting up the scope with batteries etc. I did some
slews. It was VERY noisey while it slewed, so much so that my wife
couldn't hear the TV. Is this normal? I realize that sound volume is a
difficult thing to describe over the 'net but any help would be

Mike here: It is likely OK. The sound can be pretty loud when you don't know what to expect.
Subject:	ETX 70 Update.
Sent:	Monday, January 13, 2003 1:54:11
From: (Harris, Paul)
THought I'd post some positive feedback.

I receved my replacement ETX 70 yesterday, I had to work late, skies
were clear(ish) for my 2hour jouney home and the clouded over as I was
unpacking :-(, so have not had time to look at the any stars yet.

However initial feelings are good.

This one is actually a 70, not a 60 :-)

I really had to crank the Alt knob up on the old one, whereas this one
just needs to be 'nipped' up to work. Also, now the bit in the manual
about supporting the OTA when doing this makes sense, this one will drop
under it's own weight, the other was too stiff to do that.

I have since found out that the one I had initially had been put in the
window, and had stayed there for a year, so that may explain it.

The RA scale also rotates as it should.

I guess all of this would have been obvious had I not been such a


I finally got under the stars with my ETX-70. I was pushed for time, but
manually aligned on the Moon, just to get a feel for what I could
expect. I currently have the 25mm, 9mm and 3x Barlow so obviously I
tried all combinations and was VERY pleased with the results.

Conditions were ideal cold and clear, but with the light pollution to be
expected living near a main road. The Moon was half, so the shadows
really emphasised the craters.

I did point at a couple of very faint stars, but these were just specs
of light, I've yet to try a planet.

Subject:	Question on Barlow Lens
Sent:	Sunday, January 12, 2003 16:20:55
From: (Weisbord, Davex H)
I'm a total novice with a new ETX-60AT. I have read continually that I
should get a Barlow lens. I see them in 2x, 2x shorty and 3x types. With
the small 60AT, should I go with a shorty or does it matter? Would a 3x
Barlow be appropriate or too cumbersome?


Mike here: See the "What type of Barlow Lens?" email further down this "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page. That applies to the ETX-60AT as well. As to a 3X Barlow Lens, some people like them.
Subject:	re: etx-70
Sent:	Saturday, January 11, 2003 11:03:22
From: (Richard Seymour)
> City/State?
After you enter the Time and Date, when the telescope is offering:

Tap the [mode] key... you're now seeing   Setup/Align

Tap the scroll down (and, for education, scroll up) key
(that's the one on the lower right of the keypad) 
many times... it will cycle past
 Date/Time/Daylight/Telescope/Targets/Site/...and others.

At each of -those-, tap [enter] to drop into the sub-menus
and scroll down through the choices.

At the SITE menu, you are offered Select/Add/Delete/Edit

The Autostar can carry 5 sites as quick-access (for example
your home and your favorite dark-sky site), the Select key
picks from that short list.
The ADD choice accesses the 400-odd city database.
The Delete choice removes entries from the "short list"
The EDIT choice lets you adjust a city's entry.. you can 
 edit the Name/Latitude/Longitude/TimeZone
Those Edits only affect "short list" entries.

Given that as an example, try exploring the -rest- of the
Autostar's menu trees... the manual should have a figure
showing most of the stops along the way, but it doesn't 
explore all of the byways and side-pools.

have fun

Subject:	re:  What type of Barlow Lens?
Sent:	Saturday, January 11, 2003 11:02:58
From: (Richard Seymour)
The 140 will (most likely, i haven't actually -tried- it) NOT WORK
with the ETX70... like the ETX90, the ETX70 requires a "shorty" Barlow.
(such as the 124 or 126).  The focus cannot be extended to "reach"
the 140's requirements.

I use my 126 in an ETX70, 90 and LX200gps.

have fun
Mike here: I seem to recall someone saying the #140 did work on the ETX-70AT.


Which is why i put in my disclaimer armwave parenthetical statements.
I remember other postings by folks who couldn't get a regular ETX70
to focus at distance with the supplied eyepieces.

One way to check is to pull out the regular eyepiece and hold it away
from the holder... and see if you can focus.  That gives you the limit
of extension.

have fun


Thanks to both.  The 124 should arrive sometime next week and I'm
looking forward to trying it out.  As I mentioned to Mike, I'm below the
novice level with this stuff and am looking forward to the new hobby. 
So far, it's been fun, but a bit challenging.

Thanks again.


Subject:	RE: What type of Barlow Lens?
Sent:	Saturday, January 11, 2003 6:52:46
From: (Kevin Lynch)
Thanks, Mike.

I found a good deal on a #124 plus two Plossls (4mm and 6mm) for $39.95
total and placed and order for them.  I realize the Plossls may be
overkill, but when/if I upgrade the scope in the future, they may come
in handy.

I received the ETX-70 from my sisters for Christmas.  They didn't know I
was looking for a scope for my boys (and myself) as well.  After a lot
of research on your site and a few others, I was ready to buy a more
capable scope--maybe and ETX-90 or a Celestron.  I won't, however, look
a gift horse in the mouth and will hold on to the 70 for a while.  I'm
below the novice level right now but have a strong desire to continue
the hobby.

My first assignment was flying A-10s at Myrtle in 1986 and enjoyed it
immensely.  From there I went to Holloman (AT-38s) to instruct before I
got my F-15E in 1991.

Glad to have some things in common with you and I really appreciate your
quick feedback and extremely helpful website.  I'll be leaving for an
extended trip overseas very soon, but will visit your site when I


Kevin Lynch
Mike here: Wow, we were both at MB! I was a Green Demon. Then in the 436 TFTS at Holloman.
Subject:	Deal on Eyepieces for the ETX-70AT
Sent:	Friday, January 10, 2003 23:30:05
From: (brandon christy)
Hello,I just wanted to pass along some info. that maybe help some fellow
ETX-70AT owners with the some decent eyepieces cheap!

I got my ETX-70AT for X-mas and have enjoyed it every clear night since
I got it. I really liked the supplied eyepieces, but from reading
articles, reviews, and feedback I got the itch to buy some more

So I went to the web site and they have a GREAT combo
deal. The set has a #124 2x Barlow, 6mm and 4mm Plossl eyepieces, all of
this for only $39.95. I ordered them and got them yesterday, they have
been a nice addition, plus they were CHEAP!!!

Well I just wanted spread the word for anyone looking for eyepieces and
even a barlow lens for the ETX-70AT and I figured this was a decent deal
that scope owners should check out.

By the way, your site has helped me a great deal learning new things
about my ETX-70AT and the sky in general. So keep up the good work!

Brandon Christy

Subject:	etx-70
Sent:	Wednesday, January 8, 2003 21:16:28
From: (Bernie Goldman)
My name is Bernie Goldman. My wife, Irene and I were given the scope
indicated above as an anniversary gift from two of our daughters. We
fell in love immediately with the skies and all those stars and planets
that previously had been unseen.

Your name was given to us by Jeff at Scope City in Sherman Oaks who told
us you do offer assistance via e-mail. I hope this is correct; we do
need help.

We have had a few mishaps and have had to exchange scopes due to
unsolvable problems. As of yesterday we now have the scope that will
allow us to enjoy the skies as never before. We still have a problem.
And to be honest, I do believe the problem is one created by me due to
lack of knowledge. In reading the manual, using the quick start, and
trying to do the right thing at the right time I am unable to bring up
the city/state locale. We have entered the date and time. But are unable
to proceed beyond this point. Can you offer any advice? It would be very
helpful and most appreciated.

Thank You,

Bernie Goldman
Mike here: Glad to try to help. I suspect the Autostar has already been set for the location. However, in order to bring things back to a "factory default" condition you merely need to RESET the Autostar. To do this just press the MODE key until you get to the SETUP menu. Then scroll until you see RESET and then press ENTER to select RESET. Press ENTER again. Your Autostar will reset. Now when you go through the prompts you should get the opportunity to select the state and city.
Subject:	What type of Barlow Lens?
Sent:	Wednesday, January 8, 2003 19:07:35
From: (Kevin Lynch)
I am a new ETX-70 owner with no previous astronomy experience.  Tonight,
after several nights of looking at Saturn (manually spotting), I was
finally able to discern a ring around the planet using the
Meade-supplied 9mm eyepiece.  I've read of others being able to break
out the Cassini Division with their -70s and would really like to be
able to do the same.  In browsing the Meade catalog I noticed two
different types of Barlow lenses, the #124 2x Barlow and the #140 2x
Apochromatic Barlow lens.  Which would be a better lens with the
standard Meade eyepieces (26 and 9mm)?

By the way, I've browsed your site for at least two weeks now and was
happy to see you're a former USAF fighter pilot.  I currently fly the
F-15E, but have A-10 and AT-38 time as well.

Thanks for a great site full of useful information and for taking the
time to address all our questions.


Kevin Lynch
Mike here: Personally, I think the #124 is sufficient (based upon other reports I've seen over the years since I don't have one). The #140 is better but more expensive and the better optics are not that useful on the low-end telescope like the ETX-70AT. I almost ended up flying A-10 at Myrtle Beach (in the first operational squadron) but went to Holloman to instruct in the T-38B. While working on the Space Shuttle program I almost got assigned to A-10 in England but the assignment was cancelled.
Subject:	planets just a point of light
Sent:	Wednesday, January 8, 2003 10:50:30
From: (Ken Gavette)
Like everyone else, I love your site.  Thank you so much for the
information.  I am, of course, a newbie. Just bought the ETX-70 for
Christmas.  After about two weeks of cloudy skies in Portland, Oregon,
we finally caught a break this week.

My family was astonsihed and excited when the first thing we saw was
Saturn and the rings!

My question is about what it looked like.  It was a VERY small point of
white light, with clear, yet almost not discernable rings (you kind of
had to concentrate to see them -- but it was still exciting none the
less).  I used the 9mm, then combined with 2x Barlow, then used the 6mm.
It seemed to be the same no matter which eyepeice I used.  Is this the
way it's supposed to look?  There was no coloration, and it was awfully
small.  Do some people really see the ring division's with this scope? 
Do some see the planet's colors (I see them on photos)?  If so, what can
I do, if anything?  Do I need a bigger scoope?  Is it the conditions (it
was very clear)?

BTW, same with what I think was Jupiter.

Thanks for any help.
Mike here: The ETX-70AT is a short focal length telescope and so won't get you large views of planets. You will see some increase in size on non-star objects as you increase the magnification by switching from the 25mm eyepiece to the 9mm or adding the 2X Barlow Lens. Depending upon seeing conditions, you may see more or less details and some color. But from your description, it sounds like your expectations are higher than what the ETX-70AT will deliver. You might want to report my ETX-70AT report (linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page).


Thank you so much for the quick reply.

I guess I got carried away by the great pictures on your site (even
those made with smaller scopes).  I'm adjusting my expectations and look
forward to learning more about the basics first, then moving up to a
larger scope.

Thanks again.

Subject:	What's Best? A ETX or a DS-2000 Telescope?
Sent:	Tuesday, January 7, 2003 14:13:14
From: (Mark Cole)
I need your professional opinion. What is the better telescope, the ETX
-70AT or the DS-2070AT? I also notice when I checked on the DS-2000
series, they are labeled by Meade with different names.  There is the
StarQuest, Polaris and Saturn. Whats the difference other than the name?
This is my first telescope and I want to spend between $300 to $400

Thanks for the help!
Mike here: I sort of answered this on the current DS Feedback page (the email "DS-2070 vs. DS-80"). Have look at that. As to names for different markets, that is it. Some markets may have different options (eyepieces, etc.). Before you decide upon a telescope you need to decide WHAT you want to do with a telescope and what your expectations are for what you will see. Then you need to decide how you match that to your budget.
Subject:	EC VS AT
Sent:	Tuesday, January 7, 2003 9:59:09
I just bought a ETX-70 I thought I was getting an AT with a blue tube.
But, I got an EC with a black tube. The Box says AT yet the label under
the scope reads EC. What is the difference? Thanks...Kevin R. Schrock
Mike here: The EC model (now discontinued) shipped with the standard handcontroller. The AT model ships with the #494 Autostar. The telescope is the same in both cases.


That is strange....the model I have says EC on it and has an Autostar
#497 controller ... as little as I know about this, it does seem odd.
But, I guess I got a great deal at $240.00. I tried it out for a bit
tonight for the first time and I can tell I am going to love it..Thanks
again, Kevin Schrock
Mike here: Sounds like someone purchased an EC and added the #497. Super for you!
Subject:	Is alignment on object of choice possible? Acceptable?
Sent:	Monday, January 6, 2003 13:27:40
From: (Kepler Nigh)
I am a new ETX-70AT owner. My dad used to build telescopes and grind the
objectives, and when I was a much younger I enjoyed them so very much.
All that is left of his work is a 3-inch refractor with an incredible
wooden tripod that needs some work on its polar mount, particularly
finding a counter weight for it. His old Erffel (Spelling?) 16.8 mm
eyepiece works wonderfully on the ETX-70AT (to my very untrained eye). I
love tech, and work as a PCRepair and Database instructor. I also worked
at one point as photographer. So the ETX-70AT is the intersection of a
verity of interests for me.

This web site is fabulous, and I just want you to know that it really
makes all the difference -- I'm not sure if I'd been half as far into
understanding and using my telescope as I am now, thanks to you and this

Concretely, my (first) question: Is it acceptable to set up the scope in
Home position, skip through the alignment by allowing the scope to slew
to its chosen objects, and then pick an object from the Object menu, and
slew to where the scope thinks it is. Correct the slew manually using
the motor control arrow keys, and then hold down Enter and SYNC on that
that object. Choose another object form the Object menu, in another part
of the sky and commit the scope to slew to it, and then repeat the SYNC
process on it. Will this provide an acceptable two star alignment? Would
using a planet be too much math for the Autostar?

I suppose I would try it myself, and may yet, but I haven't had many
clear nights yet.

Another question. When I attempt to do drive training, ascension seems
to work fine, as long as I lock it down, but this takes more pressure
than it seems it should. I don't want to void my warranty, so I might
have to send the scope back to Meade, but it seems to work, except...
After I do ascension, I attempt to do declination, and the scope first
slews to the side, and I return it to the correct center point, and then
it slews to the other side, and when I return it to the correct center
point, the ascension is no longer exactly right (as if the scope has
slipped down a bit). If I am training on a specific distant object, this
is annoying, since the object may no longer be in the field of view!
(I'm using the 2X Barlow with the 4mm for training.) It would seem that
the scope is slipping in the altitude, but when I set a terrestrial
marker and slew off and then command a return, the altitude seems fine,
but the azimuth seems to be off a bit. It also seems that the error is
virtually identical always, and that no matter how many times I train,
or align, that I'm getting about the same degree of error throughout the
sky. However slews are probably always within the range of the 25mm
eyepiece but not always within the view of the 9mm. Should I be
concerned, or is this level of error typical for the ATX70-AT?

Also, how cold is too cold for the ETX?

Sorry to have so many questions, but when observing Saturn with the 4mm
lens and 2x Barlow, tracking doesn't seem to be too precise. I must make
constant adjustments. But using the 9mm alone, Saturn seems to be
tracked okay, at least for about 20 minutes. Should I be trying to
adjust the tracking value?

Thanks in advance for your advice and answers to my newbi questions. I
am really wonderstruck with what I have seen already with the ETX, and
maybe someday I'll grow up and be able to have a "real" telescope, but
for now my mighty little ETX is teaching me much, and revealing many
marvels. My family loves it too.

Oh yes... I bought and read your book on the ETX and loved it!

Kepler Nigh
Mike here: This is one way to do a "quick alignment" (there are others on the Autostar Information page). There are many times that I fake the alignment by just pressing ENTER when asked to center the alignment stars. If the HOME position is reasonably accurate, the tracking and GOTOs will be close and perhaps good enough for some uses. SYNCing only improves the geometry in that portion of the sky. So, doing another SYNC would only improve things for that new area. Planets are not recommended for SYNCing due to the fact that they move. When training, don't worry about the axis you are not training. It shouldn't slip but if it does it won't invalidate the training. If the slippage is so much that the object is not in the FOV then that is a problem. Personally I rarely train with more than the 26mm eyepiece. Using higher powers can help but I find my accuracy is acceptable by just eyeballing it in the lower power eyepiece. The same applies when centering the alignment stars. Using high powers can improve accuracy but if you can eyeball it, you may be good enough. The ETX can handle cold temperatures but the Autostar likes to stay somewhat warm. So, keep the Autostar as warm as you can when not in use (put it in your pocket or use a "hand warmer"). However, I wouldn't leave the telescope outside for hours in subfreezing temperatures... The plastics will get brittle, the batteries will become useless, and the glue will freeze. Not good. Tracking errors are influenced by the alignment accuracy. The higher the magnification you observe with the greater the magnification of any errors. So, if you want precise alignments, make the HOME position as precise as possible and use a high power eyepiece. However, keep in mind that observing is supposed to be fun so don't get hung up precision if it detracts from enjoyment. Typically, as you gain experience everything will improve.
Subject:	Alls well for now.
Sent:	Monday, January 6, 2003 8:27:34
From: (santosh john)
With help from your site I fixed the telescope myself. The pictures were
most useful and gave me the confidence to open the telescope in the
right sequence. I put a two part epoxy ( Araldite) on to the shaft and
gear after roughening up the shaft. Everything looks good so far.

Thanks once again for suggesting the way to go.

>You might want to look at the "ETX Hints, Tips, Projects, & Products"
>linked from the Telescope Tech Tips page.  There is a tip there about
>fixing the shaft, if that is the problem you are describing.  It isn't
>for the ETX-70AT but may provide some info of use.  There is a dealer in
>India that may be able to help you; check the dealer page on Meade's site.

Subject:	right angle viewfinder
Sent:	Sunday, January 5, 2003 15:24:44
From: (Derek Harding)
Tim Fisher is right concerning the mounting of the right angle
viewfinder. I purchased a new one which included the correct size hex
wrench, and the instructions supplied are the same as Tim has assumed. I
hope this clears up any doubts that may still be around.

Subject:	ETX-70 vertical lock knob
Sent:	Saturday, January 4, 2003 9:14:08
Paul Harris observed that the vertical lock knob on his ETX needs
tightening far beyond firm feel  before the motor is engaged and can
move it. You are not alone! I have seen this before in the list, and I
have myself the same problem with my ETX-70. However, I have now used
the scope for almost a year and have so far had no further problems from
this except that it feels kind of strange. I wonder if the need for
tightening could somehow be adjusted?  Hex wrenches is another recurrent
issue here. Usually the necessary wrench is provided with new gadget
(viewfinder, wire focuser or whatever), but the tiny tools may easily
get lost and not be there when you need them. Thanks to Tim Fischer for
the information about the viewfinder wrench size! We should compile a
table of ETX accessory hex wrench sizes for the tech tips folder!

Finn Rasmussen, Copenhagen

(Very clear sky right now, waiting for Saturn and M1 to rise above
backyards trees. They were in the same field of view with the 9mm ep on
Dec30, M1 was almost outglared by Saturn but could just be seen with a
broadband filter)
Mike here: At one time the idea of the list of sizes came up but then got lost in other things...
Subject:	ETX70 next step
Sent:	Friday, January 3, 2003 8:59:24
I managed to persuade my wife to buy me a telescope for Christmas and
thanks to the bundled deal in the UK went for the ETX70 and tripod 26mm
and 9mm eyepeice. the #128 x3 barlow lens was missing from the bundle
and the dealer is promising to send out one as soon as he gets it.

Despite the lousy weather we have had (any more rain and Ill look out
for a bloke called Noah building a boat!) Ive managed a couple of nights
viewing and even got the scope aligned correctly.  Enjoyed looking at
Jupiter and Satun and pleasnatly surpised how clear the bands on Jupiter
were and how the moons stood out.

Any advice on what next to add to the kit ie eyepices and objects to
look for which will need a bit more work than just using the Autostar.

Great site by the way

Mike here: Check the User Observations page for some ideas on what you could see. Also, check the various observational guides. As to accessories for the ETX-70AT, that would depend upon what you want to do with the telescope. I suggest using it awhile longer to see if it satisfies your needs and then you can better determine what you like to do with it.
Subject:	Size of hex wrench for 70AT
Sent:	Thursday, January 2, 2003 18:26:13
From: (Tim Fisher)
I got my 70At right before Christmas and just got the #827 right angle
finder. But, the telescope was shipped with the wrong size hex wrench so
I can't attach it. Curious because why would meade even have different
sized hex wrenches. Anyway the hex wrench I got was too small. I want to
stop by the hardware store and get a new one, but I haven't been able to
find the size in the manual or on your site.


By the way thanks for your site and your quick answers to all of my
newbie questions.
Mike here: How does the finderscope attach to the ETX-70AT? There is no setscrew or bracket on the telescope tube that would be removed.


The scope mount "sits" over the two holes to the left of the 90 degree
eyepiece holder (each hole contains a hex screw, though the bottom one
on the left is recessed like the both on the right side of the eyepiece
holder, while the upper one on the left is not recessed). There is a
"peg" on the mount that fits the lower hole and there is a hole in the
mount that covers the upper hex screw hole. My guess is that the upper
screw must be removed and then used to secure the finder mount through
that same hole with that same screw. But the hex wrench I got with the
scope is too small for any of those screws.
Mike here: I checked my ETX-70AT and see the setscrews you are referring to. However, I suspect these were not meant to be removed by the user, hence there is no wrench for them. If an accessory requires them to be removed I would have thought the accessory would have the proper sized wrench.


I got the finder scope used, so it did not contain any instructions. As
for the hex wrench, it is the one I received with the telescope. It
doesn't fit any of the hex screws on the scope, including the one on the
focusing knob, which I plan to replace with the flexi-focus as soon as
it arrives. I can't believe the scope was shipped with that hex wrench.
I've had some issues with National Geographic and that is just another
one. Any idea what the proper size is so I can pick one up?
Mike here: I'm sure there isn't one to remove the setscrews for the finderscope.


I bought a cheap wrench set today and the size for the set screws is

Subject:	ETX 70
Sent:	Thursday, January 2, 2003 16:43:29
From: (Paul Harris)
I hope you can shed some light on this.

I have just got a reasonable deal on an ETX-70 (or so I thought)

I got the scope, tripod, 25mm, 9mm, 4,5 and 6mm and a 3x converter,
autostar 494 for 280.

However then the problems started, firstly non-stop cloud for the past
few days:-).

But the deal was good as the telescope was a display model, what Ive
noticed is that:-

1)       The Declination scale will not rotate as it should, if I
tighten the LH knob up tight enough, then the telescope will not

2)       The RH nut has to be done up *much* more than snug to get the
elevation to work at all, regardless if the setting of the LH knob.

3)       Although the base says ETX 70 the telescope front element says
ETX 60

Mainly because of item 3, the shop has no problem changing it, though I
may have to argue about keeping the extra eyepieces :-)

However, my main question is:

Given that 1 and 2 are probably caused by the same problem  over
lubrication, and that I dont want to do damage by over-tightening the
new telescope when it comes, I think that I should go through the tuning
tips, but how do you strip down a 60/70?

It appears to be different to the 90 in that there are no separate
mounting plates for the OTA(?), the mounting plate and the rear of the
scope (where the eyepieces go) seem to be the same molding.

Many thanks in advance

Paul Harris

Guildford, UK
Mike here: Normally, I wouldn't worry too much about the Declination scale (unless you plan to use it for locating objects). Just eyeball the leveling of the tube when doing the Autostar alignment. As to the axis lock, that is more problematic as you do not want to overtighten it or you can damage it. If you purchased the ETX-70AT and the telescope is really an ETX-60AT, then exchanging it is the right thing to do and since you purchased the accessories with the -70AT I would hope the dealer honors that. As to attempting to do the mechanical tuneups, with the ETX-70AT I would not recommend that at this point.


Thanks for the very prompt reply.

You can probably tell from my phraseology (left hand knob etc.), that
I'm a novice at this, the ETX was almost an impulse buy, although I
think that luckily I have an appropriate model for my needs.

You're probably right about opening up a brand new telescope, I guess
that when I get the new one, assuming that it's all ok, it's a judgement
call as to when I'm cranking the RH knob too tightly, ot the autostar
misses targets.

Although I was surprised to see the problems mentioned on your site so
evident in a new telescope, tho' I guess if it's been sat in the shop
window for a while (and is a 60), then it may be fairly old and the
grease may have 'leeched'.

Skies may be better this weekend, so the practice on terrestrial objects
and 'dry-runs' at setting Autostart up should pay off :-).

Mike here: The problem reports outnumber the non-problem reports for one reason: people tend to only ask questions when they are having a problem. They don't usually just send in "no problem" reports.


I have to agree there, I work in a helpdesk environment and no one ever
rings us to say how well their PC or the network works! :-)


Subject:	Meade ETX 70
Sent:	Wednesday, January 1, 2003 15:10:22
From: (Dale Dacus)
I just bought this scope and have two questions:

Do you have the schematic for making the computer connector (?506) cable

And do you know any way to get the scope image to view on a computer
laptop screen ? I have the devive that fits in the eyepiece opening and
converts the image to a Tv signal with a RCA jack output but I can't
figure out how to get this into the computer.

Mike here: Currently, there are no schematics for the #506, which requires some electronics and is not a straight cable. As to getting a TV picture into your computer, you will need some sort of video capture card or converter box and software that can handle the video source. There are many FireWire devices that can do the conversion if your computer has FireWire (all Macs for the last few years have had FireWire). Some Macs from a few years before that even had RCA video and audio sound inputs.


Thanks for the info... very helpful... thanks


Subject:	re:  Meade ETX70-AT
Sent:	Tuesday, December 31, 2002 23:28:37
From: (Richard Seymour)
Before returning the scope, try Setup > Telescope > Calibrate [enter]

That retunes the encoder system and frequently corrects the Motor Unit
Fault condition.  (it probably did one "for you" when it was cold,
and that screwed up the system when returned to tropical New York...)

good luck

(background info at: )
Thank you very much for the information.  I will try that out on our
next clear night.


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