Last updated: 31 January 2003
This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX and DS models. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	Wide Field adapter
Sent:	Friday, January 31, 2003 16:47:37
From: (Douglas Barrett)
What are your thoughts on visual wide field adapters? Shutan has one.
Are there any manufactures?

Doug Barrett
Mike here: I don't recall hearing about any others that work with the ETX. There is a review of the Shutan one on the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page.
Subject:	URGENT Please help!  Problems with ETX 125.
Sent:	Friday, January 31, 2003 12:03:02
Greetings from England!

Would you be kind enough to reply to the following concerns we have had
regarding our Meade ETX telescopes.  In February 2002 I purchased an ETX
105 telescope, complete with deluxe tripod.  Unfortunately, I had very
little opportunity to use this and it spent most of the time back in the
box.  In total I only used it 6 times in 9 months.  In November, when I
set it up to use, I found that it would not move up or down, either with
the controller or by hand!  I immediately contacted my supplier who
advised me to return it to them (an 80 mile round trip!). However, they
were unable to ascertain the problem and advised us that it would be
returned to Meade. We were offered a replacement telescope.  We decided,
at this time to upgrade to the ETX 125 and we purchased this in December
2002.  Due to adverse weather conditions in England during December and
January 2003 I was not able to use my telescope until last week.  When I
unpacked it and set it up I noticed the following 3 problems:

1)  The control panel was loose - it moved from side to side;

2)  When the controller was switched on (for the first time) and the
scope moved, it automatically went into Polar mode (despite not being
set up for this);

3)  The focus knob - this also had a lot of play in it, it wobbled from
side to side, when turned anticlockwise, the movement was nice and
fluid, however, when turning clockwise, the movement was very loose,
thus making focusing difficult.

Again, I immediately contacted my supplier and returned it.  They
inspected it and agreed that it was, indeed faulty.  They offered me
another telescope.  However, I wanted to inspect this before taking it
home so one of their technicans set it up on a table.  The first one he
tried had problems when rotating the telescope using the controller. The
slewing was not smooth.  When slewing clockwise, the scope had an
intermittant whirring noise and you could visibly see the scope jerking
as it moved.  Anticlockwise, up and down movements appeared to be fine. 
They opened up another box and set it up!  I tried the controller on
this one for several minutes in all directions and it appeared to be
working fine so I accepted it and returned home.

You can imagine my absolute amazement that, once I had set it up on my
tripod and switched it on, it was in polar mode!!.  I followed the
instructions to put it back to the Alt/Az setting but this failed to
work.  There is slight movement on the controller pad - I dont know if
this is normal or not.  When moving clockwise or anticlockwise the
slewing appears fine but in the up and down position, there is the same
intermittant whirring noise and the OTA appears to slightly jerk as it
is moving up and down.  Obviously, I am very anxious now as these
telescopes are very expensive here in the UK (more than half the cost
again than in the US because of import charges etc), also I have made 2
x 80 mile round trips to exchange these faulty ones and fear that either
my supplier has received a faulty batch or that they have been damaged
in transit from the US to the supplier. We have been very careful with
our scopes, handling with the upmost care and attention and have kept
them in the recommended way as outlined in your book.

Do you think this telescope is faulty?  I am now thinking of exchanging
it for a completely different model.

I would appreciate a quick reply as we will be contacting our supplier
tomorrow morning.

Many thanks.

Mike here: Sorry to hear you've had problems and I applaud your dealer for being so helpful and understanding. I'm not certain what you mean by "slight movement on the controller pad". As to Polar mode, you can set the default by removing one of the screws on the handcontroller (see the manual). As to jerky motion, that can be indicative of overtightening the axis lock. Try backing off a little bit. It could also be indicative that the grease needs to be redistributed; unlock the axis and move the telescope by hand through several full swings.
Subject:	vertical lock
Sent:	Thursday, January 30, 2003 19:39:57
From: (The Bostons)
First it was the orizontal lock.  You and Dick helped me overcome that
problem.  Now its the vertical lock. I didn't really know I had a
problem thill I received my 881 able top tripod.  While following
instructions to polar align the scope, I became aware that my tube won't
go to 90 degrees (probably only about 85) with the scope in the position
shown in the instruction manual.  It will go all the way down till it
hits the scope base. With this I can't "reach" Polairs.  Do I have a
problem or have I just not figured it out yet?

Mike here: Are you reading 85 degrees on the Altitude scale? If so, is it accurately set? (See the FAQ page if you need to adjust it.) Or are you eyeballing the OTA parallel to the forks?
Subject:	Eyepiece deal ship times
Sent:	Thursday, January 30, 2003 19:39:49
From: (The Bostons)
Got a phone call from Meade tonight. The man said the eyepiece
assortment special, (purchase a new scope and get 6 eyepieces for $99.99
or something like that) is on "backorder" and won't be sent for at least
2 weeks and won't arrive for at least a month. In your experience is
this common practice for Meade?

Koen DeRaedt commented on "waiting for lens set to asrrive. Meade called me on about 1/20/03 and said it it will be at least a month before I get mine. They are still waiting for them to come from the manufacturer "overseas".

Mike here: The eyepiece deal has been very popular since Meade announced it last year. Most delivery times are between 2 and 4 weeks lately. I got lucky and got mine in the same week as I ordered it (being in the same state as Meade helped with ship time).
Subject:	A Bigger Scope
Sent:	Wednesday, January 29, 2003 20:29:47
I love my ETX 90 EC and Meade in general (except for their manuals) ,
but someday I intend to buy a bigger light bucket. Am now comparing
Celestron with Meade. And leaning toward Meade, maybe because I'm more
familiar with our Autostar. Celestron doesn't seem so bad. Did you ever
make the comparison? Or any of our web site viewers? I've seen the
evaluation articles in the magazines on individual scopes, but I'd like
to see an unbiased side-by-side, part-by-part, feature-by-feature
comparison. What are your thoughts?
                                                    yer' buddy,
                                                          George Dreitlein
Mike here: I did compare the NexStar5 with the ETX-125EC (linked from the top of the current ETX-125EC Feedback page). Someone else did an Orion review (same place). You might want to look into the LXD55 series (see my LXD55 Site:
Subject:	Re: What is the latest info on UHTC?
Sent:	Tuesday, January 28, 2003 13:46:33
From: (Ted Vriezen)
Thanks for your response.  I have ordered an ETX-125 with UHTC (plus all
the other stuff that goes with it).  I was also looking at Orion's
SkyViewPro 127 Mak which seems to be a bit more solid scope and setup
but, for me, just could not compete with the GOTO features of the ETX. 
I know I will look at a lot more things that I would not take the time
to find without GOTO.

Modern convenience wins over classic design.  I compare GOTO scopes with
car navigation systems.  (I happen to have one in my Acura.) The mental
road map you have in your head does not develop as much when you don't
have to read a map or figure out how to get to where your going.

Thanks again.

Ted Vriezen
Mike here: I have the GPS in my Prius and it comes in very handy when going to unknown places.
Subject:	9mm eyepiece rattle
Sent:	Sunday, January 26, 2003 10:41:08
From: (Kevin D. Cooke)
The 9mm eyepiece that shipped with my ETX-70AT has a little rattle when
rocked.  I assume this is the actuall lense -- possbly not tighened
fully. Is this a fix I can make myself, or is it defective?

Mike here: Try turning the silver tube to tighten it up. If that doesn't do it, you might have to disassemble the eyepiece and tighten a ring that holds a lens in place. Use caution to avoid a lens from falling out or at least keep the lens orientation the same as it was.
Subject:	ETX 125  Supercharge
Sent:	Saturday, January 25, 2003 12:04:05
I just wanted to say what a great service Dr Clay Sherrod offers. I have
only had my scope for a year and have had difficulties using it. It had
some minor problems of not "go To" where it was supposed to and
tracking. Dr. Clay Sherrod repaired all mechanical problems, cleaned,
adjusted the scope to ship it back better than new and easier to use. Dr
Sherrod sets everything up so you the novice do not have to go through
that learning curve.

I have ordered a new LX200 GPS 14" and will have Dr. Clay Sherrod go
through the scope and set up autostar before I even get it! This way I
just have to set up scope, sight in and go!


John Bannen

Subject:	old etx with  celestron advanced astromaster
Sent:	Saturday, January 25, 2003 10:12:07
From: (Tom)
i am the prowed owner of a etx90 with a advanced astromaster . i picked
it up at a farm auction for a few bucks .  i put batteries in the astro
master and it works ok the encoders read out the scopes position fine ,
but it allso has the cable and plug that connect to a computer . this is
where im lost . i know it connects to the computer thru a com port 1 or
2   but i cant find any imfo on what to turn on first is it the computer
or is it the advanced astromaster box first .  or how do i set up the
encoders thru the astro master . i don't know what the procedure is to
get the astromaster to fire up and use the computer. what is the
sequence for setting up something like this. maybe someone has a idea on
how to get this system to work .

Subject:	Question on Solar Filter
Sent:	Friday, January 24, 2003 11:11:32
From: (Kathy Koerber)
I have recently purchased my first telescope (Meade ETX90 EC).  In
addition to being continually fascinated by the night sky, I thought it
would be neat to take a peak at the sun as well.  After reading the
abundant warnings, looks like I will be needing a solar filter to do
that.  I read the reviews of a couple on your "Filters" accessory review
page, but was wondering if you could recommend one.  I was particularly
interested in the one sold by ScopeTronix since it threads on (JMB Class
A), but I certainly am curious about other (perhaps less expensive)

I appreciate your help and thanks for the great website.  A plethora of
telescope-specific information!  I feel even better about my purchase
knowing so much support is available should I need it!
Mike here: Budget is certainly a factor in your purchase and so is safety, both yours and the telescope's. Some people like the glass ones and some people like the thinner material ones (for homemade filters). Personally, I'd opt for the screw-on type for safety reasons. Keep in mind that different filters will render the Sun in different colors. Personally I like the "orange-ish" look rather than the "blue-ish". I will be receiving a "white light" filter soon for evaluation and will post the results.
Subject:	What is the latest info on UHTC?
Sent:	Friday, January 24, 2003 10:54:16
From: (Ted Vriezen)
I will be ordering an ETX-125EC soon and have some questions about UHTC.

What is the latest info on UHTC for the ETX scopes? Aside from the
graphs and numbers and lab tests, has anyone done or reported on a side
by side visual comparison of the same scope with and without UHTC?

Also, I have heard that UHTC is softer and not as durable as the
standard coating.  I have also heard the opposite.  Which is it?  Does
UHTC require any special care over and above the standard coating?

Many thanks for this wonderful site.

Ted V.
Minneapolis MN
Mike here: See the Announcements - Meade page on my ETX Site for link to Dr. Clay Sherrod's UHTC test report. And yes, there is a difference. I've looked through an ETX-90 without it and one with it; the images were noticeably brighter on the UHTC model. As to the coating, I would treat it with care.
Subject:	EXT70 or 90?
Sent:	Wednesday, January 22, 2003 9:41:22
I am a new with telescopes. But I really need to get one and be amazed
with what is out there. I know I will go with other stuff in future. At
this point I have come to conclusion to buy either EXT70 or EXT90.

Which one do you recommend for novice person?

M Sharifi
Mike here: Before deciding upon a telescope, you need to decide HOW you will use it and what your EXPECTATIONS are. Then you can see if your needs/expectations match your budget. There is very little in common between the two telescopes you have mentioned. 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.
Subject:	Collimation ok?
Sent:	Tuesday, January 21, 2003 19:48:22
Thanks for the help you have been. I have a quick question regarding a
star test that I did the other night.  I noticed while I had focused out
on a bright start that there was what appeared to be a "notch" or what
looked like a "puddle" in the diffraction rings at around 12 o'clock.  I
was wondering if this is an indicator of poor collimation? Thanks alot!
Mike here: You are probably seeing the shaft that the flip-mirror is mounted on. Also, when doing any star test be certain the telescope has reached "thermal equilibrium" so that the interior tube temperature is the same as the ambient temperature. This reduces air currents inside the tube.


The tube was at thermal equilibrium and the sky was extremely clear. If
it is the shaft that the flip mirror is mounted on, is this a problem
and should I have it fixed? Also, I was wondering if barnes and noble or
any other major bookseller keeps it in stock.
Thanks alot
Mike here: The shaft holds the mirror; nothing you can do about that as that is the way it is designed. As to a book, I presume you are talking about my ETX book; some book dealers may have it (Amazon has it online); some telescope dealers may have it (OPT has it).
Subject:	A banner year for Arkansas Sky - Thanks!
Sent:	Tuesday, January 21, 2003 17:07:27
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Thanks to all of our patrons, visitors and contributors to the Arkansas
Sky Observatory website (; at some point in the next five
minutes I suppose, the ASO Web Site will top 80,000 direct posts to the
home page; what most do not see behind the scene are the tens of
thousands of page acquisitions monthly from direct URL contact and

We know of over a two dozen schools who refer monthly to the sky
calendars, on-line tools, Guides and other special events that are
routinely posted on the website and we thank them as well for their

Even more amazing is that this number is based on only one year's

At 7:00 CST, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2003 the count stood at 79,996......who
will top it for us!!??

Thanks so much to all....

Dr. Clay

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway
MPC/cbat Obs. H41 / Petit Jean Mountain

Subject:	Thanks!
Sent:	Tuesday, January 21, 2003 4:51:46
From: (lora)
Dear Mike (and other contributers)

A great big T H A N K S  from me for the helpful information found on
your web site. I started to be interested in the stars late in life (age
55) and like most, I was confused as to what telescope, what design, how
to start, etc.

I read the web site for nine months and was convinced (and still am)
that the etx-125ec was right for me.

As I continue to learn and enjoys amateur astronomy, I know that I can
count on your web site (and the free top notch advice) for that special
tip or hint.  Perhaps, someday, I can add my voice to the site.  But for
now, (and you and yours are proving-what a great bunch of people-always
willing to share knowledge with anyone-you are.)

Thanks for the right directions:

Chuck Lind

Subject:	Re: Viewing mirror/flip mirror ETX 105
Sent:	Tuesday, January 21, 2003 1:35:05
From: (Ian Docherty)
I wonder if you can help or advise on this one. Whilst observing the
nearly full moon I noticed when putting in the barlow lens that there is
a finger print on the flip mirror, (centre and left on mirror, index
finger tip size).

I was not aware of it while viewing through the telescope with the
supplied 26mm eyepiece. I am wondering if this will become more visible
with higher power lenses and should I be thinking of cleaning it off and
if so, how would be an easy way of doing it ? Does this flip mirror in
the UHTC 105 have the special coatings as well ? I have read Dr Clays
excellent cleaning guides for the front element and wonder if this
should be applied for the flip mirror too ?

Thanks for maintaining such an informative site.


Mike here: Fingerprints should be removed due to the acid that is left behind on the surface. Cleaning a first-surface mirror needs to be done carefully. Follow the guidance on the Cleaning Tips page on the Buyer/New User Tips page. If you can reach the mirror without disassembly, good. However, be careful and don't move the mirror.


Sorry to be a pest, but when you refer to the first-surface mirror am I
right in thinking that that is the main circular mirror, the moving
element within the OTA and not the small 'flip' mirror at 45 degrees for
viewing ?

I am still learning my way around the components involved here.

Thanks again

Mike here: All the mirrors in a telescope (with mirrors) are coated on the "first" surface, unlike the mirror in your bathroom, which is coated on the back surface. So I was reviewing to the flip-mirror since that is where you saw the fingerprint.
Subject:	is it my eyes?
Sent:	Monday, January 20, 2003 2:46:23
From: (ploppy)
I have a question.
I don't wear spectacles ( at the moment, but am seeing optician soon ).
My left eye, which I observe with, seems blurry when reading text at the
same distance that my right eye seems focused. Does this affect using a
telescope, because in my reckoning you should just focus the eyepiece
until you get a focused image even if you are not wearing spectacles. Am
I right or do spectacle wearers still have to wear them when looking
through a telescope/binoculars?

I know you are not an optician but the reason I ask is that no matter
what I do I cannot get a sharp image of Jupiter's 2 main belts.

Using my ETX70 with 9mm orthoscopic (38x) the disk looks pretty focused
but appears to have a slight ghost and I can see the belts but they look
smudgy, and when I use the 2x barlow it gets worse. I know images
deteriorate with increased magnification but I would have thought
Jupiter would withstand this sort of magnification The Moon seems clear
enough and even Saturn gives quite a good image but with no detail, &
M42 is clearly visible.

I also have a 150mm Newtonian reflector and have always had the same
problem, so I don't think it's the telescope.

Basically, what I think I want to know is, if I need to wear spectacles
do I also need them to focus my telescopes?

Sorry if this all sounds confusing.

Also, any chance of adding a link to my website from yours?


Manchester, England.
Mike here: If the eyeglasses only correct the ability to focus then you probably won't need them when looking through an eyepiece (unless they are pretty "strong"). When looking through an eyepiece your eye typically focuses to infinity and then you adjust the telescope focus. So as long as the telescope can be focused to match the eye, glasses should not be needed. However, if the eyeglasses correct for other problems you may need to wear them.
Subject:	NEW e-mail address reminder!
Sent:	Sunday, January 19, 2003 8:08:43
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Hello to all....
A quick reminder that I will no longer be accepting any mail at the old
Earthlink address ( because of the horrible increase in
unfiltered SPAM and virus attempts.  Please make a note of my recent
e-mail address change and send ALL e-mail to:

from this time on.  Note that my ISP at this time has virus filters for
both coming and outgoing mail and my computer is scanned twice daily via
McAffee OnLine and is certified virus free at all times.

Just to let you know how big of a problem the virus attempts can be, I
am now receiving over 2,400 e-mails daily and routinely through the old
Earthlink ISP, I am hit with 20-30 attempts per day minimum.

Please change my address in your address book, as I look forward to
correspondence from you regularly.

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory
MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway
MPC/cbat Obs. H41 / Petit Jean Mountain

Subject:	Meade Support Quality
Sent:	Sunday, January 19, 2003 4:40:27
From: (Goyko Kleensang)
first let me say, that your pages are awesome!

I got a ETX 70 AT as a christmas gift and kept waiting for clear sky
several weeks.

During this time I read a lot at your site and I'm still not through :)
Great site!!! Keep up the good work!!!

Now for my comment:

I've read a lot of user-comments spread over the web, that the Meade
support is horrible.

Let me tell you about my experiences with Meade EUROPE, which probably
change the minds of some people out there...

As I wrote, I got the ETX 70 AT for xmas, went out and were VERY
disappointed. The scope itself for sure is nice, but for me it didn't
fit. So I returned it to the store and bought a used ETX 90 EC instead
at eBay. Unfortunately both motors (RA- and DEC-axis) were
defective/inaccurate. Tracking and GoTo were quite impossible.

So I decided to give it a try and sent the scope to Meade Europe.

Here's the story in days for the last week:
Monday     - I called Meade and ask for a price for the repair
Tuesday    - I sent the scope to Meade
Wednesday  - The scope arrived at Meade
Thursday   - I called Meade again to ask, wether it has arrived and when to 
              expect the statement of the estimated price for the repair
              A few minutes later I got it and confirmed the repair
Friday     - at 3:30 p.m. I called Meade again and were told,
              that the repair was finished and they are going to send it at 
              So I asked them, wether I could come over and fetch the scope
              for having it back for the weekend.(they go home at fridays 
              at 4:00 p.m.!)
              I live nearly 2 hours away from Meade, so someone had to be 
              there, until my arrival.

              To make it short:
              I got there at 6:40 p.m. (after a big traffic jam) and the man
              was still sitting there waiting, asking me, if I wanted 
              something to drink and till in the mood for chatting about astronomy.
              It didn't seem to be a problem for him, to wait nearly 3 hours
              after end of work to give me the scope.
              In fact it took ME nearly an hour to "get out" there :-)

Five days for repairing/changing two motors (overall price 50,- Euro) 
including a statement of est. price - THAT'S QUICK ... huh!!!

Something like that should people keep in mind, when they complain about
bad Meade support! I can't believe, the support of Meade International
is so much worse.

Greez and always clear skies!

Subject:	Your website.
Sent:	Saturday, January 18, 2003 18:03:49
Thank you for the effort you have expended. I am at the point in my
amateur astronomy journey when I want to purchase one of the Meade ETX
scopes. With your well laid out website I feel that after I find the
info I want, that I will make a much more informed decision.
Thank you again!

Subject:	crosshair eyepieces
Sent:	Friday, January 17, 2003 22:11:28
does anyone make a CHEAP crosshair eyepiece (maybe around 12MM)?  or how
about a screw-on 'filter' that is just a clear glass w/ a crosshair on
it?  this would be a great idea for aligning the ETX.. since i (and
probably most of us by now) have the complete Meade plossl eyepiece set
wouldn't this be a great idea to have a dedicated crosshair eyepiece for
aligning purposes only?   i don't know if a 'filter' would work because
of the focus... i did find one on ebay but i find it hard to believe
that they are this rare..

any ideas?
Mike here: Crosshair (or reticle) eyepieces are not just a normal eyepiece. Normally, to be able to see the lines you have to have a separate illuminator. The reticle also has to focused and being at end of the eyepiece where a filter attaches won't work.


thanks for the reply.. take a look at the ebay auction included below...
what do you think about this eyepiece?
Mike here: Interesting. The seller has some items listed on the Dealer Specials page on my ETX Site so I know of him. If you get one, how about a review?


i guess i'll go ahead and try to win it.. i also just sent the seller an
email asking if he sold them 'off ebay' because i also noticed that he
was on your dealer specials page... when it arrives i'll check it out
and send a review..

on another note my etx-125 just came back from meade after the second
return for service.. they refused to replace it despite my loooong
letter peading to do so...  hopefully tonite will be clear so i can
check it out...

thanks again

Subject:	Tiny Allen wrench: From Autostar Feedback page
Sent:	Friday, January 17, 2003 11:41:23
From: (Scott Vanzo)
This is regarding the following post on the Autostar feedback page(even
though it is OT to this Feedback page:

> From: (Schlatter)
> 2.  A tiny Allen wrench came with the scope -- what's that for?

If I am not mistaken, the tiny allen wrench is for removing the standard
focusing knob in favor of the electronic or 3rd party focusing


-Scott Vanzo
From: (Victor Pena) [bogus address]
The allen wrench is for the focusing knob.  By the way I replaced it
(after experimenting with a focusing cable I made) with a silver radio
knob I purchased from  Radio Shack.  The hole is a little bigger than
the focusing shaft but the adjusting screw will tighten it; the knob
will be a little ofset but it's ok, this will allow focusing with one
finger only.

On the Autostar set up, when entering location coordinates N36 will be
+36 and S36 will be -36, also E36 will be -36 and W36 will be +36.  Make
sure the coordinates are entered correctly or the scope will be "upside
down" and will never find any stars.

Keep the good work!  I check your web site at least twice a week.


Victor Pena

Subject:	The Book
Sent:	Friday, January 17, 2003 10:51:47
From:	Marv.Sumner@ONIZUKA.AF.MIL (Sumner Marv C Contr CWNO/SCNC)
To whom can I send a check via US Mail to buy a copy of your book?
Willmann-Bell doesn't handle it and others I've tried want a credit card
Marv Sumner
Mike here: I know that Oceanside Photo and Telescope has it. Call them.
Subject:	re:   Pick you brain (experience)
Sent:	Thursday, January 16, 2003 23:17:57
From: (Richard Seymour)
To: (The Bostons) 
(it's gooey in there... yuck)

> Tripods?

I don't know... i've never played with them

My ETX90 sits on a converted photographic tripod (a thick flat aluminum
plate replaces the tilt/pan head), or on a sheet of plywood C-clamped
to a railing (usual method), or on a wooden "wedgie" for polar testing.

Photos at:

or, showing that a half-baked idea can be carried TOO far...

have fun

Subject:	Pick you brain (experience)
Sent:	Wednesday, January 15, 2003 22:29:54
From: (The Bostons)
To: (Richard Seymour)
You've been a great help.

I'm torn between buying an #881 table tripod now and patiently waiting 3
or 4 months to spend $200 for the 883 Delux Field Tripod. When it comes
to practical application is there really much difference? In your
opinion, would it be worth the wait to save for the 883?

I'd be proud to accept advice about this and any other subjects
(accessories) from an experienced ETXer like you).

Subject:	etx 90
Sent:	Wednesday, January 15, 2003 14:54:26
From: (Dana Studebaker - Refrigerant Supply Inc.)
I was going to buy an etx-125 until I found your site.  I was
unimpressed at the sample photo's in your photo gallery.  Maybe I have
unrealistic expectations of the quality of images from $400 to $900
telescopes.  Will the images I see be substantially better with the 125
as opposed to the 90?

Do the images viewed through these scopes look better than the photos
you are able to take?  Thanks for any advise you may give.  Dana
Mike here: Yes, you can see more details and slightly fainter objects with the -125 vs the -90. Keep in mind that astrophotography does not mimic what the eye sees. Images can be stacked to enhance the details or, due to a lot of factors, the image can look a lot worse than the eye will see. If you really want to know what you'll see looking through various types of telescopes and whether those images will meet your expectations, you really have to, well, look through them. Many local astronomy clubs or groups have star parties where several telescopes may be set up.
Subject:	ETX 125 EC Supercharge
Sent:	Wednesday, January 15, 2003 9:37:06
From: (Dino1)
I just wanted to comment to everyone who is a serious armature
astronomer with the ETX series (or other) on Dr. Clay Sherrods
Supercharge. I sent my scope to Dr. Clay for a supercharge (the best
thing I ever did). The scope is fantastic, the GoTo's are dead-on, the
optics are very clear after a few adjustments he made.

The paperwork that comes back with the scope is very informative as to
what was wrong, and to what was in specifications, he does a thorough
job. I would suggest this to anyone who is serious about their scope
optically and goto's being dead-on.

I can't say enough about is simply fantastic.

When I got the scope back, it came with a black plate installed
"Supercharged by Dr. Clay Sherrod" (looks great against the blue OTA)
and a number. It also came with a floppy disk with all of the custom
programs he loads into your autostar, so if something happens you can
re-load them.

Again, I can't say enough....and Thanks Doc you did a fantastic job, and
would recommend you to anyone.

I love this site Mike, keep it up.

Subject:	Undownloadable Star Charts
Sent:	Tuesday, January 14, 2003 21:32:16
I'm having a problem with Star Directory Charts. I can't download
them. I just get a large part of the first, top, left hand side chart
only. "Fall Season Chart" (mid-altitude stars). Sure wish I could get a
reasonable sized copy of 'em all.

They are excellent, like the rest of your site. Win or lose here, keep
up the good work.
                                            Yer' buddy,
Mike here: The chart is large. Does your browser have scrollbars? You can download the chart to your disk and open it in a graphics program and reduce the image size.
Subject:	using electric focuser with autostar
Sent:	Tuesday, January 14, 2003 19:10:03
From: (Pamela Roco)
i have an electronic focuser which eats up the battery power. I know it
can be hooked up directly to the autostar, but can you tell me how to do
that? Thank you very much.

Mike here: Yep, the focuser eats batteries. Plug the cable from the focuser into the AUX port of the ETX. Press the MODE key and scroll until you see the focuser item. The number keys control the speed and the slewing arrows the focus. This is covered in the focuser documentation.
Subject:	Mike you sent me Klez !!
Sent:	Sunday, January 12, 2003 9:04:54
Mike here: Not me. Some Windows user.


Subject:	once again into the klez breach...
Sent:	Sunday, January 12, 2003 17:58:15
From: (Richard Seymour)
To: (Mike Weasner)

Someone with both of our addresses in their system has been sending
Klez viruses (yet again).  So one of the ones i received had your
address forged as the sender.  And i'm sure the reverse shall be true.

Just a heads-up.

have fun
(whose skies just went from severe clear to full-fog in 5 minutes)
Mike here: See the Symantec Anti-Virus web site for more info on how this virus spreads on Windows computers and fakes the "sender's" email address. Since I don't use Windows I avoid this problem. I encourage all Windows users to check out their system and use Anti-Virus software.
Subject:	Awesome site! I have a question for you regarding my etx.
Sent:	Sunday, January 12, 2003 18:52:40
I just when outside for the first time with my ETX-90EC and autostar. I
didn't have a problem with the alinement (luckily), but I did have
problems consistantly with siderail movent. I was outside for about 2
hours and I was forced to re-aline about 3-4 times.  Twice I was looking
at the double cluster and the telescope just stopped tracking. Then when
I tried to use the arrow keys on autostar to manually move the scope
nothing happened. Autostar was connected and had power but wouldn't
control the telescope.  Another problem that I had about 3 times was a
sudden halt during slewing.  The telescope would stop slewing and then
start to move up in alt in short bursts. On the autostar display it just
read "slewing" as if nothing was wrong. If I unplugged the auto star the
telescope stopped, this is what leads me to believe it is the autostar
itself that I am having a problem with.  A couple of times after this
happened I pushed on the autostar plug in the controle panel and the
telescoped resumed slewing.  Do you think I'm just having a connection

Another problem that I am having is a significant amount of image shift
during focusing. When looking at saturn every time I turn the focus knob
the image moves about 1/3 the way accross the FOV. Im not mechanically
inclined at all, is there anything that I can do, or do I need to
contact mead?

Thanks alot for read my questions, what you do is greatly appreciated!

             	Anthony Stevens
Mike here: That image shift is excessive. I would suggest contacting Meade or better yet, exchange it with the dealer since it is new. About the only thing you can check is that the objective lens cell is screwed on properly. There is a tip on the Telescope Tech Tips page but since the telescope is new I really suggest exchanging it. As to the Autostar, check the battery power and cable connections. Also, you have not done so, TRAIN the drives. In fact, anytime the Autostar goes bananas I always suggest TRAINing the drives. Sometimes, even a RESET, CALIBRATE, and TRAIN is necessary.
Subject:	Mid-Florida Stargaze - Mike, Need your help!
Sent:	Sunday, January 12, 2003 18:14:50
Hi! I have been visiting your site (and telling others about it) for
some time now. I am a recently elected board member of the Astronomical
Society of the Palm Beaches. I have a favor to ask.

Our club is holding our annual star party at the end of February. We
still have room left to fill up and time is running out. We may have to
cancel the event if we do not get enough observers to attend. Would you
please post the link to our website on your link page? It is - Info for the star party is at the top of the
index page. Any support you can give will be appreciated. We also would
like to have some vendors attend. We have one lined up, but would like a
few more. If you know of any that would be interested, please pass on
our info.

Thanks... and keep up the good work informing those in need! I remember
when I was new. Your site, and members, helped me out with my ETX-125. I
now have a LX-90... and the ETX.  :)

Thanks again,

     John W. Clifton

Subject:	Solar Observing with ETX 90 and SAC VII
Sent:	Sunday, January 12, 2003 17:32:43
From: (Robert Graham)
Great site!  Long time observer, first time posting.  I have a SAC VII
and an older ETX 90RA.  I am having a problem focusing on the sun when
the camera is attached to the ETX.  I cannot seem to find focus!  Have
you heard anything about this?  I searched your feedback archives and
wasn't able to find anything...Or maybe my choice of search words was
poor.  Anyway, back to my problem, perhaps I need to use a barlow in
conjunction with the camera to reach focus?  Any ideas would be greatly
Robert Graham
Winston-Salem, NC
Mike here: First off, I hope you are using a full aperture solar filter. Of course, that makes the image faint. When I first tried a SAC imager I found it difficult to focus. Requires patience and small turns of the focus knob. Using a "focus aid" (discussed on the Telescope Tech Tips page) can also help.
Subject:	Thanks for a great site
Sent:	Sunday, January 12, 2003 6:49:43
From: (William Pinnington)
I felt it my duty to send you a note to say thanks for putting this site
together.  I got myself an ETX90 EC a couple of weeks ago, largely due
to the comments on this site and knowing that there was a resource I
could use if I ever got stuck.

Things started off on a bum-note when I got my scope home only to find
that the dust cap had been screwed on REALLY tight, so tight that I
couldnt get it off, and neither could the chap in the store, so I got a
replacement which thankfully unscrewed.

Apart from that, Im overwhelmed with the optical quality of the scope. 
Im just waiting for some clear skies (so I can get the autostar out) and
the eye-pieces from the eye-piece offer to arrive (late February is the

I've had a search on your site but didn't find an answer to the queries
I have.

The first one applies when using the remote but not the autostar.  When
I turn on the scope and press any button, the scope moves in an upward
and right motion of about 1 inch. Then it stops and I can use the
controls as expected.  It doesnt matter where the scope is pointing to
start with. Its not a problem, but I dont expect it should be doing
that, and it might be a symptom of some other problem.

The other query is probably me not being used to the scope.  It concerns
the noise that the drive mechanism makes when the slowest 2 speeds are
used.  It sounds to me as if it is really struggling to move the scope
and Im afraid of burning the motor out.  Having said that the scope does
move, but with one exception that is likely to do with the horizontal
lock.  I've read a number of articles on your site surrounding the issue
of how tight is tight, and I appreciate that it is difficult to quantify
these things.  When the slowest of the 4 speeds is selected I do not get
any horizontal movement, just the painful struggling noise from the
drive mechanism.  The slowest speed works vertically though, (although
with the bad noise).  In terms of the horizontal lock, I will try and
describe it as best I can:

When its on the far right hand side, then I can move the scope by hand,
but the controller will also operate itreading the instruction manual I
assume that this means that the horizontal motor drive clutch is
permanently engaged; is that a good thing? Should I be moving it by hand
if the clutch is engaged?  I would describe any movement of the
horizontal lock from this position as requiring some force.  If the
movement of the lock were described as a clock face, with the far right
starting position at 6 oclock and the far left as 9 oclock, then I can
move it to about 6 thirty.  If I then give it as much force as I feel
comfortable with then I can get it to 7 oclock (i.e. a third of the
way).  This then prevents me from manually moving the telescope
horizontally, but seems to have no effect on the motorised use, or the
noise that it makes.

I suppose Im just after reassurance that Im not doing damage to my pride
and joy.

By the way, I enjoyed the book too.  I notice that Gary (10/01/2003)
was/is waiting 6 weeks for his book from  I ordered mine
on Dec 25th and they shipped it on Dec 31st so Id advise him to have a
word with Amazon;-)

All the very best,
Bill Pinnington
Manchester, UK

P.S.  I've enrolled on a distance learning course at Jodrell Bank, which
provides an introduction to Radio Astronomy.  I thought I might feedback
to your site on what its like, as no doubt it would be of interest. 
More information at:
 Jodrell Bank
Mike here: When using the standard handcontroller there is some scope movement on power on; normal. When using the slowest slewing speeds, are you looking at an object with a high magnification? These speeds are really slow so you may not notice the tube moving by just watching the tube. Since the locks are friction locks, forcing the telescope to move when the locks are tight is a BAD IDEA. You want the locks to be just tight enough to provide resistance to handmoving (horizontal) or gravity (vertical).

And an update:

Many thanks for the reply, and thanks too for confirming that the
movement after powering up was normal; its a relief.

I take your point about the slowest speed being really slow.  I can
confirm that it does move horizontally on the slowest speed setting; I
took a look at a nearby object through the finderscope to verify it.  On
the slowest speed it is hard to notice the horizontal movement when
compared to the vertical movement, but it is there.  I just wasn't
paying enough attention/didn't have the guts to keep my finger on the
button long enough to notice it.

I much happier now that things are working correctly.  Once again many
thanks for your help.

Kind regards,
Bill Pinnington
Manchester, UK.

Subject:	Eyepieces
Sent:	Saturday, January 11, 2003 12:27:23
From: (William Taylor)
Having just started out in telescopes and enjoy it very much so far,
what is the difference between plossl and super plossl eyepieces??  IO
want to purchase some additional ones but I also want to purchase the
best that I can afford.

Mike here: I think (but could be wrong) that "super" is just Meade's adjective on whatever improvements they made to the standard Plossl design. I couldn't find anything specific about "super" in their catalog. Depending upon the telescope, the best eyepiece may not necessarily be the most expensive. Remember, the optics are only as good as the weakest portion.
Subject:	re:Electronic Eyepiece{Tim Berthaume}
Sent:	Saturday, January 11, 2003 9:44:03
From: (doug+canard)
The Feb.2003 issue of Sky and Telescope has a good article about the
Meade electronic eyepiece and my PC-164C,plus the PC- 165C,Astrovid
Stellacam-EX,beginning on page 57.

Subject:	satellite elements
Sent:	Saturday, January 11, 2003 2:56:05
From: (Paolo Spinazze)
What does it mean elements expires when i look for satellite in
Mike here: Due to gravitational and atmospheric influences, the orbits of many satellites change over time. Hence the orbital parameters will change.
Subject:	Link
Sent:	Thursday, January 9, 2003 11:07:32
From: (Harris, Paul)
Here is a link to the BBC astronomy site.
You may have already seen it, if not you may find it interesting.

Also lately, the news site at the BBC seems to have one new astronomy
story per day, here's the latest.


Subject:	Polar mode
Sent:	Friday, January 10, 2003 11:41:52
From: (karengary)
Hi Mike, Once again, many thanks for a truly wonderful and extremely
informative site.

My question is; I have an ETX 105 and have removed Mode screw A from my
electronic controller yet the motor drive doesn't appear to move at all.
I have locked the horizontal lock as much as I dare (without overdoing
it). I am using the ETX in Alt-az mode and presumed the scope would be
able to move at sidereal rate in Right Ascension and I would only have
to adjust the declination. Does this seem O.K. or will I have to buy
Autostar to be able to track in Alt-Az mode.

Many many thanks


P.S. I have ordered your book from and even over here in
the U.K. it seems as though there is at least a six week wait.
Mike here: The standard EC model only tracks in RA when set to Polar mode. But of course, you have to mount the ETX in polar mode as well. If you want to track with an Alt/Az mounting you must use an Autostar.
Subject:	Visible Comets - Let's Observe!
Sent:	Friday, January 10, 2003 10:43:41
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Just a quick note to let users of scopes in the 8-16" range,
particularly those with ccd or photographic interests, that there are
many fairly bright comets at this time that can be accessed visually and
even more via ccd with proper charts and coordinates.  There are at
least 6 comets visible in telescope in the 4-6" size.

At Arkansas Sky Observatory as most of you know I keep a running daily
log of all comets imaged in the sky from dusk till dawn and this was
again updated with about 16 comets this morning at: under
the Comet Patrol link....comet tables; there is plenty of information on
every visible comet at this time.

To load planetarium programs and obtain coordinates for these comets,
visit the link to the Harvard site that we have provided (updated very
often at Harvard) at ASO "Online Tools":

There is plenty of exciting and ever-changing action out there for ALL

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory
MPC/cbat Obs. H43

Subject:	ETX-70 and ETX-90
Sent:	Thursday, January 9, 2003 4:51:45
From: (jim abbey)
Just to let you know  both my etx-70 and 90 are still perfoming well
,Ive  had my 70 for  well over a year  and no problems  and my 90,Ive
had since November and its working without any  gliches or   problems
the thing just amazes me  every night ,I use it, In fact I think I have
masterd it!Im thinking Im ready to go lx200 , maybe an 8 inch ,do you
think that would be wise considering my  unending interest in  this

Thank and God bless!
Mike here: Regarding an LX200, the only question for you would be whether 8" is enough!
Subject:	Other scopes...?
Sent:	Thursday, January 9, 2003 0:18:03
From: (Marcin Bruczkowski)
I wonder if there would be enough interest in Meade go-to scopes other
than ETX to warrant a new section on your web site?

When ETX came out it was probably the only compact, affordable,
computerised scope on the market.  Now there is SC-8/LXD55: still
relatively portable, but this autostar and tripod equipped 8" scope
costs LESS than ETX-125EC+autostar+tripod!  I wonder how many of your
readers are considering an upgrade and what do they think about the new,
computerised LXD55 line.

Best Regards,

Marcin Bruczkowski 
Warsaw, Poland
Mike here: See my LXD55 Site that went online in December 2002.


Thanks, Mike!  Very useful info there, helped me make the decision to
get an SC-8/LXD55 instead of an ETX-125.  I don't need portability and
the extra aperture can't hurt... :-)


Marcin Bruczkowski

Subject:	Meade Tripod #883
Sent:	Wednesday, January 8, 2003 10:35:19
From: (William Taylor)
I have been reading your web site with great enthusiasm.  My question is
that I have a Meade Tripod #883.  Personally I would like a #884, but
I'm not sure if I can't do the same operation(s) with the #883.  Would
the purchase of the ETXpert mounting plate from John Marion help with
this? Yes, I'm new to this experience but want to do it right the first
time.  One final question, Are you aware of any deals for eyepieces such
as Meade has if you purchase a telescope.  I already have an ETX90EC. 
Thank you for your time with this message.

Bill Taylor
Mike here: Depends upon WHAT you want to do. The #884 supports polar mounting. By itself, the ETXpert doesn't. As to eyepiece deals, nope, haven't heard of any. However, I think there were some on eBay from users who managed to get two Meade deals.
Subject:	A thought?
Sent:	Wednesday, January 8, 2003 10:28:28
From: (Andyrew)
Having just bought one of the first Meade 8"Schmidt Cass .LD55's in the
UK how about a section on your site for these and the Newtonion
versions-we're all Autostar fans together!


Derbyshire, England
Mike here: Have a visit to my LXD55 Site. I discuss my 8"SC there with links to other a few other places.
Sent:	Wednesday, January 8, 2003 2:24:28
From: (Paolo Spinazze)
i would like to know what kind of eyepieces do you suggest to buy, is
the meade 6.4 mm SP too powerful or do you think i could use it? I can
buy 3 eyepieces...and a barlow lens..
Mike here: See the Buyer/New User Tips page and the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page for some comments on eyepieces. I have the 6.4mm and use it with my LXD55 8"SC. Keep in mind the maximum magnification formula (on the FAQ page if you are unsure of it) when selecting eyepieces and a Barlow Lens.
Subject:	ETX 90 EC Control Panel removal
Sent:	Tuesday, January 7, 2003 13:42:00
From: (Mike Thompson)
Happy New Year!!

My venerable ETX 90 EC has developed an intermittent problem with its
power switch. The power switch often needs to be thrown multiple times
before the power engages and power shuts off unexpectedly during
sessions. The same problem occurs when the scope is run with batteries
and AC.

I suspect that the switch is simply worn and needs to be replaced.

To replace the power switch I'll need to remove the Control Panel from
the ETX base.

(Here's the real question) Do you have any information about the removal
of the Control Panel from the ETX base? The panel seems to be clipped in
by two plastic tags moulded into the ETX base, but I'm loath to cut
these off to remove the panel if I don't need to.

Any help/information you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

Mike Thompson :)

Subject:	electronic eyepiece
Sent:	Tuesday, January 7, 2003 3:51:37
From: (Tim Berthaume)
I am looking for some input on the new Meade and Orion "video
eyepieces".  I would like to have any feedback on them e.g., image
quality, etc.

I am especially interested in knowing if it is easy to "capture" images
from them & process them into decent images.  What software works best
and so on.

Any help would sure be appreciated.


Mike here: There are some comments on the Meade Electronic Eyepiece on the Helpful Information --> Astrophotography page. You can also search the Site for "electronic eyepiece" and you'll get some hits. As to software, Astrostack and Registax are the two popular (and free) image stacking programs on Windows (Keith's Image Stacker for Macs). You can also use Photoshop (Macs and PCs), GraphicConverter (Macs), and other PC software that escapes me.
Subject:	new to this stuff
Sent:	Monday, January 6, 2003 7:37:42
From: (Olde Atlanta Golf Club)
Terrific site! I recently got my two preschool sons a little scope ($70
Bushnell). I picked out the brightest object in the eastern sky and was
thrilled to see Saturn as our first view. My oldest son couldn't wait to
tell his buddies in kindergarten that he saw Saturn! I got on the
internet and found your site and then mystarslive and others. Went back
out later to find Jupiter! I could actually see two bands with this
scope. Now I need a scope for me! I've been a very casual star gazer for
years with binocs but only know the very basics. I would like a scope to
start with and be happy with as I learn more. I had thought about the
etx 105 or 125 but although I'm fairly mechanically minded the probs
some people are having spook me some. I like the size and price of these
compared to dobs or sc's but could use a little direction. No luck
finding local star parties yet. (Atlanta)

Thanks for your time,
Mike here: As I've noted on the Site, most people write when they are having problems that they need help with. I rarely get emails when everything is working correctly. So, the problem reports appear to be numerous when in fact they are probably only a very small percentage of actual users.
Subject:	(no subject)
Sent:	Sunday, January 5, 2003 15:31:20
We have a stand for the meade  and can not get to stay open when in down
Poisson could some one give us instructions thank you C H
Mike here: Need more info.
Subject:	Flying with the ETX 125
Sent:	Saturday, January 4, 2003 23:23:01
From: (Geddy Lee)
I have had no trouble transporting my ETX 125 on domestic flights in
Canada, however on a recent trip to the U.K. I had so seek special
permission from the Captain of the scheduled British Airways flight.

The check-in attendent was rather batey, and although I was travelling
first class, and insisted that my scope was used soley for
plane-spotting, a hobby which has absorbed me for many years, it took a
great deal of brow-beating and brouhaha before I was allowed to board.
Mike here: When I first took my ETX-90 on a plane trip, I think the security people thought it was a mortar cannon.
Subject:	Thanks!
Sent:	Saturday, January 4, 2003 18:09:22
From: (Ross W Valentin)
THANK YOU VERY MUCH MIKE. You've been a great help to me!



Subject:	Eyepiece clamp screw
Sent:	Saturday, January 4, 2003 14:39:06
By my measurements the eyepiece clamp screw used on ETX telescopes is a
metric screw 3MM dia. by 0.5MM thread pitch.
Forrest Lundberg

Mike here: Thanks. I'll add a FAQ page item.
Subject:	ETX125  Red Power light luminate, 
but no response at Autostar control #497 and telescope
Sent: Saturday, January 4, 2003 5:33:43 From: (Wilson Choi) Just brought the ETX-125 with Autostar. The telescope works alright for few times. But today, when i turned the switch to ON, the red light luminated, but the Autostar had no respone at all, no sound, and no display. I used new AA batteries for testing. This happen after i tried to use a charged 12V Lead acid battery (9Ah) supply, i suspect that i shorted the circuit when i connected to wrong +/- connectors. However, the red light is still on. Yours sincerely, Wilson
Mike here: Does the standard handcontroller still work? If so, check the Autostar cable connections. But you may have fried your Autostar and/or ETX.
Subject:	barlow lens and eyepiece
Sent:	Saturday, January 4, 2003 5:06:07
From: (Ross W Valentin)
Is the Meade #124 2x barlow a short focus barlow? ( like the    #126 2x
barlow?)  Can I use the Meade #124 2x Barlow for the ETX 90 RA instead
of the #126 2x Barlow ?

Are there compatibility issues with other brand barlows (say a
scopetronix barlow) when used with ETX 90 RA and the standard 26 mm
meade super plossl eyepiece?

Would it be a wise buy for beginners to get a Paul Rini eyepiece for the
ETX 90 RA? Would you recommend it?

Mike here: The #124 is meant for the ETX-70AT. Personally, I'd stick to the #126 for the ETX-90. I haven't tried the Scopetronix Barlow Lens but if Scopetronix says it works with the ETX-90, then it works with the ETX-90. As to Paul Rini eyepieces, see the comments on the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page.
Subject:	ETX 125 and magnets (3rd Jan 6:32:14)
Sent:	Saturday, January 4, 2003 3:45:22
From: (David Tindall)
There is NO WAY that the small magnets in the base of the spirit level
could have any effect on the electronics in the telescope.
The chances of seeing Halleys Comet this year is a higher probability!

David  :-)
Mike here: I just don't like the idea of magnetic fields. The LXD55 Autostar cable has a ferrite core on one end to avoid induction problems. So something is sensitive to extraneous sources.
Subject:	re:  Backlighting (and scales)
Sent:	Friday, January 3, 2003 22:54:59
From: (Richard Seymour)
To:	Marv.Sumner@ONIZUKA.AF.MIL
You asked about the backlighting.. the Time/Date/Daylight -are-
performed with the LED's fully illuminated.,.. then they drop
to the Brightness and Contrast set under the Utilities menu.

And then you said:
> 2. I wish to lock the altitude setting circle in place by drilling and
> tapping a small hole through the dial into the fork-arm.  Where around
> the dial would be a safe place to drill without hitting vital parts
> inside?  Is there a better way to keep the dial from slipping?  I am
> forever grabbing the wrong fork arm when trying to set or release the
> altitude brakes - and there goes the setting circle calibration.

You've got (at least) two options: 
(1) wrap masking or cloth tape around the setting-circle side's knob.
Then you'll -feel- the difference and won't unscrew it quite so often.
(2) Glue.  You can glue the back of the disk to the underlying axle.
Meade has actually started doing this to the 12" LX200gps (they loctite
the knob in place).  The -problem- is that it would be difficult to
dismantle if you ever needed to service that area.

have fun

Subject:	Scratched flip-mirror
Sent:	Friday, January 3, 2003 18:22:07
From: (Chris Bekas)
During a recent star-party someone with a 'collimation testing" eyepiece
(which I noticed was longer that the standard eyepieces) managed to
scratch the flip-mirror of my beloved ETX90EC in two places (top and
bottom of the mirror). The scratches seem to be outside the
field-of-view (although but I'm not certain).

Is is an expensive/complicated process to fix? How can I test and see
what has been effected?
Chris Bekas
Mike here: You can do a star test and look for spikes. You could also just look at the mirror from the eyepiece hole; if you see the scratches in the circular view of the correcting lens then they are in the illuminated area. Replacement and subsequent recollimation is not easy; you may be better off contacting Meade. If the scratches are outside the illuminated area of the mirror then you should be OK.
Subject:	ETX 125 & Magnets
Sent:	Friday, January 3, 2003 6:32:14
Great Site.   

I am a newcomer to ETX Ownership but have been an avid astro-gazer for a
number of years with a Dobsonian.  My question is this:  I found a great
spirit level at my local Sears store which is designed for post
leveling.  The plastic design is great for using on round posts or an
OTA.  This level is adjustable for different circumferences and has
rubber type magnets in it to hold it to a steel post, and a great
elastic strap to wrap around the post and secure the level in place.  I
have been hesitant to use this level on my ETX as I am unsure of the
effects of the magnets on my scope....if any ?  they are a rubber type
which will not mar the tube finish, although they obviously do not stick
to aluminum..they would seem to grip the tube. Any thoughts on the
magnet aspect?   Thanks..
Mike here: I'd avoid the use of magnets near the electronics. However, for most purposes when using the Autostar I just eyeball the leveling of the base and OTA. The Autostar can handle quite a bit of out-of-level error.
Subject:	barlow and eyepiece ff-up
Sent:	Thursday, January 2, 2003 21:54:35
From: (Ross W Valentin)
Thanks for your immediate reply. Really appreciate it.  When you
mentioned "shorty " barlow what size or measurement should it be in
inches? Aside from the #126 of Meade what other brands have "shorty" 
barlow lens that can be used for the ETX 90 RA?

Scopetronix and Celestron are selling their own barlow - can I use them
in the ETX as well? Will they be compatible with my ETX 90 RA?


Mike here: The shorty Barlow Lens is about 2", vs the nearly 4" of other styles. Orion, Celestron, and Scopetronix sell shorty styles.
Subject:	ETX-70AT - Lens Holder Screw
Sent:	Thursday, January 2, 2003 13:09:40
A couple months back, while changing lenses on my 70AT, I loosened the
lens screw (the screw that holds the lens firmly in the eyepiece) too
much and I lost it. I was looking through the pages on your site to see
if there is a reference to the size of that screw so that I can get a
replacement and didn't notice anything (great site though!).

Have you run into this before? Scope still works great; however, I worry
if I swing it up too much overhead, the lens will pop out! Thanks for
any help you may have...

Mike here: If you mean the small screw that hold the eyepiece in the eyepiece holder, you can contact Meade; they will likely send you a replacement (possibly for free). Alternatively, you can use a screw from some types of computer cable connectors.
Subject:	ETX
Sent:	Thursday, January 2, 2003 10:55:54
From: (Darwin G. Malone)
I have the chance to purchase the ETX-()EC Optical tube assembly, with
out the base for just over $100

Can I down the line buy a base or would I be making a big mistake doing
this. The tube is brand new and never been used.

Can I get the base from Meade or are they hard to locate?

Mike here: There are no bases sold separately. But you could mount the OTA on another tripod. Or you could buy a used ETX and then you'd have two telescopes (one as a backup?).
Subject:	Backlighting
Sent:	Thursday, January 2, 2003 9:53:33
From:	Marv.Sumner@ONIZUKA.AF.MIL (Sumner Marv C Contr CWNO/SCNC)
Two questions re my ETX-125/EC...

1. How do I turn the Autostar LCD backlighting back on after it goes
dark when the "align" menu appears?  Reading in the dark is a challange.

2. I wish to lock the altitude setting circle in place by drilling and
tapping a small hole through the dial into the fork-arm.  Where around
the dial would be a safe place to drill without hitting vital parts
inside?  Is there a better way to keep the dial from slipping?  I am
forever grabbing the wrong fork arm when trying to set or release the
altitude brakes - and there goes the setting circle calibration.

Marv Sumner
Mike here: Sounds like you need to adjust the Brightness and/or Contrast under the Utilities menu. Since you use the Autostar, do you really need the Altitude scale to be accurate or even used? I've never used it on my ETX-125EC or ETX-70AT.


The display is fully bright up to the "Align" point, then it goes dark. 
Not dimmed or wrong level...its off.  I can read it only with a
flashlight (a white one) shining at a carefully chosen angle.  Pretty
inconvenient.  Do ya 'spose the brightness setting is only for the part
AFTER the align sequence? I'll give it a try.

As for the setting circles, I'd like to demonstrate the concept of star
location by R/A & Dec to grandchildren.  The R/A band fell off & I gotta
re-glue it's ends.  For really seeing things, the GoTo is great for us
lazy folks.
Mike here: OK, that's a good idea about teaching the concept. But I think I would rather glue (lightly) the scale inplace rather than make a physical mod.
Subject:	Link to my site
Sent:	Thursday, January 2, 2003 7:24:10
From: (Lee Harris)
I e-mailed you a while ago, asking for some tips for the ETX70, since
then I have created my own website.

I have included a link to your outstanding site, it would be great if
you could take a look and possible add my site to your links page.

The site is called ETX-Bristol and is mostly about Astronomy in the
South-West of England (UK).

Thanks for your time

The URL is

Lee Harris

Subject:	ASO now in Multi-Language format
Sent:	Wednesday, January 1, 2003 9:09:05
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Happy New Year to all.....
To start the new year out, Arkansas Sky Observatory ( )is
now extending its website to our French, German, Spanish, Portuguese and
Italian speaking friends among the astronomical community.  Brian
Sherrod (ASO/Cascade) has launched this new option as of New Year's Day,

You will find available with the click of a button for
your selection at the top of the home page at that address, keeping our
associates informed of the latest happenings and updates throughout the

....and please stay tuned for updates at ASO on the NEWEST ASO
facilities now being constructed in the dark skies of  Petit Jean
Mountain and yet another on Cascade Mountain with its automated 16"
Meade sky patrol telescopes.

Wishing you the very best for the next 365 days and beyond from Arkansas

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
MPC/cbat Obs. H43

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