Last updated: 31 January 2004
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-125EC and ETX-125AT. 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: New ETX 125 mods
Date: 1/29/04, 03:24
Like everyone else, let me begin by thanking you for a great site.

I just bought a new ETX 125, and am looking forward to using it. I found
your site and started checking out the scope with the intention of
making the mods to it. The first thing I noticed after removing the DEC
knobs, is that there are 6 screw holes with no screws in them. Meade
won't tell me if they belong there or not, just send it back and they
will determine if they should be there or not, is what I was told. These
are three small countersunk screw holes through the plastic into the
metal frame inside. I would think that they would help stiffen things

It seems that some of the mods have done by Meade. The DEC knob has a
pair of washers that seem to cover one mod. The entire area under the
thin disk has been changed quite a bit to try and eliminate the problems
you outlined there.

I haven't gotten far into the scope yet, and have not tried it at all
yet, so I've decided to wait and see if Meade may have solved some of
the problems you mention.

Again, thanks for a great site, Dave Braham

Subject: re: ETX-125 user feedback
Date: 1/26/04, 20:38
From: Richard Seymour (
If you are going to self-import via the "friend in USA" method,
at least have them -use- the telescope while still here in the USA.
That will catch the dead-in-box failures, and the first-hour
failures.  (of course, then they will have to wait while the
telescope cycles back and forth to Meade, and then test it again).

good luck

Subject: ETX-125 user feedback
Date: 1/23/04, 12:43
From: Andreas und Susanne (
after reading your book on the mighty ETX and some of the posted
comments on mechanical problems and their fix, I worry a lot to change
my plans!

I plan to purchase via internet a ETX-125 at B&H in New York, let it
ship to a friend in US, who can take it as cabin luggage to Europe
(Germany) on his next business trip.

But: is the mechanical quality of ETX-125 improved enough, that a
mechanical dummy (as me), who does not intend to touch any screw, can
risk to have a dealer and the warranty accross the atlantics??

Should I better pay around DOUBLE the price in Europe, just to avoid the
risk of getting it shipped back-and-forth??

Thanks for posting and / or answering,

Mike here: I've never had to make any adjustments to my ETX-125. That's not to say that the experience of others is the same. As with any purchase, there is always a chance that something will go wrong. Keep in mind that requests for help typically outnumber the "everything's fine" messages; just human nature. But only you can say if you want to take the risk of purchasing out of country.

Subject: ETX on airplanes
Date: 1/21/04, 02:38
From: David Adriance (
I have carried the ETX-125 in its hard shell case from East Africa to
the US (via Europe) and back on commercial airliners and never had a
problem.  Security people, if they ask at all, generally seem pretty
easily satisfied with the explanation that it's a portable telescope.
Fits nicely into overhead lockers on 747/767s.


Subject: ETX on airplanes
Date: 1/17/04, 12:58
From: Christopher Rhodes (
I had no problem bringing back my ETX-125 from B&H in New York to
England. I took over with me a 35 litre rucksack, a roll-up camping mat
and some rubber bands. Got the boxes (Autostar also) back to the hotel,
flattened them and put them in my suitcase. Wrapped the camping mat
around the complete scope and secured with rubber bands. Placed some
padding (clothing) in the base of the rucksack and also on top of the

This was in January 2002 and I was pulled to one side at JFK to unpack
if for inspection - easy to do. Packed back up and into the overhead
lockers no problem. Home-side customs were fine with the scope.

Got back home and got the glue gun out to re-build the box back up.
Tried the scope - no problems at all. Saved $$$ and fine to this day.

Subject: Tech Tips
Date: 1/15/04, 11:05
From: Chuck Sowers (
I haven't been real happy with my 2 month old 125.  It's had some
tracking problems and backlash.  So, I decided to jump right in and take
this little guy apart.

I used the tech tip pages from this site as my guide.  Mostly I used
Doc's tune up tips and guidelines that he suggested.

Well, let me tell you.  The insides of my 125 didn't look anything at
all like the pictures that are available on this site.  I couldn't
figure out how to get into the clutch at all for degreasing.

So, what we need here is some good techie to take apart one of the new
ETX's and photograph the insides and get it posted.  It might make this
task easier for other newbies!  That being said, I didn't really finish
the job up as far as degreasing goes.  But, I did adjust the autostar
settings and that helped quite a bit.

Thanks again for the site and all the info.
Chuck Sowers

Subject: ETX portability
Date: 1/13/04, 03:29
From: philippe (
Answer to Stephen Shainbart,

Dear Stephen,

I'm just coming back from the US, and took the opportunity to buy an
ETX-125EC , I put it in the hard carrying case and I had no problem to
take it with me as cabin luggage. The case is effectively larger than
what is generally admitted, but it fits easily and there was no problem
at all, even with this enhanced inspection period in airplanes. Maybe I
was lucky but that worked quite well for me.

Greetings from France

Mike here: Just curious: what you have done if it was rejected as carry-on?


I think I would have just separated the OTA from its support, each part
fits in a cabin bag. But I thought there will be no problem, the sum of
the hard case dimensions is about 130 cm (25" +15" + 11" ), what is
allowed in airlines is 115 cm.


Subject: ETX portability
Date: 1/10/04, 14:38
I am hoping to purchase an ETX-125EC, but I was wondering if I would be
able to bring it on an airplane as carry-on luggage.  I called the
airline and was told the maximum size limits were 22x14x9 (L/W/H) and
according to the Meade site the dimensions of the scope are 19x8.9x10.8,
so the height makes it 1.8 inches too big.  But reading technical specs
are one thing and how things really work in the real world is another. 
I have never owned a serious telescope before and really want to make
the right purchase.  Do you have any thoughts on the ability of the
scope to go on an airplane?  If it is too big, is it possible to
disassemble a part of it or do anything else to make it possible to
travel on an airplane with (without it becoming a big procedure?).

Thanks so much, I appreciate your help.
Stephen Shainbart
Mike here: You could put it into a "duffle bag" if you want to carry it in a softsided case. It would likely be OK for carry-on then BUT protection would be minimal. Hardcases would be better but some airlines would likely reject it for carry-on. You could remove the OTA to carry it in two pieces but sometimes you could be restricted to one and then you'd be stuck with a serious problem.


Thank you for your prompt response to my e-mail.  I don't need to bring
the OTA and the rest of the telescope on the plane with me.  How about I
bring the OTA (I am guessing that means "optical tube assembly"?) with
me as carry-on and check the rest of the telescope as baggage?  Anything
wrong with that?  Also, does it require mechanical skill to disassemble
and reassemble, or is it easy? Basically I just want to find a workable
way to fly with the telescope and am just trying to find a way to do
that.  I am including an old correspondence on this topic from your site
from a few years ago.
Thanks again,
Stephen Shainbart
ETX-125EC USER FEEDBACK Last updated: 30 June 2000 Subject: etx125 Transporting Sent: Friday, June 30, 2000 10:22:16 From: I wrote to you a week or so back regarding transporting my ETX125 EC on commercial airlines. I spoke to a technician with Mead who suggested that I remove the optic and transport it separately from the motor. The technician said you could transport the motor in the Mead carrying case via baggage. If you had a grading system for amateurs let's say from 1 to 10 with 10 being an excellent amateur, I would be considered - ONE! What are your thoughts on his suggestion? In addition to this above mentioned issue I am unsure if my focusing knob is in working order. There is no tension on the focusing knob when I rotate it. Is this normal? I haven't been able to see anything the last couple of times I've taken the 125 out for a spin. Your insights would be greatly appreciate. Eliu Rivera Mike here: There is nothing wrong with removing the OTA from the fork mount. That is how you turn the ETX into a "spotting scope" version. As to the focus knob, is the setscrew in the side of the knob tight? Does the focus change at all when you rotate the knob? Does the focus change when you rotate the shaft (without the knob on it)? Use caution when trying this last step so that the shaft doesn't fall inside the tube. Keep the telescope pointing near the zenith when doing this step.
Mike here: As I indicated in my first reply, you can remove the OTA (yes, Optical Tube Assembly) and carry it separately. Removal is essentially the same as for the ETX-90, described near the bottom of this page:

Subject: ETX-125
Date: 1/8/04, 22:11
I have an ETX-125 which is going out of warranty soon. The scope has
some image shift. I made a phone call to Meade, they said," you should
test for image shift using a 25mm eye piece, and the shift should not be
more than one fourth of the field of view". As you know, image shift,
using a 25mm eye piece, should be very small.

However, during normal viewing, you  will probably be using a higher
power, which causes an increase in the image shift seen.

On an ETX-125 how much image shift is acceptable and under which eye
piece is this test performed.
Mike here: I see very little image shift in a 9.7mm eyepiece with my ETX-125. If it moved out of FOV for a 9.7mm I would definitely think it excessive.

Subject: ETX-125 EC
Date: 1/5/04, 11:58
From: "Weisenfeld, Neil" (
I bought an ETX-125 EC recently and came across your webpage.  I wanted
to ask whether there is a mod that addresses the movement of the image
in the eyepiece when you are trying to focus the telescope.  You mention
an interim solution using two L-brackets.  Any update on this?


Neil Weisenfeld, P.E.
Mike here: If you are referring to "image shift" as opposed to "hand-induced vibrations", there are a couple of thoughs: See the Image Shift articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page. If that doesn't help you may have to return it to Meade for repair. There were some early models (circa 1999) that developed an image shift problem during shipment. If the telescope is out of collimation, your best bet is to return to Meade for collimation (although there are collimation articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page but they are not for everyone).


thanks for your comments.  I'll look over the articles.  I think it's
more hand induced vibration than image shift.
Mike here: There are several solutions to that: See the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page for some focus add-ons as well as the Telescope Tech Tips page.

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