Last updated: 31 January 2005
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:	Newer ETX125AT  malfunctions of mirror, focus and go-to
Sent:	Monday, January 31, 2005 16:32:09
From:	Fred Bearden (
I have a newer EC with the AT handset. It looks like Meade has changed
internal mount/drive details considerably since the "Washer mods"
described on your site. I did incorporate the alt setting circle duct
tape mod, such a simple fix for a vexing condition. But my alt and az
clutches seem to be fine; no obvious excess grease or slippage. I have
added GPS to the drive and downloaded the latest Meade software
supported by StarGPS for the ETX models prior to the new "PE". I've
reset, recalibrated and retrained the drive; tried it first without that
and it does not work. For a bit everything seemed to work properly,
though I'm still experimenting with the anti-backlash alt/az "percent
drive" settings. Both are set at 20% and I still have an annoying lag
before commanded movements start, but no problem once they've started.

My big problems:
1. Way too much mirror shift when focusing; much worse than my Nextstar
11 GPS under similar conditions.

2. Problems obtaining a good focus with eyepieces under 14mm (probably
related to #1 above?)

3. The process of "going-to" an object is often interrupted by a false
stop. After a good alignment, and some time spent properly tracking, if
a new object is "entered" and the "go-to" key pressed, the scope begins
to move toward the object but sometimes stops short. Pressing "enter"
does nothing, but pressing "Go-to" again makes the drive resume and
eventually center on the object. The fact that it finally gets there
eliminates the possibility of clutch slip, I think, as the decoders
didn't lose their settings. Could this problem be related to the alt/az
"percent" anti-backlash settings?

Great site; thanks for the good work. Nice to know you're not alone in
this wicked world of go-to scopes. My experience to date is that all
have some flaws, and the work-arounds are nearly impossible without a
site such as yours.

Fred Bearden
Laguna Niguel CA
Mike here: Excessive image shift and focus issue: from your description I would say the optics are out of collimation. This isn't something that is easily corrected without the proper equipment but if you want to try, there are articles on collimation on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. As to the false stop, assuming you are doing the proper azimuth rotations when setting up in the HOME position, then it is possible that a wire or some debris is catching. Catching a wire could be disastrous if it gets cut. You may want to open up the base and check that out.
Subject:	Help: Deposit left on flip mirror after use of lens duster air can
Sent:	Monday, January 31, 2005 15:56:17
From:	Mike Snowden (
I noticed that the flip mirror of my ETX-105 UHTC had loads of dust on
it; as an ex demo model, it was never the cleanest, but it had got

On Sunday, I got out a can of Kenair air duster, read the instructions
on the back twice, puffed it briefly to make sure the tube was clear.  I
then gauged the depth of the mirror, carefully placed the pipe about an
inch from the mirror and puffed.  Success - all the dust gone.  Then I
noticed that there was a "tide mark" around the mirror - and going
straight through the centre of vision.

I've since noticed on the FRONT of the can a "use upright" panel - not
in the instructions (AARGH!), and not visible while reading the
instructions. A quick investigation shows that "upright" is critical. 
Used horizontally, liquid (butane?) comes out of the tube.  It
evaporates quickly, but against a plate on one test, there did seem to
be a trace of residue.

So what do you think- have I killed the mirror, or would (professional)
cleaning be worth a try?  If I do need to get the mirror replaced, my
local dealer is BC&F in London, England.  Is this sort of thing doable
locally, or is it going to be an expensive and slow trip back to the USA
during peak observing season?

Mike here: Ouch. That is the reason I avoid using canned air! Since the mirror is a "first surface" mirror you need to avoid touching it for cleaning. And if you remove it you may difficulties getting it properly aligned again. There are two articles on "Flip Mirror Repair" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page that might come in handy if you do decide to remove it. That said, there is an item on "etx 125 flip mirror cleaning" in the article "Cleaning Optics" on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.


Having read around now, the number 1 tip is "avoid liquid spray" (of
course, it was a can I'd had for ages, and wanted to use at a dark,
remote location).  I must be stupid - I was expecting AIR, like the
label, and that isn't liquid in short puffs

Any thoughts on whether its solvent residue or optical coating?  I'm
going to call BC&F tomorrow and see if they can recommend a cleaning


PS - My Deluxe field scope bag has now shredded.... In probably 20 trips
out in less than a year.  Great QC.
Mike here: I doubt the surface has been damaged. But I wouldn't leave on there very long.


Thanks.  I'll see if I can get it cleaned and collimated.  It would be
nice to have a branch of Clay's service locally...


Subject:	40mm eyepieces
Sent:	Monday, January 31, 2005 14:03:00
From:	Michael Morris (
Given that they have pretty much the same FOV as a 32 mm eyepiece, what
is the advantage of a 40mm eyepiece in an ETX 90?  Is the image
signficantly brighter?

Michael Morris
Mike here: There is also a slight difference in the magnification. But you will get some vignetting with the 40mm. Depending upon the quality, the image should be brighter (smaller image surface area) in the 40mm.
Subject:	Etx 125 Gears
Sent:	Monday, January 31, 2005 08:01:47
From:	Terry (
Hi I have a ETX 125 and I need the plastic gears that drive the Alt,
Azm. There are I believe 3 gears that are alike. Mine has part of a
tooth missing and of course makes noise while slewing. I called
Meade.they will let me send it in to them for a repair $(75.00) plus my
shipping to them. They told me they do not sell gears for the scopes, I
could send it in to them or I was on my own. Anyone have a source for
these gears?  Thanks in advance  Terry Teague
Mike here: Try Telescope Warehouse; link on the Astronomy Links page.


thanks Mike     I was really disappointed with the attitude at Meade.
kind of a let us repair it or your on your own.  Terry  take care
Mike here: Gee, sounds Celestron, Dell, Apple, Toyota, etc. I don't think I can buy a replacement for many components from them.
Subject:	Burnt MOSFET IC on ETX125
Sent:	Sunday, January 30, 2005 22:59:14
From: (
Need your help on ETX125 issue. Recently My scope RA axis failed to
moved, DEC was OK. Looking thru your info page, initially I suspect it
might be due to some mechanical issue such as run-way motor or greese on
the encoder etc... But I have doubt, because by pressing the left/right
arrow key, there's no motor sound at all.

I remove the 3 hex screw on the battery compartment area, and by careful
inspection, I found one IC(Q2), beside connector JP2, likely a MOSFET
was badly burnt(looks like an EOS). Removing the PCBA, further damage
was observed on the back of the PCBA. 2 PCBA trace connecting to the JP1
connector was badly burnt too. I think I can fixed the PCBA burnt trace,
but do you know the manufacturing part no. for the burnt MOSFET IC?

If I failed to repair the PCBA, am I able to write to Meade to purchase
a new PCBA? What do you suggest otherwise?

Anyway, I bought the ETX125 second-hand from US, thus no more warranty.
Below I have include the picture to indicate the burnt IC location.

photo photo
Many Thanks! Warmest Regards, Wu (Singapore)
Mike here: Your best choice would be to purchase a new one or used even; even a #495 which you can upgrade to a #497 via the normal software update. However, before plugging in the new one, do you know WHY the problem occurred?


I saw some metal chips in between some of the components, thus I suspect
it might be due to a short circuit. However, I reckon that the PCBA was
still in Good shape, just that only that IC was burnt, which i can fix
if I know the manufacturing Part Number imprinted on the IC iself. Do
you have any information on that IC?

Alternative, where can I purchase a new AZ/RA axis PCBA board?

Many Thanks!!

Mike here: Try Telescope Warehouse; link on the Astronomy Links page.
Subject:	Meade ETX - 125
Sent:	Sunday, January 30, 2005 13:24:56
I have an ETX 125, I have had it for about 2 years or so. It was a
package deal ETX, heavy duty tripod, autostar 497, What a JOKE !!  My
excitement of owning a Meade Go To Scope was quickly replaced by total
dissappointment!  Every time out was just a complete train wreck
pointing wise!   The Optics was and continue to be, the best part of
this so called GREAT Package DEAL.  I have tried every thing that You
have advised like: cleaning the excess grease from the drives, Training
the drives until I was tired of doing it, cleaning the friction plates
on the base drive etc. You name it I think I've tried it.  Most recently
My Autostar controller shut off while booting up. The controller got
extremely hot in one spot of the controller, and now it doesn't work at
all.  I have tried to get through to Meade, ( but they must not want to
hear about the  trouble some people have with their products,) because
they refuse to get back in touch  with Me.  If You can Please offer some
knowledgeable advise or some help in getting a hold of Meade it would be
greatly appreciated .   Thanks !  A very disappointed ETX owner! 

Nick Wion
Mike here: Sorry you have problems. Without looking at your ETX directly, I can't say what might be the problem. But the Autostar should not get warm like that. It is possible that either your power source (you didn't say what that was) is causing a problem or there is some electrical problem with either the ETX circuit board, the cabling, or the Autostar. You really need to contact Meade or the dealer where you purchased it. By the way, you said you did everything suggested so I assume you did a CALIBRATE MOTORS.
Subject:	Old Model ETX with UHT Coatings
Sent:	Sunday, January 30, 2005 02:02:30
From: (
Hi there, Great site by the way and very informative. I am looking to
buy an ETX 125, but i am wary of purchasing an old model from our UK
suppliers. Am i right to assume only the new models with the aluminium
forks have the UHT coatings. Thanks for any help. Graeme.
Mike here: Only new models have the UHTC option. There are two ways to tell it has UHTC: the brown shipping box (the box with no photos) has UHTC on the white label, and there is a UHTC label on the bottom of the OTA.
Subject:	Meade ETX 105EC
Sent:	Saturday, January 29, 2005 11:29:24
From:	Carol Souza (
I'm frustrated!  Maybe you can help...  We have a brand new Astro
Telescope and the horizontal electronic function isn't working.  I can
hear the motor running but it doesn't make the telescope spin left to
right.  At first I thought the locked position was all the way to the
left, but Meade tells me it's in the center.  It doesn't seem like
there's a perfect position to engage the motor at all.  They told me to
take off the hex screw and tighten the shaft, but how tight is tight.  I
mean isn't there a notch that indicates the correct position to engage
the motor?.  I don't think we should have to be messing with a $1,000
piece of equipment we just got.  Is this a common problem?  (They acted
like it was at meade.)  And how do we fix it.

Thank you in advance for your help.
Carol J. Souza
Mike here: The axis locks are friction type so there is no "notch" where the lock engages. If you overtighten it the telescope will not slew; same if it isn't tight enough. So, what is "tight enough"? Finger tight that allows slewing to occur. Now to some questions: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES per the manual?


Thanks for your help.  I'll play with it a little and hope we find the
"sweet spot."  (Seems weird that it's not more exact for such sensitive
equipment.)  I performed the Train Drive, but guess I didn't get into
the CALIBRATE MOTORS.  I took the tutorial on  It's seemed to
be fairly straight forward compared to the manual for a beginner.


Mike here: You need to CALIBRATE MOTORS on first use and whenever you change batteries or otherwise change the power source.
Subject:	Freezing Temperatures
Sent:	Saturday, January 29, 2005 03:47:31
From:	Tom Lecky (
Your site is amazing--a real gift to the web. I hate to bother you with
a question, but I am a bit worried about my scope. I have an EC125 that
I left in my outdoor shed in the Adirondacks. We've now had a month of
below freezing temperatures--sometimes below 0. Will that cause
permanent damage to my scope? What should I do to get it indoors? I
assume I want to raise the temperature gradually.
Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Tom Lecky
Mike here: The lubrication has probably solidified. The plastics have probably become somewhat brittle. If the temperatures get above freezing during the day, I would suggest setting it outdoors (when it is not snowing) and letting it come up to that temperature over a period of hours. If you have a porch or other place where the temperature might be around 50 you could let it set there for several hours to come to that temperature. Once you've raised it gradually you can then bring it indoors and let it come to around 70 (I won't bring it indoors to a room that is 80 degrees at this point). As you move the telescope from the subzero condition to warmer temps, DO NOT move the telescope on its mount nor move the position of the axis locks. Once you have it stabilized at around 70-ish, then you can investigate what more might be required. With the gradual increase the plastics should be OK. Carefully unlock one axis and slowly move the tube by hand from one hard stop to the other, going slowing back and forth. If you feel any resistance, STOP. Let it warm up some more and try again. Once you have the movement on one axis moving smoothly do the same with the other axis. If all goes well you should be OK. Once movement is smooth in both axes, connect up the controller and apply power. Be ready to immediately shut off the power if you smell any "burning". I doubt that the sustained subzero temperature "soaking" damaged any of the electrical components but it might have. Let me know how it goes.


Thank you so much for the response! I have the scope (still in the
foam-lined case) outside now and will bring it into a cool room after a
few hours. I'll take it slow and hope all is okay. I just hope there's
no damage to the optics.

Again, I really appreciate it, and I'll let you know the result once
time has passed and I've gone in for a check.

Tom Lecky
And the good news:
I followed your advice and all seems to be well! I raised the
temperature very slowly and tested everything today and it all appears
to be in working order. I'd love to donate some money to your
website--it is a real benifit. How would I do that?

Thanks again,

Mike here: Super! Glad all the precautions worked. As to a donation, thanks. See the section "Supporting the Mighty ETX Site" on the ETX Site Home Page.
Subject:	Enhancement Guides
Sent:	Friday, January 28, 2005 11:34:42
From: (
I would like to download a copy of your Enhancement Guides, but could
not find them on your site. Could you show me where they are?
Mike here: I think you are referring the ones on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	ETx closeout Sale
Sent:	Friday, January 28, 2005 06:39:47
From:	Owen Burkinshaw (
Meade is having a closeout sale.

I found the closeout sale on Hands-on-Optics and a few other dealers.

Also see

on the Meade web page.

ETX 125At   for  $789

ETX 90At  for $499

LX90 for  $1399

Thank you Mike for the greatest source of information on the ETX.

Clear Skies,
Owen Burkinshaw

Subject:	ETX Premier Edition
Sent:	Thursday, January 27, 2005 21:10:45
I am on your automatic update notification. I was hoping that by now
there would be some evaluation of the Premier Edition. Do you not yet
have one to evaluate? Do you anticipate when there will be some feedback
on this new model?


Mike here: I should have one soon. They are just now getting out to dealers.
Subject:	Re: Limited RA Rotation range?
Sent:	Thursday, January 27, 2005 20:39:43
From:	mark_saintey (
Hi Mike

Thanks for your reply - I was amazed when it arrived.  So quick!

I have removed the base, but cannot see anything that looks suspicious. 
As the scope is only 6 months old, I will contact the dealer.  I assume
that they will sort the problem out for me, unless I have invalidated
the warranty by removing the base!  I hope not.

Thanks again,


Subject:	re: ETX-125 and Galaxies
Sent:	Thursday, January 27, 2005 20:31:42
From:	Richard Seymour (
I have an ETX90 and a 10" (25cm) LX200gps.

I think that how many (or much of) galaxies you would see with an
ETX125 compared to a ETX105 will be more affected by your "seeing"
(atmosphere: light pollution, smog, heat ripples) than by the difference
 between the telescopes.

I live in a city... i can read without a flashlight on my viewing deck.
There is a lot of sky-haze.

The ETX90 reveals M81 and M82.   I certainly cannot see "arms" and
"dust lanes", but neither can i see them through the 10" LX200gps.
M81 is clearly circular in the ETX90, and M82 is a needle-shaped cloud.
The LX200gps delivers the same image, but it can be magnified bigger,
since it gathers about ten times more light.

If you have "dark skies", both telescopes would reveal more detail.

As Mike posted, M31 is a special case: it is 3 degrees wide.
That's 6 full moons.  The ETX125 has less than a one degree
field of view with the 26mm eyepiece.  The ETX90 has about 1.1 degrees.
The LX200gps is half a degree.
So -none- of them will reveal the full extent of M31 at one glimpse.
They all will reveal the bright core, and M32 is an "easy" object
in both the ETX90 and the LX200gps.  My local sky-pollution prevents
me from seeing any detail with the LX200gps.
I -did- see detail one night with a short focal length (900mm) 
114mm diameter Newtonian reflector.  (a Meade 4504).

For extended deep sky objects, a 6" or 8" LXD55 might be far better
than the ETX125, but would not be as easy to operate.

All telescopes are compromises...

have fun

Subject:	re:  Right Ascension Circuit board
Sent:	Thursday, January 27, 2005 20:17:56
From:	Richard Seymour (
You asked if the motor should get "warm".

I would recommend that you run the DEC motor slowly (or quickly)
for a few moments, to simulate the load which is on the RA motor.

Then feel it.  Does it get warm?  

The warm motor and the "Fail Motor" messages could indicate that
the RA axis is not moving easily  (does it spin easily when you
unlock the RA clamp?).   Electricity given to the motor which
can not be expended as "work" moving the RA axis must, instead,
be released as heat.  If the RA axis was dragging, the motor would
get hot.  (or "warmer")

good luck
Thanks Richard,

The RA Axis move fine does not get hard movin it to any direction maybe
can be the gears I have to check it. If the circuit board is not en the
right pleace the encoders can read bad the Motor movement?

Thanks for your Help

Marcos Dager

Subject:	ETX 125 home Position error
Sent:	Thursday, January 27, 2005 19:54:34
From: (
I want to first say that I enjoy reader at your site.  Secondly, when I
attempt to put my scope in home postion (turning the scope
counterclockwise until it stops) the scope doesn't stop.  The scope
spins and spins with no end.  Any tips?  Thanks again
Mike here: You mean it rotates more than 2 times around?


Thanks for your ultra fast reply.  Yes it rotates more than twice.  I
guess you could say it rotates eternally.
Mike here: Obviously not right. Is the telescope new? If so, I'd suggest contacting your dealer for an exchange. Otherwise you will either have to pay Meade to have it fixed or try a repair yourself. You could use the telescope without the hard stops but then you run the risk of wrapping up the wiring.


Thanks a bunch!  Take care

Subject:	Setting Circles
Sent:	Thursday, January 27, 2005 17:58:49
From: (
could you give me explicit directions on how to point my telescope to
stars the old fashion way using the dials. Do I have to convert the
numbers I find in charts to my location?????  I'm just learning, so be
Mike here: See the article "Using Setting Circles" on the Helpful Information: Observational Guides/References page.
Subject:	Limited RA Rotation range?
Sent:	Thursday, January 27, 2005 15:30:01
From:	Mark Saintey (
I've had a search of the website, but I can't find anything describing
exactly my problem.  Apologies if this has been covered before.

My ETX-125 does not rotate in the RA axis, either manually with the axis
unlocked, or driven by the drive, by more than around 350 degrees.  I am
pretty sure that it used to rotate further than this.  Have you heard of
this before, and if so, is there a simple solution?  The scope is only 6
months old, and until recently has had very little use.  Assuming that I
don't try to drive the scope beyond the 350 degree range, it seems to
operate correctly, giving accurate performance with the Autostar.  I am
sure I have read that the scope should rotate to around 720 degrees?

Hope you can help,


Mike here: It should rotate a little less than 720 degrees, hard stop to hard stop. It sounds like something is catching, either a wire (bad) or some debris. If you remove the base you may be able to see what the problem is. Let me know.
Subject:	Star party
Sent:	Thursday, January 27, 2005 15:09:14
From:	earl gomberg (
Mike when will you have another star party back here in Southern
California. I have continued to attend the Riverside party in the desert
location which you had your first star party.  The Riverside party is
very informative because of all the different kinds of scopes which are

Earl Gomberg
Mike here: The Fourth Mighty ETX Star Party was announced tonight.
Subject:	RE: Right Ascension Circuit board
Sent:	Thursday, January 27, 2005 06:33:54
From:	Marcos Dager (
I changed the Circuit Board RA and the hard Stop ring on my ETX-125, but
I am getting a Fail Motor when I try to align, Is normal that the Motor
gets warm? is there a position for the Encoder? Can you give me some

Thank you for you help.

Marcos Dager
Mike here: No, you don't have to wait for anything to warm up but did you do a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES?


I explain my self bad,   the Motor warms when is in use is that normal?
I know that I don't have to wait to warm up sorry. I calibrate the
Motors and Train but still getting Fail Motor.

Here are some Pictures of My Scope before It was assemble.

photo photo photo
Mike here: Check the wire routing. It could be that a wire is catching. Does the telescope rotate by hand in all directions completely? Move it slowly so that you don't cut the wire. Yes, the electrical motors could get warm but I haven't measured it or even touched one after a period of use.
Subject:	Re: Log Books
Sent:	Wednesday, January 26, 2005 12:41:43
From:	AE0Q V31RY (
Hello Jason,

Saw your message on Mike's ETX site, and here is a link to a page with 2
kinds of log pages in pdf format:

I found another set of pages (log and sketch page) that I have been
using but have lost the link.  I can send them as attachments if you
like, they are also in pdf format.

Regards - Glenn AE0Q / V31RY  (ham radio callsigns)
Lakewood, Colorado

P.S.  I lived near Montrose, Scotland from 1974-78 while in the U.S. Navy.
Met a bloke with a small rotating observatory in his garden near Stonehaven!





Subject:	etx 90 finder scope bracket
Sent:	Tuesday, January 25, 2005 21:48:25
From:	Steve Johnson (
I was wondering if you knew exactly where I could buy a new viewfinder
scope bracket? I had an adjustment screw breakout in a hole and I ended
up having to drill it out...which ruined the bracket. I am wondering if
meade sells replacements or any other companies? let me know. great site
by the way! thanks, steve
Mike here: You could try Telescope Warehouse (see the Dealers section on the Astronomy Links page. You could try Meade but I doubt this is a part they would provide but they might.
Subject:	I still don't know whether to buy an ETX-70AT or ETX90EC(AT)
Sent:	Tuesday, January 25, 2005 13:49:58
From:	Grant Robery (
I am totally new to Astonomy but am seriously considering buying either
an ETX 70 AT or ETX 90 EC (I understand that its now AT). The price
differential in the UK is quite a bit around 200GBP so is not be taken
likely. Is the difference between the two so great to a complete novice
like me as to make this worthwhile. Furthermore if I did go with the 90
would my experience further be enhanced by opting for UHTC or again is
this unlikely to be noticable to a beginner??
Grant Robery (
Mike here: There is a significant optic difference in the two telescopes. The -70 is a 350mm refractor and the -90 is a 1250mm Maksutov-Cassegrain. What this means is more magnification and details with the -90 vs the -70. And yes, you should go with the UHTC; it adds a significant amount to the light that reaches your eye.
Subject:	Meade manufacturing 
Sent:	Tuesday, January 25, 2005 02:35:00
From:	Mike Barrett (
As Mike said, the country of manufacture should not affect the items you
are interested in. The big problem Meade suffers from is poor quality
control procedures, a lot of the problems posted on Mike's site could be
avoided by better inspection during manufacture.

I'm an avionics engineer and was shocked by the sloppy way my ETX 125
had been assembled.  The optics are excellent and the mount design is
pretty good, but it had obviously been put together by staff who had no
idea how the scope worked, they just crammed the components (and
grease!) where they had been told and that was the end of the job as far
as they were concerned.   This approach is just about tolerable if
strict inspection is subsequently carried out, but it seems that the
current scope price war leaves no financial headroom for Meade to do

Sadly, this means that the quality of Meade products is determined by
luck, rather than their country of origin.

Regards, Mike 

Subject:	book,
Sent:	Monday, January 24, 2005 08:53:01
From:	Davis, Jim (JIS) (
Website is awesome! Do you plan on a 4th Ed. of your book?

Jim Davis

Nashville, TN
Mike here: Glad you like the Site. Thanks.
As to an update to book, who knows what the future may hold...
Subject:	Log Books
Sent:	Monday, January 24, 2005 02:51:37
From:	je004c3624 (
Just a quick email to ask where you can get hold of good quality
astronomical log books to record my observations.  A Web Link would be

Jason Evans  U.K.
Mike here: Don't know about a pre-printed hard copy one but David Green has a nice one for the computer. Check his web site ( for his logging software.
Subject:	Fwd: ETX Tube Rings
Sent:	Sunday, January 23, 2005 09:11:05
From: (
Another thanks to you for having the ETX website - I've forwarded this
message from one of your readers - Kevin writes how he solved same mount
issue with 6.3inch tube rings.

So, if the 144mm rings don't work, I'll follow Kevin's method on my
"white tube" 125 ETX from Ebay.

I'll keep you posted and thanks again!!!!
Ellen and Jim Mady

	From: kevin keyes
	Ellen, I read your question to Mike Weasner( Mighty ETX website)
	concerning rings to mount your ETX to an equatorial mount. I found
	this website to be very helpful in obtaining parts. It is  . I used the 6.3" rings to mount my ETX. I had
	to add some felt to get a snug fit. I also purchased a dovetail that
	fits my LXD-55 mount. The combo works very well.

	Good Luck,

Subject:	Your opinion on LXD75 scopes
Sent:	Sunday, January 23, 2005 16:23:18
From:	Charlie Max Hubbard (
First let me thank you for your site. It has educated me so much. Here
is my position. I want to purchase another scope, but I've read so many
pros and cons from different sources, I am still unsure. I had a DS-2114
w/autostar but was not satisfied with it. Got rid of it and bought an
ETX-70. The Etx worked great for 3 nights, goto was excellent. Third
night I got a motor failure, went through all the steps (changed
battery, calibrated motors, trained drive) but the RA drive was now real
jerky in movement. Called Meade they said to send it in. Now waiting to
get it back. Anyway, that scope was for my boys. I know that mass
produced scopes are not going to perfect. For myself I am looking at the
LXD75 SC8 or SN10. I've had some experience with reflectors. I own a
cheap 3.5 Bushnell, but it gives good views of the moon (and pretty good
afocal pictures of the moon with my Nikon 4300) and Saturn. I have
collimated that scope. This leads to my first question. Is the SC8 or
SN10 hard to collimate, since I have little experience in doing
collimating? Second, I know how to use the Alt/Az mounts, is it hard to
learn using a GEM? We had them on our scopes in Astronomy club in
school, but I never had to set one up. Thirdly, I heard the mount is to
small for the SN10 and will get ringing with it, is this true? And
lastly, this is a major step into a hobby I have loved since childhood
and using a pair of binoculars. I want this scope to give me years of
enjoyment and not regretting I made the wrong decision. This is a lot of
money for me to spend. I sincerely value your opinion. Sorry this is so
long, but I've read other messages where they did not give you hardly
any info on experience and so further. Again thanks!


Max Hubbard
Mike here: The LXD75 mounts looks like a winner. More sturdy than the LXD55 mount so the 10" should be no problem. Collimation is straight forward, albeit it can be timeconsuming and somewhat trial-and-error until you get used to doing it. GEM mounts can take some getting used to as well. Perhaps you should consider the LX90-8SC. Has an Alt/Az mount.
Subject:	RE: Japan China Taiwan
Sent:	Sunday, January 23, 2005 15:43:31
From:	Arthur Caracciolo (
I am new to this stuff; I see all this stuff about made in Japan vs
China vs Taiwan etc... What's the lowdown on this, is there really a
difference? I have a new ETX125 so I am assuming that it came with made
in china Meade Super Plossl 26mm, but when I examine it I don't find a
country origin stamp or label on it? How would I be able to tell the
difference the boxes have the country origin on them but if the EP
doesn't someone I guess just put them in a made in Japan box????

Now there is someone selling Meade Super Plossl 26mm stating that it's
made in Japan, not China, not Taiwan etc... The price is reasonable, but
what is really the difference besides the perceived one that it's better
and the resale value seems to be slightly more for the Japan versions
and this holds true for almost all items when it comes to telescopes and

I picked up a used Celestron C102HD Japanese version :-) but it was only
after I got it that I found out about older ones made in Japan were
"better quality" I just wanted a bigger refractor then the DS90AT and it
was selling at a very reasonable price

Is there really that much difference? I think I will by one of the 26mm
made in Japan to check it out for myself, but what's your take on all of


Arthur Caracciolo
Yahoo groups ID canalids90
Astromart/CloudinNights ID canali
Meade ETX125, DS90AT 
Celestron C102HD Japanese version :-)
Binos 12x50
Mike here: Quality is in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I've not found any significant differences. Others may have other opinions.


So it would be a waste to even checkout myself.

So it is only perceived one that it's better and the resale value seems
to be slightly more for the Japan versions because of that and not on
any real difference. Good to know

Thanks again,
Mike here: There can always be differences, even from the same manufacturer...
Subject:	re: Re: etx
Sent:	Friday, January 21, 2005 18:50:24
From:	Richard Seymour (
It may help if you send the question in -your- language,
as well as the translation attempt.  Many of Mike's readers
can read other languages.

good luck

Subject:	Scopetronix GPS
Sent:	Friday, January 21, 2005 18:04:45
From: (
Mike just wondering if you have ever reviewed the Scopetronix GPS and if
you have how do I find it?

I bought one from Jordan and it works so well. But I did have a problem
setting it up. Was not easy to do.

Selwyn Malin
Mike here: If it is the StarGPS, see the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.


I went to the helpful information page but I was unable to find anything
about the Scopetronix GPS. I also went to the Autostar page but that was
too confusing as well.

Might there be another area where I can look for info about the GPS.
Mike here: As I indicated, if the Scopetronix GPS is the same as the StarGPS, you can read about it on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page on the ETX Site. There are two GPS articles there; just use your browser's "Find" button and enter GPS.
Subject:	Meade EXT90 EC with autostar
Sent:	Thursday, January 20, 2005 19:29:40
From:	lois smith (
I just got this telescope and when trying to get it to align it point's
off in a direction where I can't see anything to center. I have tried to
use what troubleshooting they have listed but it still will not align
with anything visible any suggestion's?
Mike here: Some questions: Have you followed the instructions in the manual exactly? Did you do the CALIBRATION and TRAIN DRIVES? Have you set the Autostar for the mounting mode you are using? Have you set the proper date/time/daylight savings/location? Are you putting the telescope in the proper HOME position for the mounting mode (which I assume is Alt/Az)? If you have done all that AND you are NOT using a magnetic compass to locate North (you must use True North, not Magnetic North) then perhaps the Alignment Tips articles on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page will help. Let me know.


Yeah we did all this but we were using magnetic North so we need to try
the exact line North and see first if that helps, thank you very much
and you will probably hear from me the ameture again,
Chris Smith
Mike here: Depending upon your location, Magnetic and True North can differ by up to about 20 degrees. Use Polaris, the "North Star", to indicate where on the horizon True North is located.
Subject:	Re: ETX 125 OTA tube rings
Sent:	Thursday, January 20, 2005 07:50:08
From: (
I ordered 144mm rings from Orion for the 146.05mm OD of the tube.

They should be here next week.  I will write again on whether I am
successful in making these rings work or not, so you can advise others
in the future.

Thanks for your help and thanks for keeping up the website.  I've used
it often and referred folks to it, but never said "thank you".  So:
Thank YOU, very much from me and all the other "anonymous" visitors.

Ellen Mady

Subject:	Re: etx
Sent:	Tuesday, January 18, 2005 22:53:52
From:	erwin kats (
It is perhaps a liquid problem as telescopes not good closed is. 
consequences the motors turn through and the display of the autostar

sorry if there is an problem in the text i used translator for some
Mike here: Yes, the translator lost something. I'm not clear what is happening. Sorry.
Subject:	re: Mac OS X Author Seeks Telecope Advice
Sent:	Tuesday, January 18, 2005 19:30:47
From:	Richard Seymour (
A non-Premier Edition (i.e. last month's model) LX90 with UHTC.

They're being sold for about $1400 new.

They're -much- friendlier than any GEM mounted scope.

(can't see Polaris?  Fine. You don't need to with an Alt/Az mounted scope).

They can be Polar mounted on a wedge for long-term photography.

Join the Yahoo groups "LXD55telescopes" and "LXD75telescopes" and "LX90"

..and compare the various users' joys and sorrows...

but, above all...
have fun

i'd missed the bit about fast F ratios.

To speed up the LX90, you'd need a "focal reducer" which can knock
it down to 6.3 or 3.3 (depending upon which one you'd buy).

That starts also suggesting the Celestron Schmidt Cass lines
(such as the Nexstar 8), since you can remove the secondary
mirror and mount the camera -there-, with an f of 2.2
(i think thry call that their "Fastar" capability).

have fun
(who has an ETX90 (f/13) and a 10" LX200gps (f/10))
(Meade -used- to offer the LX200gps with an f/6.3 mirror,
but no more...)
Mike & Richard:

Thanks--I concur with your recommendation. The hunt is on for the LX90!
Woodland Hills and OPT have sold out; please let me know if you see one
at close to the $1400 price!!!

-- Mark
Mike here: Try Shutan Camera and Video.
Subject:	[AstronomyOutreach] In Memory of David Lunt
Sent:	Tuesday, January 18, 2005 02:22:49
From:	Scott W. Roberts (
It's with great sadness that I learned yesterday afternoon that David
Lunt of Coronado Filters had passed away the day before, losing his
battle to cancer. In a phone conversation yesterday evening,
astrophotographer Jack Newton, a dear friend of David Lunt and his wife
Gerry Hogan, said that David's work has touched millions of people.

Lunt developed the solar filter for the first orbiting solar telescope,
and had 40 years of experience in the field making filters for
professional research. He then developed H-Alpha telescopes for the
amateur market and started the company Coronado Filters in 1997 based on
his technological advances in solar filter systems.

David originally ran Coronado out of his home in the Chiricahua
Mountains and moved the company to its present Tucson location in 2002.
Meade Instruments purchased the company in 2004.

Lundt's achievements in developing Etalon filtration to view the Sun
changed the hobby for thousands of amateur astronomers. Surely,
somewhere out there are children who are getting better grades, and
people of all ages who are now looking at life in a more positive light
because the views and images of our closest star as seen through his
solar telescopes. In this way David touched the hearts and minds of
innumerable people.

David Lunt will be deeply missed. I will keep you informed as more
information becomes available.

Very sincerely,

Mike here: As someone who recently discovered the joys of solar observing with the Coronado PST, I was sorry to learn this. I thank David for what he accomplished over the years and wish his family well.
Subject:	Which is the best zoom lens for my ETX125
Sent:	Tuesday, January 18, 2005 05:01:20
From: (
I have recently purchased an ETX125 and would like to get a zoom lens. 
I have narrowed down the choice to:

1) A Televue 8 -24 mm zoom at 170
2) A Celestron 8 - 24 mm zoom at 125
3) A Meade 8 - 24 mm zoom at 250.

Have you or any of your site visitors tried all three and/or can give
some advice as to whether the Televue or the Celestron lenses, which are
much cheaper than the Meade, give good performance.

Thanks a lot.  Great site.  Was instrumental in my choice of an ETX and
I've not been disappointed.

Kind Regards

Dave Robinson
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page for some zoom eyepiece comments.
Subject:	ETX Power Supply
Sent:	Tuesday, January 18, 2005 03:41:35
From:	RJackson (
First of all many thanks for all the work you have done in providing and
maintaining this excellent site. As a recent purchaser of an ETX 90 I
have found it extremely helpful and have no doubt that I will continue
to do so in the future.

My query is this: I have a Nicad battery pack (for automotive use) which
gives an output of 13.2 V when fully charged . Would it be safe to use
this as a power supply for the ETX?

Many thanks for your time.

Richard Jackson
Mike here: Yes, it would be OK but what is its amperage? You will need about 1.5A for reliable operation. Also, you will need correct polarity (center pin = positive) on the connection to the ETX.
Subject:	etx
Sent:	Monday, January 17, 2005 08:29:21
From:	erwin kats (
i am erwin kast ( 16 years old ) i live in holland ( netherlands ) ''europe''
in july my uncle can take a telescope with him to holland ( he lives in usa )
i want a meade etx 125 ( now i have a small etx 70 at :( ) but i have
lots of problems with it,
so is the etx 125 a good chooise then?

regards erwin
Mike here: What types of problems do you have with the ETX-70?
As to the ETX-125, whether you will like it or not will depend upon your expectations and intended use. As you can tell from the User Observations and other comments on the ETX Site, it can be an excellent telescope. But is portability a factor for you? If so, you might consider the ETX-105 or perhaps the ETX-90.
Subject:	aligning finderscope
Sent:	Monday, January 17, 2005 14:59:39
From:	Jim Holland (
I've centered the fov with the 26mm eye piece with the alignment scope.
How ever I notice if I switch to a higher powered eye piece the image is
no longer centered. On both higher powered eye pieces the object  moved

Is this typical or is the a optical alignment issue?


Mike here: You can get the most accuracy by using a higher power eyepiece when aligning the finderscope. Assuming the eyepieces are OK, there should be no difference in the optical center.


Okay - that works much better using the higher magnification.

Last two nights I've tried the alt/az mode with mixed results. I'm ready
to try polar mode and while playing today with the moon the alignment
was pretty close by setting the latitude on the tripod and orienting the
scope to point North. I was able to track the moon using only the right
arrow key for long periods of time (1 hr) before having to us up/down

I'll leave you alone for awhile after you explain (please) what is
"polar home" for the ETX. I can't seem to find a good explaination in
the manuals/documentation or on your site.

The autostar when turned on refers to "polar home" too.
It's probably there - just haven't found it.

If there is a link that will suffice.


Mike here: Article "Polar Home Position w/Graphic" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.
Subject:	auto focuser problem, EXT 125AT
Sent:	Monday, January 17, 2005 14:46:53
From: (
I bought a used telescope for my family for Christmas and it doesn't
have all the original paper work included (so there aren't any pictures
to look at for the auto focuser).  I am having trouble getting the auto
focuser to work.  The gear I put on the telescope and the gear inside of
the focuser box don't seem to make contact.  What do you think is wrong?
I think that I am using the correct gear on the telescope's post (there
was only one gear in the box for the auto focuser) and I tightened it
enough to hold it, too.  The battery is new.
Mike here: See #1247 review on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page; the photo there might help. Assuming you have the right gear installed, it sounds like the two gears are not meshing; perhaps you need to adjust position of the one on the focus shaft.
Subject:	ETX 125 OTA tube rings
Sent:	Monday, January 17, 2005 14:35:54
From: (
Thanks for your excellent site on the internet.  Maybe you have an
answer - where do we get tube rings or some way to mount the ETX 125 OTA
on an equatorial mount.

Many MANY Thanks,
Ellen Mady
Fernandina Beach, FL
Mike here: Losmandy has rings. But how you would mount them would depend upon the equatorial mount head. You could also use the photographic tripod attachment point on the bottom of the ETX OTA; then you would just need an adapter from the tripod head to that.


THANK YOU for the quick response!!  But this is a (and I quote) a
"special" ETX 125 - It's surplus for a custom (gov't) application - so
it's strictly the optical tube (...OTA).

I'll check Losmandy as you suggested.  If I find a commercial solution I
will let you know.

We're thinking "work-arounds" now - like pipe or hose clamps ....

And your site and response is awesome!!  Thanks for being there and
thanks for responding so quick!
Mike here: Does the OTA have the standard backend? Where the eyepiece goes on top and with the rear port? If so, on the bottom should be a plate with holes for a photographic tripod.


Thanks again, the rear is NOT stock ETX - it has a rear cell threaded
for standard SCT accessories.

It was special order for a laser application (says the previous owner).

Here's the Ebay item # so you can see a picture
Meade Custom ETX-125 Telescope OTA (3866113316)
Mike here: Ah yes, one of the "white tube" ETX models. Cool!
Subject:	UTHC adds equivalent of 1/3 inch to ETX 90
Sent:	Monday, January 17, 2005 11:26:46
From:	David Hanych (
According to Astronomics' web site, UHTC coatings add the equivalent of
"1/3 inch" aperature to an ETX 90 (see below), not "1-inch" as sometimes
stated. It seems worth it to me.

"Multicoated UHTC (Ultra High Transmission Coatings) optics: UHTC optics
have up to 20% higher light transmission than Meade standard optical
coatings. This adds the equivalent of a third of an inch of additional
aperture to the scope's light grasp, for brighter deep space images. It
also improves contrast, for sharper lunar and planetary images."

When will you be posting your review of the new ETX PE line?

D. Hanych
Mike here: Dr. Clay Sherrod reported about a 20% increase. So, for a 5" telescope, that would be an inch. For a small telescope, it is less of a linear increase. As to the PE model, still waiting to get one.
Subject:	Musings on operating an ETX-class telescope from indoors
Sent:	Monday, January 17, 2005 10:02:41
From:	Dave Wallace (
Your points about narrow field of view (FOV) are well taken.  But what
if one used a piggy-back adapter for mounting digital cameras to the OTA
and instead mounted a webcam with a standard camera lens attached?  Yes,
you'd have yet another USB cable, but now you'd have a FOV more
comparable to the finder scope.

(I wonder about using a USB hub and a USB-to-Serial adapter:  if you do
that, you'd only need one long USB cable between the scope and the
house.  Might work provided you don't need to run the "finder scope" and
the LPI at the same time.)

To my way of thinking, the biggest impediment to remote telescope
operation (especially in the Midwest and here in the Northeast) is
Meade's use of commercial-grade electronics: the control electronics is
going to need heaters if it's going to operate in sub-freezing
temperatures.  This is a problem that's more difficult to fix than
subsuming Meade's lubricants with low-temperature-tolerant replacements.
 But again, with a bit of ingenuity it should be possible to keep the
electronics warm (especially if you can operate the telescope from mains
power instead of batteries).
Mike here: Yes, that could provide easier locating of objects. And yes, you still have to deal with temperatures, and dew, and dogs, and things that can go "bump in the night".
Subject:	Do you have sharp astronomical images showing diffraction limit?
Sent:	Monday, January 17, 2005 02:08:13
From: (
I need images where Airy disks are about 10 pixels radius and where the
image is unprocessed, showing definite Airy rings.

I am in the process of developing a new kind of filter that imitates
neural processing to yield hyperacuity of 1/100th the radius of the Airy

It has already been demonstrated to work on generated images. The most
interesting is an Airy disk from three points arranged in a triangle and
separated by about 1/10th the surrounding Airy disk.

After my filter processes this image, the three points stand out as
sharp, clear, and distinct.

I have tested the filter on microscope images and X-ray patterns, but
find no suitable astronomical images.

The filter also inverts longitudinal and lateral chromatic aberration,
so images that have such aberration are preferred over images taken
through an achromatic lens. Also, the radiating "spokes" that appear in
some images is also handled by the filter.

The oversampling should not include overexposure. 

Do you think you can you help me? 
One picture would be good. 
A dozen or so would be all I need. 

 Jonathan D. Lettvin
 Watertown, MA
Mike here: Other than some recently posted double star images, nothing comes to mind.
Subject:	Thanks..
Sent:	Sunday, January 16, 2005 21:04:24
From:	Andrea Visacovsky (
I'm Andrea from Argentina, and I wrote you some time ago about what
telescope I should buy.., i tell you that I bought the ETX-90 and it's
working pretty well. However.."

Thank you very much..i tried it and it worked. Thanks again

Subject:	etx-90 alt. slew question
Sent:	Sunday, January 16, 2005 18:03:02
From:	Jim Holland (
great resource site for the ETX.
I bought a etx-90ec with autostar a couple of years ago and finally am
able to use it. I've been thru the "setup" and "training" a couple of
years ago when I purchased.

Tonight I finally had a good "easy" alignment and did the guided tour to
Saturn. The scope slewed in both alt and asimuth, but I noticed that the
object would slip to the bottom of fov and I would have to continually
do a manual slew in alt to keep it centered.

Two questions:
1) Should I do a retrain?
2) In some of the post, you mention a (re)calibration. I don't see this
in the manual or Meade web site. What do you mean by calibration?

Jim Holland
Mike here: If you have changed the batteries or switched to a different power source or never even done a CALIBRATE MOTOR you should do that. It is in the SETUP > TELESCOPE menu on the Autostar. Also, redoing the DRIVE TRAINing can also help.


Thanks, I did find the calibrate

Subject:	ETX in a semi truck
Sent:	Sunday, January 16, 2005 15:01:22
From:	Jeff Quittum (
After a years time off from astronomy and selling all my equipment, I
find myself with the bug again.

At first I was considering a 12" Dob. Problem is, I am an over the road
truck driver and enough hometime to use the Dob is less than ideal.

It then occured to me that perhaps a more portable scope taken with me
in the truck would get much more use. I find myself in dark areas nearly
every night with time on my hands.
Two questions:
a: I know that the  big reflector and the much handier ETX 125 are very
different monsters, but, from dark areas, will I be able to get some eye
pleasing views of DSO's?

b: Can you think of a practical way of carrying the Meade around in a
truck as to keep it from getting bounced and knocked out of collimation?

Your input much appreciated
Jeff Quittum
Mike here: The ETX-125 with UHTC will definitely provide nice views from a dark site. As to protection, get a large case. If you use enough soft foam (rather than hard) you should be able to cushion any shocks.
Subject:	Meade  Ultra wide lens for planetary viewing
Sent:	Sunday, January 16, 2005 08:34:20
From:	Jack Fox (
I have an Etx 125 UHTC and want a good planetary lens with a good field
of view and eye relief. I was thinking of spending around $200 and
thought about the new Meade 8.8 mm ultra wide. Would this be a good lens
for viewing the Jovian planets in greater detail or would you recommend
another type lens?

Jack Fox
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page for some reviews. I don't have any direct experience with that eyepiece. But it should provide nice views. I don't know if vignetting would be a problem or not.


Thanks, Mike I'll check the reviews.

Subject:	Your fantastic web site!
Sent:	Sunday, January 16, 2005 01:29:43
From:	Wayne A. Schwegel (
We Americans are all too quick to criticize when things aren't done to
our expectation, and far too slow at praising when it is deserved for a
job well done -- I believe in giving credit where credit is due!

I've been a fan of your web site for about four years, but not until the
end of 2004 and the beginning of 2005 have I come to  truly appreciate
it. I bought my ETX-90RA, about four years ago, but used it little, and
when I did it, I found it most frustrating to operate well.

Since Meade wouldn't supply a "go to" upgrade, I went to your web site
loking for possible solutions.  As a result, I was able to successfully
modify my my ETX-90RA utilizing the the instructions and photos of some
of your contributors. I placed the ETX on a DS-70 mount, with relative
ease, and added a 497 controller.

I was absolutely  astounded as to how well the modifed scope works to
this point.  I am just beginning to learn how to use it. Meade should
have come up with this 3 years ago.

This would not have happened were it not for your web site -- I can't
fully express my gratitude to you, nor can I fully express my anger
toward Meade for not making this conversion available in any form. I
compare this situation to that of Burt Rutan and NASA. Maybe Burt can
save Hubble!

Your web site has renewed my interest in astronomy.  I feel like a kid
with a new toy! Thanks for all your effort and hard work!!!!!!  You
provide a fantastic, internationally appreciated service. My very best
to you in the future.
Wayne Schwegel, K9WAS
Lawrenceburg, IN/Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio (Home of the Wright
brothers and the Dayton Hamvention)
Mike here: Thanks. I'm glad the site is useful. As to upgrades, Meade is not alone in this. Do I wish that Apple would upgrade my PowerBook 17" 1GHz to a 1.5GHz model? Sure. Will they? Nope. Do I wish that Toyota would upgrade my 2002 Prius to a 2004 model? Sure do. Will they? Nope. Sometimes it just doesn't make business sense and sometimes it is not physically possible to provide upgrades. We may not like it but we have to live with it. And of course, like you did, we find ways to work around it.
Subject:	Request for astronomy-related website link
Sent:	Saturday, January 15, 2005 21:29:43
From:	Rajiv Rao (
My name is Rajiv Rao, and I run a website for newcomers to amateur
astronomy called the 'Amateur Telescope Primer.'

I am writing to see if you would consider my website for inclusion in
your astronomy links page - I think it would fit under 'General

My website details are:

Title: Amateur Telescope Primer

I really believe this a useful resource, and I would greatly appreciate
a link if you could spare one. My links section links to your Mighty ETX
site in the 'Resources for Owners' section.

Thank you very much for your time.

Rajiv Rao.

(PS: I understand that you get a significant amount of email, so I've
tried to keep this concise.)

Subject:	Mac OS X Author Seeks Telecope Advice
Sent:	Saturday, January 15, 2005 20:44:50
From:	Mark R. Bell (
My name is Mark Bell and I'm an author of books about the Mac OS, and
I'm about to purchase my first computerized telescope. But before I do,
I'm looking for advice on whether this is the best use of my time and
money! I would appreciate any thoughts on my impending purchase if you
have time to respond.

Here are my purchasing criteria:

- I'm a computer geek by profession and would like to select a
scope/mount package that is as Macintosh-friendly as possible; I'll use
VirtualPC where necessary.

- my budget is @ $1500

- I live in a fairly light-polluted city (Chapel Hill, NC).

- I want get into CCD astrophotography and will purchase the CCD
equipment once I've mastered the scope and mount; I expect the CCD
equipment to cost more than the scope/mount.

- I've subscribed to Astronomy and Sky and Telescope for many years, so
I'm very familiar with most product lines.

- I think I've narrowed it down between the Meade LXD series and the
Celestron Advance Series, but I'm open to purchasing the scope and mount
separately (e.g., the CG-5 mount and the William-Optics Megrez 80-II).
The faster the f/ratio the better.

- I do not expect this selection will be the last scope/mount package I
will ever purchase; I want it get me through 2-4 years, or until I can
afford a 4" Tak and a Losmandy mount ;-)

I'm really leaning toward the Meade LXD75 SN-10 AT (10" f/4 SN w /UHTC)
from OPT ($1249, no tax and no shipping if I purchase by Sunday). Your
thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

-- Mark
Mike here: There are several software packages that are native OSX that can be used to control the Autostar (and Nexstar, I believe). However, the Autostar seems a little more computer friendly. So, the LXD75 could make a nice system for you. As to CCD imaging, SBIG has a beta (last I heard) of OSX software for their CCD imagers. But sometimes you may find it necessary to use VPC, so you will need a fast G4 or G5, and a serial-USB adapter to control and update the Autostar if you don't have a serial port.
Subject:	re: ETX 105 AT hopping problems
Sent:	Saturday, January 15, 2005 10:21:53
From:	Richard Seymour (
Your symptoms sound very much like the worm becoming slightly
disengaged from the final drive gear (walking up the gear face),
and then finally being pushed by its spring back into place.

I -think- the adjustment for that is covered in one or more
of the "tune up" articles on Mike's site, on his Tech Tips page:
in articles sprinkled throughout the right column.

Although the articles predate the 105, the techniques for
having the worm remain in place (but not -firmly- in place)
are possibly pertinent to your problem.

and the service rep. had never heard of this
If, after inspection, you can see the worm carrier moving in 
and out from steady engagement , you can describe it as
"the worm carrier is too loose".

good luck

Subject:	re: ETX 125 not tracking
Sent:	Saturday, January 15, 2005 09:50:40
From:	Richard Seymour (
Your cog -is- broken, there should be no missing teeth.

Return the scope for repair/replacement.

good luck

Subject:	temperature range
Sent:	Thursday, January 13, 2005 19:42:01
From:	Lee Vincent (
Can you share any quidelines for telescope use under extreme cold (or
heat for that matter)?  I just purchased my first scope--an ETX 125 AT
w/UHTC.  Tomorrow night is expected to be the first clear night since I
bought the scope 2-weeks ago and may be the last for a while.  The only
problem is we're expecting temperatures to drop as low as 0 degrees F
over the next couple of nights (it was near 60F this morning--go
figure). Do I run the risk of the gears seizing and burning out a drive
motor?  I expect the batteries will freeze pretty quickly so I don't
expect to be using Autostar much anyway, but I would like to try
Autostar if I can.  Also, what about the OTA?  Any advice will be
Also, thanks for the great web site!
Lee Vincent
Mike here: See the article "Cold Weather Performance" on the Helpful Information: Observational Guides/References page.


I'll take a look.  Thanks for your help.


Subject:	Barlows for ETX 125
Sent:	Thursday, January 13, 2005 02:04:13
From:	john coxshott (
Thanks for your last email.  It was very helpful and I have just
purchased an EXT125, but don't have it yet.

I am considering the align mate lite, a 2 X Barlow and a terrestrial
erecting prism.

Do you think any of the above are a good idea, or try without and see
how I get on?
regards from Bonnie Scotland,
John Coxshott
Mike here: Depending upon the eyepieces you have (or don't have), a 2X Barlow Lens is certainly a welcome addition as it effectively doubles the eyepieces you have. Just be certain to get quality "shorty" style. If you don't plan to use the telescope for serious terrestrial viewing, no need for the erecting prism. As to the alignment tool, while it can be handy for new users, if you take the time to learn the steps, you can get along without it.
Subject:	Any difference in a ETX 125 AT & 125 EC
Sent:	Wednesday, January 12, 2005 16:22:33
From:	Tom Tyler (
I have seen the letters on your site about the old vs. new ETX125 EC,
but what about the new AT model.   I recently purchased an ETX 125 AT on
the internet and when I received it I noticed it was in an ETX 125 EC
box.  It did come with the 884 tripod and a 497 Auto star.  It seems to
work just fine.  Is the main telescope, OTA, motors, & internal parts
the same for both models?

Thanks for your help and sharing such a great site with all us novices.

Tom Tyler
Mike here: See the FAQ page. Of course, the "new" AT model is now the "old" model with the release of the PE (Premier Edition).
Subject:	Wireless scope-living room
Sent:	Wednesday, January 12, 2005 14:12:57
From:	Jan H Kolst (
I'm interested in knowing what I need to sit inside and watch for
example Saturn on my laptop through the eyepiece. 

My equipment consists of the following:
An ETX 90 AT
Wireless laptop
Connectioncables between Autostar 497 and laptop
Videocamera which can be connected(USB) to the laptop
Astro software:
Hello Northern sky
Autostar suite
Starry night bundle
I guess it is possible to sit inside and watch the picture in the eyepiece on a tv screen or a laptop?
Sometimes it's really cold in Norway.

Very interested in a solution!
Great page you have ,it has helped me getting things done many times.
Mike here: You can use the Autostar Suite to view image on your computer. Of course, you will need a LONG USB cable. You will also need a LONG serial cable to control the Autostar. You will also need a LOT of patience as remotely centering the object in the narrow field of view of the LPI will be a challenge. You could also use one the "electronic eyepieces" but you will still have the challenge of centering, but likely less of a problem.
Subject:	ETX-90EC or ETX-105EC - comparison of mechanical stability?
Sent:	Wednesday, January 12, 2005 11:58:02
From:	Martin Larsen (
I found this valuable ETX-90 and ETX-105EC comparison: on your
site. It leaves me with a few questions, though, which I hope you can
maybe sort out for me.

It seems that they optically are very close with the 105 having a bit
brighter view (of course). However, the reviewer points out that the 105
is MUCH sturdier and also nearly silent as compared to the 90. Is that
also your conclusion?

Well, it is also twice as heavy than 90 and somewhat bulkier, and
transportablity does mean something to me since I have to bicycle a
couple of kilometers to get a really dark sky. But even with the greater
weight the 105 is in fact also quite portable so I am really in doubt

But maybe my main concern can help me decide which one is the better for
me: The 90 is obviously less sturdy than the 105. But is it sturdy
enough to carry a camera for astrophoto? Also, as far as I know, the 90
has plastic bearings while the 105 has metal bearings. Is that something
which is important, or is it simply due to the fact that the lesser
weight of the 90 does not require a metal bearing? And finally, is the
105 suitable to bring on a vacation or would the 90 make a better choice

The price difference is not too important as I will prefer paying more
for a scope that really satifies me.

I am looking very much forward to your comments. Thanks in advance!

Mike here: Certainly the ETX-90 can handle many types of cameras (but not all) as you can see from the various astrophotography pages on the ETX Site. I've not personally listened to a 105 next to a 90 so can't comment on the noise difference. But from a portability standpoint the ETX-90 wins. And if you add UHTC you effectively get the aperture of an ETX-105 (without UHTC).


Thank you for your reply. It seems that I should go for ETX-90 for
portability reasons. My only worry now is the nylon bearings as compared
to ball bearings on the 105.  Is that an issue or really nothing to
worry about?

Thanks again :-)

Mike here: As long as you treat the telescope as a precision instrument (which you should do regardless of the model), you'll be OK.
Subject:	Winter condensation when coming indoors
Sent:	Wednesday, January 12, 2005 10:58:02
First off, great site! I recently purchased the ETX-125, my first scope,
and your site is tremendously helpful.

The problem: winter in New England tends to be cold and dry - I have a
humidifier running in my home to keep the relative humidity around 35%.
The result is that when I bought my scope in one night after observing,
I got condensation on the main lens. I let it dry without touching it as
recommended by the Meade manual, and later put the lens cap on.

I was reading "Doc Clay"'s notes on this problem, and he seems to
suggest putting the lens cap on before bringing the scope inside. Is
this correct/proper/not going to damage the scope? Now that Orion is
high in the sky, I want to get back out again.

Thanks for any help you can offer. If you have a forum section I missed,
just direct me there and I'll ask there.



Stephen K. Epstein, MD, MPP 
 Clinical Operations Director 
 Department of Emergency Medicine 
Mike here: When I'm out on a "damp night" I will normally cover the optics before bringing the telescope back indoors. However, depending upon conditions that can trap moisture between the cover and the optics. If there already moisture on the optics then I would think that letting it air dry first would usually be best. As to a "forum section", see the Site Guide.
Subject:	broadband, narrowband, lpr or oiii?
Sent:	Wednesday, January 12, 2005 09:52:25
From:	Tom Mesquitta (
I have come to bug you for your knowledge once again.

My ETX-125 is up and running beautifully, however most nebulae and
galaxies (asides from M42) are impossible to see. I presume this has a
lot to do with the fact that I live in a light polluted area in london,
but was wondering if it was also down to the fact that i do not have any

Having said that maybe i have a dodgy telescope as saturn appears
extremely bright and yellow, with no colour detail, in comparison to the
images on your astrophotography page, i cannot see the cassini division
either. Though i also presume that maybe detail is invisible to the eye,
and only appears through a long exposure?

So presuming my telescope is fine, which filter do you recommend for
seeing a lot of galaxies and nebulae whilst also reducing light

Many Thanks,
Mike here: You should be able to see the Division (assuming steady skies). But Saturn normally does appear yellow-ish and without the details you can see on Jupiter. As to a light pollution filter, see the Accessory Reviews: Filters page; but keep in mind that the best solution is to leave town or ask everyone to TURN OFF THOSE @%$& LIGHTS!
Subject:	ETX-90 Spotting Scope question
Sent:	Wednesday, January 12, 2005 06:28:04
From:	Tom Connors (
I received my scope yesterday, seems to have all the parts, but....  I
plan on attaching an eyepiece directly from the back for digital camera
mount.  There is a cap that unscrews, but no eyepiece mount.  Does the
eyepiece mount that is on top unscrew?  I tried, but seems like it's not
going to move.  I could mount the camera on top, but I don't want to go
through the 45 degree mirror.  I have a Canon A95 I'm going to try,
seems to work pretty good handheld on top, but I would like a fixed rear
mount.  There's an eyepiece mount on the 45 degree erecting prism, but
it's thread is smaller than the rear thread.

Mike here: As shipped, eyepieces are not used at the rear port (unless you add the erecting prism). However, you can add a "Visual Back" to allow an eyepiece to be used. See the Accessory Review: Showcase Products page.
Subject:	ETX 125 not tracking
Sent:	Wednesday, January 12, 2005 05:54:11
From:	Derek Lacey (
Hi, I have an ETX125 and have been trying to get it to track correctly
but it seemed to be always going to far around when I was trying to set
it up.

When I held down the MODE button and got a display for the number of
degrees the scope had moved and then done a full rotation (360 degrees
obviously) the display was only reading 340!

After looking through your (very good) site I thought perhaps that a bit
of grease or other thing might be on the cog that sits between the
emitter and sensor so I opened up the scope and actually found a gap on
the cog which I assume is a missing tooth!

My question is :- Should there be a gap for timing purposes or
callibration or is my cog indeed broken?

Thanks for any help. 
Mike here: It could be that it is broken. But have you done a CALIBRATION and TRAIN DRIVES?


Thanks for the reply.
I've done both a few times but the result is always the same.
Will send it back and see what happens when it comes back.

Subject:	ETX family Dec circle diameter
Sent:	Wednesday, January 12, 2005 05:37:02
From:	Oscar Leon (
Hello, Im Oscar from Spain  (I know, my English is very bad, but I hope
you can understand me)

I need to know as the DEC Circle (plastic nut and  aluminium disc)
diameter and locking vertical nut (plastic nut and aluminium disc) are
the same size in all the models of the ETX family

If not, please, what they are in the diferent models?.... (in milimeters
is perfect, in inches is ok)

Thank You very much
Oscar Leon

Subject:	ETX-90 Azimuth boo boo 
Sent:	Tuesday, January 11, 2005 14:18:06
From:	Lawrence Bilton (
when i set up my ETX outside, i was going to set it in its home
position, i turned the tube all way around anti-clockwise then back,
feeling resistence but did not think of it until i noticed that the RA
lock was tightened, would have this at all coused any damage, because
afterwards i set up in home position tried it out, it found star ok but
when i asked to find saturn it was no where near it, so have i broken
the gears  then i thought about doing a train drive and Drive calibraion
would this help?

And if it needs to be repared, would it have to go to meade, as i am in
the UK i would not know how to do that, help about thise would be
apreciated, sorry if its nothing serious but i do like to know if that i
have not coused harm to it.
Thank you very much for listening,
Mike here: Unless you had the axis lock really tight you probably didn't damage anything. But do the CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES again.


Thanks mike it seems to have done the trick, and may i ask i saw an
option in setup menu called high precision do you know what this is,
thanks again for the delicious information.

Mike here: Glad that solved the problem. For info on High Precision, see the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.
Subject:	ETX 125 focus issue
Sent:	Tuesday, January 11, 2005 08:52:56
From:	chris NTL (
Greetings from Merry England. Brilliant website, thank you for all your
time and effort. 

Now to my problem, I recently purchased an ETX125, my first ever
telescope. The main problem I have is acheiving good focus. Using the
26mm SP4000 that came with the scope, getting precise focus is tricky.
But when using a 10mm Xcel, the patience of a saint is required. Turning
the focus knob is a bit stiff in one direction, fairly free in the
other. As I mentioned earlier, I am a complete rookie to astronomy and
telescopes. So is it a skill I have to learn, or should it be easier
than I find it at the moment.  Any comments/suggestions would be
Thanks, Chris.
Mike here: Focusing by hand is at times challenging. You have to adjust it, remove you hand to let the vibrations settle down, do another small adjustment, remove your hand, etc, etc. You can add an electric focuser or a flexible cable. You can even use a "clothes pin" (alligator style); just clip it on the focus knob.


thanks for the advice, I guess it is a learning curve I must go through.

Thanks again, Chris.

Subject:	is there a difference in aperture size in ETX125AT and Premier versions
Sent:	Tuesday, January 11, 2005 03:24:35
From:	paul ramesh (
I am from India and thinking of buying an ETX125 Premier. I saw the
product spec on optic showing the 125 premier aperture as 3.5
as opposed to 125AT with 5" aperture. is that a mistake, where else
could I find out about the premier version and also your thoughts about
the AT vs premier. Thanks in advance for your help and congrats on your
Mike here: The aperture for the ETX-90 is 3.5"; the ETX-125 is 5". I don't yet have a PE model to comment on.
Subject:	Question about the Polar home position for Southern observers
Sent:	Monday, January 10, 2005 22:28:19
From:	Andrea Visacovsky (
I'm Andrea from Argentina, and I wrote you some time ago about what
telescope I should buy.., i tell you that I bought the ETX-90 and it's
working pretty well. However i've still got problems when setting the
polar home position ,as I really don't understand the procedure to
follow respecting the RA axis. I've read through this article "Polar
home position for southern observers" on your page several times, but i
got problems with this:

"Loosen the RA lock, and rotate the scope around the the RA axis in a
counter-clockwise direction as viewed from the south celestial pole.
When you get to the hard stop, rotate the scope around the RA in a
clockwise direction until the scope is pointed at the ground
(roughly100). The eyepiece will be pointed toward the sky. You now lock
the RA axis."

How is it that the scope is pointed at the ground??..sorry, but i think
i`m missing something here.. I hope you can explain me a litlle bit more
about this .., as the rest of the procedure it`s okey..



ps.: your site is great!.really..i've already added to my favorites :o)
Mike here: Place the telescope with the fork arms pointed at the south celestial pole in the sky. With the telescope mount set for your latitude this should place the fork arms parallel to the Earth's axis. Next place the telescope tube at 90 degrees declination, which should be parallel to the fork arms wit the eyepiece on top in a normal viewing position. Next rotate the fork arms until you reach a hard stop and then go back about 120 degrees until the eyepiece is on top. If the 120 degree rotation put the eyepiece on top you went the right direction. If it took way more than 120 degrees you went the wrong direction; reverse the rotation until you reach a hard stop and go back 120 degrees. Now the eyepiece should be back on top.
Subject:	link to my site
Sent:	Monday, January 10, 2005 16:00:11
From: (
I wonder if you wouldn't mind including a link to my site in your
"dealers" section.

It has economical accessories that may be of interest to ETX users.

While I do not sell them, my ETX 70 continues to be grabbed more often
than the others on my way out the door....


Subject:	My new toy
Sent:	Monday, January 10, 2005 13:06:02
From:	Al Amaro (
Just got a xmas gift....a meade computerized-type telescope.  I am a
REAL Beginner at this.  New help setting it up.  Can you guide me
towards folks in Manhattan I can contact for help?  I know there is a
star gazers' group here but don't know their names or e-address. 
Frustrated Al
Mike here: First, PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page as your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the SPAM-like Subject Line.
First suggestion which I always make for new owners: read the manual, three times, indoors. Play with the telescope indoors until you are familiar with all the setup steps. As to groups, I'm sure there are probably many groups or clubs. If you are near Hayden Planetarium, you could check with them. Also, the Sky and Telescope web site has info on groups.


Thank you very much for your tips.  I'm embarking on your suggestions.

Subject:	ETX 105 AT hopping problems
Sent:	Monday, January 10, 2005 12:27:56
From:	Toby Spears (
Love the site....I have had my etx scope 105 for about 5 months so I am
a newbie and not very mechanically inclined.  I have looked everywhere
on this site regarding this specific problem with slewing.  When I align
the scope, either in polar or alt/az mode, it has no problem slewing to
the correct star or object.  It is when it is tracking the star or
object, it hops on the declination (up/down ?) axis.  The object will
start to move downward from center (about a quarter of an inch) and then
the tracking will takeover and hop the object up to center again.  It is
not smooth at all for taking long exposures.  I was just wondering if
you ever heard of a problem like this?  I called Meade customer service
and the service rep. had never heard of this.  Any info would be greatly
appreciated.  Thanks.
Mike here: For any oddities with the Autostar, I always suggest doing a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES (don't forget to do both axes). That usually cures most problems. If that doesn't work, do a RESET. CALIBRATE, and TRAIN DRIVES. if that doesn't cure the problem it is likely something physical vs electrical. Possible simple solution: unlock the axis and move the telescope tube up and down several times. That might clean any dirt from the encoder. Let me know.
Subject:	Dr. Clay's Supercharge information
Sent:	Sunday, January 9, 2005 19:08:28
From:	Brian Starkey (
I just thought about this one. Wondering what your opinion is on buying
one of Meade's Sky assurance packages vs. getting my ETX90-AT


Mike here: Dr Clay's Supercharge is a tuneup. Meade's Sky Assurance is like insurance. Whether you will ever use it will depend on many factors.
Subject:	Eyepiece kits or package deals
Sent:	Sunday, January 9, 2005 18:58:24
From:	Brian Starkey (
I know this is a long shot, but are you aware of any kind of eyepiece
package deals or kits (not necessarily from Meade) that are available
for sale?

Thanks in advance, even if you aren't sure.

Mike here: OPT has kits. I think Orion does too.
Subject:	etx 90 pe or etx 105 ec
Sent:	Sunday, January 9, 2005 18:28:13
From: (
I can afford an etx 90 pe or an etx 105.
I don't know which one to buy.
I could use some advise.

Thanx in advance.
P.S. I love the website.
Mike here: Generally, you should purchase the largest aperture you can afford and that you will USE. The best telescope is the one that GETS used, not stay in the closet. The ETX-90 is slightly more portable than the ETX-105 but not by much. As the EC model vs the AT model vs the PE model, if you want GOTO capabilities with the Autostar you would have to purchase that for use with the EC model. You would also need a stable tripod. The AT model comes with the Autostar #497 and #884 standard, as does the new PE model. Of course, the new PE model adds some new stuff as well (see the Meade site for more info on the PE model).


Thanx for the quick response.
Is there any substantial difference with or without uhtc on the same
aperture scope. Example Etx 105 At with uhtc as compared to an etx 105
At without or a nexstar 4.

Thanx in advance.
Mike here: UHTC effectively adds about an inch of aperture to the light that reaches your eye. Definitely worth the extra cost.
Subject:	power supply information
Sent:	Sunday, January 9, 2005 09:21:54
From:	Bernardino Coto (
My name is Bernar Coto, from Canary Islands (Spain). I bought recently
an  ETX 125 and i have one doubt about the DC power supplier. I have one
12 V DC  and it looks to work fine. but it is 500 mA (amperes). is it
enough? need i something higher? can make this some dammage to the
telescope? I hope you can help me. thank you very much
Mike here: You will need 1.5A for reliable operation. It must also have the proper polarity (center pin positive).
Subject:	Problem w/ brand new ETX-90EC
Sent:	Saturday, January 8, 2005 22:15:22
From:	Mark Spirko (
I just purchased an ETX-90EC today. I was excited to get back into
astronomy after many years and can't wait to get my daughter into it

Unfortunately, after getting my new 'scope home and out of the box (I
was like a kid in a candy store) there seemed to be a problem. I put the
batteries into the 'scope and turned it on......nothing.

I figured, okay, maybe there's something I am missing. So I opened the
handy dandy booklet and followed the "Getting Started" instructions. I
made sure the batteries were in right and the controller was plugged in
to the handbox port......still nothing. I even tried eight more
batteries just to be on the safe side and also tried the #497 Autostar
controller instead of the one from the box........surprise, surprise,
still nothing. Except for taking the whole unit back to the store where
I got it (This includes the 'scope box and the seperate tripod box) and
trudge through the New England (I live in New Hampshire) snow, are there
any other suggestions you could give me?

I even went as far as removing the bottom cover to expose the
electronics to check for anything obvious (ie. broken wires and such)
but didn't see anything.


Mark Spirko
Mike here: Since you didn't read the manual BEFORE inserting the batteries, did you put them in backwards? Does the power LED illuminate when you power on? When you tried the standard handcontroller, was there a short movement of the telescope when you powered on? If no power is evident then I suggest you do the exchange.
Subject:	ETX-125
Sent:	Saturday, January 8, 2005 18:27:51
From: (
My name is Irvine Clifford and I just bought an ETX-125. I also have
your book and love your website! I hope you can answer a question on my
scope. I went to attach a T-adapter to the photo port and the ring on
the scope spins inside the optical tube. I would think it should be
tight in the tube. Can you tell me if this is normal? Or if its possible
to lock the ring so it does not turn. The photo ring actually has some
sideways play in the housing and if I were to attach a camera it would
be quite loose. I would appreciate any help you can give me.

Irvine Clifford
St Croix Virgin Islands
Mike here: This is NOT normal. I suggest returning it to your dealer for an exchange.
Subject:	what telescope?
Sent:	Saturday, January 8, 2005 14:40:22
From:	Fotis (
Iam Fotis.Iam from Greece.I would like to ask your opinion about what
telescope to purchase.I will buy one of these two models:  Meade
etx-125EC UHTC   or Meade lxd75 sn6 UHTC.Its my first telescope and i
want it for a lifetime.Please advise me from your experience which one
to buy.(better image,overall ratings etc.) 

thank you and congratulations for your web pages.
Mike here: They are both excellent telescopes. You may find the ETX, with its longer focal length, a better telescope for planetary views. On the other hand, the 6"SN is a fine deep sky telescope. So, between those two, which one you get might depend upon how you want to use it. Of course, they can both do well on planets and DSOs. Then there is the mount; some people are somewhat intimidated by the GEM mount of the LXD and therefore find the Alt/Az mount of the ETX much simpler to learn and use.


Thank you for your reply.I would like to ask you if these two telescopes
can do both well on city sky observations(lights etc).Why the lxd is
much heavier than etx?Here in Greece the etx is 200 euros more
expensive.Are both of them fine for observations in earth?(you
know,mountains,landscapes etc..)I search for opini-ons and reviews for
these two on internet and iam a little confused.Its a difficult
choice.So the lxd is very good for planets and also for deep sky
observations.The etx is more portable and easier to use if i understand
well.Maybe the best choice for me is the lxd.The etx has more
magnification,but the lxd has bigger diameter(gathering more light).I
dont know yet.Thank you for your advice.

Fotis, Greece.
Mike here: Yes, the LXD mount is heavier: more metal. And yes, the ETX is more portable. Yes, the SN has more light gathering power than the ETX but it is a more "wide field" instrument. Yes, they can both be used for terrestrial objects.
Subject:	Many Thanks from the UK.
Sent:	Saturday, January 8, 2005 13:51:01
From:	je004c3624 (
I have been regularly visiting this page for the past 6 months and have
greatly appreciated its input.

Can I thank you for the time you put into what is a valuable resource to
a real AMATEUR astronomer.

Many thanks

Yours Jason Evans,

Midlands, England, United Kingdom.

Subject:	ETX 125EC Motor Fault
Sent:	Saturday, January 8, 2005 01:50:19
From:	Chandramouli Mahadevan (
I have been using the ETX 125EC scope for the past 4 months. I seem to
run into a problem with the "tracking feature" of the scope. Here is
what I have been doing.

a. Two Star Alignment - Successful
b. Go to "Star / Planet" - Successful
c. Track - Seems to work for a few minutes. Then the tracking stops with "Motor Fault"

I need some help to solve this problem. I live in Bangalore, India.
Getting things done from Meade US, is virtually impossible. Can you send
me list of "things to do" to help me out. I have checked out a few
posting on your website. I have tried the "reset, re-calibrate,
re-train" route. I end up with the same "motor fault" issue.

Is this problem specific to ETX scopes; or is this common to all Meade
scopes ? Is LX200GPS better, on this front ? What is your recommendation?

Thanks for your patience, time and kind consideration.

Chandramouli M.
Mike here: What power source are you using? Have you done the proper rotations to the hardstop when setting up in the initial HOME position?


1. I tried using Duracell batteries; it works fine until I

        a. Two start alignment
        b. Go To Saturn

It tracks Saturn for 2-3 minutes; then I get the motor fault

I have also tried the same steps with the #541 AC Adapter. The results
are the same.

2. Proper Rotations to hard stop .... Yes, I have done this.
Mike here: Something is interrupting the communications. Two thoughts: bad cable or connection, or dirty encoders. Try reversing the Autostar cable. Do the "grease redistribution" trick: unlock both axes and move the telescope by hand, back and forth, hardstop to hardstop, several times.


Thank you. I will try this and let you know what I find. Regards,
Chandramouli M. 

Subject:	Re: Hi I'm looking for the Doskocil web site - any suggestions ?
Sent:	Friday, January 7, 2005 17:29:02
From: (
Thanks for all your help - I have located the one I want.

Subject:	ETX-90 Az drive failure (motor unit fault)
Sent:	Thursday, January 6, 2005 06:39:01
From:	John Hall (
The last time I used my 18-month old ETX-90, the Az drive (horizontal)
was completely dead. As soon as I tried the Align procedure, only the
Alt drive would move, and I got a "Motor Unit Fault" message straight
away. I tried a Calibrate, but this also gave the MUF message. Changing
the power source made no difference.

Having carefully removed the telescope base, the fault was immediately
obvious. The two-pin connector to the Az drive motor had simply dropped
off the circuit board! I reconnected it, and all was well again!

It seems that the connector is (mechanically) quite a sloppy fit on the
two pins. The same applies to the four-pin connector adjacent to it. If
this happens again, I might consider using a dab of soft glue to hold
them on. If this is a common problem, perhaps you have some advice about
the best way to keep these connectors in place?

And from our hardware expert:
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
By all means the best solution and one actually even being used by Meade
finally is a drop of good silicon applied onto the connector once in
place; it is totally inert as far as current is concerned and not only
keeps the plug in place but also provides a barried against moisture!

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain)
Thanks for the advice. I don't plan to take the ETX on any travels, so I
will probably leave it now since it is all re-assembled, back on its
tripod, and working fine. But I'll know what to do if this ever happens
again. It seems odd that Meade decided to use a blob of silicone on some
of the connectors, but not these.

Kind regards,

Subject:	ETX use in Southern Hemisphere
Sent:	Thursday, January 6, 2005 03:24:46
From:	Alan Meredith (
I'm sure this must have been asked before, but I couldn't find it in my
quick search of the archives..

If I buy a Meade ETX-90 PE in the US and take it back with me to New
Zealand, will the autoalignment and GoTo functions work in the Southern
Hemisphere (eg is there an initialisation question of "Are you in the
North or South Hemisphere", or "what are your current geographical

Given the mobility of people these days, I'd be very surprised if
something was being built that couldn't be set up to work anywhere on
the globe, but I'd rather avoid a rude shock, especially with Meade
trumpeting about its LevelNorth technology.

Lastly, do you or anyone have any recommendations as to who to buy from
in the Pasadena (or North LA) area.

Many thanks for such an informative website

Alan Meredith
New Zealand 
Mike here: Yes, it will work. For more on Southern Hemisphere alignments, see the "Alignment Tips" section of the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. As to a dealer, Woodland Hills Camera is a reputable dealer.
Subject:	re: Vertical Lock on ETX90EC
Sent:	Wednesday, January 5, 2005 21:55:46
From:	Richard Seymour (
For what it's worth, my ETX90EC arrived with three degrees (measured)
of pure vertical slop (i could lift and lower the barrel -before-
meeting any resistance from the clamped axis).

It still gave decent GoTo's.

Then i opened the Dec-lock/motor fork covers and inspected.
The worm carrier could flex the plastic of the fork by 0.4 mm.
There was a plastic stiffening web nearby, so i inserted a 
small scrap of manila folder material as a shim.

I also moderately degreased the clutch area (not -dry-, just -less-)
and reassembled it.

Result: vertical slop reduced to one degree, GoTo's arrived within 
10 arcminutes or better (1/6th of 26mm's field of view).

That was 5 years ago... inspection alse revealed that the plastic
sleeve bearings for the DEC axis were widened a bit, but that's
not having too much effect upon accuracy.  Someday i may wrap
a thin shim around that shaft.  Some day.

See Mike's Telescope Tech Tips page, and look at the various 
Tune Up articles.

have fun
From:	Stanley Fisher, Ph.D. (
Thanks for the information.  If I just lightly try to lower or lift the
barrel it holds pretty solid.  It looks as if I leaned on it much to
hard trying to adjust the finder.  Again, thanks.

Subject:	re: Orion vs. Meade "Maks"
Sent:	Wednesday, January 5, 2005 21:46:37
From:	Richard Seymour (
So you're comparing a 3" scope to a 5" scope.
(that's why the theoretical limiting magnifications differ)

The -fair- comparison would be the ETX125 to the Orion.
Then you're seeing the premium added by the UHTC and Autostar.

The old rule-of-thumb is "aperture, aperture, aperture"

You're seeing the choice of "aperture" versus "automation" 
when you're trying to maintain a fixed price-point.

For dollars-devoted-to-optics, buy the Orion (or an 8" Dobsonian)
For dollars-deverted-to-automation, buy the Meade.

It's a choice -you- have to make.  We can't decide which one
(light gathering vs. ease-of-use) is more important to -you-.

have fun


From:	Ken Bernardo (
Thanks for your input/insight!  I ended up going with the ETX-125 w/
UHTC.  Great price ($889.00 at )!  I actually
ordered it through and they matched the other
site's price and included the LPI software (liked the fact we have one
of their stores close by in case there's an issue & 30 day return

QUESTION: Do you suggest using Meade's 12V adapter for AUX power or will
a Radio Shack 12V adapter work?   Thanks again!!

Ken B. - Charlotte, NC
Mike here: OPT is also including the LPI with ETX AT models. The RS power supply will work with the proper connector and if it is 1.5A.
Subject:	ETX-90 on a DS mount
Sent:	Wednesday, January 5, 2005 19:46:22
From:	Allen Sellick (
I have written you a few times in the past and I need your help again. I
took a ETX-90 spotting scope and put it on my old DS 60 mount with
Autostar. My question is in the Autostar set up do I put that it is a DS
because it a DS mount or a ETX because of the OTA. Also for home
position I guess I just point it north and level. I got the idea from a
article on your web site and put it all together over a weekend. The
first time I took it out it worked great tracked the for 35 minuets. But
now its not that good. So I did a recalibrate and new setup. now we are
getting snow so I cant see if it worked.

Well thank you for your time and all the hard work you put into this
Allen from Oregon
Mike here: Match the mount since that is where the communications and gears are.
Subject:	collimation
Sent:	Wednesday, January 5, 2005 14:22:37
From: (
Great site, I've been a regular visitor ever since purchasing my 105.
Most of my questions have answers somewhere within your site's pages.
There sure are a lot of knowledgeable folk out there willing to share
what they know.

My question is this - It's often stated that Catadioptrics like the 105
require more frequent re-collimation than other types of telescope.
Assuming normal handling and usage, how long roughly before I would
expect to notice that my scope needs attention?

Keep up the good work.
Ian Belcher
Mike here: Actually, the ETX Maksutov-Cassegrain models normally require very INFREQUENT collimation.
Subject:	$99 eyepiece special
Sent:	Wednesday, January 5, 2005 11:49:49
From:	Ronald Liebman (
I just purchased an ETX-105, but I can't find anyone offering a deal on
eyepieces.  A full set of Series 4000 Super Plossls seems to go for
about $275-300.  Have I missed something?  It seems like a better option
is just to select three $30-$50 Series 4000 eyepieces (from dealers or to supplement the 26mm that came with the scope.

Mike here: Meade had a $99 Eyepiece Deal (several nice eyepieces) for their 30th Anniversary but that expired MONTHS ago. Today, if you want to buy a set, check various dealers for bundles.


Thanks, Mike.

Subject:	Hi I'm looking for the Doskocil web site - any suggestions ?
Sent:	Wednesday, January 5, 2005 10:36:27
From: (
Thanks Dave
Mike here: I don't know if they have one. But many dealers carry their cases; check the Astronomy Links and Accessory Reviews: Cases pages for more info.
Subject:	Multi coating on eyepieces
Sent:	Tuesday, January 4, 2005 18:57:29
From:	Evert D. Carter III (
I used to have a full set of Brandon oculars that I had to sell for tax
purposes back in 1977.  What do you think about the argument that multi
coating of eyepieces creates a narrow light scatter reducing contrast of
bright images.  The reason I question this is because when I viewed Mars
with my ETX 90 in August year before last it was a bright ball until it
was filtered with an orange filter. Brandon brags it will not multi coat
their eyepieces because it changes nothing and the contrast is better
with just coated optics. Thanks        Skip Carter  
Kent Washington
Mike here: I'm no expert in coatings but adding a filter to an eyepiece will reduce the brightness of objects, making details more easily visible, especially with a bright object like Mars was at its closet approach. Good coatings should enhance the light reaching your eye.
Subject:	Determining Manufacture Date On ETX-90
Sent:	Monday, January 3, 2005 09:54:27
From:	Joe Hansen (
I've read discussions regarding the changes made in the manufacture of
the ETX125 (metalized, etc.). Do you know if there have been any changes
in manufacturing of the ETX90? Barring any sort of "date stamp" I'm not
sure when my scope was actually built. My only clues have been carton
labels (I have an AT label from 8/04 over an EC label from 1/04) and a
"QA label" on the top of the OTA with an inspector number (BTW - newbie
question: does this QA label need to stay on the top of the scope?) My
concern is that the scope may have been returned to Meade and resent out
as an AT. Thanks for any light you can shine on my situation.
Joe Hansen,
Mesa, AZ
Mike here: Search the Site for "manufacture date"; you'll get lots of hits. As to EC vs AT, that was just a marketing change, with different options bundled. There were no physical changes that I'm aware of.


Thanks again Mike. I found a reference to the date on the inner carton
label. Great site and great little scope! Keep up the great work...

Subject:	ETX70 or 90?
Sent:	Monday, January 3, 2005 02:44:09
From:	john coxshott (
I have spent 3 weeks trying to decide.  Do I buy an ETX70 and 3XBarlow,
or an ETX90?
Yours truly,
John Coxshott ( Scotland, UK)
Mike here: If you can afford the higher price, go for the ETX-90. Of course, that is assuming that you don't need a short focal length, wide field, refractor. Your decision should also be based on HOW you intend to use the telescope. Read my ETX-70 report linked from the top of the current "ETX-60, ETX-70" feedback page.


Thanks!  Will do.  Regards,

John Coxshott

Subject:	general questions about etx0ec
Sent:	Sunday, January 2, 2005 17:07:58
From:	Dan LaRoche (Dan.LaRoche@THET.NET)
I  am a self proclaimed newbie to astronomy with a small telescope. I
need some help before I lug everything out for a night of viewing.

One question I have is when the telescope is set to 0 on the dec setting
circle, should the tube be level when I put a level on it? If it is not,
should I reset it?

Another question...Are the Meade Plossl eyepieces quality eyepieces or
should i replace them?

Thank you very much,
Daniel LaRoche
Mike here: See the FAQ page for adjusting the declination scale. It is not critical; in fact I usually just "eyeball" the tube leveling. The eyepieces are fine.
Subject:	Meade ETX-90 "Spotting Scope"
Sent:	Sunday, January 2, 2005 12:18:55
From:	Tom Connors (
I just ordered this scope and plan to use it 50% for spotting (wildlife)
and 50% for astro.  Comes with the 26mm eyepiece.  I would like to get
sharp pictures with my Dimage Z1 camera (or at least try to).  I know I
need to purchase a mount of some sort and wanted to get your opinion on
what might work best (or if I need to upgrade my camera - I'm thinking
about a Dimage A200).  Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Tom Connors
Mike here: You should be able to get nice shots. See the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page for more on attaching the camera and more.
Subject:	Autostar Aux Port
Sent:	Sunday, January 2, 2005 09:55:10
From:	Stewart Finley (
There are several (non-Astro) GPS packages on the market for use with
PC's.  The price point is about 1/2 of what the best prices for systems
like StarGPS retail for.   The ones I've found thus far have a USB
interface.  COSTCO for example carries a product called "Point to Point
GPS" for $87.00.  The package has an external GPS receiver as well as
Rand McNally Street mapping.

Question:  Will a standard USB to RJ45 cable work properly to interface
such devices directly to the Autostar for use without a PC?     The
wiring information link posted on your site 
( ) suggests that it would
as the port is a standard RS232.   The next question that comes up is
"Would software like as Astrostar recognize such a device attached to
the PC?  If so, some readers might be interested in a (lower priced)
tool that could help get them to (and from) their dark sky location and
then be employed to assist with scope set-up and alignment (directly
interfaced vs. manually).  This is seemingly a better solution than
using a handheld GPS unit.  I believe most handheld GPS units have NEMA
183 output and am not aware of a ready-made cable on the market for that


Huntington Beach, CA
Mike here: The Autostar "PC" port is RS-232, not USB. So you would need a converter to connect to a USB device. As noted on my writeup of the StarGPS-LX (Helpful Information: Autostar Info page), a PC is not required for it.

And more on attaching a GPS unit:

Subject:	AstroGPS
Sent:	Sunday, January 2, 2005 11:10:08
From:	Colin Dawson (
I thought you'd be interested in the latest update that I've done to the
AstroGPS utility.  I've added direct Autostar support.  So for those
people who've got Handheld GPS's and are able to connect them to a PC,
they can now update the Autostar, position and time, directly at without
the need to buy one of those expensive GPS's that attach to the


Colin Dawson

Subject:	How noisy should the motors be?
Sent:	Sunday, January 2, 2005 09:42:42
From: (
Firstly, thanks very much for your informative site - I used it for many
months before purchasing a 105, and found it of great help - I do hope
you have a deal with Meade as you must help to sell the ETX!

Anyway, I've had the scope for around two months, sadly there have not
been many viewing nights but what I have had chance to see has been

I was just perusing your site (as you do) when I noticed a posting from
someone regarding a noisy motor:

	Subject:    ETX Azimuth Gearbox Problem
	Sent:   Tuesday, December 7, 2004 20:21:47
	From:   Stephen Streit (
	I was out last night getting ready to watch the lunar\Jupiter
	occultation (excellent show). Everything was normal I plugged everything
	in but decided I wasn't going to look at anything else but the moon
	since it was already 3:40AM local time so I didn't do an alignment and
	the moon isn't hard to find :-). Anyway I went to slew along the azimuth
	axis and my ETX-90AT made this horrible sound kind of like a coffee
	grinder and a car starter on its last legs.

The thing motor makes this sound all of the time!

So, should the motor be 'silent'........I've always wondered why it
makes such a loud noise, but just assumed that this was normal (although

I'm wary about unscrewing any plates to investigate the motor...but how
quiet should it be?

Sorry for such a mundane question :)


Mike here: The drives do make a sound when tracking or slewing. When tracking in Alt/Az mode, the two drives are running, one then the other, as they "step" the telescope through its movements. Depending upon your expectations, this may or may not be "quiet".
Subject:	Orion vs. Meade "Maks"
Sent:	Sunday, January 2, 2005 09:03:32
From:	Ken Bernardo (
I'm torn!

I've been researching and researching.I really like the keep it simple
approach to Meade's AutoStar GOTO control and the ability to hook up to
auxiliary power when out in a field, as well as computer hook ups on the
ETX-90PE w/UHTC Coatings (does this feature really matter?)  And I
really like the Electronic Magnetic North Sensor feature too.  Have you
had any feedback on these new scopes by Meade?  $745.00  / or there's
the ETX-90AT Astro Telescope  w/ UHTC & w/ LPI for $645.00.

On the Orion SkyView Pro 127mm Mak-Cass, they bost. "it's only natural
that we offer it with the best new mid-size equatorial mount on the
market, the SkyView Pro. It is a telescope for the enthusiast who
appreciates the practicality of a compact scope, yet wants the best
features and performance available for the money. In a market flooded
with "Maks for dummies," replete with plastic parts and with gadgetry
that promises more than it delivers, it's nice to know you can still get
a serious telescope that puts optical and mechanical quality above all
else. And for a terrific price.  Forget those plastic-laden gizmo scopes
or that $2000 "buyer's remorse" special.  I've heard Orion scopes are
built nicely.  Any thoughts here?  $698.00


Objectives:  Meade is at 90mm vs. Orion at 127mm

Highest theoretical magnification:  Meade is at 250x vs. Orion at 300x

There's not much difference in price b/w these two, but I'm looking for
quality and want to make sure I enjoy the scope I select for years to
come and able to see "Deep sky objects".  HELP!  SUGGESTIONS??

Ken B.

Charlotte, NC
Mike here: Generally, (my opinion) Meade, Celestron, Orion (in that order). UHTC has been tested (independently of Meade) to add an effective 1" of aperture to the light that reaches your eye; so yes, it is worth it and recommended. As the new PE models, they are still not quite shipping in quantities, so no feedback yet.


What are your thoughts on Meade's proprietary "Level-North Technology
module" - that basically takes the place of using a compass...just
wonder how reliable it will be?  Will I gain much more (or is really
worth the $$) to go from the ETX-90 to the ETX-125?  I really appreciate
your advice in advance.

Mike here: I have yet to try a PE model; still waiting for one.
Subject:	Vertical Lock on ETX90EC
Sent:	Saturday, January 1, 2005 20:08:41
From:	Stanley Fisher, Ph.D. (
When I tighten my Vetrical Lock on my ETX90 if I press down I will still
get some vertical movement.  Is this to be expect or does my vertical
lock not as tight as it should be?

Stanley Fisher, Ph.D.
Mike here: What do you mean by "some"? Since the lock is a friction lock, pushing on the tube can cause the lock to slip. Depending on how hard you push, the amount can be small (less than a degree) or large (several degrees). But since you are normally not supposed to push on the tube when the axes are locked, this is normally not a problem. The "slippage" can be a problem when adding extra weight to the tube however.


Thanks for responding so quickly.  Thye slippage occured when I was
trying to alighn my finder eyepiece.  Trying to get the two tubes
alighned I would sometimes be leaning on the OTA.  The slippage of
course would place the object in the OTA one or two degrees off center. 
Have you any techniques for aligning the finder eyepiece?
Mike here: Aligning is a challenge. First, don't "lean" on the OTA. Find a good terrestrial object that is at least a mile away. Center it in the telescope eyepiece. Then use the finderscope mounting screws to move the object near the X in the crosshairs. It is usually easier to work with either the front or rear screws, not both.


Thanks...I'm going to work with that a little bit until I get it down pat.

Subject:	Difference between North's
Sent:	Saturday, January 1, 2005 16:48:23
From:	Michael Auton (
I got an ETX70 for xmas and loving it so far! I wasn't expecting the
pictures from Hubb;e etc  but when I first viewed Saturn I was
impressedJ even if it did look a little fuzzy.

Anyway to my question

I have just read a post about a guy (David Schramm) having issues with
lining up his telescope. One interesting point is that you say "are you
lining up to Magnetic North or True North"

I understand that there is a difference in the two, but which one should
I be lining up to? Im currently lining upto magnetic north with a
compass. If I should be lining up against True North then how do I do

Im currently using the Easy alignment of two-star Alt/AZ.

Many thanks for your help.

M Auton (England, UK)
Mike here: Magnetic North is where your compass points. True North is where the Earth's rotational axis points. Since the telescope tracking is done to compensate for the Earth's rotation you have to use True North. Depending upon your location these can differ by up to about 20 degrees. Use Polaris (the "North Star") to indicate where True North lies; it is less than one degree from the Celestial North Pole.
Subject:	re: Can I use the 506 cable for the ETX-125
Sent:	Saturday, January 1, 2005 00:40:22
From:	Richard Seymour (
The 506 cable/converter is very different electronically
than the (truly) cheesy 505 cable.

The 506 has active electronics in the mid-cable lump,
and converts rs232 signals to bus-addressed packets on
the Autostar's AUX bus.

The 497 Autostar has an rs232 capable receiver inside the
Autostar itself, so it -can- use just simple wires to talk
to a COM-port-equipped PC.

Many 3rd parties also make 505-equivalent cables at prices
beginning at about $7.  No one but Meade makes the 506.
I think even Meade sells the 505 for $25 or less
(if you get the version -without- the CD of planetarium software)

The 497's programming indeed does not know how to talk to a 506.

have fun
From: (
Thanks all for the info....OPT in Oceanside Cali mercifully took my 506 and gave me the 505.  Works great.

Subject:	ETX Site Updates
Sent:	Friday, December 31, 2004 22:52:33
From: (
Here is a strange thing that has nothing to do with Astronomy:

Each time I get an email notification of a site update, I dutifully go
to the site to see what's new.  To my dismay, I usually find that there
have been no updates posted.  Only a day or two later, if I remember to
recheck your site, I can find the new updates...

What do you think is going on?  Are you posting the update notification
before the actual updates are posted?  Or is my computer so slow that
its taking it two days to 'download' the new updates?

Thought I'd mention this strange phenomenon to you just in case there is
a simple answer that can solve the riddle.

Wishing you a Happy New Year and keep up the good work.
Mike here: When you go to the Site, if you don't see the new date on the "Last Updated" date, do a web page refresh or reload in your browser. Some browsers may not automatically get new pages if they have cached the old one. The notification is not sent out until after the updates are loaded.

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