ETX-60, ETX-70, & ETX-80 USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 January 2006

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT, ETX-80AT-TC, and ETX-80BB. Additional information is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.


Subject:	Meade ETX70AT- Missing Autostar controller-Where can I find one?
Sent:	Monday, January 30, 2006 11:32:29
From:	Keith Proctor (kuproctor@dagosi.com)
I have acquired a ETX70AT that is missing the controller. Can you guide
me on locating a replacement? I am thinking the 494 or the 495 will work
on this scope. Any assistance you can provide I would be very grateful.
 
Thank you!
 
Keith Proctor
Mike here: A #497 will also work. Check eBAY or contact your dealer; a new one will cost about $100.
Subject:	ETX-70: Temperature dependent astigmatism
Sent:	Monday, January 30, 2006 02:55:35
From:	Gerd F. Herzogenrath (gfh@fh-furtwangen.de)
got an ETX-70 from Lidl/Germany as Xmas gift. Performed well so far,
used it only in my heated office at normal room temperatures, peering
thru decent window glasses. In- and out-of-focus diffraction figures
were nearly equal and circular, indicating decent object glass; so far,
so good.

Last weekend I used it outside in the cold (~20F) for the first time and
noticed a strong case of astigmatism. First night I left it out for
about one hour before starting my session. The circular diffraction
pattern had turned into an oblong ellipse, about 1:6 axis ratio, looked
like the orbit of a long-period comet. Going thru focus changed
orientation of major axis by 90, indicating a strong case of
astigmatism.

Next night I checked out immediately when I brought the scope out -
figure was circular again, but within about a quarter of an hour affairs
changed back to the strongly elliptical aspect - quite obviously a
temperature effect. I loosened the front retaining ring of the object
glass to relieve it from possible mechanical strain, to no avail.

So what can I do? I'm a little hesitant to disassemble the scope before
getting any idea what to do next. I would be very grateful for any
ideas.

Thank you very much, and thank you, Mike, for this great site!

Gerd F. Herzogenrath
Mike here: I would not disassemble the telescope as you can make things worse. It does sound like you are experiencing a temperature problem. Have you let the telescope cool down to the ambient temperature after taking it outdoors? I don't have any firsthand experience with that temperature and the ETX-70 but a common rule of thumb is 30 minutes for each 1" of aperture.

And:

thank you very much for your reply. The first night I had it out for
about one hour before starting to observe, but I discontinued the
session after five minutes, because of the astigmatism. According to
your reply I should have waited at least half an hour more - I'll try
this next weekend, weather permitting, and give a report of the outcome.

Thanks again, Gerd

Subject:	astigmatism in ETX 70 AT
Sent:	Saturday, January 28, 2006 13:08:06
From:	H.Luethen (h.luethen@12move.de)
I got me an ETX 70 AT and was quite frustrated with image quality. Stars
were badly astigmatic and with Saturn the ring was barely visible.
Tonite I looked through the rear port using the 45 deg prism and got a
nice look of Saturn (Cassini division visible) and could split Castor !!
Going back to the flip mirror port resulted in a view as bad as ever.

I am not sure for the reason? Apparently the mirror is glued to some
plastic holder. Maybe this causes tension and which imposes the
astigmatism? The night was also quite cold, maybe differential thermal
expansion contributes to the effect?

Ever hears anything like this. Any idea how to cure the scope?

Hartwig Luethen
Mike here: If the flip mirror is not flat, either due to a manufacturing defect or perhaps thermal problems, then the image could deteriorate.
Subject:	Edd
Sent:	Tuesday, January 24, 2006 17:29:42
From:	eddasci@peoplepc.com
" What are the limits for an ETX70-AT."
 
Hi. I have, and still own a ETX70-AT. I have used it for the past year
or so, and also photographed through it. One day, I started to think
that I was outgrowing the ETX, and wanted to go to the more pro. type
telescopes(LX200GPS). Yes, I,was astonished by the performance, of the
new telescope, but I still had faith, and did not wan't to give up on my
ETX70-AT. I have previously browsed the web for snapshots of different
planets,  nebulae, or even galaxies, but I have seen no pictures, other
than the sun and moon, taken by the ETX7-AT. My question,... is the
ETX70-AT capable of taking pictures(Meade LPI) of nablulae, galaxies,
and etc.
 
Thanks.
Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Site Home Page; your message was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the ambiguous subject entry. Thanks for understanding. As to ETX-70 astrophotography, check the Guest Astrophotography galleries; you will find several examples of Deep Sky astrophotography with the ETX-70.
Subject:	ETX80-AT broken declination knob
Sent:	Tuesday, January 24, 2006 15:33:05
From:	Bruce Crawford (mail@redlester.net)
Have just received my ETX80 today, and have this same problem. Must have
affected an entire batch, and some of them have come across the Atlantic
- I bought from Sherwoods here in England. It's going back tomorrow.
 
Regards
Bruce

Subject:	ETX-80-AT T Adapter
Sent:	Monday, January 23, 2006 04:26:34
From:	LJacobs106@aol.com (LJacobs106@aol.com)
Just purchased an ETX-80 and really haven't had much opportunity to try
it out yet.  I am a new at this but have always had an interest.  The 80
was largest my budget would allow.  Purchased at Ritz and while there
the manager had a 70-AT on display.  When talking about photography
attachments, he pulled out a 64-T adapter and screwed it on the back of
the 70.  After reading the manual it shows using the 64-ST T adapter. 
The 64-T seems like a much better device that the simple 64-ST.  I plan
on using my Cannon AE-1 to try some astrophotography.

I guess my question is "Is there any reason I can't use the 64-T with
the ETX-80?"  The 80 seems pretty new and it's hard to find a lot of
information on it.  I tried call Meade, but I guess with the "after
Christmas rush" is seems easier to get the White House than Meade.
 
Thanks in advance,
 
Larry 
Mike here: Keep in mind that a heavy camera attached at the rear port will unbalance the telescope so you would need to add a counterweight to the front of the telescope. Also, a large camera will interfere with movements of the telescope in some orientations due to the form arms. I suggest you experiment to ensure that your camera won't cause you problems before purchasing the adapter. As to the difference, I don't have the ST model so can't say whether that would be better or not. Lastly, remember that the ETX-80 will not let you do long duration astrophotography with a camera shooting through the telescope so you will be limited to photography bright objects like the Moon and brighter planets.

And:

Thank you for your advice and quick reply.  Have you used a 64-T on an
ETX 60 or 70 (they also call for a 64ST)?  One of the reasons why I
wanted to use the 64-T was that it has a longer shaft and places the
camera body further away from the arms.  This should allow for a larger
range of movement.  The other was that the 64-T seems to contain
elements whereas the ST appears to be only an interface ring which
accommodates the camera's t-ring.

Your response generated another question.... You said the ETX-80 won't
do long duration exposures.  I thought that the Autostar's sidereal
capability would track an object.  Is the problem that it is not
accurate enough for longer exposures?   I hadn't thought about needing a
counterweight but sounds like good advice.
 
Thanks again,
 
Larry
Mike here: Nope, haven't connected my T-64 to my ETX-70 but getting the camera body further out will definitely require a counterweight. As to long duration astrophotography, yes, the ETX Autostar objects, sometimes accurately for hours FOR VISUAL PURPOSES. For photographic purposes you need much more accurate tracking AND you have to mount in polar mode (so you will need a wedge or a different tripod for the ETX-80).

And:

THANK YOU!!!!!
 
Larry

Subject:	broken declination knob
Sent:	Sunday, January 22, 2006 14:30:30
From:	cory reder (usul03@yahoo.com)
I got a etx-80AT-BB from the discovery store online.This is my first
telescope,, anyway, my scope too had the broken declination knob. All i
did was glue the piece back together and screwed it back in. Had the
problem with the creep after slewing, but the calibrate/train drive 
proceedure, and that worked great. It took me awhile to get the eazy
alignment procedure down, but i have a few tips for beginners(like me). 
#1. dont use the arrow keys to put the scope in the alz/az home
position. This will screw it up everytime.#2. when you get your
alignment star in the center of the eyepiece, make sure the scop is
tracking it for a  little bit, make sure the star stays centered. The
firs few times i tried to align i didnt make sure the scope was'nt
tracking right and it screwed up the alignment.#3 The 45 deg. prism
provided with the scope has a problem with hitting the telescope. This
will also screw up your alignment. Be aware when  the telescope has to
slew to an object near the zenith. ----anyway-- im so glad i found this
site,its great and i really wish i would have found it about a month
ago!lol!!--anyway for my first scope the ext 80 is decent, and am
enjoying it now that i've gotten an eyepiece and filter set from
celestron. --has anyone got an idea for keeping moisture(dew)from
forming on the lense???mine keeps fogging up!!help!!!!!i know it's cold,
and i am letting my scope cool down properly-but seems like after 2 1/2
hrs outside i'm all fogged up. ---again thanks for the site--
Mike here: Thanks for the report. As to a dewshield, see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page as you can easily make one.
Subject:	ETX 80AT problem
Sent:	Saturday, January 21, 2006 17:48:25
From:	Justin Fortinberry (jfortinberry@cox.net)
Hi! What a fantastic site you have. I have been looking around and
cannot find an answer to my question, however.

I just bought the scope today, and I think I am having an issue with the
motors. Using the autostar controller, I can turn the telescope
clockwise with no problems. However, at certain intervals (and when
slewing to an object after doing an alignment), while turning counter
clockwise, the scope stops moving. The motor continues to whir, and it
makes this awful clicking noise. Is this the stop? Am I not setting home
correctly? Any help you can give would be GREATLY Appreciated!
 
Thank you in advance!
Justin Fortinberry
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES from the Autostar menu?

And:

No, I have not tried that

I just took it out of the box and set it up inside. I figured that it
was not a software issue but a mechanical problem - It really sounds bad
when it starts clicking and the motor is still whirring and the scope
doesn't move. Is that the issue?
Mike here: Until you CALIBRATE MOTOR the Autostar is not aware of the output of the optical encoders on the drive mechanism. You need to do that first time and any time you change the power source, including swapping in fresh batteries.

And:

Ok I am now completed both the CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES and I
am still experiencing the same problem.

Thanks again for the quick reply! I appreciate your help and expertise.

Justin
Mike here: OK, now we can rule that out. There are two possible causes for what you may be experiencing: overtightening the axis lock OR a wire catching in the drive mechanism. Since the drive works for part of the movement I doubt that you are overtightening the lock. Which leaves some obstruction as the likely cause. You can open the base and have a look. Also, check for a loose gear mechanism. On the other hand, if you don't want to run the risk of invalidating the warranty you may want to just arrange an exchange with your dealer.

And:

Yes, thank you again for your quick response. I just took it outside and
attempted to get it to work, and have come to the conclusion that there
is something wrong with it internally. I am going to exchange it
tomorrow, assuming the dealer will accept a return...

Thanks again! I will be back to your sight often!

JF

Subject:	 
Sent:	Saturday, January 21, 2006 05:26:33
From:	danny (danboycreations@blueyonder.co.uk)
hi i have just purchased the etx 70 and the focus knob has come off i
have tried to put it back on to the short stumpy piece of metal on the
scope but it no longer adjusts the focus , is it repairable ?

i tried all over the net for info but could not find any this seems to
be the only site i could find dedicated to the meade scopes hope you can
help.

danny
Mike here: I just discovered that your message was returned to you as undeliverable due to the missing Subject entry. As noted on the ETX Home Page: "First time here? Be certain to read the Email Etiquette page BEFORE sending email to me." So PLEASE read the Email Etiquette page on the ETX Home Page for info on how to avoid this happening in the future. Thanks for understanding.
As to the focus knob, it is held on with a small set screw in the side of the knob. If that works loose then the knob can come off. You will need a small allen wrench to tighten the setscrew. The hold is deeply reset to be certain you insert the allen wrench all the way in.

And:

thanks for your reply yesterday and sorry for my email ettiquette,

the small piece of metal the focus knob is attached to , does not adjust
the focus at all when i turn it now , i seem to think i may have come
out of its mechanism inside the scope itself as it turn but makes no
adjustment whatsoever to the focus i will have a look inside when i get
some allen keys to fit , just wondered if this was a common problem or
have i caused serious damage to the scope

thanks
danny
barnsley , england

by the way the other night i was randomly looking at stars through a 5mm
eyepiece a nd saw what looke like a star (same size as every thing else
in the sky) but it was travelling very quickly through the sky too fast
for me to track i only saw it for a few seconds , you have probably seen
this many times  must have been a comet but it was just a speck no tail 
or nothing .
Mike here: It is possible that the shaft has become disconnected. Your best solution is to contact the dealer for an exchange; if you attempt to repair it by disassembling the OTA you will invalidate the warranty. You probably saw a satellite, perhaps even the International Space Station. Check out www.heavens-above.com for more on satellite visibility.
Subject:	re: selecting the country
Sent:	Friday, January 20, 2006 23:00:31
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
How to do it:
(a) tap [mode] to reach the menu, or if you're being prompted
 for the time/date, just tap [enter] until you reach
 (old firmware) Align/Easy  or
 (new firmware) "0 to Align, Mode for Menu"
(b) tap [mode] until you reach  Select/Setup or Select/Object
(c) if Select/Object, tap [scroll up] once to reach Select/Setup
(d) tap [enter], (Setup/Align) then [scroll down] until you see
(e) Setup/Site   tap [enter]
(f) the [scroll down] key will now cycle you through
 Site/Select, Site/Add, Site/Delete, Site/Edit

(g) both Site/Select and Site/Add can add cities.

Mike's suggestion to Reset will also bring up the site selection
dialog, but it's a bit drastic (and doesn't let you add all four
or five "short listed" sites)

have fun
--dick

Subject:	RE: etx70- focus shaft movement
Sent:	Friday, January 20, 2006 15:38:47
From:	David Hobson (davidhobson@utvinternet.co.uk)
Had a response from Meade Europe today.  It is their opinion that
lateral movement in the focus tube is a function of the etx 70, and
therefore the scope is in perfect working order.  As I mentioned
previously, I'll learn to live with it.  I've found that when focusing
in higher magnifications (>100x), it is necessary to adjust the
alignment of the scope, to the left or right, using the controller,
whilst changing focus thus enabling the object to remain in the FOV. 
I've gotten quite good at it now.  Keep up the good work, an excellent
site and an inspiration for all us out-door loving insomniacs!
Mike here: I haven't see that in my original model ETX-70.
Subject:	ETX-80BB
Sent:	Friday, January 20, 2006 07:39:29
From:	AliMurat.Dizdar@denizbank.com
I purchased an ETX80-BB. The control unit of this telescope is Autostar
#464. Can I control it with Autostar #497?
 
Thanks.
Murat DZDAR
Mike here: Although Meade's Autostar Update page doesn't reflect the ETX-80, I would assume you can. I don't know if 4.0Ef has the ETX-80 model though. If not, just set for the ETX-70 (eyepiece magnification, etc, calculations will be off though).
Subject:	Easy Align isn't ... can you help?
Sent:	Wednesday, January 18, 2006 18:24:11
From:	Ray Minter (rminter@minteredge.com)
Received an ETX-80-AT as a present and have been trying it out. Not sure
if it's not working right, or if I'm not working right. Have double
checked time, location and other set-ups  am using bubble level and
north star to start "Easy Align", am able to center two guide stars, and
get the confirmation message that alignment is completed. But when I ask
the scope to find Mars, Saturn, or anything else, the requested objects
do not come into the field of view, even when using just 16 power. I can
find all of the targets, including Mars and Saturn, but only manually by
searching in an area around where the scopes settles. However, the area
I must search and the time spent are both large very disappointing. I
thought I was getting a computer controlled scope.

Questions: Are the promises of true automatic object location
overstated, is my expectation too high, or is something wrong? How
accurate must my north and level set ups be? How accurate should the
ETX-80 locate objects? Does the internal computer calculate and then
compensate for any out of level, or off-north errors by using the
centering of the two guide stars? I would think that it would. In fact
the manual explains not to get too hung up on finding exact north. If
so, should the object not come into the field of view? I can
appreciate/accept that an exact center might not be achieved, but at
least close?

Just found your site, am impressed with the content, and would
appreciate your help?
 
Thanks,
 
Ray Minter
Tampa, FL
Mike here: The accuracy depends upon a multitude of factors but yes, the Autostar WILL put objects in the eyepiece. The Autostar can compensate for a lot of user errors (leveling, North, etc) but it needs an accurate set of starting parameters such as the Date, Time, Daylight Savings, location, etc. If moving objects like the planets are off then that usually indicates a time (or year) error. Be certain to use True North, not Magnetic North. When doing the alignments, how far off is the initial placement of the first alignment star?

And:

Yes, the site is great. And now I see why everyone compliments you on
your fast response. Wow! I will do some alignments this evening, weather
permitting, and provide some quantified input regarding how far off it
is. I am also going to try to pick up a simple spotting scope today ...
using recommendations I found on your site ... plus try out some more
careful leveling ideas.
Thanks,
Ray

And:

I installed a red-dote finder from Wal-Mart and after calibrating it
made sure I was lined up with Polaris. Then I spent a little extra time
making sure all was level before starting "Easy Align." The first
alignment star settled right on the edge of the field-of-view. The
second star was well within the field-of-view. I then found my first
"object-of-interest" and it was right on! I am impressed with the
telescope and your input which led me to pay more attention to
north/level. Will try it another night to make sure this wasn't just
luck.

Thanks for your help,

Ray Minter

Subject:	selecting the country
Sent:	Wednesday, January 18, 2006 13:05:08
From:	michael clitherow (mc006e7957@blueyonder.co.uk)
Wonder if you can help recently purchased the etx 70 at and after a
quick read went about setting it up but unfortunately selected the wrong
country.

Every time I try to run through the program again date, time, daylight
saving it then goes straight to align instead of selecting country.

I read about putting in another site as it stores six but have had no
luck yet. Is there anyway I can delete the country it is set on and
select again?

Many thanks
 
michael
Mike here: Do a RESET from the Autostar menu tree.
Subject:	New ETX 70-EC motor problem
Sent:	Wednesday, January 18, 2006 10:56:51
From:	David Stafford (davidstafford@carncrees.fsnet.co.uk)
Firstly, thanks for a great and informative site.

Today, I received my first ETX7-0-AT.  I unpacked it and set it up only
to find that the horizontal motor doesn't work properly.  It makes a
noise, but doesn't move the telescope.  The noise is the same whether
the RA lock is on or off.  Have I missed something obvious?  I have
notified the supplier, but I don't want to send it back if there's
something simple I can fix.

Regards
David Stafford
Cornwall, England. 
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTORS? Have you tried changing the slewing speed to something faster? Does the failure to move occur only when going through the alignment steps or when slewing?

And:

Yes and yes.  There's no movement at all clockwise or anti-clockwise.
Regards
David
Mike here: You can try reversing the arrow keys from the Autostar menu tree to see if the problem switches axes. But I doubt it. It sounds like a bad connection, broken/disconnected wire, etc.

And:

Many thanks for your help.  The supplier is taking the entire system
back for refund.  I have decided to go for an ETX90 or 105 instead as I
feel the quality may be better.
Regards
David

Subject:	broken knob on etx scopes
Sent:	Wednesday, January 18, 2006 08:08:32
From:	Robert Bentley (bobtbentley@hotmail.com)
My sister sent our family a Meade etx 60 for Christmas from Walmart.com.
I excitedly opened it and realized that there was a knob on the side of
the scope that was broken off. There was also a numbered metal ring that
was floating in the package that the knob secures. I don't know what
this knob is called (perhaps something to do with the declination?) but
I believe it is opposite the knob that tightens the up and down movement
of the scope.

I returned the scope and ordered the exact same one from Walmart. To my
utter surprise and disappointment when I received the scope the exact
same knob was broken off. I returned the scope and ordered an etx 80
from OpticsPlanet.com thinking I was finally going to be able to get an
intact scope. Well, I think you know where this story is going. I
received the scope and the exact same knob was broken! Has this happened
to anyone else but me? Is this a normal occurance? Is this knob
important? It looks like it measures the degrees of the scope or
something. I can't imaging I'm the only one plagued by this problem
since this has happened three times in a row. I think it must be a
packaging problem or something. If it was a useless knob or just for
looks I would just glue it back on and get on with it. I decided I'm
going to send back this last one and give it one more chance. I've been
having problems with customer service sending me a shipping label, so
we'll see what happens.
Mike here: Strange. But that knob should just screw on. Was it actually broken off or had it become unscrewed and fell off?

And:

The knob was actually broken off--there were no threads on the knob--you
could see the rough edge where the plastic had broken off on the knob
and on the part where it was supposed to screw in that was still on the
telescope body.  If this hasn't happened to anyone else I am
flabbergasted!  I wonder if the powers that be want me to buy a
different telescope!

Subject:	Re: ETX No sharp focus, New problem I've never seen on your site or other
Sent:	Monday, January 16, 2006 08:52:30
From:	Rick Yent (gdy3@yahoo.com)
I was using various 25 to 7 ep's a mixture of orion and meade plossl's
Orion expanse in 20 to 9 and an orion 7 ed. No when you can't make
Saturn focus clear on a pretty night with 25mm plossl something is up.
Looking down the tube last night I saw nothing out of the ordinary. I
did notice that the flip up barlow intruded a bit into the optical path.
but just a hair. I may remove it since it does intrude and acts as field
stop when in use(or it looks like it to me). I am really disapointed. I
looked to this scope as a replacement or travel version of my ST 80. If
it won't focus I guess it has to go back.

The only thing I can think is that the star images are very spikey. I
was thinking the retaining ring for the objective may be to tight. But
it seems to be more than that. Looking at Pleades I can't get any stars
across the field in sharp focus. I've run across situations where only
the center stars are in focus and the outer stars aren't, this is
usually the ep.

Drop me a line if anything pops up or if something comes to mind

thanks

Rick 
Mike here: Since I haven't looked through the new ETX-80 I can't say what the images should look like. Other than some chromatic aberration on my ETX-70, the images were OK. But I don't recall any similar problem reports from other ETX-80 users.
Subject:	ETX No sharp focus, New problem I've never seen on your site or other
Sent:	Monday, January 16, 2006 06:41:15
From:	Rick Yent (gdy3@yahoo.com)
Thanks for the enter/goto tip. My new ETX80-AT (this is a model that
keeps time, date and has the right angle focus knob)now goes to
flawlessly.

As I just bought the scope a couple of weeks ago I really hadn't had
time to really "see" things. I had it out on a couple of cloudy nights.
Last night was beautiful. I did some upgrades to the ETX which I hope to
document for your site. I started spending some time observing I noticed
that I couldn't get a sharp focus. I thought that the scope might be
warm; or I recently started wearing glasses for close work, I went and
got them. Nope still fuzzy. I went to my 8" dob to check on things,
Saturn was bright and beautiful. I played with the dob to let the ETX
cool down more, but after an hour and a half no luck. I tried various
ep's, no luck.

It seems like the scope is out of colimation. With all the mods and
tuneups on your site I don't think I've read that any scope in any price
range won't come into sharp focus. I don't believe I've read anything
about shims slipping from the lenses. Nor has anyone removed the
objectives to oil space,colimate or blacken the edges of an ETX 60, 70,
80! Since I haven't read your whole site. Has anyone had this problem?

Once again, thanks for all your help and running a great site.

Rick Yent
Annapolis MD
Mike here: Don't know why you can't get a sharp focus. Since the Dob was OK it doesn't appear that seeing was a problem. And since you used various eyepieces with the ETX-80 it doesn't appear that a particular eyepiece was bad or of low quality. But one question: what magnification were you trying with the ETX-80? As to any mods, no optical mods have been reported for the ETX refractor models.
Subject:	RE: etx70- Creep after slew
Sent:	Sunday, January 15, 2006 07:35:23
From:	David Hobson (davidhobson@utvinternet.co.uk)
Tried both Calibrate Motors and train drives.  Everything working well
now, thanks. I had been a bit reluctant to start "fiddling" but as you
know, it is simplicity itself and any errors in the procedure are easily
rectified by starting from scratch. 

Had a response from Meade regarding the focus tube moving when focusing
and moving the image from FOV,  they are suggesting something possibly
wrong with the flip mirror.  This doesn't make sense to me, but I am a
complete novice.  Could a problem with the flip mirror be related to the
problem I am having?  To their credit, they are offering to repair or
replace as necessary, but as I said before if this is a function of the
scope then I'll have to live with it.  I would be interested to see if
any other 70/80 owners are having this "problem" before returning what
is otherwise a perfectly functioning telescope.  

Had some nice views of Jupiter recently, showing a couple of cloud
bands.  Have taken a couple of reasonable photos of the moon with my
digital camera hand held.  Good enough that I'm think I'm coming down
with the astrophotography bug, sounds expensive to cure, but I'll start
gently!

Thanks again
David Hobson
Mike here: Glad the C/TD resolved it. As to the image shift when the focus is adjusted, I don't recall seeing that in my ETX-70. It does appear somewhat in the ETX-90/105/125 due to the moving mirror design but should be minimal.
Subject:	ETX-80AT-TC bad fit for tripod
Sent:	Monday, January 9, 2006 20:01:16
From:	Rubel Romero (rubel@mindspring.com)
Ah, my first Meade scope, I thought, and computerized no less. And the
price seemed nice enough for the little ETX-80 too, so now I wouldn't
have to lug out the 12" Dob when I wanted to just look up at the stars
or the moon. So imagine my consternation when I pull out the pieces,
stand the tripod up so I can attach the telescope to it, only to find
there is no lock ring to tighten, because there are no leg braces! But
there they are in manual - what gives? I'm not sure what tripod they're
showing in the documentation because I can't find one like it at their
site, but it certainly isn't the one that comes in the box. At least not
in this box. The accessory tray is exactly as pictured, but the tripod
looks surprisingly like the ETX-70's #282 tripod. The accessory tray
does not fit this particular tripod. Another problem - a big problem -
is that the two holes are machined too close to the wall of the tripod
base to insert the included mounting  bolts - the heads of the mounting
bolts are at least a full 1/16-inch too wide. This means you would have
to put them in at a slight angle - if you could get them in - thus more
than likely stripping the bolt. So, I assume this is not the correct
tripod.  But lo and behold, further on in the literature, they identify
#282 as the included tripod, even though the pictures are NOT the #282!
Well, it doesn't work, as least not the one I received. OpticsPlanet
suggested I call Meade first thing Monday. And I did - and again later -
and again later - and again later - I spent the better part of two or
three - maybe four - hours trying to get through, and when I finally
did, I was on hold for more than half an hour (twice), only to get a
voicemail that went dead after two or three seconds. I figure they're
having phone trouble. I guess I'll try again tomorrow. Can someone tell
me if their ETX-80 tripod came with leg braces and locking knob or not?
I've got to say, Meade has left a bad taste in my mouth - they claim
that this unit has been checked twice before leaving their factory. That
doesn't give me a warm fuzzy at all. It's beginning to look like I'm
probably going to send this unit back. And I don't think I'll be buying
a Meade product again.

Frustrated in Carolina,
Rubel
Mike here: I haven't seen the new ETX-80 so can't comment. As to the #282 tripod, that must be a new model tripod. Perhaps one of the other ETX-80 users will comment.
Subject:	etx70- Creep after slew
Sent:	Monday, January 9, 2006 13:13:25
From:	David Hobson (davidhobson@utvinternet.co.uk)
Just got my 70 for Christmas and had my first cloudless night last
night.  Having browsed your excellent site many times since Christmas, I
was prepared not to expect too much from the scope.  I am however very
pleased with the results.  Good view of Saturn, small but in good focus.
Able to pick out outline of Orion Nebula etc.  I have had however 2
problems.  I experienced the movement of the focus tube, when focusing,
as detailed by the etx80 owner in December and have referred this one to
Meade Europe for their response.  I feel it may be a function of the
scope and can work around it.  However, when using GOTO, the Autostar
took me reliably to stars and tracked them efficiently, but when going
to planets, the computer accurately located them, then took a notion and
crept away from them at quite a rate.  Even when I brought the object
back using the controller, it crept again, always to the right  of the
object.  It is a problem with the higher magnifications when it has been
necessary to go back to a lower magnification to relocate the planet. 
Any thoughts.?  By the way, I have fitted focus extender and red dot
scope.  Two must haves. Thanks. David Hobson- Carrickfergus. Northern
Ireland
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES?
Subject:	ETX - 80 focusing knob and battery terminal
Sent:	Friday, January 6, 2006 21:05:42
From:	kk (middleway@optonline.net)
My brand new ETX-80 came out of the box with a focusing knob that was
rotating out of axis and therefore a little rough to turn.  After a few
minutes use, it's easier to turn, but seems to be getting wobbly.  The
scope focuses well, but the knob is less than great.

Also the battery pack had one of its terminal snap off the very first
time we tried to put batteries in.  Meade's quality control slept
through this one for sure, but do you any suggestions for me about
either problem?  Really is a disappointment, the scope is exactly 24
hours old as I write this.

Great site you have here, many thanks for it. -KK
Mike here: I suggest returning it to the dealer for an exchange.

And:

Thanks for your quick reply.
Another question:
Since the 6 AA battery pack equals 9 volts...  could a single nine volt
battery be used instead?

Would probably be a short life span, but would it work at all?
Mike here: No. The external supply must be 12VDC, 1A.
Subject:	Beginner questions for ETX-80-BB
Sent:	Friday, January 6, 2006 19:54:29
From:	Teresa Selling (tselling@yahoo.com)
My husband bought me an ETX-80-BB for Christmas from the Discovery Store
online.  I'm afraid its not quite as much telescope as I might like but
I am trying it out (especially since the Discovery Store doesn't allows
returns for Meade scopes one the package has been opened).

Anyway I am not sure the scope is working properly since its my first
telescope.  Is the following normal?

1) When a planet/star is out of focus (a large lightish blob filling the
eyepiece) I see a lot of what looks like artifacts from the mirrors or
lenses. When I looked at the flip up mirror I can see a lot of scratches
in it.

2) The motor for altitude adjustment makes a sort of clicking noise.  I
tightened the lock quite a bit because when I didn't, the telescope
didn't move up or down.

3) I get quite a lot of vibration from the motors as it tries to track
with an object... but the tracking is lousy.  I have to keep moving the
scope to keep objects in the eyepiece.

4) I have alot of trouble with autostar alignment. The stars it picks
are not even close and I think I did pretty good with pointing north and
levelling.

6) What should Mars look like with the ETX-80?  I don't know if I am
over focusing but I wind up with it not looking really much bigger than
I can see without the telescope.  This is at around 82X power (9.7mm
plus built-in 2X barlow).  Would a 3x barlow improve view of Mars very
much for me at 123X with the 9.7mm?

*** I am planning to get an ETX-125 with UHTC.  Is it worthwhile to keep
the ETX-80 as a second scope? (I'm sure I will take a huge loss if I
sell it.)  Is there anything the ETX-80 can do that the ETX-125 can't do
better?

-Thanks from Teresa in Colorado
Mike here: The ETX-60, -70, and -80 make nice wide field instruments (due to the short focal length) but are less satisfactory when viewing planets, especially distant/small ones like Mars is right now. So, yes, it will appear very small in the telescope. Check out the Moon for better views of something. Even Saturn, Jupiter, and right now, Venus, appear much nicer than Mars. As to the mirror, if you used a flashlight to illuminate the mirror you may see all kinds of strange things. This is normal and doesn't indicate any problem. From your description it sounds like you might be overtightening the axis locks. If you do that the drive motors can't overcome the friction and slew or even track the telescope. If you undertighten there isn't enough friction. "Finger tight" is the typical answer. What this means is that there is enough friction to keep the telescope in one position if you try to GENTLY move it by hand by pushing on the tube yet not so much that the motors can't move it. If you like the ETX-80 as a portable, wide field instrument (have you looked at star fields yet from a dark site?) then you may find it handy even after you get a larger, less portable, narrower field of view, telescope.

And:

Thanks for the quick response Mike.  I will probably hold onto the
ETX-80 for awhile.  It will be interesting to compare it with the
ETX-125.  The small size of the ETX-80 is nice and it fits into an
included tiny backpack.  And would be nice when my 9mo old baby gets
older and we do some camping.  Right now I'm limited to my light
polluted back yard after the baby goes to bed.

When I tried tighetening the altitude knob to what I think is the amount
you say, then the motor would not move the telescope up or down.  I have
to tighten another 10-15 degrees or so.  The clicking noise is heard
even if the I loosen the knob all the way.  I don't hear the clicking
when the motor moves horizontally.

For the mirror I didn't use a flashlight, just removed the eyepiece and
looked down at it while the dust cover was removed during daytime... so
I guess thats kind of like a flashlight.

I tried viewing the Orion Nebulae, I think I saw it but wasn't very
clear.  Would a nebulae filter help or is the aperature too small on
this scope?

I picked up a red dot scopetronix finder scope to put on the ETX-80 to
help with alignment but I haven't installed it yet.  Do you know will it
void the warranty?  It just sticks on with double-sided tape. Would I be
better off using a 32mm eyepiece on a scope this size instead of a
finder scope?  I think 12x is around the minimum mag for this scope.

BTW I saw Saturn several nights ago.   I was able to see it has a ring
around it at 80X so that was pretty cool.  I am looking forward to when
the 3X barlow gets here.  That should get me 120X which I understand
will be close to the scopes max.

Thanks again for your help.
-Teresa
Mike here: Since you don't seem to be overtightening the axis lock, the clicking could be a broken or offcenter gear, or a wire that is catching in the gearing (and could be cut). Neither of these problems are really something you want to tackle so I'd suggest contacting the dealer for an exchange; explain the problem to them. As to the mirror, there should not be any scratches on it. Are you SURE you received a new one and not one that was abused and then returned to the dealer? If your skies are badly light polluted then seeing M42 is all its glory will be difficult. Viewing from a dark site is MUCH better. Sticking the finderscope on won't invalidate the warranty. Just don't use Super Glue; stick (no pun intended) with the sticky tape Scopetronix supplies.
Subject:	ETX80AT-TC solar filter
Sent:	Thursday, January 5, 2006 09:22:23
From:	astroham@webtv.net (astroham@webtv.net)
I am using a Kendrick C80 KE-6003 Solar Filter with my ETX80.  It fits
tube OD 90-100mm.  I obtained mine thru OptCorp.

Subject:	ETX 70 level problem
Sent:	Tuesday, January 3, 2006 03:12:54
From:	Frans Franssen (f.franssen@planet.nl)
A few weeks ago I bought an ETX 70 scope. When I put the telescope in a
horizontal position the arrow below the dial points to ten instead of to
the zero mark.

Is there a method to correct this? What should I do? Thanks for your
help. Frans Franssen
Mike here: See the FAQ page on the ETX Site for info on this.
Subject:	ETX-80 Sun Filters
Sent:	Monday, January 2, 2006 20:05:15
From:	James Murphy (rebelsax_4@yahoo.com)
I recieved my first scope recently, and I remember looking at the sun
with my science teachers scope in the 7th grade, but I cant find any sun
filters for my ETX-80. Maybe its becuase of me being new to all of this,
or the lack of filters, but I could sure appreciate any help on the
subject. Thanks!
Mike here: Part of the problem is the newness of the ETX-80 model. There are filters for the other, older models of the ETX so I suspect that one will eventually appear for the ETX-80 (keep checking the Scopetronix web site). Alternatively you can make your own using the proper materials; see the "AstroSolar Safety Film" on the Accessory Reviews: Filters page on the ETX Site.

And:

Thank you so much for you advice, and suprisingly
quick response!

Subject:	initializing etx-70at
Sent:	Monday, January 2, 2006 14:31:43
From:	Jan Buytaert (jbuytaert@mac.com)
I just got a etx-70at. Always dreamed about looking at the sky, my wife
putted an end to this dream by buying this telescope, now it is reality.

Knowing nothing about the whole thing, i found it strange , every-time I
start the autostar he wants to initialize, everything seems correct
except for the TIME, I always have to adjust the TIME. Is this normal?

Jan B. From (Gent) Belgium
Mike here: The date will always default to the last one set and the time to 20:00 hours or 8PM.

And:

OK, Thanks, now I know its working fine.

Regards,

Jan B. 

Subject:	Meade ETX 70AT - Please can you help.
Sent:	Monday, January 2, 2006 12:14:32
From:	RAYR1EXUP@aol.com (RAYR1EXUP@aol.com)
After trawling through the internet trying to solve a problem I have
with my telescope, I came across your "AUTOSTAR INFORMATION" site.  I
have read with interest the comments, but cannot find exactly what I
need to help me.  I was wondering if you can help.

I have just purchased a (new) Meade ETX 70AT telescope.  I took it from
the box and attached it to the tripod, then installed the batteries.  I
attached the Autostar to the unit and switched it on.  I immediatly got
the message "Motor Unit Fault".  I have tried new batteries and
switching the unit off and on.

I see on your site you recommend a RESET or CALIBRATION.  As a newcomer
and complete novice to using a telescope, I do not know how to complete
these procedures.  The manual I got with the telescope does not help on
this either.

Can you please advise the best course of action, and how to achieve it.

Thanks for your time and help. 
Best regards,

Ray Brown.
Mike here: If you get the Motor Unit Fault right on startup, then you can't get to the RESET and CALIBRATE MOTORS functions in the Autostar. Be certain that you have not overtighten the axis locks; they should be just finger tight and just tight enough to hold the tube in one location. Be certain the batteries are fresh and inserted correctly. Check that the cable is fully inserted into the ETX base. Check the condition of the pins on the cable connector and the jack in the ETX base. If you can't resolve the problem, since the telescope is new I suggest contacting the dealer for an exchange.
Subject:	Meade ETX70AT Creep after slew
Sent:	Monday, January 2, 2006 06:42:44
From:	Brenda Wilson (redlandfield@hotmail.com)
I am a new user of the Meade Etx 70 AT. I have just read your report on
the website, you briefly mentioned it suffered from Creep after Slew.
Can you let me know what this is as I think I am having the problem too.
I line up on a target then it drops out of view, I then manually re
align it and it drops again. Very frustrating, please let me know can I
fix it, will it happen always, does it happen with all the eyepieces.

Brenda Wilson
Somerset England
MIke here: Do a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES. That should cure it.
Subject:	Re: EXT-80BB Focusing Causes Az Rocking
Sent:	Sunday, January 1, 2006 20:51:07
From:	A.J. Farmer (AJ3U) (farmer.aj@gmail.com)
I just wanted to follow up about the "focus rocking" problem.  I think I
jumped the gun with my first report.  I have had three good nights with
it now and I am finally getting very comfortable with the telescope. The
"focus rocking" problem is either going away as I break in the scope, or
maybe it is just becoming managable to me now. Either way, I am very
pleased with the telescope.  It is a good balance between portability
and performance for me.  I saw Saturn for the first time tonight which
was totally awesome!  I was so excited, I dragged the whole family out
into the cold to take a peek!  It was so clear and distinct in the
viewfinder, my wife thought I was playing a trick at first.  I was even
able to clearly make out a moon which I assume must be Titan.  This is
very exciting for me having never experienced it before.  Thanks again!
--
A.J. Farmer, AJ3U
http://www.aj3u.com

Subject:	french  for a autostar 494
Sent:	Sunday, January 1, 2006 14:34:18
From:	Bertrand Duporge (bduporge@tele2.fr)
sorry for my english ,because it is very bad.
j search a french version language for my etx 70 .this one is a german
language.
by advance thanks
regards bertrand
Mike here: Contact a dealer in France for an exchange of the Autostar. There is no user installable software for the Autostar #494.
Subject:	re: ETX and bad user
Sent:	Saturday, December 31, 2005 18:01:09
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
There is a French support group for the ETX family:
http://fr.groups.yahoo.com/group/etx

perhaps you can find a friend there close enough to visit.

have fun
--dick

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