Last updated: 31 January 2006

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:	Declination knob on ETX-125 Premier.
Sent:	Sunday, January 29, 2006 19:34:42
From:	Steven Simmerman (
I'm wondering if anyone else feels that the declination "lock" on the
125 seems to not necessarily slip if you tighten it well, but just seems
to "wobble" as if not well-balanced.  Does anyone have this opinion, and
has anyone tried to make a "tighter" grip when the knob is turned? Maybe
I'm expecting too much and the smaller scopes don't  suffer from this
"wobble".  Just wondering.  Thanks, Steve.
Mike here: The lock is a friction type so you can force the tube to move against the friction but that is not recommended nor a normal operation. And yes, the ETX is front heavy but in normal operation that is not a problem.


Thanks for the quick message.  I have a Meade 10-inch LX200 GPS and got
one of those dec. kits from Peterson Engineering and was impressed by
what it did for that "large" scope.  I guess it spoiled me for the lack
of tightness on the 125 and wondered if mine was the exception but it
sounds as if I'm expecting too much.  It's a shame Peterson doesn't make
a kit for the ETX but I guess it's not needed especially with the
smaller apertures.  I'm planning on doing some piggybacking on it and
I've read on your site about those who do it and it seems that
counterweighting is needed.  Thanks for your info and you really have
done a good thing with the site providing some great exchange of ideas. 
Regards, Steve

Subject:	ETX-LX90 question
Sent:	Sunday, January 29, 2006 10:09:34
From:	Jim Holland (
L've looked at your site as well as the LX90 yahoo site and did not find
a positive hit. There is a plate that will fit the lxd55, but my source
say it wont marry the etx125 with the LX90 wedge!

Are you or anyone out there familiar with an adaper that will fit the
ETX-125 so that it can be mounted on the standard wedge for the LX-90?


Jim Holland
Mike here: I'm not familiar with one but then I haven't checked Scopestuff or elsewhere.
Subject:	ETX 125
Sent:	Saturday, January 28, 2006 09:31:43
From:	Jan H Kolst (
I had a look inside the base of the scope.I noticed that 3 screws were
not tight.Should I carefully tighten those 3 screws or?See the
enclosure.Is there too much grease? See the enclosure.

The scope is still drifting to the right in astronomical
position(Target) of course not in terrestrial.Any suggestions?

Last night I took some nice pics.But today it drifts to the right
constantly. I've reset-calib-trained both drives.

Mike here: The screws holding the board should not be loose if the board moves during slewing or tracking. That could be the cause of your problem.
Subject:	telescope Networking
Sent:	Friday, January 27, 2006 14:40:27
From:	Ermanno Ruccolo (
I own a ETX telescope and have been reading your user feedbacks on how
to setup a wireless network between a telescope and a PC.
The use of two computers looks cumbersome.
Surely, there must be a better way than this.
I googled this subject and found that two companies do sell wireless
accessories to address USB to Serial Wireless Pairing. Aircable sells
USB bluetooth ACC1202 that pairs with Wireless Serial ACC1302. Another
company is GridConnect with their BluePlug/BluePort bluetooth USB/Serial
Pairing. These accessories retailk for $136 to $160.

I believe these items would facilitate wireless communication. What do
you think?
Anyway, I may be testing them in the future.
Mike here: Orion Telescopes and Binoculars also has a Bluetooth to Autostar connection called "Starry Night BlueStar Telescope Adapter". Search their site for "bluetooth" and it will come up.


Thanks Mike

Subject:	Clay's Kochab Clock
Sent:	Friday, January 27, 2006 09:36:52
From:	James, Daniel (
I'm a little confused on the "Clay's Kochab Clock" polar alignment. It
all makes sense and is very informative on the degree offset from
Polaris. However, when the scope is in the home position, figure 3, how
can you look through the finder to get the needed off set? I tried
setting the scope and moving the tripod around some until I got it in
view in the EP.  While not moving the ETX at all, only moving the tripod
in alt/az movement, I ended up having to adjust the alt a little.  This
now dropped me down a few degrees on my latitude on the ETX. The scope
tracked for a little while, then started to miss.  Clouds came in and I
haven't been able to try out again.

Any suggestions?

Dan J
Greenville, Pa

Subject:	Your Oracle Observatory
Sent:	Friday, January 27, 2006 01:30:04
From:	Ken Jeffrey (
Your frequent mentions of your plot in Oracle, Arizona prompted me to
try and find it on Google Earth.

Are you aware that Oracle is shown for the most part in high resolution
so you may well be able to get a 'birds eye view' of your plot there.

As you do not give precise details of the location I have not been able
to locate the place exactly but I am sure you will be able to if your

Google Earth has some very interesting views of a lot of famous places,
and of course if your lucky your home location.
Ken Jeffrey
London, England
Mike here: I have several satellite images of Oracle Observatory that I found before Google Earth came out. But I did check Google Earth to see if they had a new/better set. Google Earth is fascinating. Anxiously awaiting for the Mac OS X to get out of beta.
Subject:	ETX 125 jumping
Sent:	Thursday, January 26, 2006 22:39:54
From:	Jan H Kolst (
I do have a small problem with my new 125 AT. It works fine in most
cases , but my problem is that when it has found a star or planet and I
want to have  a good look at the planet or star, it jumps "about 2
degrees" to the right in the eyepiece and then very slowly moves to the
left and then jumps to the right.This is  very irritating when taking
pictures.I've reset ,calibrated and trained both axes.

Any suggestions?
Thanks for all your valuable help1
Mike here: Couple of simple possible reasons: overtightening the axis locks or the lubrication needs to be redistributed. The latter is easily overcome by unlocking the locks and slowly moving the OTA from hard stoo to hard stop, back and forth, several times. Another possible reason is low temperatures, causing the lubrication to "stiffen up". A more serious problem would be a wire or other debris interferring with the movement, a broken gear, or a dirty encoder.


Thanks a lot for the answer.I've done all that,but not opened up the
scope. I went through the Autostar menu and tested all the possible
faults and when I came to MOUNT and entered Az/Alt a certain faint noise
stopped.I could hardly hear it,but noticed very well when it stopped.
After that I had no jumping.Hope this condition will last.I'll try

Thanks again for your quick and understandable answer!
Have a nice weekend with your family.

Subject:	ETX90EC  Dec Lock
Sent:	Thursday, January 26, 2006 15:48:30
From:	Sommer Altabatsali (
The DEC Locks, no longer locks the tube, and after I opened the right
OTA support, I found out that the plastic tube inside is broken.

I live in Japan, I tried to get in touch with a Japanese dealer to get
the part, no help there, I don't speak Japanese, although I live and
work there for now.

Every vendor refuses to ship Meade products outside the USA. What would,
the unfortunate some of us who live outside the United States and who
bought an American products do?

Through the Magic of the internet, I found a vendor (astro hut former
scopetronics) who makes a replacement part made of aluminum instead of
that silly plastic, I made an order online paid for it, through PayPal
including the shipping to Japan, however, according to their site,
shipping outside the USA will take months.

Is there any way I can get a replacement part temporary until I receive
that other one.

The OTA simply falls down, it will not move up or hold its position

Any suggestion is highly appreciated

Thanks again and clear skies.

Mike here: You can contact Meade directly for a replacement Right Tube Adapter. Check out the "Dealer Locator" on the Meade web site; you can get in contact with a distributor in Japan. Alternatively, you can try to repair the broken one; see the article "ETX-90EC DEC fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page to give you an idea of what you might be able to do.
Subject:	Just read your book
Sent:	Wednesday, January 25, 2006 10:01:34
From: (
I have just read your book which I bought last week.
and have found it to be very informative and of much help.
Its been brill
I recently bought an ETX105 PE scope and am very new to astronomy, your
web site is fantastic and will be frequently visited by myself.

I live in Aberdeen in Scotland so clear sky's are not too common here.

But I really enjoy them when they are.

Hope to talk to you over the net few months and years.
Mal Nicol

Subject:	ETX-125EC RA Viewfinder Problem
Sent:	Tuesday, January 24, 2006 18:45:34
From:	Ken Toliver (
I have discovered that the crosshairs in my finder scope are not truly
aligned level to the ground; the crosshair is rotated slightly

Has anybody had this problem and successfully disassembled the finder
scope to correctly reposition the crosshairs? If so can you provide an
outline of the disassembly?

Rotating the scope in the bracket will do nothing; the crosshairs are
part of the section above the mirror after the right angle.

Ken Toliver
Mike here: While terrestrial orientation is handy, it is not required for actual use. But I'm confused why you state that rotating the finderscope in the mounting bracket doesn't change the orientation. It obviously should.
Subject:	Meade ETX-125AT vs ETX-125PE
Sent:	Tuesday, January 24, 2006 12:26:50
From:	Michael J. Markey (
I am considering purchasing either a ETX-125AT or a ETX-125PE, the only
differences I see besides the $150 cost difference is that the PE
alligns itself and that it has a 1X finder scope vs the AT where the
user has to do a two star alignment manually and it has a 8X finder
scope. Is this correct?

I am purchasing my first telescope after years of looking at the stars
with only binoculars. Trying to determine if I should spend the extra

Thanks for any insight you can provide.
Michael Markey
Mike here: You almost got it right. The PE levels and finds True North for you. The AT model doesn't so you have to do that step manually. With both models you still have to center the alignment stars manually.


Thanks for your help

Subject:	Re: problem tracking with etx 90 
Sent:	Tuesday, January 24, 2006 01:33:42
From:	Mikes (
It will arrive in the post at the weekend having bought it unseen but I
believe the problem is solvable your web site identifies the symptoms
that the previous owner was having using only an external power source
and as I've bought a etx 90 ec for 190 inc , I will go through calibrate
motor and train drives and any other checks to prove it ok ,just thought
you may have said don't touch it as I was unaware of the nature of this
problem , thanks for your help , will try and get it up and running soon, 
cold frosty clear skies with us now in southern Britain.

Will recheck with you and web site if problem persists.

Mike here: Had you originally said it was used and that you didn't have it yet, I might have said something different. Good luck.
Subject:	recommendation
Sent:	Monday, January 23, 2006 23:56:42
From:	M C (
I am researching telescopes as a gift for my parents who are retiring in
Seattle and love to look at stars for fun in Oahu.  They have never
owned a telescope and need something simple to use.  I was at the
Discovery Store and they recommended Meade telescopes and also gave me
your website (

I am looking for a telescope that is user friends, portable, can find
stars and planets easily with a push of a few buttons, not overly
complexed (they are in their 60s) and under $800.  Do you recommend any
model.  I'm overwell by the number of makes and models of telescopes on
the market.

The Discovery Store recommended ETX-90PE w/ UHTC $749.

Is this a good and easy to use telescope or do you recommend another

Thanks for your help,
Seattle, WA.
Mike here: Certainly the ETX-90PE fits those requirements. They (you) will need to learn HOW to use it in order to get the most out of it. One other thing to keep in mind is that you might want to get another eyepiece or perhaps the Meade #126 2X Barlow Lens to double the magnification of any eyepiece. So, with the included 26mm, it is like getting a 13mm eyepiece.


Thanks for your help and recommendation.  I appreciate it.


Subject:	Trefach March 31st 2006 Star Camp
Sent:	Monday, January 23, 2006 14:44:27
From:	Andrew Sprott (
Our next Star Camp is due for March/April 31st-2nd 2006. We have plenty
of talks on for the weekend, plenty of drink and food and hopefully,
some of the darkest skies in the UK. The programme for the weekend is on
our website at

and you can also download the brochure which is our preffered method of
booking a place here.

We have limited vans available, but plenty of pitches for tents and
tourers/mobile homes.

Andrew Sprott

Subject:	Oracle Observatory and the weather!
Sent:	Monday, January 23, 2006 12:21:08
From:	Luis Villa (
Here is the latest and greatest forecast
National Weather Service APPEARS to be the same as to what AccuWeather has.
Saturday: Partly cloudy. High 53. 

Saturday Night: Mostly clear. Low 32. 

Sunday: Mostly sunny. High 54. 

Sunday Night: Mostly clear. Low 34.
MOST weather reports for  Southern Arizona are pretty accurate.
(subject to a change in the weather of course!!)
What other profession lets you keep your job if you are WRONG?

Mike here: Right now, things seem to converging towards the "clear" side. But it was so surprising to see two dramatically different forecasts last week!
Subject:	ETX-90AT as a fully computer controlled terrestrial webcam
Sent:	Monday, January 23, 2006 03:08:27
From:	Howard Elton (
I am a software developer and I am building an internet controlled
terrestrial telescope webcam using the ETX-90PE. It is to be located on
the 32nd Storey of my office. The project requires computer controlled
zoom and focus as well as the the built in computer controlled slewing
features of the ETX. I have computer controlled focus worked out using a
moidifed electric focus controller. I require a zoom control feature
which leads me to me question. I am looking for a digital camera (or
video camera) that works with the ETX and has a zoom control that can be
externally controlled without hands-on intervention.  I would prefer it
if it has a computer controlled zoom but I could easily modify an
external hand controller as I did with the focus unit.

I have had no experience with mounting cameras to an ETX so I am sure
there are plenty of traps that could catch me out. Do you have any
recomendations?  I can write the software for pretty much any hardware
so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Howard Elton
Perth, Australia
Mike here: There are many ideas on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page as well as many camera discussed. Many digital cameras will allow focus and zoom from a connected computer. I'd suggest keeping the camera as small as possible from a weight perspective although you can add a counterweight (lots of examples on that Astrophotography page). You can attach many cameras in a couple of ways but a direct mount (such as the Scopetronix Digi-T) system is best (see the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page).
Subject:	problem tracking with etx 90 
Sent:	Monday, January 23, 2006 02:52:34
From:	Mikes (
I have purchased a etx 90 but the tracking fails occasionally after 20
mins  i bought it like this and not sure how to set about repairing it .
any ideas what might be wrong ??   Mike
Mike here: Need a lot more info from you. What do you mean "tracking fails"? The telescope stops moving, an error appears in the Autostar, what? Also, I presume you HAVE an Autostar but you didn't specify that. If so, have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES?


Hi sorry to to be a bit vague , Im buying a etx 90 and the seller
advises this :- the problem could be with the autostar it tracks nicely
then randomly slews to another location after 20 min /1hr / or not at
all it may be the power ? run from the mains but never off batteries ,
directed to your site ref etxtechtips/2004/randomslew.html
hope you can advise before purchase at 5pm uk time ,
Many thanks Mike
Mike here: OK, but like I asked, "have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES?"
Subject:	Re: 884 tripod and magnetism
Sent:	Saturday, January 21, 2006 10:38:52
From: (
A compass needle itself is a magnet; it has to be in order to align
properly with the Earth's magnetic field.  Therefore, it will be
attracted to any ferrous material, even if the item is not magnetic. 
Its field is extremely weak, but still exists.


Subject:	Christmas tree ornament test
Sent:	Friday, January 20, 2006 21:41:51
From:	John Hobbs (
Somewhere, quite awhile back, I read on your site (I think) about how to
do a collimation test using a Christmas tree ornament, but can not find
it again. I have tried searching and feel like I have re-read most of
the topics, still no luck. If you could point me he the right direction
it would be greatly appreciated.
Want to check my ETX125.
Thank you,
John Hobbs
Mike here: That would be on some of the collimation articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Alternative, you can search the Site for "christmas tree collimation".
Subject:	884 tripod and magnetism.
Sent:	Friday, January 20, 2006 05:26:14
Has anyone come accross a problem of magnetised parts on the 884 field

when setting mine for the first time i had the problem as follows, i
marked a north south line on the floor using a quality compass and
chalk, i placed the tripod on this line through the front leg and
latitude pin.

i then placed the compass in line withe the scope mounting screws in the
head of the tripod and found that they were 30 degrees out???

remove the compass and take a reading from a few feet away and all is in
line again, after dissassembling the tripod compleatly i found thet
every ferrous part of the tripod had a magnetic deviation of at least a
few degrees, and the latitude leg could spin the needle like a top.

is this normal for meade products.....if it is, poor show.

i am in the process of replacing all of the affected parts with
stainless steel or alluminium, which has no iron content and can not
hold a magnetic memory.

i had the tripod and scope shipped from the states to England a few days
before this happened, so i wonder if any security scanning may have
affected the tripod in this way...if so what has it done for the
accuracy of the scope?

my complements to your informative and thouough site.
Peter Chilton.
Mike here: Iron content can affect a compass. Keep in mind that you need to use True North not Magnetic North.
Subject:	Re: ETX 90 
Sent:	Thursday, January 19, 2006 11:19:27
From:	MP & EJ Bowker (
Thanks for your help, all cleaned up now. I got 50 mls of Isopropyl
Alcohol 100% from our friendly local paharmacist, 5ml syringe, 5mls of
water for injection (medical grade), so it was just a matter of drawing
up 1 ml of isopropyl, 3mls water so I had enough mixture with some to
spare. Some local (NZ) facial tissues seemed fine.

However I then examined my 25 mm eyepiece and Meade Barlow 2x, the
fungal growth was 100%, well I don't use the Barlow much, so unscrewed
the bits on a nice clean worksurface, careful clean of optics...great
result, so bravely took the 25SP apart, making drawings as I went, bingo
lovely clean optics. Saturns rings nice and sharp last night.

However More help needed:_

I have just received my brand new autostar 497 controller, I suspect
it's been on the New Zealand retaillers shelf for 6 years, I don't have
a cable yet to link to my PC. The question is>> Can I find the version
number of the software installed on the Autostar, just using the
Autostar? From my first nights efforts I think I may be sometime
learning to drive the Autostar. It reminds me of my sinclair computer of
the 1980s

On the Meade website there is talk of a new intialisation process but
the webpage is down?


Paul Bowker
Rawene NZ
Mike here: Meade's site was OK for me at 1720 PST. As to the Autostar version number, a short version number appears on power-on. To see the longer version number scroll until you see Statistics and select it and scroll until you see the version #.


found it under statistics, nothing on power on, I have version 40eb,
will search for more info,

many thanks



Found this page which didn't come with my Autostar

May make better progress now.



Subject:	fantastic
Sent:	Thursday, January 19, 2006 08:33:24
From: (
i have learned so much on your site for my etx 125---just wanted to say
southern california
Mike here: Thanks! But your email was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the ambiguous subject line. Please see the Email Etiquette page to avoid this happening in the future! Thanks for understanding!!!
Subject:	ETX 125 Power cord questions....
Sent:	Monday, January 16, 2006 18:21:12
From:	Joey Arena (
Thank you for your most wonderfull website. I have an ETX 125 and want
to get a power cord for it, but dont want to spend 25 dollars or more on
ebay.  so i want to go to RadioShack and get the right one and that is
where you come in. I know it is a 12v constant power source but i dont
know if it is considered a "tip to positive or negative" if you can help
let me know. Thank you again.  - Joey Arena
Mike here: See the FAQ page on the ETX Site.
Subject:	Focusing problem on ETX-125PE
Sent:	Tuesday, January 17, 2006 15:32:05
From:	Carleton Gotlieb (
This is an annoying problem if nothing else. Since I bought my scope new
about 4 months ago, the focusing mechanism has developed some sloppy
behavior and I'm wondering if I should call Meade. The symptoms are:

- There is about a half-turn of the focus knob in which there is no
affect on the image, whether turning clockwise or ccw. (I checked the
knob and it is firmly attached to the spindle with the set screw.)

- On either side of this half-turn, the knob meets resistance and focus
is affected as usual. But as soon as you go back the other way to fine
tune it, you feel no resistance so, again, you have to make a half-turn
of the knob until you feel resistance on the other side. And each time
you go back and forth, into the resistance zone, the image shifts back
and forth across the fov.

- Image focus sometimes continues to go way past where I want it *after*
I stop turning the knob. This means that, with experience and luck, I
can stop turning the focus knob *before* the object is in focus and just
watch as the image focus improves by itself. At some point it settles
down so I can focus the object (whether stars or planets).

- Often I have to refocus a bit after slewing to another object even
though I'm using the same eyepiece. Perhaps this symptom is normal.

Are you able to tell me what is going on mechanically with this so I can
better understand it? I've seen photos of the mechanism on your website
but they were of no obvious help.

Thanks much,
Carl Gotlieb
Mike here: It sounds like the threads may be stripped on the moving primary mirror or the focus shaft. This is not something that you can easily repair so a call to Meade would seem to be in order. As to focus shift when changing the orientation, yep, normal since the mirror's weight will cause some slight movement inside the OTA.
Subject:	RE: RA on 105 very tight !!!!!
Sent:	Tuesday, January 17, 2006 13:36:14
From:	Gregory Kaiser
I noticed and Article on Mike Site that you had posted regarding Doing
piggy back on your ETX-125 with and SLRE Camera.

I would like to mount a small refractor 3.1 350 mm FL  on My ETX-105 for
faster deep sky Viewing as well as take pictures with my Nikon 4500 from
both the 105 And the refractor and possibly use the 3.1 inch for a guide
scope for the 105. Mostly Polar Mode would be used.

Is this possible?

Greg Kaiser
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
Not likely a good idea.....way to much extended weight.  A good
telephoto lens would be a far better idea.

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H45 (Petit Jean Mountain South)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain)
Mike here: I agree with Dr. Clay. I have successfully piggybacked film and digital cameras with a telephoto lens on my ETX-90 but things didn't work out so well when I piggybacked an ETX-90 OTA on an ETX-90 as can be seen here:


Thanks Mike. I had seen your Dual setup but never read the Details.
(Lazy me)

Great Lunch Box. Where did you get that! (2nd Picture)

Yes I was trying to conceive putting on top of my ETX-105 Orion's ST-80
It's about 3.8lbs for other Photo Options and as a Manual Guider.

Do you know of a pocket sized device (Calculator size) that has all of
the Messier Catalog etc so I could just pull up coordinates Magnitude

I think at this point I'm leaning toward a true Equatorial Mount with
better Axis locking capability and tracking like Orion's Sky View Pro
127 Mac. I'm enjoying the Simplicity of Polar Mode and finding objects
on my own at this point.

I don't think the wife will let me have both at this point.

Mike here: I've had that lunchbox for about 40 years! As to a handheld device for astronomical objects, there are a lot of software packages for Palm OS devices; see the Accessory Reviews: Software page.
Subject:	Difference between 125EC and 125AT
Sent:	Monday, January 16, 2006 15:52:02
From:	Jim Tuckwell (
Can you tell me the difference between the 125EC and the 125AT?
Mike here: See the FAQ page.
Subject:	re: ETX90 power problems
Sent:	Monday, January 16, 2006 15:34:24
From:	richard seymour (
Another (all too) common cause of your symptoms
is using the wrong size power plug.

The correct size is 5.5mm outside, 2.5mm inside
(radio shack adaptaplug size "N" (as in Nancy)).

There is a 6.1mm outside, 2.5mm dia which -can- "fit",
but it will overstress the contact spring and cause
the socket to fail to connect to the internal batteries.

so check your external connector

good luck
Yes , the problem is the wrong size plug. It fits , but is just a little
wide . It has the letter "Q" on it , not "R ". I guess that's what I get
for trying to save a few bucks and not paying the 35 bucks for the Meade
power cord  : - )   !!! Now the problem is getting the contact spring to
go back to it's original position. I used a toothpick , as suggested ,
and it worked off the batteries for a few seconds but sprung right back
and shut off after removing the toothpick. Thank you both , and Dr. Clay
as well , for you help with this.


>Yes , the problem is the wrong size plug. It fits , but is just a  little wide .
> It has the letter "Q" on it , not "R ". 

You don't want "R", either... you want "N" (as in Nancy).

> I guess that's what I get for  rying to save a few bucks and not 
> paying the 35 bucks for the Meade power cord  : - )   !!!

Step One: read Mike's site for the -correct- plug size.

>  Now the problem is getting the contact spring to go back to it's  original 
>position. I used a toothpick , as suggested , and it worked off the  batteries 
>for a few seconds but sprung right back and shut off after removing  the 
>toothpick. Thank you both , and Dr. Clay as well , for you help with this  .

Instead of a toothpick, fashion a small L-hook from a straight pin
(a paper clip is too coarse/thick) ... with the L-hook you can -pull-
the spring contact wire down **just a tiny bit**
(a): do NOT leave it contacting the center pin
(b): REMOVE THE INTERNAL BATTERIES before using the hook

good luck

Subject:	Re: Meade ETX 90EC
Sent:	Saturday, January 14, 2006 11:39:38
From:	Christian Beard (
It was last summer, so I really dont remember, but I think I either
turned the scope manually too hard or did something with the horizontal
lock.  I know this is vague but I really dont remember.  I can't even
see how do get into the base motor section of the scope to take a look
if anything is disconnected or broke.  I hope this isnt serious, I just
dont even know where to go from here.
Mike here: OK. Lets try a simple test. Lock the horizontal axis. Now gently try to move the tube horizontally in either direction. Is there resistance or does it move freely?


yes, there is resistance...
Mike here: That is good! It means the lock is engaging. Now, tighten the axis lock just enough so there is some resistance and try slewing again at high speed.


Still no movement.  After I try slewing, when I stop, it there is a
funny sound coming from the base.  It almost sounds like morse code,
sort of a continuous beeping sound.  I have no idea what it is?
Mike here: When the telescope is set to astronomical tracking, which it always is after an alignment, there will be a noise coming from the base as the drive motors slowly move the telescope to compensate for the Earth's rotation. That might be what you are hearing. Lets try one more test. On the Autostar menu, reverse the direction of the slew arrows and see if that makes any difference.
Subject:	ETX 125 AT
Sent:	Monday, January 16, 2006 11:57:40
From:	Jan H Kolst (
I bought an ETX 125 AT 27 December 05 which I received 13 Januar 06,
arriving from New Jersey. I paid $ 799 on Christmas sale.The telescope
works ok so far,and it seems as if it has survived the long journey from
California to Haugesund Norway. One question: I take it for granted that
it is the new model with ball bearings in altitude and azimuth , not the
one with polyethylene. I do enjoy the ETX-telescopes due to their
brilliant optics and the brilliant pages supplied by Mike Weasner who
has been my "great helper" in some situations.
Best wishes
Jan H Kolst

Subject:	Meade ETX 105 EC
Sent:	Monday, January 16, 2006 10:07:03
From:	Nick Bowden (
Problem with Mirror Flip Bar.

My mirror flip bar rotates, but the mirror does not flip. Is this a
major problem to repair or can it be done as a DIY project.

Nicholas F Bowden 
Mike here: Depends on what's wrong. See the two similarly named articles "Flip Mirror Repair" and "Flip Mirror repair" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Two cautions: if the scope is still under warranty you will likely invalid all warranties if you attempt to repair it yourself. You can also mess up the optical alignment, making a return to Meade more likely.


Thankyou for the reply. The problem with the flip mirror is the bar at
the end of the scope. This bar rotates but does not flip the mirror, I
can flip the mirror manually by unscrewing the cap at the end and using
my small finger on the bracket the mirror is mounted on. Is it just a
tight friction fit for the bar through the mirror bracket that has worn
loose, or is it cam operated. I was thinking of glueing the bar to the
bracket, but do not want to mist the mirror with fumes etc. Has any else
reported this problem.
Nicholas Bowden 
Mike here: Very few reported problems. As I stated earlier, see those articles, exercise caution, and perhaps consider contacting Meade if you are worried.
Subject:	RE: ETX 125 PE questions
Sent:	Saturday, January 14, 2006 12:38:19
From:	Edward Wood (
I was pretty sure that I did those things, but wanted to go through it
once more - just to be able to say for certain.  Unfortunately, the
weather here was not appropriate until two nights ago.  Sorry for taking
so long to respond.

Anyway, I did both calibrate motors & train drives, and attempted an
alignment.  It was a beautiful night, but the sky was very bright with a
near full moon.  I suppose that it's possible that the alignment stars
that the scope was selecting were not visible due to the moonshine.  In
any case, I tried 4 - 5 times, and each one resulted in alignment
failure.  The first star in most cases was fairly close, but the second
stop was nearly always a LONG way from a visible star.

Just for grins, after the failures, I used the GOTO function to take me
to the moon, and it stopped far below the moon.  I thought that if I
loosened up the locks & manually centered the moon, that it would
provide a fairly close approximation of an alignment.  After doing so, I
used the GOTO function to try to go to other places whose locations I
was fairly certain of (Orion nebula, Saturn, etc.).  In all cases, it
got me close, but I still had to search around manually to finally find
them.  Just to verify the accuracy, I then used GOTO to go back to the
moon, and it actually took me back to a fairly well centered moon.

When I found Saturn & Orion, I assumed that the tracking function of the
scope would keep them centered, but they drifted badly.  I would place
Saturn, for example at the top of the field, and it would immediately
drift down about 3/4 of the way to the bottom before settling out &

I was connecting to my laptop with the RS232 connector that was supplied
with the telescope.  I didn't think that it had a USB option.

I have been excited to have found the things that I have found, but I
could have done that with a $100 kids telescope.  For $1200, I was
expecting so much more.  I'm really hoping that this thing is either
defective, or that I am missing/overlooking some fundamental procedures.
Thanks for your help,
Ed Wood
Mike here: Try a simple test. Do the proper HOME position set up and then when asked to center the stars, assume that they are centered and press ENTER. Do you still get alignment failure? If so, then there is something else wrong. As to the #505 serial cable, yes it is a RS-232 connection but not all computers today have USB so a good adapter is needed in that case. If you have problems identifying the alignment stars, maybe the "Alignment/High Precision/Star Charts" or the "Another Autostar Alignment Stars Chart" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page will help.
Subject:	Meade ETX 90EC
Sent:	Saturday, January 14, 2006 11:12:38
From:	Christian Beard (
I was checking out your site about the Meade ETX 90EC telescope.  The
site is very informative.  I am a true beginner to astronomy and I
received this telescope for graduation by request.  I am having trouble
setting it up.  I may have caused a problem when turning the telescope
horizontally.  Now when I use the remote to move up or down it is fine,
but when I try to move the telescope from side to side, the telescope is
running but it doesnt move.  What do you think is going on?  I am going
to try and contact Meade next week, but in the mean time if you could
help out it would be appreciated.

Mike here: What did you do that makes you think you caused a problem? Did you overtighten the axis lock? Did you disconnect the Autostar while the power was on? Need more info from you.


I appreciate you taking the time to help me.  Also, why do you have a
wristwatch around your tripod?
Mike here: Huh? Where do you see that?


the picture showing the larger 497 computer controller
Mike here: Where specifically do you see that? URL please.


what do you think about my telescope?  I'm going to call meade on
Mike here: I never got an answer to my questions: What did you do that makes you think you caused a problem? Did you overtighten the axis lock? Did you disconnect the Autostar while the power was on? Need more info from you. As to the watch, that was because I tend to not wear one when at home and I had an extra one so I put it on the tripod.
Sent:	Friday, January 13, 2006 09:16:12
From:	Juan Jose Bernal Arreola (
Can you tell me where can i find info. On how to CALIBRATE MOTORS for my
etx 125pe


Juan Bernal
Tijuana Mexico
Mike here: Turn on the ETX with your Autostar connected. Press the MODE key several times until you get to the "Setup" menu. Then use the UP or DOWN scroll arrow keys to display "Telescope". Press ENTER. Scroll up/down until you see "Calibrate Motor". Press ENTER. The motors will run for a couple of seconds. You have just calibrated the Autostar to the encoder output for the current batteries (or external power source).


Thanks mike

Juan Bernal 

Subject:	ETX90 power problems
Sent:	Friday, January 13, 2006 19:10:29
From: (
I connected a power cord and external battery pack instead of running
off of the internal AA batteries. It worked fine  The next time I used
my scope and tried to run off of the AA batteries , it would not work. I
put new ones in thinking they were dead, still no power . It will only
run off the external battery.  Any clue .... ?
Jim Heine
Mike here: There is a battery cut-out switch of some sort when the external power plug is used but I forget the details so I'll ask Dr. Clay Sherrod, our resident hardware expert, to chime in.
Over to you Dr. Clay.
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
There is nothing more than a small flexible metal contact flap that
serves as a switch when the external plug is applied into the control
panel power port; in all likelihood you can use a toothpick (use the
good round ones, not the square ones which will splinter and break) to
flex the contacts back down where they should be to engage the power....

Now, that being said, have you carefully checked your two battery
compartment wires?  If you have taken the base plate off of the RA
drive, then chances are one of those (usually the black) has broken from
the contact on the base plate near the battery housing.  To check this,
lay the ETX down on a table with the CONTROL PANEL DOWN facing the table
(cushion with a doubled-up towel); remove the three screws holding the
base plate, making sure that you hold the plate carefully in one hand
while you remove the final screw (save the one on TOP for last and it
makes it much easier); since the control panel is DOWN when you do this,
the wires are in a safe position to prevent breaking.

Remember: two wires are connected from the control panel circuit board
to the bottom NOT remove the plate; just gently swing it
down, watching those two wires all the time and it should lay flat
against your towel while you check the inside of the RA drive.

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Observatory Hill Drive, Petit Jean Mt.
MPC/cbat Obs. H41 / Petit Jean Mountain
MPC/cbat Obs. H45 / Petit Jean Mountain South
MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway
MPC/cbat Obs. H44 / Cascade Mountain

Subject:	New ETX-90 questions
Sent:	Friday, January 13, 2006 15:21:34
From:	Teresa Selling (
I am deciding between an ETX-90AT and ETX-125AT.  I ordered one of each
and plan to return one of them in a few days.  Both have the same 884
tripod, 8x25 angle viewfinder, and 26mm super plossl.

The ETX-90 tube is very tight in the tube mounts. Even when I loosen the
altitude knob all the way the tube stays put.  I can move it pretty
easily but it is quite tight.  The ETX-125 tube is very loose in the
mount and as soon as I loosen the altitude knob, the tube heads downward
extremely quickly.  From what I've read the ETX-90 tube shouldn't be so
tight, right?  Is this a problem that would need fixing or will it
loosen up on its own?

When I exchange the 26mm super plossl eyepieces between the two
telescopes, I need to refocus.  That seems extremely odd to me.

The eyepiece portion of one of the finderscopes popped off (just below
the focusing part).  I plopped it back down, but I'm assuming thats a
defect since it doesn't appear to screw on?

-Thanks from Teresa
Mike here: The tube shouldn't be stiff to move but it may loosen up with use. The focus should be essentially the same if it is indeed the same eyepiece, although some slight difference can occur. There were some reports many months ago about the finderscope eyepiece popping off; you can contact the dealer about that since the scope is new.


Thanks Mike,
I've decided to keep the ETX-125 and return the defective ETX-90.  Since
its defective, Amazon even pays the return shipping. While the ETX-90 is
lighter, the ETX-125 will probably keep me happier in the long run.  I
can always pick up a small refractor to take camping later.  BTW the
ETX-90 looks tiny on the 884 tripod compared to the ETX-125.

I was noticing on the 26mm eyepieces, one of them is shorter than the
other (probably why I had to refocus if I swapped them out).  I read the
side of them carefully and while both say Meade Super Plossl 26mm. One
of them has LP before Multi-coated.  I assume that means Low-Profile. 
Would you recommend one over the other for the ETX-125?  I don't which
one came with which telescope.

Thanks again from Teresa
Mike here: I haven't used a LP 26mm so can't comment on it.
Subject:	Problems with ETX105-EC
Sent:	Friday, January 13, 2006 14:56:27
From:	Claire Barrett (
I am relatively new to using telescopes so please humour me a little! I
have just bought a 105 and am wondering if you can help me.

Basically, at first I couldnt see anything at all, then discovered a bit
of masking tape still covering the opening which places and image on the
flip mirror! Having removed this. I took the scope out to catch the one
bit of clear sky we've had for days. I could see a few stars and the
moon with my naked eye. Having already set up the right angle lens
correctly, etc, I manually found the moon ( i.e. didnt use autostar) but
all I could see with the supplied veiwfinder was a blurry white disc -
no detail at all. I then attmepted to see some of the stars, and again I
just saw a white disc, although this time it had a dark disc in the
middle of it. This happened with several other objects.

Can you tell me what I'm doing wrong? It is a focusing issue? How do I
manually focus? I havent tried using autostar as the skies arent clear
enough for the two star alignment yet.

Any help would be much appreciated!
Thank you
Mike here: You do need to focus the finderscope and the telescope. On the finderscope, either turn its eyepiece or the lens on the sky end of it. Do this slowly and the object will either come into focus or get blurrier. For focusing the telescope, insert the 26mm eyepiece, aim it at the moon, and slowly turn the silver focusing knob on the rear of the ETX. One thing I recommend to new users is to read the manual three times, and then work with the telescope indoors in the daytime until you understand how to use it. This helps a lot when you go out in the dark and want to start actually seeing things.


Thank you ever so! I tell you, I have read the manual and the published
guide several times - and just completely missed the silver focusing
knob!! Having concentrated mostly on the Autostar functions probably.

Thats a great help - if making me seem somewhat stupid!!
Mike here: We have all been there when first starting!
Subject:	ETX 90RA secondary
Sent:	Thursday, January 12, 2006 12:50:16
From:	Dan James (
I emailed you yesterday about an ETX 90RA.  I got it today and upon
inspection, I found this.  As seen in the picture, the secondary holder
is not square with the secondary dot.  Terrestrial views showed to be
good, I'm hoping for clear skies tonight to try it out.
Do you think this is a problem, and if so can it be fixed?
Dan James

Mike here: It is a problem and your views will not be as good as they should be. See the articles "ETX-90RA Secondary Baffle Fix" and "Re-attaching the Baffle" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Keep in mind that you will need to recollimate the telescope optics; something that is not easily done without a good "optical bench". It can be done with some patience however; see the collimation articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page. If you don't feel up to fixing/collimating, contact Meade.


Thanks Mike.  I tore it apart and cleaned up the baffle area and then
epoxied it back.  Much for clear skies..Thanks again,

Dan James

Subject:	Are the Performance Enhancements Parts 1-5 Recommended for a new ETX-125AT UHTC?
Sent:	Thursday, January 12, 2006 07:48:17
From:	Gottlieb, Jonathan (
I've been looking at your website with great interest all week.  On
Tuesday, I ordered an ETX-125AT with UHTC from Woodland Hills.  It
should arrive here at my office on Tuesday and I'm looking forward to
trying it out.  Are you still recommending the performance enhancements
Parts 1-5 for new versions of these scopes?  It doesn't look all that
difficult to do, but it does look to be a little time consuming.  I'd
appreciate your advice.
Jonathan Gottlieb
Mike here: I don't recommend doing ANY enhancements until you absolutely positively without a doubt know that the telescope needs something done to it. With the newer models, it is rare that anything needs to be done. However, that said, there are things you can do to make your experiences better, such as the enhancements Dr. Clay suggests for the Autostar. The older mechanical enhancements generally should not and need not be done.


Very comforting news.  Thank you Mike. 


Just looking over your website hunting for the Dr. Clay autostar
enhancement you recommend below.  Is it "Dr. Clay's Meade Autostar
Updating Guide" from 2002?  Also, judging from the flow posted on your
site, you appear to get a ton of email.  Thanks for responding to mine.

Mike here: Sorry to have confused you. It is Parts 2 and 3 of the Performance Enhancement Guides.
Subject:	ETX 90 
Sent:	Thursday, January 12, 2006 01:38:40
From:	MP & EJ Bowker (
I'm in a "sub-tropical" part of New Zealand, my ETX 90 has some ealy
fungal growth on the inside of the corrector lens. I'm planning to start
storing it in an air tight bag with silica gel, but I would be grateful
for comments on mould removal, I have heard that it can etch into the
lens coating. I have read the optics cleaning page.

I would need to make a spanner to remove the lens retaining ring. Then
mix up some of Prof Clay's special tonics.
Your advice would be appreciated.
Paul Bowker
Mike here: If you mean the lens surface on the inside of the OTA you won't need a spanner to remove the corrector lens housing; it just unscrews. I suggest making a fine mark on the housing/tube before unscrewing it to help you ensure you get it screwed back on to the same place. Removing the lens housing can mess up the collimation and recollimating the ETX is not something undertaken lightly (and is best left to Meade with their optical bench equipment).
Subject:	RE: EXT-125PE Alignment Question
Sent:	Wednesday, January 11, 2006 19:22:29
From:	Mike (
Sorry to keep bugging you about this...I'm gonna anyway!  :-)

I did just as you recommend.  I have a 9mm illuminated reticle eyepiece,
and I was centering it on the mounting screw of the farthest front porch
light on my street, roughly 1/3 mile away.  I did up-down, and left-
right.  I did the CALIBRATE MOTOR before the TRAIN DRIVE.  Is that the
correct order?

I've also been communicating with OPT, since that's my dealer.  Mike
Fowler suggested that I verify the time, date, location, DST, etc. 
These are all correct for my zip code.

Any other suggestions?

My Continuing Thanks,

Michael P. Vergara             If you ever wonder why we ride this carousel
The Wizardworx                         We do it for the stories we can tell
                                                              Jimmy Buffett
Mike here: Just to verify, the problem occurs whether you do the Automatic Alignment with the LNT or an Easy Two Star Alignment without using the LNT. Is that correct?


I have only done the Automatic Alignment with the LNT.  I haven't tried
any of the others.  When I power up the 'scope, I validate that it is in
the home position (rotate counterclockwise until stopped, then tighten
the lever) and do an automatic alignment.
Mike here: Do the non-automatic alignment and see if the problem is the same. Remember that the HOME position is different than that for Automatic Alignment.
Subject:	Question
Sent:	Wednesday, January 11, 2006 12:08:25
From:	Jesse Bradley (
Your site comes up most often when searching for ETX related inquires. I
was wondering if you could point to a site where I might be able to find
the tripod leg wing nut for the #884 tripod. Any help is much
Mike here: I just noticed that your email was processed as SPAM due to the ambiguous subject line and deleted UNREAD. Fortunately I found it. PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page. Thanks for understanding.
As to the nut, contact Meade; they will likely send you one for free.
Subject:	Prompt UK ETX repair service 
Sent:	Wednesday, January 11, 2006 11:13:04
From:	Ray Noonan (
I would like to report the excellent and unbelievably prompt service
received recently from the staff of BC&F at Telescope House, after
knocking my beautiful ETX over in my backyard. (Followed by the sound of
my head being banged on the wall). The dealer who supplied my scope has
ceased trading, but the folk at Telescope House came to the rescue from
200 miles away like the stars they are. (

I was given very friendly and knowledgeable advice over the phone and
the carrier called first thing the next morning! The scope was returned
to me fit and well a very few days later, collimation restored, various
minor niggles remedied, Autostar updated and the whole lot checked over
- and the bill considerably less than I feared. Restores one's faith in
human nature.

Telescope House will get first chance to supply my future needs.  Truly,
astronomical service at down to earth prices!

Ray Noonan, Chester UK. 

Subject:	Best value for money?  ETX-90 or ETX-125 ?
Sent:	Tuesday, January 10, 2006 19:09:04
From:	Teresa Selling (
My husband returned the ETX80-AT-BB for me after several problems).  I
am looking at replacing it with either an ETX-90AT with UHTC at $499
from or ETX-125AT with UHTC for $799 from  The
ETX-90AT with UHTC comes with the autostar and 884 tripod new from with free shipping.  The ETX-125AT with UHTC also comes with
autostar and 884 tripod for $799 plus around $46 shipping.  Both are new
but the ETX-125AT is "blemished".  I called Adorama and they said they
were overstock and no blemishes, but that Meade wouldn't let them sell
as new. The warranty is still 1 year.

They both look like good deals to me compared to other prices I've seen
especially with the UHTC.  Is the ETX-125 worth an extra $300+ with


Teresa Selling
Colorado Springs, CO
Mike here: Whether you want the greater portability of the ETX-90 or the larger aperture/longer focal length of the ETX-125 is the key here. The ETX-90 is a fine instrument but it is a 90mm telescope with a 1250mm focal length. The ETX-125 is a 127mm telescope with a 1900mm focal length. While the ETX-125 is physically not a large telescope, if you want a telescope to go in a backpack, the ETX-125 isn't it. Remember, the best telescope is the one that gets used.
Subject:	Re: Help on etx 90
Sent:	Monday, January 9, 2006 00:13:57
From:	Juan Jose Bernal Arreola (
I return the scope, and get an etx 125 PE and the camera for deep sky
imager. Turn on the scope and it work perfect, ijust had like 45 min
before clouds. But it was the best moon i seen, and today i soo mars.
Waw. Thanks, if not for you i will not relize that the other scope was
in bad condition.

I will star looking to the sky and soon i will ask you more.


Juan Bernal

Tijuana Mexico

Subject:	ETX90EC
Sent:	Tuesday, January 10, 2006 15:38:19
From:	Christopher Turkowski (
Mike here: Please read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Site Home Page; specifically the item about all cap text. Thanks for understanding.
Get a #497. Alternatively if you get a #495 (discontinued for several years) you can upgrade its software to make it a #497 if you buy or make the #505 serial cable. See the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page for more on the Autostar.
Subject:	General Feedback
Sent:	Tuesday, January 10, 2006 11:18:38
From:	John Zylka (
How accurate is tracking with an ETX125 in polar mode?  Do you have a
feel for the amount of time that will elapse before the scope needs to
be guided to compensate for earth movement?  Is this time helped or
hindered by applying counter weights to balance a camera?  Weights and
camera seem pretty significant on a telescope at prime focus.  Would
afocal yield better tracking results than prime focus?
John Zylka
Mike here: How accurate are your TRAIN DRIVES steps? How accurate are you with your location setting? How accurate is your Polar Mounting? These will all affect the accuracy of tracking. That said, can you go for minutes without correction? No. In fact there are very few telescopes that can go for more than a few minutes without needing a correction. Having a properly balanced telescope system will certainly help, all other things being correct. Afocal vs Prime Focus? Keep in that image scale inversely affects the amount of correction needed. Small scale, like with piggybacking a camera with a wide angle lens, requires little to no correction. Afocal with a high magnification eyepiece will require correction in a few seconds. However, if you use the PEC mode in the Autostar you can alleviate some of the periodic errors in tracking.
Subject:	Regarding ETX 125 premiere edition for beginners specifications
Sent:	Tuesday, January 10, 2006 09:28:55
Hi there i have recently been pointed to your site as i am looking for a

Im based in the uk and have 1000 to spend. This will be my first scope i
would really appreicate your knowledge so far on the etx125 premiere
edition. Meade has promoted itself as a fully capable scope but there
are conflicting information regarding apeture size. A good company in
the uk has said not to buy any thing under a 6inch aperture.

Or could you point me towards the best possible scope in the range of

I thank you for your time and look forward to recieving your comments

Unless its spammed.

Mike here: You should buy the largest telescope can afford that you will use and one that comes closet to meeting your expectations and will meet your needs for how you want to use it. Is a 6" better than a 5"? Perhaps, depending upon a SLEW of other factors. Do you need more portability or more aperture? What do you plan to do with the telescope, now and in the future? Is this your first AND last telescope?


hi i dont mind size for taking to and from places.

i just want the best quality views of the planets and viewing galaxies
som an all rounder

i will be using this as much as possible weather permiting this will not
be my last scope my first of many untill i find the best one for me

i would like to view the lunar surface

again tho i only have 1000 which is maybe $1650 dollars i know i cant
get a great amount for that

but thanks very much for taking the time to reply i greatly appreciate
you knowledge on this
Mike here: Actually you there are many telescopes in your price range, some with the same features but a larger aperture as the ETX-125. For example, the LX90 8". The mount is similar to the ETX (but better) and uses the same Autostar #497 as the ETX. There are also the LXD55/75 models that use the Autostar #497 and have lots of different OTAs on the mount. Plus there are Dobsonians. Decisions, decisions, decisions!
Subject:	Needing advice
Sent:	Monday, January 9, 2006 19:08:12
From:	Dean E. Dujmovic (
I live on a hill overlooking busy bay and could see for a miles. I am
looking for a Strong Spotting Scope and I am considering getting into
astronomy. I am looking for a good marriage of price and quality. Have
been searching web sites and after a while came down to two models,
Orion Starmax 127EQ i Meade ETX 125, but out there may be some others
that I do not know. Any recommendations?

Besides, for Amateur Astrological use (to see a major stars), do I need
electronics and motor to move that telescope. I believe not, but hey,
what do I know, I am just getting started.

Dean E. Dujmovic
Mike here: Please read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page; your message was originally classified as SPAM due to the ambiguous subject line. Thanks for understanding.
What exactly are you expecting to look in the bay and how far away is it? You may find that the ETX-125 is somewhat overpowered unless you plan on looking at navels on the naval vessels... Also, keep in mind that higher magnifications will also suffer from atmospheric turbulence during the daytime and so distort any views. For amateur ASTROMONY purposes (unless you really mean "Astrological", in which you came to the wrong web site), having a motor drive is not required but it sure makes life easier when you don't have to keep moving the telescope by hand to keep an object in view as the Earth rotates.
Subject:	What defines "seeing conditions"?
Sent:	Monday, January 9, 2006 13:40:46
From: (
I've seen people refer the quality of "seeing" with a number, ex. 6/10. 
Is this just a guess?  I suspect there is more to it.  Is there an
article that describes how to measure "seeing"?

Thanks for you time and help,
Mike here: See the article "Seeing Conditions and Transparency" on the Helpful Information: Observational Guides/References page.
Subject:	365 Nights of Skywatching
Sent:	Monday, January 9, 2006 10:53:46
From:	john
I haven't checked it out but thought I'd pass this along:

"Universe Today has released
( a free,
downloadable PDF book for its What's Up this Week
( astronomy column.
This 400+ page ebook has an entry for what you can see in the night sky
every day in 2006, as well as additional information on choosing
equipment, viewing conditions, and additional resources."


Subject:	solar filter
Sent:	Monday, January 9, 2006 06:51:00
From: (
I'd like your opinion as to which solar filter serves up better views
and detail; the astro bader film or the scoptronix type A glass solar
Basically which would you prefer? It's for an etx 105.
Mike here: I have not looked through a Scopetronix filter but I didn't like the blue color I saw when I looked through a Baader one. See the Accessory Reviews: Filters page for more on solar filters.
Subject:	Help - Eyepiece Internal Cleaning Question
Sent:	Sunday, January 8, 2006 22:52:19
From:	Doug Vaughan (
Not specifically an ETX question though it is the scope I use. I
recently got a used Meade series 4000 6.7mm UWA eyepiece and noticed
that it has a piece of dust or a pint fleck somewhere inside the
elements of the EP that is clearly visible when viewing a bright object.
Under certain conditions I can also see several fiber-like pieces of
dirt that are also caught inside the elements. My question is where does
one go to find someone skilled in disassembling and cleaning eyepieces?
Apart from these flaws the EP appears to be in very good condition. Is
this a problem that can be corrected or is this just a permanent defect
for this EP?
Mike here: You can try your local telescope dealer. You can also try yourself BUT you need to be very careful in disassembling it and noting which way each piece of glass goes and in what order. You can definitely ruin an otherwise acceptable eyepiece.


Thanks for the quick reply. Think I'll give the guys at Scope City a


Subject:	ETX 125 PE questions
Sent:	Sunday, January 8, 2006 21:34:43
From:	Ed Wood (
I am VERY new to astronomy & telescopes, having last had one as a young
boy in 1965.  I received an ETX125PE for Christmas & have been trying to
take the fast track to mastering the terminology, processes, and
procedures for telescopes in general, and for the ETX specifically.

So, I am able to look into the eyepiece & focus on an object  just like
the old days, but the newer technology is either eluding me or the scope
is defective.  I've followed all instructions to the "T", but I'll be
darned if I can get this thing to align properly.  First, let me say
that I have had a grand total of 2 nights with about 3 hours of clear
skies in the God forsaken winter of Pittsburgh since Christmas, so I
haven't had a huge amount of time to play around.  Anyway, I aligned the
LNT module during the day on a distant object, and at night set the
scope in the home position before beginning the auto align procedure. 
There has NEVER been a bright star anywhere near where the scope thinks
that there should be one, so each time I have had to adjust a huge
amount to just to center a star that I can see.  The second  bright star
setting is somewhat closer to a star, but it is still fairly far off. 
About half of the time, I am rewarded with a successful alignment
message.  However, even after a successful align, when I use the GOTO
function, the scope doesn't seem to go where I want it to go.  I'm
assuming that the alignment has failed, even though it reports a

The other problem is with the software.  My laptop refuses to recognize
the scope when it is connected to the comm port.  Is it supposed to be
able to do so?  What should I be able to do with it?  I noticed on the
Meade site that the CCD imagers come with Autostar software which seems
to be the same software that came with the scope.  Is it the same, or do
I have a crippled version?  I'm assuming that it should work, or they
wouldn't have included the cables & whatnot with the scope.

Finally, I really wanted to get this scope to do some astrophotography. 
I am using a Minolta A2 with a 49mm Digi-T Kit adaptor along with an
EZ-PIX II mount from ScopeTronix.  This contraption appears to work
well, except for a significant amount of vignetting.  I suppose that I
didn't need the EZ Pix mount, but I was concerned about the camera lens
being damaged by the weight of the camera hanging off of the end of the
telescope.  What I have found is that the combination of the camera and
the mount add a significant amount of weight to the end of the scope.  I
have to tighten the Dec lock with significant force to prevent slippage
from the added weight, and I'm not sure if this is damaging to the
scope, or if it is normal. Even with the thing firmly tightened, the
weight of the camera causes the scope to drop about  inch no matter
what.   Furthermore, I'm not sure if this scope is of a high enough
quality to obtain decent images anyway!  Am I wasting my time trying?

Sorry  lots of questions.  I appreciate any assistance that you can
Ed Wood
Mike here: I recommend you start with aspect until you are comfortable with that. So, don't worry about the computer and astrophotography until you have working GOTOs. So, lets start with that. You day you followed everything to a "T" but unless you tell me what those steps are I can't say whether you missed anything (such as CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES). So, what steps have you done? As to the software, yes the Autostar Suite is essentially the same. But how are you connecting the laptop to the Autostar and are you using RS-232 or USB? As to astrophotography, yes, the weight can cause a balance problem; see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page for several counterweight solutions.
Subject:	balance of etx
Sent:	Sunday, January 8, 2006 15:37:16
From: (
I find that when the vertical lock is released my etx front end swings
downward which means, I'm told, that it isn't balanced. This happens
with eyepieces and w/o. Since there is only one way to mount the etx in
the fork arms, is this a manufacturing defect or do all etx swing
downward when the vertical lock is released?
Mike here: This is normal with the ETX line. It is not a defect with the one you have.


Thanx a bunch 

Subject:	EXT-125PE Alignment Question
Sent:	Sunday, January 8, 2006 13:35:38
From:	Mike (
We met you at the OPT Astronomy Expo, where we decided to get an
ETX125PE.  After a lot of non-astronomy issues, we finally did first
light last night.  And now I have a question.

When running the alignment - or actually any GOTO operation - the
telescope moves, then stops, then moves again.  I was trying to get
Capella centered using the Autostar keypad.  I'd center Capella, and the
'scope would move, sending the star downwards (as viewed through the
eyepiece).  I'd have to move it up again, and then press Enter as the
star moved back down through eyepiece center.  Rigel was the next star
and I experienced the same problem.

We went through the setup several times, aligned the Smartfinder (I
think), it knew our location, and once I was able to complete the
alignment, the GOTO operations put the object in the eyepiece, center
low.  Then it would drift down out of view and I'd have to move the
scope again to center the object.

Any suggestions?  Is there an initial setup item we missed?  I thought I
RTFMed the manual, but I'm at a loss to understand this behavior.
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES (both axes)? It sounds like you are experiencing a "rubberbanding", which is typically caused by not doing one of both of these steps.


Nope.  Didn't do those steps yet.  I'll do them and let you know. 
Thanks for the tip.

Mike here: CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES needs to be done for any new ETX when taken out of the box. Plus you must CALIBRATE MOTORS when changing power sources or exchanging batteries. In addition, whenever you update the Autostar you should TRAIN DRIVES to avoid rubberbanding. Lastly, any time the Autostar doesn't do what you expect doing the CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES will usually solve it. If not, DO A RESET, CALIBRATE MOTORS, and TRAIN DRIVES.


I found the "Train Drives" section of the manual, but I wasn't sure what
"Calibrate Motors" was.  I presume it's the PEC calibration;  is that

Unfortunately, something else popped up.  Three times tonight, as I was
operating the scope, the ALT drive went into high gear and threw the
tube up to vertical.  The motor hummed for a few more seconds (the first
time...I hit the off switch after that) and then the handset gave me a
"Drive Motor Fault" message.  I was running on AC, not batteries, so it
wasn't a power issue...I think.

First time was during alignment, second time when I tried to pick a GOTO
object, and the third time when I was trying to align to a star for the
PEC calibration.  On the third time, I noticed that the altitude drive
would not change speeds, and when the motor spontaneously kicked on I
could interrupt the drive-to-vertical by pressing the ^ and v keys.

Any idea what this could be?  I will also be talking to my dealer (OPT)
to let them know, too.

Mike here: CALIBRATE MOTORS is used to calibrate the Autostar to the output of the encoders and has nothing to do with PEC. The random slew up you experienced can be due to needing to CALIBRATE MOTORS. Please do that. Also, TRAIN DRIVES.


I tried again last night, to somewhat better results.  We bought a
Xantrex battery pack and were using that with a genuine Meade 607 power
plug.  I went through two reset-train-calibrate sequences, but the
'scope seemed to settle down from the drive-to-vertical problem.

However, it's still not tracking like I think it should.  I set up to
watch Mars for a while, and it would visibly move through the
viewfinder.  Same with the Orion Nebula.  This isn't really an issue for
a 26mm or 30mm eyepiece, but it makes using the 9mm troublesome, and it
makes alignment even more difficult.

Are there more adjustments that are required to settle down this

Thanks for your help.  I would not have been quite so tenacious without
your suggestions to try RESETs.

Mike here: The accuracy of drive training will affect the accuracy of tracking. For the highest accuracy during a TRAIN DRIVES, use a high power eyepiece or an illuminated reticle eyepiece. Also, be certain you have done both axes; it is easy to overlook the second one when selecting to TRAIN DRIVES from the menu.
Subject:	Purchasing ETX 125 PE
Sent:	Saturday, January 7, 2006 13:35:58
From: (
I am about to purchase an ETX 125 PE and was happy to chance upon your
site, which I plan to visit regularly.  I'm thinking of  purchasing from
Rivers Camera in New Hampshire.  Any negative feedback out there about
Rivers, or any other recommendations?

Also, any recommended accessories?  I'm moving down from a bigger scope
in the hopes of greater portability and usability (don't want a dust
collector) so I have $ to spend on some bells and whistles.
Hope to hear back, thanks in advance
Pat O
Mike here: Personally I have no experience with that dealer so can't comment on them. But working with a local reputable telescope dealer is always a good idea. As to accessories, that depends on how you plan to use the telescope. But see the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the various Accessory Reviews pages.
Subject:	ETX Voltage
Sent:	Saturday, January 7, 2006 12:23:34
From:	Job Geheniau (
As senior ETX user I really do have a question :-)

I normally use a 12 Volt Car accu (power supply) for my etx at home. Can
be used for weeks without problems.

Now I found a 13.8 Volt regulated dc power supply. (or let's say for
safety, 14 volts)

Can I use this on my ETX 90 without burning the internal circuits????

If you have the answer, please let me know.

Job Geheniau,
The Netherlands
Mike here: I think you'll be fine. The Meade one is 12VDC, 1500mA.
Subject:	ETX 125 Observation Report
Sent:	Saturday, January 7, 2006 06:05:16
From:	Dave Brokos (
My name is Dave Brokos and I need your help. My primary purpose for
buying the ETX 125 Spotting Scope is for target shooting. Will I be able
to see a bullet hole in a target at 500 yards.

I do not want to spend $800.00 if I can't. Meade tech support says yes,
but I would appreciate your opinion.
Dave Brokos
Mike here: I was a little confused by the subject of your email. But yes, you will be able to see the hole. In fact, I suspect that many lower priced spotting scopes will do the job.


I am considering the meade ETX 125 Spotting Scope for target shooting.
Could you advise me on the best zoom eye piece for this Scope.
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page for some reviews on zoom eyepieces. Keep in mind the theoretical maximum magnification for any telescope; see the FAQ page if you are unsure how to determine this. While it won't be that much of a problem for well illuminated or daytime shooting range work you should be aware of it.
Subject:	#827 8 X 25mm Right Angle Viewfinder
Sent:	Friday, January 6, 2006 16:35:55
From:	Anthony Favata (
I got the Meade 8 X25mm finder scope for Christmas for use with my ETX
70.  My intentions were to utilize this and my digital camera (with the
generic digital camera adapter purchased from ScopeTronix for taking
digital pictures through the scope with better precision than I had
gotten before.)  That is, I would attach the camera then align the
finder scope such that the object appeared in the camera's viewfinder
(doing this alignment during the day of course).

Problem is that in the way the finder scope is mounted (so close to the
telescope barrel) that when I have the camera and adapter attached to
the scope, one cannot get close enough to look through the finder
scope--thus rendering it useless.  Further, even for normal viewing
(without the camera), it's a chore getting close enough to the finder
scope without it being a struggle (especially for those of us with large
Italian noses!!!)  I looked throughout your site for some time, and I
cannot seem to locate a clever workaround devised by other scope
enthusiasts (as I have typically found workarounds for other queries I
may have had).  Do you have any suggestions or advice regarding this

Mike here: Check out the articles "Alternative Finder Mounting" and "Finderscope Mounting Bracket" or maybe a reversed version of "Finderscope modification" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page and the "ETX Flip-Finder Bracket" on the Accessory Reviews: Finderscopes page.
Subject:	ETX Battery Pack Recommendation
Sent:	Friday, January 6, 2006 08:18:29
I recently bought a ETX 125 and am interested in getting an external
battery pack rather than use AA batteries. I was wondering if you have
experience with any external battery packs and if so which one(s) you
Thanks in advance,
Roger Kaufmann
Mike here: See the Power Supplies section on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page as well as the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page. I have bene using a Celestron Power Tank (seen on the review page) for over a year.


Thanks I will take a look.

Subject:	ETX shopping questions...
Sent:	Thursday, January 5, 2006 12:55:55
From:	floodgearsale (
I'm looking to buy an ETX 90 or 125, and I'm having trouble finding the
precise difference between the EC, PE, and AT models. I'd like to save
as much money as possible, but without passing up the best features.  So
far, it looks to me like AT is just EC sold with Autostar, and PE is AT
with added starting calibration features that I might not need so badly.
Can you help clarify this?

Also: UHTC sounds great, but I don't know how much more to pay for it.
Is the difference really 15-20%? Is it less noticable on the 90 than the

Thanks so much. 

William C.
Mike here: Yep, the AT=EC with the tripod/Autostar. PE has the LNT (but no magnifying finderscope). UHTC is definitely worth the adding expense and really does significantly increase the amount of light reaching your eye.
Subject:	Is there a quicker way to locate objects
Sent:	Thursday, January 5, 2006 09:49:12
From: (
Is there a quicker way to locate a planet or object other than the
standard scan technique?  It always takes me a long time to find
something.  Is there an accessory such as a Telrad that would help?  I
find the small spotter scope to be very awkward.
Thanks for any advise,
Redondo Beach, CA
Mike here: You didn't say what telescope system you have but if you have a GOTO system you can use that. If you don't, you need either good star charts and/or accurate setting circles with good position data for the objects. A Telrad can help as can the 1x or red-dot finderscopes for locating easily seen objects. Fainter objects tend to require a magnifying finderscope.


Thanks.  I'll look into the 1x and red-dots.
Mike here: There are some reviews on the Accessory Reviews: Finderscopes page.
Subject:	RA on 105 very tight !!!!!
Sent:	Wednesday, January 4, 2006 20:31:33
From:	Greg Kaiser (
I did a Tune-up on my ETX-105.

Boy did I. The whole RA Axis is very tight to turn even with the clutch
released. I tightened it and tried top move the scope with the
Controller and all the gears turn even the Large Metal One, worm and
Plastic ones but not the scope. There are no binding noises. I Only
wiped off some excess grease off of a black rubber disk and tightened
the screws that hold down the circuit board. I tried to tighten the worm
but it was quite secure. I got the Idea from Scopetronix site. Seemed
Harmless. I can turn the RA to the stop but its so hard to do than as

What have I done??


Greg Gilbert, AZ

And from our resident Hardware Expert:

From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
Did you tighten, remove or alter the main axle bolt in the very center
of the RA drive base?

Something is way too tight....I suspect that you did indeed overtighten
the worm end play nut in the RA axis.

You have not provided us with enough information here to assess what
might be out of adjustment.  Also, describe if the telescope worked
properly before doing your "tune-up" and if you made any adjustments to
the RA clamping lever (the chrome one on the top of the RA turntable).

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H45 (Petit Jean Mountain South)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain)


Hello Dr. Clay,

Thanks for answering my email. I will best answer your questions.

First of all the reason I went into the RA motor system was just to See
if I had any loose screws or grease in all the write places. Everything
worked fine. It was more curiosity and also the fact That I get some
streaking on my digital photos at 30 to 50 second Exposures in Polar as
well as Alt/Az modes. I have a Coolpix 4500 With a Scopetronix's T and
Step Ring Adapter

When I first went into the RA assembly I just tightened down the 3
screws that Hold down the plastic gear and electronics assembly and also
wiped Off some grease from the black Bushing?  on one of the shafts of
The plastic gear assembly by turning the large (clear) plastic gear and
Holding a Q-Tip with Isopropyl Alcohol on the black bushing? (not sure
what it's used for, It's like a guide). I did try to move the Worm gear
end nut but it was quite tight in both directions. So I didn't force The
issue. I used an open end wrench and held the shaft with a needle nose.

From here I tried to remove the OTA by removing the 4 Allen Bolts On the
Outside of the Back of the Tube Assembly. It tried to Remove the OTA but
couldn't and decided not to force anything. I wanted To inspect the
Right Arm Worm Assembly  for grease and screw security.

I put the cover back on the battery Compartment and initialized the 497
And tried to move the RA in both directions. It wouldn't move. The
Horizontal Lock was tight. Gears were turning and there was no Binding
just no scope Movement.

Out of frustration I removed the Large Metal Gear that meshes with worm
Gear And also the Vertical Bolt that is actually the Horizontal Locking
Mechanism. I put it all back together and tried things again. The scope
did not turn. The motors and gears all turn but no movement in the
Scope. Logically it would have To be the Horizontal Lock, I call it a
Clutch. I went to bed.

This morning I had and Idea to manually move the scope all the way
counter clockwise And then clockwise. I used the 497 after both
rotations to move the Motors and Noticed that in the Clockwise direction
I got some movement in the scope. So I really cranked down on the lock
and got more movement. Like you said something Is too tight. I backed
off on the 3 circuit Board screws since I noticed tightening One of them
seems to curve warp the circuit board and gear assembly. Seemed to do

Also after many iterations of removing the battery compartment the wires
came Unattached from the circuit board for the battery assembly. I can
solder Them back if I can get the control panel out? Or I can Solder
them I believe To the other side of the board. Or I'll never use them so
perhaps I'll leave them Unattached.

Thanks in Advance for any advice.

Greg Kaiser have done too much work on this scope. First of all, using the
Scopetronix outfit and camera, you are shooting at pretty high f/ratios;
you CAN expect trailing in 30 seconds if not guided.  So it sounds like
you did a lot of work in there when you really had no problem at all.  I
have not seen any commercial telescope of this price range that does NOT
trail stars when unguided, even down to 15 seconds.

The small adjustments are not the issue here.  Either you have
inadvertently overtightened the worm gear via the end play nut, or you
have the scope totally bound up in the main axis, which I suspect to be
the case.

The telescope is going to have to go in for service without a doubt;
normally Meade will totally repair all problems (IF you specify exactly
what is happening and make a complete list of everything that is wrong
with the telescope) for only $75, including return shipping to you. 
However, this is IF you have not messed up something that will have to
be replaced.

Be honest totally when you call them.  Let them know exactly how this
happened so that they can initiate a proper fix.

NOW....that being said, I have said over and over again that the "Tune
up" for the ETX scopes does NOT apply to the newer models, including the
105 or any that have the newer metal base and fork arms inside.  These
telescopes are incredibly difficult to work on and should never be
"tuned up" under any circumstances.

Best of luck on this and please keep us posted as to progress.

Dr. Clay

And an update:

I figured out this evening that one of the 3 screws I tithed was
scraping against the plate underneath the base. I just put a spacer in
there, an O ring since I didn't havea washer that would fit. I noticed
when I was moving the Base that I could see another plate of metal
underneath the plate that the Gear Box/Electronics mounts to. I could
also here a mild scraping noise. The screw is the one that is closest to
the 12v red wire at the RA Motor. Forgot to get a picture. It was about
1/4 inch long (threaded). Got the wires soldered back on to the Battery
Case to.

A fresh mind always seems to help. The scope is like new again. I bought
it in Dec 2004.

Best Regards

Thanks for your efforts and tips.

Greg from Gilbert,AZ

Subject:	what is the field of view of the 8x25 angle finder?
Sent:	Wednesday, January 4, 2006 07:30:47
From:	Stewart Long (
I have trawled the site (and the ETX instruction manual) but cannot find
the field of view in degrees of the 8x25 right angle finder on my ETX
125. I want to put an indicator on starry night. Any help gratefully

Many thanks, 

Mike here: I don't recall it and likely can't measurement it tonight as the clouds have come in. But you can measure it yourself by pointing the ETX at a star on the celestial equator. Then put the star at the east side of the FOV and time how long it takes for the star to reach the west side with the ETX powered off. Then you just convert it to degrees and minutes by recalling that the sky moves 15 degrees in one hour (approximately).
Subject:	Tripod: Deluxe Field Tripod #883 to #884- Any downside??? + what about a pier arrangement???
Sent:	Tuesday, January 3, 2006 10:52:20
From:	John Dooley (
My current configuration with the Deluxe Field Tripod #883 has left me
wanting the advantage of polar mounting my 125 scope. I have read the
pros and cons to this unit but still wanted to ask your opinion if the
#884 has enough stability for say someplace like Oracle Observatory, not
that I'm a land thief, just that I have a little "Oracle" tucked away
here in So CA and figured now is as good a time as any to get out
there!!!! Also, I talked a length with Dr. Clay about image shift with
my 125 and electric focuser and he offered to see if he could do some
adjustment at no additional charge, (ETX-125EC, supercharge number
2413-125) He really is a great guy, and to offer me help with the amount
of work he has, (not only supercharging scopes, but all the observatory
stuff), I'm glad to have someone in the hobby like him, as well as you- 
So Mike, any suggestion you could provide in regards to the idea of a
portable, stable, scope tripod would be most appreciated. Oh, also, just
wondering: Are you considering building a small permanent pier for the
LXD-55 or are you waiting to build your own observatory in Oracle?? I
was just thinking that a small pier might be the ticket for me, along
with the tripod, as this would afford a much more stable arrangement for
a wedge, and could be done fairly easily with good results. Thanks,
John Dooley
Victorville  CA
Mike here: The #883 tripod can hold the ETX-125 in polar mounting position but I would recommend NOT extending the leg height to avoid any stability issues. The #884 is more stable in polar position but really reduces the image vibrations that can be evident in the #883. Yep, Dr Clay is a Star in our Universe! As to Oracle Observatory, once we settle down there (not soon) I plan to build some sort of observatory building to house some sort of instrument. Maybe the ETX-2000????
Subject:	Learning Curve for EXT 125
Sent:	Monday, January 2, 2006 19:52:09
From:	David Roberts (
Is there a book or other resource to shorten the learning curve on the
EXT 125?  I have read and enjoyed your site and done extensive searching
on the internet.  I can't seem to get an image of anything that does not
look like a star.  Even the moon though crystal clear is not
breathtaking.  I have the 25mm eyepiece and the Barlow 2X but the field
of view is not filled with either unit.  Any suggestions?


David A. Roberts
Mike here: It sounds like your expectations are more than the telescope delivers. The Moon will fill the eyepiece field of view when full but the planets and certainly the stars will not. Keep at it; don't forget to look at M42, the Great Nebula in Orion before the Moon brightness starts to interfere. As to what you can expect, read through the Helpful Information: User Observations page.


I really didn't expect the planets to do to fill the FOV but Saturn
looks like a rings, no clear orb just a bright light like a
star to the naked eye.  Just wondering if I'm doing something wrong
(other than just not properly obtaining the planet).  I'll keep working
at my Dad use to say:  "Nothing easily attained has any real

Again,  thanks for your help.

Mike here: Saturn WILL show its Rings with the ETX-125 (and even smaller telescopes). Perhaps you weren't looking at Saturn.


Thanks for the help.   We got a star chart and manually searched for
some things.  Saturn was remarkable.  Mars not so.  Is there a higher
power lense that you can recommend to get more detail from the planets
than the 25mm and the Barlow 2X?

Again, thanks for your help.  We are so excited.

Mike here: With the ETX, 100-200X will show most planets nicely. Mars is getting far away now so may be disappointing if you were expecting to see a lot of surface details. As to eyepieces, see the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page.
Subject:	Color Filter
Sent:	Monday, January 2, 2006 17:45:55
From:	Robert Zaballa (
Hey, it's been a while since I've done any astronomy, but now that I
have more time, I have a question about replacing a color filter. One of
the filters that came with my DSI Pro, came with a scratch on it, so I
asked Meade about sending another one.  All they sent was the glass
filter itself without it being inserted into the black thread part. How
am I suppose to remove the old scratched glass and replace the new one? 
Any suggestions?

Mike here: Check for small setscrews that hold an interior ring in place. I don't know if this applies to those or not but can't hurt to look. If not, check if the interior ring just unscrews.


There aren't any small screws, all there is are two small notches
opposite each other on the interior ring. It seems that the interior
ring should unscrew but it is really tight. By pressing a flat screw
driver against a notch I tried to unscrew the interior ring but no luck.
In fact, the screw driver slipped and scratched the edge of the glass to
be removed. I'm going to call Meade tomorrow and ask them about it.

Mike here: You need a small spanner wrench then which fits those notches.


I was successful in unscrewing the interior ring and replacing the
glass, it worked out. There are a few smudges on the glass from touching
it. Now I just have to clean the glass.


I meant to ask this earlier. What is a safe way to clean a filter? It
has a little smudge on it from when I replaced it.
Mike here: See the "Cleaning Optics" article on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	Guide for ETX-105?
Sent:	Monday, January 2, 2006 13:29:46
From: (
(Sent for - The book finally arrived but does not
reference the ETX105? do I have an old copy? it came from
4th printing for 2005 by Springer in GB.

I was looking for a guide specifically for the 105.

If this is an old version, I can send it back as I've kept it in mint


p.s. Happy New Year! 

Mike here: I'm not aware of any guide specifically for the ETX-105; that model is like the ETX-90 and ETX-125, just between the two in size.
Subject:	Happy New Year Mike
Sent:	Monday, January 2, 2006 08:51:56
From: (
...and thank you for all the effort in providing us with the opportunity
to share our thoughts, problems and successes on your platform.

(in front of my garden, 4 pictures stacked, ISO 400, f/11, 6s, PANSONIC
Lumix DMC-FZ30)

Dieter (Munich, Germany)
Subject:	i own a new electronic eyepiece
Sent:	Sunday, January 1, 2006 21:37:06
From: (
and its powerful and does not work for video camcorder, (video cameras)
unless you have video s in. the cable that go's in the VCR  is not the
type that go into video cameras most video cameras don't have s video
connections like that of the electronic eyepiece. which shows wires
coming out. but it does work on my tv and it brings objects extremely
close. good for looking at ships whales moon specially Saturn. since
images are black and white there's no need to buy expensive TV  unless
you are going to video tape it then get a built in TV VCR they sell
small TV VCR built in this would be perfect and easy to carry. as when
the sun go down its hard to see must need light keep the eyepeice with
the cord on the right that's the only way you get a upright image. turn
it around and you will see the image turning from top to bottom in a
circle not turn the mirror though i havent tride it yet i dont think you
need the mirror to view this i think you can use the lens barel itself
with out the coection mirror. well enjoy it.


i found a video camera with the connections and it wont work unless its
the type of connection with out RCA jack but its round with 3 tiny holes
to go into something that of a metal detector. don't buy the electronic
eyepiece for the purpose to video from camcorders if it wont work ill
see if i can buy one and let you know how it is.

Subject:	Rookie questions
Sent:	Sunday, January 1, 2006 14:35:51
From:	Carl Miller (
I've been shopping for a dual purpose scope and have decided that a
Questar Duplex would be perfect.  Only one problem, I can't justify the
4k for a first scope.  My second choice, as you can imagine, is the
ETX-90AT with coatings. I've read your email etiquette section and will
break my rookie questions into individual emails.

Shopping for the 90- There are two stores locally that sell these.  The
Discovery Store is staffed by people that have no idea about telescopes,
and the local camera store charges considerably more than mail order. 
Do most folks buy these through mail order?

Historically, I see Meade has promotions where they throw in some useful
accessories for "free".  Right now every ETX model except the 90 comes
with a electronic eyepiece through OpticsPlanet.  Are these promos
seasonally predictable or random?  Any other shopping tips?

Mike here: Thanks for reading the Email Etiquette (although this subject line still isn't exactly very clear and would have been classified as SPAM were it not for the two other emails from you with better subject lines...). Purchasing from a local dealer is a good idea if there is a good one near you. If there is no good dealer available then mail/web order is perfectly OK if you use a reputable telescope dealer. Sales and closeouts vary according to lots of events (Christmas, discontinued products, closeouts, store anniversaries, etc.


Subject:	Convertible Scope
Sent:	Sunday, January 1, 2006 14:41:48
From:	Carl Miller (
My goals in shopping for a ETX-90AT are both bird watching and sky
watching. How easy is it to pull off the tube to place on a camera
tripod for terrestrial use and vica versa?  In reading the site I
understand there are four screws to remove.  Do folks do this routinely
and is there risk of damage?


Mike here: I have done this frequently and only recently (after years of use since 1996) finally cracked the plastic around one of the screws. Hasn't been a problem though.


Subject:	Best Optical Accessories
Sent:	Sunday, January 1, 2006 15:13:06
From:	Carl Miller (
I'm buying an ETX-90AT for both sky and bird watching and am looking
ahead to what optical accessories to plan for.  From reading your site I
understand the practical limits in eyepiece sizes is about 40mm to

Two for sure accessories are the 45 degree erector eyepiece holder and
the camera adapter.  The scope comes with a 26mm eyepiece. There are a
few possible scenarios.  Keep in mind that I'd like to get accessories
that I'd be glad to keep for the long haul.

1. 40mm, 8-24 zoom, 2x Barlow, included 26mm.    I'm guessing it would
be dumb to put a zoom on the Barlow.
2. 40mm, 6mm, 2x Barlow , included 26mm. This gives 6,13,20,26,40
3. 6-24 zoom, 40mm, included 26mm..  Should I look for stronger than
6mm?  Quality loss from the zoom? Gap between 24 and 40?

What do you think of these options?  Am I missing a better option? 40mm
a bad idea for low magnification?

What brand and models do you suggest for good quality eyepieces?  Mead
4000? I've heard good things about the TeleVue 6-24 zoom if I go that
route.  Any other suggestion?

If I get a Barlow I've read the Celestron Ultima 2x is a good choice. 
Again, any other suggestions?

Thanks again,

Mike here: 1. Actually, with the Zoom, why do you need the Barlow Lens? 2. Better. 3. Personally I don't like Zoom eyepieces but others do. 40mm will show some vignetting, especially in the daytime. Meade eyepieces are fine for the ETX-90. Televues are really nice but cost $$$. Check out the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page for several other alternatives. Keep in mind that the Barlow Lens needs to be a "shorty" style to ensure proper focusing.


Option #2 seems to be the way to go but I've modified my choices a bit. 
In my reading I've learned that a 32mm will give the same real field of
view as the 40mm, just a little more magnified.  Then the Celestron
Ultima 35mm caught my eye.  Seems like a good balance for low
magnification bird watching for a few extra bucks.  On the strong end
I'm leaning towards the Meade 5000 14mm due to the wider field and good
eye relief.  Those two along with the standard 26mm and a 2x Barlow will
give me 7mm, 14mm, 17.5mm, 26mm, 35mm.  How's my thinking?  Any point in
going stronger than 7mm on a 90mm ETX?  Are the upgraded eyepieces
overkill on the ETX 90?

Thanks for the advice,

Mike here: The Meade 5000 eyepieces are really nice and complement the ETX very nicely. Your choices should provide you some good views.
Subject:	oracle weather
Sent:	Sunday, January 1, 2006 09:23:46
From:	jim cadien (
Just read about your most recent trip to Oracle.  I have lived in Tucson
for 18 years and a constant during that time has been the inability to
correctly predict the weather, even a couple of days ahead.  For years I
was working on a project that required observing at the UA sites on Kitt
Peak and Mt. Lemmon.  WE would check the weather, look fine, go to the
mountain and by night there might be clouds all over.  So, one just
cannot know from forecasts.

Also, the past 5 years or so the number of clear nights here has
decreased dramatically.  I guess we are in a different weather cycle
than when site selection data were being  collected for NOAO.

Good luck,

Jim Cadien
Mike here: Someday, atmospheric mechanics will be as well understood and modeled as celestial mechanics.
Subject:	re: Telescope Purchase Advice
Sent:	Saturday, December 31, 2005 17:29:30
From:	richard seymour (
Allow me to take a heretical standpoint ... for the price of
a new ETX-125, you can buy a -used- LX-90.

All of the advantages/features of the ETX-125 (well, SCT instead
of Mak), plus it's 8 inches of aperture instead of 5".

YES: it's definitely less portable, but you haven't defined/described
your needs/wants very well (given you were trying to choose
between the LX200gps 7" Mak and the ETX-125.  Huge and heavy
(there's a steel counterweight -inside- the 7" Mak OTA!) vs
relatively featherweight.

For example (to give us a clue), how much are you willing to spend?

Used LX-90's appear on the  classifieds
quite frequently, and $1k is a easonable price.  Here's one
(sorry, it's sold) for example:

have fun


From:	Michael McLaughlin (
I'm still considering several possibilities, and a LX-90 is among them. 
I haven't been completely sold on the optics yet, but the 8" appears to
be quite a bit lighter than the 7" Mak.  Do you have an opinion on the
overall quality of the LX-90 vs. the ETX (optics, tracking,
astrophotography, etc)?

I'm not planning on buying until early March anyway, but if I decide on
something larger like the LX-90 I may just have to hold off for another
few months to save.  I would have had to wait about another year to buy
something like the LX-200 7", so I'm certainly not against waiting if

I'm quite concerned about getting a telescope with good optics though. 
I really don't want a refractor, but I do pretty much want the optics
they are generally credited with (kind of having my cake and eating it

Thanks for your reply, by the way.  You mentioned not worrying about
accessories yet but as far as accessories go, I'm really not so much
concerned about buying a ton of imaging equipment, or other gadgets yet.

The accessories I'm more concerned about at this point are things like a
case and a dew shield (things that make my telescope safely portable and
allow me to view longer).  When I mentioned the eyepieces I was just
wondering if you had a good, bad, or neutral opinion of the Series 4000
eyepieces.  If you thought they were a waste of money I probably
wouldn't bother with them.

All of this just tells me that I have a lot more looking to do before

Thanks again,

Mike McLaughlin

Sullivan, IL. 61951
Mike here: The OTA on the LX90 is the same as the 8"SC on the LXD55/75 and LX200GPS. I have the LXD55-8"SC and the optics are great. The LX-90 could have been called the "ETX-200" as it really is a like a larger ETX (but with a better mount).

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