Last updated: 31 January 1999

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.

Mike here: Meade has created quite a stir in the ETX user community with the new model, its timing, and the lack of an upgrade path from the older model. As a service to Meade, its dealers who monitor this site, and the community, I've posted your reactions. While I don't want to stifle anyone, I do believe that we need to move on to discussions of ETX capabilities, techniques, questions, etc. and away from Meade or dealer bashing over the new ETX-90/EC. I'll continue to post user reactions on the new model through the end of January. After that, I request that reactions be sent elsewhere as I won't be putting them on the Feedback page. I will, however, post reviews and user experiences with the new model. I appreciate your understanding and continued support.

Subject:	ETX-90/EC
Sent:	Sunday, January 31, 1999 17:58:04
From:	OwlsTalon3@aol.com
Are there any upgrades on the boards for the ETX astro ???
Like is the drive unit available for an after market purchase ?
Thank you 

Mike here: Not according to various posts below.

Subject:	ETX / ETX 90/EC
Sent:	Sunday, January 31, 1999 12:30:49
From:	MNacincik@aol.com
Hi Mike:

Just wanted to let you know about the Discovery Store.  I purchased a
ETX on 12/28/98 at the Discovery Store in Washington DC.  When I found
out about the new ETX-90/EC I faxed a letter to Meade and emailed the
Discovery Store at their consumer affairs division on the internet site.

The Discovery Store responded and allowed me to trade in my ETX for the
new ETX-90/EC no questions asked.  The ETX had to be in its orginal
packaging with all parts and undamaged.  No response by email or snail
mail from Meade.

I've enjoyed using my ETX for a short 3 weeks and am looking forward to
the new ETX-90/EC.   I also purchased the ETX Deluxe Field Tripod during
the trade and ordered the ETX Autostar Computer Controller.  I must
admit that being a beginner at this finding the objects I wish to
observe is still a challenge.  Perhaps the Controller will help.  I'll
let you know how it goes.  I'll also be trying some prime focus
astrophotography.  I'll send you a sample in a few weeks, hopefully a
pic might make it onto your guest page.

Keep up the good work on your page, its a great source of information
for ETX users, new and experienced.


Sent:	Sunday, January 31, 1999 8:12:53
From:	theiii@earthling.net
As I pointed out to the Nature company in my area when I was confronted
with their new policy It can only apply to future sales and not to sales
made under the old policy.  The old policy was 100 percent satifaciton
and did not list a time limit or other limitations.  People confronted
with the new policy should insist that the Nature Company honor their
original policy.

Subject:	 ETX and CCD
Sent:	Sunday, January 31, 1999 7:39:54
From:	violinstringer@hotmail.com (Stradi Various)
I have the new ETX and it is pretty nice scope for the price especially
since I travel a lot for my job.   My questions is has anyone used a CCD
camera with the ETX?   I thought I saw a site where someone used the
Meade 416x CCD but could not find it again.   I was thinking more along
the lines of a cheaper model of course so if anyone has any comment
about using one I would appreciate it.  I have tried just putting my
digital camera up to the eyepiece and it worked well for the moon and I
got one good picture of Jupiter and the Galilean moons(It tooks some
practice though to get that right).

Anyway I was curious if anyone had tried a cheap(or expensive) CCD or
Cookbook CCD camera and if so what were your results.

Mike here: Search the site for "CCD". You'll get some hits.

Subject:	 Any feedback on Tuthill Tripod
Sent:	Saturday, January 30, 1999 21:19:23
From:	sviltoft@mn.mediaone.net (Steve Viltoft)
Great website:

I have ordered the new ETX.  I am considering the Tuthill isostatic
mount described on his webpage.  It looks sturdy, and I like the idea
that there is plenty of room to scoot a chair underneath the scope
without interfering with the tripod.

I have scoured your excellent site and see zero comments on this mount.
Do you have any feedback or opinions on this?


Steve Viltoft

Mike here: I have no experience with the Tuthill tripod. Perhaps someone else will comment.

Subject:	 ETX 90/EC
Sent:	Saturday, January 30, 1999 12:33:54
From:	nicnrick@inreach.com (Nic and Rick Happoldt)
Have you any experience with the new ETX 90/EC?  I am curious about the
quality of the mechanics.  Also, I am curious about how well the new ETX
fits on the Meade Deluxe Field Tripod.  I have heard that there is play
on the East/West movement.  I want to make sure that it is sturdy it so
as to properly dampen vibration.

Thanks in advance for the help!


Mike here: Check out the new ETX-90/EC page. I don't have the new model so can't comment directly.

Subject:	 RE: Finder FOV
Sent:	Saturday, January 30, 1999 8:57:31
From:	mikewrobel@harborcom.net (Michael Wrobel)
The finders field of view is 10 degrees.

I measured it by pointing the ETX towards towards Orion.   The finder
can just about include both Mintanka (Delta Orion - the upper of the
three stars of Orion's belt) and Saiph ( Kappa Orion - Orion's lower
foot, opposite of the other brighter foot star, Rigel). Using my Sky
Atlas 2000 Atlas with its plastic degree grid overlay, I measure the
distance between these two stars to be 10 degrees & about 15 seconds.  
Based on this measurement I would say the field of view is 10 degrees

My 8x21 finder has the 90 degree Apogee conversion diagonal.   Bear this
in mind if you just have the plain straight thru finder.  I don't think
the 90 degree diagonal affects the feld of view significantlly though.

Mike Wrobel

Subject:	 ETX comments from MAPUG
Sent:	Friday, January 29, 1999 20:03:02
From:	billkamon@sprintmail.com (Bill Kamon)

Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 10:49:53 -0600
From: Ed Stewart-AstroDesigns (stargzer@austin.cc.tx.us)
Subject: [M]: Individual Eyepiece Cases

Hi guys--

In December, I posted a note about a source for the screw-bolt style
individual eyepiece cases like Meade supplies with their eps. They are
sometimes referred t o as screw-bolt cases since they have a hex base.
In searching around this source was found: (http://idt.net/~wbf/EP.htm)
William Falcone, Absolute Astronomy, (wbf@idt.net)

I indicated that I would report back in January my experiences with
Absolute Astronomy. I ordered quite a number of them for myself and
several friends to spread out the shipping cost. Examined them this
morning, and they are exactly t he same as Meade's even down to the
manufacturer's trademark. These are from 30% to

50% less than what Shutan Camera sells them for. The order was handled
promptly with no delay even with a personal check.

Just one slightly negative comment, the largest ones for the 20mm
Nagler-sized e ps is about .5" too big in diameter making for a very
large case--about the size of a pint Mason jar. Wish it could be a
closer fit like the one for the smaller eps, but it's OK.

A caution about the use of this type of case: be sure your eps are dry
before sealing them in the case or you may have mold problems.

Ed Stewart, AAS

Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 13:30:36 -0500
From: "Brian Straight" (brians@mdbs.com)
Subject: [M]: New ETX

A friend just bought the new ETX scope--unfortunately he has to wait a
month to get the GOTO controller (they're back ordered).  The scope
seems very nice, but unfortunately the base is plastic, which makes it a
little noisy when slewing.  Optically, he tells me that indoor tests
indicate it is excellent.

Interestingly, the OTA mount appears to be identical to that of the old
ETX, which means that the OTA can be swapped out using just four screws.
It should therefore be a simple matter for Meade to sell the mount
separately, should it choose to do so.

Perhaps ETX users on this list should lobby Meade.


From MAPUG # 1597

Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 13:05:23 -0800
From: "Peter A. Vogel" (pvogel@chromatic.com)
Subject: [M]: RE: New ETX with LX200 controls

I believe the RS-232 port is on the Autostar controller (extra $150)
which plugs into the phone connector on the base.  I'll know for sure
later today/this week when I get the new ETX :-)

I believe this because the RS-232 port speciciation appears on the
AutoStar computer, not on the ETX-90.

- -Peter

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-mapug@shore.net On Behalf Of J Nordby
> Sent: Thursday, January 28, 1999 11:40 AM
> Subject: [M]: New ETX with LX200 controls
> I'm looking at a photo of the new altazimuth/eq Meade ETX with LX200
> type command facilities (seen on the inside covers of the March issues
> of Astronomy and S&T) and am wondering, which of the phone-type
> connectors seen on the front is the RS-232 port?  I would sure like to
> get one of these honeys if I know for sure it will be compatible with
> my old DOS slewing program.

Subject:	  re. ETX-90/EC (non)upgrade
Sent:	Friday, January 29, 1999 15:15:32
From:	gwyn@arl.mil (Doug GwynISTD/SWIS)
I too purchased an "old style" ETX just before the new style came out.
However, I was willing to pay the asked price to get the then-current
product, so I can't complain.  There are mighty few products that one
can "upgrade" for free when a new version is produced.

I think the main reason an upgrade option isn't offered for existing
ETXs is that it must be a labor-intensive job, so there would be little
if any savings over simply buying a second ETC(-90/EC). And of course
Meade wouldn't want to officially sanction people performing such major
surgery on their own.

Subject:	 My-'Scope's-Bigger-Than-Your 'Scope
Sent:	Friday, January 29, 1999 10:04:46
From:	JDeriso@Alphaind.com (Deriso, John)
There's probably one in every crowd.  You start talking proud about your
ETX, and some Aperture Size Snob makes some comment, like, "Don't expect
much from a small aperture."  I'll bet most ETX users have been put
through this wringer.  I got hit with this very comment, would you
believe, by an astronomy club officer.  Here's my comeback: "Messier
made history with a 4" 'scope.  Have you found the stuff he did?  What
new discoveries have you published?"

Who would talk down a budding (or experienced) skywatcher just because
they're using binoculars?  A lot of us got our start that way, and it
kindled the curiosity that led to a neat hobby.  Different strokes for
different folks: we all have our own reasons for the equipment we own,
Mike's feedback pages are full of them.  I plan on an 8" Dob some day,
not as a "step up", but as a companion to my ETX which I'll never give
up.  And I'll keep my 8X40 binoculars in the car trunk.  This is a fun
hobby quite literally without limits, so encourage others by giving them
a look!  One thing I have learned from joining a club, there are a lot
of really friendly people with varying degrees of experience to hang out
with, without bothering with the ASSes.

... and clear skies, folks.

John D

Subject:	 More nights with the ETX
Sent:	Friday, January 29, 1999 7:34:56
From:	jh@brainiac.com (Joe Hartley)
Now that the skies have cleared and the moon is in its first quarter,
I've been spending most of my time this week on lunar observations.  The
clarity of the image, even at 256x (9.7mm and 2x Barlow), is just
tremendous!  256x is pushing the limits for most viewing - Saturn's
fuzzy, for instance - but it's amazing for the moon.

Since the ETX is my first real 'scope, I get to learn those things that
come with experience - like giving up most other viewing when the moon's
up because it's just too bright!

I also had a chance to try the wonderful Wartinger's Focuser (that is, a
clothespin on the focusing knob :) for the first time.  What a great
idea! It was especially nice to be able to focus while leaving my gloves
on, since clear nights usually mean cold temperatures!

I'm seriously looking at the Scopetronix MicroStar II+ Dec motor/focuser
unit as an upgrade to my scope.  I'd love to hear from anyone who has
any or all of the Scopetronix (Jordan Blessing's company) addons and
your experiences with them.

        Joe Hartley - jh@brainiac.com - brainiac services, inc
 PO Box 5069 : Greene, RI : 02827 - vox 401.539.9050 : fax 401.539.2070
  Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa

Mike here: The Microstar 1 is reviewed on the Showcase Products page. Check it out. Excellent product for the original ETX.

Subject:	 etx
Sent:	Thursday, January 28, 1999 19:51:53
From:	irharris@hotmail.com (Ivan Harris)
Hello Mike,

I want you to know that I support your position regarding the new ETX.
Rather than bashing Meade our time would be better spent learning how to
use our scopes and more about the sky. Regarding a few points that were
raised in a letter; I don't consider you an apologist for Meade. The
comments seem pretty even-handed to me. Also, I can't think of any
product I ever bought that was not replaced by an improved model and I
have yet to be consulted by the maker and have not seen any upgrade path
anywhere. We take it for granted that everything else we buy will be
upgraded so why not a telescope? Personally, I don't have bad feelings
toward Meade. I am glad to see the new ETX. I don't have any great
desire to have one and I don't feel my ETX is suddenly worthless.
Regarding faults, if you don't want faults then get a Questar. I would
rather have the extra few thousand bucks and use the ETX.

It seems to me we should be grateful that Meade exists. They are
continually pushing the envelope and that is something no one else has
done. Celestron has finally come out with a competitor to the ETX but
Meade upped the ante so the ball is back in Celestron's court. I look
forward to more and better products from both companies.

Keep up the good work Mike; we appreciate it and lets move on to talking
about the ETX, both old and new and leave Meade alone.

Clear skies.

Subject:	 The Nature Company
Sent:	Thursday, January 28, 1999 16:34:09
From:	rfcmdc@erols.com (RFC)
I purchased a Meade ETX back in Sept 1999.  Contrary to what has been
posted here, two Nature Company stores told me on the phone that
telescopes are non-returnable is they have been used and this was a new

Subject:	 Great Site!!
Sent:	Thursday, January 28, 1999 15:48:34
From:	extremevalues@popmail.com
You have a GREAT web site! My husband has an ETX I bought for him last
summer.  He loves it. Recently your site came in very handy. I was
looking for something to get him for his birthday and after looking
through your accesssories and miscellaneous pages I  went with the Meade
2X Barlow and the Might Mak t-shirt.
Keep up the Good Work and thanks.

A Good OL' Gal,
Carol M.

Subject:	 Paul Scheifer
Sent:	Thursday, January 28, 1999 15:38:55
From:	ron@datapage.com (Ron McCafferty)
I'd like to comment on Mr. Scheifer's email.

He's taking your comment about business timing as a defense of Meade.  I
think his logic is flawed and he is jumping to conclusions.  Your
observation about business timing implies neither agreement or
disagreement.  Mr. Scheifer then makes a further jump by then saying you
are withholding criticism of Meade.  I recall reading several emails
being critical of both Meade and other dealers.  Mr. Scheifer isn't
finished.  He then accuses you of censorship.  I think you have been
more than accommodating to the messages complaining about Meade.  This
is your site. You should be able to publish what you want.   Maybe Mr.
Scheifer will start his own site.

I think the Meade bashing messages are becoming boring.  Yet I was glad
to read that the Nature Company will accept a trade in.  I will
investigate that for my situation.

I urge to not take Mr. Scheifer's comments to seriously.  Not everyone
will be happy all the time and the rest of the world seems to think
you're doing a great job.

Ron McCafferty

Subject:	 etx 
Sent:	Thursday, January 28, 1999 11:58:24
From:	MGSTEI1@solutia.com
Please help me on dec and R.A. with the etx. I am a true beginner in
this hobby and know just enough to get in trouble. I especially get lost
after polar aligning the etx and setting the first object to track. I
first tried after polar alignment and then set the coordinates  on Rigel
in Orion and then tried to go to Pollux in Gemini and the etx ended up
pointing to the dirt on the ground. Also when an object has negative
numbers in the coordinates where do I set the marks. I have no trouble
on polar aligning and then tracking a planet or moon or star so I must
be polar aligning the scope ok. Please help me!!!  Mikey

Mike here: Suggestion: get a beginner's book on Astronomy and Telescopes. Any book will help, even the below $10 variety. This will give you the basics of sky navigation (Right Ascension and Declination). Once you understand how the sky is layed out you'll be able to better use your ETX. In the interim, with your ETX base angled for your latitude and polar aligned, set the declination scale to read 0 (zero) and lock it in DEC. Note where the ETX is pointed. Move the ETX left and right (R.A.) around the R.A. rotation axis and the ETX will follow the celestial equator. If you then change the ETX declination to point above the equator you'll be using positive declination values and below the equator will be negative values.

Subject:	 ETX-90
Sent:	Wednesday, January 27, 1999 17:27:41
From:	barrycnp@earthlink.net (Barry Craig)
We wanted to let everyone know that by the end of this week (1-28-99) we
will have the opportunity to get my hands on a new ETX-90. We are
looking forward to doing a report on it's performance and handling
characteristics. As a note to anyone interested in purchasing a
TeleWrap/Dew Cap for their new ETX-90, we will be manufacturing one for
it also. We are not sure if all the tube dimensions are the same, and we
will soon know.  We would like to thank you (Mike) for having us listed
on your great site, and thanks to all the people that have purchased a
TeleWrap/Dew Cap. We will be introducing another item that we feel will
be useful to all ETX owners new and old. Also, another item that we
offer and have been selling is the TeleDome Portable Observatory. More
information is located at our web site
home.earthlink.net/~barrycnp. Keep up the good work!


Barry A. Craig  (Clear Night Products) 248-547-2315

Subject:	 RE: petition?
Sent:	Wednesday, January 27, 1999 9:23:33
In a discussion about the ETX-90/EC rollout, this idea came up:

> Perhaps we can get Mike to host a petition on his site asking Meade
> for an ETX upgrade path.  Maybe if Meade got 5000 signatures, they
> would either rethink their approach or come to the realization that 
> there is a market for the new base alone.  At least there would be a 
> constructive aspect to all the venting!

OK, I'm going to stop bothering you and go back outside to look for M1.

Kelvin Lee

Mike here: I don't know which would be more likely to get results: a single letter with 5000 signatures or 5000 individual letters delivered to Meade. I suspect that if Meade received 5000 letters that might carry more weight.

Subject:	 ETX Site
Sent:	Wednesday, January 27, 1999 4:13:53
From:	dannyvg@usa.net (Danny Van Geyte)
My name is Danny Van Geyte, I live in Belgium, in a city called Ninove
(near Brussels).  I recently got myself an ETX Astro telescope.  I had
few occassions to use it since (bad weather).  But on the nights I
could, well it was worth the waiting. It is realy a nice piece of
equipment.  While I was roaming around on the web, I discovered your
site.  Well done, it provides very usefull information on the usage of
the ETX.  I'm not making any photopgraphies for the moment (I'm looking
for an attachment ring for my Pentax camera, so...) but when I come to
it, you'll be hearing from me!

Greetings, and keep up the good work!
Danny Van Geyte
Abdijstraat 85
9400 Ninove

Subject:	 digital setting circle for etx
Sent:	Tuesday, January 26, 1999 23:11:13
From:	jamestoomey@usa.net
As a "classic" ETX owner who's become accustomed to (and enjoys) the
manual controls, I don't like the idea of depending wholly on the motor
drives, and those short-lived AA batteries, for slow-motor movement, as
the new ETX necessitates. Do you know of any Digital Setting Circle
system which will just indicate when the ETX is aimed at an object? I'd
like a purely passive system such as Meade's Magellan system, not one
that actually moves the ETX.

Subject:	 Paul Schiefer's Censorship Article
Sent:	Tuesday, January 26, 1999 17:16:54
From:	dick@dwalters.com (Dick Walters)
I don't want to slam anyone, but it seems to me the decision not to
crowd this site now with a lot of repetitive threads criticizing Meade's
"apparent" lack of an upgrade path for the old ETX is a good one for the
following reasons:

1) Meade undoubtedly knows the customer sentiment by now. Why make the
site visitors review this issue over and over.

2) This is a brand new product launch and they probably don't have the
foggiest idea or interest right now on the need for an upgrade for the
old product.  I'm sure they're going like mad to make the new scopes and
would probably be production limited if they tried to crank out retrofit
bases at the same time.  Sales will probably want to go for the after
market for bases and computers when the product launch settles down a

3) They probably need a little time to work out the financials on
whether it makes sense for them or the customers to sell new bases for
old scopes.

4) They'd have been marketing crazy to have announced this before
Christmas if they still had ETX inventory and the new bases were
delayed.  Remember the Osborne computer?

5) They don't seem to be the most marketing communications savvy bunch
on this planet anyway.  Look at their WEB site.  Zero info on the

I think I'd tend to be a little more patient before jumping to the
conclusion the upgrade won't be available.  Otherwise, we'll all be
wading through a lot of grousing while trying to get the information
Mike is doing a great job providing on this site.  I'd say if Meade
still hasn't come to the table on this in about 6 months, that would be
the time to start bitching.


Dick Walters

Subject:	 ETX Tripod with new ETX/EC
Sent:	Tuesday, January 26, 1999 16:53:57
From:	dick@dwalters.com (Dick Walters)
Contrary to one earlier message posted here, the existing ETX tripod
WILL work fine with the new ETX/EC scope, but requires longer mounting
screws which will be available from Meade in about a week, or your local
hardware store sooner than that.  There are brass inserts on the scope
bottom with the same hole spacing as the old ETX, but the current screws
are a bit short to hold things together; a minor problem.


Subject:	 User Feedback
Sent:	Tuesday, January 26, 1999 13:02:12
From:	Jeff.Huston@infousa.com (Huston, Jeff)
First off, what we are experiencing here, is no different than what
we've seen in the computer industry for YEARS.  Frankly, I'd much rather
have the option to move into a more feature rich model of a telescope
for the SAME price.

I don't know about you, but I've got more than enough use out of my old
ETX to pay for the little bit of depreciation I've seen in it.

I have gladly sold my ETX, to my neighbor (and he is more than happy to
get it) and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new one at my local
Nature Company (and am somewhat dismayed to find out about the Nature
Companies trade in policy...but oh well...I now have another viewing
partner in my neighbor).

I was concerned about my newly acquired JMI Wedgepod, and how it would
work with the new ETX base plate (apparently, it won't, given the
missing center screw).  Well, after having talked to JMI, they indicated
that they are shipping adapters to fit the new ETX base plate, free of
charge to wedgepod owners (I love these guys)....so give them a call, if
you're considering a new ETX.

Personally, I wouldn't mind a little censorship here.  I'm biased to
positive, constructive comments on getting the most out of the ETX.  I
don't want to read articles about how much better the view is in a
Televue Pronto or whining about the lack of a Meade upgrade (that should
be taken up with Meade).  I want to continue to read about how other
fellow ETX owners are using their scopes, what kind of upgrades they are
performing, experiences they are having.  Please Mike, if you haven't
already, feel free to censor the negative stuff (the last thing I want
to have, is an opportunity to second guess my purchase anyway).

Keep up the great work.

Jeff Huston
http://www.eomaha.com/jeffsastro	Jeff's Astronomy Online
http://www.eomaha.com/stella		Stella Newsletter

Subject:	 Re: Your intention to censor e-mail
Sent:	Tuesday, January 26, 1999 12:32:25
From:	scheifer@earthlink.net (Paul Scheifer)
Thanks for your very polite and gracious reply to my post.

Because I respect you and what you've done with your site, I'd like to
try again from a different angle.

For practical reasons, I think you should reconsider your decision to
exclude certain materials from your e-mail postings.

One of the reasons I go to your site is that I know I will receive
comprehensive information there. If the idea, suggestion, complaint,
etc. exists in the ETX community, it will be expressed on your site.
This is the core of the usefulness and the wonderful community spirit of
your site.

There is a very practical reason for the usefulness of non-censorship:
knowing that the e-mails that are posted are ALL the e-mails is ITSELF
useful and important. If I read one story about a vender not accepting
returns within their declared 30 day limit, I will have to wonder if
that incident is an aberration, since there was only one. If I read
about 10 such incidents, I will know it's a pattern.

If filtering is going on in the selection of posts, I will not know when
I read one report on something whether or not that is the only report.
It will no longer be useful as an indication of frequency. The mere fact
that we won't know will undermine the usefulness and integrity of the
will affect how we evaluate the information

Another example involves technical issues. If I read repeated reports of
problems with the teflon pads, I'll know it's a design error. If I read
only one, I'll assume that it was a problem with that particular unit
only. If I don't know whether or not all the reports are being posted,
this usefulness is gone.

Positive examples of including everything, critical or not, appeared on
the January 25, 1999 posts, the very day my e-mail appeared. Because of
all the brouhaha over Meade's release and of the practices of Shutan,
Shutan ws able to respond and was able to give their side of their story
and to clarify certain technical issues regarding the new ETX. They also
made an (apparently) false claim regarding other venders about whether
or not other venders would accept returns.

This prompted a response from Natural Wonder, which pointed out to
everyone that they will accept full returns on the old ETX for the new
one. This is significant information for those who purchased from
Natural Wonder, and I'm sure that many people are very happy to learn
about this. (I won't benefit from this, unfortunately; I bought mine
from JC Penney.)

All of this is the result of a free and open exchange of information. It
also involves marketing.

I know that you honestly see yourself as simply cutting off posts that
have alraedy been stated, that you are simply cutting out repetive
e-mails, that you are not deliberately censoring specific information.

But the problem is that once you select out anything, the integrity of
everything else is undermined. If you can select out one category, than
you might select out others in the future, and we'll never know whether
you have and which categories they might be at any given time. History
has shown us that once censorship starts, it doesn't end. (In fact,
you've already added another category of e-mails: those that deal with
your decision to cut out the first category.)

This integrity is important, expecially concerning complaints about
Meade. I will now never know if a complaint about Meade is isolated or
one of many because we will know that you do filter SOMETIMES, so maybe
you're filtering THIS time.

By declaring that you won't censor as a policy, we can guage frequncy
and decide for ourselves on any particular issue.

By the way, I agree with you that the e-mails concerning Meade were
becoming repetetive. But this is not that great a problem in the context
of the negative outcome of selective filtering. The e-mails would have
died off on their own. There are only so many times people can make the
same point. In fact, on the 1/25/99 postings, this seems to already have
taken place. These e-mails are already falling off to almost none. This
would have happened naturally.

I also think that your declaration that the e-mails concerning Meade's
release of the new ETX is "marketing bashing" involves an approach that
deserves comment.

"Marketing" involves such issues as 1) where to find good buys (all the
recent e-mails concerning JC Penney and other discounts); 2) whether a
particular vender is not accepting returns or is otherwise acting in a
way we should know about; 3) whether a manufacturer is not honoring
warranties; 4) the availability of accessories; 4) reviews of a
products; 5) good sites for buying used products; 6) information about
upcoming products; 7) information about products that might be viable
alternatives to ETX or other Meade products; 8) etc. These are all
marketing issues.

To say that "marketing" issues are now subject to filtering says that
we'll never know if we're getting all the information concerning topics
such as the list above. These are important.

(By the way, I recently rose to your defense on these issues. A few
weeks ago, someone sent in an e-mail complaining about a posting that
you put up from someone else about a mail order house that had good
deals. The complaining party thought this was inappropriate. I e-mailed
a response that defended you by saying that such information is

Thus, for practical; reasons, I think your decision is a mistake.

Another reason is a little more abstract. As I said in my last e-mail, I
love the community spirit of your site.

For me, in addition to its usefulness, it is this community spirit that
makes your site such a pleasure. Such a spirit is a reflection of you.
Such a spirit would not exist if you had not created, nurtured and
maintained it.

I think that your decision will undermine that spirit, that it will
undermine just a little (or maybe a lot) the wonderful but intangible
and delicate community quality that you have made. In this way, I think
you will be doing a disservice to a very marvelous aspect of your own

Of course, it is your site and you can do whatever you like with it. I
just think that censorship will undermine what I understand your YOUR
vision of the site to be.

Paul Scheifer

Mike here: Thanks for the valuable and well-thoughtout additions. I understand your concern but I guess what this comes down to is "trust". You and others either trust me to post relevant items or you don't. If I've lost that trust by anyone, that is definitely unfortunate for all of us. I agree that repeated reports, whether Meade or dealer "marketing" policies or technical problems like the teflon pads, are valuable, which is exactly why I've posted them. I will continue to do so when I deem them appropriate. And that is and will continue to be true in almost all cases. I say "almost" because I reserve the right to apply my judgement on what is valuable to users and what is not. Trust me or not. Reader's choice. It has always has been that way; readers don't see the email I receive until I post it! And to-date I've posted practically 100% of original email items received. This includes everything, including supporters and non-supporters of my decision to limit discussions on Meade ETX-90/EC upgrade and marketing decisions. What items have not been posted were generally a reply of "thanks for posting the item", messages that were unclear and no clarification was received when I asked for one, email that I was specifically requested to not post, or questions that were (in my judgement) not appropriate for our ETX forum. Censorship or intelligent filtering? Each reader will have to decide.

Added later:

By the way, my comments only concern the "User Comment" part of your
site, which I've always experienced as a "Public Forum." The "public"
part of this is what I'm responding to.

The other parts of your site are not a forum, but are your selections
for what may be of interest to people, a great service that you provide
that obviously is editorial in nature. It is the excellence of your
selectivity in these areas that make them so useful.

Mike here: Actually, all parts of the site are a public forum. If someone sends me an accessory product review I generally try to post it on the appropriate page (although sometimes I get lazy and put it on the Feedback page!). If someone sends me some astrophotography (good or bad, as long as it demonstrates what can be done with the ETX) I'll usually post that on the Astrophotography Gallery pages with the submitters comments. User feedback on items in these areas are either posted with the product review or on the Feedback page.

Added later:

Thanks for your prompt response.

'Nuff said, eh?
Paul Scheifer

Mike here: Agreed. We'll agree to disagree on this one!

Subject:	 I support your ETX-90/EC policy!
Sent:	Tuesday, January 26, 1999 10:45:22
From:	pvogel@chromatic.com (Peter A. Vogel)
Great site.  Not that you need this, but just to reassure you, there is
at least one other person out here reading your site that agrees with
your policy regarding mail about the ETX-90/EC.

All of us should be aware of the "Osborne effect" where announcement of
a parasitic product (a product that will steal sales from a current
product) results in a reduction of revenues such that it is not possible
for the company to complete development of the parasitic product.

I got burned (somewhat at least) by this whole thing as well: purchasing
an ETX-Astro for my daughter's birthday on Jan 3, just a few days before
the new release was made public on Astronomics' web site.  But I DO NOT
blame Meade, what they did was sensible business practice.  I might wish
they had a true upgrade path, rather than forcing dealers to come up
with their own methods (such as Shutan's generous policy -- Yes,
generous) or Nature Company's willingness to exchange if the scope was
purchased within the last 30 or 90 days or whatever.

But this has gone on too long, your site is here for *information* about
the use (and abuse) of the ETX scope, not as a forum for every whiner on
the net.  For people to make DEMANDS on your time (as Paul Scheifer is
doing) to publish every whine and complaint is ridiculous.  A newspaper
editor is free to publish whatever letters to the editor he deems
appropriate (he is also free to edit those letters as he sees fit) this
is the correct analogy for your site, it is, in essence, a "living"
newsletter and you have complete editorial authority.  The beauty of the
net is that everyone has a voice, if someone wants to create a site
dedicated to the destruction of Meade for their sound business
practices, let them!  That's what the net is all about, and perhaps
Meade will receive valuable feedback.

Keep up the good work!

Peter A. Vogel
SW Configuration Mgmt Lead
ATI Research, Inc.

Subject:	 JMI wedgepod with new ETX-90/EC
Sent:	Tuesday, January 26, 1999 9:50:09
From:	fsotoma@center.fis.ulima.edu.pe (Fernando Sotomayor)
I would like to know if JMI wedgepod (0-90 latitude scale) can be used
without any problem with the new ETX-90/EC.

Thanks for your advise at any time.
Fernando Sotomayor.

Mike here: See Jeff Huston's message above.

Subject:	 Trade-In Policy Of ETXs
Sent:	Tuesday, January 26, 1999 8:22:24
From:	jay.essegian@netmanage.com (Jay Essegian)
In response to the previously posted message from the manager of the
Nature company, I would also like to point out that Natural Wonders
shares a similar policy! I just returned my 7 month old ETX for a
FULL REFUND, including the carry bag. All that was needed was a
receipt and the original packing materials. Both of these retailers are
top notch in my book!

Best of luck to everyone interested in trading-up!

Jay Essegian 

Name: Jay Essegian
Title: Senior Account Manager
E-mail: Jay Essegian (jay@netmanage.com)
Phone: (978) 946-5211
Fax:   (978) 794-4488
NetManage Provides Complete PC Connectivity Solutions

Subject:	Returning An "OLD ETX"
Sent:	Tuesday, January 26, 1999 7:01:37
From:	Grizz88252@aol.com
Hello Mike great site! I just wanted to comment about Returning "old"
ETX. My wife bought me one for Xmas. When I heard about the "NEW" ETX I
was disappointed that I would not be able to upgrade to the new one. BUT
my wife purchased it At The Nature Co. and after speaking with the
Manager at the store I was relieved to find out that indeed I could
return it and upgrade to the new one. With receipt it would not be a
problem. The manager told me to keep using mine till the new ones arrive
and she will call me when they do. That is the way to do business and
I'll buy all my ETX stuff.... through them.

Thanks again for the great site and Clear Skies.

Subject:	 ETX DRIVE
Sent:	Tuesday, January 26, 1999 6:00:37
From:	lsregor@netcomuk.co.uk (Davidson Rogers)
Love the site. Just abount to buy an ETX. What do you recommend to be
the longest exposure time using scope for photography as it only has a
single axis drive?
Best Wishes
Mike Rogers

Mike here: Check the Astrophotography Gallery pages for examples of what can be done. You'll have to work hard to get exposures more than a couple of minutes unless you add some options. The new model will improve the results but it will still take a lot of practice.

Subject:	 New ETX
Sent:	Monday, January 25, 1999 20:22:43
From:	donw@crescentresearch.com (Donald Winspear)
Very nice site!

I traded in my old ETX and my new one arrived today.  I look forward to
seeing information as it become available regarding people's experience
with the new dual axis drive motors.


Donald Winspear
Crescent Research, Inc.
7502 Greenville Ave., Suite 500
Dallas, TX 75231
(214) 890-4030
(214) 890-4031 fax

Subject:	 Looking for a paper
Sent:	Monday, January 25, 1999 15:40:14
From:	jagaji@adinet.com.uy (JAIME GARCIA DE ARECHAGA)
your site is really smashing !!
Congratulations and thanks a lot for your work.!!
I'm writing you for a question:
I want to install a mecanical digital display to the focus know. To do
this I have been looking for a paper where the dismounting of the botom
pieces of the ETX is shown .I had saw it some time ago but I lost the
address . Do you remember where can I look for that paper.

Jaime Garcia from Montevideo Uruguay.
Sorry about my English !!

Mike here: Check out Doc Greiner's ETX Info site. This may be what you need.

Subject:	 Diffraction Rings
Sent:	Monday, January 25, 1999 13:55:24
I read in a review of Russian Maksutov-Cassegrains (in Astronomy) that
because of the spherical secondary mirror, star tests will not be
typical. Specifically, the diffraction ring pattern under focus will NOT
be the same as that over focus.  Does anyone know if this is really
true, and if so what the diffraction rings are supposed to look like?

Clear skies,
Kelvin Lee  

Subject:	 Finder FOV?
Sent:	Monday, January 25, 1999 9:05:23
From:	LeeK@NMRIPO.NMRI.NNMC.Navy.mil (Kelvin Lee)
Thumbs up on your ETX vs ETX-90/EC stand!  My analogy is the new VW bug
takes nothing away from the old Bug - they both have their own charms
(and annoyances).

On that note, do you or your readers know what the field of view of the
original Meade 8x21 ETX finder is?  I'm discovering this is a useful
measurement when trying to star hop (in my case very pathetically) from
a book (i.e. "The Stupendous Nebula is one finder field (10 degrees)
west of Sirus").  My crude estimate is 10 degrees.

Clear skies,
Kelvin Lee

Subject:	 ETX90
Sent:	Monday, January 25, 1999 5:05:25
From:	eganeric@usa.net (Eric Egan)
Any information on the ETX 90 yet? I was lucky and only had my ETX a few
weeks when I herd about the new ETX90 so I returned mine.  I don't know
if I will get an ETX90, I'm not sure it's aperture is big enough.  You
think the drive on the new ETX90 will be better?

But if the rumors about a 5 inch ETX are true that sounds good.  I think
they will come out with a bigger ETX, that is why they added the "90" to
the new ETX's name.  What do you think? What have you heard?

Thanks for a great site and for taking the time to read this.

Eric Egan

Mike here: All that I know is what I read in the emails I have received and that I post here on the Feedback page.

Subject:	 Your intention to censor e-mail
Sent:	Sunday, January 24, 1999 21:28:57
From:	scheifer@earthlink.net (Paul Scheifer)

I believe your decision to refuse to post e-mails from people concerning
the conditions of  the release by Meade of their new ETX is deeply,
seriously wrong. I want to provide  some context for my opinion on this.

I have been a frequent visitor to your site for a while now. I am one of
the many people  who have complimented you for maintaining such a useful
site. I have e-mailed you several  times, and you have even seen fit to
include one of my comments on your tripod page.  You also have included
two of my suggestions for links, one on Tech Tips and one on the  Links

I mention this to establish my credentials as someone who has
participated constructively  with your site, and as someone who
appreciates what you do and the manner in which you  do it.

Even before the recent flood of negative reaction to the new ETX
(timing, no upgrade) I  have always experienced your comments concerning
Meade to be unnecessarily apologetic,  even defensive on their behalf.
Examples of this are in your reactions to the many  complaints about the
9.7, the teflon pads, the finder, etc. You always either say that you 
have not experienced the problem yourself or refer the person to other
comments. You steadfastly refuse to recognize yourself that the ETX has
design errors. Since this is  obvious and hardly an earth-shattering
admission, its absence is rather glaring.

There is of course nothing wrong with this approach. It is not your job
to take a stand  against Meade. But I mention this as background to the
comments that follow.

I think you have moved now into a role as an apologist for Meade, and I
think this is  wrong. You present your site as a neutral clearinghouse
for information about the ETX.  You claim to maintain this neutrality
assiduously, thus avoiding the role of being a  non-declared promoter of
a retail product in the marketplace. I think you have crossed the  line
you set for yourself into being an active advocate for Meade.

First, in your response to a recent e-mail about the timing of the
release of the new ETX,  you defend the timing as merely common business
practice. I believe I am using the word  "defend" fairly here. The fact
that something is done that is injurious to the consumer by  one company
does not make it right. You do not mention this. By not doing so  and
presenting this as merely a marketing practice, you dishonestly present
the act as neutral without moral content. This is a "defense." I believe
it is inappropriate unless you  declare it as such. If you think it is a
correct practice than say so. But to say it is merely a common marketing
practice is to imply it's ACCEPTABLE without actually saying so. Thus,
it is an active defense. It IS a common marketing practice, but it is
also wrong. To not not take a stand on this in your explanation of
"common marketing practices" IS to declare implicitly that you think
such a practice is acceptable. This is what you did. This is a defense.

But this is not that big a deal taken in isolation. Again it is
background to demonstrate that your decision to exclude e-mail about
Meade's release of the ETX is part of a general bias on your part that
you have not declared.

This decision is wrong. YOU have established your site as a community
site that serves the ETX community. This is what the site IS by your
creation. Criticisms of Meade are part of what that community deals
with. They are part of the information that we need. You should not
exclude that information from the rest of us. You have the POWER to do
that, since the site is "owned" and maintained by you, but you don't
have the MORAL RIGHT to do that. I believe that you are doing it NOT
because the e-mails are improper for your site, but because, given the
background above, you wish to protect Meade. It's that simple. You may
not be aware of your own bias, but I think it's evident. It's certainly
evident in your intention to exclude certain kinds of e-mail, the
majority of which are critical of Meade.

You say that the reason for your actions on Meade's behalf is that "we
need to move on to ETX capabilities..." This is not a reason, The
e-mails concerning ETX capabilities etc. will be posted as always. This
is dishonest. Transparently so. It is simply a false reason.

As for the possible claim that there are just too many e-mails, there
are many e-mails because it is of concern to a great number of people in
the community you serve. That is exactly why you should continue to post
them - BECAUSE there are so many.

To the possible claim that the e-mails should go elsewhere, such as a
newsgroup or e-mail list, why? People go to your site for ETX
information. That's why your site exists. It's not for some but not all
information, to be edited by you, but all information.

You once said to me, Mike, that you "do not censor" e-mails to your
site. (This was in response to my query about part of an e-mail I sent
that was not included in the feedback page. You explained in your
response that you "do not censor" and that the part I asked about was
put on the tripod page. I can send you your own statement if you like. I
still have it.)

But what you intend to do IS censorship. There's no escaping that, no
matter what rationale you want to use. You will be selectively excluding
e-mail, the majority of which is critical of Meade. That's censorship.

You have made an egregious mistake, Mike. One of the reasons I liked
your site, and I have told many friends about exactly this, is the fact
that it was truly democratic. It was all inclusive, it was not done for
profit but for service to a community, it was free of influence from the
economic powers that ARE out for the almighty buck, and it was
profoundly useful in a practical, real world way.

All of that now changes. You ARE now engaging in censorship in a way
that has the effective function of protecting Meade, whether or not you
identify it that way to yourself.

Again, I believe you have made a bad mistake, that you are violating the
spirit that you have created for your site, and most of all, that you
are just plain wrong.

I really can't find the words to express my disappointment.

Mike here: I am truly sorry if my actions were deemed inappropriate. My only intention was to reduce the traffic in an area where I felt that concerns had been surfaced, complaints raised, and then repeated. Afterall, how many times can complaints about no upgrades be aired? It doesn't do any good for users to keep repeating that on my web site. They should write, call, fax Meade, not send emails to me (or the ETX mailing list or post on a newsgroup). Meade has no involvement with my ETX site and I'm not even certain whether they check the site although some parts of Meade are aware of its existence. You can call this censorship if you wish; I just call it wanting us to move on and allow me to make the maximum use of my time for the benefit of all ETX users. As a clarification, I will continue to post technical and usage items, both pro and con, on the ETX (both models), accessories, companies, etc. but Meade marketing complaints should be taken elsewhere, preferably directly to Meade. This is the type of non-censorship I was referring to in my earlier response. As to being supportive of Meade by stating that I haven't experienced some problem, I can assure you and others that if I say I haven't experienced the problem, then I haven't. Schedules and weather here reduce my observing time but if my 9.7mm eyepiece doesn't experience the reported problem, I am not going to invent an answer to support a problem that others are having. I appreciate your contributions to the site and I sincerely hope they will continue. One other point: just as I wish to reduce the marketing bashing, I will limit discussion of my "censorship" to the rest of this month. Just being practical, given my time and resources. I hope everyone understands.

Subject:	 Birdwatching with the ETX
Sent:	Sunday, January 24, 1999 19:21:11
From:	mikewrobel@harborcom.net (Michael Wrobel)
One of the appealing things to me about the ETX is that is a serious
multi-purpose scope that lets me enjoy both of my hobbies; Astronomy &
Bird Watching.   I live about a mile from the North Coast of America
(a.k.a  lake Erie) and I participate in the local bird watching forays
held by the Lake County Metroparks.   The ETX is excellent for shore
bird watching both on the big lake and at smaller inland lakes.   For
other type of bird field observations I find the use of binoculars more
practical.   The little buggers tend to flit around from tree to tree
faster than you can track them with the ETX.   The ETX is ideal for long
distance viewing of waterfowl.  I find that the Meade 26 mm Super
Plossle eyepiece works perfectly for birding.   My version of the ETX is
the astronomical version without the 45 degree diagonal.    It think it
would be nice to have the 45 degree diagonal, but the existing 90 degree
done works just as well.   All of my birding excursions have been with
the ETX on the astronomical fork mount.  I would however recommend using
the ETX as a spotting scope mounted to the panhead of a good lightweight
tripod to make it more portable and easier to setup/takedown.    The
typical bird watching outing with a group tends to be quit mobile.  
Unless the particular outing is at the lake shore, it is best to leave
the ETX behind in favor of the binoculars.    The ETX is light enough to
carry around (I use the much maligned soft case without complaint) but
you will typically find that by the time you set it up, the quarry is

One constant about birding is that it is almost always seems to get done
in bad weather (just luck I guess).   A dew cap/cover is a must.   I
find that the TeleWrap/Dew cap by Craigs's Clear Night Products works
great and is a great conversation starter among other birders.   I do
wish that I could obtain a nice heavy duty canvas spotter scope cover
that are available for the more traditional spotting scopes.   I have
seen other birders literally toss their spotting scope in the back of
the van still mounted to the tripod or monopod.     No way would I ever
be comfortable doing that with my ETX as is.    Perhaps if I could
obtain a pan head and a heavy duty cover I might be convinced to try
this; although a bit more gently.   If any one knows of a source for a
heavy duty canvas cover for the ETX, I would appreciate the information.

Clear Skys & Wet Woods
Mike Wrobel

Subject:	 ETX Upgrade
Sent:	Sunday, January 24, 1999 17:49:09
From:	zaxxon07@bellatlantic.net (zaxxon07)
I got my ETX on Christmas and I love it!!!! I want to learn how to do
all the sky watching I can manually. Once I become bored with that maybe
I'll upgrade. Until then it was the best $400.00 I ever spent. There are
plenty of us new astronomers out there to take the ETX off your hands!!!

See ya,

Subject:	 ETX-90/EC Field Tripod Mounting Problem/Question
Sent:	Sunday, January 24, 1999 17:19:34
From:	srf218@mindspring.com (S.R. Fruchtman)
I just purchased a new ETX 90/EC with a Meade ETX Field Tripod.  The
Field Tripod Instruction sheet indicates that the telescope should be
mounted with the "N" leg between the two attachment holes normally used
for the Table Tripod. (Section 2 (b))  The ETX-90/EC Instruction Manual
refers the reader to the Field Tripod Instruction Sheet for mounting and
Polar Alignment procedures.  The problem is that the photos in the
ETX-90/EC Instruction Manual show the telescope mounted on the Field
Tripod in the exact opposite orientation as mentioned in the Field
Tripod Instruction Sheet.  In the manual photos, the two attachment
holes normally used for the Table Tripod are clearly facing away form
the "N" leg of the tripod.

My question is, how should the ETX 90/EC be mounted on the Field Tripod
and which polar alignment instructions should be followed?  If  I mount
the telescope as illustrated in the pictures in the Instruction Manual,
the North leg will facing the opposite direction of true North.  Does
this really matter?

I have not had a chance to consult with my dealer yet as they are closed
on Sundays.  Any help or guidance you could offer would be greatly


Steven Fruchtman

Mike here: I have no experience with the new model; perhaps someone else will comment. If you want to polar align the ETX while mounted on the Field Tripod you'll need the N leg on the North side.

Subject:	 ETX vs G-3
Sent:	Sunday, January 24, 1999 15:58:15
From:	elty@inreach.com (Ethan Lu)
My name is Ethan and recently i bought a ETX. I am pretty satisfy with
ETX beside the tripod, and i went to Ritz and get a regular camera
tripod, it doesn't work very well.  After read your comment about
Eyepieces, i have order one zoom eyepiece, filter set and a Oxygen
filter.  Lately I found a Slow Motion Control ( by Pro-Optics), I don't
know if that works with the ETX.  Celestron's G-3, have you ever try it,
G-3 come with tripod and a lot more standard equipment ( add 99 for
motor drive).  i tried to find information about the G-3 but i can't
find it. Now i still wonder which one should i buy, because i have the
chance to return the ETX if the G-3 works better.  Can you give me your
opinions about these 2 telescope.  Thanks

Mike here: I have no experience with the Celestron scopes. But the new model ETX-90/EC looks pretty good if you want automation.

Subject:	trade-in policy of ETXs
Sent:	Saturday, January 23, 1999 14:35:14
From:	Tetsuo912@aol.com
Contrary to what Bob (from Shutan Camera & Video) had posted on your
site, The Nature Company will allow full-value trade ins on any scope,
including the ETX.  As long as the original packaging is intact, and the
individual has their receipt, the age of the model is irrelevant.  Any
of the rheostat adjustments on the drive motor would negate Meade's
warranty and therefore the option to return the scope.  Likewise, the
90deg. viewfinder conversions would have the same effect.

If a customer came into my store wanting to trade in their older model
for the new one, you bet I'd do it.  On several occasions, I have taken
returns on telescopes so that consumers may trade up to a higher format.
I have a regular who started with a 4500, and 4 scopes later ended up
with an 8" f/10 LX200!

Interested parties that purchased their telescopes from The Nature
Company, should have their original packaging and receipt ready before
entering the store.  As I stated in my previous message, I believe
stores should be receiving the new units late next week.

Bob was quite right to point out the error about the viewfinder,
however.  I, too, had heard this rumor going around for a while, and was
actually a little disappointed to see that it wasn't true.  The RA
viewfinder is also 4 mm wider than the standard from the looks of it.

I was curious about one item.  With the center tripod leg hole removed
from the baseplate, will people using camera tripods have to offset to
the outside hole for mounting?  I, myself, have a Bogen setup, and would
love to keep it if it will work.

Mike, Bob, keep up the good work, and thanks to both of you for all the
good info.

Jonathan Hare
Associate Manager
The Nature Company #77

Subject:	Thanks for your website
Sent:	Saturday, January 23, 1999 11:48:38
From:	Rwolfey@aol.com
I've been an ETX Astro owner since ~3/97 and have bookmarked your site
since first finding it.  I've been following the recent postings about
the new model, owner comments and dealer replies, with interest.  I'm
glad you decided to limit the discussion & flames over MEADE's business
decision, however.

While I think it's great that MEADE decided to offer the new model (I
remember thinking months ago that the 'scope should have some sort of
GOTO capability out of the box - honest! :-) ), I look forward to
filtering the flames/disgruntled-ness out of the user comments.  No, I'm
not pleased that there is no upgrade path, but the thread is getting a
bit old.

I *would* like MEADE to take notice, do themselves (and us) a favor and
offer an upgraded base to owners of the old model.  I regard it a
reasonable & responsible action that MEADE, wishing to retain its
customer's good-will, would offer such an upgrade.

I will seriously consider upgrading, if that were true.

Bob Wolfe

Subject:	 Give 'em a break!
Sent:	Saturday, January 23, 1999 8:21:36
From:	cwd@mis.net (Dean)
I do not understand all the anger towards the dealers or Meade!  The
dealers apparently did not know of this earlier.  I think Shutan is
going out of their way in trying to keep their customers happy.  Making
money on a trade up?  Gosh, I guess they have to pay the light bill and
their employees somehow!

My Experience with Oceanside Photo was not at all unpleasant.  I had
been shopping for a spotting scope when I found the meade.  After seeing
that the astro model was only a little more, I thought this was a good
dual purpose scope.  To make a long story short,  I soon found myself
more interested in the Astro side of the hobby than the spotting side. I
purchased the ETX from Oceanside Photo on Dec 22 as a gift for my wife (
and myself).  Then I found YOUR PAGE! I knew that I had bought the right
scope from all the feedback and comments. When I saw that the new scope
was out, I did not get upset.  I called Mike Fowler at Oceanside and
asked him about the new model and if I could send mine back for the new
one.  He said as long as it was repacked as new, then YES! Did I want to
trade this proven scope for the new, untested model?  Since I am new to
astronomy I felt that maybe the best way to learn the skies was the
manual method.  Mike Fowler said that is true but on the other hand, 
with the new auto finder, it would "find" more than I could myself. 
What to do......................

Well, I did return the first ETX and am waiting for the new one.  I did
have to pay the shipping costs, which is fair.  Mike Fowler said that
they want their customers happy and to come back.  I am sure I will! He
did say that the old field tripod WILL work with the new EC.  The 2
mounting screws need to be replaced with longer ones.

AS for Meade..........CONGRATULATIONS on what looks like another
outstanding product!

Now that I gave my 2 cents worth, lets get back to ASTRONOMY (with
either ETX).

Thanks for a great web site.
Dean Schwartzenberg

Subject:	Astro-photos
Sent:	Saturday, January 23, 1999 7:02:11
From:	Ssimon1016@aol.com
I am having a problem focusing my Minnolta-35mmSLR using the prime focus
method and the ETX focus knob. Any idea what I might be doing wrong?

Mike here: You may need to move the focusing knob a little further out on the shaft; just loosen the set screw, slide it outwards a little bit, and retighten the screw. This allows a little more travel in the focus.

Subject:	 Shutan Camera & Video Response on New ETX Model
Sent:	Friday, January 22, 1999 20:19:09
From:	bob@shutan.com
Dear Mike,
After reading many comments in the User feedback section, I'd like to
add/respond with the following... all with permission to reprint.

There was a mention that the new ETX is coming with a right-angle
finder. That is not true. The finder is the same as previous versions
and the right-angle finder is an accessory.

There was mention of upgrading a Spotting Scope. While the spotting
scope ETX used the same optical tube... the rear cell/housing never had
the four threaded mounting holes-- therefore spotters cannot be attached
to a fork mount.

Regarding Meade selling mounts only, so far there has been no word on
this. Just as they don't sell LX200 mounts separate, they may never sell
this mount separate either. For a moment, lets suppose they did. If the
complete scope now sells for $600 what do you think the mount, with both
motors and hand controller would sell for? My guess is that the optical
tube is a minor portion of the ETX cost. It's fairly simple in
construction compared to the new molds, motors, electronics, and hand
controller required for the new mount. So take off maybe $200 for the
optical tube. That leaves $400 for a mount. Much more than the trade-up
cost that we and possibly other dealers are offering. Which brings me to
my final point.

I have read some not-to-favorable comments about our trade-up program on
this web site. I feel that our $250 trade-in allowance is reasonable. As
far as I know, we were the first to offer it. It's not for everyone but
at least it's an option that MEADE is currently NOT offering. Yes, we're
making a profit but we're trying to help out owners of older ETX models
too. Just try trading in your one year old computer, home stereo, or
television. You'll get laughed right out of the store! Just try trading
in your two year old ETX to Service Merchandise or Nature Company. Ain't
gonna happen! You could probably get $50-$100 more if you sell it
yourself. You'd just have to deal with newspaper/internet ads, phone
calls/e-mails, etc. Whether it's a car, computer, or old ETX, sometimes
getting a little bit less from a dealer is worth the convenience of a
quick transaction.

PS; Dealers found out about this new ETX model on/about 1-11-99. We had
NO ADVANCE NOTICE of its introduction. New Meade products appearing in
magazine ads are usually announced to dealers about one week before the
ads hit the street. Sometimes the magazines beat Meade's dealer
newsletter to our door and we find out about changes in product or
pricing when we read the magazines!

By the way, as of 1-22-99, we are shipping the new model. We have one on
display in our store. IT'S REALLY, REALLY NEAT!!! The hand controller is
very compact and works well. There is a power light on the drive base as
well as the hand controller. The fork arms, dec lock, and RA lock are
different than the previous model. Changing batteries no longer requires
removal (with screwdriver) of the base plate. Just flip open the battery
door. Very simple!

Thanks. Keep up the good work. A site like yours takes a lot of time to
maintain and keep current.

Subject:	 Second Generation ETX!!!
Sent:	Friday, January 22, 1999 15:04:37
From:	leboutte@videotron.ca (Martin Morin)
Your ETX site is very cool... it helped me bying my ETX. Did you heard
about the second generation ETX? Look at this site for more info:

P.S. sorry for my bad english... I'm a french Canadian!!!

--> Martin "Le Boutte" Morin
--> Club des Astronomes Amateurs de Sherbrooke
--> http://pages.infinit.net/caas/index.html
--> ICQ: 3305040

Added later:

Because of changes to the fork arms and drive base, the original ETX
CANNOT be converted or upgraded to the new 90/EC model.

See that site for more details:


Subject:	 Focal length of 3" Edmund Scientific Telescope
Sent:	Friday, January 22, 1999 11:07:23
From:	George.Zimmer@PSS.Boeing.com (Zimmer, George T)
Enjoyed reviewing your site.  In your site you displayed a 3" reflector
from Edmund Scientific.  I picked up the mirror and finder scope at a
garage sale.  It had the same wire mount for the finder that yours did. 
It was in good shape.  What was the focal length for it?


George Zimmer

Mike here: My old Edmund 3" reflector has a focal length of 30" (f/10).

Subject:	 Anybody using an ETX in south Sweden?
Sent:	Friday, January 22, 1999 10:39:25
From:	kajonius@hotmail.com (Petri&Linda Kajonius)
Hi! I am wondering if there would be anyone using an ETX in the south of
Sweden? It would be really interesting to get in touch. Clear skies to
you all and especially to us here in Sweden. We need it:)


Subject:	 New ETX.
Sent:	Friday, January 22, 1999 7:10:17
From:	X2MSPRIN@southernco.com (Springfield, Michael R.)
Just wanted to reply to Gary who was wondering if anyone had one of the
new units. I have one on order and am told that it should be in the
hands of the dealer in Atlanta on Monday and should be in my hands in
Augusta, GA by Tuesday or Wednesday. My current ETX is going to be taken
on consignment by the dealer. A few things to note. The new ETX does not
come with the table top tripod/legs, they will cost between $30.00 and
$40.00 extra. None of the accessories are available yet and Meade will
not say when they will be available. This includes the Autostar computer
which will allow you to use it in altazmuth mode by doing a 2 star
alignment just like the LX200. This means that anyone who buys one of
the new ETXs will have to purchase either the legs, the field tripod or
the Autostar to be able to use the scope. The Autostar will be around
$150.00 and the electric focuser will be around $120.00. I have both on
order as well and will be glad to give a report on them when they
finally arrive.

Subject:	New ETX
Sent:	Thursday, January 21, 1999 23:22:34
From:	RLibby@aol.com
I had a talk with the customer service person at Meade today, mostly
regarding the new computer controlled ETX. It seems the optical system
is the same, but the mount is different, which means that there is no
easy upgrade available. In fact, there is no upgrade available. However,
she did allow that the optical tube assembly would fit into the new
mount system, but there are no plans at the present to sell just the
mount for us owners of the "older" model. She suggested that people
write to Meade and ask to buy just the mount assembly, and fit the
present tube assembly into it, thus saving hundred of dollars. If you
could put in a plug for this approach, the Meade people will quite
probably take notice of some letters, she thinks. I also explained to
her the relative useless of the finder scope for celestial objects for
people with glasses, and its total uselessness for polar aligning.

In addition, I gave her directions to your web site, and she was quite
pleased to know if its existence.

Clear skies

Ralph Libby

Subject:	 etx + mavica
Sent:	Thursday, January 21, 1999 22:43:46
From:	dave@richcon.com (Dave Richards)
Mike, nice ETX site! I just bought mine today. Just wanted to ask you a
question... would you happen to know if I can mount my Sony Digital
Mavica camera to the ETX? I'd have to say after looking at the camera
that I cant. thankx for any suggestions.


 David A Richards, CNE, Network Consultant    Denver CO
 E-mail: mailto:dave@richcon.com

Mike here: You'll probably have to make a mount for it.

Subject:	 Re: ETX 
Sent:	Thursday, January 21, 1999 22:40:27
From:	rduke@gulf.net (Guy Duke)
What is your honest opinion about the unavailability of an upgrade to
the older ETX?
Also, did you see this site?

Mike here: From a business model perspective I understand the lack of an upgrade path and the secrecy involved prior to the release announcement. Technically, I suppose it could be debatable whether an upgrade was or was not doable. My old Hayes 1200 modem was not upgradable to V.90. It could have been had certain things been known when it was designed. Perhaps the first model ETX was similar. Meade had no idea how successful it would be and what future capabilities could be accomplished. I'm not surprised by the lack of an upgrade path. Does that bother me personally? No. I've had a lot of great times with my ETX and I expect that to continue. And like many who enjoy astronomy, the convenience of a Go-To is not necessary to me. So I don't miss what I don't have. But when I get an LX200, I'm sure I'll use its capabilities to the fullest! But that is a long ways into the future. I've seen the survey. Info further down this page.

Subject:	 The New ETX
Sent:	Thursday, January 21, 1999 21:22:37
From:	cdumas@capecod.net (Chris Dumas)
Just to let others know, I did fax a letter to Meade letting them know I
was dissapointed with the lack of an upgrade path to the new scope.  I
bought my ETX the day before Halloween....and thoroughly researched it.
Though many people have bought them later...I still felt a bit miffed
and left in the dark about a pending upgrade...even a hint of an upgrade
would have affected my purchase.  Anyway, I do not expect a positive
response from them...but felt it was important they hear a "consumer's"
point of view.  They may lose a bit of business over their marketing
Clear skies.

Chris Dumas

Subject:	 What is this all about
Sent:	Thursday, January 21, 1999 15:42:41
From:	snotty.one@aquila.com (Scott C.)
Well, Ive had my ETX for about 35 days now and they put out the same
scope with a new base for the same price...Well isnt that nice... And
gee, I can pay 300 or so dollars more for an upgrade...But I have to
send my scope in?? I think Meade is ripping off people...because if the
ETX Spotting scope sold for 499 and with the base 599, then with a trade
up for 300 or so, thats in excess of 800 dollars for a 90mm joke of a

I will not buy another Meade product in my life time as long as I can
help it...I am very aggrivated that so many people think that this was a

The only good thing about my ETX is that its small...The optics donot
impress me, and the base is a complete waist of plastic and batteries.

Subject:	 ETX/EC
Sent:	Thursday, January 21, 1999 12:36:54
From:	aries1@voicenet.com (Elliot Rubinsky)
I love the information on this page.  I just bought the ETX as my first
scope. I now there were more conservative routes to take but I waited
since I was a kid to get the drive to get a scope and went this route.

The information on this page helped to keep me from getting  buyer's
remorse while I wait for a clear night to really try out the scope. I
actually did get to use it once since I aligned the finder scope to look
at Venus.

Well, I almost escaped buyers remorse.  My friend, who recommended the
ETX, he has an LX-50, showed me the March issue of SKY and Telescope. 
Being a computer geek, my heart sank.  I just found out that the place I
bought the original; scope from will take it back.  I also just ordered
the ETX/EC from Pocono Mt..  They were the first one to have it in stock
without a waiting list.

The computer is on back order, and Meade's version of the hard shell
case has yet to be shipped. I am waiting to hear from Mt. Pocono if it's
any better than JMI's or Shutan's cases.  (I was not impressed with the
Meade soft-shell even at $35.)

I will let you know my impressions, as a novice once it arrives.  I know
that Meade did away with the slow-motion controls.  The scope now
requires eight AA batteries in-stead-of three.  Polar alignment is done
by "placing the scope on a flat surface and aiming it at two stars."

Have you received any additional information on the scope?  Also, what
advice can you offer on the use of color filters and
broadband/narrowband filters?  I noticed that Orion has a sale on them,
but a friend said that they are not worth using.  I'm a city boy with
several options on where to go, from the suburbs to the country, but
will probably still do most of my whimsical observing from within the

Sorry for writing your ear off.

Elliot Rubinsky

Mike here: I post the latest info on the new model here as I get it. As to filters, check the Accessories - Filters page and also search the site for "filter". You'll find a lot of info.

Subject:	 response to another user
Sent:	Thursday, January 21, 1999 11:16:12
From:	cann@axionet.com (Douglas E. Cann)
I am a big fan of the ETX.  I have had mine since July 1996 and have had
no problem with the mount, finder or anything else. As I told Mike
Weasner the other day, I have just completed my 239 th. observing
session with mine.  I do not see why Meade should offer anything just
because they have brought out a new model.  This happens all of the time
with everything we seem to buy these days.  The fact that one supplier
is prepared to 'upgrade' for some rediculous sum of money is crazy and
makes no economic sense for the average, no any,  ETX owner. The ETX is
a small, very practical telescope and it seems that a lot of people want
to make a 'Hubble' out it.  The timing of the new model by Meade is
probably upsetting for some of the more recent owners but if we did not
have such upgrades, we would all still be using Galilean telescopes.  We
cannot expect the industry to stay still.  I cannot believe that Meade
did this to get rid of the 'old' stock of ETX's, as someone has
suggested. (there is still a waiting list for them)  I still cannot
understand how Meade could make the original ETX for $595.00 yet alone
upgrade it for the same price, if that is actually the case.

Optically the ETX does great things and hopefully, you will become
satisfied with your own ETX one day soon.

Regards...D.  Cann

Sent:	Thursday, January 21, 1999 11:00:34
From:	phys011@uabdpo.dpo.uab.edu (Conrad Kussner)
I know it takes 4.5 volts DC
OR, how long does the 3 batteries last 5 hours, 20, more?
Conrad Kussner

Subject:	ETX Mk.II next week!
Sent:	Wednesday, January 20, 1999 20:06:31
From:	Tetsuo912@aol.com
First of all, let me tell you thanks so much for your site!  You have
provided a plethora of knowledge regarding this wonderful little scope. 
I work at The Nature Company in Birmingham, AL, and have been an ETX
owner myself, for nearly 2 years now.  When I found your site, I
included it on my list of accessories that were available for the ETX,
and told everyone with Internet access to check it out.

Our store is within 2 weeks of being closed down for conversion to a
Discovery Channel Store, so I will not be in the telescope business much
longer.  However, before I left, I had to tell you thank you, and to let
you know the big news (which, since you're in the know, you've probably
already heard).

The ETX Mk.II should be hitting the shelves next week!  From what I have
heard, additions will include an added Dec motor, and a provision for
adding a scaled down version of a Magellan II system.  The list price
will remain at $595, with the add on controller running about $150.  No
word about improvements on the viewfinder, or possible addition of a red
LED for the drive motors.

Customers who have purchased their ETX at The Nature Company may
actually trade their old models in for a newer one.  Interested parties
should have receipts and the original box in hand before contacting the

Again, this is all semi-qualified rumor, since Meade has not returned my
phone calls (not that I would expect them to, but...), but the above
information was given to me by an extremely high-level and reliable

I'm known around the Southeast as "The telescope geek" for our stores,
so I thought I'd try to give you a little info from one enthusiast to
another.  Hope this helps you out.  Again, great work on the site.  Hope
the skies are always clear for you.


Jonathan S. Hare
-Associate Manager
The Nature Company #77

Subject:	 More JMI Woes
Sent:	Wednesday, January 20, 1999 18:58:01
From:	dashmanc@idt.net (dashmanc)
Still check your site all the time and love it.

My disappointment with JMI grows...

After just over 6months of VERY light use, my motofocus died.  Actually,
the chintzy phone plug they use is now making intermittent contact, and
fails at the worst possible time--i.e., in the dark when you need it. I
had to pull it off so I could focus again!  I pulled of the motodec at
the same time--it's OK, but the method of attachment is only so-so. My 3
year old and I were out doing some gazing at Orion's nebula, when I
tried to zoom in, but couldn't re-focus.  He's a trooper and was happy
just to see the nebula.

I also bought the NGC-Max and have very mixed feelings. On the one hand,
the computer is wonderful and easy to align.  If it's early evening, you
can align on 2 planets--tonight my little boy and I used to Venus and
Jupiter, and it guided us to Saturn--Yeah I know they are easy to find,
but with a lot of ambient light it's a great place to start. It's a lot
easier and faster to use than the Meade Magellan II. The computer tray
fits nicely between the Bogen tripod and head.

So what's my problem? First, I was really disappointed with the two-bit
setup for the setting circles.  For 700 clams, they could provide a
replacement base, or at least a hard protector for where the wires pass
by the edge of the base.  The cover for the Dec is piece of rubber--in
the pictures it looks hard--with a slot--not really good dust
protection!  The velcro on the rubber unstuck and required repair. The
"wrench" they supply was a joke--I don't mind the pot metal with a
cut-out but it should at least be the right size -the arms on it were at
an angle!  Second, despite having a serial port, apparently the computer
only gives up raw data, not RA and DEC.  So you need VERY expensive s/w,
like SoftwareBisque's The Sky at 250 bucks.  SkyMap Pro (which works
great with a Magellan II) won't work with it.

I've already had problems with the ETX case and rejected their wedge.
But I am THRILLED with the Bogen 410 head--the junior gear drive. It
adjusts in 3 dimensions and is NOT a loosen-lock-slip system.  There's a
gear release and then the gear for really fine control.  The ETX fits
barely on the quick release, but hey, close only counts in horseshoes
and hand grenades. There are 15degree marks in all three dimensions and
a useless level.  Nothing else I have seen comes close for the ETX. With
the Bogen tripod it's stable and adjustable.  I set it really low so the
little boy can look through and it stands up to him and remains stable.

Do you know of a driver for  SkyMap Pro 5?

All the best,

Subject:	 etx 90 ec right angle finder
Sent:	Wednesday, January 20, 1999 18:27:54
From:	scjohnso@vt.edu (scott johnson)
the brochures and price lists i've seen on the web show the right angle
finder as a $50 accessory, not standard on the new model.   it also has
a 25 mm objective, versus the 21 of the standard finder.  great site.
thanks for all the work.

Scott Johnson

Subject:	 Re: ETX
Sent:	Wednesday, January 20, 1999 18:18:02
From:	roland@cobaltgroup.com (Liem Bahneman)
I've been putting together a list of email addresses and statistics for
Meade at http://www.asteroid.org/liem/etx.html

I don' thave a forum to voice your opnion, but it is a good presentation
of some numbers...

- liem

Subject:	 User Feedback
Sent:	Wednesday, January 20, 1999 12:08:06
From:	Jeff.Huston@infousa.com (Huston, Jeff)
The new model does NOT include the 90deg finder....but Meade offers it
as an option ($50)..and I suspect it would work fine on the old ETX (the
optical tube assembly does not appear to have changed).  The electric
focuser goes for ($120).

I've got a picture of the ETX-90EX and the AutoStar controller at

Astronomics (http://www.astronomics.com) reports that they received 20
new models...and have sold them all...adding that they expect to receive
several *hundred* in the next few weeks (gee...wonder if my local Nature
Company is ever going to get one?)

I was concerned that the tripod they advertised as 'deluxe' and priced
at $199...was an indication that I might no even be able to use my
Wedgepod with the ETX-90EC, but apparently the tripod is the exact same
one as they have sold in the past...they just raised the price (this
from Astronomics).

Did everyone realize that the Autostar controller would enable the
ETX-90EC to track in alt-azimuth mode as well?  It really is a little

Jeff Huston

Subject:	 New ETX tripod
Sent:	Wednesday, January 20, 1999 11:19:50
From:	drainey@ns.tssc.com (Doug Rainey)
I just got off the phone with Meade and confirmed that the original ETX
tripod will NOT work with the new ETX.  This wouldn't bother me so much
except that I returned the ETX I got for Christmas in time, but the
tripod I wont be able to return.  Anyone wanting an ETX tripod from
Meade is welcome to drop me a line at drainey1@midsouth.rr.com.

By the way, great site, and thanks for updating so frequently.....

Subject:	 Another night with the ETX
Sent:	Wednesday, January 20, 1999 11:19:45
From:	jh@brainiac.com (Joe Hartley)
(I hope I'm not boring anyone with this little series!  I'll stop if I

As the afternoon of the 19th progressed, the skies were clear, so I
thought I'd try some of the alternate polar alignment techniques I've
seen in this forum.  It wasn't long before I gave up with the levels and
the RA adjustments. I used the old tried-and-true method of lining up on
Polaris (easier to do with the Daisy Red Dot sight), and had no
problems.  In fact, I had to turn my attention elsewhere for about 2
hours, and left the ETX on the deck with the motor running, and 2 hours
later, it was still on target, save for a slight adjustment needed on
the Dec axis, but still in range of the 26mm eyepiece. Granted, a little
luck was involved, since Polaris isn't right at the celestial pole, but
this at least proved the ability of my ETX drive to accurately track

Viewed two new items this evening.  I was able to split Castor into two
stars, which was more exiting than I thought it would be!  I think I saw
the separation at 128x (9.7mm ep), and decided to try it with the Barlow
in place.  It lost a bit of its sharpness, but it was clearly two
separate stars!  Very nice.

The other new object was the Crab nebula - I think!  It was just a dark
grey patch of fuzz against a black background, but it didn't move when I
moved the ETX so it wasn't a splotch on the lens, and it did _not_ move
in relation to the stars around it, so it wasn't a cloud!  Clearly this
is where aperture and/or a nebula filter would come in handy.  It was
still worthwhile, though, since it was the first target I'd found
strictly by star-hopping (and without a decent set of charts, yet!).  So
unless I'm really off-base and was looking at something else completely,
it was gratifying.

Finally, one point of frustration I have is that the more I use the ETX,
the longer the list of add-ons I want to buy!   I'm approaching the
$1000 mark for the scope and accessories - and my wife's put her foot
down :)

        Joe Hartley - jh@brainiac.com - brainiac services, inc
 PO Box 5069 : Greene, RI : 02827 - vox 401.539.9050 : fax 401.539.2070
  Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa

Subject:	 Condensation
Sent:	Wednesday, January 20, 1999 11:16:56
From:	sbrooks@americantv.com (Brooks, Shawn)
After a cold January viewing session in Wisconsin, I have become
concerned about the amount of condensation that develops when I return
indoors. I have left the ETX in the garage but am concerned about the
effect of permenant bone chilling cold (and its more susceptible to
accident). I have also tried to seal it in plastic before bringing it in
to warm up. This seems to work but am I trapping moisture inside? Any
thoughts on how to best deal with it would be appreciated.

Mike here: Basically, just let things air dry. I don't think I would seal the scope before bringing it inside.

Subject:	 Meade 90deg angle finder scope
Sent:	Wednesday, January 20, 1999 5:03:20
From:	crazysane@uswest.net (crazysane)
According to the Meade brochures I've seen...the 90deg finder scope is
actually an OPTION (ie still not included standard on the 90EC).  These
brochures can be viewed at www.eomaha.com/jeffsastro.

Jeff Huston

Subject:	 ETX
Sent:	Wednesday, January 20, 1999 4:18:20
From:	iseredyn@ciena.com (Ihor Seredynsky)
I purchased my ETX about a month ago, so I'm just still learning.  Also
I'm new to the hobby of astronomy.  I feel very very fortunate to have
stumbled on to your ETX web page.  I have one question. Why do some
people feel there is a need to modify and improve this instrument ?  I
believe that the ETX is just perfect write out of the box. A barlow
lens, a T adaptor for my Nikon NIKOMAT and one or two lens is fine for
                                                  Best regards,  IHOR

Mike here: Like many things in life (computers, telescopes, cameras, spouses), many people like to improve on existing capabilities. Of course, we could have all started out with a model that met our needs but those needs can keep changing, hence the desire for improvements. But, like you, many users are extremely satisfied with what they can do without making any changes.

Subject:	 ETX Upgrades
Sent:	Tuesday, January 19, 1999 21:13:40
From:	jherron@voyager.net (Jim Herron)
Awesome site, I appreciate the effort it must take.  Helped me decide on
the ETX.

I'm another happy yet concerned new ETX user suffering the distaste of
Meade not releasing the enhanced model in time for Christmas buyers. 
It's clearly too cold in Michigan to get much use and the skies are
cloudy about 80% of the time in winter months, buying a scope this time
of year for Xmas present knowing it won't get much use till March or
later then having this situation really dampens the pride/satisfaction
for investing in a Meade product. My enthusiasm will grow as soon as
they announce the upgrade path. Maybe after the registration is
processed they will direct mail me the offer?

I have to believe that Meade will offer upgrades to all ETX users,
eventually.  Simple business sense says they will sell the upgrade
(eventually) at a profit, then that opens their mkt for selling more
units of the 'optional' hand held 12000 object database controller at a
profit, then the software to run the thing from our laptops.. and so on.

I bought the ETX as a 1st scope, with the summer RV season in mind, and
with the hopes that it would be a family interest/hobby.  If it's
another solo hobby for dad because my wife & kids interest totally flat
lines, it will be my only scope.  If there's decent interest I'd like to
upgrade to an  8" or 10" C/S for photography, probably this summer.  So
far I'm thinking C-8 Deluxe or LX-50.

Since using the ETX  on 12/25 I've picked up the Meade 2Xbarlow, the
Meade 4000 9.7 eyepiece. I'm a typical 1998 XMas buyer. Meade has my eye
and a decent % of my hobby $ is likely headed their way.

Honestly though, if Meade doesn't offer the upgrade at a profitable but
reasonable price by June I'll be giving Celestron a bit of a boost on
the evaluation.  The best product includes the best customer service,
and if Meade doesn't announce the upgrade path.. then for them it's an
uphill battle to gain loyalty from this user.

Subject:	 RA/Dec markers
Sent:	Tuesday, January 19, 1999 20:10:56
From:	relincon@juno.com
Oh, something I forgot to mention.  Since I found it very difficult to
see the small black arrow pointers marking the RA and Dec wheels I used
some of my wife's nail polish to paint them a bright color.

I think I heard that Meade was coming out with a right angle finder
scope.  Will it be adaptable to the "old" ETX?


Mike here: The new model includes a right angle finder but I haven't heard of any plans to release it as a separate item.

Subject:	 Re: dropping an ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, January 19, 1999 19:40:36
From:	gozumm@jeflin.tju.edu (Marv Gozum)
2 from others.  6 if you include the 3 times I've dropped mine.
Surprisingly no one in the newsgroup has complained of damage from any
type of physical injury.  My scope is fine.

Both excerpts dropped from what I estimate ~3 feet [that's the height of
an extended Bogen tripod} into a sandy and hard floor, it survived

warm regards,


Subject:	 New ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, January 19, 1999 17:21:00
From:	gjb@iglou.com (Gary Bunevitch)
I just received the latest copy of Sky and Telescope. On the last page
is the Meade advertisement for the new ETX. It looks like Meade has
added dual drive motors with a hand controller to the ETX fork mount.
The new ETX still sells for $595. It looks like a pretty good deal! The
big question, of course, is will we be able to purchase the new mount
for our existing ETX scopes.

I would be interested to hear from you or anyone who has one of these
new units.


Gary Bunevitch

Subject:	 ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, January 19, 1999 14:39:55
From:	wrwoodard@compuserve.com (William R Woodard)
I thought I would share some experiences.  I also have an ETX and use
both a Casio QV-11B and a Canon AE-1P with the Meade 64 adapter.

I have solved some problems, the first being the balance of the ETX with
a camera mounted either on the 64 adapter or a basic adapter mounted in
the lens aperture.  I use a stainless hose clamp, #52, with 4- 4 ounce
fishing weights attached, mounted to the optical tube(WITH APPROPRIATE
the perfect balance , and it can be moved closer to the center of
balance along the tube as needed, and removed when not using a camera.

For the Casio, i also use the "afocal" system, and I found an ancient
mount sold originally by Edmund Scientific 30 years ago, to mount and
hold non-slr-s over the eyepiece already focussed on the telescope.  It
works quite well, and the attached image of the sun with sunspots was
taken that way on Saturday.   I attach the mount to the front of the
tube, just far enough ahead of the brackets, and it holds most of the
camera weight (7 ounces I believe) with the rest of the weight settled
down on the lens where the QV11 lens rests, also padded with felt pads.
A perfect balance as well.

I enjoy your website, keep up the good work.

Richard Woodard

Subject:	 re new ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, January 19, 1999 13:21:38
From:	barry_warnes@hotmail.com (Barry Warnes)
Hi - I've seen some oblique references to a new, larger, ETX, but can't
find any real details. Do you know of such a beast?
Thanks for a great site
Dark Skies

Mike here: The only newly announced ETX is a new model of the 90mm. There are several discussions on the new model further down this Feedback page. There have been rumors of a 5" ETX but nothing has appeared about it. But then since Meade added the size to the new model name (ETX-90/EC) perhaps there is a larger ETX coming some day/week/month/year.

Subject:	 ETX Solar filter
Sent:	Tuesday, January 19, 1999 8:07:52
From:	megsdad@infinet.com (Dave and Karen Wolford)
Received a solar filter for Christmas, Having trouble finding the sun?
Any suggestions? It is the Orion filter, Tried both 90o and 45o angles.
Started with a 26mm, went to the 32mm just trying to locate the sun. I
get either a greenish color in the scope or a Horizonal half moon shape.
I looked at the sun through the filter without the scope and it is
there! but when I put the filter on the scope I get the above results.
Any suggestions as to what I,m doing wrong?  Dave.  (Newark Ohio)...
Great Web site! I visit it frequently and have picked up a lot of useful
information. ;)

Mike here: I use the ETX finderscope mounting screw heads shadows to get the ETX pointed at the sun. Roughly align the ETX shadow so that the ETX is pointed towards the sun then make small adjustments until the front and rear finder bracket screw heads align. Then if you look through the 26mm eyepiece the sun should be in the field of view. I'd recommend covering the Finder objective before pointing the ETX at the sun to avoid damage to it or yourself.

Subject:	eyepieces????
Sent:	Tuesday, January 19, 1999 1:02:09
From:	DITKISS@aol.com
What eyepieces would you recomend purchasing for the ETX, IM looking at
the Meade series 3000 and 4000. Whats the difference between the two?? I
am also looking at barlow lenses?? Celestron shorty or should I just
stick with Meade?? What would be an all round good group of lens powers
to have on hand besides the 26mm that came with the scope??

                                           sorry for so many questions

Mike here: Check the Accessories - Eyepieces page and the Buyer/New User Tips page for suggestions on eyepieces. As to magnifications, remember if your get a 2X Barlow, you'll have the equivalent of a 13mm eyepiece so you'll want something sufficiently different from that, one side or the other. But for the ETX, you can't use too high a magnification (more than about 250x) without getting a fuzzy image. With the ETX, I don't think you'll notice much difference with the 3000 vs 4000 eyepieces.

Subject:	 JMI Wedgepod & Solar filter
Sent:	Monday, January 18, 1999 22:21:03
I received JMI Wedgepod & Thousand Oaks Solar Filter from Shutan 10
days ago and had used on a few occasions as the sky in Bangkok was
cloudy lately. Both items (plus a yellow filter -  haven't tried yet)
arrived in good condition and the service from Shutan is quite
satisfactory (Thanks for your recommending Shutan to me).

The JMI Wedgepod is very sturdy but looks a little non-hightech or
rather primitive (But who cares? as long as it does the purpose).  
After mounting the ETX on it (which is not any Big deal at all ), I
adjust the ETX to my latitude (13 degree N) and it is still very sturdy.
The scale can be adjusted from 0 to 90 degree so it is far better than
the MEADE Tripod which goes from a little less than 20 degree to 90
degree.  The vibration is minimal when focusing or adjustment of the
declination or RA knobs.  I do not have any problem with the ON/OFF or
N/S switches as mentioned in Kenneth George review (Might be a newer
model?) The switches can be access freely after mounting on the
Wedgepod.  The instruction asks us to use the two holes on the ETX
bottom plates, obviously one in the middle and the other away from the
N/S and ON/OFF switches.

The solar filter type II plus from Thousand Oaks gives a very nice view
of the sun.  The sun spots are remarkable under the filter. Before
viewing, make sure that the filter fit 'just tight' on the ETX lenses as
clearly described in the instruction coming with the filter.  One
problem for me; it IS quite difficult to get the Sun in the vision field
without using the viewfinder which you should cover up for SAFETY
purpose . I tried to move the ETX tube around, pointing at the Sun and
it leaded to nowhere.  Finally, I used the solar eclipse spectacles I
got back in 1995 and view through the view finder and there came the
SUN.  I would recommend the filter to anyone who wants to have a good
view of the sun.

Hope the info. is useful for our group.

Best regards,

Subject:	 ETX 90 EC
Sent:	Monday, January 18, 1999 20:09:03
Just visit the survey homepage of ETX upgrade.  Fine.  To me, and many
other users where there's no Meade dealer in the home countries, not
many, if not 'NO' options are available. I think Meade can just sell the
new fork mount base separately to current ETX users, or even better to
set up an upgrade option for the old base (this should be A LOT BETTER
in aspect of resource utilization as you don't have the waste the old
fork mount for nothing!).  However, in view of commercial aspect...WHY
MEADE SHOULD BOTHER ANYWAY?  MEADE always proud that they are Number 1
in the industry and it's true at present.  But neglecting customer needs
is a big marketing mistake and  may lead to longterm loss of customers.
As far as I perceive about MEADE, they seem to not care much for the
CUSTOMERS once you are their customers.  They, of course, REALLY care if

you are a potential customer, i.e. in the process of deciding to
purchase. Their marketing concept is somewhat focus on the PRODUCT
ORIENTATION, NOT CUSTOMER ORIENTATION,  which may still work, up to some
times ?? especially for such an high barrier-of-entry and niche market.

I just want to share the opinion among the group as no matter what MEADE
comes up with (IF EVER !), it will have only minimal effect, if at all,
for users outside USA.

Well, Let's wait and see what MEADE would respond to the customers on

Bangkok, Thailand.

Subject:	 Re: New ETX
Sent:	Monday, January 18, 1999 18:28:38
From:	bnakata@cybcon.com (Brian Nakata)
I called Oceanside today to add a Rigel Quikfinder to the order and
asked about any further status on shipments.  The scopes made it to the
store today!  The computer and other stuff didn't make it yet.  The
general message is that these ARE real and actually available.


Subject:	 ETX-CE
Sent:	Monday, January 18, 1999 14:44:34
From:	dick@dwalters.com (Dick Walters)
I was fortunate enough to be able to return my 'Christmas gift' ETX for
full credit and am now awaiting delivery of an ETX-CE.  First scopes
have been shipped and already arrived at some dealers.  For very
complete information on the new scope and accessories, look at the
Astronomics Web site, www.astronomics.com . They have photos, the first
delivered products and seem to know more than Meade about what's going
on. (Meade hasn't even upgraded their web site yet).  A few items of

The right angle vf, unlike the Apogee is not reversed left-to-right and
will ship in approx. 2 weeks. The new scope does not come with the
tabletop eq mount, which is an $30 accessory (if you need some metal
drum sticks). The "go-to" computer is backordered till February, but
WOW, what an accessory it will be! The electric focuser won't ship till
possibly mid year.  That will be an external accessory that plugs into
the base and is controlled from the remote control module. They've
raised the price on the Meade ETX tripod and they're still in short


Dick Walters

Subject:	 etx
Sent:	Monday, January 18, 1999 13:21:08
From:	iseredyn@ciena.com (Ihor Seredynsky)
Your web page on the etx subject is totally outstanding, I'm so
impressed with, that I book marked your page and look forward to reading
a little at a time during my work day

best regards,   Ihor

Subject:	Daisy finder/ETX90/EC
Sent:	Monday, January 18, 1999 12:33:01
From:	BMartin615@aol.com
Thanks for your great website!  I installed the $13 Daisy sight on my
ETX as per your finderscope link.  It looks and works great. I don't
know how I did without it this long, even though I installed the Shutan
90 degree finder conversion.  the sight is black plastic, and matches
the ETX's forks and mount, an in fact looks 'trick', like it was made
for the scope.  I mounted it at 12 o'clock towards the rear of the tube,
up against the plastic tube mount.  I know I lost just a bit of utility
by mounting towards the rear, but I wanted to maintain the scopes clean
lines.  I left the dovetail on the sight and coated it with a thin coat
of clear silicone, wiped off the excess and let it dry (no metal to tube
contact).  Next I filled the recess on the bottom side of the finder
with enough silicone to make contact when placed on the optical tube,
but not enough to 'squish' out. The mounting is completely clean, no
excess silicone visible, and is solid enough for all normal use.  And,
when its time to remove it, it will come off cleanly in one piece,
leaving little or nothing behind.

As far as the new GOTO ETX is concerned, I am not going to beat a path
to Meade's front door any time soon, but not because I don't want it, or
because I am ticked at  Meade.  Who knows what sort of problems might
exist with this new scope?  Do I really want to be in the first wave of
buyers before I can evaluate consumer reports?  Do I really want to
'dump' my scope and flood the markt with ETX's and take the resulting
loss?  I think not!  Meade exists only to make product and profit, and
they will do so any way they can.  Who is to say that they won't
introduce a 5" version of EC next year for a few hundred $$ more?  Also,
market forces being what they are, what sort of aftermarket GOTO
conversions might pop up during the next year to compete with the new
scope. Now that I have the scope the way I want it, I'm going to enjoy
what I have for now, and avoid any knee-jerk reaction to this new
scope's introduction.

Again Mike, thanks for the website, and keep up the good work.

Bob Martin
Brea  CA

Subject:	 Meade ETX Right Ascension Circle
Sent:	Monday, January 18, 1999 11:43:06
From:	jhvizdos@hmbc.COM (John Hvizdos)
I received a Meade ETX for Christmas.  The right ascension circle seems
to be stuck.  Does anyone have any tips or tricks for moving it?

Thank you,
John Hvizdos


Mike here: In the March 1998 Feedback, Bob Martin noted the following: "Mike at Meade customer service advised me to peel the set circle tape apart at the seam, and stick the tape back together giving it an additional 1/16 to 1/8" additional clearance. He said if I ruined the tape that he sould furnish me a replacement. It worked fine. I would also suggest placing a small drop of epoxy over the "top" of the seam to insure that it won't come apart again. I am thinking of also glueing a small piece of clear plastic on that spot to provide a better grip on the tape when trying to move it with cold hands."

Subject:	 Doskocil
Sent:	Monday, January 18, 1999 11:15:06
From:	ReaganHerman@upr.com (Reagan Herman)
In responce to Joe Hartley's question. Doskocil has a huge manufacturing
plant here in Arlington, TX. The address is 4209 Barnett Blvd,
Arlington, TX 76017. The local phone number is 817-467-5116. I have no
idea if this facility manufactures the waterproof cases. But, they have
mountains of plastic dog houses stacked up outside though. Hey... maybe
one of those huge plastic domes would make a cool ETX observatory???
Clear skies,
Reagan Herman

Subject:	 ETX 90
Sent:	Monday, January 18, 1999 10:47:25
From:	dan.pancamo@lmco.com (Pancamo, Dan)
I just received an ETX on the January 14th for my birthday, and now I
find out there is a new ETX 90 for the same price.  When/Where will this
model be available?


Mike here: Meade dealers are apparently receiving the new model now.

Subject:	 Best tripod for ETX
Sent:	Monday, January 18, 1999 9:40:38
From:	htin@lucent.com (Tin, Han (Han)** CTR **)
Last weekend I went to Sam's Club, and I bought a Power Light (Halogen)
1000 Watts. I set up and I found out it's a excellent tripod for my ETX.
I am in the process of modifying so that I could use as light stand as
well as for Telescope. I paid for $46.00. Believe me this tripod is the
*       (630) 955-4360
*        htin@lucent.com

Subject:	 etx upgrade
Sent:	Monday, January 18, 1999 8:58:16
From:	stefanom@post.queensu.ca (Mike Stefano)
I'm curious.  What would Meade say to people who bought the etx spotting
scope and now want to upgrade to the Astro scope?  Would they sell them
an "old base" or the new one?  If they would entertain that scenario,
what's the difference between a spotting scope addition of a base and an
upgrade of an "obsolete" etx astro to the new etx90ec?  I can't believe
that Meade would tell the spotting scope owner he couldn't get a base!

Mike here: I don't believe Meade sells just the base, old or new.

Subject:	 ETX cooling time
Sent:	Monday, January 18, 1999 7:03:13
From:	duch@cgo.wave.ca (GW)
After a twenty plus year absence from amateur astronomy , I just
received an ETX for a Christmas gift and am thrilled to rekindle my
former interest!  I have not had much opportunity to experiment with my
new scope as the weather here in Ontario, Canada has been absymally
uncooperative for viewing but I have enjoyed a couple of great views

The climate here is typical north east winter ( cold ) and I would
appreciate any feedback regarding cooling down time for the ETX to
ensure the best images. I had read somewhere that Maksutovs require a
considerable cooling down time , but was not sure if this applied to the
ETX with its petite aperture?



Mike here: Generally, 20-30 minutes is a normal cool-down time. But if the indoor-to-outdoor temperature change is more than 50 degrees you may have to allow more time.

Subject:	 RE: ETX been changed !?!?!
Sent:	Monday, January 18, 1999 3:33:16
From:	frowm@nortelnetworks.com (Martin Frow)
I respect your reply but, I think the thing that I am reasonably miffed
with Meade about is, there was nothing on the internet, nothing on there
web site, and nothing from the dealers with regard to a future upgrade
for the ETX, with PC's if you have access to the internet, then you know
when the next upgrade is going to be and you can time your purchases
that way, In the P.C market, the Pentium III has just been announced and
it will be available in 2 months, so if I want a new P.C I have the
option of waiting, my point about Meade and the ETX is, they said
nothing about the upgrade, it just happened, they could have at least
announced that in the new year 1999, the ETX will be upgraded, and the
old ETX stocks will be therefore reduced to make way for the new one,
but no, lets not say anything and try to make as much money out of the
old one as possible.

A bit of thought on Meades part would have been nice, They might have
lost futures sales over this little error on there part.



Unit 5, Concorde Road,
Norreys Drive, Maidenhead,
Berkshire, SL6 4AG 
*: 01628 434169 ; ESN: 590-4169

Mike here: Valid points. But sometimes letting the cat out of the bag is not a good business decision. It gives your competitors and potential buyers info that can harm the business. Competitors can use the info to plan their product releases. Buyers can wait (and keep on waiting) for the next great model. Both can hurt sales. In the highly competitive computer industry a lot of fact and rumor gets out prior to a products release. And the same does happen in the telescope industry. But Meade kept the new ETX model a very closely held secret, just like Apple did with the iMac last year. Sometimes secrecy is the right decision.

Subject:	 Meade Tripod/Dew Cap
Sent:	Sunday, January 17, 1999 13:21:21
From:	relincon@juno.com
Like some others I too got an ETX for Christmas.  The store might take
it back in exchange for the new model but I don't know.  Since my yard
is a poor location to look from, and one doesn't find stable tables at
dark locations, I purchased Meade's field tripod.  I just got it this
week but I haven't been able to use it due to rain.  However I think
that it is poor planning on Meade's part to have loose screws.  When you
take the scope off of the tripod and put it in the box, what do you do
with the screws?  I found that they fit nicely in the empty film
container that I use to close off the eyepiece holder in the scope.

I made a dew shield today, but haven't tried it out.  I went to Tap
Plastics and bought a sheet of 1/16" (I think) black plastic.  They only
sold it in sheets of ~20X52" for $4.75 plus tax (enough for 13 dew
shields my size).  I picked up velcro tape with a sticky back at the
hardware store for a few $.  I used a straight edge to cut a piece of
plastic 14" by 5", cleaned the ends, and attached the velcro across the
5" width.  I can either leave it on the scope or take it off and lay it
flat.  This is cheeper than the $25 to $30+ dew shields I've seen
advertized, I hope it works.


Subject:	 Another ETX night
Sent:	Sunday, January 17, 1999 12:49:43
From:	jh@brainiac.com (Joe Hartley)
A clear night last night, and not as cold, and new goodies to play with,
so of course the ETX came out!

It was the first chance I've had to use the new Manfrotto/Bogen setup
(Bogen nubers 3011 tripod, 3030 head - Manfrotto numbers 144 tripod,
141RC head) with the ETX, and it was superb!  I ended up paying too much
for this setup (about $170) because I could only get store credit for
the tripod that I'd returned.  This setup can be had for about $120
through mailorder from places like B&H.

When I first got the setup, I leveled the tripod, then screwed the head
on. I then adjusted all the axes until the top of the head was level.  I
then screwed the axes handles in pretty tightly.  I only have to move
one axis now to set polar alignment.  I ended up choosing to rotate the
head 90 degrees counterclockwise and use the center axis, usually the
side-to-side yaw, as the vertical tilt axis, as this axis seemed to have
a much sturdier construction than the one designated by the degree
markings.  Probably doesn't make a difference, since this is such a
well-made unit, though.  The 3030 head comes with a quick-release plate
that attaches to the head, so setup is quick and easy, even in the dark.
 A clever interlock system ensures that the ETX will not accidentally
pop out of the mount, and holds the scope firmly in place (which was the
biggest problem with my first Quantaray tripod - there was far too much
wiggle at that point).  I connect the ETX, put a small circular level on
the ETX's base, and adjust the tripod until level.

Now when I set up the tripod and attach the scope, polar alignment is
pretty simple.  I point the front leg of the tripod north, and tip the
ETX down until I point to Polaris, rotating the whole tripod if
necessary to line up on Polaris.  (I have the Daisy red-dot finder to
help with this process!)  I would love to simplify this process even
more by being able to pre-set the angle according to my latitude.  If
anyone can point me to a program that can draw a triangle that has one
angle of 41.39 degrees and another of 90, I'd really appreciate it! 
This will allow me to build a template that I can use to automatically
get the correct angle without the contortions now needed to sight
Polaris in the Daisy finder.  (Anyone willing to send me a drawing of
such an angle gets my gratitude!!)

As I said, this setup was extremely stable.  Even set up on a deck in a
moderate breeze, images were reasonably stable even at 256x.  The only
thing I miss is an eyepiece tray.  Does anyone know of such a tray that
might clamp onto a tripod?

The other new toy was the 9.7mm eyepiece.  It's a nice addition to the
26mm and Barlow that I have.  I was a bit concerned that when I used it
with the #126 Barlow that things weren't as sharp as I was used to,
especially when the Barlow works f9ine with the 26mm, and the 9.7mm
looks fine by itself.  I then realized that 256x is a bit beyond the
180x (20x9cm) thumbnail rule for highest magnification that can be used
without degrading the image. Given that, the 256x image was fine with
me.  The space between Saturn and its rings was plainly visible, as was
Jupiter's banding and the trapezium in M42.  I can't wait to try this
eyepiece out on the moon!

Finally, I admit to being a bit ticked off at Meade.  My ETX is only
just over a month old, and there's a new model, and no upgrade path.  I
know I can get an add-on to provide the RA and Dec motors, but that's
another chunk of change, just as my wife has pleaded for an end to to
add-ons to the scope!!  Hopefully Meade will want to make its customers
happy and offer a reasonably priced upgrade path.  If not, I'll likely
start considering other vendors before Meade every time I want an
eyepiece or other accessory.

        Joe Hartley - jh@brainiac.com - brainiac services, inc
 PO Box 5069 : Greene, RI : 02827 - vox 401.539.9050 : fax 401.539.2070
  Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa

Subject:	 Re:  How much shock can the ETX take?
Sent:	Sunday, January 17, 1999 8:41:33
From:	gozumm@jeflin.tju.edu (Marv Gozum)
From the newsgroup, no collimation problems with a 2 foot fall. Cosmetic
injuries, and finderscope misalignment, and that's it.  Good news.

warm regards,


Subject:	 LED Flashlight vs a Maglite with Red filter, which is best?
Sent:	Sunday, January 17, 1999 8:24:12
From:	rizaljp@hotmail.com
Which is better, an LED flashlight using button lithium batteries or a
AAA Maglite with a red filter?

I've seen a rash of LED flashlights for varying prices.  I'm trying to
keep the portable ETX with as physically small a set of accessories as

I think claims for these LED lights with over 100+ hours of battery life
are exaggerated, but I hope the you all can help.  I've gotten less than
4 continuous hrs on such a light or a Maglite on AAA batteries.

I've seen all plastic bodied LED lights at Nature Company for $4.00.
Some sell these up to $30. An LED cost about 20c to $1.50 retail and the
battery about $3.00, and at the rate it uses batteries, its seems a $10
Maglite and 30c @ AAA batteries are more cost effective overall. 
Maglites can be dimmed.

LEDs typically draw 20mA at 1.5-1.9V.  The batteries used are almost
always the 3V CR2016, at 70mAH [a single or in series] or CR2032 at
210mAH.  These should give a useful life of about 3.5 & 10 hours
respectively.  It could be much less since the mAH is calculated on the
typical drain of 0.1mA.

Here are some of the best on the market:



JP Rizal

Mike here: There are reviews of Wavesure and Rigel Systems LED lights on the Accessories - Miscellaneous page.

Subject:	 New ETX
Sent:	Saturday, January 16, 1999 19:54:51
From:	bnakata@cybcon.com (Brian Nakata)
I ordered an ETX/EC from Oceanside Photo and Telescope this morning. The
guy said that they are "in stock" at Meade now and should start shipping
to dealers this Monday (the 18th).  It sounds like the dealers were as
surprised by this new product as much as the rest of us!  Oceanside is
taking a 20% deposit on the scope to reserve one of the first batch
(they are receiving 25) shipped to them.  I assumed that I missed the
"window" but the guy said that that wasn't the case and if I put down
the deposit, I'll get one.  Twist my arm...   ;-)

One piece of information that will be useful to anyone considering
upgrading to the EC is that according to Oceanside, the EC will _not_
fit on the old Meade ETX field tripod but the old ETX will fit on the
new tripod (#883). This seems odd to me, but that's what they told me.

Brian Nakata

Subject:	 f/question
Sent:	Saturday, January 16, 1999 19:18:57
From:	jadair@bayarea.net (jadair)
I'm still in the throws of "first telescope decision making" and
wondered if Mike's great list base could enlighten me on something.

I really want to do some astrophotography with whatever I get. I've seen
some cool photos here on Mike's site as well as others from the ETX. My
question is, does the "f/13.8" spec of the ETX mean the same thing as
the F/stop setting on a camera? So a smaller number means more light and
shorter depth of field?

If so, then what's the real world difference phtographically between the
ETX and say a scope that has f/10, like the Celestron's 5", and 8"
scopes or even f/6.8 of the TeleVue Pronto?

Also, is there much difference between the fork drives like the new ETX
90/EC and drives on tripod mounts (for photography)?

Thanks for all the info!


Mike here: The f/stop rating is like your camera's. It is focal length divided by aperture (1250mm/90mm=13.9). The lower the number the "faster" the system. Usually, the size of the objective lens (or mirror) is the important factor in "light gathering power", the larger the better. For long duration astrophotography you need an accurate drive or a means to correct tracking errors (and normally both). The old model ETX had a fairly accurate drive for visual work but it wasn't perfect and there was no means for easy corrections. The Microstar 1 from Jordan Blessing fixed that. The new model ETX claims to be better in both regards but until someone actually gets one to try out and sends in comments, we'll have to wait and see. Same for the fork.

Subject:	 ETX as spotting scope
Sent:	Saturday, January 16, 1999 11:10:19
From:	vernlw@teleport.com (Vern L. Weiss)
I bought my ETX last summer and have found it to be a wonderful small
telescope for astronomy.

Last Sunday, I decided to try it for birding.  We drove to a popular
spot near the Columbia River.  I am not a birder, but enjoy looking at
them.  We found many birders, with a collection of binoculars and 30x
spotting scopes.  There were hundreds of waterfowl on a mile-long lake. 
At the far end of the lake, binoculars revealed some large birds in tall
trees.  With a 30x scope one fellow said,  think they are eagles. I put
in a 15mm Meade Plssl (83.3 x) and could not only identify it easily as
an immature bald eagle, but identify the coot it was eating.  (Rather,
one of the birders identified it for me.)  This bird was just about a
mile away, invisible to the naked eye, yet we could easily see every
detail with the ETX!  Approximately 30 people lined up to look at the
eagle, and the instructor of a class that was there thanked us profusely
for giving them such a treat.

Love your site. and my ETX  


Subject:	 Thanks
Sent:	Saturday, January 16, 1999 8:20:16
From:	DHewinson@MedallionSys.com
I have been looking at telescopes for some time and had nearly decided
to purchase an ETX 90.  I had gotten a gift certificate for my birthday
and while looking around yesterday, I almost bought one on the spur of
the moment.  Luckily, I was curious to see if there were any new reviews
on the Web and found your site.  With the information I found here, I'm
going to postpone my purchase until the new model is available.  You
truly saved me a lot of frustration and additional work.

Subject:	 ETX Upgrade
Sent:	Saturday, January 16, 1999 8:14:10
From:	rduke@gulf.net (Guy Duke)
Does anyone know if Meade is doing an exchange/upgrade?  I feel that
Shutan Camera & Video is asking WAY to much.

Mike here: Meade is NOT doing any upgrades.

Subject:	 New ETX
Sent:	Saturday, January 16, 1999 6:58:40
From:	Stardave13@webtv.net
I just read some posts about the new ETX and would like to offer the
following opinion. If the optical tube is the same, Meade should offer
the new mount as a standalone upgrade. One retailer is offering to trade
old for new, at a reasonable price, but will not accept modified ETX's
for trade. My ETX worked well out of the box for a short time only, then
I installed the hanger bolt modification and applied teflon grease to
internal bearing surfaces. The result? A perfectly working scope that is
a joy to use---WITH A VOIDED WARRANTY. IMHO, Meade should allow
modifications that have been proven to work.

More tears have been shed from answered prayers than those unheard-----

Subject:	 Re: Happy New Year  !!
Sent:	Friday, January 15, 1999 20:45:55
From:	cann@axionet.com (Douglas E. Cann)
Still enjoying my ETX.  In fact, last night I recorded my 239 th.
viewing session with it since July 15, 1996  !!! and it is still as good
no matter how the finder is and the new options on the dec. and ra. you
can now get.

Once I get settled down I will start writing you again.  Your web site
looks good and easy to get around. I cannot believe that it will be
three years this July that we've been at this.

Anyway, keep up the good work

Best regards (cheers)  Doug....

Subject:	 ETX  info
Sent:	Friday, January 15, 1999 16:56:39
From:	rvillaf@banco.com.sv (Ricardo Villafuerte)
Great Page!!!

I've been browsing  for information on a good quality and reasonable
price telescope.  Mainly I'm interested in purchasing an ETX because I
have seen a lot of good reviews about this scope.

Do you recommend a place online (with reasonable prices)  where I can
purchase this product?

Thanks for your time and I really enjoyed your web page,

Ricardo Villafuerte

Mike here: There are several reports here on reliable dealers. Shutan, Pocono, Oceanside Photo and Telescopes, and others. Check the various dealer links on the Astronomy Links page. You can also search the web site for a dealer name and read user comments.

Subject:	 Filters?
Sent:	Friday, January 15, 1999 16:27:34
From:	drainey1@midsouth.rr.com (Doug Rainey)
I am new to astronomy and would like to know where I can find out about
what filters to buy.  I was looking at Jupiter today and it was just too
bright to see any details.  I have seen filters for various uses but
have no idea what they are really good for when you see thier
designation like 7a or whatever.  Do you know of a site that explains
the differences between the filters???

Any help would be appreciated.

Mike here: I believe that Orion Binoculars and Telescopes has some of this info online. Check their web site (link on the Astronomy Links page).

Subject:	 Meade ETX upgrade survey page
Sent:	Friday, January 15, 1999 14:24:06
From:	roland@cobaltgroup.com (Liem Bahneman)
Should Meade offer an upgrade? 

I'm conducting a non-scientific survey at
http://www.asteroid.org/liem/etx.html, come express your opinion on the
various aspects of your ETX telescope.

- liem

Subject:	 New ETX and the rest of us
Sent:	Friday, January 15, 1999 12:39:56
From:	roland@cobaltgroup.com (Liem Bahneman)
I find it extremely dissapointing that Meade is not offering a base unit
upgrade for owners of the current ETX to the new ETX with the RA/dec
drive and optional GOTO computer.

As far as I can tell, NOTHING about the tube assembly has changed, just
new motors/controls in the base. My optics are just as good as the new

So why can't current ETX owners get a new base for their ETX that has
these features? I know that Shutan is offering a tradeup program for the
new ETX, but they're only offering a measly $250 for your scope, so you
send them your scope and $350 to get a new ETX.

This is a travesty.

Meade should offer us some way to upgrade our fork mount/base to the new
ones for some reasonable cost...I'd rather pay $250 for that upgrade
rather than take a loss of $250 by selling to Shutan.

Perhaps its too early to say Meade they will do this.

- liem

Liem Bahneman	                                      roland@cobaltgroup.com
Senior Systems Administrator	  	  http://www.cobaltgroup.com/~roland
The Cobalt Group					 (206) 269-6363 x300
Seattle, Washington					F(206) 269-6350

Subject:	 ETX-90/EC
Sent:	Friday, January 15, 1999 8:55:30
From:	MShedden@compuserve.com (Malcolm Shedden [Blink])
Like your ETX site - I was looking to buy a telescope last month and
found your site to be very helpful! In the end I bought a Celestar 8,
but I still have a hankering for the ETX!

Don't know if you are aware of the new ETX-90/EC or not - I couldn't see
anything about it on your site - some info was sent to me by
astronomics.com (they have a list server).


Malcolm Shedden

Subject:	 ETX been changed !?!?!
Sent:	Friday, January 15, 1999 2:02:37
From:	frowm@nortelnetworks.com (Martin Frow)
I thought I would drop you a line to congratulate you on a fine site
that is full of excellent information, I too have an ETX, got it for
Christmas after dropping lots and lots of subtle hints, plus the Meade
catalogue on the coffee table !!!! I have found your site a mine of
information, being totally new to astronomy this has been a great help.
I will be making a couple of mods for my ETX, 1 being the finderscope
will have to go, I think I will change it for a riflescope, so I will be
taking my ETX to some gunshops, and seeing which ones I like the best.
The other change will be, making a decent, stable mount for it, I am
currently using a camera tripod, but this does not have the stability
that the ETX needs, so that I think will be the first thing to be done,
along with either a Barlow, or a 9.7mm eyepiece.

On another issue, I would like you to maybe start a discussion on you
site for new owners of the ETX (or even existing owners to find out
there points of view) regarding the way that Meade have launched the new
and improved ETX. I have had my ETX for less than a month, and they have
now discontinued that model, I realise that all good things must come to
an end, but to announce the new ETX 3 weeks after Christmas is quite
disgraceful. If I had known that the ETX would be upgraded then I would
have told my girlfriend that I would prefer to wait and have the new and
improved version rather than the old one, regardless of whether I would
use the new features or not. To have a 3 week old scope that is already
out of date, and find out that the one that I have can now be bought for
$100 less is particularly galling. I get the feeling that Meade
deliberately left the announcement of the new ETX till after Christmas
so that they could get rid of the old stock. I am so disappointed with
Meade, and I shall be writing to them to voice my displeasure at their

Well that's about all for now, if I carry on it will turn into a rant.

Once again congratulations on a truly splendid site.


Martin Frow

Unit 5, Concorde Road,
Norreys Drive, Maidenhead,
Berkshire, SL6 4AG 
*: 01628 434169 ; ESN: 590-4169

Mike here: Mike here: Consumer telescopes are like desktop computers. The day you buy it, a new faster one comes out for less money. Fortunately, that doesn't obsolete the old computer (or telescope) but it does frustrate owners. Of course, many computers are upgradable to faster processors and other enhancements. Last night I upgraded my Power Macintosh 8500/150 to a PowerPC G3 @ 300MHz for way less than the cost of the new Power Macintosh G3 model. Of course, I don't get all the performance improvements of the new model but I'm still running way faster than I was before the upgrade. And there are upgrades for telescopes. Unfortunately, it is more difficult to get optical "speed" improvements in telescopes but you can add other upgrades (like the Microstar system for the ETX).

Subject:	 Various items
Sent:	Thursday, January 14, 1999 18:14:17
From:	jh@brainiac.com (Joe Hartley)
Here's a list of things that I've done, or questions I've come up with,
that I'll throw out to all readers.

1) I remounted the Daisy Red-Dot on the ETX.  First time around, it was
a bit too far off to the right for comfort.  I highly recommend this
addition (as mentioned over in the FinderScopes section), since the
Meade finder is so incredibly lame.  When installing it, make sure that
when it's on the ETX tube the sight is high enough to use when the scope
is set to 90 degrees declination!  I found that the foam double-sided
tape was a bear to get off the ETX's barrel.  An hour with various
household solvents and a razor blade didthe trick, though I was totally
paranoid about nicking the beautiful deep blue barrel!  This time around
I put down a strip of electrical tape (which I _know_ how to easily
remove if I have to!), then put Scotch double- sided tape on top of
that.  I then took 3 rubber bands and put them around the ETX barrel and
the finder.  Not too tight, not too loose.  It holds just fine, and
doesn't need readjustment even after being put into and taken out of my
Doskocil case a half-dozen times (so far).

Even with this addition, I still have trouble getting some objects;
looks like I'll be replacing the Meade finder shortly.  The Tasco RF
4x20 scope looks like a definite possibility!

2) I've bitten the bullet and purchased the 9.7mm series 4000 SP
eyepiece, so of course the forecasts are for clouds for the forseeable
future!  I had a devil of a time finding this eyepiece.  Shutan,
Oceanside Photo, Pocono and the local Ritz Camera were all out of stock!
I ended up getting it from What in the World in California.  These
folks were very pleasant to deal with. The woman I dealt with there (I
believe her name was Nancy, though I've lost the paper I wrote it down
on) was super, and in fact wanted to make sure that they had it in stock
before she took the order.  The price was reasonable ($79.95 for the
eyepiece, and $4.45 for priority mail shipping).  I got it two days
after I ordered - quite fast!  I can recommend these folks.  Now I just
hope it's not one of the defective 9.7s!

3) On the topic of mail order and inventory, I have to give a negative
review to the store that is only 5 minutes from my house.  I went into
BirdWatcher's Nature View in Wakefield, RI to buy the #126 Barlow, and
found that he wanted $75 for this lens!  I pointed out that Ritz (30
minutes away) and most mail order places had it at $50.  His response
was to buy it from them.  Surprised at this reaction, I said I wanted to
do business locally, but that he was making it hard.  He offered to
split the difference and give it to me for $62, but that was still too
high.  He showed me the Meade price list, which showed the list price to
be the $80 he was asking, but it also showed me the dealer's price,
which was something like $28.  I told him he'd lost a customer, and
walked out.  I ended up getting the lens from Oceanside for under $60
including shipping.

As a postscript to this, before Xmas my wife had gone in to ask what his
price was for the ETX.  He quoted her $850.  She just thanked him and
left. It turns out that that was including the Meade tripod, but that's
still about $100 more than it would cost anywhere else.  As much as I'd
love to have such a short trip for my accesories (and get instant
gratification!), I don't have a single good thing to say about this
dealer.  He also went out of his way to denigrate Celestron scopes when
my wife mentioned I was looking at them as well as Meades.  I've found
that both companies make some excellent scopes, and both make some so-so
scopes.  To put down Celestron as a company didn't impress me or my

4) I'm having second thoughts on my choice of tripod (a Quantaray Titan
II 750) and have decided to go with the Bogen 3011 with the 3030 head,
thanks to the various reviews on your site.  I had been pretty happy
with the QTII-750, but I headed towards the beach the other night in (a
futile) search of darker skies, the light breeze there gave the ETX a
constant case of the jiggles. This new scope won't have the built-in
level, but I have a round level that cost $1.75 from American Science
and Surplus (http://www.sciplus.com - #91201) that I'll be able to
either mount somewhere or just put on top for a quick levelling job.

5) I ordered the XL Doskocil case from B&H on Dec. 22.  It arrived
missing both the rubber O-ring that forms the water-tight seal and (more
importantly) one of the customizable layers of foam.  B&H says that they
have to get Doskocil to give me a call, but I've yet to hear from
anyone.  Has anyone else run into this problem with these cases, and
does anyone know how to get in touch with Doskocil directly?  I'm not
letting B&H off the hook, I just want to contact as many people as
possible about this problem.

Whew!  A long post, but this stuff has been piling up :)

        Joe Hartley - jh@brainiac.com - brainiac services, inc
 PO Box 5069 : Greene, RI : 02827 - vox 401.539.9050 : fax 401.539.2070
  Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa

Subject:	 Loctite 406 & 770
Sent:	Thursday, January 14, 1999 12:45:18
From:	ebaldini@earthlink.net (Ernest A. Baldini)
Again, thanks for all the tech tips, but please, people, when you place
a tip on line and mention a part or vendor item, tell your sources. I
looked hi and low for Loctite 406 & 770 to bond the teflon pads (one of
the prime fixes on ETX). Unable to locate after exhaustive telephone and
Internet research, I emailed Loctite. They said the consumer version of
the subject agents is Loctite Plastix 82565, available in your local
hardware store, and it was!!  Hope this helps others.   I still have 97
8-32 inch and a half hanger bolts. send me a 33 cent stamp and I'll mail
you one.     Ernest A. Baldini   245 Country Club Dr., Melbourne, FL

Subject:	 How much shock can the ETX take?
Sent:	Thursday, January 14, 1999 12:20:25
From:	gozumm@jeflin.tju.edu (Gozum at Wills Eye)
As a portable scope, has anyone accidentally dropped the ETX?  Onto
grass? concrete? wood floor? how far a fall?  Did it survive?


Subject:	 etx-90/ec
Sent:	Wednesday, January 13, 1999 20:43:00
From:	bronwyncerasoli@hotmail.com (Bronwyn Cerasoli)
I stumbled across your website in search for info about the ETX upgrade,
and I just wanted to say thanks.  I work for a store that is, among
other things, a Meade dealer, and I have customers coming in saying
they've heard rumors about it.  However, since Meade hasn't gotten
around to updating their page, I had to look elsewhere, and I have to
say it was nice to find out what I wanted to know so easily.  I have a
question that maybe you'll be able to answer, and I'm guessing will be
answered if I keep myself updated by checking out your site.  I noticed
in the report from Shutan camera that the author stressed "used to be
sold for" when mentioning that the price will be the same as for the
original ETX.  Should I take this to mean that Meade will no longer be
producing the original, or just that he is no longer going to carry it?
Well, like I said, I'm sure I'll find out soon enough.

Thanks again!

--Bronwyn Cerasoli

Mike here: I don't believe the original model will be made. Buyers can purchase the new one without the go-to capability and upgrade it later if desired.

Subject:	 Basic ETX accessories
Sent:	Wednesday, January 13, 1999 14:57:38
From:	greg_sandau@wellpoint.ca (Greg Sandau)
I purchased an ETX about a month ago and have just started to
accessorize it. Forgive me if the following questions appear lame - I
just started this telescope stuff.

I went to pick up a #126 Barlow Lens but the sales guy, who I bought the
ETX from in the first place, talked me into the #140 Apochromatic Barlow
Lens. About a week later, I found out that the #126 is designed for
limited focus range hardware and is kinda recommended for the ETX.
Should I exchange the #140 for the #126? Are there any negative
ramifications to going with the #140 over the #126?

I also picked up a 15mm SP and a 6.7mm UWA eyepiece. What other
eyepiece(s) would you recommend to round out my configuration?

Thanks for taking the time to respond.


Greg Sandau

Mike here: Check out the Buyer/New User Tips page for eyepiece suggestions. Also the Accessories - Eyepieces page. As to the #126 vs #140, I believe Meade does recommend the #126 for the ETX.

Subject:	 New ETX90/EC
Sent:	Wednesday, January 13, 1999 10:03:19
The new ETX/EC seems like quite a scope.  You would think Meade would
send Mike one for free just because of all the user improvements he has
collected on this site!  But I still like the low tech charm of the
original.  And hunting for celestial objects "manually" by star hopping
is half the fun. Ok, maybe I'm crazy but I have certainly learned alot
about the naked eye night sky in the process.  I still can't figure
which one is Perseus, though.

I'm saving my pennies for some Pentax eyepieces - and when I'm ready for
another scope I'm going for the Meade 7" Mak on the LX200 computerized
mount with all the bells and whistles.  The only reason I would think of
upgrading to the ETX90/EC is if Meade lengthened the forks so the
optical tube doesn't hit the base - a real pain when you're polar
aligned and trying to see something on the southern horizon, especially
at lower latitudes.

However, whoever does gets an ETX90/EC needs to take it apart and tell
the rest of us how they fixed the RA drive and those annoying teflon

Clear skies,
Kelvin Lee

Subject:	 New ETX about to hit the streets
Sent:	Wednesday, January 13, 1999 4:20:26
From:	rod_laird@csi.com (Rod Laird)
Mike Leigh's been beta testing a new ETX. Will hit the streets March.
$595 for base model. +$150 gets you complete goto capability a la LX200.
2 star alignment and then just select your destination from the menu and
it slews to target. A total package less than $750. Unbelievable. Us
first generation ETX owners won't have an upgrade path - so it's time to
'short' your ETX to a friend who wants an entry level scope... I've not
seen other news on this or photos, so I'd appreciate a return link when
you spot something.

Cheers and happy new year.

Rod Laird
Melbourne Australia
PGP at keyserver pgpkeys.mit.edu

Mike here: Saw on the sci.astro.amateur newsgroup that Astronomics (www.astronomics.com) has some photos.

Added later:

Thanks for the reference - I took a look last night and had a bout or
retro-envy. HOWEVER, now for the amazing twist. Xmas arrived again here
downunder.... Meade rang me up today and asked if they could ship a
complete new ETX90EC/Starfinder/Tripod setup to Southern Hemisphere beta
test. I didn't have to fight too hard to agree - and they're shipping it
today! You could have knocked me over with a feather; I still can't
believe it. I'll report when it sees some starlight.  -Rod

Subject:	 another ETX comment...
Sent:	Monday, January 11, 1999 21:38:35
From:	jstaigh@earthlink.net (Jeff Staigh)
This is my 2nd week of ETX ownership and I already voided my warranty
drilling a hole for a black anodized LED holder so I could at least tell
if the drive motor is working.It looks totally factory. I wonder if
they'd notice? The change I made here was that I used a blinking LED
that draws considerably less current than conventional LEDs. (even tho
it's internally regulated) I also added a series resistor to knock down
the overall current draw to the bare minimum. Also, I cut flush the
North-South switch on the base. #1- It protrudes from the base to the
point that any tripod plate will shove it back and either crack the
board or damage the switch. #2- I don't cross the equator (read: never)
and just don't need ready access to it. It now sits flush with the base,
polished reeel pretty. It looks factory OEM as well.

Finally I read a message from one of your pages
(http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/guests_contr97.html) about someone
that made a "dew" shield out of PVC. Great idea! I don't know about dew,
but it makes a fine glare shield. I painted mine Ultra Flat Black
inside, and epoxy gloss black on the outside. I tried wrapping the loop
(soft) Velcro side around the inside of the hood but it's *way* too
tight for the scope, so I removed it and ran 3 vertical strips 33 1/3
degrees apart around the hood instead. It now slips on firm but there's
no binding and forcing as before. There's also that Home Depot calls a
4" "Test Cap" that's slightly less than 1/2" deep and when wrapped with
velcro, fits nicely into the new hood -for when the dew really is in the
air! I'm keeping it white so I can see it when dropped.

Somewhere around ur site I found a rather involved drive mod using an
external controller & battries with varible speed, and a Turbo mode. I'm
still looking for the page with the prints. That'll be the next hole I

O-Yeah.... The scope is performing great. We're kinda' in a lull with
planets on the West coast right now. We've seen all of Jupiter & Saturn,
the Moon's too late, as are the rest of the locals. I'm looking at all
the cool stuff around Orion inbetween high clouds & fog. Goin camping
this weekend so we can use it RIGHT!

tnx, Jeff Staigh

P.S.- I AM going to call Meade and find out what the upgrade path is
since I was totally unaware that the ETX is basically obsolete with the
intro of the new model, Can't hurt!

Subject:	 A new product
Sent:	Monday, January 11, 1999 18:59:47
From:	filmdos@seanet.com (Paul S. Walsh)
IDS: Insulated Dew System

Imagine a "Warm sleeve of darkness" extending from your mount ring or
fork trunnions to several inches out from the face of your very
vulnerable objective, or corrector plate.  Made of mylar-backed bubble
insulation and lined with pipe-stitched jet black felt, these innovative
devices are easy to transport, easy to use, require no batteries and
THEY WORK.... Period. Simply unroll the IDS and attach it using the full
length Velcro strip. Then just thumb your nose at the dew.  The
insulation is rated R-9.8 and keeps your scope comfortably above ambient
air temperature thereby preventing the formation of dew.  They also do a
magnificent job of fending off stray light.  This is one of those rare
innovations: Elegantly simple... Remarkably effective... and Inexpensive
by design.  Created by a seasoned amateur - to help other amateurs enjoy
more seasons! Current price of the ETX sized I.D.S. is $45.00 U.S.

The above is from the advertisement in the "misc." section at
http://www.buytelescopes.com but I know this guy personally  and have
been out with him when everybody else's stuff was soaked and dripping,
he was still calmly sitting there observing away - just he and the folks
who had Kendricks Dew Systems running full blast (and running their
batteries down :)

-Paul S. Walsh filmdos@seanet.com

Insulated Dew System

Subject:	 ETX questions
Sent:	Monday, January 11, 1999 13:15:55
From:	anewman@dakotacom.net (Adam Newman)
GREAT web page...answered a LOT of questions...

I'm interested in getting my first telescope and live in Tucson where
the skies are VERY clear. Any ideas (other than the ETX which you
obviously enjoy) of other models? Plusses and minuses?

What did you photographed images look like WITHOUT the digital


Good judgement comes from experience.
Experience comes from bad judgement.

Mike here: I've no experience with other models (other than the Edmund 3" reflector shown on the Just for Fun page). The retouched photos were usually done to enhance contrast. The original photos were OK but made better by some minor adjustments.

Subject:	 New ETX
Sent:	Monday, January 11, 1999 8:40:07
From:	TSpina@sr.csg.com (Spina, Tony)
Mike do you think that Meade will offer an upgrade kit to convert the
older ETX to the ETX-90/EC ?


Mike here: Not that I've heard.

Subject:	 JMI Wedgepod
Sent:	Monday, January 11, 1999 5:11:25
From:	kvgeorge@sprintparanet.com (Ken George)
Thanks for the advice about re-orienting the ETX on the tripod. I now
have full control of the ON-OFF switch. I really like the wedge pod.

I also just picked up a Quikfinder from Rigel systems. I've used it only
once, but I must say that it is the best thing since sliced-bread in my
opinion. Thanks for keeping such a great site!

Subject:	focusing ??
Sent:	Monday, January 11, 1999 0:50:27
From:	DITKISS@aol.com
I know someone that just brought an ETX scope--they are wondering why
when they use the 45 degree attachment to the eyepiece it gets blurry
and cant be focused????

                                            thanks ditkiss

Mike here: If using the supplied 26mm eyepiece, it should focus. Try loosening the focus knob on the shaft and repositioning the knob further out along the shaft.

Subject:	 Wide Field Adapter?
Sent:	Sunday, January 10, 1999 15:56:51
From:	markh@chesco.com (Mark E. Huss)
Have you heard anything about the ETX wide field adapter that Pocono's
been advertising?  I scanned the archives for the last couple months and
didn't see any comments.



PS. Keep up the good work!

Mike here: Check out the Shutan Wide-Field Adapter on the Showcase Products page. I believe it is the same as Pocono sells (both being from Apogee).

Subject:	 Locating Planets, etc
Sent:	Sunday, January 10, 1999 14:00:11
From:	drg@mediaone.net (daniel Gilmore)
Please Help an Amateur.  Can you recommend a good reference for a
beginner with a new Meade telescope to find different objects to gaze
at.  Thank you!

Mike here: Check out the Sky and Telescope or Astronomy Magazine web sites. They are good starting points for new observers. Links on the Astronomy Links page.

Subject:	 Re:  ETX Spotting Scope
Sent:	Sunday, January 10, 1999 11:43:12
From:	rchapman@montana.com (Richard Chapman)
Thanks for the Saturday night reply.  But your answer is curious, to me.
Meade's literature made a fairly big deal about terrestrial uses, which
is what attracts me.  I have already seen some of the bird shots you
mention and I find them fuzzy.  Maybe that's a function of grainy film
(high ASA) and/or not-sharp scanning, and it certainly seems clear that
low ASA film would require a longer than perhaps healthy exposure.
Still, as a western landscape photographer whose primary interest is in
abstract design close-ups, I remain interested in the spotting scope's

So shall I start a thread on your website about users' experience with
terrestrial stuff?


Richard Chapman 

Mike here: I'm sure the ETX Spotting Scope gets a large usage but only a few such users have come to my site. But in the interest of supporting ALL ETX users, terrestrial users are welcome here.

Subject:	 Meade tripod review
Sent:	Sunday, January 10, 1999 11:32:15
From:	kfgravy@yahoo.com (David Helm)
Great page. You have helped a lot of people, including me. Thanks. I
have tried to sift through the info on lenses to get a recommendation
for my third lens -- I have a 26mm and a barlow -- but haven't been able
to reach a conclusion. Looking for something high quality in the
128-175X range, wide-angle, somewhere around $150. If you ever have time
to reply, any advice? Again, thanks. --David Helm.

Subject:	 Excellent ETX Site!
Sent:	Sunday, January 10, 1999 10:00:26
From:	cphilg@ix.netcom.com (Phil G.)
I wish I had found your site (and Mr. Blessing's) before I bought my
ETX! I STILL would have bought it (although I would have waited for the
ETX-130/EC if I had any idea there'd be one).

I just put my astronomy page up this morning, but hope to expand it very
soon. You're invited to visit at:




Subject:	 ETX Spotting Scope
Sent:	Saturday, January 9, 1999 12:56:38
From:	rchapman@montana.com (Richard Chapman)
Great site.  Spent couple of hours this morning browsing for info on
using the ETX spotting scope strictly for terrestrial photography and
have found next to nothing on your site or on Dogpile (though there are
a ton of sites about astral, of course.  Any suggestions?  I've been
looking at the spotting scope lit and specs for a couple of months now


Mike here: I guess most ETX scopes are used for Astronomy! But search my site for "bird"; you'll find some hits for bird observations and photography with the spotting scope.

Subject:	 ETX Dent Sale
Sent:	Saturday, January 9, 1999 10:51:00
From:	filmdos@seanet.com (Paul S. Walsh)
I can verify that Meade cancelled the proposed "Blemish" sale and this
event is no longer advertised at buytelescopes.com.  Those who pre-paid
with buytelescopes.com for one of those "vapor-scopes" will be refunded
or credited, their choice, from buytelescopes.com

-Paul S. Walsh

Subject:	 Some Comparison advice?
Sent:	Friday, January 8, 1999 16:12:39
From:	jadair@dnai.com (Jeff Adair)
I've been digesting lots of data in your site and it's been great! But I
haven't found some comparative info to help me make a purchase decision.

I have an opportunity to get a used (but in great shape) Celestron C5+
w/tripod, 8x50 finder, Dec Motor & controller for $1095. I was strongly
considering the ETX w/tripod which would be about $800 new. In your
opinion, is there $300 worth of difference? I know that's a very
subjective question...my primary concerns (beyond solid basic
funstionality) are upgrades to the basic scope for CCD imaging and
computer control.

Any help is appreciated,


Mike here: Glad you like the site. I have no experience with the C5 so can't comment directly on it. I've mentioned before on the site about portability vs light gathering power. In regards to CCD astrophotography, the ETX can do it (lots of examples on the site) and certainly the new model ETX has a basic go-to capability.

Subject:	 Meade ETX stuff
Sent:	Friday, January 8, 1999 12:49:48
From:	pedal@provide.net (Jerry Price)
Just wanted to drop you a quick note and let you know how much I've
enjoyed your site. It's very informative and has helped me a great deal.
I just wanted to clue you in on a few things I've found that have helped

With the cold weather battery life depletes pretty quick, at least
that's the case here in Michigan. I use Energizer Lithium Photographic
batteries. Their about 6 dollars a pair (12 bucks to make the Meade go
in a circle). However, their not affected by the cold like regular
batteries so they will keep working in the cold without power loss. And,
they last about 4 times longer than regular batteries making the price
worth it.

Another thing I've found that helps is using rubber o-rings to help
absorb vibrations. I found some small rubber o-rings around the house. I
put three of them between the heavy metal base and the telescope itself,
surrounding the screws. I then put an o-ring between each of the  tripod
legs and the telescope itself.  It does'nt completely get rid of
vibrations but it does help to dampen them, especially when focusing.

Hope it helps                           Jerry

Subject:	 RE: ETX RA setting ring
Sent:	Friday, January 8, 1999 9:15:01
From:	andrewj@netvigator.com (Andrew Jackson)
What do think about the new go-to ETX?

Mike here: Haven't seen it yet.

Subject:	 Meade 9.7 mm defect followup
Sent:	Friday, January 8, 1999 6:28:10
Just a followup on my original question about a central distortion in
the Meade 4000 9.7 mm.  I returned the eyepiece to Astronomics (highly
recommended, www.astronomics.com) who also felt it was a defect.  The
replacement 9.7 mm works perfectly without distortions.  So I strongly
second the various posts on this site that this is clearly a
manufacturing defect that warrants replacement.  It would be interesting
if anyone knew what the basis of such a distortion is (someone call Al

An additional observation on the 9.7 mm - because the eye relief is so
short (i.e. your eye has to be plastered right up against the EP to see
the whole field), when it is really cold outside the moisture from your
eye fogs up the eyepiece (which I initially thought was a chromatic
aberration in the replacement EP I got).  No books talk about this
problem when going over eye relief - maybe all the authors live in
tropical paradises.

Clear (and warm) skies,
Kelvin Lee

Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world
to another -  Plato

Subject:	 New ETX?
Sent:	Friday, January 8, 1999 4:45:55
From:	dick@dwalters.com (Dick Walters)
Hearing rumors that Meade has announced a 'new ETX'.  Have you picked up
on that?  If so and really improved, I might want to take mine back
while in the 30 day window and wait a bit for the new model.

Dick Walters

Mike here: Meade did make this announcement; see further down this page. This turned out to be lousy timing on my part since I was traveling and couldn't get any site updates done until this weekend. My apologies to the Group.

Added later:

I haven't seen any info anywhere except some comments coming from
Europe. Not on Meade yet.  I'll be interested in input and probably will
take back this scope if it seems appropriate.  It's still in Service
Merchandise's 30 day window.

Subject:	 Mirror Blur.
Sent:	Friday, January 8, 1999 2:20:59
From:	randyangie@prodigy.net (Preferred Customer)
If you're already focused, why not hold a black piece of card board or
something similar in front of the lens, before making your exposure. And
before letting the shutter close back down place the card board back in
front of the lens. I've used this technique many times with timed
exposure shots, and it works quite well. The idea is to let the mirror
slap calm down before letting the light hit the cameras film plane.
    Good luck.........
Randy W.

Mike here: This is called the "hat trick" method.

Subject:	 ETX and CCD's?
Sent:	Thursday, January 7, 1999 23:18:28
From:	jadair@dnai.com (Jeff Adair)
I am contemplating the purchase and was wondering if you had any
experience with CCD's? I've read some of the reviews in Sky & Telescope
and the Cookbook reviews of building one. The question is...will they
work on an ETX?

I'm new to the telescope world and this is my first purchase. My
research led me to your site and it's been a great source of info. I'm
also a Mac guy so that's cool, too!

I got interested in this when I purchased the Starry Night CD. it
mentions controlling a telescope but only supports the LX200...a bit out
of my price range and beyond my ability at this point!


Jeff Adair

ps - I live in San Jose but didn't make it to MacWorld. I did watch a
Web cast of the Jobs keynote...looked pretty exciting!

Mike here: Glad you like the site. Search the site for "CCD" and you'll get lots of pages. Also, there are some example ETX CCD images on some of the Guest Astrophotography pages.

Subject:	New ETX Astro Telescope Product!!
Sent:	Thursday, January 7, 1999 21:38:40
From:	DOPILKA@aol.com
I learned from Meade today that a computerized ETX Astro telescope will
be available shortly.  It will have upgraded dual axis drives (LX50
components?) and an optional 8x25mm finder with 90 degree diag.  Have
you heard of this pending telescope?  When you obtain additional info
please post it on your excellent "Weasner's Mighty ETX Web Site".


Dwight Dopilka
Hawthorne, CA

Subject:	 ETX-SC and Serial Numbers 
Sent:	Thursday, January 7, 1999 18:29:59
From:	gozumm@jeflin.tju.edu (GozumPC at Home)
By now you may have heard of the new ETX-SC with a GOTO controller

On passing, do ETX scopes have unique serial numbers?

warm regards,

Mike here: re: serial #s, not that I'm aware of.

Subject:	 new ETX-90/EC Astro Telescope
Sent:	Thursday, January 7, 1999 16:22:41
From:	tomnagy@nauticom.net (TLN)
Damn, I just ordered the old model and it is on a UPS truck somewhere
between California and Pennsylvania.

Tom Nagy

Subject:	 ETX RA setting ring
Sent:	Thursday, January 7, 1999 15:31:25
From:	andrewj@netvigator.com (Andrew Jackson)
Like a lot of people who buy an ETX I think I expected too much. However
it is a fine portable scope and now I have got used to it I would not
part with it. I was even given the chance to trade it in and upgrade it
to a larger scope (for the difference of course). I kept it.

I did have one frustration though. The RA setting circle was stuck when
it arrived. No amount of persuasion would get it to move. The dealer
brought me another unit. Just before we exchanged ETXs he had a go at
moving the circle. It suddenly moved. A piece of glue had prevented it
from moving. Just in case there is anyone else out their who thought he
could not read the instructions properly, the RA setting circle is meant
to move independently and quite freely of the motorised base.

Andrew Jackson

Subject:	 Re: zenith
Sent:	Thursday, January 7, 1999 10:27:22
From:	mju@club-internet.fr
The site "membres aol com" was very useful. So intend now to purchase a
1X finder as you suggested . Thanks .

Subject:	 ETX Astro Tele as Spotting Scope
Sent:	Thursday, January 7, 1999 9:20:55
From:	givans_charlie@bah.com (Givans Charlie)
Can the ETX Astro Telescope also be used as a spotting scope, or does
the fork mounting for the astro make terrestrial use impractical?
Relatedly, can the astro scope be easily removed from the fork mounting
and mounted on a standard tripod for terrestrial use?

Mike here: The ETX can be removed from the fork. See the ETX manual. You don't have to remove it however; just remove the legs and set the base on a flat surface or mount it on a sturdy tripod.

Subject:	 Ideal cameras for Astrophotography and airport security
Sent:	Thursday, January 7, 1999 8:56:24
From:	Andrew_WARRINGTON@paribas.com
One issue I would be interested in seeing discussed is which cameras are
ideal for astrophotography.  I suppose this would be slightly outside
the scope of your site.  Still, here is my experience to date.... I
recently bought a 35mm SLR camera at a used camera shop.  The clerk
recommended the Olympus OM1.  I was completely at his mercy since I
hadn't the slightest clue which model might be good.  I guess I was
lucky, since, from what I have heard since, he made a good
recommendation.  The mirror in the OM1 can be manually flipped up prior
to taking the photo to eliminate the vibration.  Also, the focusing
screens are interchangeable, and Olympus makes a clear focusing screen
specifically for astrophotography.  The camera is 100% steel, with no
electronic parts, so it works at very low temperatures. Well, so far
that's the end of my story.  I haven't taken any astrophotos with it
yet.  :)  I have yet to get my hands on the clear focusing screen (it
has to be special-ordered in most cases), and I want to get the Meade
basic camera adapter as I want to do eyepiece projection.  I will send
photos when they become available.  But I would be interested in knowing
what other features are considered important in a camera....

On a completely different subject - with regards to bringing an ETX on a
plane.... I travelled a fair bit this summer with my ETX, and I found it
disturbing that I was only stopped by security twice, out of about 12
different flights.  One of the two times they stopped me, the X-ray guy
signalled to the other guy to search me, and the other guy searched the
WRONG BAG.  I wonder what other kinds of things get through airport
security so easily..... Another note - at one airport I got a chance to
watch the X-ray screen as the ETX went through....  the X-ray really
brings out the "precision instrument" side of an ETX, with all the parts
clearly visible while assembled....  I was proud.  :)

Thanks for the great reference site - I have enjoyed my ETX so much more
since finding it.
Andrew Warrington

Mike here: The one time I flew with my ETX, the guard wanted to look *through* the telescope. I finally convinced her that seeing the mirror was sufficient. Does make you wonder though...

Subject:	 etx drive
Sent:	Thursday, January 7, 1999 8:26:53
From:	stefanom@post.queensu.ca (Mike Stefano)
Great page and loaded with info.  I'm new to astronomy - my childhood
interest has been rekindled by my 11 year old son.  We recently
purchased an etx, hoping to use it in the light polluted city and also
at the cottage, so the portability was the key for us.  I now have a
problem. When changing the batteries, I snapped off the on/off drive
switch and damaged the circuit board (too ham-fisted for my own good). 
We seldom used the drive anyway, but I hope to do some photography with
it, so it's essential.  Would buying a wedge give me the drive
capabilities, or do I need to have the etx's drive switch repaired? 
I've never seen a wedge, so I don't know exactly what one would do.  Any
advice, or anyone who has a circuit board for sale if they've upgraded
their scope, would be appreciated.

Mike here: Some options come to mind: 1) Get the Microstar Dual Axis Corrector. You can read about the original model on the Showcase Products page. 2) JMI just announced a new dual axis drive replacement that mounts on their Wedge. I don't have one so can't comment on it. 3) You could return your ETX to Meade for repair. Since you indicated that you recently purchased the ETX you may not wish to invalidate your warranty by adding the Microstar.

Added later:

Thanks for the speedy reply.  I'll probably look into the microstar
(already followed the link from your page).  I probably invalidated the
warranty already by desoldering the broken switch (and then finding out
that the circuit board was cracked!).  I'll let you know what I decide
to do and how it works out.  Now if we could just get some clear, stable
skies in Kingston (ontario).......

Subject:	 ETX, or 8" Dob?
Sent:	Thursday, January 7, 1999 1:34:22
From:	donx.a.nelson@intel.com (Nelson, DonX A)
I have really been considering the ETX as a first purchase of a scope. I
have read all the details, seen all the pictures, and impressed with
it's small portable size. Having said that however, I have also looked
at, and through the Orion DSE 8" Dob.. I got to look through it the
other night when I visited a local Astronomy store here in Phoenix. They
took it out front right in front on the sidewalk of this brightly lit
strip mall just after sunset. He then pointed out and allowed me to
observe Jupiter, and then Saturn with it. I was completely impressed
with what I saw. So now I am at a crossroad. I like the added features
of the ETX. The motor, and being able to follow an object primarily, But
how would visual impact differ between these two types? The Dob seems so
easy to set up and use, and is a little better in the price area. (about
$519 with the accessory pack) verses the $595 price of the ETX. What do
you think would make the better first scope?

Don Nelson
Phoenix, AZ

Subject:	 [Fwd: New ETX]
Sent:	Wednesday, January 6, 1999 18:27:30
From:	rwagner@bicnet.net (Robert J. Wagner)
Search on Meade for story at http://www.businesswire.com/

Subject:	 Cameraworld bait and switch?
Sent:	Wednesday, January 6, 1999 10:32:08
From:	Michael_P._Lingenfelter@oa.eop.gov
By the time I got to the Cameraworld website, the price of the ETX
tripod had jumped from the supposed $130 to $149.  But with free
shipping that would still have been a good price.  The trouble is, they
don't actually have the tripods.  They claim they'll have them in 2 - 3
weeks.  Hmmmm.   I think I'll just get one locally, even if it costs a
little more.

Subject:	 Filter question
Sent:	Wednesday, January 6, 1999 8:01:57
A friend of mine lend me his Lumicon O III filter (1.25"), because I
would like to see better some deep-sky object, I've tried twice, but
always the same problem I dont see anything, when I see Orion, I noticed
a little improvement, but if i look Pleiades, nothing happens. If I
focus the NGC 104, I don't get any improvement. What is the problem? the
scope?, the filter?, the eyepiece?, I'm doing something wrong? I read
wonderful things about de Lumicon O III?
thanks a lot.

Mike here: I suspect that the ETX just doesn't have enough light gathering power to allow the O III filter to do its job. It may be OK on very bright objects but not on faint ones. Also, the outdoor lighting used in your area may have an impact on how effective the filter is.

Subject:	ETX vs DOB
Sent:	Monday, January 4, 1999 18:40:15
From:	ronmccafferty@msn.com (Ron McCafferty)
Many people ask if the ETX is a good beginner scope and sometimes ask
about 4.5" Newtonians and 6" DOBS.  Astronomics has a great chart on the
web that gives use vs. type of scope.  The 4.5" Newtonian and 6" DOB are
both rated as "not suitable" for day-time use.  Being able to use the
ETX during the day was a big deciding point for me and it works great.

Thanks for the great site,
Ron McCafferty 

Subject:	 thanks
Sent:	Monday, January 4, 1999 14:08:08
From:	jonc@earth2000bc.freeserve.co.uk (jon mortimer)
many thanks for your site address
i have added it to my favourites

Subject:	 Eyepieces
Sent:	Monday, January 4, 1999 8:07:10
From:	thenders@idir.net (Thomas Allen Henderson)
I'm considering buying a Meade ETX and I see that they offer additional
eyepieces;the 2x Barlow, 32mm super plossi and the 9.7mm super plossi .
It comes standard with the 26mm super plossi . I'm a novice just
beginning do I need to obtain the other eyepieces or what would you
suggest .
                         Thanks for your help,  Tom Henderson

Mike here See the Buyer/New User Tips page for info on eyepieces. Also, see the Accessories - Eyepieces page for comments on specific eyepieces.

Subject:	 Comments
Sent:	Monday, January 4, 1999 7:20:16
From:	ron@datapage.com (Ron McCafferty)
In response to people that have asked if the ETX is a good beginners
scope. Astronomics has a great web site at
http://www.astronomics.com/.  They have a chart that compares use
vs. telescope type.  I found the chart to be very helpful.  One of the
deciding factors for me was that the ETX is rated as useable for daytime
viewing while the 4.5" Newtonian and 6" DOB are rated as unsuitable for
daytime viewing.

I had an email conversation with Ed Ting who suggested that I purchase a
6" DOB  in addition to my ETX.  I may do that one day but for now I'm
super happy with my ETX.

Ron McCafferty

Subject:	 Site
Sent:	Sunday, January 3, 1999 21:18:44
From:	jstaigh@earthlink.net (Jeff Staigh)



Subject:	 Rumors
Sent:	Sunday, January 3, 1999 20:12:33
From:	gozumm@jeflin.tju.edu (Marv Gozum)
Is there any rumors worth considering about the 5" ETX?  I hear its due
in 90 days [newsgroup drift].

If true, we could expect a price drop in the current 3.5" ETX and its

warm regards,


Subject:	 Need some help on ETX
Sent:	Sunday, January 3, 1999 14:14:48
From:	rrome@connix.com (Romulo Romero)
Hi There love your site!  And you're a Mac user to boot!  (have fun at
the expo!)

I am writing because I bought a Tasco Bantam sight to replace my finder
scope, but it is not obvious how to disassemble it to mount it on the
ETX.  I searched your site thoroughly but did not find any details. 
Can you help!

Thanks again!

Romulo Romero

Visit the Ultimate Civ II for Mac page

Windows 95:  Proof that you can be 10 years late and still
get most of the credit.

Subject:	 Contact email for Meade
Sent:	Sunday, January 3, 1999 13:47:53
From:	douglas.smith@lineone.net (DOUGLAS SMITH)
I love the web site and I have learnt a lot about my etx which is a
lovely 'scope which I bought 'on spec' when my wife and I visited
Florida on holiday and spent a wonderful evening in the Science Centre
in Orlando.

I have a couple of queries I would like to raise with Meade direct but
other than the web site, I have not come accross an email address - do
you know of one please.

Many thanks and regards
Doug Smith
United Kingdom

Mike here: All technical support contact with Meade is via voice and fax. They prefer to not use email.

Subject:	Buying an ETX
Sent:	Sunday, January 3, 1999 13:24:34
From:	Gentlemn56@aol.com
I am thinking about buying an ETX but have heard some bad things about
them.  I especially am worried about Ed Ting's review which sort of
turns me ff to buying it.  Can you tell me what king of deep space you
can see with it and how much planetary detail is seen?



Mike here: Your questions are answered on the Buyer/New User Tips page and through many user comments on the Feedback pages. In short, the ETX is an excellent telescope for the money. Just look at the photos and comments on this site. All the positive and negatives are thoroughly discussed.

Subject:	 Lowest price for an ETX tripod
Sent:	Sunday, January 3, 1999 8:34:36
From:	gozumm@jeflin.tju.edu (GozumPC at Home)
I can't believe it, but this site claims they have the Meade ETX tripod
for $130, free s&h.


warm regards,

Marv Gozum

Subject:	 Alignment at 7 Deg Lat
Sent:	Sunday, January 3, 1999 6:31:45
From:	sljbajrs@jba.lankacom.net (John Sharplin)
The standard equipment does not support this (I live in Sri Lanka with a
latitude of 7.15).
How best to solev?
Any suggestions welcome.

Mike here: See the comments on the JMI Wedgepod on the Accessories - Tripods page.

Subject:	 Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
Sent:	Saturday, January 2, 1999 17:38:10
From:	jblessin@worldnet.att.net (Jordan Blessing)
Just placed an order for the Meade tripod from cameraworld.com for $129
+ free shipping, not bad!
Jordan Blessing 

    ETX & LX50 Owners Come Take a Look:
      Hints, Tips, Projects, & Products

Subject:	 GREAT site!
Sent:	Saturday, January 2, 1999 8:02:59
From:	Jacques_Brierre-SC3064@email.mot.com (Jacques Brierre)
Just a word to compliment you for this website. It is one of the better
ones. Also want to say it is quite useful, friendly and certainly is
most helpful. In trying to decide whether to buy an ETX this year, this
info in invaluable. I look forward to using more of this info. after
Thanks and happy new year.
_/   703-724-8180/8302 Jacques_Brierre-SC3064@email.mot.com   _/
_/   Pager: 1-800-759-8888 pin#1273663 or 1273663@skytel.com  _/
_/    Press any key to continue or any other key to abort.    _/

Subject:	ETX Pictures
Sent:	Friday, January 1, 1999 21:00:10
From:	Jbstew32@aol.com
I just got an ETX and I was wondering which other eyepieces, if any did
you use, because with my standard eyepiece, what I see is extremely


Mike here: See the Accessories - Eyepieces page.

Subject:	 Deep Sky Viewing
Sent:	Friday, January 1, 1999 13:28:19
From:	OptiquesJeff@worldnet.att.net (Jeffrey Nutkowitz)
Steve Black asks: "Now, here's my question to you seasoned ETX'ers...
Have you had any luck with deep-sky objects? For example, is the Ring
Nebula in Lyra a viable object? I would be interested in seeing some of
you posts here in the newsgroup."

Well, for what it is worth, I have only had my ETX for less than 2
months (it is neither my first nor only 'scope, btw..I have had a
Criterion Dynascope RV6 6" Newt for almost 25 years, among others),
after actually exchanging the first one I got for a new one because the
little baffle tube glued around the secondary mirror was off center, and
I have yet to get a chance to use the new one (or as mentioned in a
prior post, the new 9.7mm eyepiece I also had to exchange).

Anyway, I had two short opportunities to use the ETX under nice, clear,
relatively dark skies on the edge of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, in
Wharton State Forest, back in late November and early December. The
Orion Nebula was spectacular, with the Trapezium's 4 stars visible in
the 26mm SP, and the nebulosity appearing stronger and more defined than
most times I have observed it with my 6" Newt. Another deep sky object
of note which I observed, in particular with respect to the limits of
the ETX's performance, was M1, the Crab Nebula. In both my 6" and in the
ETX, it basically appears as a VERY faint foggy patch, nothing more. In
the 6" the shape is a little more defineable, but that is about it. In
the ETX it was at the very edge of visibility. A friend was not even
sure that she was seeing anything, but it was visible. The Pleides
showed extremely faint traces of the nebulosity around the stars, which
are a little stronger in the 6", using the 26mm SP and a 40mm Kellner.
Some globular clusters showed traces of being resolved into individual
stars, but I did not explore the possibilities with higher

Based on what I have seen so far, I would say that the ETX is perfectly
useable for many, many deep sky objects, especially the brighter,
'showpiece' selections, such as the many from the Messier catalogue,
where anything brighter than about mag 8 will be well defined, and
objects in the 9 to 10 range are possible, but will be completely on the
edge of the ETX's abilities and only possible under very dark skies.
Just for reference, I would also like to note that I immediately made
comparisons of my initial observations to the performance of my 6" Newt,
and basically concluded that the ETX, due to its ability to be easily
transported to darker sky locations than I usually take my larger scope
to, would provide me with enjoyable views of all of my favorite objects,
views that are comparable to those the 6" provided under the typically
less than optimal conditions I frequently use the 6" under. It was
noticeable, if I compared what I have seen with the 6", under really
nice conditions, to the ETX's views, that understandably, the ETX views
were not as bright or well defined, and the mag limits are definitely
lower. The ETX's optics are a little more contrasty then a Newt's, so
this contributes a little bit towards making up for the less aperture.

By the way, objects such as the Ring Nebula, which is definitely
considered a 'showpiece' object, are readily visible, with good
definition, with even smaller scopes, and many such objects are even
visible in finder scopes and binoculars. Any such objects will be quite
viable and enjoyable with a scope such as the ETX.

Jeffrey Nutkowitz/Optiques Classic Photographic Imagery
Freelance Outdoor and Nature Photography Emphasizing a 'Sense of Place'

Subject:	 Deep Sky Astrophotography
Sent:	Friday, January 1, 1999 11:11:07
From:	jblessin@worldnet.att.net (Jordan Blessing)
Just wanted to congratulate you on those new deepsky images. It is very
exciting to see deepsky imagery of this quality that wasn't piggybacked
on a $3000 scope or mount! Very well done! I also see your ETX is quite
"mighty", that's alot of camera on there!
Jordan Blessing 

    ETX & LX50 Owners Come Take a Look:
        Hints, Tips, Projects, & Products

Subject:	 ETX-Casio Camera
Sent:	Friday, January 1, 1999 11:08:55
From:	wrwoodard@compuserve.com (William R Woodard)
Love the site!

I also have a Casio digital camera-the QV-11, and an ETX.  I saw
pictures at your site of your Casio mounted to the ETX.  Can you tell me
how you attached the Casio to either a t-mount ring or ETX extender or
basic camera adapter, as I have all 3.  Thanks,

Richard Woodard

Mike here: Check the Astrophotography Gallery - Basics page; you'll see that my best Casio shots were handheld. I tried to make an adapter but it didn't work out.

Subject:	 RE: ETX Web Site
Sent:	Friday, January 1, 1999 8:50:09
From:	dick@dwalters.com (Dick Walters)
Great site.  The ETX is also a great little scope.  I'm learning a lot
about it while freezing my butt during the cold evenings.  Presently
evaluating a Pentax XL10.5 eyepiece, which gives superb images for me
(with eyeglasses).  It's a bit large for the scope and may not fit with
a right angle viewfinder eyepiece, which I think will be needed.

I'm amazed at the clarity of the ETX images and anxious to use it when
the mood dulls sown a bit.


Subject:	 Good deal on ETX?
Sent:	Thursday, December 31, 1998 22:03:15
From:	wprat@home.com (Will)
In case someone missed it, a couple of places have advertised blemished
ETX's for sale at $499.

There ads say the following:

"cosmetic defects that do not effect the performance"

http://www.buytelescopes.com and click on the "Announcements" section
for more info.



Love to hear if this works out for someone.


Subject:	 Re: Personal (and subjective) observations with an ETX
Sent:	Thursday, December 31, 1998 22:06:47
From:	wdx2sw@prodigy.net (Steve Black)
Happiest of New Years, and thanks for posting my comments on your site!
I know the things I have seen with my new scope are old hat to a lot of
the more seasoned astromomers who frequent this site, but they were a
"knock-your-socks-off" experience for me. I have been an armchair
astronomer for most of my 45 years and even had an "el-cheapo" refractor
(a present from my Dad, who got me hooked on this hobby in the first
place, and which provided an amazing amount of viewing pleasure) as a
kid growing up in the sixties. But I have seen things though the ETX I
have only read about. I never, in my wildest dreams, dared think that
such viewing power would be made available to so many people, for such a
modest price. You are absolutely right to sing the praises of this
compact dynamo, it's an incredible tool for the beginning astronomer as
well as for the crusty old hand who might want an easily transportable
scope for lunar and planetary viewing. I have mine mounted on a Bogen
tripod with a quick-disconnect head; I hope to take it to some really
dark-sky locations as soon as the weather permits ( here in upstate
N.Y., that may be sometime next summer! ). And Meade's ultra-wide
eyepieces on this telescope are something to be experienced, they're
truly remarkable.

Thanks, also, for your comments on the Ring Nebula. I would really like
to get into deep-sky viewing. My ETX seems to be the perfect tool for
getting acquainted with some of the non naked-eye objects. I've never
used setting circles before, yet their use seems very straightforward,
with a good polar alignment (although the circles on the ETX appear to
be a bit small, and polar-aligning this scope gives me fits and
starts!). For the most part, I simply rough-aim the scope's polar axis
at the general area of Polaris, and, lo and behold, the objects stay
within view for many minutes at a time via the clock drive, even at high
( 260X ) magnification. Astrophotography will be a bit of a problem,
however, using this method.

Anyway, Mike, I just wanted to let you know that I am delighted with
this telescope. As an entry-level tool it's got to be tops in its class.
As a transportable viewer, it may well be unparalled.

All I ask for is a couple of clear nights! 

All the best,

Steve Black
Latham, NY, USA  

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