ETX-125EC USER FEEDBACK
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-125EC. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.
Subject: Re: etx125 problem Sent: Sunday, July 29, 2001 18:16:36 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rod Kevill) I have experienced the same problem with my ETX125. Once I had plugged in an external power source, I could not get the internal batteries to work again. I think it's the external power connector socket itself. When you plug in an external supply, the plug physically moves a "springy" lug and disconnects the internal batteries. When the external supply is unplugged, this lug remains in the "disconnect" position and doesn't reconnect the internal battery circuit (the same thing happens when you plug earphones into a system - the external speakers are automatically disconnected. I haven't worried about fixing this since I intend to use the external supply (a 12v rechargeable hand drill battery), and I didn't want to try breaking out the panel (looks a bit fragile). Hope this helps! Rod 116E 31S
Subject: ETX125 Orientation for Polar Mounting Sent: Friday, July 27, 2001 23:11:11 From: email@example.com (Rod Kevill) Just bought a no-brand tripod for my new ETX125. I found it in a camera/telescope shop under a Nexstar 4 - round tubular chrome steel legs, similar design to the large Meade heavy duty tripods, with a central threaded post and cast alloy leg-spreader and eyepiece holder. It also had a tilting top plate and graduated scale for polar mounting - in all, a very sturdy, well designed tripod. I intended to modify the top plate to take the EXT, but upon removing the Nexstar in the shop, I was delighted to find the top plate pre-drilled with holes matching the Meade "adapter plate" (used to lift the ETX up from it's rubber feet). However, the Meade holes in the top plate are in a line at right angles to the direction of polar tilt, so when the ETX125 is bolted on, the control box side will be facing either North or South, not West as for normal alignment procedures. My question is, does this matter? Or do I need to drill some additional holes in the correct orientation? In an attempt to follow Meade's instructions for Autostar polar 2-star alignment procedure for southern hemisphere (which is fairly vague at best), the telescope ended up pointing towards the ground when it should have been pointing up (eg at Acrux). (I have set the Autostar to "polar"). I am not really sure of the "polar home" initial position for southern hemisphere, and this may well be the root of the problem. I'd be grateful for any suggestions Rod 116E 31SMike here: To avoid hitting one of the Right Ascension "hard stops" prematurely, the panel should be on the West side. Also, since the Autostar assumes a certain initial condition (the proper HOME position), the initial calculations would be off if the initial position is 90 degrees "in error". So, I'd say you'll have to modify the plate. As to the Southern Polar Home position, just put the telescope at 90 degrees declination by the scale (assuming you have confirmed it to be accurate), have the eyepiece on the top side (not pointed down or at an angle), and point the telescope towards the South pole. As long as you get it close, the Autostar will correct for any errors when you center the alignment star(s).
Many thanks for such a prompt reply Mike!! OK - I'll drill some more holes. I'll try the polar alignment as per your instructions and see what happens. The dec scale rotates quite freely even though the knob is tight, so I might try some of those "tune-up" suggestions on your very impressive web site! I'm also having trouble with the dec lock - symptoms exactly as described by Clay Sherrod. All this in a brand new ETX!! Anyway, thanks for your advice! Rod
Subject: Re: etx125 problem Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2001 5:48:34 From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: Mike sorry about your problems with the battery power; first of all I always recommend NOT using the batteries anyway, but they are handy for quick portable setup. My first suggestion is the wires coming from the battery pack; have you made sure that the connection is VERY good on the black and red wires running from that? sometimes they appear connected but are not. Try running a voltmeter at the opposite ends of the wires with the batteries in place and see if you have at least 10V coming out (at the control panel end); also they can come dislodged at the control panel side as well. If you are getting good power from another source, it is almost CERTAINLY NOT your control panel and I highly recommend you NOT attempt to dislodge that unit. It does come off from the inside of the base, but is easily subject to immediate damage. the control panel is probably the #1 cause (other than broken wires) of electronic problems with the ETX scope. I really think the problem is in the battery unit itself; perhaps the wires from battery to battery....check those; they must run in series and if any ONE WIRE is disconnected, you will not complete your circuit. Good luck and let me know if I can help you further! Clay Sherrod Mike wrote: > If you have time, I would like to run one by you. I > have a etx125 that will not run on battery power but will run on external DC > power. I took the bottom off and checked for power at the back of the control > panel. It's ok there. I can't check any further because I don't know how to get > the control panel out. I'm very mechanically inclined but would rather ask than > just tear into it. Could you tell me how to get it out? Maybe you already know > what the problem is from reading this. Any help you can give would be greatly > appreciated. > > Thanks, Mike
Subject: your ETX 125 Sent: Saturday, July 21, 2001 7:59:19 From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org I felt like I had to reply to your posting on Mike's site particularly after looking at the photographs that you attached. I have seen hundreds of ETX scopes and their mechanics and it is clear to me that you have a telescope that is not new, and clearly has been worked on by someone with no experience. Even the characteristics of the drive gear's lubrication indicate that someone has been inside the telescope attemting to "tweak" its performance. the tape on the drive motor is an attempt to minimize mechanical vibrations in that axis and likely works just fine for that purpose. On the other hand, you should discuss this with the outlet from which you purchased the telescope in an attempt to rectify any future problems that you may have with the scope. Clay Sherrod
Subject: Newly purchased instrument Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2001 2:56:17 From: email@example.com (Jean-Yves Beninger) This site is absolutely fabulous ! I live in Singapore, light years from any specialised shop, and was looking for exactly this : a great instrument and a mine of information on self fixing it ! The nearest dealer I've found was in Bangkok, and for one week now, I've been the proud owner of an ETX125EC. Cloudy weather for a week, so I have started to take the ETX apart following the ton of advise I've dug from your site, and here is what I have noticed : 1) The motor for the altitude motion, in the right arm, has three pieces of badly cut double sided tape stuck between the motor and its lateral casing ??? Why do you think Meade had to do that ? I would like to do something much nicer,... 2) The worm gear assembly for the azimuth motion, in the base, is mounted against an aluminium side support. The two 'L' shaped supports are cracked and deformed : whoever tightened the two lateral screws has gone straight through ... I am afraid of this default as this part looks quite fragile. Sending the scope to Meade would take for ever from here, so your advise on a DIY solution would be welcome ! I attach two photos of these problematic areas ... and wish you clear skies for many many nights. Oh, yes, one more question, in several articles, 'lithium grease' is mentioned... I have trouble finding it, what kind of shop would sell it? (electronics? computers? remote control toys?...). Best regards Jean-Yves
One more thing : I have finished inspecting the altitude motor and gears. After a good cleaning, now the Autostar controller has only one speed (fast)in the altitude axis ! (but still 9 in the right azimuth) But if I connect the small controller that was included in the box, I still have the four speeds !!! Before going further, I would like to check if I am missing a basic point here. Thanks again for your time, Best regards Jen-Yves BeningerAnd an update:
Sorry, sorry, sorry ... It was a RTFM question, sorry to disturb you (I just had to 'calibrate motor')... Best regards Jean-Yves Note : RTFM = Read The F... Manual)Mike here: Thanks. Just points out the importance of RESET, RETRAIN when the Autostar acts up.
Subject: RE: ETX 125 Slewing and Gear problem Sent: Monday, July 16, 2001 7:10:41 From: CBanke@cnc-inc.com (Christian Banke) No, I haven't tried the latest Autostar update. However, I did speak to a etch support rep at Meade (William) who seems to believe the slewing problem is because of a bad control panel or declination failure. I know I don't want to, but I am going to send it back to Meade. They said to send everything (including the Autostar); I'm assuming they may just send me a new scope all together. Thanks again for your help Mike. Your site rules!! Christian in Chicago
Subject: 2 Scopes Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2001 6:07:02 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (HB CIVIL) It Nick from downunder. Hope you are well. I have been having some problems with my 125 scope. It started a little while ago, when I fired up the scope to do some viewing. For some reason the horizontal axis did not respond for a while, say 10 to 15 seconds then it would start to move. The motor was going but the scope wasn't. I noticed this a few times and noted that it did this happened the first time I fired it up..ie when the scope was cold. Once it got going then it was ok for the rest of the night. Secondly, I got fed up with the sloppy vertical axis which moved say 5 degrees up and down if moved by hand, and the non responding horizontal axis, so I decided to do the technical service as written by Jordan Blessing and Clay Sherrods fix for the vertical axis using a nylon and stainless steel washer. Since the service items were done, the vertical axis has tightened up considerably, but when I train the motors, or move the tube down, it does not stop when I release the button, it slides down say another 5 degrees more and then stops. The tune up did not fix the slipping horizonal axis either on a fresh start up. I now get the horizontal axis moving before I put it in to the home position, to make the alignment work. I'm not sure what else to do, but my alignments are not accurate and I never seem to get an object into view with the go-to function. Some help would really be appreciated, as I was spoilt by the scope original accuracy with alignment when I first took it out of the box. We now have mars high up in the sky each night and I have been looking at it when I can. I cannot get to see any detail using the 26mm eyepiece or a 15mm eyepiece, or with the 2x barlow. Its been cold here at nights but the sky appears to be clear, but if you look hard enough you can see the stars twinkle a little high up in the sky. So much for twinkle twinle little star! Maybe this has an affect on viewing conditions, but I thought I would get some detail on Mars. I used to own a cheap 4" reflector and many years go when mars was in aphelion, I could see a lot of detail and I did some sketches of the markings or clouds on the surface. This scope is 5" and I I thought it would be able to capture more light and more detail but maybe seeing conditions play a bigger part than I thought. Anyway, once I get these problems with the scope resolved, I will be a happy man. I still think its a great scope and I have not really given it a good go yet. Thanks again Nick B.Mike here: First, on Mars. You can see some "details". I was out last night looking at Mars with the ETX-125EC and even though it was low in my sky I could make out some surface markings. Granted they were not well defined but there were there. In the past month I've seen Polar Caps and even more detailed markings. Seeing counts for a lot. Also, the Earth-Mars distance is very important. This year Mars is the closest it has been in several years and in 2003 it will be even closer at opposition. I suspect the "many years" ago that you observed Mars with that 4" was one of these closer oppositions. I'm not certain what might be wrong but I would suggest RETRAINING the Autostar as a first step whenever any slewing or GOTO goes funny. You can also adjust the "percentages" (see the Autostar Information page for more on this) to modify how the gear backlash is handled. These may or may not help the problem that may or may not have been caused by your tuneups.
Subject: ETX 125 Focus Problem Sent: Friday, July 13, 2001 21:28:44 From: email@example.com (Andy Papathanassiou) I have an ETX125 that I purchased several months ago. Due to time (lack of) weather and about a thousand other things, I am just starting to play with it now. I took it out tonight and got the viewfinder installed and aligned on a far away light. The light was centered in the view finder and I had a similar "halo" light showing through my 40mm eyepiece in the scope. The problem is, I went to focus the scope and nothing happened. The blurred light in the eyepiece never changed no matter how many turns I gave the focus shaft - like about 15 full turns each way. At an earlier time, I installed the auto-focuser, tonight, while I heard the motor working, it wasn't affecting the focus so, I took it off and turned the gear myself. I saw for a fact the gear was tight on the shaft and the shaft was turning. Still, no change in the focus through the eye piece. Any thoughts? Can I delve into the back of the scope myself or is that a bad idea? I appreciate your advice. - Andy PapaMike here: If the shaft is turning and the primary mirror is not moving (that's how the focusing is accomplished) then the shaft and mirror have become disconnected. The scope is probably still under warranty, depending upon the actual purchase date, so you might want to contact Meade. Alternatively, you can check "Doc Greiner's ETX Info" page (linked from the Telescope Tech Tips page) which has some photos of the rear assembly.
Subject: ETX 125 Slewing and Gear problem Sent: Friday, July 13, 2001 11:08:12 From: CBanke@cnc-inc.com (Christian Banke) I bought my ETX-125 for my first automatic tracking and goto scope. I have been having problems lately with the scope spontaneously slewing when I have automatic slewing "off". I use both the hand controller or the Autostar #497. I also notice that my electronic focuser sometimes works and sometimes it doesn't when plugged into the control panel. Meade tells me they think it is a "HBX port problem (and have issued an RMA). I really don't want to send (and pay for) the warranty work to Irvine, CA. Has anyone else had these problems? Best Regards, Christian M. Banke Senior Business Development Manager CNC Professional Services One East Wacker Drive Suite 2610 Chicago, IL 60601 Http://www.cnc-inc.com/ Tel> 312.836.4410 ext.105 Fax> 312.836.0620Mike here: If the work is really under warranty you won't be paying for it. There was a batch of older ETX-125EC telescopes that had a random slew problem, which required a hardware fix. For some users, later Autostar versions fixed the problem. Have you tried to upgrade to 2.2Er?
Subject: 6.7mm ultra wide Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2001 23:26:48 From: UALATP@COMPUSERVE.COM (Rich) I tried to look at mars tonight with my new 6.7mm but it seemed hard to focus and get a clear view. Is this too powerful for my etx125??? The view with the 26mm and a barlow 2X was sharp but I couldn't see details such as polar caps. What do u think? RichMike here: The 6.7mm is usable with the ETX-125EC. Did you try it on anything except Mars? You didn't indicate where you live but in many locations, Mars is low in the sky, and therefore subject to a lot of atmospheric (ours) distortion.
I'm in Schaumburg,IL NW of O'Hare Airport. Where are You? I figured the image would be bigger too? I'm going out to check it out on a terrestrial object now. The scope guys at Shutan told me about the atmospheric interference also. I love your website. Meade's manuals, well, they just suck! thanks, RichMike here: I'm in Southern California. I suspect you were seeing the atmospheric distortion from Mars being low in the sky at your location.
Subject: Quick Question on the ETX -125 Sent: Saturday, July 7, 2001 18:58:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (vvoice) I am putting together a DC power supply cable to connect a 12 VDC battery to my ETX-125. Have all the connectors and the cabling, but I don't have any information telling me whether the center pin on the ETX is positive or negative. Any idea of which it is, or where I could go to find out? Thanks for your time and appreciate your web page. Joe VoiceMike here: One of these days I must remember to put this on the Site FAQ. But search the site for "polarity" and you'll find the answer.
Subject: ETX-125EC & #1247 Electric Focuser Sent: Thursday, July 5, 2001 05:16:17 From: email@example.com (David Birmingham) Last night (07/04/2001) I decided to observe a little celestial fire works instead of fighting the crowds at the manmade ones. While observing Mars with the 12.4 mm SP eyepiece I decided to drop in the 2x shorty Barlows to see what doubling the mag would do. Of course the focus was out so I shifter the Autostar into focus mode. As I regained focus on Mars I noticed that as I held the In and Out buttons Mars would move from the FOV as if slewing the telescope itself. I did a search on your site for #1247 focuser problems, but did not find anything about what I was experiencing. Has there been any other questions show up on this issue, and if so, were there any solutions? While my 125EC was being Supertuned Dr. Sherrod installed the focuser for me, so I know it is installed and aligned with the shaft gears the best if possibly can be. So much information on the Weasner's Mighty ETX Site and so little time! it's a great site and most helpful. Your time and devotion to it are commendable. Thank You!! DaveAnd:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) Hi Dave - and I am sure that Mike Weasner will also answer promptly and accurately on this. The problem likely is NOT in the focuser assembly; as a matter of fact I checked yours out thoroughly and it was operating very well. What you are seeing is the commonly-reported "Image Shift" that some ETX 125's have a bit more than others; your telescope did exhibit image shift. It is annoying but nothing to worry about; this is merely a mechanical offset that the mirror makes when torque is applied via the focuser; with the electric focuser, the torque is much more rapid and greater than if you were focusing by hand. In time you will get used to it. As you mention, it is MUCH more obvious in higher magnifications than with lower. Rest easy, the electric unit is working just fine and your scope is a gem.....this is one of those little "idiosyncrasies" that we must get used to in amateur astronomy! Clay SherrodMike here: Clay is right. This is image shift; some amount is common with Maksutov-Cassegrain designs. And sorry for my delayed response. As noted on the Site Announcement page, I'm on travel.
Subject: Etx 125 Pier Sent: Monday, July 2, 2001 11:33:49 From: email@example.com (Bernard Fournier) Send you 3 pictures of my new 'observatory' mainly made acording to Clay's pier specifications. Really provides a great comfort and a total lack of vibrations from the ground. The only ones remaining are due to the wind as the Etx forks are really too flimsy. Hope this will help someone to built his own pier it's really worth the job ! Once again thank you for the great work you do maintaining the mighty Etx site. Bernard Fournier 4, Alle Cointet 97310 Kourou firstname.lastname@example.org
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