Last updated: 31 July 2001

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:	r.kevill@curtin.edu.au (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

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!

116E 31S

Subject:	ETX125 Orientation for Polar Mounting
Sent:	Friday, July 27, 2001 23:11:11
From:	r.kevill@bigpond.com.au (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

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
116E 31S
Mike 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

Anyway, thanks for your advice!

Subject:	Re: etx125 problem
Sent:	Tuesday, July 24, 2001 5:48:34
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net
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

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:	sherrodc@ipa.net
To:	jy@lesbeninger.com
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:	jy@lesbeninger.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



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 Beninger
And an update:
Sorry, sorry, sorry ...

It was a RTFM question, sorry to disturb you (I just had to 'calibrate

Best regards

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:	hbeng@smartchat.net.au (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:	andypapa@yahoo.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 Papa
Mike 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
Tel> 312.836.4410 ext.105
Fax> 312.836.0620
Mike 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
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?

Mike 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!

Mike 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:	vvoice@email.msn.com (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 Voice
Mike 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:	d.birmingham@worldnet.att.net (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!!

From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (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 Sherrod
Mike 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:	bernard.fournier12@wanadoo.fr (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

pier pier pier

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