Last updated: 31 July 2001

This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX and DS models. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	Portable Power
Sent:	Tuesday, July 31, 2001 14:47:15
From:	richcobb@compuserve.com (Rich Cobb)
Hi Mike,

I really appreciate all the work youÕve put in to the site. It was a big
factor in my decision to purchase an ETX-125. I want to share a tip
about a great find I just picked up. ItÕs called a Portable Power
Station, sold at Radio Shack (# 61-2801), that is capable of providing
many different voltages including the 12v that the scope needs.

The unit contains a very hefty battery and comes with itÕs own charger
brick. The unit supplies 10 amps, so it has the oomph to go all night,
even with accessories. IÕve attached a couple of photos so you can see
it. I simply hang the unit from the tripod on the strap that comes with
it. As an added bonus the extra weight helps keep the tripod anchored
firmly. (Not that the Meade 887 tripod needs more weight!)

The only thing youÕll need to add is the cigarette lighter cable to the
scope. I made one from some stuff I had, but you can get a cord a Radio
Shack as well. ThereÕs a handy storage cubby in the back that holds the
cords when theyÕre not connected to anything. The recharging brick wonÕt
fit inside though, so you have to keep that somewhere else. The area in
red on the front of the box is actually covered by a small sliding door
that comes up from the bottom covering both 12v sockets. The lights on
the left side just to the right of the master power switch indicate when
the battery is getting low and also show the charging status.

I am a neophyte in the astronomy department, but this box is the right
thing at the right price. If you need portable power, I recommend taking
a look. HereÕs the best part: TheyÕre only $39.99.

Thanks again for the Mighty ETX site. Clear skies and keep up the great
Rich Cobb

Power Supply Power Supply

Subject:	Great bargains at Meade
Sent:	Tuesday, July 31, 2001 14:15:36
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Anyone with aperture fever can pick up quite a bargain on the wonderful
LX 200 12" scope....marked DOWN from $3,995 to $2,995.  That's right!  A
$1,000 drop in price AND the complete set of Super Plossl 4000 series is
still FREE with the order....that is a $1,700 savings on the 12"

They are overstocked right now on the 12" and attempting to circumvent
some of the huge demand and backlog on the LX 200 10" scope.  Really
muscular and fit people are the true winners on this deal.

Not as portable as the ETX, but a really hard deal to pass up!

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	LX-90
Sent:	Tuesday, July 31, 2001 13:51:04
From:	DHOWARD@express-scripts.com (Howard, Dan (STL))
Great site!!
I've spent the last two days at work reading everything you've done
(luckily my boss has a Nexstar 8!) and I'm wondering if you're aware of
any LX-90 sites. I know a lot of the information is similar, but there
are a few differences.
Thanks again for a cool site.
Dan Howard
Mike here: I'm not tracking LX90 stuff too closely (yet). There is one LX90 mention on the Astronomy Links page (for the Meade LX90 Discussion Group).

Subject:	SF telescope store
Sent:	Tuesday, July 31, 2001 12:11:40
From:	cbdane@pacbell.net (C. B. Dane)
To:	alain_bodivit@hotmail.com
There is an excellent telescope and accessory supply in Livermore, CA,
about 30-40 miles east of San Francisco.  You may have heard of Lumicon
from their full page ads in Sky and Telescope.  They seem to be well
known for their filters (UHC, nebula, OIII, etc.) and astrophotography
supplies.  Very helpful staff, good selection, open till 7p.m. on
weekdays.  I highly recommend.

I hope that this is helpful,


C. Brent Dane

Brent's R/C Electronics Page

Subject:	ETX 90/MA FOR $225 @ telescopes.net
Sent:	Tuesday, July 31, 2001 10:10:13
From:	Dice00@aol.com
Just wanted to let you know that I enjoy your site and I just purchased
my first ETX. The ETX 90/MA is on special for $225 at www.telescopes.net
- Woodland Hills Camera and Telescopes. This is the best deal I could
find anywhere for a new unit! And they do not inflate shipping, it is
only $10. Pass it on to others!

Stephan Getz

Subject:	Re: Warning for Electric Focuser Installations
Sent:	Tuesday, July 31, 2001 7:51:35
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Nuwan
When attaining home position as you quoted, merely get the fork arm over
the control panel as close as you can....just center by eye and that is
close enough.  Your two-star alignment will take care of the rest if
there is a mistake or error in this.

You are okay on the focuser; you would know it, as the rod would slip
down inside the tube.  That is the problem I am trying to warn against. 
As long as the rod is not turned clockwise all the way (still threaded
into the back cell) you are fine!

Thanks for writing.

Clay Sherrod
    -----Original Message-----
    From: Nuwan
    Thanks for the alert. I have already fixed the meade focusor but do
    not whether I have caused any damage you mention. After that I have
    used it several times without a problem. How do I know whether I
    have cause a damage to the scope. Is it visible ? What are the
    symptoms that indicate a problem ?

    Also if you have time I have another question for you since I
    followed your allignment instructions. When taking the scope to the
    home position first we have to "unclamp the azimuth and rotate the
    telescope COUNTERCLOCKWISE all the way to the hard stop, and back
    CLOCKWISE until its fork arm with declination circle is OVER the
    control panel". But the fork arm is wider thatn control panel. And
    even a few degrees can make a huge difference. So do we have to kind
    of center control panel or align one corner ? .

    I am totaly new to this field so these questions may sound stupid.
    But I am trying to get this GO TO work. I got it find the moon
    following the procedure( moon came very close to the center in the
    finder scope). But it may not count that much since it is a huge
    object compared to other faint/tiny objects.

    I might send my scope to for your supercharge service. But before
    that I want to do some more experimenting with this go to function.

    Thanks in advance for your time answering my questions,
    - Nuwan
Mike here: I try to get the center of the DEC (altitude) axis knob protrusion on the fork arm directly above the jack for the AC Adapter. Since I always use the adapter the plug provides a convenient target.

Subject:	a question
Sent:	Monday, July 30, 2001 12:11:47
From:	bmegrey@home.com (Bern Megrey)
I have an ETX90EC and want to control it using a laptop and PC-based
astronomy software such as SkyMap or DeepSky2000. The question is can
somebody tell me how to build a cable to connect the computer's serial
port to the AUX jack on the scope.

Replies most appreciated.


Bern Megrey
Mike here: You have to have an Autostar #497 and communicate from the computer to the Autostar to control the ETX EC models. So you need (or build) the #505 cable. See the Autostar Information page for info on building this cable.

Subject:	ETX-90EC Focus Shaft
Sent:	Monday, July 30, 2001 6:39:23
From:	chrisl@firstlogic.com (Chris Lien)
Before I begin, please allow me that thank both of you; Mike for hosting
such a fantastic site and Clay for sharing his vast knowledge and
experience with us novice astronomers.

Your recent warning about the electric focuser could not have been
better timed. I have had my ETX for about a year and a half and have
used the Meade electric focuser from the beginning. My recent problems
are that the focus shaft seems to be increasingly harder to move for the
focus motor. In fact, I actually experienced some slippage of the brass
gear on the shaft. I carefully followed your instructions and the focus
seems to be working again. However, the motors still seemed to be
greatly strained, especially when I am "focusing in" using the up-arrow.
I am concerned that the brass gears may strip.

Is it possible that the shaft needs a little lubrication on the threads?
I sincerely doubt that I bent the shaft sometime during the past year
and a half. Any suggestions?

Christopher Lien
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
The resistence that you are feeling in the focus rod is common and
should not cause worry.  They simply operate that way.  I would make
sure that the large brass focus gear is very snug and does not slip but
be sure and do not overtighten for fear of stripping out the little set
screw.  I would NOT recommend putting any lubricant in the rear cell of
the scope; most of that should be done from the inside.  If it gets very
bad, you can try to take of the electric focuser keeping the gear on,
rotate clockwise until you feel the end resistance (careful!) and then
apply a small amount of lithium grease at the very front (at the opening
in the rear cell) and then turning counterclockwise pretty far....do
that over and over to distribute the grease.

Glad you found the article!  It is very important, indeed!

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	Re: Optical Specks
Sent:	Sunday, July 29, 2001 19:10:37
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Rodolfo
Those "specks" you describe have caused you a great deal of
consternation for nothing!  They are merely internal reflections within
the tube (likely light from daylight observing shining off of some of
the grease on the main baffled tube left behind from the primary mirror
cell as it "slides" in and out of focus....this reflected light in turn
is then reflected once again off the flat black....yes it reflects,
too!....walls of the inside of the tube and onto the primary mirror.

You will often see these in photographs of celestial objects (Venus and
the moon) that are taken in daylight.

Your optics are fine....this is something to be expected when observing
in very bright conditions.

Nice to hear from you....keep in touch with all of us at the ETX site!

Clay Sherrod
    -----Original Message-----
    From: Rodolfo
    Glad to say hello to you again.  Hope you can help me with this one.
    Yesterday I was doing some daylight observing with my ETX 125 and
    noticed two "optical translucid specks" (one near the center and the
    other one at two o'clock) while viewing at powers greater than 200X.
    Increasing the power makes them more evident.

    To a fellow like me, such views aren't very pleasant.  I first
    thought about a dirty eyepiece, but after rotating it the
    "translucid spots" were in the same position; changed to other
    eyepieces and barlow combinations and the same thing.  I then looked
    at the corrector lens and removed some dust in it by gently
    "buffing" with a cotton.  The corrector looked very clean, with no
    flaws or defects at all (at least visually), but after using a
    flashlight, I noticed a zone in the primary mirror with some

    Do you know the nature of this "translucid spots"?  By the way, I
    let the scope more than two hours at shadow for temperature
    equilibrium, since it was a very hot day at 38 C).

    Thanks in advance!

Subject:	$20.00 AUTOSTAR
Sent:	Sunday, July 29, 2001 18:17:46
From:	dschmitz@onramp.net (Dan Schmitz)
Stumbled across a great opportunity to aquire that autostar or  pick up
a spare just in case.  K-B Toys has bought out E-Toys and is dumping
their stock of Meade accesories.  #497 Autostars for $20.00,  Deluxe
Tripod for $60.00.  This only affects the K-B Outlet stores. My store in
Arlington TX had about 20 autostars an a handfull of tripods.  Now when
I hose up my Autostar with the latest code download I'll have a spare.

Subject:	astrophotography
Sent:	Sunday, July 29, 2001 13:11:07
From:	jonlouch@yahoo.ca (Jon Louch)
I just purchased my first telescope, a ETX90 astroscope. I am interested
in doing photography of Saturn and Jupiter. Do you know of any software
that could give me suggestions on exposure times. I am going to try 35mm
and digital photography.


Jon Louch
Mike here: There is an "Exposure Time Spreadsheet" Microsoft Excel file available through the link to the "Guest Contributions Archive 1997" on the Telescope Tech Tips page. I also suggest reading "Getting Started in Astrophotography" on the Observational Guides/References page. Plus there is some useful info on the "Gallery - Basics" page under My Astrophotography Gallery.

Subject:	great Venus occultation shots, Mike!
Sent:	Sunday, July 29, 2001 2:47:25
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Just now have had a chance to sit down and load up the great "movie" of
the recent occultation of Venus in daylight!  Super job and great
description.  I was most impressed with the consistency of frames
throughout the sequence and the great continuity it exhibited.  Some of
the best I have seen.

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	Motor failure error in ETX and Meade support..
Sent:	Saturday, July 28, 2001 15:14:38
From:	sonak2@otenet.gr (Anestis Anestis)
Congratulations for your work. I'm from Athens, Greece and I own an
ETX-125EC scope since April. Although I really enjoyed the optical
quality the electromechanical performance was rather poor. A month later
I bought the Autostar. Everything was ok eccept the fact the in the
Alt-Az mode I had a "Motor Failure Error".

I decided to sent my scope to Meads's support in Germany, as I was still
under warranty, informing them about the error. This is the message I
sent to them:

   Although often resets, calibration and training where done, the scope
   used with an Autostar, full batteries and without any extra weight
   generates a "Motor Failure Error", usually after 30 minutes of
   tracking. After that the error comes up very often and a new
   reseting, calibration and training is required making observing
   rather difficult. The error does not seem to appear in Polar mode.
   Also the scope has been tested with two other Autostar handbox sets
   and with two different versions of Autostar software (2.0 and 2.2),
   however the same behavior appears.

   It seems quite sure that the problem generates from the DEC/Altitude
   drive system and the "slop" and looseness in that axis. It is even
   possible to send a command for upwards moving and have the optical
   tube "fall" down for one degree before reversing to the upwards
   direction. Probably this generates failure readouts in the Autostar,
   so it seems that some fixing needs to be done on that axis..

When the scope was returned after one month the report of Meade support
was that no error was found after six hours of testing. But the scope
still had the same problem. Could they have tested it using an external
power source, that I don't own? I started thinking that the problem may
have to do with battery power... I think that they really consider
quality of service as not important at all and I will now have even to
pay for the shipping costs!!!

Anyway what you think is the cause of this persistent error which
doesn't allow me to use the scope in Alt-Az mode?

But worst of all, the scope has been returned in a worst condition than
it was send. First of all it was returned with the Declination lock
tight in the lock position!! People in Meade service seem to be in a
harry packaging and returning the scopes back after tests which do not
recreate user reported errors... Meade's QA process at it's best!!

But worst of all it was returned with the well known shifting problem in
the focus system. Helding the In and Out buttons of my Meade electric
focuser everything moves out from the field of view even with the 26mm
eyepiece! It really now has no meaning centering the finderscope!! Each
time you focus you have to move the scope continiously!!! But what
worries me is the fact that I didn't had at all this problem before
sending the scope for repair. Everything was working fine. I had a
perfectly aligned finderscope and whatever eyepiece I was using and
whatever effort was making to focus everything was there.. in the
center. Now it's all gone.... Also I had concentic rings for out of
focus star images which now appear offset. And even the focused images
appear to have coma in the same direction. No more dot like star images.
Again a difference between before and after...

What can I do to fix this new problem and what would you consider as
appropriate action against the people in Meade service? Should I send it
back again to Meade service? Whome should I contact?

Thanks for your help and your effort maintaining this site.


Anestis Anestis
Athens, Greece
Mike here: Sorry you've had a problem, both with the telescope and the repair. Off the top of my head I don't know why the problem would appear in Alt/Az and not in Polar mode. Of course, in Alt/Az two drives are running essentially simultaneously to move the scope in Right Ascension whereas only one drive is running in Polar mode. So, perhaps the batteries were the problem. As to the image shifting, did you send it back with the two foam inserts inplace between the base and rear of the ETX? Did it come back with the inserts inplace? Regardless, you should either talk to your dealer or Meade and get the image shifting repaired. It sounds like some optical misalignment occurred during shipping.

Subject:	Meade ETX with T-adapter and basic camera adapter
Sent:	Friday, July 27, 2001 15:41:39
From:	danielii65@yahoo.com (D T)
I have recently got into astronomy and I have a Meade ETX 90-EC.  I am
particularly interested in astrophotography.  I am a pretty good amateur
photographer and I am now attempting astrophotography ( a totally
different animal).  I was reading your chapter in "Astronomy With Small
Telescopes" and I came accross something that I think may interest you
(you may already know this).  You discuss using the Basic Camera Adapter
with the 26mm and 9.7mm eyepieces. You talk about how the Basic Camera
Adapter is too short to accomdate the 26mm eyepiece.  What I found
works, if you want to use the 26mm eyepiece for eyepiece projection
photography is attaching the longer half of the T-Adapter to the Basic
Camera Adapter and voila, you now have a longer Basic Camera Adapter,
capable of handling the larger (longer) eyepieces.  You can even use  it
with the 2x or 3X  Barlow lens attached to the eyepiece holder and the
Basic Cameral Adapter/T-Adapter attached to the Barlow lens.  This setup
including the camera body is kind of heavy, esp. with the Barlow lens
and requires the horizontal and vertical locks to be cinched as tight as
possible without breaking them.

FYI, I have a Canon EOS Elan II camera, and I understand that Canon just
came out with the same version of this camera in digital format.  This
will allow one to use the T-mount, T-Adapter and Basic Camera Adapter
with this new digital camera for eyepiece projection photography.  The
only problem is that right now this camera is $3000.00.  The people at
the local camera shop expect it to be less than $2000.00 by Christmas. 
Let me know what you think.

Dan Tonto

P.S. Great Website

Subject:	Question on my 1st telescope etx 125 from Nick T.
Sent:	Friday, July 27, 2001 14:56:19
From:	ClaytonjandL@aol.com
I just bought my 1st real telescope the etx 125, and Im just now getting
familiar with it and astronomy. My questions are as follows. I find it
hard to focus due to vibration while turning the focus knob what should
I do or what can I do to fix this. I understand Meade has an electronic
focuser does that work for this problem, and is it easy to install. ( I
have the #883 Deluxe Tripod )

My next question is about eyepieces I have 3 a sp 26mm, sp9.7mm, and a
#126 2x Barlow lens. Right now with the 26mm I look at Mars and its
fairly crisp and bright and I see some orangey-red color  but no real
detail. With the 9.7mm the planet is larger and brighter but fuzzy with
less color (  the larger the planet is the harder to focus for detail
due to the above mention problem ).

All said Im enjoying my etx 125 very much Im seeing things Ive never
seen before,I am 36 and feel I should have started studing a long time

Yours Truly Nick T. 
Concord, California  USA
Mike here: Right now Mars is experiencing a planet-wide dust storm. So no details will be visible unfortunately. Earlier this Summer before the storm got so widespread, Mars was very nice. As to vibrations from focusing, yes, this can be an annoyance. The Meade electronic focuser helps a lot. Also a flexible cable attached to the focus shaft helps; Scopetronix sells a nice one (see the review on the Accessories - Miscellaneous page) or you can make your own (see focus mods on the Telescope Tech Tips page). Also, many users simply use an "alligator-style" clothes pin and clip it to the focus knob. This can make focusing smoother and more precise.

Subject:	40 mm and filter for Autostar 125
Sent:	Friday, July 27, 2001 9:45:10
From:	alain_bodivit@hotmail.com (Alain BODIVIT)
Congratulation for your web site your are a world wide reference for

I had previosly problems with Autostar. No problem occured since I have
upgraded the software release. Thank you

Now I d like to improve my scope with an 40 mm eyepiece  for deep sky
does the difference require this investment ? I would like to add an
OIII filter what do you think about.

I'm French and I will spend my Hollidays in California on September is
there a possibility to meet californians user of ETX ? I'm expecting to
spend a night in death valley for observation is it a good site ?

Good sky

Mike here: Glad to hear the new Autostar version solved any problems you were having. As to a 40mm eyepiece, I use mine a lot and enjoy the views. As to the OIII filter, there's a review of one on the Accessories - Filters page. If you'll be in California 14-15 September, maybe you can make it to the Mighty ETX Star Party!


Thank you for your reply , infortunatly I'll leave San Fransisco on 12
September an will not be able to participate to the mighty ETX party I
have read articles about filter on your web site . I would like to seize
the opportunity of my sojourn in California to buy a portfolio of
eyepieces and filter I think they would be cheaper. Is there additional
taxes to add on the prices displayed on your site in California? do you
know a retailer in LA or San Francisco  to recommand ? Is there
something to visit for amator of astronomy (Wilson mont or Palomar
observatory exepted).
Mike here: Sorry you'll miss the Star Party. There is an 8+% sales tax on purchases in California. I don't know of any dealers in the SF Bay area but you might check Meade and Celestron's site for their dealers. Lick Observatory is near San Jose, which is southeast of San Francisco. I don't know if they have public tours.

Subject:	Right Angle View Finders Require Additional Caution
Sent:	Friday, July 27, 2001 9:33:30
From:	beruberu@freesurf.ch (Philippe HAAKE)
Just to prevent this problem.... Just put an old kodak film's box on
it.... Make one or two small holes in... just to make easier to remove

That's it!!!!

Greetings from Switzerland....

Best Greetings From SWITZERLAND
ICQ 3128404

Subject:	dust covers for ETX's
Sent:	Thursday, July 26, 2001 23:04:42
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	armtech@ix.netcom.com
It's possible a piece of Saran Wrap (or similar) stretched over the
front lens wouldn't disturb the image enough to be noticed in a
brightly-lit environment.  It's certainly cheap to try.

Other spots to cover, however, include the front of the
tripod-screw-holder box on the underside of the scope.. and the second
(unused) tripod screw hole.

Both of those are light-leaks during Solar observing, so they'd let dust
in, too... and dust -inside- the scope is MUCH more of a problem than
dust on the outside.


Mike here: Don't forget to sign up for the "Mighty ETX Star Party" in September. Visit the "Mighty ETX Star Party" page to learn more about it.

Subject:	Newly purchased instrument
Sent:	Thursday, July 26, 2001 18:08:02
From:	jy@lesbeninger.com (Jean-Yves Beninger)
I thought you would be interested to know Meade's answer to the
situation I have described earlier :

Reply from:
Meade Instruments Corporation
6001 Oak Canyon, Irvine, Ca. 92618-5200
(949) 451-1450  Fax (949) 451-1560  www.meade.com

First, I am concerned over what prompted this customer to open his
telescope in the first place.  As you know, this effectively voids his

To address his specific concerns, this telescope was new as expected. 
The foam tape on the declination motor gearbox is for vibration
reduction and is factory installed.  As for the cracked polar bulkhead,
that is a very unusual type of damage, not one we have experienced in
the past.

I will have to assume that it is a defect in the casting.  Because of
that, we will repair the unit under warranty.  However, it is important
to advise the customer that opening the telescope to perform
modifications voids his factory warranty.

We can set up an RGA for the repair, but will need a copy of the
customers proof of purchase in order to do so.


Export Administrator

Best regards to all,
Mike here: It is worth reiterating the opening the telescope or the base (except for the battery compartment) will likely invalidate any warranty.

Subject:	Help!
Sent:	Thursday, July 26, 2001 12:26:10
From:	starkat@mindspring.com (starkat)
I have a big problem that has plagued me for weeks.  I have an ETX-90EC
that recently developed an inability to focus correctly.  When I tested
it out in bright daylight, I get a double image horizontally, blurred
image where I assume perfect focus would be, and if I keep adjusting it,
I get a double image vertically.

I was referred to you by a friend who said that you could point me in
the right direction.

I'm pretty comfortable with my telescope and would have no problem
taking it apart (I've never done it yet), which should be a good thing
since I'm currently broke and my warranty has expired anyways.

If you can help me, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Thanks a lot,
Justin Rossetti
Mike here: Have you tried a different eyepiece? If the problem occurs with more than one eyepiece, take a look at the secondary mirror which is mounted on the inside of the corrector lens on the end of the ETX tube. Does it appear centered? If not, call Meade for a repair. If it seems OK then move the flip mirror to use the rear port. Remove the port cover and hold an eyepiece up to it, moving it in and out until you reach a focus. Does the same double image appear? If not, then the problem is with the flip mirror. Call Meade. If neither of these, you will probably want to call Meade anyway. Most optical problems can not be easily corrected without a proper optical bench.

Subject:	 finder mount
Sent:	Thursday, July 26, 2001 7:24:24
From:	afrisina@yahoo.com (Tony Frisina)
Hi.. do you know if the finder scope mount on the etx90 can be removed ?
I have been using the daisy red dot with good results and would like to
mount it in place of the standard scope.I currently mount it with sticky
tape and rubber bands.  Any help is appreciated
Mike here: Got a hacksaw? But seriously, I've not tried to remove it and don't know whether there is something on the inside of the Optical Tube Assembly (OTA) that needs to be removed.

Subject:	Re: ETX 125
Sent:	Wednesday, July 25, 2001 17:41:03
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net
To:	Stephen
The image shifting that you are seeing is perceived and not actually
"real" in the respect that the image is indeed moving.  I believe that
what you may have is what I call "axial lateral astigmatism" whereby the
out-of-focus star images (donut) appears slightly offset, when in
reality the collimation is perfect when the image is in perfect focus.

I have seen this in many Meade and Questar Maksutovs at which the
collimation was done perfectly with the image in sharp focus, rather
than out-of-focus. Such an astigmatism will result in what appears to be
an actual image shift optically as you have described.  I have a
standard test for that, but rest assured it may not be a problem.  When
the air is very steady, tune in a bright (2nd mag., not any brighter)
star and put it into sharp focus when the star is nearly overhead.  Look
at it with relatively high magnification (at least 200x)and examine the
two faint Airy rings surrounding the tiny disk of the star image.  Both
rings should be perfectly concentric and NOT touching nor approaching
one-another at any point around their perimeters.  If they are not, then
your collimation is perfect, even if the out-of-focus image appears

Curiously in both the Meade and Questar scopes nearly all offsets of the
donut when out-of-focus is at about the 5:00 position, just as you
describe!!  Coincidence?  No, it is offset toward the right-handed user
oriented position of the focus knobs in these scopes!

This has come to my attention now about seven times during the last
three months, so I am copying Mike Weasner on this.  It well can be one
of those idiosyncrasies that worry ETX (and Questar) users out there
that really is NOT a problem at all!

thanks again and give that scope a good steady-night workout!

Clay Sherrod

Stephen wrote:
> A few quick questions for you- I recently upgraded to a 125 from a 90.
> My 125 is great, however, it may be a little out of collimation. The
> obstruction shadow appears to be a little low and to the right, around
> the 5 oclock position, though the seeing here in maine has been bad
> lately. It it is slightly out a little, how degraded will images be?
> Also, when ever the scope movesup and down, the image shifts a little to
> little to right, making me think that the torque being only on one ar is
> slightly moving the OTA to the left when going up and right when vice
> versa. Have you ever heard or seen of this? Thanks for any advice you
> can give me-
> Cheers,
> Stephen

Subject:	ETX magnification
Sent:	Wednesday, July 25, 2001 15:40:14
From:	tonienl@yahoo.com (tonie koop)
First of all i want to say that you're site is fantastic and contains a
lot of info for all the ETX users worldwide.Personally i'm not a ETX
owner but i'm planning to buy a ETX-90 or ETX-125 in the near future.So
i would like to ask a few questions and hope you can answer them.

1 Is the ETX-125 portable enough for mountain trips.
2 is there a focal reducer for these scopes
3 Is there a cool down time nessesary for the ETX 125 or 90 if the
temparature change is about 3 to about 5 degrees celsius,or in other
words  can they be used as a quick look telescopes at daytime on a
mountain trip
4 is in you,re opinion these set of eyepieces good for either of the

Meade 4000 Super Wide 13.8 
Meade 4000 Super Plossl 9.7
Meade 4000 Super Plossl 40    
#126 2x Barlow Lens

5 can the #140 2x Apochromatic Barlow Lens be used with the ETX
6 what is the minimum magnification for the ETX 90 and 125 with too low
magnifications a dark spot appears in the center of the eyepiece as far
as i know.

I wish you all the best in the future 

tonie from Bulgaria
Mike here: I wouldn't want to carry the ETX-125EC hiking. But if you are traveling by vehicle, it could be done. There is a focal reducer (see the "Shutan Wide-Field Adapter" on the Accessories - Showcase page). The greater the temperature differential, the greater the cool down time for best performance. However, both models can be used for quick looks with no cool down time; I do it all the time. Those eyepieces should all be OK. Check the Accessories - Eyepieces page for more choices. Either Barlow will work although the #126 is the recommended one. There is a minimum magnification but I've not tried to determine it. When I have used the Scopetronix 40mm with the focal reducer on the ETX-90 I get a hint of the central spot. But by itself, 40mm is OK.

Subject:	Where is the Positive
Sent:	Wednesday, July 25, 2001 14:58:09
From:	Esandman@home.com (Esandman)
I cant seam to find anything out there that tells me if the in side or
outside of the plug that fits in my ETX 70AT is + Positive.

I have the older black tube model that requires 12 volts and I have a
gel cell 12 volt battery that I want to use so I'm going to have to make
a cord but I'm not plugging it in till I know the polarity is right..

Please help

Mike here: I used to tell people to search the Site for "polarity" but the question was asked so often that I put it on the Site FAQ. Check there.

Subject:	Clear objective lens filteror cap?
Sent:	Wednesday, July 25, 2001 13:05:28
From:	armtech@ix.netcom.com (T. Bowman)
I just purchased an ETX-90 spotting scope to use at the target range.
It's a very nice scope, I've been playing with it both at home and the
office.  My concern is about dust/debris collecting on the objective
lens.  The rifle range is a dry, dusty environment.  Is there a clear
filter or lens cap I can use to protect the lens?  One retailer
suggested a dew protector to extend the tube farther away from the lens.
This sounds like a good idea but I'd be more comforable with a glass
lenscap or somesuch that could be removed and cleaned, and just plain
removed when using the scope in a less harsh environment.  Any ideas?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

T. Bowman
Mike here: I don't recall seeing any such full-aperture item, similar to a UV or Haze filter that can be put on a camera lens to protect the lens. Not a bad idea though, especially when the ETX is used as a spotting scope. Certainly a dew shield like device will narrow the cone of possible impacts but won't eliminate it entirely. But then you come to the cost of an optically flat piece of glass that you could place in front of the objective. That would be fairly expensive I would think. So, in a risk versus cost analysis, the dew shield would probably be OK for all except extremely dusty environments.

Subject:	Star Parties
Sent:	Wednesday, July 25, 2001 0:09:27
From:	KingLear3@aol.com
FYI, Just some notes on other parties.

My wife and I just got back from the 20th annual Table Mt. Star Party in
the state of Washington. This party was our very first major one. 
Friday noon, there was over 750 people at the party, with another 600
anticipated.  People were very friendly, but the night time weather was
varied from cloudy, occasional rain, to clear and cold.

Overall we had a good time, but the event seemed a bit disorganized,
only one commercial vendor and a couple of craftsmen showed up.  The
topics of discussion were not very interesting, too advanced or too
informal.  No advanced schedule of activities was provided.  The
activities were written on a chalk board the day the party began. 
Because of the weather and our long drive back to Calif., we ended up
leaving early.  For more info, their web site is www.tmspa.com

The 14th Oregon Star Party will be held on August 16-19.  Their
announcement and schedule of events indicates that they are very well
organized.  They even plan to truck in showers for the campers ($5).  
Their web site is:  www.oregonstarparty.org

My wife and I are checking our schedule to see if we can fit your party
into our schedule.  Your web site is great, but being with other EXT 125
users will accelerate our ability to learn.  We are especially
interested in discussions concerning begining and advanced observation
techniques, choosing filters and lens, and modifications to the scope or
tripod.  I know that a lot to ask.

Thanks for all of your hard work.

Leary Wong
Mike here: I'm sure parts of our Star Party will be somewhat disorganized. This is the first one. Fortunately, my wife and I have extensive convention experience (attendance and assisting) so we know the problems that can occur and we'll try to avoid as many of those that we can. But even so, there will be things done on a small scale that will be improved as the Mighty ETX Star Party grows in popularity.

Subject:	Right Angle View Finders Require Additional Caution
Sent:	Tuesday, July 24, 2001 21:26:47
From:	jgeretz@FPSNow.com (Joseph Geretz)
First of all, thanks for your excellent site. I hope this is the correct
venue for submitting this tip.

I'd like to warn newcomers to the field (as I am myself) to the special
danger presented by right-angle view finders. Previously, I have been
using a straight view finder. It was relatively easy to take precautions
while adjusting it during the day, since as long as the scope was kept
at a relatively low angle of declination (I think that's the correct
term?) there would be no danger of spotting the Sun through it while the
Sun is high in the sky.

Recently I installed a new right angle view finder. As I bent down in
front of the view finder to perform an adjustment, I was extremely
alarmed to find myself looking at the Sun, the wrong way through the
view finder. (Shot myself in the face, so to speak.) I quickly glanced
away, but as we all know even a quick glance can be harmful.

Fortunately, after a thorough examination, my opthalmologist assures me
that no harm was done. However, clearly this incident could have had a
harmful effect. Although this precaution is probably second nature to
those who are proficient with this equipment, I feel that this would be
a valuable advisory to relative newcomers.

Please pass this along to your readers if you feel that this advice is

Thanks again for all your efforts.


Joseph Geretz

Subject:	Re: ETX-90/EC Question
Sent:	Tuesday, July 24, 2001 16:05:45
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net
To:	Kevin
Every ETX sounds differently! That is because pretty much each one is
different inside due to a lot of changing and "experimenting" by Meade. 
If your scope is hitting the GO TO's like you describe I would be proud
of the noise it makes!  (in Arkansas we say "..if it ain't broke don't
fix it!")

Really, there is nothing that can eliminate the noise of the ETX slews
nor tracking; it is a combined sound from resonance of the many little
nylon gears and the small motor itself within the hollow base and fork
arm that creates a sometimes annoying drone.

I must say, however, that there are multitudes of ETX users out there
that would gladly trade their poorly performing GO TO's for the noise
and accuracy of your scope!

Regarding the tube assembly polishing...by FAR, what you want to use is
some TURTLE WAX soft car wax (the green kind) that is made for BLUE
cars.  Only use the soft liquid kind that is made for "new car
finishes."  It not only shines it up like a million bucks, but also
shuns fingerprints and stains.  Do not get this wax on the black
portions of the tube or mounting however!

Good luck and enjoy that noisy scope!

Clay Sherrod

Kevin wrote:
Hi Clay,

Just a quick question regarding the operation of the ETX gear
mechanisms. I know a few people who own ETX-90/EC's and I can easily
tell that when the scopes are slewing, some emit a VERY quiet and
pleasant "whirring" sound, while others (like mine) sound more like a
can opener, even when using the same power source as the quiet one.

My experiences with the accuracy of the GoTo's and tracking have been
excellent, due to high-power training on Polaris, but hey, that darn
noise still bothers me. What is likely the cause of it? Is there
anything I can do (or something that you do as part of the Supercharge
service) that will eliminate or at least reduce the noise problem?

Also, what is the best stuff I can use to shine up the OTA (I know
Armor-All is good for the black plastic casing)?


Mike here: Well, you could get one of the portable observatories, like the one I review on the Showcase Products page. It can reduce the sound level that the neighbors will hear! Don't get any wax on the optics either!

Subject:	re: LX-90 or ETX-??
Sent:	Monday, July 23, 2001 21:31:39
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	dstroh@ehsd.co.contra-costa.ca.us
I have an ETX90, (the 3.25" scope), and the LX-90 is the 8" Meade GoTo.
I recommend you visit and read postings on 
for user-to-user traffic specifically related to the LX90.

I haven't used one, I have the ETX90.  I have used C-8's in the past.

In my opinion, if you're used to an 8" scope, and that's the imaging
 you're after,  the ETX90 and ETX125 will feel frustratingly 
under-powered.  I was impressed by how much perceptibly more image
power the el-cheapo Meade 4504 (114mm Newtonian) delivered compared
to my ETX90.  But for my purposes, the ETX90 would still be my choice
if i were buying it again (with the same agonizing between it and the
 ETX125... portability or aperture?).

From all reports the LX-90 can be very, very, good optically.
The GoTo suffers some mild idiosyncracies, but can also deliver
stunningly good results once you're comfortable with it. (and you'd
face the same issues with any of the Autostar scopes... the LX90 -does-
seem to -really- deliver fantastic performance once tuned.).

enjoy choosing..

Subject:	Viewing Mars
Sent:	Monday, July 23, 2001 17:23:08
From:	pakuranga@cpi.net.nz (CPI Pakuranga)
Received my ETX90EC the other day and have been fortunate to have had
some clear nights for my debut into amatuer astronomy. Haven't yet
received the Autostar which is on its way along with a couple of other
eyepieces. Will post some comments when I'm fully operational. Mars is
brilliant in the sky at the moment, directly overhead and quite large
with the standard 26mm and 2 x barlow. However, its just a bright white
ball.  What should I be looking at doing and/or purchasing to start
seeing some colour/definition if that's possible.

David Hrstich
Mike here: See the "Observing Planets - Mars" on the Observational Guides/References page. Also, see the Accessories - Filters page.

Subject:	ETX-125EC & Supercharge service
Sent:	Monday, July 23, 2001 8:07:32
From:	110641.1527@compuserve.com (Bob Thompson)
The postings from people who have used Clay Sherrod's Supercharge
service are starting to sound a lot alike.  And here's one more.  Yes,
the ETX-125 that he returned to me is optically perfect & centers the
desired object every time - but you already know that.  Everyone who
uses his service gets this result.  The only thing different about my
experience with Dr. Sherrod is that my scope wasn't just sloppy or
inaccurate, it was particularly screwed-up, mechanically & optically. 
It was a disaster and no help was available from Meade.

Clay Sherrod analyzed the scope, discussed the problems with Meade, and
arranged for the proper repairs.   He made the problems his own and
stuck with it until the scope was repaired by Meade and those repairs
verified by him.  After finishing the job he drove the scope to Little
Rock to make sure that it was returned to me in a minimal amount of
time.  He put a lot of work into cleaning-up after Meade.

Even for a novice like myself, the mechanical problems were easy to
understand and it was obvious that the scope needed work.  What's a
little unsettling is that with the first two ETXs I was content with the
focal clarity that I was seeing - I didn't know any better.  This scope
is perfect and I now know what I was missing.  I wonder how many other
ETX owners think that they have good scopes when they don't?

I've sent a letter to Meade describing my experiences with their
products - a copy follows.

Meade Instruments Corporation
6001 Oak Canyon
Irvine, CA  92618

Dear Sirs,

Last year I decided to learn more about the sky above by doing some
reading, purchasing a telescope, and enjoying the hobby of amateur
astronomy.  From articles in astronomy magazines and internet sources, 
I reached the conclusion that Meade was probably the best manufacturer
and the ETX-125EC the best scope for my circumstances and abilities.

I purchased the scope & several accessories 12/18/00 from The Store of
Knowledge in Lawrenceville, NJ.  That was a good thing, since that scope
had several problems, the most annoying of which was excessive azimuth
gear lash.  The seller has a "return for any reason" policy so in late
December I exchanged the first scope for a new one.  The second scope
seemed at first to be perfect, but after a few weeks of operation it
developed a progressively worse "image shift," though the focus seemed
to be perfect. After several conversations with your customer support
reps, one suggested that I cycle the focus full-in and full-out to
"better distribute the grease."  Doing so caused a complete failure of
the focus mechanism and the scope was returned to you under return
authorization RGAMS5422.

Almost four weeks after mailing the scope to you it was returned to me. 
No more "image shift," but the focus was no longer perfect.  Bright
objects no longer came to a sharp point.  With a bright object
out-of-focus, the resulting "donut" was no longer concentric.  Several
more conversation with your customer support people were unsatisfactory,
in that they seemed more interested in telling me that I couldn't be
seeing what I said I was seeing, such a problem could never have gotten
past Meade's QA process, or that UPS must have damaged the scope in

The only real source of information and support for the ETX-125 is at
Mike Weasner's website.   From that site I learned about Dr. Clay
Sherrod's ETX tune-up service.  Having little confidence in my own
ability to judge the proper operation of the scope OR in the ability of
your organization to deliver a properly-operating scope, I decided to
send the scope to Dr. Sherrod, and did so on 6/1/01.    He quickly
diagnosed the problem with the optics, discussed the problem
knowledgeably with your customer support, and sent the OTA to you on
6/7/01.  The repaired & "Supercharged" scope returned to me via Dr.
Sherrod on 7/19/01.

How does it work?  Simply perfect.  The focus is incredible.  I didn't
think that there was a problem with the focus in the first two scopes,
but that was only because I didn't know any better.  This is noticeably
better. Almost no "image shift."  The mechanics of the scope are also
perfect. After three nights of viewing, each selected object was
centered, or very close to centered every time.  No slop in the drives
and perfect alignments.  All it took was a lot of time, aggravation, and
over $300 in additional expenses for shipping and the work done by Dr.

Let's review my experience with Meade products:
In almost eight months of ownership, the product has been unavailable
well over two months for troubleshooting, shipping, and repair.
Meade customer support is difficult to reach, condescending,
uncooperative, and shipping costs make it expensive to use.
I've spent a lot of money with UPS that might have been better spent on
more Meade products.
Like many others, I was willing to spend serious money to have Dr.
Sherrod improve your product to meet my expectations.   No matter how
much I am grateful for the good work that he does, it would have been
better to have paid a little more for the scope and received a little
better quality control from the manufacturer.
Considering Meade's position in the marketplace, you must have lot of
happy ETX owners out there.  When the scope is working properly I can
see why. From internet postings, however, it is also apparent that my
experiences are not unique.  The popularly of Dr. Sherrod's Supercharge
service should indicate the depth of the problem.

Please consider:
1.  Improving the attitude of the people that answer your phones.  Some
owners really do have problems and really do need help.
2.  Some form of authorized service center on the East coast.  The cost
of shipping is bad enough - the downtime is terrible.  This was supposed
to be fun.
3.  Just a little more quality control.  The novice astronomers at whom
you aimed this product are the least able to handle the frustration of a
poorly-performing product.


Robert E. Thompson

Subject:	ScopeTronix "Digi-T" Digital Camera Attachment System
Sent:	Monday, July 23, 2001 4:58:48
From:	d.birmingham@worldnet.att.net (David Birmingham)
After reading all of the digital camera adapter reviews on the Might ETX
Site and referencing other resources of products I was wondering if
anyone has sent in a review of the ScopeTronix "Digi-T" Digital Camera
Attachment System? It doesn't seem to be as pricey as others and more
than some, but what I'm interested in is will counter weights be a
necessity for a 14 oz. camera set up as their picture show?


P.S. The light has gone on and now the sponge is sucking up information!
Mike here: I hope to have a review up in a couple of weeks.

Subject:	Sherrod Supercharge
Sent:	Sunday, July 22, 2001 13:24:42
From:	nkdanger2@home.com (nkdanger2)
My ETX125 received the Dr. Clay Sherrod Supercharge in the first week of
this past June. I would like to thank Dr. Sherrod for the fabulous
telescope he returned to me.

On Saturday night July 14, at my favorite viewing site one hour west of
St Louis, my Supercharged ETX125 presented myself and a few friends with
viewing beyond our imaginations. My friends were astounded by the views
my ETX presented.  We did *Best Of _* tours, we looked at user selected
objects and then let the telescope tell us what we were viewing. For
example, the GOTO trips to the Butterfly cluster and the Wild Duck
cluster ended with the spectacular clusters perfectly centered in the
eyepiece.  My friends exclaiming at how the objects presented in the ep
resembled their 'given' names. In short, it was the best evening's
viewing I have experienced in my short time (10 weeks) in this hobby,
and I believe I just may have *hooked* a few more people.

Thank you, once again, Dr. Sherrod for your GREAT work! I look forward
to many more wonderful evenings spent looking up with my Supercharged

Thank you, Mike for the GREAT site and info!

Subject:	What to do
Sent:	Sunday, July 22, 2001 8:29:11
From:	gainorc@earthlink.net
My just bought me an ETX 70 and i am lost on what to do to get this
piece of equipment operational.  Do you have any notes to help the
beginner get started?

Charles Gainor
Mike here: For starters, read the manual once, twice, three times. Then play with the telescope inside during the daytime until you get comfortable with using the controls, how to set it up in the HOME position, what all the menu items in the Autostar do, how to change eyepieces and focus, etc. Then go back a re-read the manual to see if you've missed anything. Once you have this experience, THEN take it outside on a clear night and begin to learn how to use it in the dark. This process is true with essentially every telescope (with adjustments for the actual equipment).

Subject:	Outstanding Video!!
Sent:	Sunday, July 22, 2001 1:30:37
From:	lancetay@home.com (Lance Taylor)
We were clouded out up here for the Venus occultation in Edmonton on
Tuesday. The video you have on your site is outstanding!!! Who shot it
(yourself)? I'd like to arrange to get permission to show this at our
next RASC meeting. Please advise, and keep up the great work!



Lance Taylor
Edmonton, AB

Mike here: Thanks. I did it using the equipment noted on the item. Feel free to show it; just direct people to the ETX Site for more info and photos.


Thanks Mike, I guess I missed the note about you doing it. Faboo job
man! I appreciate you allowing us to show the vid as we never got to see
the event up here. About par for anything of astronomical importance. 8^)


Subject:	Thanks to R. Seymour
Sent:	Saturday, July 21, 2001 22:14:52
From:	hpwallner@aon.at (hpwallner)
A few days ago I got my webpage up and running -thanks Mike for adding
the link. After a short time I got an e-mail from R. Seymour telling me
that I`ve made a few mistakes - coding problems with Netscape - and that
I gave a misleading instruction on Autostar cable construction.

He pointed out that this could cause damage to the telescope and the
Autostar controller. I really want to thank him here for his help.
Thinking about problems that less experienced Autostar users could have
with misleading instructions is outstanding. I think this is, what makes
M. Weasner`s site so special.

Thanks to both of you:  Peter Wallner (Austria)

Subject:	ETX
Sent:	Saturday, July 21, 2001 12:00:16
From:	dstroh@ehsd.co.contra-costa.ca.us (David Stroh)
I could not figure out what size scope you own (in the picture)

I am considering the 8" Mead GOTO just for recreational viewing and to
try to get the grandchildren  interested.  Do you think I will be able
to show them anything they (and my wife) would claim they actually "saw"

Dave Stroh
Mike here: The image on the ETX Site home page shows a "Mighty ETX". A little Photoshop editing to get that message across. If you've done your homework you've discovered there is no ETX model that large. Get the 8" IF you will actually use it. But keep in mind that it is a large and cumbersome to move around and set up. Many times people buy a large scope and after the first few uses it ends up in the closet. Sometimes having a smaller telesope is better since it will actually get used more. Look through the Buyer/New User Tips page, the User Observations page, and the "Observational Guides/References" page for some info on what can been seen with the Mighty ETX.


Thanks for the reply.  I used to have an 8" Celestron, but got
frustrated with setting circles.  I am 6' 2", and only have to go 10
foot from garage for setup, so I am leaning toward Meade 8" GOTO rather
than Celestron for the "Park" feature unless you think the optics on the
ETX 5" are better than the 8"
Mike here: I've not yet experienced the LX90 8" so can't comment on it.

Subject:	Dr Clay's "Supercharge" service
Sent:	Friday, July 20, 2001 13:21:38
From:	dschre@goodnet.com (Richard Schreiber)
I received my ETX90EC back from Clay Sherrod three weeks ago, completely
reworked with his "supercharge" service.  Until now we've had many, many
nights of cloudy evenings here in the Phoenix area, so only had the
opportunity to really test the scope the past couple of nights.

The scope was relatively new, having been completely replaced under
warantee by Meade in March.  However, it was plagued with a number of
the problems user talk about: rubber-banding, creep after beep, you name
it.  I spent more time trying to lock onto an object for viewing than
actually viewing. That has - thankfully - all changed after his

I'll give some examples from last night's viewing.  By the way, we
always have the scope in AltAz, and now use the 541 power supply, rather
than batteries, whenever possible.  After the 2-star easy alignment, I
left the scope on Antares while waiting for the sky to darken.  After
alignment I had inserted the 9.7 ep w/ 2x barlow (=258x).  Upon
returning 20 minutes later it was still close to centered in the fov.  I
then did a GOTO eps Lyrae - and it ended up in the fov (remember we are
still at 258x!).  Never would have happended in the past.  I spent 2 1/2
hours observing last night, all GOTO's were accurate, tracking was very
good, drifted off target only a couple of times. To be certain, there is
some software and hardware "quirkiness" with the ETX90 that will still
be around, but their impact on viewing will be an exception rather than
the rule.

I can't speak highly enough of Clay's service.  By arranging a schedule
in advance, I sent the scope by UPS from Phoneix on a Monday morning and
received it back Thursday of the following week.  On this occasion, UPS
lived up to their advertised delivery times, and coupled with Clay's own
efficiency meant incredible turn-around.  He was very communicative
throughout concerning his discoveries as he disassembled and tested the
scope.  It was returned with a very complete description of its
characteristics (optical and mechanical) as well as maintenance
performed. In addition to the normal list of mechanical and software
improvements, he discovered a DEC clutch block that was in peril and
replaced it.  I am confident now we will have use of the scope for a
long while and not have to worry about premature failures.

As an aside, I recently purchased the Meade 24.5mm SWA eyepiece.  Wasn't
sure when I first started using it that I had gained substantially over
the normal 26.  But after a couple of evenings I now appreciate the
wider view and the apparent crispness and contrast.  I truly think it
was a worthwhile addition.  The Lagoon nebula last night was much more
vivid with this ep, and the eye comfort (I don't view with glasses) is
very good.  If you barlow it, though, be prepared for some additional
weight that can impact the balance of the ota.

My appreciation is extended to you as well, Mike, for we wouldn't have
known about Clay Sherrod's "supercharge" service except through your
excellent and indispensible ETX Website.

As most of us observe the general degredation of customer service these
days, Clay in contrast epitomizes the way it ought to be done.

Dick Schreiber
Buckeye, Arizona

Subject:	Sun Filters
Sent:	Friday, July 20, 2001 7:49:02
From:	dpeterson@forbes.com (David Peterson)
I have a ETX-90EC and I find it to be a great scope.

I'm interesed in viewing the sun.

Can you recommend specific types of filters that I can use, and where I
can purchase them.

Your assistance will be appreciated.

David Peterson
Mike here: There are some Solar Filters reviewed on the Accessories - Filters page on my ETX Site.

Subject:	secondary finder holder
Sent:	Thursday, July 19, 2001 21:44:29
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
remember the two-pieces of plastic pipe finder holder?

here's a 19kb photo of the beast in use, with hi-tech rubber bands
(pardon: elastomeric circumferential mounting accoutrements)
strapping it to the ETX90's barrel.


Mike here: Reminds me of how I mount the Rigel QuikFinder!

Subject:	ETX site
Sent:	Thursday, July 19, 2001 15:02:49
From:	dagger@reach.net (Dan Dagenais)
First let me say your site is fantastic.  I bought an ETX 90 about 3
months ago and have been enjoying it immensely.  Now with some of the
information on your page, I'll be able to get the most out of it.

I actually found your site while looking for a picture of the recent
Venus/Lunar occultation.  A couple of our club members (my Dad being one
of them) actually viewed the event live.  I wanted the rest of my
astronomy club who didn't get a chance to see it first hand, to have a
chance to see it, so I sent them the main picture from your site.  Since
then (a few hours ago) I've been getting steady email from club members
asking where the picture came from.  I've given them your name as the
person who took the picture and directed them to your site to view the
QuickTime movie of the event.

Thanks very much.
Dan Dagenais

Subject:	The ETX-125 and the Telrad Viewfinder
Sent:	Thursday, July 19, 2001 11:37:15
From:	marbla@naisp.net (Blais Klucznik)
As I personally do not like the Orion Red Dot Finder because of the
cheapness of manufacture and the extremely poor decision to use a meager
Lithium battery to power the LED I was wondering if anyone has mounted a
Telrad on their -125s and what their opinion of it is.


Blais Klucznik
From:	edutton@infi.net (Ells Dutton)
I use a Scopetronix red dot finder that is very similar to the Orion
unit and it works great.  I attach it to the scope with double sided
tape and it does the job it was meant to.  All that is required of it is
allow you to get an object into the finder fov but I often can get it
into the 26 mm fov (ETX-125).  Also, if you have done a successful goto,
it is handy to show you just where in the sky you are.

From:	marbla@naisp.net (Blais Klucznik)
I bought two of the Telrads, one for my Dobs 12-1/2 and one for
the ETX125.  They both arrived yesterday.

I mounted the first one on the ETX, just placed it on the OTA but didn't
stick it down.  When I tried to align the Telrad to the image in the
scope I found the image (red bullseye, too far to the right and could
not move it sufficiently to the left.  I'll either take it apart to see
if I can fix it or send it back.

I mounted the second one on the ETX and it aligned perfectly so I
secured it with the 3M tape that came with one side already secured to
the base of the finder.  I used it tonight to attack Linear A2 and found
the Telrad to be a real charm.  Nice tool to aid in finding objects in
the sky assuming the objects have sufficient magnitude to see with the
naked (with eyeglasses) eyeball.  The Orion is no match for this tool,
at least in my opinion.

Blais Klucznik

Subject:	Problems with Electric Focuser and Hand controler in Polar Mode
Sent:	Thursday, July 19, 2001 9:44:58
From:	sgrijalva@yahoo.com (Saul Grijalva V.)
Hi, I have an ETX-90EC with electric Focuser and I  cant use the
electric focuser with the standar hand controler in Polar Mode, there is
no response with the in and out focus buttons. In Alt/Az  mode there is
no problem. Any idea what is happening?

Thank You.

Saul Grijalva

Subject:	planetary photo
Sent:	Wednesday, July 18, 2001 15:33:03
From:	daanno@hotmail.com (daniel white)
I've enjoyed your site for several years. Keep up the good work. I'll
make this short. A buddy of mine was talking on a payphone in New Mexico
and looked down. All of the sudden he saw Jupiter. The picture(s)
enclosed are of what he found. It's a rock about 2" in diameter. Nothing
unusual about it except it's uncanny resemblance to Jupiter. It's even
got the Great Red Spot. It did have a funny little smudge on the back
that looked like a S/L 9 impact but when a washed the rock.... it went
away. I thought you and the many visitors to your site might enjoy
No unusual photographic setup here. Not even a telescope. 
Hope you like it 
Dan White

Subject:	SAC-IV
Sent:	Wednesday, July 18, 2001 11:20:51
From:	drdcarrier@home.com (Dennis Carrier)
I was interested to see that you were using the SAC-IV with an iBook.
May I ask what software comes with the SAC-IV so that you can gather and
process your images on a Mac.

I was told the integration software was only for the PC.  Let me know
what your Mac procedure is with the SAC-IV.


Mike here: The integration software from Sonfest is PC-only. However, Sonfest includes a couple of capture applications that save as QuickTime movie files. From there you would have to use Photoshop for manual integration or something like Photoshop or GraphicConverter for still image manipulation.

Subject:	re: Polar ALignment
Sent:	Tuesday, July 17, 2001 22:55:41
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	ClayLJ@NORTHAMERICA.Stortek.com
Larry Clay asked about GoTo'ing Polaris and adjusting the mount
to center it, hoping  that that would be an accurate Polar Alignment.

er... that's almost -exactly- what the Autostar does when you
perform a Polar One-Star alignment
(since it uses Polaris -and- a second star, obviously Meade can't 

But that's their method: 
(a) do a manual Polar Home setup as best you can.  
(b) start Polar Align One-Star.  
(c) it'll slew to (where it thinks) Polaris (is).
(d) it'll TELL you to adjust the TRIPOD (not the slew keys) to 
   center Polaris, then push [enter]
(e) when you do push [enter], it'll then slew to an alignment star.
(f) center and press [enter]... fini.  (pardon my french)

I use it frequently.  I also frequently follow it with a two-star
alignment just to see how well it did.

have fun

Subject:	Many questions
Sent:	Tuesday, July 17, 2001 13:13:41
From:	Briguy730@msn.com (Brian Gaines)
what is the best nebula to see through the etx 90 ec telescope...what is
the best double star....best star cluster....is it possible to see the
polar ice caps on mars with the etx 90 when taking a picture of the moon
how fast is the shutter speed...how fast is the shutter speen for taking
a picture like mars...how fast is the shutter speed for something like a
star cluster why r nebulas so faint and dim and colorless...in pictures
they r like colorful and bright

if i was to u a stronger eye piece would that do anything?

how come when i look at mars it isnt  dark red...if i use a stronger eye
piece will look red or have any detail, same with jupiter, and saturnG
Mike here: So many questions. The short answer is to look over the ETX web site. You will find info on what can be seen with the ETX-90, what exposures to use (there's a spreadsheet for that), and more. What isn't answered here are answered on many of the astronomy web sites that are linked from the "Astronomy Links" page on the ETX site. I could answer each of your questions but you'll get more out of things if you do some specific research on your own first.

Subject:	camera weight
Sent:	Monday, July 16, 2001 23:35:45
From:	gonzosc1@netzero.net (gonzosc1)
I was at the scopetronics site and saw their digital camera mount that
connects the camera to the eyepiece. I thought it looked liked a good
idea. So before I buy it I wanted to go look at some camera's.

My question is about the weight of the digital camera. all the models
with threaded lens are very heavy. after comparing them to regular 35mm
cameras I see that they are 2, if not 3 times the weight of a 35mm.

will this extra weight hinder the drives performance, or damage the
drives or clutches? there would be even more weight if I used a good
size eyepiece. your input would be great. thanks for the site.

Mike here: I've yet to hear of any damage from extra weight although slippage can occur making centering of objects difficult. A good counterweight system can help. I've hung 35mm cameras and digital cameras on both the ETX-125EC and ETX-90RA without too much problem. It was only when I mounted an ETX-90 on an ETX-90 that problems (slippage) occurred.

Subject:	Kochab Clock?
Sent:	Monday, July 16, 2001 14:10:16
From:	Marv.Sumner@ONIZUKA.AF.MIL (Sumner Marv C Contr CWNO)
I have apparently missed seeing something good...  Where is this Kochab
Clock article on polar alignment that I read glowing reports about in
Mike's pages?  I have been putting a paper together on "The basics of
polar alignment", a guide for beginners - but concentrating on
precision.  I have been planning to pass it by you for a sanity check
before giving it to Mike for publication.  Your Kochab paper might
overshadow my humble work and I'd hold off on the effort.
Marv Sumner
Mike here: See "Precise Portable Polar Alignment (Kochab's Clock)" on the Observational Guides/References page.

Sent:	Monday, July 16, 2001 12:09:50
From:	gombe@msn.com (gombe)
I just thought I would drop you a note to let you know that everything
that Dr. P. Clay Sherrod says he can do for your ETX is true.  I sent in
my 125 on a Friday and received the scope back the following Friday.  It
looked better than new and preformed flawlessly.  I recommend Dr.
Sherrod with out hesitation.

Earl Gomberg

Subject:	Polar alignment
Sent:	Monday, July 16, 2001 10:38:15
From:	ClayLJ@NORTHAMERICA.Stortek.com (Clay, Larry J)
I just read, with great interest, the reference guide "PRECISE PORTABLE
POLAR ALIGNMENT" by Clay Sherrod. It seems to me that after completing
the mechanical alignment to Polaris (Step 9) all that would be required
at this point would be to GOTO Polaris then using only the wedge and
tripod adjustments, re-align to Polaris. Lock down all adjustments and
your there.
Please show me the error of my ways.
Larry Clay
Mike here: If I understand your idea correctly, you want to skip the fact that Polaris is about a degree from the North Celestial Pole. That is what is done in Step 10. For many alignments you can certainly skip that degree (no pun intended) of accuracy.


No, I am saying that once you are level and set to within 55' of NCP by
virtue of the fact that you have aligned to Polaris, that the telescope
thinks that it is pointed at NCP because it hasn't been told anything
different. Now if you do a GOTO Polaris, the telescope will offset 55'
in the direction that it believes Polaris to be in. Now all you need to
do is loosen the wedge and tripod clamps and physically align the
telescope back to Polaris where it thinks it is pointing at this time.
Viola, you are aligned with NCP exactly 55' in the correct direction
from Polaris.

Larry Clay
Mike here: We'll wait for the author to return home and comment.

Subject:	3000 pages!
Sent:	Sunday, July 15, 2001 14:51:39
From:	DonMcClelland@webtv.net (Donald McClelland)
Did I read right?  Someone actually downloaded 3000 pages from the
archives of your site.  Maybe it's time to consider writing a book about
the ETX scopes.  There is absolutely no doubt as to how popular it would
be.  Sky Publishing might consider your work.
Just a thought.

Subject:	Why Maksutov-cassegrain ?
Sent:	Sunday, July 15, 2001 11:02:38
From:	neilb46@home.com (Neilb)
I am a confused newbie astronomer. For Christmas my wife purchased a
Meade ETX 70/AT. I am a little disappointed but I realize that I am not
using it to its potential. After reading your site which is very
valuable I purchased a Barlow and some planetary filters to help in the
viewing. Still this isn't the kind of images I was expecting. so I would
like to purchase a larger Aperture and was wondering why besides being a
bit bulky what are the disadvantages of a Meade 8" Dobsian compared to a
larger say ETX 125. The price of these seem very low compared to the ETX

Mike here: "Folded optics" is the main difference in the telescope. That results in the compact size of the ETX "Maks". There is some difference in contrast between the two optical designs. Of course, there is also the included drives with the ETX; Dobsonians usually don't have these (although they can be added at a cost). Same for the GOTO controller. There is some difference in contrast between the two optical designs. Aperture has its purpose. And maybe your expectations/purpose require aperture. But there are other considerations as well. To use a Dob without a GOTO system you will HAVE to learn the sky and you'll need good star charts to locate many objects. It comes down to what you want to do and whether you are committed to doing what is necessary to get the most use out of your purchase.

Subject:	Meade ETX 90EC/125EC
Sent:	Saturday, July 14, 2001 17:17:42
From:	gkdowling@ozemail.com.au (Grahame Dowling)
To: mkcrowe@earthlink.net 
Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2001 10:05 AM
G'day mate

I read your letter on Mike Weasner's Mighty ETX site and have been going
through the same thing as you. 90 or 125. Hard call when like you I have
to make the correct decision first time. Get the 90 and then wish I'd
gone for the 125. I live in the central tablelands of NSW Australia on a
cattle property and was wanting a scope for terrestrial use as well as
astro. I also saw Sight and Sounds ETX125 package for $1175. I contacted
Clay Sherrod in Arkansas [He does the ETX supercharging which you've
probably seen on Weasner's site] and Clay suggested the 125. He was and
is extremely helpful. What I ended up doing is going to Telescope
Warehouse in Nevada and getting a used 125EC + tripod + autostar +
hardcase for $850. I also got a barlow ,40mm eyepiece, electric
focuser,camera adaptors.and 45degree prism for terrestrial use,computer
line and software. Total all up was $1160. I've then arranged to send
all directly to Clay Sherrod to have him perform his supercharge
overhaul and the end result to me I feel will result in a better than
new ETX125EC at an extremely attractive price. Clay's charge for his
service is $165 but for the end result its worth every cent. Just
thought I'd send this to you as another line of thought in the
purchasing process. 

Whatever you decide best wishes for happy stargazing

Regards Grahame Dowling "Varykino" Mudgee NSW Australia.

Subject:	Red dot finderscopes
Sent:	Saturday, July 14, 2001 16:13:26
From:	d.birmingham@worldnet.att.net (David Birmingham)
I thought you being an avid EXT user you might have a suggestion, or run
across information on the laser type pointing finder scopes. I read some
articles, and being relatively new in amateur astronomy, I thought it
might be of help in learning the night sky and relating to my Messier
and Caldwell cards. I don't think I would like something like the Rigel
Systems Quickfinder because of the height, perhaps something more like
an OTA hugging finder.

There is a wealth of information on the Mighty EXT site, and I learn
more and more each time I stop by and do some reading. Keep up the
excellent work!

Mike here: There are several reviews of these on the Accessories - Finderscopes page. You can also search for "red dot"; I think you'll find some other references.

Subject:	Re: The Light Came On!
Sent:	Friday, July 13, 2001 12:48:17
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	David 
GREAT!!  I told you with patience it all falls into place.  Let me know
how it does!  Kochab's Clock is by far the easiest and most accurate
scheme for good polar alignment that I have ever used.  Hope it works as
well for you.   I have MANY LX users aligning via Kochab's Clock and
doing extraordinary UNGUIDED CCD imaging very successfully!  My big
observatory scope has been realigned using this method and never has
tracked better!  But the BEST use of it is in portable telescopes for
quick, yet very accurate, polar alignment.

Clay Sherrod
    -----Original Message-----
    From: David
    Dr. Sherrod,
    I was out on the deck re-reading the Clay's Kochab Clock article and
    following each and every step. Guess what, I managed to get
    everything in Polar Alignment! Or course it's all theoretical being
    daylight, but I do have an idea of where Polaris is in my night sky.
    I believe my original problem was that being used to the 70AT (no
    hard stops) I had that problem with setting the 125EC in it's proper
    home position. I don't think it will be dark enough at 9:00 p.m. to
    follow the set-up that closely, but knowing the position Polaris and
    Kochab in relation to Ursa Major, it shouldn't be to hard to get an
    imaginary line in the sky. It was like a flood light went on when I
    read the declination setting at the end of the process and found it
    sitting right on 42.5!
    I'm definitely going to give it a try tonight!

Subject:	very important ETX question
Sent:	Friday, July 13, 2001 11:37:22
From:	captkirk@home.com (Gary)
I just got a T-mount and a camera adapter for my ETX 90 EC and when i
look down the tube i see a big circle with a little circle in it. I
believe that is the correcting lens and the secondary mirror. Anyways,
when i put the camera on and take off the back of the camera where the
film goes, take a picture and look inside when the shudder opens, all i
see is that same circle in a circle. will the film just be 24 pictures
af little circles in circles or will the pics actually come out like i
saw them through the camera when i was taking pictures? 

please help. thank you.    -Gary Kezele
Mike here: If the camera is not a Single Lens Reflex model, you can hold a thin piece of paper or waxpaper over the opening where the film would sit. With the telescope pointed at a bright object (day time scene, streetlamp, but NOT the Sun) you can see what the film "sees" projected on the paper. You can check the focus too. You can't really tell what the camera is seeing by just looking through the optics unless it is a SLR camera. [FYI - my reply to Gary was rejected with a "(reason: 550 <captkirk@home.com>... User unknown)" error.]s

Subject:	Re: some questions
Sent:	Friday, July 13, 2001 4:29:31
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Yenal
I am  glad that you are enjoying my constellation articles...Scorpius
and Sagittarius are two of my favorites as well!  Following are your

1) In these days I am observing Scorpius and its wonders. Beside this i
am reading your guide of Scorpius. During my observations Open Clusters
M6 and M7 are perfectly fits into 26mm eyepiece. But Globular Cluster M4
and M80 can only be seen as smoked little object which i cannot observe
it by direct eye looking but looking away from it. In your guide you
said that we can observe it with periheral stars etc. I own 26mm and 6.4
mm eyepieces. Do i need any other accessory to observe Globular Cluster
more perfectly?

> those are both very difficult, and you need very, very dark skies and
observe them only when they are highest in the sky....the 6.4mm is too
much magnification;  I suggest either the 26mm + a barlow OR about a
12mm eyepiece for looking at the peripheral stars!

2) In magazines or in any other sources, it often says the size of the
object is let say 3". What is the meaning of this? I am confused because
the objects can be seen in different sizes in different magnifications!

> 3" indicates a size of "3 arc seconds."  As a reference, Jupiter's
disk when you observe it is 44" roughly, or just under one MINUTE arc
(').  The moon, by comparison is a big 30' (minutes) arc. The sky is
divided in degrees of angular measurement.  There are:  60 seconds (")
in one MINUTE (') of arc;  there are then 60 minutes of arc in one HOUR
of measurement. So a " arc is a very tiny measurement indeed!

3) In your guides you give R.A and DEC of objects. But i again confused
with this because since Earth is rotating, the R.A and DEC of an object
is continously changing. So that coordinates are for a constant local
time or what?

> you are correct in that the sky appears to constantly move;  however,
the DEC coordinates are fixed for your telescope and will not change
through the course of your night...."25 degrees" will always be that. 
However, the RA does change like a clock face, with a new HOUR of Right
Ascension passing over the meridian overhead (a line from true north to
true south passing directly overhead) roughly every hour of time. 
therefore, the need to reset the RA setting circle if you use them, and
the need for Autostar to calculate the passage of time with each
subsequent GO TO!

thanks for the questions.....they are indeed, good ones!

Clay Sherrod
-----Original Message-----
From: Yenal
>Dear Mr. Sherrod,
>First of all i would like to thank for your excellent
>guides. They are really helpful. I am a new amateur
>astronomer owning ETX125. I have two questions:
>1) In these days I am observing Scorpius and its
>wonders. Beside this i am reading your guide of
>Scorpius. During my observations Open Clusters M6 and
>M7 are perfectly fits into 26mm eyepiece. But Globular
>Cluster M4 and M80 can only be seen as smoked little
>object which i cannot observe it by direct eye looking
>but looking away from it. In your guide you said that
>we can observe it with periheral stars etc. I own 26mm
>and 6.4 mm eyepieces. Do i need any other accessory to
>observe Globular Cluster more perfectly?
>2) In magazines or in any other sources, it often says
>the size of the object is let say 3". What is the
>meaning of this? I am confused because the objects can
>be seen in different sizes in different
>3) In your guides you give R.A and DEC of objects. But
>i again confused with this because since Earth is
>rotating, the R.A and DEC of an object is continously
>changing. So that coordinates are for a constant local
>time or what?
>Sorry for this really amateur questions but i will be
>so glad if you answer.

Subject:	Question about questions.
Sent:	Thursday, July 12, 2001 21:05:47
From:	bolender@centurytel.net (Brad and Lisa)
Can you tell me where on your site I would ask a question.

I am having a problem with my ETX 90 and I am wondering if your site
allows me to ask a question in a forum.

Brad Bolender 
Mike here: There is no online forum in the sense you mean. You send me a question. I answer as well as I can and post my response along with the message. That way everyone gets to benefit and/or comment. Sort of a moderated "forum". There are also some ETX-specific mailing lists and forums elsewhere, and some non-ETX-specific newsgroups. See the "Discussion Groups and Mailing Lists" on the Buyer/New User Tips page.

Subject:	flex cable
Sent:	Thursday, July 12, 2001 19:06:49
I just installed the flex focus cable...and I had a thought. Does it
interfere with the auto star when and if it positions the scope up to
80-90 degrees? Do u still fly?

Mike here: If you just installed it you can check this yourself by unlocking the Altitude (DEC) axis and swinging the scope upwards and hence the rear down towards the base. On my ETX-125EC the cable does touch the base at high altitudes but it flexes just fine. And yep, I still fly. I'm just not the pilot any more and the jets carry more than one person. :)


Yep, you're right...plenty of room. Don't know why I didn't think to
check it that way??? Guess too many other things on my mind. Have you
observed any deep space objects with our scope? i.e., Andromeda, nebulae
Mike here: See the Buyer/New User Tips page and the User Observations page on my ETX Site for some Deep Sky Object reports.

Subject:	A Short Interval Off-line
Sent:	Thursday, July 12, 2001 4:15:36
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Hello to all!  Just a reminder to my many valued correspondents (and
proof editors out there who I greatly appreciate by the way!) that I
will be off to give two astro presentations from July 15 through July 27
and will be TOTALLY OFFLINE during that time.  Feel free to e-mail as I
"might" have a chance to check messages but likely will NOT be able to
respond during that period due to the required travel and prep time for
my seminars.

I will be returning in full force, with (rest assured) fresh nitpicking,
some possibly good ideas (maybe some ones that really stink as well),
lots of "advice" that you can either take or toss, my routine
constellation GO TO TOURS, and of course the Supercharge tune-up

No doubt my hands will cramp from withdrawal during my days away, so I
ask my proof readers out there to please be ready when I return!

Thanks and may your skies be dark and deep!

P. Clay Sherrod

Subject:	etx
Sent:	Thursday, July 12, 2001 4:07:36
From:	danrich@ccmaui.net (Daniel Danrich)
Could you tell me if there is anyone that modifies the ETX mechanics
from plastic to metal and so on?

Subject:	newbie to the etx90
Sent:	Wednesday, July 11, 2001 17:06:01
From:	frank.james@homeqonline.com
I just bought one , I look at mars last night, not what I expected from
a scope that is talk up so much about, but then again I am a newbie too.
Mars was a white ball, no detail at all, I try a yellow filter to bring
in some detail, pretty , but no detail, I look at it 48X and then 96X ,
then at 240X, yawn...

I have order some new lens with some more power, I was using my zoom,
for the 240, and barlow, but when you zoomed the light just got weaker,
I wanted a scope for deep space, not just to look at the moon. I going
to try my new lens when they come in, I have about 1200 invested. Like I
said, not what I expected from 1200 investment.

Mike here: There are many factors which affect observations through any telescope. And there are many expectations that buyers have that don't match the performance capabilities of the telescope they purchase, or sometimes ANY telescope. See the reports on the User Observations page as well as the Observational Guides/References pages on the ETX Site. When I'm contacted about making recommendations for purchasing a telescope, I always stress the need to determine HOW the buyer wants to use the telescope and WHAT the expectations are. Buying a small aperture telescope for serious deep sky or planetary work will result in those expectations not being met. Buying a very large telescope can result in the telescope ending up in the closet because its size makes it cumbersome to setup and use. Requirements, expectations, money (up front and ongoing for accessories), time, willingness to learn, and patience are all factors which must be considered. The ETX-90 is a great telescope that can deliver wonderful views of many objects. But don't expect to see the same images as you see in the ads.

Subject:	Digital Camera Astrophotography
Sent:	Wednesday, July 11, 2001 16:39:39
From:	gilsonv@pontocom.com.br (Gilson Gomes Vieira)
Congratulations for your nice site.

My name is Gilson Gomes Vieira and I work at the Museu de Astronomia e
Cincias Afins - MAST/MCT (loosely translating: Astronomy and Related
Sciences Museum of Rio de Janeiro - Brazil) an Institute of the
Brazilian Government.Visitors of our Museum are high-school students and
common people interested in improving his scientific alphabetism. Our
work is not adressed to amateur astronomers or specialists in the area.

Searching for a digital camera to attach to our Mead LX50 8" telescope I
arrived to your site that was very helpful to me. Nevertheless some
questions remained and I would be grateful if you could give me some
pieces of information:

 - I am interested in purchasing a Nikon Coolpix 950 Digital Camera.
 What is your opinion or, even, your suggestion?

 - give afocal photography good results?

 - may I photograph through the camera lens directly from de objective
 of the telescope, without the eyepiece? If yes, what results may I

 - are T-adapters easy to deal with when you change to visual
 observation from camera observation (remember our visitors have no
 skill in astronomical observation)?;

 - are there any kind of adapter that could be screwed to the camera and
 to the telescope by means of some kind of rings, in order to exempt the
 t-adapter apparatus?

I would be grateful if you condescend in help me.

Yours Sincerely
Mike here: I have no experience with the Coolpix 950 (although I'm seriously contemplating getting the Coolpix 995). But nearly all digital cameras can be used with a telescope in afocal photography mode and provide good to amazing results (as evidenced by many of the astrophotographs on my ETX site). There are some mounts/adapters shown on the Accessories - Astrophotography page. Also, Scopetronix (www.scopetronix.com) has a T-adapter that works with some digital cameras. However, unless the camera has a removable lens, you can not take photographs through the telescope unless you use an eyepiece (the 'afocal' mode). Switching between a mounted camera and your eye can be a pain and difficult depending upon the mounting method.

Sent:	Tuesday, July 10, 2001 14:49:46
From:	EdHiker@mediaone.net (Ed Johnson)
To:	strburst@mindspring.com
Paul,  you are the only person that I have found to post any information
about Meade DS motor internal structure.

I just bought an Autostar #497 and intend to automate one of my dozen
telescopes. The motors bug me, why should I have to buy and cannibalize
a complete Meade scope system to do this? (the motor kit costs almost as
much a DS-60EC)

Your post was over a year ago, and perhaps you have seen or heard
something regarding "reverse engineering" the Meade motors. I assume
from your post that they are common DC motors having a timing disk a bit
up the gear train with digital interface circuits.

Any help or thoughts on my project would be greatly appreciated.


Ed       http://people.we.mediaone.net/edhiker/index.html
(2 of my scopes on: http://members.aol.com/eddieastro/edpics2.html )

Subject:	Sherrod supercharge testimonial
Sent:	Monday, July 9, 2001 12:30:38
From:	wwarren@warren-goodin.com (Walter Warren)
I have just received back my ETX-90EC after having taken advantage of
Clay Sherrod's ETX Supercharge service.  The testimonials on the Mighty
ETX website couldn't be more accurate to my experience.  I contacted Mr.
Sherrod on a Sunday by email and by the following Thursday it was on his
workbench.  With my prior approval, he went beyond the standard service
on my scope due to a broken internal part, for which there was a little
extra charge for a replacement part.

Despite a communication hiccup that at first made it appear my telescope
was being returned to some mysterious person neither of us knew, it
arrived home safely.  In my case, because of good luck with his schedule
and my proximity to his location, I was without my telescope for only 8
days.  Enclosed were instructions on proper clamping, a checklist of
items inspected, a description of everything found wrong and how it was
fixed, and a nice certificate.

I feel no hesitation in recommending Mr. Sherrod's services to anyone
else wanting to make sure their ETX is operating the best it can.

Walter Warren

Subject:	true story...
Sent:	Sunday, July 8, 2001 17:54:53
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Jim Griggs, who honchos the 4504 Egroup, visited my house over the last
two days (we stayed up 'til 4am slewing about)... 

and i wore my Mighty ETX t-shirt this morning....

and he asked: "What kind of LX-200 is that? 16 inch? 24?"

I pointed at the eyepiece and said, well, using his arm as a relative
measure, this must be a 2-foot eyepiece holder...

Mike here: Ah, the Mighty ETX!

Subject:	Uncle Rod's Used SCT Buyer's Guide
Sent:	Sunday, July 8, 2001 11:18:10
From:	RMOLLISE@aol.com
Version 3.0 of my Used SCT Buyer's Guide is now available online. This
is a fairly significant update, as it adds a section on the C5. As
always, if anything's wrong or has been left out, please let me know so
I can fix it.

The next addition will be the Meade 2044/2045/2045D. I'm still looking
for input from owners, so if you own or have owned one of these scopes,
please share your pictures and experiences!

To download v3.0, just go to
http://members.aol.com/RMOLLISE/index.html and select it from the menu
of choices you'll find. This is now a fairly large .pdf file, so please
be patient if you've got a slow connection...

Rod Mollise,
Author of _Choosing and Using a Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope_

Subject:	Mounting the wedge in the polar position-CONFUSION.
Sent:	Sunday, July 8, 2001 09:33:03
From:	wes.trimble@sympatico.ca (Cecily & Bud)
I am sorry to bother you but I am thoroughly confused. I am completely
new to the hobby although I have been interested in astronomy seemingly
all my 58 years. I have just completed a pier as per the posting by Mr.
Clay Sherrod and it turned out great. However, I did not have access to
equipment to build my own wedge so I purchased the Meade 8" wedge and
adapter plate for the ETX125EC. I am ready to install the wedge but am
unsure as to how to do it. In all the literature you are told to set the
primary leg pointing north but in all the photos on your site the wegde
seems to be set up pointing south so that when the 125 is mounted on the
wedge it appears to be pointing south when set for polar alignment. What
am I missing????????

When setting up in the altaz position there is no problem pointing to
North but I am thoroughly confused when it comes to the wedge. Its
probably due to inexperience but I would greatly appreciate any help you
can give me. What a great site you have. Since I don't have a computer
at the cottage I went and printed off all the information on your site
to carry with me.(in excess of 3000 pages). It sure makes a great

I realize that you are I very busy person but I didn't know where else
to turn for help.

Many thanks in advance for your patience and advice. Sincerely yours and
wishing you many clear skies,

Wes Trimble
Toronto, Canada.
Mike here: Wow! 3000 pages! The purpose of the wedge is to tilt the "azimuth" rotational axis of the telescope to be parallel to the Earth's rotational axis. In the case of the ETX models, this will place the fork arms pointing at the North (or South) Celestial Pole, or near Polaris in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Feedback for March 2001 (in the Feedback Archives) my reply to the message "ETX125EC" has a photo showing a tilt to be parallel to the Earth's axis.


Thank you for your  help. It is much appreciated. Yes OVER 3000 pages. I
have printed off every page in your archives. It sure makes fascinating
reading although my wife says I could have purchased a couple of good
eyepieces for what it has cost me for printer cartridges and binders but
what e reference library it makes.
Thanks again.

Subject:	Meade ETX
Sent:	Sunday, July 8, 2001 02:04:05
From:	fotheringhamstuart@hotmail.com (Stuart Fotheringhame)
I am currently a user of a early ETX 90 and was wondering if it is
possible to upgrade this unit to Dual axis drive correction , and
possibly to use meades asrostar controller , I saw a review of a
Microstar 2 upgrade for the original ETX and wondered whether this is
still available or a further upgrade has been developed . I would very
much appreciate you comments .


Stuart Fotheringham
Mike here: See the FAQ for upgrade info. Don't know about the Microstar; suggest you contact Scopetronix directly.

Subject:	My blue tube is SuperCharged!!
Sent:	Saturday, July 7, 2001 20:38:31
From:	marv.sumner@juno.com (Marvin C. Sumner)
My 125 came back from Dr. Sherrod's Scope Hospital in good shape!  Clay
had found lots wrong with it & fixed it all  -  great!  A more detailed
report will be forthcoming once I can get out from under this Silicone
Valley Smog.

Now, I have two questions for Clay or whomever else can help:

Item one - - I see that Clay put a new small triangular index marker on
my scope base just under the still movable hour-angle band.  Is that a
reference point just for his testing?  Or is it something I can find
useful?  It isn't mentioned in the notes he sent with the 'scope.

Item two - - On attaching the 'scope to the plywood shelf of my
home-made tripod, I put  1/4-20 bolts through the shelf into the holes
in the base of the 'scope.  I use inch & a quarter bolts to assure that
they fully use the 'scope threads but won't bottom out & do damage.   I
have been using fender washers above the plywood to balance how much of
the load is on the outside perimeter of the 'scope base and how much is
pulling on the inner structure of the system.  Is there a preference as
to where the mounting stresses should distributed?  I have read much
about the systems having instability in one axis or the other depending
on which way it is all leaning.

Marv Sumner
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Great the scope is ready to go!  The little white triangle on the RA
circle is in case you ever want to use the setting circle to locate
celestial objects in polar mode via celestial coordinates of right
ascension and declination (the other circle); also the indicator can
give you a TEST reference for checking the tracking dependability of the
RA (azimuth) axis must as the hand on a clock face, merely by going off
and leaving the scope tracking in daylight at a specified interval and
noting the exact same motion of the indicator relative to the circle.

Regarding attaching the scope base; be sure to have the base as flat
onto the plywood as possible...you want as much surface to surface
contact between the scope and the mounting plate as possible....that is
why I remove the little nuisance rubber feet (and for eliminating
vibrations as well)!. Thus, take out the Fender washers from between the
scope's flat base and whatever the base is mounted to for maximum
stability and balance.

Good skies and dark nights!

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	Meade telescopes
Sent:	Friday, July 6, 2001 09:07:17
From:	SouthFloridaYachts@email.msn.com (Florida Yacht Sales)
What a great site for information!!  Really appreciate all the work you
go to for your website.

I was looking for info on Meade EXT.  I am a beginner and would like to
purchase a 90EC or 125 EC.  Because I don't have a lot of experience and
because this is an investment, I don't want to buy the 90 and be sorry.

I am sure you are very busy but I wondered if you had an opinion about
this.  The best price I have found for the 125 came for the boards on
your site:  Sight and Sound Shop has the 125 for $1,175 including: 
tripod, hard case, Auto Star.

If I don't hear back from you, I really appreciate your site.  Please
respond to me at mkcrowe@earthlink.net
Mike here: I don't have any personal experience with Sight and Sound but they have received good reviews from buyers. One thing to consider when choosing between the -90 and -125 is the size of the telescope. A scope that YOU find inconvenient to pick up and take outside is one that ends up not being used. So, be certain you can and will want to handle the extra size and weight.

Subject:	re: My ETX controller died on me...
Sent:	Wednesday, July 4, 2001 11:14:14
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	relias@motorola.com
I had *exactly* the same symptoms you describe with my ETX90.
The cause? The Az clamping nut had abraded through the wires
which pass thru the shaft to the Dec motor.

If you wish, you can check it out by gently removing the base
(remove the batteries, remove the rubber feet, unscrew the screws.
*carefully* remove the baseplate (thin wires, easily broken)).
Look and feel for damage (mine were -microscopic- cuts) where the
wire bundle passes thru the shaft in the middle of the base.

The fix? Return to Meade.
Call their tech support line, and they'll arrange an RMA..
The scope and atusotar have a year warranty, and they will fix it.

(in my case, it destroyed the Dec motor's communications, and the
Autostar... AND the hand controller (which i also plugged in...
before opening the base).)

I think etxtu.htm
has photos which reveal this area.  
(specific photo attached to this message)

good luck
drive base

Subject:	Supercharging
Sent:	Wednesday, July 4, 2001 09:55:41
From:	JPit@Prodigy.net (Jeff)
I just received my ETX-90 back from Dr. Clay and am extremely happy with
the supercharge he performed. The amount of work he does on each scope
and the minute detail that goes into this procedure is incredible. The
GoTo feature works perfectly and the motor drives sound great and work
flawlessly.  I was also impressed with little things like painting the
arrows white and the cleaning of the entire scope.  If you want your
Meade ETX to perform up to its capabilities, get your scope to the Dr.
right away!

Jeff Pitman 

Subject:	ETX-90 as a spotting scope
Sent:	Wednesday, July 4, 2001 6:19:26
From:	adept99@alltel.net (adept99)
This is probably a bit off the wall for you and your site, but I'm
having a bit of trouble getting any real answers anywhere else, so here

I shoot long range bench rest targets with a high power rifle. 
Distances involved are from 250 yds up to 1000 yds.  I need to be able
to see a 1/4" hole in a piece of paper at those distances.  I called
Meade and inquired, and got a rather murky answer that said with the
std. 26mm eyepiece a 2' target would occupy something like 25% of the
field of view at 400 yds.  By changing eyepieces, I should get a similar
result out to 1000 yds.  I believe they indicated a 9.?? mm and a 4.??
mm eyepiece.  The tech also mentioned a Barlow style eyepiece.  Problem
was that he had no idea if it would actually resolve to the detail I
needed to see.

Have you, or any of your web contributors, ever played with this type of
application?  Any idea if this will work?

Mike here: The ETX-90 has a resolving power of 1.3 arc secs. Figure out the size (in arc secs) of the hole at any distance you need and if it is larger than 1.3 arc secs you will be able to see the hole "as a hole". How large a view of the hole you want will dictate the magnification (eyepiece) to use. The supplied 26mm eyepiece provides 48X, meaning that the target will appear 48 times closer than it is really is. So, that target at 1000 yards will look like it is at 20 yards. If you use the 9.7mm eyepiece, the magnification is 128X and that 1000 yard target will look like it is at about 8 yards.

Subject:	Light pollution. The gods are laughing at me
Sent:	Tuesday, July 3, 2001 20:28:35
From:	Wilbur_Q@msn.com (William J. Cullen)
Sometimes you just gotta say...

Here I am, north of Boston, we have a blackout because there was a fire
in some substation.

Pitch black outside for miles around.

It is overcast.


I feel better now.


Mike here: I know the feeling. They won't schedule the California blackouts for clear nights either!


Jeez Mike,

Ya scared the heck outta me!

I just fired a missive off to the local news media because they're
explanation was lame and shebang!  I get you!

That's cool.

My ETX70-at went bonkers last night.  Probably low batteries.  I was
taking pictures of the Moon with my old and trusted Yashica when I
decided it was time for Mars.  The scope required a few slews during the
Moon shots.  I selected Mars as a GOTO and...

A warning.  The camera is not supposed to be attached above 45 degrees.
That goes for the T adapter as well.  Found out the hard way.  No
damage, I caught it in time.

For some reason, the ETX thought Mars was way off to my right and under
me. Weird.

It does get your attention.

So unless you are in complete control, remove all attachments from the
camera port.


Subject:	Information
Sent:	Monday, July 2, 2001 19:41:54
From:	er2@mac.com (Emsy Robinson)
I live in Dallas Texas.   Is there a Mars watch going on now in my area?
I thought Mars was really visible during the month of June and July. 
Any info on this?  I recently purchased an EXT 125.  I am anxious to use


Mike here: Mars is that bright orange object in the south after dark. See the "Observing Planets - Mars" guide on the Observational Guides/References page on my ETX Site.

Subject:	comet linear chart
Sent:	Monday, July 2, 2001 16:25:33
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
There is a wonderful binocular/telescope/naked eye tracking chart of
Comet Linear that can be downloaded and printed on the "SpaceWeather"
web site.


Since the comet's last good period will be the next 2-3 weeks this chart
should be helpful for all observers with binoculars and above.  Expect
Comet Linear to remain fairly bright until late July as it climbs higher
northwestward each morning;  right now it is very near the Great Square
of Pegasus and because of interfering moonlight I could see no tail in
10 x 50's, the ETX 125, nor the LX 90, but the comet itself is very
impressive at low power.....it is elongated E-W and about the same size
and brightness as the Andromeda Galaxy, not too far away!

Remember the moon will be moving closer the the comet's position each
successive night even though after the 4th, its light will begin to wane
a bit each morning.

Good observing!
P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	City Lights for Free...
Sent:	Monday, July 2, 2001 12:45:42
From:	RMOLLISE@aol.com
Due to Overwhelming demand (Welllll....maybe ONE or TWO requests), I've
placed my urban observing guidebook, _From City Lights to Deep Space_,
on the web for free download. Just go to
http://members.aol.com/RMOLLISE/index.html and click on "From City
Lights to Deep Space" in the menu of choices you'll find. This is an
Acrobat (.pdf) file, so you'll need the free Acrobat reader to view it.
It's also fairly large at 77 pages (3.5 Mb or thereabouts), so please be
patient if you have a dial-up connection.

Rod Mollise
Moderator, sct-user, the mailing list for CAT fanciers!
http://members.aol.com/RMOLLISE/index4.html or

Subject:	Collimation
Sent:	Monday, July 2, 2001 11:15:57
From:	rocrow@itl.net (rod crowte)
Many thanks for your very rapid reply to my previous question regarding

Having seen a picture on your site (somewhere) of an out of focus star
or spot of light together with the accompanying description of the donut
effect and the surrounding dark concentric circles indicating that the
collimation is spot on - I am somewhat concerned that on trying that
with my scope I get a series of vertical bands and no concentric circles
at all. Any thoughts on that, or am I worrying unnecessarily ? Focusing
seems to be ok though I couldn`t say it was pin sharp with the only lens
I have yet - the 26mm it arrived with and a x2 Barlow.The heat haze here
is causing problems at the moment and doesn`t help of course.


Rod Crowte
Mike here: If you are seeing vertical bands you likely need to let the telescope reach thermal equilibrium. This can take 45 minutes to a couple of hours. Then do the star test.

Subject:	Compare ETX-125 Spotting ETX-125 Tele
Sent:	Monday, July 2, 2001 10:28:48
From:	tippy_00@hotmail.com (Jesse Sherman)
If I were to buy the ETX-125 Spotting Scope Would I beable to see the
same thing as with the ETX-125 ec Telescope?  For example If  knew where
to look would I beable to see Cloud-belt patterns on Jupiter?  Thank you
for the help, Jesse
Mike here: The spotting scope model is the same telescope minus the base with fork arms and motorized drive. So yes, you'll be able to see the same thing with either scope. HOWEVER, you'll likely want to put the spotting scope model on an equatorial tripod so that you can easily track the object being viewed as the Earth rotates.

Subject:	My ETX controller died on me...
Sent:	Monday, July 2, 2001 5:45:12
From:	relias@motorola.com (Elias Rafael-ARE088)
I am a (somewhat) frustrated ETX owner. I bought my ETX three months ago
and purchased an AutoStar controller. The optics are superb... the
electronics are far from being acceptable, though. After downloading the
most recent 2.2 version and undergoing all the terrestrial and
astronomical calibrations (several times), I am still not able to use
the GOTO function successfully. The targets are between 20 to 40 degrees
off. Moreover, last weekend while performing a terrestrial calibration
(again), I tightened the Az lever and (poof) the AutoStar lost power.
The LED on the side of the scope was ON, but the AutoStar was OFF. I
replaced the AutoStar with the manual controller and nothing happened.
The scope died on me, although the LED was on.

Have you ever heard of a failure like this? Anyone reported a similar
failure? It appears that while adjusting the Az lever caused a short
circuit because the scope smelled burnt. Any insights on this issue is
greatly appreciated.

Ralph Elias
* relias@Motorola.com
Mike here: Have you checked the batteries? Perhaps the power level was too low. As to the alignments being off, have you rechecked all the settings, including location and Daylight Savings? If the electronics are dead, it should still be under warranty. Contact the dealer.

Subject:	Re: star directory
Sent:	Monday, July 2, 2001 3:46:18
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Marcus
It really is a two-step process:

1) click on the image with  your RIGHT mouse key;
2) the flyout will allow you to SAVE the image to a file on your PC;
3) select a name and save it into your main user directory;
4) now go back and open that file to view and "grab" the image to
re-size to fit an 8-1/2" x 11" format (slightly smaller for printing);
5)  NOW SAVE AGAIN!  It is now the right size for printing!!

Good luck!

Clay Sherrod
-----Original Message-----
From: Marcus
>Dr. Sherrod,
>Can you please tell me how I can get your maps to print on a single 8 x 11
>piece of paper?  For some reason the maps are getting cut off.

Sent:	Sunday, July 1, 2001 21:31:16
From:	sil1166@email.msn.com (sil1166)
I first want to tell you how much I appreciate your website.

i am an investigator and i am going to be doing a lot of surveillance i
don't need photo quality shots i do need to see faces and actions
clearly from great distances can i use my camera adapted to the etx-90ec
for this purpose

eagerly waiting for your reply
magickpi investigations
Mike here: With the proper adapters you can connect a 35mm SLR to the ETX-90 and use it like a 1250mm telephoto lens. It makes an excellent long range telephoto. See the Accessories - Astrophotography page for more on camera adapters.

Subject:	solar eclipse expedition
Sent:	Sunday, July 1, 2001 9:14:04
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Gerald - fantastic photos, one of the finest "partial" shots I have ever
seen!  Without a doubt, this photo shows more extremely fine detail in
the sunspot and surrounding penumbral areas than I have ever seen
through a conventional scope used for another (eclipse, for example)
purpose.  Very nice job.  It almost looks 3-D!  That photo would make an
excellent poster.

Also enjoyed seeing your ratehr serious-looking setup at the site!  You
were, as we say in Arkansas, "ready for bear."

Thanks for sharing this with us!

Clay Sherrod

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