ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 July 2002
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT. Additional information on these models is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX 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:	Selecting tripod and extended focus for Meade ETX 60
Sent:	Wednesday, July 31, 2002 12:46:23
From:	gregvonb@generalagents.com (gregvonb)
My name is Greg and I have an ETX 60 telescope from Meade.  I have
purchased some accessories for this scope to help me use it for viewing
terrestrial objects as well as celestial objects.  One item I have yet
to purchase is a tripod.  Up to now, for viewing birds,  I have been
able to place the scope on a table or other flat surface and this has
been ok.  When trying to view stars or the moon, this has been a pain in
the neck-literally.   I have been to the JMI web site but I'm not sure
of what I really need.   I would appreciate you feedback on this item. 
Also, I had the misfortune of turning the focus knob past the point of
no return, and  wound up with the focus apparatus coming apart!  Meade
was kind enough to replace the scope, but needless to say I'm a little
gun shy of turning this knob!  What I was wondering,  is there some kind
of focus extender that will  eliminate this happening again,  and at the
same time,  make focusing the scope more user friendly when viewing
objects directly overhead.   Thanks.
Mike here: Scopetronix has tripods for the ETX-70AT. They also have the FlexiFocus (see the write up on the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page). Alternatively, you can make your own focus extender; see the Telescope Tech Tips page or just use a clamping clothes pin on the focus knob. However, the focus extenders will not prevent forcing the focus past the extreme positions.
Subject:	Question on the Meade ETX 60-at
Sent:	Tuesday, July 30, 2002 9:03:13
From:	pejensen@nbnet.nb.ca (Peter Jensen)
Just purchase your book! Have a few questions that don't appear to be on
the web site?  I purchased a Meade ETX60at, mainly to see why they are
so popular, plus my three boys can use it and leave my 8" EQ reflector
alone.  I have a few question you may be able to help with.(if you don't
mind)

I like to know if I can replace my Autostar #494 with an #497 to use
with the ETX-60? (want to use my computer, rather buy a #497 instead of
buying a #506 cable kit)

Can the ETX-60AT use 12Volts (external power) or is it 9Volts only?

Can the ETX-60AT lens be replaced with a ETX-70AT lens?

Thanks..

Peter Jensen
New Brunswick
Canada

Clear Skies.

RASC Member
Mike here: According to Meade's Autostar Update page, the #497 works with the ETX-70AT. The Meade external power supply for the ETX-70AT is 12 VDC, 1000mA. Check the Telescope Tech Tips page for more on power supplies. And I doubt you can swap the lens easily, and if you could swap it you'd have to find one (Meade likely won't sell you just the lens).

And:

Thanks for the info.

One last question:

I want to connect a #497 Autostar with a #505 cable to my ETX60-AT.  
The #505 cable plug would plug into the Autostar and my computer.   With
this configuration, will I be able to control the ETX-60AT and download
new software to the Autostar?

I'm trying to not buy a #506 cable, I would rather get the better #497
and make a #505 cable.   All documentation on the ETX60/70AT only refers
to the #506 cable.  Maybe this is not a good idea.

(It's not in your book, I been reading it)

Thanks again,

Peter Jensen
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada 
Mike here: The answer is yes. And the ETX-70AT works fine with the #497.
Subject:	HI from spain
Sent:	Monday, July 29, 2002 11:48:23
From:	c.hurtado@turalsur.com (Turalsur)
i buy an etx70 last friday i recieve it from the dealer, here in spain i
a little dificult to obtain this telescope.

well i dont know anithing about atronomy

at the second try i align correcly the telescope at first i see the moon
very prety and better with the 9mm eyepiece, when i go to other object
with the 25mm i see a little stars but nothing more ant when i put the
other eyepiece i dont see nothing all in black i try to fix it
using(focus)but nothing¿?¿? is posbible that the reason is, the place
were i was seen have to much light? it was at my house garden and i dont
see too much light, the next day i try it at the beach but the same. is
posible that the hour to see is too late?

Please help. Because im a little sad to know if i can not see other
think than the moon or little stars with the ETX70.

thanks.

Christian
Mike here: Try the Tonight's Best guided tour in the Autostar. Unless you know what's visible, you won't know what you can see. Books and star charts can help but the Tour is a good place to start. Right now Venus is well positioned in the west before sunset (very bright and you'll see a "half-moon phase"). Other planets are not so well positioned currently. You can see star fields really nicely in the ETX-70AT but you have to know where to look; again charts or books or tours can help.

And:

THANKS A LOT I WILL FOLLOW YOUR ADVICE,

AND TELL YOU MY EVOLUTION.

REGARDS

FROM SPAIN  CHRISTIAN

Subject:	Filters
Sent:	Monday, July 29, 2002 1:06:12
From:	iannewey@phoenixpearson.com (Newey, Ian D.)
After a couple of months playing about with my new toy (ETX 70) I feel I
want to start looking at getting some new accessories for it. I have
decided to have a go at a bit of astrophotography. I have seen the
gallery on this site and many of them mentioned the use of filters. I
don't know anything about filters and wondered if you could tell me what
the benefits of using them are. Also, is there a filter that will allow
me to look at the Sun and if so will I be able to observe sun spots with
my ETX 70.

Many Thanks

Ian Newey
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Filters page for many types and uses of filters.
Subject:	re:  problems getting started with my new scope
Sent:	Monday, July 29, 2002 0:18:54
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	jodie.humphrey@ntlworld.com
Hello, Jodie...

From the sounds of it, this may take a few go-rounds of
email to work out (or identify a problem in the scope),
but let's give it a go...

It is -probably- something "simple", such as the computer in the
telescope having one wrong number somewhere which is causing all
else to be bizzarre.  And frustrating (computers delight in that).

So let's start at the beginning...
Since one of your symptoms is "points at the ground"
we can even do a lot of the testing indoors during daytime
(or rainy evenings).

We're going to do an "Alt/Azimuth" setup, since it should be easier.

So start with fresh batteries (or a mains adapter).
Have the scope sitting flat on a table.
Declare a spot to be "due north"
Set the scope with the barrel level... parallel to the tabletop.
(with luck, the number scale on the left fork should read Zero
in that orientation... if it doesn't, you can later loosen the
knob over the numbers and spin the disk to make it point at zero)
So now the eyepiece is pointing at the ceiling, and the big lens
(front) is pointing across the table at the fridge (or whatever
you called "north")
You are sitting behind the scope, facing north.

Snug the knob on the right fork to just tight enough to prevent
the barrel from drooping or lifting without your permission.
Snug the lever on the base to "tight enough"
(some of the scopes arrive with that lever too "loose" or
too "tight" to allow a proper range of action.  It should become
fairly snug about a half to 2/3rds of its travel clockwise)

Turn on the power.
Key the "?" to answer the Sun Warning.
We're going to just play, so simply accept (by tapping [enter])
the 08:00:00pm  (or 20:00:00 if you've set it to 24 hour clock).
Answer the Daylight Savings? prompt by using the scroll keys 
(lower rightnost (up) and leftmost (down) keys) to bring the
word YES into view..and then tap the [enter] key to say "that one".
Now the Date appears... use the scroll keys to advance the digits,
and the left and right Slew keys to move the cursor to the different
parts of the date.  Press [enter] when it's acceptable.

At this point it's probably offering "Align/Easy"

I suspect some of your problems are due to a bad number in the
Autostar's idea of your telescope.. so we are now going to 
totally reset the Autostar.

Press [mode].... the display should now say:  Setup/Align
Tap the scroll UP key.  It may now read  Setup/Statistics 
 Keep tapping the Scroll UP key until you see: Setup/Reset
Press [enter], then press [enter] again.
The Autostar will reinitialize (just like power-up).
But with a difference... it will now ask you for your City
and will ask what model of Telescope you have.

The model it -thinks- you have will have a ">" in front of the 
number.  Use the scroll key to roll to ETX-70.
Press [enter], even if the ">" is there 

Ypu'll have to enter the time and date again, too.
Daylight Savings will have flipped OFF due to the reset.

*This time* when we get to Align/Easy, press [enter].

The scope should slew to some point in the sky.
Assuming you are sittin indoors doing this, we'll pretend it
went to the correct spot, and tap [enter]
It will now slew to the second star ... hopefully it is NOT 
pointing at the floor.. but somewhere else on the ceiling.
Tap [enter] and "Align Successful" should appear.
The "sidereal drive" (star tracking) should start, and 
you will hear the motors making odd burbles and whirrs.

**if it pointed at the floor, please send me the names of 
the two stars it chose... and the following data:
(you can do this if it did it correctly, too...)
Press and hold the [mode] key for 3 seconds.  Release.
You are now seeing the Status Readouts.
First, you see RA/Dec of the target it's aiming at.
Press Scroll Down a number of times... you'll see the 
Alt and Az readout, the date and your location (with Lat and Long),
a display with TIME on top and LST on the second line... the TIME
is your local clock time, and the LST is the Local Sidereal Time,
the sky's Right Ascension coordinate value which is passing 
overhead -right now- (or will be a little  after 20:00 if you
set the clock to that).
Check that the LAt and Long -are- correct.
Check that the Alt and Az are reasonably close to where it -is-
pointing... (Az=0 and Az=360 are due north... Az=90 is due east,
180 is due south, 270 is due west... so you can estimate if it's at 
all close).  The Alt/Az readout will be -changing- as the sidereal
drive moves the scope slowly to follow the stars.

Now (assuming it didn't point at the floor above), let's try a couple
of stars... tap the [mode] key to return to the main display, which
is probably saying   Select / Object.
IF it's not, you can tap [mode] a few times and it -will- get there.
Now press [enter] and it says:  Object / Solar System.
Press [enter] .. it says:  Solar System / Venus
Press [enter]... it should say "Calculating" and then Venus/ RA=(some
number)
Press [enter][goto]
It -should- swing to something Southwestish, maybe 30 or 40 degrees up.
Wait for the BEEP of completion.
(you can use the press-[mode] 3 seconds method to get accurate numbers,
but anywhere in that general vicinity is OK... only try for the readout
if it points somewhere totally different)

Now use the [mode], [enter] and [scroll] keys to go to Star/SAO Catalog
(so that's mode a couple to reach Object/SolarSystem, then scroll down
3 times to Object/Star, tap [enter] to Star/Named, tap [scroll down]
to SAO Catalog, press [enter] and now use the scroll and Left/Right
slew keys to enter the number  308.  Press [enter]
It should say: SAO 308 / Polaris
Press [enter][goto]     (always press an [enter] before a [goto])
The scope should slew to due north.. with the barrel lifted to your
Latitude.  Wait for the beep.

If we've gotten this far, we may be almost assured of happier operation
at night...

Now tap the [mode] key to get to Object/Star  ... 
now tap [enter] to Star/Named ... tap [enter]
and with any luck at all, it will say Polaris.
You may press [enter[ and then use the scoll keys to read the
various bits it's willing to tell you about Polaris... if you
fall into the "scrolling text", you will need to tap the [mode]
key to get back out.
[mode] up to   Named/Polaris
Now use the scroll down key to get to  Named / Vega
Press [enter] (to select it) and [goto] to GoTo it...
This time the barrl should point medium-high eastward.

If all of the above is working as written.. you're ready to face
the night... you do NOT need to reset again. This once should do it.

Turn it off.  Unclamp the Dec Knob (the one on the fork), lower
the barrel to level.  Take the scope outdoors, and point it at
true (not necessarily magnetic) north.  If you can locate Polaris,
that -is- due north... you can set up your scope by lifting the 
barrel to point at Polaris, rotate the base to line it up, then
unclamp and drop the barrel to level.  That is the "Alt/Az Home"
posittion.  Now power up and proceed as above, (using Easy Align),
but give it the correct time and date.
(if you wish to use 24-hour time, when -asked- for the time,
use the right slew key to position the cursor under the PM.
Press the scroll down key until those two letters disappear.
You are -now- in 24 hour time, and the scope will remember 
that choice (but not the time, it will say 20:00) the next time
you power up.

Good luck, feel free to write with questions and results.
(if it does point at the ground, please descrine roughly where 
(in Alt/Az terms... or even: 30 degrees down to the north east)
and what stars it was trying to point at (both stars if two-star
or Easy).

have fun
---dick

Subject:	problems getting started with my new scope
Sent:	Friday, July 26, 2002 3:55:04
From:	jodie.humphrey@ntlworld.com (Jodie Humphrey)
I had a new ETX70 for Christmas which I still have not been able to view
the sky with. Due to cloudy sky's and city location I have only had a
few opportunities to try out my first scope, and I am finding each time
more frustrating. I brought this model as my first scope as I thought it
would aid me as a beginner, I am finding it to be the opposite however.

I cannot get the scope to align.I first tried in my garden with the easy
two star alignment, but it wasn't finding the star to align with, mainly
as on the second star it kept pointing towards the ground! I first put
this down to city lighting etc.

On my second attempt the same thing happened, and I had followed the
instructions to the letter getting my husband to double check my
movements.

on the third attempt (March) I decided to try the 2-star Alt/Az
alignment. I decided to learn and study the Orion constellation and
chose the two brightest stars from the menu in the sky that night -
Sirius and Capella - for the scope to align to. the same thing happened.
In fact now that I had specific stars to search for I couldn't even see
the first in my scope to centre it properly, and the second star the
scope tried to find it on the ground again!

My fourth attempt 2 March, I was able to go out into the countryside and
hoped to view the planets Jupiter & Taurus. Using the exact same method,
following the instructions precisely I had the same problems, the scope
wasn't aligning to the stars particularly the second.

I am in despair now, I so want to be able to see the wonders of the sky
and have failed each time. I thought I would ask your advice first
before phoning the company which I brought it from, as returning it is
not an easy option due to the distance. Although I am a beginner with my
first scope I have followed the instructions to the letter, double
checking inputted info like country, city, daytime saving hours etc.
etc. I have read beginners info from books about how telescopes work
etc. I don't think I'm a stupid person, but what am I doing wrong??? Is
it a small oversight of something or a major blunder? Or do I have a
faulty scope?

I really hope you can help me with some advice as I long to view the sky
properly from a very frustrated

Jodie Nikel
(Leicester, England)
Mike here: Sorry to hear you've had problems. Are you doing the Easy Align 2 Star method or are you selecting the alignment stars? If the former, does it always point to the ground for the 2nd star? If so, that sounds like the clock is off (day, month, year, time, AM/PM, Daylight Savings).

And:

Thanks for a prompt reply!

I've tried both the easy and alignment stars. It did point to the ground
on all of the second satrs. I did check the day, month, year etc. entry
each time i did them. Do you think it could an internal software problem
or something i'm doing? Just in case i've got it back to front, can you
confirm which way around daylight saving is for summer/winter in
England?

many thanks
Jodie
Mike here: I'm not sure about Daylight Savings for UK but that would only make a one hour (15 degree) difference. Have you tried a RESET, RECALIBRATE, and TRAIN DRIVES from the Autostar menu? That can cure many problems.
Subject:	Broken focus knob
Sent:	Thursday, July 25, 2002 6:22:44
From:	poulton@debevoisepoulton.com (Tom Poulton)
I bought an ETX-60AT on Ebay about 6 weeks ago.  Though the weather has
been pretty bleak here in Florida of late, I managed to get it out about
five times before the silver-colored focus knob became very loose.  I
used the hex wrench that came with it to tighten it back on and that
worked.  Once.

The next time I used the scope (last night), the focus knob worked for a
bit and then simply came off the rod that goes into the scope and
controls the focus.  Working with the knob and the hex wrench again, I
managed this time to actually dislocate the small screw going into the
focus knob.  I did this by screwing the thing in too far.  This is
symptomatic why I got a "D" in shop. I cannot retrieve the screw as it
is wedged into the silver colored knob too tightly and will not come out
reversing the hex wrench turning. Can't even seem to pry it out.

I plan to call in to Meade today to try to buy from them a replacement
knob, but have two concerns.  First, I tried turning with my fingers the
rod left naked after my botched focus knob repair.  Its the black rod
going into the scope, has a washer, and is what actually seems to me
must change the focus. It turned, but no change in focus, which makes me
wonder whether I've done even more harm than I realize. If so, is there
anyone out there who repairs such things?

Second, I fear that a new knob will simply give me another opportunity
to repeat this errant process.  I've seen some suggestions on your site
for home-made modifications making use of the focus knob, but they seem
based on the silver-colored knob actually being on there.  As you know
by now, it appears that I may never get that thing back on.  Any fixes
you can think of that work off the focus rod itself?

I'd hate to have a 75 cent knob wreck the thing.
Mike here: There are replacement knobs and focus extenders available (see the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page) or can be made (see the Telescope Tech Tips page). On the ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT the focus shaft moves the objective lens cell a small amount (for lots of turning of the shaft). If the shaft has become disconnected then you have a problem. You can contact Dr. Clay Sherrod (see the Tune-Up page); he may be able to help.

And:

Called Meade and they are sending me a replacement knob, gratis.  Little
things like that earn you customers for life.

Subject:	The Planets
Sent:	Wednesday, July 24, 2002 0:58:06
From:	iannewey@phoenixpearson.com (Newey, Ian D.)
I have just ordered a 4mm eyepiece and a 3x Barlow to get maximum
magnification from my ETX 70. In what sort of detail will I be able to
view the planets, or more specifically the gas giants. I looked at Mars
using a 9mm eyepiece with a 2x Barlow and it was still very small. Can I
expect much more using the 4mm or will I lose some of the clarity in the
image.

Thanks in advance

Ian Newey
Mike here: Mars is very far from the Earth right now and so it appears rather small. Summer of 2003 will have it much closer. As to Jupiter and Saturn, you will be able to see cloud bands and Saturn's ring. But keep in mind that the theoretical maximum magnification for the ETX-70AT is 140X and with 4mm eyepiece you'll get 88X and tripling that doubling (with the 2X Barlow Lens) or tripling it (with the 3X Barlow Lens) will exceed the max. What happens as you get close to the max is that the image begins to deteriorate and become very fuzzy. On good nights with bright objects you can exceed the max but the views may be disappointing.
Subject:	re: seating ETX-70 eyepieces
Sent:	Tuesday, July 23, 2002 22:51:51
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	gdstexas@swbell.net
(was re:  "A little perturbed about the ETX-70AT I just got" )

Hi...

yes, it's perfectly all right to not fully seat an eyepiece.
Any way it can be held, and focused, is fine...

-and-, for the ETX-70... there's a trick... 
note how your two eyepieces have chrome bottoms?
and they're different lengths?

-swap- them.  (the chrome unscrews without affecting the lenses
on mine.. if that's -not- true with yours, don't try this!)
Swap the longer and shorter chrome pieces between the two lenses,
and they're almost perfectly matched focus-wise.
You can now firmly seat them.

Why Meade doesn't do this escapes me completely....

have fun
--dick

Subject:	meade 497 controller question
Sent:	Saturday, July 20, 2002 4:45:32
From:	rnbrn21@rochester.rr.com (Ron Brown)
I was wondering if you could aswer a quick question for me? Can the 497
controller be used with the ETX-70AT telescope? Everything I read says
that it is an option for the ETX-90, ETX-105 and the ETX-125 only. I
would like to upgrade to it from the 494 on my ETX-70.
Thanks, Ron Brown  
Mike here: If you look at the Meade Autostar Update page (http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html) you'll see that the #497 works with all ETX models. This is also mentioned on the "Autostar Models" page on the Autostar Information page.
Subject:	A little perturbed about the ETX-70AT I just got
Sent:	Friday, July 19, 2002 23:45:17
From:	gdstexas@swbell.net (Guy D. Smith)
Let me start by saying that Im on my third ETX-70AT (and my second
standard field tripod) in three days.

My first unit had a detached mirror right out of the box  enough said. I
took it back to the Discovery Store and it was replaced immediately.

The second unit I got appeared to have something wrong with the Autostar
unitthe motor drive had a nasty habit of taking off and not being able
to be stopped, except by powering off (however, the optics on the second
unit were great!). I took it back today (and also decided to replace the
first standard tripod, as it had a friction pad that kept jamming).

The salesman at Discovery pulled another unit out, and it appeared to
have a loose screw somewhere in the forks. You could hear it rattling
about if you tilted the base. I ended up being given a different unit
which I took home.

Now this third unit appears to have an optical problem  the moon has a
very discernible yellow halo and the focus doesnt seem right (I notice
that the mirror has a lot of slop in the mechanism  is this possibly
related to the optical problem?). When looking at the moon with the 9mm
eyepiece, the play in the mirror mechanism is enough that, when you
touch the mirror knob, the image of the moon moves from the top to the
bottom of my visual field. Is this much free play acceptable? Is the
yellow halo (and associated focus issue) related to the mirror problem?
Or is it something else?

I had been looking forward to getting the ETX- 70AT for some time.
Perhaps Im just unlucky, but Im disheartened by what appears to be a
lapse in QC at Meade. Im debating about getting a fourth unit or just
returning the whole shebang to The Discovery Store and getting a refund.
 
Guy Smith
Dallas, Texas
Mike here: Sorry to hear you've had problems. It is normal to have some "color fringing" on low-end refractor telescopes. But there shouldn't be a yellow "halo" around the moon (yellow on one side and blue on the other would be normal). The flip mirror should not be loose. Of course, in normal use you don't touch the flip mirror while observing or focusing except by accident. If you attach something to the rear port you would flip the mirror to the other position and then back to view through the top eyepiece. So, it should not be causing any problem.

And an update:

I appreciate your reply, Mike. I just took the last ETX-70AT back to
Discovery and got it replaced (with the 4th unit in five days). This one
seems to be working fine. I'll give it the "moon test" tonight.

As I mentioned, the first unit's optics seemed superb - no color on the
moon. In fact, my wife commented that it looked like a shot from
National Geographic. (This wasn't necessarily meant as a compliment, as
it was intended in a "yeah, so what?" manner - but I took it as a
positive comment).

I have another question, though. If I don't seat my eyepieces "all the
way in", does this cause a problem? I realize that I have to refocus,
but I've found that moving the eyepiece out a bit (a 16th of an inch or
so) speeds along focusing and also eliminates some of the mild "focus
difference" across the view field. (I focus on a tiny antenna on a
building about a half mile from my house and then move the telescope
up/down and left/right to note focus changes across the front lens as I
view the antenna at the edges and middle).

Pardon my newbie questions. But other than a cheap Tasco I got when I
was 8 years old, now, (forty years later) this is my first relatively
decent scope. Obviously, it looks like I need to read your book, eh? :)

Thanks again for the response,

Kind regards,

Guy Smith
Mike here: Glad you got a better telescope. And no problem with adjusting the position of an eyepiece. What you are doing is making the eyepiece "parfocal" with another eyepiece. Some people even add a strip of tape about the eyepiece silver tube to keep it at the parfocal position.
Subject:	Hello fellow ETX users
Sent:	Friday, July 19, 2002 7:53:05
From:	iannewey@phoenixpearson.com (Newey, Ian D.)
I have always had a fascination with the night sky and about a month ago
after 31 years of looking at it with my naked eye I finally bit the
bullet and bought myself a telescope. I did a bit of research and ended
up going for the ETX 70AT. The first week that I had the scope it just
remained in the box. This was not due to lack of enthusiasm but more a
meteorological problem. Yes you've guessed it, cloud cover. I live in
the south of England so I'm pretty used to cloudy weather but it was
still very frustrating when each evening I would go out in the garden,
look up at the sky and just see cloud cover. Finally we had a clear
night with a quarter moon. I set my scope up and manually focused in on
the moon and was able to see craters and mares in amazing detail. I was
hooked. That night I also studied the constellation of Urser Major and
Cassiopeia. Using a 9mm eye piece and a 2 x Barlow I could clearly make
out the double star Mizar. My biggest treat yet came about a week ago
when I saw Mars. Even with 78x magnification it was tiny but I didn't
care because it was Mars. I think my wife thinks I'm a bit mad.

Anyway, enough of my waffling on. All I wanted to really say was many
thanks to you for this excellent site. I had so many questions and after
30 mins of reading your site I pretty much had them all answered. Please
please please keep up the good work as I know that will have many
questions in the future.

Regards

Ian Newey

Subject:	my new etx70
Sent:	Friday, July 19, 2002 1:06:33
From:	a.best@zoom.co.uk (ploppy)
I haven't been busy at work the past few days so have spent most of the
time reading stuff on your sight,(my eyes are hurting).

I have recently bought an ETX70AT and am very happy with it (at the
moment). I have located several objects with it that I coudn't find with
my 6" reflector as star hopping is difficult from my light polluted site
in Manchester, England. I have noticed a lot of people asking "What
should I be able to see" & "what should it look like".

Well, I was thinking of making a website where I could display sketches,
artist impressions or photos that people submit with details of what
telescope aperture, f/length, magnification etc.. and how the object
looked. What do you think?

I could add it to my existing site which is at
www.geocities.com/albsastros If anyone wants to send me any
images/impressions to get me started, they can send them to
abest@zoom.co.uk.

Thanks,
A.Best, England
Mike here: I think that would be a super idea! Thanks! You can host it on your site (which I would link to) or we can put them on my ETX Site.
Subject:	Re:  my teletscope [follow-up to email further down the page]
Sent:	Tuesday, July 16, 2002 17:45:48
From:	lildudder43@yahoo.com (jake louise)
The words  wont come on the Autostar when I turn it on.How do I fix
this?WillI have to buy a piece for the telescope?
Mike here: Are the batteries too low? Will the slewing arrow keys work? Do you hear a "beep" when you power on the ETX? Are the words really there but you can't see them except in the dark?

And:

The batteries are new.The slewing arrows wont work.No you cant hear a
beep when you turn the telescope on,and no you cant see any words.Even
when you are in the pitch black.
Mike here: OK, sounds like the connection is not being made. Could be a bad connector or jack, a bad cable, a bad Autostar, or a bad circuit board in the ETX base. Anyway you can try another Autostar?
Subject:	ETX AT &ETX EC
Sent:	Tuesday, July 16, 2002 10:51:19
From:	SFRIEBS@KRAUSONLINE.COM (SFRIEBS)
LOTS OF VERY HELPFUL INFO HERE
CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT THE DIFFERNCE BETWEEN THE ETX70 EC AND ETX70 AC
IS??

ALSO I HAVE 10 OR 15  12 VOLT WALL ADAPTERS (FROM OLD KID'S TOYS)AND A
FEW OF THEM PLUG INTO THE SCOPE NO PROBLEM, BUT BEFORE I PLUG IN AND
TURN STUFF ON, WAS WONDERING IF YOU KNOW THE POLARITY AT THE SCOPE
CONECTION-- DON'T WANT TO FRY ANYTHING OUTPUT OF THE ONE I MIGHT USE IS
12V AND AMPS IS .75---IF POLARITY IS CORRECT I SHOULD NOT (SCARY) HAVE
ANY TROUBLE--

THANKS A TON -- HAVE A GOOD (SIGHTFUL) DAY (NIGHT)----------STEVE
Mike here: The pin polarity is discussed on the FAQ page. The EC model does not include the Autostar but one can be added. The AT model includes the #494 Autostar.

And:

thanks for the reply--and web site--
after hunting around i did find the info and the wall adapter i have
from a tyco race set from way back when  works very well---its
cloudy/hazy here (chicago area) so no viewing available tonight---
thanks again---Steve

Subject:	ETX 60AT
Sent:	Monday, July 15, 2002 19:35:48
From:	rreppert@neb.rr.com (Robert Reppert)
Can the ETX60 get planets to zoom in any better than a pin point? Trying
to zoom in any more (Venus for example) all I get is a blur.  That's
with both the 9mm and 25mm eyepiece. And will a barlow lens correct this
or is this blurry mess or pin point really all the better the ETX60 can
get?

thank you

Rob Reppert
Mike here: By "zooming in" I presume you mean "enlarging" the disk of light by turning the focus knob. There is only one "in focus" position for an eyepiece and then is when the image appears crisp and not blurry. With the ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT models, the image will be small. A Barlow Lens can help with planets but only to a point as the ETX-60AT is a small aperture, short focal length telescope. Suggest you see my ETX-70AT comments (linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page, as well as the User Observations page.
Subject:	product advice
Sent:	Monday, July 15, 2002 13:06:12
From:	bob@abdopub.com (Bob Italia)
I am thinking about buying one of the Meade ETXs, but not sure which
one.  The ETX-70AT has a great price, including free tripod and Autostar
controller.   So I decided to go the local Discovery store to do more
research.

My main goal is to see details of galaxies.  The clerk didn't know if it
could be done with this telescope.  (I have a summer home in northern
Wisconsin--hundreds of miles from any city.  The night viewing is
spectacular, as the Milky Way looks like a long, glowing cloud.)

The Autostar controller sounds too good to be true.  Does it really work
that easily?  Or do you still need to do other things (including using
maps) to align the scope properly?

--
Bob Italia
Editorial Director
ABDO Publishing Company
www.abdopub.com
bitalia@abdopub.com
Mike here: The Autostar is pretty easy to use (with some practice). However, your goal to see details on galaxies is not really achievable with the ETX-70AT, nor with most amateur telescopes. Yes, with a good telescope system you can take long duration astrophotos that will show details but your eye just won't capture those same details. All you can normally expect to see is a faint fuzzy blob.
Subject:	seeing nebulae with the ETX-70
Sent:	Saturday, July 13, 2002 11:20:03
From:	FinnR.hjemme-pc@post.tele.dk (Finn N Rasmussen)
Alex  (alex_cashshadow@hotmail.com)  asked about seeing "nebulae"
(including galaxies) with the ETX-70. I started using an ETX-70 in
February this year and have seen several. Most of them look best in the
9 mm eyepiece, greater magnification reduces contrast. The ETX-70 will
rarely reveal any details, but you can se that the objects are actually
there. A fine source of information on what you may expect to see with
various ETX models is the excellent celestial excursion guides by Dr. C.
Sherrod found on this site. Incredible that such high quality stuff is
FREE! Another very good source is "turn left at Orion" by Consolmagno
and Davis, written specifically for owners of 2.5" refractors. At the
SEDS Messier catalogue (http://www.seds.org/messier/) you will find
links to actual user observations (IAAC Netastrocatalog) of all
M-objects using various instruments, including 7X50 binocs and naked
eye.

The North American nebula is a very difficult object requiring an
extremely dark sky to see visually. It is so large that one does not
need a telescope at all to see it, but a "nebula filter" may help, see
some of the reports in the netastrocatalog. The Ring Nebula (M57) is
very easy to find and observe with the ETX-70. It is not very
impressive, but it is almost always observable as a fairly bright little
grey dot. I have so far not been able to see the central darkening that
produces the "ring" impression, but I am observing from a heavily light
polluted location (lim. mag. about 4.5, milky way never seen). Having
done M57, try M27 (the Dumbbell) next – another "planetary" easy to see
in the ETX-70, but much larger and fainter than M57. Averted vision will
enlarge its size significantly. M81 is a fine ETX-70 object on some
evenings, but there are also times where it is hard to see. On a good
evening you will see M82 in the same field of view!  M53 (the whirlpool)
is more difficult; I have so far not been able to distinguish the two
parts of it.

Best wishes and happy "nebula"-hunting,      Finn Rasmussen, Copenhagen

Subject:	my teletscope
Sent:	Saturday, July 13, 2002 8:58:06
From:	lildudder43@yahoo.com (jake louise)
On my Etx-70AT when I turn on my telescope it turns on but my
conntroller wont work.

           Jake
Mike here: By "won't work" do you mean that you can not use the arrow keys to slew the telescope in any direction? Or do you mean you can't align it or it won't accurately GOTO objects? Or that nothing displays on the Autostar display?
Subject:	ETX-70AT Declination setting circle
Sent:	Saturday, July 13, 2002 8:21:36
From:	jfishell@vcnet.com (Fishell)
My brother-in-law received the ETX-70AT telescope for Christmas and
hasn't had time to take it out of the box so now it's at our house. My
husband is very interested in astronomy, but I am the technical family
member so it's my job to figure this scope out. I am an absolute
beginner at telescopes but love a challenge and since we hope to someday
purchase one, this will be a valuable experience.

The first hitch I've come across (besides the clouds that prevented us
from doing any viewing last night) is with the Declination Setting
Circle. I was happy to see that you mentioned it in your comments about
the ETX-70AT:

>The only physical problem I noted with the telescope was that the 
>Declination setting circle was not correctly aligned to the zero 
>position. As with other ETX models, this was easily corrected by 
>loosening the DEC lock knob and rotating the scale until it showed 
>the proper setting.

I would be grateful if you could elaborate on this? Where is the DEC
Lock Knob? You're not referring to the Vertical Lock , are you? Where
should zero be? How will I know when it's right?

Thanks a million, I am so glad to have found your website.

Julianne Fishell
Mike here: Regarding the Declination (or altitude) circle setting, see the FAQ for more info. When the tube and base are horizontal, the setting should read zero.

And:

Thanks, Mike. I have it figured out now.

Julianne Fishell

Subject:	etx-70 at
Sent:	Thursday, July 11, 2002 17:40:09
From:	alex_cashshadow@hotmail.com (Alex)
Hello,My Name is Alex I Have A question regarding the etx-70 at
teleascope looking at nebulas. I was out last night with my telescope
aligned so i thought let my try a nebula since iv never seen one. so i
tryed the north america nebula in cygnus right beside deneb and i went
there it was pure black i didnt see anything i was sad i said ''so maybe
it was a little to hard to find it, how about the ring nebula i didnt
see it either. and today im gonna try the m81 galaxy and the whirlpool
galaxy i hope ill see them.

So My Question is whats wrong when looking at nebula?
Mike here: Most nebulae (and galaxies) are too faint and extended to be visible with the eye using almost any telescope. Some, like M42 in Orion, M57 (the Ring Nebula), and many others, can be seen from reasonably dark sites and with averted vision (don't look directly at the object). The larger the telescope aperture the more "light gathering power" the telescope has, allowing fainter objects to be viewed. The ETX-70AT makes a fine wide-field instrument (for viewing star fields, for example) and it can be used to view planetary nebulae, although these will appear very small and faint. So, you could have been seeing M57, just not recognizing it.

And:

but the north american nebula should i use a wide field eyepiece because
i have a book and i saw all the stars inside the nebula but i didnt see
the red gas
Mike here: Don't expect to see red gas clouds. If anything, the clouds will appear as faint or very pale green. And to see anything at all you'll need a very dark site. But yes, for extended objects, a wide field eyepiece can help. But keep in mind that photographs and the eye will "see" differently, so don't expect to see the same images as you see in photographs.
Subject:	re:  Question about alignment
Sent:	Tuesday, July 9, 2002 1:51:54
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	rafapadi@teleline.es
Since you have the 494, you can look at Setup > Telescope > Ratio
and write down the RA and Dec ratios.
Then reattach the 497, and verify that its values are the same.

If they are -not- the same, you can enter new numbers at that
display.

I have used my normal 497 on my ETX-70 quite frequently, and i have
not seen the problems you describe.
I -do- have to do a Calibrate when i move the 497 from my ETX90 
to my ETX70, and select the Model.

After that, it works properly.

Thinking about it, i have -not- tried it with 25Ea... (the 
ETX70 was out on loan, it's now back).
I'll try tomorrow and will report if there are problems...

good luck
--dick

Subject:	For those who have been following
Sent:	Tuesday, July 9, 2002 1:14:39
From:	richardjudge@btconnect.com (Richard Judge)
Just a short note as a final entry on the aberration saga on my ETX-70
which is now in the April and May archives.

After finally giving in and returning the scope I had to wait about a
month for it's return as my dealer had to "send it back to the supplier"

I have received a replacement scope which appears much tidy (darker)
inside and as I read on another post the coatings do seem slightly
darker (Hmm.. Possibly a difficult comparison after a month)

Only now have I had a chance to test it out. There is still some radial
lines in the image of Vega but far less than before. Also they do not
radiate from one side but are even around the object. (Giving it a
"star" shape?) With care I can almost focus them out.

I guess I should have returned it in the first place but on the bright
side I have learned alot about refractors and their quirks.

So my tip for ETX-70 (and 60) owners this month is Alberio in Cygnus
(Beta Cygni) a wide double at 34.6". It is easily split into a Blue and
Yellow pair. I was surprised at how clear the colours appeared.

Thanks again Mike for the fantastic site.

Best regards

Richard Judge

Subject:	Question about alignment
Sent:	Friday, July 5, 2002 04:19:28
From:	rafapadi@teleline.es (Rafa)
I own an ETX-70. With its autostar 494, all used to go as smooth as
silk. But I purchased an Autostar 495 (now 497) and since then onwards,
telescope align has been impossible. I've been trying: a careful seeking
of the north, using a goniometer for a parfect 0 degrees elevation
adjust, and of course, I have RESETed, CALIBRATEd and TRAINed (in that
order) the autostar with the telescope. But the alignment always goes
off between 15 and 30 degrees. I believe that it (perhaps) is related to
the values of Alt/Az ratios to be defined and set in the Autostar (I
believe there are two pairs of these values), that maybe are not
correctly set in it. Could it be? If so, which would be the correct
values for the ETX-70?

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

Best regards, Rafael Padilla
Mike here: 15 or 30 degrees off sounds like a possible time issue. Check the Autostar time setting, location, and Daylight Savings Time setting. Also, check the telescope model and mounting mode in the Autostar. Also, does the #494 still align correctly?

Subject:	Meade ETX-70AT advice
Sent:	Monday, July 1, 2002 14:59:40
From:	higherground@btinternet.com (Richard Bull)
I discovered your web site on my quest for info on the Meade ETX-70AT
which I am considering purchasing. I would be grateful if you could tell
me whether I'll be able to control this scope with either my PowerMac G4
or iMac. I already own a Belkin USB to Serial adaptor which I use for my
Psion palmtop, but Charles at "Stellanova.com" reckons:

"My cables will only work with the ETX 90 and larger (these scopes have
the AutoStar #497 or #495 controller and also use the Meade 505 Cable
Connector). The cables will NOT work with the ETX 60AT and ETX 70AT
because they require the Meade 506 Cable Connector. The Meade 506 cable
is a proprietary cable that has a small rectangular box in the cable
that has a small circuit board that I cannot duplicate. I do not know of
anyone who will supply a cable to connect a Mac to the ETX 60AT and ETX
70AT. I am sure it is possible to make an adapter..."

Assuming that some sort of Macintosh connection is possible, does this
mean that I won't be able to extend the cable?

I would also appreciate your comments on his opinion that:

"... but it is not worth the effort since the ETX 60AT and ETX 70AT are
such poor choices for an astronomical telescope."

I'm just starting out in astronomy and I only have the budget for the
ETX-70AT

Thanks in advance.
-- 
Regards,

Richard Bull
Mike here: You can control the ETX-70AT from a Macintosh using software, a USB-serial adapter, AND a #506 cable (which can probably be extended for a few feet). As to the suitability of the ETX-70AT for your purposes, only you can answer that based upon what you want to do with a telescope and your expectations. But see my ETX-70AT comments (linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page as well as the User Observations page.

And:

Thanks for the speedy reply. I bought it today and I just need to get
hold of a DIN8 to D9 cable and I'm all set. Just as soon as it stops
raining in the UK that is!

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