Last updated: 31 July 2004
Mike here: On the previous Site Update, I asked if anyone was using the RSS/XML newsfeed. Here's a response:
Subject: RSS newsfeed Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2004 00:37:06 From: Rafael Falquina (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm using it and find it quite convenient. I'm a new ETX-90EC user in Spain and used to check your site every 3-4 days. Now I just wait for a warning message to pop-up. Thanks for a great site. Rafael Falquina.
Subject: Meade ETX125 Sent: Saturday, July 31, 2004 04:08:40 From: SPYKEMIKEW1@wmconnect.com (SPYKEMIKEW1@wmconnect.com) Hope you have some answers to help me out. I just brought home my ETX125 did the normal set up and took the telescope out for a test. I trained the Autostar and proceded to align the scope. Much to my dismay the horoizontal drive would not engage....motor failure was all I read on the autostar. Other than returning the unit is there a quick fix for this problem? Thanks, Mike WillisMike here: Could you have overtightened the axis lock? Could you have not tightened it enough? With the lock engaged can you use the arrow keys to slew (I gather you could since you indicated you did the TRAIN DRIVES step). Did you TRAIN on both axes? (It is easy to miss the second one.) In the HOME position set up did you do the rotation to the hard stop and back to North?
I think the axis lock is ok...it did work when I trained the telescope. Even with the axis lock engaged it will not slew...no noticable noise coming from the motor...that worries me. After the hard stop and back to north the only thing that would slew were the fork motors. I did use the Autostar to run a test on the motors only to get the same result's. The same message "Motor Failure" It worked once for the setup and quit...any others reporting this problem. This is a brand new scope. Thanks again Mike WillisMike here: I gather that the slewing arrows will no longer slew the ETX in azimuth. That's a bad sign. Lets try a couple of things. Disconnect and reconnect the Autostar (with the power off) and then do a RESET on the Autostar. Re-enter everything and try slewing again.
Subject: .965 filters Sent: Friday, July 30, 2004 15:59:26 From: H L Keaton (email@example.com) I just wanted to send you a quick update. I had inquired about the .965 filters a few months back with no luck. After searching for awhile and after I converted to all 1.25 & 2" filters, I found the .965 filter on Lumicons site. Thank You Very Much for what you do for the amateur astronomer. Hulett Keaton From the Dawg Nation.
Subject: Need Your input Sent: Friday, July 30, 2004 06:04:19 From: shirley m feickert (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am now ready to go back to Meade after a bad time with Celestron I have been looking at 3 choices, SC-8 LX90 and a used Schmidt 10" LX200 classic 1995 vintage in great cond. It comes from a Meade dealer, The price for any of these is right, and I am into deep sky stuff. What is choice, I know you like the XLT. Thank You JIMMike here: Both are excellent choices. However, the LX200 is a more complicated setup vs the Autostar. But you will get the larger aperture. The LX200 is more suited to DSO astrophotography but the LX90 can do it as well.
Thanks again Mike I should never left Meade.
Subject: Re: Overdue Thanks Sent: Friday, July 30, 2004 02:25:49 From: P. Clay Sherrod (email@example.com) Hello George and thank so much...delayed or not, this is very appreciated! Clear skies and bright discoveries... Clay -------------------- Dr. P. Clay Sherrod Arkansas Sky Observatory Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC H43 (Conway) Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.) http://www.arksky.org/ ----- Original Message ----- From: George Hi, Dr. Sherrod ! You serviced my Meade EC 90 some months ago and I never thanked you. Forgive me. The excitement of so many lovely nights made me forget my benefactor.You made her into a brand new scope! Wonderful. I feel like she had a heart transplant. You are all aces. Thanks. Sincerely, George
Subject: 125 EXT Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2004 20:13:54 From: Gerald Jenny (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'am at a loss I loaded Astroplanner 1.3.2 and put in my 125 ETX and some eyepices so I check the combinations screen and it tells me that my 6.4 MM eyepeice is to strong for the 125 and also the 7.MM .Ilook up the Meade Sprcs. and they tell me that it's good for up to 500X what am I missing if that is so then I cannot use my Meade LPI. Please enlighten thsi dummy Jerry Gerald JennyMike here: For info on the theoretical maximum magnification calculation for any telescope see the FAQ page. And yes you can use the LPI with the ETX line.
Subject: re: DEC mecanical delay Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2004 19:46:56 From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) From your excellent description and photographs, it sounds like you have too much (excesive) end-play on the worm. If you are seeing the worm (2) turn immediately upon pressing the key, but the driven gear (3) is not moving, then the worm is probably "climbing" the gear, along the worm's length. Look in the Telescope Tips page on Mike's site, many of the "tune up" articles in the right column discuss adjusting the worm end play (it involves loosening and tightening the nut at the top of the worm (2) in your photo). good luck --dick
Subject: re: Moon landing Proof Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2004 19:19:23 From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) What would you consider "solid proof"? If it's the flag, then how about the laser retroreflectors (special mirrors) they left behind? Those are still in use every day by astronomers and lunar geologists to detect moonquakes, to test various theories of gravitation and relativity... And they're there: shine a laser at the spot of the landing, and a tiny spot of light bounces back. Now, that's as "solid" as seeing a flag, but suffers from the same -lack- of solidity, since both the flag and the laser retroreflectors could have been dropped off by unmanned rockets. have fun --dickAnd more:
Here are some quickly found (not checked) references (by asking Google: moon laser retroreflector ) The first looks the best: http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2004/21jul_llr.htm ..which is titled: "the most important thing Armstrong left on the moon" and there's: http://library.thinkquest.org/03oct/02144/moon/laser.htm and http://www.lpi.usra.edu/expmoon/Apollo11/A11_Experiments_LRRR.html and http://www.spacetoday.org/SolSys/Moons/TheMoon/Retroreflectors.html and www.bga.com/~cfb/Using_Lunar_Retroreflectors.html ..oh, the guy in the office next to mine at work also uses the retroreflector data, too (he's one of the team to most accurately "weigh" the earth a couple of years ago). have fun --dickAnd this:
From that last page i cited (which does the numbers of how bring the reflected light is): "These days, all too often, one runs across people who do not believe the Moon landings occurred. There were many Hams who received signals not only from the Apollo spacecraft, but from the ALSEP packages before they were shut down in the late 70's. They could face down most doubters with their compelling evidence. Sadly, these Hams are getting old, with more and more becoming SK's. So it gets ever harder to convince the doubters." "Hams" are shortwave radio amateurs. have fun --dick (really, i'll stop now)
Subject: Moon landing Proof Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2004 07:15:38 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm searching for solid proof that we actually landed on the moon. My question is, if we know exactly where the flag was placed on the moon, wouldn't we be able to see it with a powerful telescope? If that is true, how powerful of a scope would be needed and at how much magnification. Thanks!Mike here: More than you can afford! Do the math; consider that you are likely looking almost straight down (not quite) at the end of the flag pole. I don't recall the exact dimensions but assume a 1" diameter spot at the Moon's distance. Of course, the flag's shadow will be larger at some times during the lunar day.
Subject: DEC mecanical delay Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 2004 19:30:10 From: Daniel (email@example.com) Here me again...it seems the mechanical problems are chasing me...well, that's the point now: Each time I change the DEC direction movement in speed 4 and lower, I have noted a four seconds delay where the scope is motionless, before the scope take the opposite direction of movement. After those 4 secs, the scope begins to move in the opposite direction, as I expect. I have identified the reason and I need to refer to the photo I have sent: the delay is caused for a lack of communication of movement between the metalic worm (2) and the worm wheel (3). Still when the plastic axis (1) and the worm (2) are moving from the first second I change the direction of movement, the worm wheel is still motionless, and only after 4 secs it begins to move. Do you know the reason of this behavior? Do you know how can I solve this? For the training motors purposes, this delay of movement are source of many errors, so I think is possible to correct... Thanks in advance for your advice daniel
Mike here: If not a mechanical issue, see the article "Setting Percentages For Better Tracking" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.
Subject: Gear box replacement Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 2004 15:51:09 From: Jim.Beston@questintl.com (Jim.Beston@questintl.com) Just when I thought things were O.K. I find that my ETX will not rotate fully either by hand or by motor! I have about 320 degrees of movement between stops I can't see anything catching in the base. Can you (or Dr Sherrod) help? JamesMike here: Since I assume you could rotate nearly twice around in azimuth before the gearbox replacement we'll assume that something shifted. You will just need to find it. Could be a wire (bad if you cut it) or some debris that is catching, or something that is otherwise protruding into the path.
Your Assumption is right Mike, Difficult to imagine something shifted, because taking the gearbox out doesn't involve (I would think) getting anwher near the hard stops, which I assume are on the other side of the base plate. It is possible that the position of the worm relative to the gear it engages is different than before but when rotating against the stops the worm and the gear stay in the same relative position to each other. I'll take the box out again and see what I can find, I don't want to dissemble the base any more than I have already since I would imagine to take the (Alloy) base right out is difficult. I did note that one of the gearbox screws is longer than the other two - I wonder if it can catch on anything on the other side of the base plate? I'll let you know how I get on. JamesAnd an update:
Problem solved Mike: The screw holding the gearbox/circuit board nearest the back-end of the alt/z motor was catching an the rotating section of the base above it. - I must have lost a spacer when I installed the new box. All I need to do now is resolder the batterybox wires I broke in the process. Longer wires and a plug in connector, or at least a front panel that could be removed would be nice MEADE! James
Subject: Polar vs Alt-Az alignment with Advanced Mead Tripod (887) Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 2004 11:27:10 From: Edelmann (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thought I'd pass along my recent experiences with using the 887 tripod (and Autostar), with and without the wedge. Initially, I was using it in the Alt-Az mode, since judging from the directions, etc., it appeared that that was somewhat easier. Alignments using the easy mode seemed to bear fruit without frustration. I would be able to goto and track the ring nebula, for instance, without any problems for about as long as I'd care to keep viewing it. I used a level, and made sure the tripod was level, as well as the OTA per the instructions for proper Home Position. Leveling the tripod has always seemed to be tricky... then, I read a post where there's no need to really level the tripod perfectly... since the alignment process from home position is capable of accomodating most error there. I tried that subsequent to... ... switching to polar mode. I decided this past Spring, that real astronomers, whether weekend or no, use polar mode. ( OR, perhaps the "waste" of having such a fine wedge sitting in the closet collecting dust got the better of me.) With that in mind, I dragged my wedge out, and installed it on the top of the tripod. After carefully re-calibrating and retraining the drives, as well as ensuring I was at the then most current Autostar build, I noted nearly every viewing session thereafter, that the accuracy was a definate problem. I actually observed a definate regret for having left more simpler times behind. I realize, of course, that the polar alignment procedure can be tricky, what with the celestial pole being none-to-obvious. With the 26mm ploessel, for example, it would be handy to know exactly how much of the FOV one needs to offset from Polaris in the direction of Kochab in order to position the scope properly. In the end, I have to say, that since the polar mount didn't appear to have any particular advantages for casual viewing over the alt-az mode, the ease of alignment TOTALLY wins out with the latter mode. So, other than for the cool look of using the wedge, I have recently returned to the alt-az mode, and sure enough, my alignments are dead on... even without leveling the tripod with a bubble level. Plus, using the controller to level the OTA for home position, rather than using the DEC clamp, is also a great idea (per the aforereferenced posting), since it has to save on wear and tear of the same. Bottom line, I totally concur that it's best to use alt-az mode if you have Autostar as well, (just as you have suggested elsewhere on your site). thanks, John
Subject: ETX125 Focus Sent: Saturday, July 24, 2004 00:50:24 From: KvnFor9@aol.com (KvnFor9@aol.com) Can you advise if it is normal when adjusting the focus, the object moves to the left or the right of centre. I have had the same experience with cheaper scopes, however I was not expecting it with a Mead. Any tip or ideas with this, I have looked through the site but cannot find anything to compare with. Regards, Kevin FordMike here: Yes, it is normal for there to be some image shift. This is due to the design of the telescope, not some defect. Since focusing is done in a Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope by moving the primary mirror, the position of the focal plane will also move. However, the image shift should NOT be excessive. If it is excessive then the optics may be out of collimation. By the way, if you search the site for "image shift" you will get lots of hits.
Subject: barlow lens Sent: Friday, July 23, 2004 11:35:09 From: Whitey Stewart (email@example.com) I am purchasing a etx 90 uhtc from discovery web site. They offer a 3 lens pkg accessory that includes a #124 barlow. Everything I have researched says the #124 is for the etx 70 or 60. The correct lens is the # 126. Wil the #124 work with the etx 90? What is the difference between the 124 and the 126? Thanks PrestonMike here: Yes, it should work for most eyepieces but the #126 is slightly higher quality and should work with more eyepieces (allow them to reach a focus with the ETX-90).
Subject: Illinois Dark Sky Star Party Sent: Wednesday, July 21, 2004 11:39:11 From: Hardy, Larry (Larry.Hardy@morganstanley.com) Mike, We had an opportunity to meet when you attended the Illinois Dark Sky Star Party outside of Springfield Illinois, I was the chairman of the event. I thought, after looking at your site, I would make a comment regarding our upcoming event in September, ( Sept 16-17-18) Once again we will be hosting the event , but this year as a cooperative effort with the St Louis Astronomical Society. For registration fees, maps, speakers etc. please direct your readers to our web site www.sas-sky.org As you know, we really pride ourselves on having access to the darkest skies in the state of Illinois ( thanks to the NASA Dark Sky Survey) at the site of the star party. Last weekend our club held an outing at the park with a couple of Boy Scout Troops, and it once again took my breath away. We expect that we may have a vendor or two, but attendees would probably serve themselves better by attending a vendor fair at another location. We look at our event as an opportunity to observe, and learn from others , to date, vendors have been willing to provide us with some outstanding door prizes, and are so noted on our links page to their web sites...although we will be holding an " Ice Crme Social i.e., Swap Meet on two of the days. We invite individuals to contact us with any questions about the event. Sincerely, Larry A. Hardy President Sangamon Astronomical Association Springfield, Illinois
Subject: View Finder Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 2004 09:03:15 From: eric (firstname.lastname@example.org) Eric Smith here. I've had my etx 90 almost three years now. I dared to clean the lense of my scope, eyepieces, and view finder using Clay's mixture worked great! One problem though, apparently some of the grease from inside the view finder got on my view finder lenses. I've tried re-cleaning, it and all I get is one clear spot in the middle. Any ideas how to clear this up? Thanks, EricMike here: You can try a LensPen (see the Cleaning Tips article on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page).
In an earlier message, I mentioned that after using Clay's mixture to clean my view finder optics, the lense closet to the eye was fogged over. Originally, I though that some of the lubrication that was plentiful inside the view finder had smeared on the surface of the lense. I figured I had nothing to lose, so I disassembled my 45 degree view finder. Once I was able to remove the small cylinder that holds the first optic element and the cross hairs (do this by removing the rubber focus band and removing the set screw), I was able to tell that the problem was condensation inside the cylinder. So, I took the cylinder and placed it on the warming plate on the kitchen stove. I set the heat to a level that was just uncomfortable to the touch. After an hour, the condensation had evaporated and the cylinder optics were clear as a church bell on a spring day. If anyone else runs into this problem, I'll be happy to help them work it out. Eric Dalton, GA
Subject: ETX Electronic Controller Question Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 2004 01:10:52 From: James Jefferson-Wilson James (email@example.com) I understand that instead of Polar Aligning you can center the object in the middle of the eyepiece and Use the Electronic Controller to simulate the natural drift of an object, is this true ? I read the manual and it saids you can, but I just wanted to make sure and what speed it should be on Electronic Controller ? (ie: Lights 1 - 4) . Do you know anyone who has tried this for Astrophotography ? Regards, James Jefferson (JJ) LondonMike here: With the standard handcontroller you must either polar align the mount or continuously slew the telescope to keep the object in view by using the slew arrow keys on the handcontroller. There is no automatic correction with the standard handcontroller.
Thanks, so once I centre the object I can just keep holding the Arrow key and this will keep it align as it would if it was polar Aligned ? Do you know off hand what setting this should be ? There are 4 lights, I would imagine it's the slowest setting ? Or do I have to do something else For it to be "naturally aligned" ? I can't remember the proper term for it. Many Thanks again,Mike here: No, you can't just HOLD a key down. Depending upon the orientation of the mount, you would have to slew in directions to compensate for the Earth's rotation. With the standard controller, IF you mount the ETX in polar mode, then only one drive needs to run to compensate BUT again, depending upon the accuracy of the setup, you may have to do some corrections by using the arrow keys.
I think I have identified the origin of my confusion. In the Meade "Instruction Manual ETX-90EC Astro Telescope with Electronic Controller", on page 11, under the heading The Electronic Controller, Modes of Operation, Alt/Az, it says: "...in this mode astronomical tracking is not automatic and requires continuous key pushes." This statement appears to conflict with the answer you gave to my question. I believe that the reason for my confusion is that the ability of the ETX automatically to track celestial objects is a capability of the telescope PLUS the Autostar controller and NOT a capability of the telescope alone. Without the Autostar, the ETX cannot track celestial objects continuously and automatically, in the Alt/Az mode. It seems to me that the writers of the instruction manual for the telescope and for the Autostar have failed to highlight this fact sufficiently. Of course, real men don't RTFM anyway so for them it wouldn't have mattered. Do you agree with my statements above? Warm regards, Dan SmithMike here: The manual was written pre-Autostar days and probably not updated. And both answers are correct; the controller won't automatically correct unless you press keys. There is no single speed that would be used to allow you to continuously hold down a slewing key.
Ok, thanks mike ..... Soz for the bugging questions :-) Got myself a new ETX125 last weekend (still waiting for clear skies) but Really wanted to get to grips with it as much as possible before I start. Your site has been so helpful the last 6 months. Its very much appreciated. James.Mike here: By the way, a NEW ETX-125AT is supposed to come with the Autostar, not the standard handcontroller.
It came with Both :-) .... Result, don't want to part with my ETX90 but The missus is on my case. Also what do you reckon the Meade 4000 8-24mm zoom eyepiece ? I have a lot Of meade 4000 eyepieces but don't want to keep takin of the adaptor for My camera but also want to make sure the quality is still the same...its A meade so I know its good, worth it ? On ebay at the moment for 112.00Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page.
Subject: The Ideal Mighty ETX Star Party Sent: Monday, July 19, 2004 18:41:45 From: BtwdFritz@aol.com (BtwdFritz@aol.com) I really love this website. Any chance at all that a future ETX Star Party could be held in Hawaii, at oh, I don't know...Mauna Kea? I don't know how many people attend the party, or from how far away---and I'm sure part of the appeal is that it can be driven to if it's held in the continental U.S.---but I bet many would weigh the options between driving for 20 hours or flying for 5 to 8 hours, and conclude that maybe it's about time to make the pilgrimage to astronomy's sacred site, ETX in tow. Since there are quite a few flights flying directly into Kona, maybe a travel agency could work out some special deal if there are enough people, and I'm sure we'd find the kind folks at Mauna Kea full of the welcoming aloha spirit. Also, prominent speakers and generous marketing executives from big-time sponsors love this kind of excuse to go to Hawaii. I believe many people would be interested, and, given enough notice, will find a way to get there. (After all, didn't we all manage to find the money to buy our 'scopes, and haven't we been dreaming of the ideal dark sky ever since?) To borrow rather shamelessly and loosely from the film Field of Dreams: "Post this, and they will go." My family is from the Big Island, and believe me, once you see the night sky from Hawaii, it will stay with you forever. It is an extremely powerful experience, especially for kids. We could bill this very special trip as the "Starfield of Dreams"! Just thought I'd throw this out there...er, up there. Your thoughts, please! FritzMike here: Sounds like a nice idea! See the item "Visit to Hawaii Observatories" on the Other: Just for Fun! I'd love to go back to Mauna Kea! But I'd still like to get one on the East Coast as well. And Europe chimed in requesting one. Know how to clone me (and the necessary funds)?
Subject: Does the ETX90-EC w/ Autostar Track Continuously? Sent: Monday, July 19, 2004 09:44:37 From: Dan Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have searched the ETX90-EC User Manual and your book on the ETX and nowhere have I found definite, unmistakeable indication that the ETX has the means with which to track an object continuously when it is in the ALT/AZ mode. Can it do that? Can it remain accurately on target for minutes, or for a half hour, say? I realize that it will track continuously in the POLAR mode, requiring only that the right ascension motor operate at a constant rate, with the other drive motor not running. To track continuously in the ALT/AZ mode, however, is a whole other ballgame, requiring that both the RA drive and the DEC drive run continuously, and at carefully computed rates. Can you comment? I realize that this a fundamental question, central to the capabilities of the ETX90-EC, but it seems to me that the instructions zoom right over this question as if any fool ought to understand without being told what the telescope can do in this regard. Your comments, please Now, if the answer to the above question is "yes", the ETX can track an object then another question arises: how does the ETX know where in the sky it is pointed, to begin with. Warm regards, Dan Smith email@example.com Austin, TXMike here: Yes, it will track in Alt/Az mode. How long it will track accurately depends on many factors including how well you did the TRAIN DRIVES and alignment steps. Once you do the alignment steps correctly, the ETX knows the sky geometry for your location.
Thanks very much for this reply, Mike. It sure makes sense. Regards, Dan Smith
Subject: hi its about my etx if you can help Sent: Sunday, July 18, 2004 12:28:29 From: Notscratcher@aol.com (Notscratcher@aol.com) hi i wondered if you can help me . i have a etx 105 ec.. and would like to now if there is a way of cleaning the mirror .. i now that you should not clean it but it has got to a point now that it has to done,. the grease and dust / hair is too much.. or do you now of a place were i can buy a new mirror for the etx..Mike here: See the article "Cleaning Optics" on the Buyer/New User Tips page. Alternatively you can contact either Meade or check out the ETX Tune-Up Service. If your mirror really needs replacing you would have to contact Meade or look for a used/refurbished system. But then you would have to re-collimate the optics; not something to be undertaken lightly.
Subject: Meade DS-90 Sent: Sunday, July 18, 2004 08:07:51 From: H.C. Ward (firstname.lastname@example.org) I discovered your website AFTER I returned a MEADE DS-90 to HSN. The initialization procedure after seven hours of trying just got the best of me. I won't bore you with the details except to say it was the programming of the Autostar that finally did me in. A number of serious of amateur astronomy friends described the telescope and controller system as a "POS." I guess they were right. Or were they? As a high school science teacher the promise of the DS-90 with it's low price was too good to resist. Can you offer me any hope that an affordable telescope with a user friendly telescope computer controller is available? Your thoughts please. Thanks, Hugh Ward (DeLand, Florida)Mike here: Well, first off, you need to define what YOU mean by USER FRIENDLY. All the GOTO systems require learning the system and some initialization. If you spend enough money (like for the LX200GPS models) then the initialization steps are all done by the system BUT you still have to learn the system. If you find the GOTO computer menus unfriendly you can connect a computer (Mac or PC) to the GOTO system and control the telescope via a starmap display on the computer screen. What I suspect may have happened in your case was the less than clear documentation that came with the telescope. Most users who have struggled with the documentation have been able to overcome that by the tips on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page on the ETX Site. Another tip that is helpful is contacting your telescope dealer or visiting a local astronomy group; they can provide assistance.
Thanks for your quick reply. The documentation was indeed very much confusing. In the initialization procedure, I got as far as the alignment phase with no trouble, and then I got some messages about the motors. Previously, the telescope moved fine with the controller commands. Once I got the motors fault error, the whole thing froze up and ultimately shut itself off. I tried a numbers of fixes to no avail. Since there was no way to get to the recalibrate menu manually I was stuck. I thought for a long time, and said to myself "Should I have to work this hard to get a telescope computer controller to work?" I have got the point in my life that I will give a product a second and maybe a third look, but not beyond that. I wonder if Meade field tested their instructions with anyone outside their company and some technically savvy group. I have made a few products myself, ( www.hcwardco.com ) and I can assure you field testing products with non-technical people really shows up the weaknesses of a product and it's documentation. Please don't take what I have said at all personal. It was not directed at you or your comments. It is just very frustrating. We have this low cost and "easy to use" scope and I saw great potential for greatly widening the population who love astronomy. I have taught astronomy on and off for nearly thirty years and finally, I thought I had found a product that would hook a bunch of students for life. If you go to star parties, who do you see there? You see a lot of old white dudes who have engineering backgrounds. (I am one of them!) Is it any wonder that space programs are viewed as non-essential by so many voters. Sadly the search goes on. You didn't recommend any scope that will come close to filling my need as a teacher. Please give that some more thought. Thanks so much for even replying, HughMike here: Motor faults can be due to many causes; weak batteries, locks that are overly tightened, bad connections, dirty encoders, not doing the CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES steps, not putting the telescope in the proper HOME position, not setting the proper telescope/mounting mode, etc.
All your probable causes were thought of and determined not be the problem. Really! That is why I took 7 hours to finally get to a wall of frustration. I noticed the ETX-90 can be found for around $450 on eBay and through your website. Nice site! I will keep an eye out for one based on your recommendation. If you know of someone who would like to get a tax letter for a telescope donated, I can arrange it though the high school where I teach. I would love to have a guidable scope by September. My biggest concern is the AutoStar. The one I returned was Model 494. I assume the 497 version is an upgrade. Is that true? I don't want to repeat this process with another one. Any more ideas? Regards, HughMike here: You could contact the sellers to see if they would be OK with the donation. The Autostar #497 has more capabilities and is somewhat easier to use since it has a full number keypad. By the way, if you are near Cape Coral, you might want to check out the Scopetronix retail store (www.scopetronix.com). They are an excellent source of telescopes, accessories, and information located in Florida.
Subject: Re: ETX -90 Motor Fail? Sent: Saturday, July 17, 2004 19:55:38 From: SS (email@example.com) I am using the newest update, still no luck, tried to switch back to the standard controller and same thing, up/down works fine on all speeds...but when I try side to side things get bizarre, only goes one speed (fast) and sometimes keeps slewing once the button is released. I just tried it with the autostar controller again and upon start up it attempts a motor calibration and reads "motor fault", wont let me go further, attempts another calibration and reads it again (motor fault). Ahhhh, technology. The shame is that I have had the scope for two years and of course no warranty. I have only used this particular scope a total of ten times, so this is not from "over use". * I guess my next question is, and hopefully you have some input, are there any options for getting the scope fixed? this is my ultimate source of worry, that I have this scope in optically pristine condition but broken mechanically. I checked most of your great site for feedback on repairs, but couldnt find any. ANY input on getting the scope serviced would be appreciated. I live in Albany New York. Thanks again, you have been a big help, I dont have any "telescope friendly" people to converse with about this, although astromony is one of my biggest hobbies. Scott.Mike here: Rats. You have two choices: the "ETX Tune-up Service" or contact Meade.
OK, thanks. Does the ETX tune up also do repairs? thanks again. Scott.Mike here: You will need to contact Dr Clay for specifics on what he will repair.
And an update:
Although we were unsucessful in determining the problem with my ETX 90 a few days ago I wanted to say thanks for attempting. I was able to call meade and for 75.00 they will fix whatever is wrong and ship it back...I guess that is the safest bet for now. Thanks again, I will let you know how the service was so you can let others know... Scott.
Subject: Re: unable to see anything with meade etx-125 Sent: Saturday, July 17, 2004 14:40:56 From: Chad Springer (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thank you very much for helping me to get my scope to work. What I was doing wrong was not turning the focus knob more than roughly 20 rotations, because I was trying to be extra careful not to turn it too much for fear it would unscrew off. After turning the focus knob more than 40 rotations or so I did get the object in focus. I think that anyone who is extra careful with their first scope is prone to making this same mistake. Meade should probably put that in the instructions as a heads up. I just assumed that there something wrong with the optical tube. Thank you very much for helping me out with this and saving me from returning a perfectly good telescope for service. Sincerely, Chad Springer
Subject: re: ETX 125 and 1247 Auto Focuser Problems, problems, problems. Sent: Saturday, July 17, 2004 11:38:35 From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Reading your descriptions, i can make one suggestion which may help kill two birds... Remove the telescope from the tripod. When observing, simply place it on a low (enough) flat surface. (i use a folding TV table, concrete blocks, picnic tables, my -usual- mount is a sheet of plywood C-clamped to a railing (fuzzy photos: http://rseymour.home.wolfenet.com/astro/etx.html ) the photos show my rarely-used plywood hinged wooden wedgie, too) That should handle the "requires a step ladder" problem. Removing the tripod also makes the scope much more portable for dragging closer to your PC. have fun --dick
Thank you Dick. I appreciate the suggestion. I'll look around and see what I have. Mike and Dick: Tried this weekend to view things - my nephew was visiting (16 1/2 years old) and we did great with the 26mm on it's own. Just saw stars and land objects that are at least 10 to 15 minute drive away. I live on a cliff and have a spectacular view. Once we tried the different lens combo using the 2x barlow, we couldn't find or rathar "see" anything. I tried using the lens 9mm with 2x barlow per "Clay's proper eyepieces for your observing needs". It recommends for planets using p3* = using 9.7mm lens w/2x for planets or 6.4mm = p2. I just have the 9mm or 6mm . The guided tour was recommending Jupiter. We tried our 2x with the 9mm, 6mm, 4mm and ended up back to the 26mm by itself. I was trying to get my nephew (who had been in trouble just prior and parent couldn't deal with him since she was leaving for a Napa weekend, she asked us to keep him, which we love having him - parents had a nasty divorce and still don't get along) interested in a "hobby" and seems to have caught the astrology fever with my telescope. (I know what he is getting for Christmas - a 70 or 90 ETX from us). My theory is if he starts with the basics, and wants more lens etc, he will then have to find a part time job to support his hobby. He latched onto my telescope like glue to wood. I explained to him that I am sure it is something "we're doing" wrong as we should be seeing things so much better ie..compare to some of the pictures at your web site. (I showed him some). We loosend everything and conducted searches (easier to spin and move up and down) on our own with the autostar etc. I am sure he is still hooked as he stayed at it until 1am Sunday morning. We started at 10pm Saturday evening. It was so funny. We both looked at the clock and he said, think it is clear and dark enough, and I said, oh yeah - then we both got up and charged for the back door. We waited Friday night and it was too cloudy so instead we did land viewing for quite some time. My nephew does plan to come visit more often and sure would like to get this right by then. Any suggestions or help is always appreciated. Thanks! JoMike here: I'm confused by what you mean. If you had the object in the 26mm eyepiece then you should be able to "see" it with the Barlow Lens or other eyepiece. You might have to slightly move the field-of-view around if the object wasn't centered in the 26mm eyepiece. You will also have to refocus when you switch from the 26mm eyepiece.
From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) For 95% of my viewing, i use either the 26mm or 26mm and 2x Barlow. Going to 9mm is pushing it, and combining the 9mm -and- Barlow requires very good seeing (atmospheric conditions) to yeild anything beyond a dim blur. And looking out over the ocean is frequently looking out over/through a high humidity layer, which, although stable, can blur the targets. have fun --dickMike here: And viewing Jupiter right now is a problem since it is getting low in the sky, resulting in increased atmospheric distortion.
Thanks for the reply. I was using Clay's lens help that he has posted in your web site. I think I am over focusing. I will have an object with the 26m but then put the barlow on, and cannot see the same object, no matter how I focus? The lens with the tiny little holes for viewing, is there a certain way to look through those so I am not seeing black? Also, I am confused. Is the lower the number on a lens 4mm a greater view than a larger number on a lens 32mm? Mr. Clay in his lens help recommended using the 9mm (or 9.7mm) with the 2x barlow. Is not having a 9.7mm vs. having a 9mm going to make that big of a difference? Thanks Mike. Still say if you are ever in Placerville, heading to South Lake Tahoe, come on by! smile JoMike here: You need to place your eye directly over the opening in the eyepiece and look straight into the eyepiece. With the smaller field of view you need to be more careful when lining up over the eyepiece. As to the markings, see the FAQ page for info on how to calculate the magnification for any eyepiece (you'll see that smaller means greater). And I wouldn't worry about the 9mm vs 9.7mm difference.
Thanks Mike. That helps me to understand the eyepieces better. I tried to figure the calcs for magnification but I seem not to get the hang of it. I will review again, maybe a light will go off in my head. smile JoMike here: Focal Length of the telescope divided by the focal length of the eyepiece. So for the ETX-125 with a 26mm eyepiece, that would be 1900 / 26 = 73X.
Subject: ETX -90 Motor Fail? Sent: Friday, July 16, 2004 16:20:40 From: SS (firstname.lastname@example.org) I recently took my telescope out after not using it for a few months (etx 90 ec). I put new batteries in, went through the usual set up process and turned on the base, the sun message was displayed and it began "testing" the motor drives, it moved a short distance up, then moved a short distance to the side, then stopped and the message "MOTOR UNIT FAIL" scrolled across the screen. It went on to say possible reasons are low battery or overloaded scope? I tried to power it up several times and got the same message. Can anyone help me continue with this trouble? thanks, Scott StasMike here: Couple of thoughts: 1) Could you be overtightening one or both of the axis locks? 2) If that isn't the case, try loosening up the lubrication by unlocking the axis locks, moving the tube back and forth, several times, from hard stop to hard stop, in all directions. Let me know.
OK, tried both of those suggestions, same problem, it says "motor fault" comes up again. I then detached the autostar and attached the simple controller that the scope originally came with, the motor moves the scope in both directions, BUT...when I go to fine (slow) moving side to side it wont slew slow, it goes only the fast speed...then slows down to a semi slow slew. I wonder why this is doing this? (up and down works fine, slews slow as it is supposed to) any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.Mike here: I don't like the changing speed with the standard controller. Have you tried a different set of batteries or perhaps AC (if you have an AC Adapter)? Did you leave the batteries in during the period of non-use? If so, check the battery compartment for battery leakage.
No, I never leave the batteries in the scope when its not being used. Even if I put it away for a few days, the batteries come out. I just went to the store and tried fresh batteries, same problems. I probably need to start thinking about having this serviced, or am I jumping the gun here? Having my ETX "broke" is worse than having car trouble! scott.Mike here: OK, lets get more drastic. Can you get to the RESET menu? If so, try that. If not, you could try updating the Autostar to the current version from Meade's site. You'll need Windows, a serial port, and a #505 cable for that.
Subject: links Sent: Friday, July 16, 2004 11:26:04 From: Gavin Vincent (email@example.com) Hello, My name is Gavin Vincent- I'm an ETX owner as well, and I think your site is very useful as you've got such a comprehensive guide to the scope. I have produced my own website http://www.astronomyforbeginners.com, and I was wondering if you would be kind enough to put a link to my site on your links page. It's an ongoing project but most of the content's there now. I've put a link to your mighty ETX site on the My Gear page and links page, because you certainly seem to have pretty much everything covered to do with the ETX. Thankyou
Subject: unable to see anything with meade etx-125 Sent: Friday, July 16, 2004 04:56:36 From: Chad Springer (firstname.lastname@example.org) I just purchased an etx-125at with UHTC and autostar and several other accessories. I read the manual and also before recieving the scope I read the book on things you can see with the mighty etx. Last night we set up the scope and when I tried to calibrate the right angle viewfinder I used a telephone pole to line up the cross hairs but as I looked through the optical tube I could not focus anything even though a small amount of light was coming through the eyepiece. Since i was unable to see anything during the sunset through the scope I waited until it was dark and tried to observe anything in the sky before I set up autostar and could not find anything. I was even using the low power 26mm eyepice. Assuming i was doing things correctly, what do you suggest troubleshooting? Thank you very much. ChadMike here: Do you have the flip mirror set correctly (lever in the vertical position)? Have you removed the corrector lens cover? Do you see any change in the blurriness of a distant object when turning the focus knob?
I did make sure the flip mirror was up because I even flipped it down to see if that worked and it just made it completely black. I removed the dust cap. What is the corrector lens cover? I also did see some light coming through but it was a big blur and I could not get any objects in view at all even when it was light and I was trying to calibrate the right angle viewfinder with the optical tube. I was even using the low power 26mm eyepiece. What do you think? Thanks alot for the quick response. I am pretty excited to get this working as I am sure you know when you got your first good telescope. Thank you very much. I will be trying to go out with it tonight. Is there anything else I can try? ChadMike here: Have you tried turning the focus knob from one end of its run to the other? Is there any change in the "blurriness"? The corrector lens cover is the screw-on cover over the objective lens at the end of the tube.
Subject: beginner Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 17:43:59 From: ngay sam (email@example.com) hi i am a beginner and would like to start. I have ask a lot for people on what they would recommend and they tald me to go for the MEADE ETX 105 or the 125 and a Celestron C8-N. i would like a scope that i don't have to do a lot of maintenance and do a bit of deep sky. what would u recommend? what eye piece would u recommend with the scope? and thank u for all ur helpMike here: There is quite a bit of difference in the 8" Celestron and the smaller ETX models. For serious Deep Sky work you want aperture; for general observing, either the ETX models or the Celestron will work. As you can tell from the User Observations reports on my ETX Site, the -105 and -125 are fine telescopes. As to an eyepiece, start with the included eyepiece (26mm with the ETX models); once you better understand how your telescope compares to your expectations and purposes, you can then begin to consider which additional accessories you should purchase.
thank u for ur help i have now chose the ETX 125 and the website is really good
Subject: Meade #1247 Electric Focuser - Problem? Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2004 11:20:26 From: A D Martin (firstname.lastname@example.org) I've just purchased and installed the Electric Focuser for the Meade ETX 125. Every thing seemed to go well - I haven't lost the focusing rod. However when I first used the focuser after installation, I found that when the focuser drives the rod fully clockwise so that the gear becomes flush with the telescope body I could here a loud clicking noise - is there some sort of simple clutch mechanism built into the system to cope with reaching the limits of movement or is it simply the gears jumping and potentially causing damage? If the latter is the case is there an adjustment that can be made to stop this happening? Regards AnthonyMike here: There is no "clutch" so you do need to be somewhat careful. If you put the gear on withe shaft midway in its travel you should be OK.
Subject: ETX-125 Base Plate Screws Not Accessible Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2004 06:27:33 From: Larry A. Zielke (email@example.com) I sent the following to the ETX Yahoo Group but have not heard back from anyone. Can you help? I'm considering checking my RA drive system per Mike Weasner's site references. However, when turning my scope over, I find the three access screws are sealed over with plastic discs, which are not shown in any diagrams or close-up photos. So two questions. 1. Have people had RA clutch slippage, or other drive problems with this newer model? 2. If so, do I just break thru the plastic discs or what to get to screws to remove the base plate? Thanks, LarryMike here: Are these disks the rubber "feet"? If so, they can be removed and replaced easily.
No, the rubber feet are there but do not cover the screws. Comparing pictures on your website to my ETX base, the separate screw locations are in the same relative position. Looks like Meade now seals the base screws to avoid non-warranty entry. Makes it difficult to tune up the RA drive as people have suggested. Kinda frustrating. I'll keep trying the ETX yahoo user group.Mike here: OK. I suspect these are just "pop-up" covers although they could be glued on.
And from our resident hardware expert, Dr. Clay Sherrod:
From: P. Clay Sherrod (firstname.lastname@example.org) The access screws are indeed covered by the soft disks...remove them by prying off with a small screwdriver; careful about the wires connecting the battery box and make sure that the control panel is DOWN (like facing your table) when removing the baseplate. The newer ETX scopes are horribly prone for axial slippage....much more than the older models. Also note that unless something is actually visibly loose in there, you will not be able to fix this yourself on the newer models. Best of luck and let us know how this turns out. Clay -------------------- Dr. P. Clay Sherrod Arkansas Sky Observatory Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC H43 (Conway) Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.) http://www.arksky.org/
Subject: Re: ETX 125 and 1247 Auto Focuser Problems, problems, problems. Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2004 12:03:38 From: jo carter (email@example.com) I have everything set up. The focus knob works. I can see quite a distance away. I am not sure on the viewfinder. When I turn the viewfinder to try to line up with the scope lens, the object seems to turn upside down. The viewfinder is on one object and the scope is on an object to the right. Is this how it is suppose to be? Or should they both be on the same object? I cannot thank you enough for your time and help. The LPI, does it go into the slot that is labled for Photo Port? The LPI did not come with instructions. The only instruction is Quick start for loading software guide. It has several lines with it and not idea what is what. What ever happend to diagram instructions? I remember when things used to have these. Meanwhile, I will search your web to see if you have any imput on the LPI installation. I will also call Meade. Look forward to hearing from you! Thank you thank you thank you! JoMike here: The LPI manual is available on Meade's manuals page: http://www.meade.com/manuals/. Also, you can read more in my article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. The finderscope crosshairs should be centered (or nearly so) on the same object as you see in the eyepiece. And the image will be upside-down. That is normal.
Thanks Mike, I found the manual and printed. I have a PC will your article relate to a non-Mac computer system? I also typed in LPI at your google search on website and found things to read. So I will be reading for awhile. Thanks again for you wonderful help. It is amazing. Becuase of you, I am actually viewing land objects for a change! I cannot wait until tonight. I did find I need a step ladder becuase when I tried out the 2x barlow lens, with the 26mm, the view hole was too high for me to look at. I am 4'11. I am figuring the pictures that folks send in with the Etx's 70 and 90 and 105 are pretty darn good, so I anticipate a stronger view with the 125 ec. You will hear from me if I have more problems (poor you!) smile. JoMike here: I ran the Autostar Suite under Windows 2000 on my Mac so most of the article will be applicable; just ignore the VirtualPC setup info. Remember, learning to use your new telescope will be easy in the daytime. Play with the Autostar indoors until you understand its operation. It is less frustrating learning new things without the pressure of wanting to see stuff at night and the difficulties of using new equipment in the dark. Take things one step at a time; don't try to use the LPI until you are comfortable with using the ETX and Autostar.
Thank you Mike, good advice that I shall follow. I have a lot to learn before I get into cameras, LPI, etc. How often do I need to update the autostar 497? Is there a way to update directly from computer without it connected to the telescope and computer? As you can imagine, the height of me trying to carry scope attached with tripod back and forth is quite the chore. I am pretty strong but not graceful at all. Almost forgot to ask Mike, I am reading your comments about the Shutan WFA - is this something I should look into getting? Jo Ps. Are there any lens that I should have that I don't have? (My first email listed what I had). Thanks Mike.Mike here: You don't need to update the Autostar all the frequently. Meade just released a new version but you don't need that to start with (assuming it already has 3.1Ee). You can add an external power source to the Autostar and then just take that to your computer; there are several articles on this in the "Cable and Power Information" section on the Autostar Info page.
No real luck finding the power information. I tried your web site and Meade, but they show the 497 attached to either a telescope or another 497 for cloning. I will continue with my search. I thinking I need something that has a phone line adapter plug but at the same time plugs in wall for power? I have the 505 (connect to computer) com port plug.Mike here: Helpful Information: Autostar Info page, "Cable and Power Information" section articles:
Subject: ETX 125 and 1247 Auto Focuser Problems, problems, problems. Sent: Monday, July 12, 2004 19:17:38 From: jo carter (firstname.lastname@example.org) I wish I could tell you what I have been experiencing with my Meade ETX 125 EC telescope, but there isn't anything to report except for total frustrations. And lots of black black sky through the scope. Even when the sky is full of wonderful twinkling images. On a clear night (which where I live is normally always). I purchased this telescope off of ebay - uhmmm buyer beware...since it's arrival, I have had to send it to Meade for repairwork. When it came back, they removed the 1247 auto focuser (which was in the box - I did get a new telescope box and all the packing materials for it which was a nice surprise) from the telescope and replace it with the regular hand nut. I had my son put the 1247 back on (he is quite good at figuring things like that out). Unfortunately, I do not have an owner's manual for the 1247 (any idea where I can find one?) so not sure how to verify it is on correctly. Using a 26mm lens (only) and my Meade 497 autostar (purchased seperately), I have tried and tried to "see" anything. Juipitar, Mars, stars, deep sky...When I go to manually to a what appears to the nake eye as a bright object star, I line up the view scope and then look through the lens...the viewer scope offers a superior view then the lens...wait a minute, something is wrong here...shouldn't it be reveresed? What I do see when manually looking and lining up with the lens, is a round black dot, with a round halo of light around it and not focused. I then press mode for a couple of seconds for the auto focus to come up on the autostar (learned this by reading your postings) and I hear whirrrrrr...when I press the up arrow. Nothing clears up. Then I hear whirrr when I press the down arrow. Nothing clears up. Ok, I call Meade. Here is the conversation for you to enjoy: Hi, I have a 1247 auto focuser and not sure how to work it. Meade rep: ok, what are you doing. Well, I try to focus using the autostar, and it seems to whirrrr so I am thinking it is working but yet what I see is (I describe star). Meade rep: You should see a pinprick of light since you are looking at a star. Sounds like your focuser isn't working. You need to take it off and focus manually. Well, I am not too sure how to do that. But you see, I sent the telescope to Meade to have them go through it and fix anything wrong with the scope for xxx amount of $. The auto focuser was on it but Meade returned it off of it. Would Meade have looked at the focuser as well? Meade rep: Well if it was on it when it arrived, they should have. but you should take it off and try to focus manually. Well again, I am not sure how to do this since my son was the one that put it back on for me. Maybe there is something I can try to focus on that might be better than the star to see if maybe it is just me vs. auto focuser not working? Meade rep: try jupiter. You should do the guided tour on your autostar. Ok, but any idea how I can tell how long I should hold the up or down arrow to focus? Meade rep: Well, you should take it off and focus manually. The focus knob will only go so far but the auto focuser will keep turning even though it isn't really turning the focus. You should be able to tell if it is focusing or not. Sounds like your focuser isn't working. Can I help with anything else? No,er thanks, you have been most um, helpful (yeah right....). bye. End of conversation. I do the easy set up and hope I have the scope tripod with n pointing north and the control area on the scope pointing west. I bought your book and read it front to back and then again. I have the owner's manual for the ETX. Read that front to back. I have gone through your web site every day... Can't conduct a manual seach at Meade Website. Does not have that option. Can't find the manual for the 1247, can't find stars, planets, deep sky, anything on guided tour. However, I can turn the scope on, alt set up, and turn the scope off, put cover back on it. and go watch tv. I have gone through all my lens, which include: Meade Super Plossl 26mm LP (that's the lens I have been trying to see through) Meade 2X Telengative amplifier (airspaced triplet (whatever that means...), multicoated model 140 Celestron 15mm Plossl fully multicoated Celestron 6mm " " " Celestron 9mm " " " Celestron 32mm " " " Celestron 4mm " " " Celestron 2x Barlow Fully Multicoated 7 assorted lens filters and 2 moon I have read and downloaded Codes to Identify Proper Eyepieces for your observing needs. Oh, and I have a LPI. Great gift but I had to buy a laptop that will have enough memory to run the program (not that I will know what I am doing..) Have Starry Night which I can hook up to telescope. But that is it. I do enjoy the robotic voice. You have no idea how many times I wished you would all of a sudden be ringing my doorbell! Ever get to Placerville, CA? 1 Hour East of South Lake Tahoe and 1 Hour west to Sacramento on Hwy 50. It is the only town prior to SL Tahoe that there are stop lights on hwy 50. Get's the tourist to stop in. It is called Hangtown (tourist love it) and I am about to add myself to the rope. Just kidding. Could you please help in any or all of the above. I know it is "user" issues (meaning me) as I can see many folks get thier scopes, take it on outside and start having the fun of viewing. Wish there was classes close by. Thanks so much for any advice you might be able to help me with. Except for giving up... that I won't do. Not that you would tell me to. Jo Placerville, CA 95667 Ps. I even know what my Lat and Long are.www.geocoder.us. Finds the latitude and longitude of any US address - Free! Think I found this out from here in one of the write ins.Mike here: Sorry you've had some problems. Meade hasn't posted the focuser manual. But they would have sent you for free if you had asked. As to solving the focus problem, do you still have the small silver focus knob? Lets start with that. Then once we know you are achieving a good focus we can continue with aligning the finderscope and working with the Autostar. We'll save the electric focuser for last.
Wow! I am impressed! Quick response. Yes, I do have the small silver focus knob.Mike here: Good. There is a screw in the back of the electric focuser housing that holds it to the back of the ETX. Remove that screw; then slide the housing backward away from the ETX. You'll see the big gear (as seen in the photo on this page: http://www.weasner.com/etx/showcase/focuser/meade-focuser1247.html). Raise the ETX tube to about a 45 degree angle (lens end up). Then using a small hex key, loosen the setscrew on the side of the gear. Slide the gear backward along the focuser shaft (keep the tube pointed upwards). Then slide the silver focus knob onto the shaft and tighten its setscrew. Tomorrow during the daytime, pick a distance object (street sign, building, etc) and aim the telescope at it. Move the telescope around by hand until you have the object in the finderscope. Then look in the 26mm eyepiece; if the finderscope is not aligned to the telescope you will have to move the telescope around until you see the object in the eyepiece. It will probably be out of focus; turn the knob until it comes into focus. Once you have the object in focus and centered in the eyepiece you can then align the finderscope. Use the small setscrews on the finderscope bracket to move the finderscope.
Thank you Mike I was able to get the focuser off. I placed the silver knob back on. I noticed that I can keep turning and turning the focus shaft making it longer and longer or shorter and shorter. Is there a point that it will stop or will I make it longer to longer and then out it falls? Looking into the lens, I see just black. Shouldn't I be able to see light since I am in a well lite room with overhead lighting? Wish you were a neighbor...smile. JoAnd:
Me again Mike. I am confused. I took the focuser off. It was on a rod like things. Then I replaced the small screw that is above that rod like things. Then I took the silver knob, stuck in on the end of rod and took that tiny little screw like thing and screwed that in the hole on side of silver focuser. - doesn't really seem to want to snug up but will leave it as is in. I just did a triple check. That big brass gear (circle with teeth) was stuck to the plastic housing on the inside. Maybe it wasn't turning at all? It came off with the plastic housing when I took the focuser off. By the below, I am thinking it should have been on that metal rod still when I removed the plastic housing.. That gear in the picture...I thought it was the camera reflection off of the silver focus knob. Sometimes Mike, I really worry about my brains... Now I am with you. Will I over turn that rod and have it fall out? Or will it come to a dead stop at some point. It grows like Pinnochio's nose - up and down. smile JoMike here: The focuser shaft will stop moving in and out at the end of its run. (Or, it should.) If you remove the eyepiece and look into the eyepiece hole you should be able to see the "flip mirror", which is directing light from the objective up to the eyepiece. If the flip mirror is in the wrong position, use the flip mirror level on the back of the ETX to rotate it into position. With the ETX tube horizontal, if the lever is vertical the mirror is (or should be) set correctly for eyepiece use. If it is horizontal it is removed from the light path and lets light exit through the rear port.
Subject: hard stop problem etx 105 Sent: Monday, July 12, 2004 05:34:50 From: ianderca@@libero..it (email@example.com) last week after some previous days of use , I had a problem with my etx 105ec . During my fisrt try alignment in polar mode I discovered that the scope reached the hard stop during alignment. I discoverd that now the scope is able to move onli less than one 360 degree turn instead of two and half as in the past. It seems that something in the hard stop has changed / broken? After that I had a motor failure error message on the autostar and drivers doesen't seems functionn well. RA is turning a bit and the dec motor doesen't move. HAve you any idea of what can be happened? best regards AlessandroMike here: I doubt that a hardstop has shifted. Instead it sounds like something in obstructing the movement. That could be a piece of debris or a wire. If the later, forcing the ETX to move could result in a cut wire! You might want to open up the base and see if you can determine what the problem is. It could be something simple (like a wire that you just need to carefully reposition).
Subject: Kiran Chakravarti Lunar Photographs Sent: Monday, July 12, 2004 05:15:01 From: KIRAN chakravarti (firstname.lastname@example.org) I sent you a photograph for your lunar gallery a couple of weeks ago and have recently put more lunar photographs on it. I am 16 years old and now that I have finished my GCSEs I can finally do some more astrophotography. However we have recently had the coldest July day on record! here in the UK. Unfortuantely everyday this July it has rained! Could you please ask viewers of your website if they could send some astrophotographs to my website as well. My email adresse is Kiranchak@yahoo.co.uk Thanks Mike and Thank you for a great website with a wealth of information!!! Kiran Chakravarti
Subject: Power supplies Sent: Monday, July 12, 2004 03:56:04 From: Frank Coulter (email@example.com) I recently bought the Meade 25ft cable to run my ETX-90 from a car cigarette lighter. Can I plug this in without removing the eight AA batteries? In other words, does the car plug-in cut out the battery connection? I don't want to try and run my ETX and Autostar on 24 volts. Thanks and regards. Frank CoulterMike here: The internal power source is cut-out when plugging the external power source in. So it is safe to leave the batteries in. However, if you do not expect to be using the internal batteries for a long period of time, it is best to remove them.
Subject: question Sent: Saturday, July 10, 2004 15:32:50 From: SS (firstname.lastname@example.org) I was looking at your site for a review on University Optics KONIG eyepieces, I dont think I found any. I was planning a purchase but was wondering if you or someone you know has used these eyepieces in thier ETX? thanks. Scott.Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page; your message was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the ambiguous subject line.
Subject: ETX 90 EC Sent: Wednesday, July 7, 2004 20:12:16 From: debrich (email@example.com) We have a Meade ETX 90 EC which doesn't have 5 hrs of use. We have the electronic focuser and it has already had to be taken off to put the gear back on. Well, we were using it again when the same thing happened except this time the gear drive shaft was inside the scope and will not come out!!! Meade says we need to send it back at a cost of $75 and more if that loose shaft causes damage to the optics! We can't imagine damage wouldn't occur with the way the delivery people throw the packages around!! I can see the end of the shaft...is there any way we could get the shaft out??? Please advise! Thanks in advance. D&R HovorkaMike here: See the article "Focus Shaft Fix" on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: webcam image upside down Sent: Tuesday, July 6, 2004 22:48:23 From: marianne/patrick (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have a rather odd question I think, but I don't know how to solve this problem. I used my ETX 125 now since 2 months observing moon and planets and, I must say, to my entire satisfaction. Two weeks ago I bought myself a toucam webcam to try out some astrovideography (?). All worked well, and I have some good results, though not good enough (yet) for your galery. Now I come to my point : one of the reasons why I bought an ETX scope was to take it along on some travel destinations to do some terrestrial observation. What I noticed is that with a webcam attached on the eyepiece port, the image on the pc is upside down ! I wasn't aware of that when I was filming the moon or Jupiter for example, but now whilst observing some mountains this becomes painfully obvious. So, my question is : what can be done about it ? How do I get the image right side up, so I'm able to observe those mountainiers with their heads up high ! I'm sure the solution must be simple, but how ? One other remark : Untill now, I haven't bee sure whether the optics on my ETX were good. On the films I made from the moon with the toucam, I could resolve craters of 3 km diameter. Would you say this is a sign of good optics and good collimation ? Thanks in advance for your good advice. Best regards, Patrick van PottelbergeMike here: The optics in the ETX Maksutov-Cassegrain models mirror reverses the image, meaning that the view is reversed left-to-right. But when viewing through an eyepiece it should still be right side up. Of course, that assumes the eyepiece is vertical when viewing terrestrial objects. If the image you are seeing with the webcam is upside down, just rotate the webcam in the eyepiece hole until the image has the orientation you want. As to the optics, there are many factors when measuring the size of craters but without doing the math (I'm on vacation so I'll leave this as an exercise for the student) I can't say how close you are to the theoretical resolution (0.9 arc sec).
Thanks for your prompt reply ! Well, how easy can a solution be !? Sometimes, people make things too complicated. I'm now one of them. Thanks for your help and efforts. Patrick
Subject: ASTRONOMY LINKS Sent: Tuesday, July 6, 2004 13:27:33 From: Michael Morris (email@example.com) Please could you place a link to my excellent local Meade dealer on to you web site. His URL is www.livingstonetelescopes.co.uk and he is based in Worcester in th UK. Name is Chris Livingstone Telescopes. Thanks Michael Morris
Subject: Sun Sent: Tuesday, July 6, 2004 12:57:03 From: TruettNeathery (firstname.lastname@example.org) You might want to add to the admonishment to avoid pointing the scope at the Sun, that the little scope on the side can burn up, too - I just cover the front with aluminum foil. TN
Subject: Re: Fwd: jerky RA movement of ETX 125 Sent: Tuesday, July 6, 2004 02:37:21 From: Kaustav Bhattacharya (email@example.com) I sent my ETX105 back to Meade UK and they fixed it. Thanks for all your advice on this problem. Meade UK said: "The fault was the gearbox not fully screwed down! It's now fully secured and the engineer has thoroughly tested it. All ok and coming back to you tomorrow." Regards, Kaustav Bhattacharya.
Subject: ETX-125 question Sent: Monday, July 5, 2004 18:03:19 From: Mdkddf@aol.com (Mdkddf@aol.com) I have a question and ran into your website, While I've had my telescope for a few years now i've had little chances to use it and am now much more interested however, while using it I loosened/pulled off the focus knob and could not get it to go back on, then pushed the metal rod it was connected to back inside the telescope, I got inside to look around and figured out how to feed it back in but am unable to get the rod to come out far enough to allow me to reattach the knob, I know I'm speaking gibberish here, but hopefully you understand what I'm getting at, Any assistance you could throw at me would be appreciated, thank you Justin Casual Observer.Mike here: See the articles "Focus Shaft Fix" and "Doc Greiner's ETX Info page" on the Telescope Tech Tips page. Info there should help you.
thanks ill try
Subject: Orion scopes Sent: Sunday, July 4, 2004 12:50:09 From: RMDKANE@aol.com (RMDKANE@aol.com) Do you have any experiance with Orion scopes? Do you think they are good quailty? Rob.Mike here: Personally, no. There is a Starmax review (in comparison to the ETX-125) linked from the top of the ETX-125 Feedback page. I do have an Orion 7x50 binoculars; very nice.
Thanks Mike i will read it. Rob
Subject: Loose Photo Port Sent: Saturday, July 3, 2004 08:50:20 From: MaxIPTer@aol.com (MaxIPTer@aol.com) Didn't see anything on your website for how to open up the ETX-125 to tighten a loose photo port screw adapter. I received my Scopetronix field doubler and a focal length reducer. How can I fix this? Thanks, MaxAnd from our resident hardware expert:
From: P. Clay Sherrod (firstname.lastname@example.org) Since these pieces are press-fit into place, there is no quick and easy fix for this. However, if you are very careful, the best solution is merely to use RED Loctite, four drops at 90 degrees apart inside the seam between the rear cell and the port.....once applied hold in place firmly for about two minutes (...longer than you think....) and then do NOT use the port for 24 hours. This usually works excellently! Best of luck.... Dr. Clay -------------------- Arkansas Sky Observatory Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC H43 (Conway) Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.) http://www.arksky.org/
Subject: Mead in the United Kingdom Sent: Friday, July 2, 2004 12:30:16 From: KvnFor9@aol.com (KvnFor9@aol.com) Sorry to trouble you, I recently wrote to you mentioning the condition of my ETX125 which I purchased from a shop in the UK. On registering my purchase with Mead I mentioned in their comments column the condition of the unit and quality of build. Today a gentleman by the name of Steven Collingwood called from Mead in the UK to talk about the telescopes condition and was willing to come out to take a look and replace it if necessary. As the ETX125 is operating well and the optics are good I suggested that it was not worth pursuing the matter further and I was generally quite impressed that Mead had even bothered to take the time to call which has certainly earned a good customer relations report from me. I asked for Steve's e-mail address which he gladly gave as [deleted], however, when writing to them the address is returned as unknown. Would you happen to have a contact phone number or address for Mead field representatives in the UK so I could make contact? Regards, Kevin FordMike here: Thanks for the report on the Meade follow-up. Sorry, I don't have any email for them. You might check the Meade International web site.
Subject: Eyepiece Holder Thumbscrew for ETX-70 Sent: Friday, July 2, 2004 06:16:19 From: Greg Fraker (email@example.com) The Eyepiece Holder Thumbscrew on my ETX-70 somehow came off and I can't find it. Do you know how I can get another one? In the interim, is there something I can purchase at a hardware store - for example, a regular screw - that I can use until I receive a new Eyepiece Holder Thumbscrew? Thanks, Greg Fraker P.S. Great website, by the way!Mike here: Contact Meade; they will send you some. Alternatively, if you have a computer cable that uses screws to hold it onto the connector, those screws should work.
Subject: (no subject) Sent: Thursday, July 1, 2004 20:55:36 From: Samdan89@aol.com (Samdan89@aol.com) hello how do i get the light poultion out of the skies i know there is nt a way but is there a fillter that litrley takes it out because i live in the city L.A. and as you know there is alot of light polution and im moving to vegas and there is more light pollution there please email me back with an answer.Mike here: First off, PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on my ETX Home Page; your message was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing subject entry. As to filters, see the Accessory Reviews: Filters page for info on narrowband, broadband, and light pollution filters.
Subject: Wanted and other comments Sent: Thursday, July 1, 2004 20:01:53 From: Lou (firstname.lastname@example.org) I presume that if anyone can help with my posting in the wanted area, I would be contacted directly. This has become quite frustrating for me. I have already spent about twice what I had planned. My main goal at this time was to photograph the planets and moon and get started with sky exploration. Since I cannot keep a telescope outside in one position and really don't want to spend $thousands, I don't see any way to buy a larger, heavier scope to handle my Canon 10D. Neither do I want to buy another camera that will fit the ETX-90. Since I cannot return it, I am seriously thinking of placing the whole kit and caboodle and put it up on Ebay to cut my losses. I may wait to see Saturn myself, even with the Cassini photos on NASA.Mike here: Yes, someone would contact you directly. Sorry you've had no luck.
I do appreciate your help so far. It has been interesting, exciting, and frustrating. Warm Regards, Lou
Subject: DEC fork broken Sent: Thursday, July 1, 2004 19:46:00 From: Daniel (email@example.com) After two years of work, the DEC fork of my ETX 90EC has finally broken. Repair is not possible for the extension of the damage and I don't want to replace with Meade replacement, because sooner or later I bet it will happend the same broken thing. Do you know where is possible to find a metalic replacement for DEC fork? Until last year, Scopetronix has some units, but they had sold all and they don't have plans to produce some other spare parts for this. Do you have some idea where to buy this replacement? Any help will be really appreciated, best regards danielMike here: Do you mean the fork arm actually broke or the DEC lock broke?
Thanks for your fast response, I see you have noted this is a real emergency for me... What has been broken is the DEC lock, all the plastic around the metalic piece was broken in small pieces, so is not possible to repair. The first time it happened it was a year ago and I talk with Jordan in Scopetronix for a metalic fork they used to sell, but he told me they run out the stock and they haven't plans to poduce the replacement any more. However, a month ago I found a Webpage with the same replacement part sold by Scopetronix, but I didn't keep the URL and now I need it. Do you know the site I'm talking about? Thanks again, waiting for your help...And more:
Thanks for all your support, I have found the URL i was looking for, it's a company named Astrohut and the webpage with the replacement is in : http://www.astrohut.com/etx-rta.htm It cost $89.95, I will try it and I give you a full report after I have installed and make some tests with my scope. I hope this info will beuseful for all the guys of your great Website thanks again for your kindly assistance danielMike here: Meade used to provide the RIght Tube Adapter (the lock part) for free; then I heard they were charging $75 for it. You might want to contact Meade first.
Subject: a question about RSS. Sent: Thursday, July 1, 2004 17:18:51 From: Yoshi-K (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am Yoshi-K. Mr. Weasner good evening. RSS distribution is very interesting. http://www.weasner.com/etx/rss.xml It will become an error if it sees by the browser. Is the part of a copyright normal? Regards, --------------------------------- Yoshikatsu Kida http://starimpact.com/ http://etx.galaxies.jp/Mike here: You need to use a RSS newsreader application to make full use of RSS newsfeeds.
Subject: Using a #126 Barlow X2 Sent: Thursday, July 1, 2004 04:32:15 From: Hornsby, Graham (email@example.com) Hello Mike - Graham here from the UK I am encountering impaired viewing when I combine my 15mm Meade SP eyepiece and a # 126 Barlow X2 on my ETX 105. Viewing ( particularly of the moon ) is spoilt by blemishes which I can best describe as appearing like 4 or 5 "sunspots" over the image. Checking things in more detail - when I use the 15 mm eyepiece on its own I think I can detect very feint bubble like blemishes over the image in the same position as the "sunspots" when using the Barlow. The Barlow performs fine with other eyepieces and the 15 mm eyepiece appears to have clean surfaces. Any comments would be much appreciated and thanks for a great site. Graham HornsbyMike here: Sounds like dust on the optics.
Subject: TELEVUE Barlow to use on MEADE ETX125 Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 2004 23:20:41 From: Paulo Rodrigues (firstname.lastname@example.org) Does every TELEVUE barlow work on a MEADE ETX125? Even if using MEADE 4000 Plossl eyepieces? Which one would fit better: Powermates or standard? Thank you in advance for the help, Paulo Rodrigues - BRAZILMike here: For best results with the ETX, use a "shorty" style Barlow Lens. As to the Powermate, see the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page for some comments.
Subject: Re: Etx-90 Motor problems Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 2004 23:01:52 From: Cody (email@example.com) -must have been hard to fix they sent me a new unit cody p.s great site Its been loads of help
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