GENERAL FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 4 August 2006

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


Subject:	Scopetronix in trouble or out of business?
Sent:	Wednesday, August 2, 2006 07:04:59
From:	Bob (bob@bkelley.net)
Just wondering if you have heard anything about Scopetronix being out of
business.  I cannot get anyone to reply to my emails and cannot find a
telephone number.
 
Thank you,
 
Bob Kelley
Mike here: I have seen similar questions on some newsgroups but I know nothing definite.

And:

Thank you.  Also, thank you for your wonderful web site.  I have learned
a lot from it.

Bob
Mike here: Perhaps (and hopefully) whatever is happening is temporary and will be resolved sooner rather than later.
Subject:	Problems with electric focuser on ETX 125
Sent:	Monday, July 31, 2006 11:06:31
From:	Michael Brown (mtb@sgi.com)
I have a EXT 125 with the Autostar 497 controller.   I also have
installed the Meade electric focuser but seem to be having some problems
with it skipping.   The unit has been properly installed and
re-installed several times.  It definitely sounds like the gears are
slipping (click, click, click sound).   I've removed the focuser and
made sure the focuser is not at either end of the focuser range and it
doesn't feel sticky or stiff when turning the gear on the focuser shaft
by hand.  I've also disassembled the focuser case and inspected the
teeth on the gears and they appear to be fine (no chipped or missing
teeth).   When I attempt to use the focuser, I can see the top of the
focuser case pushing up each time the click is heard - it appears that
the case is not stiff enough to keep the motor in place possibly?  
Anyone else had similar issues?  Fixes?   For now I've re-installed the
manual focus knob.

Thanks!

Mike
Mike here: It sounds like the teeth are not meshing properly. Check for that.
Subject:	Tube Rings for ETX
Sent:	Thursday, July 27, 2006 08:13:46
From:	rjsc2000@sapo.pt (rjsc2000@sapo.pt)
I'm looking for some tube rings to mount the ETX-125 OTA on a Vixen SP
mount.

But my local supplier doesn't have the right size, 152 mm (6.08") i
think.

Can you tell me if there's any supplier with the correct ones? Or a way
to mount the ETX on that mount using something else.

Thank you

Ricardo
Mike here: See the Astronomy Links page; there are three dealers with "rings".
Subject:	ETX-105AT -- Feedback and thanks!
Sent:	Wednesday, July 26, 2006 20:55:09
From:	Jeff Peterson (jpete@optonline.net)
I recently revived a childhood hobby with the purchase of the ETX-105.
The purchasing process was brutal, largely because I am almost a
complete novice--I had to learn a good deal of material before I could
make an informed choice. I was leaning toward the ETX series, but
hesitated because of many sites that said things such as "What do you
expect a GOTO scope to do if you don't know where Vega is?" Your site
and the testimonials of your readers made me realize that the ETX is
probably the perfect scope for me.

Of course, things did not go smoothly. On the first clear night, I
manually trained the scope on Jupiter, and after about a minute, I had
the planet and its moons in perfect focus. I was ecstatic. Aligning the
scope and getting it to track properly were more problematic.

I kept getting "Alignment Failed" messages for days until I realized
that I was incorrectly selecting NO daylight savings...idiotic...and
since then alignment has been a breeze. Tracking was a big problem for
the following three days. I'd GOTO an object and the scope would track
for about two minutes before I got the dreaded "Motor Unit Fault"
message. I tried a lot of suggestions from your site--changed the
batteries, Calibrated motors, re-Trained the motors, reversed the
Autostar cable--but NOTHING worked.

Nothing, that is, until I came across an email where you noted that
**over- tightening the axis locks** could overload the motor. I read
this about an hour ago, set up the scope with gingerly set locks, had it
GOTO Albireo (gorgeous!) and waited... Half an hour later, the double
was still visible right in the center of the eyepiece! I am elated
beyond words.

I'm very much looking forward to getting to know my scope even better.
I'm sure there will be plenty of bugs to come; but for now I feel like
there's nothing I can't handle.

In short, I love my scope; but if there's one thing new buyers should
know, it's this: there's a lot to learn, but your patience and efforts
will be rewarded.

Thanks again!

--Jeff

Subject:	541 a/c adapter
Sent:	Wednesday, July 26, 2006 18:29:36
From:	tegavin@cox.net
I have a EXT125 AC.  I was using the 541 A/C adapter, however the unit
(transformer?) burned out.  It was rated at 12V DC 1.5A output.  I was
looking around and an A/C adapter at Radio Shack that we rated at 13.8V
DC and output up to 3 amps.  Can this be used to run my scope without
causing any damage?
Thanks
Tim Gavin
Mike here: Yes, as long as it a "regulated" one. Just be certain to use the right connector with the right polarity (center pin positive).
Subject:	ETX 125 Tightening Ceclination Clamp
Sent:	Wednesday, July 26, 2006 03:42:16
From:	John Gutteridge (john_gutteridge@hotmail.com)
I received my ETX 125 in September 2004.

I agree with Dr Sherrod - "if it ain't broke don't fix it!" For that
reason I have not sought to de-grease the declination and right
ascension axes. However I HAVE had problems with tightening the knob on
the clamp side of the declination axis and found that in Dr Sherrod's
"Creating the perfect GO TO ETX" part 4.3 "Quick Fix for eliminating
rocking and maintaining declination" he shows in fig.2 the side view of
the setting circle and knob removal process.

I attach 2 photos of my declination assembly when the knob and setting
circle are removed. As you will see there is neither "a pressure ring"
nor "four posts" as Clay Sherrod suggests. However, when clamped, the
setting circle is slightly proud of the support arm surface so I presume
the axis extends very slightly outwards so that the circle does NOT rub
against this surface?

Another thing - the axis is 3/4" diameter - not 1/2" as stated in para.
5a. A 1/2" nylon washer will simply not slide over the end of the axis
to rest in the hollow, against which the steel washer will go. Do you
think it might make it easier to clamp the dec knob if I put a 3/4"
nylon washer and a stainless steel washer in place here?

The inside face of the "knob" (facing the setting circle) is not smooth
(para. 4) but hollowed out with ridges although there is a "ring" about
3/8" wide at the perimeter where I could stick the two strips of duct
tape. Since the setting circle does not rest against the support arm
there is presumably no point in sticking duct tape to it - do you agree?

I would be grateful for your observation on this as I have not read
anywhere that the specification has changed on the ETX 125.

John Gutteridge (Brentwood, Essex, UK) 

photo photo

Mike here: Dr. Clay's article that you mentioned was written before the your ETX was manufactured so it is likely not going to match perfectly. You mention you have had problems tightening the DEC axis lock. Could you be more specific? Do you mean that the tube will not stay put when you lock the axis with any accessories (e.g., a camera) mounted? Is there slippage during tracking or slewing? Have you ever overtightened the axis lock?

And:

When I tighten the dec axis knob without any extras the scope tube slips
if I do not apply real pressure which moves the setting circle in the
process. I have not over-tightened it and have not had any slippage
during tracking.
Mike here: There are several articles on DEC and Altitude axis fixes on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page; check some of them.
Subject:	Directory Addition
Sent:	Tuesday, July 25, 2006 15:16:52
From:	Michael Schmidt (Michaels@qtcases.com)
I was just wondering if you would be willing add my company to the list
of astronomy accessory manufacturers that you have listed in your
directory.  The company name is QT Cases and our website can be found at
www.qtcases.com.  We often build cases for telescopes and other
equipment.  If you require any further information please feel free to
send me an email.  Thanks in advance for your consideration.
 
Kind Regards,
 
Michael K. Schmidt

Subject:	ETX Review
Sent:	Tuesday, July 25, 2006 09:24:40
From:	Chris (rubystar@ntlworld.com)
You may or may not have heard of us, but I represent a new printed
monthly magazine for amateur astronomers called Practical Astronomer.
You can check us out on www.practicalastronomer.com

On the website we have a sample telescope review for visitors to see.
The sample review is a real review and typical of the level and quality
we publish in the magazine. It just so happens that the sample review on
our website is the ETX 90 OTA. If you would like the vistors to your
site to be able to discover the true quality of an ETX, you can link
from your pages to the appropriate URL on our website.

Please let me know if there are any issues you would like to raise.
 
Best regards
Chris Garvey
PA

Subject:	Hi Mike
Sent:	Friday, July 21, 2006 11:00:03
From:	Doug Cann (doug.cann@kennington.ca)
Hi Mike,

I guess I am hiding my age, it has been ten years  !!!

Doug........

Hi Mike,

It has been a while since I wrote.  Great to see how successful your
site has been.  I was just reading some of our correspondence from the
summer of '96' !!!   I cannot believe that I took delivery of my ETX 90
on July 15, 1996.....After eight years, it is still performing
flawlessly.......I have had to collimate it only once, about six months
ago, and it still gives a perfect diffraction image.  All of the
coatings are as new and there are no mechanical problems either.  For
convenience, I use a Meade 4000 8 to 24mm Zoom lens (instead of my
collection of separate eyepieces) along with a Meade short version 2X
Barlow for those special nights for Saturn and double stars.

Keep up the good work.

Doug........

PS  Although I have not yet been tempted to upgrade to a 'goto' version,
I would like one of the 125mm ETX's.........

Subject:	ETX-125PE Gears slipping?
Sent:	Friday, July 21, 2006 18:10:38
From:	Frank Ryan (frankryanjr@eircom.net)
I have a new ETX-125PE with autostar #497.

On my first night observing everything was perfect except for one thing.
When I slewed to an object and it was slightly off center in the
eyepiece, I would use the arrow butons on the handheld to try center it.

Using slow speeds, Up, Down & Right were fine but to slew left took a
while to kick-in (I'm guessing this is the gears catching up) but when I
did slew left and got the object centered the gears seemed to 'slip' and
the tube would move slightly back to the right again...

Have you any idea what this might be and how I could correct it?
Thanks,
(great site by the way)
Frank Ryan
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES? Did you do both axes when training?

And:

Thanks for the quick reply  Mike!

Yes I have just done a  CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVE operation. The
image is still moving out of the eyepiece. It seems to only happen at
any slew speed less than 6 on the keypad.

I have made sure both locks are tight and the RA drive is not tear its
'Stop' position.
It is only happening with slew left & slew down .../Very /frustrating!
I have seen this problem on your site before....
Do you think a 'high precision training' operation may help?

Regards,
Frank
Mike here: You can adjust the backlash; see the articles on "percentage" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.
Subject:	Gear noise - ETX90 vs ETX125
Sent:	Thursday, July 20, 2006 18:14:26
From:	Robert Latour (rlatour@videotron.qc.ca)
Is it true that the gears make more noise on the ETX-90 than on the 105
and 125?
 
Also, is there older and newer ETX-90 (like for the ETX125)?
 
BTW, You have a wonderfull site!!!
 
Regards,
Robert Latour
Mike here: I haven't compared current models of the ETX line side-by-side so can't say. And yes, there are new, old, and older models of all the ETX models.

And:

The 125 that I tested almost did not make any noise when it tracked.
However, the 90 noise was really noticeable. Almost as much as when when
slewing. Event without comparing them side-by-side, you'll will have
notice the difference. There must be something wrong with 90 I tried.

Thanks!
Robert
Mike here: Tracking should have just minimal sound, certainly nothing like you hear when slewing at a speed of 3 or higher.
Subject:	Problem with Azimuth rotation
Sent:	Thursday, July 20, 2006 17:45:08
From:	David Keith McColl (dkmccoll@sympatico.ca)
My ETX125EC with Autostar seems to hit a hard stop during
initialization, usually on slewing in an anti-clockwise direction  for
the second star. The motor continues but the scope is stopped. I have
tried to remedy this by releasing the horizontal lock, rotating the
scope clockwise for one revolution and then re-initializing, but this
does not help.

This also occurs when I am using a standard controller.

What do you think is wrong? I do not have the technical skill or
knowledge to deal with this myself. Is this a problem for Meade? Your
advice would be greatly appreciated.
                    Keith McColl
Mike here: Are you certain you have placed the telescope in the proper HOME position before doing the alignment? You have to rotate the telescope manually Counterclockwise to the hard stop and then back about 120 degrees Clockwise. From hard stop to hard stop is slightly less than two full rotations. If you are not getting this full rotation then it is likely that something is interferring with the movement, typically a wire. If this is the problem, use caution when slewing as you can cut the wire. If it is a wire you should open up the base and check for the wire.
Subject:	How do I plug my autostar into a wireless network?
Sent:	Wednesday, July 19, 2006 09:03:09
From:	Steve, Joyce and T.J. Dahring (tbdaring@tekstar.com)
Hello Steve here,You have a Great site I've learned alot about My scope
( Lxd 75 10" SN with Autostar497,and Deep sky Imager) and Astronomy I am
thinking about wireless networking to my observatory site (150 feet to
computer) My issue is what Equipment will I need ?  how do I  plug The
autostar into the network?.My autostar has a RJ-11 type plug and  All
the wireless networks have a different type of plug style.   is there
some sort of adapter I need? Same with the DSI, that has a USB plug.

I am anciosly awaiting you reply, Thanks Mike.           Steve Dahring
Mike here: The best way is to use a wireless router with a laptop or desktop computer controlling the Autostar and DSI. Then connect to that computer from another computer using one of the applications that allow control of remote computers. I use VNC apps to do this with my Macs; there are Windows and Unix and Linux software for this.

And:

Your Famous !!!! Ha-ha-ha.... I called Meade and talked to one of there
Techs.  He told me I should check out your Site. Which I already have
many,many,many times. I told him thats where I get most Scope and
Astronomy tips is from your Site.Your famous...and also your timing was
perfect ,I just got in and checked the mail. As always you're straight
to the point with the best options. Thanks Mike, I'll get a laptop and
link it to my office PC.

Mike I'm sorry if I interupted your Vacation.I  missed that announcement
:-) Have fun... and Clear skys to ya.

Thanks Again Famous Mike Weasner from Texas.     ha-ha-ha.... Steve
Dahring

Subject:	Hardstop to hardstop
Sent:	Monday, July 17, 2006 06:13:26
From:	Jan H Kolst (jan.kolsto@online.no)
After repairing the scope I can turn about 450 degrees from hardstop to
hardstop.I think it should move nearly 2 turns ,about 650-700 degrees.Is
that correct?When I go to Polaris it hits the hardstop and cannot move
any further.
Is this easy to repair?
 
Regards
Jan H Kolstoe

And:

Referring to not finding Polaris.It actually finds it when I first go to
Cassiopeia.But when I use easy align,it doesn't.The first star is
Acturus and the second is Procyon.Immediately after easy align I ask it
to go to Polaris.Then it hits the hardstop.Reason:The scope moves from
west to Polaris. When it moves from east to Polaris no problem.Is it the
lacking movement (nearly 2 turns) from hardstop to hardstop.Mine only
moves about 450 degrees hardstop to hardstop.I've written my repairman
about the situation.
 
Regards
Jan H Kolst

And more:

Subject:	Re: Hardstop to hardstop
Sent:	Monday, July 17, 2006 13:34:25
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@arksky.org)
No....that is not correct; you are not getting full rotation out of the
scope, not nearly enough!

Dr. Clay
-------------
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)
http://www.arksky.org/

----- Original Message ----- From: "Jan H Kolstoe" (koja@online.no)
To: (drclay@arksky.org)
Sent: Monday, July 17, 2006 1:48 PM
Subject: Hardstop to hardstop
Hello again,
After having my scope repaired I noticed that it only moves about 450
degrees from hardstop to hardstop.It should be about 650 degrees (nearly
2 turns)?But from the counterclock hardstop moving clockwise to DEC
above controlpanel it moves about 120 degrees which is OK?
Problem is that when I tell the scope to move from east (Cassiopeia) to
Polaris everything is Ok.It points at Polaris.But when I move from west
(Procyon)and tells the scope to move to Polaris it hits a Hardstop? and
stops moving.
What do I do?
I read your article (supplied) about a similar case.Will that help?

Regards
Jan H Kolst
Mike here: As Dr. Clay has noted, you are not getting full rotation. I suspect that a wire or some other obstruction is getting in the way. Use caution as if it is a wire it can be cut by forcing the telescope to turn.
Subject:	Re: Meade ETX-125EC - Broken Horizontal Axis Lock
Sent:	Sunday, July 16, 2006 09:06:41
From:	Niranjan Soni (niranjansoni@gmail.com)
Sorry to bother you again...do u know the size of the hex key needed to
remove the lever....the min one i have got is 1.5 mm and it doesnt fit
properly (is big)...
 
Thanks
Niranjan
Mike here: Sorry, no. And I don't have an accurate way to measure it.
Subject:	re: ISS
Sent:	Saturday, July 15, 2006 18:46:10
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Job should also take into account that Greece is far to
the south of the Netherlands... so the sun sets -earlier-
dudring the summer (at the equator, the days are always
very close to 12 hours of sunlight, throughout the year).

have fun
--dick

Subject:	re: Oracle Observatory-Aug 2006 Moonrise Times ?
Sent:	Saturday, July 15, 2006 18:24:26
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
>Trying to plan trip to your area in August.
> Trying to find the times of:
> Moonrise
> Sunset
> Sunrise

Do you have a telescope with an Autostar?

Tell it that you are at the desired location.

Tell it the date you wish, and then scroll to
Select/Events/Sunrise  [enter]
Select/Events/Sunset   [enter]

...and for the moon, select it as an object,
press [enter] (so it calculates the position),
then scroll down... "Rise" and "Set" are part of the data...

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Oracle Observatory-Aug 2006 Moonrise Times ?
Sent:	Saturday, July 15, 2006 11:23:52
From:	archie35209@juno.com (archie35209@juno.com)
Please help me out?

Trying to plan trip to your area in August.  Trying to find the times
of:

Moonrise
Sunset 
Sunrise

All three [3] needed - for the month of August 2006.

Any chance you could forward this data to me?

If not, could you please refer me to a web site [or some source on the
internet] that could?

Thank you in advance,
Mike here: You can use that old (and I do mean OLD) favorite: The Old Farmer's Almanac http://www.almanac.com/sunrise/85623
Subject:	Meade ETX-125EC - Broken Horizontal Axis Lock
Sent:	Friday, July 14, 2006 12:44:54
From:	Niranjan Soni (niranjansoni@gmail.com)
I bought Meade ETX-125EC over Ebay. The telescope has its horizontal
axis lock broken. Is there a way it can be repaired? It is something
that i can do it myself if i get the spare horizontal axis lock
(depending on the fact if Meade does spare of this thing)
 
Thanks
Niranjan Soni  
Mike here: If you mean the locking lever is broken, see the articles "Replacement for Azimuth Lock Lever" and "Azimuth Lock Lever Modification" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.

And:

thanks for the reply....i have read both the articles...I guess to do
what is mentioned in any one of the articles, i have to detach the
chrome azimuth clamp. This clamp is secured with a tiny screw. Do u know
if there is any special tool (screwdriver or hex key) that is used to
take off this tiny screw? The problem as i see is the position of the
tiny screw currently on my scope is very awkward for use of any
screwdriver (see attached image). Any help on this will be great.....
 
Thanks
Niranjan Soni
Mike here: Yes, you need a small hex key to remove the lever.
Subject:	Grinding noise
Sent:	Thursday, July 13, 2006 21:13:20
From:	Louis Church (louischrch@yahoo.com)
My ETX90 scope works quite well but sounds loke a coffee grinder as it
tracks.  I have very limited knowledge about the workings of this scope
and would like to quiet it down.
Mike here: I presume you mean it is louder than it used to be. Can you detect any jerkiness in the tracking? Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES recently?

And:

Do not notice jerkiness in the tracking and the noise has been since it
was brand new.
I have trained the drives, but I have no done calibrate motor.
I will do both tomorrow and report back.
thanks
LouChurch

Subject:	Fwd: Re: ETX-90EC Motor unit fault
Sent:	Thursday, July 13, 2006 07:59:42
From:	saleh homidan (homidans@yahoo.com)
Thanks Dr. Clay for your help
As Mr. Weasner said, I checked the speed of the telescope in all 9 Slew
levels in the tow directions (RA & DEC.). I think it is interested that
the telescope Slew in max. speed only in RA direction whatever was the
speed is, and Slew normally in all speeds in Dec. direction.

To eliminate the possibility of faulty Autostar hand control or the
cord, I replaced them by the Electronic Controller and the cord packed
with the telescope; I found that it has the same problem (no response
for speed changes in RA axle). I think this means that the problem not
from the Autostar niether from the cord. For more confirmation I switch
ends on the cord as you suggested and the problem still present.

Regarding your question about the spare part source, I got the
replacement circuit board from Meade certified dealer in my country
after I told him my telescope model. He told me that he ordered the
circuit board from Meade company factory in Mexico, and I think it is
similar to the old one.

I removed the bottom cover and slewed the RA, the RA drive worm turns
freely, In addition I removed the whole gear train including the RA
drive worm and it is obviously it can turn freely.

To make sure we are using the same part names I attached a photo with
descriptions on it.

photo

I suspect about a mistake in wire connections from circuits board to the
control panel.

What do you think about this situation?

Subject:	ETX-90 lubrication question
Sent:	Thursday, July 13, 2006 04:14:44
From:	John Hall (john_d_hall@hotmail.com)
Dear Dr. Clay,

My 3-year old ETX-90 has always suffered from a lot of 'slop' in the
drive mechanism, such that no amount of "percentage compensation" in the
Autostar will successfully overcome it. (That said, the goto accuracy
has always been sort-of okay). Anyway, now that the scope is well out of
warranty, I thought I'd take a look inside to see if I can tweak
something and improve matters.....

The Az/RA slop was caused by the worm assembly being loose. I've nipped
up the three screws and that made a huge improvement.

I have just removed the OTA and exposed the Alt/Dec drive mechanism to
try and address the up/down slop. In this case nothing was obviously
loose, and I suspect the issue is simply the mesh between the worm and
wheel.

Anyway, here's my actual question: The white nylon bush in the
right-tube adapter and the black split bush in the left fork have no
lubrication. They have clearly been bone dry from the day it left the
factory. Is that right? Should I put some grease on these points, or
leave them dry? What do you think?

Thanks for your time.

Kind regards,
John Hall.
Nottinghamshire, UK.

And:

From: "P. Clay Sherrod" (drclay@tcworks.net)
There should NOT be lubrication at that point.  Note that the backlash
(percentage) compensation is not caused by slop, but just the reverse. 
You need to be looking for gear binding if you cannot overcome backlash
problems. Now if the gear assemblies are completely loose as you found
in RA (very common by the way....), then that could also be a source. 
But in DEC the problem is typically binding.  Note that no ETX works
well in speeds less than "3".

Dr. Clay

And:

Dear Dr. Clay,

Thanks for your time and advice, which is very much appreciated. I've
kept the pivot bushes dry of lubricant.

Funnily enough, binding in the DEC drive is -exactly- what I found. This
'scope has always moved slightly left/right when slewing up/down, made
more obvious by using a large Alt/Dec percentage value.  I could
actually feel the worm binding when removing/inserting the right tube
adapter (it was very tight), and I could see that a direction change on
the drive was putting an unwanted bending force on the pivot axis.
Anyway, I slackened the three worm housing screws, jiggled it a bit, and
then used gentle finger pressure to engage the worm and wheel and nipped
up the screws again. Now, there is still backlash in the plastic gear
train (of course) but that nasty left/right motion when slewing up/down
has completely gone. So even though this was not quite what I was
expecting to find, it was certainly worth adjusting. It seems you hit
the nail on the head!

Having reassembled everything, the scope 'feels' a lot better. At least
it moves only in the intended direction, and does so fairly smoothly
now, but there is still an appreciable delay (on speed 3 for example)
between pressing the buttons and seeing movement through the eyepiece. I
understand about the ETX drive limitations and slow slew speeds, but
would you still expect a significant delay, even with high backlash
percentage values? In this case, the delay on speed 3 is about five or
six seconds when reversing direction left/right and about seven or eight
seconds up/down.

I can live with this, but is that normal? What delay would you expect on
a 'typical' ETX-90?

I'd just like to know if I'm in the right ball park, or whether there is
still a problem. The only reference I have is my father-in-law's LX-90,
where there is no delay whatsoever, but that is not comparing like with
like, of course!

Thanks and kind regards,
John.
Glad things are looking better.  In fact, the delay you report is pretty
typical.  I would still experiment with setting the Backlash Percentages
upwards to improve it however...keep setting until the response gets
jumpy and then back down in small increments until it is better.

Best of luck on this!

Dr. Clay

And:

Thanks. I'm very grateful.

Cheers,
John.

Subject:	ISS
Sent:	Thursday, July 13, 2006 00:22:15
From:	Job Geheniau (geheniau@xs4all.nl)
To: 	chasiotis elias (elias_chasiotis@stendor.coo.gr)
Hi Elias,

I saw the ISS photo on Mike's site.

How can you image the ISS in Greece at 18:40 UTC.

That means that the sun is still high in the sky. Seems quite impossible
to find ISS at that moment.

I am curious how you did that, also with the black sky in the
photographs.

Regards,

Job Geheniau
The Netherlands

And:

Hello Job!
18:40 UTC means 21:40 Greek summer time (UT+3h), and that' s 51 minutes
after sunset for July 6.
So, the sky was in fact quite dark.
Two days later i saw the ISS at 21:17 local time and despite the +1.3
magnitude it was easily visible to the naked eye. (I am sure that it was
actually brighter than predicted).
I hadn' t seen your ISS photo at Weasner's site, but i saw the 29 June
photo of Stefan Seip at Spaceweather and a comment about manual
tracking, so i gave it a try.
Cheers!
Elias

Subject:	ETX-70 - flip mirror looks like it has a milky way chocolate bar on it
Sent:	Wednesday, July 12, 2006 10:47:27
From:	info (info@brewsterbythesea.com)
One of our guests brought his telescope down for me to look at and play
with.  Could not get it to focus in the daylight and then looked into
the flip mirror and saw a horrible sight.

1:  Is there a site that show disassembly and
2:  Are there parts available to replace the flip mirror.

I will greatly appreciate any advice and pointers to sights for
disassembly and parts.

Cheers,

Brewster MA
Cape Cod
Mike here: Depending on the "damage" you may just need to access the mirror via the eyepiece port. But you need to use care for a couple of reasons: the mirror is "first surface", meaning it is very susceptible to scratching; and you need to be certain you do not move the mirror or your will affect the optical alignment. If you still want to try it, there are two article on "Flip Mirror Repair" and the article "ETX-70AT Repair Guide" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Keep in mind that if you disassemble the telescope you will likely invalidate any warranty.

And:

The system is 3 years old and Tom claimed he looked through it twice.
Showed his wife the stuff on the mirror and she said it looked like the
Milky Way (chocolate Bar).  I then stepped out of the room and when I
came back she was using her fingernails to try and scrape it off.

Sorry, should have included the above as well.

I will look at the site, thanks.  My sense is that the mirror is beyond
repair unless completely removed.

Thanks and I will follow up with what I find.

Cheers,
Byron 
Mike here: If the mirror has to be replaced, it is best to return it to Meade. But if you want to try to clean, see the article "Cleaning Optics" on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	An Invitation Fro Your Star Party '06
Sent:	Wednesday, July 12, 2006 02:20:18
From:	ericb760@netzero.net (ericb760@netzero.net)
My name is Eric Barnett. I recently purchased an ETX90PE. As an absolute
beginner I have found your website a valuable resource of info. I see
also that we are on the same Yahoo group. I live in Palm Springs and
will be attending the expo at Oceanside this month. I see from your site
that you will be unable to attend. I see also that you have yet to
finalize a location for your Star Party '06. I wanted to let you know
that I own 1.25 acres in 29 Palms. It is on a dirt road some ways away
from the city. I have had no reason to visit the site at night so I have
no way of knowing how much light intrusion there is, but I thought that
if you were interested we could take a look some night and if it met
your criteria I would be happy to host your party.

Again, thanks for sharing you expertise with us newbies! I look forward
to hearing from you.

Eric Barnett
Mike here: Thanks for the offer. More details on the 2006 Mighty ETX Star Party will be announced in the next month or so.
Subject:	Excessive slop in RA on a ETX 125 PE
Sent:	Tuesday, July 11, 2006 14:38:32
From:	Ian (ibw@paradise.net.nz)
My Meade ETX 125 PE has very excessive movement between the base (the
part that has the computer plug in),  and the platform which has the
forks attached.   By excessive I mean at least a 1/4 inch both fore and
aft and side to side.

I makes no difference if the RA is locked or not.

The bolt underneath the RA lock lever moves with the fork unit, ie is
not loose.  From this alone, I think the looseness is being caused by
something further down inside the base unit.

The effect of this seems to be that alignment is achieved OK and maybe a
couple of goto's, but after that it looses the plot.

The base unit has three screws underneath, can these be removed to,
carefully, take off the base and just have a look to see if there is
anything that is obviously loose ?

Cheers
Ian Watson

And from our resident Hardware Expert:

From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
This is unfortunately a common problem with a short production run of
telescopes; frankly the telescope will never operate properly in this
condition and those that I have seen had to go back to Meade for an
entire base replacement.  I notice that Ian is in New Zealand, so I am
hoping that he has a reputable dealer (Bintel?) nearby that can assist
him in getting a replacement.  Repair on the base will do no good....the
tolerance in machine was off when these were made and the fittings are
way out of tolerance.

Dr. Clay
-------------
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)
http://www.arksky.org/

And:

Hello Mike and Dr Clay,

Thanks for such prompt replies. I guess I already knew that there was
going to be a rather large problem to be solved.

The scope came from Bintel, so while it will take some weeks to get
sorted out, nevertheless I do not expect any problems.

Anyway, thanks for the advise.

Cheers Ian

And:

Bintel never lets a customer down.  Just let them know of my analysis of
the situation and they will take care of it, I am sure.

Dr. Clay

Subject:	re: Tracking with the 125
Sent:	Tuesday, July 11, 2006 09:51:49
From:	rakis1@mac.com (rakis1@mac.com)
I have a recently purchased used ETX-125 with UTHC scope and the #487
controller.  I must say, it's been a while since I've owned or used a
scope but this thing is a beauty.  So far I've used it twice, once
Alt-Az and one polar aligned.  Both times it worked very well.  The only
problem I have is that I am in a residential setting, and using this
scope past evening hours is a bit louder than I care it to be when using
GOTO.  So I've been toying with the idea of using the scope in polar
mode and using the setting circles to find objects (which helps you
learn the sky much quicker).  I did a lot of research on your site and
Google but haven't been able to answer one question... is it safe to
keep the motor engaged (just the RA motor since it's polar) and unlock
either access and point the scope to another target?  The closest I got
to an answer is the excellent article that Dr. Clay wrote on polar
aligning your scope.  I also read the ETX manual which says that you can
turn the drive on and off by holding MODE, which I have not been able to
do.  I'm sure it's ok to use the scope in this manner, since the
original EC versions didn't have the fancy #497 controller, but I didn't
want to be missing a step in the process and stripping those precious
plastic gears on the drive.  If I should be disengaging the motor, how
does one do that easily?  I know there is the ASTRONOMICAL/TERRESTRIAL
setting, but that seems a bit much to turn the drive off and on every
time I move the scope around.

Your site is the reason I went with the ETX over the many other choices
out there.  Thanks for all your hard work and determination.  It is
much, MUCH appreciated.

Thanks,
Sean Marien
Western Mass
Mike here: If you mount in Polar mode and either do an alignment once OR switch the Target mode to Astronomical, then the RA drive will be running. As long as you don't plan to use any GOTO capability you can unlock the axes and manually move the telescope to point to an object using the Setting Circles.
Subject:	ETX 125 damaged and fixed
Sent:	Monday, July 10, 2006 16:15:10
From:	Jan H Kolst (jan.kolsto@online.no)
Finnally I'm back in the sky after nearly 3 months of ordering and
repairing a hardstop failure.It's actually a complicated "Short story"
but I managed to solve the problem with a "little help from my
friends".Especially I'd like to thank Sigmund Skjetnes in Stavanger for
being so positive when I asked him to help me with my problem installing
a new "Hard stop" which is not an easy project.Tonight I've been out
verifyng that everything was working softly and nicely.It was.So far
everything is working normally and I sincerely hope it will function in
the years to come.So for the time being I'm very happy that I managed to
sole the problem.

What I'm not so happy about is the customer sevice at OPT.They didn't
help me at all.Just told me that there was nothing they could do and did
not care at all about my problems.Even in Norway I haven't experienced
such an attitude from a company when something goes wrong.Except for
DR.CLAY who actually was a great helper. Thanks a lot.And of course
Mike's Mighty.
 
Here are some pictures:

photo photo photo

From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
That is excellent news Jan....glad you were able to get things working.
Sorry for the issues with OPT.  Let me know if you ever need further
assistance and we will do what we can from over here!

Clay
-------------
Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)
http://www.arksky.org/
Mike here: Glad you got things working. Sorry that OPT has been unable to help you but they have to follow Meade's rules regarding equipment purchased in the United States that is then sent outside of the USA.
Subject:	Re: ETX-90EC Motor unit fault
Sent:	Monday, July 10, 2006 05:20:18
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
If you have checked or tried a new AC adapter (never use internal
batteries with these telescopes) and are getting the same message, then
we can rule out power problems.

There is a possibility that you have a faulty Autostar hand control OR
faulty cord.  You can switch ends on the cord sometimes and that might
work if that would be the cause.

However, I am leaning toward a mechanical binding in the RA drive worm.
Check to make sure that the RA worm (the cylinder gear) can turn freely
when not pushed against the worm driver gear (the large metal flat
one....).  If the worm does not spin freely when not attached either at
the end nor against the drive gear, then the END PLAY nut (on the right
side of the worm "U" bracket) is too tight and binding the RA drive
severely.  I see this often, and typically when the RA drive has been
removed and not properly adjusted for tension against the drive gear,
there can be a bind.

I suspect that is what is happening here.

ALSO.....where did you get the replacement circuit board??  They have
about 6 different ones out there and if you have obtained an improperly
matching board for your ETX, then that can also cause the problem.

Best of luck.

Dr. Clay
-------------
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)
http://www.arksky.org/

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "saleh homidan" (homidans@yahoo.com)
 Thanks for your quick reply

 This is a summary for my ETX-90EC Telescope story:

 June-8-2005: After a few hours of star tracking without any extra
 accessories, using the original electricity adapter as a power source,
 two teeth of the one of the RA plastic gears were broken.

 28 Aug 2005: I replaced the whole broken gear train by a new one which
 is exactly similar to the old one. After one hour of star tracking the
 telescope stops, and the RA electronic board was damaged.

 21 Apr 2006: I changed the damaged RA electronic board by a new one.
 During alignment process, the telescope still rotating until the end of
 rotation then it show the syntax "motor unit fault". I did the
 following processes but it still not working:

 1-     I tried to operate the telescope using either new batteries or
 electrical adapter.

 2-      I choose a calibration but it shows the same error syntax
 during RA calibration.

 3-     I choose the reset command and restart the telescope. It shows
 the same error after pressing #5 to cancel the sun warning.

 4-     I cleaned grease inside the telescope especially the encoder.

 Can help me to solve this problem?

Subject:	Re: ETX90 Viewing concern
Sent:	Monday, July 10, 2006 04:29:43
From:	Dave Bradbrook (davebradbrook@yahoo.co.uk)
Many thanks for your response and i have followed up on your
suggestions. In reference to the photograph, i can say that i do not see
any evidence of slippage as shown.  I can see some potentially relective
aspects within the centre tube so would like to get a better view.  I
notice that the reflection is present on a all sides of the field of
view so am not sure that it is a offset of the optics causing it.

could you just advise me on how to get into the tube to check the
reflectivity inside- do the 3 screws at the back remove the blue tube?
it looks like it should unscrew but dont want to start undoing things
unnecessarily.  2nd, what is the best way to clean the front glass lens
(UHTC) and eyepieces?

I think these things are the best i can do before sending it back for
inspection.  I appreciate your assistance and let me know when you are
passing thru namibia next!  We have a few larger scopes in the country
but nothing on the scale you have in the US... even at your star
parties... but lack of aperture is made up by our dark skies!
 
regards, dave bradbrook
Mike here: You could remove the front corrector lens. Mark a line across the housing and tube before unscrewing it to help with lining it up again as removal can affect the optical collimation. As to cleaning, see the article "Cleaning Optics" on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	re: Lost #883 tripod mounting screws for ETX 90EC
Sent:	Sunday, July 9, 2006 21:40:29
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
The screws which mount an ETX-90 to the tripod are 1/4-20
(one quarter inch diameter, 20 threads per inch).
Get them long enough to go through the tripod plate,
plus about 3/4 inch to engage the telescope threads.

What i do is go to a hardware store with the pick-a-nut
drawers, and buy NYLON hex head bolts or wing-screws.
The Nylon means that if anything tries to strip
the threads, it's the cheap bolt which gets hurt,
not the internal threads of the telescope.

Also, they're kinda white, which makes them easy
to find in the dark...

have fun
--dick

Subject:	ETX power source
Sent:	Sunday, July 9, 2006 15:43:06
From:	Rick & Sue (odie@citlink.net)
Mike,first off thanks, i took the plunge and got a ETX 125 and after
reading your pages, i went thru my elect junk box and found a 12vdc 1.5
amp power supply with the right plug(center pos).Is this the correct
milliamps for the scope(1.5amp=1500milliamp)? Let me know and keep up
the excellent work.  Rick
Mike here: 1.5A (1500 mA) will work fine with the ETX-125. Regulated power is important to avoid spikes that can cause Autostar errors.
Subject:	A link to my scope page
Sent:	Sunday, July 9, 2006 04:59:44
From:	Jerry Swanson (jerry@compassist.com)
This is a link to my new scope page
http://www.compassist.com/jerry/scopeandstuff.htm
 
I thought you might find it interesting.  I have been using your site
very much in my quest for a good setup for my ETX-125.

Thanks for being there!

I borrowed some ideas from your site when I designed and built my
telescope pierand thought you might like to pass them on

Feel free to post my link if you wish

I'm hoping to get into more with using photography to capture some of
the images seen in the skyand will post some of my pics as they are
createdand evolvedsmilesas I learn as I go.
 
Anywaythanks for your support!
 
 
Jerry
 
Jerry Swanson         jerry@compassist.com
CompAssist    http://www.compassist.com
Princeton, WI

Subject:	ETX-90EC Motor unit fault
Sent:	Saturday, July 8, 2006 23:08:30
From:	saleh homidan (homidans@yahoo.com)
When I changed the entire RA assembly (gearbox & electronic board), the
telescope show the syntax "Motor Unit Fault" during the easy alignment
process. I tried to reset, calibrate, train and clean the assembly from
grease specially the encoder, but it still show the error syntax. Are
there any suggestions for this problem?
Thanks
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
A motor unit fault indicates that the motor is either binding (very
likely if you changed it out) from gear drag or interference by a wire
or other obstacle, OR that your power source is insufficient or variable
enough to prevent proper communication during the motion of the RA
motor.

I am not sure what you mean by you changed the entire RA
assembly.....did you have a defective one and replaced it with a new one
or exactly what?  It is difficult to assess the cause of problems if I
do not know the history of how the problem arose.

Dr. Clay
-------------
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)
http://www.arksky.org/
Mike here: As Dr. Clay said, it is either a mechanical or an electrical issue with the motor. Alternatively, it could be a communication issue between the motors and the Autostar. Can you slew the drives at all with the Autostar?
Subject:	Lost #883 tripod mounting screws for ETX 90EC
Sent:	Saturday, July 8, 2006 16:41:15
From:	Rev. Sisyphus (michael.teige@gmail.com)
I had my ETX 90EC in storage and now that I dusted it off I cannot find
those little screws that mount it to the #883 tripod!  Do you know off
hand the hardware store equivalent?

Thanks,
-Michael
Mike here: Contact Meade; they will likely send you replacements.
Subject:	ETX 125 owners manual
Sent:	Friday, July 7, 2006 13:51:43
From:	Jim Rice (jhr7@cornell.edu)
Great site!!!

I just purchased an ETX 125ec on E-bay and it came without an owners
manual can you point me in the right direction to download something. 
Of course will purchase one if need be.  The autostar came with a manual
but the one on your site is better.

Thanks

JIM
Mike here: For info on where to get manuals, see the FAQ page, which will direct you to Meade's site.
Subject:	etx-90 palm pilot question
Sent:	Friday, July 7, 2006 12:51:38
From:	robross (robross@nbinternet.com)
I don't know if you answer personal emails but I will take a shot. 

I have seen that you can hook up a palm pilot with an etx-90ec scope but
it says you need the autostar connected too to avoid damaging the scope
or the palm pilot. Could the basic controller ( up/down, side to side)
be used instead or do you have to use the autostar. I don't hav ethe
autostar but I do have a palm pilot and was wondering if it is possible.

Thanks for any info you could give. 
Bob Ross
Mike here: The Autostar is what controls the telescope, not the Palm Pilot (or computer either). The Palm (or computer) controls the Autostar, which in turn controls the telescope. So, no, you could not use the standard EC handcontroller since it does not have the serial port.
Subject:	portable power
Sent:	Friday, July 7, 2006 11:43:56
From:	thomas robison (tbrobison@mac.com)
was wondering what portable power supply for etx-125 you have or
recommend?

thanks, again, for your previous quick replys to my inquiries.

tom robison
Mike here: See my comments on the "Celestron Power Tank" on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page.

And:

just ordered the powertank.  also, i checked out your picts from your
"oracle observatory", very nice!  your close up shots of the desert
flowers were stunningly beautiful.  a very nice, pristine peace of
property you have there.

thanks, again,

tom robison

Subject:	Lens cleaning
Sent:	Friday, July 7, 2006 04:01:12
From:	Jasmin Pindzic (jpindzic@orangeresearch.com)
What is the best thing to use to clean up the lens on my ETX-125PE. I
have a ANTI-STATIC brush to wipe off the dust.

I don't know what do you use to clean your telescope lens, I will need
something that's safe for the lenses without scratching it.

Thanks a lot for your help. 
JAZ.
Mike here: First off, the lens does not need to be regularly cleaned UNLESS it is really DIRTY. Using the brush to carefully remove loose pollen and dust is usually all you need to do. However, if there are SIGNIFICANT water spots or fingerprints, then you can clean the lens (carefully). You can purchase an excellent cleaning kit (see "Doctor Clay's Cleaning Kit" on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page) or you can make up the solution yourself (see the article "Cleaning Optics" on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.

And:

Mike Thank you very much for the quick respond.

Than I wont clean it unless it really needs to be cleaned, but do I need
to wipe off the dust every time I use it using ANTI-STATIC brush.

I have another question and I hope that you wont mind.

When I bring the telescope from cold to warm is that going to cause any
damage to my telescope.

Thank you again.
Jaz.
Mike here: NO, you do not need to clean the lens after every use. If you use the telescope in the middle of a dust storm, then yes, but otherwise don't worry about cleaning the lens unless things get really bad. Dew formation is the only thing to worry about when bringing the telescope indoors. As long as you let the telescope "air dry" then you will normally be OK.
Subject:	Cool down time for ETX scopes
Sent:	Thursday, July 6, 2006 18:28:50
From:	Jack Fox (jackfox@mindspring.com)
My optics do not appear to be as sharp as I would like.  I can't tell if
my seeing conditions are always very poor or I am not waiting long
enough for my scope to cool down or warm up.  My scope has been
Supercharged by Dr. Clay and he said my optics were fine.   Is there a
formula for determining the length of time for an ETX 125 to reach
ambient outdoor temperature for summer or winter?  If not, how long does
it normally take?

Jack Fox
Mike here: A good rule of thumb is 30 minutes for each 1 inch of aperture. So 2.5 hours for the ETX-125. Of course, it can take longer or shorter than that depending on many factors such the air temperature inside the tube, the ambient outside air temperature, and whether you leave the eyepiece hole open (to let the air circulate (and let dust and pollen in).

And:

Thanks for the advice.  I have been only giving the scope an hour or so.
It must not have been enough time.

I will keep the eyepiece hole partially covered to keep out the dust and
pollen.

Subject:	re: Operation in the Southern hemisphere
Sent:	Wednesday, July 5, 2006 19:55:08
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
This message:
> calibrate sensors wants me to point to and center Polaris

tells me that the Autostar does not KNOW that you are in
the southern hemisphere... it -should- have *said* Sigma Oct.

At worst, try setting your Site (setup/site/add) to
Auckland ... that should convince the scope of your location.

Which firmware version is it?
The exact number is visible under
Setup/Statistics/[enter][scroll up]

have fun
--dick
From:	Ian (ibw@paradise.net.nz)
Yep Mike, it now looks for Sigma Oct!

Operator error obviously.

Cheers
Ian

Subject:	ETX90 Viewing concern
Sent:	Tuesday, July 4, 2006 05:56:54
From:	Dave Bradbrook (davebradbrook@yahoo.co.uk)
I was very glad to come across your site and hope that you may have some
idea as to what i am experiencing.  I have been in contact with Meade
indirectly since i am living outside the US but they were unable to give
me much idea except to say that i should forward the scope to them for
inspection.  Living in Namibia, this is not so easy and i hope that you
may be able to help before i have to part with my scope for 6 months...

Essentially, when viewing dimmer objects (eg the trapezium in the orion
nebula) i am getting a loop of light eminating from a brighter star that
may be just outside of the field of view.  If i bring the brighter star
into view, the loop gets smaller and eventaully disappears once towards
the middle of the field of view.  The loop has the appearance of the sun
flares seen in pictures but am sure this is not the effect i am seeing!

I do not remember having this effect when i first used the scope and am
concerned that it may have been knocked out of alignment, however wonder
if it may be traced to something more easily rectifiable...
 
Your assistance would be gratefully recieved.
 
Sincerely,
 
dave bradbrook
Mike here: This sounds like some internal reflection is occurring from something. What that something could be would require an inspection. But there are some things you could check for. Is the baffle out of alignment? You may be able to determine this by looking at the secondary mirror mounted on the corrector lens; do you see any evidence that it has slipped? There is a photo of such slippage on this page: http://www.weasner.com/etx/fun/meade_tour.html. Does it happen with all eyepieces? If not, then it could be that the eyepiece is defective. If it does occur with all eyepieces and the baffle is OK then it could be that the internal anti-reflection coating inside the telescope tube has deteriorated and needs to be replaced. While you could repair this yourself it is not recommended as you would need to disassemble the tube and then recollimate the optics afterwards, something that is not easy on the ETX unless you have lots of patience and time and are willing to make things worse than they are.
Subject:	884 Tripod and wedge
Sent:	Monday, July 3, 2006 19:58:27
From:	Barbara & Tom Andrews (tombps@bigpond.com.au)
I've come across a second-hand 8-inch wedge, which I'm hoping to use for
my 125. The Meade manuals have instructions for attaching it to an 887,
but I'm wondering if there's a way of putting it on my 884, and if the
884 is stable enough for this.

Cheers,
Tom Andrews
Mike here: Since the #884 has a tilt platform, do you really need to use the wedge for the ETX-125? I don't know whether it would add more or less stability. As to mounting it, if it has mounting holes that are the same distance apart as the ETX base, it should be mountable.

And:

I'd like to see if the fine adjustments I can do on the wedge will make
it easier to centre Sigma Octantis. As you know, polar alignment in the
Northern Hemisphere is like doing a dot-to-dot. In the Southern
Hemisphere it's like doing a Rubik cube. Sig Oct is hard enough to get
even in the finder scope in suburban skies, especially when the city is
to the south. And it has no pointer stars, other than the faint pattern
surrounding it; you just have to know where it is! Finding south by
adjusting by the tilt on the 884 is difficult with the weight of the
scope and the 5-degree calibrations on the scale.

The base of the wedge has a hole for a central bolt, and three
equidistant holes around the rim for additional stability. This doesn't
fit the 884. It happens to fit the old ETX-125 baseplate for the 883
tripod, so I'm trying to find a way of making that work. The only way I
can think of is to attach the 883 baseplate to the 884 platform, but
raised because the baseplate doesn't extend beyond the edge of the 884.
Hope that makes sense. If there are other ideas, or experiences that say
"dDon't try it", I'd be happy to hear them.

Thanks again,
Tom

Subject:	Operation in the Southern hemisphere
Sent:	Monday, July 3, 2006 17:42:17
From:	Ian (ibw@paradise.net.nz)
new to this with my ETX 125 PE.   The book seems to relate to operation
of the scope in the Northern Hemisphere and as I am not having a lot of
success aligning the scope, just wondered if there any different
procedures to take in account "down here" ?
Iain Watson
Mike here: As long as your site (Lat/Long or City Name) set in the Autostar is located in the Southern Hemisphere, there shouldn't be any differences. For non Auto Alignment steps in the Southern Hemisphere, see the Alignment Tips section on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.

And:

Wow, so quick Mike and thanks. Yes it's set to Lat 35: 45 S and Lon
174.50 E, New Zealand.

Can I ask just one more question, the setup \telescope \calibrate
sensors wants me to point to and center Polaris (well I think that was
the star, don't have the scope with me at present), however as far as I
know I can't see Polaris.   The Meade docs don't offer any further info,
I can see the Southern Cross though, could I use one of the cross stars?

Iain
Mike here: Use the star Sigma Octans.
Subject:	home position alignment?
Sent:	Monday, July 3, 2006 09:28:37
From:	LesJThompson@aol.com (LesJThompson@aol.com)
I would truly appreciate any help with this question; I just purchased
an EXT 60AT BB, my question is; when I attempt to put the scope in home
position alignment, I have the tripod level, then I point the scope
facing North, but when I level the tube, the ring on the side reads 10
not 0 if I set it at the 0 mark the scope points up approx. 10 degrees.
Is this normal?

Thank you very much for your help.
Leslie  
Mike here: The DEC/Altitude is incorrect; see the FAQ page on how to adjust it.
Subject:	Meade ETX 90PE motor trouble!!
Sent:	Sunday, July 2, 2006 20:18:46
From:	caffeined@optonline.net (caffeined@optonline.net)
Hi, I am new to your website and I am seeking someone who can give me
some advice about my brand new Meade ETX 90 Premier Edition telescope
with autostar.  My question regards the telescope's motor.  It just does
not work properly. When I go to use the "auto alignment" function, the
telescope will not slew in the upward direction. The motor is running,
but the tube is not moving. When I use the arrow keys on the auto star
to slew the telescope, the tube may or may not respond. Again, I can
hear the motor running, but there is either no movement at all, or it
responds for a brief second and freezes.  It is mainly the "upward"
direction that fails the most. All other directions respond most of the
time (although not always).  I should also mention that when the tube
does respond, it only does so when it is set to the level 8 or 9 speeds.
Any other speed gets absolutely no response. Meaning, it seems to be
dead, the motor does not run or anything. The autostar light and
controller are always on and I do not ever receive an "error" message. I
have changed the batteries numerous times. I have shut the system down
and restarted and I have unplugged and replugged the autostar cord.  I
can not seem to find any possible obstructions. I have also tightened
and loosened all locks to see if that was the problem. Nothing works.
Have I missed something, or does my brand new telescope need to be
repaired? Customer service and tech. "support" have been of no help.

Thank you so much for your time, sincerely, Catherine D.  
Mike here: Have you done the CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES steps on the Autostar?

And:

Actually I have not yet done that.  I just saw the instructions for that
on a piece of paper at the bottom of the telescope box under some
cardboard literally five minutes before I read your response!  Thank so
much for the speedy reply, I will try that!!

And an update:

OK, I tried that.....and it worked!!! Thanks again, I appreciate your
time and your website is a gift! I learned so much from it!

Subject:	2 inch upgrade!
Sent:	Sunday, July 2, 2006 07:37:05
From:	annabelrobin (annabel@podulate.com)
Can my ETX125PE be modified to accept two inch eyepieces? 

Thanks for your great site, Annabel Robin.
Mike here: Well, you *could* modify the ETX to accept a 2" focuser but that would entail some serious work on the tube to remove the existing eyepiece holder and add a 2" focuser. Instead of modifying the ETX you *could* attach a 1.25" to 2" adapter. You could use that in the eyepiece hole OR you could get one that is used at the rear port by using a SCT Accessory adapter (see the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page). However, in both cases you might find that focusing some eyepieces will not work. And regardless you will not be taking full advantage of the 2" eyepiece as light will be lost at the edges of the field of view due to vignetting. Then you have to consider the extra weight of 2" eyepieces; for some of the really heavy ones you'll need to attach a counterweight system to the ETX to avoid slippage.

And:

Thanks for the useful advice Mike and for getting back to me so quickly.
Your site is exactly what I need and I've often consulted it for help on
all sorts of topics! Annabel Robin.

Subject:	Re: Question on Autostar & 1247 Electric Focuser for ETX125
Sent:	Saturday, July 1, 2006 16:08:32
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
This sounds like a loose or shorted wire, probably the one that is
supposed to connect into the AuX Port on the control panel; however, it
also might be a problem in the tiny circuit within the motor assembly
itself on the focuser.  I have never seen one do this, but this does
sound possible.  If it were me, I would NOT use the electric focuser
until you could have a computer repair shop check the wiring and
continuity on the system.  You might need to take the entire scope in
with you for them to run a diagnostics.

Dr. Clay
-------------
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)
http://www.arksky.org/


----- Original Message -----
Dr. Clay,
I have an ETX125 with a 1247 electric focuser. When I went to use my
scope the other night, I noticed that I could not talk to the focuser.
The Autostar did not recognize its presence. I checked the connectors
for bends and also cleaned them afterward. I swapped AUX ports to no
joy. I also RESET - no joy and finally loaded the latest version of
Meade's Autostar - 42DA - no joy either. I then swapped the Autostar
with the 9volt battery powered manual focuser control that came with the
1247. All worked as advertised.

I then swapped Autostars with another that had the same version - 42DA.
It recognized the focuser as present, ie. it showed Focus functions on
the Autostar screen. However, I could not detect any focus change or
sound from the gear mechanism. It also seemed to "drop out" of the focus
mode randomly. Strange behavior. Since I know the focus motor and manual
control work, any thoughts? Have you seen this type of behavior before
in the 1247?

Thanks for your time.

Paul 

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