ETX USER FEEDBACK - JULY 1998
If you have any comments, suggestions, 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.
Sent: Thursday, July 30, 1998 19:17:24 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Greg Glasscock) I'll keep it short and sweet. I have a video camera with a dead transport. I was about to throw it away when I realized it says CCD on the case. The CCD works. I have a laptop with video jacks. Do I have a basis to make pictures with the ETX? Is there software I need to make pictures with my ETX? Thanks for your page and any help you can give? Greg
Mike here: Yep, you can take "CCD" shots with the video camera. I've been wanting to try it myself but haven't yet. You'll need some software that captures video from the camera. If you are on a Mac, you should have received Apple Video Player since you have AV jacks. There are several commercial products that will do it but Apple Video Player is free. If you are on a PC I presume there is similar software. Try it out by holding the camera lens to the eyepiece. I would expect you can record reasonable images of bright objects. The next step would be to remove the lens and try to image directly on the CCD. That will probably require more work and may require major surgery on the camera. You will need to keep stray light off the CCD. I don't know how well this will work. Anybody tried this?
Subject: ETX Sent: Thursday, July 30, 1998 08:30:59 From: email@example.com I have seen your site already and I must say it is one of the best for ETX users! Not to be negative, but all of the "bad" things that you mention about the ETX is "Right On" I am finding the same problems. This is my first scope, but my father in law has an LX200 which gives me something to compare it to. I am going to buy some of the accessories listed on your site based on your opinion and testing. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with us "rookie" ETX users, it's been alot of help for me. Steve Powroznyk BTW: Do you know why the ETX has that opening by the camera mount that lets light in?
Mike here: And I hadn't noticed that hole before. Indeed it is there. Fortunately it can be plugged; I would suggest using a bolt that threads into the tripod mount instead of a piece of tape (which could let gas from the glue into the scope).
Subject: Drilling holes into the ETX OTA Sent: Wednesday, July 29, 1998 17:33:20 From: vhchan@me.UVic.CA (Vincent H Chan) Just wondering if anyone out there has drilled holes through the tube assembly? (for mounting a usable finder) Am I correct in assuming that the corrector plate unscrews from the front of the tube, and the mirror assembly unscrews from the rear of the tube? Are there any required alignments nessessary after the tube is reassembled? Thanks, Vincent. -- Vincent Chan e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org University of Victoria web: http://www.engr.uvic.ca/~vhchan/
Mike here: The corrector lens does unscrew but the rear mirror mount will require more disassembly to remove it. AND re-collimating the ETX will probably be required unless you are VERY lucky. So, I would be hesitant about drilling holes. Try to use the existing finder mounting bracket.
Subject: ETX Barlow & Celestron Sent: Wednesday, July 29, 1998 14:44:35 From: vhchan@me.UVic.CA (Vincent H Chan) I also have the Ultima 18mm and find it to be an excellent eyepiece. (I think it has better correction than the Meade 26mm that came with the ETX) However, I have the Celestron Ultima 2X barlow instead of the Meade #126. I also find that the fit between the Celestron barlow and Ultima eyepiece to be very tight and exact, in fact it makes a air "suction" sound when you pull them apart (kind of cool!). No such sound when using the Meade 26mm with the barlow. With such a tight fit, any bit of dirt between the two mating parts will cause it to stick. So try wiping the surfaces with some lint free cloth, like lens cleaning tissue. Other than that, the only other option is to reduce the diameter a bit of one of the surfaces. (ie. some light polishing with an SOS pad) But this may be getting a bit too extreme.
Subject: Question on ETX ASTRO Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 1998 19:07:15 From: SUKUN.TANTICHAROENKIAT@MSMAIL.HMA3.shlthaiban.simis.com Your site on the ETX is very informative. I did not have chances to read all the info. to find the answer to my specific questions. So, I decide to send the questions to you directly. Perhaps you may not be so tied up to response them. I am a very new amateur and a prospective ETX astro buyer because of its compactness and performances. Unfortunately, there is no dealer in my country (Bangkok, Thailand) except the nearest one, Infinity Focus, in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. However, the price offered is not competitive to price in US. ($870 with extra $100 for S&H compare to $600 in Service merchandise store, USA). I can ask some friends to get from the Service Merchandise store in USA and bring back for me which is easier than going to KL!. Question are; 1) Is the unit purchased from the General store like Service Merchandise reliable? 2) Is there any specialised dealer in San Francisco where the unit can be purchased with confident? This is important because it will be difficult to get the unit back to USA for any replacement/repair. 3) Infinity Focus in KL said they will make some modifications in the ETX for low latitude use. Is this necessary? Thailand is located between latitude 6-20 N. I read somewhere that the ETX has problems when used in low latitude. 4) Is the image from the ETX up-side-down? I think it should appear normal as it can be used as a spotting scope. But I saw in Edmund Scientific catalogue selling Image Inverter for the ETX which makes me puzzled. Thanks for your response. Regards, Sukun T. E-mail : email@example.com
Mike here: If you do get someone to purchase it for you, be certain they fully check it out before they ship it to you. Of course, any damage in shipment to you will be your responsibility for repairs. Just something to keep in mind. As to latitude, there is no modification that can be made (other than providing a longer leg) which could affect stability. You can mount the ETX on a VERY sturdy tripod for low latitudes or make a special wedge yourself (based upon some of the design on the Guest Contributions page. The image is upright but reversed left-to-right when viewed from the normal eyepiece port. You can purchase an Erecting Prism, which corrects the reversal, for use as a spotting scope. See the Accessories - Miscellaneous page.
Subject: Tripods Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 1998 15:49:03 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Anita Stefko) Art, Thanks for the email Art. With ETX owners out there like you around it's going to take a lot of thought and worry out of purchasing accessories. This is my first telescope and I've been looking at scopes for about 6 months and decided on the ETX for it's versatility and price. I was looking at the The LX 10 wanted a LX 200 but since it's my first scope I decided not to get carried away! It wasn't untill after I had actually purchased the ETX that my girlfriend found Weasners site when looking for a case to carry the ETX, Good information there! I had finally decided to find a Meade dealer (I live up in Crescent City,Ca.and there's more fishing going on then looking at stars.) when I recieved the latest JC Penny catalogue and was elated to find the ETX in it. Making the purchase through JC Penny was a good experience for me due to the fact that the first scope sent to me the motor did not work. Called them up and four days later I had another scope. Art, Thanks again for the info, I appreciate you taking the time to email me. Larry Joy email@example.com
Subject: Re: new ETX owner tip Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 1998 15:41:02 From: ElChae@compuserve.com (Lawrence L. Knopp)
I just ran into a deal on a carrying case for the ETX! It's now available at Sam's Warehouse Club stores, but when they're gone, they're gone...they don't often restock sale items. For $19.95, you get a 3 pc. cooler set. Three thermal foam insulated soft-sided coolers (item # 20303WSET), made by InGEAR Corp. The largest of the three is ideal for the ETX. It measres 9.5 x 9.5 x 18.5 inches and my ETX fits nicely with room to spare. I re-enforced the bottom with a double thickness of cardboard, and put foam in to support the tube. I also put foam in each end for added protection. It also has a zippered pocket and a mesh pocket for accessories, such as the legs, compass, level, star maps, etc. And, you get two other smaller bags to boot! I have attached a GIF of the bag with my ETX in it. I hope this helps those on a budget - save your money for eyepieces and other accessories... speaking of accessories, what do I need in order to take 35mm photos through my ETX? Is the #64 adaptor all I need, or is there more? I would like to take terrestrial photos and some planetary photos. Will the magnification be fixed? How much? Also, if you get dew on your lens, are you through for the night. I was in Upper Michigan under dark skies and suddenly, my scope just blanked out! I tried to focus on a bright star but got nothing. When I took it inside, I discovered the culprit - it was coated with dew!! I didn't want to wipe it off; my wife suggested a hair dryer, but I didn't know what damage it might do. Would a tube of construction paper around and out from the lens help? What would you have done under the circumstances? Thanks, Larry Knopp
Mike here: Regarding photography accessories, check out my Accessories - Astrophotography page. And you can see the Craig TeleWrap/Dew Cap on the Accessories - Miscellaneous page. Also see DewBlocker Dew Caps. And some people do use a hair dryer AT VERY LOW HEAT but with all the plastic in the ETX I don't think I would do that. Best to let the optics air dry.
Subject: sticky.... Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 1998 10:01:04 From: AstroFrk69@aol.com all the problems i have had with the etx have always been minor and very easy to fix. i was able to even return an etx due to an optical flaw even after having it over a year...so i have been lucky. a new problem has arisen, or actually been around. whenever i turn the R.A. knob, the scope of course moves right and left, but it seems to almost "stick." it takes more pressure than it should to turn it, and when i finally do, its as if it takes monster jumps...instead of turning slowly. this makes tracking impossible, as well as keeping something in the field-of-view very hard. i have to use the tripod head to move it left and right and i shouldnt have to. any suggestions would be appreciated. thank you dave firstname.lastname@example.org ps mike, thank you very much for posting my questions and comments on your fantastic web page, if it wasnt for you and this web page, i would have thrown my etx out the window because i wouldnt have been able to handle all the little problems that you, and readers of your page have helped me with. so to you and the readers, my sincere thanks.
Mike here: Search for "teflon" and you'll find the info you probably need.
Subject: ETX's Ancestor?? Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 1998 09:46:01 From: email@example.com (Robert Fishbone) Hello. A local dealer here in St. Louis is offering to sell me an unused, still in the box, Meade 2045 D, 4" f/10 with eyepiece and Barlow for $625.00. Seems like a good deal to me. If the scope , etc is working okay, does anyone know of any reasons not to buy this scope if I would otherwise get an ETX? Thanks in advance.
Subject: ETX Tripods Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 1998 09:31:50 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Art Griggs) Maybe you recall that I have e-mailed you a few times before. You may also recall that I bought a ETX when they first became available. Anyway, I glad to see that you keep this site active and up to date. It is a very useful source of ETX info. This is something that puzzles me. When I read Astronomy magazine, etc. I see these ads (e.g. JMI, etc.) for adapting camera tripods for the ETX. The ads are for tripods and any manner of "wedges." Having owned a few 35mm cameras and their respective tripods I wonder why ETX owners want to use camera tripods for their telescopes. In general, camera tripods lack the mass and often the strength to properly mount the relatively massive (compared to a 35MM Camera) ETX. The various wedges also seem rather amateurishly designed.
I am not trying to step on any ETX owners toes but wouldn't one want the stability of a stronger, more stable mount. After all, the ETX has a relatively high focal length and hence a narrow filed of view and high powers of magnification. My suggestion is go with what has been proven to work. Use a Meade Field Tripod and a 2045 or LX10 Wedge. The 2045 Wedge has a slot for mounting the ETX's base quickly. (The Meade 2045 SC was the forerunner to the ETX.) This is what I use and it works quite well. Its extremely stable, easy to set up and the cost is not much more than the camera tripod approach. I keep the ETX in my office in a set-up condition. When I want to take advantage of the ETX's portability, I just loosen one hand-screw and its off the wedge and ready to travel. If I want the tripod to go along, I just collapse it, put it (with its wedge connected) into an Orion tripod bag and then its ready to go. I have found the Meade tripod to be an excellent base for the ETX with its stability, ease of setup and its matching appearance, not to mention the convenient eye piece (3) holder. Art Griggs email@example.com
Mike here: I have the JMI tripod and wedge (reviewed on the Showcase Products page) and they are reasonably stable in light breezes. I agree that regular, low-end photo tripods will probably perform unacceptably.
Subject: ETX Astrophotography contest - A Reminder! Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 1998 05:54:35 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (steve) Some photo's are starting to come in now. As from the begining the deadline for the contest is Aug.25th so there's still plenty of time. The contestants so far have been real positive. www2.miracle.net/~elrond/contest.html. steve
Subject: T-Mount question Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 1998 03:04:53 From: email@example.com (remco zwart) Please can you give me the exact diameter of the #64 T-adapter thread that fits in the T-mount ring of the camera? I allready own a T-mount ring of another scope and I wonder if the #64 T-adapter will fit on it. I have a minolta auto-focus camera too (dynax 3xi) but if I put my T-mount on it, it won't work, do you know what is wrong? (without film it works fine) I hope you can answer my questions, if not, maybe you know someone who can. greetings, Remco Zwart p.s. Your website is really great, I will send you my photo's when I have my ETX, maybe next month.
Mike here: T-adapter and T-mount attachment is a standard. So if you have a T-mount ring for your camera it will attach to the #64 T-adapter. I'm not certain what you problem you are having with your Minolta camera. If you remove the lens to attach the T-mount ring, then you will be defeating the auto-focus. I don't know whether that causes the camera to stop functioning.
Subject: short question Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 1998 01:16:52 From: Francois.David@espace.aerospatiale.fr Just want to know if you can attach a tele-extender or a variable extender at the ETX back? Or is there an adapter to attach 8 inch accessories (extender and so on) at the ETX back? Thanks Francois
Mike here: Checkout the Showcase Products page. The Shutan Visual Back is what you may be looking for.
Subject: ETX and 1.25" adapters Sent: Monday, July 27, 1998 17:40:48 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Alex Turner) I saw an ad for an adapter so that the ETX could use 1.25" accessories. I thought it could use them already. I enjoy the web site alot and hope for better weather soon so that I use my recently accquired ETX. Thanks Alex Turner email@example.com
Mike here: The ad was probably for the Visual Back, which is a simple accessory that allows eyepieces (or other 1.25" accessories) to be used at the rear port of the ETX. You can read a review of it on the Accessories - Showcase Products page.
Subject: Meade ETX Field Tripod Sent: Monday, July 27, 1998 14:50:57 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Reagan Herman) Great web site. Thanks for the effort. I just got the latest issue of Sky & Telescope. Meade is advertising an ETX Field Tripod. Do you have any information about this product yet? I've been thinking about the Bogen but, I guess I'll wait and see now. Besides, it's too hot here in Texas to spend any quality time outdoors anyway. Clear (cooler) skies, Reagan Herman
Mike here: Check out the just posted Meade tripod info on the Accessories - Tripods page
Subject: link to page.. Sent: Monday, July 27, 1998 14:13:44 From: email@example.com (Matt Frost) We are a UK Astronomical telescope dealer stocking the Meade ETX. Would it be possible to put a link from our Meade ETX page to yours, as I feel it would benefit my customers to be able to see how the scope performs. Regards Matt...
I have placed a link to you site at the botom of our ETX page which you can find at:- freespace.virgin.net/sherwoods.ltd/meade/go-etx.htm The main entrance to our site front page is to be found at www.sherwoods-photo.com Thanks again for letting us link to you. Regards Matt...
Subject: telescope advice Sent: Monday, July 27, 1998 12:33:41 From: RyanHecox@aol.com I found your web page because I am looking to buy a quality telescope before I go to college. I am trying to decide between a Meade ETX or an 8" Dobsonian. Which will produce better deep sky images? Will the ETX out perform an 8" Dobsonian or not? I am currently leaning toward the ETX at this time. I was also wondering if you could recomend a good star guide. Thanks for whatever advice you may have! Ryan Hecox RyanHecox@aol.com
Mike here: Obviously the 8" Dob will gather more light than the 90mm ETX. And you'll be able to use higher magnifications. However, that's only part of the equation. The ETX is more portable and has a motor drive. So, it comes down to whether you will actually use the Dob or will it just gather dust because it is inconvenient to take outside at a moment's notice. The ETX, on the other hand, does get lots of use because it is so easily moved.
Subject: Meade ETX Sent: Sunday, July 26, 1998 17:32:25 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Maria) Estoy interesado en comprar un Telescope Meade ETX con motor incorporado. Podrian darme precio CIF Valencia-Spain y el plazo de entrega? Se podria realizar el porte por UPS? El pedido se realizara por FAX y el pago se hara con VISA. En espera de sus noticias. Un saludo. Jose Lajara -- *************** Jose Lajara email@example.com ***************
Subject: ETX Teflon Pads "fixed" at last! Sent: Saturday, July 25, 1998 21:19:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (jeff hyde) Like many other prospective ETX purchasers, I also found your site before I purchased an ETX. The magazine reviews I had read all seemed to give it good reports but your site gave a more practicle and balanced view of what to expect. Rather than be put off, it encouraged me to go ahead with the purchase as most of the negative comments were of a minor nature whereas the optics could not be faulted. Like many owners I also found that the Teflon pads started to "pop" out and were left hanging by the remains of the double sided adhesive. Looking at the small surface area of the pad and the loading it could be subjected to, I decided no double sided tape would hold for any length of time. My solution to the problem is "Loctite Prism 406 Cyanoacrylate Adhesive", made by the 'Loctite Corporation'. When used in conjunction with "Loctite Prism 770 Polyolefin Primer", this adhesive will bond most difficult to bond plastics such as polyethelene, polypropylene and P.T.F.E (Teflon). It will even bond Teflon to Teflon!! As with any "super-glue" you have to be carful not to get it on your fingers (difficult when trying to glue such small items) and for the best results cleanliness and preparation are vital. The pads and telescope base were cleaned with methylated spirits, then carefully primed with 770, (only in the area to be glued). The 406 was applied to the pad which was held by a piece of tape stuck to the top side of the pad and quickly but carefully placed in position and held for 10 seconds. As the bond occurs very quickly, make sure you have the correct position before placing. Only a small amount of adhesive is necessary and it gives a very neat result. I also incorporated some of the ideas others have posted, such as placing Teflon pads under the central screw, etc. The end result is a smoothly turning base with no further problems with misplaced Teflon Pads. I hope this may prove a solution to others who have yet to find a satsfactory solution. Please Note:- The type numbers give for the adhesive and primer may vary in different parts of the world - check with the supplier that the adhesive/primer is suitable for polyolefin type plastics and Teflon. It should be available at emgineering merchants or similar outlets. Regards, Jeff
Subject: Tripods Sent: Saturday, July 25, 1998 12:21:21 From: email@example.com (Anita Stefko) I just purchased a Meade ETX . I'm now looking to buy a tripod, and I was wondering if you or any other ETX users could give me information tripods. Two tripods that I see advertised are the Bogen ETX Tripod,(price $189) and Jim's Mobile Inc. WedgePod (price is $219). JMI has more information about the Wedgepod than I could find on the Bogen. Any information would be appreciated. I'd also like to mention that the information found on your Website on ETX carrying cases made it very easy to decide which case to purchase(the large Doskocil.) Again, any info on tripods would be appreciated. Larry Joy
Mike here: Search the site on Bogen or tripod. You'll find TONS of info. The Accessories - Tripods page has some user comments on some Bogen products and I review the JMI tripod/wedge combination there.
Subject: ETX Barlow & Celestron Sent: Friday, July 24, 1998 13:06:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (James M. Jeffery) Hi, enjoy your page very much. Lots of good stuff here. I recently purchased my ETX and wow!! What a great instrument. My only beef, like others is the finder scope. I'm now starting to collect accessories, and have the #126 short Barlow, Meade, and last week bought a Celestron Ultima 18mm eyepiece at a local dealer. The only one local only carries Celestron or I would have purchased a Meade eyepiece. Anyhow, I got use the Ultima last night for the 1st time, and it does a good job, however when I attempted to slip the Ultima into the barlow, it was a very snug fit and was not sure it was even going to slip in, even after double checking that I had backed off the set screw all the way. Has any one else experienced this problem? The 26mm supplied with the ETX slips right in the Barlow just fine, so don't think the barlow has a problem, but am wondering about the Celestron 18mm. Please email me if you want. I enjoy the scope very much, and am glad I opted for a smaller scope to start with. Jim e-mail: email@example.com
Subject: hi there Sent: Friday, July 24, 1998 11:51:06 From: TUBLEH@aol.com where can i buy an etx? i heard that scope city is a good place.
Mike here: Any Meade dealer should be OK. Lots of excellent reports on The Nature Company and Natural Wonders. Mail order places can be good too.
THANKS FOR THE INFORMATION BUT THE NATURE COMPANY DOESN'T KNOW ALOT ABOUT TELESCOPES. THEN I HEARD ABOUT SCOPE CITY AND I WONDERED IF YOU THOUGHT IT WOULD BE OK.
Mike here: Scope City is all scopes and most stores have a lot of knowledgeable people. I visited one many years ago (bought some binoculars there) but that store closed so haven't been to one since as there is none close to me.
Subject: Sent: Friday, July 24, 1998 10:55:05 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (JAIME GARCIA DE ARECHAGA) Nice Site, congratulations. I've a question to you. Does anybody try tu fit a CCD camera from meade on the ETX.? With such a device, do you think that could be possible to get some deep Sky photos? Sory about my english I'm from Uruguay Southamerica. by and congratulations again for you Site. Jaime Garcia
Mike here: There are lots of CCD images on the Guest Astrophotography Gallery pages. Many are using the QuickCam from Connectix but several also use a more traditional CCD imager. But none of these are from Meade. As to deepsky astrophotography, don't expect too much but some objects can be done. Check the Guest Gallery.
Subject: DEC Circles Sent: Thursday, July 23, 1998 19:34:11 From: email@example.com (Douglas Cann) Just a tip for the ETX'ers with slipped disks/dials. An easy way to align the DEC circles on the forks accurate to +/- one degree, is to set the ETX on a level table without its legs, ie on its own base. Check that the table or counter is level !!. Move the main optical tube level and tighten the DEC lock so that the tube won't move up or down. Then use a small spirit level to check that the tube is now level, loosen the dec lock and re-ajust if required and lock again. Ignore the dial readings at this point. Now unscrew the big black knobs on the forks in front of the dials just enough so that you can turn the DEC dials until the '0' lines up with the small pointers molded into the plastic of the fork. Now lick your thumb and fore finger of your left hand - stay with me !!- and gently push against the dial so that your finger and thumb 'stick' to the dial. You can then re-tighten the black knob without upsetting or moving the dial from '0'. Check the other side as well and do the same thing. Don't tighten up the knobs too tight. They really don't do a lot that needs any pressure. That's it !! The RA dial moves anyway, so it does not have to be set up unless it happens to be upside down. Good luck and cheers...Doug
Mike here: One of these days I have to update that ETX FAQ to include all the new tips...
Subject: Quick cam availability Sent: Thursday, July 23, 1998 16:26:35 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I liked the pictures made with the quickcam so I have tried to buy one. Connectix tells me the B&W quickcam is discontinued. Will the color version work for astro photography? Regards, Don Anselmo
Mike here: Color version will work. Probably even better.
Subject: ETX Technical Notes Sent: Wednesday, July 22, 1998 23:43:51 From: Francois.David@espace.aerospatiale.fr Do you know where I can find technical notes on the ETX? Thanks Francois
Subject: Help! Sent: Wednesday, July 22, 1998 11:43:58 From: email@example.com (Michael Janocik) Fantastic web page!!! I am a real telescope rooky, but I have the ETX and I accidentally messed up the large circles on the side of the fork mount. Are these originally factory set? How does one reset the circles so that I can use them when I get the knack for setting RA and Dec. I think I messed up the Declination circles? Are these the ones on the fork mount? Thank you for any help that your readers might offer. Cordially, Michael Janocik
Mike here: I saw complete instructions on adjusting the DEC setting circle on someone's ETX web site. But I've lost the URL. Anyone know the site?
Subject: Fwd: ETX Digital Setting Circles Sent: Wednesday, July 22, 1998 10:05:31 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Wayne Powell) I wonder if anyone can provide some experience or suggestions. I have it in mind to adapt digital encoders and a computer setting circle to my little ETX. JMI provides a solution(s) for the ETX, but the expense for an NGC-Max (which is required for RS232 port out) is a bit prohibitive. Meade's Magellan I seems like a positive option, but they do not specifically make a mount for the etx, so I am looking for opinions, experience and/or advice on adapting and calibrating the Meade solution to the ETX. Meade offers different encoder solutions depending onthe mount and no one in my area has the kits available to inspect so I am unsure about which of these options gives me the best starting point. I am mechanically enclined, so adapting this solution doesn't seem impossible, though if someone has already travelled down this path (even for an adaptation to a Dob or other non-Meade mount) your experience would be invaluable. Also, I'm looking for input from any etx owners who have purchased and adapted the JMI NGC-Max or Mini or Micro. (or possibly other encoder/DSC combos). Thank you for your help!
Mike here: The JMI NGC-microMAX/NGC-MAX is reviewed on the Accessories - Miscellaneous page.
Subject: meade ETX Sent: Wednesday, July 22, 1998 07:21:30 From: Francois.David@espace.aerospatiale.fr I'm very impressed by your ETX home page. I purchased an ETX one year ago (actually I'm french), and I plan to buy a pictor 216XT (to do tracking at the beginning). I would like to know how I could interface the ETX and the CCD camera. Does the scope provide specific outlet (like the LX200) or do I have to cut cable? Do you have any experience or informations? Best regards Francois
Subject: Re: Travelling with the ETX Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 1998 12:22:17 From: email@example.com Congratulations on the "Best ETX Website" recognition. I would heartily agree and have enjoyed and learned a great deal by using your website. I hope that it continues to grow and prosper. By the way, I had some great views of Scorpio and Saggitarius last night from my driveway. The portability and power of the ETX continues to amaze me.
Subject: DewBlocker Dew Caps for ETX Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 1998 06:35:41 From: firstname.lastname@example.org Let me add my thanks to you for creating and maintaining this wonderful resource for the ETX. We love ours! I also wanted to tell you about a new product that we are offering to fellow ETX owners to deal with the dew problem most of us have at one time or another. It's called the PRC DewBlocker and it's a highly effective dew cap that attaches in seconds without glue, tape or other fasteners. What makes it different is that DewBlocker is made from an insulating material that significantly increases the time it takes for dew to form (if at all). We've also made it affordable: only $12.95 + $2.50 S&H. Please take a look at our page at: http://www.riskconsulting.com/dewblk.htmThanks again! Susan
Subject: new address Sent: Monday, July 20, 1998 21:42:58 From: email@example.com (B Ortiz) Thanks for posting the Bantam 2.5x20 request. Was finally able get the retainer ring off by prying it off as per Greg Kohanim's suggestions. It actually should unsrew off useing a special too( a wide blade screwdriver typr of affair) I guess you could improvise and make one out of thin metal wide enough to span the retainer width and fitting in the slots. Any way thanks for the post and your great web site. Boris
Subject: Travelling with the ETX Sent: Monday, July 20, 1998 08:11:36 From: firstname.lastname@example.org just got back from a long vacation and thought I'd let you know about my travels with the ETX. Two carry-ons were all that was required to take everything I needed (scope-wise). One was the Dosckocil XL Case and the other was the legs and head of my Bogen tripod. Both fit very conveniently in the overhead compartment of all the planes we travelled in. I did not need to try to squeeze them under the seat, but I believe that they will fit. the airlines told me that 45 inches (adding up each of the dimensions) was the normal maximum and the case just makes that. Within the case, I can get the ETX, and old Minolta SLR camera, the T-adapter for the camera, legs for table-top tripod, handles for large tripod, four eyepieces and one 2X converter, two red flashlights, one lens brush, a small Swiss Army knife, an extra roll of film, and the body of the Rigel Quick Find. Since the case has two layers of foam, you can carefully position smaller items in the lower section without losing too much padding for the things on top. Since you are carrying the case, you are not subject to the brutalities of baggage handlers. And it was great to have the ETX on vacation for night viewing and daylight photography. One word on the case - loosen the vent screw to allow the pressure to equalize. The first time I got off an airplane, the sides were all sucked in from the pressure. No damage, but I guess that proves the O-ring works.
Subject: Homemade CCD imager Sent: Sunday, July 19, 1998 16:53:21 From: email@example.com (Walter Warren) It seems like I once saw instructions on your site for building a CCD imager out of a spray can cap and computer camera, but now I can't find it. Can you point me to it? Walter Warren
Mike here: The spray can cap reference is on the Filters page in a Solar Filter review. There are some QuickCam CCD mounting tips on the Guest Contributions page.
Subject: new ETX owner tip Sent: Saturday, July 18, 1998 11:43:56 From: ElChae@compuserve.com (Lawrence Knopp) I just got my ETX and noticed that the arrowheads for RA and DEC were not easily seen, especially at night. Using a toothpick, I dabbed on a little Flourescent paint, available at most hobby stores. Now I can see them plainly. Larry Knopp
Subject: RA slow motion controls sticking Sent: Saturday, July 18, 1998 07:44:35 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ray Porter) I know this has been discussed on your site before but I can't find the specific recommendations now. My RA slow motion control is sticking and the problem seems to be getting worse. It has only recently started affecting the drive which now sticks then lurches as it catches up to the correct position. Can you point me to the information about fixes? BTW, I recently added a JMI Wedge and Orion EZFinder to my ETX. I can highly recommend these accessories. They make polar aligning and locating objects much easier and more enjoyable. I have also discovered that my setting circles are reversed from what is described in the manual. Once I discovered that, I was able to begin using the setting circles which has made finding deep space objects much simpler. Ray Porter email@example.com
Mike here: Sticking problems addressed a lot over the last couple of months. Check this Feedback page and the June and possibly May Feedback archives. You could also search the site for "RA"; you'll get lots of hits, some related to the sticking problem.
Subject: Re: addendum Sent: Friday, July 17, 1998 22:23:03 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Patrick Wallace) > By the way, I occasionally use the circles. It was how I located > Venus in the daytime. Well done - if I can succeed in doing that it will impress the kids. I managed to find the ring nebula last night using the circles, but it was something of a challenge given the field size at 48x. How did you set the RA in the day time? Incidentally, one of my day jobs is pointing large telescopes - we're just about to begin mount pointing tests on Gemini north, an 8-metre telescope on Mauna Kea. See also my private web pages on http://www.tpsoft.demon.co.uk/ regards Patrick Wallace ____________________________________________________________________________ Starlink Project Manager Internet: email@example.com Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Tel: +44-1235-445372 Chilton, Didcot, Oxon OX11 0QX, UK Fax: +44-1235-446667 ____________________________________________________________________________
Mike here: See my new comments about the Wide-Field Adapter on the Showcase Products page. For daylight observing, I used Voyager II sky charting software to get the RA/Dec for the Sun. Using the solar filter I centered on the Sun (wanted to observe it anyway). Set the RA for the Sun. Then moved the ETX to where Voyager said Venus was located, removed the solar filter. Voila, there was Venus!
Subject: Great Site Sent: Friday, July 17, 1998 01:34:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Eddie Trimarchi) I have just bought an ETX as a guide scope for my C8 and it is great. I believe my C8 has very good optics and have managed several side-by-side tests since mounting the ETX on it. My test subject has been the moon on all occasions to date. At low power, the C8 wins out purely because of the resolution gains of the 8", but the ETX still has fantastic views. At the highest powers (6.7mm UWA+barlow) though, the ETX wins out and the C8 goes all mushy. The C8 was running at fl=1260mm to get it closer to the ETX fl which gives a magnification of around 376 times. Neither scope was sharp but the ETX was noticeably better than the C8. Very impressive. But my question here is about mounting the ETX as a guide scope. I have scoured your page (perhaps too coursely) and cannot find any references to doing this. Is there any accessories for allowing a simple, adjustable mounting as a guide scope that you know of? I currently have it mounted, but it is in a fixed position within about 15 arcminutes out of alignment with the C8. Which is pretty good, but I need adjustable alignment. I get the feeling that if it is not on your page, it doesn't exist! Thanks in advance. Regards Eddie Trimarchi ~~~~~~~~~~~ email : email@example.com URL : http://www.fan.net.au/~eddiet
Mike here: As to a mounting for the ETX, you might check Doc Greiner's ETX Info site. I believe he has some mounting info for the Meade LX200. Might give you some ideas.
Subject: Can you answer a simple ETX question? Sent: Thursday, July 16, 1998 19:53:08 I just got my new ETX and can't figure something out. Apparently if trying to find something using the setting circles its necessary to set the RA scale while observing a known object. I can't seem to get the scale to turn though. Does the scale rotate independently of the bottom and top sections? It seems to be locked to the upper section. Walter Warren
Mike here: The scale does rotate. But it can be extremely tight. John Greenhouse has one solution further down this Feedback page.
Subject: first photo of moon Sent: Thursday, July 16, 1998 12:36:30 From: AstroFrk69@aol.com i have taken a few pictures with the etx and t-adapter. my first shot i took was of the moon, and the second and third shots were of the sun. the pictures of the sun came out beautifully the sun was in perfect focus with groups of sunspots noticeable sharply. but my first picture through the etx, the moon, came out, well, bad. :-) The moon itself is dim, but in focus, and the entire surrounding area is almost "bleached" out. its either over or underexposed...which i don't know cause i am fairly new at astrophotography, and photography in general. can you explain why and how this happened....and how i could prevent this in the future? thank you, Dave
Mike here: You can see a similar lunar photography result on my Moon shots done at Prime Focus. I suspect the moon is actually underexposed but haven't confirmed this. I'm still trying for good prime focus astrophotography.
Subject: Meade ETX Astro Telescope Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 1998 20:43:40 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Spot) Hi Mike, my daughter attended Kansas University last year and enrolled in an astronomy class as a freshman (despite her Dad's concerns about taking such a class as a freshman). She loved the course and the labs. Because I teach science, I was thrilled when she asked if she could purchase a telescope - doing the research, she settled on the Meade ETX Astro Telescope. She has only had the scope for a few days but it has generated lots of excitement around our house. Despite our location in Western Kansas, we have been socked in with cloudy nights and have star gazed but for a few brief hours. However, it has filled us with anticipation so we eagerly await the 'dawning' of a new evening (hey, I teach human anatomy so have lots to learn). My son and I have zeroed in on a couple of birds at half a mile and were taken back by the clarity of their image. We are hoping to 'steal' her telescope for a weekend trip to Colorado where we are going to use predator calls in an attempt to photograph mountain lions and bears - wish us luck. In short, we may have to purchase a second ETX to fill the void when she returns to college this fall. Thanks for the informative web site, Bob
Subject: Bantam 2.5 x20 scope Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 1998 18:02:35 From: email@example.com (B Ortiz) Purchased Bantam scope as per a post your web site but cannot remove the retainer clip (can't find it) to be able to install it on the ETX. Any help from anyone responding to your web site would be appreciated. Thanks Boris Orland, FL firstname.lastname@example.org (B Ortiz)
Subject: Nikon N50 SLR & ETX Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 1998 17:24:53 From: email@example.com (Sam Paparatto) I had purchased my Nikon camera for Christmas ('97). Recently I saw adds for the ETX and it was recommended to me. I was also told it was a "decent" scope for photography. I purchased the scope. When I went to purchase the T adapter for my Nikon I was told that the Nikon could not be fitted with a T adapter. Do you know if this is true? Thanks!
Mike here: I don't know if there is one available but I'd be surprised if one was not available. Especially since yesterday I posted a moonshot from a guest contributor taken with a Nikon. Check it out.
Subject: Two years of ETX'ing !!! Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 1998 23:06:45 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Douglas Cann) Well it is July the 15th and I have now had my ETX for exactly two years to the day. I am still very happy with it and it continues to perform flawlessly, even the drive. I checked my observing records and after I allowed for the eleven weeks that I was unable to use my ETX for vacation or other reasons, I have still had 198 evenings of observing during the past two years. For South Western B.C. that must be a record for clear skies !!. According to my notes, most of those nights were 5/10 or better and with several that I would consider as 'perfect'. Many nights were diffraction limited and with the ETX, that sort of night is a joy to behold. Anyway, I thought that I would share this moment with you, particularly after having just read all of the archived comments that go back to the summer of 1996. It is amazing how much information that you have recieved, written and photographed etc, etc and which is now available for all to enjoy. I can still recall my early e mails from 1996 as if they were written to you last week. Keep up the great effort that you put into maintaining this site and let's hope that we will all be able to share another two years of 'ETX'ing'. I think that should be a new verb !!. Best regards and cheers, Doug Cann
Subject: eyepiece 8.8mm Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 1998 11:45:14 From: email@example.com (Anthony R. Polidoro) What do you think of the 8.8mm 1.25" UWA? Does it work well with our little ETX? Thanks Anthony
Subject: T-mount/Pentax problem... Sent: Monday, July 13, 1998 15:55:54 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (dyke) I am using the Meade T-mount with a Pentax ZX-5n. With the short version of the mount, I have no problems. However - when using the full-length mount, I find that I can not quite get the focus sharp. Has anyone else run into this problem? Thanks for the site - it has been a great help!!! -- ----------------------------------------------------------------- Dyke Stiles email@example.com Real-Time and Parallel Computing Group http://multi.ece.usu.edu Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Utah State University Logan Utah 84322-4120 Voice: (435) 797-2806; FAX: (435)797-3054; Telex: 378-9426 ==================================================================
Subject: Meade ETX Telescope Sent: Monday, July 13, 1998 06:53:37 From: PDoveLosG@aol.com I downloaded your web page on the ETX. I have had my ETX since December 1996 - after waiting 4 months for delivery here in the UK. I use it at our apartment in Tenerife, Canary Islands where I spend about 6 months of the year. Although the apartment is on the coast (Los Gigantes, in the far West) I can drive for 30 min to be above the inversion layer at 6000 feet normally in clear, ideal viewing conditions. I was looking on the web to see if there was any advice on a problem I have, and I am sure many ETX owners have. My azimuth bearing is 'stiff' i.e. when the telescope is on motor drive it rotates in jerks, not smoothly, particularly when on its equatorial mount. After some very careful consideration I stripped down the telescope and find that the axial component of the azimuth bearing consists of a series of tiny blocks running on the plastic base of the unit. I assume these blocks are PTFE and the base is, presumably ABS or similar. I inspected the blocks carefully and concluded that they are cemented into recesses in the mounting. I thought that the cement may have tracked onto the bearing surface. I cleaned the blocks and all bearing surfaces very carefully with alcohol and reassembled the telescope. The sticking is now very much better, but not altogether removed. Obviously the ETX is something a compromise of price and quality, and Meade have used PTFE instead of a proper (and very expensive) precision roller or ball bearing. Has there been any correspondence on this matter on the web to your knowledge - and do any dealers market modifications to cure this problem? I would be grateful for your advice or from users you have contact with Yours etc. Patrick Dove Sandbach, Cheshire UK
Mike here: Search the site for "teflon" and you'll find lots of comments about this problem and the fix.
Subject: Subject: ETX R.A.Drive, wobbles, teething troubles & solutions. Sent: Monday, July 13, 1998 05:41:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Greenhouse) Customer service provided by Meade Instruments. I have now been the owner of an ETX for just over four months. I have studied your website articles before and after purchase,and have found all the information pertaining to the ETX most informative and very helpful. Thanks a lot. After a few weeks of viewing I too, like a number of other ETX users, experienced a few teething troubles. On a number of occasions,upon switching on the motor drive I noticed that it would not "kick in", and if it did, the movement became quite jerky! My first reaction was to replace the batteries, even although they gave a good reading on my meter. Since this did not seem to make any difference, I decided to look in the ETX manual ( Telescope controls page 3 ) and realised that I had only turned the R.A. lock to a " firm feel only" Solution: As stated in the manual, the R.A. lock has to be turned FULLY CLOCKWISE in order to engage the motor drive. Locking the R.A. control tightly soon solved the problem. A few weeks later the " wobble problem" began to develop. Like a number of other users, I noticed a small piece of black plastic oozing out from the side of the base, just under the RA setting circle. After having read comments in the newsgroup & web site, I realised that this was in fact one of the teflon bearings. A quick phone call to Meade Instruments from here in Western Australia (at some unearthly hour of the morning - we are 15 hours ahead) resulted in a very helpful Mike Leigh posting some replacement pads to me, & explaining how to fix them in place. After removing the base plate of the ETX it is necessary to remove the centre screw holding the two halves of the base together. Remove the bottom half taking care not to damage any wires or the circuit board. After thoroughly cleaning off any minute particles of adhesive left over from missing pads (There are three of them) . Firmly press the new self adhesive pads in place. Each pad fits in between two minute raised pieces of plastic protruding from the base plate just under the RA setting circle position. The pads themselves measure only x 1/16 x 1/32 and are slightly curved . After I had reassembled the base, it rotated perfectly / smoothly manually. However it tended to stick in certain places after the motor was switched on. After taking the base apart several times I found that the amount that the centre screw was either tightened or loosened was very critical indeed. Too loose and the base wobbled. Too tight and the motor did not rotate smoothly. I then smeared a very small amount of Furniture Polish over the pads and all surfaces that touch between top & bottom of the base, then rubbed it off with a soft cloth to a shine. The centre screw is fairly tight & there is absolutely no wobble, the motor rotates the base as smooth as silk with no jerking whatsoever. I used Furniture Polish but I would imagine the same result could be obtained using "Armourall"(made in USA) as long as it is rubbed off with a soft cloth. I gathered from previous comments that grease should not be used. I have found that moving the RA circle manually proved to be pretty difficult. The photo on page 9 of the ETX manual gives the impression that it can be moved just by one finger. I have also found that by pressing a very short piece of inch wide sticky cloth tape onto the circle, it can be moved with ease. Regarding Eye Pieces : When I ordered my ETX direct from Meade, I also ordered two additional eye pieces 9-7 & 6-7 UWA. Unfortunately the 6-7UWA had a very small chip on the edge of the perimeter, together with a small piece of black paint in the centre of the field of view. One phone call to Meade and a replacement eye piece was despatched immediately. I received the replacement only to find that this too, had a small crack on the edge of the field of view! Another phone call to Meade, and I now have a perfect eye piece. I can only imagine that Meade had received a faulty batch of 6.7 UWA eye pieces from the manufacturers in Japan. Apart from a few teething troubles mentioned, I reckon that the ETX is an excellent scope, and that because of its portability will be used a great deal more than if I had purchased a scope of larger size and weight. Regarding comments that have been made about the service that Meade provides for its customers, I have to say that I have phoned them on several occasions from here in Western Australia, and have found all staff to be most polite and extremely helpful in every way. I certainly have no complaints regarding their service. Regards: John Greenhouse Perth Western Australia 13/7/98.
Subject: meade telescopes Sent: Sunday, July 12, 1998 20:57:44 From: email@example.com (Bill Crouch) I just read an add in this months Smithsonian for the Meade ETX. They claim that it has a range of 100 yards to 100 light years. have you tryed it on any close target? bill crouch york pa
Mike here: That range is misleading. I've focused on closer objects and certainly galaxies are visible.
Subject: lat-longitude Sent: Saturday, July 11, 1998 17:41:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org After replacing the teflon pads, and performing the hanger-bolt fix (as described in guest contributions by Paul Boudreaux - many, many thanks) I'm tracking smoothly again. Alas, the clouds have been quite thick and this time of year the nights seem awfully short as well - so no observations to report. However, I just bumped into a site for latitude and longitude via the MAPUG archive page which provides information for street addresses complete with a map at: www.geocode.com/eagle.html-ssi Thought I'd share that with the list. Thanks again for providing this terrific service. alan marwine
Subject: Eyepiece Sent: Friday, July 10, 1998 22:21:10 From: email@example.com (Barry A. Kintner) Good day - I stumbled upon your site from a search on AltaVista for the Meade ETX spotting scope version. I have been considering this item for a little while. BUT - I wish to use it primarily for terrestrial (wildlife & some birds) and I prefer a straight-through view. I did not notice any reference to one on your finder-eyepiece page, but did note a reference to the possibility of this item being the best choice for certain uses. Is a good quality straight-through eyepiece available (using a zoom or being a zoom is my preference) and of course using the 1.25" quality equipment. Thanks for any input you might have. I had pretty much decided upon the Leica Televid spotting scope until I saw this one - cost...? maybe. Barry A. Kintner
Mike here: Check out the review of the Shutan Visual Back on the Accessories - Showcase Products page. This is exactly what you want for a straight through view.
Thanks for the response. I read the recommended note and it does sound as though that is what I am looking for. One thing I might've missed - is it a self-erecting setup or is it reversed? For some of my work this will make a difference.
Mike here: It is not an erect image. For that you would need the erecting prism from Meade. But that is a 90 degree device. By the way, check out the ETX and birding page by J Slivoski .
Subject: New ETX User comments Sent: Friday, July 10, 1998 09:00:46 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Patrick Wallace) I recently acquired an ETX. SUMMARY I'm generally very pleased with it. It's highly portable, has a perfectly adequate mounting and drive for visual use, and gives extremely good views of bright objects. It's also the best terrestrial telescope I've ever used. But my example had a serious problem with stray light (details in due course), and I'd be interested to compare notes with other ETX owners on that score. OPTICS Collimation of my example seems spot on, and I get text-book diffraction limited star images. For example, Epsilon Lyrae is four perfect Airy discs, each with a delicate and even first ring. Each double is cleanly separated. For my tests I used a range of eyepieces, including 4.8mm, 7mm and 16mm Nagler IIs, a Pentax SMC XL 10.5mm, and the 26mm super-Plossl that came with with the ETX. For terrestrial use the supplied 26mm (x48) gives a fine view, crisp and contrasty. The 16mm Nagler is a different set of compromises; it gives almost the same field as the 26mm but at about x80, at the cost of some eye-relief, and with less vivid colours. The Pentax 10.5mm (x120) is a good choice for showing people the Moon, which just fits in its field of view; the enormous eye-relief helps a lot. The 7mm Nagler (x180), also very good on the Moon will, I expect, be my default eyepiece for the planets. Even the 4.8mm Nagler (x260) is manageable. Terrestrial use reveals that all the eyepieces suffer from noticeable pincushion distortion, the wider-field ones in particular as you would expect. I did a side-by-side comparison with my 8-inch f/10 using the first- quarter Moon. Although the 8-inch's much brighter image was immediately impressive compared with the more subdued view through the ETX, when I actually looked critically at specific fine details I couldn't honestly say that there was anything continuously visible in the 8-inch than I could not also see with the ETX...on that particular night, and ignoring the fleeting moments of sharpness glimpsed in the larger instrument. (I should add that the 8-inch has an exceptionally fine primary mirror, made by Steve Lee in Australia. He figured the paraboloid with a two-pass autocollimation null test, using a spare AAT coude flat. Knife-edge tests on stars have failed to reveal any errors at all in the figure.) I'm quite sure on an exceptionally steady night the 8-inch will show far more detail than the ETX, but you don't get those nights very often, at least in my backyard. My one, early-morning, view of Jupiter and Saturn so far was very promising. With the 7mm Nagler, Jupiter's disc was big enough, bright enough and with sufficiently obvious cloudbelts to impress a visitor. Saturn, rather low in the sky, was pleasing and I thought I glimpsed Cassini's Division. I'm confident it will be an impressive sight once the rings are fully open. The optional-extra erecting prism does not appear to compromise image quality, despite the warnings in the ETX instruction manual. There's no diffraction spike from the roof ridge, and any extra scattered light is at a low level. Overall, it's remarkable value for money. (While it's in use I put a film canister in the ETX's right-angle eyepiece holder to keep out dust.) MECHANICS/LOGISTICS The mounting is very adequate, at least for temperate latitudes where the below-equator range limitation isn't serious. I soon found that using the inbuilt tripod on a table is inconvenient and awkward; an ordinary photographic tripod proved much better. Consequently I now regret having purchased the optional high-latitude leg. One gotcha is that the drive switches are slightly proud of the baseplate and you have to be careful about how you position the tripod-head. Meade should do something about this. Another gotcha is that if you try and remove the bottom plate using a side leg instead of the centre leg (having failed to read the excellent manual with sufficient care...), you're likely to leave the threaded portion in the plate, i.e. unscrewed from the leg. Very hard to get it out, I found. Meade should do something to eliminate this trap. Polar-axis alignment adequate for visual use takes only a couple of minutes. I use this crude procedure: * Set the tripod level by eye. * Set the ETX declination circle to read the latitude (in my case 52 degrees). * Adjust the camera pan/tilt head until the end of the tube looks horizontal. * Set the declination to 90. * Rotate the tripod head in azimuth until you see Polaris. I don't mind that it takes a few seconds for the RA drive to take up the slack, but it's a great pity there isn't an RA slow-motion that you can then use to recentre the object. A related limitation is that the motor drives the whole upper part of the mount, upon which the RA circle is mounted; thus the indicated RA changes as you track. In short, the circle reads hour angle, not right ascension. To fix this would require an extra "deck", which could be rotated with respect to the driven part. You'd then leave the drive running, adjust the RA circle to read correctly on your first star, and then find other objects by unclamping the top section and rotating until the correct RA was read. As it is, about all you can do is to find a bright star, set the "RA" circle to that star's RA and then quickly set the circles to the RA/Dec of the new object. Out of the box, mine had zero-point errors of about 2 degrees in declination, not very impressive. However, by unscrewing the "logo bolt" you can reset the circle, and I did this. Mind you, the indexes and scales are so far apart the readout accuracy is probably limited by parallax to not much better than a degree. And how many ETX owners will try to use the circles? I'm personally not too bothered about the use of plastic, which has come in for criticism. All the plastic bits seem to work adequately well. In fact I'd rather have a plastic tube end-cap than the machined metal one supplied. For all its elegance, the metal cap (presumably meant to match the Questar) is a mixed blessing. It's too easy to cross-thread (this can happen during removal as well as when you're trying to get it back on), it takes time to screw/unscrew and it's rather easy to unscrew the whole front element by mistake. The finder is optically good but difficult to look through (impossible for many applications). Meade should attend to this design flaw. I shall invest in a right-angle adaptor in due course, and I may also add a x1 finder of some sort. BUT... The one serious shortcoming that I must report is the poor finish of the main sky-baffle (the tube which projects from the primary hole) and the consequent stray light which surrounds the exit pupil. I noticed this right away when I first looked through the ETX (in daylight). The image contrast was disappointing and varied as I moved my eye around. Taking out the eyepiece and looking through at the secondary, there were bright reflections from parts of the baffle interior. I checked out another ETX in a shop and it had exactly the same problem (worse if anything). Cautious application of matt black paint did no good at all, because matt black paint is hopeless for grazing-incidence applications. The problem appears to be that the grooves on the inside of the sky baffle are poorly machined: instead of their coming to sharp edges, the machining has left enough "land" to cause glancing reflections. The cure has been to insert into the sky-baffle a lining consisting of a roll of 400-grit carborundum paper (!). This is the blackest stuff for grazing incidence that I've come across, though it looks quite grey in incident light. The net result is extremely fine - really punchy views for daytime terrestrial use and sharp, contrasty results on the night sky. But the vignetting is slightly increased, as judged by out-of-focus stars at the edge of the x48 field. If anyone wants to follow my example, the roll is made from a rectangle 52.5mm x 120mm. Curling it to the required 16.7mm-diameter cylinder and fastening it with a narrow strip of adhesive tape is the most difficult part. Insertion, also not easy, was from behind the mirror to place less strain on the baffle-tube. If anyone knows how to remove and replace the baffle tube, let me know. I'll take it out and send it back to Meade, or maybe try to make a better one. Unfortunately it seems to be integral with the primary mirror. SUMMING UP Overall the ETX has been great fun and represents very good value for money. If Meade can address the sky-baffle finish, and if they can consistently produce the optical quality of the specimen I have, it's a winner. Several minor shortcomings could be fixed up very inexpensively in any Mk II version, and perhaps a way could be found of providing better RA drive/circle arrangements. Patrick Wallace
Subject: Quickcam camera Sent: Thursday, July 9, 1998 18:47:49 From: Allan.Gould@dah.csiro.au (Gould, Allan) Just thought I would drop you a line in relation to the ETX and Connectix quickcam CCD camera. I used the procedures on the web to pull apart a colour quickcam and mounted it on my ETX using an old eyepiece adaptor from my 201xt. Just focussed the ETX and there on my computer screen were great images of the moon. Took 30 frames in just over a minute. With the portability, low cost etc of this setup I would heartily recommend others with an ETX to invest in this system as its a low cost entrance into trials etc of CCD imaging. Regards, Allan Gould
Subject: t-adapter Sent: Thursday, July 9, 1998 15:20:24 From: AstroFrk69@aol.com i just bought the t-adapter to use with my 35mm Canon Rebel G camera. i have the t-mount for it, everything is setup perfectly, so far no problems. i noticed that the adapter is very long, and can be unscrewed in the middle creating a smaller part. what is the object of that? in the advertisement for example, it shows the small little t-adapter...but not the full thing. what is the difference between having the whole thing together, and just using the little beginning part? you know what im trying to say? what does each do? thanks a lot, dave
Mike here: Using the shorter tube provides a little brighter image (less distance) and slightly less magnification. It also helps with the counterbalance problem. But it does vignette a small amount.
Subject: DSO with the ETX Sent: Wednesday, July 8, 1998 22:18:45 From: email@example.com (MICHAEL ADDISON) What is the faintest object I can expect to see with my ETX in relatively light polluted conditions? The reason I ask is I was observing for M4 from my backyard in Honolulu. Seeing it at magnitude -5.6 should've been easy, but all I found was a faint fuzzy blue smudge instead of the well defined cluster of stars I expected. I guess the question is: was it the light pollution or the ETX? Aloha & Clear Skies, Mickey Addison Honolulu, HI firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike here: Light pollution will kill any faint object, especially extended ones like clusters and gaseous nebulae. Ideally you could do about magnitude 11 with an ETX but in practice with any light pollution you'll be down to 5-7 roughly.
Subject: new ETX page Sent: Wednesday, July 8, 1998 15:14:55 From: Tom.Alderweireldt@ping.be (Tom Alderweireldt) After a first test film with my new ETX, I added some of the test images on my webpage at http://www.ping.be/~pin01622/ETX.HTML Sorry for the inconvenience of the big M12 starfield image (152 kbytes in GIF format). I kept the larger GIF image because the star colors are lost if I save the image in JPG format. The sunspot image was obtained with a mylar filter over the ETX. best regards, Tom Alderweireldt 's-Gravenwezel, Belgium.
Subject: ETX motor Sent: Tuesday, July 7, 1998 22:32:10 From: SXERXE@aol.com I have been enjoying your web site very much and have purchased an ETX because of all the positive output. So now I have a question. Before I talk to Meade I thought I would ask you first. I put 3 new AA batteries in the base and turned on the motor with RA and Dec locked and the motor doesn't work. I don't hear anything and checked for movement on the RA ring and nothing, did I do something wrong or should I call Meade. Rex email@example.com P.S. Keep up the good work
Mike here: Unless the switch or motor is bad, you might want to check to see if the battery contacts are really contacting the batteries. Check out Jeri Desrochers' comment below.
Subject: I need help adapting my Casio Digital Camera? Sent: Tuesday, July 7, 1998 11:02:15 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tiffany Shockley) I love your site, I enjoy all of the information people contribute to the site. In fact, I was trying to adapt my Casio QV-10 to my eyepiece projection tube which is about 42mm and I cannot find anything that fits. I need an adapter ring. The only ones I found that adapt to a Casio are 37mm-46mm or 37mm 49mm. Can you help? Thank You Tiffany
Mike here: I ran into the same problem. I found a "solution" but gave up rather quickly as it mounted the Casio lens too far from the eyepiece, resulting in a very small view on the Casio. You can see a short discussion of this adapter on the Astrophotograpy Gallery - Basics page.
Subject: books for beginners Sent: Tuesday, July 7, 1998 00:08:34 From: email@example.com (Greg Glasscock) I got an ETX for Christmas 1997. I had no previous experience with astronomy. I have seen questions from the archives about helpful books for beginners. I have found the following two books to be great. "The Stars: A New Way to See Them" by H. A. Rey (yes, it is the H. A. Rey of Curious George fame) is a terrific book to help understand the constellations and mechanics of the whole sky, stars and planets. The other book is "Turn Left at Orion". With this book you can go right outside and begin looking at objects without any previous experience. Both books are available at Amazon.com and Sky Publishing's catalog number 800 253-0245. If anyone has more specific questions, send me an e-mail and I'll do my best! Greg
Subject: ETX Astrophotography !!! Sent: Monday, July 6, 1998 18:27:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Elrond) The contest will be as follows: Anyone may submit a photo. It must have been taken with an ETX, in any way. This includes being piggybacked on a larger scope for guiding, but all means must be specified and will contribute to the judging decision (ie: same photo of Orion taken with a piggybacked ETX vs. a photo of Orion of nearly the same quality but made with only a standard ETX, the standard ETX photo will be considered to be made with a few degrees of difficulty therefore more favorably). Two catagories: digital and film. All photos submitted will AUTOMATICALLY be subjected to the rules (posted on my web site). This includes exclusion should the judges conclude that it was not taken with an ETX of any means. I have set up a page on my web site: www2.miracle.net/~elrond/contest.html. steve Salvati
Subject: ETX users in Mexico Sent: Monday, July 6, 1998 16:36:58 From: Francisco_Colin/VIRBAC/FR@virbac.fr Thanks to your great page I'm a new ETX user, and i wish to know others ETX users in Mexico My name is Francisco Colin from Guadalajara, Mexico my e-mail is email@example.com Thanks and sorry for my english
Subject: Light? Sent: Monday, July 6, 1998 12:54:15 From: Will.Mullen@harrisbank.com I'm new to the telescope game and based on my research, which included perusing your site, I chose the ETX as my first scope. Based on the comments of you and others, I purchased at the same time the 90 degree finder conversion. My second purchases were the Celestron 2X Barlow (Shutan recommendation) and a Meade 40mm Super Plossi 4000. All has worked well for Lunar observation. My next purchase however is a disappointment. I picked a 6.7mm Ultra-Wide Super Plossi hopping to get inside some craters. What I have wound up with is a blur. Part of the problem may be my eyes. One of the reasons that I am restricting myself to Lunar observation is that I suffer from Retinatis Pigmentosa, which includes night blindness. The moon is the only object in the night sky bright enough for me to still see. I know from my photography days that how a lens is designed greatly affects its light gathering capability. I forgot to think of this when I chose an Ultra-wide. My question is this: Given a specific eyepiece diameter, Which gathers the most light? Regular, Super-wide, or Ultra-Wide? What is the minimum diameter eyepiece recommended for lunar observation? Also: When I set the ETX up in approximate Polar Alignment (in Chicago IL), I noticed that when scanning to the south for Lunar observation, I have to orient the scope so that the eyepieces are almost pointing down. Any other orientation causes the finder scope to bind. The focus knob becomes inaccessible as well. I was hopping to use the motor to track the moon for hands free observation. Why take up sky-gazing when I am night blind? Because I refuse to let RP get the better of me. I had a cheap scope when I was a kid, and I always dreamed of getting a good one. I can no longer see the stars as I once did. However, I can still see the moon and maybe with some help from my friends, I can see the planets. Next Year, I will look into CCD; I already have a decent laptop. Why the ETX? The price is reasonable and I can use it for terrestrial observation as well. It is far and away more portable than any other astronomical scope. With my handicap and living in the middle of a big light polluter, I felt that I could not justify the expense of one of the bigger scopes; even if it might have had better light gathering properties
Mike here: Sorry to hear about your eyes but I am glad that you are not letting it interfere with your enjoyment of the sky. As to the problem with the blurring, it sounds like the eyepiece is not reaching a focus. You might search the sight for focus; you'll find several comments about adjusting the focus knob to allow focus. You could also try sliding the eyepiece a little further out of the eyepiece holder in case the adjustment needed is in that direction. For light gathering by various eyepieces, I've never checked that closely but the more glass the more light that is absorbed. Of course, one thing to keep in mind is the theoretical limit of 60x/inch of aperture. So, for the ETX you could expect a maximum magnification of 210x (or about a 6mm eyepiece). But in practice most of exceed this limit easily, especially on bright objects. So I suspect you have a focus problem. I don't understand your comment about the finderscope binding and having the tube rotated so that eyepieces point down. Can you clarify?
Subject: [Fwd: [M]: [OT] New Product: Dual Axis Drive Corrector for ETX] Sent: Sunday, July 5, 1998 09:12:17 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark Stratton) Jordan Blessing wrote: > > Please don't consider this spam. It is a one time only new product > announcement specifically relating to a Meade (advanced??) product. > I feel this information may benefit some readers of this list. It > will not be repeated, please don't waste any bandwidth with > disapprovals. > Mike, Thought you might find this interesting Mark > Introducing MicroStar 1, a dual axis drive corrector for the popular ETX > Astro telescope. See my web site (below) for more information. Though my > web site has been primarily dedicated to the LX-50 I will be adding an > ETX sister page as time allows. If you have an ETX or LX-50 (or not) > come > take a look. I will be happy to reciprocate astronomy links with others. > > -- > Jordan Blessing L1 Master Tech > Maker of LX-50 Dec Fix Kits & > Deluxe Latitude Adjusters > > LX-50 Owners Come Take a Look: > [LX-50 Hints, Tips, Projects, & Products] > http://home.att.net/~jblessin/
Subject: re: Jason and battery problem Sent: Sunday, July 5, 1998 06:26:58 From: JDesrochers@compuserve.com (Jeri Desrochers) We tried the drive for the first time last night, and found that it would not turn on. We opened the back and the clips that hold the battery in and make contact were bent out too far; they were not touching the end of the battery. We bent them back in a little, then it ran. However, it is not keeping up with what we are tracking; it seems to be on the correct line to follow it, but just too slow. I hope to find more to help with this on your fantastic site! We also have those Duracell batteries in . . . interesting!
Subject: Prime Focus Astrophotography Sent: Friday, July 3, 1998 22:43:09 From: email@example.com (Steve Myers) I've had good results from eyepiece projection astrophotography using the Color Quickcam. So, I decided to try prime focus astrophotography using the T-64 adapter and a 35mm camera. I'm not too pleased with the results. My photos of the Sun and Moon are acceptable... but no better than using the Quickcam. Photos of Saturn and Jupiter are awful! It's very difficult to focus the objects and the photos suffer from "SLR Slam" when the shutter opens and closes. What am I doing wrong? I use a shutter cable and a sturdy Bogen tripod. Perhaps my ETX tracking motor case has too much free play. I'm baffled! Steve
Mike here: The problem with SLRs is indeed the difficulty of focusing and the vibration from the mirror movement. Focusing needs either more light or a better viewscreen (some cameras can use replacement screens). You can focus on a bright object (the moon) and then wait for the desired object to come into view (a planet). But you can't do anything during the wait since you don't want the focus to change. You could also somehow mark the focus position (I've thought of this myself but haven't done anything yet). Avoiding the vibration will require either a camera that can release the mirror separately from the shutter or a VERY sturdy mount. And even releasing the mirror separately may not be enough since there will be some vibration from the shutter movement. Obviously, the ETX is not well suited to this type of astrophotography. You can get some acceptable results with bright objects but fainter ones will require a lot of work. Opening the camera shutter with the ETX objective lens covered and then removing the cover manually for the duration of the exposure is one way of eliminating the vibration. Not precise but doable.
Subject: Thank you: Sent: Friday, July 3, 1998 10:52:48 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Wm. G. Thilgen Jr.) Thanks to your page and all the links, I feel that I have made a very good decision to buy A ETX as my first scope. I saw my first view of the moon the other night, KNOCKED MY SOCKS OFF. Once again Thank You for providing this page. Hope ya have clear skies, Your new friend Wm. G. Thilgen Jr.
Subject: ETX new user feedback ! Sent: Friday, July 3, 1998 08:09:22 From: RForsyth@imps0014.us.dg.com (Forsyth, Robert) I want to say how much I enjoy your site, especially the great feedback from the users. From what I've learned here, (both pros and cons) I decided to buy the ETX Astro and went out last week and picked one up at Efston Science in Toronto. I'm just a beginner, but I wanted to share my impressions and findings with my ETX. From the feedback I've seen at your site, I had a list of things I wanted to check-out to see how the quality of my ETX compared with reports from other ETX users. First, the outer carton of my ETX had a sticker from the Meade factory affixed which indicated "WO980118", so I think my unit was shipped from the factory in January of 1998, and from the order number printed on the box I think it was produced in December 1997. After reading your feedback archives, I was interested to see if Meade had corrected some of the characteristics that have been reported by other users. In using this unit for about a week, I have found the following : 1. The RA knob on my unit is very loose. I called Meade support regarding this and I was advised that this is normal and is a commonplace "characteristic" that users report. Not an issue and nothing to be concerned about. BTW, I was very impressed with the speed and courtesy of Meade support. 2. Second, as reported by others, the RA circles on my scope are reversed compared to the user guide. No problem, thanks to your site I was aware of this. Perhaps it's the user guide that is reversed, since it makes sense that the upper circles would be for the Northern Hemisphere, and the lower for the South. 3. The tracking on my ETX seems to be good compared to reports from others. No jerking and smooth tracking. I am using rechargeable batteries. 4. Optics are excellent. I could not find any defects whatsoever. 5. Finder scope is challenging, especially with Polar Alignment, but with the Bogen tripod, I found some good tips for alignment at this site. I am using setting circles to locate deep sky objects and this works great for me. 6. Portability is excellent. 7. Cosmetically and functionally very good. The ETX has some unique "characteristics" (as opposed to problems), but in conclusion, I think this scope has an excellent quality/price ratio and I am very pleased with this purchase and would recommend an ETX to anyone. It's great that you have brought together this community of ETX users to share ideas with ... Michael, keep up the good work! Regards, Rob
Subject: Finding your way! Sent: Thursday, July 2, 1998 22:12:03 From: email@example.com (Brian Govier) Great site, information plus on the ETX and i keep going back for more. Would like to pass on some information about a program that i have been using to find object with the ETX in the Alt/Az configuration. Here's a rundown on the intro text: Dob_PC is a suit of programs and data which makes finding objects with your dob almost as fast as with an LX-200. Instruction for making setting circles, continuously displays the real time Alt and Az for any Messier or NGC object, planet, bright star in its data files or coordinates which you may specify yourself. Intended to run on laptop beside your scope while you are observing. Dos program, instructions for windows. Dob_PC.Zip 164K.....http://www.algarvenet.pt/coaa/software.htm I use the program running in a HP200LX Palmtop the display is black on gray in large figure format easily seen while viewing. It also allows you to recalibrate readout data for any errors you may have in polar setting by selecting a number of bright stars. The setting circles are already on the ETX. So once you are happy with the setup, you read, move and point your ETX or Dobsonia, not computer controlled but near enough and the cost is much less!! Hope that other ETX owners will find it useful, also a couple of other free software program which are worth having...Take a look at the home page while you are there too.... Clear skies, 73's Brian..................................
Subject: Minnesota ETX Users Groups Sent: Thursday, July 2, 1998 10:25:44 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Daniel Gore) Do you know if there are any ETX users groups for Minnesota? I am an extreme novice, and would love to meet someone else who uses an ETX. Thanks, Daniel Gore email@example.com
Subject: Re: [M]: [M] Archive Gone? Sent: Thu, 02 Jul 1998 10:06:35 -0500 From: AstroDesigns-Ed Stewart (firstname.lastname@example.org) If you ever want to search for a lost article or other interesting astronomy topics, check out http://www.astroarchive.com/ The following mailing lists are archived there: MAPUG (Meade Advanced Products User Group) SBIGUSER (Santa Barbara Instrument Group Users) CB Homebuilt CCD (Homebuilt CCD Usergroup) Astro (The fabulous and informative ASTRO mailing list) plus many others. The total count of lists being archived is now 40! The new lists added include AAVSO Discussion, Astro Physics, International Dark Sky Association, Galileo News, International Meteor Organization, Mercury Discussion List, Meteorites, Questar User Group, Old Telescopes User Group, SeeSat Visual Observing and, last but not least, Shallow Sky Observing. __________________________________________________________________ Ed Stewart, Austin, TX (email@example.com) come.to/AstroDesigns Mapug Topical Archive (Meade Adv. Products Users Group) Tripod Sled, Accessory/Alignment Shelves, Equatorial Wedge, Wedge Stabilizer, DobDriver II Installation & 2-D Counterweight designs for Meade and other telescopes
Subject: JMI goodies Sent: Wednesday, July 1, 1998 20:19:24 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Wayne Hale) Broke down today and purchased the motofocus and motodec setup from JMI. No problems with installation but the focus motor is a little sluggish getting going at the slower speeds. Think this was your observation too. So far it looks like the scope will still go in the case with both motors attached. Cloudy here tonight so no real world test but both motors do move things. Very noisy for the Dec motor, sure lets you know it is running. Not thrilled with AAA batteries to power them, the controller case looks plenty big enough to handle AA's at least which I think have more amps for longer times. Imagine the drag from the motors is going to eat batteries at a pretty good clip, especially when it is really cold outside and things stiffen up. That test will have to wait for a few months, fortunatley. I'm off to the Leadville area for the 4th weekend, another 5K less of air to look through so hoping for clear skies. Regards, Wayne
Mike here: I'm still running on my original controller batteries. And they have had a lot of use. Must be low power motors.
Subject: computer controlled etx Sent: Wednesday, July 1, 1998 12:40:16 From: Jowich@aol.com hallo I am in the uk and have an etx. Is there any accessories you can buy for the etx to make it into an LX200 style ie have computerised slewing to objects etc thanks John Chuter
Mike here: Check out the Accessories - Miscellaneous page for the JMI NGC computers. Also check out the Guest Contributions page for the Astro Master.
Subject: ETX Cleaning Sent: Wednesday, July 1, 1998 08:07:54 From: email@example.com (Philippe Roux-Dessarps) Just a quick warning to anyone who is considering using the air-spray as a method of cleaning dust from eypieces and other equipment: I just sprayed my 26mm and probably damaged it completely. After a few seconds of spraying, some liquid came out of the tank and ice appeared on the lens. I hoped for the ice to melt but......I guess it was not ice. The lens is completly stained. I am only glad this little spray did not come near my ETX at any time of this operation.... Philippe RD firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike here: One of the cautions when using air sprays is to spray, don't shake the can, and keep it upright. Otherwise, liquid can get sprayed.
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