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ETX USER FEEDBACK - JULY 1999
Last updated: 31 July 1999

This page is for user comments and information of a general nature and applicable to users of both the original ETX model (now known as the ETX-90RA), the ETX-90EC, and the ETX-125EC. Items specific to the ETX-90EC are posted on the ETX-90EC User Feedback page. Items specific to the ETX-125EC are posted on the ETX-125EC User Feedback page. 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.


Mike here: As a reminder, should the weasner.com ETX site go down I will post a notice on the ETX Mailing List and at http://members.aol.com/etxastro (the former site URL).


Subject:	 looking for a used etx90ec
Sent:	Saturday, July 31, 1999 17:20:32
From:	wizo@mediaone.net (tom)
Would u know of anyone selling a etx90ec? I am looking for one with the
autostar and tripod

Subject:	 ETX
Sent:	Friday, July 30, 1999 17:17:56
From:	rodrickse@mediaone.net (Joseph Rodricks)
First off, I cannot thank you enough for your web page on the ETX. I
Just bought a Meade ETX-90EC Astro Telescope, I also bought the Autostar
controller, and a 9.7 mm SP eyepiece (along with the SP 26 mm that came
with it.) I looked on-line and couldn't find anything that would help me
in learning how to use it. Your page has helped me exponentially, Thank
You.

A little about me. I'm Joe Rodricks, from East Bridgewater, Ma. I'm 15
years old and have loved the sky forever. Since i was 10 i wanted to be
an astronaught like every other 10 year old. I begged my parents to buy
me a telescope. Last X-mas they finally did. it was a 60 mm department
store Meade. i used as much as i could, and it died. So I spent my own
money on the ETX.

I didn't buy a tripod, I use it in table top Alt./Az. mode. My next
purchase is a strong case, then a tripod. However, i am writing to ask a
question i was hoping you could help me with. Many a night, i have been
outside and, of course, dew is a big problem. I don't have a dew shield,
so i cut both ends off a 2 Lt. bottle of soda. i then had a cylinder and
cut it end to end. if unrolled, the cut bottle of soda was basically a
plastic rectangle. i then curved the plastic rectangle around the
telescope. because it tend to move back to the original shape of the
soda bottle, it fits nicely around the scope. Infact, it's only a few mm
short of a perfect fit. i use elastics to hold it to the scope. it
worked fine for keeping dew off. My question is: aside from looking bad,
is there any reason I should buy a real dew shield and discontinue use
of my makeshift one? I thank you for any input on this matter.

respectfully,
                                        Joe Rodricks
                                        PO BOx 389
                                        East Bridgewater, Ma. 02333
rodrickse@mediaone.net

Subject:	Meade ETX-90RA for sale
Sent:	Friday, July 30, 1999 00:42:32
From:	Stantastic@aol.com
Meade ETX-90RA (original model w/out Autostar but will allow auto
tracking when polar aligned), complete as purchased including scope,
straight-thru viewfinder, 26mm eyepiece, table-top tripod legs,
hardware, and manuals in original packaging. Also included is the JMI
Wedge, JMI 90-degree viewfinder conversion kit, and a heavy-duty tripod
with center height-adjustable post and center stabilizer for rock-solid
reliability. The optical quality of this scope is excellent. All items
like new except for tripod.

Asking price $550.

Free delivery (and assistance if this is your first scope) if in the
local Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, or San Bernardino county areas.
Otherwise, you pay shipping, handling, and insurance (costs will vary
depending on destination).

If you have any questions, please e-mail me at stantastic@aol.com or
call (714)777-8930 between 8:00 am and 9:00 pm PDT and ask for Stan or
leave a voice-mail message. Thanks.

Subject:	 
Sent:	Wednesday, July 28, 1999 23:28:20
From:	michael@isd.cs.nsw.gov.au (Michael ROCHFORT)
I can also thoroughly endorse the Manfrotto (Bogen) 410 head to owners
of Bogen or Manfrotto tripods for use with the ETX. It has self-locking
"slow motion" type controls on all 3 axes, and with the use of an
appropriately driled and tapped plate made from 50 x 5mm steel, it works
as a wedge. It also has a bubble level for levelling in alt-az mode. I
learned about this piece of equipment from a contributor to your page
(see http://members.tripod.com/~gojiro/astrofoto/astrofoto.html)

Michael Rochfort

http://members.netro.com.au/~michael/astro/astro.htm

Subject:	 Solar filter for viewfinder?
Sent:	Wednesday, July 28, 1999 13:17:51
From:	ikencindy@email.msn.com (Isaac Hassoun)
Regarding the viewfinder, don't the same issues of heat apply? Or does
one remove it when observing the sun?

Obviously I'm not referring to 'finding' the sun through it.

Thanks again for your continued support.

Ike Hassoun
Sioux Falls, SD
Mike here: I made a cover for the finderscope objective lens. See my review of the Solar II Type 2 Plus solar filter on the Accessories - Filters page.

Subject:	 etx125 and off-axis guider
Sent:	Wednesday, July 28, 1999 10:09:12
From:	worldcup@erols.com (worldcup)
I plan on buying a 125 as well but with to use the scope to try some
amateur photography but the scope has a 1.5 inch instead of a 2.0 inch
.. how do I describe it "rear cell"?? on the back of the telescope and
it will not accept the off axis guider..mead said I would need to get a
"thread enlarger"  but yet they said they do not manufacture one nor do
they know where to get this.  Have you ever heard of this, and does
anyone have any Ideal on how to work around this for long term
exposure's. thanks allot for your help.

As I under stand it the etx90 is the same in the rear cell.   My
ultimate set up would be off-axis guider camera in back and pictor 201
xt autoguider.

Shawn Tsanganelias
worldcup@erols.com
Mike here: You need an SCT Accessory Adapter. Check out the Accessories - Miscellaneous page for a short review of one from Shutan Camera and Video.

Subject:	 Some useful Websites
Sent:	Wednesday, July 28, 1999 08:40:43
From:	kkretsch@tcd.ie (Kevin P. Kretsch)
These sites will be useful to some, particularly for Autostar users.

For latitude and longitude, satellite visibility and information, rise
and set times of moon and sun, check out this one...

                 www2.gsoc.dlr.de/satvis/

(Includes a list of your neighbouring towns, some only 1 km apart!)

For planetary positions, rise and set times, and all that stuff, the
U.S. Naval Observatory is also recommended;

                 riemann.usno.navy.mil/AA/data/

If comparing planetary positions to Autostar data, USE THIS SITE. I have
found large differences in data given by different astronomy computer
programs so I trust this one the most. (Though I have yet to check
Autostar against it yet.)

Finally, where Meade get their orbital elements from...

                 http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/Ephemerides/

This page links to data intended for many different computer programs,
including Autostar. It has the comets and LOTS of asteroid data, in
different categories.

Kev.

---
Kevin P. Kretsch  B.A.(Mod.)Phys 	e-mail: kkretsch@alf2.tcd.ie
Photonic Materials Group,		Tel:	+353 1 608 1324
Department of Physics,			Fax:	+353 1 671 1759
Trinity College, Dublin 2, IRELAND.

Subject:	 Re: 25 July posting - Field tripod
Sent:	Wednesday, July 28, 1999 04:57:32
From:	kkretsch@tcd.ie (Kevin P. Kretsch)
Hi Ricki,

About your posting on Mike Weasner's ETX pages and the mounting screw
holes not lining up.

Have you checked to ensure that the mounting screws fit correctly in the
slot? Let me explain...

As the tripod head is a cast block, I found the slots had some burrs
along the edges which made it difficult to put the screws in place. Two
minutes with a small file took the burrs off the edge of the slots and
allowed the screws to go all the way to the back of the slot. Mounting
is now much faster and easier, the screws never go in slanted

I hope this helps. 

Regards and clear skies,

			Kev.

---
Kevin P. Kretsch  B.A.(Mod.)Phys 	e-mail: kkretsch@alf2.tcd.ie
Photonic Materials Group,		Tel:	+353 1 608 1324
Department of Physics,			Fax:	+353 1 671 1759
Trinity College, Dublin 2, IRELAND.

Subject:	 Thanks
Sent:	Tuesday, July 27, 1999 23:43:10
From:	gstallin@panther.middlebury.edu (George F Stallings) Thanks for
your reply Mr. Weasner. I will look through the page. And thank you for
all that you have done with your web site. I bought this scope because I
had so much information about it thanks to the site you set up. Thank
you very much, or as we say in Italian (I'm American but lived most of
my life in Italy): mille grazie.

George Stallings

Subject:	 Amateur Astrophotography
Sent:	Tuesday, July 27, 1999 21:56:41
From:	wcervin@home.com (William Cervin)
I think I speak on behalf of the thousands (maybe millions, we hope?) of
users of your web site that you have done an incredible job amassing so
much information into an easy to use environment. I have some basic
(maybe even silly) questions which would really help my leap into
astrophotography.

I own the ETX-90EC with the Autostar as well as SkyMap Pro v.5 linked to
a laptop.  I am trying to learn some good techniques to use a very good
Olympus OM-2 camera, mated to the telescope via a Basic Camera Adapter. 
The only lens am able to use is the 9.7mm, which not only is one of two
eyepieces that I own, but the 26mm is too long to fit in the adapter. 
So, basically, I am using the 9.7mm eyepiece projection setup.

Here's the question . . .  Could you please possibly send me some
start-up information to begin taking some neat pictures of space?  What
is the best kind/speed of film, and for what application (i.e. Deep
space as opposed to planetary, color vs. b/w)?  Is there any way you
could send me a chart of just a few of the most famous photography
subjects so that I could practice?  I am going on a road trip to
California from Dallas and am going to have some beautiful skies along
the way in New Mexico and Arizona, so I would love to be able to take
advantage of time-lapse exposures of galaxies, as well as simple moon
shots.  I would just love the names of a few "targets," as well as
suggested shutter speeds, film speeds, and tracking method.  I know this
seems like alot, but I think it would add to your site to be able to
have a table of data like this at your users hands -- not to mention the
beginners!!!!

Thank you for your help!!!  You are greatly appreciated here in Dallas,
TX.

Sincerely,

William Cervin
wcervin@home.com
Mike here: Glad you like the site. For astrophotography with the ETX, start with the Moon. You'll have to experiment (i.e, use a lot of film) to get good results. There is an exposure guideline spreadsheet available on the Guest Contributions Archive for 1997 (available from the Tech Tips page). Don't expect to get good results with faint objects like nebula and galaxies; the ETX drive is that not accurate.

Subject:	 ETX Instructions
Sent:	Tuesday, July 27, 1999 13:14:01
From:	seppi.evans@btinternet.com (Seppi Evans)
Just to let you know that it was yours site that made the decision on
purchasing the ETX90/EC - Keep up the good work. I know mead have the
updated manuals on their Web Page but is there any way to down-load and
then print them out ?

I have found a very good Astronomy software package called Pocket
Universe, it cost $30, runs on a HP/PC and it is proposed that future
versions will link to the Meade serial port using the LX200 instruction
set. The Web site is www.sticky.co.uk/ and worth a quick look.

Cheers

Seppi Evans

Subject:	 Congratulations
Sent:	Monday, July 26, 1999 16:39:49
From:	ramshorn@gte.net (Robert Swarts)
My sincere congratulations to you on hosting a wonderful web site. I
just recently purchased an original ETX-90 Astro and have been looking
for many of the solutions offered by your contributors. I am delighted
with my new 'scope, and even more thrilled with it now that I know a
source of detailed technical information is available.

Robert Swarts, www.ramshorn.com

Subject:	 polar alignment
Sent:	Monday, July 26, 1999 07:46:30
From:	cockatoogirl@email.msn.com (Barbara Beardsley)
I don't know where to ask this question, I'm thinking maybe the feedback
page, I know there's a ETX mailing list but I don't know how to get
there! This is probably really simple and a silly question, but here it
is. I just got the original ETX, and it seems fine. BUT, I am having
trouble polar-aligining it, which is necessary in order for the motor
drive to track objects correctly? I can find Polaris, when it is
visible, that is. I know to rotate the scope so the polar axis is
pointing towards Polaris. What I don't understand is how you are then
supposed to observe your desired target by only moving the dec. & RA
controls as stated in the manual? How could you possibly locate an
object, say, in the opposite side of the sky, without moving the scope
any other way,as they say in the manual. Yes, I can rotate the scope
back to it's original posistion just using the RA control.  But you have
to flip the tube back over to it's original position. Is that okay? 
Maybe I am taking the words "don't move the scope any other way" too
literally and overlooking the obvious?!
Thanks

Barbara
Mike here: Check the Buyer/New User Tips page; there are some polar aligning techniques there as well as ETX Discussion Groups info. Once you have polar aligned and the RA drive is engaged, locate a bright object whose Right Ascension is known (you'll need a star map of some sort). Move the ETX RA circle until the RA pointer is at that RA. Now you can move the ETX in RA and DEC to locate objects if you know their sky coordinates. Some objects may not be viewable if the ETX Optical Tube Assembly (OTA) hits the ETX base before reaching the proper DEC.

Subject:	 ETX & Photography
Sent:	Monday, July 26, 1999 03:21:48
From:	steve_southern@uk.ibm.com
I'm using the ETX and Meade camera adapter with a Nikon camera attached.
I have a couple of questions;

1.When the ETX is focussed with a 26mm eyepiece, the camera is out of
focus. Is this normal? I would have hoped the telescope eyepiece and the
camera were in the same focal plane. Am I doing some thing wrong?

2.How do I set up the Meade adapter for eyepiece projection photography?

Regards,
Steve Southern
IBM Global Services

Telephone:
Internal: extn 626210.  mobx 273683
External: 0161-905 6210.  mobile 0802-245643

E-mail:
Notes ID: Steve Southern/UK/IBM
Internet ID: steve_southern@uk.ibm.com
Mike here: Unfortunately, eyepieces and prime focus photography have difficult focus points. You'll have to focus using the camera's viewscreen (difficult to do except on bright objects). Without a lot of modifications, you can't use the Camera Adapter for eyepiece projection. You need a different adapter. See the Accessories - Astrophotography page for the Meade Basic Camera Adapter and the Showcase Products page for the Shutan Mini-Tele Extender.

Subject:	 Hello there
Sent:	Saturday, July 24, 1999 05:30:31
From:	glenn.a@ns.sympatico.ca (Glenn)
I've recently become interested in the ETX90 EC and after some
searching, stumbled upon your site (very nice, I must say).  My concern
is with the various problems that people are having with this particular
model. I know that this is a very popular model and you have only a few
posts with people having problems with them so my question is, how
reliable is this unit?

Thanks in advance
Glenn
Mike here: The ETX-90EC telescope is a fine astronomical instrument. There was an initial glitch on one mechnical component but Meade has resolved this. Some users (including myself) have had problems with the optional Autostar controller. Not all users have experienced the problems and the latest software version posted on Meade's web site seems to resolve most of the previous problems reported. As with any purchase, it is possible to get a bum unit but, as many users have reported here, Meade and Meade's dealers will make it right.

Subject:	 Roger W.Tuthill Inc.
Sent:	Thursday, July 22, 1999 18:31:30
From:	pproulx@premcom.com (Peter Proulx)
Where can I find information on purchasing a ETX from Tuthill.  They
have a certification program and a great payment plan.

From: www.tuthillscopes.com
TUTHILL CERTIFIED PACKAGE

The products are the same as the STANDARD PACKAGE products shown above
EXCEPT we certify that we have opened each box, inspected each assembly,
and quarantee the quality of the scope and its accessories, as far as we
are able. Some of the details we test for or adjust are: COLLIMATION,
proper clutch action, image shift, astigmatism, parts missing or broken,
electronic defects, focus adjustment, and orthogonality (LASER TESTED).

Furthermore, after you receive the goods, if any difficulty with the
telescope or accessories should arise, we will resolve the problem for
you. If we cannot handle it, we will take the lead in dealing with the
manufacturer until you are satisfied. We have been taking this approach
to selling for many years.

BONUS OFFER ... In addition, when purchasing any CERTIFIED PACKAGE from
us, you receive our Instructional Video Tapes ($80) FREE. Also, at the
time of purchase, you are entitled to a 25% DISCOUNT off the purchase
price of our Solar Skreen and Cell Assembly (7" or 8" - $95, 10" - $135,
12" - $155); our Precision Polar Axis Finder ($293); our Heatable No Du
Cap (7" or 8" - $105, 10" - $145, 12" - $195); or the Optical Cleaning
Kit ($45). An upgraded 50mm and 80mm Amici Prism Ultimate Finder is also
available for $378, less 25%, too.

This costs an additional $100.00.

The also offer a delayed payment plan where they charge 1/2 of the total
cost to your credit card, ship the scope and then charge the rest over 6
months. This costs and additional $50.00.

Do you have any experience or know of someone that has dealt with this
company?  They seemed very knowledgeable when I talked with them on the
phone.  Any feed back will be appreciated.

Peter Proulx

Subject:	 I am Japanese. Mr. weasner ETX Site Fan
Sent:	Thursday, July 22, 1999 15:04:28
From:	ykida@yk.rim.or.jp (yoshi.)
Hello . I say Yoshikatsu Kida.
I am a Japanese.

I will always see the ETX Site page of Mr. weasner.
enhances very much and becomes reference. 
Thank you very much. 
www.yk.rim.or.jp/~ykida/etx/

Subject:	 thanks
Sent:	Thursday, July 22, 1999 07:58:47
From:	fritz@sincom.com (Fritz)
I wish to thank you very much for taking the time to reply to my
inquiries. Although I haven't solved the problem yet, at least I now
have some more facts to go on. And, I can still use the scope as I
desire but will have to just have to keep the tripod lower so as to peek
into the 90 degree port. Again, thanks for your help.

fritz

Subject:	 BiZZaRe JoUrNEy
Sent:	Thursday, July 22, 1999 05:56:17
From:	gbg@webspan.net (Gary)
I just read the bizzare journey by john - are you sure he wasn't really
referring to meade customer support?

Subject:	 RE: Set-up problems
Sent:	Wednesday, July 21, 1999 23:12:35
From:	david.paton@village.uunet.be (David Paton)
Thanks for your help Mike.
I've obviously been experimenting more and can correct for errors
(probably mine)in Az. I am using currently Alt/Az mode. I have been
pretty exact in my past attempts, I've used a compass and a map to
determine true north and levelled by about one or two degrees. I still
find that the first star to be 'trained upon' is miles out (I have to
use speed 9 to get anywhere near the star), the Alt I can measure by the
position the scope stops in relation to my factor of correction. i.e.
The scope stops at 35deg, I have to adjust to 45deg.

It's been pretty cloudy the past couple of days and I can't get a fix on
anything at the moment for more than a couple of minutes at a time, with
long periods of cloud in between.

I will continue to persevere, because I caught my first sighting of the
Moon on Monday night with the 26mm S Possil eye piece - Fantastic! This
is the reason that I bought the scope in the first place, seeing objects
like the Moon at high magnification . I went out and bought a 15mm S
Possil eye piece next day, then the weather changed, damn!

I also downloaded Version 1.2c as I had 1.1 and made up a cable with
some spare parts I had lying around (Telephone cable, 25db connector, 25
to 5 converter, RS232 patching box (for crossing over pins 2 & 3 at the
PC end). At the same time downloaded the ROMs, but I don't know what to
do with them as I put them in a different directory and the software did
not ask for their location. Thanks to all your visitors for mailing in
cable descriptions and a quick check on the Meade web site for
confirmation of the Autostar pin outs.

I looking forward to better weather soon and the chance to calibrate
things properly so that I can start looking for other planets and some
deep space objects.

Are there any good books that you can recommend for a beginner? I
usually find that the books I purchase are either too simple or way too
complicated for a beginner. I'm looking for something that takes you
through stages of learning, starting with the basics and moving onto
areas of more complexity whilst keeping the reader interested.

Your web site is invaluable to someone like me, Ive read through most of
the archives now and understand that I'm not alone in my struggles and
have found one or two mods that I may do once I've determined that the
scope is working as it should.

Thanks once again, I appreciate you taking time to assist.
Regards,
David.
Mike here: Thanks for the additional info. It is not surprising that the first star is off, depending upon the accuracy of the HOME position. The first star is used to get the proper sky orientation. As to books, see the Book Reviews page for some good ones. I've been in Astronomy so long that many of the books I used as a beginner are no longer published, with the very notable exception of the excellent "Norton's Star Atlas and Reference".

Subject:	 Rigel QuikFinder
Sent:	Wednesday, July 21, 1999 19:58:50
From:	mhpdfp@flash.net (mhp & dfp)
Rigel QuikFinder now has the same reticle as the Telrad. ( two cocentric
circles, 1/2 & 2 degrees ) It can be used with the Telrad overlays that
some starcharts and software programs use. Unlike the dot type of
reticle it can be used to measure angular distance against the real sky
for starhopping. Now there really is a mini-telrad for the ETX. I have
had a 90 degree conversion kit for my original finder for amost two
years and have found it usless when trying to locate DSOs that aren't
near bright objects. I would recommend anyone considering a RA kit to
spend less and see more by getting a Quikfinder instead.
Mark Peterson

Subject:	 Re: 3rd party perhaps?
Sent:	Wednesday, July 21, 1999 15:18:56
From:	fritz@sincom.com (Fritz)
Thank you for your reply. As you suggested, I read the review of the
Shutan Wide-Field Adapter on your 'Products' page. I also tried the
following: I took the 45 degree, erect image roof prism supplied with
the ETX spotting scope and held it over the 90 degree eyepiece viewing
port. It worked by just holding it there but it inverted the image which
I couldn't live with and then of course I would have to find a way of
holding it there. The normal left-right reversal is the same and one
could live with that; it is the inversion of the image that is a bummer.
So I guess my question is this; does the Shutan WFA invert the image or
does it leave it intact when used on either the back viewing port or the
90 degree eyepiece viewing position? There was no mention of this on the
review page.  If it doesn't invert the image then this might be the way
to go for me for as I said before I could live with the left-right
problem. Also you mentioned that it effectively reduced the
magnification to approximately 65 percent of normal. Well, the 26mm
super plossal eyepiece (48x) which comes with the spotting scope is
really a little too much magnification anyway. If it is reduced the same
amount when used at the 90 degree position then that would be about 31x
and would be just about right. If one really wanted to zoom in then one
could either use it at the back with the camera removed or use an SP
20mm or SP 15mm. That's assuming that those magnifications are
compatibility with the Shutan WFA. You mentioned some vignetting. Did
that appear to be the case with the higher powered lenses also (9.7mm
lens)? Well I guess I have bothered you enough so I'll go check the
message board and say thanks for the help!

fritz
Mike here: I never thought of checking for that. I did mount it there once to verify it would work. I just remounted it and sorry, the image is inverted.

Subject:	 CCD imaging
Sent:	Wednesday, July 21, 1999 01:20:10
From:	gstallin@panther.middlebury.edu (George F Stallings)
I bought an ETX 90EC about two weeks ago. I am very pleased with the
scope. Very pleased with autostar. I owned the Astro version and was
fairly pleased with it, though I was not a fan of the drive. Lately I
have had the urge to buy a CCD and start astrophotography of the moon
(and maybe the planets). I plan to buy the ETX 125EC within the next
year and keep both scopes. I wanted to know if I should forge ahead and
drop the cash on a CCD camera (note: I'm a broke college student who has
just enough money for books and beer at this point. The books will have
to go if I buy the CCD camera). Should I just use the Connectix B/W
camera? Is it easier? Are the images decent? I would appreciate any
responses to my questions since I have never tried astrophotography
because I considered it to be too expensive and time-consuming. Now that
I have $500 burning a hole in my pocket I want to photograph the moon,
but I know nothing about it.

Clear skies,
 the humble George Stallings
 gstallin@middlebury.edu
Mike here: Search the site for "CCD". Also search for "quickcam". You'll get lots of hits on both. These will give you some ideas and what can be done with either on the ETX.

Subject:	 Thanks - Great Site
Sent:	Tuesday, July 20, 1999 21:25:24
From:	atestani@ibm.net (Al Testani)
I recently have renewed my interest in astronomy (I was fascinated with
it as a kid) and somehow had the great fortune to discover your ETX
site.  I wanted to tell you that it is a valuable resource and one I
have referred to many times already.  I have purchased an ETX and am
learning it as well as learning astromony all over again.  As soon as I
finish this email I will visit your site again to re-read all of the
information on the Autostar.  I haven't been very successful thus far in
getting it to work as well as others have reported.

So again, thanks for the great site and the service it provides to all
of us.  Your hard work is appreciated!

__________________

Al Testani
atestani@ibm.net
__________________

Subject:	 Set-up problems
Sent:	Tuesday, July 20, 1999 10:32:38
From:	david.paton@village.uunet.be (David Paton)
I am a brand new telescope owner who couldn't find Polaris if it fell
out of the sky and hit me on the head.

I have an ETX90/EC with an Autostar. The Autostar was the Godsend for
me, considering the above. Unfortunately, I have not been able to
calibrate the ETX to any stars accurately, using the 'easy' set-up
option. I have followed all instructions to the letter, know my exact
co-ordinates. I would expect the 'left/right' co-ordinates to be
incorrect due to my average due north training of the scope, but not the
'up/down' bit. The margin of error is in the magnitude of about 10
degrees (up/down).

I hope that I'm doing something wrong and it's not the scope.

Apart from that it's great, I have to train on bright stars manually, so
have no idea what I'm looking at (Can't get visibility of Polaris from
my location)but I'm very impressed with my first glimpse of the moon.

Hope someone can help a truly desperate novice. (I would buy books to
help, but live in Belgium, and my French is non-existent, so reading
material won't help but to confuse matters).

Regards,
David.
PS. Your web site is an invaluable source of information and I for one
certainly appreciate your dedication to keeping us informed with
impartial advice.
Mike here: First off, use the Alt/Az mode. Set the ETX up with its base level, not tilted for your latitude. Then put the ETX in its Alt/Az Home position and point it in the general direction of north. If you have a magnetic compass it can help but may not point exactly true north due to magnetic variation at your location. But it could get you in the right direction. If you know that your local streets run north and south, use them for orientation. The first selected in the Autostar easy align will be a bright star. It might not be in the finderscope but should be the brightest star either in or just outside the finderscope field of view. Slew the ETX until it is centered, first in the finderscope and then in the 26mm eyepiece. Do the same for the second star. If a star is hidden by a building or tree, skip it (righthand arrow on the paddle) and the Autostar will select another star. Getting some books, a monthly magazine, or even some software for your computer (see the Astronomy Links page for several) will help you learn your way around the sky. Some of the s/w is even free!

Subject:	Meade etx125
Sent:	Tuesday, July 20, 1999 09:54:11
From:	PUMPJET@aol.com
Great web page!!! Downloaded a bunch of info on the meade 125 as I am
getting 1 in 3 weeks. Got the autostar last week; have the SkyMap 5.1
software with the meade driver. Just waiting for the scope to arrive.

Question is this- I think I remember seeing some info on optics cleaning
on your web pages but can't remember where. Help!!!!

When is your 125 arriving???

Thanks
Bob Buchanan
Mike here: There is info on the Buyer/New User Tips page. Also, search for "clean" and you'll get lots more hits.

Subject:	 ETX 90 EC & Orion Scope sold in Thailand
Sent:	Tuesday, July 20, 1999 06:42:49
From:	Sukun.Tanticharoenkiat@shell.co.th (HMA/3 (Sukun T.) .)
Good news for Thai ! ETX 90 EC is now available locally for Thai.  A
friend of mine (who is also the founder & director of Kirdkao
Observatory) has imported ETX 90 EC (as well as ORION) for Thai serious
amateurs.  Since there is no official authorized Meade dealer in
Thailand at the moment and the nearest one is in Malaysia and he does
not get any support for MEADE USA, he sells the scope on self- warranty.
That is to say, he will keep several units and use the spare units as
spare parts in case that any customer has problems with the one
purchased from him.   Don't  worry about the repair & maintenance.. He
has a team to support and he has been doing self-repair for a number of
MEADE equipment which he has been using in Kirdkao Observatory for more
than 3 years.  He actually wants to get an authorized dealer from MEADE,
but MEADE won't allow that and always refers to the KL dealer which he
does not like it because the price will be subject to double
shipping&handling, double taxation and double profit!  However, for
ORION, he is the authorized dealer. Find more about this at his site at 
http://kirdkao.org or go directly to the astroshop
kirdkao.org/shop/telescope.html.

Best regards,
Sukun T.
Bangkok, Thailand 100.20 E, 13.47 N

Subject:	Overloaded ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, July 20, 1999 02:13:44
From:	UBeinert@aol.com
On your ETX Astrophotography Accessories page, you have a picture of an
*extremely* overloaded ETX. Isn't this bad for the motor? And does the
motor still run at all, with so much extra weight hanging on it?

Ulrich Beinert
Mike here: Yes, that is an overloaded ETX. And it still tracks (using the Microstar II+). At most angles it is balanced sufficiently but it is possible to get to DECs or RAs where it won't track. Obviously, not recommended but that didn't stop me from trying!

Subject:	 Thank you for your WebSite
Sent:	Monday, July 19, 1999 17:59:31
From:	lking@divorceresolutions.com (Lawrence F. King)
Just a note of gratitude for your amazing ETX site.  This is truly the
best of what the internet can bring to folks! Thanks you for many hours
of much appreciated effort. a total newbie to astronomy
Larry

******************************************************
Lawrence F. King, J.D.
Resolutions(tm), A Center for Mediation
"Visions for a Cooperative Divorce(tm)"
E-mail: lking@divorceresolutions.com
Website:  www.divorceresolutions.com
8704 Yates Dr., Suite 220
Westminster, CO 80030-3682
(303) 657-9599 (voice) | (303) 650-6488 (fax)

Mike here: As most of you know, this site recently went through a week of downtime. If you want to read an interesting report about this, check this out:

The Bizarre Journey (subtitle: Who Do You Trust?)
*************************************************
by John Martellaro

macopinion.com/columns/utopia/99/07/up-62.html

Utopia Planitia - It all started when my ISDN router failed. But more than that failed. Companies who thought they were ready to compete in the 21st century also failed. A comic adventure.


Subject:	 ETX  90 tripod question
Sent:	Monday, July 19, 1999 04:47:11
From:	dbjarnas@toronto.cbc.ca
The height adjustment knobs on my Meade ETX field tripod won't tighten
enough to support the weight of the scope. I tighten them as much as I
can, but there is always "slippage" in at least one of the legs. Any
thoughts on how to fix this, or should I just take the tripod back to
the dealer?

Many thanks
Dan
Mike here: See the "3 coin-fix" and the "A few improvements" messages further down this Feedback page.

Subject:	 ETX Eyepiece Projection Photography
Sent:	Sunday, July 18, 1999 11:43:28
From:	vsmith@seanet.com (Vaughn Smith)
Let me say first that you have an excellent ETX web site.  Thank-you for
the service you are providing.

I bought the ETX camera adapter.  I was a little disappointed that it
doesn't seem to support eyepiece projection photography.  It does seem,
however, that it will fit an eyepiece, it just doesn't have any screws
to lock one in place.  I want to try making an adapter to screw into the
adapter and then into the filter threads of an eyepiece.  It may also
require an extension tube to put the camera further from the eyepiece. 
Do you think that would work?  Alternatively, I could drill three holes
in the adapter to accept screws that could lock an eyepiece in there.

I recently sent a letter to Meade pointing out pros and cons of the ETX.
While I said the optics were excellent, I scorned the standard
controller and the straight finder.  They responded that the standard
controller was fine for some people and that the finder was adequate for
a beginner scope.  The ETX-125 was for different purposes and so had the
90 degree finder.  I'm still trying to understand their meaning.

I purchased a large Rubbermaid toolbox which I use for storing the ETX
and some accessories.  I'll photograph it and send it in.  For $40, it
really works well.  It's a little large for travelling, but it holds the
ETX and a lot of gear in a reasonably small package.

Thanks for the site.
Vaughn Smith.
Mike here: There is a separate adapter for eyepiece projection. You could make the modifications you describe but I don't know how well it would work. The pros and cons of the ETX are thoroughly discussed at many places on this web site.

Subject:	 RA Setting Circle
Sent:	Saturday, July 17, 1999 23:45:48
From:	joebar@sprintmail.com (Joseph Barachina)
I just bought an ETX-90/EC couple of days ago and I am having difficulty
trying to figure out how to manually set the RA setting circle. The RA
circle gauge appears to be a thin piece of plastic that is just wrapped
around the lower base of the mount. Ok... how do I turn it, i.e.
manually set the RA setting circle? On my ETX, the band that is the RA
setting circle is not movable at all... as if it is glued permanently
fixed to the mount. Do I set it by moving this thin plastic strip with
the numbers on it? Or is the lower base supposed to turn as a whole? I'm
just so hesitant to force that strip to move as I just don't want to
break or tear anything. I just bought the thing. ;)

Thx,

j.barachina
Mike here: The RA setting circle adjusts (slides in the groove) for all models. You point the ETX at a known object and set the RA to match the object. Then you can use the circle to find other objects if you know the Right Ascension. If the circle will not move then it is stuck.

Added later:

Thanks Mike,

I have the strip moving now, for some reason it was stuck to the mount
as if it were a sticker or something, but I was able to use a sewing
needle that I inserted between the RA strip and the groove to loosen it
up. Works like a champ now.

Thx for the help,
Joe

Subject:	 Casio camera
Sent:	Saturday, July 17, 1999 19:03:25
From:	dick@inficad.com (Richard Hayes)
hey.  can you tell me more about that casio system some of those
pictures on your web page are taken with?  some links would be fine, i
couldnt find any on the site

--
Richard Hayes
dick@inficad.com
Mike here: Go to the Casio web page: www.casio.com/digitalimaging/detail.cfm?PID=630.

Subject:	Filters
Sent:	Saturday, July 17, 1999 11:05:45
From:	LooneyRoo@aol.com
It's been a while since I have had to come to you for advise, but I
recently made a purchase and would like to know what you think.

Yesterday, I went to Natural Wonders to see if they had received the
ETX-125 and to see if they were doing special orders again. They did not
have any 125's and they also were not taking any special accessory
orders yet, but they did have a Narrowband filter sitting behind the
counter. I had to ask about it, because I knew that they had not had
anything like this in for a while and they told me that they received it
by mistake in their last shipment. I then asked how much it was and they
could not quote me a price. They went from store to store and then
finally to the GM of the area to find out how much they should charge me
for the filter.

To make a long story short, they couldn't get a price. So I told them
that I had seen it advertised for a $79 and they said "SOLD!" It sorta
makes me mad, because these guys probably would have sold it to me for
$35 if I told them that I saw it advertised for that price, but at least
I got a $20 discount.

Now that I gave you a little background on how I acquired the filter, I
thought I would tell you how it worked. Last night, the sky was pretty
crappy. The rain kept coming in and out, but in between the clouds I
took my ETX out (portability!!) Anyway, I took a look at M27 through my
Broadband filter and I was not all that impressed. (this is the filter
that I already had) But when I stacked the Narrowband filter on top of
the Broadband, the sky turned black and the nebula turned into a little
cotton ball. It was really great!

Now to the question. Later on in the night, as I was inspecting my
optics, I noticed that the Narrowband filter had a weird feel to it. It
had a "something-is-loose-feel." (that's the best way that I know how to
describe it) Since there is nothing to twist or tighten, I gave the
little thing a shake and noticed that the glass of the filter was sorta
free floating in the grooves that held it in place. Is this normal? My
other filter does not do this, and it seems that it is not affecting the
optics, but I'm still concerned. I know that if I take it back, Natural
Wonders won't be able to exchange it because this was the only one and
it was a fluke that they actually had it. What would you do????

I could always return it and order the filter from Astronomics for an
extra $20-$25, but I probably won't want to spend that much. I'm sorta
in a tight situation, because it works well, but I don't know if it may
come loose in the future, and this thing was in no way cheap. Any advise
from you would make me very happy!! Great Site and Clear Skies!!

~Noah
Mike here: There should be a real small retaining ring on either the top of the bottom next to the glass. It has probably just needs tightening.

Added later:

Well, exactly two minutes after you told me how to fix the filter I did
it. I used a small screwdriver and inserted it into one of the two
groves that is on the ring that you told me about and it turned for a
while until it came to a tight fit. Now the glass doesn't shake anymore
and I am very happy! The only thing that I did not like doing was
putting a piece of sharp metal within 2 mm of the glass, but who cares?
Now its fixed!!! Thanks so much! And if Meade is reading this... send
Mike some commission for his wonderfully prompt customer service!!!

~Noah

P.S. - I bought 100 shares of Meade stock last week and have since made
over $150!!! It just seems to go up everyday. It may be a good time to
invest as the price is so low, just a piece of advise to a guy that has
helped me so much. Thanks again!!

Subject:	 ETX & Autostar cable
Sent:	Friday, July 16, 1999 22:08:53
From:	bnplu@flash.net (Bruce)
Great site! I bought an ETX 90 and a Autostar a couple of weeks ago and
have been having fun learning what it's all about. I found your site the
other day and was amazed at all the information that is here. I want to
make up a cable for the autostar to my laptop. Do you or any of your
readers have the pin outs for it? Thanks for the great site.
Bruce Pluemer 
Mike here: Check the Autostar Information page.

Subject:	 Re: ETX
Sent:	Friday, July 16, 1999 21:10:00
From:	cann@axionet.com (Douglas E. Cann)
It has been a long cloudy winter and summer !!!  I just noted that the
15th of July was the third anniversary for my ETX  !  I cannot believe
that it has been so long.  July 15, 1996 seems so long ago.  Anyway, my
"old ETX" is still performing flawlessly (drive and all) and I have just
completed my 259th observing session with it.  It is interesting to note
that during the first two years I was averaging 100 observing sessions
during each of the first two years and during the last year, due to the
awful weather, I have only been able to use my ETX for about sixty
sessions. Is this the result of global warming...I hope not.  Your site
is still a treat to read and I am sure that it is a lot of work.  Keep
it up, I am sure that you have made a lot of friends.

I just looked out and it has clouded over again !!

Cheers,     Doug..........

Subject:	 ETX-125EC USER FEEDBACK
Sent:	Friday, July 16, 1999 17:36:04
From:	king@classics.nu (Bryan Lowe)
New to astronomy... but I have enjoyed watching satellites for years.  I
see that the etx 125 with autostar allows satellite observing.  I assume
this will make a small spec of light slightly larger... allowing no
ability to observe any detail.  Also... as I read the autostar comments
it looks as though it has some serious problems that would make me
wonder about its ability to track a satellite.  Any thoughts?

Bryan Lowe
Mike here: Observing satellites with any amateur telescope will be a challenge. Yes, it is neat seeing the satellite crossing a starfield but don't expect to see any details. As to the problems I reported initially, they are being worked by Meade. I'm testing the new release now. Stay tuned...

Subject:	 3rd party perhaps?
Sent:	Friday, July 16, 1999 17:07:01
From:	fritz@sincom.com (Fritz)
I just returned home with my Meade ETX and found that I had made an
wrong assumption about the included parts and now have to turn someplace
for help. Maybe I am sending this to the wrong place but from surfing
your site I don't think so as the spotting scope is essentially the 
same machine without the tracking. Here is the problem that perhaps
someone could help me with: I bought the Meade ETX spotting scope with
the idea that I could put the included 45 degree prism and 26mm lens on
the top viewer of the barrel which would allow me to mount the camera on
the back to be used as a 1200 mm lens. Well, I found out that the setup
which erects the image for viewing is only for that back mount and when
I called the dealer (camera store) he said that there was no product
that he knew of. So, here is my question: Is there any 3rd party product
which would allow one to see an erect image from the top mount with the
viewer angled back at about 45 degrees as, is the included viewer,  so
one doesn't have to look straight down at a 90 degree angle into the
ETX? I hope that I have framed this question right as I really don't
know all the terminology of scopes, etc. Anyway I mounted the camera on
the back and look down into the scope from the right angle eyepiece
(seeing reversed and upside down) and it's a drag. I had hoped to use it
as a spotting scope mainly with the ability to quickly switch the mirror
and take a bird shot. Is there hope? :-)

   fritz bonsall

fritz@sincom.com
Mike here: See the review of the Shutan Wide-Field Adapter on the Accessories - Showcase Products page. It can be inserted where an eyepiece would be mounted. I haven't checked the image reversal however (if that is really important to you). It would also reduce the magnification so that might not be what you want either. I'll post your message on the next update and perhaps some other users will have some thoughts.

Subject:	 Declination Scale
Sent:	Friday, July 16, 1999 08:24:36
From:	Donald.Phipps@kp.org (Donald Phipps)
Here is a simple tip that helped me out when attempting to align the ETX
or to locate an object of known coordinates.  I discovered that the
raised arrowhead (^) on the fork used as a reference point for the
declination scale is extremely difficult to see at night even with a
light.  To resolve this problem, I pulled out my acryllic paints and a
fine brush.  I then painted just the raised surface of the arrowhead
with the "whitest" white that I have in my paint set.  Once dry, I
coated it with clear nail polish to prevent the absorbtion of water and
the running of the paint in times of high humidity.

Now, I can quickly find the reference point with the use of the "map
light" on the Autostar, or another light source.

Thanks again for the great web site!

Regards,

Don Phipps

Subject:	 RE: Insanity strikes at 3:00AM
Sent:	Thursday, July 15, 1999 17:33:34
From:	OptiquesJeff@worldnet.att.net (Jeffrey Nutkowitz)
Greetings

I too went out last night, at about 3am, when I got home from work. I
did a short session in a local park under my lousy in-city
skies...viewed M15, M13, M29, M39, M27, M57, Jupiter, and Saturn. Had a
pal from work with me...his first time seeing anything with a telescope,
and he was very impressed. Air was fairly steady, though a bit damp,and
I was amazed as I was able to pump up magnification for Jupiter and
Saturn to a whopping 256x w/9.7mm ep and 2x barlow! It is RARE that
75x/inch of scope is useable, but last night my efforts were rewarded.
The planetary images were mostly sharp, with occasionally turbulence
disturbing them...the opposite of usual situations. Details were crisp
and clear, and during even steadier moments, truly awesome. Saw from 5
to 7 bands on Jupiter, crisp and clear, with the large equatorial ones
clearly showing uneven edges, and those 4 moons on one side were a nice
touch. With Saturn, the Cassini's Division was visible in the outer
ring, some faint bands were seen on planet, and the shadow of the planet
on the rings was obvious. The views were not quite as clear and bright
as I recall them being in my 6" Newt, which the last time I had out was
about a year ago, when I also looked at the two giants late one summer
night. Still, the ETX was astounding, and what little tradeoff in image
quality there was gets more than made up for by the pure pleasure and
ease of its transportation and setup needs, plus the Autostar/GOTO and
dual motorized axis conveniences. (one of these days I HAVE to drag that
6" Newt out simply so I can enjoy its deep sky observing advantages, and
star hop for a change of pace) The deep sky objects were so-so, but that
was mainly from light pollution and humidity. Even so, Ring Nebula
clearly showed the doughnut/smoke ring shape. It looks like it will be a
cloud-free night again, though there is a bit of haze, so I may leave
work early and head out of the city for a couple of hours' observing
time at my slightly less light polluted site near Bowman's Tower, about
20 miles north of Philadelphia.

Take care

Jeffrey Nutkowitz/Optiques Classic Photographic Imagery
Freelance Outdoor and Nature Photography Emphasizing a 'Sense of Place'
http://members.aol.com/OptiquesJN

Subject:	 Insanity strikes at 3:00AM
Sent:	Thursday, July 15, 1999 11:39:32
From:	jh@brainiac.com (Joe Hartley)
I had a restless night's sleep last night (thinking of our observatory's
new LX-200 which just arrived!), and got up at 3:00AM to see if the cat
would come in.

As I stood at the back door, I looked up, and even without my glasses I
could see that it was very clear, and that there was an awfully bright
object over to the west.  When I realized that it was Jupiter, all
thoughts of sleep fled!  I quietly dressed and brought the tripod, ETX
and eyepiece case out to the side yard.

There I was, at 3:10, focusing on Jupiter.  After all these months
without seeing it, it took my breath away.  It was enormous, and all
four moons were lined up on one side.  Some bands on the planet were
seen, and I wished I'd had an appropriate filter to see more of them.

After a few minutes on the king of the planets, I checked out M57, which
was lovely, and Alberio - ditto.  I then noticed another bright spot
dodging in and out of the trees to the west.  Could it be?  Yes!  It was
Saturn! A moment of focusing... another moment of focusing... it just
wasn't as spectacular as I remembered it.  I put my glasses on looked up
again to see a band of clouds moving in where moments before there had
been nothing but clear sky!!  I spent another minute or two looking at
Saturn through the haze hoping that I'd get a better view, but no such
luck.

I think I surprised whatever deity or mechanism there is to frustrate
amateur astronomers by my late (early) viewing, but it caught up with
me!

It was nice to see my old friends again, however briefly.  I was back in
the house at 3:40.  That's one thing I love about summer viewing - I was
observing in 10 minutes.  Had this been February, it would have taken
that long just to get dressed - I never would have succumbed to the
impulse!

======================================================================
         Joe Hartley - Computer Consultant - jh@brainiac.com
     12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI  02827 - vox 401.782.9042
Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa

Subject:	 3 coin-fix for more liberal tightening on the Meade Deluxe Field Tripod
Sent:	Wednesday, July 14, 1999 22:19:21
From:	bvona@cau.edu (Bi Roubolo Vona)
This is in reply to Kevin P. Kretsch's July 12 message about different
attempts to fix the problem with overtightened screws biting into the
tripod legs on the Meade Deluxe Field Tripod. Being myself one of those
amateur astromoner with a "strong" grip, I had to return a couple these
tripods because of the biting problem reported by Kevin.

After several less sucessful attempts at fixing the problem, I found
that dropping a quarter-size coin between the tip of the screw and the
outer aluminum leg plate will solve the problem quite nicely indeed. I
did not use actual quarters but instead I dropped in three 1" diameter
"depth control discs". They sell for about a couple of bucks for a box
of 25 at the local hardware store. The discs distribute the pressure
from the screws on a larger area, thus allowing for more liberal
tighenings of the height adjustment knobs.

Great Site, Mike.

Keep Looking Up.

Bi.

Bi Roubolo Vona
Mathematical Sciences.
Clark Atlanta University.

Subject:	 Observing tent
Sent:	Wednesday, July 14, 1999 20:38:43
From:	2travel@gte.net (Mike Gruendel)
I asked you the other day if you had heard of an observing tent - I lost
the bookmark after my browser failed...   I know you added the Kendrick
page in your links section just for me - I remembered the name once I
saw it - and there's my tent.  Thanks.

Mike Gruendel

Subject:	 Optics Question
Sent:	Wednesday, July 14, 1999 11:22:56
From:	berg@ans.net (Kevin Berg)
I saw a reference to performing a "christmas ornament check of the
optics" in an earlier post in the Autostar Feedback section. What is
this check and how can it be performed and the results evaluated?

Thx,

KMB
Mike here: Do a search on "christmas"; one of the hits describes the technique.

Subject:	 ETX125 and warranty abroad.
Sent:	Wednesday, July 14, 1999 10:38:50
From:	lombry@excite.com (Thierry Lombry)
I read with interest your website and take many printouts of yours
information as I will probably buy an ETX 125 at the end of this year. I
asked some questions to Paul Hobbs, from Meade (export Manager) who gave
me next answers. They can be useful for all foreigners wishing to buy a
telescope from US or outside their country... I found similar questions
in groupnews on Scopetronix, etc.

- What is the inconvenient buying an ETX abroad (in US for example)
where prices are 15-20% cheaper if I'm living in Luxembourg. Is there
any problem with the voltage, warranty, etc ?

If you buy in the U.S., your warranty is in the U.S. only.  You would
need to ship your scope to the U.S. dealer for warranty work.  You would
be responsible for all shipping costs.  No European dealer ordistributor
will honor your warranty.

Question about delivery send july 14, 99: The ETX-125EC is in very short
supply.  It may be difficult tofind one for several months. Best
regards, Paul Hobbs, Export Manager

Read you on the website.
Thierry

Subject:	 Comparison
Sent:	Tuesday, July 13, 1999 21:01:14
From:	MITCHELLV@prodigy.net (VICKY J MITCHELL)
Hello, my name is Ryan. I am a beginning amateur astronomer and am
planning on getting an ETX for my first telescope. Sadly, I'm on a tight
budget. I have been looking into the ETX-90RA because it is $100 cheaper
than the ETX-90EC. I was wondering, besides all the electronic features
that the EC has, are there any other improvements? Such as optical
improvements? Would it be worth the extra $100 to get the EC as my first
telescope?

Your help would be much appreciated. I would also like to comment you on
your excellent site.

mitchellv@prodigy.net
Mike here: Optically, the ETX-90EC is the same as the ETX-90RA. The difference is in the drive unit (base) and no, there is no upgrade path from the old to the new model. Having the full control over the RA and DEC axis from a hand controller (standard on the ETX-90EC) is a plus. If you bought the ETX-90RA you would likely add the Scopetronix Microstar at some point (review on the Accessories - Showcase Products page). Also, with the EC model you can add the Meade Autostar controller. But if you are willing to learn the sky on your own then you can save some money now by getting the ETX-90RA.

Subject:	Interesting reading (Iridium)
Sent:	Wednesday, July 14, 1999 08:05:52
From:        Donald E. Carlile, don@carlile.sp.trw.com

www.macopinion.com/columns/engine/99/07/12.html

Subject:	ETX vs Questar
Sent:	Tuesday, July 13, 1999 15:08:55
From:	LooneyRoo@aol.com
I just wanted to tell you a little story about how seasoned amatuer
astronomers view the ETX...

I was at a local star party this weekend and this guy who had previously
owned a Questar (which I later found out he sold to purchase a C8)
thought that the ETX's optics matched those of his old Questar! He was
so impressed -- get this -- that he planned on canning his C8 to
purchase the ETX.

He looked at Venus through my 26mm and 2Xbarlow and he could not believe
as to how sharp the optics were. I just thought it was nice to hear and
figured that you might want to add this to one of your "feedback" pages.

Thanks for all your help!! Luckily I have not had to ask for any
lately... (I hope I did not just curse my scope!!)
Clear Skies!

~Noah

Subject:	 Etx-90EC Thank you!!
Sent:	Tuesday, July 13, 1999 14:40:24
From:	zoltan@mail2.nai.net (Thomas A. Dee)
Just wanted to drop you a short message to say thanks for your prompt
and clear answers to my questions.

T. Dee

P.S. Excellent web site by the way; keep up the good work.
Mike here: The site is the work of many!

Subject:	 Tent
Sent:	Tuesday, July 13, 1999 12:32:01
From:	ReaganHerman@upr.com (Reagan Herman)
The tent that Mike Gruendel asked about is advertised in Sky & Telescope
(pg 88 Aug 1999) for $390.00. The web page for this product is at www.kendrick-ai.com
Reagan Herman

Subject:	 Some deep sky stuff.
Sent:	Monday, July 12, 1999 11:42:37
From:	kkretsch@tcd.ie (Kevin P. Kretsch)
Here's a quick report on a tour I've been doing the last few nights.
Limiting magnitude was better than 5.3 for all but the galaxies near the
end, where it was worse than 5.0.

Starting in Hercules...

M13: Very, very disappointing. Nothing less. It might be bright but it's
also big. Hints of stellar resolution, but nothing more. So, I was not
looking forward to M92...

M92: WOW! Now, THAT is nice. It might be fainter on paper, but it is
much more compressed and appears much, much brighter. Very sweet indeed.
No resolution (but I wouldn't expect any). I like this one, a lot.

...on to Lyra...

M57: "Ring Nebula", lubberly, as always. Takes 100x quite well. Ring
structure clearly visible with averted vision. Like a little smoke ring
in the sky.

Stephenson 1: Open cluster around delta 1,2 lyrae. The colour contrast
between delta 1 and 2 is lovely. A nice field. Would be better with a
wider than field than the 26mm SP.

M56: (Lyra globular) M92 had my expectations a little too high.  :)
Nothin to write home about, other than seeing it. Small, faint,
difficult on a poor night.

...into Vulpecula...

M27: "Dumb-bell nebula" This (and M13) supply the proof. Size does
matter! :) On paper it's bright, but it is maybe 8 times (?) the
diameter of M57, so really is little more than a large misty patch. That
said, it's a large misty patch with the double lobed structure evident.
Quite nice as far as large misty patches go...

Brocchi's Cluster: Very nice but too darn wide for the 26mm SP. Now, I
really appreciate the need for a wide field eyepiece!  (Same applies to
M39 in Cygnus, among others).

...quick jump to Ursa Major...

M81/M82: Despite strong twilight and a little haze, these two galaxies
are really easy, and quite bright. M82 clearly looks very elongated and
a little rough around the edges. M81 is the larger but to my eyes was a
little fainter in terms of surface brightness. Just a (nice) big round
blob. (Lim. mag. worse about 4.8 for these guys!!)

...and finally to Canes Venaciti...

M51: the great whirlpool galaxy! Great disappointment! Considering how
easy I found M81 and M82, I thought this would be easy. But it was one
of those "maybe, maybe not, oh wait a second, yes, maybe, hmmm, ok, i
think so, maybe, hmmm, no wait, yes, definitely yes". (Lim. mag. about
4.9 here)

I didn't list some of the planetary nebulae I can't remeber the NGC
numbers of but...

with limiting visual magnitude about 5.3, I got a mag. 9.6, diameter 25"
planetary nebula in Hercules. And they said the ETX was useless for deep
sky stuff...

Bottom line: The darker the skies the more fun you'll have. That said,
the ETX is as good as any other small telescope out there. Don't let the
f-number fool ya. It means nothin' visually.

Clear skies all, and good night!


		Kev.

---
Kevin P. Kretsch  B.A.(Mod.)Phys 	e-mail: kkretsch@alf2.tcd.ie
Photonic Materials Group,		Tel:	+353 1 608 1324
Department of Physics,			Fax:	+353 1 671 1759
Trinity College, Dublin 2, IRELAND.
                      *** Damn, I love my ETX! ***

Subject:	 A few improvements
Sent:	Monday, July 12, 1999 11:27:03
From:	kkretsch@tcd.ie (Kevin P. Kretsch)
I use my 90EC with a Meade Deluxe Field Tripod and I am very happy with
it. I was a little concerned about the tightening screws and how they
appear to be cutting into the outer piece of the tripod leg. The danger
is that you could cut straight through the metal and not be able to fix
the tripod legs in place any more.

** This is why Meade warn you to be careful of over-tightening! **

If you remove the screws completely from the tripod, you'll notice that
the end of screws is pretty rough and probably has a raised lip all away
around the outside. (A little sharp in places too.) No wonder it's
cutting into the leg! Take a look into the screw hole and see the
damage.

First I cut pieces off a used soft drinks can and glued them to the part
of the outer leg that the screws contact. Now the screws can cut into
the can before they cut into the tripod. (Just make sure that it's
aluminium so it won't rust.)

Secondly, I wanted to stop the screws cutting at all. Being terminally
lazy, I just stuck some felt pads (about 2 mm thick) on the end of the
screws. Obviously the best thing is to file or grind the screws to a
smooth end (just the like the end of the latitude adjustment screw on
the tripod head).  Voila! No more horrible grinding noises. Of course
you should still be careful not to overtighten. Just tight enough and no
more.

I was also fed up watching the little red light on the hand controller
swing in the breeze between the tripod legs. So, I bought some velcro. I
stuck one side to the back of the hand controller and the other to the
top of the tripod, below the head, between the points where the legs
attatch. Also, as I invariably spend some time with the setting circles,
I put the velcro on the east facing portion, so that with the telescope
facing south, the declination setting circle and the handcontroller are
together.

I got to try all this out last night and I was happy enough.

Clear skies all,

		Kev.

---
Kevin P. Kretsch  B.A.(Mod.)Phys 	e-mail: kkretsch@alf2.tcd.ie
Photonic Materials Group,		Tel:	+353 1 608 1324
Department of Physics,			Fax:	+353 1 671 1759
Trinity College, Dublin 2, IRELAND.

Damn I love my ETX! Go and see Mike; http://www.weasner.com/etx/

Subject:	 Eclipse configuration : ETX on GP mount
Sent:	Monday, July 12, 1999 09:08:12
From:	guillaume.dubos@tecsi.com (Guillaume Dubos)
This weekend, I tried a new configuration for my ETX. With a fellow of
my astro-club, we put the ETX tube on his GP mount. Firstly, the ETX
tube is very light, I was very surprised ! Secondly, we have build a
wood adapter for the GP mount. The whole assembly is perfectly stable:
all the vibrations introduced by focusing the ETX are gone within 1s ! .
Then, we test it with the meade variable telextender with an
occular+camera, to see the stability : nothing to say. With this config,
we'll be able to photograph Venus during the eclipse (50" diameter) ! .

Bye
Guillaume Dubos

PS  : Don't buy a GP mount for your ETX only, because it's not very
cheap !

Subject:	 ETX & Astrophotography
Sent:	Sunday, July 11, 1999 22:46:42
From:	seppi@parkmeadow.demon.co.uk (Seppi Evans)
Although I do not own an ETX (yet) I am interested in the
Astrophotography capabilities. It seems a lot of people are using
Digital Cameras that are hand held up against the eye-piece.

Am I missing something ? Why not purchase a Digital camera that has a
screw thread on the front of the lens or try and find a genuine SLR
Digital camera that takes interchangeable lenses. This way a T-adapter
can be mounted and rock steady pictures will be the order of the day.

The only problem that I can see is that the digital cameras I have been
looking at have no bulb function on the shutter,  normally 1/2 second
maximum exposure time. Would this short exposure time cause a problem ?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Seppi Evans
Mike here: The only reason that many people don't have cameras with threads is that most cameras (for the consumer) don't seem to have them, and the ones that do have them cost a lot. But it is no longer necessary to hand hold the camera; Scopetronix has an adapter (see the Accessories - Astrophotography page for a review). The lack of a bulb setting is only a problem on faint objects. Planets, the Moon, and the Sun can be photographed quite nicely.

Subject:	 ETX Setting Circle 
Sent:	Sunday, July 11, 1999 19:01:15
From:	BKSTA2@shell.co.th (HMA/3 (Sukun T.) .)
I read Tom Williams'  (4th July, 1999) method on the how to get rid of
the extra five minutes between 12H-13 H which might be useful, but won't
bother myself doing it fearing that it may bring up new problem on the
setting circle, e.g. too tight.  However, I got a chance to use the
setting circle, trying to find Uranus in early morning sky of
11/07/1999.  It seems to me that using the number in the upper row  (for
Northern hemisphere) as stated in the manual is working fine.  Nothing
wrong with the instruction manual and Uranus through the ETX is just a
small featureless dot and the only way to distinguish it from very faint
star is just 'Take it, it's should be URANUS! (OR Forget it!)'

Tom Williams said that for one complaint, there is 10 silent
majority...I think that's still too much (9.1%) for Meade Customer
Service/QC people.  A good company MUST have its continuous & measurable
targets & action plans on QC & Customer Satisfactions, and I assume
Meade has its own...We'll see when the 125 EC comes out.

Best Regards,
Sukun T. 
Bangkok, Thailand. 13.47 N, 100.20 E

Subject:	 Astronomy tent
Sent:	Saturday, July 10, 1999 14:25:54
From:	2travel@gte.net (Mike Gruendel)
I'm the guy whose browser crashed, losing all my bookmarks.   I was just
about to purchase a tent I had found listed on the web.  The tent was
specially designed for astronomy with 2 compartments - one for sleeping,
and one for observing.  The observing side has a flap and mesh screen
which unzip to open up to the sky.   Have you come across anything like
this - the only thing I can find using the search engine is the Sky Tent
for $1500.00 - the tent I saw was about $400.00.

Please let me know if you've heard of it, and where I can find it on the
net.

Thanks,
Mike Gruendel

P.S. If your site wasn't so good, you wouldn't have people like me
bugging you for stuff like this!
Mike here: I haven't come across that directly. On the Accessories - Showcase Products page you'll find a review of the TeleDome Portable Observatory. Kendrick has a Shelter-Dome Tent which can be seen on their web site (www.kendrick-ai.com).

Subject:	 Question on how to custumize my carrying case.
Sent:	Friday, July 9, 1999 22:23:21
From:	danielp@direct.ca (DANIEL PARENT)
First of all,

Mike, thank you for your wonderful and very informative site. Where I
live, i do not need a car. I wanted a telescope that would be easy to
carry around with my mountainbike. About a year ago I found your site
and many answers to my questions. The ETX 90 EC was the perfect
candidate !

I have just received my telescope today(jULY 9th 99) and I have to say I
am impressed ! Venus was my first target. I will TRY M51 and M13 tonight
!

My questions are about the way to customize my carrying case(you know
the model with small foam cubes ) :

WHERE DO I START ? HOW DO YOU  I PROCEED IN ORDER TO GET A CUSTOM AND
SNUG FIT ? DO YOU DRAW SOMETHING ON THE FOAM AND START TO REMOVE THE
CUBE ONE AT A TIME ?

I REALLY do not wish to screw this up !

Please share your wisdom !
ANYBODY HELP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
you can contact me :  danielp@direct.ca 

DANIEL PARENT
Mike here: There are two ways to proceed. You can either lay the ETX and accessories on a large piece of paper and draw the outlines. Then cut out the outlines. Place the paper (minus the outlined areas) on the case. Remove one layer of cubes in the outlined areas. Place the ETX and accessories on the case and verify the fit and locations. If OK, proceed to remove more layers, one layer at a time, rechecking the fit each time. Keep in mind that you don't want to remove all layers for a given object; the snuggest fit will be way cubes "craddling" the object, especially the ETX. The alternative is to lay the ETX and/or accessories on the case and eyeball which cubes to remove. But do it one layer at a time. Have fun but be patient.

Subject:	 Astrovid Camera?
Sent:	Friday, July 9, 1999 11:58:28
From:	livingston@bedford.net (allen livingston)
Positively great site you are running hear!  A question:  Do you have
any experience running an astrovid 2000 (or 1000) with either the ETX or
the 90/EC?  Anything you can shed light on (thoughts included) would be
greatly appreciated.
    Thanks & keep up the great work!
    Allen

Subject:	 focal length reducer, ETX125
Sent:	Friday, July 9, 1999 10:04:32
From:	wilson@math.wisc.edu (Robert L. Wilson)
Apogee apparently is offering a focal length reducer for the ETX. (a)
Does this work with the 125 as well as the 90? (b) Has anybody tried
this, on either OTA, who can report on it?
Thanks,
Bob Wilson
Mike here: Check the Accessories - Showcase Products page; I report on this product under the Shutan name as a wide field adapter. It is the Apogee product. It should work on the ETX-125EC.

Subject:	 hex keys
Sent:	Friday, July 9, 1999 09:22:36
From:	no1traumanurse@hotmail.com (David Haigh)
Can you give me some clue as to the allen key size to remove the EC.ota,
silly me got rid of my etx (it had a drive error of 2hrs in 24hrs) and
naturally the allen key supplied went bye bye. BCF here in England
refuse to answer the question as they don't recommend removing the ota,
very unhelpful. Nearly as good as the shop who, when asked didn't have
an etx camera adapter but had one for an Lx1 mmmm. Cracking site by the
way, been reading it for 2 years before finally having the spare cash,
no regrets so far, eyepiece projection fun with my olympus c900. Your
readers in the states are a bit cash obsessed so try our prices in
Britain. ETX Ec 530 no discounts, Autostar 139. Oh and don't even
dream of trying to swap goods that aren't faulty
Yours
Dave Haigh
Mike here: The OTA hex key is probably called a 3mm (1/8-inch) although it is actually slightly less.

Subject:	 ETX mailing list, where is it?
Sent:	Thursday, July 8, 1999 19:56:54
From:	crusin@prodigy.net (Robert Parrish)
I was a member of the ETX mailing list with a previous email address.
Now that I have a new computer and can now use a better ISP, I also have
a new email address but can't remember where I previously signed up. Can
you provide the site so that my new address can be added?

Robert Parrish

p.s. tell all those that responded thanks for their help in constructing
a home made dew shield for my ETX. I used a foam rubber floor mat, cut
is to size by measuring the diameter of the OTA, multiplying by "pie"
and then added Velcro strip to hold it on the scope. Works great.
Mike here: Info at: etx.listbot.com .

Subject:	 back projection
Sent:	Thursday, July 8, 1999 07:56:52
From:	colin_piper_55@hotmail.com
Thanks for running such a brilliant site!
I have recently bought an ETX second hand and want to view the
forthcoming solar eclipse with it. Does anyone have a simple design fo
making a back projection box or any other tips? I have tried searching
the back-pages but cannot seem to get the search to work
many thanks
Colin Piper
Mike here: It is not recommended to use the ETX for solar projection. The heat buildup could be death to your ETX. On the other hand, there are several excellent solar filters (see the Accessories - Filters page) which can be used with the ETX with proper precautions.

Subject:	 Celestron Slow Motion Tripod Head
Sent:	Thursday, July 8, 1999 07:20:48
From:	jonesdavid@earthlink.net (David Jones)
Has anyone tried Celestron's Slow Motion Tripod Head with the ETX as a
way to avoid the jerkies problem with the manual dec control?  I've
tried everything -- new pads, adjusting the center screw, etc -- but the
problem will not go away.  The Celestron deluxe slow motion head sounds
interesting.
Any opinion?  Thanks!

Subject:	 
Sent:	Wednesday, July 7, 1999 22:11:32
From:	aaron_dayton@hotmail.com (Aaron Dayton)
hello nice site

i have the etx 90ec and the autostar 497

and i was woundering if i should get the meade 8-24mm zoom lense or the
lanth~~~ something rather 8-24mm zoom lense or what

also im having trouble tracking sats on my scope i get it alinged to how
ever i do it and it goes over to where the sat is suppose to be and it
goes there and it says a number like -45 then -46  and so on like it
allready passed and its toolate to track it????? so whats the deeleo i
do one star align and i select polaris in alt Az mode all i know is i
think my deck is level i think ill buy a digital level and mount it to
my scope on the main tube

o well every one is having a bit of troube with it..

thanks
Mike here: There are reviews of three zoom eyepieces on the Accessories - Eyepieces page.

Subject:	 Pictures with the ETX
Sent:	Wednesday, July 7, 1999 21:12:13
From:	chk4it@kdsi.net (Catracker)
I am just beginning to search for a telescope and have seen pictures
from several other telescopes.  I was wondering if you know where I can
find pictures taken with the Meade ETX-90 and the one which seems more
appealing the ETX-125.
                                                        Thanx,
                                                                Chad
Mike here: Check the Astrophotography Gallery pages on this ETX web site for examples with the ETX-90. We'll have to wait for someone to actually receive the ETX-125EC before we see examples from it.

Subject:	 ETX 90RA
Sent:	Wednesday, July 7, 1999 15:09:39
From:	ron@data2.com (Ron McCafferty)
I'm one of those light polluted suburban viewers.  I just got back from
2 nights at the beach with the darkest skies I've seen yet.   The ETX
was great!  Using the book "Left Turn at Orion" I finally found M4 which
I had been looking for in vain for a month or so.  I'll have to try
again at home to see if it's visible.

The more I learn about Astronomy the more the ETX shows me.

Ron

Subject:	 ETX prospective buyer
Sent:	Wednesday, July 7, 1999 12:37:24
From:	michas@tee.gr (MICHAS SPYRIDON)
I have had a wish to do some amateur astronomy myself for some time, but
only recently I have had the time and courage to try to do it. Here in
Greece you don't have much of a choice when it comes to buying a
telescope. There are very few shops. There is however a Meade dealer. I
have seen the ETX, and from what I have read on the net, it seems a
reasonably good value telescope for a beginner. What draws me back
however, and makes me hesitant, is the colossal difference of price: it
costs something like the equivalent of $900 here, 50% more expensive
than in the US. Nevertheless, I am willing to pay this money. I would
greatly appreciate if you could give me your personal oppinion on
whether it's really worth it or not. Please also tell me whether you
think Autostar is indispensable.

Your site is really cool, and if I eventually get an ETX, I will
definitely revisit. Maybe the answers are already there for me, but I
really haven't had the time to read a lot.

I wish your skies are as wonderfully clear and full of stars as they are
here in Voula, 30km south of Athens.
Thanks
Spyros Michas
Mike here: Yes, all your questions and more are likely answered on the site. In short, the ETX is a good value although the overseas markup hurts. The Autostar is handy but NOT indispensable. If you are willing to learn your way around the skies, as amateur astronomers have done for centuries, then the ETX will give you years of enjoyment.

Subject:	etx90ec
Sent:	Tuesday, July 6, 1999 16:01:05
From:	Denp37@aol.com
I've read your review on the etx90ec, and I am thinking of buying one.
I've gone from visual to binos to a 8" starfinder, but the starfinder
with the huge pier was such a hassel that it never got used. I like the
etx for its compactness and also the autostar option. My question is :
With all the problems that I have been reading about the scope on your
fine website, and also Scopetronix, is the scope good enough to put up
with all the problems and also to do all the fixes to make it better?

Thanks
Dennis Poletto
Mike here: The ETX is a fine telescope. Yes, there are some glitches but many people do not experience them. Others do. "Your mileage may vary."

Subject:	 holding a binocular//viewfinder in dark places
Sent:	Tuesday, July 6, 1999 10:01:22
From:	fsotoma@fis.ulima.edu.pe (Fernando Sotomayor)
I noticed when one observes through a binocular (a have a 10x50 Ultima
of Celestron) the images are very shaky. Holding the binocular not  from
the middle of its body but from the end where the objective lenses are,
forming a ring with the thumb and its next  finger  around each
objective lens, one gets  more stable images.

For the first time, last saturday night I went with my etx to a dark
place out of the city. There I discovered that the cross-hair of the
viewfinder was invisible and I could not point with it. Do you use some
kind of illumination for your viewfinder?

Thanks.

Fernando Sotomayor
Mike here: I now have the Scopetronix LightSight "Red Dot" and the Rigel Systems QuikFinder finders on my ETX. Both have illuminated indicators. Check the Accessories - Finders page for lots of info.

Subject:	 Nice site!
Sent:	Tuesday, July 6, 1999 08:21:36
From:	derekleath@colorassociates.com (Derek Leath)
Hi, Mike just wanted to say hello and tell you, you have a very nice
site here. I Have a Meade 2120 10" SCT and have been thinking about
maybe buying a ETX90 as a second scope. I may even buy the older
version, so I'm still doing my home work. I'll check in for time to time
to see what is new, keep up the good work.
Derek Leath
St.Louis Astronomical Soc.
http://medicine.wustl.edu/~kronkg/slas.html

Subject:	 ETX EC90?
Sent:	Monday, July 5, 1999 16:27:00
From:	rob@rchjr.com (Rob H)
Could you email me two of your best photos that show a good example of
the power of the scope. Astronomy shots please. Ive never had much more
than a junky telescope from like a Walmart shope not much better than
Binoculars. thinking about getting this one or the 125 but would like to
see some photos of what it could do thanks.
Rob
Mike here: Check out the Astrophotography galleries on this ETX web site. Several nice ones posted.

Subject:	 Quality
Sent:	Monday, July 5, 1999 4:42:46
From:	gregory.guida@btinternet.com (Gregory)
Your Web Site is a sight for sore eyes. While Meade came up with a jewel
with the 90/EC, what they intended as a general public toy, is only, for
the time being, usable by techies and your site is saving all of us from
despair.

My 90/EC has so far performed flawlessly (knock on wood) except for the
fact that Scotland must be the worst place in the World for astronomy. I
spent most of the winter waiting for a clear night and when I finally
got one around the beginning of June, I drove the Land Rover up a hill
with a nice 360 view and waited for the dark. Forever. White nights.
Which means no night. Damn. I knew about it but was very surprised at
how the twilight would make any celestial observation pointless. I'll
wait for next winter, hoping for clear nights (at least they will be
long, usually lasting from 4pm to 10am).

I am not entirely surprised at the lack of build quality in the 90/EC.
You usually get what you pay for and unfortunately, the sales, while
high, don't warrant further design R&D, like we get with the highly
developed consumer electronics from Japan. What we could get however, is
a "hop-up" kit to bring the EC to standard. I assume quite a few people
would be ready to pay more to get a reliable, more precise machine. A
few machined aluminum parts, ball bearings and teflon pads could make a
world of difference and I wouldn't mind paying a few hundred more for
that. Anyone listening?

The 125 is a very attractive scope too, but a scope that breaks down and
that you cannot even lock manually anymore once you're in the field
miles from home is garbage. Better bring along a couple of dumbells.
Same weight, better exercise value.

To conclude, Meade should have spent another $30 on the scopes (that's
another $100 to us), but maybe somebody like JMI could come to the
rescue. I don't expect a Questar for the price, but there could be a
middle ground between cheap Chinese toy and astronomical jewel.

Beautiful skies,

Gregory
Mike here: JMI has several products to enhance/improve the ETX. And Scopetronix has some excellent tune-up tips on their web site. And of course, there are the tips posted here.

Subject:	 ETX setting circle
Sent:	Sunday, July 4, 1999 14:25:30
From:	twilliam@ole.net (Tom Williams)
My complements on your website.  I have been visiting it daily, since I
found it in December of 1998.  I have found the answers to many of the
problems I have experienced, as well as a wealth of knowledge, enabling
me to make better purchases of equipment and accessories.

I bought a my first telescope, an ETX-90 (now ETX-90RA), last
Thanksgiving from The Nature Company.  I then saw the add for the
ETX-90EC, and I was more than a little bummed to see the scope I had
bought less than two months ago completely redesigned.  I contacted the
fine people at The Nature Company (Heather & Bill at the store in Troy
Mi.) to check into their telescope upgrade program they had sold me on
when I bought from them, last November.  They gladly put me on a waiting
list to upgrade me to the ETX-90EC, and I received it in February.

I am one of the silent majority, that are very happy with the ETX. To
all those that read the negative feedback and think Meade is putting out
trash: For every message you read that is bad, there are probably
another 10 that will never post a message, that think Meade puts out a
good products.  And as a side note: I am told that The Nature Company
_HAS_ discontinued their telescope upgrade program, BUT, will continue
to honor it for the people that were sold telescopes with that program
as a selling point.  I have also been told that I will be upgraded again
to the ETX-125EC in two to four weeks.  Many thanks to Heather and Bill
of The Nature Company of Troy MI.

Now to the point of my message.

When I got my first ETX, I noticed the RA setting circle was so loose,
that it would slide down and drag on the base of the scope and make it
move (actually, stop it from moving with the mounting forks and OTA)
during sidereal tracking.  I called Meade and they promptly sent me a
replacement RA setting circle.  When I went to install the new setting
circle, I noticed a seam where the two ends of the setting circle are
glued together with an adhesive.  I had my daughter hold the setting
circle, while I slid a very small screwdriver in between the two ends of
plastic strip that make up the setting circle, and preyed them apart. 
The glue seemed to still have it's stickiness, so I figured I would just
reinstall the old setting circle, since it wasn't damaged.  I put the
two ends back together, a little tighter, and so the increment lines
were properly aliened.  When I got the ETX-90EC, I preformed the same
procedure on it.  I expect I will sometime do this same procedure on my
ETX-125EC when I get it.

I will give you one guess where the seam falls on the setting circle... 
 The seam is between the 12hr and 13hr.  So the reason that some have
the 65 minutes in this hour is the glue has slipped a little, exposing
an _EXTRA_ five minute increment line.  The above procedure will correct
the 65 minute problem, as well as tighten the strip so it stays where
you put it.

I hope this helps some of those who are having trouble with this
problem.

Take care,
Tom Williams

Subject:	 RE: Camera Mount on ETX EC
Sent:	Sunday, July 4, 1999 10:58:09
From:	jblessin@worldnet.att.net (Jordan Blessing)
I'm writing in response to Charlie Conn's letter about using an SLR at
the rear port of the ETX and the severe imbalance that results. I just
wanted people to know that our Piggyback camera mount comes with
everything necessary to use it as an OTA counterweight when not using it
as a Piggyback mount. The weights that normally attach to the rear of
the OTA for piggyback use can easily be attached to the OTA clamp and
mounted out front as far as necessary to balance the camera on the rear.
Since there are 4 weights included and you can position the clamp
anywhere along the length of the OTA you should be able to get it pretty
well balanced.
Thanks for keeping up the great site Mike!
--
Jordan Blessing 

       ScopeTronix Astronomy Products
         http://www.scopetronix.com

Mike here: AstroAlert e-mail news service is now available from Sky & Telescope at www.skypub.com/news/astroalert/astroalert.html. Check it out.


Subject:	ETX and SONY Mavica digital camera?
Sent:	Saturday, July 3, 1999 16:05:42
From:	AorMLinx@aol.com
Great site you have, really enjoy reading what you have posted. As I
have each of the above subject items, I wondered if you have come across
anything written regarding anyone using the two items together?
Aaron Linxwiler
Mike here: Search the site for "
Mavica" and you'll get some hits.

Subject:	 Camera mount on the 90EC
Sent:	Friday, July 2, 1999 14:10:55
From:	cwconn@clover.net (Charlie Conn)
While I've been a wildlife photographer for some time, I''ve just
recently developed a serious interest in astronomy.  With both in mind,
I just purchased the ETX-90EC, and it has exceeded my expectations in
both areas!  Truly a remarkable instrument.  One thing concerns me,
however, and that is the effect of the weight of my Nikon F2S on both
the rear structure of the 'scope and the motor drives, especially the
vertical axis drive.  Seems like a LOT of leverage on the scope, and the
straining of the 'scope's motors concerns me.  In fact, when the second
to slowest speed is engaged, there is no vertical movement in the scope
downward with the camera attached.  Could having a relatively heavy
camera attached to the 90EC damage the drive motors or the 'scope?  I
probably won't attach my camera until I know.  Seems like Meade should
offer a counterweight system as an accessory if this is a problem.

By the way, nice web site you have here.  It was one of the determining
factors that influenced my purchase of this model.

    --Charlie Conn in Steubenville, Ohio
Mike here: The answer to your question is "possibly". Adding a counterweight would certainly help with any model ETX.

Subject:	 Your Opinion
Sent:	Friday, July 2, 1999 4:21:23
From:	richard@bgumail.bgu.ac.il (Richard Isralowitz)
I read your report and those of others regarding the Meade ETX 90.
Living overseas (but with the opportunity of buying a telescope when I
travel to the States in a week or so).  I must say that I was
overwhelmed  with the repair and difficulty expressed by people who
purchased the ETX.

My question is, what expeience do you have with the Celestron G5?  Is it
comparable to the ETX in size with the automatic star finder (computer
capability)?  If you had a choice, which one would you go for or would
you not go for any considering the fact that if anything goes wrong, I
will be stuck for finding repair/repair parts.

Thanks for considering this inquiry.

All the best,

Richard Isralowitz
Kibbutz Revivim
Israel
Mike here: I have no experience with the G5. I don't know if there are sites similar to mine that cater to the Celestron small scopes but you might look for them. Many overseas users have purchased ETX telescopes and are happy. I would suggest that no matter what you buy, check it out thoroughly before you leave the US.

Subject:	 ETX setting circle
Sent:	Thursday, July 1, 1999 18:24:37
From:	BKSTA2@shell.co.th (HMA/3 (Sukun T.) .)
I read Jim Hagerman comment on the ETX 90 EC page about the setting
circle (RA ring).  I used the circle quite a few times to test its
precision and even assist in locating 'proximate' area for some objects.
 In my old ETX 90 model, it seems that nothing wrong with the setting
circle but I can't remember if the manual incorrectly stated the use of
upper/lower row figures for North/South Hemisphere. However, I will go
back and check about the 12H - 13H if it has 65 minutes??  I also
remember that the manual says something about using the setting circle
to 'precisely' locate various bright stars(?).  In the ETX EC case,
Meade should admit the BUGs and beat more on their QC People to control
the subcontracted suppliers of different parts/items.
Best regards,
Sukun T.

Subject:	Need Help On A Lens
Sent:	Thursday, July 1, 1999 12:13:59
From:	ILVBASKETB@aol.com
Love your site, keep up the good work. I finally decided to go ahead and
get the ETX-90EC. I love it!!! I am new to astronomy and last night was
the first clear night since I got the telescope. The first thing I saw
through it was Venus, it looked great. Then I checked out Jupiter, I
could see 4 moons all line up. Never thought I could see so much.
Anyways getting back to the subject, I obviously need a more powerful
lens. I am a little short on cash right now but which do you lens to you
think I should get, the 2x Barlow or the Super Plossl 9.7 mm eyepiece.

Thanks,
Josh Mallett
Mike here: If you are short of cash, check out the Rini and Scopetronix eyepieces (reviews on the Accessories - Eyepieces page). The alternative to something around 9-12mm from them would be a 2X Barlow.

Subject:	 Scopetronix Camera Adapter
Sent:	Thursday, July 1, 1999 8:02:27
From:	ron@data2.com (Ron McCafferty)
Might the Scopetronix camera adapter work with a 8mm video camera?  I
have one of the small Sony 8mm cameras and would love to take video
through the lens.  So far I've been unable to hold it steady enough to
get focus.

Ron
Mike here: I have my doubts. But it depends upon dimensions: base-to-lens and lens-centerline-to-base. Suggest you contact Scopetronix directly.

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