GENERAL FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 30 June 2004
This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX and DS models. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	Photography with ETX
Sent:	Wednesday, June 30, 2004 18:19:35
From:	DANNY CAMERON (nikon6966@yahoo.co.uk)
My name is Danny Cameron & I live in Inverness in the Scottish Higlands.
I wrote to you before about photography with the Nikon D100 digital
camera. Just got a T-Adapter & T-Mount today as well as my Laptop back
from repair, going to try some landscape photography with the ETX-105
tomorrow, send some results if any are good. Do you host a Terrestrial
photography page on your site? & if not will you be intrested when I
finish mine?
 
Bye for now!
 
Danny Cameron 
Mike here: Haven't done a specific page for telescope-based terrestrial photography but always interested in the results!
Subject:	Trouble with the DEC lock on ETX -90
Sent:	Monday, June 28, 2004 15:42:17
From:	Joan M. Grebe (jgrebed@astound.net)
I am puzzled by my ETX -90 Dec lock.  When I tighten it, it tightens and
then suddenly loosens like something is slipping. The telescope is still
functioning but something seems wrong.  It is about a year old and did
not do this when I first received it.

Thanks in advance,
 
Doug Grebe
Mike here: Do you mean that the locking knob actually rotates when it loosens?

And:

When I am tightening the knob it will start to get snug and then it will
become loose again.  It is just about tight enough when suddenly it is
loose.  I try to not tighten it so much that it loosens but it does need
to be tight.  This is not really all that tight.  Just when it starts to
snug up using two fingers only and not gripping the knob that tight it
will suddenly loosen.

Thanks again for helping
Mike here: If the lock is not engaging then it is likely that the mechanism is "stripped". You can see article "DEC lock mod" on the Telescope Tech Tips page, which might help. Even better could be the "ETX-90EC DEC fix" article, or perhaps "ETX DEC Lock Not Tightening Fix".

And:

Thanks  Mike,  It appears that the head of the bolt is turning in the
plastic knob,  the knob has several cracks in it.
Mike here: You might be able to fix that; I believe one of those articles discusses that.
Subject:	Re: ETX125 Clicking Sound
Sent:	Monday, June 28, 2004 13:54:10
From:	Douglas Spalding (DSPALDING@kc.rr.com)
Amazingly the store (Discovery Store) where I bought the telescope
agreed to exchange my telescope for a new one since I have been a good
customer. I was well beyond there normal 60 day cutoff for exchanges.

I called Meade anyway. They feel that I must have hit a stop and ground
the teeth off. I told them that I'm real sure I never hit a hard stop.
They then blamed a defective part. Here is some advice they gave me:

- Starting position: Turn the OTA counter clockwise all the way to the
hard stop. Then go back clockwise about 90 to 180 degrees. They
recommended aligning the OTA with the control which on my setup is about
90 degrees. However, on my my setup the OTA is aligned with my North
pointing tripod leg at 180 degrees. They said that is OK as a starting
position.  The telescope always drives clockwise from the start point so
they want the telescope to be turned most of the way CCW.  I'll just
have to be sure I never manually drive it CCW to the hard stop.

- I asked what they recommend in terms of storing the telescope. He told
me they recommend storing the telescope with the vertical and horizontal
locks tightened. It is interesting that they don't ship their telescopes
that way. The new one I picked up was not locked in either direction.

I'm not sure that any of this is the "right" answer. I just thought I
would pass on what I was told.

Thanks for your response. It's so nice to know you're there.
Doug Spalding
And this:
From:	Bill VanOrden (beevo@cox.net)
Mine did just this when I first got it.
 
I had decided with Meade's terrible QC and equally poor Customer Support
that I would purchase mine locally from a dealer.

He took the scope apart and found the screws holding the RA drive
assembly were very loose.
 
HTH
 
Beevo (aka Bill VanOrden)

Subject:	cleaning the optics after dew attacks
Sent:	Sunday, June 27, 2004 17:30:47
From:	David Blackborow (dave@thekingshead.freeserve.co.uk)
Is it possible to easily clean the optics inside a etx105 after dew
attacks?

The front lens is easy, a lint free soft cloth, however inside the scope
the optics are clearly affected by dust and grime, how do i clean them.

Can anyone help?
 
Regerds
  
Dave
Mike here: To clean inside you would have to remove the corrector lens, which is NOT recommended unless you are willing to take the risk of messing up the optical collimation.
Subject:	ETX125 Clicking Sound
Sent:	Sunday, June 27, 2004 13:13:40
From:	Douglas Spalding (DSPALDING@kc.rr.com)
My ETX125 just developed a problem with the horizontal drive. After
having to exchange my first Meade telescope due to a drive problem, this
telescope has worked fine. The last time I used it, it performed
flawlessly. I had recalibrated the drives a few days earlier.  I then
went over 6 weeks with bad weather and travel conflicts. I finally
pulled it out last night. While performing the "easy alignment" the
horizontal drive began to skip and then quit moving and started making a
loud clicking noise. I checked the horizontal lock and it was tight. I
then loosened the lock and checked for interference. The telescope
turned freely in both directions. It was nowhere near a stop. I tried
several more times in both directions, then realized it had to be a
problem within the gear drive not with anything I was doing wrong.

I've read numerous posts/responses on your web page and it looks like I
need to return the telescope to Meade for warranty repair. I'll call
them tomorrow. My concern is whether I could have done anything to
prevent this since it worked well 6 weeks ago. I stored the telescope in
my den so it didn't see any extreme conditions. It was stored with the
horizontal lock in the tight position. Is this just a bad component
problem or should I be doing something different to take care of the
drives?

I've only used this telescope about 10 times so it's a real bummer to
lose it so early and during a time when my schedule allows me time for
astronomy. I would appreciate any insights you have. You helped me
earlier with an Autostar issue and I have frequently found answers to
other questions on your web page. Thank you for developing and
maintaining the web page. The Meade site offers very little technical
assistance.

Thanks again,
 
Doug Spalding
Mike here: While it may or may not be related, I recommend not locking either axis when the telescope is not in use. Let me know what Meade tells you.
Subject:	Celestron EP
Sent:	Saturday, June 26, 2004 16:31:05
From:	Mike Ashby (mickman_80@hotmail.com)
I mis placed my Celestron Ultima 7.5mm EP elements.  Do you have a
correction for them? Thanks
Mike here: Not specifically, but see the article "Eyepiece Designs" on the Helpful Information - Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	pricing
Sent:	Saturday, June 26, 2004 03:37:53
From:	shirley m feickert (sfeickert@earthlink.net)
How or where can I get a copy of You and DR Clay's cleaning kits? Wha's
in them, What do I need, How to make a kit, With out paying $50.00 that
OPT wants?
Jim Feickert
Mike here: You could contact Dr. Clay or you could read through the article "Cleaning Optics" on the Buyer/New User Tips page and make your own. By the way, it isn't "my" kit; it is Dr. Clay's.
Subject:	Re: Refurbed ETX 70 CHANCE
Sent:	Friday, June 25, 2004 18:10:49
From:	Ledley (gwledley@wcoil.com)
The refurbed ETX70 was delivered Wednesday.It came well packaged and in
fine shape.I had a chance to take it out that night.I found that if the
directions are followed closely,set up was easy.However,I would
recommend that one gets the feel of things in the daylight,at least the
first time.Once it was set,I'm happy to report that the targets came
into the FOV as advertised...even with the 9mm eyepiece in.

I did notice the usual annoyances as reported by others right
away.Especially the focus knob.But for $129.00 delivered,it's hard to
complain.

Greg

Subject:	ETX 105 will not slew right
Sent:	Friday, June 25, 2004 14:44:34
From:	Jim Beston (james.beston@btinternet.com)
On setting up my ETX tonight I found that it would not slew to the
right. A loud clicking noise - indicating a gear slipping could be
heard. Slewing to the left or up and down was fine. It was not caused by
being against a hard stop.

Before I take the base of tomorrow to see what is causing this, I
thought I'd ask if you could point me in the right direction. The only
thing that I can say that might have caused this problem is that the
'scope was inadvertently subjected to a temperature of around 30C for
some hours since the last use.

Thanks and Regards

Jim
Mike here: High temps are not good but I don't think it necessarily caused this problem. It almost sounds like a wire might be caught. When you open things up, look for a wire near one of the moving parts.

An update:

Well Mike, I only wish it had been a trapped wire that was preventing my
105 from slewing right.

As the attached photo shows the plastic retaining ring (which I think is
open ended)holding the last plastic drive gear in the drive chain has
cracked. Under the torque of the turning this allows the smaller gear,
indeed the whole gear box to lift away from the large plastic gear at
the end of the worm drive causing the drive to momentarily disengage and
hence the clicking sound.

ETX
I have no idea how this happened since the scope was working perfectly last time I used it. In my opinion a telescope with brilliant design and optics is ruined by cheap, plastic gears. I note from your web site that many people have had trouble with the gear mechanism not just backlash type problems but parts phisically breaking. I would be happy to pay more for decent, metal, gears and thermal overload or mechanical protection of the gearbox and motor. I copy this to Meade, not only for their information, but in the forlorn hope that they might consider revising the ETX gearbox! My ETX is sill under warrenty but, like a lot of other people I don't want to be without it (and we have no Dr Sherod in the U.K!) so I'll have to bear the cost of a new gearbox. Regards Jim
And more:
A temporary fix with a nylon cable tie - see photo. Seems to work O.K.

ETX

Subject:	I need your advice about etx 125
Sent:	Wednesday, June 23, 2004 18:15:25
From:	Kaan Cindemir (kaancindemir@hotmail.com)
I am writing you from turkey.I hope you can have time to reply my
questions.I have been searching for telescope for several months.After
visiting your web site i decided to buy Meade 125 etx with uhtc. I also
like to take some pictures with it.

what should i order for  this aim ( i mean most required accessories)

and is there a big difference between etx 90 and 125...
 
kind and best regards
Kaan Cindemir
Mike here: See the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page as well as the Buyer/New User Tips page and the various Accessory Reviews pages. Which accessories you might want will depend upon how you plan to use the telescope. And yes, there is quite a difference in the views.
Subject:	ETX125
Sent:	Thursday, June 24, 2004 00:52:44
From:	KvnFor9@aol.com (KvnFor9@aol.com)
I have just purchased an ETX125 and noticed the build quality of the
plastic case is not particularly good i.e. minor chips around screw
fittings and the bottom of the case around the lip scratched, etc. in
addition there are one or two splashes of what appears to be the purple
coating on the plastic.  Has anyone seen something like this before, is
it normal?  The tube itself is free from any obvious defects, however,
this does leave one thinking.  the ETX125 was brought new and is the new
type with UHTC and I checked the mounting arms for the bearing
modifications as per one of your site ideas, however, the box it came
shows it as a -01.

Regards,
 
Kevin Ford
Mike here: Marks in the plastic can be a normal result of it being, well, plastic. Paint shouldn't be there though. Does your dealer assure you it is "new" rather than being a product that was returned by another customer?

And:

Thanks for the reply, unfortunately shop owner's in the UK are well not
always that honest so unless I could come up with some concrete evidence
I guess I would have no way of telling, may be I am a little to choosey.
 The main thing is the optics are clean and there is no evidence of wear
or play in the unit, the remaining items from the box were sealed and it
has a Mead quality tag.

You have an excellent web site keep up the good work.

Regards 
 
Kevin Ford

Subject:	ETX-125
Sent:	Tuesday, June 22, 2004 23:51:55
From:	Mike Lind (LindCochez@Comcast.net)
My 125 is 6 months old and has been used maybe 20 times. Lately it has
developed a problem tracking East to West (not in polar mount). It makes
the normal motor noises as it tracks but every minute or so it clicks
and jumps to the west. If you are tracking a planet the planet jumps
about one quarter of the way through the field of view in a 26mm
eyepiece. Also, there seems to be some slop in my ability to slew right
and left.

I've trained the drives and still have the problem. Do you have an idea?
Have you had this experience?

Mike Lind
Woodinville, WA
Mike here: The catching and jumping could be due to a broken gear or a wire catching. if the latter, if the wire gets eventually cut you would have a problem. Or you could be overtightening the axis. But since the telescope is still under warranty, if it is a mechanical problem you should contact Meade.

And:

I do crank down on the AZ axis quite a bit. I'll try less and see what
difference it makes. I can't understand why that would make a difference
however. Thanks for your response. Oh, and I read on your site about
adjusting the Az and Dec percent. I tried that but did not make a
thorough evaluation yet.
Mike here: It is a friction lock so the more torque required to overcome the friction the less smooth the movement might be.
Subject:	Outletting ETX-125?
Sent:	Tuesday, June 22, 2004 23:43:41
From:	anselmo (anselmo@relojesdesol.org)
First of all, congratulations on your SUPERB web on the Meade ETX 125.
It is really THE page!

My question is: Do you know why Meade is selling its ETX series in some
countries at the same prize than in the US (So I guess they loose money
in VAT, importing fees, etc), but ONLY this series?

I'd like to buy an ETX but I am afraid they're selling here outdated
models or, much worse, (slightly) fawlty ones, or at least items
rejected in their US Quality Controls?

Regards,

Anselmo Perez Serrada
Mike here: International pricing is subject to many variables. Pricing is probably set by Meade International.
Subject:	DSX vs ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, June 22, 2004 17:05:41
From:	Wells (Wells@WanderingWells.com)
We are just starting with telescopes and trying to decipher all of the
modelsthe Meade seems to be the best, but we cannot find any information
that really explains the difference between the ETX-90-AT and the
DSX-90-AT? Can you help?

BTW  Love your Websitean amazing amount of information!

Many thanks,

Linda and Chester Wells
Mike here: As you can see from the photos linked from the top of the ETX-90 feedback page, the DSX model is on a different mount than the ETX model. The tripod is fixed in Alt/Az mode for the DSX whereas the tripod with the ETX is adjustable and works in Alt/Az and Polar mounting. There is also the single vs dual fork mount. The DSX finderscope is likely more usable when pointed at the zenith than the ETX one due to the angled arm on the DSX. Also, there is the difference in the tube color. But other than these, I am not aware of any other differences.

And:

Great info, Mike. Many thanks for responding. I don't find anything
about the DSX having the UHTC coating (which I understand is a
significant advantage.
Many thanks again!
Linda
Mike here: I would not expect to see UHTC on the DSX line. And UHTC is a good option to consider.

And:

Many thanks, Mike! I bought the ETX-90-AT with UHTC and am looking
forward to setting it up. I appreciate all of your help!

Subject:	Using Solar Filter with UHTC
Sent:	Tuesday, June 22, 2004 11:25:25
From:	Andrew McKelvy (dudewithabigstick@hotmail.com)
I've heard that exposing the UHTC coatings of your scope to sunlight for
extended periods of time will fade them and eventually destroy them, but
would the use of a solar filter prevent that damage or would it still
occur? What other things must I take into consideration before using a
solar filter on a scope with UHTC? how would heat affect the scope and
its different parts?
Mike here: I haven't heard that properly "filtered" solar energy will damage the coatings but with focused UNFILTERED solar, light many things can be damaged, including the optics, plastics, glue, your eye, camera, etc.
Subject:	ETX70 AT
Sent:	Tuesday, June 22, 2004 00:01:52
From:	Wouden, Jeroen van (Jeroen.van.Wouden@plannederland.nl)
I Bought a ETX70 AT, Yesterday I could finally see some stars, en a bit
of the moon. I packed out my ETX 70 and till my suprise. I saw that on
the front of the OTA a little scratch, not that bad, it does not have
any consequences when I took a vieuw at the moon. But what should I do,
should I bring the ETX back? I'm a little bit uncertain.

Thanx in advance,

Jeroen van Wouden

Amsterdam, The Netherlands,

Sorry for my bad English, I'm not that good 
Mike here: If you are certain that you didn't scratch it, then yes, I would return it to the dealer. Do you know if it was on display where others could have scratched it? Or perhaps it was one that was returned by another owner.

And:

I'm not certain that I didn't scratch it, but at least I can try to get
another ETX I just got it for 3 days.  It  is at least not that bad as
the guy that bought a brand new LX200GPS that was written on your site.

Subject:	AutoStar Problem
Sent:	Monday, June 21, 2004 21:20:47
From:	Morgan Wolfe (morgan@indutil.com)
I have recently purchased and installed the Meade #1244 Electric Focuser
I installed it using a combination of the directions included from Meade
as well as the Electric Focuser Installations from the Warnings! Section
of your website. I encountered two minor setbacks.

First: I was left with an extra piece (photo attached) that was not
included in any manuals/editorials/reviews/etc
1244 piece 1244 piece
Second: The directions that came with the #1244 kit claim that I can
integrate my electric focuser with my Meade AutoStar #497 controller.
According to the directions from Meade, I should push the MODE button
for 2 seconds and then scroll down in order to find a FOCUS sub-menu.
The FOCUS menu/setup was not to be found. I went ahead and upgraded the
firmware aboard the AutoStar controller to the latest software from
Meade (v. 31 I believe) still no focus option anywhere! I must be making
a simple mistake (I hope) or else something is seriously out of whack.
Any help would be much appreciated!

Thanks,

Morgan

PS My electric focuser work great with the provided controller but that
runs on a 9v battery and I wish for everything to be integrated into one
controller i.e.: AutoStar or from a PC with the AutoStar Suite. However,
I am very concerned about this extra piece I received in the #1244 kit
it was not listed in the package manifest, but I want to know for sure I
did not leave anything out.
Mike here: That piece doesn't look at all familiar. Since the focuser works fine without it we'll presume all is OK. As to the Autostar not recognizing it, you have plugged it into the AUX port, correct? When the ETX is powered up with the focuser plugged in, it should be recognized by the Autostar and the focus control visible by pressing the MODE key 2-3 seconds and then releasing it.

And:

Hmmmm.... I plugged the focuser into the same port (on the AutoStar hand
controller, not the computer) that I plug into in order to update the
firmware aboard the AutoStar controller. So, if I plug the focuser into
the computer port that says AUX next to where the HBX jack is, I'll be
good to go?
Thanks Mr. Weasner! 
Morgan Wolfe
Mike here: Yep, goes into the AUX port on the telescope base, not the Autostar RS-232 port.
Subject:	ETX book
Sent:	Monday, June 21, 2004 21:21:27
From:	Don Kelloway (dkelloway@commodon.com)
I want you to know that I purchased your book from Barnes & Noble and I
am very much looking forward to reading it.  I am sure it's going to be
excellent!

Subject:	[none]
Sent:	Monday, June 21, 2004 15:25:50
From:	Philip (philip@bennettandliss.com)
We recently purchased a Meade etx-90ec with Autostar. We are novices. We
did lock the vertical and horizontal and pointed it towards the North
Star 1st. We then instructed it to focus on Jupiter and the moon.  We
are having 2 problems.

1. Each time when autostar finishes moving the telescope, neither
viewfinder is focused on the target. We end up having to switch to
manual to move it up to the target.

2. When we then manually focused on Jupiter at 1st what we saw was a
large golden ellipse with a dark ellipse in the bottom section.  We
thought we were seeing the dark spot on Jupiter.  However, when we then
manually focused on the moon (since again the autofocus was not on
target) we saw the same thing as we saw when we focused on Jupiter-a
large golden ellipse with a dark ellipse in the bottom section.

Any idea what are the solutions to these problems?                  
Mike here: First off, as indicated on my ETX Site Home Page, please read the Email Etiquette item. Your message was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due the missing Subject entry. As noted in the Email Etiquette, using a proper Subject entry will prevent this from occurring in the future. Thanks for understanding.
Several possibilities come to mind on your GOTO problem; look at the Alignment Tips on the Autostar Info page as it sounds like you may have made some errors on the HOME Position or settings. As to focusing, it sounds like you are using the focus knob to magnify the image to make it as large as possible. That's incorrect. When in focus, the image will actually be as SMALL as possible with a given eyepiece. Let me know if I'm misreading what you've done.
Subject:	Supercharged by Dr. Clay
Sent:	Monday, June 21, 2004 14:47:11
From:	Jack Fox (jackfox@mindspring.com)
Dr. Clay:

We had clear skies at last, last night and I was able to test the 125
for a couple of hours.  I wrote you last week about a drifting problem
after the GOTO stopped and then centering the object with the keypad.  I
am glad to say that the drifting no longer happens.  I calibrated the
motors before alignment as you suggested and perhaps this cleared it up.

As for your Supercharge Service, the scopes optics are now very sharp
and clear, the image shifting while focusing is almost non-existent, the
motors are smooth and quiet, the keypads are responsive to manually
slewing in all directions at low speeds and the GOTO's are accurate
(within the field of view using a 26mm eyepiece).  I expect the accuracy
to improve as I take more time with the alignment process.  All in all,
I am very pleased with the scopes performance and will let the members
of Mike's site and the EXTASTRO newsgroup know of my satisfaction with
your service. Highly recommended if your scope is not perfect out of the
box.

Best regards.

Jack Fox

Subject:	Website question
Sent:	Monday, June 21, 2004 06:14:31
From:	Lou (lou@chocoholic1.net)
Does everything pass through you?  No forum type where everyone posts
and views?

This must make a busy day for you.

Warm Regards,
Lou
Mike here: See the Site Guide.
Subject:	Alignment of Meade mod 97E...Similart to ETX series?
Sent:	Saturday, June 19, 2004 23:00:33
From:	Dale Harder (dale@hhr-lasers.com)
I am not a newbie to astronomy or telescopes, but I recently aquired a
Meade model 97E spotting scope and I have notice that it is somewhat out
of alignment, giving oblong images of stars or planets.  Not severe, but
enough.  The manual does not cover any info on alignment as is custom
with my SCT's .  I was told that even tho it is not manufactured any
longer  (Made in 86) that the accessories for the ETX series will fit
it.  Are there any alignment techniques for the ETX?

I have included a picture of the scope.

97E
There are 3 allen head cap screws countersunk at 120 deg points on the rear cell, but I do not believe they engage the mirror cell internally. I have found no information regarding this scope on the web either. It is a predecessor to the ETX series and a true catidioptic desgn. 90mm corrector, 1000 mm f/11 system. The outer barrel of the scope is turned on a helical thread to adjust focus. I spent a great deal of time on your site, but did not find any relavant info. If you can't help, perhaps you could recomend someone who can. By the way, I am fully capable of handling, cleaning , maintaimg or manufacturing optics in my lab. Thanks, Dale harder.
Mike here: If truly the same design as the ETX then the collimation articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page should help. If not, then you might have to just disassemble it and dig in.
Subject:	Re: Questions on Telescopes
Sent:	Saturday, June 19, 2004 19:58:09
From:	RMDKANE@aol.com (RMDKANE@aol.com)
I was wondering if you had an opinion or facts about which telescope
brand is the best i.e. Meade, Tasco, Celestron etc.

What do you think?
 
Robert.
Mike here: Tasco is out of business. Celestron and Meade both have positives and negatives. I have Meade telescopes.

And:

Well, I have felt that from researching online about scope I find that
Meade and Celestron seem to be the best scopes out there. I do have a
scope in mind, I think I have told you about it. The Meade Telestar
DS-2130AT or ATS seems to be a good bargain for $300.00

I was wondering if you would look at it and tell me if you think it
would be worth buying.

Now the strange thing is that Walmart sells them and I think thats kinda
odd. There is a place online that sells them REFURBISHED for slightly
cheaper. I am pretty sure I won't be buying it from the online store. I
would like to have a BRAND NEW one. See I have a gut feeling that the
DS-2130 model might be cheap because its predicessor the DS-2114 is two
tone in color and looks better built. The DS-2130 is solid black. Could
you tell me if I am crazy and its worth it or if its a waste?

Thanks Mike
 Robert
 
Mike here: The DS line is a good line of low-end telescopes. They are definitely better than "Department Store" telescopes although Meade does sell some models through department stores. Just keep two things in mind: 1. Don't let your expectations exceed the telescope's capabilities and 2. the best telescope for you is the one that gets used rather than sitting in the closet.

And:

I was browsing your web page and its photos and some of those photos
were unbelieveable!!

I noticed that most people used the Meade ETX90. Is that a pretty good
scope? I have seen them for about $350. I noticed that alot of those
pictures take alot of work to make the objects come out. Can you see
alot of those objects people put pictures on your website with just the
scope? I mean will they have that much color and detail in just the
scope?

Say I just bought the ETX90 and all it came with was the basic scope and
lenses, will i see those things?
 
Thanks
Mike here: Brighter objects (Moon, Sun, brighter planets) will show lots of details. Fainter objects will show less details and way less color than you see in photographs. It isn't the telescope that is at fault but the design of the eye; it just isn't good on faint objects. Of course, the larger the telescope aperture the brighter the objects will appear. And yes, the ETX-90 is a fine telescope.

And:

So with your expertise which scope would you prefer, the ETX90 or the
DS2130AT? I hope you don't mind all the questions, just don't want to
make a wrong decision.
  
Rob
Mike here: I have no experience with the DS models. But I do like my ETX-90.

And:

Mike, What do you think of the Meade ETX70AT?
Mike here: See my comments linked at the top of the current "ETX-60, ETX-70" Feedback page.

And this:

I think you might have steered me to a different scope to research. Your
experiance with the ETX70 kind of delighted me.

Gotta go. I will email you again if i have more questions.

Thanks

Subject:	Refurbed ETX 70 CHANCE
Sent:	Friday, June 18, 2004 20:35:19
From:	Ledley (gwledley@wcoil.com)
I find your site very informative and useful,and I would like to
thankyou for maintaining it.I recently purchased an ETX 70,refurb.from
the Meade website($129.00 including shipping).I thought this price was
to good to pass up.Have you heard any reports from anyone who has bought
as I have? Problems with refurb?The scope comes with factory warranty so
I took a chance. Thanks in advance for your reply!

Greg
Ridgeway,Ohio
Mike here: Yours is the first report that I recall. Keep us posted!

And:

Will do. Delivery is supposed to be within 2 weeks via UPS.I've already
ordered a dew shield from Anacortes for it.I know it has to be better
than the 60mm Bushnell I've been "learning" with for the last 10 years.

Subject:	Tuning a ETX-125 necessary?
Sent:	Friday, June 18, 2004 08:08:31
From:	Daniel Udovicic (udovicic@cnsystems.at)
Is the "*Performance Enhancement"  in the Tech Tips  *at your homepage 
essential?

I purchased a ETX-125EC in March 2004 in Austria, Europe. Maybe Meade
improved  some of the mentioned problems.

Besides, the authors believe in  the improvements very strong. In Inside
the ETX-125 (or how to ruin a scope)

http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/inside125.html

they warn you to do anything.

What shall I do? I will follow your recomendations and do it myself when
necessary.

Best regards.


Daniel Udovicic,

Graz, Austria, Europe.
Mike here: Why "fix it if it ain't broke"? Unless you are experiencing some problem for which there is a documented fix, there is no need to perform enhancements.
Subject:	ETX105 - Transit of Venus. Solarfinder.
Sent:	Thursday, June 17, 2004 23:32:14
From:	Chris Fry (C.Fry@BTinternet.com)
Just thought I would relay my experiences last week witnessing the Venus
transit from south of england.

Arose early and quickly unpacked my trusty ETX105. To my delight I found
I could simply desk mount the scope in my study, and with a Baader film
filter attached was in good time to witness Venus "1st contact" and
watched until it was wholly inside the disk of the Sun. I was only using
the standard 26mm eyepiece and this was perfectly acceptable.

Packing up the scope, I then dashed off to work and set it up in the
office for all my work collegues to participate in the event. They were
asking lots of questions about Venus, orbits etc. and were also very
interested in the telescope itself - one even asking for 1st refusal if
I ever wanted to sell.

The event gave ne the excuse to purchase a BC&F Astro Solar Finder which
conveniently fits over the front of the ETX finder. It has a short
Gnomon standing proud of a white face. With a minimum of fiddling to 
aling the gnomon properly I found I could use this to re-locate the Sun
within about 15-30 seconds whenever we wanted to check progress
throughout the morning. Personally I think they could have made the
Gnomon longer for more accurate alignment - perhaps I should make my
own!!

Anyway thanks for maintaining a brilliant site.

Chris Fry

Subject:	ETX70 AT
Sent:	Tuesday, June 15, 2004 22:47:30
From:	Wouden, Jeroen van (Jeroen.van.Wouden@plannederland.nl)
Hello, I have a question, I want to use Barlow lenses, but where do you
have to install them on the ETX 70, and how?

Thanks in advance

Jeroen van Wouden 

The Netherlands 
Mike here: For all telescopes, an eyepiece is attached to the Barlow Lens and then the Barlow Lens is inserted into the eyepiece hole on the telescope.
Subject:	External battery pack for ETX scopes
Sent:	Monday, June 14, 2004 14:51:41
From:	Lou (lou@chocoholic1.net)
I just bought an ETX 90 scope.

Looking at Ebay for accessories I saw these items;

8 D cell external battery pack

http://www.weasner.com/etx/menu.html

5 Lens kit

http://tinyurl.com/2xxqv

Are these worth the money?

Thanks.

Warm Regards,
Lou
Mike here: Can't say about the power pack (since the URL is for my ETX Site) but the eyepiece kit is one that Celestron was offering with new telescopes (similar to the deal that Meade was running last year). They should be fine on your ETX-90.

And:

Sorry about that.  I can no longer find it.  It was an 8 D battery
holder with a connection for the ETX scopes.  His premise was that the
user would no longer need to take the scope off the tripod to change
batteries.  It seems a reasonable accessory to me, even without using
the scope yet.

Actually I did, early this morning looking at the moon.  I still have
not set up the AutoStar so I just manually moved the scope into
position.   The view sure beat any binoculars that I have been using for
years.  <LOL>

Any tips on setting up the AutoStar?  My knowledge of the stars is
rudimentary.  I do follow astronomy news but never got to learning much
more about the sky than locating Orion and the Big Dipper with Polaris.

Another accessory that I see is

TELESCOPE FLEXIBLE FOCUSER EXTENDER MEADE ETX MODELS
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=29954&item=3821646848&rd=1

Thanks for your help.

Warm Regards,
Lou
Mike here: For info on using the Autostar, see the Autostar Info page; lots of info there. As to focuser aids, see the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page for some commercial ones (including flexible cables) and the Telescope Tech Tips page if you want to make your own.

And:

Hi again,
After searching via Google I found this site about the battery packs.

http://www.atozastro.com/shop/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=19

What do you think?
Mike here: Should work OK.
Subject:	etx 105ec finder scope
Sent:	Monday, June 14, 2004 13:28:21
From:	thebostons (thebostons@cox.net)
I've read everything I can find about replacing the factory supplied
finder scope that came with my ETX 105EC with a finder scope that is
more user friendly. I'd like to locate a finder scope I can mount onto
my 105 that, once adjusted properly, will maintain the accurate
allignment with the OTA when it's stowed in the Meade hard carrying
case. Is there ONE finder scope that you or any reader of your site
would recommend over all others? This has really become a frustration
for me and I'd give anything to get it resolved.
Thanks
Mike here: All commercially available finderscopes with mounting brackets need aligning once in awhile. If you add side pressure from a case, then aligning is even more likely. The only way around this is to permanently mount a finderscope WITH THE RIGHT ALIGNMENT BEFORE PERMANENTLY ATTACHING. If you were to mess up this alignment then you'd be stuck with a poor alignment. Always something to be traded off...
Subject:	Quality Issues with New Meade ETX-125
Sent:	Monday, June 14, 2004 06:26:03
From:	Allen Samuel (alsamuel@acm-ct.org)
I recently purchased (3 months ago) a Meade ETX-125 with UHTC, confident
I was buying a quality instrument after doing alot of research and
reading the commentary on your outstanding and informative website.  The
reason I am writing are the serious quality issues I have had with this
telescope.

The second time I turned on the telescope (out of its box), the
electronics would not come on; no red power on light, Autostar would not
energize.  I immediately called the (photo) shop where I purchased it
and received a replacement.  I tested it extensively (indoors) learning
the setup procedures of the Autostar and was very impressed.  I had also
purchased an external battery source.

As the weather in the Northeast hasn't been great, this weekend was the
first opportunity to take the scope to a local astronomy club star
party.  On starting the setup (initialize) procedure, I heard a loud
grinding noise and the horizontal axis stopped turning.  The scope had
been properly set up in home position and certainly was not up against a
rotational stop.  I attempted to move the axis' manually from Autostar,
the elevation axis was fine, but the horizontal just made its grinding
noise; I immediately assumed the gears were stripped.

I turned the scope off and then on and the electronics failed--Autostar
wouldn't energize (although this time, the red LED power light is on). 
I checked both external and internal batteries after getting home, and
both were fully charged. I am clearly very disappointed with the quality
of this instrument, actually quite shocked this could happen to
something so new.  I am very careful, an engineer, and respectful of how
an instrument is to be treated.

I haven't yet contacted Meade wanting to know your comments, any quality
history you might be aware of, and your thoughts as how to proceed.

Thank you,
ALLEN SAMUEL
Mike here: Sorry to hear about your experiences. Without knowing what went wrong (but it does sound like a wire got caught and cut) it is difficult to say whether it is a quality issue or whether something shifted/broke during shipment/movement. You could look inside the base and see if you can determine that. But you should let either your dealer or Meade handle it under warranty. Not everyone has issues with their telescopes but it is always possible that something can go wrong.

And:

Thanks for your quick response; I appreciate it.
AL SAMUEL 

Subject:	RE: Transit of Venus - Solar Projection concern
Sent:	Monday, June 14, 2004 05:32:06
From:	Raymond Barbour (ZA) (Raymond.Barbour@za.didata.com)
I was using my Celestron 3.4" f5.6 mirror lens for my Pentax camera with
a 25mm eyepiece to project the sun's image onto a piece of paper. I
think it has a similar design to the ETX ota. I got distracted when I
had the eyepiece out the as it was only on a camera tripod the Earth
turned and the Sun was focused onto the internal plastic baffle and it
started to smoke. From then on I made sure that the Sunlight was coming
through the eyepiece by looking at the eyepiece (not through it) as the
centre of the eyepiece glass was light with a dark area around it. With
the light coming straight through I had no other problems that I've
noticed and I had it focus for 10-15 minute stretches. We had a great
view of the whole transit for here in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Regards

Raymond Barbour

Subject:	the ocular side of the venus transit
Sent:	Monday, June 14, 2004 04:18:54
From:	Dirk Henrich, Dr.phil.nat. (d.henrich@trauma.uni-frankfurt.de)
please find enclosed another view of the venus transit. The picture
shows me somewhere in the periphery of Frankfurt during the 2nd half of
the transit and it was pretty hot. In the background you will see the
ETX still on work while I tried prevent severe brain damage by the use
of a strange hat. Please, feel free to put this picture on your site.
 
with best regards
 
Dirk
Venus Transit

Subject:	RE: So far, not so good...
Sent:	Sunday, June 13, 2004 21:19:39
From:	Ted Semon (tedsemon@dataflo.net)
A belated "Thank You" for your detailed reply and my apology for not
answering your questions sooner.

I received my (repaired) drive via UPS yesterday.  And this time, I was
much more cautious in how I set things up.

To answer your questions, I did everything you mentioned except
Calibrating my drives.  This must have been the problem (or else perhaps
I had a faulty unit) because now the telescope seems to work just fine.

My first try at "Easy Align" failed - I couldn't see anything.  I more
carefully repositioned the Home position and tried the "Easy Align"
again. This time it worked fine.  I was able to align on Vega and then
Antares (easy enough for me to see even with my crappy eyes).  Once I
had done that, the control unit was able to find Jupiter for me with no
problems - pretty neat being able to see 3 of the moons...  So, now I'm
already unhappy with the magnification :)

I've got some things to learn about that (and lots of other stuff, too).
I'll be visiting your web site often, I'm sure.  I just submitted a $50
pledge also in thanks for your help and in anticipation of future use of
your site.

Thank you Mike - your help is most appreciated.

Ted Semon

Subject:	Picking up new ETX-105 next Sunday from Scope City, SF
Sent:	Sunday, June 13, 2004 16:05:11
From:	James Eagle (jeagle@redshift.com)
Thx. for the great site!  I was trying to decide between the 90 and 105,
and after reading the reports of other users, decided on the 105.  

I pick it up from Scope City in San Francisco next Sunday.  My question
is:  Are there any things I should check in the store (besides
everything being present and not obviously broken) to reduce the
likelihood of my having to return the scope later?

Thanks.  Jim
Mike here: You can check the cleanliness of the optics by removing the covers and just looking at their surfaces. If you are getting an AC Adapter (or want to bring batteries) you can check that the electrics and electronics work. And, as you noted, check that everything is there (26mm eyepiece, manuals, tripod, Autostar #497 and its cable). Beyond that there really isn't much you can do while in the store. But if you are getting it from a reputable dealer you should be OK.
Subject:	via iChat
Date:	Sunday, June 13, 2004
From:	kirkp@mac.com
I've been trying to get my ETX 90 connected to my powerbook G4 for
months via a Keyspan Serial-USB USA-18X with no luck. I finally broke
down and got a USA-28X. It works great. I don't get it, same driver and
I'd assume the 18X is just a single version of the 28X. Anyway, I'm up
and running and looking forward to using Scopedriver and Astroplanner
tonight. Thanks for the great website.

Subject:	Meade case for the ETX 125
Sent:	Sunday, June 13, 2004 06:36:04
From:	Duane Galensky (galensky@alltel.net)
I bought the Meade case for the ETX 125. Upon its first use the handle
gave out, and I nearly dropped the entire affair smack onto the asphalt.

The handle is held in place by two pins, and one of them came clean out.
Luckily I located the pin and was able to epoxy it back in place. I
smeared a little epoxy on the other side as well, hoping against hope it
won't behave similarly.

It seems to be sturdy enough now, but I plan on taking extra caution
when carrying the instrument.

Duane Galensky
Member, Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh
Mike here: Glad there was no damage. Although it would have been interesting to hear the report of how well the case performed during a "drop test" of the ETX-125.
Subject:	SEARS CASE for ETX 125
Sent:	Friday, June 11, 2004 10:03:23
From:	BOBFETZ@aol.com (BOBFETZ@aol.com)
WARNINGS/ or with the case reviews Thanks for a great resource for the
ETX. What does the ETX stand for? I also have your book, thanks again.

I read the reviews for SEARS case No 706.590270, SST, and went out and
bought one on sale for $39.95. I left it outside before I set it up for
the ETX 125. Today, when I went to start putting foam baffle's in it, I
found it had LOTS of water in it. The bottom and both red trays had
water. Be careful, it is NOT WATER TIGHT....it leaks.

BOB FETTERMAN
Wilmington NC
Cape Fear Astronomical Society
Mike here: Officially, "ETX" doesn't stand for anything; it is just a name. Unofficially, there are many possibilities and probabilities. "Everyone's Telescope" is the most-often cited one. Good point about non-watertightness. That applies to many cases not specifically designed to be water (or air) tight.
Subject:	ETX-90
Sent:	Thursday, June 10, 2004 05:53:09
From:	Richard Kern, DMD (richkern.dmd@verizon.net)
Where can I find a ETX-90 manual online?
Thanks for your help.

Rich Kern
Mike here: See the FAQ page on the ETX Site.
Subject:	Response from Meade
Sent:	Wednesday, June 9, 2004 11:03:05
From:	Arthur R. Kotz (arkotz@comcast.net)
You asked in your note to let you know how the following turned out:

I sent a letter to Meade as you suggested.

It took themalmost a month to respond, but they called me to verify the
part needed, and they'll send one. Very nice of them!

Thanks again for the suggestion and the great site.

Art Kotz
__________________________________________________

Message History:

Thanks. Let me know what they say.

Mike Weasner
_______________________________________________________

I'll try them.

Thanks Mike -- Your site is great!

Art Kotz
__________________________________________________

Have you tried Meade? They might send you for free.

Mike Weasner
________________________________________________________
Mike,

I need a replacement rear cell cover for my ETX-105 -- the 1.4 inch
(approx.) diameter cover.

I can't seem to find who sells them, if anyone.

Can you or anyone steer me to a source?

Thank you.

Art Kotz

Subject:	RE: Transit of Venus - Solar Projection concern
Sent:	Wednesday, June 9, 2004
-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Weasner [mailto:etx@me.com]
Did you damage your ETX or eyepieces?  Solar Projection with the ETX
line is NOT recommended due to the high probability of damaging
something from the heat buildup inside the OTA.

From:	Culpan, Gary
Oh hell I didn't know that. I only pointed at the Sun for about 2
minutes max and it was partly cloudy.

I used the scope last night and split Epsilon Lyra at x297 magnification
so hopefully it's fine.

Thanks for the info.

And:

From:	Dirk Bauwens (d.bauwens@pandora.be)
Many thanks for your very kind interest!

There was no damage.

I was aware of that danger and I had removed the plastic cover for the
rear projection as a preventive measure.

This seemed to work well with my ETX-90.

Also, observing was not continuous (at most 15 minute-periods) and in
between, I covered the telescope with a white bedsheet.

Thanks again!

Dirk Bauwens

Subject:	help
Sent:	Tuesday, June 8, 2004 19:46:18
From:	tarssia tharp (ttharp@insightbb.com)
i have just purchased an ETX-125ATC. I do not want to computerize it in
since I am in an area where their is not to much to focus on . What is
really nescessary to view the moon and a few planets. Later i hope to be
in a better area but for right now I just need the minimum setup .
  thank you so much
Mike here: First off, please read the Email Etiquette item on my ETX Home Page. Your message was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the ambiguous (and typical SPAM) subject line.
You've got what you need to start. One eyepiece, the Autostar, the tripod, the manual, and the URL for the ETX Site. Once you get comfortable using the telescope you can decide what accessories you might want.
Subject:	Cody's RA Problem
Sent:	Monday, June 7, 2004 07:57:46
From:	Don Sutherland (don_sutherland@yahoo.ca)
Cody was having a problem with the azimuth drive on his ETX-90. From the
description, it sounds like a wire is catching in the gears of the
azimuth drive and is acting like a ratcheting mechanism. This would
explain why the scope moves freely with the lock off and slews only in
one direction. This is something he could fix easily by moving the
offending wire away from the gears.

Regards,

Don Sutherland

Subject:	Downunder woes
Sent:	Monday, June 7, 2004 04:07:02
From:	Ray Schmidt (rayschmidt@ozemail.com.au)
I'm a new ETX125EC owner in Australia, and while I love the scope, I
have little good to say about the company who totally isolate (insulate)
themselves from non-USA customers, not even replying to faxes (phoning
would be too expensive). Is there any possibility that our American
cousins could apply pressure on Meade to set up an email address for
customer support?
Thanks for a great site,
Ray
Mike here: Yes, it would be nice it they did that. Some Meade non-USA locations do provide email support.
Subject:	Please add my blog to your Autostar links
Sent:	Sunday, June 6, 2004 21:23:54
From:	Mike Montana (mikemontana@hotmail.com)
I've learned alot from your site, and greatly appreciate your efforts.
I've been keeping a blog of my experiences with the
DS2130:

http://dontthrowitaway.blogspot.com/

The blog will continue to cover my experiences with coding the autostar
controller, webcam usage, and breaking the scope in unexpected ways.

Subject:	GPS
Sent:	Sunday, June 6, 2004 13:25:52
From:	SMalin1@aol.com (SMalin1@aol.com)
Mike will you be doing a review of the Scopetronix GPS? I do own one and
have been very satisfied with the way it works. Only problem was the
overly simplified instruction sheet. I had to call the fellows who made
it for help installing it. But it does work well.
 Thanks much from,
 Selwyn Malin
Mike here: I did a review of the StarGPS-LX Review; it's on the Autostar Info page. It is essentially the same as the StarGPS but no computer not patches to the Autostar are required.
Subject:	ETX 90, LPI imager and sun filter.
Sent:	Saturday, June 5, 2004 13:31:33
From:	Richard Plowman (richard@plowman113.freeserve.co.uk)
As the font of all knowledge on ETX matters can you help please with
some advice. The excitement of the transit of Venus is building and for
once the weather in the UK looks good. Unfortunately I do not pocess a
solar filter and stocks are all out.

I do have a good quality sunglass filter for a 0.925 inch eyepiece which
can attach to theinner thread on the LPI imager. I tried the systemwith
a small 50mm refractor on the sun and it took some reasonable images
with the LPI but tracking was difficult to get a good sharp image. The
LPI seems fine as the light transmissionthrough the filter is a lot less
than normal daylight. I would like to use the system on the ETX 90 and
the LPI imager but is there are risk with heat build up and is there any
risk to the telescopelens or mirrors or the LPI? Would a short use of
say ten minutes be OK?

Many thanks
Richard Plowman
 Chichester UK
Mike here: Solar Filters that attach to an eyepiece should NEVER be used. Only filters from a reputable source that cover the telescope's aperture are safe to use, especially with the ETX models. Otherwise, damage to the telescope (and eye and LPI) can and likely will occur. Solar projection (projecting the image of the sun onto a piece of white cardboard or similar surface) can be done with some telescopes (such as some Newtonian reflectors) as long as there are no plastic or heat sensitive glue or other materials used in the telescope.

And:

Many thanks Mike just as I suspected. I will try and see if an aperature
sun filter is available anywhere in the UK. The small 50mm refractor
works well with sun projection using a right angle prism erector to
reflect the sun upwards. I have never used the glass sun filter for
direct observation of the sun for the very reasons you suggest..

Subject:	Dr Sherrod's SuperCharge Service
Sent:	Saturday, June 5, 2004 12:30:15
From:	Gordon Mandell (mandell@nauticom.net)
I'm not sure what the correct mechanism is to commend Dr. Sherrod on the
excellent service he provides to users of Meade ETX and larger
telescopes.Both my ETX-105 and Meade 7" Mak LX200 OTAs have undergone
the SuperCharge Service. It is both efficient, complete and expertly
conducted. I hope all visitors to this site as well as the MAPUG site
are aware of the SuperCharge service that Dr. Sherrod provides at a
reasonable cost. After this service both of my telescopes function at
better levels than when they were new. If there are any problems with
these telescopes that require the TLC of an expert in the field, I can
highly recommend the SuperCharge service Dr Sherrod provides.

Gordon Mandell

Subject:	ETX-125 Power
Sent:	Saturday, June 5, 2004 05:02:00
From:	Tim Mitchell (Timlmitchell@core.com)
Let me first say thank you for hosting such a great web site. I have
owned my ETX-125 for about a year now and couldn't be happier with it. I
recently purchased the meade #541 power adaptor. Should I leave the
batteries in or remove them when using the #541. I only use the scope
about once a month, so i'd prefer to remove them in case of an
unexpected long storage time. If I remove them, will I have to re-train
the drives each time I use the scope?

Thank You,

Tim
Mike here: You can leave the batteries in however I'd suggest removing them since you hardly use them. That way you won't have to worry about leakage.
Subject:	Re: The new possibilities of Motor unit fault
Sent:	Saturday, June 5, 2004 01:10:48
From:	Tommy Lim (kangwen@tm.net.my)
What do you think about this case? My distributor already forwarded the
mail and photos to MEADE and try to get spare parts for it. Haven't
receive any reply yet. I am worry about the warranty now. Do you think
MEADE will send spare parts just to replace the gear and solve some
other problem?

Regards,
Tommy
Mike here: There are normally only a few "replacement parts" that Meade will supply to end-users. Items not easily replaced by the end-user (like something that requires a major disassembly) will probably not be available.
Subject:	Need advice
Sent:	Friday, June 4, 2004 15:30:50
From:	Maya & Roy Faiman (roma11@013.net.il)
I hope you can help me out a bit.
I'm interested in enlarging the image I get thruogh my eyepiece. Can I
use a barlow lens?
Which type would you recommend to fit an ETX-125 ?
Does attaching a barlow alow easyer photography through the lens?

Thanks again,
Roy Faiman, Israel.
Mike here: Your message was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the ambiguous subject. Please read the Email Etiquette item on my ETX Site Home Page if you do want this to happen again.
Yes, you can use a Barlow Lens; see the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page. It is a good solution to double your "eyepieces" selection. Actually, enlarging the image makes photography MORE difficult.
Subject:	RE: ETX part question
Sent:	Friday, June 4, 2004 10:19:53
From:	Kathy Koerber (kkoerber@envstd.com)
Mike and Dr. Clay, 
Well, you both were right.

Dr. Clay: "You should be able to find a suitable screw at Lowes or Home
Depot in the hardware area....it is a #4 machine screw and you can get
various head versions of it, but not likely a perfect match."

Yes, a #4 machine screw does the trick. I screwed about 4 nuts onto it,
all the way up against the head, and it makes for a decent replacement.

Meade also sent me a replacement free of charge. They chalked it up to
missing original equipment.

Now I have a couple of spares in addition to having the original part
that I miraculously found. It is now tethered to the telescope with some
red string. It's not pretty, but I think it will be effective.

I would be curious to hear from you and others on additional ways of
preventing the dreaded eyepiece-screw-drop-in-the-grass in the middle of
a beautiful night of observing.

Thanks for all the help! 

-Kathy 
And:
That part is the most common lost piece of any telescope.....obviously
no one has come up with a suitable solution for the problem.

Thanks for the tip and glad you found what you needed.

Dr. Clay
--------------------
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.)
http://www.arksky.org/
Mike here: I normally observe from my back patio. I place a small carpet on the concrete (to avoid damage to dropped eyepieces and dampen out tripod vibrations. It would probably also make things easier if I dropped a small screw...

And:

It also would be much easier in the long run if these screws were
magnetic.....scanning the ground for dropped metal via magnetism is an
excellent way to retrieve tiny lost parts....but alas, these are
stainless!

Dr. Clay

Subject:	Urgent DEC problems
Sent:	Friday, June 4, 2004 08:53:07
From:	Michael Morris (michaelmorris4@hotmail.com)
HELP!

My ETX 90EC refuses to slew in DEC! I can hear the motors turning but
the tube doesn't move. The DEC axis is now relatively easy to move up
and down, even with the clutch tightened. The RA axis all works fine.

Here's the background. I have recently got a adaptor to fit a 35mm SLR
onto the prime focus of my ETX90EC. Mindful of the all the warnings
about using the ETX for prime focus photography for more than a few
nights without employing a counterweight system, I have just finished
making myself a counterweight consisting of a long bar that screws into
the two tripod mounting socket on the base of the OTA (not the base of
the mount). The counterweight itself is simply a stack of large washers
on a bolt that is attached to the bar in one of a series of holes,
depending upon what equipment I have attached to the rear cell of the
ETX. I carefully tested the system with both the Dec and RA clutches
released to get it balanced. Only when I was sure it was in balance did
I test the system with the DEC and RA clutches tightened. Everything
appeared to go ok, with the scope easily slewing in RA and DEC.

I then repeated this process of testing the system with the clutches
loosened off and then tighten once the system was balanced but with a 2x
and then 3x teleconverter between the camera and the adaptor. Again it
all seemed ok.

I now have a counterweight bar with three positions for the weights, one
for the camera with a 3x teleconverter, one for the set up with a 2 x
teleconverter and one with just the camera.

However, I then took the system outside to run off some final test shots
for the Transit of Venus on Tuesday. I power the system up and lined it
all up with the SUN, then realised that it whilst it was tracking fine
in RA the hand controller was having no effect in DEC. I've tried
tightening and loosening the DEC clutch and tried it with all the
cameras and counterweights removed but it's just the same!

I assume that something has probably broken inside. Has anyone got any
ideas what? How would I confirm what it is that's broken and does anyone
know any fixes for the problem?

Michael Morris
Mike here: It sounds like you have broken the Right Tube Adapter. See my ETX-90 comments at this page (look near the bottom) for info on replacing it:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/90ec_comments.html
You will need to contact Meade for a replacement unless you want to try to repair/fabricate yourself.
Subject:	ETX90 problem
Sent:	Thursday, June 3, 2004 22:30:37
From:	Lithgow, Dennis (Dennis.Lithgow@det.qld.gov.au)
I have just received my ETX90 back from repair from the Australian
distributer (away for 6 weeks). It lost motor control for RA, they
replaced the RA circuit board and it now works fine. However, a new
fault has occured since this board was replaced, it now slews to an
objetc well but one in about ten times it will suddenly pan downwards
about 30 degrees and stop after hitting the chosen object??? once this
happens you have t re-align the whole thing. Have you ever heard of this
happening before?

Secondly, do you know what the pin outs for the PC cable are? I am a
computer tech and have the ability and equip to make cables but need to
know what the connections are.

Thanks

Dennis Lithgow 
Mike here: Did you CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES again? You should. As to cable info, check the Autostar Info page.
Subject:	Etx-90 Motor problems
Sent:	Thursday, June 3, 2004 20:57:44
From:	Cody (ataris121@yahoo.com)
After about of hour of observing (1.5hrs with training and align) a
problem arose. Any attempt of motion clockwise was met with a stand
still and a clicking sound. motion counterclockwise is fine. So I can't
tell what exactly is broken. Any thoughts?

Cody
Mike here: Do you mean there is one position where the slewing stops? Or that you can slew CCW but when reversing, the slewing immediately stops? If the former, could you be hitting a hardstop? If so, that could be expected if you didn't do the proper rotations when setting up in the HOME position. (I'm assuming you are using an Autostar.)

And:

IM sure im not hitting a stop. the mount moves in one direction but when
i reverse it fails to move and the motor makes a clicking sound like the
gear is skipping
Mike here: Could you be over-tightening the axis lock? What happens when you unlock the axis and move the telescope SLOWLY by hand in azimuth? Do you still come to some obstruction when rotating CW?

And:

moves fine with lockoff in both directions. With the lock of I tried the
motor and it runs perfectly in one direction but does the same click in
reverse.
Mike here: With the axis unlocked, you still hear the clicking? Not good.

And:

funny thats exactly what the customer service rep said
well ill let meade fix it

Subject:	Autostar  497
Sent:	Thursday, June 3, 2004 09:12:20
From:	Keith Bryant (keith@keithbryant.co.uk)
Simple question

Does anyone know what the two AUX sockets are for on the computer
section of the ETX series (Mine is the 105)??????????????????

Keith Bryant

Mike here: Those are ports to supply power to accessories like the electric focuser or GPS systems.
Subject:	Polar alignment woth EQ wedge
Sent:	Tuesday, June 1, 2004 17:19:39
From:	Marnix Verschraegen (max2206@skynet.be)
I've seen somewhere a video/asf movie of how to polaralign with a 8" sct
and a EQ Wedge.

I think it was on your site ?
Was it ?

Marnix Verschraegen
Mike here: Don't think it is on my Sites, either ETX or LXD55. But there are many tips on aligning on both sites.

And:

Yahoo !!!
I found it
www.astroden.com/polar.asf
Perhaps interesting for other people ...

Subject:	ETX125 Spare parts
Sent:	Tuesday, June 1, 2004 09:27:57
From:	Mike Firth (mike@firthfamily.freeserve.co.uk)
I have a plastic gear train minus some teeth and need to replace the
motor, gear train and worm gear assembly. (Situated behind the battery
compartment).   This is attached to a circuit board with two screws. 
The British supplier of Meade stuff has a two weeks or more waiting
time.  Can you recommend a US supplier who will ship to the UK.
Thanks
Mike here: You might try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page). I don't know if he ships overseas or if has those parts but can't hurt to ask.
Subject:	Sun spectrum
Sent:	Tuesday, June 1, 2004 00:53:48
From:	geheniau@xs4all.nl (geheniau@xs4all.nl)
Why is the spectrum so different from your two pictures. I attached the
2 in one picture.

Job Geheniau
The Netherlands
Solar Spectrum

Subject:	RE: Broken RA Drive bracket
Sent:	Monday, May 31, 2004 23:33:03
From:	Duncan Rosie (duncanr@guarantee.co.za)
Meade UK have replaced the broken drive unit with a completely new one -
I fitted it last night and it seems to be running perfectly.

Kudos to Meade UK for their prompt responses to emails and the rapid,
no-fuss solution - despite my being some 10,000 km from them.

Kudos too, to yourself and the contributors to your "etx"cellent site,
without which I would not have had the fore-knowledge to deal with this
issue.

Regards,
Duncan Rosie

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