ETX-125EC USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 March 2002
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-125EC. 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:	Re: Kveto ETX 125
Sent:	Sunday, March 31, 2002 11:10:22
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
I would check with Jordan Blessing of Scopetronics...he might have a
focal reducer, but I think it has been discontinued.  In addition, I
believe that Bob Shutan at Shutans also has a focal reducer available
for the ETX 125.

The clamping problems you are experiencing are unfortunately all too
common with the ETX 125 and they can be adjusted to hold firmly.

Look at my "Enhancement Guides..." Parts 1 & 2 at:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips.html , the Weasner Mighty ETX
site....that may help guide you through the process.

Good luck and may your enthusiasm carry you into celestial success!

Clay Sherrod
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  Hi Mr. Sherrod! Thanks for your nice, (but sad for me) info. Excuse
  me, if I may, I ask anyway further:
  1./ The mentioned focal reducer I need for Photo through the
  web-camera Philips ToUcam 740. I dont know, whether you have seen the
  site http://www.qcuiag.co.uk, where I take my attempt to do: Deep sky
  Photo with web-camera (development: cheap/easy hardware modifikation
  for long time exposure). Here the people use - almost everybody- some
  focal reducer (from the Steve Mog).
  2./ With my still new scope "ETX 125" I have a few problems: The both
  "brakes" RA and DEC are weak, they hold not  the adjustment
  (especially in a cold night), although I make it steady so far I have
  affraid I broke the screw arm. Its  bad chiefly from that reason, that
  I try to use the scope drive through the "Starry night" software from
  display of my laptop through the AutoStar. Hereby after a few "auto"
  movements sometimes the scope lost his adjustment - I think because of
  the not holding brakes RA and DEC. Is there any advice?
  Thanks for your time, sincerelly Kveto

    ----- Original Message ----- 
    Hello -
    No, unfortunately that focal reducer will NOT work on the ETX
    scopes....as a matter of fact, most focal reducers are not suitable
    for such a long focal ratio (f/15) that the ETX has.....you are
    better off with a good wide field eyepiece like the Televue 32mm
    Plossl (1-1/4" barrel).

    Good luck!

    Clay
    ----------------------------------------
    Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
    sherrodc@ipa.net
    Arkansas Sky Observatory
    www.arksky.org

      ----- Original Message ----- 
      Hi, let me ask you about focal reduction: Before the ETX 125 I had
      the Meade LX 10. From that scope I have as a rest the focal
      reducer serie 4000, f/ 6,3 but in the manual they write - for
      Schmidt-Cassegrain. Question Can I use this FR to my ETX 125?
      The manual I have attached. 
      Thanks for your answer, Kveto, (Slovakia, Bratislava)
Mike here: Actually I think someone did use that focal reducer on an ETX (I forget which model) using the SCT Accessory Adapter (discussed on the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page). I don't recall the results. And yes there is a focal reducer (Wide Field Adapter on the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page).

And:

Thanks!  I thought there was one that folks were using to some pretty
good success.  Might be a good time for a reminder!

Clay

Subject:	ETX-125
Sent:	Friday, March 29, 2002 7:45:17
From:	stellart@icon-stl.net (Stu)
I found your site just after I ordered my 125. It just came in and low
and behold, it is an old design. One visible clue was the manual with
only the ETX90 and ETX125 on the front. I am dissapointed in this fact
because I downloaded the ETX125 manual from Meade and used that to help
me make my decision on the Meade vs. other scopes. The bearings were a
factor in my decision. I do have a question thought before I go the
route of trying to return. I have a 10" LX200 and the drive is whisper
quiet when tracking (slewing is loud, but I'll live with that) On my
125, the motor sounds are totally loud while tracking. Is this common
with all the ETX's? It slews and tracks ok but I have only had one night
observation time. It does have the slop that has been mentioned
elsewhere. Yuk! I was hoping for the tight drives like my LX200.

-Stu Gisburne
Mike here: The ETX drives are louder but the ETX-105EC (and maybe the -125EC) are pretty quiet. And for drives like in the LX200 the ETX would be in the LX200 price range. That would defeat its purpose.
Subject:	ETX 125 Question
Sent:	Monday, March 25, 2002 9:58:32
From:	tsnider@wvu.edu (Tom Snider)
I was browsing your site in hopes to find a discussion on any focusing
problems with the ETX-125 ... since I didn't find any readily apparent,
I thought I'd ask you directly.  Here's the scoop ... I purchased a
[new] Meade EXT 125 the first week of January.  All seemed fine when I
unpacked the scope & mounted it on a Meade deluxe tripod ... my question
is, does the focus of the 125 become more difficult as [object] distance
increases?  For example, I find it difficult to get a sharp focus of
Jupiter [even] using the 26mm eyepiece (let alone using a 9.7mm).  The
times I went out in the evening, the sky was clear with no "local" light
pollution ... I'm not sure if the electronic focuser would help - or
tripod pads? - or turning off the motor drive?  Perhaps it's just me? 
Any info you can share would be very much appreciated.  Thanks!

- Tom Snider
Mike here: Well, I'm not certain whether you are just not seeing what you "expect" to see or whether you need to let the telescope reach "thermal equilibrium" (at least 60 minutes or longer for the ETX-125EC, depending upon the differential from where it was before you took it outside) or whether seeing was not good (unrelated to "light pollution"). Try to avoid viewing over sources of "heat" (roof tops, parking lots, streets, etc), let the telescope "cool down", and try viewing over several nights. See the articles on Telescope Performance on the Observational Guides/References page for more info.
Subject:	Repair of ETX 125 by Meade and Then Some!
Sent:	Saturday, March 23, 2002 21:51:52
From:	hallyhb@snowcrest.net (Hal)
I just thought I would let you know that Meade really came through with
taking care of my problem.  My telescope (ETX 125) was out of warranty
when the adjustment bolt in the vertical adjustment broke off.  I called
Meade and told them about my problem.  They said they would fix it even
though it was out of warranty.  When I received the telescope (after
repair) from Meade, I discovered that they had replaced the telescope
with a new one! The new one seems to work better than the old one ever
did.  Talk about customer service....it cant get much better than this. 
The new telescope seems to be a lot tighter than the old one.  Both
vertical and horizontal adjustments are really firm, without a lot of
slop in the gears.  At this point, I cannot say enough about how happy I
am with Meade.

Subject:	ETX125EC Serial Number?
Sent:	Saturday, March 23, 2002 13:44:21
From:	sysengr@optonline.net (Greg Bilsky)
Just got my ETX125EC from Science & Hobby in New Paltz, NY.  Does the
scope have a serial number on it anywhere?  I can't seem to find it.

Greg Bilsky
Mike here: I think someone mentioned it is inside the battery compartment someplace. (or was that my cell phone...)

And:

Never mind - looked further on your site in the chats and found it's in
the battery compartment.  Thanks.

Subject:	Problems with new ETX125EC
Sent:	Thursday, March 21, 2002 17:32:55
From:	pjmai@megsinet.net (Paul Maiuzzo)
I purchased a 125EC from Photoalley recently and when I took it out of
the box and began the setup, the dec motor worked for a brief instant
and then went dead. The horizontal motor worked okay. I packed it up,
shipped it back and ordered another one. The second unit arrived and
everything went smoothly for the setup, motor training and first
viewing. Even the Autostar setup and alignment went fairly well. After
bringing it back into the house, I noticed that the horizontal lock
wasn't holding very well. I could rotate the scope very easily with the
lock engaged. I saw the adjustment for this on your website and gave it
a try and found that the bolt under the lock was very loose and pulled
right up out of the base. So, I packed it up and sent it back and
ordered another one. The third one arrived today. I'm setting it up now
and the motors work fine but I've noticed two things: there's slop in
the scope in vertical direction when the Dec lock is engaged and I
wiggle the scope up and down. Second, that horiz lock again - with the
lock engaged, I can rotate the scope in either direction with little
pressure. So, two questions: is the vertical play okay, second, what
should I do about the horiz lock. I'm almost afraid to try adjusting the
lock handle.

By the way, Photoalley.com has been great about the returns. I've
received one of the two credits back to my credit card so far, including
the return shipping charges.

Paul Maiuzzo
Mike here: Sorry that you may have had some problems. First off, the axis locks are friction based, just like your car brakes. So, some play is normal if you lock the axis and then manually try to move the telescope tube AGAINST this friction. The real question is: does the tube move when you slew using the handcontroller (Autostar or the standard one)? If it does then the locks are holding.

And:

Thanks for the quick reply. It does slew when locked so I guess it's
working okay.

Subject:	Returning 125 EXT
Sent:	Wednesday, March 20, 2002 2:15:37
From:	mrgnome@jps.net (Robert Allison)
I took out the 125 tonight and had no luck.  After working on Saturn for
probably 3/4/5 minutes I finally got it centered and in focus.  When I'd
get it centered it didn't like where I had it so it jumped to another
spot.  (Is that's what's called the rubberband?)  I added a barlow lens
and went through it all over again.  I then tried the 9.7mm, lost it and
had to back to the 26mm & barlow.  Moon was child's play from it being
so large.

I also had BIG problems with the Autostar!  I tried doing a retrain on
my patio this afternoon on that BB in the poll.  Going Al wasn't too
bad, but it never came back to the same spot where I could stop it.  Why
I said not to bad, the Alt was worse.  I then went out last night to see
how it came out.  Not good!  I then tried training on Polaris.  No good
either.  I tried on a house on a hill on their Microwave light.  All the
same results.

It's all back in the box.  I'm still looking for what you were going to
post about the new compared to the old.  If it's not a big improvement,
I'll probably just return it and let it go for now.

Thanks,
Bob
Mike here: Sorry to hear that the problem is still there. I did post my comments "new vs old" on last night's Site update (on the "ETX-125EC Feedback" page in one of my long responses).

And:

After spending 1/2 of the day  yesterday trying to make sure the EXT-125
was trained right, etc., not counting the other hours in almost 2 weeks,
I've just decided to return it.  I guess there is no way to train it
when it doesn't return to the exact same spot in the EP.  On a new scope
I don't want to try all of the mods and hope I don't screw something
up...nor should I have to.   I may look into something else, or wait
until I'm SURE all of the old generation is gone.

Do you have any suggestions on another scope that uses the Autostar, or
something along those lines, that doesn't have the problems the old
generation EXT-125 has?

Oh, BTW, when I said I first had a EXT-90, it wasn't, but a 70.

Thanks for your help,
Bob
Mike here: You might look into the ETX-105EC or perhaps a DS or LXD. If you really want a nice scope (according to reports), check out the LX90 8". They all use an Autostar (I or II).

And:

Doesn't the EXT-105EC use the same motor, etc. as the 125 and maybe the
same problems?  If so, is it the next generation without the problems? 
More than likely if I went with another EXT it would be the next
generation 125.

I got to thinking last night that maybe the EXT-125 was a returned one
that was re-sold to me.  On the EXT-70 I bought that I upgraded to the
EXT-125 within a week,  when I started it up it never went to
Afghanistan/state/etc on the Autostar.  Not knowing a thing about it
yet, I called Mead tech support and was told to do a reset.  It was not
on the floor, but still in the box.  This would indicate to me that it
was sold, returned and never reset.  Then on the EXT-125 it was missing
the EP set screw and there was a scratch on the dial on the fork without
the numbers.  With the scratch and  missing part, this makes me wonder
if it wasn't also returned because of being defective, or damage was
done when first sold, and sold to me.

Thanks,
Mike here: Could be a returned one. The mount construction is similar for the ETX-105EC and the newer -125EC models.
Subject:	New problem with my ETX-125EC
Sent:	Tuesday, March 19, 2002 17:47:39
From:	wness@sympatico.ca (Walter  Ness)
First I want to say that I think your site puts the meade site to shame.
 You have more information on the various aspects of their scopes then
they do on their website.  They should pay you for the service your
doing them. What really ticks me off is they don't even post a e-mail
address on their website so you can e-mail their support group.  These
guys should come into the 21st century and set up a website that truly
supports the customer and potential customers.  But hey, what the hell,
if you have a monopoly who cares.

Anyway, enough griping.  Here comes my problem they I am experiencing
with my ETX-125EC.

I perform the alignment, everything works great.  Go to Jupiter and
Saturn no problem.  Then it happens.  For some strange reason my scope
starts to get a jerk in it (not me but in the physical sense) and it
becomes even more drastic and devastating at higher magnifications.  As
it is doing its tracking to keep in sync with the viewing object so it
can be continually viewed without the object zooming by, it develops a
kind of studder.  It will move in a lurching kind of movement instead of
smooth and flowing.  You can here a kind of click then you see that the
scope jerks.  The image bounces around like a ping-pong ball then
stabilizes again, just to do the same thing less then 30 seconds later.

Any tips as to what is causing this problem.

Much appreciated.
Walter Ness
Oakville, Ontario L6H 6C3
Mike here: Many companies don't provide email support. Meade is not alone in this. If this scope is new you can move the telescope in azimuth several full rotations, hard stop to hard stop. Do the same in altitude. It could be that the gear grease just needs to be redistributed. If that doesn't help, try reTRAINing the drives with the Autostar. If that doesn't help, you may have a defective gear or dirty encoder someplace.
Subject:	Ikeya-Zhang
Sent:	Tuesday, March 19, 2002 15:56:42
From:	teddynbr@yahoo.com (Teddy)
Do you have (any plans?) an image of the Ikeya-Zhang comet using the
125EC ? I've been planning to buy this talked-about telescope for a long
time, but it's way above my budget.  I'd like to see some samples of how
it "sees" the comet ... that'll help me justify the purchase.

Thanks a lot for the wonderful website Mike, I've been visiting it for
months!

Teddy
Mike here: See My Astrophotography Gallery - Comets page. I posted a photo on 11 March.
Subject:	ETX-125/EC Paranoia: 2
Sent:	Tuesday, March 19, 2002 13:33:39
From:	MellowshipSlinky@aol.com
I hope you're well. Thank you so much for your reply to my E-mail, much
obliged. For what it's worth, i've decided to take the plunge and buy
the 125. I called the dealer yesterday and the scope should be there
next week in plenty of time for my trip to NY.

I was wondering if you could help me with a quandry i'm having. I am
thinking of ordering a couple of eyepieces from Amazon.com and having
them delivered to my friend, so I can pick them up when I get the scope
(same reason as before, they are about three times the price in the UK)
....now, i'm wanting to get a Barlow initially and I'd really appreciate
it if you could tell me the advantages/disadvantages of a 3X over a 2X,
or at least, which one you would go for, if it was to be used
exclusively with the 125.

Lastly, my wife has astygmatism in one eye...i've heard there is a lens
with focal relief for people who wear glasses, any chance of telling me
what it is?

Many thanks, Rob

P.S. I had a look at some of the photography on your site yesterday.
Wow! I'm really excited about trying my hand. When I do, I'll send you
the results - i'm sure they'll be worth a good laugh!
Mike here: Congrats! Looking forward to hearing your experiences. As to a Barlow Lens, personally I don't like to push it so I went with the conservation 2X (Meade #126). There are others reviewed on the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page if you want other inputs. As to using eyeglasses, the longer the "eye relief" the better. The Meade 9.7mm (which I have) has a very short eye relief, meaning that the eye has to be very close to the eyepiece to see the entire field of view.
Subject:	To ETX125 or not?
Sent:	Tuesday, March 19, 2002 8:27:04
From:	Brian.Christensen@SunGard.com
I have been enjoying your web site for several days now, there is a lot
of real content, thanks to all the contributors and your responses.  I
have been thinking of a new telescope and the shiny blue ETX-125EC is
high on my list to replace my 30yr old scope, a "cheap" 70mm refractor,
600mm focal length with a 20mm Kellner eyepiece.  It had other "high
power" eyepieces, which have since been misplaced.  (I can attest that
lower power produce brighter, clearer images.)  I can easily see Jupiter
with moons, Saturn (appears as one ring), and Mars. I have never seen
any deep sky objects, though I have looked for Andromeda M31 and Orion
M42. It has an manual Altazimuth mount which doesn't adjust easily and
is a source of frustration.

However, as a result of reading your site, I have become unsure that the
ETX125 is enough.  I am attracted to it because of the Autostar "goto"
capability.  In fact I hope my children can use it.  I understand that
the nice pictures on the box were taken with scopes four times the size
and do not expect to see the beautiful red horsehead nebula, etc., but I
DO EXPECT to see some (hopefully most?) of the Messier objects with some
detail (not just fuzzy spots).   Can you really see detail in ALL of the
Messier objects as the Meade web site states with the ETX125?

I have also noticed the Meade LXD55 series of scopes, which also have
Autostar and I wonder if these scopes might be better for me.  I realize
that even the 6" Newtonian is a lot bigger than the "folded" Mak optics
of the ETX series, but the cost is proportionally less as well (I am
after all, an amateur).  Would the images of the 6" LXD55 be better than
the 5" ETX125. (I realize that its not even fair to compare the 8" or
10" which I would expect be better.)

To recap, is the ETX125 going to be significantly better than my 70mm
600mmfl refractor? (I expect yes), and would the images of the 6" LXD55
be dramatically better than the ETX125? (ignoring the cost and size
equation).

Thanks in advance and I hope to be a content contributor soon.
Clear Skys!

Brian Christensen
ad_chris@bellsouth.net
Mike here: Even the ETX-90 can "see" all the Messier objects, so yes, you'll be able to see them from an ETX-125EC. However, to the eye most will appear as faint fuzzy blobs with little detail except for shape (round, oval, etc) and some variations in nebulosity. The problem isn't the telescope, it's the eye. But will a 5" work for you or do you need a larger telescope? Only you can answer that based upon your desires, expectations, and how you want to use it. If portability is important, larger telescopes may be too cumbersome. If excellent views at high magnifications over 500X is your desire, the ETX won't cut it.
Subject:	Mead 125 Focus Shift & Autostar
Sent:	Sunday, March 17, 2002 17:05:19
From:	mrgnome@jps.net (Robert Allison)
I just bought a Mead 125.  (I had a scope as a kid that was about good
enough to tell there was a man in the moon...so I'm just learning.) 
I've had it for a week, but last night was the first I've been able to
use it from the weather.

I got the Autostar set good enough with "training" to get objects almost
in the FOV and then adjust a little to get it kinda centered in the EP. 
I read on your site I can probably get it better in re-doing the
"training"  how I start with centering the object.

I am also having the problem getting the object centered as it will
continue to move after I stop the motor slewing.  I read on your site
that I guess I'll have to mess with the percentages.  Alt & Az are both
set to .01%.  I know how to do it, but I'm not really sure where I
should start from just starting to use it.  It's also shifting when it
stops...and if I recall, more to the upper left.

A big problem I'm having is with focusing as the object will shift upper
left in the EP, then I have to try and re-center it again.  When I was
looking at Saturn and Jupiter last night I tried adding a barlow 2'X's
to the 26mm lens...also changing to a 9.7mm...then I would have to
re-focus and lost them altogether because of the shift.  I would have to
to go back to the 26mm.

So does the Autostar sound like the percentages just need to be set? 
Remember, I also said it would shift.

Is the focus shifting problem a defect and I should return it?

I read on your site about a new & old model.  In the specs it says:

Motor Drive System....DC servo motors with encoders, both axes 
Bearings:
Altitude..........................Acetal
Azimuth.........................radial ball bearing

Thanks,
Bob A
Mike here: I would suggest just doing a real good TRAINing of the drives. Use a high power eyepiece. And when centering the alignment stars do the best you can with centering. That should improve the drifting and "rubberbanding". You didn't say what version ROM your Autostar has but you might want to consider upgrading if you have the necessary cable and operating system. The focus shift problem IS a problem and excessive. If the scope was not properly packed for shipment this damage can occur. It needs to be exchanged. Don't forget to reTRAIN the drives when you get the new one and if you upgrade the Autostar firmware. As to old or new, the manual assuming it says -90/105/125 on the cover is for the new scopes but whether the telescope is the box is new or old, hard to say.

And:

This is what comes up when I turn on the Autostar...(c)01 Mead [22e] .
Is that it, or do I need to look someplace else?  I don't have a cable,
but can get one.  If you mean the operating system on the computer, I'm
running WinXP.  As far as the book that came with it, it only has the
EXT90 & 125, nothing about the 105.

I first tried a EXT90 a week before getting this one and returned it. 
(After seeing the moon with it and the DETAIL, I decided to upgrade and
get something that would be able to see more.)  Anyway, I think the
motor is a little quieter on the 125 than on the 90.  I forget what it's
called, but when the base turns right/left it's quieter than when the
scope goes up/down...if that means anything?

So with the shift like that when focusing there is a problem.  Is a
little bit normal, or it shouldn't it do it at all?  Then what about
when you add a barlow or change to a like 9.7mm EP...do you always have
to re-focus?

Ok, I'll contact Ritz Camera and see about returning it tomorrow.  What
should I tell them the problem is, so I sound like I know what I'm
talking about?  Then what about making sure the replacement is the newer
version?

BTW, talk about packing, it was missing the screw for the eye piece. 
Checked all over the box and it was nowhere to be found.  But it looked
like it was packed good.  So what gets damaged from packing to have the
focus shift problem?

Yeah, I've read and copied from your site about training the drive. 
When I did it before I went up to the object, instead of doing it going
down, like on your site.  (It would be nice if it was in the book, or
did I miss it?)  Then I just used the 26mm and used a insulator on a guy
wire from a power/telephone pole.  But that was close enough where I
found a couple of stars, Jupiter & Saturn.

Thanks for the email and your time!  I'm glad I found your site, or I
wouldn't have know there was a problem and figured it was me.  Then
probably lost interest pretty fast.  I work nights and have been up
since yesterday morning, then along with being new to telescopes, so I
hope this made sense. :)
Mike here: OK, there are several questions here. You don't have the latest version but you are probably OK. You can check the full version number from the Utilities-->Statistics menu. Just scroll until you see the version#. I suspect the scope is not the newer model. The drive motors are different for each axis, hence the different sounds you hear when moving in azimuth (left-right) and altitude (up-down). As to the image shift when focusing, if the object moves from the center to the edge of the field of view as you turn the focus knob, then you have a telescope with severe image shift and it should be exchanged. Just tell the dealer that's what it has. However, note that when changing eyepieces (most of them anyway) you do have to refocus. The only time you don't are when using what are known as "parfocal eyepieces", which all focus at the same position. The missing screw has nothing to do with the image shift and your dealer or Meade can replace it. When training the drives, it is a two axis process. First you do one axis and then you scroll the TRAIN menu to select the other axis and repeat the process. Many people miss the second axis training.

And:

It says 22Es for the version.  I'll have to get one of the cables to be
able to do the d-loads, but will worry about it later since you say it
should be fine.

This afternoon I tried messing with the percentages and couldn't tell
much difference.  I ended up setting the Az at 15% and put the Alt back
at 01% from something I read off your site.  Something I did notice as
I'd change Alt directions (up/dn), it would first jump more down before
going up.  Turning Az directions (side/side) seemed about even and
didn't do the jump.  So from that, do you have any suggestions?

I reset the view finder while I was playing today.  I found something
that may be the focus shifting problem.  The eye piece fits loose, so
when I tighten down the set screw the eye piece shifts the object in the
FOV because it tilts.  As I was focusing on an object I didn't get any
of the shift today.  I'm off tomorrow night and I'm going to do another
train the drive on Polaris and see about the focus shift before seeing
about returning it.  It may have been from changing EP's and tightening
them back down.  (IMO, I think they should screw in...or would that
work?)  I may even take some tape and put on one side of the EP to take
up the slack.

BTW, I got a new EP set screw  the day after I bought it, so I've never
used it without one.

I read off you site about all of these mods and I'm not to sure about
doing them.  Shouldn't even have to think about them on something new! 
Is the new model EXT works like it should and you don't have to worry
about doing them?

Anyway, time to finish my coffee and get out the door for work.  Thanks
again for the help.

Bob
Mike here: That one didn't make Meade's site! And yes, the eyepiece will shift slightly as you tighten the screw. That's true of many telescopes. I'm betting that most people never mess with the percentages nor do the tuneups shown on the Site. They are perfectly happy with the way the telescope performs for the cost they paid. I had a lot more to say on this "old vs new" topic and it is further down this page.

And:

I don't remember if I read much about percentages in the Autostar book
or not.  "I just looked it over fast" and I don't even see anything on
it.  That doesn't mean it isn't in there, but NOT much if it is...so I'd
probably never even messed with it if it wasn't for your site.  If I
keep interest in using a telescope, I'm sure I will want something more
advanced in the future, but for now not knowing a thing about the sky, I
need the Autostar/EXT to work as perfect as possible.  That's one thing
that sold me on the Mead with it.

But on the other hand, it did work good enough that not knowing a damn
thing the first night I used it, it was close enough to find Jupiter &
Saturn.  (Then low thing cloud cover took over.)  I'm sure you know the
feeling the first time you found them! :)  It was like the first fix is
free, but now your going to pay baby!!! :)

I'll check out your site tonight for the write up on the old/new 125
EXT.  Going out in a bit to play with it a little more and the percent
to see how it works.  I'm off tonight and it's supposed to be clear, so
I will be able to train it on Polaris and see how it works.

Thanks,

Bob

Subject:	ETX 125/EC Resolved
Sent:	Saturday, March 16, 2002 20:39:22
From:	jchalfen@attbi.com (John Chalfen)
I finally have resolved all the issues with 125. Thought I would quickly
list my solutions as they may be of use to others. My problems were:

1) Really tight and bound RA (motor barely would turn the base)
2) Slop in RA and DEC
3) Wobble and overworked motor in DEC
4) Focus assembly turned forever in clockwise direction

I think whoever put this scope together was having a really bad day.
Every nut was over tightened. For the RA, I had to remove the clutch,
the drive gear, and the large nut. I found that the large but had been
over tightened and damaged the housing underneath. Solution: Debur all
metal parts on nut and housing, hand tighten until base glided smooth.
The rest will have to wear down through use.

For the slop, just the basic degrease and check all gears. Fixed that
right up. Since I had split the base, I decided to go ahead and do the
DEC mod on Bob's LX200 page. Ran my cables outside the scope. Pretty
slick. Problem was, couldn't test the DEC drive until I had the scope
assembled.

Once assembled, tested out the DEC mod and found the DEC motor was
overworked, and there was a noticeable "wobble" in the plastic motor
housing. I checked the nut on the end of the worm gear, and sure enough,
tight enough to warp the plastic washer underneath. Loosened the nut,
and now it seems to work ok. Motor sounds right, wobble is barely
noticeable. Checked the RA after that, and that was overtight too.

Got all those fixed, scope mechanics working ok, I decided to run my
focus from end to end so the grease would get spread evenly. Knob
wouldn't turn counter clockwise. After turning clockwise about 15 turns,
I'm thinking something is wrong. Tilted my tube up to see the mirror,
and then the focus went counter clockwise. After going end to end a
couple times, I reasoned that the focus is working. There is just
nothing at the end to keep it from falling off the shaft. I got lucky
that my mirror fell back on the shaft the 4 times I did it. My solution:
Turned the focus knob to the end right where it would fall off. Turned
back 2 full turns making sure the mirror was moving. Marked the shaft,
and moved it out a bit so I could work on it. I found a plastic
"washer/bearing" that I use for my R/C cars that fit the shaft
perfectly, as a bonus it was just wide enough for what I had in mind. I
glued the washer/bearing to the shaft so that when the focus reaches the
point before the mirror would fall off, it stops. Plus it butts right up
to the focus knob and looks like it belongs there.

Sorry this is kind of long, but quite a few things here. Again, thanks
to Mike and his great site, Clay for all his insight and warnings.
Without you two, it would have taken a lot longer than it has (not to
mention a wrong turn or two.) Thanks for putting up with me.

--------------------------------------------

--Sometimes I think that the surest sign of intelligent life on other
planets is the fact that they haven't tried to contact us yet.  (Bill
Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes)

TIA

jchalfen@attbi.com
jchalfen@aol.com

Subject:	Old vs "New ETX 125's
Sent:	Saturday, March 16, 2002 20:06:56
From:	mishanna@pacbell.net (Gary Guiffre)
Thank you for your wonderful and informative web site. I have learned a
great deal from all the people who have sent in their thoughts and
information to you.  I recently purchased an ETX 125 scope in Dec of
2001 from the Discovery Store. After I purchased the scope I discovered
your great web site and was a little alarmed to read the accounts from
people that seem to say that if they have an "old" 125 they got less
than a top quality scope and feel the need to have it immediately
replaced with the new and improved version.

I know from the letters I've read on your site that my scope is not the
new and improved version produced after Sept. 2001. The scope seems to
works just fine and I have not experienced any problems at all, but I
feel that maybe I should be concerned about this, as others seem to be.
My questions are as follows:

1. What are the changes between the old and  new versions, and what
problems do they solve that make the old version of the scope not as
good or reliable as the new version?

2. Are the changes that were made to improve the scope of such great
magnitude that having an old version that seems to work well can be
compared to having a problem that is just waiting to happen?

3. Should I try to replace this scope with the new and improved version,
or because it seems to be working just fine, I should leave well enough
alone?

Any insight you could provide would be greatly appreciated, as I am a
novice at this and would like to get maximum enjoyment from this
purchase. I have ordered your book from Amazon and am eagerly
anticipating it's arrival.

Regards,
Gary
Mike here: Many products, whether hardware or software, will continue to go through a life cycle that includes upgrades. A good rule of thumb is that if you are happy with the old version why risk making things worse by upgrading. That applies to hardware as well as software. On the other side of this is does the new version (hardware or software) provide so many enhancements or improvements that you absolutely positively should upgrade? Or does it just correct a flaw that you may or may not experience in your usage? These are decisions you must make before you upgrade your car to the new model, your computer, your operating system, your Autostar, or your telescope. The original model ETX-125EC works fine. The new model works better (more stability as a result of some mechanical changes). But is the change THAT noticeable or important to you? That would depend upon how you use your telescope. Some people buy "top of the line" to avoid frequent upgrading. I do that with my computer purchases. If I did that with my telescope purchases I'd have an LX200. I don't buy top of the line with my car and so upgrade (buy a new one) every few years (although I expect to keep my recently purchased Hybrid for many years; neat car). Other people buy low end computers with the idea that low cost means "throw away" when the low end gets raised. So you, like many telescope users of ANY model, need to decide when the telescope you purchased no longer meets your needs/expectations. When that time comes, "upgrade" to a newer model or an entirely new telescope. Keep in mind what I said earlier about the life cycle. If you swapped out your ETX-125EC today, would you be disappointed if you learned that a slightly "improved" model came out the following week? I'm not saying one will but the life cycle theory says it will happen several times.

And:

Thank you for your prompt reply! I am very happy with my "old" ETX 125
and really have no desire to change it out for the latest slight
improvement. I kinda figured that this might be "much ado about nothing"
for the type of use I enjoy with this telescope..

Looking forward to your Book!!
Gary

Subject:	disassenbly of 125
Sent:	Saturday, March 16, 2002 8:35:00
From:	conover@digital.net (Don Conover)
Don Conover here in Titusville Fl.  I buggered the power connector on my
125 and was wondering if anyone has been able to remove the base ring so
the power and switch module can be slid out and worked on? I made an
external power pack for 8 C cells out of PVC pipe and the plug was not
the Meade unit.  Now when I remove the external plug, the internal
batteries don't come on line.  I need to bend the N.C. contact back in
place and can't do it without better access.  Thanks for a great
website,  Don
Mike here: There are several disassembly reports on the Telescope Tech Tips page which might help.
Subject:	ETX 125 Focus
Sent:	Friday, March 15, 2002 20:33:58
From:	jchalfen@attbi.com (John Chalfen)
Well, I'm all done. Got my dec drive fixed, base fixed, scope is finally
one whole unit again. I have one last question. I have had this scope
for over a year, haven't had a chance to use it. That's why I did all
things at once, so I can use it this year. Now that it is all together,
I ran the focuser from one end to the other a couple of times, and I
noticed that that going counter-clockwise the knob comes out as it
should and stops. Going clockwise, the knob goes back in but never
stops. Just turns and turns and turns. Focus is working, nothing falls
out, nothing rattling, so I assume this is normal?

Thanks, and this should be my last question for awhile.


--------------------------------------------


--Sometimes I think that the surest sign of intelligent life on other
planets is the fact that they haven't tried to contact us yet.  (Bill
Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes)

TIA

jchalfen@attbi.com
jchalfen@aol.com
Mike here: I don't think this is normal. It sounds like the knob is loose on the focus shaft. OR something is loose/stripped inside the OTA.
Subject:	Eyepiece Opinions
Sent:	Friday, March 15, 2002 7:20:50
From:	JDishman@framatech.com (Dishman, James)
Just looking for your own personal opinions here either from personal
experience, or from things you have heard:

I have an ETX-125 recently "supercharged"

I am getting ready to buy a new eyepiece and have narrowed it down to 2
choices.  Which do you think is better (not binding, just looking for
your opinion)

4.7mm Meade 4000 Ultra Wide Angle

OR

4.8mm Televue Nagler Type 1

What do you think?

James B. (Jim) Dishman
Mike here: Both of these eyepieces will exceed the maximum theoretical magnification for the ETX-125EC. I have no personal experience with either but have looked through an ETX-125EC with the Meade 4.3mm and was surprised at how good the view was. Your mileage may vary. You might want to look at the Buyer/New User Tips page and the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page for other comments on eyepieces.
Subject:	ETX 125/EC Dec Drive
Sent:	Wednesday, March 13, 2002 19:38:46
From:	jchalfen@attbi.com (John Chalfen)
Ok...Got my binding problem fixed, done my Dec mod, got the whole works
back together. Just putting it through the motions making sure my
connections were right and I noticed my dec motor sounded a little
funny.

I took the fork arm off and ran the motor without the tube adapter in
place so I could see the gears working. I noticed that there is a
definite wobble in the motor housing. From the looks of the housing, 2
screws hold the housing together, 2 screws hold the housing to the fork
arm. Has anyone else seen/heard of this wobble? Seems like a gear shaft
is bent. Since I never messed with the motor or housing during my mod,
I'm thinking it has always been there, just never noticed it before. I'm
wondering if I leave this wobble if it will eventually break down the
screw mounts holding it to the fork arm.....Any ideas from anyone?
--------------------------------------------

jchalfen@attbi.com
jchalfen@aol.com
And from our hardware expert:
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
First idea is to leave it alone...you are starting to tread in the
delicate encoder and sensor area and a place where the slightest touch
can render your scope....and your warrant ....inactive.

There is a certain amount of wobble that must be taken into account
anyway. Each time a direction is reversed the telescope "loads" in the
opposite direction, thereby transmitting the torque via the motor and
reducer gears opposite that the motor was moving before.

It is very likely that you have substantially OVERADJUSTED the DEC
worm-to-drive gear pressure, thereby putting most of this load on the
only place left to flex:  the motor assembly.  Back off in increasing
degrees the pressure you have applied between the worm gear and the
drive gear.  Your do NOT want them so tight that they are
binding.....this sounds like what you are experiencing.  The motor
assembly is acting the only way it can in such a situation!

Best of luck!

Clay Sherrod
And:
Thanks Clay, Mike. Since I haven't adjusted the worm or motor gear, it
must have come this way. I'll keep poking at it and adjust the worm
tension. Thanks for the warning about opening the motor housing, I
*really* didn't want to get into it that deep. Even though the warranty
is out, there are still some parts I just don't want to mess with.

BTW: I have to thank Mike and his great site, Clay for the very useful
insights, and Bob's LX200 page as well as Scopetronix for all the useful
information while I trudged through my scope. It is greatly appreciated.

Subject:	ETX-125EC PARANIOA!
Sent:	Wednesday, March 13, 2002 14:53:10
From:	MellowshipSlinky@aol.com
I've been visiting your website for a month now and I must say it's most
informative and user friendly. Hopefully, i'll continue to be a regular
visitor....I say hopefully because having just read some of the feedback
on the ETX 125 I'm a little worried that I may have made a bad mistake!

I decided, a few months ago, that I was going to invest in an ETX.
Originally I was looking at the 90EC as, even though I was compromising
a little on aperture, the portability factor and the autostar, combined
with the reported reliability of Meade scopes balanced this out. Believe
me, trekking around the freezing English countryside with an 8"
newtonian only to find that, by the time you've set the thing up, your
old friends the constellation cumulo nimbus had blotted out the sky
would make even Patrick Moore question his chosen profession.....and he
gets paid to do what we love!

Anyway, sorry for the digression, as you may know, Meade Instruments in
the UK are almost twice the price of those sold in the US so, I decided
to combine the annual trip my wife and I make to New York, with a
telescope purchasing expedition.....thus allowing me to buy a larger
scope. I started trawling the net for options and came to a decision on
the ETX125 as, even though this pushes my budget to it's limit, I
thought, what the hell, it's only costing $200 more than a etx90 would
in the UK  and it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.

There were some really great deals on a popular website that shares it's
name with a river in South America ($715 for an ETX125!!) but by the
time they replied to my mail voicing my concerns about delivery time
scales and returns policies should anything be wrong, they'd all been
sold, unsuprisingly, so I started looking elsewhere. I found a dealer in
White Plains who said they'd order one to be there for the date we
arrive and let me have it for $900...I held on for the aforementioned
website to accrew some stock but, as time for our visit draws close, I
could wait no longer and I went ahead and ordered from the
dealer...paying up front.

Ironically, pleased with my purchase, I then went online....visited the
website and....you've guessed it, they've got one for $200 less than i'm
paying!!

To be honest this doesn't bite as much as it should, I would prefer to
pick it up from a dealer in case of problems and my limited time to sort
them out - particularly after reading your ETX125 feedback page! I
didn't know there was a problem with the old etx's - or even that there
were two versions I am really worried now as, $900 + $120 for a hard
case is quite a large outlay for a product which, when I pick it up I'm
not going to know if I have an inferior model. The dealer is ordering
the scope in, so there won't be any other models there to compare it
with - and, having read about the chap who's scope didn't appear for two
months , i'm not even sure it will be there in time for our visit as
promised, Meade being out of stock.

Do you think I should forget the whole thing now and settle for a ETX90
(the 105 is more here than the 125 is there!) or is the ETX125 worth all
the stress I am going through!

Thanks so much for reading this rant i'm so sorry it's such a long mail
but you understand why I'm so preturbed!

Regards, Robert Vanderpere-Brown
Mike here: Keep in mind that there are likely thousands of the ETX-125EC telescopes sold (I'm guessing). But certainly the numbers are way higher than the small number of user issues you see discussed on my ETX Site. Also keep in mind that most times, people write when they have problems, not when they are not having a problem. You'll see some examples of the latter in the User Observation pages and in the Feedback sections. Can the scopes be improved? Sure, but that adds costs. Do they work as designed? They seem to from my experience. If you really want the best telescope you have to spend more money. If you want a reasonable compromise on optical quality vs mechnical construction vs capability vs cost, then the ETX line is certainly worth considering.
Subject:	Eyepiece choices
Sent:	Wednesday, March 13, 2002 9:02:55
From:	markp@waveworks.net (Mark P.)
I'm a new ETX 125 EC owner and am enjoying the scope.  I have the 26mm
that came with it, a 2x Barlow and a 9.7 mm Supper Plossl eyepieces. Now
I'm thinking about a TeleView Nagler.  Would the 7mm push the ETX125EC
to its limits?  Would it be too much? Or would I be better off with the
new 13 mm.  I like the idea of big eye relief and wide view. It seems
silly to purchase a 9mm Nagler wide when I have the 9.7mm Supper Plossl.

Thanks in advance.

Mark P.

"The early bird may get the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
Mike here: See the Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page for comments on eyepieces. Also, keep in mind the maximum theoretical magnification for any telescope (see the FAQ page if you are not familiar with this calculation). Short answer: 7mm will exceed the max.
Subject:	Re: ETX 125  Old or New Model Worries.
Sent:	Monday, March 11, 2002 20:29:13
From:	stevegilberts@earthlink.net (steve gilberts)
Thank you very much for the reply.  I have to agree with everything you
say.  My old 90 EC still works great and the new one seems to be okay
with the exception of the horizontal lock not quite locking the base
(though the drive motor seems to engage ok).

Unfortunately I received disturbing news today from Meade.  After trying
all day to get through to a representative ( I dread the long distance
bill we are going to get) I finally spoke to Paul in technical support. 
I explained to him what I had learned from your site and described the
way the fork mount appeared.  He told me that I have one of the older
models.  He went on to tell me that both the old and new models are
being shipped out and that once they are in the box there is no way to
tell which is which.  He said he did not know why the dealer I worked
with was promised that it would be a new one shipped since they
themselves don't know but it would be the dealers problem and I should
complain to him.  When I asked him if Meade had a complaint dept. he
connected me to the voice mail for a Mr. Scott Byron.  I left a somewhat
irate message and later this evening found a message from Mr. Byron on
our answering machine asking me to call him about the matter and (thank
goodness) leaving me an 800 number.

Whether or not the scope is good is no longer the issue for me. Mr.
Brunker (the telescope dealer) was assured that a new up-graded model
was going to be sent.  I suppose the person he spoke with was afraid
that Mr. Brunker might cancel the order if he was told the truth. And of
course the manual that they placed with the scope describes the fully
upgraded version.  This appears to me as deception.  Because of their
behavior I worry that the scope I received may be a returned defective
one on top of everything else.  But what can I do.  The only recourse I
have is to complain to the Better Business Bureau.  Meade will get the
complaint and probably laugh it off.  They pull in enough money that
they don't have to worry about small annoyance from Indiana.

I'm sorry to sound so negative but my wife and I had been looking
forward to getting this telescope so much.  I have been through one of
the roughest times in my life recently and the 125 was kind of a way to
get our minds off things.  Its true that if I hadn't found out about the
discrepancies I might have never noticed and been quite happy with the
scope.  Ignorance is bliss. But as it is I do know and the damage is
done.  I'll never be able to look at the 125 without thinking about what
Meade did.  Maybe my talk with Mr. Byron will turn out okay but I'm not
getting my hopes up.

Anyway, thank you again for replying.  I'm very impressed with your site
and it's wealth of knowledge.  I've got my Sears toolbox as described in
your accessories page and after my feelings have healed a little I'll be
setting it up for the scope.  I noticed that you attend the Sci Fi
conventions out there.  Have you ever seen Alan Clarks work? He is about
the only artist I know personally on the west coast.  If you have the
time please drop in on my site at homepage.mac.com/gartengeist. I
don't have any space paintings yet, but I will be doing some eventually.

Sincerely,

Steve Gilberts
And an update:
I talked to Scott Byrom (not Byron) today and he said Meade would
correct the "mistake"with the order.  I am cautiously optimistic.  He
said the upgraded ones are on back order but I don't mind the wait.  I
will keep you posted on what happens.

Subject:	ETX 125  Old or New Model Worries.
Sent:	Monday, March 11, 2002 8:39:28
From:	stevegilberts@earthlink.net (steve gilberts)
I recently purchased an ETX125 through a local dealer.  The order was
placed at the end of December and it took 2 months for it to come in. 
During my wait I discovered this wonderful site and started learning
more about my future scope and new tips on how to enjoy my older 90EC
model.  I became concerned when I read about the discrepancy with the
old and new models.  Since it had not arrived yet I contacted the dealer
with my concerns.  He in turn contacted Meade and was assured by them
that it was indeed the new model that would be shipped.

When I got the scope one of the first things I looked at was the specs. 
The manual is for the 90, 105, and 125 and it does say that it is all
ball bearings.  But upon reading Perry Tomasetti's problems I decide to
check the fork mount as he did.  Like his original mine has the brass
nut and no holes to view any bearings.  And the arrows are on both fork
mounts.  If mine is a new one should it have the opening to see the
bearings?

This is a very expensive item for my wife and me.  I am a diabetic and
this tends to make the household budget tight.  As we purchased this on
a credit card and are going to be paying for it over the next year I
would like to know that we received the best model available.  And I
would like to know that I can trust the Meade corporation.  Can anyone
give me some insight to this problem.

Steve
Mike here: From reports I've received, there seems to be some variation in "new" vs "new" models. Some new models are different than other new models. What the affect of the differences are is not yet clear. I still have my original ETX as well as one of the original ETX-125EC models and have not been unhappy. Could they be better? Sure? Do they work? You bet.
Subject:	Meade vs Intes
Sent:	Saturday, March 9, 2002 8:00:30
From:	dmarquis@webnet.qc.ca (Denis Marquis)
Thanks a lot for your wonderful ETX site.
I look for buy a Mak scope for planetary view in my backyard a little
bit brighter. I want to know if you have already test the optical
quality of the ETX-125 vs the Intes MK-67 or similar ota. How details
and contrast appear between these two scopes. I have never seen a site
or discussion forum who do a comparison between these two scopes.
Thanks a lot for your answer !
                                                          Denis Marquis
                                                          Qubec. Canada.
                                                          dmarquis@webnet.qc.ca

Subject:	re: ETX-125 ... new or old??
Sent:	Wednesday, March 6, 2002 22:06:28
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	sdwest@mchsi.com
Ya know?  It strikes me that it ought to be very simple to
determine if a new 125 is new or old style...

Simply look at the manual in the box... 
if it includes the 105, it's probably a new unit
(since the -manual- will say it's got ball bearings,
and you could rightly scream at Meade if it didn't
on after-purchase inspection)

that's -purely- logical guesswork, unconfirmed by playing
with an ETX125 (new or old)

--dick
And this:

Subject:	125 serial number - old or new
Sent:	Thursday, March 7, 2002 3:59:58
From:	wes.trimble@sympatico.ca (Wesley Trimble)
RE: New ETX125EC
Meade can tell by the serial # in the battery box if the scope is new
production or not.
Wes Trimble
Toronto, Canada
And even more info:

Subject:	ETX125EC Rev 9-10, where??
Sent:	Thursday, March 7, 2002 7:49:47
From:	ptomasetti@hologic.com (Perry Tomasetti)
I bought an ETX125EC last November and started reading your site at the
same time. As soon as I realized that there were issues with 125's
original design I began to use every clue I could to determine whether
mine was the old or new version. I had the white packing blocks that
were suggested to be one telltale sign of the revision and triangles on
both forks. But I had significant image shift on focus adjustment, the
horizontal rotation clutch went nearly to full travel before engaging,
there was lateral fork sag in polar mode, and even after training the
motors to distribute the grease I had problems keeping a steady motor
speed while adjusting the declination of the optical tube.

I called Meade and offered to pay them to evaluate and upgrade my base
design if necessary. The customer service representative I spoke to said
they couldn't and wouldn't do that and suggested I sell my 3 month old
scope as used and look for somewhere to buy one with the new design.
(I'm going to look up their Marketing Manager and pass that gem of
advice back upstream.)

I remembered reading about the bearing and support redesign and decided
that it should be easy enough to see what kind of fork bearings I had.
Standing behind the scope I spun off the left hand fork knob, lifted the
metal index ring and observed that there was a small brass fitting that
received the screw from the center of the knob, but nothing else
remarkable. I went back to the Discovery Channel Store where I bought
the scope and did the same thing to the unit they had on display. What a
honkin' difference!! A gray metal bearing sleeve, bearing mount and
partial view of the metal inner support is visible through a 1 inch hole
in the plastic. Different as Night and Day from what I had.

Gotta love those Discovery Store folks. After explaining my
disappointment with my $900 purchase and promising to buy $200 more in
'goodies' for the scope, the store manager offered to exchange mine with
another if I could bring mine back in the box. I took her up on it and
the next day I brought my much improved replacement home.

I had to re-attach the 90 degree mirror at the back of the scope, but
that was no big deal. I immediately noticed a qualitative difference in
the motors, which sound smoother, quieter and more solid than the old
ones did. They engage nearly immediately when changing directions up /
down or left / right. The clutch is nice and tight and allows me to use
manual force or the motor to move the turntable when its unlocked.
Lateral fork deflection is minimal. The image shift is gone and the
optical quality is excellent. Had a great time with my 5 year old,
viewing and tracking the Moon, Saturn, Jupiter and the Orion Nebula.
This is the way the scope should have been done the first time around!

I'm glad I screwed up the courage to go into the store and start taking
apart one of their display models. I'm also glad I tested the customer
service attitude of the Discovery Channel Store. They really came
through.

By the way, to get to the label with the manufacture date you need to
open the plain brown cardboard shipping box and pull the display box
out. Then you have to remove the lid of the display box and look in the
upper left hand corner of one of the long sides of the brown cardboard
display box bottom. ( I didn't notice that until I got the scope home.)

Regards,
Perry Tomasetti
Northern Massachusetts

Subject:	ETX125EC rev 9-10, where??
Sent:	Monday, March 4, 2002 11:40:25
From:	sdwest@mchsi.com (sdwest)
Armed with a list of dealer telephone numbers from the Meade website, I
called all the dealers within a 200 mile radius of my home, around 20 of
them.  All were willing to check their in-stock units for the two
telltale "Dr. Clay Criterion" in determining whether or not the scope
was an older issue or the one containing the metal bearings.  None were
able to find a date on the outer box, but all found that both fork arms
contained the tiny molded dec "triangle" or arrow.  There are two
dealers in my area that I visited in addition, and, unless the date is
encoded into the UPC somehow, I could find no date on the box either. 
So my question is:

Does anyone know of any dealers that have the later model in stock? 
Meade is currently out of stock (of course!!), and for at least another
two weeks, according to the midwest Meade rep.

None of the dealers I spoke with were willing to admit that they had
ever heard of the "metal-bearing" dec axis upgrade.  I boldly suggested
they take a look at your website! (I hope you don't mind)

Thanks to all in advance.

Wade Calvert
Port Byron, IL
Mike here: The only definitive way to tell is to open it up, thereby voiding the warranty. There is a code on the box but it appears that only Meade can successfully interpret it.

And:

Several stores in the area have these scopes in stock, and I'm tempted
to go for one. What do you think about just buying one of the earlier
ones and figure on trying to make the mods described by Dr. Clay
sometime down the road?

I ordered a Meade LX200GPS 10" from Mike Fowler at OPT on Saturday. 
They should be arriving at OPT this week, maybe today or tomorrow.  But
I'd still like to have an ETX125EC just to play around with.

Thanks for the response, by the way.
Mike here: There is really nothing that wrong with the original model. I have one and it isn't tuned up. Seems to work acceptably well.
Subject:	ETX-125 how fix Apogee 8x50 finder?
Sent:	Sunday, March 3, 2002 7:10:07
From:	antenna@btinternet.com (John Garrett)
I bought a used 125 last December and have enjoyed some excellent
viewing with it. However, one part of it that is poor is the 8x25
right-angle finder. The finder on the 8" Meade LX50 that I had before
was also very poor so I bought an Apogee 8x50 right-angle erect-image
finder and found it a huge improvement. It fitted into the LX's rings
with no problem.

I'd like to hear from anyone who has come up with a neat way to fix an
8x50 finder to the ETX-125.

My other grumble about the ETX is the image shift during focussing.
Would this still be a problem with a motor focusser? I assume, as the
only readily available motor focussers use the original focussing shaft,
that image shift will still occur, though the reduction of wobble of the
scope by not touching it might permit more rapid focussing without going
through the point of best focus so many times. Does anyone make a motor
focus to fit the eyepiece - Crayford style? (By the way, the Meade
focusser is now priced over here at 150, say US$200. How can that be
justified, I wonder?)

Much enjoy your web site - thanks, Mike. All the best from cloudy
Suffolk, England.

John
Mike here: Since you said this was a used telescope, I wonder whether it is one of the earlier ones that could suffer some damage during shipment which created the excessive image shift. Meade quickly fixed that problem but you'd have to return it to Meade for repair (it was free back then). Alternatively, you can try to fix it yourself; see the article "ETX-90 Image Shift fix" on the Telescope Tech Tips page. I should also point out that you need to continue to use the two little white Styrofoam inserts that Meade supplied whenever you pack the telescope for transportation.

And:

Thanks for that speedy reply, Mike!

I'll follow your suggestions.

Subject:	Trouble Focusing
Sent:	Saturday, March 2, 2002 20:42:38
From:	jrsamalik@comcast.net
I am newbie to telescopes and hope one of you veterans can help me. I
use to have a telescope when I was going up and really enjoyed it. It
fueled the imagination of a kid about space and the wonders of the
universe. I now have an 8 year old and a 5 year old and wished to share
the same experience with them. So I purchased a Meade ETX-125EC Astro
Telescope about a year ago and have a Meade Series 4000 8mm - 24mm zoom
eyepiece.

My problem is when I look at the moon, everything is perfect. You feel
like you're right there on the moon. However, when you try to look at
Venus, Mars, Jupiter, or even Saturn, you get a fuzzy looking circle.
This is even trying to adjust the zoom lens, or even changing lenses to
the basic one that came with the telescope. Saturn I can see the slight
outline of the rings, but no detail. This past summer, when Mars was at
its closet to Earth, I took the telescope to my in-law's house in the
country. Even after having it set out for a while, I only saw a slightly
larger orangish disk, and again, no detail at all. Meade's advertising
and brochures say you can see nebulas and other things with this
telescope, but I haven't been able to see anything. It is very
disappointing!

I contacted Meade to see if maybe it is my optics, but they said that if
I can see the moon perfectly then there is nothing wrong with the lenses
or the optics of the telescope. They just use an excuse like upper level
atmospheric disturbance or something like that. I find it hard to
believe that this would be a constant factor that is present whenever I
attempt to look in the sky. Needless to say, my children are also a
little disappointed.

I apologize for this long winded plea for help, but I felt that some
explanation was needed. I am asking if anyone out there has any
suggestions that can help in both mine and my children's experience with
astronomy. Maybe I am doing something wrong that can be a quick fix.

  Thank you
Mike here: There are many factors that can affect viewing. Atmospheric turbulence can affect the views and doesn't require clouds. Heat rising from roofs or parking lots can ruin images. Also, you may be expecting too much; you should be able to see Rings of Saturn, including the Cassini Division. But if seeing is lousy or if you have not let the telescope reach "thermal equilibrium" (which can take up to an hour for the ETX-125EC) then viewing will not be great. You didn't mention how the views were with the standard 26mm eyepiece. Remember, that with an focal length of 8mm on the zoom eyepiece you are approaching the maximum theoretical magnification for the ETX-125 (which is 250X). Is it also possible that your telescope needs collimating. Have you tried a "star test"?

And:

Thank you for your quick reply.  I have not been able to do a star test
yet, but will try to do it the next time the weather is good enough
since I'm in Michigan.  The view with the 26mm eyepiece has about the
same resolution as the zoom eyepiece.  Even though I have seen the Rings
of Saturn, I have yet to see the Cassini Division in the Rings of Saturn
even with the lower setting of the zoom lens.  I was thinking about just
getting a 10mm eyepiece, which someone mentioned would be a good all
purpose eyepiece.  I was also thinking about contacting a local
astronomy club to see if they could take a look at my telescope to see
what they think.  Do you think that a local club would be receptive to
helping someone, or would they want the person to be a member of their
club?
Mike here: Most amateur astronomers are absolutely willing to help others. And it doesn't hurt to join a local club; there are many benefits for the minimal cost.
Subject:	image shift
Sent:	Saturday, March 2, 2002 7:23:15
From:	Katbird495@aol.com
Iam enjoying my new etx125.The play in az and dec does not hender the go
to acuracy in this scope nor my etx90.There is huge image shift in the
125 ,not so noticable in the 90.Is there any quick fix? still enjoying
your site   Jim
Mike here: If you are experiencing an excessively large image shift in the ETX-125EC you may have one of the original ones that was shipped (and then sat on a dealer's shelf for a long time). There was a problem with shipping that was causing some "damage" that Meade quickly fixed. Since the scope is new I'd suggest returning it to the dealer. Alternatively you can return it to Meade for a warranty repair. If you want to attempt a repair yourself (which might invalidate the warranty, see the "ETX-90 Image Shift Fix" on the Telescope Tech Tips page.

And:

Thanks.When i purchased it,i asked if it was the new version, and they
assured me it was.I did have to send that one back to SHUTAN because
only one moter was working correctly.He did promptly send me another
that he had ordered with the first.I think i will call him back to
confirm..thanks ,i just got a hit on my etx90 for sale.he said he saw it
on your site ....looking up       jim

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