Last updated: 31 March 2002
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT. Additional information on these models is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX 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:	ETX-70EC DEC Lock problem
Sent:	Sunday, March 31, 2002 15:25:14
From: (Paul Vavra)
I have a similar situation to that described by "gpenney" on his/her
Mrach 1 post (and I don't see an answer on the page).  I had stored my
ETX-70EC (temporarily) on the tripod, with it locked in the full
vertical position.  Within a couple of days I noticed that the telescope
was beyond horizontal.... the vertical/dec lock had failed.  It will no
longer lock in place in ANY position (almost as if gears were stripped).

Is this something I can repair myself?  Are any necessary
parts/instructions available?  Or do I need to return it to Meade for

Thanks for your help!

Mike here: Contact Meade. It is likely the Right Tube Adapter has failed, one of the reason I always suggest leaving the DEC lock unlocked or at least the tube all the way down when the telescope is not in use. On the non-refractor ETX models, the replacement is easy; don't know how easy it will be on the ETX-70AT.
Subject:	Author! Author!  (or: re: Meade ET60AT )
Sent:	Friday, March 29, 2002 21:59:40
From: (Richard Seymour)
To: (Mike Weasner)
...should read his own book... (page 39)

Mike wrote (and this is the second time within the week, i think):
Mike here: It was probably set at the store by a prospective purchaser...
Since it is new I would suggest just doing a RESET from the
Utilities menu. That will take you back to the start. 
==end quoth===

Reset is under the -Setup- menu... scroll UP once to reach it from Align.

Mike here: Duh, that's what I get for trying to answer email when I'm asleep!
Subject:	AutoStar Updates & Laptop PCs
Sent:	Thursday, March 28, 2002 9:48:59
From: (Floyd Teter)
This is a plea for assistance from your ETX-70AT users updating Autostar
(with the 494 controller) with the 506 cable.

I'm attempting to update from my laptop (a Toshiba Satellite I purchased
late in 2001).  Unfortunately, my laptop does not have a serial port.  I
have a built-in Ethernet card, a modem, a parallel port, and 2 USB
ports, but no serial port - a configuration that's becoming pretty
common with laptops as well as some new desktops.

I usually use a Targus Port Replicator when I need to use a serial
device.  The replicator plugs into one of the USB ports and provides me
with a serial port, a additional parallel port, and two additional USB
ports.  For really fussy serial peripherals, I have a USB-to-serial
conversion cable.

The problem with updating the Autostar is that I cannot establish a
connection to the telescope using either the Astronomer's Control Panel
or Meade's AUS.  I've tried both the port replicator and the conversion
cable without success.

I've contacted Meade Customer Service.  They are already aware of the
problem.  Meade agreed that a growing number of users are finding that
USB ports have replaced serial ports in newer PCs, but they have no
plans to support USB ports at this time.  The official guidance was to
"...check with Radio Shack.  Maybe they can rig something up for you."

Although I was pretty amazed at Meade's response (or lack thereof), I
did check with my local Radio Shack.  Not only was Radio Shack unable to
help, they were a bit surprised to learn that Meade's official fix for
the problem was a referral to Radio Shack.

At this point, I'm stuck.  Anybody have any ideas (short of returning
the ETX-70AT and spending the dough on an Orion StarMax)?

Best Regards,

P.S. - Great website!  I look forward to your book.
Mike here: Keyspan makes a USB-serial adapter that works on Macs and PCs. I use the Mac one to talk to the Autostar. However, just having the connection doesn't mean you'll be able to update your #494 Autostar; currently there is NO update from Meade for the #494.


Thanks so much for the quick response!  I'll check out the Keyspan
adapter in the hopes that Meade will come up with a 494 update someday.

Subject:	meade ET 60 AT
Sent:	Tuesday, March 26, 2002 20:14:09
I just bought this telescope and I'm already frustrated!.  The manual
said to keep pressing enter until the country/state menu pops up on the
display but it never did.  Is there a way I can enjoy this telescope
without any hassels.  Please advice.  I appreciate it.
Mike here: It was probably set at the store by a prospective purchaser... Since it is new I would suggest just doing a RESET from the Utilities menu. That will take you back to the start.
Subject:	RE: RE: snap
Sent:	Monday, March 25, 2002 21:25:38
From: (Ken Hurd)
well, thanks for the info, I was kinda impatient and after a few hours I
figured out how to dismantle it. It seems the plastic clip that allows
the motor to float snapped off. A little thin wire and a piece of a cig
pack and she's purring along again. Glad I watched Mcgiver when I was

Subject:	snap
Sent:	Monday, March 25, 2002 19:22:46
From: (Ken Hurd)
While was turning I heard a snap and now it doesn't turn anymore. I
would like to take it apart to see what's rattling inside but am not
familiar with the procedure. Any info you can point me too that will
show me how to take it apart? Has to be something that was connected to
the drive motor and plastic. I'll probably have to throw this thing away

Mike here: Well, lets see. If you were turning left and heard the snap, then it could be the steering column. If you were turning right, maybe it was just a spring that you heard. That probably only applies in cars with the steering column on the left. But then I'm not really a car expert. Maybe you should try "Car Talk". Or were you talking about something else? If so, could you be more specific?


I'm looking for an exploded view of the etx 70 or something similar, If
you have that or can point me in that direction that would be great, And
I thank you in advance.
Mike here: Ah ha! See the Miscellaneous section of the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	ETX 70 focus knob
Sent:	Friday, March 22, 2002 20:53:43
From: (Dave Johnson)
The first thing I did was get a piece of moderately stiff rubber tubing,
with an I.D. slightly smaller than the O.D. of the knob -- think it is
3/8, was some fuel line I had in the shop.  Wriggled it over the knob,
trimmed it to a length that just barely clears the base when at zenith,
& voila!  Much easier to use (but still a tough nut when the tube
approaches vertical & the forks get in the way).  It is flexible enough
so that it shouldn't cause any damage if it is bumped...I first thought
about making a metal extension but was concerned about the bump-damage
Dave Johnson


Wings of Mercy Home Page:
Crusader Assoc. Home Page:

Subject:	RE: observations and alignments
Sent:	Friday, March 22, 2002 7:55:46
From: (Mikel Stoer)
Concerning the alignments posting (maybe more an ETX70 thing tho).  I
have an ETX60 and concerning planet observation I'd like to throw out a
couple of my observations.

Every time that I've looked at Saturn I've been able to discern the
rings as rings, granted no Cassini's Division but the rings have always
been visible as rings. On Jupiter I have with fairly good viewing
conditions seen and shown others the two major cloud bands and four
moons. Jupiter is always visible as a sphere, never just a blur. Granted
this is with a no name MA4mm that I got when I got my scope so that
works out to about 87.5X magnification but this has never been an issue.
I have always been able to achieve good focus with this eyepiece (of
course maybe I just don't know any better :') ,I am fairly new to this).

Also I have found the accuracy of my goto was improved more than I would
have thought possible by insuring a level foundation (in my case a SLICK
U212 photo tripod and a home made adapter I turned on my lathe and
fitted with the proper mounting hardware, total cost for my adapter was
about $3.00). I had always insured proper orientation (north etc. but
had just eyeballed the level, after I put a small torpedo level on the
scope (across the ota) and leveled it, turned it 90 degrees and
re-leveled, WOW... I went from somewhere close to darned near right on
every time. I even slewed from Saturn to Jupiter with the 4mm eyepiece
in place and been close enough to see and center Jupiter without
changing anything else.

Never had double vision tho... at least not since I got out of the NAVY



Subject:	stx60at at higher power
Sent:	Thursday, March 21, 2002 9:39:56
From: (David A Tinney)
thanks for the reply on my last letter to you concerning a tripod. just
want to get some input from you on magnifican of the i told
you before i was having wonderful results with my 9mm eyepeice with the
2x barlow which brings me up to 78x.....wonderful veiwing!!! but i think
i now have the bug to see thinking of getting either the
pl5 or the pl4mm to use with the barlow the pl4 will bring it up to
175x...does the 60at handle that mag pretty good?...if so i guess thats
as high as i will go.....believe me its enough i just want to get the
scope to operate at slowly getting what i need for this great
scope. as i told you im getting a tripod also......whats your input on
the 4mm with the barlow up to 175x..... thanks again for your
help.....dave........p.s. thanks for the tip on the comet..ill be on the
Mike here: Keep in mind the formula for the maximum theoretical magnification for ANY telescope. See the FAQ if you are unsure of the (simple) formula.
Subject:	wonderful night
Sent:	Wednesday, March 20, 2002 20:32:29
From: (David A Tinney)
i have wrote you a few times since i got my etx60at this past christmas.
just wanted to drop you a line and give you the latest. being that im
new to this hobby i go out everyonce in a while and see what wonderful
things i can see in the sky...tonite !!! 3-20-02 was the best night i
ever had whith this new toy of mine. i was not sure how well this thing
would really work but tonite i was able to see not only the moon but
jupiter and what really amazed me was seeing saturn....the
rings......this was my first real look at these 2 planets threw the 60at
and i was really impressed.....i used first a 25mm to spot everything
then i put in my 9mm with the2x barlow which brings the mag up to
78x.....saturn was clear....rings and all.....guess you can tell im
excited huh..ha..ha..i have a question for ya! 78x mag im using a
metal table stand for plants really,,i notice at high mag..78x im
getting the wobblies while focosing.....what do you think about the etx
standard field tripod? im thinking of getting one......the delux is a
little spendy..200 dollars....or is there another type i can
use.....anyway im gonna run just wanted to share my great gazing night
with you....see you soon....
David Tinney-AA2XL
My Webpage
Mike here: Super. Glad you had a good time. Be certain to check out Comet Ikeya-Zhang; it is really nice in the ETX-70AT. As to the tripod, yeah, that could work for more stability.
Subject:	ETX-70
Sent:	Wednesday, March 20, 2002 0:16:39
Does anyone know what the size and pitch of the threads of the ETX-70
objective assembly is?  Calls to Meade have yielded only shrugs.
Don S

Subject:	re: ETX70 and #506 cable kit
Sent:	Friday, March 15, 2002 22:23:08
From: (Richard Seymour)
Unlike Mike, I -have- run my ETX70 with a 506 cable using the
StarryNight CD which is packed with both the scope and the cable.

As Mike said, you want to get the free Updates for -both- StarryNight
-and- the Astronomer's Control Panel.  (the full ACP update is 15
megabytes). It has been about a year since i fetched them, but i think
The STarryNight one is -needed-, and the ACP one is merely desirable
(but the displayed date will be incorrect without it... but operations
will be correct).

Both updates/patches are free (although you are invited to purchase the
full editions).

The "30-day" limit is -only- for the voice response/control portions of
the programs... they will continue to -operate- after that (and it's 30
USES, not 30 days... i haven't used up the 30 in that year).

it -can- work, but it -is- tedious getting it going the first time...
good luck

Subject:	ETX70 and #506 cable kit
Sent:	Tuesday, March 12, 2002 23:53:30
From: (Anelli Luca, IT)
I just bought a Meade ETX70 and the kit #506 for the upgrade and for to
drive the scope by a PC. With the cable Meade sell a lite versione of
StarryNight the can drive scope only after the instllation of a plug In
(that is inside the CD) from DreamSoftware, the ACP2, is only a
valuation version but it must work for a 30 days (if a remember), but it
dosen't work ! I done a mock allignment with my ETX70 I can see some
dates on the ACP2 pannel, after the connection, but i can't drive my
scope. So I have tried other programs like The Sky, Starry Night Pro,
Sky Map 8, etc ... but all of that can't drive my ETX70; the that seem
can do something is The Sky, that can mouve the scope but not good. I
asked to the technical support of Software Bisque for the problem and
tell me that is there something wrong because the LST of my Autostar is
not the same of The Sky, OK, but WHY ?
If any one can help me ...
Mike here: For starters, you need to download the latest ACP from their web site: You should also check the other vendor sites for updates to their software or Autostar drivers.


So for you the ETX70 must work with computer program like The Sky ?
Mike here: I've not personally done it with a Windows program but others have. I have done it with some Mac software.
Subject:	Comet Ikeya-Zhang
Sent:	Monday, March 11, 2002 18:04:35
From: (Ted Wilbur)
I just got my first look at Comet Ikeya-Zhang in the ETX 70 - really
cool!  I was suprised at how bright and comet-like it was.  What I saw
was a fairly bright gassy ball with a very obvious nebulous fan behind -
pointed straight up and down (with the tail up). I was out at about
7:30PM and used the mode-key-for-3-seconds and type in the coordinates
method (coordinates at to find it (thank you

I found my best view with a 15mm Plossl, it was so low on the horizon
that the atmosphere degraded further magnification.  I was so excited I
got my wife and 4 year old to come out in the chill and see it too.
Orion is setting early these days and I couldn't resist a quick look
around there when I was done with Ikeya-Zhang.  Beautiful!

Subject:	ETX 70
Sent:	Friday, March 8, 2002 16:42:01
I'm from Germany and found your HP over, and YOU seem to
be the specialist for my questions. I bought a Meade ETX70AT and would
like to buy a Barlow-Lens. In the Meade-List is a Barlow-Lens 2-3x. Can
I use it, is the eyepiece-holder long enough for it??? I would like to
come to my 140x magnification, and for my 6.3 eyepiece it would be
ideal. Are these 2-3x Barlows only available by Meade or are there other
firms, too? And: What do YOU think about this lens???

Best regard and clear skies

Silke :-)
Ohne Risiko spielend zum Brsenguru werden. Haben Sie schon eine
Strategie? Spekulieren und tolle Preis gewinnen
Mike here: There are many user comments about using the 2X Barlow Lens and 3X Barlow Lens from Meade in the "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback pages. I don't have either of these specially designed ones for the ETX-60 and ETX-70. Other Barlow Lens may have problems focusing with some eyepieces. As to the ETX-70AT itself, see my comments linked at the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page. I'll pass your ETX book translation comment onto the publisher. Thanks!
Subject:	re: ETX-60AT right for brother?
Sent:	Thursday, March 7, 2002 13:16:55
From: (Michael)
I would like to answer sister Susan's plea for help.  First, she says
her brother "doesn't have a clue what he's looking for."  But from the
sounds of it, he knows exactly what he's looking for: a 5" refractor.  I
might recommend a Meade LXD55; although I've never personally used one,
it's a great deal for around $700, considering it is a "go-to" scope and
comes with an equatorial mount tripod.

If her brother truly knows what he doesn't want, my guess is he would
not be happy with the ETX-60, which is only 2.36" - less than half the
aperture of a 5".  And as we all know, the aperture of the objective
lens is the key to the scope's light collecting power, hence, how much
detail you can see.

I purchased an ETX-70AT (2.5" lens) several months ago, and absolutely
love it; of course, having taken several college astronomy courses in
recent years (as electives while working toward my business degree), I
had no higher expectations than what this scope is capable of.  The
ETX-70 performs exactly as I expected, and the price was right!

I have added a 2X Barlow and a 5mm eyepiece, along with Meade's 4 piece
color filter set, which all greatly enhance my enjoyment of the scope. 
This little scope even performed surprisingly well when we went to Big
Bear Lake in January, and I was out there till midnight in 12 degree
weather looking at the  stars!  (Of course, my wife went in by about
7:30 - she thought I was nuts!)

I thoroughly love this scope and we take it out every chance we get, but
I am already working to wear my wife down - my next scope will be much
larger and more expensive!  Any recommendations on an 8 or 10"?

Subject:	Re:  ETX-70EC
Sent:	Wednesday, March 6, 2002 7:31:15
Thanks for getting back to me. I called Meade a few times trying to get
different representatives on the phone. They all said to send it in
because they no longer have the ETX-70EC and that they would have to
replace the whole tube assembly.

Subject:	Re:  Re:  ETX70 Optical Problem
Sent:	Wednesday, March 6, 2002 3:23:17
From: (s turner)
Just to let you know, the Meade dealer (Warehouse Express) sent a new
scope yesterday and I spent a very rewarding few hours last night
testing it. Basically it's much improved, there's a slight double image
at >100x mag only on the very edge of the field. In the centre of the
field the image is very good indeed with no noticable cromatic problems.

The hand controller needed recalibrating to the new scope, but once done
worked fine. There is a little more play in the Az. axis than the last
scope and the setting circle is 4 deg out but I guess these can be
adjusted. Strangely the camara port cover is now plastic instead of
metal, is this a sign that it's a newer model ?? it's difficult to say.

Anyway thanks again for your help, this is a much improved scope.


Simon Turner

Subject:	Re: ETX-70AT focuser question
Sent:	Tuesday, March 5, 2002 6:28:38
From: (Patrick Carroll)
Thanks for your reply, Clay.
I scratched my head for a minute trying to determine what you meant by
"attachment point", until I realized that it was missing. It's broken
off very cleanly and flush, making it hard to see, 'specially if you
didn't know it was there to start with. I think I can figure out the
thread pitch and epoxy on a replacement...
Thanks for your help...and thanks again for the great site!

>From: (Clay Sherrod)
>The attachment point for the focusing threaded rod is partially - but
>not all the way - stripped; the spring-loaded motion allows the focusing
>to take place in one direction, but not the other where the focusing
>action requires torque against the back of the rear cell of the
>telescope.  I would suggest carefully removing the focus knob with the
>scope aimed "up" slightly from horizontal and attempt to provide some
>type of bushing (electrical tape should work) forced between the metal
>focus rod and the opening in which it goes into the tube; that should
>give enough resistance for proper focusing. There are other more
>sophisticated alternatives, but without sending the scope in for repair
>I do not recommend these.

Subject:	ETX-60AT right for brother?
Sent:	Monday, March 4, 2002 22:07:29
I am  WAY!!!!! over my head. My brother asked for a 5" refracting
telescope.  His birthday is next week and I'm positive he knows what he
"dosent want" but I am equally confident he dosen't have a clue what
he's looking for.  He's been looking up for about 25 years and listens
to Art Bell,  do you have any advise or model#? I was looking at a Meade
ETX-60 on ebay?
A sister and family going in on a gift,
Thank you for your time,
Mike here: The ETX-60AT makes a fine first telescope HOWEVER it is limited in the amount of magnification it will do. See my comments on the ETX-70AT (which is nearly the same as the ETX-60AT) linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page. It may not live up to the brother's expectations.
Subject:	Meade ETX-70AT
Sent:	Monday, March 4, 2002 11:24:19
From: (Kevin Marrone-Reese)
First of all, I would like to congratulate you for an excellent site!  I
am very new to astronomy and really don't know what I'm doing...hehe. I
recently purchased a Meade ETX-70AT.  It came with a 25mm and a 9mm
eyepiece (14X and 39X). I must be doing something wrong because I can't
see much of anything except close-ups of the moon.  There are pictures
on the box showing Saturn and Jupiter, but all I can see of either, are
magnified views of what appear to be bright stars.  I'm almost certain I
am looking at Jupiter, according to my charts, and also by using the
Autostar functions.  Are the pictures on the box a little misleading?
(meaning, are they only recognizable with higher magnification
eyepieces?) If so, which ones would you recommend?

What am I doing wrong?  I live in a pretty rural area with no
streetlights and it is fairly dark at night.  I think it's decent
viewing conditions.


Kevin M-R
Mike here: Yes, the pictures are not intended to demonstrate that actual views that you eye will see. See my comments on the ETX-70AT, linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page.
Subject:	Re: Help with my Meade ETX-70AT
Sent:	Monday, March 4, 2002 6:37:49
I checked on the box, and it states: # 494 Autostar computer controller
with 1200 object database. That's why I bought it, "this is foolproof" I
thought! Well, it most likely is, when I figure out what I did wrong in
the first place! I am just an amatuer astronomer, maybe even a newborn
one! I want to see space for myself, not from Sci Fi reruns!

Do you have a webcam? If so, and time allows, maybe you would talk me
through the programming of my Autostar, or, you may know of someone who
does. I checked the dark sky dates for Cherry Springs, and want to head
out there one weekend. I would like to have a sense of what I am doing!
Thanks Mike for your help!
Mike here: There is a lot of information on aligning the Autostar on the Autostar Information page on my ETX Site. You can also see the Tutorials on the Tutorials page. If you can be more explicit where you are having problems perhaps I can you.
Subject:	Meade ETX-60 and #506 Cable
Sent:	Sunday, March 3, 2002 6:39:25
From: (Bruce Seaward)
I have a question that I hope that you can answer for me,

I just bought the #506 cable set that I understood would allow me to
update my autostar firmware.  I got the cable home, hooked it up, and
tested the connection to the telescope by slewing the scope from the

I downloaded the ASU software from Meade, but when I installed that
software, and tried the update it says that there is no method to update
a Autostar 494.

The ETX-60AT manual says regarding the download proceedure to see the
instruction sheet with the #506 cable set... There were no instructions.

So, you can see my dilemma.  Can you tell me what I need to do or get to
update the firmware in a #494 Autostar?

Many Thanks,
Mike here: Currently there is no update to the #494 Autostar. The only update currently available is to the #495 and #497 Autostars.
Subject:	etx 60
Sent:	Saturday, March 2, 2002 7:53:55
From: (m. stephens)
I had a couple questions regarding my ETX 60 that I was hoping you could
answer for me.  I have been having some trouble and cannot figure out if
this is me not working the autostar properly or if there is a mechanical
problem with it.  When I try to use the autostar to find objects (even
in the alignment phase) the telescope will slew towards them, then it
acts as though it is trying to track something but it goes far too fast
to track anything in the sky. The result is that I cannot rely on the
autostar to locate anything long enough to view it.

I was also curious as to what to expect in terms of its viewing quality.
Being a complete novice, I have no idea what to expect.  I am starting
to think I was completely deluded by the pictures on the meade website
and the promises of the salesman.  While I didnt expect to see mind
blowing images through a $300 telescope, I was hoping to see something. 
I have found that all objects other than the moon simply appear as
bright dots using both the 9mm and 25 mm eyepieces.  With this telescope
should i actually expect to see the rings of saturn as it says on the
website?  While I am hoping you will tell me I have a faulty telescope
and that once it is replaced all my viewing expectations will be
realized, something tells me, other than the mechanical difficulties, my
etx60 is working as it should.

I appreciate any input or advice you might have.


M. Stephens
Mike here: Let me address the viewing question first. See my ETX-70AT comments linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page. The -60 and -70 are similar in performance. There are also some user observations on the User Observations page. They should give you an idea of what you can expect and yes, you can see the Rings of Saturn although the image will be very small. As to the Autostar question, there are many variables that will affect the Autostar; check that the date/time/daylight savings AND your location are correct. If they are you can check the Autostar is set for sideral rather than lunar tracking rate in one of its menus (Setup-->Telescope I think; I don't have it in front of me right now). If all that is correct you may need to retrain the drives from the Setup-->Telescope menu. Just following the prompts. Be certain to use a terrestrial object that is some distance aways or Polaris (which is relatively fixed in the sky).
Subject:	ETX-70EC
Sent:	Friday, March 1, 2002 9:12:18
Mike great site!!

I have a problem with my 70-EC (this is the older black one) My DEC
mount that attache's to the OTA is broken. I have searched your site
extensively and have not found a similar case. Does anyone have any
Axis Axis

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