Last updated: 31 March 2002
Subject: Phil Hauck's Question Sent: Sunday, March 31, 2002 13:51:59 From: email@example.com (George Hauck) I recently purchased a Meade 125 ETC Astro scope, after hemming and hawing about that model or the 200-7" model. I figured that what I gave up in light gathering power would be off-set by the portability. Out of the box, I can honestly say I have had no problems. If anything, I fell in love with the overall performance....I was staring at Saturn on Christmas eve at 12:00 a.m . at 30 F with a ten mile an hour wind! What would you recommend for the absolute magnifications and lenses to use? I know this changes with viewing conditions, but there is only so much mag you can get out of an image before you get no return! I know Meade says you can get 500X on a good day with the 6.4 and a barlow, but that is really pushing it to the max! Astronomics gives a lower working value. Just as an aside, I started in astronomy when I was 12 years old...my parents got me a $99.99 Tasco refractor with the mighty barlow lens, but all kidding aside, I got pretty good at finding some of the larger Messier objects and planets. You can only imagine how I flipped when I looked through the 125 ETC at M 42 in Orion! (But I still want the LX200 12"..I'm saving my pennies now!) Phil Hauck, proud 125ETC OwnerMike here: Keep in mind that the theoretical max magnification for any telescope is twice its aperture in millimeters (or 250X for the ETX-125EC). And as you get closer to that value the image quality deteriorates (gets fuzzier and dimmer). So, with that in mind, consider what focal length eyepiece (or eyepiece + Barlow Lens) will keep you under that (7.6mm yields 250X with the ETX-125EC). I still use the Meade 9.7mm but it has a short eye relief; and I've even doubled that under ideal conditions. See the Buyer/New User Tips page and the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces for more on eyepieces.
Subject: ETX 125 Hardstop question Sent: Friday, March 29, 2002 20:20:41 From: Moyn@aol.com I just purchased an ETX 125 new (discovery store). In setting it up and aligning it, it seems that the telescope has an extremely limited range of motion horizontally. With the horizontal lock disengaged, when I move it from the left hard stop to the right hardstop, I can only rotate it perhaps 50 degrees. In fact, as I read the "home position alignment" description in the manual, I move the telescope counterclockwise to the first stop, but when I move it back I can't even move it far enough to get the (right) fork over the computer control ports. Am I missing something? The manual mentions a 630 degree rotation limit, but my sense is that something is stuck. I do hear some sort of "thud" when I reach each hardstop, and there is a sense that it's connecting with something, not just a spot with some friction. I tried a little manual pressure on the stops to see if it would move through, and it didn't. I obviously didn't want to force it. What's "normal" for the ETX 125? Thanks!Mike here: Yes, there should be way more rotation from hard stop to hard stop. Someone reported something similar and I think it was something jammed inside the base. I would suggest returning it to the Discovery Store (show them the problem). According to reports, they are good about exchanges.
Thanks for the feedback. I checked with a local discovery store and they said there would be no problem returning it. So far, they have been good to work with. I really appreciate your reply, and the wonderful site you maintain. Excellent info!!!
Subject: ETX -- what else? Sent: Friday, March 29, 2002 16:40:56 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (James H. Harper) Mike -- I'm not very patiently awaiting my copy of your book. I ordered it and several other (totally unrelated) titles from Amazon through your site to get you that extra 2 cents. All the other stuff has gotten here, but no Weasner book. I sure hope it answers all my questions, like Where did I stick that ETX-60 last year when I got so PO'd at it? I've now read so many statements about the Meade being a prize piece o'crap, I need your book to releive my fears. I'm sure it's all my fault, my instrument is fine, I don't need a new Celestron. Jim in Western WashingtonMike here: Today I noticed that Amazon.com is quoting 2-3 days. Hope they mean it this time.
Subject: Motor Problem Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2002 18:30:52 From: email@example.com (Thomas Ranson) I'm hope this is a very stupid problem but my Dad has just brought a Meade EXT125EC and as we were setting it up I was playing about with the motor controller. The horizontal and vertical motors both worked untill I rapidlly reversed direction at full speed on the horizontal motor. At this point the horizontal motor stopped working although the vertical motor is fine. I hope I haven't done anything stupid, but I'm it seems odd for the motor to just pack in so soon. Thanks, Tom Ranson, UKMike here: Obviously that should not hurt the drive. I presume you were doing this with the standard controller and not the Autostar. Did the drive start to move? Is the horizontal lock too tight? Will it move left or right at all?
In response to your questions. We were only using the standard controller (we had only just removed the telescope from the box and were following Meades instructions). The telescope did slew horizontally at first then stopped, as I said, after this the motor faled to even make a sound when asked to move horizontally. This morning while looking at the frequently asked questions on your site I noticed the one about the horizontal lock being too stiff to push far enough clockwise to engage the motor drive. I followed the instructions and tried to give the lock a further distance to move in order to cause motor engagement but this failed and now the lock will not pass the middle of its well. With the lock off the scope will freely move left and right manually. Thankyou in advance for your time, Tom RansonMike here: Perhaps the axis lock was overtightened? But since the scope is new perhaps you can take it back to the dealer for an exchange.
The scope was brought in New York while my Dad was out there, we live in the north of England so an exchange might be quite time consuming. I'm sure the problem must be a simple one since the horizontal motor was working originally, would tightening the lock too much cause a disengagement. I've read a lot of the messages on your site talking about opening up the base and fiddling with the gears in relation to motor failure (these all concerned Autostar however), would this reveal any immediate problems or is the fact that the motor is not even starting indicative of something more serious. I must say that I am very impressed with your site and I hope my persistance isn't too annoying.Mike here: Glad to help. And yes you might be able to see the source of the problem if you open up the base. And yes, overtightening the axis can cause damage which may or may not be easy to correct. However, one last thing to try before you decide to open things up. Fully unlock the axis and rotate the telescope horizontally from hard stop to hard stop several times. That will distribute the grease better and if there is "clump" the movement might break it up.
Subject: questions Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2002 13:08:15 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Smerdon) just a couple more questions for you. #1 Do you or does anyone know a way to mount a polar finder scope to the ETX? I'm quite tried of hit and miss alignment. would like to get it right every time! #2 On the DEC lock down knob. Does any body know of a fix that doesn't require machining. it happened last night, I was setting up and turned the knob to far. it still locks but it just keeps on spinning after its locked and I know its just a matter of time before it doesn't lock at all. #3 I have been saving money to upgrade to a bigger scope. and I notice in the tech tips section that you guys refer to the ETX and the LX90. Does the LX90 have the same mechanical problems as the ETX or is it just the autostar issues that are the same? as always you are doing a great job with the site and when I upgrade to a bigger scope I will miss all the advice that you give. I'm not sure which scope I will be getting. it will be either the LX90 or if I save a little more a LX200 8"GPS, or if I save a little more and have yard sale I can go for the LX200GPS 10". In any case I must sell the 125 in order to upgrade. its been a good scope over the past year that I've had it.Mike here: JMI has (or had) an ETX polar alignment scope. Check there. As to the DEC lock, there are several tips on the Telescope Tech Tips page as well as the Scopetronix tune-ups page that can help. The LX90 is a great scope, optically, mechanically, and Autostar-ly. Lies between the ETX and LX200 line.
Subject: UPGRADE TIME!!!!!! Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2002 12:08:12 From: email@example.com (David A Tinney) i have been using your site now for some time posting messages getting info and otherthings. dont know if you remember but im the guy who got the etx60at for christmas and been having a wonderful time using it.....i have a question for you. you dont have to post it if you dont want to. im thinking of upgrading getting a better scope to see more.......any suggestions.....i would like to stick with meade while doing it......what model do you suggest.....dont know what im gonna spend yet but know it will be more than what the 60 and 70at cost.......any ideas pleae reply thanks......daveMike here: Glad you are enjoying the ETX-60AT. If you want to upgrade there are a lot of choices but you need to decide WHAT you want to do. Do you just want to see more details in planets, deep sky objects, do astrophotography? What about portability? Once you know your requirements you can decide whether a larger ETX model will be sufficient or whether you want to move up to LX90 or LX200, or go to the LXD series or DS series. Yes, I know, decisions, decisions, decisions...
thanks mike for your input and yes i really have to decide how far i want to go. im enjoying looking at the planets and im still kind of getting more things i need for the etx60. i have to get a tripod and will like to get another eyepiece...perhaps a 5 or 4 PLmm......im using a barlow now with the ma9mm which brings my mag up to 78x.....works great.....with a 5mm i can get up to around 100x or so......maybe ill hold off on the new scope and just upgrade this one. when i got the 60 for christmas it just came that way no tripod so im gonna get that...maybe some filters because i notice when i look at the moon theres alot of glare.....details great! at 78x but really bright and saturn looks good also.....so maybe ill just get what i need to compleate the package with the 60at........thanks again mike and as always your site is awsum!!!!!...see ya later dave
Subject: UHTC Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2002 18:21:02 From: Aerofxer@aol.com Just a heads up to you and anyone out there thinking on purchasing an ETX in the near further. I have been looking to purchase an ETX-125 checking all the features figuring out which tripod, barlow, etc., to purchase. The other day I went back to Meade's web site and they are offering a new coating on their optics that will be available for the 125 in one to two months. They are claiming that this "Ultra-High Transmission Coating" improves the light gathering properties 20%. If this $95 improvement is what they say it is I plan to wait. If you could tell me if this is just snake oil or a real improvement I would appreciate it. Meade Instruments Corporation - Meade® Ultra-High Transmission Coatings (UHTC) Group Thanks for the great site it has helped guide me in my up coming purchase. PHMike here: I posted this announcement from Meade on 19 March but I have no experience with using a telescope with the new coating. However, coatings WILL make a difference on light transmission through the optics. That's why high quality lenses have coatings. Will you NOTICE the difference with your eye? Maybe, maybe not. Depends upon a lot of factors INCLUDING the experience of the viewer.
Subject: ETX Tripod Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2002 12:22:20 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Filippo Bradaschia) I've a question for you. I've an ETX-90EC and a Nikon Coolpix 885. I use a small tripod. I've noted some vibration when I take a photo with my digicam so photos aren't so good! Do you think I should buy the #884 Meade tripod to reduce vibrations?Mike here: The less sturdy the tripod the more you'll see vibrations. You can improve things by adding weight to the tripod but that may or may not be sufficient. As to whether you should get a heavier duty tripod, that is up to you.
Thank you Filippo Bradaschia
Subject: Re: The ETX Book Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2002 11:32:10 From: Dralff@aol.com I received an update from Amazon.com in case anyone else is asking. They expect to receive their shipment in April and will turn all orders around as quickly as possible. They do agree that December 24 is an incorrect shipping date. Don Ratliff
Subject: Telescope ware house Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2002 9:09:37 From: email@example.com (Shekhar Athavale) I do not know if this warehouse is in vegas or not. But I bought a barlow from this gentleman and his dealings are square and fare. William Vorce (firstname.lastname@example.org) Regards
Subject: The ETX Book Sent: Monday, March 25, 2002 20:10:17 From: Dralff@aol.com I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the ETX Book from Amazon.com. However, tonight I checked the status of my order and the estimated delivery date is December 24. Are they joking or just making a serious mistake? I did read the notes about the popularity of the book and the back orders. But, delivery of December 24 is really bad news. I will contact Amazon.com to let them know a delivery date of December 24 is not acceptable. Don RatliffMike here: I suspect that is just a guess on their part since they really don't know how soon or late they will actually receive their allotment. Unfortunately, Amazon has no control over it. Neither do I.
Subject: ETX90 Focuser Sent: Monday, March 25, 2002 20:05:13 From: email@example.com (Scott Sinclair) You wouldn't know anything about the pinouts for the ETX electric focuser would you? I'm thinking of getting one, but if you can build your own (needs to work through the 497 by software) I think I'd rather do that... Scott.
Subject: scope question Sent: Monday, March 25, 2002 11:01:17 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert G. Van den Heuvel) Is it worth purchasing an ETX-EC/Autostar base for my ETX-RA (and I guess a tripod) or buying a used DS90EC w/Autostar for $275 from a guy down the street. I need a planetary scope for use in the city, but I want Autostar. I don't mind having 2 scopes, one portable and one not so portable. Thanks...! Robert Van den HeuvelMike here: If you mean should you buy a used EC base (and presumably the telescope too), then that is your choice. There is no upgrade from the RA model. You could trade it in though on a new model at some dealers. So maybe you will want a DS or other ETX model.
How about selling my RA model and getting an EC with Autostar. But with RA models going new for $199 now on clearance, it's hardly worth it... I'd fetch $200 with my hardcase, probably. Right now I am using a fluid head tripod and it works reasonably well.Mike here: Selling or trading in are options.
OK, the clincher. Do you think that under 5", the ETX is really the best portable/easy to use scope? I want high contrast, field of view is less important, I can always buy a wide field adaptor. I am considering a 6" dob, but I get out to the desert so seldom, and the ETX is always handy.... and an AstroScan would only have the power of a set of binoculars or worse. I observed a moon shadow on Jupiter the other night, using a camera tripod-mounted ETX-90RA!Mike here: Cassegrain-Maksutov designs are usually good planetary scopes due to the contrast they provide. Certainly, the ETX can do some neat things, as evidenced by many of the comments and photos on the ETX Site. However, be certain that your expectations live up to the reality; it is still a small telescope.
Subject: ETX Website Sent: Monday, March 25, 2002 8:13:45 From: email@example.com (John Clavis) Thank you, thank you for the ETX Website! I am helping a friend learn to use his new ETX-70AT (he's not good with gadgets!), and your website has been invaluable in this process, from your first impressions of the 70AT when you took it out of the box, to the reviews of accessories, to the feedback and visitor comments. It's a great site, and it really exemplifies what the 'Net is all about: leveling the playing field, and making information available to all. Thanks again, and keep up the great work! Sincerely, John Clavis ===== If you think self-help books are a joke, check out http://www.augustinstitute.com. "Lighthouses are more helpful than churches." - Benjamin Franklin "Life is like a sofa -- change must come from within." - ego
Subject: Your ETX page Sent: Monday, March 25, 2002 7:51:37 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kevin Muenzler, WB5RUE) My son and I were browsing your ETX pages and we have a question about your main page, the one with you next to the scope. Is that scope actually that size? I didn't know that Meade made an ETX that big. Thanks Kevin and Paul Muenzler 29 14'32"N 98 14'56"WMike here: There are not too many eyepieces available that are that large either! See the Site Guide for a little more on the image.
Subject: ETX Wide-field Adapter Sent: Sunday, March 24, 2002 20:53:36 From: email@example.com (Anthony Spina) I recently purchased the deluxe Wide-Field Adapter and visual back from Shutan. My initial impression is that it looks like it will have to be used in Polar mode. In AltAz it looks like observations above 35 Degrees off the horizon will hit the base on my ETX125. As for the visual back adapter, I was hoping to keep it on all times however the scope can't be laid flat in its case with it on. Oh well. If you would be so kind to share what your experience has been with the wide-field adapter I would be very appreciativeMike here: I have used the WFA in both mounting modes but like with some accessories, it can't be used in all positions in Alt/Az mode.
Curious, I did not think of puting the WFA in the top. Did you put it on a right angle? Was the image qualitly the same?Mike here: As I recall I did try it there but ended up leaving it on the rear port. No change in image quality should occur with the different positions.
Subject: Leveling a ETX 70 Sent: Sunday, March 24, 2002 18:29:10 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (The Pucketts) I need some help leveling my ETX-70AT, I accidentally loosened the knob on the (left side as you are behind it) side that sets the level for the 70. What's the best way to set it to keep the orientation working right? Tommy PuckettMike here: See the FAQ for info on how to readjust the scale.
Subject: DAYLIGHT BOLIDE INFORMATION REQUESTED! Sent: Saturday, March 23, 2002 15:43:23 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) Hello to all.... I have just had an incredibly interesting phone conversation with a trustworthy telephone company employee who spotted a most unusually bright DAYLIGHT bolide precisely at 2:34 p.m. CST from northern Arkansas. Please bear with me on this one....I know that bright meteor reports are very common, but this one bears attempting to locate others who might have seen in....here are the particulars: TIME: 20:34 U.T. Location of observation: (approx): Latitude 35d 40m Longitude 92d 30m (south of Mountain Home, AR) Location of object - First seen - 10 degrees SSE of overhead Last seen - 14 degrees SSE of overhead (disappeared behind distant mountain. Trajectory assumed from report: Start: RA 03h 22m / DEC +25deg 15' To: RA 04h 17m / DEC -33deg 30' Duration: estimated no more than 3 seconds Magnitude: "....not as bright as the sun, but bright enough to flash in my eyes like a camera flash going off and staying that way!" Description: Bright like a welder's torch, not dimming at all through the duration of flight. NO breaking apart, separation nor skewing seen at all. NO color other than "pure white", very smoky train, but white....no gray, brown, red or other color. About the diameter the moon appears in the sky at the head. NO sound, no concussion. ----------------- I personally know this gentleman as a man of acute observation and integrity; he was of the impression that some "space junk" might have been scheduled to fall at this time and called the observatory to confirm. My lists and a quick search just now revealed nothing scheduled of that proportion to be coming in at this time. An aircraft was ruled out through FAA and also from the lack of smoke or any coloration to the debris. This object would have originated near the position of the Pleiades or Hyades and possibly could be a late interloper from one of the Taurid streams. I am sending this out in case any of you are contacted with similar reports from the south U.S. or the Southeastern U.S. I have seen many fireballs but nothing to rival this description of a daytime occurrence. Any input is greatly appreciated! Clay ---------------------------------------- Dr. P. Clay Sherrod firstname.lastname@example.org Arkansas Sky Observatory www.arksky.org
Subject: telescope warehouse? Sent: Friday, March 22, 2002 20:07:10 From: email@example.com (Terry Spirito) Could you please give me the phone or the address oft telescope warehouse in las vegas
Subject: Case for etx90 Sent: Friday, March 22, 2002 10:09:28 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Edward) Hello! Love your site (just bought an etx90 astro M). Found a case (www.pcwest.net/products.htm) that looks like the meade product for less. I ordered one but havent got it yet. Keep up the good work.
Subject: Comet Ikeya-Zhang , ETX-125 Sent: Thursday, March 21, 2002 21:22:53 From: Carolandmike00@aol.com Howdy from Texas Mar. 21, 2002, took my ETX-125 out to my favorite dark sky location to get a look at Comet Ikeya-Zhang. Wow! she was wonderful. A nice fuzzy ball with a long white vaporous tail. I used my 40 mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece first then used a 2x barlow next. Both views were enriching however, the view with just the 40 mm was most impressive. The moon was high in the night sky and very bright so I did not have a good naked eye view, but in binoculars (16 x 50) the view was quite nice and in my 10 inch DOB with my 54 mm 2" eyepiece, wow!! My viewing location is located approximately 16 miles due west of San Antonio, Tex. at 29'N. the comet was observed from 7 PM to 8:30 PM. It was about 12 degrees above the horizon. Had to cut the viewing short, high winds began and ended my night but tomorrow I'll try again. Clear Skies and Bright Comets Mike in Texas
Subject: ETX-90 RA Sent: Thursday, March 21, 2002 11:59:55 From: email@example.com (Donald Duck) i want to buy a used ETX-90 RA and im searching for meanings about it. Can you tell me something about it, if it`s a good teleskop or if its ab bad teleskop. Maybe you can say what is a fair price for it, Thank you very mutch. Bye romanMike here: See the Dealer Specials page on my ETX Site for prices. The specifications are on the Buyer/New User Tips page. And the telescope is good or not good for you depending upon what you want to do with it and your expectations. So, decide upon those before you decide on a telescope.
Subject: Celestron 2x Barlow + ETX-90 Sent: Thursday, March 21, 2002 10:49:56 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gerald Plotkin) I recently acquired an ETX-90EC. Prior to its purchase I had purchased a Celestron top-of-the-line 2x Barlow which has quite a long tube. Does anyone have experience with this model? Should I expect that it will work, or will I run into focusing problems? I've tried using it, but may not be doing so in the most effective manner. My question stems from the fact that Meade sells a "shorty" 2x Barlow, whereas the Celestron is significantly longer. Is this the wrong Barlow for the ETX-90? Or does it make any difference at all? Thanks. Jerry PlotkinMike here: Long Barlow Lenses may not work with the ETX as the focal plane may not be reachable with the Barlow.
Subject: Re: Electronic Focus Sent: Wednesday, March 20, 2002 16:12:24 From: email@example.com (Parisi Family) To: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Adriance) David, yes I do leave it connected. And thanx; I've gotten similar comments on leaving the focuser connected. I'm not sure why that happens, but I now leave it unplugged when I'm not using it. Joe
Subject: Greetings Sent: Wednesday, March 20, 2002 9:25:24 From: Steve.Brightman@dalsemi.com (Steve Brightman) Hello Mike, it's been a while seen we spoke. Sadly it's been a long time since I did any observing either. However I have been doing some serious tuneup on the 125 so hopefully I'll be looking skywards again soon. Just paid a visit to the Mighty ETX site and offer this comment on your reply to the guy who was asking about Barlows and eyeglass wearers. What you didn't mention, probably because it's obvious to you but maybe not to him, is that the Barlow is a real boon to eyeglass wearers. You mentioned the small eye relief of your 9.7mm lens, but of course he could achieve the same mag with a 19.4mm lens and a 2x Barlow, and gain the extra eye relief of the 19.4mm lens. Anyway, keep up the great work, must get back to the site and catch up some more. Steve
Subject: AstroMac List? Sent: Wednesday, March 20, 2002 9:24:03 From: email@example.com (Steve Mattan) Thank you for a wonderfully useful site. Toward the bottom of the main page the is a link for "AstroMac: A secure mailing list for Mac-using amateur and pro astronomers". How does one join this list? Clicking the link takes one to Topica, but after signing up I was unable to find this list. Does it still exist? Thanks, Steve MMike here: The list is a mailing list. So once you sign up you should start receiving email that is addressed to the group. I didn't start the List but thought I'd post the link for it.
Thanks for the reply. I understand the list is a mailing list. My question is how do I sign up? When I click the link I am taken to the Topica web site. After I signed up with Topica I searched the Topica database of of mailing lists to sign up for the AstroMac list. I could not find it. Now when I click the link for the AstroMac list on your site I get a web page with the message, "You are not subscribed to this list." With no indication of how I can become subscribed. So, do you know how I can sign up for this list? Thanks for your time, Steve MMike here: I forwarded the message to the List creator.
Subject: Declination Lock Sent: Wednesday, March 20, 2002 6:01:45 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike Francis) Help! My 3 1/2 month old 125Etx seems to have a stripped declination lock. On tightening it the other day,it turned a little too far and now it won't "unlock". the declination axis is locked,I can slew up and down and the knob on the fork moves when I move the OTA. The knob turns, but not freely. It will go with equal stiffness in either clockwise or counterclockwise but won't unlock the Dec. axis. I searched your site and found one similar problem by a j pedicini back in Oct. 27, 2000 but am not sure if the problem is identical. The knob does rotate when I move the OTA up & down, But even if I hold the OTA I can't unlock the Declination gearing. I have the "old" model 125ETX. I'm hoping I don't have to send the whole thing back to Meade. It was purchased at The Discovery store in Southfield, MI.And from our resident hardware expert:
From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) This is clearly a case where the small protruding threaded rod which holds the locking knob onto the fork trunion has stripped completely out of the knob inside....this is a very difficult thing to remove once this happens....you really stand a danger of breaking the OTA right support arm, the fork arm itself, or the hard stops inside the fork. You must hold the OTA assembly with one hand and gently pry under the fake setting circle with a very large blade screw driver while turning the knob counterclockwise....it takes a long time and you MUST go slow or you will break something inside....but it will eventually come off. Call Meade and tell them what happened and order a right knob/declination axis lock knob for your scope.....they will be happy to send you one! Clay Sherrod
Subject: Vibration-Reduction Pads Sent: Tuesday, March 19, 2002 21:06:32 From: firstname.lastname@example.org Your reader who inquired about those little pads that go under tripod legs are available from Meade and are listed at: www.shutan.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=1&Product_Code=250-5694 They help isolate ground vibration and help tripod/scope settle down quicker. They can be used with any make of tripod/telescope. We even have customers who use them to isolate microphone stands in professional recording studios. Take care, Bob Shutan Shutan Camera & Video www.shutan.com
Subject: re: Strange electrical prob with auto focuser Sent: Tuesday, March 19, 2002 23:45:18 From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org From your descriptions, it sure sounds like the power connector is causing problems with the AUX lines which run by/under it on the small circuit card located at that panel. You can -reach- that panel by removing the base cover plate (the three screws are hiding under the stick-on rubber feet). That panel is connected to the -rest- of the scope by push-on connectors... a call to Meade describing the problem might induce them to send a replacement panel you can drop in. It's possible that the battery leads are -soldered- to that panel (i have an ETX90, not a 125). If you (or a friend) are adept at simple soldering, it's an easy fix. Simple (intense) visual inspection of the panel itself might find a scrap of wire or something casuing the problem. **before you unplug the internal connectors: TAKE GOOD NOTES about how they're plugged in... the Alt and Az connectors are exactly the same, and easy to mix up. Note the color orientation, too... getting -that- wrong fries telescopes! otherwise, have fun ==dick
Subject: Focus Shift Sent: Tuesday, March 19, 2002 16:32:42 From: email@example.com (Robert Allison) I checked out to see about the focus shift as I was messing with the percentages. If I turn the focus clockwise the object moves left in the EP from center...if I turn it counter-clockwise it moves right. Using the 26mm EP that came with it, it doesn't move out of the FOV. I found a BB someone had shot in a telephone pole, so I changed over to a 9.7mm EP. Turning the focus clockwise the BB moves and almost hits the edge of the FOV. Turning it counter-clockwise it doesn't hit the edge, but still moves a lot from center. I can move my head and still see it fine, but it shifts a lot. I'd say this is where I had the centering problem the other night and not so much the Autostar. So it shouldn't move at all? Thanks, BobMike here: Cassegrain-Maksutov designs will have some image shifting while moving from one side of infocus to the other. This is normal. However, it should not be excessive and yours sounds excessive. Contact your dealer or Meade.
Subject: Re: power supply Sent: Tuesday, March 19, 2002 11:05:20 From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: Jim@Dishman.com I saw your post on Mike Weasner's ETX web site about your power supply from target. I have a similar one from Costco. I was wondering where you got the 3 outlet cigarette lighter strip. Thanks in Advance, Mike Hadley
Subject: Strange electrical prob with auto focuser Sent: Monday, March 18, 2002 11:53:13 From: email@example.com (John MacAulay) I seem to come up with the strangest problems with my ETX90EC. I recently purchased and installed the 1244 Meade electric focuser, paying close attention to the details as contained in your tech tips. The focuser works great and is a fabulous addition to avoid the shakes during focusing, however with 1 small problem I can't trace.Whenever I plug the scope into an external source, and I've tried them all, the focuser works very intermittently, or not at all. I tried changing cords, plugging into an AC source, plugging into a 12v battery pack etc. All make the focuser start and stop wildly, or not start at all. Unplug the external source, restart the scope on it's own batteries and everything is fine. I had hoped to be able to use an external power source but now this looks like it will be a trade off to be able to and I like the focuser too much to give it up. Any suggestions? Thanks John MacAulay Nova Scotia, CanadaMike here: That is odd. If you have the Autostar, does it behave under external power?
I do have the autostar and the problem is the same with both the standard controller and the autostar. Oddly enough, the slewing motors continue to function perfectly regardless of what I have the scope plugged into. Only the focuser stops working when I try an external power source, or works intermittently. I wonder if the problem can be in the area where the jack is for the external power to plug into. I still haven't gotten to the point where I have been able to use the go to capabilities of the Autostar, mostly because I'm waiting for a tripod to arrive and a little warmer weather. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.Mike here: At this point I'd suggest exchanging the focuser for another one. Also, try it at the store if you can.
Thanks, I'd like to do that, but since I purchased the focuser on E-bay, I guess I can't. Something I'll have to live with, I guess. If I can find anyone else around here with a 90, perhaps I can try it out on there scope to see if it behaves the same way. Thanks for your help, love your site! John MacAulay Lake Echo, Nova Scotia
Subject: Question: Meade ETX-125EC Sent: Monday, March 18, 2002 11:27:15 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (S. Reiss) Just found your site today. Never imagined I would find such a wealth of information in one place. Thanks for that! I am totally new to the astronomy field. My 4-year old son has shown great interest in outer-space and planets. In fact, his bedroom was recently converted from a train to a space and planets theme. I've always wanted to purchase a telescope, but never seriously pursued it until recently. I decided to add to my sons (and mine!) interest and purchased the ETX 125EC. However, I am a bit confused about a few things. First of all, I purchased my scope through the Discovery Store. The clerk there seemed very knowledgeable about the scopes he had to sell. I chose the ETX 125EC because of its high rated max power (500), and it stayed within the budget I set for myself. This leads to the first question. The scope came with a 26mm eyepiece which, as I understand, is rated at 48x. How does this relate to the scopes maximum power of 500? With that said, what eyepiece would need to be purchased to come as close as possible to the scopes max power? I understand the 2x Barlow will help, but what else could I possibly do? I would hate to know that I purchased a scope that says it has a max rating of 500, but in order to achieve the max you need to purchase a multitude of accessories and add-ons. Please forgive me if this question makes me sound as though I am a complete idiot, but I don't quite understand how the eyepieces relate to the telescopes max ratings. For example, I believe the ETX-90 comes with the same eyepiece, but has a significantly lower max power rating than the ETX-125. Please explain the correlation between the two to this wet-behind-the-ears greenhorn. Thanks!Mike here: Don't worry about the questions. Everyone has to learn somehow. First off, the ETX-125EC can do 500X but only under the best of conditions. For any telescope, the theoretical maximum magnification is typically twice the aperture in millimeters, or 250X for the ETX-125EC. Check the FAQ page for this formula and how to calculate magnification for any eyepiece and telescope combination. When you do you'll discover that the included 26mm eyepiece yields 73X on the -125 (it yields 48X on the ETX-90).
Thank you for the quick reply. I'll do just as you advise and check the FAQ section.
Subject: Meade ETX90EC prices Sent: Monday, March 18, 2002 9:02:41 From: email@example.com (Robert Wrobel) Found your website while searching for info on Meade scopes. Been away from amateur astronomy for about 25 years but I love to get back into it and share it with my 2 daughters ages 9 and 11. I had an old 6" reflector made by Criterion back around 1968. Don't know if they are still around??. Would like to know where I can get the best price for a 90EC?. It seems like I can't find anything less than around 475-495 dollars. Is this about the cheapest they run ??Thanks a million for any info. Going to western Puerto Rico on vacation in 1 week and planning on visiting Arecibo Radio Observatory while there !!!. Can't wait. Watched "Contact" with my girls the other night on T.V.(great timing)and I can't believe it but they really LOVED that movie. Thanks Bob Wrobel Pt. Pleasant, NJMike here: There is very little price discounting on ETX telescopes. Demand is still pretty high apparently. However, there are the occasional sales (bundling with other items usually). You can check various online and local stores. Also, you can watch the "Dealer Specials" page on my ETX Site.
Subject: Re: ETX Starcharts Sent: Monday, March 18, 2002 4:39:17 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) To: Richard I am, indeed, working on southern hemisphere sky charts for use with the ETX and new LX 200 GPS telescopes. You are absolutely correct that the GIF format would be the preferred format for these and rest assured that the new files will be in that format! Thanks for the kind comments and excellent suggestions! Clay ---------------------------------------- Dr. P. Clay Sherrod email@example.com Arkansas Sky Observatory www.arksky.org ----- Original Message ----- From: Richard Thank you for the fine starcharts for ETX alignment, which I found at www.weasners.com ETX page. I just downloaded them and I'm sure they will be a big help for me (just got my first scope)! The page mentioned that you were working on more charts for southern skies. While I have no interest in them (I live in Denmark at 56N 12E), I would like to suggest that another file-format than JPEG might be worthwhile. JPEG is a file-format conceived for photos, and is not capable of very sharp transitions - in fact it derives its compression from removing sharp transitions (if you are familiar with fourier optics, you will appreciate that it works on the fourier transformed image, and removes all higher spatial frequencies, and quantifies the rest in as few steps as possible - depending on the quality setting). This is actually exactly similar to what a scope does when it displays airy disks around stars at high magnification. Anyway the result (as you will notice on your starcharts) is that a point star will always be surrounded by "noise" in an JPEG image (not a perfect airy-disk pattern because of low resolution, and because the fourier filtering is applied in one direction at a time). If you choose a fileformat like GIF or PNG this will not happen, as they are lossless. They *might* become larger on disk but *not* necessarily. Even though a lossless algorithm should be less efficient, they do optimise well for line art/drawings, which a starchart should resemble - especially if the background is reduced to only one (white) colour. If they are scanned the background might not be exactly white everywhere due to scanning noise - but some photo-enhancement programs might do it by moving the "whitepoint"). TIFF is also an option - but care should be taken as the TIFF standard incorporates both GIF-like and JPEG-like compression modes. Once again I appreciate your charts and the work that went in to them a lot! The fileformat issue is actually just a question of appearance - but if you are making new one I might as well say it :-) Thank you for the help! Yours, Richard Student at the Technical University of Denmark
Subject: Thank You Sent: Sunday, March 17, 2002 18:21:05 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rocco Addeo) My son found your website...he's interested in getting a scope...Very impressive pictures...thankx for taking the time.. ===== Thankx, Rocco
Subject: Oops... is my ETX screwed? Sent: Saturday, March 16, 2002 14:22:20 From: email@example.com (William Thomas) Couldn't find this question addressed on your site, perhaps it is a very boneheaded thing to do, but when I first got my ETX-90 and was massively ignorant, I went to try to remove the lens cap and I unscrewed the entire front assembly. I screwed it back on gently and tried to make sure it ended up exactly where it had been, but now I am wondering if my scope is now misaligned. Using my 26mm eyepiece I am able to see things very crisply, even with a barlow, but using my 9.7mm, it is hard to really get anything very crisp at all with or without the barlow. Do you think it's possible that this is being caused at least in part by the front lens being minutely out of place? Or am I just seeing the limits of the scope / atmosphere / etc? Thanks.Mike here: I suspect you are OK. As you increase the magnification things will get slightly fuzzier with any telescope. As you get closer and closer to the theoretical maximum magnification for a telescope (twice the aperture in millimeters, or 180X for the ETX-90), it gets more noticeable, especially on dimmer objects like planets.
Subject: New comet? Sent: Saturday, March 16, 2002 11:56:55 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ted Wilbur) I noticed in Dr. Sherrod's latest SuperCharge update the line: "the two new comets that will be visible in April and May..." In doing some on-line research I've only been able to find one with a 2002 designation (C/2002 C1 Ikeya-Zhang). BTW I found a nice site that shows "visual" comets by month for this year (http://www.aerith.net/comet/future-n.html). Do you know of the 2nd new comet to which he is referring?Mike here: Haven't heard specifically of one but haven't looked online for any reports either. I haven't received any report of a new one from the Sky&Telescope mailing list either.
UPDATE: See the Alerts page.
Subject: re: battery-eating focuser Sent: Friday, March 15, 2002 23:05:55 From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Yes, the focuser eats batteries.... when it's not doing anything. You can minimize the effect by -unplugging- the focus cable from the hand control. The load on the battery drops to nearly zero. If you have the focuser plugged into the telescope's AUX port so that the hand controller or Autostar is controlling it, the problem completely disappears, since the Telescope's on/off switch kills -all- of the power. good luck --dickAnd:
From: email@example.com (David Adriance) Saw your posting on the Weasner site. Do you leave the focuser connected to the scope btw viewings? I found that battery life was greatly extended by uncabling the focuser when not in use. I've had the same battery in there for a couple of months (btw, I have a ETX125)... D.
Subject: re: 4504 photography Sent: Friday, March 15, 2002 23:05:27 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) To: email@example.com There's a very active 4504 interest group posting at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Meade4504Telescopes/ Visit their Messages, and Photos area. have fun --dick
Subject: Buyer Beware Sent: Friday, November 30, 2001 10:11:16 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John J. De Salvo) I purchased a Meade ETX90 from Shutan Shop on 11/27/01. I was following the assembly instructions and when I turned the Scope over to insert the batteries I heard something rattle. I took my flashlight and looked into the eyepiece hole to find the mirror had come loose and was just tumbling around inside. I called Shutan and told them of my problem. They were willing to replace the unit but I was told I would have to bear the burden of the cost to send the unit back. When I asked if they were going to reimburse me for the shipping they told me "no that is not our policy". I then asked them to put themselves in my place and Bob Shutan (I assume one of the owners) told me "I also shop online and I have had good experiences and bad experiences". So I asked him if he was telling me this was going to be a bad experience? His reply was "Our policy is to have you send the unit back at your expense". I told him I thought that was a very bad policy to have someone who is just getting into astronomy and might purchase items from him for years to come, be treated unfairly. He then told me "I will try to get something back from Meade for you but I will not pay for the shipping myself". I feel the true measure of a companies worth, is their customer service. This might sound petty to some of you but a small problem like this tells me that if I had a larger problem this would not be the merchant I would want to deal with. I feel it is small minded to hurt your relationship with a potential customer for what probably amounts to $10 to them. I will return the item to Shutan Shop and will purchase my ETX from another merchant that knows how to treat the public. I will never purchase another item from them under any circumstances and I would encourage you to do the same. Thanks for your time and thanks for the great web site. JohnAnd a counter-perspective:
Subject: Meade ETX 90M Sent: Friday, November 30, 2001 17:02:17 From: GBMULLEN@msn.com (Gerald Mullen) Hi: Mike Your site is the best!! I have been a stargazer for most of my life, but business commitments etc got in the way. Ten yrs ago, I retired early at 55 and bought a Meade 2045LX3 and started the hobby again. Did a lot of lunar/ planetary gazing and bought eyepieces(mostly Televues) etc. Then got refractor fever about 6 yrs ago, and put up a pier behind the house, in 4-feet of concrete and put a Meade 127ED on a GP mount. This is my prime scope now and has been for some time. Textbook performance, great contrast and no false colour. Anyway..I saw your site and decided to investigate..Lots of neat postings and user comment.. So 3 days ago..I bought an ETXM the original scope without GOTO electronics. It came today!! Wow what a little doll!! They really did a great job on the design much like my 2045, but the optical tube is so fine!! No wonder you guys are all GaGa over this little scope!! Cloudy tonite..but tommow is supposed to be clear and almost full moon also(Dec 1). I cant wait for "first light". I mounted The ETX on a GP wooden tripod using a flat adaptor plate that I made for the 2045, I use it in Alt/Az mode and dont do any photo work..just gazing and wandering around the wonderful heavens. Needless to say I feel that the ETX may become my Go To scope as all I have to do is pick up the tripod/scope assembly and go out the door. I am in woods in Conn. and have pretty good skies. So, I'll give you a report after the first nite!! Keep up the good work..Your site sold me on getting the scope. By the way I got it from Shutan. Great people to deal with..good deals. Regards Jerry MullenAnd this:
Subject: ETX First Light Sent: Friday, November 30, 2001 17:59:16 From: GBMULLEN@msn.com (Gerald Mullen) Me again!! just looked out living room window..there was full moon with a lot of blowing cloud. Picked up tripod/scope and out front door. put in Meade 24.5mm super wide and focused..There was full moon nicely hanging against dark sky with cloud blowing across it...and just grazing it to the east was Saturn..nice and neat and sharp. Looks like the optics are good. Came in as wind blowing and damp. Anyway, It looks like a "keeper"so far. Regards Jerry MullenAnd here is a response from Bob Shutan regarding John J. De Salvo's issue:
Sent: Wednesday, March 13, 2002 20:40:54 From: email@example.com This is in response to the customer who had a complaint on how I handled his defective ETX90. I did speak to him on the phone and explained that our policy would allow an immediate replacement (with no new S/H charges) with a new telescope but that he must get the defective one to us prepaid. When I told him I would try to get some of his return expense reimbursed to him, he wasn't satisfied with the word "try"-- even after I told him my last name was Shutan. Meade's (as well as Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc.) warranty policies are similar as well. Customer's must return item to them prepaid for warranty work. In fact, we as a dealer must pay for return shipping to most manufacturers! He was also told he could call Meade and ask if they would issue a UPS pickup for the item, but I told him if they want to repair the telescope (instead of replace as I would do)... it could take many weeks... as some of your readers have expressed to you in past letters. There are many advantages for buying mail-order. Usually a tax savings, many times a lower price, or just dealing with someone knowledgeable in the product which, with telescopes is often hard to find at a local level. On the other hand, many people prefer to deal locally so if there is a problem, they don't have the distance to deal with. I can't imagine anyone ever asking a store clerk to refund the $5 in gasoline they burned when they had to bring a product back via automobile. Or, if he had ordered from a supplier without a toll-free phone number, he certainly wouldn't be asking them for a refund on his AT&T expenses. Some stores have toll-free 800 lines. Many that do say they're for "orders only" and they answer them that way to intimidate you. Some stores do not offer toll-free calls-- Shutan does for ALL inquiries whether it be an order, tech questions, backorder questions, or even an order CANCELLATION! I feel our refund policy is a fair one. In fact, it's been accessible from our home page at www.shutan.com for a long time-- well before this customer bought his telescope. I have a copy of a competitors policy in front of me. This 2-page-ad (Astronomy, Sky&Tel) retailer states "It is your responsibility to pay the return shipping". What's more interesting is their policy on exchanges. They charge a 15% restock fee even if you just want to exchange for other merchandise. They also charge a 15% restock fee if you want to return an item for refund. The reason I mention this is because Shutan DOESN'T charge a restock fee on exchanges OR returns as long as they're done within our time requirements. Bottom line- all stores have policies. Some good, some bad, some in between. I tried to help this customer out as best I could. Unfortunately it wasn't satisfactory to him and I understand and accept it. His scope came back to us and he was promptly refunded without any restocking charge. Sincerely, Bob Shutan Shutan Camera & Video
Subject: telescopes Sent: Friday, March 15, 2002 8:23:29 From: Drewmangrum@aol.com Your website is the most informative that I have come across yet. I admire your desire to pass on your knowledge and experiences to other amateurs. I am a store manager at a Discovery Channel Store in TN where we carry ETX products. All of my telescope customers will hear about your site. Several months ago, a gentleman came into my store to show me several little pads he received as a Christmas present. These pads we shock absorbers for his 125 field tripod. I had never seen these before and have not since. He raved about how great they were. I was wondering if you knew anything about this accessory as Meade does not and I am unable to find any information on this anywhere. If it is the cure all for the vibration issue that the 125 sometimes has, I would want to recommend that to my customers. Thanks Drew MangrumMike here: I suspect those were Celestron Vibration Suppression pads and they do help. There are many techniques for reducing vibrations on many telescope/mount combinations (hanging extra weight from the tripod, putting sand inside the tripod hollow legs, placing the tripod leg ends on sponges or soft dirt, etc.).
Subject: Electronic Focus Sent: Thursday, March 14, 2002 18:00:24 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Parisi Family) I have an Electronic Focus on my ETX-90EC and a use the separate focus controller. The controller "eats" batteries - 9 volt. Has anyone had similar experience or should I suspect my hardware? I go through a battery after a small amount of operation ( < 30 minutes) though about 1 week of idle time. Joe Parisi Spofford, NHMike here: Yes, it has been reported to eat batteries.
Subject: Meade ETX telescopes. Sent: Wednesday, March 13, 2002 15:23:10 From: David.B.Whiteman@spidey.speakeasy.net I have reached the point in which I am trying to decide between purchasing a Meade ETX 90, 105 or 125. I understand the theoretical differences. I would simply like to try them out. The few stores I have visited are not amenable to setting them up after sundown. They say if I am willing to wait until winter, when sundown is within their normal operating hours, they would be willing to do that. I am wondering if you know of an astronomical club that meets in the LA area where it would be likely that several Meades would be set up, and I can take a quick peak through the various scopes, or a more generous telescope dealer that stays open past sundown. Thank you. David B. Whiteman, M.D., Pediatric and Forensic Pathology, Dave@autopsy.comMike here: There are several groups in the LA area. The one I'm most familiar with is the South Bay Astronomical Society which meets in Torrance. They have a monthly observing session on the Palos Verdes Penisula. Telescopes of various kinds are available.
Subject: request Sent: Wednesday, March 13, 2002 13:05:58 From: email@example.com (shaun pennington) my name is Shaun Pennington and i would like to make a request. If possible could you send me any pictures taken from a meade 4504 telescope or if not web adresses that contain thease pictures, this is because i am intrested in buying a meade 4504, and i would like to know what i can see through it before puchasing this item. With Thanks Shaun Pennington (any information offerd would also be apreciated.)Mike here: Check the Astrophotography Gallery - Guests, Planets for 2001 and 2000. You'll see some photos. Also, search the Site for "4504"; you'll get some hits.
Subject: Interest in astrophotography Sent: Tuesday, March 12, 2002 22:43:25 From: David.Baldwin@health.wa.gov.au (Baldwin, David) My name is David Baldwin. I am living in far North Western Australia, and have a long held interest in astronomy, with a real desire to get into astrophotography. I have several questions. I am considering buying an ETX 125 EC, with a deluxe tripod, with a view to taking some photos at prime focus if I can get hold of a 2nd hand manual SLR camera, which is proving quite a challenge. Do any of the contributors to this site know if this scope is capable of this sort of thing, or am I being over zealous??. A friend has the ETX 70 and I think this is a great little scope, what I really wnat to do is some long exposure deepsky stuff. Do the motor dive mechanisms on the ETX permit these shots, or is the alignment just not good enough? I am finding the process quite daunting, but am excited about the prospect of finally getting started with a scope of my own. Your advice would be very much appreciated. Many thanks, David. My other email is firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: The ETX line is NOT designed for long duration astrophotography at Prime Focus. That requires more accurate mounting, more accurate tracking, polar mounting (or a field de-rotator). The optics can do the job but you really need a system that includes the capability for "periodic error correction". However, as evidenced by the astrophotography shown on the ETX Site, you CAN do some forms of astrophotography with the ETX models.
Thanks for your reply, I reply appreciate it. I did get a chance to read more of your site after emailing you and found the info about photography. I think its a great site and will definately keep looking at it for advice. Thanks again, David
Subject: Manuals Wanted Sent: Tuesday, March 12, 2002 19:44:38 From: email@example.com I would like to list the following on your website (great site!): Bought used ETX-125-EC & Autostar controller, with no manuals I need: User manual for ETX-125-EC User manual for Autostar 497 I tried Meade with no luck. If you have or know where i might obtain manuals, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks Doug Noyce, Janesville WI, USAMike here: You can download PDF versions of the manuals. See the FAQ page. Will that do?
Sure will! I have not found them yet. Back I go
Subject: home made flex focus Sent: Tuesday, March 12, 2002 10:16:46 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David A Tinney) just visiting the site again and getting great things from it. hey i have a question.....im at the stage where im trying to get my fingers in a very small area on this etx60 when focusing very high in the sky its kinda hard to do.....is there any articles or you have a idea for a homemade flexi focus i can make my self...thanks for posting this..anyone with ideas please email me again thanks for all the help with your site mike...Mike here: See the article "Homemade Focus Cable" on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: Visible Magnitudes? Sent: Tuesday, March 12, 2002 9:04:15 From: email@example.com (Alan Raphael) Great site!! This may be a difficult question to answer, but up to what magnitude can I realistically see with the ETX-60AT or a good seeing night? How does that compare to the ETX-90EC or ETX105-EC? Many thanks! Alan RaphaelMike here: All the ETX models will do around Magnitude 11 (or slightly better). However, this is under ideal conditions with excellent vision. But it can be done. However, under most conditions, around Magnitude 9 will be the likely limit.
Thanks for the quick reply! I'm surprised. I figured that the more aperture, the more light - therefore higher magnitudes. I never thought my ETX60 would be able to see close to 9 even on a great night. I am thinking of upgrading to the 90 or 105 but without having a chance to try one yet, I'm doing some comparison research. Regardless, I'm looking forward to getting out to a local star party where hopefully I can try someone's 90 or 105 to make a true apples to apples comparison. Is there anything I may have missed on your site, or somewhere else that may help me compare them?Mike here: You might want to take a look at the article "Limiting Magnitude Charts" on the Observational Guides/References page.
That makes a lot of sense now. Thanks for your help! Alan
Subject: Your New Book Sent: Tuesday, March 12, 2002 4:45:35 From: GREBNESI@aol.com Any update on when to expect your new book? Mike Isenberg Decatur, IlloinoisMike here: Known details are on the book page on my ETX Site. Keep watching the Site for updates.
Subject: ETX 105 or 125? Sent: Monday, March 11, 2002 16:45:47 From: FMichaelNV@aol.com I stumbled on your site and have found it most enjoyable. I'm trying to decide between purchasing the ETX 105 or 125. Any recommendations? Respectfully, Mike VarlamosMike here: Both are good scopes. One a little more portable than the other. The ETX-125EC obviously has a little more aperture and focal length, which may or may not be important for whatever purpose and expectations you have in mind.
Subject: Astronomy Software Link - Ultimate Messier Object Log Sent: Monday, March 11, 2002 11:21:24 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kevin Berg) Especially with the Messier Marathon coming up, I thought this would be a good link for some neat (and free!) software. I heard of this from a member of the Oakland Astronomy Club, to which I belong. http://www.davidpaulgreen.com/tumol.html Thanks, Kevin
Subject: my ETX (90 mm) telescope Sent: Sunday, March 10, 2002 20:50:48 From: email@example.com (J K) Hi there.. great pics..I am new to telescopes..I am getting a ETX 90 tomorrow..any place you can send me to learn more? I am getting the scope from a older lady at camera shop for 400.00 tri pod case and auto star along with moon filter and 2 lenses.Is there a good place online to buy accessories? Thanks.. Jeff N.IdahoMike here: Enjoy the ETX. Look through the Buyer/New User Tips page, the various Feedback pages, and the Accessory Reviews pages. Those are good places to start learning. Then you can work on the Observational/Reference Guides. As to dealers, there are many excellent dealers listed in the Dealers section on the Astronomy Links page.
Subject: ETX-90EC question regarding slop Sent: Sunday, March 10, 2002 12:35:25 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MacAulay) Great site. Like so many other users, I have been experiencing problems with the "go to" capabilities of my 90EC. In an effort to start from the beginning, I am following the 3 part tune up technique from Clay Sherrod in tech tips. I'm a little confused about how much movement actually indicates too much in the scopes declination axis. With the lock in place, whatever up and down movement from manually moving the OTA is showing up in the movement of the 2 large knobs on each side of the scope. Should the OTA be "rock solid" or would it be normal for some movement to been seen in the dec knobs when the OTA is moved? I'm sure there is no movement at the front of the OTA mount as described in the piece but I do get the knobs turning with a little manual persuasion. Would this be considered normal or should I be looking at the trunions as a possible problem? Thanks John MacAulay Nova Scotia, CanadaMike here: Personally I don't worry about any movement when I force the tube up and down. Since under normal conditions the telescope is slewed from the handcontroller, it takes up the play. Yes, there may be some "hesitancy" when reversing directions but I've never found that to be a problem.
From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) From what John describes, this motion is "normal" and most of it is taken out just as soon as the motors activate in any given direction, a result known as "load" on the gears. A little play in the trunions (as seen on both sides of the fork arms) is normal with a certain amount of "manual pressure" by the user. If the scope remains firmly locked and does not slip away when doing so, then all is probably just fine. Keep in mind that when observing and the scope "under load", there will be no reason (hopefully!) for the user to be pushing on the tube anyway! Clay
Subject: 125 Sent: Sunday, March 10, 2002 0:48:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Saber Properties Limited) Although I've seen the front page of your website hundereds of times I've just noticed that you appear to have a star diagonal fitted to the back of your etx or am I just seeing the picture wrong. If this is the case do you not find you are restricted when trying to observe at the zenith. The reason I ask is because I find the normal eyepiece and finder area too cluttered and when using high power eyepieces especially without a Barlow, I keep knocking the finder. Moving the eyepieces to the rear should solve that don't you think? Cheers, SamMike here: That is the Shutan Wide Field Adapter. And since my ETX-90RA is polar mounted I don't have the problem reaching the Zenith. I like having it attached as it allows me to have two eyepieces attached at the same time; I just flip back and forth for different magnifications. And it does allow viewing without worrying about the finderscope.
Subject: Re: Meade Electronic Eyepiece Sent: Saturday, March 9, 2002 15:19:15 From: email@example.com (David Tindall) In response to Marc Delaney's question about the Meade electronic eyepiece: I also own the same eyepiece and have found that the contrast setting on the eyepiece is fairly critical. Too much contrast, and the TV screen will be completely washed out. Also, when using the eyepiece in dark conditions it may be necessary to adjust the brightness/contrast on the TV as well. Cheers, David.And this:
Subject: Meade electronic eyepiece Sent: Sunday, March 10, 2002 6:41:17 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ted Wilbur) Hi Marc, I saw your query on the Mighty ETX site. The Mighty ETX Site has a section on the eyepiece at: http://www.weasner.com/etx/astrophotography/electronic-ep.html I know of the problem that you're having, and I think it's one of two things: focus/contrast adjustment or field of view issue. Focus/contrast: pre-focus using an eyepiece that is near parfocal with the eep. If you have an ETX60/70 it's the Meade 25mm MA eyepiece that came with the telescope. Once the focus is close, put in the eep and slowly go from high contrast (white) down. If the subject is in the eep field of view, you'll see it as the background darkens with your slow contrast adjustments. You don’t have to be off by much with either focus or contrast to see nothing. Field of view: Always make sure that the eep is set in the eyepiece holder in an orientation that has the video cable is coming off of the right-hand side, parallel to the forks. This configuration will ensure that when you slew, the view of the eep moves as you would expect in any visual eyepiece. The eep has a narrow field of view and sometimes your subject is just outside of it. The best way to resolve this is to put in a higher power eyepiece and center the object. If you change focus for this you'll have to re-focus with the 25mm before putting the eep back in. Another option is to just slew around to find the object - this will only work if your contrast is already set correctly. I don't know if this is just coincidence, but when I've had out of field problems the object has almost always been under the field of vision, i.e. the telescope is pointed slightly too high. The Meade eep is definitely fun to have, good luck! Ted P.S. This email got me thinking about the electronic eyepiece and I've updated a document (PDF) you posted for me in February.
Subject: Thanks Sent: Saturday, March 9, 2002 10:22:37 From: email@example.com (Jason Carden) I've been interested in space all my life and recently decided to buy myself a new scope. I do currently has an old Tasco scope my parents bought me ages ago for Christmas, but I need something that fits my age. In my search across the internet for information about telescopes and astrophotography I came across your site and wow! Your site is by far the best I've seen. There is a ton of information to absorb and I can honestly say that I've learned more about amateur astronomy from your website than any other location. Thanks! Keep you the good work. Jason Carden
Subject: Re: power supply Sent: Friday, March 8, 2002 21:30:39 From: Jim@Dishman.com (Jim Dishman) In regard to Bert Denovan's battery problems (Thursday March 7, General Feedback) and the problem with not being able to get the car to the site, I found a reasonably priced alternative to the AA battery vampire that the ETX-125 seems to be. I went to Target the other day and there on the shelf, for $44.95 was the answer...a portable jumpstart car battery. Its 12V and contains a cigeratte lighter plug on the top and a built in flashlight on the side (which I lined with red acetate for a observing wide area light). All I did was add a 3 outlet cigarette lighter strip on the side with velcro and voila! Now I have a portable, rechargable power source that will power the scope, and all accesories for sever long ovserving sessions before needing a recharge (the AC recharger is included as well as a recharging plug to recharge it directly from the car cigarette lighter). I not only power my ETX-125 from it, I also plug the 12V adapter from my 8 year old son;s ETX-60 into it as well, so we both can use it at the same time. At present my 125 is in at Doc Clays for the charge up. It should back next. Dr. Clay sure is a great guy. Great site and keep it up! Jim
Subject: Doskocil cases Sent: Friday, March 8, 2002 21:06:45 From: ITBVWRacer@aol.com I was wondering if you know where you can order only the replacement foam for the doskocil cases. I have looked several places and I cannot seem to find anywhere. Any help or advise would be appreciated. Thank you ShaneMike here: Have you tried The Case Place (link on the Astronomy Links page)?
Subject: Your new book Sent: Friday, March 8, 2002 6:35:35 From: Dan_Ostler@TD.COM Your web site is the best I have seen. I don't presently own a scope and am considering purchasing the ETX-125. Two questions for you: - when you picked the 100 best objects, was that for an "average" size ETX or do you reference how much more or better things will look through the 125 than say the 90? - When I started my research and came across your site, at first I was disappointed in how much is written about problems with the mechanics. But then I realized how old some of that material is. I realize it is there for those who have these old scopes. Maybe I'm missing it but is there an article, summary or something (other than in Feedback) that sums up how good the NEW deliveries are? And perhaps what might be coming soon - in case I have to save my $ for a while? Thanks for your great support of the hobby! Dan OstlerMike here: Yes, there are a lot older comments on the Site and nope, nothing on unannounced products. As to the Book, it is targeted at the ETX-90, so if the reader has the ETX-105EC or ETX-125EC, the views will be better.
Thanks for the quick reply. Forgot to ask: - I have looked at many of the great photos on your site but does the book contain pictures for planets & deep sky objects showing actually how big or bright they will appear in the eyepiece, as opposed to timed exposures? - I don't see any specific section of your site relating to CCD imaging with the ETX. Did I miss it? Thanks again DanMike here: The book does have some examples of actual views. There is currently no specific section for CCD astrophotography.
Subject: I'm thinking about buying your book. Sent: Friday, March 8, 2002 4:56:09 From: Colin@cdawson.tele2.co.uk (Colin Dawson) To introduce myself, I'm a complete newbie to Astronomy, Telescopes and even the night sky. I decided that I'd take the plung and buy a Telescope then learn how to use it. I spent about a week reading newgroups, surfing the web. That's when I found your site, it's brilliant for Meade users. I've found it very informative, thank you for making such a well organised, and informative site. I decided that whilst I'm purchasing a scope, I'd go for the biggest that I could afford - The LX200's were a little too expensive, so I settled on the LX90. It was just after placing the order that I found your site. Then, whilst reading realised that the scopes whilst not the same are quite similair. Same Autostar, blah blah blah. But the LX90 is only mentioned a couple of times on your site. (well it is an ETX site, so I wouldn't expect it to be mentioned.) My question is... Your book is oriented for the ETX range of scopes, would the book still be as relevant for the LX90? Whilst I appreciate that there will be differences in hardware for the scope, the functionality should be about the same. Regards Colin Dawson firstname.lastname@example.org p.s. My copy of Turn Left at Orion should be arriving soon.
Subject: Meade ETX Sent: Thursday, March 7, 2002 17:24:51 From: email@example.com (Mae) Will you please tell me how I can get your book 100 Objects You Can Really See with Mighty ETX. Thank You Mae EvansMike here: Go to my ETX Site home page and click on the book cover on the right side of the web page.
Subject: Mead electronic eyepiece Sent: Thursday, March 7, 2002 13:23:00 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (marc.delaney) Hi Mike, Got any impressions on Mead's new e;ectronic eyepiece? I bought one recently, it came with a cheap german black&white battery operated TV. Tried it on a terrestrial object and got very pleasing image. Tonight I tried it on Jupiter and could get nothing but a bright blank screen. Any advice will be gartefully and hungrily lapped up! Best wishes and thanks for giving us such a wonderful website! Marc (Wales, Britain)Mike here: I don't have one but hopefully people who do will respond.
Subject: Various Sent: Thursday, March 7, 2002 0:26:57 From: email@example.com (Bert Denovan) G'day Mike, The other night I dusted off the ETX90EC and took it out for a 'run' for the first time in ages. I had installed batteries a while ago and when I checked before operating the level shown was about 70%. Nothing seemed to go right. I was way off in the alignment but the ETX accepted it. (The second star was OK but I could only guess that I was on the first star). Then it would not track properly. In fact Saturn kept running off the eyepiece to the top in seconds. I switched off and went to manual for a glimpse around the very bright environment that I live in. Next day I thought that I should train motors again. But then - what the heck! I will reset and do the lot again. Most of this was a piece of cake on top of my desk but the trouble started when I put the scope on the tripod and attempted to train motors. The thing went haywire. It would ask me to move it one way using the arrow after its move but the direction it wanted to go was opposite to the target. It would only move on fast speed too, no matter what I did. I tried again and got a message that there was a fault in the motors. Checked and got the message that perhaps the batteries were low. By this time they were down to 60% but as I watched the drain was amazing. Down to 54% in no time! OK the batteries are still strong enough to give good light for my Maglite but no good for the ETX. I have the battery alarm switched on but it did not sound an alarm. Next day I used the trusty cord supplied with the LX50 to power-up from the car battery and the train motor function went like clockwork. Testing that same night with the car battery as the power source proved very successful. In fact I was thrilled with the results. Questions and comments: 1) I would like to use the car battery in future with the AA batteries installed in the scope for use when the car cannot be brought to the viewing point. Does anyone know the amps drawn from the ETX? I do not want to drain the car battery. 2) The sales assistant @ Tandy (an American too), backed up the observations from others on your magnificent site by saying that the batteries other that alkaline produce only 1.2 volts. He also put me off buying re-chargable alkaline batteries because he said that they would only give about 10 hours service before needing re-charging and that this process in itself was complicated and that the batteries would only last about 5 rechargings. Thankfully I read a comment of yours about the dangers of cross polarising so that has put me off my plan to find another power source. 3) Given 2 & 3 above it seems that the charge of the batteries is critical to the correct functioning of the ETX. But it is also obvious to me that, certainly in my instance, the battery life is not fully used before they cause malfunction. Is this normal? 4) In re-setting I also realised - too late - that I had wiped the software version that I had cloned from another user that now lives about the same distance away as the moon! Going back to the default setting I now have 2.1e again. However, as I said, it worked beautifully. Should I go to the expense of buying the #505 cord and updating, will I be getting anything better? I notice that contributors are talking about a new programme that sounds a bit 'techo' to me. Is this worthwhile and would a computer nitwit (ask Dick Seymour), be able to install it without too much drama? 5) I noticed from the beginning that the focus control is very touchy and is actually a pain if I go from the 26mm to the 15mm eyepiece. Is this usual? 6) The sights that I see are nowhere near like those promised in the 'blurb'. I can just make out the lines on Jupiter but only very faintly. This has been my experience in a dark site too. The beautiful Omega Centauri cluster is just a faint, fuzzy cloud. Any comments? 7) I intend to use the ETX for what I first bought it for, a convenient scope that can be transported and set up easily, but I will now also use it to guide me to deep sky objects that I cannot locate by star hopping or setting circles for the LX50. Cloud again has hampered the ability to test this concept out. 8) May I also add a word of warning about cleaning the corrector plate. Two days ago I also dragged out the LX50 and to my horror noticed what looked like chip marks on the correcting plate. On further examination it seems that when I was new to the business I had blown on the plate to get rid of some dust. It seems that the small amounts of saliva that inadvertantly came out have etched themselves into the coating. Please be warned! Bert Denovan Ravenswood Western AustraliaMike here: Adequate battery power required is required for proper operation, as you noted. I believe the draw is about 500mA (or was that 1100mA?). Resetting the Autostar does not revert the Autostar back to some prior version. No way. So I suspect you always had 2.1 and just thought you had successfully cloned it. You can make the #505 cable (see the Autostar Information page). Upgrading is pretty straightforward with the current software. And expectations and realities are not always in synch. The ETX-90 can provide nice fews under good conditions. But don't expect to see images like you see in the photos on the box.
Thanks for the info, Mike. The fog of my memory is clearing about the update after you observation. I did have an earlier version and the clone that I did was to 2.1e! That makes me feel better. Thank you also for directing me to Dick's information for building a #505 cord. It is way beyond my ken but I will seek advice, probably from Tandy to see if they can build it for me. Local cost for the full outfit is A$65 which makes it worthwhile seeking an alternative. But the question unanswered is: what benefit(s) will I gain from upgrading? Regards Bert DenovanMike here: Lots. Better tracking, bug fixes, etc.
Subject: re: Cover Sent: Wednesday, March 6, 2002 22:11:41 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) To: email@example.com Some of the lens covers -do- arrive either screwed on too tightly, or (very rarely) cross-threaded. I've even heard of one which was slightly elliptical... not circular. When you -do- apply pressure to remove it, **really** try to keep the dark ring of the front lens from turning at the same time!!! The -angle- of that front lens, relative to the main mirror, is carefully matched for best optical performance. Twisting it won't -wreck- your scope, but it will nudge it slightly off the pinnacle of performance the ETX can provide. you can mark the ring relative to the barrel before twisting to be able to return it to the proper orientation. When you put the cover back -on-, remember not to tighten it... have fun --dickAnd:
Subject: Sticking correcting plate cover Sent: Friday, March 8, 2002 4:03:09 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bert Denovan) G'day Mike, I am responding to Richard Huang's problem with the correcting plate cover sticking. I had a similar problem with this; the cover was stuck fast from the beginning and while I thought I was unscrewing it I discovered to my horror that the entire front flange was coming off! It took all of my strength to get it free from the flange using cloths to assist in the grip. The scope was assembled in Mexico. As the scope had other faults I took it back and found, before I left the store, that the replacement had the same problem. I managed to get a cover off another scope that had been returned and have had no problem since. It only stuck when I screwed the cover back to the stop, but without any pressure, just finger tight. But if I left a turn off it did not stick. It was suggested that I put some twine around the base of the thread to prevent it from locking. However I fixed that problem as outlined above. If Richard's problem is the same he might try that idea. But my attitude is if a new item has a fault I take it back to the retailer. I refuse to put up with problems that the manufacturer has created and taken my money for. Bert Denovan.
Subject: Auto Focus Sent: Wednesday, March 6, 2002 21:36:46 From: email@example.com (Joe Kazup) On my ETX125 the original controller has shows an up / down focus. Does this actually focus the scope or would I need to add some other device to do that? Thanks JoeMike here: You need the Meade electronic focuser unit.
Subject: Eyepieces Sent: Wednesday, March 6, 2002 18:33:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Huang) Sorry Mike for the disturbance, but I got another question regarding the ETX-90 EC. I have 4 eyepieces with a case. So when I put the eyepieces into the case, do I need to cover the eyepieces with anything? Or can I directly put them into the holes? ThanksMike here: You don't want dust and dirt getting on the eyepieces, so covering them is a good idea.
Subject: Cover Sent: Wednesday, March 6, 2002 18:25:36 From: email@example.com (Richard Huang) I just purchased a ETX 90 EC, and everything seems fine except one problem. It maybe be a stupid situation, but I cannot open the lens. Like the big thing that supposed to have exposed right in front of the telescope. The thing that measures 90 mm, Not too sure what its called. But, its the main thing that aims at the object. I set up everything, but I can't seem to take the lid off. There are slits or anything for me to take it off. Just wondering if you can give me a hand, cause I am eager to view. Thanks. Best Regards, RichardMike here: It unscrews. It may take some pressure the first time. Hold the larger ring inplace to keep it from turning as well.
Subject: #883 Tripod Sent: Tuesday, March 5, 2002 15:26:36 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Alex Kuziola) I've got a question...a little while ago, while trying to use "fine azimuth" function of the tripod, I found that once of the knobs was loose...much to my chagrin, I discovered that that knob had stripped right out of the hole. All along, I remember being careful not to tighten one knob without loosening the other, as not to put pressure on any one of them, so it must be a defect...so I decided that it should go back to Meade for either repair or replacement; however, there's a problem...I bought the tripod brand new off of eBay (I know, first mistake), and the buyer told me he had the receipt when I contacted him, but now that I am asking for a copy, he isn't responding to my e-mails. So, I think getting the receipt may be hopeless. Anyway, I was wondering what I could expect from sending it back to Meade (and how much it would cost). It's not a critical piece of the tripod (the tripod still works), but it becomes a pain during polar alignment when I have to center Polaris, and when it's just a little bit off, I have to lift up the two back legs. Thanks for your advice... Alex ======================================================= Alex Kuziola email@example.com "Writing a good drama is hard, writing a good comedy is harder, and writing a good comedy with drama in it is hardest of all, which is what life is." - Jack Lemmon (1925-2001)Mike here: You could send it to Meade but (I'm guessing here) they would probably charge you something like $75 to fix it. You could take it to a local machine shop that would charge you anywhere from $25 to $200 (guessing again). You could live with it, which costs nothing but some minor frustration. You could rethread it yourself using a slightly larger diameter bolt.
Thanks for your response. I'll see if there is a local machine shop that would do it....BUT....As it turns out, I just got an e-mail from them saying they would send the receipt to me ASAP. Do you think there is a chance Meade would replace it with a #884 or are they in the business of doing what what will cost them the least? Thanks again!Mike here: Companies are in the business of not loosing money, and making as much as they can (got to protect shareholders, afterall). Whether they will exchange it or not is a question you can ask them.
Subject: ETX Flip mirror out of alignment Sent: Tuesday, March 5, 2002 5:40:41 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jack Merskin) I have just recieved a used ETX-90 RA. The problem is the flip mirror is out of alignment. I looked at some stars and what I get are seagulls. I have built an 8" Netonian and have done collimation on it. I used a cheshire and a laser on the ETX. With the ceshire, the crosshairs are visually below the center of the optical path. With the laser, the laser beam missed the secondary completely and was projected on the wall. I also have the 45 degree diagonal for the ETX. I used it and the optical path is just fine. The cheshire cross hairs are right on and the laser is also. So the flip mirror is off. 1. How do I align the flip mirror? 2. If I get the ETX -> 1.25" adapter and mount a 90 degree diagonal in place of the 45, does the ETX have enough focus travel to handle most eyepieces? I have the 26mm Meade that came with the ETX and several UO ortho's (18mm through 7mm), and 2 Orion Ultrascopics. The Orions will probably not be used, a 5mm and the 3.8mm. Thanks in advance and you have a great site.Mike here: The flip mirror repair is not straightforward. For help see Doc Greiner's ETX Info page (linked from the Telescope Tech Tips page on my ETX site). As to using eyepieces at the rear port, yes you can do that (I do) but I can't say whether MOST eyepieces will focus but I can say that SOME will and possibly MANY.
Subject: Re: ETX 125EC Telescope Sent: Monday, March 4, 2002 23:18:14 From: Pbdesert@aol.com I like your website and the information about the Telescopes. I am an Amateur Astronomer with some knowledge of the heavens. I bought a Meade ETX 70EC to get started but in less than a week I am already ready to step up to the ETX 125EC. Can you recommend a source to get the best price from. Should I get the Autostar included or just pick one up on Ebay? I paid $211. for my ETX 70. Shipped. I bought it on a dutch auction on Ebay a few weeks ago. Here is the kicker. I live in the wilderness of Joshua Tree California so I am in the star Mecca of the desert! Looking forward to hearing from you, Sincerely, Philip BonafedeMike here: There are many online dealers (see the Astronomy Links page) or you can purchase from a local Meade dealer. The price will be essentially the same. As to an Autostar, yes you can buy a used one so that can reduce the price.
Thanks Mike for responding. I will keep my eye pealed on Ebay till I smell the right deal. I am going to sell the 70EC locally for what I have into it and definitely get the 125EC. I want to see the Cassini seperation in the rings of saturn and the Horse head Nebula in Orion among other things. You might be hearing more from me.Mike here: Don't expect to see the Horsehead. That's beyond most visual telescopes and eyes.
I guess that is more of a Hubble view you think? I am selling my ETX 70 and getting a ETX125. I have found them for around $700 and less. How good is the autostar system? Do you like it?Mike here: The Autostar works as it should ONCE you know learn how to use it. But whether it is a required accessory depends upon whether you already know the night sky and what the light pollution situation is where you will do your observing. Regarding the former, amateurs (and even professional) astronomers went for centuries without a computerized GOTO system. As to the latter, a GOTO system can help you locate those faints objects that you might otherwise pass up.
Subject: Lubricant? (ETX 125) Sent: Monday, March 4, 2002 21:11:11 From: email@example.com (John Chalfen) I have been going through the tech tips and the archives, and I see a recurring theme: manually rotating the scope to spread the lubricant. Since I have my ETX 125 base split in half for a binding issue and cord mod, I have to ask where is this lubricant that gets spread around? Near as I can tell, the only place it might be is in the shaft assembly. I'm thinking I missed something someplace but I can't see where. Anyone shed some light on this for 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 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.comAnd from our hardware expert:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) This has nothing to do with the works inside the turntable at all...there is nothing in there to spread around, nor is there anything to spread that "nothing" on! This applies to evening out the lubricants AND the metal-to-metal surfaces between the clutch block, the RA gear and between the gear and the Rear RA clutch assembly adjacent to the large nut holding the assembly together. Hope that clears it up! Clay
Yep....That clears things up. It makes sense looking at it from that perspective. I knew it wasn't in the turntable but couldn't see where else it would actually do any good. Thanks much! (Back to de-greasing now)
Subject: new equipment Sent: Monday, March 4, 2002 13:23:33 From: email@example.com (Dimitris Rakopoulos) I would like to share my first impressions after my latest purchases. I replaced the standard 8x21 viewfinder with the 8x25 right-angle viewfinder. First of all I no longer have the annoying problem when I observe towards the zenith. Another major problem I had with the standard viewfinder was that I couldn't align it correctly with the scope. Believe me, the 8x25 viewfinder was 10 times easier to align and now I can find absolutey everything much easier on the night sky. I must admit that that at first I had to re-align the viewfinder because it hit the fork when the scope was facing the zenith... Anyway, now it is absolutely great! The secord thing I bought (after our little discussion on NOT buying a 4.7mm because it will reach the limit of the scope) the 40mm Super Plossl from the 4000 series. I tried it last night (and afternoon). It is perfect. It is 2-4 times more bright than the standard 24mm eyepiece. I was amazed by the brightness of the eyepiece. You also don't have to look too close so the eye relief is perfect, too. I really enjoyed it very very much. It was crystal clear with a wide angle view (Pleiades were great, so was the Orion Nebula) .. Even on terrestrial observation it was very very good. I think it's a very useful eyepiece. I think that anyone that has an ETX should buy it. Nobody will regret it. Clear skys to everyone. Best regards, Dimitris Rakopoulos
Subject: Building a web controlled Telescope ... Sent: Monday, March 4, 2002 5:23:17 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I am thinking about the connection of my job (computer science) and my hobby astronomy by building an internet controlled Telescope. The User Interface and contacting an API (if there is one) is not the problem I think. But I am not very experienced with hardware and so i am planning to use a small commercial product (like the ETX70) for the beginning. Do you know, whether there are other people doing the same or have the same interest? Is there an API for controlling the Telescope (maybe for LINUX :-) ) or is the Protocoll/Comand set ec. between Computer (via which Interface: serial?) and Telescope available from Meade? Is the positioning accuracy of the telescope (after dozends of "gotos") sufficient for the plan? Any suggestions on the plan? Best regards, GuentherMike here: Someone started a similar project months ago (might be listed on the Astronomy Links page). There are no APIs but the command set is available (see the Autostar Information page). If you add a webcam or other video camera you can bring the video to a web page. And yes, once properly aligned GOTOs can be good all night. However, with a low-end telescope line like the ETX or NexStar you could run the risk of slippage at some orientations if you hang extra weight like a video camera on the telescope. For best results you'd need to go to a high end telescope like the LX200 series.
Subject: Cloud Cover vs. Lunar Phase Sent: Sunday, March 3, 2002 18:11:34 From: email@example.com (Ray and Jeanie) It's been awhile since I last sent something to the site, and I do access it quite a bit. Anyway, here goes. Do you know of any website that has info on cloud cover respective to lunar phases. I know this sounds a bit nuts, but in this part of the world (Western Washington State) I have noted that a majority of our clear nights ( read "no fog, no clouds") coincides with +/- 3 days of full moon. Yes, I know -- the moon has absolutely nothing to do with climate...but, from this side of the continent, the coincidental relationship is there. And, of course , there is absolutely nothing we can do about it! Just curious. Oh, yeh one more item. Even though I have an 8" Celestron, I still use the ETX 90-RA more often. Quick set-up (comes in handy during rainy spells) and the optics on double (or multiple) stars equals the big EYE most of the time. Darks skies - no clouds!! RayMike here: I suspect you could research the data from a climatological web site.
Subject: is it air, or is something wrong? Sent: Sunday, March 3, 2002 17:55:10 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bob Vilums) It was a clear night last night in Hemet California. I just received my new Televue 11mm plossl and was anxious to try it out. I lined up my stars and slewed to Jupiter. It was just a white dot, no cloud bands.. I figured it was just the atmosphere bad or something. Then I went to Saturn. Saturn was giving a double image in my stock 25mm, and with the rest of my smaller Televue eyepieces there were waves.. By waves I mean it looked like you were looking down a long stretch of freeway on a very hot day. It looked the same as the mirage you get on hot pavement. I wrote it off as unsteady atmosphere. But today I tried it out during the day. I focused on the top of a mountain. To my surprise, every eypiece is doing the same thing. There are those waves again. I have never seen them before in my scope. The finderscope doesn't show any waves. Did something go out of whack? BobMike here: Waves won't appear if something is "out of whack". That would show a constant not changing image. So, I suspect either poor seeing conditions or you didn't let the telescope reach an adequate "thermal equilibrium". See the article "Seeing Conditions and Transparency" on the Observational Guides/References page.
Subject: oops! my eyepiece! Sent: Saturday, March 2, 2002 20:28:46 From: GR8FL2B1@msn.com (gr8fl2b1 xxxxxxx) Please help! I dropped my meade MA 9mm eyepiece and thought it was broke. I took it apart and it wasn't, but I couldn't remember what the orientation was. There is one lens that is 2 pieces glued together, and one single one, and a metal ring. I have tried many ways, but I can't get it right. I called meade but no one could help. Is there anybody out there!Mike here: There is an article on Eyepiece Designs on the Telescope Tech Tips page. That might help.
Subject: Baseplate Power Wire Break Sent: Saturday, March 2, 2002 11:58:13 From: email@example.com (Alex Kuziola) I decided to try a tune-up or two on the ETX backlash...the tune-up went fine, but OOPS! When I went to put the baseplate back on, I noticed that the (incredibly short) black battery-pack cable had broken off of the circuit board inside the ETX, a mistake totally on my part. I have three questions: 1) My scope isn't going to go crazy and spontaneously combust, is it? 2) I really don't intend to ever use the battery compartment, so is it OK go ahead and clip the red wire too? 3) If I do want to fix it, is there someplace local I can take it to get the wire resoddered? (I wonder about this due to the tight space the circuit board is in...but if I can avoid sending it to Meade, that would be great). FYI, when plugged into the wall, the ETX runs fine with the wire broken. Thanks for your advice!!! AlexAnd from our resident hardware expert:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) This is a very common situation and one that will NOT interfere with observing nor operation at all if you never plan to use the batteries; since the loose wire may get caught up in the gearworks, I would highly recommend taping it to the bottom of the battery compartment "well" with plastic tape. Just leave the red wire connected. Likely the wire broke off on the INSIDE of the control board, a place that you cannot get to to resolder. A computer repair house is by far the best place for the delicate soldering job and they can do it fine. However, if you wish to attempt to reattach at some point, you may wish to attach on the EXPOSED, or outer side of the board facing you. You will see two solder exposures and realize quickly the reverse of which is still attached to the RED wire. You can carefully attach the wire using VERY sparingly a tip of solder to the "other side" of where it actually should be attached. However, nothing at all will happen if you chose to put this off indefinitely....it will not explode or shrink into a smaller scope for lack of that black wire and operations will be normal using external power. Clay Sherrod
Thank you both very much for your advice (not to mention your lightning quick response!). That sure is a relief to know that I'm not the only one who has had this problem...
Subject: ETX and SCT f6.3 corrector..I NEED A L.A.R (Large accessory Ring) Sent: Saturday, March 2, 2002 10:46:45 From: email@example.com (DC) I held my LX200 SCT f6.3 corrector with a 25mm lens to the back of the ETX just to see if it would focus. Not only does it focus with no problems, it also increases the filed of view by about 50%, no vigineting. Now this might be a way to go but , it's a common reducer for Celestron and Meade, same works on either scope. Then you can use all common visual back parts for the ETX. BUT WHERE can one fine a L.A.R. (Large accessory ring) that will adapt the ETX to a standard SCT visual back thread? ANYONE WITH THIS ANSWER EMAIL ME PLEASE!. I have just the Spotting scope and I mount it piggy back on my LX200. But the views of planets are just as good with the ETX. It is a fun scope. So even LX200 users enjoy the ETX. Besides, the ETX does not weigh a ton. Contact me of you have any leads or links to such a Large Adaptor Ring for the ETX visual back..If no one makes these, then someone should as the SCT f.6.3 corrector, though large, works pefectly on an ETX 90 and maybe up to the five inch... Thanks Dan Callahan Springfield Astronomical Society Ozarks Amature Astronomy Club Springfield MissouriMike here: See the "SCT Accessory Adapter" on the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page on my ETX Site.
I found the SCT adaptor ring. I will order one as soon as possible. Your right, adding the SCT stuff will add weight, but I am using an ETX tube only piggy backed on a LX200. So I can handle 18 lbs of stuff MAX... But just adding the SCT f6.3 Meade or Celestron (both the same part), adds about 10 ounces to the tube. Then an SCT star diganal, another 8 ounces, and of course an eyepiece, so the weight should be about a pound. Should the F6.3 corrector proves to work very well as a focal reducer and a field widener, I will report back to you after I get the part with photos. I have also found this same f6.3 corrector, can be added inside a low priced achromat refractor and converts an f10 to a f6.3 APO refractor! These corrector work on all kinds of stuff! I see the Scoptronix wide field adaptor also works, but for quie a bit more money.. I need 3 degrees of field, and was using an Orion Short tube 90, but it is very heavy. The ETX tube cuts three pounds off my scope and another three lbs off the couther weight side, so using the ETX if I can, will subtract six whopping lbs from my LX200 setup..I use an Olympus OM-1 only... The German EQ mount I am using for the ETX alone is a G5 Celestron mount. Orion also sell this same mount called the EQ2. Add the RA motor and hand controller and you can use any ETX tube and it is very solid. Sure an ETX tube is not as good as the ROBO ETX, but having just the tube only lets me use it for all kinds of things..But when on the LX200 it just goes for the ride and I can tell you the images of the brighter objects is actually better in the tiny ETX! There is no need to rush out an buy an LX200, but it of course works better on dim objects simply due to 8 inch apature. For added info, the BIG BROTHER of the ETX, the MEADE LX200 and LX200 GPS MAK tube, is exactly identical to the SIZE diamater of the SCT 8 inch LX200 tube. So in this case, an LX200 CAN be converted to a MAKSOTOV 7 inch. But the MEADE LX200 MAK is actually 7.625 inches in mirror diamater, and 9.1 inches in TUBE diameter, and is 19" long instead of the SCT 16 inches. So YES you CAN convert the LX200 MEADE SCT to a MAK (If your rich of which I sure am not!) So any of you guys who love MAKs, and may have access to an LX200 but just have to have a MAK, the tube will fit perfectly. It is available from Astronomics at $1,299 for the TUBE assembly, and of course, what is the LAM LX200?? It's juts a big overgrown ETX ! So while they are pricy, they may be a goal of ETX owners in future years. The LX200 I have has been flawless in preformance and never once has failed me. Very tough scopes with four inch bearings and great tracking.. I am impressed with all the astrophoto shots you guys do! Good Work! I use only Kodak 400 super gold and try to stick with one film. But your shots are as good as mine for sure! I will report back in a month about the ETX and the Celestron F6.2 SCT focal reducer and field corrector. It may help get that field of view larger and that is quite a challange with the ETX. By the way, our SMSU University scope is a 16 inch Cassegrain, (no corrector) and it works out to be F.22. It is mounted in an 8 x8 x8 foot block of concrete, and it is an awsome planetary scope. Of course I never get to use it, but I do all the maintence and machine repairs on it. This scope weighs over three tons.! We have a liquid nitrogen camera on the thing that uses three gallons a night of nitrogen, and we can do a three inch wide digital shot of the ring nebula. Alot of fun but it takes three people to do it all. One is a guider in the scope room, and two others operate the computers fire the camera and we get a six by six inch image in three seconds. We are seeking varibkle stars with a wobble indicating a new planet. No, we have never found one! I still like small scope! Thanks Dan Callahan
Subject: eyepiece magnification limits for ETX90EC Sent: Saturday, March 2, 2002 9:55:50 From: GoldwingRJO@aol.com I have just bought this scope with the standard eyepiece 26mm? but am awaiting delivery. From your experience which eyepiece magnifications are useable as opposed to offered for this kit please. In UK Super Plossl 4000 eyepieces seem the standard although rather expensive. Any suggestions very welcome. Regards RichardMike here: For the maximum magnification formula for ANY telescope, see the FAQ page.
Subject: Brad Allred's panoptic question Sent: Friday, March 1, 2002 22:31:12 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tiffani Brown) I have tried using my Celestron Axiom 15mm with an Ultima barlow (166.6x) with my ETX 90M, and the views of the "gas giants" turn out remarkably dim! I realized that the light path has to go through no less than 10 elements, and this is after the diagonal! I have much better results NOT barlowing this eyepiece, instead I obtained a Teleview 8mm (156x) Plossl, which, despite little eye relief, shows much better detail on the planets, due to a much more reasonable 4 elements between you and the diagonal. The lesson here is light preservation! Chris Brown
Subject: Your Book Sent: Friday, March 1, 2002 19:04:02 From: email@example.com (Cynthia A. Pollack) I ordered your book from Amazon.uk and the total with shipping from the UK came to $35.77. Obviously that can change a little due to the exchange rate. Not too bad, considering it's coming from the UK. They sent me an E-mail and said I could expect delivery somewhere between March 4-6. Total time from ordering to their estimated delivery = 7 days. Not Bad!! Cindy www.city-net.com/~rpollack
Subject: Great Site! 3/1/02 Sent: Friday, March 1, 2002 13:59:43 From: David_Wylde@AutomationIntelligence.com (Wylde, David) I have been on your website for about two hours reading all of the great content. I have had my ETX-90EC since 1999 and have only just really begun to use it. Since finding your site, I can see it getting a ton more use. I work in the Electrical Engineering field with a good background in servo motion control. Feel free to email any questions you may have in either of these two areas, and I will do the best to answer them. I work for a Servo and Stepper motor/controller manufacturer, and could probably get some decent equipment from my company at reduced costs if someone was looking into some very precision telescope control. Let me know if I can help you in any way. Anything I come up with will be emailed to you! Thanks, David Wylde Sales Engineer Automation Intelligence, Inc. 678-330-2089 Home Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: filters for general viewing and megapod vs. 884? Sent: Friday, March 1, 2002 11:55:24 From: Carolandmike00@aol.com My work schedule is very tight and I have to take my viewing nights any time I get a chance. Lately, it seems that my good nights for viewing have been falling on nights where there is a bright full moon or close to full. What filter would you recommend for general viewing when there is this annoying bright moon. I have two filters that I purchased from Orion Telescopes - the Sky Glow and UltraBlock. I know these are designed for moderately light-polluted skies and emission nebulas, but what is there for blocking out moon light when viewing planets, clusters etc... Secondly, I am still debating on a new mount - the 884 or the 887. My Question is have you or anyone reading this site, have any experience or recommendations on the Megapod mount from JMI's. Their ads in past Astronomy Magazine state that it is "solid as a rock." Thank you and Clear Skies, Mike in Texas PS is there an Autostar update for comet Ikeya Zhang CM2002?Mike here: That would be like asking for a filter to block out the Sun's light so you could observe planets and stars during the daytime. Sorry. As to the Megapod, see the Accessory Reviews - Tripods page. For the comet, see: http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/Ephemerides/Comets/.
Subject: mounts/wedges Sent: Friday, March 1, 2002 8:15:29 From: email@example.com (nitin joshi) I hate to send personal email but I have a ?? and I could not find info for it so may be you can help. I have etx125 but I am short on cash and did not buy the field tripod etc. This causes problem in not being able to track, is there a cheap homebrew wedge or some other design that I can use or is it better to shell out for 884 tripod. I am in India and will be visiting US soon so I can buy the wedge or tripod in US Thanks NitinMike here: There are many solutions you can make. See the Telescope Tech Tips page for lots of ideas on mounts and wedges.
Subject: Meade 8.8 UWA eyepiece w/ETX-125 Sent: Friday, March 1, 2002 7:39:05 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jerry Kasmala) While trying to decide which eyepieces to get for my 125 I saw Dr. Sherrod's recommendation for the Meade 8.8 UWA in an item during November. I purchased this eyepiece but notice that it doesn't really fit on the 125. What I mean by that is that the outer barrel on the eyepiece doesn't clear the telescope body so it stops about 1/2" short of seating on the eyepiece port. As optics isn't my domain, I'd like to ask a couple of questions wrt this. Does this effect either magnification and/or field of view? Does the position of the eyepiece slightly back from the port significantly effect its ability to collect light? Thanks for your work on the ETX site.Mike here: Not all eyepieces will be able to be fully inserted into the eyepiece holder. This is not necessarily unique to the ETX models. If the eyepiece tube goes all the way and goes so far that it reaches the flip mirror, you may experience some vignetting or reduction in the field of view since the eyepiece tube may block some light. On the other hand, if the outside portion of the eyepiece tube (the portion that doesn't insert inside the telescope body) reaches all the way, you may be still have some cutoff if the eyepiece length is really long.
Subject: Focusing Question Sent: Friday, March 1, 2002 5:22:59 From: email@example.com (Dr. Miles J. Rosenthal) I recently purchased an ETX-125, along with most of the frills. Being new to Astronomy, I have been reading all I can, including your excellent site, to try to learn as much as possible. I have a question that is so elementary as to be embarrassing to ask it. But, nonetheless, I need the counsel of more experienced folks. When I am looking at a planet (especially Saturn and Jupiter), I see what appears to be a large circle of light with a dark mass inside. I am unable to resolve the image through focusing. Does this indicate a problem with the telescope's optics, or is there something very basic that I am doing wrong? Your help would be greatly appreciated. Dr. Miles J. RosenthalMike here: When you insert the 26mm eyepiece (that's the one that came with the telescope) into the eyepiece hole on top of the ETX tube, you will have to focus the image. That may require several turns of the focus knob. As you turn the knob does the size of the light blob change? It should eventually get small and as you continue to focus, it will come into sharp resolution. You may be expecting the size of the planet's disk to be larger than it really is when focused.
Thanks for your quick reply to my question. Perhaps I was a little unclear about what I was asking. I have been an Astronomy buff for some years, but have always used a reflecting scope. As the optics are quite different from the M-C design of the ETX, and because of the numerous problems that have been reported with the ETX, I am not quite certain whether what I am seeing is "normal" or a flaw in the scope. When I am viewing a planet, whether with the 26mm SP, the 8-24 Zoom, or a 6.7mm UWA, what I see is a dark circular area surrounded by a circle of light. I have been unable to focus this out, but I believe that this is because I am not certain what to focus on. Is the planet the blob of light, or is it the dark object within? I am uncertain, because I am wondering if the dark object is the telescope's secondary mirror. I realize that this is a basic question, but if I knew what I was aiming for, then perhaps the focusing would be more effective. I also wanted to say how much I enjoy your site, and that I have a copy of your book on order at Amazon.com. I have put a significant outlay of time, expense, and yes, hope, into my resurrected hobby. I sure would like to see a Planet!Mike here: OK, now I understand a little better. You are seeing the secondary shadow so you need to continue to turn the focus knob. Once you get the image infous you'll know it since the view of Jupiter will look like it did through that reflecting telescope; you'll see some cloud bands and perhaps one to four of the brighter moons. So, keep turning the knob. If you find that you can't reach a focus because the knob reaches the backplate on the ETX, you will have to reposition the knob a little further out on the shaft. But before you do that be certain the proper focus is not in the other direction. But if the knob needs to be moved it is simple. Tilt the telescope upwards to about 45 degrees elevation; this prevents the focus shaft from falling inside the tube (something you definitely don't have to happen). Loosen the setscrew on the side of the focus knob, slide the knob a little further out on the shaft, and then retighten the screw. Try to focus. If you still can't quite reach a focus (you'll be able to tell as you get closer because the blob of light will be getting smaller), repeat the process. Do this in very small increments.
Subject: ETX-90EC Sent: Friday, March 1, 2002 5:02:16 From: BKNIGHT315@aol.com Well folks, I went and done it. I invested in an ETX-90EC with all the necessary accessories. I have had it out three times without any success due to my inexperience and location. What sky I can see is practically straight up. The third time I was out, I actually had a star centered. I installed my 126 Barlow and 26mm eyepiece, started to focus and my Flexi-Focus fell off. Thinking I had lost the set screw, I hauled everything back in the house, only to find the set screw was still there. It must have just been loose. I haven't been out since, due to bad weather. Oh well, Spring is around the corner. Maybe I'll have better luck next time. Thanks for listening. BillieMike here: Keep at it. Play with the telescope indoors to get some experience in using it. That's easier than learning it in the dark!
Subject: Meade Plssl eyepieces Sent: Friday, March 1, 2002 3:58:35 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Tindall) I would like to know what the optical / visual difference is between the Meade Series 3000 / 4000 Plssl eyepieces. I have a Meade 26mm Series 4000 already (it came standard with my ETX90EC). I would like to purchase another Meade eyepiece around 12-14mm but am unsure if a 4000 series is vastly better than a 3000 series. Have you or any other people out there had experience with both types? Thanks heaps, David Tindall.
Subject: Re: altitude problem (wire re-routing) Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2002 20:08:47 From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org You asked: > One question I have is can you do away with the internal battery wiring and > make a jump wire between the terminals on the board? I want to go with ac > converted power all the time and if I need to clean the scope again not to > worry about the delicate wiring. I don't know what flavor of telescope you have, nor if this is -exactly- what you meant, but take a look at: http://home.socal.rr.com/hotweb/enh/etx.html -especially- the picture on the bottom of the page... have fun --dick
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