Last updated: 31 March 2003
Subject: ETX 105EC - Declination Stops Adjustment Sent: Saturday, March 29, 2003 9:27:51 From: email@example.com (Richard Pearce) I have recently purchased the 105EC (at extortionate UK rates!!) and, although the 'Goto' system works fine I think I will have a problem using the 'scope in the polar mode. If you can imagine the 'scope in the Alt/Az configuration then it will only point down below the horizon by about 10deg conversely it will point beyond the zenith and it only stops because the finder hits the fork arm. I understand the need for the stops but I think they are setup incorrectly on my 'scope. Is this something I can adjust or do I need to return the instrument? I have not been able to use it in earnest yet as I am still waiting for the tripod to be delivered - ordered at the same time some four weeks ago! Great website, good advice - keep it up. Thanks in advance. Richard ScotlandMike here: I'll forward to our hardware resident expert, Dr. Clay Sherrod, but I suspect that something has slipped or been damaged in shipment. The best bet would be to return it to the dealer for an exchange.
From this description, which is really not complete enough for me to fully understand how it is being set up, I am getting the distinct impressions that the scope is being set up backwards, this assumed by the descriptions of where the stops are located. I would suggest that you go to my Performance Enhancement series (Parts 3 and 4) and look at exactly the orientation that the scope and fork arms must be relative to the control panel. Bet you a dollar to a donut (they DO have donuts in Scotland??) that this is the problem. Please give us some more complete information. Dr. Clay Arkansas Sky Observatory www.arksky.org MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway MPC/cbat Obs. H41/ Petit Jean Mt.Mike here: See the Telescope Tech Tips page for the articles Dr. Clay mentions.
Many thanks for the extremely swift response to my query. I have read through the Performance Enhancements series Pts 3 and 4 and, although these are tips are useful and I may well employ them in the future, they do not address the problem I have. Perhaps I did not describe the problem fully. I have trained the drives and, surprisingly enough, I did not fall foul of training the 'scope in Azimuth twice! I oriented the 'scope in Alt/Az mode and performed the easy align. This worked fine and the 'scope quite happily went from object to object with no problems. The problem I can foresee concerns the internal hard stops on the declination axis. If I were to set the 'scope on a tripod in the Equatorial mode then the lowest declination I would be able to reach is about 10deg south of the celestial equator and, from my latitude, would be about 20deg above the southern horizon. I realise it is important for the OTA not to hit the base when pointing below the celestial equator but my 'scope seems to hit the internal hard stop long before then. I have just measured it and there is about 40mm between the OTA and the closest part of the base when the hard stop is reached. Conversely, when going to very high declination, the OTA will go beyond the 90deg required to reach the celestial pole. In fact it only stops when the finder hits the fork arm. I hope this description has clarified my problem. I suspect, and fear, that this may mean that the internal declination stops have shifted in transit, or been setup incorrectly in the first place, and the 'scope will need to be returned to my supplier. Many thanks for your help so far. Regards Richard 57deg 42in N, 3deg 26minW PS Yes we do have donuts (doughnuts?) in Scotland. Wouldn't you prefer Haggis?!!And:
No, the hard stops are unable to shift at all; they are fixed and cannot move either intentionally or accidentally. Have you actually tried setting the scope up in Equatorial mode? I think you will be surprised at the answer to your question; note that you only are restricted to a great degree of any object in the southern skies that is on the meridian; east and west of that you have been access...but that is the nature of the beast of any fork mounted scope. You cannot access skies that are below the base of the equatorially mounted scope. Try actually setting it up in Polar mode and you will see that you have pretty good southern access....there is nothing internally nor mechanically wrong with your scope and I urge you to not attempt to change anything, particularly tampering with the hardstops. On the 105 these are metal and fixed in the DEC rotational system; any changes will virtually ruin the telescope. Dr. ClayAnd:
Hi Clay I have tried what you have suggested but I still have the same problem. Whether I move the 'scope manually in declination or use the motor drive the finder hits the fork arm or the OTA still seems along way from the base at its lowest declination. I have attached a couple of images (sorry about the quality) to show what I mean. If you look at the image showing closest approach of the OTA to the base, you will see the declination scale indicating about 15deg. I think it should be about 30deg. The other image shows the finder hitting the fork. I tried removing the finder OTA leaving just the mounting rings to see how far the OTA would go past the 90deg. I could not find this as the rings hit the fork. Thanks for your help so far. Richard
I have the suggestions made by Clay but I still think things are not right. I replied to an eMail from Clay with the above message. I don't think I shall be using the 'scope in polar mode much anyway but, if there is a mechanical problem, I would like to get it sorted sooner rather than later. Once again thanks for the help. If only the telescope supplier could be so efficient! RichardMike here: First off, it would appear there is some obstruction since the OTA should reach almost to the base so that you can see southern declinations when polar mounted. On the other end, the finderscope should not be hitting the fork arm like depicted; at least not on the ETX-125 (I can't speak about the -105 since I don't have one). It should reach a stop before that.
This is exactly what I had expected to happen. The overall range of movement in declination seems about right and this is what makes me think there is, for want of a better description, some sort of device which incorporates both end stops and this has somehow rotated around the declination axis or has not been fitted correctly.Mike here: Actually, it seems restricted. It should be able to go from just slightly pass the zenith to the almost touching the base.
The dip of the nose looks about right to me Mike...unless I am looking at the images wrong. I have encouraged Rich to mount the scope equatorially. When looking at it in Alt Az and "anticipating" what it should look like in polar, it is very misleading. I think the stops are okay. Dr. ClayMike here: My ETX-125EC OTA almost touches the base, regardless of mounting mode. That's why I thought Richard's seemed to stop too early.
Oh.....the new ones Mike have a much larger hard stop....they DO indeed stop much farther from the base than yours does! When they went with the metal internal parts, they totally changed the overall design of the hard stops and integrated it into the bearing assembly and NOT the fork arm. That is why they stops can never be shifted. They rotate with the bears and are no longer stationary as in the older scopes; he has the new configuration which works much better; the stops are two large extensions on a notched disk that rotate along with the OTA....they are made out of ONE piece of metal and cannot change, period. ClayMike here: Thanks! Learned something new today!
Unfortunately I do not know anyone else with a 105 to compare it with. The nearest ETX EC to me is a 125 owned by someone about 50 miles away. It may just be a quirk of the 105 that the tube does not come as near to the base as the 125 but I have my doubts. I shall contact my supplier, chasing up my tripod at the same time, to see he knows any different. Could I be cheeky and ask if either of you know somebody with a 105 so they can just do a quick check for me. As I said before, the tube will come no closer than about 40mm to the base no matter what mode it is. On the brighter side, if this is a quirk of the 105, then perhaps I should move to the North Pole where using it in equatorial mode will not be a problem! Thanks again RichardAnd this:
I once again ask you to put the scope IN polar mode and try it out; I believe that you are fretting over nothing...what you see is exactly the same situation I see in every 105 and 125 with the new metal mounting. Have you tried it operationally yet to see if it works correctly in polar? Clay
Subject: Re: ETX105EC Control Panel Circuit Board Sent: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 10:14:07 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (P. Clay Sherrod) the control panel must be removed from access inside the base; however it is not easily done and it is more likely that your best route is to attempt at fix with the control panel circuit board left IN PLACE rather than removed from the base. Some people have made a successful modification to the troublesome switch by routing an independent toggle switch (Radio Shack) from the main wires going to the defective one. Dr. Clay ---------- email@example.com Arkansas Sky Observatory Harvard/MPC H43 (Conway) Harvard/MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) www.arksky.org
Subject: Re: FYI EXT-105 MUF's Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 20:42:38 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Gilkison) Now that I know what a MUF is I got one big time. I have had the telescope for about a week and had it out observing three times now. It (my ETX-105 EC) has worked great until tonight. I got a MUF on a go/to to M-3, and after this I could not get the motors to function at any speed in Alt, or Az. I took it in the house and took a good look at it. The hand unit works, as in it powers up. The unit reports 100% battery power. I have a couple outside reliable power sources one of which is a 12 volt power supply from a plug in unit to the wall. There is a MUF message that says the usual such as clearing obstructions, checking power supplies, and rebooting the unit. Nothing works. I can not even here motors with the clutches disengaged I even checked a spare autostar hand controller I have for my LXD-55 mount (which has been shipped to Meade for repairs)and it doesn't command the motors to work sucessfully either. Please tell me there is something that can be done other then shipping this unit back to Meade. I would think there may be fuse protection or something like this for the motors. I will call Meade in the morning but I am not liking this. I am getting a rather jaundice outlook on Meade products at this juncture. Please advise! * John Gilkison President, National Public Observatory email@example.com www.astronomy-national- public-observatory.orgMike here: I'm confused now. You say you get the MUF all the time now no matter what the power source? That could indicate a wiring problem, either internal or external. I know you know the drill: RESET, CALIBRATE, and TRAIN but when you switched to the LXD55 Autostar I hope you selected the ETX model and then did a CALIBRATE and TRAIN.
There is nothing to do, the motors flat don't work. You can't train a the unit if the motors don't work. Neither the Dec or the RA motors function at any speed. Power sources are fine, the hand controller lights up and appears to function otherwise. The hand controller says there is a MUF. This thing was working fine one second then like this the next? Yes I did a reset zero result.Mike here: Can you control the ETX with the standard handcontroller?
The only controller I have is the 497. I had a spare that went to the LXD-55 mount I sent off to Meade recently but it wouldn't activate the motors either. Amir at Meade made arrangements for me to ship the scope back to them right away, once I explained the problem.Mike here: Thanks. I guess Meade is not including the standard controller anymore since the current deal includes the Autostar.
And an update:
I swear, I am going to be as much a expert on autostar as anyone else pretty soon. I called Meade this morning, they call tagged my unit, and gave me a RGA number. A UPS truck is suppose to come out and pick up my unit at no cost to me. I am not being sarcastic, I have explored the autostar software so much because of all the problems I have encountered, so I think I have learned alot more about it then I would otherwise. The instructions are very poorly written in my opinion. A couple of comments. I do not think Autostar is user friendly at all. Worse still I think selling such technology to people who know next to nothing about how to find things in the sky on their own is a perscription for disaster. Many of the most important functions in autostar are burried in the software at the ends of long list of unimportant things. It is a high tech geeks dream, but in no way user friendly for experienced amateurs let alone beginners. I find the software architecture to be counterintuitive and muddled at best. My old 12 inch Meade LX-200 is much more user friendly and much less prone to problems in setup and operation. After I got it back in 1998 after I had to send it back in because of a motor drop out problem. Once this was repaired it has been pretty reliable ever since. Just my take on all this. I am looking forward to years of reliable service once we get the factory bugs ironed out for both the LXD-55 and the EXT. At least I have my fingers crossed.Thanks for the update. There is much I would change on the Autostar User Interface (but then I have high expectations of a UI since I use a Macintosh). On the other hand, there are cost-limitations, both in hardware and software development. Maybe someday we'll have a wireless color LCD touchscreen Autostar running Starry Night Pro with a built-in GPS receiver selling at $50. (Hey, I can dream, can't I). Oh yeah, it should have 802.11g to update itself (but at least an ethernet port).
Don't laugh, I have gotten a Stella Cam Ex and we are putting galaxies, globular clusters, and nebula on a 9 inch monitor in real time at our public star parties now. I can see a scope of the future with a screen built into it for real time imaging along with the touch screen go/to you speak of. Autostar is way too clunky I think. The old LX-200 system I have on my Meade is easier to use I feel. * John Gilkison
Subject: ETX105EC Control Panel Circuit Board Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 4:03:44 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (sdwest) I have two questions for the experts: 1. I believe I have an intermittent On/Off slide switch on my ETX105EC. How does one remove the little circuit board that this switch is soldered into? 2. I have read about the problem with misaligned primary baffle tubes on some ETX Mak scopes. Can this misalignment be corrected by the user? I can't seem to find this information on your site, although it may certainly be there ;-) Thanks, and clear skies to all, Wade Calvert Port Byron, ILMike here: See the Telescope Tech Tips page for several articles on the baffle.
Thank you for the offer, but I believe I have already had that question answered. Seems that it is near impossible to get this board out unless you dismantle the entire base of the scope. I'll live with it this way for a while, I guess. As to the baffle, I'll do a more thorough search of your site tomorrow. Mine does seem to be crooked, although I can't see that it is causing any problems for me. Thanks again, I appreciate your time and effort! Regards, Wade
Subject: ETX-105 and the Messier Marathon Sent: Monday, March 24, 2003 9:16:44 From: ETX_Astro_Boy@sbcglobal.net (Craig M . Bobchin) I'm planning on taking my ETX-105 UHTC out to my club's Dark Sky site for the Messier Marathon. Before I do so however I have a couple of questions. 1: How many of the 110 objects should I be able to see in the 105. I do realize that most of them will be very faint smudges. 2: What would be considered the best size EP to use? I have a wide range from 40mm down to 6.4. I'm thinking the 40 or 32mm EPs might be best to get the wide field, but I want to be sure. Oh, I'm also attaching my 1st ever attempt at imaging Saturn with my 105 and Casio QV-3500ex digicam. Not to impressive I know, but at least I got something for my efforts. Take care CraigMike here: Simple answer: all of them. Remember, Messier himself had less than an ETX-105EC. Of course, he had pretty good skies compared to what we have today, even from dark sites. As to an eyepiece, a wide field an averted vision will help you locate objects. Higher power eyepieces will reduce (spread out) the light reaching your eye so lower power can work out better for many of the faintest objects.
Subject: FYI EXT-105 go/to sucesses Sent: Monday, March 24, 2003 7:22:36 From: John Gilkison (email@example.com) Did a rough polar alignment and used the ETX-105 during a observing session tonight. I did well even with the poor instructions in the manual. I picked my own alignment stars. I get better results with a Alt/Az I feel, The first alignment star was in the scope's field of view in a alt/az set up and a easy align. Normally I wouldn't write you about a sucess like this, but it was such a beautiful night here I thought you would like to hear about it. We have had two days of almost no wind, and a nice big fat high over New Mexico so the seeing has been really good. Good transparency, with stars right down to the horizon. I was impressed when I went to M-35 and both it and NGC-2158 swam into the field of view in the ETX-105. While the ETX-105 isn't going to be a faint fuzzy telescope it is going to be alot of fun to see what you can see through it. The star images are nice and crisp and I suspect with one second of arc resolution I should be able to split more then a few doubles. With the portability I think it is going to get used. Anyone doing H Alpha Solar work with ETX-105's? P.S. What are MUF's??????? * John Gilkison President, National Public Observatory firstname.lastname@example.org www.astronomy-national- public-observatory.orgMike here: MUF=Motor Unit Failure. That is an error message that will appear on the Autostar display if there is some problem communicating to the ETX. It can occur due to low batteries, flakey power source, cable/connector problems, dirty encoders, or just about anything that messes with the signal to/from the Autostar.
Subject: Meade ETX 105EC vx. ETX 125EC Sent: Friday, March 14, 2003 18:39:43 From: email@example.com (Ronnie Blazer II) Thanks for your web site. A couple quick questions. I am considering buying either the ETX 105 or the 125. Do you know how an ETX 105 with UHTC compares to an ETX 125 without UHTC? Does the UHTC make a significant difference to visual observing? I am leaning toward the 105 due to the price difference. Right now I have an Orion Shorttube 4.5" EQ reflector. Will the 105 perform better and give me better views of the entire range of celestial objects (from planets to galaxies) than a 4.5" reflector. Any info you might provide to help me decide would be much appreciated. Thanks. --- Ronnie Blazer IIMike here: Yes, the UHTC makes a difference, even on an ETX-90. I can't speak to the Orion scope but the ETX-105EC is a fine optical instrument. Whether it will meet your expectations only you can say. See the User Observations page for some reports.
Subject: etx-105 Sent: Sunday, March 9, 2003 20:31:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Chuck Teseneer) I keep getting MUF's after autostar goes to several objects. Everything seems to be fine other wise. Why is this happening? Also I just got the cigarette lighter adapter. Must I remove the AA batteries before I use it or can I leave them in while using the cigarette lighter adapter? Must the drives be retrained if the AA batteries are replaced? Thanks Chuck TeseneerMike here: You didn't say what power source was being used when getting the MUF but if batteries then they are probably too low. When switching power sources it does seem to be a good idea to recalibrate and possibly retrain. Just ensures the Autostar is finely tuned to the telescope. And no, you don't need to remove the batteries when switching to AC or another DC power source.
I get the MUF with both fresh batteries and the cigarette lighter adapter.Mike here: OK, what happens after recalibrating? Also, check the cable connections or some other source of interference (other nearby motors, for example).
First of all thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I don't see how you do it. I would get tired of it quick. After recalibration the telescope works like a champ for a while. I have not timed it. First let me say I am playing with the telescope learning what all autostar will do. If for example I goto Jupiter and stay there for 30min lets say. everything seems fine. Then goto Saturn and stay there its fine. Then goto the moon and stay there its fine. Or has been so far. It is when I goto objects fairly quickly I seem to have a problem. For example goto object #1 and stay there for 3-4 min. Then goto object #2 and stay there for 3-4min, #3,#4 etc. I'll get a MUF. This has happened with new AA batteries. And now my power source is a small car battery which I have attached an adapter which has a positive clip and a negitive clip, an inline fuse, and a female cigarette lighter type adapter to which I plug in the (male) #607 power cord. I do not think I have any type of interference. I do have an Invisible Fence for the dog, but I am 75' from the transmitting unit and about the same distance from the underground wire. This does give off a digital signal. I'll cut it off the next time I use the scope and see if that helps. If the fence is not the problem and I do not think it is what could be the problem?Mike here: Glad to try to help. Definitely odd about the timing. But I do begin to wonder about the power source. If it doesn't have enough juice it will generate MUFs. The quicker usage would mean that it doesn't quite recover from the last use. Quick test: try slewing around a lot in both Altitude and Azimuth simultaneously. If the speed changes during a slew the longer you slew, it could be the power source.
Subject: ETX-105EC Sent: Friday, March 7, 2003 13:36:13 From: email@example.com (Donald Allen) I was wondering if you could help me. I have been reading through your website trying to determine if the Meade ETX-105EC is the right telescope for me. I would like to be able to see the planets in great detail and from what I have been reading I am wondering if the 105 is the wrong choice. Any suggestions you might have on which model would provide the best images would be helpful. What I did like about the 105 is that it is portable and you can connect a camera to it. Thank you for your time. Regards, Donald AllenMike here: Whether the ETX-105EC will be the right telescope for you depends upon your expectations of "great detail". Yes, you'll be able to see Saturn's Ring and cloud bands on Jupiter as well as the Great Red Spot and the four brighter moons, and this summer you'll be able to the polar ice cap on Mars and some darker areas (assuming there is not a planet-wide duststorm).
Thanks for your help. Don
Subject: ETX105 Or ETX125 Sent: Thursday, March 6, 2003 7:00:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Timothy CLARK) Hello again mike its Tim Clark from Southampton England. Firstly thanks for the advice about updateing my old autostar on the meade website so it works on the on my new ETX 105. However, I have a new dilemma. I've just got some extra money and the dealer I bought my new ETX 105 from, is willing to exchange the 105 (with UHTC) for a new 125 (with UHTC) for a minimal additional cost. I have never looked through a 125 and would appreciate your opinion on whether the image you get through the 125 is significantly better than the 105 or if there is little to gain from extra inch of aperture. Additionally do you know if there are any major problems with the new 125, that I might be buying into if I decide to get the scope. With Thanks Tim ClarkMike here: There is some difference in the larger aperture but whether you would notice it would depend upon where and how you use the telescope. Also, the -125 is just slightly less portable, if that is a consideration. I wouldn't worry about any problems, especially since you can easily check it out at the dealer.
Subject: Re: ETX105 Home positioning Sent: Wednesday, March 5, 2003 8:42:39 From: email@example.com (lee dann) Many thanks. I looked in FAQ to start with, but obviously missed it first time round!! Instructions worked a treat...simple when you know how!! Thanks again. Lee
Subject: Some Advice Please Sent: Wednesday, March 5, 2003 7:00:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (womgyf) I just bought the Meade 4" ETX-105EC. It came in a vertical position, with the telescope tube standing perpendicular(90 degrees) to its circular base. After the very first time I tested it (for just half an hour, using the autostar), I found that I couldn't flip the telescope tube fully back to the totally vertical position like it was before. It is standing with the tube pointing about 80 degrees to one side. It nearly seems that the vertical limit stop has shifted. What did I do to have shifted the vertical limit stop, and how can I fix the problem? can I do it myself? thank you very much for you help and advice JasonMike here: Be certain there is no external obstruction (which there likely isn't). A test: can you slew to 90 degrees using the controller? Try repositioning the axis lock (loosen and retighten but don't overtighten). When you move the telescope (by tilting it, fork mount and all) do you hear anything shifting around inside the fork arm? At any rate, if something internal has broken loose and causing an obstruction, since it is new I would suggest contacting your dealer for an exchange.
Subject: ETX105 Home positioning Sent: Tuesday, March 4, 2003 11:17:34 From: email@example.com (lee dann) I have just discovered your site via Google, and have found several articles very interesting. I have just invested in a ETX105, and currently having problems setting the 'home' position for the easy align. The manual states to position the tube horizontally with the ground, but then later states that the LH fork number scale should be set to the '0' position, which in my case makes the tube point slightly up by a few degrees. Which is correct? I have the neat eyepiece sprit level to align this way, but that seems to be negated by using the zero on the scale. Looking forward to many clear nights, Lee, Chepstow, UK.Mike here: For the DEC (Altitude) scale adjustment, see the FAQ page.
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