Last updated: 31 March 2003
This page is for user comments and information specific to the new Meade ETX-105EC. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	ETX 105EC - Declination Stops Adjustment
Sent:	Saturday, March 29, 2003 9:27:51
From: (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

Great website, good advice - keep it up.

Thanks in advance.

Mike 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

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory
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.


57deg 42in N, 3deg 26minW

PS  Yes we do have donuts (doughnuts?) in Scotland.  Wouldn't you prefer 
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. Clay
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.

ETX-105 ETX-105


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!

Mike 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

Dr. Clay
Mike 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.

Mike 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

And 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


Subject:	Re: ETX105EC Control Panel Circuit Board
Sent:	Wednesday, March 26, 2003 10:14:07
From: (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
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Harvard/MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard/MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)

Subject:	Re:  FYI EXT-105 MUF's
Sent:	Tuesday, March 25, 2003 20:42:38
From: (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
Mike 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: (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, IL
Mike 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!



Subject:	ETX-105 and the Messier Marathon
Sent:	Monday, March 24, 2003 9:16:44
From: (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

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

Mike 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 (
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

P.S. What are MUF's???????
John Gilkison
President, National
Public Observatory
Mike 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: (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 II
Mike 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: (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?


Chuck Teseneer
Mike 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: (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.


Donald Allen
Mike 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.


Subject:	ETX105 Or ETX125
Sent:	Thursday, March 6, 2003 7:00:30
From: (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 Clark
Mike 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: (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.


Subject:	Some Advice Please
Sent:	Wednesday, March 5, 2003 7:00:26
From: (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

Mike 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: (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

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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