GENERAL FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 March 2003
This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX and DS models. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	etx 90
Sent:	Monday, March 31, 2003 9:17:04
From:	Caesare@web.de (Caesare)
sorry for this unusual question:
Wher can i get a manual in GERMAN ?
My english is not enough to understand the manual exactly.

Thanks
Franz

Subject:	Astronomy page
Sent:	Monday, March 31, 2003 7:14:24
From:	geheniau@xs4all.nl
www.xs4all.nl/~geheniau  and then astronomy. (Under Construction). Look
under links! :-)

Job Geheniau
The Netherlands

Subject:	HI!
Sent:	Saturday, March 29, 2003 10:48:03
From:	carr@xyz.net (Sheri)
I am possibly a budding fanatic. I saw an ad for an ext70 in my local
paper and have always been interested. So I went to the web looked it
up, found the exact model and could buy it for the same price new. Well,
I continued surfing and had talked myself into a ext 90ec. Then of
course, I found your site (I will be a regular) and the photos and
noticed a big difference between the 90 and 125 photos. Well, I need
help.

I am a single mom with 11 and 12 year old daughters. I really want to
get them hooked. I know that with the right equipment we can have a lot
of fun and all that quality time I strive for, without them even
catching on to it! I have a new empty low rate credit card, but I can't
spend more than I need to. The images of Saturn and Jupiter seemed
blurry and not very clear with the 90 is this true or was it the photo,
it was contributed by someone visiting your site.What are your
recommendations? I live in Alaska and am wondering if this is a good
place for veiwing? Also on the Scopecity site they are offering a 650
dollar set of lens for 99 bucks when you buy a scope. If you want to
look at the lens pkg. you need to click on one of the ext scopes and it
will show you the scope plus have an ad for the lenses to the right.
They have both scopes offered with a special package deal. The 90EC is
545 (with UHTC) and this includes autostar and tripod. Is this the best
site to shop on and what other accessories would be important. Thanks if
you have time to help me with this. I don't want to buy the 90 and find
that I wish I would have purchased the 125. I don't want my kids to get
bored because the images are fuzzy. We live in Homer, Alaska right
across from the Alaska range with 3 glaciers straight across Kachemak
Bay from our front door. I am hoping that we can watch the bears and
explore the glaciers and mountains with the scope. Thanks again for
whatever you can tell me.

Sheri Carr carr@xyz.net
Mike here: Photos may or may not be indicative of what you can see or not see with your eyes. Sometimes the photos can be fuzzier, especially with smaller telescopes, than what your eye will see. And sometimes the reverse is true, especially if the photos have been manipulated in some way to enhance them. Certainly the larger the telescope the more details and the fainter the objects that you'll be able to see. But a telescope that is too large for you ends up not being used, and that's unfortunate. The best telescope is the one that gets used. When making a purchase decision you should consider your expectations for what you can see and for how you will use the telescope along with your budget. From your email I suspect that the ETX-70AT will not be enough telescope for you; the ETX-90EC, ETC-105EC, or the ETX-125EC would be a better choice. You might consider a compromise on size (portability) and aperture and consider the -105. Any reputable dealer, whether local or online, is OK to work with. The $99 eyepiece deal is offered by Meade for many model telescopes. I got it with my new LXD55 8"SC back in November. And lastly, I would recommend the UHTC.
Subject:	Small rocky asteroid explodes over Chicago!
Sent:	Friday, March 28, 2003 10:27:27
From:	scott@astronomyoutreach.net
Dear fellow astronomers and space enthusiasts,

Here is my weekend sendoff with events and news that you may find
interesting:

Space Weather news for March 27, 2003
http://www.spaceweather.com

Sky watchers in several US states were startled around midnight on March
27th when a brilliant fireball streaked across the sky and exploded. It
was a small (perhaps less than a few meters wide) rocky asteroid with a
mass of about 10 metric tons. Some 500 fragments scattered over a 10-km
wide zone in the suburbs south of Chicago. Meteorites struck houses,
cars, roads--but no people. Such fireballs are surprisingly common:
Researchers expect an asteroidal object one meter in diameter or larger
to strike Earth's atmosphere about 40 times per year. Few are seen,
however, because they usually appear over unpopulated areas.

Cool... I wish a meteorite would strike my car!!!

Here is next week's events from JPL's Space Calendar (edited by Ron Balke):

Mar 28 - IGS H-2A Launch 
Mar 28 - Venus Passes 0.1 Degrees From Uranus 
Mar 28 - Asteroid 8060 Anius Occults HIP 68808 (6.6 Magnitude Star) 
Mar 28-30 - 11th Annual South Pacific Star Party, Wiruna, Australia 
Mar 29 - Comet C/2002 X2 (NEAT) Perihelion (2.529 AU) 
Mar 29 - Asteroid 2060 Chiron Occults TYC 6296-00177-1 (11.1 Magnitude Star) 

Mar 29 - Sally Ride Talk, Pasadena, California 
Mar 29 - All Arizona Messier Marathon, Arizona City, Arizona 
Mar 29 - Kuiper Belt Object 38083 Rhadamanthus At Opposition (37.901 AU) 
Mar 29 - 5th Anniversary (1998), Galileo, Europa 14 Flyby 
Mar 29-Apr 01 - 10th ESF-Impact Workshop: Biological Processes in Impact Craters, Cambridge, United Kingdom 
Mar 31 - Deadline For Athena Student Interns Program 
Mar 31 -[Mar 23] GPS 2R-9 Delta 2 Launch 
Mar 31 - Asteroid 4 Vesta At Opposition (5.9 Magnitude) 
Mar 31 - Asteroid 303 Josephina Occults TYC 7378-02670-1 (9.7 Magnitude Star) 
Mar 31 - Asteroid 536 Merapi Occults HIP 96854 (8.1 Magnitude Star) 
Mar 31-Apr 03 - International Symposium on Climate Change (ISCC), Beijing, China 

See, http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/calendar/#0303 for more information on the sites above. 

Have a great weekend and keep looking up (if for no other reason than to
avoid being struck by meteorites),

Scott Roberts
www.astronomyoutreach.net

=======================
The AstronomyOutreach network is your resource for the people, events,
and web sites that are devoted to outreach in astronomy and space
science!
=======================

Subject:	Wide-field EP
Sent:	Friday, March 28, 2003 9:07:44
From:	lebalanzino@hotmail.com (Luis Balanzino)
I've been following this great site since I got an ETX-90 Mak. I'd like
to have more wide field than the delivered by the 26mm Plossl provided
(about 1 degree I believe). The question is, between one 32mm and one
40mm "standard" Plossl EPs, which is better? The 40mm gives less power
but the 32mm have more AFOV, so both would give roughly the same TFOV I
think (around 1,3 degree). By standard I mean common Plossl, not
wide-angle or special designs.
Thanks in advance, best regards

Eduard
Mike here: Each has its use. I've used both a 40mm and a 32mm. I've found the 32mm to have slightly crisper images across the entire FOV. But in my case, I think the 40mm had a wider FOV. But I haven't measured it.
Subject:	help needed~ (field drifting!)
Sent:	Friday, March 28, 2003 8:36:48
From:	smurfet83@yahoo.com (Vincent Toh)
I live in Singapore. Lat 1 deg+ North. I just received my ETX90
RA,inorder to do polar alignment I will have to tilt the base 90 deg
perpendicular to the ground, this will restrict my view of the stars,
instead I set the dec circles when the scope is parallel to the ground
to 90. Is this correct?

If it is, After doing the alignment I search of jupiter and lock the ra
for the scope to track, this problem occur. Jupiter is getting out of
field drifting downwards(means it should be getting higher). What did I
do wrong? I want jupiter to be in the field as long a possible but it
usually takes 40 seconds for it to disappear by moving downwards.

I would like to thank you for this splendid site that had been extremely
resourceful!

Kindess Regards,
Vince
Mike here: The Right Ascension movement axis has to be parallel to the Earth's rotational axis for it to fully compensate for the Earth's rotation. So if the base is not tilted according to your latitude, which as you note is a tilt of 89 degrees for your location, it will not track properly. You will need a mount that lets you safely tilt to this angle.
Subject:	Feeling stupid
Sent:	Thursday, March 27, 2003 19:31:49
From:	d.goldberg@prodigy.net (David C. Goldberg)
How stupid can I be.  I didn't check the polarity of my power supply
before I turned on my  ETX 125.  I know better but I was in a hurry. 
When I realized the error I checked it and corrected the problem.  Now
when I turn on the ETX I get a power light but no life in the Autostar. 
So here is my question.  Did I fry the Autostar or the entire scope?

David C. Goldberg
Signature Technology
Mike here: Either or both. If you have the standard controller you can try that to see which end the problem is on. Either way, probably a call to Meade is in order.
Subject:	UHTC Coatings
Sent:	Thursday, March 27, 2003 12:32:08
From:	jaywashesky@erols.com (Jay Washesky)
Mike,

When you made the recent reply:

"Mike here: Yes, the UHTC makes a difference, even on an ETX-90."

Was your response referring to visual observations as well as
photography sessions?  Some of the info I am reading implies that most
of the benefit applies to photography, and not much benefit to visual
observation.

Jay Washesky 
Lansdale, PA
Mike here: My experience was visual. You can see a difference in the brightness of objects, even with the ETX-90. Photographic response will be different, either better or the same, depending upon many factors. I haven't checked the frequency spread but I think Meade's site shows that.
Subject:	Orion 9x50 Finder
Sent:	Thursday, March 27, 2003 12:14:46
From:	TRAVIS.WHITLOW@newarkinone.com
For the person who wants to use the same dovetail bracket for an Orion 
9x50 finder and an EZfinder, double-stick tape will definitely not work
for the 9x50 unless someone's come up with superglue double-stick. I
have the dovetail (and 9x50 finder) mounted on my 6" Newtonian using two
nuts & bolts. The finder is actually fairly heavy (compared to the
EZfinder, which I bought one of and returned to Orion) and stands up on
a longish bracket that gives it a lot of leverage.

I think a finder this size is overkill for a 90mm scope. I use the Meade
825.

Subject:	I need some advice
Sent:	Thursday, March 27, 2003 9:33:21
From:	mark101367@hotmail.com (mark wenrich)
After a long time of wanting one, i'm finally able to purchase a nice
telescope. Astronomy has always been a big hobby for me, i've alway had
the cheap department store scopes around. Now that i'm ready to move to
a good scope, I was looking for some advice. Origionally I was looking
at the ETX 125. It looks very good, but recently i've been looking at
the LXD55 SC-8 Schmidt-Cassegrain. I've read on you site that you own
one, and was wondering if you could compare the two for me. I can't seem
to find any reviews for the SC-8. It looks like an awesome scope, and
it's the one I think i'd like to go with. So, if you could tell me about
your experience with the SC-8, it would be very much appreciated. Thanks
again.
And just let me say how much I enjoy your site.

                                                       Mark
Mike here: See my LXD55 Site for my experiences with the 8"SC:
http://www.weasner.com/lxd
Subject:	Question
Sent:	Thursday, March 27, 2003 6:42:09
From:	armand@es.ibm.com (Armando Oliva Becerra)
Hello from Barcelona, yesterday I had looking at your book Using ETX,
here in a bookstore, I was surprised becuase you don't talk nothing
about ETX105.

Could you tell my why ??.

Probably all instructions in your book are applicable to the ETX105
model??.

Thanks in advance. and congratulations for you WEB

------------------------------------
Armand Oliva
Mike here: At the time the book was written, the ETX-105EC had not been announced. Given the book publishing cycle it was not possible to include it. And yes, pretty much everything applies.
Subject:	ETX-125 Motor Unit Fault
Sent:	Wednesday, March 26, 2003 18:40:32
From:	RJohnson@AxiomTech.com (Randall Johnson)
I received an ETX-125 on March 10th. I am having a problem with Motor
Unit Faults while tracking at azimuths +/- about 80 degrees.  Greater
than about 80 degrees I have no problem; watching the AZ/ALT display
while tracking shows both values progressing smoothly.  However, once I
slew to a azimuth of less than 80 degrees and let the scope start
tracking, the motor noise increases and the AZ values become erratic and
at times stop then progress rapidly, ALT still progresses at a smooth
rate.  After about 1-2 minutes I get a 'Motor Unit Fault'.

I have observed this problem with firmware versions 23Eb (original
version) and 26Ed.  The problems occurs with AA batteries, 12V regulated
800mA AC Adapter, and a 12V 1.2A/hr battery - I have 'Calibrated Motors'
each time I switched power sources.  While running off the 12V battery,
the voltage never dropped below 12.5 volts.

Any help with this problem would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Randall Johnson
Mike here: Since the problem seems to occur at about the same position I suspect one of three causes. Dirty encoders, stiff grease, or an obstruction. Try this: unlock the azimuth and rotate the telescope from hardstop to hardstop, back and forth several times. That's to redistribute any grease. Next, using the standard handcontroller, slew from hardstop to hardstop, back and forth several times; watch for any hesitancy. If all seems OK do the same with the Autostar (don't worry about an alignment, just slew). Let me know what happens.

And:

I rotated the telescope back and forth 4-5 times by hand and with the
Autostar at max slew (new model didn't ship with standard hand
controller) - problem still occurs. I didn't notice any hesitation at
max slew.  However, listening to the motor during max slew I did notice
a short spike in sound about once a second. The hum/whine of the DEC
drive was constant.

The problem is occurring through the range of about 280 to 80 degrees
azimuth - when AZ has a slower rate of change. Leaving me wondering if
the motor has problems a slower tracking speeds. However, I can slew at
the slowest rate without problem.

Watching the AZ value during tracking in the 280 to 80 degree range, I
did see hesitations and brief changes in direction (ex.  AZ seconds =
00..01..02..03..02..03.....06...07..16..21..20..21.....20..21..20......2
2...26..27..MUF) And at times, I hear a 'labored-creaking' sound from
the RA motor during the slower tracking speeds.

Thanks for your help!

Randall Johnson
Mike here: At this point I would suggest returning it to the dealer for an exchange. If that's not possible, you might look at the performance enhancement articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page if you want to try to deal with the problem yourself.
Subject:	Re: Need your experience/advice one more time
Sent:	Wednesday, March 26, 2003 16:27:27
From:	hagner_timothy@hotmail.com (Timothy Hagner)
would you say that the Shutan HardCase be better than the Meade or the
JMI hard case for the ETX90?

Thanks
Tim
Mike here: "Better" is in the eye of the beholder. Each may have its pluses and minuses. I've seen several hardcases and they all do the job of protection. So you'll have to decide on "features" for your usage.
Subject:	Motor problem
Sent:	Wednesday, March 26, 2003 16:14:38
From:	MikeLCook@MarathonOil.com (Cook, Mike)
When i use the normal hand paddle to slew the scope and keep the button
pressed, the motor stops after about 5/6cseconds.Is this normal and
could this be the reason that i occasionally get a Motor Fault Detected
when using the Autostar.

hope you can point me in the right direction Mike
Mike here: Sounds like low battery power or just lousy batteries.
Subject:	Help me
Sent:	Wednesday, March 26, 2003 7:50:47
From:	studio.diluccio@libero.it (Luca)
i have another problem on my etx 125 uhtc.

i am very desperate because i have bought a clean compressed air but
when i use it a spot of a strange solution damage  correcting lens of
etx. So i tried with minimun pressure possible to brush spot but the
spot don't leave surface of corr lens.

i have read from dr sherrod that uhtc coatings are very sensitive SO I
AM VERY DESPERATE.

Please help me i must clean this spot.

Luke. Sorry for bad english.
Mike here: Sorry you've had this problem. That's why I think using compressed air cans is a BAD idea. Same with just blowing air from your mouth. The best air source is a camera air bulb that you squeeze. But since you have the problem, I'd recommend reading the "Cleaning Optics" article on the Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	re: right angle finder
Sent:	Tuesday, March 25, 2003 21:50:56
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	w4mk@comcast.net
What i did was leave the straight-through finder in place,
and created a saddle to hold the right angle finder in front of
the eyepiece holder.

A drawing is at Mike's site at:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/finder-bracket.html

This holds the second finder quite far away from my eyes and nose
when i'm at the eyepiece, and lets all of the cursors be properly
lined up with the movements of the telescope.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Need your experience/advice one more time
Sent:	Tuesday, March 25, 2003 15:59:57
From:	hagner_timothy@hotmail.com (Timothy Hagner)
I am looking for a case (specifically a hardshell case) for my ETX90-RA.
I have looked on your website (probably have it memorized by now for
all the times I've read and re-read it!) and narrowed my choices down
to:

1) Doskocil Large Case. why? It got good reviews, it's cheap and it fits
as a carryon (unlike the extra large version which is 2" too wide)

2) Doskocil Extra Large case. why?  more space for accessories (when I
get them) apparently (again from your site) fits the ETX90 alot better
than the large one, cheap.

3) Shutan.ProStar Fitted Hard Case for ETX90. why? I dont have to deal
with little cubes falling out and dont have to worry about customizing
it.

I have heard many less-than-phenomenal opinions on the Meade case (and
the JMI) both from your site and outside of it.  However, I have heard
little on the Shutan hardcase.  Have you ever
seen/touched/examined/owned this case by any chance and tell me how it
fares against the Doskocil or a Pelican in terms of strength, fit, and
an overall opinion on this case?

Thanks for your patience,
Tim

btw, the address to Shutan's page with this case is:
www.shutan.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=1&Product_Code=595-6352&Category_Code=110
Mike here: Shutan usually does an excellent job on their cases but I have no direct experience with their new model hardsided case. As to the little cubes falling out, from my (admittedly limited) usage of hard cases, I've never had a problem with the cubes falling out. Until you cut them apart they seem to stay attached OK.
Subject:	right angle finder
Sent:	Monday, March 24, 2003 22:29:31
From:	w4mk@comcast.net (w4mk)
Two questions:  Preface- I own a Meade ETX-90EC, my first scope.

One:

I just purchased a right angle finder (meade #825) 8x25 for my ETX-90EC
scope to replace the straight finder.  After installing it I noticed two
things, (1) I am unable to look into it when I have my 2x barlow on the
viewer because of its height my head hits it and I can't align my right
eye with the finder lenses, and (2) when I rotate the finder to the left
about 20 I am able to look through it but the cross hairs are now an X
instead of a + like you stress is so important for the "Kochab Clock"
method of polar alignment.  I haven't tried to see if the cross hairs
can be rotated from the alignment of the factory.  Also, with the finder
at 20 when I put the tube in the 90 position the edge of the finder
mirror box hits the inside edge of the fork arm at this point.  I could
probably move it back to about 15 and it won't hit the fork but it will
be difficult to see through it. What do you suggest?

Two:

I am thinking of upgrading from the 90EC to the 125EC and would like
your opinion if it is worth the extra bucks vs going all out and
investing in the LX50 or LX200 8" model instead.  I realize my question
is probably relative to my planned usage and my experience.  I am
interested in observing Nebula and Galaxies mostly and I am a complete
novice beginner when it comes to astronomy.  I like the idea of the GPS
in the LX models which I assume does a pretty precise alignment
automatically.  Again, what do you suggest?

Thank you for your time and your great web site information.

Mike Kloc
Ocala, FL.
W4MK - Amateur Radio Extra VE
Owner: www.data-nation.com
Owner: www.razzy.com
Owner: www.sunrisetech.com
Owner: www.suntech.net
Mike here: As to the finderscope problem, that is typical due to the small size of the ETX-90. Not much you can do about it. I have a right-angle one on my ETX-90RA and have no problems with the form arm (it is slightly rotated away from the eyepiece) nor with any eyepieces. As to upgrading, if you want more aperture you might consider the LX90 8" or perhaps one of the LXD55 models (besides my three ETX models, I have the LXD55 8"SC, which is the same OTA as the LX90 8"). If you can afford it AND will make a lot of use of it, a LX200 is a really nice system!
Subject:	Newbie questions: Recently acquired ETX125EC
Sent:	Monday, March 24, 2003 21:02:40
From:	anewtherapist@zianet.com (ANEW Therapies)
I recently purchased the 125 and recieved shipment on the 9th of March.
I had the classic signs of rubberbanding effect so I tried upgrading
Autostar with a homemade #505 cable, where I followed a diagram from
your site to construct it. I downloaded the lastest ASU and also the
2.6ed build rom. Got a connection and upgraded. Now Autostar will not
stay on... Kind of blinks on and off, or stays on through
initialization, then blanks out. So, I think, firmware didn't install
properly, so I do again. Still no joy. So I do again and the same
results.

So, I decide to polar align and use the EC in the mean while. The motors
are not engaging. So I look through the manual. This tells me to remove
screw "A" which is the bottom left hand screw when the EC is turned
over, except there is no screw. Appendix A informs me to depress the
mode key for three seconds to modify tracking by ALTAZ, Polar N/S. So I
depress the mode key... 3 seconds.. 10 seconds... nothing...

I beginning to think that this telescope is not liking me.

If anyone out there can see any errors in my ways, please point that out
to me.

Thanks in advance

Matt
Mike here: It sounds like there could be a loose wire somewhere inside the ETX base. Since you just got the telescope I would suggest contacting the dealer and exchanging it. As to the rubberbanding you initially experienced, that is typical of not doing a TRAIN drives (both axes) with a new scope or Autostar or after doing an Autostar upgrade.
Subject:	Sun photo; tracking adjustment
Sent:	Monday, March 24, 2003 19:19:07
From:	rwlange@infi.net (Roger Lange)
I moved to Virginia a couple of years ago and have been using one of my
three ETX-90s as a solar scope with a Daystar 0.5A H-alpha filter.
Phenomenal granularity and prominance activity in both color and black
and white on video. I capture single frames and attach same to e-mails
with a "Snappy". Do you accept attachments for display on the site. I
realize that the filter itself helps enhance the performance of the ETX
a little bit. ;-)

Another subject: Since the ETX motor drive actually tracks at about 1.7
volts or so, I've bypassed the pulse drive quartz board, added a
variable potentimeter as a current limiting resistor, and can have the
solar image track across the screen, back up, or hold steady. This works
great for night work also. (the scope will actually drive with a couple
of AA cells and the small pot mounted in an audio cassette case.) I
haven't had the time to completely examine what's been contributed to
the site but am wondering if you remember anyone else making a variable
speed drive for an ETX-RA using this technique? I have remote control
drive, remote focus, etc. from a small outbuilding with the scope
sitting outside and the video monitor and recorder inside where it is
relatively dark and great to watch.

Any interest in what the setup looks like?
Regards,
Roger Lange
Mike here: You bet I take photo contributions. See the article "Another ETX-90RA Drive Mod" on the Telescope Tech Tips page for adjusting the tracking speed. I'd welcome yours as well.
Subject:	help
Sent:	Sunday, March 23, 2003 14:57:08
From:	jezacharys@msn.com (Joyce Zachary)
I am looking for help in the Lakeland  Florida area. I have just
purchased an ext and would like to contact a knowledgeable person to
help us with the telescope.

                 thank you in advance   Jim Zachary

Subject:	temp of telescope
Sent:	Saturday, March 22, 2003 3:51:30
From:	jpaladin1@rcn.com (John Paladini)
What's worse :
1) A cold telescope taken out to a warm environment
2) A warm telescope taken out to a cool environment

I would think the second would create more turbulance

The first might have a dew problem 
Mike here: Either can cause air currents inside the tube, so the direction of the thermal equalization doesn't really matter. Yes, you are correct about dew-ing or fogging if going from a cold environment inside to a warm (and moist) outside. Same as happens to eyeglasses when leaving an air conditioned building and going outside on a humid day.
Subject:	mount ccd cam & WTB tripod
Sent:	Thursday, March 20, 2003 14:15:53
From:	douglasjar@yahoo.com (douglas sasse)
first, thank you for the ETX page's.

I'm a NEw owner (two days ago) of the etx125ec and would like to find
both a LOW price (less than the $200. local price) tri pod, and a way to
mount a 1" CCD video camera to my ATX125EC. all ready have both color
and B&W camers (Like http://www.supercircuits.com) soooo, just need a
way to mount the hard ware. will be using a portable tv/vido monitor to
view images at a 2.4 Ghz Xmtr on the camera.

regards,
douglas j. Sasse
douglasjar@yahoo.com

=====
Douglas J.A.R. Sasse
Mankato, Minnesota
U.S.A.
Mike here: For mounting, see the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography page. There are adapters there that work with videocams. As to a tripod, see the Accessory Reviews - Tripods page or perhaps the Telescope Tech Tips page (if you want to make your own mount).
Subject:	Hot tip on a great tripod deal
Sent:	Thursday, March 20, 2003 9:08:16
From:	c_barron@yahoo.com (Chris Barron)
I found a great deal on a tripod and I thought the other visitors to
your site would be interested in it too:

www.cdnninvestments.com/tasstar4trip.html

It's closely comparable to the ETX Deluxe Field Tripod and it only costs
$69.99!  I bought one and after looking at it, I can say it's actually
identical to the tripod Celestron sells for its small scopes. It has
high quality parts, a built-in adjustable wedge, and an accessory tray. 
The only catch is that it's not made for the ETX so you have to drill
two holes in the top plate to match the ETX base - pretty easy.

I doubt many astronomers would find this deal because the company
selling the tripod, CDNN Investments, mainly sells wholesale and
liquidated firearms and accessories.  Not your typical astronomy shop :)

Love your site, love my ETX-90RC, and many thanks for the terrific
resource you provide!

regards,
chris

Subject:	On the subject of H-Alpha solar filters.
Sent:	Thursday, March 20, 2003 2:37:09
From:	stuart@lockeys.net (stuart lockey)
Sorry to bug you, but I was reading your book and had a look at your
site. As an amateur astronomer with an ETX-105 I was thinking of doing
some solar viewing, initially I've bought myself a scopetronix stsf105
screw on full aperture solar filter.

What I was wondering was, is it possible to then use a H-Alpha (e.g.
Highpoint H-Alpha-1C 1.25inch) filter to the standard eyepiece, or do I
need to get a different configuration?

Your advice would be most welcome.

Thanks in anticipation

Best regards
Stuart Lockey
Mike here: H-A filters are very sensitive to temperature and frequencies; depending upon the white-light filter it may or may not work. Check the Accessory Reviews - Filters page for info on the Coronado Instruments H-A filter.

And:

Yes I did read that, but I can't afford $800 for a full aperture filter!
I was hoping to use the white light filter as an ER and the 1.25 inch
eyepiece H-ALPHA as a cheaper solution. I'll try and get some advice
from high point.

Kind regards
Stuart

Subject:	etx book
Sent:	Wednesday, March 19, 2003 21:09:03
From:	kps336@worldnet.att.net (Karen Schub)
where can I buy your book? bm
Mike here: See the ETX Book page on my ETX Site.
Subject:	Power Supply Table
Sent:	Tuesday, March 18, 2003 20:46:28
From:	jcrilly@neo.rr.com (John)
The Rally power pack in the left-most column (info supplied by Lynn
Laux) is rated at 7 amp-hours. I have three of 'em and recommended it to
Lynn.

John

Subject:	Eyepiece Special
Sent:	Monday, March 17, 2003 16:57:52
From:	reboston@highstream.net (The Bostons)
Just a brief FYI for those who are  interested - My Meade "Eyepiece
Special" was ordered 1/13/03 and it arrived today 3/17/03.

Subject:	reassembling eyepiece help
Sent:	Monday, March 17, 2003 10:21:34
From:	altair8800@adelphia.net (Neil A Kunkel Jr)
I was dumb. I took apart my Meade MA25 eyepiece to clean it. I never
thought once to take into consideration the way the lens go back in.

I called my local Meade dealer, they told me flat sides inward. I called
Meade, they told me flat fides out. Oh, no.....Do you know????

Thanks in advance.

Regards,

Neil
Mike here: Check the article "Eyepiece Designs" on the Telescope Tech Tips page.

And:

Thank you very much for the info.

Neil

Subject:	Your links page
Sent:	Monday, March 17, 2003 2:05:06
From:	sue.boyle@ntlworld.com (Sue Boyle)
I have just come across your excellent site, and wondered if you would
add us to your Astronomy Dealers links as the UK Tele Vue and Losmandy
dealer as well as the biggest Meade dealer in the South of England?

Many thanks.

Best wishes,
Sue

Sue Boyle (Mrs)
pp Venturesope - your online supplier of  telescopes and other
astronomical accessories
www.telescopesales.co.uk

Subject:	re:   My ETX 125EC
Sent:	Saturday, March 15, 2003 22:06:24
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	johnhopson@waitrose.com
Guessing from your description, it sounds like you may be running
the wedge backwards.

The "hinge" (where the base and tilted pieces come together)
wants to be on the -north- side of the wedge.
So that when the telescope is mounted on it, and the barrel is
tilted straight away from the base of the ETX125, it (the barrel)
is pointed at Polaris.

Even in Polar mounting, the power panel must be to the west,
or the telescope will hit its hard stops.

A photo of my ETX90 (north is to the RIGHT -->) is at:
http://rseymour.home.wolfenet.com/astro/etx.html

Another view, by Clay Sherrod, is at:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/etx_tuneup5.html

In that photo, Polaris would be to the upper LEFT... the scope
should be pointing at it.

And finally, for a FULL explanation, start half-way down the page at:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/etx_tuneup3.html

good luck
--dick
And:
Many thanks for your and Dick's prompt response.  You were both right, I
had the wedge backwards.  I just need some clear skies to confirm all is
now OK.
Thanks again.

John

Subject:	My ETX 125EC
Sent:	Friday, March 14, 2003 11:02:29
From:	johnhopson@waitrose.com (John Hopson)
I wonder if you can help me?  I have an ETX 125 mounted on a BCF
Telescope House (Meade's UK main Agent in London) tripod with wedge set
for 51.30 degrees latitude (my home location).  The instructions for the
tripod tell me that if I have fitted the ETX correctly to it then the
ETX control panel will be directly over the latitude scale.  This I have
done which means that if I point the OTA towards the Polaris (point 2 on
page 35 in your book 'Using the Meade ETX' the ETX control panel is on
the east side and not the west side as stated in point 1. !  Also with
the base tilted (by the wedge) to my latitude I can't understand why
your point 3 says that the OTA should be perpendicular to the ETX base -
in my language, when pointing at Polaris the OTA (wedge tilted at 51
degrees) is parallel to the horizontal (if it was not on the wedge)
plane of the ETX base and not at right angles to the plane of the base.
So, confused as I am, when I enter my lat. and long. into the set up
with date and time etc. the scope in Alignment mode wants to find stars
that are bellow the horizon and more or less about 180 degrees out in
both declination and right ascension.

Maybe I'm thick, trouble is that with the almost perpetual thick cloud
cover in UK I don't get out much!!

Most grateful if you can throw any light on where I'm going wrong on
this - I feel sure it's something pretty basic.

Please reply by e-mail to johnhopson@waitrose.com

Regards - your book is great.

John Hopson
Mike here: Couple of points: The control panel should be on the west side so remove the ETX from the wedge, rotate the base 180 degrees, and remount on the wedge. If you have the wedge set properly for your latitude, the fork arms should be pointed at the North Celestial Pole (or approximately at the star Polaris) when you put the telescope in the Polar Home Position. And the OTA should then be parallel to the fork arms and thus pointed at Polaris as well.
Subject:	Optic cleaning
Sent:	Friday, March 14, 2003 11:00:57
From:	divenuts@gte.net (divenuts)
Hi Dr. Clay and Mike,
I just wanted to pass on the quality, successful method of Dr. Clay's
optic cleaning method on the ASO website http://www.arksky.org under the
GUIDES su-heading. WOW!  What a difference. I used all the ingredients
and followed his directions exactly and did not even have to rinse. It
came so spotlessly clean that the corrector coatings look new from the
factory.

Now, my next project.... set up a counter- weight rig for the NikonCP995
and tighten the Dec/alt play caused by NOT having a counter-weight.

Thanks for all you guys do for the astronomy community,
Chuck Callaghan
Florida

Mike you asked me to remind you about my suggestion for the next Mighyy
ETX Star Party. It's a great dark site in Chiefland, Fl....NW Fla. I'm
planning on attending(at least a day or two) the Spring Star Party  Apr
4-5. I hope you consider it. http://c-av.com/
And:
Thanks Chuck and good to hear from you....glad it came out well for you!

Clay
----------------------------------------
Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
drclay@arksky.org
Arkansas Sky Observatory
MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway
MPC/cbat Obs. H41 / Petit Jean Mountain
www.arksky.org
Mike here: As to the 3rd Annual Mighty ETX Star Party, not ready to announce anything yet.
Subject:	2 inch eyepieces with ETX90
Sent:	Friday, March 14, 2003 8:18:10
From:	williansouza@yahoo.com (Willian)
I Would like to know if is possible use of 2" eyepieces like orion deep
wiew 42mm or orion optluxe 50mm with my  ETX90. Etx accpts eyepieces
with long focal distance? these models will make a vinhegting?

thank you!

=====
Willian Souza
williansouza@yahoo.com
http://www.geocities.com/williansouza
Mike here: See the email "2" Aluminum Eyepiece Adapter for Meade ETX scopes" further down this page.
Subject:	12 volt cigarette connectors
Sent:	Friday, March 14, 2003 7:37:49
From:	jonesr1@uwp.edu (Casey Jones)
I have several 12 volt to car cigarette lighter adapters. Will any of
these work with My ETX 105? Do I need to worry about polarity? How would
I know?

Thanks as always.

Casey Jones
Volunteer Coordinator
UW Parkside
Mike here: Yes, they could work. Yes, you need to worry about polarity; the center pin is positive.
Subject:	Autostar
Sent:	Thursday, March 13, 2003 20:51:57
From:	reboston@highstream.net (The Bostons)
Autostar: Does anyone know where I can get a manual for the Autostar?
Meade's page won't show it to me or let me download it.

Focus Knob: In most positions the ETX105-EC leaves the focus knob
inaccessable. It's at the back right of the tube where one would have to
have baby-sized hands with very long supple, but strong, fingers to use
the knob.  Is there a remeday for this?

Thanks
B Boston
Mike here: Check the FAQ page for manual links. As to the focus knob, see the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous for the FlexiFocus and replacement knobs. Also, see the Telescope Tech Tips page for mods you can make.
Subject:	STAR PARTY
Sent:	Thursday, March 13, 2003 16:42:11
From:	gombe@msn.com (earl gomberg)
When and where will your next star party be located.  Will you have
another one at Palm Canyon Resort as you did in 2001.  I went back there
last year for the Nightfall party and it was booked to capacity.  There
I was with a group of ETX's among all of the larger scopes, but the
ETX's did quite well for themselves.  As in 2001 everybody was quite
friendly and wanted you to check out their equipment.

Earl
Mike here: No announcements yet on the 2003 Mighty ETX Star Party. But thanks for the interest.
Subject:	STELLARVUE 9mm Plossl question?
Sent:	Thursday, March 13, 2003 12:40:56
From:	mteige@yahoo.com (Michael Teige)
I just now purchased a STELLARVUE 9mm Plossl from EBAY for a total of
$14.00 U.S.

I had not really ever heard of them before I saw the listing that only
had 3 minutes left to place a bid. I did some hectic research but could
not find a whole lot of info.

I figured at $14 bucks for a 9mm plossl how could I go wrong even if it
was not top-of-the-line. Have you or anyone else out there used this
particular eyepiece with an ETX90 EC?

I guess I'll know how well it does when it arrives, but I was just
wondering if you'all knew anything about these guys and their products.

Thanks,
-Michael Teige
 Monroe, WA
Mike here: I don't recall seeing any reports. Looking forward to your report.

And:

I'll be more than happy to give a report as soon as Mother Nature agrees
to give us some clear skies up here in the Pac. NW!

I also bought some of that Baader Planetarium solar flim that Sky &
Telescope thought was so hot, but I have not seen the sun for the past 3
weeks so it sits unused :(

Later,
-Michael (Whose really hoping for some clear and dark sky soon!)

Subject:	re:  ETX-90 RA-Decl readings??
Sent:	Wednesday, March 12, 2003 21:31:50
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	rosenjoe@chartertn.net
You wrote:
> I turn on the Autostar and hit the Mode button to bypass the opening
> remarks.  Then, I hold the Mode button for 2-3 seconds to display the
> RA/Decl -- it shows:
> RA:  8H47.205M
> DECL: 18d 49.980'
> (or something like that)

...and, if you press scroll down, you'll see Az=00  Alt=00

What it's reporting is the RA and Declination of the point in
the sky the telescope -thinks-  it's aimed at.
And for an Alt/Az mount, that would be the RA line on the far 
side of the pole, at a declination equaling 90 degrees minus 
your latitude.  I.e. due north, level to the ground.

If you scroll down some more, you'll reach the LST 
(Local Sidereal Time) display... which is the RA of the star
passing -dead overhead- at this moment, or the RA you'd 
see if you pointed due South (Az=180) ...
and that value will be 12 hours offset from the " RA:  8H47.205M "
you reported. (and incrementing one second per clock second)

The RA circle on the base only has RA meaning if you tilt the
base on a wedge and operate the telescope in "Polar" mode
instead of "Alt/Az" mode.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	what is wrong
Sent:	Wednesday, March 12, 2003 20:47:09
From:	mtsoule@siscom.net (Michael T. Soule)
I found Jupiter last night with my ETX-90EC and used a 6mm eyepiece, but
it just didn't look like some of the pictures that I have seen using the
same setup, it was much clearer in the pictures and had some color, I am
very new, but very interested in this field.  I am considering
purchasing a camera adapter, for my Sony DSC-85S, I would love to get
some great pictures, but am unsure if I am on the right path, or am I
missing some crucial piece of equipment, or is it just that Jupiter is
too far away right now?  Also I noticed, that my telescope is almost
impossible to hold still and focus at the same time, is this normal? Any
suggestions, remember I am about one month in to my new journey of
astronomy.  Thanks for the input.

 Mike
Mike here: It is typical but incorrect to expect that what you see with your eye will match some of the really good photographs. While the eye/brain is an amazing imaging device it just won't capture the same details or allow the same manipulations of the image as can be done on film or electronic imager (and then improved with software). With a 6mm eyepiece you are around the theoretical maximum magnification for the ETX-90 (see the FAQ page if you are unsure how to calculate this for any telescope). Image quality deteriorates around the max. Yes, focusing can be a challenge; some mounts will vibrate more than others from touching the focus knob. That is why some users add a focus mod (see the Telescope Tech Tips page) or electronic focuser.
Subject:	ETX-125 Mount Problem
Sent:	Wednesday, March 12, 2003 18:24:09
From:	michal@tampabay.rr.com
For some reason my Etx-125 has a turning field of 220 degrees or so. I
am familiar with the limited number of revolutions that represent a
security measure by Mead (seven or eight?) so that the wiring inside
doesn't get ripped. But after about 220 degrees, the scope fails to turn
farther, from one side you can feel a opposing force as if there were a
toothed wheel blocking the movement, from the other, a normal blocking
force. Otherwise the scope works fine (electronically and physically)
and I do not recall anything that would bring about the present
situation. Should I try taking off the cover to examine whether the
wiring is not 'stuck' or perhaps something different?
 
Thanks,
 
Michael
FL
Mike here: The fork arms should rotate slightly less than 720 degrees, or not quite twice around from hardstop to hardstop. It sounds like some obstruction is in the way; it could be a wire so if you feel up to it, do check for a wire trapped. Forcing it to rotate could cut the wire, which would be bad.
Subject:	AZ:  Bill would darken skies for stargazers...
Sent:	Wednesday, March 12, 2003 5:43:36
From:	gregaskins@cox.net (Greg Askins)
www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0312darkskies12.html

Subject:	Your sevice ...
Sent:	Wednesday, March 12, 2003 2:28:13
From:	richard@solardepot.com (Richard Platek)
Mike,

You are so awesome with respect to the service you provide. Really, you
are.

Love, Lion

Subject:	Meade Customer Service
Sent:	Monday, March 10, 2003 17:59:53
From:	patrick.mcgeehan@gte.net (Patrick McGeehan)
I wrote you last August concerning my 125's stripped declination axis
motor mounts. You forwarded this to Dr. Clay, who replied:

"...I would suggest getting three 6-32 x 1/2" stainless bolts and
running those through the existing holes of the mounting
bracket....there are three of them and you should replace all.  Go in
from the inside of the fork arm with the slotted side next to the gear
and the other end of the small bolts protruding under the DEC fake
setting circle...put the nuts firmly, but not too tight, to pull the
bolt and bracket in completely and put a drop of Locktite on the
nut/bolt exposed end. This should still allow enough space for proper
rotation of the setting circle....just in case, always rub some good
lithium or similar grease on that exposed nut to prevent friction from
the aluminum circle. Good luck...."

I was set to do this when a heavy work and travel load arose so, as I
live about an hour away from Meade, decided to return the scope to them
for their $80.00 service instead. I explained to the tech there my
problems not just about the dec axis, but also scope-life-long peeves
about excessive image shift while focusing, and phantoms in gear
take-up/backlash. He said they'd correct all that, then volunteered to
check the collimation, and clean the optics as well. I picked the scope
up three weeks later, and it performs now the way it always should have.

I found the people I met and talked to at Meade to be both courteous and
professional, and the repairs done promptly and well. Should I have had
those problems in the first place? No--but that's quality control issue.
The techs at Meade customer service have my thanks.

As do you, Mike, and of course Dr. Clay. Thanks again for your excellent
site.

Subject:	90 vs. 105 vs. 125
Sent:	Monday, March 10, 2003 13:54:23
From:	SchmidWR@UTRCCT.res.utc.com (Schmidt, Wayde R.         UTRC)
I'm looking for a combination portable goto/possible terrestrial spotter
scope (for birds) to use when I don't want to lug around my 10" LXGPS. 
Have you seen any comparisons of images through these scopes - say
Jupiter or Saturn - to help determine price/performance tradeoffs?  I
know the 125 will show more than the 90, but is there really a need to
pay for the 125 over the 105???  Thanks!

W. Schmidt
Mike here: I have the ETX-90 and ETX-125 (as well as the ETX-70). You can see some comparison linked from the tops of the "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" and "ETX-125EC" Feedback pages as well as look at the various User Observations pages. The ETX-105EC sits basically right between the -90 and -125. Depending upon your expectations of the views, you may or may not be satisfied with a particular aperture/focal length vs another.
Subject:	Viewfinder Crosshair
Sent:	Monday, March 10, 2003 12:22:02
From:	fsfrick@albion.edu (Frank Frick)
First of all--hearty congratualtions on a terrific web site.  I'm sure
that I will be using it a lot.  I recently purchased an ETX-90EC package
on EBay.  I set it up for the first time today--indoors, as it is still
far too cold outdors here.  In assembling the telescope I found that the
viewfinder has only one crosshair instead of the requsite two.  Is this
something I can repair?  If so, can you direct to a site where I can
find instructions?  Thanks!
Frank S. Frick
116 Wilmen Road
Quincy, Michigan
Mike here: Well, it won't be easy but you could disassemble the finderscope and carefully glue a short tread at the same location as the existing thread. I don't know of a site where that is documented. Alternatively, you could add a replacement (and probably better) finderscope; see the Accessory Reviews - Finderscopes page.
Subject:	ETX accessory tip
Sent:	Monday, March 10, 2003 10:23:45
From:	Christian.Klinksiek@t-online.de (Christian.Klinksiek)
thanx for a really tough site, it helped me and many others a lot.

Here's an ETX power supply tip at least for users in central Europe: The
Conrad battery charger V-6988 (about 60 Euro at www.conrad.de) is able
to load up to 10 AA or AAA battery cells (NiMH or NiCd), and it comes
with an AC/DC converter that can also be directly connected to the ETX -
a nice combination.

Clear coatings;-)

Chris

Subject:	STS 107
Sent:	Monday, March 10, 2003 4:34:27
From:	serge@daenen.com (Serge)
thanks for the rememberance page, serge, perpignan, france

Subject:	Re: Re: 90 deg finder queries
Sent:	Monday, March 10, 2003 0:28:28
From:	mlewicki@ozemail.com.au (Martin Lewicki)
Took the 90 finder back to the shop. They passed it around the mainly
young staff who claimed that the crosshairs were in focus - except  -
the one older member - who claimed it was a bit out and needed his
reading glasses to snap them into focus. And there's the clue.

Perhaps the cross hairs have been set slightly inside the eyepiece focal
length to accommodate natural dioptre variations in the population.  A
younger eye, say under 45-50 years old will easily accommodate the
difference without strain. But my 51 year old eye cannot, neither could
the eye of the older member of the staff.

My imagined conclusion? The design team that was allocated to creating
the right-angle finder were all under 45 and have no experience of a
stiff lens in the eye as it ages. So why should they even think about
putting a focus adjustment for the cross-hairs?

BTW I have no problems with SLR camera viewfinders that are presumably
set to very near 0 dioptre. The focus screen is nicely clear with no
strain for most of the ones I've used.

Anyway, I asked the staff if I could compare my finder with another in
stock to check whether this is a common attribute of these finders.
Well, it so happens that I bought the last one! Will have to wait a
month before the next stock comes in before I could make a comparison. 
So until then I'm holding off a letter to Meade pointing out a possible
"ageist" bias in their designs and furthermore on the overall dubious
optical quality of this finder. Like I said, my cheap Tasco 8x25's
out-perform this finder as does the "straight-thru" finder that comes
with the scope as standard.

Seems Meade have no email contact on their website.

Martin Lewicki
Mike here: Meade does not use email for personalized tech support. They prefer the direct contact method of the telephone.
Subject:	Ds vs ETX per light pollution
Sent:	Sunday, March 9, 2003 14:15:47
From:	danielcogan@comcast.net (Daniel Cogan)
First great site, super imfomative and full of wonderful peoples dreams
and aspirations.

I live in a metro area and was looking to get a good view of mars this
year.  I will do a little traveling for dark sky (via car) w/telescope,
but for night to night skywatching I'm stuck with some signficant light
pollution, is a Maksutov-Cassegrain or a Newtonian Reflector more
succeptable to light pollution?

Thanks, 
Dan C
Chicago
Mike here: Maksutov-Cassegrain will provide more contrast and so likely will be less affected by light pollution than a Newtonian. However, both will be affected when trying to observe faint or extended objects that have low contrast to the background sky. For planets, you won't be affected as much by light pollution.
Subject:	Barlow Lens
Sent:	Sunday, March 9, 2003 4:42:42
From:	cwteseneer@earthlink.net (Chuck Teseneer)
This site has been a great help for a beginning ETX -105 telescope user.
I bought an 1.25" Orion Shorty - Plus 2X Barlow Lens for my ETX-105. The
diameter is just slightly to large to fit in the 90 degree eyepiece
holder. Is this a problem with the Orion lens or am I forced to use only
a Meade lens in this telescope? Can you recommend a good Barlow
 Lens that will fit this scope? Thanks in advance.

Chuck Teseneer
Mike here: All 1.25" eyepieces and accessories should fit. Check for the Barlow Lens tube being slightly out-of-round or for a metal burr or other proturberence.

And:

I just put a micrometer on both the Meade eyepiece and the Orion Barlow
lens.

Meade:     1.240"( tube )


Orion:        1.249" (tube )  but the leading edge did appear to have a
slight flange which the micrometer measured at 1.253"

Should I stay away from Orion lenses in the future? What do you think.
Mike here: Sounds like the flange could be the problem. I have Orion filters and binoculars but no eyepieces or Barlow Lenses so can't comment on their quality.
Subject:	ETX-90 RA-Decl readings??
Sent:	Saturday, March 8, 2003 22:07:34
From:	rosenjoe@chartertn.net (Schlatter)
I was playing with my new ETX-90EC and encountered something that has me
mystified.  The scope is sitting level; both RA and Decl setting circles
are set with zero at the respective arrowheads.

I turn on the Autostar and hit the Mode button to bypass the opening
remarks.  Then, I hold the Mode button for 2-3 seconds to display the
RA/Decl -- it shows:
RA:  8H47.205M
DECL: 18d 49.980'
(or something like that)

Why is it showing this reading with the scope sitting level and both
setting circles showing 0 ?

We had light cloud cover tonight and I did not want to fool with
aligning the scope, so, I turned it on and manually slewed it to Jupiter
-- observed Jupiter through several eyepieces to see how they looked
through the ETX-90. This RA/Decl setting is the location of Jupiter. 
Before turning off the Autostar, I set the scope back to level, 0 on RA
setting circle.  Does the scope think it's still looking at Jupiter?

Any idea what's going on here ?

Thanks.

----
Regards,
Joe Schlatter
Mike here: For info on the setting circles, see the FAQ page. The use of the setting circles is totally manual and has no direct tie to the Autostar. If you don't go through the alignment steps, the Autostar has no way to no where it is pointing.
Subject:	emergency cooldown
Sent:	Saturday, March 8, 2003 15:38:43
From:	GHENDRI@aol.com
I want to preface this to tell you I have personally written the Pope
concerning DR Clay Sherrod's elevation to Sainthood. I cannot imagine
the miracles he performs weekly. I just love my Supercharged 125!!! I
has been 6 months since I got it back and I wouldn't part with it
without a fight.

I have just come home from work on SATURDAY and the sky is gorgeous. I
want to do some deep sky observing as soon as possible. I have taken the
scope out on the back porch on the tripod and pointed it down and
removed the lenscap.(gasp) I also removed the eyepiece cap to facilitate
hot air leaving the scope(shudder). I figure getting the hot air out of
the scope is half the battle and it will be cool in less than half the
time. The air outside is pretty still and the scope is covered by an
umbrella and the porch roof. In a pinch maybe this isn't too damaging? 
I know I know this isn't a good practice and please mum's the word to
the good DR?

God Bless Dr. Clay!
Keep up the great work on the site Mike!


 Geoff Hendrickson
 Etx125 Space Cadet

Ps. If anyone near Philadelphia want to see some truly dark skies they
should research The Pine Barrens of NJ here is a link to one of the
darkest places. Batsto Village Home Page

Subject:	Total Bozo Action w/ hand paddle.
Sent:	Saturday, March 8, 2003 12:11:51
From:	davjam66@worldnet.att.net (David Fraley)
Let me start with thanking you for your site. I've gotten a lot of info
that you can't find anywhere else. Keep up the good work.

That said, I wanted to let you know about my total bozo action. After my
last observing session, (two weeks ago?) I managed to leave my hand
paddle outside on my chair, one of those folding canvas camp chairs. We
have had 20 inches of snow and alot of rain since then. Today I
installed new batteries in my ETX, went to test them, could'nt find the
paddle. With a nasty feeling inside, I went outside to look, and there
is the paddle, sitting on the chair, under 4 inches of water! (amazing
how long canvas holds water) I took the paddle in, took it apart, let it
drip dry for an hour or two, then took it apart the rest of the way. Did
the old hair dryer trick for a little bit, then put it all back
together. Holding my breath, I plugged in, fired up, and hit slew test.
It worked! Could not believe it. One more note,when I had it all apart,
I found a great big piece of solder floating around on the keypad side
of the board.(no more random slewing? Here's hoping) Well, that's my
story, sad but true. In the future I plan to be a little more careful!

Thanks again for the site. Peace, Dave.

Subject:	Arto Oksanen and the Nyrola Observatory on the AstronomyOutreach network!
Sent:	Friday, March 7, 2003 12:53:35
See how  Arto Oksanen and fellow amateur astronomers  at Nyrl
observatory on September 16, 2000  prepared to observe a planet orbiting
a star 153 light years away with a Meade 16" LX200. The star was
HD209458 in Pegeasus and its still unnamed jupiter-like planet was about
to transit over the star face. The planet orbits very close of the star
and transits every 3.5 days dimming the star just a bit. Before these
transits had been observed by a few professional observatories...

For this and other astronomy and space exploration news, see: 

www.astronomyoutreach.net/astroimagery.d/index.html, 

and click on astronomer,  Arto Oksanen!

Wishing clear skies to all, 
ASTRONOMYOUTREACH network

Scott W. Roberts - Editor
www.astronomyoutreach.net
============================
The AstronomyOutreach network is an award winning website dedicated to
the people, events, and organizations involved in outreach to the
general public for astronomy and space exploration.
============================

Subject:	Meade Eyepiece Offer
Sent:	Friday, March 7, 2003 12:27:30
From:	fphillips16@cox.net (fphillips16)
In the recent feedback item, the correspondent asked about delays
experienced in receiving the eyepiece set.  In my case it was quite a
bit longer than the 30 days noted in the ads.  I faxed in my order on
the 22nd of December and received it today (Mar 7th); I was also unable
to get any sense of when it would be shipped, just being told they had
been back ordered since the middle of December.

Thanks for a great site.  Phil Phillips
Mike here: I do know they ran out of stock for awhile; the offer was more popular than they expected.
Subject:	Image Shift in my ETX125...Eyepiece??
Sent:	Thursday, March 6, 2003 10:57:58
From:	RCosgrove@MFS.com (Cosgrove, Robert)
Hello again!  I've looked at the archives and noticed that image shift
is caused by the need for collimation.....however, can a loose
eyepiece(as in-it needed to be screwed tight) also be the cause of image
shift? I would have tested that theory already if i hadn't noticed it
until AFTER i'd gotten into the house......i'm hoping that this could
have been the cause-as a newbie, it would be discouraging to return the
scope for collimation(especially since i switched the LXD for the ETX125
in the first place due to portability!)

This dealer will surely hate me if i return again! Heck, I'm almost
tempted to do the supercharge and have it fixed rather than go back to
the dealer.......

Oh, I just received your book last night. It'll be my bible(if i can
ever get started).

Thanks!

Rob Cos
Mike here: Anything that causes the optical path to be out of alignment can cause image shift during focusing, depending upon the exact nature of the mis-alignment. Let me know if it improves when you next test it.

And:

Someone over at the Astronomy.com message board says "no" to the
eyepiece theory. Told me to tighten it and move on...says it as no
impact-but that doesn't make sense to me... Seems to me that if the
eyepiece is coming apart in two and the two sections need to be
retightened...that it would cause the image to roll left or right with
the movement of the focuser-and thus the loosened sections of the
eyepiece? I'm a newbie so maybe i'm reaching(hoping).....I'll let you
know what I find! Is the meade 26mm a lousy eyepiece? I handled it with
the utmost care....oh well, thanks again and i'll keep you posted.
Mike here: Depends on how you define "lousy". It is adequate for its purpose on lower end telescopes. It is likely the weakest link in the optical chain of the ETX Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes.
Subject:	How to clean off the heavy dust/film on 45 degree flip mirror on ETX-90RA?
Sent:	Wednesday, March 5, 2003 11:25:20
From:	Stephen.Ratzlaff@nokia.com
I have a question maybe you can answer. What is the best method to clean
the 45 degree flip (inverting) mirror on the ETX-90RA?

It's got a pretty heavy layer of film on it that is causing quite a loss
of contrast on bright objects. It's got quite a bit of dust on it too,
but the dust doesn't really worry me that much.

I know these mirrors are first surface coated and have to be gently
treated if cleaned, just wondering the best way to do it.

Also, should I disassemble the rear of the OTA to get to the mirror, or
can a decent cleaning job be performed while it's still assembled (i.e.
I'd prefer to not have to disassemble if possible)?

Would like to solve this, if not, looks like I'll have to get the
eyepiece holder (SCT eyepiece holder?) which mounts to the rear of the
OTA.

Once again, thanks in advance.

S Ratzlaff
Mike here: See the "Cleaning Tips" article on the Buyer/New User Tips page. I would suggest NOT removing to the rear cell just to avoid problems when reassembling. If you can reach the mirror without risk of damaging it then doing externally is best. Use caution to prevent any debris or cleaning solution from getting elsewhere inside the OTA.
Subject:	Noise
Sent:	Wednesday, March 5, 2003 10:53:19
From:	GDREITLEIN@aol.com
Hey, Mike. What are your thoughts on the noisiness of the ETX 90? I have
a few dogs in the neighborhood who bark when they hear it. Meade might
consider making a more quiet motor system. ???
                                             Sincerely,
                                                   George Dreitlein
Mike here: I don't find it too noisy and apparently my neighbors don't either. My LXD55 is noisier.
Subject:	Epoch version?
Sent:	Wednesday, March 5, 2003 7:40:17
From:	timeking@worldnet.att.net (Time King)
Should the coordinates for a star be the same as those given in Sky2000
- Master Star Catalog?  I've noticed a bit of discrepancy in some tours,
notably the Clays Constellation tours.
Mike here: I think Dr. Clay had used Epoch 1950 for his and if so, there could be a slight difference if Sky2000 is using Epoch 2000.

And from Dr. Clay himself:

From:	drclay@arksky.org (Clay Sherrod)
Indeed, all those coordinates are taken from the Burnham's Celestial
Handbook and are epoch 1950 which obviously are very far off by now.

I have now provided for a very easy updater located on my website at:

http://www.arksky.org/cgi-bin/epoch2.pl

in which you merely enter the coordinates as they are listed without
spaces or marks and press Enter and it will convert to Epoch 2002!  Very
fast and simple...makes life a lot easier with a GO TO telescope!

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory
www.arksky.org
MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway
MPC/cbat Obs. H41/ Petit Jean Mt.

Subject:	re:  90 deg finder queries
Sent:	Tuesday, March 4, 2003 21:10:23
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	mlewicki@ozemail.com.au
I had the opposite problem:
I'm very near-sighted, so i needed to change the focus on the Right Angle
finder to allow the crosshairs to be in focus when the stars were,
without needing my glasses.

With the ETX90's original straight-through viewfinder, it was easy.
Both the eyepiece and the main optical path were separately adjustable.

With the Right Angle viewfinder, they were not.  The crosshairs are 
mounted against one end of the diagonal prisim assembly, and weren't
adjustable.

So i bent them.. i -veeeerrrryyy- carefully pulled the crosshairs'
crossing point away from the diagnonal (only about 1.5mm total travel),
until they were in focus when viewed through the eyepiece.
Then i reassembled the finder, and everything is now in focus, 
together.

As a side note, the LX200gps's finder can NOT reach focus for my
non-glasses eyes.  Neither the star images or the crosshairs.
(before the finder reaches focus, the front lens assembly falls off).
*That* is a pain.

have fun
--dick

And:

> That's what I thought about the cross-hair focus. I might work up
> the nerve to try out your fix tip. What about the focus across the
> field part of my query. Have I got a dud?

My 90 degree is also almost useless beyond the middle of the field.
In part for that reason, i have both the ETX90's original
straight-through -and- the right angle finders mounted on my scope.  
The straight-through is very nice edge-to-edge.
The right-angle isn't.  

Mike, how's yours?

have fun
--dick
Mike here: Mine (ETX-125EC right angle) is fine in the middle but gets obviously more distorted the closer to the edge a star is located. Almost like comets at the edge.

And:

G'day  Lads,

Ah well...guess I might just have to live with it. It's just that the
right-angle finder with its much larger field of view makes it a breeze
to aquire near zenith targets. But forking out AU$130 for this finder
that is of far lower quality than the average 8x25 Tasco binoculars that
goes for AU$40 here in Australia, leaves one with a bit of a sour taste.

I think I'll take it back and ask for a replacement it and see if at
least and crosshair focus problem is typical.

Thanks for you tips anyway.

Martin Lewicki

Subject:	Dec/alt  problem
Sent:	Tuesday, March 4, 2003 20:38:35
From:	divenuts@gte.net (divenuts)
I have about 1/2 inch of "play" in the dec/alt part of my OTA. I'm
pretty sure it is a result of the weight of my CP 995 used in the alt/az
position without using a counterweight. I need to fix the "slop" because
it is almost impossible to get a decent polar alignment because Polaris
moves out of the FOV with any movement. I really never noticed it much
because 90% of my viewing and photo sessions are near the zenith. I have
two questions.how do I tighten/fix my "play" without stripping the dec.
clamp and do you have any ideas for a simple counterweight system for
the OTA (125) and a camera?
Thanks,
Chuck Callaghan
Dunedin, Fl
Mike here: See the various Performance Enhancement articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page. See the Helpful Information --> Astrophotography page for counterweight ideas.
Subject:	Meade
Sent:	Tuesday, March 4, 2003 7:23:21
From:	reboston@highstream.net (The Bostons)
I had to send my scope, ETX105-EC back to Meade about the first of
February.  Also, I ordered their "Special" eyepiece deal, (the promo for
new Meade purchasers), in Mid January. They let me know it may be 2 or 3
weeks before the eyepieces come in. Last week I fax'd asking them how
much longer till I get the scope and the eyepieces. I now get no
response.  Have any of your page viewers had similar experiences
recently? If so, what kind of time delays are they experiencing? Any
info will be appreciated.
Mike here: You really need to call them for status. Faxing just doesn't seem to work for replies. As to the eyepiece deal, the backlog is probably still about 30 days, from reports I've seen elsewhere. Have they cashed your check?

And:

Do you know if Meade Customer Support has an e-mail adfdress a customer
can access? All I can find is a commercial talk # and a commercial FAX
#. Would appreciate the help.
Mike here: They do not publicize an email address for holding discussions. They only have the email address for bug reports (engineer@meade.com).

And:

As always, thanks for the prompt reply. It's soooo disappointing when
I'm having such clear skies and no scope. Oh well, back to the
binoculars.

Subject:	90 deg finder queries
Sent:	Tuesday, March 4, 2003 5:20:29
From:	mlewicki@ozemail.com.au (Martin Lewicki)
Just purchased the 90 deg angle finder for the ETX90-EC. However the
cross hair in the field is  very much out of focus. There seems no
provision for make a focus adjustment. Also the focus itself across the
field is only sharp in the very centre. While I would expect some loss
toward the edge of the field, it really seems excesive, so much so that
stars less than haff way out to the edge look like "nebulae".  Is this
normal? Any tips, or should I should I return it?

Martin Lewicki
Mike here: This low-end finderscope does only focus near the center. As to the crosshairs, they are very large but don't recall any reports of them being out of focus.
Subject:	Star Party?
Sent:	Monday, March 3, 2003 7:10:10
From:	broroq@hotmail.com (roque villarreal)
I was wondering if you or anyone you know would be interested in having
a star party at Point Arena Lighthouse in California. It is a beautiful
Mendecino coast, ocean location, located on a point that has a
lighthouse on it. There are three, three bathroon, two bath, fully
stocked houses available.

Subject:	Power Supplies
Sent:	Sunday, March 2, 2003 13:21:17
From:	jonesr1@uwp.edu (Richard C Jones)
I was looking at your 12VDC rechargeable power supply survey, which would you 
suggest for the 105? Do any of them come with an adapter so you don't have to 
purchase the Meade #607 cigarette lighter Power Cord?

As always Thanks

Casey Jones
Mike here: I only know what's in the Table. I have yet to get one myself; I'm still looking.
Subject:	2" Aluminum Eyepiece Adapter for Meade ETX scopes.
Sent:	Saturday, March 1, 2003 21:07:44
From:	hs3980@earthlink.net (Harry Siebert)
Here is a full explanation of what can be expected with 2" eyepieces on
the ETX90 and 125.  In the early stages of developing the adapter a
number of eyepiece combinations were tested.  I noticed that even 1.25"
eyepieces in the 32mm range were completely dark, roughly at the last
10% of field before the field stop.  This became even worse with a 40mm
losing almost 20%.  This is a byproduct not simply of the scopes ability
to illuminate an eyepiece without vignetting, but is a fault of the
eyepiece design.  When optimizing 2" eyepieces for the ETX series it was
noticed that the size of the elements, particularly the upper element
dictated how much of the available field would be illuminated.  When
using my 32mm 2" with two lower elements 40mm's diameter and an upper
element doublet of 30mm's almost 50% of the field around the edges were
vignetted.  This means that instead of a 70 deg. fov the 32mm had about
a 50 deg fov.  It was not even worth using the 32mm in the 2" format. 
But when going to the Siebert Optics 2" 36mm Observatory with two lower
40mm elements and a 40mm upper doublet 95% of the apparent fov is fully
illuminated.  And when going to the 40mm Observatory with two lower 50mm
elements and one upper 40mm doublet 100% illumination was achieved with
no noticeable dropoff in brightness at the edges.    So what this means
is that what is achieved with the adapter with the Observatory 36mm and
40mm very well may not be duplicated with certain other eyepieces,
particularly if the upper element on those eyepieces are under 40mm's. 
Hopefully this information will help.

Harry Siebert
1-919-553-3980 between 10am and 11pm EST M-Thurs.
and 1pm and 11pm EST Fri-Sat.
fax no, 1-919-553-4135
www.SiebertOptics.com

Subject:	Wedge Modification on deluxe tripod #884
Sent:	Saturday, March 1, 2003 11:10:02
From:	thelandaus@hotmail.com (David and Michal Landau)
members.home.nl/damhof/astro

At the ETX125 Astronomy website by J.Damhof I found some great advice
for Meade deluxe tripod #884 owners.  Check out the news from :Feb 9th
2003. Over there he explains how he replaced the old Altitude leveler
with an new home made one.   He has pictures of the parts he bought and
of post-installation.

True, his modification may not be sufficient for precise polar
alignment, but it might be, and most importantly, it is a great
beginning for those of us with a 884 tripod.  What is certain is that
his modification (preventing the telescope from slamming down) provides
the necessary security that is lacking in the 884 as Meade has built it.

The direct link is:
members.home.nl/damhof/astro/modification884.htm
Mike here: It has been linked from the Telescope Tech Tips since 9 Feb. Glad it is useful.
Subject:	Power Cord
Sent:	Saturday, March 1, 2003 8:43:52
From:	sadrew@wans.net (SCOTT DREW)
I am considering buying a 12VDC rechargeable battery source to power my
ETX 125.  Do I need to spend $20 plus dollars on the Meade power cord to
connect the battery to the scope, or would any power cord such as from
Radio Shack be sufficient?  Is there something I need to look for in a
power cord?  Thank you for your help.               Scott
Mike here: Check the Telescope Tech Tips for power supply info.

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