ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 March 2004
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT. Additional information on these models is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.


Subject: ETX-70 electric focus
Date: 3/31/04, 10:52
From: Jeffrey_H._Taylor@ffic.com
I just bought the ETX-70 & hate the focus knob on it. I was wondering if
they make a electric focus for this model?
Mike here: Not from Meade. Don't know of any others. But you can add a flexible focus cable (see the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page for the Scopetronix FlexiFocus) or the Telescope Tech Tips page if you want to make one.

Subject: re: See nebula?
Date: 3/22/04, 22:12
From: Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
To: lee10@fsmail.net
Try Messier 42 in Orion... visible at all magnifications.

It's probably a bit too late in the year to catch the Ring Nebula.

Nebulae are (usually) faint objects, lower magnification helps.

have fun
--dick
And this:
From: bob greef (bobgreef@hotmail.com)
A little footnote to your reply to Lee Johnson on using the ETX 70 for
DSOs.

I generally use an 8 inch Newtonian for this area and an equatorial
mounted 90 mm Maksutov for planets but last night, late home from work I
couldn't be bothered to set up either of them and chose my three year
old ETX 70 instead.

A quick look at Venus, Saturn and Jupiter using 9mm plus 3x barlow then
turned my attention to M45 using just the 25 mm; superb! Tried Mars but
it really is getting very distant now.

The Orion Nebula was next and this bright object was optimum with a 17
mm plossl + 3x barlow although the image via the 25mm + barlow was
brighter.

I finished off with M51 M82 and 82 which are well placed overhead now
and obtained very pleasing views with the 17 mm with no barlow.

The use of the 9mm with barlow at 117x is a bit much for DSOs and a
magnification of between 20x and 70x seems to do the trick.

Best regards,

Bob Greef
And more:
From: "Finn N. Rasmussen" (FINNR@BOT.KU.DK)
Lee Johnson wondered about seeing nebulae at 117x with the ETX-70. 117X
is surely too much magnification for dso's in ETX-70, the view will be
much too dim. The best ETX-70 magnification for deep sky objects is 39
X, that is the 9 mm eyepiece without barlow. A few will look very nice,
like the great Orion Nebula and the Andromeda galaxy, and many will be
visible but not much more than that. Dark skies help a lot, but even
under moderate light pollution a number of the more popular ones can be
found. Start with the 25 mm eyepiece and do a goto the selected object.
Check the star patterns to make sure that you are where you want to be
(compare with a star atlas or a screen view in a planetarium program 
btw, some the best ones are freeware!). Change to 9 mm, use averted
vision if necessary, and the object will appear. Clear Skies!   - F.
Rasmussen, Copenhagen
And:
From: Lee Johnson (lee10@fsmail.net)
Thanks for all your help and advice, I have made stready progress but I
still can't find the Orion nebula, though I must be close.

I am using the 25mm eyepiece (14X) and I have found the constellation
Orion with no problems and everything is in focus and am aiming at the
main centre of Orion, being the three brightst stars Alnitak, Anilam and
Mintaka for an idea to where I look at. These stars appear bright and so
are easy to see, but when I move the telescope southward (where the
nebula is at) all I see is very faint stars and can't make out the
nebula. Do you know any viewing tips i.e colour of stars or the
appearance of the nebula, so it can help when I try to find it again,
I'm still new at this so forgive me for asking this question?

Any help or rough tips would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,
Mike here: You haven't said how dark your sky is. If you have a dark site and reasonably good eyes, you should be able to make out a fuzzy patch in the "sword" hanging from Orion's belt (check star charts if you are uncertain of the location). If you can see that fuzzy patch with your eyes you should be able to "see" it with the ETX-70.

Subject: re: ETX-70at, now what?
Date: 3/22/04, 22:07
From: Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
To: tlightfoot@dot.state.nv.us
The "GoTo without really going anywhere" is a specific symptom
of forgetting to press [enter] before pressing [goto].

(the frustration of rubberbanding can do that)

Since you Reset, have you re-adjusted the two Percentage
settings under Setup > Telescope > RA Percentage  (and Dec Percentage)

Those will have an effect upon rubberbanding.

Is this an Autostar 497 (with numeric keypad) or a 494 (no numeric keypad)?

good luck
--dick
And:
Thank you Mike and Dick for your quick repsonses.

The HBX is a 494, and no I did not re-adjust the two percentages. Should
I have?  Do the two percentages go back to default settings during a
reset?

The "GoTo without really going anywhere" problem states on the HBX that
it is "slewing".  So, I should re-check myself to make sure that in fact
I have pressed the Enter key and then the Goto key. (I guess that it
bothered me more than I had thought).

Ok, yeterday afternoon when I arrived home I set the 70 up with the AC
power.  I then proceeded to again reset, calibrate and train the drives
(since I had sunlight still to see the telephone pole that I use for
this sort of thing).  I re-entered all of the information with the
exception of the owner info.  I left the sun warning and the other
message on the display.  The scope worked flawlessly (because it was
inside during the daylight).  At 8:00 pm Reno, NV time I stepped out
back to setup and look at the sky.  The alignment went great, picking
Sirius and then Capella, both almost on the finderscope cross hairs and
well within the FOV.  I went through the same routine as I did in the
house earlier, first Venus then Juptier, Mars, Saturn.....then I wanted
to see Orion's Nebula (easily seen with this little scope), nothing
happened, I could scroll through menus but the slewing keys would not
let me move the scope in any direction.

I have a 497 HBX that should be in today, I know the 70 will never be
able to utilize the 497's full database but I need the 497 to use in
conjunction with the Meade LPI.  Can this be done?  If not then I will
also need to pick up a larger ETX....if the wife doesn't know.

Thank you both again very much, and Mike your site is the best.
Tom L. 
And:
(all of the following comments pertain to the 497 -and- the 494)

> The HBX is a 494, and no I did not re-adjust the two percentages.
> Should I have?

Yes (to fight rubberbanding)

> Do the two percentages go back to default settings during a reset?

Yes (that is, after all, "Reset"'s job)

> The "GoTo without really going anywhere" problem states on the HBX
> that it is "slewing".  So, I should re-check myself to make sure that
> in fact I have pressed the Enter key and then the Goto key. (I guess
> that it bothered me more than I had thought).

Yes.. the "Slewing" indicates it's going somewhere, but by
failing to press [enter], you had not actually selected a new target,
so it GoTo'd where it already is/was. Result: no motion.

...
> At 8:00 pm Reno, NV time I stepped
> out back to setup and look at the sky.  The alignment went great, picking
> Sirius and then Capella, both almost on the finderscope cross hairs and
> well within the FOV.  I went through the same routine as I did in the house
> earlier, first Venus then Juptier, Mars, Saturn.....then I wanted to see
> Orion's Nebula (easily seen with this little scope), nothing happened,
> I could scroll through menus but the slewing keys would not let me move
> the scope in any direction.

Um... change the speed.  After finishing an alignment, the slew speed
is left at a very low/slow value.

> I have a 497 HBX that should be in today, I know the 70 will never be able
> to utilize the 497's full database but I need the 497 to use in conjunction
> with the Meade LPI.  Can this be done?

Yes.

>  If not then I will also need to pick up a larger ETX....

You'll want one anyway (or an LX90)

> if the wife doesn't know.

"It's a motorized cylindrical Garden Gnome"

have fun
--dick
And this:
Dick,
Thanks for your humor and knowledge, they are always appreciated. One
last question, I know somewhere on Mike's site I have run across the
percentages but I would ask you to divulge the numbers in question on
more time for us learned-challenged people.
Always looking for fun,
Tom
Mike here: See the article "Setting Percentages For Better Tracking" on the Autostar Info page.

And more from Dick:

I start at 1%, then start adding 10% at a time until it's "too much",
then i back off.

Dr. Clay has a different procedure hiding somewhere on Mike's site
(he starts higher)

There is no "magic number"... on my ETX90, the RA seems happy
at 2% or 11%, whereas the Dec can require 21% to 30%..
but there have been times when 81% was NOT too much.

Since "too little" only introduces "lag" into the system, i
prefer
to have "too little" (if anything), rather than "too much" (jumpy).

The "percentage" tells the Autostar how much of the Training
result to apply to quick-start the motors when you reverse
direction.  So Training results affect percentages.

Clay thinks you have to zero the percentages when Training.
The Autostar's programming does that for you during Training
(and then restores them to your settings), so you do NOT
have to manually set the percentages to anything special -during-
Training.

My backgrounder on all of these settings is at:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_info.html

have fun
--dick
And:
Thank you Mike and Dick for pointing me in the right direction (no pun
intended). My 497 came in yesterday, it has version 3.1.1e?  When I
ordered the 497 the salesman said it will come with the lastest drivers.
 I will install Dick's new patch and then calibrate and train the
drives.  Then I will adjust the percentages according to the test
results.
Thanks again for a wonderful website and such useful knowledge.
Tom L.
Mike here: Personally I would recommend using the Autostar without patches for awhile. You want to know that it works OK before you start messing around with its code.

And from Dick:

DON'T PATCH YET!!!

Try it with the normal Meade firmware to check that everything is
operating properly. 

Then feel free to patch.

(this detects stuff like bad memory (very rare) without adding
in the confusion of a failed download)

have fun
--dick
And:
Understood, again I wish to thank you for your sage advice and a superb
website.
Tom L. 

Subject: ETX-70at, now what?
Date: 3/22/04, 09:14
From: "Lightfoot, Tom" (tlightfoot@dot.state.nv.us)
I have had this little scope for almost a year now and everything was
working fine up until 2 weeks ago. The goto's are pretty darned accurate
so my alignments must be alright.  The first thing that happened is a
set of batteries died while I was slewing, I then replaced with brand
new batts.  The scope at that point decided to start rubberbanding and
not track very well.  I then reset, calibrated and trained the drives
several times and still no improvement.  The newest thing for it to do
is to say that it is "slewing" to a selected goto object but in reality
the scope still is tracking the last object and will not move to the new
selected object.

I have recently purchased a power supply from Radioshack, 9V 800MAH, and
it supplies great power. The batteries have always been suspect with me
anyways regarding their inherit ability to die at the worst possible
moment and along with their death the introduction of bugs into the
firmware of the device.

Do you have any recommendations?  Well, besides sending it back to
Meade?  I know that I should get into the guts of the machine and do the
tuneup stuff, but I am reluctant to the fact that I read somewhere on
your wonderful site that I will need to pry off a plastic nut and the
re-glue it back on.....?  Is this correct?

Thanks ahead of time for your devotion and kindness to us knuckleheads.
Tom L.
Mike here: Lets analyze this a bit. All was OK until the installed batteries died. You replaced them. You even tried an external power source. You RESET, CALIBRATED, and TRAINED the DRIVES. But slewing on a GOTO doesn't actually slew. Either these two events (batteries dying and failure to slew) are related or they are not. My money would be on that they are NOT related (unless the batteries leaked into the battery compartment). With that in mind, can you slew the telescope using the arrow keys? If so, then we know that the Autostar is properly communicating to the ETX. If not, then there is some problem which you may or may not be able to fix yourself. Easiest to check would be the cable connections. Of course, when you did a RESET did you check that all the Autostar settings (telescope model, mounting mode, etc) were correct?

Subject: It is possible to change to change the AUTOSTAR language?
Date: 3/22/04, 05:23
From: alex mihai (alexteener@yahoo.com)
I bought a MEADE telescope using an  #494 Autostar...unfortunatelly,the
language is german...there is a way to change it to english?
Thx in advance for your time

              Alex
Mike here: Depends. If it is possible to change it, the instructions are on the FAQ page.

And:

..thx,I found the istruction,but it looks like the ROM contain German
language only...have a nice
day...alex 

Subject: ETX-70 overpowered
Date: 3/22/04, 00:59
From: "Tobias tng. Nsborg" (tng@dk.alk-abello.com)
With a 4 mm and a 3* Barlowlinse you can get a 263 power (350/4 = 87,5 *
3 = 263) on at ETX-70 but that seems to much for a 70 mm. How strong can
you power the ETX-70 without the image gets blurred?

Thanks a lot

Tobias Naesborg (A beginner considering buying a ETX-70 or ETX-90)
Mike here: See the FAQ page for info on the maximum magnification for any telescope.

Subject: See nebula?
Date: 3/20/04, 10:17
From: Lee Johnson (lee10@fsmail.net)
I have found something quite strange, I have my current magnification at
117x with the 9mm eyepiece  with the ETX-70 AT, however I haven't seen
any nebula at this magnitude, though I have seen planets and stars. Do I
need to go back to back the 25mm eyepiece or should I stick with the
Barlow lens with the 9mm and is it easy to see nebula?

Kindr egards,
Mike here: Depends upon which nebulae you are trying to see. Some larger/brighter ones will be easy with the 25mm eyepiece. Same for faint ones. Keep in mind that the image dims as you increase the magnification. Also, the ETX-70 is not ideal for faint DSOs.

Subject: My new ETX-70 will not stay centered on an object
Date: 3/18/04, 08:06
From: Keith McAdams (kmcadams@columbiachamber.com)
I have no problem aligning the scope, or finding a chosen object via
GOTO.  But when I center the object using the hand controller, the ETX
moves it back to where it was when it first found it.  For example,
let's say I choose Saturn and acquire it in the eyepiece via GOTO.  Of
course it is seldom/never exactly centered.  So I center it using the
hand controller; then the ETX moves it back to where it was when it
first found it.

Any solutions?  Thanks! 

Keith McAdams

Mike here: This is known as "rubberbanding". Most times doing a TRAIN DRIVES will cure it. If it doesn't, do a RESET, CALIBRATE, TRAIN DRIVES.

Subject: Lens Cap Thread Size
Date: 3/17/04, 10:25
From: kevin keyes (fishonkevin@sbcglobal.net)
I checked through the achives and the owner's manual for the ETX-70 and
couldn't find the thread size for the lens cap. It can't be 70mm can it?
Do you know what it is?  I'm looking into possibly purchasing full
aperture photographic filters for double duty on camera lenses.
Kevin Keyes
Mike here: No the thread size isn't published. You can just measure what you need; probably you'll want a cap that slides over the aperture end.

Subject: ETX-70
Date: 3/15/04, 10:28
From: Daniel (dansheets@adelphia.net)
Hey there, I'm thinking of buying a ETX-70.

I'm wondering if things like nebula, or galaxies can be clearly seend
through it. Now, I have a 900mm x 114mm newtonian reflector. The rings
of saturn are easily seen, and you can just barely make out a few bands
around jupiter.

Being able to see nebula is a big thing though. What do you think? Will
the ETX-70 make the cut?

Thanks!
                  Daniel
Mike here: The ETX-70 is a 350mm focal length (vs your 900mm existing telescope) with a smaller aperture (70mm vs your 114mm). Therefore, by comparison objects will be smaller with the same eyepiece and dimmer. On the other hand the ETX-70 is a nice wide field telescope. Some nebulae and brighter galaxies (like M31) will be viewable from a dark site but probably not what you want.

And:

Actually, what I have now is a cheap "Cosmos by Grumpas". I thought that
maybe the optics werent as good as the meade ETX-70. Which would, in
turn, make the meade scope a better one.
And:
BTW, with the one I have now. I cant even see the orion nebula... just
looks like a white dot. 
Mike here: The ETX-70 will show the Orion nebula nicely, especially from a dark site.

Subject: ETX-70AT doesn't track
Date: 3/13/04, 14:01
From: "Walter R. Schoenly" (waltschoenly@hotmail.com)
Great site! 
 
I have an ETX-70AT which appears to find a searched for object and slews
to it but once there it doesn't continue to track it.  Any ideas?
 
Best Regards,
 
Walt Schoenly
Mike here: Do you mean it doesn't track at all (the motors are not running) or just it doesn't track accurately?

And:

Thanks for responding.

After I select an object, the scope will slew to that object but from
that point on just stays there and chirps.  It sounds like it's running
but after 15 minutes there has been no movement.  I"ve also tried it
with a new AUTOSTAR controller too.

I was looking to do a RESET but am having trouble locating instructions
on how to do it. Let me know what you think and thanks alot.

- Walt
Mike here: Since the GOTOs are accurate (otherwise you would have said so), we'll assume that the alignment is correct and accurate (which means that all the other settings are correct). This would seem to also mean that you are not overtightening the axis locks (which would [prevent all movement, including the refining of the alignment stars when they are being centering during the alignment phase. Therefore it does sound like something is amiss. I suggest doing a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES. If that fails to correct the problem, do a RESET, CALIBRATE, and TRAIN DRIVES. You'll find RESET under the SETUP menu. When doing the TRAIN DRIVES, be certain you do both axes.

And:

Once again I owe you many thanks.  After taking the reset route the
scope seems to be working fine.  Thanks again.

- Walt Schoenly 

Subject: New barlow lens
Date: 3/5/04, 13:45
From: Lee Johnson (lee10@fsmail.net)
Thanks for your last reply, it has helped a little but at this moment
I'm sticking to manually getting focused until I have perfect
conditions. In the meantime, however I am just using it manually.

I have recently purchased a 3x Barlow Lens and I am having problems with
it, as I have trouble focusing with the barlow lens. For example
Jupiter, it appears fine with the 9mm eyepiece (which I use) and works
with the 3x Barlow Lens but when I have the image focused the barlow
lens doesn't fit within the eyepece holder, as I move out with it to get
it focused.

I'm not sure what else I can do, I don't think you can get an extension
or something to attach to it, and I'm not sure what else I can do with
the Barlow or eyepiece, I would have thought it should have worked with
the Barlow staying in the eyepiece holder.

Any help would be greatful

Kind regards,
Mike here: I'm sorry but I don't recall which model telescope you have (I get too much email to remember everyone's system). Not all Barlow Lens will work (reach a focus with all eyepieces) on the ETX models. You need a "shorty" style. Plus, for the ETX-70, you need one designed to work with the ETX-70.

And:

Thanks for your reply, well the Barlow Lens is the Maede 3x Barlow Lens
which is compatable with the ETX-70, which is the model telescope I
have.

The current magnification I am using is 117x with the 9mm eyepiece I am
using, I will try one more time to see if I can get anything focused, it
does work fine as I have seen Jupiter with it's four moons in focus with
the Barlow, however as I said when it is focused it is out of the
eyepiece holder, the only problems could be dew

Hope this helps
Mike here: If it is the Meade 3X Barlow Lens for the ETX-70 (which is different than other 3X Barlow Lens) then it should have worked. I don't have one to check, but could the lens in the Barlow tube be out of position?

And:

Good point, thanks for that

I will check tonight and let you know on what the results are!

Subject: ETX 70 AT - German vs English
Date: 3/4/04, 00:59
From: "RICHARDSON,JONATHAN (HP-Germany,ex1)" (jonathan.richardson@hp.com)
I have the ETX 70 AT purchased in Germany (with German Menus) and would
like to change the menus to ENGLISH. Is that possible? I have also seen
that I can get a "replacement" 494 Autostar for $15 from the US. Would
that solve my language problem?

A basic question - is the computer control built in to the handset or
the base of the unit?

Excellent site and I am sure that I will be a regular visitor from now
onwards as I have also purchase the ETX 90 and dream of the 125!!!!!

Many thanks for your help

Regards
Jon
Mike here: See the FAQ page on the ETX Site; the tip may or may not work with your Autostar. You can get a #497 Autostar with all the features or you could get an English language version of the #494.

Subject: ETX70 HELP!!!
Date: 3/2/04, 06:35
From: "Laluna, Robert (NIH/NIDA)" (rlaluna@nida.nih.gov)
I appreciate your information, and consider you to be an expert with the
Meade scopes. My situation is as followed:

My wife purchased an ETX70a for Xmas ...We love it, as it is our 1st
scope...and we are learning a lot about the skies. Problem is  the motor
has been making a grinding sound right out of the box......like it is
struggling.  We have never been able to get the autostar function to
work properly.....so we usually overlook it, and focus things ourselves.

Last night we got a message on the auto star that read something like:
Motor failure.   Im not sure of the exact message, it was something like
that.

Is this a known issue with these machines?  My Tube on the ETX 70a is a
black one....I have noticed that most of the ones I see in the stores
are BLUE.

Do I have an old model? Perhaps one with a bad motor???   Should the
DISCOVERY store stand by this purchase as it was in December ...Or do I
have to go through Meade?

Do you recommend an upgrade to the 90??   Would I notice a great deal of
difference??

Thanks again for your priceless advice!

Bobby LaLuna
Mike here: Could you be overtightening the axis locks? They should only be just tight enough to allow the slewing motors to move the telescope. There are many reasons for the motor fault: overtightening, low battery power, poor cable connection, dirt on the encoders (I wouldn't expect this on a new telescope), or a corrupted Autostar. Check for the first ones. If none of the above, you might consider doing a RESET on the Autostar #494 (I'm assuming you have the #494; the one with no number keys). Then select the right telescope model and mounting mode in the Autostar and do a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES. Let me know. If the problem turns out to be a defective telescope, I would think the store should stand behind it since it is fairly new. As to the differences in other models, the longer focal length and the larger apertures of the ETX-90 and larger ETX models will provide nicer views of many objects. But for wide field views of the sky, the ETX-70 is pretty nice.

And:

Thanks for your reply Mike,

In regards to the "Overtightening of the axis"  >......I don't think
that's the case here, it tight enough, so that gravity can do its
thing....and hold the tube on its own.

I will try to do a reset.....MY Auto star is a keypad, with numbers.

I talked to the folks at Discovery, and they would be willing to take
the scope back.....only if I were to up grade to the 90.  Is it worth
the $200??

Will it improve my overall interplanetary viewing?  I have taken a look
at the sample pics on your site.......
Mike here: I think you would like the difference in the ETX-90.

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