GENERAL FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 March 2004
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.

Mike here: If you have sent me email and not received a reply, usually within a day (and many times within just hours or even minutes), then your message was classified as SPAM and deleted unread. Now why would I do that? See the Email Etiquette page for more info.


Subject: Eyepiece Filters for ETX-125
Date: 3/31/04, 17:48
From: James.Cody@med.va.gov
A brief question: Can nebulae filters and/or color filters be combined
together to improve astro observations? For example, can an Oxygen III
and a Broadband Nebulae filter be used together to enhance what can be
seen? Thanks.

James Cody
Mike here: Not those; they are too dense, especially for small aperture telescopes. You could combine a non-dense filter with one for some possible improvements, depending upon the object.

Subject: Wide Angle Lens / Barlow Question
Date: 3/31/04, 10:03
From: ls4503@bellsouth.net
If you use a barlow lens with a Meade Super Wide Angle eyepiece ,does
the True Field stay the same? Ex: Meade SWA 24.8 MM , True Field of 1.13,
Apparant Field of 67 , Magnification of 59X. Which of these specs does
the Barlow change other than magnification ?   Thanks.

Larry Schlaefer
Jupiter , Fla
Mike here: Although I haven't checked I would suspect it will change everything.

Subject: Teflon Pads Missing!
Date: 3/30/04, 10:47
From: matt.burroughs@knology.net
I called Meade and they were less than helpfull. I have noticed that the
RA is sticking and found I was missing a teflon pab and the others
except oone was not in great shape. I called Meade for replacements and
they want to Charge me $75 to send in the scope. I told them they were
nuts and a $.25 part is not worth $75 plus shipping. I left a message
with the supervisor and no call back. Any suggestions on were or waht
else can be used.

Thanks, Matt
Mike here: Search the site for "teflon"; you'll find lots of tips.

And an update:

The Meade supervisor called me and they are in the mail. I have never
called Meade for anything prior because I have always found answers to
any question from your site. Meade support in pretty useless my only
experience and the lady I talked to never heard of your website. She
should read it she might learn something.
 
Thanks again,
Matt
Mike here: I know that many of the Meade Tech Support people know of the ETX Site. Maybe she is new.

Subject: birding
Date: 3/30/04, 07:31
From: Terlis (terlis@cox.net)
I have and ETX-90 EC and would like to start some terrestial viewing
w/it and was wondering what the best eyepieces would be?  I currently
have a 2X barlow, 24mm superplossel and 8-24mm zoom.  I've heard of
something that reverses the picture to the correct view through the
lens, but don't know what it's called.
 
Thanks for any help.
 
Lisa
Mike here: I haven't done this although others have (search the site for "bird"). And yes, there is a 45-degree Erecting Prism; see the review on the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page.

Subject: Follw-up: ETX-90 Dec knob slipping or stripped
Date: 3/30/04, 06:48
From: "Schlatter, Joe A JR [SBS]" (joseph.a.schlatter@mail.sprint.com)
This is a followup to a message I sent to you a few days ago.  I
described how the dec knob on my ETX-90 would neither tighten nor
loosen.  You submitted the matter to Clay who suggested a couple of
remedies.

I tried one of his suggestions -- I slipped a stiff-bladed putty knife
under the knob and held pressure on it while trying to loosen the knob
-- gave it about half a turn and the knob broke off its brass insert --
knob popped off on the floor, brass inster is still screwed into the
clutch mechanism.

As you probably know, the knob is plastic.  Inside the knob is a hole
into which is pressed a brass fitting, one end of which is threaded.
It's this threaded portion that goes into or out of the dec clutch
assembly to tighten/loosen the clutch.

When the knob popped off, the brass insert was exposed.  I turned it
with a pair of pliers and it worked fine -- the clutch will
engage/disengage, which tells me the clutch mechanism is fine and the
original problem was just as I suspected -- the brass insert was
stripped out of the knob.

I order TWO new knobs from Meade -- one I will install (gently) on the
scope.  I will experiment with the broken knob to see if I can fabricate
an unbreakable fix.  I'm thinking about seeing if a local machine shop
can fabricate a metal knob with locking setscrew. Whatever solution I
find, I'll take photos and send them to you.

By the way, is this a common problem?  Seems as though we need to alert
Meade -- unless they have already been told about it and have not yet
fixed it.

Please reply to me at my home e-mail.  Thanks.

Joe Schlatter
Bristol TN
Mike here: It has happened to a few users but whether from a part failure or by overtightened, hard to say based upon the small sample. See the Email Etiquette item for info on reply-to addresses.

Subject: Cleaning
Date: 3/29/04, 23:34
From: Tommy Lim (kangwen@tm.net.my)
How am I going to clean my corrector plate? Besides of unscrew and take
it out........

Tommy
Mike here: See the "Cleaning Tips" article on the Buyer/New User Tips page. BUT most people want to overclean their optics. Don't do it unless really really really necessary.

And this before he read my advice:

Just done the corrector plate cleaning process. No dust and pollen on
the surface now. I followed Dr.Clay cleaning suggestion.

now the question is..........How do I know if the UHTC coating is
gone?For example?
Mike here: If you followed Dr. Clay's advice you should be OK. If you see a lot of glare or a loss of contrast you may have damaged the coating.

And:

Do you mean when I look at the bright objects or faint objects? 
Mike here: Bright objects.

And more:

I haven't try to look at those objects yet. The purple color on the
corrector plate is the coating,am i right?

Or else, can we see the coating anyway?
Mike here: Yes, that's the coating.

And:

luckily i still can see the coating..............the purple color
coating.

Tommy 

Subject: Meade ETX's dependance on electronics
Date: 3/29/04, 18:10
From: Brandon Bethke (brandonbethke@yahoo.com)
Thank you for reading this. I have never owned a telescope and I do not
yet own a Meade ETX, but I am considering purchasing one based on much
of the information at your website. Maybe you can squash a few of the
fears that I have.

I am interested in knowing the ETX's dependance on the eletronics built
into the scope. I fear that if I purchase a scope, it will become
useless if the electronics fail and I am unable or unwilling to repair
it. I still want to be able to use the scope if the electronics fail and
I don't want to have to worry about when it fails.

I see a lot of postings that describe problems with the electronics in
some way or another. Is the electronics the, "weak link in the chain"
for this scope?

Will I be able to manually operate the scope without any of the
electronics "on"?

What if I am in the middle of nowhere and I forgot to pack extra
batteries? Do I have to pack up and head home? :)

I may be demonstrating my ignorance here, but, I was hoping to find a
telescope that will last a lifetime, and if the scope is dependant on
electronics, batteries and software, then I think the lifetime of the
scope is reduced.

Thank you.

=====
Brandon Bethke
Mike here: It depends upon what you mean by "using" the telescope. Yes, you can use the telescope optics if the electronics fail (which happens only rarely but can, just like on your car or computer) or the batteries fail (which happens more frequently). You just unlock the axes and point the telescope at the object you want to view. Since the electronics are not working you will have to manually slew and track, just like amateur astronomers did for decades. There is no "slow motion" control for manual operation.

And:

Thank you for answering my question. I'm sure it must be more difficult
to operate the telescope in "manual" mode, but I was just wondering if I
would be able to "point the telescope at the object" and view it without
having to engage the electronics.

Thank you,

Brandon

Subject: Is an electric focuser the best way to deal with image shift on the ETX?
Date: 3/29/04, 06:09
From: Sam Nothman (sam-nan@juno.com)
My ETX-125 is just a year old and I have the Scoptronixs focusing cable
which help a little. But at mid to high power the image will shift well
out of view while focusing which has been frustrating. Will an electric
focuser make a substantial improvement in image shift? And if so, which
one do you recommend? I have heard that many are having problems with
the Meade unit and that JMI  is a better one.

Thank you for your site,

Sam Nothman
Mike here: Image shift is neither caused nor solved by a focuser, whether mechnical or electrical. Some image shift is normal due to the design of the ETX (having a moving primary mirror) but it should not be excessive. And from your description, it sounds like your is excessive. Depending upon the cause, the may or may not be easy to fix on your own. There are a couple of articles on "image shift" on the Telescope Tech Tips page.

Subject: Your site
Date: 3/28/04, 16:54
From: Max Bodensteiner (maxofborg1@bigpond.com)
Simple but excellent site, have been tossing up whether to buy a new
ETX125 or not. Ive now made up my mind, thanx. Will send you my first
photos taken through it.

Max  Newman, Australia

Subject: ETX 90 Model M for Venus Transit Observation
Date: 3/28/04, 08:24
From: Kedar (hulaki@wlink.com.np)
Just one question: How can we use ETX 90 MM Model M for observation of
Venus Transit? The catalog says we should never turn the telescope
towards the sun, as the rays damage the Lens of telescope. But what
about projecting the image in a screen and seeing the transit? Please
kindly advise us how we can use the telescope for Venus Transit. We dont
have any other accessories for protection from sunlight.
 
yours
--------------------------------------------------------
Kedar P Badu

Galileo Astronomical Society of Pokhara - GASPO
Kathmandu Nepal
http://www.geocities.com/kedarbadu/gaspo.html
http://www.space-frontier.org/Projects/permission/TeamTelescope/Graphics/nepal/nepal.htm
Mike here: DO NOT USE projection for viewing of the Sun. You will damage or destroy the ETX. However, you can use a quality solar filter for safely viewing the Sun. See the Accessory Reviews - Filters page.

Subject: Hex Key Size
Date: 3/28/04, 13:25
From: yagi (yagis@piggysurf.com)
I cannot find a hex key of the right size to adjust the locking lever
for side to side of my ETX125EC.

I have contacted Meade but no reply.
 
Hope you can help.
 
Many thanks for a great site.
 
Regards,
 
Billy,
 
Rep.Ireland.
Mike here: One of these days I must really get a precise tool to measure all the hex keys used by the ETX models...

And:

Thats Fine..but do you know where I can get the said Hex Keys. The size
is absoutely tiny and where I work even the smallest Hex will not fit.

Maybe a fix would be in order so one could modify the existing setup.
 
Many thanks for a great site.
Mike here: I would think a hardware store would have them.

Subject: ETX-90 Decl knob problem
Date: 3/28/04, 10:39
From: Schlatter (rosenjoe@charter.net)
The dec knob on my ETX-90 appears to be stripped somewhere, somehow.  I
can turn the knob round and round in both directions -- tighten or
loosen -- and it makes no difference.  The dec mechanism is tightened
because the scope will align, GOTO, and track just fine.  I needed to
loosen the knob last week and discovered that the knob turns but it will
neither loosen or tighten the dec clutch.

Now, here's the problem -- I can't open the dec fork.  I removed the OTA
and took the five screws out of the cover that covers the dec motor and
gears.  But, because the big dec knob will not release, I can't take the
control arm off -- the arm that bolts to the OTA with the allen head
screws.  What to do?  Do I drill through the dec knob from the outside
and hope to drill out the stud?

I can't tell if it's the brass screw that is sunk into the dec knob, or,
if the threads are stripped out of the locking mechanism into which the
brass screw tightens.
 
Thanks.
 
-------
Joe Schlatter
And from our resident hardware expert:
From: "P. Clay Sherrod" (drclay@arksky.org)
One of two things has happened to the knob or locking assembly, perhaps
both now that it has been forced a bit:

1) the brass screw that comes out of the knob has stripped and the DEC
knob must be replaced; you cannot glue these to hold;

2) the OTA right adapter arm (the swing arm that attaches the scope to
the fork arm) has the center trunion receiver for the bolt (from 1)
above) stripped out; this also cannot be repaired....it must be
replaced.

Now, to remove the OTA adapter, you must be quite dexterous.....while
turning the knob CCW with one hand, you must pry UNDER THE PLASTIC
flange of the knob with a very large flat head screwdriver, trying to
force the knob straight outward from the center of the fork arm trunion.
 Both motions will release the grip that the knob and/or OTA adapter
has.

Do not get frustrated while doing this....it may take some time, but it
will indeed eventually come out.  Careful not to damage the setting
circle....the knob itself is likely gone anyway, but I would be somewhat
careful of it in case it is okay and the OTA adapter is at fault, which
could quite possibly be the case.
 
Dr. Clay
--------------------
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.)
http://www.arksky.org/

Subject: scratches on my etx-125
Date: 3/27/04, 21:50
From: Stephen Shainbart (shainbart@verizon.net)
I received my etx-125 a few weeks ago.  I have noticed there is a
scratched area on the lens of the telescope.  It is about one and a half
inches long and one-fourth of an inch wide.  I have been trying to do
some research to see if this is a problem, but I am not sure.  The Meade
instruction manual says one shouldn't worry if you can see scratches
with the "flashlight test" (shining a flashlight down the tube), but I
can easily see the scratches even without doing that, although they are
significantly fainter without the flashlight. Anyway, could this be a
big problem for my optics?  The scope seems to be performing well, but
not having a telescope before, it is hard for me to judge.

Thank you for your response, and for your site- I make it a point to
read some of your site each day as I grow in familiarity with both the
etx and astronomy.

Stephen Shainbart
Mike here: Is the "scratch" on the outer surface of the corrector lens? Is is really a scratch that has cut into the surface of the glass or is a scratch in the coating? Or is it just a line of debris on the coating? Or can you even tell?

And:

I just wanted to add to my other e mail that the meade instruction
manual says "The optical qulaity of a telescope cannot be judged by the
"flashlight" test; the true test of optical quality can only be
conducted through careful star testing."

What is "careful star testing?" Do they mean just how things look in the
scope, or is it a specific procedure?
Thanks again.
Mike here: See the "Star Testing and Collimation Tips" section on the Telescope Tech Tips page.

Subject: new ETX125 website
Date: 3/27/04, 17:26
From: Jan (damhof@home.nl)
I changed the look of my etx125 website..

members.home.nl/damhof/astro/

Enjoy ! :)

Jan Damhof
The Netherlands

Subject: Astrophotography with the ETX 90
Date: 3/27/04, 07:55
From: Softrockcooper@aol.com
Any chance of posting this open question. I currently have the ETX 90, I
am very new to astronomy and have been experimenting with photography.

Has anybody had experience of webcam photography with the ETX 90? I am
contemplating buying a Toucam pro but am unsure as to how good it will
be.

So far I have held a digital camera to the eyepiece and used the movie
clip function to record pictures of Saturn and Jupiter. Using registax I
am producing fairly grey pictures, but can get clear details of saturns
rings (looks like one ring and the planet is square!)  and banding on
Jupiter (most pleased with this, looks like a planet, even looks like
Jupiter, just the wrong colour). Will the Toucam produce better
pictures? Also I am taking phots from my back garden in the middle of a
city, I presume I would get clearer pictures if I moved out into the
middle of nowhere.

Also I bought the Meades eyepieces under the £99 offer, is it still
worth buying the Barlow x2?

Thanks in advance. Oh, I have now tracked down your book in the UK and
am currently awaiting delivery

Chris
Mike here: If you have visited my ETX Site you will have seen that all questions I receive are posted as "open questions". As to webcam photography, see the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page; lots of webcam stuff there, including Toucam examples. For planet photography, light pollution normally doesn't present much of a problem. Since you have a full range of magnifications, there really isn't much requirement for adding a Barlow Lens.

And:

Mike

Thanks for the amazingly quick response.

Subject: Meade ETX-105 wide angle
Date: 3/27/04, 07:39
From: Ivar Marthinusen (ivar_zap@hotmail.com)
I recently purchased a Meade ETX-105 AT telescope, and I absolutely love
it, I did some nice astrophotography, but for larger objects like the
andromeda galaxy, and close encounters between the moon and one of the
planets, the huge 1470 mm f/14 focal length is way too much. Is there
anywhere I can get focal reducers or 2" eyepiece adapters for the Meade
ETX. It would also be nice to have these go into the eyepiece holder
(not a requirement), as anything attached to the rear cell of the
telescope limits the altitude to less than 45 degrees.
Thank you
Mike here: See the "Shutan Wide-Field Adapter" on the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page. Unfortunately, most such devices do attach at the rear port.

Subject: Powering the etx 125
Date: 3/25/04, 19:55
From: pzadach@cox.net
Just thought this might be helpful to some fellow users.  In my short
experience with the 125 I have found that it really needs more power
than the internal batteries if you want to do extensive slewing or
observing. I bought an Orion Dynamo power pack that has a 12 volt
recharchable battery, many outputs, a red light and spot light for about
60 bucks. It runs my ETX all night long and is portable with the scope.
Same unit, different lable available from Celestron. Only thing is, you
need to buy the power AC power pack from Meade to make it work without
killing your warantee.

One question for you Mike, I have an eyepiece adapter called a 3x
telenegative, is this the same as a Barlow?

Thanks for your great site. I will be buying your book soon.

Paul
Mike here: Yep, that's the same thing.

Subject: Using the ETX-90 as a terrestrial telephoto scope
Date: 3/24/04, 22:38
From: Kal Krishnan (kkrishnan@bravolabs.com)
Wonderful site! I rediscovered this now after many years of being away
from the hobby!

I have a classic ETX-90 (I guess it is now called 90RA?) as a "second
scope" to my LX-200. I recently acquired a Canon Digicam and have been
having some fun taking pictures afocally through my LX-200.

It occurred to me that I could make my ETX-90 do double-duty as a
terrestrial long-focal length tele-converter, by taking it out of its
fork, and mounting it on a sturdy camera tripod. In order to do that
effectively, here are 2 alternatives I am considering:

1. The Scoptronix Field Doubler + 40mm plossl + digi-T camera adapter.
In theory this should be equivalent to a 16x90 monocular.

or,

2. A LAR + Meade 0.63 SCT Focal Reducer + SCT Visual Back (without
diagonal) + 40mm plossl + digi-T camera adapter. In theory this should
be a 20x90 monocular.

While the second one looks like more parts, the good thing is that it
shares a bunch of parts with my LX-200, and hence is more versatile for
me.

Do you have any opinions on whether either of these would work, and if
one would be better than the other in terms of vignetting etc.? Also at
issue, I am sure, is the focal range of the ETX.

Lastly, if I go for the Meade 0.33 Focal Reducer in arrangement #2 (for
a 10x90 monocular), would that even focus? I don't think I will do this,
but this was just a "I wonder if..." question!

Thanks,

-Kal.
Mike here: The ETX-90 can make a wonderful terrestrial or spotting scope. And it can take nice pictures too. Without adding a focal reducer you have the equivalent of a 1250mm telephoto lens if used with a 35mm camera at prime focus. Using an eyepiece, you obviously increase the effective focal length. You will get some vignetting and may have focus problems either of your solutions. But if you can focus, zooming the camera lens can reduce the vignetting.

And:

Thanks for the answer, Mike!

My issue is that at 1250mm the scope is too "slow". I will be using it
for things like sport photography, and a faster scope, with less
magnification would be better. This is why I was looking at focal
reducer alternatives. Especially, using it afocally on a digital camera
(don't have a DSLR, unfortunately!), I would like to get the focal
length down, since I would need to zoom in on the camera lens to
minimize vignetting.

My specific question is: do you see any special considerations for
choosing either the Scopetronix field doubler versus the Meade focal
reducer (coupled with a LAR and visual back)? If you don't have such an
experience, do you know where I can post to see if someone else has done
this, and what their experience has been?

Thanks,

-Kal. 
Mike here: I don't have those items so I can't say from experience.

Subject: Tension of declination lock on etx-125
Date: 3/24/04, 18:32
From: Steve Seman (sseman5023@insightbb.com)
Just a quick question. I've had my 125 for about one and half years now,
(newer model 125) and love using and learning with it. Lately it seems
to me that I kind of need to lean on the declination lock to keep the
ota from falling down to the base. This hasn't happened yet, it just
seems that with MINIMAL pressure from my fingertips I can get the tube
to move while the lock is engaged. I'm concerned with overtightning.
Everything still works great, but I wonder if I'm starting to wear
something out. I don't want to hurt my girl, so anything you could
advise I would really appreciate.

Thanks, Jim Seman
Mike here: There may or may not be a problem brewing. But check the article "Mechanical Considerations and Adjustments" on the Telescope Tech Tips page; something there may be useful.

Subject: RE: Meade ETX
Date: 3/24/04, 04:14
From: Thomas Volkema (rio_leblon@hotmail.com)
Dear Jim:
Thanks for the informative e-mail.  Yes, the box was labeled EC with the
old controller pictured on the box....but the new AutoStar (Ver. 31E)
and 884 Tripod were inside, so I did get the AT model I ordered!

Got the scope out and put it on the tripod....got everything carefully
set up.  Did the initial align/configure and everything seemed to work
well.  So I tweeked the viewfinder to have it ready to go.  But when I
tried to use it the next evening, I kept getting "motor faults."   Tried
to work through it with Meade customer service>>>>>>>reconfigure, reset,
tighten clutch, etc, but the vertical wouldn't work at all; and during
the auto- align procedure, the horizontal only moves an inch or so,
stops, another inch, stops,,,,etc etc.  The Auto Star will manually move
it horizontally, but the up/down keys will not move the unit vertically
at all.

So Meade wants it back for "repair" and says it will take 4-6 weeks
after they receive it.  Not too great for a new unit.

Telescopes.com was GREAT and offered instead to swap it out for a new
one and they'll go to the trouble of sending the defective unit back to
Meade. Can probably get the replacement within the week!  It has to be
the most acommodating customer service I've ever dealt with! (I think
they're part of binoculars.com)

I'm going to try to be patient.
Kindly,
Tom

>Thomas,
>I read your post on the the Weasner ETX site. I had an ETX 125 I sent back
>for repair and Meade lost it! (long story). But they shipped me a new UHTC
>model for free. Meade called me back and told me I would have to ship back
>the tripod along with the scope. Basically Meade is still using the old
>manuals (no info about the 497 autostar, just the electronic controller EC)
>and the old ETX 125 box. You should have gotten a little slip of yellow
>paper that says to disregard the EC info in the manual, and use the
>autostar manual instead. (Also the newer "884 tripod or the older #883).
>So, your unit is the current one. One thing you might check is the article
>on the Weasner site 125ETX section, old vs. new. It talks about an
>improvement to the fork mount. It's real easy to check on your ETX. Don't
>know what to tell you if you have the old mount. Its one of those ongoing
>improvement things. I'm glad Meade spends time on improving the product
>rather than the cost of new manuals and boxes. Also, the street price of
>UHTC ETX AT is $1100. The Autostar used to not come standard (hence the
>above comments) or the tripod, but now they do. If an honest dealer is
>charging $200 below street price, I would wonder. There are lots of stories
>of including older equipment (like the 14K database autostar that is
>described in the autostar manual), inferior eyepieces, saying "high
>reflectivity coatings--to make it sound like you're getting UHTC--etc. Did
>your scope came in a tall box with tripod boxes and 125EC scope boxes
>inside, that's how mine came straight from Meade. Maybe more info than you
>needed to know, but I know how upsetting buying something and then having
>the dreaded buyers remorse set in! Last thing: I'm about to buy Mike
>Weasner's book on the ETX. From what I've read, most people highly
>recommend it to new ETX users. I actually traded my old orange tube
>Celestron C-8 to get my ETX, so I could have the goto feature, so I'm
>familiar with telescopes. I love my ETX--images as good as the old C8.
>Clear skies!
>Jim
Mike here: Sorry you had a problem. Did Meade have you RESET, ensure the proper telescope and mounting mode were set in the Autostar, CALIBRATE, TRAIN DRIVES?

And:


Mike here: If the axis is not overtightened but yet holds the OTA in place, and if if the arrow keys only slew erratically or not at all in both axes, then there is something wrong.  It could be a software problem, which updating might fix.  It could be an Autostar or ETX hardware problem, which Meade would likely have to fix.

Subject: Re: unscrewed object lens
Date: 3/24/04, 03:00
From: Mark Humphries (m.humphries@tiscali.fr)
To: Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Hi guys

Many thanks to both of you... I have to say that, on behalf of all Meade
owners, it is very reassuring there are such knowledgeable people so
willing to offer help and advice to we beginners. My thanks once
again... can't wait for tonight.

Mark

Richard Seymour wrote:

>Hi...
>
>Unfortunately it -is- possible to mess up an ETX's optical
>system by unscrewing and rescrewing the corrector lens
>(the proper name for that first piece of glass).
>
>The corrector lens and the main mirror are "matched" at
>the factory to minimize distortion... and it's the
>relative rotation between the two which is that setting.
>
>So if you really "screwed down tight" the lens, you
>probably turned it too far.  If you -barely- screwed
>it back in, you're probably not turned far enough.
>
>In the warm room, it should be turned just a tiny bit
>further than "seated".  But only a -tiny- bit.
>At most 1/8th of a turn.
>
>In my elder ETX90, there's no visible marking to show
>the proper rotation.  On LX90's there's a paint dot
>hiding under the clamp ring.  I don't know if Meade
>marks the newer ETX105s, so you may just have to do
>a few cycles of experimenting with the "firmness"
>of the seating to catch the correct angle.
>
>good luck
>--dick

Subject: ETX vs. LX90
Date: 3/23/04, 21:11
From: peterngreen (peterngreen@mchsi.com)
I've seen a lot of emails from people asking for opinions about which
telescope to purchase.  Some are etx105 vs etx125 and some are etx vs.
LX90.  I've had an LX90 for almost 4 years now, and almost 2 years ago
purchased an etx125.  I debated over the 125 and 105 for many weeks
before I made my purchase.  My goal was to acquire a more portable scope
than my LX90.  I thought I would weigh in on this subject and offer my
opinions and/or observations.  I have not had many problems with my ETX
(knock on wood) but have experienced some problems with rubber banding,
image shift, poor tracking etc.  Doing the "standard" maintenance
routines usually fixes most of the problems.

First is the issue of portability.  When I debated between the 105 and
125, my main concern was portability-- was one more portable than the
other and would the aperture size really make a difference?  When
discussing portability, I'd make two classifications-- travel such as on
an airplane, and travel as in packing up for a short drive to dark
skies.  For my situation, I'm not planning to take my etx on an
airplane, so my definition of portability is the later.

I do not own an etx105, but I cannot image a more portable telescope
than the etx125, in other words I'm glad I opted for the larger
aperture.  In addition, I would consider all the other equipment in the
portability question.  My field kit includes the standard stuff like eye
pieces, power cords, flash lights, star charts, tool kit, etc.  In
addition, I have given up using AA batteries and almost exclusively use
a 7 amp/hour rechargeable battery.  My point is, depending on your
viewing objectives, your accessories may be as much bulk as the
telescope itself.  Again, if you're pulling the scope out on the back
deck, or packing up for a short drive, it is hard for me to image the
etx105 being more portable than the 125.  So, my opinion, if you can
afford it, go with the higher aperture.

Next is the comparison of the etx125 and the LX90.  Yes, the LX90 is
much bigger and bulkier.  But in my definition of portability, the LX90
is not too much less portable than the etx125.  I've taken both on the
road and the setup time is virtually the same.  Obviously the LX90 needs
a bigger case, but considering the other equipment the hauling is not
too bad.  The only real issue is probably weight.  If you're lugging the
LX90 across a dark field it can be a bummer.  However, I have found
portable dollies that make the task a snap.  If you're planning to do
most of your viewing on the back patio-- my opinion is that there is no
difference in portability between the 125 and 90.  So again, if you can
afford it, go with the 90.

The next 125 vs 90 question is of capability and usability.  The etx is
small.  The view finder is very difficult to use.  I exclusively use a
celestron red dot finder with the 125.  The 125's focus knob can be
difficult to use in certain positions, and the eye piece can even be
hard to use-- I often bump into the view finder.  Just the size of the
LX90 makes the controls and view finder easier to use.  I think another
key question is what are you going to use the scope for.  If it is just
viewing the 125 is OK.  However, keep in mind the LX90 was built to
accept the many accessories available for SCTs.  Accessories are
available for the 125 but not like the LX90.  Various dovetail plates,
off axis guiders, focal reducers, piggy back adapters, flip mirrors, etc
are widely available for the LX90.  While not as beefy as the LX200
line, the LX90 is much more capable of handling the load of additional
accessories.  For example, the added weight of a camera piggybacked onto
the OTA is no problem for the LX90.  I also, have a celestron short tube
80 mounted to my LX90 that is used as a guidescope and/or finder. 
Overall the mount and hardware of the LX90 is much more stable. 
Compared to the etx125, the LX90 is just plain easier to use.

I live in a city with light polluted skies.  I'd say about magnitude -4,
I can see polaris, but can't make out any other stars in the little
dipper. The views of the planets between the two scopes is hard to
differentiate. I think the LX90 is better, but it is very hard to tell a
difference-- the etx does a fantastic job on the planets.  The
difference is obviously in the deep sky objects.  For example, in my
light polluted skies, the eskimo nebula is just a faint blob in the etx.
 With the LX90 you can see much more detail.  Same with the ring
nebula-- the etx looks like a blob, but with the LX90 you can see a
donut shaped object and a star in the middle.

That said, I'm very happy with both scopes.  The ETX125 is an amazing
telescope and provides great views.  My 125 in slightly darker skies
performs almost like the LX90 in the city.  Both are a lot of fun,
provide great views and aren't a bad choice.

I agree with the statement that the best scope is the one that gets
used. However I also believe it is important to get a scope you can grow
with. A $1,000 can be a lot to invest just to see if you like the hobby.
 I think it is important to weigh how serious are you?  What are the
potential uses?  What are your interests (photography or just viewing)? 
Where are you going to do your viewing?  I must say my LX90 is the scope
I use the most.  It is simply more reliable, stable, versatile,
accurate, and the views can't be beat-- I tend to have a lot less
frustration with its usability.  My conclusion is that weighing your
specific needs you should get the most aperture you can afford but also
consider what upgrades or accessories you may be adding later-- saving
your pennies for a few more months may make the difference in getting
the scope you can grow with.  If you think you're serious-- my order of
preference is LX90 then ETX125. These are just my opinions.  Hope this
helps someone.  Clear skies...
Mike here: Thanks for the inputs! I agree that getting a scope to grow with is totally appropriate. Unfortunately, not everyone who gets the astronomy bug keeps it. If the telescope doesn't get used (because it is perceived to be too difficult or cumbersome or whatever the reason is) then the bug weakens and dies, never letting that growth occur. Sometimes getting something smaller and less capable can be the right answer to get and keep the person hooked. They will then know that getting a larger, more capable telescope is the right choice for them. For others, getting that larger, more capable telescope at the outset is the right choice. Decisions, decisions, decisions!

And:

I agree.  I think it a worth while point to say that many people agonize
over making the right decisoin.  It is important to understand that this
is normal-- it took me a couple months and lots of research to finally
decide on the ETX125 over the 105.  It is an individual decision and
there is no one best answer.

Subject: Stupid Question (Filters)
Date: 3/23/04, 20:18
From: Brian Starkey (avit.web@verizon.net)
Sorry for the really stupid question, but how and where do I place the
colored filters for use?

I got a free set from OPT but I am not sure how they go on!

Thanks in advance,

Brian

PS. Couldn't find it on your site (did I miss it?)
Mike here: Most filters are threaded to screw onto the eyepiece. Check the eyepiece tube (silver on the Meade eyepieces) at the opposite end from where you eye looks into the eyepiece. Most (but not all) eyepieces have threads that accept the filters.

Subject: finder scopes
Date: 3/23/04, 17:13
From: thebostons (thebostons@cox.net)
I see that your site has many different commentaries regarding finder
scopes. But, for the novice like me it's terribly confusing. At my first
Messier Marathon last week I was told to get a "straight through finder
scope", as opposed to the right angle finder that came with my ETX,  and
a "Telrad finderscope to make my ETX 105 EC more user friendly.Can you
tell me a specific one of each of these two accessories I'd benefit from
most? Thanks for any advice.
Mike here: Everyone has their own preferences regarding finderscopes and which styles are best. Some like straight-through ones with some magnification; others like right-angles ones, and other people prefer (separately or combined with another finderscope) the 1x type finderscopes. Straight-through finderscopes are difficult to use near the zenith with the ETX in Alt/Az mounting. Some people can't get used to looking towards the ground with a right-angle finderscope (which is looking skyward). And some people don't like the lack of magnification of the 1x finderscopes. Still confused? Try what you currently have and if it bothers you then you can change or add another one.

Subject:
Date: 3/23/04, 11:54
From: astro (astro@l2l1.com)
I have just open my own (but small compare to yours) web site about
astro photo using ETX90. It would be great if you can add a link to it
(I've already made a link to our website).
Best regards,
V. Lomba

Link :
http://astro.l2l1.com/

-- 
<Astrophoto amateur>
Mike here: Please read the Email Etiquette page; your message was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing subject entry.
I'll add your site on the next ETX Site update.

Subject: I have now my own ETX
Date: 3/23/04, 09:36
From: Jacky Poupot (jpoupot@evc.net)
Just a little mail from France to tell you that I have now my own ETX
125-AT. It just arrived this morning. Now I'm at learning :)

A little question : on the front panel there is a Jack Plug to insert a
external power supply. Do you know how this plug is wired ? is in the
middle the + 12 V or not ?
 
Best Regards
Jacky
Mike here: Congrats! See the FAQ page for info on the center pin.

Subject: re: "Getting Started" articles
Date: 3/22/04, 22:31
From: Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
To: Mike Snowden
You asked:
> I'd also like to see info on how critical location adjustments are.

Not very.. anything within 15 miles (25km) is perfectly adequate for
all purposes.. so that's about 15 arcminutes.

I've used sites with up to a 30 mile/arcmin error with no visible effect.
Even satellite chasing works with that error.

The location error will affect the -initial- slewing to the alignment stars.
The Alignment procedure then overrides/corrects the location error.

have fun
--dick
And:
Thanks to both of you.

Mike's excellent little book suggests a timing spread of 2 minutes is
OK, which is about twice that tolerance. Greenwich, in the database, is
about 5 miles away, and almost directly west, which will help at least
one axis.

I wear a Casio MSF-Rugby linked watch, which is correct to the second,
and has a nice clear back-light  I don't know if anything equivalent is
available in the USA.  Location, I get from Multimap, and I'd hope for a
site known in advance, I'd hope to be accurate to 1 arc-minute.  I live
far too close to London for truly dark skies (typically down to mag 3 is
a good night), so when I know I'm away late or overnight somewhere
suitable, the gear goes in the car.  Maybe a GPS unit will find itself
on my Birthday list..... or a street lamp filter!

Mike 

Subject: re: Somebody please help us...Meade ETX 125
Date: 3/22/04, 22:17
From: Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
To: jjdean@alltel.net
You wrote:
> It comes with the Autostar equipment, but not
> the software - might that help?

Mike didn't -explicitly- say this, but:

The "software" is already -inside- the Autostar.

have fun
--dick

Subject: Somebody please help us...Meade ETX 125
Date: 3/22/04, 12:01
From: JJ Dean (jjdean@alltel.net)
Two intelligent people have done a really stupid thing... Can anyone
tell us where we can gain a crash course on using a telescope? I realize
that is an insult to the intelligence of those who post on this board,
but here's the story. We wanted to see the stars and we decided to buy a
telescope - I mean, we'll take seeing a planet, anything - wouldn't that
be cool? Well, after careful research identifying "beginner telescopes"
we purchase a scope that is clearly intermediate (because we're so
smart, we think - it can't be that hard, right?). Hey, stop laughing!
We've taken it out of the box, set it up and have absolutely no clue
where to go from there. We've been able to use the viewfinder to locate
a star in the crosshair moving the scope, but then we we try to take a
look, there is nothing. It comes with the Autostar equipment, but not
the software - might that help? Clearly, we have no concept of what we
are doing and yes, I know we have purchased a scope way over our heads,
but how can we learn how to do this? Is there a good tutorial out there?
Help... Stargazing Wannabe's JJ and Doug

Mike here: First off, read the manual, three times. Then play with the telescope, following the instructions in the manual, INDOORS. This avoids the pressures and frustrations of trying to learn how to use the telescope in the dark. If you are still confused, and you purchased the telescope from a local dealer, stop by there and ask for a tutorial; most dealers will be happy to help you. Lacking a nearby dealer, check for a local astronomy club; its members will be happy to help a new amateur astronomer. Once you have learned the items in the manual, you can expand on it using the Autostar alignment info on the Autostar Information page. No, you don't need computer software to use the Autostar and ETX. It can add to your enjoyment but don't worry about that yet. Learn what you've got. It is not hard.

Subject: unscrewed object lens
Date: 3/22/04, 07:02
From: Mark Humphries (m.humphries@tiscali.fr)
Fantastic site but I can't find out anything about this problem; perhaps
you can advise....

I have an ETX 105 UHTC that I bought 18 months ago in the UK but I am
now in southern France. When I bought the scope, I didn't get much
chance to use it before I moved out here so couldn't get that familiar
with its abilities. However, once down here, I set everything up and had
a look around. It was a bitterly cold night so I was using a Meade
screw-in dew shield. When I came to dismantle everything prior to going
back inside, the dew-shield was very stiff (I guess because the OTA,
etc. had contracted in the cold). I wasn't using a lot of force - it's a
precision instrument after all - but eventually the d/s started moving.
Horror! It was the lens mounting unscrewing from the OTA rather than the
d/s. I screwed it all back together and took it back inside to warm up.
The d/s came off after an hour or so as expected.  I didn't get a chance
to use the scope for several months due to workload. I used it again a
couple of days ago and am surprised at the lack of detail in the
planets. The skies here are clear as a bell but I could barely resolve
Saturn's rings (let alone any banding) and Jupiter was just a blob. My
question is, could I have broken or mis-aligned something when it
unscrewed or is the object lens assembly reasonably robust (I really was
careful during the unscrewing). I don't speak French very well and we
are a long way from any big city so getting it checked out by someone
here is a problem. If I have mis-aligned it then is there anything I can
do to fix it?

Hope you can help

ATB

Mark
Mike here: If you tightened the corrector lens back to where it was before it was unscrewed then you probably didn't mess up the collimation. But you can do a star test to check that. However, since you are primed to "see" a problem, the real culprit might be either poor seeing or just not letting the telescope reach thermal equilibrium (which could take a couple of hours).

Subject: ETX125EC photo port,thanks
Date: 3/21/04, 17:30
From: jrzjw@vip.sina.com
Hi Mike Weasner
Thank you very much ,I am very gald to receive Niall Saunders's mail,he
tell me the size of the photo port's thread,I am making the adapter now.

rui jin

Subject: And there's Dr. Clay!!!
Date: 3/20/04, 16:54
From: R&JS (rosenjoe@charter.net)
Well, there I was, reading the CNN website article on the asteroid that
passed close to Earth this week and guess who's photo was right there
for all the world to see -- none other than our own Dr. Clay Sherrod!!!

In this age when most of the publicity goes to weirdos doing wacky
things and politicians calling each other names, it's nice to see a real
pro featured on the front page.

----
Joe S.

Subject: Mike>>help 125 AT vs. EC
Date: 3/20/04, 16:29
From: Thomas Volkema (rio_leblon@hotmail.com)
I ordered a Meade 125AT with UHTC....price of $1089.  I was shipped a
125EC (515-0301).  Preliminary web surfing seems to indicate I was
shipped an obsolete unit and not the newest/latest/greatest.  The retail
I find on the internet runs closer to $900.

Before I make a big scene with telescopes.com, PLEASE advise.
Mike here: If you received a standard handcontroller instead of the Autostar #497 and no #884 Deluxe Field Tripod, then you did get an EC model. The AT models include the Autostar and tripod.

And:

Thanks, Mike for your quick reply....and I really enjoy your web-site. 
And thought I had everything sorted before I ordered.......but......

Now I'm very confused: the unit's box says 125 EC.  It was shipped with
a #884 Tripod in a nice carrying case.  The hand controller pictured on
the box looks cheesy.... has few buttons and only labelled "Meade"  The
hand controller shipped in the box has more buttons/features and
labelled with both 'Meade' and 'Autostar'.....but there is no part
number to indicate it's a #497.  The telescope itself is labelled UHTC;
but the manuals are all for the 125EC and dated 2000.

Would it be better to call Meade and inquire re: packaging vs. part
configurations??

Perhaps they threw a new tripod and controller into a box containing an
obsolete EC unit?  Should I return it and demand currrent production?

Kindly,
Tom Volkema 
Mike here: You got the AT model then. There is no difference in the telescope itself; it is just what's included with the purchase that makes a difference between the EC and AT models (currently).

Subject: "Getting Started" articles
Date: 3/20/04, 05:16
From: Mike Snowden
A suggestion: Your site has contained the most useful info I have found
anywhere.  It would have been useful to have had a "getting started"
index point, going to articles such as

    - The tutorials on setup
    - Make sure you have a spirit level & compass - eg the combined one
      available
    - An article on recommended Scope calibration & Training procedure
    - An article on Backlash

    - A star chart with the EZ 2-Star alignment stars marked

    - An article on "Updating Autostar" - particularly the need to reset
      after updating
    - The warnings on fitting the focuser

I'd also like to see info on how critical location adjustments are.  For
instance, the database has "Greenwich" marked, but I live at 51:29:03N,
0:04:47E.  How close do two sites have to be before it is worthwhile
putting in a custom location?  If it is a matter of yards, I would be
much more inclined to put a GPS add-on on my next birthday list, if not,
I'll continue harvesting lat/long settings from Multimap.

Thanks again

    Mike Snowden
Mike here: Wish I had time to work up such a list. Maybe someone will volunteer to compile that list of articles.

Subject: Asteroid Flyby
Date: 3/20/04, 01:31
From: kevin keyes (fishonkevin@sbcglobal.net)
I read Dr. Clay's message and checked out the link that he sent you.
Great article. I then went to SpaceWeather.com and found this link to a
very neat photo of the asteroid.

science.nasa.gov/spaceweather/swpod2004/19mar04/Masi1.gif

I hope it works.

I assume that the varying degrees of brightness and size are due to the
fact that as the asteroid tumbles through space it presents different
size faces of itself.  Does this assumption sound reasonable?
 
Kevin Keyes
And:
From: "P. Clay Sherrod" (drclay@arksky.org)
Hello Kevin...good to hear from you.
The asteroid variability can actually come from three sources:
 
1) tumbling of the asteroid, turning less reflective sides toward our view;
2) irregular shapes (i.e., potato shape....) that allows less surface to
be presented some times than others....
3) some perhaps have satellite, or double, objects....and one might
eclipse the other.
 
Best of luck!
 
Clay
----------------------------------------
Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
drclay@arksky.org
Arkansas Sky Observatory
10 Observatory Hill Drive, Petit Jean Mt.
MPC/cbat Obs. H41 / Petit Jean Mountain
MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway
MPC/cbat Obs. H44 / Cascade Mountain
http://www.arksky.org/

Subject: etx90 adapter plug size
Date: 3/19/04, 14:25
From: pdkernan@charter.net
What size ac adapter plug is required for the etx90?  I really enjoy
your book and website.

Patrick
Fenton, Missouri

Mike here: Don't know whether you mean diameter or electrical but check the Power section on the Telescope Tech Tips page.

Subject: ETX-125: Why does everything I look at appear blue?
Date: 3/19/04, 06:43
From: Dan Poler
Been reading your site for a while now, and I applaud you for creating
this fantastic resource. I have long had an interest in astronomy and
astrophotography and recently decided to devote a little time to it. I
have an ETX-125 and 497 autostar, as well as the Mead $99 eyepiece kit.
I spend my weekends at a reasonably (but not completely - sodium vapor
light across the street) dark location in upstate New York, about 120 mi
north of NYC.

In the interests of my understanding, I ask this question. I look at the
photos on your site and on others and marvel at the coloration in
people's photographs of objects. Yet when I go look at the same objects,
they universally appear blue-white. Especially lately when observing
Saturn or Jupiter which have been so bright -- sure, I see detail -- I
can see the Cassini Division of Saturn's rings and darker bands on
Jupiter, but -everything- is blue. The darker bands on Jupiter for
example are really just black lines.

So hence my question -- how do photos I see turn out so spectacular and
yet all I see is blue? Is it a question of filtering properly, or of
ambient light at my viewing location, or something else entirely? Just
trying to understand both from a frustration perspective but also from
the scientific side. There must be an explanation I'm missing.

Thanks again!

Dan Poler
dan -at- poler -dot- us
Mike here: Keep in mind that photos can show more colors and sometimes more details than the eye can see when using a telescope. The human eye was not designed for optimum use at night. See the article "The Eye in Observational Astronomy" on the Observational Guides/References page. See if that clarifies things.

Subject: Telrad finder for ETX 125 and Sun Filter
Date: 3/18/04, 21:08
From: Paul Zadach (PZ886@msn.com)
I read the review about the Telrad on your site but since it was 4 years
old and seemed to be geared toward the 90 I wanted to ask your opinion
about using the Telrad on my ETX 125. I'm not really enthralled about
the finder that comes with the scope.  It doesn't look like I will be
able to view the Venus transition across the Sun from my location, but I
would like to view the Sun, and if you could recommend a filter for my
scope with UHTC I would appreciate it.

I finally figured out how to make everything work with the Autostar
Suite, my scope, and my notebook computer thanks to your website and Mr.
Richard Seymour.  Thanks for the network address! Who could have ever
figured that one out!
 
Paul
Mike here: Telrads are nice. I like the Rigel QuikFinder and Scopetronix LightSight as they are smaller. As to a solar filter, see the Accessory Reviews - Filters page. As long as you buy from a reputable manufacturer/dealer you should be OK. Or you can make one as shown on the Filters page.

Subject: etx125 declination knob
Date: 3/18/04, 15:11
From: stever@cybercomm.net
I have the older etx 125..I removed the declination knob and a white
plastic ring fell out..there was a larger one that stayed attached..
could you please tell me if the small loose ring goes inside the larger
one under the dial or between the dial and the knob? I hope nothing else
fell out and that was the only loose piece supposed to be there..maybe
you could verify that.

thanks,
Steve Rashkin
Mike here: Check the diagram in the article "Eliminating Common "Rocking" in ETX Altitude Axis" on the Telescope Tech Tips page.

Subject: WOW! Check it out!
Date: 3/18/04, 09:27
From: "P. Clay Sherrod" (drclay@arksky.org)
edition.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/03/18/asteroid.ap/index.html
Clay
--------------------
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.)
http://www.arksky.org/

Subject: ETX 125
Date: 3/17/04, 20:11
From: Gerald Jenny (gjenn@earthlink.net)
I have a small problem I think as I have a Meade electric focuser and
when I use it the image shifts from one side of the eyepeice to the
other and then I ahve to recenter it is that normal I see nothing in the
instructions addressing this. 
By the the site is a godsend thanksJerry
 
 
Gerald Jenny
Mike here: Some image shift is normal, even without the electric focuser. However, it should not be excessive, that is, the object should not move out of the eyepiece FOV. If you didn't see image shift without the focuser, check that nothing is binding when the focus motor is running.

And:

Thanks for the information clear skies Jerry 

Subject: The eyepiece offer I mentioned to you a while back!
Date: 3/17/04, 19:46
From: joltz (webmaster@joltz.org)
Im just writing to say thankyou for your assistance with the problem I
had with my retailer I bought my etx125 from.

A reader (you know who you are, wished to be kept anonymous, thanks!) of
your site was kind enough to email me a contact address to someone in
Meade to handle the matter.

I recieved a email response today in regards to the matter and the
gentleman from Meade has dealt with my retailers head office and will be
redeeming me the offer for me once they get my receipts in the mail,
which have been sent!.

Now i cant wait for some more happy viewing!

I hope that my matter inspires that anyone who gets ripped off anywhere
like I did not only with Meade but other products, that persistence,
patience and standing up for yourself will get you results.
 
Kindest Regards,
 
Ignatius Taky Tsiriplis

Subject: Quick Question on ETX 125 & UHTC
Date: 3/17/04, 13:59
From: "Hudson, David" (david.hudson@umusic.com)
I got a Meade ETX 125 prior to UHTC being available. Can one get a
non-UHTC scope treated with UHTC as an upgrade?

David Hudson
Mike here: Meade hasn't publicly offered such a service.

Subject: Buying a barlow lens
Date: 3/16/04, 22:41
From: John Green (ulao@earthlink.net)
I have been doing some astrophotography with a slightly modified
Logitech Clicksmart 510 camera (after trying several others which were
rejected due to lack of real exposure control) and have quite pleased
with the results.  After having looked at the results some of your guest
contributers tonight however I have resolved to purchase a barlow lens. 
I had thought that at 0.9 microns per pixel for the imaging device I was
operating at the limit of resolution at the prime focus of my ETX 125. 
I guess I was wrong as some of your guests have done better with an ETX
90.  The diference seems to be the others have used a barlow.  I am
truely astounded at the resolution they get.  Looking at the Meade
accessory catalog I see that the #126 barlow is intended for use at the
eyepiece holder.  Can this lens be used at the prime focus port on the
back of the scope?  I do not use a T-adapter.  I just secure a platform
I made for the camera in place with an extra port cover in which I
drilled a hole.  I prefer to work at this location because I intend to
eventualy use another digital camera afocaly at the eyepiece port so I
can switch between high and low power views by electricaly operating the
flip mirror from my indoor computer.  Aside from the scope I try to do
everything on the cheap.  I blame my mainly Scotts ancestory.

Terrific website.  Where do we find such people as yourself?
 
John Green
St. Cloud FL
ulao@gte.net
Mike here: Barlow Lens accessories are used in an eyepiece port. So you would need something to hold it in place when used at the rear port. Check out the Shutan Visual Back on the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page.

Subject: Leon's Jumpy Az Drive
Date: 3/16/04, 13:51
From: Don Sutherland (don_sutherland@yahoo.ca)
Leon Shapritsky reported jumpy tracking due to his azimuth drive. I had
the same problem from time to time with my ETX-105. The azimuth lock
never wanted to grab solidly, even when the lever was pushed to the
stop.

Using info on your site, I took the azimuth clutch apart and thoroughly
degreased the mating surfaces. Now a light push on the lever locks the
azimuth axis solidly and there is never any of the jumpy tracking Leon
has observed.
 
I hope this helps.
 
Don Sutherland

Subject: ETX125EC photo port sizing specification - follow up
Date: 3/16/04, 13:06
From: Niall Saunders (niall@njs101.com)
To: jrzjw@vip.sina.com
Having just fabricated an adapter such as this for the rear of my
ETX-105, I can tell you that I assumed the thread to be M35 (i.e. a
nominal O.D. of 35mm), with a thread pitch of 1.00mm. If you start with
a 'bored hole' of 33.85mm I.D., and then cut a 0.65mm deep (60 deg
angle) thread, for an overall length of 12.00mm then you should not have
any problems.

Just remember, that you should 'start' with a cylinder of about 38.00mm
O.D. (standard 1 1/2" aluminium bar stock), and try and make it 48.00mm
long (when 'finished'). The reason for this length is to allow the rear
viewport to be roughly parfocal with the top port (which includes the 90
degree diagonal). I also started off by boring the whole length out to
an I.D. of 32.00mm, to accomodate standard 1.25" eyepieces. Only then
did I 'bore-out' one end to 33.85mm, 12.00mm deep, to allow the thread
to be cut.

To keep the unit as light as possible, I profiled off the centre of the
tube, reducing the O.D. to 36.00mm, leaving 12.00mm wide 'ridges' at
each end (at the nominal O.D. of 38.00mm) - one to allow the internal
screw-thread to have some 'meat' behind it, and one to take a 3.00mm M3
tapped hole for a thumbscrew to hold the eyepieces.

End result, something that weighs only 32g (just over an ounce), but
which saved me UK GB £40, and gave me lots of pleasure in its
fabrication.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,
Niall Saunders

Subject: Focusers
Date: 3/16/04, 11:49
From: yagis (yagis@piggysurf.com)
I am having trouble keeping my image in focus. It seems to shimmer
in-out constantly.

Can you recommend a manual add-on focus system.

I have heard that the Electric focuser`s can create a seperate problem.
Any ideas on manual systems for the ETX125EC which would help my
problem.

Maybe my scope is still hot and needs to be left out for a couple hours.

Many thanks in advance,

Thanks for a great site.

Best Regards.

Billy.
Rep.Ireland.
Mike here: Image instability can be caused by poor seeing (see the Observational Guides/Reference page for more on this, including weather or nearby heat sources. It can also be caused by not allowing the telescope to reach thermal equilibrium. If you had the telescope indoors in a warm room and then took it outside where the temperature was much cooler, you will need to let the telescope cool down for a couple of hours.

Subject: Just received it...Problem?
Date: 3/16/04, 10:50
From: vze52zqn@verizon.net
My ETX90 just arrived last night and I have something that i am a bit
unsure about. WHen I went to take the lens cap off of the OTA, at first
it only turned about 1/4 of the way and stuck for a little while. (It
must have been installed alittle crooked) While I was trying to get it
off, the OTA seemed to twist instead of the lens cap at first. I
proceeded to turn it back and tighten it up, but I was wondering if that
is something that is supposed to take place? It the OTA that easily
rotated? Did I damage the brand new baby? I certainly hope not!

Thanks in advance,
Brian

PS - it is a gorgeous telescope (although a little bit lighter then I
anticipated)
Mike here: You probably slightly unscrewed the corrector lens housing. As long as you retightened it you should be OK.

And:

After further thought, I kind of thought that might be the case. Thanks
again Mike!

Now I just have to wait for some good viewing (It snowed here
today-figures, just got it yesterday!)

Subject: Etx90-ec, mounting problem #1244 Electric Focuser.
Date: 3/16/04, 10:08
From: Sey Ziegler (seyallofu@msn.com)
You are my last hope for  help,  Meade would not answer my concerns or
let me contact a engineer.

My Problem.

When Installing Focuser had to remove the Focus Knob and in doing so
either by me or manufacturing  the set screw was rounded.  I do not
understand what happened.   I need to remove the knob,  I am willing to
do whatever it takes I can cut it our or drill, perhaps I can find an
easy out to remove it.  But if this happened to me I believe that it
must have   happened to others.

I hope you can offer me advice and warnings in correcting this problem.
Thank you very much.....
 
S. Ziegler
Mike here: First off, are you sure it has been "rounded"? Many times users report that they got the wrong size hex key only to discover they were not inserting it all the way. But if that's not the problem then you will need to drill it out.

And an update:

Mike, thanks for the quick reply.  I am not so sure but it looked like
the set screw was rounded inside.  I did use the soft metal Allen wrench
that was shipped with the #1244 focuser,  it never gripped.  I am very
handy, so I did drill it out and danced when I saw that it was cleanly
done and no shaft damage.  It works fine, and I need to get used to
using the focuser.  At least my fingers don't cramp up.  Again thanks
for your help.  You Site is great.
Sey

Subject: etx-125 disaster
Date: 3/16/04, 09:34
From: neo (jonylucas172@hotmail.com)
hello .i just had a terirble accident.my etx-125 droped on the floor
from the tribod it was standing.the optics seem fine(although the
secondary mirror  unscrewed from place).i can not have the autostar
working.i turn the power on and the autostar is completly blank.i tried
external power and still nothing.is there anyway to estimate the
damage?what i can do besides sending  it back to the factory?how i can
test the optics and the electronics to see what happened?
Mike here: Ouch. If the corrector lens came slightly loosened you can just turn it until finger tight. BUT it is possible that the optics are now out of collimation. You can do a star test (see the Telescope Tech Tips page). BUT correcting the collimation is an exercise best left to Meade (although there are articles on it on the Telescope Tech Tips page if you want to attempt it; keep in mind it is easy to make things worse than they were before you attempted to correct it). As to the electronics, there are so many possibilities: loose batteries, loose wires, broken circuit board, bad cable connections, etc.

Subject: ETX-90/EC electronics
Date: 3/16/04, 07:04
From: Huw Boulton (huw_boulton@hotmail.com)
I have a few questions about ETX-90/EC electronics. I've owned this
scope since 1999, but it has had very little use (for various resons).
For the past couple of years, I've experienced some trouble when turning
the scope 'on' at the start of a night. Two things happen:

1) The red LED indicator comes on for a few seconds, and then goes off.
The Autostar/hand controller do not activate; 2) The LED comes on very
faintly (a brightness about half 'normal'), as above, the Autostar/hand
controller do not activate.

The only thing that never happens is that the scope starts up as it
should. The only way I can get around these problems is by flicking the
switch several times, even then, the electronics are very unreliable (I
need hardly add that these problems are still mainifest when using new
batteries). Clearly there is some kind of loose connection (?) in the
mechanical switch.

I'm at a loss to resolve this problem. The scope is now out of warranty,
and is little more than useless on the plastic fork arms without the
elecronics, a shame, since the optics are pretty good. Is this a common
problem, and could you offer any advice? I'd appreciate any info you
might have on this subject.

Thank you for your time, and keep up the good work on the website.

Best wishes,
Huw
(Bristol, U.K.)
Mike here: Have you checked the battery compartment for leakage? Since you say the ETX got very little use over the last 5 years, if there were batteries installed they could have leaked. That would be my first and simplest guess. Check the cable and connectors; in particular look for pins in the handbox port that have gotten depressed too much and don't make contact with the connector. Beyond that, unless a wire has worked loose which you may or may not be able to repair, some other circuit board damage may have occurred so a call to Meade may be the only solution.

And:

Thanks for taking the time to reply. The scope is (apart from the
electronics problem) in 'mint condition', visible connectors and the
battery compartment are fine.

I've contacted 'Meade UK' (i.e. BC&F) about the problem.

Have you encountered problems along these lines frequently over the
years?

Thanks again,
H.
Mike here: I don't recall any similar reports. I've had my ETX-90RA since 1996 and it is fine. Of course, it is not an EC model, with its different electronics. In fact, I had replaced the Meade circuit board with something from Scopetronix (the replacement is no longer available).

Subject: Meade Eye Piece Offer
Date: 3/16/04, 04:02
From: Karl Lovelock (karl.lovelock@mac.com)
I am not sure if your wonderful Site is necessarily the correct place to
ask this question. Have any of your visitors ACTUALLY received these
'Offer' Eyepieces after purchasing their Scopes. I am in the UK, and
whilst I have received wonderful service and delivery from the folks at
Green Witch, from whom I have purchased many accessories, and from where
I purchased my ETX-125, I have recently received a letter from Meade's
UK Distributor (Broadhurst, Clarkson and Fuller) advising that delivery
on these Eyepieces will be affected in approx. 16 weeks (4 Months !!!).

I feel a little cheated by Meade on this, as this offer was crucial in
my purchasing decision (not necessarily on the ETX, but on the timescale
on which I made my purchase, as whilst a single 25mm Eye Piece is OK, I
am now put into the position of waiting 4 months before I can use any
other eyepiece, now, admittedly I could go and buy those same lenses,
however, that would be a waste of my Money and somewhat defeative of the
Eye Piece offer, as I will be getting them for UK£99.00 (USD$ 187)
eventually.

I am wondering if this just a UK timescale, and another example of poor
Customer Service over here that we (UK Customers) seem happy to accept,
I travel frequently to California (I have lived and worked (and still
do) for 3Com Corporation in Santa Clara), and I am sure that this length
of wait would be unacceptable to US Customers.

Anyway, would be interested to know, what kind of wait folks have or are
experiencing.

Best regards

//Karl
Mike here: I know that many people who ordered them received them. While the offer was running (it has now expired) there were delivery times ranging from a week to 2-3 months. This was in the United States. Overseas may be different.

And:

Thanks Mike, I guess the leadtime is across the board.

Subject: In-line fuse rating - follow up
From: Niall Saunders (niall@njs101.com)
To: yagis@piggysurf.com
Just want to pick up on a couple of things. First, the fuse fitted in a
cigarette lighter plug is there PRIMARILY to protect the CABLE, not the
telescope. After all, a fuse is designed to fail when the current drawn
exceeds its rated capacity and, for example, my ETX-105 draws a maximum
of around 0.75A (750mA) during two-axis, max speed, max LCD brightness
slews - with my digital camera mounted afocally on an eyepiece. So, it
might seem sensible to use a 1A fuse to protect the scope, leaving a
little bit of 'lee-way' at the same time. However, the problem with
low-current fuses is that they can have higher RESISTANCE - which leads
to a lower voltage being presented to the equipment (i.e. the telescope
in this instance). And, in any case, once your telescope is drawing
enough current to blow a 1A fuse, something drastic may well already
have occurred inside it anyway. In the ETX-105, all of the current drawn
by the telescope runs along very, very thin tracks on the
printed-circuit board that is fitted just behind the
connector/power-switch panel. I reckon that these tracks would 'blow'
almost as fast as a 1A fuse anyway!! So, anything from a 1A to a 3A fuse
should be ideal. Try to use a FAST BLOW fuse if you can get one - but
the reality is that WHATEVER fuse is already in the cigarette lighter
plug is probably going to work. Don't connect ANYTHING to your batteries
without SOME fuse being used - remember, you are working outside, in the
dark, and are supposed to be observing 'cosmic' fireworks, not running
around trying to put out the flames in your socks because you managed to
short-circuit your battery!!

Secondly, with two batteries available, there may be a temptation to
'link them in parallel' to give longer use, due to combined capacity.
This is NOT ADVISABLE, as the battery with the lower internal resistance
will simply draw current from the other battery, discharging it in the
process. Far better would be to use the batteries for entirely separate
purposes - e.g., one to drive the telescope, one to feed heater strips,
red lights, notebook PC etc.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,
Niall

Subject: Finderscope eyepiece fell off in the cold
Date: 3/16/04, 02:11
From: Mark Gibbons (mark@mrgibbons.com)
The eyepiece recently fell off my six-month-old ETX105's finderscope. It
was very cold, about -5 C, at the time, so I guess that the finderscope
eyepiece grease had thickened and when I twisted the eyepiece to focus
it the glue gave way. On inspection there appeared to be only a small
amount of glue used to hold it on.

I was very lucky; I caught the eyepiece as it fell and no harm was done.
Later I carefully glued it back with some impact adhesive - EvoStick -
making sure the crosshairs were correctly aligned. It has worked like a
charm ever since.

Great web site - why I bought an ETX! I must admit I was somewhat filled
with trepidation reading all the things that can go wrong with them, but
can I reassure other readers that apart from this incident, my ETX 105
has worked exactly as it should out of the box and I am delighted with
it?
 
Best Regards
Mark Gibbons
Gloucestershire, UK

Subject: ETX-60 Motors
Date: 3/15/04, 13:45
From: D Siwek (siwek@bu.edu)
Nice site.

Do you know if the servomotors in the ETX-60 are also supplied in other
larger varients of this mount?  I have an ETX-60 w/ Autostar and am
wondering if they can be adapted for use with other mounts?
Mike here: They are the same (I think) for the ETX-70 model. Don't know about the larger ETX models but I would doubt it.

Subject: ETX RA drive question
Date: 3/15/04, 13:27
From: nathaniel (nathaniel@northwestern.edu)
Do you know if it's possible to turn on the ETX's RA tracking without
using the handset (pre-1999 ETX-90/EC)?

thank you for your help, and your wonderful web site!

Nathaniel Rudavsky-Brody
Mike here: The handset needs to be connected.
Wait a minute. Pre-1999 would be the original model ETX. The ETX-90EC was announced in January 1999. There was no handset for the ETX (now known as the ETX-90RA). You just turn it on.

Subject: ETX aux ports
Date: 3/14/04, 17:42
From: LeeSue@aol.com
What are those aux ports for on the ETX base?

Thanks,
Leon Cross
Mike here: Accessories; #506 Autostar cable for the #494 Autostar (ETX-60 and ETX-70) and Meade Electric Focuser.

Subject: ETX 125 Forum Question
Date: 3/14/04, 14:43
From: Jenny Morgan (jmorganix@mac.com)
I had my 125etx out in the cold last Wednesday, for the first time. It
was abot 16-20 degrees.

While doing the alignment, I heard this cracking/creaking. A few moments
later the eyepiece for the finderscope pops off and hits the ground.

Ever hear of such a thing?

Jenny Morgan
Milwaukee, WI
Mike here: It sounds as though there was some uneven cooling on the plastic (and/or any glue). You might want to contact Meade; they might send you a replacement for free (especially if under warranty). That obviously shouldn't happen and I don't recall any such reports in the past 7+ years.

Subject: In-line fuse rateing
Date: 3/14/04, 13:39
From: yagis (yagis@piggysurf.com)
I have made up a power supply consisting of jack to cigar adapter and
25ft length of dual cable to NPC 12volt 6.0Ah + CB1234 12V 3.4AH
(SEPERATELY) via lugs. Both batteries are sealed lead acid recharbeable
used for amateur radio porposes. Which one will be better.

Can you tell me what fuse to insert into the cigar adapter. I have a
present 2amp fitted. Will this be ok or do i need smaller capacity fuse.

Many thanks for a most enjoyable and knowlegable site.

Regards,
 
Billy.
Rep.Ireland.
Mike here: The 6AH one will give you longer times between charges. 2AMP is too high for the ETX; use 1.5.

Subject: I DID IT!!!
Date: 3/14/04, 09:03
From: Brian Starkey (avit.web@verizon.net)
I did itand I am like a kid anxiously awaiting Christmas. My ETX90AT
should be here some time tomorrow (Monday.)

I ended up purchasing it from OPT (Great service by the wayquick
response to question emails and the like)

I cant wait until it arrives and I can get it going.

Thanks for this site Mike!!! I think I am going to set it as my home
page!! J

I will keep you all informed and I am sure I will have lots to discuss
in the coming months. 

Brian

Subject: ETX125EC photo port sizing specification
Date: 3/13/04, 06:26
From: jrzjw@vip.sina.com
I just purchased a ETX-125,I want to make a T-ring which like #64
T-Adapter.Beacuse it is difficult to buy #64 T-Adapter in my place.But I
didn't know the sizing specification of ETX125EC photo port.could you
tell me the size of photo port's thread?
Thank you very much!!!
I hope this helps!

ruijin
Mike here: I don't have the facility to measure the threads but I will post your inquiry on the next Site update. Once you have that info you will need a machine shop to make the adapter.

Subject: Overwhelmed with Autostar - Help!
Date: 3/13/04, 05:21
From: baker7m3@fuse.net
First off, thank you for all the wonderful information on your website. 
I own the ETX 90EC but haven't had much opportunity to use it.  Shame on
me.  I also own the Autostar 497 but haven't even broken it out of the
box.  Shame on me again.  The Autostar was purchased in April of 2002. 
Looking at your website and reading your book, I am quite overwhelmed
with what I need to download first, next or not at all.  Here's the
question...what should I download, including any patches, to get my
Autostar up to date?  If your website has already answered this please
point me in the right direction to find the information.  Once again,
thank you.  I'm looking forward to a great year of observing!
Russ
Mike here: First off, learn to use the telescope with the existing Autostar. So open that box, read the manual three times, play with the ETX with Autostar indoors until you understand how to use it to align, GOTO, and control your telescope. Then take it outside at night and use it for real. You will want to update your Autostar to the current version but I suggest getting the basics out of the way first. Once you've learned how to use your system you will be ready to learn more, including updating the Autostar to the current version (it's easy but you will need to buy or make a #505 cable and you'll need Windows and a RS-232 port).

And:

I will take your advice, and thanks for the prompt response! 

Subject: Re: some quick questions on Meade Lunar Planetary Imager
Date: 3/12/04, 13:52
From: "l.v." (lacho@soflan.net)
I scanned through the pages, there's really lot of info to read :).

Your site is huge on information.

But more or less, people talk of the celestial functionality of the LPI. I
was also interested in the terrestrial. I saw your blurred terrestrial image
in the LPI and Macintosh pages, but I was hoping to see some real clear
terrestrial shots, buildings, or birds, or something terrestrial at all.

Also, the LPI - how is it mounted.. does it need to be placed directly
instead of the eyepieces, or it can be placed over a Barlow lens, or other
lenses. What happens (sorry for my newbie question, if it sounds silly) if I
place the LPI over a 6mm eyepiece... do i get that large clear
magnification?

And last - how is it connected to the PC - does it use the PC's USB ports,
or RS-232, I'm asking cause I read of RS232 connection as well , and I got
confused.

Thanks again for your time.
Mike here: I haven't done any terrestrial photography with the LPI (other than that blurry test). The LPI goes where an eyepiece would go, so yes it can be used with a Barlow Lens (or a wide field adapter as I showed in that article). No, the LPI can not be mounted over an eyepiece. You could do this for eyepiece projection but you would have to likely disassemble the LPI and make your own holder for the CMOS chip and electronics. The LPI uses USB (as discussed in the article). The Autostar is RS-232.

Subject: Focus problems with ETX 90 / camera
Date: 3/12/04, 11:47
From: Michael Lewis (mike@athena-group.com)
Thanks for the great web site, it has really helped me figure out my ETX
90.  But I have a question that I didn't see addressed already.  I use
the Meade camera adapter to connect a Nikkormat FTN to the rear port of
the telescope.  I have taken lunar photo's this way in the past with no
trouble.  I have also recently installed a Meade electronic/motorized
focuser, so this might be the problem.  Anyway, while trying to take
pics of this months moon, I was unable to bring the image into focus for
the camera.  I could easily focus using an eyepiece (after flipping the
mirror of course).  I ran a 'daylight test' on some distant objects and
I found that once I had an object in focus in the EP, that to bring it
into focus for the camera I needed to adjust the focus slightly 'in'. 
When the subject is the moon, adjusting the focus further in for the
camera I hit the end of focus travel before getting the camera focused. 
So my question is this, since I have successfully gotten lunar photos
using this technique before what's changed?  Could the electronic
focuser have changed the amount of focus travel?  Doesn't seem like it
should.  Does the distance to the moon vary so much that at some periods
of the year I will be able to get it into focus and other times not?

It seems to me that this could be overcome by changing the length of the
camera adapter ( I did try it with and without the 'extender' tube
installed) but I'm not sure if the adapter should be longer or shorter.

Any advise you can offer will be appreciated,
Mike
Mike here: The electric focuser MIGHT have less travel on the shaft if the shaft was inwards of its central position when you installed the electric focuser. I suggest you remove it and verify that you can reach a focus without it. If so, then reinstall it with that position of the shaft.

And:

Thanks Mike:
That is exactly what I plan to do as soon as I get a chance ...
Clear Sky's,
Mike

Subject: ETX-125EC jumps while tracking
Date: 3/12/04, 02:20
From: Leon Shapritsky (leons@team.co.il)
this is my first time I'm posting here a question...
I  hope you'll have time to answer it.

My ETX-125EC (with Autostar version 3.0Ee) has strange problem:
When I'm looking at planets which are placed at 30-40 degrees above the
horizon (a little low), the telescope does not tracking smoothly,
meaning a planet does not staying centered in FOV, but every several
seconds the telescope jumps and centers it again. This strange behavior
occurs in both AltAz (a planet goes left) and Polar (a planet goes ~
left) modes. Seems to be a problem of horizontal gear or something like
that.

My local Meade reseller already replaced the fork, but it is still
happening... Is there a possibility, that I'm doing something wrong on
any stage: Calibrating, Aligning or something else?

Maybe it is a common problem of ETX-125EC telescopes, the firmware or
Autostar?

Do you have any suggestion?

Thank you in advance,
Leon.
Mike here: There can be several things that can cause this. The lock can be overtightened. The lock could be too loose. The Autostar may need to be CALIBRATED and a new TRAIN DRIVES done. Or the internal lubrication may need to be loosened up or redistributed. To do the last unlock both axes and move the telescope from hard stop to hard stop by hand, back and forth several times.

And:

Thank you very much for your reply.
I'll do all these things again, despite I already did it once...
I'll let you know if it helps.

Thanks again,
Leon. 
And:
I just followed all your suggestions, but the problem persists...
I'd like to add some more details:
1. Previously I mentioned wrong angle, I've wrote 30-40 degrees from the
horizon, but after some more checks, it is more likely 0-30 degrees (I'm
trying to track Jupiter at 18:00 o'clock our time (GMT+2)).
2. Every 15-20 seconds the telescope does the correction and a click
from the gear is heard.
3. Usually this problem does not exist when I'm tracking higher objects
(for example Jupiter at 22:00 o'clock).

What do you think about it?

Thank you in advance,
Leon. 
Mike here: Just to rule it out, update the Autostar to version 3.1Ee from Meade's web site. You'll need a #505 cable, Windows, and a RS-232 serial port. Don't forget to reCALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes; easy to miss) after doing the update.

And:

Thank you for immediate answer!
I did it in the past, but there were problems with centering objects.
I'll upgrade it again and will do more accurate Train Drive.

Thanks again,
Leon. 
And an update:
I just upgraded my Autostar to 3.1Ee, but still having the jumps
problem...

We didn't replace the Autostar and DC Adapter, yet, but it jumps with
batteries, too. So, could it be the Autostar computer problem?

Thank you in advance,
Leon. 
Did you do the CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES after updating? If so, then I suspect an internal mechanical problem. You may or may not be able to repair it, depending upon the source of the problem. If dirty encoders, you could attempt to clean them (avoiding making any other damage along the way). If something is "catching" someplace you could try to determine what that might be (again, avoiding making things worse). If you want to attempt these things you should probably first read through all of Dr. Clay Sherrod's Performance Enhancement articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page. Alternatively you could contact Meade for the repair or Dr. Clay himself for a Supercharge.

And:

Thank you very much Mike,
I'll contact my Meade reseller again.

Have a nice weekend!
Leon Shapritsky

Subject: some quick questions on Meade Lunar Planetary Imager
Date: 3/11/04, 14:15
From: "l.v." (lacho@soflan.net)
Since a couple of months I got this idea that all my life (since kid) I
wanted to have my own telescope. So finally, 27 years later (my age) I
have decided that I should go and buy some. I have selected Meade
ETX90-EC as my choice. A couple of months I do researches, read a lot on
the web (mostly your great website), and more and more questions arise
as I read.

Now that I've selected the telescope and some accessories I was inspired
by the idea of digital photographing (even not professionally) all that
can be seen also through the eyepieces. So I read in a Bresser/Meade
catalog of "PC Ocular", later of "MicrOcular" and so on.. and I got
confused of all these names, which I was not sure if they meant all the
same (640x480 USB electronic eyepiece camera was what I was searching
for). I was told by some online store support that "PC Ocular" and
"MicrOcular" were the same product, but later I read that "MicrOcular"
was 320x240 resolution. So I started again to search for information on
some good and reasonably not too expensive camera-eyepiece (so to call
it).

And that's how I found out about Lunar Planetary Imager.

So my first question is, if you can help me sort out this name-puzzle
(if you know about PC Ocular / MicrOcular). If not, never mind, I'll ask
you about Lunar Planetary Imager.

First of all is Meade Lunar Planetary Imager (LPI) a 640x480 px
resolution color USB camera than can be easily mounted instead the
eyepieces. Can you give me it's technical specification (as much as you
know it). I read in your site that it's a 6mm, and such it's suitable
for celestial objects only - is it so. Do you think that I cannot
observe any terrestrial objects (closer, or some far away). What other
digital cameras for telescopes would you advice me for a price lower
than 150-160$.

Thanks very much in advance.

L. Vladikov
Mike here: Check out my article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Autostar Info page for a description with photos of the LPI. Yes, it is a 640x480 USB imager (CMOS). You could take terrestrial photos with it. See the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page for lots of info on digital cameras in astrophotography.

Subject: Eyepieces
Date: 3/11/04, 12:36
From: MrCole100@aol.com
I took the plunge last night and purchased the 125.  Since I'm too late
to take advantage of the Meade $99 eyepiece offer, I purchased the value
pack for $40.  I know they should fit given the 1.25" OD, but I now
realize they're not really made for the 125 but more for the -70.  Also,
it came with a 3x Barlow lens instead of the 2x listed.  My question is
do you think these pieces would suffice until I got up and running and
started purchasing better equipment, or should I just return them?

Regards,

Dave
Mike here: I'm not familiar with the "Value Pack" but they should work.

Subject: ETX FOV question & field report
Date: 3/11/04, 11:07
From: David Blythe (dblythe@westerfieldbonte.com)
Your web site is very helpful!  I bought a ETX-90AT last month.  I was
wondering if there is a formula for calculating the size of the
field-of-view in arc minutes for a given eyepiece or power?  That way
when the Sky & Telescope article says look 4 degrees east of Deneb I can
estimate it by panning however many FOVs it takes.

By the way, on the results I've had, the AutoStar has worked great! Last
night I was viewing Saturn (high in the South west), then punched in M3
(low in the North East) and GOTO.  I looked in the eyepiece and there it
was! Almost centered!  I couldn't even see it through the finderscope in
my not-too-dark sky.  I haven't tried any photography yet, but just for
viewing its met my best expectations!

Thanks in advance,
David
Louisville, KY
Mike here: The best way to determine eyepiece FOV is to measure it. You can time passage of a star near the celestial equator with the drive off or you can measure star positions.

Subject: Mani's Focusing Problem
Date: 3/10/04, 08:24
From: Don Sutherland (don_sutherland@yahoo.ca)
I read about Mani's problems and I wonder if he realizes how many turns
it takes to run the mirror through its full range of movement? Maybe he
thinks that 2 or 3 turns is a lot and stops after that.

He should be able to check the eyepiece for serious flaws by inverting
it and using it as a magnifier.
 
I hope this helps.
 
Don Sutherland

Subject: Re: Focusing ETX-125
Date: 3/10/04, 06:24
From: Bart Webb (cclandfill@vcn.com)
Thank you very much for getting back to me. After some looking around on
your site I found the article you mentioned. Did the repairs last night
and everything seems to in working order.
Thanks again

Subject: Re: ETX 125 motor unit fault error
Date: 3/9/04, 18:12
From: Karen Terry (windysea@candw.ag)
I have tried all those suggestion already and it didn't fix the problem.
 It is a new scope, I just got it the end of November  so I assume that
it has the latest Autostar, but I will check that out.  I have been away
on business for the past week, and didn't get a chance to do this as
yet.  I will let you know if that fixes the problem.  What is the #505
cable?

Thanks for your help and fast reply.

Sincerely
Karen Terry
Mike here: The #505 cable is for connecting a serial port on the computer to the #497 Autostar. You can make one easily (see the Autostar Info page) or buy one.

Subject: PST Attachment Advice
Date: 3/9/04, 14:23
From: LBIKAT@aol.com
I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my PST from Coronado, as I am sure
many folks are. I intend on piggybacking this little guy onto my ETX 125
and using its tracking abilities. My real question to you is this, what
would you recommend as the most solid approach to mounting the PST on
the OTA?
Look forward to hearing from you.
Best regards,
Al Koff
Mike here: I don't have one (although I thought about it). Doesn't it have a camera tripod mounting hole on the bottom? If so, you could use a piggyback camera adapter to mount it.

Subject:
Date: 3/9/04, 05:47
From: Bill Biermann (BillPBiermann@nhstlouis.com)
I found your website  about meads

I have an older meade that I have not been able to get any help from the
manufacture regarding several problems.

I did not see a way to ask questions to the group.How can I do this?

Thanks

Bill Biermann
Mike here: As noted on the ETX Home Page, new site visitors are requested to read the Site Guide. Your "posting" question is answered there. Also, new Site visitors are requested to read the Email Etiquette; your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing subject entry.

Subject: Re: Flip mirror alignment
Date: 3/8/04, 18:47
From: Bradley Tamplin (btamplin@lts.net)
As I said below, the mirror knob has to be held against the stop for the
light path to be centered in the eyepiece tube. I saw an article where
someone had the same problem and fixed it, but I can't find it again.
The collimation appears to be okay.
Mike here: You can search the Site for "flip mirror"; perhaps you'll come across the article you remember.

And an update:

It's taken care of. I called the store I bought it from and got to okay
to try to fix it myself. They said they would replace it if I needed to.
I tightened the flat spring and it is okay now. I can see concentric
circles of light when looking down the eyepiece tube.

Subject: Where to purchase??
Date: 3/8/04, 17:29
From: Brian Starkey (avit.web@verizon.net)
just two quick questions.

I am now ready to buy an ETX90AT.where online would you suggest I grab
one?

2. I am a newbie and just starting out, will the Celestron kit of
eyepieces ($149) fit the scope?
Mike here: The Celestron eyepieces will work OK. Don't know about the Barlow Lens. As to where to purchase, there are so many good dealers: Shutan (check the Announcements - Dealer Specials page), Scopetronix, OPT (I have a relationship with OPT), to name a few.

Subject: ETX Rings
Date: 3/8/04, 11:04
From: kevin keyes (fishonkevin@sbcglobal.net)
To: charlesbrault@hotmail.com
In a recent post Charles Brault asked about locating rings to fit an
ETX-125 OTA.  I found rings at Scopestuff. The 5.7" ring size is to
small for the ETX-125, but the 6.3" fit very well. I built up the inside
diameter with 3/8" foam weatherstrip to get a really snug fit.

The link for Scopestuff is www.scopestuff.com .

I hope this helps Charles out.
Kevin

Subject: Need to allign in view
Date: 3/8/04, 07:36
From: Lee Johnson (lee10@fsmail.net)
Thanks for your help once again, it is invaluable and thanks to you I
can now use all my eyepieces with my ETX-70, with all in focus and I
have got the 9mm eyepiece working well with 3x Barlow Lens, with some
wonderful shots of the moon and other interesting things too.

Just wanted to ask you, about aligning manually, I was wondering do you
know any good websites, links or software where I can obtain help
finding objects in the sky by using the declination setting circle.

For example I was focusing on the moon and the declination circle said
-4, so I took note of that, however when try to finding it some
astronomy software I have it said +4, but I could tell it was wrong, I
have entered the correct langtitude and longtitude in but it was
inaccurate.

Any help would be greatly helpful,
Kind regards

Mike here: See the article "Using Setting Circles" on the Observational Guides/References page. Also see the FAQ page on how to correct the error in the DEC setting circle. You will need either star charts, star listings, or software that has the RA/DEC for objects. There are many sites for these (see Astronomy Links page).

Subject: Question
Date: 3/8/04, 07:22
From: Greg Nolan (gwiz_32@yahoo.com)
I have a question. I have noticed a bright (blue and shimmering) object
in between Orion and Jupiter that stays fairly low (maybe 45 degrees
from the horizon). Can you identify it for me?

=====

Thank You,

Gregory J. Nolan
Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Site Home Page; your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the ambiguous subject line.
You might want to get some star charts or star charting software. It really helps to identify objects as you learn the night sky. But I suspect you are seeing the star Sirius.

Subject: Focusing ETX-125
Date: 3/8/04, 05:36
From: Bart Webb (cclandfill@vcn.com)
I recently purchased a used ETX-125 EC. The scope seems to be in good
condition overall. However I have not been able to focus it. I turned
the focus adjustment counter clockwise until it stopped but did not
notice any change in the apparent focus. When the scope is aimed
downward I feel little resistance in the focus knob when it is pointed
up the resistance increases. Any ideas or feedback would be greatly
appreciated.
Thanks
Bart 
Mike here: If the image focus does not change when looking at a distant object through the 26mm eyepiece, then the focus shaft could have become disconnected. if you are certain that's the problem, then see the article "Focus Shaft Fix" on the Telescope Tech Tips page.

Subject: Flip mirror alignment
Date: 3/7/04, 13:45
From: Bradley Tamplin (btamplin@lts.net)
I just purchased a new EXT-125EC telescope. (Received 3/2/04) I noticed
the light path is not straight through the center of the eyepiece unless
I hold the flip mirror against the stop. I am very mechanically inclined
and was wondering if this is something I should try to remedy. I don't
like the idea of sending it back for something I can fix myself.

I am surprised that Meade would have allowed this problem to pass.
 
Thank you for your assistance.
Brad Tamplin
Mike here: There are a couple of flip mirror repair articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page that might help. But what are the symptoms that brought you to the conclusion that this is a problem? Is the telescope out of collimation? If so, you should exchange it since it is new.

Subject: Meade's eyepiece deal
Date: 3/7/04, 10:14
From: Brian Starkey (avit.web@verizon.net)
I am a newbieI will be buying the ETX90AT within the next week probably
and I was wondering if you know if Meade is extending is special
eyepiece deal? (I chose the wrong time, I just started looking at the
beginning of this week.just my luck)

Thanks in advance for all the info I have already gotten just by
visiting your site!!

Brian
Mike here: Not that I've heard.

And:

Thanks for the quick response! 

Subject: your site...
Date: 3/6/04, 20:50
From: micren (micrenet@hotmail.com)
is quite impressive and interesting because of the variety of pictures
it displays...and i even learned from it (with the superimposed
technique)
 
thanks and keep it up!

Subject: ETX-125EC part
Date: 3/6/04, 06:25
From: Mani Chauhan (mani2003@blueyonder.co.uk)
Thanks for helping me out with the horizontal motor drive lever. Meade
are sending me a replacement free of charge and I have   also managed to
remove the broken one with your instructions.

I have managed to setup the telescope for the most part. There is just
one little problem. When I look through the 26mm SP eyepiece supplied
with the telescope, I don't see anything clearly. I have been trying to
align the viewfinder with the telscope (pointing it at a telephone pole
at least a mile away) and I can see the 8x magnified picture through the
viewfinder, but I get a VERY blurry picture through the eyepiece, as a
result of which I have been unable to align the viewfinder or the use
the telescope at all. I have tried the following so far :

1) Checked the Flip-Mirror is in the 'up' position so that the light is
directed through the right angle eye-piece
2) Used the Focus Knob to adjust the picture focus. This made no
difference.
3) When I remove the 26mm eye-piece, I can see the magnified picture on
the flip mirror as I look through the eye-piece holder.

Have I missed anything out or am I doing something wrong ? I haven't got
any other eye-pieces to verify, but I think the one I have got I faulty.

I would be grateful if you could please give me any advice.

Thanks again,

Mani.
Mike here: Are you saying that when you turn the focus knob there is NO CHANGE in the "blurriness" of the image you see through an eyepiece? Are you focusing on a distant object or something very close?

And:

Yes, that right....when I turn the focus knob, there is no change in the
"blurriness" of the image I see THROUGH THE 26mm EYEPIECE supplied with
the telescope. However, when I remove the eyepiece and turn the focus
knob, I can see the image on the flip-mirror coming in and out of focus.
I am also focussing on a distat object that at least a mile away.

I can see the image clearly and in focus when I look through the
viewfinder (when I have adjusted the focus on it) and also see the image
clearly on the flip mirror, both through eyepiece holder and through the
rear cell. I just can't see a clear picture through the eyepiece.

I think the eyepiece is faulty. I haven't got any other eyepieces or
telscopes to check.

Any suggestions ?
Mike here: Well, since the image is changing the focus mechanism would seem to be working. Lets try a test: remove the rear port cover and flip the mirror out of the way, then hold the eyepiece up to port and slowly move it towards and away from the ETX to see if you can find a position where the image comes to a focus. If not, then the eyepiece may indeed be damaged. By the way, if you gently shake the eyepiece, does it rattle?

And:

I did the test, and the image through the telescope doesn't come into
focus at any distance and I look through the eyepiece.

I did some separate tests with the eyepiece  and a detailed picture I've
got hanging in the lounge. I found that I only get a focussed image
(though not magnified) when my eye is about 10 cms away from the
eyepiece, which does not seem normal.

I only get a slightly magnified (inverted image) as I the eyepiece
closer to the picture, still keeping the 10 cm distance from my eye. How
does your eyepiece behave ?

There is no rattling when I shake. Is there anyway of opening the
eyepiece to check all the bits are there or properly put together etc ?

Thanks,

Mani. 
Mike here: Do not do the test indoors. Tell you what, if the sky is clear where you live this evening, try the test on the Moon. Let me know the results. And do not attempt to disassemble the eyepiece; you could make matters worse.

And:

Sky's clear tonight. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks for all yor help.

Mani. 
And:
Tried the test on the moon. I can see a clear focussed image on he flip
mirror and the viewfinder, buts its a big white blurry blob through the
eyepiece. I should be able to see at least some of the features of the
moon. The image does not come into focus at all through the eyepiece at
any distance, either from the rear or through the eyepiece holder.

Its a shame I can't use the telescope at the moment. Its a great full
moon tonight !!
Mike here: It sounds like the eyepiece is bad.

And:

Yeah,

I thought so too. I'll get in touch with Meade on Monday. You come
across a bad eyepiece before or is this rather rare ?

Thanks again for your help.
Mike here: Very rare in my experience.

And:

Do you think it might be  actually the scope itself ? i.e not producing
the focussed image at the right position for the eyepiece to pick it up
properly ?

As I mentioned earlier, I can see a clear focussed image on the flip
mirror, both through the eyepiece holder when the mirror is up and
through the rear end when the flip mirror is down, so it does seem like
the actual scope is doing what it is supposed to do. But then I am just
a newbie to this game, so I could have diagnosed it incorrectly....I
don't really what to expect.

Are there any other tests I can do to verify that the scope is working
correctly and therefore it is definitely the eyepiece?
Mike here: You can aim the telescope at a bright object like the Moon (don't use the Sun) and hold a piece of white cardboard at the rear port. Project an image of the object on the white cardboard and move it in and out to see if you can reach a focus.

Subject: Re: Chrome knob, scrapes on my ETX-70
Date: 3/5/04, 05:27
From: Jason Stromback (jstromb1@hotmail.com)
Are you talking in regards to the focus knob or RA lock.  My problem lies
with the RA lock.
Mike here: Oops. I misread your item. You did say RA lock. Apologies. I still wonder if the setscrew is saying tight against the shaft.

And:

Im not wondering if the set screw isn't kinda stripped by now, since ive
been playing with it so much.
Mike here: Certainly possible.

Subject: Chrome knob, scrapes on my ETX-70
Date: 3/4/04, 06:02
From: Jason Stromback (jstromb1@hotmail.com)
Do you have a fix, for this?  I received a new chrome RA lock knob for
my ETX-70.  The reason for that, is the old knob had a huge bubble in
the chrome, and it looked bad.  So i requested a new one.  Problem i
have is the knob scrapes against the base (the long skinny part of
knob).  Looks to me like both the old and the new knob are the same.  I
tried to put the old knob back on, and i have the same problem on that
knob too.  If i turn the knob now, it will just scratch the heck out of
my scope.  If i try to move it up a bit, and tigten the set screw, and
turn, it seems to work for a couple of times, then the knob sinks and
scrapes again.  Also, i happened to apparently turn that bolt under the
RA knob, and some metal washer came loose, and was floating around on
bottom of the scope.  I turned the scope over and put it back on, so i
think that its set right again.  I just can't seem to get the knob to
not scrape the base now.  Can you help any?

Jason S.
Mike here: It sounds like the setscrew is not staying tight against the shaft. Are you sure it is touching the shaft securely when you tighten it? It is perfectly normal to move the focus knob a little further out on the shaft if necessary to focus with some eyepieces. So you shouldn't be having this problem.

Subject: ETX-125 Tube Rings
Date: 3/3/04, 06:31
From: Charles Brault (charlesbrault@hotmail.com)
Unfortunately, I am the owner of an early 125 that was sitting at a
dealer's for a long time before I purchased it.  The mount and drive
have NEVER worked very well and small bits of plastic keep appearing as
they disintegrate off the internal workings in the fork arms.  I am at
the point of putting it onto a CG-5 mount, but I cannot find tube rings
to fit.  I suppose I could make some, but time is an issue.  Does anyone
know of a source for tube rings to couple an ETX-125 to a CG-5 mount? 
Thanks in advance
 
Charlie Brault
Mike here: I don't know the specifics that will match your configuration but check out Losmandy mounting rings.

Subject: ETX 90 focus image shift
Date: 3/3/04, 04:18
From: ben (ben@wooding.org.uk)
Been regularly visiting the site and it's excellent as always and have
had super dark skies (if perishingly cold) and no trouble, until now!
The last few times I've been out with the 'scope I've had a rather
annoying time. If I alter the focus at all, the image shifts to the
left, not out of view (even at high magnification), but enough to be a
pain in the proverbial. Any ideas? To my knowlege, the 'scope hasn't
been damaged or knocked in anyway and when not in use, is safely packed
in it's case. I use a flexifocus.

I had a good look around the site to see if anyone had a similar
problem, but looked in the wrong place, or couldn't find anything. It
amazed me how many of the E-mails you answer are already covered in the
FAQs or else where on the sight, you must be a very patient man! Do you
just cut and past the answers from previous E-mails! ( RESET, CALIBRATE,
TRAIN. RESET, CALIBRATE, TRAIN !!) (And yes, I have tried that!).

And just as an update! I've still got the "sticky" patch on the focus
that I mentioned previously. As I focus in, I reach a point where focus
suddenly jumps further on and out of focus, but not when focusing out.
Just grown to accept that one. Also, for those still struggling with I
relief. I find them a pain to put in, but the contact lenses are super!
I only use them with the 'scope, I wear glasses otherwise!

Cheers!
Ben
Mike here: Check the Telescope Tech Tips page for image shift articles. I suspect the focusing shaft "sticking" and the image shift are related.

Subject: ETX Slow Motion Control Speed
Date: 3/2/04, 22:59
From: dan ko (dankjv@yahoo.com)
I read in Meade's catalog the ETX has a 9 speed motor but the box says 4
speeds. Was this an old model (105)? Thanks..... Dan
Mike here: Using the standard handcontroller on the EC models it was 4 speeds. With the Autostar (optional on the EC models and standard on the AT models) it is 9 speeds.

And:

Thanks! I guess they are using up the old boxes before autostar was
included.... Dan

Subject: Differences Between Terms
Date: 3/2/04, 10:52
From: J (jvinson2468@wowway.com)
I am confused on the major differences between Focal Length and Clear
Aperture. As I have come to understand it, Focal length is the distance
the telescope can see, and the clear aperture is the how clear the image
will be. Am I right? If this is true, which is a reasonable trade-off?
If I want to see the galaxies and their features, then it would be
reasonable to go for the longer focal length, right? Also, can you point
me to some good right ascension and declination tools? I would really
prefer to align my Autostar that way, instead of looking through the
viewfinder and trying to find it manually. And finally, how do I
calculate the right ascension and declination for a specific object
without Autostar? I am sorry for all the questions, but I am new to
astronomy and would really like to know this information. So you don't
lose track, I will align the questions in number format below.

1) Differences between Focal Length and Clear Aperture?

2) What is a good trade-off for my deep-sky applications?

3) Can you point me to some good right ascension and declination tools?

4) How do I calculate the right ascension and declination for a specific
object without Autostar?

I really appreciate all your help, and after I have made all
modifications to my scope, I plan on making a donation to your site!
Mike here: Sorry but you have the terms incorrect. Focal length is the optical distance (not necessarily the physical distance) from the aperture end of the telescope to where the primary image is in focus (that is, without an eyepiece). Aperture refers to the diameter of the main lens (refractor) or mirror (reflector). For really serious Deep Sky Object (DSO) viewing, you need to go for very large aperture to get the most "light gathering power". There are many "planetarium" star charting applications that will control the Autostar; check the Astronomy Links page (software section), the Accessory Reviews - Software, and of course the Autostar Info page. Don't forget about the Autostar Suite from Meade (review on the Autostar Info page). You need star charts or tables, either paper or on the computer to get RA/Dec of specific objects.

And:

I noticed the markings on my scope for the right ascension and
declination. Along with my other questions below that I sent you
originally, can you tell me how to calculate the right ascension and
declination of a particular object without Autostar? I have starry night
bundle, will this do it?
Mike here: See the article "Using Setting Circles" on the Observational Guides/References page.

Subject: Filters: using acetate for filters
Date: 3/2/04, 08:22
From: Kaustav Bhattacharya (kaustav@kaustav.uk.com)
Has anyone ever tried to use coloured acetate as simple colour filters?
It was recently suggested by someone I know. It would be a cheap
alternative to expensive colour filters. As most people know, the UK is
a total rip off for anything related to astronomical instrumentation or
extra add ons. Any thoughts? If this is a bad idea, a brief technical
explanation as to why acetate is bad as opposed to a proper filter would
be very useful to enhance my understanding of the issue.

Kaustav Bhattacharya
Mike here: If you want high quality views you need to use high quality optical glass. You can get away with using acetate over the aperture but keep in mind that acetate is not necessarily optical quality as far as frequency allowed. You'd be better off using gelatin photographic filter material.

Subject: Barlow questions: Shorty vs. Regular and Threaded vs. Unthreaded
Date: 3/2/04, 06:59
From: Paul.MatushekIV@abbott.com
I am a new ETX owner and your site is great!  I have learned quite a bit
from reading the tech tips, but I still have two questions regarding
barlows.

1. Regular vs. Shorty:  Is there any advantage to having a shorty
barlow, besides the fact that it looks more "in place" on the ETX?  Is
it harder to focus (extra focus travel) with a traditional barlow?

2. Is there any reason why some barlows are threaded and some are not? 
I am interested in the threaded kind, so that I do not have to thread
and unthread when I change eyepieces.  Is there any drawback to using
filters with a barlow instead of the actual eyepieces?

Thanks for your help!

Paul
Mike here: For best results when focusing with different eyepieces on the ETX, you should use a "shorty" Barlow Lens. If the Barlow Lens is threaded it is designed to be used with filters, so there would be no problem doing that.

Subject: Venus Transit 2004 in Nepal.....
Date: 3/2/04, 01:20
From: Kedar P Badu - CDEP/GASPO (hulaki@wlink.com.np)
Here is an article in our National Daily Newspaper (The Kathmandu Post)
which tells how we in Nepal are 'preparing' for Venus Transit of June 8:
 
www.kantipuronline.com/php/kolnews.php?&nid=8419
 
Please comment.
 
Yours
Kedar
 
Galileo Astronomical Society of Pokhara - GASPO
Kathmandu Nepal
Email (personal): (kedarbadu@yahoo.com)
http://www.geocities.com/kedarbadu/GASPO.html
http://www.space-frontier.org/Projects/permission/TeamTelescope/Graphics/nepal/nepal.htm

Subject: Editorial Comment
Date: 3/1/04, 19:35
From: apersinger (apersinger@insightbb.com)
I have never written to you, but have been a constant reader of your
site since purchasing an ETX-125 in 2002.  I have learned much from your
site.

Your editorial comments from 2-29-04 were well written.  I had long
wondered how you have the patience to deal with questions that are
continually repeated or from people that do not even take the time to
read user manuals.  Hopefully enough people will read your comments and
respect your time that you put into the site.  However, the people who
should read that message will probably never spend enough time looking
at your site to see it.

Thanks for all of your time in putting together a great reference for
ETX users!!

Alan Persinger

Subject: focussing ETX125
Date: 3/1/04, 16:27
From: Edward Witten (witten@ias.edu)
I have  always found that the focus on my ETX 125 is very fussy - it is
hard to get a really sharp focus.  Yesterday, I noticed that when I
tried to focus the scope, the image would move quite a bit from left to
right.  Is this normal and is there anything to do with it?  My ETX 125
is two years old.

Edward Witten

(Thanks again by the way for your advice in the past on a couple of
occasions.)
Mike here: What you are experiencing is "image shift". Some shift is normal with moving mirror designs but it should not be excessive. If it is excessive it is possible that your ETX is out of collimation (something not easily corrected by most users). But check the Telescope Tech Tips page; there are a couple of image shift articles there.

Subject: ETX-125 anti-reflection coating
Date: 3/1/04, 14:12
From: kbd03a@acu.edu
My Meade ETX-125EC has some oxidation inside the tube.  This has cause
the anti-reflection coating to flake off and expose the raw aluminum in
some places.  Furthermore, it is falling on my main mirror, causing dust
accumulation.

Do you have any suggestions about how this should be handled?  Should I
attempt to recoat the inside of the tube, and if so, is there something
specific I should use?  

Thank you for your website, and your time.

Sincerely,
Blake Dozier
Mike here: See the article "LXD55 Tips and Tricks, Vol 3, OTA Flocking" on my LXD55 Site. That should give you some ideas. However, keep in mind that opening up OTA runs the risk of messing up the optical collimation, which is not something trivial to correct on the ETX.

Subject: etx-125 remote
Date: 3/1/04, 10:07
From: neo (jonylucas172@hotmail.com)
i have a question about the autostar.i want to operate my etx-125
remotely through the internet.i have a laptop with pentium 3 and win xp
pro.i am thinking of seting another pc to the location of the scope and
trough remote desktop of windows xp operating the scope trough the
internet conection and having image with the help of a webcam.the
question is:which program shall i use to have full control over the
scope and the electric focuser?i tried scope driver(localy ) but  after
parking scope and restart it had really bad go to's.when you are in
polar mode each time you power on  the scope after you have parked the
scope you have to enter time and date manually or they can be transfered
trough the computer to the autostar?is there  anybody that had done
something like this?if any please advice.do you recomend autostar suite
or something in the high class like software bisque or maximdl.dr clay
if your listening please help.i intend to use the configuration local
first(lan between the two pc) and then trough the internet.my reall
problem is if the scope whil hold its alighnment and it will not drift
trough time.i have seen some robotic lx200gps  on the internet but no
etx.

thanks and clear skies to everyone
Mike here: Check out the Autostar Suite (you can read my article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Autostar Info page for more info). It can be used across a network. Depending upon a lot of factors, the alignment can be excellent or can drift quickly and everything in between.

Subject: ETX-70 RA Clamp
Date: 3/1/04, 06:49
From: Dave Hahne (dhahne@pinn.net)
I'm still working the drive train/calibration for the new power supply
but also still have a question about the RA/Az lock-down.  I have looked
through the material on mechanical tune-ups but have not found the
answer to this question: Can the RA/Az lock be too tight?  Right now I
have it set so that in the unlocked position it takes firm pressure to
move the scope.  In the locked position it doesn't move (at least not
without applying what I consider dnagerously excessive force).  Anything
less and I can force the scope to move in RA/Az when locked.  This seems
"right" but it did require me to tighten lock-down considerably from the
state in which I received it.  Just want to make sure I am not doing
more harm than good.  Thanks.

Dave Hahne
Poquoson, VA
USA
Mike here: The axis locks are "friction locks", just like your car brakes. Even when fully engaged (even too tightly) you can still force movement. Since the design is meant to use the handcontroller for movement when the axis is locked, you should not be moving the OTA by hand when the axis is locked. So, what is enough tightening? Just enough to allow the OTA to move using the drive. And yes, overtightening can cause damage, especially to the Altitude lock.

And:

What I have noticed (and why I wanted to tighten up the RA/Az axis lock)
was that when I went to a polar wedge there was some slippage in RA that
did not show itself without the wedge.  BTW, my hand movement checks
were just to for checking for slippage not actual scope movement.  Maybe
a better way to check if things are tight enough is to apply a slight
resistance to the scope when moving it with the handcontroller.

Subject: ETX Electric Focusser
Date: 3/1/04, 03:33
From: Karl Lovelock (karl.lovelock@mac.com)
Thanks for such a wonderful ETX Site, I am sure it has saved many of us
a great deal of wasted effort and unnecessary expense on optimising our
Telescopes. On the subject of the Meade Electric focusser issues on the
Site, a number of folks have mentioned 'Gear Slippage' as an issue.

Before any attempt to 'deconstruct' the Focus Housing Unit, I would
encourage everyone to ensure that the 'Brass Gear' provided to replace
the focussing knob, is securely attached to the focussing rod, via the
Hex GrubScrew. As Clay correctly points out, if you do not use quality
tools, it is very easy to strip out this Screw (which requires the
subsequent drilling out of the offending Screw).

The downside of this concern, is that, I suspect many of us are nervous
of 'overtightening' that same screw because of stripping issue, and
therefore, the Brass Gear is not necessarily securely attached to the
focussing rod, and when engaged with the Nylon gears in the focussing
unit, is just spinning on the focussing rod, thus no focus changes are
being achieved.

I am not sure that there is an 'easy' solution to this, that would not
require the Removal of the Focussing Rod, to either drill/punch a small
'guide' indentation for the Grub Screw to 'Lock' into, and thus prevent
free movemement.

If anyone has a good solution to this, I would be pleased to hear it, I
have had to 're-tighten' the Brass Gear on a number of occasions because
of this issue, and it has frustrated a number of my better observing
sessions.

//Karl Lovelock

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