Last updated: 31 March 2004
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 CodyMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 , FlaMike here: Although I haven't checked I would suspect it will change everything.
Subject: Teflon Pads Missing! Date: 3/30/04, 10:47 From: email@example.com 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, MattMike 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, MattMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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. LisaMike 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]" (email@example.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 TNMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) How am I going to clean my corrector plate? Besides of unscrew and take it out........ TommyMike 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.
Do you mean when I look at the bright objects or faint objects?Mike here: Bright objects.
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.
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 (email@example.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 BethkeMike 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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 NothmanMike 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 (email@example.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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.htmMike 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 (email@example.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...
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 SchlatterAnd from our resident hardware expert:
From: "P. Clay Sherrod" (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 ShainbartMike 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?
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 (email@example.com) 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 ChrisMike 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.
Mike Thanks for the amazingly quick response.
Subject: Meade ETX-105 wide angle Date: 3/27/04, 07:39 From: Ivar Marthinusen (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 youMike 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: email@example.com 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. PaulMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
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 (email@example.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 SemanMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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! >JimMike 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?
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 (email@example.com) To: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.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!
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
Subject: I have now my own ETX Date: 3/23/04, 09:36 From: Jacky Poupot (email@example.com) 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 JackyMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 --dickAnd:
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 (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 (email@example.com) 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 DougMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 MarkMike 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: email@example.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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.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.
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 VolkemaMike 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 SnowdenMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 KeyesAnd:
From: "P. Clay Sherrod" (email@example.com) 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 firstname.lastname@example.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: email@example.com What size ac adapter plug is required for the etx90? I really enjoy your book and website. Patrick Fenton, MissouriMike 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- usMike 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! PaulMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 RashkinMike 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" (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 JennyMike 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.
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 (email@example.com) 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" (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 HudsonMike here: Meade hasn't publicly offered such a service.
Subject: Buying a barlow lens Date: 3/16/04, 22:41 From: John Green (email@example.com) 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 firstname.lastname@example.orgMike 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 (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: email@example.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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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: email@example.com 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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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. ZieglerMike 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 (email@example.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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
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 (email@example.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 //KarlMike 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.
Thanks Mike, I guess the leadtime is across the board.
Subject: In-line fuse rating - follow up From: Niall Saunders (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: email@example.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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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-BrodyMike here: The handset needs to be connected.
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 CrossMike 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 (email@example.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, WIMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.com) 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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! ruijinMike 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: email@example.com 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! RussMike 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).
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." (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.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, MikeMike 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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
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.
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.
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." (email@example.com) 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. VladikovMike 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, DaveMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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, KYMike 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 (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.com) 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 TerryMike 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 KoffMike 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 BiermannMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: email@example.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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 regardsMike 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 (email@example.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. NolanMike 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.
Subject: Focusing ETX-125 Date: 3/8/04, 05:36 From: Bart Webb (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 BartMike 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 (email@example.com) 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 TamplinMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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!! BrianMike here: Not that I've heard.
Thanks for the quick response!
Subject: your site... Date: 3/6/04, 20:50 From: micren (email@example.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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 (email@example.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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.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 BraultMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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! BenMike 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 (email@example.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..... DanMike 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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
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 (email@example.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 BhattacharyaMike 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! PaulMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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): (email@example.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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.com) 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 DozierMike 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 (email@example.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 everyoneMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 USAMike 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.
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 (email@example.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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