GENERAL FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 March 2005
This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX and DS models. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	fuzzy secondary mirror
Sent:	Wednesday, March 30, 2005 16:49:37
From:	Heather Pinto (heatherpinto@verizon.net)
First off... great site. This site has been invaluable to me as I make
my first stumbles into astronomy. Thank you for being patient and giving
all us "newbies" the time ans advise to make our voyage through the
night sky easier.

OK, enough brown nosing.... I recently bought the etx125pe with UHTC.
Over the last few nights I have noticed that while looking into the main
mirror I can see the reflection of the secondary mirror. The secondary
seems to have what looks like a foggy mirror. At first I thought this
may have been condensation but after storing the telescope in my house
for two/three days and no change in the mirror I have doubts. I would
think if it was condensation thta some of it would have changed but it
looks the exact same as before. I have had the scope for several months
and have had very few good nights of seeing but have been impressed with
the views figuring that it was just atmospheric disturbance but am now
second guessing. When looking at Saturn, I can see the difference
between The planet and its ring system but have yet to firmly confirm
the Cassini division.

You have to look at the mirror at a slight angle in order to see the
foggy/fuzzy effect but can tell it covers the entire mirror, and the
foggy parts have spots of clear mirror in it. Thats how I can tell it
has a fuzziness to it.

ANY advice you or one of your readers may have would be great. Keep up
the greta work and awesome site.
 
thank you,
Pedro
Mike here: If the mirror has been "coated" with something (moisture or other sources) then cleaning is likely the only solution. However, since the mirror is a "first surface mirror" you have to VERY careful when cleaning it. And you would have to remove the corrector plate to get access to the secondary mirror. That runs the risk of putting the optics out of collimation. How do things look when viewing the mirror through the rear port?

And:

Thanks for replying so quickly. When veiwing down the rear port I cann't
see any problems during the daylight but when it gets dark I cann't see
anything and of course shining the light in even at an angle makes it to
bright. The only way I have been able to see it is to shine the light at
an angle and look in through the front of the scope and see it in the
primary 5" mirror. It literally looks like the mirror has fogged over
except little spots here and there. I have had the scope for about a
month or so and keep it in my Rec. hall (I own a campground in the White
Mountains region of NH). The Rec. hall is not heated so the scope is
always about the same temp as the outside temp give or take a few
degrees. I would bring the scope back to Rivers Camera in Dover but it
takes  me close to 2 hours to get to them and I'm not sure what the
problem is, is it me or it? I owned several DS-2130's before and didn't
have the issue with them being stored in the Rec. hall but they, as you
know, are newtonians and are open. I'm not sure if the etx being
enclosed makes the difference.

Thanks for the advise,
Pedro
Mike here: I can not tell from your description but shining a flashlight into the tube is not a good test.
Subject:	supercharge
Sent:	Wednesday, March 30, 2005 14:35:36
From:	Cysmar@aol.com (Cysmar@aol.com)
I can afford either a supercharge or Meades extended warranty (for an
Etx 105) I know that they are totally different services but was
wondering which you would suggest. I was thinking that a supercharge,
while not a guaranty, might make the warranty uneeded
Thanx in advance 
Mike here: Yes, one is "before the fact" (Supercharge) and the other is "after the fact (Meade). Sort of like living a healthy lifestyle vs getting health insurance. Both are good ideas. Only you can say which or both is correct for you.
Subject:	Motor Fault
Sent:	Wednesday, March 30, 2005 10:29:55
From:	Pieter (p_hup@wanadoo.nl)
This is Pieter from the Netherlands.
I just bought a second handed ETX-105 last week.
It all worked fine until today.
It said "Motor unit fault", when it slewed for a couple of inches.
So i tried turning it of and on, and again, after a couple of inches
slewing, it said "Motor unit fault".
Then i searched the internet, to find out if other people had this problem.
One said to check the batteries and going from hardstop to hardstop,
none helped.
Then i did a "Reset".
After this it got worse, now i cant even get into the autostar menu.
Immediately after initializing, it says "Motor Unit Fault".
I even read that removing grease from the encoder helps,
but i'm not doing anything like that before i know for sure.
What should i do??
 
I have Updated Autostar to 3.3Ef resently.
 
Thank you.
Mike here: Have you changed the batteries (vs "checking" them)? Could you be overtightening the axis locks? Check the cable connections to be certain they are secure. Do you have the standard EC handcontroller that used to ship with the ETX models (since it is second hand, you might, depending upon how old the ETX is). If so, try that and see if you can slew the telescope.
Subject:	Power follow-up
Sent:	Wednesday, March 30, 2005 07:20:36
From:	Stewart Finley (stewart.finley@Verizon.net)
As a follow-up to an earlier power question   I found a great solution
for powering the ETX 125.  After returning the Celestron power tank (it
arrived defective out of the box - The Celestron folks were great to
work with BTW), I had more time to look for other solution.  I found a
Vector Jump-Starter at Pep Boys.  It's a 12vdc 300 amp jump-starter
rated at 9 amp hours (vs. 7 for the power tank).  It has an accessory
outlet, light (you'll want to add red film over the white light). It is
lacking the other power outlets that the Celeston has.  But for my needs
having jumpstart capabilities is a better trade off.  The really sweet
part was that this unit, which retails for about $22.95 (vs. $59 for the
powertank) was on sale for $19.95.  That would have been a good deal,
but it got better.  The store was offering a $10 discount on any one
product for their grand re-opening.  Not a bad solution for about
$10.00!

Clear skies from Huntington Beach

Stewart

Subject:	Battery Compartment on ETX90
Sent:	Sunday, March 27, 2005 04:54:55
From:	ranger (leofran2@connecttime.net)
Although my ETX 90 is relatively new but out of warranty, one of the
spring clips that pressure holds the batteries in place has snapped and
I now use a piece of foil to make contact and keep the battery from
dropping out of position.

I called Meade and asked for a replacement clip (that I would guess is
less than a buck) and he said a) Meade had to do the replacement (even
though out the scope is out of warranty) and b) minimum service charge
is $75 (plus my shipping cost).

This appears to be really poor customer service and very shortsighted on
their part. Have you encountered this problem and would you know how I
could get this part on my own?
 
Thanks, Frank
Mike here: I don't recall any similar reports. You could possibly find a replacement piece in some product from Radio Shack.
Subject:	Durability of UHTC Coatings
Sent:	Sunday, March 27, 2005 01:44:14
From:	LLhunter@aol.com (LLhunter@aol.com)
To everyone that might have more information on this.
 
I'm considering purchasing the ETX125 w/UHTC.  I'm curious how durable,
wear/scratch resistant they may be.  I know that the magnesium fluoride
in the standard multicoating is softer than the plain glass is and
therefore easy to damage if treated or cleaned carelessly.  Is this true
of the new UHTC?  or are they more easily damaged or harder to damage.

Yours Truly,
 
Jim Hunt
Mike here: Any coating should be treated with care and not cleaned without proper materials and caution. I have not received any reports of problems with UHTC under normal use and care.
Subject:	ETX-90EC - trying to revive after few years in storage
Sent:	Saturday, March 26, 2005 17:03:36
From:	Matthias Schnizer (matthias@schnizer.com)
a couple of years a go, I acquired an ETX-90EC after reading so many
great things about it on the Web. Based on the recommendations on your
Web site. I had it supercharged by Dr. Clay Sherrod and I also bought
quite a few accessories. Based on circumstances, the telescope was never
used, but stored securely until today.

Finally time allows me to get involved in astronomy again, and I am
wondering what I should do to the scope to get it up to speed again.

I currently have firmware release V22E on the Autostar. I guess I should
upgrade. I remember back, that the latest firmware was not necessarily
the best option. Which release would you recommend? Should I have to
train the drives again? Any other things I should do? Changing the oil,
break fluids etc. :)

Any insight is highly appreciated.

Thanks in advance
 
Matthias
Mike here: Welcome back to the ETX! Hopefully it wasn't stored with the batteries installed. So here's what I suggest doing:
1. Install fresh batteries.
2. Unlock both axes and slowly move the ETX OTA by hand from hard stop to hard stop, back and forth, on both axes.
3. Power on. Check that everything works (slewing, focusing, etc.).
4. CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES.
5. Use it.
6. Once you know that all is well, then you can upgrade the Autostar to the current version 3.3Ef.

And:

Thanks Mike, appreciate your response... and...it was not stored with
the batteries :)

Matt

Subject:	Doskocil All-Weather Extra Large case
Sent:	Saturday, March 26, 2005 16:53:03
From:	Bert G. Scalia (bscalia@i-55.com)
First thing, thanks very much for all you've done for the Meade ETX (and
LX) community!  Secondly, now that I've acknowledged all you've already
given to everyone, let me admit I'm writing asking for more.  The more
in this case being information.

I've purchased a Doskocil All-Weather Extra Large case for my ETX-90 and
am ready to start the customizing of the foam, but for one thing.  When
reading the write-up that you did on the "Cases" page (at least I think
you did it - it's the one that mentions the case coming from The Case
Place),  I note that you used the outline template from the tech page to
"cut" the foam.  What I want to know is did you actually cut the foam
instead of "plucking" it, and was it a problem that the outline cut
didn't always match up with pre-cut pluck foam cuts?   I mean, did you
end up with little bits of foam falling off where you didn't cut?  It
seems that this would be a problem, but I hope to cut with the same
outline to get that close fit.

Please let me know.  I tried e-mailing the 10 or so contributors on the
same case further down the page but most of the addresses are no longer
good.

Thanks much again,

Bert
Mike here: While the removed cutouts didn't make a perfect match for the outline of the ETX, it worked well enough.
Subject:	Planetary Viewing on ETX-125EC w/Autostar
Sent:	Saturday, March 26, 2005 08:48:26
From:	Dave O'Brien (dave_obrien@videotron.ca)
First, the site is great!  Nice job, I know how much work it must be to
maintain, and s appreciated by folks like me who use this as a learning
tool.

My question is about the clarity of the view when observing planets
through my ETX-125EC, either I'm not doing something right, or my
expectation is too high.

I have been spending time observing Saturn and Jupiter as they are very
bright from my neighborhood (approx. 30 miles north of Montreal,
Canada).  I started with the standard Meade Series 4000 26mm sp eyepiece
and saw the planets very clearly, very sharp, although quite small (size
of a tic-tac)  so I bought a Meade Series 4000 #140 2x barlow and a
Meade Series 4000 13.8mm SWA eyepiece.  The views were larger (size of a
dime), tweaking the focus brought sharp images, but still not enough
detail for what I was expecting  so I bought a Meade Series 4000 9.7mm
sp which I hoped would give me the level of detail I was looking for. 
Coupling the 9.7mm with the 2x Barlow gave me a bigger (slightly larger
than a quarter), clear image  but still not at the level of detail I was
expecting (hoping) to get from this scope.

I really want to see the divisions in Saturn's rings and get a more
detailed view of the cloud belts on Jupiter.  Is it a question of how
dark the sky is around my house, or is it that I am using the wrong
eyepieces, or something else all together?  Your guidance would be
greatly appreciated.  Thanks again for the site

Best Regards,

Dave O'Brien
St-Eustache,  QC, Canada
dave_obrien@videotron.ca
Mike here: Some points: As you get closer to the theoretical maximum magnification for any telescope, the image will begin to deteriorate and get fainter and fuzzier. For the ETX-125 that would be about 250X (see the FAQ page if you are uncertain how to calculate this). As you increase the magnification you are also increasing the magnification of any disturbances in the Earth's atmosphere. And there is the air turbulence within the telescope tube if you don't let the telescope reach "thermal equilibrium", which could be a couple of hours for the ETX-125. Of course, there is also the condition of the optics (cleanliness and collimation). As to expectations, only you can say what you expect and those may or may not exceed the capabilities of the ETX-125 (see the Helpful Information: User Observations page for other user reports). Adding appropriate filters can help, especially with Jupiter, but don't expect to see swirls in the cloud bands. With Saturn you should be able to see Cassini Division, the shadow of the planet on the rings and the shadow of the rings on the planet, plus a couple of faint cloud bands.
Subject:	Can you mount etx90 spotting scope on ec base?
Sent:	Thursday, March 24, 2005 12:13:45
From:	[removed]
If I buy an etx-90 spotting scope and the electric drive base for an
etx-90ec can I mount the spotting scope on it. Would this be simple or
require a lot of modifications? BTW is there a better place than ebay to
pick up an etx90 for cheap?

thanks so much,
Mike here: The ETX-90 spotting scope is the same OTA as the ETX-90EC (or AT model). It should mount directly to the EC base by using four screws. You can see the removal process at the bottom of this page:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/90ec_comments.html
Subject:	Choose telescope
Sent:	Wednesday, March 23, 2005 23:58:11
From:	philip@philippos.net (philip@philippos.net)
Because you are more experienced than me I am taking the chance to ask
you a question. Which of the two telescopes below is the best?

North Star
Bushnell
78-7845
4.5" reflector

OR

Meade ETX-125EC

Please write me your comments for both of them.

--
Philippos Isaia
email:philip@philippos.net
http://www.philippos.net
Mike here: I have no experience with the Bushnell. You need to check the specs on both models, compare the features vs what you want to do with the telescope. You can read a lot about the ETX-125 on the ETX Site.
Subject:	ETX  Power
Sent:	Wednesday, March 23, 2005 17:19:53
From:	William Ellis (wcbabybee@yahoo.com)
Looked into your archives for some info about powering an ETX and a
question came up between me and a good friend. I usually use a Jump
Start Battery, pretty common among LX 200 guys in the field, but have
been trying a Radio Shack 110 to 12 volt (Actually 13.8 Volt) 3 Amp
power supply at home with my new ETX. Use the Cigarette Lighter
receptical and a Scope Stuff power cord.

Works great with the scope and a couple of Dew Heaters, corrector plate
and eyepiece, but now we're wondering if the higher voltage output
(13.8Volts) may be a little high. Haven't seen any real  good info on
Max or Minimum Voltage requirements, but really suspect that a lot of
the drive motor faults may be from the internal batteries going low,
especially in cold weather.

Had our 10" out on the deck last night. Clear, but not the best viewing
here in the North East. Have to admit, as my wife said, the look of
Saturn was just as good in our,. or should I say her ETX. Unfortunately
it clouded over before Jupiter arose from behind the trees!
 
Bill Ellis
Mike here: Should be OK.
Subject:	Moving Corrector Plate?
Sent:	Monday, March 21, 2005 20:50:59
From:	Joe Hansen (ja_hansen777@hotmail.com)
Just a quick check in - while screwing in the Meade dew shield for the
125 I noticed some movement of the lettering ring mounted in front of
the corrector lense. Am I correct in assuming that this element is
pressure mounted and that rotation does not actually induce motion into
the corrector plate itself? I read in one of the posts that motion in
the front lense of the M-C design wasn't an issue like it is in S-C
scopes (where the plates orientation is mated to the primary. Do I need
to be worried?

Thanks again!

- Joe Hansen,
Mesa, AZ
Mike here: The corrector lens housing can rotate (it unscrews from the end of the OTA). It fully seated, collimation should not be affected.

And:

Yea, that's what I thought. Looks like I may have the same problem with
the Dew Shield that was reported earlier this year (my 125's dust cap
thread appears different than the dew shield's). Its staying on for the
moment but not as snug as I would like (and if you overtighen it "pops
off").

Subject:	Re: eyepiece for the 105
Sent:	Monday, March 21, 2005 19:49:24
From:	nanaOmai@comcast.net (nanaOmai@comcast.net)
Good Evening Mike and thank you for your reply.
 
I returned the Celestron kit to ScopeCity in San Francisco today.  They
gave me a very nice 2x Barlow, 16mm Super Plossl, 32mm Super Plossl (all
Parks), a IND50, #12 Deep Yellow, #23A Light Red and a #82A Very Light
Blue  filters (all Lumicon). We talked about a half hour before they
decided on what was best for me. The difference in the "store made kit"
was really next to zero charge. They did a test with each item (except
the filters) using a 105, then they switched back to the Celestron lens.
I saw the pupil's on the eye of the Statute of Liberty on a fake
thousand dollar bill.  What I learned at ScopeCity today is the FOV on
the Parks is really wide.  I think the quality of the Parks optical are
better, but then again I did not have the real high top of the line
Celestron optical pieces either.

I think learning about the constellations, planets, nebula's, sun and
the moon is very challenging and fun, but the part about all the
different eyepieces and filters is not fun.  We have rain in Berkeley
again..so I used the scope to look up into the hills over U.C. Berkeley
which was very nice.  The reference to the Parks eyepiece was a very old
"observation" on the ETX eyepiece site.

ScopeCity was very helpful and nice, they said I could bring in my
equipment or come and ask questions anytime...my kind of store.  Thank
you for helping and thanks to our ETX site (I must learn how to use
fewer words).
 
Pam

Subject:	looking for astrophotogrophy examples
Sent:	Sunday, March 20, 2005 20:13:35
From:	Sarah Bashaw (traeh@sbcglobal.net)
First off I must tell you, your site is AMAZING!! I have spent hours
looking and reading and have decided to buy a etx 125, but before I do I
was looking through the net to find pictures of what the images would be
like, or if I should wait until I can afford the LX200 series. If you
know of any sites that have pictures of astrophotography taken from an
etx 125 ( Galaxies and nebula, DSI) I would really appreciate it. Again,
an amazing job on your sit, it is in a class all by itself.

Thank You,

Andrew Bashaw
Mike here: Many of the examples in the Guest Astrophotography pages as well as on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography pages include the model of telescope used. Alternatively, do a search for "astrophotography etx-125"; many examples will show up.

And:

I just saw your Gallery. I don't know how I missed it for so long.
Thanks anyway. I have decided to get the Meade etx 125 thanks to you and
all your followers. Thanks again for the amazing site.

Clear skies ahead,

Andrew Bashaw

Subject:	eyepiece for the 105
Sent:	Sunday, March 20, 2005 11:50:29
From:	NanaOmai@comcast.net (NanaOmai@comcast.net)
The ETX-105 telescope (w/UHTC coating and all the  hi-tech gadgets) is
quite beautiful!  As usual for many jr. entry level stargazer the cart
came before the horse.  I have read all the info on different types and
mfgs. of eyepieces at the ETX site.  I am way too late for the Meade
$99.00 package, I purchased the Celestron kit for $169.00 and noticed
that the inside of several pieces had not been ground/polished or
cleaned up prior to setting the lens inside (then I noticed where they
were assembled).  I called ScopeCity, they apologized for not taking the
time to exam all the contents, I am returning the kit to them tomorrow
(San Francisco).

Like I said, I put the cart before the horse.  I cannot get a cash
refund, but they will exam the contents and replace the ugly ones.  They
are also offering a Parks Ultima Kit for $30.00 more (the site only had
one reference to Parks).

My important question is:

should I let them replace/repair the ugly ones, OR pay the difference
and get the Parks kit?

I have been going thru your ETX book again and re-reading articles on
eyepieces again.

The most important word I must remember is "parafocal".  As long as the
eyepieces are of the same mfg I will not have to re-focus when changing
eyepieces.

Then again, maybe I should ask ScopeCity to just give me Mead eyepieces
instead.  So, my real question is what size Meade eyepieces would I need
to look at the sky but really look at the moon?

Parks has acquired Lumicon (their lens seem to be costly), Meade and
Celestron are about the same price.  I am nowhere good enough to know
about "quality".

Maybe if the ETX-PE sales are good, Meade will offer a eyepiece kit
again (then I'll really be confused).   I need your assistance please.
 
Pam
Mike here: I don't recall any bad comments about Parks eyepieces. Keep in mind that because the eyepieces are from the same manufacturer, they may not (and probably aren't) parfocal. Only eyepieces that are designed to be parfocal with each other will be parfocal in fact. That isn't to say that other eyepieces won't be parfocal; you would have to test them to find out.
Subject:	batteries for meade telescopes
Sent:	Saturday, March 19, 2005 11:36:37
From:	Joshua Rhines (mic00n64@msn.com)
Do you know if u can use rechargeable batteries meade telescopes?

Thanks

Josh Rhines
Mike here: Yes, but see the article "Rechargeable Batteries" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	re: ETX 125 motor fault problems
Sent:	Saturday, March 19, 2005 08:13:03
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
I was going to  (and still will) suggest that you open the base
and look for a loose connector or perhaps a poorly-attached wire
to a plug's pin on a cable.
(remove batteries, remove three screws (possibly beneath the rubber feet),
lift plate... the battery-compartment leads are -very- short and fragile,
so don't let the plate drop)  If you're careful, there will be no evidence
of your passage therein... (no "paint seals").

But then i re-read your "Subject"... 

Does the scope simply stop moving (based upon the long description),
OR does it declare "Motor Unit Fault" on the Autostar before stopping?
(hinted by the Subject:)

If the latter, then Setup > Telescope > Calibrate should address it,
but you're reporting multiple occurrances...

While you've got the bottom open, scrutinize the encoder area
(The white vaned disk at one end of the motor).  Look for grease
or dirt in its vanes.

A "Motor Unit Fault" error occurs when the encoder does not see
-exactly- the number of vane passages that it's expecting in a 
time slice.

good luck
--dick
From:	pat_tuohy@moh.govt.nz (pat_tuohy@moh.govt.nz)
Thanks for the prompt and helpful reply.  I will take the scope out
again and watch carefully for the exact timing of events.  Will let you
know the outcome.

Regards

 Pat

Subject:	Televue Powermate x5
Sent:	Saturday, March 19, 2005 06:23:45
From:	Gary Johnstone (aboveandbeyond@ntlworld.com)
Fantastic site. I am new to the world of astronomy and have got an
ETX105 EC UHTC. A fantastic scope so far, although the first one i got
had a burnt out dec motor.

I have the standard 26mm and a 10mm piece (Make unknown) as well as a
Barlow x2. We got our first view of Saturn a few nights ago, and it is a
memory that will stay with me forever! I put my 10mm piece on with the
barlow and i was a bit disappointed with the result. It was of course
bigger, and the focuse was not very good. I've also bought a 15mm Meade
4000 which i have yet to use.

My question is - would getting a Televue Powermate x5 make a big
difference? Would it make the image bigger with no blurring of the
picture. I don't use a camera yet, but might in the future.

Thank you for your help.
 
Best regards
 
Gary Johnstone
Mike here: Doubling the 10mm on the ETX-105 exceeds the theoretical maximum magnification for the telescope. That could be why the image disappointed you. (If you are uncertain how to calculate this, see the FAQ page.) As to the Powermate, see the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page.
Subject:	re #825 finder problems
Sent:	Saturday, March 19, 2005 04:54:27
From:	ericedens@earthlink.net (ericedens@earthlink.net)
It turns out the popped off eyepiece did have a negative effect.  Aside
from the aforementioned crosshair spin/focusing problem,  every time my
face would touch the eyecup the finder would lose focus.  I called
SCOPETRONIX and they had one in FedEx for me the same day.  It arrived
yesterday!

Also, after a years worth of poor goto and tracking performance (the
entire life of the scope) I did a reset, recalibrated and retrained (on
Polaris) closely following Dr. Clay's advice from tech tips, with
outstanding results! I was very pleased!!!

Thanks for the wonderful site w/ so much great information.

-Eric

Subject:	Kc5mip  /EXT-60
Sent:	Friday, March 18, 2005 14:48:03
From:	Joe (kc5mip@earthlink.net)
I have a bad autostar hand controller for my EXT 60 AT I have no need
for all that computer stuff and I got the scope just use it for it clock
drive . I only need the scope to do one thing and that is to track
object or the RA so I can use scope to piggy back an SLR camera. the
thing that I don't know is >>>Is the RA a stepper motor and is there a
way to not use the Hand controller and wire up a box to just turn on the
RA part of the telescope. I am a Ham operator and know how to build
circuit to over ride and just late the RA do its job. . I notice that
there are 7 wire's the other question is with out the Hand controller
hook up will the RA still work???? thank you
Mike here: Interesting idea. Since the non-Autostar Electronic Handcontroller does this (sort of), it might be possible. Alternatively you could look for a used ETX EC controller.

And:

From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
As Mike alluded to, the non-Autostar "EC" controller (shipped with
the original ETX90ec and ETX125ec) can operate in this manner.

I'd have to check my notes (they're at home, i'm not) to see if the
ETX60 has the same RA Ratio as the ETX90 ... if it does, than an
EC controller would work.  You can probably get one from William Vorce
at Telescope Warehouse  ( scopehed@earthlink.net 877-391-7755 ).

You can check the RA/Az Ratio yourself (Setup > Telescope ...),
if it's about 1.386 (or 1.368) then it most likely WILL work with an ETX EC
controller.  And -that- unit knows how to "just run the motor in sidereal
when polar mounted".

Or Ebay. You can probably get one for $10 to $20.
Do -not- get one from an LXD55, it would be sending the wrong speed command.

> Is the RA a stepper motor 

No.  It's a DC motor with a quadrature encoder attached.
 There's a closed-loop servo controller built inside the scope.
The Autostar (or hand controller) sends packeted control
commands on a (modified, not quite kosher) I2C bus, the
local controller tries to maintain the commanded speed.

> is there a way to not use the Hand controller and wire up a box to just 
> turn on the RA part of the telescope. I am a Ham operator and know how 
> to build circuit to over ride and just late the RA do its job. . I 
> notice that there are 7 wire's the other question is with out the Hand 
> controller hook upwill the RA still work????

There are 8 wires.. power, ground, and three pairs of I2C busses.
(one pair each to RA, DEC and AUX).  

have fun
--dick
Mike here: There was an ETX-60EC model that included that same controller (I think).
Subject:	Hey Mike...
Sent:	Friday, March 18, 2005 12:06:51
From:	Ithesubwaypusher@aol.com (Ithesubwaypusher@aol.com)
I received my 125 today. It is certainly a far cry from my 12-inch
LX200, but I just couldn't handle the weight anymore.

I find it very strange that the OTA in very unbalanced, especially with
a dew shield attached. I thought that I might have problems with the
weight of the shield, but the scope is unbalanced anyway. I installed
the Meade zoom eyepiece to add some weight rearward, but to no avail. I
guess the only way is to add a 1/4-inch diagonal in the rear port, but I
looked in OPT and they don't have the screw-in types that attach to the
port. Any suggestions?
 
Thank you very much.
  
Chris, NYC
Mike here: Be certain to read the Email Etiquette on the ETX Home Page; your message was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the subject entry.
As to balance (or unbalance), that shouldn't be a problem for the most part. But if you want to add some to the rear port, see the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page for the SCT Accessory Adapter. Alternatively, you could add either the Meade Erecting Prism (same page) or the a wide field adapter (see the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page).
Subject:	Problem etx 125
Sent:	Friday, March 18, 2005 01:55:39
From:	lolo (moustang@wanadoo.fr)
Hello I am French!I have a etx 125!I have a big problem with!When I
alignment alt/az with two star with the autostar wants to make the
tlscope go in the direction of star but downwards?

You could helped me to find a solution knowing that the tlscope never
had autostar with by front!

I have the version 33ef autostar!

Thank you in advance!Laurent of France

absent person me for English
Mike here: The translation seemed to have lost something. But try doing a RESET, CALIBRATE MOTORS, and then TRAIN DRIVES. Let me know.
Subject:	ETX 125 motor fault problems
Sent:	Thursday, March 17, 2005 20:09:58
From:	pat_tuohy@moh.govt.nz (pat_tuohy@moh.govt.nz)
I have just got back to New Zealand with my ETX 125, which I purchased
while I was overseas in the USA.  I was aware that any warrantee
problems would be problematic but was prepared to take the risk. 
However I have this recurrent Motor drive problem which I think comes
from the base motor, basically the telescope stops tracking after a
random length of time and I need to reboot.   It's not batteries, which
were the first things I thought of.

Apart from that this is a superb little telescope, and beats my old 8
inch celestron dobsonian hands down, not just for ease of use, but for
clarity, even though there's much less light gathered.

I've seen several postings on your discussion forums about this issue,
but not many indicate the outcome, what the problem might be, and
whether it was easy to fix.  I suspect from what I have read that the
nut on the worm gear might be too tight, or there might be grease on the
optical encoders in the base.  However I'm not sure whether to take the
step of opening it myself and voiding my (probably un-usable) warrantee,
sending it to a Meade dealer in NZ and paying them to look at it or look
at it myself.  I'm reasonably capable at these sorts of things.

Any advice from you or other users would be appreciated.

thanks

Pat Tuohy
Mike here: You didn't say if you have done a CALIBRATE MOTORS, TRAIN DRIVES, and whether you have put the telescope into the proper HOME position (including the rotation to the first hard stop). These would be the first things to check. Let me know.
Subject:	Rough Focusing
Sent:	Thursday, March 17, 2005 07:29:06
From:	Joe Hansen (ja_hansen777@hotmail.com)
Glad to hear you finally got your PE (and hope you enjoy it!). I have a
question regarding the Classic 125's focusing control. I recently
received a unit to replace one that had excessive mirror shift. The
first thing I did with the unit was to test all the axis to distribute
lubricant, test hard stops, etc. All well there. But when I turn the
focusing knob to move the focus from min to max I notice that it has
some "rough spots" where the tension isn't uniform. It is almost as
though there isn't enough grease (hard to believe) or that there is some
dirt in the mechanism (or perhaps rough spots on the focusing assembly)?
The focusing mechanism on the previous scope, was very smooth all
throughout the focus travel by comparison. I'm concerned that this good
induce additional vibration into the focusing process. Any thoughts from
you or Dr. Clay would be helpful. Not sure if this is a fix, forget, or
return type issue. Thanks!
 
- Joe Hansen,
Mesa, AZ
Mike here: There are many variables. When you turn the knob, does it appear that anything is catching, causing the mirror to jump? If not, I'd suggest seeing if it loosens up over (a short) time.

And:

I'll do some testing this weekend and let you know. Thanks!

Subject:	Metal or plastic bearing on ETX125
Sent:	Thursday, March 17, 2005 01:53:58
From:	ShiXin.Wu@seagate.com (ShiXin.Wu@seagate.com)
Is there a way to find out whether a ETX125 mount is using a metalised
or plastic bearing, from the external? Or alternatively we can know by
knowing when is the ETX being purchase or build. (eg. ETX125 with 883
mount is using plastic bearing or 884 tripod is metalised bearing)

Thanks for helping!! Have a nice day ahead!!

Regards

Wu(Singapore)
Mike here: Not really.
Subject:	ETX-90 EC and 8" Dob>>Ideas on upgrading and accessories?
Sent:	Thursday, March 17, 2005 01:38:30
From:	MICHAEL MESSNER (mrmbeach@adelphia.net)
I purchased an ETX-90 EC 4 years ago along with a 8" Dob. I live in Simi
Valley, CA on a golf course. I have a few questions. I am ready to
upgrade both scopes. I purchased one for stationary use and one for
traveling. I just want to see more deep sky objects and more detail on
the planets I have found about 40 of the Messier objects but have a hard
time with galaxies and still have not found M 51 and that is suppose to
be easy to see. Therefore the reason I would like to upgrade. I find
that deep sky objects are better with the Dob and planets and the moon
are crystal clear with the ETX. In fact last week I viewed Jupiter at
350X in the ETX believe it or not and I saw the big red spot transit for
the first time, at first I thought there was a bug on the scope but then
a few minutes later it happened again and I could see it more clearly.
At 550x in the Dob I could not see as much detail as in the ETX. So I
would like to buy scope or scopes that will give me both, plus
portablility and the ability to do astrophotography.

I realize that I could live in a worse place, but the light pollution is
appalling. I have your book on the ETX and the pictures you drew of the
objects we might see are the only accurate drawings I have ever seen.
Most books tell you that you can easily see objects with even
binoculars.I find that to be a load of bunk, at least from my location.
I have found that the base on the Orion Dobsonian is excellent and when
I get an object in the eyepiece there is very little or no vibration.
However, with the ETX it vibrates like crazy every time I focus and then
I have to wait a few seconds for it to calm down. Is that normal>?

I love the portablility of the ETX but it just seems that you have to
keep buying additional accessories to make it work correctly. For
Instance, I had to buy a right angle viewfinder because you could not
see through the viewfinder when looking high in the sky. Recently I have
had to buy an electronic focuser and my tabletop Tripod is just not
cutting it. They want $200 for the Field tripod and another $150 for the
Autostar which I originally passed on buying and now wish I had it. I
thought it would be better just to get a new scope with all the
trimmings. What do you think? and is there a good dealer that will take
trade-ins or a good website that you can list your ETX and get a decent
price?

I know you love the ETX but if you were to upgrade from what I have and
you could have one stationary and one easily transportable scope what
would you buy? (My budget for two scopes is about $3700.)  At first I
thought about the ETX 125PE and a 12" Dob for the backyard. But now I am
thinking more in the line of a 4" Apochromatic.Especially since I have
read the concerns and challenges of several of your readers. I just have
no idea.Is it true that the design of the ETX approaches the clarity of
an Apochromatic?

I have an 8" Orion and it has been excellent especially for the price so
I am leaning in that direction for a 12" Dob. Which company makes the
best Dob? Celestron, Meade, Orion or Hardin? For the transportable
scope, I really love the ETX but I am afraid to be dissappointed with
the 125. I am also interested in Astrophotography and I know that the
Dob is out of the question for that so getting a portable scope that is
good for Astrophotography is difficult as well. I would appreciate your
advice or at least thoughts on the subject.

Thanks,
Mick Messner
PS: your book was great thank you.
Mike here: Depending upon whether you have the ETX tripod legs fully extended or not, vibrations will be more or less a problem during focusing by hand. I don't have the legs fully extended so vibrations are minimal. You can also add weight to the tripod or use vibration suppression pads under the tripod feet. Some dealers will sell telescopes on consignment or you can post a FOR SALE ad on the ETX Site (for the ETX). Since you know the sky I would suggest keeping the ETX-90 for portability and get a LX200GPS with the budget. Go for the largest aperture budget and your location will allow.

And:

Thanks Mike.
Take care,
Mick

Subject:	An English forum was made.
Sent:	Wednesday, March 16, 2005 14:27:07
From:	Yoshi-K (yoshi@galaxies.jp)
An English only ETX forum was made.

"English Forum of ETX"
http://etx.galaxies.jp/modules/newbb/viewforum.php?forum=4

Please write the comment by "start commemoration".
"Weasner's ETX Site" is a Bible in the ETX user in Japan. 

"English Forum of ETX" <- New Message writing
http://etx.galaxies.jp/modules/newbb/newtopic.php?forum=4

"Title" and "Message" and ... "Submit". or "Preview" Button.

Please please...... 

Regards,
---------------------------------
Yoshikatsu Kida
http://etx.galaxies.jp/
http://galaxies.jp/

Subject:	Lens Cleaning Solution
Sent:	Tuesday, March 15, 2005 13:50:38
From:	Tom Collins (TomCollins@homeimprovementking.com)
I know I have seen it before, but I cannot find the recipe for the lens
cleaning solution for a lens with UHTC.  Where is it located on your
site?  Thank you.
Mike here: Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips: Cleaning Optics.
Subject:	How do I connect my ETX90EC to my laptop?
Sent:	Tuesday, March 15, 2005 10:52:47
From:	Mark Elliott (Mark.Elliott@quantum.com)
Great site! 

I know you have information posted on your site about how to connect an
ETX scope to a laptop but can't seem to locate the correct file.  Can
you steer me in the right direction?

Specifically, I would like information on what CCD to buy and what
software I need to run on my laptop to view objects from the CCD.  Also,
is it possible to control the scope via the laptop?

Thanks again,

Mark Elliott
Colorado Springs, CO 
Mike here: If you have the Autostar #497 you can control it from a computer, either a laptop or a desktop computer. See the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page for lots more info. If you don't have an Autostar, sorry, can't be done (at least not using available software). As to imagers, see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page for more info.
Subject:	2-inch eyepieces...
Sent:	Tuesday, March 15, 2005 07:40:07
From:	Ithesubwaypusher@aol.com (Ithesubwaypusher@aol.com)
Thank you for your great site. I looked for the answer to this question,
but I can't find it. Forgive me if I missed it.

I sold my 12-inch LX200 because of its weight. I have an ETX-125 on the
way, and wonder if I can use eyepieces like the 27mm Panoptic which is
of course, a two-inch, with the ETX. Is there some kind of adapter to
fit the rear? I would also like to place a skylight filter as a dust
seal as soon as I get it, but it is a two-inch. Is there a way to
install a 1 1/4 -inch?
 
Thank you,
 
Chris 
Mike here: Well, you could use it (there are 1.25-2" adapters that will fit the eyepiece hole) BUT you wouldn't be able to take full advantage of the wider field of view. Depending upon the weight of the eyepiece you might also need to add a counterweight system. Don't recall seeing any filter adapters however.
Subject:	re: Meade #825 Possible Quality Problem
Sent:	Tuesday, March 15, 2005 06:40:05
From:	Nolan, Gregory J. (gjnolan@tva.gov)
I had this same problem. The first time I tried to focus the right angle
view finder, the eyepiece fell into my hand. A risky fix, but one that
paid off for me - I used some 5 minute epoxy and spread it around the
barrel (careful to keep it as far away from the lens as possible to
avoid the fogging that glue can create). I reattached the eyepiece and
it had been solid ever since - no fogging and focusing still works.

Thank you,

Greg Nolan
And more:
From:	Eric Edens - Shetucket Supply (shetucket.e.ede@snet.net)
In referance to Frank's e-mail, I too just received an 825 and could not
get the tube to unscrew and popped off the eyepiece.  It did not however
seem to effect its function but the the entire eyepiece (including
crosshairs) turns when you try to focus so you have to hold the top
while you adjust the rubber grippy part.  Is this normal with eyepieces
that haven't popped off?

Also, if you unscrew the finder mounting screws almost all the way the
finder will slide in from the back.

Thanks for the great site Mike!

-Eric

Subject:	re:  foollish mail.....
Sent:	Monday, March 14, 2005 21:49:20
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
1:  Yes, for use with STarry Night, you require the Autostar.
 The scope does NOT have to be mounted on a Polar Wedge.

2: http://www.meade.com/manuals/

have fun
--dick
And:
repeated:  NO  I  want  to  use  the  scope  WITHOUT  the  autostar,  as
that  device  is  too  difficult  for  me  to  coope  with.  I  can't 
get the Thing  doing  the  right  job,  so....  I  am  for  that  a
digibete......
And this:
From your original request, i thought you were asking about the computer
program "Starry Night".  You can operate the telescope from Starry Night,
but the Autostar must still be connected to the telescope to serve as
an interpreter of the PC computer's requests.

If you merely wish to move the telescope and track the stars -without-
"using" the Autostar, you have two choices:

(1) there is a small "hand controller" which is included with the
 ETX90 and ETX125 when they are sold as the "EC" model.  It has
 only 6 buttons (the 4 slew directions, and focus in/out).
 If you mount the telescope on a wedge (as you asked in the original
 note), it will drive the motors to follow the stars.
 I recommend that you ask Meade Europe http://www.meade.de 
 (or your local vendor) for that controller.

(2) You can operate the Autostar in the same way:  mount the telescope
 on a wedge (tilted plate), and turn on the Autostar.  Simply press
 [enter] to go past the time/date/daylight questions (they do not 
 need to be correct).  Now press [mode] until you see: Setup/Align
 Now press the scroll down [v] (lower right on keypad) until you see
 Setup/Targets.  Press [enter].  Press scroll down [v] until you see
 "Astronomical".  Press [enter]
 The tracking motor should start.

You can now use the "slew keys" to move the telescope, and it will
 follow the stars across the sky.  The number keys (1->9) change the
 speed.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	re: Ready to quit on Meade
Sent:	Monday, March 14, 2005 21:46:17
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
In the past, Meade has not had problems with folks trying to do intelligent
diagnosis of their scopes.  So if it were me, i'd open the base and look
for an unplugged dec cable ... carefully.

Remove the batteries first.

The interior battery wires are very short, so be careful not to drop
the base plate once you've unscrewed the 3 screws (which might be
hiding under the rubber feet).

Then comes the question of: which way does the connector -seat-?

good luck
--dick
And an update:
Subject:	FIXED: Ready to quit on Meade
Sent:	Tuesday, March 15, 2005 09:19:03
From:	Chip Underwood (italybound_2000@yahoo.com)
Mr. Seymour, Mr. Weasner,

Thanks for the advice and saving me $50 dollars in postage and more
importantly, 1-2 months without our scope which would have been for a
disconnected dec cable!  I took off the base plate and the cable was
just sitting there.  It looked as if it was routed around the mount bolt
post and pulled right out when the scope slewed on initial alignment. 
This explains why when I trained the drives prior to initial alignment,
it worked just fine (not much movement for drive training).  I guessed
on the which way the connector went on, as it has a distinct shape, and
connected it identically to how the Az drive connector was installed.

Owe you big!!!!!!!
 
Finest Regards,
Chip Underwood

Subject:	re: Reversed Polarity
Sent:	Monday, March 14, 2005 21:41:48
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
If you're very lucky, you may have merely blown the traces off the
power panel board (directly behind the on/off switch).

I'd start by inspecting, and rebuilding, there.

But FIRST i'd change my external power source so that this canNOT happen again.
(and add fuses)

good luck
--dick

Subject:	Reversed Polarity
Sent:	Sunday, March 13, 2005 11:11:57
From:	tom huyser (tsailorh@yahoo.com)
I'm afraid the other night I reversed the polarity to my ETX 125 from my
external power source.  Now the Auto Star powers up, and I can go
through the entire sequence for aligning etc., but the motors dont run,
even though the controller says it is slewing.  When I reset the Auto
Star, and I tried to cal. the motors and train the drives I get a Motor
Unit Failure message.  Is there anything I can do (replace/repair) to
fix this?  I really want to avoid the cost of sending this scope to
Meade.  By the way the scope is a few years old and well out of
warrenty.
Mike here: You may have fried the circuit board; that will require a return to Meade unless you can get a used base.
Subject:	Ready to quit on Meade
Sent:	Sunday, March 13, 2005 09:43:39
From:	Chip Underwood (italybound_2000@yahoo.com)
I was hoping that I could just read and learn from your ETX site without
ever having to write to you.  Unfortunately, I am in a spot where I need
some advice!  I will make this as brief as possible :-)

*Bought an ETX 105EC in November, worked great until Jan when the Az
motor went out and the OTA would just shoot straight up!  The place I
bought it from waived the 30 day return and expedited a replacement for
me (at his return shipping expense- pretty cool!).  I am military
stationed overseas, so I can't just drive to the store to return stuff.

*Just got the replacement, went out at dusk and trained the drives- no
problem and the replacement scope's drives were even quieter and
stronger than the original- feeling good!  Going to go out the next
night to "watch the show".

*There was no show the next night as the Alt motor was dead when I went
to do the alignment, completely silent.  It would slew on the Az axis
and then the controller would blink between "Motor Failure" and "Testing
Motors".  When the Testing Motors message would flash on the Autostar,
the scope would slew for a second on the Az axis and then stop when the
Motor Fail message would come on and as the messages flashed back and
forth, the scope slewing would start and stop over and over again.  I
changed batteries, plugged in the adapter and let it sit power-off and
try again- nothing.  Meade customer service (after I actually got a hold
of them) didn't even try to troubleshoot it other than to say that it
was a broken dec lock and to send it to them (at my expense of course). 
 I backed off the dec lock knob to sniff and look around for any obvious
damage and there was no sign or scent of a motor burning out, only the 
smell of the grease.  It has to be the controller or an
intermittant/disconnected wire in the mount.  I am afraid to void my
warranty but it's got to be something silly that I can fix (unless it's
the controller).

Any advice?  Anything I can do?  I'm looking at a two month turnaround
time due to my location and I'm getting frustrated as this already scope
# 2...
 
Thanks!!!!
Chip Underwood
Mike here: Sorry have have had problems. I presume you did a CALIBRATE MOTORS before that first one failed or when changing power sources. You said the "Alt motor was dead". If so, it is not getting power. Working with the DEC lock will not help that. You could look for a cut wire however.

And:

Thanks for the reply!  Yes, I didn't understand why the Meade guy said
broken dec lock(?!) when it was an inop motor.  I'm with you in the
disconnected wire lean.  Am I going to void the warranty if I just check
around inside for the obvious? I did calibrate the motors, hard reset
the controller, you name it.
 
Thanks,
Chip Underwood
Mike here: I don't think you should invalidate the warranty by looking.
Subject:	Meade #825 Possible Quality Problem
Sent:	Saturday, March 12, 2005 15:31:04
From:	ranger (leofran2@connecttime.net)
I just purchased the #825 Right Angle viewfinder for my ETX 90EC scope.
I can't seem to complete the installation instructions because, I am not
able with all my strength to unscrew the tube assembly from the prism,
and the eypiece just popped off the prism revealing that it is only held
on to the prism by some form of grease. I plan to call Meade on this,
but does anyone know if this could be a quality problem where the tube
was glued and the eyepiece was greased when the reverse should have
taken place?

Thanks, Frank
Mike here: There have been some reports of the eyepiece coming off.

And:

Thanks Mike for your response, great site !

Frank

Subject:	Focal Reducers
Sent:	Saturday, March 12, 2005 07:53:59
From:	Tom and Klara Collins (tomandklara@socal.rr.com)
Is there a focal reducer for the ETX-125 and if there is how can I
couple the LPI/focal reducer/scope together?  What kind of results
should I expect to see?
Mike here: See the write-up on the Shutan Wide-Field Adapter on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page. I haven't tried the LPI with it but it should work OK. As with most focal reducers, it will effectively increased the image brightness.
Subject:	Wide Angle Eyepieces
Sent:	Saturday, March 12, 2005 07:53:59
From:	Tom and Klara Collins (tomandklara@socal.rr.com)
With the ETX-125 being F15, will a high dollar, wide angle eyepiece such
a TeleVue Nagler make a dramatic difference over my plossls?
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page for some comments.
Subject:	foollish mail.....
Sent:	Friday, March 11, 2005 08:36:04
From:	walter duif (w.duif@wxs.nl)
Hi,  Walter  here,
  
I  have  not  used  my  ETX125  since  long....Now I  do  not  know  the
 next  facts  for sure:

1. Is  it  posible  to   use  the  device  without  a  autostar, 
looking  for  and  tracking  on  the  starry  night?  F.i.;  is  it
needded  to    mount  the  scope  on a  paralactic  platform  by  then?

2. There  has  to  be  a  usermanual,  but  I  have  lost  it.  How  to
ontain  a  copy  or  so?

Can I  get answers  here  on  mail  or  so,  or  have  I  to  search  a 
page  were  on  some  spot  my  answer  is  to  be  found?
Mike here: Computer software like Starry Night talks to the Autostar which talks to the ETX. So, yes, you need the Autostar. You can mount in Alt/Az or Polar (Equatorial) when using the Autostar. See the FAQ page on the ETX Site for info on manuals.
Subject:	re: Help locating planets.
Sent:	Friday, March 11, 2005 07:32:22
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
If your scope is locating stars properly, then i suspect you're
hitting a quirk of Autostar operation: 
tap [enter] before tapping [goto] when you want to GoTo a planet.
(this tells the Autostar to calculate where the planet is -now-)

When saying you're "having trouble", it helps a LOT if you describe
(in detail: "i pressed this, it did that") what's happening.

Otherwise we are totally in the dark.  (handy for telescope,
useless for helping folks)

have fun
--dick

Subject:	scopetronix eyepieces
Sent:	Wednesday, March 9, 2005 08:53:19
From:	Cysmar@aol.com (Cysmar@aol.com)
Just want to know if you have an opinion on scopetronix eyepieces ?
Thanx
Mike here: There are some Scopetronix eyepieces discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page, including one from me.
Subject:	Help locating planets.
Sent:	Tuesday, March 8, 2005 19:40:31
From:	Daniel Braik (danielbraik111@hotmail.com)
after visiting your website, it became obvious to me that you know all
about telescopes. I was wondering if you could perhaps lend some of your
expertise in the area of planet location. Personally I use a Meade
ETX-125 and am having trouble locating any of the planets, what advice
can you give me, and how can I configure the autostar system that came
with my telescope so that I can more easily locate Celestial objects?
Some help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your time,

Dan Braik
Mike here: The planets are available from the Object->Solar System menu in the Autostar. If you are uncertain how to use the Autostar, read the manual that came with the telescope or Autostar. Read it three times, then play with the system indoors until you have a good grasp of how to use it. Then you can go outside in the dark and be able to better use the Autostar. If you need more help on the alignment steps, see the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page on the ETX Site.
Subject:	High latitude tripod leg
Sent:	Tuesday, March 8, 2005 11:06:51
From:	laurence (laurence@waterbabies.plus.com)
I have recently been given a high latitude table top tripod for my ETX
90EC. However it does not have any markings on it to allow me to set the
latitude. Can you give any advice or guidance. My co-ords are 53 n by 2 
w.

Thanks and clear skies.

Laurence
Mike here: Without the markings you will have to measure and set the tilt of the base to correspond to your latitude. Latitude + angle = 90 degrees.
Subject:	Celestron eyepieces
Sent:	Monday, March 7, 2005 23:38:39
From:	john coxshott (john@coxshott.freeserve.co.uk)
I have purchased an ETX 125, and also a Celestron eyepiece kit that was
on "special offer".  Will the eyepieces work with my ETX 125, or should
I have bought dedicated Meade eyepieces instead?  It also included
colour filters, do they actually help?
 
Thanks again,  John Coxshott 
Mike here: The eyepieces will work. Filters can be useful; see the Accessory Reviews: Filters page.
Subject:	UHTC coatings not specified in packaging box
Sent:	Monday, March 7, 2005 21:43:39
From:	luis pedro cordon (lpcordon@sulanet.net)
Thank you for your great site.

I live in Honduras, Central  America and recently started in astronomy.

Due to the excellent information ofyour site and a barrowed ETX-90
telescope I have recently bought a ETX-125AT with UHTC, but I received a
ETX-125EC box

Looking at the package I first I thought that I hadn't received the
Autostar controller, but the Autostar was inside and no electronic
controller so despite the packaging I suppose everything is OK

In the specification of the bottom side of the box it said Super Multi
Coatings EMC: standard.  Instruction manual and the catalogs inside
didn't mention the UHTC that I bought, I can only find a sticker on the
underside of the telescope that says UHTC and the invoice of the store
that says UHTC

Do you think this is a true UHTC telescope?  Does MEADE pack telescopes
in incorrect labeled boxes?  Does the front ring of the tube have a UHTC
text?  How can I tell if this is truly a UHTC ETX-125AT

Thank you for answering this questions and keep the excellent work and
information on your site.

Yours truly,

Luis Pedro Cordon
Mike here: The label on the telescope OTA specifies UHTC. There is likely no other indication although the brown shipping carton (if you received it), not the box with the photos) should also state UHTC.
Subject:	ETX TUTORIAL CD-ROM BY MAXFACTORY.COM
Sent:	Monday, March 7, 2005 19:57:41
From:	JAMES TIMPER (astroturtle2000@yahoo.com)
MY NAME IS JAMES TIMPER AN AMATEUR ASTRONOMER AND MEMBER OF THE SAINT
LOUIS ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY. I LIVE  IN BELLEVILLE ILLINOIS. FIRST I
ENJOY YOUR SITE AND IT HAS HELPED ME WITH USING MY MEADE 125 ETX. THERE
WAS AN ADVERTISEMENT IN AN ASTRONOMY MAGAZINE ABOUT VIDEO LESSONS ON THE
ETX BY A COMPANY WWW.MAXFACTORY.COM.

THEY ADVERTISE A CD-ROM BUT ARE LOOKING FOR US DEALERS AND THE HAVE NOT
RESPONDED TO ANY OF MY INQUIRIES SO I DO NOT KNOW IF ANYONE KNOWS WHAT
IS THE STORY ON THEM. THE AD LOOK S IMPRESSIVE BUT THATS ALL. THE CD
LISTS 50 LESSONS ON THE ETX BUT I CAN NOT FIND AN ORDER PAGE AND HAS
ANYONE ELSE CONTACTED YOU CONCERNING THIS ITEM.

MY CONCERN HERE IS PROTECTING OTHER AMATEURS FROM DISAPPOINTING
EXPERIENCES I.E. SCAMS ETC AND SUCH. IT THEY ARE ON THE LEVEL THEN FINE
BUT I CAN NOT FIGURE THEM OUT. I DO NOT MEAN TO BOTHER YOU BUT IF YOU
CAN BE OF SOME HELP ON THIS I CAN BE  REACHED AT :

ASTROTURTLE2000@YAHOO.COM

OR PERHAPS A MORE RELIABLE PRODUCT MAY EXIST THAT WOULD BE OF SOME USE I
WOULD LIKE ANY INFO. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND SERVICE.
Mike here: On the February 2005 General Feedback page (in the Feedback Archive), there was a short discussion of it.

And:

THANK YOU VERY MUCH MOST HELPFUL.
I DO NOT KNOW I MIGHT HAVE MISSED IT!

Subject:	series 4000 
Sent:	Monday, March 7, 2005 12:32:56
From:	Cysmar@aol.com (Cysmar@aol.com)
Is  any signifigant difference in planetary observing to be expected
between meade series 4000 (18mm swa and 9.7 mm) and regular meade
eyepieces (specifically meade 18mm wide angle nither 4000 or plossl)
 Thanx
Mike here: I've not used other Meade eyepieces but the Series 4000 is a good choice. For more info on the different eyepiece designs, see the article "Eyepiece Designs" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	ETX-125 table tripod also useable for ETX90 ?
Sent:	Monday, March 7, 2005 07:12:53
From:	Dirk Henrich, Dr.phil.nat. (d.henrich@trauma.uni-frankfurt.de)
I just have one short question: I am owning an ETX90 and an ETX125 and I
want to purchase a table tripod. Now, I wonder if the Tripod of the
ETX125 would also fit to the screw holes of the ETX90. This would be
advantageous to me, since then I would need to buy only one table
tripod.
 
Best regards
 
Dirk
 
(Frankfurt, Germany)
Mike here: They should screw in but I don't have the ETX-125 legs to check how deep they go in.
Subject:	Hard stops on the RA drive
Sent:	Sunday, March 6, 2005 01:27:48
From:	alainpinard (alainpinard@wanadoo.fr)
I live in France and own a ETX 125. The RA motor was always displaying
"motor unit fault" and during the goto I could hear stange noises (as
little "toc") so I have return the etx to the french dealer as it was
under warranty. After 4 months (this is the usual delay for etx repair
in France.....) , they have return the telescope to me and they say on
the repair sheet that they have only "readjust the hard stop". Nothing
else.

The problem is that now, the RA movement from hard stop to hard stop is
only 330. I think that before the repair it was more than 360.
 
So I have two questions:
1) what is the total angle from hard stop to hard stop on a correct
telescope?
2)When I make a Alt/Az alignment, I first turn the base counter
clockwise to the hard stop and then I turn clockwise to have the dec
dial over the control panel (this panel looking to the west). This
clockwise turn from hard stop to control panel is only 70. Is it
correct?  I remember that before the repair it was more, close to 270
 
Thank you per advance for your help.
Best regards
Alain Pinard
Mike here: The degrees from hard stop to hard stop is just slightly less than 720 (not quite twice around). After doing the CCW movement to the hard stop, the CW rotation to North (fork arm over the control panel) is about 120 degrees. If you are not seeing these amounts there is something preventing the proper movement. I suspect is it a wire or some debris that is catching. Don't force the movement just in case it is a wire; you don't want to cut it. You can open the base and look inside; you may be able to see the culprit and move or remove it. Use caution around thw wires.
Subject:	Azimuth motor does not engage
Sent:	Saturday, March 5, 2005 15:25:17
From:	Jack Fox (jackfox@mindspring.com)
I was out during the evening in temperatures around 28 degrees with my
ETX 125 for about an hour and a half when this occurred.  I pushed the
Go To button to an object and it began slewing as usual.  The RA motor
raised the OTA but the Azimuth motor did not rotate the telescope.  The
motor was whirling but no movement.  It had been working fine until
then all evening. I checked the locks on both drives and they were
fine.  I tried using the Autostar to move left or right, but still no
motion (the motor was running but not engaging).  Could the cold temps
be the cause of this?  I also noted a whiff of what seemed like the
smell of electrical burning and shut off the telescope.  When I
returned home and let the scope warm up to room temp both motors worked
fine, no smell of burning.  I did an alignment and several Go To's to 
test it and they were working fine.  This has happened once before
during cold weather.  The AutoStar did not give any motor fault
indications.  I use a portable 12 volt DC power source.  The scope has
been Supercharged by Dr. Clay. Any ideas on the this?
Mike here: The cold may have had something to do with it if the lubrication became "stiff". The smell could have been a motor overheating. If it occurs again, you can possibly fix the problem by unlocking the Azimuth axis and slowly moving the OTA by hand from hard stop to hard stop, back and forth. Do this several times. You will have to redo the Autostar alignment but the movement should loosen up the lubrication.
Subject:	Michael Webb?
Sent:	Saturday, March 5, 2005 03:21:04
From:	noderoa de Roa Martffffednez (derouch@yahoo.es)
Hi, this is Samuel, an old reader of your mighty site.
  
Some time ago I bought some items from Michael Webb (sight and sound
shop), and I see the web is no longer available. Do you know what
hapenned to him? (I am looking for him to buy some things, you know)

Faithfully,
 
Sam
Mike here: Looks like Sight and Sound has shut down.
Subject:	I got your book!!!!
Sent:	Friday, March 4, 2005 19:27:19
From:	Dennis Skea (kc2ccz@optonline.net)
Being new to Astronomy (after waiting 63 years to do something about it)
I bought the books, did the reading, and STILL decided to buy a
telescope by price.  I just couldn't resist the price of a refurbished
ETX-70 for $169 from Scopetronix.  Got to your site, plus a plethora of
others; I took your advice and bought  "Astronomy for small Telescopes",
for Chap 9.  Not enough.  Just got your ETX book (arrived in today's
mail from Amazon)  and have finished first 3 chapters already.  Super!

Going to take my time setting it up, and protecting it.  Bought a
Stanley 24" toolbox, with some foam inserts, and two compartments on top
for "stuff".  Meanwhile I'm doing the binocular route, and still reading
the books.  Target is a couple of months with the binoculars, and a
couple of Astronomy club outdoor meets, and then christen the scope. 
(I'll probably set it up on the back deck WAAAY sooner than that,
though)

So far the scope "looks" good, and your enthusiasm for the ETX design
has me feeling good about it.

I'll keep you posted.
Dennis Skea
Mike here: Many thanks! And welcome to the ETX Universe!
Subject:	Tronic power station
Sent:	Friday, March 4, 2005 00:33:42
From:	Gareth Robinson (GRobinson@centrax.eu.com)
I am trying to establish where I can purchase a Tronic power station
model KH 3106. Also known as a power cube.

Would appreciate if you could email me with a  possible supplier.

Thanks 

Gareth Robinson
Mike here: Have you tried a Google search? I'm not familiar with it.
Subject:	Etx 90 overview
Sent:	Friday, March 4, 2005 01:46:31
From:	DC Casfdfsdgsdfg (irondclion@hotmail.com)
Hi, great site you have here.  I had a couple of questions regarding the
Etx90.  I am new to astronomy, and was thinking of picking up a 70 or
90.  Is it deffinetly worth my while to get the 90 over the 70?

Also. I noticce i see "AR" and "EC" what are the differences in these
models, and are there any other models.

One other question I had was if I choose to get the 90, what
equipment/lenses would I need to pick up to get the most out of the
scope, I was already planning on purchasing a 2x barlow.  Also you
wouldn't happen to know who has got the best deal on the 90's would you?
 Thanks for all your help.
Mike here: The ETX-70 is a short focal length refractor and provides nice wide field views. The ETX-90 is a long focal "reflector" style telescope that provides a smaller field of view and more effective magnification. See my comments on the ETX-70 on the current "ETX-60, ETX-70" feedback page for some info and comparisons. See the FAQ page for info on AT vs EC models. There is also now a new PE model. See Meade's web site for lots of info on the PE model. As for what additional accessories you want/need, that will depend upon how YOU will want to use the telescope. You may not fully know that until you are actually start using the telescope. Most Meade dealers have pretty much the same pricing.
Subject:	etx optics
Sent:	Thursday, March 3, 2005 21:13:56
From:	Cysmar@aol.com (Cysmar@aol.com)
Although i have a decent level of knowledge in naked eye astronomy and
the workings of the stars, my knowledge of telescope terminology and
mechanics is limited.

When i put a star out of focus I saw a perfect white circle with a black
circle inside it which was slightly off center in the 5 to 6 o'clock
range. Sometimes there was a protrusion from the bottom of the black
circle (it looked like a lollypop) but not when really out of focus.

Can you tell me what i'm seeing?
Thanx in advance
Mike here: When you go out of focus you are seeing the central obstruction. For more info, see the star test info on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	How do I clean the rear mirror of my ETX-105
Sent:	Thursday, March 3, 2005 09:59:09
From:	Chris Newsome (chrisnewsome@derbyuk99.freeserve.co.uk)
Hopefully you will be able to answer this question through your amazing
site.....!!!

I recently upgraded my Fujitsu Siemens Amilo A7640 laptop to XP
Professional and have re-installed all my Meade Software and upgrades.
When I came to check my LPI I found some dust specs on the "live" image.
Further investigation found some dust specs, not on the CCD as I
expected, but on the rear mirror of my ETX-105. How can these be removed
as the mirror is deep inside the OTA!? "Dust-air" which I use for my
35mm and medium format cameras doesn't work . And don't ask me to take
any part of the ETX apart as I have got all the practical skills of a
warthog and don't want to damage anything!!!!

Your help would be gratefully received
 
Kind regards
 
Chris Newsome (Derby, UK)
Mike here: I doubt that the "specs" you see on the "live image" are a result of any dust on the mirror. So, unless that mirror is really dirty, don't worry about it. As to those specs on the LPI, could you be seeing "noise" in the signal? That is a common problem with imagers.

And:

The specs appear as little out of focus "rings" of dirt. I have checked
the CCD on the LPI and there is nothing. There are specs of dirt on the
back mirror. I noticed it while checking LPI on a terrestrial object.

Does this help wih the diagnosis?

Chris Newsome (Derby, UK)
Mike here: When using eyepieces, do you see the same thing? With the LPI, if you rotate the LPI in the eyepiece holder, do the spots move with the rotation or stay fixed?
Subject:	Sirius Filter
Sent:	Thursday, March 3, 2005 05:15:36
From:	wilo (wilolaboy@yahoo.com)
Sorry to bother you, but I need some help in choosing some LPR filters.
I am stuck between the Celestron LPR and the Sirius Nebula filter. I
know you know more than me, so please help me out!!!
 
Thanks a lot for your time!!!
William L.
Mike here: I have the Celestron one (see the Accessory Reviews: Filters page).
Subject:	ETX-90  tracking problem in cold weather
Sent:	Thursday, March 3, 2005 04:05:03
From:	Rasmussen, Finn N. (finnr@bi.ku.dk)
I have adopted an ETX-90 without Autostar for a while and I am trying to
learn the noble art of finding objects by star hopping. Well, that may
be a good sport, but maneuvering the ETX by using the non-Autostar hand
control is very frustrating. The movements, particularly in RA, are
delayed and jerky. And tracking in polar mode seems mostly restricted to
indoor usage:

I usually put the scope (but not the hand controller!) out an hour
before observation begins, but  when temperature is close to zero
Celsius (frost) the scope refuses to track, even if it runs on fresh,
newly inserted room-temperature batteries or a fully charged 12V accu.
You cannot even change "mode" on the handset, pressing the mode-button
simply gives no response. Once back inside, mode and tracking will come
back after a while.  I have also used the scope successfully outdoors at
temperatures from about 8C (c. 45F) and up.

I have run an ETX70 with Autostar #494 for hours in minus 12C (c. 10F)
with no problems. Would It help getting an autostar for this ETX90 (it
is upgradable!), or is it likely to be an internal problem in the scope
base? Lack of lubrication or something? Does it need winter oil?

I have solved many ETX-problems by searching this wonderful site (I also
have the unplugged version from Springer Verlag!), but I have not come
across a similar case. Perhaps only very few people are using an ETX
without Autostar. Do you or any readers of this list have any
suggestions?

- Sincerely, Finn Rasmussen, Copenhagen (56 dg. N, where the
astro-season usually is frosty).
Mike here: Two possibilities: Stiff lubrication due to the low temperatures and/or less efficient batteries due to the low temperatures. You can help the first by slowly moving the ETX in both axes (with the axis locks unlocked) back and forth several times. That will loosen up the lubrication. That could then help the battery efficiency since there will be less drag. Second, leave batteries indoors until ready to observe. Yes, it will be a pain to insert outside but it could help for awhile. Alternatively, use a good AC Adapter (1.5A).

And:

Thank you for the good advice! The missing tracking points to a problem
caused by insufficient power or too much friction, so I have already
tried all this: exercising axes, changing to fresh hand warm batteries,
running from powerful 12V accumulator. Normal slewing is still possible,
and it is indeed much more vigorous when the scope runs from the accu.
It puzzles me that the "mode" button becomes inoperative; the hand
controller has NOT cooled down. My next experiment will be to start
tracking when I put the scope out and see if it stops when cooling down.
I wish I knew if there is any chance that a real Autostar would perform
better. I suppose the jerkiness of the slewing movements might be fixed
by adjusting slack etc.
Finn Rasmussen
Mike here: Well, the Autostar will draw more power than the EC handcontroller. Hence the batteries will drain sooner...

And:

Yep, and tracking in alt/az mode with Autostar will draw twice as much
power, but power is not the problem. The force (a 400Amp 12V Automobile
battery) is with me. Yesternight I started the scope up indoors and
carried the cold scared thing out into the chilly night (-12C). It went
on tracking nicely, so after two minutes I plugged the external 12V
source in. This brief interrupt stopped tracking, and it was impossible
to make it start again - and the mode button died. Slewing at all speed
was very energetic, but tracking could only be resumed after several
hours indoors at the fireplace. Could this be special tropical version
of the ETX 90?
Finn Rasmussen
Mike here: When you change power sources there is an interruption in the power to the telescope. There is no "failover" mode to allow an uninterruptable operation.
Subject:	ETX question
Sent:	Wednesday, March 2, 2005 15:28:41
From:	Barry A. Kintner (a2z@kintner.com)
Good day -
-- Is anyone doing a site or section on the Spotting Scope version of
the ETX? Or a site that would have info we might apply to terrestrial
viewing of critters, birds, and such?
-- Thank you - I still enjoy the site for sure.
.

Barry Kintner  -  a2z@kintner.com  -  Phoenix, Arizona
Mike here: I don't recall any spotting scope specific web site but if you search my ETX site for "terrestrial" you will get some hits.
Subject:	ETX clicks and image jumps
Sent:	Monday, February 28, 2005 22:31:43
From:	Duncan Rosie (duncan@persuasive.co.za)
My ETX, after nearly a year of frequent use and good behaviour, started
to click and the image would jump.

To solve this I took the baseplate off and removed the three screws
holding the motor/circuit board to the base  with a bit of movement this
releases the tension in the arm that holds/aligns the motor assembly to
the worm gear assembly  the loop on the arm that the holds the motor
assembly to the worm gear assembly seems to get slightly out of
alignment and "sticks"  this needs to be lubricated and set
perpendicular to the shaft. I replaced only two of the screws holding
the motor assembly to the base as aligning the third screw seems to
affect the perpendicular alignment to the worm shaft.

I've tried to show this in the photo (taken when the arm actually broke
last year).

photo
I have a feeling that this slight misalignment builds up tension over time which can result in the jumps, and also in the arm breaking (which happened to me a year ago). I had the ETX at a Johannesburg club outing and it aligned and tracked beautifully for over three hours without a problem. This works for me, your mileage may vary. Perhaps Dr Sherrod can comment? As an aside, one of the club members had an 11mm Type 6 Nagler and a 24mm Panoptic which I used on the ETX WOW, let me say that again WOW! Regards, Duncan Rosie
And more:
I'm not sure if you want to disregard my last message to you as I found
Dr Sherrod's solution to the exact problem I described, which I've
copied below. Glad to know I was on the right track!

Is there any chance of Meade replacing these collars? 

Regards,
Duncan Rosie 

Subject:       Re: Jumping image with ETX 125
Sent:   Thursday, February 24, 2005 03:00:52
From:   P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@arksky.org)
Hi Jack...
Indeed I have identified a problem in manufacture on some telescopes;
there is a collar that supports the worm drive assembly in RA that is
being milled improperly on some runs, causing a severe binding of the
worm gear, and sometimes the actually breaking of this collar under
stress.  Very likely this is what you are seeing but it is very, very
difficult to identify without totally dismantling the drive system.  If
you look inside the drive base there is a small black "ring" that grips
the nylon shaft of a large spur gear that is the first nylon gear to the
left (on the side with the motor and gears) of the actual brass worm
gear.  That collar serves NO purpose but to hold the gearbox is perfect
position relative to the worm.  That is the collar that is pinching the
drive.

Being VERY careful, you can easily apply via the little "squirt tube"
some WD-40 into this collar and allow for smoother operation....I bet if
you can get a few drops in there (being very careful of the electronics
and encoder assembly) you can eliminate this problem.  You will have to
re-apply about every 2-3 months of heavy use.  Eventually it will get
better.

Dr. Clay
--------------------
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H45 (Petit Jean Mountain South)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain)
http://www.arksky.org

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