Last updated: 30 March 2006

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

Subject:	ETX-90 EC Over tightened DEC Lock
Sent:	Thursday, March 30, 2006 16:54:35
From:	D.R. Huard (
This is a follow up to the over tightened Dec Lock issued posted by Jeff
Pedicini back in 2000.

I just purchased a used ETX 90 and it arrived with the same issue. Your
solution to get the knob off worked quite well. I had the OTA out of the
fork and while tightly holding the DEC knob and setting circle, (holding
the circle is important as that bares against the lock internally), with
the fork arm at telescope level position, I pushed sharply down on the
fork arm and the knob came loose. Close inspection of the knob reveals
that the plastic section of the knob where the threaded brass insert is
was cracked in several placed. I wiped the area of the insert clean of
grease with a cloth soaked in lighter fluid as well. (Lighter fluid
works as good as Goo-Off as won't hurt plastic, at least none I have
found in 40 years of using it this way. Great for taking of the ugly
inspection tag LOL) I then weeped a little super glue into each of the
cracks and around the insert. This has, at least temporarily eliminated
the problem, but I certainly intend to replace the knob.
Thanks for all the great information on this site. What a treasure.
Doc Huard
San Clemente, CA  

Subject:	etx-90ec
Sent:	Wednesday, March 29, 2006 21:09:21
i have a question im not sure of. can the etx-90ec take the 494
controller? it is mainly due to budget reasons on getting the 494 for
now til i can afford the better ones as 497.  thank you so much         
Mike here: As you can see on Meade's Autostar page (, the answer is no.
Subject:	Cheaper!
Sent:	Wednesday, March 29, 2006 14:27:51
From:	tawa malik (
I just wanted to say, your website helped me choose a telescope for
myself, and the equipment, and since I have found a great place to shop,
I thought I would share it with you and your readers.

They are selling the Meade electronic Eyepiece with 5 inch portable
monitor for only 59.95 dollars.

Again thanks to all of you posting on mr. Weasners website.
Mike here: By the way, your email was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the ambiguous Subject line (you know, "cheaper" as in "Cheaper Drugs"). Please read the Email Etiquette on the ETX Home Page to avoid this happening in the future. Thanks for understanding.


Sorry bout that! It totally slipped my mind. hehe, and thank you for
double checking.

Subject:	EXT 125 PE and accesories for first time user
Sent:	Tuesday, March 28, 2006 08:22:14
From:	Pieter Naude (
I just happen to come across this site just a few hours after I was
recommended to buy a Meade EXT 125 PE as an alternative to the scopes on
my shortlist.

       Meade LX90 8" w/UHTC 
       Celestron Nexstar 8i SE SA 
       Celestron Advanced or CPC 9.25 XTL 
       Orion Skyview PRO EQ
I was however asked to consider the EXT 125PE which I have not heard of
as an alternative. I live on the coast (50 meters from sea) and don't
have that many good viewing days and some serious dew. I need a
potable/luggable scope to take to the mountains and on the plane.  If I
can use the scope to view whales and far-off objects, it will be a
bonus. My question to you is very simple. I need a first scope and want
to know - what should I include as accessories with the initial order? I
live in South Africa and I can't just contact Meade and ask them to ship
this and that. It takes time and costs a lot of money. I would rather
buy some recommended extras with the scope to compliment the basic scope
and mount.

Pieter Naude
Mike here: At the very least you will want a 2X Barlow Lens (or perhaps a 3X). Or you just might want one or more additional eyepieces. If you plan on doing much terrestrial viewing you might want the Meade Erecting Prism. You could purchase a case but you don't need Meade's for that unless you want it. For info on these, see the various Accessory Reviews sections.


Thanks, your input is appreciated

Subject:	Dec gear removal for cleaning
Sent:	Monday, March 27, 2006 19:40:08
From:	Bruce Brooker (
I have a question about my 125.I removed the OAT and gained access to
the drive gear/clutch(Dec Drive) assembly to clean and remove any grease
that bled through to the gear/clutch assembly but I was unable to remove
the gear.I was able to remove the "lock washer" and the washer with the
stop tab attached, but unable to remove the gear.The bearing on the
inside of the fork is glued/epoxyed in and Im unable to remove it
also.Any suggestions?  Thank Bruce
Mike here: Other than what several articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page discuss (I think), no suggestions. Sorry.
Subject:	Reviving My ETX, & Software
Sent:	Monday, March 27, 2006 14:05:08
From:	john & andrea beaderstadt (
For health and job reasons, my ETX-125 (with Sherrod Super-charge)has
been sitting for the last 18 months or so on its side in its hard case
(in the dining room, under a sideboard, so no temp or humidity
considerations).  Do you have any tips for bringing it back out and
exercising it before use?

Also, because of my job, I now have a spiffy laptop (Toshiba M40) that I
can hook up to the 'scope.  Any opinions on the available software? 
I've used Redshift 4 as my planetarium until now and I'm emotionally
attached to it, but can't tell which version to look at (their ads are a
little confusing).
Mike here: First off, unlock the axis locks and slowly move the telescope from hard stop to hard stop, back and forth, several times. This will loosen and redistribute the lubrication. If it was stored with batteries installed, open the battery compartment and check for leakage. If there was any you will definitely need to clean it up before inserting new ones. As to software, I still use Voyager III on my Mac so won't comment on Windows software. That said, there are many good applications that can control the Autostar. Check out the article "Autostar Compatible Software" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. But keep in mind that for computer control of the Autostar you will need a RS-232 serial port. If your computer only has USB you will need a USB-serial converter; see the article "Autostar and USB" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.
Subject:	eyepieces
Sent:	Sunday, March 26, 2006 23:05:29
i have yet another question for you if you dont mind. eyepieces- how do
you figure out what a eyepiece is in magnafication terms. example a
sp4mm is what(?) in mag terms etc... i know there is a formula for it
but of coarse when i what to know it i cant find it anywhere.

thanks again for your time and trouble
Mike here: See the FAQ page on the ETX Site.
Subject:	ETX question
Sent:	Sunday, March 26, 2006 00:15:24
From:	Julien CAILLOU (
I'm a French user of ETX 125 EC. I have decided to build a carry case
for it but, first time, I must to choice Polyether foam.

I have found a firm which sell this foam. firm here

I would know which density have I to choose for a maximum of safety ??
17 kg/m3, 24 Kg/m3, 28 Kg/m3, 35 Kg/m3 ? (37lbs/m3, 53lbs/m3, 62lbs/m3,

Thanx for your help

Mike here: Well, I'm no expert in foam but you need something which is stiff enough to hold the telescope in place but not so stiff that it won't absorb movement of the telescope when the case receives a "shock" from an abrupt jar.
Subject:	collimation
Sent:	Saturday, March 25, 2006 21:08:55
i have yet another question. is colliamting a telescope hard to do? i
was wondering if you can do it without purchasing any special tools? if
so then i may look toward a 114mm or so telescope. thanks a million  joe
Mike here: Depends on the telescope design. Newtonian reflectors, some Schmidt-Cassegrains, and some others are fairly easy if time-consuming. But Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes like the ETX and some others are extremely difficult to collimate. While it is possible to collimate these latter telescopes, it is best left to the manufacturer or a well-equiped optical shop. Fortunately, with proper care, those same telescopes rarely need re-collimating.
Subject:	ETX 90EC Motor Drive
Sent:	Saturday, March 25, 2006 19:25:05
From:	Carl Filus (
i have an etx 90 ec and have been using it for about 5 years.  The last
time i used it the vertical drive stopped working and the horizontal
drive seemed slow.  i figured the batteries were goin dead becasue it
had been several months since i put new ones in.  Well i put the new
batteries in, and i have the same problem but getting worse.  Now, not
only does the vertical drive no longer work, but the horizontal drive is
working very intermittently, sometimes only going in the right direction
for 3 seconds at a time. When i say vertical drive stopped working, i
mean it does not move and the motor does not make any noise.  Also,
every so often the vertical drive motor makes this wierd spool up noise
then quits. But never any movement,  noise will start up by itself

I love my scope and hope i can work somethin out with meade if i have
to. Anyone ever hear of this. Any suggestions?
Mike here: Are you using the Autostar or the original standard EC handcontroller? If an Autostar, do a CALIBRATE MOTOR. That may solve the problem.


i am using the standard ec.  i just noticed that the wire coming out of
my handbox was shoing about and 1/8 inch of wires between the cable
sheath and the box.  i took the back cover off the handbox and there are
7 wires that solder onto the chip in there.  all had nice aqua green
colored corrosion, and three were broken off their solder joints. the
wires are soo tiny that with the little corrosion they just broke right
off.  im pretty sure this is the probem and not something i did takin it
apart.  im searchin now for a new controller but havnt found one.  i
think ill call meade on monday.
Mike here: Yep, that could cause a lot of problems.


i tried to solder the wires back on.  it looked pretty good, i tried it,
and it didnt work.  then the gray wire broke off also.  i think im
definately gonna go with the new controller.

And an update:

hey i was just about to call meade this morning when they opened, and i
was looking at my controller at the clear phone jack style plug on the
end.  i noticed the order of the colored wires on the plug was pretty
close to the order of the wires i soldered back onto the board.  so i
changed the positions of three wires that were in each others spots and
bingo.. scope works like brand new.  anyways thanks alot and i think you
have a great site.  ive been comin to it for almost 2 years now as it is
simply the finest.

Subject:	Electric focus with etx 125
Sent:	Saturday, March 25, 2006 15:04:06
I am using the DSI on my ETX 125 and use a desktop computer.  Is there
an electric focuser that can be controled with autostar from the
decktop?  I have been told that the focus control in autostar is for a
different scope.  Great site a wealth of info.  Thanks,  Gene
Mike here: The Meade focuser for the ETX uses the Autostar for control so any application, like ScopeDriver, that can control the focus through the Autostar will work. HOWEVER, if you are using the Autostar Suite software to control the telescope (via the Autostar) there will be serial port contention if using a separate application for focus control.
Subject:	Broken RA Lock Lever ETX125PE
Sent:	Friday, March 24, 2006 10:08:59
I broke the lever on a cool night, here in Minnesota. I had gloves on,
and the lever snapped off.

So, is there a replacement, another type of lock lever I can use to
replace a broken one?

The scope is only 2 month old.
Mike here: I suggest contacting Meade for a replacement (which will likely be free). While waiting for it to arrive, see the article "Replacement for Azimuth Lock Lever" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page if you want to make your own.
Subject:	$59 Deluxe field tripods for ETX at Meade factory outlet
Sent:	Thursday, March 23, 2006 21:59:37
Sorry if this is something you already know.  It is such a great deal, I
think this is the fastest transaction I have EVER made (I own an ETX 70
with 3 broken tripod legs, and no, I am not handy).

Subject:	Your site
Sent:	Thursday, March 23, 2006 18:44:21
From:	Bob T (
What a great site!  Your buddy... John M. another Mac'r sent me the link
to your site as I have just gotten back from the Titan site in AZ....

Thanks for great WORK...  Now to get to Kitt Peak

Robert Thum

Subject:	etx ra lock
Sent:	Tuesday, March 21, 2006 11:54:20
From:	john mclaughlin (
I have an ETX 125 that having problems with the RA lock. The lever is
very loose and when I try to tighten it, it doesn't seem to catch on the
bolt head. The RA drive sometimes catches when slewing and sometimes it
doesn't. Is there an aftermarket lever that when installed,  is easy to
get to?? Any fixes for the other problems mention before??


Mike here: See the article "Replacement for Azimuth Lock Lever" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Telescope selection
Sent:	Tuesday, March 21, 2006 04:07:36
From:	Chris Colwill (
I know you are a huge fan on the ETX's (I own a 125EC), but what would
your recommendation be for a observation Meade telescope going a notch
or two up, preferably in the Cassegrain type.

Astronomy shop here in Australia said the LX200 is probably over-kill
for a beginner like me, but I would appreciate your thoughts.


NB They also indicated their thoughts that the GPS ones aren't really
necessary given this is data you can input saving some money.
Mike here: No, GPS is NOT a requirement but if you observe from various locations it can be handy. But amateur astronomers have done without it (and done without GOTO computers, for that matter) for hundreds of years. As to a step up, the LXD75 models are a good way to go (I have an LXD55-8"SC). Next after that would be the LX90 models.
Subject:	Re: Jerking motion while ETX 125 is tracking
Sent:	Monday, March 20, 2006 18:37:53
From:	John DuBois (
Thank you for your advice. Well I tried all of your suggestions and none
of them worked. The scope still makes the little jerking motion to the
right about every 15 seconds while tracking. So I guess photos will have
to be done with under 15 second exposures! It doesn't bother me while
viewing though. I'm still having a a great time seeing new things! When
I have the scope well set-up, lined up with north and level, the goto
feature has been quite good. I had it go to the orion nebula... and boom
dead center. Then M-41. Dead center again. Time after time going to
object after object, the scope landed dead center on it. Despite the
jerking motion, it tracks really well. I set it on Saturn and went
inside to warm up and have a cup of coffee. Came out 30 min later and
there was Saturn still dead center. So I guess I can deal with the
jerking motion for the time being.

For Photos, I'll have to snag the school telescope from where I teach
and try it for astro- photography. (I teach school in Encinitas
California.) It's and older Celestron 8inch that had been locked away in
a cupboard. (The last school I was at in Del Mar, the parents bought the
science dept. a new 10 inch LX 200! Nice gift huh.) The old tripod on
the 8 inch broke after I left the school some ten years ago,and nobody
has used the scope since. Now I'm back in Encinitas after ten years of
teaching elsewhere. I got some money from the parents and used some
science dept. money and bought a new CG5 equatorial mount for it. I'll
give it a go.  Again, thank you for your advice

Take care and good viewing,
Jack DuBois
Mike here: There is a possibility that the gear mechanism has worked loose. You can check if it "wiggles" by looking inside the base.


Decided to open her up again to check the gears. While turning them
slowly by hand I checked to see if anything would wiggle. seemed snug.
Decided to check the gear teeth on the larger gears. Using a toothpick I
checked each gear tooth, what I found down in one of the teeth,under the
grease, was what appeared to be a paper wad or little clump of cotton. I
would think that any debris in the gears would prevent smooth operation,
so hopefully that was the problem. see attached photo
Jack DuBois


And an update:

Good news. Set up the scope early with hopes of a clear evening. Got the
scope tracking Saturn... smooth as can be so far! I'll try some other
objects when it gets darker.

Subject:	Re: ETX-125PE problem
Sent:	Monday, March 20, 2006 17:16:43
I did an autoalighn, worked fine for a 1/2 hour. Then I was trying to
align my red dot with the scope and using the keypad arrow keys ... up /
down works fine, latitude movement made a sound like a small tool
knocked on the base... went the other direction.. knocked again.

Turned off, turned on and no lateral movement. Up/down still fine.

Next day, plugged it into a/c thinking the batts maybe low... still no
latitude movement and no knocking... up/down file.

Then did a calibrate motors and got the dreaded "encounted a problem
with motors" message. Then I emailed you.

Bob Collins
Ormond Beach, Fl
Mike here: Open up the base and have a look around inside. Possibly either a wire caught in the mechanism OR (and I think this might be the case) the gear mechanism broke loose.
Subject:	ETX-125PE problem
Sent:	Monday, March 20, 2006 15:38:01
Great site. Loads of good info.
I think I know the answer to this, but I want to run it by you.

My ETX-125PE was purchased on 4/27/05... still in warranty.

Last nite it started to knock while turning clockwise. I stopped and
started turning counterclockwise and it started a knock again. I
immediately shut it off, then turned it back on... it knocked again and
then refused to move at all. The vertical motor still works fine.

Should I open it up and see if is something simple or would that void
the warranty?

I read the horror tales of send scopes back to Meade.
Bob Collins
Ormond Beach, FL
Mike here: I'm not certain what you mean by "knocking". But it is obviously not a good sound to hear from the ETX! But lets back up a step. Did you do an Auto Align or an Easy Align? Did you do the proper rotations for the proper HOME position, depending on which alignment method you used? You could try a CALIBRATE MOTOR and see if that clears up the "knock". OR there could be a mechanical reason, like a wire catching in the mechanism. You might be able to see a physical problem if you remove the bottom plate from the base.
Subject:	ETX power supply.
Sent:	Monday, March 20, 2006 09:06:03
From:	r-leaning (
Having looked back in my log of usage it seems I went through the
traumers others have had regarding power supply probs. I tried
rechargebles but the highest voltage from these is only able to just
hold things together, and then for not long, Regarding the supplied
mains, it is becoming more and more erratic, drops in voltage are
common. In the end i bought a 12 volt accumulator, from Sherwoods (UK),
(although there are many others around), now no probs, although you do
have to watch the angles at which the plugs and sockets vary with
movement. So I can set up within about 5 mins, having kept it up to date
inside. I now leave the whole thing on its Delux tripod and the plugs
left permanently in, I made a plastic holder for the Autostar and with a
rubber band this stays with the scope. I admit it is probably risky
staggering around, through doors, with it, but its paid off in

Sorry this the second Email  today. Yours, Dick Leaning, Wimbledon UK.

Subject:	Question about the Meade ETX-125
Sent:	Sunday, March 19, 2006 16:23:51
From:	PG (
I am on the brink of purchasing a Meade ETX-125, but I am interested in
using it primarily for viewing the planets in our Solar system and then
for other things such as stars and nebula. I see on Meade's website that
they have some pretty cool pictures of Jupiter and Saturn, and I am
really excited about that but I would like to know from real users how
well you can see other planets such as Neptune and Uranus and if its
possible to see Pluto to any extent using the Meade ETX-125? also how
well does the point and click software work?

Mike here: Yes, you can see Uranus and Neptune, both as small pale dots but there is a distinct disk (but no features). Pluto is beyond the capabilities of the ETX-125 (and many larger telescopes as well). For more on what you can see with the ETX-125, see the Helpful Information: User Observations page. Keep in mind that photos will typically show more than what your eye will see, both colors and details. And the Autostar works well, once you learn how to use it.
Subject:	Polar Alignment and Home position in the southern hemisphere - EXT 125EC
Sent:	Sunday, March 19, 2006 13:09:26
From:	Minos Minos (
I live in South Africa to the south of the Tropic of Capricorn and has
recently purchased a second hand ETX125 EC. I am having problems polar
aligning my telescope and determining the home position.The reason being
that all manuals and web pages only refer to alignment in the northern

Can you please help by indicating the procees to align the telescope and
how to determine the home position in the southern hemisphere.
Minos Cromhout
Mike here: See the "Alignment Tips" section on the Helpful information: Autostar Info page; there are some Southern Hemisphere tips there.
Subject:	Astro,Terrestrial ETX-90/UHTC 884. 3514-03-21
Sent:	Sunday, March 19, 2006 10:06:19
From:	r-leaning (
A very annoying problem and one that causes apparently randonm slewing
from start is the fact that my instrument seems to assume I want always
to start from terrestrial base, hence it appears quite random in its
start up alignment. Once this is corrected were ok. Hope this helps some
of your viewers. Otherwise a very usefull series of items, even though
mine seems ok in every other respect, no other difficulties.

All the best Dick Leaning, Wimbledon, UK.
Mike here: I need more info. Random slewing is one problem, possibility corrected by doing a CALIBRATE MOTOR or replacing the batteries (and doing a CALIBRATE MOTOR). It can also be caused by a loose cable or even dirty encoders. But try the first solution, if you haven't already. As to terrestrial mode, do you mean that after you do the alignments, tracking does not commence OR do you mean that when you go to the Targets menu, the ">" shows Terrestrial? If the latter then all that means is that is the default and not the currently selected mode. There are some menu items in the Autostar where this is the case.


It is,as you suggest, a default condition. it just puzzled me that such
a complex scope electronically would only be used on terrstrial targets,
where no tracking of a stellar or lunar type would be used. you've
answered my question. Incidentally it came with a rattle, this was due
to one of the three support screws behind the main mirror having come
out, it had red laquer on it, I'm loath to undo the tube retaining
screws to progress further, especially as its all working well And if I
did and reinserted same it might upset the collimation? So I may leave
well alone. Thanks for the lively debates you have, I'm one of the
luckier owners it seems.

Yours, Dick Leaning Wimbledon UK.
Mike here: You could run the risk of mucking up the collimation; best bet would be to contact Meade since it is still under warranty.
Subject:	etx 125ec 
Sent:	Sunday, March 19, 2006 09:42:46
From:	Colin Batson (
i have purchased a secondhand etx125ec but when i set it to its home
position in polar mode the telescope aligns with stars that are
apparently through my floor  the stars it uses are vega and capella and
according to the starry night software are not below the horizon when
the alignment is carried out please could you tell me what might be
wrong thaks colin
Mike here: Since Vega is a morning star right now (approximately), what time are you doing the alignment? Anyway, it sounds like the date, time, daylight savings, or location is incorrect. Check those. By the way, since you purchased it used be certain to do a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES. Those are options under the Setup -> Telescope menu. Note, there are two drive trainings that you need to do; one for azimuth and one for altitude.


the alignment was carried out at approximately 15.30 gmt
Mike here: What time did the Autostar display? At any rate, you can check for proper operation indoors; just set the time for the same time you set before and see if the "stars" are properly selected. Remember, the Autostar uses local time, not GMT.
Subject:	ETX 105 Declination "Clunk"
Sent:	Saturday, March 18, 2006 15:25:50
From:	thebostons (
When my ETX 105EC is moving from high to low declination, at 33 degrees
I hear and can feel in the right side a loud "clunk". It doesn't happen
when going from low to high. My scope works so perfectly in "goto" that
I hate to mess with it. Am I risking further damage? Does it need to go
back to Meade for repair? I WILL NOT open it myself, (unless you
convince me I should and can repair the cause).
Mike here: Can you tell where inside the right fork arm the "clunk" occurs, assuming it is coming from inside the fork arm? It sounds like something is catching. It could be a problem, especially if a wire is getting caught someplace as it could be cut.


Your timely response is valued and appreciated! Compelled to try to
pinpoint the origin of the "clunk" I'd say from my best guess that it is
inside the area of the declination measurement circle, more particularly
the upper, front portion,or the upper, right quadrant as I look at the
dec circle. Please forgive my lack of terminology ability. Does this
help? And, if a wire, why is it not sounding when going in both
Mike here: It could be a wire but more probably just some debris that has migrated to a position where something catches or slips when the mechanism moves past it in that direction. There are some tips on Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page that discuss opening the DEC/Altitude axis fork arm if you want to inside and look around. Keep in mind that you will likely invalidate any warranty and cause more damage if you are not careful. If the telescope is still under warranty you should probably contact Meade first.
Subject:	ETX 125 jumping
Sent:	Friday, March 17, 2006 06:27:09
From:	Jan H Kolst (
When I turned the base I could feel some faint noise, and at some time I
noticed faint resistance. I moved passed it and I found some small black
plastic bits. See below. I found these bits in the base of the scope.

My opinion is that these bits are leftovers by the production and have
fallen into the turning path. What do you think?

I have a feeling that there are a few more bits in this turning path,
but the scope works fine now.



Mike here: Actually I think they look more like shavings from something scraping some plastic inside the base. But glad you found them.
Subject:	etx pinched optics
Sent:	Thursday, March 16, 2006 21:00:54
I have an etx 105 it was supercharged in November.

When bright stars are slightly defocused they seem to have a triangular
shape when further defocused they assume the circular shape, is that
indicative of pinched optics? If it is what if anything can and should
be done. Is it possible that all the time out in the cold (5-6 hrs at a
time of 30 deg or slightly lower) did this or am I worrying for nothing?

clear skies
Mike here: If the images are circular when defocused you should be OK. The triangular shape you may be seeing is the flip mirror. If you can mount an eyepiece at the rear port you can check without the mirror in the lightpath.
Subject:	ETX-125PE External Power Supply
Sent:	Thursday, March 16, 2006 11:12:08
I've been reading reports, from your web site, about the Celestron Power
Tank 12V Power Supply, for ETX-125PE's. It sounds, like they can be
used, but my question, is which cable, do I need to purchase, to connect
the Power Tank to the ETX-125PE?
Thanks in advance.
Mike here: You need the Meade 607 Power Cord. It comes with the Meade #541 AC Adapter.
Subject:	Etx 125 jumping again
Sent:	Thursday, March 16, 2006 06:23:08
From:	Jan H Kolst (
Suddenly my scope started jumping again.This has happened 3 times since
I received it in January 06.This time I turned the AZ several times and
the jumping stopped.I've done this before and the jumping has stopped.Is
there a possibility that it needs greasing ,since it stops jumping after
turning the scope and has happened so frequently? If so, where do I
grease?The temperature has always been below zero, varies from -3 to -6
degrees centigrade.On the other hand I'm very satisfied with the ETX
125.My ETX 90 has been used in -22 degrees, but I've ever experienced
such problems.

Jan Kolstoe
Mike here: Do some indoor tests. Does the jumping at occur at room temperature?


Yes, last time I tested indoor it jumped,but after turning several times
it stopped.The day before yesterday I was out taking pictures and it was
smooth and nice,but yesterday it started jumping.I stopped calibrated
trained both drives and did several turnings.After that no problems.

I just tested 3 times indoor now and  chose different aligning stars.A
faint ticking could be heard every 10th sec.after finding the alignment
stars.Then I went to Saturn all 3 times.The last time no ticking.

When turning the scope by hand I hear a sound when the scope passes a
certain point.Any suggestions?



And: This evening the scope acted fairly well, but there were VERY FAINT
MOVEMENTS ,much weaker than earlier.No ticking.Any suggestions?
Mike here: It would appear that something is catching someplace inside the base. Since it doesn't seem to occur consistently it could be catching only in some positions or after you tilt the telescope (like when setting it up). Go inside the base and have a look around for anything that might be loose.
Subject:	Siebert Optics visit
Sent:	Wednesday, March 15, 2006 07:45:07
Thought I would pass this on ...I recently moved to Clayton, North
Carolina...the home of "Siebert Optics".  After reading quite a few
reviews of Harry's eyepieces and other optical devices, I took a chance
and looked him up.  I made no announcement...just got his address and
drove out (Siebert is only a mile from my home).  I found Harry to be a
great and giving person.  He made me feel right at home after only a few
minutes and showed me his workshop where he fabricates and assembles his
famous eyepieces.  He also makes a number of devices...including a great
bino-viewer and some neat stuff for the etx scopes .  I mentioned that I
was disappointed about all the light pollution at my apartment in
Clayton...he immediately offered  for me to bring my scope anytime to
his site..which is much darker.I will certainly take him up on that.  I
have no vested interest in Siebert Optics...but was very impressed with
his attitude and respect for the hobby.  You might want to take a look
at this web site...and If Harry allows, I may have some reports on some
of his eyepieces in the near future.  Dan

Subject:	Jerking motion while ETX 125 is tracking
Sent:	Monday, March 13, 2006 23:07:34
From:	John DuBois (
I have noticed that my ETX125 makes a jerking motion to the right about
every 15 sec while tracking in either alt/az or polar mode.I have tried
training the scope with no change. I would like to do some photography
with the scope. Any ideas on how to correct this so I don't end up with
pictures with streaks?
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR? That may clear it up if it is not a mechanical problem. If it is a mechanical problem there are typically three causes: either the lubrication needs to be redistributed, the encoders are dirty, or there is some obstruction catching someplace, likely on a gear tooth. If it is the latter you can normally hear a clicking. If a wire is catching you should fix that before the wire gets cut by the gear; open on the base and see if you can find the problem wire and move it out of the way. If the lubrication needs to be redistributed the simplest way to do that is to unlock the axis and slowly rotate the telescope hard stop to hard stop, back and forth, by hand. Do this several times. If an encoder is dirty, well, that is a more serious operation so lets try the others first.


ok, I will try all of those things and see if any of them work. I'll let
you know how it goes. Thank you for your help. I have enjoyed the web
site too. I'm learning a lot!
Jack Dubois

Subject:	ETX website
Sent:	Sunday, March 12, 2006 02:29:56
From:	Chris Fry (
Its really great to see that you are still running the ETX web-site. I
still dip in and out occasionally and its the first place I would look
for reviews of any ETX related accessories.

I havn't anything new to contribute, but I can report that I have
continued to take my ETX105 to the office whenever there has been a
partial eclipse or transit event (with Baader filter attached) for the
benefit of all.

The telescope always attracts interest, and I think most people that see
it are impressed at what a useful compact package it is.

I hope wou will be able to continue your support in years to come
Chris (UK)

Subject:	Comm port access with USB-only laptop
Sent:	Saturday, March 11, 2006 20:24:53
From:	Chris Maher (
I have an IBM Thinkpad with no serial port. Just two USB ports. I
purchased a serial port to USB adapter from our local Micro Center store
here in Atlanta. It works fine with another unit I use at work so I know
the cable and software are working ok through the USB ports. I purchased
one of the RS 232 to 6 pin modular connector. All the pin connections
are correct according to the LX 200 manual. However, my thinkpad won't
recognize the connection to the scope. I've added several newcomm ports
( 8 & 9) but I read somewhere that it works best on Comm 5  I can't seem
to be able to get there. I'm at wits end. Help ? Please.
Chris Maher
LX -200 10" EMC Classic
Software/hardware version, 3.20
Mike here: You didn't specify whose adapter you have but the most reliable ones (at least with the Autostar) are Meade's and Keyspan's. Belkin's seem to be the most problem prone with the Autostar. For more on USB see the article "Autostar and USB" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.


Can I reconfigure a USB cable to make it into a USB on one end, and the
5 pin modular connector on the other end.??

Mike here: Not easily since you need to convert the RS-232 protocol signals to USB protocol signals. That is what the adapters and their software drivers do (or try to do in some cases).
Subject:	ETX and UHTC
Sent:	Saturday, March 11, 2006 10:39:16
From:	Bruce Brooker (
I purchased a 90 a few years back and was wondering if I sent it to
Meade could they or would they add the UHTC to the lens for a fee
ofcourse and do you think it would be worth it?

By the way,GREAT SITE...keep up the good work!
Mike here: It would increase the amount of light reaching your eye BUT this is not a service that is offered. They would have to replace the corrector lens and then recollimate the optics. It would be more cost effective to you to sell the telescope and get a new one.
Subject:	cable lengths
Sent:	Saturday, March 11, 2006 06:06:55
From:	Joe Hopper (
I have question regarding cable length. I have a AR6 meade refractor
with a EQ LXD55 mount with autostar control. What I want to do is
operate it from my home desktop, this would require the cable from PC to
telescope to be about 50 feet.  The cable I have now is only 6 feet.
Does a longer one lose to much signal and does anyone make them.   Also
planning to purchase an Onion starshoot deep-space color imaging camera,
it uses USB cable, can I find a 50 ft USB cable to operate the camera as
well.  Any info would be greatly appreicated.  Thanks  Joe
Mike here: For the Autostar cable, see the article "Long Autostar Cable" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. As Stephen Bird has noted, "a single unpowerd USB cable is limited to 5m (16 feet). You can buy USB repeater cables that use the power fed down the cable to operate a little built in amplifier / hub. You can connect up to 5 of these in series." Alternatively you can use a powered USB hub to connect shorter cables, which may work better.
Oh wait, you want to lengthen the RS-232 serial cable from the PC to the Autostar. I forget that exact spec for RS-232 cables but as I recall it is pretty long. However, since you want both RS-232 and USB connections it might be interesting to try a powered hub at the telescope for both. Using a serial-USB converter (like Meade's or Keyspan's, or others as long as it is not a Belkin one) you could attach the #505 serial cable to the hub along with the camera. Then run a single USB cable back to the computer. Let me know if you try this.


Thanks Mike, I will try the serial-usb converter and let you know how it
turns out. Joe

Subject:	question about focusing on new ETX-125
Sent:	Friday, March 10, 2006 07:18:21
From:	Tiger Moses (
I just got my ETX-125 and was wondering if you could help out with a

I don't know if this is normal, or if there is something I need to

When I turn focus know, either directions, their will be an image shift
to left or right, then a change in focus.

Is this normal?

If there is something I need to tighten, can you refer me to info, as
there is no way I'm send this new puppy anywhere!

Tiger Moses
Mike here: With moving mirror design telescopes like the ETX some slight image shift is normal but it should not be excessive.
Subject:	greetings
Sent:	Thursday, March 9, 2006 15:48:41
From:	Stan Drery (
John from greece.
Hi mike.Have you ever considered that you have one of the most 'active'
personal website.I havent seen anything like it.

Subject:	Focal reducer adaptor
Sent:	Thursday, March 9, 2006 06:59:55
From:	Philippos Isaia (
You know the policy of Meade. They do not allow companies to ship
products outside US.

I have a Meade f3.3 focal reducer (which I bought on a trip I went to
England) and I want to attach it to my ETX-125AT.

As I told you in my last to e-mail I found two Meade products that allow
me to connect it.

These are:

1.  Meade ETX Back Cell Adapter to SCT Thread

2.  Meade Eyepiece Holder 1.25 Inch - For attaching 1.25 Imagers to SCT's)

But I cannot buy them through the internet. So I have to find other ones
from other companies that can ship them to my country, Cyprus. I have
found the two products below.

1.  ScopeTronix - Large Adapter Ring (LAR) for all ETX 90, 105, 125

2a.  Eyepiece holder and camera adaptor to fit Meade SCT


2b.   SCT standard camera T-thread adaptor

Please tell me if this products can take the please of the two Meade
original ones. I don't know which one fits best, 2a or 2b? Please help
me, I will appreciate it a lot.


Philippos Isaia
Mike here: I don't have a Meade focal reducer to check but it does appear that it should attach to the LAR.
Subject:	re: New to ETX-125
Sent:	Wednesday, March 8, 2006 21:35:28
From:	richard seymour (
1) 495 or 497?

Ans: you have a 497.  Although the hardware of the two Autostars is
*exactly* the same, the programming of the 495 would -refuse- to
operate the ETX125.

2) USB to Serial: yes (as long as it's not a Belkin adapter)

3) You will find that the "scope end" of your LX200 cable is
 too wide to fit into the rs232 socket of the 497 (the narrow
 hole beside the HBX cable on the -Autostar- itself).
 Here in the US, the typical telephone handset cord -does-
 fit, and can be used between the DB9-RJ11 adapter in place
 of the wider LX200 cable.  The pinout of the LX200 cable
 is the same as the 497's serial cord (so you can use a 505
 cable with your LX200, it just sits loosely at one end).

4) um... that's tough.. i started 6 years ago, when it was a
lot shorter...

have fun
From:	Ian Hargraves (
Thanks to both of you.


Ian  Hargraves

Subject:	Eyepieces and RP
Sent:	Wednesday, March 8, 2006 11:51:05
From:	Randy Potter (
I have a friend with that problem and I use a webcam connected to a
laptop. Meade also has an electronic eyepiece that might work. (Haven't
tried it.)




Subject:	Retinitus pigmintous problem
From:	Mike Wootton (
Just a bit of lateral thinking re the lad with the RP difficulty; Maybe
a solution would be a CCD camera in place of the eyepiece connected
directly to an LCD viewing screen. I accept that it hasn't the immediacy
of viewing directly through an eyepiece, but I think it would be much
easier to see an image on a screen.

May I follow the example of the many hundreds, nay, thousands of folk
worldwide who avidly consume every morsel of info available on your site
and offer you a huge "thank you" for all your efforts in maintaining
this astronomical gold mine!

Mike Wootton.

Subject:	Answer about LAR
Sent:	Wednesday, March 8, 2006 19:31:48
From:	Steve Emma (
Thanks for such a fast response! 

I guess the reason I wanted to be able to use a 2" eyepiece is because
of the wider field of view it seems to offer. Many of the eyepieces I've
seen advertised step up from 1.25" to 2" with wider FOV at lower
magnifications. I did not realize that their is an inherent limitations
by the scope itself to using a 2" eyepiece.

Steve E 

Subject:	Meade ETX
Sent:	Wednesday, March 8, 2006 10:03:02
From:	Joe Daly (
I live in UK; I like meade for portability. my local store advises
against ETX-105PE; they say if you cannot afford the 125 go for the 90;
the 125 is a bit too expensive in UK.  I presume the 105 is more
powerful than the 90; I keep reading that 125 is twice as good as the
90.  Please advise       Joe Daly
Mike here: I'm not certain why they say that. The -90 is more portable but the -125 has a larger aperture (and longer focal length). The -105 is a nice compromise between the two in portability, capability, and price.
Subject:	eypieces
Sent:	Tuesday, March 7, 2006 20:58:59
From:	steve harper (
dont know if you can help me or not. do you know of other scope users
that have RP as in retinitus pigmintous(?). it is an eye problem that my
son has and im trying to find any hints and help in picking eyepieces so
he can see through my etx125.its hard for him. i bought a $200 ultra
wide angle 8.8mm eyepiece(82 degreefov?) but its to hard for him see
through it. thought you might know some people that might be dealing
with this.

thanks for your time as always
steve harper
Mike here: Sorry, no one has come forward with that info.
Subject:	Question about adapter ring. 
Sent:	Tuesday, March 7, 2006 20:56:48
From:	Steve Emma (
I've got a question concerning an adapter ring I saw on the Scopetronix
website. (called a LAR or large Accessory ring)

I've got an ETX90EC and this ring is suppose to enable one to use SCT
accessories such as T-adapters, 2" diagonals, and Visual backs etc. to
the rear port of your ETX. When I asked the folks at scopetronix if I
could use this for 2" diagonals ( to enable me to use 2" eyepieces) they
said "The ScopeTronix LAR would allow you to connect anything with an
SCT thread onto the rear port of the ETX-90 EC.  The only problem will
be possible clearance issues if you were to use a 2" diagonal or visual
back on the rear photo port."

I'm wondering if you or anyone out there would know an answer to this
question. Which really is essentially this, 'Can a 2" eyepiece be used
on a ETX90 with this ring and a 2' diagonal ( or any other way for that

Really appreciate how helpful your site has been,
Steve E.
Mike here: There is another question: what do you gain by using a 2" accessory or eyepiece? It is being stopped down to about 1.25" anyway by the port.
Subject:	etx diagonal
Sent:	Tuesday, March 7, 2006 14:17:07
From:	Brian Roth (
There is a diagonal that connects to the ETX directly.  I purchased it
from Astronomics.
Brian Roth

Subject:	Meade ETX 125AT vs Discovery 8" Donsonian
Sent:	Tuesday, March 7, 2006 04:44:43
From:	Troy Tsounis (
I currently have a Discovery 8" Dobsonian telescope which has served me
well for my needs. I am looking for something that will be equal to or a
little better than the disovery. The size has limited me to using it and
I like the features and portability of the ETX 125.

Will I get the same quality viewing experience?
Thanks in advance
Mike here: No, a 5" inch telescope like the ETX-125 will not give the same views as the larger 8" aperture telescope. But what you give up in aperture you will gain in portability and GOTO capability. Of course, you likely don't need the GOTO since you've probably learned to "star hop" to locate objects in the Dobsonian (unless you added a GOTO system to it).


Can you help clarify Focal ratio

My current ratio with the Discovery is F7 and the ETX-125 is F15 I
thought the higher focal ratio represented the ability to use a higher
magnification meaning a better representation of what i am looking at So
Im also now looking at a Meade LX90-8"SC.
Thanks for your quick response.
Mike here: Focal ratio (which is the same for cameras as telescopes) is the ratio of the focal length to the aperture diameter. So to determine it you divide the focal length (say 1950mm) by the diameter (say 127mm). That gives you the focal ratio. If you use a camera with an adjust f/ setting you have seen that in low light conditions you need a more "wide open" setting (small number) whereas in bright light conditions you use a higher number (say f/11 or f/16). The same applies to a telescope; the same object will appear brighter in lower f/ telescope vs higher f/ telescope. The f/ ratio doesn't directly influence the maximum theoretical magnification (see the FAQ page if you don't know how to calculate that). The LX90 is a fine telescope.
Subject:	ETX-125 Premier Ultra wide angle Eyepiece
Sent:	Monday, March 6, 2006 19:02:14
From:	Tony Bahramian (
I am new to armature astronomy.  I have enjoyed reading your web pages.

I recently purchased a Meade ETX-125Premier (last week).  I also
purchased the series5000 UWA eyepiece set (after calling Meade and being
assured that the UWA would work with ETX-125P).   After receiving the
telescope and the eyepiece set, I found out that the UWA eyepiece does
not fit into the ETX-125P eyepiece.

I'd appreciate if you can recommend a good eyepiece or how to make the
serie5000 UWA set to work with the ETX-125P.

Tony Bahramian
Torrance, Ca
Mike here: What do you mean by it not fitting? Did you get the 1.25" or 2" version of the eyepiece? The ETX uses 1.25" eyepieces. As to other eyepieces you can use, see the various articles on eyepieces on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page.
Subject:	I need information about focal reducer
Sent:	Monday, March 6, 2006 02:31:12
From:	Philippos Isaia (
I want to ask if I can attach a Meade f3.3 Focal reducer on my Meade

Philippos Isaia
Mike here: You will need an adapter, such as the Shutan SCT Accessory Adapter (as discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page). However, keep in mind that you might not be able to reach a focus with all eyepieces/images used.


Meade have produced the following accessories which allows the Focal
reducer to be adapted on Meade ETX model.
Meade ETX Back Cell Adapter to SCT Thread
on  my telescope.

In order for the above to be attached you need

Meade Eyepiece Holder 1.25 Inch - For attaching 1.25 Imagers to SCT's
and you can find more on

Do both of them needed? Can I attach a Meade f3.3 focal reducer on my
Meade DSI? And a final question. Can I make a custom made adapter for
adapting the focal reducer on my Meade ETX?
Mike here: They finally did that! And yes, you would need both adapters to mount the DSI (or any 1.25" accessory) at the rear port. And yes, you can always make something but at the price of these, why go to all that trouble.
Subject:	"Dime" at 500 yds. - Revisited
Sent:	Sunday, March 5, 2006 17:24:01
From: (
As a backyard stargazer and occasional targer shooter, the original
question piqued my curiosity.  My local range is limited to 100 yds., so
I never considered taking the 'scope since I could see bullet strikes
with the riflescope (24x-40mm)

The weather this weekend was pretty nice so I dragged the whole shooting
match (pun?) to the range for some tests.  The attached photo was taken
at 100 yds. using an ETX-125 w/UHTC and Meade LPI.  I think the LPI has
a focal length of about 6mm so magnification is about 316x.

The target squares are 1-inch and the holes are .30 caliber. 
Guestimating from this, I don't think discerning holes at 500 yds. would
be any problem at all, even with a .223 rifle.  Atmospheric disturbance
would probably be the main detractor.  I don't know if this adds
anything to the dicussion, but it was interesting and fun.

Mike Hogan


Subject:	ETX 125 Slewing problem
Sent:	Sunday, March 5, 2006 09:01:40
From:	Robin Durant 2 (
Before I take my ETX 125 to the UK Meade workshops for repair, perhaps
you can advise me as to whether I can do something myself.

Problem -  I have re trained my motors due to totally inaccurate Gotos.
When testing it after between Saturn & Mars it worked fairly well 3
times and then on the 4th time did not start to slew for a few seconds
and then started with the result that it stopped short of its target. It
is as though the clutch slipped for a few moments as I could hear the
motor running. ( I did e.mail you previously re clutch slip, thinking it
was due to the cold evening I was viewing. You suggested that it may be
due to grease hardening  )  I have noticed also that when slewing on No.
2 speed the up and down control starts within a few seconds but left &
right takes approx. 30 seconds to start moving. Problems eh !  Hope you
can help.

Best regards


Robin Durant
17 Copse Hill
East Sussex
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR? That cures many such problems. As to the "backlash" (slewing delay), you may be able to adjust that. See the articles on "percentages" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.
Subject:	Meade 884 Deluxe Field Tripod
Sent:	Saturday, March 4, 2006 21:13:35
From:	Mike Solloway (
I am interested in purchasing a Meade 884 Deluxe Field Tripod for my
Meade ETX-90EC telescope.

I was told that the newer ETX telescopes have a new mounting method on
the tripod, and that I would require the older version of the 884
Tripod.  My telescope is about 4 years old.

Where can I purchase this tripod?

Mike here: I haven't heard that the mounting method has changed on the ETX telescope base. As far as I know it is still the two holes in the base and the separation is still the same as always has been.
Subject:	ETX 125 PE resolving power
Sent:	Saturday, March 4, 2006 19:40:06
From:	Ryan --- (
Just got my 125PE and love it. However I honed in on sirius from
suburban Columbus, OH and to my suprise I wasn't able to get a good
focus on it!  My question is ... while viewing this star slightly out of
focus I get what seams to be hundreds of shards of light coming straight
at me, is this normal? When I do focus, It doesn;t seam like I can
achieve good focus on it, the shards just get really small and compact.
While using a 10mm Orion plossil and an Orion Shorty 2x barlow the image
is really bad. While using Meade's 26mm it looks fairly good. However I
assumed I would be able to split this star and at least see some form of
its white dwarf companion.

Very informative site ... thanks!
Mike here: I'm not certain what you mean by shards of light but using a 10mm + 2X will exceed the theoretical maximum magnification for the ETX-125. If you are uncertain how to calculate this, see the FAQ page. Have you looked at other, less bright, stars? How are the viewing conditions? Could atmospheric conditions (even heat rising from a nearby roof or street) be the culprit for what you think might be poor optics?
Subject:	New to ETX-125
Sent:	Saturday, March 4, 2006 04:22:01
From:	Ian Hargraves (
I have just purchased an as new ETX-125 UHTC with autostar as a second
scope to take on holidays etc.

I already had an 8" LX200 classic which I found easy to learn even with
the Meade manual.

However, although I got all the Meade manuals with the ETX, they are
really poor!

I luckily found your site and managed to find a setup tutorial that at
least told me how to initialise the scope. More than I could figure out
from the Meade manuals! The problem with the Meade manuals is that they
are written for two separate pieces of equipment, the ETX-125 without
autostar and the autostar manual for use with all scopes!!!!

Thanks to your site at least I got a look at Saturn last night.

However, I couldn't find an idiots guide to the ETX-125 with Autostar.

Could you help me with the following:

1) How do I know whether I have a 495 or 497 AutoStar handset? There
appears to be nothing to tell me on the handset!

2) I have a USB to RS232 adapter which I use with my LX200 to drive the
scope from StarryNight Pro. Can I use this to control the ETX-125 and if
so how?

3) Can I use this same USB/232 cable to upgrade the Autostar? I have now
downloaded the tutorial on this from your site  thanks, but it does not
tell me whether my LX200 cable will be OK.

4) Could you also explain to me, how best to use and navigate your site

Ian  Hargraves
92 Bush Road
Mike here: 1. The #495 Autostar is essentially a real old model and all shipping ETX (and LX90) telescope (except the refractor ETX models) ship with a #497 and have for several years. And a #495 can be upgraded via software to a #497. 2. You may or may not be able to use the adapter. The Autostar seems to only work reliably with certain adapters; Belkin models are the most likely cited as NOT working. 3. You need to buy or make a #505 serial cable; see the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page for info on the cable. 4. See the Site Guide, linked from the ETX Home Page, for info on the Site.
Subject:	Shipping of Telescopes
Sent:	Saturday, March 4, 2006 03:13:49
From:	Niall J. Saunders (
I was very interested to read the following on Mike's site, regarding
shipping of scopes for your Supercharge service "SHIPPING of telescopes
- you will be very happy to know that I have finally located a fine
instruments shipper with a better than 98% "ship-safe" record in terms
of packages arriving undamaged throughout their world-wide shipping! I
highly recommend that you use DHL for all of your telescope shipping, economical, insurable and very courteous and prompt

Funnily enough this was exactly the opposite of the service that I
received when I purchased my LX90 a few years ago. The consignment was
shipped in three packages, the OTA, the tripod, and the Meade
Anniversary Eyepiece set.

All three packages went missing within twenty-four hours of dispatch
(from the south coast of England). Eventually, well beyond their
scheduled delivery time, and after dozens of phone calls and hours of
wasted time, I eventually located the three packages in three different
depots around the country. I say 'located' - but it was only a 'belief',
because nobody had actually 'laid hands on' the parcels. Their location
was determined purely by the fact that they had not yet reached their
'next' destination !!

Three days after they should have been delivered, they turned up.
Unfortunately I was not present to sign for them, and one of the young
lads in the front office signed for them, omitting to state 'received
unexamined' on the DHL paperwork. When I did open up the parcels I was
shocked. EVERY single thumb-bolt on the tripod was either bent, broken,
or had had its plastic thumb-cap ripped off. The eyepiece case had a
catch damaged, and all of the bolt-cases were at one end of the slots in
the internal foam. The OTA was the biggest horror story though. The
finderscope body had a huge dent in it - enough to shift the optical
path well off centre in the eyepiece. The original OTA carton had been
'mashed' at one corner, and a huge piece of crud had landed on the

Someone at DHL had obviously become concerned at the state of the OTA
box (presumably after it had been dropped, perhaps one of their
operatives had learned to read, or at least had had the words 'FRAGILE -
HANDLE WITH EXTREME CARE' explained to him). So, they had opened the
carton up and, realising that this was a telescope, had taken off the
objective end-cap 'to make sure everything was OK'. Obviously things
were not OK, they too could see the big fleck of crud on the primary,
and were happy to point it out to all of their colleagues (and friends,
and family, and passers-by). Shame they had to do this with sticky
fingers all over the UHTC coating.

Naturally, I lodged a complaint - eventually taking things as high up
the chain as the CEO of European Operations

They simply couldn't care less. I received NO COMPENSATION WHATSOEVER.

Fortunately, thanks to the power of eBay, both of you, and the
tremendous wealth of information on Jan "Kewtasheck's" wonderful LX90
site, 20 or 30 hours of painstaking labour, and about $100-worth of
second-hand bits from Bill Vorce on eBay, and I was able to get the
system back to 'normal'.

I do still, however, have a big lump of crud on the primary - I haven't
been brave enough to take the corrector off, and don't think a bit of
bent wire through the SCT port and primary baffle is really a suitable
alternative !! My feelings about DHL - I would not trust them to take
out my garbage.

I have told them this, and I GLADLY repeat this tale of woe as often as
I can. Revenge is a dish best served cold, and in the last two companies
I have worked for, where both companies had large contracts with DHL, I
happily persuaded them to cancel all dealings with DHL. (Oh, and by the
way, UPS is even worse - I have TWICE had to initiate 'small claims'
proceedings against them, once for losing a consignment en route to
Moscow, and once for leaving an international delivery on my doorstep,
and signing on my behalf to state that 'I' had received the parcel (!!)
- needless to say, the parcel was NOT on the doorstep when I got home).

So, best of luck with DHL - I hope the USA side of the operation is
better organised than the bandits over here !

Niall Saunders
Clinterty Observatories
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
For the sake of full disclosure, I can tell you with certainty that your
telescope was NOT opened by the carrier:  it was opened (and the delay
and "went missing likely) by Customs.  This is becoming unfortunately a
standard procedure because of all the forced "security issues" upon us
in many cases for no reason.  Customs is becoming reckless and ruthless
when it comes to checking packages....they tear them open, throw the
items on a counter, check every little bit and then stuff them back into
where-ever they will fit.
DHL did not open your telescope....customs did.
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)


I hear what you are saying, IF the scope had been shipped in from the
States. But this one was shipped up from the south coast of England

I am reasonably confident that the guy who sold me the telescope was an
enthusiast - certainly enough to have treated the scope with far more
care than the carrier. Had I been able to PROVE that though, then I
would have thrown the book at DHL. Instead, due to the fact that I was
getting nowhere with their complaints procedure I eventually gave up -
though, in my correspondence with the CEO, I emphasised that I would
make a point of slamming DHL at every opportunity.

As I said at the time - companies invest HUGE sums of money in
advertising, trying to engender a positive reputation with current and,
hopefully, future customers. This investment can be trashed, free of
charge, by the word of mouth of one ticked-off customer.

After all, what is worth more - advertising hype or positive

I noticed that you forwarded my original email to Amanda, and I have
kept her in the loop - just to let her know how strong my feelings are.

Because I was treated like dirt when I felt I had a genuine complaint, I
will NEVER, EVER deal with DHL again - not privately and not through my
business, and will let anybody I come in contact with know just how poor
the DHL Europe customer service is. At the time, I pointed this out to
the CEO, after all, as a customer it is the ONLY leverage I will ever
have. Unfortunately I seemed to be less important to him than dog-doo on
his expensive shoes!

I truly hope that you, and your Supercharge customers, have a better
experience (although, having spent a lot of time in the USA, I really
enjoy the 'customer is king' attitude that everyone seems to adopt over

On a side note though, it made me strip down my new LX90 and
'mini-charge' it myself. Despite the blob on the primary mirror, I have
been very happy with the mechanics. Goto's are excellent (perhaps due to
always using the modified Excel Spreadsheet training routine that I
posted back onto Mike's website), and tracking is well within acceptable
limits for the LX mount.
Thanks for listening !!
(rant over !!)


Thanks for the further explanation Niall; I did indeed copy Amanda on
the original response because she is an excellent and caring
representative for DHL;  I think that thing improve if proper
communication is set up; otherwise no one knows that there needs to be

Sorry for your troubles with all of that, and hopefully you can now
begin enjoying the night sky!


Dr Clay,
Thanks to you, Mike Weasner, Dick Seymour, Meade and the wonderful
communities on Mike's ETX/LXD55 sites, the Yahoo LX90 user group, and
Steve Hamilton's AutostarSuite group, my biggest single problem is not
being able to find enough time to enjoy the hobby as much as I would
like !!

As I have said to many people now - Astronomy is one hobby where the
invention of the Internet has truly scored - it is so easy to get your
questions answered, or to show off your capabilities. I started with a
small 3" Tasco refractor on an unusable alt-az mount, way back in 1974.
I struggled for years, then shoved the whole sorry contraption in a
cupboard for probably another ten years, then I had an epiphany. My new
next door neighbour had a telescope too - an ancient 100mm aperture,
1500mm focal length brass beast, on a wobbly wooden tripod, with 2-foot
extension legs nailed to the originals to raise it in height (to about 5
feet !!) - but I saw Saturn's Rings clearly, for the first time ever!

I was a born-again astronomer !!

At the end of 2003 I bought a second-hand ETX-105. Plenty of problems
with that due to the first owner only ever having used it on terrestrial
objects - and breaking the RA end-stop and tearing up the Dec-drive
wiring as a result. But your information gave me the confidence to
TOTALLY (and I really mean 'totally) strip the drive mechanisms down. I
got the RA base casting into my machine-shop and remade the end-stop
peg, then 'blue-printed' everything during the rebuild. I still have
that scope.

In between times I bought, and sold, a really nice and tight ETX-125,
keeping all the accessories I got with it (again, an eBay purchase, by
someone who thought they would see Hubble-quality images on a $1000
scope). I didn't feel too sorry for him, as I then bought the 8" LX90
which, despite all of its problems, I really adore.

However, my rekindled interest in astronomy as a hobby ran
co-terminously with meeting the 'true' love of my life. Now, happily
married, I always make sure which mistress I worship most. (Enough said

A few weeks ago I finally managed to get an image (attached) that
justified all the cash I have now invested in the hobby - and it just
happened to be of the object that rekindled my interest in the first

Clear Skies,


And thank you Niall for your kind words.....astronomy continues to be,
and will always be, the science of the people and the earth on which
they live.
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)

Subject:	90 degree diagonal replacement for flip-mirror
Sent:	Thursday, March 2, 2006 08:53:20
From:	Rick Phillips (
About a year ago I noticed something clinking around in my ETX-90 when I
picked it up one day.  Turns out the flip mirror had come unglued and
was rolling around loose in the housing. I got it out and glued it back
on, but it looks like it has some scratches on it and I don't think I
got it perfectly aligned.  Does anyone make a 90 degree diagonal like
the screw-on 45 degree erect image diagonal that I can screw on the back
as a replacement or am I just out of luck?  Thanks for any information.


Rick Phillips
Kingsport, Tennessee
Mike here: I don't recall any direct star diagonal for the ETX line but there are two possible solutions (besides the Meade 45 degree erecting prism). You can get the Shutan Wide Field Adapter (which reduces the magnification and increases the field of view) but there is a slight degradation of the image. Alternatively you could use a "visual back" and try any 1.25" star diagonal. For more on these two accessories, see the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page.
Subject:	Clutch slip on ETX 125
Sent:	Wednesday, March 1, 2006 16:01:16
From:	Robin Durant 2 (
The other night the ETX 125 ceased to turn in the Azimuth. I could hear
the motors running, but no movement. I had the RA clamp lever turned
fully right. I have been told that I should not turn this lever too much
as it is plastic and may damage the mechanism, only 1/2 to 1/3rd. Maybe
the reason was that it was extremely cold outside (zero) because the
next day, in the house the fault rectified itself. Can you spread a
little light on the matter.

Robin Durant
East Sussex
Mike here: At very low temperatures the lubrication can "stiffen up", causing the movement to become sluggish or even stop it. That would explain why it went away the next day when used indoors. And yes, you don't want to overtighten either axis lock.
Subject:	eyepiece with filter stretchs out
Sent:	Wednesday, March 1, 2006 11:44:41
From: (
Very compliment for your's very interesting 

I hope you can help me to solve a problem...My telescope is an etx90 and
when i use an eyepiece with a filter the eyepiece stretchs out from the
telescope. What influence this have on the observation? Is it normal ???

Thanks for your attention


Mike here: Normal with a long barrel eyepiece like the 26mm. No real effect on use.
Subject:	re: Power supply to Meade ETX 125 EC
Sent:	Tuesday, February 28, 2006 22:29:17
From:	richard seymour (
Since all of Europe is 230 VAC, i would assume a power adapter
bought from any European Meade dealer would have that as
an input voltage.

The South African distributor is Lynx Optics, Bromhof, South Africa
+27(11)792-6644  Fax:  +27(11)792-8923

(data from MEade's website: )

For Europe, the central point is Meade Europe:

have fun
(i use generic adapters, center positive, connector is
outside: 5.5mm, inside 2.5mm)

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