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ETX USER FEEDBACK - MARCH 1998
Last updated: 31 March 1998

If you have any comments, suggestions, 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:	 Nikon "2X teleconverter"
Sent:	Tuesday, March 31, 1998 16:49:05
From:	peterz@erols.com (peter zimmerman)
I checked this evening, finally, that my scope will come to focus
on a Nikon at several hundred meters distance, and still has at
least one turn of the screw, maybe more, left, so I think I'm OK
using the old Celestron back.  It ocurred to me that I own a fine
Nikon "2X teleconverter" and am wondering how this 7 element
Barlow might function on bright astro subjects like the moon. 
I'm going to try it of course, but does anybody else have any
experience?  It makes the ETX an f/36, 2500mm lens which sounds
like a real opti-cannon.  50x over a 50mm lens.  So it should be
a useful way to shoot the moon.  I'll probably use fast film such
as Fuji 800 Super G or the slightly less grainy NPH 400.
pete


Subject:	 ETX Dew Zapper...
Sent:	Tuesday, March 31, 1998 09:17:00
From:	JSlowik@imsisoft.com (John Slowik)
I recently spent an evening doing some serious observing (as it
has been raining in northern California thanks to El Nino) I
noticed that a large accumulation of dew formed on my main lens
adversely affecting my optics and I was forced inside. Do you
have any home remedies for this situation?

Mike here: One interesting and inexpensive solution is the Craig TeleWrap/Dew Cap. Check out the review on the ETX Accessories - Miscellaneous page.


Subject:	 ETX and Ni-Cad batteries
Sent:	Monday, March 30, 1998 10:21:59
From:	cann@axionet.com (Douglas Cann)
I hope that all is well and that the skies are clear for you.
When do you have time to observe and maintain this site at the
same time ?? Someone just recently suggested ni-cad batteries for
the ETX. However, I believe that they only give 1.2 volts each so
they could pose a problem even when fully charged. Often times,
you will see that manufacturers of various different types of
electronic equipment do not recommend using ni-cads for that very
reason. I would suggest to stick with good quality alkalines even
if you do have to replace them half way through. They seem to
have quite a good 'half life' as it is !!!
Cheers......Doug

Mike here: Fortunately for site readers and unfortunately for me the weather has been really lousy here thanks to El Nino. When it has been clear I've been sick or traveling on business. So I've spent extra time keeping the site current. But Monday night it was clear so I was outside for the first time in a long time!!! However, the rains came back tonight. Fooey.


Subject:	 ETX on MAPUG
Sent:	Monday, March 30, 1998 07:00:04
From:	tkline@centraxgroup.com (Tim Kline)
Just thought I'd let you know of a bit of publicity the ETX got
on MAPUG. Doc G recently wrote one of his papers on the ETX as a
guide scope, and along with considerable praise, also made some
suggestions for improvements.  Of course, the 'adjustments' he
made would completely void the warranty, those who love to tinker
might find them useful.  I've included the link to Doc G.'s
website where it mentions the ETX.
www.mailbag.com/users/ragreiner/etxguider.html

Sincerely,

Tim

Mike here: Included at this site are some photos of portions of the ETX disassembled.


Subject:	 saturn
Sent:	Monday, March 30, 1998 02:37:38
From:	wr6s@qnet.com (Patrick & Deborah Jasper)
well,got a first look at saturn..i can guarentee for a fact that
my etx out performed my 90mm pentax refractor..what a nice
surprise!not a bad scope for the money...AND A HECK OF A LOT
EASIER TO TRANSPORT!!!! will keep you updated on the construction
of my 7 foot diameter observatory,..base blocks done, now building
bottom race for golf ball bearings..will start wood/fibreglass
dome within 2 weeks i hope..c-ya,pat


Subject:	 Im a ETX recent owner
Sent:	Sunday, March 29, 1998 20:12:13
From:	sar62@ix.netcom.com
How do i Polar align my ETX while mounted on a Velbone standard
tripod? The user manual only shows how it is done assuming you
use the three legs that attach.
Thanks--
Stephen!...
PS great website!  check out mine at www.sai.com/ralls! I
designed the web pages and created all the artwork...mostly in
Photoshop.

Mike here: Tilt the tripod pan head to match your latitude. The only concern is whether the tripod is stable enough to handle the weight at this angle. Then follow pretty much any of the polar alignment techniques (like mentioned on the Buyer/User Tips page).


Subject:	 Re:  Re:  problems with Rigel Quick finder
Sent:	Sunday, March 29, 1998 19:55:09
From:	peterz@erols.com (peter zimmerman)
I bought a 40 mm Sirius Ploessl eyepiece from Orion.  This is
their house-marked eyepiece, made in Taiwan, and selling for
$59.95 instead of $20 more for a Meade 3000 or $40 more for the
Meade 4000 and similarly branded eyepieces.  So far I can't see
any problems with the Sirius unit; the FOV is quite impressive,
and stars imaged as clean points all across the field.  I had no
trouble finding the image with a dark-adapted eye -- I didn't
come close to poking out my eye, for example.  I won't know just
how well the eyepiece meets my needs until I see the moon hanging
in it's field, but it seems a nice compromise in features and
price.
I also got Orion's large accessory ring (LAR) to fit the ETX's
rear viewport.  Nicely made, and it exactly mates up with all
accessories made for larger SCTs.  It lets me use the surplus
camera adapter from my stolen C5 and should allow me to mount the
telextender (eyepiece projection) unit from that 'scope  on the
rear.  I will, however, worry about counterweighting things
because the lever arm will be very long.

One of the interesting challenges of the ETX is finding out how
to do things with it that it is not "supposed" to be able to do. 
Since I have a full wet-lab darkroom, I'll be sticking to film
cameras and paper prints. Once I get some experience on easy
targets, I'll be willing to show some work.  Not until.  The
first project will be to shoot a Minox 8x11 "spy" camera through
the eyepiece for the ultimate in "tele-Minox" work.

G'night.

pete


Subject:	 play in the RA slo-mo; adjusting the RA setting circle
Sent:	Saturday, March 28, 1998 15:17:34
From:	peterz@erols.com (peter zimmerman)
How much play should there be in the RA slo-mo knob?  mine seems
to have a lot of up-down motion; do you think something could
have slipped in the drive compartment?  It still drives well.
And shouldn't the RA setting circle turn independently so you can
set it to the tabulated RA of a known object you have acquired in
the telescope? Mine won't rotate at all.

pete

Mike here: It sounds like maybe the knob may have worked a little loose. Mine does not move up and down. It can be tightened; there is a setscrew in the side of the knob. See Bob Martin's comment further down this page for the solution (from Meade) for the tight RA circle. The tape should move in its track. One of these days I, or someone, really has to update the ETX FAQ in the Guest Contributions area!


Subject:	 ETX Owner
Sent:	Saturday, March 28, 1998 10:39:16
From:	FSBV91F@prodigy.com (MR ANTHONY S SCIARA)
Hi, I have just recently received the ETX for Christmas a few
months ago.  My eyepiece collection includes only the Series 4000
26 mm and UWA 6.7 mm and a 2X Barlow.  But, I have been looking
for something more.  I recentlty saw an ad in Astronomy magazine
about the Tele Vue 5X Powermate.  I have been unlucky in my
search for more information on the internet.  I do not want to
buy anything unless I know exactly what it is and what it does. 
I was wondering if you could try to find out what it does and if
it will work with my ETX.  I First thought it was like a Barlow,
that it increased the magnification of any eyepiece 5X.  But I'm
not sure and it didn't say anything in the ad.  Your help would
be greatly appreciated.  Thank you
P.S. If you can't find anything perhaps you could recommend some
new eyepieces that have worked good for you.  My e.mail is
FSBV91F@Prodigy.com.

Mike here: There is a brief description of it in the May 98 Sky & Telescope (new products section). It is a 5X Barlow. Probably way overkill for the ETX.


Subject:	 Accessories
Sent:	Friday, March 27, 1998 15:24:54
From:	mmcgarve@fvcc.cc.mt.us (Michael McGarvey)
Great job on the website!  I particularly like the search
addition; it really helps when you're trying to track down some
idea you remember seeing in the archives.
I've finally had clear skies to try out some new accessories. 
The Apogee right angle finder from Pocono Optics is wonderful, a
real back saver.  I also have done some sunspot viewing with a
Thousand Oaks solar filter.  You can clearly see the calcium
clouds, spot penumbra and even the granulation on the surface. 
It has been the only solace (is that a pun?) when the clouds keep
moving in at sunset.  A great way to extend the ETX's
versatility.

I also tried out an eyepiece from Paul Rini.  I ordered the 45mm
40' field eyepiece which offers a theoretical 1.44' true field at
28X.  Wider than anything else on the market.  After trying it
out, I am really pleased. I'm not sure if it truly yields a full
1.44' but enough to really help in star hopping, almost double
the area of the 26mm Meade.  It really excels for looking at
large extended objects.  The view of Andromeda was excellent and
the lower magnification reveals the dust lane which escaped my
vision through the 26mm eyepiece.  Dark skies are a must.  The
eye relief is quite long (and a bit tricky, a ruber eyecup would
be nice), it would be great for eyeglass wearers.  The secondary
obstruction becomes a real issue when using it in the light of
day, or before your eyes are dark adapted.  Anyway, it's a great
addition at a great price.  I'm going to order the 13mm 82'
reviewed recently on your accessories page next. That's a
phenomenal bargain.

Clear Skies,
Mike McGarvey


Subject:	 ETX low power
Sent:	Friday, March 27, 1998 13:37:39
From:	hoy@istar.ca (Doug Hoy)
Peter Zimmerman was wondering what the lowest power eyepiece one
could use with the ETX. It is possible to do the math to figure
this out, and whether a particular eyepiece will work, but to
keep it simple: I've experimented with a few, and it appears that
about a 40 mm Plossl is it (50deg. apparent field of view). I was
looking for the widest field and the most brightness, to
counteract the "little black hole" characteristic of this type of
scope. Wanted to see galaxies, dontchaknow. Trouble was, the 40
mm Omcon I tried had such long eye relief I couldn't find the
image in the dark. Near poked my eye out one time, weaving and
bobbing my head around.... Plus, in the daytime I could see  the
secondary lens as a darker blur in mid-field. It gave me the
widest field though--I could just see the sides of the tube
starting to vignette the image. I was playing with an old RKE
eyepiece, and realised that although it was about 30mm, it was
almost as wide, and *much* easier to look through. So, went back
to my friendly telescope store (which lets me exchange lenses
until I find the one I like), and tried an Omcon 32 (didn't have
a 35). I'm going to stick with it, it's so much better to use.
The magnification is a little higher, and it's a smidgen darker,
although the contrast is better. It's the best daytime eyepiece.
So. For cheaper eyepieces (plossls), I'd say 32-40 mm is it.
Higher magnification and wider angle pieces like Naglers,
Panoptics, Speers-Walers and Meades are big, heavy, and
expensive. Plus, they have twice the glass in the tube, and
cannot transmit as much light, although good coatings help I
hear. Oh, I discovered how to see galaxies, and it's not the
perfect eyepiece. It's DARK SKIES! Once I really got away from
the light, I could see them in 10x70 binoculars, and the supplied
26mm Plossl was fine. I'm going to 12,000 feet in Colorado this
June, and it better not be cloudy. !-)
Doug


Subject:	 Another happy owner
Sent:	Thursday, March 26, 1998 19:47:57
From:	bdsmith@seanet.com (Barry Smith)
I just got my ETX a couple of weeks ago and your site, and all
the suggestions of your email contributors, has been very
helpful.
Like others, I have had that focusing problem when using a comera
at prime focus.  The suggestion of repositioning the focus knob
corrected that.

I had a problem that, when I removed one of legs, the bolt stud
unscrewed from the leg and stayed in the base.  Since these bolts
are really 1/4-20 setscrews and have an allen wrench hole in one
end, it was easy to move it back to the correct position. I now
have added a 1/8 inch allen wrench to the 3 allen wrenches
supplied by Meade in case this happens again.  I think Meade just
missed putting some glue or bolt-locking stuff on this.

Some messages ask about misc small hardware (screws, bolts, etc).
Try Small Parts, Inc. (800-220-4242, www.smallparts.com).  They
have bunches of stuff including lots of brass sheets, tubes, etc
that may also be of help to those of us making our own
accessories for the scope.  A couple of extra base plate mounting
screws and finderscope thumbscrews came from there and are in my
tools bag. I also got some 1 1/4 inch o-rings to see if slipping
them on a couple of eyepieces will make them closer to parfocal.

Another one of your contributors mentioned a camcorder carrying
bag from Walmart ($29).  I got one and like it.  The ETX just
fits. From the descriptions of the Meade soft bag, this is
probably very similiar - tight fit but it works. I only plan on
using it when I want to fly and carryon the ETX.  The hard case I
got was an all metal case I found at a local hardware store.
Inside dimension of this case is 9 inches high so it gives me a
little more foam around the top and bottom of the ETX 7 1/4 inch
minimum dimension than some of the standard photo/scope cases
gives.  This case was $80. So for $110, I got two cases for two
seperate uses rather than a single case that might be a
compromise between small enough for carryon and large enough for
extra protection, camera and accessories. I'll have to see if
having two cases adds confusion as to where I end up putting
stuff.

Some of the changes/additions I'm thinking of...

Since we have to remove the base for battery replacement, I wish
that the N/S switch had been put inside or, at least, felt
different at night. I'm considering shaving an 1/8 inch off that
switch so it is flush with the baseplate. It could still be
switched with a screwdriver or knife tip or when the baseplate is
off and would not be confused with the on/off switch.

For mounting another finder - how about mounting it to a slide-on
dew shield ?  Would the finder still be aligned accurately
enough? This would not mar the scope tube and may make packing
the scope easier. The finder could easily rotate from the right
to left side of the tube depending on ease of viewing.  Maybe
combine this with the sewer-pipe coupling dew shield mentioned on
your web site.

For a counterweight for a camera at prime focus, how about a bar
that is anchored at one end to the 1/4 inch tripod mounting hole
on the underside of the OTA?  The bar would extend towards the
front of the scope, supported midway by the bottom of the dew
shield encircling the scope tube. The bar would continue to
extend (maybe) in front and slightly below the OTA and would
support a small counterwieght.  Would I have to worry about the
OTA bending, even slightly, with weight hanging on the front and
the tube being supported in the back?  I haven't tried this yet.

And another half-baked idea - most of those pretty chrome
plumbing pipes are 1 1/2 inches but a few of them are 1 1/4
inches (outside diameter) and some fittings have a flared end so
its inside diameter is 1 1/4 inches. Sounds like a solution in
search of a problem... Maybe a diffraction grating, a bent
plumbing pipe and an eyepiece in the camera port for a cheap
spectrograph?

Does anyone know where to get a parts list drawing for the ETX?
One of those exploded-view drawings of the ETX? I'm curious about
the scope but not curious enough to risk taking it apart.

Barry Smith
bdsmith@syzygysystems.com

Mike here: Thanks for the great ideas! I especially like the idea of mounting a secondary finder to a dew shield. I'm going to try that with my Rigel QuikFinder.


Subject:	 ETX Optics Cleaning
Sent:	Thursday, March 26, 1998 12:53:59
From:	gilgamesh@earthling.net (Antonio L Gonzalez)
First of all let me congratulate you on the great job you have
done with your ETX web page.  It is now my primary source of
information regarding my new ETX.
My question is:  What is the best way to clean the ETX external
optics?  I am a bit leery using camera lens cleaning supplies. 
Haze has been a problem every time I use them.

Thanks for your help.

Sincerely;

Antonio Gonzalez

Mike here: A can of clean compressed air, available from camera stores, is one of the best ways to clean off optics safely. But be certain to spray away from the lens first to eliminate any moisture in the stream. You can also use a squeeze bulb to blow air on the lens. I use lens cleaner but only as a last resort. And then I use a VERY VERY small amount. I've found that if I use too much I get the haze you mention. And I clean VERY infrequently. It takes a lot (or very large dirt) to impact viewing.


Subject:	Thanks again
Sent:	Thursday, March 26, 1998 11:18:04
From:	JDDGA@aol.com
I just want to say "Thanks" once again for having the BEST ETX
web site. I also enjoy the flag I get when you update the site,
so I can drop back in and see what's new. Great job!
          John D'Angelo
          


Subject:	 LX50/LX200
Sent:	Thursday, March 26, 1998 06:34:29
From:	tkline@centraxgroup.com (Tim Kline)
Saw your post on the ETX site and your comments about getting the
'aperture fever'.  If you're serious about this and doing
research, you might want to tune into MAPUG.  If you are not
monitoring their mail lately, there's been a thread going for
quite a while on the LX50; some good, a lot of bad though.  I
subscribe to the digest version of MAPUG so I only get two posts
a day, but it contains all of the comments.
If you don't subscribe to MAPUG now and would like the digests
that contain this thread(it's still going, by the way), just
email me and I'll be glad to send it to you.  I'm also sending a
copy of this email to Mike at the ETX site because others that
are getting the fever might also be interested in what some of
the 'heavy hitters' have to say about the LX50 and LX200.
I must admit, I also get that fever from time to time, but then I
look at my checkbook and the baby crib that will be occupied in a
few months and I start to recover rather quickly!  Let me know if
I can help.

Sincerely,

Tim Kline


Subject:	Tracking speed variations
Sent:	Tuesday, March 24, 1998 09:34:01
From:	BMartin615@aol.com
I have read many complaints about the tracking speeds, fast or
slow, of the ETX and other scopes battery cell powered RA drive
motors.  One of the inherent problems with the alkaline batteries
is that the fresh battery will have about 1.62v to 1.65v output. 
They last almost forever, and as the battery is slowly  depleted,
 so to is the voltage.  You will find almost half of the battery
useful life will be in the range of 1.45v to 1.50v, and as a
result the RA drive will run at different speeds as the batteries
are used.  One possible fix short of circuit board modification
might be to use rechargeable Nicad batteries.  Although the life
span is shorter, they maintain almost consistant voltage from
full charge until they are depleted.  It might be best to have
backup batteries with the Nicads, since the RA won't slow down
until just before the batteries die.  You don't want to get
caught short during that once in a lifetime viewing.
Bob Martin


Subject:	 Wide-Field Adapter for the ETX
Sent:	Monday, March 23, 1998 23:03:39
From:	ramjam@best.com (Rashad Al-Mansour)
Hi Mike, and all the ETX owners, I happened across this new
accessory for our favorite portable scope.
New! Wide-Field Adapter: This new accessory, resembling a 90
degree diagonal converts your ETX's 1250mm f:13.8 optical system
into a 750mm f:8.2! With the standard 26mm SP eyepiece the ACTUAL
field-of-view is increased from 1.1 to 1.8 degrees-- a 64 percent
increase! Mounting this converter requires a 1.25" Visual Back
(see below). Expected price, $90.00. Expected delivery about
3-25-98. 
www.shutan.com/html/etx.htm
Rashad


Subject:	 etx declination slo-mo controls
Sent:	Monday, March 23, 1998 19:33:22
From:	peterz@erols.com (Peter Zimmerman)
Well, we finally got clear skies, but I got home around 8:45 and
was so dead all I could do was take the beauty out and look at
whatever bright stars I could find w/out polar aligning except
with the table pod and a compass.  which worked ok.  The damn
thing tracked for 10 minutes at a crack!  Much better than I
heard it would.
BUT, I seem to have run out of tangent arm and done something so
my dec slo motion control only works in one direction.  You or
MAPUG had something on the fix just a couple of days ago, but I
can't find it when I need it.

Could you point me at where I need to go?  Please.

Tomorrow I order the Rigel finder as recommended by Mike Lee at
Meade who agrees that the supplied finder is tough to use. 
Impossible with the table tripod at 39 deg latitude, I would say.

I also will be ordering my "second" eyepiece (I have a couple of
.965s from my old celestron and even tho' they're kellners except
for a 12 mm orthoscopic, I'll live with them), a 40mm tho' I'm
not yet sure of the brand.  Mike Lee says go with the meade
series 3000 (!) and I'll never see the difference.  It saves $20.
 The comparable Orion/Sirius goes for $59.95 instead of the
$79.95 for the Meade.  The sirius ones are edge blackened which
the Meades aren't.

I really want low power to look for extended objects.

Best,
pete

And THANKS!

Mike here: regarding the DEC control "problem", I think you are referring to needing to get the screw back to the midpoint in its travels. Just unlock the DEC lock, turn the DEC control knob in whichever direction it will turn the most and try to find the midpoint. Then you'll be ready to go in either direction again. I mentioned this (briefly) on the Showcase Products page because I kept running into the limit with the MotoDec (not the MotoDec's fault).

Added later:

Done.  Thanks.  I ordered a Rigel finder today along with a bunch
of stuff from Orion including the 40 mm Ploessl with their own
brand on it.  I don't think I'll be able to tell the difference
between that and a Super-Duper-Ultra-Namebrand eyepiece at that
focal length.  The nice thing about the Orion is the edge
blackening of the optics which is more important than
multicoating so long as all air-glass surfaces are coated.


Subject:	 ETX UPDATE
Sent:	Sunday, March 22, 1998 18:56:33
From:	SPSesq@excaliber.net (Steven Sukel)
Mike, Great site.
I wrote about a year age when I first got my ETX and have
monitored the site ever since.  It has helped a lot with my
decisions to purchase accessories.

After I bought the scope (at the Nature Store) I got a bogen
tripod and pan head and then set out to learn the sky.  All I can
say about the scope is I know that my hard earned bucks were
well spent.  Since April 1997 I have added the mandatory
accessories... a 17mm televue plossel, a 9 mm meade series 4000
plossel and a celestron ultima 2X barlow.

This past october, I added the JMI motofocus- I reccomend it to
all- no jiggles when I focus- and the JMI motodec and the 90
degree finder adapter. Next is to add a better finder scope and
perhaps the new JMI polar finder.  Does anybody have it? Is it
worth the $50.00?

This past summer I took the scope to the New Jersey Shore (LBI
twice) since this is a great dark sky area close to home.  The
ETX performed flawlessly.  I saw the Orion Nebula M42 as a grey
area clearly defined in the26mm plossel. In the 9mm I could just
make out the trapezium.  I also took it to Massachusetts in the
Berkshires where it was so dark, you could see the Milky Way
naked eye. I showed these wonders to family and friends who are
not into stargazing and had them amazed.  Again the ETX was up to
all its hype.  When SKY & TELESCOPE reviewed the scope, they
raved and I agreed with them.

I am beginning to get that aperture fever and am looking at
either the 8 inch LX50 or LX200 and use the ETX as my guide
scope.

This is a great scope and I reccomend it to anyone looking to
start in the hobby.  For under $1,000, (my setup and
accessories), it is worth every penny and the veiws do not
disapoint.  I am getting more out of the ETX than I had expected.

Keep up the great work on this site and clear (warm) skies to
all!!!


Subject:	 Two questions and a comment
Sent:	Sunday, March 22, 1998 09:20:14
From:	peterz@erols.com (peter zimmerman)
Well, I bought the pretty blue thing yesterday at Nature Company.
They had just gotten in a new lot of 2 (allotment for a month;
sells in 2 weeks the guy said), and I noticed that the ABS
plastic is a slightly darker hue than on the demo model I had
seen elsewhere.  I don't know if that indicates any manufacturing
changes of significance.
1) Where is the serial number on this puppy?   My insurance
company is not going to be happy with a $600 item for which all I
can say is 'no serial number'.

2) What is the _lowest power_ (longest F.L.) eyepiece it is
practical to put on the telescope?  I would ideally like to go to
a 40 or 50 mm eyepiece for wider star fields and to see more
extended objects.

The 26mm Super Ploessl supplied by Meade has its large diameter
barrel reduced in length by one quarter inch in order to provide
the user with the dubious benefit of a lower profile instrument,
according to the instruction book.  That means that the eyepiece
is not parfocal with the rest of the line.  There is an easy fix
which should get you within a fraction of a turn of the focus
knob.  Simply purchase a roll of quarter inch wide "Dymo"
labelling tape, cut a strip a bit longer than 3 inches (to be
more accurate, pi*1.25 inches), strip off the protective backing,
and wrap it around the chrome barrel making sure that it touches
the black barrel at all points.  This will replace the quarter
inch Meade took away.  Alternatively, you can get some quarter
inch lucite and bore a 1.25" diameter hole in it and file off any
rough edges.  Hundredths of an inch error will be of little
importance since you will be fixing an error of tenths of an
inch.   Cost, about a buck.

This idea stems originally from a scheme Leica suggested for use
on collapsible lenses fitted to the M5 and Leica CL bodies which
used a swing-away photocell to meter through the lens.  If the
retractible lens were pushed all the way in, it would smash the
photocell.

pete zimmerman


Subject:	 ETX Question
Sent:	Saturday, March 21, 1998 08:55:53
From:	nikolaj@popx.dk (Nikolaj Vagner)
i'm thinking of buying a JMI computer for my ETX scope, which one
would you recommend, and what are the differences between
JMI-Micro,Mini and MAX. Also which motor-dec/focus should i buy
for my scope ??
thanks in advance ;)

Regards,
nikolaj vagner
e-mail: nikolaj@popx.dk
icq no.: 8127398

Mike here: There are some reviews of the JMI computers and MotoFocus and MotoDec on the Accessories - Misc page and the MF and MD are covered in more detail on the Accessories - Showcase Products page.


Subject:	 getting into ETX-ing
Sent:	Wednesday, March 18, 1998 20:01:10
From:	peterz@erols.com (peter zimmerman)
I am about to buy an ETX and have been reading the comments on
this site with interest.  I have two questions:
Does the group have a consensus on the best unit-magnification
red-dot finder to seek out, and how to mount it without
destroying the beautiful tube with glue and the like, and
certainly without drilling?

I'll be doing a limited amount of astrophotography on the fork
mount.  Is there a consensus on how to counterbalance the
instrument with a camera hung on the back, either at prime focus
or at the right angle eyepiece position using eyepiece
projection?

Many thanks,

peter zimmerman


Subject:	 Re:  Latitude tripod
Sent:	Wednesday, March 18, 1998 19:33:00
From:	benjamin@tsai.org (Benjamin Tsai)
I have a Tuthill IsoStatic Equatorial mount for ETX sitting next
to me.. But it seems that nobody besides me is using this mount
for the ETX, and I'm left to wonder if it was such a smart
purchase afterall..  Do you have any experience (directly or
indirectly) with this mount?  Thanks.
---
Best regards,
Benjamin Tsai

benjamin@tsai.org

40 45' 55"N 73 49' 04"W
"Low noise, clear and steady skies!"


Subject:	 Dec problem & a HOT eyepiece
Sent:	Tuesday, March 17, 1998 13:11:26
From:	rong@pogo.WV.TEK.COM (Ronald M Gilbert)
I have an apparent shifting problem with the DEC control while
moving in either direction.   The image seems to shift about 1 or
2 degrees before engaging in the direction I intend to go.  Has
anyone experienced this behavior?  Is there any adjustment for
this? Somewhere I have read about this problem in the archives
but I cannot locate it.  Help!
Keep up the good work Mike, I visit daily!    Clear Skies!


Subject:	 Finally, a warm night
Sent:	Tuesday, March 17, 1998 09:06:39
From:	wayneh7974@earthlink.net (Wayne Hale)
For the first time in months, had an evening that was both clear
and not bitter cold.  Now if I could just figure out how to turn
off a million lights from my balcony, I'd be all set.
Picked up an Orion EZ Finder Reflex Sight today at S&S Optika
here in the Denver area.  It is a very simple device, a 3/4 inch
diameter tube a little under 4" long containing a partially (very
partially) coated clear glass lens in one end.  A small 3v
lithium battery powers a small red led which is inside the tube,
at the opposite end from the lens. The sight has zero
magnification, you simply look through the tube and a very small
red dot appears to be superimposed on the star or other object
you are trying to find.  There is a convenient adjustment for the
brightness of the dot.  Two screws adjust the elevation and
right/left alignment.  The unit comes with a dovetail mounting
bracket, several screws of various lengths and a piece of double
sided tape.  Since I can't imagine drilling a hole in the tube of
an ETX, I elected to use the sticky tape. The manufacturer sells
the mounting bracket seperately so you could share the sight
between multiple scopes.
With a little care in positioning the tube parallel with the long
axis of the tube, I was able to stick the unit to the ETX and
only had to make a very small adjustment to align everything.  I
mounted the finder fairly far forward to make sure it didn't
interfere with the mounting yokes.

The unit does what they claim and it is much less obtrusive than
the Telrad or Rigel units which basically do the same thing.  The
sight is painted flat black and looks good attached to the ETX. 
My one criticism is the inside of the tube is fairly shiny and if
the brightness it turned up a little to high, you see multiple
reflections of the LED down the length of the tube.  I may try
inserting a piece of black dull construction paper inside the
tube and see if I can kill the reflections.

So far the new Orion Reflex Finder is working well although it is
still hard to locate dim objects with a lot of sky glow from the
city.  To make the red dot visible against the front "lens", the
lens is overcoated slightly with something slightly reflective
and you can notice a small amount of light loss coming through
the unit. Cosmetically, I'll live with the light loss to have
something that looks like it is not out of place on the ETX.

Clear skies to all,
Wayne


Subject:	      ETX eye pieces
Sent:	Tuesday, March 17, 1998 06:06:57
From:	WRNIX@UGA.CC.UGA.EDU (W. Robert Nix)
I have enjoyed the material I found on the WWW I am not much of a
net user, but I am learning a bit.  I am an OLD art professor,
and teach photography at the University of Ga.  I recently
purchased an ETX and am impressed with it in many ways, some are
a bit of a problem but -  I have some questions and a little
information which may be of use to some ETX users.  First, I did
not like having dirt and dust get into the scope when I did not
have an eyepiece in the angle finder, or in the top if it did not
have an eyepiece in place. Also having the back cap removed is a
good way to not have it where you want it when you need it. To
solve this problem I have found that the black plastic 3 5mm film
can, the new ones with the recycle arrows on the bottom will
slide in to the tube space nicely.  I cut the length of the can
down a bit, wrapped the top with a few layers of electrical tape
cut to 1/4 in wide and screwed the threaded back cap in place.
The plastic tape takes the thread impression and hold swell .
With the film cans as black tubes I have cut them to length and
mounted light weight 16mm movie camera lenses in them to serve as
eyepieces.
My question basically is about using my Bolex camera lens, and my
Leica 12mm copy lens as eyepieces.  I get good sharp images, but
I am not sure about angle of view and eye relief.  These are very
fine quality lenses but are they a practical answer for Telescope
eyepieces.  Thanks for what you are doing and any help you can
give.  W. R. Nix


Mike here: I found this on the MAPUG Mailing List. Cast your opinion on the ETX.
Date: Sun, 15 Mar 1998 12:05:24 +1100
From: "Cass L'Hotellier" (cass@sympac.com.au)
Subject: [M]: Astronomy Ratings Web Page
Hi all,

I don't know if this has been mentioned before but I'd just like to
alert MAPUG members to the existence an Astronomy Product Ratings Web
Site:  http://www.excelsis.com/vote/astro/index.html

You can cast votes for particular eyepieces or telescopes and the
results are averaged and presented in a table for anyone to look at. 
There doesn't appear to be many people voting on the page so far. The
more votes there are the more realistic the average result will be. 

I think it's a great idea.

Tony L'Hotellier


Subject:	 Camera mounts on ETX
Sent:	Saturday, March 14, 1998 22:54:49
From:	waltwarren@workmail.com (Walter Warren)
I can't tell you how glad I was to find your website.  I had been
wanting to see what kind of views I could expect from an ETX.  A
question though. With a camera mounted at prime focus it appears
it would be impossible to photograph anything in a significant
area around Polaris.  Do you know how much area is lost?  I was a
little surprised that you could get Hale-Bopp pictures because of
this problem.
Also, I don't quite understand the eyepiece projection technique.
With your Pentax, are you just holding the camera pointed at the
eyepiece, or is it attached somehow?

Hope you can take the time to answer my questions so I can decide
if the ETX is right for me.

Walter Warren

Mike here: It will be difficult, if not impossible, to get prime focus photographs when pointed near the pole if you leave the ETX mounted in the fork. However, you can do eyepiece projection photography using the Meade Basic Camera Adapter (see the ETX Accessories - Astrophotography page). You can also hand-hold the camera over the eyepiece but this is tricky and obviously only for short duration exposures. Long duration astrophotography is difficult at either prime focus or with eyepiece projection since the extra weight drags down the drive motor.


Subject:	 Re: Mirror shift
Sent:	Saturday, March 14, 1998 20:31:35
From:	ramjam@best.com (Rashad Al-Mansour)
Field report on the 90mm Meade ETX telescope AUGUST  2, 1997
I attended the annual "Star BQ" put on by the Fremont Peak
Observatory Association on AUG. 2ND 1997. It was the first time
that I attended a star party and is something I recommend to all
beginners such as myself, they are a great resource for
information and advice as well as allowing the beginner the
opportunity to talk with experienced amateur astronomers for 
tips and tricks for negotiating the night sky. For the beginner
that lives in the city and  who is trying to get a hold on the
night sky by studying the visible stars , is likely to be
overwhelmed their first trip to a dark when confronted by the
thousands of naked eye stars, even finding Polaris can be a
challenge. Star Parties, Highly Recommended!

Equipment Telescope, Meade ETX 90mm  Astro Finder,  Orion EZ
Finder ( Highly Recommended ) Tripod, Vanguard Extra Large Tripod
Head, Bogen model # 3275  ( Highly Recommended ) Lenses, 26mm
Meade Plossl, 32mm Sirius Plossl, 17mm Sirius Plossl, 7.5mm
Sirius Plossl Filters Orion Glass Sun Filter, # 80A Blue Filter

I arrived at Fremont Peak in the early afternoon, and after
pitching my tent did some solar observing, using the 17mm lens I
was able to see 3 sunspots in the southwest third of the disk.

Nightfall

In less than one minute after Polaris was visible, I was polar
aligned, this was due to the Bogen tripod head and the Orion EZ
Finder. Easily split the double double in Lyrae also split
Antares and 5 or six others, as well as M4 images were very sharp
text book defraction rings. Jupiter was just lovely, the 17mm
lens 73.5X revealed 4 highly visible bands very sharp. I spent a
lot of time on Jupiter, mainly because it was so beautiful but
also because I wanted to test the tracking ability of the ETX. I
have read what others have said about the drive on the ETX, I had
no problems, except when some kids, who wanted to look at Jupiter
kicked the tripod and knocked the scope out of alignment, but as
I said before alignment is a snap with the Bogen head and the EZ
finder. Anyway after realigning I tracked Jupiter, using the 17mm
lens for 1hour 45 minutes! Until another kid came along and
kicked my tripod again L I dont know how long it would have held
its track but I think 2 hours on one object should be good enough
for most amateur sky hawks. Very exciting! While looking at
Jupiter Io began to rise from behind the disk, I saw it before it
cleared the disk! I was surrounded by big iron, on my left was a
16 inch Meade LX200, the thing was so big that the owner had to
use a car motor hoist to pull it out of his van and to set it up.
On my right was a Takahashi 9 inch  Cass. The owner said it was
one of only 100 made and cost close to 6,000 bucks! And all
around me were 8,10,and 12 inch Celestrons and Meades. When I
shouted about what I was seeing all you could hear was the sound
of motor drives moving to track the big planet, everybody seemed
impressed, the guy with the 16 inch Meade looked through my tiny
scope and was also able to confirm that I was seeing Io before it
had cleared the disk of Jupiter, he was really impressed not only
with the optics, which are first rate, but also with the
tracking. I was to impress him even more, an hour later while
still on Jupiter, I shouted "hey it looks like there are some
storms on Jupiter" again the silence was broken by drive motors
as all the big iron swung back to the giant and once again my
observations were confirmed, there were 3 storms in the big
northern band, I had 6 or 7 big iron owners standing in line to
get a look through my little gem and all commented on the optical
quality of the ETX. None of us saw the GRS. Saturn was awe
inspiring the Cassini Division was clearly seen , and when using
the 7.5mm lens ( 166X ) I saw Titan for the first time! I also
used a 2X barlow to push the 7.5mm the image on Jupiter and
Saturn was still somewhat sharp, but they did darken the image
some. Under ideal conditions I believe the view would have been
acceptable to almost anyone. I had a chance to view the sky
through some of the best telescope on the market today. Meades
from 8 to 16 inches 10 and 12 inch Celestrons Takahashi 9 inch
and Astro-physics 4 inch refractor etc. In my opinion pound for
pound dollar for dollar the Meade ETX 90mm Astroscope is one of
the finest telescopes that the amateur astronomer is likely to
find anywhere in the world and when you factor in portability and
ease of setup it has to rank in the top 10 or maybe even the top
7 of the scopes on the market today.


Subject:	 Mirror shift
Sent:	Saturday, March 14, 1998 02:13:13
From:	ramjam@best.com (Rashad Al-Mansour)
It's been a while since we last communicated, I hope all is well.
And I like what you have done to the page, even if it's not
geared toward IE4 :-)
Anyway I have been using our favorite scope allot and have begun
to notice more and more mirror shift! I have not seen post on
your site discussing this subject and was wondering if you had
any ideas, the last thing I want to do is send it off to Meade!

Rashad


Subject:	Re: Great Board!
Sent:	Friday, March 13, 1998 15:21:02
From:	JDDGA@aol.com
I gave a call to Roger W. Tuthill. For the ETX they charge $625.
If you want one which has been prechecked by them and certified
(plus they added the diode to let you know if the drive is
running) the price is $695.
I figure I don't really want to spend $695, but I do want to get
it from a place which has a decent reputation. The Nature Company
has a store out in Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island, which is
about a 45 minute drive for me. I heard some nice things about
them from folks on your site, so I may check them out. I want to
be able to bring it in and exchange it if the collimation is off.
Roger W. Tuthill is in NJ about an hour and a half from here, so
they are in driving range. Gosh, I wish we could get our windows
done, so I can concentrate on the ETX. I think it'll be a good
partner for my Celestron 8" SCT.

Celestron just overhauled my scope and collimated it using a
laser collimator,  and it is on its way back to me. I'm anxious
to see how it will perform.

       Clear skies!

                  John
                  


Subject:	Re: Great Board!
Sent:	Friday, March 13, 1998 03:24:30
From:	JDDGA@aol.com
I've been re-reading the reviews of the ETX which were in
Astronomy and Sky & Telescope magazine. I didn't realize that the
scope can easily be detached from its mount and used as a
spotting scope because there is the block underneath with the
1/4-20 hole which will accept the regular camera tripod adaptor.
This will let the scope be used in the nature/spotting scope
style. That really makes it a very versatile unit. I could even
mount it on my Celestron and use the excellent PEC drive to take
pictures through it, or use it as an excellent guide scope for
the Celestron. Another interesting point!
I think I may buy one for myself, but I will have to wait a bit
first. We need to get new Anderson windows for our front porch,
so I will have to take care of that item first.

With all the interesting e-mail you get from folks who are
tinkering with their scopes, I get the feeling that the ETX is a
lot like the Sinclair ZX-80 computer. In the early days of home
computing, the ZX-80 came on the market and sold for 100 dollars.
It had a membrane keyboard, built in basic, and 4K of RAM. I
purchased one, and learned how to program in basic with it. There
were magazines devoted to it, and folks made all kinds of
modifications to the basic unit. One was even put on display at
the Smithsonian because they felt it represented a turning point
in the use of computers for the home. I still have mine stored
away with all the manuals. The ETX gives excellent optical
performance, but the drive system was kept simple to keep the
price down. For 600 dollars it represents one heck of a buy, and
invites improvements to the operating system by the owner.  Fun!

   Clear skies,
         
              John
              


Subject:	 ETX Information
Sent:	Thursday, March 12, 1998 19:05:13
From:	scotsmac@hsonline.net (John Mckeating)
I am interested in purchasing an ETX telescope and would
appreciate if you could point me in the direction of a reputable
dealer or person who has a used but in good condition for sale.
As I am new to this hobby I would also appreciate any pointers
you could give me, thanks for you help in this matter.
				Yours
					John McKeating 

Mike here: There are several good dealers on the web. Check the Astronomy Links (dealer section) on my ETX site. The Nature Company and Natural Wonders are two that have been frequently favorably mentioned by many users. Also, check the Meade site (link on the astro link page) and go to the dealers page where they list all their dealers by location.


Subject:	 TO SLOW !!!!!!!!
Sent:	Thursday, March 12, 1998 13:51:23
From:	PURKY@webtv.net (EARL PURKISS)
HOW WE DOING? I HAVE HAD THIS PROBLEM FOR AWHILE. MY MOTOR IS
TRACKING TO SLOW. AT LEAST THAT IS WHAT THE PEOPLE AT THE SHOP
TOLD ME. HOW CAN I FIX THIS OR DO I HAVE TO SEND IT TO MEADE? IF
YOU CAN HELP ME ASAP I WOULD BE VERY GREATFUL I'M GOING TO THE
DESERT THIS WEEKEND
ALSO I WANT TO TAKE A PHOTO OF STAR TRAILS GOING IN A CIRCLE, HOW
WOULD I DO THIS

THANKS ,
EARL 

Mike here: If your drive is locking in RA properly but still tracking too slow it could be due to your batteries running down. Try replacing them. If that doesn't help, and you are sure you are getting a good lock, you may have a more serious problem. As to star trails photos, it is easy (assuming you have the right camera). Just mount the camera on a tripod, point it in the direction you want to shot, then open the shutter (be certain to remove the lens cap!). Exposures of 5 minutes with a normal lens will show only slight trailing whereas longer exposures or using a telephoto lens will result in longer trails. Of course, you have to have really dark skies to do really long exposures. Good luck!


Subject:	 Some more Feedback.. Chromatic abber.
Sent:	Thursday, March 12, 1998 11:57:50
From:	hoy@istar.ca (Doug Hoy)
Awhile ago Ray Wartinger expressed concern that he could see red
and blue colours on the top and bottom of Venus (he didn't say
which colour was on which end of Venus). At the time something
moved (alright, moved sluggishly) at the back of my memory, but
reading Terence Dickenson's article on viewing Venus in the 1998
RASC Handbook reminded me that Venus, because it is usually seen
low on the horizon at dusk or dawn suffers particularly from
atmospheric chromatic distortion. In other words, "it's the
environment", not the ETX's fault. This may have been Ray's
problem. On another note, someone loaned me a pile of eyepieces
to try out on the ETX: a Televue 13 Plossl, an Omcom 20mm Plossl,
a Vixen LV 25, a 10.5 Ortho, and an unamed Ramsden  of unknown
focal length. All filthy. Hope it's clear tonight!
*************************************************************
Doug Hoy              Evaluation           National Museum of
dhoy@nmstc.ca              &              Science & Technology
(613)998-6863v         Research       P.O.Box 9724, Station T
(613)990-3654f                          Ottawa K1G 5A3 CANADA
**Opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by the NMSTC**
*************************************************************


Subject:	 INFORMATION
Sent:	Thursday, March 12, 1998 09:44:23
From:	valdellera@colon.net (Luis Carrera)
Dear Friends:
I need some information about MEADE ETX TELESCOPE, for
terrestrial use (birdwatching): Is possible to use it with an
terrestrial tripod (video tripod, photography tripod, etc)?. I
will very pleased to receive your news about.
Yours sincerily,
Luis Carrera 
Spain

Mike here: Check out the Accessories - Tripods page for some info on tripods.


Subject:	 ETX and T adapter
Sent:	Wednesday, March 11, 1998 11:29:17
From:	WCoates@netcom.ca (Coates, Walter)
I just found your ETX web page this morning.  I think its
excellent...great job!
I have really enjoyed using my ETX, although my only complaint is
that the weather here in the Pacific northwest is too cloudy and
rainy!

Now for a question... I recently bought the T adapter for
attaching my Nikon camera to the ETX.  I already had the
appropriate T-ring for my camera, so everything fitted together
perfectly.  Unfortunately my telescope won't focus on anything
farther than approximately 50 feet through the camera.  The
focusing knob just won't turn any farther.  - very frustrating!
Naturally, I have been careful not to force the knob to turn, but
I am sure that the focussing mechanism is at the end of its
travel. It focuses beautifully when using

either of my two eyepieces.   Any suggestions?

Thanks!  And once again... I think your web page is great.  I
will be a regular visitor!

Cheers from:
Walter Coates
WCoates@netcom.ca    

Mike here: There was a comment about a similar focusing problem from another user. Apparently some camera bodies are too large to get a focus with the full T-Adapter. Try using just the shorter segment and see if that helps.

Added later:

I think I found the answer to my own question! After browsing
extensively through your web page I found an article (I think it
was part of the ETX review in Sky & Telescope magazine) which
described the same problem. It suggested that the focusing knob
was inserted too far onto the focusing rod.  By loosening the
tiny allen screw on the focusing knob and moving the knob back a
few millimetres, you should be able to get enough focussing
travel to accommodate the T-adapter.  I haven't had time to try
it out with this adjustment, but it should work fine.  You might
want to pass it along to other ETX enthusiasts.

Cheers from Walter...and thanks again for the excellent work on
your ETX web page.


Subject:	Re: Great Board!
Sent:	Wednesday, March 11, 1998 03:10:36
From:	JDDGA@aol.com
I'm enjoying going through the archives of owner comments. I was
up to 12:30 am last night just going through January. Keeping the
archives of comments is a great idea. I wish there were a site
like this for Celestron owners. You have done a great job, and
Meade should be paying you a consultant's fee. I think your site
will be bringing many new ETX owners to Meade.
         John
         


Subject:	Re: Great Board!
Sent:	Tuesday, March 10, 1998 20:51:08
From:	JDDGA@aol.com
I remember a review somewhere where the reviewer stated something
about the lag in the drive once an object was centered. He did
say (I think) that it was an annoying process. My 6" Dynascope
RV-6 reflector gave exceptional optical performance, but the
drive didn't allow long term exposures either. MY Celestron
Powerstar 8 with the PEC drive is a far better instrument for
long exposure photography. However, I have not been fully
satisfied with the optical performance, and the OTA is back at
the factory being serviced. Hopefully once I get it back, the
optical performance will be improved.
Your photos of Jupiter and the Sun were quite interesting. I was
particularly impressed with the Jupiter photo. I was really
suprised that a 3.5" aperature instrument, with a central
obstruction, could do so well. I did get the feeling that a
limiting magnification was around 60X per inch and pushing it
past this limit resulted in loss of image quality. But 60X per
inch is nothing to sneeze at. I also enjoyed the diode
information, and can see that the ETX may become a real favorite
among folks who enjoy tweaking.

Well, I've got two years to go before I retire, so I am not
rushing into the portable scope purchase. I was in love with the
Questar, but the price was beyond belief. If I am reading the
notes right, the ETX does have the optical performance but needs
help with the drive end of the equation. I most certainly will be
dropping in on your web site to keep up with the ETX news, and
who knows, perhaps I'll end up getting it. The jury is still out.

             Clear skies!

                       John D'Angelo

By the way, my camera is the Pentax 1000K. I don't care for all
that automatic stuff. Have you tried it for astrophotos?


Subject:	 ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, March 10, 1998 20:13:06
From:	jopa@ibm.net
I just yesterday bought a ETX telescope and this being the first
time I have ever tried to see the stars upclose and personal, Im
a little lost as yet about how to best use this but I'll get
there with the help Im finding online and with trial and error .
My E-Mail address is jopa@ibm.net if any one has any ideas about
how a newbe can get the best out of what I have.

Mike here: Check out the New User tips page on my ETX site for starters.


Subject:	 ETX finder
Sent:	Tuesday, March 10, 1998 16:08:18
From:	atimke@DNS1.famvid.com (Allan Timke)
I've read that the finder bracket on the ETX is only about 1 mm
to small to hold the Meade 6x30 finder. Has any enterprising soul
started selling a replacement bracket that would accept the Meade
6x30? I've read about someone cutting the existing bracket with a
jewelers saw, but I'd rather not do that. 
- Al Timke -
atimke@famvid.com


Subject:	Great Board!
Sent:	Monday, March 9, 1998 23:39:01
From:	JDDGA@aol.com
Hi Mike,
I checked out your board as you suggested. Absolutely great!
Meade should give you some credit here. I found it to be very
interesting and helpful. I have a comment on using eyepiece
projection of the sun with the ETX. Although the aperature is not
too large, 3.5", I would steer clear of allowing the sun's light
to be transmitted through the unit. Celestron specifically warns
against using their SCT scopes  (any size) this way. They stated
that the heat could destroy eyepieces with multiple optics
(anything more complicated than a Huygens) and/or warp the
telescope optics. They strongly recommend that only an external
filter mounted in the front of the scope be used, such as the
1000 Oaks filter. I would think that should be true for the ETX
also.

Do you know if Meade has corrected the drive drift, which seemed
to be a real problem with some of the people who wrote in?

         Clear skies,

              John D'Angelo

Mike here: As to the RA drift problem, I'm sure Meade doesn't consider it a "problem" since it doesn't occur all the time with all scopes. Several users have commented here about how accurate the drive is (including myself); the problem is that getting it to track properly just isn't consistent. Most times I get a good RA lock and it tracks well, but at other times, even during the same observing session, the lock doesn't engage properly. We, as users, could state it is a design flaw, but Meade probably has a different opinion.


Subject:	 Beginner's Questions
Sent:	Sunday, March 8, 1998 15:46:38
From:	daveharris@ndirect.co.uk (Dave Harris)
I have just purchased an ETX and, having used it for the first
night tonight, have a number of observations/queries.
1.    My setting circle band was too tight (see earlier mail to
this forum). Following the advice from Bob Martin, I fixed it
with ease. Thanks, Bob.

2.    The finder is in an impossible position (at least at my
latitude - London, UK). I've cricked my back trying to bend my
body into unnatural positions. I will need to consider a right
angle adjustment set very quickly.

3.    The motor drive is totally unreliable. Sometimes it works,
most times not. When it does catch, it's far too slow - the
objects move out of sight quite quickly. My question is - what is
the most likely cause? I have read a number of contributions, and
think it might be too much friction at various points of contact
between the base and body. Is my best bet to follow the advice of
R.Smith, November 21 1997 20:28:16? Or does anyone have any
better solutions? (I don't want to attempt the potentiometer
solution just yet - I don't think this will solve my particular
problem)

4.   (A beginner's question) The moon was a bright waxing moon
tonight - a beautiful sight in the 26mm; even my wife was
impressed. But I found the image too bright! After spending 30
seconds looking, I was blinded in one eye. Is the solution a moon
filter? Is that what moon filters are for? Or is there another
solution?

Thanks 
daveharris@ndirect.co.uk

Mike here: To reduce moon brightness you can purchase a "moon filter" or you can "stop down" the ETX by reducing the size of the objective lens area. This could be done by cutting a small hole (say 1-2 inches) in a piece of cardboard and then attaching that to the end of the ETX tube. This will reduce the amount of light coming into the ETX. Since I have not down this I don't have an exact value to try. Once you decide on a good value you can make the mod a bit nicer by cutting the cardboard into a circle (with the hole offset from the center) and then adding a side to it that would slip around the ETX tube.


Subject:	Early ETX
Sent:	Sunday, March 8, 1998 15:05:13
From:	FGBIKE@aol.com
Was shocked to read that John Atkinson was blessed with an ETX
that tracked for two hours without need of correction. When I was
inside the electronics compartment of my ETX  I was surprised to
see that there was a 6200 ohm resistor pigybacked on a 10,000 ohm
resister and also there is no cutout in the printed circuit board
directly above the bolt that attaches the fork arm module to the
base.  Obviously there have been some upgrades since I acquired
my ETX from Lumicon in Livermore, CA.  They told me that mine was
the second one that they had shipped.  Maybe it is better to wait
until the bugs are ironed out.
In any event I have made the power on LED modification along with
the replacement of the sheet metal screw with the hanger bolt as
suggested by Paul J. Boudreaux.  I haven't had a chance to test
this modification under the stars but it works fine on the
kitchen table.

 Best wishes, 
 Frank Dement
 


Subject:	Solar Eclipse 
Sent:	Sunday, March 8, 1998 08:14:37
From:	LUCKYCUSS@aol.com
I purchased my ETX  about a year ago for the main purpose of
taking it with me to the Febuary 98 Total Solar Eclipse.  As this
would be my first solar eclipse I wanted to try and obtain some
memories with photos.  I purchased the necessary optional
equipment: tripod, wedge, auto focus, camera adapter etc.   I
practiced with this equipment months before the event and
everything was working fine.  The day of the eclipse however, the
autofocuser came apart and some of the parts went overboard (I
was on a curise ship).  The plastic housing around the Dec slow
motion control cracked ( I don't know why).  The photoport pulled
out of the ETX when I was unscrewing the camera adapter.  It
appears the threads just pulled out.  They are very fine
threads. And lastly the motion of the ship rocking made keeping
the image centered in the field of view difficult.  Dispite all
this, I did get  some very good photos which I will charrish for
years to come.
Gary


Subject:	Question
Sent:	Friday, March 6, 1998 20:21:06
From:	Psymonds@aol.com
I'm thinking of buying a telescope and the first one that I
looked at was the Meade ETX.  I've spoken to a few people that
have been studing astonomy for some years and they recommend
buting a Orion VX80.  Why should I buy the Meade ? I would
appreciate your comments.  I like the idea of portability,
terrestrial viewing, and the price.  What about the optics ? 
Plus and minus's ? I've read comments on the message boards and
now it's getting confusing.
Again, I would appreciate your comments.

Phil


Subject:	 Starpointer spotting  scope
Sent:	Friday, March 6, 1998 11:15:21
From:	hoy@istar.ca (Doug Hoy)
Have been enjoying your excellent site for awhile, and thought
I'd send some flowers your way. This is a valuable, sensible,
friendly resource for ETX owners. Bravo!
I couldn't find the Telrad or Rigel 1x finders recommended, but
did find a Celestron Starpointer BB-gun type finder for cheap.
Put it on a small block of dense black foam and glued it to the
tube with a little black silicon goop. What a difference! I
wonder if the galaxies tremble when they feel that little red dot
on their foreheads? Nah...

Got some eyepieces, and am wondering if anyone has compared a 35mm 
Plossl with a 40mm? I have a 40, and the field is wide alright, 
with no vignetting, but the eye relief is a little big
(gotta put your eye just SO).
*************************************************************
Doug Hoy              Evaluation           National Museum of
dhoy@nmstc.ca              &              Science & Technology
(613)998-6863v         Research       P.O.Box 9724, Station T
(613)990-3654f                          Ottawa K1G 5A3 CANADA
**Opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by the NMSTC**
*************************************************************


Subject:	 Re:  ETX tripod legs at higher latitudes
Sent:	Friday, March 6, 1998 09:01:06
From:	tkline@centraxgroup.com (Tim Kline)
Greetings,
Being located in South Florida, I came upon the same dilemma for
the lower hole: latitude below the scale.  Applying some of my
long lost trigonometric functions, I came up with a solution.

There probably is a way to tie in the scale that Meade uses on
the center leg, but after a few minutes of careful measurement,
this Friday afternoon researcher determined that the scale was
'ballpark' at best.  The triangle formed by the ETX legs and the
table surface is a right triangle, so the best way to determine
the setting for the center leg in the upper or lower hole is as
follows:

1) Get out the old scientific calculator and determine the
tangent(TAN) of your latitude.  EX:  Ft. Lauderdale, FL = 28 
TAN(28)=.532

2) Determine the distance (careful, don't drop the scope) from
the center hole to the table top with the base perpendicular to
the table top.  Mine was roughly 9.3 inches - yours should be
very close to that as well.

3) Now that you have those two numbers, you're set!!  The tangent
of an angle(28 degrees in my case) is equal to the opposite
side(9.3 inches) over the adjacent side(center leg).  Go back to
the calculator and the length of the center leg extension is
equal to the opposite side constant divided by the tangent of
your latitude:  9.3/.532 = 17.48 inches

To determine the center leg length for the upper or lower holes,
simply add or subtract 2 inches(distance between the holes)
respectively to the 9.3 inch constant.  It may seem like a lot of
work, but there isn't a 'fix all' number that I could find
because of the variable of the tangent involved. Another
by-product of this is the realization that the scale is simply a
reference and not meant to replace a good thorough polar
alignment using the drift method or other means.

Kind of scares me that I actually enjoyed figuring this out...I'd
like to thank my calculus professors, the academy and my
TI-35X.....

Check this out at your latitude setting to check my findings.

Tim


Subject:	 Could you please help me?
Sent:	Friday, March 6, 1998 07:39:15
From:	rangele@towers.com
I am trying to get information regarding to where I can buy a
telescope in Mexico city, of course a Meade one. You may be have
a contact here in Mexico city who can provide me information, if
so, please send me the information.
Yours,

Eduardo Rangel

Mike here: Check the Meade web page for dealers.


Subject:	 Quick Question
Sent:	Friday, March 6, 1998 07:35:03
From:	sloxdale@ford.com (Steve Loxdale)
Just received my etx - have a simple question. I live in London,
so all etx's here come with the additional centre leg for our
altitude (51 N). The problem is, there are no calibration
markings on it - is this normal with this add-on or is the
sticker just missing on my leg ???
Keep up the good work.


Subject:	 
Sent:	Thursday, March 5, 1998 13:53:07
From:	RevFF@msn.com (Felicia A. Fontaine) [possibly invalid account]
From reading the comments, I must be incredibly lucky.  I got my
ETX within a week my first attempt to locate one and everything
seems to work fine. I've noticed that several folks have had
difficulty with sharp focus at higher magnifications.  I've
comfortably pushed my ETX to 300x with no loss of focus on most
objects.  I suggest that folks not forget that the eyepiece is
half the scope.  I'm using TeleVue's for higher powers and have
found the resolution to be vastly superior to the Meade
eyepieces. Using a Lumicon UHC filter at 300x (8mm Tele Vue + 126
Barlow), I was able to clearly focus on Antaires with two very
clear airy disks (one bright red and the other rather green) and
accompanying defraction rings.  With good seeing conditions, I've
been able to see the Red Spot on Jupiter and was able to track
Europa and Io across the planet disk.  It will take 300x with the
right eyepiece.


Subject:	 New site format
Sent:	Wednesday, March 4, 1998 18:40:50
From:	katetom@znet.com (Kate and Tom Harnish)
Bravo. Outstanding. Incredibly useful. Just what the doctor
ordered. The Cat's pajamas (whatever that means.)
Very nice job....and a heck of a lot of BBediting, I'd say! Major
improvement on an already great site. Meade ought to include a
link...okay, just acknowledge your efforts even, eh?

So how's come a big public company like that doesn't have some
soul to monitor your site and answer questions. 'Course they
are they same company that hasn't fixed the right angle finder.
Cheers and congrats
Tom


Subject:	 Telrad for ETX
Sent:	Wednesday, March 4, 1998 15:35:03
From:	areddel@worldnet.att.net (Robin Lent)
Your efforts in your  website are appreciated. Thank you for this
site. I have an ETX, and I use a Telrad with it. I attach the
telrad base to the top of the scope with a 4.5 inch hose clamp 
(with a ring of thick construction paper to protect the tube).
This works well for me. I found the finder that came with the
scope too small. I use a bogen tripod with a 3126 head, and this
is more than sturdy enough, and allows me to set up outside
quickly.  Thanks again,
Robin Lent
areddel@worldnet.att.net
Centerville OH


Subject:	 Setting Circles
Sent:	Wednesday, March 4, 1998 13:33:24
From:	daveharris@ndirect.co.uk (Dave Harris)
Thanks for an excellent site. The enthusiasm of you and your many
contributors persuaded me to buy an ETX, which arrived last week.
The weather since it arrived (in London, UK) has been poor, and
I've not managed to take the ETX outside the house yet. I have,
however, set it up and familiarised myself with the scope, and
how it works.
One question though. The RA setting circle does not seem to move.
Should it? Or am I misunderstanding something? Should the scale
itself move, or the plastic flange (with the ^ marker on it)
move? Perhaps you could help?

Thanks, Dave Harris

Mike here: See Bob Martin's comment below for the solution (from Meade) for the tight RA circle. The tape should move in its track.


Subject:	 ETX Photos
Sent:	Wednesday, March 4, 1998 10:29:10
From:	manldn@apex.net (Michael & Lori Nicholas)
Have you seen the photographs of M33 and M27 in the March issue
of S & T?  The ETX was piggy-backed on a 16" scope but the
quality of the pictures is remarkable.  I continue to enjoy my
ETX, but the weather here has not afforded me much opportunity
lately.
Best Regards & Clear Skies,

Michael A. Nicholas
Paducah, Ky.


Subject:	 Meade
Sent:	Tuesday, March 3, 1998 12:31:25
From:	bortiz@intersrv.com (B Ortiz)
Lost Meade's 1 800 number and have to contact them. Please
forward at you convienience. Thanks.  BTW Painted all indicator
arrows on the ETX and motor on and off switch with white luminous
paint for easy viewing during the day and at night. Now it's easy
to see if the motor in on or off and less likely to leave it on.
Setting circles are easy to see also.
Boris

Mike here: Found their 800# via the Search capability on the ETX site (just searched for 800). It is: 1-800-626-3233.


From the MAPUG mailing list:
Subject:	 etx
Sent:	Tue, 03 Mar 1998 12:10:27
From:	jim-lowry@att.net (Jim Lowry)
When using the tripod legs for the ETX, the built in latitude
scale is only for use up to 42.5 degrees.  next week, I am going
to Switzerland for a week high up in the alps, at around 46.7
degrees latitude.  The Meade instructions, state to put the leg
in the upper hole for latitudes up to 48 degrees, but that you
must then eyeball a polar alignment.  Has anyone worked out a
conversion for the printed scale to higher latitudes using the
upper hole??


Subject:	 Thomas Stebler's question
Sent:	Tuesday, March 3, 1998 06:57:58
From:	tkline@centraxgroup.com (Tim Kline)
Just read the recent 'Feedback...' update and took note of Thomas
Stebler's question about projecting an unfiltered solar image on
a screen using the ETX.  When I bought my ETX from The Nature
Company, they sent a telescope specialist out to assist me with a
viewfinder problem (which they ended up replacing).  He quickly
discovered the problem and because he had extra time, I got a
one-on-one introduction to astronomy for about an hour.  I did
ask him the question of why it is said there is a danger, not
only to the eye (obviously), but also to the scope to point it at
the sun without the filter.  Long story short, you are right on -
he said that the heat build up inside the tube would be dangerous
to not only the optics, but also to other parts in the OTA that
might warp or swell because they are not meant to endure that
focused heat.
One other quick note, since I am fairly new to astronomy, I was
always leery about trying to find the deep sky objects because I
was afraid I would be quickly disappointed by the image or the
effort in finding them. If there are others out there that feel
this way, might I direct them to M42 in Orion.  This was my first
nebula spotted in the ETX and I was completely blown away.  The
resolution and ability to see detail in the nebula was almost as
inspiring as the first sighting of the Moon and Saturn. 
Astronomy, I'm finding, is definitely one of those things you
just jump into and get your hands dirty.

Happy days, and clear skies!

Tim


Subject:	 QV-10
Sent:	Tuesday, March 3, 1998 02:38:54
From:	benchr@teleport.com (Ross Bench)
Reply-to:	benchr@teleport.com
I remembered that you had used a Casio QV-10 with the ETX so I
thought I would pass along the following info.
I just picked up a QV-10a and I found what looks to be a pretty
decent piece of software for it that you might be interested in.

Check out this URL:

http://www.beausoft.com/

Now that I have a color digital cam I will send you a couple
pictures of my ETX setup !!

Take easy

Ross Bench


Subject:	 etx
Sent:	Monday, March 2, 1998 20:39:24
From:	wr6s@qnet.com (Patrick & Deborah Jasper)
hello,searched "meade"and got your page.this is bizaar because i
just picked up my etx !!!!!!!!!!!!this is tooo cool! what a shock
when your page popped up first after my search? well,i havent
even looked through it yet,waiting for about one more hour till i
go outside[its 835pm] ill give you some background on me.im 32
and live in the high desert about 35mi n/e of los angeles..not
bad skies but could be a little darker. i own an 8inch lx200 and
just wanted a small scope to play with my daughter age 3.5 i saw
the etx and fell in love.i figured f 13. something will be good
for planets and maybe ill pick up a hydrogen alpha filter one
day. nice page,ill email back after a few observing sessions and
let u know what i think..c-ya,pat


Subject:	 latitud 7 degrees  north
Sent:	Monday, March 2, 1998 19:04:49
From:	juanc@interpla.net.co (Juan Ramirez)
can the ETX track the sky at this latitud  "7 degrees north" ?
congratulations  Meade should put you on there payroll, 
fantastic web page!

Mike here: Yes, you can track at 7N; you just need an appropriate mounting.


Subject:	ETX User comments
Sent:	Monday, March 2, 1998 09:39:31
From:	BMartin615@aol.com
I purchased my the ETX as a replacement Christmas gift after
returning the camera shop 90mm refractor I originally bought. 
The difference was light night and day.  The refractor was almost
unusable at powers over 125X, and the constant adjusting the the
Eq mount and subsequent vibration took all the fun out of it.  My
first real sighting was Saturn, still high in the sky.  The view
was perfect and beautiful.  Unlike some of the other users, the
tracking on my unit is very good.  With just an armchair polar
alignment sighting, I can keep a star in the view field for over
half an hour without touching it.  The only problem I encountered
was that the RA set circle was so tight, it could only be moved
with a pensil eraser as a grip aid. Mike at Meade customer service
advised me to peel the set circle tape apart at the seam, and
stick the tape back together giving it an additional 1/16 to 1/8"
additional clearance.  He said if I ruined the tape that he
sould furnish me a replacement.  It worked fine.  I would also
suggest placing a small drop of epoxy over the "top" of the seam
to insure that it won't come apart again. I am thinking of also
glueing a small piece of clear plastic on that spot to provide a
better grip on the tape when trying to move it with cold hands.
When I went to a scope store to buy a high power eyepiece, the
owner talked me out of it, saying that anything over 175X was
unusable in a 3.5" scope. So, I bought a used 7.4 TeleVue plossl
from an internet ad and tried it (338X with barlow).  The first
try was a telephone pole 1/2 mile away.  I could resolve details
1/3 the size of a BB!!  I tried it on the moon and the image was
excellent at that power.  However, because of the limited
aperature, I find the dimmer subjects might be limited to about
225X to 250X.  That still a remarkable 70X per inch of scope. 
The higher powers need a little patience, and a pretty good
night, but Its worth it when you split your first double stars. 
Overall, I think its a great little scope (my first, or second if
you count the refractor).

     Bob Martin - Brea CA
     bmartin615@aol.com

PS  Do you ever notice a little reverse scope envy from other
scope owners? (smaller is better?)


Subject:	 Sun
Sent:	Sunday, March 1, 1998 06:42:41
From:	steblerth@compuserve.com (Thomas Stebler)
is it possible to use the ETX for the projection of the
unfiltered picture of the sun onto a projection srceen.
Greetings from Basel, Switzerland

Mike here: Sure would but I wonder if heat build-up inside the tube would be a problem. Anybody know for sure? I used projection with my old Edmund 3" reflector but that was an open-ended tube. It worked great.


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