Last updated: 31 May 2001

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

Mike here: By request, the Mighty ETX Site Pledges Membership page is now available sorted by Location. Go to the Membership Page and click the View you wish to see.

Mike here: Attendence for the first Mighty ETX Star Party is growing. If you have not yet considered attending, take a look at the page and see what is planned. If you are planning to attend and have not yet notified me, please do so.

Subject:	ETX Supercharge
Sent:	Wednesday, May 30, 2001 7:41:37
From:	mdurkin@lodestarinternet.com (Mark Durkin)
I recently sent my ETX-125EC to Dr. Clay Sherrod for his ETX Supercharge
Service.  I would have to recommend it to everyone who owns an ETX
telescope.  My ETX was brand new just out of the box before he touched
it.  His modifications have made my scope virtually perfect.  The main
purpose of sending my scope to Dr. Sherrod was to find out how well my
ETX performs optically and mechanically when compared to other units.  I
was happy to find out that after the modifications, my scope was of
excellent quality.

I sent my ETX to Dr. Sherrod insured and shipped through UPS.  If you
have the hard case, I would recommend shipping in the case, inside of a
larger box with foam peanuts.  I was surprised with the cost of
shipping.  I thought the shipping was going to cost as much as the
service, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the cost was only $35
each way from Boston to Arkansas insured for $1200 (to cover the scope
and eyepieces) and professionally packaged.

I received an e-mail the evening it arrived and Dr. Sherrod assured me
that my ETX arrived in one piece and that he has already started working
on it.  The next day I got a detailed e-mail with all of his initial
findings and comments.  I then received an e-mail three days later when
he sent back my ETX.  One of the nicest things about Dr. Sherrod's
service is his constant contact updating you on the status of your
scope.  Anytime I e-mailed Dr. Sherrod, I was responded to within a
couple hours.  There is no need to be nervous about sending your ETX to
him.  It will be in great hands.

I received my scope last week along with a full checklist of his
inspection, letter explaining his findings, and certificate.  I have now
had the weekend to play with my scope.  I must say that I really didn't
think it could possibly be the same one I sent him a week earlier.  I
was amazed at the motor performance.  The first thing I noticed were
that the motors moved smooth and accurate.  Virtually all of the slop
when using the handbox has disappeared.  No more hesitation or jumping
when I use the handbox.  I had horrible rocking in declination.  It's
gone!  I can't believe the improvement.  My scope when using the
Autostar tracks perfectly now.  Before the supercharge, tracking was
nonexistent.  Optically, after modifications it bench tested a 1/12th
wave overall system.  I have no idea what that means, but Dr. Sherrod
explains that it is an excellent result.

I noticed something today as I was reading through the Mighty ETX site. 
I was experiencing some of the problems that other people are
encountering and posting about on the site, but as I was looking through
the e-mails, I would refer back to my scope and notice that most of
these problems have been remedied by Dr. Sherrod's supercharge service. 
In fact, all of the problems I have been experiencing have been reduced
significantly or completely remedied.

If you are experiencing the problems that seem to be pretty standard
with the Meade ETX telescopes, try Dr. Sherrod's tune-up supercharge
service.  You too will not believe the difference.  Dr. Sherrod's
service will transform your observing sessions to be easy and enjoyable
instead of a constant struggle.  Even if you are not experiencing a lot
of problems, which is similar to my situation, Dr. Sherrod's service
will improve your scope a great deal as well as prevent problems that
will almost certainly appear in the future.  Instead of buying your next
eyepiece or other gadget, invest the money in Dr. Sherrod's supercharge
service.  You will be much more satisfied and it is well worth the cost.

Thank you Dr. Sherrod,

Mark Durkin

Subject:	Question about the lens...
Sent:	Tuesday, May 29, 2001 19:37:46
From:	ericb@stadiumflowers.com (Eric Berglund)
Hello once again.

This is just a quick question. I upgraded to the ETX-125 since we've
last talked, everything was fine except there was one lone finger print
on the lens. I realize the effect on the image is close to zero, but I
was wondering if I should clean it off. It is rather annoying.


Mike here: If it annoys you, sure clean it off. However, remember that the result may be even more annoying if you don't clean it properly. So you might want to wait until more of the lens needs cleaning. On the other hand, depending upon where that finger was before it was placed on the lens, the residue it left could be damaging to the coating, hence cleaning sooner rather than later might be in order. Sort of "darned if you do, darned if you don't"...

Subject:	re: 114mm reflector vs etx90
Sent:	Tuesday, May 29, 2001 9:23:19
From:	royl@chartermi.net (Roy Lindberg Jr.)
In your opinion, with mobility and price not a consideration, which
telescope would be a better purchase?  Which would offer the best
viewing?  And overall, which is just the better unit to have?  I've got
an etx60 now, I've purchased the 114mm reflector, and am now wondering
if the etx-90 would have been a better choice.  Any opinion?
Mike here: The best choice for YOU depends upon how YOU will want to use the telescope. If you travel alot the 114mm reflector is probably too large for airline carry-on (but you have the ETX-60AT so you should be OK there). The 114mm has more light gathering power than a 90mm telescope. I don't recall the focal length of the 114mm offhand but that can be a consideration as well. The right telescope for YOU is one that you will USE. Since I have no experience with the 114mm I can't comment on its use.

Subject:	Re: Aligning
Sent:	Tuesday, May 29, 2001 3:22:09
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Jim
You are correct on both counts....if the star on the meridian drifts
south, then you have your polar axis aimed too far EAST.  By drifting to
the "bottom" of your eyepiece FOV, where are you standing??  South
should be at the bottom of the field.

Have you checked (listened) to make sure you are not having DEC motion
by the AutoStar?  This is a BIG problem with the new v2.2 versions in
the LX 90.  You should have NO DEC motor movement at all, and if you can
hear the motors, then it is trying to compensate for poor training or
alignment.  Check that first. My scope will drift NORTHWARD for a brief
time (it actually moves, not drifts via DEC motor) and then stop.

How fast is the motion?  Can you tell if it returns quicker to the south
edge if you use your arrow keys to adjust, or at a steady rate

Also....try using a star further south than Spica since you are near the
equator; that may help.  I would use one of the brighter stars in
Centaurus (Menkeni?) or perhaps Antares later in the evening for better
precision; THEN go to Nunki to check for N-S drift for aligning the
altitude for the wedge.

    -----Original Message-----
    I'm having trouble refining my polar alignment and wonder if you can

    After setting up in polar home position, I manually slew to a star
    on the meridian and near the celestial equator.  At around 9 pm, I
    choose Spica from my location, as it's pretty close on both meridian
    and equator.

    Using a 12mm illuminate reticle, I center the star and watch the
    slow drift toward the bottom of the reticle FOV.  I crank and crank
    my AZ adjustment, recenter, but can never get the drift to slow or
    reverse. I've even moved the entire tripod and still can't get the
    drift to slow or reverse.

    My questions, obviously, are many!  =)  Mainly, however, I am
    wondering if I'm mis-diagnosing the movement.  On a star near
    meridian/equator, south movement in the FOV indicates a polar axis
    too far to the east.  Correct?  With a diagonal in place between the
    EP and the OTA, is movement toward the bottom of the EP FOV movement
    to the south, or is that reversed because of the diagonal, and so
    actually movement to the north?

    Thanks for you time.  I know you're busy.

Subject:	post SuperCharge review
Sent:	Tuesday, May 29, 2001 0:08:59
From:	parker601@earthlink.net (Chris Parker)
I had read so many wonderful things about Dr. P. Clay Sherrod's
SuperCharge service on your web site that I recently sent him BOTH my
ETX90 and 125. Wow, I am so happy I did! I wholeheartedly recommend this
service to all ETX owners.

Even though my two scopes were brand spanking new, I won't tolerate
second-rate performance and wanted my babies to be in top-notch optical
and mechanical condition. Anyone who knows anything about Meade products
knows their optics are first rate and produce absolutely stunning
images. About their only shortcoming is their sophisticated mechanics.
Unfortunately, what looked great on an engineer's drawing board didn't
quite make it into production. And that's where Dr. Clay's SuperCharge
service came to the rescue. He made my scopes work the way the engineers
envisioned them to work. Flawlessly.

Yes, I was more than a little apprehensive about sending my expensive
scopes across the country to someone I didn't know, but after a single
reassuring phone conversation with the good doctor I felt totally at
ease. Dr. Clay's warm, personable, and friendly style speaks volumes
about this retired astronomer, professor, and author. At that moment I
knew he was the only man I would let touch my precious blue babies.

Like a surgeon performing a delicate operation on your child, Dr. Clay
kept me continuously informed while my scopes were being "dialed in." He
sent me an email when my scopes arrived, another detailing what he had
found upon disassembly, and yet another when they were shipped back. In
terms of customer service, Dr. Clay's shop is the Nordstrom's of
telescope enhancement.

My scopes are working perfectly now, with easy alignments, precise
gotos, smooth and quiet slewing, and rock-steady tracking. They are an
absolute delight to use.

I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Clay, your web site, and your
dedication. You're helping people all over the world really enjoy their
ETX's. Keep up the great work!


Chris L. Parker

Subject:	ETX 125 Maintenance
Sent:	Monday, May 28, 2001 17:28:09
From:	rbchicago@21stcentury.net (Bob Johnson)
A friend has loaned me his ETX 125 to "test drive" before buying.  It's
about as old as the 125 line and he is its' second owner.  I've got two
questions if you would be so kind as to respond- the first is probably
easy and the second may be tough.

1. What does your supercharge tuneup involve and what would be the cost?

2. The objective has extensive small spots (definitely not dust) on it
and, after repeating the Meade recommended cleaning procedure twice
(with 3 parts distilled water to 1 part alcohol) there was little
improvement.  I think it may be tree sap since it does resemble the
condition of a car windshield after being parked under trees for several
hours.  Is there a method of cleaning this tough organic material which
will not damage the coatings ?  Also, do spots of this nature have a
noticeable affect on planetary or deep sky viewing ?

Thanks in advance for your response.
Mike here: All details of Clay Sherrod's tune-up service are listed on the Tune-up Service page on my ETX web site. As to whether views are being seriously degraded by objects on the corrector lens, that would depend upon their size, density, and the number of them.

Subject:	Views through an ETX-90
Sent:	Monday, May 28, 2001 17:16:15
From:	captkirk@home.com (Gary)
i just recently bought a etx 90 and ive used it almost every night that
it isnt cloudy. but i keep going online and seeing all these wonderful
images of nebulas and galaxies, etc. that people have seen with thier
90, and i cant see ANYTHING like that. even with the 2x barlow and the
9.7mm lens. all i see are small points of light, and a blurry jupiter
with barely visible cloud rings. what can i do to see the kinds of
things other etx 90 users can see? please help.

Mike here: Well, first of all you WON'T see views with your eyes like the photographs you've seen of nebulae and galaxies. Your eye is not as sensitive as film or CCD imagers. For the most part, nebulae and galaxies will appear as small faint fuzzy blobs. Using lower magnification is best with these rather than trying for high magnification (which just makes them appear even fainter). As to Jupiter, it is pretty low in the sky now and so its view is being heavily distorted by our atmosphere. Under better seeing conditions you would see its cloud bands better but as you add more magnification the view will deteriorate, especially as you get closer to the theorectical maximum magnification for any telescope (typically the max is twice the telescope's aperture in millimeters, or 2 times 90 equals 180X for the ETX-90).

Subject:	Q about Meade's #3200 filterset & 26mm eyepiece
Sent:	Sunday, May 27, 2001 20:48:57
From:	yadhu@yahoo.com (Yadhu Govind)
I hv a Meade ETX90EC which comes with a 26mm eye piece. I want to know
if Meade's #3200 Lunar & Planetary Filter Set will be compatible with
the 26mm super plossl eye piece. i couldnt find any details in the meade
website. Another site says that these filters are meant for ETX 60/70AT
but compatible with most eye pieces which hv threaded barels. My eye
piece has threads in it but I'm really not sure if both are compatible.

Can you offer any advice/suggestions ?

Thanks in advance

Mike here: All 1.25" eyepieces should have the same style threads. So, yes, the filters will work.

Subject:	Lunar map question
Sent:	Sunday, May 27, 2001 19:48:58
From:	marty104@conen.net (John Martellaro)
Question: Just about every map of the Earth has latitude and longitude
lines.  But just about every Lunar map on line has none. Have you ever
seen a lunar map that shows lunar longitude and latitude?  And how did
we decide where the prime meridian is on the moon?

I am looking for a Lunar map on the Internet that has lat, long lines.
And secondarily, I'd like to know approximately when the zero longitude
line was defined and by by who.
John Martellaro
QUANTUM THREADS:  http://www.applelinks.com/quantum
HOME PAGE:        http://www.martellaro.com/
"What does your choice of computer say about you?"
Mike here: The Lunar Map I purchased from Sky Publishing Corp back in the 60s has selenographic longitude and latitude of many features and has the lines of lat/long displayed. I also checked my Norton's and its moon maps also show lat/long although there is no explanation of how it was developed.

Subject:	Meade's Response to LX90 Dust Cover Complaint Letter
(original letter further down this page) Sent: Sunday, May 27, 2001 19:16:33 From: wayne.powell@aerowood.com (Wayne Powell) TelescopeFolk, I'm sorry that I've been delayed in transcribing this for you all. Here is Meade's response (below) to our letter requesting an aluminum replacement cap for the stylish but plastic LX90 Dust Cover. I think they've made a bit of a game of the semantics, but at least we got an official response. I haven't had a chance to call in to see what their Assistant Manager Scott Byrum's response will actually be, but if someone else (or everyone) can - please post to the group(s) - so we can know what to expect. To be fair, I did resolve to do some "unscientific" testing of the strength of the ABS plastic cover in the meantime and there was no major damage or cracking when dropped from a normal tripod height on concrete at room temperature or after being in a deep freezer for a day. It could also withstand 155lbs of "standing weight" resting horizontally (flat) on concrete with minor flexure from both the top side and under side, at both temperatures (I did not try a rapid application of weight - like jumping - just a basic step). The complaints from our members (IMLTUG) are about covers dislodging, and they have been numerous. Meade's representative has stated "The dust cover should not become easily dislodged from its position in front of the telescope's correcting plate, even in cold weather." They state that "We found that adding felt pads to the dust cover cured this problem...." This statement sounds like an admission that the cover was originally designed without the pads (and therefore the original covers contained a manufacturing or engineering flaw). The felt pads I received the first time I complained, and the ones that came affixed to my second LX90's cover seemed like an after thought addition. There's strength in numbers so I suggest anyone still dissatisfied please call Mr. Byrum. I will follow up with a polite, brief response to Mr. Diebel, and Karen Priolo, the Customer Service manager who responded, and I'll include a copy of the picture of the unit from their own manual (with the obvious alternate dust cap) to remind them about truth in advertising. Our point is best made by providing them with a list of names of people who are still dissatisfied, who have requested new felts, or had the Cover fall off, who have received a unit with the Cover off (or corrector scratched), or those who have simply purchased a third party replacement Dust Cover (like the Kendrick Kwik Focus). I'm especially interested in adding the name of anyone who originally received a "metal" Dust Cover as a replacement from Meade. Please feel free to send me your name and contact info to wayne.powell@aerowood.com I will forward the complete list to Meade on our behalf. We may not get a completely satisfactory resolution (a new metal cover), but we can at least make Meade aware of the power of their consumers, and help them to think seriously about engineering a better solution for future releases. Wayne Powell AeroWood Media Inc. -bof- Letterhead: Meade Instruments Corporation May 21, 2001 FAX Mr. Wayne A. Powell AeroWood Media Inc. Waterdown, ON Canada L0R 2H0 Dear Mr. Powell: Thank you for your letter dated May 1 to John Diebel which we received here by fax late last week, explaining the difficulties that you and some others in your LX90 users group have had with the dust cover of the Meade 8" LX90 telescope. (Your e-mail of 5/18/01 to info@meade.com states that the original letter was sent by mail; please note that we have not received this letter.) Mr. Diebel has discussed your letter in detail with me and has asked me to respond to you. Your letter says that Meade manuals and brochures state that "the optical tube assembly (OTA) for the LX90 is identical to the LX200." This is not correct; in fact, the two optical tube assemblies are quite different and we have never claimed otherwise. Photos of the 8" LX90 which have appeared from the telescope's initial announcements in Astronomy and Sky & Telescope make it clear almost at first sight that the LX90 and LX200 OTA's are quite different. The optical systems (ed. underlined for emphasis) of the 8" LX90 and 8" LX200 are, however, identical, as stated in Meade advertising, catalog literature, and elsewhere. I confirm that a high-impact plastic dust cover is standard equipment with the LX90. This dust cover is designed to provide high-security protection of the telescope's optics when the telescope is not being used, and, in addition, the dust cover is intended to be easily removed from, and replaced on, the telescope. The dust cover should not become easily dislodged from its position in front of the telescope's correcting plate, even in cold weather. Having said the above, you are correct that some early shipments of the LX90 (perhaps the first 100 units that we shipped) included dust covers which did indeed dislodge quite easily from the telescope, particularly in colder temperatures. We found that adding felt pads to the dust cover cured this problem, and, out of several thousand LX90's shipped in recent months, we have received virtually no customer complaints in this regard. There are always minor variations from telescope to telescope in the fit of the dust cover to the corrector cell; these variations are generally caused by the thickness of paint applied to the corrector cell. Normally these variations are so small as to make no perceptible difference in the user's application of the dust cover. Judging from what you say in your letter, however, it appears that some of the members of your group have experienced larger than normal variation in this regard. I suspect that the majority of these users purchased LX90 telescopes in one of the early shipments from our Irvine factory. Needless to say, we very much want you and all of the members of your users group to enjoy the full use of your LX90's, including a correct and firm fit of the dust cover to the corrector cell. I hope that you will please ask your members individually to contact our customer service department (Mr. Scott Byrum, Assistant Manager, Ext 225) in the event that they are still experiencing any problems in this regard. I believe that Mr. Byrum can quickly resolve any lingering issues on this point. Please be assured, Mr. Powell, that I completely share your desire to see that your 8" LX90 and the LX90's of your fellow users are fully up to Meade standards. I hope you will let me know if I myself can be of any further assistance in the above matter. Very truly yours, MEADE INSTRUMENTS CORPORATION signed Karen Priolo Manager - Customer Service -eof-

Subject:	SAC IVb CCD camera
Sent:	Sunday, May 27, 2001 12:40:41
From:	st-k@wp.pl (Stanislaw Kozlowski)
I am interested in buying the SAC IVb CCd camero. But I have one small
question: Can you use it to make longer exposures (for example 1 or 2

I will be grateful for your answer.

P.S. Your site is superb!!

* Astronom *  Zubenelgenubi - Stanislaw Kozlowski
* The important thing is not to stop questioning. -- Albert Einstein

* A mind streched by an idea will never go back to its original
dimensions. -- Oliver W. Holmes

* The dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of
tomorrow. -- Robert H. Goddard
Mike here: I don't believe their current models allows that. You should address such questions directly to Sonfest; they are good about replying.


Thank you for the reply. Do you think it is worth buying the SACI4
Mike here: You can see my comments on the SAC CCD system on the Accessories - Showcase Products page on my ETX site.

Subject:	re: ETX-125 Problems
Sent:	Sunday, May 27, 2001 9:15:11
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	rkindelberger@yahoo.com
Rick - get rid of the v2.2eH....that is where 90% of your problems are
coming from; for some reason it affects some ETX scopes but not all;
there is truly no advantage that "I" can see over this verion and v2.1ek
which is the best yet for the ETx scopes.

I would re-load v2.2eK on your Autostar, using the links on the Mighty
ETX site!

Clay Sherrod
Mike here: If that doesn't work, go back to that Meade announcement on the ETX Site Home Page.


Thanks so much for your advice Clay,

I recently spoke to a Meade technician, and he said the same.  There is
no reason to load anything but v2.2eK for an ETX.  The later versions
were for LX90's.

I reloaded 2.2eK and I still cannot get past the motor unit failure when
the motor test starts.  The technician said I need to send it back to
Meade.  He thinks I need some pc board mods. in the ETX.  It is still
under warranty so I guess I will send it back. They pay for everything,
but I have no scope for two to three weeks.

Thank you for all your input and the help you provide for all ETXer's. 
You may be seeing my scope after it is returned from Meade.  I have been
seriously considering your supercharge tuneup service, but it will have
to wait for now.

Thanks to Mike also for the great web site and for the quick responses
to problem reports.

Thanks again.

Subject:	Utter Frustration!
Sent:	Friday, May 25, 2001 22:03:21
From:	cjkershner@qwest.net (CJKershner)
First of all I want to thank you for your Web site. It is absolutely the
best source of info on the ETX.

Now here is my story. My wife and I have been very interested in
Astronomy for quite awhile. We had a very memorable experience while on
vacation in Cozumel in September of 2000. We were 3 miles from land and
looked up at the night sky! Wow. I couldn't even pick out Orion for all
the visible stars. So for Christmas 2000 we decided to treat ourselves
to a gift of an ETX125. I had spent quite a lot of time doing research
before we purchased. I was convinced that the 125 was the right scope
for us to start with. (You were a large part of this research). In
addition I also bought the #883 tripod, a dew shield, a 9.6 eyepiece,
the Meade electric focus, and a couple of filters.

So it was with great excitement that we got our first view of Venus,
Saturn, Jupiter, and the Moon. I was excited to actually see moons
around Jupiter, and the Cassini division around Saturn. I was also
grateful for the advice on the Moon filter, I still saw spots in front
of my eyes, but it was great. We were all pumped up. That was the good

Now the bad news. I am so frustrated I almost wish I could get my money
back. My phone calls to Meade have gone unanswered. My attempts to talk
to local dealers have proved that I know more than they do. (A very
frightening thought) My E-mails to people I believe might be helpful
have gone unanswered. I have spent hours (More than 3) trying to align
the sighting scope Grrrrrrrr. I get close but not good enough. My
attempts at easy alignment have failed completely. I know where Rigel is
but the scope and I don't agree. I am so disappointed. I can look at
something and get a wonderful view. But I cannot track it nor can I use
the Auto star to locate an object. I also believe that I have a lot of
slop in the gears.

So I have decided that the only thing that can rescue me from this hell
is sending the whole mess to Clay for his super duper magic. So Clay I
ask - do you have suggestions for packaging? As soon as I have my GPS
locations I will be contacting you to get my place in line.

While I am bending your ear, I would like some suggestions about
Astrophotography. I am very deep into photography and I have a good
quality Nikon SLR. I have the Meade T connector for my camera. I
recently took the Camera and Scope to the lake to try my luck. I used
the 45-degree erecting prism and the 26mm eyepiece to focus. I then
switched to the T and SLR. After much effort I discovered I was trying
to focus on the reflection of my eyeball in the SLR viewfinder. I wasn't
even close. Also do you have suggestions on length of exposure for
different speeds of film? I figure I should go slow and get used to
terrestrial objects then I can freeze my butt off with no results
looking at the stars.

Thanks for listening

About me -
Floyd Kershner
Age - 47
Renton WA (south of Seattle) Too close for good dark sky
Mike here: I've forwarded your email to Clay. I'm sorry to read that you've had difficulties getting things set up properly. Yes, aligning the finderscope is difficult, given the small bolts and close quarters, but it can be done. Re the Autostar, you could be misinterpreting some of the setup instructions; if that is possible, you might want to read through the HOME position setup articles on the Autostar Information page. As photography, as you have discovered, the focus position for an eyepiece and for a camera are different (when not using an eyepiece). Just the nature of optics. As to exposures, see the "Exposure Time Spreadsheet" on the Guest Contributions Archive 1997 page.

Subject:	Re: ETX-125 Supercharge service
Sent:	Friday, May 25, 2001 10:01:32
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	David -
Part of your problem may be "atmosphere," in that you are using Spica as
your test star, low in the south; you should be using either Regulus
(early evening) or Arcturus (later evening) for star testing.  Many
times the mere heat rising from the earth will give the effect of "tear
drop" that you are describing.  ALSO, you are SUPPOSED to see
diffraction rings on in-focus bright stars!  That is an indicator of
very good optics in a Maksutov.  You should look carefully at them
(there should be two or three) and see if they are all concentric with
an OVERHEAD star when the air is steady....test the air by turn out of
focus significantly and looking at that "disk" of light....if it moves a
bunch, then your seeing is not good enough to do a star test.  If
reasonably steady (it will never be perfectly steady) then proceed.

Other than your description of Spica, your optics sound pretty
good.....do a test on Regulus or Denebola (even better since it is not
so bright) and see what happens; look at it out of focus first....is the
shadow of the secondary (the "donut") centered in the out-of-focus image
when dead center in the FOV, or is it offset?  Make sure that ALL
testing is done with the star centered precisely dead middle of your

Good luck!  I still think it would be a bit freakish if the collimation
was out severely....I'll bet it is seeing conditions.

Let me know!

Clay Sherrod
-----Original Message-----
>Hi Clay.  I wrote you about the ETX-125 that I am purchasing which
>appears to be out of collimation.
>I really appreciate all the info you have shared with me.  I have
>checked all the things you mentioned.  I rotated the EP and it is ok.  I
>have let the scope sit for over 4 hours outside before testing.  I use
>overhead stars, and still, I consistently have a problem on the star
>test.  Even when I focus a star, especially a multiple star like Spica,
>I can see diffraction rings even when the star is focused.  Spica looks
>like a tear drop shaped comet with flaring on the tail.  On top of it
>are diffraction rings.  This is when the star is at best focus.  Single
>stars seem to focus to a point without any noticeable diffraction rings
>over them.
>What I would like to know is what I should be able to see with this
>scope.  Shouldn't I be able to split a star like Spica with it?  Maybe
>you have a few objects that I should look at and under fair conditions
>be able to see?
>I looked at the Ring Nebula last night, and it appeared as a faint
>sphere.  The Lagoon Nebula looked nice.  Some globular clusters were ok,
>but M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy, was almost not visible.  I could not make
>out any structure.
>My only experience is with a 4.5" reflector which seemed to give better
>views than this scope.  I am surprised at that, and therefore, leery of
>the high price tag on this item.  On the other hand, maybe my viewing
>conditions just aren't very good right now compared to when I have used
>the 4.5" scope.  Anyway, my money in escrow will be sent to the seller
>within a few days unless I decline this scope.  If you have any words to
>help me make a decision on the quality of optics for this scope, I would
>appreciate it.  I did not expect to be in this situation, having a
>telescope whose collimation cannot be adjusted, yet appears to be out of
>I did call Meade about it.  They agreed with what you said about how it
>is impossible for this scope to get out of collimation.  They have had a
>lot of problems with people trying to get in there and collimate it
>themselves.  They think the scope is fine and that my viewing conditions
>aren't good right now.  They recommended trying a star test during the
>day on a Christmas ornament, but I don't have one and they are probably
>hard to find to buy this time of year.
>I realize you are busy, so if you just can't answer any of this, I
>understand.  Just hit reply if you would and tell me that you can't get
>to this right now and I will know that I'm on my own.  Thanks.  :-)
And more:
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
David - if the diffraction rings AND the shadow are displaced such as
you describe on the stars you mentioned you DO HAVE a collimation
problem!  I sure wish I could have a look...test one more night before
you accept the deal and be comfortable....the worst thing is for you to
end up with a scope that you are NOT happy with!

Clay Sherrod

-----Original Message-----
From: David
>Thanks for the fast response.  Your response is encouraging that I
>should go ahead and keep the scope and work out any problems later.  It
>may be that I can live with it the way it is.  I'm probably having poor
>seeing conditions in addition to a slight collimation problem.
>I didn't mean to give the impression that I was doing the star test only
>on Spica.  I meant that I was trying to split Spica into its component
>stars, and couldn't even get close.  Have you ever split Spica with your
>I did test Arcturus, and Regulus, in addition to other stars.  They all
>show the same symptom of the shadow being pushed toward the upper right,
>and the diffraction rings toward the lower left being more spaced out.
>Thanks for letting me know that diffraction rings on a bright star is a
>good thing.  I did not know that, and I was concerned.  Now I'm

Subject:	ETX-125 problems
Sent:	Friday, May 25, 2001 07:31:55
From:	rkindelberger@yahoo.com (Rick Kindelberger)
Thanks for all the effort you put into such a great site.  I have been
reading and reading for quite a while trying to fix my ETX-125 problems.
 What I am seeing now I don't find an answer for on the site so I
thought I would ask directly.  I was having problems like everyone else
with random slewing so I updated software to rev 2eH with the 2.4
uploader.  That seemed to help but I still had random slewing in the up
direction upon powerup.  I thought I had done everything right,
reset-calibrate-train, and it was tracking pretty good in my office, but
when I took it outside it went crazy.  I had motor failure fault, random
slewing up that would not stop, and I could no longer find the correct
Model number under setup-telescope.  Also when I pushed reset, the
Autostar froze up.  I took it back inside to reload rev 2eH and now I
cannot get past the motor unit fault I get when it tests the motor upon
power up.  I am stuck there.  I tried safe load also, and after that I
still get motor unit fault upon power up.  Any suggestions?
Mike here: See the Meade announcement for the random slewing problem (linked from my ETX home page).

Subject:	Re: Performance Enhancement
Sent:	Thursday, May 24, 2001 16:03:39
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	George
Yes you must CAREFULLY! remove the OTA from the fork arms by sliding
BACK through the fork arms.  there are two very delicate plastic
connector pins that hold the tube rigid and if they break, you are in
trouble!  Undo one side gently at a time by pulling back (away from the
tube) each arm support at the rear end (where the two screw holes are)
while gently pulling the scope out backwards.  Again, be patient and go
slow and do first one, then the other.....it helps to have someone else
hold the tube the first couple of times you try this!

then tightly wrap the Teflon around the exposed Trunion....you MIGHT try
using a 1/2" external spline washer under the setting circle followed by
a 1/2" fender washer against the trunion end instead....on some scopes
that works better and is easier!

Please be careful, and GOO LUCK!

Clay Sherrod

-----Original Message-----
>Great article Clay. I have one question.
>Part 1 Step 2 Can you explain how to work the teflon into the "trunion"
>bevels. Do you mean removing the OTA completely?
>If I slide the lubricated tape into this beveled area without removing the
>OTA won't it fall off when I eventually remove the OTA?  I'm sure these
>questions are wrong because I don't understand where to put the teflon.
>Thanks in advance.

Subject:	N.I.B. ETX-125EC goes back
Sent:	Thursday, May 24, 2001 11:19:29
From:	d.birmingham@worldnet.att.net (David Birmingham)
I just thought I would pass along my first experiences with my brand new
Meade ETX-125EC as I unpacked it this morning and started assembling it.
Firstly, when I took it out of the original box and packing materials
and turned it over (as per users manual) to install the batteries I
heard something in the OTA rattling. The noise caused me concern, but I
continued with the "Quick Start" instructions. I unpacked the included
EP, mounting plate and controller and mounted the scope to my deluxe
field tripod. I did note the information about the top heaviness of the
125EC on the tripod so I took extra precautions since it was NOT
inexpensive. Once outside in the driveway I slid the view finder into
the bracket intending to align it as per directions. Boy was I in for a
shock. Firstly I hadn't noticed that the set screw for the EP was
missing, back down stairs to borrow one from the 70AT. I removed the EP
cover and slid the EP into the holder and secured the screw to "a firm
feel". Next I removed the dust cap from the end of the OTA and flipped
on the power switch for the very first time. As I first looked through
the scope everything was way out of focus, not to worry, I presumed that
focusing would be required right out of the box. I had the scope pointed
at a power line pole with a transformer about 200 yards distant figuring
that would suffice for view finder alignment. No amount focusing would
clarify anything in the scope, and moving the OTA east and west ever so
slightly would not bring into view that elusive transformer and pole. I
chose a barn about one quarter of a mile across the field and attempted
to focus on that, nope, even with the OTA pointing directly at something
as large as a barn it wasn't there, but the focus improved barely. I now
could recognize that I was looking at tree branches swaying in the wind
so I took careful note of the outline of the branch I was looking at and
then scanned the horizon to mentally match up shapes. What I discovered
was that the branch I was looking at was way to the east of where the
scope was pointed. I went in and got my compass and took a bearing from
the OTA to the tree branch. Guess what, the scope was pointed about
11-12 degrees west. I could not get anything more focused than a blurred
outline no matter how far away I pointed the scope.

Back in the house I dialed Meade's 1-800 number and waited until the
next available representative was available. The gentleman was most
understanding and apologetic, but that won't have me looking through my
new telescope for awhile. By the time he issues the pickup ticket and
the agent makes it here is supposed to be about three days. Then he
proceeded to answer my "how long" question with "about 10 days, maybe a
little longer".

My mind asks the question, "Is Meade's QC really that bad to ship a
telescope of that supposed quality?", or "did the gorilla from American
Tourister get a new job at FedEx?" Has anyone besides me experienced an
out-of-the-box telescope in this bad of condition?

Frustrated in Michigan

From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Dave - what you are experiencing is becoming unfortunately all too
common.  No matter how excellent a job the builders of the scopes can do
on these instruments, if they are not quality-assured prior to shipping,
there is going to be somebody who does NOT do their job....you, the
consumer, loses in the end.

I am very sorry to hear about that, and hope that all goes well.  I
would insist on a quick turn time.  This situation has nothing to do
with shipping.

Best of luck, and I know how you must feel.

Clay Sherrod
Mike here: Dave, you didn't say what you (or Meade) thought might be wrong. Something could have shifted during shipment. It shouldn't have but it is possible depending upon the treatment that the box was given. You may treat it as a precision instrument but do all the people who handle it during shipment treat it that way?


The box arrived from FedEx in reasonable condition. No crush marks,
cuts, etc. just dirt and skid marks from handling. As far as what I
thought, something was not aligned right due to the off image. The Meade
person only suggested that I try my 25 mm EP from the 70AT, which I had
already did. When I turned the scope over to take out the batteries
prior to re-boxing the scope, as I was told to do, I heard something
metallic slide inside the OTA and then something heavy go thunk right
after. I assume you that I handled that scope as if it were a new born
baby, granted it is not as precious but it was still a major investment
to me. Due to lack of major damage to the boxes have to believe now that
something was not assembled correctly.

Subject:	ETX
Sent:	Thursday, May 24, 2001 07:37:34
From:	dammie@xs4all.nl (G.Damsteeg)
I have one of the first ETX's just a motor nothing else. Do you know if
its possible to buy a new motor foot so i could add a computer to it ??

Mike here: This is addressed in the online FAQ linked from my ETX Site home page.

Subject:	Re: [lx90] Thanks Dr. Clay
Sent:	Thursday, May 24, 2001 06:36:24
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Chuck -
Very glad you are enjoying the "GO TO" TOURS featured on Mike Weasner's
ETX web site...they are fun and I still enjoy doing them.  By the
way...the Leo and Bootes tour has been converted to an ACTUAL AutoStar
"Tour" (you can download and place in your "Tour" Library via the A2.4
autoload edit screen by dragging and dropping onto the "Tour button").
You can access these to transfer to the Autostar edit screen on your PC
by going to: http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_tours.html where Jim
McCambridge has done an excellent job of converting these two
tours.....hopefully he will do more and have them available from my
other constellation study guides that are appearing.

Be sure and watch early next week for the BEST "GO TO" TOUR thus
far...."GO TO" Sagittarius....which features the Lagoon, Trifid and many
wonderful sights (and insights!).  There has been a lot of talk lately
about the visibility of the Lagoon here on the LX site, so it should be
of some interest.

Thanks again, and keep "touring!"

Dr. Clay
-----Original Message-----
>I'd like to take this time to once again thank Dr. Clay for all his
>contributions to this group.  Last Saturday I took my LX90 to our
>clubs darkest site and had a blast running through Dr. Clays' "Goto
>Leo Tour".  This was by far one of the best times I've had with a
>telescope.  The combination of Dr. Clays well written tour and the
>LX90 made for an extremely enjoyable evening.
>Thanks again Dr. Clay!!

Subject:	ETX & STAR2000
Sent:	Thursday, May 24, 2001 04:47:25
From:	wakemann@libero.it (Claudio Ch.)
Sorry for my English but I am using the Babelfish translator. I write
for knowing from you if it is possible to connect the interface
Starlight X-Press STAR 2000 to the ETX90/EC. In case of affirmative
answer like and where connecting cables or if there is need of an
Thanks and clear skies!

Subject:	Meade Electric Focuser mod. for the ETX-125?
Sent:	Wednesday, May 23, 2001 07:54:51
From:	ronsilver@erols.com (Ron Silver)
Stefan-Keller-Tuberg ( stefan.keller-tuberg@usa.alcatel.com , 1/16/01 )
wrote a wonderfully-detailed technical description on how he changed his
Meade Electric Focuser to run at slower speeds (much needed!).   Thanks
both to Stefan for the information, and to Mike for providing the forum
to carry it.

I am thinking of using Stefan's procedure on the Meade focuser on my
ETX-125, and would like to know:

1-  Does Stefan (or others) feel that the resistor-value he chose is
appropriate for an ETX-125 (as well as for his ETX-90)? (Do the '90 and
'125 require significantly different amounts of focusing-torque?)

2- Is there a difference in the resistor value if the focuser is driven
by [a] it's own controller, or [b] the Autostar controller?

3- Are there other clever modifications to slow-down the Meade electric
focuser, that Mike's other readers may also have successfully tried?

Thanks again to both of you.

Ron Silver
From:	stefan.keller-tuberg@usa.alcatel.com (Stefan Keller-Tuberg)

Thanks for your kind comments on my original article.

I've not any experience with the '125 or the '125's focuser. However
I've received notes from others that were about to attempt to modify
theirs. I've not had any feedback indicating that there was any trouble
getting it going.

> (Do the '90 and '125 require significantly different amounts of
> focusing-torque?)

Likely. Mike, can you comment?  
[Mike here: in a way I suspect they are sufficiently similar.]

> 2- Is there a difference in the resistor value if the focuser is driven
> by [a] it's own controller, or [b] the Autostar controller?

The hand held controller has a 9 Volt battery in it. The ETX base has 8
x AA batteries. If you work this out, you'll see that the ETX will
provide more power than the hand held controller. I use NiMH rechargable
batteries in my ETX which have a lower voltage output than regular AAs.
By the time they're almost exhausted, the eight of them are supplying
around 10 Volt and the slowest speed on the focuser starts to become

So hypothetically, I'd imagine that you should choose a slightly lower
value for your resistor if you're going to be using the hand held
focuser controller.

The good thing is that assuming that you wire everything correctly,
you're not going to damage the circuit by choosing a lower (or higher)
valued resistor. With a lower valued resistor, your new slow speed will
be a little greater than if you'd chosen a higher valued resistor.

> 3- Are there other clever modifications to slow-down the Meade electric
> focuser, that Mike's other readers may also have successfully tried?

There are several alternate possibilities I can think of. The most
obvious would be to insert a string of series diodes into the power path
to the electric focuser to reduce the peak voltage. A variation of this
approach would be to add a voltage regulator into the power path. Either
of these will require more components than a single resistor and so
fitting the mod into the available space will become more tricky.

I've not tried these approaches to see how low the voltage would need to
become in order to appropriately slow the motor. I'm guessing that you'd
need to reduce it to 5V or below. If you try this, make sure to maintain
a good 5V supply to the remainder of the circuit (only reduce the
voltage to the H-bridge part of the circuit).

Hope this helps and good luck.


Subject:	etx for urban use
Sent:	Tuesday, May 22, 2001 08:58:07
From:	Danger32@aol.com
Hi, I am a pastor at an inner city church and am planning on buying one
of the etx series..but this is the city..lots of light..what might work
in this location for a small group..
Thanks Terry Danger..St. Johns..Hollywood Fl
Mike here: If your sky is highly "light polluted" then faint objects are out of the question. So that leaves the Moon and planets and brighter stars, including some nice double stars. Also, perhaps a bright nebula like M42 in Orion and maybe a globular cluster like M13 in Hercules. The question you will have to decide is how much detail you want to see on the objects you can see (Moon and planets, particularly) versus the budget. The larger the aperture and the longer the focal length the more details you will be able to see on the Moon and planets but, except for a Dobsonian telescope, the more you'll spend. If having a GOTO system is what you want (and they are useful in light polluted areas), then you'll have to factor that in. So it might be that the ETX-60AT or -70AT would be a good scope but if you want more magnification (details) than they can deliver then you might want to consider the ETX-90EC or -125EC. If there is a chance you'll be able to use it on trips then you might want to definitely consider the -90 or -125. Good luck with the decision!

Subject:	First big outing - oh well...
Sent:	Monday, May 21, 2001 16:50:02
From:	HSmythe@Landacorp.com (HDS Harvey Smythe)
I want you to know that I think your site is fantastic - you do us all a
great service and I'm sure you're collecting lots of good karma points
that will hopefully serve you well when you need them the most.  The
kind of info available on your site is THE REASON I bought an ETX-125
and I'm sure that I'm not alone.  I certainly hope Meade is taking good
care of you.

Now, on to my question/comment...

After weeks of playing with my new ETX-125 in my backyard, I finally got
out to my first real star party this past weekend - the Rose City
Astronomers Camp Hancock Dark Sky Party.  Great accommodations, great
weather, great viewing and, some fantastic equipment and very
knowledgeable folks. Unfortunately, it was not a great weekend for the
ETX-125 contingent.  Of 45-50 folks, two of us showed up with brand new
ETX-125's.  The controller failed on one guy's scope on Friday night,
and mine did pretty much the same thing on Saturday night.    In both
cases, the Control Panel LED indicated we had power, but the Autostar
was deader than a doornail.  On the first scope, if we plugged in the
original Hand Controller, the LEDs flashed but the unit didn't do
anything.  When mine failed, neither the Autostar or the original Hand
Controller showed any sign of life.  Of course we tried repeated
plugging and unplugging to make sure that it wasn't a connection
problem.   Interestingly, we were both using 12V Deep Cycle batteries to
power our scopes - I don't know if that has any bearing at all.  Of
course, we both tried internal battery power as well but to no avail. 
I've already got my RGA # and the scope is about to go back but I hate
to be without it as the season is just getting started.

Have you heard of this or a similar problem from others?  Any idea what
might be the cause, besides the obvious - a blown chip on the controller
board?  Between this and the sloppy RA gearing, I'm beginning to wonder
whether Meade was the right choice.  Any counsel or encouragement you
can give me will certainly be appreciated.

Thanks again for the great site.

Harvey Smythe
Portland, OR
Mike here: Well, since you both had failures and were both using the same "non-approved" power supply, one might think the power supply was at fault. Was this the first time you tried this power supply? Were you able to check the power supply after the failure?


Actually, we were using different supplies - both were 12V batteries,
though.  In both cases the cable was the Meade DC cable meant for 12V
batteries/auto use.  I used the my battery and connector for other uses
during the trip, before an after the failure, and it was fine.  I guess
I'll know more when I get the unit back from Meade.


Subject:	ETX125EC
Sent:	Monday, May 21, 2001 09:41:35
From:	Lang.Michael@Orbital.COM (Michael Lang)
Thanks in part to your Web Site and all the praise for Clay Sherrod's
ETX Supercharge, and Michael Webb at Sight & Sound, I decided to evolve
from my old 90RA to a 125EC. (Remember, just last week I was freaking
out over my recently de-baffled 90 RA with the scratched corrector.)

Michael & Clay have been just SUPER - I ordered a SUPERCHARGED 125 on
Sunday afternoon and it's going to be delivered Wednesday. (Of course it
was a lucky coincidence Clay just finished tuning up a 125, and my wife
was in a very good mood !!!!!!!)

A couple things I've noticed about the world of ETX telescopes:
(1) Lot's of guy's named "Mike/Michael" have ETX's, and
(2) Seems it starts raining for days anytime I think about or go outside
and say "ETX".

thanks for a such a MIGHTY Web Site !!!!!!!
Mike Lang

Subject:	Re: Question on Performance Enhancement Part 1
Sent:	Sunday, May 20, 2001 22:05:27
From:	marbla@naisp.net (Blais Klucznik)
Finished rebuilding my ETX125(?) and ready to try it out as soon as the
weather clears up a bit.  In the meantime I thought I would respond to
Clay's suggestions he sent me.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Clay Sherrod" 

> The OTA rubber material bushing is applied to the two OTA support ARMS, in
> the inside of the curved area where they support the BLUE part of the
> tube....an easier substitute is to tape in duct tape and cut to conform to
> fit with a razor blade and press firmly in place.

The material I found to use is what is called wing buffer tape. We use
it to sort of seal and protect a wing when we tie the wing down to the
model RC aircraft.  This tape is about 1/4" in depth and about 3/8" wide
although it does come in several widths.  It has a peel and stick
adhesive side on one surface and thus provides the ideal, easily
removeable seal. You can remove this tape easily and it doesn't
deteriorate with usage. Great stuff for the OTA-to-support-arm material.
 Provides a firm yet removeable seal.

> Also, a lot of your non-driven fork problems can be eliminated by using a
> "SPLINE WASHER", EXTERNAL SPLINES, 1/2" between the setting circle and
> exposed trunion end (where the setting circle screws into).  It is necessary
> to put in a small fender washer first to push the spline washer out far
> enough to contact the setting circle...this is also an excellent remedy for
> slipping declination circles!

This is a great idea Clay.  I've already installed the washers per your
suggestion and it works great.  The 0-90 degree settings are repeatable
after a dozen or so traverses of the complete range.  Darn good advice.

I did use my own method of getting rid of the slipping clutch and fixed
the DEC securing knob after I pulled the knob screw out by successive
tightenings.  Here is what I did:

(1) I first epoxied the complete inside of the knob, center hole and the
space in between the fins.  After letting the epoxy cure for 5 days I
drilled a 1/4" hole, using a pilot drill first, in the center of the
knob for the shaft of the screw that Meade had originally pressed fit
into the knob. (2) I then drilled a hole, for a 8/32 tap, right through
from the outside round knob and perpendicular to the center hole.  I
then tapped it for a 8-32 set screw. (3) Next I slightly flattened the
end of the shaft of the center screw and pressed the shaft-screw into
the center hole of the knob using a vise for the 1/4" drilled hole was
slightly undersized.  Make sure the flattened side sits under the
drilled and tapped hole. (4) Using an allen wrench I inserted and
tightened the 1/2" long 8-32 set screw against the flattened side of the
shaft.  The shaft and, more importantly, the screw are very secure now.

After degreasing the internals of the ETX125 I very lightly
lithium-greased those areas which you and Jordan suggested.  Then I
re-assembled the gear, clutch, etc but I inserted a 1/32" hard rubber
washer between the driven gear and the clutch.  This washer is the same
diameter as the clutch.

I find that using this thin hard-rubber washer really improves the ease
of securing the DEC gearing with no detectable slipping as of this time.
 Can't speak for long term as of yet.  It is so easy to advance or
retard the DEC locking knob and because of the ease of knob adjustment
now there is little chance of damaging the knob-screw insert.  We will
see how this makes out in the long term.

I am really impressed with the barely perceptible DEC rocking now.  My
telescope has NEVER had such minute DEC rocking from day one.

Once again Clay I would like to thank you for your response to my
original question.

Blais Klucznik
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Sounds great!  My only concern would be for the hard rubber washer
between the clutch and the drive gear; I have experimented with such and
found significant delays in slow slews ("5" and under) as the material
has a certain flexture that must be taken out before the telescope
assembly will "catch up" with the very small flex in the washer
material; I have experimented with many types and hardnesses of
materials but a firm metal-on-metal seems desirable; I have begun making
a special metal bushing ("clutch plate") that I insert for this reason;
it is softer metal than the drive gear but harder than the very pliable
aluminum clutch.  It is really ideal, so you might revert back to
that....your DEC lock idea is great, but probably more than I would
recommend for the average "self-help" ETC user.

Thanks for the great report!
Clay Sherrod
From:	marbla@naisp.net (Blais Klucznik)
Clay brings up an important issue about my fix that does bother me.  I
really didn't feel comfortable choosing this hard-rubber washer but I
was not able to find any reasonable substitute in my area.

Clay mentions delays in slow speed driving and this is certainly a
factor to be concerned about.  As soon as our weather clears I will run
some tests on my ETX.  Yet my main concern, at the present, is that the
whole assembly is so tight and secure I haven't been able to detect any
rotation of the driven gear that didn't cause direct rotation of the
rest of the assembly.  That said I certainly will follow Clays's
suggestion and keep my eyes open for a suitable substitute for the
hard-rubber washer.
And a follow-up:
From:	marbla@naisp.net (Blais Klucznik)
I am not too sure if there was a mis-understanding on just where I
placed the 1/32" hard rubber washer on the driven trunion so I'll just

The thin hard-rubber washer is placed between the gear and the original
metal clutch(?) plate.  Nothing of the original configuration was
removed from the unit.

I have checked out the rotational movements at speeds 1 & 2, using a
level, and the scope responds to my command but slowly as I would
expect.  Cannot check it out of doors because we in SE-MA are being
blessed with welcomed rain that should continue sporadically for the
next 3 days.

I will try to get a handle on how much the elasticity of the washer
effects the tracking, et al, when I have the chance to train the scope
out of doors eventually.

Good morning to both of you.

Blais Klucznik
Your placement is where I expected it to be and it actually may be a
very good method to reduce slippage!  If you mean Hard Rubber as in
"Nylon" or Teflon-degree hardness, that should be worth a try.  In fact,
I know of one gentleman who actually insert a disk of brake lining disk
in the same place with some degree of success!  However, it is very
important that the clutch plate LOCK back into place via the two notched
positions so that it can properly engage and also prevent future
rotation that could subsequently twist and damage the loom of wires that
passes into the turntable and up into the DEC arms.

I believe your hard rubber disk is certainly viable and look forward to
the results!

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	ETX Prism Problems
Sent:	Sunday, May 20, 2001 15:58:08
From:	ashton@wowtechnologies.com (Ashton)
Just set up my ETX 90 EC, everything works great....except the 45 degree
adapter. Using this adapter, I can only see the left portion of the
field of view. I tried seating the adapter ring very slowly and snugged
it up hand tight but still got the same problem. On further trying I
left the ring unsnug and moved the adapter while looking out the scope
and this fixed the problem. When I move the 45 degree adapter to the
right, the field of view is normal but when I snug it down the field of
view screws up again. I am thinking that I am overlooking something as
this is my first scope... or the seating of the 45 prism or my ETX is
messed up....HELP


should I return the 45 prism?

Great Site......

Mike here: I suspect the prism is bad. If you look down into it when it is NOT mounted, do things appear to be properly centered?


Yes....thanks for you help, I will return it and get another.

Subject:	Cases
Sent:	Saturday, May 19, 2001 9:40:23
From:	kbatchelor@infosysfinancial.com (Kevin Batchelor)
I really appreciate your site and think it is a great asset.  I do have
a question and perhaps there is no good answer.  I am looking for a
case...yes for my ETX90-EC.  I know lots are reviewed on the site,
however, I am traveling out to Colorado this summer and want to take my
90 and the Tripod. So I'm really looking for a case that can fit both
appropriately.  I will be travelling by Air.  I have also thought that I
might need two cases...one for the scope and one for the tripod.  That
way I'd only have to check the tripod case and not the scope.

Any thoughts on this matter...have you traveled with your scope by air
and if so what did you do about the tripod.

Kevin Batchelor
Mike here: I have traveled with my ETX (reports on the "Traveling with the ETX" on the Buyer/New User Tips page and on the "Deluxe Soft Case for Meade ETX" on the Accessories - Cases page). I used the Shutan case when I traveled to Australia with my ETX-90RA. For the Australia trip I put the JMI Tripod/Wedge into a large suitcase with our clothes. Worked fine. I'm not aware of any reasonably sized/priced case that will hold both the telescope and a tripod. Besides, keeping the telescope as carry-on is best.

Subject:	New Telescope Owner
Sent:	Friday, May 18, 2001 19:31:41
From:	golfing18@msn.com (Mike Knapp)
First of all...what an awesome site you have. A virtual plethora of
great information. I purchased an ETX 90EC from the Natural Wonders
website for $400, the deluxe field tripod from a Natural Wonders store
near here for $50 and the Autostar off Ebay for $60...I'm feeling pretty
good right now. Anyway...my question. I've browsed your "books"
section...but is there one book you would recommend that would be a wise
investment for a newbie??


Mike here: If you only wanted to buy ONE book, then I think many people would recommend "Turn Left at Orion: A hundred night sky objects to see in a small telescope and how to find them" by Guy Consolmagno and Dan M. Davis.

Subject:	Does Meade Ever Respond to Clay Sherrod's Findings?
Sent:	Friday, May 18, 2001 17:51:57
From:	richard.snyder@physio-control.com (Snyder, Richard B)
Thanks for your Excellent ETX web site; I have been following your
columns for months now.  I know it is a lot of work to keep up this
site, and you are doing a great job at it. Thanks!!

All these serious flaws in the Autostar that Dr. Sherrod has reported in
such careful detail, e.g. his May 16th letter  Software/harware problems
in alignment and GO TO centering with v2.2eH ... This info would be of
great value to the software testers at Meade, helping them to pinpoint
deficiencies in their Autostar software..   does Dr. Sherrod's info ever
get back to the programming staff at Meade, and do they ever respond to
it in any way?  Hopefully they will correct these problems based on Dr.
Sherrod's critiques...  too bad they didn't correct them before
releasing the software...

Thanks again for your GREAT ETX web site!

Kent, WA  
(1 hour south of Seattle ... we almost NEVER have clear skies up here!!)
Mike here: Meade does address problems in its products. That is one of the reasons there have been fixes to both hardware and software. User reports are valuable to them.

Subject:	Re: Question on  Performance Enhancement  Part 1
Sent:	Friday, May 18, 2001 8:27:38
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Blais
Thanks for the nice comments and sorry about the delayed response; just
got in from the observatory this morning.

The OTA rubber material bushing is applied to the two OTA support ARMS,
in the inside of the curved area where they support the BLUE part of the
tube....an easier substitute is to tape in duct tape and cut to conform
to fit with a razor blade and press firmly in place.

Also, a lot of your non-driven fork problems can be eliminated by using
a "SPLINE WASHER", EXTERNAL SPLINES, 1/2" between the setting circle and
exposed trunion end (where the setting circle screws into).  It is
necessary to put in a small fender washer first to push the spline
washer out far enough to contact the setting circle...this is also an
excellent remedy for slipping declination circles!

Clay Sherrod
-----Original Message-----
From: Blais
>               I am in the process of re-working my ETX-125.  Have thus far
>de-greased the internal mechanism of all that was deposited by Meade and am
>following the instructions of Jordan Blessing and your series of Performance
>Enhancement articles.
>               As a result I do have one question to ask you.  Like
>yourself I have found the play in the non-driven trunion to be excessive and
>am going to try to reduce some of this play by basically following your
>suggestion in Part 1 of your 'Performance Enhancement' series.  This leads
>me to the question I would like to ask you.
>               You refer to  the use of a 'inner-tube' repair material part
>of this material to be trimmed to a shape conforming to the curved front-end
>edge INSIDE the OTA support arms.  I am not exactly sure just what specific
>area you are speaking of.  Are you suggesting to place this material on the
>inside front curved surface, the curve being the 2-1/4 inch diameter, of the
>support arm ( the portion of the support arm that would face the open end of
>the OTA when the OTA is set for level with level earth) ?  If that is what
>you mean then I assume the material width would be of sufficient size to
>firmly cement to the support arm in addition to firmly contacting the OTA
>when the unit is re-assembled?  I don't seem to be able to interpret your
>words to suggest anything other than that.
>               I just wonder if my interpretation is correct.
>               Thank you for your support of the ETX community and the
>excellence of your many articles.  They are a pleasure to read and to use
>under the skies.

Subject:	ETX CCD question
Sent:	Thursday, May 17, 2001 14:01:25
From:	rgross@excitehome.net (Ron Gross)
I am a relatively new ETX 125 owner (been using it a little under a
year) and refer to your site all the time for helpful info. I am curious
about getting a CCD for my ETX and read the info on your site about the
SAC-IVb, which looks promising. My question is, how does it compare in
results to the Meade CCD cameras (if at all) aside from price and are
any of these cameras (aside from the SAC) appropriate for the ETX 125
(could not tell on Meade's site as they only seem to mention them with
the LX series)?

Thanks for any info,
Mike here: You can use the more expensive CCDs on the ETX and can get good results. You may need to purchase an SCT adapter however (see the Accessories - Miscellaneous page for one). Unless you want to try deepsky imaging, the SAC CCD is the best choice for the money.

Subject:	Supercharged ETX 125
Sent:	Thursday, May 17, 2001 12:41:30
From:	HAWKEYES43@email.msn.com (LISA PEUGH)
I just received my New Supercharged ETX 125 back from Clay can't wait to
try it out. I bought my ETX 125 about one month ago and I thought it
worked fine. However, I did not purchase the Autostar with it;
therefore, I did not experience some of the problems that others have
gone through. I was a little reluctant to send my scope half-way across
the country to someone I did not know; however, after talking to Clay on
the phone I packaged the scope up and sent it to him. He was good about
keeping me apprised of the progress and his findings through out the
process. I would like to commend Clay for his thoroughness and
professionalism during the Supercharge process. I can't wait to put the
Autostar thru its paces, I will give an update once I have accomplished
that. Thanks again for being courteous and help Clay!
Sincerly Mark M. Peugh
And an update:
Just wanted to update my earlier comments about Clay's supercharge
package. After 2 nights of putting the scope thru its paces, I would
have to give the supercharge TWO THUMBS UP!!! The biggest thing that I
noticed was the improved optics after Clay's fine tuning everything
seems much brighter and the images are crisper than ever. Thanks again
Clay for the wonderful job on my ETX 125 scope. I think that it is a
world class instrument know!

Subject:	Re: Tripod Update!
Sent:	Thursday, May 17, 2001 5:49:38
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Chris
Excellent Idea!  I have forwarded this idea to Mike Weasner....and hope
it helps others with the big tripods for the ETX 125!  That prevents any
slipping and also will serve to protect the base cosmetically.

I guess with your new Supercharge...and the ice cream lid, you now have
"the cream of the crop?"  (bad one, I know.)

Thanks - and glad it is all going so well for you!

Clay Sherrod
    -----Original Message-----
    From: Chris
    I did make a little modification and thought you might be
    interested. I made a very large washer from the lid of a tub of
    Foremost Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream (1.25 gallon). It lies flat
    underneath and between the wedge and the top of the field adjustable
    tripod head.

    The lid material is LDPE. I used an X-acto knife to cut a hole just
    big enough for the massive "threaded rod" exactly in the center of
    the lid. There is a good "dot" right in the center of the lid left
    over from the manufacturing process.

    Then I put the lid on top of the tripod head and placed the rod
    through. While holding the lid down with my all my fingers, I
    carefully traced the outside diameter of the tripod head onto the
    lid with a black felt tip marker from the bottom. Then I removed the
    lid and used ordinary heavy duty scissors to cut along the INSIDE
    edge of the resulting black "cut here" line.

    Wallah! It sandwiches between the wedge and the tripod head. Now,
    just a "firm" tightening of the jumbo knurled knob and that sucker
    locks down tight, with no rotation or rocking as I was getting

    If you think it might be helpful, please let me know if I should
    send this mod into Mike's site. Thanks again for answering simple,
    but frustrating (for me) questions. No doubt you've saved me
    countless of hours of messing with Meade.
    Take care,

Subject:	LX90 complaint letter sent to Meade
Sent:	Thursday, May 17, 2001 5:39:14
From:	wayne.powell@aerowood.com (Wayne Powell)
Can you consider posting this letter for the ETX membership to view.  It
was sent to Meade today.  I'll keep you informed of any response.


Wayne Powell
LX90 User Group Moderator

May 1, 2001

John C. Diebel, Chairman & C.E.O.
2 pages
Meade Instruments Corporation
6001 Oak Canyon
Irvine, CA
Phone: 1-949-451-1450
FAX: 1-949-451-1460
RE: Meade LX90 Dust Cover Complaint & Group request for replacement

Dear Mr. Diebel,

On behalf of IMLTUG, the International Meade LX90 Telescope Users Group,
now representing a growing membership of over 450 current and
prospective LX90 Owners and other telescope enthusiasts worldwide, I
would like to thank you for bringing us the LX90.

Our group shares information about the LX90 and amateur astronomy over
the Internet, currently locating our archives and mailing list at:

It has come to our attention that the majority of our members find the
plastic Dust Cover engineered and delivered for the LX90 unacceptable
for an instrument of this calibre.  We believe that its design and
quality is inferior and would like your serious consideration of a
better replacement. Many of our members are early adopters of your new
telescope who have invested in its purchase sight unseen.  Early
releases of the press materials and your own manual have led several of
us to believe that a different aluminum cover solution was to be
provided (i.e. pictures in the manual and brochures stating that the OTA
for the LX90 was identical to the LX200).

Many of our members received LX90s whose Dust Cover was not assembled
properly at your factory.  Many members continue to report that the Dust
Cover supplied became dislodged during transportation from the warehouse
and, in a number of cases, the Corrector Lens was scratched and damaged.

Members who have contacted Meade have been sent replacement felt pads by
mail to install.  Even with these applied the user group has found, in
many cases, that the cover can still easily become dislodged or fall out
on its own weight.   This is particularly true if the temperature is
cold.  In a cold environment, we are also concerned that a plastic dust
cover could unexpectedly dislodge and the plastic may crack or shatter
on impact with a hard surface.

You must understand that our expectation of Meade is to produce high
quality, accurate and long lasting astronomical instruments. This is one
of the main reasons for our continued patronage.  The majority of group
members, many of whom have owned several Meade instruments and
accessories, feel that the supplied Dust Cover is ineffective and
request a replacement Dust Cover made of an impact resistant aluminum
construction that is the industry standard for such a protective

Please respond and indicate to our membership, your loyal customers, how
Meade intends to deal with our request.  We do appreciate the magnitude
of our request from your perspective, but as an organized group we do
feel that our issue is of value and merits your serious consideration.


Wayne A. Powell, IMLTUG Moderator
Email: wayne.powell@aerowood.com
On behalf of the membership of the International Meade LX90 Telescope Users
Group (IMLTUG)

CC:         LX90 Mailing List
            ETX Users Group

Subject:	Question
Sent:	Wednesday, May 16, 2001 23:20:48
From:	northweb-info@northernwebs.com (Bob Minnick)
I've been reading, and sometimes supplying comments to you site since we
got our telescope back in January. Perhaps you can explain something
that has started to puzzle me.

A number of years ago I started to get interested in astronomy, but
never bought a telescope since I lived in New York City at the time.
Back then I noticed that reflector type scopes were considered by many
to be the "best" although they were incredibly expensive.

Now days I open up an astronomy magazine, or even Sky & Telescope and I
see 4 inch and 5 inch refractors going for 2-3 times the price of  an
ETX-125 or even some of the lower end LX-200's. This has me puzzled.
Does a 4 inch refractor provide a better image quality than a 8 inch
reflector? I'm not saying I'm ready to dump my scope and rush out to buy
a 4000 dollar Takahashi reflector, but I'm am interesting in knowing why
one is priced so much larger than say a meade 10 inch lx 2000? Can it be
something as simple as one is hand produced and the other mass produced?
Or is there a technical reason why a refractor do something like provide
a finer image than a scope with more than twice its aperature?

    Bob Minnick, Northern Webs
Mike here: The simple answer is yes, a good refractor will provide better views (of some objects) but the down side is that it is expensive to make a good quality refractor of the SAME focal length as the current "folded reflector" models. Will the size of the objective lens, special considerations need to be taken on lens design and coatings to avoid too much color fringing due to the different optical refractions of different wavelengths.

Subject:	I am looking for Digital Camera Mounts
Sent:	Wednesday, May 16, 2001 22:21:57
From:	marcus@wolfscratch.net (Marcus Sommers)
I have used a ETX EC90 since the Febuary of 1999. I am wondering does
someone make a dital camera mount for the ETX EC90  For a Nikon 950 or
990 Digital Camera I have found some Fantastic deals on a Nikon 950  

Is there one digital camera mount for the ETX that fits all digital
Cameras? If you can give me any kind of feed back that be great thanks.

if you  would give me some great  information about results with digital
Camera used with the ETX.

My e-mail adress is marcus@wolfscratch.net

I have realy enjoyed your website. If your web site didnt exist I would
not be owning a ETX. Keep up the good work and thanks again.
Mike here: See the Accessories - Astrophotography page for info on adapters. Also, Scopetronix (www.scopetronix.com) has a new digital camera adapter that might also work. Also, many of the photographs on the Gallery pages (mine and guests) were done with digital cameras.

Subject:	radio tracking with an Autostar...
Sent:	Tuesday, May 15, 2001 19:19:35
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Reading the following URL, i cannot tell if they ever really
tried it... but it's one way...


(note that it requires -not- emptying the counterweights)

Subject:	Yet another website.....
Sent:	Tuesday, May 15, 2001 12:53:15
From:	HorneGS@phnsy.navy.mil (Horne Gary S PHNS)
I'd appreciate it if you would link to my website.  It's called
StarJourney and it's got details on the mods I did to my ETX-60.  I've
had a lot of questions about power supplies and focusing straws and such
and I thought this would help.  The url is http://starjourney.net. 

Scott Horne
Honolulu, Hawaii

Subject:	Doubt, about your models
Sent:	Tuesday, May 15, 2001 7:13:05
From:	rcelestino@elsitio.com.ar (Celestino Roberto Alejandro)
I need information about i can shop any model (special electronic's)
telescopes in Argentina, or if i can shop and charge of the ship.
    From Argentina, Celestino Roberto 

Subject:	LensPen
Sent:	Tuesday, May 15, 2001 6:26:26
From:	ss@dbx.com (z2)
i have tried out the LensPen.
unfortunately, no matter where i try it on,
my eyeglasses, camera lenses, or eyepieces,
it does only part of the work.
takes away about half the grease,
and redistributes the rest.
perhaps the old way of distilled water
and iso-alcohol is better at this point in time.
just reporting.

Mike here: For heavy duty cleaning, I suspect you are right.

Subject:	Autostar V2.2eh
Sent:	Monday, May 14, 2001 19:39:28
From:	mangum@tstar.net (Murray  and  Jean Mangum)
To:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
That was the quickest time for me to download any version.  Needless to
say that your last e-mail instructions are now in my prized three ring
notebook. Checked the stats and there it is-- Version 2.2eh!  How sweet
it is!  Boy, it really helps to have someone who "has been there and
done that"  looking out for you.

Hopefully, my time will come and  I will be able to help someone with
this little scope.

Going to start my own "Tour"  in the next few days (now that I have the
latest software/firmware) based on your "Go-To" Ursa Major.

Just got notice that my copy of Astronomy with a small telescope has
been sent.  This should fit the ETX 125 very well.  Thanks for the tip
from Mike's site about the book.

Not to be redundant but Thanks to all of you people especially you Clay,
Dick and Mike.  I could not have done it without you!


Subject:	re: Eyepiece won't fit in barrel (feedback  11 May)
Sent:	Monday, May 14, 2001 15:34:43
From:	jimpat@zianet.com (Jim and Pat Fish)
Recently had the same problem with a Meade APO barlow not fitting my
eyepiece holder-only the chrome part of the barrel was too big, and then
only by a couple thousandths of an inch;  called Meade and they promptly
sent me a new one and a return number to send the bad one back.  And the
best part is the new one is made in Japan, not China like the other one.

Thanks, Mike for a fantastic web site, I check it daily, even though I'm
not and ETX owner, so much of the info you and Clay and all the other
contributors put out here is very helpful no matter what kind of scope
you own.

Jim Fish,  High Rolls, N.M.

Subject:	ETX-125EC Focuser Decoupled
Sent:	Monday, May 14, 2001 8:20:21
From:	art50@mindspring.com (Art Freeman)
Is there a graphical and instruction page on your site that clearly
shows how the focuser is connected or another site that shows this?  I
looked, but rust did not find a good example.

The problem I have is that while attempting to focus the ETX, the
focuser decoupled and is now totally free floating inside the ETX
housing.  Apparently, the focus stop had come loose and allowed the
focuser knob to be turned too far allowing the focuser to decouple.  The
warrantee expires at the end of this month and I really do not wish to
loose the entire summer viewing season while our ETX is setting at Meade
waiting to be repaired.  Therefore, I am willing to do this myself
instead of sending it into Meade.

A good collimating procedure for the ETX-125 would come in handy as
well.  I have bookmarked a couple information pages at your site on
this, but haven't gone over them yet.

Thank you for any information you have or know about on this subject.

Art Freeman
Civil War Historical Sites, 14th MSM, Cavalry & 5th TN Reg.
http://art50.home.mindspring.com/5thTN.htm  {OR's Being Transcribed)
My New Astronomy Site:
Mike here: Sorry to hear you've lost the focus shaft. There isn't (yet) a fix description online for that but if you look at "Doc Greiner's ETX Info site" (linked near the bottom of the Telescope Tech Tips page) you will see some photos that should help. Using that as a start, you should be able to proceed. Feel free to write up your experience and I'll post it. As to collimating, don't attempt it unless you are prepared to make things really bad and have to return it to Meade anyway.

Subject:	projection photography and ETX90 EC
Sent:	Monday, May 14, 2001 3:19:28
From:	lcafiero@telvia.it (Luca Cafiero)
I'm a beginnner in Astrophotography-until now I've been a nature
photographer.I owe an ETX 90 EC + Autostar and I'd like to try to
upgrade to Astrophotography.My problem is projection photography:I've
read the very interesting report about the usage of a Meade Basic Camera
Adapter on your Astrophotography Accessories,that seems to solve my
problem.Then I've also read an other review you made about the Visual
Back + MiniTelextender by Shutan that allow  to use the rear port of the
ETX.The Shutan accessories seem to allow a more confortable position of
the camera,may be easing the focusing,but I dont know.I need your
advice,if possible:wich system fits and works better? The second problem
is counterbalance.Is it needed?Which weight (more or less) and
where?I've seen an advertising by ScopeTronics of a piggyback camera
mount that includes 4 countrweights: the ad. says that it also may be
used as counterweight for a camera mounted at the top or at the rear
port.Have you any idea on this point?
Thank you very much.
Best regards

Luca Cafiero
Mike here: Either adapter works; just depends upon how you want to mount the camera. Either position has it pros and cons. Adding a counterweight is a good idea since cameras can be heavy and they can upset the system balance. There's a review of the Scopetronix piggyback adapter on the Accessories - Showcase Products page.

Subject:	great fire sale on the meade 4000 8mm-24mm zoom
Sent:	Sunday, May 13, 2001 21:34:58
From:	Mskitty9111@aol.com
hi, just found your web site last night, am a newbie, but wanted you and
surfers to know that natural wonders inc, has a going out of business
sale on, and have the above zoom 8mm-24mm eyepiece for $135.00.  you
have to go to the basket to get the sale price.   I also bought a ETX-90
for 401.00 at one of there stores that has a going out of business sale,
in sterling, Virginia.  good luck, gettum while they last.

really enjoy your website,
thanks greg patton

Subject:	Eyepiece won't fit into Barlow (re: comment further down this page)
Sent:	Sunday, May 13, 2001 20:59:01
From:	kjm96@attglobal.net (Ken Martin)
No, I checked. It is simply just slightly too large. I called Orion, and
they said some other people had mentioned this before, not often but it
had been reported.

Subject:	Meade ETX + Coolpix
Sent:	Sunday, May 13, 2001 13:12:55
From:	PhDEzra@aol.com
Hi. Awesome web site!

I am doubly lucky (or foolish) to be getting in to Astronomy as well as
getting a new Coolpix 995 shortly.  I have done some research and am
planning to get a Meade ETX (90RA or EC, not sure yet) , but how can I
connect it to my Coolpix 995 (same as 990)? What adapters do I need?
WHat else? Please help.


Mike here: Site the Accessories - Astrophotography page for adapters that work with digital cameras.

Subject:	This one is driving me crazy...
Sent:	Friday, May 11, 2001 18:26:46
From:	Phleabert@aol.com
Hi...presently I have a Celestron Star Finder finderscope mounted on my
ETX 125...together with the Meade right angle finder it works pretty
well...I've been looking at articles and ads reviews and etc./etc. about
the Telrad relfex finder...nowhere in the mess of info does it say how
this thing is mounted or exactly how the "reflex" action works...does it
work with an ETX? How so? How does one mount it? Use it? Etc.
etc.......just simple curiosity...but enough to drive me crazy for

Thanks in advance...
Mike here: I don't know if we are talking the same model, but there are some comments on the Telrad finderscope on the Accessories - Finderscopes page.

Subject:	Eyepiece won't fit into Barlow
Sent:	Friday, May 11, 2001 10:18:55
From:	ken@96kzel.com (Ken Martin)
Just a heads up on something I discovered. I recently acquired a 1.25"
Meade 4000 series 9.7mm Super Plossl eyepiece and a 1.25" Orion
Shorty-Plus 2x 3-element Barlow. This particular Meade eyepiece will not
fit into the Orion Barlow. My other Meade eyepieces (1.25" MA 25mm and
MA 9mm) and an Orion Sirius 12.5mm plossl will fit into the Barlow, but
not the Meade 4000 series eyepiece. Even though it is 1.25", the barrel
is ever-so-slightly larger. It will fit into the eyepiece tube on my
ETX-70, but it's a little tight.

Ken Martin
Mike here: Any chance there is a metal burr in the way?

Subject:	 A special Thanks to Clay and to you Mike
Sent:	Thursday, May 10, 2001 22:46:24
From:	marbla@naisp.net (Blais Klucznik)
I would just like to say thank you to Clay for another of his excellent
series of documents on various Constellations and to thank you for
giving us the medium to obtain them.

Blais Klucznik

Subject:	Clay Sherrod's Supercharge 
Sent:	Wednesday, May 9, 2001 13:07:45
From:	sgoff@swcp.com (sue goff)
Dear Mike and all of you who use this wonderful site,

I had received an Orion Newtonian a couple of Christmases ago as a gift.
Even with the help of an optical physicist we were never able to get
that scope to work right. And even though we have skies many of you
would be envious of (northern New Mexico), the scope became a living
room ornament. But I started to read Sky and Telescope and decided that
a go-to scope was what I needed. After carefully reading all the
marketing information concerning telescopes, I purchased an ETX 125. The
scope plus tripod plus accessories was in excess of $1700. And even
though I really don't know much about telescopes, I could tell that  it
didn't work right. And I was bitterly disappointed. Somehow, to my very
good fortune, I found your site. And I found I was not alone. I read the
many suggestions, modifications, improvements that could be done to the
ETX to have it perform as I had believed it would do right out of the
box. I printed all of the tips and put them carefully in three ring
binders. Being new to telescopes and not the handiest with tools, I was
pretty reluctant to take apart my brand new scope and modify it myself.
And pretty angry at Meade at that point. And then one day, a notice
appeared on your site, that Dr. Clay Sherrod, the author of so many of
those articles on your site, was offering a service that would make my
scope perform like the scope I thought I was buying. I immediately
emailed Dr. Sherrod and made an appointment for my scope to have the
supercharge he has described on your site. While we still have a few
autostar glitches to work out, the mechanical performance, even to an
amatuer like me is extraordinarily better. I know my scope will work the
way the designer said it should and will be fun to use. Without the
opportunity to have this performance makeover I would have two living
room ornaments.

Thank you so much for starting and maintaining this site. And please
please please continue to let all of your readers know that there is
hope for your scope!! While we can debate the issue of whether Meade
should be called on the carpet for the probably thousands of
disappointed owners out there, we CAN get our scopes to perform. I
highly recommend a supercharge to everyone. And you must continue to
inform your readers that Dr. Sherrod can help.


Sue Goff
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Mike here: I don't know whether it can be categorically stated that there are thousands of disappointed owners out there but for those who have problems and have used Clay's service, they do seem to be happier.

Subject:	ETX site
Sent:	Wednesday, May 9, 2001 10:39:36
From:	owner@etxnetwork.com (ETX Network)
I just wanted to run this site by you.  It is supposed to be an ETX
community site.  Right now there are two bulletin board forums set up. 
One for general astro talk and one for astrophotography.  There is also
a chat area set up that will eventually have topics of discussion when
enough interest is drawn in.  This site was built in mind to compliment
your site with the tools for immediate discussions and discussion
threads.  I noticed that there is a discussion board on the Internet
already for ETX users, but nobody uses it.  I thought if there was a
site attached to it as well as a chat area and basic information, it
would be utilized and people could ask basic questions to be answered by
other users.

I would like to add the link to your site as well as place a graphical
link to your site from the home page of our site.  The URL is
www.etxnetwork.com.  There is no substantial content there now.  
Hopefully that will build if people use it.  Let me know what you think
and if people would use this as a secondary resource for instant

Subject:	ETX Observations
Sent:	Wednesday, May 9, 2001 06:59:51
From:	Cadman069@aol.com
Great, great site.  What a plethora of useful information.  I just
wanted to add a couple things that I've discovered that may be
blindingly obvious to some, but I haven't seen the first one mentioned
yet.  There's so much info. on the sight, I may have just not found it

First and probably most obvious:  When I first bought the scope, I was
trying to use the scope off of battery (AA) power.  The scope seemed to
lag, and not track too well,  slewing was also slow.  Then I purchased
the power adapter.  I have found that using the 110V power supply makes
for the most "solid" usage.  12 volt DC seems to work pretty well too. 
This may be good advice for someone that was as much of a novice that I
was... and still am, but working on it.

Second, I added the wooden triangle to the deluxe field tripod, idea by
Scott Cameron (scameron@ohiohills.com).  And the home-made leg clamp
idea by Tony Miles (tpmiles@bellsouth.net).  These two inexpensive tips
have worked very, very well.  The scope is now much more steady.  I was
considering buying an LX200 type of tripod, but not anymore.

Thanks again,

			Brad McEachern
P.S. I forgot to mention that I have an ETX-125

Subject:	Many thanks
Sent:	Tuesday, May 8, 2001 20:47:26
From:	rmacphee@hsc.usc.edu (Robert D. MacPhee, Ph.D.)
Many thanks and congratulations on your web site.

I've recently purchased a 125-ETX, and proceeded to f--up my first two
rolls of film in a mad race to catch the exceptional presentation of
Jupiter here in So. Cal.  Wish I would have talked to Mark at Meade's
Irvine facility, and learned of your site two weeks ago!!

Good to see what I can expect with practice and additional investment.

Looking forward to this weekend's viewing from the backside of Santa
Catalina Island for some better-than-average subject matter.


ps; are you aware of T-adaptors for other digital cameras?  Sony's
high-end reflex model?
Mike here: There are several digital camera adapters mentioned on the Accessories - Astrophotography page. Some of them will work with any camera.


Good God - what a fast reply!! I was going to ask for information re:
need for digital enhancers, but thought I'd better review your site in
detail before wasting your time... and exposing my novice eagerness and
ignorance. Ooops - should have checked for digitals and adapters too.

Subject:	ETX 90EC elCheapO
Sent:	Tuesday, May 8, 2001 18:47:14
From:	arnold@hawkweb.com
First, my complements on the web site and to all the support that you
provide. Thanks!

I finally got the blessing from the wife to buy a telescope.

I have been interested in astronomy since I took it as a college course
3 years ago, since then I have been using binos and RedShift3.

I am considering the ETX-90EC over the -70 because I want to be able to
see the rings of Saturn and make out galaxys (just for starters,
photography later..), but can only afford the telescope for now.  I need
help in a few areas:

--Can an amature that never setup a telescope learn to set one up and
find objects with the manuals as a reference?  I cant afford the
autostar till a later date, so I will have to doit manualy - this may be
more exciting now that I think of it!

--Instead of buying the tripod, would I be able to make due with the
optional short legs?  (Until I can bother the wife again!)

--Are there any price matching search engines on the web, in order to
find the lowest price on a new one?

Thanks much!  This is only the beginning  :D

Mike here: Amateur astronomers have been navigating the skies for hundreds of years without a lot of help. Just some basic star charts and some practice are all that are needed. The tabletop legs will work fine in many situations, as long as the surface you put the telescope on is stable. I haven't seen any price comparison sites.

Subject:	Re: Barlow
Sent:	Tuesday, May 8, 2001 07:45:06
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	art
The #126 barlow is the one I use and the one I prefer.  The #140 in my
opinion has no distinct advantages in the ETX or LX scopes! 
Furthermore, it sticks too far down into the right angle housing for it
to be used properly with the ETX (although it can be).  The #126 puts
the eyepiece in a very comfortable position and has all the quality and
eye relief you need; its is a two-element (almost like a one-half
Plossl!) barlow, and the only advantage of the three-element is to
correct for CHROMATIC ABERRATION which your Maksutov telescope does

Clay Sherrod
-----Original Message-----
From: art
>Haven't had much of a chance to ckeck my ETX out, but I will soon,
>weather permitting.  I'm taking a week off to spend at the River!
>A question about Meade Barlows.  I know the #126 is recommended for
>the ETX series, but I was wondering if the #140 works also?  I have
>read that the #140 is "inconvenient" to use with the ETX because of
>its length (4+ inches vice 2+).  But it is a 3-lens Apochromatic...I'm
>not sure what the #126 is.
>Is the #140 better, even though inconvenient, and therefore worth the
>extra $s?
>Your thoughts would be appreciated.
Mike here: I don't have the #140 but the #126 I do have works fine with the ETX-90EC and ETX-125EC. There was a slight yellowish cast when it was used with the ETX-70AT.

Subject:	Is it just me or?
Sent:	Monday, May 7, 2001 16:31:34
From:	stocknut@worldnet.att.net (Robert Honeycutt)
Is it just me or does Meade having a REAL problem with quality control
on their products. I have been thinking about buying one of their
telescopes, have been following your website and even owned stock in the
company at one time. BUT

The number of people who post here indicate to me that there is a REAL
problem with the products. I am scared to buy one. Have I gotten the
wrong impression about all of this?

Thanks for your website..It is great.  MIKE
Mike here: As you can image, people who are not having problems do not feel the need to make inquiries. People who are experiencing problems, either from a manufacturing defect or from misunderstanding something in the manual, will be the most likely to raise their concerns. And then one must consider the great masses of people who have these products (as Meade has sold at least several THOUSANDS of these scopes) and don't frequent the Net for whatever the reasons. Do we make assumptions about them? I say "no" because we have no data on their experiences, good or bad. So the reports seen here are from just a small fraction of the users worldwide. Is this a sufficient sampling to make a negative judgement on quality control? Definitely not.

Subject:	aperture
Sent:	Sunday, May 6, 2001 11:20:00
From:	kbusa1@hotmail.com (z2)
i live in a big city, which i suppose is true of most amateur
astronomers..hence, we tend to stick to smaller aperatures.  but once in
awhile, we get a chance to relax out in the dark sky boondocks. since i
cant afford a bigger aperature scope for those all too rare outings, i
thought :

what if someone bought an 8 inch scope, and attached a n aperature
reducer to it when using it in the city ?  an ap.reducer would be like
cutting a Hole of about 5 inches or so in the center of the plastic
objective lens cover they give you. i hope you can try to see what i
mean. wonder if it would work in brite skies..

pls note that my new ETX 70 AT is now starting to make really mechanical
grinding noises only when slewing or moving it (with autostar) in
up/down dec. motions at max, 2, and 	1 degree speeds. will take it to
the meade dealer here..

just a note.
thanks for keeping the site bursting with info.
Mike here: For some objects, like the Moon, reducing the aperture can help. It also might increase the contrast for fainter objects so might help there as well.

Subject:	Oops
Sent:	Sunday, May 6, 2001 05:02:53
From:	np149@tir.com (Nick Petranovic)
I think there was some confusion between Clay and John in the messages
on the Autostar Feedback page. John is from the UK where I think May 5,
2001 could properly be abbreviated as 2.5.01 not 05/02/01 as in the US.
I believe several countries express dates in the Day/Month/Year format.
Something for US users to think about when talking with overseas users.

Mike here: I use the Day Month Year format when expressing long dates and MM/DD/YY for short dates. Email dates get expressed in whatever format received. If the world used a better scheme for dates there wouldn't be this problem! Maybe "Star Dates" (Star Trek) would be appropriate...

Subject:	ETX-125EC
Sent:	Saturday, May 5, 2001 20:46:30
From:	Rpaddock@twcny.rr.com (Ryan Paddock)
I just purchased a meade ETX125EC telescope and am very excited to begin
using it.  I stumbled across your website and noticed that you did some
photo enhancement on your iBook.  I too have an iBook and had a couple
of questions for you.  Is there any software that you can purchase for
use with the telescope that can be operated through a Mac.  Also I have
an olympus digital camera that I would like to be able to attach to my
telescope and wondered how.  Any help you could give me would be greatly
Mike here: See the Software Reviews and Software Feedback pages for some info. There are Mac OS Autostar drivers for some of the applications. As to attaching your digital camera, see the Accessories - Astrophotography page.

Subject:	etx90 problem
Sent:	Saturday, May 5, 2001 16:15:51
From:	Seanhite1@aol.com
my telescope seems to be a little loose. when i tighten the vertical and
horizontal locks it still moves about a quarter of an inch each way. is
there a way to tighten this? thanks, sean.
Mike here: See the Performance Enhancement tips on the Telescope Tech Tips page. However, some play is normal. You won't be wiggling the tube hand during actual use; at least, you shouldn't be.

Subject:	where can i get ETX
Sent:	Saturday, May 5, 2001 12:24:30
From:	noelgl@yahoo.com (glynn noel)
Could you tell me if there is any US web site that ships the ETX

I live in Ireland and cant get the ETX here.

I can get them from the UK, but they are too expensive there.

      Love your site,
                     Many thanks,
Mike here: There are some restrictions on shipping out of country. All I can suggest is trying the dealers listed in the dealers section of the Astronomy Links page. Good luck.

Subject:	ETX Danger...
Sent:	Saturday, May 5, 2001 12:16:22
From:	bryangm@excite.com (Bryan Morris)
I fixed my random slewing problem on my ETX 90.  The culprit?  Wires
caught in the gears.  It might be worth mentioning to anyone doing any
work to the inside of their ETX, to *make sure* the 4 wires going into
the center of the gear are tucked behind the plastic mast nearest the
worm gear (to its left if the worm gear is closest to you). Apparantly I
forgot (although I could swear I did this....).

The way I found out was when I was aligning in alt/az mode the scope was
rising and turning clockwise.  Then my clumsy wife came tromping up and
kicked the plug out.  I unlocked everything and put it back into home
position.  Powered it all back up and tried to align again.  It got to
about the point where it was before the cord was kicked out and
everything turned off.  I left it where it was and turned it back on and
the autostar went crazy.  It had messages whipping by about "under
contruction" and "trap proc 2" and all kinds of weird stuff.  The
controls wounldn't work either.  I though it was fried and did the safe
flash thing.  Still no dice so I unbolted the ETX from its stand and
pulled off the bottom.  There I found all four wires wedged between the
worm gear and the big center gear.  I went and apologized to my wife (I
was very angry with her inability to pay attention to whats around her)
and came back and resoldiered everything and tucked the wires safely
behind the post.  After powering back up everything works fine.  Did a
couple 360's with the cover off to make sure nothing binds or gets

Ugh what a night.... hehe ;-)


Subject:	Mirror Mistake
Sent:	Saturday, May 5, 2001 04:53:31
From:	Spcfan@aol.com
I recently found a very bothersome spot when looking through a 6.4
eyepiece  in my ETX 90 and decided to get rid of it.  I rotated the
eyepiece and noticed that the spot did not move so I started to dig
deeper.  I unscrewed the optical tube from the base which exposed the
primary mirror.  Carefully using a can of compressed air I blew loose
dust off its surface.  The mirror looked great but I could still see a
small spot on one side of the surface so I gave it one last shot of air.
 I must have let the spray tube get too close to the surface because the
mirror seemed to fog up.  Well, to my horror it never dried up.  I
instantly knew I had made a very bad mistake.  It almost seems like I
blew the reflective surface off the mirror. What is the Mirror made of ?
 Is there a light coating that I blew off ? Im sure that I will have to
send the scope back to Meade unless someone knows of a solution.  Your
site is the best, and I read your page on cleaning optics, (after I did
the damage).  I have not had clear skies since messing up the mirror but
it seems like small points of light now look like a glob of water in
zero-gravity.  The round point of light bulges as I move around field of
view in the eyepiece. Is there a name for that kind of distortion ?

Thanks for your time, and I promise I will never try this again!!!!

Chuck S.   (spcfan@aol.com)
Mike here: You have unfortunately discovered the danger of using cans of compressed air. They can deposit moisture and perhaps other junk. You might try some of the real serious cleaning but for safest results, I suggest returning to Meade.

Subject:	ETX 125 Telescope
Sent:	Friday, May 4, 2001 12:47:17
From:	HAWKEYES43@email.msn.com (LISA PEUGH)
Hey, I bought an ETX 125 Scope and I purchased a Canon EOS Rebel so I
can take some pictures. I was wondering if the scope is good enough to
take pictures of Orion Nebula? Thanks Mark Peugh.
Mike here: If you look back through the Astrophotography Gallery pages (mine and Guests) you will see photos taken with the ETX-90 model as well as perhaps the -125. So, yes, you can take photos of M42. It will be challenging but it can be done.

Subject:	Please include for discussion: CCD computer problem.
Sent:	Wednesday, May 2, 2001 08:51:57
From:	simon.dallas-chapman@db.com (Simon Dallas-Chapman)
I would be very grateful if you could include the following for

My Scope is ETX125 by the way.

I am wondering if anyone may have the answer to a problem I am having
with my Sonfest SACIIb camera.

I have 2 computers, the main one is a P200 with 32MB RAM and windows 98
and I have just got an IBM 560 thinkpad P100 with 16MB of RAM for my
Scope system (ETX125).

The camera works fine on my main computer, but refuses to function on
the laptop despite my best attempts to solve the problem. All software
and devices are correctly installed and the system shows them to be
functioning correctly.

The camera receives power via the external PS2 port and is definitely
receiving power.

The result of all this is that when the cameras twain window is opened
it is simply as if the camera were not plugged in at all.

SAC Imaging have been very helpful, but are at a loss as to what is

If anyone has encountered this sort of problem and solved it I would
very grateful to hear.

This is a great Website by the way!!!

Kind Regards

Simon Dallas-Chapman

E-Mail: siandsu@jerseymail.co.uk

Subject:	Wal Mart "Ever Start" Question!!
Sent:	Tuesday, May 1, 2001 10:50:28
From:	peterrossi@lucent.com (Peter Rossi)
You and you Web Site are FANTASTIC.  Thank You for all of your effort. 

I have a question for Clay Sherrod regarding yesterdays e-mail.


Mr. Sherrod:

I visited a Wall Mart last night to check out the "Ever Start"
recommendation you mentioned on the ETX Web Site.  I was a little
confused.  I was expecting some sort of battery eliminator unit.

"Ever Start" is the brand name of their car batteries.  Are you
recommending a cord clipped to the terminals of an "Ever Start" car
battery??  I was hoping for a gel cell or some sort of dry battery to
eliminate the need to carry a lead acid battery over unknown landscape
in the dark. Trip/ouch!!

The Wall Mart sales people were of no help with this issue.  They only
knew of the car batteries.  Would it be possible to explain the "Ever
Start" set-up you use??

Peter Rossi
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Peter - No, not the battery,but in the same department.  You will find
these (they are like "jumper battery units" that have built-in jumper
cables, a plug in for a cigarette lighter DC plug, extra outlets, a
recharger built in, a power gauge indicator and a full-charge indicator
light....not a car battery.  They are the "EverStart" label, made by
EveryReady for Wal Mart. They are in the auto section back by the
batteries; Wal Mart carries other brands as well, but this one is by far
the best; I have had mine a year with heavy use and I have only charged
it once; a charge will last you every night for a week plus...  It runs
about $70, has all the above and is complete with a plug-in, built-in

Good luck finding....sometimes the folks at Wal Mart can't even find the
front door, much less the merchandise they are supposed to be helping
customers with!\

Clay Sherrod

Thanks for your very prompt answer!!  I will go back to Wal Mart and
give it another try!!  The unit you mention sounds perfect.

I would also like to take this opportunity to Thank You for all of your
written help that appears on Mike's Web Site.  I especially enjoy your
tune-up series (1-5) and can hardly wait for # 6. You have answered LOTS
of my ETX and Sky questions.  I envy your knowledge of Astronomy!!


Peter Rossi
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Peter, thank YOU for your kind comments and continued support of the
Weasner Might ETX site....together, it makes it all a lot of fun (and
educational, I might add).  I am glad that the Guides are helping
you....more helpful tips are always forthcoming from many folks on the
web site....it is one of the best!

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	Another Endorsement- ETX "Supercharge" Service
Sent:	Monday, April 30, 2001 21:59:09
From:	Rasbfam@aol.com
For over a year now, I have grumbled about the performance of my ETX
125,  and   contemplated  getting rid of it for a sturdier system.  At
the same time, I have enjoyed your site immensely, and wondered how so
many ETX loyalists could be wrong. I felt that the scope was a beautiful
instrument- optically very impressive,  and perfect for my needs- if
the mount and drive systems for the darned thing  weren't so sloppy and
loose,  and the GoTo so, well, idiosyncratic.

Enter  Dr. Clay's  "Supercharge " service--  My scope received the
makeover two weeks ago, and  has been transformed. GoTo and tracking are
great, Dec and RA slop are gone. The scope is overall much tighter and
superclean. During  shipping, and as the service proceeded,  I received
three, very personalized,  E-Mails from Dr. Clay, advising me  of
progress on my scope. I felt like I was in his workshop.  The 
diagnostic/service  report that accompanied  my returned scope  was
incredible- I could  gush on, but suffice it to say, the  service is one
major bargain, and  just the ticket for underperforming  ETX's.

A final thought-  thanks as well to you and your contributors for the
astute and helpful  advise which predates  Dr. Clay's  "Supercharge
Service" and which I hope continues for a long time.

F. Rasberry

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