Last updated: 31 May 2002
This page is for user comments and information specific to the new Meade ETX-105EC. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	ETX-105 Focus motor
Sent:	Wednesday, May 29, 2002 9:11:53
From: (Schilling, David)
A while back there was a number of posts about the focus motor from
Meade for the EXT-105 and one stated the Meade was comming out with a
verion for this model.  Hope this hasn't been answered already but if so
could you let me know?  Meade seems to still list the same information
on their site which still says to use the 1244 version.

Thanks you,

David Schilling
Mike here: I haven't heard any new news about this.
Subject:	Broken EX.-105 Altitude stop
Sent:	Sunday, May 26, 2002 19:56:51
From: (Judy Bivin)
I recently purchased an ETX-105 from the local Discovery Store
(Chandler, AZ). Image quality is very good and it seems to be a great
little scope.  I bought it because, while I already owned a 3" refractor
and a homebuilt 10" Newtonian, I wanted something more portable that I
would be more inclined to haul outside on clear nights, and the thought
of finally getting a motorized drive didn't hurt, either.

However, I started getting numerous "motor unit faults".  After a little
experimentation, I found a repeatable sequence that always produced the
problem, and sent the scope in to Meade after getting an RGA number from
Customer Service.

I got the scope back after three weeks.  When I opened the box, I
noticed a small piece of metal rattling around in the box; it had
obviously been broken off of a larger piece (See the attached photo). 

There was nothing visibly wrong with the scope, but I finally figured out that it was the Altitude/Declination axis stop. When I set up the scope, I also discovered that one of the finder alignment screws had been broken also. Apparently UPS "drop-shipped" the package with a vengeance. Fortunately, the optics still seem to be aligned, although the weather has prevented me from checking it more thoroughly. I replaced the finder screw with one out of my junk box (it's silver rather than black, but at least I can align the finder now). My question is, how easy would it be for me to replace the altitude axis stop if I can get a replacement part from Meade, and could I do it without jeopardizing the warrantee? I'd like to avoid to send the scope back to Meade, both because I don't want to risk further damage in shipment, and because I'd have to give it up for yet another few weeks. Monsoon season here in southern Arizona is only a month or so off. I've enjoyed your site and have gotten a lot of good information from it. Keep up the good work! Gary J. Bivin e-mail: homepage: N 3322.1185' W 11142.2247' 402m elev.
Mike here: Actually, I would complain to USP about the damage; they should pay. And you should let Meade know what happened.

And from our hardware expert:

From: (Clay Sherrod)
Replacing the altitude stop is not an easy task and requires a total
disassembly of the newer style mountings of the ETX 105; the stop is
nothing more than a plastic peg that - if indeed is broken - cannot be
refitted. When I repair these, I drill into the fork arm, tap the hole
and insert a stainless steel 4 x 32 x 1/2" bolt and secure in place with
Loktite.  This is not an easy job since there is very little space to
work within.

My feeling is if UPS broke the scope, UPS should replace it...I am
seeing considerable damage lately from UPS neglect and I really do
believe it is high time people started filing claims against their total
disregard for property.  It takes a mule and a whip to get the insurance
out of them, but if you stay on top of them and not let them shove you
under a pile of paperwork, you will be getting a settlement.

Since MEADE shipped this back to you, they will take care of
this.....they do not insure the scopes, but will replace under an
agreement with the carrier.

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	ETX 105EC and Autostar #497
Sent:	Sunday, May 26, 2002 18:20:13
From: (Ted Brayton)
I recently purchased the two items mentioned above. I read on your site
that we should select the 125EC, but the new version has the 105 option.
Should I return it immediately for the newer one, since I have only had
it two weeks, or is there no practical difference between the two?

I have only tried to use it once, unsuccessfully, but now after reading
your book, I would hope I would be more successful, but the lack of 105
as an option, makes me wonder.

Mike here: You can select the 125 in the Autostar or update it using the Windows-based software on Meade's site (once you have the #505 cable, which you can buy or make). In either case, be certain you at least TRAIN the drives. If you upgrade the Autostar software you may need to RESET, reCALIBRATE, and then reTRAIN.


Honestly, if this thing isn't dead on, I think I would be better off
spending the money on another eye piece, and the time spent learning my
way around the sky.

Thank you again,
Mike here: Learning your way around the sky is still a good idea and it will help in your Autostar usage. The cable is easy to make using the info on the Autostar Information page.
Subject:	ETX-105EC focus and other issues
Sent:	Wednesday, May 22, 2002 13:50:25
From: (Fred Woltman)
Just purchased an ETX 105EC from the Discovery Channel Store and have a
few questions.  I am a newbie as far as telescopes go so please bear
with my terminology.  :-)

One of the first things I've noticed is when I'm moving (slewing?) to
the left with the hand controller, and I stop, it always moves the scope
back to the right just a bit after about a second.  So I have to
actually "overshoot" a little so what I'm looking at comes back to the
center.  This doesn't happen when slewing to the right.  Is this normal?

Also, I've been looking at Jupiter, and have trouble getting a clear
image with our 9.7mm eyepiece.  If I look long enough, I think I'm
seeing a couple of dark cloud bands, but they certainly aren't easy to
see.  It sounds like Jupiter is so easy to see, and I feel we should be
getting better definition of the planet than we are.  Would a Barlow
lens help or just make my fuzzy undefined image larger?  The 26mm is
clear, but Jupiter is too small to see much definition.  Looking at the
moon with either eyepiece is breathtaking and crystal clear!!

On the same lines as the previous question, How the heck do you focus
the scope with the 9.7mm eyepiece?  Turning the little focus knob moves
the image all over and it's really hard to tell when the object is in
focus.  The Scope came with the #884 deluxe tripod so it's sitting on a
so good solid base.

Thanks in advance for any info.  Your website is a great resource!!

Mike here: In reverse order, there are focus knob extensions or replacements, both manual and electrical. See the Telescope Tech Tips page and the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page. One simple tip is to just attach a "clothes pin" (the clamp type) to the focus knob. That gives smoother control of the focusing. As to magnification, as you get closer to the "maximum theoretical magnification" (see the FAQ page if you don't know how to determine that), the image (especially fainter objects) will get fuzzier. Atmospheric conditions and telescope temperature will affect the quality of the image. See the "Telescope Performance" section on the Observational Guides/References page. As to the movement, you didn't say if you were using an Autostar or the standard handcontroller. If using the Autostar, be certain you have the proper telescope model selected and that you have TRAINed the drives as accurately as possible. If not using the Autostar, you may be over tightening the axis locks.
Subject:	A Question
Sent:	Wednesday, May 22, 2002 10:52:32
From: (Frank Oliver)
Congratulations on a GREAT site.

I just purchased an ETX105 and read through the ETX Tech tips and have a
question:  When the az and alt locks are 'locked' how resistant to
movement should the scope be?  Mine can be moved by hand quite easily
when locked. Is this OK?

Since the scope is only 1 week old, I would rather return it to Meade
than perform the extensive work outlined in the 5 part series.

Best Regards,

Frank Oliver
Database Administrator, Sr.
University of Arizona
Mike here: The locks are "friction" locks. So just like a bicycle, you can force movement. There can be a little play (1-2 degrees or thereabouts) but normally you'll be moving the telescope using the handcontroller.
Subject:	ETX-105EC RA Lock
Sent:	Wednesday, May 15, 2002 15:15:33
From: (I Nobu)
this is the greatest ETX site, as long as I know.

I have just purchased ETX-105EC and have a quick question.

I tried to turn the RA Lock lever to the left (locked position) as much
as possible. But the lever never reaches up to the leftest position at
which the stopper meets the lever.

Seems like the lock is engaged enough though the lever stops in the
middle. I tryed not to push the lever much harder to let it reach the
stopper because afraid of possible damage.

Does anyone know this is just a common issue seen with ETX and I should
leave it alone?  Or I don't have to be afraid and just push the lever
with much more power to fully lock?

Please let me know.


Mike here: Under normal use the lever will not (and should not) move all the way to the side of the recessed area. About midway is the right position.
Subject:	Meade DS-2114 vs EXT-105
Sent:	Wednesday, May 8, 2002 7:56:13
From: (Valentina Rodriguez)
I am taking a class of astronomy and I want to purchase a telescope that
allows me to see the planets, nebulae, hopefully galaxies, for a
reasonable price.

Meade DS-2114 looks like a pretty good deal for the money, but I am also
tempted to by the much more expensive EXT-105. I've been reading over
and over the specs for both telescopes and I am getting very dizzy
trying to figure out what's the better option for me. I tried the ETX-70
and it was kind of disappointing to look at Saturn. I definitively want
to see more than that.

Thanks for your help!

Mike here: You need to decide upon your expectations and then purchase the telescope that will come as close to that as your budget allows. Both telescopes are good but whether they satisfy you only YOU can determine. If you have an astronomy club or a dealer who does star parties near you you might want to check them out and look through some telescope models. However, no matter which telescope you purchase don't expect to see the images like you see in photographs.
Subject:	ETX-105EC difficulties
Sent:	Monday, May 6, 2002 19:03:03
From: (evieyr1)
We recently just purchased the ETX 105 and we are having some problems,
we need your help! First of all, we are sending our autostar back to the
seller because we can not read our autostar. The only way we could read
our autostar was upside down and on an angle.  Also with the autostar,
when you are initializing it, and you have to pick a telescope model,
the only options are ETX 90 or ETX 125, which should we choose since we
have neither?  A new autostar is being sent to us.  Secondly, we can not
see anything through our standard eyepiece or the new 9.8 mm eyepiece we
just bought. we feel as if we are aligning our viewfinder correctly and
are still not seeing anything through our eyepiece - HELP!!! Do you have
any suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much!
Renee and Dave
Mike here: The current Autostar version (available on Meade's web site) has the ETX-105EC selection. But select the ETX-125EC if your version doesn't have the -105. Have you tried viewing objects (trees, buildings, etc at some distance away) during the daytime? Is the flip mirror in the wrong position? Can you focus the image? Once you know that things are OK with the telescope you can align the finderscope during the day (much easier than at night).
Subject:	Update on ETX-105EC purchase
Sent:	Thursday, May 2, 2002 8:28:27
From: (Carey Mulvihill)
Couple of quick things.  First, thanks for your help.  Second, the
promotion where Discovery Store offers a free tripod with the 105
doesn't start till May 13.  Third, looks like I'm looking at a 3 month
wait to get a ETX-105EC with the UHTC coatings.   Thanks again for your

Carey Mulvihill
Mike here: Waiting makes the heart grow fonder...
Subject:	My ETX 105EC decission
Sent:	Wednesday, May 1, 2002 23:58:54
From: (Patrick ZIMA)
Congratulations on your site, it was the reference for me choosing
between the ETX 105EC and the ETX 125EC; Which at last, was not an easy
decision. So I want to share thoughts during my decision for the 105er,
with you and all the others who might be in my position. I started
astro-stuff 3 years ago, with a 4" newton (from Vixen with a good
Polaris-Mount) that I've got for x-mas from my girlfriend (actualy I've
got a Meade Explorer 4500, which I changed for the Vixen-Model; yes, it
was about double the price, but the mount was worth it). The one thing
that didn't work out for me with that 4"-er scope was the weight (and
size); see I live in a flat in Vienna where I have to get the scope from
the cellar-kompartment, stuff it in my car and than drive for 20 Minutes
to get up a hill with at least a bit better lightcondition. Joust forget
to plan to take such a newton to greece or the karibic for your next
holiday! The other thing was that I always wantetd to have that
automatic "GoTo" stuff to spend more time watching than searching (I
think one have to be good in that, to actualy enjoy the experience). So
four weeks ago I found an astroshop in vienna, where they would trade in
my old scope, in exchange for a new ETX line of scope. For me there was
nothing to think about realy; Everybody says that ETX-Optics are great
and GoTO is fun; needles to say that the ETX actualy is much more
portable than any Newton-Scope will ever be (hey the Mount itself
weigted 15 or so kg). That means I was sure that whatever ETX I'll
choose, things only get better for me (at least visuals stay about the
same). Ok, money ! Well yes I think telescopes are expansive; the ETX is
expansive; going to australia is expansive, playing golf is expansive, a
computer ... Do you get the point ? For a "livetime" thing I'am willing
to spend some money (of course allways in relation). The last decision
for me to make, was the most difficult; To go for the 105er or the 125er
(I didn't consider the 90 becourse the "trade in" made the 105er more
affordable (I've got about 450euro for the newton. The 105er ETX is
1150euro and the 125er 1790euro - 1$ is about 0,9euro; yes scopes are
more expansive in europa). I "STUDIED" your site mike, and it realy
holds a lot of necessary information for such a decission but since the
105er is young, there is more on the 90 and 125 comparison and I found
it hard to fit the 105er in between this comparison. My shop had all
three scopes. So I was able to see them all side by side.

Hight: The 125 is 50cm high, the 105er 45cm, and the 90 is 40cm high.
Doesn't sound much; but hey, the 125er does look bigger! All measures of
the three correlate to that hight realtion.

Weight: The 125 weights 8,5kg and the 105 is only 6,2kg. Doesn't sound
much; but give it a go, physicaly it makes a big difference.

Technics: there is lots of info about different releases of the 125er
and some problems in the past. The 105er is "NEW" and rebuild (I hope
they tried to learn from previous errors), so even basic technics are
the same for all the scopes, I trust the ones from the 105er more. Very
strurdy ! Yes it is very silent (only highest speeds are noisy).

Prize: Oh my god: in fact I'am still not able to rate either of the two
scopes of my choice in terms of money. I think I never will. I consider
both scopes expansive for amateurs; I could aford the 125er but it would
be out of the budget that I wanted to spend. It is probably wiser to
invest the saving (compared to the 105er) in extra stuff such as
eyepieces, tripods etc. The tradeoff is "Light" versus "money and

So here we go, I've got my 105er now about a week ago, and just couldn't
await to give it a go. Yesterday it had "first light". Bad seeing
conditions, bright, lightpoluted sky. Placed the Telesope on the trunc
of my car (not at all parallel to the ground). "Easy alignment" - I
found both stars, centered and startet the Tour "Best of the Night" ...
GoTo Jupiter ... It was nearly in the center of the finderscope, slewed
a bit to the right and... Wow what a sight ! Crisp Jupiter as I've not
seen it before with my newton. 2 cloudebands visible and 5 moons ...
Higher power now (from 26mm to 12,5mm) ... Hm not so nice but ok, not so
sharp (i guess with better conditions that will just be the max power).
Than I did e view GoTo's M31, 32 etc. it found all these objects but
conditions were getting to bad to enjoy the sight.

So I drove home, very content ...

Mike, I've got a question now:
My shop would still let me change the 105er for the 125er. Could you
please give me some hints of what more to expect from the 125er ? My
tradeoff is "Light" versus "money and portability", would the difference
between the 125er and 105er be visible or obvious for an amateur without
comparing them side by side ? One said that there is a difference, but
the aperture is so close ... and both scopes have about the same
limitations on the nightsky!

Excuse the long mail and my english-mistakes
Regards Patrick
Mike here: As I and many others have said, the best telescope for each person is the one that gets used. If the size of the ETX-105EC vs the -125 was a factor in the decision, then the larger telescope may get used less. While the -125 can "gather more light", will that make a difference to you? Depends upon your experience, observing conditions, and the objects being viewed.

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