Last updated: 31 May 2002
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-125EC. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	Make 125 less than F15?
Sent:	Friday, May 31, 2002 12:50:29
From: (Mike Quinn)
The 125 has a focal length of 1950 and is an f/15 right?  I searched for
info in your book and on the site but found no reference to an adapter
of some sort to use when using a 35 and the T-adapter, which would give
it a bit better f value?  My pictures, regardless of exposure time,
never seem quite bright enough and so far I have only been practicing on
the moon.  Does such a beast exist?

Mike Quinn
Mike here: what you're looking for is a focal reducer or wide field adapter. See the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page.
Subject:	old vs. new Upgrade?
Sent:	Wednesday, May 29, 2002 11:54:15
From: (Don Hall)
I'm just now finding out that the "new" 125s are shipping with metal
forks and ball bearings. Has anyone approached Meade about an upgrade
path or replacement option? I'm pretty peeved that they have
substantially altered the design (for the better) but that I'm now
saddled with a scope that has some serious design faults.

 Donald Hall
Mike here: I don't think the older design can be accused as having some serious design faults. Afterall it works as designed. And I doubt that Meade (or any manufacturer) will provide upgrade paths or replacement options when they come out with improved or newer models. Continual product improvement is a good thing. But there is no way it would be cost effective to provide upgrades/replacements. This applies to computers, cars, telescopes, cameras, etc. I do understand your being "peeved". We've all likely had a similar experience. Sure I'd wish I could have traded in my G4/450 for the G4/500 that came out the month after I bought mine. Sure, I wish I could have upgraded my original ETX to the ETX-90EC that came out 2-1/2 years after I bought it. Sure, I wish I could upgrade my 2002 Prius to a 2003 model. None of that happens. So, where do we draw the line on what we expect that manufacturers will "upgrade"? If an upgrade is offered, fine. If not, there are two alternatives (actually three but never buying a product is not really an option for most): keep what we have and enjoy it as intended, or sell it and buy a new one. If you choose the latter, expect that as soon as you buy a newer model, an even newer/better model will come out!


If they had branded it as different model I could see, but changing from
plastic to metal on the fork arm is admitting a design mistake. And
there  are still a lot of the plastic ones in the supply chain. I've had
plenty of items that the manufacturer had either a trade up program or
simply swapped out the old for the new. We just got a sizeable "trade
in" on a 2 year old video conferencing system. Turns out the
manufacturer just throws the old ones away, (I managed to get him not to
throw the 32" Sony out with the bathwater).  I haven't checked yet, but
I'd be willing to bet that the "old" units have lost the majority of
their resale value.

Subject:	Re: ETX125EC
Sent:	Wednesday, May 29, 2002 1:40:43
From: (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Joe
Congrats on the scope!

Your steps appear to be good except for 3)....the scope OTA should be
pointing IN LINE with the fork arms, toward the direction of Polaris. 
This will have the DEC circle (if it is properly set) reading 90

For the BEST guide to setting up, read my article on Mike Weasner's ETX
site at for complete details....note that the last
reference shows an ETX 125 mounted in Polar Home Position.... (for setting up the
scope properly in level and home position) and (for home position
in polar!)

Hope this helps.  You will find virtually every possible problem solved
and question answered on the Mighty ETX site!

Let me know if I can help you further!

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  I just purchased the above scope from someone that has sent it to you
  to get "supercharged". I have a question but it does not have anything
  to do with your work. I just figure that you know the ETX125Ec like
  the back of your hand. My question is, Where should the front of the
  telescope be pointing when you are just starting out and the scope is
  in polar position? I have it polar aligned but the Autostar and the
  manual does not say where to point the front lens. If you can tell me
  more in Leimans terms since I am probably doing something wrong I
  would appreciate it. Here is what I do and maybe you can see the
  mistake. Figure it is polar aligned.

  1) Turn counter clockwise till it stops.
  2) I turn it clockwise until DEC lock fork arm is over plug area.
  3) With the fork arms pointing north I point the scope straight up and
  then start my align from there. When I do this there is not a bright
  star to be found.

  If you can take the time to help I would greatly appreciate it.

  Regards,  Joe 

Subject:	LXD-ETX-125 - an update
Sent:	Saturday, May 25, 2002 15:04:03
From: (Michael F. Vasseur)
Here's an update about my initial impressions of using the ETX-125
optical tube with the LXD-55 mount.  [original message further down this page]

I have to admit that I only had two observing sessions with it since I
got the mount, but from my first impressions - wow!

The only modification I had to do to the mount was the mounting plate
that attaches to it: the two holes in the middle did not quite match the
ones at the bottom of the ETX-125 optical tube, so I widened one of the
holes on the plate by about 1/4".

The nice thing about bolting the mounting plate to the optical tube of
the ETX is that if you buy the mount with the scope, you can just unbolt
the plate and attach the mounting rings on it (they attach at the ends
of the plate, and don't use the holes in the middle).

I haven't tried yet to polar-align the scope precisely to use the GOTO
feature with any accuracy, but from what I have seen in the few hours
that I used the scope is that the German Equatorial Mount is VERY
sensitive to initial polar alignment for the GOTO feature to have any
success. This is where I suspect the polar alignment scope will come
handy, but again, I haven't had time to try it out yet.

Also, you have to watch the scope as it slews because in some positions
there is a possibility that parts of the mount will hit each other,
forcing you to re-do the alignment again to regain GOTO accuracy.

Well, that's it for now. Stay tuned for more!


Michael F. Vasseur
Ottawa Valley Astronomy and Observers Group

Subject:	LXD-ETX-125
Sent:	Thursday, May 23, 2002 12:56:32
From: (Michael F. Vasseur)
How could I pass on a deal like this?

One of my friends wanted to acquire a LXD-55 5" refractor optical tube
to put on his 12" LX-200 as a guide scope. He acquired the scope,
including the mount that he knew would find a buyer. Since I wanted to
upgrade from my #883 tripod and possibly find a German Equatorial Mount
for my ETX-125, I couldn't pass this one up.

The LXD-55 mount is overkill for a scope like the ETX-125, but on the
other hand, it's rock solid, is beautifully crafted, the tripod is
worlds ahead of the #883 tripod, has the Autostar like I'm used to on
the fork mount of the ETX, and I can use it later if I want to upgrade
the optical tube.

I feel like I have another scope now! The stability of the mount really
allows the excellent optics in my ETX-125 to show its full potential.
Last night, I did a public astronomy session with my group (Ottawa
Valley Astronomy and Observers Group, and I noticed right
away new details that I had never seen on the Moon and Jupiter.

Was it worth it? You bet! I know Meade won't sell the mount separately,
but if you have the chance to purchase it somehow like I did, think
twice before saying no, because it's a really good mount!


Michael F. Vasseur
Ottawa Valley Astronomy and Observers Group

Subject:	Re: HELP!! ETX Dec Lock Problem
Sent:	Tuesday, May 21, 2002 17:29:23
From: (Doug N.)
Dick & Mike: (And Dr. Clay)

The continuing story of the ETX-125 Dec Lock problem.

Dick, you will appreciate this. I just received the replacement Right
tube adapter in one box, and in another, a second dec lock knob (third
actually, counting the original) Imagine my surprise when I opened the
boxes, and found the tube adapter had a dec lock knob in the package,
only with a bolt, made of steel, and about 3/4" long, vice the 3/8"
brass bolt of the original. When I opened the box with the new dec lock
knob, it was a replacement of the old one, with the old brass 3/8" bolt!

I guess Meade has been getting quite a few of these sheared brass bolts,
and grew tired of the 'blown fuse' syndrome! ;-)

Now all I need is someone who knows the wrench sizes! I'll bet Dr. Clay
knows... :-) Yes Dr.?? What size wrenches do I need to remove and
replace the right tube adapter on my ETX-125?? (You can check my work
next winter when I send it to you for supercharge!) I never got wrenches
when I bought the scope,and I purchased 50 Allen keys, NONE fit! :-/

Thank to all for your continued help. I have owned my ETX since march,
and have yet to see anything through it, except the pole-top cut-outs I
used to align the finder scope!


Doug Noyce
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Out of 50 wrenches see if you can find a "7/64"....that should do it!

At least if you mess up one you have a spare or of luck.

Clay Sherrod
And an update:
From: (Doug N.)
Among my "50",  I found a 3/32", a 1/8", and a 9/32", but no 7/32". I
went to Sears today and bought it, came home and 15 minutes later, I had
a new fork adapter installed!!  There are significant changes from Meade
stock, to replacement parts.

I will post to Mike's site, with pix,  for reference for those who do
not know. I am sure that you do!

Thanks for your help. Now, if you can just order Spring to come in
Wisconsin, and one clear night, I would be even more grateful!

Thanks again.

From: (Clay Sherrod)
Super Doug....let us know how it goes!  Hang onto that
will find it handy throughout the scope!


Subject:	Astrophotography
Sent:	Sunday, May 19, 2002 20:55:31
From: (Mike Francis)
My question is regarding the available setups for astrophotography with
the ETX 125EC. I went to a local hobby shop to buy a basic camera
adapter and was told that I wouldn't be able to bring the camera (Nikon
SLR) to focus with this piece of equipment. He said I could only use the
#64 T-Adapter threaded to the rear cell of the scope to reach focus. The
problem I see with this is trying to photograph anything that has any
kind of altitude greater than say 45 deg.,the camera would hit the
turntable on the scope. Is it possible to reach focus with the basic
camera adapter or is that only for use with Meades other scopes? Also
how hard is each of these attachments to focus on the film plane? Thanks
again. Great site!
Mike here: I've used both camera adapters with the ETX-90; I suspect they will both work with the -125. You can see more on Astrophotography on the Helpful Information --> Astrophotography page.
Subject:	ETX 125
Sent:	Saturday, May 18, 2002 12:37:48
From: (jcwillette)
I am looking at moving up from the ETX 70 to the ETX 125....I am very
interested in taking photographs of the night skies and have noticed
that you have been doing this. My problem is that I have a Canon EOS 1N
and the body alone weighs 2 or 3 pounds. This is a very heavy camera
compared to others and way too heavy for the ETX 70. I would like to
know your opinion if this camera is feasable for use with the ETX 125? I
would like to go in the direction of CCD, but at this point the ETX 125
will break my bank. Any ideas or guidance woudl be appreciated.

JC Willette
Webmaster ASN LV
Mike here: You can make a counterweight (see the Telescope Tech Tips page). Alternatively, the Scopetronix Piggyback Adapter can perform as a counterweight.
Subject:	bought
Sent:	Friday, May 17, 2002 16:18:32
From: (Steve Painter)
I just bought the sears case  ($49.95)  mentioned in your review for my
ETX-125EC and just got done fitting the foam.  I bought the gray 3"
thick foam which is used  in upholstery, for about $20, cut it out and
installed it in the bottom of the case.  It works wonderfully, plus the
storage trays have more than enough room.  Thanks a bunch for passing
all of this on.
Best regards,

Subject:	etx 125; problem child?
Sent:	Friday, May 17, 2002 2:29:06
From: (Kris Van Mol)
I wonder what's happening with my ETX 125...

I bought it in february and after a few weeks, it didn't do anything
anymore on batteries. It worked only with my ac adapter. I went back to
the place where I ordered it, they sent it back.After one month of
waiting, lucky, lucky it was back but....nothing had changed!!!

Then one more time one month and a half waiting and now I have him back
but.... By a few little details I can see they gave me an other one and
it seems to me that this ETX is not so stable in declination: when the
declination knob is well-tightened, I still can move the tube for over a
few degrees, the know moves with it... Is this normal?I'm getting tired
of this expensive thing that I've already used for maybe 5 hours in 4

Help me

Kris, Belgium
Mike here: Sorry to hear about the problems. When the DEC knob is tighten properly there is still a little movement possible (WHEN PUSHING ON THE TUBE BY HAND). It is sort of like pushing on a bike while the handbrakes are applied; you can still make the bike move if you push hard enough. In normal operation using the handcontroller this should not be a major problem. There are several "performance enhancements" discussed on the Telescope Tech Tips page if you really want to get into improving performance beyond the designed capabilities.
Subject:	Re: HELP!! ETX Dec Lock Problem- Continuing story...
Sent:	Tuesday, May 14, 2002 16:46:19
From: (Doug N.)
If you want to post this continuing story, for others who have been
writing me, here it is.

Well, nearly a month after I called Meade, I received the Dec knob
today, very excited as it is the first semi-clear day we have had in
weeks here in Wisconsin.

I pulled the scope out of the case and mounted it on the tripod, and
carefully put the new dec knob in place and slowly began tightening.

It tightened, but not enough to keep the OTA from moving with the
slightest finger pressure, so again, about 10 degrees at a time, began
slowly tightening and testing at every 10 degrees. It would not stay
tight enough to put finger pressure at the end of the tube, at 90
degrees. So I continued to tighten... slowly... slowly...

Until the knob was once again in my hand, sheared off the RA adapter,
with only the slightest of pressure. Dick... the "fuse" blew again!!
(And so did mine!)

After waiting a month, and having the same thing happen again, needless
to say I was a bit 'put off', one could say. Fortunately I was alone in
the basement and did not subject my wife to my 'colorful' tirade,
against all things holy and not so holy!

I immediately called Meade, and was put on hold until I was cut off
completely, This did not make me happy. I called back, and spoke to a
tech about my problems, previous and present. He asked what I would like
him to do. Trying to be nice, (as he himself did nothing to my scope) I
quietly explained that I am pretty sure that I need a new right tube
adapter. He replied, "No, we don't send those out, it's against factory
policy, you will have to send the scope in for repair..." I almost lost
it, but managed to first explain, that I was a participating member of a
very large ETX user group, with many professional and experienced
amateurs, who have all assured me that the part was available and that
could order it and fix it myself. He in turn said that "this is true on
the ETX-90, but not the 125, as it was a more 'technical' installation".

I was growing seriously upset, and reminded him that when I ordered the
replacement knob, that took 4 weeks to come 2000 miles, the tech I
ordered it from said, "if it does not work, call back and we will sent
you the Right Tube Adapter, for about $35.00. "

He asked me to hold, while he checked....

About 10 minutes on hold, he came back with "you're right, I guess they
changed the policy. It's the only user part we are allowed to ship, and
it won't cost you anything!"

He assured me it would go out UPS ground tomorrow, and I would have it
in 7 days. While I am sure it will be long past the awaited planetary
alignment, I was none-the-less happier than a few moments earlier.

Now the issue is the install. The 'tools' Mike refers to in his earlier
reply, did not come with my used ETX. I figured this would be no
problem, so I went out to Sears recently, and bought a complete set of
Allen keys. Then not sure if it is SAE or Metric, I bought a second
complete set. I now have over 50 Allen keys, not a single one that fits
the tube.

If anyone knows the actual size of the required keys, please send me the
info, so I can begin the search, without having to go to Meade again.

Someday, I will see the stars, I know I will...

Doug Noyce
Janesville, WI

Subject:	etx 125
Sent:	Sunday, May 5, 2002 16:07:56
From: (William Sulzener)
First I would just like to say that I am a proud owner of one of the
finest scopes ever made. At least optically.Unfortunately I've been
having a  problem with the RA controls. The DEC works fine, but there is
no response with the RA. I locked both knobs, changed the batteries, and
tried troubleshooting it by using the inst.manual. I'm running out of
alternatives here. Before I call Meade I was wondering if you knew what
the problem might be. You think it might be the hand controller? I
really wish Meade would have placed manual slow motion controls on this

One other question. I've noticed on the bottom of the OTA there appears
to be what looks like an area where you can place just the OTA on a
tripod. Can you recommend  and sturdy tripods that might be compatible?
Preferably a tripod with slow motion controls. Thanks.
Mike here: I take it you only have the standard handcontroller and not the Autostar. It could be that the handcontroller is at fault or it could be that something in the base has failed. Can you hear the slewing motor running when you attempt to slew horizontally? It could also be that you are overtightening the axis lock so perhaps backing off a little bit will let the telescope slew. And yes, there is a standard photographic tripod mounting hole on the bottom of the tube so that the ETX-125 can be used as a "spotting scope". Any sturdy photographic tripod will work for that. As to slow motion controls, the standard handcontroller has 4 four speeds, one which is reasonably slow.
Subject:	etx
Sent:	Friday, May 3, 2002 10:30:21
I have been reading  telescope advertisments in Sky and Scope
magazine..............looking for a scope to buy. After using binoculars
for a year I felt it a good idea since I can now find a few things. 
Having never even looked thru a telescope  I kinda settled on  a Meade
ETX 125  with a tripod or a Meade LX90.   For the life of me I cant
figgure which one I should buy and why.  They both seem the same except
one is cheaper , but im not too concerned about the price.

I did plan to go to a local star party club  and ask questions , but
when I saw the pictures of these people with monster things on trucks I
decided it best not to go this route

Mike here: Actually, many star party goers bring smaller telescopes as well. With the optical quality of the ETX line we don't get too intimidated by the big scopes! As to the comparison, the 8" will see more under dark skies than the 5". And the LX90 has a better mount. And it is larger and heavier than either your ETX-90 or the ETX-125EC. Keep in mind that the best telescope is the one that gets used. If your light pollution won't allow you to get the most out of the telescope, unless you plan to take it to other locations, why spend the extra money? Also, if the telescope is too large for easy movement outside then it will get used less. On the other hand, many objects will appear larger, brighter, and more detailed in the 8". Decisions, decisions, decisions.

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