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

Subject:	eyepiece comparisons
Sent:	Friday, May 31, 2002 14:33:45
From: (Fred & Rose Lieberman)
I finally got a chance to take the ETX RA out of the closet this
morning.  I put it on the table and decided to focus the scope on a tree
across the road.  Then I began to compare the different lenses to see
which worked the best.  The lenses are:
  a.. Meade 4000 26mm     Orion KE 25mm  (each with Orion Short Tube Barlow 2x)
  b.. Meade MA 9mm        Orion KE 10mm   Tele Vue Plossl 11mm    Celestron Micro Guide 12.5mm      
Are you ready for this - The best results were gotten with 
  a.. Orion KE 25mm,  Orion KE 10mm, and  Celestron Micro Guide 12.5mm
The others were so disappointing.

Go figure it.


Subject:	Graduations on Meade 8-24mm Zoom
Sent:	Friday, May 31, 2002 11:36:26
From: (I Nobu)
I enjoy your site always.

I just got a Meade 8-24mm Zoom Eyepiece yesterday. And I have a question
on the accuracy of graduations on the zoom.

As you know, there are upper graduations (each mm from 8mm to 24mm) and
lower single graduation on the zoom eyepiece.  By revolving upper part,
we can set a certain length (8mm to 24mm) matched with the lower

As for my Zoom, 8mm graduation does not reach lower graduation while
24mm can perfectly stops at the lower graduation.  8mm graduation stops
in midway between 8mm and 9mm (around 8.15mm) and it seems like my
eyepiece is 8.15mm - 24mm.

Do you think this is a defective piece and I should be better off by
asking Meade for an exchange.



Subject:	Where am I
Sent:	Thursday, May 30, 2002 9:53:02
From: (Tom & Cheri Lang)
Is there a site that I can find out my exacte long. and lat. ? The
closest city on my autostar is about 200 miles away. I'm new to all
this, but even I dont think that could be to accurate of cords. I was at
a site once that I just put my zip code in and it game my my long. and
lat. But for the life of me I cant remember where it's at.

Your site rocks

Mike here: See the Astronomy Links page.
Subject:	Re: Supercharged ETX Problem
Sent:	Thursday, May 30, 2002 4:18:53
From: (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Art
YES, this does happen frequently and would be a very good thing to
remind folks of....however, I can tell you exactly what has happened to
cause that "lift and shift" that you are seeing.  In addition to the
grease seeping out and onto the clutch plate, which will happen, the
warmth on the scope base has likely torqued the plastic base onto which
the center main axle is fixed.  This puts a bind on the scope's movement
in AZ and it is very difficult to remedy.

Here is the best fix:  lock the AZ clamp about halfway until you can
feel resistance;  once done rotate the AZ all the way both direction to
the stops by HAND; once done, clamp just a bit tighter and do the same
thing very slowly.

Then, hook up the scope and initialize and do the same thing with the
clamps firmly tightened via the push buttons in Azimuth several times.

This should re-seat the main azimuth bearing and axle.

Glad you were able to get the grease removed with success!  Thanks for
sharing this!!

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  Dear Clay,  

  I had a recent experience with my ETX 90 EC that you supercharged last
  year that you may want to know about and pass on to your other
  customers.  Over the past few weeks I noticed that my ETX tracking and
  slewing was getting progressively worse.  This past weekend I had the
  scope out and I was playing with it and I noticed that when slewing
  left to right (azimuth) the scope tube would lift or down depending on
  which direction I was slewing.  This lift/drop would occur immediately
  upon changing direction.  I also was having trouble with the altitude
  slewing.  I opened the scope up and found grease on the  azimuth
  clutch plate.  I knew you had cleaned this very carefully as was at a
  loss as to how the grease got ther until I remember that I had been
  using the scope to show some of my friends and family sunspots.  My
  best guess is that the heating of the scope due to my sunspot viewing
  caused the grease to flow off of both gears and on to the friction
  clutch surfaces.  I had left the scope out but covered for several
  hours on a warm California afternoon.  After I removed the grease from
  all of these surfaces the scope worked beautifully.  You might want to
  warn your clients about this potential problem.

  Best Regards,

Subject:	regarding a sticker..
Sent:	Wednesday, May 29, 2002 13:45:53
From: (Henrik Ă–lander)
I removed the "Do not look into the sun.. etc" sticker that was on top
of my ETX-90EC since I didn't think it had any purpose beeing there.
When I had removed it i noticed big, ugly "glue-blobs" which were kindof
splattered out beneath where the sticker had been. You wouldn't happen
to know if this is something they do on all their telescopes? I mean,
putting glue under a sticker (makes no real sense)? Or is it just me :).
Anyways.. as I get irritated my small details, I mailed MeadeEurope (I'm
from sweden) and they said that they didn't have any of the original "do
not look into.. blabla" stickers, but they could send me a
"tripod-sticker" which is a metallic sticker they put on the Meade
tripods. I got it today, and I think it's great that they actually sent
me the sticker all the way from germany, but it's pretty big and flashy,
so I'm not sure I want to put it there. I've gotten used to the "blobs"
now, but I would pretty much like to put an original sticker back there.

I have to congratulate you on a great site, btw.. It sure has learned me
alot since I bought my 90EC. I'm a newbie at telescopes (and I'm about
18years of age) so your site has really been a good source of
information when I really haven't had any people to turn to about any
problems or tunings with the telescope. I was supposed to buy some new
accessories a while ago, but it looks like I'm going to have to import
them directly from germany if I want them soon, because Meade lost their
dealer here in sweden, for some reason I know nothing of. Luckily
germany also is in EU, so there probably wont be any problems with
shipping everything over the borders.

Thanks in advance for your help :)

Best regards,

Mike here: For safety (and legal) reasons, Meade puts that "no Sun viewing" sticker on the telescopes. Removing it is certainly OK (but just don't forget the warning). You can probably remove the glue using a very diluted cleaning solution. Test on a small area to be certain you won't damage the surface. As to a replacement sticker, you could always make a name plate showing your name/address or your Lat/Long or anything you like.
Subject:	Recovered from baffle fix{jmerskin}-My experience with similar problem.
Sent:	Tuesday, May 28, 2002 15:01:01
From: (Douglas+G+Canard++)
I read jmerskins post concerning the scratch in his secondary mirror. I
also had a baffle sag problem,enough to be worrisome,I wanted it to be
centered better.

I called Meade first to see about getting a replacement sticky O-ring
that holds the bafle in place after reading some tech tips on this
website.They told me they dont give out any of those parts any more,and
instead advised going to the hardware store for a suitable substitute.

I also inadverdently ended up with a scratch on my secondary while
dealing with the baffle sagging on my ETX 90 RA.

I instead superglued my secondary baffle back in place after removing
the O-ring which happened back around mid-August last year,it is holding
in place quite well so far,however,I noticed while looking at the sun
soon after this fix that it was kind of washed out looking ,not too bad
really but enough to be noticed compared to previous views when I first
bought my scope.

After removing the miniscus lens and holding it up to a bright light I
could see light coming through the scratch I had made.

I eliminated this excess unwanted light leakage by taking the little
round decal off of the focusing knob of my little Bushnell reflector and
attaching it in place with some mounting putty on front of the miniscus
lens so that it exactly covered the secondary mirror.{and very carefully

The contrast while looking at the sun was much better after trying this
fix. I still get some pretty decent views of the sun ,moon,etc.including
decent CCD imaging at high power{aprox.180X} with a cheap surveillance
camera I had modified for prime focus applications.

I may of decreased the capabilities of my scope Im sure by scratching
the secondary but it still impresses nonetheless.

I called Meade about getting another front lens and secondary mirror and
they told me I would have to get both the lens AND the primary mirror
because they are matched pairs and not sold separately.

Cost for a matched pair was quoted at around $170.It was recommended to
just buy another new or used ETX -90RA since if you look in the right
places you can get one for just a little more than what it costs for
said matched pair.

I agreed.
Hope this helps.

I wish the mishap had never happened but it did.I may have gotten off

Subject:	Messier preferances
Sent:	Monday, May 27, 2002 21:17:33
From: (Joseph Rodricks)
Could you point me someplace please? I'm looking for a list of some good
Messiers to shoot with my webcam/ETX-90 setup. Should I just start with
the brighter ones and work do the dimmer ? Any advice? Thanks.

Joe Rodricks
Mike here: Well, you could use the info in my ETX book... Or see the Observational Guides/References page, or the User Observation page, or the SEDS list (linked from the Astronomy Links page).


Well, I ordered your book, hopefully it will arrive in a few days. I'm eager for it. I convinced my parents it was a suitable
graduation gift :) The reviews look promising, and knowing what i know
about you, I have no doubt it will be wonderfull. Who knows, maybe i'll
read it in one sitting. Thanks Mike, for everything you have done!

Joe Rodricks (5 days untill graduation)

Subject:	Another (soon to be) ETX-90 owner
Sent:	Sunday, May 26, 2002 6:52:32
From: (Paul Hart)
You have a great web site, in fact I've recommended it in the past. One
thing which surprised me was the constellation tours, they are excellent
as wel as all the other information.
                  Paul Hart

Subject:	Supercharge Kudos
Sent:	Sunday, May 26, 2002 0:36:32
From: (Greg Spencer)
Just a quick email to let people know the value and worth of Dr. P. Clay
Sherrod's ETX Supercharge. Although my scope (ETX-125EC) was not out of
warranty, I felt Dr. Sherrod's examination and expertise would allay my
concerns over Meade's "quality" problems. Conclusion: the Supercharge is
worth every penny.

Dr. Sherrod was extremely patient and helpful; from answering questions,
scheduling, receipt and repair status, and return. His documentation
detailing the checkout and results are excellent. The setup instructions
were clear for a beginner (me, still). My Autostar alignment is now on
target, and the clear ETX optics are even better than before. Although I
have not tried all the new Autostar programming, I'm positive it is the
same high quality standard for Dr. Sherrod's work.

Again, many thanks to Dr. Sherrod for his Supercharge service. When I
purchase my next scope, it will go to Dr. Sherrod immediately.

Good viewing,

Greg Spencer

P.S. -- With apologizes to Dr. Sherrod for being late in sending this

Subject:	re portable power
Sent:	Friday, May 24, 2002 9:00:25
(70 + 125).
When I go into the field I use rechargeable NiMH AA's. But I also have a
12Volt rechargeable battery pack (looks like a briefcase) which is
normally used to start dead cars. This has a 'cigar' lighter socket at
12V. I ytake this as well if I'm uncertain about the AA's. In the UK
these 12V powerpacks sell for about £40 & up; useful thing to have

Subject:	Recovered from baffle fix
Sent:	Friday, May 24, 2002 6:58:18
The sage of the ETX-90RA continues.  I'm the one that used the gel super
glue and had problems with the coatings, excess glue, etc.  Well, I
think I've recovered my scope.  The secondary element looks clean, there
a just a few fine scratches on the aluminized portion of it, and the
baffle is still attached.  Since I live in the midwest, I haven't looked
through it yet...rain.

I don't recommend this to anyone except as a last resort.  The stuff
that cleaned up everything was the solvent that is used to clean PVC
pipe before gluing it up.  As soon as I can see some stars, I'll let you

Subject:	re: power source
Sent:	Friday, May 24, 2002 0:13:00
From: (Richard Seymour)
I use a 500ma Radio Shack supply... for my ETX90.
And i consider it -just- adequate.

If your ETX125 requires more current than my ETX90,
then i, too, would consider 500 ma too small for your scope.
Meade originally supplied 1500 ma power units.

My Autostar obviously dims and brightens as the motor load
changes... which means the lamps are flickering in the encoders, too.
And it's the -encoders- which trigger a "Motor Unit Fault" message.

(doing a Calibration operation may avoid the MUF's)

good luck

Subject:	power source
Sent:	Thursday, May 23, 2002 11:34:44
From: (
I had a motor unit fault on my ETX 125. One of the questions the tech
asked me was what power source I was using. I told the tech I was using
the Radio Shack 500milliamp A/C converter he told me to us nothing less
than 1 amp. I don't know about the 90 as to what power source to use but
there is an article about using the 500milliamp power source.

Great site.

Subject:	moon looks backwards?
Sent:	Tuesday, May 21, 2002 20:25:48
From: (Mike Ashton)
I was looking at the moon today...and the dark side was on the opposite
side when I used the telescope...compared to when I use binoculars or
normal sight?? That doesn't seem right...I don't think I noticed it
before because I just looked at stars and planets...where I wouldn't
notice...any ideas? Thanks.

Mike here: That's normal. I thought it was covered in the manual. I know it is covered in my ETX book.


My bad...I just found out why on another site...I'm really new...sorry
to bother you.

Subject:	ETX 125 ?
Sent:	Tuesday, May 21, 2002 17:37:37
From: (John)
As a beginner with and ETX how close should I be able to get to objects
after alignment is done? IE in view finder area or more to center of eye
piece. I had used it for the first time the other night and was able to
get Juipter when it came to it in a lower left corner but when I went to
M3 was no where in the eye piece nor could tell it in view finder. Is
this normal or did I do something wrong in the trainning the drives ect.

Thanks for any help you can give me 

Nightwinds AKA John
Mike here: There are a couple of factors at work here. The accuracy of your Autostar alignment and the accuracy of your finderscope alignment. The more accurate you make both of these the better the results will be.
Subject:	Battery Packs
Sent:	Tuesday, May 21, 2002 16:52:56
Dr. Sherrod recommends against using the "C" (or "D"?) batteries in the
ETX.   Would this advice apply to rechargeable battery packs?  I plan on
using my scope on the barrier islands here, and it won't be possible to
have a car or household electricity available.  If these rechargeable
battery packs are reliable enough to properly run Autostar, any
recommendations as to brand or size?
Mike here: There have been many positive reports of battery packs.
Subject:	removal of film on Red Dot Finder?
Sent:	Tuesday, May 21, 2002 14:19:54
From: (Atwell, Michael (CAP, TIP))
I found your website and it is so full of information, I haven't been
able to find a remedy I'm looking for.  I have a Daisy red dot finder,
and I'm trying to find out if the tint of the lens is removable.  Is
there a place on your site which might help me?

Thanks in advance,
Mike Atwell
Mike here: If the tint is due to a coating then yes it would be removable with a strong cleaning solution. But if you remove the tint the red-dot may not reflect properly.


Thanks, Mike, I had not thought of that!

Subject:	Telescope question
Sent:	Tuesday, May 21, 2002 13:13:59
From: (JML)
I just bought a used telescope and it is missing a piece that looks like
it would screw into the bottom of the eyepiece. I might just need a new
eyepiece. Here is what I read on the telescope. I am not near it at the
moment so I don't have anything off of the eyepiece. If you are willing
to help me and need more info, let me know.

Astronomical Telescope
A chronomatic coated lens
F=700m D=60mm

I'd appreciate any suggestions/advice you can give me.

Thank you,
Mike here: Most 1.25-inch diameter eyepieces have a thread on the inside of the tube opposite where your eye looks into the eyepiece. This is to add a filter. Is this what you mean? If so, filters are optional but sometimes handy.
Subject:	I am still using my 6 year old ETX !!
Sent:	Tuesday, May 21, 2002 8:34:43
From: (Doug Cann)
I hope all is well with you.  It's been a long time and a lot has
happened sinced I last wrote to you.  Just noticed your name in June's
Sky and Telescope.  Congratulations on your new book.  Did you ever
think that that from July 1996, this would come this far.  My "old"
mechanical ETX is still performing flawlessly and I use it a lot for
solar observing with one the 'Solarscreen' mylar filters.  Enjoyed the
recent gathering of the planets and moon.

I guess your are still busy with the site.  I am waiting for a cup of
coffe to brew and then I am going to look at your site in more detail.

As always, keep up the good work Mike....

Cheers.....Doug in sunny BC !!!!
Mike here: Little did I know in September 1996 that this Site and my little ETX would be going so strong!


Still a great site.  I just read up on the Meade Zoom 4000 eyepiece that
I am sort of thinking about for those quick nights out when you don't
want to carry a case full of Plossols..

You still have all of the original emails archived from 1996 !!  Any of
them in your new book ? Maybe I should buy a signed copy ! !!!
Mike here: No direct emails in the book but there is some "Q&A" stuff.
Sent: Tuesday, May 21, 2002 6:39:54 From: (Jim Stout) Here is an FYI for you and others on your great web site !!! Are you aware of Celestron's latest product announcement ? They have introduced a very affordable line of next generation NexStar GPS scopes ! The Nexstar 5 i and 8 i now offer an optional GPS plug in accessory for only $199.00 The 5 i price is now $899.00 plus the optional GPS accessory for $199.00 They also have a 40,000 object database standard !!! NO MANUAL ALIGNMENT IS REQUIRED AT ALL. It is fully automatic and compensates for true north and leveling and does an auto alignment for you without any manual input from the user. I hope Meade has a plan to quickly respond to this announcement. Celestron will blow away the ETX sales unless Meade acts quickly to compete with them !!!!!! PLEASE let me know if you have any info on Meade's plans for a GPS accessory that can compete with Celestron. Thanks for a quick response back to me. Jim Stout
Mike here: Competition is always healthy.
Subject:	Variable Stars
Sent:	Sunday, May 19, 2002 6:08:22
From: (Nick Allen)
I've just put up a brand new site which ought to interest ETX users
interested in variables:

The Cepheid Distance Scale: A History

I'd be very grateful if you could place it in your "general astronomy"

Kind regards, and best wishes.

Nick Allen

Subject:	etx90ec
Sent:	Saturday, May 18, 2002 16:36:18
From: (joel nagle)
i am very new to all this . I purchased a etx90ec and was wondering if
there is a basic video out there some where on the how to get started.
Perhaps one that would go through a set up for viewing a site and also
one showing the use of  the 497 autostar.
                           Thank  You,
                                              Joel  Nagle
Mike here: Well, there is something on my Site. See Helpful Information --> Tutorials.
Subject:	Re: Thank you for all the help...
Sent:	Saturday, May 18, 2002 16:37:41
From: (Richard Seymour)
Pierre Cote wrote:

>> I went to see the dealer today and ... now own a Celestron telescope.
>> Three problems with Meade was my limit.

From a different person's posting on the LX200 group:

> i have a new 10" lx200gps w/uhtc(replaced my nexstar 11gps that would 
> not work after sending it back twice.)

So the river flows in both directions...

I wonder how many owners of each -do- move to "the other camp",
and how many others "straddle the fence" by owning -both-?

have fun

Subject:	Your Book and Polar Home
Sent:	Saturday, May 18, 2002 7:45:22
From: (Carrie Donaldson)
My buddy and I tried multiple times to figure out how to home the 105 in
polar mode.  None of the instructions seemed to be written for the 884
tripod.  So I went to my trusted copy of your book, but I can't figure
out the following:

I set up the face plate facing north.  Then set up the scope with the
control panel to the west.  Then your books says to put the OTA
perpendicular to the base facing to the pole postion.  This is where I
get confussed.  If the plate is facing the the pole then the 90' OTA is
facing the ground or to the south.  What am I doing wrong?  Is the
"base" the tripod face plate maybe?
Mike here: I'm not certain what you mean by placing the "plate" facing north. In Polar Home, the ETX forks are angled above the northern horizon to match your latitude and so point at 90 degrees North Declination (or basically at Polaris). Obviously this requires the tripod head or wedge to be tilted as well. The control panel will still be on the west side.


The plate is the wedge.  Is the OTA parallel to the forks in the home
position?  Do you happen to have a picture of the home position?
Mike here: There is an example photo on the April 2001 ETX-125EC Feedback page in the Feedback Archives. Figure 6.19 (bottom) in the Book depicts the same position.
Subject:	Re: etx 125; problem child?
Sent:	Saturday, May 18, 2002 7:33:56
From: (Kris Van Mol)
Hello, it's Kris again,

Thank you so much for the link to your techtips page!!
I've found the problem!
I told you that the OTA still moved in DEC when locked....(it moved even
over 10 !!!!!!!)
I opened the right arm like disribed in the scopetronix site and saw
little pieces of black plastic (!?) under the worm wheel. I checked out
the attachement of the wormwheel and what did I found out? Those small
pieces of plastic used to be the places where two of the three screws
were tapped in!!! So...the wormwheel is only held by 1 screw. I really
don't want to send back my ETX once again!! Can't I fix this myself?

Greatings, Kris
From: (Clay Sherrod)
This is easily fixed by merely taking out the existing self-tapping
screws and running three 6-32 x 1/2" stainless bolts from the inside of
the fork arm, with the threaded end exposed on the disk near the setting
circle disk; once threaded through the existing holes (you do not need
to drill out the existing holes....merely use a screwdriver and screw
them into place) attach the 6-32 nut on the  outside plastic plate (the
side under the fork arm and tighten very snug but not so tight as to
damage the plastic.

Best fix in the world and it takes care of a lot of DEC problems.

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
After my last E-mail I was finding out how to fix it and indeed, this
solution is the best! I think it can help a lot of frustrated ETX users,
so put it in your tuning-site.

It's a pitty there are a lot of clouds out there now.....


Subject:	ETX125: horizontal limit stops got reduced
Sent:	Saturday, May 18, 2002 5:45:34
From: (Francisco Escrihuela)
my name is Paco and I am sending this e-mail from Madrid, Spain. I have
been using my Meade ETX125 for some months now with no problems. Last
week, when I tried to initiate the procedure for alignment, I realized
that the horizontal limit stops had reduced the telescope movement up to
330  instead of the normal range of 630. Indeed, I do not know the
cause, so I hope anyone in this site can help me how to solve this

Mike here: I doubt that it is the fixed hard stops that have caused this. More likely some other obstruction, even a wire (so don't force it or you could cut it). And from our hardware expert:
From: (Clay Sherrod)
I doubt that the horizontal (azimuth) stops have shifted as they are a
fixture of the rotary turntable on which the forks are mounted.  More
likely is that one of eight screws that hold the fork arm assembly to
the turntable has come loose and has lodged within the edge of the
rotating azimuth plate, thereby binding the scope as it turns.  This is
a VERY difficult repair and should not be attempted except by an
experienced person, unfortunately for Paco in Spain...perhaps there is a
service center nearby at some point in Europe.

You cannot gain access to the interior of the turntable without cutting
the four DEC wires that go up through the RA clutch and locking bolt
from inside the base; this is not something for the weak-hearted and
inexperienced.  It is incredibly easy to shear off a wire INSIDE the
turntable, thereby rendering the DEC axis totally useless.

As a emergency fix, you might try this drastic step:

1) unclamp both axes as TAPE the OTA firmly within the two fork arms so
that it does not rotate (use soft masking tape or surgical tape that can
be easily removed....residue from the tape can be removed with simple
denatured alcohol;

2) take the entire telescope and gently turn it upside down while
holding firmly in both hands; put a couple of pillows under it for

3) GENTLY shake the telescope in as much a vertical motion as possible;
stop periodically and rap firmly the side of the BASE with the heel of
your hand while firmly holding in the other hand;

4) shake vertically again; stop and repeat the rapping on the OTHER side
of the base.

This many times WILL disengage the stuck screw from the turntable
perimeter and allow free motion once again.

Eventually this screw (since you do NOT want to get in there and remove
it!) will again work its way into the gap and perhaps stick the scope.
If you can work on it as above immediately and not move the scope in
azimuth much at all, it is much easier to dislodge.

Like hitting the television set with a hammer to get a better picture,
but believe it or not, this does work!

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	home page ETX picture
Sent:	Friday, May 17, 2002 22:47:30
From: (bao dang)
I own a Meade ETX-EC 90.  Like you, I think it's a great scope.  I've
noticed that the picture of the ETX you have on your home page shows the
ETX with a diagonal attached to the back of the telescope tube.  If you
don't my my asking, I'd just like to know what the purpose of this
arrangement is.  I've also noticed that the picture shows the diagnonal
carrying what looks like a 40mm eyepiece.  Again, if you don't mind, I'd
like to know if this is a modification which you've made in order to use
a focal reducer along with a long focal length eyepiece to achieve very
low power and very wide field of view.  I understand that the Maksutov
design generally doesn't allow very low powers and very wide field.  I'm
not aware of any focal reducer being made for the ETX.  Still, if the
arrangement is simply an interesting way to use the ETX within its
normal capabilities ( I think that's a Barlow lens attached to the
eyepiece), I'd like to know what accessories you've used in order to
attach a diagonal to the back-port of the telescope tube.  Any answers
you give will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Mike here: Yes, that is a wide-field adapter (see the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page) and a 40mm eyepiece (see "Scopetronix eyepieces" on the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page). There is some minor field distortion with this combination but it is acceptable for some purposes.
Subject:	Base broke off
Sent:	Friday, May 17, 2002 21:09:50
From: (De Leo)
I recently discovered this problem with my telescope (ETX 125 EC).

Well, it happened in the 'base'...that's where the computer control
sticks out.  Well, the base is the part of the telescope that protects
the whole motherboard inside and the gears and everything.  It is held
together by 5 small screws to the remaining part of the whole telescope.
Those 5 screws are screwed into five plastic holes.  Those plastic
holes have broken.  All of them... and now the base is only held in its
place by the two screws that should be used for the table tripod.

Is there anyway I can fix this?  The loose screws are causing unpleasant
noises when the telescope moves left/right, like friction against
something.  I am afraid I might be overheating the motor this way.  Or
can I do without the screws?


Mario De Leo
From: (Clay Sherrod)
This problem is almost (not quite!) the same situation as Paco's just
discussed!  The ONLY way to reattach these screws is to remove the
turntable from the base entirely which is NOT a procedure that I
recommend....this scope needs to go back to Meade.

How in the world did all five (actually there are supposed to be eight)
of the screws "break" off?  This is the first I have ever heard of the
entire set being sheared off.  Did it drop?  Was the scope rotated while
the clamp was tightened?  Something had to have broken those screws
since there is NO torque whatsoever on them in normal use or even in
transporting or setting up the scope!

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
And more:
Thanks for the  VERY VERY fast answer.
I don't know how they broke off.
I am extremely careful and never turn the telescope when the clamp is
still tightened.  Maybe it did break off on has been on
so many trips...and airline baggage management is not great, you know.
Returning it to Meade is a big problem.  I live in Mexico City.  Is that
reason enough?

Then my next question would be:  Would leaving the scope that way (with
the broken base) have any further negative impact?  Will it do any harm
to any hardware piece?


Mike here: Personally I think it should get repaired.

And from Clay:

From: (Clay Sherrod)
If the scope is carefully taken to and placed on the tripod each
time....once fastened to the base the plastic base cover is taken out of
the equation as far as your problem....however, it is just a matter of
time before the base breaks away entirely and will open the scope up for

It sounds like it is time to get it fixed professionally;  it WILL work
but will only get worse in the process!

Good luck!

Thank you very much for your suggestions.
Mario De Leo

Subject:	Problems or Moans?
Sent:	Friday, May 17, 2002 4:22:49
From: (marc.delaney)
As always I visit your site every two/three days because it is the best
ETX resource place I know of, and as always there are enough problems
written about the scopes to make you want to hug Celestron! However,
except for products that cost the earth, there will be some defective
ones slipping through all production lines. Even the space shuttle had a
dud one! And I also have a feeling that some new owners may be skipping
the instruction manual and also be a bit ham-fisted with their new toy.

The point I am making is that reading only problems can dishearten ETX
owners whose scopes actually work perfectly. So let us remember that
thousands of ETXs do perform as intended and have excellent optics.
Also, hearing about supercharging may lead us to think that all ETXs
need supercharging, but it is usually best not to fix that which aint

But Meade does fall down on the iffy quality of some of its
acccessories, so they should take note of that  --- Meade, you taken
note of what I just said?

Mike, thanks again for a super helpful site.
Marc (Wales)
Mike here: I agree. As I've pointed out many times on the Site, most users only write when they have a problem that they need to solve, whether a real problem with the telescope or operator error. Rarely do people write just to say "everything's fine". And as I've also pointed out many times, not everyone nor every telescope needs "performance enhancing". Yes, you can get more out of almost any telescope by making enhancements, but that is true of cars, operating systems, computers, etc.
Subject:	re:  Question concerning the use of an external power supply
Sent:	Thursday, May 16, 2002 20:57:11
From: (Richard Seymour)
Good external power supplies -can- deliver more power than the
set of AA cells inside the scope.
That is good.
They -do- allow the scope to move faster at MAx speed. 
That is also good.

Meade's Official adapter (the one they sell in the US) supplies
 15 (fifteen!) volts to the telescope... much louder, much faster.

So your supply providing a -solid- 12 volts is not a problem.

have fun

Subject:	re:  LX90-RA on ETX70 base
Sent:	Thursday, May 16, 2002 20:51:12
From: (Richard Seymour)
that's gotta be a typo....

Anyway: the only real problem with moving the Autostar from scope
to scope is that both the Calibration must, and Training should,
be re-done each time you move.

The Calibration is more critical (you'll get "Motor Unit Faults"
if you don't do it), and only takes 5 seconds... but you want to
do it -before- aligning, since it messes up the alignment.

Training is somewhat an option... if you're happy with performance,
don't bother to train with each move of the Autostar. I suspect that
the LX90 will yield the smaller training values, so i'd have it be
the one you really do.. the ETX70 will simply undeshoot some GoTos
by a small amount (possibly not noticed in its wider field of view).

I move my Autostar between an ETX90 and an ETX70, and that's how i
do it.

have fun
(wouldn't an LX90 -squash- an ETX70's mount??)
(i assume you -really- mean put your ETX90ra's optical tube in the
ETX70's mount.)
From: (Hugo de Graaf)
I clearly made an typing error: I want to move the ETX90 tube on the
ETX70 mount (not the LX90 tube!). Do you know if this is feasable?
Hugo de Graaf
Mike here: I don't recall any reports of that, which is why I mentioned the DS mounts articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Pollen count
Sent:	Thursday, May 16, 2002 14:20:38
From: (Douglas+G+Canard++)
What"s the status with the overall pollen count now?.It was pretty bad
here in Arkansas a few weeks ago.Even though my car is no longer colored
green every morning I"m still curious.
From: (Clay Sherrod)
The best source to keep track of this (and it is very interesting to do
so!) is and click on the local and national pollen/air
quality charts.  They are updated twice daily on most days....pollen is
decreasing here as it is nationwide presently, but the count this spring
nationwide was higher than ever recorded!!

Subject:	LX90-RA on ETX70 base
Sent:	Thursday, May 16, 2002 1:50:12
From: (Hugo de Graaf)
I have an ETX90-RA and an LX90. I would like to upgrade my ETX90-RA to
ETX90-EC without buying a new one. If I purchase an ETX70 I would like
1-mount the LX90 optics on the ETX70 base,
2-use the Autostar controller of the LX90 both on the LX90 and the ETX70
base with ETX90 optics and
3-use the ETX70 optics as guidescope on my LX90.
Can this be done or is there a cheaper/better way to upgrade my
Hugo de Graaf
the Netherlands
Mike here: Obviously the LX90 won't fit on the ETX-70 base. But you can mount the ETX-90 on a DS mount (see the Telescope Tech Tips page). The Autostar can used with either. See the Losmandy web site for mounting rings (
Subject:	just
Sent:	Wednesday, May 15, 2002 13:06:20
From: (Steve Painter)
Mike, just found your website & I love it!  Thank you for all the
valuable information you provide!
Best regards,

Subject:	Supercharge
Sent:	Wednesday, May 15, 2002 9:30:05
From: (Maryellen Wrobel)
What else can I say that has not already been said about Dr. Clay's
supercharge.After purchasing a brand spankin' new -90EC last month it
took but one observing session for those nasty Meade bugs to creep into
my virgin telescope.Who should I call but the "Bugbuster"... Dr. Clay
Sherrod.With the hands of a surgeon my 90 was purring like a finely
tuned Bently in a 4 day turnaround. I think I have the "new telescope"
jinx because I couldn't find a clear night for about five days. After a
quick polar alignment and a couple of inputs into the Autostar at one of
the dark sky locations near my house on day 5 it was one Messier after
another "dead center". M13..BAM, M57..BAM, M44..Bam, M101..BAM. Another
fellow observer beckoned me over to have a look through his 10"
LX200GPS. WOW !!. Another young fellow had his homemade 13.5" Dob..HOLY
%&#$. Dr.Clay get ready because you might have another patient !!. Are
you "Board Certified" on a 20" Obsession because I think I suffering
from "Aperture Fever".Getting serious here I just want to thank you so
much for your quality work, attention to detail,fast e-mail responses
but MOST important it's your  love of helping your fellow man !!  I have
one last thought.As a Quality Control Maintenance Inspector for a
"Major" Airline I think its about time for the Meade Quality Control
Inspectors to find another line of about passenger screeners
at the airport. Sorry for raggin' guys but don't you take any of Dr.
Clay's input on what he finds wrong with your scopes??. Take care Doc
and I HOPE to see you at Springfield for the ETX party !!!


p.s. Sorry I took so long to get this E-mail posted !!!

Subject:	Re: ETX problems in the UK
Sent:	Wednesday, May 15, 2002 5:14:08
From: (Clay Sherrod)
To: Laurence -
For the BEST instructions on the Autostar (the ones that come with it
are pathetic) Meade has a non-published complete book-like manual on
line at: which is a
great guide for learning the hand controller...just take your time and
it will fall into place....also use the great wealth of info on Mike
Weasner's site to help you along.

Regarding the test for collimation, you can take a bright star out of
focus and look at the image of the secondary (a dark "donut hole") in
the center; it should be very close to centered in the slightly out of
focus image at very high power.  Keep in mind that a Mak has precise in
focus collimating and sometimes out of focus is NOT a good judge as to
whether it is collimated or not.

Another method is to BACK off about 15 feet from the front of the scope
and look down the tube; notice all the edges of each component:  the
main mirror edge, the secondary, the opening going out the back....those
should be fairly concentric to one-another; if not, then you might have
an alignment problem.

Best of luck and keep asking.....

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

----- Original Message -----
> Dear Clay
> Thank you for getting back to me so promptly regarding my concerns
> about my ETX90EC. When I referred to a sub-standard scope, I was not
> meaning the ETX in general (which I know is very highly regarded), I
> was referring to my particular one. Hopefully it was a case of
> bad-seeing that I experienced.  I have downloaded the tips you
> pointed me to, and am looking forward to  tweaking the drive to
> improve its performance. I have not even tried to get my Autostar
> working yet as it did not come with any instructions (the joys of
> Ebay purchases) although it seems that the ones provided by Meade are
> not very useful. It looks like this has caused people a lot of hassle
> in the past. It begs the question why Meade don't improve it (and
> tighten up their QC on the drives). The tips on Mike Weasner's web
> pages will be a big help (his site is clearly a labour of love and is
> outstanding).
> I am embarrassed to admit I have little idea how to tell if my scope
> is correctly collimated. I could not find details on Mike's pages to
> help (although I am sure the info is there somewhere). The only info
> I found was about looking down the tube without an eyepiece and
> checking that my pupil is centred in the reflection. It doesn't sound
> very precise! I found a reference to "star-collimation" but no
> details. Is this where you centre a star and then move it out of
> focus to see if it shifts off centre? I also saw your warning against
> DIY collimation, so I have my fingers crossed that everything is OK!
> Thanks again, you've been a great help.
> Laurence
Mike here: There are a couple of collimation articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Roger Hall's stuck lenscap
Sent:	Tuesday, May 14, 2002 18:47:58
From: (Fernando Pertuz)
I had the exact same problem when the wind knocked over my ETX-RA (the
plastic mounting brackets also broke). Brute force was the only
solution, however, do it gently!

This is what I did. I put a strip of adhesive transfer tape around the
black corrector lens holder (where the cap stuck to) then I wrapped the
adhesive with a piece of sheet rubber. This gave me a firm grip and
avoided either unscrewing the lense or deforming the tube. I then used a
kitchen gadget used to remove stuck jar lids and gently, albeit with
proper force, removed the darned cap. (The adhesive came off with the
strip of rubber)

As a substitute for the cap I discovered that the top of a can of M&M
candies with added thin cork padding on the inside fit snugly around the
lens. So much so that I used another one of these for my ETX-EC as an
easy on easy off lens cap!

Later, with a little patience and craftmanship, I managed to reshape the
threads, but I still use the high technology can top (painted mate

Fernando Pertuz
Barranquilla, Colombia 

Subject:	RE: Re: Thank you for all the help...
Sent:	Tuesday, May 14, 2002 11:47:15
From: (Pierre Cote)
Again, thank you for all the help.

I went to see the dealer today and ... now own a Celestron telescope.
Three problems with Meade was my limit.

Pierre Cote
Mike here: Enjoy viewing the sky! That's the important thing.
Subject:	Re: essentials
Sent:	Tuesday, May 14, 2002 5:56:36
From: (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Tim
Electric focus is a must in my opinion; get in touch if you get it and
let me help you install safely.

We should review your eyepieces again....the 20mm is pretty close to
what you already have; 4.7mm is way too much power except on very good
nights.  I would suggest a good Televue 8mm Plossl (about $89 from OPT).

The Digi-T digital camera adapter from is the ideal
adapter for your camera and a great addition...I will walk you through
using it, or Mike Weasner's site: has many
excellent HOW TO's on installing and using this adapter.

Here in Arkansas a dew shield is a prerequisite....go for it, but get
the MEADE hard shield.

Let me know when I can help....glad the Supercharged scope is doing so

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

----- Original Message -----
> I have a birthday coming up and my wife is asking for
> ideas so I'm looking for "essentials":
> electronic focus
> eyepiece - you mentioned 20mm I think; my autostar
> recommends 4.7 UWA on a lot of things
> camera attachment - I have a canon E-70 35mm (I know,
> automatic is not the best) and a Olympus D40Z digital
> (not sure how i could use this at all)
> dew shield
> Would you consider these essentials or have other
> ideas?
> BTW, I saw Merc, Venus, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter all last
> night; M106, cat eye neb, and some other things I cant
> remember (i need to keep a log).  I did screw up
> though and erase all tours off the autostar trying to
> load sat. info.
> Goto is MUCH MUCH better and now using precision mode
> which is awesome.
> Tracking is almost excellent.  Still can't quite
> center the object and make it stay there but it always
> stays in the eyepiece and tracking keeps it there.
> I haven't got a clue what's going on with watching
> satellites.  Tried to look at DTV5 and Hubble and it
> would slew, stop, slew another 90 deg or so az. then
> tell me to hit ENTER to track.  I never saw a sat.  In
> fact, first time it ended up pointing to the ground
> and trying to go further, had to shut it off suddenly
> before it broke itself.
> Still having loads of fun with Celestia.......
> Tim

Subject:	Question concerning the use of an external power supply
Sent:	Tuesday, May 14, 2002 1:55:30
From: (Angelos)
First things first,
a big thanks for the web site, it makes the whole ETX experience much
more enjoyable.

Quick question (and excuses if this has appeared before).
When using an external power supply on an EXT 90EC (12V rated at 1A max
- from descriptions found in other relevant mails this seems to be
perfectly adequate) everything works fine but the motor hum is of a
noticably different pitch (it *sounds* like things are going faster if
anything) compared to movement at max rate using the batteries.
Does this sound familiar or what ?
I did measure the power supply output and it is indeed at 12V. I am a
bit concerned that I might be overdriving the motors somehow so any
feedback would be appreciated.
Angelos Vorvolakos 
Mike here: If the "pitch" sounds different, does the scope move faster at a given speed versus when using batteries? It shouldn't.
Subject:	2-inch diagonal and eyepieces on an ETX-90
Sent:	Monday, May 13, 2002 18:02:16
From: (Winthrop T. Jackman)
Hi, Is it useful (or even possible) to attach a 2-inch diagonal to the
camera port on an ETX-90?  Would you get the advantage of brighter
images as you do using 2-inch eyepieces in other telescopes?  And can
the motor drive of the ETX handle the extra weight of some of those
bigger 2-inch eyepieces?

Thanks in advance for your help.  Sincerely, WTJ
Mike here: Well, using the proper SCT adapter (see the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page) it could be done. BUT I would think you would lose a lot of light as the port is so much smaller. And, as with cameras, weight could be a problem.
Subject:	Stuck lens cap
Sent:	Monday, May 13, 2002 8:13:01
I had recently purchased a 90etx and was setting it up last week on my
front porch. We live on top of a mountain in NC and the wind is
sometimes vicious. It was that kind of a day last Thursday, when my etx
& tripod was blown over. It appears that all the electronics are ok, but
when I attempted to remove the lens cap to check the optics, it would
not come off. As I remember, the cap is removed by turning
counter-clockwise. I did get to the point where the cap, attached to the
front lens did unscrew, but I still am unable to remove the cap.

Do you have any ideas?


Roger L. Hall
Mike here: Do you see any dents along the circumference where the cover screws into the end? It sounds like there might be some deformation. Perhaps only some brute force will remove it; use caution and don't unscrew the lens holder from the tube.
Subject:	Re:  Baffle Fix
Sent:	Monday, May 13, 2002 4:58:23
Meade wants me to ship them the scope and $175.00.  I can buy a brand
new one for $179.00.

Subject:	Basic star observation question
Sent:	Sunday, May 12, 2002 10:02:27
From: (Ted Brayton)
Bought my first telescope this week, the ETX-105, primarily for my young
son. I didn't have terrific viewing conditions, nor a moon to study, but
I did find a few bright stars to look at last night. Every star I
choose, looked the same in my telescope, a big white Life Saver, with a
dark center. I only have the eye piece that came with the scope, but I
can't help but think there is more to it.

All the pictures in books and on your web site, are of more interesting
things, so I have nothing to compare my findings with.

Please tell me what my "picture" of a star should look like, and what
additional eye piece I should purchase first.

My viewing goals for my first year are to see some decent detailed views
of the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn, as well as learning to use Autostar,
and finding the more popular constellations.

Thank you for any assistance you can lend me,

Ted Brayton
Middleboro, MA
Mike here: If you have a clear view of the western horizon, right now you can see Mercury (a small crescent shape right now), Venus (nearly a full disk), Mars, Saturn and its Ring System, and higher up in the sky, Jupiter and up to four of his moons. For the stars, they will appear as small POINTS of light when you have the telescope properly focused. From your description I suspect you have the image way out of focus. Turn the focus knob to make the "big white Life Saver" shrink down to a point.


Thank you for the info and very quick response.

Subject:	ETX Field Tripod
Sent:	Saturday, May 11, 2002 22:40:54
I have had an ETX-90EC for 2 1/2 years now and have actually used it
very little.  I found aligning it to be frustrating.  I have just found
your website and hope that I can find answers to my alignment problems. 
But my question about the field tripod is concerning the flimsy tray and
arms that attach to the 3 tripod legs.  I have never seen anything so
cheaply made in my life.  Invaribly the arms come off the tray when I
try and spread the legs out.  Hope you can help me.  Thank you

Ted Laurin
Mike here: I've not had a problem with the tray coming loose on my #883 Field Tripod. Is that the one you have? Can you describe the setup in more detail?


I have the #883 Deluxe Field Tripod.  When you initially spread the
tripod legs, you have these 3 aluminum pieces, that Meade calls the
extension strut system, that hang from the inside of each leg.  At the
end of each piece is a hook, bent in the aluminum, that hooks into slots
in the aluminum center piece, that Meade calls the central hub.  The
black metal tray that holds eyepieces, etc., fits on this centerpiece,
with a knob nut screwed onto a single bolt which goes through a hole in
the center of the centerpiece.  As you spread the legs, the whole
assembly should unfold out.  However the aluminum is so weak and thin
that the hooks bent and come off the centerpiece.  Once you get it all
spread out and the tray in place, the tripod is pretty rigid.   But
getting it spread out or folded back up again is almost impossible
without the aluminum pieces coming unhooked from the centerpiece.  Hope
this all makes sense.  I bought the telescope and tripod in early 2000. 
Maybe it's been improved by now.  Did I read on your website that Meade
had come out with inserts for the tripod legs that beef them up so you
don't have the chance of denting the legs when you tighten the height
adjustment knobs?  Again, thanks for your interest in my problem.  Is
the book that you wrote available at major bookstores?
Mike here: Now I understand. It is certainly possible to bend the metal that is used and therefore cause all manner of problems. I've not bent anything on mine so haven't experienced this problem. I suppose you could get some wire or something and make it so that the pieces don't become disconnected. Yes, there are leg inserts available from Meade. And yes, there are a couple of newer model tripods, the #884 and the #887. The inserts and the new tripods are discussed on the Accessory Reviews - Tripods page. And thanks for the interest in the book. I've not yet seen it in the local bookstores but got a report that Barnes and Noble has it at their web site.
Subject:	Arc measurement
Sent:	Saturday, May 11, 2002 19:33:10
Your site is the only place I could think of to ask this question. I
trust it isn't to far afield: What is the equation that describes the
number of degrees you see when looking thru a straw to sight Polaris for
polar aligning a barn door tracker. I can't think of a specific enough
search term on Google.  Thank you.....Steve Cameron
Mike here: Got me. I suppose it depends on the length and width of the straw. Simple trig, I'd think!
Subject:	Appreciation for Dr Sherrod's SuperCharge Service
Sent:	Saturday, May 11, 2002 11:17:04
From: (James S Roloff)
I wanted to submit a note of support and appreciation. I recently
contacted Dr P Clay Sherrod regarding my Meade ETX-125EC scope that had
lay dormant for a long while. I had decided to renew my interest in
astronomy and knew the scope was needing some substantive resuscitative
efforts. Despite what appeared a very busy schedule for SuperCharging a
variety of scopes and helping a huge number of people on the various
Meade astronomy groups as well as his home web site, Arkansas Sky
Observatory (, I received a personal and pleasant
reply suggesting he would be happy to help. I sent the scope to him and
despite a surfeit of UPS bobbles, he readily attended to my ETX,
completed the SuperCharge in short order and sent it back, miraculously
resurrected and immeasurably improved. I've nothing but the highest
regard for his efforts and veracity. (I've been a "lurker" in various
Yahoo groups and found he has quite a vocal cheering section, many
seeking his counsel and extolling his advice. And all benefited from his
wisdom and experience.) Personally, I was treated with both care and
concern, as well as a valued customer. The quality of workmanship seems
extraordinary. I think this may be one of the best service experiences
I've ever had. I encourage anyone in need of help with an ETX (or other
scopes, too) to consider Dr Sherrods service.

James S Roloff
Des Moines, IA

If, at first, you do succeed, try to hide your astonishment.
                   - Los Angeles Times
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Beautiful!  And I thank you so much for the comments; my hand is always
out to help....


Subject:	Etx90ec question -  Alex Parmington, Melbourne, Austra
Sent:	Saturday, May 11, 2002 7:13:59
I am writing to ask for advice concerning a problem that I am having
with my etx90ec telescope. Using my 26mm, I am getting what appears to
be coma problem when viewing bright stars off centre of the telescope's
field of view. The distortion resembles haloing to one side of object
observed, radiating inward towards the centre of view (see attachment
diagram). The problem appears to get more exaggerated the further off
centre the star sits: the halos appear to increase in size. This effect
only occurs when using the 26mm eyepiece and only when observing small
very bright objects. Is this type of distortion common to the etx90 (ie.
a design issue) or is there something more serious that needs to be
addressed? The eyepieces I am using appear to be clean as well as the
corrector plate at the front of the scope.

Can you help me

Alex Parmington, Melbourne, Australia

Ps. Great site - an invaluable resource of information.

Mike here: Since you show the problem is symmetrical that would seem to rule out a collimation problem. And since you say it only appears with the 26mm eyepiece, that would seem to rule out the telescope itself. However, have you done a "star test" (move a central star in and out of focus on both sides of focus)? (Be certain the telescope has reached "thermal equilibrium first.) Do the rings appear more or less concentric?


From: (Clay Sherrod)
This problem is not with the scope but within the eyepiece and its
design; this is very common with some of the 26mm Plossl eyepieces but
oddly not all; it results from a very poor figure on the "field lens"
(that farther away from the eye) in that particular eyepiece.

This should also result in our of focus images of very bright stars
appearing elliptical toward the edges, with their "major axis" in a line
from the edge toward the center; as the bright star moves closer to
center, the effect goes away and the star is typically very clear and

It is something that will necessarily have to be gotten used to, but
rest easy this is NOT a scope problem!

Clay Sherrod
Mike here: But it was so bad (assuming the drawing is close to accurate) and not something that I've seen in the Meade 26mm eyepieces I have.

And this:

From: (Clay Sherrod)
Mine are VERY good as well and as I have stated many times, the 26mm in
my opinion is one of the best eyepieces of all for not only the ETX
scopes but many others as well; there are a few bad ones out there tho'
and they are showing the same symptoms as Alex is seeing.

All of the JAPAN made ones have been terrific.."some" of the Taiwan made
eyepieces are suspect, but occasionally there are exceptionally good
Thankyou very much for your quick response to my e-mail, i am pleased
that it may just be an eyepiece problem and not something seriously
wrong with the telescope. I will do those further tests as advised by
you just to be sure, again thanks for your help.

All the best Alex

Ps. By the way i have ordered book from Amazon and am currently looking
forward to its arrival in the next week or so.

Subject:	UHTC? Advantage or Hype 
Sent:	Thursday, May 9, 2002 10:38:59
From: (Tom & Cheri Lang)
On checking out online stores for a ETX scope, I noticed that some sell
these scopse with UHTC (ultra high transmission coatings). Adding this
adds about 100 dollars more for the scope. Is having this added make a
major difference in viewing anything through the scope?

Mike here: See the Meade Announcements page on my ETX Site for a link to Dr. Clay Sherrod's test report.
Subject:	Time Keeping for the ETX-70AT
Sent:	Wednesday, May 8, 2002 13:36:20
From: (Thomas Henry)
A couple weeks ago I mentioned on your site the importance of using an
accurate time during SETUP with the ETX-70AT.  I forgot to mention that
there is a free piece of software that will set your computer's clock
(IBM types) accurately to a federal time standards source.  You can find
it at the Nuts & Volts Web FTP download site:

Look for the program called "nistime-32.exe".  It's a very professional
program with lots of features, and it's free!  I use it every couple of
days to set my computer clock, and then from that I set a digital
wristwatch I've dedicated to my ETX-70AT.

Best wishes,

Thomas Henry
Mike here: There are many such solutions. Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X have network time sync-ing built-in.
Subject:	The Galaxy's Best
Sent:	Wednesday, May 8, 2002 9:13:11
I have started a new astronomy topsite. To increase your visitors join

The Galaxy's Best


Subject:	RE: Telescope or Spotting Scope?
Sent:	Tuesday, May 7, 2002 10:00:11
From: (Tom & Cheri Lang)
So you feel that the ETX 125ec would not be suitable for a spotting
scope? I'd hate to find out that after I look up to the sky's I'd wish I
had a better scope. But if the 125 would be useless for spotting, then
I'd have to rethink my decision.

Mike here: I didn't say it wouldn't be useful. I was just cautioning you that it could be overkill for terrestrial use. It will work fine at low magnifications.
Subject:	etx-90ra?
Sent:	Monday, May 6, 2002 12:23:12
Great site,love it man.
got a ? about a 90ra.
I just brought a sony dsc-s70 digital camera this weekend and finaly got
to try it out w/the 90 last night. Needless to say I was impressed w/my

But i'm having a little trouble w/focusing. my ? is as follows; Are the
focal lenths the same using the stright through vs. the 90dge bounce
mirror? Ie: camera mounted to the 90dge slot and using a 45dge erecting
adaptor and and same mag eyepiece in the stright through slot for focus?
TIA Roger Mckinney
Mike here: The focal length actually changes slightly as you move the focus. So there is some slight difference in magnification but I have never bothered to measure it. As I recall, Sky&Telescope measured the amount in their original ETX-90 review a few years back. And yes, focusing can be a challenge but you are likely making it harder than it should be. For afocal photography (eyepiece plus camera lens), just focus the eyepiece to your eye and the camera lens to infinity. If you eye focuses to infinity (corrected or not) you should be OK.
Subject:	Telescope or Spotting Scope?
Sent:	Monday, May 6, 2002 10:20:48
From: (Tom & Cheri Lang)
First off, your site is great. Its helping me decide on what scope I
need to purchase. My wife hates your site because I'm about to spend
money. (She wants new drapes) I'm very new to astronomy, but every night
I go outside I automaticly look up and just get a smile on my face. So
buying a telescope seems to be my answer. But I also like to hike and
look at nature. So my question is, will a telescope let me view the sky
and land objects. Or would a spotting scope be my answer. Will a
spotting scope not give me the best clairty for sky objects? I'm hoping
you tell me a telescope can be used for land objects, because I'm
leaning that way. I just dont know if the wife will let me spend the
money for both.

Mike here: Yes, telescopes can be used with terrestrial objects. However, generally speaking, extremely high magnifications will not be of use due to thermal currents from the ground during the daytime. So, a large telescope may not be that useful vs a smaller one. And a smaller one is more portable for hiking. The ETX-90 makes an excellent astronomical and spotting scope. You'll have the mount (and perhaps an Autostar) for astronomical use. You can even remove the telescope tube from the fork mount for spotting scope use.
Subject:	Thread Size on ETX-90EC EyePiece Tube
Sent:	Sunday, May 5, 2002 14:27:36
From: (Christopher D Bickum)
Love your site.

Can you tell me the thread size for the thumb screw on the eyepiece tube
for my ETX-90EC?

Saw some replacement thumbscrews on the Scopestuff web site, but wasn't
sure of the size and the ETX wasn't in their database.

Thanks in advance.

Chris Bickum

Subject:	2nd hand ETX-125 question
Sent:	Sunday, May 5, 2002 12:39:32
From: (Or Dubnov)
First, thanx for the quick and (as usual) useful reply! What I wanted to
ask was if this process of clutch or lock-mechanism replacement (my
original post is below) is to be considered downgrading for the scope,
so maybe I should go for another scope (ETX-125 of course, just not THAT
one...) or is this procedure even better for me, since I get brand new
parts?.. I dont know how complex or 'traumatic' this fix is for the
scope. The dealer said he is contacting Meade, and will possibly send
them the scope for the fix. I wouldnt mind waiting for this one, since
the deal includes a 884 Tripod, Autostar, and a hardcase! but I wouldnt
wait at all for a less than perfect scope...

Thanx again for helping me solve this one,

Mike here: As long as you are going for the used telescope, I would let Meade fix it. It would not "downgrade" the telescope in any way.
Subject:	locking clamp
Sent:	Sunday, May 5, 2002 7:30:14
My RA locking clamp has come loose and I have been looking for the right
size of allen wrench to fit is but can not seem to find it. Is it SAE or
METRIC? I bought my scope used and the seller did include the wrenchs.
Please help.
Thank You
Mike in Texas

Subject:	etx125 focusing
Sent:	Saturday, May 4, 2002 21:50:08
The first question I wanted to ask is, can one turn the focus knob on
the etx125 too far?  If so, which direction is dangerous (or are both?)
and what happens?  I am playing a lot with my sac 7 imager and the Meade
focus reducer (f:3.3) and there are large differences in the focus
position for various cofigurations. The second and related question is,
do you  know if there is a digital focuser that can be used (or adapted
for use) on the etx125?  This would be a great help in being able to
reproduce focusing positions.  Thanks again for your dedicated and
competent running of one of the most informative sites I know.  Emory
Mike here: Yep, a digital counter for the focus would be nice but haven't come across one. Under normal operations you will reach a stop, which prevents you from turning the knob too far. The only problem I'm aware of is if you remove the knob entirely the focus shaft can fall inside the telescope tube.
Subject:	re: buying eyepieces
Sent:	Saturday, May 4, 2002 12:29:33
From: (Richard Seymour)
Many UK posters in the various yahoo groups
(such as )
have discovered good, inexpensive eyepieces from Harry Siebert,
here in the US.
And, although he won't lie to Customs, he -will- only charge
-exactly- what it costs him to ship them.

His address is

he has a website (?? ???) but i don't have
the address on this system.

good luck

Subject:	re: Sky Circles
Sent:	Saturday, May 4, 2002 12:29:31
From: (Richard Seymour)
My planisphere does -not- know about Daylight Savings... it's
a standard-time item throughout the year.

DST is a -political- invention... and the stars could care less
about what we squabble about down here... they just stay in their
courses, live, go nova, and die without caring if you live in
Grangeville, Idaho (where you're in the Pacific Time Zone,
but if you drive east -or- west, you end up in Mountain Time.)
(you also get wet, crossing the Salmon river)

And, if you are trying to be -really- accurate, the time you dial
into the planisphere should be controlled by your longitude...,
not an erratic dotted line on a map.  
If you are on the "eastern edge" of your time zone, you could
shift the time you dial in a half hour earlier and may find that
it shows the stars rising, setting and crossing the meridian (the
line from due south to due north) more accurately.

have fun
Mike here: Good points. But I think the one I had made it simple and just used the gross time zones.
Subject:	Things to check for a second hand ETX-125
Sent:	Friday, May 3, 2002 18:22:13
From: (Or Dubnov)
I'm about to buy a second hand ETX-125 from a local Meade dealer. When
at the shop for checking the scope and closing the deal, the shop owner
found that the Horizontal/RA Lock was out of order... the scope cant
lock. So he tried tightening the bolt under the lock handle, but to no
avail. He then told me he might need to change the clutch, or contact
Meade for details. My question is: Is this type of fault a common or a
rarity? What might this symptom testify about the handling of the scope
by their first hand owners? Is there anything else to be checked in this
context? I may add the scope is only a few months old ("new version", I
can tell by the help of your site of course...). Another 2nd hand check
question: Optics. Is it OK for the Eyepiece/front lens to have some dust
on it? Anything I can check in these parts? How should I regularily
clean/treat the optics?

Thanx for the help,

Keep on with your great work, and the mighty MIGHTY Meade ETX Site... 

Mike here: I suspect the azimuth axis lock was overtightened. So, checking the locks is a good idea. Also, just rotating the telescope from hard stop to hard stop can detect a broken hard stop or other problems (for example, there is "grabbing" as the scope is moved). Eyepieces should not have dust but some small dust particles will be OK on the objective. There is no such thing as "regular" cleaning; you clean only when absolutely positively necessary. See the Cleaning info on the Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	A newbie's encounter
Sent:	Friday, May 3, 2002 12:41:38
From: (Steve)
I would like to relate to you my experiences with the ETX 90EC and your
wonderful website.

Last December, my wonderful wife utterly surprised me with a brand new
ETX 90 and deluxe field tripod for my birthday. Being a relative newbie
to our hobby (had a Sears refractor when i was 12) I decided that some
research was in order. My first search brought up your site, and I was
stunned and amazed at the amount of informative and useful information
found in these pages.

After a complete examination (yes, I read EVERYTHING, and followed
nearly all the links), I went back to my scope, determined to deal with
the mechanical shortcomings that seemed to be the hallmark of this
design. Being a seriously hands-on kinda guy, I actually looked forward
to digging into the scope's guts to set things right. Imagine my
surprise when I found the scope to be tight and accurate, with none of
the excessive geartrain slop or locking problems so often noted by
others (drat!). Collimation was excellent (darn!). Pushing the envelope,
I purchased Autostar. Consulting the site, I built a cable and
downloaded the latest firmware. No problems (curses!). No trouble
aligning (dang!). Go-to was spot on (double-dang!). It seemed that my
only choice was to accessorize.

First things first. Finder scope. Dismal. Had to go. I purchased the
Meade right-angle finder. Much better, but putting it in the original
location still left much to be desired. Really bad positioning, unless
your eyes are on stalks. I set about building a custom mount that used
the scope's original mounting lug and fastener location, but moved the
finder a few inches further forward on the OTA (see photo). It is made
from 3/16'' stock aluminum, using a jigsaw, files, a Dremel, and some
hand taps. The holder itself is the barrel from a barlow that I got for
free, but any 1.25'' tube could be used. The hardest part was aligning
everything, but once I did, I found that the new finder could be
repeatedly removed and and remounted with no need to re-aim.

Next came focusing. Egad! Every time I touched the knob (when I could
reach it), the scope jittered for what seemed like forever. Remembering
posts on the site about focus cables, I decided to make my own. I had a
flexible shaft drive from a Dremel machine with a broken end, so I
cannibalized it. I dismantled it, cut the (very) flexible cable to an
appropriate length, and attached a knob to one end. I purchased a
propeller nut from my local hobby shop that fit the scope's focus shaft.
A quick tightening of allen screws and viola- a flexible focus for
$3.95. Best of all, no more jitters!

Next came the tripod. The deluxe field model's method of attachment to
the ETX seems poorly designed, as it allows the scope to flex and
vibrate. Consulting the site, a stabilizer plate between the scope base
and the tripod head was the solution of choice. Again I chose 3/16''
aluminum stock, added some 1.25'' holes for eyepieces, and a cutout for
the Autostar. There are holes drilled out to accommodate the rubber feet
on the ETX, making setup in the dark a snap.

Another problem with the tripod was its lack of stability. Again
consulting the site, I found that the triangular wooden stabilizer would
do nicely. I decided to do it one better by building a storage box onto
it (see photo). The lid is of laminated oak to resist warping, and the
sides are maple. Its lined with not-quite-Meade-blue foam. It holds
eyepieces, a level, the handbox or Autostar, and the wrenches that came
with the scope. It attaches to the tripod's crosspieces using homemade
knobs and the existing holes. The tripod is now rock-solid, accessories
are close at hand, and can easily be stored when not in use.

The last thing I found that was really needed was an external power
source. I don't know if anyone else has had this problem, but one night
I had to call it quits because of dew. I brought the scope inside, let
it dry and wiped it down (never the optics!). The next morning, I
noticed some wetness on the scope's base. It turned out not to be water,
but battery acid. The only thing I can figure is that the excess
moisture from the night before (it was REALLY bad) had condensed on the
battery terminals and caused a short in one of the cells. Weird and
scary. But, after a methodical cleanup with baking soda solution to
neutralize the acid residue, I decided I'd had enough of  AA cells. I
purchased a 12 volt 7.2Ah sealed battery and charger. I got the whole
shebang, including Tamiya-style connectors (they connect only one way,
polarity-wise) at my local hobby shop for only $25. Again consulting the
site, I found the proper connector for the scope. I soldered different
sized spade lugs onto the battery's terminals, so that it can't be
hooked up with the wrong polarity. I purchased a weatherproof plastic
box for the battery, and hung the whole works from the tripod's
crosspieces using a homemade hanger (aluminum again) that hooks into the
existing cutouts. This also provided much needed weight, further
enhancing the tripod's stability.

And so all was right with my ETX. But wait! The other night I aligned as
usual. Two-star alt-az. Alignment failed! Check alignment stars! Do it
again. Same results. Reset Autostar, recalibrate, retrain etc.. Same
results. Could this be a mechanical issue? Again consulting the site, I
open up the scope (goody!) to see whats up. I knew the error was in R/A
because the scope slewed way past the mark in that direction, but
otherwise aimed ok in Declination. Looking at the encoder, I found a
tiny piece of what looked like foam left over from the scope's packing
material stuck in the encoder's teeth. Must have been in the drive
compartment all along but got dislodged after a recent car trip. I used
a fine brush to remove the particle, buttoned up the scope, and reset,
recalibrated and retrained. Perfect alignment restored.

Needless to say, none of my experiences with this
little-scope-that-could would have been more enjoyable (and less
frustrating) without encountering Weasner's Mighty ETX site at such an
early stage. I suppose I am lucky to have gotten a Meade scope that
performed so well out of the box, but I think I am luckier still to have
found such a fount of information, resource, and good will as I have
encountered on these pages. If anyone seems interested in any of my
designs, feel free to direct them to my e-mail address.


 Steven R Pilewski

Great book, too! Congratulations!
tripod finderscope

Subject:	Secondary Baffle Fix
Sent:	Friday, May 3, 2002 12:13:46
Apparently Meade no longer offers to send you the adhesive disk to
repair the secondary baffle.  They offered to repair the problem if you
can supply proof of purchase, else it will cost $75.00.
I'm looking for a different solution......
Mike here: Check the Baffle articles on the Telescopes Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Solar Viewing
Sent:	Friday, May 3, 2002 11:17:35
From: (Michael Knapp)
I have recently purchased a solar filter fot my 90EC but have not used
it yet. I hope to this weekend. What I am concerned about is the
viewfinder scope. I assume that I would not want to look at the sun thru
it (if I can't find the sun then I have much larger problems), but is
there a possibility of damaging it when I am looking at the sun?


Mike Knapp
Mike here: Cover the aperture end of the finderscope. This keeps it cool and prevents possible damage to anyone or thing that gets into the light that would have exited the finderscope. I made a simple cover using cardboard and black tape.
Subject:	UK ETX users
Sent:	Friday, May 3, 2002 3:40:16
From: (marc.delaney)
Although I belong to my local astronomy society, they have fixed
observing days which more often than not end up cloudy here (Wales, UK),
so I mostly end up observing alone. It's more enjoyable (and safer in
lonely dark sites!) if one is not on his own. There must be others in
the local area with a similar problem, if so maybe they might like to
contact me at with a view to getting up a core
keen-observers group with the flexiblity to go observing whenever the
skies favour us in this generally unfavourable climate. My local area is SOUTH-EAST WALES, UK.
Best wishes,

Subject:	ETX-125 or LX90
Sent:	Thursday, May 2, 2002 18:50:11
From: (Stephen)
I love your site!  You aught to feel proud about the difference you are

Do you feel an LX90 is significantly superior to an ETX-125?  If so, in
what ways?  Can you describe the aperture/optics trade-off?  Although
money is important, I want to buy scope I'll be happiest with long-term.

My observing situation: 98% backyard.  Light polution. (Salinas, CA on
central coast),  I can observe magnitude 3 stars with naked eye.  Would
like to take photos at some point.

I currently use an ETX 90 w/o autostar.  Use tracking all the time, and
feel it works pretty well.  Not competely satisfied with optics - but
probably due to seeing conditions.

Mike here: Well, 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.
Subject:	Interferometry
Sent:	Thursday, May 2, 2002 12:51:40
Do you or any of your readers know what would be involved in setting up
2 ETX telescopes for optical interferometry. Off the top of my head I
would guess the drives would need to be replaced. Is a Maksotuv
Cassegrain even a candidate for such an endeavour. Questions, questions.
 Any thoughts?  Thanks,
                                                                                       Steve Cameron
Mike here: Well, if you have a few spare million dollars to spend on temperature control, stability, light path equalization, etc, then send some of the money to me instead of trying this with the ETX telescopes! But seriously, you would have a problem with the light paths and eliminating all the influences on that.
Subject:	Sky Circles
Sent:	Thursday, May 2, 2002 11:08:33
From: (Bud & Cecily)
Sorry to bother you with such a stupid question. When using a star
circle, do you use current local DST or do continue to use local
EST.[eg: 11:00pm DST would be read as 10:00 on the planisphere]. Am I
correct in my assumption. Does the same apply to RA circles?
Many thanks,

Wes Trimble
Mike here: Gee, been so long since I've used those that I have to think.... As I recall, the ones I've seen have markers for Standard vs Daylight Savings time (or perhaps instructions how to adjust). If you guess wrong you'll be off by 15 degrees (or 1 hour) so it should be easy to verify (what's on the real zenith vs what the planisphere shows). As to the RA setting circle, the best way to adjust it is by using a known object; set the RA setting circle to be the RA for the object when you have it in the eyepiece.
Subject:	Re: ETX tripods
Sent:	Thursday, May 2, 2002 2:27:21
From: (Peter M.)
Thanks for the info.......since having had a good look around your site,
I have since purchased some new lenses from Surplus Shed, saving a
fortune! I can now see the belts on Jupiter but I'll be damned if I can
see the comet I-Z........good fun to keep trying!

I'm now going to sort out my tripod.

Keep up the excellent work!

All the best

Harwich, Essex, UK
Mike here: Comet Ikeya-Zhang has faded quite a bit.
Subject:	need advice about ETX-90EC
Sent:	Wednesday, May 1, 2002 11:37:45
From: (JOHN . R)
I have just got my first ever telescope I got my self an ETX-90EC.
telescope with autostar 497 controller. everything is only six months
old as I got the original bill of sale. what I would like advice about
is the cost of accessories hear in the uk I got one price hear for the
following eyepieces 15mm 9.7mm and i 126 2x Barlow lens the price hear
is more or less double of the cost on us websites I want to know do you
know anybody who is trustworthy who if I send the cash to them would be
willing to buy the seid eye pieces and post them to me all at my cost.
as if I get them send direct from a website in the us when they arrive
hear in the uk I will have to pay import duties and taxes and the only
way around this is if I get somebody to post them as a private package
in the post all at my cost. if you can help me I will be eternally
grateful. I have been using your site ever since I got my scope as the
friend I got my scope off gave me your web address and I have passed it
on to a couple of my friends who also think its a top website......

just one more thing I have a Sony mavica FD75 digital camera can this be
linked to my scope. if so what adapter do I need....
yours thankfully::: john Roberts..London uk

ICQ#: 84317226
Mike here: See the Helpful Information-->Astrophotography page as well as the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography. Check the Scopetronix site for info on the Digi-T adapters for the Sony camera.
Subject:	ETX Tuneup Testimonial
Sent:	Wednesday, May 1, 2002 9:00:48
Recently, I had the opportunity to use Dr. Clay Sherrod's excellent
ETX-125EC "Supercharge" Tuneup Service. Let me say that I am delighted
with the results. The scope works MUCH more smoothly now, and the GOTO
feature is now dead-on accurate. Additionally, the DEC and RA locks were
properly adjusted, and now work as they should. The checklists, reports,
and files on a diskette which Dr. Sherrod provides show a very
comprehensive analysis was performed. The "personal touches" he provides
(setting up to 5 viewing locations in the handbox, setting of the
percentages for the motors, etc, etc) are unique in my experience. All
in all, I am most pleased.

If anyone is considering using this service of Dr. Sherrod's, I would
highly recommend it as a wise expenditure! It is definitely worth the

Please feel free to post this testimonial on your site.

Mark Higgins
St Paul, MN

Subject:	Re: DEC Scale adjusting
Sent:	Tuesday, April 30, 2002 19:53:39
From: (Carlos Family)
Thanks... I did some more search on your site and found exactly like you
said "It may take some force (use a piece of rubber for opening jar
lids).". Worked like a charm.


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