Last updated: 31 May 2005
Subject: Re: Brand New 105 PE calibrated sensores Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2005 18:24:38 From: Ron Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org) Wanted too let you know that I have taken the time to calibrate the sensors. It only took about 5 min at the most. It made a big difference on the alignment stars. They are now in the smart finder when the scope stops and I just have to fine tune from there. I am still loving my little 105 and would like to encourage the people that are having trouble, once you get through the problems the ETX is a pretty cool little scope. I am still leery and wondering if anything else will go wrong. But for now life is good and we are having a very good time. Thanks again for your help Ron
Subject: SmartFinder Troubles - ETX125 PE Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2005 01:28:43 From: Christos Bohoris (email@example.com) My new Meade ETX 125 PE arrived 2weeks ago. Like others I have troubles getting the smartfinder to work. I have fitted and locked the smartfinder lens in its right place, all the way in, just as shown in pictures in the manual. Switched on the smartfinder and the red dot appears at the bottom and right edge of the lens. Tried the horizontal adjustment screw on the right of the LNT, turned this one slowly all the way in (the edge of the screw would appear on the left side of the LNT) and almost till it came out, the red dot would move slightly but still in that bottom-right area. I also tried this with a combination of adjusting the top adjustment screw, again the dot would be in the bottom-right edge or even dissapear from the lens completely. Any ideas? any advice on this would be much appreciated. Also, it's not very clear really yet how you can point anything in the sky accurately with this thing, as by looking at the lens from different angles makes the red dot appear in different places on the lense. Thanks. ChrisMike here: Have you looked at the SmartFinder tips on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page? Also, you might look at my Premier Edition comments on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page; I have a photograph that shows HOW the SmartFinder should be inserted into the LNT module. The red-dot does work when it is in the right position.
Subject: re: ETX 125 PE Sent: Saturday, May 28, 2005 21:55:01 From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) >What software version will I need to download to enable the correct >functioning of the autostar control on my ETX125PE? (I have already got >the #505 lead) >When I power up the autostar, it says 05 MEADE (33E) That question is not clear. Do you mean which firmware should you run -inside- the Autostar (in which case, the "33" should work, but there is a newer version (34a) available from Meade Europe in many languages. http://www.meade.de However, if you are asking which software to run in your PC to -control- the telescope remotely, there are many, many answers. Mike has a "software" section on his site with many reviews. http://www.weasner.com/etx/feedback/current/sw.html There is also Meade's AutostarSuite package. have fun --dickMike here: The PE model comes with AutoStar Suite Astronomer Edition, which is a "lite" version of the Autostar Suite software for controlling the ETX from a Windows computer.
Rob Field said: > The problem is that the autostar unit has got certain menus >missing from it, such as the calibrate sensor menu, the smartview menu, >and also the LNT module is not alligning and leveling. >On power up, it goes straight into star allignment, just as the >standard edition does. >What I was asking was what version of firmware do I need on the >autostar, to allow these function to be available.And Dick responded:
The problem is NOT in the firmware, it is in (or near) the LNT module. When the Autostar (running v33E(any letter)) starts up, it sends a command to the LNT, to see if one is attached. If an LNT responds, then the Autostar asks it for the time, and allows you to access the various menu items you are not seeing now. If the LNT does NOT respond, then the Autostar assumes that it is attached to a non-PE, no-LNT telescope, and it does -not- offer those menus. My old ETX90 operates like that. If i were to move my Autostar to a PE/LNT telescope, the menus would appear (same firmware!). So your problem is a faulty LNT module, or a bad connection in the internal cables leading to it. Since there have been -many- reported problems with bad modules, you should call Meade and they will send you a replacement. Meade's toll-free number in the US: 800-626-3233 If you are not in the US, contact your dealer for the warranty procedure. good luck --dickAnd Dick also said:
How does "Astronomer" edition vary from [fill in name] edition, and/or from the one i have which came in the box with the LPI? I can understand the DSI Pro's edition having the Drizzle processing, etc., and i wouldn't expect that with the LPI package included that. have fun --dick p.s. it -rains- at Oracle?? Relocate!Mike here: AutoStar Suite Astronomer Edition is discussed on Meade's page: http://www.meade.com/autostar/as_suite_etxpe.html. It only has the scope/dome control features. As to Oracle, I have more trips planned but so far the track record is horrible!
I can see the local headlines: Deserts Bloom! Drought Ends! Local Astronomer accepts blame... have fun --dick
Subject: re: ETX-125PE another defective LNT Sent: Saturday, May 28, 2005 21:49:22 From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) >Do you know of anywhere I can get an ETX wiring diagram? Not board >level, just how the control wires run between the various boards. Also >would love to get specs on the protocols/signaling that is being used > between the boards. For starter, there's: http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_schematic.html The detail of the communications is somewhat covered in Meade's patents 6,304,376 6,392,799 6,445,498 6,563,636 (the first pretty much says it all) available through: http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html I haven't had a PE to play with, but i'd suspect the LNT has its own IIC bus connection internally, and that the four wires just parallel to the AUX port. The distribution panel is almost exactly like the LX90's, which is detailled here: http://m1.aol.com/kewtasheck/powerpanel.html have fun --dick
Subject: etx 125 pe From: Alanbassgreene@aol.com Date: Thu, 26 May 2005 11:39:31 PM Eastern Daylight Time Hi Mike, love your site. I bought a 125pe and returned it because of Motor fault errors. My replacement scope is getting stuck in calc north mode and the motor sounds wierd when this happens. I reset, calibrated motors, etc. I am going to exchange for # 3 next week. Three strikes and I buy a Celestron. Hopefully I will have better luck. Is there a trick to finding home position that I am unaware of? Any ideas? Alan G.Mike here: Sorry you are having problems. Keep me posted. If the LNT is working correctly AND you have entered the correct location, it should just work.
Subject: etx125pe no red dot Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 16:10:19 From: Roberto Aguero (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thanks for your site. in the way of trying to have the best affordable equipment, I bought a meade etx 125pe. I followed all the instructions of the manual but.. I haven't being able to get the red dot in the smartfinder. I have tried everything without a trace of red in the beatifull piece of glass. I live in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Central America, emial:email@example.com. I am tryin everything before I decide to send it back to USA. Sending anything to USA is not as easy for us. Please advise. Thanks in advance. Roberto AgueroMike here: Does the LED on the side of the LNT module illuminate? If not, have you tried the various settings from the SmartFinder menu on the Autostar? You could also check that the battery inside the LNT is properly seated. If the problem is the alignment of the SmartFinder lens, see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page for info on the SmartFinder as well as my comments on the PE model on the Buyer/New User Tips page.
Thanks again. I got the courage to open the smartfinder cover. Removed the flat battery, set in again. Calibrate motor and more important: set the Autostar for 9 in intensity and push the 0 key in the Autostar to iluminate the red light and !bingo! there it was. It is imposible to see a red dot in dayligth. The manual should say that. I wonder Why the manual is so poorly written?. Mead should contract you to write the manuals. Customers deserve to have better information. Thanks again. RobertoMike here: Yep, daylight is a problem for red-dot finders.
Subject: ETX-125PE another defective LNT Sent: Saturday, May 21, 2005 11:37:16 From: Allen Jensen (firstname.lastname@example.org) When my new ETX-125PE arrived, I went through the setup inside, ran through the automatic alignment - no problems. After attaching the ETX to the Tripod and moving it outside, I hit 5 to get past the solar warning. I was then prompted for date and time - surprising since it had not done that inside. Then could not get automatic alignment mode - only easy and the others, no automatic. Clearly, it could no longer detect the LNT module. Ok, I packed everything up and went back inside so I could check everything out. To my surprise, the automatic mode came right up. Further experiments showed that whenever I physically moved the tripod, it was very likely the LNT would stop. Sometimes it came right back, somtimes I had to give it a gentle "bump" to get it to work again. Having a moderate amount of experience with telescopes and electronics, I decided to check out the connectors to make certain nothing had shaken loose during shipping. Checked both the LNT connector under the housing on the tube and also checked the connectors in the base. All seem well attached, no problems there. However, the problem still persists. Tomorrow I am calling Meade, more information on this later. This sounds a bit like what Rob Fields was experiencing, but his never worked at all. The AutoStar does not show LNT menus if it does not detect a LNT module..... Allen JensenMike here: Loose LNT battery?
No, that was the 1st thing I checked - it was actually rather hard to remove the LNT battery it was so tightly gripped. Continued to have the problem after trying that. And, I don't think it is the battery, because when I removed/replaced the battery, the time came up wrong. When the LNT disappears then re-appears, the time is always OK when the LNT is detected, so the LNT is not loosing power or it would reset to it's default time - and it does not. So, it has got to be that something mechanical with a connection is going on - broken wire, bad solder joint, bad connection on the one of the connectors..... I suspected the connectors that are the type where when you press the wire into the connector, the insulation is cut through by the connector when the wire is inserted (like a telephone connector - "bites" into the wire). Do you know if the 4 wires (read/blue/green/yellow) from the LNT that run from the LNT down into the base go through any electronics between the LNT and the base? I tried to test the cable from the 4-wire LNT connector down to the base where they connect onto the switch-plate/panel in the base but was not getting zero-ohm resistance along the cable - and since I don't have a schematic for the telescope, I was not certain if this was really a problem or not. Do you know of anywhere I can get an ETX wiring diagram? Not board level, just how the control wires run between the various boards. Also would love to get specs on the protocols/signaling that is being used between the boards. On another topic, I have a bit of experience with Robotics and have programmed motor speed control using encoder feedback, accelerometers, etc.... Meade should figure out how to get the accelerometer info from the LNT and use it to build a Kalman Filter to provide additional feedback on the motion of the optical tube to help fine-tune the motor control. I have used accelerometer data on industrial, high-precision robots to train motion and position. Using the accelerometer data, it should be possible to automatically to the PEC training without needing anyone to guide the telescope - and you could do it during the day..... Do you know anyone (Meade or elsewhere) that might be interested in working on this with me? Allen JensenAnd an update:
Meade is sending me a new LNT - seems they are still having problems with shorts/bad connections in the LNT modules....
Subject: ETX 125 PE Sent: Saturday, May 21, 2005 08:12:49 From: rob (email@example.com) What software version will I need to download to enable the correct functioning of the autostar control on my ETX125PE? (I have already got the #505 lead) When I power up the autostar, it says 05 MEADE (33E) thanks.Mike here: Get the latest version from Meade's site. It has some fixes that will help. Don't forget to CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES after the update. You can check your latest version from the STATISTICS menu.
Subject: ETX 125 PE Sent: Friday, May 20, 2005 05:28:21 From: rob (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hello. I finally received my ETX 125 PE scope. Once I had got it home, I spent some time reading through the manual before setting up. I then proceeded to set the scope up, following the instructions exactly. I fitted the smartfinder as instructed, then it was time to power up the scope for the first time. After the location, time and date were entered, I waited for the LNT to come into play. Nothing. Turned it off, and tried again. Nothing again. I tried a reset, entered the details again. Guess what? Nothing again. I read in the manual that it was supposed to detect north and then allign the scope. This was not happening. It just started to allign with the allignment stars, which proved to be way out. The "automatic" allign menu was missing. The next thing that was apparently wrong, was the fact that there was no red dot in the smartfinder. I consulted the manual, but didnt really find any help there, (apart from the fact that the smartfinder operating menu was missing from the autostar!) I turned to your website for answers. I found alot of answers that pointed me in the right direction, but there was still no red dot. The next missing menu I found from the autostar was the calibrate sensors. At this point I felt like packaging the scope up and sending it back! The nex day, I contacted the shop I purchased the scope from, and told them what was happening. I was told that it sounds like the wrong autostar controller had been put in the box! An easy enough mistake to make by Meade, but it makes you wonder. Anyway, I am waiting for the shop to get back in touch with me once they have investigated! I will let you know the outcome as soon as I know what it is!!!Mike here: Have you checked the Autostar ROM version number? It sounds like it had not been updated for the PE model. You could do that yourself (with a #505 serial cable).
Thanks for the reply. Being new to the "goto" style telescopes, could you advise me on where I would find the software to download, and what version I am looking for.Mike here: Helpful Information: Autostar Info page on the ETX Site. There are links there for Meade's software as well as info on making a #505 RS-232 serial cable (simple to do).
Subject: ETX125 PE Calibration help please! Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2005 04:42:34 From: Simon (email@example.com) I am new to astronomy and was over the moon when I got my new ETX125PE. All was going well, I was getting used to setting up, aligning which was pretty accurate and views of the planets to die for when somehow the battery in the LNT unit came lose. I had to replace the battery and then (as instructed in the manual) recalibrate the sensors. I went through the motions tonight and could not complete them as I can not see Sigma Octans at all, I am in Sydney Australia where light polution is pretty bad, also as I read further down in the email trail a guy from Brisbane said that it is nearly impossible to find at the best of times. I don't know what to do to get the scope calibrated again... Is there some kind of factory reset that will set everything back to how it was set initially? If there isn't then I really don't know what to do, please can anyone help me? Thanks SimonMike here: Do you have another method of finding True South (vs Magnetic South)? A point on the horizon, for example.
Thanks for the quick response. I am very new to astronomy so you will have to excuse my ignorance but I have no idea of how to do what you suggested, please can you be more specific. Much appreciated Simon.Mike here: Forget astronomy. How about geography? Do you know which direction is South? Not Magnetic, as would be shown using a compass, but South on a map or your local streets? If so, just identify some point in the distance in that South direction and use that to help you know which direction to point the ETX.
Subject: RE: ETX105 PE Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2005 15:37:38 From: Andrew Ashworth (firstname.lastname@example.org) Well, ETX 105 arrived - I was absolutely delighted to have it and opened the box with almost the level of Christmas / Childhood anticipation..... But, with amazing frustration found the lens cap is jammed on!!!! Solidly. Much pulling/pushing/ gentle twisting and the only result being the entire front lens starting to unscrew. Retighten, put on leather gloves and a further gentle twist - nothing. Twist harder - still nothing..... I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and blame the shipping company for perhaps jamming the setup though no signs of any damage on the packaging. Extremely disappointing. All is going back to Telescope House tomorrow. Hope they can fix my current view of Meade and their plastic products.... Yours, Dismayed, Disillusiond and Disturbed AndrewMike here: Sorry to hear this. Keep me posted.
Subject: ETX-125 PE Problems Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2005 12:24:33 From: Bob Hammond (email@example.com) I have a big problem with my etx-125 pe it does not seem to like my location i have it all setup right lat and long are right time zone is right and when it tryies to do a 2 star alignment it does not fined what its suppose dto go to and if and when it does and you tell it to go to the moon which is direct overhead it says the moon is not up hope you can help me on this thanks. BobMike here: Have you updated to the new Autostar ROM (3.3El)? This sounds like the problem I was having initially where the location wasn't being saved properly. See my comments on the PE on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.
Thanks Mike.....No i have not updated my auto star but i will thanks for the info you have been a great help. BobAnd:
Its me again i am getting the new autostar you said to download and i need to know how you would go about changing the time in the smart finder i was told i may have to do that as well. Thanks BobMike here: I upgraded my Autostar last night from my Mac and didn't have to set the time. But in case you do, just set it from the Autostar like normal.
Thanks Mike you have been a great help take care. Bob
Subject: Brand New 105 PE: Going very good. Sent: Sunday, May 15, 2005 18:54:40 From: Ron Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org) I just wanted to let you know that since I have talked to you last I have been out many times with my 105. I have not taken the time to calibrate the sensors yet. Weather conditions have been very spotty around here. All my scope time has been spent actually using the scope. Once aligned the computer is doing pretty good. Goto will nail it every time with the 26 mm. It is well off from the alignment stars but once I find them with the paper chart we are fine. Thanks for preparing me for what I won't see. The dark sky objects are pretty well just blobs in the sky. Still cool that I can see them at all. The planets have been very pleasing to view. I expected a little more detail, but what I have been seeing is very cool. I took my first look, with deceit sky conditions, of the moon last night. That was breath taking. I see where I will be able to spend lots of time there. I just wanted to touch base with you and let you know that I am happy with and having a good time with my scope. Oh, and by the way, aperture fever has started. Is there anything that I can do to stop this before it gets out of control? Or should I just start saving now? Thanks again for your site and your help. Ron
Subject: ETX-125PE DC Socket Problem - still an issue... Sent: Sunday, May 15, 2005 10:10:42 From: Craig (email@example.com) Thanks for the site. I received my new ETX-125PE telescope last Thursday. As it's my first telescope I've been eagerly reading your site absorbing as much information as possible. What I've learnt from this site has already saved me hours of frustration on my first night out with my new telescope. Thanks for all the information. I decided I wanted to primarily operate my telescope from a small 12v sealed rechargable battery instead of the internal batteries. The telescope worked fine from the internal batteries but as has been said many times on your site before - the AA batteries really don't last too long - especially with a beginner like me pressing all the buttons and slewing all over the place. I purchased the correct sized DC plug (5.5mm outside diameter & 2.5 inside diameter) from an electronics store and made up a lead ensuring that the centre pin was "+". I tested it and the lead worked a treat. But when I unplugged the lead things went wrong. The telescope refused to operate from the internal batteries anymore - and to make matters worse the DC plug was now making only intermittant contact when I plugged it back in. If I touched the DC plug the power light would go on and off. The microswitch that cuts power from the internal batteries had failed - in fact the whole DC socket was now not working properly. I then saw feedback on your site that you can try bending the metal lug that activates the battery switch to attempt to correct this issue but this really did not work too well. I tested the lead on a portable 12v TV with the same sized DC socket and it worked fine. The problem was not the lead. So the next day I reluctantly took my shiny new telescope back to the store and it has now been sent off for repair after just one night of use. The store would have replaced it on the spot but they had no other ETX-125PE's in stock. I understand that these things happen. but I am grumpy as I have found out via your (wonderful!) website that this very issue has been a problem for various ETX users dating back as far as the year 2000. Surely this issue could have been addressed by Meade by now. I have many items in my home that use these small DC sockets and I have never had a problem like this before. I'm dissappointed that changes have not been made to the new ETX-125PE to correct what is a simple yet extremely annoying issue. It does not take a rocket scientest to work out that there is obviously some sort of issue with the DC sockets being used by Meade in their ETX scopes. Meade must have repaired many units with this same problem over the years but it appears that little has been done to prevent the same problem occuring. There is something particularly annoying about an electronic component that probably costs about $1 (the DC socket) shutting down a A$1800 telescope. Luckily (apologies to others here in Melbourne trying to use their working telescopes) it's been quite cloudy here since Friday so I don't feel as if I have missed anything spectacular in the sky. I will be nervous to try it on external power again in case the same thing happens but I guess I will just have to try it an see. I'd be very interested to see if anyone has had this problem and since their socket was replaced if all has been ok since? Looking forward to getting my new toy back sometime (hopefully!) this week....Keep up the great work with the site. Regards, Craig Meddings Melbourne, Australia
Subject: ETX-105 PE experiences Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2005 21:39:05 From: Nick Reynolds (firstname.lastname@example.org) Welcome from Australia and thanks for the site! My experiences with the ETX-105 PE mirrored so many others of those reported on your site. Your clear information really helped me to work through them. I had the same problem with the Smartfinder as most others seem to have had. On following your instructions, it clicked into place properly and is now working perfectly: the wide field of vision makes it markedly superior to a spotter scope. My initial experience of finding stars mirrored many others in that the telescope seemed to point in the opposite direction from where it was meant to be pointing. This was despite it having registered and retained my location. The final solution was two-fold: 1. train the motors, and 2. ensure that the telescope is in the correct lock position (fully anti-clockwise with control panel pointing to West). Since doing both these things, the auto-star guides me easily and accurately to locations. We had our first really clear night the recently and my wife and I were both enthralled by the sights of the guided tour, particularly the star clusters. Previously we thought the rings of Saturn were the ultimate experience! The only drawback I could see with the telescope was that it eats batteries at an alarming rate. Once again using your site came to the rescue. Using the information on batteries, I purchased a weather proof 12v power source Jump start (from Dick Smith Electronics, web Id M4505, Aus $50) and a DC Adaptor (Dick Smith Web Id M9889, A$25, which I set at 12v with the centre pin positive). This powers the system perfectly and I recharge it after each viewing session it should pay for itself very rapidly. Thanks again for a wonderful site and your invaluable information. Clear Skies Dr Nick Reynolds Sydney, Australia
Subject: re: Brand New 105 PE: First light Revisted : New LNT Sent: Tuesday, May 10, 2005 19:03:47 From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) Note that there are **two** Calibrate operations under Setup > Telescope on an LNT scope. One is "Calibrate Motors"... do that first. (then do a Train Drive procedure for both axes) The other is "Calibrate Sensors"... do that -after- the above Cal/Train, and -this- is the one which tells the LNT module how to (better) GoTo the alignment stars. Primarily (using Polaris) it tells the autostar how far your magnetic north is from True North. have fun --dick
Subject: ETX-125PE Finder Sent: Tuesday, May 10, 2005 14:01:25 From: Mark Blanton (firstname.lastname@example.org) You have a great site with lots of info here. I am thinking about buying the new ETX-125PE and was wondering if the right angle finder on the 125AT would still fit on the PE? I have seen several negative comments on the new Smartfinder. This would be my first ETX as I currently use an Orion Starmax 90 Mak scope. Regards, Mark BlantonMike here: Not easily. You would have to make your own attachment points.
Subject: Power Panel Orientation? Sent: Monday, May 9, 2005 16:54:20 From: William Ellis (email@example.com) Been looking through yor site. Know I found somewhere Power Panels on the ETX should always face West. LX 200's Classic North, LX200 GPS South. Not very clear in the manuals! Seems like I see the same thing orienting on the first star with each. Right and down. Curious if we're looking at True or Magnetic? As a positive note, once I get our new PE set up it does a really fine job in GOTO and Tracking. Couple of minor glitches that I wrote to you about before, and it sure is easier to set up when the skies suddenly clear than our 10 Inch! Our last Star Party in April, my wife was the first to see five moons around Jupiter (don't think it was a Star!) and the guys with the big twelve and bigger scopes were soon seeing the same. Hope you are enjoying yours.Mike here: ETX power panel goes on the "true" west side. Less a concern with the PE models however since it finds True North on its own. Clouds, rain, and fog have been the case almost since I got it!
Subject: Brand New 105 PE: First light Revisted : New LNT Sent: Monday, May 9, 2005 15:18:38 From: Ron Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org) Tuesday 5-3- 05 I got my new LNT yesterday. Put it on in all of 15 min. I was being very cautious. I could have easily done it in 5. 1 screw (the wrench that came with the scope fits) and one conector. This one is different than the one that came with the scope. This one does not have the 2 lens screws in the front. Still has the 2 adjustment screws but not the ones that hold the lens. The lens just snaps into place. I took the scope out side and tried the alignment. Still no alignment stars. Entered my way through the process. Hit go to Jupiter. And the scope went to the right section of sky. Major improvement. I then installed the smart finder lens. Found Jupiter on my own. And sited in the smart finder on Jupiter. Tried the alignment process again. The alignment stars where pretty far off. I don't think it was even in the smart finder lens. I used a paper star chart to figure what star it was looking for. And guided it in my self. The smart finder was a big help and pretty cool to. After I (manually?) found the alignment stars I hit goto Jupiter. Bam, right to it. I tried Saturn. Bam, right to it. I went in the house to go get my wife. (She stayed in bed). I came back out and Saturn was still centered in my FOV. Cool. I think it works. I don't know why it missed the alignment stars so bad. But it is usable once you find the stars. Ran through tonight's best on the tour. We looked at some clusters and a couple of galaxies. Atmospherics were so so. We where mostly clear with some wispy clouds in the sky. I was greatly impressed and disappointed at the same time. I was expecting more spectacular views but very impressed with what I was seeing. Jupiter was nice size with 2 bands and 4 moons. Saturn was very small but you could clearly see the rings and faintly see the split on the two rings. The clusters looked like little dust balls and the galaxies very, very faint. If I had not seen a picture beforehand I never would have known that any thing was there. I guess you are not going to get a Hubble image from a 105. Still let me repeat. I was also greatly impressed. This is truly the best images that I have ever seen through any telescope that I have ever looked through. All I have used before where toy scopes. Smart finder is cool. I was able to sight in the smart finder with out any trouble at all with the new LNT. Paul at Meade was right, I bobbed my head all around. The red dot stayed right on the object. I do think I like it better than a finder scope. We will keep playing with it. I called Paul at Meade to tell him that his diagnostics worked. Asked him about the missing alignment star problem. He told me to calibrate the motors because of the reset. Then train the drives again. I will give this a shot asap. It would be good for the scope to find the stars on its own, but if this did not change I think I will be fine with a paper star chart to get it aligned and then let the computer do the work from there. Finally Clear skies Ron
Subject: AutoStar Menu Tree for PE Sent: Friday, May 6, 2005 08:58:23 From: Mike Hogan (email@example.com) Has anyone developed a complete AutoStar menu tree chart for use with the PE series? The one in the PE manual (page 22) doesn't show the Status Display list (hold Mode for 2 secs.) or the Sensor Calibration option. The AutoStar manual has a chart but none of the unique PE extensions. Just a small thing but a comprehensive chart is a lot more convenient than paging through text in a manual to find a specific item. Especially for a new user just learning the menu hierarchy. Regards, Mike HoganMike here: Haven't heard of one yet.
Subject: Calibrate Sensors Sent: Wednesday, May 4, 2005 15:22:14 From: Ken Hyams (firstname.lastname@example.org) G'day Mike and Mike, I saw your posting on Weasner. I live in Australia so Polaris is never visible. Calibrate sensors works off of Sigma Octans down here. It's very difficult to find, especially under less than perfect viewing conditions. You talked about "artificial" Polaris. I'm wondering how you do this so I can try it with Sig Oct. My 105PE tracks and goes-to flawlessly but the initial slew to the alignment stars is way off - probably 20 degrees (three Smartfinder heights) off in the Alt coordinate. The AZ is pretty good. I reset, calibrated motors, calibrated sensors, and trained the drives the other night but it made no difference. I have a call in to Meade that I'm guessing will end in a new LNT module. He thinks it might be the Dec encoder but I don't see how it could track and go to if that were the case. Any ideas? I also noted your problem with the not-so-Smartfinder. I ran out of Alt adjustment and fixed it by sliding a sliver of plastic in the gap created at the base of the LNT module when you gently lift the front of the LTN module slightly away from the OTA. If you're running out of AZ you might want to try reseating the lens? I've been pleasantly surprised with the performance of the Smartfinder. Once you get used to it, it's really great. I really can't see using a traditional finder scope anymore. Ken Brisbane, Australia ETX 105PEAnd:
From: email@example.com The term"artificial" Polaris might have been a misnomer; perhaps I should have said "calculated" Polaris. Here's what I did: Using GPS, I determined the lat/lon for a radio tower about six miles from my observing site. Then, again using GPS I got a bearing from my site to the tower relative to True North. This should be accurate to a fraction of a degree. I centered the tower in the eyepiece and set the RA setting circle to that bearing, converting RA to AZ (1 deg Az equals 4 min RA). I taped the circle to prevent untentional movement. I also made sure the Dec setting circle was 0 deg when the OTA was level using a bubble level. Then I did a Cal Sensors and when it said to Center Polaris, I slewed the AZ axis (actually RA circle) to "0" hrs. Then I slewed the Alt axis so the Dec circle indicated my latitude. This should be the actual position of Polaris to less than a degree. I had to slew tha Az axis about 10 deg and Alt about 2 deg, hence my estimate of the inherent error of the LNT at my location. >My 105PE tracks and goes-to flawlessly but the initial slew to the >alignment stars is way off - probably 20 degrees (three Smartfinder >heights) off in the Alt coordinate. The AZ is pretty good. This might be because the star alignment corrects for the LNT errors but to the best of my knowledge the corrections are not saved after a power off. So the next time you start you have to obtain the corrections again. I think the Sensor Cal permanently stores the corrections so the next time you start, after the initial LNT process is complete and corrections applied, the AutoStar should have a pretty good idea of it's position. The rest of the star alignment should be just fine tuning. This is just a guess, but I'm trying to learn more about storing of corrections. >I reset, calibrated motors, calibrated sensors, and trained the drives >the other night but it made no difference. I have a call in to Meade >that I'm guessing will end in a new LNT module. He thinks it might be >the Dec encoder but I don't see how it could track and go to if that >were the case. > >Any ideas? A wild guess is that maybe the LNT bracket is not properly mounted. When I received my replacement, I had to be very careful about the routing of the wiring under the bracket to make sure it wasn't interfering with the way it seated on the OTA. I'm pretty sure Meade was rushing through the final assembly of the PE series due to a very large backorder. Mine arrived with no signature on the Final Inspection sticker. Removal of the bracket is straightforward: remove the hex screw at the top left looking at the rear of the scope. One of the hex keys provided by Meade fits. The bracket then swivels up to the right and you can see the wiring and disconnect plug. The right side is secured by nothing more than a small tab in a slot in the OTA rear housing. It lifts straight up and out. >I also noted your problem with the not-so-Smartfinder. I ran out of Alt >adjustment and fixed it by sliding a sliver of plastic in the gap >created at the base of the LNT module when you gently lift the front of >the LTN module slightly away from the OTA. If you're running out of AZ >you might want to try reseating the lens? I tried that but still can only get within a few degrees of alignment. I presume you did a Sensor Cal after inserting the shim, since that would definitely affect the the Level sensor. For general info, I checked the magnetic declination for Brisbane and it is about 11 deg East. The permanent magnet drive motor in the right fork of the mount seems to cause a West declination in the North sensor Maybe these cancel somewhat, accounting for the small errors you have in AZ. Up-to-date magnetic declinations can be determined using: "www.ngdc.noaa.gov/seg/geomag/jsp/struts/calcDeclination". I hope this is of some use to you. Mike, Tennessee, USA
Subject: etx 105 pe Sent: Tuesday, May 3, 2005 19:36:50 From: josh rhines (firstname.lastname@example.org) After 3 months of aggravation with meade it finally worked! I saw Jupiter and it looked amazing! With just the 25 mm lens it was about the same size as the 5mm and barlow in the etx 70at. It was a little hairy to start the procedure because I forgot to focus the the telescope so when I went to center the alignment star it was blurry. I went to focus it and unfortunatly once u leave the alignment process u cant start where u left off. Naturally when I started the alignment set up the second time I had a hard timecentering the alignment star because the viewfinder was a little off. However I found it and centered it. So was like ok good it was farther than I got before! So it goes to the next star to center and of course naturally it was in the trees!So I decided to hit Enter and it said align successful( which to me means nothing unless a planet gets in there). So I was like here goes nothing I did go to Jupiter and wullah it was just a little off centered. I put the various lenses in there but it did not focus that great (I have the electronic focuser so I was a little dissapointed). All in all it's about time. It's kind of ironic that today is 3 months to the day since I first tried it. Josh
Subject: PE Series Sensor Calibration Sent: Tuesday, May 3, 2005 08:02:50 From: Mike Hogan (email@example.com) I've seen several messages on your site where people using the PE have had large errors during star alignment and GOTO's. Perhaps the following may be useful. Not long ago I received a replacement SmartFinder/LNT module but didn't have time to really test it until a few days ago. I've found that "out of the box" the LNT derived North is off by about 10 deg., and level is off about 2 deg. I determined this by allowing it to do an automatic alignment and accepting the suggested stars. I then slewed to "zero-zero" alt/az as indicated by the AutoStar (press Mode for 3 seconds, scroll down once), then used a level and the RA setting circle to determine the errors. I had previously calibrated the RA circle using a landmark at a known azimuth and doing the necessary RA to Az conversion (4 min. RA equals 1 deg. AZ). Performing a Sensor Calibration reduced the errors to about 2 deg Az and less than 1 deg Alt. These residual errors may be due to using an "artificial" Polaris since I can't see it from my observing location. The PE manual only refers to doing a Sensor Calibration after replacing the LNT internal battery. I don't know if the calibration coefficients are stored in the LNT itself or the AutoStar ( Mr. Seymour??) but maybe it should be done anytime a Motor Calibration and Train Drives is indicated. A final comment on the not-so-SmartFinder. While the new one worked fine as far as displaying a red dot, I ran out of AZ adjustment before it could be aligned with the eyepiece. Anybody got a fix for this? Regards, Mike HoganAnd:
From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) >Performing a Sensor Calibration reduced the errors to >about 2 deg Az and less than 1 deg Alt. These residual errors >may be due to using an "artificial" > Polaris since I can't see it from my observing location. I would assume so. What Calibrate Sensors does is tell the Autostar how far from your local magnetic north True North really is. The Autostar figures out True North by knowing where Polaris is at the date/time you do the Cal Sensors. > The PE manual only refers to doing a Sensor Calibration after >replacing the LNT internal battery. I can't see why they'd say that. You might need to set the -clock- after a battery replacement, but a Cal Sensors can/should be done if your local magnetic environment changes (such as front yard/back yard movements, nor near/far from the steel garage door). >I don't know if the calibration coefficients are stored in the LNT > itself or the AutoStar ( Mr. Seymour??) but maybe it should be >done anytime a Motor Calibration and Train Drives is indicated. All data (except for setting the LNT clock) are kept in the Autostar. I do a Cal Sensors whenever i load new firmware in my LX200gps, (since that wipes it out). I don't change my observing location, so once per 6 months or so is adequate for -my- situation. have fun --dick
Subject: ETX125 PE UHTC Sent: Sunday, May 1, 2005 23:05:14 From: Merle Miller (email@example.com) Thank you for taking the time for a hosting such a great site. It is very informative for a relative newbie! I am debating with myself to purchase this instrument or look at something else (bigger). For me the big selling point of this telescope is the weight and performance. I've had numerous back surgeries so the weight is important. I am concerned however at the number of quality control issues that seem to plague this instrument. I don't have a local dealer and I don't particularly care to keep sending the thing back for repairs that should have been caught in the first place. In your opinion are the level of issues/complaints exceedingly high or is this fairly normal level? Is this a case of Caveat Emptor? Thank you again for a great site. I've really enjoyed myself here. MerleMike here: As I've stated on the site many times, we generally only see "problem reports" since people write when they have questions or problems. Most of these problem reports center around the LNT and SmartFinder, which are new. Meade has addressed both. Does this mean you won't have problems? As with all purchases whether a telescope or computer operating system, some problems can surface so purchasing from a dealer who stands by the sale is important.
Thank you for the quick response. I hope your "seeing" is better than your earlier reports, i.e. no rain ! I understand that people are more likely to write about problems than their successes. Still, some of the issues people raise gives me pause, e.g. motors failing. It reminds me of a crap shoot. You're correct about purchasing from a reputable dealer, but unfortunately there are none close by. Merle Miller
Subject: ETX125 Sent: Friday, April 29, 2005 12:03:11 From: User721401@aol.com (User721401@aol.com) Just wondering if you know of an electronic focuser is available for the ETX-125PE? I have heard conflicting reports..Just wondering. Thanks Dan CohenMike here: There was a report that a redesigned one was coming for the PE models.
Subject: Brand new 105 PE - Smart finder. Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2005 22:32:41 From: Ron Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org) 4-22-05 My brand new 105 PE UHTC arrived today. The weather has been great, clear with temps 70-80 all week. Today we are having a snow storm and clear skies are not predicted at all in the 10 day forecast. Time to unpack in the living room. Every thing went together just fine. I have the new fool proof smart finder with the owner's manual supplement page showing detailed installation instructions with photographs. Tried the computer and it seems to work great. Time was factory set. It went through its level dance and seemed to be looking for alignment stars. (Cant see them through the living room ceiling). Tried the optics on a tree. Looking Good. Praying for clear skies. Tried to align the smart finder dot. No Dot. Instructions in manual vague, Remember someone on the website site said to use the light button to get the dot on. No Dot. Called OTP to avoid long wait at meade. Told me to go to a dark room. A ha, we have a dot. I guess that the smart finder is useless for daytime viewing. Night has fallen. Pouring rain and 34 deg. Trying to align the smart finder on a street light about a mile away. Won't even get close to aligning. Tried to remove the lens and see if there is another way to install it. Lens holding screw came off in my hand. Darn! Will have to call meade after all. Praying for clear skies! RonAnd an update:
4-24-05 Sun Mostly cloudy with some breaks. Full moon. I gota give this a shot. I brought the scope outside to see what I could see. Scope went through the Level dance. Tried to see if the alignment stars would be in any of the cloud breaks. All I saw was clouds. Slewed the scope over to the moon and tried the tracking feature. It was loosing ground. I guess I will have to train the drives. Looked at the moon. Wow that was pretty incredible. I was expecting a little more definition but it is a cloudy night. Still the best image of the moon I have seen, I have just used toy scopes before. Ran the power up just to see what would happen. 9mm with a 2x Barlow. Just a dim hazy silhouette of a very small portion of the moon. I don't know if I over powered the scope or if it is the clouds. Some more breaks in the clouds. I will try the goto to see if anything is in the breaks. Hand device is dead. Display says speed = 64x. Power off on still the same computer is completely dead except Speed = 64 x. Good thing meade will be open tomorrow, I pull the whole thing down and bring it into the house. As I am putting the hand device away I notice the 5 key is stuck down. Moved it and it popped back out. Plugged it back into the scope. Works great. Well now I will have to try again. I am not going to call meade about the smart finder till I find out if I have any other problems. Praying for clear skies. 10 day forecast still clouds and rain. Monday I am now pretty worked up about paying a $1000 for scope with a ton of problems. I call John Downs @ OPT 800-483-6287. What a great guy. He spent about 20 min with me on the phone answering my questions about the scope. He calmed me down and told me that my feelings are normal. Just relax and take time to become friends with the scope. I will probably have to talk to meade about the service issues but if I run into any problems let him know. He also passed on these little newbie tidbits. Rule of thumb. 50 power for every inch of objective lens. A 105 with UHTC = 5 inch. That would be 250 max usable power for that scope. (meade says 420) He thinks the 105 out performs the 125. He stated details that I wont take the time here. Ask if you want them. Planets are better watched at lower power for a longer time. The atmospherics will change as you are watching. The clarity will fade in and out. So watch for a longer time and you might get a better view. I forgot the whole thing of this one but when you increase power by some value. You cut light gathering in half and resolution by a quarter. Still waiting for Clear skies. RonMike here: Another rule of thumb for max magnication: twice the aperture in millimeters. So, for the ETX-105, that would be 210X.
4-26-05 Tuesday Still heavy cloud cover. Had a break in the clouds and jump out to see what I could see. I fired up the auto star and it prompted me for the date and time. It still had my zip code. I tried to align the scope. I could not see the alignment stars or anything close that looked like an alignment star. So I hit enter anyway to see what would happen. The computer was totally lost. I used GOTO Jupiter and the scope pointed to due west at about 45 degrees. Jupiter was actually S- SE at about that angle. I tried the alignment again still the same. I did manually get the scope on Jupiter, quite a task with no finder scope, and forgot most of the computer troubles. All I can say is wow. I got to see a very nice planet with 2 very distinct bands on it. I could also see four moons as shining stars that looked like a diamond necklace around her. I was truly in awe of Gods Creation. I tried tracking Jupiter and it kept fading down and to the left. But not as fast as the earth Turning, I think. 4-27-05 Wed I called meade. To say that the guy at meade was helpful would truly be an overstatement. The Gentleman that I talked to truly made me feel stupid. His tone and almost rudeness was clearly trying to say that obviously I was doing something wrong and there could be nothing wrong the scope. After a few minutes of him establishing his dominance, He did help me discover that the battery in the LNT had popped out. According to him all my problems would be attributed to the battery. I find that hard to believe. He told me to put the battery back in and start over. If I had to, try a reset and start over again. He also told me to train the drives before I tried to align it. He ended the call buy asking me if I would like buy an extended warranty. Now that ticked me off. I told him I was trying to decide weather or not to get my money back on the scope. I surely was not interested in buying a warranty plan. I did all the above. When I took the LNT apart to put the battery in, I could see how the smart finder screw fell out and reinstalled it. Thank you meade for sending the right allen wrench in with the scope. It is daylight here now, I trained the drives and I ran the alignment. As dusk is approaching I tried to align the smart finder. It is way off I can't get it even close. If I can find a break in the clouds tonight see what happens. 10 day forecast still sucks. The meade guy ticked me off so bad I forgot to ask a question. So I called back and talked to another person. My question was how do you use the smart finder? There is no reference point to compare with the dot to make a straight line. Like a gun site. His response was, have your nose touch the scope. Remember where you stuck your nose and put it in the same spot each time. Quality. Still Praying for clear skies. RonAnd even more:
4-28-05 Thursday 12:05 am It has become my nightly ritual, on my way to bed, I stick my head out the door to see what is going on. Maybe there is a small break in the clouds that I can see something through. So I took a look. CLEAR SKIES! No moon. Stars are everywhere! I pull out the scope as my wife mentions something about crazy as she heads off to bed. I turn on the scope. Prompts me for time and date. Oh, oh been here before. Does the level north dance. First alignment star. Black space. There are no stars at all (accept very faint) even near where the scope is pointing. I enter my way through the alignment process. I hit GOTO Jupiter which is shinning like a small moon in the southern sky. The scope points due west. Oh how I wish meade customer service was open this time of night. I would LOVE to talk to them right now (maybe they are not for that very reason). I spend the next almost 3 hours trying every combination of reset, align, and train drives that I could think of. I tried entering in my city instead of my zip code. I tried the next closest city instead of my own. GOTO Jupiter ended up pointing due west in to black space every time. I pack up the scope with myself and the batteries almost exhausted. Look at the clock at 3 am as I pour my self into bed thinking that I have to get up for work in a few hours. So full of attitude that I can not wait for meade to open in the morning, because we are going to talk. 12:00 pm Thursday I finally have a chance to call meade. I am almost shaking as I am prepared to do battle with the voice on the phone. Some how I must convince them that I am not an Idiot and thier scope is broke, or that their instructions are so vague that no one that stopped short of a masters in astronomy can figure out how to work this thing. I work my way through the menu options and the line is answered on the second ring. I am truly holding back and I am being very nice to the guy who answers, his name is Paul M., thinking this guy has done nothing to receive my wrath, yet. I calmly explain the events that have lead up to this call. He asked me some very simple questions. Wait a minute, this guy is talking to me like an intelligent adult, and in less than five minutes on the phone with me, tells me that my scope is broke. Not only that, but he will send me a new Level North Module that I can put on myself. I do not have to send the scope back to them. That should also take care of my smart finder problem. Wow, I don't know what to do with my self. Hey Paul, let me ask you a question about using the smart finder. So I ask him the gun site question. He told me he has not used the smart finder himself yet. The engineers told him that, yes the dot will move as you move your head but so will the object. So, once it is aligned, no mater where you move your head the dot will always be on the object. Cool. 4-29-05 Friday Paul called me. (no way!) He just wanted to let me know that my LNT did ship today and should be here in a few days. Now that is customer service! Side Note: Does anyone know what you are supposed to do with the hand device when you are using the scope? There is no where that I can find to put it. Am I missing something that should have come with it? Or am I missing the spot to put it? Right now I am laying it on top of the leg spreader on the tripod. That works just fine but sure would like to use that for eye pieces. Wednesday is the first and only day in the 10 day forecast with no clouds. Praying for clear skies and fast UPS RonMike here: Many of us use Velcro. Soft part on the back of the Autostar and the stiff part at the top of the tripod legs.
Thanks for the tip. Ron
Subject: Received my ETX 125 PE UHTC Back from Meade Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2005 17:31:35 From: David & Sherry Wilson (email@example.com) Received my ETX 125 PE UHTC from Meade, was disappointed in having my Autostar flopping around in the box but all looks good. They updated the Autostar firmware to 33I. Replaced the LNT/mount,looks like the time update port is enlarged.(new mod.?) And the focus is butter smooth. Was able to setup the scope and do a automatic align with Jupiter/Saturn just out side the fov of the 26mm eyepiece I believe that the alignment will improve with break-in and using a process of sighting a alignment star with a low power eyepiece then switching to a high power. Keep up the good work t David
Subject: ETX125PE Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2005 10:38:49 From: Owens, Krista (Krista.Owens@ecolab.com) I just got my new 125 PE and when I turn it on it does not ask for zip code or location. I have searched though the options on the autostar and can't find where to give it my location. Also, do you know if the PE will fit into the hard case for the 125EC? Thanks for all the help.Mike here: Someone had already set the location. I'd suggest doing a RESET to start over from the factory default. And yes, it will fit BUT you would have to remove the LNT module possibly.
Subject: ETX 125 PE Resolution Sent: Wednesday, April 27, 2005 19:27:31 From: PBrady (firstname.lastname@example.org) I promised to keep you posted, so here goes. Where last I left the saga of our wayward optical device... Meade had returned a unit sent in for motor drive fault error (alt motor) with its alt clutch adjustment knob floating in the box... and apparently no clutch. I'm still waiting for the return call from Meade promised on 4/22 for 4/25 since their phone system was having fits... however, in frustration I called the customer service at my vendor to see if they (Telescopes.com) could help me wake up Meade. They did better. The vendor hearing my sad tale, took pity, and simply exchanged units. So, it IS raining here and occasionally snowing... but at least the ETX is slewing in both axes on the dining room table (I confess that we brought batteries and checked this out before we left the vendor's shop)... it has both clutches... and it is finding objects, albeit on the ceiling, more or less where I would expect them were it clear and outside. NOW we can concern ourselves with looking for clear skys! Thanks for your site and sympathetic ear. I look forward to sharing something a bit more fun than complaints about customer service and quality assurance. Paul -- Paul Brady
Subject: Re: ETX125PE Drifting issue Sent: Wednesday, April 27, 2005 09:48:41 From: jeffrey kramer (email@example.com) Well, Meade has tried several ETX125s and they all seem to have pointing problems. They are saying that the there must be a problem with the supplier of the motors but they are not sure that is the problem. I contacted my dealer and they agreed to give me a refund for the ETX125. Now, I am back to what scope to buy!! I am considering going back to my original plan of getting the Meade 6" LXD75 but am not sure. Anyways, just wanted to give you the update, Jeff
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