Last updated: 31 May 2005
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:	105 PE power supply
Sent:	Tuesday, May 31, 2005 08:31:38
From:	Ron Wright (
How close do you need to be on the voltage for the ETX.  I have a power
supply with the right plug and polarity.  It is rated at 14.8VDC. When I
threw my meter (a good one) on it, it read 18.0VDC.  Do you think this
is too hot, or in your opinion do you think it would be safe to use.

Mike here: That could be a little high but then that is an unloaded voltage. Under load it could be less than that.


So would you try it or look for another.  Just looking for your opinion.
Mike here: Personally I would be hesitant to try it. But that is just my overly-cautious attitude.


When you spend $1000.00 on a telescope I think it is ok to be overly
cautious.   I think I will be too and keep looking.  Thanks for the


Subject:	etx-125 motor unit fault
Sent:	Monday, May 30, 2005 21:59:58
From: (
Bought etx-125 yr. 2000, just started to have trouble with scope in easy
alignment mode. In start up it will to point to VEGA then stop before it
slew's to VEGA then points straight up until it cannot go any farther.
The clutch then start to slip I must turn off and repeat.  Autostar
states I have motor unit fault. Have tried all steps suggested in
trouble shooting from meade, Problem has gotten worse now I just turn on
and etx and it starts to move in all directions until it decides to stop
at the horizontal lock or vertical lock. I have always had trouble with
clutch, it  seems to be loose in horizontal. Do you have any suggestions
to solve problems? Thanks
Mike here: Just to confirm when you say you have done all the troubleshooting steps: have you done a RESET, CALIBRATE MOTORS, and TRAIN DRIVES?


Thank you for your quick response/not sure what you mean by a reset. I
have taken out batteries and replaced with new. When I try to calibrate
you cannot get to that step, it start to move into horizontal or
vertical until it hit the stops.  Cannot train drives can't get to that
step. thanks keith
Mike here: There is a RESET menu item in the Autostar. If you can't get to that I would suggest redownloading the Autostar ROM from Meade's site and install into the Autostar using Meade's software or AutostarX. You will need a #505 cable (which you can make or purchase) and a RS-232 serial port. If you can't get to the download menu item in the Autostar then you will have to put the Autostar in SAFE LOAD mode first.
Subject:	etx 125 or the lxd 55 8 inch
Sent:	Sunday, May 29, 2005 20:11:11
From:	Jon Carpenter (
I have looke at both of your sites, great job?  Besides portability,
what scope would you pick?
Mike here: If you don't need portability, go for the largest aperture you can afford and will use.


Thanks...what about uhtc?  Also the lxd 55 8 in or the lx 90?
Mike here: UHTC definitely. The 8"SC is the same scope on either the LXD55/75 mount of the LX90. Most new users will be more comfortable with the LX90 mounting.
Subject:	Creating The Perfect "GO TO" ETX 
Sent:	Sunday, May 29, 2005 13:42:06
From: (
Thank you Mike for your reply back to my e-mail
The problems that I am having is when I focus I am getting a bad shift
in the object, also when I slew to center the object after letting go of
the bottom, it will keep going till it is just about out of the FOV.

When I try to take photos with the LPI, While looking at the live image
on the PC screen when taking images, The object hopping all over the
screen, Will not settle down. The scope is only about one mouth old.

Sorry for the badly composed e-mail, I am not to good at this
I thank you very much for any info.
Kissimmee, FL.
Mike here: First off, the image shift sounds excessive if the flip mirror is fully seated into position. The fix is not easy and probably will require a return to the dealer. Either the telescope optics are way out of collimation or mechanically something is wrong with the mirror movement. As to the "rubberbanding" when slewing and perhaps the jerkiness you describe when tracking, that sounds like you need to do a TRAIN DRIVES. Had you done a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes) when you first got the telescope?


I have updated the autostar software to 3.61ei then I did a train drives
for both axes, Put I do not think that I did a calibrate motors. I did
the train drives using a 6.4mm eyepiece centered on Polaris.

If I get clear sky's tonight I think I will do a reset and do them over.
This time I will make sure I do the Calibrate Motors, Do I train drives
before or after I calibrate motor.

I remember reading something on the web site about how to lube the focus
rod and free it up, If I can find it again I may give that a try.

Thank You Mike
Mike here: CALIBRATE then TRAIN.
Subject:	RE: ETX 105PE or ETX 125 Choice?
Sent:	Saturday, May 28, 2005 23:16:06
From:	Mike (
Many thanks for the prompt reply, I appreciate your advice (all the more
because it is what I was thinking!) I shall be getting my 125 in a month
or so and will write of my experiences once I have some. I would like to
say again how good it is to find an Internet site full of common sense
and not biased Adware please keep it up for those that follow and may
God smile upon you.

Kind regards 


Subject:	ETX 105PE or ETX 125 Choice?
Sent:	Saturday, May 28, 2005 20:27:39
From:	Mike (
Hi I am about to embark on the purchase of my first telescope, Here in
Australia I can buy a 125AT for little more than a 105PE, My thoughts
are that I would be better off with the extra light gathering than the
level north feature here in the southern hemisphere, would you agree
with that? bearing in mind that I am a novice (in spite of being
retired!) Thank you for your time and congratulations on the informative
Kind regards
Mike here: Certainly the extra aperture will be nice. And, many ETX models were sold before the PE came out and new users were able to use them to great advantage. Yes, the PE and LNT can help at times for new users but if you are willing to learn what you need to learn, go for the aperture.
Subject:	A "thank you" from a new UK user NOT SPAM!!!! 
Sent:	Wednesday, May 25, 2005 10:10:16
I appreciate that you are busy so - No need to reply!
This is just a thank you for your site! Priceless!

I am a "newbie" (EXT 90) and your site has proved invaluable - I'm going
to buy the book!
Many thanks again
Andrew Radcliffe

Subject:	Creating The Perfect "GO TO" ETX or LX 90
Sent:	Tuesday, May 24, 2005 17:45:20
From: (
I just got a new ETX 125 AT this last April 2005, I have be reading all
the info in the Telescope Tech Tips. Witch of these modes and fixes can
I use on the new model ETX ? Most of them look to me like they are for
the older model ETX's.
I thank you very much for any info.
Kissimmee, FL.
Mike here: First off, do you KNOW that you need to make ANY "fixes" to your new ETX? If not, then don't worry about it. If you have demonstrated to yourself that you DO need to "fix" something, write and let me know what you are experiencing and what you have done. We'll go from there. In answer to your general question, some of the fixes may be perfectly applicable to any ETX and some not.
Subject:	? eyepiece
Sent:	Tuesday, May 24, 2005 12:49:46
As a very amateur skygazer I have recently acquired an ETX 90EC with a
26mm eyepiece.I should like to purchase a further eyepiece, but as an
OAP have limited funds!

Which type would you advise me to buy to enhance my viewing pleasure
particularly of the planets Jupiter and Saturn(? Barlow)?

With many thanks for your kind help in this matter.
 Yours aye ,John Bisset
Mike here: There are several possibilities. See the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page as well as the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page. A 2X Barlow Lens can be a good initial choice as it effectively doubles the number of eyepieces you have (1 to 2, in this case). As you acquire more eyepieces over time, you can continue to have twice as many. But keep in mind that a Barlow Lens (even a good one) is not quite as good as having an eyepiece with the same effective focal length.
Subject:	etX 45 degree prism and 20 mm SWA
Sent:	Monday, May 23, 2005 14:06:25
From:	Tomas Hekkers (
It has been a while since I last mailed you, but I can assure you I am
still an ETX-fan.

I have bought a few second-hand things in on the
'Astronomie-Troedel-Treffen in Essen, Germany (yearly astronomy-market)
last weekend and I have a few questions about it, maybe you can help me

1. The 45 degree amici-prism for the ETX. Mine has got a lens in it and
it works as a barlow. Is this the version for ETX-70 to double the
F-ratio? The prism works fine without the lens in my 105. I removed it
because the 105 is already F/14.

2. Meade oculair 'Meade 20 mm super wide angle'. I can find this one
nowhere on the internet. The closest comparison I can make is with the
'Meade 20 mm QX-SWA' but it is not all the same. I compared it with the
'Meade 20 mm SP 4000 series' and it is the same image-quality, only the
FOV is indeed bigger. Excellent eyepiece btw. It looks almost the same
as the SP, the front lens is wider and the rubber rim as well. Where
does this mystery-eyepiece come from? Was it a proto-type?

Hope you can help me out,
best regards,

Tomas J. Hekkers
Mike here: If the prism has a Barlow Lens it will certainly affect the focal length, hence the focal ratio. As to the eyepiece, I don't know specifically but eyepiece models get discontinued after a well or are intended for different markets. Either could be the case with the one you found. We'll see if anyone reports anything.
Subject:	Telescope Performance
Sent:	Monday, May 23, 2005 13:43:53
From:	rdl (
I have a technical question about telescope performance.

Your answer might interest others as well.

It all started with Meade's UHTC. They claim 15% light increase over a
'normal' telescope. One can compare a UHTC scope with a normal one of
15% more light collecting power.

Now let's take this situation : Telescope B has a larger aperture than
telescope A. In fact scope B collects twice the amount of light of scope
A. There will be an increase in resolving power and limiting magnitude.

Then I put a filter on scope B that blocks 50% of the light. So they
collect again the same amount of light. What happens with the resolving
power and limiting magnitude. Are they equal for the two scopes?

I observe the sun using projection on a screen. Then what happens with
the resolving power if I put a solar filter on an scope. Does a solar
filter change the resolving power?

I guess not.

I come to the conclusion that resolving power has no relation to the
light gathering of a scope. So a scope with UHTC collects more light, as
if it was a scope with a bigger aperture, but without the resolving
power of the bigger one.

Is this true?

Best Regards,

Mike here: "Collecting" light and letting more light "reach" your eye are two different things. A larger aperture lets a telescope collect more light. UHTC lets more light get through to your eye by reducing the amount of light that is reflected/absorbed by the coating/optics. Adding filters (which adds more glass) will reduce the amount of light reaching your eye. Depending upon the optical quality of the filter, resolution can be reduced as well. Hope that helps.
Subject:	ETX 125 EC Versus 125 PE 
Sent:	Monday, May 23, 2005 13:02:41
From:	Martin Hayes (
I'm going to buy an ETX 125 sometime over the next month or so.  Can you
tell me if you think the PE is really worth the extra money compared to
the EC?

I have tell you Mike, your site has been a huge help to me in deciding
what scope to buy.  Originally, I was intending to buy an eight"
reflector but after reading the info on your site I think the
Autostar/GOTO of the ETX will make my observing a lot more enjoyable.
Thanks a lot,
Martin Hayes.
Mike here: The only real difference in the EC (or rather the AT model) and the PE model is that the EC (or AT) model has a real finderscope and the PE has the red-dot finder. Otherwise, with an Autostar and tripod (optional with the EC model and standard with the AT) they are the same telescope. Having the LNT is useful if you don't know the night sky that well and will be viewing from many different locations (where you might not be able to determine the direction of True North).
Subject:	a good book
Sent:	Saturday, May 21, 2005 15:33:03
From:	Ralph Kingsbury (
I have just purchased a Meade go-to scope. Can any one recommend a good
book on how to use it? Thanks.
Mike here: Besides reading the manual you mean? I always recommend the new users read the manual THREE TIMES, and then play with their new telescopes indoors to learn how to operate it and what it does at each step. As to books, there one from but I have not seen it. There is also "Using the Meade ETX" by me (shameless plug). Some other good books are discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Books page on my ETX Site.


Thanks for the tips. I have found that,at least for us old guy getting
into something new, there is usually a book like, "....for Dummies",
that does a better job than the manual. That applies to my computer and
digital camera skills, also. As a semi-literate, I find I know just
enough to be dangerous. I will do just as you say, including your book.
Thanks, again.

Subject:	Re: Dr. Clay's Cleaning Kit Advise
Sent:	Friday, May 20, 2005 12:33:19
From:	BENNY ---.. (
Just to keep you posted guys. First time in the next morning I decided
to give it another try using now a soaked pad , but after removing the
lens cap the optics were crystal clear now ! , all the white streaks
were gone, I guess the cleaning solution evaporated leaving a very nice
clean telescope, so I decided to call the day on regards the cleaning

Thanks for your advise.

From:	P. Clay Sherrod (

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H45 (Petit Jean Mountain South)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain)

Subject:	Electric Focuser for ETX 125
Sent:	Thursday, May 19, 2005 21:05:29
From:	Paul Zadach (
I have had two Meade Electric Focusers for my ETX 125 UHTC and have
found them to be less than High Quality. The gear drive seems to be
cheap and it appears that there is no automatic stop mechanism so if you
go beyond the focusing limits it will just keep grinding on.  I
purchased a cable focuser which works a lot better for me. Do you think
I was doing something wrong with the electric from Mead, or is it just a
bad product.
Mike here: There have been some reports of issues with the focuser. I also had some glitches when I first used mine.
Subject:	Barlows from Meade
Sent:	Wednesday, May 18, 2005 15:42:13
From:	wilo (
My name is William.
I have a ETX-125 EC.
Do you know what is the diference between Meade #124 barlow and the #126
Which of the two would you recommend? If any?
Thanks for your time and patience!!!
Mike here: I would suggest going with the #126 for the ETX-125. The #124 is more for the ETX-60 and ETX-70. For info on the #125 see the "2x short-focus multi-coated barlow" on the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page.
Subject:	Any difference between ETX 125AT and 125EC
Sent:	Tuesday, May 17, 2005 12:06:34
From:	George Potter (
I'm considering the ETX 125 for my first telescope.  I had considered
the ETX 70AT, but I'm pretty sure the smaller scope wouldn't be
satisfactory.  I've found a great price at ($925.00 w/ free
shipping).  Amazon identifies the scope as the 125EC.  The similar scope
at is somewhat more expensive, but it identifies the
scope as the 125AT.

Are these the same scope, or am I comparing apples and oranges?


George Potter
Asheville, NC 
Mike here: See the FAQ page on my ETX Site.
Subject:	ETX views of globular clusters
Sent:	Tuesday, May 17, 2005 01:07:08
From:	Donnelly (
I like to look at planets and globular clusters and open cluster,
Pleiades, jewel box etc

I have an 8" SCT for globbies & 80 shorty 'fractor for quick looks, wide
sky views and planets. (I love my 80, shorty, I put up with the 8" for
the light grasp)  I am starting to find the 8" a bit heavy to handle,
but globbies in particular (even 47 Tuc) are faint fuzzy averted vision
objects in the 80.

I am also under the gun not to take up so much space, so one scope looks
inevitable soon.  I was wondering if the EXT range offer a good
compromise but cannot find a clear answer on how good a view I would get
of globbies (my favourite objects).  In my 8" 47 tuc is a bright jewel
of sparkling diamonds becoming a solid mass of light only very close to
the core.  How would I go with the 125 ETX on this object?

My other alternative is to switch to a 102 shorty 'fractor (maybe an
EDseen some low cost ones from China on the market recently) but,
suspect although better than my 80, would still be in the faint fuzz
category.  Any thoughts?

If the reality is I have to stick to 8" to get a good globby view, I
guess I will just have to try & find a lighter one!

Thanks for your advice, I live in Australia and the scopes are not so
easy to go & check out for yourself here.




Mike here: There are two things that will influence how well globular clusters will be seen from a dark site: aperture and f-ratio. Aperture for image brightness and resolution, and f-ratio for brightness. Obviously, the larger the aperture the brighter the image and the more stars you will be able to see, especially towards the central region. That said, the ETX can show you globular clusters but many will be faint and the central stars not resolved.
Subject:	RE: Sticky Focus
Sent:	Monday, May 16, 2005 00:27:50
From:	Lambden Neil (
Thanks for the information, I've tried to get the unit apart, but the
OTA seems to be attached very tightly to the back assembly.

Is there an easy way of getting the back assembly from the OTA?

I put a small amount of grease on the threaded assembly to help the
focuser, it eased it a little, but still sticks.


Neil Lambden
Mike here: Lets go back a step; does it happen WITHOUT the focus extender installed?


It does happen without the extender, adding the extender certainly adds
more 'spring' into the system.

Mike here: OK. I'd suggest not being hasty about "fixing it"; see if it goes away with use. One caveat: don't force the turning. If there is a definite STOP when turning it, STOP turning. There could be something preventing the main mirror from moving and you don't want to cause any additional problems.


Ok, thanks for the feedback I'll stick with it.



Subject:	ETX & Star drift alignment
Sent:	Sunday, May 15, 2005 15:32:05
From:	Jim Holland (
Does it make any difference if I do the east/west drift test first
(instead of a south drift test)?


Jim Holland
Mike here: It does help ensure a proper alignment since you can step the East/West step if properly set up to start with.
Subject:	ETX105 PE
Sent:	Sunday, May 15, 2005 15:42:39
From:	Andrew Ashworth (
Firstly, can I compliment you on the website - very useful,
comprehensive etc - I found you after much searching via Google.

Now, some background :

1.   I live on the Isle of Man (a small Island between Ireland and
England) - and when it isn't raining we're lucky to not have much light
pollution.  Our house also nicely overlooks the bay and so you can
imagine I've had it in mind to get something for both terrestrial views
and to help out with a spot of astronomy.

2.  My wife kindly gave me a telescope but it was a Tasco and, as you
might expect, pretty disappointing and I found I just couldn't be

3.  I then had an idea that some giant binocs might be good - perhaps
the really large Vixens or Oberwerks - 25x100 (some are then switchable
up to 40x).  I was thinking tripod, 45' eyepiece - it'll work for the
terrestrial and with the tripod it'll be ok for the spot of stargazing
on the patio.

4.  I quickly therefore insert that I suspect I may only ever be an
occasional user rather than getting the bug and really becoming a
dedicated gazer - but then again - who knows.

So, with Plan A in mind (the binocs) I did some research and was close
to putting in the order .... but then, I visited the "Telescope House"
in Kent and they had a pretty good selection of the Meade range and I've
almost been swung around to the 105PE with the "Bino Mate" eyepiece
head.  Logic being :

- the GOTO functions are pretty cool - both the star/planet etc
database, the LNT concept, etc;

- the wide range of attachments, etc for the ETX range;

- the deep sky imaging etc toys for PC linkage (I'm a bit of a PC
enthusiast so am quite attracted by both the digital photo idea and the
deep sky imagers that seem more set up for telescopes than for binocs;

- the availability of a few binoviewer inserts (Denkmeier at 545 and
"The Bino-Mate" from Astro Engineering (ex BC&F Astro Engineering) at

You can see I was/am almost sold on plan B.

I've now done some more research and it seems to me that my new plan is
correctly possibly better for the reasons above but I've some open
questions which I wonder if you have any advice on :

a) If I'm moving to the Mak telescope category (from binocs) then are
the ETX products really all that good..... .  I've always had a
hankering for a Questar (mostly because of the ads from the 70s in
Scientific American and a general love of wonderfully engineered
products).  If I'm going to have a telescope is the ETX a good enough
step up from the Tasco range..    I'd hate to spend the best part of
1000 and find I wish I'd just gone one more step up the ladder - even if
I lost the GOTO toys. I guess the question I'm asking is are the ETX
optics good enough, and will the motor drive noise and backlash
frustrate me....

b) Is the 105 big enough vs going another 100 for the 125.  I've seen
mixed views on this and am bemused.... surely more light, same quality
optics = better.   Are there some fringe issues with moving up to the
125 that I'm missing?

c) Have you any experience of using binoc accessories on the ETX range -
seems like a great idea to me.....

d) Finally, If I do go with plan B, any view on eyepieces given my
disparate needs - I'm a bit confused between the series 4000, the series
5000 and a ref in the Lillian Hobbs 'ETX Telescope Guide' book about the
Meade Zoom eyepiece which again sounds convenient (albeit perhaps
expensive if I've got to go for two with the binocs eyepiece idea).

Regards and thanks in advance
Andrew Ashworth
Mike here: As I noted when I first got my ETX (90mm) in 1996, the optics were definitely comparable to the Questar. And now with the addition of UHTC they are even better. You shouldn't be disappointed with the optics. As to the rest, remember the ETX line is mass consumer product vs the LX200 line. So some problems can crop up (they even happen on the higher end products). But that should not stop you from getting one. Certainly more aperture is nice but then you get a bigger telescope. As I've said many times, the best telescope for a new buyer is the one that gets used instead of setting in the closet because it is too cumbersome to move and set up. And to eyepieces and binoviewers, see the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page. I don't have any experience yet with the new Meade Series 5000 eyepieces. But Series 4000 is perfectly fine for use with the ETX.
Subject:	Dr. Clay's Cleaning Kit Advise
Sent:	Saturday, May 14, 2005 18:45:32
From:	BENNY ---.. (
I'm having problems cleaning my ETX125 UHTC optics. I'm using a Doc
Clay's Cleaning Kit bought from OPT. Following the instructions, I
gently dusted the corrector lens to remove debris, then I proceed to
spay a fair amount of the cleaning solution on a pad. The problem comes
as soon as I pass the wet Intrinsics pad over the corrector lens, white
streak marks forms almost immediately no matter how fast I try to remove
the solution with a clean pad. The best I can get is a white uniform
film over the purple uhtc glass. Using the rinse solution doesn't help.
"Puffin" my breath on the glass helps a little bit, but still the glass
shows a white film shadow all over, no crystal clear look on it . An
advise will be quite welcome

PD. I'm doing the cleaning in daylight, temperature is 88 f and humidity
19 %


Mike here: You said "fair amount". You may have used too much.


not sure . I mean, the cleaning pad was not soaked on solution, just wet
as mentioned on the kit's instruction. Daylight is gone now, but I will
follow your advise and will give it a try tomorrow morning. Keep you
posted, thanks for the quick reply


Mike here: You might want to read through my review of "Doctor Clay's Cleaning Kit" on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page; maybe it will point out something that you missed.


From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
From all indications, you are not using enough solution; the pad must be
soaked with the solution, but do not let the liquid run down into the
retaining cell of the front lens.
Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Observatory Hill Drive, Petit Jean Mt.
MPC/cbat Obs. H41 / Petit Jean Mountain
MPC/cbat Obs. H45 / Petit Jean Mountain South
MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway
MPC/cbat Obs. H44 / Cascade Mountain
Mike here: Thanks Dr. Clay! I was worried that he had used too much!


I will give it another try tomorrow using more solution on the pad, I'll
keep you guys posted.



Subject:	Meade #902 Electronic Eyepiece
Sent:	Saturday, May 14, 2005 18:03:21
From:	Dan Hait - Real Estate Traffic Pros (
I've been searching your site and can't find any info the Meade #902
Electronic Eyepiece.  I purchased it with my Meade ETX-90PE and am just
trying it for the first time.  I can't find any instructions or feedback
anywhere on this.  I tried using it in the daytime looking at
terrestrial views, but all I get are faint shadows showing on my TV
screen.  Do you have any experience with this or know where I can get
instructions?  I also wanted to know if you can somehow use this with
different sized lens?


Dan Hait
Mike here: Have you checked the "Meade Electronic Eyepiece" item on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page?


Thanks Mike,

Once again...great info.

Dan Hait

Subject:	Sticky Focus
Sent:	Friday, May 13, 2005 06:22:06
From:	Lambden Neil (
I've just started to use a focus extender on my ETX105.

Unfortunately it isn't very smooth and keeps sticking making focussing
very difficult.

Does anyone have any ideas on freeing this up?

Neil Lambden
Mike here: Is there a "binding up" with the extender removed? If so, you may have to "go inside", not an operation to be undertaken lightly. See the article "Focus Shaft Fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page for info. Alternately it may just loosen up over time with use.
Subject:	Tripod adjustment on ETX
Sent:	Thursday, May 12, 2005 03:10:12
From:	paul ramesh (
i have imported an ETX 125 PE to southern india lat 13. the tripod has
latitude markings from 25-90. is there anything i can do or can i not
use my scope at this latitude. thanks in advance for the advise
chennai, india
Mike here: Unless you NEED to use polar mounting, you can use Altitude/Azimuth mounting at any latitude. Once the Autostar is properly aligned, it will provide accurate tracking in Alt/Az mode.
Subject:	ETX cord wrap
Sent:	Wednesday, May 11, 2005 08:15:05
From:	Joseph Harriss (
Thanks for your previous advice about my jerky tracking with my ETX-105.
I finally had to take it to a Meade after-sales shop, where they
replaced the motor-gears block.

Now the scope is blocking after turning most of the way around in RA.  I
believe this is because the Cord Wrap function (apparently unnecessary
with the ETX) is turned on.  Meade says the default position is "Off,"
but I am unable to turn it off in Utilities.  Pushing the scroll buttons
does not bring up the "Off" option, leaving me with only "On."  How can
I turn Cord Wrap off?  Do a Reset?

Thanks for any advice,
Joe Harriss, Paris
P.S. I checked your book before sending this, but didn't find a "Cord Wrap" entry.
Web site:
Book site: 
Mike here: Cord Wrap IS needed for the ETX series with the exception of the ETX-60 and ETX-70.
Subject:	Like to know your opinion
Sent:	Wednesday, May 11, 2005 02:36:53
From:	Arjan van Steijn (
Started with a ETX105, choice primarily made on info of your website, I
really got interested in astronomy. Thank you for that!

I made some progress with the ETX and especially on solar observation in
white light. As solar observation is a better combination with my family
I made the big step of buying a Coronado Solarmax telescope 40. A world
to fall in love with opens!

So, I created a website for some information on this type of astronomy
just to inform others what to expect and to make a choice. Just like
your site, but with less user group possibilities.

As you are an experienced site builder and site keeper I would like to
ask you to view my site and give your opinion. This information would
help me a lot.

Kind regards and don't worry, I will not forget the ETX (now planning on
experimenting with different Fraunhofer lines, but I will inform you
later about that)

Arjan  van Steijn
Mike here: Yep, H-Alpha viewing can be addictive! Nice site!
Subject:	AC Adapter
Sent:	Sunday, May 8, 2005 20:28:51
From:	Frank George (
Last night I had problems with my ETX125 I was doing an alignment and
when it went to slew to the first star it would climb all the way in
elevation till it hit the stop. I had it powered off of my 541 ac
adapter yes it is the Meade one not an aftermarket. I did a complete
reset 2 times and trained the drives each time and yet it still did the
same thing. Finally I have 2 of the Vector pocket power battery supplies
and I hooked one of them up and tried it and it worked like a charm! I
brought my Meade adapter in the house and checked it with my Fluke 73
DVOM and it read 16.2 volts DC without a load just checking it at the
cigarette light adapter plug on it! Is this to high a voltage? I know it
puts out 1.5 amps but the DC voltage seemed a might bit high to me! Any
ideas?? Frank
Mike here: When changing power sources (or changing the load on a power source) you need to CALIBRATE MOTORS again. I suspect that was the problem.


doesn't it do an automatic calibrate of the motors after a reset on the
Auto Star or am I mistaken? I did 2 resets with the autostar and the AC
adapter was still powering the Scope!
Mike here: Nope. Need to do manual CALIBRATE MOTORS.


Ok Thanks!! :)  I really appreciate your prompt and concise reply! Frank

Subject:	etx mount functionality
Sent:	Saturday, May 7, 2005 08:26:34
From:	Guy Blancke (
I am Guy Blancke and I hope you cna help me on my way in regards to some
detaisl about the various scope mounts ( fork)

My request might sound strange as I would like to know some facts about
the forkmount but not for use with a scope but rather as a camera mount.

becasue of my intended use the forkmount would appael to me ( with
modifications) therefore I woudl like to know if the characteristics
would be good for my use .

I have been looking for a while for a suited remotely controled camera
mount ( my lens has to be in the centrepoint of rotation in each
direction) and looking at the pictures of inisides etc I am inclined to
try modifying it for my use. I like the concept of wormgears as they
tend to hold everuthin in position while not  powered up .

what I would like to know is

- would the movement strong and smooth enough ( for a smal dv cam) - is
the remotecontrl suited for manually panning and tilting ( not using the
build in software etc for tracking stars)

Hopefully you are able to asnwer or give me a lead as to were I can get
an answer before I go ahead looking  for maybe even a used mount or so (
ebay or alike)
thank you in advance
guy blancke 
Mike here: The ETX telescope base should be able to handle your requirements just fine. Since the telescope can be used for terrestrial use as well as astronomical, you can use the handcontroller for controlling slewing. You will just have to modify the mounting axis points for your camera. Besides eBay, check Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page) for base-only sales.
Subject:	Astro Guiding - Astronomy Forums
Sent:	Saturday, May 7, 2005 17:47:25
From:	Cedric Thomas (
My name is Cedric Thomas. I have found your contact details on the San
Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers page and I thought you would be
interested in the following I have very recently created a site called
"Astro Guiding" and I would like to invite you to connect to and read or post your astronomical-related

I hope you'll find this site of interest.

Many thanks and best regards,

Cedric Thomas


Astro Guiding Administrator


Subject:	ETX: motor failure problem:usually after 2 'Go to's' Please advise
Sent:	Saturday, May 7, 2005 10:25:12
From:	Malcolm Jenkins (
I have had my Etx 125 now for over a year. The quality of the optics is
brilliant. However, I keep getting a 'Motor failure' mesaage usually
after about 20 minites, or after 2 'Go to' actions.

The tracking and the ability to place the object within the view finder
scope is great.

I have fitted a portable battery pack, via a short lead and I am certain
that I have no breaks or intermittent plugs

Can you advise if this is a common fault that I should live with or can
it be rectified?

I am a Brit working in Saudi Arabia and the winter skies are wonderfull
in the dark of the Desert. Please let me know if you have seen this
fault before and what can be done about it. I don't think it's an
autostar problem. But could be!

Thank you for you time.
Best Wishes - Malcolm Jenkins.
Mike here: Couple of thoughts: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTORS recently? If so, you might try redistributing the lubrication; unlock both axes and slowly move the OTA from hard stop to hard stop, in both directions on both axes.
Subject:	GPS
Sent:	Thursday, May 5, 2005 08:25:27
From: (
Just wondering if you have reviewed the Scopetronix GPS unit which I
have. It seems to work amazingly well. Perhaps you can email me if you
have reviewed it. But please let me know how to find it.
 Thanks much from,
 Selwyn Malin
Mike here: Sorry for the delay in responding. AOL classified your email as SPAM.
All the GPS reviews are on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page (under "Other Information").
(Then again, maybe this was a SPAM message; I've received the same request from you in May, June, July, and November 2004, and January 2005.)
Subject:	etx 125 vertical lock issues
Sent:	Friday, May 6, 2005 04:17:49
From:	gregory powell (
Hi there!!  Like most everyone else here I am deeply appreciative of
this site here and have been referred here twice in as many days with
this problem.

The Vertical lock on my etx125at was overtightened and has stripped out.
I was told that since this scope is about 4 years old that it uses
teflon parts inside the fork arm to lock its position.  The store I
dedicatedly use here in town has said that meade used to send
replacement parts but now makes us send the scopes in which is rather
costly so i was wondering if there is any fix to this that you and your
expertise could spare in this situation??  I did find this page that
went into detail about taking the arm apart and drilling a hole through
the arm and replacing the locking screw with a machine screw but cant
seem to find it at the moment.

thanks a bunch and I apologize for the long email, but I do tend to be
specific and to the point!!
keep up the good work here--graig powell
Mike here: I suspect you are referring to the article "ETX-90EC DEC fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Advice for a Newbie
Sent:	Thursday, May 5, 2005 21:37:14
From:	Dan Hait - Real Estate Traffic Pros (
I contacted you several weeks ago, that I was a newbie with a new Meade
ETX-90PE and was having trouble getting started. Your advice helped me
immensely to learn the scope and the AutsStar.  I was having a problem
with the time, data, location not staying in memory and having to do a
reset every time I went outside.  I called Meade and they told me they
have a recall issue on the LNT module.  Apparently, the battery was not
well seated and prematurely popped out, hence forcing me to reset it
each time.  They sent me a free replacement LNT and the problem is
fixed.  Also FYI they already redesigned the SmartFinder without the
locking screw on the front that you have to get at just the right angle
to get the red dot to show.  The new version just slides right into
place the first time. J

NowI have a very simple, but frustrating question for you.  I've been
out about  dozen times, 3 of which were beautiful dark skies and lots of
stars (no moon though).  The alignment is getting closer each time I do
it, but still is never right on.  HOWEVER as of now, other than
beautiful views of the moon, all I see in the lens are little white
dots.  Last night Jupiter was very bright and visible at least that's
what the telescope pointed to.  It definitely was the brightest star in
the sky. AnywayI started using a 26mm lens with a 2X Barlow and
graduated to a 15mm lens with the 2X Barlow and still all I saw was a
little white dot. I did not see anything like I expecteda planet with
colored bands and 3 moons surrounding it.  Are my expectations too high?
Am I doing something wrong?  Did I not have the right object in the

Needless to say, I am very disappointed with the results I've seen, but
have to believe it is operator error.  I subscribe to the Cloudy Nights
Meade group that I get each night, and I see people writing about the
beautiful results they are getting with the ETX 70.  I am all ears to
advice and expectations MikeI've been told you are the Meade man.

Thanks very much,
Dan Hait
Mike here: If you are expecting to see vivid colors and lots of details like you see in photographs, forget that. With your eye, even with a small telescope, you should be able to see at least cloud bands crossing Jupiter's disk. They may appear faint (due to Jupiter's overall brightness) and depending upon where the moons are in their orbits when you are looking, you may see four, three, two, one, or even none.
Subject:	Cold Weather Telesope Care
Sent:	Wednesday, May 4, 2005 20:40:07
From:	Ron Wright (
It has gotten pretty cold here.  Night time temps in the 30's.  I
noticed that when I bring my scope in from out side, that condensation
attacks it.  I know all that moisture can not be good for it.  Can you
please tell me the proper care for bringing a telescope in from the

Mike here: See the article "Cold Weather Performance" on the Helpful Information: Observational Guides/References page.


I looked at the link you told me.  It talked about working in the cold,
I did not see it address the condensation when you come in.  Could you
comment on this?  Is it ok for the scope?  Is there some way to prevent

Thanks for your help.

Mike here: Well, Alan McDonald's #3 is a good tip to avoid condensation or icing (if the temps are really low). Personally I tend to just install the various covers before bringing indoors when dew is a problem.
Subject:	ETX Tip
Sent:	Wednesday, May 4, 2005 16:30:46
From:	Steve Noblin (
Recently I bought an ETX 70AT Refurbished unit from Scopetronix. I was
very excited when it came 3 days later. So I rushed out to buy
batteries. Well the story goes I Picked up some Rayovac Heavy Duty from
Walmart because they were closer and cheaper than any where else. I came
home put them in and it did fine for about an hour then all of a sudden
it started going hay wire. It kept spinning round and round. And the
gears sounded like they where about to fall out and the auto star was
just blinking away and the dreaded motor faults that I have been reading
about on your site. And I thought man. Now I have to ship everything
back and get another one. Later on I went to my brother's house to show
him what I got. He suggested we try other batteries that he had lying
around the house so we did just that. What we put in was Rayovac Maximum
Plus. I turned it on and I couldn't believe what I was seeing or
hearing. As a matter of fact it actually started working the way it is
suppose to, the gears even sounded better and much smoother and quicker
than before "Knock on Wood!"  Now I am very pleased with Scopetronix! 
"You're in My Book"

Thanx for the great site it has a lot of useful information. And someday
I will get the 125.
Mike here: Any chance that one or more of the original batteries could have been incorrectly inserted?


I had taken the batteries out and checked to see if any of them were put
in wrong. And they were all in the right way. All I'm saying is alkaline
batteries work better than the heavy duty batteries. The brand and type
I mentioned earlier seem to work better.

Subject:	How can I tell if my optics are UHTC coated?
Sent:	Tuesday, May 3, 2005 17:48:05
From:	steve (
I just recently had my lense replaced by the shop where I purchased it
and the one I replaced was UHTC coated.The other lense I believe had a
very purple tint to it and this has just a faint purple tint to it .Does
this purple tint have anything to do with the UHTC coatings.And if not
how can I tell UHTC coated optics from the standard optics other than
the quality in the light gathering abilities?Is there some way to tell
in the appearance of the lenses?
Mike here: The reflected light color may not indicate the coating exactly. I just compared my ETX-125 with standard coatings to my ETX-105 with UHTC. Not much of a color difference evident.
Subject:	Please Respond - Help!
Sent:	Tuesday, May 3, 2005 17:00:45
From:	Ken Cheung (
Thanks for a great site!  I am in need of your opinion, I am not getting
a firm answer from anyone, so I wanted to confirm with a pro like

When I loosen the Vertical Lock my ETX-125(which I just bought new), is
the OTA suppose to swing freely up and down?  I have to support it with
my hand; otherwise the tube will drop down and hit the base.  On my
ETX-70AT, it does not do this but I am thinking because it's so light
compared to the ETX-125, which weighs a ton.

Please respond and I appreciate your help.  I do not know if my scope is
defective and need to know so I can take appropriate measures.

Thank you Mike.
Mike here: YOUR MESSAGE WAS CLASSIFIED AS SPAM and originally deleted UNREAD. You can avoid this in the future by reading the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page and following the information there regarding the use of an appropriate Subject. Thanks for understanding.
When the axis lock is loose the telescope tube should move freely by hand or drop down due to gravity.
Subject:	Orion eyepieces with ETX90
Sent:	Monday, May 2, 2005 18:37:41
From:	Gary Moshier (
I recently purchased a used ETX90 and it came with a Meade 26mm Super
Plossel and Mead 2x Barlow. I can use my Orion Explorer II 25 mm  and 10
mm eyepieces directly, but when I try to use them with the Meade Barlow,
I can't seem to focus. My Orion 2x Shorty Barlow won't fit all the way
into the eyepiece tube on the ETX. I know there are optical design
differences between the Plossel and the explorers, but I expected to be
able to at least focus and work within the limitations of the FOV and
relief of each.  Is there some trick with the optics of the ETX that
limits my eyepiece selection? Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance. Your site was a great help in researching and buying
my scope. I'm looking forward to having a high performance portable
scope for a trip to Yellowstone this summer.
Gary P. Moshier
Pittsburgh, PA 
Mike here: Shorty Barlows should work. Same with the eyepieces. Haven't heard of focusing problems with Orion eyepieces.
Subject:	Re: ETX 125 motor fault problems
Sent:	Monday, May 2, 2005 17:48:28
From: (
Had done all those things, but repeated train drive and calibrate for
good measure .  Last week I ran the scope on the kitchen table indoors
for 2-3 hrs without a hitch.  Hasn't had problems since, and the GOTO
works better although I've only had a couple of short sessions outside.

Hard to know whether it was batteries and cold weather, or whether it
just needed retraining.  I'll carry on!


Subject:	ETX Telescope Rentals
Sent:	Monday, May 2, 2005 09:03:51
From:	Keith Steffens (
I thought you and your readers might be interested to know that
Telescopes To Go has special springtime rates in place on all Meade ETX
AT and Premier Edition telescope rentals. We offer complete rental
packages that are perfect for traveling, including telescope, tripod,
rugged carrying case and a selection of optional accessories.  We accept
all major credit cards, and we ship our telescope rentals anywhere in
the continental US.

Please visit for all of the details.

Thank You,


Subject:	Eyepiece recommendation for ETX-125PE?
Sent:	Saturday, April 30, 2005 09:07:19
From: (
I purchased the ETX-125PE a couple of weeks ago.  In addition to the
stock 26mm lens, I purchased a kit which included a 2x Barlow, a Plossl
5mm, and a Plossl WA 18mm lens.  I'm trying to purchase a lens to see
the Whirlpool galaxy better than I seem to be able to with the above
lenses/combinations.  With the lense, I could barely make out the galaxy
but it was very dim and not very defined.  I wanted to see what you
recommended for getting better quality and brightness.
Thanks in advance.  Your site is a GREAT resource!
Richard Reilly
Mike here: Depending upon your sky conditions, you may be expecting too much. Most DSOs will appear as "faint fuzzy blobs" in small telescopes. You may be able to discern some shape and a hint of spiral arms in some galaxies. I'd suggest sticking with what you have for now unless they are of low quality. Check the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page and the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page for more on various eyepieces. Remember, increasing magnification is not always the right answer, especially for DSOs.


Thanks for the info. and quick response.  One last question:
On your site:
You refer to "light transmission".  Is that in terms of viewing
conditions, i.e. on a cystal clear night you have "excellent light
transmission" or does that describe the eyepiece's ability to handle
light from the object being viewed?

Thanks again!
Mike here: Dr Clay is referring to the eyepiece, not the sky.
Subject:	ETX in the summer heat
Sent:	Saturday, April 30, 2005 08:55:45
From:	Charlie Seltzer (
I'm enjoying your website and have learned a great deal. It's a wealth
of information. Thanks for doing it.

I'm a novice and expecting my first telescope - an ETX 125 - to arrive
any day. I live in a hot region - at least in the summer. Daytime summer
temperatures average in the low 90s, but it can get well over 100, too.
I can I can keep my scope indoors and out of the sun, but when I'm out
at work all day, with the house closed up, it can get hotter indoors
than it is outside.  I understand that excessive heat can damage both
the AutoStar and the telescope, so of course, I want to guard against
that. My question is: how hot is too hot for the ETX? Any suggestions
for keeping it cool? Should I buy a small refrigerator to store it in?

Mike here: See the article "High Temperature Warning" on the Helpful Information: Observational Guides/References page.
Subject:	Differences
Sent:	Saturday, April 30, 2005 04:42:48
From:	John Tobby (
I want to know the differences between #126 2x Short-Focus Barlow Lens
1.25 Inch for all ETX models and 2x Ultra TX TeleXtender 1.25 Inch

Mike here: I only have the #126 Barlow Lens. Keep in mind that you need to use a "shorty" style Barlow Lens with the ETX models.
Subject:	"Dark Sky Panels"
Sent:	Friday, April 29, 2005 13:09:39
From:	thebostons (
Before spending $400.00+ - I'd like to learn if anyone has had any
experience with the "Dark Sky Panel" portable "observatory" light
blocking panels. I find them advertised in Astronomy Magazine but can't
locate any third party or customer commentary about the product. I'm in
a neighborhood where everyone leaves their outside lights on all night
and want to find some way to create a light barrier around my telescope.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Mike here: I was considering them too but thought they were pretty expensive. Seems like it would be easy to make an alternative.
Subject:	ETX-90 horizontal lock problem
Sent:	Friday, April 29, 2005 01:40:58
From:	saleh homidan (
The horizontal lock does not lock the telescope firmly, which makes the
telescope lost when using GOTO.  How could I solve this problem?
Mike here: If the problem is that the lever doesn't move far enough, see the "Q. I can not move the Right Ascension (azimuth) lever enough to fully engage the lock. What should I do?" on the FAQ page.


No, it isn't

The problem is that the lever moves to the end of its range very easily,
but sometimes I hear the motor working in azimuth direction without any
telescope motion.
Mike here: Just to confirm, do you mean the range of the groove the lever is in or that the lever is tight with more groove remaining? If there is groove area remaining, lets try a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES.


Yes, that's what I mean, the range of the groove the lever is in, and
there is no more groove area remaining.

In other words the horizontal lock is tighten but the horizontal motor
drive clutch does not engaged firmly and the telescope could easily
rotated manually.
Mike here: Since there is no more groove remaining, go back and reread the FAQ item; it addresses that problem.


You solved my problem
Than you

Subject:	ETX-125
Sent:	Wednesday, April 27, 2005 11:15:14
Hi, great site!  

Wondering if anyone can help me with finding an Alt/Dec drive for an
ETX-125 AT?  I'm pretty sure I fried mine when the wires going through
the Ra tube got severed.  Thanks in advance for any help anyone can

Mike here: Try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page).
Subject:	Re. The best focuser upgrade for the etx-90ra
Sent:	Wednesday, April 27, 2005 00:22:19
From:	Mike Barrett (
With all the recent references to the "clothes pin" focus technique, I
thought it might be a good time to remind users about my previously
posted refinement - see details in Telescope Tech Tips section, Simple
Focuser Add-on
Regards, Mike Barrett

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