ETX PREMIER EDITION FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 May 2006

This page is for user comments and information specific to the ETX PE (Premier Edition). Feedback on the specific PE technologies (Automatic Alignment + SmartFinder, Level North Technology) will be covered here. Feedback on the Autostar Suite AE (Astronomer Edition) will be posted on the regular Autostar Suite feedback page. Items that are applicable to all ETX models (EC, AT, PE) will continue to be posted on the other appropriate feedback 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:	LNT PARALLEL
Sent:	Tuesday, May 30, 2006 05:54:47
From:	Bob Johnson (bob@19pembroke.freeserve.co.uk)
I'm having a bit of problem setting up my new ETX105PE.

Looking through the pages on your web site I read someone mentioning
trying to get their LNT unit parallel with the OTA (using a piece of
Lego!).

Mine is definitely not parallel, does this make a difference with
initial level and tilt calculations?

Many thanks for a great site.
Bob Johnson (UK)
Mike here: The LNT on my ETX-105PE isn't exactly parallel to the OTA but that hasn't seemed to affect the accuracy of the GOTOs once the alignment steps have been done. It also hasn't affected the usage of the red-dot finder for me.

And:

Thanks for such a quick response.
Now I know it's not the LNT giving me a headache ;-)
Regards,
Bob Johnson

Subject:	FW: ETX-90PE
Sent:	Friday, May 26, 2006 03:16:23
From:	Jasmin Pindzic (jpindzic@orangeresearch.com)
When I took the 90PE out of the box, I put the telescope in the home
position. First I was having trouble with autostar, the autostar was
going on and off, as soon as I shake the cable that's connected to the
autostar the power comes back on. When the power came back on I tried to
align the telescope, I hit auto alignment, the motor was slewing, I
could hear it, but the telescope tube was not moving anywhere. The motor
was running and it wouldn't stop until I turn off the power. I never
tried to CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVE.

What would happen if I over tight the lock?

If I do all of this steps you asked me to do, do you think that's going
to help to solve the problem I was having.

Thank you very much.
JAZ. 
Mike here: CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES are necessary steps to ensure accurate communication between the Autostar and the telescope. But the telescope should still move. I gather you didn't try manual slewing with the Autostar. As to why the tube would not move, that could be either to overtight or not tight enough locking of the axis locks. They are just friction locks so if you overtighten them the motors can not overcome the friction so there is no movement and if undertightened there is slippage or no movement at all. Finger tight is the right answer.

And:

Thank you for your help/advice.

Should I CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVE the first thing I take it out
of the box.

I know how to CALIBRATE MOTOR but how do you TRAIN DRIVE.

I don't know if I told you, for some reason after I found out that I am
having trouble with motor, I couldn't get the autostar to work anymore,
that's why I couldn't CALIBRATE MOTOR.

Thank you very much for your help.
JAZ.
Mike here: You should do the CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES steps before doing the first alignment.
Subject:	ETX-125PE
Sent:	Thursday, May 25, 2006 05:54:22
From:	Jasmin Pindzic (jpindzic@orangeresearch.com)
I had a ETX-90PE, the first night I used it the motor stopped working,
the motor was running but the tube was not moving. I returned that
telescope back to Discovery Cannel Store.

Now I want to buy ETX-125PE but if anyone could tell me little about
ETX-125PE. I read a lot about ETX-125PE but I didn't see too many
problems with the motor. I learned a lot on this website about
telescopes, this is a great website you can get a lot information here 
when it comes to astronomy.

Thank you, and keep up the good work.
Mike here: Don't recall any "motor" problems. Can you be a little more explicit with what was wrong with the 90PE? Did it happen at all slewing speeds? Did you do a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? Was it just one axis or both? Could you have overtightened the lock? I ask all these questions because the same "problem" can surface with the next model.
Subject:	align problems meade 125 pe
Sent:	Friday, May 19, 2006 22:23:27
From:	Kimobear@aol.com (Kimobear@aol.com)
I'm just about at my wits end.

After reading many reviews (including yours on the website). I finally
selected a telescope. To replace my binoculars for star gazing.

Ordered a Meade ETX 125 PE in Feb.

What a frustrating experience it has been so far. Enough to turn you off
at looking at the stars. When it arrived I studied the manual.

Ready to set up, no red target dot.

Called and told them. They later send out a new bracket with module.

Put it on, and aligned it with the help of a distant watertower.

Couple of weeks later (the weather here near Chicago is not that good
and I also travel for a living so am gone for weeks at a time) nice
clear night and tried to use it. During align setup it kept pointing at
empty sky instead of near stars.

Called back and told them. They said send it back so I did.

Received it back last month. Unfortunately I was on the road for a while
but tonight I was home and it was a nice clear night so.... stargazing
time.

Set it up entered all the data. And .......Align failed everytime, kept
dumping the entered time and it kept resetting it to 8 PM.

Manually set it up and looked at Jupiter, optics are great but I spend a
lot of money for the finders and align stuff that just does seem to want
work.

I would send this to Meade but have not found and email address for
their technicians. So I guess I will try to call them again.

I thought you would like to know that not everybody has a great
experience with the 125.

Groetjes
Barry van Wickevoort Crommelin
very disapointed so far
Mike here: Sorry you have had problems. As you must have read in my ETX-1205PE comments, I too had problems initially. The Autostar wasn't remembering the ZIPCODE setting I put in and that created all sorts of problems. So now I use City name and that works fine. Which have you used? Also, did you set the LNT time once? As to the time being set to the default of 8pm (20H), does the Finder option appear in the menu when you press MODE? If not, the Autostar is not seeing the LNT. As to Meade's email address, the only one they publish is engineer@meade.com but that is for reporting bugs, and will not normally get you a response. Meade prefers to give a personal touch by using live telephone support whenever possible.

And:

Thanks for the fast answer. It is greatly appreciated.

I used the zip code first and later added a site with Chicago and it
does not work in either. Last night I set the time 7 times but it keeps
resetting to 0800pm but keeps the zip code.

No "finder" option appears in the menu, I also looked in the manual on
page 22 where the autostar menu tree is printed and don't see it there
either. I really thought when I send it back to the factory that after
they "repaired" it, that it would be checked before sending it back out
but I guess that is not the case. So you think it might not see the LNT,
interesting.

As for the personal phone experience, yes, that is great if you don't
have to spend at least 45 min on hold before you even talk to somebody
every time you call. The frustrating part is that I will be leaving
again on Monday for work and I can't afford to be on hold on the phone
so long every time on an international call. Already spend more than 80
dollars on phone charges. So it will have to wait again. Just very
frustrating, I was so excited to order the scope and now my wife is
saying that it is the worst purchase made and she keeps advocating to
send it back and demand a refund. She doesn't even want to see the thing
because of the frustration it causes.
 
Groetjes
Barry van Wickevoort Crommelin
Mike here: If there is no Finder menu in the Autostar MODE display then it is not seeing the LNT. There have been recent reports of this; simple problem is a loose battery in the LNT. A little more complex is a loose cable connection from the LNT. And lastly, the worst of all is a bad LNT module (which Meade has been replacing for free).
Subject:	LNT
Sent:	Monday, May 15, 2006 18:32:27
From:	Robert B. White (rbwhite@interbaun.com)
When restarted, my Autostar always asks for the date and time, and does
not remember them from use to use. It does remember the location, and
the red dot works. Is this normal, or do I have a problem and Autostar
is not recognizing the LNT? As always, your help is very much
appreciated.
 
Regards,
RBW 
Mike here: The Autostar is not "seeing" the LNT. Could be a loose LNT battery, a loose LNT cable, or a defective LNT.

And:

Thank you for your answer. You were right (of course)the battery was
loose.

May I ask another? Aside from the inconvenience of having to enter the
date and time, does it matter whether Autostar can read the LNT? I don't
understand the relationship between the two. Your help would be
appreciated.
 
Regards,
RBW 
Mike here: The Autostar, when it "sees" the LNT, will read the date and time (ocne set up), meaning you don't have to manually set it. Is that such a big pain? No. You just have to take the few seconds to make changes on the Autostar display to tell it the current date and time. People have been doing that since 1999 (with the Autostar) and for even a longer time with other "timepieces". The only other thing you lose if the Autostar can't see the LNT is the auto align feature (leveling and finding North). But again, people have been doing that manual for quite a long time as well.
Subject:	ETX 105 PE LNT Correct Time / Date Issue 
Sent:	Wednesday, May 10, 2006 15:38:36
From:	John Kerley (bjohnk@tiscali.co.uk)
Regarding a problem with the LNT not finding the correct Time / Date I
had a similar problem.

I found that the Battery clip inside the LNT Module was not making a
positive contact with the battery. Carefully bending this clip downwards
sorted the problem so that each time I turn on my Telescope it returns
the correct Time and Date.

Hope this is of some value and you are running a Great Site.... Thanks.
 
John K
Bristol, United Kingdom

Subject:	Smart Finder Lens Broke
Sent:	Monday, May 8, 2006 09:44:44
From:	William Ellis (wcbabybee@yahoo.com)
Really appreciate your rapid response to my broken Smart Finder Lens
question this weekend. I called Meade this morning, and in answer to
your question, they are sending me a new lens, no charge involved. I
think that I was one of the first to get the PE Edition,  Feb of 05, so
I guess that Technically it's out of warranty.

In the meantime, I put a Rigel Quick Finder base on the scope, just
right of the module looking from the viewfinder end using double sided
tape on the black plastic, not the tube. Don't know if anyone else has
tried this, but my wife (Her Scope) and I really found this to be a much
better initial alignment aid than the Red Dot I use the Rigel and a
Telrad on our other Meades and find that the Bullseyes and manual
intensity controlls make life a whole lot easier.

Still, once set up, we are happy with the performance of the ETX. We
enjoy comparing the view between it and our 10" at our Delmarva Star
Parties. Just wish the weather was as warm as where you guys are!
 
Thanks
 
Bill 
Mike here: I have a review of the QuikFinder on the Accessory Reviews: Finderscopes page.
Subject:	Re:ETX PE Feedback:ETX105 - vertical movement
Sent:	Monday, May 8, 2006 00:32:00
From:	mhogansr@comcast.net (mhogansr@comcast.net)
1. The LNT Time/Date need to be initially set, or reset, using the Time
and Date functions in the Setup menu, along with the correct Daylight
Saving entry.  Once it is set, the LNT internal battery will maintain
the time even when the main power is turned off.  After that, the
Autostar will detect the LNT automatically on startup, read the time,
and not display or request the values.  I'm a bit confused by your
saying that the Autostar says "it is reading from the LNT" because I've
never seen that, but I'm using an earlier version than 4.2.  My
experience is that, if the Autostar requests the time on startup, it is
not recognizing the LNT.

2. The LNT internal battery only powers the clock, similar to the
battery in a PC that keeps time when the computer is off.  It does not
power the red dot for the Smartfinder.  The Autostar controls the red
dot, but only if it detects the presence of the LNT.  What do you mean
when you say the red dot "sort of works"?  If you can turn the dot
on/off with the "0" key (light) then the LNT is working and shouldn't
request time at startup. Also, if you can access the "Finder Set"
function in the Telescope Status Display (hold Mode for 3 seconds), the
LNT has been detected.

Perhaps if you could provide a bit more detail, I would be better able
to offer some suggestions.  In the meantime, I will update my Autostar
to the latest version.

Regards,
Mike Hogan

And:

From:	Andrew Ashworth (aja@manx.net)
So kind of you to respond.

Well yesterdays attempt it picked up the date, but still thought it was
8:am.  I've now taken out the batteries on the PE and recharged them -
they were down to around 50% (NI/MH 1300mah) and I'll have a go at full
reset tonight.

Sorry, my sloppy terminology - always actually 'works' in a technical
sense - I meant it just isn't ideal for me given glasses etc.  The red
dot certainly always has been turning on/off with the '0' light key.

I think my only issue is the LNT time set issue now.... Almost there....

Regards

Subject:	Smart Finder Lens
Sent:	Saturday, May 6, 2006 12:53:44
From:	William Ellis (wcbabybee@yahoo.com)
Just got back from our Semi-Annual Star Party in Maryland. Cold, Cold,
Cold for four nights.

Don't know if that was a contributing factor, but in moving my ETX into
the house to get ready for the transit of SW-3 by the Ring Nebula, M57,
tomorrow night, hit the lens of the Smart Finder, and of course, it
snapped.

Wondered if they were available from any of the retailers or are they a
Meade Only item
 
Thanks
 
Bill
Mike here: I doubt that dealers stock the lens; contact Meade for a replacement.
Subject:	ETX105 - vertical movement
Sent:	Friday, May 5, 2006 15:00:47
From:	Andrew Ashworth (aja@manx.net)
I bought my 105 last summer and have been delighted with my introduction
to the heavens.  I live on the Isle of Man - good clear skies when its
not raining....   I'm still gradually mastering the scope and trying to
take up your website advice that the best scope is one that's used
frequently.  Though I'm usually quite good at setups and systems I've
found a number of things that I'd say are less than ideal :

a) on bootup, for some reason it seems to always 'forget' the proper
time and date - and though it says its reading from LNT it shows
(currently) Jan 1st 2006, 8:00.   Can't easily see from any
documentation why this should be - or how to reset LNT if Autostar is
picking up a wrong LNT time.

b) The vertical movements seem to 'jitter' and creak when moving slowly
(e.g. a 4 on the handset) - horizontal is smooth at all speeds - but
vertical jumps a bit on the slower settings  - is this just one of those
things, or does it need some lubrication somewhere to smooth things.

c) Though the reddot finder sort of works...  I do think the idea of a
green laser pointer seems ideal and will be looking to custom fit.  I
wear glasses (just minor corrective) but the reddot approach to spotting
isn't ideal with the need to put glasses on/take off to set up.
 
Great site -
 
Regards
Mike here: You might want to upgrade the Autostar ROM; that may (or may not) help the reading of the LNT. The Autostar does seem to recognize that the LNT is there (otherwise it would not attempt to read from it). And since the red dot SmartFinder is working, the LNT battery seems to be OK. So if the Autostar isn't at fault then it could be a faulty LNT module; you will have to contact Meade (or your local dealer) for a replacement. As to the movement "jiiter", have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES (training on both axes)? If not, do that. If so, do a RESET, CALIBRATE MOTOR, and then TRAIN DRIVES; you will put the Autostar back into its default state (and maybe even cure the LNT reading problem) so you will have to re-enter your site info. Alternatively, could you be overtightening the altitude axis lock?

And:

as ever I've seen you do countless times before - excellent advice and
timely response - thanks.

Re : LNT - strange, have got 4.2 and have done reset etc - no pickup of
correct time - always wants 1st jan 2006 8am - maybe as you say a fault.

Quite right on altitude axis lock - have loosened LHS (i.e. non driven)
and the jitter has stopped - albeit had to tighten driven (RHS) to avoid
slippage / sloppiness.

Will not give up, and do appreciate your insights.

As a general aside which somehow I hope Meade does take notice of.... I
found the manuals poorly presented when compared say with other S/W or
H/W products and manuals of today.  I think they have a feeling of carry
forwrad anachronism rather than starting again from scratch to present
the key issues and then drill down.

Regards

Subject:	ETX125PE Smart Finder Menu
Sent:	Monday, May 1, 2006 03:56:56
From:	jbgoodwyn (jbg13@alu.ua.es)
Smart Finder Menu does not appear anymore on the display of the
telescope status in KEY Mode

Hi Mike, this is Jeanine:  Now I can't align my telescope because I need
the red dot of the Smart Finder which wasn't flashing when I connected
the telescope. When that happened before, I could turn on the red dot by
going to the Finder set display. I CAN'T DO IT ANYMORE because the list
ends with Battery Status instead of ending with  Smart Finder Status.

I have recently updated my Autostar Suite #497 with the CD advertised by
Meade. Is this relevant? Your assistance will be as usual most
appreciated.

Regards

Jeanine 
Mike here: If the Autostar doesn't "see" the LNT module then the SmartFinder options will not appear. I suspect that the Auto Align option has "disappeared" as well. Check the LNT battery. It could also be a bad connection from the LNT or the LNT module has gone bad and will need to be replaced.

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Copyright © 2006 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
Submittals Copyright © 2006 by the Submitter
URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/feedbackMay06/etx-pe.html