ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 30 November 2001
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT. Additional information on these models is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX 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:	Quick alignment cheat.
Sent:	Thursday, November 29, 2001 21:34:17
From:	mkline62@mediaone.net (Michael Kline)
Sometimes if I am in a hurry or having trouble aligning my Etx 60-at I
will cheat by doing a 2 star alignment and just accepting wherever it
goes.  Then I tell it to go to a object that is easily found ( like the
moon or Jupiter or whatever is available ).  Once it has slewed to where
it thinks the object is I then manually move it to center the object in
the lense.  Not using the autostar to move it but moving by hand.  This
way the autostar still thinks it is pointing at its original location. 
After that the goto functions are pretty close and tracks fairly well. 
Thanks for the great site!

Mike Kline
mkline62@mediaone.net

Subject:	ETX60 Tripod Adapter Question
Sent:	Thursday, November 29, 2001 11:50:59
From:	SachenikPA@corning.com (Sachenik, Paul A)
I love your site.  Lots of info.  I just purchased a ETX60 and I want to
build a tripod adapter plate.  Since my 494 controller is not with me at
this time, my question is... does anyone know the exact dimensions of
the 494 and the center-to-center spacing of the two mounting bolt holes
on the bottom?  Or even better, does someone have a CAD drawing they are
willing to share?   I'm looking to build one with similar to  2/24/01
David Stenhouse's round one in your technical tips section.

Thanks, 
Paul
Mike here: My ETX-70AT is rather difficult to get to right now; we are remodeling our bookshelves and the telescope is temporarily moved. Hopefully someone responds before I can get to it.
Subject:	Found EXT-60AT at Costco
Sent:	Thursday, November 29, 2001 10:15:19
From:	rfranzen@home.com (Robin Franzen)
Found your site when trying to research if this was a good instrument
for my 9yr old who is becoming interested in star-gazing.  The item is
available at Costco in the stores and also on line.  I had noticed some
one looking for a place to buy one and thought I'd let you know.  It's
128.99.  I don't know if that's a good price or not-  thanks for the web
site!  Robin

Subject:	 ETX-60AT
Sent:	Wednesday, November 28, 2001 13:55:11
From:	TKulaga@pitts-brittian.com (Tom Kulaga)
I just purchased the ETX-60AT from Costco for $128, plus shipping and
handling.  I am amazed that people are paying much more than that for
the ETXs being sold on eBay.  (I've seen several sold at over $220 on
eBay!)

The Costco ETX includes the software, which I installed and then
immediately uninstalled.

The Star Navigator software, which I really wanted, is not nearly as
good as WinStars (winstars.free.fr/english/ or Chartes du Ciel Sky
Charts http://www.stargazing.net/astropc/ .  These two packages are
fantastic and FREEware.

TomK

PS: Love your web site!

Subject:	Fw: ETX-60AT
Sent:	Wednesday, November 28, 2001 5:53:19
From:	mjzimmett@ncentral.com (Steve Zimmett)
I have a question regarding the software.  What does the Meade Star
Nagivator Software do.  Is is the same as Meade skychart Astro Software
listed in their book.  Do I need this to operate the etx-60 AT.  I do
not believe Costco offers this .  Thanks Steve Zimmett
Mike here: The software allows you to control the ETX from a Windows-based computer. Any Autostar-enabled software can do this. I believe the supplied software is a stripped-down version of the other Meade software. And no, you really don't NEED it.
Subject:	ETX-70AT - newcomer
Sent:	Tuesday, November 27, 2001 6:46:33
From:	john@cuckney.net (John Cuckney)
Thanks for a wonderful, useful website.

I am a newcomer to telescopes and have just bought an ETX 70AT package
for 299 (US$420) here in the UK.

I think the package is good value and am now very pleased with it - just
wish I could get some more clear evenings.

However, at the outset I nearly took the telescope back so thought my
experiences might help some others starting with astronomy.

The package was easy to set up and I did read the manual very carefully
before first venturing out!

My first big learning event was trying to get the Autostar through its
first two star alignment - it worked very rarely and often set off on a
very long wander of its own never arriving anywhere! I had new batteries
(Duracell) and tried another set to no avail - only rarely did I get
aligned. Manual pointing was OK. This lasted for several sessions and I
had come to the conclusion that I had bought too cheap a package. The
motors seemed to be labouring and not consistent. In the end I decided
to buy a mains transformer (SMPS, stabilised and fully regulated) and
soldered up a connector for the 9 volt Meade connector. Marvellous,
immediately the telescope was a new beast and all slewing carried out
perfectly - and it sounded better! I checked battery pack which was
showing 9.5v - but obviously the motor drain was high and the battery
pack could not cope. Whether as the motors, bearings, etc. get run it it
will work off batteries only time will tell. I had to make up a
transformer as there did not appear to be one in the catalog the ran
from the 240v supplies we have here.

Next adventure I had was to set the telescope pointing north - I tried
to use a compass for some nights and could not work out why alignment
was still a major problem. Then, whilst messing about in daylight, what
did I notice but that bring the compass anywhere near to the telescope,
including in the barrel area, and the compass needle promptly took a
dive - the telescope motor magnets obviously are quite strong and
produce fields covering the total volume of the telescope. I noticed
comments from others in your pages having problems pointing to north -
go careful with compass (I had taken your advice and found what degree
of magnetic to true north adjustment was required). My solution to this
was to align against a long length of timber and then glue penny coins
to the ground where I use the telescope marking the telescope legs my
base/starting configuration. I put the telescope in both vertical and
horizontal zero positions on the cover markings and then moved the
telescope and tripod gradually till the telescope pointed north. Then
glued the pennies to the ground! This ensures a given alignment from
start each time.

This has proved to be a miracle. I aligned the telescope using two star
process five sessions ago and since then I have used the Menu
Utilities/Park command at the end of my viewing sessions and move
telescope indoors. For the next session I just align the tripod to the
coins and enter the date and time. Off I go imediately with GOTO stars
in the field of view with the 9mm eyepiece.

The other fix I have carried out is to put a length of 1/2 inch plastic
tubing over the focus knob to allow easier focussing. The length must
not be too long otherwise it will foul the base as telescope slews to
high elevations.

I now have a setup that I can be confident with and am able to be up and
running in minutes.

I had no problems connecting the telescope to my laptop computer running
the Starry Night software bundle provided with the ETX 70AT package.
Useful when there is more than one observer around as the other is kept
interested. Now I have just got the adaptors to mount my digital camera
to the scope..... another adventure on the way!

Great site - hope these comments are of use. The ETX 70AT package seems
a very good introduction to astronomy to me - I had been considering
much more expensive equipment for over a year but this price level has
tempted me in!

John Cuckney

john@cuckney.net
www.cuckney.net

Subject:	Autostar version
Sent:	Monday, November 26, 2001 14:31:33
From:	a.neto@worldnet.att.net (Arthur Neto)
I've read about Autostar upgrades, but how can I tell what version I
have on my ETX60's unit?

Thanks!

Arthur in GA
Mike here: When you power-on the ETX, you will see (briefly) the short Autostar version displayed on the screen. To see the longer version number go to the Setup-->Statistics menu. HOWEVER, currently the #494 Autostar that ships with the ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT is not user upgradable.
Subject:	ETX-60AT
Sent:	Monday, November 26, 2001 6:40:54
From:	mjzimmett@ncentral.com (Steve Zimmett)
I'd like to buy the ext 60 Ebay has them for about $200.  This includes
the Meade Star Navigator Software a $79.00 value.  I do not believe
Costco offers this.  There current price including shipping is $143.00. 
Is it a good idea to have the Navifartor Software.  Thanks, Steve
Zimmett
Mike here: CostCo was selling the ETX-60AT for $99. The belief is that the ETX-60AT is being discontinued. As to using the software, you will need to purchase a #506 Autostar connector cable in order for you to connect the ETX and Windows-based computer.
Subject:	ETX Newbie
Sent:	Monday, November 26, 2001 0:21:15
From:	CueMix@aol.com
I assume you must get alot of email from ppl asking you all sorts of
questions so dont worry if you dont have the time to reply...

I am a new user of the ETX 60-AT...  A COMPLETE newbie.   I still havent
figured out how to get it to align and slew continuously...   However, I
did manage to see Jupiter and Saturn with sheer luck and manual
manuvering...

What I was wondering is what exactly i need to use higher magnification
eyepieces..  I have only what came with the telescope.  (I think a 14X
and a 39X).   I see that there are eyepieces upwards of 88X
magnification available for the ETX 60.   Is all I need to do is buy the
higher mag eyepices or do I need other accessories to make use of them
if i buy them? I have been having trouble finding exact information
about this.

Thanks
Regards
Victor M
Mike here: See the alignment tips on the Autostar Information page on my ETX Site. They should help. As to eyepieces, read through the "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback pages for info on the maximum magnification (I really must put that info in the FAQ, I've repeated it so often). You can purchase the 2X Barlow Lens for use with the ETX-60AT (see the product brochure that came with the telescope). As to other eyepiece suggestions, see the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces and the Buyer/New User Tips pages for more info.
Subject:	Vertical Slew problem ETX 70
Sent:	Sunday, November 25, 2001 19:24:10
From:	chadrack@murray-ky.net (The Rev. Dr. Chad Foster)
My ETX 70 works great except for one thing.  Nearly all the time the
Autostar scroll works fine horizontal (left and right) and it works
great vertically down.  However, it does not seem to slew vertically
upwards very well.  If you give it a little support on the scope it
slews up fine and there have been a few times where it has slewed up
okay.  Obviously this is a problem for alignment because when it goes to
slew vertically upwards the motor works, but the scope stays in the same
position.  There are new batteries in the telescope.  I have noticed
when it is on manual alignment that it is hard to push it up - how can I
adjust the tension?

Thanks.  Great site.
Mike here: Could you be overtightening the altitude axis lock?
Subject:	ext"s
Sent:	Sunday, November 25, 2001 6:50:26
From:	mjzimmett@ncentral.com (Steve Zimmett)
How do you compare the ext 60 & the ext 90's.  Are there any
differences.  Can you see Saturn & jupiter with the 60.  Ebay has the 60
@ 179.00 buy now.  Sounds like a good price, what do you think.  Thanks
Steve Zimmett
Mike here: See my comments about the ETX-70AT on the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page. The ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT are essentially the same telescope with only the aperture being different. As to price, CostCo had them for $99.

Subject:	Wondering if my new etx 70at is defected
Sent:	Sunday, November 25, 2001 0:15:18
From:	darrelly@home.com
First of all, let me say that your site is a wonderful source of
information. You also seem to be very knowledgeable about the etx series
so I'm hoping you can help me. I have never owned a telescope until now.
My girlfriend just bought me a etx 70at for my birthday. I have tried
numerous times to do the "easy align" two star alignment with no luck.
As the manual says to do, I put in the 25mm eye piece, adjust the tube
so that zero is aligned with the arrow on the base and point it north.
I've slewed at that point trying to find the star with no luck and also
continued to other stars (by pressing the scroll key instead of enter)
and have yet to be able to align a star with it. When I move it around
manually and locate a star, all I ever get is a blue dot that looks more
like looking at a cell under a microscope than anything else. Every star
I have tried to look at like that looks exactly the same. I realize a
$200 telescope is not going to have the results of a million dollar
telescope at an observatory but is what I'm getting normal? Also,
tonight I looked at the moon and it was just a bright light with no
detail. I tried focusing with the focus knob (also did this with the
stars) but it didn't make it any better and didn't seem to change the
image much at all. Do you have any suggestions on aligning the auto star
and also getting a better look at objects or do you think I have a
defective unit and should return it for an exchange? Thank you very much
for any help you can give me and keep up the great work with this site.

Darrell
Mike here: The "cells" you describe is an out-of-focus star image; the ETX-70AT requires a LOT of turns of the small focus knob to reach a focus. Keeping turning it. If the star "cell" gets larger, turn the knob the other way. Once you have the image infocus, you can proceed to do an Easy Align. Point the tube towards True North (not Magnetic North) and level the tube (which may or may not be zero degrees on the Altitude scale on the fork arm) You can just "eyeball" these as they don't have to precisely perfect, just reasonably close. The first star the Autostar selects should be close to where the telescope is pointing and depending upon how close you were with the HOME position, may even be in the eyepiece. Slew using the arrow keys to center the brightest star nearest to where the telescope is pointing or in the eyepiece. Repeat for the second star. Remember, the date/time/Daylight Savings/location have to be correct for the Autostar to work properly.

And:

Thanks so much for the help. I have had the focus knob turned all the
way to the right and then back to the left about five rounds or so but
now I will try turning it more. I will try again tonight weather
permitting. Thanks again for your help.

Subject:	ETX-70AT AC Adapter
Sent:	Friday, November 23, 2001 20:42:42
From:	thomas.henry@magician.org (Thomas Henry)
Would any of you with the official Meade AC adapter for the ETX-70AT
(and a multimeter) be willing to take a measurement for me?  I'm curious
to know what this supply puts out *unloaded*.  That is, I'd like to find
out the output voltage of this creature when it is *not* connected to
the telescope.

There's a fair amount concerning this power supply on the Mighty ETX Web
Site, but I don't think anyone has reported the unloaded voltage output.
I see from the pictures here that the label on the back of the unit
says it's a 12V supply (at 1A), but it's been my experience that the
unloaded output is considerably higher with these unregulated "wall
wart" type of supplies.

Many thanks!

Thomas Henry
thomas.henry@magician.org

Subject:	497 Autostar on ETX-60
Sent:	Friday, November 23, 2001 15:00:03
From:	jhensche@bechtel.com (Henschel, Jim)
Thought you would be interested to know that I plugged in my Autostar
497(ver 22tt) from the LX-90 into the ETX-60 and I did not have to
change any of the telescope parameters except the telescope model - the
ratios for Alt, Az, Dec and RA were what they should be for the ETX-60!

When the 497 is plugged into the LX-90 the choice of telescope models is
LX-90, ETX-125, ETX-105, and ETX-90.

When the same 497 is plugged in the ETX-60 the choice of telescope model
is DS-2130, DS-2114, DS-2070, DS-2060, ETX-70, and ETX-60.

Apparently there are some "smarts" in the base of the scope as well as
in the Autostar.

Regards,
Jim Henschel

Subject:	Subject: ETX-70AT Quality
Sent:	Wednesday, November 21, 2001 10:14:23
From:	N.J.Allen@btinternet.com (Nick Allen)
Thomas Henry wrote:

"I think Nick Allen has missed the point in his recent posting".

Genuinely sorry Thomas - I really didn't mean to cause a fuss!

I think it's fantastic that people investigate the power and limitations
of their equipment - and learn a great deal in the process.  It's just
that there has to be some balance.  That's what I meant by the
pony/racehorse analogy.

Here's another one: my PC speakers work great, but I wouldn't hook them
up to my HiFi and worry about their S/N level; or being unable to hear
the Nth violin when listening to a symphony!

But then my PC speakers only cost 20 quid!

Regarding scientific enquiry, I've bust a gut to obtain a masters degree
in astrophysics over the past two years - studying part-time.  So it's
not that I lack scientific curiosity - it's just that I have a level of
expectation for a product based upon the amount of money I have spent!

For the price I regard the ETX 70 AT an absolute marvel!

Now, if I had spent thousands of pounds on a 16 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain,
and found chromatic aberration - I'd send it back.

Best wishes.

Nick

Subject:	Ritz Camera Rip-off?
Sent:	Monday, November 19, 2001 20:45:22
From:	Wirejects@cs.com
I just purchased the ETX-60AT at Ritz Camera in Roanoke, Va. There
in-store flier said that the 70AT was 299.00 (including the tripod) but
they did not have any 70AT's in stock. They said the 60AT was the same
price (however go on line and check out some other dealers and you will
find the same scope for 249.00 with the same tripod). Just a warning to
all the others out there. Guess what is going back tomorrow! I like your
site it has some great info for a relitive new scope owner like me and
my son. (I still have to figure out where "N" is) how is that for a
rookie?

Ron
Mike here: The ETX-60AT is being closed out (at least Meade no longer advertises it and CostCo was selling it for $99).

Subject:	ETX-70AT Quality
Sent:	Monday, November 19, 2001 18:57:52
From:	thomas.henry@magician.org (Thomas Henry)
I think Nick Allen has missed the point in his recent posting.  Those of
us with concerns about the optical quality of the ETX-70AT aren't asking
for "Mount Palomar."  What we're asking for is a fair break.  It's very
obvious from the various postings here (and reviews elsewhere) that a
large number of these scopes have very decent optics, and that some are
so lousy as to be almost unusable.  But we all paid the same amount for
them; wouldn't it be fair if we all got the same quality scope?

I don't have nightmares about chromatic aberration.  But I do have the
spirit of scientific inquiry, and would like to get a better feel for
how many of these scopes perform well, and how many suffer from large
amounts of spurious color.  So the far the results are: 3 with virtually
none and 2 with very large amounts.

As for folks experimenting to correct astigmatism by rotating the
elements, I say more power to them!  I commend those people with
scientific curiosity and the know-how to try things out.  And most of
all, I commend their generosity in sharing their results with all of us
here.

So, I don't think we're getting silly here, and I don't think we're
expecting to win a horse race with a pony.  I think we're gathering good
information and looking for equal treatment by Meade.

Best wishes,

Thomas Henry
Mike here: Problems with a product should be addressed by the manufacturer so I agree that if the telescope is not performing as expected AND as others of the same model do, then it should be made correct.

Subject:	Is it Worth it?
Sent:	Monday, November 19, 2001 16:03:10
From:	drittne1@nycap.rr.com (Don Rittner)
I was looking to perhaps purchase a ETX 60 or 70 but I have read so many
problems here with the Autostar and alignment issues that it seems to me
not worth it.  Is this true?  Can you use the scope without the
autostar?
dr
Mike here: As I've said many times on the Site, typically only problems or requests for help are sent in. Users tend to keep quiet when not having problems. That's OK but unless you keep that in mind, you will reach a faulty conclusion. See the reviews to get a more balanced perspective. And yes, you could use them without the Autostar but you would have to mount in Polar mode and then "fake" the alignment.

Subject:	ETX 60AT
Sent:	Monday, November 19, 2001 13:51:49
From:	drittne1@nycap.rr.com (Don Rittner)
Hello, I have the option to get one of these for $163.99 and was
wondering if that is good price?
don
Mike here: Well, they were being closed at some dealers for $99. And whether the price is good depends upon whether you will actually use the ETX-60AT or whether it will not live up to your expectations for a telescope. As noted by myself and others on my ETX site, the ETX-60AT is a fine instrument, when used for its intended purpose. But if that purpose doesn't match yours, then you won't be satisfied with it.

And:

Well I was thinking of using it with my kids as an intro to astronomy. 
I realize I won't be discovering comets with it, but was hoping it was a
good intro scope.
Mike here: It is a good intro scope as long as the kids don't expect to see Hubble quality images (or even images like appear on the box...).

Subject:	etx
Sent:	Monday, November 19, 2001 7:17:22
From:	JohnF@attcanada.ca (John&Janet Fournier)
i just got a meade etx 60 telescope with autostar. there is a thing
called cable wrap in the utilities menu. can you tell me what that is
for? there is nothing in the manual. it asks cable wrap on or off???
thank you very much love the site
Mike here: You can disregard this setting. The ETX-60AT (and ETX-70AT) do not have internal hard stops in the base to prevent cable wrap. So the setting in the Autostar is unimportant; leave it OFF.

And:

thank you very much i will keep in touch  it r has been raining every
day since i got the scope i also have a 6 inch reflector from the 50's
but it is very hard to setup and use

Subject:	EXT-60AT Astro Telescope/Autostar Handheld
Sent:	Sunday, November 18, 2001 20:58:17
From:	MainMan0@aol.com
I found your sight on the internet. Boy am I lucky.  I just recieved a
Meade EXT-60 for a birthday present in October. ( Costco ) I  am new to
Astronomy and have been reading all your back issues on the Meade EXT-60
& 70 models.I just discovered Saturn lastnight with the 9mm eyepiece and
would like more magnification but after reading the past issues I am
Scepticle about getting the 3x barlow lens.It says in the instruction
manual that powers above 110X should be employed only under the
steadiest atmospheric conditions.Does this mean that the 3X barlow lens
would be sitting on the shelf more than not because of the atmospheric
conditions would not permit it's use most of the time.Also in the manual
it says example:By itself using the PL 5mm eyepiece yields a power of
70X with the EXT 70; (I have the 60 )used with the #128 3x Barlow
lens,this eyepiece yields a power of 210x.Insert either Barlow len's
into the telecopes eyepiece ,followed by an eyepiece.It goes on to say
that these lenses are achromatic,high performance,short-focus Barlow
lenses,perfectly suited to the low profile design of the EXT-60AT and
EXT-70AT.I guess my question is :should I get a 5mm by itself first and
then get the Barlow 2x and see what each does?or should I get the 2x
barlow lens first and then the 5mm.Will the 3x barlow be to much for the
EXT 60?

Your websight is fantastic.Keep up the good work:) Thanks  Pete.
Mike here: Keep in mind that the max theoretical magnification (can I have a dollar for everytime I've said this in the last five years?) is twice the aperture in millimeters. So for the ETX-60AT that would be 120X. As you get closer to that value, the image will become dimmer and fuzzier, meaning it will be usuable only on the brightest objects (like the Moon) and on the best nights. So, whether you get a short focal eyepiece and/or a 2X or 3X Barlow, keep that max in mind.

Subject:	etx60
Sent:	Saturday, November 17, 2001 18:40:20
From:	rtv0369@earthlink.net (rocky)
i was wondering if you could tell me what is wrong with my
etx60at.bought the astrofinder cable package today and had all hooked up
and running well.then software said it lost the scope.rebooted pc still
nothing.unhooked cable and turned scope back on without serial hook up
and now autostar lights up for 1 second and goes off but led stays on on
the scope.put new batteries in and still the same problem.cant do
anything with the scope.scope is only 1 month old.
HELP PLEASE!

rocco valenzano
new windsor,ny
rtv0369@earthlink.net
Mike here: Doesn't sound good. Since you say the software, cable, Autostar, and telescope were working for awhile it would seem that all was connected properly. And since you replaced the batteries that would seem to rule out low batteries as the culprit. I suggest turning off the ETX, unplugging the Autostar (just to confirm the connection), plug the Autostar back into the proper port, and power on the ETX. If the Autostar goes off after a second then power off and power on but try to get to the Utilities menu to RESET the Autostar before it goes off. Don't know if that will help but it might. Let me know.

And:

thanks for the quick response,but still no luck.autostar stays on for
1/2 second maybe then goes blank,doesnt even beep.going to call meade
tomorrow and see whats up,whether its the autostar or scope or both.
still cant figure out what happened.im very knowledgeable in
computers(cert.tech) and i know i hooked this up correctly.have a call
in to the rep i bought the kit from and hoping to hear from him.bought
the etx60at on ebay from a reseller brand new for $150.00 and overall i
think it has its limitations but i love it.was lost without it last
night but the leonids made up for it.im in new york about 60 miles nw of
the city and light show here was spectacular between 12am and
5:30am.anymore input you can give me would be appreciated.
thanks.......rocco

Subject:	ETX 70 and 60 users
Sent:	Friday, November 16, 2001 10:43:44
From:	N.J.Allen@btinternet.com (Nick Allen)
I'm a bit bemused by some of the postings on the ETX 60/70 site!

Good heavens!

People are taking these scopes apart; marking the edges of lenses and
rotating them; worrying about astigmatism, having nightmares about
chromatic aberration, attempting to align in garages...

What do you expect for 300 !  (that's what I paid - pounds not dollars -
despite the exchange rate,  we pay much more in the UK).

It is a great little scope - but it is *not* Mount Palomar!

Would you buy a pony and then complain it didn't win horse races?

Now let's not get silly about this!

What do you think Mike?

Nick Allen

London

(proud owner of an ETX  70 AT - but I don't expect it to resolve a
tick's bum on Pluto)
Mike here: Good points! As many have noted on the Site, most problems that users experience are solved WITH experience. Practice, practice, ask questions, and practice some more. I'm always glad to hear from a user who reports rain the day the telescope arrived; gives them a chance to read and re-read the manual and play with the scope before going outside and fumbling around in the dark.

Subject:	Re: Re: dec runaway on the ETX-60AT
Sent:	Friday, November 16, 2001 7:00:23
From:	Donald_T_Spencer@sd.fisc.navy.mil
Well, I took the scope outside last night to run it through the motions.
Guess what? No run away dec! The thing performed flawlessly. In fact, it
performed so well and our night was so clear,  that my son got out there
and sent it slewing about for an hour. I'm at a loss and will choke it
up to user error I guess. Thank you for your help. You have a great site
and are a big asset to us all.
Don Spencer

Subject:	Re:  An ETX-70AT Experiment
Sent:	Thursday, November 15, 2001 20:51:16
From:	thomas.henry@magician.org (Thomas Henry)
Hi Mike,

Thanks for running the test.

You reported:
>I used the 9mm MA eyepiece on Deneb.  On either side of focus I saw an 
>essentially solid circular disk of light.  On one side of focus there was 
>just a hint of a purple fringe on the outside edge of the disk but on the 
>other side of focus there was no visible color fringe.  The appearance 
>did not change as I proceeded from way out of focus to less out of focus 
>(except for the size of the disk).  

So far, one other person has reported essentially the same results as
you. And one other person has reported the same results as me.  This
isn't much of a sample size to work from (!), but it's pretty clear that
two of us have an astounding amount of chromatic aberration, and two of
us have an amount which is very reasonable for a short focal length
refractor.  It seems that ETX-70AT does in fact vary quite a bit from
unit to unit.

By the way, mine is on its way back to Meade at this very moment.

And did you notice that one of the recent participants mentioned that
the Moon showed very little color in his?  Now you know why I raised the
question to begin with.  I suspected that mine was a little funny, but
not having used a refractor before (a dozen year's experience with
reflectors, though) I didn't know what to expect.  I hope a few more
people report their experiences so we can get a better feel for the
probability of hitting a "ringer."

Let's keep our fingers crossed for the Leonids.  I've been announcing it
to all my classes (I'm a professor of mathematics); this may be the
event of a lifetime.  (On the other hand, I well remember Comet
Kahoutek!).

Best wishes,

Thomas Henry

Subject:	ETX-60AT 2X Barlow Wanted
Sent:	Thursday, November 15, 2001 11:33:02
From:	tskarasek@peoplepc.com (Thomas Karasek)
Anybody want to sell me or can suggest a source for a 2X Barlow for the
ETX-60AT?

Tom Karasek
tskarasek@peoplepc.com
Mike here: Obviously, Meade dealers will have this item.

Subject:	telescope advice
Sent:	Wednesday, November 14, 2001 14:22:35
From:	elaine.bond@virgin.net (Elaine Bond)
we were looking at telescopes for our lad who is into space, stars and
planets, looking at info etc the ETX-70AT looks about our price range
and features.

can you give us any advice and what we should be looking at,

we will be visiting my brother Florida Cocoa beach area at xmas, are
there any suitable retailers we could visit and talk to.

Elaine
Mike here: See the Feedback page for my response to the "Suggestion" email for advice on whether you will be satisfied with this telescope or will want a larger one.

Subject:	dec runaway on the ETX-60AT
Sent:	Wednesday, November 14, 2001 9:41:58
From:	Donald_T_Spencer@sd.fisc.navy.mil
I have had my ETX-60AT for about 8 months now and have not had any real
problems until now. I hadn't had the scope out for a few months, so last
Thursday, I set it up in the garage to test it out. I put it up on the
#883 tripod, made sure the lattitude was set correctly, hooked up the
power supply for the ETX, then proceeded to turn it on, made sure all
the settings were correct, and started my alignment. Now, since this was
in the garage, polar and 2 star alignments were  approximated (it was
cloudy that night, hence the reason I set up in the garage.). It used
Arcturus and another star in the east (i forget which one). Well, it
pointed to the general area of Arcturus,I confirmed alignment,  then
slewed east, movig from the west, to the south, then east (which I found
odd!), then stopped on the 2nd star's supposed position. I hit enter and
all looked normal, until it started a slow slew in dec. I shut it off,
realigned, then powered up. I then did the "reset", re-entered
everything, did the same 2 star alignment. It still slewed the same
direction to the 2nd star and still ran away in dec after the alignment
process was done. Did I do something wrong or is the scope
malfunctioning?

I sure would hate to junk this scope, since my 7 year old son has a
wonderful time with it at our dark sky site. Any suggestions would be
greatly appreciated.

 Thanks for help,
 Don Spencer
 Member San Diego Astronomy Association
Mike here: Well, until you said you hooked up a "power supply" I was already to suggestion putting in fresh batteries, as low batteries have been known to cause similar problems. But since you have a "power supply", could it be at fault? Is it the Meade one for the ETX-60AT or a "home grown" one?

And:

It's the Meade one (I posted pictures and description on your site). If
I get the chance tonight, I will test it out side tonight. I am still
bothered by the direction it slewed for it's alignment stars. From
polaris, it slewed left, to Arcturus,then continued on that direction to
the east. Is this normal?
Mike here: The direction of slewing to stars is less important than getting there. There may be some code (guessing here) that assumed that there are hard stops in place since some ETX models have them. But the DEC slew is strange.

Subject:	ETX 70: General Notes
Sent:	Tuesday, November 13, 2001 18:08:36
From:	_edge@bellsouth.net (John Brickner)
Well after a great deal of research we decided to settle down with the
ETX 70 for a starter scope. So far I've been very impressed with the
scope. The optics seem clear and it was very cool checking out Saturn
and Jupiter from my backyard.

We were sad they didn't seem to have any color to them, not sure why as
we are just getting into this. The moon hasn't been out yet here so we
are waiting to see what that looks like.

The software that came with the scope loaded fine on my PC, but after I
do anything with it the software locks up and freezes - pretty
disappointing.

Stars don't really look like much with this scope I have to say, but I'm
still learning and tweaking, and this site has been a great help so far.
If we stick with this I can certainly see us going up to a bigger scope.

Edge
Mike here: The eye won't make out much color on astronomical objects, unlike the photos you see. And stars, which WILL show different colors, will always appear as pinpoints. No details will be visible in any visual telescope. But star patterns (clusters, star fields).

And:

Thanks for the info. I took the scope out again tonight and started
working with the Auto Track system, but had problems. Using the two star
alignment it got somewhat close to each star but I hade to use the key
pad a good bit to align each. After the alignment it said everything was
fine, however when I "GoTo" objects it was off.

I used Capella and Aldebaran as my two stars and was just trying to GoTo
Saturn - I know where all these items are located with my naked eye so I
figured it was a good test. I used a compass to make sure I was north,
but maybe the compass is not functioning properly. I might also have to
check the tripod - I had it pretty level but maybe that was also off.
How much do each effect the alignment?

So your saying that even the planets require long exposures to film for
true colors to come out. And as for the stars that sounds about right -
though mine don't necessarily look like perfect little circle points,
they have a slight twinkle to them.
Mike here: GOTO accuracy is affecting by a lot of factors. Starting with a proper HOME position is important: level (reasonably close), pointing towards TRUE North (not Magnetic North), having the Site location and time entry accurate, etc. Practice helps. And due to the Earth's atmosphere, stars will twinkle.

And:

Great. Thanks a bunch for the information. I guess my last question then
would be, how does one locate true North? I'll do a little searching
myself today to see if I can't find that answer.
Mike here: True North is found by using street maps, aviation maps, some web sites (see the Astronomy Links page), or just determining your local "magnetic variation" which typically varies from 0 degrees to about 20 degrees. If you can see it, the star Polaris is within a degree of True North.

Subject:	ETX-60AT Astigmatism
Sent:	Monday, November 12, 2001 16:04:31
From:	dbird@ieee.org (Dave Bird)
Bought one from Costco for my grandson for Christmas. The first one had
bad astigmatism. Diamond/cross shape at best focus. Meade tech support
said take it back and swap it, which I did.

The second one was better but still not too good. I set up an artificial
star about 30 feet away to examine the diffraction pattern. (2 inch
silver Christmas tree bulb illuminated by a 1/4 inch hole in a foil
shield over a flashlight about 6 feet away.) Sure enough the diffraction
pattern was a flat oval.

After removing the front objective lens, I marked the edge of the two
lens elements with a pencil so as to be able to replace them in the
original position. Then, I rotated one of the lenses with respect to the
other to make about 1 inch between the marks, and tried the diffraction
pattern again. It was much improved, but still oval. I didn't do any
more adjustments since keeping the scope horizontal makes it awkward to
take out and replace the lens without getting fingerprints on them.

Outside, the stars are still not perfect points, but they are
acceptable. I noticed the other night that the moon seems to show no
false color. I was surprised at that. The diffraction pattern in and out
of focus shows white circles with no color except around the outside
biggest circle.

I will be checking this little scope out more in the coming weeks before
Christmas to see just how it performs optically. The go-to seems to work
pretty much as advertised after compensating for initial pilot errors.

Dave

Subject:	etx-70 autostar problem
Sent:	Sunday, November 11, 2001 10:26:24
From:	Raven50@aol.com
Ok, a had the ETX-70 working great.  Even got it tracking properly.  The
other night though, it went crazy.  I've reset the autostar twice, but i
keep having this problem.  Everytime i go to align it freaks out.  It
begins to slew, and before it reaches the star, the autostar starts
blinking and begins slewing up and to the right pretty fast, and nothing
works.  You can only turn it off and back on.  I've ran it manually for
the last two nights.  What is going on here?  I've tried all the
training and calibration, etc...  And everytime i go to align, this
happens.  What is going on?  Thanks so much.
Mike here: Low batteries have been known to create this type of problem. Try replacing them with fresh ones.

Subject:	Ref: ETX 70 Slewing "problem"
Sent:	Sunday, November 11, 2001 3:08:22
From:	N.J.Allen@btinternet.com (Nick Allen)
Ref: the scope slewing up slightly before slewing horizontally.  My ETX
does this, but I'm not sure it is a fault - it may just be inherent in
the design.  The reason I say this is that my scope points and tracks
perfectly.  Secondly, when it is sidereally tracking, I've noticed that
if you do a horizontal slew (with the accompanied small vertical shift),
a few moments later the motors automatically correct for the vertical
motion.  So whether it is intentional or not, the ETX takes account of
it.

Nick Allen

London

Subject:	ETX-70 Slewing  Problem
Sent:	Thursday, November 8, 2001 8:48:22
From:	aliakram@hotmail.com (FAWAD AKRAM)
Great Website! I have been a silent reader of your site for couple of
months, and  I bought an ETX-70AT telescope about a month ago after
reading reviews here , but so far I had only couple of nights to
experiments with it. Melbourne weather,,!  ( I have not achieved a
good alignment  yet)

My problem is about the horizontal movement of the telescope tube, when
I move the telescope to the left with the Autostar key pad it moves a
bit upwards (altitude) first and then moves to the left and the reverse
happens when moving to the right. Can you please tell me if there is
something wrong with the telescope motors ..? And should I take it back
to the retailer for replacement..? I have tried once to train the motors
but there is no difference.

And also
Can you please also tell me which Autostar version and firmware I have..?

Thanks

Ali
Mike here: Obviously it should not move in two directions when training or just attempting to slew in one direction. Check that the cable connector is tightly into the port. You could also try to RESET the Autostar and see if that helps. If that doesn't fix it, I suggest you take it back to the dealer for an exchange. You can check the version from the Utility-->Statistics menu item.

And:

Thanks for the help Mike
I have tried doing a reset but the prblem remains, i think i will
have to take it back to the dealer.
Thanks again

Subject:	ETX60AT Astigmatism problem
Sent:	Wednesday, November 7, 2001 20:48:56
From:	sdbodin@Hotmail.com (Steve Bodin)
I just pick up 2 Costco units (one for a friend) and both exhibit a
large amount of astigmatism. One unit had a misaligned mirror (about 5
degrees off of 45 deg) which I fixed by 'tweaking' the detent spring
clip but the other was OK. Still get an astigmatic image of brighter
stars; a cross at focus vice a dot. Any suggestions?

I'm an experienced double star observer with scopes ranging up to 17.5
inch. and 45 years of  astronomy under my belt.

Thanks, this is a great site.
Mike here: There have been a couple of reports of similar problems. Contacting Meade is one suggestion.

Subject:	re: ETX cable
Sent:	Wednesday, November 7, 2001 18:40:29
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	gareth.morris2@ntlworld.com
>494 Autostar with a home-made cable?

Mike said: "don't believe so"

Let me say: NO! NO! NO!

The simple cable is for use with a 495/497 Autostar which contains the
appropriate parts (inside) to talk to the PC (voltage-level and pinout).

The AUX port is -completely- different.  It provides full telescope
power for use by motors (electric focusers, etc.) and -completely-
different signals and voltage levels.

Connecting an AUX port to a PC's rs232 COM port can damage -both- ends
of the operation... you can blow out your PC's COM port, you can blow
out the AUX section of your telescope controller.

--dick (who has written this note far too often... sometimes -after- the
damage has been done...)

Subject:	More on ETX-70AT Chromatic Aberration
Sent:	Wednesday, November 7, 2001 15:05:17
From:	thomas.henry@magician.org (Thomas Henry)
I used my scope during the daylight hours for the first time today. (I
should have tried this earlier.) Looking at an insulator on a utility
pole down the street, all dark surfaces were fringed by a thick violet
band. Depending on the position of my eye, a green band would appear on
the opposite edge, i.e., the pole was brown, with a stripe of green and
violet on alternate sides.

Would someone else be willing to try this experiment during the day and
let me know if you too get severe color problems?  Thanks.  I'm still
trying to get a feel for "how much" color is "normal."

Thomas Henry
Mike here: Have you received any star tests yet? I've been fogged out.

No star tests yet.  I hope lots of people will pitch in, for I think a
decent sample size will aid everyone in the long run: it'll give us all
some sort of yardstick to which we can compare our individual units.

I almost hate to mention this, for it really puts me in a quandary.  The
transparency was a bit dicey last night, but the seeing was superior.  I
set up in the backyard, and went for Epsilon Lyrae.  Would you believe I
split all four components!  I used a 6mm with a 2X Barlow, for a
magnification of 116X.  The image was a little ragged around the edges,
but by patiently waiting for a burst of steady air, I was in fact able
to clearly see all four stars.  The one pair with equal magnitudes was
very obvious, while the other pair was a little more difficult.

I believe the Dawes limit for the ETX-70AT is 1.6 seconds.  I consider
doing a real-world 2.7 second split very acceptible!  By the way,
bumping things up to 4 minutes (like Iota Tri, I think it was) is very
easy to do.

So, do you see my quandary?  The scope does in fact have pretty good
resolution for an inexpensive unit.  It's just that the color fringing
is hideous on daytime scenes as well as bright astro objects.  I don't
know if I should ask for an exchange or not---the next one might have
better color and worse resolution!

Best wishes,

Thomas Henry

Subject:	ETX 70AT and standard field tripod
Sent:	Tuesday, November 6, 2001 10:33:43
From:	N.J.Allen@btinternet.com (Nick Allen) [bad return address]
It goes without saying that your site is excellent - I have used it
frequently in the past few weeks.

I'm a high school physics teacher who has recently completed a masters
degree in astrophysics.

I have done little *practical* astronomy in the past, and have been
looking at scopes for the past few weeks -  Newtonians, Maks, medium
ones, big ones, huge ones, small ones - weighing up the pros and cons.

I eventually opted to buy the ETX 70AT!

Why?

It is cheap, ultra - portable, now comes with extras like a tripod as
standard, and has enabled me to do more astronomy out of my study window
in London than I could ever have done with a scope requiring setting up
and transportation.

On a night when I could only see one star out of my window, I still
managed to do a two star align and it found things I couldn't believe
were observable.

Obviously it is a very small scope, and severely limited in terms of
light collection, power etc.  And the optics are good but not top-end -
blah blah!  But who is going to do research with this little gem?   I
cannot recommend it more highly for enjoying and appreciating the night
sky through a city window!  I have seen a web page which is derogatory
about these robotic scopes.  There will always be purists!

TIP

The standard field tripod came with the package: It is fairly sturdy,
but I have a little tip to improve it.  I was a little surprised with
the flexing in the splaying of the legs.  They are hollow aluminium,
whilst the mount is metal.  Each leg is attached to the mount with three
screws into a hard plastic male part.  Why the flexing?  When I
unscrewed the legs the plastic part had large burs which stopped the
legs being securely tightened to it.  Simply unscrew the legs, shave
away the burs with a Stanley knife and reattach them.  The flexing is
removed.

Best Wishes 

Nick A

London

Subject:	ETX cable
Sent:	Tuesday, November 6, 2001 1:13:44
From:	gareth.morris2@ntlworld.com (gareth.morris2)
I've made that cable I told you about in my last mail using details from
an astronomical society website.  I know I cannot use it to update the
Autostar #494 but, my question is, can it be used to control the ETX -
70AT telescope via a laptop by plugging one end of the cable into the
AUX socket in the telescope and the "other" end in the laptop?  I was
given some software with the telescope by Meade.  It's called Star
Navigator.

Best wishes
Gareth
Mike here: Don't believe so.

Subject:	An ETX-70AT Experiment
Sent:	Monday, November 5, 2001 19:05:21
From:	thomas.henry@magician.org (Thomas Henry)
Supposing I haven't bored everyone to tears with my questions about "how
much" chromatic aberration is acceptable in the ETX-70AT, let me propose
the following experiment.  The idea is to quantify what we're all seeing
(or not seeing).  To all who are interested: pick a reasonably bright
star near zenith (Deneb is a good choice for early evening just now),
put in the 9mm eyepiece, then defocus in both directions (i.e., first
rack outward, then inward).  In other words, make the imgage into a
disk.

Then report to me what you see for colors and how much (lots, some,
none). I'll tabulate the responses and pass the results back to The
Mighty ETX Web Site.  (Or if Mike prefers, he can collect them, but I
don't think he'll want even more e-mail than usual).

Here's what I see: on one side of focus I get a vivid violet donut,
whose center is a brilliant green.  On the other side of focus, the
colors are reversed.  Using my ranking system, I get lots of color
(actually, it's all color; no white light at all).  I should mention
that as per the Airy test, the patterns are quite good, it's just that I
get an eyeful of color.

How does your ETX-70AT perform?  

Thomas Henry
thomas.henry@magician.org 
Mike here: I'll try this on the next clear night and report to you. Thanks for suggesting it and for collecting the data!

Subject:	Creep after slew
Sent:	Monday, November 5, 2001 12:04:56
From:	Michael.Morley@btinternet.com (Michael Morley)
Can you please explain the term creep after slew which you have used in
your review of the ETX70AT

Your site is very informative and a must for every extx user.

Thanks 
Michael Morley UK
Mike here: "Creep after slew" is the affect of the Autostar slewing the telescope AFTER you complete a manual slew. This has been eliminated in the latest version of the #497 Autostar software. You can also possibly eliminate it by reTRAINing the drives.

Subject:	Help!
Sent:	Monday, November 5, 2001 6:57:22
From:	mrideaux@houston.rr.com (Mary Rideaux)
I am a beginner at astronomy.  9 months ago I picked up a ETX 60AT from
the flea Market $70.  Not much came with it but all the electronics
works and the thing was well maintained.

I am telescope illiterate.  I am also near sighted.  Is it possible for
me to enhance or up grade the sharpness of this telescope.  "Yes" I have
been to the doctor about my eyes.  Can you help me.  I just want to know
can I enhance my 60AT in any kind of way to bring it up to where the
70AT is and if so what lenses or equipment can I purchase. Actually I
would just like the to know the complete expansion abilities of the 60AT
if any.  I know about the different lenses Meade makes about its
products but I only found 2 references to the 60AT.

And no Mike I cant afford to buy a new one.  I wish this one was the 70
or the 90 at but its not.

I hope you can help me. 

Disabled, Telescope illiterate person signing off. 
Mike here: The ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT are essentially the telescope; the -60 is a 60mm aperture telescope and the -70 is a 70mm. However, the expansion capabilities of these is limited to certain optical "laws". In particular, the maximum magnification is twice the aperture in millimeters (120X for the -60). Since the focal length of the telescope divided by an eyepiece focal yields the magnification, you can see that with a 350mm focal length your options are limited. Yes, you can add a 2X Barlow but you need to keep in mind that as you get closer to the max theoretical magnification the object will get noticably dimmer and fuzzier. So, only bright objects like the Moon will likely be pleasing to you. These small refractors make excellent wide-field scopes for observing star fields from a dark site. Hope this helps.

And:

Thanks Mike I am a beginner so this will suit me fine.  I have been
looking at the cost of more powerful telescopes and well my flea market
buy is the most I can afford.  I will look into getting the barlow 2x, I
just wanted to make sure if there was a serial number to this part and
if you know what it is please let me know.
Mike here: 2X Barlow = Meade #124, 3X Barlow = Meade #128.

Subject:	ETX 70 and barlow lens
Sent:	Thursday, November 1, 2001 21:46:21
From:	GBURKATWORK@aol.com
I get pretty good views of Jupiter with 2 cloud bands showing and 4
moons and Saturn with the 9mm lens and #124 2x barlow .  Would adding a
3x barlow give more detail or larger size and less detail?  At what
power is the best viewing possible with this scope?  I'm thinking I may
need more aperture rather than lens power. Thanks
Mike here: Keep in mind the maximum theoretical magnification for ANY telescope: twice the aperture in millimeters. So for the ETX-70AT, that would be 140X. However, as you get closer to the maximum, objects will get fainter and fuzzier. Bright objects like the Moon will be less visably affected but planets will be more affected. So, using a 3X Barlow may or may not give you the images you desire.

Subject:	Chromatic Aberration
Sent:	Thursday, November 1, 2001 19:52:34
From:	SonomaPilot@mac.com (Sonomapilot )
Thomas,

I notice some minor aberration when viewing the moon thru the 26 or 9
with or without my barlow. It is not very big at all. I can usually tell
when I'm viewing the entire moon, and it is more obvious when it is
slightly out of focus...I haven't gotten to use my solar filter yet and
what it may do looking at the sun (been working 6am->after dark :( )

However, I have had problems with my GOTO. I have yet to get a good
track on ANYTHING. I just finished building a pier very similar to
Sherrods in the tech-tip area, and haven't had a chance to use it yet.
Time will tell.

 Clear skies,

  Mike Goddard
Mike here: Some chromatic aberration is normal on the ETX-60 and ETX-70 models. But it should be minor. As to tracking, most problems stem from improper HOME position or incorrect settings in the Autostar.

And:

I'll take some pics of the pier this weekend and send them to you. I
wouldn't go as far to say that it's 10%, but there is a small thin line
of purple around moon.

I can just barely see Polaris, it's at the very top of a tree in my
backyard. I have sveral other obstructions back there, but I enjoy just
walking out back and jsut sitting there. At the other place I've looked,
I can't see it at all due to some sky glow from a water tower. However,
everything else is clearly visible there. The milkyway is awesome out
there, especially after 12 or so.

I'm sure my GOTo problems are my fault. At first I didn't have the tube
horizontal. I was about 3 degrees off and that translated to alot when
looking at mars etc. As far as RA, I was way off to, but that was due ti
nit being able to see Polaris where I was. I haven't done much viewing
from my backyard yet, mostly my friends house.

Anyway, hope you have a great weekend, it's not looking too bad down
here in Lower Alabama.....I'll send you those pics as soon as I can.
And:
Here's a photo of the Moon showing some chromatic aberration.
Moon

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