Last updated: 30 November 2001
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-90RA (originally known as the "ETX Astro") and the ETX-90EC. 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:	I hate my ETX
Sent:	Thursday, November 29, 2001 13:20:12
From: (The Settimio Family)
I bought into the hype and purchased a ETX90- RA. I have visited this
site allot, and was real excited about my purchase. Then I started using
it. It's not my first scope, so maybe that has something to do with the
experience. I purchased it to take quick views outside my home. What I
find is that after using it for 15-20 minutes (after a 1-1.5 hour cool
down), I go and set up my TAL-2 (100+lbs). The TAL is a joy to use
compared to the ETX. It's optics and mechanics flow allot easier. The
ETX is not a scope for Star hoping.

- Mechanics - Clock drive not accurate at all, may not engage. RA & DEC
control are awful. It's difficult to accuire a target.

-Why do they still ship it with the finder that has been blasted
publicly for 5 years?!

- Focusing is cumbersome, and moves the image. When I focus on a object
the images moves all around and even off the field of view, though the
scope has not moved at all. We are only talking at 80x or less!

- The views are dark, not allot of light passes through this scope. They
are not as impressive as I have been reading. Forget Deep Sky

The ETX90-RA now sells for $179 from apogee. I paid $350 for both the
ETX and the tripod, but feel shorted. I worry at the survivability of
this scope if its used often. $179 is not a bad price, but forget the
tripod #883. Just use the legs on a tripod, or a photo tripod.


-Do people who have multiple scopes enjoy the ETX-RA?
-Do you need to supercharge this thing after being purchased to enjoy it?
-Does anyone do long exposure photography  with it? Even 5-10 minutes?

I can see solor viewing as a great application for this scope. As a
spotting scope it's probably OK as well.

I'll probably buy the ETX book, if it's reasonable priced, to see if I
can enhance the experience of owning one.

This is not a fun scope, buy I would like to learn how to enjoy it.  It
make me glad I have a larger scope to fall back on.

Thanks for letting me vent!
Mike here: The ETX-90RA, which is not the same as the more enhanced ETX-90EC (although they both have the same optics), is certainly NOT the telescope for everyone. Users need to decide upon their expectations and how they plan to use a telescope before purchasing ANY telescope. The ETX models do have their uses and perform very well at those. Many reports have been received from users with larger scopes; many of them find it easier to setup and use the ETX than their larger telescopes. And certainly no one ever said that the ETX-90RA is designed for long duration astrophotography, even though many of us have attempted it, with varying degrees of success. As to improving it, there are tips than can apply, especially if the telescope is an original used one. If the telescope is not fun for you to use then perhaps it is not the telescope for you.
Subject:	upright vs inverted
Sent:	Wednesday, November 21, 2001 6:35:16
From: (Marcos Ramella G.)
I was about to buy an etx-90 spotting scope for 345 bucks just two days
ago when i received an email from shutan telling they had a bargain for
the etx-90 RA for only 199 $. Not being interested in the motor or fork,
the salesman told me i could unscrew the optical tube from the fork and
leave the optic tube which is exactly the same as the spotting scope
(they even supply the allen wrench). Since i saved almost 150$ with this
swap i went for it and bought the etx-90RA. The thing is, this model
doesnt come with the 45 degree adapter as the spotting scope does, which
turns the picture to the correct vertical and right to left orientation.

My question is, do i need to buy this 45 degree adapter to view things
upright ? Does the 8x21 supplied 90 degree view finder give you an erect
image or inverted ? I  am going to attach a digital camera to the scope
and as opposed to 35 mm cameras these hook on to the 1.25" eye piece, no
matter where you put it. So when i hook my digital camera to the
eyepiece will it show an upright image ?

Great site !

thanks a lot for you time
Mike here: You will need the 45 degree erecting prism for a correct terrestrial view. The view through the eyepiece is upright but reversed left-to-right. Since you will be doing digital photography, it is easy to "flip" the image once you download it to the computer. The 8x21 finderscope presents a correct image.
Subject:	broken hard stop
Sent:	Monday, November 19, 2001 17:14:27
From: (Harrison Thomas)

I first found your site right after buying an ETX90RA. I was a rank
beginner and really appreciate the info gleaned from your site. I at
least became an informed beginner. Shortly after, I picked up an
ETX90-EC at a great price from a Penny's outlet store. It looked like it
had been a demo model, was missing the tripod legs, but only cost $119!!
So I purchased it, immediately got the deluxe tripod and an autostar,
read the four part instructions on your site for fine tuning the scope,
decided that if I proceeded slowly and carefully and only did what I
understood, I'd be OK.( I'm an experienced electronic tech/engineer
having 30 years w/ computers/synthesizers,robots,etc).  I went thru the
mechanical part and the scope was pretty tight, really just needing some
of the slop grease removed.

But I did find one thing that has left me catatonic and unable to
proceed simply because I don't know how to deal with it. When I removed
the OTC there was a loose tab of plastic inside the motor box on the
fork that I assume was one of the hard stops. It looked like it had
broken cleanly off from the base ( I can see where it broke off).

So, I finished up the mechanical portion, downloaded the updates to the
Autostar (ASU 3.0) which went fine, proceeded to the Polar alignment,
and have been catatonic since I read the instruction to turn the scope
to the first hard stop. I don't know which hard stop is missing, but I'm
afraid I'm going to damage the scope by going past where it should be.

I've since been back to the site a few times searching for specific info
on this but have found nothing. In the first part of the mechanical fine
tuning instructions, Mr Blessing ( I believe that was his site) kind of
poo poo'd the need for the hard stops, or maybe I just misunderstood.
Can I approximate their location? Can I just glue the tab back in? Do I
need to consider contacting Meade? ( I'd hate to go to that time and
expense for something that seems so trivial). Is this something that Dr.
Sherrod's Supercharge would take care of?

Anyway, I'd really like to start using the Autostar GOTO but I don't
want to perform work myself that will just leave the scope unusable and
void of warranty.

Thanks for any help
        the mechanically inept
            Harrison Thomas
And from our resident hardware expert:
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Gluing back the tab will not hold, and breaking the hard stop is the
most common damage to the right fork arm.  I repair these almost weekly.
 You can locate the stops behind the OTA support arm and gear/clutch
assembly; it is part of the actual trunion opening at the top of the
right fork arm;  you will see two very delicate (unfortunately) tabs, or
where they should be.

Take out what remains and careful drill a very small hole in its place;
then install a 6-30 x 3/8" small machine bolt into the too-small hole,
allowing it to self-tap into the plastic.  This will make a better than
original hard stop.

Just make sure it does not interfere with the rotating clutch block
which has the extended tab to hit the hard stops.  I think you will
plainly see how this must be done when getting into the scope.

Best of luck!

P. Clay Sherrod

Subject:	ETX fusion
Sent:	Tuesday, November 13, 2001 6:37:44
From: (Robert Pellenbarg)
I have been an impressed, and pleased, user of the ETX70AT scope for
some time now, but sense an opportunity.  Specifically, the ETX90RA is
being offered at "fire sale" prices lately.  How difficult mechanically
would it be to fit the '90 scope to the '70 GO TO base?  Would this
custom blending of aperature and computer control be worth the effort? 
Comments welcome.

Bob P.
Mike here: You would need to adapt the tube attachments to the forks. The ETX-70 ones won't directly fit the -90 OTA.

Subject:	Mounting the ETX90 ota into the ETX60 Base
Sent:	Monday, November 12, 2001 19:00:56
I have had an ETX90RA for several years and have enjoyed it to the
greatest extent possible.  I would like to have the GOTO capabilities
but I will not give up my OTA since I have tweaked it to almost
perfection.  Is it possible to mount the 90 OTA to the ETX60 base??  I
know the base measurements are exactly the same for the ETX90 and the
ETX60 and 70.  Any info is greatly appreciated.  

Thank you for your informative and enjoyable site.

Chris in NC
Mike here: You would need to adapt the tube attachments to the forks. The ETX-60 ones won't directly fit the -90 OTA.

Subject:	RE: Working with manual control
Sent:	Saturday, November 10, 2001 16:05:16
From: (Richard Seymour)
Eden asked:
After I have located a star or a planet with the manual control (not the
Autostar)  (Polar Align). is it a way to tell the scope to remain
tracing the star?

Yes... In Polar Mounting (base tilted) the manual controller can drive the
 motors for "sidereal tracking".

There are two ways to do it: one requires moving one of the small screws
 in the -back- of the controller.. that activates sidereal tracking whenever
the controller is turned on.
The other way is by pressing the buttons in a certain way. 
The screws and button-sequence are described in Meade's on-line copy of the
ETX90ec's Manual at:

--good luck

Subject:	Look for repair parts
Sent:	Friday, November 9, 2001 18:26:03
From: (Tim DeWitt)
I have an Meade ETX 90 and my vertical locking knob is broken inside of
the fork.  Do you know where I might be able to find replacement parts. 
Does Meade sell individual replacement parts.  Your help is much


Tim DeWitt
Indianapolis, Indiana
Mike here: Meade does not sell replacement parts however they will replace this part for free. Contact them. See the bottom of my initial ETX-90EC report ( for info on doing the replacement.

Subject:	Working with manual control
Sent:	Sunday, November 4, 2001 12:57:41
From: (Eden Orion)
First, 10x a lot for a GREAT site.

I have an ETX 90 EC + Autostar for about a year. I am very satisfied
with it.

Although I can use the Autostar and it is very helpful, I wanted last
week to train with the manual control. I can find the planets and some M
objects easily. now come the question:

After I have located a star or a planet with the manual control (not the
Autostar)  (Polar Align). is it a way to tell the scope to remain
tracing the star?

10x in advance
Eden Orion
P.S. enclosed is a picture of the moon from August
Moon Moon

Subject:	Re:  ETX-70AT versus ETX-90EC
Sent:	Thursday, November 1, 2001 9:40:06
I've now owned my ETX90EC for nearly 3 months and would like to thank
you for your personal email guidance, and wonderful web site.  I have
had some great evenings out culminating last night in some magnificent
views of Jupiter and moons.  I can thoroughly recommend the 90EC for a
beginner, and as you suggested have not yet needed the Autostar at all. 
Having looked at some of the images captured by your readers on film,
I would like to add to my eye piece collection (currently have 9mm and
25mm), to further enhance my viewing....the 40mm ep and 2x Barlow lense
look to give good results, and the barlow would obviously compliment my
existing ep's.  Is the 40mm a bit ambitious for a beginner like me?  I
live in an area of reasonably bad light pollution, I guess this may make
it a no-no!!!

Thanks and Regards,

Peter David (High Wycombe, UK)
Mike here: Certainly a low power, wide field of eyepiece does better on dark skies but you may still find a use for it for those large star fields.

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