Last updated: 30 November 2001
Subject: etx-90 vs. ds-2114ATS 4.5"? Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2001 22:18:53 From: email@example.com (Mark Murphy) I have been spending a great deal of time on your site. Thank you for all of the wonderful infomation. I have rediscoverd my love of astronomy and am ready to make my first real telescope purchase. Are you aware of any comparisons between the new Meade DS-2114ATS 4.5" f/8.8 GoTo Reflector and the ETX-90? I was pretty well settled on the etx-90, but by the time I loaded it up with the 497 AutoStar, 883 Deluxe Tripod, a few eyepieces, and a barlow; I was pushing $1,000. With the the DS-2114 at $400 including the tripod and the 494 AutoStar (I can live with only 1,400 objects), how much am I sacrificing in optics? Deep, deep space is not my main interest. I am more interested in planets, brighter/closer M objects, and doubles. Any thoughts or direction would be greatly appreciated. Best regards, MarkMike here: I have no experience with the DS models. But a larger aperture has its advantages. But then so does the compact size of the ETX-90. Depends upon what you expect and desire.
Subject: Re: Meade DS-90EC Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2001 9:36:31 From: firstname.lastname@example.org For Brian and others who are looking at entry level telescopes for their kids, eBay has had a lot of these for sale recently as the new models have been released. A quick search showed 12 new DS-90ECs sold in the last 10 days for between $172.50 and $222.50, all frmo Vanns. Having used both the refractors and reflectors in the DS line, I would definitely choose the refractor. The reflectors just require too much tweaking (1.25 eyepieces, collimation, mount and tripid fixes, vibration, axis play), and they are not very comfortable for a 9 or 10 year old. I got my 11 year old a DS- 70EC last year, and picked up a 114mm MEade reflector later. We definitely preferred the DS-70 because of its superior image quality. Also, mighty ETX-90RAs are available for less than $250. Either of these options would be a great beginner telescope, even for a young child. With 90mm, you'll get enough definition to get you hooked on your first look at Saturn and Jupiter. Just my 2. BrentAnd:
I sold both my DS-70EC and the 114mm Newt and I received today the ETX-90EC that I bought used on eBay. I got the EC for $405 with hard case and four eyepieces. I'll let you know about 'first light' (it's raining tonight and I want to do some of Dr. Clay's fixes before trying it out). My first impression upon touching it was how light it was. I was concerned that my 11 year old Jr. astronomer wouldn't be able to handle it, but I don't think that'll be a problem. I can see why some of the ETX's detractors slough it off as just plastic. But, if it works, ... Thanks again for your great site!
Subject: Autostar 497 interchangeable with 495? Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2001 20:37:22 From: email@example.com (David & Bonnie Brigden) After pouring over most of your very informative web site, I am still needing to ask something. I have recently purchased a Meade ds-80, which is supposed to use an autostar 495. However, on Ebay, I notice that the autostar 497, with more memory, etc., is only slightly more expensive. Is the 497 compatible with the ds-80, or not? Thanks, David Brigden firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: It should work but I'll check with our resident Autostar expert, Dick Seymour.
Subject: Re: Meade DS-90EC Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2001 20:03:48 From: email@example.com (Michael Frazier) To: firstname.lastname@example.org My wife recently purchased the Meade DS-114AT from Sam's for about $230. I think they are still selling them in our area of Southeast Texas. It is a Newtonian reflector with 114mm mirror; 910mm focal length; and an motorized altazimuth mount. It came with H25mm, H12.5mm, and SR4mm eyepieces; a 3X barlow; and the autostar system. The eyepieces are 0.965", but the telescope also contains an adaptor to fit 2" eyepieces. The 25mm and 12.5mm eyepieces have given really great results, but the 4mm tends to make things a tad bit fuzzy. I am only a beginning amateur -- my wife and I saw this telescope while walking the aisles -- the price looked good -- she asked if I wanted it -- the rest you can assume
. I have found that it is a very nice telescope and well worth the money. I have been able to view Saturn and Jupiter very well with it, even on less than average nights. I can't say that I am overly satisfied with the tracking motors, but perhaps I haven't gotten used to it yet. However, I have enjoyed it very much and hope to get many enjoyable evenings out of it. Meade does offer a camera mount and a video mount accessories for it. I haven't purchased those items yet, so I can't give any feedback there. If you are still looking for the DS-90, then perhaps the DS-114 may work for you as well. Hope this helps! Michael Frazier email@example.com
Subject: Meade DS-90EC Sent: Sunday, November 25, 2001 18:50:18 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Brian Moldover) Is this model still being sold?I am looking for the above telescope. I am not sure if it has been discontinued or is being replaced, as I am finding difficult to track one down. After doing a fair bit of research, it appears to be a good first scope for myself and my 9 year old son, as we could hook it up to a laptop to drive it and also could do some imaging. Amazon had it listed at $224, which is a great price, but it's out of stock. If anyone has another suggestion for a good first refractor scope, I'd love to hear it. Thanks! Brian Moldover email@example.comMike here: Don't know if still available. Check with Meade. As to other possibilities, have you considered the ETX-70AT? Check the ETX-70AT comments and reviews and see if it meets your expectations.
Subject: Re: ETX Sent: Wednesday, November 21, 2001 6:35:09 From: Jlclimber@aol.com Thanks for your advice. I am going to go with the ETX. There is a large amount of info available (such as sites like yours) and learning the sky with a wide field scope cant be a bad idea. Thanks, Jon
Subject: telescope question Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2001 21:48:13 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Greg Gainey) I have planned on buying a telesope in the next two weeks. I have narrowed it down to the Meade DS-2114ATS and the Meade ETX-70AT. In your opinion which one would you purchase if it was your first telescope? Also I know that the ETX-70AT can be used for astrophotography can the DS-2114ATS be used for astrophotography also? Thank you for any help you can give me. GregMike here: As I've mentioned before on the ETX Site, I have no experience with the DS models so can't comment on them. You can read through the "DS Models" and "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback pages for user inputs on these.
Subject: RE: Telescope Questions Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2001 10:14:38 From: AOVIEDO@miamidade.gov (Oviedo, Alberto (DHS)) Thank you very much. You answered alot of questions with that info. Now one more question if you don't mind. When aligning the Autostar, how do you know your aligning to the right star?Mike here: Glad the info helped. As noted in the manual, if the HOME position was correct, the closest, brightest star to the finderscope or eyepiece field of view is usually the correct one. However, at times it does help to know the night sky, or at least the position of the brighter stars. See the "Alignment/High Precision/Star Charts" article on the Autostar Information page for some charts.
Subject: ETX Sent: Monday, November 19, 2001 13:54:14 From: Jlclimber@aol.com I am a beginner, I have not touched a telescope since my $50 Tasco when I was twelve. I currently have the option of buying either the Meade ETX-70 At or the Meade DS-60EC. Regardless of the computer controls, which one would you purchase? I am really stuck on the focal length and aperture between the two, does it matter, I would like to view the planets and closer objects in our galaxy. I have also reviewed most of your web site including the FAQ (thanks), but I am still confused. These are my two options because a friend of mine works for a meade retailer and can get me either one for $100. I would appreciate your advice. Thank you in advance. JonMike here: I don't know what the specs are on the DS-60EC but the ETX-70AT has a focal length of 350mm, which is rather short for satisfactory planet viewing if you expect to see a lot of details. The ETX-70AT does make a fine wide field instrument.
Subject: Telescope Questions Sent: Friday, November 16, 2001 6:54:11 From: AOVIEDO@miamidade.gov (Oviedo, Alberto (DHS)) To: email@example.com ('firstname.lastname@example.org') My name is Albert Oviedo and I live in Miami,FL. For as long as I can remember I have wanted a telescope but knew nothing about them and they were always to expensive. I finally decided to purchase a telescope and started to shop around. The one that caught my eye was the Meade ETX-90EC. I started saving money and about a month later, out of impulse, I purchased a Meade DS 114 from a store named BJ's (BJ's is like a wholesale store other stores like it are Costco, Sams Club). I had seen the 114 at priced at $349 at another store and bought it from BJ's because it was priced at $179. I took it home and set it up that same night, but to my disappointment, the only thing I could see large and clear was the moon. I could see Mars but I only knew it was Mars because of it was red. It was so small that it looked like nothing more than a red lowercase letter o at font size 10. I then decided I would go to the Discovery Store and purchase the most powerfull eyepiece my telescope could handle, but to my disappointment once again, they only sold 1.25 eyepieces and they dont fit my telescope. I searched every store in Miami for eyepieces and didnt find any. Then the other day while surfing the internet I came accross a web page www.omni-optical.com/universe/telescope/ut930.htm that informed me about an Eyepiece Adapter .965 to 1.25. I called Meade and after a little complaining they told me they would send me the adapter for free! Im happy about that but now a I need the know how. Meade told me to get a 9.7 mm Super Plosel and a 2X Barlow? I also dont like to have to strain my eye to much so is there anyway possible to get the quality and size I want with an eyepiece that has a larger apature? I have so many questions an no one I know is even remotely interested in astronomy. Thank you for your time and sorry for the long email. Sincerely, Alberto J. OviedoMike here: Two points to keep in mind: 1) there is a maximum usable magnification for any telescope based upon the aperture of the telescope (max mag = twice the aperture in millimeters). Then to determine the magnification from any eyepiece you divide the telescope's focal length by the eyepiece's focal length (both in the same units, probably mm). If you add a 2X Barlow Lens you will be doubling that magnification. If that approaches or exceeds the max magnification, expect dim and fuzzy views except on bright objects like the Moon. 2) Don't expect to see views like appeared on the telescope's box. The eye just won't perform like a camera in this case.
Subject: telescope Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2001 15:25:03 From: email@example.com (LG) I saw your page and it's very enlightening. I have a Meade DS-114. I am having a heck of a time with it. This is my first big scope, I upgraded from a Galileo. I found the instruction booklet for this scope very lacking. My problem is I can't see a darn thing through the scope except light and dark. I adjusted the mirrors and they are centered and I can see my eye in the middle. I use the finder to locate a simple object like my neighbors wood pile and I can see it clearly without a lens. I put in a lens and can see nothing but a fuzzy grey. So I change lens twice and still nothing. I would write Meade but they don't seem to have a email address. Can you tell me what I am doing wrong or where I can find out? Thanks for your time. Licia GibsonMike here: You need to turn the focus knob to adjust the image clarity. Remember, this is an astronomical telescope so objects closer than 100s of feet away may not reach a clear focus. There may be a minimum focus distance shown in the manual. Try the Moon the next night it is visible to you.
Subject: Purchase of new Telescope Sent: Saturday, November 10, 2001 21:04:24 From: GfilekGF@netscape.net (Greg Filek) I just ran across your site for the first time today and it seems like you know your stuff. I am planning on purchasing a Meade DS-2130ATE reflector telescope. I have never owned a telescope before, and I am a little uneasy about buying this particular one. As you may know, this telescope was just introduced along with the entire new DS series about a month or 2 ago. I'm not real crazy about buying a newly designed product due to the fact they are much more likely to have bugs in them. I have read many of the comments made about DS telescopes, and so far I have seen no complaints about anything out of the ordinary that is unexpected. Most of these complaints made are not really "bugs" but more people demanding everything to be perfect and rosy. I know this is not the way it is. But anyway, should I wait on the purchase of this telescope or can you or anyone reading this give me some input on the new line of DS scopes? I know that Meade is a quality brand and I'm sure I would not be disappointed. Any feedback would be great. Thanks. Sincerely, Greg Filek GflkGFG@netscape.net November 10, 2001Mike here: I have no direct experience with the DS models, new or old. But, as you note, buying ANOTHER new is always a risk. Many people wait for "version 1.1", whether it is a car, software, or a telescope; and some wait for version 2 or 3. I see you are running Windows98; have you decided that moving to Windows 2000 or XP is not worth risk or hassle? If you are concerned about the risks/hassle of buying a new telescope, consider purchasing a used one from a reputable source or seller. There are several telescopes noted for sale on my ETX site. But then a new telescope always comes with a warranty and most dealers will stand behind their sales should you become displeased with it. Anyway, these are just some thoughts that come to mind from your inquiry.
Subject: DS-70 EC mount Sent: Saturday, November 10, 2001 20:21:48 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ringo Li) I bought a DS-70EC mount from Meade (NO OTA or eye pieces, just the mount, 2 motors and tripod). I already have a ETX-90EC. I bought this mount thinking to use my 500mm f8 telephoto lense to make another telescope. Right now I am using the same #974 Autostar with 22rt software that I have been using with my ETX-90EC, which has a DS-70 in the Telescope setting option. I have not change anything else in the Autostar other than the telescope setting. There is no choice for mount. It is already AltAz. I have this experience: 1) I set the RA circle scale zero at the pointer on the base, so that is my north. I set the invisible OTA level, zero degree on the DEC. I then do an indoor similated easy alignment. I press enter on both star when the telescope stop slewing and now I have a successful similated alignment. Then I choose Name Star Polaris and press GOTO. I was expecting Polaris should be very close to where I set the RA zero (north). But the telescope stope about 20 degrees east of zero. The DEC stop at about 34 degree, which is correct. I then press Mode to go to Utility and park the telescope. The telescope turn very very little in the horizon, almost undetectable (It thinks it is home already since the last star was Polaris. The Dec motor go back to zero degree (level). However, it did not went back to the RA setting of zero where I would expect it to go. I repeated this several times with same result. I checked this against the ETX-90EC. The ETX-90EC would go the where north is suppose to be and park where it suppose to be. 2) On some similated Named Star GOTO, the telescope would go all the way around for MORE than 360 degree before stopping somewhere. Am I missing something in the Autostar setting to cause the telescope to miss north by 20 degree or the park position? Is there some other setting I have to do in the Autostar? Gear ratio? Help! Thanks Ringo Li (MCSE+I, MCT, A+) ATOZ Business Computers email@example.comMike here: Whenever you move the Autostar from one telescope to a different one (whether the same model or a different model) you need to reTRAIN the drives. Try that.
Subject: etx 114 problems and questions Sent: Saturday, November 10, 2001 17:16:35 From: Scottycassellme@aol.com Any online chat? Where do I go for questions about problems with my telescope. I bought this relescope about 2 yeares ago and had to return 3 of them for problems with mounts,motors and wrong parts sent for replacements. Now the question I have is, Why does my telescope have play in the declination and the motors don't move the tube up or down till the play is gone. I'm through with the techs at meade I can't get a straight answer or they always want to send me more parts that I don'r need. YHANK YOU scott CassellMike here: I'm confused; there is no ETX-114 model. Do you mean a DS-114? If so, I have no direct experience with the DS models so will post your inquiry on the next Site update. With the ETX line you can TRAIN the drives, which helps slewing and tracking. With the current Autostar software version you can also adjust the backlash to reduce the lag time before the slewing starts.
Subject: Autostar controller replaced Sent: Thursday, November 8, 2001 4:30:10 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jim Reed) I went back to the store and the guy plugged up my buzzing Autostar controller. He immediately unplugged it and said " That don't sound good". He checked my cable on a good unit and it was fine. He swapped me controllers and said that was the second one "bad out of the box". I'm star gazing now, this is amazing, I love it. Keep up the excellent work on you site. Thanks again, Jim.
Subject: Your New Book Sent: Thursday, November 8, 2001 2:55:41 From: NArmstro@cha.ab.ca (Armstrong, Neil) Congratulations on your ETX book! It will sell like hotcakes. Can you put the picture from April of '62 somewhere in the book? The picture of you with the Edmond Scientific Telescope, that hat is great! Got my DS-127, excellent detail and the 495 Autostar is really good. It is not nearly as portable as the ETX so I will have to put on my thinking cap. bye for now.
Subject: re: Autostar Problems Sent: Wednesday, November 7, 2001 18:22:50 From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org It certainly sounds like a bad (shorted) cable, or that the Autostar HBX connector may have one of its pins "hopped over" touching another. The other possibility -is- a bad motor, since the Autostar can ask the motors to do things the controller does not do. Finally, and this should have been first: low batteries, or an inadequate power supply. good luck --dick (days behind)
Subject: re: Question: Meade 114EQ-DH4 ... What is it? Sent: Wednesday, November 7, 2001 18:21:21 From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: Gordon@dimension-x.net Your starfinder is *exactly* the same as the model 494 Autostar. Except for the programming required to operate the German Equatorial Mount (GEM) of the 114EQ-DH4 . The 114EQ-DH4 is *exactly* the same (save color and perhaps eyepiece selection) as the Meade 4504 telescope. There is an e-group centered on that model at http://meade4504telescopes.yahoogroups.com (if that's the wrong addres, try: http://www.egroups.com/messages/Meade4504Telescopes which is obsolete, but gets you there...) The firmware -program- in your Starfinder cannot be Updated. The "User Bodies" (Comets/Asteroids/Satellites/UserObj/Landmarks) can. To do that with a Starfinder (or 494) requires the 506 cable/converter set. No, you -cannot- build a 506 yourself. Many people find it about as cheap to buy a 495 or 497 Autostar (with numeric keypad), build a 505 cable (simple wires and connectors) and use that instead of the 494. The problem with -that- approach is that 495/497's currently do not know how to control a GEM mount. They -will- popint the telescope at the correct stars, but they might hit the tripod or motors along the way. Yes, if you have a 506 cable/converter, or a 495/497 and 505, you -can- control your telescope with a PC. have fun --dick (days behind)
Subject: Autostar Problems Sent: Sunday, November 4, 2001 8:11:19 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jim Reed) Hi, Great Site! Learned a lot, really appreciate your efforts. I just purchased a Meade DS90 w/ Auto star. Thought I'd drop ypu a quick note to see if you've heard of this problem. Autostart controller just wont work. The other controller for the motors works just fine. I read the instruction that came with Autostar. The 1st time I tried auto star I followed the instructions on the LCD. Read the sun warning, pressed #5, entered my location, date and time. Made it to the start of alignment and the lcd turned off. After unpluginhg the power and plugging it back up, the process I just went through started all over again. Did not make it as far this time. Now the autostar hand controller just make a buzzing or clicking sound when the power is on, sometimes the button will light, sometimes they wont. I suspected a bad cable. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time, Jim.Mike here: Some users have connected the Autostar to the wrong port on the ETX models. I don't know if the DS has multiple ports but you might check that.
Thanks for the reply. I have 2 sockets, one for a hand controller and one for the computer. They are different sizes. The Autostar and the hand controller are the larger plugs, can't be plugged into the computer socket. Never heard of the autostar controller making a buzzing or clicking sound?Mike here: Sounds from the Autostar besides a BEEP are not good.
Subject: DS series Auto Focus #1240 (noisey?) Sent: Saturday, November 3, 2001 23:49:08 From: email@example.com (Bill) I have a DS-127EC (recently purchased). In order to minimize the 'OTA' wander while focusing, I added the Meade 1240 Auto focus motor. Once installed I noticed that this motor MAKES A LOT OF NOISE! Wow, I'll wake up the dead at star parties (not to mention the next door neighbors at 2am :-( Is this NORMAL? Maybe I have a 'defective' motor. As a side note, Are there ANY 'replacements' for the 'cheezy' plastic focuser on these scopes? If so, what brand would be a good choice? Thanks Bill Chandler El Dorado Hills, Ca Lat: 38:41:13.776N Lon: 121:04:39.432W
Subject: Question: Meade 114EQ-DH4 ... What is it? Sent: Thursday, November 1, 2001 17:11:51 From: Gordon@dimension-x.net (Gordon L. Mc Lellan) I just discovered your site (www.weasner.com) via google (www.google.com) and I've been reading and reading all the wonderful information about the meade scopes and autostar controllers. I picked up a scope called the Meade 114EQ-DH4 at Sams Club last December (2000) for about $250. I've used it manually to view the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus and I think it does a lovely job! Manual is ok 9-times out of-10 but sometimes it'd be great to have the scope track an object. This is where my question comes in. The scope itself seems to have the same parts as a DS114 (as pictured on Meade's website), except the tube is gray and has the markings Meade Digital Electronic and Equipped With Starfinder Digital Automatic Object Locater (both in all caps). Originally the mount had some problems with backlash, but the manual told me how to fix it right up. The RA motor has a power plug labeled 15V and the DEC motor has an 8 pin jack labeled HBX There are a lot of references to Meade AutoStar computers on this site and others on the 'net, however, I haven't found any reference to the StarFinder computer this scope came with. It has a 2 line backlit LCD, RA and DEC controls, a Speed control and two menu scroll buttons (up/down). On the back it has this part number(?): 35-4700-03 and a gold Made in Taiwan sticker. When I plug it in it displays: (C)00 MEADE [1.0] STARFINDER Question 1: Is this an autostar computer, if so, which one? I hear about the #493, #495 and #497. 1b: can the software be updated, or can I upgrade to using a different AutoStar computer? Question 2: Is the scope capable of being controlled by a PC (ie: Starry Night).Mike here: See the "Autostar Models" article on the Autostar Information page; you'll find some reference to Starfinders there. I think that will answer your question.
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