ETX-90 USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 30 November 2003
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-90RA (originally known as the "ETX Astro"), the ETX-90EC, and the ETX-90AT. 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:	etx 90ra
Sent:	Sunday, November 30, 2003 19:49:28
From:	zen35693@zen.co.uk (Michael Kelly)
Hi there i am fairly new to astronomy and have purchased an etx90ra....i
have used a few other scopes celestron11" gps, and an etx 125ec. on my
90 ra when viewing anything i find that there is a bright circle/disc of
light about 1/2 the viewing field no matter what i look at...i can find
no information as to what this could be, even when i have a bright
planet i.e saturn or jupiter this disc of light is very evident....have
you got any idea what i can do about this.......and it is evident no
matter what eyepiece i use. i thought this was just a characteristic of
the etx but it is not evident in any other meade i have seen. and i can
also see stars in the much darker region outside the disc towards the
edge of view. any help would be gratefully recieved.....hope to hear
soon .......Mik Kelly.
Mike here: There is a "light leak" on the bottom side of the OTA where the photographic tripod mounting hole is. This is a typical source of stray illumination; many people cover this.
Subject:	Suggestion for new section.
Sent:	Saturday, November 29, 2003 09:02:57
From:	4jacksons@sbcglobal.net (Andy Jackson)
I have been a fan of your sight since I decided to get a 90 back in
July.  I got the 90 RA model at a GREAT discount and I simply love it. 
It meets my needs perfectly. So far, I have not missed autostar/goto but
I am just getting into more involved sky navigation and would like to
see more info from non-goto users.  I have used a 90 with autostar and
did not feel that the gear warranted the extra dollars.  No quarrel with
those that do, my point is that there are two very different ETX 90
experiences out there.

What do you think is the ratio of  goto vs non-goto ETX users?  I'm sure
we are the minority.
 
Andy Jackson
San Antonio, Tx.
Mike here: There are many ETX-90RA users out there, including myself. This includes those of us who purchased the original ETX (1996 to 1998) and those who purchased new ones since the EC model came out in January 1999. While Meade sold a TON of original model ETX telescopes I would suspect they have now sold even more Autostar capable models.
Subject:	ETX 90 RA and Bogan Tripod
Sent:	Friday, November 28, 2003 18:43:07
From:	mfridkin@clccrul.org (Barbara Fridkin)
I've been using the ETX 90 RA for about 6 years.  I enjoy finding deep
sky objects with setting circles, but have mixed success in doing so.  I
am in the process of rethinking how I am supposed to use my Bogan tripod
with the ETX scope to improve my success.  The tripod  has three knobs
that together can move the scope along three axes.  The first knob moves
the scope along the azimuth access, and I don't use this for polar
alignment or really for any purpose at all.  The second knob moves the
scope along the vertical axis, and I set this to my latitude using the
calibration that came with the tripod head.  The third knob moves the
scope along some other axis, mysterious to me, and I don't think I'm
supposed to use this at all.  The trouble is, I'm not sure what position
it should be in, and remain in.  My first thought was that it should be
"level."  By this I mean that if I put the vertical axis at 90 degrees
(as though I were at the North Pole), this third axis should be tilted
so that the head (the part that connects to the base of the scope)
should be a plane parallel to and level with the ground.  Once the scope
is attached, the tube points straight overhead when Declination is at 90
degrees and RA is rotated appropriately.

The problem is, lately when I've tried using the setting circles, the
familiar bright objects don't come into the field of view as they
should.  I know that setting circles don't work perfectly anyway, but
the degree of error seems unusually large.  The scope points to the
generally correct region of the sky, but not with anything resembling
precision.  Do you have any advice specific to my problem or generally
about the orientation of the scope when used with a bogan tripod.  Your
help would be greatly appreciated.  Please send your response to: 
mfridkin@clccrul.org
Mike here: Well, lets see. First off you need to put the telescope in an equatorial or polar mounted position. In this position the ETX fork arms will point approximately at the star Polaris. If you don't have a "wedge" for your Bogen tripod then you probably can't get into a polar mounted mode. Second, the Right Ascension setting circle is only valid once you have set it based on the position of a known and visible object. For more on setting circle use see the article "Using Setting Circles" on the Observational Guides/References page.
Subject:	ETX90 - capability - any lists?
Sent:	Tuesday, November 25, 2003 05:51:45
From:	halee@aprilc.freeserve.co.uk (Deborah Hambly)
Fantastic site. I own an old 8" Meade Schmidt Cassegraine. However, I
have just traded it for a ETX90 for a couple of weeks. The Autostar
function is great. However, how does a new user to such a small
telescope know what can and can't be seen with the scope?

I appreciate that it is neat to be able to punch in the co-ordinates, or
to select any of 8000 objects, but from ones relatively dark driveway in
rural England, surely only a fraction of these objects are visible in a
3" telescope.

Does someone provide a list that would be suitable so that a beginner or
a new user of the ETX could work through it? I am particularly fond of
deep sky objects, but again, probably only the brightest are visible in
an ETX90.

As an amateur astronomer I'm aware that visibility is affected by
surrounding light pollution, so an ETX 90 will be capable of much more
in the countryside than in a city. However, surely there must be a guide
or list of objects that a telescope of this size should be able to
locate?

For example, I have an idea with the solar system. Planets are obvious -
it should be able to handle mars, venus, saturn and jupiter, whereas it
probably can't make out Neptune or Uranus, and possibly not Mercury.

Surely there must be other ETX users who have had to discover what can
and can't be seen with their scopes other than through trial and error?

I hope you don't think that I'm being lazy, having done all my astronomy
to date with a manual telescope, but I only have the small telescope for
a week, so I'd like to make the best of it.

Thanks for your help!

Deborah
Mike here: See the User Observations page; lots of reports there. And yes, you can see all the Messier objects and many other DSOs. You can see Mercury, Uranus, and Neptune with the ETX-90. But as you note, light pollution can affect what you can or can not see.
Subject:	ext-90
Sent:	Tuesday, November 25, 2003 01:39:05
From:	sfeickert@earthlink.net (shirley m feickert)
My good friend has ETX-90, having a lot of problem with the clock drive
he said he went on your site looking for: clock drives and fixes. Is
there some where he can go beside meade?

                                    me again
                                       Jim Feickert
                                            at
                                     sfeickert@earthlink.net
Mike here: Need more info. 90RA or EC? But there are lots of tips on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Meade ETX 90 EC&UHTC
Sent:	Wednesday, November 19, 2003 13:09:36
From:	Deckertfloors@aol.com
Do you think this would be a good scope to view saturn with?  If so what
eyepiece should I use?  You help would be greatly appreciated on this..
Thank You, Brian Deckert
Mike here: You can read User Observations reports on the page by the same name. And depending upon the details you expect to see, yes, the ETX-90 can provide nice views of Saturn and the Ring System. If you have a new telescope I recommend going for the Meade $99 Eyepiece Deal. Details at: http://www.meade.com/promo.d/plosslpromo.html.

And:

Thank You for your help I am very new to the scope market and dont want
to send hundreds of dollars on a bad scope.  Thanks Again, Brian Deckert
And:
Could you send me a picture of what saturn may look like with this scope
and what eyepieces barlow etc. that would be with.  

Thank You, Brian Deckert
Mike here: See My Astrophotography - The Planets for some comparison photos.
Subject:	Loose "fine Tune" RA knob on ETX-90RA
Sent:	Wednesday, November 19, 2003 06:33:57
From:	brian.treadwell@jqh.com (Brian T. Treadwell)
I just received a new ETX-90RA and set it up.  When I unlock the RA lock
and try to use the RA fine tune knob, the knob itself is very loose. 
The RA itself is stiff, but I found fixes for that on your site.  Is
there a way to tighten the RA knob so it is more secure like all the
others, or is this just a characteristic of that knob and I should just
not worry about it? Thanks for any help you may be able to provide.  By
the way, thanks for providing such a great site so beginners like myself
can learn about this great hobby.

Brian
Mike here: Is the knob loose on the shaft or does the shaft itself seem to wiggle around?

And:

It seems as though the shaft itself is wiggling around.
Mike here: If the axis is locking and tracking is OK I wouldn't worry about it; you could put a small O-ring on the shaft. But if the axis is not locking properly then I would request an exchange at the dealer.

And:

The axis works fine, so I guess I won't worry about it.  If it gets to
where it bugs me, I will take your idea about the o-ring.  Thanks for
the tip and for such a great site.  Take care.

Brian Treadwell

Subject:	New ETX-90EC.
Sent:	Monday, November 17, 2003 15:46:49
From:	cvhcox@charter.net (cvhcox)
On 10 Oct 03 I purchased an ETX90 from B&H Photo and was wondering if
it's any different mechanically and electrically from the 90's that are
being "supercharged" or "mechanically improved" with all the tips from
Dr. Sherrod, yourself, and email contributors? I was particularly
horrified to find out about the "two dimple" drag clutch used on the 125
per a year 2000 email. Two should cause this plate/washer to tip. A
third placed directly across from the first two would have given tripod
stability and slightly more friction. But the horror comes from the fact
of the dimples themselves. What WERE they thinking???

So, my question is quite simple: What, if any, differences exist between
earlier models of the 90 and the one I recently purchased and does the
90 use "dimples" for clutch friction too?

And yes, the workmanship in this 90 is horrid. I've already repositioned
the RA clutch lever to the middle of it's cutout. There's a piece of
tissue wipe sticking out from the end of the baffle tube. The flip up
mirror is full of dust and debris particles which will have to be sucked
out since trying to blow them out will scatter them into the OTA. I'm
almost afraid to give it first light and fire up the Autostar for fear
of what I'll find.

Thanks for the great site. It was a real education AND eye opener...

Chris Cox
Mike here: I haven't had the opportunity to look inside a new ETX-90 so can't comment. As to the other problems you reported, I suggest contacting the dealer; the tissue paper bothers me. It sounds like someone (Meade, the dealer, OR perhaps a previous owner?) tried to clean it.

And:

In my last email a few seconds ago I forgot to mention that the focus
knob seemed to "catch and release" when I first tried it out of the box.
After removing it I found I had scratched the shaft all around as it was
slipping. I took my Dremel tool with the sanding/cutoff disk and milled
a flat on the shaft. Actually it's a slightly concave "flat" that
"traps" the set screw even better. First, I covered the entire scope
with an old clean towel and pushed the shaft straight through the towel
fabric to make a dust tight fit. A small jewelers file will do nicely,
but I was in a hurry and the Dremel took just two gentle swipes,
CAREFULLY, with very light pressure, to make the cut.

I was also horrified to learn about the focus threads coming free if you
run the shaft all the way in passed some magical point, thus freeing the
mirror completely to bounce around inside the tube!!!! Once again, WHAT
WERE THEY THINKING? Using the word "thinking" is being kind to these
engineers. It implies they have brains. This is clearly engineering by
Bean Counters, something Scott Adams has illuminated so aptly in his
comic strip "Dilbert".

Chris Cox

Subject:	etx 90ec
Sent:	Sunday, November 16, 2003 15:04:14
From:	MMINDALA@peoplepc.com (M MINDALA SR)
You wouldn't happen to have an assembly drawing for this monster? I've
gotten a broken drive coupling on the vertical axis. I'd like to
disassemble it, manufacture a new piece out of nylon and be able to put
it all  back together. Regards, Mike
Mike here: Sorry, no assembly drawing but there is a lot of info on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Re: ETX-90 Right Tube Adapter failure
Sent:	Sunday, November 9, 2003 15:02:46
From:	drclay@arksky.org (P. Clay Sherrod)
To:	mikestroup@techsapien.com
First of all the Right Tube Adapter is the rotating arm that holds the
ETX tube assembly onto the right fork arm....I think you are confusing a
couple of items here.  The hard stop located in the fork arm assembly
cannot be glued....even with Superglue, etc; however a quick fix is a
self-threading small screw or bolt that will stick out far enough into
the fork arm that it will engage the rotating clutch block peg at just
the right point to stop the rotation.

Now, the clutch block (worm cog that you are referring to...) is
supposed to be free to rotate...you are absolutely correct on this. 
This is one of the major problems with many Meade scopes. The best thing
to do is to remove the assembly and then put the clutch block back onto
the spindle of the right tube adapter by itself (no gear nor metal
clutch plate disk) and take it outdoors; get some medium grit STEEL
WOOL, (not sandpaper....) and very firmly but carefully work the out
perimeter of that clutch block to literally file down the diameter
slowly until it rotates freely but is still NOT loose and wobbly.

It will take some doing on this, but you will be able to get it to where
it rotates freely.

Best of luck....what you are describing is totally fixable!  Good
luck....

Dr. Clay
--------------------
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.)
http://www.arksky.org/

----- Original Message ----- 
> From:   mikestroup@techsapien.com
> I wrote a couple weeks ago and you kindly pointed me toward the Right
> Tube Adapter failure and Meade's replacement kit.
>
> In my right tube (after following replacement instructions) I have two
> anomalies that depart from the generic failure.
>
> 1) the lower hard stop (next to the worm gear) is nearly sheared off.
> Is this something that can be glued (i.e., is subjected to minimal
> pressure)?  Or, do I need to order the outside housing of the Right Tube
> Adapter?
>
> 2) it appears that the worm drive cog that fits over the center piece in
> the right tube adapter *should* be free on the center spindle, and be
> locked when the outside knob is tightened down.  In my case, it is a
> VERY tight fit - no spinning will ever be possible - in fact, I'm now
> afraid of damaging the replacement kit parts just taking it off again.
>
> Any enlightenment (and I understand this may include "contact Meade")
> will be appreciated!
>
> Mahalo,
> Mike Stroup

And:

Thank you very much!!

And you too, Mike.

I'm sure you both hear this all the time, but the two of you are the
best thing Meade has going for it with these little scopes.  It is an
honor to know you, however tenuously.

Mike Stroup

Subject:	ETX-90 question
Sent:	Saturday, November 1, 2003 20:10:27
From:	dbrockman2@insightbb.com (David L Brockman)
Good day sir.  I wanted some input from you if possible.  I'm looking at
purchasing an ETX-90 but I'm being discouraged from a friend of mine and
you seem to have so much info I thought I'd ask you.  I had a telescope
when I was about seven years old, I'm 26 now, and with all the
astronomical stuff going on lately its renewed my desire to look at the
stars.  The first telescope I started with was an old Bushnell I belive,
on a wooden tripod.  It was very "rickety" to say the least.  I never
saw more than the moon and my parent's weren't much help.  A few years
back this same friend that is trying to discourage me, purchased an
ETX-125.  I never had the joy of going with him to use it but I recently
inquired to him about it and he told me he took it back very quickly as
he was not pleased with its deep sky ability.  I'm sure as long ago as
this was it didn't have the autostar, which is very important to me for
locating objects.  He is trying to tell me to get a dobsonian instead
because even for planetary viewing it will do better than the ETX will.
This is where I need your help.  What will I see just looking thru the
26mm viewfinder that comes with it when I look at Saturn?  Will it be
dim, bright, fuzzy, well defined, what can I expect?  I see the pictures
posted on your sight and most all of them say they are stacked?  I
assume this means multiple images "stacked" on top of each other.  What
about other deep sky items such as nebulae?  Also what about earth
orbiting objects like geostationary satellites, and even other items in
low orbit like the ISS and such?  One last question, what is the
advantage of the UHTC coating on the ETX?  Does it really make that big
of a difference?

Any help you can offer would be GREATLY appreciated.

Regards,

David L Brockman
Mike here: You can get a feeling of what "size" to expect on a planet with various ETX models by looking at My Astrophotography - The Planets page. Saturn will show rings. You can see many deep sky objects, albeit faintly (that's true of all small telescopes). You need to decide HOW you want to use a telescope and your expectations are for the views. As you can see and read (check out the User Observations page), the various ETX models can do a nice job on many objects. And yes, UHTC makes a big difference.
Subject:	ETX-90 viewfinders
Sent:	Saturday, November 1, 2003 14:17:31
From:	y2craig@hotmail.com (Craig J. Kopra)
Very appreciative for your information packed website.  I have an
ETX-90EC with the standard, and aggravating, viewfinder that I would
like to replace.  I tend to be more left eye orientated and this
viewfinder does not do much justice.  Is the Meade #825 right angle
viewfinder worth the trouble and are there any competitors that make a
right angle viewfinder?

Also, any thoughts on purchasing a laser/LED finderscope and are they
worth it?

I also must recommend anyone that just recently purchased a Meade
telescope to go for the $99 eyepiece deal.  It really is a good deal and
takes about a month to get after writing a personal check.  Thank you
for your time and I hope to see your response in the future.

-Craig
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Finderscopes page. Also take a look at the "Shutan RA Finder Conversion" on the the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page.

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