GENERAL FEEDBACK
[Home!]
Last updated: 30 November 2003
This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX and DS models. 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:	BOOKS
Sent:	Sunday, November 30, 2003 13:55:25
From:	sfeickert@earthlink.net (shirley m feickert)
I now have your book "using the Meade ETX "  Very good and a must  for 
anybody who is into the ETX's, like me, it is very helpful , and I am 
getting a lot  out of it. It took Barnes and Noble 2 weeks but I got .
In the Biographies, it says you did to books, what was the first?

     Jim
Mike here: The first was a chapter in the book "Astronomy with Small Telescopes". Info on the Author, Author section (near the bottom of that page).
Subject:	Saturnseeing reloaded
Sent:	Sunday, November 30, 2003 04:36:08
From:	mlewicki@ozemail.com.au (Martin Lewicki)
FYI I've updated Saturnseeing to more realistic representations due to
your's and several other suggestions on astro newsgroups.

http://astronomy.trilobytes.com.au/martin-lewicki/saturnseeing.htm

Jupiter's on the way.

Thanks,
Martin

Subject:	Hi
Sent:	Saturday, November 29, 2003 10:00:15
From:	jonpayne@anvilcourt.freeserve.co.uk (Jon.)
I am a "returner" to the Astronomy hobby, having dropped it whilst
reaching exam time at high school. Now I am 40, have some spare cash,
live in dark sky-zone and want to get back into the hobby !

I have just purchased a new Meade ETC90EC and this afternoon set it up
with the alignment of the finder scope. I searched the web for any
useful info and this is how I got to your web site. May I say what a
really good site it is too. Well done !

I will be buying your book (well, my wife will as a Christmas present
for me) and I am looking forward to it.

PS :- While on holiday this summer, I went to the Oceanside store and
was very impressed with their knowledge and patience.  John Downs served
me that day and although I only spent $100 he treated me like I was
there to spend $1000 !  The UK needs people like you guys over here !

Best regards to you Mike.

Jon.  
Mike here: Thanks but please read the Email Etiquette item linked from the ETX Site home page; your message was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the non-specific subject line.

And:

My apologies Mike, I did not appreciate the etiquette side of things. 
I'll be more careful next time !
Mike here: No problem. But with the volume of email I get it is necessary to filter things.
Subject:	cover?
Sent:	Saturday, November 29, 2003 04:19:32
From:	corollacandles@earthlink.net (Chuck Sowers)
I have an EXT 125 EC and I live in North Carolina on the beach. 
I'm looking for some kind of a cover that I can slip over my scope while
it sits on my deck for a few hours between viewings during the
night.  I  would like to protect it from sand and mist from
the ocean which can accumulate if left uncovered for very long.

Thanks,  Chuck Sowers
Mike here: I'm on travel (as noted on the Announcements - Site page) so can't check but Sky and Telescope usually has ads for covers. I recall one brand or model type of "desert storm". Alternatively, check your local KMart or Walmart type of store for patio storage covers.
Subject:	Autostar 26Fd & poor eye relief eyepiece
Sent:	Friday, November 28, 2003 15:30:51
From:	averschuere@tiscali.be (alain verschuere)
Received my ETX 125 this week and it has autostar version 26Fd. I think
they (Belgian distributor) imported it from France because there's only
the French language in it, no choices to make. Can I add the English
language (i prefer that one). Do you have an idea how old this version
is and if it is known to have bugs (i cannot find more than one post
about this version and it handles something else).

Another question : the supplied eyepiece (26 mm 4000 SP) has, for me as
an eye glass wearer, very poor eye relief, i can only see, let's say
about 30% of the total FOV (compared to when i look without my glasses,
but then i cannot focus :-(  ), are there better ones available?

Thank you in advance, regards,

Alain (Ghent, Belgium) 
Mike here: The version is reasonably current and yes you can update it. All noncurrent versions are available on the Autostar Information page; the current version is available on Meade's site. You will need a #505 cable (which you can buy or make; see the Autostar Information page for instructions), a serial port, and Windows. As to eyepieces, see the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces; also search the site for "eye relief".
Subject:	Re: Rechargeable batteries for ETX 125 : good or bad ?
Sent:	Friday, November 28, 2003 15:15:26
From:	averschuere@tiscali.be (alain verschuere)
To:	Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com
Thank you very much, the scope came in this week and first response to
the batteries is very nice (no problem with fast slewing), have to test
them on the long run though. I bought a 1hr smart 2 recharger.
Regards
Alain

ps Sorry i didn't replay faster but i do not always check each day my
mails at home (have already enough of them at work :-) ).
     I'm Flemish (Gent)

Subject:	re dew heater
Sent:	Friday, November 28, 2003 09:35:53
From:	stephen.bird@bt.com
Returning to the issue of dew heaters, if you put your scope outside for
a couple of hours to equalise in temperature, presumably this is to
ensure that the image does not suffer from temperature induced
instability within the scope and inaccuracies with expansion and
contraction of the various components. How is it then that due heaters
that effectively have different parts of the scope at different
temperatures, do not cause image degradation by the processes above that
temperature equalisation is supposed to fix?

Regards

Stephen Bird
Mike here: I suspect that you are controlling the temp of the outside glass surface at the aperture end of the tube. The heating does not apply to the internal air.

And:

Yes it does seem to be the case. Certainly looking at web sites for
commercial suppliers, they all use heater tapes about 1 inch wide and
wrap them around the tube adjacent to the corrector plate, then the
eyepiece close to the eye cup, then each end of the viewfinder. With my
test heater band in place, I managed to clear a complete covering of dew
in 30 minutes from the corrector plate, the dew even retreated up most
of the length of the outside of the tube. This is with a 25 watt maximum
output band in place. The recommendation seems to be to start off with a
high heat and leave for 30 minutes then turn the heat back to just keep
the dew away. My controller can be adjusted between 0% and 100% of
output and each tape can have an individual control if required. A
second controller (under construction) will heat the Autostar and my
laptop.

And:

From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
The heater only affects one part (the corrector), and only
heats it a degree or so above ambient (in fact, it may only
bring it -to- ambient).
The "cool down" is to cool the -interior- of the scope to prevent
internal eddy currents.  As long as the hot part is at the top, 
there is no additional convection tendency.

Subject:	The end of polar alignment blues
Sent:	Friday, November 28, 2003 07:09:13
From:	marcin.bruczkowski@centertel.pl (Marcin Bruczkowski)
I wonder how many amateur astromers are in the world?  And if each of
them contributed, say, $10, would that be enough to precisely place two
small, highly reflective satellites in space in order to provide
permanent visual markers for polar alignment, for both hemispheres...?

Best Regards,

Marcin Bruczkowski
Mike here: Are you proposing a geostationary satellite at the poles? That would require a lot of fuel.

And:

Not if you give it constant velocity away from the Earth, the speed
being exactly enough to counter the gravitational pull of the planet! It
would get away from the Earth with time, so the question is how fast -
how many years would have to pass before a replacement has to be
provided.

Marcin
Mike here: The satellite would also have to follow the Earth in its orbit around the Sun. That would take fuel to stay put.
Subject:	105EC Declination motor runaway
Sent:	Friday, November 28, 2003 05:26:47
From:	Jim.Beston@questintl.com
I've had a new ETX 105 EC for about 10 days now and am overwhelmed with
it. However last night when it was happily tracking Saturn, I suddenly
heard the motor(s) momentarily speed up. Looking at the Autostar it
displayed a motor failure message. I tested the motors, using manual
control, at all speeds and through the whole range of travel. All seemd
O.K.

Unfortunately on trying "easy align" to get started again, the
declination motor runs continuously such that the tube points vertically
upward and stops with the motor still running and I have to power off.
I've tried this eight times and retrained the motors, but only on one
ocasion has it aligned properly. The 'scope is under guarentee and I am
waiting for the supplier to find out from Meade (UK) what the problem
is.

Have you any words of wisdom? You can imagine how frustrated I am with
the prospect of loosing this beautiful instrument - If only for a
while!!

Your web site is terrific! - so much knowledge, and I will get around to
contributing (I bought your book for a start!)

Regards
Jim Beston Hythe, Kent UK
Mike here: Such runaways can be caused by low battery power, poor cable connections, electrical interference, and bad data in the Autostar. I suggest checking/replacing the batteries, check that the cables are securely inserted, and do a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES again. If none of this helps, do a RESET, CALIBRATE, and TRAIN DRIVES.

And:

Thanks for the speedy reply!.

Incidentally, On one of your web pages, July this year I think, a
gentleman had a similar problem but only when targeting the moon! I
think he said that he had a confused autostar which thought it was in
the polar mode when it wasn't. I think he was able to convince it
otherwise!

I'll let you know how I get on.

Thanks again
Jim
And an update:
Your suggestion to calibrate and train the drives appears to have solved
the problem of my 'scope driving to full vertical when aligning after a
MUF. Although I had retrained the motors I had not calibrated them first
- would this have caused the OTA to rise to the full extent?

Anyway all O.K. now - and the supplier of the scope is sending me a
replacement Autostar just in case there is a fault in that. For
enthusiasts in my part of the UK (SE) I can recommend www.f1cameras.com
they really do offer a good service.

Thanks again Mike

Jim (on the bottom of the learning curve) Beston
Mike here: Not doing the CALIBRATE might confuse things.
Subject:	Re: "Jerky motion"
Sent:	Thursday, November 27, 2003 09:31:50
From:	drclay@arksky.org (P. Clay Sherrod)
To:	Jay
Hello....the RA is supposed to be so tight that it will indeed engage
with the locks off.  That is perfectly normal and exactly what you want.
 On the jerky reversal that is "reverse backlash" which is typically
caused by one of two things:

1) improperly milled parts (plastic) into which the main axles fit, this
being a problem that cannot be rectified since it is a manufacturing
issue; I have seen many like this;

2) worm gear is much too tight against the driver gear, which is
typically the most common cause of this problem!

Sounds like your last time out was quite successful.... HOWEVER, that
being said, if you are hitting the hard stops as many times as you
indicate when initiating an Autostar-commanded GO TO, then your
alignment and initialization procedure is off.  The telescope will not
repeatedly go to stops unless it is set up incorrectly.  Be sure to
check my Performance Enhancement Tech Tips on Mike Weasner's site!

Sounds like you have a good one and enjoy....

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 ----- 
  Dr. C --

  I hope this isn't TMI (too much information)

  You may have been following this "jerky motion" thread on Mike's site
  as well as messages from Stephen Bird in the UK.  Simply put, after a
  GOTO, the object jerks right to left and then back.  This oscillation
  appears more likely to happen after manual centering.

  Some have opined that it could a software problem in the migration
  from 2.6 to 3.0 -- (Steve Bird and to a -limited extent- Dick Seymour
  hold this view).  Mike advises calibration and training, but remarks
  that Meade may be looking into this as well.

  This post to MW's site: Pay Attention to Details Re: HARDSTOPS
  references the experience of a satisfied Supercharge customer. 
  Assuming that the "jerky" motion is the same, it implies mechanical
  conditions.

  This is a real brain-buster since replicating the problem across users
  is difficult and observing/reporting is so subjective.  In my own case
  the following conditions prevail:.

  1.  I have a 125 purchased in May of 2003 with a manufacture date of
  August, 2002.  I run off the AC mains using the #541 adapter.  My
  coordinates are 85:29 West, 25:41 North. I use polar alignment.

  2.  I have "hit" the hardstop (slewing counterclockwise) about five to
  seven times in about 100 uses.  I have turned off the AS at the scope
  within five to ten seconds of noticing the "hit".


  3.  I had the "jerky motion problem" after a AS update directly from
  the Meade Site (via DSL connection).

  4.  After attempts to rectify the situation and after reading many
  posts and some correspondence with Mr. Bird, I realized that to only
  things I could do would be software, training and calibration.  Bird
  is of  the opinion that the problem does not occur under 2.6Ed.  I
  decided to move back to 2.6Ed.

  That was my plan, but I thought I'd give it one more go from scratch.

  5.  I downloaded 3.0Ee from the Meade Site, added Dick Seymour's
  latest patch (3.0Ee5b), and downloaded all to the AS.

  6.  There is a training optimization routine on Mike's site, you may
  be familiar with it.  If not, I have appended it to this e-mail.

  7.  After going through your "post download" routine, calibrating and
  then retraining via the optimization program, the problem "seems" to
  have abated.

  Last night (11/26) at about 9:30, my second alignment star (Deneb)
  experienced the "jerks".  Pressing on anyway, AS reported "Successful
  Alignment".  I did several GOTO's, found everything easily (even a
  couple of Messier objects) and all images were steady in the ep.  I
  even took a picture of the Great Orion Nebular using my Canon S100
  (hardly and astrocam!) and a Scopetronix adapter.  I set up for 100
  images and stacked in Registax 2.0.  I displayed the images rapidly,
  and the only drift I noticed was steadily downward.  I would guess
  this is probably due to unsatisfactory polar alignment

  What a challenge!

  One last issue.  Perhaps you have encountered this before:

  My scope slews via the AS buttons in RA even though the RA lock is not
  engaged.  It is fairly easier to move it without the clutch engaged --
  but it does not seems to be freely rotating.  When in the disengaged
  position (fully counterclockwise in the indentation) there is some
  looseness/wiggle to the lever and it "bounces back" from the fully
  counter clockwise position by about a quarter inch.  From that
  position, I can move it without any resistance about 10 to 15 degrees
  clockwise.  At this point the RA clutch begins to engage and in
  another 5 degrees I have it tightened to a "firm feel".  Although it
  doesn't seem to affect anything at this time, I am concerned that
  something is being worn down.  Any thoughts?

  Happy T-Day and Best Wishes for the Season...

  Jay

Subject:	Are hardstops the "jerky motion" culprit?
Sent:	Thursday, November 27, 2003 07:15:03
From:	mktscope@bellsouth.net (Jay Lewis)
This post sounds a lot like the jerky motion I noted in previous
e-mails.

Subject:	Pay Attention to Details Re: HARDSTOPS

 Is there a user fix for this???

Happy T-day.

Jay Lewis
Coral Gables, FL
USA
Mike here: May or may not related.
Subject:	Update on ETX125 drive skipping ( original post Sunday Nov 9)
Sent:	Thursday, November 27, 2003 04:02:35
From:	ajrmacdonald@dsl.pipex.com (Allan Macdonald)
Well after 2 weeks, I finally got my scope back. Actually, it is not my
old one, but a brand new one, straight out of the box....and what an
improvement on my old ( 2 months old scope).

I was told by BCF ( UK Importers) that they suspected the drive skipping
was electrical / electronic, and they do not repair those sort of
faults, so, it will be shipped back to Meade, and I was sent a new one.

Obviously, the skipping is not there anymore, but what a difference with
the focusing. The focus knob is much smoother and tighter than the old
one, and only causes a tiny bit of image shift. I didnt realise how bad
it was in the old one!

All this, and I have only calibrated and trained the drives so far, cant
wait for a clear night to check the optic quality, but it even looks
slightly sharper. They have also upgraded the Autostar software, which i
notice now says 30e.

Thanks for a great site. It kept me interested in what was going on till
my scope came back.

Regards

Allan Macdonald

Subject:	RE: I need help (with 24mm eyepiece) from Madrid
Sent:	Wednesday, November 26, 2003 23:11:50
From:	marcin.bruczkowski@centertel.pl (Marcin Bruczkowski)
Dear Victor,

my limited experience with digital camera astrophotography tells me that
you want to find an eyepiece that has a lens diameter of similar size as
your camera lens diameter, also the eyepiece lens should not be recessed
(like in the Meade SP26 which comes with the ETX).

Scopetronics web site (www.scopetronics.com) recomends a Scopetronics
18mm MaxView Wide Angle eyepiece which has a 28mm thread that will
directly attach to the CoolPix 995 lens.  It costs US$99.  Maybe that
would be a good alternative to the DCL-28 you wanted to buy.

Best Regards,

Marcin Bruczkowski
marcin@bruczkowski.com
Warsaw, Poland

Subject:	Re: Meade ETX - Cleaning problems
Sent:	Tuesday, November 25, 2003 18:27:19
From:	anthony_conn@hotmail.com (Anthony Conn)
Thanks very much for your reply. You're probably right, but the dust
just seems to have become more apparent since now I know its there -
looking through the eyepiece slot with out the eyepiece reveals it
pretty well also. I have found that dust that has just fallen seems to
blow right off where as that which has sat there won't budge. Anyway,  I
think I will leave cleaning it for now.
Anthony Conn

Subject:	I NEED HELP FROM MADRID
Sent:	Tuesday, November 25, 2003 05:23:59
From:	victorbertol@yahoo.es (VICTOR BERTOL - PARTICULAR -)
SORRY BUT I DONT SPEAK ENGLISH

YOUR WEBSITE IS FANTASTIC, I LEARN SO MUCH WIHT YOUR COMENTS . I HAVE A
ETX 90 SNCE SEPTIEMBRE AND I AM VERY INTERES IN THE OBSERVACION

I HAVE ONE QUESTION TO YOU

I HAVE ONE COOLPIX 995 AND ONE SHOP HERE IN SPAIN HAVE ONE EYESPIECE
"DCL-28" OF WILLIAN OPTICS DE 24MM TO ADAPTED TO MY ETX

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ABOUT THIS SOLUTION, DO YOU KNOW THIS EYESPIECE?

THANKS YOU SO MACH FROM MADRID

VICTOR
Mike here: Please see the Email Etiquette page, linked from the ETX Site home page; your email was initially deleted UNREAD as SPAM.
I have no experience with that eyepiece. As to the Coolpix 995, I use one and so do many others. See the Helpful Information - Astrophotography - Nikon page for more info.
Subject:	Info
Sent:	Tuesday, November 25, 2003 04:31:56
From:	pigi1978@libero.it (Piergiorgio Campione)
Hi, my name is Piergiorgio Campione and I'd like to buy a telescope to
connect with starry night Pro 4.5 and my Macintosh. I'm trying to find
some telescope that have not an hight price. Can you help me?

Please reply!!

Best regards

Piergiorgio
Mike here: Please see the Email Etiquette page, linked from the ETX Site home page; your email was initially deleted UNREAD as SPAM.
You should buy a telescope that comes as close to meeting your needs and expectations as your budget will allow. Doing otherwise just results in an unused telescope. The Meade ETX line and the Celestron NexStar line can both be controlled from a computer, including a Macintosh. See the Mac article the Autostar Information page for more info on making the physical connection. As to the telescopes themselves, you can find a lot of info on the ETX line on my Site. If there is an astronomy club or group near you, you might want to visit them. A local dealer should know about them.
Subject:	Re: Rechargeable batteries for ETX 125 : good or bad ?
Sent:	Tuesday, November 25, 2003 03:28:56
From:	Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com
To:	averschuere@tiscali.be
Bonjour Alain,

modern NiMH rechargeable batteries (with 1800...2200mAh) fit quite well
as power supply for the MEADE ETX-125EC. I use GP 2000/2100 by myself.
It's power enough for one night as long as it may take in 'normal'
operation. And Mike, they can handle the load when slewing starts even
during cold winter nights. But what you should do, Alain, swap two
packets of batteries so you always have a recharged set if...

Normal operation FOR ME (!) is about 5 observations one hour each
(you'll hear it if they are getting discharged). For me means, most of
the time I use the handcontroller, NOT the GOTO computer which may need
more power.

May be that helps you and clear skies for first light of your new scope,

Dieter Wolf (Munich, Germany)

Subject:	Pay Attention to Details Re: HARDSTOPS
Sent:	Monday, November 24, 2003 16:37:50
From:	fishonkevin@sbcglobal.net (kevin keyes)
I have to pass this on for those who may forget as I did about the
Hardstops on the ETX drive.

Last April '03' I purchased an ETX-125. My GoTo's were so-so, until I
learned to watch through the eyepiece for my object and then center. I
was dissappointed with this so I sent it to Dr. Clay for a
"Super-charge".  When I got it back I had time for a short observing
session. All I had time for was a couple of slews, so I leveled it in
Alt/Az, pointed it north and away I went. I was impressed, the objects
were right dead center. No slop, or backlash. Dr.Clay really knows his
stuff. I highly recommend his service.

When I was done with that short session I parked it and put it away on
its tripod in the garage. I use park, because I have marked the tripod
spots on my driveway, and use the same place all the time.

On my next observing session I just started from where I left off, since
I had parked the scope in the alt/az home position, I thought it was all
set to go. I was doing fine for about 3 objects, when I hit a hardstop.
My alt/az drive ran on the hardstop for about 10-15 secs. before I
realized what had happened. I quickly shut off the scope.  After this my
scope developed a visual drift from center and then a hop/skip back to
center with a audible pop. The reason I hit the hardstop is because, I
did not pay attention to detail. In my haste to set up and use my new
"Superchrged ETX" I did not locate the hardstops.

I contacted Dr, Clay again explaining what happened and he suggested I
do a calibrate motors and re-train. I did and this did not work. I lived
with the drift/jump all summer before sending to Dr.Clay.  He found that
a bushing had snapped and was putting pressure on the RA worm gear,
causing the drift then jump back to center and then drift again.

I have just recieved my scope back after Dr. Clay fixed the problem.  It
is purring like a well tuned Corvette.  All my GoTo's are right in the
center 3rd of a 26mm plossl, and NO drift/jump. Dr. Clay really knows
his stuff.

In closing I want to warn/remind other ETX owners not to do what I did.
Pay attention to details when they set-up, and find those HARDSTOPS.
 
Clear Skies,
Kevin

Subject:	DEW SHIELD OR DEW HEATER
Sent:	Monday, November 24, 2003 07:50:18
From:	Jim_Hendren@gpc.genpt.com (Jim Hendren)
Great website!!!! Lots of info for the newbie as well as experienced.
I'm thinking of purchasing a meade etx 125at (autostar and #884 tripod
included). I live in eastern US and have probs with dew, wondering about
good portection from dew. How do you feel about dew heaters? I like dew
shields but I think a dew heater (the bands that wrap around and heat
up) is good on all air to glass surfaces - I've seen some for other
scopes. Do you know if there is one for the meade etx125?

Jim Hendren
Mike here: Both work fine, depending upon the conditions. If you want to add a heater, see the article "Dew Heater Modification" on the Telescope Tech Tips page.

And:

Thank you - I've sent a link to your site to several of my friends

Clear skies!!!

Jim Hendren

Subject:	How do you classify / quantify transparency and seeing?
Sent:	Monday, November 24, 2003 02:21:29
From:	stephen.bird@bt.com
How do you classify / quantify transparency and seeing?

I have only ever considered one part of things and tend to use my own
scale based on naked eye and scope based estimates. For naked eye I
figure that stars of magnitude 6 is 100% naked eye seeing conditions and
in the ETX105, stars of magnitude 12 is 100% scope seeing conditions.
Then quite simply I drop these figures by 12.5% for each magnitude less
for naked eye and 6.25% for the ETX105. (The ETX105 has a limiting
visualstellar magnitude of 12.1, so my percentage increments would not
relate to scopes with different performance.)

It would be nice to compare this with any accepted standards.

It has been 0% the last week! 10cm (4 inches in English money) of rain
in 3 days, total cloud for over a week!!

Rgds

Stephen Bird
Mike here: See the article "Seeing Conditions and Transparency" on the Observational Guides/References page. It might help you.
Subject:	Book- using the Meade ETX
Sent:	Wednesday, November 26, 2003 09:45:38
From:	oreinp@ore-inspired.co.uk (Calley Wilkinson)
Site still gets better, Big Thanks. 

I have had your book on order since July at my local bookshop and even
tried Amazon in the UK. I cannot seem to get a copy anywhere. Is it out
of print or being revised???? Can you suggest a source. I am in the
United Kingdom. Thanks in anticipation.

	Calley Wilkinson Leicestershire,England.
Mike here: Still in print. I know that OPT has some. You can also order online from the publisher (http://www.springeronline.com/).
Subject:	Meade ETX - Cleaning problems
Sent:	Sunday, November 23, 2003 17:40:59
From:	anthony_conn@hotmail.com (Anthony Conn)
I wonder if you can help me. I live in Sydney Australia & have recently
bought an ETX-90EC. I have not been able to use it overly much yet. By
shining a flashlight across it, the corrector lens reveals what seems a
fairly heavy layer of dust (for the little time it has been uncovered).
I have tried blowing it off with an ear syringe many times and have very
gently used a soft artists brush on a small portion to try and brush it
off. The syringe does absolutely nothing and the artist brush leaves a
dirty smear worse than the dust (hence I am reluctant to use it any
further). I had it out several nights ago and it accumulated a coating
of dew which I left to dry with the cover off inside as suggested. I was
wondering if perhaps the dust is still holding onto water and sticking
(though it should have dried by now) or if perhaps it is not dust but
something else i.e. pollen. Is there anything you can suggest? I am
reluctant to touch it with chemicals as from experience I end up making
matters worse  besides your supposed to remove dust before cleaning
anyway arent you?

p.s. Your site has been very helpful  the manual is far to vague on
trouble shooting matters.

Thanks,
Anthony Conn
Mike here: You probably don't want to hear this but you probably made a non-problem into a problem. Using a flashlight to inspect the optics is not a good idea and gives a incorrect impression of whether or not cleaning is required. So, tuck that away for future use. As to cleaning things up now, take a look at the "Cleaning Optics" article on the Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	Dr. Clays Super Charging
Sent:	Sunday, November 23, 2003 09:38:58
From:	chris@cailefamily.com (Chris)
All I can say is WOW!!  I thought that my ETX-125 was in good shape with
good optics.  I did everything that I have read on your site to make an
improvements to it.  I still was not quite content on the quality from
Meade, and had read all the posts about Dr. Clay's Super Charging
service.  I convinced my wife to let me pay the additional money to have
it supercharged, and with come major hesitation on her part, I sent it
off.  I received it back on Thursday and the scope is 1000 times better
than before.  Even my hesitant wife notice a HUGE improvement in the
optics and tracking.  Dr. Clay found several problems with it (scope is
only 2 months old) fixed them and it is great.  The scope tracked object
the past 2 nights for 6 hours without a hesitation. The tours are great,
and optics are perfect now.  The print out that I received with the
scope state optical clarity of 88% transmission, and 1/8th wave overall.
The motors sound better and move with fluid motion now. Anyone thinking
about possibly upgrading and having Dr. Clay work on their scope, DO IT
NOW! I will be singing his praises to everyone that I know.  Anyone who
has a questions, feel free to email me.
 
Chris
And from a user wondering about a Supercharge:
Subject:	Supercharge of 1999 ETX-125 versus new?
Sent:	Sunday, November 23, 2003 10:18:27
From:	rrzimmer@earthlink.net (Bob Zimmerman)
To:	drclay@arksky.org (Clay Sherrod)
Dear Dr. Clay -

I have read and applied - and thus enjoyed and benefited from you
efforts and insights over the years.  Your efforts are greatly
appreciated - thank you!

The latest challenge is an apparent slipping/cogging under load coming
from within the altitude (declination) gear area adjacent to the
electric motor - not in the area of the worm and bevel cut gears at all.
 This toally interferes with (invalidates) calibraton, alignment,
tracking etc for all the obvious reasons. I'm reluctant to get into it
without some direction, recommendation, or documentation from someone
who's been there before.

Now the questions:

1. There appear to be significant mechanical improvements (the cast fork
arms) and optical enhancements in the UHTC coatings. Are the cast fork
arms now more rigidly attached to the apparently new base casting?

2. But, while the new fork and bearing design may have reduced earlier
problems with fork arm flex - has anything improved in the slop between
the pivot arm and the OTA?  Have you posted (or can you direct me to a
posting) that summarizes and analyzes the enhancements since the earlier
version?

3. Any recommendation, suggestions, observations with regard to OTA
balance - if only for reducing drive-train load - either with plain OTA
or with the lens shade in place?

4. Are there any changes to the motor and drives or balance to allow the
newer ETX-125's to handle the lens hood load?

5.  Would you recommend proceeding with your supercharge of the 1999
version or would you advise starting over with the new version of the
scope?

Thank you again for communicating your efforts and insights over the
years.  I will look for to hearing from you at your convenience.

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving -

Bob Zimmerman
Portola Valley, Calif.

Subject:	EXT to Meade for repair
Sent:	Saturday, November 22, 2003 21:52:10
From:	mlminto@cox.net (Michael L Minto)
I recently had to send my NEW EXT-125 to Meade for a repair (it damaged
itself, but due to my trying to fix the problem, I voided the warranty
and had to pay $75 to fix it, as well as $50 to ship it).  Anyway, it
recently returned to me and I took it out for a night of viewing.  It
worked fine for a while, and then the display on my AutoStar dimmed; it
then said "motor failure".  I suspected the batteries were old, and the
next day replaced them.  The 'scope started up fine, and worked; then
said 'motor failure' again, re-started the AutoStar, and said either
"training", or "testing" motors, I forget which.  It seems to work fine
now; would this have all been caused by the old batteries that were too
weak for the 'scope, or do I have something looming in my immediate
future to worry about?
 
Thanks again,
 
Michael L Minto
Mike here: It said "testing motors". But did you do a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES after getting the scope back? I suggest doing that. That might be all that is required now.
Subject:	ETX-90 RA drive motor failure
Sent:	Saturday, November 22, 2003 09:14:42
From:	2003_mcs@bellsouth.net (Allen Shelton)
Thought I'd check here before I call Meade.  Both axes were working fine
the last time I used the scope (on 11-8).  I opened up the case on 11-18
an realized that I must've inadvertendly flipped the power switch on
while I was packing it up from the previous viewing session (because it
was on).  I figured it would be fine after I recharge the batteries. 
I've used plain Ni-Cd's with no problem at all so far.  Anyway, now the
right ascension drive isn't working at all.  It's not weak or jumpy...it
won't do anything. From the few messages I've seen on here it's at least
worth it to try getting some alkalines but I don't think power has
anything to do with it. Autostar boots up fine...the declination motor
works fine.  I've tried plugging in the standard electronic controller
with the same results.  I've taken the bottom off of it and everything
is plugged in...no visible broken wiring, etc.  Should I be able to turn
the large gear by hand?  I can't turn it...I wouldn't have thought such
a small motor would have so much torque). Any suggestions would be
appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Allen S.

ps...great site (even though the firewall at my office blocks it for
some reason)
Mike here: With the RA axis unlocked can you hear the tracking drive running with either the standard handcontroller (if you have one) or the Autostar set to astronomical? Turning the gear by hand will be difficult.

And:

Nope.  No motor noise whatsoever with either controller...like it's not
getting power.  It's odd because it was working the last time I used it.
 I always loosen the lock nut on each axis every time I put the
telescope away. The only thing different about the last time I used it
was that I apparently knocked the power switch on when I put it up. 
Since tomorrow is Monday I'll see what Meade says.  I'll be glad to try
any other suggestion you might have.

Thanks,

Allen S.

ps: alkaline batteries didn't help
Mike here: Almost sounds like a wire has come loose or was cut somehow. Draining the batteries shouldn't have caused any problem BUT if the motor burned out...
Subject:	Converting to Computerized
Sent:	Saturday, November 22, 2003 07:42:44
From:	robert.wagner@ps.ge.com
Is there any way to convert my ETX-90 to an ETX-90 computerized.  I'm
still PO'd that 6 mos. after I bought my ETX, Meade came out with the
computer controlled ones.
Thanks,
Rob
Mike here: There is no upgrade but you can mount the OTA on a different mount (see the Telescope Tech Tips page) or (if still available) get a JMI computer system (see the "NGC-microMAX/NGC-MAX" on the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page). Or you could sell it and by a new AT model.
Subject:	ETX-90EC Sporadic Dec Drive Runaway
Sent:	Friday, November 21, 2003 16:43:41
From:	jscully@optonline.net (John Scully)
While using my ETX-90EC, I am now experiencing sporadic dec runaway, the
problem is maybe a couple of weeks old. It can be anywhere from 1 minute
after starting up to  hour after start up. I have gone over all the
solder joints, and wires and everything checks out. If I swap the ra
wires for the dec the problem still occurs. I was thinking maybe the
crystal what is your thoughts on this. The scope is off warranty as it
is about 4 years old.

Thanks,

John Scully  
Mike here: Low battery power is a typical source of this problem. If using AC it could be a flakey power supply or just a dirty line. Electrical intereference has been known to cause it. And then there the a dirty encoder possibility.

And:

Thanks for the quick reply. When the problem first arose I changed out
the batteries thinking that was it. The encoder is definitely clean I
took the whole unit apart and cleaned and degreased the unit as there
was grease all over and greased the essentials only. I never thought of
interference, in the electric cars that my son runs there is typically a
cap across the motor terminals. Do you think this would this help in
this case? I could also try a choke around the wires if need be.
Mike here: Ah ha. Did you try a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES after doing the maintenance? That could help.

And:

This is when I found out I had a runaway; it was after I did a reset on
the unit and was trying to train drives after calibrating. I'm going
over everything one more time to make sure I didn't miss anything. Thank
you very much for the quick response, I'm sure you get plenty of these
emails to go thru everyday.

Thanks,
John Scully

Subject:	ETX 105EC "jumps" when reversing direction
Sent:	Friday, November 21, 2003 14:00:44
From:	RFOSLER@travelers.com (Fosler,Randall B.)
I am new to astronomy and have a question on my ETX105EC.  When trying
to center an object, I am using the hand controller that came with the
telescope to make minor adjustments back and forth.  If I am going in
the same direction, I can make small adjustments to center the object.
However, when I reverse directions using the hand controller, the
telescope does not reverse a small amount -- it will "jump" quite a bit
and then I have to reverse directions again to bring it back.  Is this
normal or is there some problem with the gears?  If this is not normal,
is it possible to fix myself?

Thanks for your help.
Mike here: This is backlash. The Autostar controller (not the standard handcontroller that used to be standard with the EC models but is now standard with the AT models) can compensate for this. You might want to consider getting an Autostar #497 (or a #495, which can be upgraded to a #497 via software from Meade's site).
Subject:	etx90 motor problem
Sent:	Friday, November 21, 2003 06:10:05
From:	EddieDTS@aol.com
I recently wrote to you saying since my update to autostar 3.0ed that
the scope dosent always go to where i ask, and that with the RA and dec
percentages set higher it slews off sometimes, i followed your advice
about putting them back to 0.1, all is fine with that now so tnx,

however i have found the real problem with the motor going awol
sometimes, about 1 month ago i wrote to you saying one night while
viewing mars the dec went right down and stopped and when i tried to
slew up i had to push it to get it to move, this was not my fault, i
asked it to go to mars with high precision and it was supposed to go to
sandalmelik but just went down,  coincidently i upgraded soon after and
blamed that which was wrong,

so the situation now is the motor finds most things but the occasional
times it dosent find things this is what it does, RA moves are always
accurate, but the dec will just go down not hitting a hard stop but just
goes down, so to find where i was i have to just slew up about 20
degrees using full speed or it wont hardly move and im back in position,
im certain the day it went wrong with hitting the bottom and stopped
moving this has caused the dec to occasionally go down .

before i contact the dealer and try to get it fixed i was wondering if
you have any advice on how i could do it myself to save all the hassle
of sending it back or is this a job for the experts, i am not clued up
on the inside of these telescopes.

Basically with RA hard stops its usually the owners fault, but this RA
set up never fails me, however i cannot do much if the dec decideds to
go below the limit when not even asked too.

hope you can help, tnx eddie
And:
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To my eyes, this one sings of internal wires getting damaged.
I would open the scope's base and verify that the wires
heading up the central stalk are not getting sliced into
byt the RA clamping nut, or by the gearing.

--dick

Subject:	I bought a ETX 90EC with UHTC ?
Sent:	Friday, November 21, 2003 09:58:41
From:	JEAUXMOE1@aol.com
But I cant find any sticker that says it has it.Is there any way to
check?

and I got the #884 tri pod but was offered the #883 and the one above
the #884 (but not the advanced )as well which is the better tri pod?

and will both work with the 125 when trade up soon?

and is there any problem with using an external battery in the form of a
car booster pack and have the batteries in the base of the scope?

Thanks for you time.

P.S.I am loving my ETX-90 with the auto star 497

Joe Meaux
Mike here: Mine was on the bottom side of the telescope tube. Also, the shipping box should state it. The tripods will work; for the #883 it is best to not extend the legs to their full height, or even close to that when used with the ETX-125. And yes you can use an external power source with the internal batteries still there; the jack cuts out the internal ones when an external cable is attached.
Subject:	Meade's LPI (Lunar Planetary Imager)
Sent:	Friday, November 21, 2003 07:50:48
From:	jfaith@dmv.com (Joe Faith)
I was just curious if you've gotten any emails/reviews on Meade's LPI
(Lunar Planetary Imager).  I been saying for a while now that if I could
control the ETX with the PC and also see the CCD image on the PC, why
can't I do both?  I personally think that this should be possible with
just the serial cable and basic webcam hooked up  and software, but
here's something hardware based that incorporates the CCD and the
autoguider.

Frankly, I only have a ETX 90 at the moment, and I tend to ask more of
it than it can really provide.  My only concern with this device is it
may not work so well for deep sky objects that are not very bright. 
Their samples are clearly skewed to make them look good (Lunar - very
bright and Mars with a 12" scope).

Your site is one of the few places that give a realistic expectation of
what can be expected with smaller scopes.
Mike here: What I've received has been posted on the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page (LPI itself) and the Helpful Information - Autostar Information page (the Autostar Suite). I should be getting one but don't know how soon it will arrive.
Subject:	etx-125 request
Sent:	Friday, November 21, 2003 01:56:23
From:	sfeickert@earthlink.net (shirley m feickert)
can you tell me your opinion, on meade eye pieces to rke eye pieces
which is better

Jim feickert
Mike here: I have no experience with RKE eyepieces so can't comment. But Plossels are good. The Meade $99 Eyepiece is a good deal.
Subject:	ETX camera port thread
Sent:	Friday, November 21, 2003 01:22:40
From:	terry.godfrey@materials.oxford.ac.uk (Terry Godfrey)
I have an ETX 125 and want to attach a CCD camera to the camera port via
a custom made adaptor tube which I propose to make in my workshop. My
question is: what is the thread form and pitch of the ETX port? I'm sure
I read this somewhere on your site but I can't find it now!

Many Thanks,

Terry Godfrey
Oxford, UK

Subject:	madding 
Sent:	Friday, November 21, 2003 00:01:01
From:	sfeickert@earthlink.net (shirley m feickert)
I bought a Meade-125 with a Meade,  9mm,25mm,26mm,40mm. Also came the
#825 8x25mm right-Angle viewfinder,#932 45 degree erect-image roof
prism,#64 T-adapter,#928 45 degree erect-image diagonal prism. Since
then I bought the Meade deluxe field tripod. The thing is I am having a
darn of a time trying to get the finder scope to line up with the main
scope. Those 6 screws are a pain to set. any ideas ?

Going nuts,   Jim
Mike here: Patience is the key. I typically loosen the three screws at one end or the other. Then with some small distant daytime object centered in an eyepiece, slowly loosen/tighten the screws at the other end until the object is sitting in the X of the crosshairs. Don't put the object directly underneath the crosshairs since stars will be hard to see through the crosshairs.

And:

for got to tell you, I bought your book, just waiting for FED EX to
deliver it.

Also need to ask  is there any way the mirrors and lens to get out of
line in the ETX-125?
Mike here: And yes, through mostly abuse the optics can become uncollimated. But on the ETX line it is not normally a problem and not an easy user correction. Info on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Lost Tripod Screws
Sent:	Thursday, November 20, 2003 20:20:50
From:	KlaraColli@aol.com
My ETX-125 came with the #884 Deluxe Field Tripod.  It has two captured
screws that come up through the mounting plate to attach the scope.  The
are held in place via a spring, washer and 'C' clip.  Every time I
disassemble the scope from the tripod, the clip, washer and spring come
loose and fall off.  I have been putting them back on everytime I use
the scope.  Unfortunatly the last time I did it I must have not done it
right because I have lost some of the parts.  Did I just get a bum setup
or is this a bad design?  Can I get replacement parts or is there a
better alternitive?
Mike here: Contact Meade; they will likely send them to you for free.
Subject:	The Meade ETX 90/105 Models
Sent:	Thursday, November 20, 2003 13:55:37
From:	becky@29henville.fsnet.co.uk (Becky)
I am very new to Astronomy and would it be possible to give me some
advice:

I dont know which model of meade to choose from above,  I would like to
be able to view the moon and its craters etc, the planets, stars and
wonder which model is the best for this.

I have noticed that the etx 90 is only a 3.5" lens and the 105 is 4.5, I
have been reading up that to get a good look at all the solar system
then 6" or above is the best.  I am confused as everyone seems to be
having excellent results with both of these telescopes.

Also I would like to do some astrophotography could you give me some
advice on what type of digital camera/web cam you have to use are they
the high spec ones etc.

Sorry for it being a long one, but I have just had to send back a new
Meade DS2 114ATS back to where I have purchased it as it arrived broken,
and I dont want to pay for something which wont give me the results I
require.

Many thanks

Becky, Gosport, Hampshire, UK

PS:  Can you only view the stars/planets if it is a clear night!
Mike here: Both telescopes are nice. Yes, the larger aperture will let you see more details and fainter objects. Adding UHTC also helps a lot. Check My Astrophotography Gallery - The Planets for some photos comparing the size of Mars earlier this year in several telescopes. You'll be able to view a lot of objects but whether you'll be satisfied will depend upon your expectations. Read through the Helpful Information - User Observations page for some good reports on what you can see. As to astrophotography, look at the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page for lots of info on digital cameras and webcams and more. Personally I'm using a Nikon Coolpix 995 right now. And if there are clouds in the way, you will find it extremely difficult to see any planets, the Moon, or other objects beyond the earth's atmosphere.
Subject:	Re: Re: Jerky RA motion
Sent:	Tuesday, November 18, 2003 18:59:35
From:	mktscope@bellsouth.net (Jay Lewis)
Thanks for the quick reply.  Forgot to mention that I use Meade's #541
AC adapter.  Could current fluctuations cause the problem?  How stable
is the 541?

Tonight I went out and tried to replicate the problem with mixed
success.

That is, it seemed better after a calibrate and train.  And, things got
better as time went by.

In order to quantify the problem I switched to RA/Dec readout (mode for
two seconds) and found that the scope was fixed in Dec, but cycling a
tenth of a minute up and down in RA.  I synched the scope and cycling
stopped (but it's difficult to go to another part of the sky and find
anything).

Restarted, aligned and went through the process again with no problems.

Poltergeists?

Jay Lewis
Coral Gables, FL
Mike here: Power fluctuations shouldn't cause that but perhaps it was just the position of the encoders or some stray dust. I've not had any problems with the Meade AC Adapter.

And:

Thanks, Mike.  And.. thanks for your tireless efforts.
Jay Lewis

Subject:	Jerky RA motion
Sent:	Monday, November 17, 2003 21:41:30
From:	mktscope@bellsouth.net (Jay Lewis)
Tonight, while observing Rigil in polar mode, I noticed that it would
fall away a bit and then be "jerked" back into place.  Not smooth at
all.

While I realize that my ETX 125 is not made to the same tolerances as
observatory scopes, I can't escape wondering if this is normal behavior
or the result of some mechanical problems.

Any advice appreciated.

Keep up the good work.

Jay Lewis
Coral Gables, FL
Mike here: Is this a "new" behavior or has it always been there? Has the telescope be unused for a long period of time? Is this a new telescope or old? Are you using the Autostar or the standard handcontroller?

And:

How  dumb... of course you need to know the specifics:

ETX 1125
7 months old (mgf date (8/02)
used two-three nights a week
polar alignment (latitude 25.5 degrees)
control via Autostar
just noticed it.
occurs about every 7 or 8 seconds (timed by the monkey method, one
monkey, etc,)

Additional information:  As the RA is slewed 'round, from time to time,
the RA tape sort of bows out or "sticks" in the groove but this -seems-
to have no effect on ra motion.  Probably good to test RA motion at
guide speed.

Second question (new issue): In polar mode, choosing Easy Align,
Autostar picked Capella (slewed, located in finder, centered in 26mm ep
and entered per normal) and then Betelgeuse (same routine).  Autostar
computed and reported Alignment Unsuccessful, Check Stars.

At the time of the alignment Capella and Betelgeuse were about 27
degrees apart.  This seems too small a difference.
Mike here: OK, I suggest doing a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES to see if that clears the jerkiness. As to the stars, yes, occasionally the Autostar does seem to pick stars that are too close for proper alignment. Just skip the second star and try another one. As to the RA setting circle, the tape (or glue) is properly stretching a little bit and then catching on something in the track; shouldn't affect slewing or tracking though.
Subject:	need help with decision
Sent:	Saturday, November 15, 2003 22:44:51
From:	tk353@juno.com
I cant decide between the 125 etx with the uhtc or the 8" ldx55 with
standard coating.
Mike here: You need to decide what you want to do with the telescope and what your expectations are. Do you need more portability or do you want the GEM mount? Do you need more light gathering power? Also, which LXD55-8"? There are two models: the LXD55-8"SC (that I have, see my LXD55 Site www.weasner.com/lxd) or the 8"SN.
Subject:	GPS for ETX 125
Sent:	Saturday, November 15, 2003 13:42:02
From:	magibbs@webtv.net (Margaret Gibbs)
I've seen adds for a GPS to be used with the 125. I'm wondering if you
have any experience with it.  I've read te info and am a little afraid
of the technical preparation of the 497 necessary to adapt it .  I don't
have a computer although I could use a friend's.  Am I correct i
thinking that once I have adapted the 497 with the Starpatch CD-Rom  on
my friend's computer I then don't need the computer and can just use the
autostar?  Also wonder if Meade will be coming out with an autostar that
is adapted.  I do have a GPS that I could use with a proper autostar. 
What is your thinking and/or experience?

Thanks, Margie Gibbs
Mike here: I have no direct experience with the product however you can read comments from others; see the GPS item on the Autostar Information page. And yes, once patched you don't need the computer.

And:

Thank you for your response, Mike.  I will check out Autostar
information and think hard about it.

Margie Gibbs 

Subject:	Separated 90 deg Finder - replaced by Meade
Sent:	Saturday, November 15, 2003 08:32:44
From:	JaePbond@aol.com
Meade was very responsive and sent me a new finder within 3 days.   The
new finder does not appear to have the same problem and the eyepiece
does not pull off.  Not yet anyway and while the old finder required
little if any effort to remove the eyepiece, this one seems firmly
attached.   So I'm leaving it alone.   No doubt there was a defective
batch.

Jae Park

Subject:	Focus Knob on ETX 125 hard to turn
Sent:	Thursday, November 13, 2003 19:24:18
From:	jackfox@mindspring.com (Jack Fox)
The focus knob on my new ETX 125 is difficult to turn.  I tried the
Scopetronic focus cable and it was even harder to rotate. I next tried
my Meade automatic focuser and it would bind.  I also tried
rotating the knob several times to try to loosen it up but to no avail.
Is there a simple fix for this that would not void the warranty?

Or should I return the scope for a new one?

This is the second ETX 125 I had to return in the past 2 months.  I
have an EXT 70 and a Meade 8" dob that work great.

I am beginning to think Meade doesn't make a scope that is ready to use
out of the box any more.  I purchased it from Discovery.

Thanks for you help and a great site.

Jack
Mike here: Opening up the back would likely void the warranty. A question though: can you rotate the knob through its full travel? Is the binding just in one area or throughout its movement? If you want to check the internals though, see the "Focus Shaft Fix" article on the Telescope Tech Tips page.

And:

I can rotate the knob the full length with the same difficulty.  I
checked the article on the shaft fix.

It appears it will void the warranty.  I will return the scope for
the 3rd time and hope the next one works. Three is the charm, I hope.

Subject:	UHTC
Sent:	Thursday, November 13, 2003 12:45:38
From:	jjerzak@terrasite.com (Justin J. Jerzak)
Great site.  I don't own a telescope yet, but am picking one out for my
wedding present.  I'm 'focused' on the ETX125EC.

I have been price shopping for awhile now, and on a whim, I visited
Walmart.com.  To my surprise, they have the ETX125EC + AutoStar + Tripod
for 788.88.
 
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.gsp?cat=5182&dept=3944&product_id=2390618&path=0%3A3944%3A5182
 
That is the best price I have ever seen on it.

Two things.  The model number is listed as the ETX125 ATC rather than
EC.  I'm not sure what that's about.

Secondly, have you had the opportunity to compare a UHTC vs. a non UHTC
scope?

I am just wondering if the price cut at Wal-Mart is worth forgoing the
UHTC option as I'm sure they don't offer that.

Do you have any comparison images of UHTC vs. non UHTC?

I hate to bother you, but you seem to have quite an ETX fan base here
and I figured you would be a great resource, as I'm sure you have heard
before.

Thanks for your time.
 
Best regards,
Justin Jerzak
Terrasite Internet Services
Mike here: Yes, that is a nice price. I have compared the views through ETX-90 with and without UHTC. The difference was VERY noticeable. You can read Dr. Clay Sherrod's UHTC test report (on the Announcements - Meade page). I recommend UHTC if you can handle the extra cost.
Subject:	etx90
Sent:	Thursday, November 13, 2003 11:55:26
From:	binkybtt9@aol.com
can I use both the 494 or the 497 in my new etx90 ec?
Mike here: According to Meade's web page, no.
Subject:	power adapter
Sent:	Wednesday, November 12, 2003 20:44:46
From:	ssbarton@verizon.net (S. Barton)
I currently use a 607 power cord 12v DC adapter to power my ETX-125 EC I
would like to get a AC adapter to use with the 607 12v DC. I don't want
to buy the meade 541 because I will get the DC cord with it. Does radio
shack make an adapter you know of that will work. Thanks in advance for
your help. Stan Barton.
Mike here: See the Telescope Tech Tips page; there is power supply info there.
Subject:	maybe you can help...
Sent:	Wednesday, November 12, 2003 12:15:47
From:	jsamojla@comcast.net (Joellen Samojla)
My daughter is 7 years old.  She wrote her letter to Santa last weekend
and the only thing she asked for is a telescope.  We don't want to buy
her a toy and spoil her interest in astronomy but are torn with all the
options.

Our latest thoughts are the Meade ETX90.  A bit pricey for a 7 year old,
but I have no doubt that my husband will also have a chance to use it
from time to time!

What it the difference between an ETX90-AT and an ETX90-EC????

Any suggestions???

many thanks,
Joellen
Mike here: Please read the Email Etiquette item linked from the ETX Site home page; your email was filed UNREAD as SPAM due to the vague subject line.
As noted on the Announcements - Meade page, there is no physical difference in the two models; what was optional with the EC model is now standard with the AT model.
Subject:	ETX 125 Focus Mechanism
Sent:	Tuesday, November 11, 2003 16:58:56
From:	jetmx1@comcast.net
I have an ETX 125 UHTC. I have bought it from discovery. Recently you
have posted a message from Scott Vanzo about a focusing problem. His
message describes exactly what I am experiencing with my new model ETX.
Being new to astronomy and this being my first scope I wasnt sure if
this was a problem or not until I read his post. I would like to unscrew
the mirror block to look at the focusing mechanism. Will this void my
warranty? If there is a simple fix for this I would like to correct it
myself. Because of this problem I believe that it is preventing my
images from snapping completely in focus. At first I thought it was just
bad viewing conditions. Collimation and tracking seems flawless. The
scope is only 3 months old and if needed I would ship it to meade. But
if its a simple fix it would be nice to correct it instead of shipping.
If there are any updates to this problem could you post them so I can
get an idea of whats exactly wrong so I can figure out if I can fix it.
Of course if I identify the problem I will let you know so you can post
it to help others.

Thank you               

--
Steve
Mike here: Removing the back will likely void the warranty. And no new info to what was previously posted.
Subject:	Separated 90 deg Finder - another one
Sent:	Tuesday, November 11, 2003 13:41:56
From:	JaePbond@aol.com
I just purchased an ETX105AT over the weekend and last night as I was
observing I saw something on the ground.  It was the eyepiece of the
90deg finder.  The cross hairs got damaged in the fall.   The focusing
eyepiece unit doesn't even look like it was glued in.   Mine seems to
have some oily, sticky substance as well.   It is not a glue that dries
or solidifies.

My suspicion is that this unit should have some kind of machined thread
to tightly attach the eyepiece to the prism holder.

Perhaps the machining step was left out of a more recent production run.
  It does seem ridiculous that it should be just "placed" on top,
waiting to fall off.   I would not glue it back but talk to Meade or a
dealer about it.  I'm in the process of doing this and will let you know
what I find out.

Jae Park
And
Sent:	Friday, November 14, 2003 01:40:02
From:	FletchAdy@aol.com
Excellent site especially for the newbie ETX owners like myself !!

In response to Alan J. Salvi's posting about the sperated finderscope,
my finderscope was actually broken when I unpacked my gleaming new ETX
105. This was also a failure at the angle peice. Having spent many years
of modelling I decided it was far too much trouble to return the finder
compared with repairing the manufactures poorly glued joint. this jont
is a metal to metal close fit slip joint and is therefore very easy to
invisibliy repair.

The secret is to not use use too much glue, I used a slow setting epoxy
but you could use a specialist metal to metal glue such as a bearing
fitting compound, as Mike suggests, do not use glues like cyno (commonly
known as superglue) as they give off a vapour which will settle on your
lenses, or glues that may corrode the soft aluminium metal. The glue
should bearly coat the overlapping parts and there should be just enough
so that almost none of the glue "roll's" up when the two parts are
pushed together.

Obviously you do this at your own risk, but my finder performs perfectly
and is litterally better than the day I bought it !!

Regards,

Adrian Fletcher (email: Ady@fletchonline.net)

Subject:	ETX 125 Finderscope separated
Sent:	Monday, November 10, 2003 20:45:49
From:	alans6@cox.net (Alan J. Salvi)
The finderscope on my ETX 125 separated at the 90 degree angle. The
eyepiece separated from the body of the finderscope. It felt loose and
then just came off in my hand.  Is it "glued" together permanently or is
it just fitted tightly metal to metal? There appears to be some remnants
of some kind of glue but I am not sure.  Is this something that can just
be superglued back together or does it need a special type of fitting.

Thank you for your help.  Your site has been very helpful and
informative.

Alan
Mike here: I'm not sure (I've not pulled mine apart to know). If you do decide to use glue, avoid any that would "outgas" and coat the optical surfaces.
Subject:	ETX -125 Focus mechanism
Sent:	Monday, November 10, 2003 15:45:12
From:	svanzo@pacbell.net (Scott Vanzo)
I have an early model ETX-125. When I reverse the focus direction, there
is always a good bit of slack in the focuser before it engages in the
reverse direction. This slack, slop, play, or whatever one may call it
prevents the focuser from having a deliberate feel when I am trying to
focus in/out on a subject. I have two questions:

Is this focusing behavior normal?

Is there ANY way to improve/tighten the focuser mechanism?

Thanks, and sorry if this topic has been discussed to death.

- Scott Vanzo
Los Angeles.
Mike here: No, it doesn't sound normal. Is this a used system or has it always been this way? You might look at the article "Focus Shaft Fix" on the Telescope Tech Tips page if you want to have a look inside. It is possible that some retaining clip (or something) has shifted.

And:

Thanks for the reply. The only thing I can think of is that the close up
image of the focuser:

photo
shows that there may be a black rubber bushing/washer on the focusing rod between the spring and the mirror cell. Perhaps my ETX never had one installed. I'll have to check tonight. regards, -Scott Vanzo

Subject:	Which T-Mount for a 125 ETX?
Sent:	Sunday, November 9, 2003 15:27:58
From:	kenlewis@insightbb.com (Ken Lewis)
I think your web site is great!!  I have a 125 ETX and want to use it
with my digital SLR to do astrophotography.  I was wondering if you
could tell me what type of  T-mount I need to attach my camera to the
back of the telescope.  If you could e-mail me with the info I would
really appreciate it!!  My e-mail address is kenlewis@insightbb.com   If
you would like I could  send you some photos for your web page once I
get it all hooked up.

Thanks in advance for you help!

Regards,

Ken
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography page. Also, checkout the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page; lots of links to info, tips, and examples there. And photo contributions accepted.
Subject:	(no subject)
Sent:	Saturday, November 8, 2003 18:49:21
From:	ShamrockJJ14@aol.com
to whom it may concern:

I just recently downloaded new updates from dc3 website. I also have the
3506 cable connection and acp program. I do not know how to download the
information from the computer to the telescope.  can u help me?
       

Josh
Mike here: Your email was originally deleted as SPAM per the info on the Email Etiquette page on the ETX Site. Please review the page.
Also, you didn't say WHAT telescope, GOTO system, computer you have. I have no familiarity with a 3506 cable. Have you contacted the ACP people?
Subject:	 
Sent:	Saturday, November 8, 2003 16:13:57
From:	kotz@mts.net (Mike)
could you please tell us what covers the moon when the moon is on an eclips?
Mike here: Please read the Email Etiquette item linked from the ETX Site home page.
The shadow of the earth. See the article "http://skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/eclipses/article_1072_1.asp" on Sky&Telescope's web site.
Subject:	Questions for your ETX web site question board
Sent:	Friday, November 7, 2003 23:55:03
From:	sshafai@cisco.com (Shawn Shafai)
Re: Brand new ETX-125 system

Just got this scope for my b-day and I'm very excited!

Thanks for this site, it is GREAT to be able to share all of this
information in one place.  In fact, we got this through Discovery's web
site and was able to save ~$135 on the order just by punching in the
code provided on this site.  Wow, talk about a worthwhile website to
read!

Unfortunately, I've not had good luck so far with things, including: *
the #884 tripod had a broken plastic leg piece, you know the little
pointy plastic pieces at the bottom of each leg's tube that is attached
with a screw.  When I opened the box, one of these was completely
shattered.  Meade said they would send me one of these parts.

* the 125 itself makes strange gear noise and doesn't go smoothly in one
direction and gets stuck in another --- specifically, I'm talking about
the RA and not the declination.  Whether I engage the lock on the base
to allow motor control or leave it disengaged, I hear the same noise ---
it sounds like gears slipping in one direction and it just won't go in
the other direction.  Obviously, this isn't right, but before I assume
this is defective, can you confirm if I'm missing something and this is
due to operator error? In addition, there is a 1" long criss-cross
looking scratch right on the top of the optical tube towards the dust
cover --- seems only cosmetic so far, but this is disappointing to get
my brand new scope like this. What do you think, reason enough to
exchange for an unscratched one?

* the #497 Autostar controller looks neat from the initial start up, but
is it me or you can NOT view it head on, especially when it is scrolling
information?  I say this because the readout is extremely blurry when
text scrolls.  I notice that if I look at the display in an oblique
angle --- like from the top or the bottom, it is readable.  But, if I
look at it "normal" like directly at the display, it has too much of the
background LED base lit up and scrolling makes the reading impossible
due to "artifacts"/glow of the letter's previous position.  Is this
normal for the Autostar controller --- are you supposed to tilt the
controller so that you're looking at it from a very low angle to make it
readable?

I'm still super excited about actually observing very soon, but with
these issues, I'm dead in the water right now.  Thank you very much for
any advice that you can give.  By the way, I also sent away for the
Meade $99 Plossl deal and am just really happy with this whole set up
--- as soon as I have all of it working, anyway :-)

Regards,
Shawn
Mike here: Could that scratched on "X" mean "defective"? I wonder, given your comment about the drive noise. As long as the telescope has not reached a "hard stop" then it should freely move in both directions with only a constant (more or less) running sound. With the RA axis unlocked and the ETX turned off can you rotate the forks hard stop to hard stop almost twice around? As to the Autostar display, you probably just need to adjust the contrast and/or brightness. Go to the Utilities menu; you'll find both there.

And:

Hello Mike, thank you for the replies.

Yes, when turned off, I can rotate the forks hard stop to hard stop with
no problem.  When turned on, however, the gears make noise and have the
problems I mentioned below.  I'll keep playing with it to see what it
could be, but it sounds like it is a problem.

Thanks for the tip on the contrast, that's great, I thought it maybe
something that I just need to be more aware of - I'll try it now.
Mike here: Keep in mind that some noise is normal when the telescope is tracking. Could that be what you are hearing? If the telescope was stored for a long time you might need to loosen the grease up. Unlock the RA axis and rotate the forks by hand hard stop to hard stop, back and forth several times.

And:

I went to the Utilities menu and adjust the brightness/contrast settings
and it's all great.

I played with the scope some more and think it's busted.  When turned
off, there's no noise and everything moves smoothly.  When turned on,
however, in one direction it will only go about 2-3 degrees and then hit
some kind of stop --- and no, it's definitely not near a hard stop.  In
the other direction, it will keep going, but it has this knocking sound
as it turns.

I'm thinking I need to replace this, any thoughts appreciated.

Regards,
Shawn
Mike here: Contact the dealer. Tell them about the "X" and the noise.

And:

It's not so much the noise as it is the mechanical issue that it sounds
like.  Especially since when I first took the scope out and used the
supplied controller it didn't seem to have problems.  I think the
problem arose only after I attached Autostar and had it start moving the
scope around.

It just sounds like gears are slipping and banging against each other.
Also, the RA lock doesn't go all the way from one end to the other.  To
lock the RA axis, it only seems to go to the middle of the space and
that's it.  Is that normal or should it go from one side (unlocked) all
the way to the other side (locked)?  Right now, it just goes to the
middle and that's it.
Mike here: Ah ha! Did you set the telescope model and mounting mode in the Autostar? Did you CALIBRATE and then TRAIN DRIVES on both axes? And yes, the lock only goes to about the middle.
Subject:	re: a problem (drained NiMH)
Sent:	Friday, November 7, 2003 22:28:07
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	e_brentnall@hotmail.com
Having the batteries -slowly- drain far too low may render the 
Autostar unbootable.
See:
http://home.comcast.net/~lynol1000/as_494_gc/index.html
for a report on the cause, and the non-return-to-Meade cure.

But that would not explain the failure of the hand controller,
unless some high-current drain happened, and you blew one of
the circuit board traces off the power panel.

I think a $75 return to Meade is a bargain for this problem set.
I seem to recall they charge about that much for simply an
Autostar replacement, so the scope repair is "almost free".

good luck
--dick

Subject:	Meades $99 eyepieces
Sent:	Friday, November 7, 2003 13:45:02
From:	AnthonyRukcic@aol.com
Justed wanted to let you know I finally got in my SP eyepiece set
yesterday. It took 2 months after they deposited my check, before I got
them (I live in St. Louis) So anyone that order them except a good
waiting period due to back-order. Plan on using them tonight if the
weather holds. Now I'm waiting for my AutoStar to return.

Anthony

Subject:	a problem
Sent:	Thursday, November 6, 2003 08:45:48
From:	e_brentnall@hotmail.com (Ed Brentnall)
I have or had a 5 year old ETX 90. I went to use it last night and had a
problem. It seems the electronics in the scope died. The Autostar will
not light up at all. When you tried the hand controller it will not
work. The focuser will not work when connected through the scope. I
tried new batteries. I tried cold booting the controller. All to no
success.

Conlusion.......it fried it self. Do you know the repair costs and are
there alternates to having Meade do it? Or do I just have a high

Edward Brentnall edbrentnall@mindspring.com 
Mike here: Please read the Email Etiquette item linked from the ETX Site home page; your email was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM. Clearer SUBJECT lines will help avoid this in the future.
Have you checked the battery compartment for any battery leakage? Do you have an alternate power source you could try? Under normal usage, this should obviously not happen. Since the telescope is out of warranty you could look inside the base and see if a wire has come disconnected or was cut. Meade will charge about $75 (and perhaps more) to repair it.

And:

I did return the scope to Meade. I did use several power sources and
found that the control unit in the scope was dead. I do not know the
fate of the Autostar.  The reason I sent you the e-mail was to find out
about alternate repair sources or up-grade sources and to give you, as
the guru of ETX and Meade, a heads up to a possible problem.

I had removed the alkaline batteries from the scope last week and
replaced them with NIMH batteries that I had charged in a NIMH
recharger. I had no apparent problems recharging them. We used the scope
this week to look at the sun spots. A few days later I got the scope out
to enter some data and discovered the scope was dead. I thought that I
might have left the power on and drained the batteries.. I took them out
and put the in the recharger. The recharger will only hold four at a
time, and the first batch recharged and behaved as if they were drained.
The second batch was different. After six hours and the recharge light
still on, I investigated. All the batteries were warm but one was so hot
you could not touch it.

My conclusion is that during the first use one of the batteries had a
partial short. (during our viewing of the sun we were going to use the
motors for tracking, but since time was short we did not. Read we turned
on and off the scope's electronics) Now the scope sat for several days
apparently draining all the other batteries and , if I left the scope
on, shorting out the electronics. I did test the batteries again and
found one would not take a charge at all.

Mostly I use a battery pack, but I wanted the NIMH batteries for quick
setup and easer travel. This may not have been a good idea. It also
maybe that after five years of use something popped of natural causes,
but I am going to give the rechargeable batteries to my daughter for her
CD player. By the way as long as the scope is in at Meade I had the
replace the glass and mirrors with the UHTC.
Mike here: There have been some reports that rechargeable batteries do not work well in the ETX. By the way, what did Meade quote you on the repair price?

And:

I paid $75 to repair the scope and four other matters (broken mount on
the view finder and others) and $225 for the new glass with the UHTC
coatings. Shipping was $13 and they pay to ship it back. Good deal it
seems but it will be six weeks.

What is your opinion on the Meade LX200 GPS 7 in.Maksutov Cassegrain. I
want a bigger bucket that still is transportable. I've taken my little
ETX to Hawaii (Kaui), West Indies (Nevis), Keys (Islamorada) all  for
beautiful dark skies..... And would like a bigger bucket to haul.
Mike here: I have no experience with the 7" Mak but I do like my LXD55-8"SC (same OTA as the LX90 8" and LX200 GPS 8"SC).
Subject:	etx70
Sent:	Wednesday, November 5, 2003 11:54:09
From:	paulinereed2002@yahoo.com (pauline reed)
I have an ETX 70 2.8.  What can I find that the naked eye cannot see?

I live in Sacramento, California - 39 degrees north 121.  I get a fair
view of the due north sky.  Maybe one hundred yards both way and the
same for the south.

I did see Mars at the size of a quarter in September.  Now in November
it is about the size of a dime.  Once I did see Polaris.  I want to find
Capella, Denbe and Vega.  I would like to find these in my Meade ETX 70
2.8 telescope.  Can I do this, or did I waste my money?

Please answer me as soon as possible at the following e-mail: 
paulinereed2002@yahoo.com or chet@saclink.csus.edu
 
Sincerely,
 
Chet Reed
 
Mike here: You can see many objects in the ETX-70 that are not visible to the naked eye. Once you have aligned it, use the Tonight's Best Guided Tour. You can also just work your way through the various Object menus. You asked about specific stars; just select the name from the Object->Stars menu. Keep in mind that the Autostar database has many objects that you will have difficulty seeing unless you have really dark skies.
Subject:	ETX GPS Mate
Sent:	Wednesday, November 5, 2003 07:00:42
From:	Kevin.Boudreaux@ENRON.com (Boudreaux, Kevin)
Any reviews concerning the GPS Mate for the Meade ETX on Scopetronics
website?
Mike here: If you are referring to the StarGPS, see the "GPS for Autostar #495/497" on the Autostar Information page.
Subject:	ETX focal reducer (Mogg)
Sent:	Wednesday, November 5, 2003 01:42:14
From:	job@Studioa.nl (Job Geheniau)
Yes look at www.samage.net/~geheniau/astronomy2.html and then under
astrophotograhy.(only the 0.66 one)

Job Geheniau
The Netherlands

Subject:	SkyShed Update
Sent:	Tuesday, November 4, 2003 19:54:11
From:	wparker@cyg.net (Wayne Parker)
  SkyShed in Sky & Telescope!

The great people at S&T have added a beautiful feature on SkyShed in the
New Products Section of the December S&T issue.

Coming Soon: Look for a feature on SkyShed in the January issue of
Astronomy Magazine.

A Reminder -  The latest version of Solidworks - eDrawing Viewer is
available for free on their website. A link to the download is located
on the bottom right of our website "Plans" page. Even if you don't own
SkyShed Plans on CD yet the viewer is worth having as it can open and
view many different types of CAD files.

More Construction Photos - We have just taken some additional photos of
hanging the door and flower boxes on a SkyShed. I will uploading the
photos to our website in the next 48 hours.

We'd like to welcome the latest addition to the SkyShed community. This
past Saturday we erected a 12' x 10' SkyShed in the Orillia area for
Adam and Tracy Clayton. Their SkyShed houses an Celestron C-11 on a CI
700 German EQ mount. Check out photos of the new SkyShed on our
"Gallery" page. Thanks to Adam and Tracy for sharing their testimonial!

I will be uploading a CAD file of a pier adapter plate that will fit
most Celestron German EQ mounts to our "updates" page for those who
already own a SkyShed Plans CD.

And now back to answering the mountain of SkyShed email inquiries...

Clear Skies!
Wayne Parker
www.skyshed.com

Subject:	Visual back/Diagonal/Eyepiece Advantages
Sent:	Monday, November 3, 2003 12:39:52
From:	splatt@kureassociates.com (Stephen Platt)
Great website!

Are there any advantages to using a visual back/"high quality"
diagonal/eyepiece setup over the standard eyepiece/90 degree holder
setup? Obvious disadvantages are this combo's affect on balance and the
inability to view anything at or near the zenith.  I guess the question
is - Will a very good diagonal transmit more light to the eye from the
back "Photo Port" than what is transmitted from the flip mirror through
the 90 degree holder?

Thanks for the service you provide.

Steve
Mike here: Yes, a high quality diagonal will provide an improvement BUT you may or may not be able to notice the difference depending upon the telescope, collimation, seeing conditions, and your experience. Consider the cost vs benefits.
Subject:	The EXT- 125; Starry Night v 4.5 upgrade; AutoStar Upgrade: StarPatch: Meade electronic eyepiece and the Philip ToUcam video cam
Sent:	Monday, November 3, 2003 10:24:28
From:	cnardo@toyon.com (Chuck Nardo)
Just some info for all and looking for focusing help/tips. Questions are
indented & Bold

FYI .I am new to astronomy:

1)	My ETX 125 (bought in Aug. 03 @ Discovery Stores) is working fine.
While I was impressed with the moon images, I was surprised and
disappointed with the quality and size of everything else (especially
Mars). I have now gained new appreciation and respect for all of the
amateur astronomers out there. It takes a lot more talent, patience and
common sense that I had ever imagined.., and I am using the computer
too!!!!

2)	I run my scope with Starry Night Pro V. 4.5.  When upgrading from
v 4.0 you must uninstall everything before installing Starry Night Pro v
4.5. Also, watch out; do not assume that the ASCOM software is still
there. You need to re-install that also from the CD-ROM, but do it AFTER
installing Starry Night otherwise; the plug-ins will NOT find the right
folder.

3)	AutoStar Upgrade client server application worked fine after
downloading it from Meade. My AutoStar came with v.22 and I needed to
upgrade it to v.30. Instructions worked as advertised.

4)	I upgraded my AutoStar with the StarPatch software using my own
Garmin III Pilot GPS device. Depending upon your OS (I am running XP on
a Compaq Evo PII at 500MHz); I had to reboot several times and slap my
computer around until it recognized my COM port, but this is more my
system related problem (I always get interrupts because I have so many
things plugged into it). StarPatch worked as advertised. AutoStar
recognized the patch and downloaded the GPS info without any hassles.
Just remember to make sure you have a GPS fix before you turn on the
AutoStar, and you have changed the output format from "Garmin" (so it
works with all of the mapping software on your computer) to "NEMA" (so
it works with AutoStar).

5)	Next, I tried to get the Meade electronic eyepiece to work. I
first started with terrestrial objects. I was very unimpressed with the
quality. My TV was very grainy. Focusing was a problem.

a.	What could I be checking or doing to get this to work better?

b.	What magnification should I expect to get out of this? Equivalent
to a 40mm eyepiece or a 15 mm eyepiece?

c.	Do I need to move the electronic eyepiece up & down in the holder
to get "prime focus"?

d.	If I ever get this working, will it work with 2x & 3x Barlow
lens., or do I move out of "Prime Focus"?.

e.	How do you know when you are NOT in Prime Focus.I run my electric
focusing motor in both directions without hardly a change in contrast on
the screen. Operator error???

6)	Next I tried the Philips ToUCam. There is something I am missing
with this also after seeing the latest ToUCam pictures of Mars in this
months' S&T mag. I have a hard time centering, focusing and getting a
good picture on my laptop screen (and I am working with the moon!). Alan
Chu's word doc on the ToUCam was GREAT, but he didn't discuss focusing
for dummies like me.

a.	What could I be checking or doing to get this to work better?

b.	What magnification should I expect to get out of this? Equivalent
to a 40mm eyepiece or a 15 mm eyepiece?

c.	Do I need to move the ToUCam eyepiece up & down in the holder to
get "prime focus"?

d.	If I ever get this working, will it work with 2x & 3x Barlow
lens., or do I move out of "Prime Focus".

Any help from you, your readers or pointers toward documentation help
would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advanced. Without your web site, I probably would have given
up already!!!

				Chuck 
Mike here: I don't have an electronic eyepiece nor do I use a webcam with the telescope. But you may or may not need to slide the tube up/down in the eyepiece holder to achieve a focus. Depends upon the length of the tube and the position of the imager plane. Clarification: "prime focus" doesn't mean "in focus"; it is one term meaning the location of the telescope's "first focal plane". You might find it helpful to make a Hartmann Mask as a focusing aid; see the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page. Keep in mind that focusing faint objects is a challenge.

And:

Thanks for the advice.....I will check out the Hartmann Mask tip
immediately.

Subject:	Meade Autostar Suite including LPI Imager
Sent:	Sunday, November 2, 2003 10:56:51
From:	Lrv64@aol.com
I have searched your site for information on the new Meade Autostar
Suite including LPI Imager, but have not found any!  (I probably missed
it!!)

Is this compatible with the ETX-125EC with Autostar 497?

lrv64@aol.com

ps...Have you had any feedback on this? Good or bad?
Mike here: Yes, it is compatible. Dick Seymour has a short mention of it along with a photo of Mars (not done with an ETX) on the General Feedback page for October 2003. The LPI has just started shipping so not too much info on it yet (other than what's on Meade's site).

And:

I just ordered it, and will let you know how it goes with setup and
results of pictures.

Of course once I have software, imager, and autostar setup the clouds
will roll in!

Subject:	Finderscope in the way with highpower eyepiece
Sent:	Sunday, November 2, 2003 08:00:33
From:	Camv1101@aol.com
First I want to thank you for your great site. It has really help on
some issues I couldn't find the answers to in Meade's manuels. My
problems comes from the rightangle finder scope. When viewing with the
26mm eypiece it is not an issue, but as I move up in power, and the
eyepieces get shorter it does get in the way for a right handed viewer. 
Are there any quick and easy (low-tech) fixes for this problem that you
reccomend?
thanks in advance 
Billy V.
Mike here: There are a couple of things: 1) Rotate the finderscope eyepiece outward away from the eyepiece. I have mine set to about 45 degrees. 2) Don't insert the eyepiece all the into the tube. Actually, there is a 3rd alternative: use a different finderscope.
Subject:	Mogg focal reducers
Sent:	Sunday, November 2, 2003 04:36:44
From:	nking@synner.co.uk (Nick King)
Have you or anyone else used Steven Mogg's focal reducers on an ETX? I
bought the pair (0.66 reducer and the 0.33 extender), and had great
results on the sun using the 0.66 alone. But I couldn't reach focus when
using the0.33 extender as well. This was while imaging using a ToUcam
Pro with the Mogg webcam adapter.

To be fair, it was very cloudy, and I didn't really get a chance to try
it properly.

Thanks
Nick

Subject:	need help choosing proper telescope
Sent:	Saturday, November 1, 2003 15:05:35
From:	marionjones@arkansas.net (Ron & Marion Jones)
I have looked at so much information on the internet that my head is
swimming.  We want to by our adult son a telescope for
christmas.  He lives in the wide open spaces of Montana  and
can see the whole sky from his house.  Finances are limited. 
Is there anything for 300 dollars or so that is worth buying.  Also
don't know whether to get reflector or refractor.  Any help would
be greatly appreciated.

Marion
Mike here: Some questions: Does he already know some about the night sky? Is he willing to learn? What types of objects does he want to view? Does he want to do astrophotography? These can be important questions otherwise the telescope will go unused when he gets disappointed in what he can do with it. And the best telescope for anyone is the telescope that gets used, not the one in the closet.

And:

Yes he does know some about the night sky.  He visits a planetarium
some.  As for which objects he's interested in I'm not really
sure.  His wife is the one that told us he was interested in a
telescope.  Maybe we need to question her.

He would be willing to learn and no I don't think he is interested in
astrophotography
Mike here: There are small refractors (like the ETX-70AT) that provide nice views and include an automatic GOTO capability that will locate objects for the user. However, it performs best when viewing the Moon and wide areas of the night sky. For about the same price (but minus a tripod) you can get an ETX-90RA. The ETX-90RA model does not include the Autostar GOTO capability, nor can it be upgraded to an Autostar-capable model. Other options are the DS or LXD55 models from Meade or products from Celestron or Orion. The DS models have the GOTO capabilities as do the NexStar models from Celestron.
Subject:	Silly or Stupid Question
Sent:	Saturday, November 1, 2003 09:38:42
From:	sahead@bellsouth.net (Stephan Head)
I don't know if this is a silly or stupid question, so please bear with
a person new to telescopes.  My question is:  will Mars only be a bright
dot with my 26mm eyepiece or can I focus it in any closer?  I thought
maybe a Barlow might help.

Thanks.
Mike here: Depends upon the focal length of your telescope. See My Astrophotography - The Planets on my ETX Site for a comparison of the size of Mars (back in July) through several telescopes. If you are uncertain how to calculation eyepiece magnification, see the FAQ page.

And:

Mine view is like your picture:
ETX-125, 127mm aperture, 1900mm focal length, 25mm eyepiece (76X)

But I think the mag. is 73X as opposed to 76X.  I was wondering what
lens I need to put in to get clearer definition.

Thanks for the info.
Mike here: Adding a 2X Barlow Lens will double the size. You haven't said what telescope model you have but if a new ETX-90, -105, or -125 you might consider the Meade $99 Eyepiece Deal. Otherwise, check the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page as well as the Buyer/New User Tips page for some eyepieces comments and suggestions.

And:

I'm sorry.  I have a ETX-125.  I bought the $99.00 package from Meade,
but haven't received it yet.  The 26mm made the Moon look nice tonight,
but Mars still looks like a bright dot.  This was first time I was able
to see the moon since getting the telescope.  I am hoping it will be
clear next week here for the Lunar eclipse.
Mike here: With the eyepiece set you won't need to get a Barlow Lens.

And:

Thank you.  May I ask another question?  I read the reviews for software
and was wanting to know which one was your "personal" favorite.
Mike here: I use Voyager III on my Macintosh.

And:

Thanks.  I was thinking about downloading the shareware, Astrofinder.

Feedback Archives

Check the Feedback Archives for previous editions of the Feedback page.


Return to the top of this page.

Go to the ETX Home Page.


Copyright © 2003 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
Submittals Copyright © 2003 by the Submitter
URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/feedbackNov03/feedback.html