Last updated: 30 November 2003
Subject: BOOKS Sent: Sunday, November 30, 2003 13:55:25 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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? JimMike 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: email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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.
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: email@example.com (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 SowersMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 BirdMike 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.
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.
From: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 BruczkowskiMike here: Are you proposing a geostationary satellite at the poles? That would require a lot of fuel.
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. MarcinMike 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 UKMike 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.
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 JimAnd 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) BestonMike here: Not doing the CALIBRATE might confuse things.
Subject: Re: "Jerky motion" Sent: Thursday, November 27, 2003 09:31:50 From: email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 USAMike 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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 email@example.com Warsaw, Poland
Subject: Re: Meade ETX - Cleaning problems Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2003 18:27:19 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (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 VICTORMike here: Please see the Email Etiquette page, linked from the ETX Site home page; your email was initially deleted UNREAD as SPAM.
Subject: Info Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2003 04:31:56 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 PiergiorgioMike here: Please see the Email Etiquette page, linked from the ETX Site home page; your email was initially deleted UNREAD as SPAM.
Subject: Re: Rechargeable batteries for ETX 125 : good or bad ? Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2003 03:28:56 From: Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com To: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 HendrenMike 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.
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: email@example.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 BirdMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.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 ConnMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. ChrisAnd from a user wondering about a Supercharge:
Subject: Supercharge of 1999 ETX-125 versus new? Sent: Sunday, November 23, 2003 10:18:27 From: email@example.com (Bob Zimmerman) To: firstname.lastname@example.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: email@example.com (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 MintoMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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.
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 helpMike 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: email@example.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, RobMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 ScullyMike 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.
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.
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 eddieAnd:
From: email@example.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 MeauxMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (shirley m feickert) can you tell me your opinion, on meade eye pieces to rke eye pieces which is better Jim feickertMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (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, JimMike 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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (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, FLMike 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.
Thanks, Mike. And.. thanks for your tireless efforts. Jay Lewis
Subject: Jerky RA motion Sent: Monday, November 17, 2003 21:41:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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, FLMike 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?
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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 GibbsMike 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.
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: email@example.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. JackMike 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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 ServicesMike 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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (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, JoellenMike 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.
Subject: ETX 125 Focus Mechanism Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2003 16:58:56 From: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 -- SteveMike 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 ParkAnd
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: email@example.com (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. AlanMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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.
Thanks for the reply. The only thing I can think of is that the close up image of the focuser:
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: email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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, KenMike 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? JoshMike here: Your email was originally deleted as SPAM per the info on the Email Etiquette page on the ETX Site. Please review the page.
Subject: Sent: Saturday, November 8, 2003 16:13:57 From: email@example.com (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.
Subject: Questions for your ETX web site question board Sent: Friday, November 7, 2003 23:55:03 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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, ShawnMike 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.
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.
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, ShawnMike here: Contact the dealer. Tell them about the "X" and the noise.
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: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.orgMike 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.
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?
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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com Sincerely, Chet ReedMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.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. SteveMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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!!! ChuckMike 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.
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? email@example.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).
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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (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. MarionMike 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.
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 astrophotographyMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks. I was thinking about downloading the shareware, Astrofinder.
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