Last updated: 23 November 2004
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:	inquiry re: meade etx 90
Sent:	Tuesday, November 23, 2004 17:43:33
From:	megan smith (
Thanks for responding so quickly to my e-mail inquiry.  I just recently
joined an astronomy club; and as you probably can tell, I am not very
knowledgeable about telescopes. I belive your web site will be a source
of very useful information.  Is there any sage advice that you can offer
to a beginning amateur astronomer like myself?

Mike here: Advice: Be patient. Don't try to learn or do everything on the first night out! Read, read, read. And use the telescope! Start observing; the Autostar will help tremendously with that.
Subject:	ETX 125 
Sent:	Tuesday, November 23, 2004 12:23:28
From: (
I was wondering if you new any store that would take a trade in of my
ETX-125ec for the new premier scope.  I was also wondering if you know
anything about the new premiere scopes?
Dan Cohen
Morton Grove, IL
Mike here: All I know about the PE models is what is posted on Meade's site. I do hope to get one as soon as they start shipping. As to trade-ins, I'm not certain but try OPT; they might take your old one on consignment.
Subject:	Easy Align with SmartFinder for older ETX fix
Sent:	Tuesday, November 23, 2004 12:10:27
From:	Jack Fox (
I have been reading where people have been asking if they can refit
their old ETX with the Easy Align  SmartFinder that is on the new
Premier Edition ETX's.  Sky View Optics at sells the
Align Mate Pro for about $165.00.  The description in the ad reads:

	Ideally Suited to the ETX90, 105, 125 and the LX90.
	The Alignmate-Pro is a compact hand-held electronic unit that enables
	you to find and adjust the level of your telescope mount and optical
	tube, as well as point the telescope in the direction of magnetic and
	TRUE north (after site calibration). All this in seconds - and in total
	darkness! But if all this is not enough, we thought we'd make the
	Alignmate-Pro even more useful by including and integral LED torch that
	can be switched from night vision-saving red light to bright white
	light. Supplied complete with universal telescope attachment cradle.
Hope this helps.

Subject:	meade etx -90 ec  and  meade etx- 90at
Sent:	Tuesday, November 23, 2004 10:55:41
From:	megan smith (
I recently purchased what I thought was meade etx-90at telescope. What I
received was the meade etx-90ec telescope, which I believe was an
earlier model of the same telescope.  Am I correct in assuming that the
later model is updated and therefore better than the previous one? If so
then I suppose that I should insist that the seller send me the exact
telescope that I ordered. What do you think?


Mike here: The AT model is the same as the EC model but with the #497 Autostar standard (instead of the simpler handcontroller) and #884 tripod.
Subject:	RE: Stuck Dust Cover
Sent:	Tuesday, November 23, 2004 08:17:36
From:	Tanpho, Jurgen (JTanpho@INNODATA-ISOGEN.COM)
I was advised by a photographer friend to spray wd40 around the area of
the dust cover.  He advised me to take care to not to spray directly
into the groove lest some of the wd40 get onto the lens and affect the
coatings.  I sprayed the wd40 with care and...viola...the dust covers
rotated off.  Can't tell you how happy I am, until a storm rolled in. 
So I'm stuck with looking at trees close up until the clouds part.  Many
thanks for the help and for knowing there's someone to run to.  Hope to
be stargazing soon.


Mike here: That's something I wouldn't have tried!
Subject:	solar filter for ETX 90 M
Sent:	Sunday, November 21, 2004 18:34:54
From:	Kedar P Badu (
One of my friends in US sent me good quality solar filters. these are
thin paper like films, in a frame of 2.5 inch x 4 inch size. We want to
use these films for observing the sun. Is there any way we can see the
sun through ETX? Using Filters?

What I am thinking is to make a paper cover for the objective lens, with
rectangular hole on it to fit the frame of the filter. Then put this
cover on top of the objective lens, and direct the scope to the sun. Is
this the right way to go?
Please advise,
Kedar P Badu
Galileo Astronomical Society of Pokhara - GASPO
Kathmandu Nepal
Mike here: Yes, you can use the ETX to safely view the Sun as long as you use a quality solar filter or approved solar material. See the Accessory Reviews: Filters for more info.
Subject:	ETX 105 Aux Connector Question
Sent:	Saturday, November 20, 2004 17:35:26
From:	Yurtle Turtle (
I have an ETX 105, which I feed with a 12v 7.2Ah lead-acid battery. I
have a ScopeTronix dew clip which pulls 360ma (measured) at 12 volts.
I'd like to add a phone connector so I can plug it into one of my Aux
ports. I'd obviously need to leave enough wire to wrap around as it
slews. Do you know if there's a power limitation on the Aux jacks?

Adam Minchey
From:	Richard Seymour (
My first question is: what's the -inrush- current?

If it's a nichrome wire as the heating element, the "cold"
resistance is much lower than the later steady-state resistance.

My usual recommendation is: Don't use the AUX jacks for this.
They have -no- overcurrent protection, and the first hint you
have of drawing too much is when their circuit traces blast 
(or slow-burn) off the little circuit card behind the power

It's far better to create a Y-connector on the power cable, and
plug them in externally.  Meade has never published a specification
for the AUX ports (since you'll only ever plug Meade widgets into
them, right?).  

I would think that it's "safe" to draw up to one amp from the
AUX port, but i'd worry about a -continuous- draw that high
(build up of heat internally).  360ma -should- be safe, but
it's really a pain if it's not...

have fun

Subject:	Right Ascention Circuit board
Sent:	Saturday, November 20, 2004 01:48:05
From:	Marcos Dager (
This Morning I was looking at Jupiter and the Right Ascention Circuit
board had a short circuit and it fried. The rechargeable batteries got
discharge so I plug the #607 Power Cord to my car lighter, after 1 hour
everything was working fine, and then a saw a fault motor, it restart
and I star to smell smoke I turn off the Scope and take it inside
quickly to see what happened. I attached two pictures of Right Ascention
Circuit board. I found out that the #607 cable does not has a fuse that
is very important in this cases.  Do you think that is I call Meade they
will send me the Right Ascention Circuit board? For me is difficult to
send them my Scopes I am In Venezuela. Can you help me with this issue I
will appreciate very much.

ETX circuit
Thanks for all your Help, Marcos D.
Mike here: Ouch. It won't hurt to try and see if Meade will send out just those but I have my doubts. Obviously this should not happen under normal circumstances. Batteries being fully discharged should not; normal 12VDC should not. I wonder what caused it. But reversed polarity might, either on the batteries or the car lighter socket or even the cable.


I check the cable and is the Original from Meade #607, What I did not do
was taking out the batteries before plug it in  the 12V to my car I turn
the Scope off. Is very strange because it was working fine, Do you think
can be the Voltage regulator of my car that send more than 12V? all
Start with a failure Motor in the Autostar. The Alt/dec Is working well
and I test the motor of the Az/ra and works fine, do you think this
affect the Autostar? I hope Meade can be kind enough and send me that
replacement part, because shipping the telescope from here will cost
more than the Telescope.

Thank you for all your help,

Marcos Dager.
Mike here: The batteries are cut out of the circuit when the external power source cable is connected. Unless your regulator has gone bad, then I doubt that it caused the problem. The Autostar could have been damaged as well as the board; you could make an external power supply for it and test it. There are articles on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page that explain doing both. But I still suspect you will have to contact Meade or a local Meade dealer.


I Test the Autostar with  new batteries on the Scope and It move the
Alt/dec Motor fine, here we don't have any local dealers of Meade. On
Monday I am going to call Meade and I hope they can help me by sending
the Replacement part, it will cost much much  less than sending the
Scope to Meade. If Meade does not send me the Part do you know any
please where they sell replacement part for ETX Scopes even the mount.

Thanks and Regards,

Marcos Dager.
Mike here: You can try Telescope Warehouse; link in the Astronomy Links page.


I check the warehouse and did not found nothing about Circuit board on
Monday someone from Meade or Oceanside Photo and Telescope can help me.

Thank again for the information

Marcos D.


Do you know is Meade Support has a e-mail address? So I can se contact
them this way to.
Mike here: The only public email is, which is used generally for reporting software bugs. Normally they don't reply. BUT you might check their website for an international distributor/dealer in your area and work through them.


to keep you Inform I call Meade today and they don't send any
replacement part to owners only Authorized International Distributors
and Dealers, so I contact SATEC S.A from Costa Rica and they I going to
send me the replacement part is the gearbox with the circuit board.

thanks again,

Marcos Dager

Subject:	Size/weight of ETX 105 vs 90
Sent:	Saturday, November 20, 2004 01:46:37
From:	Stephen Bird (
I saw your message re the size of the 105. As far as I can see the 105
uses a 125 base unit and a beefed up 90 OTA. So as you would expect it
is a halfway house between the 90 and the 125.

In so far as portability when travelling by air is concerned, there are
two options:

1. Buy a regulation maximum size holdall for hand / cabin luggage and
cut some foam rubber to size to safely carry the 105 in. To get the
weight to the regulation 5kg, just pack the scope unit in this holdall,
no batterries, no power packs / leads, no Autostar, no finder scope and
remove the metal lens cap and replace with a plastic cover like you find
on powdered potatoe tins or baby milk. By doing this if you haven't got
a holdall that is too heavy in itself, you can just get under the 5kg
limit. All the peripherals then can go in checked baggage.

2. As Mike said (I think), remove the OTA and carry that as hand / cabin
luggage and carry the rest as checked luggage. Of course if you are not
confident in doing this or fear for your warranty, then option 1 is your
only option. For the 125, OTA removal is the only option to get under
the 5kg limit.

Oh, and UHTC? Why would anyone buy a scope without UHTC? Always seemed
to me to be like buying a car these days without a heated rear window.
In the UK all Meade scopes seem to have UHTC as standard.
Stephen Bird

Subject:	Space Station
Sent:	Friday, November 19, 2004 18:37:14
From:	Roy (
I cruised your site again tonight, a weekly occurance for me, and I
didn't see any reference to satelite viewing/tracking. Did I miss a
category, or is there none? You might consider at least a few links to
relevant sites. Anyway, I stepped outside for a minute and happened to
see the ISS go over. I got on line and searched for a site to get real
time location info for the ISS, so I can see it more often. I have seen
it four times in the last month by accident, lucky for me, but I haven't
seen it for about a year before that. Sometimes when company is here, it
would be cool to see if the ISS is going over so I can point it out to

Just for your general information, I found a really good site that shows the
tracks of several user selectable satelites. You can even overlay the
worlds current weather patterns on the map. You can mouse click your
location, or any other location that you click on, and the selected
satelites' next visibility at that location is displayed in local time.
It even displays a short arc for the pass so you know where to look.

I recommend the web site to all, but I did discover that if I go the the
config page, change settings, and try to save them, it locks up my
browser. A re-boot is necessary to continue browsing, but programs on my
PC will still run. There are several of these types of sites (satelite
tracking) but this one seems to be the best.
I hope this information is helpful.
Roy McCabe
Mike here: If you mean using the Autostar for tracking satellites, see the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. For observational times, is also an excellent site.
Subject:	meade etx-105ec
Sent:	Friday, November 19, 2004 04:36:41
From:	Lyndon Smith (
Just a quick question if you don't mind

My daughter has put in a request for christmas she would like a
telescope. having no knowledge in this field at all I've been trawling
the net for information and from what info i've gathered I was looking
at buying her the Meade ETX-105

what do you think

would you say That i'm going over the top


Lyndon Smith
Mike here: She should enjoy it. So will you. But remember, read the manual, three times. Then play with the telescope, following the manual, indoors while you can see what you and the telescope are doing. Makes things a lot less frustrating than trying to learn a new telescope at night with the pressures of wanting to see something.


Thankyou for taking the time to e-mail me and your comment are

Lyndon Smith

Subject:	deep sky pic by Job Geheniau
Sent:	Thursday, November 18, 2004 19:44:22
From:	chrisbrown4 (
I got to admit, those pics that Job Geheniau keeps sending in, using his
ETX-90, are TRULY impressive!! I tried to get NGC 891 in a VERY dark
Alabama sky with my XT-8, and I J.U.S.T. got it, I think!! It just goes
to show you, a telescope with Wonderful optics can match a much larger
aperture telescope.
Truly Incredible!!
Chris Brown
From: (

The trick is 'patience'.

Or a quite sensitive modified webcam (sc3) and most important, just
making as much as possible good and long exposures.

And of course my double focal reducer. Gives quite a wide field and
reduces the time with 3 or 4. So instead of 4 hours with only webcam a
just need 1 hour with webcam and double focal reducer. f-0.3). Also
guiding is more easy with a wide field so I can take exposures of 30
seconds instead of 10 or 12 .

But indeed it will still be a lot of work to get these pictures, also
for me!


Subject:	Replacing ETX-90 plastic OTA back part (was: ETX-90 down)
Sent:	Thursday, November 18, 2004 06:53:21
From:	Rafael Falquina (
could you give me some advice about how to replace the OTA plastic back
part ? I searched your site and didn't find anything specific on this.
Thanks a lot in advance.
Mike here: If you are talking about the rear port (prime focus) screw-on cover, the best thing to do would be to contact Meade; they will likely send you one for free or very little cost.


I'm talking about the complete rear plastic cell which holds the flip
diagonal mirror.
Mike here: Ouch. Contact Meade.
Subject:	ETX 90
Sent:	Thursday, November 18, 2004 08:31:08
From: (
Sorry to trouble you again but i now hav a new query which is very
confusing.. I have a field tripod 883 & in the instuction manuals it
says to align polar i have to put leg with N on facing north right..but
when i tilt the head of tripod the scope is pointing towards the floor
not the sky unless i turn tripod 180 degrees until N leg is south??

In the manual or any manual for this scope or tripod the pics are all
the same with the scope tilted back pointing to sky but the N leg is
pointing south??

Am i just being stupid or what??

Please help..
Mike here: In the Northern Hemisphere the "N" leg does belong on the North side when using the #883 tripod for polar mounting a telescope. That lets the head tilt to be parallel to the Earth's rotational axis. If your telescope seems "backwards" you probably just need to unmount it, rotate it 180 degrees, and remount it.
Subject:	Power Supply
Sent:	Wednesday, November 17, 2004 19:31:29
From:	Marcos Dager (
I saw your review about the Celestron Power Tank 12V 7ah. Look what I
found, Orion has the same model DynamoT 12-Volt DC Rechargeable Power
Station and it cost a little less, you can find more information in this
this can be useful for someone.

Best regards,

Marcos Dager

Subject:	Thank you mr Weasner!
Sent:	Wednesday, November 17, 2004 14:03:37
From:	Dennis Gustafsson (
Just a quick note of gratefullness to you.

I just ordered my first telescope - after having dreamt and saved for
quite a while.

The Meade 125. And I've ordered your book, as it seems to be a lot to
get to grips with for a beginner.  Ooo.. I can't wait.  I know there
will be setbacks - but i also know it will be more than worth it to
travel the solar system and the stars.

Thanks again.



Subject:	Flakey ETX90 repaired by Meade  - After some debate
Sent:	Wednesday, November 17, 2004 14:01:46
From:	Michael Teige (
I do believe I mailed you some time ago lamenting the fact that my ETX90
EC never, ever worked correctly (tracking) from day one.  A manager at
Meade gave me the brush off when I balked at the $90 + shipping they
wanted to even look at the thing.  He kept avoiding me by calling my
home when I told him I would be out and never called my cell.  He
refused to listen to me and didn't care that not only did the thing
never work, but the miserable #883 tripod failed and sent the scope on a
death fall.  I did manage to catch it in the nick of time but in doing
so the OTA took a bit of a hit.  This could not have helped matters any.
My feeling was since Meade never sent any warning or recalls on the
tripod and since this defect was pretty well known (not by me though,
only after I read about it on your site) I didn't think it was totally
fair to make me pay for a diagnostic.  I wasn't asking for a whole new
scope just for them to  look at it and tell me if it's broke or if I am
not doing things correctly.  I asked point blank (all of these
conversations were in voice mail) as to why the #883 was scrapped and
replaced with the very different #884 if there wasn't a problem.  After
that he stopped calling me altogether.  I sent a fax to Meade saying
that there has been a communication breakdown with the manager in
question and that I was not happy being avoided and ignored when all I
wanted was a human being to talk to and get my questions answered one
way or another.  I was never threatening or rude or overly demanding and
felt this was a terrible example of customer service.  I was not
necessarily wanting to dodge the $90 fee but before I forked over that
money I wanted a person to person chat about my issues and asked for
some other manager to call me.  I was more than happy to pay for any
actual repair work, but wanted to talk about maybe bypassing/reducing
the  diagnostic fees considering my experiences with the product.  Well
to my surprise I got a call from a rep who told me to send the scope to
them at my expense (which was fine by me) and they would diagnose the
issues for free. A few weeks later I almost dropped dead from shock when
a scope (not sure if it was the one I sent or not) came back and this
one works brilliantly!  Go-to works!  And even if I don't bother with
the alignment and just turn on the tracking motors, Jupiter for example
will stay dead centered for longer than I care to stay outside!  The
reason why I am not sure if it's the original scope or a replacement is
that the OTA and the base look really crisp and clean (I was certain
there were some small scrapes on the OTA and base) and the rubber feet
are back (I had long ago peeled them off) but the lens cap still has the
small chip from when I dropped the cap on the driveway and it landed
on-edge.  So either they did a  bang up job cleaning, polishing and
repairing my old scope or they gave me a new one but with the original
lens cover.  Either way this is a lot more than what I expected from
Meade and wanted to pass along that my faith in Meade has been restored
and the seemingly uncaring manager must not be the norm.  Now I still
own and use the #883 but with some very thick cardboard shims keeping
the legs from slipping.  I'd like to get the #884 but just can't shell
out that kind of dough so the shim-pod will do and actually works ok.

-Michael Teige
 Monroe WA

Subject:	Fried Motors
Sent:	Wednesday, November 17, 2004 13:51:11
From:	Don Sutherland (
Jos/Yoshi Tagger had a problem because he connected AC to his ETX and
may have connected reverse polarity DC. Ouch!

He was wondering if the motors might be fried. No chance. The motors run
in both directions normally, so they can't be powered "backwards". If
they were to get 12 volts AC, all they would do is vibrate (I've tried

The Autostar hand box should be OK if it is fairly recent. Those with
the LM2931S type regulator are protected against reverse voltage up to
15 volts.

The drive boards might draw a lot of current if reverse voltage is
applied. In this case one of the tracks on the small circuit board with
the power switch and connectors could get fried. I have done this by
accidentally shorting the power terminals of the azimuth drive board
together (not a good idea). If a track on the small board is fried, it
may be visible and can be repaired with wire. The best bet would be to
find another ETX and use it as a reference.

Don Sutherland

Subject:	Easy Align with SmartFinder for older ETX?
Sent:	Wednesday, November 17, 2004 12:26:03
From:	Lars Helmin (
I just read an ad about the new ETX Premier Edition which has Easy Align
with SmartFinder and I found it intresting. What I wonder is, are  there
anyway to fit this to an older ETX with Autostar? Are there any similar
third party equipment which also have the same function?


-- Lars Helmin

Mike here: No retrofit to older models. You could add a GPS but that would only get the date/time/location info into the Autostar.
Subject:	Re: new to the hobby
Sent:	Tuesday, November 16, 2004 18:05:37
From:	Glenn Pullin (
I finally got to see the moon last night.  I dont know what i was doing
wrong the last time i wrote but -

WOW! it was up close and personal.  The 26mm Plossel(?) was good but
then i put in a 12.4mm eyepice that i bought and the moon filter and it
blew me away.

With a 2 or 3x barlow it will be awesome.

My next major project will (hopefully) be tonight and i will try to set
up the autostar computer to do the work for me - i should try and look
for something else.

By the way a fellow responded to me (at my home email i dont have his
name here) and he was fantastic - he got my details from you or your
site.  He has been great thanks.

Thank you,

 Glenn Pullin

Subject:	My ETX125 has quit working.
Sent:	Tuesday, November 16, 2004 17:53:37
From:	David Keith McColl (
Last Saturday night I was out observing at a small star party. I was
having a good time until my ETX just stopped working. The controller was
on but did not respond to the buttons, nor did the scope. Someone
suggested that as it was below 0 degrees I should stick the controller
inside my parka to warm it up! This I did for several minutes to no
effect. I packed up and went home. As I wanted to avoid problems with
condensation if I brought the scope in that night I left it outside and
brought it in the next day in a plastic bag, in its box. I controlled
the return to indoor temperature.

The scope has been at room temperature, 72 degrees since Monday morning.
It does not respond to handbox commands. I follow the routine for alt/as
alignment but the scope does not move when the handbox selects Capella
and shows "slewing." There is no sound of motors, or anything else from
the scope. Pressing enter or mode just brings up another target and the
word slewing but with no movement.I should mention that a few weeks ago
when turning counter clockwise during alignment the stop had

I have checked my 12 volt power supply, tried 8 new batteries, examined
plugs and connections and can find nothing wrong.

I am baffled by what has gone wrong.I don't think temperature was the
problem. There were several Meade telescopes working well right
alongside mine. I used it through last winter without problem in
Southern Ontario, Canada, and Florida.

Do you have any suggestions as to what I might do before I ship it back
to Meade? 

Thank you, Keith McColl
Mike here: First off, I would be surprised that the hardstop "disappeared". What could have happened is that the "hardstop" you thought you were reaching was in fact a wire. Eventually you cut through that wire and now you have no motors. So, first check that the hardstop is in fact gone by rotating more than 720 degrees (it should normally be somewhat less hardstop to hardstop). If you have cut a wire, you might be able to put it back together again; check inside the base.
Subject:	Stuck Dust Cover
Sent:	Tuesday, November 16, 2004 10:31:00
From:	Tanpho, Jurgen (JTanpho@INNODATA-ISOGEN.COM)
I just bought a ETX-125EC and have a problem with a stuck aluminum dust
cover.  I've tried using a rubber jar opener, I've tried placing ice on
the dust cover, I've also tried wrapping a fan belt around the dust
cover to try to twist it off (turning it in a counterclockwise direction
when looking at the objective lens).  Would like to ask if you have any
other suggestions?  I even took off the objective lens assembly by
mistake.  I'm in the Philippines so sending the telescope back to Meade
would be a rather expensive last resort.  Help!

Jurgen Tanpho

P.S. Was thinking of tapping the dust cover with a flat screwdriver and
a mallet to push it along?  Would the jarring impact be likely to
mis-align anything inside the telescope?
Mike here: I'm surprised that you couldn't get it off with the rubber jarlid opener. How about trying rubber gloves; that way you can hold the corrector lens housing with one hand and try turning (it is supposed to turn, not slip off as some have assumed) the cover with the other hand. I would avoid making any impacts; you might slip and cause some damage.


Thanks for the suggestion.  Will buy a pair of gloves and will try

And an update:
I tried rubber gloves after placing ice cubes on top of the aluminum
cover.  I even tried tapping lightly at the cover with a mallet and a
screwdriver; I made an impression with the screwdriver on the cover but
the cover didn't budge at all.  Again, all these is counter clockwise
while looking at the telescope.

Am thinking of removing the entire front lens assembly and sending it
back to Meade to ask them to remove it.  Because I live in the
Philippines (and shipping is costly), do you suggest shipping only the
front lens assembly (as opposed to the entire scope)?  Would the
disassembly invalidate the warranty?

Am really frustrated that they have a cover that feels welded shut and
comes with very little hand hold to remove.   Aaargh! 
Mike here: Rats. I was hoping that would work. Removing the corrector lens housing a not a good idea; if you don't get it back in precisely the same orientation your optics could be out of collimation and re-collimating is something you don't want to attempt either at this point. Can you exchange the entire telescope at the dealer where you purchased it?
Subject:	ETX 125AT jerky tracking
Sent:	Tuesday, November 16, 2004 08:25:23
From:	Steve Irvine (
My ETX 125AT (delivered Feb. 04) will slew and find objects with no
problem. However, when it is tracking it will hold a star fairly well,
(there is a bit of drift) but then every 15 to 30 seconds the tracking
will jerk the star back to center. The RA motor seems to make a bit of a
straining sound before the jerk back. I've noticed in the trouble
shooting threads and FAQs that the problem is probably either loose
teflon pads or a poorly adjusted central bolt. In either case the
instructions for fixing the tracking start with the step: "Pull the
bottom plate off the drive base." I can't see how to do this. I can't
find any release screws or bolts that will let me take off the bottom
plate. Do you have any suggestions on how I can fix this jerky tracking
problem? Thanks, Steve Irvine
Mike here: Before going inside, have you done a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES to try to correct the problem? Could you be overtightening one of the axis locks? One other simple possible fix: unlock both axes and move the telescope by hand, hard stop to hardstop, in all directions, back and forth several times. This will redistribution the lubrication and has been known to cure some causes of jerkiness. If none of the above is the fix, then the plate screws are likely underneath the rubber pads on the bottom of the ETX base.


Thanks very much for your suggestions! I'll try these out.

Best regards,


Subject:	Kochob Clock Polar alignment
Sent:	Tuesday, November 16, 2004 07:47:19
From:	Gerber, Dave W ((BW PARTS)) (
Item 2   "IT IS VERY IMPORTANT that your crosshairs to the finder are IN
LINE with both axes of the mounting, in other words, one crosshair
running E-W and the other exactly N-S"

How does one do this?
Mike here: Loosen the finderscope mounting bracket screws. Align one of the crosshairs to be perpendicular to the celestial equatorial; the other one will follow and be parallel to the celestial equator. Then align the finderscope optical axis to the telescope optical axis.


Thanks for taking the time to reply. I am going to try your alignment
technique this weekend given clear skys. I had to read it several times
but there were a few "ahah" moments. Steps one thru ten to obtain
optical and mechanical alignment were so good compared to Mead's manual
that they were worth it alone. Thanks again.

Subject:	requesting information on the etx 90 mm
Sent:	Monday, November 15, 2004 17:12:26
i have an etx 90 mm spotting scope and recenty noticed that the fromt
baffel on the corrector looks like it slid down approx 1/8 inch.I have
noticed this on a few different scopes too.Was it designed this way or
has it slip down from adhesive letting loose??Will this affect the
preformance of the scope??Any information would be greatly appreciated
clear skies
N 44* 35' 03"  W 85* 09' 57"
Mike here: This happened to my original ETX back in 1999; Meade had to repair it. If you are using the ETX as only a daytime spotting scope you may or may not be seeing any noticeable image degradation. If you want to try fixing it yourself, see the article "ETX-90RA Secondary Baffle Fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. You may (or may not, if you are lucky) have to re-collimate the optics. That is not something that should be undertaken lightly; but if you do want to try it, see the collimation articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page.

And an alternative solution:

Subject:	Re:  Secondary mirror has shifted.
Sent:	Monday, November 15, 2004 18:36:39
From: (
A few months ago I wrote to you about my ETX secondary mirror(baffle)
had slipped and you gave me some advice and asked to know how it turned
out.  As I live in Colorado, my "hot car days"  were pretty well over by
the time I got around to working on the scope.  I thoroughly read the
ETX website for possible pitfalls  (did NOT use a hair dryer) and
decided a space heater might do the trick.  I eventually had to remove
the corrector at which point I discovered that it was the baffle and not
the "mirror" which had slipped.  I carefully placed the corrector in
front of the space heater and heated it gently.  The glue loosened up, I
moved the baffle, and held it in place until it cooled.  Then I
re-assembled it into the tube assembly 180 degrees different so gravity
would pull the baffle the other direction.  Problem solved.  No
disaster.  Thank you both for taking the time to help me with this.


Tom Roller
From:	Richard Seymour (


>... Then I re-assembled it into the tube assembly 180 degrees different
>so gravity would pull the baffle the other direction.  Problem solved.
>No disaster. 

In theory, the corrector plate and the mirror are "rotationally 
aligned" (so the faults in each cancel each other).

You might see if you notice any poor collimation-like astigmatisms
appearing in your star images (of course, once the possibility
is mentioned, you'll seee them -everywhere-).
("smearing", not-circular doughnuts when slightly out of focus
(but fully temperature stabilized), etc.)

If they do appear, try spinning the corrector back to its 
original orientation, and see if they change/improve.

have fun
thanks for the info mike im mainly using it for a guide scope on my
lx200 but wasnt sure how the optics were effected  if i was loosing
light from this problem .ill look at your site and make a decision from
there. this must definatly be a problem from meade as i see so many have
the same troubles..
thanks again
clear skies
Mike here: I think the problem occurred mostly in early models of the original ETX (circa 1996). However, heat buildup (improper storage or improper solar viewing) could also cause it.
Sent:	Monday, November 15, 2004 15:32:59
From:	Marcos Dager (
Today I Call Meade Customers Support and they told me to lower a tripod
leg for Polar Aligment I am going to tray that today maybe it will work
for getting lower degrees.


Marcos Dager
Mike here: Yeah, that can work in some cases. Just be careful of the inherit instability this will cause. You don't want your telescope to end up in pieces on the floor.
Subject:	ETX 90RA Finderscope mounting Problem
Sent:	Monday, November 15, 2004 13:35:01
From:	Kent Stephenson (
Following the advice of someone in your review area I have purchased the
2.5x20 Tasco Bantam rifle scope to use for my finderscope replacement. 
Do you know how this can be mounted as shown in the picture?  It would
appear that the whole eyepiece portion of the scope must be removed,
however it doesn't feel like it would come all the way off without quite
a bit of force.  Prior to trying that I thought I would check to see if
you know of another way.  To me it doesn't look like the finderscope
bracket would expand beyond it's original size.  Please let me know if
you can help.


Mike here: All I know is what is posted. Have you tried contacting the author of those comments?
Subject:	Question about "fast telescopes"
Sent:	Monday, November 15, 2004 11:40:40
From:	Trish (
I am fairly new to the astronomy game. I recently bought Phil
Harrington's "StarWare 3rd edition". I have read about half of the book
so far and am wondering what he is referring to when he says "fast
scope". I have a DS 2130 and an ETX 70. I am not sure what he means by
this phrase.
Mike here: If you are familiar with photography, the meaning is the same. "Fast lenses" mean a small focal ratio number, like f/1.8 for a camera lens or f/6 for a telescope. If you are uncertain how to calculate the f/ ratio, it is the focal length divided by the aperture.
Subject:	Size/weight of ETX 105 vs 90
Sent:	Monday, November 15, 2004 10:23:16
From:	David Hanych (
The ETX spec sheets suggest that the 105 is much closer in size and
weight to the 125 than the 90. I have seen the 125 (but not the 105) and
it does not look easy to carry in a soft bag. Would you agree with a
posting on the 105 User Observations page that the portability of the
105 is "borderline"?

Also, which scope would you buy: an ETX 90 w/UHTC or a 105 with standard
coatings and why?
Mike here: Yes, the 105 is not much larger than the 90. But it is still larger. I don't have one personally to checkout but portability is somewhat a personal decision when it comes to telescopes. I find that my LXD55-8"SC is "portable", meaning that I can carry it onto my patio without disassembling it. But for trips, I have to disassemble my ETX-90 or my LXD55. For trips via plane I will take the ETX-90 as I can take it carry-on without problem. Depending upon the airline, larger scopes may or may not have problems. As to the ETX-90/UHTC or -105 without UHTC, depends upon your anticipated usage. Generally real aperture is better than just letting additional light through but the results will depend upon the type of observing you do and from where.


Thanks for the prompt reply!

Subject:	GPS
Sent:	Monday, November 15, 2004 08:09:57
From: (
I was wondering if you have got a chance to review the Scopetronix GPS
for the ETX series. If yes please let me know how to find the review.
 Selwyn Malin
Mike here: All the GPS comments are on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. Personally, I've only used the StarGPS-LX.
Subject:	re: Problems with the ETX 90 Azimuth Drive
Sent:	Sunday, November 14, 2004 22:29:23
From:	Richard Seymour (
"It doesn't hurt to look"

You can open the base plate of the ETX90 and visually inspect
the motor and gearing.  The cover screws are hiding under the
adhesive-backed rubber feet.  The only things to be careful of
are to (a) remove the batteries first, and (b) mind the battery
wires, they're short.

Mike's site has many "tune up" pages (right column of Telescope
Tips page) which show opening the base.

From the sounds, it's either the worm cage being loose enough
to walk out of engagement with the final drive gear,
or perhaps the motor (or an intermediate gear shaft)
itself lifting out of their holders.

good luck
From:	quetican (
Thanks for the tip about checking inside the telescope base ... I
appreciate your interest in following this problem .. later today I will
check out the inside.
Sincerely, Doug Cunningham

Subject:	re: ETX problems
Sent:	Sunday, November 14, 2004 22:23:53
From:	Richard Seymour (
> Motor Unit Fault...  Dimmed Autostar...

That sounds like a classic case of sick power supply.

If you're running batteries, remember that their output
can fall (near) catastrophically when they get cold.

If you're using a mains-powered supply, it could have
a component which is drifting out of tolerance (usually
by heat) after 20 minutes.

To test: 
(A) under the hold-[mode] menu is a "Battery Level"
 display.  This integrates a little over time, so it
won't show short spikes (or valleys).  But it's a start.

(B) Change your supply.  If now mains, try batteries.
 If batteries, totally replace them (or go on the mains).
 (12v DC, 1.5 amps)

good luck

Subject:	wide field EP
Sent:	Sunday, November 14, 2004 19:44:06
From:	Garfield Jong (
What is the widest field EP you can put on an ETX125 considering optical
and physical limitations.  I want see as much of the sky in the EP.
Mike here: Most quality wide angle eyepieces will be fine. You might experience some vignetting with the widest ones. See the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page for info on some.
Sent:	Sunday, November 14, 2004 13:49:26
From:	Marcos Dager (
I opened my ETX-125AT and tight just a bit the nuts from the wormgear
and that solve the backlash of the Az/Ra, but now I want to do Polar
Alignment. I am In Caracas,  Venezuela (10?30'N 66?55'1"W)GMT -4:00
Where I am now I don't see the Polaris because is a mountain in front.
What will be the latitude I have to adjust in the Tripod? I have read in
your page the Polar Alignment is much better for tracking objects and
for Astrophotography, that's why I want to set my ETX that way.

Thank again for your help,

Marcos Dager

Caracas, Venezuela
Mike here: For polar mounting your ETX you will need to set the latitude on your tripod to your actual location latitude, which you said was 10.5 degrees. However, depending upon the tripod you have you may find that position difficult to attain.


Thanks for replying so fast, I have a #884 tripod and the minimum I
think is 25, what should I do in the case?

thanks for your help,
Mike here: Use Alt/Az or get another tripod. Unless you plan long duration astrophotography, where image trailing would be evident due to field rotation in Alt/Az, there is really not much reason to use Polar in most situations.


So for astrophotography you recommend I change the tripod for long
exposure, with the one I have is difficult to get the Polar alignment
because very low degrees 10.5? What tripod do you recommend the #887
Advanced Field Tripod or other that I can use with the ETX-125AT

Thanks for your help
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews: Tripods page. However, I don't recall that any discussed there can be easily used at low latitudes. Also, you might want to try making your own mount or wedge; see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. And remember, if you are NOT planning to do long exposures then you don't need polar mounting for astrophotography.
Subject:	About the EXT and The LXD
Sent:	Saturday, November 13, 2004 13:30:47
From: (
I had one more question for today. I think ysomeone else asked somthing
close to this: Which telescope would you keep if it were just the one?
Your Lxd (let's say it were new and improved LXD75) or the ETX125 PE? I
am asking because I may stilll have a choice between the two since mine)
ETX125) is back for exchange. I would have to set up each time I used a
scope. I was wondering which you used more, and is the weight of the LXD
a problem? I picked up a 5 gallon pail of house paint today and thought
of the LXD. I know that it comes down to how much we use it that counts,
but if setting up the LXD is not much more of problem for than than the
ETX, I would be grateful for the info.
Thanks one more time, 
Tom H
Mike here: I can easily carry my LXD55-8"SC fully assembled. Whether you can is up to you. But my most used telescope is my ETX-90RA, even though I have an ETX-70, ETX-125, and the LXD55-8"SC. Certainly the views through the 8"SC are much nicer than through the 90mm but ease of use is still a consideration.
Subject:	Thread on Solar Filter
Sent:	Saturday, November 13, 2004 09:45:28
From:	Michelle L. Bresett (
I purchased an ETX-90 in the spring. I was a little too late to get a
solar filter for the transit of Venus, but last weekend at a science
conference I had an opportunity to view the sun through a Coronado scope
and through a Celestron with a solar filter. I have been looking at
different solar filters and remembered to go to your site to see if
there were any reviews. I do not see anything on the thread on solar
filter type made specifically to thread on to the ETX 90. Scopetronix
carries two different ones. Any information you could offer me would be
greatly appreciated.
Mike here: I have the Coronado White Light Solar Filter and it is discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Filters page. I have no direct experience with the Scopetronix solar filters.
Subject:	Diagonal for ETX camera port
Sent:	Wednesday, November 13, 2002 07:39:00
Does anybody make a 90 degree diagonal for the ETX-105 rear camera port?
Or can I utilize Meade's 45 degree diagonal for filter protected solar
observing?  Will there be any problems such as vignetting with using
attachments at the rear port?
           Thanks!!!!   Joe Verzin
Mike here: There are two that I'm aware of. See the "Meade 45-Degree Erecting Prism" on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page and the "Shutan Wide-Field Adapter" on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page. The WFA reduces the effective focal length, which can be useful.
Subject:	I connected my ETX-125 to AC corrent.
Sent:	Saturday, November 13, 2004 06:37:14
From:	Jos/Yosi Tagger S. (
I have read teh Email Etiquette page, I'm apologize from my last email.
Look, firstly I connected the telescope to a 12V AC adaptor and then to
a 12V DC adaptor, but maybe with wrong polarity, so I enverted the
cables, but the telescope still didn't work, so my question is, if i
fried the electronics, how much it will cost me, becouse i dont have
warranty, and if also the motors are fried? Another question, can i
repair it myself? because i live in Israel and I cannot send the
telescope to USA.
Thank you for your answer.
Mike here: If you fried the circuit board in the ETX base, you will likely need to take it to some Meade dealer for repair. They should be able to arrange it. Unless you are comfortable working with electronic circuit boards, this is not a repair you should attempt. If you are comfortable, you will have to inspect the board and determine which component is fried, then you would have to get a replacement part. There is a possible alternative: look for a used ETX or ETX base.


Only one question more, it is possible that also the motors are fried?
Mike here: Possible? Yes.
Subject:	ETX Problems
Sent:	Friday, November 12, 2004 14:34:00
From:	Paul Haines (
Sorry to bother you but I wonder if you can help. 

I have had a new ETX 125 for a couple of weeks.

The weather in the UK has been lousy and I have only just got outside to
use it.

Two nights ago I left the scope switched on outside while I went inside
for about five minutes, on my return the Autostar hand box screen was
dark and I could hardly read the text. The only solution was to switch
it off and leave it (inside).

Tonight I have gone to use the scope again and this time during
alignment I got two motor unit failure messages.. cured by using the
Microsoft method. Then after about 20 minutes the Autostar unit did what
I described above (no amount of key presses caused the scope to move)
and I could faintly see on the screen the Motor unit failure again.

Ambient temperature is about 3 degrees C and the scope had been used
maybe 4 times.

Any ideas  or is it just broken.

Thanks for your time. 


Mike here: First, the Autostar display will dim (to save battery power) after a period of no keypresses. As to the Motor Unit Fault, did you CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES? Did you put the telescope in the proper HOME position (including the rotation to the hard stop)?
Subject:	Re: ETX-90 down
Sent:	Thursday, November 11, 2004 03:22:35
From:	Rafael Falquina (
I agree with you considering only the fix.

But it happens that I don't have a Dremel tool to drill the small holes,
and the price in Spain is around 150$ for the basic version. Compare
this to a back plastic part replacement for 6.95$ plus 9$ shipping
charges. That's why I am considering the second option, but only if it
is easy enough. I'd appreciate that you help me make a decission by
explaining briefly the process to replace the back part and if there is
a major concern in doing it. Apparently it is only a matter of removing
screws, taking care of the focusing shaft not being too deeply inserted
(not turned completely clockwise) and moving the flip mirror to the new
back part, isn't it?

I really appreciate your patience. If I lived in the US I would probable
have sent the scope to Dr. Clay or Meade, but this is not so easy here.
That's why I am being so tiresome.

Subject:	Problems with the ETX 90 Azimuth Drive
Sent:	Wednesday, November 10, 2004 17:52:29
From:	quetican (
Great to find your ETX site. Two years ago I was giving an astronomy
course at the Outdoor Education Center and one of my students got quite
interested in astronomy and so her husband bought her an ETX 90
Autostar. I didn't know about his purchase until three days ago. To make
a long story short .. they were not able to get the scope trained and
aligned and the photography store they bought it from wasn't able to
help them .. and so the scope just sat in their basement. Two days ago
they called me and told me the story about the purchase and I asked them
to bring it over.

Well, there is a problem with the azimuth drive motor .. the telescope
can be moved counterclockwise ( using the left azimuth arrow ) but when
we engage the right arrow to move the telescope clockwise you can hear
the motor turning inside along with a clicking sound but no azimuth
motion occurs in the clockwise direction. Both the azimuth and altitude
axes are locked as per instructions. I called Meade in California ..
they said it needed to have a new azimuth motor and  said to send it
back to them. My question is this .. because I can hear the azimuth
motor turning, and because it will move the telescope counterclockwise
in azimuth but not clockwise in azimuth  .. does it really need a new
motor ? .. maybe a gear is slipping ? Is there a simple fix that I can
do here that will not require the scope having to be sent back to Meade? 
(As it was purchased about 2 years ago the 1 year warranty period is
over and there will be charges for shipping, labour and a new motor )
Can you help us ?

            Looking forward to your reply,
            Sincerely, Doug Cunningham
Mike here: Since the ETX was purchased that long ago there should be both the standard EC handcontroller as well as the optionally purchased #497 Autostar. Does the problem occur with both controllers?


Thanks for your prompt reply to my query about the ETX drive not being
able to rotate clockwise when the right arrow azimuth arrow is engaged.
I checked using the standard EC handcontoller and the same problem
occurs. It is a problem with both controllers. Any suggestions ?
Looking forward to your reply.
    Thanks for your time, Doug Cunningham
Mike here: Since the problem occurs with both controllers, we can rule out the controller. Next question, with the axis unlocked, does the telescope move freely in both directions? If so, does it rotate almost twice around from hard stop to hard stop? If so, place in mid-way between the two hard stop locations and lock the axis. Can you then slew in both directions or only one direction?


Thanks again. With the axis unlocked the telescope moves freely in both
directions. and it does rotate almost twice around from hard stop to
hard stop.  I placed it midway between the two hard stop positions and
locked the axis. I can only slew it counterclockwise as before .. it
tries to move clockwise when I press appropriate arrow but only goes
about 1 degree before coming to an abrupt halt. I can hear the azimuth
motor running even though the clockwise rotation is not taking place.
What do you think ?
Mike here: If you are certain you are not overtightening the axis lock, then I think Meade is probably right and it needs to be returned to them.


Thank you for your time and advice. The scope will have to be returned
to Meade. I was hoping that problem might involve the azimuth motor and
gearing interface and that I might be able to fix it here. I found it
strange that the motor would work in one direction ( counterclockwise)
and then for the clockwise rotation sound like its running no apparent
motion in clockwise azimuth.
I wish you the best !
Clear Skies, Doug Cunningham

Subject:	Re: ETX-90 down
Sent:	Wednesday, November 10, 2004 09:02:22
From:	Rafael Falquina (
Dr. Clay,

before attempting your suggested procedure, I'm wondering how difficult
would be to replace the complete plastic back part since I could
purchase one on eBay. Maybe this would be easier than drilling, etc. 
Please, could you give me advice on this ?

From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
Seems like a bit of overkill just to fix the holding tabs....

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)

Subject:	Cable
Sent:	Tuesday, November 9, 2004 22:03:48
From:	Tyrone Horne (
I have a ETX125 and would like to connect the scope to my notebook so I
can use the star chart software which you can download off their web
site. I see they say  USB to RS232 cable is required but the scope does
not have a USB or RS232 connection. please help.
Mike here: The Autostar #497 has the serial port. The #505 cable runs from the serial port on the computer (Mac or PC) to the Autostar. If your Mac or PC computer has only USB then you will need one of the USB-serial converters. See the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page for more on USB.
Subject:	I hope you could help me...
Sent:	Tuesday, November 9, 2004 14:38:50
From:	Jos/Yosi Tagger S. (
To the staff of the ETX TechTips page. My Name es Jose, an I have a
ETX-125 EC telescope, tonight I trayed to used it with one friend,
firstly we connected the telescope to a AC 12V corrent, and it didn't
work so we looked that it was AC and not DC, then we trayed to connect
it to a DC 12V power supply but maybe with wrong polarity, we also
trayed to powered with AA batteries and it also didn't work. I don't
know what is wrong with is, and what  can I do to fix it.

I hope you could help me, I will waiting for your answer and thank you
very much.

Jos Tagger S.
Mike here: Please read the Email Etiquette page on the ETX Home Page; your message was almost deleted due to the ambiguous subject entry. Thanks for understanding.
As to the problem, I assume you mean you attempted to use a non-approved (Meade or other) adapter. If so, you could have fried the electronics. If so, you will likely have to return it to Meade for repairs.
Subject:	New Premium  ETX Scopes
Sent:	Tuesday, November 9, 2004 10:32:19
From:	Stan Veit (
The new versions have very desirable features. does any one know if they
will be available a retrofit units for existing scopes?
Stan Veit
Mike here: Very doubtful.
Subject:	Change of shipping address notification!
Sent:	Monday, November 8, 2004 23:24:58
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
Hello to all Mighty ETX users....
Please make a note that the mailing and shipping address for Arkansas
Sky Observatory (ASO) and the famous "Supercharge" has changed effective
November 10, 2004:

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
#73 Tanyard Springs Road, Petit Jean Mountain
Morrilton, Arkansas  72110

My offices are now located on our "piece of Heaven" far in the deep
woods of beautiful Petit Jean Mountain where we have built a new home
and workshop for all telescope needs.  All mailing correspondence and
telescopes shipped for Supercharge should be shipped to that address
from this point forward.  All telescopes which are scheduled for
appointment need to be shipped to that address and not the previous
address on Pines.

Wishing you clear skies, bright comets, and a wonderful Holiday season.

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
MPC/cbat Obs. H41 / Petit Jean Mountain
MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway
MPC/cbat Obs. H44 / Cascade Mountain

Subject:	8x25 Right Angle finderscope fell apart
Sent:	Monday, November 8, 2004 13:04:50
From:	BENNY ---.. (
I have a problem with the ETX125 finderscope.

Under normal use the focus ring became lose and eventually fell apart ,
I have tried to press it back into place , but it didn't seem to "click"
back into the erecting prism , actually when I try to focus, I can see
the crosshairs turning along with the focus ring . I was wondering if I
need to super glue it, and if so , wouldn't the super glue chemicals
could damage the finder scope optics ?
Mike here: I would suggest contacting Meade first. I seem to recall some others reporting a "glue" problem that Meade took care of. And no, I would not use Super Glue.
Subject:	Repair Service for ETX
Sent:	Monday, November 8, 2004 12:33:52
My wife dropped her ETX 90 and it needs repair.  I was told you offer
enhancements to the ETX and wondered if you do that and repairs as well.
Mike here: I don't do repairs but you might check with Dr. Clay Sherrod; check his service on the "ETX Tune-up Service" page. Depending upon the extent of the damage, you might have to contact Meade.
Subject:	RE: recommend me eyepieces (for ETX-90)
Sent:	Monday, November 8, 2004 05:15:22
From:	John Hall (
I have tried the 40mm Meade series-4000 eyepiece on an ETX-90 and it
'vignettes'. The field of view is restricted by something inside the
telescope itself - presumably the narrow baffle tube. In fact you get
roughly the same size field of view as the 32mm Plossl, but the image is
smaller! So, my advice is don't buy a 40mm for the ETX-90.

I think a 32mm eyepiece probably gives you the "widest" view you can get
on the ETX-90.

The 40mm eyepiece certainly works OK on the (bigger) LX-90, but not on
the little ETX.


Subject:	Wanted: Info on douane-taxes for buying OPT items 
Sent:	Monday, November 8, 2004 04:59:45
From:	webmaster (
Could anyone in the Europan Union help me with this?

I'd like to buy some accesories for my ETX at OPT and I have received
contradictory information on the amount of the douane-taxes you have to
pay for them: some say 20% and some others 100%... (you know, a friend
told me that his brother-in-law asked for a $70 eyepiece but, adding up
al taxes, he had to pay $150, blah, blah, blah)

Does anybody have any direct experience on this?


Subject:	ETX-125EC or ETX-125AT
Sent:	Monday, November 8, 2004 01:52:47
From:	Ray Schmidt (
I purchased an ETX-125 UHTC in July 2004 and have been trying ever since
to determine if it is an EC or AT. I have found plenty of references to
old and new EC's but nowhere can I find any reference to what these
letters mean. Unfortunately, in Australia, we have no access to Meade,
and the local agents aren't always as helpful as one could hope. My unit
has the aluminium struts, but the supplied manual is the one on the
Meade site under "ETX-125EC Manual" (dated 2001).
Best regards
Mike here: See the FAQ page for the difference.
Subject:	Tripod Bag Question
Sent:	Sunday, November 7, 2004 06:47:45
From: (
Absolutely fantastic site!  As a new owner of my first scope, the Meade
ETX-105AT, I've found your site extremely informative & helpful so far. 
Thank you!

I have one question.  I am trying to find a tripod bag for my #884 Meade
tripod.  The Meade carry bag that came with 884 is just too small & the
zipper is already messed up.  Can you recommend a larger more functional
bag?  I've been looking on the net & can't come up with a definitive
alternate.  Thanks for your time.
Chris Pratt
Colchester, VT
Mike here: Check the Accessory Reviews: Cases page; there is a Shutan tripod case mentioned there. It might work for the #884. Suggest contacting Shutan to be certain.


Thanks for the response, I appreciate your help!  Keep up the great work!

Subject:	Re: ETX90EC electric focus - without base?
Sent:	Saturday, November 6, 2004 03:18:49
From:	Peter Bishop (
Doh!  I'd never even unpacked the focus hand contoller... just always
run it via the Autostar handbox and assumed that the connectivity was
the same. One of the best cases of RTFM I've seen for a while... and I'm
the culprit :)

Once again, thanks for the site and your very quick reply.

Subject:	ETX90EC electric focus - without base?
Sent:	Friday, November 5, 2004 07:31:14
From:	Peter Bishop (
First of all thanks for all the time and effort put in to make this THE
reference site for the ETX range.

My question is regarding the control of the electric focus on my
ETX90EC.  After many years of enjoying this scope, I treated myseff to a
larger beast (LX200GPS).  I wish to use the OTA from the ETX90 as a
guidescope/camera platform mounted on the LX200.  I've got no problem
with the physical mounting, but I'd like to retain the electic focus
capability and can't see how this can be done via the focus hand
controller only (I know I'm going to have to apply power somehow...
hopefully from the LX200 12v outlet).  So, is there an established
method of controlling the electric focus on the ETX90 without connection
via the base unit... or should I just resign myself to manual focus

Peter Bishop
Mike here: The focus controller uses a 9V battery to power the motor. It does not use the AUX power from the ETX base unit. So it should do what you want.
Sent:	Thursday, November 4, 2004 17:50:54
From:	c pain (
Here's something I hope will help somebody with an ETX scope.

A cheap alternative to those cumbersome power supplies and large 12volt
batteries For the ETX range.

An 8 way Ni-MH/NiCad battery charger and batteries for 10 + postage.

Go to and click on Accessories, then Batteries and
you will find

The Fameart Ni-MH/NICAD charger ,

I would also recommend you buy  2 sets of the 2300 Fameart  Ni-MH
batteries, At 5.49 a set. Always a set on standby then.

I bought these items and find them to be excellent value.


I noticed that's not in the instructions of the charger is that the
lights go out on the charger when batteries are fully charged.

And It does say not suitable for charging Ni-MH batteries over 1500mAh,
I've used 2300 Ni-MH in the charger for at least six months to use in my
metal detector with no problems, charging them over and over again, and
they last quite a bit longer than 1500Ni-MH

Hope this helps somebody

Cyril Pain

Fixer1 at onetel dot net

Subject:	Triopod for the Tropics.
Sent:	Thursday, November 4, 2004 17:26:23
From: (
I have been given an ETX 70 which I would like to use on Roatan. The
latitude there is +/- 16N and I wish to set it up on polar axis. None of
the tripod heads that I have seen go much below 25degrees so what tripod
should I buy and how do I set the telescope up.
 Many thanks
Mike here: Low latitudes are always a problem with polar mounting. If you are convinced that you absolutely need polar mounting, you may be forced to make your own tripod or wedge (see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page). I'm not certain whether any the mounts discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Tropods page are usable for polar mounting at low latitudes. One other point, stability can be a factor when polar mounting with tripods that have adjusting heads; the telescope is usually well off to the side of the center of support of the tripod.
Subject:	new to the hobby
Sent:	Thursday, November 4, 2004 17:25:00
From:	Glenn Pullin (
I've been interested in astronomy for years and only the other day did i
get my first telescope - Meade ETX125EC - with the 26mm eyepiece and
Autostar controller.

The reason i bought this telescope is after looking at magazines, and
researching on the internet, the ETX125 suited my requirements - cost,
capability and adaptability.

I have seen a number of photos on your webpage (which incidentally has
very quickly made its way to the top of my favourites list - and given
the number of activities i call hobbies is no mean feat - well done!) of
the moon and planets taken with the ETX125 - and i am really looking
forward to seeing for myself the images seen by some of your

The weather hasn't allowed me to have a good night time look yet but it
will happen very soon.

There are some thing that i would like to know and i would really like
some non technical advice on using my telescope to get the most out of

For example from your website under Astrophotography Tips  - 

Sent:                 Thursday, October 7, 2004 14:10:47
From:                 Kevin Smith ( 

This also has an image of the moon.   
What sort of eyepiece would i need to see that?   
If that is an ETX105 and I am using a 125 - should i be able to see more
detail than that?

I looked at the moon during the day and it didnt look anything like some
of the photos on your site - it looked like i was simply using a pair of
binoculars to look at it.

Im thinking about going and getting a 2X Barlow lense - would that help?
 Or should i get one that is 3X or 4X - do they have them?

The photos you have on your Guest Astrophotography Pages for
July-September 2004 - that is what i want to see!

After i figure out how to work the telescope, i hope to connect it to a
lap top using Starry Night Pro and a CCD camera.    I am looking forward
to seeing the ISS so close i can see the astronauts changing their

I would love to hear back from you - ive come to place a great deal of
faith in what you have said to others.

Thank you,

 Glenn Pullin
Mike here: Welcome! If you have just the standard 26mm eyepiece that comes with the ETX you probably will want to purchase either another shorter focal length eyepiece or a 2X or 3X Barlow Lens. See the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page as well as the Buyer/New User Tips page. Remember, start with the basics with your new telescope (and hobby) then increase in complexity (like starting astrophotography) as you gain experience. By the way, those must be some pair of binoculars you have! The ETX-125 provides a magnification of 73X with the standard 26mm eyepiece. Most binoculars provide about a 10th of that magnification. But seriously, if you are uncertain how to calculation the magnification for a telescope + eyepiece combination, see the FAQ page.
Subject:	ETX105 Problem
Sent:	Wednesday, November 3, 2004 13:44:58
From:	Nolan, Gregory J. (
It has been awhile since my last contact, but I have noticed a problem
with my scope and was hoping you could provide some insight. I have
noticed that the scope will do a small "jump". If I am looking at the
moon through the LCD of my coolpix 4500, I notice that the moon jumps
ever so slightly to the left cyclically about every 30 seconds.

I tried resetting, calibrating and training the drive, but, while it has
helped with my tracking, the "jump" still occurs. Any ideas??

Thank you,

Greg Nolan

Mike here: There are some simple causes (hopefully) with simple fixes. 1. The lubrication may have stiffened up; unlock the axes and move the telescope tube from hardstop to hardstop in all directions back and forth several times. 2. The axis lock may be too tight.


The axis lock MAY be to tight. Also, I cleaned the gears a while back.
Maybe I didn't put enough lub on them. I will try lubbing them again and
see what happens. Thanks for the insight.

Subject:	UHTC coating on ETX105EC, how can I tell
Sent:	Wednesday, November 3, 2004 13:03:35
From:	John Gooding (
Thanks for a great site, very useful to a UK newbie like me, proud owner
of new 105, which sold to me as UHTC coated, I cannot see this mentioned
anywhere on box, manual or on the print on the outer edge of front lens.

Should there be some ID or is there some way I call tell if this coating
is present.

Or does it really matter.

Bought from established UK retailer.

Best Regards,

John Gooding
Mike here: The box (brown shipping one, not the one with photographs) should have stated UHTC. Also, look on the bottom side of the tube; there may be a label there too.


Many thanks 4 quick reply. Collected from shop so only inside box
received, but you are quite right, label says UHTC on underside of tube.
I feel a bit of a fool for not seeing it.

Best Regards,
John Gooding

Subject:	etx 105 dustcap
Sent:	Wednesday, November 3, 2004 09:55:58
From: (
I found your website this morning, searching for a quick answer. I
bought a ETX 105 yesterday at a local Scope City, I haven't even mounted
it on the tripod yet. When I tried to remove the dust cap it unscrewed
about one turn then stuck. The whole front glass/mirror cap then started
to turn. Reading the manual I got the impression that that's OK, but I
finally had to put on rubber gloves to remove the dustcap. Then I
tightened down the front glass/mirror ring. Anyway, question is should I
just bring the thing back for a replacement, or are the dustcap threads
going to loosen up eventually?


Isaac L. Kaplan M.D.
Vallejo CA
Mike here: Is the problem still occurring or was it just overly tight on that first unscrew? If OK now you should be OK.


Thanks for getting back. I talked to the dealer (Scope City) and he
recommended that I either press down on the cap or pull up slightly on
the cap while unscrewing it. Those tricks actually did work, so I think
I'm OK. I'm already emotionally attached to the scope, the land images
(at night, from Berkeley hills to the Golden Gate bridge), are sharp as
a tack, so I'm going to hold on for a while and see how it goes. I don't
think my kids will be removing the cap anytime soon though.

Subject:	Hello Mike.....
Sent:	Tuesday, November 2, 2004 22:19:06
From:	Fab (
Great Site !!!! Although I am unable to find what to do if my Autostar
is on the blink. I tried updating the Autostar to 32ie and lost power.
Now all it does is starts up but shows nothing. Doesn't initialize. Any
suggestions? I have heard of certain key presses you can do to restore
Autostar to its original software, but haven't been able to find it, is
this true?

Also I have recently (before the Autostar thing) managed to capture an
unknown object around Saturn. Any suggestions as to were I might start
looking for an explanation? This object is not on my star charts and I
was not able to confirm its position the following night due to Autostar
failing. I did not see this object visually, caught it on ccd (Meades
LPI). R.A. 7h 57.4m Dec -20.38deg.

Saturn Saturn
Thanks in advance for any help. Fab Miller, Townsville, Australia.
Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the Home Page; your message was almost deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the subject line.
Try the SAFE LOAD procedure: hold down the ENTER and SCROLLDOWN keys and then turn on the ETX. The Updater application will detect this mode and allow you to load a fresh copy. As to the dot, could be a star or a "hot spot" on the imager or even a satellite (artificial) of the Earth.


"Flash Load 3.0 Ready" comes up, but alas the Autostar will not
initialise. The updater is not recognising the handset it has reverted
to v2.0a. After the upgrade it is saying data successfully sent to
Autostar(seperate window) whilst the updater says "Initializing
Handox...Please Wait. Upon clicking ok, The updater says "upload
complete"."Flash load 3.0 Ready" is still displaying on Autostar and
then nothing. All communications are working. Thanks again Fab.
Mike here: just to confirm, when the Autostar is in SAFE LOAD (or FLASH LOAD) and such a message is displayed ON THE Autostar, the Autostar Updater Application 3.61 is recognizing the Autostar and that it is in SAFE LOAD mode. Then when you tell the application to update the Autostar, it connects to the web (unless you have a local build.rom file) and spends the next 30 minutes or so updating the Autostar. Then at the end of that time the Autostar does or does not do a RESET and then the Initializing message is or is not displayed on the Autostar.

And more:

When I try either download from the www or local build neither works.
This window says update completed in a  matter of seconds, not
30minutes. Therefore Autostar does NOT reset and the Initializing
message is NOT displayed. Hope this helps.

Fab Miller
Mike here: Well, as Dick Seymour might say, try the StarGPS program to do the download. It is available from Let me know if that works.


Thanks, Will try that. Will let you know ;)
And an update:
Thanks a Million Mike, Downloaded StarGPS and I now have build 32ei. All
functioning as normal. Just need to reset and recalibrate motors (which
I would have done anyway).

Subject:	PE Enhancements
Sent:	Tuesday, November 2, 2004 15:40:14
Great site!  Wish I would have dove deeper into it (postings) before
purchasing my ETX 125 AT UHTC.  I picked up my scope about a month ago
and would have gladly put off the purchase had I known about the
enhancements included in the PE version.  The $100.00 difference is
nothing when considering the level & north sensors, clock, and Smart
Finder.  The cables and software alone cover the delta on their own.  I
talked to Meade Customer Support and the Rep confirmed that Meade will
not (or has no plans to) release a field upgrade for the 4 alignment
support features listed above.  Have you, or anyone heard differently? 
Does the forum have enough pull to influence such a decision?

Mike here: As with the ETX-90EC model when there was no upgrade from the ETX-90RA model, I suspect that the design changes mean that there is no easy upgrade to the new PE model. As with many items in this world (cars, computers, binoculars, etc), the manufacturer may not be able to offer an upgrade path.


Understood. I've been in the technology biz for +25 years and am
intimately familiar with product management & product life cycle
planning.  That said, I've found reputable manufacturers find ways to
keep customers / customer bases satisfied while making such product
launches.  I've also seen the power of user groups at work.

Maybe once I become more familiar with using the scope, these aides
won't matter.  But, I do want the scope to be easy enough for my
daughter to use.  And I can't help feeling a bit betrayed believing that
the folks that sold me the scope knew about the new version.  Yes, I do
understand about reducing inventory when new products are hitting the

Thanks for your most expeditious reply.  Keep up the good work!

Mike here: At one time we have all probably been hit by purchase/upgrade timing.
Subject:	advice me about eyepieces
Sent:	Tuesday, November 2, 2004 06:12:54
From:	Stan Drery (
Do you agree with the scopetronix recommendations? > 40mm and 15mm for
the etx-90.

I read in your page that the 40mm is not very good. On the other hand
the UWA are a bit expensive ( too expensive ) but is it worth it?

Recommend me a good ( even expensive ) eyepiece for planetery viewing?
What do you thing about the 2x barlow +  8-24 Zoom (4000 Meade)?
Mike here: As I indicated, I'm not that fond of zoom eyepieces or Barlow Lenses. For planetary viewing try to avoid coming close to the maximum theoretical magnification for your telescope while still providing 100-200x at least, depending upon your telescope. Again, how much you should spend on the quality of an eyepiece depends upon the quality of your telescope's optics.
Subject:	DSX-90AT on eBay from Meade for $299
Sent:	Tuesday, November 2, 2004 06:09:59
From:	John Digilio (
Meade is selling, through their factory outlet on eBay, a refurbished
DSX-90AT.  They describe it as an ETX-90 optical tube on a DS-2000
mount.  It includes the Autostar #497 controller and tripod for $299.00
shipped and comes with a 1-year warranty. I was wondering if anyone has
any thoughts on the value of this package.
Mike here: If you search the ETX Site for "DSX" you will find some comments.
Subject:	Re: etx 125 request information
Sent:	Monday, November 1, 2004 13:09:37
From:	alice (
on the planets is like takahash fs 102 or more near at fs128? (4"Or 5")?
Mike here: I have no experience with those. Sorry.


the new version premium edition (more +400 euro in europe) with north
polar system automatic is very better of old version ec???
which version do you consuel me?
Mike here: I have no experience yet with the PE model since it is not yet shipping. But from its description I suspect that new amateur astronomers will find it easier to use.
Subject:	Re: Problem with Scopetronix Piggyback adapter and ETX?
Sent:	Thursday, October 28, 2004 20:00:52
From: (
Thanks for replying so promptly.  Yes, there is a thin layer of what I
would call foam rubber under the metal adapter.  It takes almost all of
my strength (though I might be a bit biased, I'm not too strong of a
person so maybe it seems harder to me than it should.) to close the
adapter around the tube so that the screw will fasten down at the bottom
of the adapter.  I'm just concerned that the adapter isn't such a good
fit--the gap on the top makes me think the sides of the adapter are
pinching the OTA because the pressure is being distributed unevenly.  I
wasn't sure if this could cause enough stress to throw off the clock
drive.  I can't really tell from the photographs on your site, but all
the pictures I've seen look as if the adapter fits flush all around the
OTA.  (Looking at my adapter alone it is sort of teardrop-shaped, which
would explain an uneven fit around a circular tube.  I'm not sure if
this is supposed to be like this or not and maybe someone else has had a
simliar experience.)  Hopes this helps to explain things a little
      --Melissa Bruno
Mike here: I suspect the adapter is out-of-round since you describe it as teardrop shaped.


I suppose the only fix there is for the problem is to try to bend the
adapter back into shape, which I have tried.  It seems to be a little
better but there is still a tiny gap.  I suppose I can avert the issue
of hurting the OTA just by keeping the screw a little looser than usual.

Thanks for all your input and best of luck to you and your great site,
Mike here: You could also put a rubber sheet between the tube and adapter. That would help the gripping. Contacting Scopetronix would be a good idea.


That sounds like a good idea, I think I'll run it past them as well. 
Thanks for the suggestion--I'll see if I can round up a piece of rubber
somewhere.  Thanks again for everything and for all your input!  Thanks
again for a great ETX resource,

Sent:	Monday, November 1, 2004 15:06:33
From: (
Mike have you done a review of the scopetronix  GPS. Please let me know
where it is.
 Selwyn Malin

Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page; your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM (no subject).
The GPS models that have been reviewed are discussed on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. Look in the "Other Information" section. I reviewed the StarGPS-LX.
Subject:	recommend me eypieces for moon and planets
Sent:	Monday, November 1, 2004 05:34:36
From:	Stan Drery (
Mainly about the magnification not the quality.Is there a general rule
about quality? (eg.the meade eyepieces).

Is it better the 2x - 3x barlow from the 2x.?

Whats the difference between telenegative barlow and short focus barlow?

Mike here: Generally the more expensive the eyepieces for a given design and focal length, the higher the quality. However, depending upon the telescope used you may not be able to take advantage of the higher quality. Zoom eyepieces and Barlow Lenses are typically of slightly less quality than non-zoom ones. Just the nature of the compromises that have to be made with zoom models. All Barlow Lenses are "telenegative". Short focus Barlow Lenses will work better in some telescopes, depending upon the design of the telescope. For more on eyepieces, see the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips as well as the Accessory Review: Eyepieces page on the ETX Site.

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