Last updated: 30 November 2005

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:	Hard Stops for ETX 90EC
Sent:	Tuesday, November 29, 2005 14:08:44
From:	Matthew Checketts (
Thanks for answering my previous questions.  I really appreciate your
service to fellow ETX users.  You have really improved the experience
for everyone.

Just recently, I downloaded a newer version of Autostar.  I had not yet
updated it and it was acting funny.  At one point, it was slewing
upward, and hit the hard stop and kept trying to go, so I turned it off,
but it was grinding for a good second or two.  Then, this morning, I was
doing a little daytime viewing and I was operating it myself and I
forgot about the alt/az hard stop and I hit it and kept going for a
second or two.  Do you think I have caused any permanent damage?

- Matt C.
Mesa, AZ
Mike here: Damage not likely. Also, don't forget to CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES following any Autostar update.
Subject:	ETX Upgrade?
Sent:	Monday, November 28, 2005 20:44:44
From:	Ken Toliver (
I have the "old" model ETX125EC. I have recently started to think about
placing my unit back into operational condition. Unfortunately, the main
reason that I shelved the unit in the first place was that it was so
shabbily constructed, although the optics were great. I see now that the
ETX has a "new" version that may be fundamentally better constructed.

Does Meade have a trade-up program that anyone is aware of? Perhaps
because they are so ashamed of the first go-round?

Ken Toliver
Mike here: Nope.
Subject:	Hi there
Sent:	Monday, November 28, 2005 17:39:54
From:	Carol Fehner (
I have a really stupid question that you many know the answer to -  I
was showing the local kids Arcturas and Mars tonight trying to deflect
some advice about skateboarding dangerously.   They asked "what does
Arcturas mean? "  And I had to say I had no idea.  After googling the
word, I am no closer to knowing the origin of the name than I was
previously.  If you know, please help.  Don't go to any lengths to
research it, if it is not simple, I will just help the kids do research.

We enjoyed meeting you and your wife at Nightfall.  We are heading for
Borrego Springs next week to try to take some good dark sky pictures.

Happy ETX'ing.

Carol Fehner
Mike here: Just noticed that your email was "bounced" as SPAM due to the Subject entry. Please read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page. Thanks for understanding.
As to Arcturus, I did a Google on "Arcturus meaning" and one of the responses that showed up was from Glad you had a good time at Borrego Springs; enjoy your next stay!
Subject:	Resetting the declination indicator ring on an ETX 90EC
Sent:	Sunday, November 27, 2005 20:53:59
From:	Matthew Checketts (
I hope you are well. Thanks for your website.  It is the best out there
for ETX!

I want to fix my declination indicator ring on my ETX.  It is not level
when I set it to "0".  I need to move it about four degrees.  I am just
unsure about how to actually do that.  How do I loosen the ring and so
-Matt C.
Mesa, AZ
Mike here: Just loosen the large knob on the scale; then you can rotate the scale and retighten the knob.


I tried loosening the large knob on the scale, but it seemed really
tight and I did not want to do any damage.  It has no grooves like the
one on the other side does.  Should I just turn harder?
Mike here: Use a rubber "jar lid opener" or even rubber gloves.
Subject:	JMI case vs. Meade 07607 vs. Meade 775 case
Sent:	Saturday, November 26, 2005 20:36:07
From:	Lenny Tropiano (
Trying to decide which is more flexible, for my new ETX-125PE scope.
What are the pros/cons to each case and if you know a recommended place
for your "favorite" that would be great,

Mike here: You can read about some cases on the Accessory Reviews: Cases page. Also, see the case dealers listed on the Astronomy Links page.
Subject:	ETX-125 Focus Issue - need some advice
Sent:	Saturday, November 26, 2005 11:37:20
From:	JWM Personal e-Mail (
Would like to add my thanks for your ETX site to that of to many others
-- it is a great resource.

I've recently moved to PA from VA and after almost a year in its case,
my ETX 125 is back on the tripod.  Unfortunately, I've been unable to
get it to focus on anything -- terrestrial or astronomical.

Thinking my Meade electronic focuser may have been the problem, I've
dropped back to the manual knob, but this did not resolve the issue. 
I've tried to pull the focus in as far as it will come with endless
counterclockwise rotations.  I want to say the I can see some changes as
I do this, but am afraid that I am kidding myself.  There does seem to
be quite a bit of play in the knob and I can not remember how it should
feel when it is working properly.

Is it possible that I have run out the focusing mechanism to far in one
direction or the other?  Can you suggest how I should troubleshoot or
make a repair?  While I have implemented your basic mechanical tune-up,
I am a beginner and am a bit reluctant to to breakdown the telescope
without some coaching or reassurance.

Anything you can suggest is appreciated.

Regards -

Bill Mooney
Landenberg, PA 19350
Mike here: If you mean that there is NO change when turning the focus shaft (electrically or by hand) then it probably has become disconnected. See the article "Focus Shaft Fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Differences between the ETX 125 EC & AT
Sent:	Friday, November 25, 2005 13:29:23
From:	Jim Drzewiecki (
I'm confused. What are differences between the ETX 125 EC & AT? The only
perceivable difference to me is in the AutoStar controller. The AT has
the AutoStar 497. What version of AutoStar does the EC have and how does
it connect to your PC?
Mike here: See the FAQ page. The EC model did not include the Autostar.
Subject:	ETX: 105 vs 125 vs PE or not?
Sent:	Friday, November 25, 2005 13:17:53
From:	Jordan Furman (
Pointed to your website by someone selling their 125PE (ready to

Similar to Bill, I am looking to purchase a decent scope with a good but
not bank-breaking investment.  I used a simple Meade Reflector scope in
the past (~9 yrs ago) without any bells any whistles and thought it was
cool but frustrating to track manually.

Now, in mind for my 6yr old's attention span (and mine to a degree), I'd
like to get a scope that shows Saturn's rings rather than a dot PLUS
constellations.  If all that is seen is tiny dots, interest will be

Next looking at all of the experiences with PE (yours and others), and
with me being a clear novice, am I better off with or without PE?

And last, how much more will the 125 show vs the 105?

Finally, is a Celestron any better value for what I am looking for?

You have a great site and everyone appears to be quite sincere here as
well. Thanks, Jordan (Northern AZ)
Mike here: With the exception of the finderscope, the PE has the same capability as the AT models. So with the PE you can always revert to non-PE mode of Autostar operation. That said, there is nothing wrong with the AT model way of doing things; a large number of ETX users have done that since 1999. As to the 105 vs 125, yes, the larger aperture and longer focal length of the ETX-125 will let you see more details than with the ETX-105. Meade vs Celestron: good points on both sides. Some people prefer Meade, some people prefer Celestron.
Subject:	Ref:  Meade ETX...this one or that one...or the other ones...? 
Sent:	Thursday, November 24, 2005 11:14:23
From: (
Hi Mike (edit where you think it's irrelevant - but not the whole
email!)and all readers alike  :)

I plan to buy a telescope (within the next 2 months) - looking at one of
the ETX ranges - but plan to take it with me to "see" and take good
pictures (SLR or Digi) of the Total Solar Eclipse in Turkey next year

...then I plan to take it with me to Cyprus and leave it there so when I
visit (approx 2 twice a year for a few days)I'll have the clear night
skies to GO TOmore like GO MAD over the Universe and it's glorious

I'm also looking to have the Scope connected up with a laptop and some
(great) compatible software - to - Scope application so that I can swing
around the night sky while indoors (or out - preferred!) and
see/study/take good clear pictures (SLR or Digi?) as much as I can in
those few days that I'm there

but I also want to simply freely move the Scope by hand from time to
time rather relying upon electronics to GO TO where I want to get there

I read all sorts of issues and problems in these pages with Scopes,
motor drives etc

So my question is 2 fold:

Not sure what Scope I should buy ETX (AT) Series 60 - 70 - 80 - 90 - 105
- 125?

...and... what Accessories I should purchase and take with me?  (Does
someone out there have an ideal "set up" of a Scope and list of tried
and tested Accessories that they have added to their arsenal to do what
I'm looking to door has everyone learnt by trial and error and spend a
lot of money to "get it right"?)

Money is almost no objection because I'm looking to buy once only!

Apologies for the "God, he's looking for a lot of answers" email


Hakan (London - UK) 
Mike here: I rarely edit emails received. As to issues reported, keep in mind that most people write when they have problems and not when all is working well. So, the percentage of problems seems inflated. That said, given what you have said, I suspect that the ETX-105 will be your best compromise in aperture, capability, and portability. As to accessories, check out the Accessory Reviews section; lots of products discussed there.
Subject:	Re: ETX 90 jumps slightly while slewing on Dec axis
Sent:	Wednesday, November 23, 2005 15:12:18
From:	Doug Vaughan (
I did move the OTA up and down to loosen the lubricant and as a result
of that (and possibly the general variability of the problem to begin
with) the jumps now seem to be somewhat less frequent and less dramatic.
Last night with the scope still warm from indoors it performed pretty
well on Mars at about its transit. Could just be time for a tune-up.

Have a great visit at Oracle and thanks for all your help,

Subject:	Meade Question ?
Sent:	Tuesday, November 22, 2005 01:52:17
From:	James Jefferson-Wilson James (
I've seen on the website a photo gallery, but there is no
email address that people can at least show meade what is capable with
the ETX125.  I'd like to show them a couple of my images but I haven't /
can't find a contact anywhere .... any ideas ?


James Jefferson (JJ)  
Mike here: Meade doesn't have any "user support" or "general feedback" email address. They have a bug reporting email ( Right now they are accepting images for a new catalog; details on their home page.


Thanks mike, I didn't notice that yesterday ! ...
Mike here: Been up a few months!


LOL, really ? Sheez ... Its all these late nights :-)
Mike here: Lots of late nights then. See the Announcements: Meade page on the ETX Site; it was mentioned there back in July...
Subject:	ETX 125:  Bright fuzzy area center FOV
Sent:	Monday, November 21, 2005 15:51:51
From:	Paul S. Greene (
First off, without your site, many would be lost.  Thanks so much!

While looking at the sun with a class "A" sun filter form Scopetronix,
there seems to be a bright fuzzy area center to the FOV across all eye
pieces.  If I focus in on a sunspot around the periphery of the FOV, I
can get more detail.  However, if I try to center, the sunspot tends to
be in a brighter area and all is fuzzy.  I don't think there are any
problems while observing the moon at night.

Any ideas what this may be?  Could this possibly be sun damage to the
optics of the scope?


Paul Greene
Mike here: Could be internal reflections from stray light. A typical source of stray light during the daytime are the two photographic tripod mounting holes on the bottom of the OTA (diametrically opposite the eyepiece holder). Try covering them and see if the problem goes away.
Subject:	ETX 105 or ETX125 would you recommend
Sent:	Sunday, November 20, 2005 12:54:04
From:	Suren (
Great site, I've been following it for some years now.

I already have a 10' LX200 GPS. I'm thinking of an ETX, but my dealer is
suggesting an ETX105 (he says its more sturdy than the ETX 125), which
would you advice me to get.


Mike here: Since you have a large aperture telescope, do you need the larger aperture of the ETX-125 or the slightly better portability of the ETX-105?
Subject:	EC handset wouldn't go into setup mode
Sent:	Saturday, November 19, 2005 20:28:34
From:	Villy Madsen (
Have you ever run into this problem - another issue is that it isn't
tracking - even though the screw has been removed to put it into polar

I can't hear the motor running, although it works fine slewing (slow
fast etc) and the tracking works fine with the autostar.

It's been a long time since I've done anything with it, but I don't have
any recollection of it being a problem the last time that I used it.

I did an upgrade of the Autostar load, and re-intialized the Autostar.

That shouldn't have any impact on the original EC controller though -
should it ??



Villy Madsen
Mike here: The drive is quiet when tracking with the EC handset. Only one motor is running and at low speed. If you leave it going for an hour do you see about a 15 degree change? And no, the Autostar upgrade won't have any effect.


I can see the star move across the field.

Also, holding the mode switch down doesn't do anything.  (Although
hitting the mode switch at startup does cause it to slew - so the switch
itself  is working...


I can hear the motor when I switch the autostar into polar mode, it's
not very loud, but it is noticeable.

Built a camera platform that plugs into the telrad mount - time to try
for some wide field photography with my digital rebel XT.  I bought a
m49 to eos adapter from a czech shop on ebay, a f2.8 135 mm vivitar
($US15) and a F4.5 80-200 zoom for $C25 locally.  That is in addition to
the f3.5 28mm and f1.8 55mm that I had left over from my Pentax
Spotmatic F.

It's interesting playing around with them.  The 55mm is very soft wide
open (get donuts instead of points - initially I thought that it wasn't
hitting focus until I did some playing with closer targets). stopping it
down to f8, and it's sharper than the 18mm-55mm zoom that comes with the
camera. New canon (or sigma or..) lenses would be nicer - but you
certainly can't beat the price..

Mike here: I suppose the EC Handcontroller could be bad. But check that you have it in astronomical mode, not terrestrial mode (those screws, as I recall; been awhile since I used an EC Handcontroller).


Yeah, I've tried everything with the screws - and the book says that no
matter how the screws are configured, you should still be able to
over-ride it with the mode switch..  I find it hard to believe that it
isn't working. I would expect the hand unit to either work, or not work.
I wonder if the autostar loads any microcode into the telescope... 
Doesn't seem likely, but it almost seems like the only alternative....

Oh well,

I'm re-reading the documentation for the auto star,  I suppose that it
will be almost as convinient to use once I get used to it..


Mike here: There is no memory in the ETX itself so the Autostar isn't doing anything to it.
One thought: since the problem is only with the EC Handcontroller, check the pins on its connector; perhaps one is bent and not making good contact with the jack in the ETX base.


I could see that if the handcontroller did it's thing with the lights on 
the handcontroller when I try to put it into the set up mode, but it
doesn't do anything.  Seems like it's a problem within the controller


Subject:	ETX 125 Motor??
Sent:	Saturday, November 19, 2005 19:36:19
From:	Tom Frazin (
See Mike's article called, "Creep after Beep."  It's my question to
Mike.  It sounds like I had the same problem as you. My ETX 125 is at
Meade now for repair of the gearing/motor.  Meade listed my problem as,
"Azimuth motor is indexing back and forth with loud clunking sound
coming from the gears."

At Mike's recommendation, I opened the bottom of my scope and saw a
bracket which holds the main gear was broken.  That is why I sent it to

When I get it back I will be reporting back to Mike.

Good Luck.


Subject:	Web access
Sent:	Saturday, November 19, 2005 15:25:13
From:	Tom Slater (
Thanks for keeping your website simple, uncomplicated and
straightforward. Your comment about slow access speeds is so very
accurate.  There are times that I must sit for 8 to 10 minutes on other
websites while some useless graphics download at my connect speed of
12.4 kbps.  I access your priceless ETX information and appreciate the
simple, B&W correspondence you present.

Tom Slater
Adamsville  Ohio   USA 

Subject:	Re: ETX 90 jumps slightly while slewing on Dec axis
Sent:	Friday, November 18, 2005 18:04:44
From:	Doug Vaughan (
It does seem to (possibly) be thermally related but I wouldn't call the
temp "really low," maybe for LA... say 55 degrees. The problem does seem
to crop up as the temp drops, but that has also been when Mars moves
higher and the tube is pointed more toward the zenith. When moving it
freely, the tube has noticeably more resistance at the top of its
travel. I'll keep looking for clues.

Thanks for all the help and your wonderful site.
Mike here: When more nearly vertical, most of the weight of the OTA is downward onto the axis through the forks. So that could be a clue. How does it do indoors at room temperature?


When warm and inside I can sometimes get it to make a slight sound like
the one that accompanies the problematic movement, but I can't detect
any jump in the scope (possibly because I can't look at anything at that
level of mag inside). I'll try it while warm on a star near the zenith
weather permitting. Starting to think it may just be failing lubricant.

Thanks for all your help.
Mike here: Did the trick I suggested earlier help to loosen up the lubrication?
Subject:	ETX 90AT w/ UHTC or ETX 105AT
Sent:	Friday, November 18, 2005 08:51:16
From:	arthur barbee (
With a budget of only $500, I have about settled on getting an ETX over
an Orion Dob due to travel and size concerns.  Before I bust my budget,
can you help me?

The ETX 90 AT sells for $599 with standard coating and $649 with UHTC

The ETX 105 AT sells for $799 with standard coating.

Q: Does the UHTC produce a noticable effect optically speaking?

Q: If yes, will the effect make a 90 AT with UHTC comparable to the 105
AT without UHTC?

Q: Does the 105 offer any other upgrades (sturdier build, better motor,
etc) over the 90 other than 15mm more of aperture?

Q: Should I get the 90 AT and put the additional money (up to $200)
toward assessories (lens, filters, dew caps, etc) which can increase the
quality of the image? If you, which assessories do you recommend? (I
have reviewed your site for suggestions but I'm a little confused)

thank you for your help,

Arthur Barbee
Peachtree City, Georgia
Mike here: UHTC is definitely worthwhile. It is like getting about an extra 1" of aperture in the light that reaches your eye. But the ETX-105 has a longer focal length than the ETX-90; which may or may not be a consideration depending upon what you plan to do with the telescope and your expectations. As you noted, saving some of the budget for accessories is also a consideration but don't jump into those yet unless and until you know just how you will be using the telescope. For example, if you decided to get a bunch of eyepieces and then discovered that all your observing would be from home with AC power available, perhaps an AC Adapter along with less eyepieces might be a better way to spend your money. Bottom line: get some experience to start with and then you'll be able to make a better decision on what accessories will be most useful to you.
Subject:	Quick question.
Sent:	Friday, November 18, 2005 04:37:45
From: (
I'm a relative newb to astronomy. I unfortunately started with a Mead DS
114 Short tube that did nothing but break, but having got the bug I
traded up to an ETX 125 & a copy of your excellent book & am so far
having a blast, especially now it's darker earlier and mars is blasting
by closely (I'm in the UK)

The question is this: While out the other night I was scanning around
the zenith with a 12mm eyepiece when I spotted a flash. I stopped and
synchronised the scope and watched the area closely & I noticed what
appeared to be a star that acted like a light house, flashing on for
about a second and then off for around 5 seconds. It was moving with the
other stars and over aprox 2 hours stayed in the same position and at
the same frequency and brightness. Any ideas? as I'm baffled. Could it
be a tumbling Geo satellite? or are there stars that are visibly
rotating that fast? Am I the first to make first contact :)

I know you're busy, but I hope you can shed some light on this for me.

Regards. Ian Finney (Nottingham UK)

ps And no I didn't note the co-ordinates 7 can't find it again. Doh
Mike here: You didn't say where in the sky you saw this star or planet but I suspect that is what you did see. Changing brightness can be due to low altitude above the horizon, and hence a lot of our atmosphere for its light to get through.


It was around 11.30 &  I was looking almost straight up at the time
close to the zenith and around Perseus I guess as I had just been
looking at M31 and was just scanning around. I had discounted all the
planets. Plus the good old ETX couldn't identify it for me. Very
Right I'm off to check out the Leonids.
Thanks. Ian.
Mike here: See the emails on "Interesting object in the sky" on the October General Feedback page in the Feedback Archives.
Subject:	For ETX : Self made pier, my favorite observing chair, some ideas
Sent:	Thursday, November 17, 2005 12:53:31
From:	rdl (
I have been trying to make observing as comfortable as possible, with a
low cost budget.

Maybe this could be usefull for fellow observers as well. If you like,
you can add this to your site.

You can find my 'solutions' at

Best Regards,


Rony De Laet

Subject:	ETX-125 mirror
Sent:	Thursday, November 17, 2005 08:33:10
From:	wilo (
My name is William Laboy, and I have some problems with my ETX-125
primary mirror. During the past two months, the mirror is developing
some weird white dots, which I believed were dust. For my suprise, these
white dots are not dust, but some type of oxidation or fungus, which I
could not remove using the cleaning solution. Then I tried rub the
mirror a little harder, and some dots were remove, but there are too
many and I don't want to scratch the mirror.

Is there a special rubbing compound for mirrors which is not strong
enough to damage the mirror or another cleaning solution that can remove
this superficial dots?
Thanks for your time.
Mike here: Rubbing the mirror is NOT a good idea; you WILL damage the first surface mirror coating. But for cleaning tips, see the article "Cleaning Optics" on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	Focus Knob Has Slipped Inside The Scope
Sent:	Thursday, November 17, 2005 03:22:29
From: (
Whilst fitting an electric focusser to my 125 the focus knob which
appeared to be loose slipped inside the scope. I can hear it moving whne
I move the scope. Can anyone suggest a means of repair. I'm mechanically
minded and not afraid to tinker with technical equipment.

 Bob Price
Mike here: I presume you mean the focus shaft slipped inside and not the knob. See the article "Focus Shaft Fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. It should help. As a reminder, always point the OTA upwards about 45 degrees when removing the focus knob from the shaft.
Subject:	Good Space Web Site
Sent:	Wednesday, November 16, 2005 21:03:04
From:	Susie O'Daniel (
I'm looking for a good web site out there that I can show my kids that
will allow me to see what is currently in the sky maybe for my zip code
or local geographical area.  It would be nice if it could display what
it is the sky for any area and maybe neat stuff in the near future.  My
girls keep asking me, "what is that thing in the sky?  Is it a planet? 
Is it a star?".  Unfortunately, my answer has been less than stellar,
"I'm not really sure!".
Thanks for your help!

Jim O'Daniel
Mike here: Check out the Sky and Telescope web site. You can enter your zipcode there. Also, for more details, you might want to check out SkyMaps (link on the Astronomy Links page on my ETX Site).
Subject:	Power Supply Table
Sent:	Wednesday, November 16, 2005 18:29:46
From: (
I saw your page on power supply and I thought you may want to know
this. I had asked Dr. Clay if my ETX can take a voltage higher than 12v
since I have a battery pack designed to power a bicycle light that has
a voltage of 15.1 when fully charged. His response was the following:

Hi all means that voltage is ideal; the ETX loves between
13.8 and 15.4 volts. Actually they work very poorly with less than 13.2

Below is a link to a battery pack that you may want to consider. I have
something similar but not identical to it. It provides 4500mah at 13.2v
nominal and 15.1v fully charged. In my opinion you can't beat the deal
considering battery life, price, and weight. Good luck.

ps I haven't tried using the higher voltage yet thus I can't testify if
it makes my scope perform better (my scope is being supercharged at this
moment). However I have read the NexStar 8 documentation and it says it
can take a min. of 8v. and a max of 18v. So I imagine the ETX power
requirement is also flexible in its voltage.

Mike here: Thanks. About a year ago I purchased a Celestron Power Tank (discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page). It powers an ETX and my LXD55-8"SC simultaneously without any problems.
Subject:	ETX 125 Motor??
Sent:	Wednesday, November 16, 2005 12:44:04
From:	Steve Jones (
Sorry to bother you, I have scanned through your site but cant seem to
find an answer. I have an ETX125 Ec and I have just experienced a
strange problem whilst aligning it. When the scope is slewing to a star
on the vertical axis, is starts to made a loud unpleasant clicking
noise??? At this point I turn the Autostar off. It only happens in the
vertical axis and hasn't happened in the previous 4 months I have had it
( granted I haven't used it because of summer) At fist I thought it was
because I had locked the turn wheel in too tight but still does it when
I slacked it off??  I am now fearing that the motor is damaged?? I am
lostreally because I have followed the enclosed instructions word for
word. Any ideas??



PS   Top site!!!
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES recently?


Not since we got it 4 months ago, and in that time we haven't really
used it that much. Plus, when we used it the other night it was fine??
Should the locking wheel for the vert axis be done up tight?? I tried
slackening it but then thought perhaps it needs to be tight so the
clutch grabs??


Mike here: Overtightening the axis locks can cause damage; they should be just tight enough to keep the tube from moving on its own but still allow the drives to move it.


I think it's a call to the retailer where I bought it then.


I think as soon as it goes dark we'll be out to calibrate the motors 1st
and try it again. Is this just a case of going into the options before
aligning it?
Mike here: It's under the Telescope menu. No user input required; just select it.


Well Mike, just been outside, calibrated the motors and its still doing
it, if not worse. The noise is unbearable!!! And it now isn't even
getting anywhere near alignment so I presume it's a fault on the
motors?? Typical, its -1deg outside, crystal clear and the scope wont

Mike here: Could be a gear problem. Time to contact Meade.
Subject:	ETX 90 
Sent:	Wednesday, November 16, 2005 07:12:24
From:	Paul Quenneville (
Sorry, but I have a very simple question.

I have an ETX90 telescope that the motor works when I push the
directional buttons, but does not move by itself (with the earths
rotation) like it should????

Could this be just replacing the batteries?
Mike here: Do you have the Autostar or just the EC Handcontroller? If you have the Autostar, have you done the Autostar alignment? If so and you did a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES, then it could be a battery problem or you are overtightening the axis locks. You can check the battery level by pressing the MODE key for two seconds and then scrolling the display (using the UP/DOWN arrows at the bottom of the Autostar) until you see the battery level.


I have only the EC Handcontroller.
I have tried to press the mode button on the handcontroller for two
seconds, But it never switches to let me change to northern or southern
mode. I am assuming it is just the batteries. I just bought new ones but
have not installed them as of yet. Isn't there a adaptor that can be
plugged in to the telescope that will by-pass the batteries?
Mike here: There is an external AC adapter from Meade and you can buy or make your own. See the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page for lots of info on Power Supplies.


OK, Thanks

Subject:	replacement parts for etx90 in UK
Sent:	Wednesday, November 16, 2005 02:35:20
From:	ben (
I recently completed a successful tune-up using Dr Clay's performance
enhancing articles.

However, I've found that one of the friction plates (not sure what
they're actually called) is split.

I've attached a picture of the part. It's from the Scopetronix article,
so ignore the pen nib!


Would you happen to know where in the UK or Europe I might obtain a


Mike here: Typically such level of parts are not available to end users. But you can try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page) or you could contact Meade directly for a repair.
Subject:	ETX 90 jumps slightly while slewing on Dec axis
Sent:	Tuesday, November 15, 2005 21:57:49
From:	Doug Vaughan (
I've had my ETX 90 for about 18 months and previously had no problems.
While observing Mars recently it suddenly developed a minor hitch when
slewing on the Dec axis. I was using the basic non-Autostar controller
to track manually and viewing with a 7mm ortho. When I pressed the up
button at low speeds I could hear the motors engage but Mars would hold
steady for an instant before jumping across about 1/4 the viewing
area.This jump was accompanied by a quiet "click" sound coming from (I
think) the left fork (or even the base). The scope worked fine again
early this evening but as the temperature dropped, the problem returned.
My mechanical instinct suggests this is some kind of minor binding
issue? I've found several items on your site that seem similar, but my
"click" is pretty quiet -- sounds almost like elements of the plastic
housing adjusting slightly -- and (again, I think) coming more from the
left side, not the right. Any obvious steps for troubleshooting this?
Mike here: If the temperature was really low it could be the lubrication "stiffening up". You can try keeping it "loose" by moving the OTA by hand back and forth, hard stop to hard stop, several times.
Subject:	ETX125/125PE Question
Sent:	Tuesday, November 15, 2005 16:07:22
From:	Travis S. Rice (
My wife and I want to get into astronomy. We have decided on an ETX-125
because of the aperture and some reviews. Is it worth the extra $100 to
step up the the ETX-125PE. We don't want to get a scope that won't allow
us to see a lot of things. We don't just want to see a white ball in
space. This is why we have decided on the 125. We just don't understand
the importance of the the finder piece. The 125 has a traditional finder
piece, but the 125PE has something else. Which is better. Is the fact
that the 125PE will auto itself to the north and level a big deal. Any
input will help and be greatly appreciated.

Many Thanks,
Mike here: Whether the PE model and its "red dot" finderscope is simpler for you to use depends upon whether you want to spend some time to learn the night sky or just jump into viewing objects. While learning the sky is not required with either model, it does make things easier. But with the PE model you don't have to worry where North is, where level is, and even what date/time it is. But none of that is that difficult so the choice of how to spend your money comes down to spending it on the basic telescope or on the basic telescope plus some accessories (like additional eyepieces).
Subject:	ETX 90 and focal reducers
Sent:	Tuesday, November 15, 2005 14:08:45
From:	Robert Zaballa (
My ETX 80 had some problems with its motor, at one point it always said
"motor unit fault" and it was unable to slew, so I returned it and got
an ETX 90 with GPS. It's a nice scope, but the focal ratio is really
high. I do have a .5 focal reducer that I can use with it, but do you
know if it is efficient to couple more than one focal reducer together
without siginificant loss of light or image degradation?

So if I coupled three .5 focal reducers, I could lower the focal ratio
from f/13.8 to f/1.725.

Mike here: The image will degrade and you will likely get lots of field distortion. But if you try it, let me know how it works out!
Subject:	RE: Alternate Power Sources  for ETX 90 Premiere Edition
Sent:	Tuesday, November 15, 2005 11:58:08
From:	Teresa
Thank you for your response.  Do I have to be careful about the power,
polarization, etc?  I will probably try the Celestron Power Tank if you
know it to be compatible with a ETX 90 PE.  You indicated trying it on a
ETX125.  Is power source the same for both?
Mike here: You can use the same power source with either telescope. And yes, you can fry the telescope circuit board with an incorrect polarization. So, if you make your own cable be certain that the polarity is correct (center pin is positive).
Subject:	ETX-125AT and using a GPS-Mate
Sent:	Tuesday, November 15, 2005 11:26:10
From:	Edwards, Paul ((BCS)) (
Thanks for providing a great site!

I am looking to buy my first telescope and am considering the ETX-125AT.
Considering the alignment problems that I have read about with the new
ETX Premier Editions, I was thinking that it would be better to buy the
ETX-125AT and then add the GPS-Mate, which according to a dealer in the
UK provides:

'The GPS-Mate allows GPS functionality to be added to your Meade ETX,
LX200, LXD55, LX90 telescope and most other quality goto telescope. In
seconds the GPS-Mate will receive data from the GPS satellite network,
derive the telescope's position anywhere on the Earth's surface to an
accuracy of a few metres (a few tens of feet), calculate the time zone
offset (based on longitude position) and upload all this data into your
telescope, together with the date and time to sub-second accuracy.'  end

See URL below for full information:

Finally, how does the Meade 8" LX90 Schmidt-Cassegrain compared to the
ETX-125 5" Maksutov-Cassegrain?  Is there a BIG difference, as apart
from the difference in price the ETX-125 is so much lighter and easier
to transport.

Many thanks for your time to reply.

Best regards,

Paul Edwards

West Sussex, UK.
Mike here: First off, do you NEED GPS? While they are nice add-ons and can simplify the setup at a site, do you really NEED that level of accuracy? Remember, it is giving you only date/time/location info; the rest is still up to you. And yes, there is a BIG difference in the 8" vs the 5". And the LX90 mount is more substantial. But yes, the ETX-125 is more portable than the LX90.
Subject:	mounts
Sent:	Tuesday, November 15, 2005 08:45:26
From: (
I was asked to show someone how to use a gem. Are they hard to operate
and how do you know when the weights are balanced? Also do you have to
rebalance it when changing to view a different part of the sky?

Thanx for all

P.S. I did the supercharge thanks to your site and so far I'm REAL HAPPY
Mike here: GEM mounts do take some getting used to, especially if you have only done Alt/Az before. It easy to tell when the balance is correct; just unlock the axes and move the telescope tube by hand. It should move easily and then stay put when you let go. Rebalancing in different orientations is typically not necessary.
Subject:	eyepiece question
Sent:	Tuesday, November 15, 2005 03:15:45
From:	Vida Peral (
Thanks for your site.  It's clear and helpful, but I do have a question:

I've recently purchased an ETX 105PE.  Can you give me advice/tips/info
about the eyepieces - Celestron X-Cel 10mm Televue Radian 10mm

Which would you suggest for quality results or is it more a question of

Much appreciated,

Mike here: I have no direct experience with either of these but Televue makes fine eyepieces. For more on eyepieces, see the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page.
Subject:	Polar Alignment Problem
Sent:	Monday, November 14, 2005 21:30:25
From:	Tom and Klara Collins (
I am trying to improve my polar alignment with my 125 and 884 tripod.  I
have seen articles to facilitate fine adjustment by adding treads and a
large nut to the latitude bar, but the only side to side adjustment I
can see is to actually pickup and move the tripod and scope.  Obviously
this is not a fine adjustment and will probably take the setup out of
level and seems foolish when I am supposed to be aligning a degree off
Polaris. Is there another procedure, or another modification or an
accessory that can address this issue?  Buying a new tripod and wedge
really isn't in my budget for this scope.
Mike here: All techniques involve shifting the position of the telescope rotational axis so without a lot of expense the only solution is to shift the tripod horizontally.
Subject:	coupon for$25 discount for ebay
Sent:	Sunday, November 13, 2005 12:32:36
From:	jim farinoli (
have been reading your web pages for days. I am new to the game and you
are a great source of info (lots). Great job, I just purchased the meade
DSX-90at at ebay at the meade factory outlet. I am sending this email so
you can share it with your readers. I used a coupon (C1-Holiday2005)
that has to be paid through paypal and saved 25.00 in the process. Total
for the scope delivered is $250.00! it is good until Nov30 2005 there
are actually 3 different they are:

10% off ($25max) coupon code: C1-Holiday2005
$5 off coupon code: C2-Holiday2005 ($50 or more single item)
$15 off coupon code: C3-Holiday2005 ($100 or more single item)

I also used paypal credit which  says no interest for 3 months.I think
that is a good deal Thanks for the good work and be reading more soon

Subject:	Question about finger sight alignment.
Sent:	Sunday, November 13, 2005 12:26:42
From:	Brandon Warhurst (
I was looking around your site for information on the minimum distance
required for a good finderscope alignment.  I couldn't locate anything
that would tell me that, so I figured I would ask directly.  I did an
alt-az alignment with my telescope several times.  The first time the
alignment wasn't too bad, but it seemed most objects were off even in
the finderscope by quite a bit.  So I realigned it and it got worse. 
Some objects weren't even in the finderscope. I checked and rechecked to
make sure I was aligning with the stars chosen by the autostar. Capella
was very easily found and I check and rechecked that I was using the
right star for Aldeberaan.  I was a little surprised that the autostar
didn't pick Deneb instead because Aldeberaan and Capella seemed a little
close together, but it said it aligned successfully.

Then I read somewhere on your site that one of your other contributors
had had problems and decided to realign his finderscope.  When he did he
aligned it with a radio tower 2 miles away. That is what made me think I
might have a problem there.  I have nothing that far away that I can
align on.  I'm surrounded on most sides by trees.  I can use a few
branches, but not only are they not 2 miles away, they all pretty much
look alike making them difficult targets.  The target I was choosing to
align the scope was probably only about 75ft or so away.  And that may
be way too close for proper alignment.  Hence the question.

Mike here: I doubt that finderscope alignment was your problem. But you should use a distant object; it doesn't have to be a terrestrial object. Many times I have used Polaris (if tracking is not engaged) or a bright planet like Venus if tracking is engaged. Just remember to always recheck the object in the telescope eyepiece in case the telescope shifted while adjusting the finderscope.


Unfortunately I can't see polaris.  Its behind those trees I was talking
about. I guess I might try another distant star next time.  I know they
shift, but I'm hoping that it will make little difference.  Maybe I was
just using a lousy compass.  It seemed okay, but it would stick every
now and again, so maybe it wasn't really north I lined up on.  The
DSX-125 doesn't have the "rotate the arm with the altitude markings over
the computer" part of the alignment, so maybe there is something else
you have to do besides pointing it north, but the manual didn't indicate
anything else.  I'll have to try again when it clears up.
Mike here: Just do the Easy Alignment on the Autostar, then pick any bright object and center it; the tracking should be good enough to allow you to align the finderscope optics to the telescope optics.


Here's a related question.  I noticed one of your contributers talked
about syncing the telescope because the object (say the moon) was
drifting. How is that done?  I have seen it come up once or twice on the
autostar when I was going through and trying the "Guided Tour", but I
don't know if that is the same thing.
Mike here: SYNC is done by centering an object you have done a GOTO to and then holding down the ENTER key for 2 seconds. You will then see a prompt to press ENTER to SYNC. What that does is set the Autostar the object's known RA/DEC. This helps improve the alignment in that area of the sky. It should NOT be done on objects that move, like the Moon and planets.


thanks a lot.  I think I'll have better luck next time out.
It won't be for a couple of days as the clouds rolled in,
but some time this week probably.

Subject:	Tasco rifle sight
Sent:	Saturday, November 12, 2005 15:16:10
From:	Brandon Warhurst (
I noticed there were some others that have tried a Tasco rifle sight as
an alternative to the meade sights (well, maybe not the 90deg sight, but
the others).  I had a rifle I used to use for target practice (I like
the challenge of target practice, but never really wanted to hunt...
can't explain it), but haven't used in a while so I took the 7x20 Tasco
off and tried it on the telescope.  I fit it on the wedge in front of
the mount for the 90deg sight I have on my 125 OTA. I can say it worked.
However, the crosshairs were very dim.  It did work a bit better for
getting things in the scope than the 90deg, but I think that is mostly
due to the fact that the 90deg has the six adjustment screws while the
rifle sight has two tied to the crosshairs instead of moving the whole
sight.  The field of view was also a little narrow.  So I'm switching
back to the 90deg and wrestling with the six adjustment screws.  I may
go ahead and get something from scopetronix in the way of a red dot

Subject:	etx purchase
Sent:	Saturday, November 12, 2005 11:45:50
From:	steve harper (
my name is steve and i am getting ready to purchase a new scope. i am
looking at the 90at but also looked through a125at. price diff is about
350 to 400. i would like your input if possible. money is tight but i
dont want to buy the 90 and 6 months from now wonder. is it better to
get the 125 and save up for the extras?your opinion will be appreciated.
i live in riverside, and we go out to the high desert near
ridgecrest to ride bikes, so i will be transporting in my motorhome.
thanks for your time
steve harper
Mike here: Certainly the larger aperture of the ETX-125 will provide brighter views and more details than the ETX-90. Since portability doesn't seem to be a concern, the ETX-125 might be your better choice between the two. Be certain to read my comments on these models on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well those of others on the Helpful Information: User Observations page.


thanks so much for the Very quick reply. i will go back to your great
web site and check out your comments.
thanks again

Subject:	Re: Removing focuser from ETX 125
Sent:	Friday, November 11, 2005 11:01:30
From:	JJ Singley (
Thanks so much for your help.  I got it removed.  Wanted to let you know
that there are a couple of sites dedicated to refurbishing OTAs from the
Terabeam/Meade joint venture.  I have seen a few folks ask questions on
your site in regards to these "white tube" OTAs and thought you may want
to point folks to them.

They don't have a ton of information on them, but should become a good
resource for this small group of ATMs.

Thanks again for your help.

Subject:	Alternate Power Sources  for ETX 90 Premiere Edition
Sent:	Thursday, November 10, 2005 14:04:24
From:	Teresa
I have a new ETX and am gradually learning all there is regarding setup,
calibration, and alignment.  (Actually this was a Christmas present for
my 11 year old daughter and is turning into my toy until I get the kinks
worked out.  I may not give it back.)  I am on my first set of batteries
and am running into some "Motor Fault Errors" that seem to be most
likely related to low batteries.  It is time I purchase an AC Power
Adapter and/or Battery Pack.  I have searched your web and am confused
with all of the talk about assembly of your own battery pack from Radio
Shack parts.  That is not in the cards for me.  What are your
recommendations for off-the shelf purchases?  I see that battery packs
provide a more consistent power source, so if that is the way to go I

Burning batteries,
Mike here: Depending on how much slewing you do, you can eat up batteries, especially small rechargeable ones. For off the shelf solutions, check out the article "Power Supplies" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. You might also want to read my review of the Celestron Power Tank on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page. I have powered two telescopes for hours with the Celestron Power Tank and have just pushed an inverter and the AC Adapter for my Nikon D70 DSLR and plan to use it with the Celestron Power Tank for astrophotography.
Subject:	image shift
Sent:	Wednesday, November 9, 2005 15:39:09
From:	jon (
looking for a good astrophotography answer, what scope other than a
refractor, does the etx have image shift.
thanks bud
Mike here: All telescopes with moving mirror designs (except some at the high end) have image shift.
Subject:	Autostar or normal controller not working on ETX 90.
Sent:	Wednesday, November 9, 2005 14:42:57
From: (
I was reading through your site telescope tune up tips for the Etx 90 &
decided to take my scope apart to try & get rid of the play in the base.

When i looked inside,i did somthing which is very unusual for me
and...left it alone as it looked like i would have to take too much out
to get a spanner on the centre nut!

I have been out tonite to look at mars & spent ages setting up but when
i switched on the computer control with 497 autostar nothing
happened..the power light goes on but the autostar doesnt light up or do
anything!! So i put the normal controller in but still nothing..i took
the bottom off the scope & everything seems in order..

Any ideas??

Mike here: Have you tried replacing the batteries? Probably not the cause but worth the try. It could be that somehow you disconnected a wire when removing the base plate. Check more closely. Alternatively if you touched some electronic component and were not grounded, static electricity might have damaged something. Lastly, although it would be coincidental, check the pins in the connection port on the base; perhaps they have become depressed and are not making contact with the plug on the cables.


Ok thanks...
But what if i connected my external power source the wrong way round?
Would it blow the components inside?

Is it poss to buy the circuit boards Mike & from where?
Thanks for your fast response...
cant believe ive blown it up!!
Mike here: If you reversed the polarity of the external power source then yes, you will likely damage something inside the ETX. You have two options: try to find a replacement from a place like Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page) or contact Meade for a repair. Alternatively, if you know what you are doing, you can look for a blown component on the circuit board and replace it.


I have already fixed it...i was getting quotes from around 100 to
replace the board, so i did it myself.

It had lifted & burnt out a piece of wiring track on the switch board,so
i just cut it out & relaced it with a piece of wire. All seems to be
working ok or what i can make out at the moment, i should have taken
some pics just in case some one else does the same stupid thing.

Thanks for your help,i just have to take the arm to bits now to see if i
can lose some slack.
Thanks again...

Subject:	Meade 125 etx for my son
Sent:	Friday, November 11, 2005 12:25:59
I plan to buy my 11 year old son a Meade 125 ETX for Christmas...Okay..I
guess I may use it too...just a little....but it for him...honest!

I would like to know what additional eyepieces I should order at the
same time to offer a wide viewing experience. I believe it comes with
only the standard 26mm.

Also I would like to experiment with my Canon G5 for some digital
photography...will I need a special attachment?

My son has an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, (Asperger's Syndrome), he is
extremely interested in science, mathematics and astronomy. He has just
been accepted to the Warwick University for Gifted and Talented
support....therefore, I really feel the need to support him...hence the
125 ETX.

Hope I have made the right desision with the telescope...

Thanks for your help and this great website...

J Vanaman.
Mike here: The ETX-125 should provide lots of enjoyment and education. Just remember that it is not the Hubble Space Telescope! As to eyepieces, check out the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page as well as the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page for lots of info on eyepieces. You will probably want to at least get the #126 Barlow Lens (2X), which effectively doubles the magnification for any eyepiece you use it with. That effectively doubles the number of "eyepieces" that you have. As to which other eyepieces to consider, that will depend on how you, oops I mean your son, will use the telescope: wide field work or lunar work or planetary work or deep sky work. As to using the Canon, yes you can but you will need adapters; which type will (again) depend upon how your son, oops I mean you, will use it. See the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page as well as the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page.
Subject:	ETX125 VS. LX200 10" S.C.T., your thoughts
Sent:	Wednesday, November 9, 2005 05:46:09
From:	Eric Sweitzer (
Mike, first off thanks for all your work on the ETX, you are making
other amateur astronomers lives easier.

My question is that I have a Etx125AT which I enjoy, I have been
proposed a trade for a 10" LX200 purchased in 2000, in excellent
condition. This person wants a portable Scope, I would like a larger
scope for home, do you enjoy your 8" S.C.T.?, or do you find it a pain
to setup and maintain, how are the views? I would be leaving it setup in
my garage and moving it outside. I would like to know your thoughts on
the subject of a larger scope vs. portable.

Thanks, Eric Sweitzer
Mike here: Certainly aperture has its advantages. I'm tending to use my LXD55-8"SC more on my trips to Oracle Observatory, given its dark skies. So, moving it in the car and setting it up at Oracle Observatory isn't a major issue. A 10" LX200 is a somewhat larger beast however. You may find that you have to remove the OTA/forks from the tripod to move it from your garage. On the other hand, an ETX-125 is certainly more portable than a 10" LX200. So it comes down to whether you want what the increased aperture and better mount of the LX200 will give you vs the portability of the ETX.


Good points to think about

Just one more question, do you like the G.E.M. on your LXD55-8"SC? Does
it have any advantages over a fork mount? I was looking at the
lxd75-8"S.C., do you think it was a good value? If I don't trade for the
10" I may look at the 8".

thank you for your time, Eric Sweitzer
Mike here: Yep, the LXD75 is good value; same OTA as on the LX200GPS 8"SC. GEM and forks both have their advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantage (to me) of the GEM is simplier RA tracking (no wedge needed). The biggest disadvantage (to me) is the wider swing of the counterweight and OTA vs no swing with a fork mount system. Some new users prefer the AltAz fork mounted systems for their simplicity in set up and usage. If you want to do long duration astrophotography you have to get a wedge for the LX200 whereas with a GEM there is no issue.
Subject:	Problem with Flip mirror - technical advise needed
Sent:	Sunday, November 6, 2005 17:39:11
From:	bruno scagliarini (
I've a big problem with the flip mirror of my ETX 105 . the problem
started flipping up and down. the shaft started not to grip very well
the plastic frame that support the mirror.

on top the position of the  mirror started not be the right one, leaving
a shodow zone at 6 hours. touching gently the flip mirror command was
possible to obtain an improvement.

yesterday instead the shaft became totally loose , and the mirror is not
flipping anymore.

through the top and the rear hole I was able to notice a breakage in the
plastic support, in the zone of the shaft contact.

my question is : can I buy the plastic frame plus the mirror already
mounted on as a spare part ? I live in Italy, where there is an importer. 
if the part is available from Meade i'm sure the importer must have
it. to take the shaft out from the frame of the flip miror , to change
the mirror+ frame, is a difficult operation , but a technician can do
it? any idea of the cost of the spare part ? thanks for any suggestion
helping to resurrect my ETX.

best regards
bruno  scagliarini
Mike here: This sounds like a serious break. Unfortunately, Meade doesn't sell replacement parts to end users; you will have to contact a local Meade office or a local Meade dealer for a repair.
Subject:	ETX125AT or EC
Sent:	Sunday, November 6, 2005 09:08:09
From:	David Hawkins (
I have researched this subject and I'm sure that I'm right here.  The
only difference between an ETX125AT and ETX125EC is the way the scopes
come equipped. The AT version has the #497 Autostar and #884 Tripod, the
EC version as neither of these and has only the smaller Electronic
Controller.  I also believe that Meade continued to sell ETX125ATs in
the ETX125EC boxes and have only recently started to print new boxes
with the designation ETX125AT. Is this correct? Has Meade yet to change
the label on the base of the scope (on the battery compartment) that
reads ETX125EC?  I recently bought a scope that was barely a year old,
that had the newer cast aluminum bearing supports, the owner told me it
was an AT, but the box were labeled EC. It came with a #497 Autostar and
#884 Tripod. Which one is it? I know it doesn't matter, this is just a
subject on debate between me and a friend, figured I'd ask the
recognized ETX guru.  This question may already be answered in your
archives, I just can't find it.
David Hawkins
Mike here: You are correct that this is/was just a bundling change (as noted on the FAQ page). I was still seeing EC boxes a couple of months ago. Haven't checked the label on the base though.
Subject:	Choice between telescopes
Sent:	Saturday, November 5, 2005 20:37:54
From: (
Hi i'm looking at a ds114 and dsx-90at the ds114 has a focal leght 911mm
and the optical diameter 4.5 . The dsx-90at has a focal leght 1250mm and
the optical diameter is smaller at 3.5.

great site 
thanks jim 
Mike here: The longer focal length will mean higher magnification for a given eyepiece focal length with the DSX and light gathering "power" will be higher with the DS. You'll get nice wide field views, especially from a dark site, with the DS. You'll see more details on the Moon and planets and bright DSOs (Deep Sky Objects) with the DSX.
Subject:	need ext-90ec help
Sent:	Saturday, November 5, 2005 12:13:46
From:	Bailey, Michael J. (Michael.J.Bailey@FMR.COM)
I found your site using Google and thought you might be able to help me.

I have the EXT-90ec.  It is only 3 months old and it is starting to act
funny.  It no longer is recognizing the auto-star and when I turn it on
without that plugged in the telescope continuously tries to point up.

Any thoughts on what this is and how I can fix it?

Respectfully yours,

Michael J Bailey
Mike here: Without a controller plugged in, odd movements CAN occur. When the Autostar is connected, what do you mean by it is not recognized? If no power (or low power), replacing batteries might help. So can reversing the cable to the Autostar.


Thanks for getting back to me...I am running it on AC power so it should
not be a low power. "Recognized" aka no display and no beeps I get
nothing. I have a fluke network tester that I used to test the line all
looks good there.

Pin 1 open pin 2 to 7 pin 3 to 6 pin 4 to 5 pin 5 to 4 pin 6 to 3 pin 7 to 2 pin 8 to 1 pin S open. 
Mike here: Does the power LED on the ETX base light up when you power on the ETX?


yes it does...thank you for all your help on this...i went over to a
buddy's house that has an ETX and tried his autostar and it worked.....
so i got to looking at my autostar and there were two pins out of place,
got them back in line and all is well. i am going out to set it now.

thanks again!

mike bailey

Subject:	UPDATE:  Is it "creep after beep"
Sent:	Saturday, November 5, 2005 11:11:30
From:	Tom and Lori (
Update:  I opened up the bottom to view the gears while slewing.  No
teeth were broken, however the black ring around the large gear appears
to have broken, plus it looks like the gear mechanism housing was a bit
loose as well.

The noise continues when slewing to the right.  I have packed up the
scope and will call Meade on Monday to send it back for repair.  I'll
send you another update once I get the scope back.

Thanks for your help.


Subject:	Removing focuser from ETX 125
Sent:	Saturday, November 5, 2005 04:42:50
From:	JJ Singley (
I purchased an ETX 125 OTA with the primary mirror glued in place.  In
order to remove the glue, I need to remove the back of the OTA.  In
trying to remove the back, I am having trouble removing the focusing
stem that runs through the back and into the mirror.  The stem is
threaded, but turning it requires more force than seems normal.

Any suggestions?  Thanks for your help and informative site.
Mike here: Don't know if it will help but see the article "Focus Shaft Fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Also, this may or may not help:
Subject:	ETX-90EC
Sent:	Saturday, November 5, 2005 04:37:35
From:	lindon (
hi there,i just happend to stumble on your page and found some quite
interesting posts,my question is: i maybe able to get hold of a used
etx-90ec(would be my first scope) but it comes without the tripod and i
am stretching my budget as it is so is there anything you suggest ie
would it fit a well built camera mount(which i have) or something like
kind regards l.tilson
Mike here: A sturdy photographic tripod can work but you should use one of the attachments for tripods as discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Tripods page. Alternatively you can make you own mount; see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Thanks for the site
Sent:	Saturday, November 5, 2005 00:26:46
From:	Dave Bradford (
I just want so say thanks for your excellent site, particularly the
"tech tips" I have manufactured a flexible focus cable for my ETX105 and
I am very chuffed with it. I used a piece of auto speedometer cable that
is very flexible with zero torsive play, I covered it with red shrink
tube and to looks great.

That also led me on to making a serial cable to link to my laptop, this
worked perfectly too!!! I have only tested indoors so far but intend to
get outside tonight, Incidentally I use  Carts Du Ceil by  Patrick
Chevally and the setup was simple.

I will send a report and picture for inclusion on your site after 
tonights session.

Keep up the good work!!!!

Best Regards, David Bradford.

Subject:	ETX Eyepiece Holder Thread Stripping
Sent:	Friday, November 4, 2005 03:36:14
From:	Ralph Thomson (
I have searched your "excellent" site for info on the Eyepiece holder
and there are a number of posts referring to the screw but I cannot see
anyone that has had the same problem that I face.

The issue is not the screw but the thread on the eyepiece holder barrel.
It is now stripped to the point where the screw falls out and of course
the eyepieces are loose.

Are you aware of any remedies for this? I can't imagine that I am the
only one to have experienced it?

Thanks for your help :)

Mike here: Actually, this is the first I have ever heard of this happening! One solution would be to try to build it back up and rethread it using some "liquid metal" (I forget the official name).
Subject:	Online World-wide Magnetic Declination Calculator
Sent:	Thursday, November 3, 2005 12:57:57
From:	Alexander Czernin-Morzin (
Greetings to the ETX-Guru!
Hi Mike!

I have been "lurking" on your website and now that I purchased an
ETX-125AT I am a steady reader and your book also has a place on my
bookshelf (usually the night table).

In your book you mention on page    where to find, if necessary, the
magnetic declination of a place and you direct the reader to check with
the next airport.

However, there is a much better way online, I am sure you know this,
which I have been using very occasionally. The Geological Survey of
Canada has a webpage with a calculator which works for all places around
the world. Just click:

Best regards and real thanks for your effort to keep the website


P.s. For your info, I just fulfilled myself a 40+ year wish with the
purchase of the ETX. I used the stars already in the early seventies
when I sailed form the Med to Vancouver in my own boat: no GPS, just the
heavens, sextant, wrist watch and the Admiralty tables! Now living in 
Austria and forgot all the asterism and stars! Learning new with 75
rings on the resistor is somewhat slower than earlier... I wonder

Alexander Czernin-Morzin
Untere Alm 34
A-2802 Hochwolkersdorf            <<<==== means "High Cloud Village"!!
                                  And therefore high clouds...
Mike here: Thanks! I have had their web site on the Astronomy Links page for some time but thanks to your email I now see they have a new URL. I will update it.
Subject:	125EC wth 26mm
Sent:	Tuesday, November 1, 2005 23:09:57
From:	Richard Anderson (
Great page for newbies like me! I viewed Mars tonight using the above,
my first time. Was a little disappointed in the image at 73x. Very small
in the eyepiece with no real distinguishing features. Is this what I
should expect using a 26mm lens? Any advice appreciated.

 Richard Anderson
Mike here: Yes, 73X is not going to show a large image of Mars (which is still pretty far away). You really need 100-200X to start to show details. See the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page for a lot of info on eyepieces.


So a 12.4 with a Barlow should do it?
Mike here: Well, yes, BUT that exceeds the theoretical maximum magnification for the ETX-125. So you may or may not get a usable view, depending upon conditions and expectations. If you are unclear how to calculate the max see the FAQ page.


Okay, tonight I used a 9.7 only which by ny reckoning should be about
190x. The disc of Mars was only about 4mm wide and no features visible,
disappointing. Am I doing something wrong here or am I being swayed by
the pics on the side of the Meade box?  I also bought a Barlow today. I
can t see any real difference between the 9.7 and the 26 with Barlow. Am
I making some kind of beginners mistake(s) here?

Mike here: Don't expect to see the same details with your eye as you see in manipulated photos. And there isn't much difference in ~10mm vs 13mm.
Subject:	star parties
Sent:	Tuesday, November 1, 2005 11:14:39
From: (
I'd love to attend a star party . I live in Brooklyn NY. It seems that
most take place on Fri or Sat nite, as I observe the Sabbath I can't
make it to those. Do you know of any in my area that are on weekdays or
any way that I can do the research myself?
Mike here: Check the Sky and Telescope web site, Resources --> Event Calendar. That should get you some info. You can also check local astronomy clubs (also on the S&T site).
Subject:	Oracle
Sent:	Tuesday, November 1, 2005 08:47:26
From:	Dave (
Keep up the great work, you have a great site, the information you have
here is an Encyclopedia for ETX users.
How are "things" at the observatory?
Dave Cummings
Mike here: Last weekend's Oracle report will hopefully go online on or before the weekend.
Subject:	Meade DSX-90AT
Sent:	Monday, October 31, 2005 23:08:33
From:	Loring Rose (
I'm enjoying your site. Great info!

Currently Meade is selling a model they call the DSX-90AT on their
Factory Outlet site. According to the description, it's an ETX-90
optical tube on a DS- 2000 mount (single fork altazimuth mount). Comes
with a 26mm Super Plossl eyepiece, field tripod, Autostar. One year
warranty, $275 (free shipping).

This sounds like a pretty good deal, but I'm worried about the mount.
Any thoughts on this package?


Mike here: There are some DSX reports on the Helpful Information: User Observations page.
Subject:	RE: Is it "creep after beep"
Sent:	Monday, October 31, 2005 22:52:59
From:	Tom and Lori (
Is there an easy way to take a look inside without damaging anything
during the process?  Do you have reference area that will walk me
through the process?

I will try to Calibrate motors and train drives first though.



I just opened the bottom of the telescope and did not notice any wires
catching (good thing).

I did add the velcro pieces to the bottom of the telescope for added
stability on the tripod as mentioned in Jordon Blessing's "ETX tune up

Do you think the RA lock may play a part in this?  I do keep it locked
pretty securely.


Mike here: If you overtighten the lock you can cause problems. The lock needs to be just tight enough to allow the controller to slew. It is a friction lock so you can force the tube to move if you move the tube by hand. There is also a possibility that the motor has worked loose; open the base and watch it for movement as you have the controller do some slews in both directions.

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