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ETX-125EC USER FEEDBACK
Last updated: 31 October 2001

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-125EC. 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:	 Another great outing with my ETX125
Sent:	Tuesday, October 30, 2001 22:40:42
From:	marbla@naisp.net (Blais Klucznik)
Just a short update to say once again that my MAD MOD ETX125 (August
2001) is still acting superbly.  We spent all evening and the wee hours
of the morning looking at an extremely clear sky and had a ball.  I
tracked M42 for about 2-1/2 hours with the -125, first locking on it as
it was still obscured by a bunch of trees several hundred feet away, and
M42 was still in the eyepiece (26mm) about 2+ hours later.  This scope
is now a marvel to use.

Of course both of us were totally mesmerized by the sight of M42 in our
12-1/2 Dobbs which was also set up at the same time.  We did plenty of
DSC work with it tonight.  I guess the old folks are right.  Hard to
beat aperture but also have no fault with my MOD MAD ETX125.

Have a nice Halloween folks.

Blais Klucznik
marbla@naisp.net

Subject:	Nice web site, maybe you can help me with some questions...
Sent:	Saturday, October 20, 2001 11:52:56
From:	Scott9482@aol.com
You have a very nice web site.  Finally, a website that is not
overloaded with graphics, but contains a priceless amount of factual
material.  And the use opinions are great too!  Keep up the good work.

I am a novice when it comes to telescopes and astronomy.  I can easily
navigate my way around the constellations, and I can easily read star
maps, but I am not an expert with telescopes.  Over the last 10 years, I
have been using a cheap 2.5 inch refractor.  Now that I have a full time
job, I decided to shell out the extra money for a nice scope.

I just recently bought a Meade ETX-125 scope, with the deluxe field
tripod, Autostar Navigation controller, an additional eye piece (9.7
SP), and a carrying case.

Here are my questions to you:

1) As I was unpacking my boxes, I noticed that there was a heavy, black
plate that was included with (I think the tripod, but maybe the
telescope). I am not sure where this is supposed to go, because it is
not mentioned in the instructions for the telescope or tripod. It fits
perfectly under the base of the telescope (over the battery
compartment). Am I supposed to put this under the base of the scope,
BEFORE I screw the scope to the tripod platform?

2) This one is more technical. When I am using the high power eyepiece
(9.7 super plossl), I am not able to get my eye close enough, because
there is interference from the finderscope. Unfortunately, I am
right-eye-dominant. Is there any way to move the finderscope to the
other side of the telescope? OR do you have any other suggestions...

3) I read all of the instructions for the tripod. But when looking at
stars (it was too cloudy for anything else), the telescope wobbles ever
so slightly. Even the slightest breeze sends the star bouncing around
the field of view... I checked all of my knobs on the tripod, and they
are all tight... Any suggestions?

4) Sometimes when I pick up the telescope, I can hear something ( I
think it is a screw), bouncing around. The motors work fine. Twice, I
heard hear the screw bounce around when using the motors. Any ideas
what that could be?

Thanks a lot for any help.  I can't wait to test it out tonight...  The
"Guided Tour" option on the Autostar sounds really cool!!!

-Scott
Mike here: The plate does go between the ETX base and the tripod head. It provides some extra stability. You can rotate the finderscope so that its eyepiece is angled away from the telescope eyepiece. Depending upon your facial characteristics, this may or may not be sufficient. If not, you would have to replace the finderscope with a different type and/or place it at a different location. The standard tripod is a little too flexible; you can add some weight to the accessory tray (or hang a brick from it) or you can just not use the leg extension. I always keep mine at the lowest height anyway. That way I can sit down to observe. As to the rattling sound, it does sound like something is loose someplace. If you can narrow down from where the sound is coming from you may be able to open that area (like the battery compartment) and found a loose piece of solder or (hopefully not) a loose screw.

And:

Thanks for the advice...  I just put the metal plate on, it didn't
really help much.  Oh well, I guess I have to deal with it...

One more question for you.  Where do you rest the hand controller for
the Autostar when you don't want to hold it?  Sometimes I see it hooked
onto one of the tripod legs (in pictures), but I don't see how to do
that...
Mike here: I use velcro to "attach" the Autostar to a tripod leg.

Subject:	ETX-125 uses only 6 batteries?
Sent:	Wednesday, October 17, 2001 7:55:57
From:	gfk1@psu.edu (Jerry Kasmala)
While checking out my brand new 125 it died during an alignment
procedure with AutoStar controller. The AutoStar display was still on
but all motor activity stopped. Looking inside I found that a motor wire
had been caught in and eaten by a gear. OK not so bad ... soldering the
broken wire (and putting it where the gears can't eat it) restored
operation.

My question is about a strange thing I noticed. The base plate has a
holder for 8 AA batteries but the connection to the control board uses
only 6 of them (i.e. 9V).

Yes, I'm sure. The wiring to the battery holder does not connect the
batteries on either end. Is this the way 125s are or was mine improperly
assembled?
And from our mechanicals expert:
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
I believe that what he is seeing is misleading; the two batteries on the
end are hot-wired to the batteries on each side of them via metal
contacts within the battery compartment. The best way for him to confirm
is to REMOVE the batteries on either end and see if the telescope
continues to work.  I bet a dollar to a donut (I like Shipley's) that
the scope will not activate with either or both the batteries on the end
removed.

On another front, this is the 17th scope I have heard about or worked on
in the past two months where the wiring (the four bundle set coming from
the control panel and up through the axis to the DEC assembly) has been
caught up in gears of the RA drive.  This is something that Meade really
needs to address; this is the same situation that fried Dick Seymour's
Autostar about nine months ago.  The wires are merely laid loosely
within the base and the slightest offset will allow them to get pulled
into the gearworks.

Clay Sherrod
And:
Mike and Clay, thanks for your replies!

As I said in my original message, I'm sure about the battery
connections. 1) Visibly, the wires are connected to the ~1" contact
strips which are a common connection for the two batteries on either end
of the battery compartment. 2) I measured ~9.5 V at the wire connection
points (just what you'd expect for 6 new cells). 3) Sanity check:
Operation is unchanged when the two end cells are removed. Although the
drives are noticeably less energetic than when using an AC adapter.

I wondered if there was some reason they'd want lower voltage from the
batteries. The only idea I came up with is that there might be a
heating/explosion problem if an external DC supply (e.g. AC adapter)
doesn't cause the batteries to be cut off or reverse charges them when
they present 12V. That's kind of stretching.

If your opinion is that my unit is abnormal and a 12V connection is
correct, I'll simply reattach the wires correctly.

Thanks.
And:
Jerry - I would certainly re-attach the wiring if that is the case; it
sounds like there has been some minor repair to your battery
compartment, so someone fell asleep during the last portion of that
compartment's assembly....I have never seen this, but I also have never
really "looked" for it.  I will now.

P. Clay Sherrod

Subject:	Mounting a short tube refractor on an ETX 125
Sent:	Monday, October 1, 2001 22:43:31
From:	JACTHEO@aol.com
I know you have had an etx90 mounted on an etx90 with some success.  I
am planning on getting a short tube refractor (e.g. Orion 80 or similar)
to supplement my ETX125.  I would like to mount the short tube on my
ETX125 semi-permanently using  the scopetronix Piggy-back mounting ring.
In your experience (or that of the other ETX gurus)  do you think that
the ETX125 mount and gears will be stable enough to tolerate such a
setup and continue to provide accurate GOTO and tracking.  The Orion 80
short tube weighs about 3.5 pounds and is about 15.5 inches in length
(about 3-4 inches longer than the ETX125 tube) which would put the end
of the refractor tube several inches (maybe 4-5 inches) beyond the end
of the ETX125 tube.  Will this factor interfere with viewing through
ETX125?

Thanks for your valued input, and stellar website.
John Theodossy
Walnut Creek, CA
Mike here: The weight by itself may not be too much but you will need to effectively counterbalance it or the locks will likely slip. Of course, this depends upon the weight distribution of the refractor. Some orientations of the ETX will likely have more problems than others. As to interferring with the views through the ETX, that length is about what a dew shield would do, so it shouldn't be a problem. Let us know how it works out.

And:

Thanks for the response.  I am planning to use the 4 counter-weights
that come with the scopetronix mount.  Will let you know how it goes.

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