ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT USER FEEDBACK
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT. Additional information on these models is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX 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: Meade ETX 60/70AT Aux Port Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2001 16:45:35 From: Alan_Isaak@bcit.ca (Alan Isaak) Would someone know the pin connections for the computer cable used to connect the 'Aux' connector on the 60AT (or 70AT) to the serial port on a computer ? Thanks ...
Subject: More on Chromatic Aberration in the ETX-70AT Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2001 20:23:56 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Thomas Henry) With regard to my question/comment of two weeks ago concerning chromatic aberration: I have since done a thorough scan of the archives here and note that only one other person has complained of it. (He also kindly wrote me an e-mail directly confirming the severity of the problem I had noticed). Recall I mentioned that the indigo aura is about 1/4 the angular width of Jupiter when viewed through the 9mm eyepiece. With the moon it is extremely bright, and makes a nice donut around it. According to the Sam Brown classic, ALL ABOUT TELESCOPES, residual chromatic aberration in a supposedly corrected lens should be a hair-line in width, and should feature only the uncorrected colors. Since so few people have mentioned it here on this wonderful Web site, I gather that chromatic aberration is not a major problem with the ETX-70AT in general. Hence, I deduce that my scope's objective is clearly sub-standard. I'd be glad to hear from anyone with comments on this. (By the way, does this remind anyone of the Sherlock Holmes' story in which "the dog did nothing in the night" was the clue?) No mention of color fringing in the archives strikes me the same way. On the bright side of things, my unit doesn't suffer noticeably from astigmatism or coma problems, and it sure GOTOs just fine! Best wishes, Thomas Henry
Subject: ETX-70 and Meade #140 APO Barlow Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2001 6:37:47 From: Dimitri Liaos I just purchased the #140 Barlow with the intention to give my little ETX70 the best shot and also have a good barlow for future scopes. Unfortunately the EPs wont come to focus at all (I presume the 140 is too long). So back to the #124 or is the #126 better than the 124 and most of all do you know if it will arrive to focus with the little etx? Thanks again for the superb site Dimitri LiaosMike here: The #124 is the one recommended for the ETX-70AT. You can use the #126 but it might not work with ALL possible eyepieces and the ETX-70AT. But so far, reports have been it works OK (with eyepieces those users have).
Thank you Mike, I think I'll stick to the 124
Subject: ETX-60 Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2001 19:06:19 From: email@example.com (Grant Brunet) Great site, I have been reading postings, as I plan to get an ETX-60. I have been reading a manual to make sure I can figure the autostar out(seems like a few problems on reading the posts). My question is that I plan to view from two sites. One in a large city(in autostar directory) and the other 60 miles away. Can I input the lat/long for the second site or will a 6O mile difference affect the autostar? Thanks for all the great work. GrantMike here: You can enter several sites and you should. Most Autostar problems stem from improper HOME positions or other setup errors (date/time/DST/location). Once you get the telescope, take your time. Play with the Autostar indoors until you fully understand how to operate it and set it up. See if its movements seem to be correct. Once you have confidence in your ability to use it properly, then you can go outdoors and work with it in the darkness.
Subject: 'upgrading' a 494 Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2001 20:44:39 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) To: email@example.com actually... there is a way... as a last resort: Call Meade support, and complain that it's not working properly. Convince them to send you a new 494 with the current firmware. But first: you didn't specify -your- version. (it shows on power-up, but better if you Menu to Setup > Statistics > [enter] [scroll up] write that down. Now: not specified in your message: how well did it point at the STARS? Was it the same number of degrees off? If so, i'd really point the finger of doubt at one of three things: the TIME you told it, (that includes the DAYLIGHT SAVINGS setting), the SITE it thinks you are at, or your alignment. Those 3 factors solve 90% of "it points poorly" complaints. Maybe 98%. Which still leaves 2% for bad Autostars. Stars are the true test for 99% of the firmware. If your alignment is good, then it *will* nail the stars. Even with bad time settings. (barring bad hardware inside the scope)(if GoTo Vega arrives at two wildly different locations on sequential attempts, suspect hardware (including loose clamps)) Planets and Moon require calculations based upon time. *and* good alignment. Even old versions did Mars pretty well. So check the stars first. If they work, suspect the time. *then* suspect the Autostar. good luck --dick
Subject: 506 cable (actually: updating ISS) Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2001 20:31:22 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) To: JimDonati@cfl.rr.com You can update the ISS data -by hand- from the keypad. Web-leap to http://www.heavens-above.com oh, heck..,. to save myself lots of typing, read: http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_iss.html which describes how to get the tracking parameters and how to enter them to the Autostar (your 494 just requires using scroll up/down to enter numbers) But you -can- do it (i rarely use the updater) and it works. have fun --dick
Subject: re: Starry Night Pro Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2001 20:25:05 From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org > my ETX70 has to be set as an ETX90 plugin. Right. They're functionally equivalent. The authors of StarryNight Pro may have an additional plugin for the ETX70, but all that'd be different might be the focal length. All GoTo commands, etc. are the same from SNP's point of view. If you haven't already, fetch all possible patches to SNP (and the Astronomer's Control Panel, if you're using it) --dick
Subject: re: interrupted 494 Update Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2001 20:21:38 From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org >P.S. I shutdown the ASU before it completed its load to the Autostar. It >erased some of the alignment stars. You did, indeed, damage a major piece of the 494's "fixed" database. Perform the download -again-... and this time DON'T KILL IT UNTIL IT'S FINISHED. This version of the Updater is able to repair the damage. Pre-A2.4 versions did not. > P.P.S. How much memory does the #494 Autostar have? The manual says it > has 512KB of "Flash Memory". The ASU says it has 32256 bytes. What's up > with that? For the full story, read the Autostar Schematics page under Mike's Autostar Info page. But, in short: the 494 has 512kb (1/2 meg) of Flash Ram to hold the programming and permanent database. It only allocates 32kb of that to "user objects" (satellites, comets, tours, landmarks, asteroids). *that* 32kb is what the "available" is talking about. have fun --dick
Subject: ETX-70AT Sent: Friday, October 26, 2001 20:44:50 From: email@example.com (John M) I just bought an ETX-70AT, and I intend to use it mostly for viewing planets, namely the moon, Saturn, Jupiter, etc. Aside from the lenses that it comes with, what other ones would be the best to get? Thanks, JohnMike here: A 2X Barlow Lens would likely be your best choice for now. Keep in mind that the maximum usable magnification is 140X, and that will only work on bright objects like the Moon and some planets. Expect some deterioration in the view as you get closer to the max. Actually, you might want to stick with the two eyepieces to determine if the ETX-70AT will even meet your expectations. By the way, the ETX-70AT is a better wide field telescope than a planetary telescope.
Subject: Starry Night Pro Sent: Friday, October 26, 2001 12:04:38 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (N.Armstrong) Is it possible to control the ETX-70AT with Starry Night Pro? I got it connected to Starry Night and the program see's that a telescope is there...but it only recognizes it when the plug in for ETX-90 is selected. If you could shed any light on this matter it would be appreciated. P.S. I shutdown the ASU before it completed its load to the Autostar. It erased some of the alignment stars. P.P.S. How much memory does the #494 Autostar have? The manual says it has 512KB of "Flash Memory". The ASU says it has 32256 bytes. What's up with that?Mike here: The #494 Autostar is NOT user upgradable. Were you uploading user objects? You can try a RESET to see if that will recover the database; you will have to re-enter your country, etc. I don't know if Starry Night's plug-in works with the ETX-70AT. Have you asked them? As to memory on the #494, according to the ETX-70AT manual it is 512KB.
Subject: Re; Prime Focus Sent: Friday, October 26, 2001 2:55:59 From: email@example.com (hugh.adamson) To: firstname.lastname@example.org I posted a similar query some months back but was unable to find a solution at the time. I found that the problem was that I couldn't get the camera close enough to the back of the telescope (ETX-70AT) and reached the conclusion that Meade had a quality control problem in the set-up of the focus mechanism. Normally I would suggest returning the 'scope to Meade under warranty but as I live in England I didn't want to incur the shipping costs and delay of sending the 'scope half way round the world, so decided to see if I could solve the problem myself. The first step was to remove the OTA. This is described on Joseph Campbell's site http://www.josephcampbell.com/etx70at/etx70_info.htm and is very straight forward. The focus mechanism is a threaded rod with 2 circlips acting as stops. My first thought was to move one of the circlips to gain extra focus range. This didn't work as Meade had removed the thread to create the groove for the circlip: this prevented the rod from screwing further into the OTA. My second approach was more radical and involved shortening the focus rod by a quarter of an inch. The end of the rod has a smaller diameter where it passes through the back of the telescope and the first step was to increase the length of this smaller diameter section by a quarter of an inch. This enables an extra quarter inch of focus travel. I did this using a high speed hand tool with a fine grinding stone. It was easiest to hold the tool still and slowly rotate the rod against it. I protected the OTA while doing this by having it in a plastic bag with just the focus rod protruding. Next I cut a quarter inch off the smaller diameter section to restore its original length, using a cut off disc in the hand tool. Finally a light touch of grease on the end of the rod and I reassembled the scope (a bit fiddly getting the focus rod through the back of the scope) and refitted the focus knob. Now with my Pentax KX fitted using the 64ST adapter I can comfortably focus on the moon and am looking forward to some lunar photography at last. Needless to say, I have now invalidated my Meade warranty and I would not recommend that others do what I did unless they are very confident of their engineering skills. Returning the 'scope to Meade for rectification would be the preferred solution if possible. Hope this helps Hugh
Subject: ETX #506 Cable Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2001 16:19:41 From: JimDonati@cfl.rr.com (Jim Donati) I am a new owner of a ETX 60 and I am looking for either a supplier or a schematic for a #506 cable. Can you help? The suppliers that Meade lists in their web page don't list it. I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks! JimMike here: Scopetronix has the cable. Shutan Camera and Video, and Oceanside Photo and Telescope also have this item listed on their web sites. I'm not certain who all you looked at but Meade dealers do have this item. As to making one, see the FAQ on the ETX Site.
Thanks Mike! I was hoping to get away without the software but it doesn't look like that's going to be the case. The idea was to download a new database since Meade's ISS data seems to be incorrect and in talking to Meade tech support today, I found out that they don't have an updated database yet. I'll wait on spending the bucks for the cable and SW for now but I appreciate your help anyway!
Subject: Great Site Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2001 7:57:11 From: email@example.com (Fontaines) I am just so taken with your dedication to the ETX. I just purchased my first ETX, a 60-AT, and was searching the web for info when I ran accross your site....AWESOME is the only word to describe it. As a side note, your info on power supplies had me immediately searching for a way to add more "juice" to the scope....so next thing you know I'm crimping cables to a 12V, 5Ah battery....work great. Thanks again, I will visit often! Chris Fontaine Toronto, Ontario, Canada firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Autostar #494 Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2001 2:31:37 From: email@example.com (Gareth Morris) I now have a sneaky feeling that the co-ordinates that are programmed into my Autostar #494 are slightly out. Reason, last night, nice and clear, first quarter Moon so I "asked " the scope to slew to the Moon and guess what, it was out by some degrees. Same thing happened with Mars. Therefore as I have assumed from the informative postings on your excellent site that the #494 cannot be updated and that I will have to buy a more updated Autostar to get accurate alignment? Best wishes GarethMike here: The accuracy of GOTO-ing is directly related to the accuracy of the alignment, which means date/time/location/HOME position setups AND properly centering the alignment stars. You should check all that first. Then if you still have problems, do a RESET. If that doesn't help, TRAIN the drives. And yes, currently the #494 is not user upgradeable.
Subject: EXT70-AT with binoviewer Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2001 8:33:56 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Hodny) I have an ETX-125EC that I enjoy. And as I've written before, I enjoy using it with the binoviewer from Seven Wonders. I would like to find a wide field scope (about f5) that I could also use with the binoviewer. I would like to consider the ETX-70AC but as you know, binoviewers need good focus travel to extend the focus out to the eyepieces in the back of the binoviewer. That is not a problem for the catadioptic ETX-125EC but I am concerned / doubtful that the ETX-70AT has enough focus travel. Do you know if it does, or if perhaps I could gain the focus travel by using my (ETX-125EC shorty) barlow?Mike here: I don't know if you will be able to reach focus or not (but I doubt it). You might visit a local dealer and try one.
Subject: Prime focus Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2001 20:27:18 From: email@example.com (Ken W Anderson) I have recently purchased a 64st prime focus camera adapter and have tried to use it however it seems to be a bit off as far as my focus is concerned. I t almost gets there but not quite. Any tips?Mike here: What telescope model are you trying to use it on? Also, not all cameras may work.
It is an ETX70EC, it seems that if i could extend the length between the camera ring the camera and the 64st adapter then it would be enough to make focus.It would take much. I guess i could just loosen the rings to the point where it is a loose connection but it would probably work.Mike here: There are extender tubes available for some 35mm cameras. Check with your local camera dealer.
Subject: Electric focuser for the ETX-70AT Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2001 19:45:38 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Scott and Kelli True) Reply-to: email@example.com (Scott and Kelli True) I just got a ETX-70AT, is there an electronic focuser for this model and where can I get it. I hate having to manually focus, I always seem to bump it in the dark. Scott Oh, This is the best site ever. I saw this site before I got my scope, it made my decision much easier and didn't have that feeling of "oh, is this the right scope, I hope so, what if it doesn't meet the hype of the adds", I knew what I was getting before I got it.Mike here: Not yet. You can use the Scopetronix FlexiFocus.
Subject: etx70 tracking Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2001 18:43:37 From: Raven50@aol.com I've checked out the info on tracking and calibrating. My ETX70 still seems off. Even tracking the moon in lunar mode...it only last for about 2 minutes, if that. The scope just seems to moves too fast. What else can i do to fix this tracking error? Thanks- TonyMike here: Are you certain you have the location set properly? That can affect tracking accuracy. So check that. You can also TRAIN the drives, which may help.
Yes, i have trained the drives. And i went out and found coordinates for my location GPS. So i am pretty sure that is on the accurate side. It has been really poor for viewing here the last 2 weeks. So ive just finding what i want manually then locking. Then i set it to track. Could that have anything to do with it? I will check everything one more though. Thanks for any and all help! Your site is the greatest resource out there! TonyMike here: Ah ha! That's the clue. You need to go through the alignment steps first to get accurate tracking. You can "fake" the alignment and tracking will occur, it just won't be accurate.
Subject: meade 124 or 126 Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2001 12:07:06 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Shane Zhang) You web site is quite informative. Thank you very much. I have bought a ETX-60 AT from costco and want to buy a 2X barlow. The suggested option is #124 for ETX-60. #126 for ETX-90. What is the difference, if later on I want to buy a ETX90, will #124 still work? Thanks. ShaneMike here: Search the Site for "124" and you'll find a lot of references to it.
Subject: etx60 Sent: Sunday, October 21, 2001 9:43:47 From: email@example.com (Kenneth Hellmann) I purchase etx60 from costco.how do you get the country/state with the computer,every time I do the date,time &daylight it comes up alight easy. firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: I always recommend doing a RESET of newly purchased Autostars. This clears out any bogus information that may have been entered while the telescope/Autostar was at the dealer. Go to the SETUP menu and select RESET. If you have already entered some user data (objects) they will be lost and you will have to re-enter them. Alternatively you can go to the Site menu and enter a new Site.
Subject: focus travel between eyepieces on etx60 Sent: Saturday, October 20, 2001 13:54:23 From: Walter.Hayes@dot.state.mn.us (Walter Hayes) FYI (you probably know this already): using a barlow reduces the focus travel distance significantly between the two eye pieces supplied. walter hayes Final Design Waters Edge
Subject: ETX-70A Chromatic Aberration? Sent: Saturday, October 20, 2001 2:18:30 From: email@example.com (Thomas Henry) I'm very glad to have found your Web site! Based upon the recommendations here (and the Sky and Tel review online) I decided to try the ETX-70A. I ordered mine from Shutan on Monday, and it arrived on Wednesday. The #882 tripod is backordered, so I've been using the unit on a TV tray (!) in the backyard for the meanwhile. Despite this handicap, I'm staggered by how accurate the computer control is. I have had no trouble aligning it and zipping around to numerous objects, darting in and out of the semi-cloudy weather we've had lately. I just got done with a wonderful session on Jupiter, Saturn, M42 and Pleiades; and two nights ago I got a good view of M31 and two clusters in Cas whose names elude me at this late hour. During the day (and cloudy spells at night), I've gone over and over what's in the hand controller, and am duly impressed! I think Meade has really come up with a very rich system. My question, though, has to do with optics. Just so you know, I'm pretty much an amateur, although I have used a 3" and a 6" reflector in the past. While looking at Jupiter tonight and also at some brighter stars, I couldn't help but notice a pronounced indigo halo around them. I could still see the images in question (the disk of Jupiter looked crisp and two bands were clear; its moons were nice and sharp), but the color fringe bugged me. I seem to recall that this can be a problem with refractors, but I thought that achromatic lens were supposed to correct the problem. As I mentioned, my previous experience has been with reflectors, and I never saw any sort of indigo fringe. I should mention that I was using both the supplied 25mm and 9mm eyepieces. I also tried a 15mm Edmund RKE eyepiece which I felt gave a slightly better response. So after all this prologue, my questions are: (1) Would getting a better eyepiece (like a Plossl) reduce the color fringing, or (2) is the color fringing more a property of the objective? Or, (3) is this the best one can expect from an inexpensive scope? In short, did I recieve some dud optics that I should consider pursuing the warranty options on? Thanks for any suggestions you or your readers might have. Best wishes, Thomas HenryMike here: There is some minimal color fringing with these refractors. I mention that on my ETX-70AT report (linked from the top of the "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT Feedback" page). If you want to totally avoid it in a refractor you have to spend a few thousands of dollars.
Yes, I had read your report already and was encouraged by it (and the Sky & Tel review) to buy the scope. I went back to re-read your comments, and notice you said there was minimal color fringing. Perhaps I should have been more specific in my comment: when viewing Jupiter, the indigo halo extends about 20% further beyond the disk itself. Is this considered minimal for a refractor? If so, then I will certainly learn to live with it, since it seems a nice scope in all other regards. I was also curious if different types of eyepieces have any effect upon the color fringing, or if it is a property of the objective only. Thanks again for you comments, and keep up the good work!Mike here: That does seem excessive and certainly more than I recall seeing.
Subject: Ext-60at problem Sent: Friday, October 19, 2001 12:36:41 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Carton Chen) I ran into your wonderful web site, which actually helped make up my mind in purchasing the ext-60at at Costco. I just brought the scope home, unpacked it, and trying to set it up according to the manual. A problem arose immediately. On turning on the Autostar, the sun warning message flew by so quickly that I could not read it at all (I only knew it was a sun warning because the menu said so). When I selected 'guided tour', the message also just flew by on the screen. Do you know what happened? The batteries seemed fine, but somehow they were pre-installed in the scope. Have I received a lemon? Your kind help will be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Carton Chen -- Carton W. Chen Institute of Genetics National Yang-Ming University Shih-Pai, Taipei 112 TaiwanMike here: Use the scroll keys at the bottom of the Autostar paddle. The left will increase the speed and the right will slow it down.
Subject: Autostar speed? Sent: Friday, October 19, 2001 3:03:05 From: email@example.com (Simon Liston) First of all what a great site you've created - tons of useful information and really helpful, esp. for a beginner such as myself. (I've just got an ETX70-AT and managed my first decent alignment last night and was hopping around the sky like a good-un!) I've had a look thru the manual and on your site for an answer to my problem and I think it may be one that other people may have but are a bit reluctant to admit to just in case it has a very obvious solution. The problem is the speed at which text scrolls across the autostar display when for example being to do the alignment or being taken on a guided tour. Is there a way of speeding this up? - I think it currently goes across at what seems like 1 character every couple of seconds or so! Isn't it a shame also that there isn't an electric focuser option too! (esp. when the scope is pointing pretty much straight upwards and the knob is enclosed by the fork.) Best Regards, Simon Liston. [Budding astronomer - Mersea Island, England. www.mersea-island.com ]Mike here: There are focuser "extensions" that can help with focusing. As to the text scrolling speed with the #494 Autostar, use the scroll keys at the bottom of the Autostar paddle. The left will increase the speed and the right will slow it down.
Subject: etx-60at Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2001 15:23:26 From: Rick@atworkcom.com (Rick Hale) I just got a etx-60at. the manual talks of different alignment methods, easy, 2 star and 1 star. It also talks about always aligning to polaris and then on the 2 stars. I use the easy method and it does not align to polaris, but searchs for the first star and then the second. Is this correct? Or is that for the etx-70? Also, I understand that with the cable, i can unplug the autostar and plug in the cable to my PC and have skymap 7 control it. the manual also talks of user selectable star for alignment. is there a way to choose before it stars to slew? I find that the bottom 2 arrows will stop the slew and search for the next star. How do i determine what version of software or firmware i'm running? RickMike here: In Alt/Az mounting mode you point the telescope in the direction of Polaris NOT AT it. Just use it as a "North indicator". The tube (and base) are still to be horizontal. And yes, you can pick stars for alignment; just scroll pass the easy align menu items. With the cable you must still have the Autostar connected since it is the brains of the system. The software version is displayed on startup (something like 1.0); you can see the full version under the statistics menu item.
Subject: Focus knob removal Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 16:50:08 From: FGutcher@aol.com Great site! I have been paying attention and picked up on the advise on the allen wrench for getting the set screw loose on the ETX-60AT but my problem is after that. I got the hex screw out just fine but I can't seem to get the knob off. I am a little nervous about putting too much force on it. Any suggestions? Thanks, FrankMike here: The knob off should just slide off. It might take some pressure from the front side. Or try wiggling it slightly on the shaft. If you can secure the shaft using something then you may be able to get a better grip on the knob.
Thanks for the help. It was really on there tight! I used a pair of wire cutters to get behind the knob and sort of press it off using the bevel of the wire cutters. Tried to be as gentle as I could and with a little pressure I slowly worked if off. Installed my new Scopetronix Flex-Focus. Everything seems to be working smoothly. Off to point it at something.Mike here: Super! I suspected that was the culprit.
Subject: QUESTION ABOUT AN ETX 60 Sent: Sunday, October 14, 2001 13:53:57 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Steven Mayfield) I am fairly new to my ETX 60 and computer. Is there any cable or connector that would allow me to link my scope and computer together. I only have USB connectors on my commputer. I would like to link them and so as to leave my computer inside the house and scope outside for astrophotography. I have the autostar controler and aux jack on my scope. Thanks, SteveMike here: You would need a #506 cable from Meade as well as a USB-serial converter adapter. Plus software to control the ETX through the Autostar. There are Mac and PC versions of adapters and software. HOWEVER, you should guage your expectations of remote astrophotography with the ETX-60AT with its limited capabilities.
Thanks for the quick response. I am considering selling the 60 on E-bay and upgrading. You have an excellent website. I hope to contribute some day.
Subject: ETX60 or ETX70 slewing to vertical Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2001 17:39:47 From: email@example.com (Dana Crom) I've noticed several people complaining that Autostar kept slewing their scope to vertical rather than the correct altitude. After a few days, mine started doing that too. After a number of false starts (checking alt tightness adjustments, reading the manual) I found the apparent culprit - low batteries. Apparently, low battery voltage will cause the slew-to-vertical error at a higher voltage level than the autostar is able to detect and report "battery too low". Just try putting in a fresh set of batteries - odds are that this is all the fix that's needed. Also, the projected battery lifetime (20 hours, isn't it?) seems like a best-case estimate; if you do a lot of look-and-go-on tours (a lot of extra slewing) rather than just tracking one object for extended periods you'll go through batteries a lot faster. Just keep extras on hand and replace whenever you notice slewing beginning to slow and you'll be OK. Clear Skies! Dana Crom -- +--------------------------+--------------------+------------------------ | Dana Crom | Com21, Inc | firstname.lastname@example.org | SW Engineering Manager | 750 Tasman Drive | ph: (408) 544-1394 | Access Products Division | Milpitas, CA 95035 | fax: (408) 953-9299Mike here: The last one indicated he had put in new batteries but certainly low batteries can cause problems.
You're right, of course - other causes are possible, though the other common problem with the ETX60 and Autostar (RA hub not tight enough) leaves the scope pointing too low, not too high. But I was surprised to find that this problem can occur without the Autostar complaining about low voltage - I had originally not even checked the batteries since I knew that Autostar was *supposed* to warn me on this. For now, I just replace early and often - and I will certainly not use NiCad rechargable batteries. Clear Skies! Dana Crom
Subject: Prime focus Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2001 6:53:36 From: email@example.com (Ken W Anderson) I have a question about prime focus photography with an ETX70EC. I recently bought a meade basic camera adapter and it works well for eyepiece projection photography . But it appears the only way I can do prime focus is thru the port at the rear of the scope. Is this correct? and have you heard of a possible cheaper alternative to adapting a camera to the rear port? I have a t-ring on my camera but obviously a step down is needed to screw to the rear port. I was thinking of going to Home Depot and seeing what they have.Mike here: You are correct. Meade sells the short adapter for the ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT.
Subject: RS232 conecctions Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2001 6:21:50 From: Delabarraal1@aol.com I have a Meade ETX-60AT telescope, and I would like to link it to my Starry Night Pro program , and my Sky Level III version 5 program. Could you please advise me how to make the proper connections on the RS232 cable? I have the serial connector with nine pins numbered from 1to 9, and the cable with 4 lines, red, black, yellow and green. I understandonly three lines are needed, which ones? And to what number pins should they beconnected? Thanking you in advance, sincerely Alejandro L. de la Barra Palmas 885-392 México DF11050 MEXICOMike here: I really should put this in the FAQ since both Dick Seymour and I've said it so many times. The ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT with the #494 Autostar requires the #506 cable. This cable includes some special electronics that are needed (unlike the #495 and #497 Autostars). The specifications of these special electronics is not publicly available so you can't make a cable which will work with the #494. You have to purchase one from Meade.
Thank you very much for your prompt and clear answer !!! Alejandro
Subject: Pointing Problems with ETX60 Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2001 5:40:56 From: ECARFAR@aol.com I bought the ETX60 from Costco and went to do and easy two star alignment and experienced the same problem over and over again. First, let me assure you I followed the setup instructions to the letter, pointed the scope north, leveled the OTA and hit enter. The scope chose Vega as its first easy align star. The scope began to slew to the west and the ota began heading toward vertical. The scope stoped its horizontal motion at slightly north of west (about 280 degrees) but the ota continued up to verical until it went past 90 degrees and was halted (I guess the design has an internal stop to prevent it from going upside down through the forks) but the motor kept running. The ota was trying to point east. I had to physically shut the scope off to stop the motor. I tried this MANY times, all with the same result. The batteries are new and I'm POSITIVE the scope is set up correctly. I live on Long Island, NY, tried the scope at 10pm last night (the 12th.) Correct me if I'm wrong, but even if I set the scope up completly wrong, why would the scope slew to the west and the ota try to point east? Wouldn't it just slew east and the ota raise to the proper dec? HELP!!!Mike here: You are correct that it shouldn't try to slew through the zenith. And since it does that makes me think that something is confused in the Autostar. I know you said that everything was correct but I wonder if the mounting mode was properly set (I'm assuming you have it mounted Alt/Az and not Polar). If indeed everything is correct, do a RESET and start over with the Autostar initialization. Check everything. If that still doesn't cure it, TRAIN the drives. Let me know.
Did all that today Mike after reading the tips on your site. Did the reset, trained it (didn't really see where that did any good though) checked the batteries, checked all of the setup information. In fact, no matter what I want to go to, the thing insists on trying to go through the zenith every time. I think it might be time to return it to Costco for a new one. EdMike here: Thanks for trying. Yep, probably time to return it.
Subject: Power and alignment Sent: Friday, October 12, 2001 2:40:02 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (gareth.morris2) Could I possibly ask you a couple more questions regarding the ETX-70AT? 1) As the ETX -70AT uses 6 x1.5volt batteries could you just use 1 x 9volt battery as the connectors are compatible with a Duracell MN1604 battery? 2) When I "ask" the Autostar finder to slew to an object, the image isn't quite/or not at all in the centre of the scope e.g. this morning I aligned the scope North with the barrel of the scope at 0° then I did a 2 star alignment then "asked" the scope to slew to the Moon which was visible in the SW sky. When the scope came to rest I had to manually adjust the scope using the up/down left/right buttons to centre the moon in the scope. Am expecting a bit too much from this scope? Kind regards GarethMike here: There are MANY culprits involved in experiencing GOTO errors. For objects that move, date, time, and location parameters are important. Accurate alignment (using a high power eyepiece, for example) can be a factor. Also, older Autostar versions (and many #494 Autostars have old versions) there were some problems with the Moon and planets (as I recall). As to the battery, I don't recall anyone suggesting that before; I don't know how long the 9V would last though.
Subject: Red Dot Finderscope Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2001 11:19:11 From: MdeMONTARSOLO@aol.com Hi I first want to tell you how your site is well done, and second I'd like to ask you if a red point or a viewfinder would be useful on an ETX 70 AT ? Thank you for your answer Matthieu.Mike here: Yes, it can help, both in locating alignment stars and other brighter objects when not using the Autostar GOTO to slew to an object.
Subject: Satellites and Autostar #494 Sent: Tuesday, October 9, 2001 20:01:15 From: email@example.com (Frank Tralongo) I just bought a etx 60 costco special. Neat little scope and it works just fine but the sat data is a little dated. So off I went to Meade's web site and couldn't find a loader for the 494 autostar. Many calls to Meade's tech support resulted finally getting toand was told the following: (TS) You can't change anything in a 494! (Me) Why did you sell me a $50.00 cable and another copy of the free software and why does your brochure state I needed to buy these items to dwnld and or update the 494? (TS) Please hold. (TS) oh you need to go to heavens above.com then load the sat data manually! (Me) ok thanks next call (TS) oh wrong site go to idb.com.au (me) you are sure they have a loader program there for the 494 (TS) Yep (me) thanks again Eight hours later I still cant find a 494 loader program, how to instruction, and the data base. Can you help or shed some light on this? Thanks in advance Frank firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: You can enter them manually using the data from the Heavens-Above site. See the two Satellite tracking articles on the Autostar Information page for more details. You can also use the new Autostar Updater Client 3.0 to load objects to a #494.
Just dwnlded the ASUcode from meades site. Will hookup the scope and move the data in . I guess all I need is a txt file locally to load sat info? (meade site has an empty file.)Mike here: Yep. See those articles I mentioned.
Subject: etx 70 Sent: Tuesday, October 9, 2001 7:27:32 From: email@example.com (John Jackson) It really makes me feel good when I read of someone else's successful attempts at using a etx-70 , the 2 units I have Had were pieces of junk, Meade wont acknowledge the problem with the autostar and the scope never has gone on a tour points straight up and turns around 360 a few times then the gears start making noise so I have cut it off and just use the thing as a spotting scope as it is useless as a observing scope. your thoughts on this one are very appreciated. thanks a bunch Mike John Jackson Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speakMike here: Sorry you are having problems. Please describe the steps you take to set up in the HOME position and initialize the Autostar. Include whether using batteries or an AC adapter (if so, what kind). Lets start with that. Perhaps that will help me narrow down the possible culprits.
use setup as described in the meade manual 1st level tripod , put scope on tripod and level both. loosen dec knob and put Ota to zero on Dec knob check that with level point ota to north have used a compass for magnetic north and used a minus 3 degree variation to compensate for earth's variances between the two , also have tried aglining with north star , turn on scope and go through the menu and sun warning have used time in 24 hour format and common format both have produced the same results. I have used batteries Duracell, Eveready, Sony, and just plain old generic AA size batteries left them in for just 1 aglingment and viewing session and for several hours always get the same results on tours, scope has never done a successful alignment to date all of the viewing the kids and I have done has been through the use of star charts. location is set to Alabama , and nearest town is set to mobile , the long and lat. were off by a few degrees so rather than delete it i added another location named base 1 using the new coordinates from mapquest aand the other internet GPS service. still not hitting any objects on go to and no stars on 1star or 2 alignment it tells me that the alignment was successful, several times I have taken the word of the scope and it was so far off in finding anything. this scope now makes a grinding noise like the gears in the DEC aren't meshing together properly the scope has been to meade 6 times once they just gave me another scope. each time I have reported to them that the autostar was faulty or the scopes gears were making a misalignment sound it comes back in the same box with a little extra grease on it and a ups bill for me for 35.00 Dollars for sending a warranty item to them. Any help would be greatly appreciated thanks again For your help.Mike here: It sounds like you have probably done all the proper steps of putting the telescope in the right HOME position (for Alt/Az), had the scope slew to the first alignment star (which you either properly identified and centered, or just accepted it as centered), then went to the 2nd star (doing the same thing), then the alignment is declared successful. So, lets consider what the culprits could be now (assuming that it had not been sent to Meade at all). Daylight Savings Time error, is a possibility. That would make GOTOs off by 1 hour (15 degrees); should only be evident if you had mis-identified the alignment stars or accepted them as centered. Wrong telescope or mounting mode selected. Error in the location input is also a possibility. You could also do the drive training (which is NOT normally required for the ETX-70AT); but it can cure many ills like you are reporting. Finally, a corrupted Autostar database can create havoc; fortunately, many times this is easy to fix by just doing a RESET from the Autostar menu. If you RESET I would suggest TRAINING as well. Let me know if any of this helps.
Subject: ETX-60 Binding base Sent: Monday, October 8, 2001 14:32:09 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dave Strout) Well, nuts! Went out to try the etx-60 on the tripod last night, and it wouldn't move in the Az plane -- it just sat there and clicked. (mind you, it worked fine 2 nights ago). Brought it back in, and after fooling with it, if seems like the clutch has gotten too tight -- it actually will pan back and forth pretty well when the silver lever is to the right (what ought to be free moving) and when I push the lever to the left (which is kind of hard to do), it just clicks and won't move either direction. I didn't see an obvious way to take the base apart to see what is going on... It should be under warrenty, (if I can find the recipt), but I hate to have it out of service for weeks.... Ideas? thanks, dave. -- "Engineering is the art of making things you want out of things you can get"And an update:
Never mind -- I fixed it... Well, in short, took it apart & put it together again. I think tha I had knocked something out of wack when I bolted the scope to the tripod -- turns out there is no bottom to those 1/4-20 holes in the base -- you just hit the ring gear in the bootm of the base. Anyway, after I put it back together, I adjusted the clutch (the threaded plate with the 4 holes under the door in the bottom of the base) and now it's better than it was -- little to no backlash. dave.
Subject: etx-70at Page Sent: Sunday, October 7, 2001 8:38:09 From: email@example.com (Joe Campbell) For whose interested, I have started (e.g. work in progress) updating my etx-70at pages at www.josephcampbell.com/etx70at/etx70_info.htm Some of the stuff I'm including is: 1. Low Cost CG-5 Adapter 2. Mounting and use of a low lux Video Camera. Also, yes I have used the etx-70 with the COAA VideoAstro program with some success. I will be posting some of the results. Even with it's limited aperture, there still many things the scope can do. On my project list is: 1. Use the scope with Pictor-208xt camera 2. test the use of video camera for differential photometry on the scope. Joe firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Cable Sent: Sunday, October 7, 2001 4:23:07 From: email@example.com (Gareth Morris) I have just bought an ETX- 70AT telescope. I am not particularly interest (yet ) in controlling the scope via a PC as this would need a laptop, which I do not have yet. However I would be interested in downloading any updates for the AUTOSTAR from the web. I understand a cable is required for this purpose. I do have a cable which is a computer one that has 2 small plastic plugs on each end with four wires connected to each one. Would this cable work for the above requirement? If so where would I plug these into? Please excuse my lack of computer literacy. Kind regards GarethMike here: Couple of points. Right now there are no software updates for the #494 Autostar that comes with the ETX-70AT. You could use the new Autostar Update Client application to update objects however. And the #506 cable that is required for the ETX-70AT and #494 Autostar is NOT a simple cable; it contains some active electronics. No, there is no publicly available specification on making this cable so you have to purchase one.
Thanks very much for your speedy reply I'm very grateful. I hope to spend many an enjoyable hour observing with my new scope (cloud free conditions permitting in the NE of England) I'll certainly add your website to my favourites list.
Subject: an ETX60 in NYC... Sent: Saturday, October 6, 2001 22:00:44 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: Golfer3993@aol.com I saw your questions on Mike's site, and i thought i'd add a word or two ... I use my ETX90 in Seattle... nowhere -near- as big and bright as NYC. As a general rule, the bigger the front lens/mirror, the better... -except- in a city. Big lens means more light. More light means you can -do- more with it (such as magnify), or -see- dimmer objects in it (like deep space objects). For telescopes below 6-inch diameter, what you'll see in medium-sized towns for deep space objects are fuzzy spots (is that a cloud?) for nebulae and galaxies. The view with a 60mm or 90mm is quite similar, given similar magnification. I rarely run my 90mm above 100x. All i get when i do try for more is faint, fuzzy or out-of-focus images... the air between me and outer space is just too roiling. NYC is far, far worse. The air in (and near) the city is full of smog, dust, dirt, heat... all greatly disturbing the quality of "seeing" you can achieve. High magnification requires many things: stability of the air, high contrast between the object you are looking at and the surrounding sky, and reasonable amounts of light being gathered by the front lens so that it -can- be magnified. A 60mm lens has less than 100x the light gathering power of your naked eyeball.. so magnifying the light it -does- gather greater than 100x is going to produce a -dimmer- image, in order to make it -bigger-. "Bigger" helps with a planet: Mars becomes a disk, Saturn gets rings, Jupiter gets moons. But -bigger- means *nothing* to a star's pinpoint image. And deep sky obejcts are frequently "extended"... they're broad and dim. Orion's Nebula is one of the few which the ETX family delivers very well. M31 (the Andromeda Galaxy) is -large-... you can see it naked- eye at a medium dark sky site... it's 5 times wider than the moon. But through any small scope, you see *less* than you do naked eye. That's because the stars are so far away they're too dim to be seen individually... and the scope cuts through the haze of light you eye can see, and tries to deliver something brighter. All you see is the faint central smudge where millions of stars congregate. Did i say "all"? It may -look- unimpressive (you'll -never- "see" with eyeball to telescope (below 10 inches) anything like the box shows. That photo took -hours- to capture.)... but that smudge -is- millions of stars, whose light has been coming your way for 2,200,000 years. Part of small telescope observing isn't -seeing- the deep detail of a Hubble Space Telescope photo... it's the wonder of seeing the object at all. And, by background study, learning about -what- you're seeing, and interpreting subtle changes and variations and comparing them with other faint, distant objects. Learn to see with more than just your eyes and the heavens -really- open up and shine. have fun --dick
Subject: Re: 60 vs 70 Sent: Friday, October 5, 2001 12:47:11 From: email@example.com (Dana Crom) Jack Epps asked whether he should return the ETX-60AT to Costco and buy the -70AT package that comes with a tripod for $300. Whether the slightly larger light-gathering power of the -70AT is worth the extra money is a personal issue - but I can reassure Jack that a standard medium-duty camera tripod such as he has is quite adequate for use of the -60AT in the standard Alt-Azimuth mode. Since these are both rich-field refractors, at their best below 70x (the supplied eyepieces give 14x and 38x - and I do most of my observing at 14x or 20x) they are a bit more tolerant of light tripods than a higher-power scope would be. I got the Scopetronics adapter plate for medium-duty tripods (~$32) and am quite satisfied with it. Scopetronics makes a higher priced adapter in the $60-$70 range that adds eyepiece holders and a hook for the hand control, but this is a convenience issue (I normally put my hand control on the base, and use an Orion case for my eyepieces). If the difference in cost was less than $100 or so, it would probably be worth it to go for the -70AT. But the -60AT is a great little scope too, and you can use that extra $160 after buying the tripod adapter for eyepieces, filters, and other goodies. Especially since the supplied 9 mm eyepiece is far from parfocal with the low-power (25? 26? mm) eyepiece. The low-power is actually pretty OK, (and close to parfocal with my Orion 17 mm and 6 mm eyepieces), but I'd recommend replacing the 9 mm with a better eyepiece in the same general range and investing in a good shorty barlow. A Scopetronics Flexi-Focus or similar is a good idea too, for either the -60 or the -70 - almost a necessity if you use the 9 mm, but nice even if you don't. So it boils down to something like: ETX-60AT + tripod adapter ($140) or ETX-70AT ($300) + mid-range 9-10 mm eyepiece (~$50) + shorty barlow ($50-$70) + Flexi-Focus (~$40) = ~$150 Either way, I envy Jack his location - I live in San Jose, where my backyard skies rarely get much better than Mag 4 - dark skies are an hour's drive away. However, even from *my* backyard, I've been able to enjoy open clusters, the brighter globulars, M31 - and at high power I've been able resolve doubles down to ~4-5" (just). Not a super planetary scope, though Saturn, Jupiter, and the Moon have all been rewarding - and even in a 60 mm, the Moon really needs filtering to reduce the glare. Clear skies! Dana Crom
Subject: Polar alignment on an ETX70EC Sent: Thursday, October 4, 2001 19:18:36 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ken W Anderson) I have recent;y purchased an ETX70EC and started doing some astrophotography with it. However I would like to do some long term exposure shots and have come to realize that the scope needs to be configured in the polar mode to do this. I received the 882 tripod with this scope and have built a homemade wedge for it. Ive attached a picture so you can see it. How and can I polar align my ETX with an 495 autostar for polar mode . I see I can go into the autostar and pick tracking mode of polar but Im not sure that is all I have to do and how to mount my scope on the wedge board. I know Im at 34 degree lat and the board should be at that angle but does the scope have to mounted a certain way. And then how do I set it up for polar alignment? It needs to be pointed at polaris ( I know that much). Any help would be appreciated.
Im not very smart I cant even figure out the polar home position.Mike here: Many people have difficulty with visualizing the Polar Home Position. This photo by Jay Freeman, which shows it very well:
Well I think I have the home position down but when I hit enter for polar star it goes somewhat off the mark so then I manually disengauge the locks and put it on polaris, But when I hit enter and the star vega comes up for the star alignment it goes completly the opposite way , down when it should be up. I dont understand that.Mike here: I need more info on your setup, what type of alignment you are doing (one or two star), and what exactly is occurring. It sounds like you are making an error in one of the steps but I want to confirm that.
Ive got the homw position down but I assume that I cant use the go to features once in polar mode. I have to manually put objects in view by using RA and DA. Is this correct?Mike here: The GOTO feature of the Autostar works in both mounting modes.
No problem I think I got it figured out . Except when it goes to pick an alignment star I would like to pick one Im familiar with. It kept going to ones im not sure where they are. I sthere a way to pick which star I would like to use , like in the alt mode?Mike here: You might want to try the "Alignment/High Precision/Star Charts" on the Autostar Information page. It shows the positions of the Autostar alignment stars. Alternatively (or in combination with the charts on that article) just don't use Easy Align. Pick a one or (better) two star alignment.
But in polar mode can I or can I not align on star of my choosing just like in alt? lets say arcturus is what I would like to align on. In polar mode Ive tried to tab the scroll keys but I dont seem to find it, I always end up on Enif. In alt mode you can pick your alignment stars, why not in polar?And this from our resident Autostar expert:
From: email@example.com (richard seymour) Polar is more restrictive of which stars it will offer for alignment. For one (not your case), it will not offer stars on the other side of the Celestial Equator (so a Northern site will never be offered Spica, Rigel or Sirius). Where -are- you? (So i can duplicate your setup) What time of night are you trying? (arcturus is pretty low) Are you using "Easy Align" and dismissing the offered stars, or are you using "Polar Two Star"? (for that matter, Polar one-star). If you are using "Easy Align", then neither Polar nor Alt/Az will offer a star below 20 degrees elevation from the horizon. (i'll run a test in a few minutes (busy hanging doors right now), and see if it'll offer Arcturus in 2-star Polar when Arcturus is below 20 degrees elevation. Why that limit? you ask... because the earth's atmosphere -really- displaces the visual position of the star as you drop below 30 deg elevation. It easily exceeds a degree near the horizon, so any alignment using that low a star is very poor... and the -amount- it shifts is be affected by solar activity, temperature and humidity, so a simple "correction" isn't simple. have fun --dickAnd further:
Ariz? perhaps he's in Arizona? Let's play Phoenix! If i set up for Polar Two-Star, then Arcturus -is- offered as an alignment star. If i do a one-star align (it's faster for me), and then GoTo Arcturus (8pm, 5 Oct, Daylight Savings)... my Autostar reports that Arcturus is 17 degrees 57 minutes above the horizon. So -that's- why it's not offered as an Easy Align. Next test: tell it 7pm. Now Arcturus is 35 degrees above the horizon. Next test: Easy Polar align at 7pm. And *now* Arcturus -is- offered as the first star it tries... So that's it: simply elevation above horizon (which equates to time of night, in this instance). --dickAnd:
You guys are great thanks for the tip. I had gotten arcturus in the house when I was testing my polar set up. And then could figure out why not when I took it outside. Very good stuff guys. THANX ALOT!!And more:
Ok Mike now for my second question I am attaching a picture of my scope in polar mode from the wedge I built. My question is how do I determine where my latitude is as I tilt the platform towards polaris while scope is pointing north?
Thats good because it barely makes it at the end of the brass slide.
Subject: re: Radio Shack power for ETX60/70? Sent: Wednesday, October 3, 2001 21:51:47 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: JFleissner@aol.com Meade sells (for $20) a power lump for the ETX 60/70... you can call tech support's 800-number and order one. It saves the fear of miswiring a 9v adaptor head on the RadShak unit. Or put one together on your own... which ever way you feel happy with will work. good luck --dick
Subject: Telescope question Sent: Wednesday, October 3, 2001 21:37:03 From: Golfer3993@aol.com Hi. My name is David from NYC. I just recently purchased the ETX-60. I got a great deal on it for $130 too! My question is: Can you upgrade enough pieces to see nebulas or deep space objects or is it not a good enough telescope? I currently own the WA-9 and 25mm and I don't think they're good enough for what I want. Say even if I but the top eyepiece for the ETX-60 (maybe a 4mm) plus a 3X Barlow lens? How good will that be for observing it can is it good enough to observe planets? If not, are there any other pieces I can upgrade to magnify the sky better? Please write back as soon as possible. Thanks and have a great night! Golfer3993@aol.comMike here: The ETX-60AT is not meant for deep sky object observing but it is great for wide field views of the night sky. Keep in mind that for ANY telescope, the maximum theoretical magnification is twice the aperture in millimeters. So 120x for the ETX-60AT. Divide the telescope focal length by that number and you'll get the shortest focal length eyepiece that will yield that magnification; 3mm for the ETX-60AT. So, theoretically you could use the 9mm with a 3X Barlow Lens and achieve this value but you would like be disappointed in the results. Typically, you can only come close to this theoretical maximum on bright objects like the Moon, and brighter planets, and even then the view will likely not be crisp. On faint objects, like galaxies and nebulae, the views will be lousy or even impossible.
I have another question. Since on my telescope the focal length is 350. Now if I buy the 3mm piece, it would make it 116X the power. If I put a 3X Barlow lens on it, it would make it 348X. Under good atmospheric conditions from NYC, what would be the best objects I can observe? It even shows on the box that you can see the Andrometer Galaxy clearly with the 9mm and comets with star clusters. Is that even possible or did they probably use a high powered scope to take pictures of it like the ETX-125? Another--is there anyway to connect a Barlow lens with another Barlow lens with the eyepiece? What would also be the amount of power needed to see nebulas and far planets? Thank you and have a nice dayMike here: Go back and re-read my previous reply about the maximum magnification you can expect. And don't take the box (and marketing) photos as a serious indication of what you can expect with any telescope for visual work (and perhaps not even photographic).
Subject: 60 vs 70 Sent: Wednesday, October 3, 2001 13:15:24 From: Alohajack99@aol.com Like many people I took advantage of the Cosco sale and got my first real telescope since I was 12 at Costco, the Mead ETX-60AT. But -- I haven't used it yet and on visiting Scope City they suggest the ETX -70AT which with tripod is around $300. There is about a $100 difference since I need to purchase the correct tripod anyway. I have a single screw sturdy camera tripod, which I understand I can get an adaptor for, but I'm not sure it will supply the correcet mount to hold the weight of the telescope. Would like your advice on whether you think the 70 is really superior to the 60 as the salesman suggests. I can still return to Costco since it's unopened and unused. I wil be using it up in the mountains at 7,000 ft in Mammoth Lakes, California where there are areas without any light pollution and a sky full of stars. I would like to see nebulas. Thanks for the site and am looking forward to viewing with my children. Jack EppsMike here: There is very little noticeable in the ETX-60AT vs -70AT. Both are short focal length refractors (350mm) with only 10mm difference in aperture. You do want a reasonably sturdy tripod (to avoid vibrations). Both scopes are great for wide field views of the night sky; just don't expect to see a lot of details or very faint objects (like a lot of nebulae).
Subject: etx alignment question Sent: Wednesday, October 3, 2001 12:40:52 From: Raven50@aol.com I am fairly new to telescopes. I have picked up an Etx70. Due to poor night time conditions i have been only lucky to view with it a few times. I had a question about the alignment in alt/az mode. Ok, Point telescope towards north. Set declination to 0 degrees. Ok. I am doing that...but thats where my question is. Should the telescope's tube be level at this point (parallel with the ground). On mine, when at 0 degrees, the telescope is at just about a 45 degree point upwards. Does this effect the alignment in any way? If i do need the tube leveled straight while at 0, how can i fix this??? Thank you so much for your time. TonyMike here: See the FAQ for the answer to your DEC scale question. And yes, the tube must be approximately level.
Subject: ETX 60AT Align Problems Sent: Monday, October 1, 2001 19:25:45 From: JFleissner@aol.com I have an ETX 60 AT that I have had for about two weeks. At first it aligned just fine, whether it was an "Easy" align or a two star align. Now it starts to slew to the alignment star gets close and then starts up slewing again and tries to point at the zenith. At this point the keypad is locked up and I have to turn it off to regain control. Could this be caused by weak batteries or is something else wrong? Thanks for your help.Mike here: Could be batteries. If changing them doesn't help, RETRAIN the drives.
That was it. One battery out of the six was about dead. Put in all new batteries and the go to was right on. Thanks. Another question: Can you just buy a 9v AC to DC power supply from Radio shack to replace the batteries? Does the Autostar have an internal battery also? Should it keep the date and time after you turn it off? Seems to keep the location and other settings but the time always goes back to 8:00PM.Mike here: Glad you solved the problems. Some AC power supplies can work. I suggest you search the Site for "power supply" for some thoughts. There are also some items on the Telescope Tech Tips page that may be useful. And yes, the time always starts at 8PM or 2000.
Subject: re: ETX-60AT/Astronomer's Control Panel Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2001 23:41:54 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org The version of ACP which comes on the CD with the ETX60/70 is somewhat -broken- with respect to proper Autostar operation. You gain a lot by downloading the free, but HUGE, updates available at both the Starry Night and ACp home sites. Given those, the software works pretty well (you still cannot add additional bodies/comets to Starry Night, unless you pay for the full version). have fun --dick
Subject: re: Help, Is my new ETX-70AT broken? Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2001 23:37:20 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org There are two things which come to mind: First, after GoToing the Moon, you put another target on the screen. *you then have to press [enter] to -select- the target, *before* pressing [GoTo] to slew to it. Othewise you'll see almost exactly the symptoms you're describing. Second: please describe -how- you align. If you're having problems GoTo'ing, we have to verify that your alignment procedure is correct. (reading between your lines, i think it is...) I truly suspect the first item, above. good luck --dickAnd:
From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) Mike, Thanks for your help, I did not see your faq's page until after I sent my question. All of my questions were answered on your faq's. I plan to spend much time at your site...it is exactly what a beginner like me needs. Thanks again, Ken Vallis http://www.webmasterclix.com
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