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ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT USER FEEDBACK
Last updated: 31 October 2001

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:	thomas.henry@magician.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 Liaos
Mike 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).

And:

Thank you Mike, I think I'll stick to the 124

Subject:	ETX-60
Sent:	Sunday, October 28, 2001 19:06:19
From:	brunetg@cadvision.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.
Grant
Mike 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:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	gareth_morris7@hotmail.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:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (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:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	neil@wci.ab.ca
> 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:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	neil@wci.ab.ca
>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:	jmarsico@nyc.rr.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, 
John
Mike 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:	neil@wci.ab.ca (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:	hugh.adamson@ntlworld.com (hugh.adamson)
To: kenariz@juno.com
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!

Jim
Mike 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.

And:

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:	fontaines@ica.net (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
fontaines@ica.net

Subject:	Autostar #494
Sent:	Thursday, October 25, 2001 2:31:37
From:	gareth_morris7@hotmail.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
Gareth
Mike 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:	djhodny@yahoo.com (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:	kenariz@juno.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.

And:

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:	strue@mediaone.net (Scott and Kelli True)
Reply-to:	strue@mediaone.net (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-
Tony
Mike 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.

And:

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!
Tony 
Mike 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:	sz325584@mail.marketing.fedex.com (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.
Shane
Mike 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:	khell58249@worldnet.att.net (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.
          khell58249@worldnet.att.net
Mike 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:	thomas.henry@magician.org (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 Henry
Mike 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.

And:

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:	cwchen@ym.edu.tw (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
Taiwan
Mike 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:	simonl@oacg.co.uk (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?
 
Rick
Mike 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,
Frank
Mike 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.

And:

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:	sdbmayfield@blomand.net (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, Steve
Mike 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.

And:

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:	dcrom@com21.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         | dcrom@com21.com
| SW Engineering Manager   | 750 Tasman Drive   | ph:  (408) 544-1394
| Access Products Division | Milpitas, CA 95035 | fax: (408) 953-9299
Mike here: The last one indicated he had put in new batteries but certainly low batteries can cause problems.

And:

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:	kenariz@juno.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 MEXICO
Mike 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.

And:

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.  Ed
Mike here: Thanks for trying. Yep, probably time to return it.

Subject:	Power and alignment
Sent:	Friday, October 12, 2001 2:40:02
From:	gareth.morris2@ntlworld.com (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
Gareth
Mike 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:	tralongo@xpressweb.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 
tralongo@xpressweb.com
Mike 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.

And:

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:	jjack@mobilecivicctr.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 speak
Mike 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.

And:

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:	dstrout@megapathdsl.net (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:	joes_lists@ameritech.net (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
calljoe@ameritech.net

Subject:	Cable
Sent:	Sunday, October 7, 2001 4:23:07
From:	gareth.morris@stockton11.freeserve.co.uk (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
Gareth
Mike 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.

And:

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:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (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:	dcrom@com21.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:	kenariz@juno.com (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.
wedge
Mike here: See the various Polar Alignment articles on the Autostar Information page. They will help get you started.

And:

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:
Polar Home Position

The telescope is pointed at the True North Pole (basically the star Polaris).

And more:

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.

And:

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.

And:

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.

And more:

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:	rseymour@wolfenet.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
--dick
And 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).

--dick
And:
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?
polar mounted
Mike here: You got it. The angle of the tube (when aligned to be parallel to the fork arms) above the horizon is your latitude when you are pointing at Polaris. (Actually, that's only approximate but within about a degree and that is close enough for most work that you'll likely be doing.)

And:

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:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (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.com
Mike 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.

And:

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 day
Mike 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 Epps
Mike 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.
Tony
Mike 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.

And:

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:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	mustang1@mindspring.com
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:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	webmaster@webmasterclix.com
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
--dick
And:
From:	webmaster@webmasterclix.com (support@webmasterclix.com)
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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