DS MODELS USER FEEDBACK
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade DS telescope models. Accessories and Feedback items appropriate to the ETX models are posted on other pages as appropriate. 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: DS-114AT or 130MM from WalMart - Opinion? Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2001 14:05:48 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Logan) I was over at WalMart the other day and noticed that they have several Meade telescopes for sale. Everything from 60mm refractors to 130mm reflectors. My question is, are these any good and has anyone tried the 114mm or the 130mm? I have looked at www.meade.com and other websites and have seen the DS-114EC but not the AT. The AT is black (instead of white) and comes with the Autostar 495 so I'm thinking its pretty good. (plus its only $250) But then again its from WalMart! :) The 130mm really confuses me though. (priced at $350) The Meade website doesn't list it and normally I see posts for the DS-127 (not 130). Is this 130mm new? Is it good? John
Subject: Review Meade DS-2130 ATE Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2001 0:35:12 From: Gorbyrun@stargate.net (Gorbyrun) I cannot find any mention of this particular telescope anywhere on the internet. It seems to be a Wal-Mart only product and is different than the DS Series telescopes pictured on their web site. (It is not on the Wal-Mart web site either). It has some quirks but for the money, it's amazing. For $350 bucks I got a nice tripod (I work in video and this tripod is sturdier than any consumer camcorder tripod I've ever seen.) There are no bubble levels on it (which you can add for less than 2 bucks) which is a shame because it works great on a level tripod. Once aligned it really does an amazing job tracking objects. The movement as slow speeds is very smooth and you can fine tune the tracking well. I was able to move through eye-piece magnifications easily. The telescope has a 5' mirror and a 1020mm focal length. It came with 3 eye-pieces and a 3x barlow lense. It came with Starry Night software and software to enable direct computer control of the Autostar system. It also came with a b/w ccd camera. This eyepiece shaped camera can be used to send video from the telescope to a TV or VCR. The camera works great on the moon. You can't change it's magnification but a small battery operated TV lets everyone see at the same time. I had hoped to be able to see dimmer objects but, the moon is what it's good for. I tried plugging it into a Sony Digital Handycam, hoping to be able to snap digital pictures but the output from the eyepiece is rejected by the camcorder. The CCD camera output may be sized incorrectly... I am not sure but all things considered It makes a great free gift. (as billed on the package). The tripod is sturdy and the mounting system sound except the screw knob on the base is too short. When loosened (to allow manual movement of the scope) it only hangs on by a couple threads. Unscrew a little too far and the whole thing can fall off the tripod or you may accidentally strip the bottom threads. I fixed this problem with a new bolt from Lowe's. (make sure to bring it with you and match the very fine threads) Now the scope can't fall off and can be loosened without fear. There is a trick to aiming it. The degree rings on the scope are worthless. The ring around the base is glued very weakly and unless you reinforce it first thing out of the box you won't have it for long. Likewise the ring on the side has play in it. Long story short, to aim the scope, you have to move it to the 0' 0' position with it pointing north. With no way to tell where this was I was frustrated for a while. However, there is an option in the Utilities Menu called Park Scope. This seems to move the motors to the 0' position. Next you loosen the knobs, point the scope north with the tube level and you are ready to start alignment. I pick my stars before setup and choose them manually from the controller. This is the best way because the Autostar does not know which stars are obstructed by trees ect. It goes to where it thinks the star is automatically (which it usually overshoots) but once you line them up you are ready to go. I have found that once I am through the alignment the rest is gravy. If you are carefully tracking an object for a few minutes at a high power the autostar really gets into the groove and you can move around the sky with confidence. Even with it's quirks, this scope is infinitely easier to work than a manual mount. I can see more in 10min than I have been able to see with a standard mount in a year. I love the identify feature, you point the scope at something and it tells you what it is. This is my second DS-2130 ATE. The first one came out of the box defective. It wouldn't turn left. In all fairness I should note that this may not have been a factory defect. When they exchanged the scope (no questions asked) it was obvious that the first scope had been opened and repackaged. I believe that if you assembled this scope without reading the directions carefully you could accidentally break it. I would blame the problem on moving the scope with the base knob tightened, thereby stripping the gear. (The degree rings on this scope where loose as well). The focus adjustment knob is not smooth at high power, but, I understand that this can be fixed with an optional electric focuser. I should point out that this shaking does not change the scopes position, which it returns to quickly. I like the Starry Night Software a lot, I don't have the optional cable for direct computer control. Make sure you put fresh batteries in at the beginning of the night and keep extras on hand if it's really cold or you plan a long night. It takes 8 AA so the car or AC adapter may be a good idea if you plan on using it a lot. Even with its quirks, for the money I don't think you can beat this scope. Tripod ($100), 4 eyepieces (These are not the best available, but they are easily upgradeable--good eyepieces range from $50-200+ each)-- these at least get you started. The CCD camera (easy $100 value), software ($50) the telescope tube, mirror, finderscope... but having the autostar is priceless. Though I can't find this exact scope, the DS series mirrors have gotten high marks in reviews I have read. I think with an autofocuser and some nicer eyepieces there is little this scope won't do. Rings of Saturn, clouds on Jupiter, the Orion nebula, galaxies and more--a thousand times easier to see than with a manual mount. I'm having a great time with this scope, I have studied the sky for years and this product has really been educational. You can be sure that you are really looking at the right thing. No matter what scope you get, there is always a nicer more expensive model but I would say the next scope up from this will cost at least a couple hundred more dollars. Four and a half stars.
Subject: Pinched mirror on my DS-127 Sent: Monday, October 29, 2001 22:07:04 From: Raymond.Barbour@za.didata.com (Raymond Barbour (ZA)) I used to have an elongated, almost double image that was particularly noticeable on bright objects like the planets. I took my 'scope to the local astronomical society's telescope making group to have the mirror tested. We removed the mirror cell from the back of the 'scope and it had a bad shape in the one side. We then removed the mirror from the cell and tested it again and it was fine. The person who had assembled the mirror in the cell had tighten one on the clips too tight. We then reassembled the 'scope and collimated it. I am now getting crisp images. I'd not be surprised if there are not more DS-127 and DS 114 'scope out there with the same problems. Regards, Raymond Barbour
Subject: 505 cable Sent: Monday, October 29, 2001 21:27:57 From: email@example.com (N.Armstrong) To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) Hi Dick. I made a 505 data cable from the instructions from your diagram. Bit of soldering and voila! Perfect cable and saved a bundle. Thanks for the excellent diagram. Works perfectly for the DS-127. P.S. When I bought the 506 cable for the ETX it cost 99.98 from Toronto and 20.00 GST. Meade really likes to gouge on cables but the scopes they come out with make up for it. Perhaps someday they will learn.And:
It's not just Meade... > P.S. When I bought the 506 cable for the ETX it cost 99.98 from > Toronto and 20.00 GST. Here in the states, the cable is us$50 (including StarryNight). Since the usual exchange rate is about 0.67usd=1.0ca your vendor is either suffering duty on the way up, or something... (and then there's VAT... did the vendor A any V?) The 20% GST is almost triple any US state's sales tax (i pay 8.8%).. but you DO have national health care, vast amounts of relatively sparsely populated areas to support/care for, etc.etc. > Meade really likes to gouge on cables but the scopes they come out > with make up for it. Perhaps someday they will learn. It's the us$50 price of the APM which floors me... they could'a charged $100 and 90% of the buyers wouldn't have squeaked (much). If they'd sell the 506 for $30, they'd sell many many more... and the software is frequently packaged with the telescopes... ..opinions only... --dick
Subject: Meade DS-70EC - Opinion? Sent: Monday, October 29, 2001 7:52:31 From: email@example.com (Tracy) Just linked to your site. I wondered if you might know whether this is a decent telescope for a first-time family purchase. I wanted to get something for a Xmas gift that we could all use & enjoy. Also, does the auto-controller really work as described? Thank you for any help you can give & also for your time, Tracy Fortune
Subject: any suggestions for? Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2001 0:00:45 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (ohdonna gonyer) I have a Meade DS-70EC telescope that I cant seem to find a case for do you have any suggestions? i am looking for either a soft or a hardsided case... OHDonnaMike here: Many cases have foam cubes that let you design your own layout.
Subject: autostar 495 Sent: Saturday, October 20, 2001 14:07:24 From: email@example.com (John Komninos) Hello Mr.My name is John Komninos and I come from Greece.I have the DS 127 MEADE telescope. I have the Autostar 495. I have connected it with my PC with the connection cable 505.I downloaded the programme ASU from MEADEs internet site and I tried to update the Autostars database.When I started downloading the Autostar had the sign:Downloading... for an hour and I thought something went wrong.Then I disconnected the cable from the Autostar and I turned off the PC.Now the Autostar is not responding and it is only shows this indication:(c) 01 Meade [22E] AUTOSTAR Could you please tell me what to do to restore my Autostars database? I'm waiting for your reply.Thank you.Mike here: Try the SAFE LOAD procedure. See the "Bad Download Recovery (SAFE LOAD)" article on the Autostar Information page.
Subject: Autostar Update 495 Sent: Saturday, October 20, 2001 6:58:59 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ron Mariotti) I have been out of the hobby for a few months, but now that the clear fall/winter skies are coming back, I wanted to dust off the DS-90 and fire it up again. Since then, I've changed job roles, got a new laptop... what I'm getting at is that I went to the Meade site to download Autostar Update and grab any new software they had for the 495 controller. I'm confused! I saw a new version of the update utility but it says that there are only files for the 497 controller. I searched your site high and low for answers, but came up empty. Would you be able to shed some light on what I'm supposed to do to get this thing updated? Greatly appreciative, Ron MariottiMike here: You can update the #495; when you do it becomes just like a #497. At least that's true when used with the ETX models.
Subject: New DS series, Mount has changed? Sent: Friday, October 19, 2001 23:18:47 From: email@example.com (Bill) I just saw this picture on an Ebay auction for a DS-114EC. It seems the Fork Mounts have been replaced with this SIDE Mount. Not sure if this is BETTER or WORSE than the Fork mount. Does anyone have input from Meade (or first-hand)? See this link for the picture http://jjmaden.tripod.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/ds-2130-first0016.jpg As you can see the mount has 'drastically' changed. It's more like the type Celestron uses for it's series 4 and 5 scopes. There seems to be a lot of discussions about the 'new/ DS series scopes on the Yahoo site. (they start with DS-2xxx) I was just thinking that you had some 'inside info' or someone looking at your website might have more info. :-) I just checked the MEADE site to see if the new mounts were also show They ARE in the group picture, but no mention is made of the change. One would have assumed if the mount was IMPROVED, then Meade would have made some marketing pitch about it. :-/ Thanks Bill Chandler EDH, Ca
Subject: RE: RE: Problem with autostar 495 Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 15:13:02 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Philippe Subra) Mike, did you mean by "train the autostar for the drives" : use the calibration of motors option? If it is that, I did it after the reset. Although, I will look for this option in the telescope menu of the autostar. Thanks, and I will report to you. If it does not work, somebody in the DS egroup told me to verify the optic system of the motors that can be dirty with grease. Beeing busy in those days , I'll do it next WE, with the loading of the last software. Thanks again, Philippe.Mike here: Calibration (which is really just a motor/Autostar communication test) and Training are different.
Subject: Problem with autostar 495 Sent: Tuesday, October 9, 2001 15:55:37 From: email@example.com (Philippe Subra) I bought recently a DS114EC in France during my last holidays, and only brought the mount, with its motors and autostar to Mendoza, in Argentina where I am living. I use it with a chinese 102mm f5 refractor. I did no modification at this moment, just put some little bath towells around the scope to compensate the difference of diameters, and fix it inside the original sistem. It is not very elegant, but worked fine (until I had this problem), with more stability than the original OTA, and too with significant blacklash to mantain the gears almost smooth, but one can live with it. The short fcal length helps much, and this allows to get a nice system to see many deep sky objects. So all worked fine until last week end I had in the " Cordillera Andina" at 2000m high, with fantastic clear skies. Surely have I not the experience of many of your readers, but I am always surprised how it is possible to see his way and all around, without the moon, just with the light of the stars!! It is really fantastic. But this time I did not enjoy as in other opportunities, because for the first time, I had serious problems with the Autostar: When proceeding to the alignement process, I got every time "motor errors" after some seconds of movement, for instance when I was aligning on Altair. Or sometimes, in particular when aligning on Archenar or ACruz, the scope began to move, doing a complete 360 deg, and following, so for the doubts, I stopped it. I have tested the motors, verified the tighteness of the gears of the mount, all seems normal, and this phenomen occurs also sometimes, when I give a manual order to the motors, after some 10 or 20 seconds. I had a complete reset of the autostar yesterday, but that did not resolve the problem. I must say you that I have a 1999 - 2.0 version of the autostar as indicated when I start it. Do you have any idea of what ist is occuring, and would you know how I could fix it? Thank you very much, and congratulations for following with the very high quality of your site and its maitenance. Very best regards, and sorry for my very poor english. Philippe Subra.Mike here: Some points come to mind: low batteries or you need to retrain for the DS drives or you need to reset/retrain.
Thak you Mike. Sorry, but I am french. Please, what do you mean for "retrain"?. I have yet done a reset. About low batteries, I have changed them by new ones, but the problem is still occurring. I forgot to say that when I move the scope manually, the scope stops after some seconds, and I have this message : " en construction", that does mean : "building", I think. Thank you for your help,Mike here: There is an option under the Setup-->Telescope menu of the Autostar to TRAIN the Autostar for the drives. This basically configures the Autostar for the actual movement of the gear train. Each telescope can be slightly different. Just follow the prompts. (I'm assuming here that it can be done with the DS drives). The "under construction" error is a bug. If you can upgrade to the current version of the Autostar ROMs (2.2Er) it should not occur but this version is English only.
Subject: re: Tracking problem with Ds 127... Sent: Monday, October 8, 2001 16:32:13 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (James Jacobson) Thought I might put my $.02 in after seeing this... As an owner of a DS-90EC, I can vouch for the tracking capability of the DS scopes. I have successfully tracked objects for over an hour. If I ever have problems, it seems to be a training issue. There are documented problems, however, with some of the DS reflectors (this includes the DS127) - particularly regarding the mounts. Apparently there can be some sloppiness in some of the mounts that can cause poor tracking problems. The easiest fix for this is the "leather-washer" fix which has been well documented on your site, as well as in the Yahoo! DS group. There are a couple of folks out there who have also taken their mounts apart and re-seated the bearings in order to eliminate some of the slop in the mounts. This also has apparently proved effective. For either of these methods, the scope has to be reset and retrained after the modification. Hope this helps... -Jake J.
Subject: Tracking problem with Ds 127... Sent: Sunday, October 7, 2001 11:47:42 From: email@example.com (Bob Rose) I worked with Guido previously with his upgrade of the 495 to 497. I am sure he is calibrating and retraining his autostar for the two different scopes he has. I think the problem lies with the mount on the DS127. These scopes have good optics but terrible mounts. Just as example, using Dick's latest patches (http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/patches/as_3patches.html ) to edit and retrieve training values, my DS114 has an AZ of 5744 and an ALT of 7389. Compare this to my LX90, which has AZ of 78 and ALT of 28. Dont get me wrong, the DS can be adjusted to have to have good gotos and track for hours and keep the abject in FOV for hours. This requires getting the manual out and adjusting the backlash in the gears. Page 10 under #492 Dual-Motor Electronic Control System, in the English version has the procedure. I don t what page in the Italian version. Also replace the grease that Meade uses with white lithium base grease. This alone made the DS114 quieter and smoother. Some of Dr Clays tune up procedure can be applied to the DS scopes as well. See http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/etx_tuneup1.html . The scope structure is different but the principles are the same. Guido should upgrade to 2.2Er with Dicks patches for training editing. This would enable training values to copied to from the autostar and retraining when switching scopes would be eliminated. Just edit the values that work best for the scope being used. Remember that calibrate motors is still required. Experiment with training values on the DS127. This can be done on the fly with Dicks patches. Adjust the percentages on both AZ and ALT. I would start with 5%, but dont get carried away. Hope this helps Bob rose
Subject: re: DS and poor tracking Sent: Saturday, October 6, 2001 22:04:13 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: email@example.com Visit http://www.egroups.com/messages/meade-ds which is an "electronic group" of DS- owners, who specialize in solving each other's problems. You will find many hints and tips on improving your telescope's operation. good luck --dick
Subject: Tracking problem with Ds 127... Sent: Friday, October 5, 2001 13:34:53 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ritchie Blackmore) I'm Guido from Pescara, Italy. Your site is the best that I see and is very complete. I've 2 telescope: a Meade Ds 127 Ec and a Meade etx 90 Ec. The best on moon and planet is the etx, but with deep sky object the major diameter of Ds is best. The problem is that the tracking and the pointing with etx (in polar mode) is very good but with the ds 127 is very poor! For example Mars after centering on eyepiece is tracked by etx for more of 30 minutes on the filed of view of an Or 5 mm, but only 30 sec. with Ds!! Why? Naturally this difference is the same on the other object, such as moon, galaxy, etc. Maybe the Ds, with altazimutal mount (the ds 127 has a very bad mounting!) is not precise? Also the etx, when tracking in altazimutal mode, lose the objects in the filed of view in 30 sec. - 1 minute. Is possible to found a system that increase the quality of the tracking of the Ds 127? For the etx there's no problem because I use this scope alwais in polar mode. Naturally, before using this 2 scope I setting autostar with the train drive, the correct date and time, etc. Thank for your attention and sorry for mi english! Bye Guido - ItalyMike here: If you can upgrade the Autostar to the current version from Meade's site, then you may be able to improve your DS performance. But perhaps the only thing you need to do is to TRAIN the drives (assuming you need to do that for DS series). With the ETX models, RETRAINING cures many glitches that can arise in the Autostar. If you do upgrade the Autostar, be certain to do a RESET and RETRAIN following the upgrade.
Thank you for your answer Mike but I have upgraded the autostar at latest version (I use autostar 495 on Ds and Etx!) and naturally I'm training the scopes and autostar before using... For my opinion the Ds not have the necessary mechanical precision, what do you think about this?Mike here: Since I have no experience with the DS models I can't comment on its drives.
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