Last updated: 31 October 2001

This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX and DS models. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	125EC
Sent:	Wednesday, October 31, 2001 15:11:07
From:	pmeletti@hotmail.com (Paolo M)
I was wondering if you could possibly shed some light on a problem I
have with a recently purchased 125.

When I put the tube level the dial on the side indicates about 23 and
when it is set to 0 it is pointing to the ground.... curious?!

The other problem I have is that the marking counter around the base is
lose (it is a kind of tape) and can fall off the base.  I havent
had either of these problems with my 70!

Thanks in advance for your help.

Paolo Meletti
Mike here: See the FAQ for the DEC (Altitude) scale problem. The tape is just that; you can reglue the ends that are connected to make it tighter. DO NOT glue to the base; as indicated in the FAQ it should be free to move.

Subject:	ETX70A
Sent:	Wednesday, October 31, 2001 12:30:45
From:	graham@dunmaster.freeserve.co.uk (Graham)
Have read your review of the above and as a relative beginner to the
hobby, have used binos to do some astronomy but am now looking for
something a bit more serious. I am unsure if it would be better to go
for something like the Meade or a bigger scope such as an 8inch

Any thoughts or advice on this?

Regards and good seeing

Mike here: You need to decide how you will use a telescope and what your expectations are. Then check your wallet for $$$. Small, portable telescopes are perfect for some things and large telescopes are perfect for some things. So, determine your requirements first; then we can help guide you.

Sent:	Wednesday, October 31, 2001 10:44:07
From:	gomezar@avantel.net (alfonso gomez arce)
I'm Dr Alfonso Gomez Arce  Im from Mexico City and enjoy a lot ypur Web
Site. Recently bought anETX 125EC do you Know where can I find a mexican
dealer  to get more accesories

truly yours 

alfonso gomez arce

Subject:	Planetary scopes
Sent:	Tuesday, October 30, 2001 19:30:40
From:	jmarsico@nyc.rr.com (John M)
I want to get a telescope to view mainly planets.  Whats the best scope
to get thats affordable, as opposed to the ETX-70, since this scope is
best for other than that.
Mike here: The ETX-90EC or larger makes a fine planetary instrument, depending upon your expectations and what you can afford. You might even enjoy using a Dobsonian. The larger the scope the more magnification you can get, subject to limitations of the instrument and local viewing conditions.

Subject:	Online maps of the moon
Sent:	Tuesday, October 30, 2001 17:03:46
From:	alwynbotha@what-is-the-speed-of-light.com (Alwyn Botha)
I visited your Meade gallery.

I made two photographic maps of the moon available (for free) online at

This website also has 300 quizzes about these maps of the moon. Each
question has a small picture of a part of the moon. You have to identify
craters, rills, mountains, etc.

You are welcome to link to any of these maps of the moon - or the
website itself.

I have other educational astronomy websites too - some are listed below.

Thank you.

Alwyn Botha

Subject:	Dew shield for the ETX 90
Sent:	Tuesday, October 30, 2001 15:37:08
From:	pyrite@clarityconnect.com (Fred & Rose Lieberman)
From your experience, what is the best choice of a dew shield: Meade or
a plastic do it yourself job?

Mike here: I have a Meade dewshield but have not yet written it up. See the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page for others. I have no experience with a homemade one.


Again, thank you for your rapid response.  I have been checking out the
web pages as you recommended.

Subject:	Re: a long story
Sent:	Tuesday, October 30, 2001 11:21:04
From:	aon.964562295@aon.at (marko kolm)
Let me say that I'm absolutely stunned by your quick response! When I
arrived at work this morning I took a quick look at your website and
realized that you had already posted my novel. Thank you very much for
that! You are doing great work and, most important, you are making a lot
of people happy. That's the best thing a person can achieve, at least in
my opinion.

I'll take the liberty to contact you again, if anything worth noticing

Thanks again and Best Wishes

By the way: I've already received a response!

Sent:	Tuesday, October 30, 2001 9:09:23
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
I wanted to let everyone know who has had difficulty logging onto
space.com to access the five-part series I have done on the Leonid
Meteor shower that they have fixed the problem and you can access the
FIRST of the series at:


This is an easy-reading series for the general public and walks you
through the history, the origin, predictions for 2001 and observing tips
for November 17-18.

Also note that there is an extensive review of the Leonids appearing on
this ETX web site as well.

REVISED NUMBERS:  estimates from Australian astronomers have revised the
peak of the meteor shower to favor LESS the United States and more the
western Pacific rim, where 8,000 to 10,000 per hour are expected. 
Although exact numbers are not given, U.S. observers west of the
Mississippi River should expect at least 2,000 per hour (hopefully more)
in a peak that I am predicting will hit around 4:15 to 4:45 local time.

Dr. Clay

P. Clay Sherrod - sherrodc@ipa.net
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	quickcam
Sent:	Tuesday, October 30, 2001 8:38:07
From:	Albert.Mennone@yale.edu (Albert Mennone)
I'm interested in modifing a quickcam/webcam to use with my ETX125. I
was wondering if you are aware of a review or comparison of available
models especially with respect to light sensitivity and chip size. I
want to control it from my powerbook (Mac) via a USB. There is a lot of
info at your site from quickcam users, but It seems as though there are
many types being used with varied results.

Great job with your site!


Al Mennone
Research Associate
Yale University School of Medicine
Department of Internal Medicine
Mike here: Yep, there are several models of Quickcams and web cameras. I'm not aware of any specific comparison resource. You might search the web using Sherlock.

Subject:	leonids - photographing with the ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, October 30, 2001 2:36:45
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
The Leonid meteor shower is expected to peak in only about two weeks so
observers should be making plans on how and where to observe what may be
a once-in-a-lifetime event.

The ETX scopes are IDEAL for piggyback meteor photography; since meteor
showers are best seen with the naked eye, why not put that ETX to good
use and strap a camera onto it via a good piggyback mount, such as those
reviewed here from Scopetronics or find some other creative way to

This allows for the meteors to be caught on film with a wide angle (50mm
or 35mm or wider lens) view, while star images of the constellations
will remain fixed and not streak.  Merely set the camera lens wide open
(f/1.8 or f/2.0, for example) and turn the focus to infinity.  Use the
fastest film possible and begin a new photo every 10 minutes to prevent
reciprocity from ruining the picture OR if you think you have captured a
bright Leonid....stop and start anew.

I am sure that Mike Weasner will welcome your photographic contributions
to this site if you are lucky enough to catch one of these.

By the way, the latest estimates on the storm are calling for about
3,000 to 2,500 in the United States, Canada and Mexico, while about
three times that many are expected down under and in the western Pacific
and Japan!

Tune in for more!!
P. Clay Sherrod - sherrodc@ipa.net
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	Dew shields, eye pieces
Sent:	Monday, October 29, 2001 21:25:56
From:	darkjc@evansinet.com (darkjc)
I have a ETX-90RA model M. I was wondering if its worth buying the Meade
dew sheild or is there a better one out there. If so, could you tell me
how I can get it.

Also I had a question about eyepieces. I have a 26mm and a 9mm
eyepieces. What do you reconmed me geting next, and what brands, I like
to look at nebulas, such as lagoon, Orion and may others. I also like to
look at the major planets and sometimes faint galaxys. I thank you for
any help that you can give me.
Mike here: Dewshields are effective in some environments. Whether you should buy the Meade one (which I have but not yet written up) or one of the other types (see the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page) or make one yourself, is up to you. Regarding eyepieces, see the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page as well as the Buyer/New User Tips page for some suggestions.

Subject:	ETX-125 finderscope screws
Sent:	Monday, October 29, 2001 20:53:50
From:	bboulware@mindspring.com (B.Boulware)
Braved the cold last night (mid 30s) to observe the moon for about 20
minutes and try out the Meade lunar filter I bought.  Very happy with

Afterwards, I was looking over the ETX after it had come back up to room
temp.  I noticed one of the nylon finderscope screws has a decided curve
to it.  It looks like the screw tip has moved from where it should be. 
Not sure how it happened but looking at it I am sure the alignment is
now off.  I remember not being too tickled about these screws when I
first brought the scope home.  Is there a replacement nylon screw
available locally (Lowes, etc.) or do I need to call Meade for a

Been a regular to your web site for over two years.  Keep up the good


Subject:	Fixing the Zero Declination Angle Problem
Sent:	Monday, October 29, 2001 11:43:42
From:	falicoff@mindspring.com (W. Falicoff)
I have read the FAQ concerning 

" My Declination (altitude) setting circle is off, what do I do?"

Could you please be more specific in telling how this is accomplished. 
What are you referring to when you say loosen the knob on the DEC scale
fork arm?  Is this the vertical lock knob (number 6 on figure 1) as
shown in the manual.  Is the vertical lock the same as the DEC Lock?  Is
this the same as the "knob on the DEC scale fork arm"?  I only see two
plactic knobs on this mount that relate to declination.  The first is
the vertical or declination lock  # 6 which engages and disengages the
motors. The second is the plastic knob on the side with 0 degree pointer
to the declination angle.  What I did with my telecope was to loosen # 6
and turn the second one (with the numbers on it) until it the 0 degree
decination pointer lines up witht 0 degrees on the dial when the axis of
the OTA is horizontal to the base of the telescope.  It took some force
to turn the dial to accomplish this.  Is there some other adjustment
knob I have not seen on this telescope?  I bought a second telescope for
a friend and want to work out any problems with my unit before I give it
to him as a present.  Mine seems to be working fine now but I don't want
to ruin the telescope using an improper method of adjustment.

Sorry for the length of my communication.  I guess a picture is worth
10,000 words.

Mr. W. Falicoff
San Diego
Mike here: You got it right. The DEC (or Altitude) Scale knob is on the fork opposite the lock. It is the big round knob in the middle of the dial.

Subject:	Question
Sent:	Sunday, October 28, 2001 23:23:31
From:	dwortz@maine.rr.com (David A. Wortz)
I have a couple questions for you, and to be honest I felt a little
foolish making a post on your site, so I hope you don't mind me
e-mailing it to you directly. But you seem to be the right guy to answer
these questions so here we go. I recently bought a Meade ETX-125, and
just have some basic (very basic) questions about what it is I can
actually see with it. I have beginners knowledge of the night sky, where
the planets are, and some galaxies, things of that nature, but what I am
unsure of is what it is supposed to look like when I see it in the
scope. On your site I see people with the same scope that I have, but
they have beautiful color photos of say, orions nebula with blues and
reds. When I look through the scope at orions nebula, I see nebulosity,
but it is just a fuzzy white structure around the stars. I am curious if
color is visible through the scope, or if it has something to do with
the fact that the photographs they are taking are altered by adding
color to them later. Also andromeda galaxy, for lack of a better word is
just ugly. Nothing more than a blur of faint light, absolutely no
definition at all. My first concern was that maybe the optics of the
telescope were messed up in some way, but Jupiter looks beautiful, and
can easily see four moons and at least four or five bands, Saturn's
rings appeared crisp and a couple of nights ago I could slightly make
out the cassini division along the sides of the rings, so I ruled out
faulty optics. This has actually been kind of upsetting to me, because
the pictures on your site of some of the deep sky objects were what
ended up being the decision maker to buy this scope. My main reason for
buying this scope was to observe the objects the way they looked in the
pictures on your site, but so far this has been a pretty disheartening
experience. Although it has been a lot of fun to scavenge around the sky
looking for star clusters and such, galaxies and nebula, have all just
appeared as fuzzy blobs, and all together not very exciting. I was
curious if this is just the way they are supposed to look and I was
expecting too much from the scope, or if it is possible that something
is either wrong with the scope or something I am doing. Not having ever
looked at these objects through a scope has been a draw back, because I
have no basis for comparison and no knowledge of if what I am seeing is
good or not. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I
thank you in advance for your time, I hope this was no inconvenience to


Dave W.
Mike here: Yes, most nebulae and galaxies appear as what I call "faint fuzzy blobs". Photographs will show more than your eye will see, both details and color. Most nebulae will appear greenish, with some shape to them. Galaxies will be similar, with the shape being the most obvious characteristic if they are large enough to show a shape. The larger the telescope the more you can see so keep in mind that a 5" telescope is more limited.

Subject:	Quick question? Multiple cameras piggyback on ETX
Sent:	Monday, October 29, 2001 2:35:50
From:	jay@cinemagic.com (Jay Friedland)
Great site!   Here's my question:  I'm traveling to see the Leonids and
I want to set up an simple camera array and track it (see
delpsurf.www.cistron.nl/haas_array.html for the idea!) I'm going
to use either 3 or 4 Canon T70s w/28mm lenses.  My choice for a mount
was going to be a Barn Door tracker (see google: trott "type 4" for the
best designs) but then I saw that Costco has meade ETX60s for $128
bucks!  Could I build a bar and counterweights and run my 3 cameras on
top of the little pup or would I be crazy?  Please let me know what you
- Jay
Mike here: Well, you can add a camera piggyback on the ETX-60AT. But four? Depending upon the weight and orientation you may or may not have tracking problems. The most likely problem will be that the locks will slip, ruining the tracking. But if you try it, keep in mind that you will need to track in Polar mode.


One final question - do you have any feeling for how much weight the ETX
fork can handle (again with counterweights).
Thanks so much!
Mike here: Not specifically. It can handle a single camera along with the ETX telescope itself. But the locks won't handle a piggybacked ETX on an ETX, at least not a -90 on a -90.

Subject:	Research and Image link to Arkansas Sky Observatory web
Sent:	Sunday, October 28, 2001 13:19:30
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Just a note to let you know that we have begun uploading images
(primarily planetary) onto the Arkansas Sky Observatory Web page under
"Research."  We are loading from the most current and going backwards,
so please allow time for all uploads over the next few months.  Brian
has done this so that you can enter a image request for any object by
DATE or by Central Meridian, or by a general search.

The web page is found at www.arksky.org/aso.htm and the image/research
site is located at: http://www.arksky.org/asoimglib.htm .

Have fun with it and watch it grow over the coming months!

Dr. Clay
P. Clay Sherrod - sherrodc@ipa.net
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	Lunar photos
Sent:	Sunday, October 28, 2001 11:48:31
From:	kenariz@juno.com (Ken W Anderson)
I had a question about lunar photography. In your judgement is black and
white with a polarizing filter or color iso 100 with polarizing filter
better for taking pictures of the moon.
Mike here: Since there is so little color visible on the Moon, certainly B&W can do the job. However, if you want to try to capture the Moon's "color" you'll have to use color film.


I was just wondering if there was a differance where detail is concerned
and whether or not a moon filter will make a differance.
Mike here: A moon filter will help reduce the possibility of overexposure with faster films (or some digital cameras). And yes, B&W film is typically finer grain than color, so more details can be captured (depending upon the telescope and seeing).

Subject:	re: dusty flip mirrors
Sent:	Saturday, October 27, 2001 20:13:32
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	m.coward@react.org.uk
short answer: Don't worry too much...

the dust you see is in a fairly inconsequential spot in the light path.
Therefore it won't hurt your image anywhere near as much as a poor
cleaning job might.

The mirror is "front surfaced"... the reflective coating is waiting for
physical damage without taking proper care.

Camera stores rarely deal with front surfaced mirrors, hence they may
damage the mirror trying to clean it.

Read thru the archives of Mike's site, especially the Telescope Hints
for articles by Clay Sherrod on cleaning things.

It certainly -is- possible to clean the flip mirror, but it isn't
easy... if i were going to clean mine, i'd disassemble the rear of my
ETX90 so that accidents with cleaning fluids even pure water) wouldn't
wreck something else.

Find (in your library) books on Amateur Telescope Making, and read their
chapters on cleaning and coating mirrors... then you'll at least have
the full story with which to make your own decision. Dust is temporary
and (usually) inconsequential... scratches last forever (or until you
have the mirror replaced/recoated)

good luck, take care...

Subject:	Meteor Watch Registration
Sent:	Saturday, October 27, 2001 17:37:17
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Many of our group have expressed interest in participating in a global
watch of the upcoming Nov. 17-19 Leonid Meteor shower, which is peaking
for the U.S. at about 4 a.m. Sunday morning, November 18 and about the
same time on the 19th (second phase cometary cloud, with perhaps 30,000
per hour seen!) in the western Pacific, Australia, and Japan.

We are taking pre-registrations for observing information, forms and to
coordinate ALL observers who are interested in submitting hourly counts,
bright meteor data and other information after the weekend event.

To register as a participant in this ever-important (and exciting!)
event, please log on and register at the Arkansas Sky Observatory web
site: http://www.arksky.org/aso.htm .

For a summary of the meteor shower and observing tips, be sure to read
my new feature at: http://www.arksky.org/events.htm.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime event - no moon to interfere - and we
welcome ALL participants.  No telescope is needed, just a lust for some
wonderful skywatching and the darkest sky site you can get to!

We look forward to having everyone register.  You MUST register not
later than Saturday, November 10 to be included in the worldwide Leonid
watch.  Have a manic meteor millennium!!

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	Arkansas Sky Observatory Web Site Has Been Reactivated!
Sent:	Friday, October 26, 2001 10:19:21
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To the "Mighty ETX" group.....the Arkansas Sky Observatory web site
(still under construction and gaining a little ground every day) is now
up and running at:


This site will not only keep visitors apprised of activity at the
observatory and its public/research projects, but also will offer a
"real time" forum exchange for telescopes, observing projects, research
and group events.

In addition, real time postings of current amateur/professional
cross-over research in 1) planets; 2) variable stars; 3) meteors and
comets; 4) minor planets and much more will be posted daily to keep you
apprised of all the activity of major events and
discoveries....including YOUR OWN!

I appreciate all the people out there who have encouraged me to once
again activate the web page....my brother Brian will be the webmaster on
this site and is also a very experienced astronomer with years of
experience and will be moderating the forum with me.

Look for some major changes and additions rapidly within the next few

Thanks again -
Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory, Inc.

P. Clay Sherrod
Brian M. Sherrod

Subject:	Reflector or Refractor.
Sent:	Thursday, October 25, 2001 19:54:25
From:	JOHNSPAAR@prodigy.net (JOHN E SPAAR)
I currently own a Bushnell "Voyager 760" and a Galileo astrophoto
system. I have a chance to purchase a Polaris DS 114 Alt-Az reflector
with autostar for $248 or a Polaris 60At refractor with autostar and
claiming 565 power over the reflectors 325. I know the reflector has
more light gathering and I would like my daughter to see a little more
than the moon or mars.

I have heard some of the relflector tracking problems and I have a
friend who has the Saturn 114 from Meade and has going through 3
autostars including the last one driving vertical over the top and
needing motor rework. Meade of course is very happy tosend another and
the present one has been running for 3 months.

I am torn and not sure which way to go.  Help is appreciated.   John
Mike here: Well, remember the max theoretical magnification formula: twice the aperture in millimeters. That blows out "565X" for a 60mm telescope. Yes, you could do it but you would be VERY disappointed in the results.

Subject:	Meade
Sent:	Thursday, October 25, 2001 17:44:39
From:	NArmstro@cha.ab.ca (Armstrong, Neil)
The Discovery Store does not sell Meade products outside of the U.S. I
tried to get an ETX-70 from them but no way. It is part of a agreement
with Meade.


Subject:	I really need some advice - ETX70 and dust related issues.
Sent:	Thursday, October 25, 2001 5:11:11
From:	m.coward@react.org.uk (Monty Coward)
Greetings Mike,

First of all, if anyone else other than Mike has some input, I'll really
appreciate it!!  Yesterday evening was perfect ... nice clean atmosphere
and showing my youngest daughter the value of appreciating the Moon.  I
changed eyepieces ... and as doing so, looked at the mirror as the EP
was placed in the holder. I was horrified in as much that there "seemed"
to be a lot of dust on the mirror. On completion .. that is  .. later
and inside  I inspected the mirror more closely and found that is was
quite dusty.  Now, I do not expect you to know what my interpretation is
of dust particles is .. but as you can appreciate ... under bright light
it looks horrendous.


1. Is this normal, that is, when changing EP's and general use to gather
2. Is it wise to flip the mirror when not in use ( stored ) .. or when
changing EP's. Surely this will help.
3. How much dust is to much?  I do not know what to expect as acceptable
loss of image.
4. Are there any solutions to these problems?
5. When would I want to sent it to my dealer to clean .. when it REALLY
looks caked?
6. Can one vacuum the dust out .. surely by vacuuming (removing the
dust) it would work?

I thank you in anticipation

Montague Coward
Mike here: Well, I won't respond other than to say that viewing the optics surfaces under a DIRECT BRIGHT light is misleading.

Subject:	FYI ... Monochrome Electronic Imager 
Sent:	Wednesday, October 24, 2001 8:04:01
From:	bconley@telica.com (Bill Conley)
I enjoy your site.  Just thought your readers might like to know ... the
Discovery store is offering a special until the end of the year ... buy
ANY Meade telescope (right down to the $90 beginners scope) and get a
Monochrome Electronic Imager free.  The imager is supposedly a $99 item,
but is not for sale on its own.  Seems like a good deal.


Subject:	tee mounts for eos series
Sent:	Wednesday, October 24, 2001 6:27:15
From:	n0xdw@plains.net (Jeff Gerst)
I have an opportunity to hood up my eos D-30 to a NTT 25" telescope but
he does not have a tee mount to fit my canon, and i am not sure where to
acquire one, and unfortunately time is also short, it will be available
either fri. or Sat. night. Any suggestions, i scanned ETX USER FEEDBACK
Last updated: 1 April 2000 and found a couple of references to eos
cameras, i think both were the film variety, but that should not matter,
but no references as to where to get the mount. your help is appreciated
in advance. thanks.

Subject:	A few more questions for you...
Sent:	Tuesday, October 23, 2001 15:16:32
From:	Scott9482@aol.com
Thanks for your advice so far.  I have a few more questions that you
might be able to help with.  Just to remind you, I have the ETX 125.

I've only had 1 good clear night for viewing so far.  When I was using
the 26mm SP, everything was crystal clear (Jupiter and Saturn were
amazing).  However, when I put my 9.7mm SP in, I was extremely
disappointed.  Everything was very fuzzy.  I hear everyone talking about
seeing the Cassini division etc., all I saw was a dark fuzzy ball.  I
went back to my 26, and the image was nice and crisp!  But I want
Jupiter, Saturn, and Andromeda galaxy to appear as they appear on the
back of the box.

I have read most of the comments on the ETX 125.  I was just wondering,
which eyepieces and combinations do you recommend I get.  Because the
9.7 was very disappointing.  I need more power than the 26, while
maintaining the crisp, clear quality image that the 26 gives...

Any suggestions...
Mike here: Not gonna happen with almost any telescope for visual observations. Yes, the 9.7mm can give nice views, depending upon the atmosheric and telescope stability. Remember, you are not only magnifying the planet (or other object) but the airmass between the eyepiece and the object! You can use a 2X Barlow Lens with the 26mm eyepiece to double its magnification but even then you will lose some clarity.

Subject:	ETX telescope
Sent:	Tuesday, October 23, 2001 8:40:10
From:	gandcadams@yahoo.com (Gary Adams)
My name is Gary Adams. I just found your web site and have been enjoying
it. I'm new to astronomy, and own an older ETX telescope which is in
excellent condition. Is it possible/economical to retrofit this
telescope with an Autostar controller and an automatic focuser?

Thanks for your time.

Mike here: See the "How do I upgrade to an EC (Autostar capable) model?" on the FAQ page.

Subject:	What is the difference...
Sent:	Tuesday, October 23, 2001 3:29:40
From:	pyrite@clarityconnect.com (Fred & Rose Lieberman)
I am really enjoying your website.

What is the difference between ETX 90 RA and the ETX 90 M?

I appreciate your answer.

Mike here: They are the same. This is the original ETX model design from 1996.


Thank you for the reply.

Do you have any idea when they stopped manufacturing the ETX 90 M? 
Also, were the quality of the optics in the 90 M the same as the ETX of

I do appreciate the help.

Mike here: Same optics as today's model. And I don't know if Meade has actually stopped making the original ETX model. There does seem to be a market for it, at least until the price of the ETX-90EC comes down further.


Meade is in the process of discontinuing the astro model (RA & M).  I
think it is a good entry model for those who cannot afford the EC.

What I like about the ETX 90 is the portability.  It is a great scope. 
If they substituted the 8x finder for a 1x finder, they would have the
perfect beginner's scope at a more affordable price.  Then, for another
$200, they could make the EC base available to anyone who wants to
upgrade it.  Since that base is already available, they do not have to
create anything new. The profit is still there.  Anyone can change the
base on their own.  They do not have to be a rocket scientist to do it.

Chan Sing's photos of Saturn
http://www.weasner.com/etx/guests/guests_planets.html  shows the true
potential of the scope.  They impressed me.  I also took a look at his
site. I would recommend that site to anyone.


Subject:	Constellation guides- Go to Cygnus
Sent:	Monday, October 22, 2001 21:27:41
From:	shekhar_athavale@hotmail.com (Shekhar Athavale)
I was going through the excellent observation guides written by Dr.
Sherrod on your great site.In the constellation guide for Cygnus, The
description for item 7 is for Cygnus x-1. However this item is not found
anywhere else and the list of items which appears before the
description,lists this item as SS Cygni. I was very much intrested in
observing Cygnus x-1. Would it be possible for Dr. Sherod to indicate
the RA and Dec for this item. Regards
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Thank you for catching this error. The coordinates for Cygnus X-1 are:
(2000 epoch)

R.A. 19h 56.5m
DEC. + 35d 12'

Sorry for the omission!

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	exact location
Sent:	Monday, October 22, 2001 17:18:22
From:	Rick@atworkcom.com (Rick Hale)
First off, EXCELLENT ETX site.
I'm not sure if anyone has seen this site, but it is helpful if you
would like to know your exact coordinates of your location for input
into astro software or into your ETX. It gives coordinates for your
address, not just the town. If this is already known to everyone, then
simply ignore this message.
Mike here: We have that listed on the Astronomy Links page but a reminder now and then is good for everyone!

Subject:	ETX-70 and chromatic abberation
Sent:	Sunday, October 21, 2001 22:02:18
From:	soehnk@cableregina.com (Keith Soehn)
just read an e-mail on your ETX-70 site about cromatic abberation

and I've heard of a product that filters out the violet spectrum that is
the man cause of most fringing (called a minus violet filter).  I
happened to come across it on Khan Scope's web site in their "popular
accessories" link about half way down.


Haven't tried it out myself but sounds interesting.

Clear Skies,

Subject:	FWD: testimonial for Supercharge!
Sent:	Monday, October 22, 2001 8:33:11
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Supercharge it! (Part III)
by: valblatz (M/Brampton,MI)  10/22/01 10:10 am

I am going to give a 100% "hell yes" to Clay Sherrod's "Supercharge"
service for the ETX. I have had 3 chances to use it since it was
returned and it is in much better shape than ever before!

Although I didn't keep track of exact numbers for finding objects, with
the Autostar I would say it was in the 85-90% accuracy range. That is to
say it put the object in the low-power eyepiece that many times. I would
say that I looked at approximately 40-55 objects in the three trials.
This is much better than it has ever performed. I would say this is what
you should expect from your ETX/Autostar combination. Also as I noted in
an earlier post, the tracking is much better.

A few things to reiterate: Your scope MUST be as level as possible. The
better this is done, the better the accuracy I have found. Use your
low-power eyepiece (I Have been using a 40mm Super Plossl)--things are
much easier to find! I have taken Dr. Sherrod's advice and am not
relying on batteries. Near home I am using a 12v power supply and when I
take it on the road I am going to use the auto-power.

In short for the $185 I spent it is WELL worth it. If you think you need
this service, Dr. Sherrod's e-mail is:

sherrodc@ipa.net or go to:


Let me know if anyone out there gets (or has gotten) this service! I
would like to compare notes!

Specto Caelum.

Drink Blatz!

P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	Focus travel
Sent:	Monday, October 22, 2001 7:21:27
From:	edutton@infi.net (Ells Dutton)
To:	Walter.Hayes@dot.state.mn.us

Also, if you swap the barrels of  the two supplied eyepieces, 25 and 9
mm, the focus travel between the two is greatly reduced without the


Subject:	International Dealers
Sent:	Monday, October 22, 2001 0:32:27
From:	cwchen@ym.edu.tw (CWC)
Thanks so much for your prompt response which immediately solved the
problem. Meade did rather poorly on their manual. The situation I was
stuck in should be avoidable, if a notice was made in the first page of
the manual or on a separate page.

I am starting to enjoying the scope. Thanks to you.

May I bother you with another problem, which I also raised to Meade by
fax (Cannot imaging a company like Meade not having an email address for
customer supports - at least not listed on the web site): I bought my
EXT-60At at Costco in Taiwan. Then when I looked for some optional
accessories, such as hard cases, tripod, and extra eyepieces, none of
the dealers (including Amazon.com) can ship them internationally. I do
not know what and whose policy dictates that. Any way, do you know any
companies who ship Meade accessories internationally? Taiwan does not
have a Meade distributor/dealer (according to Meade's web site).

Best regards,
Mike here: Meade is not the only company NOT providing email support. And there are international dealers. See the dealer section of the Astronomy Links page. I don't know which of them will ship to Taiwan.

Subject:	Meade ETX telescopes
Sent:	Saturday, October 20, 2001 20:41:37
From:	wintoncs@netzero.net (Winton)
Have read many parts of your web page and find it very interesting....Am
looking into buying a one and hopefully only purchase of a
telescope....our family is active in canoeing and camping and is (with
either telescope would want a tripod,autostarinterested in a very
portable telescope...to me it looks like the Meade ETX70EC (which has
great package purchasing benefits ) or the Meade ETX90EC...with either
telescope would want a tripod,autoscope,and carrying case...what would
you  recommend between these two models?? Look forward to your reply.
Sharon Winton ...email...wintoncs@netzero.net
Mike here: Both telescopes are fine when used for their intended purpose. The ETX-70AT is a good wide-field instrument with limited magnification capabilities. The ETX-90EC is an excellent general purpose telescope, with good magnification capabilities. Both are portable. But the ETX-90EC, Autostar, tripod, and case will cost more than for the ETX-70AT system.

Subject:	Eyepieces
Sent:	Saturday, October 20, 2001 1:25:24
From:	arenvoize@hotmail.com (Alistair Renvoize)
I was looking to buy either the UWA 6.7mm or the new Nagler Type6 7mm
eyepiece, to use with an ETX125. Do you know of anyone that might have
tried these side by side to compare? Is the Nagler worth the extra
money? I am trying to think of the future in that I might someday have
an LX200 also.

Any help would be useful as there are no places to try these out in
Cumbria, England.



Alistair Renvoize.
Mike here: Don't know about side-by-side comparison but there are user comments on both eyepieces on the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page.

Subject:	Meade granted Patent 6304376 for Autostar/ETX system
Sent:	Friday, October 19, 2001 19:56:11
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
On Oct 16th, Meade was granted Patent 6304376 for a
"Fully Automated telescope system with distributed intelligence"

The full link address is:

Or, you can get there by starting at:

On that page, in the Granted (left) column, click on 
"Patent Number Search"

On that page, enter:  6304376   in the window.
IT'll bring up a results page with a single entry.
Click on the "6304376"

You're now reading the full text of the patent.
On the top of that page are a bunch of buttons.  
If you click on [images], you'll arrive at a page which will let you
 view the actual pages of the patent, and the figures.
This page uses QuickTime to image the pages (which is a real pain).

Fascinating reading... they go into How It Works in great and deep 
detail... they have flow charts for all 6 types of alignment (find
the bug! They left out 3 steps in one...). 

Great fun
And more:
then hop off and read:


(yes, you really want to read that...)


Subject:	Remote viewing
Sent:	Friday, October 19, 2001 18:26:27
From:	Sulaiman123@gmx.net (Sulaiman Othman)
i like to know if there is any kind of telescope or other product can
connect to pc and display the view by its screen? do meade etx70et can
connect to a pc and display the view same as its by eyepiece
[color/bright/clear]? i want to put it at my window and watch the view
by my pc screen. can i do something like that ? or what is the way to
make it? i want to use it for land view. i live in a high place and i
have a nice view around me. so tell me what is the product do i need to
thanks a lot.
sulaiman othman
Mike here: You can use web cameras, QuickCams, or video cameras to accomplish this. Whereas there are some difficulties using them for astrophotography (but certainly it is being done), the brighter daytime viewing using these will likely be satisfactory to you.

And more:

i want to inquire about some informations about etx70et.
im searching for a way to operate etx70 from far.
display the image at pc or tv screen!
[color-bright-clear]same as i see it by eyepieses.

remaining at the view on land with no need to move 
only when i need to change the view.

can i use the Camera Support Bracket to any kind of video camera?
video camera with a video out signal cable that plugs into 
any standard video device such as a TV monitor, computer, VCR, etc.
for example: like any standard securety camera!
looks By positioning the camera lens directly over an eyepiece.
is it possible to do something like that.?
anyway i live in a high place and i have a nice view around me.
so i want to use it for land view only.
i donot have etx yet but im willing to 
buy it if its will fits my needs.
thats all for now.
i need your advice with lots of thanks.
sulaiman othman.
Mike here: (See my above comments) Yes, you can use a Scopetronix Universal Camera Adapter to hold a video camera but only really lightweight ones. Otherwise the axis locks will slip.

And this:

thanks for your answer .
but what about if i need it at night?
and what do i need to buy?
thanks a lot.
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography page as well as the Astrophotography page. Also see the SAC and Piggyback adapter reviews on the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page.

Subject:	Re: epoch 1950-60
Sent:	Friday, October 19, 2001 11:51:44
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
John - thanks for your comments....I have been using epoch 2000
coordinates (I think) since the Lacerta article.  However, note the URL
in the Taurus article that specifies the downloadable freeware for you
to put on your desktop to allow very quick and easy conversions from
epoch 1950 to 2000. If you have R.A. and DEC.   19h 25.6'  / +34d 20m,
you enter as "19256n3420" (the "n" for a positive declination).  Check
it out at:


thanks for writing and following (as best you could!) the GO TO TOURS!
Clay Sherrod

----- Original Message -----
> Dr. Sherrod,
> I just read your section in the Taurus posting
> regarding use of epoch 1950-60 coordinates, and their
> inaccuracy.  Before that, I was going to contact you
> about the difference in accuracy between Autostar
> (very accurate) and your previously published
> coordinates for recommended viewing objects. (not so
> accurate)  I take it that your postings previous to
> Taurus were using the 1950-60 epoch data.  If this is
> so, do you have any plans to update R.A. & DEC. to
> more recent coordinates?
> I have enjoyed immensley your constellation postings.
> The only area I struggled with was finding objects
> using the R.A. & DEC. coordinates, having to give-up
> at times - especially when I'm getting fatigued.
> Best Regards,
> John

Subject:	The Mighty Supercharged ETX-125
Sent:	Friday, October 19, 2001 3:41:28
From:	adriance@swiftkenya.com (Dave Adriance)
To:	sherrodc@ipa.net
Hi Clay,

Had a wonderful night last night and just had to write you about it...

The evening looked like it was going to be clear, and today is a
national holiday here in Kenya, so I set up the scope on the balcony and
got ready for a night of viewing.  Sagittarius is still fairly high in
the sky down here, until around 21:30 or so (gets dark by 19:00), and
last night there was no moon to speak of.

After two-star alignment, I proceeded to go through the entire list of
Messier objects in the Sherrod Observational Guide for Sagittarius.  Out
of 20 objects, the ETX put 18 of them within the field of view of my
26mm eyepiece - and the other two were just outside the edge!  I could
have thrown my finderscope away and it wouldn't have made a whit of
difference.  Not that I'm going to, of course, but last night was a
vivid testimony to the benefits of supercharging one's scope... as well
as one's enjoyment of the night skies.

Best regards to you and yours,


Dave Adriance

Subject:	New SAC Imager cameras
Sent:	Thursday, October 18, 2001 11:40:38
From:	wbehrens@steakco.com

New SAC imager is coming out in November. This camera with the COAA
integration software should make DSO's well with in reach. just an FYI.

William Behrens

Subject:	Thanks again and.....
Sent:	Wednesday, October 17, 2001 19:55:17
From:	tralongo@xpressweb.com (Frank Tralongo)
Just a quick note to again thank you for your recent help with the 494
autostar. BTW your ETX site is GREAT!!! I also have 2 more questions:

1. Do you run an EXT club and if so how would I go about joining?

2. Been thinking of getting a second scope,  the three I've been kicking
around are the 90mm ETX, 102ETX and a 127ETX.

I love the portability of the 90mm and the ST reviews were great but I
am not sure it's "a big enough bucket". The 127 ST review seems to be
saying something between the lines ie. not quite as optically sound as
the 90mm. And haven't found any reviews on the 102. Since there are no
clubs in town I've never had the chance to view through any of them my
only info is through word of mouth, ST reviews and those with ETX

Most of my use would be backyard viewing stars and planets some limited
deep space with possible future ccd photography in addition to dragging
the scope with me on rv trips. BTW I love the goto technology,  any
suggestions/comments on a direction I should lean?

When I lived in San Jose I had an 8" F6 reflector on an EQ mount which
was soo big and heavy that I found any excuse not to drag it out, plus
the darn city lights were a great source of frustration. Here in Kanab
Utah I'm within 20 miles of pure desert darkness but I can be a tad lazy

PS Also loved the reviews of the LX90 8 inch, sales types tell me this
is the one but  my fear is this might fall into my old scope's catagory
Big Heavy and unused.

Warmest Regards,

Mike here: The ETX-105EC falls into the almost nearly as portable as the ETX-90 whereas the ETX-125EC goes into slightly less portable than the ETX-90. Certainly you get more light gathering power with the 125 vs the others so you have to make a trade-off. Optically, the ETX-125 is good (the older reviews cite problems with the initial batch). As to a "club", nope. Just the online community. Although we did have our first "Annual Mighty ETX Star Party" last month. I hope to continue that once a year, moving the location around the country.

Subject:	leveling tripod
Sent:	Wednesday, October 17, 2001 13:46:04
From:	bonzo@charter.net (gary)
I'm new to Astronomy, and i need to know what is the proper way to level
the Tripod.  I have tried to use a level but there is no place to really
set it to show true level. If the scope is truned (even tho it reads
level on top of the tube) it will not align up with any of the alinement
stars. The sope is level and pointed north, but the Tripod is not..

This is really getting to me because i cant track anything.

Please help me..      thanks   Gary..

PS.  Great site...
Mike here: Couple of points. If the telescope tube and base are horizontal but the DEC (or Altitude) scale does not read 0 then the scale is off. See the FAQ for adjusting it. Or you can ignore it if you just eyeball the leveling and use an Autostar in Alt/Az mode. The same applies to leveling the tripod. I usually just eyeball it and let the Autostar compensate (which it does once aligned). But if you really want to level things, put the ETX on the tripod and place the level on the flat portion of the ETX base. Then you can orient the level in several directions to ensure "levelness".

Subject:	etx-60at or 70at do these scopes come off?
Sent:	Wednesday, October 17, 2001 10:58:49
From:	hai.ta@utoronto.ca
do these scopes come off of there mounts? Can the mount attach to a 1/4
20" thing.

Also, what is the difference between the m AND ra MODELS OF THE ETX ?

Mike here: The ETX-90 models can be removed from the fork mounts for use as a spotting scope. However, the ETX-60 and -70 models are not intended to be removed and remounted. It can be done but you run the risk of damage. The ETX-90 Astro M and ETX-90RA are the same telescope. This is the original model ETX pre January 1999 and is not upgradable to the EC/Autostar capable model.


do the etx-90 models come off via a 1/4 20 screew off their mount? i.e.
can I mount a camera on the etx-90 mount.
Mike here: The ETX-90 has eight small hex screws that you remove (4 on each side). Then you can attach the telescope tube to a tripod using one of the two standard photographic tripod mounting holes on the bottom of the tube. Yes, you can attach cameras; see the various astrophotography pages on the ETX Site.

Subject:	Spotting on Optics
Sent:	Wednesday, October 17, 2001 8:15:08
From:	etx125ec@swbell.net (ETX125EC)
The other day I noticed some spotting on my Optics...is there anything I
can do to get rid of them??. The ETX125 came like this...should I take
it back to the Store or Contact Meade ??

Mike here: What you do depends upon WHAT kind of spotting you are seeing. If it is anything except for having been caused by moisture, return to your dealer for an exchange (assuming still under warranty). If due to dew or other moisture, see the "Cleaning Optics" article on the Buyer/New User Tips page.

Subject:	Focus Cable
Sent:	Wednesday, October 17, 2001 7:38:43
From:	SonomaPilot@mac.com (Sonomapilot )
I found another way to simply and cheaply make a focus cable. I used 6"
of surgical tubing and stretched it over the Focus knob. Works great and
have had any problems with it. It does take som effort to get it on, but
other than that no real problems.

Also, I can't see to locate a solar filter for the ETX-70. Any ideas ???

Thanks again for such a great site,
    Mike Goddard 
Mike here: You could make one; see the "AstroSolar Safety Film" on the Accessory Reviews - Filters page.

Subject:	A brief note
Sent:	Tuesday, October 16, 2001 22:18:47
From:	marbla@naisp.net (Blais Klucznik)
Hello All,

I would like to once again thank to Dr. Clay Sherrod for his continuing
work on the wonderful Constellation Guides.  Will be looking for the
"Mad Bull of Crete" as soon as we have less cloudy skies here in SE-MA.
Thanks again Clay.

I would also like to mention to the group that my last modification to
the ETX125, of which I noted on this user group several months ago, is
still working like a charm.  The -125 is now a real pleasure to use.  A
total of about 20-30 outings since my 'mad' modification.

Trying to align the DSC's on our PDHQ 12-1/2 so that my wife and I can
make our second round of the skies more informative and breath-taking.

I can't help but ask myself "Where was I all my life"?  What a heavenly
sight the heavens are.

Take Care

Blais Klucznik
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Thank you so much Blais....I truly hope that many observers enjoy the
Constellation Guides; with nearly half of them done now, there are many
folks out there using them for very productive observing...some colleges
have even written to me expressing a desire for support materials as
they are using some of these in observational astronomy classes.

Glad your modification is successful....you have put a lot of work into
the scope and now you are reaping the rewards!

Always good to hear from you!

P. Clay Sherrod

Subject:	Death Valley Reminder & Time Change
Sent:	Tuesday, October 16, 2001 19:08:20
From:	rwbraddy@lvcm.com (Robert Braddy)
Star Party this weekend at the Furnace Creek Airport on Friday and
Saturday night. We have moved the setup time to 6:00 pm with the party
beginning at 6:30. We will alos have a slide show at the Lodge at 1:00
pm on Saturday. We need some scopes.


Subject:	Interesting website
Sent:	Tuesday, October 16, 2001 8:16:17
From:	iegle@inforamp.net (Ian Egle)
To:	etx@me.com
I happened upon this website, and I think that some of the visitors to
your site might find it useful:


It is a simulated star-hop through the constellation Sagitta, the goal
being to find the objects M27, M71, and the coathanger cluster (hey, we
all don't have/use goto....)



Subject:	ETX125
Sent:	Monday, October 15, 2001 5:20:53
From:	arenvoize@hotmail.com (Alistair Renvoize)
With being frightened off from cleaning the front lens of my ETX ( I got
caught in a light shower and there must have been dust in the air), does
no one make a clear screw on filter to protect it , like what you can
buy for cameras?


Alistair Renvoize.
Mike here: There are no such filters like there are for cameras. Such a large, optically flat piece of glass would be expensive, sort of like the full-aperture solar filters.

Subject:	Kochab's Clock
Sent:	Sunday, October 14, 2001 16:29:13
From:	DonMcClelland@webtv.net (Donald McClelland)
As most people that visit this site know, Clay Sherrod has contributed
tremendously.  He's most famous for his Supercharge Service to the ETX
family of scopes but he also has outstanding observational suggestions. 
Who better than a retired professional astronomer! I recently received a
new Questar.  I came into some extra money and always wanted one and
took it to a star party last night.  It tracks in Polar mode only so I
needed to align it properly. I used Clay's Kochab's Clock method to find
the true Celestial North Pole and boy did it do a great job.  I've
always hated the thought of using manual setting circles mainly because
I didn't think I would align it well enough.  Of course accurate
Declination was important to align the setting circles. I matched a
bright objects (M8) RA setting and for the rest of the night had no
problem finding things.  Naturally tracking was absolutely perfect (for
visual use) and Polar alignment probably took less than 5 minutes.

Thanks Clay and keep up the outstanding work helping us all out!


Subject:	Sundial rings
Sent:	Saturday, October 13, 2001 20:15:34
From:	jeffhelps@home.com (Jeff Helps)
Thought I would pass on the attached from my Lee Valley Catalog. They
have a web site at www.leevalley.com.  If you are ever looking for hard
to find hardware, wood working tools, gardening tools,etc this is the
place to look.  I can personnal attest to the quality of their products.


sundial rings

Subject:	Dr. Clay Sherrod and the "Supercharge" service
Sent:	Saturday, October 13, 2001 14:49:52
From:	abc@greenzalis.com (Mike Greenzalis)
I wanted to take a moment to let your readers know about a special
service and a special person. Recently, my LX200 8" made the trip to
Conway Arkansas for Dr. Sherrod's "Supercharge". My LX200 was purchased
after approximately four years of gentle use and it looked great but I
still wanted know how it was performing mechanically and optically. Dr.
Sherrod performed the service, kept me up to date and sent it back
expeditiously. What happened next would make anyone "cry". The shipping
service delivered the LX200 with a hole in the side of the box! A rod
had punctured the box and hit the focus knob square. Thank goodness for
insurance as Dr. Sherrod stood with me to persuade the shipping service
to pay. More important, Dr. Sherrod encouraged me to send the LX200 back
to see how bad it was and if it could be salvaged. I received the scope
a week ago and am thoroughly enjoying it. Thanks Clay! I offered to pay
him for his time and the work performed but he refused for a promise of
a pizza next time I am driving through Conway! I hope to "pay-up" some
day soon. What tremendous service and commitment! Keep it up Clay and
thanks again!
Mike Greenzalis
Southborough, MA

Subject:	Meade Electronic Eyepiece
Sent:	Thursday, October 11, 2001 20:40:30
From:	jjmaden@hotmail.com (Wally -)
I read an email in your general feedback section inquiring about Meade's
Electronic Eyepiece.  I recently purchased a DS-2130 which came with
this camera.  Some pictures of it and some pictures taken with it can be
found at http://jjmaden.tripod.com/meadeds2130ate/id5.html

Thanks for a great site

Subject:	Goober tackles the ETX-125 tune-up
Sent:	Thursday, October 11, 2001 20:23:18
From:	ronaldbacon@surf1.ws (Ronald Bacon)
After reading the instructions on how to do the ETX-125 tune-up, I
though to myself " No sweat, I can do that in an afternoon and fix some
of those slop problems ".

I should have known not to mess with it . . . I was already having a bad
week. I forgot, somehow, to turn off the power on my kid's computer
before unplugging the video card. He was happy about getting a new
computer though. Stuff I had ordered from a supplier in the midwest for
a client was somehow "delivered" to the wrong address, causing a two
week delay for the project. Things had been going wrong all week, but
hey!  This would be fun, and a snap really.

Got all the way through the instructions and was on my way to
reassembly, when I was called away to dinner. When I came back, I was
short about a quart of blood in the brain (the digestive process you
understand) and I could not for the life of me remember how the base
motor was suppose to be plugged into with the four wire plug. So I
figured, "Well, just follow the curve of the wire, dummy, and let the
plug fall naturally in place." Did that, and guess what? It didn't work.
Oh nuts . . .visions of dead video card's in my head, I now have to
wonder if I have reversed the plug. And now I notice that you can turn
the thing end for end and have a different color coded sequence of wires
plugged into pins one through four. Why oh why didn't I finish the
wiring while it was fresh in my head, instead of going to dinner? Or at
least right it down?

Nothing is so bad that you can't make it worse, so of course I tried
every combination of plugging those wires in that I could think of:
reversed the leads, reversed the fork arm bundle, switched fork arm plug
with base plug, etc. No go. Must of fried the encoder boards. Great. So
I take the OTA and mount it to my Bogan tripod for the next month, while
I try to save up the money to send it to Dr. Sharrod. In the mean time,
I take the drive apart again and go through it in a very methodical way,
taking notes as I go. I put it back together - still dead, with no motor
movement at all. Autostar is happily saying everything is working, while
I am looking at a dead mount. Great - this is really affecting my
confidence. Wife is asking me to start working on the deck, but I am -
by now- certain that I will slice off my arm with the circular saw if I
start work on the deck.

In despair, I call Dr. Sharrod in Arkansas, and he spends almost 45
minutes on the phone with me talking through various procedures trying
to get the mount to work. We narrow it down to a loose wire, a bad power
distribution board ( what you plug the Autostar into ), or a twisted and
broken bundle of wire going to the fork arm. Tells me to try all the
plug connections again and to check the continuity of the bundle going
to the fork arm. So . . . I check the continuity of the fork arm bundle
- all OK. Try all the plug connections again ( pins one through four on
position one through four on the moulded plug ), but this time I turn
the plug that goes to the base motor upside down ( wires facing away
from the power panel , actually making a loop over the top of the plug). 
I had done this before with no joy. Guess what? The motors started
working! One reversed plug had shut down the whole scope. Wow. Called
Dr. Sharrod, and he asked me to post this sad tail. I guess he wants you
to know that with perseverance you can fix many of these things
yourself. I mean, what the heck -it's already broke, try it and see what
happens. It looks like you can plug in the plugs completely wrong and
not blow it up. You might not be able to say the same about the inside
of the Autostar or messing with the actual circuit board of the encoders
though. Now . . on to the deck!

Ron Bacon
Blanchard, Idaho

Subject:	ETX 125 The value of a supercharge.
Sent:	Thursday, October 11, 2001 19:46:56
From:	dr.east@usa.net (D. Ray East)
I am totally amazed at what Dr. Sherrod has been able to do with An
ETX125EC that I sent him. Not only was the work fantastic but he was
able to do all of the work in less than Two months. This was including
the fact that he sent the scope back to Meade as well. I cant imagine
just sending the scope to Meade and getting it back in that period of
time let alone sending it to Meade and then doing his 83 point
inspection that he does as well. Shall we get to the nuts and bolts of
this. I own a machine shop. The reason I sent the scope to Dr. Sherrod
in the first place was to see what type of work was being done out
there. If I felt that the quality of work was not up to my standards I
might have decided to go into the scope upgrading business. As it is not
only did the scope come out that good. It far surpassed any work I have
seen by anyone in this field. After spending several nights now checking
everything I could think of to check. I have come to two conclusions.
This has to be the all time best ETX125EC I have ever seen and the work
done by Dr. Sherrod has made it so right out of the box so to speak. It
will cleanly split many double stars. High power with the small column
of air it views through makes this scope a wonder at higher powers.
Granted Living in Redding CA I have some of the best viewing condition
available. (That is why when I retired I moved to Redding.) Saturn at
higher power is a very wondrous sight to behold. I bought the ETX125EC
to hold me over till the LX200gps was released. I having just sold my
LX200 12 inch scope. With the fantastic work done on the ETX I have
decided to send my new scope to Dr. Sherrod just as soon as I receive it
from Meade. I will of course check the scope to make sure it is up to
par at least. Then I will also avail my self of Dr. Sherrod's knowledge
of how good the scope really is. If it takes 6 months to get it right
that is fine also. Still knowing what miracles he has performed so far I
doubt it will take more than a few weeks. Now you ask what I am being
paid to come up with all these fine comments. I will tell you. I now own
one of the finest ETX's around and that is payment enough. Thanks again
Clay for all the fine work, upgrades and care you gave my newest
possession. dray





D.Ray East
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Ray - thank you so much for those wonderful comments; just having the
scope working again was reward in itself for me and this is the
frosting!  I know you were looking forward to getting it back in time
for the planets and we made it!

It is truly a good scope and was a pleasure to work on....thanks again
for the opportunity and never hesitate to contact me.  Remember, you can
always send the Autostar in to me at no charge for the latest upgrade of
firmware, calibration, newest tours and latest ephemeride data.

Keep in touch Ray....and may all your astronomical endeavors be as
rewarding to you as this fine letter was be received by me.

P. Clay Sherrod

Subject:	Re: ring dial
Sent:	Thursday, October 11, 2001 18:41:25
From:	dagobahresident@mindspring.com (Spencer Petzold)
The thing is, is that I liked your ring dial the best I mean it is
simplistic and I especially liked the color. The pewter stuff doesn't
attract me.

Mike here: Photo of the one I bought in Williamsburg, VA.
Ring Sundial

Subject:	Help please
Sent:	Thursday, October 11, 2001 8:51:31
From:	solici@btinternet.com
I think that I might caused a bit of a problem.  I purchased a new ETX
70 and noticed that their seemed to be a lot of dust on the inside of
the telescope when using a flashlite.  I took the tube apart and flushed
it out with warm water and some w/p liquid. I do not seem to be able to
clean the main glass properly or get al the water out of the tube. Do
you have any suggestions.
Mike here: Well, you would probably have to disassemble it for best results but as long as there is no spotting on the optics (or rusting of metal) then letting it air dry for several days may be the best. Alternatively you could contact either Meade or Clay Sherrod for cleaning. If you open up the tube you will void the warranty and you may find it difficult to reassemble it correctly so don't do that.

Subject:	re: ETX90 dome
Sent:	Wednesday, October 10, 2001 20:00:49
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	ccoburn@snader.com
Look in your Yellow Pages for commercial display suppliers. (here in
Seattle it'd be "Display and Costume", for example).

They have clear styrene balls (two half-spheres with a joining surface)
in a wide variety of sizes... and if they don't have it in stock, they
can order it.

There are also (at builder's supply warehouses) "Sun Tubes"... a
skylight system consisting of a clear dome above a Sonotube which passes
from your house's roof down to the living spaces.

Somewhere amongst the ETX90 web-ring (see the bottom of Mike's page) is
a (theoretically) web-accessible ETX90 with camera... that system must
be in a dome, so email to the owner might shed light...

Security camera dealers also use clear half-balls for ceiling-mounted

have fun

Subject:	ETX Dome?
Sent:	Wednesday, October 10, 2001 16:52:34
From:	ccoburn@snader.com (Charlie Coburn)
I have come across your site twice in the last couple of weeks. First as
the result of a search engine, and today at the suggestion of Meade's
Tech support staff.

An astronomer friend of mine told me that he had seen a Plexi-glass dome
for the ETX. He said it was available from Edmund Scientific for about
$100.00. Well... Now that I have told someone I can do a remote camera
system for them, I can't find the dome anywhere.

I am looking to house the ETX inside a weather tight housing. There will
be a video camera mounted to the scope, and it will be mounted on the
roof with the controls inside the building. Targets are all terrestrial,
so Elevation isn't really important.

Any ideas?  I'm about to run down to TAP Plastics to see if they can
fabricate anything like this. (Maybe a clear cake serving tray cover
wouuld work! ;)  )

Another option would be to make a housing that could travel with the OTA
and camera while leaving the Azimuth mount protruding below. As you can
see a clear dome might be the ticket.

If I have to fabricate something, I'll let you know what worked.

Any Ideas you have would be appreciated.

Clear Skies,

Charles Coburn
Systems Design Engineer, Snader and Associates www.snader.com
Director, Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society  www.skywatchers.org
Mike here: The back of astronomy magazines (Sky and Telescope, Astronomy) carry ads for such things but I don't recall one specifically for the ETX or prices as low as $100.

Subject:	batteries
Sent:	Wednesday, October 10, 2001 14:50:04
From:	pmdenise@qwest.net (michael a paul)
i would recommend staying away from batteries if at all possible and
going with a ac adapter you will save on the cost in just a few outings

Subject:	#881 Instructions Table Tripod
Sent:	Tuesday, October 9, 2001 20:34:12
From:	d.birmingham@worldnet.att.net (David Birmingham)
I've looked through the archives and even downloaded the "You can also
download a ZIP file (4MB) containing all the archive pages and their
graphics" albeit 6+MB file but I can't find what I thought I saw there.
I got a good deal on a #881 Table Tripod for my 125EC, but Mike at the
sight & Sound Shop forgot to include the instruction sheet(s). Did I see
a reproduction of that instruction material here, or am I confusing it
with another site?

Thanks again for the great site!

Mike here: I don't recall any instructions exactly although there are some comments about it on the Accessory Reviews - Tripods page.

Subject:	Southern hemisphere Users
Sent:	Tuesday, October 9, 2001 13:43:48
From:	rmontano@adinet.com.uy (Raul Montao)
congratulations for your site.

Please I want to contact ETX 90 & Autostar users in the southern
hemisphere , I am from Uruguay , so if you have someone from Argentina,
just perfect.

 Thank you very much

 Eng. Raul Montano

Subject:	Double-Double stars
Sent:	Tuesday, October 9, 2001 11:32:14
From:	sevdermish@surfree.co.il (sevdermish yehuda)
My name is Sevdermish Yehuda. I'm from Israel and a member of The
'Israeli Astronomical Association'.

Recently I found great interest about the Double-Double stars. Now Im
writing a comprehensive article for our association journal. Amongst
other facts Im very interested to show all possible data about the
Double-Double stars. From all the sources I could find, Im still missing
some important values.

Ill appreciate very much if somebody will guide me where I can find a
comprehensive table including those orbital elements:

          P - Period of revolutions in years.
          a - Semimajor axis of the true orbit in seconds of arc.
The data that I need must be for each pair of the double stars
separately and data relating to both pairs of the Double-Double stars

I also need the measured trigonometric parallax to enable me to
calculate the distance from sun.
Ill be very grateful to receive your reply.

My e-mail address is: sevdermish@surfree.net.il

Thank you very much

         Yehuda Sevdermish
Mike here: I don't know which ones specifically might help but check the "General Astronomy" section on the Astronomy Links page on my ETX Site. There is at least one about double stars.

Subject:	Its Alive
Sent:	Tuesday, October 9, 2001 1:13:57
From: Ray
To: "Clay Sherrod" 
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2001 2:38 AM
Thanks so very much for the great scope you sent back to me. It is
certainly much different than what I shipped out to you. I could not
believe what those battery's did they were brand new out of the box as
well. Just goes to show you what happens with much that is made in this
day and age. It is past midnight here I have been out playing as I was
up before dawn this morning trying to get some things done. Still it was
worth everything to get the scope doing what it could be able to do. I
will say this much this little 5 inch scope looks to be able to hold its
own with the 8 inch ones I have seen. The moon had just come up and it
was just crystal clear. so bright that it hurt your eyes but boy did
this scope show off all the little details. The terminator line was
incredible. So much to see so little time. As good as the optics are one
this scope now I don't think I will ever sell it. I am getting one of
the new lx200gps 12 inch one soon as I get my new dome built which I
hope is by March of next year. Still I am going to keep this for star
parties and such. Many is the time I go over the mountains between here
in Redding and Reno NV. It is so clear up at a mile high you can see
forever. That and having all the dense trees around there is just
crystal clear air. If for no other reason than to make use of the scope
for those trips. I have to get to bed now but I will write more later.
This scope is fantastic now thanks to you. dray






Subject:	My report on Supercharge service followup
Sent:	Monday, October 8, 2001 19:52:58
From:	matthewgertz@home.com (Matthew Gertz)
I thought I'd take a few minutes to report on a part of the Supercharge
service that's rarely discussed (mostly because it's normally not an
issue) -- Dr. Sherrod's followup care of a Supercharged scope, which is
great.  If you could post this testimony on your excellent "Mighty ETX"
website, it might answer some questions for people who are thinking
about getting their scope supercharged but are unsure as to how problems
would be followed up.

I bought my ETX-125 EC telescope last February, and although I and my
sons were enjoying it, the fact was that there was a lot of play in the
gears, and so my GOTO's, though very close, weren't quite on the money. 
My scope was a perfect fit for Dr. Sherrod's Supercharge service, and so
I made arrangements last May to ship the scope to him and get it

Normally, the story would end there -- satisfied customer relates how
Dr. Sherrod kept them informed during the process, updated and trained
their Autostar, and so on.  Indeed, Dr. Sherrod did all of that, and I
was very pleased with how I was kept up-to-date with what was going on.

It happens, sometimes, that things sometimes just go wrong, for no other
reason that... well, things happen.

I got the scope back, and I immediately got derailed from any use of it
due to the birth of my daughter in early June.  After the dust had
settled, I finally got a quick opportunity to try out the scope in early
July (this being the Seattle area, my viewing was rather limited due to
the late sunsets enjoyed (?) here in the summer, and the unusually
cloudy weather we had this past season).  I set it up on my porch, let
it cool down for a couple of hours, and then tried a two-star alignment
in polar mode to get me going.  After alignment, I decided to slew over
to a Messier object I'd been hankering to see for a while.

Well, I couldn't find it.  So, I slewed back to one of my alignment
stars (Arcturus, if I remember correctly) to see how accurate the scope
was.  It was way, way off.  Not even close.

Huh.  Well, I ran through my checklist again, making sure all of the
values in the Autostar were correct, and re-aligned (Arcturus and
Castor, I think I recall).  After alignment, I slewed back to Arcturus. 
No, it was way, way off.  After some experimentation, I was able to
determine that declination was *dead-on*, but R.A. was off by 2 hours on
the slew back.

Well, I'd had some AC adaptor problems in the past, so I picked up a
Meade AC adaptor, and tried that a couple of nights later.  Still bad
(which made sense, since the problem was overshoot, not undershoot). 

I had some correspondence with Clay on the issue, and I said I'd try a
few more tests, but I had to set the scope aside for another couple of
months as the baby duty became a little busy for a while.  Finally, last
month, I was able to take the scope out again.  It turned out that the
R.A. slop was cumulative -- a loss of 1 - 2 hours per slew, until
finally it would hit the hard stop.

Clay and I then began a busy correspondence of a half-dozen e-mails a
day, with me trying various daytime tests we'd devised together.  Clay
was very concerned about getting my scope working right, and was right
there all the way trying to help me figure it out.  After a day, we'd
eliminated the Autostar software and the Autostar itself as culprits. 
That left a hardware issue.  There were two possibilities:  a clamp
failure, or an encoder failure.  A clamp failure would have caused this
problem simply due to gravity & the weight of the tube, and would
therefore affect only Polar mode mostly; an encoder failure would
certainly repro in both Polar and Alt/Az mode.  I switched it to Alt/Az
mode and, voila!  Alt/Az was freaking out even worse that Polar mode. 
Clay asked me to ship the scope back to him, and he would examine the
scope further, with no charge to me for the additional labor.

Sure enough, Clay was able to determine one of my encoder arrays had
gotten fried; my personal guess is that it was probably due to the
non-Meade bargain AC adaptor I'd been using -- probably got zapped the
second I tried out my updated scope.  (The good doctor's reputation,
therefore, remains secure -- a bad encoder has nothing to do with a
Supercharge!)  Clay had some encoders on hand, so I bought one of his
(we didn't have to ship the scope to Meade, thank goodness!); he
installed it, retested, re-aligned, and rechecked the scope from top to
bottom -- essentially doing another Supercharge on the scope.  The
encoder fix worked, and he shipped it back to me.

Seattle is forecast to have heavy overcast for at least the next week;
however, I was able to run all of my indoor tests, and the scope
performed beautifully -- RIGHT ON THE MARK each time!  (Can't wait for
the skies to clear... )  Yeah!

So, a word from a satisified customer:  99% of the time, everything goes
right with a Supercharge -- witness all of the happy customers
testifying on Mike Weasner's wonderful Mighty ETX site.  Sometimes, just
by pure bad luck, though, something might go wrong.  Hey, y'know, that
happens.  No fears, however, because Dr. Sherrod is on hand, and happy
to work with you to get the scope working.  Allow me to reiterate that,
EVEN THOUGH the error had NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with Clay's
supercharge service, it was still important to him that my scope worked
for *me*.  He worked with me all the way -- he even threw in the labor
free on the encoder fix, and bumped me to the "front of the line" to get
the work done.  He just really likes a satisfied customer, and that's
exactly what I am.

If you're contemplating a Supercharge, and have been worried about
"well, sure, but what happens IF...", well, you can stop worrying.  Clay
will make *sure* your scope works for *you*, bottom line -- his work is
guaranteed, and he's a perfectionist when it comes to telescopes.


P.S.  Another tidbit for your readers:  if anyone's curious as to
whether or not the new Autostar downloader program works on the
forthcoming Windows XP, I can attest to the fact that it does -- I was
able to download 2.2Er via Windows XP (RC1) to my scope during the tests
that Clay and I ran, and no workarounds were required.

Dr. Matthew Gertz
Matt - thank you so much.  I wish you some very clear skies soon!  I am
glad I was able to help.

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	Tripod Adapters
Sent:	Monday, October 8, 2001 16:35:38
From:	Wryword@aol.com
Hi.  I've just come across your ETX website, and it is extremely well
done and informative.  I have a question that if you have the time I
hope you can answer.  I've not been very happy with the aluminium tripod
I have with my 125.  I have a much more substantial Meade tripod that I
used with an older 4" SCT.  It has a wedge and all, but theETX won't
mate with it.  However, I saw in one of the pictures on your website
that someone apparently found an attachment that will let you mate the
ETX with the older, steel tripods from Meade. This is just what I am
looking for, but where can such a thing be found?

Thank you.

John Henry
Mike here: Many dealers carry adapter plates. Try Scopetronix, Shutan, or OPT.

Subject:	Like the LOGO!
Sent:	Monday, October 8, 2001 15:49:41
From:	d.birmingham@worldnet.att.net (David Birmingham)
Just thought I'd drop a line to say I like the addition to the logo! Now
that it caught my attention I noticed the finder, could I ask what
brand? I bought the Scopetronix brand for my ETX-125EC and love it!

If I could impose one other question, do you think the 125 OTA would be
too large of a spotter for a 12" LX200?

Gaze On!

Mike here: Thanks. And the red-dot is a LightSight from Scopetronix. I've seen some pretty large scopes on LX200 models so it could work with adequate mounting AND counterbalancing.

Subject:	Meade Electronic Eyepiece
Sent:	Monday, October 8, 2001 11:14:47
From:	tom.craig@reichhold.com (Craig, Tom)
Wondering if you had come across any messages regarding the factory
offer I "discovered" this weekend at the Discovery Channel store. With
any scope purchase, they are including a Meade Electronic Eyepiece ($99
value). It is not available for sale separately. I had not come across
this as an accessory before. The one on display was mounted in the 45
adapter, although it would fit as any other 1.25" eyepiece (about as
long as a Barlow/12.5 combination) Output is NTSC for direct feed to TV,
VCR, Camcorder. Didn't see any other  specs- other than it provides
"monochromatic views of lunar, planetary and other objects" and it has a
brightness adjustment. Looked like the chip is about 1/8 x 3/16. Must be
battery powered (only had one cable). Doubt it performs like a
Pictor1616, but it could be fun for small groups or "remote


Tom Craig
Raleigh, NC

Subject:	Autostar and HNSKY
Sent:	Sunday, October 7, 2001 19:48:48
From:	mvasseur@videotron.ca (Michael F. Vasseur)
Do you know of anyone who has experience with having HNSKY
planetarium work with the Autostar (I'm running WIndows 2000)?


Michael F. Vasseur
Mike here: I don't believe it supports telescope control. Suggest writing to the author if you want it added.

Subject:	883 Field Tripod Fix from Meade
Sent:	Sunday, October 7, 2001 11:36:24
From:	dschre@att.net
I haven't found mention of this field repair from Meade, so disregard if
it's already in your archives somewhere.

The 883 tripod (ETX90) started seriously slipping after about
six-month's use.  I recently contacted Meade and they mailed me a set of
three reinforcement plugs and instructions for disassembly and
installing the plugs. Its straightforward and takes less than a 1/2 hour
to accomplish.  Basically it consists of plastic plugs that are inserted
into the height-adjustment-knob side of each leg.  Since these legs are
hollow and easily deformed this provides rigidity and tightening the
knob is no longer a feat of strength.

In short, it works (for now anyway) and I'm a bit happier about the
Mike here: Thanks for the reminder. There is discussion of this on the Accessory Reviews - Tripods page.

Subject:	Adromeda
Sent:	Sunday, October 7, 2001 10:45:43
From:	Briguy730@msn.com (Brian Gaines)
if i was to take a astrophotograph how long would i need to take the
picture to get an acual representation of the adromeda galaxy
Mike here: With film you would need several hours most likely. However, it is possible to get a photo from moderately dark skies that at least shows it. See my photo of M31 on my Deepsky Astrophotography page.


what if i was to take a picture using the camera attached to the
telescope of adromeda...i know it it is very dim but would it look like
Mike here: If you had perfect tracking (not likely) you would get a photo like I mentioned earlier. But what you are likely to get is a smeared mess.

Subject:	ring dial
Sent:	Sunday, October 7, 2001 9:44:12
From:	rhci@home.com (rhci)
I'm not sure if this is the ring dial you are looking for, but I'm guessing it is. LeeValley has lots of neat stuff.  Also check out their "Star Dial".

- Richard

Mike here: The URL didn't work but in searching the site for "sundial" I did find it. The ring they have is more ornate but the price is essentially the same.


From:	dagobahresident@mindspring.com (Spencer Petzold)
Hey thanks a lot for the great information i really appreciate it!
From:	dagobahresident@mindspring.com (Spencer Petzold)
Hey I found a cool site called
It has everything though I think I will make my purchase at Lee Valley.

They are more affordable and I think their appearance is neater.
Mike here: Gee, these all make my ring dial look archaic!

Subject:	Saturn
Sent:	Saturday, October 6, 2001 21:34:39
From:	Briguy730@msn.com (Brian Gaines)
at what magnification would i need to use to see Saturn's rings so i can
really distinguish them
Mike here: You can easily see the Rings with about 50x but more is better.

Subject:	Afocal/primefocus
Sent:	Saturday, October 6, 2001 21:32:23
From:	Briguy730@msn.com (Brian Gaines)
what is the difference between afocal and prime focus...how come when i
see pictues of Jupiter with the 26 mm it doesn't look at big in my
eyepiece through the telescope
Mike here: Afocal photography is done by shooting through an eyepiece with the camera lens inplace. With many digital cameras and video cameras this is the only method possible. Prime focus photography is done with the camera lens removed and no eyepiece. The telescope acts like a telephoto lens in this case. To learn more, see the various astrophotography pages on my ETX Site. As to image size, it is easy to enlarge photographs beyond that what the eye sees.

Subject:	Batteries
Sent:	Saturday, October 6, 2001 14:35:37
From:	slp2001@home.com (Scott Pierce)
I just bought a Etx-90ec, I have a question about what type of batteries
I should use.

I went to Radio Shack to see about rechargeable ones. They have several
types, 1600ma,1000ma and 700 ma. They appear to be 1.2v. Regular
alkiline are 1.5v but don't say anything about milli amps. Can you help
me? I wouldn't want to ruin the Telescope on my first try out with it.

Thanks for the information.
Mike here: See the article "ETX Electronics" on the Telescope Tech Tips page.

Subject:	Piggy backed 80mm refractor
Sent:	Friday, October 5, 2001 20:40:07
From:	woodjc@netcom.ca (John Wood)
I have mounted a Vista 508 80mm short tube refractor to my ETX 125EC
using the Scopetronix Piggy-back mounting ring exactly as John Theodossy
suggests.  The motors handle the weight with no difficulty.  The
refractor has a double ring mounting cradle and I had thought that two
Scopetronix rings might be needed for stability but this does not seem
to be necessary.

Focussing the refractor adds considerably to it's length.  With a focal
reducing lens added it still extends over the ETX  eyepiece but you can
use this port to hold a ccd video camera mounted in a 35mm film
cassette.  The plan is to use this to guide the assembly.


Subject:	Resource recommendation (and good gift for folks...)
Sent:	Friday, October 5, 2001 20:29:30
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Frequently when planning, explaining, studying and dreaming about
the skies, it's handy to be able to picture in your mind, or model
with paper, balls or hands waving in the air, the various motions
and relative relationships between and among the stars, planets and

An **excellent** resource for understanding and visualizing these
things is/are Guy Ottewell's annual Astronomical Calendar ($24 + 
$5 shipping) and the backgrounder, his Astronomical Companion ($18).

Quantity discounts available... buy oodles and give 'em away (i do).


I cannot praise those two publications highly enough... (ad on page
66 of Nov 2001 Sky&Tele).. nor do the web or ad do them justice.

The Companion does a marvelous job of showing us how and where we are
in the local and distant scheme of things... the Calendar is a 
fantastic observing guide for the entire year ... the finder charts
alone are a gem for showing the spiralling dance our local objects
do throughout the year.
They're *big*: 22 inches wide and 14 inches tall when opened
 (56 cm x 36 cm)

Once you've picked one up, you will -not- let it get too far from
 your sight...


Subject:	New Space And Astronomy site
Sent:	Friday, October 5, 2001 5:53:46
From:	shan@powerup.com.au (Mr Foreman)
I would like to introduce a new Australian Astronomy site,
www.spaceandastronomy.com.au. If you have time to visit the site and
maybe offer comments or suggestions that would be greatly appreciated.

Maybe if you like the site you could add it to your wonderful website.

Thank You
    Shane Foreman
    Space And Astronomy

Subject:	Re: reassembling the Meade 14mm UWA eyepiece
Sent:	Thursday, October 4, 2001 21:46:55
From:	jean.ancell@xtra.co.nz (Trevor Ancell)
the 14mm uwa is back together, thankyou for your help Mike.

Subject:	Ring Dial
Sent:	Thursday, October 4, 2001 17:17:17
From:	dagobahresident@mindspring.com (Spencer Petzold)
I attended the Borrego Springs trip with my father. What a great time!
Any who, I was intrigued by your ring dial, the gold one that you said
you got in Williamsburg, VA. Would you be able to let me in on where you
can buy one of those.

    Thank You,
Spencer Petzold
Mike here: Well, I have no idea. It is one of the "gift shop" type of items. Perhaps if you searched the web for "ring sundial" you might find one. Let me know if you do.

Subject:	Astrophotography
Sent:	Thursday, October 4, 2001 6:01:25
From:	Dsteele@focusnet.co.uk
I am interested to start doing astrophotography with my ETX 90 RA. I
dont know if youve seen in Astronomy magazine but the Widescreen Centre
in London is offering a Zenit 312m, 35mm single lens reflex camera. Do
you know anything of the camera and if you think it will be any good. it
is priced at £109.

Subject:	ETX 90  or 105?? or??
Sent:	Wednesday, October 3, 2001 9:02:15
From:	jonsson@strada.se (Kent Jonsson)
My name is Kent. Im living in sweden and looking around for a telescope.
I surching for a telescope that is easy to bring around. I first thought
about the ETX 90, than I saw the 105, but it is not much written about
this telescope. Some people recomend the nexstar4 instead of
I think the size will be 3.5 to 5 in.
I fly to New York next month and thought I would buy a telescope than,
Its much cheaper.
If you can give me some good advice I`ll be glad.

Mike here: The ETX-105EC does seem to be a nice telescope but it is slightly larger than the ETX-90 models. The larger size has its good points and its bad points. So, if you more portability go for the -90; if you want more aperture in a slightly larger telescope, go for the -105. Keep in mind that you may not be able to carry either telescope as carryon baggage right now. And the ETX-105EC in an appropriate case may not qualify either.

Subject:	New etx clone from vixen....
Sent:	Wednesday, October 3, 2001 0:56:39
From:	jlc@sbcglobal.net (Jeff Crilly)
Thought you might find this interesting...

New etx clone from vixen....


or, in english...


Or, from the source..


It looks like it has a ways to go still before we see it.


Subject:	Parfocal
Sent:	Tuesday, October 2, 2001 15:37:22
From:	Briguy730@msn.com (Brian Gaines)
what does parfocal mean... a 40 and 50 mm lense said on a web site that
they are not parfocal and that 30mm and down are parfocal what does that
Mike here: Basically it means that the eyepieces focus at the same point. So you don't have to adjust the focus position when you change eyepieces that are parfocal with each other.

Subject:	Transporting the Telescope
Sent:	Tuesday, October 2, 2001 13:10:22
From:	nuwan@samaranayake.org (Nuwan Samaranayake)
I want to get some opinion from people with some experiance with
international travel taking the telescope with them. I am  planing to go
to my country in Asia for a vacation and like to take my ETX-90EC with
me. I have the Meade hard case for the scope. I was planning to take it
as a carry-on luggage with me. But due to recent security restriction in
U.S. Airports I am not sure that it is a good idea. I can put the hard
case inside one of the checked-in luggages( a soft case luggage) but
worry about the safty of the scope as I have two transits and that these
luggages are not handled with much care in Airports. My other option is
not to take it. Well, before I make a decision I want to get some
opinions from others who visit you site. Any help with the past
experiances will be helpful to make a decision about this.

- Nuwan
Mike here: You can see what I used in the "Mighty ETX Visits Australia" article on the Just for Fun page.

Subject:	GOTO
Sent:	Tuesday, October 2, 2001 9:49:27
From:	DonMcClelland@webtv.net (Donald McClelland)
You may have missled someone on one of your inquires IMHO.  You said to
check the info. on JMI Micro Max/Max computers for GOTO as an add on.  I
still have one of the Max computers and these are used as programed
digital setting circles only.  There is no "Go To" capability with them.
I will say this.  They are extremely efficient with high resolution
encoders.  Sorry to bring this to light but I thought you'd want to

Mike here: Thanks for catching that.

Subject:	a lunar image feed from a sac iv ccd to a video chat room 
Sent:	Monday, October 1, 2001 20:09:33
From:	bob_eisenman@yahoo.com (Bob Eisenman)
I own a Meade etx 90 and a Sac IV ccd cam. I also am a member of a video
chat network called LivVe (http://www.livve.com/). While the site tends
to be on the party hearty end of net surfing, the $12 monthly membership
allows the user to create video / audio chat rooms using streaming video
feed from the chatroom host webcam. The last time I had my Sac iv
connected to the Meade etx 90 I created a chatroom while logged onto
LivVe and selected the video driver for the Sac iv ccd (VICAM digital
camer avi driver). The transmitted video to other members of the
chatroom was a 160 x 120 series of live moon images transmitted on
9/29/01. Easy to view and focus objects like the moon do well in this
video room chat format. Live audio responses from chat room members or
the traditional typed chat responses are possible with a 56k modem dial
up internet server.

You have a great website!

Subject:	Re: Well I finally ordered something
Sent:	Monday, October 1, 2001 18:49:50
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Hi Ronnie and congratulations on the scope! I think you should just go
ahead an use it and see how it does; most do just fine and I would not
attempt any modifications at this point.  Scopetronix is a good company
to do business with and they will help you a lot on accessories, etc.

The GO TO function is something that will really add some enjoyment to
the hobby and make things "fun" for you without the many frustrations of
not knowing exactly where to look.

If you need any help please feel free to write anytime.  Regarding home
position, alignment, etc., check out all the TECH TIPS on Mike Weasner's
ETX site....almost any question you might have will be answered
somewhere on that great tool to all astronomers!

Great skies and bright comets!

Clay Sherrod
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  Dr. Clay
  I finally made my mind up to try the ETX-90EC first. I think it will
  do what I want to do right now and if I stay in the hobby maybe I can
  sell my 8" Newt and then buy a LX-90. I am afraid to put that much
  money in one scope right now and maybe the ETX-90 will let me know
  what I need to know. I sold enough Ham Radio equipment to purchase
  everything for the ETX that I need so I didnt have to put any money
  with it and that keeps the Wife Happy :) I appreciate your help and
  Mikes great site is also a great help. I got a package deal from
  ScopeTronix and I hope it gets here this week so I can try it out this
  weekend. Is there anything I should do first when it gets here? I have
  read alot about training the drives and bad grease in the gears? I
  hope that im not disappointed in the little scope, I plan to take it
  on trips and do a little bird watching. I will try some pictures on
  the moon and planets a little later on but right now im just
  interested in seeing if the tracking, GOTO and everything works as it
  should. Thanks again and let me know if I can be of any help to you.

Subject:	Image brightness vs magnification
Sent:	Monday, October 1, 2001 12:49:42
From:	Briguy730@msn.com (Brian Gaines)
is it good to get a 40 or 50 mm eye pieces for nebular or galaxy
sights...will they be brighter or sharper...

I noticed that when i put the Barlow in with my 26 mm the image was
dimmer and i couldn't resolve it that well at all compared to the 26 mm

How much brighter would the Adromeda galaxy be if i put a 40mm eye piece
instead of a 26mm

Thank u for your web site
Mike here: Less magnification reduces the area that the image brightness is spread over. So, yes, the image would be brighter with a longer focal length eyepiece. More magnification increases the area, so images appear dimmer, as you've seen when using the Barlow Lens. Would a 40mm eyepiece provide better views of galaxies and nebulae? Yes, sometimes, but keep in mind that just using a longer focal length eyepiece can not make up for what the telescope by itself can't provide.

Subject:	ETX focus control - a $.25  necessary improvement
Sent:	Monday, October 1, 2001 10:01:31
From:	htedlin@home.com (Ted Lin)
I have been bothered by the sensitive vibration of the ETX focus knob
control, and was thinking about getting a electronic focuser, but was
not sure about that due to its price and repeated report about the
control issue.

While searching for some ideas, I found the famous laundry pin solution,
and other adaptive version from the motor control.  I also read some
info about Scopronic's a flexible wire to extend the control knob, and
about how it behave when the tube is pointing right up.  I think if I
can find a flexible tubing, I can give it a try.

I ended up bough a spiral spring at the local Beasy Beaver hardware shop
while looking for some plumbing parts. It sells for $.23 cents/foot, and
was originally for repairing lawn mower choke/valve control. Took the
knob down using the included hex screw and inserted this spiral wire,
and insert another screw at the free end for easy turning.  Took it out
for a test run, and it works beautifully. I guess MEADE should include
this $.25 cents wire in the scope.  I guess you can use any flexible
hose as long as the inner diameter is small than 3/16" (1/8" will be
tighter). I think next weekend I will get a good quality rubber vacuum
line from the auto-parts store, and that will even damp out the tremble
better as compared with the steel spring.

Just want to share this with you ETX owners.

Ted Lin
And an update:
Well, I picked up at Sear Hardware store one foot of 3/16" Good Year
fuel line rubber tubing yesterday, and put on the scope last night.
Worked beautifully, much better than the steel spring since it really
damp out the vibration from my hand.  The tubing has actually 1/8" ID (I
guess it is rated as 3/16" because it assume the rubber will give a
little, but it fit perfectly on the ETX125 focus shaft. The outside
diameter is little less than 1/2", and I really like it since it extends
out from the end of OTA, and you hand can just hold it anyway you want,
the further away from the shaft, the smaller the image trimmer.  When
the OTA is pointing straight at Vega, the soft rubber bend gently and
has essentially no effect on the turning of the focus. I am not sure why
no one has suggested this at all.

Try it out, it's only $.93 a foot at Sears, and I used only about 5".


Subject:	Eyepiece edge sharpness
Sent:	Monday, October 1, 2001 9:55:14
From:	tomnagy@nauticom.net (TLN)
Concerning edge sharpness with the 9mm ETX60 eyepiece:

I found that the lense in my 9mm eyepiece was loose. I could here the
lense rattle if I shock the eyepiece. I tightened (SNUGGED)the lense
from the telescope end of the eyepiece using a small screwdriver
inserted into on of the 4 slots in the threaded lense retainer ring.

Tom Nagy

Subject:	ETX 90 RA
Sent:	Monday, October 1, 2001 5:34:38
From:	Dsteele@focusnet.co.uk
I bought the ETX 90 RA the other day, used it most of Saturday night and
was very pleased with the results. The only problem I had was with the
Meade 2x Barlow Lens. When looking at Jupiter and Saturn with the 9mm
Plossi it was fine but wanted to get closer. The Barlow took me closer
but the focusing quality was rubbish. Do you think if I bought one of
the following eyepieces I would get closer and better results for
viewing the planets. If so which one do you reccommend.

Meade series 3000 Plossi- 5mm or a 6.7mm

Meade series 4000 Plossi- 6.4mm

Bear in mind I have the 2x Barlow, 25mm eyepiece and a 9mm eyepiece.

Many thanks

Daniel Steele

ie. Does the automatic focuser you can buy only work on the ETX 90 EC
version. Because I read on one of your pages you need to focus using the
Mike here: The Electric Focuser does not require the Autostar; it has its own controller for those who don't have the Autostar. As to using a Barlow to increase magnification, keep in mind that the theoretical maximum magnification for any telescope is twice the aperture in millimeters, or 180x for the ETX-90 models. When you double the 9mm you will exceed that max. You can exceed the max with good quality optical components on bright objects. But you will see some "breakup" or "fuzziness" when looking at planets with too much magnification. Yes, you can use those other eyepieces but you may still be disappointed.


So a 7mm eyepiece should be perfect because it only exceeds 178.5X

Subject:	reassembling the Meade 14mm UWA eyepiece
Sent:	Monday, October 1, 2001 5:03:39
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	jean.ancell@xtra.co.nz
I saw your post on the Mighty ETX site about your 14mm UWA lens coming
apart.  You really have a mess and I will try to walk you through it.

You will have five (5) components that are actually composed of eight
(8) lenses, some of which are cemented into place as a "lens group".  I
will call each one of these (both the cemented combos and individual
lens elements) a number from "1" to "5" STARTING with the group CLOSEST
to the EXIT PUPIL, or that lens closest to the eye when observing. You
will reassemble ONLY in this order, with the first group needing to be
put in first, followed by each other one in succession:

group 1 - One of two cemented doublets that will show a concave surface
on one face and a convex surface on the other.  This is a fairly large
doublet, but is the SMALLER of the two (#3 is the second similar group).
 Place the CONCAVE surface facing out of the eyepiece, or toward your

group 2 - a single lens, very large, convex on both surfaces; this is
the one that you likely might get in backwards, since in is MORE convex
curved on one side than the other; use a tissue paper on the flat
surface of a table to determine which side is more curved....the face
that has the greatest curve goes against group #1 that you just put in.

group 3 - identical to group #1, but this is the largest of all groups;
the concave surface is only very slightly concave, and that surface
faces the group #2 that you just inserted.

group 4 - an easy one to identify, this is a meniscus lens with nearly
equal concave and convex surfaces on opposite sides....put the convex
side facing the group (#3) that you just put in, or toward the eye end
of the eyepiece.

Group 5 - another easy one....there is a spacer between this tiny lens
doublet and group #4 that you just put in.  Put the space inside up
against group #4 already in the eyepiece barrel and then insert group #5
with the concave surface facing group #4...this will put the FLAT side
of this doublet facing the opposite, or back side, of the eyepiece.

Good luck!

Clay Sherrod
P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	shipping etx internationally?
Sent:	Monday, October 1, 2001 4:38:35
From:	gillo@ams.greenpeace.org (Gilberto Cutrupi)
Hi I'd like to know if there are any dealers shipping etx scopes outside
the States. it seems unbelievable to me that for the same scope (an
etx-70), which is sold throughout the States for US$299, in Europe can
be found at the "cheap" price of 470 US$, almost the price of an etx-90.

I'm aware of tax issues and customs, but these don't affect so much
other items like computer equipment for example. Why then penalizing
those who'd like to start learning astronomy in other countries?

Mike here: I suppose it depends upon the dealer and their distribution agreements. I don't recall seeing any reports however.

Subject:	Photo page link for your web site
Sent:	Monday, October 1, 2001 0:42:03
From:	drounds@jvlnet.com (David R. Rounds)
Here is a link to my AstroPhotography page on my web site.


I just purchased a scanner (after getting the digital camera!), so I was
able to scan some of my older photos and post them. The photo of Mars
was taken by hand-holding the Canon S100 digital camera to the telescope

You may either post a link to the page or download the images and post
them on the apropriate pages of your web site.  Each image is stored on
the web site in two sizes, a small 5-30k image, displayed on the web
page and a larger 15-400k image displayable by clicking on the displayed

Dave Rounds 

Subject:	Meade Electric Focuser
Sent:	Monday, October 1, 2001 0:38:12
From:	yamamoto@netwiz.net (Tatsuo Yamamoto)
The 9V battery in  Meade Electric Focusers runs out very quickly. I
measured the DC current and found out the focuser draws 4mA even if it
is not in use. I also found out by detaching the cable to motor unit, it
will not draw current. When it is in operation, it draws approximately
30mA. Because of the idele current, battery dies in a few weeks.

I am not sure if my focuser is defective or if this is a common design


Tatsuo Yamamoto
Mike here: This was a common report right after the Meade Focuser was released. But thanks for pointing out it for those recent purchasers.


Thanks for the prompt response. 

Has there been a fix to this problem ?


Tatsuo Yamamoto
Mike here: Not that I recall.

Subject:	re: GoTo an original ETX90ra?
Sent:	Sunday, September 30, 2001 23:49:09
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	kellyhart1@netzero.net
In the "it's already on Mike's Site" category...
take a look at:

for one approach...
and then there's Steve Bedair's methods...


have fun

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