Last updated: 31 October 2002
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT. Additional information on these models is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	ETX70 declination problem cont.
Sent:	Thursday, October 31, 2002 7:57:32
From:	FINNR@BOT.KU.DK (Finn N. Rasmussen)
Mrio Pina wrote:
  You say on your email to "lock the axis the enough so that the
tube does not move by gravity". The problem is that neither the one I
got now nor the other I had (when whose working), can move the tube
vertically when doing the procedure you said. It's always necessary to
tight a little more or the motor can't move the tube up and down. Is
that normal for ETX-70 ?  

Normal or not, you are not the only ETX-70 owner with this problem. On
my ETX-70 I have to tighten the vertical lock really hard before the
motor are able to move the OTA. The horizontal motor can move the OTA
even if is not locked at all! Despite this, GoTo and tracking work OK,
so I have not complained to the dealer. But I'm thinking of sending a
mail to the Danish importer and ask if they know this phenomenon and
whether it is a problem or may become a problem.  - Finn Rasmussen,
From: (Mrio Pina)
Tank you very much for your email. It's good to know that more ETX-70
owners have the same problem. So maybe it's not a problem but a
"characteristic" of the scope or some scopes of this model, and don't
become a defect.

My fear is because the first one I buy after two weeks of working with
no problems (he had that "characteristic" in the declination lock), stop
moving the tube up and down no mater I tight the vertical lock. The
vendor doesn't know the problem and replace the scope with a new one.
This is working great like the other but have the same "characteristic"
that makes me look to the declination lock system with some suspect!

Once again tanks for the information about this matter. When you have
updates, please email me, I will be grateful.

Mrio Pina

Subject:	ETX-60 
Sent:	Wednesday, October 30, 2002 17:18:53
From: (Jody Spurrell)
Do you know where I can get a replacement mirror for the Meade ETX-60 ?
Mike here: Meade would be the best source but any small first surface mirror of the same dimensions would work.


do you have a email for meade, or do i have to call em, I could not seem
to find a email adress on there site
Mike here: There is no email. Check their web site for voice and fax numbers.
Subject:	Re: Declination problem
Sent:	Monday, October 28, 2002 11:23:18
From: (Mrio Pina)
Hello again Mike

Tanks for you fast reply. The answer for your question is no. With the
axis lock the tube stays in the position but the motor cannot move the
tube up or down.

Anyway I got a replacement scope from the vendor and it's working sow

You say on your email to "lock the axis the enough so that the tube does
not move by gravity". The problem is that neither the one I got now nor
the other I had (when whose working), can move the tube vertically when
doing the procedure you said. It's always necessary to tight a little
more or the motor can't move the tube up and down. Is that normal for
ETX-70 ?

Anyway I will accomplish 100% your advice and hoping that the problem
doesn't repeat with the new scope.

Thank you very much.

Mrio Pina
Mike here: Thanks for the update. Perhaps Meade has changed the lock a little bit.
Subject:	ETX 70AT Carrying case
Sent:	Sunday, October 27, 2002 9:23:34
From: (Mike Simpson)
I own a EXT 70AT and was wondering if you or anyone has instructions on
building a wood carrying case.  I would like to build one.  Thank you
very much for your help.  Please send emails to
Mike here: You might find the article "ETX Outline for Hard Cases" on the Telescope Tech Tips page of some use. You might also want to look at the Accessory Reviews - Cases page for some ideas.
Subject:	Declination problem
Sent:	Saturday, October 26, 2002 7:21:23
From: (Mrio Pina)
Congratulations for your excellent site full of ETX information for
those who use or going to use these greats telescopes.

I buy an ETX-70 last month and after some days of difficulties in
adjusting the Autostar I finally enjoy the pleasure of "GOTO" facility.
The scope work great for two weeks and then stops moving up and down
(with the hand control) when I was tracking M34 in Perseus. No problem
in horizontal rotation but the vertical movement stop working. I can
year the motor but the tube doesn't move up or down. The vendors agree
in changing the unit with a new one but I wonder if I did something
wrong to the vertical lock. I always tight to a "firm feel" the lock and
when puting the scope in the box I always live the system unlocked.

Is the vertical system fragile? Is there more things to do for the
problem don't repeat in my new scope?

Many thanks and keep doing your great work.

Mrio Pina
Mike here: I suspect that the Right Tube Adapter failed, either from overtightening or some material flaw. If you raise the tube (by hand) and then lock the axis does the tube stay in that position or does it want to go back down? If it goes down then the RTA is definitely broken. To avoid this in the future just tighten the axis lock enough so that the tube does not move by gravity.
Subject:	re: stick on slewing...
Sent:	Wednesday, October 23, 2002 13:23:01
From: (Michael)
On October 21, J.P. Murphy stated"
>it sweeps around mindlessly until one stops the process before the coil cord 
>from the keypad is wound up tight.

Your response indicates that you had not heard of this.  Well, I have
had an ETX-70AT for a little over a year, and can confirm JP's
observation.  The ETX scopes begin to slew uncontrollably on the RA axis
when the batteries get too low.  You'll be out enjoying the sky and hit
"GoTo" one more time, and it starts.  The only remedy is to shut it off
and replace the batteries (or connect an AC adaptor, which I always use
now whenever AC is available at my viewing site).

While the manual for these little scopes states the batteries should
last approximately 20 hours, I have never found this to be the case.  I
may have gotten up to 15 hours at the most before this slewing problem
starts, but it always does this when the batteries are low.  Temperature
also affects it, as with any battery operated electronics.  You get less
life out of your batteries when they are used at very cold temperatures.

Clear Skies,

From: (Ken Martin)
I have found this to be the case with the EXT-70 as well. Drove me crazy
until I figured out what was wrong. Fresh batteries - no problem.

Ken Martin

Subject:	stick on slewing (continuous)
Sent:	Monday, October 21, 2002 18:05:28
I found that when the batteries are getting ready to die the motors will
run but the locating function just lets them have their head. it sweeps
around mindlessly until one stops the process before the coil cord from
the keypad is wound up tight. Since i made a battery eliminator (radio
shack) it behaves and i dont have to buy pounds of little batteries.

J. P. Murphy III, Redwood City, Ca.
Mike here: Haven't heard that before. What model telescope?


etx-60. yeah, it would go right past the desired object--j. p. Murphy III

Subject:	ETX 70 download?
Sent:	Saturday, October 19, 2002 13:49:34
I have tried and tried to download satellite data to my 70 and searched
your site for information that may illuminate my problem but to no
avail.  I have the #506 cable kit however there were no instructions
included.  The program is loaded into my computer and does recover data
from the 494 autostar but gives the message that no downloads are
available for the 494 autostar when I try to download satellite data
from mead.  What is going on?

Good site thanks.
Mike here: There is currently no ROM update for the Autostar #494. So trying to download an update for that won't work. See the articles "Satellite Tracking" and "How to use the Updater: Manipulating Libraries" on the Autostar Information page for more information.
Subject:	Jerky RA 70AT
Sent:	Friday, October 18, 2002 14:45:10
From: (Uckfield Judges)
I have been observing an occultation of a bright star (33Psc) by the
moon this evening which required longish periods at the eyepiece. (I was
using the 9mm eyepiece and 2x barlow.) There is a pronounced jerkiness
in the movement of the Az drive which occurs almost every second.

The image jumps to the right, so the scope is jumping forwards as it
tracks. After the jump the image moves left until centered again before
the next jump. (Over time the image drifts left but as I was observing
the moon I didn't take much time over alignment)

I have noticed this before but at lower magnifications it is only
slightly annoying.

Having searched the site I was wondering whether this could be caused by
grease on the encoders or there may be (hopefully) a simpler answer.

What do you think?

Best regards from a grateful observer

Mike here: Could you be seeing the "stepping" that is done since the telescope has to move in two axes when tracking in Alt/Az mode? You could try reTRAINing the drives; it might improve this. Alternatively you could just move the telescope in azimuth by hand several times in both directions (make several rotations in one direction before reversing). Be certain the azimuth axis is unlocked. That can redistribute the grease. Let me know.
Subject:	Solar Filters?
Sent:	Friday, October 18, 2002 14:02:34
From: (Robert Harrison)
I Have a Meade ETX 70AT and I wondered if a solar filter would be worth

Can you see sun spots, ect?

Great Website!

Mike here: Yes, you can see sunspots. Solar observing is fun when all the right safety precautions are taken.
Subject:	Barlow lens on ETX70AT
Sent:	Thursday, October 17, 2002 13:20:36
From: (Neil Jenkins)
I have recently purchased a ETX 70AT, great scope. I bought a second
hand Barlow lens it's a Meade 07270 #122 2x telenegative. I cannot get
my standard eyepieces into focus at all. Have I got an incompatable
Barlow lens for the 70AT? or is there something I can do. I tried
unscrewing the Barlow and by holding the 25mm lens over the top I did
manage to get it in focus. I did not manage get the 9mm in focus using
the same technique.

Neil Jenkins, Wales UK
Mike here: Yes, you have an incompatible Barlow Lens. You need to get one designed for the ETX-70AT, such as the Meade #124 (2X) or #128 (3X). Other Barlow Lenses may not reach a focus with all eyepieces.
Subject:	ETX-70AT - Horizontal motor but scope is not moving
Sent:	Monday, October 14, 2002 20:24:35
From: (Carlos Family)
I've mentioned a couple of times that my ETX-70AT was having R.A.
slewing problems while in polar alignment.  I think it's official, the
gear must have gone dead.  I heard a snap while using it tonight and the
scope is not responding when I try to move it left to right or vice

I can't use it now, so I'll definitely try to get in touch with Meade. 
I've only had it for about 9 months.  Hopefully, they'll still cover it
with the warranty.

If you could have some advice, I'd appreciate it.

Mike here: Snap sounds are usually not good. Could be that either a wire was cut or something broke. If the motor will not run I would suspect a wire being cut.


The motor is running but the scope is not moving.  I think the gear must
have broken off or something.

Subject:	Stupid ETX question...
Sent:	Monday, October 14, 2002 13:04:45
From: (Saye Atkinson)
I have a stupid question. Is there any reason why you can't just hook a
single 9V battery up to the plug on the ETX70 rather than using 6 AA
batteries and the battery pack?

Mike here: See the Telescope Tech Tips page for several ETX-70AT power supply articles. None mention using a 9V battery but one does use D cells.
Subject:	re: New Meade ETX70
Sent:	Friday, October 11, 2002 22:37:24
From: (Richard Seymour)
> In fact, I can't get the scope to find alignment stars near nadir
> in general, although it seems to align ok if I manually select 
> a couple of known "mid-sky" stars manually.

If you allow the Autostar to choose the stars (Align/Easy),
you'll find that it limits its choices to stars between 20
and 65 degrees above the horizon, at least 30 azimuth degrees
apart... and not Polaris.

"Mid-sky", as you've discovered.

have fun

Subject:	Re: ETX-70AT Autostar objects
Sent:	Friday, October 11, 2002 13:13:54
From: (Jean-Franois COLIAC)
> There is a list, but not all 1400 objects, on the Autostar
> Information page.  See the article "#494 Database Info".

This is the list I saw before sending my mail.

I was searching for another list which displays the NGCs and CALDWELL
objects existing in the database.

It is frustating searching for a NGC object without finding it.

Your answer shows it does not exists

Best regards
Jean-Franois COLIAC

Subject:	Dec circle question
Sent:	Wednesday, October 9, 2002 11:24:04
From: (Saye Atkinson)
Thanks so much again for the site and for your astonishingly quick
response to my last question. In the FAQ you mention leveling the base
and optical tube with a bubble-level, then tightening the Dec lock and
then loosening the left hand knob and thumbing the Dec circle to zero.
Maybe I'm not turning hard enough on the un-knurled knob, but damned if
I can turn it. Are you sure the left knob on the ETX70 is adjustable? Do
I need to take a rubber gripper wrench to this thing? Does it unscrew
the "wrong" way? luck yet getting the Meade software (Astronomer's Control
Panel) to talk through my laptop to the scope. I guess I have the right
gear...AutoStar 454 and a 506 cable. After insuring that the COM port
I've selected is free, I get a "Telescope failed to respond to initial
command. Check your serial cable and make sure the telescope is powered
up." Which I do.  If I plug it in after aligning the scope, the scope
refuses to obey slew commands from the Autostar. Am I missing something

Thanks for any help!

Mike here: Have you tried any other software to talk to the Autostar? And the knob on the left does loosen. Hold the scale in place with one hand and grip the knob with the other and turn the knob. If it is really tight you may need to use a rubber jar lid opener.


I should point out that I have also tried to get a connection with the
Autostar absent. Here is my complete train of thought on this. I'm a
software guy. I don't understand hardware at all:

If I connect the cable from my PC to the ETX base before alignment and
then power up Autostar, I get the display "Use ETX AutoStar with this
scope." and the AutoStar locks up.

If I align the scope and then attach the cable from my PC to the scope,
it stops slewing and AutoStar locks up.

Both the interfaces for the Astronomer's Control Panel and Earth
Centered Universe indicate that they cannot communicate with the scope
under any settings.

I thought maybe the AutoStar needed to be absent (although I can't find
anything in the literature that said "don't plug in the AutoStar.") But
I tried just setting the scope to "Home," plugging in the cable and
powering up the scope. No dice. Then, I noticed that the short and long
cables have different plugs at the end. The serial adapter seemed
designed for the wider plug, but I snapped in the narrow plug, repeated
everything, and still no dice. I even tried it on my laptop and my
desktop PCs. I even tried every permutation of connect/power up PC,
scope, etc.

Now I can't believe that I have two bad cables, although it is possible
that the small-plug cable is not to be used with the serial adapter at
all and the large-plug cable is bad. So, other than this, the only
possibilities I see are:

1)     the serial adapter is bad; 
2)     the receptacle on the scope base is bad (although is seems to
sense when something is plugged in; see above)

Thanks for you patience on this.. I'd love to just get Starry Night Pro
or ECU and be done with the "Astronomer's Control Panel," but I'm not
buying any software if the hardware is hosed up somehow.

Mike here: Well, unless there is something wrong with the computer port, the cable, or the ETX AUX port, and you have the current version of ACP, I'm at a loss. And the Autostar does need to be connected.

And a final resolution:

I just noticed that they shipped me a 505 cable instead of a 506. I'm
assuming that this makes all the difference in the world.
Mike here: Oh yeah! You need the #506 with the ETX-70AT!
Subject:	ETX 70AT motor problem?
Sent:	Wednesday, October 9, 2002 9:32:53
From: (Scott)
Thanks for the great website and the help you have given me in the past.

I have finally had clear skies but the wind last night made  it
impractical to observe outside, so I looked for Saturn this morning at
approx 1:30am to 4:30 am. I new were to find Jupiter but took a little
time finding Saturn. Managed to see it like a small dot with a ring
round it (25mm x 3x and 9mm x 3xbarlow ) and what I now assume was one
of its Moons, Titan probably, not bad considering I was looking through
a double glass window. Also managed to see M35.

I have also seen Jupiter and its moons with the same set up but no cloud
detail. I find that if before taking out the 25mm eye piece I blur the
image into a big dot it makes it easier to find it with the next eye
piece combination. This might help people who can see one star with the
25mm and then cant find it with the other eye pieces I find this works
with most combinations. Now to my problem, whilst using the Autostar
purely to move the telescope it would occasionally jam on, and carry on
slewing by itself, all I have done is accept the sun warning and slowed
down the speed, I was also using batteries at the time?

Considering that I have not yet had the chance to try out the two star
alignments. due to my batteries dying on me, though this was due to
learning how to use it all day and doing trial runs of  setting up from
Arcturus and this seemed to look like it was pointing too the right
places. This is a good scope and I have already learnt a lot and am
still learning, and actually being able to see two planets so far is
amazing plus I Have a pretty good dark site once street lights go out
after 01:00am.

Thanks In advance
Isle of Lewis, 
Western Isles
Mike here: The slewing "run-on" you mention has been reported by a few others. I don't think there is a single reason for it. I suspect the key is sticking and that with use it might go away. Or you can try cleaning it. See the article "Keypad Cleaning" on the Autostar Information page.
Subject:	New Meade ETX70
Sent:	Tuesday, October 8, 2002 13:26:34
From: (Saye Atkinson)
Thank you for the site. It's a great contribution to amateur astronomy.

I have a couple of issues relating to my new Meade ETX70. Perhaps you
can help. I have followed the instructions for setting home position in
Alt/Az to the letter. I even managed to select Athens, GA as my site and
not Kabul, Afghanistan!! The first thing I noticed was that the optical
tube did not seem absolutely horizontal when the Dec circle read zero. I
checked the level on the base and on the tube and noted a few degrees
variation. Is this normal? Assuming some improper variance, I'm assuming
that it is more important to level the tube than the base. Is that
right? Then, when I do an easy alignment on Vega, the scope slews, but
seems to want to go past nadir for quite some distance. In fact, I can't
get the scope to find alignment stars near nadir in general, although it
seems to align ok if I manually select a couple of known "mid-sky" stars

All in all, however, this is a great scope for a beginning astronomer. I
current own a DS-10 and plan to use the ETX as a wide-field photoscope
and satellite tracker.

Mike here: See the FAQ for the DEC scale question and answer. And both the tube and base should be as close to level as possible. But I just normally "eyeball" the leveling. The Autostar is pretty good on correcting for out of level errors. I would avoid alignment stars at the zenith.
Subject:	ETX-70AT Autostar objects
Sent:	Monday, October 7, 2002 1:54:19
From: (Jean-Franois COLIAC)
I looked at your great web site full of informations about Meade but I
did not found the list of the deep sky objects of the ETX 70 in the
catalogue CALDWELL and NGC. I read on a page that there is only 1400
objects in the autostar 494, so there are some NGC I guess, but not all
the NGC.

Maybe you can help me ?

Yours sincerely
Jean-Franois COLIAC
Mike here: There is a list, but not all 1400 objects, on the Autostar Information page. See the article "#494 Database Info".
Subject:	Eyepiece for alignment?
Sent:	Sunday, October 6, 2002 11:24:27
From: (
When you align the etx70 do you start with the supplied 25mm eye piece
and move on to the 9mm during alignment or do you just leap straight in
with the 9mm? I've just purchased a Meade Barlow x3 which I hope will
produce some exciting viewing.

Many thanks

Greg Shakeshaft
From: (Richard Seymour)
It varies... if i'm near my ETX90, i'll use -its- primary eyepiece..
a 26mm Meade 4000 "Super plossel" mounted on a 2x Barlow.. so 13mm.

If i'm not near the ETX90, then it'll vary due to conditions and mood.
Sometimes the 26mm alone, sometimes (if it's hazy) i may start with the
9mm.  Hazy means that there's only a few stars to choose from.
As you gain experience, you'll probably find yourself aligning with
the 9mm.  The precision of alignment affects the rest of the evening,
so a -few- more seconds spent getting it "right" yields far nicer 

Things i've done to aid alignments: locating local landmarks which are
true north from my observing point (a neighbor's chimney).  Known
"level" spots to plop the scope, marked with blue masking tape.
Since i have obstructions, i have 4 such spots, and i've put black
marking pen marks on the blue tape, and a ring of blue tape on the
scope's base, with matching marks... this allows -moving- the still-on
scope from station to station while retaining alignment (point at a
known star while doing that.. for definite alignment).

A final ETX70 trick is to swap the chrome barrels on the eyepieces.
That changes how they sit in the hole, and brings them much closer
together with respect to how much you have to spin the focus knob
between the two...  almost "parfocal".

> I've just purchased a Meade Barlow x3 which I hope will produce
> some exciting viewing.

Good luck with that.. my conservative side might've gone for a 2x,
yielding effective steps of: 26mm, 13mm, 9mm, 4.5mm
The 3x gives you 26mm, 8.7mm, 9mm, 3mm.
(there are reports of Meade's "2x" being only 1.7 or so... i don't
know what the 3x actually delivers)
But i must also admit to a tendency to over-magnify, too... which 
can produces fuzzy images, but they're fun, too...

have fun
Mike here: I always just use the 25mm eyepiece with my ETX-70AT. Using a higher power will improve the alignment but I'm lazy and I'm pretty good with centering objects on the lower power eyepiece.
Subject:	barlow 122 problem
Sent:	Saturday, October 5, 2002 23:27:41
From: (Mexicalia Prodigy)
First of all: thank you for this wonderful site.

I just got my new ETX-70AT with three eye pieces (the MA25mm and MA9mm
that are included and a Super Plssl 40mm). My dealer suggested me a #122
telenegative Barlow and the problem is that I cannot manage to get focus
with none of the three eyepieces. When it seems that the focus is just
about to be achieved the focus knob reaches its limit. Is it perhaps
that the #122 Barlow is not designed for the ETX-70? Should I try to
exchange it for a #126?  Please help me!

Thanks in advance

Jorge Prez
(Mxico City)
Mike here: The #122 is a long Barlow Lens and you can have focus problems with the ETX models. I believe the #124 is the recommended Barlow Lens for the ETX-70AT.


Thanks a lot for the quick answer.
I'm asking for the exchange and getting the #124 instead of the #122

Best regards
!hasta pronto!

Jorge Perez

Subject:	etx60or70
Sent:	Saturday, October 5, 2002 01:32:23
From: (Terry McCray)
I have owned several Meade scopes.SeveralLX series in fact. I own an
lx200 12 in. GPS right now, but I wanted a small 60 mm to carry outside
easily as i am disabled.

To AnnaBShreve @ aol,com I experienced the same problem she had.My focus
knob needed tightning.

To Kjmg  My 60 mm does exactly the same thing.It hesitates in one
direction in RA.Yes it is frustrating but I believe it is the tradeoff
in the price we pay for a scope made in well alien turf.Sorry.

I do love my little 60.Also these midair eyepice tricks noted by Dick
are normal when you are making telescopes or having focusing problems so
no need to be concerned about holding an eyepiece in midair.

Hope I was of some help.

Subject:	ETX-60 drive stutter
Sent:	Thursday, October 3, 2002 09:59:59
From: (Walter Hayes)
last year i bought an ETX-60 for a friend who lives at a very dark site
during the summer. this year when my wife and i went there on vacation
we tried to learn how to use it (she was waiting for my visit to do
this).when trying to align the telescope for computer use we noticed the
horizontal drive would work intermitantly. it would stop moving for a
few seconds even though the motor was still running.sometimes it would
start up after again and sometimes it would sit there with the motor
running and not move until nudged. of course this would throw off any
chance of alignment.the horizontal clutch was on. do you have any idea
what the problem is?for now she only uses it to watch the big boats go
by on lake Michigan, but she would like to use it for astronomy wlth the
computer (me too) because she has little knowledge in star gazing (and i
have a bad back). please help!

walter hayes
Mike here: There are several possible reasons. If the telescope has not been used for astronomical purposes for a long time it is possible that the internal grease just needs to be redistributed. You can easily do this by rotating the telescope around both axes several times back and forth. Or you could be overtightening the axis lock. It should be just tight enough so that you can not easily move the telescope by pushing on the fork or tube. Also, slewing should occur with no slippage nor stoppage. Or you could need to reTRAIN the drives from the Autostar menu.

Subject:	What is the real difference beyween an ETX 60 and 70
Sent:	Tuesday, October 1, 2002 18:47:36
From: (Greg Carpenter)
Here's a question from a newbie.

I bought an ETX 60 about a year ago.  Great fun and highly portable. It
appears that the 60, other than the size of the objectice, is identical
to a 70. But if I were say, to come across a spare 70mm objective, could
I replace the 60mm in my scope with it?  Or are there differences in the
optics inside that would make this impossible?


Mike here: Yes, the telescopes are very similar. Not having both telescopes to compare side-by-side I can't say whether the ETX-70 objective lens cell would fit the ETX-60AT tube but I have my doubts that it would fit very well.

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