GENERAL FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 October 2002
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:	ASO Astro Symposium 2003
Sent:	Wednesday, October 30, 2002 12:00:18
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
For those attempting to indicate interest in the upcoming Fall 2003 ASO
Astro Symposium to be held atop Petit Jean Mountain in Arkansas, we have
expanded the topics selection on the ASO website (www.arksky.org) to
include a special "Call for Interest" discussion.

I am posting because my mailbox is being overrun with inquiries....we
will update the ASO site and forums as more details are finalized.

This is going to be a unique meeting among both non-professional and
amateur astronomers, focusing on very specific topics of study, research
and education in astronomy, and will be supported by several leading
private and corporate sponsors.  Attendees will sign up for specific
areas of interest and study, including imaging, planetary research,
instrumentation, public education, computer-assisted astronomy
(including advanced photometry and astrometry via home PCs) and much,
much more.  Of course "real observing" in the dark mountain skies of
Petit Jean are also scheduled.

Since this event will be limited in attendance, we wanted to open up
this forum quickly to find out who "really" is interested in
participation.

www.arksky.org/cgi-bin/ib/ikonboard.cgi?s=3dc0311d5fd3ffff;act=SF;f=16

Dr. Clay
----------------------------------------
Arkansas Sky Observatory
www.arksky.org

Subject:	solar filter
Sent:	Tuesday, October 29, 2002 5:16:39
From:	marc.delaney@ntlworld.com (Marc Delaney)
Refering to Mike Francis email to you about solar filter from Shutan: I
would certainly not accept a filter with defects even if bought at
discount price unless it was advertised as defective. It is to me a moot
point whether it is safe to use covered with ink or not, if new it
should not be defective. Are  consumer protection laws in the US not
adequate enough for a customer to automatically receive a replacement in
such circumstances? Whilst we do have questionable delears here too,
legally in Europe there can be no Ifs and Buts from a supplier if the
goods have "holes" in them!

Marc, Wales UK.

Subject:	Using the Meade ETX
Sent:	Monday, October 28, 2002 0:53:27
From:	steven.s.miller@worldnet.att.net (Steven Miller)
Just finished the book this evening.  Lots of great info I intend to put
to good use asap!  I was a somewhat surpised that you didn't mention
anti-vibration pads.  The best place to setup my ETX-90EC is on the sun
deck of my swimming pool (the only part of my swimming pool I get much
use of).  In my case, AVPs are a must.

I was wondering if there are asteriod, comet and satellite lists
optimized for the ETX-90EC.  I downloaded the lists for these Meade has
on it's web site but I wonder how many of each are actually visable with
it.  The satelite list in particular contains several hundred.  I
initially added all of them to my Autostar which nearly ate up all of
it's available memory.  I went back and selected the HST, ISS and 48
other satellites picked entirely at random), but not really being "into"
satellite observing I think a "best of" selection of just 25 or so might
be better.  The question is, which would qualify for a "best of " list?

After reading your book I've realized I was pretty lucky with the ETX I
got from OPT (about 2 years ago).  I don't think I've had any of the
mechanical problems mentioned.  I have experienced the "beep and creep"
Autostar problem though.  The first time was after updating the software
to 2.0h.  RESET solved the problem (but only after being told it would
after a call to Meade tech support).  The "beep and creep" problem also
appears to arise if the ETX goes unused for several months.  I
experienced it again at Nightfall in Borrego Springs this month.  At the
time I hadn't had my ETX out in at least 6 months.  At any rate, not
wanting to do a RESET "in the field" I waited until I got back home and
installed the 26Ec version of the software before doing another RESET.
It came to the rescue again.  However, Autostar isn't placing object
dead center in the FOV but off to one side of dead center.  This is most
likely a setup problem.  Hopefully a more careful setup and following
the extra steps you mention in your book will take care of it!

Thanks again for all the help!

--Scott
Mike here: I don't think there is a list optimized for the ETX-90.
Subject:	12v Power To AN EXT125EC
Sent:	Sunday, October 27, 2002 18:49:33
From:	ehvance@bellsouth.net (Ed Vance)
Having used a number of sets of AA Batteries, I decided to try a 12v
Battery Pack with a cord that I use for a number of 12v appliances.  It
has a center post ground, as all my 12v appliances have.  When I plugged
it in and turned it on the Red Light didn't come on.  It did blow the
fuse on 12v cord.  Prior to that it was working with AA Batteries, but
not any more.  However, the hand box still works with independent power.
 I would appreciate any information you can shed on this matter.

Thanks,
Ed
Mike here: As noted on the FAQ page, the center pin is positive.
Subject:	607 Power Cord
Sent:	Sunday, October 27, 2002 13:27:35
From:	dragallant@shaw.ca (Dave & Yvonne Gallant)
I'm just wondering if anyone out there has made a #607 power cord?  Just
looking at it, it doesn't seem that there is all that much to it. 
Cigarette plug, wire & and a circular pin...am I missing anything?

I'd like to purchase one of those portable car battery jump start power
packs and power my etx-90 from it, but I really can't see why the #607
cord should cost me $40.  Any one out there made one?

Subject:	125 ETX Owner: Got My $99 Eyepieces in less than 2 weeks
since my faxing of my payment/receipts
Sent: Saturday, October 26, 2002 21:59:41 From: flextone1@attbi.com (Al Knecht) I just received my lens set after about 10 days from the time I faxed in my credit card info and receipts. My angle was to first call Meade support and get a support person to allow me to fax everything to his attention. He agreed and I got my lenses in record time. Flextone

Subject:	ETX-125EC Pier/wedge
Sent:	Saturday, October 26, 2002 20:35:34
From:	edelmann@hcst.net (John Edelmann)
I have a bit of a "problem".  Not really an major deal.... but:

I'm in the process of building a pier/wedge for a "soon to be delivered"
125EC.  You might say, I'm an expectant father.

As this is my first real telescope, and certainly my first foray into
polar mounts, I'm curious about a few simple logistics.

Is there a simple guide regarding the mounting REQUIREMENTS logistically
speaking, for a fork mounted scope?  What I mean, is, is there a simple
"This is what your mount HAS to be able to do" regarding rotation
horizontally, etc., in order to line up things, etc.

All too often, I think, the various creative designs on the net describe
how the thing is built, but not "WHY". This is understandable, I
suppose, since most designs are made by those who have tried, but aren't
satisfied with existing Meade 883 mounts.  However... I've never seen a
mount, underbuilt or otherwise....!

I have no issue with the wedge angle... I build sundials, so my latitude
to decimal accuracy (39.511) is not a problem.  And the importance of
pointing to the NCP, etc., is all well and good.  But having never had
such an instrument before, nor really ever been around one (I know I'm
supposed to go to a star party or other club event to get insight but
that takes a special time committment, etc.), I'm really only guessing
at what the thing has to be able to do, given the designs I've surveyed.

So, I've been building a 42" high pier, with a 4.5" OD stainless steel
pipe (courtesy of my wife's employer), with shelf brackets as tripod
stands, and am now undertaking the mount mechanism for the wedge /
Alt.-Az. contraption. I'll submit some design pics when it's completed,
since I'm employing a few novel ideas, I think (which is part of the
problem:  it's hard to be novel, when you're not sure what it is you're
inventing!)

At any rate, as I move on to the business end of the pier, I'm wanting
to be sure I don't miss anything.  My scope is not expected to arrive
for several weeks yet;  I'd simply like to have it's crib ready when it
arrives, you see.

Thanks...

John.
Mike here: You can see the various pier and wedge articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page. Since the fork mount and not the wedge is where any clearance problems will occur, there really isn't too much to worry about except stability and mounting method.
Subject:	Solar Filter
Sent:	Friday, October 25, 2002 12:45:56
From:	mfrancis@prodigy.net (mfrancis)
I just bought a glass Indenti-view solar filter from Shutan through the
Illinois Star Party deal for $75 for my ETX 125. When I received it
there were 2 small black magic marker dots on the inside of the filter
(on the coated side). I called them and they said if I wasn't happy with
it to pay the shipping and insurance and send it back and they would
LOOK at it and decide whether to replace it or not. Is this normal when
buying a new filter or was I given a reject because of the discounted
price. Please advise.
Thanks for the great web site                        Mike Francis
Mike here: Well, there are a couple of possibilities: QA at the vendor detected the minor flaw or someone at Shutan detected the minor flaw. Someone then "coated" it with ink to seal the "hole". This can be OK if it sufficiently seals the hole. I don't know whether this would be considered a "reject" or not. Depends upon the manufacturer's (and safety) standards. If you feel unsafe using it, return it to Shutan. But if you can not see light passing through the repaired hole it should be OK.

And:

From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Totally okay, Mike.
The practice of covering pinholes (all solar filters have them) is
actually a very good one and should be done; covering with indelible
black marker is the ideal way to do this (or India ink....), so you have
received fair goods.

Best of luck with it..hope you have received your Supercharged and
repaired ETX by now!

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

Subject:	Discovery Channel - Scopes and UHTC
Sent:	Friday, October 25, 2002 5:32:40
From:	edelmann@hcst.net (Edelmann)
After a grueling flip flop/funding conundrum (read: spent too much on
ETX-125 but came up with creative funding to maintain the UHTC model
anyway) I have the ETX-125EC with UHTC on order (it's a good thing the
customer is always right).

However...[interesting tid bit here perhaps this is no news?] ...in
passing, the Discovery Channel's Meade rep. mentioned that Meade was
going to phase out non UHTC telescopes across the board...  There are
several of the non ETX-125 on the shelves - at least in Ohio.  I.e., the
UHTC will become the standard coating.

So... after first rationalizing (owing to financing pressures from the
"other half") that I didn't need the UHTC after all (it collects dirt
and dust worse, right?  effect degrades after a while, right?... etc. ),
I came up with the extra $105 elsewhere, so had to back pedal a bit
....!  (This is all so stupid.)

Thanks for hosting such a great site... and for providing a forum for a
hobby like this, where you can spend a lot or a lot AND THEN some,
depending on the amount of ingenuity and industriousness we fans are
able to muster. I'll be getting the Autostar as well for Christmas, um,
"legitimately" (the $99 eyepiece deal will be nothing less than money
laundering of a sort); but plan on building a pier/wedge combo
(especially a portable table top variety) to cut costs there.

Has anyone specifically designed a table top "pier" with wedge per se?  
Or does this require that you have a STURDY table top, which is itself a
problem to secure?

Thanks!

John Edelmann
www.hcst.net/~edelmann
Mike here: Regarding a table top pier/wedge, don't recall one but you might find some interesting starting points on the Telescope Tech Tips page. Yes, you would need a very sturdy table.
Subject:	Re: Super charge etx
Sent:	Friday, October 25, 2002 4:37:18
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Peter
The most detailed description of ETX telescopes, tuning them and using
them, is found without a doubt under ONE best source and that is the
Mighty ETX site operated by Mike Weasner in California at:
www.weasner.com/etx .  Typically nearly every concern, problem and
question for the ETX can be found at some point on that website!

Thanks for your inquiry.

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


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Peter 
  Hi Dr Clay.

  I live in Melbourne Australia and as you can see it would be very hard
  to have my scope sent to you for sc work. As I have done many
  modification and adjustment to many scopes over the years, I was
  wondering if I could get some "more detailed info on the etx scopes"
  as I have had several request from a variety of people from local
  astro clubs to adjust there scopes,

  Regards peter.
Mike here: For starters, check the "Performance Enhancement" tips on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Meade ETX125EC rear port
Sent:	Thursday, October 24, 2002 0:02:23
From:	paulludwig@yahoo.com (Paul Ludwig)
I own a Meade ETX125EC since the beginning of this year and I want to
start making astrophotography. I found an adapter system from Celestron
for installing my digital camera to the Meade telescope but I need to
know the thread size of the screw behind the mirror on the ETX (adapter
used for the T-adapter or the Amici-prism). I checked with Meade Europe
and several dealers but nobody has this information, the documentation
does not contain this either.

I tried to contact Meade in the USA but couldn't find an e-mail address
on their web-site.

So, you're my last hope.

Thanks in advance for your help

Paul

Btw, my congratulations for your ETX web site ...and your book.
Mike here: What you may need is the "SCT Accessory Adapter" (discussed on the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page).
Subject:	Finally received the "$99" eyepieces
Sent:	Wednesday, October 23, 2002 17:17:52
From:	dsulli@twcny.rr.com (D.Sullivan)
Well the good news is that Meade finally sent me the eyepieces. I
received them this week. I am extremely happy with both the eyepieces
and the ETX 105. After using both, it's apparent to me that Meade makes
excellent products. I just wish that dealing with the company wasn't so
unpleasant.

Dealing with Meade was extremely frustrating. I sent them the
information required for the "$99 Eyepiece Offer" on August 23rd. I
received the eyepieces this week. Essentially, they were about three
weeks late on their promise. That's  really not an issue with me as I
understand that all businesses run into problems now and then. We all
know that delays can happen.   My frustration with Meade is that I had
to call them over and over again, as they kept losing my information. At
one point I was assured that the eyepieces had been shipped  to me. They
weren't, but I hope that the individual in Ohio (with my same name) that
Meade sent the eyepieces to, does enjoy them.  After calling Meade
numerous times, faxing the information three times, and having the
customer support manager assure me twice that his team had entered my
information into the database (both times, I faxed copies of the
information to him personally), they were finally shipped to me. If I
hadn't been persistent, I'd still be waiting.

Again, I think the products are great, but Meade needs some real work in
customer service. I understand why the California Better Business Bureau
has them rated so poorly.

ps.  I'm happy to read that others have had more pleasant dealings with
them.
Mike here: Customer Support is only as good as the people and the database application they use.
Subject:	ETX order
Sent:	Wednesday, October 23, 2002 4:56:36
From:	phcalama@solstice.uwaterloo.ca (Paul Calamai)
To:	Darren_Mcgrath/MSSNottm@intier.com
For what it is worth, I suffered similar delays in getting my ETX90.  I,
like you, was told to expect delivery within about 5 or 6 weeks but it
ended up taking almost twice as long.  The seller (Khanscope in Toronto,
Canada) told me that the problem was with Meade.

As for the eyepiece special, you can expect the same sort of delays with
having that order processed.  I faxed my request to Meade over 4 weeks
ago and as of yesterday they still hadn't entered my order into their
database!!

I'm left with the impression that Meade is not very good in terms of
turn-around and would be curious whether others have experienced these
same sort of delays.

I would also like to hear from others regarding their experience with
Khanscope in Toronto.

Good luck,
Paul

Subject:	Thanks..
Sent:	Wednesday, October 23, 2002 3:16:45
From:	JKLn@NNE.DK (JKLN (Jesper Kirkegaard Larsen))
I would like to thank you for a fantastic web-site.

I am currently awaiting the arrival of my ETX90ec ( ordered two weeks
ago ) and in the meantime I'm learning from the tremendous amount of
information you have gathered on your site.

I was looking for a "tele-lens" option for my Canon G2 and started to
look at spooting scopes as an option - after a while I came across the
ETX90 which was claimed to be excellent for land spotting - well I fell
in love - and having always had an interest in astronomy ( lay-man only ) 
I saw this as a great opportunity to start digging into that field
also, so I'll be joining an amateur-astronomers club soon - much of this
because of your web-site - so - again - thanks a lot.

Keep up the good work - it makes life a lot easier for someone like me.
 
Jesper Kirkegaard Larsen
Denmark.

Consultant to
Novo Nordisk Engineering A/S	
 	
Jesper Kirkegaard Larse	
Engineer - B.Sc. (Eng.) 	

Subject:	re:  Will I ever get my 125?
Sent:	Tuesday, October 22, 2002 23:04:34
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	Darren_Mcgrath/MSSNottm@intier.com
In the US, it's the -order- date which establishes elegibility
for the eyepiece offer, not the delivery date.

Your mileage (kilometerage?) may differ.

good luck
--dick
And:
From:	Darren.Mcgrath@intier.com
After further correspondence with my dealer, the earliest possible
delivery date for a new 125 in the UK will be in January 2003. Since I
didn't wanted to wait a further 10-12 weeks for a delivery date that is
by no means confirmed, I decided to change my order to an LXD55 6"
Refractor (similar price over here to a 125 + Autostar + Tripod). OK, so
I had to compromise some of the main reasons why I wanted the 125 (some
of them don't seem that important anymore!), but at least I'll have a
scope that I can use next week as opposed to in 3 months time.

Subject:	Nominations for ASO 2003 award
Sent:	Tuesday, October 22, 2002 9:42:56
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Hello to all....
In keeping with always having a bit of "astronomy" on our groups, I
wanted to encourage everyone to recognize someone you know of for the
2003 ASO Award.

Nominations are now being accepted through January 15, 2003 for the
"Arkansas Sky Observatory's Annual Contributions to Astronomy Award" to
recognize a leader in the field of public astronomy who has been
instrumental in any combinations of the promotion of astronomy to the
public, of great assistance to amateur astronomers on a nationwide or
worldwide basis and who has contributed greatly to the science and/or
educational progress of the discipline throughout 2002.

To nominate, see the ASO website: http://www.arksky.org/award2003.htm
for complete details regarding qualifications and how to nominate!

The Arkansas Sky Observatory's "ASO  Annual Contributions to Astronomy
Award" was established in 1975 to provide recognition for those
individuals who were deemed to exhibit a non-selfish attitude in sharing
their expertise and knowledge in astronomy to all facets of interest,
from profession to amateur, from beginner to teacher.  This philosophy
of SHARING our knowledge in astronomy is the basis of the thousands of
outreach program of the Arkansas Sky Observatory since its inception in
1971.

Please help us recognize YOUR choice for this achievement!

Dr. Clay
----------------------------------------
Arkansas Sky Observatory
www.arksky.org

Subject:	Will I ever get my 125?
Sent:	Monday, October 21, 2002 7:19:40
From:	Darren_Mcgrath/MSSNottm@intier.com
I ordered a new ETX125EC nearly 2 months ago from my local dealer. I was
initially told that it would take approximately 6 weeks for my scope to
arrive (fair enough). I recently contact them and was told that there
had been problems with the new 125 and that the delivery would be
delayed probably until December and that I should contact Broadhurst,
Clarkson & Fuller Ltd (the UK's Meade authorised distributor and dealer)
for a more complete explanation. Having contacted them I was informed
that a December delivery is somewhat on the optimistic side and they
also couldn't give me a more realistic delivery date. My telescope of
choice is the ETX125EC, but if I'm not likely to receive what I've
ordered until god knows when - I'll probably have to cancel my order and
get something else. I also wanted to take advantage of the eyepiece
offer, but judging by how long it's likely to take to get my scope the
offer will have expired by then!

I was wondering if you had heard from anyone else in the UK or elsewhere
who has been experiencing similar supply problems and what (if anything)
Meade plans to do about it.

I apologise for contacting you with my problem, but I don't seem to able
to get a satisfactory answer through the normal channels.
Mike here: Sorry to hear this. I haven't heard of any problems with ETX shipments but other shipments have been delayed due to the recent dock workers lockout on the west coast of the USA. It affected inbound and outbound shipments of many products. I don't know to what extent this unfortunate action had on Meade but I wouldn't be surprised to learn they (and therefore their customers) were impacted. The dock workers are now back at work but the backlog is tremendous due to the length of the work stoppage.
Subject:	Trouble with MeadeETX-105EC
Sent:	Friday, October 18, 2002 12:30:48
From:	Simon-Lindsay@godden-toadhall.freeserve.co.uk (Simon Godden)
Beleive it or not I'm on my second of this model and am having problems.
I took delivery of the first telescope in August. All was fine when used
manualy but when I attached the Autostar, the scope jammed when moving
up vertically at about 20 degrees above horizontal. It seemed as if it
was meeting some sort of stop.

My dealer advised forcing it manually past this stop, that it would
break the plastic stop and render it working. This had no effect and the
stop remained and the motor still could not overcome the resistance. So
back it went. After waiting five weeks for a replacement, on setting up
the new telescope I find that the actual mirror on the flip-mirror
system has actually fallen off its mount!

Needless to say I'm highly disappointed with what was supposed to be an
excellent instrument.

Am I unique in having such problems with Meade instruments. It seems to
me that their quality control and materials are not up to the mark. What
should I do now. Forget about Meade instruments and try a different
maker. I'm loath to do this as I want all the features that Autostar and
Meade can offer.

Any help much appreciated.
Mike here: I'm sorry to hear you have had problems. Besides blaming Meade, have you considered blaming the shipping company or companies involved? Damage can and does occur in transit. Not often but it happens. And yes, products can slip through Meade (and Celestron and Microsoft and Ford and BMW and...) with problems. I can't say where the problem arose and that's not important; your dealer should ensure you are satisfied with your purchase.
Subject:	ETX piggyback
Sent:	Friday, October 18, 2002 3:45:34
From:	kennyb9000@sc.rr.com (Kenneth Baker)
Has anyone had any experience putting an ETX-90, piggyback, on an LX-200
( or something similar ) ?   How was it mounted & aligned ?

I have an old 80mm finder ( along with a 1x ) on my 8" LX-200, that I am
thinking about replacing with an ETX-90.  I can't seem to locate any
finder brackets ( providing the necessary pointing adjustments ) that
would fit the ETX.  Any suggestions ?

Thanks,
Kenny Baker
Mike here: Losmandy mounting brackets are typically used. I've seen ETX-90 tubes mounted this way on LX200.
Subject:	Vendor question
Sent:	Thursday, October 17, 2002 14:40:39
From:	alidkus@netcarrier.com (Al)
Is the EXpert mounting plate vendor (John Marion) for real or is he
running a game ? I ordered one the other day, I was e-mailed a different
phone number, (586-727-9906) woman answers, say's she is his wife and
will handle the order, I asked for a physical address and am told it
will be e-mailed to me.......no e-mail and no response to mine. I'm
sweating bullets now because they have my credit card info and no
communications. If this is a con then maybe that item should be removed
from your great site.  Thanks.  Al
Mike here: It is (or was) for real. He is a small company (essentially him, I believe) who is (or was) making these.

And:

Thanks for the reply Mike, I just heard from John a few minutes ago,
that was a relief, he is still having them made. On another
subject....ETX 105 the 1244 focuser....you know if Meade corrected the
problem with them yet ? Right now I'm using the JIM Motofocus on it
(belt slippage problems) strange how it works great on my ETX 90 though.
 Al
Mike here: Thanks for the update. As to the focuser, I've not heard a definitive answer.
Subject:	Tripod
Sent:	Thursday, October 17, 2002 8:56:02
From:	pyrite@clarityconnect.com (Fred and Rose Lieberman)
Not having enough money to purchase a tripod for the ETX 90 RA, I
created a temporay solution.  I pounded in a locus fence post into the
ground and cut off the top of it with my chain saw to the height I felt
comfortable with.  Resting the scope on top of it was all the stability
I needed.

Fred
Mike here: Keep in mind that a breeze might blow it off so adding some bracing might help.
Subject:	tripod
Sent:	Wednesday, October 16, 2002 19:33:05
From:	p.floor@hccnet.nl (p.floor)
Thank you for your great webside. I have learned a lot from it. I own a
LX 200 and a ETX 90. Both are fine Telescopes. The only problem is the
Deluxe Field Tripod of the ETX 90. Slippage problems. I have red in your
tripod pages also about those problems. Meade offers a free modification
kit to solve the problem. But the only thing is we can't get this kit in
the Netherlands. Meade doesn't ship this kit to Europe. Maybe they think
that we are stil using bottle bottems instead of telescopes. Maybe you
can tel those Meade guys about us.

Many thanks,

Paul.
Mike here: Scopetronix sells some clamps that avoid the slippage. Or you can find some tips on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Home telescope
Sent:	Wednesday, October 16, 2002 18:06:54
From:	teresa-adrian@worldnet.att.net (Adrian  Pallone)
I am interested in purchasing a telescope. I am a novice in the
astronomy field.  I would  to see the moon and the planets that are
visible in our solar system.  Could you give me a suggestion as to what
would be a good telescope for this purpose.

Thank you.
Mike here: Look through my ETX Site for several options. If you have a telescope dealer nearby your home visit them. If you can locate an astronomy club or group nearby, visit them as well. The Sky and Telescope web site has a list of clubs.

And:

Thank you for your quick response to my request.  I will look into your
ETX Site and also try to locate an astronomy club in my area.

Subject:	ETX STAR PARTY
Sent:	Wednesday, October 16, 2002 16:36:17
From:	gombe@msn.com (earl gomberg)
Mike I could not make your star party this year, but thanks to you and
your first party last year I did make the Nightfall get together this
year.  There were a couple of people with ETX's and I did refer them to
your site.  The wide variety of scopes was very interesting and I had
numerous people over to my Etx 125 for a look at Saturn, Andromeda, and
the Orion nebula.  They were amazed at the view thru the 125 as compared
to the other big scopes all around me.  Thanks again for getting me
started going to star parties, and I hope I can make your next one out
east or at least when you come back to the west.

Earl Gomberg
Mike here: I have had requests for another Southern California one...
Subject:	Re: ETX vs LDX?
Sent:	Tuesday, October 15, 2002 20:30:20
From:	mmcohen@ranx.ucsc.edu (Dr. Michael M. Cohen)
Hi Mike,
THanks for your quick reply!
Was looking for a 125 usec on EBay, but maybe with their eyepiece deal
(7+case for $99) and less chance of a used problem, better to go with
new from a dealer? Any dealers stand out?
	Thanks, Michael
Mike here: Personally, I've had excellent luck with Scopetronix, Shutan, and OPT.
Subject:	Meade 887 tripod
Sent:	Tuesday, October 15, 2002 14:52:32
From:	roger.taylor@worldnet.att.net (Roger B. Taylor)
I recently purchased a Meade 887 tripod for my ETX125EC-UHTC and would
like to know if anyone knows if there is a level that would work on this
tripod? There is a small hole in the main base of the tripod that should
hold a level similar to the one on the 883.
Thanks,
Roger Taylor
Edmond, OK

Subject:	90C vc 125
Sent:	Monday, October 14, 2002 15:48:57
From:	sergio.zazzeraNOSPAM@libero.it (Sir)
your site is First-class. I've read a lot of useful tips and
information. I hope you can get me some advice.

I am mainly interested in planetary observations: I own already a ETX 90
EC and now I would a larger scope.

I'm considering to buy a new ETX 125 (without sell the "old" ETX 90). In
your opinion, is it a good choice? The difference with the ETX 90 EC is
notable and the extra-money well spend? Should I consider a LX ?

I want a portable scope but I want an improvement!

Thanks for any advice

Sergio
Mike here: Certainly the ETX-125EC will provide some improvement over the ETX-90. Whether that will be enough for you, only you can say. Certainly the more aperture and focal length, the better the planetary views will be. But there is something to be said for portability!
Subject:	Clear Night Products Teledome question...
Sent:	Monday, October 14, 2002 8:16:33
From:	BMoody@SDHLaw.Com (Bob Moody)
I read the review on your site about TeleDome and tried to contact
barrycnp@earthlink.net with a question.  However, it has been a week now
and I have not received a response.

This is what I asked:

" am currently saving for a TeleDome, and would like to know whether I
should get the 6' tall or 6'6" unit.

I have an LX-90 (8" SCT).  I am 5'7" tall.  My outstretched arms reach
to about 15" over my head, and span horizontally to about 4'8".

I use the LX-90 in alt/az mode, and need to make large slews for initial
two-star alignment.  I am a little concerned if the dew shield (which
extends the OTA another 12" or so) will hit the 6' tall tent, yet don't
know how easy it would be for me to move the 6'6" tent around manually.

What size tent would you recommend for my situation?"

Since I have not received an e-mail response from CNP, I thought I'd
contact you for maybe another e-mail address for CNP or an explanation
of why you think he is not answering me.

Thanks for your help, Mike!

Bob
Mike here: Personally I think I would go for a different style tent observatory for an LX90. I saw a real nice one at the 2nd Annual Mighty ETX Star Party. It has a sleeping section and an observatory section. There's a photo of it on the Star Party report (has an LX200 inside). As to email from the vendor, he has been reported to be slow in responding.
Subject:	ETX webring?
Sent:	Friday, October 11, 2002 22:57:19
From:	whoy@tampabay.rr.com (Michael W. Hoy)
Awhile back I sent you my tip on fixing image shift in the 90 RA. You
where very gracious and put it on your website, thanks. Anyway I now
have a small ETX site of my own

web.tampabay.rr.com/hoyworld/etx/index.html (Worship The Meade ETX)

and I was looking for the ETX webring so I checked on your site (as with
anything ETX ) first. I couldn't find a link for it, is the webring
still alive? I was hoping to join it. Also if you could add my putative
site to your own links somewhere I would appreciate it. Of course I have
allready linked to your main page.

Thanks Again,
Michael W. Hoy
Mike here: I think the Webring is still alive but it moved and my ID/password no longer worked. The keeper wouldn't respond to my inquiries. I checked with another ETX Webring user and they had problems. So I dropped it.
Subject:	re: Your advice appreciated!
Sent:	Friday, October 11, 2002 22:04:34
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	ksn191e@hotmail.com
I do not have an Electronic Eyepiece, so the following are guesses,
but i suspect the EE does not have -any- lenses associated with it.
Therefore the magnification is purely the telescope's main mirror.
That would be the same as putting a 1250mm f/13 lens on a small TV camera.
(i don't know the "usual" lens for such a camera, but the effective
magnification would be 1250 divided by the "usual" value... if "usual"
was a 10mm lens, the EE's final magnification would therefore be 
1250/10= 125x

The "tunnel vision" effect you see when using a camcorder or regular
camera (still wearing its own lens) through an eyepiece is called
"vignetting".. about the only ways to avoid it is to zoom the camera
to telephoto mode... that shrinks the camera's field of view to
(hopefully) tighter than the "tunnel".
The plus side of that is that your magnification will increase 
(if that's a plus).

The EE is -not- an integrating astronomical CCD camera... it is
about the same as your camcorder in terms of light sensitivity
and resolution... it will work for the moon and brighter planets,
but will not be able to capture faint objects.
Many people use modified "web cams" (rewired for far longer exposures).

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Lowepro
Sent:	Thursday, October 10, 2002 3:52:34
From:	andyb@lowepro-uk.com (Andy Bennett)
I was forwarded a link to you website by one of my sales guys recently -
I had no idea that finding a reasonably priced carrying case for scopes
could be so difficult.

I was interested to see one of our products appearing on the page,
although I'd like to see it listed as such! (You've got it down as
Shutan Camera & Video).

If you should need any more info on Lowepro products, let me know. - We
produce an excellent catalogue, and our webpage is good too -
www.lowepro.com.

I work in marketing on the UK side of things, although we have an office
in Santa Rosa, CA if that's better for you. We make many other cases
that may be of interest to stargazers.
 
Best regards,
 
Andy Bennett
Product Manager
Lowepro UK Ltd
01902 864646
07813 212609
 
www.lowepro-uk.com

Subject:	telescope
Sent:	Wednesday, October 9, 2002 12:13:09
From:	Stockland.Andrew@mayo.edu (Stockland, Andrew H., M.D.)
I am not an astronomer at all. We live at the beach in Florida, and my
girlfriend wants an easy to use Meade telescope. I would like to spend
less than $600.

Which model? I want one that you essentially type in what you want to
see, and it goes there. Also, it should be very easy to set up and use.

Thanks for your input.

Regards, Andrew
Mike here: Well, what telescope model you want depends on more than just easy to setup and use. It also needs to be one that meets your expectations for your use. Whether or not the ETX-70AT or the ETX-90EC plus Autostar or the ETX-105EC plus Autostar will meet your expectations depends upon what they are. The higher up you go in the ETX line the more details you'll see and the higher magnifications you'll be able to use but the cost goes up as well. Plus you may need to factor in the price of a sturdy tripod. The ETX-90EC, Autostar, an extra eyepiece, and the tripod will exceed your target cost, but it will provide a nice compromise on capability and portability.
Subject:	Meade honest company? - Response
Sent:	Tuesday, October 8, 2002 21:46:33
From:	mdiaz83@cox.net (mdiaz83)
In response to the question/complaint regarding Meade and the $99
eyepiece offer, I just wanted to say that I've had nothing but good
experiences with Meade. A friend just bought an ETX 105 and the $99
offer and received his eyepieces in close to 30 days time.

Personally I have an ETX 125 and the dealings I've had with Meade in the
last 2 years have been pleasant. I'm sure people do have or have had
less than pleasant experiences with Meade just as can happen with ANY
company but personally I'm quite thankful they're around.

Henry

Subject:	solar filter
Sent:	Tuesday, October 8, 2002 19:34:53
From:	gagarcia@telesat.com.co (Gustavo Garcia)
What is the best solar filter for meade txx astro telescop ?

Thank you

Gustavo Garcia
Mike here: A good quality one from a reputable manufacturer. See the Accessory Reviews --> Filters page for some user reviews.
Subject:	Meade Eyepiece $99 Special
Sent:	Monday, October 7, 2002 22:40:54
From:	k.downing@verizon.net (Kevin Downing)
Your site is just great!  I visit it all the time and find it to be my
first, and usually only, source of information.

I own an ETX90-EC and sent off for the $99 Eyepiece Special on August
31, 2002.  I received my set last Thursday, October 3rd and it came as
promised.  During the wait, I called Meade two different times to see
what was up as my check had not cleared the bank yet.  The first call
showed me not to be in the database yet as only 2 1/2 weeks had gone by.
 The Meade customer service rep told me they were just getting started
on the requests plus there had been a small availability problem with
their supplier.  When I called back one week later they had me in their
database and told me shipments would be going out at the end of the
week.  Five days later my package arrived.

I have read about problems some of your visitors have had with Meade,
but I want to go on record as to my positive experience with them and
the professional and friendly customer service reps I have dealt with. 
So far, I am one happy guy with all of my Meade products and their
service as well.

I hope everyone gets their eyepieces quickly, like I did, and that they
can have something positive to say about a pretty darn good company.

In closing, thank you for your hard work for keeping your site alive and
new with every visit I make.  Here's to good skies and great seeing!

Regards,

Kevin Downing
Everett, Washington

Subject:	Thanks & I  need some help.
Sent:	Monday, October 7, 2002 21:17:58
From:	ahappyfred@yahoo.com (Patterson Fred)
I'm just starting to explore your web page.  I just wish that I had
found it years earlier.  I have an ETX-90.  I've never been able to get
it right.  I had hoped to view the tutorial that you have on the site.

I get an error message "Xtra not found".  I can't seem to find any stuff
on the internet to correct it.  I'm not sure how to contact the
tutorial's creator.

Any suggestions/help would be appreciated.

Fred Patterson
Mike here: I can't speak to the "Xtra" missing error. It should be in the compressed file you downloaded for Mac or Windows. The author's email address is on the web page from where you downloaded the file.
Subject:	Your advice appreciated!
Sent:	Monday, October 7, 2002 20:46:19
From:	ksn191e@hotmail.com (K N)
I am newbie and has a lot to learn. I came across your website:

http://www.weasner.com/etx/astrophotography/electronic-ep.html

where there were posted photos of planets captured with the use of Meade
telescope in combination with camera (with T-adapter)or electronic
eyepiece.

I have a Meade ETX 90 and would like to find out how the electronic
eyepiece works before going out to buy one. My limited knowledge of it
is that it replaces the regular optical eyepiece. However, what I do not
understand is that whether if the electronic eyepiece allows me to zoom
in like a regular eyepiece does.

I had tried to hook up my Canon Elura DV camcorder to the optical
eyepiece through the use of an adapter, this however didn't help much as
I got a tunnel vision effect.

Any advice is appreciated! Thanks.

Sincerely,

KSN
Mike here: Regular eyepieces do not provide a zoom capability unless they are designed as a zoom eyepiece. With non-zoom eyepieces you get a single magnification with an eyepiece. To change magnification you have to change to another eyepiece with a different focal length. I don't have one but if you search the site for "electronic eyepiece" you should find some info about it. And:
Thanks. My model of Meade telescope is ETX 90RA.

Does the electronic eyepiece has any magnification to it?

The last time I checked with Meade, I was told that the telescope could
only be used with 35 mm camera whose lens are removed and that the
telescope optic system then becomes the camera's. But, where is the
magnification coming from?

In the web site link as mentioned to you in my earlier email, I noted
that others had used 35 mm digital camera (such as Nikon Coolpix etc) in
conjunction with barlow lens and eyepiece which were attached to the
telescope....I don't know how this is possible when the lens of this
digital 35mm version of camera need to be removed as I was told about
the non-digital 35 mm camera? Or was it removed at all?

Also, what is the lux rating on the electronic eyepiece.

Please enlighten me on these fine details.  Thank you.
Mike here: Since the electronic eyepiece is used with the telescope there is magnification, I just don't know what the focal length of the electronic eyepiece is. And you can use digital cameras for "afocal photography". See the Helpful Information --> Astrophotography page for lots more info.
Subject:	re:  counterweights
Sent:	Monday, October 7, 2002 19:46:39
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	dmknoble@bellsouth.net
If i may opine:

visit any good sporting goods store: 
barbell (weight-lifting) weights.

Available in a wide range of weights, also as hollow plastic
items which can be filled with sand, metal pellets or water.

For lesser weights, the strap-on ankle and wrist weights.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Is Meade an honest company ?
Sent:	Thursday, October 3, 2002 18:33:15
From:	dsulli@twcny.rr.com (D.Sullivan)
I recently purchased a Meade ETX105. I love the scope, but have some
serious reservations about Meade as a corporation. After purchasing my
scope, I faxed in my request for the $99 eyepiece offer Six weeks later
and two more faxes and they still don't have me in their database to
recieve the eyepieces. I've dealt with numerous customer support people
who assure me that "I'll be taken care of".  Their offer specifically
states that the eyepieces will be shipped within 30 days of receiving
the information from the consumer. One customer representative told me
that they were "way behind" and that they were waiting for eyepieces
from Japan to come in. Out of curiosity, I checked the California Better
Business Bureau's database and they have Meade Instruments (www.labbb.org/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=wsbroker1/C%3A/Inetpub/wwwroot/SouthlandReport/default.htm?hCompID=88000205&hAKAID=1&hAddrID=1) 
rating as a
company NOT to do business with due to too many unresolved customer
complaints.   Have others had similiar experiences? Am I just a
pessimist,or should I give up on the eyepieces? Dan Sullivan
Mike here: I talked with a Meade rep at the 2nd Annual Mighty ETX Star Party and the Eyepiece Offer has been very popular, hence the backlog of shipments. If your check has been cashed you'll be OK. If your check has not been cashed it could be that they just haven't gotten to your order in the pile of orders or it could be that it was lost in the mail. To answer your question: "yes". But they are not a real big company like Micro$soft.

Subject:	Hello Michael!
Sent:	Thursday, October 3, 2002 13:28:07
From:	h__miller@hotmail.com (H. Miller)
I love the ETX site. Hope you're enjoying the 2002 Party.

I've been a serious amateur astronomer for quite some time. I have four
scopes now, including a 10" Meade Newtonian and an ETX70. One Christmas
I received a Stellarscope www.quincyshop.com/telandskycon.html.
At first I just smiled, since it looked so toy-like. However, I seem to
use this "accessory" pretty often, and after a few nights of using it,
my wife (who couldn't tell Gemini from Orion) can pick out virtually
every constellation in the sky. Admittedly, most amateurs would not need
this, but it is a surprisingly helpful little tool and a lot of fun to
use. Highly recommended for those just getting started in astronomy.

Quick! You're in Atlanta, GA and it's 8:30PM on January 3rd. Is Sculptor
above the horizon? This little device can tell you in a few seconds.

All the best,
Hank

Subject:	counterweights
Sent:	Thursday, October 3, 2002 12:02:46
From:	dmknoble@bellsouth.net (David M. Knoble)
I love your web site, it certainly takes a great deal of your time to
manage it, but I've learned muuch more from you than is available in
most books.

Do you know of a good resource to buy counterweights from?  I have a
modification for my tripod to add weights to it, but I can't find any.

I have used my tap and die set to make an additional know for my meade
deluxe field tripod.  I used a 5/16 piece of steel and set it to 8mm
1.25 threads.  Then I got some stainless washers and hex nuts.  I would
like to attach weights to the end and secure it with nuts and lock
washers on both sides.  Then sliding the weights up and down would be as
easy as loosening the nuts and moving the weights.

The best I've come up with so far are some metal wheels from some
casters at home depot, but they are light enought it would take 10 - 15
wheels.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

DAivd Knoble

Subject:	ETX-90EC camera port specifications
Sent:	Thursday, October 3, 2002 00:46:22
From:	pth@dmi.dk (Peter Thejll)
Hello, can anyone help me with some information on the camera port on
the ETX90EC? It appears to have a 34/35 mm thread - what is that? It
isn't C- or T-mount,is it? Is it another standard, or is it
Meade-specific? Any information on the whereabouts of the correct
specifications for the thread would be appreciated.

Cheers,

Peter Thejll
Denmark
Mike here: I don't have any measuring tools here at the 2nd Annual Mighty ETX Star Party. However, the thread is not standard. My 35mm camera extension tube won't screw on unless I use the Meade T-Adapter (briefly discussed on the Accessory Reviews --> Astrophotography page). There is also the Shutan Visual Back plus Mini-Tele Extender combination (see the Accessory Reviews --> Showcase Products page).

Subject:	Newbie question
Sent:	Wednesday, October 2, 2002 14:55:45
From:	michaeldesimone@adelphia.net (Michael DeSimone)
I just purchased an ETX-125 from someone on E-Bay. I have been reading
up as much as I can on it so I can start using it once it arrives. I'm
curious about something though. Roughly how long would you say it takes
to setup/align the scope each time you want to use it? I know that at
first it will take some time due to lack of familiarity. But after a few
times what do you think it should take?

Thank you,

Michael DeSimone
North Royalton, Ohio
Mike here: A couple of minutes once you have some experience.

Subject:	Right angle finder
Sent:	Tuesday, October 1, 2002 7:21:27
From:	benk@tzell.com (Benjamin Klingberg [NY])
What a great site!

I just installed the right angle finder which makes viewing easier
except the new finder hits the fork mount when trying to polar align, do
I really have to hack up the ETX to make this work or there an easier
way to get a decent polar alignment with the ETX?

Thanks!
Mike here: Where did you install and what size is it? You can see how mind is mounted by looking at the photos I've included with my LightSight "Red Dot" Finder comments on the Accessory Reviews --> Finderscopes. I don't have any problem polar aligning.

And:

Oh yeah, very nice site. Not only just for ETX users but ALL amateurs.

Anyway, it is the Meade #825 finder which is recommended. You have a
review of this finder Which says this is a problem, when I point the ETX
towards the pole the finder hits The fork mount. Am I doing it wrong? Do
you think the Red Dot finder will make my life easier?
Mike here: I have the Shutan 90 degree conversion kit (Accessory Reviews --> Showcase Products page). Perhaps rotating the finderscope in the rings will move it out of the way of the fork. Red-dot finders are useful for pointing at the sky as long as you can see what you need to be pointing at (planet, bright star, approximate location in a constellation, etc.).

And:

Yes, the Shutan kit looks to have a thinner profile. I tried all
positions in the rings with no luck, shaving away some plastic on the
fork arm is probably the only way. It also does not focus very well, the
barrel locks down tight when you reach a sharp focus. No room to give. I
would not suggest this finder for the ETX.

Thank you so much for all your help Mike!

Ben Klingberg

Subject:	Focus backlash?
Sent:	Tuesday, October 1, 2002 6:30:56
From:	Villy.Madsen@atcoitek.com (Madsen, Villy)
How much backlash is normal in the focussing mechanism ??

Villy
Mike here: There should be essentially no "backlash" in the focusing as it is a screw, assuming you are talking about an ETX.

And:

Yes (125), there seems to be some slop in the mechanism then.  I will
have to check it out some more....

Havn't had a lot of opportunity to use it since I bought it back in late
August - the weather's been real crummy up here in middle Alberta

Villy

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