Last updated: 24 October 2003
This page is for user comments and information specific to the new Meade ETX-105EC and ETX-105AT. 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:	ETX105 - Manuals with a New Telescope
Sent:	Thursday, October 23, 2003 06:44:06
Why is it that a new telescope like the ETX 105 lacks anything but the
most basic manuals?

For instance take the Autostar now supplied with ETX's as standard, you
get 9 A4 (half Letter) size pages (10 if you include the cover picture),
which outline only the basic function of each button on the handset.

Yet when you go to Meade's website, and there is a complete step by step
comprehensive umpteen page instruction guide, including just about
everything you would ever want to do with the Autostar, full of
pictures, diagrams, references and defintions. What a shame it is not
available as a single PDF document, and if you want to print it off from
the website, you are reduced to doing so piecemeal.

I have written to Meade with my product registration pointing out the
weak documentation overall with the product as the manuals with the
telescope itself and even the #884 tripod are equally poor. I await
their reply.

Brilliant telescope once you remove the 1/2 tub of grease from the
clutches, tighten the loose nuts and bolts and work out that simply
downloading the latest software update requires a complete Reset and
Reinitialisation despite what the ASU 3.61 software says, if you don't
want the thing winding itself at full speed into the RA hard stops and
trying to do Dec backflips!

Come on Meade, your School Report in my books says, "Sets a low
standard, then fails to meet it. Could do better"!

Great site Mike, saved me lots of frustration and got me working again
after that ASU download disaster, long may it continue, keep up the good


Stephen Bird
Farnborough, United Kingdom
Mike here: Yes, documentation hasn't been Meade's strong point.


Hi, thanks for the quick response. Well I just looked inside the
telescope base and the wiring where it enters the RA clutch plate looks
like it is all wound up fit to break. Probably a consequence of the 30ED
download disaster and subsequent wind up and back flip routine prior to
going via the reset route!

So, do I return the unit under the warranty and wait for 12 - 14 weeks,
(like the eyepiece offer!) for a fix, or get in there and fix it myself.

Decisions, Decisions!


Stephen Bird
Mike here: There should be no way for the ETX-105 to wrap the wiring since it has hard stops. Are you sure about the wrapping? And what 3.0Ed disaster?


Perhaps a little frustration has crept in here on my part. For $1000 I
expected a little more quality from Meade in the build standard.

Wire wrapping - Hard stop 1 occurs at a RA of 4hr 50min on the lower
scale. Rotate clockwise to hard stop 2 and on the lower scale, you again
pass 4hr 50min (360 Degrees of rotation) and continue on to 23hr 40min
(another 267.5 Degrees). A total of 1.74 rotations. This is transmitted
to the 4 wires (as a maximum)when the telescope is rotated stop to stop.
Even with the wiring "set" without twisting at the half way point, it is
twisted or "wrapped" around itself 0.87 of a full turn in each
direction. The shrink wrap sleeving having been shrunk to fit tightly
around the wires where they enter the RA clutch, is brittle by
definition, because when you heat this stuff to shrink it, it goes
brittle and less flexible, especially if it gets cold (36 degrees F here
last night). Consequently the sleeving will break, it is just a matter
of time. Mine has broken after only 6 viewing sessions. Next to fracture
will be the wiring. The twisted strand construction of this wire, means
that as it gets rotated back and forth, stresses are built up and the
weakest strands stretch at the stress point on entry to the RA clutch
plate. Eventually they stretch and break until there are no strands left
and at best you have an open circuit on that wire. Of course as the
insulation gets colder, it also becomes more brittle and may itself
fracture before the wire strands inside break. If this happens to two
wires, you get a short circuit, and if previous reports on your site are
correct, smoke and a dead Autostar and telescope.

I guess what I'm asking is are there any modifications out there that
solve this problem, or is it just the case that you inspect the wiring
regularly and replace it at the first sign of trouble? I must admit the
use of insulation displacement connectors on the computer panel where
this wiring eminates from does seem to indicate an expectation that the
wiring may need servicing at some stage, or it would save money for
Meade if the wires were merely soldered to the circuit board. I can make
so close up digital photos of the situation if you like?

The 3.0Ed disaster - OK, I did get excited with this one. Having not
seen much of your site at this stage and thinking that a firmware update
would solve my problems, it just made them worse. I followed Meade's
instructions, such as they are, and without a full reset the telescope
went into its routine of hitting the hard stops and trying to elevate
the OTA past the vertical. Perhaps I expect too much for $1000, but I
would have thought that given several years of feedback from your list
subscribers, Meade would have taken the opportunity with ASU 3.61 and
3.0Ed to at the very least ensure that the Help / Instructions actually
told you the correct way to install the new firmware, and that they
tested the release thoroughly before sending it out to the public at
large for Beta testing. That to me is a disaster, as I got up at 4am to
see Jupiter and Orion, only to have to effectively manually drive the
ETX to see anything!

But thanks to the excellent collective advice from your site (that I
have printed off and bound into the "ETX Workshop Manual") at least I
have a few pointers for the way foreward.

Anyway with 2 or 3 clear nights forecast, I am now faced with a
stripdown of the DEC assembly to cure problems there, there is a lot of
cross play between the forks and the DEC clucth hardly holds at all.
This will cost me at least 2 nights viewing. Then as this is Good Old
Blighty, doubtless the rain will set in!

I'll keep you posted on my findings, you never know, Meade might even
respond to my feedback I sent with the product registration, but I won't
hold my breath.


Stephen Bird
Mike here: I don't have an ETX-105 to compare the wiring to; perhaps someone else will respond. But a rotation of almost twice around between hardstops is normal.
Subject:	8x25 viewfinder (ETX105 page)
Sent:	Saturday, October 18, 2003 07:29:13
From: (Bruce Dickson)
I found the standard finder screws on my ETX 105 were too soft; they
bent which made setting the finder impossible. I replaced them with
M3x12 nylon screws. It doesn't really matter what you use as long as the
screws are slightly harder than the bracket ... but softer than the
finder :).

Clear skies
Bruce D.

Midrand, ZA

Subject:	8x25 viewfinder
Sent:	Wednesday, October 1, 2003 09:23:32
From: (Ed Wargo)
I have a 105 with the 8x25 right angle view finder.  It uses 6 nylon
screws for adjustments.  Do you have the size of these?  I need to order
a few extra.

Mike here: Sorry, no. Contact Meade; they might send them to you.

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