Last updated: 31 October 2005

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:	Your Astronomy Links
Sent:	Monday, October 31, 2005 09:08:37
From:	Brandon Schmitz (
I stumbled upon your site (which is Well Done) and I was browsing your
links page.  I happened to find a category called "General Astronomy" on
page ""  and I have a great
addition to that section.  We have a Massive collection of astronomy
images from, galaxies to planets to NASA images.  We have it all and I
feel that it would be beneficial to you and your users.

Check it out:

Foto Search Image Library offers over 1 million images in its extensive
online archive, including Art, photography, clipart, illustrations,
footage, and maps.  It offers your users the opportunity to view
world-class photography and art free of charge.  It is the digital,
online equivalent of a conventional art museum.  Browsing through the
library is free, and there are no access charges, registration
requirements, or usage limits.
Following is an html link that I have prepared for your use.
Astronomy Photos & Images
Feel free to contact me at 262-717-0740 or via email at Thank you.

Brandon Schmitz
Foto Search Image Library
21155 Watertown Road
Waukesha, WI 53186

Subject:	Using focuser vs. primary mirror for focusing
Sent:	Saturday, October 29, 2005 18:45:52
From:	JJ Singley (
I have an ETX 125 OTA with the primary mirror glued in place.  I am
trying to decide if I should remove the glue or use a focuser.  I have
looked at the Crayford and reverse type Crayford and am considering the
reverse from JMI.  Are there any pros/cons of using a focuser that I
should consider?

I intend to use the telescope for both terrestial and lunar/planetary
Mike here: The biggest concern will be to ensure that all your eyepieces (with and without filters and with and without a Barlow Lens) will still focus.
Subject:	Is it "creep after beep"
Sent:	Saturday, October 29, 2005 11:48:19
From:	Tom and Lori (
Last night while viewing M42 (which was awesome at 2:00 AM here in So.
Cal.) with my ETX 125AT I noticed after completing my two star alignment
my scope would not really "creep," but would make more of a clicking
sound which moved the image slightly lower than center.  I am using
Alt/Az.  This occurred about every 4-5 seconds and maybe subsided the
longer I was out there.  Funny thing, my image was always in my

It seems like the image would drift, then the click, then it would be
centered again.

Maybe I really don't have anything to worry about?

Next question:  Please direct me to the reference area on your sight for
cleaning eyepieces.

Thanks for the help . . . great site!
Clear skies,
Mike here: "Clicking" sounds may or may not be something to worry about. If a gear tooth is broken then it would be not so good. If a wire is catching, that would also be not so good. But you might try a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES to see if that resolves it. If not, then you might want to consider having a look inside. As to cleaning, see the article "Cleaning Optics" on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.


From:	richard seymour (
Which version of firmware?  (setup/statistics [enter][scroll up])

Creep after beep normally is silent, and stops about a minute or
two after the beep.
Clicking and jumping is truly odd (one reason i need to learn
the firmware version... is this a new quirk of 40Eb, or is it
a hardware quirk of your scope?)

It could even be something truly convoluted, such as a leaky
motor driver chip moving the motor away from the target,
and the 'creep after beep' -noticing- it and forcing it back.

Does it happen -elsewhere- in the sky, or only at that approximate

have fun


I forgot to tell you it usually happens when I locate any object in the
sky, not just in a specific area.  I will continue to monitor and report
back to you and Mike.



Subject:	Removing baffle adhesive from mirror and corrector
Sent:	Saturday, October 29, 2005 10:15:50
From:	will (
I found an ETX 90 RA from a thrift store and at 1st glance it seemed to
have a cracked/chipped primary mirror and corrector due to the baffle
working loose and bouncing around inside. I bought it anyway, dismantled
it and realized that most of the marks are from the gummy baffle
adhesive. I put the baffle back in place, took it outside and enjoyed
some fine stargazing. Bright stars show a little coma, smaller stars are
pinpoint and inside/outside focus star tests seem to show correct
collimation. All in all I'm ok with the preformance but I know that it
will improve if I can clean off all of the schmutz on the mirror &
corrector but I need to know how to properly remove adhesive without
wrecking the coatings or even if I should. The adhesive marks, I would
guess, cover less than 10% of the surface and may  have been there a
long time (more than a year) Thank you,  Nicholas
Mike here: You could try using distilled water and see if soaking the adhesive will loosen it up.
Subject:	Temperature
Sent:	Friday, October 28, 2005 10:52:04
From:	Robert B. White (
I am very grateful for you and your hard work. You have made our
stargazing efforts possible.

I line in Edmonton,  Canada where, as you will know, it can get very
cold. With respect to the gear box, what do you suggest as a temperature
below which one shouldn't try to use it?


Mike here: I know that many Canadians have used the ETX in the middle of Winter so it can stand significant cold temperatures. You might want to read the article "Cold Weather Performance" on the Helpful Information: Observational Guides/References page.
Subject:	Keyspan USB to Serial
Sent:	Friday, October 28, 2005 09:08:53
From:	Ted Witt (
I see a lot of folks using the dual serial to USB converter on the Mac. 
Do you know of any one who has used the high-speed single serial to USB

High Speed USB Serial Adapter, Black\Clear, USB Type A Male to DB9 pin
RS-232 Male
                    Manufacturer: Keyspan
                    Mfg Part #: USA-19HS

Ted Witt

Subject:	Re: Interesting object in the sky.
Sent:	Thursday, October 27, 2005 17:14:32
From:	Michael Teige (
Oh no it's not Mars.  The last time Mars was close this thing was also
there.  It's not normal star twinkling.  It flashed various colors
really brightly.  It's bright enough to the naked eye you would think
it's the running lights of a plane and the colors are very vibrant.
Looking at it in the ETX 90 the colors are almost psychedelic they are
so bright and blink so fast it's like a disco light in space.  I assume
it's a satellite but our town is light polluted enough that we don't see
them here and this thing is bright enough to be seen with naked eye even
with a street lamp shining bright right next to it. It's just a really
odd thing I have wondered about for years. Curiously when I point it out
to people (even fellow stargazers) they react in wonder and say they
never noticed it before.  The fact that I saw it in Burbank (and pointed
it out to some folks there too) means it is definitely in space but what
it is is beyond me.  I will try to take some film with a web cam or some
still shots one day maybe. It's a super secret spy satellite st right
from Area 51 I'll wager!  I recently went there in Nevada and got the
obligatory pictures of me against the signs that say "No Photography
allowed" :-)



From:	Harold Ogden (
In response to an e-mail you received on Oct. 26 from Michael in
Seattle,  I believe what he is seeing (blinking in different colors) in
the NE sky from Seattle is Capella.  Sounds like what we view every
night from Anacortes, WA about 80 miles north of Seattle.

Subject:	Year's End Starparty Morocco
Sent:	Thursday, October 27, 2005 11:04:34
From:	Michael Gutzeit (
Dear Stargazers,

an International Starparty will take place in South Morocco from the
29th of December 2005 till the 4th of January 2006.

The site round the Hotel Sahara ( is perfect for
observing (very dark sky), at the top of the hotel you will find a 400
sq. meter star terrace with instruments for observing. You can stay in
the hotel, or in genuine nomad tents (with comfortable beds inside) or
bring your own tent or camper. Sanitary facilities are available.

Meade is at the site too, with some new telescopes and solar equipment
for observation.

Morocco is a very exotic country but safe and easy to travel to. The
streets are in very good condition and the road from Marrakech over the
Atlas Mountains to the Hotel (app. 6 hrs)is one of the most beautiful
trips in the world.

More Info:

I'm sure it will be an unforgettable week. If you have any questions,
don't hesitate to contact me. I'm also at the Winter Star Party every

Michael Gutzeit
Starenweg 11
71394 Kernen  

Subject:	Interesting object in the sky.
Sent:	Wednesday, October 26, 2005 19:42:27
From:	Michael Teige (
I have asked a few people 'round these parts but everyone I point it out
to is mystified.  As of right now here in the Seattle area (7:36 pm)
this odd object is roughly in the NE sky pretty high up.  It's as small
as a star but it blinks red, blue and maybe another color.  No it's not
a plane or somesuch.  It seems to be stationary and moves with the rest
of the night sky.  In my trusty ETX 90EC I cannot resolve any fine
details but you can plainly see with the naked eye that it blinks colors
and in the scope you can clearly see the colors. What the heck is this
thing?  I have seen it in Burbank CA so clearly it's in space and not a
weather balloon.  A geosynchronous satellite? What satellite blinks so
rapidly and with such bright colors? I have seen this thing for all 6
years I have lived here. Just wondering if you know or have seen it too.

Take care,
Mike here: Mars. "Blinking" is due to the Earth's atmosphere.
Subject:	ETX-90 loses battle with Hurricane Katrina
Sent:	Wednesday, October 26, 2005 18:42:29
From:	Rose & Joe Schlatter (
Here's a photo of my ETX-90 in the living room of my apartment after
Katrina.  The telescope lost the battle.
Joe Schlatter


Subject:	I am a new owner and have problem with focus
Sent:	Tuesday, October 25, 2005 21:50:58
From:	Michael Harrington (
I own a ETX-90 and it does not seem to focus properly.  Meade is not
very helpful.  Any help you can provide will be appreciated.  Also do
you know of a local (Boston) person that could help me in person?
Michael Harrington
Mike here: Can you be more specific about the focus problem? When you look at a distant object, like a building in the daytime, using the 26mm eyepiece, and you turn the focus knob, what happens to the image?
Subject:	Replacement Parts Website
Sent:	Monday, October 24, 2005 05:45:04
From:	Larry Harrison (
A while back there was a website that had replacement parts for Meade
and Celestron.  The parts were not Meade items but were much better than
the original parts.  The site had major parts down to packs of plastic
screws for eyepieces and eyepiece holders.

Do you know of this site?  I cannot seem to locate it anylonger.

Regards, Larry
Mike here: There are two sites that I'm aware of: Telescope Warehouse and ScopeStuff. Links for both are on the Astronomy Links page.
Subject:	etx125 standard controller wiring problem
Sent:	Monday, October 24, 2005 02:08:53
From:	Dr. Joaqun E. Gonzlez H. (
Great site about ETX.

I'm from Costa Rica and I have a ETX125 Meade telescope and the wires in
the hand controller were "pulled apart" and I don't know wich is the
order of them in the controller to soldering it. Can you help me about
that problem cause I can't find a diagram.

I have your book Using the Meade ETX and was there where I found the
direction of the homepage.

Thanks a lot.
Dr. Joaquin Gonzalez H
Alajuela,  Costa Rica
Mike here: I don't recall seeing a wiring diagram for that.
Subject:	RE: Problems discerning Messier objects
Sent:	Saturday, October 22, 2005 20:01:01
From:	Jon Avner (
Things were finally clear last night and I was able to see much more
than I had previously.  I was able to spot several Messier objects,
although all the globular clusters, nebula, and galaxies looked pretty
much alike, and just as you described them: grey blobs.  When I saw the
first one, I wasn't sure if it was the cluster or a weirdly shaped
cloud.  After I knew what I was looking at, I was able to spot several
others. I've been trying to spot Uranus, but still haven't been able to
find it.

Subject:	ETX-90 and Hurricane Katrina
Sent:	Saturday, October 22, 2005 06:14:51
From:	Rose & Joe Schlatter (
After a long absence caused by Hurricane Katrina, I am back on-line,
although not back observing.

In January 2005 we moved from the hills of East Tennessee (elevation
2,500 feet above mean sea level) to Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi -- 1/2
block from the Gulf of Mexico, 30 feet above MSL.  We were living in a
apartment in Bay, building a house in Waveland, MS (15 feet above MSL),
and most of our belongings were in storage in Pass Christian, MS (10
feet above MSL).

Katrina brought a tidal surge of 35 feet.  We got 5 feet of water, mud,
and general nastiness in the apartment, ruining everything there.  The
storage unit was under 20 or so feet of water, ruining everything in
storage.  We had only finished the foundation on our house and it was
buried under 10 feet of debris -- the towns of Waveland and Pass
Christian simply no longer exist (I'll post photos on my website later).

My scopes and eyepieces were lost.  The ETX-90 and its tripod were in
the apartment.  Some of the furniture floated in the flood, bumped into
the scope, and it fell to the floor where it was buried in mud.  My XT-8
Dob was in storage and the salt water ruined the optics and corroded the
steel tube and aluminum eyepiece mount.  Water infiltrated into my
eyepiece cases and the salt water ruined all my eyepieces.

Fortunately, our insurance provides complete coverage for personal
effects and we will be paid this week.

We moved back to East Tennessee -- back to 2,500 feet above MSL -- and
we are not coming down!!!

I have a really ugly photo of the ETX-90 lying in the mud; will post it
Joe Schlatter

Subject:	ETX-125PE-UHTC
Sent:	Friday, October 21, 2005 23:02:29
From:	patricio valencia gulart (
Mike here: Check the Meade Dealer Locator page ( for dealers in your country.
Subject:	Re: veritical movement causes noise
Sent:	Friday, October 21, 2005 18:54:52
From: (
Okay...what do I need to take apart to check for the wire?
Mike here: See the Scopetronix ETX/EC Tune Up page.
Subject:	veritical movement causes noise
Sent:	Friday, October 21, 2005 13:50:06
From: (
With and with the dec lock engaged, when moving the ota vertically a
slight pop or click type noise occurs when the scope is moved past the
45 degree position (but only going down) when coming back up past the
same sound. With lock disengaged, the hard spot at the 45
degree position is enough to hold the weight of the ota. But it only
takes very minimal force (hardly any) to get past this spot.
There is no problems slewing..just that aweful pop.
Any ideas what it might be.
Mike here: Could be a couple of problems. A wire in the fork arm (right side) could be catching. Not good as the wire could be cut. Or a problem exists with the gear mechanism but I doubt that since it happens at the same elevation.
Subject:	Mount Pinos and question about celestron lens pen
Sent:	Thursday, October 20, 2005 22:24:21
From:	Eric Theblack (
Had my scope out at Mount Pinos around the beginning of the month.  It
performed absolutely magnificent.  I met a few 15" Dob owners and even
they were impressed. They were also jealous of my ability to track and
goto so easily.  All in all, my 125PE pulled down some brilliant DSOs,
almost as good as the mammoth Dobs in most regards.  I was very
impressed with its performance.

I read the info on your site about cleaning optics and Dr. Clay's advice
not to use the lenspen.  But Celestron has a lenspen that they advertise
is safe and effective for eyepieces and small aperture optics. I need it
for my barlow, which has developed a spot (smudge of some kind, don't
know how it got there) that you can even see while looking through the
scope. My Meade 26mm plossl is also pretty dirty as well. Have you heard
anything about this product?  Any idea if it's safe?  I would think if
Celestron makes it, it would be safe to use.  You can check it out at
their webpage:

I'm planning on buying it from Scope City.  Thanks and Happy Holidays,

Mike here: On that same "Cleaning Optics" page on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page you can read my LensPen comments. Dr Clay is right that avoiding such a tool is best however it does seem to work.
Subject:	New ETX 90 PE user in OZ
Sent:	Thursday, October 20, 2005 17:21:46
From:	Ray Schmidt
I am an ETX125 owner in Victoria and a member of a couple of
astronomical societies.

I am happy to discuss Clare's problems with her by phone or email if you
want to pass my email address on to her.

Happy to help a fellow astronomer.
Best regards
Ray Schmidt
Melbourne, Victoria,  Australia

Subject:	1.Home Position          2.Astigmatism.
Sent:	Thursday, October 20, 2005 09:13:40
From:	Morris Clive ADN/CYLLID (
This is a small query about the Meade ETX90EC telescope as I may get a
chance to see Mars before the opposition is over.
1.Home Position

I don't use the ETX often and I have been re-reading your book again re
Home Position.

I have trained the gears.  I am just going over what you are supposed to
do again in my mind.

Control panel faces west. Get the base level. Unlock altitude axis and
position OTA to 0 degrees. Relock alt axis.

Loosen Azimuth axis rotate OTA anticlockwise until I hit stop. Then
swing clockwise until fork arm with dec is over control panel and OTA
faces north. Unlock alt axis and rotate scope in both axes to see
Polaris. Once located lock azimuth axis and lower OTA downwards to
level. Level and Clamp alt axis.  Check dec setting circle.

Do you have any advice please about Home Position as I know it is
important to get it right.

a.What position should the OTA be in when I start please.
b.Is it absolutely necessary to locate Polaris please?

Admittedly I have been using the ETX inside which I know I shouldn't do. 
I know I have to go outside. Are the optics ok if a relatively bright
star shows a point at focus please?
Best Wishes,
Mike here: Setting Alt axis to 0 degrees is not necessarily correct; leveling is more correct since the scale can be off. If the scale is off and you want to adjust it, see the FAQ page. You were correct in the horizontal rotation until you said to unlock the axes and rotate to get Polaris. You should physically pick up the telescope and rotate it horizontally but you can move the OTA upwards to get Polaris and then bring it back to level. So the OTA will be pointing towards True North and level. And no, you do not have to hit True North precisely; if you recognize the first selected alignment star (and get see it), when told to center the star you can physically rotate the telescope AND tripod to get as close to the star as you can and then complete the centering with the Autostar. Do the 2nd star normally (ie, don't move the tripod). Most people won't see an "Airy Disk" unless it is pointed out to them so if you see a point of light, good.


Thank you Mike your advice is very helpful as always.
Much appreciated. Clive

Subject:	Beginner Blues
Sent:	Tuesday, October 18, 2005 11:53:07
From:	craig mccarthy (
Having put off buying a telescope for a number of years, following
advice from a number of sources as to the frustrating nature of the
things, I finally gave in and went for an ETX 125EC.

Obviously excited I couldn't help but feel deflated when I pointed it
towards Mars, so prominent at the moment, only to find that the very
small orange blob, from my binocular days, became a slightly larger but
distinctly fuzzy orange blob. Yet your website is full of glowing
reports and fantastc photos.

Sorry but I just don't get it! I understand 'seeing' and the perils of
using too high a magnification, but I am unable to get anything like a
quality image.

Any thoughts on what I may be doing wrong. Is it anything to do with
collimation? (if only manufacturers would suppply images of the sorts of
things you could expect to see through your expensive new toy!)

I'd be grateful for any help you could give.

Craig McCarthy
(35) Perthshire, Scotland
Mike here: Common new user situation; expecting more than a telescope can deliver. Photos typically don't show what the eye will see. You didn't mention what eyepiece you used but if you have only the 26mm eyepiece then that could be part of the "problem". Of course, increasing the magnification will make it larger and can enhance what you see, up to a point. But as you noted, seeing conditions can also affect what you see. But Mars is still a difficult visual object; you can see (faintly) some grey areas and a polar cap in small telescopes. You may, with experience, make out other details.
Subject:	ETX 105 A novices views
Sent:	Monday, October 17, 2005 23:27:35
From:	Carter Lynne (
I am a complete novice I bought an ETX 105 in 2003 when the field tripod
and autostar were included in the package and added the anniversary lens
set. My inability to set up the autostar correctly,  the flimsy
finderscope that took an age to align and was knocked out of alignment
by the merest vibration, and my total lack of knowledge about the skies,
meant that after days of frustration I was begining to think I had
wasted my money and put the scope away in it's box.

Two years later, after discovering your site I invested in a rigel
systems quick finder and along with the discovery of Philp S Harringtons
book 'Star Watch' my viewing has been transformed ! Two minutes to fit
and align the quick finder and I know that the scope is looking at the
point I am aiming for. The book has clear maps and directions to help
you find the objects and it gives a REALISTIC idea of what you can see
through the telescope. Using the book and the hand controller I am
begining to find my way round the sky and I am now totally entranced
every time I go out with the scope, the universe is my oyster and I can
travel to those far places that I had only dreamed of before.

Thank you Mike and your contributors. Cheers Lynne Carter.

Subject:	Declination lock slippage
Sent:	Monday, October 17, 2005 17:12:33
From:	Stephen Seman (
I have the newer model etx-125 with the aluminum forks and need to
perform Jordan Blessing's etx-ec "tune up", but it appears from the
pictures shown that the description is displaying an "older model" set
of forks. Will I still be able to perform the procedure on the
declination clutch with the scope I have?
Jim Seman
Mike here: I believe so although I've not tried.
Subject:	ETX-125EC or is it ETX-125AT ?
Sent:	Monday, October 17, 2005 14:17:09
From:	Khaled El-gendy (
Hello Mike, thanks a lot for your great site. I'm a new stargazer, I
decided to buy the Meade ETX-125AT with the UHTC . After I brought the
telescope home and I opened it, I noticed that the name of the scope on
the package is saying "ETX-125EC Astro Telescope" ! I was disappointed
and thought that the seller has given me the wrong package! But when I
opened the manual, it looked like the new version's manual with the
picture of the 3 scopes together! and yet inside the manual they are
talking about the "" 125 AT "" with no mention about the "125EC" ? Some
body in saying that the "newer version" has a code bar no. of 0515-03-03? 
mine has a code of 0515-03-21 !?

I'm confused, as the scope's name (title) on the package says 125EC
Astor Telescope while inside the manual it talks all the time about 
125AT !
Which one do I have??
Thanks a lot and best regards from Finland
Mike here: See the FAQ page for EC vs AT info.
Subject:	telescope info
Sent:	Monday, October 17, 2005 06:25:06
From:	Jackie Ashley (
I just found the email you sent me to a comcast address on September 22.
Every now and again I find these emails as I don't know how to use
comcast so I try to ask people to use this one. Anyway thank you very
much for your information. 

I ended up buying a Meade Maksutov Cassegrain telescope because it is
physically so much smaller and easier to move around. Meade has a good
clearance deal on a lot they didn't sell through Sharper Image or
Hammecher Schlammer magazines - or something like that. I am very
pleased with it and your point that if you don't use it it is no use
having it is the most relevant. This one is easy to move around. The
Meade 2114 was huge and not at all portable.

Thank you for your information.
Jackie Ashley
Mike here: Maybe the email went to Comcast because that is what you used. See the Email Etiquette page for guidelines on reply-to addresses. Thanks for understanding.
Subject:	re: ETX 125PE Base Off Center
Sent:	Sunday, October 16, 2005 15:05:32
From:	Richard Seymour (
I think i've heard rumor of some recent ETX125's having mis-bored bases
(RA axis off-center or tilted).

Definitely a candidate for exchange.

Dr. Clay can provide more authoritative input, i've CC'd him
this note, and i'm including your original posting below.

good luck


From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
Correct....there have been two runs that I know of that have had
horribly eccentric castings/borings, only in the ETX 125 series; this
has led to binding of the RA axis in addition to very tight rotation and
consequential stripping and damage of the RA drive. 

If you can get a replacement or get it replaced at Meade I strongly
suggest that you do.

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H45 (Petit Jean Mountain South)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain)


From:	David Haigh (
Thanks for all your interest guys and prompt replies to my problem. I
have forwarded a reply from telescope house, the uk importers who as you
will see deny any known issues with the ETX 125 base.

I will keep you informed on my further research

Yours, Dave Haigh

From:  Telescope House
Subject:  Re: ETX 125 PE, off center base
Date:  Mon, 17 Oct 2005 01:46:59 -0700 (PDT)
Morning, David,

Thanks for your message. We have come across no other examples of this
apparent fault so you will need to ask your dealer to take it up with
the distributor who provided it to them.

Good luck with the telescope, anyway.
Telescope House, Telescope Specialists Since 1785 01892 550100
Telescope House.
Tunbridge Wells Trade Park
Longfield Road
Tunbridge Wells
Kent TN2 3QF
--- "David Haigh" wrote:
I have just bought an ETX 125PE and on setting it up on the tripod the
horizontal setting circle kept falling off. On closer examination I
found that the whole of the driven base is slightly off centre to the
battery housing base unit. Is this a known problem and do you think the
scopes abilities will be in any way affected, it appears to be fairly
level across the base horizontally just off center by about 3mm when
viewed from above.
Your thoughts would be much appreciated
David Haigh
scope bought through warehouse express, but i thought as you are the
importers you would know of common faults and best way to proceed

And an update:

Resolution, I hope. Talked to my supplier, Warehouse Express and they
are picking up the scope tomorrow for replacement as soon as stocks
allow. Thay said they had had a few returns with the same fault, always
nice to know I am not a one off.

The email I sent you from telescope house saying there isnt a problem
and to refer to supplier is interesting. A large label on the box
clearly states them as the importer, so I wonder why they are burying
their heads in the sand as I assume all returns to Meade go back through

Luckily I still have faith in the scopes as this will be my 3rd Etx and
I also used to have an LX90.

Clearer skies I hope than I get in East Lancashire



This is terrific news; congratulations (I hope)....they are indeed great
scopes, so please don't give up.
Dr. Clay

Subject:	re: New ETX PE 90 user in OZ
Sent:	Sunday, October 16, 2005 14:36:15
From:	Richard Seymour (
There are lots of Oz users of MEade scopes...
There's even a Yahoo  group devoted to them
(although many of the members have larger scopes,
there's a distinct family resemblence and operational
methodology spanning the ETX60 to the LX90)

Also, mentioning the town/city you're in might flush
some other kindred spirits out of the bush...

I'm aware of helpful contacts in Sydney, Melbourne and

have fun

Subject:	New ETX PE 90 user in OZ
Sent:	Sunday, October 16, 2005 06:16:51
From:	Clare de Kok (
Hi Mike, great site I have been able to gather a lot of Info over the
past few months while waiting for my PE 90 to arrive. I've had it for a
few months now and still haven't had much luck with getting it set up
for observation (weather, moon, family commitments), Its now the start
of spring and the weather is being kinder so 2 more weeks with no moon
hopefully I will be in luck. I asked a few local telescope dealers about
star parties or information on learning to use a ETX PE 90 and had no
luck it seems from the only distributor in Victoria Australia had not
even seen one and doesn't know when he will get his shipment.

The local club didn't even return my calls, so as a complete novice can
I ask Is anyone out their in OZ with a PE who could help out with some
Thanks again for this forum

Subject:	ETX 125PE Base Off Center
Sent:	Saturday, October 15, 2005 14:40:14
From:	David Haigh (
I have just received my ETX 125PE, with of course the usual biting of
nails anticipation. In the past I have had an ETX 90 RA and EC Models
and an LX90 so at least I am fairly familiar with the beast and its

Only problem seems to be that the Horizontal Setting Circle keeps
falling off. On closer inspection I found that the whole of the rotating
base (forks, base etc) is slightly off center thus allowing the circle
of tape to fall off at one side. Do you know if this is a noted problem
or am I the lucky first one with an off center base. Also any idea if it
will affect alignment, my guess is hopefully not unless it is moving

All the best and thanks for giving me lots of reading pleasure on your
site since i found it in 1999

David Haigh
Mike here: By itself I wouldn't worry about the setting circie. HOWEVER, if the top of the mount (forks, etc) is LOOSE on the bottom of the base then you will have other problems, with the potential of damage. Does the top wiggle? If so, you have a couple of choices: Contact your dealer for an exchange or check for a loose nut inside the base. If you want to check the nut, remove the base plate on the bottom of the base and look inside at the nut that screws onto the central shaft.
Subject:	No horisontal limit stop CCW
Sent:	Wednesday, October 12, 2005 03:49:42
From:	Lisette Edgarsson (SA/TMS) (
I hold an ETX-125EC and yesterday night I discovered my scope had lost
the horizontal limit stop when rotating CCW. Rotating CW has a limit
stop. Except for being careful and not let the scope rotates more than
360 with AutoStar does it really matter for now that the stop has
vanished? From the CW stop I can rotate the tube 2x360 CCW and approx
120 CW and get the same function or? I could not hear anything loose
(screw or so) so any idea? Are these limit stops by pure mechanical
design? The batteries have to be replaced, also

Best regards from a location close to the Celestrial North Pole and
where we eventually have got dark evenings for astronomy so I don't want
my scope for repair in Germany if not absolute necessary :-)

Lisette Edgarsson
Mike here: The mechanical hard stop would seem to have been broken off. With the control panel on the West side, you can do that twice CCW rotation from the CW hard stop and then back to North.
Subject:	ETX105 Motor problems
Sent:	Tuesday, October 11, 2005 11:35:04
From:	Ron Beare (
In january 05 I purchased an ETX105, opened up read the book and set up.
Nothing, the Autostar warned me about the sun, I pressed "5" and the
message told me I had a drive motor fault. The supplier replaced the
scope very pronto and the fun began.

Nine months later (with not a lot of use during summer) the second scope
has done the same thing, all I get is drive motor fault. New batteries
have been tried, handset unplugged and replugged, seperate power supply
fully recharged still nothing.

I'm still waiting to hear from my supplier as I trust the scope is still
under warranty, but would like your observations (sorry no pun
intended!) on the problem please.

Ron Beare
Mike here: Have you (or can you) get to CALIBRATE MOTORS? If not, try reversing the Autostar cable.


Reversed the cable and all's working again, many thanks for such a
simple solution.

Subject:	Advice on purchasing a ETX-90 or 105
Sent:	Monday, October 10, 2005 10:30:29
From:	Lee Humphrey (
Great site Mike!

I need some purchasing advice.

I cannot decide between the 90 or 105. All the images I have viewed on
your site taken by either the 90 or 105 are comparable.

I don't think the extra 100 is worth it. It looks to me that the
difference is arguable unless the choice was between the 90 and 125.

I have previously owned a ETX-70

I am also concerned about the quality of engineering of the products
mechanical features. After spending 600 on a new product re-finishing
the unit at home I think is a liberty.

Thank you for your time.
Lee Humphrey
Mike here: The ETX-90 is very portable but the -105 isn't that much larger, from a physical sense. It is a nicely splits the difference in portability and light gathering power between the ETX-90 and ETX-125.
Subject:	Binoviewer with ETX?
Sent:	Monday, October 10, 2005 08:02:10
From:	David Hanych (
Binoviewers are getting more popular. Has anyone bought one recently to
use with an ETX? If so, post details.
Mike here: There are a couple discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page on the ETX Site. Also, if you search the Site for "Binoviewer" you will see a few other comments.
Subject:	Re: Meade ETX-125EC telescope
Sent:	Saturday, October 8, 2005 12:53:06
From:	Thomas Nielsen (
After checking out the telescope, we have determined that it has been
completely replace with a new model.   The Autostar controller is the
same but it has been reloaded with their(Meade's) latest programming.

I am guessing that this upgrade is part of a recall that I had not known
about.   Anyway, we now have a fully functional telescope thanks to

Subject:	etx125at polar alignment
Sent:	Saturday, October 8, 2005 09:49:02
From:	Ed Williams (
Hi, I will get my 125 this week and have been reading you web site. This
is probably a stupid question but why can't one use a compass to get
north for the polar alignment?


Mike here: There are no stupid questions. Magnetic North and True North are different. The "Magnetic Variation" can be from 0 degrees to up to about 20 degrees. Plus there can be local magnetic influences, like power lines, that will result in errors.
Subject:	Meade ETX 90 or 105
Sent:	Saturday, October 8, 2005 06:14:25
Hope you can help,

I currently have a Skywatcher 130M and looking to upgrade but something
more portable and easier to use for the family. Looking through your
excellent website hoped you could help.

The Meade range look good value and especially with autostar, can you
recommend a good upgrade for spotting planets, moon in particular.

Keep up the good work.


Mike here: Both the ETX-90 and -105 will do that. The ETX-90 is very portable but the -105 isn't that much larger, from a physical sense. It is a nicely splits the difference in portability and light gathering power between the ETX-90 and ETX-125.


Grateful for you e-mail and quick response, do you think a ETX 90 is
better than a Skywatcher 130M ?


Mike here: I have no experience with a Skywatcher. But I've beenu using my ETX-90 since 1996. You can read my experiences on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as that of others on the Helpful Information: User Observations page.
Subject:	Re: please help Mike you seem great
Sent:	Wednesday, October 5, 2005 22:25:27
From:	Popularphotos (
Thank you for replying and your kind advise in the matter.I am going to
buy these eyepiece and barlow lens this week.Can you lead me in the
right mm for the best close up shots to see teh clor nebulas and the
planets.I was gpoing to get a 3x barlow lens and wanted to see if you
suggest the 3x over the 2x and I was thinking of getting a 9mm eyepiece
to match with it.Please let me know what you think, thank you again Mike
your site is very helpful as well.
Mike here: More magnification will NOT let you see color in nebulae. In fact, about all you will see with nebulae is a grey "faint fuzzy blob". That's true with most telescopes, especially small ones. As to a 3X Barlow Lens, keep in mind the maximum theoretical magnification for any telescope; see the FAQ page if you are unsure how to calculate this. As you get closer to the max the object will get fuzzier and much fainter in the eyepiece. On bright objects (like the Moon and brighter planets) on good seeing nights you can sometimes exceed the max.


please let me know what you ould suggest to get clarity and close ups,
would you recommend the 9MM eyepice with a 2x barlow do you think that
would be a nicer match.
Thank You
Mike here: Yes, that combination would work, depending upon the telescope model and seeing conditions and object. For more on eyepieces, see the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page.
Subject:	ETX125PE
Sent:	Wednesday, October 5, 2005 20:28:35
From: (
Two quick questions;
1.  When you train the drives and collaborate the motors, is this
process one time or should it be done every time you use the scope? (I
move the scope each time I use it)

2. I ordered the Meade 1247 electric focuser from astronomics...I should
get it by the weekend.  They told me it will work with the PE...are
their any reviews on your site about it?

Thanks again for your amazing help and dedication to astronomy.
Mike here: CALIBRATE MOTORS should be done any time the power source is changed (i.e., swapping for fresh batteries, switching between batteries and AC or other external power, or even if the batteries get low). TRAIN DRIVES only needs to be done when updating the Autostr ROM or every few months. However, any time the Autostar acts abnormally doing these can help. As to the focuser, see the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page.
Subject:	ETX 125EC Manual
Sent:	Wednesday, October 5, 2005 20:22:35
From:	George Gargus (
Great site!

Can you tell me if anybody publishes a user's manual for using the
Mighty ETX 125EC with both the standard controller and the Autostar that
is better than the Meade publications?  What I'm looking for is
comprehensive step-by-step instructions like you get with a high end
camera or similar equipment in a price range comparable to that of this

I have picked up many bits and pieces of information that the Meade
manuals didn't explain very well but I  haven't taken the time to try to
organize it all into a logical sequence.  I'm hoping that someone with
more experience than I have has done this.  Any suggestions?

Thanks, and keep up the good work.

Mike here: There is a lot of info on the Autostar on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page page on the ETX Site.
Subject:	Re: Meade ETX-125EC telescope
Sent:	Wednesday, October 5, 2005 17:13:19
From:	Thomas Nielsen (
Good News mike,
The telescope has been returned from Meade.  They seem to have corrected
the problems.  The fork, and the parts holding the telescope were
replaced with later design parts.  The autostar was updated.  For me
this was a great deal because I seem to have a new scope that has been
fully checked, cleaned, refurbished, and calibrated.

Would you be able to advise me about the finder.  Will one of the laser
finders be any easier for an old geeser to show his 14 year old grandson
a few things about using this telescope.

So far I have not used this scope for night viewing.
Let me know about your suggestions regarding the finder question.
Mike here: Laser finders can be useful for initial pointing of the telescope, ie, towards the alignment stars. The same applies to a red-dot (or 1X) finderscope. But for more precise pointing you will use a magnifying finderscope. And keep in mind the concerns about laser pointers and aircraft. You could easily get some unwanted attention from the local authorities.
Subject:	connecting laptop to ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, October 4, 2005 12:45:21
From:	stewart (
fantastic site- you inspired me to get back into astronomy with an ETX!
I would like to use my laptop to control the scope while imaging and to
see if the new drizzle changes to autostar imaging make a difference but
my laptop does not have a serial socke that fits the supplied cable. Do
you know if there are alternative ways to connect? I have usb, modem,
network  and a printer port (as well as mouse keyboard and monitor
sockets). Is there an adaptor I need to connect via one of these?

Many thanks if anyone can help.

Mike here: You need a USB-serial adapter. Keyspan (Mac and Windows), Belkin (Mac and Windows), Meade (Windows only), and others have them. I, and others, have successfully used Keyspan ones. There have been problem reports with Belkin ones. See the articles "PCs and USB" and "Update Autostar using a Mac" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.


Thanks for the reply, I'll hunt out a cable.


Subject:	Best Telescope - another perspective
Sent:	Tuesday, October 4, 2005 12:04:26
From:	Dave Wallace (
[quoted from your October ETX-90 Editorial]

Mike here: Definitely "aperture rules". But that is NOT the only
consideration. As I frequently point out, the best telescope for a user
is the one that gets used. If a telescope ends up in the closet because
it is too cumbersome for the user to set up or too difficult to use,
then it is the wrong telescope for that user. And you are correct,
observing is the most important thing! Thanks!

I'd just like to second that.  And add a personal note.

I have two telescopes: an ETX-90 and an LXD-75/SC8.  The ETX got used. 
The LDX didn't -- it was too much of a hassle to pack it in the car and
drive to a site where I could see enough of the sky to get some
enjoyment out of observing.  My ETX packed in the car in five minutes
and took about fifteen to set up and get working [no, the Autostar
alignment is *not* a big problem: if anything it's a real time-saver];
my LXD took 15 minutes to pack and about 30 minutes to set up. The ETX
was the scope that got used.  A lot.  The LXD sat in the closet except
for those times when I planned ahead for two or three days and arranged
to go to a dark-sky site.  [As you know, I had an undiscovered problem
with the declination drive in the LXD that took me nine months to detect
-- that's how seldom the LXD was getting used.]

Recently I changed the equation: I had 14 trees removed from my land
(well, four of them had to come out irrespective of my hobby) and I can
now see better than 70% of the sky from the middle of my driveway.  Now,
it still takes 30 minutes to set up the LXD but it's far less effort to
do so and I don't have to start the car.  I can shag whatever I forgot
from the house, go inside to warm up and I have AC power at hand if I
want.  (For that matter, my wireless LAN reaches to the "observatory",
so I have access to the internet and can check on a telescope tech tip
or an observing guide while at the eyepiece.)   And I can switch on the
outside lights when it's time to pack the scope away instead of having
to fumble in the dark.

We've had a string of clear nights lately and I've been out four of the
last six until the fog formed.  I've logged over a dozen new deep-sky
objects from a pretty light-polluted site.  (How bad?  M31 is *never* a
naked-eye object around here.  The Milky Way is invisible even at zenith
except for a couple of nights a year.)  Now it's the ETX that's sitting
in the house and the LXD that gets used.  But that's because the
trade-off between the extra aperture versus the ease of set-up has been
altered by my "astronomy with a chain saw". I doubt I'll buy a bigger
scope, unless I decide to move to a better site and install a permanent
observatory.  The LXD is about all I can deal with in terms of mass and
bulk and the light pollution at this site has raised the surface
brightness of the sky to about equal to the limiting visual magnitude of
the telescope.

I won't give up my ETX, though.  Its virtues are in the portability and
ease of use.  I volunteer at star parties and the ETX is ideal for those
-- it's still a scope that I can have up and running in fifteen minutes
and carry from the car to the observing field in one trip.

Subject:	advice on interfacing etx motorized features on a ca fork
Sent:	Tuesday, October 4, 2005 13:49:47
From:	genaro lopez (
i have an etx 90ec.  all the auto star features meaning goto.

my question is i want to piggyback my 90ec on my celestron c8 and use
the orginal mount of the etx 90ec to interface on my c8 fork mount.

according to meade there is a limit of 5lbs on the gears.  over 5lbs
will grind the gears.  i need to support 22.5lbs.

will replacing the plastic gears with metal gears hold this weight?  if
so, do you know where i can purchase them? .
Mike here: That's too much weight and mass. Replacing the gears probably won't help. You would also likely have to replace the motors with larger ones that draw more power, meaning possibly circuitry changes as well. Even without the ETX-90 OTA being piggybacked on the C8, just the C8 alone won't fit in the ETX-90 fork mount.
Subject:	Star Party
Sent:	Tuesday, October 4, 2005 10:05:39
From:	earl gomberg (
Thanks for the great weekend.  Even though Friday night was a bust I am
sure everyone had a good time.  I for one appreciate all the work which
went into having the meeting, even though your speakers and companies
didn't show up.  Thanks for your help also with my telescope mirror
problem I probably will contact Dr.Clay and see what he thinks should be
done with it so the problem doesn't happen again.  It would be nice to
have a annual get together with the Riverside group at Borrego Springs
every year, but I realize that you have many calls from people all over
the country wanting the party in their neighborhood. Hope you and your
family are well and again thanks for the time and the effort.
Earl Gomberg


Subject:	4th Annual Star Party
Sent:	Tuesday, October 4, 2005 17:52:06
From:	Leung Henry (
I just want to thank you for setting up the star party in Borrego
Springs.  I learned alot in the Q&A sessions and from other EXT users. 
I apologize for bringing the clouds with me from the Bay Area on Friday
night.  But Saturday turned out pretty good. It was a perfect night for
stargazing.  I've never seen so many stars before.  Seeing the Milky Way
overhead was breathtaking.  I can't wait for the next star party.


Subject:	Problems discerning Messier objects
Sent:	Tuesday, October 4, 2005 06:13:52
From:	Jon Avner (
I'm brand new to astronomy and recently purchased an ETX 125EC.  So far
I have not been able to see much of interest other than Saturn, Mars and
the Moon.  When I try looking at the brighter Messier objects or a
dimmer planet like Uranus, I have not been able to discern anything but
single points of light (this is trying with a variety of eyepieces).  I
can think of a number of reasons for this, but I'm not sure which one is
the culprit (or perhaps there are several reasons):

Poor seeing conditions.  I'm about 30 miles east of Seattle and I'm not
in a particularly bright neighborhood.  Also, many of the objects I was
looking at were in the east and the sky seemed reasonably dark, at least
to my limited experience (there seemed to be a good many stars visible
to the naked eye).  So I don't think light pollution is that bad.  I
have no idea how to properly judged atmospheric conditions, though.

Not looking in the right place.  I'm using the GOTO logic and have it
alt-az mounted and it seems to work okay.  It isn't perfect but it has
been sufficient to let me find Saturn and Mars.  I've also tried spiral
searches but I never see anything other than what appears to be
individual stars.

Eye not sufficiently trained.  I've heard it takes awhile to get the eye
trained to discern details, like the polar cap on mars, but everything
I'm looking at seems really small.  Also, I do have contacts (near
sighted), but I wouldn't think they would interfere with the optics of
the telescope.  I suppose I could try without the contacts and just
compensate with the scope, but I haven't done that yet.

Too high expectations.  From what I've read on this site, it sounds like
I should be able to make out considerably more detail than I have been.
I've been trying the guided tour mode on the Autostar which is supposed
to show the brighter and easier to find objects first, but the double
cluster, M13 and M22 have all just looked like single stars to me.

Not using scope correctly or problem with scope. I have seen the Moon
and a couple of planets - not with great detail yet but okay for a first
and second try - so I think I'm using it okay and that it's working

Anyway, any tips or suggestions would be appreciated.  My apologies if
something similar has already been posted and answered on this site.
Mike here: I suspect two things are at work: your expectations and the nature of DSOs. Couple of points. The Double Cluster IS a grouping a stars widely separated. So that is all you will see. In fact, the Double Cluster looks better through binoculars since it is such a wide field object. Messier objects will normally appear as grey "faint fuzzy blobs" through a small aperture telescope. Depending upon the sky conditions you may or may not be able to make out a shape but don't expect to see any colors. Using "averted vision" can help; don't stare at any one place in the eyepiece field of view. Keep at it; success comes with experience.


Thanks Mike.  I'll aim wider and see if I can start making sense of what
I'm seeing.

Subject:	Reticle Eyepieces
Sent:	Monday, October 3, 2005 23:29:13
From:	John Williams (
Saw your message about Reticle Eyepieces. Which one do you have and how
do you like it? How's the eye relief?

Thanks, John
Mike here: See the items "Celestron Guide Eyepiece" and "Rigel Systems PulsGuide" on the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page. The eyepiece has a short eye relief.
Subject:	Thank you for the work!
Sent:	Sunday, October 2, 2005 21:34:53
From:	Glenn B. Smith (
I wanted to thanks you for the work you put in to orchestrate the Forth
Annual Mighty ETX Star Party.  It was great to meet you and some of the
other fellow ETX users.  I thought it went just great and I learned
quite a bit from your Q&A sessions.  It was also quite useful talking to
some of the others in the group on things that have worked/not worked
for them.  I thought the facility was great also.  I have just one
regret:  Not winning one of the lunar filters!

I know this took a lot of effort on your part and just wanted to let you
know it was appreciated.  Hopefully there will be a Fifth Annual ETX
Star Party!!!
Glenn Smith
Subject:	Nightfall 2005- Many Thanks!
Sent:	Monday, October 3, 2005 14:17:15
From:	Patrick Reilly (
Thanks Mike!

I had a great time at Nightfall and especially enjoyed the hands on
learning the ETX and many variations.  Many thanks to you and the
sponsors of the Mighty ETX Star Party.  I learned a ton of useful info
during the solar observation session as well as the Q & A session.

I also won one of the many door prises!  A GSO SuperView 30mm 2" Wide
View Eyepiece.  I was so excited, when I got back to my trailer my legs
were shaking!  I am absolutely thrilled with this eyepiece.  It is my
first 2" eyepiece (undoubtedly not my last).  My thanks to Oceanside
Photo and Telescope for this prise and their support of Weasner's site
and the ETX community.

The eyepiece was used extensively on Saturday night with great views of
M31, M110, M42, and many others as well.  The clarity and focus
throughout the entire field of view is outstanding. This was also
verified by many members of the Riverside Astronomical Society on
Saturday night as well.  I am thrilled with the quality of this eyepiece
as well as the other 3 eyepieces I have previously purchased from OPT. 
I will continue to look to OPT for quality merchandise and Weasner's
Mighty ETX Site for great info and a great community resource.
Thanks again,
Pat Reilly

Subject:	please help Mike you seem great
Sent:	Saturday, October 1, 2005 19:13:08
From:	Popularphotos (
I have been looking at your help responses on your website, thank you
for your help.I just got the new 125PE and I am having a problem getting
close images.It seems that after aligment I point the telecpe to merkury
and it points to the area but I cant see it I only see the stars if I am
looking at the sky without the scope.It seems I cant zoom in more, its
like the telescope is not showing me any planets Ive searched them all
and am seeing nothing.Please let me know if you can help me here, I got
this scope for me and my father to share more time and its very
depressing that its not working or Im not ussing it properly.If there is
a way we can speak on the phone, I know your busy and I really
appreciate your heart in helping others get started.
Mike here: With the 26mm eyepiece that comes with the telescope Mercury will appear as a small dot. Venus will show a nice "half-moon" phase right now. Mars will show a small disk with some hints of surface markings. To get larger images you need to get one or more shorter focal length eyepieces and/or a Barlow Lens.
Subject:	Re: fault notice for azimuth motor in etx-125
Sent:	Wednesday, September 28, 2005 03:28:39
From:	Alon Wolf (
The telescope seems to work well. I also tightened the screws that hold
the electronic board/motor/and gears of the azimuth motor. They all have
rubber rings under and were sort of loose. I do not have anymore those
"jumps" I had in the left-right motion so probably the loose screws were
the reason for that since the gear did not engaged well and was not
perfectly aligned.

Thanks, and keep up the excellent service you provide with the website!

Alon Wolf

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