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 (email@example.com) 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 "http://www.weasner.com/etx/links.html" 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: http://www.fotosearch.com/photos-images/galaxy.html 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 Bschmitz@fotosearch.com. Thank you. Sincerely, Brandon Brandon Schmitz Foto Search Image Library Bschmitz@fotosearch.com www.fotosearch.com 21155 Watertown Road Waukesha, WI 53186 USA 262-717-0740 800-827-3920
Subject: Using focuser vs. primary mirror for focusing Sent: Saturday, October 29, 2005 18:45:52 From: JJ Singley (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 viewing. thanks, jjMike 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 (email@example.com) 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 eyepiece. 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, TomMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 Alt/Az? have fun --dick
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. Thanks. Tom
Subject: Removing baffle adhesive from mirror and corrector Sent: Saturday, October 29, 2005 10:15:50 From: will (EWILL1@cfl.rr.com) 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, NicholasMike 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 (email@example.com) 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? Regards, RBWMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 converter? High Speed USB Serial Adapter, Black\Clear, USB Type A Male to DB9 pin RS-232 Male Manufacturer: Keyspan Mfg Part #: USA-19HS Thanks, Ted Witt
Subject: Re: Interesting object in the sky. Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2005 17:14:32 From: Michael Teige (email@example.com) 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" :-) Later, -Michael
From: Harold Ogden (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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. Harold
Subject: Year's End Starparty Morocco Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2005 11:04:34 From: Michael Gutzeit (email@example.com) 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 (www.hotel-sahara.com) 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: www.camp-desertview.org 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 year. Michael Gutzeit Starenweg 11 71394 Kernen Germany
Subject: Interesting object in the sky. Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2005 19:42:27 From: Michael Teige (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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, -MichaelMike 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 (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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? Thanks Michael HarringtonMike 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 (email@example.com) 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, LarryMike 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. (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 RicaMike 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 (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 later. Regards, Joe Schlatter
Subject: ETX-125PE-UHTC Sent: Friday, October 21, 2005 23:02:29 From: patricio valencia gulart (email@example.com) I WANT TO KNOW IF THE ETX-125PE-UHTC TELESCOPE CAN BE DELIVERED IN MEXICO AND THE ADRESS I CAN BUY IT. THANKS PATRICIO.Mike here: Check the Meade Dealer Locator page (http://www.meade.com/dealerlocator/index.html) for dealers in your country.
Subject: Re: veritical movement causes noise Sent: Friday, October 21, 2005 18:54:52 From: Bobby3838@aol.com (Bobby3838@aol.com) 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: Bobby3838@aol.com (Bobby3838@aol.com) 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 spot...no 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. thanksMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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: http://www.celestron.com/prod_pgs/accessories/gen_accessories.htm I'm planning on buying it from Scope City. Thanks and Happy Holidays, EricMike 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 (Clivemorris@gwynedd.gov.uk) 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? 2.Astigmatism. 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, CliveMike 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 (email@example.com) 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, ScotlandMike 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 (Lynne.Carter@capita.co.uk) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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? Thanks, Jim SemanMike 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 (email@example.com) 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 KhaledMike here: See the FAQ page for EC vs AT info.
Subject: telescope info Sent: Monday, October 17, 2005 06:25:06 From: Jackie Ashley (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 AshleyMike 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 (email@example.com) 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 --dick
From: P. Clay Sherrod (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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. Clay -------------------- 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) http://www.arksky.org/
From: David Haigh (email@example.com) 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. Regards, Telescope House, Telescope Specialists Since 1785 www.telescopehouse.co.uk 01892 550100 Telescope House. UNIT 6 Tunbridge Wells Trade Park Longfield Road Tunbridge Wells Kent TN2 3QF --- "David Haigh" wrote: Hi 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 Yours 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 them. 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 Dave
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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) http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MelbMeadeScopes 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 Tasmania... have fun --dick
Subject: New ETX PE 90 user in OZ Sent: Sunday, October 16, 2005 06:16:51 From: Clare de Kok (email@example.com) 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 instruction???? Thanks again for this forum Cheers Clare
Subject: ETX 125PE Base Off Center Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2005 14:40:14 From: David Haigh (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 family. 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 eccentrically. All the best and thanks for giving me lots of reading pleasure on your site since i found it in 1999 Yours David HaighMike 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) (email@example.com) 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 EdgarssonMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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. Thanks Ron BeareMike 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. Regards Ron
Subject: Advice on purchasing a ETX-90 or 105 Sent: Monday, October 10, 2005 10:30:29 From: Lee Humphrey (email@example.com) 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 HumphreyMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.com) 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 Meade. Tom
Subject: etx125at polar alignment Sent: Saturday, October 8, 2005 09:49:02 From: Ed Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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? Thanks, EdMike 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 From: email@example.com 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. Richard EnglandMike 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 ? Regards, RichardMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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. Thanks, JoshMike 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 YouMike 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: User721401@aol.com (User721401@aol.com) 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. DanMike 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 (email@example.com) 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 'scope. 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. GeorgeMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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. TomMike 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 (email@example.com) 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. StewartMike 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. Stewart
Subject: Best Telescope - another perspective Sent: Tuesday, October 4, 2005 12:04:26 From: Dave Wallace (firstname.lastname@example.org) [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 (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.com) 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. Henry
Subject: Problems discerning Messier objects Sent: Tuesday, October 4, 2005 06:13:52 From: Jon Avner (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 properly. 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 (email@example.com) Saw your message about Reticle Eyepieces. Which one do you have and how do you like it? How's the eye relief? Thanks, JohnMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 SmithAnd:
Subject: Nightfall 2005- Many Thanks! Sent: Monday, October 3, 2005 14:17:15 From: Patrick Reilly (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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. Kindly JoshMike 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 (email@example.com) 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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