Last updated: 31 October 2006

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:	Meade Electric Focuser,#1244,EXT90
Sent:	Tuesday, October 31, 2006 04:15:27
From:	Niels Peter Ditlefsen (
I am in the process of installing the Meade ElectricFocuser #1244 on my
ETX90PE,and I have therefore been reading most all there is to be found
on your fantastic and indispensable WebSite regarding the subject.I
found a lot of  WARNINGS, thank you ! There is but one
question,however,I could not find a answer to:

When delivered the scope`s focus rod is turned fully CW (locked), and
before starting installation, it is in one of the articles recommended
to turn the rod some " CCW,(reason being quit clear).My question is now:
How far CCW is it possible (acceptable) to turn the rod, measured as the
max.distance from the OTA-backplane to the front of the knop ( in mm or
inch, not in number of turns please) ,and are there any Warnings if
doing so?
Best Regards
Niels Peter
Mike here: You can turn the knob as far in either direction that it will go. Once it stops turning, don't force it. The caution about keeping the telescope pointed upwards still applies; otherwise you run the risk of the focus shaft going inside the tube.
Subject:	Absolutely pathetic customer service from Meade
Sent:	Monday, October 30, 2006 22:43:56
From:	Jeff Ansley (
Looks like you haven't updated your site in quite a while, but I am very
pissed off at Meade and want to warn other potential customers of their
pathetic customer service.

I have never had such a bad experience with customer service. My
telescope broke after two uses. The horizontal drive mechanism is
stripped. If I could get my telescope repaired someplace else, I would.
I am absolutely furious at the complete failure on the part of Meade's
organization to honor their commitment to repair my ETX-125. They took
my money over two months ago now and have done absolutely nothing in
return for my $150. This is the most pathetic interaction I have ever
had with any purchase in my entire life.

I purchased a warranty plan from Meade 8/29/06. The charge was promptly
placed on my credit card, and that is the only thing they have ever done
for me. I called a month later for my shipping boxes. No reply. I called
a week later and left another message, No reply. I called on 10/19/06,
no reply. On 10 23 I talked to someone personally and she promised to
look into the matter, took my info and said the manager would qet the
messaqe. NO reply. On 10 24 I left a message again. Someone finally
returned my call and said he'd send boxes. SINCE THEN I HAVE HEARD

I might as well throw my $1200 telescope in the trash since it broke
after two uses and thanks to their bungling I can't get it fixed.
Mike here: Don't understand what you mean. Last update was 28 October 2006, just three days ago. Always be certain you start at the ETX Site Home Page.
Sorry to hear you have had problems. Some people have problems and some don't. Wish it were 100% positive but for some reason, it isn't.
Subject:	Meade in trouble
Sent:	Saturday, October 28, 2006 17:02:32
From:	Allen Sellick (
I have been hearing stuff on the net that Meade is having finance
trouble, and they are looking at a 6 mil loss this QT. I really hope
they get there act together and put it out of the hole. I love the
products but the need to work on the QA.
I just thought you might have some info,
Have a good weekend.
Allen Sellick
Grey Wolf Astronomy
927 W. Delta
Union, OR 97883
Mike here: There is a report about this on the Sky and Telescope web site. I suspect Meade will come through; Apple Computer survived their near death experience and Meade's current problem is nothing compared to what Apple went through in the early to mid-1990s. Of course, Apple has Steve Jobs; wonder who Meade has...
Subject:	Fireball/Meteor
Sent:	Wednesday, October 25, 2006 23:56:34
From:	Tom Frazin (

Thank you for confirming that I am not crazy.  I had just gone outside
to do some quick naked-eye observing and to determine whether or not the
sky was clear, when all of the sudden I saw the light which I too
thought was an airplane in the eastern sky.  It then shot across from
east to west in a matter of 1 - 3 seconds, however, I THOUGHT I saw a
black cloud of something behind it because some of the light pollution
in the north was behind it.  It definitely was a fireball and not just a
shooting star . . . Wish I had my camera set up.

Clear skies,

Huntington Beach, CA
Mike here: You can see my report of the same bolide on my Oracle Observatory report for 20-21 October.


I did read that.  I also can't believe you saw one in the daylight AND

Mike here: Yep, it would have been awesome on a clear night!
Subject:	Mysterious Meade MAK Model
Sent:	Tuesday, October 24, 2006 20:24:54
From:	Samuel DiRocco (
I have acquired a nice little Meade 90mm MAK telescope. It has a White
OTA and uses .965 EPs. The telescope is focused by actually twisting the
OTA. It has markings around the outside of the OTA near the mirror cell.
These markings are reminiscent of focus marks on a camera lens. I have
been Googling for the past couple of days to find some info on this
scope but have come up empty. Do you have any idea what this model is?
Model number? Etc.

Thanks for any info

--> Samuel DiRocco



Credo ut Intelligam

                     (I believe that I may understand)
Mike here: Search the ETX Site for "white tube" and you will learn a lot about this special ETX model that was released for a special (non-astronomical) purpose.
Subject:	Polar alignment question
Sent:	Tuesday, October 24, 2006 12:24:02
From: (
Reading Dr. Clay's instructions on polar alignment of the ETX, he states
to use an eyepiece that provides about one (1) degree field of view
(FOV).  Using an ETX 125, which eyepiece would provide the one degree

Jack Fox
Mike here: See the article "Information on Eyepieces" on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page. Use the Excel file to find your answer.
Subject:	Observation-Fireball/Meteor
Sent:	Saturday, October 21, 2006 19:35:53
From:	Luis Villa (
As luck would have it, as I was taking my scope and cameras out... there
was a rather large Fireball that originated in the Southeast and
traveled towards the Northwest, it went almost from Horizon to Horizon,
covered lots of sky.  Lasted approximately 6 seconds very bright
white/bluish light that once it appeared to pass mid-point in its
trajectory, it started to breakup a little and seemed to "sputter" for
lack of a better term. At first it appeared to be the spot light from a
law enforcement helicopter that was coming towards my vantage point, but
I quickly realized what it was--- fascinating, I have not seen a
fireball in years, lots of "shooting stars" but no fireballs....unknown
if it hit the ground or not----

At first it did not appear to have much of a tail, but as it reached
mid-point it had a fairly large tail, from my perspective it appeared
about 3 full moons width... very bright....

It appeared at approximately 19:12 on October 21st, local time in
Arizona.  Unfortunately my cameras were still in the house when it
Mike here: I saw the same bolide from Oracle Observatory!!! My report is online there.
Subject:	Why can't I see the Andromeda Galaxy clearly?
Sent:	Saturday, October 21, 2006 10:26:51
From:	Kevin Caldwell (
I have a DS-114mm scope. I can locate the Andromeda galaxy, but no
matter what eyepieces I use, I can't see it clearly. I live in Lake
Havasu City, AZ, so bright lights are not a problem. I can see the
galaxy with my eyes.
Is my scope not powerful enough?
Mike here: Actually you are seeing it as clearly as the eye will see it with any small telescope. (I'm hoping to see it through the 3.5 meter telescope at Kitt Peak next month and that should be impressive). With the eye, most galaxies and nebulae will not show the same details as seen in photographs. What you ARE seeing is the nucleus area, which is fuzzy.
Subject:	What's the difference between MA and MH eyepieces?
Sent:	Saturday, October 21, 2006 10:21:07
From:	Kevin Caldwell (
What's the difference between these eyepieces? The only difference I've
found is the MH's are 'modified Huggens'. Which one is better? Thanks.

Kevin Caldwell
Mike here: Check out the article on eyepieces at the Orion Telescopes and Binoculars site (,20,23&iContentID=621). While it doesn't answer your question directly it is a good source of information on eyepiece types.


Thanks for the info. I now know the difference. Love your site.

Subject:	ETX105PE
Sent:	Saturday, October 21, 2006 07:47:34
From:	Andrew Ashworth (
Mike - as said by many - you've a great site which as a relatively new
ETX owner I've found invaluable.

I'm pretty well running properly with my ETX - the usual problems such
as the loose battery on the LNT etc - but otherwise all ok.

I do find however that the finder doesn't really work all that well and
wonder if a green laser appropriately strapped on would be easier....   
Any suggestions as to the easiest way to do so?
Regards from the Isle of Man.
Andrew Ashworth
Mike here: Sometimes the easiest way to find information on the ETX is to use the Search capability on the ETX Home Page; searching for "green laser" gets several hits, including right at the top the article "Attaching a Green Laser Pointer" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	did I break my Etx-125
Sent:	Thursday, October 19, 2006 20:01:50
From:	Tiger Moses (
I had a SLR attached to rear via Meade camera adapter.  While slewing in
the dark ofcourse, the adapter hit the base the scope and got bound up.

Now if I loosen the clutch (silver thing) and manually rotate, my two
hard stops are less than 360 apart!  And if I shake, I hear a little

Should I send it to Meade or Dr. Sherrod for his servicing/upgrade?
Mike here: I doubt you broke a hard stop but you could have damaged something else that is now interferring with free movement. You could open the base and check for the obstruction. If you don't feel qualified to repair it, either Dr. Clay or Meade could do it but if you elect to use Dr. Clay, be certain to contact him before sending the ETX to him.
Subject:	hat piece that goes on right tube adapter
Sent:	Wednesday, October 18, 2006 17:10:54
From: (
The piece that goes on the right tube adapter on my ETX 90 EC circa 2001

This is the piece that presses on the DEC ring gear, and has the
projection on it that hits the hard stops. Meade told me I would have to
send the whole scope in for repair to get this part replaced. I don't
want to send it back for such a simple repair. If you have any
information on where I could get this part it would be appreciated.

Thank You

Chuck Clark
Mike here: Not certain what you mean by "hat piece" but you might check the article "ETX-90EC DEC fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. If that doesn't help, there are several other articles that might help.
Subject:	Using the Meade ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, October 17, 2006 12:36:21
From:	John Hopson (
Your book (the 2002 edition) saw me through getting to grips with my EC.
Have you published an update to cover the ETX 90 PE ?
John Hopson
Mike here: If I had it would have been announced on the ETX Site!
Subject:	ETX 125 PE / Set up clarification
Sent:	Tuesday, October 17, 2006 10:23:40
From:	Julie Clayton (
I am trying to get my new ETX 125 PE set up.  Had a bit of difficulty
though because to to continue the setup / alignment process, had to
focus on a land object some distance away, so had to take my scope to
another location other than my backyard... i can see the stars from my
backyard, but can't see any land objects at a reasonable distance .  So
my question is, now that I've done the alt/az alignment, can I set the
scope up in my back yard and continue the step that requires seeing
Polaris from the back yard?  Or do I have to try to do everything from
the same location?
Thanks.  Julie
Mike here: A distant land object is typically used for two purposes: to align the finderscope (or SmartFinder) to the telescope's optics and to TRAIN DRIVES for the AutoStar. Once you have done those you can move the telescope to where you want to observe from. Just do the AutoStar alignment steps from that location. Once the AutoStar is aligned you do not normally want to move the telescope unless you can put the telescope back in exactly the same position.
Subject:	ETX 125 hardware
Sent:	Monday, October 16, 2006 09:42:25
From:	Dale Wollschlager (
I purchased an old JMI Megapod off of astromart awhile back.  Im missing
some hardware to mount my 125 to the megapod.  Particularly the mounting
screws that go into the base of the ETX that will allow it to slide onto
the megapod,  any ideas where I can purchase these items
Dale in Phoenix
Mike here: I believe those are 1/4"-20 bolts so any hardware store should have what you need.
Subject:	Sorry to bother you again, but I really need your help.
Sent:	Sunday, October 15, 2006 21:58:52
You have been so kind to give me the benefit of your expertise and
experience before, and now I need it more than ever.

I purchased the ETX125 AT with UHTC from "Anacortes Telescope and Wild
Bird" a few weeks back. I believe I told you how I suspected it might
have been a used scope and that the first night out the Autostar went
haywire and the motors are now working erratically. Anacortes was
willing to replace it with a brand new scope but Meade is no longer
making the AT models. So Anacortes has given me a few options. 1. Send
the scope to Meade for repair at their expense. (I am not thrilled with
this option because I would feel as if I had paid full price for a
"refurbished" telescope.) 2. Return the scope and they would replace it
with a current PE model. (This sounds great at first except that there
is a six week backlog of orders for these at Meade. Not to mention the
fact that I think the photo of the N. America nebula on the OTA makes
the telescope look like one of the old beginner Tasco scopes and really
cheap. Plus, I have heard that the "smarfinder" is a piece of cr#%.) 3.
Return the scope and wait until at least January and they would replace
it with one of the new 2007 PE models. (Those look great as they offer
them with your choice of the blue tube as well as the tacky "astrotube"
and they have updated and improved the smartfinder. The big disadvantage
is that it won't be until at least January before these become
available. If this was available right now I would be jumping on it, but
I really don't want to wait three months!) Or 4. return the scope for a
refund. (This leaves me with no scope and I would lose the deal I got of
the free DSI pro.)

None of these options make me very happy as I either get no telescope, a
"repaired" telescope, a scope I don't like the looks of, or I have to
wait at least three months before I finally get the scope I have already
been waiting a long time for. At this point I have been leaning towards
having the scope repaired since I have a friend who sent his 125 in for
repair and it came back "better than new" according to him.

I need your expert advice to make the right decision. You have a
tremendous amount of experience with this type of scope so I respect any
help you can give. I need to give Anacortes my decision very soon.

Thank you in advance. I really don't know what to do.

Sincerely, Scott Hoffman
Mike here: First off, PLEASE read the Email Etiquette. Your message was originally UNREAD as SPAM due to the subject line. Thanks for understanding. If the dealer is willing to send it to Meade at their expense, that sounds like the option you should seriously consider. I presume the dealer has been able to duplicate whatever you have been experiencing and not due to not having done a RESET, CALIBRATE MOTOR, TRAIN DRIVES, or perhaps even reloading the AutoStar.


Thanks Mike, that was extremely helpful. I will make sure that I read
the etiquette for future reference. Hopefully Meade will take care of
the problem and I won't have to bother you again.

Thanks again for your help and your wonderful site.

Scott Hoffman
Mike here: No bother. Feel free to visit the Site and ask questions in the future.
Subject:	ETX 125 Dec lock
Sent:	Sunday, October 15, 2006 12:38:04
From:	Monte Tausend (
I was searching your site to find pictured directions to clean the Dec
lock for my ETX 125 AT. It will not hold anymore and I think it is the
excess grease in the clutch causing the problem. Do you have a page or
know of one that shows how to disassemble, clean and reassemble the Dec
clutch/drive. I need pictures and good instructions.
Mike here: There are several articles on the fixing the DEC (Altitude axis) on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page but I would suggest starting with the "Part 4 - Eliminating Common "Rocking" in ETX Altitude Axis" article as it shows the best detail.
Subject:	Meade ETX-125 and 884 deluxe field tripod problem
Sent:	Saturday, October 14, 2006 16:50:16
From:	Rodrigo Varela J (
I've a big problem i just bought separately a 884 deluxe field tripod
from e-bay and a Meade ETX-125 uhtc spotting scope from a Meade
authorized store. Is there a tripod adaptor to make them work? Both are
new in my home and i cannot use them. Some friend told that i must buy a
tripod head, is that correctly, if so which one?
Thank you very much
Rodrigo Varela
Mike here: The ETX should mount fine on the #884 since the #884 is standard with the ETX-125 (and ETX-90 and ETX-105).


The problem is that #884 is standard for etx-125 telescopes but not for
etx-125 spotting scope. I made a mistake and i can't return this tripod.
This tripod doesn't fit on my 125 etx spotting scope. What can i do?
Mike here: Oops. Sorry I didn't catch that! I presume the Spotting Scope has a standard photographic tripod mounting hole on the bottom; if so you could use something like the "Camera Adapter for the ETX Field Tripod" as discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Tripods page. The one shown there is from Scopetronix, who is currently undergoing some difficulties. But perhaps you can locate still locate one from some of the dealers who sold their products.
Subject:	ETX 125PE, broken plastic piece
Sent:	Saturday, October 14, 2006 13:31:19
From:	Ryan Tompkins (
I heard something rolling around inside the base of my ETX125 so I took
the base bottom plate off and it is a small (3/8") clear plastic
"square" thing. Any idea what this is and how important it might be? It
looks to me to be one of the plastic stops broke off but I dont really
Mike here: Could be any of the mounting points or braces. Have you noticed any jerkiness in the slewing or GOTOing? If so, you might want to check the gear and motor mounts.
Subject:	Polar alignment
Sent:	Friday, October 13, 2006 03:02:59
From:	Bubba Martin (
I enjoyed your web article on polar alignment by P. Clay Sherrod.  I've
always used the following method to align the optical axis with the
mechanical axis of my scopes (and I've built many, up to CC 24", the

Use the alt/az adustments on a polar mount to put Polaris in the main
optics of the scope, after setting the scope to 90* declination.  Then,
with a 75x or so ocular, rotate the scope about the RA axis and observe
Polaris.  It will describe a circle around the optical/mechanical axis
of the scope. Using only the declination control of the scope, recenter
Polaris and then use the alt/az adjustments of the mount to recenter
Polaris until you can get Polaris to stay in the center of the field of
view while the field stars rotate around Polaris as you move only the RA
axis.  You want Polaris to stay exactly centered while the field stars
rotate around it as you move the scope only in RA.

Once you can rotate the scope ONLY in RA and have Polaris stay precisely
centered in the ocular, you have found the optical/mechanical zero point
of the scope.  If you can't get Polaris to stay centered, then your
optical axis is NOT parallel to the mechanical RA axis.  Then you must
'shim' the OTA on the mount until you CAN get Polaris to stay centered
in the ocular while rotating only the RA axis, ie. elevate the OTA
relative to the mechanical axis.

All my mounts have 'fine tuning' adjustments on the scope mount platform
to in/decrease the elevation of the tube relative to the RA axis of the
mount to accomodate absolute precision in optical = mechanical axis.  On
less expensive mounts, the DEC platform may not be normal to the RA
axis.  Nothing can be done about this, unless you shim the OTA mount

Also, make sure the OTA is precisely collimated prior to any

Comments from you are very welcome.


Kerry D. Martin
Kara Technology Corp.

Subject:	Instructions for installing Electic focuserfor ETX125
Sent:	Thursday, October 12, 2006 13:11:35
From:	Paul Winn (
You know where I can find Instructions for installing the Meade #1247
Focuser Electric focuser for the Meade ETX 125
Paul Winn
Mike here: See the FAQ page for manuals info. Meade has the #1244 instructions online and its installation is similar.
Subject:	ETX 90 focuser stiff and grinding.
Sent:	Wednesday, October 11, 2006 09:28:03
From:	Debz & Ian (
I was experimenting with a home made electronic focuser for my ETX 90 RA
and I think I have damaged it. I had to use a small amount of pull to
remove a push fit gear wheel fitted to the focus shaft. Now the focuser
is grinding and stiffer than it was. Have I done something nasty to it?
It has some slack that it didn't have before and sounds and feels like
it's lubricated with grinding paste!

I can't find out any info on how it works, an exploded diagram, or even
a clue from looking in the back of the tube. Can you help? If I can get
at it I can diagnose the problem but unscrewing likely looking screws is
a recipe for disaster.

I have not had the 'scope long and it seems it is determined to fall
apart before I get any use out of it. All but two of the screws holding
the arms to the base have had their holes disintegrate and top of the
base cracked when I picked it up out of the bag, now this. I was very
careful with it knowing that the thing is fragile.

I hope you can give me some clue as at the moment it's sat in its case
an I am terrified that every time I use it I'm going to break something.
Thanks for your time.

 /,   _.. \   _\  (`._ ,.
Ignorance killed the cat, Curiosity was framed!
Mike here: Check the article "Focus Shaft Fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page; it might help you resolve the problem.


Thanks for the info, I must have missed that one. I thought I had looked
at every entry on that page. Too much vino perhaps!

I had figured the three screws at the back of the 'scope might release
the tube but I have found out the hard way not to mess around with
screws at the back of telescopes!

I opened the 'scope up to have a look and the focus mech was as dry as
a........I can't think of a funny but clean one......dry thing! A good
lube with some Moly grease and it is as smooth as silk.

I did notice that it was possible to slightly miss-align the back plate
on re-assembly and this replicated some of the symptoms I mentioned. I
wonder if I had inadvertently tweaked the back plate while removing the
gear causing me the problem.

Thanks for the help, all is sweetness and moonlight now.
Ian :D

Subject:	ETX-105  RA Clutch Cleaning
Sent:	Tuesday, October 10, 2006 09:17:14
From:	Leong, Edward L (
I bought my ETX105 back in April.  I love this scope.  I have been
noticing that over a period of  time the RA clutch takes more an more to
tighten it down.  I am concerned that evenually I will break the RA
Locking lever.  I have opened up the bottom cover and have notice how
much grease is in the clutch area.  I don't want to take this scope
apart for cleaning.  My question is.  Can I safely use a spray degreaser
with a nozzle (safe for plastic kind) to flush out the grease?   Thanks
for any help.   Ed
Mike here: Some people have removed the grease entirely (but I don't recommend that personally). And I would avoid using a spray of any kind. You may be able to redistribute the grease by unlocking the axis (almost but not completely) and rotate the telescope from hardstop to hardstop, slowly, back and forth several times.
Thanks Mike, 
I will try to redistribute the grease.   Ed  


I actually wiped off the grease on the worm gear and clutch using Q-tips
and then put a little moly grease to replace the stuff I cleaned off the
worm.  But I did notice a problem while doing this. The plastic loop
that goes around the worm drive gear from the gearbox was broken.  I
used 5 min. epoxy to repair this.  It seems to work pretty good.  I
forgot there is a better way of fixing this.  That's using superglue and
baking soda.  Baking soda makes a great binder with superglue.  It's
stronger than the original material. If it breaks again, I will use the
superglue and baking soda trick.

I used this trick when I was modifying my LX10 with DS motors for goto

Getting back to my original problem, the cleaning did help.  I don't
have to bear down on the lever to lock the clutch.

Pictures attached of the broken and fixed part.

Thanks for the help.  Ed

photo photo

Subject:	RE: RA - Motor Unit Failure of new ETX 125AT
Sent:	Tuesday, October 10, 2006 07:15:41
From: (
Thank you for getting back to me re: ETX 125 motor failure.

To answer your questions:

1. Yes, I did do a "calibrate motors" before I first used the scope and
I did read the manual several times over before setting up the scope. I
took several day to study the manual and all the "start up" procedures
before doing all the set up procedures.

2. No, I did not recalibrate the motors when switching power sources. I
do not recall reading the need to do this in the manual. Did I miss
this?? I will recheck the manual after I send this back to you. I have
used both batteries and the 12v car adapter w/o doing a calibrate motors
and I did use the AC 110v power adapter for the first time just before
the motor problem happened. No warning about this in the adapter
instructions though.

3. Yes, when I put the scope in "home" I did the counterclockwise
rotation to stop and then clockwise to put the fork arm w/DEC scale over
the control input and on off switch. I then moved the entire scope with
DEC fork still over controls to point north w/a compass and leveled the
Optical tube w/ a level(I was not using tripod just scope base on deck
board). Then I entered "easy align" and the scope pointed to the first
star "Vega" and then to the 2nd star "Alioth". I then got a confirmation
"alignment successful" and entered GOTO Dbl. Str. Clust.(DSC) and the
scope slew near to the cluster. Since the view from my deck is limited I
was not able to see Vega directly so I could not center it in the
eyepiece when first aligning. this left the DSC a little off the mark in
the viewfinder so I did an "enter to sync" on the moon and Algol and
then a GOTO back to the DSC.This time it was in the eyepiece. As I
mentioned I viewed the DSC for a few mins. with the scope tracking and
the DSC staying in the eyepc. The phone rang and I left the scope for 15
mins. tracking the DSC. When I came back the MUF warning was on the hand
controller and I had lost the RA motor response.

4. As far as I know the scope never hit a hard stop in any way. When I
released the RA clutch lever to move the scope by hand in RA it moved
freely in both directions.

I read on your site about wires being cut and having a MUF from this I
do think I smell a slight "burned electrical" odor though so I still
suspect a burned out RA motor. In any event it is under warranty so I
will fine out when I send it back to Meade for repair. If the warranty
was expired I would be tempted to open the base to see if a wire had
been cut.

Any way Mike, thank you again for your help and any other suggestions
you can think of. I will let you know what happens after I contact Meade
today and what they ultimately find went wrong. - Kent Bouchard
Mike here: The manual doesn't make it clear when CALIBRATE MOTOR should be done but when the power level changes is when it needs to be done. Couple of other points. Magnetic North and True North are not in the same direction from most locations around the world; there is some Magnetic Variation between them. For best results you should use True North. However, once you have centered the alignment stars, this problem goes away (except if you get within about 20 degrees azimuth of a hardstop). One last thing to try is to reverse the AutoStar cable connections; move the end plugged into the AutoStar to the ETX base and vice versa.
Subject:	New joiner to Astrology
Sent:	Tuesday, October 10, 2006 05:11:29
From:	simon copsey (
I hope you can help me or point me in the right direction, I have been
scouring the internet trying to find a good resource on finding a good
telescope to start off this new hobby, I have a 1300 budget and would
like a meade with auto star. Would you have any reccomendations?

Thank you for reading this email and hopefully for your help as most of
the termanology I have read so far does not make much sense at this
stage in starting astrology.

Kind Regards
Mike here: Glad you are interested in ASTRONOMY (astrology is completely different and hopefully not what you meant). Any of the AutoStar capable telescopes are good choices. Depending on what you want to do with a telescope your options can be different. So, deciding on your expectations and plans are usually good first steps. Then get the best and largest telescope you can afford AND will use. Remember, the best telescope is the one that gets used and doesn't end up in the closet because it is too bulky or cumbersome for you to set up. For more on the ETX line of telescopes, see the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the Helpful Information: User Observations page.


Thank you for your very fast response to my email.

Astro photography would be a big must for me. Last question I have is on
most of the websites I have visited i.e. the meade official site how do
the pictures compare to what you actually see through the scope. i.e.
LXD75 Schmidt Newtonian :

Thanks for your time
Mike here: The eye sees things differently than the camera (or imager). Plus images can be edited to improve how they look. So, generally astrophotography is not a good indicator of what you will actually see. But the larger the telescope's aperture the more details you will see. Just don't expect to see a lot of color in most objects. And certainly you will not see views like those photos at Meade's site show.
Subject:	had to open ETX 125 OTA- will it cause collimation issues?
Sent:	Tuesday, October 10, 2006 02:37:32
From: (
Here is an interesting disaster that befell me at the weekend. I was
setting up my ETX125 and had just pointed it north using a combined
eyepiece spirit level / compass. I flipped the eyepiece level over to
start levelling the scope when the compass portion fell out of the thing
into the scope. It bounced through the baffle and came to rest sat on
the bottom of the main OTA! I could obviously not use the scope as
pointing it upwards (where the sky is unfortunately) would send it
rolling into the mirror. For this reason, I did not want to ship the
scope for repair as I feared the mirror would be damaged by this thing
in transit. I aksed a question about how to open the OTA but my email
send failed so I thought I would have a go. I unscrewed the front bezel
retaining ring (it has 2 small holes in it that you can hook a small
allen key into and rotate the front bezel off by unscrewing. I then VERY
carefully tipped the front corrector and mirror into a cloth and
recovered the compass. I replaced the front corrector and tightened
everything up again.

My question is whether this will have affected collimation? There does
not seem to be any adjustment at the front (I know there are adjustment
screws at the back of the OTA), so I hope not. Can anyone (Mike, or Dr.
Sherrod?) confirm that all is well?

Incidentally, I was amazed what a piece of glass that is in the front of
the tube. It is remarkably thick and much more heavily curved than
appears from the outside.


Mike here: Wow, have never heard of that happening. You likely didn't need to undo the retainer ring but instead could have unscrewed the entire corrector lens housing (which people have done by accident when attempting to remove the lens cover). You may or may not have affected collimation; if you got the lens back in the exact same position then collimation should be OK. There are collimation tests (Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page) that you can try and if the optics are out of collimation you may or may not want to try recollimation steps indicated in some of the articles (but it is not for the impatient).


Cheers Mike. I tried unscrewing the entire assembly but could not get it
to budge and feared straining the fork mountings.

I'll run some collimation tests and report back.


Subject:	RA - Motor Unit Failure of new ETX 125AT
Sent:	Monday, October 9, 2006 13:36:28
From: (
I recently purchased a new ETX125AT . I followed all set up, drive
training, and alignment procedures as outlined in the instruction and
Autostar manuals. my first night out I set the scope in "home position"
and followed all procedures for easy alignment. Everything was working
fine and I was having good luck with the GOTO feature taking a tour of
"tonight's best".  I had the scope powered by the AA batteries for about
15 min.s when I received a "Motor Unit Failure" indication on the
Autostar hand controller. The massage also indicated that this could be
caused by low batteries so I shut off the scope and hooked up the Meade
12V DC adapter and plugged it into the cig. lighter in my car and then
into the power adapter input on the scope. I turned the scope back on
re-entered date and time ect. and entered and successfully achieved
"easy alignment" again. The ETX was fine after that with no "MUF"
warnings. I finished observing for the night (2hr total time).

For several nights over the next week or so I power up the ETX by AA
batteries setting it in "home position" each time careful not to "wrap
wires" as noted in the manuals. I was observing off my back deck just
using the RA and DEC motors to move the scope around but not more than
150 degrees the horizontal axis since I have very limited viewing from
the deck. Everything was working fine for these few nights with both RA
and DEC motors slewing by hand control as they should.

Then last Saturday night 10/7/06 I set up the scope on my deck and
decided to see if I could "easy align" it and track some objects using
the Meade AC power adapter plugged into the 110 V outlet on my deck -
for the first time. Even though I have a very limited view from my deck
I was able to align the scope fairly well although I did need to do a
couple of "enter to sync"inputs on three object that I could see  to
improve GOTO accuracy. I then input a GOTO command to point the scope to
the "double star cluster" selecting it off the Autostar hand controller
and the scope then slewed right to it. With the star cluster centered in
the scope and the scope "tracking in sidereal" I was able to view the
clusters and continually keep them with in the eye piece as it should

I was looking at the the "Dbl. Str. Clust (DSC)" for about 4 to 5 mins
when the phone rang inside my house and I went in to answer it. I was on
the phone for about 15 mins.all the time with the scope left tracking
the DSC. When I got off the phone and returned to the scope I expected
to still see the DSC in the eye piece - however, I did not see it! I
reached for the hand controller to re-position the scope and lo and
behold I saw the dreaded "Motor Unit Failure" indication again. This
time I was not using battery power but the AC adapter as I mentioned. I
found that I could not move the scope in RA by using the hand controller
but could move it in DEC only. Nothing was blocking free movement of the
scope and I tried everything I could think of e.g., shutting down and
restarting the scope, putting new batteries in, resetting the scope
completely ect and nothing has worked. The scope's RA motor is dead. I
might be mistaken but I also think that I smell a slight "burned
electrical" odor coming from the base of the scope possibly an
indication of a burned out RA motor.

Luckily the scope is under warranty, I having just recently purchased it
on Aug 28th.2006. I will be calling Meade Customer service and sending
it back to Calf. I guess. I called Meade today 10/9 but they are closed
for the holiday so I will try again tomorrow.

The thing that bothers me is that I have no idea why the RA motor failed
and I was not there at the scope when it happened. I guess that it could
have just been a bad motor unit which burned out or perhaps for one of
the other reasons I have read on you excellent ETX web site. I just
thought that I would write to you and sing you a line from the ETX
Blues. Maybe you have heard a similar story?

I am unhappy that this scope that I paid over $1,000 for failed after
less than about 5 hours of use. I really like all the compact features,
portability, and the optics of the ETX but it sounds like there are a
whole lot of reliability problems with the motorized GOTO features. This
is too bad and I wish Meade would work these things out. I don't mind
spending a fair price for something that works and I do understand that
things do go wrong even with well designed and build equipment but when
problems are known they should be fixed by the company. Reliability is a
very important issue for me.

I guess the most important fact will be to see how well Meade stands
behind it's product, how well the repairs are done and how long the
scope works with out problems once it is returned to me.

Sorry this is so long and thank you for allowing me to vent. Your doing
all of us a great service with your web site and after I get the ETX
working again I will be back to tell you how this all works out. Thank
you - Kent Bouchard (
Mike here: You didn't mention that you did a CALIBRATE MOTOR before you first used the telescope? This is required to determine the current power level for the encoders. It is required before first use and anytime the power source is changed (new batteries or switching to/from an external power source or even when battery power is low). Unless that is done slewing and GOTOing may be a problem, including possibly getting the MUF error. Also, just to confirm, when you say you put the telescope into the HOME position did you do the counterclockwise rotation to the hard stop first and then back clockwise to point towards True North? If the telescope was hitting a hardstop (or some other obstruction and left that way for a long time, I suppose it is possible for the motor to burn out (although I don't recall any such reports). On the other hand, if a wire was the obstruction and the wire was cut by forcing the movement, then the motor controlled by that wire would be dead.
Subject:	NightFall
Sent:	Monday, October 9, 2006 09:58:23
From:	Bob Massey (
I see you have your formal event scheduled for OPT in November. Hope to
be able to make it. Was wondering if you were planning on attending
Nightfall this year and whether we could get an informal area similar to
what we had last year. I think it is very helpful for those of us with
ETX's to be able to share a common area and help each other with setups,
problems, techniques etc.
Bob Massey
Mike here: The OPT special event is also the 5th Mighty ETX Star Party. I won't be at Nightfall this year.


Oki, Thanks Mike, will miss your sage wisdom. Hope to see you at the 5th...

Bob Massey

Subject:	RA drive 'binding' noise on Etx
Sent:	Saturday, October 7, 2006 04:05:07
From: (
I've recently had problems with the RA drive on my Etx 125.

During alignment, the etx just stops on its RA axis, while the drive is
still running.

This happens before it has reached its alignment star and generally
about 90 degrees from the hard stop, as though it was hitting something
else. Having loosened the clutch and rotated my Etx manually from hard
stop to hard stop, I have found it to be binding or clicking on
something along that drive. This 'binding' only happens once while
rotating between the hard stops, but is never in the same place. It
generally occurs about 90 degrees from each hard stop. I have explored
the worm gear and fixing screws on the underside of my Etx as described
in your 'Tech Tips' section of your website and have found nothing
untoward. As I presently cannot align my telescope because of this, I
would be grateful of any help, tips or comments you can give me, before
I 'get in there' and ruin my Etx completely. (Great site by the way)

Mike here: Since you have gone inside and looked I presume you didn't see any wire that could be getting in the way. But you might want to check again since it sounds like something that at least shifts its position is interferring. That could be a wire or some debris. If it is a wire, use caution as you rotate the ETX since the wire could be cut.
Subject:	Sheldon Padawer's ETX-125
Sent:	Thursday, October 5, 2006 20:03:54
From:	The Brown Family (
Mr. Sheldon Padawer reciently enquired to you,  about an ETX-125 OTA
that he bought (traded, really) from me, and he thought that it was once
owned by yourself!

First, it's true, I did let this excellent OTA escape my grasp, but it
was due to the fact that I just didn't have a sutable tripod! My Meade
#826 was ok, but too short! I got an extension tube for it, but it only
brought on extreme shakes! My current financial situation dictated that
I let it go, but I still have my excellent little ETX-90 M!!

Secondly, I let Mr. Padawer know from the start that this ETX-125 OTA
was previously owned by Dan Hester, and I invited him to search your
archives for Dan's glowing reviews of this telescope!

I recieved excellent deals from both Dan Hester, and from Sheldon
Padawer, and I hope that this exceptional ETX-125 OTA will cross my path
again one day...

Chris Brown 

Subject:	Pegasus, the Winged Horse
Sent:	Thursday, October 5, 2006 18:58:55
From: (
Do you actually know the real reason Pegasus is upside down?  If so
could you please tell me what website.  It would be really helpful. 
Nice article.  You can really tell that somebody did their research.
Mike here: Depends on your perspective when looking at any constellation and where in the sky the constellation is when you look.
Subject:	LXD75 Mount for ETX-125?????
Sent:	Wednesday, October 4, 2006 11:04:21
From:	John Dooley (
I've read all of your data on the LXD-75 mount and it seems like this
might be for me. I have an ETX-125 supercharged scope with a few eye
pieces and it is an ok scope. My delema is that I have never had a
decent tripod or mount for it. Since I am very focused on
astrophotography, Iam considering the mount, but would also place my
ETX-125 and use it for a guide scope with my digital DSLR (currently the
Canon 20D) I understand Dr. Clays scope mount design would make a nice
edition to the scope, but I still feel that stacking all the goods onto
the fork mounted scope is a little much for what I really want to do.
Any suggestions or advise (-you are the Go-To man, Mike) would be
appreciated. I'm pretty geared towards this idea, since I have the
Autostar 497 controller and alot of goodies for my ETX-125, I just feel
it might make better sense to spend the $500 and still get an awesome
tool to hold on
Mike here: I have piggybacked my Nikon D70 DSLR on my ETX-90RA and that has worked fine for me. So I suspect that the Canon weight won't be too much for the ETX-125 mount. However, the D70 mounted at prime focus was too much for my ETX-70 in polar mount. But that ETX on the LXD75, as discussed on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page, seems like a nice combination.
Subject:	After calibrate and train etx125 goes about 3/4 of the way clockwise and stops, hear motors running
Sent:	Tuesday, October 3, 2006 18:31:25
From:	Mark (
After loading 43EA did a calibrate and train on ETX-125 and scope will
go 3/4 of the way clockwise to sink on star but stops and can still hear
motor running. Do you have any ideas on what could have happened? I did
do a reset but this did not help. Do you have any other ideas?
Mark Rhyne
Mike here: You didn't state that you have moved the telescope to the proper HOME position. Have you done the counterclockwise rotation to the hardstop and then back about 120 degrees to True North (for Easy Alignment).


Thanks for your quick reponse Mike, Yes I also did a search on your web
site and found that others have had the same trouble with a lose screw.
My scope only will go about one turn.
Mike here: If you have significantly less rotation hardstop to hardstop than nearly twice around then there is something interferring with the movement. Could be a wire (careful that you don't cut it by forcing a rotation) or something that has slipped. If you open up the base you may be able to see the culprit.


Thanks again Mike I will give it a shot thanks also for a great web site
I have enjoyed it and all the help.


I didn't see anything that was putting the scope in a bind when it tries
to rotate but I only took off the bottom cover wasn't sure if I should
go further into the scope base. I did go ahead and sent Meade a e-mail
about the trouble.
Mike here: Let me know what you hear from Meade. Did you use their Tech Support web page?
Yes, it seems to work well. Just waiting on response from Meade; you're

Subject:	Power problems with ETX-125
Sent:	Tuesday, October 3, 2006 05:20:37
From:	Lou Behrman (
I have an ETX-125AT that I'm currently unable to run via the internal
batteries (just bought a fresh set).  It just won't power up.  I can run
it with my external battery pack and cable though.  And, since I've been
running this scope with the external battery pack for a couple of years
now, I've just discovered the problem.

I'm assuming there's a fuse involved somewhere on the internal power
leg.  How hard is it going to be for me to get in there and fix this? 
What size fuse am I going to need to replace?  The scope's several years
out of warranty and I really don't want to ship this back to Meade for
what's probably a fairly easy fix.


Lou Behrman
Eagleville, PA
Mike here: Isn't a fuse problem; most likely it is the battery cutoff for the external power. See the article "Repairing Battery Cutoff Switch" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Your old ETX125?
Sent:	Saturday, September 30, 2006 9:52:41 PM
From: (
I bought a scope from Chris Brown. I believe he said you either owned it
or worked on it.  I have discovered that even with a 4mm Burgess TMB @
475X, the image is very sharp with good contrast.  There is ZERO image
shift.  How is this done?  Can you do it? Can it also be done on a
Wegat?  Is a Wegat - with it's uncoated corrector - a worthwhile visual
Sheldon Padawer
Astronomy Optics and Systems
Mike here: Wasn't my telescope but it might have been "Supercharged" by Dr. Clay Sherrod. There should be some image shift since the primary mirror is moved slightly to change focus. But glad you are happy with the ETX. Wegat modified some ETX models (white tube) for non-astronomical use but those who have used them for astronomical purposes like them.

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