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ETX-125EC USER FEEDBACK
Last updated: 19 September 2001

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-125EC. 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:	Help on my ETX 125 EC
Sent:	Tuesday, September 18, 2001 6:46:21
From:	jfbouverat@leadsmachine.com (Jean-Francois Bouverat)
You may know some contributor to your website who could help me. I made
a big mistake. I tried to open my ETX 125 without any user's guide (I
didn't have a clue of our site!!!). I broke the wire passing through the
central screw (up to the DEC motors). I was not aware that the wires
were broken and when I started the ETX smoke got out of the motors box.
I brought it to the importer support. He says that he cannot repair and
I have to by another mount. Before I do this I would like to make sure
that nothing can be done to repair.

The advice I need is How can I test 1/electrical circuit, 2/motors. I do
not know where did the short-circuit happen. Maybe you will have some
helpful ideas.

I don't want to waste your time but I will be very grateful if someone
with the good level of knowledge could help me to bring my poor ETX back
to life.

Once we find where the problem is I will have to buy the pieces. Do you
have in idea where I could find them ?

Many thanx,

Jean-François Bouverat
Business Provider

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
www.LeadsMachine.com
tel : (0)1 60 37 66 66
GSM : (0)6 15 18 88 21
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[Il y a pire que de perdre un projet]
[C'est de ne pas avoir été consulté !]
Mike here: I will forward your email to our resident hardware expert, Dr. Clay Sherrod. Perhaps he can help with the repair. As to parts, Meade does not sell repair parts so you would have to return to Meade for repair work or use substitute components. Clay may be able to help.

And:

From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Mike Weasner has forwarded a copy of your communication with him
regarding the unfortunate situation with your ETX 125.

This is the worst possible place for a wire break to occur and since you
saw smoke from the base, you likely have also caused a major malfunction
with at least the Right Ascension circuit board as well.  What you broke
was the entire four-wire set (or at least one of them) that leads to the
declination circuit board, and likely either the red or the black wire
since you were seeing smoke.

The ONLY way to get to those wires to repair them is to remove the
turntable (the disk that supports the two fork arms) from the base
itself; this is VERY difficult to do and you likely will not have much
luck, even if you get it off since the same wires must be rerouted back
through that same small opening to reassemble. There is very little
excess wire inside that turntable, to keep from tangling it up when the
scope turns against the hardstops.

Your best bet is to attempt to find a good USED and very neglected ETX
125 just to obtain the mounting for it.  I do not think you will find
the parts to fix it and it will be in your best interest to go ahead and
attempt to take it apart, if there is no certified repairman in your
location.

To remove the turntable, you must remove the optical tube assembly from
the fork mount, remove the RA locking clamp next, then take off the base
plate bottom, take off the clutch, drive gear and worm gear and its
bracket; undo all wire clips that lead up inside the turntable, unscrew
the very large nut that secures the base to the turntable.  At that
point the base will come loose of the turntable and you will clearly see
where the broken wire(s)is. Go ahead and repair the broken wire and put
back together in the reverse order, making sure to not AGAIN break the
wires as you attach the clutch to the threaded bolt from the clamp.

Best of luck.....I would start looking for a good used fork mount;
www.astromart.com is a good place to look for bargains.  I normally have
many component parts, but I do not have a complete base which I suspect
is what you are likely going to need and will be cheaper in the long run
anyway.

Sorry about the problems and I wish I could help.

Clay Sherrod
P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
sherrodc@ipa.net
And:
From:	jfbouverat@leadsmachine.com (Jean-Francois Bouverat)
Bonjour,
Thank you very much for your time and interresting comments. Actually
it's pretty bad news but at least things are clear now. I will have a
look at astromart.com and hopefully find my happyness out there. Let's
be positive, it's a good opportunity to practice manual finding of my
favorite objects in the sky ;-()

Thanx again,
Best regards.

Jean-François Bouverat
And:
Excellent philosophy and outlook!  I like that....and I certainly wish
you the best in your search.  In the meantime, I would go ahead also and
see about getting into the scope; if you are not planning to send to
Meade for obvious reasons of location, then there is nothing to be
harmed and you might fix it!

Enjoy the sky!
Clay Sherrod

Subject:	Clicking noises in new ETX125
Sent:	Wednesday, September 12, 2001 8:17:11
From:	Bndsvn@aol.com
I am new to the sport and just purchased an ETX125 from Discovery Chanel
last week. It worked fine the first three nights but I ran into a few
problems two nights ago:

1) When slewing in the Dec (up & down) direction using my Autostar set
on 5, the scope stopped moving but the motor continued to turn. I could
hear a loud clicking sound, something like a clutch skipping. I reversed
direction and tried slewing past the same point again and had the same
problem. I reversed again, set the speed to 9 and slewed past the point
where I had the original problem. The scope did pass this point.
Hiwever, I was able to duplicate the problem a few more times. I noticed
that the problem does NOT happen at the same Dec angle each time.

2) When using the Autostar to control my electric focuser, sometimes the
buttons stick and the focuser keeps moving until I press the button a
few times.

3) The Autostar stopped controling the scope when I was looking at the
Andomeda galaxy. The display stayed on but the tracking stopped and I
could not slew or get into any of the menus using the mode key. I turned
the scope off and then on and it worked OK.

Would you reccomend that I return both the scope and Autostar and
exchange them for new ones?

Great site!
Clear skys,
Michael
Mike here: It sounds like something is slipping or interferring with the movement. Since the scope is new, I would return it for an exchange. I suspect the Autostar tracking problem may be related. RETRAINING the drives could cure it but only if the drives are working properly. As to the focuser problem, I seem to recall some similar reports but don't recall the fix, if there was one. You might search the Site for "electric focus" and check the resulting pages.

Subject:	Clay Sherrod ETX-125 Supercharge
Sent:	Monday, September 10, 2001 15:12:51
From:	mmitchell@swres.com (Martin Mitchell)
I purchased a new Meade ETX-125 from Michael Webb at Sight and Sound,
including the supercharge option with Dr. Sherrod.  I would recommend
both of these fellows to anyone who is in the market for this scope. 
Shipping was prompt and Dr. Sherrod was first rate in his "upgrade" of
the scope, and his written material is most helpful.  It is a great
value.

Martin Mitchell

Subject:	ETX-125EC at great price?
Sent:	Sunday, September 9, 2001 1:48:00
From:	joeyv8@telocity.com (Joe)
First of, I'd like to thank you for creating such a helpful site for us.
I'm so new to Astronomy world and that really amazed me how you can keep
your site up to date.

I've been dying to own one of these scope at a reasonable price, but
every place I have visited seem to sell this in the range of $850-$895.

Now that I found one at a great price, I think this might be helpful to
anyone who are looking to buy this scope.

Amazon.com is selling this for $805.95 which is by far the cheapest I
could find (not including auction site). To top that off, use code
AMZNAMEXBMVD to get another $15 OFF (expires 09/30/01)

I don't know if this has been discussed or posted here before, if not,
I'll be glad to let you use this info in any way you wish.

I live in Daly City, CA. If you could suggest me some of the good sites
I can go to observe the sky, I'd be really appreciate.

ps. Do you think buying a Meade telescope at Amazon is a good decision?

Thank you.

Joe
Mike here: The only problem with purchasing at Amazon is if you need after-purchase support from them. If you purchase from a good telescope dealer (online or local) you can call them with questions and they can (usually) answer them. I don't know how well Amazon will be able to do that.

And:

Thanks for your reply.

The reason I suggested Amazon is that their customer service are really
great even though they aren't specialize in Telescope field.

Out of 30+ purchases made with them, I had only 2 minor problems about
shipping and they had been really great on resolving the situations.
Their 1-800 number is really fast at picking up the phone IMHO.

Thanks again,

Joe

Subject:	ETX ALT bearings
Sent:	Wednesday, September 5, 2001 13:37:12
From:	cbdane@pacbell.net (C. B. Dane)
I was intrigued by a couple of comments in the ETX-105 and 125 feedback
area about the possibility of an ETX-125 redesign with ball bearings on
the altitude axis.  I called Meade and the first woman that I talked to
assured me that the 125 design will not change and that the altitude
ball bearing design will only apply for the 105.  I then looked at the
online PDF manual and sure enough, it says ball bearings on the 125.
Humm...  I called Meade back and spoke to another person.  He said "yes"
there was  a design change but the improved versions would not ship for
several months.  I asked how a person could know that they are buying
the new design since there are no serial numbers on the scopes.  He said
that there is no way to know and the buyer would just have to take their
chances.  Sounds like a lousy situation to me.

bd

--

C. Brent Dane
Mike here: Well, there is a manufactured date code which the dealer can probably decipher.

Subject:	Re: ETX125's, continuous CW, hardstops...
Sent:	Tuesday, September 4, 2001 21:23:20
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	gav@barnacles44.freeserve.co.uk (Gav and Ali Hunt)
Given your symptoms, and your inclinations, you have three options:
(1) call and talk to Meade, probably return for service
(2) talk to Clay (oh, long distance), send it and let him fix it
(3) peel off the three rubber feet underneath the ETX, unscrew
     the three cross-point screws, and go inside to look.
     (remove the batteries first)

You can also mix the three options.  Opening the bottom does not
 break any warranty seals.

From the sounds of it (laboring, no more motion now),
the gears and/or moving parts may have gotten entangled in the
 wiring.  If they did not truly damage the wires, it may be a 
simple job to untangle the mess, reroute them safe from harm's
way, and thereby restore the scope to service.

"Motor Unit Fault" is reported when the motor does not spin when
the Autostar requests it to do so.

good luck
--dick

Subject:	Re: Info needed please
Sent:	Tuesday, September 4, 2001 17:26:24
From:	marbla@naisp.net (Blais Klucznik)
There was an error in my write-up on the ETX-125EC Feedback page.

In (e) replace 1/4x20 bolt with 1/4x20 nut.

Yes the hex-head of the 1/4x20 bolt will appear on the outside of the
knob.  This is the reason for choosing the 1" fender washer to be place
over the 1/4x20 bolt before passing the assembly through the drilled
hole in the knob.  This stainless steel combination does not detract
from the appearance of the scope knob assembly.

It is important to realize that making this change will void you Meade
warrantee.  I simply did not want to have a scope that, using the
default material Meade used, would work for a hundred hours or so even
after performing a complete Blessing/Clay rebuilding as documented on
the Weasner site.   Although what they have presented, and Mike has
posted, are indeed extremely beneficial and are implemented, I preferred
to fix my scope once and for all with no chance of repeated failures
even though this would occur much less often.  I found a couple of
somewhat widely spaced failures to be more than I desired.

I hope you realize that my modification does indeed do away with the
meager clutching mechanism that is part of the default configuration.  I
personally rather have no clutch at all rather than dealing with a
slipping one.  Sooner or later the default mechanism will result in, as
a minimum, the slipping clutch syndrome.

Be extremely aware of driving into a mechanical stop.  This should not
happen when using an Az-El mount.  I have made no tests using the polar
mount yet but I have adjusted the battery (12vdc) fusing to expire as
soon as the motor tries to drive into a stop, either AZ and EL.

Keep in mind that you do have an excellent alternative and that is
sending your ETX125 to Clay Sherrod.  It is your choice.

Blais Klucznik
marbla@naisp/net
Mike here: The error has been corrected.

Subject:	ETX clockwise problem
Sent:	Saturday, September 1, 2001 07:53:07
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	gav@barnacles44.freeserve.co.uk
Gav - your ETX 125 is not the only one attempting to move ONLY in a
clockwise direction....as of today I have seen three come in here (and
two more that I have had calls on) just this week!  They will always
move CW when attempting to access alignment stars and then, even if
alignment is successful (which it usually is not), they obviously
eventually fail from hitting the hard stop.

I have looked at three of these scopes now and there is NOTHING
mechanically wrong, nor is there a problem with any version of firmware
being used.  It has to be something in the azimuth circuitry, as I have
analyzed everything else and there is no answer at this time.

I certainly agree with Mike Weasner that you MUST contact Meade and let
them know that this is not a unique problem with your scope....there
appear to be several more out there with this curious problem.  Right
now, no answer is at hand, but I am still looking into it.

Sorry you are having problems....this one is a toughie!

P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
sherrodc@ipa.net
And:
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Clay sent a plea for help, and mentioned that multiple people
asked about telescopes which keep turning CW until either hitting
the hard stops or pulling wires free in the base.

I haven't duplicated the symptom on my scope (yet, i think i know
a way), but i believe the problem might be that the scope is not
-really- in "Cord Wrap ON" mode.
My suggested fix is simple: menu to Utilities>Cord Wrap>
does the "ON" have the arrow ">" in front of it?
If it does NOT, then Cord Wrap protection is NOT really "ON"
Press the [enter] key when staring at that "ON".
The display will hop back up to Utilites/CordWrap
Press [Enter] again, to see the result.  
If before it -was- "ON" and now it is  "> ON"  then i'll bet
that you've (or "they've)) solved the problem.

Please report results
good luck
--dick
And more:
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Well, i cannot reproduce the problem.
If someone can supply a setup (site/date/time) and list of targets
which cause it, i'd be more than happy to keep trying.

What i -have- tried is:  Set my scope to ETX125, v22eR firmware.
Alt/Az, Seattle, 2-sep, 9:30, 10 and 10:30pm,
 Two-Star Align:  Altair, (almost due South), then Arcturus.
  It spun CW to reach both.
(the three time-points placed Arcturus slightly S and N of due W)
Then i tried GoToing Alderamin (SAO 19302), which is a little E of N.
It spun CW.
Then i tried GoTo Altair.
In all cases, my scope spun CCW to reach Altair, therefore not
 hitting the East-side CW hardstop.

So i -also- tried, same as above up to and including Alderamin.
I pressed [mode] to reach the RA/Dec display, 
 and scrolled down to the Alt/Az display.
Then i manually slewed East (CW) to 89 deg 50 min Az.
Then i let the sidereal drive carry it -past- 90 degrees.
Then i GoTo'd Altair.
Because it was honoring the hardstop, 
The scope still spun CCW (the long 'way round) to reach Altair.
I then GoTo's Aldermin (CCW), Arcturus (CW at 9:30, CCW at 10:30).
From Arcturus a GoTo Altair went CW at 10:30, CCW at 9:30.

... if you followed all of that (did your head spin off, too?),
 you'd see that i did not hit the hardstops.

Let's try this:
As a checklist, fill in the TWO columns for the TWO test times:
The first two entries for Altair/Arcturus are the alignment sweeps.
This testing can be done indoors, on a table.
Please note if you do it "for real" with stars.
Site:         Date:             Focuser? yes/no
Power up.
       Set Time:  9:00   11:00
Home.
Align>TwoStar    Direction
Altair           _____    _____   <-- fill in CW or CCW in each
Arcturus         _____    _____
*alignment successful* 
  Press-and-hold [mode] to reach status display.
   Scroll down to Alt/Az display.
Note Azimuth:    _____    ______   (deg min)
Tap [mode], [goto] named stars:  (SAO ok)
Alderamin        _____    _____   19302
Arcturus         _____    _____  100944
Alderamin        _____    _____   19302
Altair           _____    _____  125122
Arcturus         _____    _____  100944
Alderamin        _____    _____   19302
Altair           _____    _____  125122
Arcturus         _____    _____  100944
Alderamin        _____    _____   19302
Altair           _____    _____  125122
Utility>ParkScope [enter]
                 _____    _____ <-- direction
                 _____    _____ <-- note if spun more than 360 degrees.

Feel free to add targets and gyrations you think might (or WILL)
 cause the problem to rear its head.
If any of the above {goto]'s hit the hardstop, KILL POWER,
 make note and don't bother with further testing in that sequence. 

happy testing!
--dick

Top view, looking down on scope base:

              North 
                H    Alderamin
                o
                m
Arcturus (11pm) e          
    WEST <-           ->  EAST (90 az)
Arcturus (9pm)

  CCW stop*            *  CW stop (Az=360+110 deg)
  (Az=-110 def)
                |
              South
                  Altair
And this:
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Dick - this is an excellent setup test and I think this is exactly how
we need to proceed to define what is happening.  I am going to circulate
to those I am working with as well as doing a couple of these myself.

Thanks again.

Clay
And even more:
Subject:	Dick's answers to his own test...
Sent:	Sunday, September 2, 2001 17:00:23
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Site: Seattle    Date:  1-sep-2001    Focuser? yes
Power up.
       Set Time:  9:00   11:00
Home.
Align>TwoStar    Direction
Altair           _CW_    _CW_   <-- fill in CW or CCW in each
Arcturus         _CW_    _CW_
*alignment successful* 
  Press-and-hold [mode] to reach status display.
   Scroll down to Alt/Az display.
Note Azimuth:  _265d 30'  287d 00'   (deg min)
Tap [mode], [goto] named stars:  (SAO ok)
Alderamin        _CW_    _CW_   19302
Arcturus         _CCW_   _CCW_  100944
Alderamin        _CW_    _CW__   19302
Altair           _CCW_   _CCW_  125122  (avoids CW hardstop)
Arcturus         _CW__   _CW__  100944
Alderamin        _CW_    _CW_   19302
Altair           _CCW_   _CCW_  125122  (avoids CW hardstop)
Arcturus         _CW_    _CW_   100944
Alderamin        _CW__   _CW_   19302
Altair           _CCW_   _CCW_  125122  (avoids CW hardstop)
Utility>ParkScope [enter]
                 _CCW_    _CCW_ <-- direction
                 _no__    _no__ <-- note if spun more than 360 degrees.

Other tests: if the two-star alignment is *Arcturus* first,
 the 9pm starts turning CW, but the 11pm starts turning CCW.
Then from Arcturus to Altair is CCW at 9pm, CW at 11pm.
Those differences are caused by avoiding the CCW hardstop.

--dick
And:
From:	gav@barnacles44.freeserve.co.uk (Gav and Ali Hunt)
I appreciate your help in trying to sort this problem. Because the scope
is still broken we are unable to try this test. I can let you know how
the telescope was set up when the problem started.

Firmware 2.1EK
Site:  England/ Greenwich
Date 20/8/01
Time 09:00 P.M.
Mount Alt/Azi
Daylight saving on
One star alignment to Arcturus ( Scope moved clockwise)
Goto Altair (Scope moved clockwise)

It was sometime during the slew to Altair that the motor started to
labour and the scope was turned off. When it was next turned on there
was no movement of the declination motor and the autostar indicated
"motor fault ".

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Copyright © 2001 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
Submittals Copyright © 2001 by the Submitter
URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/feedbackSep01/125ec.html