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ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT USER FEEDBACK
Last updated: 30 September 2001

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT. Additional information on these models is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.


Subject:	ETX-60AT
Sent:	Sunday, September 30, 2001 19:52:27
From:	SRAHM@webtv.net (sue rahm)
HI, hope you can help us. Got my husband a etx-60at he initialized it
but somewhere he messed up because now we can't get past the daylight
savings time screen.We can get that but can't get to country & state.
Thanks for the help if ya can figure out what we have done please yell
at us.    srahm@webtv.net
Mike here: Since you've just started with it, do a RESET from the Setup menu. That will put it back into the "factory defaults" state. Then you can select the State/City. This RESET clears out anything that could have been entered by the dealer or previous potential buyers. Once you have begun to use it you can use the SETUP-->Site menu item (as described by Ells Dutton further down).

Subject:	ETX focus knob removal
Sent:	Sunday, September 30, 2001 12:14:00
From:	d_crom@yahoo.com (Dana Crom)
Thanks for providing a great resource.

Just getting back into amateur astromomy thanks to the Costco special
ETX60.  Nice little scope, on its own terms: low-to-medium power, wide
field views.

Though I currently have two other scopes (Edmund Space Conqueror 4.25 -
still good optics after 28 years - and a 6" homemade I'm rebuilding as a
Dobsonian) it is the one seeing the most use.  Not only is it portable,
but in San Jose's light-polluted skies the GOTO features are a real
time-saver.

Between the poor seeing and the transport problems of the Edmund (as
heavy, and less easy to break down, as my neighbor's 8" SCT!), I almost
never hauled the other scopes out.  Not only does the ETX go out more
often, it often serves as the catalyst for bringing out one of the
others if I want a higher power/larger objective view of an object.

So far, I've only added a few ETX-specific accessories - a homemade dew
cap similar to the ones in your tech tips section, a Scopetronics medium
tripod adapter (solid!) and a Scopetronics Flexi-Focus.

Given the undersized and awkwardly placed focus knob, the Flexi-Focus
should be a standard accessory.  I can tell it will be a major
improvement - if I can get it on. The Allan wrench that came with my
ETX60 seems slightly undersized for the focus knob and slips. I've tried
a dab of superglue on the end of the wrench, but it gives as soon as I
apply any torque.  I suppose I could drill it out, but before I try
something that drastic I thought I'd ask for advice.

Drill it out? Try a better quality hex wrench (what size)? Try a more
suitable adhesive than super glue? Any suggestions gratefully accepted.

Clear Skies!
Dana Crom

=====
==================================
Dana Crom - San Jose, California
d_crom@yahoo.com    (remote email)
dcrom@com21.com     (work email)
danac@pacbell.net   (home email)
==================================
Mike here: Couple of points that have been suggested by others. Several users were not getting the hex key fully inserted into the setscrew; the hole in the setscrew is pretty far in. Others found that the setscrew was very tight and took a lot of torque to loosen.

Subject:	Help, Is my new ETX-70AT broken?
Sent:	Saturday, September 29, 2001 21:57:27
From:	webmaster@webmasterclix.com (WebmasterClix Support Team)
First I'd like to say thanks for the informative site. I need help. I
alway's wanted a telescope, my wife gave me the ETX-70AT for a birthday
present.

I have never used one before and know nothing about astronomy. I think
my telescope may be broken, It is brand new. First of all the RA scale
spins around the bottom (does not stay in one spot). That's no big deal
but I can't get it to goto anything. For example:

I align it (I think)
Select Goto Moon
The telescope slews but is far from where the moon is.

At first I thought I Just did not align it properly, but listen to
this...

After it slews to the moon
I select another oblect (anything)
It slews, but only moves about 1/4 inch.

To experiment I tried the following ...

Tried to align it
Selected Goto Moon (it slewed far from where the moon was)
I then Loosened the Locks and Centered The Moon and re-locked
Then I selected another object (It slewed away a little)
Then I selected the Moon again
It did not slew to the moon.

I have tried aligning it several times and read the manual several
times. I purchased a compass to make sure I was pointing north at the
alt/az home position.
I tried the vertical and horizontal locks at all tensions.
I trained the drive.
I calibrated the motor.
I set the date/time/state/city.

Also, I tried setting it up with and without Daylight savings.

Could you please help...Am I doing somthing wrong or should I exchange
my telescope.

I really appreciate your help...I can't wait to explore. Would be nice
if you reply to this email in case I can't find where/if you post this
message.

Thanks

Ken Vallis
Mike here: The answer to your RA Scale question is on the FAQ page. As to your alignment problems, couple of suggestions. NEVER loosen the locks after you have aligned the Autostar; that cancels out the alignment and you have to start over. Check the various alignment tips on the Autostar Information page; perhaps you will see where you may be doing something else incorrectly.

Subject:	re:  PC interconnect cable for meade etx 60
Sent:	Saturday, September 29, 2001 14:44:35
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To: sevenofus@telocity.com
> can't afford meade's cable that you can only get with their software
> at a  cost of $50.00 . I've tried to experiment ( don't worry, I'm an
> engineer) with the pinouts and have gotten nowhere.
> Can you shed any light on this? 
> Meade customer service says their cable has a black box
> in the middle of it. could this be rs232 circuitry or even a
> handshaking controller?

..the latter.

The lump in the 506 cable is an intelligent periperhal from the view of
the Autostar. The AUX cable is a modified I2C bus system, with
bidirectional address/data and clock lines (and power/ground). The lump
is addressed, and then a byte is passed to/from it. The lump
generates/receives the external 9600 baud, rs232 signals.

In the Autostar 495 and 497, the Autostar's 68hc11 itself generates the
bit stream.  But in the 494/Starfinder the Autostar sends/receives a
complete byte, and leaves the 506 lump to do the slow dirty work. (since
the I2C bus is a serial bus (one data wire), the 494 does have to
"serialize" the bye... but it moves much faster than 9600 baud..) If you
hang an oscilliscope on the AUX lines, you'll see the
much-faster-than-rs232 signals heading to/from the 506 lump.

hmmm... as i write that i realize that i cannot -remember- if the bit
rate for/from the 506 slowed down, or remained at the regular I2C rate
which the motors received... (notes? this was done in a crowded room at
lunchhour with the usual bubblegum-and-tinfoil hookup arrangement.
Months ago) .. i have vague memories of it dropping to half the bit
rate... i'll have to cobble it all together again and recheck)

I have the feeling that Meade was planning on a simpler system.. based
upon some of the traces on the 494's circuit card.

The data line which goes to the 506 is shared with the datalines going
to/from the two motor circuit cards as well.  The clock lines are
independently driven, and serve as a partial multiplexor. However the
506 does have its own bus address, and can share the AUX lines with
other stuff such as an electric focuser.

but at the moment, i haven't heard of anyone successfully home-building
a 506 clone.  And, at $50, it's perhaps "better" to buy a 495 or 497 on
eBay, home-build a 505 cable and take off from there.

good luck
--dick
 ( don't worry, I'm an  engineer) 
..me, too... so it took a few minutes for the giggles to stop after
reading that reassurance...

Subject:	ETX-60AT/Astronomer's Control Panel
Sent:	Saturday, September 29, 2001 13:07:47
From:	mustang1@mindspring.com (Steve Springer)
I recently purchased the ETX-60AT from Costco as a lot of others on this
site. The scope seems to align, go-to, etc. as advertized.  I also
purchased the 506 cable to allow my laptop PC to control the scope
through Starry Night's and Astronomer's control panel software. The
version of firmware in the Autostar 494 is 1.0

All is not well when I try to do this connection. The software seems to
go through the motions of finding the port and coming back with a scope
it thinks is the LX200. I can't seem to sync the PC time and date with
the scope and there is little or no control evident.

Has anyone else gotten their PC and scope to talk? I sure would
appreciate some suggestions.

Thanks for any help!

Steve Springer
mustang1@mindspring.com
Mesa, AZ
Mike here: I believe there might be a plugin that you are missing. Search the Site for "plugin" and you'll find the info.

Subject:	setting the city on your son's AutoStar
Sent:	Saturday, September 29, 2001 12:30:41
From:	edutton@infi.net (Ells Dutton)
To:	jcbergner@railwayexp.com (John Bergner)
John,

To change the location (city) on the Meade Autostar - "reset" will work
as Mike W. suggests but you lose everything else you've changed too.  To
change just the city use " Setup/Site/Add" then choose your city as on
the initial start-up (but get the right one this time) and "enter". It
becomes the site that is used.  You then can use "Setup/Site/Select" to
choose between the cities previously "added".  Although, I don't suppose
you be wanting to choose Kabul again anytime soon.

Ells Dutton

Subject:	New telescope
Sent:	Wednesday, September 26, 2001 19:38:50
From:	Angelneph@aol.com
Hi.
My name's Kenny Stoneman.
I'm 16 years old and I just got a new telescope. My step-dad said you
knew a whole lot about this stuff, and that you even recommended the
telescope that they got me.
I don't know much about the telescope yet, but I love the sky. I know
quite a few constellations and I like to learn the history behind them,
and the other stars.  I went to your ETX site, but didn't bother to read
most of it, because I wouldn't understand most of it yet, and I wouldn't
know what to read yet anyway. I'm obviously a newby and could stand a
little breaking in.
So, would you mind giving me advice, when I need it?
Like, where do I start?
I understand that you've got much better things to do than help some kid
with a telescope, but this is what I want to do for my senior project. 
Make, like, a picture book or something, with pictures of the Horsehead
Nebula and Sirus (the dog star).
I'm even going to make data logs and stuff like that.
So, just e-mail me back when you get the chance, if you could.
I'd REALLY appreciate it!

Sincerely,
Kenny
Mike here: To get started is actually pretty easy. I suggest you read the manual, several times if necessary, until it begins to make some sense. Then play with the telescope inside the house in the daytime with the manual handy. Follow the steps for setup and alignment. Don't worry about not being able to see the stars for the alignment; you are just trying to get the steps down and get familiar with the telescope and Autostar. Once you feel comfortable with it all, then you can go outside in the dark and start actually using the telescope. Don't worry about fumbling through things as you continue to learn the telescope system. As to photos, if you do have the ETX-60AT you will find it rather limited for astrophotography. If you make or purcase a piggyback camera adapter you can mount a 35mm film camera on the telescope tube and do wide field exposures of the night sky for many minutes (making tracking corrections with a high power eyepiece). You can also attach a camera for photos through the telescope of the Moon (start with this). But faint nebula will be a real challenge to photograph with the ETX-60AT. For more info, see the various astrophotography pages on the ETX site. Feel free to ask questions; I may refer you to existing pages on the ETX Site.

Subject:	how do you reset the city?
Sent:	Wednesday, September 26, 2001 14:46:29
From:	jcbergner@railwayexp.com (John Bergner)
I just found the web site and I have a problem with my sons new scope.
We got it from Cosco it's the Meade ETX 60.  When we went to do the set
up for the nearest city (Los Angeles) he hit the first city that came up
I think is was Kabul in Afganstan now we have tried t get back to the
right city for our home in (Riverside Ca) and we have met with no
sucess. Can you help me? Or is it really that important for the scope to
be set up like this. Thank you John.
Mike here: Having the Autostar know its current location (within a few miles) is important. So, yes, you should set the City correctly. I would suggest doing a RESET (clears out garbage data that could have been input by the store or other potential buyers). Do a RESET from the Setup-->Telescope menu.

Subject:	PC interconnect cable for meade etx 60
Sent:	Tuesday, September 25, 2001 22:36:15
From:	sevenofus@telocity.com (Mike Stober)
I have a Meade etx 60 that came with a stary night bundle and
astronomer's control panel. My problem is that I'm on a tight budget and
can't afford meade's cable that you can only get with their software at
a cost of $50.00 . I've tried to experiment ( don't worry, I'm an
engineer) with the pinouts and have gotten nowhere. Can you shed any
light on this? Meade customer service says their cable has a black box
in the middle of it. could this be rs232 circuitry or even a handshaking
controller?

Thanks for your time.            sincerly; Mike

Mike Stober
phone (818) 347-8657
my email sevenofus@telocity.com
Mike here: No real info is publicly available on the #506.

Subject:	GOTO problems with non-star objects (ETX-70AT)
Sent:	Sunday, September 23, 2001 15:37:28
From:	TravWhitlow@cs.com
I had a similar problem in getting my ETX 60 to find Mars (even though
it was finding stellar objects with no problem). I called Meade and they
told me that in selecting a planet or the moon or other non-stellar
object, the computer in the hand paddle took a few seconds or so to
calculate where the object is. So it's necessary to wait a bit. Then
it's necessary to press "Enter" before pressing "Goto". I tried it and
haven't had a problem since.

Subject:	re: ETX-60AT - how to remove the OTA
Sent:	Sunday, September 23, 2001 12:33:14
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	ffk@nb.net
As so frequently happens on Mike's site...
in one message a user asks a question,
and elsewhere on the site a full photo-essay on "how to do it"
 appears... in the same update!

Visit: http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/inside_etx70.html

for a photo-tour (and verbal explanation) of how to disassemble
the entire telescope...

(although he did -not- remove the Altitude shaft from the telescope.
that may, indeed, be impossible without a saw)

good luck
take photos of your finished system...
--dick
And:
From:	ffk@nb.net (Frederick F. Klein)
Thanks, guys, for pointing me to that!

Surgery tonight.

Clear skys,
Fred Klein

Subject:	posssible solution to GOTO not goto-ing
Sent:	Sunday, September 23, 2001 10:10:28
From:	swartout@ict.usc.edu (Bill Swartout)
One thing that I noticed is that if you are pointing at a particular
object, and then go through the menus to select a new object but don't
push Enter before pushing Goto, the scope will say Slewing, grind the
gears a bit, and basically stay in the same position.  What appears to
be happening is that it is aligning with the old object.  You need to
push Enter to get it to select the new object and calculate its
position.  Could this be the problem here?    Just a thought.   -Bill
Mike here: Very definitely could be the problem. I was assuming the user was selecting the object by pressing ENTER but some have missed that step. Thanks.

And:

From:	rafael.pacheco@acm.org (Rafael Pacheco)
I will try to test it today (very cloudy day, here at Lisbon)...
I hope you are right!

(But why am I doing everything correctly when GOTOing to stars, but not
when GOTOing to planets, galaxies, etc.?)

Thank you your answer. I will let you know if that is the problem.
Mike here: If it is cloudy, practice indoors!

And:

From:	swartout@ict.usc.edu (Bill Swartout)
Yes, on the #494 the behavior for Stars and Planets is different -- if
you see a named star in the display, you don't need to push Enter before
pressing Goto --- it will slew correctly in that case.  For planets, you
need to go through the "enter" step to get it to calculate the position.

Bottom line: if you always push Enter it works in all cases.  For
planets it's necessary, for stars it's optional.   -Bill
And:
From:	rafael.pacheco@acm.org (Rafael Pacheco)
Ok, tested!

Bill Swartout is right! I was not pressing ENTER before GOTO, and that
was the problem. However, when selecting a star, we can press directly
GOTO!

Thank you Bill for your suggestion, and thank you Mike for your great
site, and for your attention.

Regards,

	Rafael

Subject:	GOTO problems with non-star objects (ETX-70AT)
Sent:	Saturday, September 22, 2001 13:34:42
From:	rafael.pacheco@acm.org (Rafael Pacheco)
I recently bought an ETX-70AT. After correct alignment, I can
successfully GOTO to any star above horizon. But if I choose a (visible)
planet, or any other non-star object, the ETX will make some additional
noise for a few seconds (while autostar says "Slewing..."), but in the
end it stays almost at the same initial position. However, if I choose a
guided tour like "Tonight's best", I can successfully GOTO to every
object that Autostar recommends, including planets and non-star objects.
Immediately after exiting the guided tour, if I try again to choose
manually a non-star object, the problem with the GOTO reappears... I
really do not understand...

Can somebody help me?

Thanks and regards,

	Rafael

--
Rafael Pacheco
rafael.pacheco@acm.org
Mike here: That does sound odd. Couple of thoughts: check the location and date/time/Daylight Savings settings. Since planets require more use of date/time there could be something off here. If that doesn't help, do a RESET and TRAIN the drives. Let me know if this helps.

Subject:	EXT-60AT - how to remove the OTA
Sent:	Friday, September 21, 2001 7:27:19
From:	ffk@nb.net (Frederick F. Klein)
I got one of the ETX-60AT from Costco.  I would like to use this as a
camera platform.  My idea is to remove the OTA (the Optical Tube
Assembly, the telescope itself) and make a mount for the camera that
will replace the OTA. I would set up the scope in polar mode and use the
ETX platform to track the stars while taking long duration exposures.

Does anyone have any info about removind the OTA from the forks? I'm a
little hesitant to start removing the screws on the inside of the forks,
not knowing how things go together.

Fred Klein
Mike here: Unlike other ETX models which can be removed from the fork mount for use as spotting scopes, the refractor ETX models are not meant to be user removed.

Subject:	ETX-60AT Noise
Sent:	Friday, September 21, 2001 7:20:31
From:	ffk@nb.net (Frederick F. Klein)
I just got one of the Costco  ETX_60AT.  My question concerns the noise
when operating.  I haven't seen this mentioned, do I don't know if it is
normal.

I get a lot of noise when slewing, but that doesn't bother me a lot.

However, when tracking there is a continuous noise that is quite
obvious. It sounds like a low pitched growling noise, and it fluctuates
in volume and quality with a period of about a second or a little
longer.

Is this normal?  If so, I won't worry about it.

Fred Klein
Mike here: There is the sound of the two drives operating to move the telescope as it tracks the sky's movement (due to the rotation of the Earth). In Alt/Az mode there is some changing sounds as the drives do their thing in both axes.

Subject:	ETX-60AT & a Mac PB G3
Sent:	Thursday, September 20, 2001 16:05:44
From:	robinsong@urbandale.k12.ia.us (Greg Robinson)
Can you help me out.  I am new to the astronomy world as a hobby.  The
people at Meade gave me your website which I have been looking at for
awhile.  I thought I had it down, but now am a bit confused so I thought
I would write.  I have a ETX-60AT.  I also have a Mac PowerBook G3.  I
bought Virtual PC 4 with Windows 2000, thinking I could then buy the
Astrofinder software.  I also have a Keyspan USB to serial adapter. 
What is my next step?  Can I go with the Astrofinder software within
Virtual PC?  I also hear people talking about Starry Night which I did
preview on my Powerbook.  I am open to suggestions.  Sorry these
questions are so basic, but I think I would enjoy this stuff once I got
off on the right foot.  Thanks for your help.

Greg Robinson
Mike here: I haven't tried Astrofinder in VirtualPC but it should work through the Keyspan USB-serial converter. I've updated the Autostar using VPC4 and the Keyspan. You will need the #506 cable from Meade.

Subject:	Solar filters of the ETX-70/60
Sent:	Thursday, September 20, 2001 2:16:40
From:	soehnk@cableregina.com (Keith Soehn)
someone asked about solar filters for the ETX-70/60 on your site.  I
found three urls that may be relevant:

astrostuff.com/solar_fliters.htm

http://www.pisanoopticians.com/Astro/scopetronix.htm

www.shutan.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?

Clear skies,
Keith

Subject:	"A firm grip" - an interpretation
Sent:	Tuesday, September 18, 2001 5:17:10
From:	m.coward@react.org.uk (Monty Coward)
Following your reply ... thank you for the information w.r.t. tightening
both Dec and RA on the ETX 70.  However, and this might be a bit
pedantic ... When reading the instructions, it seems that the RA lock (
looking at the picture on the front of the instruction manual) is fully
engaged and not in a position that may be deemed "firm".  If one reads
the text (manual), "firm" seems to be referring to the Dec lock and not
the RA lock.(using the mischief rule, I suppose).  I assumed incorrectly
that the RA needs to be fully engaged (picture and text) as oppossed to
moving it into a position that is "firm".  I think that I was thrown by
the picture, which intimates that the RA lock should be FULLY engaged.

Thanks

Monty
Mike here: I'm not certain what you are saying or asking, but you might check the FAQ for the item "I can not move the Right Ascension (azimuth) lever enough to fully engage the lock. What should I do?" That talks about the physical position of the lock lever.

And:

I was referring to how easy it is for someone to misinterpret the
instructions.  The picture on the front of the instruction manual shows
the RA fully locked ( all the way to the left). When reading the manual,
and interpreting the grammar and context, it seems that a firm feel
refers to the DEC and not the RA lock.

Thanks a lot 

Monty
Mike here: It actually refers to both.

Subject:	Review of 50 telescopes
Sent:	Monday, September 17, 2001 2:39:05
From:	g.yedema@cbd-fryslan.nl (G. Yedema)
I recently looked through a magazine called something like Astronomy - a
gaze through the skies, or something like that (not Astronomy), and
within was a review of 50 low-cost scopes.

As I recently bought an ETX70-AT, I was very eager to read how they
rated this scope. Ratings were given for optics, mechanics and overall.
Total score could be 13 points. To my great pleasure the ETX-70 got the
full 13 points!

Just wanted to let you know; maybe nice to publish some of the results
on your (excellent!) website.

Regards,

Gerben Yedema
Leeuwarden, Netherlands
Mike here: If someone can find a web page from the source, I'll link it.

Subject:	er, error in your response
Sent:	Sunday, September 16, 2001 23:27:55
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	etx@me.com (Mike Weasner)
Hi...
on the answer to
 Using ETX60-AT with Autostar 495
on the
http://www.weasner.com/etx/feedback/feedbackSep01/70at.html
page, you say "use a 506 with the 495"

No!  (i know, you're tired and stoked...)

The 495 is the 497 equivalent, it has its own rs232 port, and its 
programming will not even recognize the existence of the 506.
It wants a good ol' 505 (home-makeable) cable.  (at least using
a 506 with the 495 won't -hurt- anything, except his wallet...
hmmm... unless he plugs it into the rs232 port... that might
reverse-bias the 506's electronics)

You were -thinking- of the 494, which comes with new ETX70's,
and does require the 506.

However his note was careful about explaining he was thinking
of (first) replacing his 494 with a 495, and -then- he asked 
about direct control of the telescope base, avoiding the Autostar
altogether.

--dick
Mike here: Thanks Dick. Good catch.

Subject:	solar filters for ETX 70
Sent:	Saturday, September 15, 2001 20:34:11
From:	wrschmidt01@snet.net (Schmidt)
Can anyone recommend a commercial source, or point me to a review of
solar filters for an ETX 70?  I'd prefer that the filter did not cost
more than the scope!

Thanks in advance!

WSchmidt
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Filters page for info that could be applicable for the ETX-70AT..

Subject:	Source for 506 cable only?
Sent:	Friday, September 14, 2001 21:00:10
From:	snuckleton@hotmail.com (A. S.)
I'm a new ETX-60a owner and I understand I need to get a Meade #506 for
the computer interface.  I have seen many vendors with the cable and
software for about $45, but I am interested in the cable only, for a
much lower price I hope.
Are you aware of anyone selling just the cable?
Thanks
Art
Mike here: There was a recent report (on the "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" Feedback page) of someone seeing the cable for sale separately but no mention of where.

Subject:	Using ETX60-AT with Autostar 495
Sent:	Friday, September 14, 2001 19:16:23
From:	ande@san.rr.com (BA)
To make sure I don't inadvertently fry something, I'd like to confirm
that I have this right.

I have the ETX60-AT (bought on sale at Costco).  And I have an Autostar
495.

Can I now plug the 495 Autostar into the HBX port on the ETX60 and use
it similar to how I would use the 494 Autostar?

If I build the 505 cable from the specs on
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_cable505.html can I use it to
plug the 495 Autostar into my PC and upgrade it to 497?

If the AUX port on the ETX60 is intended for computer guiding (rather
than AutoStar guiding) can I now use the 505 cable to connect my PC to
my ETX60?

TIA for clarification ...

B
(no, I'm not in hiding.  That really is what folks call me *g*)
Mike here: Well, yes you can use the #495 with the ETX-60AT (and ETX-70AT). However, to update it or use it with a computer you will need the #506 cable which has some active electronics that are not in the base of the scope (unlike the other ETX models).

From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com
> I have the ETX60-AT (bought on sale at Costco).  And I have an
> Autostar 495.
> 
> Can I now plug the 495 Autostar into the HBX port on the ETX60
> and use it similar to how I would use the 494 Autostar?

Yes.

> If I build the 505 cable from the specs on
> http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_cable505.html can I use it to
> plug the 495 Autostar into my PC and upgrade it to 497?

Yes.

> If the AUX port on the ETX60 is intended for computer guiding 
> (rather than AutoStar guiding) can I now use the 505 cable to
> connect my PC to my ETX60?

No... smoke and dead Autostars/ETX's will occur.
er... Yes.. er.. 

Your question is written with perhaps an assumption which may be
incorrect.  Let's rephrase  and simply state:

If you connect your PC (via the 505 cable) to the rs232 port
***on the bottom of the AUTOSTAR... not the telescope***
and then use the normal HBX cable to continue on to the ETX60,
then *yes* you can control the system from your PC.

The AUX port (on the telescope base) is for plugging in peripherals
of varying natures: a electric focuser, (on an LX90) the 909 APM,
the (if you have a 494) 506 cable/converter set.  The AUX port is
merely a socket to provide direct access to two of the wires in the
Autostar's HBX cable (the signal lines make -no- other connection 
inside the scope...), and power and ground.  The AUX port is *NOT*
used to "guide the telescope" without the Autostar in attendance.
The Autostar controls the AUX port, not the other way around.

> TIA for clarification (I also emailed this to Mike Weasner's site
> but thought I might get a reply from here first) ...

normally he'd answer faster... but he's at their star party...
--dick
And:
Thanks!

I was pretty sure the answers would be 'yes', 'yes', and 'no'.  But I
had no clue why the third answer would be 'no' ... just a hunch that all
I'd read didn't quite add up.

B

Subject:	ETX-60 mechanical question
Sent:	Friday, September 14, 2001 16:37:33
From:	ben.s.wymore@intel.com (Wymore, Ben S)
Thanks so much for your site!  I recently purchased an ETX-60AT to
compliment my 8" dob.  I noticed that the left-from-rear arm is loose at
the base, so that when the scope moves up and down, it first slops left
to right.  I can visualy see a small gap at the front of the left arm,
enough that I can see the outline of the bolt that holds the arm to the
base.

Do you know how to tighten that connection up?  The base is different
than the 90, and the telescope doesn't come off the base the same way
the 90 does.  Do you how to do it, or of some other site that might walk
me through it?
 
    -Ben
Mike here: I've not seen any mention of removing the ETX-60AT (or -70AT) model from the fork arm. As to gap you are seeing, could just pressing the plastics together "snap" them back in place? If not, I would suggest returning it to the dealer for an exchange since it is new.

Subject:	RE: Mistakes of a Beginner continued...
Sent:	Thursday, September 13, 2001 20:47:10
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	rdhood@charter.net
I think if you purchased the Meade #126 "short-focus" barlow you'd
find that you -can- achieve focus.  The #140 is simply too
long of a pipe for the focus range of the ETX60/70.

I have a 126 with my ETX70, and all four eyepieces (the
two it came with, and my ETX90's 26mm Super Plossel and 
a Televue 8mm Plossel) can all focus with it in place.
(the #126 at $48 list is also cheaper than the #140 ($80)).

--dick

Subject:	The edge of the eyepiece
Sent:	Thursday, September 13, 2001 5:34:22
From:	m.coward@react.org.uk (Monty Coward)
Whilst using my eyepieces, 25mm and 9mm I have noticed that the stars on
the perimeter of the eyepiece are not so 'defined' as the stars in the
centre of the eyepiece. Is this normal, else, are there other issues
that are relevant and that should be taken note of.

I thank you in anticipation,

Rev Lewis M. Coward
Mike here: This is normal with low-end optics.

Subject:	RE: Mistakes of a Beginner continued...
Sent:	Thursday, September 13, 2001 4:41:20
From:	rdhood@charter.net (Doug Hood)
jrtorrent wrote saying:

> I could start with a 2x Barlow lens.....  It
> almost looks like is about to focus when the focusing screw locks.

I recently purchased the ETX-60 (Costco), the 26mm 4000 super plossl and
a used model 140 2x Barlow (all  Meade products) as suggested in the
"Maximize your ETX-70 visual capabilities" article in the Buyer/New User
Tips, and had the same problem as jrtorrent. The Model 140 Barlow will
*almost* focus before running out of space. Are the ETX-60 and ETX-70
different in this respect? There are lenses that will work on the 70
that wont work on the 60? How do we know what will and wont work without
actually trying it?

As a "New User tip", I might add that during alignment, the slew rate
slows down to .5 when reaching a star.  When that happens, it becomes
very slow and cumbersome to search that area of the sky for the
alignment star.  One has to "break out" of the slower speed and choose
something faster to find the star. I have found that selecting a new
speed by holding down the speed button while hitting one of the aiming
arrows will break out of the .5 speed that seems to be locked in from
the automatic slew. Otherwise, simply selecting a new speed has no
affect whatsoever on the scope as it appears to be "locked in" to the .5
speed due to the alignment slew routine.

Another trick I have to finding the alignment star (I MUST get a finder
scope!) that is close to the horizon is to visually look and see what
objects on the horizon the star is above.  Then, slew to the horizon,
crawl the horizon to the correct spot, and slew straight up.

thanks

doug
Mike here: I would suspect that what works with one model should work with the other since the only real difference is the aperture size.

Subject:	Thanks for the Great Site!
Sent:	Wednesday, September 12, 2001 18:38:30
From:	dpalta@mediaone.net (Dave & Lesa Adalian)
Just wanted to drop a line to thank you for putting together such a
great site.  I found it while researching ETX models and decided, with
your help, an ETX was for me.  I purchased the ETX-70AT from Amazon.com.
Out-the-door price was only $269, $30 less than I found it anywhere
else online.  After waiting a week and a half for the three- to
seven-day delivery, the 'scope, tripod and 2X Barlow showed up Monday
afternoon, just as I was leaving the house for a couple of hours, so I
was forced to leave it sitting in its boxes.

Thanks to your site, I'd already found the operating manual online and
read it, so when I got home it was just a matter of unpacking my
purchase and setting up for the night's viewing.  We've had absolutely
clear weather here in Central California all summer, so of course the
sky clouded up completely at sunset and stayed that way all night.

I woke up Tuesday to still cloudy skies and reports of the terrorist
attack on New York and Washington, D.C.  The news was terrible, and I
was so focused on watching CNN I didn't notice the sky clearing as the
day wore on.  When I finally couldn't take anymore news of the disaster,
I grabbed my ETX and headed about 10 miles out of town to my favorite
dark sky spot.

It sure was great to have the ETX to distract me from the day's events. 
Wow!  What viewing!  The ETX is a great little 'scope.  I spent hours
looking at Saturn, Andromeda, a brilliant blue Vega, and when they
finally rose, the Moon and Jupiter about a degree or so apart.  I also
got the hell scared out of me when a wild boar wandered up to see what I
was doing, but that's another story....

Today, I used advice I found on your site to get the declination ring
adjusted correctly, and read all about other new users experiences.

Thanks again, and have a great time at the first Mighty ETX Star Party! 
Wish I could come down and join the fun.

-- Dave
Mike here: It is nice to hear that astronomy was able to provide a distraction from the events of 11 September 2001.

Subject:	ETX-60 "home position"??
Sent:	Monday, September 10, 2001 22:24:22
From:	andylama@ix.netcom.com (Andy Hutson)
Great website!

I just thought I'd run this by you before going into Meade's customer
service "voice jail system":

I'm one of the thousands of people that got the "Costco bargain" on an
ETX 60.  So far, I am enjoying the unit immensely, but...

I'm wondering about the ALT/AZ "Home Position".  The manual says to set
the declination to zero "to level the scope".  When I set my declination
to zero, the scope body is NOT "level", but tilted exactly 6 degrees up.
Is this correct, or is the Declination scale on my unit mis-mounted?  I
ask because so far, my few attempts at alignment have been confusing,
and subsequent results of "GOTO" is usually off by several degrees (but
I figured that this could be due to setting the clock inaccurately)...

Is it just me?  I did "RTFM", but this point is a bit ambiguous.  All
the pictures in the manual show the scope from the other
(non-dec-scaled) side.

Otherwise, the scope works perfectly.

Thanks and regards,

Andy Hutson
Tempe, Arizona
And:
Whoops, sorry!

As I said, I did "RTFM", but clearly, I didn't "RTFF" (Read The Freaking
FAQ) on your wonderful site.

You have answered my question in advance, and I thank you.

I'm off to correct my DEC ring now...
Mike here: Well, I don't consider the FAQ "freaking" but glad you got the solution.

And:

Ha ha, nothing personal, of course.  Just a bit of coarse programmers'
jargon, really.

Again, I commend you for the wealth of useful and interesting
information on your website.

Best regards,

Andy Hutson

Subject:	another bug?
Sent:	Monday, September 10, 2001 17:53:12
From:	dgelect@axs2000.net (Paul Stofko)
I recently bought an etx60at from costco. So far I am pleased with the
unit overall however, since I also own larger scopes for viewing faint
objects, I thought this would be cool for its ability to track
satellites. I have checked your site for any info concerning the problem
I have experienced but did not find any.One of the 60at features is that
you can calculate a sat. pass & then goto where the object should first
appear, the scope slews & then gives a countdown in seconds to the
aos.This seems to work ok. According to the manual, if there is an
obstruction say a building or something, you can hit enter & the scope
will start to track along the sat calculated path & then hit enter again
when the obstuction is cleared & the scope will pause so you can wait
for the sat to enter the field of view & start the tracking again. What
I have found to happen is that pausing somehow causes the scope track
off course when you resume. The degree of error from the original track
you would have gotten had you not paused seems to be related to where
along the course you pause it. For example, a sat that passes overhead
that requires the scope to turn 180 in az, if I were to pause the scope
just as the az started picking up speed, when I resume the az motor
basically stops & the alt motor drifts the scope off in some weird
direction for a while then beeps & your back to the select sat display.
Of course you may wonder why I would pause up at the top. I wouldnt but
I think its the best way to show there is a problem with pausing the
scope. I even did a test while connecting the scope to my computer using
"starry night"  I faked tracking  ISS that I had witnessed naked eye 
earlier that morning & noticed exactly what stars it passed in orion.
Then I did a fake alignment inside & set the autostars time to before
the pass so I could recreate it on my computer.If I hit enter to track
the sat, the crosshairs on the computer depicted the exact track I had
witnessed. If however I started the tracking & paused say 5 or 10
degrees higher, then restarted, the scope would track slightly off
course.It may seem that the degree of error depends on how far along the
sat proposed track you pause the scope to either clear an obstuction or
maybe want to start the tracking at a higher alt.I have contacted meade
about this but have not yet got a responce. To me it seems to definetly
be a software issue. Otherwise with a simple two star alignment my scope
seems to have good tracking & puts you right on the objects.I am curious
to know if anyone else has noticed this problem. As you know its a 494
controller that comes with the 60at.    P.S. your site is very well
informative & well orginized, keep up the good work. I feel sorry for
less experienced poeple who buy a scope like this & want to be able to
use its full capabilities based on the information meade provides in
their manuals & on their website.

Thanks, Paul
And:
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
It's a bug which was present in the 495/497 too...
it has been corrected in the 22E series of downloads.

Unfortunately that doesn't help a 494 owner.

What's really happening is that the pause/resume is "rewinding"
the track-list back to the beginning... and replaying it from
there, rather than simply picking up where it left off.

The work-around is simply: don't do that.

If the AOS point is behind an obstruction, just start tracking when
it beeps... it'll rise above the obstruction hopefully somewhere
near the satellite... slew (without pausing) the scope to truly
acquire it.  The speed control (more of a problem on a 494) works,
and use of the slew keys won't confuse the tracking. 

I pre-set my ETX to "speed 7", which is 1 degree per second.
I've found that to be a good compromise... it's fast enough to
 catch up with any satellite below 60 degrees elevation, and slow
enough that i'm not continually overshooting.  The top part of the
pass may require speed 8 (1.5 deg/sec), which -does- overshoot madly,
and rarely produces happy results.  Then the down-arc of the pass
 returns to being within speed 7's capabilities and all is wonderful
 until buildings eat the target.

What version of firmware is in your 494?
That's displayed by entering the SETUP menu,
 scroll *up* a couple of times to Statistics,
   press [enter], then scroll up once.

If it's a 1.0(something), then you have the "older" version of
the firmware.  My 494 is out on loan, so i can't test the pause/resume
to see if it's fixed in my slightly newer (1.1Ea) version.
(i called the loanee... (the penalty of borrowing my equipment is 
being called to run bizarre experiments )).. it -is- fixed in the
newer version.

So, it's a known bug, and you -might- give Meade a call and request
a newer 494, since it's most assuredly -not- performing as stated 
in the manual/moving-help-display.

That was an excellent test sequence you did of the problem... 
i've used the same method myself (with a different program) many times.

good luck
--dick

Subject:	First experiences with ETX-60AT from Costco
Sent:	Monday, September 10, 2001 11:46:07
From:	strandwg@ucar.edu (Gary Strand)
I really like this nice little 'scope. After waiting many days for a
decent night, we've had two in a row here in Colorado and while the
first night was a wash, pretty much, because I hadn't aligned the 'scope
properly (I find it a lot easier to point at Polaris and lock the
horizontal and then move it to 0 and the lock the vertical), last night
was wonderful. Did the "Tonight's Best" tour, and despite some objects
being behind the house (this was off our back deck, just setting the
scope in a little plastic table), I was able to see several objects very
nicely. Even my wife was impressed, and she doesn't really care for
astronomy. My first scope was a KMart special, 25+ years ago, and even
though the ETX-60 isn't any bigger, with the Autostar and tracking
ability, I'm having a heck of a lot more fun this time around. Now all I
need is a carrying case and a tripod, which I figure will cost me more
than the 'scope did. If anyone is selling either, let me know!

All in all, a very good deal for $100.
--
Gary Strand
strandwg@ucar.edu

Subject:	alignment question
Sent:	Sunday, September 9, 2001 21:15:53
From:	wings400@pacbell.net (Larry Henderson)
I'm new at this with an ETX 60AT.  When pointing the tube North to start
the alignment process, I'm assuming that means True North....as opposed
to magnetic north.  In Northern California, our variation is 16 degress
east.  Am I correct in pointing the tube to a magnetic heading of 16? 
Thanks, in advance, for your help.
Larry
Mike here: You are correct, point towards TRUE NORTH. However, it doesn't have to be precisely True North as once you have aligned the Autostar, the Autostar software will compensate for the error. But the more precise your North pointing is, the closer the alignment stars will be to the telescope field-of-view.

And:

Dear Mike....Thanks so much for your quick response.  You are a "gift"
to us neophytes.
Sincerely,
Larry Henderson

Subject:	ETX-60AT
Sent:	Sunday, September 9, 2001 19:58:04
From:	tony_spina@hotmail.com (Anthony Spina)
Do you know if the plate in the bottom center of the ETX-60AT base comes
off? I wanted mount the scope on a tripod with a standard 1/4 #20 screw

As always thanks for your help

Tony
Mike here: There are mounting holes in the base plate. You should use an adapter to mount the telescope on a photographic tripod. Scopetronix has one.

Subject:	Need short advice on CCD with ETX70
Sent:	Sunday, September 9, 2001 14:31:28
From:	victor_bvb@yahoo.com (Victor K)

A few dyas ago I wrote to the Yahoo newsgroup and you were so kind to
reply to look at your site (which is impressive). In the mean time
because of budget constraints (hoped to benefit on ebay of larger
discounts than new ones), I reoriented myself from ETX90 EC to ETX70.
This is also because I understod the f/15 of the ETX 90 is inadequate
for CCD (should be <=10).

So here is my question: is it reasonable to use the ETX70 with a
(small-which one) CCD ?

Many thanks and best wishes,
Victor.
Mike here: Well, you can use a CCD for some objects but what are your expectations? The ETX-70AT is a short focal length, meaning the scale will be small on the CCD. Should be OK for the Moon or extended star fields. Of course, exposure time will have to be short. I haven't yet tried the SAC CCD imager on the ETX-70AT but will one of these nights.

And:

OK, got you : I think I'll go for it, even if my main (long term) goal
is asteriods.
Can you tell me what SAC CCD imager means ?
And how it compares to Philips Vesta or ToUCam
or PlanetView ?
Many tks,
Victor.
Mike here: I can't compare the SAC CCD to other imagers but see the comments on the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page.

Subject:	The end of the Little 60!?
Sent:	Sunday, September 9, 2001 12:39:41
From:	RMOLLISE@aol.com
>Mike here: The current ad for the ETX-105EC mentions the ETX-70, -90,
>-105, and -125 but doesn't have the ETX-60AT. With the sale at CostCo 
>on the ETX-60AT, could this mean this model is being closed out? Hum...

So we hear. The Official Word? I understand that an Official Decision
won't be made until "...the end of the year," so we'll probably see the
60 at Wal-Mart again this Xmas. But, the feeling at Meade, apparently,
is that there's little point to continuing the 60. The 70 can be
produced for close to the same price, no doubt, and I suppose that
having only one objective assembly to track at the factory would
simplify things.


Peace,
Rod Mollise,
Author of _Choosing and Using a Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope_


Subject:	ETX-70AT and Autostar connection
Sent:	Sunday, September 9, 2001 5:31:41
From:	rluzius@us.ibm.com (Ron Luzius)
I have learned so much from this site and also makes me envious of users
with the larger scopes.

I am having problems with my relatively new scope, I initialize the
Autostar, set the location, etc.  I would say 2 out of 5 times while it
is doing the 2 star alignment, the keypad loses power but the scope does
not(the LED is still on).

This means I have to start the alignment procedure from the beginning.
When I insert the Autostar plug into the scope, I make sure it "Clicks"
into place securely. I have "Cord Wrap" turned on and I know there is no
stress on the cord itself. To get power to the keypad again, I set the
scope to the home position and recycle the power several times.

Also, I have to check the Lon/Lat settings for my site everytime because
the Longitude setting will frequently return back to 002.30 East instead
of the 078.48 West I have entered and saved multiple times.

Any suggestions??

For other ETX-70AT users, I highly recommend the AC adapter over
batteries. A $30 DC converter for your car from Target and you are
instantly mobile.
Mike here: Since you indicate that your location setting is not being saved, I suspect you have a bad Autostar. If the scope is new, try exchanging it at your dealer. If they won't, contact Meade; it may still be under warranty. By the way, you want "Cord Wrap" OFF for the ETX-70AT; this setting is applicable to the ETX-70AT (and ETX-60AT) since there is no hard stop (unlike the ETX EC models).

Subject:	loose AZ clamp on an ETX60
Sent:	Saturday, September 8, 2001 22:13:16
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	jkovatch@neo.rr.com
The handle on the clamp can be removed and moved in 60-degree steps
counter-clockwise.... this will allow you to tighten the clamp more than
the current travel allows.

It -is- possible that the inner mechanism is broken, but in the ETX90,
Meade even supplies the hex-wrench needed to loosen that clamp.

Dig around in Mike's Tech Tips page under  "tune up", or use his SERACH
feature for RA clamp
(warning: i haven't tried that search)

good luck
--dick

Subject:	EXT60 or newer model
Sent:	Saturday, September 8, 2001 22:10:35
From:	MGallina@aol.com
I have questions about this model that the company does not seem to put
on its brochures. Do the EXT 60 link with your computer and can it be
controlled by software from the computer to move the telescope or not?
The model I have seen for sale seems to have #406 connector but it does
not specific if it does this as part of its functions. I have not been
able to get help from sellers in my area. There limited ability to think
beyond the possibility of a remote telescope with the ability for video
feed to a computer is below them. I think this is a great idea when
individuals and people on the Internet wish to share shots and
information without setting up every time to calculate and plot
locations of planets. I know of one company that makes a video adapter
for telescopes that can be used to feed too a computer and is cheap.  My
only problem is figuring out if the meade has come out of the dark ages
and developed software with its hardware to control the telescope and
plot the planets and other object through a computer program. I recently
had a meade with the aurostar software and device. It pretty much sucks.
I could never get it to follow the moon orbit in he sky. If you have any
information about any meade product that is available or if this EXT 60
does the job I have been talking about please let me know. Thanks

PS Please Email me as well what you find out, thanks. Mgallina@aol.com
Mike here: Well, since you have already given up on the Autostar, you will be disappointed to know that the ETX-60AT uses an Autostar and that an Autostar is required for computer control of the telescope. With the Autostar capable software and the right cable, you can control the ETX models when used with an Autostar.

And:

I haven't given up yet. I just don't use my old telescope. I was
considering buying the EXT 60 and linking it to my computer with the
software to move the telescope to a star or planet if it allows for
that. Then I was going to put an Accessory product on the telescope to
view the images from my computer. My question still stands though. I
need to confirm that it can be moved remotely by the software and
connector to a star that you select from the software package. If this
is correct word for word then I would consider getting this for my
father.

This is without the connected Autostar. if the Autostar has a longer
cord adapter than that would be better. I could control it at my desktop
and watch the video feed.

Please let me know.
Mike here: You need to use the Autostar. That's the only way a desktop or laptop computer can control the ETX models. Once you connect the Autostar and computer, software on the computer can command the ETX to move to the selected object.

Mike here: The current ad for the ETX-105EC mentions the ETX-70, -90, -105, and -125 but doesn't have the ETX-60AT. With the sale at CostCo on the ETX-60AT, could this mean this model is being closed out? Hum...


Subject:	ETX-60 first light
Sent:	Saturday, September 8, 2001 19:41:42
From:	jerryg@gaiser.org (Jerry Gaiser)
And I do mean first light...

A combination of bad luck and poor weather have prevented me from taking
my new ETX-60 out for a tryout, but this morning was clear, with the
moon still up and all my chores done, so out I go.

First attempt at a moon GOTO was a bit disappointing... Way off. But
with a *careful* realignment, the moon was in the field of view of the
25mm eyepiece on the second try. Adjusted focus for a nice clear shot
and let the ETX track for a while. Pretty nice.

Seems I read somewhere about being able to see Venus in the daylight, so
I punched it in and pressed GOTO. When slewing was finished, I looked
into the eyepiece to see a bright spot of light. Not centered, the
definately Venus. What the heck, I punch in Jupiter and hit GOTO. Not
quite as bright, but there it is. Cool...

For me, this was an exciting restart of my interest in Astronomy. I can
hardly wait for a nice clear night to see what else this little guy can
do.

-- 
Jerry Gaiser in Oregon
http://www.gaiser.org/
45 41.598N
123 02.508W

Subject:	Mistakes of a beginner ... or just plain dumb luck?
Sent:	Saturday, September 8, 2001 18:52:10
From:	jrtorrent@earthlink.net (Juan Rodriguez-Torrent)
Before I threw myself to a shopping spree I read as much as I could of
your web site. Reading the information on your site I figured that with
an ETX60 AT instead of spending on high magnification eyepieces (4mm,
6mm, ...) I could start with a 2x Barlow lens. So I bought one from the
surplus shed. Couldn't wait to get it! Finally arrived, opened the
package and ... It's HUGE! 4.5" long barrel ... wow! Anyhow I have no
idea what to expect so when I read 2x Barlow lens on the barrel I was
somewhat reassured. When I tried to use it ... I can't get it to focus
on any celestial body. It does focus on terrestrial objects (tree in my
yard, house up on the hill, ...)but not on the Moon, stars, etc. It
almost looks like is about to focus when the focusing screw locks.

Any suggestion? Should I return the Barlow lens? are there any
adjustments to make on the ETX? ... HELP!

Thank you
Mike here: Some Barlow Lens designs will likely be too long to focus. If the knob is hitting the ETX backplate you could loosen the setscrew and slide the knob a little further out on the shaft. Be certain to point the ETX upwards before loosening the setscrew to avoid the shaft slipping inside the tube. But given the size of the Barlow Lens you have purchased, I suggest returning it.

And:

Mike, thank you for you promptness. There is an additional issue that I
quite don't understand. When focusing on the moon with the 9 mm lens
provided in the startup package I find that I can get the edges of the
moon very sharp. I see the craters like a perfect miniature picture but
the central part of the moon is slightly out of focus. As a matter of
fact I don't seem to be able to bring the middle section of the moon to
sharpness. Am I doing some dumb mistake? Advice?

Thanks!
Mike here: The Moon is essentially the same distance from you, no matter where you are looking. So there is no focus change as you look at different parts of the Moon. So as long as one part of the Moon is sharp, the rest will be (unless there is something in the way like a cloud). I suspect your eye may be just getting overwhelmed by the Moon's brightness. That's the reason that a Moon filter is a good investment if you plan to do any serious Moon watching. To see if one would help, put on a pair of sunglasses and look at the Moon through the eyepiece.

Subject:	is mine broken already????
Sent:	Friday, September 7, 2001 22:10:53
From:	jkovatch@neo.rr.com
hi... a newbie here with an ETX-60AT "costco" special. I have been
having trouble with the horizontal motor not engaging. Is this a defect
or am I doing something wrong? I know the lever flipped to the right
"unlocks" the scope and that flipping it "clockwise" locks it . How do I
get my horizontal motors to work again???
thanks
Bo
Mike here: By not working do you mean that you can't slew the scope manually in the horizontal direction using the Autostar but you can in the vertical direction? Does the ETX slew in both directions during a GOTO operation?

And:

vertical is fine when i dont get a "motor unit failure" at startup. When
I am able to get past that...I can hear the horizontal motor run but it
is not engaged at all. even after tightening the horizontal lock, I am
still able to manually turn the unit. Something is obviously wrong. I am
proceeding to return the unit as we speak.
Thanks for your help

Subject:	re: Meade Marketing (was:  ETX-60AT from Costco)
Sent:	Thursday, September 6, 2001 23:02:49
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	constons@kaisere.com
Steve,

The software which comes with the ETX60 could/should be considered as
"Planetarium Software"... it takes the place of a medium-quality
sky map, lets you print charts, and can serve as an observing guide.

Plus it was free.  
(my ETX90 came with nothing other than the telescope)

It -will- drive your ETX60 (and 494 Autostar) all over the sky,
with merely the addition of the 506 cable set.
I -have- seen the 506 for sale -without- the software CD, 
for about $30 or $35.  So you don't -have- to buy the software twice.

But it's more commonly found with the CD.

Having the CD  also gives you license to download
the Update from ACP (Astronomer's Control Panel), which provides
 (for 30 days) extra features like Voice Control of your telescope.
After the 30 days, it will still control your scope, but with the
extra featurs like Voice.

I have an ETX70at... i got a 506... it all works.  Very nicely.
No 495/497 needed. 

You can (at worst) donate the "extra" CD to a Scout troop and take
a tax write-off for its "fair market value".  (you'll have to read
the license about that)

Far more of a fiscal problem is the battery consumption active
 use of the scope will generate...
--dick
And:
From:	constons@kaisere.com (Conston, Steve     x4704)
Here are two "readme" files from the CD.  The software contains Starry
Night "Bundle" Edition by Sienna Software and the Astronomer's Control
Panel (ACP) from DC-3 Dreams.  However the ACP is "crippled"
automatically after 30 usages, and only provides some functionality.  In
addition, the ACP version was written when Meade Autostar software was
at REV. 1.2c (or a long, long time ago...)  There is no guarantee that
it still works well with the current Meade software.  Also note that
this software is for use only with an LX-200, #1697 Computer Drive
System, or #497 Autostar.

I really think that Meade should "own up" to their actions and offer a
free #506 cable & software to those people who bought the telescope with
the "$79 value" Star Navigator CD included, but that's my opinion.

Steve
Mike here: I think Dick addressed this more completely. The software pre-dates the ETX models it came with, so I'm not surprised the README files are inaccurate.

And:

Thanks very much for the info, Dick.  I still plan to keep the scope and
use the software with my ETX-125EC.  And I still feel that Meade does a
great job on the optical system.  I have also just finished building a
pier for the 125 from an old Edmund Scientific equatorial mount I had
purchased many years ago, and plan to send pictures and a description to
Mike's site shortly.  Additionally, I "found" a great replacement for
the battery compartment on the 125 at an electronic surplus store here
in Silicon Valley and will be documenting that as well.

Steve

Subject:	ETX-60AT 
Sent:	Thursday, September 6, 2001 8:28:04
From:	Guy.Spotts@edwards.af.mil (Spotts Guy Contr P42/Site 5)
Just one thing to say about the ETX-60AT.  I am a Scoutmaster, the
ETX-60AT is backpack portable and will be going on some or all of our
troop campouts. I'm still not sure if it will be better as a Richfield
or good enough to use for Photo but the cost was right  $100 at COSCO. 
Most of my Telescope work has been with scopes greater the 12" up to 28"
so this has been a bit of a let down with the 9mm and 25mm eyepiece. The
addition of a barlow lens and some other eyepiece should help.   I have
a brand new tool box that's going to be the case to carry the scope and
accessories. This will be set-up to tie on to a back pack.  The inside
of the case will have a custom rigid foam holster for the scope and
accessories. Thats more then one thing!

Guy Spotts

Subject:	Beginner
Sent:	Thursday, September 6, 2001 7:06:41
From:	trakker01@home.com (Rick Speckeen)
I hope you have a minute and can give me some advice. ( You probably
hear that from alot of people ) I've just begun in astronomy and done
quite a bit of reading and talking to people. I went to some Scope
stores here in Toronto and was purhaps interested in the Meade 70AT.
That's when found your site. You seem to be an expert.

Having never used ot looked through a telescope in my life, I was
impressed with the images I saw in your gallery. Most however, seemed to
be from a higher model than the 70AT.

I'm worried that my first telescope won't be enough to satisfy my
curiousity. It comes down to money as it seems that the next model up is
quite a bit more.

Can you help me with my decision ?

Thanks for your help !

Rick..
Mike here: What you need depends upon what you want to do with a telescope. So, decide upon your requirements and expectations; then you can better match a telescope to that. If you think the ETX-70AT will be inadequate to your needs then it probably is.

Subject:	ETX-60AT from Costco
Sent:	Wednesday, September 5, 2001 13:01:22
From:	constons@kaisere.com (Conston, Steve     x4704)
Just got off the phone with a Meade Customer Service Representative.  
Seems like they are employing "dubious" marketing techniques.

The ETX-60AT  sold by Costco includes "Star Navigator Software" to
control your telescope from a PC as the label on the box proudly
proclaims, "a  $79 value".  According to Meade, this software is
"useless" for the ETX-60AT since it only works with the #505 cable and
Autostar #497 or #495!  To operate the ETX-60AT from a PC using its
Autostar you need to buy the #506 Cable Set (includes software).  So
unless you have another Star Navigator compatible Autostar model lying
around, you cannot use this software.  The other models will operate the
ETX-60AT, with some restrictions (I did not ask about them all) provided
you retrain the drives each time you go to a different scope. Not
something that I would want to do now that Clay Sherrod has
"supercharged" my ETX-125EC.

I really think that such practices while maybe not criminal (I am not a
lawyer) are highly unethical and should be discouraged.  I urge all
owners who purchased the telescope at Costco, thinking that they would
be able to control it from their PC or laptop, to write to Meade and
express their indignation (politely of course).

Steve Conston
San Jose, CA
Mike here: I think it works with the #506 cable (which is not included) and the #494 Autostar. The #505 cable is for the #495 and #497 Autostars. Could that have been a source of confusion during your call with Meade?

And:

The back of the Star Navigator CD envelope also states that it requires
the #505 cable.  That is why I called Meade, to try and sift through the
confusion.  The guy I talked to admitted they just "dropped it in" as an
"extra", but that is was of no use to ETX-60AT owners.  He verified that
a #506 cable is needed to control the ETX-60AT, but that it comes with
its own software and is not sold separately.  I have not inspected the
CD, but since I plan to use it with my ETX-125EC, I will let you know if
there is a "Readme" file that sheds more light on the matter.  For
conversion from RS-232 to I2C, in addition to the electrical interface
level changes, there is a protocol difference.  I2C is a multidrop 2
wire bus and requires address information to be transmitted so that only
the desired device on the bus communicates.  This could have been
implemented in a low level driver on the CD or may be in the RS-232 to
I2C converter circuitry as firmware (assuming a microcontroller
implementation).

Subject:	RE: Primary focus mislocated...
Sent:	Wednesday, September 5, 2001 7:39:08
From:	lewisw@kaisere.com (Lewis, Bill     x4126)
Yes-that is the case. As I turn the focus knob one way, the movable
portion of the tube moves outward. The other way moves the tube inward.
I was concerned that the movable portion would fall out if I move it too
far out. Maybe moving it out is the correct way to bring primary focus
down into the tube. There is no indication how far I should move it. Is
there a stop at both ends?

I'll give it another try-thanks.

> -----Original Message-----
> Are you saying that when you turn the focus knob all the way from one 
> stop to the other stop, there is no position at which the image is in 
> focus with the eyepiece inserted normally?  If the knob reaches the ETX 
> backplate before reaching a focus, you can loosen the setscrew and slide 
> it outward a little bit on the shaft.  Be certain the scope is tilted 
> upwards (45 degrees works) to keep the shaft from slipping inside the 
> tube.  That's really the only adjustment you should have to make.  If you 
> can't properly focus, return it to the dealer for an exchange.
> 
> Mike Weasner
Mike here: Yes, the objective moves in this design to achieve focus. I haven't checked to see if there is a stop but I suspect there is.

And:

Well-I figured it out. Since the objective must accomodate a variety of
eyepieces/barlows, etc, it moves all over the place. I just happened to
miss the specific focus plane when I was focusing. I am used to cameras
which work with a fixed focal plane and the lens is focused at infinity
when the objective is closest to the camera body. Thanks for jogging my
thinking.

Subject:	ETX-60 ?
Sent:	Tuesday, September 4, 2001 13:02:17
From:	wshannon@nidlink.com (Wayne Shannon)
First off what a supper great site. I have been trying to Polar Align my
new ETX-60 .One of the things it ask you to do is turn the base of the
telescope couter-clockwise until it gets to a stop. I have turn it many
many times and it does not have a stop. Does the newer ETX-60's have a
Stop??
Thanks
Wayne Shannon
Mike here: The original model ETX-60EC had hard stops but the ETX-60AT does not. The same applies to the ETX-70 models. Check that the Cord Wrap is OFF under the Telescope Setup menu.

Subject:	Primary focus mislocated...
Sent:	Tuesday, September 4, 2001 12:01:19
From:	lewisw@kaisere.com (Lewis, Bill     x4126)
Hi-just took my ETX-60 out of the box and checked it out. The primary
focus is such that, when using the supplied 9mm modified achromat,
focusing on distant objects (like the moon) requires the eyepiece to be
sticking halfway out of the tube. In order to focus the image with the
supplied 25mm modified achromat, the eyepiece is completely out of the
tube!

I checked the owner's manual regarding focusing and it described a
process of orienting the main tube vertically with the lens down on a
flat surface and loosening the setscrew on the focus knob - making sure
the focus knob was "flush" with the housing and re-tightening the
setscrew. This was done. The focus knob is still 3mm away from the
housing (not flush) and the primary focus is still way out of the tube.
Any suggestions?

Bill Lewis
San Jose, California.
Mike here: Are you saying that when you turn the focus knob all the way from one stop to the other stop, there is no position at which the image is in focus with the eyepiece inserted normally? If the knob reaches the ETX backplate before reaching a focus, you can loosen the setscrew and slide it outward a little bit on the shaft. Be certain the scope is tilted upwards (45 degrees works) to keep the shaft from slipping inside the tube. That's really the only adjustment you should have to make. If you can't properly focus, return it to the dealer for an exchange.

Subject:	Dear Mike,
Sent:	Monday, September 3, 2001 23:05:07
From:	jrtorrent@earthlink.net (Juan Rodriguez-Torrent)
Last week I decided to purchase a Meade ETX 60AT for the value that an
item like this can contribute to children's education. I remembered
spending countless summer evening hours with my father looking the skies
with a cheap pair of binoculars. I remembered how these hours
contributed to my development and the unique closeness I felt to my
father then. It really made me feel special.

I was not prepared for the difference of complexity and results between
then (binoculars) and now (... a real astronomy tool.) I was overwhelmed
by the complexity of the terminology (with time I have forgotten most of
my physics) and concepts. Thanks to your site I have quickly overcome
most of the misconceptions, fear and understood what to expect from a
telescope (still can't remember my optics :-()

Yes! we, ignorant civilians expect to look through the eyepiece and see
Jupiter like in a movie theater. Without even realizing it we convey
these expectations to our children who become quickly disappointed and
bored. I was lucky to find your web site from day one. The wealth of
information you share there enabled me to deal with my kids expectation
and create a whole new area of interest for them.

Great work and a great contribution to the world of science! Thank you
very much!

Juan

PS as a constructive comment, I was overly confused for a couple of days
until I realized that the references to the ETX are mostly for the
ETX90. Obviously it was is a very popular earlier model in the ETX
family. Once I figured out that the 48x with a 26mm was a reference to
the ETX 90 everything else was a cinch! Later I found a reference on
your site regarding this fact. I believe that if you could make this
detail more visible you could alleviate some panic time to civilians
like me.

Again ... Thanks a LOT!
Mike here: Many thanks for the comment about the confusion on the name "ETX". I have occasionally mentioned that much on the Site predates the current ETX line-up. I should make that more prominent and will do so.

Subject:	wow mike what a site
Sent:	Monday, September 3, 2001 15:08:30
From:	kr1799@earthlink.net (Kelly Ross)
I alike allot of people bought an etx 60 at costco and for a hundred
bucks  I was impressed . I can tell it is the cheapest model  but I have
never had a telescope before .this thing is so easy it feels like I am
cheating . I used my brick mailbox last night . and had excellent
results your site is already on my favorites folder my question is .

I buy a hundred dollar scope and now have to buy a hundred dollar tripod
or a sixty dollar case? not to mention all the other  lenses  ,filters ,
the 2x and 3x  things. can you tell I am new? what additional lenses
should I buy it came with a 25 and 9mm lenses what few things would give
me the best results and where can I get the best price?
Mike here: like many hobbies, there is always some additional items that you CAN buy. But that doesn't mean you HAVE TO buy something. At least not right away. Get all you can out of the equipment you have. Then decide whether the ETX-60AT continues to be enough telescope for you. If so, you can add items once you decide what you really NEED. If you decide that you need a larger telescope then you'll have the money that you would have spent on accessories available to go towards your next telescope.

And:

your words ring true , have , need,  want  and I will probably find that
I want something better.   thanks for your time

if you have time for one more question  when setting the time ,date last
night . and then today the time and date were what I set them to last
night I tried resetting them but the clock wont move.

hey on your page with a picture of you and the telescope    what can
that thing see?
Mike here: When you change the date and time using the arrow keys, you have to press ENTER to make the entry. The next time you power on the date should be the same as you last entered but the time defaults to 8pm (or 2000 if you have set it to the 24-hour clock). As to the "ETX" on my Home Page graphic, that's the result of a little Photoshop editing; done to indicate that the ETX is a "Mighty" telescope.

Subject:	90EC Accessories for the ETX60?
Sent:	Sunday, September 2, 2001 20:54:49
From:	brpage@msn.com (Brian Page)
I just purchased the ETX60 at Costco (couldn't pass up the sale) and am
wondering which of my ETX90EC accessories will work with the 60.  I
found that the 60 will fit nicely onto the deluxe field tripod made for
the 90, although this fact is only mentioned once in the scope
documentation at the very back of the Users Manual.

I'm wondering if my 90 computer cable with the RS-232 connector and
phone-type plugs will work with the 60?  I've seen a lot of references
to the #506 cable and software and am wondering if the #505 cable is
really what's included in this "package" deal, if so it's about the
sneakiest bit of marketing I've ever seen.  I know that the plug fits
the socket, but I don't want to download anything to the scope before I
have a chance to test it out first.  When Meade states that you can only
download objects to the 60 I presume this means satellite TLEs and minor
body ephemerides?

I'm also wondering if my 90EC 35mm T-adapter will work with my 60 if I
take the extension off?  I know it will screw onto the back opening, but
will a camera focus through here and will there be excessive vignetting?

It certainly doesn't appear that there's any way to use the 90EC right
angle finder on the 60, as the base/bracket connection point looks
completely different.

Has anyone come up with any ideas on how to pad the objective end of the
60 so that an Orion 90mm solar filter could be securely situated on the
tube?

Sincerely,

Brian Page
Mike here: I seem to recall a report that the short extension of the T-adapter would work. I'm traveling now so can't check that. You do need the #506 cable which has electronics that are NOT included in the ETX-60AT base. Don't know about the filter mounting but hopefully someone will respond.

Subject:	Low Price
Sent:	Sunday, September 2, 2001 16:45:31
From:	kd7fht@uswest.net (kd7fht)
I just picked up an EXT-60AT at Costco. Cost $100 with the coupon. I had
been waiting for this to show up for about a month to see what the
quality would be. It seem fine. Not real fancy, but for $100 who could
complain. If you are interested in getting started in astronomy, you
should go check this little unit out.

Jim

Subject:	ETX-60AT @ Costco
Sent:	Sunday, September 2, 2001 14:50:02
From:	Bertiejo@aol.com
You may already know this but Costco is selling the ETX-60AT without
tripod for just under $100.  I already have a Televue Pronto so I really
dont need another small refractor but at that price it was hard to
resist.  For what its worth I was able to load the software on my Mac (a
5yr old Power Mac).  I have no plans to control the telescope from the
computer so I dont know if that function will work but everything else
seems ok.

Lee Bertolone
Bertiejo@aol.com

Subject:	ETX 60AT
Sent:	Sunday, September 2, 2001 13:47:26
From:	amarchant@exchange.ubc.ca (Marchant, Alan)
Having just bought a ETX-60AT, I have two questions: -
1) if one pops off the plastic plate on the bottom of the base there is
a threaded hole, can this be used to take a tripod mount?
2) are all barlows the same or do they have different tube lengths. I
have a omcon x2 barlow but the tube length (~3") looks twice the length
of the meade's . Can I still use it or will I never get it to focus. (
have tried but are my fingers tied!)

thanks

..Alan
Mike here: There are mounting holes in the base plate. You should use an adapter to mount the telescope on a photographic tripod. There are many styles of Barlow Lens. Some will work better on some telescopes. And yes, the ETX-60AT requires a lot of focus knob turns to reach a focus with some eyepieces and Barlow Lenses.

Subject:	ETX60-AT
Sent:	Sunday, September 2, 2001 11:02:04
From:	KCANDCC@aol.com
I purchased the ETX60-AT from Costco. The Autostar handbox does not have
a port for pc connection. What is necessary for software updates? Are
these done by connecting to AUX port on the ETX instead?
Mike here: You have to purchase a Meade #506 cable.

Subject:	re: opening the 494 autostar
Sent:	Sunday, September 2, 2001 01:03:10
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	neil@wci.ab.ca
Since Mike is travelling, he -just- updated his site.

The 494 can only be opened by careful cutting and prying of the
two glued-together halves of the case.

IT is *not* a simple "unscrew 4 screws" like the  495/497.

When i opened my 494, i cut into one corner with a razor saw
 (i.e. very thin blade)... but the actual opening did not require
that cut... "simply" work all the way around the seam with the
back of a typical dinner knife's blade... applying slow, but steady,
prying pressure to separate the halves.  
*some* spot on the seam will eventually -pop-... and from there
it's easier (but still tedious) to walk the pressure around and
around the seam.

This -will- destroy your warranty.

Given your -particular- problem (loose wire), you might just
coat the end with Silicone Bathtub Sealant and push it back in.
Wait 24 hours for it to cure, and (perhaps) viola'!

good luck
--dick

Subject:	etx-60 tripod adapter
Sent:	Sunday, September 2, 2001 00:49:34
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	mberman@loop.com
I made mine out a flat, thick piece of aluminum.
A hole in the middle drilled and tapped to 1/4-20 thread to
 fit the tripod head,
and two simple 5/8's holes here i run two nylon 1/4-20 wing-bolts
through to hold onto the ETX60.  (those bolts don't -have- to be nylon).

very simple. 
 Could also be rendered in hardwood or aircraft plywood.

I actually use mine -without- the tripod tilt/pan head, but mounted
directly to the tripod's stalk (also 1/4-20)

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Having fun with the ETX-60 AT from costco...
Sent:	Saturday, September 1, 2001 21:28:03
From:	jlc@myrealbox.com (Jeff Crilly)
Just thought I'd send a positive comment about the ETX-60-at from costco
at $99.  I realize this deal runs out tomorrow (9/2), but even at $129,
I still think its a good deal.

Fwiw, I've only had the scope out a couple times and under pretty heavy
moonlit skies... but the views are the moon are definitely good with the
supplied eyepieces.  Just a bit of color, but thats expected.

I've also used a televue 3x barlow with a 15mm vixen lanthanum (for
about 70x) with excellent results. In addition, I've used the meade MA
9mm with the TV 3x for 116x and results are very good.

Last night I got the goto working (earlier it was not slewing enough,
but it turned out I didnt lock the azimuth!)  It placed objects within
the FOV of the 25mm eyepiece, though I only did an easy alignment and
probably not great.

I've considered getting a 495/497 autostar, but the 494 works just fine,
so I'm not sure its worth the extra $$.

I'm using a bogen tripod... but I'll probably build a pier for it.

As a previous user of an ETX-90-RA, (and a user of DOBS -- 8" and 15")
this little scope really is _alot_ of fun.  I thought I'd be
disappointed with the optics, eyepeices, drive, etc., but so far it is
just amazing.  And the price is right.  (No affiliation with meade or
costco, btw.)

jeff

Subject:	Meade ETX 60
Sent:	Saturday, September 1, 2001 19:28:27
From:	geis@pacbell.net (Bill Geisreiter)
I saw an ad for the Meade ETX 60 from Costco Warehouse.  Price is listed
as $129.99 less $30.00 = $98.99.  The ad says ETX 60 not ETX 60AT.

Is this a good price or is this just an older model with less features.
I plan to use this scope for land use only.

Thanks for an email answer.

Bill
Mike here: It is the standard ETX-70AT with #494 Autostar. No tripod is included.

And:

what do you mean?
Mike here: I was just letting you know that the scope is the same as the current ETX-70AT model that comes with the #494 Autostar. It used to sell for over $300 (with tripod).

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Copyright © 2001 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
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