Last updated: 30 September 2002
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-90RA (originally known as the "ETX Astro") and the ETX-90EC. 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:	1.5v battery heats up with tracking motor on
Sent:	Saturday, September 28, 2002 5:16:03
From: (Tom)
Great web page .      

I recently picked up a mead etx-90/ra-m for $25.00 bucks at a farm
auction in really good shape . this unit takes three aa batteries to
drive the tracking motor in the base of the unit.  i installed fresh
1.5v aa in the holder and turned it on .  one battery heats ups enoufgh
to get quite warm . the outher two batteries are fine . with the power
switch off the one battery gets still  very warm to the touch . the
production code on the pc board is marked 15-1200-00 rev b . could the
motor be shorted or the boarb be shorted ?

thanks tom
Mike here: Check that the batteries are inserted correctly. If one is backwards it can heat up.


Thank you for the fast reply.  i had purchased eveready 18 pack aa
batteries at wallmart yesterday.  half of them where either shorted or
reading 1.35 volt on the meter anyway i put new duracells and now it
works fine. maybe a bad batch of batteries.  thanks for the help Mike.
thanks  tom

Subject:	Swapped the 70AT for a 90 EC
Sent:	Wednesday, September 25, 2002 12:06:25
From: (
I traded in the 70 for a 90 EC but without the Autostar. I have the 26mm
eyepiece and a Meade Barlow x3. On my first night out I got a super view
of Saturn and her moons. Can you recommend a further eyepiece to enhance
my viewing experience. I don't want to get into the over magnification
trap but I do want to see as much as I can.

Many thnks Mike

Greg Shakeshaft
Mike here: There are many possibilities but since you have a 3X Barlow Lens (yielding an equivalent 9mm eyepiece) you might want to consider something like a 40mm for wide angle views or perhaps even one of the wide angle style eyepieces. See the Accessory Reviews --> Eyepieces page.
Subject:	meade etx 90ra
Sent:	Tuesday, September 24, 2002 7:57:04
Sorry to bother you. I just started to use the etx. My problem is when i
use the 26mm, 9.7mm or the 6.4mm lens its a blurr. I could only see the
moon through the site lens. What am i doing wrong?? Jim
Mike here: Point the telescope at a distant building. What happens when you rotate the focus knob? Does the image of the building get clearer or more blurry or doesn't change at all?


yes it does come into focus. Maybe I just need to gain more experience.
Do you have a good magazine to subscribe to?? Thank you again for taking
the time.
Mike here: Perhaps experience is the answer or it could be that you are exceeding the maximum magnification for the telescope (which is twice the aperture in millimeters, or 180X for the ETX-90). As you get closer to that value, the image begins to break up and get fuzzy, especially on faint objects. Personally I like Sky and Telescope (good mix of news, scientific articles, and amateur articles). Monthly charts and more. Astronomy is also a good magazine but I've been with Sky and Telescope for over 40 years.
Subject:	RA tabletop tripod, motor and the StarMax
Sent:	Tuesday, September 24, 2002 0:46:11
From: (Doug Bevington)
I'm considering buying one of the remaining new ETX-RAs. (The EC model
is outside of my budget.) But based on some reviews I've read, I have
some concerns and would be interested to hear RA users actual
experiences in these matters:

1.) How well does the tabletop mount work? (A full tripod and wedge are
probably beyond my budget.) What its advantages and disadvantages? Is it
steady, and to what magnification is so? And is it uncomfortable to use
in of positioning ones body to see through such a low mount? I know that
it can be placed on a table, or stool, but as one review pointed out, it
is rather bulky to carry such an item around in lieu of a tripod. Can
the tabletop tripod be used from the ground? Is it uncomfortable to use
from that position? Do many ETX owners use the tabletop tripod, or do
most switch to a full tripod and wedge? (How much would such an upgrade

2.) I've read that the RA's motor drive does not kick in for a while,
causing the object to drift out of view and creating much frustration?
Is this a widespread problem with the RA? Is there anyway to fix or
minimize this problem? Or is the RA's motor drive largely useless?

3.) I am also considering purchasing the Orion StarMax 90, which is
comparable in price to the ETX-RA, but has a full-sized tripod on an
equatorial mount, thus avoiding any viewing problems (?) with the table
top tripod of the RA. It seems to have easier slow-motion nobs than the
RA. And Orion has a motor drive for it for about $40 for which I have
not heard any problems akin to the RA motor drive's lag time issue. Any
thoughts you may have of the relative merits of the StarMax 90 and the
ETX-RA would be appreciated.

Thanks, Doug
Mike here: You can read my impressions of the original ETX (now known as the ETX-90RA) on the Buyer/New User Tips page. I used it with the tabletop legs for over a year (on a small table mostly). If you place it on the ground you will get more image distortion from heat rising as well as have to lie down on the ground to use the telescope. The RA motor does have a lag, but I have never found that to be much of a problem.
Subject:	UK E/T/ X
Sent:	Sunday, September 22, 2002 7:41:45
From: (jai.henderson)
Can you help, i have a 1998 90mm; ETX,  when i look through the eyepiece
to go to focas the object it seems to move in the eyepiece like there is
a lot of movement in the back mirror, there is a lot of movement in the
focasing knob. can you help
Mike here: I'm not certain I understand what you are reporting. Are you saying the focus knob rotates and moves in and out as it should but the objects do not change focus? Or are you saying that the focus shaft seems too loose and focusing does not occur?


Hello thanks for the Email ,when you focus in the eyepiece you can see
the object move in the eyep when you touch the focus shaft,and it is
harder to get a go crisp focus
Mike here: It sounds like you are referring to "image shift". Some image shift is normal with Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes. However, it should not be excessive and it should not cause problems when focusing.


Hello the image shift can i do some think about it
Mike here: See the article "ETX-90 Image Shift fix" on the Telescope Tech Tips page. Otherwise, you probably want a dealer to check it out.
Subject:	re:  ETX90RA, stars during daylight
Sent:	Wednesday, September 18, 2002 21:06:19
From: (Richard Seymour)
A very nice effort and report...

I would suggest Sirius as a good target for a noon-time star.

have fun
From: (martyn)
Hi there, yes Sirius is en excellent idea. It seemed to be at it's
highest on 27 July, alt 20 degrees, 47' 29" at my observing location.
During this month, let's say 22 September it's altitude at noon would be
about five and a half degrees....quite a challenge, but then again it is
soooo bright.

I'll be after Capella as well. Around this time of year it's at almost
48 degrees above the horizon at noon.

And Castor, just over 52 degrees high at noon. Will I see it along with

I'll report back.

This little ETX90 is a truly wonderful little telescope!

Observing from the Netherlands

(Data extracted from Redshift 2)

Subject:	ETX question ...
Sent:	Tuesday, September 17, 2002 17:27:40
From: (Tom Reuterdahl)
Let me introduce myself ... my name is Tom Reuterdahl and, like you, I'm
an early adopter of the ETX - I have one of the first ones out.  Out of
frustration with the manufacturer, I started looking on the web for ETX
sites and was lucky enough to come across yours.  What a GREAT site
you've assembled!!

I admit I have not had a chance to visit all the nooks and crannies on
your site so I may be asking a question which is addressed somewhere
therein.  If so, I apologize in advance!!

Here's my question/problem:  As you know, the original ETX was designed
for tabletop use and there was, at least to my knowledge, no sturdy
tripod available for that model.  I have been hunting high and low for a
more or less "industrial strength" tripod to use with my telescope ...
all to no avail!!

I was hoping you could recommend a tripod which would not reduce my
telescope to a terrestrial spotting scope.  Any advice would be greatly

Best regards,
Tom Reuterdahl
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Tripods page. There are several good ones mentioned there that will work fine with the original ETX (now known as the ETX-90RA).


Thanks for your quick response!!  I'll check out the accessory reviews
... thanks also for letting me know what the original is called these

Best regards,


Subject:	Weight of ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, September 17, 2002 8:24:32
I need the weight of a 90ETX OTA only without the fork assembly.


Paul Atkinson

Subject:	ETX90RA, stars during daylight
Sent:	Monday, September 16, 2002 15:07:29
From: (martyn)
Recently I have been on a quest for seeing stars during daylight with my
ETX 90 RA and SP26mm eyepiece.

I do this in the following manner. I properly level the tilt-plate of
the #884 tripod. My declination scale is also properly calibrated. From
Redshift 2 I obtain the correct altitude and azimuth of the star I want
to find. The azimuth-value is counted from true north. With a good
compass I get close enough to the "true azimuth-value" (local magnetic
variation will cause a compass to not point exactly at the "true
azimuth-value"). Then I up the scope in declination to the correct
altitude with the help of the declination scale and the star should be
there. If not, I slew the scope in azimuth until the star is in the

An important thing is to get the focus right. I use a very far away
(several kilometers) object to obtain focus. This object may even be an
aeroplane passing high over or otherwise far away. For dimmer stars then
described below, the correct focus is extra important.

Also, I choose the altitude and azimuth of a star about five minutes
into the future so that the star is not "running away from me" while I
aim the telescope.

What follows is a shortlist of stars I saw during daylight, i.e. before

10 July 2002, 21:42h local DST, 16 minutes before sunset. Regulus'
altitude was 16 degrees 49 minutes 2 seconds. The sun was 1 degree 4
minutes ABOVE the horizon.

2 September 2002, 19:31h local DST, 52 minutes before sunset. The sun
was 6 degrees 55 minutes 27 seconds ABOVE the horizon.

15 September 2002, 18:37h local DST, 75 minutes before sunset. Vega's
altitude was 65 degrees 22 minutes 52 seconds. The sun was 10 degrees 31
minutes 56 seconds ABOVE the horizon.

15 september 2002, 18:49h local DST, 63 minutes before sunset. Deneb's
altitude was 52 degrees 27 minutes 58 seconds. The sun was 8 degrees 43
minutes 40 seconds ABOVE the horizon.

15 September 2002, 19:20h local DST, 32 minutes before sunset. Altair's
altitude was 36 degrees 49 minutes 7 seconds. The sun was 4 degrees 1
minute 58 seconds ABOVE the horizon.

Especially the last four were rather easy to see. The last three were
visible even when not looking at the star directly. Vega was visible
even when I looked almost at the edge of the field of view of the SP26mm

I am hoping to be able to spot a star right at noon. I guess this will
be possible at least with Vega, and possibly others as well. During the
winter this should (I hope) prove to be no problem. The sun is low then
so this raises the chance of a large angular distance between the sun
and a bright star at noon. But I'll keep trying in the mean time.


observing from the Netherlands

52 degrees 40 minutes North

Subject:	ETX-90RA thoughts?
Sent:	Monday, September 16, 2002 14:38:14
From: (Clayton Jones)
I've noticed that the prices for the ETX 90-RA are quite low, much lower
than any of the other models.  Does anyone have any feelings about this
model -- how it compares to the other models out there?  I am not one
for tons of gadgets (the go-to computer and so forth) and am much more
interested in just getting good optics.  I have been looking at the LOMO
astele and also the Orion Apex maks, but how would they compare
optically with the ETX?


Clayton Jones -- Ohio
Mike here: You can read my "first impressions" about the original ETX (now known as the ETX-90RA) on the Buyer/New User Tips page. Keep in mind that the RA model is NOT upgradable to the EC (Autostar capable) model.
Subject:	Enjoying the 90
Sent:	Monday, September 9, 2002 4:23:30
From: (Fred & Rose Lieberman)
It has taken me a full year to appreciate this scope ETX 90 RA.  I felt
frustrated that once again I got a lemon.  Well, it wasn't so.  Even the
Short tube 80 f/5 wasn't a lemon.  It was me and my inexperience in
using scopes which created the illusion that my scopes were bad news.

About a month and-a-half ago, it was a nice calm night.  I aimed at
Polaris and decided to have fun with the scope.  I left the scope out
for an hour. It did not matter that night because the temperature was
the same an hour later (11-12 midnight).

At 227x (Orion Shorty 2x and Tele Vue 11mm Plossl), I got a nice airy
disc with 2 diffractional rings which to me looked picture perfect.  I
decided to to push the issue a little further and changed the 11mm for a
UO 5mm orthoscopic.  As soon as I focusd it, my heart exploded
(metaphorically speaking).  The airy disc was perfectly round and one
diffractional ring was visible (at 500x).

This morning I finally saw Cassini's division at 5:30 am even though the
dawn was breaking and I had a little moisture on the front lense (227x).
 I then substituted the lenses for my UO 5mm orthoscopic, and it was
even sharper at 250.  It almost appeared as sharp as (chan sing) [31 Aug 01] picture of Saturn in your , your Guest
Planets Archive 2001.

It looks like the Universe has been conspiring to give me the best of
the best.  When you do not understand how to best use it and appreciate
it, illusion sets in and you feel someone dealt you the worst hand

This scope has been a learning experience for me and I am very happy I
got it.

Thank you for your support.


Subject:	etx 90
Sent:	Friday, September 6, 2002 19:08:12
From: (Don Hess)
I hope you may be able to provide some insight for me, as I think you
are probably the most knowledgeable ETX authority I've come across, by a
wide margin!

I just bought an ETX 90 from a dealer in upstate New York that is on the
Meade site. I had bought a DS2114 from him first, but it arrived damaged
(internal mirror came loose in transit and scratched the other mirror
all up by banging around in the tube during shipping). He took it back,
no problem, and I thought I'd go ahead and get a better scope from the
ETX line that maybe would be a bit better construction-wise. I like the
sounds of the 125, but it's a lot more money. He told me the 90 would be
essentially as good as the 125 for a novice like my wife (the scope is
for her, and will be her very first). He suggested getting the 90, then
if she really got serious, graduate to the 125, as the market for a
clean used 90 would be excellent.

It arrived today. I bought the ETX 90, tripod, a dew filter, plastic
case, yellow moon filter, and Autostar. The tripod came in a nice
looking Meade box, but the ETX 90 was in this plain white box, inside a
shipping box. That seemed kind of odd, as you would think that if Meade
puts the tripod and Autostar in nice looking boxes, wouldn't they put
the dang telescope in a nice box as well? The others were in brown
shipping boxes too, but when the shipping boxes were opened, the tripod
was in a nice Meade box, the dew cover was in a nice Meade box, as was
the Autostar, but the plastic case was just in the shipping box, no
other box at all, and the scope itself was in a plain white box. When we
opened it, the scope was in an unsealed plastic bag, and a thumbscrew we
later figured out is for the eyepiece just fell out of the plastic bag.
It wasn't attached to anything at all, just in there as though it was
thrown in. The filter was in a plain clear plastic box with no Meade

Does this sound right to you? I'm wondering if I was sold a demo, floor
model, return, old stock (maybe it's not even the EC model?) or
something else. The guy is on Meade's site, and talks a good game. He
sounds very sincere and extremely knowledgeable. He did take the other
one back with no problem whatsoever, and seemed sorry it had been
damaged. But this one has really got me going.

Any insight you may be able to offer would be sincerely appreciated!

Don Hess
Mike here: The white box is the interior box that holds everything. It should have come in a box that looks like the photo on this page: The whole thing is then inside the brown shipping box. I suspect the box was opened at the dealer and they lost it. Or perhaps it was returned. Check with the dealer.
Subject:	ETX90 RA
Sent:	Wednesday, September 4, 2002 15:08:47
From: (Tondi King)
I just got a Meade ETX 90 RA. I thought that it was a EC but I was
wondering if it is possible to upgrade this scope to be able to have
Autostar capabilities? I really would like to have the scope
Any tips? 
Mike here: See the FAQ page on the ETX Site.
Subject:	Model M
Sent:	Monday, September 2, 2002 02:39:44
From: (Gianluca)
I am Luke from Italy

your site is Great !!!

I have a Meade Lx 10 

I want to buy a used ETX 90 M what do you think about it ?

Thank Mike 


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