Last updated: 30 September 2002
This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX and DS models. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	ETX Question
Sent:	Monday, September 30, 2002 18:15:44
From: (Nick Petranovic)
While reading through the latest issue of Sky & Telescope (Nov. 2002), I
noticed that Celestron is now offering an add-on GPS unit for some of
their scopes. While I know you cannot predict the future, is it possible
that such an accessory could be developed by Meade or a third party for
the ETX line? Specifically, can the internal electronics of the ETX and
the 497 Autostar support such a device? If so, would the AUX port or the
port on the Autostar be the most likely place to attach one?

Thanks for the great site.

Nick P.
Mike here: Anything is possible. As to what ports would be used, that remains to be seen but a serial port can handle the communications.
Subject:	tight lense cover for the ETX
Sent:	Monday, September 30, 2002 13:25:48
From: (Madsen, Villy)
I see someone complaining about this

My brand new out of the box 125 had the same problem...

I took some "teflon" marine grease (highly viscous, stays where you want
it, best thing since sliced bread etc etc) put a tiny dab on a q-tip,
whipped the q-tip off on a kleenex, and then ran the q-tip around the
threat on the lense cover,

Then I ran a dry q-tip around the lense cover.

I don't know how much grease actually got on the lense cover, but the
q-tips looked dirty afterwards

it cured the sticking problem though


Subject:	Astrophotography
Sent:	Sunday, September 29, 2002 12:46:30
From: (Leslie)
I have an ETX 125 and just got started with astrophotography.  I have a
35 mm Cannon EOS Rebel 200 camera and a Sony DSC-P5 Digital Camera.  I
was wondering if you could point me in the right direction as to where I
can get accessories for these cameras (for astrophotography).  I already
have the adapters to attacht the Cannon to the Telescope.  Please any
help you can offer would be great.

Thank you
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews --> Astrophotography and Helpful Information --> Astrophotography pages on the ETX Site.
Subject:	New Amateur Reference for Research Projects
Sent:	Saturday, September 28, 2002 15:30:21
From: (Clay Sherrod)
After about two months of reference work, I have finally finished a
concise Internet user's Guide to Research for astronomical projects. 
This is aimed at the amateur astronomer who is wanting to turn his or
her telescope toward scientific merit and outlines very briefly the
areas in which amateur astronomers can contribute to the science.

The list is very inclusive, but please note that we do realize that it
is NOT all-inclusive; these are the areas of telescopic research that I
perceived as the best opportunities for amateurs who are ready to pursue
serious astronomy.  It is designed entirely to lead a person to the
proper 1) project; 2) method; 3) contact organization or person; 4)
reporting tools; 5) formats and more via using the Internet links

It is linked from the homepage of the Arkansas Sky Observatory (ASO): .

Quick, concise and wonderfully useful for all I hope.

Please note that this has now been made available online via .  Please pass this on to those who approach you about
research topics in astronomy.

We hope this can serve as a tool to encourage all persons who have had
their "first look around" with their sophisticated (or perhaps not so
much sophisticated....) telescopes who desire to extend their efforts to
assisting the scientific database of astronomy.

Dr. Clay
Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	ISS Companion
Sent:	Saturday, September 28, 2002 11:13:54
From: (HD Bolch)
Last night (9/27) the ISS passed almost directly overhead (30.780N,
96.872W), traveling from SW to NE. It was visible for 4-6 minutes, very
bright. In what appeared to be the exact same orbit but trailing by ~ten
degrees, was a second, dimmer object, not white like the ISS. Can you
please tell me what that second object was?

Or perhaps I should ask, "Where should I search to find  what that
second object was?"


Mike here: It might have been the Russian Progress ship that is scheduled to dock with ISS this weekend. Check for possible info.
Subject:	Temperature differences & Rain drops ...
Sent:	Friday, September 27, 2002 15:34:24
From: (Or Dubnov)
I'm a proud owner of an ETX-125EC that came with a Meade hard-case,
which I love using. The size is comfortable, and when packed with the
scope, austostar, and a few eyepieces, it comes out just the right
weight for convenient carrying.

My questions:

1) After a night of viewing, the OTA gets pretty cold, much colder than
the outside temperature. Even when it's around 20-25C, the scope feels
really cold after a night out. I usually pack the scope into the
hard-case and close it. I wanted to ask if it's ok to do so, since I
dont know how the hardcase is as a temperature mediator. I heard the
best way is to let the scope stabilize it's temperature indoors for a
while first, but since I usually finish a session around 5:00 AM and go
to sleep, plus I own 2 cats so I dont want to leave the scope exposed
and unguarded for hours... Is there any problem with what I'm doing?

2) Another question: A few days ago it started raining heavy drops while
I was out scoping. During the few minutes it took me to shelter my
scope, a few rain drops fell on the main lens. In a desperate attempt to
minimize the damage, I took a gentle tissue and carefully tried to drain
the water from the drops by touching them with the tissue and let the
water run into the tissue, without touching the lense. Although I
drained most of the water, some drops residue is clearly visible on the
lense. Should these be cleaned or treated in any way?

Thanx for your time and expertise, and of course for everything you do
on this mighty site !

Or Dubnov
Mike here: If the case is water-tight (as some are) then you would be trapping any moisture inside and that would be bad. Even if not water-tight it would still be best to let the telescope "air dry" outside of the case. As to cleaning, see the cleaning article on the Buyer/New User Tips page. Remember, cleaning should only be done when ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY WITHOUT-A-DOUBT necessary and not just because the surface doesn't look pristine anymore.
Subject:	re: 1244 focuser
Sent:	Thursday, September 26, 2002 22:53:34
From: (Richard Seymour)
>  I want to add one more thing on the 1244. Make sure that your scope
> is in focus BEFORE you align. I did a two star align and found that
> when it slewed to the first star it was out of focus. 
> I thought no big deal I'll just hold down the mode button and focus it.
> That worked fine, but when I went back to the alignment I had to start over.
> Not that big of a deal but a pain nevertheless. 

Avoid neck-pain... instead of holding MODE to start a Focus dialog,
just tap the zero (0) key (if you have one)... instant access to
Focus, without disturbing (via MODE) whatever you're doing.

have fun

Subject:	re: Field tripod screw hole specs.
Sent:	Thursday, September 26, 2002 22:28:54
From: (Richard Seymour)
Yes, the ETX90 base screws are the standard (now small) tripod/camera
size:  US Coarse 1/4 x 20
one-quarter inch diameter, 20 threads per inch.

have fun

Subject:	ETX choose help
Sent:	Wednesday, September 25, 2002 17:29:00
From: (Alexandre Carvalho)
I'm Alex and i leave in Oporto, Portugal. It's a medium size city so it
has lots of light pollution.

I really need some advise around here, once I had an ETX90EC that I sold
because I did some good money with it and buyed a Sky-Watcher Dobson 8".
I also have a small 3" reflector.

Now I'll live in my new and small apartement in the 8th floor, above the
city lights, but because it's small I need to change the way I'll
arrange the furniture or I will sell my dobson and buy another scope.

This last opinion is the one I like most, only your opinion now will
change my point of view!

As you know in very light polluted skies we have a problem: we can't see
deep sky objects with good contract or brightness, And I'm not facing
North so I can't see the Polaris.

And what I whant to do?

Well, use my scope 100%, and if possible take it everywhere. And do not
fill my home a lot.

And what I whant to see?

If possible, the most numbers in the Messier catalogue and, ofcourse,
the planets and try to do some experiences with my Philips webcam.

So this is what I have in mind:

a) Should I sell my dob and buy an  ETX 90EC or 105EC?

a1) Which ETX? Is there such a big difference between the 90EC and the
105EC that justify the extra $200?

a2) does the 90 UHTC does the same job as the 105 standard? And does the
UHTC group worths the extra money in such a small aperture?

b) Should I keep my dob because even with the light polluted sky I will
have much better results that justify the extra space, weight and no

Thanks for your time and sorry for the huge email!

Best Regards,

Mike here: Sounds like you know what you want to do. That's good. It sounds like small size is important (for portability as well as space) so the ETX-90 or -105 would be a good choice. Obviously the -90 is slightly smaller than the -105 with only a slight gain by the -105 over the -90 in light gathering power and magnification capabilities. So, if cost and smallest size are important, go with the -90. As to UHTC, according to reports, it does add a lot. Of course, you'll need dark skies to take advantage of it.


Thank you for your brief answer! So you think that the gain between the
105 over the 90 is not worth the 200 extra US?

I have 2 doubts remaining:

1st: Are the mechanical parts of the 105 so lot better than the 90's?

2nd: So u think that in a city the difference between Meade's std
coatings and UHTC doesn't worth the money spent?

Thanks a lot.

Mike here: The -105 does have some mechanical improvements over the -90. And the UHTC is (according to reports) money well spent but if your usage will only be from light-polluted areas then the gain will likely not be that noticeable.
Subject:	Are Meade scopes losing mass?
Sent:	Wednesday, September 25, 2002 2:45:09
From:	FINNR@BOT.KU.DK (Finn N. Rasmussen)
I have for some time used a sturdy photographic tripod for my ETX70
scope and have become used to the convenience of the quick release plate
that allows very easy dismounting of the scope. Now the photographer
wants his tripod back, and I am contemplating buying one myself. I would
like one sturdy enough to carry an ETX125 ... just in case.

Well, I looked up the weight of these scopes in my Meade catalogue,
which I think is from 2001. ETX125 is 8.5 kg, which would require a real
heavy duty tripod and head. But then I accidentally became aware that
most scopes in the ETX series seem to have lost weight recently - in the
Internet Meade catalogue ETX125 has been slimmed to 6.9 kg, and the
ETX90 is down from 4.4 kg to 3.5. All materials and dimensions seem
unchanged. Is some mighty strange gravitational phenomenon involved

I would also like to hear about user experiences with photo - or video
tripods and the heavy-end ETX'es. I imagine there may be a problem with
polar alignment, unless there is a wedge that can be affixed to a quick
release plate.

Finn Rasmussen, Copenhagen.

PS: Have you weighed your scopes recently? The resting mass of my ETX70
including the 25 mm eyepiece, #827 viewfinder, Rigel Quickfinder,
Scopetronix de luxe tripod adaptor and quick release plate is 3.9 kg.
Mike here: Using lighter, more substantial, materials perhaps? Interesting observation!
Subject:	Foam for telescope cases
Sent:	Tuesday, September 24, 2002 17:41:10
I am in the process of creating a case for the ETX-125 from a large tool
box. Can you suggest a source for egg-crate style foam that would be
appropriate for padding the scope and would pose no problem with
out-gassing? Thanks again for the great site it's always my first source
for ETX info.

Best regards and clear skies,

Mike Silverman
Mike here: Search the Site for "foam"; you'll get some hits.
Subject:	3" Edmund
Sent:	Tuesday, September 24, 2002 14:22:43
From: (Mattison, James)
Hey, just saw your 3" scope & that took me back to1968 when I was 12 or
13 years old.  I'd taken possession of one of these when it was already
pretty old; it didn't work and the original purchaser, an engineer, had
given up on it.  The second owner had replaced the mirrors, which had
gone very bad, and still couldn't get it to work.

After a lot of thought, I decided that the tube was too long, and cut
off almost 3 inches (incrementally), which allowed the eyepiece to
focus.  It was not an obvious solution if I do say so myself, because
the scope was completely out of whack.  And it seemed somewhat daring,
too, because there was no coming back from the surgery.

Eventually I replaced the finder and eyepiece holder with better.  I'd
forgotten about the flimsy wire mount altogether, until I saw yours. 
The real coup was, after about a year of messing with this, I got a new
eyepiece from Edmund that was, as I recall, a 3/4 inch focal length.  It
was some surplus escapee from a microscope and had 2 huge symmetrical
doublets -- they call them Plossl's now.  WOW, this thing was great on
that scope.  Huge apparent field, contrasty, and sharp as a tack, around
40x.  I think I paid $6.00 for it.  That and a fairly good
single-element Barlow & I was in business.

Alas, about 6 years later the scope took a nasty fall and the eyepiece
was done for.  I continued on in life without so much as a pair of

Well, I'm not getting any younger, and so at age 47 I've ordered a 5"
Meade refractor with go-to.  Hopefully that will help alleviate that old
ache, and allow for some nice views despite my seriously light polluted
sky in Dallas.

I wouldn't have told you my story, but I know that anyone who would
publicly show himself in such a silly hat must have a sense of humor.

James Mattison
Mike here: I had (and still have) the Edmund 1/2" and 2X Barlow Lens that came with the telescope plus I quickly (back then) added a 1/4" and 3/4" eyepieces. Had tons of fun with that telescope! Currently, it is proudly displayed next to my collection of ETX telescopes. (Hey, that hat was IN back then!!!!)
Subject:	Field tripod screw hole specs.
Sent:	Monday, September 23, 2002 23:40:46
From: (Peter Thejll)
can anyone tell me what standard those covered screw holes in the bottom
surface of the ETX-90EC base follow? Are they 'standard' photography
tripod size? If so, what is that, please?


    Peter Thejll
Mike here: I believe they are standard 1/4" but I don't recall the thread pitch. But same as on photographic tripods for attaching cameras.
Subject:	ETX Light Baffle.
Sent:	Monday, September 23, 2002 11:40:18
From: (john.lukey)
Firstly a great site.  My problem is that I am trying to find a new
adhesive ring for my ETX light baffle and after wasting my time with
several phone calls to The BC&F shop and their warehouse.  I am asking
if you can advise me where I can get a new double sided adhesive ring
from.  I have seen the comments on your excellent site, but am not happy
with the epoxy solution (fears of getting strings of epoxy on the
secondary!) This problem cannot be rare - I phoned a friend of mine this
morning who owns a scope of about the same age as mine.  His light
baffle was also falling off. Surely there must be someone who can supply
one in this country ?

I would be greatful for any advice that you feel able to offer.
Mike here: Have you checked out the baffle fix articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page? One person called Meade and got a replacement adhesive ring.

And from our resident hardware expert:

From: (Clay Sherrod)
You can use Scotch double-sided clear OR foam tape...either one will
work fine.  Cut the longer strips into shorter arcs that will match the
circumference of the inner ring of the thin baffle tube.  Works like a

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Thanks for taking the time and trouble to reply to my question so
quickly.  I will try the suggestions from Dr Clay, who has also replied.
 What Service!! I am having some success with my ETX coupled to a Canon
Ixus, and must get round to sending you a sample image for your site. 
At the moment I am recording the phases when possible this month.
Once again thanks.
John Lukey.

Subject:	#932 45 degree adapter
Sent:	Monday, September 23, 2002 7:26:04
From: (Schilling, Henry)
One more thing for the group (I'm just a wealth of info this week). The
#932 45 degree adapter looks like a good idea (it did to me) but there
is a problem. When slewing up it will hit the base of the telescope. I
don't know if the 125 is better but on the 90 you can only go up about
(a guess) 60-80 degrees. I was doing an alignment and it wasn't even
coming close. I started listening to it and it was laboring to get to
Altair. I watched it the next time and the adapter was hitting the base.
I don't know if I will use it again or not. Thanks again Mike.      hjs

Henry J Schilling 
Mike here: What telescope orientations anything hanging off the back becomes a problem depends upon the size of the thing and the mounting mode. I use a Wide Field Adapter permanently mounted on my ETX-90RA in Polar Mode and rarely have a problem reaching high altitudes. Of course, the ETX base itself gets in the way at low altitudes in a Southerly direction!
Subject:	re: 1244 focuser
Sent:	Sunday, September 22, 2002 21:47:32
From: (Richard Seymour)
The only batteries the 1244 eats are its own controller batteries
if you leave it connected when not in use... there's no on/off switch.
And the controller's 9v battery hasn't really got LOTS of capacity.

When connected to the ETX, the additional battery draw is minimal.
(i'm pretty sure my ETX90's AA cells have passed the 15 hour mark,
and i have the focuser always attached.)

When the ETX is off, so is the focuser,  So the draws-while-stored
problem is avoided.

have fun
From: (David Adriance)
The 1244 focuser does indeed eat batteries, but only if you leave the
hand controller attached to the telescope between sessions.  If you
disconnect it between sessions, the batteries can last for ages...


From: (Schilling, Henry)
I had two feedbacks on the 1244 focuser. Thanks for the info all. I want
to add one more thing on the 1244. Make sure that your scope is in focus
BEFORE you align. I did a two star align and found that when it slewed
to the first star it was out of focus. I thought no big deal I'll just
hold down the mode button and focus it. That worked fine, but when I
went back to the alignment I had to start over. Not that big of a deal
but a pain nevertheless.   hjs

Subject:	1244 focuser
Sent:	Sunday, September 22, 2002 12:22:09
From: (Schilling, Henry)
I thought I would share with the group my impressions of the 1244
focuser for the ETX90. After talking to the guys at Lymax in Kansas
City, I bid on one and was the high bidder on ebay ($105.00 new). I
installed it last night and it works great. It will take some getting
use to but no more shake when you focus. I was wondering if anyone knows
if the focuser will eat the batteries more when using the Autostar. You
can always use the controller that came with it but it would be a pain
to have yet another controller hanging from it's cord about knee high. I
highly recommend this add on. As always a great site Mike and go ahead
and put your two cense worth in if you have used one.

BTW Mike. I almost bought a Celestron Nexstar 5. I remembered that you
had a comparison piece on your web site. I'm glad that I was smart
enough to read your comparison first. Saved me a lot of money. My search
continues for a cheap ETX125-EC. Thanks Mike.    hjs

Henry J Schilling 
Mike here: I've not used one personally but as I recall others have noted it will eat batteries.
Subject:	which ocular????
Sent:	Sunday, September 22, 2002 9:25:29
Hi Mike!, I was hoping you could tell me which focal length ocular will
give me a full disk view of the Moon and Sun.I know 26mm is too much
magnification.Meade offers a 40mm(48x) and 32mm(59x) plossls.I would
like to try full disk imaging and need something that would fit into a
frame comfortably! Thanks for your time!!                 Bob D.
Mike here: Depends upon the focal length of the telescope. For astrophotography it will also depend upon the camera used. For full disk with my digital cameras I use a 40mm plus a Wide Field Adapter on my ETX-90RA.


I forgot to's my Meade 125etx.So you figure a 40mm or more
would give me a good full disk of the moon or sun??
Mike here: It has been a while since I've used my Scopetronix 40mm on the ETX-125EC but I believe it will fit your need for visual use. By the way, the eyepiece angle of view can also affect this. For example, "wide angle" eyepieces will provide more field-of-view than normal eyepieces.
Subject:	telescopes
Sent:	Saturday, September 21, 2002 17:30:21
Dear Mike,

Where did you get a telescope that big! How much was it?
Mike here: Take a look at the eyepieces for a clue... Note their size in comparison to my head.....
Sent:	Friday, September 20, 2002 10:50:44
From: (earl gomberg)
Will you be coming to the 10th annual Nightfall at Palm Canyon Resort on
Oct 4th and 5th?

Since you got me started last year with the ETX star party I decided to
go back to the desert this year.  Sorry I could not make the ETX party
this year.  Hopefully you will have another one out on the west coast in
the next couple of years.  It was great.

Earl Gomberg
Mike here: I'll be at the 2nd Annual Mighty ETX Star Party in Illinois at that time so won't make Nightfall this year. Right now I plan for the 2003 Mighty ETX Star Party to be someplace on the East Coast of the US.
Subject:	SAC IV and Windows XP
Sent:	Friday, September 20, 2002 1:54:10
From: (Robert Graham)
Have you heard anything regarding the SAC IV and it compatibility with
windows XP?  I have recently purchased a SAC IV and would like to update
my field lap top to XP, but I wonder about the compatibility.  What have
you heard?
Mike here: I've heard nothing about it. Have you checked with Sonfest?
Subject:	Open Cluster (ETX feedback)
Sent:	Monday, September 16, 2002 12:28:12
From: (Gary Bivin)
The open cluster in Casseopia that John D. Wrhel asked about may be NGC
281, which is about 1.75 degrees east of Schedar (Alpha Cas).  It would
be to the right of Schedar when Casseopia is high in the sky, as it is
around midnight these nights.
Gary J. Bivin
Gilbert, AZ

Subject:	Another Letter From Sweden
Sent:	Sunday, September 15, 2002 12:05:07
From: (Johan Truedsson)
Just wanted to thank you for taking time to answer my cry for help. It
was most helpful. I have just one more question for you. Do you
recommend the extra money for the ETX-90, as opposed to the ETX-70? Is
the difference in performance worth the difference in cash?

Sorry for being such a nuisance, but the nearest dealer is some 250
miles away...

Thank you, and take care
Johan Truedsson
Mike here: See my comments on the ETX-70AT linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page. You'll have to decide which telescope meets your needs and expectations.
Subject:	Protective Filter Lens ? -
preserving and Protecting UHTC coating on len of ETX 125 EC
Sent: Sunday, September 15, 2002 11:28:44 From: (Douglas R. White) The special coating on the Meade ETX 125 EC (UHTC) is durable according the limited information available. However, repeated cleanings, like with anything else, will diminish what is there. On my Canon F-1, I have a skylight filter in place at all times to ensure that my lens isn't scratched or the lens UHTC coating isn't diminished by repetitive cleanings. From this vane, I approach the ETX. Is there a lens filter that I could purchase that wouldn't defeat the purpose of the UHTC coating but act as a protective barrier analogous to that on my camera? Doug White
Mike here: This question has come up before. As I recall, there were no answers before. The problem is that you would be putting some glass in front of the coated lens, so you would likely reduce the effectiveness of the coating.
Subject:	Letter From Sweden
Sent:	Saturday, September 14, 2002 19:51:26
From: (Johan Truedsson)
My name is Johan Truedsson, and I live in Sweden. I am thinking of
buying my first telescope. I have more or less narrowed it down to two
different scopes, the ETX-70 and the ETX-90. And I have a question for
you, as you seem to be a real expert on the ETX family!

I am an absolute beginner when it comes to telescopes. I know 0 about
astrophotography, 0 about lenses, 0 about pretty much everything, but I
want that telescope!

So this is probably a REALLY stupid question, but I need to ask it
nevertheless. Here goes!

"This photo of M42 was taken with an ETX70 telescope with
an attached modified Webcam on the prime focus. Maybe
this will encourage some folks that bought this small
great telescope(ETX-70) and are disappointed because they
can't see planets and nebulas and space objects in color,
to do the same."

This quote was taken from your guest deep-sky gallery and my question is
- what does he mean, "no color"?? When you look at planets and deep-sky
objects with the ETX-70, for example M42, cant you see colour?

I know, a really stupid question. But over here, those Meade scopes
arent exactly cheap(an ETX-90 costs a whopping 750+ US dollars!) So
with the price in mind, I cant really afford that much extras, as
eyepieces and filters are also more expensive...

Please, bear with a beginner.

With kind(but tired) regards (4.50 AM over here:-) ) Johan Truedsson

PS. Great site!!
Mike here: Nothing wrong with being a beginner. We were all that once. As to the lack of color when viewing objects through a telescope, yes, that's true for many objects. When looking at faint objects in the dark (whether with a telescope or your naked eye), the receptors in the eye go for sensitivity rather than color. Most nebulae will appear greenish to the eye. Of course, Mars will appear red-orange and Jupiter yellowish but they are bright objects. You should not expect to see with your eye at the telescope all the brilliant colors you see in most astrophotographs. Size of the telescope doesn't matter.
Subject:	Should I degrease a new 125EC?
Sent:	Saturday, September 14, 2002 14:35:31
From: (Dick Kafka & Val Hildebrand)
First - thanks for the site - I did my research here before deciding on
the ETX125EC (with UHTC).  I just got my scope and am reluctant to do
anything that would violate the warranty.  I have noticed that my
declination circle slips and the OTA rocks as described by so many and
in the Tech Tips. Should I degrease and put in the duct tape strips (and
check whether I need the washers - I understand that Dr. Sherrod has
indicated that the washers may not be necessary on the newer production
runs)or would that void the warranty?

I am not using AutoStar, since I am fairly experienced with the sky (I
plan to get Autostar later).  I purchased the Stellarvue red dot finder
which really helps and makes "close enough" equatorial alignment a snap.
 I expect to use the setting circles to find some of the dimmer objects.


Dick Kafka
Silver Spring, MD
Mike here: First off, I don't recommend doing anything to any telescope unless it absolutely positively without-a-doubt needs it. If the "rocking motion" is only apparent when moving the tube hand when the axis locks are engaged, then that won't be a problem when slewing with the handcontroller (except for some small lag when changing direction, which you can get used to and compensate for). Yes, you can improve the telescope by making mods but then you'll violate the warranty and you could make things worse rather than better. I'd say to use the telescope a lot until your experience dictates whether or not to try to improve it.


Thanks - I thought that might be the case.  I live in a fairly close in
suburb of Washington, DC, and the light pollution is pretty bad, so the
intent is primarily moon and planets.  I found my most needed
improvement was the Stellarvue red-dot finder - but then, I was used to
a TelRad along with a magnifying finder on a 13 inch Coulter Dosonian. 
From reading the site, it seems that most problems are apparent when
using AutoStar in Alt/Az.  I can tolerate resetting the declination
scale, and you are right to note that the tube rocking is apparent only
when I move it by hand.  The two features that led me to the ETX are its
portability and excellent optics, GOTO is something for later.

Again, thanks


Subject:	ETX-105 w/UHTC
Sent:	Thursday, September 12, 2002 13:13:27
From: (Don Brown)
Can you recommend a reputable "on line" dealer.  I hope to purchase
while MEADE is having their eye piece special.  Thanks.
D. Brown
Mike here: Several dealers for the USA come to mind: Shutan Camera and Video, Sight and Sound Shop, Scopetronix, OPT, to name a few.
Subject:	Open Cluster
Sent:	Thursday, September 12, 2002 11:26:27
hi...what is the name of the open cluster in Casseopia. It is just right
of Schadar. it glows with a white nebulocity. Upon telescopic
examination....I'm not joking....I saww hundreds if not thousnds of
stars. It was awesome. Please check it out. Bye tthe way, there isn't a
chance it was M45 as it was still way the northeast. Ido not find
anything like it in the Messier catalog.

Hoping to hear from you soon

John D. Wrhel 
Indianapolis, Indiana
Mike here: There are several Open Clusters in Cassiopeia.
Subject:	ETX w/ or without UHTC coating
Sent:	Wednesday, September 11, 2002 19:39:07
From: (Douglas R. White)
After searching out info on different telescopes for months, I've
determined that I will be purchasing a MEADE ETX 125 EC within the next
week or so.  My only question is whether or not the $100 extra cost for
the ETX to have the UHTC coating is worth it.  In my research on the
UHTC coating, I've garnered some information that this coating will last
a lifetime.  On the other hand, other data points to a life expectancy
of 4-5 years before the coating loses its effectiveness.  What do you
say about this?

I'd certainly appreciate a quick response on this one if it is all
possible. I'm getting itchy to start searching the "heavens."

Dr. Douglas R. White 
Mike here: Since I don't have one and certainly no one has had one for more than a few months, there is no real evidence for longevity or lack there of. But, like any coating, with care I expect it will last long enough.
Subject:	"Mystery Object" J002E3 Sequence
Sent:	Wednesday, September 11, 2002 3:50:08
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Got a sequence of the "mystery object" J002E3 as it passed by the 13th
magnitude star GSC 643-12.  This sequence was taken at ten-minute
intervals with the 0.31m SCT and STV ccd camera at f/3.75, 60-sec.
exposures each. South is at top in each of the images and the nearly
northward - slightly NE - motion of this rapidly moving object can
clearly be seen.

The four-image sequence spanning 40 minutes can be seen under the "Comet
Patrol" tables at as the single listing for September 11.

The object most certainly varied in light, from about mag. 15.4 (08:42
UT) dimming to about 16.0 at some points.  Our conditions here at the
Conway observatory were not ideal, with very heavy haze and moisture.

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	etx discussion forum
Sent:	Monday, September 9, 2002 8:35:14
someone else asked about a discussion forum for the etx and you stated
that there are already several on the web.. can you post some addresses
so i can check them out?

thanks again
Mike here: See the Buyer/New User Tips page. Most of the active stuff is and the Yahoo Groups.
Subject:	Cleaning the lense
Sent:	Sunday, September 8, 2002 5:10:05
From: (Fred & Rose Lieberman)
What is the best way to clean the front lense without scratching the
surface or leaving streak marks.

Mike here: Assuming that the lens ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY WITHOUT-A-DOUBT NEEDS cleaning, see the Buyer/New User Tips page for a cleaning article. A small amount of dust or debris will likely not affect performance to any noticeable extent.
Subject:	Question about costs of the scope around the world
Sent:	Saturday, September 7, 2002 11:29:43
From:	Jeroen Kwast
Great site you have there, good show!

I have tried to make contact with Meade in paper and e-mail but I don;t
get through. Maybe you can help me!

I am wondering for some time now why the same scopes in america are
twices as "cheap" as in europe!

THe etx-125 costs 1900 euro here and 900 dollar in the states. Since the
dollar and euro are now about equal I can't see why a 100% profit margin
is needed.

It keeps on going like the LX200gps is 2000 dollar for an 8' but the
same machine here is 4500 euro!

it gets more absurd by the inch.

Maybe you could ask around to see why this is needed. This is keeping a
lot of amateurs in europe from bigger scopes they should be able to
afford then.


Jeroen Kwast
Mike here: Tarifs and other costs associated with the "global economy" create the imbalance of goods sold outside the country of origin. Meade does not have a general support email address.
Subject:	Steve Bedair's site
Sent:	Friday, September 6, 2002 1:21:44
From: (Jean Smekens)
Do You Know what happens with the Steve Bedair's "Go TO" mounts site. I
try to reach him since several days, but he seems to be out

Best Regards

Jean Smekens
Mike here: I couldn't reach it either Friday morning. It may be down or may have moved.


He has his own sit now. You can find him on

Next week we will start the modifications of our LX pulse Drive, We will
have the motors and an austostar 495.


Jean Smekens

Subject:	ccd query
Sent:	Thursday, September 5, 2002 21:47:56
From: (Ted Wilbur)
I saw your post on the Mighty ETX site regarding the Meade electronic
eyepiece.  Keep in mind that the electronic eyepiece is not capable of
extended exposures and is therefore limited to Moon, sun, and planets. 
I used one for a while and it was fun but it's limitations are reached
quickly.  The ETX70 makes a nice wide field scope if you select one of
the options Mike has suggested.

Good luck!

Subject:	In praise of Dr. Clay
Sent:	Thursday, September 5, 2002 4:49:06
I just wanted to thank you Mike for a great website and to Dr. Clay for
a great "Supercharge"  I have a 125 EC and after a few returns and many
forehead slaps I sent the scope to DR. Clay. Wow! what a difference!
Being a rookie and this being my first scope I need all the GOTO
accuracy I can get. This scope is "spot-on." I also run Starry Night Pro
on my laptop hooked to the Autostar which gives me a real time crosshair
on the screen where the scope is pointed along with a variable light
pollution option. I have many trees to contend with at my house and I
can slew and identify alignment stars visible through the trees making a
2 star alignment  a sure thing even in challenging forrest conditions.
Both the laptop and the scope run off a 12v power supply/Booster. With a
3 way splitter I even have a car type cigarette lighter to save night
vision. Thanks again guys for everything. Despite all the problems
initially this is a great scope. Supercharging gave me a very reliable
scope and the best part is seeing the expressions on friends faces when
it slews to the next marvel in the sky. I just got Digital Sky Voice and
am curious what it will be like being able to "talk" to my Autostar. I
will let you know.

"I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and
diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier
shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all
undiscovered before me."  - Sir Isaac Newton

Subject:	Forum suggestion
Sent:	Thursday, September 5, 2002 3:23:06
I just was wondering why dont you set up a forum, so that people can
post ideas and questions. I have used such forums in other persuits and
are extremely helpful and informative bringing together people with the
same passion from all walks of life. I know they require a lot of work,
but i think it would definately add that extra dimension to your site as
a whole.
Thanks again,
J Knowles
Mike here: There are many discussion groups already set up so I've decided to continue with my "moderated" style of discussions. For more on the discussion groups, see the Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	ETX-90EC UHTC
Sent:	Wednesday, September 4, 2002 8:23:41
From: (Schilling, Henry)
I do have a question for you and maybe the group. I have a new ETX-90EC
UHTC and have found a speck (3-4mm) of dust on the inside of the front
lens. Is there a correct way to get rid of it?

Henry J Schilling 
Mike here: A piece of dust that's 3-4mm? Wow, that's some dust particle! However, the normal recommendation still applies: don't clean unless you have evidence that cleaning is absolutely positively necessary. It is very likely that even such a large object is not affecting image quality. However, if you really want to remove it you will have to unscrew the objective lens housing, potentially messing up the collimation. Recollimating the ETX is not something you really want to attempt unless you have experience, patience, and a willingness to take the risk to do more harm than good. If you decide to proceed, be certain to mark the position of the housing on the tube. For cleaning tips, see the Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	125 ETX & Guide Scope
Sent:	Wednesday, September 4, 2002 7:36:23
From: (Leonard Henry)
Has anyone had any luck in operating the 125 with a guide scope??


Leonard F. Henry
Mike here: If you mean automated tracking info being fed into the Autostar, not that I've heard.
Subject:	CCD query
Sent:	Wednesday, September 4, 2002 2:31:29
From: (Tamsyn Sloan)
Love the site big time. 

Recently I decided to move with the times and purchase a more modern
type of scope. I came across your site by accident and became interested
in the ETX 70 series. After reading a few reviews I was hooked and
purchased one. I am a computer person by trade so I want to use modern
technology so that others can enjoy the scope rather than having a small
orderly queue clammering for the eyepeice.

I have toying with the idea of buying the electronic eyepeice for the
70at but am unsure. I have an old Sony P50 digital camera and thought if
I team it up with a scopetronix digi-t system then this could provide
the answer. But then there is the idea of using the electronic eyepeice,
which is the better option all round? (I have your book on order)  I
read numerous reviews and am now unsure of the direction to take. I have
read nothing regarding a comparison of CCD against a digital camera or
not have come across it as yet.
Could you help me in my hour of need?
many thanks in advance,
J Knowles
Mike here: If you can hook the output from the digital camera to a monitor so that it will display live images, that would be the better way to go IF you want live images. If you want still images with the best quality, the digital camera is the better choice. But if you can't get live images from the camera then your only choice is an imager like the Electronic Eyepiece, the Sonfest SAC imager, or a CCD. Do check the Helpful Information --> Astrophotography page.
Subject:	Vega
Sent:	Tuesday, September 3, 2002 22:55:39
From: (Mike Luis)
Well thanks for all your help this summer with my ETX questions. Had a
great night last night. Saw the ring Nebula (5x), wild duck cluster, the
dumbell nebula, m92,m13, M31 all from a majorly air polluted city I
might add. To bad I had a house in my way.........totaly missed orion
and the lagoon nebula. Any way I attatched my first astrophoto to show
you. It's only Vega (no photoshop) ..... but looks pretty.

Thanks again

Subject:	Eyepieces?
Sent:	Tuesday, September 3, 2002 14:55:48
From: (Tomas Canevaro)
I'm the new owner of an ETX 125CE.  I purchased the telescope last April
and I'm learning to use it as I go. Just few hours ago, I received a
copy of your book and I'm looking forward to start studying it.

I would like to have your advice, I only have the basic 26mm eyepiece
and I would like to invest in other pieces to have different viewing
alternatives. Which eyepieces do you recommend to start with?

I visited Meade home-page and to my surprise, I noticed that they are
running a special offer for a set with 8 eyepieces plus the
carrying-case for a very low, low price.  Do you know of any other
manufacturer that can offer a deal similar to this?

Mike once again, thank you very much for your input and advice.

Best regards,

Tomas Canevaro
Mike here: I'm not aware of other manufacturers offering similar eyepiece deals (yet). As to recommendations, a 2X Barlow Lens is always a good choice for starters. From there there are many avenues you can follow, depending upon what you want to observe. See the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces and Buyer/New User Tips pages for more on eyepieces.
Subject:	Meade right angle viewfinder: Is rotation of crosshair(s) possible?
Sent:	Tuesday, September 3, 2002 14:15:15
From: (Wil van der Putten)
I recently bought an ETX-105EC. I turned the right angle viewfinder 45
degrees to the left (counterclockwise) to obtain more space for my eyes
and face, especially when using high power eyepieces. What I'd like to
know, is there an easy way to rotate/adjust the crosshairs (that is, as
much as I think is appropriate)? The reason I turn to you is the
following: the default Meade right angle finder has its crosshairs in
the eye piece, not in the front lens, maybe making it more difficult to
adjust them. And of course, I don't want to damage parts of my new scope
 ... Can you advise me?
Wil van der Putten
Holland (Europe)
Mike here: I rotated my finderscope just like you have but I've not tried to adjust the position of the crosshairs. I've never found that to be needed.
Subject:	ETX question
Sent:	Monday, September 2, 2002 16:48:45
From: (Patrick Ashley)
Have you heard of some sort of either modifier or replacement focusing
knob for the ETXs? Something to make it easier to focus when the
instrument is higher than 45 degrees?

Thanks for your time!

Mike here: Check the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page on the ETX Site. Also, see the mods discussed on the Telescope Tech Tips page. Or you can go with the simplest solution of all: a clamping clothes pin on the focus knob.
Subject:	New Improved Tripod from Meade?
Sent:	Monday, September 2, 2002 13:15:29
From: (Paul Hachey)
Seems Meade has come out with a new Deluxe tripod, well new to me anyway
since it very different than the Deluxe One shown in all the literature.
 What is your opinion on this?  I installed it a few nights ago and I
find it rock solid and easy to use, the only thing I can't figure out is
which one of the legs is the "North" leg as it's not indicated, mind you
I'm probably just showing my inexperience at this point  (I still
remember my old Tasco 4 1/4 reflector but that was 30 years ago!).

Again, your site is great!

Cheers - Paul Hachey
Mike here: I haven't seen a new "Deluxe" tripod so can't offer an opinion. As to North, for Alt/Az use it really doesn't matter; you just want the telescope control panel on the proper side (ETX models with hard stops). For Polar, the head should tilt to point at the North Star (Polaris); that should tell you which leg is North.
Subject:	Meade ETX 90EC - sticky lens cover 
Sent:	Monday, September 2, 2002 03:56:57
From: (Waine Manor)
Excellent site ... I'm looking forward to getting a bit of time to go
through it properly.  In the meantime, I have a question about my new
ETX 90EC:  the lens cover jams on when it's screwed fully home (but not
overtightened at all).  It seems that quite a few people are
experiencing the same problem, but I can't find a solution.  I have no
confidence in the dealer from whom I bought it; I'm reluctant to let him
or his service people have a go at fixing it; and there aren't many
Meade dealers in Canberra or Sydney.  Any ideas?


John Powell
Mike here: It sounds like the cover is being cross-threaded when put on, which is very easy to do. If that has occurred to many times (perhaps on the dealer's showroom floor?), then the lens cover threads or the corrector lens cell threads have been damaged. If there is no damage, check for a "metal burr" that may be interfering with the proper threading.

Subject:	re: ETX-125EC Aux port information
Sent:	Sunday, September 1, 2002 14:10:13
From: (Richard Seymour)
There's a number of pages about the AUX ports under Mike's
Autostar Information page:

The signals are a modified form of Philips' I2C bus,
and are explained in the Meade patents.


and look up numbers:  6,304,376 and 6,392,799

The connector pinouts are covered at Mike's site, but
are power, ground, a clock and data line.  The AUX ports 
are wired in parallel, and driven by one pair of the handbox's 
three sets of I2C bus pairs.

Pinouts for almost all Autostar devices are imaged at:

Devices on the AUX bus are interrogated by the Autostar (is
the focuser out there?), respond to their addresses, and
accept and send data under control of the Autostar.

have fun

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