Last updated: 30 September 2003
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-125EC and ETX-125AT. 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-125 Availability
Sent:	Tuesday, September 30, 2003 14:15:13
Thanks for such a great site.  After spending three weeks researching,
and learning about the ETX scopes I made a command decision to purchase
the ETX125.  After more research of on-line shops and some phone calls
I've found out the EXT-125 is 'the most in demand' scope in the country
and there are non to be found, in others words get in line.  While this
is not a an emotional purchase for me I was hoping to begin searching
the stars NOW dang it and not have to wait the 6 to 8 weeks I've been

Now, understanding this is an ETX site I was hoping the group would be
able to provide some examples of other scopes and their configurations
in the same price and performance range that are comparable that I might
consider.  If not then I just wanted to get the word out about the wait.

Thanks again for such a great and fun learning resource.
-Rob Pilkington-
Mike here: Yes, the ETX-125 is very popular. Mars helped the demand! You might consider an ETX-105AT or perhaps move up to a LX90-8"SC. Or move to the middle ground and consider a LXD55 telescope. Of course, there is also Celestron or Orion if you want a 5" telescope.
Subject:	searching for information on etx 5" with white tube
Sent:	Saturday, September 27, 2003 08:46:00
From: (Jay Moynihan)
I have an "etx 127mm" f/15, f.l. 1900mm with a white tube. It has a
custom metal rear-end on it. Clay Sherrod has provided to me some info
about it (not including the metal back),it was a small run by meade for
an industrial customer and never delivered, and sold as surplus. I would
be interested in finding out more about these, whether there are any
optical configuration differences, spec differences, secondary size,
etc., as compared to the "blue tube" models.

Does anyone else out there have one? Email me please.

Jay Moynihan
Ashland, WI 54806  U.S.A.

Subject:	ETX 125 focus tension and image shift
Sent:	Thursday, September 18, 2003 08:41:42
From: (Morgan Spangle)
I have 2 ETX OTAs, a 90 which I had Meade tune up to perfection, I'm
happy to say, and a 125 "spotting scope" version, which I bought used on
the basis of my good luck with the 90.

The 125 has very good optics, but has serious focuser problems that make
it less than pleasant to use, especially at high powers (which I use
often when observing double stars).

The focuser has a lot of play when turning (1/4-1/2 turn of backlash).
It also is excessively light, which makes it hard to find the perfect
focus spot.

Could you recommend fixes for these problems? I have read the other
focus issues and fixes on the site; are there any special issues when
dealing with a 125?

Many thanks,
Morgan Spangle
Mike here: There are no special issues with the ETX-125 BUT if the image shift problem is due to a problem that occurred on the originally shipping models, then you might want to contact Meade. I doubt it would still be covered under warranty.
Subject:	Which Scope? ETX125 or LXD55 8" SC
Sent:	Wednesday, September 17, 2003 13:41:38
From: (Home)
I am learning fast from your sites, so thanks for that, but I need some
direct comparison info.

We (my wife and I) have a budget which will allow us to buy either an
ETX125EC UHTC with Autostar and Deluxe Tripod included or an LXD55 8" SC
for a bit extra. Our interests lie in both Deep Sky and Planetary
observations. CCD etc does not form part of our plans.

The first scope we had was a Meade 4504 (the 114mm Newt with Autostar)
which was okay but we sold it after a year to regain some money as we
knew we would want to upgrade, and frankly, the next purchase needs to
perform significantly better than the 4504.

I want to go with the ETX125, because of it's compact portability, great
reviews, and relative simplicity. But will it perform significantly
better than the 4504?.... Aperture-wise it is only slightly larger than
the 4504...

The LXD55 8" SC will obviously be a massive improvement on the 4504, but
without the portability appeal of the ETX.

We understand the "Optics before all else" theory, and agree with it,
and therefore we are forming the opinion that the LXD is the scope to go
for, but without having used an  ETX125 or the LXD, we don't know where
the performance levels lie.

4504 did cost 300 sterling.
ETX125 costs around 949 sterling.
LXD55 8" SC  costs around 1300.

The phrases "You get what you pay for" & "Buy the best scope you can
afford" both come in to play here, but we are not made of money. We
could afford either new scope, but the extra on the LXD would be hard

Sorry to go on....What do you think? Any constructive thoughts would be

Your time and resource are greatly appreciated.


John Lumley
Mike here: There are several things to compare besides aperture and price: focal length (almost the same), mount (Alt/Az or Polar use for the ETX-125 vs GEM only for the LXD55), and general portability. I can carry my LXD55-8"SC out to the patio intact; others may need to remove the OTA and move the OTA and mount separately. If you don't mind not having the ease of use of the Alt/Az mount and can live with the larger system, go for the LXD55-8"SC. Alternatively, for some more money you could go for the LX-90, which has the same 8"SC.
Subject:	Meade
Sent:	Tuesday, September 16, 2003 09:54:59
The design change on the 125's was major-- changing from plastic fork
components with plastic sleeve bearings to metal components and METAL,
automotive-style ball bearings.

Meade has not shipped old style scopes to dealers in well over year. You
either were sold a return or a cleaned-up used telescope.

I would not accept this if I were you.

Bob Shutan
Shutan Camera & Video

Subject:	Meade 125 Alignment
Sent:	Wednesday, September 10, 2003 00:04:15
From: (Hatton,John)
I am having difficulty with the setup of my Meade 125. The Polar star is
obstructed, so I use the alt/az mode, but cannot seem to find North at
initial alignment.

I use a compass, but the electrics or magnet in the drive cause the
compass to move away from North as soon as it gets near the telescope.

Am I doing something dumb ?

Also, when I change the focus, the image moves out of view; can I
correct this ?

Thanks for your help

John Hatton, in cloudy old UK
Mike here: You can use a compass but you have to correct for your local Magnetic Variation (see the Astronomy Links page for some sites that help you determine this) and of course, you have to keep it away from sources of interference. Many streets are aligned north and south so perhaps you could set up parallel to your street (if appropriate). Lastly, if you know the sky you can set up approximately north in the proper HOME position, do a two-star alignment, and then pick up the whole telescope/tripod to rotate it horizontally to point as close as possible to the first alignment star. Then slew using the Autostar to fine tune the position and press ENTER. When the 2nd star comes up just use the Autostar to center it; DO NOT move the tripod. As to image shift, the object should not move out of the view of field of the 26mm eyepiece. If it does you have a problem that is best corrected by Meade. If the telescope is still new, I suggest exchanging it at the dealer. Alternatively there are a couple of image shift articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page that might help.
Subject:	etx  scopes
Sent:	Monday, September 8, 2003 18:38:28
From: (Ronald J. Buras)
very nice site.

i am going to purchase a etx-125ec scope from one of mead's
distributors.  the people at mead indicated to me that they no
longer make the etx-125ec.  they now make the etx-125at.

i asked the guy what is the difference between the ec   and
the at version.  he said there was no difference.  so i asked
him why then the change.  he had no explanation.   so my
question is would you happen to know if there is something different
about them?  it seems strange to have two versions if they are

ron buras
Mike here: See the Announcements - Meade page on my ETX Site.
Subject:	NexStar5 Vs. Meade ETX-125
Sent:	Friday, September 5, 2003 15:04:37
From: (Rick Hudson)
I recently found your site on the web, which was very informative indeed
for learning about various potential telescopes that I might have an
interest in purchasing.

I had the opportunity to look through your NexStar5 Vs. Meade ETX-125
comparison chart, but it lacked the most important detail of all:

WHICH scope is BETTER? Specifically, which magnifies more, and magnifies
more clearly?

Unfortunately, your comparison at is ...umm...a tad bit biased
in favour of Meade, so I'm not sure whether it's a good representation
of the raw abilities and magnification powers of the scopes.

Do you know of any way I can get more information about the two?

Thanks, and also thanks for sharing your passion for astronomy.

Also, do you know where I can see some good images of astrophotography,
taken with the two scopes?


Mike here: The only way YOU can compare two telescopes is to use them side-by-side under the same observing conditions. That is what I did and that is what I reported on. If you have a local astronomy club or a store that sells both lines, visit them. Look for star parties where there are many telescopes.
Subject:	Meade Super Plossl eyepiece set
Sent:	Wednesday, September 3, 2003 10:59:56
From: (Beverly Forcier)
Thanks for the site on ETX telescopes.  I actually had purchased a Meade
DS 2130 AT; at $300 it seemed a great price for a 5 inch aperture. 
However, when I got it home, I realized that its bulky size would
probably prevent me from taking it on trips, and otherwise using it for
quick viewings.  I decided instead to get an ETX 125.  It is being sold
at the Discovery Channel store ( for $895, including the
Autostar 497 and the deluxe tripod #884.  This seemed a good price to
me.  (Let me know if I am wrong, or if I should wait until a Christmas
sale.)  Anyway, with the purchase they offer a set of Meade Super Plossl
eyepieces for $99.  They include a 6.4, 9.7, 12.4, 15, 20,26 (standard),
32 and 40 mm, with a carrying case.  I am a neophyte skywatcher, living
in the city, though we do take trips to areas with good night skies.  I
would  like the telescope to have a positive influence on my four
children  (one already has an interest.)  Would you recommend buying
these eyepeices?  I guess it would be helpful to be able to change the
magnification when viewing different objects.  Are magnification needs
often meet with just a few selected eyepieces, total cost less than $99,
or is this a great deal or an in-between deal?

Is there any other accesory you would recommend purchasing at the same
time?  (I was planning on not buying a case now, but instead finding a
Sears tool bag or another bag mentioned in your web site as an
alternative ETX carrying case.)

Thanks for your gudiance.

Beverly Forcier
Mike here: Yes, that $99 eyepiece deal is worthwhile. I got a set with my LXD55-8"SC. Depending on the object you are viewing, using different magnifications and/or field-of-view can make a difference in seeing something or not. So having a good set is very useful. As to other accessories, you might want to consider a focus aid, either a flexible cable or an electric one. With the magnifications you'll get with the ETX-125EC you will find focusing without inducing vibrations a challenge.
Subject:	ETX-125
Sent:	Tuesday, September 2, 2003 15:27:31
From: (mtausend)
In May of this year I ordered an ETX90 at with UHTC from an internet
dealer listed on the Meade web site. I was very excited when it arrived.
Unfortunately about the fourth time I used it, I had problems with the
motors. They either responded incorrectly or not at all. I had to send
it in for warranty work. My son offered to purchase it from me when it
would be returned which freed up money for me to buy a 125.

I bought the 125 from a different internet dealer listed on Meades web
siteand the day it arrived,in order to take advantage of the $99
eyepiece offer I immediately sent in the registration and money. Yhe
next day I took out the scope to train it. Following all the instuctions
for setup I learned that this scope was defective too as I could get no
movement in either axis. Can't describe on this website what I thought
of Meade and their ETX series at that moment. I had to send it in for
warranty work. While it was gone I happened across this site. I read the
125 mail and noticed that some older models were being sold. When my 125
was returned, I was curious and examined it. Sure enough, I was sold an
old model. I called customer service at bhphotovideo where I had bought
it. I told them what had happened and that their site had advertised the
125 with ballbearing axis and were they willing to do anything about me
getting and old model. I was thinking maybe they wouldn't take it back
and might offer a set of filters or something to make up for the

Imagine my surprise when the service rep blamed it all on Meade and said
to call them. I did. The Meade customer service rep. told me not to lose
any sleep over it. It didn't matter cause it was just a minor
engineering change.

Here is my question. Other than not getting what I thought I was paying
for, is it a minor difference?
Mike here: Does it matter? Well, yes and no. Any design change is done for a reason. Whether that reason will matter to any specific user will depend upon HOW and to what PURPOSE the telescope is used. I doubt that most users would notice any significant difference.
Sent:	Monday, September 1, 2003 15:01:05
From: (Richard R. Gala)
it has been a while since I contacted you but I am at the end of my
rope, again!

About 3 years ago I purchased a ETX 125 from a local hobby shop as my
first telescope.  I spent a year researching the type of scope I though
I wanted and also joined a local astronomy club (I am in the Detroit
area).  I have had nothing but trouble from the beginning with the ETX. 
I have "talked" with you before about the problems and have discussed
this extensively with Meade's customer service both on the phone and
through letters so Meade has a record(if they keep any) of my problems. 
I have the Autostar controller and have upgraded it many times with
little improvement.  The telescope slews on its own from the beginning
when I have Autostar attached and it has never been corrected.  Last
year I finally sent it to Clay Sherrod for his super tune-up.  When I
got it back some of the problems like "rubber banding" were improved but
the ETX still slews on its own and whenever it wishes.  After the super
tune up resulted in little improvement, I put it in the back of the
closet and forgot about it for almost a year.

Well Mars appeared and I took it out again forgetting how much stress
that scope has brought to my life, not withstanding the expense.  Same
problems.  Only now the Autostar does not even light up when I turn on
the scope(this happened about a month ago) so I have no way to align it.
 I went to plan B using the controller I received with the ETX.  I set
it in the polar alignment configuration and after about a half hour of
tracking it stopped.  I have used the scope about 4-5 times since and
still I cannot get it to track when polar aligned using the controller. 
In addition, nothing happens when I press the MODE button on the
Controller.  What a piece of junk this ETX is!  The optics are fantastic
but the mechanical/computer aspects are sinful.

I have tried calling Meade Customer service for the past week and get a
busy signal.  If I pay for a toll call I get the "press this" and "press
that" until I get to customer service only to be cut off after waiting
for a long time. I am convinced that I have a lemon!  I have contacted
other ETX users in my area and find that many also have had problems
similar to those that I have and either have given up doing any
astronomy or stuck their ETX in a closet and brought another telescope
like a Dobsonian.

OK  A lot of wind but where do I go from here.  I would like Meade to
replace my ETX with one that works.  My question is how do I get them to
do that? Sorry to take up your time but I am desperate.  Maybe I should
not be trying to do astronomy.  How many people has Meade turned off
with their lousy equipment and poor customer relationship.  Do you have
any telephone numbers that I could try to get a hold of Meade.  My EX.
is the joke of every star party I go to especially with the lovely plate
Clay Sherrod put on it.

Appreciate any help you can give me.
   Desperate Dick Gala!
Mike here: Sorry to hear you still have problems. The random slew on early model ETX-125EC telescopes was fixed; Meade had to fix the loaner they gave me back then. But since they did the fix I've never had the problem again. This fix was noted on the Announcements - Meade page for January 2001. As to contacting Meade, their web site says they are receiving lots of calls due to new users getting telescopes to see Mars. If you can't get through, try fax or mail; detail the entire history and complete symptoms that you experience.


Thanks for responding to my crabby e-mail.  I have been away scuba in
Bonaire the last week and have just got back.

I will try to get in contact with Meade again and take your advise and
either FAX or snail mail them my long and sad story.  If they made scuba
diving equipment instead of telescopes as poorly as they do, Meade would
be out of business a long time ago.  They reason I persist where others
have given up is because the optics on the ETX is so good. Plus, I am
not the type of guy that gives up easily.

Thanks again for responding and I will keep you up to date as to what
Meade does about it.
      Dick Gala

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