Last updated: 30 September 2003
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:	great site and your advice
Sent:	Monday, September 29, 2003 17:30:16
From: (Kevin Keys)
I truly enjoy your website!  The examples, recommendations, and reviews
have been very helpful to me!

I am hopeful that you might be able to advise me as to the best
accessory tray for my ETX-125EC and Meade 884 tripod.  I am looking for
an accessory tray with the capacity of the "ETXpert: tray.  Any ideas?

Thanks again for the great ETX site!

Kevin Keys
Taft, California
Mike here: I use a Shutan one (see the Accessory Reviews - Tripods page) with my ETX-125EC. You might also check out Scopetronix; they have some as I recall.
Subject:	Wire Wrap
Sent:	Monday, September 29, 2003 15:15:01
From: (Ronald Bol)
i bought a 105 UHTC some weeks ago. It worked just fine. Ik was very
pleased NOT hearing the drive in tracking mode; absolute silence ! But
after 3 day the scope stopped working on battery, and only operated on
external power. Funny... It took me some time talking my dealer into
supplying me a NEW telecope, because i did not wanted to wait 6 weeks
for a repare.

It finaly came within 2 weeks. OK so far. Only one minor setback was
that you can hear the drive in tracking mode rather clearly now :(  But
as long as it works... let it be so.

Major setback was that i can't focus the finderscope. You can turn the
focussing ring until you drop, but the image doesn't get sharp. Ever
heard of such a thing ? Seems like Meade has some trouble make good
ETX's .

But now my question: what does the option "Wire Wrap" on the Autostar do? 
I can't find it in the manual.

Thank, regards from Rotterdam, Holland
Mike here: Can you tell if the focus knob is turning the focus shaft? The setscrew might be loose. if the shaft is turning but the focus doesn't change it sounds like it has become disconnected. You can reattach it yourself; see the article "Focus Shaft Fix" on the Telescope Tech Tips page. BUT since the telescope is new you might want to contact the dealer first since making this repair will invalidate your warranty. Wire Wrap is only normally important on telescope mounts without hard stops; it prevents the Autostar from moving the telescope and wrapping the internal wiring up.


The Wire Wrap thing is clear to me now. By the way: i did'nt mean te
foucys knob on the scope itself, but the ring on the right angle
finderscope... But forget it !
Mike here: Oops. You did say finderscope in your email. Sorry about that.
Subject:	Screw that stops the eyepiece from falling out
Sent:	Monday, September 29, 2003 14:51:52
From: (Madsen, Villy)
The screw from my ETX-125 is lying on the ground somewhere - about 180
miles away....

Well it was a couple of weeks ago, who know's where it is now!!

Would you off hand happen to have the specs for it,...  Meade's customer
support line is ever so busy (I wonder if they ever heard of eMail ??))


Villy Madsen ISP GSEC
Mike here: See the FAQ page for the screw.
Subject:	ETX-105 rotates more than 360 degrees!
Sent:	Monday, September 29, 2003 13:04:54
From: (Kelleher)
I have just had my first nights observing with my second Meade ETX-105EC
and must say I was really pleased to see it moving to hard-to-see
objects with such accuracy.

The first ETX-105 was returned to the dealer within a day after it
stopped moving vertically with a horrible continuous clicking sound
(like gears skipping against each other). I saw something on your
website that suggested a cable might be pulling against the mechanism.
Whilst I don't believe that it should be possible to break something
through Autostar commands I think the fact that I didn't set the
telescope into its home position before aligning it might have
contributed - I bought the telescope in Germany, couldn't understand the
manual and worry that I might have started with it too far clockwise
before trying to align.

However, whilst the 2nd scope seems OK at the moment I've just seen it
move through about 405 degrees and am worried that it too will break
itself. I set it to the home position and aligned on two stars (I think
one was Arcturus, about 270 degrees clockwise from Polaris). I then sent
the scope to Polaris and then back to Arcturus before sending it to the
Andromeda Galaxy. It rotated clockwise from Polaris to Arcturus and I
expected it to return anticlockwise to Andromeda but instead it
continued clockwise, past Polaris to the Galaxy!

Should it have done this? I though these scopes had a hard stop at 360
degrees. If you can please help put my mind at rest or I will forever
worry that my scope will rotate through more than 360 degrees one time
too many and catch on another cable.

Thanks in advance for any help...
Mike here: The hard stops are slightly less than 720 degrees apart, almost twice around.


Thanks for the good news, I assume that from the home position the
'scope knows which way is the best way to turn to any object whilst
avoiding its 720 degree limit.

Another question if you don't mind please: is there any memory for
settings when batteries are removed or mains power is disconnected or do
all settings revert to defaults as such times?

Thanks for your help, it is much needed and appreciated...
Mike here: Settings are retained when power is disconnected.
Subject:	OCA
Sent:	Monday, September 29, 2003 09:48:00
From: (Donald McClelland)
I just noticed on our website that your coming to visit my club Oct. 10.
I'm looking forward to seeing that meeting very much. I'm extending a
very warm welcome to the Orange County Astronomers and thanks for
coming. This is the best excuse for attending our monthly meeting I've
ever had!!

Thanks, Don

Subject:	temperture and etx
Sent:	Sunday, September 28, 2003 13:49:39
From: (W.Sumner Davis)
at what temperture should the etx 125 no longer be used? i have heard 30
f and 0 f. is there a given temp?

Mike here: There really is no official minimum temperature that I recall. Low temps will cause the lubrication to stiffen up and could cause a drag in slewing (and possible "Motor Faults"). Also really low temps can cause plastics to become brittle. And lastly, batteries will perform less well at low temps. But that said, there are many users who do use their ETX telescopes from far Northern Latitudes in winter.
Subject:	Bearing revisions on ETX Meade Telescopes!
Sent:	Sunday, September 28, 2003 09:04:02
Let me say,first,you have an excellant site! I am going to purchase an
ETX90 or an ETX125 Meade scope. I can find no information that will let
me ascertain which units have the ball bearings in the mounts,serial
number etc.I have used the ETX90RA and it exhibits excessive movement in
the sleeve bearings for my purpose! Thank you for any information you
can provide!.
                         Frank Tompkins (
Mike here: Currently shipping models have the latest design changes. Work with a reputable dealer. I'm not certain whether the ETX-90 has had any changes.
Subject:	etx90
Sent:	Saturday, September 27, 2003 11:06:43
hi mike,

tnx for your recent emails, you must get so many, appreciate your time,
Mike here: Glad to help.
Subject:	ETX Star Party
Sent:	Saturday, September 27, 2003 07:32:48
From: (Don Hess)
Glad you're back from your travels. Any news on an ETX Star Party for
this year?

Don Hess
Mike here: Nothing to announce yet (which is why no Announcement has been posted). But efforts have been underway to finalize it.
Subject:	cleaning lens
Sent:	Saturday, September 27, 2003 07:08:10
after several weeks of use i noticed my main tube lens when looked at
with torch appears kind of not as new clean, for example by saying this
i mean its when after several weeks use coming in from outside and
letting the dew dissapear naturally it obviously collects a little on
lens and dust gets ground into that and so naturally over time it will
get covered heavier, i have no performance degrade whatsoever neither do
i see anything but a clean lens when looking at it without a torch, but
like all lenses when inspected closely u notice natural  dried dew
spots, am i being a fussy newbie or do i clean it, how often do you
clean yours and do you or any other people also get this after many
uses??  oh and tnx for the armour all cleaning tip for the main scope, i
too use that after reading about yours and it does the job great,

 tnx for your time , eddie
Mike here: I rarely clean my optics. And using a torch (flashlight) to check condition is not recommended. Since you say that performance has not been degraded it sounds like no cleaning is necessary.
Subject:	your  meade telescope range
Sent:	Saturday, September 27, 2003 06:56:16
ok im getting to grips with this sky observing hobby now and really
enjoying it, have a etx90ec uhtc and although had crab nebula in eye
piece tnx to autostar couldnt find it on 4 seperate nights but other
night after a rain filled evening to clear the air in dark skies there
it was amazingly obvious and clear, i was impressed, but what i want to
ask is about your own personal telescope range, i notice u have the
meade etx 70, 90, 125 and the ldx55 8",  could u pls tell me why people
have a range of telescopes and what the benefits are as surely the
differance between the 90 to the 125 ia not worthy of another 1000
scope, is it? and is the 8" LDX that superior again to the 125 or am i
on the wrong path and each has specific uses that u use them for or did
u get them as upgrades only when each new one came out?

would appreciate your views on this as im interested in getting another
scope mainly for deep"er" sky objects.

  tnx eddie
Mike here: I have a range of telescopes, mostly due to my ETX Site. Besides my Edmund 3" reflector (circa 1961), I purchased the original ETX (now known as the ETX-90RA) in 1996. The other ETX models have been a result of my ETX Site. The LXD55-8"SC is a result of wanting a larger aperture telescope. I like the portability of the ETX-90 and the aperture of the 8"SC. Not everyone has more than one telescope but if they do it usually to satisfy different purposes. They may have a travel telescope and one they use for astrophotography.
Subject:	ETX Alignmate.
Sent:	Saturday, September 27, 2003 03:24:26
I have just purchased a ETX90EC with autostar #497 and haven't yet
aligned telescope. Would an alignmate which sell for about 20 be much

John W Dreyer.
Mike here: First learn how to properly do the alignment as described in the manual and on the Autostar Information page. You might not need any further devices.
Subject:	ETX 90 EC rotational limit stops
Sent:	Friday, September 26, 2003 21:08:48
From: (Neil & Thrse)
Great site! I was directed to it by my Meade dealer. Hopefully, with
your wide experience and knowledge of the ETX you may be able to answer
my query. I have just purchased a Meade ETX 90 EC. In the instruction
manual (page 6 "Fork Arms") it states that the "telescope base and fork
mount are designed with internal rotational stops; the horizontal stop
prevents the telescope from rotating more than 360 degrees to avoid
damage to the internal wiring."

As part of the Autostar Telescope Alignment procedure, using Easy Align,
I was instructed to "put the telescope in the Home position by releasing
the horizontal lock lever and turning the telescope counterclockwise
until it stops." Which worked fine. However, when I rotated the
telescope clockwise to locate the other stop, I was able to turn it one
and three quarter turns, over 600 degrees! A lot more than the 360
degrees stated in the manual! Is this normal or is my ETX missing one of
its stops? I am concerned about damage to the internal wiring.


Neil Burn
Mike here: The hardstops ARE slightly less than 720 degrees apart. So yours is OK.


Many thanks for getting back to me so quickly with a clear, concise
answer to my question about the rotational hardstops. I'm very relieved
to hear that my ETX is OK.

Thank you,

Neil Burn

Subject:	eyepieces
Sent:	Friday, September 26, 2003 16:34:37
From: (Jay Moynihan)
On high powers, I have given up field of view (Lanthuam, nagler, etc)
for orthos. They have an apparent fov of only 45 degrees, bad eye relief
(so you remove your glasses), but only two glass elements. It greatly
improved my view of mars through my etx-90 ota. A University Optics 7mm
Orthoscopic ($56) gives me a very sharp 179x.

I use a 32mm Televue Plossl for my lowest power (39x). I intend to pick
up a 16mm Konig when i can for medium power, and use just those three. I
have some naglers etc, but the whole nagler design was predicated on the
rise of the Dob (hand driven, so wide field good), and the short fast
APO refractors. The ETX is long focus, so it can get away with orthos,
konigs and the like.

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

Subject:	Hi Mike !
Sent:	Friday, September 26, 2003 05:31:50
From: (Vasanne Eric)
Before everything, congratulations for your website, i found a lot of
informations to "mod" my ETX. This is a mandatory visit to people who
get an ETX telescope ! Thanks for your website, thanks for your work !

I just write you this email because a get a ETX-90 telescope a few times
ago, and i'm very happy of this one. I already try some astrophotography
using webcam and using my cybershot DSC-F505. The images taken with the
webcams are poor quality excepted if we don't use the webcam zoom
feature. But the still images take with my cybershot were impressive in
quality, and i haven't yet a mounting for the Cybershot. Actually, i
manually stand the cybershot over the ocular to perform photos. For the
webcam, i use elastics to maintain it to the ETX. I cannot yet get any
correct image of mars or other planet since i only have 2 ocular, a 26mm
and a 7,5mm(low quality). I want to buy some more ocular (i wait for my
special promotional box of ocular from meade, 7 in a box for 150$), but
i also want to buy some barlow.

I just don't know yet which one i want. A barlow 2 or a barlow 3 ?
That's the question ! Another question, is about other detector than
camera or ccd or webcams. Is it possible to found a high resolution
infrared or UV detector to use on place of a standart camera, and if
yes, is it expensive ? I'm wondering if it's not possible get more
"light" in other light frequency. (i read about in the past the the
visual light was the smallest amount of "light" that we could get from
the stars. Infrared and UV were powerfull) But i'm impressed by the
quality of some of my lunar images. You could check my photos at:


All photos where made using webcams or Cybershot. 

Eric Vasanne
Mike here: Please see the Email Etiquette page; your email was almost deleted UNREAD as SPAM.
Personally, I'd go for a 2X Barlow Lens. I think it is a better use of the eyepieces you have. As to IR or UV, yes you could add one but you'd need to move your ETX to above the Earth's atmosphere to get much use for astronomical purposes. Let me know when you plan to do that!


Thanks for your prompt reply,

Yes i agree that infrared camera an uv camera seems to be expensive and
i also forget about the fact that earth atmosphere block a lot of rays
coming from space.

I will probably perform some more observation tonight if the sky is
good. Thanks again for your reply.


Eric Vasanne

Subject:	Nagler Eyepieces
Sent:	Thursday, September 25, 2003 15:38:41
From: (Terry Hass)
I was wondering if you have ever used any Tele-vue eye-pieces with your
ETX scopes? In particular, I am looking for information about your
opinion on whether the quality of the Naglers and Panoptics justify
their prices for use in an ETX. (Say EXT125 for example.) Can one really
"see" the difference between these eye-pieces and the Meade 4000 UWAs?
How much difference?

Mike here: I've personally only used a TeleVue eyepiece (a 2" 35mm Panoptic) on my LXD55-8"SC. But others have used them on the ETX; see the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page. Yes, the eyepieces are worth the cost if you have a good site and your ETX optics are still in good shape. But you need to be really serious about your viewing to spend this amount of money on an eyepiece!
Subject:	Etx 125 user here
Sent:	Thursday, September 25, 2003 08:33:19
From: (Sean)
hello i recently purchased my new etx 125 at with the UHTC coating and
free tripod.  i have the 26mm stock eye piece and a generic 2x barlow
lens,  and a 15, a 40 and a 6mm eye pieces all generic but ploss
coating.  i was looking at m34 as well and m32 last night and they only
appeared to be a faint grey blur that i couldnt get much focus on using
a high powered lens.  is this nornal? i see the pics on your site using
the etx 125 ec and i cant get close to nebulas. i have realy bad light
pollution as well is this a factor?


Mike here: Bad light pollution will tend to "wash out" faint nebulae and galaxies for any telescope. From dark sites you can see much more.
Subject:	ETX Forks and construction quality
Sent:	Thursday, September 25, 2003 08:12:04
From: (Dan White)
Thanks first of all for the great and very useful site. I'm seriously
considering getting one of the new model ETX 105 or 125s (think these
are ETX105AT and ETX125AT). I've seen a couple of the RA models, and
wasn't impressed with the quality of the forks (very plastic), but have
heard that these have been improved. Am also worried with reports of
very noisy motors and erratic AutoStar performance.

My question is this: have these issues been resolved in these latest

Thanks in advance,

Dan White
Mike here: There is still plastic but internally the fork arms have been internally enhanced in later ETX-125 models. I can't speak about the ETX-125AT models but the ETX-105EC was quieter than my original ETX-125EC when slewing. As to the Autostar, most reported problems stem from some user error (possibly caused by inadequate documentation); once the user learns how to properly use it the results are normally good.
Subject:	Meade $99 Eyepiece offer
Sent:	Wednesday, September 24, 2003 16:54:47
I purchased a ETX-125 back in Aug. and sent in $99 for the S.P.
eyepieces around Aug. 27 and they deposited the check on 9/12. My
question is, since you talk to alot of people, any idea of how long it
takes to get these eyepeices? I live in St. louis,MO. by the way
Thanks for any idea
Mike here: A typical wait time has been at least a month. I haven't seen much lately on the offer since it is no longer available (apparently). I'm suspect they are still honoring requests though; certainly if they cashed the check. But I image supplies are low now so the wait may be slightly longer.
Subject:	Galileo's end
Sent:	Wednesday, September 24, 2003 16:35:02
From: (Ed Jacobsen)
On sunday at 3:59, the impact of Galileo's mission really set in hard. I
almost started to cry I was so sad. After carefully reviewing a big
portion of the over 14,000 breathtaking photographs that were downloaded
at a data rate that a simple telephone would blow away over the last 5
years, it finally hit me. It's OVER. I personally am at a great loss and
it's as if a family member has died. We need more of these glorious
missions to continue. I am sure Dr Clay has similar feelings. I watched
the live-cast of Shoemaker Levy's impacts on Jupiter broadcast from this
fabulous machine. I am at a loss for more words. That its just how I
feel. Space is even emptier now. Maybe a minute of silence on your site
for reflection on this greatest of endeavors for mankinds knowledge at
some time? I will forever remember Galileo.
Ed Jacobsen
Mike here: I know how you feel!


I knew you would. It's why we bought our Mighty ETX's in the first
place. Sts-107 also had the same effect. Mankind should forever go
forward. Thanks Mike.
Ed Jacobsen
From: (P. Clay Sherrod)
Hear, hear!  What is remarkable to me are the memories of other aspects
of life as I try to recollect some of the feats of Galileo; a new
Jupiter photo here, the birth of a new baby....another Jupiter photo,
the death of a father.   As our pursuits of knowledge and learning go
on, the course of life continues as well in front - and behind - us all.

Thanks for a wonderful reminder of those memories....all of them.

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory
10 Observatory Hill Drive, Petit Jean Mt.
MPC/cbat Obs. H41 / Petit Jean Mountain
MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway
MPC/cbat Obs. H44 / Cascade Mountain

Sent:	Wednesday, September 24, 2003 14:23:59
From: (Angelo Valenti)    THIS MAY HELP

Subject:	Newbie problems with ETX 125EC
Sent:	Wednesday, September 24, 2003 12:43:13
From: (Ted Davison)
I have recently bought (almost new, eBay) an ETX 125 EC with Autostar
and Meade 884 tripod. My principal use is for terrestrial photography at
which it is superb, the only snag is it is not parfocal with the camera
(Nikon D100) and parfocalising rings don't help. A bit of a pain rather
than a real problem and the results are excellent.

However, having such a magnificent instrument and a sky full of stars, I
tried this evening to align the scope. Dismal failure. I am working to
the instructions carefully documented by Lillian Hobbs in her book on
the Meade and using the Alt/Azi alignment (as being the easier for a
novice). The instrument is set up on a flat roof with a wide expanse of
sky visible. There was some cloud but hatfuls of stars (and Mars) were
clearly visible.


1. To set the starting or 'home' position, the instruction is first to
set the scope 'level', defined as when the declination scale zero is
lined up with the index mark on the fork. In my instrument this scale
moves freely, independent of the declination of the scope. Setting
therefore seems futile.

2. Proceeding anyway, I worked through the date, time and location
settings using Autostar with no problems then attempted an Easy align.
The instrument slewed looking for Vega then stopped waiting for me to
centralise the image  difficult since it was still horizontal and
pointing at the trees across the valley. An attempt at locating a second
star slewed the scope through more than 180 degrees but again it did not
leave the horizontal.

One other point which may be relevant  I find the declination clamp knob
needs to be alarmingly tight to prevent the instrument from tilting down
under its own weight. Is this normal? A malfunction?

Any help for a disappointed novice gratefully accepted.

Ted Davison
KERA  72003
Mike here: There are many alignment tip articles on the Autostar Information but I'm concerned about you having to tighten the altitude lock so much. It sounds like it is being overtightened, which is then preventing the telescope to slew in altitude. Do a test: with the axis locked (just sufficient to keep it from dropping down) use the Autostar (or standard handcontroller if you got one with the used telescope) slewing buttons to try moving the telescope up/down. Does it move? If so, then you might try redoing the TRAIN DRIVES. Let me know.


First, many thanks for your amazingly swift response and a great site.

I tried the test (using the hand controller): no movement in either
plane. RA buttons produce quite reasonable sounding noises but no
movement (at any speed setting); declination produces horrible 'broken
gearbox' chattering sounds, also no movement.

Manufacturer's repair?

Incidentally, I unscrewed one of the knurled knobs as recommended by a
contributor (for which thanks) and found that my ETX is the old design
(no ball-bearings).

Ted Davison
Mike here: Yep, sounds like some service is in order. Three options: 1. Try the various Performance Enhancements on the Telescope Tech Tips page. 2. Contact Meade. 3. Check out the "ETX Tune-up Service" (on the ETX Site home page).
Sent:	Wednesday, September 24, 2003 09:21:38
From: (Matt Wier)
FYI - The scope simulator is back online. Thanks fro
linking to it in the past. I noticed the link was recently removed and
thought it might be due to the temporary offline time the site
Best regards,

/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of
His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they
display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is
not heard."
~ David, Psalm 19

Matt's Telescope Simulator:

Sent:	Wednesday, September 24, 2003 00:20:04
I have read the article of Clay and I feel a little bit uneasy because
there are some things that do not understand. The rule
winter=transparecy summer=steadiness sounds contrary to logical thinking
(of course I do not doubt that you are true).

I will try to explain my thinking.

In the article you say that responsible for steadiness is the flow of
hot air coming up at night. I tend to thing that this phenomena should
be stronger in summer because is hotter during the day; in fact in
winter no heating of the crust should occur during lon periods of time.

About transparency it should be normal to think that conditions should
be worse in winter because is normally cloudy and rainy isn't it?

Please try to get ignorance out off me. Thanks a lot
From: (P. Clay Sherrod)
Seeing IS steadier in summer; that is what the description implies.  Of
course there are exceptions to this.  The rising air, however is trapped
and does not escape during summer months as rapidly as during cool
winter months.

Another factor is the water vapor which is squeezed from the air in
extreme cold temperature but abounds at warmth....hence the skies are
far more transparent in winter than in summer when the moisture, along
with dust and inversional pollutants, are suspended in the heated air.

Thanks for your thoughts on this...

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.)

Subject:	How do I identify if I have UHTC coatings?
Sent:	Tuesday, September 23, 2003 23:22:28
From: (Louis Bilella)
Hopefully a simple question!  How can I tell if the second hand ETX-105
i just bought has UHTC coatings or not?

Regards from the UK

Mike here: Should be a label; mine (on a LXD55-8"SC) was on the bottom side of telescope tube.
Subject:	ETX 90 Collimation Question
Sent:	Tuesday, September 23, 2003 19:57:19
From: (Tom and Kathi)
About 4 months ago I purchased a new ETX 90EC and just the other night I
spent time checking the collimation.  I'm a little confused at what
I saw.  On one side of the focus the collimation looks text book
perfect.  On the other side of focus the collimation is off to one
side.  Not a whole lot but definetly noticable.  Is this a
fixable trouble or should I contact Meade.  I don't know what could
be causing this type trouble.  Any suggestions?

Thanks for a great site!!

Tom, LI, NY
Mike here: Did you let the telescope reach "thermal equilibrium"? How does a bright star look when in focus and at the center of the field of view?
Subject:	my ETX 70AT
Sent:	Tuesday, September 23, 2003 13:38:02
From: (Joltz)
I stumbled across your website and found it very informative and great
for us ETX user's.

My first choice for a telescope was going to be the Meade DS 2114ATS.

But I heard they weren't that great and I was better of getting a ETX.

Well the only ETX i could afford was the 70mm. Although being my first
telescope I feel kind of disappointed in its capabilities and I think I
should have stuck to my first choice.

What do you think? In Australia the Meade telescopes are VERY expensive,
the ETX70mm cost me $700AU and that was reduced by 200 dollars, the
DS2114ATS was $900.

I've been able to observe the moon, mars, the great Orion nebula and
Saturn fairly well so far. Although Saturn looked extremely small and I
could just make out the rings around it using the standard 9mm plossl.

I have now bought a 4mm and 6mm plossl, 2x 3x Barlow, I am hoping these
will make my viewing of the solar system a little bit better at least.

Is there a very big difference using the etx70 compared to say the 125?
I've been considering selling the 70mm and going for the 125 but Im
looking at around 2.5k for it. The 90mm is $1200.

I've always been into astronomy but because of the absurd prices of most
telescopes here in Australia its been abit hard to get something decent
unless you win lotto :).

Thanks for your feedback.

regards, Ignatius
Mike here: Yes, there is a lot of difference in the ETX-70 and -125. Just as there is in the ETX-70 and DS-2114. The ETX-70 makes a fine wide-field instrument with its short focal length. The ETX-125, with its larger aperture and much longer focal length works better on planets as well as deep sky objects.
Subject:	etx125
Sent:	Monday, September 22, 2003 22:46:15
From: (Karen Schub)
I ordered my meade etx 125- 5 months ago.I still don't have it.The guy
at my local scope store told me meade said they had to send back 1000
faulty boards(to china)and wait for new ones.Do you have any info on
this?Thanks bm
Mike here: No. Who was the dealer?


scope city in san francisco ca 94112. thanks any info would
Mike here: Still no info but anything is possible.
Subject:	Meade ETX-90AT - UHTC Coatings
Sent:	Monday, September 22, 2003 20:26:49
From: (Greg Nolan)
Let me start by thanking you for maintaining this site. In only a few
short hours, I have gotten incredible information and knowledge from it.
In advance, please excuse my ignorance if I use incorrect terminology as
I am a true newbie in this capacity. I haven't looked through a
telescope in twenty years and just decided at 10:00 this morning to jump

I decided, given Mars' close proximity to Earth (I know I'm too late) 
that I want to buy a telescope that I can use for astrophotography and
decided on the Meade ETX-90AT  - UHTC Coatings with tripod and 'goto'

After looking over your site, I have determined that I will probably
benefit from buying some filters as well as the Plossl 9.7mm or 11mm
eyepiece and a 2X Barlow Lens. I also intend to purchase a t adapter and
t ring for my canon 35mm/80mm Zoom Lens.

I was hoping you could provide some insight as to what else I should
consider doing or if there is a different approach I should take in
order to make my leap into astrophotography a more successful and
enjoyable experience.

One obvious concern I have is the weight of my 35mm camera affecting the
tracking not to mention the possible vibrations that can be created when
my shudder hits. I have an Olympus D450 (3X Zoom) digital camera. Will
that work with the ETX? If so, how?

The multitude of information has me somewhat confused at this point.
Should I use the t-adapter or try the direct connect to the eyepiece I
read about? WIll either cameras I have work or am I going to need
something else? What do I do to prevent the weight of the camera
affecting the quality of my pictures? The questions and concerns go on
and on (some of this stuff may be in your FAQs but I'm just about brain
dead from researching this today.....heh). What accessories do you deem

I would really love to be able to get this telescope and be prepared
with the right equipment so that this experience does not become quickly
frustrating and any advice you could provide to assist me in preventing
it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for posting your site,
Greg Nolan
Mike here: First off, the ETX-90, while it can do some astrophotography as can be seen on the astrophotography pages, is not ideal for doing long duration photography. But with that said you can take photographs of brighter objects like the Moon, the Sun (with proper protection), some planets, and brighter nebulae/galaxies. Expect to go through a lot of film. Yes, the camera weight can be a problem; see the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page for info on counterweights. Before jumping into buying accessories, I suggest learning the telescope, both HOW to use it and WHAT it can do. Then you can decide what you need to enhance your viewing and/or photographing pleasure.


thanks man. One question that you didn't address. Will the Olympus d450
digital camera work with the scope? If it does, which camera might I get
better results with?
Mike here: Nearly any digital camera can work for some types of photography; see the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page as well as the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography pages.
Subject:	ETX 125 Slewing Question
Sent:	Monday, September 22, 2003 10:29:33
From: (Edelmann)
Thanks for the recent note about the use of filters (moon) for mars.  A
blue filter I have works well for the ice cap, but doesn't help for
seeing the grey surface features.

1)  A strange thing occurred the other evening while doing an Alt-Az
mounted viewing of mars and the moon.

I had been tracking mars for an hour, perhaps, and tried to find a few
nebulae/clusters, which caused the scope to slew well around to where I
could tell it would be hitting the stop if it moved much more.  This was
between say 8pm and 9:30 pm EDT, 9/13/03.

Then, when I had it find the moon, it did so, BUT, I could tell it sort
of bumped into the stop.  I then had it return to Mars, which it did,
but was off by several degrees.  After resyncing it on mars manually
(using the "enter" sequence) I then had it slew to the moon, which it
did directly the "correct" way this time, and all was well.

Is it normal for a scope slewed well away from one of the stops (say,
the counter-clockwise stop looking down on the scope from above) to move
the shortest distance to the selected object, EVEN if doing so will
cause it to hit the opposite hard stop?

2) Dust cleaning  (just a confirmation):  I too have a goodly bit of
dust accumulation on the collector plate of my 125. I've left it
alone... but is it the case that a blower brush combination would be the
best way to tackle this (since there's no grime, fingerprints, etc. to
contend with)?  Or would a brush in and of itself be adequate (since I
don't have a blower brush jobber do?)


Mike here: If you have started with the proper HOME position, including the counterclockwise rotation to the first hardstop, the Autostar should never direct the telescope to a hard stop. There is about two rotations between the hardstops so a normal hardstop should not be reached during GOTOs. If you are sure you set up the correct HOME position and yet the Autostar reaches a hardstop in less than two turns then it is likely NOT a hardstop but some other obstruction; perhaps a wire. Don't force it; if it is indeed a wire it could be cut. And yes, a blow-type cleaning tool (NOT canned air) can remove dust if there is nothing causing it to adhere to the surface.
Subject:	ETX 125 focuser problems
Sent:	Monday, September 22, 2003 06:31:54
From: (Michael Muir)
I refer to Morgan Spangle's recent posting on your site. I have the same
problems with my new ETX 125, and these are much worse in my opinion in
comparison to the ETX 90 I previousely owned. Is the answer the Meade
electric focuser sold? I have read the review on the focuser I found on
your site, but it didn't really answer the questions I the electric focuser worth the money and does it
solve the problems of the "jiggles" focusing manually at high powers and
does it at least alleviate the image shift effect?

You views on this would be much appreciated.

Thanks for a great site

Michael Muir
Mike here: An electric focuser will eliminate jiggles that aer caused by hand focusing. Image shift is not caused by the focusing style but rather due to the moving mirror design, so some image shift will be seen with manual, cable, or electric focusers. Is it worth money? Depends on how much you plan to use it. Yes, if you do a lot of high-power work.


Many thanks for your response

Michael Muir

Subject:	ETX90ec
Sent:	Sunday, September 21, 2003 21:33:59
From: (Gerald Jenny)
Mike great web site keep it up I am sure all appreciate it.I have a
question I went tru your tune up page and I cannot seem to find my
problem. To lock the Horiz. lock I have to push so hard it.s unreal I
tried to contact Meade made me wait to long.So I'am asking for help hope
you understand as to what I'am trying to say Thanks Jerry

Gerald Jenny
Mike here: Check the FAQ page; maybe the lever just needs repositioning.
Subject:	What's wrong?
Sent:	Sunday, September 21, 2003 19:27:25
From: (John)
I just bought your book from Amazon and I have really enjoyed reading
it.  I have found so much useful information and am still finding
lots more.

I do have a question though.  When I try to download the Meade
Autostar Update 3.61 all I get is a bunch of symbols on my screen
instead of the program downloading to my computer.  Any suggestions
to help me get this going?

Thanks a bunch, and thanks so much for having a great site for us ETX

John Hughston
Dallas, TX
Mike here: But please see the Email Etiquette page; your email was almost deleted unread as SPAM.
Try using a right-click and save as binary file (or something like that) if using Windows. Click and hold if using a Macintosh.
Subject:	ETX-90EC ON/OFF power switch
Sent:	Sunday, September 21, 2003 18:43:49
From: (John Deriso)
I scanned your site for repair info but came up short.  I fired the
question below off to Jordan Blessing and Clay Sherrod... thought I'd 
shoot it to you too, to see if you remember any posts covering this.

... the power switch is intermittent.  I want to get to it, and I can't
see how the pc board that contains the "COMPUTER CONTROL" panel jacks
and power switch is attached to the ETX housing.  Is it necessary to
pull the entire RA drive assembly to get to this pc board?  I'm very
handy with circuit boards and soldering, but is this a "Meade only"

John Deriso
Herndon, VA
Mike here: Check the article "ETX-90EC Wiring Protection" on the Telescope Tech Tips page.


Thank to everyone who replied... Dick Seymour's idea of giving the
switch a shot of contact cleaner worked like a champ and saved a lot of
grief.  I used Permatex Item No. 24379 Electrical Contact Cleaner, just
a couple drops dripped into the visible end of the switch.  Comes on
every time now.

Dick also suggested jumping the switch contacts and powering externally,
but it's too tight (for me, at least) to get a soldering iron in there
without dismantling the RA assembly.
From: (P. Clay Sherrod)
Wonderful and thanks for the report....
where would we be without Duct Tape and WD-40.....?
One loosens the world up and the other holds it together.

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.)

Subject:	RA setting circle
Sent:	Sunday, September 21, 2003 05:43:32
I've been reading though the manual like I should have done straight
away and been playing around with the ETX-90EC indoors, but I've noticed
something I find a bit odd. If I set the RA setting circle to some value
then move the scope around, the RA setting circle moves around with it
but occasionally seems to get caught with a bit of friction against the
base of the scope. I've read on your web pages that the RA setting
circle is perhaps a bit too loose and I've found that lifting it up away
from the base seems to solves the problem as it tends to stay put in
this elevated position, but nowhere in the manual is this documented. Do
you think my RA setting circle maybe too loose ?

Thanks again,
Mike here: As you rotate the telescope in Right Ascension, the RA Setting Circle should stay put. But it is supposed to be slightly loose so that it can be adjusted. For more info, see the article "Software, Using the Setting Circle" on the Buyer/New User Tips page. However, if you plan to use only the Autostar then you do not need to use the setting circles.
Subject:	Trouble with my web site
Sent:	Saturday, September 20, 2003 12:15:42
My web page  is having problems due to My Yahoo host, the page builder
function will not load properly so I will be down for a bit   I am going to start using
Adobe Go Live to develop my page so it will be a wile  for any updates.      This will be
still on the web but ,It will not be updated till ,I covert over to
Adobe Go Live on this one also.


Subject:	Picture on your front page?
Sent:	Friday, September 19, 2003 22:46:05
From: (Donald McClelland)
Just for fun I was imagining an ETX the size of one in your picture with
you standing next to it. At my estimate it's probably representative of
a 16" or more. What would the views of an ETX that size be like? Clay
would probably know. Globulars would be spectacular with perhaps colors
being obvious in their stars. Spiral arms would be obvious in some
galaxies. Planetaries would take on a whole new look. I've looked
through 16" scopes before but a 16" Maksutov of ETX quality?? What a
Mike here: I've looked through a 20" Dob at M42 at a star party. Wow! The colors and details! I've also looked through a 3.5m (11 feet!) aperture telescope (at Kitt Peak); that was even more impressive.
Subject:	light pollution filter help
Sent:	Friday, September 19, 2003 19:54:37
From: (marcus windrich)
I wanted some advice on purchasing an LPR for my ETX-90EC. I recently
moved to Maryland, and the best observing site I have found so far has
several lights around it for safety reasons. Luckily, they all point
downward. However, they are only about 40ft away from the observing
site, and so give off quite a bit of light pollution. I'm thinking about
purchasing an LPR to help combat this problem.  I read the reviews on
your site of two different LPR's which sound good, however I'm looking
for a recommendation on what filter you think works best with the ETX.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also, does anyone make an
LPR that threads onto the ETX itself, and not just an eyepiece?
Otherwise I'll have to keep moving it.

Thanks, and thank you for this VERY VERY helpful website of yours.

Marcus Windrich
Mike here: I've only used the Celestron LPR discussed on the Accessory Reviews - Filters page. A full aperture filter would cost a lot of money; I haven't see any.
Subject:	Your Big Telescope
Sent:	Friday, September 19, 2003 18:29:24
When I first got started in telescopes a year ago, I ran across your
site. When I saw the picture of your ETX, it really fooled me into
thinking you were a hotshot with monster telescope that must have cost
$50,000. Maybe I should start a site with my 50 foot DS2130.
Mike here: Quoting from the Site Guide: "The large image at the top of the page shows the title of the Site and tries to convey that our little ETX telescopes are actually very Mighty telescopes, given their size. The Site Title also has another meaning: this Site is also a Mighty Site, with TONS of valuable information for visitors."


Sorry, but I was only joking, like the way I clean my newtonian optics.
First I coax my parrot into the open end, install the dust cover and
yell "CLEAN IT " into the eyepiece. It saves the trouble of
disassembling it to dust it out.

I do appreciate your site, and hope to make a serious and helpful
contribution in the future.
Mike here: I knew you were joking. I just wanted to make the point that there was a point to doing the image. As to your cleaning technique, how long does it take the parrot to clean it? It reminds me of an alternative, which is sort of like "shake and bake": put the telescope into the dishwasher. Don't forget to remove the covers. If you want them cleaned too, put them in as well. ;)
[CAUTION: DO NOT FOLLOW these cleaning techniques!!!]
Subject:	Thinking of getting a EXT - 125 AT coated
Sent:	Friday, September 19, 2003 17:38:07
From: (Verinder Syal)
I just discovered your web site and wish I had found it five years ago
when I was given the EXT 90 by my wife.  I know little about astronomy
but have found it exhilarating finding the few things I could find.  So
the new automated ETXs look very tempting.

Is the EXT 125 AT the best such thing to buy?  It appears the coating
makes it even better.  Is this right?  And how does one buy this and
make sure it is working properly.

Thank you for your help.

Sincerely, Verinder
Mike here: Yes, UHTC is worth getting. As to whether the ETX-125 is the best telescope for you depends upon what you want to do with a telescope. Remember, the best telescope is one that gets used instead of sitting in a closet.


Thank you so very much for your prompt response.

I want to look at the heavens periodically and be able to see a few
hundred objects over time.  ETX 125 okay for that?

Thank you, Verinder

Verinder K. Syal
Mike here: Sure. But so are many other telescopes.


Mike here: Cost vs portability vs aperture vs focal length vs mount vs capability vs desired use.  Meade, Celestron, and Orion have full lines of telescopes to meet any budget and/or capability.  I suggest you go to a star party where you could see many telescopes in action.

Subject:	Cutting foam in cases for ETX 90
Sent:	Friday, September 19, 2003 15:06:18
From: (Ron)
I ordered a case from Deskosil and when it came time to pick 'n pluck
the foam, I took the top portion of the cardboad that held the scope in
place in the original packaging, and laid that on top of the foam to
trace the design using a marker. Worked great.
Ron Giuntini
San Francisco

Subject:	Mars through the Meade ETX_90ec
Sent:	Friday, September 19, 2003 09:21:46
Hi, I first just wanted to complement you on an excellent website, I've
learned a great deal.

My question is, when I view Mars under any power, it appears to be pale
white, with a small brighter white area that I assume is the polar ice
cap.  Is there something that I am doing wrong, for I was expecting a
more redder object.
Mike here: Mars is so bright right now that it will look "white-ish". You need to reduce the brightness; if you have a Moon Filter, use that. Otherwise, try sunglasses!
Subject:	Prime Focus imaging
Sent:	Friday, September 19, 2003 09:10:49
From: (Malcolm LeCompte)
Have you done any prime focus photography of Mars with your 35 mm SLR
Pentax?  Is there any way to get a higher resolution and larger object
diameter from the prime focus or can that only be done using eyepiece
photgraphy?  Does any hardware exist that allows prime focus CCD imaging
with the ETX-90EC ?

Thanks, Malcolm LeCompte
Mike here: I haven't done any 35mm astrophotography in a few years. The SAC imagers work well at prime focus; see the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products and Helpful Information - Astrophotography for more on the Sonfest SAC imagers.
Subject:	re:  How to obtain ETX-125 finderscope bracket and screws?
Sent:	Thursday, September 18, 2003 21:32:17
From: (Richard Seymour)
You might try working through MEade Europe  ( )
as a warranty issue.  Here in the US, (and Australia) 
when a Meade tripod fails, and damages the telescope, 
Meade has repaired or replaced the damaged telescope components for free.

I see from MEade's website that there is, as you said, no 
distributor in Poland.  Meade's website suggests sending a FAX
to +1-4-451-146  here in the US.

But is in Germany, so is much closer.

good luck
From: (Marcin Bruczkowski)
Hi Richard,

thanks for the advice!  Unfortunately this is a 2nd hand scope and has
no warranty...

I tried to contact Meade in Germany anyway, but they have no email
address and when I called I could not find anyone who speaks English.  I
think I'll try Meade USA next.

Best Regards,

Marcin Bruczkowski

Subject:	re:  ETX Field Tripod Meade #883: use at 1 17 S  Nairobi/
Sent:	Thursday, September 18, 2003 21:26:30
From: (Richard Seymour)
There are many ways to address the problem of "low latitudes",
but none are truly satisfactory with a fork-mount telescope
(except perhaps using an ETX90ec with Autostar, which does not
 require a wedge for visual work).

If you do create a fix, like the one i'm about to suggest, you
then have to worry about the telescope being very off-balance,
with a high tendency to tip over the tripod.

A fix i would try is to build, or have built by a local metal-bender,
a bent-L, or triangular wedge, with about a 45 degree angle.

 Make each Leg about 10 inches (25 cm) long, and 8 inches (20 cm)
wide (extending out of the paper/screen in this drawing).

Drill holes in both the upper leg of the bent-L, and the base.
Using two 1/4x20 short bolts, attach the telescope to the upper leg.
Now attach the base of the L to your tripod's tilt-plate.
You have just increased your tripod's tilt angle by the angle of
the bent-L.  
Devise a brace to stiffen the angle (i use turnbuckles on mine).

If you dig through Mike's Telescope Tips page, you will see links
to many simple wooden "hinge" wedges.  They are similar to what
i am suggestion, and you would mount them on your existing wedge.

good luck
From: (Guy Vanmeenen)
Dear Richard,

Maybe this is a trivial question (5 days ago when I bought my scope
second hand, I did not know anything about tripods!), but would just
lowering the North tripod leg so that the base plate in its 90 degree
position would become tilted for 19 degrees not do the same job (and
result in about (point of gravity will have shifted) the same
instability). I only would have to make markings (for several heights)
on the tripod once I have been able to tilt the tripod at 19 degrees.

Kind regards,

Guy Vanmeenen,
Yes, it would, but would be very willing to collapse.
Since you are effectively at zero degrees latitude, 
a 90-degree L-shape would also work.. and then you would
only need to tilt the tripod less than two degrees.

Many people have had problems with the tripod legs collapsing.
Shortening the north leg would increase the weight on it,
so you will have to be very careful that it does not decide
to "shorten" (collapse) further under the load.

have fun
Mike here: You might see the articles "Fix for Broken #882 Tripod Leg Clamps", "Tripod Leg Slip Fix", and "Tripod Straps" on the Telescope Tech Tips page for some ideas on how to secure a leg.
Subject:	Re: Etx-90 collimation?
Sent:	Thursday, September 18, 2003 01:10:08
From: (P. Clay Sherrod)
To:	Lee
You cannot use an extended object (i.e., planet) to judge collimation at
all; first you must realize that at this time Mars actually IS
egg-shaped because of the solar-earth-Mars phase angle and is not fully

There is no way to judge optical collimation on an extended object, only
on a point source such as a star.  My feelings would be that the one
with the inferior images is very likely from optics with some type of
fog or coating on them.

NOW....that being said, the other alternative is the secondary baffle
tube which very likely might be askew in the one showing poor images;
this would indeed result in a more than oblate image of Mars out of
focus....check by looking into the tube and seeing if the small baffle
tube might be slightly offset in one it is...!

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
10 Observatory Hill Drive, Petit Jean Mt.
MPC/cbat Obs. H41 / Petit Jean Mountain
MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway
MPC/cbat Obs. H44 / Cascade Mountain

----- Original Message -----
From: Lee
> Hello Dr. Clay,
> Tonight I compared two Etx-90's side to side.  I tried
> to compare them on a bright star, slight off focus.
> To my novice eyes, they seemed the same, both showing
> concentric circles.  I used the same eyepiece on both
> scopes.
> Then I put them on Mars.  One seemed less able to
> resolve surface details.  Then I made both off focus
> in the same direction.  The apparently better one made
> a clean orange "pineapple slice", with a single thin
> concentric circle in the middle of the slice.
> The apparently worse off one made orange circle, but
> the circle was not quite round.  It was slightly egg
> shaped.  The thin concentric circle was visible, but
> fuzzier.
> Can I conclude that the scope with the egg shaped
> circle is off collimation, compared to the other
> scope?
> Thanks
> Lee
And an update:
Wow, I'm impressed!  Your reputation is well deserved. You are right, it
is slightly leaning to one side.  To make sure I wasn't imagining it, I
rotated the OTA 180 degrees, and the baffle now leans slightly the

While doing this check, I noticed that there is some ordinary room dust
on the front lens.  Is it ok to use the blower brushes that photographers
use?   Or is it better to never contact the glass with the camelbrush,
and only use air?

Hello Lee...glad you found the culprit.....getting that dust off via the
small blow brush is a great way to do it.  Just go slow and take your

Good luck...
Dr. Clay

Subject:	ETX 90 RA: Flip Mirror cleaning
Sent:	Wednesday, September 17, 2003 23:23:15
From: (Guy Vanmeenen)
I do know that I should not try to clean the primary/secondary mirrors
but can I clean the "Flip-Mirror" which is full of dust? How do I
prevent that dust from cleaning the flip-mirror will end up in the
optical tube?

Kind regards,

Guy Vanmeenen,
EARO/WARO RTA Microfinance,
Catholic Relief Services - East Africa Regional Office,
3nd Floor Rank Xerox House, Westlands, Nairobi/Kenya,
Mike here: The mirrors in a telescope are "first surface" mirrors, so when cleaning them you are actually touching the reflecting surface. You could use a "bulb-type" air blower to push some dry air at the surface, which could blow off any particles. (DO NOT use canned air.) But as you noted, they could end up where you don't want them. You could carefully remove the rear cell (see the "Doc Greiner's ETX Info page" article on the Telescope Tech Tips page for info on that). Alternatively, you could use the info on the Cleaning Optics page on the Buyer/New User Tips page, but the access to the mirror is tight unless you remove the rear cell but it can be done.
Subject:	MEADE ETX 90EC
Sent:	Wednesday, September 17, 2003 22:12:41
From: (Brian & Freedom)
My husband and I just perchased a ETX 90EC along with a 2x Barlow, 6mm
Plossl, and 4mm Plossl lens pack, the 3Com Home Connect webcam and the
adapter to go with it.  My husband is disabled so we use the camera to
view stars (and other astronomical things) on our laptop.  I haven't had
much time to play with it but tonight we took everything outside and
tried to view Mars with the webcam and couldn't even see it.  I tried
using the 2x barlow but still couldn't see anything.  I am not sure what
we are doing wrong but it is getting very frustrating.  Also I tried to
view Mars with the 2x barlow and 6mm Plossl lens and still couldn't see
anything but didn't have a problem viewing it with the 26mm with or
without the barlow.  I am so confused.  Are we doing something wrong??
In case you haven't guessed we have never played with a telescope

Any answers would be awesome.

Thank you,
Brian and Freedom
Mike here: First off, don't use the webcam until you know you can use the telescope. Read the manual (three times) and play with the telescope in the daytime in the comfort of your living room. Learn how to use it while you can see what you are doing. Use terrestrial objects to learn how to focus and use different eyepieces. Let me know if you still have a specific problem. And be as specific as possible in what you are doing.
Subject:	Re: Dr. Clay and Weasner ETX Site
Sent:	Wednesday, September 17, 2003 22:06:29
From: (P. Clay Sherrod)
To:	 Paul
Very good to hear from you and thanks so much for the kind words.  It is
quite flattering to hear such things and I do very much appreciate it; I
hope that my many years of astronomy outreach and education is still out
there reaching others who find that wonderful fascination with the night

Clear skies and please keep in touch with ASO and Mike Weasner's Mighty
ETX site....

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
10 Observatory Hill Drive, Petit Jean Mt.
MPC/cbat Obs. H41 / Petit Jean Mountain
MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway
MPC/cbat Obs. H44 / Cascade Mountain

----- Original Message -----
From: Paul
> i just wanted to let Dr. Clay know that i really appreciated all of the
articles he has written on Mike Weasner's site. i recently purchased an ETX 90
and have found Mike's site and Dr. Clay's astronomy tips/info to be very helpful
and informative.
> i took an astronomy class back when i was in college in the mid 80's. but i
must say i have learned more about astronomy in the past 3 months by visiting
Mike's site and using a program like Starry night than i ever did in an entire
semester of college classwork. that is not a slap at the course i took either.
it is just a testament to how well Dr. Clay explains the subject matter.
> thank you,
> Paul

Subject:	SMT??
Sent:	Wednesday, September 17, 2003 17:02:11
Hi!  I have just seen mentioned on one of the sites-- with no
references-- that Meade has announced a new SMT (or SM Technology). 
Does anyone know what this is and where I can find out more?  I have
searched the Meade site but cannot find it.  Emory
Mike here: I don't recall any such announcement.
Subject:	Power Voltage Drop
Sent:	Wednesday, September 17, 2003 12:10:27
From: (Dan Violette)

I am using 100 feet of 18 gauge speaker wire for my "extension cord".  I
also am using a power supply that runs at 13.8v to run amateur radio
equipment which is actually closer to a battery in a car while running
off the alternator.  A battery not being charged will be closer to 12v
(actually should be 12.6v but varies with charge - 8 cells at 1.5-1.6v
each).  I think you said you would have a constant supply so not an

Anyway, the controller runs at 1.5 amps maximum.  Using ohms law we can
find the voltage drop:

E=voltage drop (volts)
I= current (amps) = 1.5 A
R = resistance of wire (ohms)

The table below has some examples of drops.  The resistance for 100 feet
of wire is used.  You can divide the voltage drop by 100 if you need it
per foot).  As the gauge gets smaller (the gauge number gets bigger),
the resistance gets higher and the voltage drop gets higher.  Initial
voltage is independent other than telling you what you have left at the
end after subtracting the drop.  The current sets the amount of drop for
a given resistance.  Less current, less voltage drop, so I used worst
case of 1.5A for the Autostar.  My guess it is less, possibly by 30%.  I
am not sure of what the minimum voltage the Autostart needs, but appears
to not like partially discharged batteries so my GUESS is a minimum of
say 11.6v (8 cells x 1.45v each).  You will need to know your inital
voltage UNDER A LOAD.  Just putting a volt meter on would be way to
high.  There needs to be some current load to get the voltage correct. 
A 12v light bulb can be used if you need to test the power supply.  You
can measure the voltage then while loading the light.

Wire Gauge     Resistance (100')     Voltage Drop (100' run)
  14                   0.2575                        0.386v
  16                   0.4094                        0.614v
  18                   0.651                          0.98v
  20                   1.035                         1.55v
  22                   1.646                         2.47v

Dan Violette

Subject:	Meade 884 Tripod
Sent:	Wednesday, September 17, 2003 06:35:26
From: (Don Sutherland)
Kevin Colfer was concerned about the washers and springs on the mounting
screws for his Meade 884 tripod. The springs are held in place by
washers and C-clips. This arrangement is supposed to make it easier to
attach the telescope to the tripod. When one of my C-clips fell off and
got lost, I bought another C-clip but it met the same fate. So I tried
removing both springs and surprise, mounting the scope is much easier.
When the mounting screws are aligned, they can be spun up or down using
a finger tip.

The legs of the tripod can be tightened up by installing a thin washer
between the top of the leg and the bracket. The washers I used were
about 0.030" thick and had to be wrestled into place, but they take the
play out and the legs won't swing together if the tripod is lifted
without the spreader bracket in place.

It also helps if the stock pivot bolts are replaced. The stock bolts are
threaded their whole length. Look for 5/16" bolts with 2" of unthreaded
shank and trim the bolt to the right length if necessary. I was lucky
enough to find 2 1/4" bolts with nearly 2" of unthreaded shank. This way
the leg pivots on the smooth shank of the bolt rather than on the

Finally, the two washers and spring used to hold the spreader bracket in
place can be joined into one unit using a piece of 1" dia. heat shrink
tubing. Shrink the tubing using a heat gun, with the washers and spring
on the shaft on the tripod to get good alignment. Trim the excess heat
shrink using a modelling knife so the knob can bear directly on one of
the washers.

Resist the urge to see how solid the tripod is by putting you weight on
it. The pivots at the tops of the legs are plastic and can flex quite a
bit under a very heavy load.

Subject:	power supplies
Sent:	Wednesday, September 17, 2003 02:59:43
From: (Jenny Morgan)
I was reading some of the autostar  cable and power information and I
was wondering...

Could one use a car battery for power to the Autostar (with correct
connector, of course). Additionally, could this set-up and it large
reverse of power be used as the power source for the ETX125 motors,
themselves? What would be the correct pinouts for such a cable?

-Jenny Morgan
Mike here: I'm a little confused by your question. But yes, a car battery can be used; there are many power supply articles on the Telescope Tech Tips and Autostar Information pages.
Sent:	Tuesday, September 16, 2003 08:11:22
Why I always read of ORION being a winter constellation when I see it
perfectly nowadays in the early morning?
Mike here: Please see the Email Etiquette page; your email was almost deleted UNREAD as SPAM. It is considered a Winter constellation since it is visible in the evening in Winter.
Sent:	Tuesday, September 16, 2003 08:03:53
How do you think eyes to dark adapted after some hours sleeping time and
then going out in the night (just a bit of light inside house for scope
Mike here: Please see the Email Etiquette page; your email was almost deleted UNREAD as SPAM. Any light instead of dim red will affect your night vision once dark adapted. But it will quickly come back as long as it wasn't too bright. Normal room lighting is too bright.
Subject:	My New ETX-125
Sent:	Tuesday, September 16, 2003 07:46:38
From: (Terry Hass)
I am new to astronomy and have recently purchased the Meade ETX-125 so
my family and I could view Mars. I do have a couple of questions that
from everything that I have read on the web (and in your book) you are
the best person to ask.

1. I recently purchased the Meade dew shield for the scope. It seemed to
work pretty well the one time I have tried it. However, when I went to
remove it from the scope, to my horror the entire purple scope tube
rotated about 2 inches. I carefully rotated the tube back to it's
original position as best I could determine. Did I screw up my scope?
Did I misalign my optics? How can I prevent this from happening again?

2. Although I have not yet finished your book (I received it yesterday
in the mail) I did find your section on fuzzy eye pieces interesting. I
have 2 eyepieces, the 26mm and a 9.7mm. Both eyepiece bodies have
slightly unscrewed while taking off filters and removing the eyepiece
from my Nikon 995 with the eyepiece adapter. I have never found the
9.7mm to be what I would consider "sharp". I know I am new to this and
therefore I could understand that my eye may not yet "calibrated" to
know the difference between a sharp eyepiece and one that not. Are there
any definitive tests I could perform to test my eyepieces for properly
seated lenses?

Thanks for your time and help. Your web site have been great resource,
thanks for putting it together!

Mike here: If you tightened the tube back down you are probably OK on collimation. To avoid this problem, when you slide the dew cover off be certain you either don't rotate it or if you must rotate it then do so in the tightening direction of the tube. As to eyepieces, if you see differences in star shapes from one side of an eyepiece to another side then you likely have misaligned optics.
Subject:	ETX Field Tripod Meade #883: use at 1 17 S  Nairobi/
Sent:	Tuesday, September 16, 2003 06:39:14
From: (Guy Vanmeenen)
I read the review of the above mentioned tripod for my ETX 90 RA (second
hand, bought two days ago) and realize that it only can be used (to use
the drive) between 20 and 90  latitude. Is there a way around this?

How do I align it? Could North still work or should I reverse everything
for South?

Kind regards,

Guy Vanmeenen,
EARO/WARO RTA Microfinance,
Catholic Relief Services - East Africa Regional Office,
3nd Floor Rank Xerox House, Westlands, Nairobi/Kenya,
Mike here: To Polar Align you place the Right Ascension axis parallel to the Earth's rotation axis; so yes you can use these types of tripods in the Southern Hemisphere by pointing the RA rotational axis at the South Celestial Pole. Many tripods and wedges have problems at low latitudes. Not easy to cure since stability becomes an issue. You'd be better off getting one that works for low latitudes.
Subject:	RE: Field tripod for ETX90, 105 and 125
Sent:	Tuesday, September 16, 2003 05:07:25
From: (Christopher Rhodes)
In response to e-mail posting:-

RE: Field tripod for ETX90, 105 and 125
Sent:	Wednesday, September 10, 2003 09:34:47
From: (Kevin Colfer)

I think nearly all of us who have the #884 have had these problems.
Mine's just over a year and have only taken it on my travels once (when
not used). The bag is far too "soft" for an item of this size, weight &
shape. The material has been strained at many points due to the loose
weave. It's definitely not Cordura as often described by retailers (I
wouldn't like a backpack made from it for sure). The lack of internal
padding means for me it's just used to keep the dust off. I think it's a
bit of an after-thought - I noticed the "quality" when it was in the
shop as I had to have the last one on display at Scope City, LV.

I remember when the display scope was removed, the E-clips, bolts &
springs flew in all directions - I've had this problem everytime I've
taken the scope from the mounting so I assumed the E-clips have been
strained and would need replacing with some heavy-duty ones. Luckily, I
have only taken the scope off inside the house and not at a dark site so
I still have all the pieces. When you're clamping a 125 in polar mode,
you want to be sure it's going to stay there so it's tempting on to
tighten a little bit more. "Tighten to a firm feel only" isn't a good
marker really.

Does anyone know of an E-clip size that will be the solution or have any

Chris Rhodes
not far from Robin Hood's Tree

Subject:	How to obtain ETX-125 finderscope bracket and screws?
Sent:	Tuesday, September 16, 2003 03:16:27
From: (Marcin Bruczkowski)
Last night I was happily watching Mars, when one leg of my Meade 883
tripod collapsed.  My ETX-125 hit (not very hard) the wall of my house.
I'm pretty sure nothing serious happened, the scope was close to the
wall and the point of impact was the finderscope bracket, which
cushioned the shock somewhat.  The only damage were the plastic screws
holding the finderscope in place.  Two screws had their heads torn off
and others are twisted, now it is almost impossible to center the
finderscope.  Since I live in Poland, where there is no Meade
dealership, can anyone suggest where I could find replacement screws? Or
possibly the whole bracket, which got quite badly scratched?

My first thought was to use ordinary metal screws, but there must be a
good reason why Meade uses plastic screws.  Also the thread is most
likely in US size (inches) and I won't find such screws easily here, in
the land of metric measurements...

If some good soul could help me I would be most grateful!

Best Regards,

Marcin Bruczkowski
Warsaw, Poland

Subject:	RE: Problems With Hard Stops
Sent:	Monday, September 15, 2003 20:57:50
From: (Sanjeev Joshi)
Mike, thanks for the response.  I confirmed that the "hard stop" to
"hard stop" rotation possible on the scope is about 320 degrees or so. 
Meade has asked me to return it for repairs.  Seems other people have
reported similar problems, looks like there might be a systematic issue

Sanjeev Joshi

Subject:	ETX 105 or 125 w/o Autostar?
Sent:	Monday, September 15, 2003 20:15:04
From: (Patrick Holman)
I'm looking at purchasing an ETX scope for my father for Christmas.  I
noticed that I can get the 90 w/o the autostar system, which brings the
price down significantly.  Is anyone aware of such autostar-less options
for the 105 or 125?

Thanks -

Mike here: There is no "RA" model of the ETX-105 or -125 like there is for the -90. The ETX-90RA is the original ETX model and is still being sold. You could purchase a spotting scope model (no base) but then you would have to mount it on your own astronomical tripod.
Subject:	RE: Field tripod for ETX90, 105 and 125
Sent:	Monday, September 15, 2003 19:44:00
From: (Phil Irey)
I had both problems with my ETX-105 too so I don't think you are alone.

The washers popped off of both of the base screws.  I tried a number of
"adjustments" to try to get them to say on but no luck.  I just use the
base screws without the springs now.  You said that you fixed yours with
wire. What did you do?

My tripod bag came with a very minor rip in it from the factory. As I
use the bag, it keeps getting worse.  I'll probably end up getting a
better bag when it completely falls apart.

In addition to the 2 problems you had, I had 3 other issues with my new
scope. First, the 26mm lens that came with the scope is defective and
needs to be exchanged.  When you look through it in the scope, the very
center of the lens appears to magnify a lot more then the rest of the
lens.  It kind of looks like there is a drop of water in the middle of
the lens.  I tried it in other peoples scopes and they saw the same
thing. Second, the RA drive runs smoothly for 30-45 seconds or so and
then suddenly jerks ahead.  I may have fixed this but I'm not sure yet. 
Finally, the RA setting circle tape had about 3/8" of slack in it from
the factory.  I unpeeled the tape and re-applied it myself.

To me, 5 problems with a brand new telescope indicates some quality
control problems.

I do like the scope. I just wish it wouldn't have come with so many
problems from the factory.


Subject:	RA Drive Problems
Sent:	Monday, September 15, 2003 19:43:07
From: (Phil Irey)
I was having problems with my RA drive on my ETX-105.  It would track
smoothly except for every 30-45 seconds when it would jerk ahead.  For
example, when observing Mars, it would drift slowly to the left in the
eyepiece.  When it got near the left edge of the field of view, it would
suddenly jerk to the right and land back to the center of the field of
view after which it would begin drifting to the left again.

I read somewhere (and I can't seem to find the post now) that the center
nut under the RA lock lever might have been too tight.  I loosened it
until the problem stopped.  The only thing is I'm not sure how tight the
nut is supposed to be.  Any ideas?

Before I made the adjustment, the RA lock lever would become difficult
to push about 1/2 way.  It was VERY difficult to push the lever to the
fully locked position. I'm worried that it might be too loose now since
I can turn the scope in Azmuth by hand with little effort even though it
is in the fully locked position.  If I try to tighten the nut further,
it starts jumping again (though to a lesser degree than it did before).

The RA tracking is definitely working indoors right now.  I'm just not
sure if it is tracking properly and can't test it outside because of the
clouds. Did I make the correct adjustment?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Mike here: Just to clarify, the horizantal (RA or azimuth) lock lever will not normally be more than about in the middle of its slot when fully engaged. If you pushed it all the way to the edge of the slot you may have damaged the lock. But if you have solved the problem and the telescope is stable on the mount you should be OK. I suggest checking it after ever few hours of use just to be certain the lock is not working loose.
Subject:	re: Three ETX questions: Local time, voltage drop, and focal length.
Sent:	Monday, September 15, 2003 19:40:33
From: (Richard Seymour)
To:	S.Sudak@Gwathmey-Siegel.comI'll second Mike's statement on the time: the Autostar wants you
to enter "civilian" time (what the radio station is saying).
It will make the (in your case) 4.5 minute adjustment.

Electrical:  Here we get mathy (which, for some people is messy).
You can run the "12 v" as long as you (or your wallet) wants.
The trick is to use thicker wire (a lower gauge number) for longer runs.
If you look at an electrical supplies catalog, they list the "ohms per foot"
of the wire they are selling.   From that you can directly calculate
how much voltage the long run will steal from you.
Let's say that one size was 0.01 ohms per foot (one one hundredth)
Therefore a fifty-foot run (two wires, right?) would present an ohm of 
resistance to your system.
Now take the maximum current you expect to draw: 1.5 amps for an ETX90.
Voltage equals current times resistance.  1.5 A * 1 ohm = 1.5 volts lost.
So your supply should be 13.5 volts to guarantee 12 v at the telescope.

As a safety factor, never use a supply higher than 16 volts for an
Autostar.  Since the scope in Sleep mode only uses 20 milliamps,
the voltage drop over your wires would be very small, and the poor
Autostar would have to be able to handle voltages vary close to your
supply's rating.  Using the same "one ohm" example:
0.020 A * 1 ohm = 20 millivolts.

From a practical standpoint, 16 gauge zip cord is probably fine for
this application, at least up to fifty feet. (i haven't looked up
the numbers). To reduce radio interference (both from and to the Autostar),
twist the wire to about 1 twist every 6 inches (this will shorten your
run, so you may need 30 feet of zip cord to create a 25 foot twisted cord).

Be sure to use connector  styles which will -not- invite people to plug
110 vac devices into your 12 v sockets.

have fun

Subject:	ETX & Wine
Sent:	Monday, September 15, 2003 11:10:56
I did a $11.90 (inc VAT) pledge for all the work you are doing on your
ETX site. Buy a good bottle of wine for it and enjoy!  :-)


Job Geheniau
The Netherlands

Subject:	Looking for ETX 90 RA (Astro) Electronic Manual
Sent:	Monday, September 15, 2003 06:21:49
From: (Guy Vanmeenen)
Just bought an ETX 90 RA second hand (Two year old with 26 mm eyepiece
and 2 X Barlow). The previous owner lost the manual so I am looking for
an electronic version that I could use. I am living at the moment in
Kenya (I am a Belgian expat) and can not wait to start using it but need
to read the instructions first.

Kind regards,

Guy Vanmeenen,
EARO/WARO RTA Microfinance,
Catholic Relief Services - East Africa Regional Office,
Westlands, Nairobi/Kenya,
Mike here: See the FAQ page for manuals.
Subject:	New 125 and Autostar Trouble - Hitting Hard Stops on Alignment
Sent:	Sunday, September 14, 2003 09:13:00
Great site, much more info than the poor documentation provided with the

I have been having trouble aligning the scope with Autostar using "Easy
Align"  It either hits a hard stop when slewing to alignment stars or on
one of the 1st "GOTO" objects I pick.

I am pretty sure the home position is right, and I have tried aligning
the computer controls to both the West and East forks and both have
given me the same problem intermittently.  I trained both axes and am
pretty sure the location, time, date etc. have been entered in the unit

Last night the scope tried to go more than 360 degrees in the CW
direction (went almost the full 360 to pick up both alignment points and
then almost another full 90 in the same direction on the 1st GOTO.

So far I have only had hours of frustration with Autostar vs. the
advertised benefits of "auto GOTO"

I am hoping you or one of your readers can help.  Could it be a defect
with the scope or the Autostar itself rather than user error?

Thanks in advance,   Jim
Mike here: The hard stops are slightly less than two rotations apart. Are you sure you have done the counterclockwise rotation to the first hard stop then back to True North before starting the alignment? If so, check that you have the full range of rotation hardstop-to-hardstop. If a "hard stop" is reached too soon it could actually be some obstruction, like a wire, so don't force it. Let me know.
Subject:	your site
Sent:	Sunday, September 14, 2003 07:44:09
From: (Jenny Morgan)
I made a donation a couple of weeks back, and I just wanted to say how
totally worth it, it is. This site is dynamic! I have gained oodles of
info, links, advice and support. Thank you for your time and effort. I
guess I'd better buy your book! Maybe that'll help me understand polar
alignment. I'm much better at hands-on learning than reading.

-Jenny Morgan
Milwaukee, WI

Subject:	ETX-70AT and all other ETX scopes alignment
Sent:	Saturday, September 13, 2003 10:35:38
From: (Jason Stromback)
I finally figured out what the problem was with my scope going around
and around in circles.   Make sure you have GOOD (like energizer or
duracell), fresh batteries (i had some cheapo rayovac lasted only about
5 hours.) After those 5 hours, the scope didnt sound the same, it didnt
have a constant hum as it was slewing.  The humming was louder and
quieter as it was slewing, with the crappy batteries.  Put the new ones
it.  Nice constant hum.   And it accuatly stopped where it was supposed
to!  And make sure the scope is level (Alt/Az).  My scope when i got it,
was basically off 10 degrees on the Alt.  I didnt know that when i first
got the scope, but after doing some research on this website, and at
Meade's, I figured out i had to calibrate the altitude.  Cause it was
way off.  That is why i couldnt get it to work right!  After i did those
two things, my scope works great.  I saw things i would have never been
able to see before.  I hate to say it, now i am gonna start saving for a
much nicer telescope.  Perhaps, the ETX-125EC. But i wont be able to see
that for 2 - 3 years, and who knows, maybe there will be something
better by then.  But I definetly want something more powerful.  Thanks
for the replies ive gotten from you, and the help.  I really appreciate

Jason S.

Subject:	AC Adapter Question
Sent:	Saturday, September 13, 2003 10:34:37
Didn't see any reference to it on your site, but I'm looking for an AC
adapter for my ETX-125.  Any clue where I can find one?

Mike here: Any Meade dealer should have them. Or you can buy alternatives or make you own; see the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Help!
Sent:	Friday, September 12, 2003 21:48:21
I took my Super Plossl 26mm LP Multi-Coated Eyepiece

apart and I can't figure out how to get the silver barrel back on.  Do
you have a diagram that shows how one is put together?

It's hard to view with the 26mm "floating around" inside the Barlow.

Nora G.                    
And in the end, the love you take
is equal to the love -- you make.
Mike here: Please see the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Site home page; your email was almost deleted unread as SPAM.
See the article "Eyepiece Designs" on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Ringo Li & Polar Alignment
Sent:	Friday, September 12, 2003 12:07:40
From: (thebostons)
Ringo Li has written "ETX AutoStar Field Guide Book".  In it he states,
"Polar Alignment is not possible with a Meade 884.........There is no
precision micro adjustment on the ....884". Do you give credibility to
this statement? Is it possible to accomplish relatively precise Polar
Alignment with the 884 as it comes from the manufacturer?
The question I sent you five minutes ago was in error.

Ringo Li didn't state the 884 tripod cannot accomplish Polar Alignment
in his AutoStar Guide Book but in his separate Web Site. On that site he
also offers his version of a remade tripod for the ETX to accomplish
Polar Alignment. I want desperately to learn to accomplish Polar
Alignment but become more and more confused with everything I read. 
Mike here: It is possible to polar align with this tripod just as with all low-end mounts. However, the alignment will not be as good as the 200" Hale telescope on Palomar Mountain.
Subject:	Declination slop in my ETX 105
Sent:	Thursday, September 11, 2003 22:43:06
From: (Scott Kephart)
I am having a very specific problem with my ETX 105. It's pointing
accuracy is quite good, typically placing an object in the field of a
10mm eyepiece. I noticed the problem when I recently acquired a reticle
eyepiece, so that I could better center stars during 2 star alignment.
The problem is that when I change eyepieces from the 10mm reticle, after
alignment, to a 10.5mm pentax panoptic eyepiece, the scope pitches up by
between 20-30 arc minutes. The pentax eyepiece is quite a lot heavier
than the reticle eyepiece, and I believe this is the source of the
problem. If I put the reticle back in, the scope settles back to
pointing where it was. So basically, if I align with a light weight
eyepiece, my GOTO's are off (always 20-30 minutes too high) as long as
I'm using heavier eyepiece. (All the eyepieces I commonly use are pretty
heavy televue or pentax panoptics.) This seems to be pure mechanical
slop in the declination assembly. If I align with the heavier eyepiece,
my GOTO's are flawless. (BTW, if I sync an object with the heavier
eyepiece in place after re-centering it, my GOTO's are OK again.) So the
result is that if I use the reticle eyepiece to improve my GOTO's, I end
up with every single GOTO missing if I perform the GOTO with the
eyepieces I actually use to observe in place.

I know the obvious answer is to just not use the reticle eyepiece, but
it bugs me no end that I can't change eyepieces without changing the
location my scope points. (And not all of my eyepieces are identical in
weight.) I've tried the obvious things, like training the drives,
calibrating them, etc. None of this matters. (For that matter, the scope
doesn't have to be ON for this to happen - I can see the front of the
scope move by a tiny amount when I switch between the light and the
heavy eyepiece.)

Any suggestions on how to improve this? I've looked through the various
tech tips, but none of them sound exactly like the problem I'm having,
and they are all for ETX 90's. I'm a little nervous about trying them
without someone telling me 'yup, do this, it's exactly the same between
the etx 90 and the etx 105'.


Mike here: Since the locks are really just friction locks, adding weight to one end will cause what you describe. Adding a counterweight will certainly help. You can see some discussed on the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page.
Subject:	Meade 1244 Electric Focuser problem
Sent:	Thursday, September 11, 2003 19:55:39
I put my new Meade 1244 Electric Focuser on my ETX 90 EC (following Clay
Sherrod's sound warning advice of July 28, 2001). Tilted the OTA as
suggested. 1/2 inch of focusing shaft showing. Took the scope out
tonight. Got nothing done. Scope is WAY out of focus. The Electric
Focuser was heading for a sharper focus when it began making a loud
clicking sound. In the still of the night it sounded like a machine gun.
I stopped pressing the hand controller button almost immediately and
quit for the night.

I figure I installed the focuser incorrectly, but HOW? How can I correct
the situation?

Anybody out there have a similar problem? Clay? Ever have anything like

                                        Thanks for a great site,
Mike here: I had a similar problem with a #1247 focuser (which you can read on the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page). I had to exchange it.
Subject:	RE: Field tripod for ETX90, 105 and 125
Sent:	Wednesday, September 10, 2003 09:34:47
From: (Kevin Colfer)
Thank you very much for your highly informative website. Just what we
ETX users need!

The Field tripod for my ETX105 was a good investment. I would like to
say that I have experienced a couple of problems though.

Firstly, the screws which thread into the base of the telescope are
pushed up by springs, in turn held in place by washers. These washers
fell off within a week of buying the tripod, even though I only
tightened the screws "to a firm feel only" as stated in the
instructions. I managed to fix it myself using two bits of wire, but I
don`t think that should happen.

Secondly, the carrying bag which comes with the tripod has started to
tear, again just through normal use. I`ll see if I can buy something
stronger to carry the tripod in, but again that shouldn`t happen.

Have any other ETX-ers experienced the same things?

Clear skies
Kevin Colfer

Subject:	Info
Sent:	Wednesday, September 10, 2003 08:45:14
I'd like to know how I can reply or ask your website users something.
That is, do I have to directly reply the users, using their e-mails, or
is there a method to reply them inside your website ?

Thanks a lot in adavance
Mr. Lo Giacco
Mike here: Please read the Email Etiquette page linked from the ETX Site home page; your email was almost deleted unread as SPAM.
You can reply directly to a user whose item is posted by using their email address shown. Alternatively you can send to me (and them, if you wish) and I'll post your reply so that others can benefit from the response.
Subject:	ETX70
Sent:	Wednesday, September 10, 2003 06:22:24
Do you know of any accesorie to quick focusing when switching from 25 to
9 mm and the reversal?
Mike here: You can make eyepieces "parfocal"; search the site for "parfocal" and you'll find some techniques.
Subject:	DEC scale
Sent:	Wednesday, September 10, 2003 05:49:28
From: (Irwan Adinatha)
With the telescope mounted, I leveled the base using a water level, then
I set the declination circle to 90 degrees and when I put the level on
top the etx(with cap of course :D )it's not level. I have to set the
decilnation circle to 85 degrees in order to achive the "proper level",
is that normal ? Isn't the etx supposed to be "water level" at 90
degrees of DEC ?

Thanks in advance,
Irwan Adinatha 
Mike here: See the FAQ page re: the Declination scale adjustment.
Subject:	Which EYEPIECE is better. Single or combo?
Sent:	Wednesday, September 10, 2003 03:44:32
From: (Eiyo Baba)
I have a dillema about the difference between a solo use of high powered
eyepiece (such as 5-14mm) and a combo use of a lowered powered eyepieces
(26-40mm) and a magnified lense (barlow, powermate). Will the
clarity/sharpness of a a single 13mm eyepiece be equal to 26mm piece
with 2x barlow or 32mm with 2.5x powermate  (both giving approximately
same magnification)? Thanks for your help!!!

Eiyo Baba
Honolulu, HI
Mike here: Adding a Barlow Lens adds extra glass; that does compromise the image quality to some extent. And the more glass added, like with the zoom type, the more the image quality will be reduced compared to a single eyepiece of the same focal length. HOWEVER, whether you would be able to detect the difference depends upon the optical quality of the whole system (telescope, eyepiece, Barlow Lens), your eyes, and your experience as an observer.
Subject:	etx mounts
Sent:	Tuesday, September 9, 2003 20:36:39
From: (thomas timpf)
hello i was wondeing if you have had any expierence with etx125s on eq
mounts.  I am debating on getting my etx125 supercharged or just
trashing the mount for a low end eq mount.  such as orions astroview and
other eq mounts.  Although orion is the only place i have found them
cheap.  I would like an eq mount that i would could add computer
controll to but it would not be necessary.  just really would wonder how
good are the scopes after they are supercharged?

Mike here: Dr. Clay's work is mostly on the mount. So if you remove the OTA from the mount you would be throwing away most of his efforts. I haven't personally mounted an ETX to a EQ mount but there is no reason it can't be done.
Subject:	ETX105 or 125 and UHTC
Sent:	Tuesday, September 9, 2003 18:00:22
I have been bitten by the astronomy bug. After a few weeks of research,
I have determined that the ETX line is best suited to my needs, but
which one? I decided to ask the experts.

My main interests are the planets. Is the extra cost of the 125
justified for planetary veiwing? Where does the 125 really excel over
the 105?

Also, what are your views on UHTC?

Finally, how long can a well kept ETX last? Obviously, I would be more
willing to spend more if I knew the scope would be around for 5 years or

Currently you can get the ETX-105 (with UHTC, #497 and #884) for $830
and the ETX-125 (with UHTC, #497 and #884) for $1040 at

Any help you could offer would be GREATLY appreciated.
Mike here: UHTC: definitely. 105 vs 125: comes down to smaller size (105) vs slightly larger aperture (125). The extra focal length of the 125 will be nice on planets. I still have and use my original ETX purchased in 1996. Working fine. Check with Amazon on return/exchange policy. When purchasing high-end items like a telescope system you are usually better off going through a telescope dealer, either local to you or online.
Subject:	Enjoying your Site
Sent:	Tuesday, September 9, 2003 10:19:37
From: (Tony Quintero)
I am new to astronomy and will purchase my first telescope this evening,
an ETX 90AT. Is this a good choose for me and which accessories do you
recommend I buy to get the most out of this scope. Thank for your help.
Mike here: Which telescope is right for you depends upon HOW you plan to use it. You need to decide what you want to do; then make your decision based on those requirements. Remember, the best telescope is one that gets used instead of staying in the closet. As to options, see the Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the Accessory Reviews pages. Again, which accessories you might want depend upon WHAT you want to do.
Subject:	ETX 90 Astro Flip mirror slipage
Sent:	Tuesday, September 9, 2003 09:26:56
From: (Dennis)
My flip mirror control no longer switches without a helping nudge. The
knobs are secure, and the axle turns without holding the flip mirror
bracket. I might have turned it the wrong way. Is there any way to fix
it as I am long past any warranty. Nothing seems to be broken, I cannot
see how to make it lock into place again. Please Help.
Mike here: See the Telescope Tech Tips page articles "Flip Mirror repair" and "Doc Greiner's ETX Info page ". They might help.
Sent:	Sunday, September 7, 2003 23:20:25
From: (P. Clay Sherrod)
Since last week, it seems that there has been considerable
misinformation from the press regarding the visibility of Mars since its
historic "closest approach" during August 26-27.  If the sudden loss of
interest by the public and the press seems odd, it should not, since I
have been getting questions such as " that Mars is gone, when will
it be back?" and "....since it is so much farther away now, how big of a
telescope will you need to see it?"

On the contrary....Mars is still very much around and looming large. 
This is THE time to plan your public Mars viewing since it is still very
large and now entering the evening skies....

I have put together a neat package to explain just how little Mars has
changed during the past week AND how little it will change throughout
September.  This will be an excellent resource for you to "arm yourself"
with a nifty explanation as to just how prominent Mars still is.

For the story and complete details, please see the CURRENT NEWS at ASO
( ); you may use any or all of this
information provided that proper source credit (ASO) be given.  I think
you will find this interesting and useful in your upcoming Mars

Fun stuff....

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory
10 Observatory Hill Drive, Petit Jean Mt.
MPC/cbat Obs. H41 / Petit Jean Mountain
MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway
MPC/cbat Obs. H44 / Cascade Mountain

Subject:	Problems With Hard Stops
Sent:	Sunday, September 7, 2003 21:16:54
From: (Sanjeev Joshi)
Enjoy your website a lot, thanks for a very informative source on the

I have followed the process to set up the home position for Alt/Az for
my ETX 125 with Autostar v 2.6Ed software.  Keep repeatedly running into
hard stops regardless of how I position the dec fork with respect to the
control panel.  On top of it, perpendicular to it, a few inches away
etc.  This occurs when I am trying to do a two star alignment.

For example:

1.	If North is at 12 0 clock, and if I set up the home position
correctly with the control panel at 9 O clock,  the hard stops are at
approximately 6 O clock clockwise, and about 7 O clock anti-clockwise.

2.	If I pick Altair as the first star, the telescope's horizontal
goes through a hard stop at 6 O Clock turning clockwise (Altair's really
at 7 O clock), and then gives me a motor drive failure error.

3.	If I somehow position the control panel not at 9 O Clock but more
like 11 O Clock, the telescope slews to Altair ok.  But when the next
star is Arcturus, the telescope should have turned counterclockwise to
about 10 O clock.  Instead, it continues to turn clockwise, running into
another hard stop.

It appears I am facing these hard stops when aligning to some star or
the other.  Through trial and error, I can get the slewing to work for
many stars, but there is always a star or two for which I run into a
hard stop problem.  The standard process of control panel towards west,
tube facing north after turning first counterclockwise, then clockwise,
etc. does not seem to work.  What could the problem be ? I have
calibrated motors, trained drives, downloaded software, etc. repeatedly.

Would appreciate a response.


Mike here: Are you saying you can not rotate the telescope horizontally slightly less than two full rotations? The hard stops should be a little less than 720 degrees apart. If you can rotate the full range then you are not doing the counterclockwise rotation to the first hard stop and then back to True North. If you are doing the CCW rotation then there is some obstruction internally; possibly a wire. If it is a wire, don't force the telescope to turn; you could cut the wire and that would be bad. Let me know.
Subject:	Three ETX questions: Local time, voltage drop, and focal length.  (or if you prefer - one question on local voltage length..)
Sent:	Friday, September 5, 2003 13:25:00
First let me say I did buy your book since I last wrote you back in the
spring. I find it informative, entertaining and a great reference. And
of course the same is true of your website.

I've got three random questions for you and/or your circle of experts:

Where I live, at longitude 73 degrees 50 minutes, local time differs
form stadard time by about four and a half minutes. I needed to be
mindful of this when I laid out the sundial on my house. In addition, my
old Edmund Mag 5 Star Atlas which came with my first Edmund reflector
scope went on at great lenghts about making sure to understand that your
local time may not coincide with clock time - and that what mattered was
the Local Time at your observation site. Now perhaps I'm getting too
caught up in the semantics of this - but I'm curious - when Autostar
promps for "Time", and the radio ping says its 8pm , do I set the
autostar to 8:00 or 8:04. I surmise that since Autostar knows right
where I live, it may do the 4 1/2 minute adjusting internally. But
nevertheless Meade's use of the words "local time" make it sort of
perfectly obscure. Which is right?

Second question is more of an electrical issue, and may need referral

My front yard observing site is pretty close to the front wall of the
house - maybe five feet away . The ideal observing spot in the back yard
is about 25 feet from the back wall of the house. I've been toying with
the idea of keeping my 12v transformer for the ETX permanently indoors
in hte basement out of the weather, and instead having a little 12v jack
(shielded from AC interference) in an exterior watertight box outside  -
one out front, one out back.  Then I just carry out my length of
shielded low voltage cable with jacks at both ends, and connect my ETX.
No extension cords, no transformers lying in the dew..etc. Assuming this
is not a crazy idea to begin with, how long can a run of low voltage
cable be- and what gauge- without fear of voltage drop or other
electrical problems? Also consider that I would either have one 12v
supply near the back of the basement and one near the front, or, I would
design the connections inside to allow me to move the single12v
transformer front to back thus avoiding unnecessary runs of low voltage
cable across the basement. Any thoughts on this?

Third question is a result of not doing quite as well in algebra and
long division as I might have liked:

In spite of many years of owning and operating a 35mm camera, a number
of years owning telescopes, and a vast supply of books - those
astro-photography calculations still make my head spin. I still have
those moments of hesitation when I see a caption of a photograph  
....35mm camera mounted on 6" reflector telescope "operating at F
such-and such".... I'm pretty much aware of the operational principles
of the various setups -afocal, prime focus, etc. It's the math that does
me in.

By way of the five specific examples given below, could you (or someone
you know) walk me through the calculations for the "operating focal
length" of my ETX-125EC under the following conditions:

1. The stand-alone ETX  (Focal length (F)=1000,  focal ratio (f) = 5)
with the supplied 26mm Plossl is operating at  - what -  F 1000?

2. Eyepiece removed, Cookbook CCD camera with (empty) eyepiece tube
slipped into eyepiece holder. Image comes to focus directly on the CCD
chip, no lenses. What Focal length is the camera operaing at - F-1000?

3. Nikon Coolpix 5000 digital camera (with 7.1- 21.4mm 1:2.8 - 4.8 lens)
mounted directly to a Scopetronix superwide 18mm eyepiece with their
mounting ring set in the ETX eyepiece tube. Assuming the camera itself
is not zoomed in, what is the operating Focal length? What if I zoom the
camera to its full (optical) zoom setting? How do you set up that
equation?? Dare I ask what the image magnification would be?

4. Nikon F3 body, lens removed, mounted with a T-ring to the Meade
camera adapter tube ported into the rear cell of the ETX. What is the
operating focal length in this case - F 1000?

5. The Nikon Video eyepiece (which for all intents and purposes is
exactly like the Cookbook CCD camera) set up as described in number 2.

And, if you still have enough Advil lying around after all this-  dare I
ask what happens to the numbers when a 3x barlow lens is added into the

Many thanks

Steve Sudak
at longitude 73 degrees 50 minutes
at 4:20 EDT
operating at F=1 
with not enough volts, but plenty of "WHATS"
Mike here: The Autostar is smart; it can adjust for longitude. I'll leave the electrical question to the experts on electricity. As to the math, maybe it is just me but I don't worry about the f/ values when I do astrophotography. Yes, it can help in some situations, especially with film cameras where you might want to optimize the exposure. As to the calculations, I'm on vacation now and away from my photography books so can't look it up. I'll probably forget once I get home and this will get posted so probably someone else will respond before I remember!
By the way, please read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX home page. It really does help to not mix questions in a single email. Thanks.


Rearding my query on focal lengths - Oops... I read the values off my
chart for my Edmund reflector by mistake. Sorry about that.

The ETX you surely know... is F 1905 and f=15.

Hope I didn't cause your head any permanent damage with that one...:)

Mike here: Actually, it is 1250 and f/13.8 (for the ETX-90).

And more:

Sorry about the multi-topic e-mail. I should visit the etiquette section
more often.

Yes, the ETX90 is F 1250 and f/13.8. But I have the ETX125, which (give
or take 5 mm) is F1905 and f/15.

Mainly the root of my question was how one makes one's telecope
"operate" at a focal value something other than the established focal
value - unless (as I suspect) it has to do with the type of setup they
have employed - afocal, prime focus, etc. Skywatch 04' which I just
picked up yesterday for example has a great article on astrophotgraphy
techniques, but again leaves out the math. I don't blame them for that
at all - math doesn't belong in that kind of article. But I find I have
never found a clear, simple  diagrammatic explaination in the more
technical books.

Mike here: Yes, you did say ETX-125 but your initial 1000mm fl through me off. Sorry. Well, adding a 2X Barlow Lens will double the effective focal length of the telescope. Of course, telescopes with moving mirrors have changing focal lengths for different focus positions. And:
So I take the answer regarding time to mean - set Autostar to the
(EST/EDT) time given on the radio. I've tried both ways, and since the
minor required alignment ajdustments at startup seemed about the same
for both, I could never tell. But, as most folks unpacking thier
Autostar for the first time would probably just look at their watch to
set it, I suspected that was the answer.

Thanks again, and sorry about the multiple questions!


Subject:	Re: Flip mirror detached on ETX-105
Sent:	Friday, September 5, 2003 11:33:12
From: (James Clark)
Thanks for the tentative encouragement to attempt the repair.  I'm
really new to this and have only had the ETX (my first ever telescope)
for a couple of months.  Incredibly I found a guy at work (just from
talking about your email reply to my problem) who said he would help me
fix it.  Unbelievably this guy has several telescopes but also an
Aladdin's cave of gadgets including a laser device for aligning
telescopes.  Anyway, the mirror is back on, using this laser thing it
looks a degree or so off but that's ok cos the images are still good.  I
looked at mars and could make out some surface detail and a brighter
polar cap.  I've been looking at all sorts of other things on all the
nights since and it's just fantastic.  Thanks again for the advice, I
think I'm hooked.


Subject:	Can you use Bino viewers on an EXT 125?
Sent:	Friday, September 5, 2003 09:00:32
I   was wondering if you or any of the site readers have tried using
Bino viewers with the ETX125? If so, which ones and what was the result?
Did the scope have enough focus travel and "power" to operate correctly?

Clear skies,

Michael L.
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page.
Subject:	EXT 70-AT
Sent:	Friday, September 5, 2003 08:53:28
From: (Jorge Chaves)
Thanks for your quick answer. I decided to wait a bit to get the money
to buy an ETX-105. I realized the 70-AT would not fullfil my
expectations, so I better wait 6 or 8 more weeks.

In the meanwhile, what do you recommend me to better get to know the
cosmos. I like to read Sky & Telescope. Well, thank you.

Jorge Chaves.

P.D: Have you ever been here in Costa Rica. Its a really good place for
Mike here: Never been there. Sky&Telescope is an excellent magazine but then I've been a subscriber for 41+ years! There are many good books; see the Accessory Reviews - Books page for some.
Subject:	#884 ETX Dx Tripod
Sent:	Friday, September 5, 2003 05:06:43
A year ago, I purchased the #884 ETX Dx Tripod for my ETX-90EC from
ScopeTronix.  When I set up for a view of Mars, I noticed one of the
tripod legs didn't look right.  I discovered the black plastic cap at
the top of the leg was cracked all the way around causing the leg to be
loose and unstable. I contacted Scope Tronix, but they said they didn't
carry parts and I should contact Meade.  I have written Meade, but have
received no answer as yet.  I paid $200.00 for this tripod and have
taken excellent care of it.  Do they usually fall apart in a year...or
are those plastic caps an ongoing maintenance problem?
Mike here: Yours is the first report of this problem that I recall. It is plastic so could crack from stress or abuse. I suggest contacting Meade via phone; they might send you a replacement part.
Subject:	most used scope
Sent:	Thursday, September 4, 2003 20:44:36
mike,just wondering what scope do you
use the most out of the ones you own.
also what is your take on the mak verse sct issue.
did your maks or did the sct give you a better view of mars.
thanks in advance
Mike here: My most used scope over the long term is the ETX-90RA. The LXD55-8"SC gave me the better views but then it has 8" aperture vs the small ETX apertures.
Subject:	Re: ETX-125 hand controller malfunction
Sent:	Thursday, September 4, 2003 18:51:55
From: (Urs Schke)
Dear Mike,

you won the first price.
First, thank you very much for answering to my cry for help.
I thought I had seriously damaged the circuit boards either in the
Autostar or in the telescope itself with my stupidity (I had not enough
light and with multifocal glasses, ... ).
I was lucky, no physical damage at all despite plugging the wires
wrongly and trying to move the telescope electrically.
I had a RESET and MOTOR TRAINING. Wrong: I should have had a RESET,
CALIBRATION and MOTOR TRAINING. Now I did all this and I am back to
normal operations.

Thank you again.

Subject:	Meade Autostar Suite and LPI
Sent:	Wednesday, September 3, 2003 22:02:04
From: (John Larson)
What do you know about the Autostar Software Suite and Lunar Planetary
Imager?  It is advertised on on the back side of the front cover of the
October 2003 ASTRONOMY magazine.  Meade says (in the Ad),  "Visit the
Meade web site at ... for complete description of features and detailed
specifications.".  I did but could find nothing.

John Larson
Mike here: I only know what I read in that ad in S&T.
Subject:	Polaris & True north?
Sent:	Wednesday, September 3, 2003 16:36:07
From: (Michael Teige)
I live in a moderatly light polluted city (very polluted when the car
dealership 2 blocks from my house neglects to turn the lights off for
the night!) and therefore Polaris is not visible from the spot I do most
if not all of my observing from, the backyard. Almost all of the Little
Dipper is invisible. The Big Dipper is crystal clear, but that doesn't
help me much. My compass will tell me magnetic North, but as we both
know that is not the "north" I need. How can I figure out what true
north is without access to Polaris? I have searched the Internet looking
for site that could tell me what the offset from magnetic north to true
north and what few sites I found were most confusing.
Can you help?

-Michael Teige

P.S. I am going to attempt Dr. Sherrod's & Jordan Blessing's 5-part
procedure on cleaning and tightening the clamps on my ETX90ec as the
RA/Dec does not hold very well if at all, GoTo or tracking has NEVER
worked and it's out-of-warranty and Meade told me to buzz off by having
the manager I was transferred to never return my messages. I gave up
after leaving 6 different voicemails. I suppose I am on my own but the
instructions seem clear enough so I will give it a shot. I just hope I
don't find anything broken off in there.
Mike here: See the Astronomy Links page for Magnetic Variation sites. Let me know how your tuneup goes.
Subject:	ETX 125 Prospective Buyer
Sent:	Wednesday, September 3, 2003 08:41:04
Two questions; first one is about Dr. Clay supercharged.....if I were to
purchase a used scope that was "supercharged" from another area of the
country, would my new location interfere with the "go-to" programming?
Would it have to go back to Dr. Clay to be reconfigured?

Second question, are Meade UHTC coatings worth the small investment for
this size aperture? Is this a "you can't live without it" investment?

Just found your site, love it! And thanks in advance.

Mike here: You can change the Site location in the Autostar without impacting performance (as long as you enter the location accurately). And yes, the UHTC does make an obvious difference. Whether the extra cost is worth it, only you can determine that.
Sent:	Wednesday, September 3, 2003 04:54:54
From: (Cesar Brischetto)
Look, I've tried to contact APM-US in order to get a quotation/how to
order info. Still they didn't answer me. Do you know from when I could
get that zoom ep? I was reading the accesory review section on your
site, and I really liked the results as commented by the "happy owners"
of such Nikon zoom ep. Seems to be superb quality!
Ok, answer me whem you can, don't hurry.
Again, thanks a lot for the advices and the site!!!
Csar C. Brischetto
Service Division
Mike here: I have no info beyond what is posted. You might try an alternative dealer.
Subject:	motor shaft disc
Sent:	Wednesday, September 3, 2003 00:27:01
From: (Chad Zalunardo)
I have messed up the circular gear/ disc that attaches to the motor
shaft.  I accidentaly bent the disc while taking the housing off.  My
scope(for that gear) runs at full speed all the time.  What are my
fixes?  Thank You.
Chad Zalunardo
Mike here: Ouch. Check the Telescope Tech Tips page for the performance enhancement articles; some ideas there might help. You didn't say what telescope model you have but alternatively, you could contact Dr. Clay Sherrod for his Supercharge service. Details on the ETX Tune-up Service page linked from the ETX Site home page.
Subject:	Telescope Questions
Sent:	Tuesday, September 2, 2003 19:31:41
From: (David Bates)
First let me thank you for reading my eamil

Second, I need some help.. I bought a ETX-70AT.. which I LOVE.. and
couldn't beat the price I got it for..

However.. the real reason I wanted to get the scope is to get a little
close, and my main reason is to search out every nebula and star cluster
I can.. I'm fasinated with nebula's.. and I know absolutely nothing
about scopes..

My 70AT has a 25 and 9mm.. I was thiknin of get some lower eyepieces
like 3 and a 2 or 3x barlow..

But my question is.. what do you think the right scope should be... at
the time I got the 70 I was a little tight on cash, but now I'v saved up
some and could probably go to 1500 not over 2000 for a scope..

Let me know what you think.


"Never argue .... with the... DATA!"
  -- from Jimmy Neutron Movie --
Mike here: For serious deep sky work you will want more aperture. You should check out the LXD55 series. While the ETX telescopes can do some of the DSOs you really need more aperture. Have a visit to my LXD55 Site.
Subject:	Mighty problem.
Sent:	Tuesday, September 2, 2003 16:57:43
From: (sam)
This is Samuel from Spain. I own a ETX105 with autostar. This is a funny
thing it happened to me. Listen, listen. I power on my autostar, and
after checking everything goes well, becouse I am building myself an
remote observatory, I switch it off menawhile "initializing" appears on
the screen.

Next week you know what?

Next week I go to it and it doesn't power up. The power led on the ETX
lits, but neither autostar nor electronic controller power on.

My ETX is out of garantee, but if you know of any idea (or our dear Dr.
Clay by the way) of how to make the thing rise from the dead I would be
infinitely thankful.

Again to it: power goes in to the scope, but it seems it doesn't want
reach the controller, they seem as dead.

I opened the botton and had a look at the cable set up and everything
seems nice and pretty. There is nothing burned.

Please, help!!

Yours from Spain,

Mike here: Check the cable connector jack. Look for bent pins; if the pins are pressed too far to the bottom (or is it the top; I'm on travel and can't check) they won't make contact. You should be able to carefully bend them back towards the center of the jack so they will make contact with the pins on the cable end. Since both handcontrollers don't work, it sounds like it is a problem on the base side. If not the jack, then you have either a wiring problem (cut or broken wire someplace) or a circuit board problem. This is assuming that you know the batteries are good.


Sorry for the inconveniences.

Neither the electronic controller nor autostar work directly, but
through a long cable I set up.

I don't know why this is so... (I did some autostar update with this
long cable attached to the telescope and then to the autostar).

Weird thing indeed.



Subject:	EXT125ec  Moves slightly even when locked.
Sent:	Tuesday, September 2, 2003 13:17:39
From: (Doug and Louise Reynolds)
When I lock the base to use my Autostar it moves a 1/4 to 1/2" left to
right. Do you know of anyway to fix this so I do not have to send it to
Meade. Initially Meade told me this is normal while it was in warranty.
Then I called back after it was out of warranty and they said it was not
Any ideas?
Mike here: Well, I don't recall seeing any movement in mine (I can't check since I don't have it with me on travel). But as long as the movement is before you do the HOME position and alignment it won't matter. Could you be overtightening the axis lock?
Subject:	Focus
Sent:	Tuesday, September 2, 2003 12:48:18
From: (timothy dennis)
Mike: Thanks as always for answering in a timely fashion. The clothespin
trick seems to do the job for now. As it has been cloudy of late I was
only able to focus on a terrestrial object. It works! As the disease
progresess, I will look into the voice activated software you suggest.
Along with the ETX125, I have recently purchased a Orion 10 inch
Dobsonian so my Grandchildren can learn the Stars manually. Once they
know how to find objects with maps,etc, they will then be ready for the
ETX. All 4 are completely enthusiastic about astronomey. My 10 year old
showed me how to set the ETX up in Polar Mode. Must have come from their
PlayStations, Haha.

Subject:	re: Terrestrial Photography
Sent:	Tuesday, September 2, 2003 07:34:55
From: (Dave Wallace)
(This is in reply to the letter in General Feedback by
(Michael Stupinski)

regarding using the ETX90 OTA as a telephoto lens for terrestrial

I've done this with limited success.  I used a Slik U212 tripod fully
collapsed and had my camera (a Canon Rebel G) on a T adapter at the rear
port.  And I was less than pleased with the result.  A 1250mm lens is a
LONG telephoto and needs to be treated as such.

Also, remember, you're working with a slow lens -- f/14 -- getting
enough light to focus by can be a serious problem.  And your exposures
will be about a stop faster than "sunny sixteen" rule: brightly lit
objects will need about 0.5/ASA seconds (ASA being the film speed).  But
see the paragraph on vignetting, below...

Just as in astronomy, when you're aimed at a low angle, the heat of the
ground will cause rising air to affect the quality of the image.  In
astronomy, this is "seeing".  To the land-bound, it's "heat shimmer". 
With long telephoto shots, it gets to be a problem.  Aim for
middle-distance (hundreds of yards/meters, not miles/kilometers) and try
to shoot when the air is most stable -- just after sunrise on a cloudy
day.  Or aim for objects at higher elevations.

One use for the ETX that *does* work in bright sunny conditions is as a
long-working-distance macro lens.  I've gotten full-frame images of
flowers from around twenty feet (7 meters).  That's about as close as
you can get the telescope to focus.

Any source of vibration is to be avoided.  If the breeze is blowing,
don't bother shoot.  If the tripod is on a structure and people are
walking nearby, don't bother shoot.  Assuming you've found a windless,
vibration-free site, the next issue will be vibration caused by the
camera or photographer.

With an SLR, the mirror flipping WILL cause camera shake; you must
prevent this from affecting the telescope or your photo will show what
appears to be motion blur.  If you are using an SLR camera and it
doesn't have mirror lock (as mine didn't), your best bet is to use
afocal coupling and mount the camera on a second tripod, using a
light-tight cloth tube between the eyepiece and the camera lens to
prevent stray light from corrupting the image.  If your camera doesn't
have that issue, you will in any event need a cable release (or
self-timer) to avoid vibration caused by touching the camera while
snapping the shot.

The Meade T-adapter (#64?) designed for the ETX comes as two sections. 
To avoid vignetting, you need both sections.  This makes the lens even
longer (1450mm) but also costs you a stop (f/16).  Vignetting is also a
problem with 35mm cameras and afocal coupling because the camera lens is
much larger than the eyepiece.  Using the lowest-power eyepiece I can
get (the 40mm SP) and a medium telephoto (80mm) on the camera, I've
managed to avoid the vignetting, but that set-up has an effective focal
length of 2500mm and it is also f/28 because of that long focal length.

But if after all that, you're willing to try this... and if you have a
little good luck... there are some great pictures out there!

Subject:	ETX-90/EC Won't Move in Declination
Sent:	Monday, September 1, 2003 10:49:46
From: (Lance Wilson)
Great site! I have a problem. I have a ETX-90/EC that I purchased in
March 1999. I am embarrassed to say the last night (8/30) was the first
time that I have used it. Everything checked out OK but after I started
using it a bit I found that the motor drive no longer moves the telecope
in declination and that there apperas to be about 15 degrees of free
play when I move the scope tube vertically (lock on). The motor seems to
work OK and RA is fine. The Declination lock seems OK too. Any ideas?

Lance Wilson
Scottsdale, AZ
Mike here: Simple cure perhaps: unlock the Declination axis and move the telescope tube up and down (slowly) by hand, through the complete range several times. If that doesn't work, if you are using the Autostar, do a RESET, CALIBRATE, and TRAIN DRIVES (both axes).

And an update:

Thanks for the reply. I tried that first and it didn't help. Since it
was out of warranty and Meade wanted $75 to take a peek at it I decided
to give it a go myself. After disassembling the right fork arm the
problem became obvious. While the motor and control functions seemed OK
the worm gear was not moving. I removed the worm gear and nylon gear
assembly and I found out that the allen cap screw that holds the nylon
gear in place had essentially unscrewed itself. This allowed the nylon
gear to move freely on the worm gear axial shaft.

This was also causing the 10 -15 degrees of play I was seeing when I
moved the OTA vertically. I put a small amout of "loctite" under the
screw head and then retightened it. This solved the problem.



Subject:	ETX-90EC RA Bearing Problem
Sent:	Monday, September 1, 2003 09:28:18
From: (Art Kapoor/Judy Haxo)
MY ETX-90EC suffers from a shift in declination when slewing back and
forth in RA.  The scope literally moves up and down as I reverse
direction.  An inspection revealed that the RA bearing has play in it
allowing the bearing plate to move up and down slightly as the direction
in RA is reversed.  I broke the scope down to the point where I had
access to the rear of the bearing plate (this was a litlle tricky but
now that I know how to do it, it is really quite simple to pull the
scope completely apart).  The bearing plate has two holes in it that
look like were used at the factory to hold the bearing plate as the
large locknut was applied and tightened.  Has anyone else experienced
this problem?  Would tightening the locknut slightly improve the
situation? (I'll need to build a jig to hold the bearing plate steady to
do this as I suspect a great deal of force will be necessary to adjust
the locknut - and I'll need to remove the electronices so as not to risk
damage will attempting this.)  Thanks for your suggestions.

Art Kapoor

Subject:	Problems with a Meade ETX 125
Sent:	Sunday, August 31, 2003 23:34:03
From: (Claus Schieber)
two weeks ago, I bought an used ETX 125 (7 month old) here in Germany.

But it took some time to get good weather, so on Aug 29th I finally got
a chance to look at Mars and other object with good weather.

What I found was strange:
- I got no good sharp view. Mars was more of a colored disk
   than revealing any surface details.
- Clearly visible color artefacts: One side of the mars disk
   had a blue rim, the other side with a red rim.
- It was impossible to seperate the dubble stars of
   Epsilon Lyrae 1 und 2 (located direct overhead)

I placed the ETX outside nearly two hours before starting, so I think
the optics and the air inside the tube had the same temperature as the
outside air.

Today I tested the Meade ETX 125 against a 20 year old Celestron C8 on
terrestrial targets. It is very good, that both instruments have nearly
the same focal length (ETX: 1900mm / C8: 2000mm), so I get nearly the
same magnification.

At low magnifications (50x - Okular f=36 mm / 76x - Okular f=25mm) sharp
view on both instruments, but the C8 stays to be more clear and a little
bit sharper. While I increase the magnification (126x, 190x) the view in
the ETX gets blurry and it is very difficult to reach any usable view.
With the same okulars I get much more sharp views on the C8.

My questions:

Is it possible, that my Meade ETX 125 is optical misaligned or have
another fault in the optics ?

And what can I do to get the correct optical performance ?

What additional test can I make to find more facts about the optical
quality ?

I have already contacted Clay Sherrod with this problem, but I hope that
you might have some additional ideas.

Claus Schieber
Mike here: It could be that the ETX needs to be collimated. There are several articles about this, including doing star tests, on the Telescope Tech Tips page. But doing the collimation yourself can be a challenge and you may end up with the image worse than before you started.
Subject:	Re:  Re:  ETX-125 corrector plate cleaning?
Sent:	Sunday, August 31, 2003 18:15:45
That's exactly what I mean by their incomplete documentation.

The good news (if there is any here) is that I live about 5 minutes away
from their Irvine facility.

I'll pursue this with them and keep you posted- perhaps other Meade ETX
owners with the UHT coating will find the topic interesting.


Subject:	ETX90EC with 497 Autostar power problem
Sent:	Sunday, August 31, 2003 11:00:19
a few nights ago my power went off on the scope...
I use a cord from the car battery ...
the metal round plug that goes into the base of my scope was broken off ...
I cannot get my Autostar controller to power back up ...
the Aux ports still function my auto focuser ...
I hooked up the 'directional' only hand controller to the same port that
takes the Autostar - no power to it either...
so I assume the problem is internal with the autostar port???
any suggestions?
Mike Sterling
Mike here: I'm a little confused by your message. Do you mean the power jack or the power cord plug is broken? In either case, have you tried to use internal batteries? If they work you could stick to using them or you could rewire the external power connection. HOWEVER, if somehow the circuit board was damaged you will have to contact Meade.
Subject:	Mars through selected apertures
Sent:	Sunday, August 31, 2003 07:43:49
From: (Martin Lewicki)
I have a web page on the appearance of mars through selected apertures
for those who are wondering what to expect.

Martin Lewicki

Subject:	re lx 90
Sent:	Sunday, August 31, 2003 04:22:41
From: (Horace Sullivan)
this is a help call,I feel left out. your site expounds on ETX's , the
Meade site speaks only of ETX and LX 200. Where is a poor LX90 owner to
go?  Horace Sullivan -
Mike here: See the Astronomy Links page; there are some LX90 items there.
Subject:	ETX 90 problems
Sent:	Sunday, August 31, 2003 03:57:51
From: (Angela Macaluso)
We noticed that we could not use the controller to lift the scope tube
up or down nor could we get the electric focus to work. Is there any way
to see if this is the controller or is the problem with the scope or
drive motor of the scope?? The scope will rotate right and left using
the same controller. Should we use a friend's Autostar controller to
check if the problem is with the scope or original controller that came
with the scope ?  The Meade info we have with the scope does not
troubleshoot this problem.

Thanks, John Macaluso, MD 
Mike here: If you remove the electronic focus from the focus shaft, does it run when connected to the handcontroller? If so, then that problem could be that its gears are not meshing. As to the altitude slewing, with the axis locked can you move the tube easily up and down by hand? Don't force it; just check to see if you can do more than wiggle it. If the tube easily moves and won't still in place when the axis is locked, then it is likely the Right Tube Adapter has failed (Meade will replace it and it is an easy install). Lastly, have you replaced the batteries?
Subject:	re:  ETX 125 EC, Prices UK vs US
Sent:	Saturday, August 30, 2003 21:21:24
From: (Richard Seymour)
The -second- problem with buying a US ETX and self-exporting it
is the warranty... if you need to repair it, you'll need to return
it to Meade USA (and they may baulk at return-shipping it to the UK).

The -first- problem is that Meade does not let its authorized US
dealers export the telescopes.  They have franchise (read: "local
monopoly, but with the requirement that the local company provide
in-country repair and parts facilities") arrangements with their
non-US authorized distributors.

You can avoid both problems by buying a used telescope from
either dealers such as Rivers Camera in New Hampshire,
or Shutan, or  or eBay.
(used scopes don't have a warranty, and used sales are not 
impeded by Meade's "don't export new scopes" mandate.

good luck

Subject:	Telescope pricing?
Sent:	Saturday, August 30, 2003 21:17:32
From: (David Rostowsky)
Im a telescope newbie, and I really like what I see and read about the
ETX-125! Question, do telescope prices drop over time like PC's? Such
that if I buy one, and then the by the time Xmas comes along, I will see
it for 50% the price I got it for? Or do the prices drop more slowly?

Thanks in advance, love the site!
Mike here: Like computers, prices can drop before new models come out or the price can stay the same with new features added. But the timetable of price changes is totally under the control of the manufacturer so whether you would see any price drops by Christmas is unknown. Since Meade just changed the included options, I would doubt that any price drop would occur during the remainder of this year.
Subject:	Align Easy   problem with Auto star #497 - 125EC
Sent:	Saturday, August 30, 2003 21:11:34
From: (Ashok B Kumar)
Your site has been very informative.

I am a new user of the above. I am having the following problem:

Under Align Easy, when I press  or ^/v keys following the 'Centre
Polaris' and Press Enter mesge, the scope does  not move at all.

Appreciate your help

Ashok Kumar
Mike here: Have you tried changing the slew speed? Press any number, 1 being the slowest speed and 9 the fastest.


Your suggestion is right on target,  indeed just a couple of days ago
that is what I found after reading afresh the Autostar booklet(section
refering to Getting started!!!).

Probably the slew rate was = key push for 1, threfore I did not see any
movement. I played wiith the slew rate  settinng and it is working fine.

Now I'm a regular visitor to your web site, hope to learn more about
mighty ETX!!

Best regards,

Subject:	re:  ETX-125 hand controller malfunction
Sent:	Saturday, August 30, 2003 21:09:48
From: (Richard Seymour)
By plugging the internal cable in randomly
(attention other readers: DO NOT DO THAT!)
you have probably damaged the RA motor circuit card's
communication driver components.

Those parts are not used by the small hand controller,
but they -are- used to talk to the Autostar.

You may be "lucky" and have actually only damaged the copper
"wires" on the printed circuit card itself... careful inspection
with a magnifying lens and -feeling- the circuit board with your
fingertips may locate the damage.  Bypassing the damaged "wires"
with strands of wire soldered (carefully!!!) may restore the

good luck

Subject:	re:  Etx 125
Sent:	Saturday, August 30, 2003 21:03:04
From: (Richard Seymour)
Your PC can control your focus, too.

Meade used to sell (with the 505 cable, and included with some
ETX70 packages) a version of StarryNight which included Voice
Control.  I can only assume that it still exists as a feature
in StarryNight.  There are also a number of voice-to-PC programs,
Dragon NaturallySpeaking is the normal industry leader, but
IBM also makes a package usually found in systems owned by
visually-impaired folks.

I use  Meade's electric focuser with both my ETX90 and LX200gps.
It is -much- nicer than fighting the tiny knob, or even a 
FlexiFocus (which goes "bouncy bouncy" in a breeze, unless

good luck

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