Last updated: 30 September 2004
Subject: ETX 90 motor problem! Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2004 13:56:03 From: ..hfan.. Melwin (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hello Im a guy from Sweden and need some help!. Firs of all I want thank you for a great site! Now to the problem! Iv just brought a brand new ETX-90 at/UHTC telescope. I checked the manual before starting the scope. And did all the things I should have done before using the scope, such as testing motors, training motors, aligning etc. When I were ready, I wanted to take a first look at the moon. But on the way to it the disaster strikes! The horizontical (azimuth) motor started to sound strange (cracking) and the scope stopped to slew horizontical (the motor is running and cracking but the scope wont turn at any direction)..I dont know what the problem is, do you? Please help me on this one.. What should I do? Friendly grettings /HenrikMike here: Could you be overtightening the axis lock? It should just be finger-tight.
No I'v tried to untight and tighten it many times, With no success. It sounds like the motors`cog-wheels not is grabing eatchother when trying to slew..just touching eatchother and making a horrible sound. I dont know what to do. can I do something to fix it at own you think? Grttings /HenrikMike here: Since it is new I would suggest returning it for an exchange; it could be that some wire or other debris is catching.
Subject: sky chart for sea viewing Sent: Monday, September 27, 2004 08:10:52 From: Pamela Nelson (email@example.com) I have a pair of Nikkon binoculars (10x50), a compass and a red flashlight, is there a specific sky chart I need for night viewing at sea? I am taking a mini cruise from Los Angeles to Mexico and want to make good use of my night time by viewing a sky that is not polluted Is there a real simple fun book I can take to learn about constellations and clusters? Thank you again, from a ETX 70 owner PamMike here: You can download charts from many sources (Sky & Telescope, others: see the Astronomy Links page on the ETX Site). As to books, many choices; see the Accessory Reviews: Books page for some.
Subject: RE: 1244 focuser > it exists!? Sent: Monday, September 27, 2004 06:09:14 From: firstname.lastname@example.org It is still the same Meade USA Product Number (07077) and same Meade Product description number (#1244). The only difference is the distributor description and distributor product number, which confirms my understanding of how BCF said things are done. I'm still convinced that Meade are only making one type of item for the tow scopes and you need to angle grind it to fit the 105 or force it in to place and hope hosuing distortion allows the gears to mesh and not grind. Why not phone the German distributor and ask them if they are one and the same thing, a list is after all only a list, you can cut the data any number of ways. Regards Stephen BirdAnd the saga continues...
From: Audry Buysschaert (email@example.com) I insisted at our Meade importer for Belgium and Luxemburg (POLLUX). I contacted them by phone . It was in french but the translation is: "We already replied you that there are two models of the 1244. One for the ETX 90 and one for the ETX 105. You can buy it in any store while specifying it's the model for the etx 105. " Seems interesting for all the new customers interested in this accessory. Now I'm in search of one meade recognised optic shop in our little country that has had both products in hand and that could confirm me this (in our country we only have 1 Meade dealer who's a real astronomy shop, the other shops are merely optic glasses shops with little experience in astronomy) AudryAnd:
Good news if confirmed for new 105 users, but my angle grinder was cheaper than the 140 UK pounds they charge for a focusser in the UK, so I'll stick with what I've got. Still, strange how Meade don't seem to know about this alternate item that they are making! On the other hand, maybe not, knowing Meade!! Regards Stephen Bird "In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, in practice there is."
Subject: Meade Sent: Monday, September 27, 2004 13:53:34 From: Tom Gaffney (firstname.lastname@example.org) I bought a Meade telescope last year and still have not used it. I have been trying to find a source to help me. I need some instruction with the Meade. Do you know of anyone in the Tampa Bay Florida area that could help me. My email address is email@example.com. TomMike here: Have you checked a local dealer or local astronomy club?
Subject: Re: 1244 focuser > it exists!? Sent: Sunday, September 26, 2004 04:14:29 From: Audry Buysschaert (firstname.lastname@example.org) Extra element: see here the most recent price list of Meade Benelux. On the last page you can see they make a distinction between the etx90 and etx105 for the #1244 focuser (+ also a different but strange Meade US ref.) I could not find this on US-docs.Mike here: Meade's US site shows 1244 for 90-105.
Subject: etx 90 urgent help Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2004 14:17:33 From: Sleekit1@aol.com (Sleekit1@aol.com) I'm in the process of negotiatinfg purchase of an etx 90 uhct. The seller assures me its 6 months old and has photographed the optics as proof.Mike here: Well, the corrector lens looks clean. That's all one can say from the photo.
Any educated opinions would be of great assistance. Yours hopefully!
Cheers Mike superb site by the way : )
Subject: Re: Observing guides Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2004 00:47:05 From: P. Clay Sherrod (email@example.com) Hello Michael ..... thanks for the kind and desperate words. Absolutely I am planning on finishing the Observing Guides and it is a priority; in fact, many of them are well underway but not complete. It takes a tremendous amount of time researching the visibility of these objects in various apertures, which is the key to the guides and I simply have been swamped with research and writing at the observatory to the point where I have slipped those documents back too many times. In addition the past two years have seen the planning and move of our observatory to Petit Jean Mountain which was no small task to the tune of nearly $300,000 in construction, computer systems and equipment. After two lightening strikes since the move which put us way back on our plans we are finally more or less up and running (....sometimes away from lightening still....) Thanks for the gentle prod.....I will try to get to work on these as soon as possible and perhaps have a couple done by Christmas. Clay -------------------- Dr. P. Clay Sherrod Arkansas Sky Observatory Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC H43 (Conway) http://www.arksky.org/ ----- Original Message ----- From: Michael For quite a while now I have found your observing guides to the constellations to be simply the best introduction to observing I have read, anywhere. I regularly cut and paste observing notes and drawings from these guides to make up observing plans. However, whilst these guides are great, they are not complete! I have withdrawl symptons (a dry mouth, a nervous twitch and profuse sweating etc. ...) whenever I try to put togher a list which includes objects in Cancer, Canes venatici, Canis minor, Canis major, Cepheus, Corona borealis, Serpens, Lynx, Monoceros or Ursa minor. Please help relieve this unbearable suffering. Do you plan to write observing guides for these constellations? If not (great gnashing of teeth, woe is me) can you suggest another similarly focussed observing guides that would include objects for smaller telescopes (I have an ETX 90). Please, HELP! Michael
Subject: Meade ETX how-to videos... Sent: Friday, September 24, 2004 18:13:14 From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) I haven't had a centisecond to -watch- these yet, but the titles sound promising... http://www.meade.com/educational/etx%20videos/ have fun --dick
Subject: 4mm Sent: Friday, September 24, 2004 14:34:09 From: Kirk Van Allen (email@example.com) Hello I'd like to thank you for the questions you've answered for me but I have one last question. Does a 4mm lens make much of a difference from the 9mm and would you recommand buying one. Again thank you. Sincerly, Kirk (the amateur).Mike here: It will more than double the magnification of the 9mm but, depending upon the telescope, you could exceed the theoretical maximum usable magnification. If you are unsure about the formulae for calculating magnification, see the FAQ page.
Subject: Re: Polar Alignment Problems Sent: Friday, September 24, 2004 00:32:55 From: KlaraColli@aol.com (KlaraColli@aol.com) Based on my experience and your response, polar aligning the ETX with the 884 tripod is doable, but cumbersome and not very precise. I would not expect to be able to use the drift method to fine tune the alignment. I am not familiar with the adjustments on the wedges. What do they do? Can all the adjustments be done without moving the tripod (once its been leveled and correctly oriented)?Mike here: Higher-end wedges may allow precise fine-tuning in azimuth and altitude. On the other hand, if you use the Autostar, precise Polar Alignment is NOT required for normal viewing. In fact, Polar mounting is not even required for visual work.
Subject: Meade's New Deep Sky Imager Sent: Friday, September 24, 2004 00:06:13 From: Tony Bulat (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm sorry I've broken protocol here, but I spent most of the evening searcing your web site about any info concerning CCD's that could be used for astrophotography thinking I might find something about this new gadget. Perhaps it's so new no one has had a chance to try it out and report back to you yet. It has some appeal, cost being one ($ 300 ). It supposedly attaches to any scope, which also makes it quite atractive. I do question the resolution though, only 512 x 492 pixels. It also seems you must have a laptop handy to download the images. So what have you heard and what are your thoughts. Thanks for your time. Hope the big scope is doing great. Tony Bulat,Mike here: Yes, it is very new. What info I have received is posted on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page; see the "Meade Deep Sky Imager" link. There are some other CCD and imagers also on that page.
Subject: Hello - Link for new ETX based website Sent: Thursday, September 23, 2004 11:31:48 From: McCauley, Daniel H (email@example.com) I have been reading your site for quite some time and finally have purchased an ETX-125 telescope. I am in the process of putting together a website based on my experiences, modifications, photos, etc... of using the ETX-125. I was wondering if you could add a link from my website to your website. I will do the same for your site on mine. I just have a template uploaded now, but within a week I should have a working webpage. My site location is: www.easternvoltageresearch.com/astronomy/astronomy.htm Thanks much! Dan McCauley
Subject: Polar Alignment Problems Sent: Thursday, September 23, 2004 05:50:35 From: KlaraColli@aol.com (KlaraColli@aol.com) I am not confident in my polar alignment procedure for my ETX-125. None of the Meade instruction manuals or other articles I have read has answered my questions. I understand to adjust the 884 tripod to my latitude, make the OTA parallel with the fork arms and have the control panel face west. Now for the uncertain parts: Do I level the tripod? I would do this by leveling the plate the legs attach to. Now do I look through the finder scope or the 26mm eyepiece for Polaris? To center Polaris in the eyepiece, the articles say to move the whole scope and mount. If I move my scope and tripod, I am going to lose my level - right? Now I will need to rotate the tripod to point the OTA more east or west to align with Polaris and I will need to make another adjustment to move the OTA up or down to align with Polaris. Is this up or down adjustment done by adjusting the tripod leg that points north? Assuming the adjustments are made by rotating the tripod and adjusting the north leg, what is the best way to make these very coarse adjustments? It would seem if the ground is uneven, rotating the scope may yield unexpected and undesired results. Do I just go back and forth adjusting one at a time till I get Polaris centered in the eyepiece? And, is there a way to do fine adjustments? Thank you for your help and fantastic website!Mike here: You have the basic idea correct. Some tripods provide for fine adjustments in pointing; the #884 doesn't. So yes, you do have to move the entire tripod/telescope assembly to get the orientation correct. For best results, the leveling should be done. So yes, it can be a lengthy process.
Subject: Finding North Sent: Wednesday, September 22, 2004 00:42:50 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I have recently purchased an ETX90AT to use as a travel scope. My "Main Scope" is a Celestron 9.25 on a Vixen GP/DX mount with SkySensor GOTO. I am very impressed with the accuracy of the GOTO, from the limited use I've had so far the Autostar seems almost on a par with the Skysensor - maybe not in tracking but very good consedering the price. The optics are again fantastic for the price, even in UK pounds! Anyway, the main reason for my post was to ask views on using a magnetic compass to find North. When I first set up the scope I used a silva compass and found that if I got within about 18" of the scope and tripod the compass was badly affected, not surprising I suppose given the amount of steel in the tripod! I ended up sighting along the tube from a couple of feet away, but I wondered about those "alignmate" devices which you insert into the eyepiece holder - are they affected or do they have some sort of compensation built in - they seem like a good idea and would save carrying another two bits of kit than get dropped in the grass! As we all say Mike - fantastic site a great help to all us new owners and begginers. Chris Kit Hill Observatory Cornwall UKMike here: Magnetic compasses suffer from errors, either due to local "magnetic variation" (from True North) or local magnetic interference. If you can see Polaris, use that. Some locations have streets running on cardinal directions based on True North. Alternatively, if you know the sky well enough, once the Autostar has selected the first alignment star (using Two Star Alignment), pick up the telescope/mount and rotate it horizontally to place the alignment star as close as possible to the direction of the telescope. That will correct for a North-pointing error. Then continue the alignment as normal.
Subject: ETX-90 info please Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 2004 13:10:44 From: William F. Fore (email@example.com) I want to separate my ETX-90 from its yoke. You book doesn't mention how to do it. Can you tell me how to do it, or where I might find the info? Many thanks. Bill ForeMike here: See the bottom of this page: http://www.weasner.com/etx/90ec_comments.html
Subject: ETX / DS-mounted scopes and APM. Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 2004 12:49:34 From: terry bramwell (firstname.lastname@example.org) I've got an etx-70 and a retro-fitted gem (492 kit). They're both run with a 497 autostar. I also have a pictor 216XT autoguider/imager. Does anyone know how I may use it as an autoguider on these scopes? do I need an APM? Are the pinouts and control languages used by both the etx and the lx90 the same? Meade UK just want me to buy a new scope...... Thanks for a great reference library. Terry, Nottingham(UK)And:
From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) The Autostar will not honor APM inputs unless you have an LX90, or -real- LXD55 or LXD75 motor units. The Autostar will honor "LX200-style" serial commands arriving in its rs232 port. >Are the pinouts and control languages used by both the etx and the >lx90 the same? If you're asking about the rs232 ports and commands, yes. (after all, the 497 Autostar is common to both). Meade's Autostar Suite makes use of new serial commands and -can- do a better job of autoguiding the Autostar than other 3rd party programs which merely speak the rougher LX200 commands. The 497 Autostar does not honor -all- of the Classic LX200 commands. Autostar Suite can accept/control/use Pictor cameras. (at least, it claims to be able to... i don't have a Pictor). have fun --dick
Subject: Lost screws on tripod Sent: Saturday, September 18, 2004 15:47:20 From: Mike Snowden (firstname.lastname@example.org) I noticed the same thing and came to the conclusion that it is caused by over-tightening the screws into the base. You should be locking the scope base to the telescope base plate, and the lock washers should move up and down on the shaft of the screw. They don't, and when you tighten them against the scope base, they may pop off. Telescope House (aka BC&F) item AC513 "Replacement screws for the Meade 882 tripod" may fit an 884, if you have problems with Meade, but they don't look like they take the clip.
Subject: Re: 2" eyepieces with a 105 ETX Sent: Friday, September 17, 2004 04:04:27 From: boots (email@example.com) Thanks for your reply. I also have a 10" Newtonian that is 95% finished (hoping for a winter completion). 1.25" barrels would be fine as it can take both. The Naglers are really for that, but I would like to be able to use them on the ETX too in the meantime, as its such a handy scope to bung into the car and take with me. I have kinda come to the same conclusion as you thanks to some articles on your site. I have decided to buy a 22-24mm Panoptic for low power as they are 1.25". I shall wait till my 10" is ready then I may get a 2" 31mm or a 40mm Nagler. I only wanted to buy 3 but 4 may be more practical. Yes, they are a lot of money but by my reckoning they will be with me for life. And eBay offers some relatively inexpensive solutions occasionally. I have only started to get my age old fascination with astronomy into gear for the past couple of years. Youth has a habit of draining resources with drinking etc. So I am still a novice. I am still trying to get to grips with the technial side of the equipment. All the eyepiece info etc. Which can be a little overwhelming at times. Any advice on Naglers/TeleVue and ETX's would be welcome and much appreciated. Thanks. BootsMike here: The only Televue I have is the 2" 35mm Panoptic eyepiece that I use on my LXD55-8"SC (see http://www.weasner.com/lxd/8sc/observations/index.html).
Subject: 2" eyepieces with a 105 ETX Sent: Thursday, September 16, 2004 07:40:46 From: boots (firstname.lastname@example.org) First up, great site for us learners with ETX's. It's been a source of many of my answers. Actually, all my answers. Thanks. I have a question though. I have a 105ETX and I wish to buy 3 Naglers. High, medium and low powered. I note that low powered Naglers have a 2" barrel. Is there a conversion for this on the ETX? Also which Naglers would you recommend? Any help greatly appreciated. :o) Regards BootsMike here: Yes, you can get an adapter HOWEVER, you will lose much of what you paid the price to get. Are you sure you want to spend that much money and not be able to take advantage of them?
Subject: Meade SWA E.P. specs, eye relief Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2004 14:31:19 From: Mike Badger (email@example.com) I'm considering purchasing a pair (or two) of Meade SWA EP's for my binoviewer (10" LX-50), but am finding on 'the web' eye-relief numbers ranging all over the charts- since i have an astigmatism & prefer to wear glasses while viewing, this is a fairly important detail, & i'm surprised the values aren't better nailed down! The EP's i'm looking at are the 18's & 24.5's- what is your experience in this regard, if i may ask? My other choices are the U.O. Konigs (which i believe will not have quite sufficient e.r.) & the Siebert Ultra Plus's (they say 15-20mm e.r., but am concerned... i have no idea of their quality) Thanx in advance for your help/advice. -mike b., hollister, caMike here: I have no experience with those eyepieces.
Thanx for posting this to your site! Which heading would it fall under?... 'Helful Info', 'Accessory Reviews'? Will it have a blue 'updated' flag? I'll be looking. Thanx also for providing this forum- in scrolling thru some of the posts i picked up a reviewer's email, so i can direct a specific question to him!Mike here: Feedback: General.
Subject: kuma Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2004 13:06:15 From: E. Vaughan (firstname.lastname@example.org) Can you tell us the color of Nu Draconus or how many light years away Kuma is from the earth? Thanks, Mrs. Vaughan's Class Buckland SchoolMike here: Using Voyager III for Macintosh (also available for Windows), Spectral type is A and distance is 98.99 Lightyears.
Subject: 25M/M eyepeice Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2004 05:20:09 From: EWil1779@aol.com (EWil1779@aol.com) Would you know how many degrees are in the field of view of a 25m/m eyepeice using an etx-90.? Thanks Emmit WilsonMike here: Check out the Eyepiece Simulator on the Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject: three super items etx90 & etx70- sleep mode etx70 Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2004 03:56:58 From: email@example.com Picked up great information from you on the etx scopes, I have both an etx90 w/coatings and recently etx70, loaned out the 70 to encourage others in checking out the skys. First I wish to pass along three wonderful items I simply wouldn't be w/out, a 40 mm eyepiece gives the etx90 a wider field and aids in the alignment process using the wonderful autostar. As hate the small finder on the etx90 now have a green laser (find these on eBay and Amazon under $70, retail about $129)leaves a beautiful beam in the night sky, not just a dot but a nice trailing beam unlike the toy lasers, red dot variety w/no beam effect. Makes alignment of the two stars a breeze !! Leaves a dot over 1 to 2 miles, do not point it on land objects as example I was visted early AM w/entire local Water Company wanting to know what the green dot was doing flashing on the Water Tower located 3/4 mile away !! Is very bright so use w/caution, still would not be without it. Last have a Palm IIIc with the Planetarium Shareware software, is fantastic, will even move your scope by simply taping an object, has 9000 star data base, named stars, brighter NGC'S, on and on, red night mode display so not to destroy your night vision. Is just super, a whole user friendly sky chart in the palm of your hand. Last have one problem on the ETX70 on sleep mode, anyway to shut of the display, as stays lit in sleep mode ?? TX WARREN ..<>..Mike here: Does the display go dark after a few minutes of no activity?
Subject: ETX125 unknown spring popped out Sent: Monday, September 13, 2004 01:58:18 From: Peter Ransome (firstname.lastname@example.org) Wonderful site, thank you. As I removed my one year old ETX125 from its 884 tripod, I had just undone the two securing screws and taken the scope's weight when I heard small parts fall to the floor. I have found a light-duty black spring (8mm dia, 12mmlength), shiny high quality washer (6mm I.D.) and black circlip. (I am sure you're ahead of me :-) I cannot find their original location(s)! Too small to be a part of the securing assembly. I had just tightened the clutches prior to telescope removal, but they seem perfectly normal. Scope has no accessories apart from Autostar. Any help in this minor rebuild is geartly appreciated. Peter (2000 ft up in the Jura near Geneva)Mike here: Although I don't have one to check, I've read that the #884 tripod has springs on the securing screws.
Dead right! One spring must have been lost earlier, so when I checked and saw the two bolts the same I did not realize I had lost them both. Meade (bless 'em) is sending me an envelope. Peter
Subject: ETX 90 shots you might like Sent: Sunday, September 12, 2004 22:39:32 From: MICHAEL JONES (email@example.com) I have an older ETX 90 purchased at the Nature Store in Honolulu 8 years ago. I live with a great western view of the ocean and burned up many rolls of 35mm film capturing sunsets and green flashes with my Meade. I use a Nikon F3HP body attached to the telescope. Feel free to use any of the pictures as examples of what this amazing little scope can do under the right conditions. I also took it up to Mauna Kea when I was working with NASA on a project on the Big Island involving the Keck Observatory. Someone had installed a pier with a wedge correctly set to the latitude on the mountain. I just bolted my ETX to the wedge, flipped on the tracking and started taking pictures of Orion on night. I was amazed at how well the shots turned out and they were unguided as well. You can see my work at: homepage.mac.com/hookpilot/PersonalPage.html I have bookmarked your site. Lots of good info on the ETX. Best Regards, Mike Jones Honolulu, HIMike here: We enjoyed our trip up to Mauna Kea in 2000.
Subject: re: Electronic eyepiece focusing issues Sent: Sunday, September 12, 2004 21:45:59 From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) Although not a perfect answer, one approach -is- to simply focus on the Moon... and the stars will be in focus, too. (after all, at 250,000 miles, the Moon is close enough to "infinity" for camera work). have fun --dick
Subject: Electronic eyepiece focusing issues Sent: Sunday, September 12, 2004 18:07:58 From: HANDLIN@comcast.net I have been trying to focus the Meade Electronic Eyepiece on stars, but I have not been able to get anything but noise. I've used it successfully with the Moon, but I want to be able to use it to show stars and planets. How should I set the gain and focus to be able to see stars on the eyepiece image?
Subject: http://www.spiral-galaxies.com - suggestion for your reference section Sent: Sunday, September 12, 2004 02:18:41 From: Alwyn Botha (email@example.com) Please consider http://www.spiral-galaxies.com for your references webpage. It has pictures of ALL spiral galaxies larger than 3 minutes of arc in ALL constellations, arranged by constellation and viewing month. For ETX users it will be useful to know that the largest galaxies are all displayed at the top of each constellation page. I own a 10 inch Meade, but still refer to your website for info useful to me. Thanks. Alwyn Botha
Subject: Minimum Temperature for an ETX? Sent: Saturday, September 11, 2004 09:22:17 From: John & Andrea Beaderstadt (firstname.lastname@example.org) Was browsing your site and ran across a couple of vague references to lower temperatures. Just exactly what are "lower" and "minimum" temperatures for an ETX125 ATC? Even with the newer, aluminum gears, I'm still mindful that colder weather is coming and a large part of the ETX is still plastic. My own scope has received Clay Sherrod's "Supercharge;" does the degreasing of that process affect the operating temperature of the scope? Personally and physically, I consider 40 to 50 degrees F to be ideal observing weather; I'm not too uncomfortable at 32, but I absolutely refuse to go out below 25 or so. How would you guess my scope feels about these same temperatures?Mike here: People have used the ETX telescopes in sub-freezing temps. Batteries, the Autostar, and the lubrication don't like really cold temperatures. But other than that you won't have any problem if you keep in mind that the plastic can became brittle if exposed to below freezing temps for too long.
Subject: Supercharging, Aligning, etc Sent: Saturday, September 11, 2004 08:13:14 From: John & Andrea Beaderstadt (email@example.com) I recently received my ETX-125 ATC back from Clay Sherrod, who did one of his Supercharges(tm) on it. I've posted scans of his inspection and final report on my ETX page at http://www.pivot.net/~beady/tune-up.html. The links to the scans are at the end of the 2nd paragraph. I've showed the site to Clay, whose one-word response was "Wonderful," so I can only assume he wouldn't object to your making these scans more widely known. You might also want to read on down my page and see how I do polar alignment. It even works in full daylight. Also, here's a tip: There are two spring-loaded screws in the #884 tripod, which hold the telescope to the tripod. Quite often, the supplied metal retaining clips come loose when removing the 'scope, and the springs and screws fall out. I seem to have solved the problem by replacing the clips with rubber washers of about the same outside diameter; the diameter of the washers' holes are about 1/2 that of the screws, so the washers fit securely onto the screws and, so far, I've yet to have one come off. A small handful of washers costs less than a dollar. (Sub-tip: take one of the metal clips, in a small zip-lock bag, to the hardware store with you). Beady's Corollary to Occam's Razor: "The likeliest explanation of any phenomenon is almost always the most boring one imaginable."
Subject: ETX DEC. Motor Failure Sent: Thursday, September 9, 2004 15:22:47 From: Richard Blaisdell (firstname.lastname@example.org) Well three weeks to the day , my ETX-125 is home again. Meade only said in their paperwork "repaired motor mechanics". Now all I need are clear dark skies. Hurricane season is dampening my spirits though.Up here in the Adirondacks we are feeling the heavy rains from "Francis".While waiting for its return I went to Ebay and bought a refurbished by Meade DSX-125 as a backup scope from "starflyer137".I reccommend this seller. Not bad,basic optics, flimsey tripod,limited control panel and the DEC clutch required degreasing and extreme tightening so as not to slip. Still a satisfactory backup scope. Definitely not as good as the ETX and when brand new the same price. I purchased a Seibert Optics Blacknight Binoviewer And will give a report on it as soon as possible. Rick Blaisdell
Subject: Foam core for ETX-105 case needed... Sent: Thursday, September 9, 2004 12:02:24 From: Bill Holcomb (HolcombB@Amweld.com) I understand you must be very busy so I'll be brief. I am attempting to make a hard case for a 105 and cannot find the foam used by others on the site. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks in advance... Bill Holcomb Niles, Ohio
Subject: Scope shops in LA area Sent: Thursday, September 9, 2004 10:14:47 From: Jon Hickman (JHickman@bannerengineering.com) I am an amateur astronomer from Minnesota who will be in the LA area in just over a week. I have been a fan of your Mighty ETX site for the past few years, and really appreciate all the hard work you put into the site! I am also a fan of OPT in Oceanside, and have purchased from them through their internet site a few times. On my next trip to LA I will be based in the Santa Clarita Valley, flying into LAX. I was hoping to stop into OPT, but my location and timing won't allow me the luxury of a 3+ hour round trip to get to their location. I have recently ordered the DSI (from OPT!) and am looking at the LPI as well. Obviously, taking advantage of the full drive capabilities of these products demands a Meade scope beyond the limits of my poor little 70! Are you aware of other stocking dealers for Meade products (I currently have the ETX-70) in the LA, or more correctly, the northern LA area? Any advice in this regard is greatly appreciated. I will be stopping in one evening to the Griffith Observatory annex, and hope to make the drive up to Mount Wilson one evening as well. I appreciate any help you may offer. Thanks in advance! Best regards, Jon Hickman Senior Applications Engineer, Vision Sensors email@example.comMike here: Check out Woodhills Camera and Telescopes (http://www.telescopes.net/).
Subject: Focuser advice appreciated Sent: Wednesday, September 8, 2004 09:24:22 From: Jim Abraham (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have just acquired a new ETX125. I have been looking at various electronic focusers and wonder if any ETX 125 users have experience of fitting and using a Robofocus. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Jim Abraham
Subject: Meade ETX-125 Sent: Tuesday, September 7, 2004 16:49:04 From: email@example.com I just thought that I'd write to you to possibly get some opinion on my Meade telescope. First of all, I own a 10" 2120 LX-3 telescope. It works fine, and I have nearly all the Meade accessories that are company made. However, my problem is with my ETX-125. When I bought it through the Discovery Science store at a nearby mall, I was offered the "free" tripod, which I jumped at. Since day one, that tripod has been nothing but trouble to me. I like to shoot pictures of the Moon and sky through the scopes, but with the 125, the telescope head can never be tightened up enough to both eliminate vibration, and prevent the whole setup from bending over. If I set the scope to view a birdhouse, for example, it slowly slides until the telescope is visibly on its' side! I now notice that Meade makes a tripod with a new shaft that locks, thus giving the tripod more strength, and less vibration. Why I wasn't given the "new" tripod, I'll never know. Secondly, I bought the electric focuser for the 125, and it never worked right from the day I purchased it. It always jumps gears, and vibrates the scope more than if I manually focused it. Why am I mentioning this to you? Well, the Discovery store is no longer in business, and a Meade representative doesn't give me a call back, when I leave messages after telling the operator what I am calling about! Do you know of any direct Meade contact that I get in touch with to try to overcome these "glitches" in my telescope purchases? Kindest Regards, John WaltersMike here: I'm not certain what you mean by "telescope head". But the ETX locks will slip if you put a lot of weight (like a heavy camera) on the telescope. As to the tripod, if you got the "AT" model of the ETX then you should have received the #884 tripod. Otherwise you likely got a #883. You can reduce vibrations by not extending the tripod legs fully but instead keep them collapsed or minimally extended. There are other techniques for reducing vibrations such as using vibration suppression pads under the tripod feet or hanging a weight from the center of the tripod.
Where the telescope screws onto the tripod equatorial head, it cannot be locked thoroughly.What I should have said was the equatorial head on the telescope, either set on alt-azimuth, or equatorial position, it will "slip" like it was just loosely locked, no matter how tight I lock the knobs in the equatorial degree elevation mode as well.. It just seems like an overall poorly constructed tripod to me. It is the first time that I am dis-satiasfied with a Meade telescope item. The mount itself slips without anything put onto it, except an eyepiece, and that is NOT a lot of weight! I do have the vibration suppression pads. That helps a little, but my main problem is that tripod equatorial head that seems to be very flimsy. I use a Canon Rebel SLR digital camera on the scope, and that newer camera is very light in comparison to a standard 35mm type. I've had more serious type telescopes all my life, I love the 125... but the tripod leaves a lot to be desired.Mike here: There are some adjustments you can make on the ETX locks; see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page; lots of info there. As to the tripod, it could be that the lock is worn out. I don't recall any fixes being noted for that. Should be possible though.
Subject: ETX 125 - stars have suddenly become blurred - cannot get them sharp Sent: Tuesday, September 7, 2004 14:59:03 From: Gary Culpan (firstname.lastname@example.org) I've had a disaster. I've owned my ETX 125 for four months now and it has been perfect until tonight. It's probably the clearest night since I've had the scope. Very clear and cold-ish but not freezing cold. I was happily Messier hopping and all seemed fine. M13, M11, M57, M27 all great. Then I decided to look at a few close double stars and noticed something very wrong. The stars were blurred and I could not get them sharp. When using a high power eyepiece it was if I was looking at a star that's directly over an electric fire - just completely blurry and shaky - like heat haze. I cannot even resolve a simple double (ie Alpha Hercules) as the star is just a big elongated blob. I've done absolutely nothing to the scope that I can think of apart from I knocked the casing near where the eyepieces go with my Autostar - it was only a very minor knock though. It's like I'm observing stars very close to the horizon and one of the stars was nearly overhead ! Could it just be freak atmospheric conditions ? Could it be heat trapped in the tube ? I have defocused on a bright star and the secondary mirror is bang in the middle so it can't be collimation. I allowed a lot of time for the scope the cool down. I have just purchased a BC&F portable charger - I'm wondering if that's producing rising heat from under the scope. PS. No dew at all on eyepieces, main mirror or inside. Any ideas Mike ? I'm gutted - my poor ETX ! Regards, Gary CulpanMike here: At one time or another most of us (including me) have noticed a deterioration in the views, thinking that something has gone wrong with the telescope. Then when you look up away from the telescope you notice the fog bank or clouds or someone standing in front the telescope. Try again on another night.
And an update:
Thanks Mike, I later pointed the scope at a distant house window and it perfectly focussed on a wall clock so it must be the atmospheric conditions. How strange though. Regards, Gary
Subject: MEADE ETX-90EC external power supply Sent: Monday, September 6, 2004 14:29:59 From: T. Vu-Dinh (2BT) (email@example.com) I have a few 12V-DC power supplies laying around and would like to use them for the ETX-90EC. The user manual that came with the ETX-90EC does not state the polarity for the external power supply (Socket next to the HBX label). It does not even tell if the 12V-DC must regulated. Can you help? Thanks. Yours sincerely, T.Vd./Mike here: See the FAQ page for info on polarity. Also, there are several power supply articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
With the LM7812 regulator, http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/2004/powersupply1.html clearly implies the outer core of the plug (and socket) to be negative (GND). Still, it would be nice if you could confirm that (I don't want to cause damage to my expensive telescope after all!!!). Thanks for your understanding. Can I assume that the power supply is the same for both ETX-90EC & ETX-125EC ?? Just one more thing: Do I have to use regulated DC? I would be surprised if the designers of the ETX-90EC didn't have a regulator built in their electronics. Yours sincerely, T.Vd./Mike here: As I said, see the FAQ page for polarity info. What works for the ETX-125 will work for the ETX-90. And regulated is best.
Thanks for your message. Yes, I kept missing out the link to the FAQ page (I just found it now!!!), as I had too many windows open on my PC screen yesterday. Besides, people would always appreciate a little chat, even though the answer may already be available somewhere (Provided that you know ...where to look). Many thanks again, and all the best.Mike here: I don't mind a chat but I get so much email that referring people to various pages is more efficient.
Subject: EXT-105 Altitude lock problem Sent: Sunday, September 5, 2004 22:20:46 From: Dan & Marla Nikirk (firstname.lastname@example.org) No matter how tight I clamp the altitude knob on my 13-month old ETX-105, the scope moves up and down approx. 10 degrees. This happened last night on my second try at a two-star alignment. Everything felt fine on the first go around. What are some possible explanations for this condition? Have I broken something? Thanks, Dan NikirkMike here: The Right Tube Adapter may be failing. There are several articles on DEC (or Altitude) axis fixes on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: Fradulent emails Sent: Sunday, September 5, 2004 11:39:41 From: William F. Fore (email@example.com) Boy, they really must have your number. I have received a second fraudulent offer to "buy" my ETX-90, from Russia. The emil was a duplicate of the one I received two days ago, except it was signed by "Rose Donald" instead of "Kevin Smith." I have reported the sender to Fraud Watch International International Web Police and econsumer.gov. You may want to consider changing your webpage. They will go after everybody who lists items for sale on your site! Sincerely, Bill ForeMike here: The jerks are not just targeting my Site; they do that worldwide. But it is worthwhile to note that I do have an alerts page about this:
Subject: Question about using the ETX Photo Port without limiting vertical rotation Sent: Saturday, September 4, 2004 13:34:38 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) fantastic site. I spent many hours trying to get the Autostar Suite software communicating with the #497 Autostar controller. After I found your site and specifically the Networking setup page (http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/autostar_suite/networking.html), I had communications up and running in no time. Thank you for that! Now for my question: I have the Lunar & Planetary Imager (LPI) together with the Scopetronix Visual Back inserted in the Photo Port of my ETX-125 UHTC telescope. (The Visual Back makes the LPI parfocal with the 26mm eyepiece in the primary eyepiece holder). This is a nice setup because I can look through the eyepiece at an object, and then simply rotate the Flip-Mirror Control Knob to produce an already-focused image with the LPI. However, it seems that with an accessory in the Photo Port, the vertical rotation of the ETX is limited to perhaps 50 degrees -- so I cannot use this setup to look at objects overhead. I have played around with using an equatorial mount instead of Alt/Az mount, but that doesn't seem to help (in fact, the polar mount might even hinder the vertical rotation more with an accessory in the Photo Port). I have a #884 Deluxe Field Tripod. Is there a way to mount the ETX -- with or without this tripod -- such that full vertical rotation can be achieved while an accessory such as the LPI is inserted in the Photo Port? Randy Majors Niwot, COMike here: You could use a wedge that puts the telescope in polar mode. Depending upon your latitude that may or may not provide sufficient clearance.
Subject: Focal reducer Sent: Thursday, September 2, 2004 13:51:23 From: Saverio Riboli (firstname.lastname@example.org) Can i use the focal reducer f/0.3 of the meade on my etx 90 ec? ThankyouMike here: You will likely need an "SCT Accessory Adapter"; see the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page.
Subject: ETX 105 gearbox damage Sent: Wednesday, September 1, 2004 04:20:15 From: Duncan Rosie (email@example.com) I had exactly the same problem, I think, on my new ETX-125 have a look at http://www.cloudynights.com/reviews5/etx125.htm for a review of the scope which includes a description and photos of the problem. There is also a more detailed description and photos on Mike's site as well under general a couple of months back. Regards, Duncan RosieAnd:
From: rdl (firstname.lastname@example.org) Mike, Thank you for your help. You do a great job with your website for us amateur observers. Regards RonyAnd more:
From: Duncan Rosie (email@example.com) Meade UK sent me a replacement motor section which I fitted myself. The scope is working fine now and I'm enjoying some really good evenings with it. Once you get yours fixed, make sure to spend some time retraining the drives, etc. and take your time setting it up - level the tripod, level the tube, find true North as accurately as you can - all this greatly assists the GOTO accuracy. Also, if you can, get a powertank 7 Ah battery from a camping goods store to use as a power supply - much more stable and reliable than batteries. Regards, Duncan Rosie
Subject: GPS for the ETX-125? Sent: Wednesday, September 1, 2004 03:21:03 From: webmaster (firstname.lastname@example.org) What do you think of these ETX-GPS kits that are advertised in Sky & Telescope and other magazines? Have you tried them? Do you think they're *really* useful? And if so, which one is best (because there are many different prizes for the same thing!)? Best regards, ============================ Anselmo Perez Serrada http://www.relojesdesol.orgMike here: See the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page; there are some comments, including mine, on a GPS system.
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