Last updated: 30 September 2004
This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX and DS models. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	ETX 90 motor problem!
Sent:	Wednesday, September 29, 2004 13:56:03
From:	..hfan.. Melwin (
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 /Henrik
Mike 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 /Henrik
Mike 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 (
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

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
Mike 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
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.


Stephen Bird
And the saga continues...
From:	Audry Buysschaert (
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)

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!!


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 (
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 Tom
Mike 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 (
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: (
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

Any educated opinions would be of great assistance. Yours hopefully!
Mike here: Well, the corrector lens looks clean. That's all one can say from the photo.


Cheers Mike

superb site by the way  : )

Subject:	Re: Observing guides
Sent:	Saturday, September 25, 2004 00:47:05
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
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.
Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
----- 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!


Subject:	Meade ETX how-to videos...
Sent:	Friday, September 24, 2004 18:13:14
From:	Richard Seymour (
I haven't had a centisecond to -watch- these yet,
but the titles sound promising...

have fun

Subject:	4mm
Sent:	Friday, September 24, 2004 14:34:09
From:	Kirk Van Allen (
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: (
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 (
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

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 (
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:

Thanks much!
Dan McCauley

Subject:	Polar Alignment Problems
Sent:	Thursday, September 23, 2004 05:50:35
From: (
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
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.

Kit Hill Observatory
Mike 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 (
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 Fore
Mike here: See the bottom of this page:
Subject:	ETX / DS-mounted scopes and APM.
Sent:	Tuesday, September 21, 2004 12:49:34
From:	terry bramwell (
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)
From:	Richard Seymour (
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

Subject:	Lost screws on tripod
Sent:	Saturday, September 18, 2004 15:47:20
From:	Mike Snowden (
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 (
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.

Mike here: The only Televue I have is the 2" 35mm Panoptic eyepiece that I use on my LXD55-8"SC (see
Subject:	2" eyepieces with a 105 ETX
Sent:	Thursday, September 16, 2004 07:40:46
From:	boots (
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)
Mike 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 (
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, ca
Mike 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
Mike here: Feedback: General.
Subject:	kuma
Sent:	Wednesday, September 15, 2004 13:06:15
From:	E. Vaughan (
Can you tell us the color of Nu Draconus or how many light years away
Kuma is from the earth?
Mrs. Vaughan's Class
Buckland School
Mike 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: (
Would you know how many degrees  are  in  the field of view of a 25m/m
eyepeice using an etx-90.?
Emmit Wilson
Mike 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
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 (
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

(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.

(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.


Subject:	ETX 90 shots you might like
Sent:	Sunday, September 12, 2004 22:39:32
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:

I have bookmarked your site. Lots of good info on the ETX.

Best Regards,

Mike Jones
Honolulu, HI  
Mike 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 (
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

Subject:	Electronic eyepiece focusing issues
Sent:	Sunday, September 12, 2004 18:07:58
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: - suggestion for your reference section
Sent:	Sunday, September 12, 2004 02:18:41
From:	Alwyn Botha (
Please consider for your references

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.


Alwyn Botha

Subject:	Minimum Temperature for an ETX?
Sent:	Saturday, September 11, 2004 09:22:17
From:	John & Andrea Beaderstadt (
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 (
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  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 (
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 (
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 (
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
Mike here: Check out Woodhills Camera and Telescopes (
Subject:	Focuser advice appreciated
Sent:	Wednesday, September 8, 2004 09:24:22
From:	Jim Abraham (
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
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 Walters
Mike 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 (
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 !

Gary Culpan
Mike 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.


Subject:	MEADE ETX-90EC  external power supply
Sent:	Monday, September 6, 2004 14:29:59
From:	T. Vu-Dinh (2BT) (
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,
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, 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

Yours sincerely,
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 (
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?
Dan Nikirk
Mike 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 (
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

You may want to consider changing your webpage.  They will go after
everybody who lists items for sale on your site!


Bill Fore
Mike 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: (
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
(, 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, CO
Mike 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 (
Can i use the focal reducer f/0.3 of the meade on my etx 90 ec?
Mike 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 (
I had exactly the same problem, I think, on my new ETX-125  have a look
at 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.


Duncan Rosie
From:	rdl (
Mike, Thank you for your help.

You do a great job with your website for us amateur


And more:
From:	Duncan Rosie (
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

Duncan Rosie

Subject:	GPS for the ETX-125?
Sent:	Wednesday, September 1, 2004 03:21:03
From:	webmaster (
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
Mike here: See the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page; there are some comments, including mine, on a GPS system.

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