DS MODELS USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 27 September 2005
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade DS telescope models. Accessories and Feedback items appropriate to the ETX models are posted on other pages as appropriate. 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:	Meade DS-90EC Which Autostar?
Sent:	Monday, September 26, 2005 11:38:50
From:	Paul Temple (phxbird@hotmail.com)
I just got a used DS-90EC with autostar. Which autostar usually came
with this model? Is there a way to tell which autostar controller you
have?

Also, I really like the 90mm refractor! Great views, even with a little
blue fringing!

Paul Temple
Chinle, AZ
Mike here: I believe it came with the Autostar #494; no number keys on the keypad. The #497 Autostar has number keys.

And:

Interesting! Mine has number keys! Thanks for the info I really
appreciate it.
Paul Temple

Subject:	meade ds telescopes
Sent:	Thursday, September 22, 2005 12:38:59
From:	Jackie Ashley (jacks2793@comcast.net)
I am thinking of buying a Meade DS 114 ATA telescope. I saw it at Sams
today and the price seemed very good. Your web page came up first on my
search engine and you seem to make a lot of useful suggestions to
everyone and know what you're talking about. I want a telescope that
will follow a star or object once set on it, and that is easy to use.
Please would you let me know if this is a good telescope or if I should
be looking at a different one? I have to admit I was expecting to pay
considerably more than $200 but if this does what I want and there are
no major problems with this model then I will just get it.

If you answer questions and your website is still active please reply to
me at jackieash@yahoo.com

Thanks in anticipation.

Jackie Ashley
Mike here: Please read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page re: email addresses. Thanks for understanding.
As to the DS telescope, yes, it will track the sky once you have set it up and aligned it using the handcontroller. However, keep in mind that your expectations of what you will see through it and what it will actually deliver may be two different things. If you are disappointed you will have made the wrong choice. Aperture and focal length are the two keys to performance. The larger the telescope the more light that will reach your eye and the higher magnifications you will be able to use. The longer the focal length the higher the magnification you will get from an eyepiece compared to a shorter FL telescope with the same eyepiece. As I say many times, the best telescope is the one that gets used and not put into the closet because it doesn't match the user's expectations.
Subject:	Terrestrail viewing with DS2114-ATS
Sent:	Tuesday, September 20, 2005 23:55:42
From:	Arthur Case (az_geezer2@msn.com)
The Meade website recommends a refracting type telescope like the ETX-70
for combined celestial and terestrial viewing, but I like the specs for
DS2114-ATS and the price for the DS is only slightly higher. I have a
great view of mountains a mile to 5 miles away. Would the DS2114 be
adaptable to this type of viewing? Perhaps there is a lens or adapter
that would give a broader field of view than the lenses that come with
the instrument. Thanks.

Art Case
Mike here: Just about any telescope can be used for terrestrial use. You can get wide field adapters or wide field eyepieces or even lower power (longer focal length) eyepieces. Depending upon whether image reversal bothers you or not, you may wish to get an image corrector suitable for the telescope design.
Subject:	I got a DS2130AT .. what should I see?
Sent:	Tuesday, September 20, 2005 14:46:37
From:	Max Martnez (maxrafaelmartinez@yahoo.com.mx)
Hi, I just got my telescope, and I'm ready to start. I just want to know
what am I goint to be able to see with this telescope. It has a 130 mm.
I allready looked at the moon. What do you recomend me to look at?
 
Thank You
Mike here: Well, look at everything! (except the Sun unless you get a proper filter) If you have dark skies let the Autostar be your guide (use the "Tonight's Best" function). As to what and how well you will be able to see objects, maybe that's a question you should have asked before you purchased the telescope. You may already have expectations of what you'll be able to see and the telescope may not match those expectations (true of many telescopes, not just the one you bought). But read the manual indoors three times, play with the telescope indoors until you know how to use it, then go outside and start exploring.
Subject:	DS 2090
Sent:	Monday, September 19, 2005 20:39:49
From:	phazelag@aol.com (phazelag@aol.com)
I have a DS 2090 and I have been around ETX's and LX?s with other
Astronomy club members and have used them with no problems.  I have
moved and have no other help at this point.  But I cannot figure out how
to change the slew speed using the ? Button.  I am trying to change it
so I can center the alignment stars.

Right now it is moving so slow I cant center them.
 
Thanks for you help
  
Scott
Mike here: Are you saying that the instruction in the manual "Pressing the SPEED/? key changes the slew speed, which is then shown for about two seconds on Autostar's display." doesn't work for you?

And:

Yes thats exacly correct!  Any Ideas?  I reset, calibrated the drives
and trained them fine, but the slew speed doesnt even come up when press
the ? button.
 
Thanks
 
Scott 
Mike here: Just to confirm: the controller does not have number keys and so the only way to change the speed is with the SPEED key. If so, check for a "sticky" key.

And:

The Controller is #497 and does have number keys, but shows in manual to
press the ? button and I have tried pressing number keys but nothing
happens.  When I press the ? nothing shows on the screen that anything
is happening and doesnt show slewing speed.
 
Thanks
 
Scott
Mike here: The #497 Autostar uses the number keys to change the slew speed. Just press 9 and see if it slews at the fastest speed.

And:

I see in the manual where you hve to press the number keys to change
speed and when I press them the speed does show on Screen and I am
assuming it is working.  But it does say in the Manual to press the ?
and that does not work.

But more importantly during alignment the scope moves to the alignment
star quickly and is in the ball park, but then after it beeps and says
"center and press enter" it makes a semi high pitch prossessing sound
like a hard drive defragging, but in a higher tone.  And when I try to
center it sounds like it is moving in the slowest mode and can barely
see it move and no matter what speed it is on it act like it is stuck.

I have reset, calibrated and trained the motors also.
 
Scott
Mike here: The manual is assuming a different Autostar model. Could you be overtightening the axis locks?

And:

Just pressed enter and faked the alignement and the scope said
"alignment successful".  Even after that when the menu says Select Item
Object.   The scope will not slew at that point at any speed.  It only
slews prior to easy align or during a utility setup like Training.
Mike here: When you select an object to GOTO, you have to then press GOTO to actually tell the telescope to start slewing.

And:

I am sorry for so many email.  I called meade and the guy ( who had the
personality of a door matt)  said the 33NE software I had needs to be
changed.  So I am now going to try and get a cable so I can download the
new software.

I was hoping to do it today, but I am guessing the only place to get
this cable is online.
 
Thanks
 
Scott
Mike here: You can easily make a #505 serial cable; see the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. Your computer will need a RS-232 port.

And more:

Mike thanks for your help,
 
The manual refers to the 494 pressing the ?/speed button for slew speed
and the 497 supplement also mentions that and its not true.  Other than
that a reset and unwrap following the more knowledgeable meaded reps
advice fixed it.
 
Scott 

Subject:	Trying to identify a Meade Scope.
Sent:	Wednesday, September 14, 2005 09:10:07
From:	Dave Shriner (DaveS@Routescape.com)
I was curious to find out as much about a scope I just bought. I can't
seem to find any other reference to it. Perhaps you are aware of it and
can point me to some specifications if possible. Meade made a Telestar
reflector (appears to be a Neutonian style) that had a 7 inch diameter
and I believe an 1100mm length tube with the Autostar system. Does this
ring a bell with you? I've spent some time looking through your
archives, but haven't found anything about it yet.

Dave Shriner
Mike here: See the Meade manuals page: http://www.meade.com/manuals/index.html.
Subject:	DS-2000
Sent:	Saturday, September 3, 2005 19:36:14
From:	Lynn Stephenson (lynnmstephenson@hotmail.com)
I happen to be on vacation and at a yard sale today, saw a Meade DS-2000
Telescope on sale for $175.  I want to move into a larger aperture: 
this would move me from rouighly 4.5" to 6.0".  The person selling it
says it was purchased in 2003.

The DS-2000 appears to have eyepieces with diameters smaller than 1.25
inches which my Meade DS-114 currently has.  May the "eyepiece holder"
on the DS-2000 be altered or uipgraded to accept 1.25" or 2.00" diameter
eyepieces?

There is a CD with this DS-2000 telescope which the seller claims can be
used with a laptop computer and to use the telescope as a "GoTo"
telescope.

The DS-114 I currently have have has AutoStar with it (I forget the
model) that has 10 buttons like a telephone to adjust slewing speeds,
etc.  Is this usable with the DS-2000 since it is equipped only with a
simple electronic control containing four directional arrows as well as
"enter," "mode" and "GoTo?"

Hope this all makes sense!  I need to make mu decision by sometime on
Monday when we head back home!
 
Thanks for your advice!
 
Sincerely,
Lawrence Rappoldt
Mike here: Yes, you can use your Autostar #497 with the DS-2000 telescope. Keep in mind that you have to CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES each time you move the Autostar to a different telescope. As to the eyepieces, they are probably 0.965". There are adapters for 1.25"; contact Meade as they might send you one. However, you may get some vignetting with some since the diameter is smaller.
Subject:	DS2130AT slew, focus, tracking problems
Sent:	Thursday, September 1, 2005 21:12:45
From:	Trish H (irnrs@yahoo.com)
I have a DS 2130AT. It has been very difficult to enjoy any observing
sessions since I purchased it. I have had problems with the motors,
Meade replaced. It is now out of warranty. I have used it twice since
they replaced it and am still having the same problem. I do the align,
just as instructed, it goes to the alignment stars without a hitch, with
them in the field of view. When I try to GoTo it will not slew in all
directions. It seems to be hesitating or not moving at all.

I also am having problems with the focus. I have purchased Orion expanse
eyepieces and the view through them in the daylight is spectacular,
however, when I attempt to look at anything at night I am unable to get
them to focus. I have collimated as per the instructions on your web
site and it appears to be in perfect alignment. At least in the
daylight.

And last but not least. When I lock on something I wish to track it
seems to surge and move ahead until the object is out of the field of
view. The frustration level is getting very discouraging. I also have an
ETX 70AT and the drive and tracking on it is perfect. I wish my 2130
worked as well. I would be satisfied with just using the ETX except it
doesn't have the aperture the 2130 has. Can you help?

Thanks
Trish in VA
Mike here: Some points on the tracking and slewing. Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES? Have you tried changing the slewing speed to something faster? Be certain to not over or undertighten the axis locks. As to focus, you didn't say what magnification you have the problem with but keep in mind that there is a maximum theoretical magnification (see the FAQ page if you don't know how to calculate that) and as you get closer to that magnification the image will begin to deteriorate and get fuzzy. The brighter the object the less apparent this affect is, which could explain what daytime objects are OK and dimmer objects in the night sky are affected.

And:

Thanks for the quick response and the resourceful website. I am having
the focus problems with all eyepieces. I have used anything from 6-20
with and without a 2x barlow. I have tried the range of slew speeds. I
have also completed the calibrate and train twice. I have been very
careful not to order eyepieces that will overextend the mag limits. My
original base/arm was replaced due to overtightening, so I learned my
lesson there. The only object I have been able to view without all these
problems is the moon.

I gratefully appreciate any help you can give. I love astronomy but the
frustration level is just overwhelming. The amount of money I have spent
is a big factor on continuing to struggle.

Thanks again
Trish
Mike here: Well, the telescope optics could be out of collimation. Check the manual for information on correcting it. As to the motor problems, what type of batteries are you using?

And:

I did the collimation step by step with the book and the video from the
Meade website. I have used new batteries, and the AC adapter from Meade.
Still does the same thing. It will work for a few minutes then start
slipping. It slips mainly to the left seems to work fine in the other 3
directions. I wonder if the leather washer fix will correct the problem.
Trish
Mike here: If the stars are not reasonable pinpoints of light (with perhaps an Airy Disk) then definitely some is out of whack with either telescope optics or those eyepieces. Since your initial comparison was to bright daytime objects, check the Moon in a few evenings. As to the drive slippage, could be that the axis is TOO tight although it could also be that a gear is busted. Due you hear any clicking or see any jumping in the eyepiece view? Lastly, you might try redistributing any lubrication (I'm not certain what the DS has). Unlock the axes and slowly move the telescope tube by hand, back and forth, and up and down, several times. Keep in mind that when you change power sources (batteries to AC or even replacing the batteries) you need to CALIBRATE MOTORS again.

And:

The stars are bright pinpoints. But it wont focus on anything else. By
this I mean whatever I look at looks the same. It doesn't seem to
"magnify" anything. I had it out last night attempting to see Jupiter
and Venus and they just looked like pinpoints too. I tried the 20mm, 9mm
and 6mm. With and without the Barlow (2x). I did notice a slight jarring
in the eyepiece but figured that was due to my attempts at focusing.

We just rotated the drives as you instructed and it moves smoothly. Also
the lock knobs are finger tight and with a small amount of effort you
can manually move the scope. I haven't tried to use batteries since the
last time I retrained. I will try to look at the moon again, which as I
said before is just about the only object I have been able to observe
with this scope. I know it is capable of more I just cant figure out how
to achieve it.

Trish
Mike here: Ah ha. Now we get to the real problem: your expectations. This is typical of new telescope users. They can expect to see more than their telescope can deliver. Actually, with Jupiter you should be able to see at least two cloud bands and 1-4 of its moons. With Venus right now you should be able to see that it is not round, but slightly gibbous, like a Gibbous Moon. When the Moon reappears in the sky, look at it. You will see a lot there. Stars, on the other, can not be magnified since they are too far away. Once you solve the other problem you should be able to observe (if you have reasonably skies) fainter objects. Right now, M57 (the RIng Nebula) and M13 (the Great Globular Star Cluster in Hercules) will make fine objects to start with.

And:

I dont believe my expectations are to high. I would just like to see the
objects you just mentioned. I can't see any of these. I can only see the
moon with any definition. I am not positive I am focusing correctly or
if its the scope. Venus looks like a star and Jupiter the same. Is the
2130 not supposed to obtain better views then the ETX 70, due to the
aperture of course being larger in the 2130?
Trish
Mike here: Well, yes, with its 1000mm focal length vs the 350mm of the ETX-70, you should get about a 3X increase in size with a given eyepiece. There is no way that Jupiter should appear like a star. It should definitely have a distinct disk vs the pinpoint of light you see with a star.

And:

Ok Thats what I thought. I have read numerous yahoo groups, your site
and the meade site and I guess I will just have to keep trying. I have
had this particular scope for 2 years and the ETX 1 year. I havent been
able to see these simple objects yet. Although I did get a comet last
year with it. So I know it is capable of viewing the planets clearly.
Thanks and keep up the great site. If you have any other suggestions
please email me.
Thanks again
Trish

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