ETX PREMIER EDITION FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 27 September 2005
This page is for user comments and information specific to the ETX PE (Premier Edition). Feedback on the specific PE technologies (Automatic Alignment + SmartFinder, Level North Technology) will be covered here. Feedback on the Autostar Suite AE (Astronomer Edition) will be posted on the regular Autostar Suite feedback page. Items that are applicable to all ETX models (EC, AT, PE) will continue to be posted on the other appropriate feedback 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:	1 X finder
Sent:	Friday, September 23, 2005 09:44:22
From:	Robert B. White (rbwhite@compusmart.ab.ca)
Is there any reason one must use the 1X red dot finder that now comes
standard on the ETX125I only ask because of its integration with the LNT
module. I don't like it, and I would like to mount and use an Antares
optical finder with 90 degree eyepiece.

Regards,

RBW
Mike here: Its use is NOT required for LNT operation.
Subject:	Stuck with ETX 105 PE
Sent:	Friday, September 23, 2005 09:14:43
From:	anne.macfarlane@vodafone.net (anne.macfarlane@vodafone.net)
please excuse short to the point msg but on holiday on mobile internet
so expensive.  I can't get my ETX PE to align - when I try - it selects
VEGA - fine no problem but when it goes to VEGA the scope points high
but distinctly north and Vega is high but to the south.

I am in S of France Lat 43.44 and  Long 0.0.  so although local time is
GMT (UT) +2 they are on CEST from the longtitude I am assuming that the
time in AUTOSTAR should be set at UT ie local -2.  However this time
does not work nor does UT +1 or indeed UT +2.  From the angle of the sun
I would estimate that the UT is the  more accurate but I can't get the
scope close to any alignment star.  I have tried using Bordeaux as
nearest city - still no luck.   I have checked that the autostar has the
correct data and I have also phoned Broadhurst Clarkson and Fuller who
supplied my scope in the UK.  I had  a problem where I tried easy align
and selected MIRAK and it told me it was below horizon which of course
it never is here or the UK.  Shop advised double reset - this done and
all training done except calibrate sensors which is my next step.

Any ideas?   This is a replacement scope which I picked up on my way to
France so these are my first goes with it.  I would have aligned on VEGA
myself the other night except my smart finder was out of alignment and
worse still the angle of VEGA is such that it's almost impossible to
align as the scope needs to be vertical to see it - difficult with ETX.

I am generally flummoxed about the time I should put into autostar and
daylight savings.  I have perused  the PE bits of the site but no luck
with this.

Very grateful for any tips with many thanks
Anne Macfarlane
Flumoxed in France.
Mike here: Lets back up a couple of steps. Since you have the PE model, are you letting the LNT set the date/time? Are you doing an Automatic Alignment or an Easy Alignment? From your description it sounds like you are letting the LNT do the work and the problems sound very similar to what I describe and cure in "My ETX-105 Premier Edition Experiences" on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page. Did you read that article?

And:

Yes - I have read your article several times:
Reset twice ( shop suggested)
Entered custom site as 43.44 (Lat) and 0.0 Long - then hit snag - wasn't
sure what time to put in. When  I tried nearest city I think it opted
for local time but I can't recollect for sure.
Did calibrate/train motors
Set up smart finder
Have played with scope indoors but don't know sky well enough to be sure
that it's pointing in right direction when working indoors.
Went outside - set scope to home position (advised by shop to point
north, level and rotate CCW to hard stop then bring back so fork arm
over computer control panel - this stirkes me as unnecessary given your
advice but I was getting desperate).
Checked mode and it had accepted my location - showed correct Lat and
Long but no site name - i.e. when you first enter a custom site you give
it a name (I used Nogaro) the name stays however after turning off -
then turning on the Nogaro name seems to disappear but I'm not sure it's
entirely lost but it does not connect it in Mode.  (I'm still learning)
Did automatic align - and had problems I described.
Tried three time options (as described) and always it was off - angle
may have been right but direction off.
It strikes me that Vega is a bad choice when directly overhead - stars
in good position are those in Ursa Major, Arcturus etc but if I have the
time wrong ( and maybe I should just select nearest city and leave it to
set the time) then it will say not visible - as it did when I tried to
use Arcturus which I could see very well.  Would have more data but last
night was cloudy - so couldn't try again.
Would it be a good idea to go for another reset, select Bordeaux as
nearest city - letting autostar set details, cal/train drives and then
try it tonight if weather is good?
Also first week here - set smartfinder up really well - but somehow this
alignment was lost - is the smartfinder so fragile that placing a cloth
cover over the scope gently would misalign it?
I guess my main problems are:
being a beginner
not sure how autostar copes with local time - can't get advice here from
shop regarding local time and daylight savings - all they say is - try
saying no if it does not align or try another time if this does not work
- if I use nearest city - is autostar programmed to sort out the correct
'sky' time itself with dyalight savings??
Also last fact - autostar has not been updated - can't get the download
to work over this mobile connection - is that also an issue?
Kind regards and thanks for helping me
Anne
And more:
I decided to have a good familiarisation play with the scope this
morning and have found the following:  the LNT rememers the time which
is set - so resetting has no effect on the time.
I have selected bordeaux as nearest city and find that when you check in
'mode' it shows correct Lat and Long but the time of course is based on
what I last entered.  Havig worked this out then if I tell it the time
is 11.30am (UT) then if you look in 'mode' it says time is 11.30 and
underneath LST is 12.30pm. But this is only whilst it is on - if you
switch it off and switch it back on then it shows time is 11.31 and LST
is 14.31 - it jumps ahead on LST and I don't understand it.  If you set
daylight savings to on it doesn't seem to change it and I can't find a
way of editig LST - does it stand for Local Standard time or Local
Summer time - not even sure if it matters.
Grateful for any ideas
Many thanks
Anne
Mike here: As noted in my article, I initially had a lot of problems getting the Autostar to remember my local site. Several RESETs were required. As to the time question, got me stumped.
Subject:	Re: cut wires ETX scope
Sent:	Thursday, September 22, 2005 20:59:43
From:	bob.adair@att.net (bob.adair@att.net)
Dave,

I'm glad to hear that the pictures helped you out!  I thought they might
eventually come in handy to someone.  My ETX has been great since Meade
kindly agreed to fix my little "accident" under warranty.  I hope you
have similar good luck with yours.

Subject:	cut wires ETX scope
Sent:	Thursday, September 22, 2005 14:23:00
From:	Dave Pyles (dave@pyles.net)
I just bought an Meade ETX125PE yesterday, and discovered upon my first
use that the horizontal (Az?) motor does not work. After finding out
that the store (and other stores in the area) had no more in stock to
exchange, and that shipping it back to Meade for repair would take
weeks, plus the cost of shipping it, I saw an email about cut wires at
Weasner's web site. I thought I might open it up and look, but
apparently Meade now puts the little cushion pads right over the screws,
so they would be able to tell if I opened it up. Do you know if they
ever fixed the design flaw that you mentioned, or if others have had the
same DOA problem?

Hopefully the store will get more in soon, and I should still be able to
use it without the goto, but I'm highly dissapointed in Meade. I had a
DS model a few years ago, it was not that great and I sold it a few
months later, I was hoping this scope would be a great improvement, I
guess that remains to be seen.

Thanks for the heads up, any further info would be appreciated. Mike -
great web site!

Dave Pyles
And:
I called Meade back, the guy says he doesn't think it will void my
warranty to open it up. Sure enough, I found a plug that was uplugged,
with a red and black wire. Looks like I have a 50-50 chance of plugging
it back in correctly. It says plug JP1 - any idea which way it goes?
And an update:
I found Bob's picture in "How to ruin a new telescope" - it showed me
which way the plug goes - PROBLEM SOLVED!!!  Thank you!!!

Just bought your book at Amazon - Using the Meade ETX : 100 Objects You
Can Really See with the Mighty ETX  - hope this serves as a contribution
to your work.

Subject:	New ETX-125 PE Experience
Sent:	Tuesday, September 20, 2005 15:28:36
From:	Reef Break (reef-break@cox.net)
This is in reply to the Sept 12, 2005 post requesting information about
a ETX 105 PE.
 
About me:
I have owned telescopes for about 25 years.  My current large scope is a
custom built 12.5" Ritchey.

In addition to my large scope, I wanted a quick set-up scope.  About 2
months ago I purchased a ETX-125 PE from Astronomics.  Here is my
experience to date.

When it arrived, I went through the initial setup as described in the
manual.  During the Auto Align procedure it requested incorrect stars -
like Sirius, which is below the horizon in July in San Diego.  The next
night it had forgotten the time and date and custom location I had
entered.  Thinking that it was me, I repeated these procedures over the
next 5-10 days many times before calling Meade.

Since I live about 80 miles south of their plant in Irvine, California
so I drove the scope up there.

When it came back, it could remember the date and time and complete the
Auto Align procedure.  I then pointed it to Antares.  After tracking for
a couple of minutes, a loud popping sound came from the drive base and
the stars would jump across the field of view.  After popping and
tracking for about 10 minutes, a message came up on the AutoStar
controller "Motor Unit Failure" and suggested I call the factory.

The second return to factory it was shipped back to Irvine.

It arrived back at my home at the end of August.  I was now familiar
with all of the initial start up procedures, and with the three drive
training steps.  After about 1/2 hour of initial setup I did an Auto
Align.  It went to the second star before the "Motor Unit Failure"
message appeared again.  All totaled I got 6 MUF messages in about 1
hour from a scope that had been repaired at the factory twice.

I received a 3rd RGA number and returned the scope to the factory - this
time never to return.

I've asked Astronomics to ship me a new scope.  They are currently out
of stock, but should be getting some at the end of September.

I should just give up, but I really would like a quick setup scope. 
I'll post again to tell you of my experience with my second PE.

Ed Hoopes
Reef-Break@cox.net
Mike here: Did you do the CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES step when you first got the telescope or after the repairs?

And more:

Disclaimer:  I attempted to get the scope to work 40-60 times over ~2
months using different combinations of things I found in the manual on
different nights.  I don't remember what I did each of the times.  The
following is a general remembering of what I did on that first night. 
Some nights I would attempt to follow the directions - when that didn't
work, I would try different combinations of things.

______________


I did what most users of new toys do.  I put the batteries in and turned
it on.  With the scope running I started on p12 of the manual "getting
started".

You can review the manual

http://www.meade.com/manuals/TelescopeManuals/ETXtelescopes/ETX_premier_edition.pdf

to see the steps I followed - they don't include Calib Motors & Train
Drives.

The first return to factory had to do with forgetting/changing the time
/ date / location.  I never had it running long enough to find out about
the Motor Unit Faults until the 2nd and 3rd returns to factory.

After returning from the factory a second time.  I did 3 procedures at
the advice of the customer support people.  They were 1. Train Drives 2.
Calibrate Sensors and 3. Calibrate Motors.  One of those procedures does
most or all of a AutoAlign.  It failed to complete all three because it
would get a MUF in the middle of the procedure.   After the motors shut
down, I'd cycle power and try again  -   I finally got it to do all
three of the procedures.

After all of that, it would accurately point at an object, and track it
for a few minutes, then I'd get a MUF - sometimes preceded by popping
sounds from the drive base before the MUF message.  (There were many
attempts and many MUF's)

I then returned it to the factory the 3rd and final time.

What surprises me is that after 2 returns, the factory doesn't seem to
know how to fix it.  I worked for a company that built computer
controlled industrial gas analyzers.  Pumps, valves, heaters,
thermoelectric coolers, sensors all controlled by an embedded computer.
As Chief of Engineering, I was responsible for the product design. After
building 1000's of these instruments, the company (not just me) knew
VERY THOROUGHLY how the machines worked. I'm just surprised that the
Meade factory is unable to make this scope work.

I also think Dr. Clay should be out of a job.  Whatever he is doing
should be incorporated into the procedures at the Meade factory - I'm
sure they could do all of his procedures for way less than $250.00
additional cost. In our factory, the direct labor cost was only a few
percent of the CoG's of the completed instrument.

Ed Hoopes

Subject:	105PE
Sent:	Monday, September 12, 2005 13:28:25
From:	Merilee Woodcox (mwoodcox@twcny.rr.com)
I LOVE your site!!  It is so refreshing to finally find an astronomer
who isn't so snobby (you know those astronomers who "pooh pooh" the
WalMart scopes).  I nearly didn't buy my 4.5 inch Meade reflector from
WalMart because of those astronomers, but then I found your site!!  And,
I am just pleased as punch with my DS2114S model from WalMart with
AutoStar for $299!!!  My hubby and I have had a GREAT time in our
backyard looking at the Andromeda Galaxy and the Dumbbell Nebula (we do,
however, live in the country where skies are "fairly" dark).  Ok, so my
dec/alt controls also tend to be "sticky" (as reported by other folks)
but for $299, I can live with that!!  As I recall, even back in college,
the 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain Meades and Celestrons that we used had sticky
controls from time to time as well.

Anyway, the reason I'm really writing to you is because I was wondering
how you finally liked the 105 PE.  I couldn't seem to find an update for
the 105PE where you were actually able to use the scope.  I read your
intro article, but you had stated in that article that it was raining
and that you couldn't use the scope that night and that you were
planning on using it in April 2005, but I looked at your "observatory"
page and found the skies weren't good that night either.  So, I am very
curious regarding your overall impressions with the 105PE as I am
considering a 125PE (I seem to spend half my observing time trying to
level my current DS2114S and I can promise anyone out there that proper
leveling DOES make a difference with the AutoStar tracking.  When I have
properly leveled my scope, I have found the Andromeda Galaxy in my
EYEPIECE without even trying to "search" for it!!  Do you think a 125
would be better in the PE model (because it has that auto level/aligning
technology) or would the regular edition with the spotter scope be a
better choice in your opinion?  Also, will I see much improvement do you
think in an ETX 125 (with UHTC) in comparison to my current DS2114S (4.5
inch reflector)?  I know it is only .5 " larger, but every INCH seems to
count with reflectors and since it's a different design
(Maksutov-Cassegrain) from my DS2114S, I thought maybe that might make a
difference too.

Thank You
Merilee Woodcox
West Monroe, NY
NO - WE ARE NOWHERE NEAR NYC    THANK GOODNESS!!
Mike here: Yes, it has worked well in the few times I have it out. I was able to use an ETX-105PE at the SCAE @ OPT last month and it worked extremely well. UHTC is a great option and well worth the cost. Keep in mind the differing focal ratios of the DS vs ETX telescopes. Which works best for you will depend upon how you plan to use it.
Subject:	ETX-90 PE
Sent:	Thursday, September 8, 2005 11:56:38
From:	Ted Witt (tcwwitt@sbcglobal.net)
I had the same issue (as Mikolaj) with getting the clock in the LNT
module to stick, as well as getting it to keep my local zip code. 
Ultimately I reset the Autostar, reentered all of the info, and now it
works perfectly.

I think what happened is that the QA checks which are done at the
factory loaded the memory to max, and I was unable to get the LNT to
remember (after power-down and then power-up) the info.

Hope this helps.

Ted

Subject:	ETX 125PE LNT clock question/problem
Sent:	Wednesday, September 7, 2005 05:25:41
From:	Mikolaj Rotnicki (mikolaj@rotnicki.net)
I have just bought an ETX 125PE. Unfortunately I have some problems with
LNT. I searched your website for an answer but I got more confused.

In the "ETX Premier Edition Feedback" section I found 2 emails
corresponding to my LNT problem/question.

First email:
Subject ETX-125PE LNT Question
Sent: Monday, July 4, 2005 22:08:01
From:   Gtkunna@aol.com
---Quote (beginning of the thirdparagraph)---
every time I power up my scope I find that the date is stuck on the date
I last used it and the time is ALWAYS 8 pm.
--End of quote---

I experience the same with my ETX 125PE. Is it normal?
But your reply to that email was:
"Mike here: The Autostar always defaults to the last date entered and
the time to 20:00:00 (or 8pm). "

So what is the LNT clock and the LNT battery for, if it can't "remember"
the date and time? Unfortunately the manual is not very helpful on this
issue.

And the second email:
Subject: re: ETX-125PE LNT Question
Sent: Wednesday, July 6, 2005 19:18:00
From:   Richard Seymour
---Quote---
since you have an LNT scope, the date and time should
-not- always start at 8pm on the previous date
---
With the ETX125PE, the Autostar should read the time and date from the
LNT module each time power is applied.
---
If, instead, your Autostar shows the last date used, it is not
recognizing the LNT clock.
---End of quote---

So I assume thet mine ETX doesend read the date and time.  But to the
contrary, your answer to the first email indicates that the Autostar
always defaults to the last date entered and the time to 20:00:00 (or
8pm).

So which is right?  I'd like to add that as a new user I didn't try to
open the LNT ant checking if the battery is correctly mlunted, as I
treat doing so as the last resort. The only thing I tried was reseting
the settings but without success.

Thanks and keep up the good work.

Mikolaj Rotnicki
Poznan, Poland 
Mike here: Dick is correct that the LNT is supposed to set the date/time on the Autostar. If it doesn't then the LNT module may be bad and will need to be exchanged. My original reply (written early in the morning, no doubt) overlooked the fact that the user had a PE model.

And:

So in your oppinion shell I check the battery first?

But is it so that hen the battery is not properly xobbected should the
LNT sense north, level and tilt correctly? (mine does so).

Mikolaj Rotnicki 
And an update:
I decided to check the battery. Guess what? It was completey discharged!
I wonder why.

I will let you know if I have any further problems. Prior to that I will
have to buy a new battery.

Thanks
Mikolaj Rotnicki 

Subject:	Meade LX90 LNT
Sent:	Monday, September 5, 2005 15:44:35
From:	Bryanmole@aol.com (Bryanmole@aol.com)
Mike, thank you for your excellent website. I have gained and learned so
much information here reading at first hand the feedback what people
have to say about Meade telescopes and accessories, and would like to
add a positive note for the Meade 8" LX90 Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope,
Having read through the instruction manual twice, then taking the LX90
from it's box aligning of the SmartFinder and the Viewfinder all went
fine, automatic alignment procedure was so easy as no home position is
needed on the LX90, after Level, Tilt and find North took place Star
Alignment began, after aligning the two stars has performed correctly
the message "Alignment Successful" is displayed, I went on to observe
the sky's, this was my first time out, very exciting, blew my socks off,
now the learning curve begins, very very happy with my new LX90 out of
the box.
Bryan Mole
53 North, United Kingdom
Mike here: While not strictly an ETX PE comment, I thought I would include it to note that the LNT can work "out of he box".

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Copyright © 2005 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
Submittals Copyright © 2005 by the Submitter
URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/feedbackSep05/etx-pe.html