Last updated: 25 September 2006

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT, ETX-80AT-TC, and ETX-80BB. Additional information is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX 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 70AT - reverse polarity power - Damaged?
Sent:	Monday, September 25, 2006 06:22:28
From: (
I own an ETX70AT scope with autostar #494; last night I wanted to change
the exaust battery pack with a fresh one but, due to the darkness, I
made a mistake connecting the pack with reverse polarity. Now the power
led lights on but autostar remain off; the scope seems dead.

Is there any reverse power protection on ETX (a diode or fuse)?

What can I do to verify any damage to the pcb?
What do you think I should do?

Thank you in advance for your kynd replay and best compliments for your
nice and useful site.

Greetings from Italy.
Mike here: You have likely fried the AutoStar or perhaps some of the limited circuitry in the ETX base. Unless you are comfortable with soldering circuit boards, I recommend you not attempt to make any repairs yourself. If it is the AutoStar I suggest getting a #497 AutoStar as a replacement. If it is the board in the base then you should return it to a local dealer to arrange for repair. If you want to attempt to repair the AutoStar (or base board), open it up and look for a burnt component.
Subject:	re: ETX 70 AT Display Blackout
Sent:	Tuesday, September 12, 2006 20:49:45
From:	richard seymour (
Mike's suggestions may help, but i wonder if you don't
have a cracked circuit trace, or a cold/poor solder joint
somewhere on the card.

Or the display's connector itself is merely loose.

Refer to the photos at:
The 495 and 497 are identical.

You can open the autostar by removing the 4 screws in the
back.  The two cover halves are snapped together and require
a bit of a prying action to open up.  The cover for the
"flashlight" will go flying away (be ready for that).

The flat cable which leads to the display is seated in
a "zero insertion force" connector.  It has a little
plastic clamp which slides about 1mm along the cable
itself to release and lock the wires.  To lock, it
should be slid to contact the main body of the connector.
When released, the cable can be pulled free, and the clamp
remains with the connector.

good luck


From:	Jan-Eike Thomssen (
Hey again,

Tonight it went completely out on me.

It had the usual display blackouts but worked fine apart from that.

But then as switched the telescope back on it just flashed up a bit and
that was it.

I tried new batteries and it still didnt react, everything stayed black
but the red indicator LED next to the on/off switch.

So I took Richards advice and looked carefully for a blown circuit or a
cracked cable but I found nothing.

Plus I think mine is the 494 (no number keys) so updating didnt work
either. Im running out of ideas now...

Jan-Eike Thomssen
Mike here: That is correct; the #494 (no number keys) is not user updateable. It is sounding more like a hardware problem, probably with the AutoStar and not the ETX. It will be more cost effective to get a #497 (or a used #495 if you can find one) than to try to get the #494 repaired.
Subject:	ETX 70 AT Display Blackout
Sent:	Tuesday, September 12, 2006 15:32:53
From:	Jan-Eike Thomssen (
First I want to say that your site is fantastic and helped me a lot

Now to the Problem:

I have a fairly new ETX 70 AT with an 495 Autostar.
It works well only that the display will suddenly turn blank.
This mostly happens when I sync a star and hold down on "Enter" as soon
as I release the display doesnt show anything but is still illuminated
and I can still control the telescope.
Sometimes itll only take a minute for this to happen and some nights I
doesnt happen at all.
In fact I even memorized how to navigate to "Park Telescope" blind so
once the display is out I can realign the scope. Once I start it back up
everything is fine and I dont have to align it either but it is still
pretty annoying.
I tried using new batteries but  this didnt help.
I hope you can help me out.

Thanks in advance,
Jan-Eike Thomssen
Mike here: Could be a couple of simple things: you need to replace the batteries (ensuring they are inserted correctly) or you need to adjust the display brightness. But since it dims when holding down a key, I suspect a battery/power problem. If you really have the #495 Autostar (has number keys) then you should update it with the current Meade AutoStar Update application; then you will have a #497 AutoStar. While there are many more objects than you will see with the ETX-70 you will get the benefit of all the enhancements that are released by Meade. You will need a #505 serial cable (see the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page for how to make one) and you will need either Meade's Windows app or AutostarX for Mac OS X (there is also a Linux version); the AutostarX and Lin_Autostar apps are on the AutoStar Info page. If your computer has only a USB port and not a real RS-232 port you will need a USB-serial adapter; see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	ETX-70 Camera Adapter For Olympus E-500
Sent:	Sunday, September 10, 2006 14:00:56
From:	William Conlan (
Can you please tell me where I might get an adapter to affix my Olympus
E-500 Digital SLR to my ETX-70 for plane spotting.
Many thanks in adavance,
Best Regards,
Mike here: See the Accessory Review: Astrophotography for some camera adapters. You either need a prime focus adapter or an eyepiece projection adapter. I'm using the Scopetronix Prime Focus Adapter with my Nikon D70 DSLR.
Subject:	Connecting to ETX 80 and a question about a mostly dead 494
Sent:	Friday, September 8, 2006 20:03:14
From:	Herschel Hall (
A partial answer to Ron Walkers question on connecting a ETX80 to a
laptop. I have had success using a 506 cable and a program called
ScopeDriver from

I have never successfully connected using the AutoStar Suite, even
though the Meade website says it is possible.

Now I have another problem. I decided to download the latest AutoStar
Suite a couple of days ago and try again. I still could not get it to
connect. Then I noticed that the display had gone out in the 494. Now
when I turn the scope on the display comes on, shows the opening banner
and version (13E) and then goes off. (Yes, I changed the batteries). Now
I cannot connect with ScopeDriver either.

Trying to get help from Meade is useless. Has anyone experienced this
problem with a 494?
Herschel Hall
Mike here: The AutoStar Suite requires the #497 AutoStar, not the #494 model. Since there is no user-installable update for the #494 you will need to contact Meade for a repair of the AutoStar; alternatively get a #497 which you can more easily troubleshoot and update. You will then need the simpler #505 serial cable (which is easily made using instructions on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page).
Subject:	Looking for exploded view of ETX-70
Sent:	Wednesday, September 6, 2006 10:14:38
From:	Bill Hultman (
I checked the Miscellaneous section of the Telescope Tech Tips page as
suggested on 
but I was not able to find exactly what it is that I am looking for.

Basically the problem is that I am unable to tighten the DEC knob enough
to keep the clutch from slipping. I am afraid to tighten it too much
since the plastic threaded shaft broke off once already (fortunately it
was under warranty so Meade replaced the scope at no charge).

When I took the knob off to see what was underneath, one of the things I
found was a black rubber O-ring that had snapped. I do not know what its
function is, nor do I know exactly where it was located since when I
took the knob off, it fell out before I could see where it came from.
Any idea where I can find an exploded view of the DEC knob removed from
the scope showing how the pieces go back together?

Mike here: Did you check out the "ETX-70AT Repair Guide" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page?


Thanks for getting back to me. Actually I did look at that, but let me
take another look -- I might have just missed it.


Subject:	connecting ETX 80 to a laptop
Sent:	Monday, September 4, 2006 20:51:42
From: (
How can I connect my ETX 80 to my laptop?  Do I need a different
controller than what came with the ETX 80?  I have tried different
connections with no results.  Which com ports are which? What steps do I
take to get a connection,, help, I am ready to pull my hair out over
this :).
Ron Walker
Mike here: You will need a #506 serial cable from Meade to connect a computer to the ETX-80 with the standard #494 AutoStar. Alternatively, you can get a #497 AutoStar and use the simple to make #505 cable (instructions for the cable are on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Either cable requires a RS-232 serial port; if your computer has only USB then you will also need a USB-serial adapter (see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page).
Subject:	EXT-60: arrow keys won't provide slew during alignment
Sent:	Saturday, September 2, 2006 22:31:17
From:	Mark LaFlamme (
I just picked up an ETX-60 and thank God for your site. The Meade manual
is limited at best and there are really no other sources of information
to help guide a user through the labrynth of options.

With that said, I hoped to avoid burdening you with another question,
but I was unable to find my problem listed on your pages. The trouble
I'm having is with the arrow keys to slew the scope. It works fine on
start up. But during and after the alignment process, the arrow keys
don't seem to work at all, no matter what menu I'm in.

This is particular problematic during the alignment itself. I was told
that once the scope steers itself to a test star, the arrow keys should
be used to center the object. Of course, that's impossible because the
arrow keys get no response at that stage.

I've also found that if I manually move the telescope in order to center
the star, the arrows still will not work even after I begin the "go to
object" phase once the alignment is complete.

I suspect I'm overlooking some minor function, but two night's of
laboring over it have not revealed anything. I hope you can help. And
thanks again for providing such a (dare I say it?) stellar site.
Mark LaFlamme
Lewiston, Maine
Mike here: Have you tried increasing the slewing speed?


Wow. A super fast response. You're amazing.

I did try speed up the slewing speed, although I didn't spend a lot of
time with it. I assumed that if the scope slewed on its own at a decent
speed, the manual slewing speed should be okay. Wrong?
Mike here: If slewing works when the AutoStar slews to a target but not when you are slewing then usually (for new owners) it means you need to change the slewing speed to a faster rate. This only affects the speed that the telescope slews when using the arrow keys. If that doesn't help, do a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES from the AutoStar menu.


Awesome. As soon as Ernesto clears out and the rain stops, I'll give
that a try. I'm sure that's it. Thanks again.
Mike here: You can do the test indoors. Just assume the alignment stars are centered and press ENTER.


Of course. Great idea, since Ernesto seems to be a longtime guest.
Thanks again.

Subject:	Re: I Would like some help for my ETX-70
Sent:	Thursday, August 31, 2006 20:10:42
From:	william peterson (
I Have windows, I us my laptop rs-232 serial port and I have #506 seial
cable from meade

Mike here: Typically there is a serial port conflict. Check for fax software or some other software that may be tying up the serial port.

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