Last updated: 31 January 2007

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:	Adapter on ETX70 for Olympus E-500 digital Single Reflex Camera
Sent:	Tuesday, January 30, 2007 12:02:39
From:	Noel Van de Velde (
Last year I bought an  ETX A70 Telescope for my son.   After spending
during holiday's in Europe some beautifull times looking at the stars
and planets, he wants to take digital pictures.

I have an Olympus camera E-500.  Can you help me by specifying the
necessary adaptor(s) for using the E-500 camera with the ETX A70
telescope ?

Thank you very much for your reply.

Nol Van de Velde
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page as well as the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page. The specifics of what adapter you need depend on the camera itself but those pages should get you started. Also, keep mind that the ETX-70 is not an ideal astrophotography telescope. But as seen on the ETX Site you can get good images of brighter large objects (like the Moon) and with some experience, some good images of some fainter objects. I suggest starting with the Moon; you can even handhold the camera lens over the eyepiece. Just focus the eyepiece to your eye and set the camera for infinity (if you can). Practice, practice, practice.
Subject:	ETX-80BB, Barlow lens- difficult to use?
Sent:	Saturday, January 27, 2007 08:38:56
From:	Jason R. Putnam (
Hi there- great site on ETX telescopes!

I have a question- I'm a new telescope user, and my newly purchased
ETX-80BB saw first light last night.  I was able to see fantastic images
of the moon through both of the included eyepieces, but while attempting
to zoom in more and use the Barlow lens with the 9mm eyepiece, I was not
able to find focus.

I read in the manual that, even though you are starting from a focused
image in the 9mm eyepiece, when the Barlow is engaged you will have to
re-focus.  I tried following their directions (engage Barlow, then focus
"counter-clockwise"), but still was not successful.  It was cold out so
I didn't pursue this past two short attempts.

Is this a common occurance- that the telescope with the maximum
magnification takes a little patience and effort to focus?  Is there an
easy way to test out the Barlow lens feature of my new telescope to make
sure it is fully functional?

Mike here: I don't recall any problem reports with the built-in Barlow Lens. However, as you increase the magnification, especially with the Barlow Lens, focusing gets more difficult, especially on faint objects. The Moon makes a good target right now; try that. Or you prefer, use the telescope on a terrestrial object in the daytime; just be certain it (the object you are viewing, not the telescope) is several miles away.


A-ha!  I used the 25mm eyepiece for some closer-in, terrestrial
objects..  I was able to focus perfectly in both regular and Barlow lens
configs!  I guess I'll try again tonight, and be more patient!  Thanks
for the tip, it's reassuring to know that the telescope's Barlow lens is


Subject:	re: ETX-70AT Motor Fault & Autostar #494 not working
Sent:	Friday, January 26, 2007 21:46:52
From:	richard seymour (
Your problem still could be a weak battery.

Try -new- ones, or an external power adapter.

However the ETX could also be chopping its wiring
internally (this happened to my ETX90) or otherwise
suffering a fault.

The scopes -can- be opened and repaired (see Mike's
Telescope Tech Tips  page for links to -many-
"how to repair..." articles, even for ETX70's),
but it does take time.

good luck, keep us posted.

Subject:	meade etx-70at
Sent:	Friday, January 26, 2007 21:06:48
From:	mantra lapse (
looking to buy my first add-on for my etx-70at... ive had it for awhile
but i just started getting into skygazing after college...

anyways, i found the meade #124 with is a 2x barlow lens for the
ETX-70AT, however i see that your site mentions the meade #126.... whats
the difference?

i also found that one on ebay, is it the same, better or worse?

i know the etx-70at is a little out of date so iam not sure if the #124
is getting older as well and if there are better options...

mostly atm, i want to see planetary bodies, whats the best set up for
that? i like in the city/suburbs so the lighting isnt on my side (30
minutes outside philly)

do i need a light pollution filter?

2x or 3x?

next lens after the two stock lenses?

anyways, any help would be greatly appreciated.

thank you,
anthony n.
Mike here: The #124 Barlow Lens was designed especially for the ETX-60 and 70 models but I've had no problem using my #126 with my ETX-70. As long as the Barlow Lens is a "shorty style" there probably won't be any problem. However, do keep in mind that optical quality is important. While the ETX-70 is not a high end refractor you don't want to deteriorate the views by using a substandard Barlow Lens (or eyepieces). The one on eBay doesn't show the manufacturer so you may get a good one or a bad one. As to light pollution filters, they will work best with larger aperture telescopes so that probably isn't an accessory that you would get much benefit from. As to eyepieces, if you get a Barlow Lens, 2X or #3X, then you can decide what other focal length eyepieces you could use. You may find that just have the standard eyepieces plus the Barlow Lens is adequate for your purposes.
Subject:	RE: ETX 70 elevation problem!
Sent:	Friday, January 26, 2007 18:55:51
From:	Ricardo Pais (
Hi again!
Is it likely to be a motor problem if it goes down when I tell it to? it
only doesn`t go up...

I`m afraid taking it back to "LIDL" because it might take a while to get
back from fixing... :S

Thanks once again
Mike here: If it goes down by itself (with the axis locked) the locking mechanism is broken since gravity is pulling it down. If it stays put when raised and only goes down and not up under AutoStar slewing control then it is likely to be either a motor or a wiring problem.
Subject:	ETX-70AT Motor Fault & Autostar #494 not working
Sent:	Thursday, January 25, 2007 06:11:05
From:	Grant Robery (
Wonder if you could help on this. Last night I was using my scope just
using the arrow keys on the Autostar handset (was just quickly viewing
the moon and didn't have time to carry out alignment). After a short
time a message appeared on my Autostar something to the effect of a
Motor Fault (can't remember exact text), shortly afterwards the motors
stopped running. I turned it off and on, Autostar message flickered into
life for about a second and then screen goes 'black'. On turning power
off again screen went to a matt blank indicating that it was getting
some power during the 'black' screen. I thought the batteries had died
so replaced with brand new Duracell (warm from indoors) only to be faced
with the same situation - i.e. Autostar flickers to life for about a
second and then goes black. Buttons do not appear to do anything, no
movement from motors.

It is out of warranty, phoned Telescope House who said that it was a
sealed unit and apart from checking Autostar handset there is little
that can be done. I've only had a few hours of use over the past two
years since I've bought it so would be surprised if there is wear and
tear. Anyway would very much appreciate your feedback as to whether this
is a common problem and importantly is it fixable??
Thanks, Grant robery
Mike here: First, check the orientation of the batteries just to be certain they are inserted correctly. Second, check the AutoStar connection at the base of the ETX; the cable should be fully inserted AND the pins in the plug and the jack should not be bent sideways or too depressed. Just removing and reinserting the cable can sometimes help. Does the problem occur indoors (where it is warm)?


Thanks. Yes batteries in correctly. Checked the AutoStar connection
which all seemed fine, clicks in and out nicely as it should. Unit has
been indoors all night and so it is warm but problem persisting!
Mike here: OK, the problem is deeper. Could either be in the circuitry in the ETX or the AutoStar. While you could replace the AutoStar, which might solve the problem, if the problem is in the base then that would have to be repaired by Meade. Unless you have easy access to another AutoStar you might want to contact Meade.


Telescope House said if I bring it in they will try another AutoStar but
if that didn't work they said there probably wasn't much that could be
done. I said would it make any difference if I contacted Meade direct
but they said that they were the official UK dealer and so it would just
come back to them!? Do you happen to know of someone I can contact at
Meade in that eventuality (UK or USA)? Hopefully it is the AutoStar
which is easily (although probably expensively) replaced, I will report
back to you once I have managed to get to their shop.
Thanks for your very quick feedback on this Mike.
Best regards, Grant
Mike here: You can check the Meade web site for international support. Trade laws tend to get in the way of user support.
Subject:	ETX 70 elevation problem!
Sent:	Tuesday, January 23, 2007 15:48:01
From:	Ricardo Pais (
My name is Ricardo and I have just bought my ETX a few days ago...

The problem is related to the auto elevation of the telescope... I
mean... it rotates perfectly but it doesn`t go up or down... What can I
do to fix it? Could you mail me?

Thank you for your support and congratulations for your website!
Mike here: Does the telescope tube stay put at whatever elevation you put it at and then lock the axis? Or does it tend to go back down to the base? If it moves down when locked then either the lock is broken (can occur if you overtighten it) or it is not locked enough (should be "finger tight" to hold the tube in position). If the tube stays put, have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES (you have to do both axes; easily to overlook one)?


Thank you for your patience! 

Actually, if I try to lock it, not to hard, it goes down... The
telescope is brand new! I noticed it when I tried to look at the
Pleiades and it turned ok but it didn`t go up! :(

How can I fix it? I can still look manually, but it gets "nicer" to show
my friends with the autostar!

Thank you for your time once again!

I`m glad that there is someone out there that can help us, newbs!
Mike here: If locking the vertical (altitude) axis does not hold the tube in place (if it is elevated and then locked) then the locking mechanism is likely broken. This is not something you to attempt to repair yourself, especially since the telescope is new (and still under warranty). I suggest contacting the dealer for an exchange.
Subject:	Meade etx-70at, battery eliminator
Sent:	Monday, January 22, 2007 05:50:13
From:	ole bendik madso (
having just purchased a  Meade etx-70at, I am looking into the
possibilities of buying a battery eliminator. Apart from the input being
9VDC, the manual says nothing about whether plus is in the center, the
frequency etc. Would you be able to advise me on the characteristics of
the eliminator I ought to buy?
Yours sincerely 
Ole Bendik Mads

Aereus Vivus,
Mike here: See the FAQ page for that info. The Meade ETX-70 AC adapter is 12VDC 1000mA. Since the ETX is a DC device there is no frequency.
Subject:	ETX 70 focus knob help
Sent:	Saturday, January 20, 2007 16:43:44
From: (
I believe that the problem that Jason Cassezza is having can be repaired
without removing the OTA from the forks. just skip the directions
pertaining to the forks and start where they detail the actual focus
knob repair. actually this article will be of better use to him.

This means however the R.A. lock issue still persists. Not sure about
how to fix that one. hope this is helpful.

Gary Crumb

Subject:	ETX-70AT
Sent:	Saturday, January 20, 2007 10:35:47
From:	John G (
I obtained a used ETX-70AT telescope.  I seem to encounter the "Motor
Unit Fault" error quite often.  I try to calibrate and this error
message automatically appears.  I can manually move the telescope via
the motor but anytime I try to calibrate anything or train motors this
happens.  I encountered one link on this problem on your website and it
didn't help me much.  Can you point me to any information to solve this?

Mike here: Could be a few reasons for this. The encoders could be dirty, the lubrication needs to be redistributed, the locks could be overtightened, the cable connections could be bad, low or bad batteries (including inserting them wrong), or there could be a more serious problem. A simple solution to the dirty encoder or lubrication problem is to unlock the axes and slowly move the telescope back and forth through several rotations (in both axes) by hand. For the cable problem, check the condition of the pins in the cable and inside the jack on the ETX base; sometimes they get dirty, bent out of alignment, or they have been too depressed and don't make good contact. Lastly, check the batteries. If there is a more serious problem you might need to contact Meade.
Subject:	ETX80-AT-BB focus knob tuneup
Sent:	Tuesday, January 16, 2007 14:00:11
From:	blair hanna (
I just got this telescope as a gift.  Challenging fun for sure!  I was
wondering if you could point me to information on your site that
describes some tips to smooth out the focus knob operation (grease?
graphite? tightening? loosening?).  My focus knob doesn't turn smoothly,
but catches a bit at one point each rotation.  I saw some information
that involved dis-assembly.  I don't plan to do that, yet.

Also, the shaft has some play and I can move a high magnification image
quite a bit throughout the field during focusing.  Is this play (focus
shift) normal for a new scope?

Thanks for all the website work, great resource!
Blair Hanna
Fort Collins, CO
Mike here: Since you just got the telescope I would suggest waiting to see if it smoothes out with use. As to what could be causing the lack of smoothness, well there are several possibilities and disassembly would likely be necessary to determine where the problem is and how it needs to be corrected. The problem may or may not be related to the image shift. I don't recall any such reports from other ETX-80 users so it might be worth contacting the dealer for an exchange or contacting Meade for a repair.
Subject:	ETX 70
Sent:	Friday, January 12, 2007 18:50:51
From:	Jason
Wow finding you is awesome! I hadn't touched my ltitle ETC in some time
and have two problems.
1) The lens cap will NOT come off.  Ugh
2) The focus knob, I noticed (even though I can't get the lens cap off)
won't turn in either direction.

I'm mostly concerned with #2 - is this bad?  Is this a common problem!

ANY help would be so very much appreciated!   I was bummed to only see
the comet with cheap binoculars :(
Mike here: By any chance, has the telescope been dropped? It sounds like the objective lens housing might be jammed. If so, your best solution would be to contact Meade.


Wow, I read your "email ettiqute" _after_ sending, and have to say thank
you for the reply (and amazingly fast at that!)

I think it did "tip over" (on it's tripod) recently (no kids are fessing
up though).   When I look at the focus knob, I remember the silver part
beinig right up close to the body of the scope.. Now there is about 1/4"
or so of black, semi-threaded "bar" visible (that extends from the
silver part into the body).  I don't remember being able to see that -
seems like the actual knob was right up flush with the body more.  So
I'm scared.

So you don't think this is something I should take a screw driver too? 
I was thinking of going for it.  I've had this well beyond any warranty
time (it's about 5 years old).  Always been a great little scope - I
should haven't let it "sit around" so long.  Bummer.

Any advice for getting that lens cap off?  If I recall (to not consued
myself) it's actually right-loosy and lefty-tighty.  I'm afraid to turn
too hard though.

Thanks for your time, I really appreciate it.  Not often you find
someone who knows as much as you do about these scopes.  Your site is

Mike here: It could be that the focusing knob moved outward on the shaft. You can use a small allen wrench (hex key) and try to loosen the setscrew on the side of the knob, then push the knob forward on the shaft, then retighten the setscrew. Caution: be certain to keep the telescope pointed upwards to avoid the focus shaft from slipping inside the telescope tube. As to the lens cover, try using a rubber glove or "jar lid opener" to get a better grip.


Here is the focus knob from the side angle...  is that amount of space
normal? It doesn't seem like it (based on memory)


Mike here: I really don't like the looks of that! It would appear that the focus shaft was pushed backwards, probably by the telescope falling and pushing the lens housing backward. Probably time to contact Meade.


I *really* appreciate your help and expertise!  Tried that, to no avail.
It looks like somehow the whole shaft is out 1/4" further than it
should be. This can't be good.  I'm 25% into the instructions I found on
your site (here: and hoping
I can breath life back into this.  Since there's no mirrors inside, at
least I have that part.  Now what kind of beating the gears took - I
have no idea.  I did a quick test with autostar and it least moves well
on both axis.

Just seeing the comet tonight made me remember how much fun I used to
have with thing. I don't want to send it in to get fixed, they're
probably charge me more than it's worth!

Fingers crossed!  Thanks again Mike - really appreciate someone out
there taking the time to provide pointers.  I'll try the rubber glove
idea.. It would be classic to get everything back in order but not be
able to get the lens cover off :)


And more:

Yike.  I guess an ETX-70 "EC" isn't the same as an ETX-70

Sigh.  I was following the instructions here
( facing a
similar problem.. and think I just hosed myself.   The bottom of mine
doesn't look like that photo.. it's a rectangle cover for the batteries.
No way to access anything from the bottom.  I got to taking the bolt
out after removing the horizontal lock knob, only to find the blot won't
come out.  Worse - after "loosening" it - I can't get it tight again in
the way it was to make the lock lever feel like it did before.  Did I
just totally make matters worse?   And - that bolt will not come out.

At this point should I just sell this thing to someone more qualified
for $50 or something?  Because I know better than to send it into meade
- they will charge me more to fix it than it woudl cost to buy a new

Thanks for your time,

Mike here: The original EC model (black tube, I believe) could have had the battery cover on the bottom. The AT model (purple tube) does have the battery cover on top of the base. As to the bolt and lever, you probably just need to get it back in the same position as it originally was; perhaps just repositioning the lever (as described in "Q. I can not move the Right Ascension (azimuth) lever enough to fully engage the lock. What should I do?" on the FAQ page) will solve the problem. Meade will likely you charge you about $75 (or somewhat more, depending on the damage). It could be there is more damage internally from the fall that created the problem.


Yep, all black.  And yep, battery on the bottom.  Which prevents me from
completing the steps to get the arm off, so I can get theh tube out, so
I can in turn try to get the focus shaft/assembly back in place.  Now
for $75 (or somewhere close) that would be worth it.  I think I only
paid $250 when I bought it.  Sadly, it's my ownly telescope.

Again, appreciate all of your time and help.  Great photos on your
astrophot. Site too!

Mike here: Contact Meade; let me know what happens.
Subject:	ETX-80BB Alignment problem
Sent:	Wednesday, January 10, 2007 14:51:55
Great site, I have been spending a lot of time browsing your site.  I
have two questions:

#1. While putting my ETX-80BB in the home position I noticed that the AZ
tape which displays the numbers that wraps around the Sidereal is lose
and slides around.  How do I now where AZ Home position (0) is to align
with the Arrow on the base?  Is there a way to find out where the zero
marker is on the sidereal without using the AZ tape?

#2.  I also purchased an LPI and #497 Autostar controller,  I hooked it
up to my laptop and when I run the Autostar app on my laptop I can
control the scope, however when I launch the LPI imager app and I try to
control the scope using the LPI imager app it says I need an IP.  Is the
LPI imager compatible with the ETX 80BB?  The LPI camera works fine.

I just received the ETX for X-MAS and a beginner with this awesome
hobby.  So far I have seen Saturn, Moon, Orion Nebula, and M31.
Mike here: See the item "Q. The Right Ascension (azimuth) setting circle tape moves, what do I do?" on the FAQ page. The AutoStar Suite software requires the #497 AutoStar, not the #494 that comes with the ETX-80.


Thankyou for the quick response, I found the Item about the RA setting
circle tape on the Meade website, thankyou.

About the LPI imager, I did purchase the #497 controller and have the
#505 cable w/USB-Serial adapter.  When I run the LPI imager app I cannot
control the ETX-80 (using the LPI imager app) it wants to know an IP
address or computer name.  I can control the ETX-80 using the autostar
program but not from the LPI imager app.

Isn't the tracking option in the LPI imager used for LPI guider?

Again great site, Although I am very much a beginner at this, your site
has inspired me, my wife isn't to pleased about it because I spend a lot
of time outside :-)
Mike here: You need to enable the network protocol in the AutoStar Suite in order to use the multiple applications on the single serial port. See the articles "AutoStar Suite on a Macintosh" and "Network Server Capability" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	Re: ETX70 autostar input difference
Sent:	Monday, January 8, 2007 17:12:14
From: (
Thank You. You're absolutely right, black OTA and all.

Subject:	re:  ETX-80 AT - Planet observation doubts
Sent:	Monday, January 8, 2007 20:51:44
From:	richard seymour (
Using the magnetic deviation/declination calculator at:

I see that your deviation is 2 degrees 6 minutes West

That means that your magnetic compass is pointing
that (small) amount -west- of "True North"

That small of an error should be easily overcome
by the ETX alignment process .. but at least you
can now find "true north" with a magnetic compass

have fun
From:	Karthik Shan (
Thank you very much for the advice.

I will try this out and will surely let you know if its works for me.

thanks again,


Subject:	ETX70 autostar input difference
Sent:	Monday, January 8, 2007 10:42:26
From: (
I was scrolling through e-bay looking for a good deal on some
equipment when I noticed something strange. I was hoping you might be
able to shed some light on this.

What I noticed in some description pictures for the ETX70 in
question, was that the inputs (aux and the controller plug-in) are
located in the base, NOT on the forks like they are on my own ETX70. 
Is this a newer scope where Meade has addressed cord wrap issues or
just a different model? This scope with the inputs on the base also
has dual aux inputs in addition to what appears to be a power input
jack. Any clarification on this discrepancy would be appreciated.

Thank You

Gary Crumb
Mike here: If my memory serves, that is the original ETX-70EC model. So it is an OLD model.
Subject:	ETX 60 righting prism
Sent:	Monday, January 8, 2007 06:46:01
From:	Ed (
do you know where I can find a reasonably priced righting prism for my
Mike here: There is a Meade #933 erecting prism for the ETX-60 for $50 USD.
Subject:	Re: ETX-80 AT - Planet observation doubts
Sent:	Friday, January 5, 2007 05:42:51
From:	Karthik Shan (
Thank you very much for reply. Sorry for getting back to you late.

I have used your tip and have now see Saturn and its magnificant. I
enjoyed viewing it the first time. The only problem I now have with ETX
is the alignment. I have read your forum but still did not find the
right answer.

My question is how to Align the telescope to True North? Please note
that in the manual that was given to me when I purchased the telescope
simply says that I point to North. But when I do this, I am not able to
Align the telescope properly.

Please help me to identify True north.

Thanks for your help again.


Karthik Shan
Mike here: Can you see the "North Star" Polaris from your location?


I am not able to identify the North Star. I can see the Horizon but
there is a lot of light pollution and I am not able to see stars in the

I live in this Latitude and Longitude - 11.20 N & 77.46 E. Is there any
ways we can identify True noth with these? Please let me know.

Thanks for your help.

Kind Regards

Karthik Shan.
Mike here: Do you mean you can't "identify" it or you can't "see" it? If you need star charts to help point the way to Polaris, see the article "Alignment/High Precision/Star Charts" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. NOTEL: most people draw a line from the stars "Dubhe" and "Merak" in the bowl of the Big Dipper. If you can't see it you can use a magnetic compass, correcting for your local Magnetic Variation (also called Magnetic Declination); see the Astronomy Links page for sites where you can determine this value for your location.

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