ETX PREMIER EDITION FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 January 2007

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:	ETX125PE Calibrate Sensor
Sent:	Sunday, January 28, 2007 16:44:29
From:	Harry Bourlotos (bourlotos@igcltd.com.au)
I've noted that several suggestions made on you discussion forums relate
to "calibrate sensor". There does not appear to be a menu option in my
Autostar for "calibrate sensor".

Am I missing something?
 
Harry Bourlotos
Mike here: Does your AutoStar "see" the LNT module? That is, can you adjust the SmartFinder via the MODE key menu? If not, then the CALIBRATE SENSOR will not appear since the AutoStar doesn't know about the LNT module and you then have something else to resolve. Let me know.

And:

From:	Harry Bourlotos (bourlotos@igcltd.com.au)
Thanks for your response. Since my original email, I discovered that the
Calibrate Sensor option does appear in  Auotstar but is not inlcluded in
the manual. Strange.

I understand in the Northern Hemisphere that Calibrate Sensors requires
the centering of Polaris. As I am in the Southern Hemishere, Calibrate
Sensor asked to centre some obscure star. How would I know which star
Autostar is referring to?

Harry
Mike here: You can use star charts to determine that. Some AutoStar specific ones are available on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page or you can use any of the online star mapping sites (see the Astronomy Links page).

And:

Thanks. It is very reassuring to know we can contact you with our ETX
problems.

Regards
Harry

Subject:	Re: Problem with calibrating sensors (PE Feedback 01/23/07)
Sent:	Saturday, January 27, 2007 09:49:28
From:	mhogansr@comcast.net
It sounds possible you're not placing the scope base in the same
position each time you set up. For the PE using Auto Align, the base
should be oriented with the power panel pointed in a westerly direction.
Since you bought the scope secondhand, it might be worthwhile to start
with a RESET to clear all previous parameters and continue as if it was
brand new.

A step-by-step guide for starting  from scratch can be found at:

http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/2006/pe_setup.html

Regards,
Mike Hogan

Subject:	ETX-125 PE and #883 Tripod
Sent:	Wednesday, January 24, 2007 03:43:39
From:	Pearson, Tyler (tyler.pearson@flukenetworks.com)
I have a question and would appreciate advice.

I purchased a brand new Meade ETX-125PE in the states on eBay and
brought it back to the with me. It did not include the tripod. I have
been looking out for an #884 tripod at a decent price, but they are like
hens teeth.

I managed to pick up a brand new #883 from a classified add and have
mounted the ETX-125PE onto this tripod.

Are there any limitations to using this tripod as opposed to an #884? Is
there anything I should be aware of?

Thanks in advance
Regards 
 
Tyler Pearson
Mike here: I hope you didn't ripped off as the ETX-125PE comes with a #884 tripod. I guess someone kept that. The #883 should work fine; I have my ETX-125 mounted on one. You might want to consider getting a mounting plate for extra stability. There are some discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Tripods page.

And:

Thank-you for the reply.

I purchased the scope well aware that there was no tripod included. I
assumed it would not be too difficult to pick up a reasonably priced 884
tripod.

How wrong I was, they are like Hens teeth and people are bidding crazy
amount on them. I did manage to get a 883 and had my concerns though
using it with the PE. Will I still be able to use all the functionality
of the PE like LNT with a 883 as opposed to an 884 or will there be any
limitations?

I assume your ETX is a PE not an EC/AT then? Thanks for the great site
as well, I have obtained much valuable information from it.

Regards
Tyler
Mike here: I have an ETX-105PE (with #884). There will be no limitations due to not using a #884. In fact, you could just sit the ETX on a table and use all the PE capabilities in Alt/Az mode.
Subject:	Problem with calibrating sensors
Sent:	Tuesday, January 23, 2007 03:30:15
From:	Eoin Byrne (byrneoin@gmail.com)
thanks for the help so far.  I recently bought a secondhand ETX-105 PE. 
I never could get the GOTO function working properly.  The scope kept
losing the time when I would turn it off.  I changed the Battery in the
LNT module and that seemed to do the trick.  But GOTO still missing by a
mile.  So I downloaded the latest Firmware for the Autostar and updated
the handset.  No problems.

Now, when I go to calibrate the sensors, the scope goes through the
motions but ends up pointing south and level and asking me to center
polaris!  This can't be right.  I live in Dublin Ireland.

Any suggestions?
 
Regards,
Eoin
Mike here: After you uploaded the latest firmware did you do another TRAIN DRIVES? I always recommend a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES following any update.

And:

I did a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES (advice from your site!) it was
after that I had the problem with calibrate sensors.  I think the
problem has gone away!  I removed the battries from the base of the
scope and after that things seem to be OK.  I say seem as the weather he
is really cloudy so I can't see Polaris.  Nothing you can do about that
I suppose.  I'll let you know how I get on.
 
Thanks for the help so far,
 
Eoin
Mike here: Glad it works now.
Subject:	Re:ETX125 Alignment 
Sent:	Monday, January 22, 2007 17:51:17
From:	mhogansr@comcast.net (mhogansr@comcast.net)
1. Have you verified the LNT time is set accurately?
2. Is the Daylight Saving option set correctly for this time of year?

When the mechanical drive is properly calibrated, Time and Observing
Location (lat/lon) are the most common sources of GOTO problems. Since
you've set your location accurately, Time is the most likely cause.

Regards,
Mike Hogan

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Mike left out one critical operation which could be causing your
symptoms.  The full list (in order of first things first) is:
(a) Setup/Telescope/Calibrate Motors
(b) Setup/Telescope/Train Drives (both RA/Az and DEC/Alt)

-then-, if you're going to use Auto Align, do the Calibrate Sensors.

If you are doing a simple two-star align, you start with the OTA
(optical tube assembly, the telescope's "barrel") level to
the ground, and pointed due, true north.  Your power panel
should be on the west side of the base.

See if that helps.

Two other items:  Rigel and Procyon are -too close together-.
Use one of them, sure... but choose a 2nd star which is -much-
further away.  Using close stars creates a "leverage" effect
which really makes for poor performance.

As for Saturn being off to the left, beyond the alignment errors
you're seeing, realize that the orbital calculations are
-approximations-... so GoTo's to moving bodies will occasionally
be wonderful, and occasionally be so-so.  Just because it's
bright doesn't mean it's going to be easy (for the Autostar).

have fun
--dick

And:

From:	Mark Emery (mark.emery@lineone.net)
Ah, now that could help, I have the power panel on the East side when I
set up, I shall try it on the West to see if that makes a difference, I
will also try aligning with  a different star to Procyon, I have only
used Rigel & Procyon as they are the stars that Autostar automatically
tries to align with.

Apart from the above, I have the scope in the Az/Alt home position, with
the OTA level and pointing north, hopefully the snow will not arrive as
promised in the South of England today and I shall go outside after work
and the all suggestions.

I will let everyone know how I get on.

Thanks for your help, truly appreciated.

Brgds

Mark

And more:

Yep the time is set correctly and Daylight saving is correctly set for
this time of year, I have mail from Mike Weasner asking me to calibrate
the sensors, so I shall give that a try and see if that solves the
problem, and another email from another user with some great
suggestions, if the snow holds of in the South of England today, I shall
go outside after work and try all the suggestions I have received.

Will let everyone know how I get on

Cheers

Mark 

And an update:

Just thought I would drop you both a quick line to say your suggestions
worked a treat, went out this evening, calibrated the sensors etc and
hey presto, everything lines up perfectly, had around an hour of clear
skies before the cloud rolled in ;0(.

Right, time to get back outside, the clouds have cleared at last, Saturn
looked magnificent earlier, it should be even better now it's higher in
the night sky and away from the distant glow of street lights.

Brgds

Mark

Subject:	ETX125 Alignment 
Sent:	Monday, January 22, 2007 11:16:09
From:	Mark Emery (mark.emery@lineone.net)
Greetings from the UK, great site you have, a mine of information:

I recently purchased an ETX125 Premier Edition scope, and have so far
enjoyed some great nights observing, however I have a problem with the
alignment procedure, that im hoping you can help me with.

When I turn on the scope it goes through it's alignment procedure, (
always use the two star alignment for accuracy in Az/Alt as opposed to
Polar alignment), I align the stars exactly in the centre of the field
of view, or as exactly as my eyes will allow, these stars being Rigel &
Procyon, this is where the problems start.

When the scope slews to position Rigel, it's pointing miles away from
the star (I have performed the Drive Training per the instruction book
and have also entered my exact Lat & Long into the Autostar unit).

Once Rigel has been centred and enter is pressed the scope slews to
Procyon, this also ends up miles away from where the scope is pointing,
anyway, I centre the star and press enter.

Autostar then says "Alignment Successful" and off I go exploring the
universe.  At the moment Saturn is quite prominent in the night sky and
I love observing it, when I tell the scope to slew to Saturn, the planet
always ends up being in the bottom left of the field of view (26mm
Plossell as supplied with the scope), is this right?, as I then have to
centre the planet in the FOV so I can fully enjoy it, and here is where
I suspect im going wrong.

Having enjoyed Saturn for instance, I then use autostar to slew to M45
or Orion, however when the scope bleeps to advise it's finished it's
slewing, you look through the eyepiece and there is nothing but nothing
to be seen, meaning that I then have to turn on the smart finder and
locate the item I want to look at, this is fine if it's nice and bright,
but impossible if you want to look at something fainter like Andromeda
for instance.

Am I doing anything wrong, or would a full polar alignment be a better
option for locating items in the night sky?

FYI, I am currently using the High Precision slew mode in Az/Alt, and
this is locating faint objects perfectly every single time, so I suppose
I could just use that, but even when using that, when the scope slews to
it's alignment star for the High Precision alignment, it is miles away
from the target alignment star.

Finally, after enjoying a night out in the garden with the scope, I
always like to finish with a final look at Saturn, I tell the scope to
slew to Saturn and when it finishes it's slewing, it's pointing miles
away from the planet, necessitating in centering the object in the FOV
again.

Would appreciate any assistance you could offer in solving this
"problem"
 
Brgds
 
Mark Emery
Mike here: Did you do a CALIBRATE MOTOR? If not, do that. If the first alignment star is significantly a ways off from where the ETX is pointed that usually will mean the North pointing (on the PE model Auto Align) or the HOME Position is incorrect. To correct the North pointing use the CALIBRATE SENSOR option in the AutoStar. To correct a HOME position error put the telescope in the proper Alt/Az HOME position (note that True North may NOT be the same as Magnetic North as shown on a compass). If you have been using Auto Align, try Easy Align. If you have been using Easy Align, try Auto Align. Note that the proper HOME position for these two modes is different.
Subject:	etx 125 pe
Sent:	Sunday, January 21, 2007 10:52:35
From:	Beachboy255@aol.com (Beachboy255@aol.com)
My Meade etx125 pe does not keep correct time or date anymore.  When I
plug it in and turn it on, the date and time are always off by a few
hours to a day or two.  Do you know what the problem might be?
Thanks, John
Mike here: Have you replaced the LNT battery? For more troubleshooting info, see the LNT section on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Re: ETX-125 PE: No auto align, no red dot view finder
Sent:	Monday, January 8, 2007 19:23:04
From:	Jeff Lebold (jlebold@boldstarinfrared.com)
First, a big Thanks...the problems are now solved!!

Second, I have written up a brief "what, where, how".

Jeff Lebold, Oshawa Canada

Subject:	ETX-125 PE: No auto align, no red dot view finder
Sent:	Monday, January 8, 2007 14:13:55
From:	Jeff Lebold (jlebold@boldstarinfrared.com)
I just purchased a brand new ETX-125 PE last Friday. Having a regular
ETX in the past, I am familiar with the controls.

Brand new out of the package and I wanted to give it a try. To my
amazement the Autostar control did not include AutoAlign option or a
Viewfinder control option (you usually hold down mode button for a few
seconds).

The scope went right to AltAz align, the autoalign feature wasn't even
there. I spoke with Meade customer service and after a long telephone
call (they didn''t believe me), they said I need a new Autostar
controller and they are sending me a new one right away. My reason for
writing is, have you ever heard of this type of thing before and, would
have a software update not fixed the problem (Meade told me I already
have the latest version), So why then are the autoalign and reddot view
finder controls not even listed in the Autostar control option. It is
like it is an older EXT with the reddot view finder mounted to it.
Weird.

Jeff Lebold, Oshawa Canada
Mike here: If the AutoStar does not see the LNT module then it won't have those options. So, I suspect that there is a LNT connectivity problem. Have you checked its battery? You might want to read through the LNT tips on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	re: Meade ETX90PE Drive Issues and Tuneup Procedure
Sent:	Thursday, January 4, 2007 19:40:39
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Actually, you want the final motion to be -towards- the west,
so that the sidereal drive -continues- moving in the same
direction.

If you arrive -from- the west, then the motor has to reverse
to drive the scope westward to follow the moving sky.

If you have Trained your drives, and then adjusted the
"RA Percentage" setting to minimize lag when reversals
happen, then you willhave minimized the effect of
the final direction during alignment.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Question regarding the smartfinder on the ETX-125 PE
Sent:	Wednesday, January 3, 2007 18:03:42
From:	Rob66283@aol.com (Rob66283@aol.com)
I am interested in purchasing an ETX-125 PE but I notice that Meade
has two pictures the ETX-125 PE on there  information page.  There
is a different Smart Finder on each scope.  Which one is
better/newer and why did they change it?
 
Thanks,
Rob
Mike here: The newest PE models have the Smartfinder lens on top rather than on the side. I would assume that the top-mounted one is more stable and more natural to use for some users.

And:

Thanks Mike I appreciate the help.
Rob

Subject:	Electric focusser for Meade ETX125 PE
Sent:	Tuesday, January 2, 2007 04:19:15
From:	h.vugt4 (h.vugt4@chello.nl)
First I'd like to wish you and all the readers best wishes for 2007, and
please continue your great site this year.

I bought a Meade ETX125 PE recently and I want to add an electric
focusser to it. The Dutch dealer of Meade telescopes informed me that
the electric focusser for the ETX125 (#1247) is not available anymore.

Can you suggest an alternative focusser for me, because I need it when
making photographs with my telescope. I read your report on the JMI
Motofocus, but it doen't indicate this one is suitable for the ETX125.
 
Thank you for your answer
 
Henk van Vugt
The Netherlands
Mike here: I suggest you check the JMI web site for details on their line of focusers. If you want to make your own, there are several discussed on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Re: Meade ETX90PE Drive Issues and Tuneup Procedure
Sent:	Sunday, December 31, 2006 17:26:07
From:	John Murphy (fourmurphys.sublet74507@zoemail.net)
Thanks for the prompt reply.  I recently practiced the TRAIN DRIVES
procedure several times to see if I can improve my technique.  Since I
don't have a reticle eyepiece, I aligned the scope to a reference point
at the edge of the field of view rather than guessing at the center
point.  For AZ training, I picked a point that was at the 3 o'clock
position of the edge of the FOV for the initial centering and subsequent
re-centering maneuvers.  (It was also a point that I could easily tell
when I was about to reach it when approaching it from both directions.) 
I also learned to release the button when just shy of reaching the
target to prevent overshoot.  We haven't had a decent night to determine
whether or not this worked ...

I also used the "2" setting on the slew rate for the TRAIN DRIVES.  It
took maybe 2-3 minutes to get back to the reference point, but I assume
that this is worth the wait.  I think that I had used a "4" or "5"
setting before.

Last question:  When aligning to stars in the Align procedure, does it
make a difference from which direction you approach the star to center
it in the eyepiece?  In other words, should you endeavor to center the
star in such a way that the UP and LEFT buttons were the last ones
pressed?  I am just wondering if the drive software is such that it
always makes the final slewing adjustments from the same directions and
therefore making backlash less of an issue when using the GOTO feature.

Thanks again.  I don't want to take advantage of your valuable time that
you have kindly provided to the stargazing public ... the advice is very
much appreciated!

Happy New Year,
John Murphy
Mike here: It shouldn't make a difference but approaching from the west typically picks up any backlash.

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Copyright © 2007 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
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URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/jan07/etx-pe.html