Last updated: 31 January 2007

This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX, DSX, and DS models. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS 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:	Re : Meade ETX-90EC telescope 
Sent:	Tuesday, January 30, 2007 18:40:51
From:	C Edward (
I have an ETX-90EC too, I have not been using for few years.. recently
when I was taking out for star gaze, I found there sre some fungus on
the objective len. Could you advise is there any ways to take out the
len cover, I saw two small holes on the ring that lock the objective
lens. I believe you need some speacial tools to open up, pls advise..
From Singapore
Mike here: If the fungus is on the outside surface I don't recommend removing the lens from its housing. You run the risk of destroying the optical collimation and if you don't have the right equipment and/or patience, it would have to be returned to Meade. For cleaning tips, see the article "Cleaning Optics" on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.


Thanks for the prompt reply... i really appreacite a lot.

Yah the fungus is inside the surface.. i was thinking to go to the local
astro shop and buy the tools.

Any recommended solution for the cleaning?

A little info. about myself...

I work as an pump engineer and had been star gazing for 10 years plus
and in the mid thirties. compare to you i am younger.. hahaha .  My
childhood dream was to be a astronaunt or Pilot too, unfortunately  i
have to wear classes when i was in high school.. hahah.. too bad huh...
Why i started to star gaze? I started during the Hally comet visit..
from then i get hooked and the rest is history....

Mike here: See that article for a good solution (or just get "Doctor Clay's Cleaning Kit" as discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page). And rather than removing the lens FROM the housing it would be safer to remove the housing from the tube. Before you unscrew it mark its position on the tube so that you can be certain you got it back into the proper position when you screw it back on.


Thanks for the advise..


Subject:	A developing problem?
Sent:	Monday, January 29, 2007 11:56:35
From:	roger munns (
I have been using your website for a year or so now and eventually
decided to look into the ra and dec axes problems I was having.

My ETX125 is about 6 years old.

I stripped down the dec axis so as to clean up the clutch faces. Did a
good job, this axis now excellent.

Tried today to do the same with the ra axis. Got everything apart ok,
clutch and gearwheel off. For some reason I decided to take off the blue
plug from the wires that go through the ra centre screw. I guess so I
could take the clutch and gearwheel properly off so as to clean. Cleaned
up, re-assembled, pleased with efforts but a little apprehensive about
the wires going through the screw. Put back plug wires (but you can't be
sure you have them contacting properly). ? Pretty certain I have the
wire colours correctly positioned.

Replaced plug onto the pins.

Switched on, dec axis wouldn't work.

With the dec plug disconnected the ra axis seems to go mad - just runs
and runs. And the lights on the controller (not autostar) stick on 3

Do these symptoms mean I might have shorted the wires going through the
screw? Anyone have any pics to see how the plugs go onto the pins (the
ones going onto the main input).

I would appreciate any advice before I go further.

How I wish I hadn't taken off the plug. I didn't need to!!
Roge Munns
Mike here: It could be that the wiring is not making proper contact. There is possibly an article on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page that shows what you need but which one I can't say offhand.


Thank you for your reply - I'll check tomorrow.

Subject:	Meade 8x25 Finderscope Arrangement
Sent:	Monday, January 29, 2007 06:08:03
From:	Derek A. Snider (
thank you for hosting such a vast and informative archive of

I have a Meade 8x25 mm finderscope that was in need of new cross hairs.
mission accomplished, however as I was re-assembling the scope, all 3
lenses and spacers fell out of the eye piece and I have no Idea which
order/orientation to put them back in!

A description or diagram would be quite helpful at this point.  I have
searched for about 3 days now and I can not find any images on the
any ideas?
Derek A. Snider
Oshawa, Ontario
Mike here: I haven't disassembled mine (no need to break something that works!). Perhaps someone else has already been down this path and can help.
Subject:	Re-ETX 125 
Sent:	Sunday, January 28, 2007 10:13:15
From: (
Hi mike thanks for previous quick responses, 

My ETX refuses to respond to autostar or hand controller requests for
slews in any direction or elecric focusser requests.

the red light comes on and the auto star will read out but no motors
move when "Searching" appears.

Recently I ran the scope off a 12V car battery with home made terminals
and phono plug, and once I did get the crocodile clips the wrong way
arround, so could i have blown an internal fuse?

Regards Steve.
Mike here: If you reversed the polarity you likely blew a component on the circuit board. Unless you are comfortable with circuit board work, probably time to contact Meade (or try to locate a replacement board).
Subject:	Re: Broken Link from ETX tune up on Weasners?
Sent:	Sunday, January 28, 2007 02:01:19
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
Under the Tech Tips Section, there is page after page of detailed
descriptions for working on the ETX telescope.
Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Observatory Hill Drive, Petit Jean Mt.
MPC/cbat Obs. H41 / Petit Jean Mountain
MPC/cbat Obs. H45 / Petit Jean Mountain South
MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway
MPC/cbat Obs. H44 / Cascade Mountain
----- Original Message -----
From: Andrew Heard
thanks for your prompt reply!
The problem is that i can't find any pictoral, detailed instructions on
taking my scope apart to fix the declination or ascention prolems, in
your artcles you often refer to the details from the scopetronix link
decribing the actual physical actions involved
Will keep searching
----- Original Message -----
From: P. Clay Sherrod
Hello Andy....
Use the tune up guides on Mike Weasner's site, not the links to
Scopetronix; I believe that unfortunately Scopetronix or at least its
website is no longer in service.
Dr. Clay
----- Original Message -----
"Tune Up" site (Scopetronix) by Jordan Blessing "  (
tried this link in ETX tune up part 1 on Weasner Mighty ETX site but
doesn't work.
Can you help??
Mike here: I found it on the Wayback machine ( I will retrieve a copy and put on the ETX site.
Subject:	terresstrial photos with etx 125
Sent:	Saturday, January 27, 2007 18:11:15
From:	lynn betzig (
I am trying to find out if f/6.3 reducer and flip mirror,  both made by
Meade, are compatible with etx 125. I would like to view and then
compose the shot. thank for your time and effort, or referral to other
Mike here: That focal reducer is a SCT accessory (I believe) and would require a SCT Accessory Adapter (see the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page). I know that some users have used a Meade f/6.3 focal reducer but I don't if the model they used included a flip mirror. Weight and focusing might be an issue.
Subject:	ETX 125 tracking hick ups - Part II
Sent:	Saturday, January 27, 2007 09:04:14
From: (
I don't think so. But i'll have a hard time calibrating the motor and
trainning the drives. You see, i tested my scope properly for the first
time in my parents house (which has reasonable conditions and almost
full sky in any direction (except to the East), and now i am in my own
house (apartment... yes, i know...). Don't have a view to the North, so
i'll try "luck"... more like guessing where North is and then track
something easy to the south. Taking the normal city lights, i have a
good view to the south and to the Orion Nebula. What do you think about
this "plan"? Then i can check those issues you advise me to.
Mike here: CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES can be done in the daytime. So, no need to worry about True North.
Subject:	ETX 125 tracking hick ups
Sent:	Friday, January 26, 2007 02:42:01
From: (
This is my second issue. As i already told you, i handle my ETX 125AT
manually. I use AUTOSTAR but just to move the ETX without touching it.
When i tried the first time to TRACK, i register a noise from the right
side of the DEC axis motor, like "hick ups". Is this a drive problem
like the one you mentioned on your posts? Or do you advise me to take
out the covers and check the mechanics? I really want to start
tracking... help?

Thank you so much, i will wait for your reply
Vitor Martins
Mike here: Could you be hearing the normal stepping motor working? If you mounted the ETX in Alt/Az mode then the DEClination (Altitude) drive has to work in conjunction with the Right Ascension (Azimuth) drive in order to probably track. If you believe something else is going on, have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? Could you be overtightening the axis lock?
Subject:	Assembly and working - #1247 Electric focuser for ETX 125
Sent:	Friday, January 26, 2007 02:36:11
From: (
To begin, i must say: Thank you so much for existing :)! "Our" site is
really a masterpiece in helping and advising on the ETX 125 handling. I
have been checking it out since before i had a par of binoculars.

I own a recently bought ETX 125AT and yesterday i followed the
instruction i found on "our" MIGHTY site for instaling the #1247
electric focuser. I made an observation before yestarday without this
acessorie mounted and it was really hard to focus properly. After
installing i had to test it (obviously). I had already read somewhere
that it was noisy... it is... higly noisy. But what i found to be
strange was that, when focusing with the electric focuser, the image on
my eyepiece moves to the side. My questions: is it normal? Is it because
we are moving the mirror to get focus? Or do i have a problem?

Thank you so much, i will be waiting for your answer.
Vitor Martins
Mike here: Some image shift is normal with the telescope design used in the ETX Maksutov-Cassegrain models. It is due, as you suspected, to the moving mirror design. The image shift should not be excessive.
Subject:	Thanks
Sent:	Thursday, January 25, 2007 22:31:12
From:	John Murphy (
I've been visiting your site for a long time, being the owner of an ETX
125.  I've found a great amount of useful information there that can't
be found anywhere else that I know of.

Just wanted to say thanks for the site  it has saved me a few times and
made my ETX more fun to own and use.

- John M

Subject:	RE: ETX-90PE - Service from Meade
Sent:	Wednesday, January 24, 2007 18:01:49
From:	Carl Malikowski (
I promised you an update - 
I gave Meade a call about the RGA ( Service Request). You are absolutely
correct - they were straight out after Christmas, but are catching up. I
spoke to David Wiggins and explained what I needed. He's going to have
his supervisor push it up on the list so I hopefully will have my tripod
parts replaced soon. I'll send them the scope in another 30 days to deal
with the gearing (RA and Dec are pretty sloppy) when they will have a
faster turn-around time.

Our Planetarium trip has been rescheduled for this weekend - we had some
other things come up that prevented us from going.

I was out this evening, it was very nice viewing. Alignment is off, but
expected given the 'play' in the gears. I was able to manually center in
Betelgeuse, Polaris, and some others I knew about. Saturn was blocked by
tree, but the moon was spectacular. This is an addicting hobby. I would
have stayed out till the 'early' hours if it were warm enough.

Carl Malikowski 
Mike here: Once the Universe is opened up to you it is hard to get enough!
Subject:	Can you point me in the right direction concerning a part for ETX 90PE
Sent:	Wednesday, January 24, 2007 11:26:14
From:	Frank DiSanzo (
Being a new user I really enjoyed reading your tips and tricks.  I
wonder if you could help me out.  My nephew lost my lens cap and I have
been having a hell of a time trying to buy another.  Any ideas on where
I might get one?  I havent even received an answer back from Meade.

Mike here: Did you call, fax, or email Meade? I suggest calling them; they will likely send you a replacement for free.
Subject:	Re: ETX 105 collimation
Sent:	Monday, January 22, 2007 12:02:23
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
Hello Bruce...if you are an ATM guy, then you know what "push-pull"
collimation is all about; that is how the ETX does it; you must remove
the OTA from the rear cell by removing the focus knob and the three rear
cell screws and pull the OTA out the front; on the back are the six
screws:  three adjustment and three lock/push screws.

You must use an optical bench to collimate the OTA.  I cannot see how
flying or moving the scope around would change the collimation....there
is nothing that can move unless the six screws have been backed off.

Best of luck.

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bruce"
Hi Dr Clay

I was one of the first to strip my ETX (to see how it worked) and have
posted instructions on Mike's site. My ETX is now in dire need of
collimation - probably a result of one trip too many on an aeroplane. I
appreciate that collimation of a Mak is tricky, but could you offer any

fwiw, I'm a pretty experienced ATM'er and (besides my ETX) have heavily
modified 10" & 12" LX200's which I use for photometry, so I'm not
particulary intimidated by complex hardware.

Clear skies

Midrand, South Africa

Subject:	Thanks for the help
Sent:	Monday, January 22, 2007 02:09:11
From:	Steve Kilburn (
Thanks for having this website. The info you have online here helped me
recover a firmware problem i had with my LX-90 scope.

Brilliant. I can't thank you enough.

Steve Kilburn

Subject:	ETX-90PE - Service from Meade
Sent:	Saturday, January 20, 2007 12:14:29
From:	Carl Malikowski (
I'm new to the hobby and have a few questions below.

I just purchased an ETX-90PE and have found a few problems with the
tripod ( stripped leg lug) and the scope ( RA and Dec seem pretty
sloppy).  The place I purchased it at is half a world away ( quite
literally). I put a couple of requests into Meade, but I haven't heard
back. How long does it take them to answer back? I also have an older
ETX-90 and have thought about sending it to them for a general
look-over. I'm wondering the time-frame of that process.

On a different subject  I am looking forward to an 8" SC as I start to
dabble with astrophotography. I'm sure this is question you here often,
but I am still compelled to ask - Do you find an advantage with the GEM
vs. Fork mount for photography?
Thanks again for your Web site.
Best Regards,
Carl Malikowski
Mike here: When you say you put in a couple of requests to Meade, how did you do that: email, phone, or fax? With Christmas just past, I suspect they may be overloaded with new user "problem" calls. As to how long it takes for Meade to make a repair, I think they typically quote three weeks. As to fork vs GEM, you would have to put the fork mount in equatorial mode, which the GEM already is in, unless you get a "field derotator". Certainly forks are more stable and alt/az is more stable than tilting the arms.


I have used their web site and placed an email request for a replacement
of the leg lug and another for the issue with the scope. We'll be
patient. As you mentioned, I'm sure they are busy right after Christmas.
Thanks for the information on the differences between the mounts. I'm
starting to narrow down what my needs are vs. what's out there.

On another note, I took the scope out last night for about an hour. It
was great fun! I wish I could have stayed longer, but with the wind
blowing and the temperature hovering around 0, it was all I could last.
I'm about 20min north of Stellafane ( Springfield, VT) and I hope to get
there some time soon. Next weekend we have a planned family trip to the
Christa McAuliffe Planetarium in NH with our 4 children. Should be very

- Carl 

Subject:	EXT 90PE
Sent:	Saturday, January 20, 2007 10:41:51
From:	Angie Sullivan (
I am a complete novice, so I ask for your patience.   Can the ETX-90PE
also be used for viewing things land based?
Thank you,
Angie Sullivan
Huntsville, Al
Mike here: All the ETX models (and most telescopes) can be used for terrestrial viewing. In the ETX-90/105/125 models the image will be appear mirror-reversed. If that is OK, then you can enjoy the views through the eyepiece. If the reversal bothers you, get the Meade #932 Erecting Prism (see the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page for more info).


Thanks for taking the time to answer my question.  This clears up more
questions I had, but was a little ashamed to ask.


Subject:	computerized etx 125
Sent:	Friday, January 19, 2007 10:29:42
From:	Brian King (
How do you if you can computerize the etx 125? What kind of equipment do
you need and what is the best equipment to buy? My telescope is a 2002
model if that makes any difference. I already own starry night pro 4.5

If I need an electronic eyepiece is it better to get a black and white
or a colored one. Does the eyepiece magnify?

Thanks Brian
Mike here: You need an AutoStar #497, the #505 serial cable to go from the computer to the AutoStar (easily made; see the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page). If your computer has only USB you will need a USB-serial adapter (see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page). NOTE: not all USB adapters work reliably with the AutoStar. Once you have made the connections Starry Night should be able to control the ETX. As to an electronic eyepiece, you could get either or you could get an imager such as one of the DSI models. But let me set your expectations when trying to use the telescope via an electronic image on the computer: aligning is difficult so you will probably need to do the initial setup at the telescope. If there are any inaccuracies in tracking, actually identifying and navigating via the computer via an image on the computer screen will be difficult. Not impossible but just something you will have to learn to master.
Subject:	Moving ETX-125 OTA to a different mount.
Sent:	Friday, January 19, 2007 07:48:58
From: (
I've got a problem that I hope you or your readers can help me with. For
the second time in six months a brand new ETX has broken down on me. In
June '06 I bought an ETX-90PE. Within 12 hours of operation the right
ascension motor broke. After dealing with the worst customer service I
have ever encountered I got it fixed and promptly sold it on eBay. Next
I bought an ETX-125 and within six hours of operation the Alt/Az motor
is stuck (two gear teeth have become compressed). I have tried
contacting Meade for support for over a month now with no luck. They
won't answer their phone or emails. I'm pretty much done with Meade. My
question is this: Have you ever heard or seen an ETX OTA removed from
the base and mounted on a more reliable GOTO platform? I would be
willing to do this because I love the optics on the scope, the hardware,
on the other hand, is just plain junk. I sure hope you have some advice.
Otherwise it looks like I'm moving over to Celestron. Thanks in advance.

Eric B. 
Mike here: Check the "Mounts" section on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. The LXD75 may be exactly what you are thinking about.
Subject:	RE: ETX-90 Power up Problems
Sent:	Friday, January 19, 2007 03:47:33
From:	Charlie Floyd (
Thanks Mike.  Appreciate the response.  I will go and search for that
and let you know what I come up with.

Thanks again,



From:	richard seymour (
Your problems could also be caused by a flakey main Autostar cord.
(although if the red LED on the base is -not- coming on,
it's not the main cable at fault).

good luck


Thanks again  Mike.  I did find the Battery Cutout Switch article.  I
will get the scope out this weekend and give it a going over and see
what I can come up with.  I'll get back to you after I run through it
and let you know what I come up wit.

Thanks again for your help and quick repsonse and the awesome sight!
ps - and thanks to everyone else who helps out here.  :-)

Subject:	re: Smart finder mounting on other scope.
Sent:	Thursday, January 18, 2007 20:02:00
From:	richard seymour (
> my question is could i order a smartfinder with LNT,
> install it on my scope and plug it in the DSX mount?

Yes, a Smartfinder would work on your telescope.
Be aware that there are (at least) two models of LNT:
 one has the AUX plug and will plug into the AUX socket
on your DSX base.   The other style was designed for
"hidden" wiring on the PE models of telescope, and
cannot be directly "plugged it", but requires adding
a cable.

> worth, i live in a foreign country witch certainely
> wouldn't be in the zip code database + in south hemisphere!

The Autostar's database includes Papeete,
 so you don't have to worry about Zip codes.
(it also accepts custom locations)

If you are in the southern hemisphere, the Autostar
will frequently tell you to use Sigma Octans for
operations which would use Polaris in the northern hemisphere.

have fun

Subject:	Re: Using the ETX 125 for nature viewing and photography
Sent:	Thursday, January 18, 2007 15:24:41
From: (
Sorry to bother you with this again.  I am having trouble finding the
items that you spoke of (WFA, focal reducer) for the ETX.  I spoke with
someone from Oceanside Photo and they were not able to help me.  Is
there a piece that will screw directly onto the back port of the scope
or one that fits into the top eyepiece holder ?  Can you give me the
product name and  place where I can purchase it?  Will a WFA be better
than a focal reducer ?
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products and Astrophotography pages for comments on a couple of these accessories.
Subject:	ETX-90 Power up Problems
Sent:	Thursday, January 18, 2007 11:06:06
From:	Charlie Floyd (
First off I think this site is awesome.  I was pointed here about a year
after I purchased my ETX-90 and have tried to visit when I get the
chance.  On to my question for you.

I have an ETX-90 and I am using the 497 controller.  Recently the scope
and the 497 have refused to power up.  If I flip the switch up and down
a few times it might eventually turn on.  However if I use an external
power supply it seems to turn on okay every time.  I have made sure that
the contacts in the battery compartment are clean and if I check voltage
at the output of the battery compartment I get what I am supposed to
get.  I've had my scope for about 4 years and this problem just started
in the past few months.

Any ideas?  Do I need to send it in to get it serviced?  Help please.
Thanks you very much,
Charlie Floyd
Mike here: Since external power seems to work OK, one possible culprit could be the battery cutout switch. Search the web site for "battery cutout switch" and you will get several hits; note the one with Dr. Clay's response.
Subject:	Smart finder mounting on other scope.
Sent:	Wednesday, January 17, 2007 13:02:34
From:	Hrald HIVET (
i bought on ebay a 90mm maksutov ota very close similar to meade ETX
serie.. then i just bought on astromart a DSX90 mount with #497

my question is could i order a smartfinder with LNT, install it on my
scope and plug it in the DSX mount?

worth, i live in a foreign country witch certainely wouldn't be in the
zip code database + in south hemisphere!

will this combination work? will the scope aim at celestial north or
south pole? is it a good idea as i can't read any review about
smartfinder with LNT? or would it be best to invest in a basic red dot

Thanks for your great site.
Best regards from Tahiti.
Mike here: No one NEEDS a LNT.  But some find it convenient.  I suggest trying things out without for starters.  For more on the Smartfinder/LNT you can read my ETX-105PE comments on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page, reports from other users on the Helpful Information: User Observations page.
Subject:	Mak light path
Sent:	Wednesday, January 17, 2007 11:56:25
From:	Richard Davis (
While reading a review of a Maksutov scope, I came across a sentence
that said Maks do not have 2-inch light paths, and thus do not require
2-inch diagonals/eyepieces. Does this make sense? I'm considering
purchasing a 6-inch Eclipse Mak or a EXT 125 and also have someone who
wants to sell me several 2-inch eyepieces and a 2 inch SCT diagonal.
Thanks, Rick
Mike here: It is not a limitation of the design but of the specific telescope. For example, there is no need to use 2" eyepieces on the ETX models since the exit port is smaller than 2".
Subject:	Help in a filter comparrision Lumicon Deep Sky V Meade Narrowband filter
Sent:	Tuesday, January 16, 2007 08:20:36
From:	Eoin Byrne (
a fairly generic question here.  I'm looking at getting a filter for my
105 ETX  PE.  I've had a look around and two contenders are the Meade
Narrowband filter #908N and the Lumicon Deep Sky filter.  I generally
want to look at Nebula and Galaxies etc.  I live in an urban area with
the usual light polution problems, not too bad but certanitly not a dark

So the $99 question is which one? Given that the 105 is an f/14, are
there any exit pupil issue and since its a small scope will I see any
significant differance.
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews: Filters page; the Meade filter and one of the Lumicon models are reviewed there.
Subject:	Your tent
Sent:	Saturday, January 13, 2007 23:29:39
From:	Jason
Is that more for wind block and/or warmth, or is that to block light out
for your eyes?  Custom made?

Mike here: The tent I use at Oracle Observatory is a Coleman 4-person model. I sleep in there after a night of observing as well as a place to go to out of the sun during the daytime (when not solar observing).
Subject:	Oracle
Sent:	Saturday, January 13, 2007 13:32:59
From:	thomas robison (
Good luck on your upcoming trip to Oracle, Mike.  As always, I look
forward to your diary entries, observations and picts.  Will you be
bringing along any new ep's that you haven't previously viewed through,

Tom Robison
Seattle, WA
Mike here: Thanks. Haven't purchased any new ones, so no new reports on eyepieces.
Subject:	Using the ETX 125 for nature viewing and photography
Sent:	Friday, January 12, 2007 19:02:03
From: (
I have an ETX 125 that I now use mostly for nature viewing and
photography.  My problem is that the magnification is too high most of
the time.  My lowest power eyepiece is a Scopetronix Maxview 40 which I
also use to connect my digital camera to the scope.  I also use a Meade
45 degree erecting prism on the rear port which seems to magnify the
image even more.  Is there a lower power eyepiece or adaptor that I can
put before the eyepiece to lower the magnification to an acceptable
level.   From your web site I think maybe a visual back with a wide
field adaptor might work.  What do you think?   Attached are two
pictures of a Bald Eagle that I took in Yellowstone.  The Eagle was
quite a ways off and the photos are unaltered.  It shows the versatility
of this scope.
Mike Riley



Mike here: A wild field adapter or a focal reducer will reduce the magnification. If your camera has a removable lens you could also just do prime focus photography; that makes the telescope like a 1900mm telephoto lens.


Thank You for your help.
Mike Riley

Subject:	Re: Rank Beginner wonders whether to return ETX PE 125 for PE 90?
Sent:	Thursday, January 11, 2007 18:30:32
From: (
Mike, thanks so much for all your help.  It's nice to have your site as
a resource, and your knowledge.



Subject:	ETX125 vs LX90gps 8"
Sent:	Thursday, January 11, 2007 13:45:49
From:	Jan H Kolst (
I really must thank you and Dr Clay for helping and supporting me during
2006.Thanks a lot and a happy new year!

I was wondering about the portability of the LX 90gps8".I have an etx
125 and I'm very comfortable with the scope concerning portability.The
etx 125 has a total weight of 24 kg and the LX 90gps 8" 33kg.Accordingly
it is not as portable as the etx 125.But do you have any views on the
portability of the LX 90 ( How to carry it  and set it up outside) ?

What is tempting me is of course the 8"of the LX90 gps  compared to the
5" of the ETX 125.What worries me is the portability.Should I worry?
Jan H Kolstoe
Mike here: I have the LXD75-8"SC, which is the same telescope but on a German Equatorial Mount instead of the "ETX-like" fork mount of the LX90. I have no problem moving the telescope short distances all assembled. For trips to Oracle Observatory I remove the OTA from the mount so that they will fit inside my Prius Hybrid. I suspect you might find a similar situation with the LX90-8", depending on your stature.
Subject:	Re: ETX-90 won't slew side to side
Sent:	Thursday, January 11, 2007 05:49:53
From:	David Blythe (
I was finally able to experiment a little with what you suggested.  With
the azimuth axis unlocked when I press left or right arrow I hear the
slewing motor run for a second or two, then it hits a wall and starts
grinding (same as with the azimuth axis locked).  With the azimuth axis
unlocked I feel no resistance when moving scope by hand.  I'm willing
and able to attempt a fix myself, but I'm reluctant to just start
removing screws without some direction.  What do you suggest?
Mike here: It sounds like the gearbox may have shifted or a gear has worked loose. If you want to try a repair yourself you will have to open up the base. There are some articles dealing with the gears on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page (do a find on the page for "gear" to easily locate them). If you don't want to try it yourself (which can be risky) you should contact Meade or even Dr. Clay Sherrod for his "Supercharge" tuneup (see the link on the ETX Site home page).
Subject:	ETX 125PE Eyepieces
Sent:	Wednesday, January 10, 2007 21:45:00
From: (
I have read on the review pages about Paul Rini Eyepieces, however I
have not come across how people were able to order these are research
them. I am wondering if you have, or know how to obtain contact
information for these interesting pieces.

Thanks in advance!!



Any pictures of comet Mcnaught?  it was cloudy here (imagine that,
cloudy in Chicago).
Mike here: The Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page was updated on 8 January 2007 with current ordering information. I haven't been able to see the comet from my location but I have posted a nice photo from someone else.
Subject:	Scopetronix follow up
Sent:	Wednesday, January 10, 2007 06:57:54
From:	Patrick Roy (
Well... I received my visual back the next day I wrote you. It was
shipped by FedEx. I guess that the christmas rush is partly responsable
for the delay. Still, I find that strange that I never got answers to my
many e-mails.

For anybody that would like to order from Scopetronix, I would try to
contact them first  (phone or personnal e-mail) before making any
internet order. Yes,  I received my package within 3 weeks (again, it
was christmas time) , but is is certainly not the quality of service I
was expecting  from them.

Concerning the visual back itself. It is a nice piece that gives a lot
of possibility. One negative thing: the screw is now in  nylon instead
of metal like advertise.

Thanks again,
Mike here: Thanks for the update. Scopetronix has always had quality products and service. Everyone hopes the service level returns to its former self. As to the nylon screw, that may be better from one aspect: it won't mar the surface of what it is holding in place.
Subject:	I have problems with my altitud clamp in my etx 90
Sent:	Tuesday, January 9, 2007 13:48:41
From:	Mauricio Lpez (
In my telescope the altitude clamp cant be tight, because the clamp turn
freely, how can i fix it?
Thak to you
Mike here: I suspect the Right Tube Adapter has failed. Check the item "Astro Hut Right Tube Adapter Replacement" on the Astronomy Links page.
Subject:	Comet 2006/P1 (McNaught)
Sent:	Tuesday, January 9, 2007 11:39:22
From:	Niall J. Saunders (
Hopefully someone out there has a better view of the horizon than I do -
and at a time that is more convenient for imaging this stunning object!!

Yesterday morning (08/01/07) was clear and frosty and, to the south, I
could see Jupiter climbing above a treeline some 300m away. I grabbed
the binoculars and scanned around, thinking I might just get lucky and
at least see something visual before having to go back to work for 2008.
No such luck !! Despite keeping my eyes peeled, I saw nothing more all
the way to work, and the show was over by then due to an ever
brightening sky.

And yesterday evening was no better - with howling gales and horizontal
rain !!

And the same this morning - wind and misery (AND another day back at the
orifice !!).

But tonight - thanks to the luxury of flexi-time, and a keen desire to
get out of the office as early as possible, by 16:30 (GMT) I was already
on the 45-minute commute drive back home. And, as soon as I turned west
some five minutes later, I could see this BRILLIANT object in the
evening twilight. The sky was FAR from dark (I could easily have driven
without the aid of car headlights) - and the comet and her tail was as
bright as a jet contrail might have been. In fact, it wasn't until I
crested a small hill and saw Venus further to the south that I was
absolutely sure that it was the comet I was seeing.

Fortunately a good half of my journey home leaves me looking at the
western horizon. Or maybe I should say 'unfortunately' - because the
numerous mobile phone calls I tried to make, and the text messages I
tried to send (to let friends and colleagues know what they were missing
left me drifting all over the road more than once (I know, bad boy !!).

Definitely 'unfortunately' though was the fact that, by the time I got
back to my cameras, tripods and scopes, the spectacle was well below my
(20 degree) western horizon.

So, the imaging kit travels with me to work for the foreseeable future -
and (if the weather cooperates) I may well have 'important client
meetings' either first thing in the morning, or last thing in the

In the meantime, if you get the chance, get out and see what (for me)
has been the most stunning comet since Hale-Bopp 10 years ago.

(Thanks, Doc Clay, for the 'heads-up' on your ALERTS page)

Niall Saunders
Clinterty Observatories
Aberdeen, SCOTLAND

Subject:	DS-2114ATS-LNT, Astronomy guide book recommendation
Sent:	Tuesday, January 9, 2007 06:30:31
From: (
I have found your site to be extremely informative, and very helpful in
getting my newly purchased DS-2114ATS-LNT up and running.  Still having
a few problems with my LNT and the Easy Align function, however, I am
hoping that the following request will eliminate this issue.  I believe
that my problem is that I am not familiar enough with the night sky, and
when I am prompted to center a particular star, say Capella, I am not
sure which star this is.  I would therefore like to ask for some advice
on a beginners astronomy/ guide to the night sky type of book.  I am
interested in possibly a star chart along with a guide that will allow
me to not only identify the stars and constellations, but also
understand the celestial bodies which make them up.

Thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter, and I look
forward to

David Markowski
Mike here: For some star charts to help identify alignment stars, check the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. For many constellation guides, check the Helpful Information: Observational Guides/References page.
Subject:	Re: ETX 105 autofocus
Sent:	Tuesday, January 9, 2007 01:15:03
From:	Keith (
Thanks for reply. Yes I was meaning the electric focuser. Here is a
reply from a Meade supplier in the States:-
Dear Mr. Bryant , we are very sorry.we can not ship Meade products out
Of the USA.
Mike here: Which is why they have international offices and dealers in various locations around the world.


No US suppliers are willing/able to ship a Meade Electric Focuser for my
ETX105. Does anyone (in the US or elsewhere) know how I can get hold of
this item?
Mike here: There are several UK dealers listed on the Astronomy Links page. Check with them.


And none of them can get me one. They say that the item is discontinued. 
Mike here: You might try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page).
Subject:	ETX 105 autofocus
Sent:	Monday, January 8, 2007 06:44:31
From:	Keith (
I live in the UK and I have been trying to purchase the autofocus for my
ETX 105.

I have been informed by at least 3 of the suppliers that I contacted
that they are no longer shipped to the UK because of an EU ruling.

It appears that the autofocus has some components that fail an EU ruling
concerning, I believe, the amount of lead in the electronic compnents.

Is Meade aware of this problem of a closing market for its goods?
Keith Bryant
Mike here: There is no "autofocus" from Meade for the ETX line. There is an electric focuser, so I assume that is what you mean. As to whether or not Meade is aware of rulings that affect their products, I would think that they are.
Subject:	Scopetronix warning !!!
Sent:	Sunday, January 7, 2007 19:53:20
From:	Patrick Roy (
I want to share my latest Scopetronix experience with all your reader.
Eveybody have heard that Scopetronix was having some king of problem but
we never saw official news about it. Back in November 2006, I wanted to
order a Visual  Back from them so I wrote an e-mail but  never got an
answer. In mid December I wrote an oder e-mail and that time I received
an answer from Scopetronix stating that they were back in business and
that they could now take internet order. Was I happy !!! On Dec. 16th, I
make my order. The next day, I receive an e-mail comfirmation (an
automatic one, must I say) and I also notice that I was billed on my
credit card. Since then, no news !!! No delivery !!! No answer to my
many e-mails !!! No package delivery info from USPS !!!

Ok, I  am  stupid to have order that fast, but that was a Christmas gift
to myself !!! Is there a phone number to  reach them or do you or
anybody else have any info or clue for me. At least I hope that with
this message nobody else with get fooled like me.

Subject:	Temperature Tolerances on ETX?
Sent:	Sunday, January 7, 2007 14:39:45
From:	Anonymous
Question: what is the lowest temperature an ETX should be exposed to?

I couldn't find anything in the manual or literature that answered this


Mike here: The ETX has been used to temperatures below freezing. Keep in mind that there are plastics used which can become brittle if allowed to "cold soak". Be certain to let the telescope warm back up after use before moving any parts. You might want to read the article "Cold Weather Performance" on the Helpful Information: Observational Guides/References page.
Subject:	Rank Beginner wonders whether to return ETX PE 125 for PE 90?
Sent:	Sunday, January 7, 2007 14:34:17
From:	Anonymous
Thanks for being available to answer questions.

Situation: My wife bought me an ETX PE 125 for my birthday--once we got
it home, it looked real big and not so easy to handle here in Minnesota
winters out on our snowy/icy deck, or for transporting in the car.

On the other hand, at the Discovery Channel store where we bought it,
the sales guy said an ETX 90 will let you see that Saturn has rings--or
simply a single ring band around the planet--whereas a 125 will allow
you to see each of the ring bands.  That kind of added visibility sold
us on the 125.

Which I'm now weighing against portabiilty and the increased use that
might come with a 90.

Question: What am I trading off in visibility if I go to a 90?  (Have
specific examples?)

I have two additional quick, easy questions, however your "Etiquette"
page says to send different questions via separate e-mails.

Thank you, Mike, for all your help.


Mike here: You can read my comments on the ETX-90 as well as the ETX-125 on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page. You read other reports on the Helpful Information: User Observations page. Bottom line: the ETX-90 will show you the Rings of Saturn, including Cassini Division, under good conditions. But the larger the aperture the more details and the higher the effective magnification you will be able to use. On the other hand, ease of use is also important. As I frequently say, the best telescope is the one that gets used; not the one that sits in the closet because it is too large or cumbersome to set up.
Subject:	ETX 125PE Hard Stop Broke
Sent:	Sunday, January 7, 2007 10:27:58
From:	Niall J. Saunders (
I beg to differ with the Doc's comment that the newer cast bases of the
ETX series have hard stops that are 'very good'

I have had to strip an ETX-105 (to pieces) in order to replace a broken
hard stop. This was NOT an easy job (although it might be easier the
second time around - but I would not relish having to do the job again
!!). What had happened was that there was a defect in the casting that
'makes' the little peg that forms a 'hard stop'. The VERY FIRST time
that the scope RA/Az axis was moved to the end-stop with any kind of
force, caused the peg to shear. End result was a scope that finally
failed due to totally mangled wiring passing through the RA/Az axis.

This should really be a 'no brainer' decision - if the scope is under
warranty - get it back to your dealer, or directly back to Meade (you
guys in the States have 'got it easy' now that Meade's Customer Service
has been re-vamped).

As far as the broken plastic in the RA/Az base housing is concerned -
this would have little or nothing to do with the missing hard-stop - but
would definitely make me worried about what this scope has suffered
prior to you getting it. Might it have been dropped? Might not the
'drop' also have broken the hard stop? Do you really want to own a scope
that had been 'dropped'?

I know what it is like to deal with a damaged scope. My first ETX-105
had been (ab)used by its original owner (a birdwatcher who had no
understanding of computerised astronomical scopes, and who spent several
weeks using the scope 'un-powered' before he decided that it was an
unwanted gift that would be best sold on eBay). He sold it cheap, and I
didn't mind the challenge of the rebuild. My current scope, an LX-90 8"
SCT (also off eBay), was used as a football by DHL/Securicor (never,
ever, use DHL or UPS - if you can possibly avoid them) - and
unfortunately I lost out because the shipper had not paid for the scope
to be insured (it's OK though - I know where he lives, and, come the
revolution ... !!!).

So, if you can, get it back to Meade.

Niall Saunders
Clinterty Observatories
Aberdeen, SCOTLAND


From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
If the hard stop in azimuth was broken, then the telescope had to have
been jammed against it at some point:  shipping, putting it in or taking
it our forcefully from the case, or dropped.  You have no way of knowing
whatsoever what kind of treatment that telescope has had prior to being
in your hands.  And even after that, sometimes the most inopportune
moment of removing it with a jerk out of the case with the clamp on can
break internal components.

Because your hard stop broke does not mean that the hard stops are NOT
good.  They are unless subjected to undue force. I have seen probably
600+ ETX scopes in the past five years and the new hard stops are indeed
"very good" compared to the older models.

Perhaps you have more experience with them internally than do I and if
so I will defer to your judgment.

The comments were made in comparison to the older units.....context:  it is everything.

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)

Subject:	re: Paul Rini eyepieces...
Sent:	Thursday, January 4, 2007 23:33:09
From:	richard seymour (
..are available from Bill Vorce (also known as "telescope warehouse")
(and his email is: )

His eBay site is:

and he's happy to ship outside of the USA.

have fun


From:	Ketan S
Ok, I was just trying some subject titles that wont take my messages to dustbin. :))))))   :)))))) :) :)))

I dont know what was the email. there was forward, reply from Richard
Seymour also.. may be you wrote to them and they replied and forwarded
me the link. I got the link of Paul Rini ebay from him. And the
telescope warehouse you said also has the ebay link.

Thank you for doing the help activity for me. Let me know if I can help
you with whatever I can do. Good wishes, see you, Ketan.

Subject:	re:  etx90-ec and gps problem...
Sent:	Thursday, January 4, 2007 19:30:38
From:	richard seymour (
Mike wrote:
> Get an adapter from your local computer store.


That 15-pin socket is the VGA socket for a second monitor!
It is -not- a serial socket.

What you probably need is a USB-to-serial adapter,
such as the Keyspan USA-19HS

(don't buy a Belkin, they have problems with the data
transfers required for updating the Autostar).

The Keyspan adapter plugs into one of your laptop's USB
socket, and has the 9-pin COM socket on the other end.

have fun


From:	Niall J. Saunders (
First - Happy New Year from (cloudy) Scotland !!

Caroline - the 15-pin high-density female connector on your Laptop is
almost certainly the VIDEO OUT connector, which allows you to feed an
external monitor. It has nothing to do with serial communications.

Unfortunately it is therefore almost guaranteed that your Laptop does
NOT have a serial port - most major manufacturers recently have been
choosing to save the $1.00 that it would cost them to provide a Serial
Port, and have instead been fitting numerous USB ports in the mistaken
belief that this 'standard' would be an ideal replacement solution. This
has NEVER been - and can NEVER BE - the case.

What you are going to have to try is to get your hands on is a USB
Serial Port Emulator.

Note that I am using the word 'emulator'.

These devices - irrespective of what manufacturers or salespersons might
claim - are only ever going to be 'emulators'. Due to the design of the
original 'Legacy' RS-232 Serial Port, they can NEVER be 'converters'.

All of this means that, when you get your hands on such an emulator
there is NO GUARANTEE WHATSOEVER that they will work with your
particular PC. And, if they do, there is NO GUARANTEE WHATSOEVER that
any change of operating system, or any software / hardware that you may
add to your PC in the future will have no adverse effect on the
operation of your emulator.

If you search Mike's ETX site for 'USB' you will come across those who
swear by Belkin products, those who swear by Keyspan products, etc. (and
Keyspan tends to get somewhat better praise). Personally, I swear AT all
of them, and at all of the manufacturers who have chosen to try and make
obsolete the one form of connection that has stood the test of time.

So, make sure that your next PC IS FITTED with the 'standard' DB9
connector, or RS-232 Serial Port. Fortunately, the likes of HP have
begun to 'see sense' (thanks, in part, to relentless lobbying by the
likes of me !!) and are now supplying laptop PC's with the 'Legacy'
RS-232 Serial Port as standard.

Hopefully you will find a USB Serial Port Emulator that 'works' - but
make sure that your supplier will provide a full refund if it doesn't.

Niall Saunders
Clinterty Observatories
Aberdeen, SCOTLAND

Subject:	hallo master Michael, I am Ketan..
Sent:	Wednesday, January 3, 2007 09:27:34
From:	Ketan S
I am Ketan from India Bombay. I am getting a refractor for Astro and
terrestrial view from US through someone. I cannot do this oftenly, very
less chance, because I am far away and few related people come over

I am also buying the Zhumell eyepiece and filter kit which costs 99$,
you might know it, because it has become welknown and good starter
reviews. What do you think?

But later now, I saw your review regarding the ScopeTronix eyepieces and
they seem well. But it might cost more than three times if I get a set.
With all my limited budget what would you suggest me to buy? Should I
but the ScopeTronix as a starter kit instead of Zhumell, or should I
make it as a upgrade second buy later on?

Please tell me.

Good wishes, sincerely student Ketan.
Mike here: First off, please read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Site Home Page; your message was originally UNREAD as SPAM due to the ambiguous subject line. Thanks for understanding.
I have no experience with Zhumell products so can't comment on them. I do have experience with Scopetronix but unfortunately their products are difficult to purchase at this time due to some difficulties the company has been going through. You might consider the Paul Rini eyepieces; reviews on the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page.


The rules of sending emails I didn't notice. I didnt imagine about the
heaps of emails coming to you. I thought I am just one of the few to ask
for suggestion. As being here I have no ideas about there. Here in India
there is lack of information on scopes. Someone makes local made scopes
but he arrogantly does the monopoly and never help unless we buy first.

Thank you for picking my letter from the dustbin. Sorry for the trouble.

I read the Paul Rini reviews, and I see no source on the net that sells
those eyepieces. The links given in the reviews do not take me to Paul
Rini products. Ok I will find a way, and I will tell you the review
about Zhumell eyepies and filter kit if I finally buy them.

good wishes for you fir this new year,
sincerely Ketan.
Mike here: Bummer that Paul Rini's links no longer work. I will try to get some more current information.
Subject:	etx90-ec and gps problem...
Sent:	Tuesday, January 2, 2007 18:22:47
From:	Caroline Visser (
I am trying to update my Autostar in order to hook my ETX-90 up to a gps
system. The problem is, the cable they supplied is not compatible with
my laptop. They sent me a cable with a DB9 female connecter, and my
seriel port has a 15 pin highdensity D-sub female. Can you advise me on
this, please?
Mike here: Get an adapter from your local computer store.
Subject:	ETX 125PE Hard Stop Broke
Sent:	Tuesday, January 2, 2007 17:48:59
From:	Stephen Olson (
You have one incredible site. thank you for all your inforamtion. it has
made using my telescope much easier. I have a small problem. The Hard
Stop broke. it now spins freely. I have 2 questions. Can I replace the
hard stop without sending back to meade and do you know where it goes? I
took the base apart and found a few of the plastic pieces that broke
off. It doesnt look like its anything terribly hard. Your opinion?

2 Is it neccessary to replace or can I just use the scope as is? I know
about the wires inside ripping apart if the scope is turned too many
times. I just would not know exactly where to start. Would I just
align(alt/Az) point north and align 2 stars. Be careful not to spin it
too many times? I would rather not send it back to meade if at all
possible. I would also like to replace the hard stop if at all feasible
with something a bit stronger than the cheap plastic piece thats used.

Thanks again for all your help. It is greatly appreciated.
Steve Olson
Mike here: I'm surprised at this. It would take a lot of force to break a hard stop. Since the scope will rotate nearly twice around, hard stop to hard stop, have you confirmed that there are no hard stops at all? As to using it with the stops, yes, you could.


I am positve that the hard stop is broke. I opened it up and found the
plastic piece broken. It spins around both ways as far as it wants. I
put the scope back together with the wires "loose" so it wont tear
apart. I was as surprised as you. I was just setting it up for alt/az
alignment spun it around and CRACK. Just so I got it straight. All I
have to do is set the scope between the fork arms and point it north and
align 2 stars. Correct? Is the stop hard to replace? Got any links on
how to do this or where it may go? Thanks again for your help! You're
the Man!


And from our resident hardware expert:

The hardstops in the newer ETX PE series are NOT plastic but very good
cast metal within the base (RA) or fork arm (DEC); it is very doubtful
that you will be able to successfully replace the stops in either if
broken because of the design and position of the stops; they are not
merely a "tab that sticks out" any longer, but an integrated cog within
the rotating would need to replace the entire
turntable (RA) or fork arm (DEC) to do so.

If it is broken, it needs to go back to Meade.....

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)

Subject:	ETX-60AT Vertical Lock Jammed
Sent:	Tuesday, January 2, 2007 09:42:13
From:	iireland (
Like the website, keep up the good work.
I have a problem with my scope which, given the number of comments about
loose gears, adjustment etc seems a little unusual: the Vertical Lock on
my ETX Scope is jammed, that is to say it cannot be loosened off.

The scope will still track using the autostar GOTO or manual observation
using autostars arrow keys, but the lock cannot be loosened to perform
free rotation by hand.

The scope has been unused for some months and stored in a warm dry room,

Any hints about how to loosen off the vertical lock will be appreciated,
but please note I am not a technical expert !
Mike here: Do you mean you can not get a good grip on it? If so, try a rubber "jar lid opener" or rubber gloves.
Subject:	etx 125 - novice
Sent:	Monday, January 1, 2007 22:06:10
From:	Bernie (
Just bought an ETX 125 for the family to get into astronomy.  We live in
the Phoenix area.  Over the past few nights I have been trying to view
the moon, but can't get it into focus.  I've tried three different eye
pieces (6.4mm to the 26mm that came with the scope).  Any advice?

Also, I've managed to get the scope aligned properly, but when I'm
aligned to the object I want to see (other than the moon), all I can see
is a light ring with a dark center, but no celestial object.  For
instance, I get RIGEL lined up, but all I can see is a ring with black
center.  I'm guessing I'm doing something wrong, but don't know what it

Thank you,
Mike here: I suspect both problems result from trying to use the focus knob to make the object look as big as possible rather than as "sharp" as possible. Stars will appear as pinpoints of light when in focus. Normally people don't make this mistake on the Moon so just to confirm this is the problem, try focusing on a land object (something a mile or so away). As you approach the right focus the object should get less and less blurry and finally become sharp. If you continue turning the focus knob past this point, the object becomes blurrier and blurrier again.


Thank you for your response.  I contacted Meade and it turns out the
internal focus mechanism was faulty (something inside was bent,
preventing me from turning the know more than 3/4 of a rotation).  I
exchanged the scope today and just looked at a beautiful early evening

Mike here: Yep, that focus knob NOT turning much is a good clue that something mechanical was wrong. Glad you were able to get the telescope replaced.

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