Last updated: 30 January 2008

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT, ETX-80AT-TC, and ETX-80BB. Additional information is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	ETX-60 on Weasner site
Sent:	Tuesday, January 29, 2008 21:13:43
From:	Glenn AE0Q (
Hello Brad,

Saw your posting on Mike's ETX web site.  You should be able to get a 9v
battery-type connector at Radio Shack that will mate with the connector
in the battery compartment of the scope.  I would be cautious of the
polarity, better have someone check it with a voltmeter that knows basic
DC electricity.

A battery (or power supply) supplies electricity at a particular
voltage, but the device connected to the supply determines how much
current is used (measured in Amps or Milliamps).  It is OK to commect a
device that only needs a small amount of current to a supply that is
capable of supplying a lot more, but to be really safe (or cautious) it
would be good to put a fuse in one of the leads.  A car battery, for
example, can supply hundreds of AMPS if the leads are shorted (it will
either melt the wiring or blow the top off the battery!!)  A 2 amp fuse
in one of the leads would be plenty for the ETX-60 scope, and still be

Voltage and current can be compared to water in a garden hose: voltage
is the pressure, which is there even if there is no actual flow

Get a 9v battery connector (it will come with 3 or 4 inch leads
attached), an inline fuse holder to put in line with one lead, and a 1.5
or 2 amp fuse.  Again, have someone familiar with DC electricity verify
the wiring for correct polarity, and have fun!  I have an ETX-70 with an
external power supply connected.

Regards - Glenn  Pladsen  (Arvada, CO)

"Remember, any tool can be the right tool!"   Red Green

  AE0Q / V31RY              ex: GM5BKC, ZB2WZ, SV0WY, WA0VPK            --SOWP 5558-M, ARRL LM, QCWA LM, NCVA--

Subject:	ETX 60
Sent:	Tuesday, January 29, 2008 11:54:23
From:	Flyboat (
Great website.
I was thinking of buying an etx 60 backpack model. Can this actually
handle a 35mm camera? small digital camera? I saw some comments about
being off balance. Can that be corrected with weight added at the front?
And this may be jumping ahead but, you mentioned vibration from the slr
mirror, If this were locked in the up position that should help, right?

Basically, from your experience, can the etx 60 take any worthwhile
pictures or is it a waste of time. If so, what would be your
recommendation for the cheapest Meade product to take photo's with.

Sorry for the barrage of questions, but you seem very knowledgeable
about the etx series.
I would appreciate any help you could give.
Mike here: Certainly the ETX-60 can do SOME types of astrophotography as long as the camera is not too heavy (my Nikon D70 DSLR was too heavy for my ETX-70). Adding a counterweight will help. If the mirror can be locked up AND you have a remote shutter release (or use a self-timer) then vibrations can be reduced.


Thanks for the quick reply. I appreciate the input.

Thanks again.

Subject:	ETX 60 & 70?
Sent:	Monday, January 28, 2008 14:18:54
From:	Dominguez Ivan-FID001 (
Love your website! One quick question though, I don't see much on ETX 60
is it because this telescope is outdated? My wife and kids bought me one
as Christmas present and to tell you the truth I am very happy with it,
of course, I'm not an expert on astronomy but definitely good enough for
a newbie.
Also, is there a major difference between ETX 60 & ETX 70?
Ivan Dominguez
Mike here: There are likely more ETX-70 users than ETX-60 users, partly because it was discontinued sometime back. And now there is the ETX-80. But there are reports on the ETX-60 on the feedback pages as well as on the Helpful Information: User Observations page. The only difference between the ETX-60 and the ETX-70 is the 10mm of aperture.


Mike this is great, thanks for your prompt reply - I hope you dont mind
my silly questions.

Ivan D.
Mike here: No ETX questions are silly.


Good morning Mike, here is something very interesting I've been looking
into the ETX80 after your email, but found the following specs along
with the ETX60 - it looks the same to me. Can you please comment on
this? And is this considered an upgrade to the 60? Once again sorry to

ETX 80 Spec
Optical Design:      
Achromatic Refractor
 Optical Diameter:      
 Focal Length:      
 Focal Ratio:   
 Maximum Useful Magnification:      

 Mount Type:    
Alt azimuth (motorized)

 Eyepieces Included:    
MA4mm, MA12mm, MA25mm
Aluminum Full size Tripod
 Power Source:      
Six AA-size Batteries 

ETX 60 Specs
Optical Design:      
Achromatic Refractor
 Optical Diameter:      
 Focal Length:      
 Focal Ratio:   
 Maximum Useful Magnification:      

 Mount Type:    
Alt azimuth (motorized)

 Eyepieces Included:    
MA4mm, MA12mm, MA25mm
Aluminum Full size Tripod
 Power Source:      
Six AA-size Batteries 


Ivan D.
Mike here: I don't know where you got the ETX-80 specs but they are incorrect. For the correct ones see There are differences.


WOW! Mr. Mike there is a difference I got it from ebay and some how it
did not seemed right. Thanks for the clarification - in your opinion is
it really worth the $299?

Motor issue:
On a different note, I have been having problems with the motors lately
every time the scope slews to a particular place or tries to search for
home position a message with "Motor.." cannot remember the rest but
basically I would have to start all over again, I have seen this problem
this week more than usual - one way to fix it is to keep replacing the
batteries, not sure this is correct but with less than hour of viewing
batteries must be replaced. I have been using 9V square batteries as
well to see if I can get more out of it, but this is not the case. Am I
having motor issues or battery issues?

By the way. I would like to thank you for your help and support, I know
it takes a lot to keep a website up to date with the latest info,
therefore, I have donated $25 dollars to your site, sorry not too much
but with 4 kids and a wife trust me......
Mike here: With the 80mm aperture AND the AutoStar, it is a good price. If you are happy with the ETX-60 you will be a little bit more happy with the ETX-80. As to the Motor Unit Fault error (likely what you are getting) could you be overtightening the axis locks? If not, then there could be some obstruction preventing the telescope from moving or a communication problem between the AutoStar and ETX.


The only thing I can think of is that I'm overtightenning the locks.
There is no obstructions.  

Thanks in advanced Mike.

Ivan D.
Mike here: The locks are "friction style" and so should just be "finger tight". This can be difficult to determine but the simplest way is to tighten the lock just enough so that the telescope will move when the AutoStar tells it to move and it stays put when the slewing is not occurring.


That may be the case, thank you again I'll try and will let you know if
you don't mind.


Ivan D.

Subject:	ETX 70 Autostar problem
Sent:	Sunday, January 27, 2008 14:22:14
From:	Richard Penning (
I have a very lightly used ETX 70 with the Autostar handset.  I hadn't
used it in awhile.  When I started it up recently it began the
initialization process asking for date, time and Daylight Savings Time. 
That's where it ends.  It stays on the Daylight Savings Time display. 
Nothing I do seems to change it the manual telescope movement keys work
but I can't get it past this initialization step.  Any help would be
Rick P 
Mike here: Have you tried fresh batteries? But unfortunately, this is typical of an AutoStar #494 that has gone bad.
Subject:	ETX60
Sent:	Sunday, January 27, 2008 09:49:29
From:	Brad Schultz (
Got my scope working great on my deep cycle 12v battery.  Another
question. Have searched Yahoo and your pages with no diffinate answer. 
Can you overtighten the AZ and Alt locks so that they cause aproblem
with the drive system?  Thanks

Mike here: Yes, you can cause damage by overtightening the axis locks. Although it has been a long time since I've read the ETX manuals, I thought that was even mentioned in there. But certainly it has been mentioned many times on the ETX Site. Searching the Site for "overtighten" will get you lots of comments.
Subject:	ETX60 Power Supply
Sent:	Friday, January 25, 2008 14:34:55
From:	Brad Schultz (
Just got an ETX 60 to play with while my 8" is in for repair.  Rather
than use the AA battery pack, which is 9V, can I run off a 12V auto
battery? From what I've read on Yahoo Groups it seems that you can. 
Since this scope was an Ebay purchase I doubt if I would have any
warranty so don't want to screw it up.  Thanks

Mike here: Yes, you can run the ETX-60 from an external power source. You just need 12VDC, 1000mA, with the correct polarity (center pin positive). For more on power supplies for the ETX-60/70, see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.


Thanks Mike for the quick answer but I'am still confused.  Have read all
the tech tips on power supplies.  It goes from one guy scared to death
to run off of a car battery to others that seem they are.  You make the
statement (center pin positive)  ETX60's don't use this, they have a 9V
connector.  I do understand correct polarity.  My concern was going from
AA's at 9v minimal amperage to a 12v auto battery with higher amperage. 
Thanks again. Love your site.

Mike here: Sorry about the "center pin" comment; I had just woke up! If you check the "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT AC Adapter" review on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page you can see what voltage and amperage the adapter puts out.
Subject:	ETX 60 Upgrade?
Sent:	Wednesday, January 23, 2008 20:00:49
From:	Leonard Castro (
Are there any upgrades to the ETX 60? It seems as
though you could unscrew the 60mm objective and
exchange it for a 70 or 80mm. I think the tubes are
the same size.
Thanks for the website, Leonard Castro.
Mike here: There are no such upgrades available.
Subject:	re: A couple more questions
Sent:	Sunday, January 20, 2008 11:12:38
From:	richard seymour (
You wrote (paraphrasing):
> Is the  45-degree diagonal that screws into the back of the ETX 80
> - supposed to magnify?

I doubt it.. .i suspect there is a Barlow lens involved.
IF the Barlow lens is built into the telescope (i don't have an ETX80,
so i can't look and see), then displacing the eyepiece further away
from the regular position -will- cause an increase in magnification.

(a Barlowed light cone is -expanding- as it leaves the scope,
and the further-rearward eyepiece therefore picks up a smaller
piece of it further out... but that smaller piece fills your
field of view, thus looks "bigger").  Think of it as only seeing
the middle letter of a distant store's sign.

The Barlow is usually a separate "pipe" with a lens at the front
end.  You can slip it into the eyepiece holder, and then slip your
regular eyepiece into it.  You may have one sitting unnoticed in
the ETX80's eyepiece holder.

have fun

Subject:	A couple more questions
Sent:	Wednesday, January 16, 2008 12:33:31
From:	Tim (
First of all ... the horizontal drive was definitely messed up in the
ETX 80 I returned to Meade. The lock began tightening almost as soon as
I moved it, and I only needed maybe a quarter-inch for it to engage and
work. Your previous comments about how to tighten that now make a whole
lot more sense to me.

I wasn't able to train the drives before dark last night, so I just
"poked" around using the drives manually, not go-to. They worked
flawlessly, both of them, at every slew speed. I'm very pleased about
that. I hope to train the drives and use the go-to this weekend. We've
got winter weather advisories here for sleet and freezing rain through
tomorrow afternoon.

I have a couple questions for you about this particular scope I got from
Meade yesterday:

1 - The focus knob seems to have a lot of slop in it. It wiggles back
and forth, as if it's loose. And when I'm turning it to focus, its
resistance (for lack of a better term) is very inconsistent. It'll
stiffen up for maybe a couple turns, then get really loose again. It
doesn't seem to affect sharp focus, so it that anything to worry about?
And, is there a way to maybe tighten it?

2 - About the 45-degree diagonal that screws into the back of the ETX 80
- is it supposed to magnify? Mine does ... it appears to be close to 2x.
I put the 26mm eyepiece in it last night, and the middle of Orion's belt
... the most visible nebula there ... practically filled the field of
view. I removed the 26mm eyepiece and put it in the top (90-degree)
eyepiece location, and my field of view included the entire belt. The
45-degree diagonal I got definitely is magnifying. I never tried the one
that came with the scope I returned to Meade, so I have nothing to
compare it to. Is that magnification routine for that diagonal?

Thanks in advance for your time.


Mike here: First off, PLEASE read the Email Etiquette page on the ETX Home Page regarding ambiguous subject lines. Thanks for understanding. Not having an ETX-80 myself I can't specifically answer your questions. But there probably shouldn't be any slop sideways or in/out in the focus shaft. The diagonal may shift the focal plane, resulting in a different magnification.
Subject:	New ETX80 is here!
Sent:	Tuesday, January 15, 2008 12:21:03
From:	Tim (
UPS just delievered a brand new ETX 80BB to me. You may recall our email
exchanges about a week before Christmas, in which I dicussed problems I
was having with the azimuth drive and, as a result, the scope's go-to

I'm about to start putting it together, but thought I would ask for any
tips you can provide for my initial use. In particular, I'm interested
in tightening the altitude and azimuth locks to avoid go-to problems as
I moved forward. And I presume I should train the drives before I
initialize it and get things going?

Any insight you can provide will be helpful. Hope the move went well and
that you're settled in to your new home.

Clear skies,
Tim Lilley
Mike here: I suggest not messing with the locks until you KNOW something is wrong that needs to be corrected. As to first steps, do a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES. Move went well except for the telescope and equipment theft.


Thanks for your note. I'm so sorry to hear about the thefts. I'll let
you know how things go as I move forward.


Subject:	ETX-60 Alignment problems
Sent:	Sunday, January 13, 2008 12:10:02
From: (
After years as a casual observer with a cheap, old, (Literally a K-Mart
Blue light special telescope), I finally found a Meade telescope that I
could easily afford.  While browsing through Wal-Mart I found a ETX-60
Backpack model for $50.00 as an after Christmas sale!  I came home read
the instructions and have been out every clear night since the purchase.
The first night out I could not get it aligned and I thought it was
because I did not know "Exactly" where North was.  I live in a city with
a lot of light pollution and can not see polaris.  I can see Orion and
Serius.  I bought a bubble level and a compass.  I aligned to north and
leveled the scope with the bubble and the scope positioned itself well
left and under Serius.  I arrow keyed in Serius with much effort and
centered it, Pressed "enter" and it slewed off to another star that was
not there.  Matter of fact it slewed out to the middle of no-where with
no bright st ars.  I repeated the setup, leveling and pointing north and
again it slewed well left of Serius, again with much effort I centered
Serius pressed enter and then selected Beatlegues as a target by pushing
the down button, again it slewed well off target.  I centered Beatlegues
and pressed enter and It said "alignment Failed."  Hour after hour of
this.  My enthusiasm is fading.  I have atomically adjusted my computer
clock and set the telecope accordingly.  I have tried with and without
daylight savings on.  I have tried with "Closest City and Zip Code" 
nothing seems to work.  Still well left of Serius and refuses the Second
star alignment.  I try the one star alignment with Serius Centered and
then press "Goto" an object and it just goes to "nothing".  What am I
missing? I have read all the posts I can find.  I can't figure this out.
 I appreciate any advice you can give.
Wade Wiggins 
Mike here: Magnetic North is not always the same as True North. How much different they are depends on your location. You can adjust for your local Magnetic Variation (also called Magnetic Declination); see the Astronomy Links page for sites that can calculate it for you. If you have problems identifying alignment stars, the alignment stars charts on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page should help you.


I am familiar with true vs magnetic north through my pilot training. 
The deviation should be minimal here in Western KY.  I will look into
correcting for this however.  I am identifying Serius as the brightest
star to the left and down from Orions Belt in the canine? constellation.
Beatlegues is the brightest star in the Orion constellation top left. 
The star charts I have looked at as well as Meades computer software
seem to confirm this OR am I totally off base?
Thanks for your help,
Mike here: Yes, Sirius is that bright star to the East of Orion. And Betelgeuse is the bright star at the top left of Orion. BUT these two stars are too close together to make effective alignment stars. Ideally the two stars should be about 90 degrees apart. Also, have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES?
Subject:	focus knob is hard to get 
Sent:	Sunday, January 13, 2008 05:11:29
From: (
could you tell (, please:
It's quite easier - use your left hand!
Clear skies,
Lower Bavaria

Subject:	AW: AW: etx-70
Sent:	Saturday, January 12, 2008 13:59:14
From:	AndiP (
i like to ask you for your opinion.
i own a lx-200 10 zoll  an thats my main telescope ... great one i think
and i make also pictures with this one with a webcam or a dslr camera
canon 300a.

my second telescope is a ed80 from skywatcher on a nexstar gt mount
(goto). with his telescope i also can see much in a great quality.

now i bought this etx-70 goto refractor and i read much things like "you
can not see to much", "70mm opening is to small " and and and. i didnt
had the possibility to test it until now, due to cloudy nights everyday,
but i cant imagine, that a 70mm shzould be much more bad than a 80mm ed
teleskope. sure the colourproblem with small frauenhofer is a thing, but
in all other things a 70mm f5 refractor should be not to bad or ?

i guess a 80mm telescope cant see much more, than a 70mm one.

what do you think ?

greetings and thx in advane
Mike here: The ETX-70 makes a fine wide field instrument. Yes, there is some color fringing on bright objects. You can read my comments on the ETX-70 on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page and comments from other users on the Helpful Information: User Observations page. And no, there isn't much difference in a 70mm vs an 80mm aperture.


thx a lot mike... that is what i thougt.

good to hear this from your side also :)



hope you are not worry that i have one more question today.

today is the first day i was able to test the etx-70. goto works good
for this price, if you setup the telescope right.

little bit funny is, that you cant make the picture inside your ocular
sharp, when the star (or object) you are looking at is at a high
altitude :) the focus knob is then almost not reachable :)

i looked at the mars today with my son and i was a bit warried about the
picture i saw. cant get this bright object focused, so that it is round
... looks little bit oval (like a egg) also with 25r okular.

i used also my good okulars, which i usualy use fr my ed80 oder lx-200.

others stars are looking like they have to .... but this object was
looking a bit strange.

is this because the colour fringing ? maybe because this, because all
the plejade (m45) stars are looking well round. never had such telescope
and also no ideas if this can be the problem maybe.

Mike here: Mars can show a slight oblong shape since it can appear slightly gibbous, just like the Moon. Of course, Mars is rather small right now.


made a star test with this etx-70 and found out that the pic isnt to

i guess it is not possible to adjust a refractor like this.

cricles are not concentric around the middle in and outside of the
focus. i used my virtual star test equippment (micro star, artificial
star)with a 0,07mm hole.



maybe you have a link for me to an article of your website, where i cann
read how to colimate the etx-70 (oder to adjust the flip mirror or
something esle to make the startest looking normal..
Mike here: Did you let the telescope reach "thermal equilibrium"? There isn't much to collimate with a refractor. However, if the flip mirror is out of alignment then you could have a problem. BUT fixing that without the proper equipment is difficult without making things even worse.


if im outside i let allways cool the telescope down, but this startest i
made inside.

i visible that the circles are not concentric in and outside focus an if
you are at focus with high magnification (+barlow), then you see, that
you dont have complete rings around the star itself.

no idea if the flip mirror ist the problem, but the i will send that etx
to meade an they can repair it ... it has 5 years warranty.

Mike here: You made the star test from inside? Through an open or closed window?


yoou understood wrong.

the telescope was inside and the artificial star (microstar ) was also
inside :)
Mike here: Have you tried it on a real star?


not with the etx-70, but i did with my  lx200 and my ed-80 an then
compared the result with the results from my artificial star.

the artificial star (microstar) is especially build for startesting
telescopes by a company . many astronomie shops sell this "microstar" .
it has a 0.07mm whole, i guess i have the newer one with a 0,05mm whole.

Mike here: As long as you trust the results.


Subject:	etx-70 startest
Sent:	Tuesday, January 15, 2008 11:07:24
From:	AndiP (
do yopu have a link to pictures made with an etx-70at while startest ?

Mike here: Not specifically for the ETX refractor models but see the Star Testing section on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Note that the collimation tips are for the ETX-90/105/125 models.
Subject:	Question on the ETX 70 focus knob
Sent:	Friday, January 11, 2008 17:06:55
From: (
I got my used ETX 70 as a Christmas gift to myself and am thrilled at
the difference this makes over my previous years of night sky binocular
views. As with others I have found that the focus knob is hard to get
at, so I purchased a flexi-focus type extender off ebay. It arrived with
an allen tool to put it on but the tightener on the original knob is
smaller. Can anyone tell me the size of the allen tool needed to remove
the original focus knob?


Gordon Keller
(please reply to email:
Mike here: Please see the Email Etiquette page for info on reply-to addresses. Thanks for understanding. A typical allen wrench set should have one small enough; it is recessed a lot. Unfortunately I don't have a reliable way to measure sizes.
Subject:	etx-70
Sent:	Friday, January 11, 2008 14:13:30
From:	AndiP (
hi from germany,

i looked long time at google internet search, but i nowhere found a
picture, where i can see ho wto build a cable for the etx-70 to connect
it to the notebook .

i build one cable myself for my lx-200 and for my nexstar gt mount, but
for the etx-70 im a little bit helpless :)

maybe you can be so kind and send a picture to me via email, where i can
see how to build one for my sons etx-70at.

also i like to know, something about an external power supply.

i know i can buy an universall power supply here in germany, which have
a connector at the end of the cable, which fits to the etx-70 one. what
i dont know ist, is plus "inside" oder "outside" ???

you know you can switch voltage at these universal powercables and you
also can choose polarity (thats what i meant with pklus inside or

maybe my english is not good enough, thart i can explain what i really
meant, but maybe you allreade understood what i tried to explain:)

i hope you can help me out (maybe my lx-200 cable is useable for my etx,
but i guess i have to build an other one for the etx-70at)

thank you in advance and greetings from germany
Mike here: Due to special electronics inside the #506 serial cable (for the #494 AutoStar that comes with the ETX-70) you can not easily make this cable. See the cable section on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page for more information. If you get a #497 AutoStar you can easily make the #505 cable (see the AutoStar Info page). For information on power supplies see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. For polarity info see the FAQ page.


thnak you for your information.

one more and my last question (autostar 494) .. can i switch time format
from 12 hours with am and pm to 24 hours ?

reading the manual now 3 times an i remember i read about something like
this, but cant find the place, where i can setup this.

thx in advance
Mike here: When entering time just move the "cursor" over to where AM or PM is displaying and scroll up or down to select a BLANK. That will give you 24 hour time.


thx a lot mike

have a good day

Subject:	ETX70 on dovetail of equatorial mount and focuser modification
Sent:	Friday, January 11, 2008 05:15:41
From:	Jan Timmermans (
Thanks for your website: a true treasure trove !!!!

I just bought a (used) ETX70, intended to be used as travel scope.

As an imager I wanted to put the ETX on a wedge and as I had an Astro-3
equatorial tripod available I bolted a piece of aluminium profile
underneath the ETX70 which matches the dovetail of the Astro-3 mount.
Done :o)

Viewable here:

On that same page you can also see what I did to make the focuser more
accessible: a small piece of flexible tube is all I needed ..

Groetjes/greetings from The FIRMAMENT Observatory

Jan Timmermans N 51.363 E 5.4622 (Valkenswaard - The Netherlands) <><
Astro website

Subject:	ETX-60AT-BB
Sent:	Thursday, January 10, 2008 13:37:10
From:	Michael Rudy (
Just bought several of these scopes (6 of them!) and I must admit, is
quite nice! It doesn't compare to my ETX-125PE, but for a
grab-and-go-and-hike-and-explore-and-play with the buttons-and keep one
at work for quick getaways, it really impresses me.

What would you recommend as far as a red dot finder? It will need to be
quickly removable as the scope is nestled tightly in it's backpack
Michael Rudy
Los Angeles, CA
Mike here: ETX-60 or ETX-80? See the Accessory Reviews: Finderscopes page. You might like the Rigel Quikfinder for ease of removal.
Subject:	ETX-80AT-BB Read note on page 13 of manual
Sent:	Tuesday, January 8, 2008 16:10:41
From:	Jerry Hailey (
I just received my new ETX-80 and got first light. Word of advice to
all! Read the Note on page 13 of the manual. It strongly recommends Not
using the 45 degree erecting prism while conducting the easy align. I
had the prism attached, and on the first alignment star I crashed into
the base.  I cut the power off and started over, no harm, no foul, just
lucky not to do any damage. Now I'm considering a law suite against
Meade, not for the crash. For Sleep deprivation!!. I was up all night
looking at stars, mars, and a few random satellites that passed over.
What fun this is!  Easy align went just fine, I always found the object
I was looking for in the window with just minor adjustments. Programming
the  Autostar 494 for the HST was easier than I thought.
Jerry Hailey

Subject:	ETX 60
Sent:	Saturday, January 5, 2008 08:17:48
From:	Mixon, Melvin (
I just got an ETX 60.  This is my first telescope and I am eager to
learn how to use it.  However, when I go throught the Setup process
putting it at 0 degrees and aiming it North, then using the Easy Align
feature.  I noticed that it is not aligning very well.  After I align to
the stars given then try to use the Guided Tour or find an object it
does not line up on the object.  For instance, 2 nights ago I tried to
line up on Mars.  Even after going through the alignment process I have
to manually correct the alignment to Mars.  What am I doing wrong?
Mike here: Have you entered the correct date/time/Daylight Saving/location settings? When pointing North, are you using True North or Magnetic North (there can be a significant difference)? Once the alignment is completed, how far off is the object that you GOTO?


I am using magnetic north.  Should I be using true north? 
Mike here: Yes. The Earth's rotational axis is pointed to True North, not Magnetic North, which can be up to about 20 degrees different depending on your location. If you can see the North Star "Polaris" then draw a line straight down from it to the horizon and point your telescope tube at that spot on the horizon. Also, the altitude scale can be off so don't rely on it unless you know it reads "0" when the tube is level (see the FAQ page for how to adjust it if it is off).
Subject:	Meade-80AT-BB I can not get easy alignment
Sent:	Friday, January 4, 2008 21:18:08
From:	Margaret MacArthur (
I found your web page easily much more so than finding a bright star in
Orion with my EXT-80 I got for a present. If you get this email and can
help a newbie I would grately appreciate it. It is the Meade EXT-80
backpack model with Autostar #494.

Here is what I do...
Set the telescope level and to the 0 I believe it is declination? Then I
spin it so it points north and lock it there. When I go to Easy
Alignment it is not pointing to the said star and I have reset it a
number of times with and without "daylight savings" on or off. Does this
really matter?

What are the numbers that go around the base of the telescope? This
seems to spin independently like it should be glued or something. What
are they for?

Well I will stop here you know now I am confused and if you can help
that would be wonderful.

Mike here: To answer your 2nd question first, see the FAQ page about the RA (azimuth) setting circle "tape". As to Easy Alignment, check that you have entered your correct location, date (don't forget the year change), time, and yes, the Daylight Saving setting matters (to the tune of 15 degrees pointing error if you set it wrong). After you point it to True North (not Magnetic North; as there can be a different of up to 20 degrees depending on where you live and your local conditions), and level the tube (which may or may not be 0 on the Declination (altitude scale; see the FAQ page if it is off), you then start the Easy Alignment. Depending on how accurate your HOME position is (level, pointing True North, and your date/time/etc) the first star may or may not appear near where the telescope is pointed. If you have trouble identifying stars, there are star charts showing the Alignment Stars on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Once you center the first star, the 2nd star should be closer but if not, center it. You should get a successful alignment if you properly identified the stars.


Wow I was glad to see a reply from you this morning! 
I will investigate the RA (azimuth) setting circle tape thing later. 

I have entered the location by zip code and the date is correct we are
in daylight saving now I believe on the east coast. Okay what is the
difference between True North and magnetic north? I was using the bubble
compass that fits in the eyepiece. Then last night I used my other hand
compass are they the same? They are magnetic north I what
the heck how do I know True North?

I have a great sky calender and it has the positions of the stars the
Autostar is asking Rigel and Beteleuseso I do know what I am suppose to
be pointing to.

I think maybe the True North will help because it really seems to be
near the correct star but far enough to be frustrated. Then last night
it was really cold and I must have tried a bunch if times then the last
time it started to point and the ground so I came in:( I really want to
learn this and enjoy the sky at night...
Mike here: The East Coast of the USA is NOT in Daylight Saving now. So you should select NO. If you can see the North Star "Polaris" then draw a line straight down from it to the horizon and point your telescope tube at that spot on the horizon; that will give you approximately True North. Or you can adjust for your local "Magnetic Variation" (also called "Magnetic Declination"); there are links on the Astronomy Links page to sites that will calculate the amount of difference for your location.


Thank you very much. With this explination...

What is the correct Home Position for Alt/Az Alignment?
A: Place the telescope on a level surface or mounted and leveled on a
tripod. Turn the telescope base so that the Computer Control Panel is
facing you. Loosen the Declination Lock Knob (the knob on the larger
fork arm that does not have numbers) and position the telescope tube so
that it is at a right angle (perpendicular) to the fork arms and the
Declination Setting Circle (on the small fork arm with numbers) is set
at 0 degrees. Lock the Declination Lock Knob. Loosen the Right Ascension
Lock Lever and rotate the telescope tube counterclockwise until
contacting a hard stop. Rotate the telescope optical tube clockwise
until the Declination Setting Circle is over the Computer Control Panel
(3/8's of one turn). Lock the Right Ascension Lock Lever. Turn the
entire assembly (including tripod, if any) so that the telescope optical
tube faces true north. The telescope is now in the Alt/Az Home Position.

Computer control facing you does this mean where the Autostar actually
plugs in?
I understand the perpendicular declination to 0.
I only have one Ascension Lock in the middle when it is unlocked and
turns I do not feel a hard stop. Is this declination setting circle
alignment part something I need to do with my ETX-90AT?

Thank you ever so much for helping me.
Mike here: The control panel is where the AutoStar cable connects. There are no hard stops on the ETX refractor models (ETX-60, -70, and -80); they are on only the ETX-90, 105, and -125 models. But if you have an ETX-90AT then yes, you should rotate to the hard stop per the instructions. As to the Declination scale, your choice; I just "eyeball" the tube leveling.
Subject:	AZ retention nut on ETX 70/80
Sent:	Tuesday, January 1, 2008 22:30:15
From:	Charlie Conger (
Mike recently when trying to open my ETX 80 I sheared off the AZ
retention nut ( the one that has the fingers that engage the AZ lock
plate). Do you know where I can get a replacement?
Thanks very much,
Charlie Conger
Mike here: Ouch. You could try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page) but I suspect you will have difficulty finding just that part.


Mike thanks very much. And I am sorry to hear of your loss. You seem to
be a really nice guy and then this happens to you. BTW,  I have two of
these little scopes now (an ETX 70 and 80) and thanks to your site I
have been able to totally turn a clunker used 70 into a (pretty) finely
tuned machine. The 80 came brand new from a Christmas sale and refused
to track because lube was everywhere. This is when I broke the lock. The
ALT axis is still slipping but I need this nut to restore it. Do you
know any hints to remove these nuts without breaking them?
Mike here: Yeah, it has been a bummer. Removing nuts can be a challenge. Sometimes patience is required. Applying heat (or cold) can also help.

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