GENERAL FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 30 January 2008

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:	ETX slow creep
Sent:	Thursday, January 31, 2008 01:40:51
From:	Karen (klattray4371@sbcglobal.net)
My etx 125 has a slow creep when I release the slew button . How do I
fix this ?
Mike here: If you have the AutoStar, do a TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes). If that doesn't cure it, do a CALIBRATE MOTOR and then TRAIN DRIVES. If that doesn't cure it, do a RESET, CALIBRATE MOTOR, and TRAIN DRIVES. Doing the RESET will require that you re-select your Site, Telescope, etc.
Subject:	1244 Electronic Focus Operation Issues
Sent:	Monday, January 28, 2008 12:35:32
From:	Wayne A Wheeler (Wayne.A.Wheeler@aero.org)
I have installed a 1244 Electronic Focuser on my ETX-90 PE.  I think
this issue would be the same regardless of ETX-90 model.

The foucser works great, and can be controlled with the Autostar
Controller, but-
The outside case of the Focuser rubs against the right fork arm when the
telescope is pointing anywhere high ALT.  It seems to slow the motor at
this point.

- Is this normal for this accessory?  Do I have an installation issue? 
- Will this harm the motors? 
- Has anyone worked a solution (e.g. sanding the plastic on the 1244)? 
- Do you recommend against this accessory? (seems to be a design flaw here) 

Feel free to post question/answer.  Thank you! 

Regards, 
Wayne 
Mike here: You can see a similar report on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page. You could also search the Site for "1244 etx-90pe" and you'll get some other hits. Seems to be a common problem.
Subject:	ETX 125 Slewing on power on,then motor fault after pressing the mode key
Sent:	Sunday, January 27, 2008 08:31:18
From:	Jerry Hailey (jerry3672@lexcominc.net)
I just opened the box and set up my new ETX-125. Autostar asked for zip
as it should, and then said leveling.It started slewing from level to
zenith. When the ota hit a hard stop near zenith I cut the power. On the
re-power, the same thing. I didn't let the ota actually hit the hard
stop, caught it before it hit. So my next step was to go to calibrate
motors as I have read that all over your web. I get the Motor fault
warning. Now on tuning on the power the ota stars to slew to zenith a
few degrees, then a pause, and then a few more degrees, and so on. The
autostar menu says press 0 to align or mode for menu. Hitting either key
the autostar says testing motor and then motor fault. I have upgraded
the software to 43Eg. Same results, so I went back and loaded 30Eg.
different startup menu, but still same motor fault. My next step was to
clean the encoders. I found no grease on the optical pick up and all of
the gears seam to work fine. It is not very east to disassemble the ota
from the base, and very difficult to reinstall with the wire from the
LNT wanting to get in the way. I don't recommend this to anyone that is
not very good with small screws and mechanical applications. Now I'm to
the question. Is there any way to bypass the automatic motor test that
think I'm in and manually slew the scope? Or is it time to return the
unit to Meade?

I did go out and look at Saturn last night. Nice view of the rings! With
a 9.5mm eyepiece Saturn moves fast, but still I did get some use out of
the scope. The rest of the night I was reading you web site. That is how
I got as far as I did before just asking. But now I'm stuck.
 
Jerry

And:

In addition to my last e-mail, I also changed batteries two time just to
make sure they were fresh
Mike here: After you did the CALIBRATE MOTOR did you also do a TRAIN DRIVES? Also, you might try reversing the AutoStar cable; that can solve many such problems.

And:

It never let me get far enough to train drives. I did swap the cable
ends and inspected for a bad connection.
Mike here: Have you tried a RESET on the AutoStar or can you get to that menu item? Also, I recommend updating back to 4.3Eg, which is the current version. Perhaps re-loading that will help.

And:

I did go back to 43Eg. I can't get to the reset on the handset. as soon
as the power is turned on, it starts to slew up. As soon as I hit the
mode key it says testing motors, then motor fault.

Can I reset from the PC?
Mike here: See the article "AutoStar RESET from Software" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.

And:

That did reset, but I don't think it was a complete reset. It never
asked for the zip code. It went to the message press o to align or mode
for menu. A soon as I press mode, I get motor fault.

I think it is time to send it back.

And more:

I think I just discoverd that I have a real Motor fault. After the
restet from the PC I pressed the 6 key for that speed and then pressed
the arrow keys up and down and left and right. The OTA will slew up and
down, but no movement left to right. I will now look for something
mechanical that has stopped that motor. Thanks for all of your help.
Mike here: With the axis UNLOCKED can you hear the azimuth motor running when you try to slew left/right?

And:

not at all, the azmuth motor has no motion. 
Mike here: No sound means that the motor is probably not getting power or commands. A wire is likely broken or disconnected. Since the telescope is new I recommend contacting the dealer for an exchange.

And:

I think you are correct. Thinking back to the first time I powered up
the scope, It went to the point of leveling, and just after the message
"finding north" is when the first motor fault message was displayed. The
azimuth motor may have never worked. Now it is stuck in a motor test.

I will return it tomorrow.

Thanks for all of your help

And:

I took the ETX 125 back to Big Bang Astronomy in Raleigh NC today. Very
nice group of people, I would recomend them to anyone. They plugged in
another autostar and both motors worked fine. Then they tried an align,
and got the same results that I did the very first time I tried to align
the scope. The tube went straight up every time untill it hit the LNT
and stopped the motion with a Motor fault. They concluded that something
was wrong and would call Meade tommorw. I think now that it is the LNT
unit with the issue.

They then offered me another ETX or a LXD75. I went with the LXD75 with
an 8 inch SN OTA. It's big. I'll give you a report when I get First
Light.
Mike here: Enjoy the LXD75.  I have the LXD75-8"SC (or had until recently).  You can see more on the LXD models on my LXD Site:
http://www.weasner.com/lxd/
Subject:	everstart jump starter hp450-2
Sent:	Sunday, January 27, 2008 07:03:32
From:	Alton Mann (mann1@charter.net)
Can you tell when I know the everstart jump starter hp450-2 is fully
charged? What lights will come on and do I have to hit the test button?
I lost my manual. Any help would be a great help. I can't fin info on
the inter net.
Thank you
Mike here: Sorry, I don't have one.
Subject:	mead etx 90, stuck mirror
Sent:	Saturday, January 26, 2008 22:00:34
From:	drstevens@comcast.net (drstevens@comcast.net)
I have an early mead etx 90, pre auto tracking, and the mirror is stuck.
I can flip it with my finger but the lever will not move the mirror.

any suggestions would help.

                Thank you,
                         Bob Stevens. 
Mike here: There are a couple of flip mirror repair articles as well as the article "Doc G's ETX OTA Guidescope & Disassembly Photos" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page that may help.
Subject:	RE: tripods 833 vs 884
Sent:	Saturday, January 26, 2008 09:56:43
From:	ashmead pringle (ashmead@gscenergy.com)
Thanks for your help!

Subject:	Fw: PERFECTION!
Sent:	Saturday, January 26, 2008 06:45:53
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
Nifty report from a really nice guy; note the first concern
however....shows how easy User Error can creep into the equation.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Robert"

> Doc Clay,
> I can't thank you enough!  My scope is working PERFECTLY!  The first night out I was 
> disappointed.  I used my handheld gps for time and coordinates. The alignment stars 
> were about an hour out,repeatedly, so I physically moved the scope to the first 
> alignment star and it tracked well but not as good as tonight. The problem was time 
> zones. I often use my gps to find the oil rigs I work on and most of them are in 
> Texas, so I keep hopping between Mountain and Central time. Well, I knew operator 
> error was the problem. My gps had not transferred back to Mountain time. I found my 
> error and corrected time zones tonight and the little scope went straight to the Orion 
> Nebula. So close to center that I didn't even have to adjust after the beep!  It did 
> the same with the Andromeda Galaxy and The Pleiades, too. Doc, I cant get over how 
> 'quiet' the scope is when tracking. Before you applied your magic, tracking noise was 
> easily discernable. Now, ! I have to TRY to hear it tracking. My wif!
>
> e, Donna, sends her heartfelt thanks, also. She's never seen a deep sky object before 
> tonight and now she has 2 under her apron. Well, I won't keep you tied up with praise. 
> You know your work is top notch, and I just want you to know that I am more than 
> satisfied, more than impressed, with the scope. It was well worth the wait.
>
> Thank you, more than you could know!
>
> Robert

Subject:	tripods 833 vs 884
Sent:	Friday, January 25, 2008 13:51:44
From:	ashmead pringle (ashmead@gscenergy.com)
I gather the Meade field tripod #833 is the predecessor to #884, both
heavy duty models.  Do you favor one over the other?
Mike here: The #884 is more sturdy than the #883. It has tube legs and a larger mounting surface for the ETX.
Subject:	ETX125pe
Sent:	Wednesday, January 23, 2008 04:25:44
From:	jack ofspades (jackospadesuk@yahoo.co.uk)
My name is glyn and i am from the UK, but at present i am in Turkey with
my ETX 125 PE,

The scope is new and purchased in Nov 07 in the UK.

I have shipped the scope out to Turkey as i will be ther for 2 years and
have used it twice but during the first time the power supply stopped
working? The second time i used it with batteries but after half an hour
the RA or horizontal left and right motor has stopped workin? It is fine
up and down? the power supply is now working fine must have been a
glitch but still no left and right drive?  How can i remove the gears
and worm to inspect it? the large black ring in the center seems to stop
you extracting the worm drive, but ther seems no way to undo the black
disk so the worm can come out?

Can you please advise.
 
Yours Thankfully
 
Glyn Felton
Mike here: Before doing major surgery, which may not be needed, have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES (training on both axes)? Could you elaborate on the "power supply" you are using? Can you hear the motor running when trying to slew in azimuth?

And:

Thanks for replying mike
Yeas i have tried calibrate motor and only get up and down movement but
when i tried train drives again this time i got clockwise movement so
there is an improvement? but the handset now comes up with a motor fault
message?
 the motor is also quiet when slewing anti clockwise? 
The power supply is a uniross brand multi converter and is set to 12v!
 
Any advise will be great Thanks Mike
 
Regards   Glyn Felton
Mike here: So there is no sound from the motor when attempting to slew horizontally. That would indicate a non-mechanical problem but rather an electrical problem. Check the condition of the pins inside the HBX jack, on the AutoStar cable ends, and inside the AutoStar jack. They should be clean, not bent sideways, nor too depressed. You could also open up the base of the ETX and look inside to see if you can see a broken or cut wire (which can happen if a wire gets into a gear). You may or may not be able to repair this problem yourself. As to the external power supply, I hope the polarity was set correctly (center pin positive).
Subject:	Motors have a mind of their own. 
Sent:	Tuesday, January 22, 2008 13:15:25
From:	Mike Lind (Mike73ng@comcast.net)
I'm very sorry to hear of your loss of equipment. Personal property
theft is infuriating. Have you seen any of your equipment on ebay or
craigslist? Anyway that really sucks.

If you are still answering questions, I have one for you.

I have an -125 from about 2001. 3 years ago Meade fixed a broken motor
mount and I bought a  3 year warranty. It worked fine after service but
has been put away for the last 3 years. I brought it aout again last
night.  The problem is the motors seem to have a mind of their own. I
can align and point to an object but then the motors will just go off
and point wildly somewhere else. Sometimes a motor error is detected,
the unit tests the motors and "reboots" forcing me to re-align. The
motors work in all directions, fast and slow but it is almost like there
is some short somewhere causing wild movements. I know it is not a power
problem because it is plugged in to a large 12 volt power supply. (one
of those Celestron batt packs with the powerful light) BTW the warranty
ran out in December. Could there be dust in some optical sensor or
something like that?

Thanks

Mike Lind
Woodinville, WA
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES recently? That will usually clear motor random slewing.
Subject:	ETX125 and Meade Tech Support
Sent:	Tuesday, January 22, 2008 12:17:07
From:	Tom Perrone (depthordeath@yahoo.com)
Again, thanks for such a great site!

I wrote you once before about a few problems with my newly purchased
ETX125 and mentioned it was going in to Meade for repair.  Well, the
scope came back after 9 weeks total trip.  The focus shaft still binds
when turning and the Dec still sucks but the Collimation is spot on. 
Before repair the stars were trails at high power, now I put my 6.4mm
and 2x Barlow in and I can still focus sharply.  I looked at Mars a few
days ago and I could make out the polar caps and good shading of surface
detail.  Now i'm impressed with the ETX125.  It still has a lot of flaws
but my optics are spot on.  All I need to do is change the mount to an
LXD75 and I'll be happy.

One question, is Meade tech support always lacking in knowledge when you
call in for a repair?  When I told the man my scope needed collimation
he said "Can you see anything when you look through the scope"  I said
"yes at low power",  he responded, "then it's collimated."  What a joke!
I hope I never have to call them again.

Thanks for listening!

Tom
Mike here: Yes, there are some concerns with their Tech Support. I called them myself yesterday; I'll detail that call on an upcoming product review.
Subject:	Your loss
Sent:	Monday, January 21, 2008 07:34:51
From:	Sean Marien (rakis1@mac.com)
I am so sad to hear of the theft that occurred recently.  I know it's a
long shot, but I hope you are able to recover your possessions.  If you
haven't already done so I strongly recommend you post this information
on the Cloudy Night's website.  In the Shop & Swap forum there is a
place to report stolen goods in case someone ends up buying them online.
 Good luck and take care.

Sean

Subject:	re: ETX
Sent:	Sunday, January 20, 2008 11:06:00
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Given your probable expectations, do not settle for less than an ETX90,
 and preferably an ETX125.

The transition from an 8" to the ETX70 would not be pleasant.
(you're a photographer?  Think Canon SLR to cheap Kodak,
whereas the ETX90 would be a lightweight Olympus with Zukio lenses,
and the ETX125 would be a larger-format model).
The ETX90 and ETX125 optics are superb.

Since even the oldest LX200 is a GoTo scope, i must assume you
have an LX10 or earlier model.

As Mike wrote, any ETX can just be plopped on a table for use.
I had my ETX90 for a year before i bought it a tripod.

My current "mix" is an ETX90, an ETX70 (gifted), and a 10" LX200gps.
A few years prior to the ETX90 i had a tripod-mandatory 8" Celestron
C-8 (required 110vac power to operate the motor).
Like you, i found the C-8 unwieldy.  In the first -month- of ETX90
ownership, i spent more hours under the sky with it than i had with
the C-8 in 5 years.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Cable for "My Sky" to a LX90 and ETX 'scopes
Sent:	Friday, January 18, 2008 19:25:45
From:	Lou Welke (lwelke23-mail@yahoo.com)
I'm not sure if this answer had come up sometime before but I now have a
"My Sky" and a new 8" LX90 SC scope which I would like to control from
"My Sky" I had heard that it can also control other smaller Meade goto
'scopes which I may also purchase as a traveling scope.

A while ago it didn't seem to be available yet by Meade, I had a cable
that came with a camera that came with my LX90 and seem to plug in good
at both ends but had heard it wasn't the correct one, can you help me?
 
Cool Lou
Mike here: That cable will not work. You need to either purchase the Meade mySKY Cable Set ($30; I have one that I'll be writing up soon) or make your own using information in my mySKY review (on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page).
Subject:	Purchasing an ETX on Ebay
Sent:	Friday, January 18, 2008 14:14:04
From:	Peter Nielsen (PNielsen@212Resources.com)
I came across your web site and believe that you may be able to help me.
I'm going to be working in Wyoming this winter and summer and the night
sky is very dark.  I'm thinking of purchasing a used ETX 125 on ebay to
use at home and in Wyoming.  What would you recommend to look for and
what accessories would be good to have.
 
Thank you
 
Peter Nielsen
Mike here: Obviously you will want to check for physical damage, both inside and outside of the telescope. For example, does the telescope rotate horizontally almost twice around from hard stop to hard stop? What condition are the optics in? Is the telescope collimated? What is included (tripod and AutoStar have been standard in new ones for several years)? As to accessories, that will depend somewhat on how you plan to use the telescope. But certainly a Barlow Lens and/or additional eyepieces are always good to have.
Subject:	ETX
Sent:	Thursday, January 17, 2008 16:35:52
From:	Ron Kramer (Ron@HouseOfPhotography.com)
thanks for your demo video.
I'm thinking of getting one.  I have a 8" digital setting circles unit
to sell first.  I don't use it (TO LARGE AND HEAVY).

my question - Can you bring it out and use it WITHOUT TRIPOD?  With
tripod it seems (not real portable). I'd like to bring it out and set it
on a rubber mat on the driveway and sit on the ground to use it?  IS
this possible.?

Mine currently has a wedge and can't be used without it's tripod and 
(LOTS of difficult  manual alignment. (I've done it once) but was amazed
when it worked!

thanks Ron in MI 
Mike here: You can set the ETX on a flat, level, sturdy surface and use it in Alt/Az mode. Keep in mind that the closer to the ground the telescope is the more image distortion you could get, especially if the surface has been heated up a lot during the daytime.

And:

Thanks mike - and good advice on (being real low on a warm evening on
pavement or black top - I hadn't thought of that.

How do you rate this little ETX?  I'm considering the 70 (due to price).
Here's the deal. I HAVE a 8" SCT Meade.

ITS AWESOME!  No goto - (but us real astronomers really don't mind
right?) has digital setting circles - once set up you can GO TO manually
easy enough setting the digital read out for RA and DEC.

anyway - though it's AWESOME -  it's TO HEAVY for my back these days to
bring outside and setup.  It has that HEAVY TRIPOD (why I asked if the
ETX will work without tripod!)  I had considered making some table top
base for the 8" ! (know of anyone that makes/sells them?) A metal plat
with 3 adjustable screw in and o ut feet for level should do it?

Anyway - I don't want to have to lug the heavy tripods.  and due to that
- I haven't used my 8" (I think it's a LX200 or something like that...
or just previous to that model?  I'd have to find the manual to be
sure).  Mine is MINT - but I've considered selling it to take the money
and get a ETX.  HERE IS MY WORRY!   Will the 'seeing' be so poor on the
smallest ETXPE that I won't be happy I made the change?  Going from 8"
to this...  also all my accessories are 2"  and I suspect the ETX is the
smaller size? (is there an adapter that will allow me to use my current
eye pieces and filters?

My 8" also has lots of photography extras (weight system to counter
balance camera) added,  camera mount on tube, camera adapters etc.    Do
you think I'd be happy with the  exchange?   Adding EASY GO TO
features... and LIGHT WEIGHT in exchange for the trade off of the much
larger and superior instrument.   Wish would you prefer to own and use?

thanks so much for your help - I'm torn on it.
Ron in MI
Mike here: Certainly the smaller aperture will result in some significant differences in what you will see. But remember, the best telescope is the one that gets used. Ease of movement and setup count for a lot. Many of your camera accessories could still work although you might want to consider adding a counterweight; see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page for a lot more info.
Subject:	ETX125AT vs ETX125EC
Sent:	Tuesday, January 15, 2008 13:56:48
From:	Allen Selznick (aselznick@friedmanmirrors.com)
What is the difference between the 2 above mentioned ETX models? I'm
interested in purchasing an EC. If you would, you can send answer to:
mirrorstoo@yahoo.com
 
Thanks for your help.
Mike here: See the FAQ page. Also, please read the Email Etiquette page in regards to reply-to addresses. Thanks for understanding.
Subject:	ETX-125AT can it be done question.
Sent:	Monday, January 14, 2008 20:17:47
From:	Brad (cire@rochester.rr.com)
I  would like to start off by thanking you for all the hard work that
you have put into your site. It has been both extremely helpful and very
inspirational to myself and many others over the years.

I cannot find a solution on the net so far about the problems I'm
running across so thats why I'm asking for help.

I have a ETX-125AT that I would like to use for terrestrial viewing
also. I know what your thinking, Pst. thats it? Google more. and you
would be right but, I don't to use the #932  45 deg. prism. I wish to to
view straight through the scope.

Is this possible? Where can I find a threaded adapter and straight
through 8x25 viewfinder?
Thanks for any help.

Brad Heye
Mike here: Terrestrial usage is perfectly normal with many telescopes. And doing what you want to do is simple, just add something like the Shutan Visual Back (see the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page). This allows an eyepiece to be used at the rear port of the ETX. As to other finderscopes see the Accessory Reviews: Finderscopes page.
Subject:	RE: AC POWER ADAPTER
Sent:	Sunday, January 13, 2008 15:43:07
From:	JEFF HIATT (jshiatt103@hotmail.com)
Thanks for your quick reply,I am so happy with my decision(with your
help) to go with the ETX-90 it is a wonderful telescope that is more
than could have hoped for.You have a faithful follower.
                                                 Jeff

Subject:	AC POWER ADAPTER
Sent:	Saturday, January 12, 2008 10:13:05
From:	JEFF HIATT (jshiatt103@hotmail.com)
I have a 12volt power adapter that fits the plug on my ETX but was
designed for a set of walkie talkies.I have a old DS model that does not
work properly so I plugged the adapter in and it seemes to run
everything,would it be to risky to use on my ETX?It only has 200mA.
       JEFF
Mike here: The ETX will want upwards of 1500mA. So 200mA will likely be unreliable.
Subject:	Basic Handset ETX125
Sent:	Saturday, January 12, 2008 08:57:57
From:	stpferris@aol.co.uk (stpferris@aol.co.uk)
Hi and thank you for an informative site.
Any idea why my basic handset will not power up or show any sign of
life.It is used rarely as the Autostar is so good.
Steve (Freezing cold in England)

P.S. really sorry about the theft,Any joy yet?
Mike here: Cable connectivity? Check the cable connector for bent, too depressed, or dirty pins. It could also be that some component in the handset has failed since the AutoStar works OK with the telescope.
Subject:	price v performance
Sent:	Saturday, January 12, 2008 07:36:39
From:	Costas Aessiopoulos (aessios@otenet.gr)
You know the greek word "fantastic"?. This is the right characterization
for your site.

Trying to decide on the right telescope I can afford, I see that this
should be either an ETX-80 or ETX-90.

Here in Greece, the retail prices are Euro 400 and 900, respectively (1
Euro = about 1.45 US $).

The question is, if I pay for an ETX-90 more than twice the price of an
ETX-80, then the rule "you get what you have paid for" will really come
true in this case? or do you suggest to begin with the cheaper one and
upgrade later.

Respectfully
Costas (aessios@otenet.gr)
Mike here: Which telescope is right for you depends on what you want to do with it AND your expectations. The ETX-70 makes a nice wide-field instrument but is less desirable for planets. The ETX-90 makes a fine planet telescope with its longer focal length and a generally acceptable faint object telescope. But keep in mind that both telescopes have small apertures compared to larger telescopes and that limits "light gathering power". You can read my comments on both telescopes on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as comments from other users on the Helpful Information: User Observations page.
Subject:	Theft
Sent:	Friday, January 11, 2008 22:40:52
From:	Paul Burrell (burrell@westserv.net.au)
I have just read your "Theft Page" and wish to express my shock and
horror at what has happened.  I can't believe people would stoop so low
after all the help and goodwill you have given to the amateur
astronomical community.

My thoughts are with you.  Good luck with retrieval of the gear - there
must be a lead out there somewhere.

Regards,

Paul Burrell (ETX90/LXD55 user - Australia)

Subject:	theft
Sent:	Wednesday, January 9, 2008 20:57:33
From:	Hulett Keaton (rambler444@ellijay.com)
Dang sorry to hear that crap. They will get theirs somehow. I cannot be
sure, but it sure seems like I remember seeing that ota and several of
the accessries before Christmas on ebay.  I have a habit of looking
through the 2k meade pieces and am pretty sure it was there. Maybe there
is a way to check? I sure hope the insuurance company pays, not that it
helps that much. Good luck Mike.
Hulett

Subject:	CLEANING FRONT LENSE?
Sent:	Wednesday, January 9, 2008 10:37:07
From:	JEFF HIATT (jshiatt103@hotmail.com)
I am the guy asking about which scope to purchase the other day.I found
a ETX-90 for $250.00,I was fortunate enough to be able to drive and
inspect it.Following your advice as what to look for I gave it a good
once over and decided to go for it.My question is there seems to be
finger prints on the lense,what would be your approach to removing
this?I am sorry to be a pain,the scope also comes with a tripod,2 lenses
and 2 hand controls.
               Jeff

Mike here: See the article "Cleaning Optics" on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	Your telescope theft
Sent:	Tuesday, January 8, 2008 07:50:13
From:	Melville, Iain (Iain.Melville@dkib.com)
Sorry to hear about your bad news Mike, any updates on it?
 
PS - you don't know me, but I read your etx site alot and just found
your area on optcorp where I am thinking of ordering a wireless ASII
controller from - you can't get them in the UK!
 
Good Luck.
 
Regards from the UK
Iain
Mike here: Thanks. Waiting to hear how much insurance I'll get. Probably not much. Certainly not anywhere near the replacement costs.
Subject:	Meade ETX-105 problems.. again.
Sent:	Monday, January 7, 2008 06:37:54
From:	Jim (blitzburgh39@comcast.net)
i called meade a few days ago and the guy said my autostar handbox is
broken and i knew my viewfinder was broken so i was going to send those
in and then i told him that i move my scope when the locks are locked
(which i didnt know you cannot do).. and he said my motors/gears might
be messed up and i should mail them my scope and i wont recieve it for
about 3-5 weeks.. but if i just send the handbox and the viewfinder i
will get new ones like 1-2 weeks.... i cannot be without a telescope...
which i wont be no matter what but i will be building a dobsonian mount
for my reflector.. but anyway.. do you think i should send my scope in??
no one said it is broken? and he said to check if i hear grinding..
which i dont it has always been the same.. thanks.. oh and have you ever
moved you etx when its locked? its kind of a habit to me..
Mike here: The locks are friction style, just like car brakes. If you force the tube to move with the locks locked it will still move. If the locks hold the tube in place and allow normal slewing to occur it is probably OK. On the other hand, if the locks don't hold the tube in place (the tube fails back to the base when the altitude axis is locked or you can easily move the tube horizontally when locked or the telescope does not slew when the axes are locked) then you have a problem.

And:

nooooo.... everything moves fine... nothing is not like it used to be..
do you recommend i not send the whole scope in??
Mike here: Huh? "everthing moves fine" but you say "nothing is not like it used to be". "nooooo" what? Can you clarify what you mean?

And:

haha wow i used a double negative.. i mean everything is working fine...
except autostar.. everything. and i mean nooooooo as in noooo that it
doesnt lock and stuff as why were saying
Mike here: So the axis lock doesn't lock?

And:

No everything seems to be fine. all the locks lock. and it turns and
slews easily.. no grinding. or anything
Mike here: That is good then. Unless there is something wrong with the circuit board inside the ETX base or the control panel on the side of the base you probably don't need to send everything to Meade.

And:

Thank you... by the way.. do you get paid to do all this meade stuff???
because you literally have the biggest meade feedback site i have ever
seen
Mike here: No, Meade does not pay me. I enjoy providing this service. I do get much appreciated "pledges" from people who find the Site valuable.

And:

Your site is very valuable.. its more informative then meade itself!!
But yeah i just faxed meade my information so they can send me a fax
with the UPS code thing on it.. So i can ship my handbox and my
viewfinder.. I heard that the UHTC coatings basically ass and inch of
aperture to the ETX's. is that true??
Mike here: Yep, UHTC is like adding an 1" of aperture in the amount of light that reaches your eye.

And:

Well since meade is having major problems i am returning my etx-105 and
purchasing a etx-80, meade 9x63 binoculars.. and a zhumell eclipse 114mm
reflector

And:

would you recommend the etx-80?
Mike here: You can read my ETX-70 comments on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as comments from other ETX-60/70/80 users on the Helpful Information: User Observations page. Certainly it makes a fine wide-field instrument; just don't expect to see much detail in objects.

And:

do you mean detail in dsos? or planets?
Mike here: Objects will appear small (short focal length refractor, remember) and with the small aperture you will be limited in how much magnification can be applied usefully. Short focal length telescopes make fine wide field instruments but usually fall short of new user expectations on faint, small objects.

And:

Well yes but until i am way more advanced i just wanna knock down some
messier observations and some other bright dsos
Mike here: See those pages I mentioned.

And:

One more quick question.... how are dobs? im thinking of getting an 8
inch one. zhumell.. along with my 80.. so i can have my home scope and
my home away from home scope.. haha you know. like do you know how are
dobs are? like are they easy to move? are they easy to center something?
Mike here: Dobs are fine large aperture telescopes. They can be cumbersome to move and setup due to their size. If you know the night sky and know how to "star hop" to locate objects OR you get one of the models that have "GOTO" computers to help locate objects, you can find objects pretty easily.

And:

well how exactly do you "star hop"
Mike here: You use star charts and a knowledge of your eyepiece field of view. You "backtrack" on the star charts from the object you want to observe, noting prominent stars (or other objects) that are within the FOV from each other. At the telescope you "hop" from star (or object) to the next by moving the telescope in the direction indicated on the star charts until you find the next star/object, and finally you arrive at the object you want to observe.
thank you.

Subject:	1rst Telescope ETX-90 or 125?
Sent:	Sunday, January 6, 2008 17:44:27
From:	JEFF HIATT (jshiatt103@hotmail.com)
Hi My name is Jeff and I live in SW Florida,I was given a Meade Jupiter
DS-114 recently and have been bitten by the stargazing bug.My scope only
has a 25mm eyepiece and a none functioning Autostar.I have been doing my
web research on the world of novice astronomy and have been trying to
decide on if I should upgrade my free telescope or purchase a different
one or different model.After finding and reading your wonderful web
sight I feel compelled to go with a ETX series Scope due to the
flexibility and depth of observing they allow.My question is should I go
for the 90 or save a little longer and go with the 125?I have thourghly 
read your articles and in a novice way understand the differences
between the two but your input is greatly appreciated.Thanks for your
time.
 
                                         Jeff Hiatt
Mike here: There are many factors in that decision: cost, portability, ease of setup, light gathering, and your intended usage. Usually you go for the largest aperture you can afford AND WILL USE. If the ETX-125 is too much for you to easily handle you might prefer the higher portability of the ETX-90. Also, if you intend to travel with the telescope, then the ETX-90 might be a better choice. On the other hand, if you want to observe fainter objects from a dark sky location, then the larger aperture of the ETX-125 would be a better choice. Yes, I know, decisions, decisions, decisions! But keep in mind what I always say: the best telescope is the one that gets used, not the one that stays in the closet because it is too much trouble for you to set up.

And:

Thank you for your resonse.I think at this point in my new hobby I will
pursue the ETX-90 until I find the need to move up.I do not want to be
overwhelmed.

Subject:	etx 125 PE- wont turn thru 360 degrees
Sent:	Saturday, January 5, 2008 15:19:57
From:	nfrancis (nfrancis@btinternet.com)
My new ETX 15 PE failed to align. I set it to its home position , level
and rotated counter clockwise till it hit the stop. After several
aborted attempt to align with Autostar I thought I'd give it a feel.With
lock disconected the tube will only turn about 320 degrees clockwise
from home position and then it hits another stop.

It also seems to move with a distrinct squeal. I tried to eased the tube
clockwise a bit, it seemed to release but now the tube turns and turns
and turns.

Is this a back to dealer issue (it was a xmas present) or can I fix it
myself?
 
Help
 
Kind regards
 
Nick Francis
Mike here: It sounds like either the hard stop was broken off or there was a wire catching. If it now rotates continuously without reaching the second hard stop (normally less than two full rotations) then the hard stop is definitely broken off. Back to the dealer. Sorry.

And:

Thanks so much for an amazing speedy response.

Fortunately for me the dealer is about 5 miles from home and I buy
masses of photographic and astronomic kit from them. Hopefully they will
sort out he problem for me.

Thanks again for your help

Kind regards

Nick Francis

And:

Thanks for your help. I took the scope back to my dealer today and he
swapped it with another from stock. I explained that it had returned a
"motor malfunction " message and afterwards wouldn't turn through 360
degrees. I admittted that I had gently tried to ease it clockwise and
after this it basically just turned and turned. He agreed that it seemed
like a wire had maybe trapped the mechanism inside and that it was
probably now broken. I held my hands up but he assured me that the scope
should not have failed in the first instance and that he was very happy
to change it. I was very impressed.

Tonight its cloudy !!

Thanks again

Nick

Abergele
North Wales
UK 

Mike here: My Apple iPhone astrophotograph made iPodObserver!
http://www.ipodobserver.com/story/34243
Subject:	General ETX identification question
Sent:	Thursday, January 3, 2008 16:05:52
From:	Mike Pilgrim (mpilgrim@bellsouth.net)
Mike, first of all, I am so disheartened to learn of your scope being
stolen.  At least you had the wisdom to record the serial number, and it
is obvious you have maintained an excellent record of the missing
inventory. Those ought to be valuable lessons for all of your audience
to follow.

I have a different question for you this evening (one which does not
belong in your web site topics)........ I'm attempting to help my
brother-in-law into the astronomy hobby in an economical way. 
Consequently, I am scouring eBay for any reasonable offering, preferably
an ETX with Autostar at a budget price.

I may have located such an offering, and the bonus is that it is located
here in my own town.  Unfortunately, the owner knows so little of what
he is selling, it is impossible to get a grasp.  The eBay listing may be
found here:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEBTOX:IT
&item=130186923263&_trksid=p3984.cTODAY.m238.lVI

From the pictures provided, it appears to be an ETX-90 with a tripod
which serves no real purpose for me.  What cannot be seen in the
photographs is whether or not the unit is AutoStar compatible..I've sent
an email requesting owner to verify if there is a "Computer Panel" on
the base unit; I phoned him to get more info, but he's really unaware as
to what he has. He said he purchased it new about 5 or 6 years ago for
about $500 and really hasn't had time to use it.  He says he is a
Dentist who merely wished to do some sky gazing.  He is to respond
tonight regarding the "computer panel".

From the photo, I see a couple switches on the bottom of the unit; one
is "on/off", and the other is "N/S".  All indications say this is not
AutoStar compatible.  Do you agree?

This guy is not interested to make a killing on this unit.  In fact, he
said he may just donate it to a school, rather than haggling with eBay
questions.

My question to you is to learn if it is possible this could be an ETX-90
which is not AutoStar ready?  Is it possible such a unit was sold by
Meade during the last 5 or 6 years?

This guy has already mentioned he would take $200 for the whole unit.
However, I can't see much value if it operates strictly in manual mode.

What's your thought?

Thanks,

Mike Pilgrim
Boca Raton, Fl

PS.  Since receiving information from you and Dick a few days ago,
regarding my "rubber banding" symptom, I've had no reasonable weather to
get out and work on that issue.  Hopefully, that will come in the next
few days.
Mike here: That is the original, circa 1996, ETX Astro model, now known as the ETX-90RA.  It is not AutoStar compatible.
Subject:	Directions for meade etx
Sent:	Thursday, January 3, 2008 06:32:09
From:	Timothy Kistner (purpleheart67@wi.rr.com)
I RECENTLY HAD A MEADE ETX GIVEN TO ME AND WENT ON THE SITE AND COULD
NOT FIND INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO USE THE TELESCOPE. IT IS A  MULTI-COATED
D=90mm F=1250mm f/13.8 MAKSUTOV-CASSEGRAIN TELESCOPE. Can you help me.
thanks

tim kistner
Mike here: Meade has manuals on their site. See the FAQ page on my ETX Site for the link. You will want to correct the correct manual: if you have the original non-GOTO ETX Astro get that manual; if you have the EC, AT, or PE model you will want to get that manual. Let me know if you need assistance in determining the model.
Subject:	Lunch Box
Sent:	Wednesday, January 2, 2008 19:52:36
From:	JHNICHOLS (jhnichols3@comcast.net)
Sorry to hear about your lost of equipment.  I will keep my eyes out on
ebay as well as other places on the net for your  equipment.  I thought
I would sent you a link to an identical lunchbox on ebay that I came
across while looking in case you want to replace yours.  Good luck on
locating your scopes and other equipment.

http://cgi.ebay.com/SATELLITE-SPACE-SCENE-METAL-LUNCHBOX-W-THERMOS-
NICE_W0QQitemZ330201225682QQihZ014QQcategoryZ7270QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Hope this helps,

       Joey Nichols
       Shreveport, La.

P.S.   Just purchased an ETX-60 AT (Backpack Observatory) at Wal-Mart
for $125.  Not the greatest scope but a heck of lot easier to transport
than my old DS-114 (EC?).  In my opinion it was well worth the $125. 
Took it out of town to a dark clear open place and was really quite
amazed.  Again good luck.

Subject:	scope
Sent:	Wednesday, January 2, 2008 02:57:29
From:	Henrik VAN HOLTHOON (henrik.van.holthoon@wanadoo.fr)
Happy new year,
I am very sorry for you that your scope and accessories have been stolen
that must a great disappointment for you.
Regards Henrik
Mike here: Yep, it sure messed up my plans for 2008 and visits to Oracle Observatory.
Subject:	Theft of equipment
Sent:	Tuesday, January 1, 2008 16:31:41
From:	Bill VanOrden (beevo@cox.net)
Damn, there's nothing I hate worse than a thief, except maybe a drug
using thief.....

My only suggestion is to watch the Craig's list for that area.
 
Sorry for your loss.
 
Beevo
MIke here: Fortunately, drug users are a dying breed; they are self-eliminating.
Subject:	LXD75 theft
Sent:	Tuesday, January 1, 2008 10:05:14
From:	Craig Kopra (y2craig@hotmail.com)
Sorry to hear about your items being stolen.  I noticed you have the
serial number from the telescope available.  When I read about this at
your website I decided to look on Ebay, just in case.  There seems to be
nothing in the completed auctions from the dates you mentioned.

Although I did not find anything about the telescope I happened to find
this lunch box.  Even if it is not yours I will continue to keep an eye
on Ebay and report anything to help you out further.
 
Kind regards,
 
Craig Kopra

Subject:	Sorry to hear about the scope
Sent:	Tuesday, January 1, 2008 05:29:18
From:	PETER SMITH (psmithuk@btinternet.com)
Sorry to here about the break-in and theft of your equipment it really
sucks! Will the losses be covered by insurance?
 
Regards,
 
Peter Smith (UK)
Mike here: There will be some but not anywhere close to complete coverage.
Subject:	stolen goods
Sent:	Tuesday, January 1, 2008 04:47:56
From:	Renee Ann Wirick (reneeannwirick@yahoo.com)
I was so sorry to read about your equipment being stolen, my heart
really aches for you.  I would say I can't believe it but sadly, I do. 
I know I can't do much but will keep en eye out at eBay and let you know
if I see anything suspicious, esp. if it happens to be in Southern
California.  I wish you and your wife a better year this year and a
wonderful life in your new place.

Best Wishes,

Renee Wirick

Thetford, Norfolk
England

Subject:	re: Happy New Year for the UK
Sent:	Monday, December 31, 2007 21:27:55
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
> My only regret...There's no equivalent resource to your exellent site
>  for the "Celestrons" .....

There are a number of Yahoo groups:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Celestron_AS/       (2662 members)
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CGE-TelescopesUNCENSORED/  (1723 members)
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NexStarGPS/       (2672 members)
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nexstar/    (6942 members)

Visiting here:
http://groups.yahoo.com/search?query=celestron
will show the above, plus 83 other semi-related groups...

have fun
--dick

Subject:	re: ETX125 Lost Alt/Dec Movement
Sent:	Monday, December 31, 2007 21:19:02
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Ya know?
I'd still highly suspect the handbox cable.

Swapping it end-for-end does -not- move the Alt/Dec wires
to other duties... (it swaps the clock and data lines,
but they're still the Az pair).

So i'd find an ohmmeter and verify that pin 4 on one end
truly connects to pin 5 on the other, and vice-versa.

A test you could try is -unplug= the Autostar,
and then power up the scope.
What should (or may) happen is the two axes will move
randomly on their own... that's to be expected due to
the unterminated signal cables.
If the DEC motor does -any- random motion, then the
motor card and motor are probably OK, and your problem
is isolated to the cable or the Autostar.

Peering into the handbox cable sockets looking for dust,
dirt or scraps of paper would also be advisable.

good luck
--dick

And:

one more item.. the two wires (pins 4 & 5) might
be short-circuited together.. that would also cause
(A) no DEC control and
(B) no change when the cable is swapped end-for-end

good luck
--dick

And:

From:	Bonnie Konowitz (BonnieK@salida-co.us)
Thank you very much for the additional verifications.  Unfortunately,
the cable checks out 100% fine.  At this point I feel my only option is
a professional repair.

I just spoke with Meade and considering their cost for the repair I'm
querying Dr. Sherrod about the cost combining the repair with a
Supercharge.

Happy New Year to you both,

Jim 
Mike here: Dr. Clay will do a SUPER job on it if he is able to repair it.

And:

Have you opened the base (three screws hiding under the rubber feet)
and checked if those inner cables have become unplugged?

(remove the batteries first, and be careful about the
too-short, too-fragile wires from the base/battery box)

good luck
--dick

And:

Yes, I have removed the bottom and inspected/reseated the one plug with
the 4 wires.  I also gently checked the wires that go up the center hole
to see if any seemed obviously not connected to anything.  I noticed the
battery box short cables before any damage was done.

Thanks again for your guidance.  I think I'm probably out of luck fixing
it myself on this one though.

Meade said they would fix it for about $165 with no hesitation in a
phone conversation late this afternoon.  Right after that I corresponded
with Dr. Sherrod including Meade's response and about him possibly
repairing it in conjunction with a Supercharge.  His response was a bit
disconcerting about Meade with his statement "I am actually surprised
that Meade agree to fix the telescope at all; they have totally
discontinued ALL repairs and parts for the ETX AT models....none
available and will accept no scopes for repair at all".  He said he is
"hopeful" that he can repair it....

I have to go out of town very early tomorrow (Thursday) morning,
returning Friday and will make a decision by then of what I will do.  At
this time I'm inclined to first have Meade do the repair since they said
they could without issues and then follow up with the Supercharge.

Respectfully,

Jim 

And:

The ETX125 exists in (at least) three fundamental models:
(a) the original ETX125EC (plastic fork construction)
(b) the "newer" ETX125EC (lots of structural metal inside the forks)
  (many "old vs new" photos at Mike's site in the Tele Tech Tips page)
(c) the current ETX125-PE  (with the red-dot LNT finder module)

I believe the base and forks of the current ETX125-PE are
pretty much interchangeable with the (b) model.
At worst, Meade might ship you a -PE as a replacement.
(stranger things have happened).

I'd probably choose the same "Meade first" approach.

good luck
--dick

Subject:	re: theft
Sent:	Monday, December 31, 2007 21:10:32
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Bummer...

On the other hand,
if my Orange Tube C-8 hadn't been stolen as a coda to Shoemaker-Levy 9,
i'd probably never have purchased an ETX90EC,
 and our lives would be different...

In my case, the scope was stolen from the -new- house,
and the insurance company weasled out of it since it wasn't
my primary residence (yet).

good luck
--dick
Mike here: Thanks Dick. Who knows how this one will turn out...

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