Last updated: 31 January 2009
This page is for comments and user feedback about the "ETX Classic" telescopes. ETX Classic models include the ETX-60/70/80/90/105/125 (EC, AT, BB, Premier Edition). This page also includes comments and feedback of a general nature. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to the ETX-90RA, ETX-LS, DSX, 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 for posting. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message per the Site Email Etiquette. Thanks. Remember, tips described on this site may invalidate the warranty on your telescope or accessories. Neither the submitter nor myself are responsible for any damage caused by using any contributed tips.
Subject: Mount compatability Sent: Saturday, January 31, 2009 09:43:06 From: John Coff (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am thinking about buying a Meade LXD75 mount/tripod combo. I also recently bought a ETX125EC and wanted to know if I will need a saddle or dovetail base to mount the OTA to the mount. The bottom of the scope already has the male dovetail plate. Thanks for the assistance, JCMike here: See the article "ETX-125 on a LXD75 Mount" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. You will need an adapter, usually rings and a dovetail, to attach the ETX OTA to the GEM head. You can get rings/dovetails from ScopeStuff or Losmandy (links on the Astronomy Links page).
Subject: UHTC coatings? Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 21:22:00 From: Douglas Hornick (email@example.com) Great site with lots of useful information. I need some insight about whether or not an ETX 90 PE has UHTC coatings or not. I found on your site the URL for Anacortes which showed me that there are actually two different part numbers. One for a PE with UHTC, Part Number: 3514-03-55 and a PE without UHTC, Part Number: 3514-03-50 along with a difference in price. I had no idea since Meade's site only talks about UHTC being included with a PE model. I had just bought a scope from Samy's Camera on eBay at the going rate of $499 which would be for a scope with UHTC priced the same as another URL mentioned, Telescopes.com. The description on eBay did not mention UHTC. It just arrived in the mail today and I can't see where the part number would be to confirm which scope I actually have. It is the type with the nebula print on the tube. Any help is appreciated. Doug HornickMike here: I think UHTC was standard on the PE models from their initial release. Look for a UHTC label on the underside of the OTA. But it could have been removed.
OTA means the tube I'm assuming? I'm looking at the box and on the specifications list it says UHTC coatings: Optional at time of purchase. I just looked on the bottom of the tube and it does have a sticker that says UHTC. Good, I was afraid I overpaid for the scope. I didn't want to accuse the guy without knowing for certain. Thank you very much Mike. I'm looking forward to reading more of your site for great tips. That link to that home assembled plastic dome is interesting. I live in Japan so there wouldn't be any room for something like that on my property plus I'm sure shipping is cost prohibitive. Take it easy. DougMike here: OTA = Optical Tube Assembly
Subject: ETX 125 PE shuts down after a few seconds. Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 11:08:37 From: Koen Bertels (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have been using an ETX 125 PE for a couple of months now. I was very pleased the with the telescope until last night a problem occurred. When the Etx is turned on it shuts down after a couple of seconds /minutes. The red led on the telescope's base remains on but the (autostar) controller and the red dot finder go black. Which of course results in me not being able to control the scope and having to restart. Things I have tried so far: -turning the scope on and off -recharging the batteries -unplugging the controller. -"SAFE LOAD" (found in the Etx faq) Have you heard of this problem before, is there a solution? Any advice would be greatly appreciated Regards Koen BertelsMike here: What type of batteries are you using? A rechargeable external power supply or rechargeable internal batteries? If internal, there have been reports over the years that rechargeable internal batteries do not work reliably. Try regular batteries.
Thank you for the swift reply. I am indeed using rechargeable internal batteries (type: Panasonic "HHR-3XRE"). I did get the chance to read the "battery level menu" in the Autostar before it went black again, it indicates that the batteries are 95 % charged.. I have been using these batteries for two months now and never had any problem. Strange RegardsMike here: See the article "Rechargeable Batteries" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Try using non-rechargeable batteries and see if that solves the problem.
Subject: ETX Cord Wrap .... Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2009 17:59:33 From: Jan M. Hollis (email@example.com) Is there a recommended procedure for minimizing ETX cord wrap problems in the ALT/AZ mode? For example, is there a way to insure that the split is always (say) due East? Cheers, Jan M. HollisMike here: You can turn CORD WRAP ON/OFF in the AutoStar. But that's it.
Subject: Please, i need help. Meade ETX 70 AT Sent: Monday, January 26, 2009 17:42:54 From: William Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am sending this email requesting your help. I discovered your site when i was looking for help fixing a ETX 70 AT. I just purchased a ETX 70 AT from someone selling it used. All looked really clean and unused, I took the scope outside a few nights ago and the scope was acting really weird? All of a sudden i heard a POP and then sizzling (sounds like frying). I am assuming the scope burnt a board or boards? Do you think i am out $100 or can something like this can be fixed by me? Do these units have more than one board? Can someone who has never taken something like apart be able to do it! And last, were can these parts be purchased and how much? Thank you for your time reading my email and hearing my problem, if you could help me out i would appreciate it. Thank you so much. BillMike here: Were you running the telescope on internal batteries? After the POP and sizzle occurred, did the telescope AutoStar or motors fail to work after that? Depending on what component was damaged you may or may not be able to fix it yourself. If you are comfortable soldering on circuit boards, you may be able to disassemble the mount, locate the damage component, remove it, and replace it with a like-component. If you are not comfortable doing this, contact Meade for a repair.
Hello and thank you Mike! I was using internal batteries, After the pop and sizzle the motors worked but were unresponsive of the controller? (continue to raise without stopping and the same for left to right. Push the controller and release and the scope keeps moving) Thanks again mike for emailing me! BillMike here: If the AutoStar is still functional, do a RESET. If that works, do a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES on the AutoStar. Perhaps no damage was done (although something could become evident later).
Subject: viewfinder bracket screws Sent: Monday, January 26, 2009 17:02:43 From: Chase, Hal [DIA] (Hal.Chase@dia.iowa.gov) Mike, Thank you for your help thus far. I need your help. I need additional screws on my viewfinder bracket as one has broken off. I called Meade and they referred me to dealers. I contacted two dealers and I am not having any luck. Can you point me in the right direction? Thank you. Hal L. ChaseMike here: Check ScopeStuff (link on the Astronomy Links page). They have all sorts of things like that.
Subject: Best optics for the ETX 125 Sent: Sunday, January 25, 2009 16:49:49 From: Steffan Biggs (email@example.com) My question concerns the best optical accessories for my ETX 125. I don't mind spending $200.00 plus for a 2x Barlow, 45 degree optical, or lenses, however can I go too far? In addition, is there an issue with utilizing 2" lenses with this particular telescope? My goal is to get my wife into viewing, and I want the best optics possible. Thank you Steffan BiggsMike here: First, you can use 2" eyepieces BUT there are some things to be aware of. One is weight; some of the larger 2" eyepieces can cause a serious out-of-balance condition with the ETX. You can mitigate that by adding a counterweight system. Second is vignetting; 2" eyepieces will likely have vignetting evident as the ETX has only a 1.25" eyepiece port. As to 1.25" accessories, the ETX optics are very high quality and so using high quality eyepieces and Barlow Lenses will not detract from the views. However, keep in mind that it is a small telescope with a long focal length. That said, if you ever plan on getting another, larger telescope (like a LX90 or LX200) then the higher quality eyepieces will be very useful.
Thank you very much, I look forward to the news, advice, and reviews in your website. Steffan Biggs
Subject: RE: etx-125 Update Sent: Sunday, January 25, 2009 06:10:15 From: nev brough (firstname.lastname@example.org) Further update. Scope was returned promptly along with free spotting scope. I have had two consecutive clear night to have a play and all is well at present. Although when alighning stars are slightly out probably down to me, on zip code i have entered nearest observatory as Birmingham UK, but that is approx 26 miles away so i may be encountering offset on actual alighnment. Learning the autostar will no doubt put me on the right track. Many thanks NevilleMike here: That distance won't affect the aiignment. Be certain to CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES. If the model is a PE, due a CALIBRATE SENSORS.
Thanks for your advise Mike keep up the good work. Regards Neville
Subject: EXT Cold Weather Observing Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2009 21:22:41 From: Kenneth & Vicki Kelley (email@example.com) Here in Idaho the snow is several feet deep and temperatures are in the single digits at night with clear skies. I see many articles on who to stay warm, but nothing on how the EXT will handle to cold weather, when is cold to cold, hints on equipment observations, etc. Are there any references for this kind of observing or past input? Thank you.Mike here: See the article "Cold Weather Performance" on the Helpful Information: Observational Guides/References. Also, if you search the Site for "cold temperature" you will find several mentions of cold weather usage.
Subject: Fwd: IYA Discovery Guides have arrived! Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 00:51:21 From: Kim Miau Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org) Enjoy! -Robin Lee Founder of CHHS Astronomy Club, Kluang, Johor, Malaysia My Astronomy Blog- www.AstronomyNotes.net Or Astrobin.com ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Introducing 12 easy ways to share the excitement of the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) during 2009. Monthly IYA Discovery Guides are internationally accessible and complete with articles, activities, instructional videos, and finder charts. The Night Sky Network, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, National Science Foundation, NASA, and the IYA US committee have teamed up to provide these great resources that support NASA's monthly themes and featured celestial objects. Join skygazers worldwide in a renewed appreciation of the universe. Download your free IYA Discovery Guides here: http://www.astrosociety.org/iya/guides.html These guides are part of a fully searchable online database filled with easy-to-use activities, loved by amateur astronomers and other educators nationwide and proven to engage and inspire. Explain the universe, from eclipses to black holes with simple models, presentations, and hands-on demonstrations. See for yourself here: http://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/download-search.cfm We are excited to share these resources so please pass this announcement on. You can even give your website visitors direct access by placing a link on your website using this icon: http://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/download-view.cfm?Doc_ID=338 Let's get the world looking up! Marni Berendsen, Vivian White, and Kenneth Frank Night Sky Network Administrators Astronomical Society of the Pacific Night Sky Network: http://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/ The ASP is grateful for the support from NASA Science Mission Directorate, Space Telescope Science Institute, the Origins Forum and the National Science Foundation to make these Discovery Guides and other ASP IYA activities possible. You can learn more about the ASP's IYA activities and programs online at: http://www.astrosociety.org/iya/ and the US IYA initiatives at: http://astronomy2009.us/
Subject: ETX 125 Wedge Sent: Monday, January 19, 2009 21:19:51 From: TONY TREGO (TREGOT@roadrunner.com) Is there an available wedge for the ETX 125 and 884 tri-pod? Thanks, Tony TregoMike here: Since the #884 tripod ETX mounting plate can be tilted for Polar Mounting, I haven't seen any 3rd party wedges for it. However, using some of the wedge tips, including the article "Wedge for #884 Tripod", on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page, you could make one if needed.
Subject: Re: Please HELP: Questions about Meade ETX-60/70 Sent: Monday, January 19, 2009 12:43:04 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) Sorry It took me so long to answer. The repair went quite well. Here you have some detials. 1) First, The eyepiece holder piece was initially a little bit inclinated at the base of the telescope which didn't let me focus. It was fixed by using a rubber hammer and protecting and cushing the whole telescope to amortiguate the hit. Also I put a piece of flat wood or similar material on top ot the eyepiece holder to protect and evenout the hit of the hammer. It sounds a bit hard and mechanical activities but It actually fixed the problem with just 1 even hit. Now the eye site is straight. 2) The loosen mirror inside the telescope was a little more dificult to solve, it was fixed by cleaning out most of the previous harden glue to make the surface as even as possible. Then I made a new misture and I put just enough on the mirror holder, then I press the mirror against it by using a Q-tip or similar soft surface device in order to get it right and aligned. IMPORTANT: Because I didn't take apart the telescope. I made sure to play around with the lossen mirror inside the telescope to make sure I knew exactly how to turn it and position it before putting the glue. This was a key factor to have a succesful repair. Then I tried it and the optics & focus seemed to be ok. This Meade ETX-70 telescope is a nice unit that I couldn't let it go to waste. Thanks for all your tips. Regards Sadoc
Subject: Autostar control gone dead Sent: Sunday, January 18, 2009 21:54:09 From: Rodrigo Ayala (email@example.com) It turns out I was using my telescope and the autostar control was working well. After the observation sesion I just packed it back in the case until next weekend when I was ready to work with it again although this time it just didn't go on. I tried the cable on a different control panel (a friends') and it worked fine, the telescope responded to it and everything was normal. My control would not go on, the led panel is off and nothing seems to work, I checked the jack as well as the control, it looks clean and no sign of being broken at all. What do you suggest I could do next? Thanks. Rodrigo, Mexico City.Mike here: What model telescope and AutoStar do you have? If the LED on the telescope base control panel is not illuminating, then it is not the AutoStar that is bad but something with the telescope circuitry. Have you tried replacing the batteries? Or using a different power source (external vs internal batteries)?
Subject: What would I have done without the Mighty ETX website??? Sent: Sunday, January 18, 2009 15:49:21 From: wayne (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have had my ETX 125EC for a couple of years now. Its purchase (on Ebay) was a leap of faith on my part, as I had no idea if our rotten English weather would dampen my thirst to examine the cosmos at first hand. I am pleased to say, those few nights where the weather permited reasonable seeing, coinciding with favourable planetary, Lunar or Solar positions only served to increase my yearning to see and learn more. Eventualy, I became aware of the limitations of the ETX in the Astrophotography field. I have (I believe) two of my early ETX wanderings into Astrophotography published on your brilliant website. I have to thank you for answering my calls of help when needed, and the guidence which others have sought, which has consequently been published on your website for all to become enlightened. I am a frequent visitor to your website, and I praise your efforts in providing a very in-depth forum for all ETX (and beyond) owners who seek to look further outside our earthly bonds. Today, I purchased an 8 inch Meade LX200 GPS. Sadly not brand new, and definately not the exotic Advanced-Coma-Free variety. But, just the same, a Meade of the more advanced kind and very nice too. its just the greater apperture, and more refined tracking is an obvious advantage when dabbling in the field of Astrophotography, At last, I feel myself drawn to Deep Space Astrophotography, which I fear is outside the abillity of my trusty and much loved ETX.. No doubt, someone would disagree with me and produce a hubble-like deep field photograph with his/her ETX90, but I would not be surprised if it was with knowledge gleaned from THE MIGHTY ETX Website. I firmly believe you, and your website gave me the answers I needed, and the curiosity to attempt what others have done in our search to look further, without going as far. My undying gratitude to you for the website and to all who have contributed in its growth. Most of all, Thanks for the inspiration. Best regards Wayne Byrne (UK Gosport)
Subject: re: etx-125 motor problem Sent: Sunday, January 18, 2009 11:52:50 From: richard seymour (email@example.com) The start/stop/start/stop is a definite symptom of a broken wire in the base... quite possibly caused by the lack of a hard stop. The motor controller hears "commands" (so it starts moving) but doesn't fully -understand- the command due to the broken (or intermittent) wire. So it launches on the start/stop cycle. Definitely a "return to dealer" situation. good luck --dick
Sent: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 16:02:55 From: nev brough (firstname.lastname@example.org) Just an update for your records, I returned my ETX-125 via courier on monday afternoon it was received by Scopes & Skies tuesday morning. They have today contacted me via email with a DHL tracking number for a complete replacement which by checking the tracking number will be with me before 17.00 tomorrow. Elated to say the least they then went on to tell me that they had also enclosed an Acuter 70mm digital spotting scope with an inbuilt 3.1 meg camera facility as a gesture of goodwill nearly 200 What a top company i will be recommending them vigourously from now on. I will update you in due course as to whether i encounter any further problems. Regards Neville
Subject: etx-125 motor problem Sent: Sunday, January 18, 2009 02:42:04 From: nev brough (email@example.com) I recently purchased a Meade ETX-125pe whilst the telescope is fine, the autostar motors will not recalibrate. when i shut down the autostar and release the lock lever i cannot find a stop. Either in an anticlockwise direction or a clockwork direction i have followed the fault instructions to the letter to no avail. Do you have any ideas before i get in touch with the dealer to return. 800 is a lot of money for somthing that doesnt work properly. Regards Neville Brough. England.Mike here: If you can rotate the telescope more than twice around in either direction then BOTH hard stops are broken or missing. This won't have any affect on CALIBRATE MOTOR though. What does the AutoStar display show when doing a CALIBRATE MOTOR?
Thanks for the response. When switching on the autostar it goes through its start up proceedure as soon as it tries to alighn the error motor fault comes up the telescope then proceeds to move approx 1 inch every 3 seconds displaying motor fault all other commands are then inoperable until i switch the unit off then back on again. The telescope travels without resistance both ways with thelock lever released Regards Neville.Mike here: Have you tried a RESET on the AutoStar? Then do a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES. Also, try reversing the AutoStar HBX cable. As to the rotation, if there are no hard stops at all, you should contact the dealer for an exchange. Again, the telescope should rotate almost twice around between the hard stops.
I have tried all of your comments no success i will contact the dealer tomorrow morning. I am not happy to say the least it was only delivered on Thursday 15th Jan it worked fine on Friday when i first set it up and i as looking forward to a good night tonight first clear skies. Many thanks for your help i will keep you informed with dealer comments and the outcome Regards NevilleMike here: Keep me posted.
Subject: Dust Cap ETX90PE Sent: Friday, January 16, 2009 14:41:44 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) I just received my new etx-90 and I am unable to remove the dust cap without the front lense from un screwing. Any suggestions? Thanks.Mike here: See the item "Q. I can not remove the aperture or rear port cover or loosen the Declination/Altitude scale knob. How do I loosen it?" on the ETX FAQ page.
Subject: Applicability of Tuneup Tips for late model ETX-125's Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2009 11:44:57 From: Gregory Beck (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm a complete newbie astronomer and I recently purchased an ETX-125PE. I received the scope this week but have been plagued by late nights at work, cloudy skies and the cold which although frustrating, has given me a chance to get familiar with the scope and keep read your site for tips. I actually had two questions for you: 1) Before I brought the scope out for a serious night of viewing I wanted to calibrate it as to minimize any problems. I planned on following the tips posted by Dr. Clay Sherrod but after reading the "Important info for newer ETX models" I found that it mainly dealt with mechanical differences and didn't take into account for LNT module etc. I have no idea if that makes a difference but given my inexperience, I didn't want to make any mistakes. 1) The day I received the scope, I brought it outside to just get a glance of the moon. I did not use any electronics, just pointed the scope at the moon with the supplied 26mm eyepiece but I was unable to get the moon into focus. It was relatively clear and the scope was steady. Due to the cold and frustration, I brought the scope indoors and tried to focus on my christmas tree. I found that if I pulled the eye piece out and looked into the hole, I was able to focus on ornaments without a problem but with the 26mm eyepiece in, I couldn't get anything focused. I'm not sure if you need a special eye piece for objects close to you but the reason My reason for concern is when the scope arrived, it was poorly packaged and had indications that the box had been opened so I'm worried that it may have been damaged in transit or a return and given my inexperience, I'm not sure if it is user error or product problems. Thanks for the great site, it has been a wealth of information! GregMike here: First, unless there is something specific you NEED to address, I do NOT recommend doing any tune-ups on a new telescope. Other than doing a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES on the AutoStar, there is normally no need to make any other adjustments. So, before worrying about making any changes, use the telescope for awhile to get to know it and how it performs. Once you are comfortable with the telescope, then if you think something is wrong, drop me a note explaining the symptoms and we'll go from there. As to focusing, you must use an eyepiece. Take the telescope back outside in the daytime and aim it at a distant object (preferably a mile or so away). Then turn the focus knob with the 26mm eyepiece in place. You should be able to watch the object change from a blur to a sharp focus (just like on the old "Outer Limits" TV show intro). If there is no change as you rotate the focus knob, let me know.
Thanks for the quick response. I'll stick to just calibrating and training. Your site is a wealth of information, thanks for keeping it going.! Greg
Subject: Dual focus knob for ETX Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 10:57:10 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) Good Morning. Your site is outstanding. Thank you. I was wondering if you may know of an dual focus knob for the etc series? The knob I am thinking of is of the type used on Short wave radios, used to fine tune the freq. If you know of any such item please let me know. email@example.com Thanks again. TerryMike here: There are similar accessories available for some telescope models. But I don't recall one for the ETX. However, the Borg Helical Focuser (see the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page) may be a good alternative for you.
Subject: Switching from EC to RA? Sent: Monday, January 12, 2009 23:28:32 From: Kelley Law (firstname.lastname@example.org) Is there anyway to quite an ETX-90EC drives? The sound just annoys me when I'm in dead silence of the desert. I've been contemplating switching to a RA it ran quite-er. I'm kind of old school and don't use an Autostar and always setup with polar alignment, so I don't think I would be missing much. What are your thoughts? By the way, I've read your site for years. Please keep up the great work. Best Regards, KelleyMike here: Well, I do like my ETX-90RA! Not just because it is quieter but also because it is more a grab-n-go telescope in that no AutoStar alignment is needed. Like you, I'm kind of old school. I even liked using my old Edmund Scientific 3" Newtonian with NO clock drive at all:
Subject: re: ext125AT Sent: Monday, January 12, 2009 21:19:50 From: richard seymour (email@example.com) You didn't mention if the motor was running when you attempted to slew. If it -is- running, then the problem may simply be a too-loose Azimuth clamp handle (the swing-handle that's between the forks). If you can swing that lock handle fully clockwise (the "locking" direction), then it's too loose. It should snug up -before- it reaches the far side. If it doesn't snug, then: Meade used to include a sheet detailing how to adjust that. There is a tiny hole on the side of the hub of the lock handle that has a hex-socket set-screw inside. The wrench size is 0.050 or 1/16th (0.0625) inch. The telescope should have included a 0.050 wrench, and you may also have received a 1/16th wrench. With the wrench, you loosen the set screw. Once it's loose enough, first swing the lock clockwise to lock it. Now you can lift the lock handle straight up from the hex-headed bolt which is the underlying mechanism. Rotate the lock handle in the air to the counter-clockwise end of its travel (leaving the hex-head untouched). Now seat the handle back on the hex-head. Swing it clockwise to see if it will -now- snug-up before hitting the other end of its permitted travel. If it doesn't snug, repeat the above lift-swing-drop-test procedure. When it finally snugs during its "test", you can re-tighten the set screw. If the motor is -not- running, the Autostar should complain. If that's the problem, opening the base (the screws are beneath the rubber feet) and re-seating all of the connectors may fix it. Be careful when opening the base, the battery compartment wires are short and fragile (remove batteries before opening the base). good luck --dick
Subject: ETX 125: Changing power supplies. Sent: Monday, January 12, 2009 17:16:44 From: Joel (firstname.lastname@example.org) I appreciate your ETX website. It's been very helpful in getting up-to-speed on my ETX 125 recently purchased. You can be of help regarding a question about changing power supplies (internal batteries to outside 12 v. sources plugged into the power supply port). The Meade customer service reps have been contradictory, and did not give me a feeling of confidence in their technical expertise. Specifically, the Meade agents said when changing from the internal batteries and an external power source, the batteries needed to be removed first-- under questioning it appears that when an external power sourc is "plugged in" the batteries are in parallel with that source rather than isolated, which sets up the danger of a surge, or other adverse reactions of the batteries. I also asked whether , when the batteries are removed causing a complete loss of power, anything is lost in memory that needed to be restored. Their answers were somewhat ambiguous. Can you help? TIA for any help you can provide. Rich Cohen BTW-- I noted your service in the Air Force. I spent 8.5 years in the Navy Sub Service; one of Rickover's boys operating the engineering plant of a Polaris sub. My interest in astronomy derives from college courses in astronomy, cosmology, and astrophotography (used their 14" Celestron SC with piggyback 8"). Now returning to my love of astronomy after 25 years of waiting, with the ETX 125pe just bought.Mike here: There is a "battery cutout" switch that is SUPPOSED to isolate the internal batteries when an external plug is connected to the jack on the control panel. If that switch fails to cut out the batteries, then I suspect that bad things could happen. However, I have never removed the batteries on my Meade telescopes when connecting an external power supply. BUT you do need to do a CALIBRATE MOTOR on the AutoStar when swapping power sources.
Thanks! I take it you mean that the "calibrate motors" should be done following the use of external power, before the use of battery power again? Under what circumstances should "drive training" be done, other than as periodic preventive maintenance? I ask this trusting you more than Meade. I'm happy you mentioned you've never had problems keeping batteries in place when using external power. Meade's suggestion to remove batteries worried me they knew something about problems with the battery cutout you mentioned (they did not know of such a switch when I spoke with them. I actually told them such a cutout should have been engineered into the scope-- I even asked them to forward the suggestion for future improvement, which they said they would!). Funny you mention the Disneyland ride. In 1963, before entering the Navy, I moved to L.A. and visited Disneyland (as a youngster I had wondrously followed its development on Disney's TV show). I had very little money and could only afford one ride-- the submarine :) I hope to move out to Arizona or New Mexico in the future. I am an adopted Hopi who has long felt drawn to the Four Corners area. Not to mention the dark skies there, where I could do some good astrophotography.Mike here: The CALIBRATE MOTOR measures the output from the encoders. So it needs to be when you switch to an external power source. When you switch back to batteries, it needs to be done again. TRAIN DRIVES only needs to be done infrequently. Typically every few months, or after a RESET, or after a ROM update.
Gotcha. It's a calibration procedure for the different sources. Last question related to your previous reply-- again trusting your experience and knowledge over Meade's. When do you believe RESETS and ROM UPDATES should be done? I know you must be busy, and appreciate the time you've taken to help me. My degree work (Masters from the U of I) is of spiritual import, in part related to my experiences and training as an adoptive Native American-- my adoptive father was a holy man. If I can ever be of assistance to you in that regard, I am here. umumi pam taaviningwu - may the sun always shine upon you, JoelMike here: I only RESET when I think the AutoStar is acting up. Random slews or garbage text on the display are two reasons for doing a RESET. As to updating, Meade releases updates to correct bugs and update data. If you are not experiencing any problems with the version you have, there is little immediate reason to update. The current version is 4.3Eg.
Thanks again and Happy sky watching. Joel
Subject: ETX Adaptive Optics, The Ultimate Concept Sent: Monday, January 12, 2009 15:03:11 From: Fernando FLA (email@example.com) Greetings from Zaragoza, Spain. Simple and very effective adaptive optics The Device that I present is designed to close the vision of the CCD when the vibrations move the telescope. Whenever it appears a movement nonwished in the mount of the telescope.the accelerometer (ADXL320) in charge to catch the vibration it detects east movement, it processes it of analogical form and with the result a mechanical stopper is controlled that it is closed until the vibration disappears. In this way, we can have the CCD integrating and only it will catch light in the optimal conditions. The circuit is prepared to annul vibrations of few Hertz, the vibrations that appear by the movement of the air and the motors of pursuit, since the CCD is in charge to eliminate those of frequencies higher thanks to integration. In the photos the device with the disassembled CCD is seen to facilitate its understanding The electronics is relatively simple and the mechanical stopper this removed from a spoiled Nikon the rest, imagination and a little work ....... The result is impressive, and the price very under ..... You can see the result in this video. http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8M5OqWO3rI I hope that you like Which can be modified easily so that it is also closed with the detected errors of pursuit, with the result is even better Greetings ..... and I animate to you to that you also make ...... My email: clusterfla (Arroba) gmail.com Fernando Lamarca, Zaragoza....Espaa
Subject: ETX 90 new owner Sent: Monday, January 12, 2009 04:39:57 From: Nick Ferrara (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am getting back into astronomy and thought I would purchase a new Meade ETX 90 PE scope as a good starter scope. I have been reading a lot of the articles and was looking for a straight forward answer to the following question. What would you recommend as the bare essential eyepieces/accessories for an ETX that is going to be used for Lunar and planetary viewing? Keep in mind, I only have the 26MM the scope came with. Thanks, Nick Ferrara High Springs, FLMike here: Initially you may wish to get a Barlow Lens ("shorty-style") to double or triple the magnification of your eyepiece. Then as you add additional eyepieces, you will get double their magnification. That would be the minimum I would recommend. After that, AND after you get some experience, you can get the additional eyepieces and some filters. Which eyepieces and filters will depend on your viewing requirements as you gain experience with the telescope. Enjoy!
Subject: ETX Mirror Shift Sent: Sunday, January 11, 2009 23:18:45 From: Alan (email@example.com) I have an ETX (125mm) with quite a bit of mirror shift. Is there an aftermarket crayford focuser I can add? Any other suggestions? Thanks, Alan.Mike here: Have you checked the collimation? The original ETX-125 had an image shift problem, but Meade corrected that fairly quickly. As to focuser, there is a review of the "Borg Helical Focuser" on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page.
Subject: Update on RA view finder for ETX 105EC? Sent: Sunday, January 11, 2009 10:03:08 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) First, thank you for your response to an email question I had last week. I have been reading about the problems associated with the right angle view finder for the etx105ec and am now wondering if there has been any recent upgrades to this viewfinder. If you recall, I am just starting to use my telescope and am wanting to read and understand as much as I can on this unit. Has there been a product change to view finder and if so can you tell me what it is? Thank you Hal L. ChaseMike here: The ETX-105 was discontinued a few years back. So there has been no finderscope update.
Mike, Thank you for getting back to me. I knew the 105 was d/c but I thought there would be alot of folks who still use it. I don't want to buy a new one since I just learning how to use it. Thanks again. Hal L. Chase
Subject: (no subject) Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 15:23:18 From: CrrCaroline@aol.com (CrrCaroline@aol.com) I have an EXT125AT I got it as a gift about a month ago, I have taken it out a few times but I am getting frustrated, I am new at this but the lady at the Big Bang Astro Store in NC where I got it from said it might need to be columnated, I cant find out how to do this anywhere, I got it used so I had to download a manual from Mead, Can you helpMike here: First, please read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page; you message was rejected as SPAM and deleted UNREAD. However, I managed to see it. econd, please see the Announcements: Email Change Notice for an important announcement. I doubt that the optics need to be collimated. What is wrong with it that the dealer thought it needed to be collimated?
Subject: ext125AT Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 15:11:32 From: caroline matthies (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have an ext125AT I got it about a month ago and it doesent seem to want to slew right or left, i am new at this have you heard of it needing to be columnated?Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? If so, try a RESET, followed by a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES.
Subject: Focus Knob Problem Sent: Thursday, January 8, 2009 21:32:07 From: Vegen Zohrabian (email@example.com) I have a mechanical problem with the focus know on my ETX-125 scop. When turning to focus, it is very loose and tends to move once an object is focused. Any way for someone to help me in tightening it other than sending it to the manufacturer for repair? Thank you. VegenMike here: The article "Focus Shaft Fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page may help.
Subject: ETX125 - to buy or not to buy Sent: Thursday, January 8, 2009 13:12:51 From: Warp (firstname.lastname@example.org) Sorry to bother you again... but have a couple of questions. I'm looking at getting into the ETX arena with a ETX125 - it just seems to fit some of the needs I have. I'm considering a couple of very nice units in the used market that are about 2 years old with very little use - a couple of outings at best. Have there been major advances in the drive trains of these scopes in the last 2 years that would prevent you from recommending one of that vintage? I'm not really interested in the auto level and new stuff - and I actually already have one of the new LNT modules (improved red dot finder) that I can mount on the scope if I want. I've always been impressed in the optics in these little scopes - my 90 is supberb. And I think it makes much more sense than spending the $$ on a 5" APO refractor. I also had a couple of people recommend the Celestron Nexstar 5 as it has metal instead of plastic gears in the drive mechanism. Should this be a concern? I'm kind of firmly entrenched in the Meade technology with multiple autostars, DSI imagers and other software - and sure want to see Meade make it in the long run. Your thoughts???? Advance Thanks - as usual. Respectfully, D. Sherfy (aka Warp)Mike here: If the used ETX-125 is in good shape at a good price then there is no reason to not pass it up. There haven't been any changes in the last couple of years that I'm aware of (except the LNT module).
One more question: Is the OTA relatively easy to dissassemble should it need collimation of if I want to blacken the inside of the OTA? How does it dissassemble? Thanks D. SherfyMike here: Relatively easy, yes. See the article "Doc G's ETX OTA Guidescope & Disassembly Photos" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. The tube itself unscrews from the back of the OTA if you want to work on the inside of the tube. Also, there are several collimation articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: ETX 125 Sent: Thursday, January 8, 2009 11:14:01 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) Could you please tell me if the ETX125 PE mount is compatible for the 125EC OTA?Mike here: I don't have an ETX-125PE to confirm this, but if you mean can you put the ETX-125EC OTA on the fork arms, I suspect you can. However, the tube adapters may be different due to the PE model LNT wiring.
Subject: Re: ETX-90PE Automatic Alignment with Autostar Problems Sent: Thursday, January 8, 2009 00:34:04 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) The LNT battery only powers the clock. If the battery is very weak, Autostar can not read the time but will still do an auto-align since the rest of the circuitry is powered by the scope power. The problem is that without correct time, the alignment star positions will be totally wrong. If you manually set the time/date and then do an auto- align it should be OK. Regarding the LNT battery location, is the Smartfinder lens on top or on the side of the module? If it's on the side, that's the original version and the scope may have been in a warehouse for years, which would account for a dead LNT battery. Regards, Mike Hogan
Subject: 1.25"to 2" eyepiece adapter for etx 125 Sent: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 21:14:43 From: Todd and Abbie Ausenbaugh (email@example.com) I am considering an Agena 1.25" to 2" adapter for my etx 125PE. Will I be able to fully utilize the larger fields of view of low power wide angle 2" eyepieces? I have a 1.25" super plossl series 4000 40mm eyepiece.Can I economically improve upon this? Thank you , ToddMike here: Depending on the eyepiece, maybe, or maybe not. Some eyepieces, especially wide-angle ones, may show vignetting due to the smaller 1.25" port.
Subject: Meade DS-2190 Sent: Tuesday, January 6, 2009 05:38:48 From: Anthony Monaghan (firstname.lastname@example.org) Sorry to bother you Does anyone on the Forum know (or know how to find) the pinout connections for PC to Autostar DB9 (PC) to RJ? (4way? AutoStar) ie how to make up a cable Thanks TonyMike here: Cable information is available on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
OK Now Thanks _mI have found it.
Subject: Re: ETX-90PE Automatic Alignment with Autostar Problems Sent: Monday, January 5, 2009 23:07:21 From: Mark Wade (email@example.com) I'm not sure how to reply to a previously asked question, so I'm just replying to one of the emails. First, thanks for all of the advice. I think I have narrowed my problems down to the LNT module and possibly the battery. Even though I just bought my ETX-90PE, I still had to take the top off of the LNT module to access the battery. I have been told that if it was the newest LNT module model, the battery could be accessed from the bottom of the module. I purchased my telescope about a month ago. Is being given an older model LNT module on a new scope worth pestering the seller about? As in, should I complain to the seller to try to have it replaced with a new LNT module? I haven't been able to replace the battery on the LNT module to see if this fixes the problem, but I did check to see if it was loose on the circuit board. It wasn't. I can set the time and date, turn Autostar off, turn Autostar right back on, and it still asks me for the time and date. When I go to automatic alignment, the module will still go through its routine of finding north, level, and tilt, so I figured the LNT module is still communicating with the Autostar somehow (as in there's not a disconnect in the wiring somewhere and the battery isn't dead). Since I just bought my scope, I have a year warranty from Meade. Should I just go ahead and send it back to them for repairs? The Meade tech support people haven't given me a definitive answer on whether I should or not. They kind of leave the decision in my hands as to whether I should send it in. I'm new to all of this, so I could be overlooking something in ignorance, and I'm slightly discouraged about going through this much trouble to get it to work!. Thanks for your patience and help! Mark WadeMike here: You got the feedback procedure correct. As to the AutoStar still asking for the date/time, that means that the AutoStar is not seeing the LNT for whatever reason (bad battery, bad connection, or bad LNT). Once you have ruled out the battery, you will know how to proceed.
Subject: RE: ETX 70AT using #497 controller and LPI II camera Sent: Sunday, January 4, 2009 23:31:33 From: Malcolm Barker (Malcolm.firstname.lastname@example.org) Thanks for your reply, reading all your answers and the detail, you must be very patient/dedicated! Regarding the use of a wedge for imaging to convert the ETX to an equatorial mount. Is this necessary? From what I read, the standard autostar that came with the mount will not operate ion equatorial mode, does the #497 allow this? Thanks again Malcolm BarkerMike here: Yes, you can use Polar (equatorial) or Alt/Az with the #497.
Subject: Remove the OTA from the ETX-PE Sent: Sunday, January 4, 2009 05:16:26 From: Dr.-Ing. Michael Schrder (email@example.com) is there a way to (savely) remove the OTA from the ETX90-PE. I acnnot find any descriptions on your site. I wish to use the OTA on my new mount which is much more accurate in tracking. I hope there is a way. Michael
And an update:
Subject: ETX OTA removal successfull Sent: Sunday, January 4, 2009 05:49:00 From: Dr.-Ing. Michael Schrder (firstname.lastname@example.org) me again. Sorry to habe bothered you. I finally found the description via google (of course on your site). The removal was successful. Michael
Subject: ETX-125PE Problems/Alternatives Sent: Friday, January 2, 2009 12:39:55 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) I purchased an ETX-125PE as a self Christmas gift from telescopes.com in Omaha NE. It finally arrived yesterday, but with a disturbing set of problems. There was a chip in the Smartfinder lens (no biggee in itself), and two of the metal battery clips were completely missing. No loose pieces or broken wires, just absent. The other clips are bent at odd angles, suggesting that batteries have previously been inserted and removed. I was able to power up using a DC cable, and found that the OTA will not slew left. Up, down, and right are fine, but left does nothing either under manual or computer motor control, though the bearings move freely when unlocked. Alignment attempts result in motor drive error, since unit will not slew left. No sound, no motion. Autostar reset and motor calibration options change nothing. Also, upon first power up, the Autostar was already initialized to coordinates in Alameda, CA and time was set at PDT - suggesting it was initialized in California at least two months ago. One interpretation of this is I got an open box item that may have been returned from a customer in CA. Either this or there is some QC check done on these things by Meade in CA after they arrive from China. Possibly the missing battery clips fell into the motor housing and are stuck in the gears, but that's speculation. In any case, maybe the problem is a manufacturing defect. I'm none too happy about this, but I will give credit to telescope.com's customer service. When I phoned them, they apologized and immediately emailed me a FedEx return shipping label, promising a full refund. I did a little focused research online, and found a disturbing number of motor defect reports - including the recent post here by Bill and Kathy Squires. Assuming I get my refund from telescope.com (which I have no reason to doubt), I have a few options: 1) Order a replacement from the same source. I will ask them for the same promotional holiday price I originally paid (about $800). 2) Order a replacement from another vendor. If other people have bad experiences with telescopes.com, I would like to know about it. I'll pay the extra $100 to avoid similar problems. 3) Order a different model. I did a lot of research to settle on the ETX-125, but these stories of manufacturing defects worry me. What's my likelihood of another lemon? Any advice from experienced ETX users here would be much appreciated. Happy New Year! DonovanMike here: It does sound like an "open box return". If you are happy with telescopes.com stick with them. They are an authorized Meade dealer. However, if you are concerned about future service with them you might want to try a different dealer. OPT (who I have a relationship with) is a well-known and trusted dealer. There are other excellent dealers as well. Plus Astronomics has a sale (only 5 left at last check, although one report says they are sold out) on ETX-125PE:
Thanks so much for the quick reply. Unfortunately, Astronomics has sold out of the astro tube 125PE. That link is still up, but they have no more. Both Astronomics and telescopes.com are backordered on the blue tube 125PE, so I am leaning toward OPT as a replacement source. I have ordered accessories from them in the past, and have always been happy with the prices and service. They are closer to my west coast location as well. Naturally, now that I have my new scope boxed up for return, the skies are clearing here in the Pac NW! Thanks again. I'm really glad to find your cool forum. Once I'm over this disappointment, I'll get excited about the ETX again hopefully. Cheers, Donovan
Subject: ETX 70AT using #497 controller and LPI II camera Sent: Thursday, January 1, 2009 22:58:49 From: Malcolm Barker (Malcolm.email@example.com) I have a second hand ETC-70AT that I have enjoyed using for a couple of months and have 2 queries I want to us it for imaging and the Meade LPI and Autostar software seems a simple way to start. Do I need to upgrade to a #497 controller and will it work with my older ETX70? As the scope is an Alt Az mount, is an equatorial wedge required? Hope you can help Malcolm Barker Colac AustraliaMike here: The #497 works great with the ETX-70. And the LPI software from Meade requires the #497.
Subject: Meade ETX125 Sent: Thursday, January 1, 2009 22:36:43 From: Warp (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm thinking of taking the plunge into the world of the ETX and saw where Anacortes has the ETX125 with tripod and autostar for $329.00 - seems hard to beat for a 125mm aperture. Are there any caveats I should be aware of? Are these scopes and mounts fairly easy to get into should they need adjustments or tweaking? Are they better construction than the one arm mounts? Thanks for any input you can offer. Respectfully, WarpMike here: Certainly the ETX models with dual forks are better than the single arm DS mounts (DS and DSX). We won't know about the single arm ETX-LS until it is out in the field. And yes, opening up the mount is fairly straightforward but normally that should not be necessary.
Subject: Meade ETX 105-AT Sent: Thursday, January 1, 2009 20:59:20 From: Chase, Hal [DIA] (Hal.Chase@dia.iowa.gov) What is the difference between the 105AT and 105EC? I have tried to find this out and haven't had any luck. Thank you Hal L. ChaseMike here: See the ETX FAQ page on my ETX Site.
I received an email from you telling me to go the 105 site. I read all the messages but I didn't see an answer to my question, which is, What does the AT stand for on the ETX-105AT and how does this compare to the ETX-105EC. I purchased my telescope over a year ago and have been too busy, actually not making the time to learn how to use this. I am joining an astronomy club this coming Saturday and hopefully I will learn from others. Thank you. Hal L. ChaseMike here: What I said was to look at the FAQ page on my ETX Site. The link "ETX FAQ" is on the righthand side, beneath the large graphic at the top of the page. Once on the FAQ page, you'll see your question listed.
Mike, I just read your email. I hope you got the one I sent earlier. I do apologize for the stupid question. Thank you for being patient. Hal L. ChaseMike here: There are no stupid questions. Enjoy the telescope!
Subject: RE:- ETX-105 EC - Azimuth Drive Problem Sent: Thursday, January 1, 2009 11:46:14 From: Niall J. Saunders (email@example.com) Hi Brian, Hi Mike, Happy New Year to both of you. Brian, if you don't resolve the problem, or are not confident about getting 'into' your ETX-105, then I would be happy to look at it for you - providing you cover the carriage charges to and from Aberdeen. As Mike will testify, I bought my ETX-105 several years ago, second-hand, and it had been somewhat abused by the original owner - who had no idea how to work an electronic telescope. As a result I had to strip and rebuild the whole system, gears and all. My only concern is that, if it is NOT a broken wire or a loose plug, then it may be a blown drive IC on one of the Motor Control boards - and these are notoriously difficult to obtain. I remember taking many pictures during the strip-down and rebuild, but would have to trawl my archives to find these for you (and, yes, Mike - I did promise to send you these pictures at the time, but never quite got around to it - sorry !!) Let me know if I can be of help. Cheers, Niall Saunders Clinterty Observatories Aberdeen, SCOTLAND
Subject: re: ETX 125 Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 22:27:27 From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) The other "give-away" for Jupiter (and these are visible in binoculars, too... bring some along) are its four "Galilean" moons. They will be strung out in a straight line to one side or the other of Jupiter (they move quite a bit every night). Mercury can show "phases" like the Moon (so does Venus). Jupiter doesn't. If they're near the horizon, the roiling of the air that you're looking through will severely "fuzz out" any features on Jupiter (and smudge the cusps of any crescent shapes of Mercury and Venus) have fun, that's a wonderful gift for your daughter --dick
Subject: re: Reticle Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 22:22:42 From: richard seymour (email@example.com) I don't think there's an -instantaneous- way of centering the movable reticle, but there's a slow way: Aim at star. (or perhaps the bright daytime sky, experiment). Loosen the screw which holds the eyepiece in the telescope. Now -spin- the eyepiece. The crosshairs will "orbit" around the center of the field of view. Adjust the movable crosshairs to bring them to the unmoving center of that view. have fun --dick
Sent: Thursday, January 1, 2009 23:57:09 From: Willam P. Suriano (firstname.lastname@example.org) Your site is invaluable. There is a way to center a reticle. If you put an object in the reticle and then rotate the reticle in the eyepiece holder it will stay centered if the reticle is centered. In other words, you just need to adjust the reticle until the object stays centered as you rotate the reticle. Bill
Subject: re: ETX-90PE Automatic Alignment with Autostar Problems Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 22:14:26 From: richard seymour (email@example.com) Your symptoms sound an -awful- lot like a loose CR2032 battery in the LNT module. That would cause the LNT's clock to keep resetting to 00:00 at who knows what date when the battery dropped out of contact and then re-established contact. If the Autostar asked it for the time when the battery happened to be out of contact, it would decide it wasn't there, and would (as Mike wrote) prompt you for the time, with 8:00 pm as the default. The -date- it prompts with would have been the last date you manually set. This is how the pre-LNT scopes work. When the LNT is actually working, the date it provides is -not- remembered by the Autostar. So (again) when it drops out of contact, the date you'll be offered will seem to be strangely in the past. To fix (we hope): open the battery compartment on the LNT module (on new ones, it's a rubber disk on the bottom of the unit) and firmly seat it. Things may get better. good luck --dick
Subject: [none] Sent: Thursday, January 1, 2009 04:42:54 From: Henrik VAN HOLTHOON (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hello Mark, When you got a new scope out of the box: time, time zone ,site coordinates, daylight saving and date will not be correct the factory cannot know where the scope is going. This has to be done by you on the Autostar, when all is set correctly the LNT will keep local time and the date for this it has a internal battery. When this battery is at the end of its live time and date will be lost and has to be changed for a new one. More information to be found in Handbook. Regards HenrikMike here: Don't forget to read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Site Home Page. BLANK SUBJECTs are subject to being rejected as SPAM.
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