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(ETX-)LS FEEDBACK
Last updated: 31 January 2010
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This page is for user comments and information specific to the ETX-LS and LS (formerly known as the ETX-LS) models. Items that are applicable to all ETX models (RA, EC, AT, BB, PE, LS) is posted on the other appropriate feedback pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me 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:	re: ETX-LS Feedback
Sent:	Friday, January 29, 2010 18:30:58
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
You wrote:
> the alignment is WAY OFF!

Try performing the Drive Calibration procedure.
(under "Preferences", i think... i'm not at home to double-check)

It has you slew to a landmark, and back 
twice for each axis.
From that it measures the backlash of the mechanical system,
and compensates for it in future GoTo's

It will greatly improve GoTo accuracy

have fun
--dick

Subject:	ETX LS - AVOID IT OR BE SORRY!
Sent:	Friday, January 29, 2010 17:18:29
From:	Roger Smith (rsmith@fleetchallenge.ca)
I purchased a Meade ETX LS over 3 weeks ago now and have yet to see it
function. It has never given me a single viewing!    I based my decision
for this scope on a relatively good experience with a smaller Meade unit
I've owned for a few years.  With my new ETX LS, out of the box I
received a "Flash Error  reinstall Firmware" message.  It simply
crashed.  And when the firmware crashes, the scope becomes totally
useless - all scope functions are disabled.  You can't even align or
slew it manually....  NOTHING (contrary to what my salesman told me). 
And when the firmware crashes, you cannot even download the new 
firmware via the internet > USB cable as it was apparently designed.   I
tried downloading the Autostar Updater software for this scope via the
Meade website.  So far I've tried downloading it dozens of times, and on
3 different computers ranging from EXP to Vista to Windows 7 and it
still won't download properly.  The best luck has been on the Windows 7
computer but it does not complete the download to the scope either via
the USB or via the SD card.  Key functions of the software are greyed
out (non functional).  To add to my aggravation level, the SD slot on
the scope is not a common size (this problem has been noted by numerous
angry people on blogs I've read).  After buying up many different SD
cards at my local Staples I have been unable to find one that fits the
slot.  (it fits my computer's SD slot but doesn't fit the scope). 
Meade's customer support has been useless and I find them condescending
and limited in their product knowledge; in some cases downright rude.  
I've logged probably 10-12 hours on the phone with Meade's customer
support and I'm still no further ahead.  I eventually asked for a
manager and was transferred... left a voice mail and never received a
return call.  Eventually, after persisting in my calls for support, 
they offered to send me an SD card with the new firmware installed on
it,  ready to put into the scope. But it never arrived as they promised.
I then called the individual at Meade who promised to send it to me and
he denied recollection of our conversation.  (I caught him in the lie
during this conversation).  I have had an even worse experience at the
local dealer, Khan Scope Centre (Toronto).  The salesman can make no
decisions on his own (i.e. return my money or exchange the defective
scope for one that works) and I can never reach the owner who is
extremely hard to reach and seldom returns calls.  At one point he
agreed to exchange the defective unit and so  I drove 35 minutes to the
store to discover that he had apparently left without waiting for me and
had not given permission to the salesman on duty to make the exchange
(the salesman was not empowered to allow me to return the scope for a
credit on his own).  I'm now told by the salesman that the owner of the
store only replies to e-mails and I've discovered that this process
takes from 1-3 days for a reply.  When he does eventually reply he
avoids my specific requests (such as return my money or exchange the
unit).  It has been consumer hell  the worst consumer experience I have
ever had for any product I have ever purchased, by far.  Unbelievable. 
After reading the numerous complaints on internet blogs about this scope
and in particular this dealer, and noting that much has been written
about poor Meade factory support, I can't believe this is happening. 
Does no-one at Meade care about their reputation and market share???  As
for the dealer I have today launched legal action in Small Claims Court.
He doesn't have a hope in _ _ _ _ to  winning since I've (fortunately)
thoroughly documented my case and in my jurisdiction,  we (thankfully)
have consumer protection laws.  I will obviously win the case and it
will not only cost him the price of the scope but legal and court costs,
plus my expenses.  The worst part of it for me is that, as an
enthusiastic beginner in astronomy I have been really jaded by this
experience.  The hobby seems to be dominated by shoddy products that are
obviously not tested at the factory before they are shipped and down to
the local dealer who is an extremely poor business man and terrible
representative of the product.  Maybe I'll take up another hobby 
something less painful  like fire walking or sword juggling.
Mike here: Although it is probably too late to tell you this but the card slot is a "miniSD" not "SD". So I'm not surprised that your SD cards didn't fit. This is mentioned several times in the manual.

And:

Actually there are conflicting messages in the manual.  At one point it
calls for a "Mini SD" and at another point calls for a "Micro SD".
Mike here: A Micro SD card will require a miniSD adapter, which the manual mentions at one point.

And:

Thanks for your assistance. I wish Meade product support and my dealer
had been so willing to assist. I've purchased and tried to fit,  both a
Micro and a Mini, per the manual and paying careful attention to the
cards having the official SD logo as set out in the manual, and none so
far have fit the slot on the scope. I've noticed on blogs that I am not
the only one having this trouble. The cards have all fit my computer's
SD slot and another device I own that accepts SD without any difficulty.

Thanks again for your help. I actually took the time to measure all of
the SD cards on display at Staples with a caliper, and there were many,
and they were all the same width. The one exception was a card specially
designed for an Olympus camera.
Mike here: If you search the ETX Site for "miniSD" you'll find a couple of sources for cards that work. Once you have a good miniSD card, you push it fairly deep into the slot until it clicks in.
Subject:	etx_ls
Sent:	Wednesday, January 27, 2010 12:19:55
From:	frl100@comcast.net (frl100@comcast.net)
BE SURE YOUR A GOOD 40 TO 50 FEET FROM YOUR HOUSE, I WOULD BUY THE
CONVERTER, GO TO MEADE WEBSITE HIT THE CLOSEOUT SECTION AND THEY HAVE
ONE FOR $39.00 INSTEAD OF $59.00. THE BATTERY FOR THIS SCOPE IS USELESS,
THEY SHOULD HAVE INSTALLED A RECHARGEABLE LITHIUM. THE SCOPE EATS
BATTERIES. I HAVE A ETX-LS-ACF AND IT WAS REPLACED NOT REPAIRED,
REPLACED 4 TIMES

FRED LEVERENZ
Mike here: Please read the Email Etiquette on the ETX Site Home Page; ALL CAPS is considered SHOUTING. Did you mean to SHOUT your answer? Thanks for understanding.
Subject:	RE: Power Lost errors while slewing
Sent:	Monday, January 25, 2010 19:30:43
From:	John (geminijk@gmail.com)
I had that a number of times. The batteries are just not enough to run
the ETX-LS, especially in cold weather, mine lasted for less then an
hour, with the same error. I went through 3 sets of new batteries before
I bought a PowerTank. In my experience, the only way to run the ETX-LS
with any success is with a PowerTank or a AC converter. My experiences
with the ETX-LS and this problem can be seen here
http://amateurastrotech.wordpress.com

John
Mike here: All telescopes with internal batteries will have short operational times in cold weather. And of course, with the LS models, you are not only using a GPS receiver (for a short period), but the CCD camera as well (for a short period). And of course, the larger the telescope the more the demand on the power source. Using a good external DC or AC power can help a lot!
Subject:	ETX-LS Feedback
Sent:	Monday, January 25, 2010 17:52:05
From:	Stephen Holland (s_n_holland@hotmail.com)
I am feeling a little more optimistic about my ETX-LS. After installing
1.3 software a THIRD TIME, I am making progress. Now, the scope goes
through the auto alignment process perfectly without freezing up, even
at "find mount tip", which seems to be the problem spot for me. It found
the first alignment star quickly, then moved on to the second, which was
blocked by the house. It quickly announced that the view was blocked and
went on to a third, which it found quickly. HOWEVER, the alignment is
WAY OFF! I selected Mars and it slewed to the east but it wasn't in the
eyepiece at all. I was using a wide angle TeleVue Nagler and I had to
slew in both directions a considerable amount to get Mars centered. Same
thing happened with Pleiades, Sirius, Betelgeuse. Does anyone have any
suggestions on how to improve the alignment? It appears that the
software is OK now. The longitude and latitude information shown are
accurate when compared to another GPS unit that I have.

Thank You
Mike here: How are the GOTOs if you do an Easy Alignment instead of the Auto Align?
Subject:	Power Lost errors while slewing
Sent:	Sunday, January 24, 2010 17:55:42
From:	David Carter (dcarter299@yahoo.com)
I'm VERY new to telescopes  and I'm hitting frustration overload with my
Christmas toy ETX-LS 6.  I have received the message "Power Lost
entering safe mode" (I'm fairly certain it's close to this anyway) now
several times while the scope is slewing.  My utility battery check
tells me the batteries are at 66% or better.

The only "solution" I find is to turn off the switch.  Nothing seems to
work other than turning it off.  No commands on the hand held will work.

Can anyone tell me what's wrong?  I've already upgraded the firmware to
1.3  help!
Mike here: Have you tried replacing the batteries with fresh ones?
Subject:	Re: ETX-LS Feedback
Sent:	Sunday, January 24, 2010 07:22:18
From:	Martin Frey (martinfrey@clara.co.uk)
I've managed to update the firmware to 1.3 programming the SD card on my
laptop (win XP) after repeated failures on my desktop (vista). The new
firmware went into the scope exactly as it said it should and when
restarted found satellites under thick cloud in seconds. So I'm a happy
bunny again - but it has given me a pasting on the way!

Many thanks for your help
Cheers
Martin

Subject:	Fw: ETX-LS Power
Sent:	Saturday, January 23, 2010 15:48:29
From:	Gordon Duff (glduff@bellsouth.net)
If you recall, we corresponded over the Christmas weekend.  The unit
went back to Meade Monday morning.  It still isn't back yet; apparently
they had a major problem with the firmware and it may be a few weeks
yet.

Also the little LCD display option is still not available.  I wonder if
this is vaporware?
 
Gordon
Mike here: The video monitor is NOT vaporware. There are a couple of reports on it further down this "ETX-LS & LS" feedback page.
Subject:	LS6 GPS issues
Sent:	Friday, January 22, 2010 22:18:50
From:	Steve (srobb1@cox.net)
I'm still waiting for my new LS6 (my third one) because of the GPS
issue.  Meade promised me "2 days" on Jan 12 and here it is Jan22.

However, when I called to find out why the scope was delayed they told
me that they had a breakthrough within the last week and that they are
busy loading a new version of software (later than 1.3) onto all of
their scopes.  I can only hope that it's true and that it works.  If it
is true they should make this version available to all of their existing
customers immediately.  Their web site still shows 1.3 as the latest.
 
SR

Subject:	using usb port on scope to upgrade.
Sent:	Thursday, January 21, 2010 17:39:53
From:	john baillie (jbaillie9@shaw.ca)
Has anyone tried to upgrade the firmware via the built in USB port using
a "USB Flash Drive", (aka: memory stick).

I just talked to a Meade Rep. on the phone , he said he wasn't sure as
they have not tried it.  hmmmm.

If the scope recognized the software,  it would make the upgrade process
much cleaner.
 
John B
Mike here: First, I assume you are talking about the ETX-LS (or LS) model. I don't recall anyone mentioning using a flash drive in one of the USB ports. But I doubt it will work. The "computer" inside the LS base is probably only programmed to recognize the miniSD card slot for updating.

And:

Thank you, yes it is a ETX LS ............. John B

Subject:	The new LS telescopes
Sent:	Thursday, January 21, 2010 13:42:12
From:	Louis Welke (lcwelke@yahoo.com)
Now that Meade has offered a 8" version of the LS which should be
available in February some time I hope that users of this 'scope will
have nothing but praise for it.

I imagine that Meade must have learned something from their mistakes on
the 6" model so the 8" will instill confidence in Meade telescopes
again. If the 8" model is a success then a 10" model of the LS may be
here in another year.

They say hindsight is 20/20 so I wish I waited for the 8" model of the
LS.
 
Lou Welke
Mike here: Playing the "waiting game" can result in never buying anything. There is always something better, larger, faster, more capable, or whatever, just around the corner in the next day (or week, or month, or year).
Subject:	Video Monitor
Sent:	Wednesday, January 20, 2010 07:26:09
From:	Warren Spreng (wspreng@gmail.com)
In response to the question concerning the 3.5" Video monitor.  In
addition to the menus and videos it will show what the Finder CCD camera
is showing in the Take Picture mode.  You can use this for checking
exposures if you are taking shots using this feature for imaging
constellations.  It is also nice from a menu standpoint as you can see
all of the options within a menu, so you don't have to scroll blindly
with the handheld to find the option you want.  It is listed on the
screen and you can scroll right to the option you wish to use.
 
Warren Spreng

And:

From:	Paul Forbes (PForbes@apotex.com)
Regarding the 3.5" video monitor, which I think is great, it does
provide CCD picture pre-view capability. This is very handy to check the
wide screen view if you are taking pictures of constellations etc.,, as
well, it allows you to test difference camera settings before taking the
actual picture. On alignment it will shows the cross-hairs and the
alignment star. Apart from showing the video presentation, which is
excellent, it provides a more user friendly view of the menu for easier
navigation. If the light from the monitor is affecting your night vision
you can switch to red light or use the "display" button on the handbox
and temporarily shut it off. With a Phillips screw driver you can attach
it in seconds and mine actually snapped in place indicating they did a
great job mating the fit. There is a splitter for the power supply  to
allow the AC power source to supply both the scope and monitor. I would
not use the batteries. In my opinion, it is well worth the money and a
bargain for $100. It will blow away your friends and yourself.
 
Paul Forbes

And:

From:	blkhole (blkhole@shaw.ca)
Mike from another ad I have seen for this I think you can plug a meade
electronic eyepiece in and it will work. The eyepiece says it will go to
a TV with video in port, VCR or camcorder with a video in port, so it
might go to this as well. Just fits into the 1.25" eyepiece holder.
Meade p/n 07166.

Also a question you said the other day why did I try to put the ver1.02g
software into the LS6? That's what meade installed and sent it to me
with. You would think they would send out scopes with the 1.3 installed
by now or am I missing something here? Has anyone actually recieved a
telescope from meade that says ver 1.3 on the handset when you turn it
on?

Guy
Mike here: Re: 1.02, see the article "ETX-LS Notes" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Are you seeing the loader version of the installed software version number?
Subject:	GPS fixed but now it wont turn on
Sent:	Wednesday, January 20, 2010 01:38:43
From:	blkhole (blkhole@shaw.ca)
I finally got my telescope back after UPS sent it on a tour of the
southern US only took 2 months. Did you know there's a Winnie in Texas?
Well the repair order that came with it said they repaired or replaced
the GPS antenna and the dec clutch why the clutch I don't know that was
running ok. The bit that gets me is that they say they checked :

Electrics OK
GPS OK
RA and DEC alignment OK
Tested all functions Good.

Unpacked the scope, pluged it in. Autostar lights up bright then goes
dim and sits there doing nothing. No version no read out nothing.

So I get my sd chip out. download ver.1.02g onto the chip using 5.9
updater. See I'm making sure I do everything to the book. Plug the sd
chip in and turn it on. It asks me to press any button to load software.
It starts to load and check all the software. After about 20 minutes it
says that it is done and to remove the sd card and restart the
telescope. I turn the power off remove the sd card. Wait for about a
minute then turn the power back on. Autostar comes on bright for about 3
sec then goes dim and sits there ....nothing happening in this
brain....no one home

Hello!!!

I am really ready to give up on this software. It seems like all the
issues are linked back to the software being crap.

Well I'm going to get on the phone tomorrow and talk to the tech that
phoned me and see if I can get them to ship me a new scope or at least
reset the scope so that it will accept its software.

Guy
Mike here: Why did you load 1.02g? Version 1.3 is the latest. As to the dimming AutoStar, have you checked/replaced the batteries?

And:

I tried 1.3 as well and still nothing it's as if the internal computer
reads the sd chip but then can't boot from it. Yes I'm taking the chip
out before I turn it on . as for the dimming it has always done that its
like a turn on surge...it lasts for a couple of seconds then the boot up
starts, but in my case the boot up doesn't start. I think these things
need a reset button to set them back to factory specs. Then you could
reprogram on a clean slate.

Requested a new telescope from Meade and they are sending a replacement.
Tried to get them to throw in a free video monitor for my inconvienience
but they wouldn't bite on that. They said four to six weeks as there is
a backlog of orders. As long as I get one that works I'll be happy.
Guy

Subject:	3.5" color video monitor for LS
Sent:	Tuesday, January 19, 2010 07:04:52
From:	Louis Welke (lcwelke@yahoo.com)
I forgot to ask you if you knew if this new 3.5" video monitor that can
be attached to a 6 or 8" LS telescope can show you what your telescope
is looking at or just a extra video presentation monitor that you can
look at instead of on your handset.
If it only shows the presentation it seems a waste of $99.95
 
Lou
Mike here: According to Meade's web page (http://www.meade.com/lsmonitor/lsmonitorindex.html), it only displays the presentations (and AutoStar menus).
Subject:	the new ls telescopes
Sent:	Monday, January 18, 2010 17:25:45
From:	Louis Welke (lcwelke@yahoo.com)
After being told that Meade wouldn't come out with a 8" model of the ETX
LS I am now seeing it being advertised in the February 2010 issue of
Astronomy, I hope that this new model will have the bugs worked out that
the 6" model had.

I still don't have my 6" LS working right and I was thinking that if
they will replace it I would be willing to pay the $500.00 difference to
have a 8" 'scope with very little difference in weight and a big
difference in aperature.

Do you think they would do this? and maybe since you are still waiting
for a new 'scope you might consider the larger 8" also.

Otherwise I might wait for awhile to see if you are getting a lot of
emails from disatisfied people that bought the 8" model before I buy the
larger model.
 
Lou
Mike here: Sometimes Meade or a dealer has upgraded owners. As to being told by Meade that there would be no 8" model of the ETX-LS, that would appear to be true. Since the "ETX" name is being dropped from the LS model since it really is not an ETX. See the ETX FAQ page for more info from Meade on the name change.
Subject:	re: dark frames on an ETX-LS
Sent:	Saturday, January 16, 2010 22:43:09
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Mike wrote:

> Normally, dark frame calibration IS DONE with no light hitting the sensor.
> That's why it is called "dark frame calibration".

In defense of Damien, the -older- ETX-LS firmware -did- say to first take
an image with the camera cover -off-, then another with the cover -on-.
Since they never specified where the camera should be pointing (dark
white wall? into a flashlight?) i couldn't figure out "why?" either.

The current firmware just wants the cover on.

have fun
--dick

And:

From:	damien and nicole (damonic@bigpond.net.au)
Bottom line is..thats why I asked the 'community' for help.

I have upgraded firmware for hardware before and it has (mostly) come
with release notes giving info on how to apply the upgrade (correctly) 
and what it will change  if  I do it.

I was a little bit annoyed with Meades 4M moderation- or lack of....for
that matter...so thats when I found your site.

We worked it out at the end of the day.

As a side note, one of the reasons that I have been trying to iron out
the bugs for this unit is I want to give it to a friend to use. It was
his next scope to buy.

http://www.malleesky.com/

Adrian owns a celestron which I really wish there was a community like
meade that he could access like I have.

Happy viewing folks and I really appreciate the help.

And:

damien and nicole wrote:

> Adrian owns a celestron which I really wish there was a community like 
> meade that he could access like I have.

There is...
Yahoo operates a "groups" system, and there are many Celestron and
Meade-centered groups. Some are moderated, most are unmoderated (which
occasionally lets spam slip in).

The Celestron ones are "indexed" here:
http://groups.yahoo.com/search?query=celestron

..and the Meade ones are here:
http://groups.yahoo.com/search?query=meade

You can usually get a sense of "quality" by the number of members and
the posting frequencies.
The NexStar group ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nexstar ) is well
thought of.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Re: ETX-LS Feedback
Sent:	Saturday, January 16, 2010 22:35:54
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
>One major problem is that with no control of the tube I cannot return it to
> the home position for packing in the box. It will be an interesting
> looking package that goes back to base!

Actually, the ETX-LS has internal "slip clutches"...
you can push the tube to desired positions with the power off.
Just do it slowly (and it will sound like you're doing indecent things to a goose).

good luck
--dick

And:

From:	Martin Frey (martinfrey@clara.co.uk)
I have just posted the following on Yahoo Meade Autostar group:

A replacement for my ETX-LS was delivered this morning and the first one
collected. Full marks for service but it showed all the same problems.
10 to 15 minutes of searching for satellites, followed by 30 minutes of
"calculating" after entering time manually. Despair, followed by
searching for an alternative, followed by one last try this evening as
there was a gap in the cloud. Hey presto - it worked! First target, Mars
and there it was slap in the middle of the eyepiece, followed by half a
dozen equally accurate hits on target by which time I noticed that I
could see nothing naked eye as the misty cloud had moved in. The ETX
carried on showing stars. Moral? The GPS part of the scope is knocked
out by cloud but the optical part isn't. One day I shall be brave enough
to try updating the firmware. Meanwhile I'll enjoy what I have and
thanks again for all the sage advice. Martin
Mike here: Well, glad it is providing nice views. But GPS should still work under cloudy skies.
Subject:	Re: ETX-LS Feedback
Sent:	Friday, January 15, 2010 05:24:20
From:	Martin Frey (martinfrey@clara.co.uk)
2 SD cards later, the switch still blinks at me. The people who have
been in touch with me about this problem have all urged me to stick with
it - so with some residual doubts I have agreed to accept a replacement
rather than a refund and (snow permitting) should get it on Monday. One
major problem is that with no control of the tube I cannot return it to
the home position for packing in the box. It will be an interesting
looking package that goes back to base!
Cheers
Martin

Subject:	ETX-LS Feedback
Sent:	Thursday, January 14, 2010 20:19:16
From:	Stephen Holland (s_n_holland@hotmail.com)
I cannot find the answer to the ongoing problem I'm having with my
ETX-LS. Can someone please tell me what "Find Mount Tip" means? This is
where my scope "freezes" during the auto alignment process. I thought I
had the problem solved the other night because it did not freeze at this
point. This is the first and only time that it did not freeze up at that
stage. This is my second ETX-LS, the first one did the exact same thing
and I shipped it back to Meade. Installing and reinstalling the software
has not helped. Version 1.3 is no better than 1.2G or 1.02 This very
poor quality telescope is causing me to lose interest in this astronomy
hobby very fast.
Mike here: I suspect that is a message saying that the ETX-LS is determining the amount of tip (or tilt) of the mount. If it freezes at this point, doing a Restore Defaults from the Setup menu may (or may not) solve the problem. Reloading the software (if you can) may also help. If neither help, it could be that the tilt sensors are bad.
Subject:	ETX-LS Feedback
Sent:	Thursday, January 14, 2010 12:31:12
From:	Steve (srobb1@cox.net)
I bought an ETX-LS6 for Christmas.  It arrived Dec 22 and had a flash
memory read error right out of the box.  Meade tried to help but it was
not fixable with a software download so I returned it.  They promised a
new scope in "a few days" since shipping from CA to AZ is pretty quick. 
I got my new scope about 3 weeks later on Jan 11.  It will not find GPS
satellites.  I have the latest ver 1.3 software.  My older LX200GPS is
sitting 10 feet away and it aquires GPS immediately.  Has Meade
forgotten how to design GPS?  My handheld GPS locked onto 6 strong
satellites in about 30 sec.

I just shipped my second telescope back.  At first they said maybe 6-8
weeks for a new one.  After some discussion about getting my money back,
they promised one "in a few days".  I am waiting to see what happens.

It is one thing to manufacture junk but how can any quality system allow
this trash to reach customers?  Is anyone watching what goes out the
door at the factory?  This is inexcuseable.

I will say that when I entered my location and time manually the scope
worked beautifully.  The ACF optics were really nice with pinpoint star
images.  All of the objects I viewed were well within the field of the
eyepiece.  If only they could make GPS here in the year 2010 when anyone
in the world can make a GPS unit.  I can't believe a company is sending
out software updates for GPS in 2010.

I have been a Meade customer for 20 years. This is the 4th Meade scope I
have purchased and it's the first clunker.  It has really shaken my
confidence in the company.  After reading about other users with GPS
issues on this site, it really makes me wonder what the heck is going on
over at Meade.
 
Steve Robb 
Mike here: Was the Auto Align failing or was the AutoStar displaying "Satellite Count=0"?

And:

The unit searched for satellites for approximately 5 minutes and then
gave up.  It then asked me to enter the date and time manually.  I
re-tried 5 times and it never found the satellites.

I took it out last night (Jan 13) and it still did not find GPS.  I
entered the time and location manually and after that, the unit worked
flawlessly. I watched in the eyepiece as it centered the alignment stars
and they were dead nuts on.  I quickly ran around the sky in all
directions and hit about 15 objects and they all made the eyepiece.

The ACF optics are very nice and, I believe, worth the extra money.  I
have a 10" LX200 which, of course, gives brighter images but the 6" with
ACF has pinpoint star images that beat the 10" which does not have ACF
optics.  I would have liked to check out the clarity for planetary
observations but there was no moon or any good planets.  I did take a
peek at Uranus which was nicely resolved into its usual tiny green disc.

I bought the scope for portabilty and ease of setup.  Every now and then
I take my scope to the park and invite the public to take a look. 
Planets are a favorite (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) and I think this scope
would give some fantastic views if I can ever get one that works.  It is
my experience that everyone loves astronomy but few people have the
knowledge (and sometimes $$) to get into it.  I'm hoping to get some
people interested once they see how easy it is to use the LS6.

Steve
Mike here: You might try reloading the software just to see if it takes. Or could be a bad GPS module.
Subject:	Re: etx-ls dark calibration problems
Sent:	Wednesday, January 13, 2010 05:46:40
From:	damien and nicole (damonic@bigpond.net.au)
just an update.

Had one of those frustrating GPS no fix nights where 10 minutes passed
and no lock. After half a dozen times switched to manual location and
entered the info. The unit then informed me that basically it was
daytime ie too much light at 10:30pm??, and went terrestial.

Anyhow, I pointed and took pics of orion, then at a bright object to the
right of it (sirius i think) and managed to get an image of the star
which at least tells me the camera works. I havent played with the
preview exposure ET setting yet but getting a white dot at least tells
me it is working.

I used the dark calibration 'feature' again at night this time but the
unit still decided that it was daytime still and went terrestial after N
alignment.

I think what I am after is a definative calibration method from Meade
then I can work out if it is user error or hardware/software probs.

Frustrated and bored I will now try again another day.

regards
damien
Mike here: When you entered your location and date/time, could you have entered the longitude or AM/PM incorrectly? Check the MODE display to check the location and date/time. Yes, the bright star east of Orion would be Sirius.

And:

good call
reset the time and under manual it started to search. I was under the
impression that the camera decided when it was too light.
GPS fix in less than 30 seconds tonight....damn thing. Tried it another
time with the same result. Stilll its 2 hours away until dark so lets
see what happens

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Whenever there is a difference between the printed manual and the
scrolling prompts on the screen...
**believe the screen prompts!!**

Meade's firmware updates -often- change things like calibration routines
(usually for the better), and the "printed page" (and all too
frequently, the web sites) don't change to match the new behaviour.

You should also join the melbourne meade scopes user's group on Yahoo:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MelbMeadeScopes

Kindred spirits located in your corner of the planet...

good luck
--dick

And an update:

well
that night worked well.
Using 1.2 firmware I got used to 2 star fixes that used 2 star alignment
to do the job.
1.3 users should be a little bit more patient.
Dark frame calibration for me was the most successful when  ignored the
website and kept the lens cover on during the calibration.
last night GPS fixes were quick but tonight it took me 3 times
(disconnecting the power) to get a GPS fix.
alignment...............
Sirius........good
Diphda...good
Canopus.....real quick
Ankaa...good
Rigel....good...........
and then Aldebaran, .....good

Alignment done..........tonight................

Bottom  line - I love my etx, and I hope you get yours back soon.Random
and inconsistent the unit may well be, I am still thrilled to own one of
these.
Regards
Damien
Mike here: Gee, I didn't catch that on the Meade site. Normally, dark frame calibration IS DONE with no light hitting the sensor. That's why it is called "dark frame calibration".
Subject:	ETX-LS 3.5" Monitor
Sent:	Tuesday, January 12, 2010 20:39:28
From:	Warren Spreng (wspreng@gmail.com)
I just received the 3.5" LCD monitor from Meade for my ETX-LS.  We have
not had a clear night in over a month in Cincinnati and I'm dying to get
back out with this accessory so that I can check the exposures with the
built in CCD for taking shots of constellations.  I'm hoping to get some
guided shots of Orion to see what quality of pictures I can get when you
can preview them on the monitor.  I hooked it up inside and the holder
for the monitor works well and fits the mount nicely.  I did not have to
modify my JMI case for the scope at all with the monitor holder
attached.  The picture is very sharp and gives you much better
information as to what the menu is compared to the handheld, and
navigating through the menus is much easier.  Once I have a night I can
get out again, I'll send a review of how it performed.

It will be a nice addition when I have curious visitors so that they can
see an example of what they might be looking at before they actually
look through the scope as they listen to the brief description of the
object.

I'm still shocked that you haven't received your scope back yet.  When I
sent mine in to have the software reloaded and the GPS tweaked, it was
one month from when I shipped it to when I received it back from Meade.

Warren Spreng

Subject:	etx-ls dark calibration problems
Sent:	Saturday, January 9, 2010 23:04:06
From:	damien and nicole (damonic@bigpond.net.au)
Meades website suggested a dark frame calibration after a firmware
update and instructed how to do so. I followed these instructions, which
arent the same as the autostar prompts, and now my LS wont detect
alignment stars. I am running firmware 1.3.

The instructions state that you can calibrate any time of day - mid
afternoon on a bright day? thats basically when I have performed all my
attempts (differently 3-4 times now)

Is there a way to restore the previous calibration info? - It used to
work before thats all.
 
background info
 
based in australia lat 3428'S long 14031'E - near Adelaide
moon was up but the allignment stars were not near to it.
GPS fix and N were found OK - does anyone else get a better GPS fix when
the unit is turned on facing east?
anyway, great site
Mike here: I'm still waiting for my ETX-LS to be returned from Meade. Where on Meade's web site did you find the reference to do a dark frame calibration following a firmware update? Since dark frame calibration is done with the imager cover in place, you can do it anytime. When you say that the telescope won't detect any alignment stars, do you mean that the telescope is pointed at or near the alignment stars but the sensor is "blind"?

And:

Thanks for your reply

http://www.meade.com/lsupdates/updates.html

Blind would be a good word for it.

Last test was on a moonless clear night. Five stars later and still no
joy, I ended up manually aligning it.
Mike here: So, the selected stars WERE pointed out but the imagers did not see them. OK, just to confirm that the imager even works, try taking an image using it.

And:

That was my next move. I forgot to get another memory card saturday so
if the sky is clear tonight I will have a go.

Subject:	ETX-LS Feedback
Sent:	Tuesday, January 5, 2010 12:41:07
From:	Martin Frey (martinfrey@clara.co.uk)
I've just bought an ETX-LS. It doesn't work -  the handbox seems fairly
random - clearly something major wrong that, for starters, prevents it
finding any GPS. Am I right to assume the software and processor is in
the handbox? In which case my woes might be cleared by swapping the
handbox rather than shipping the whole scope back to the supplier - not
an appealing prospect.
-- 
Cheers
Martin
Mike here: Can you elaborate on what doesn't work? As to the handbox, it is similar to the AutoStar II on the LX200 series; it is just a display and keyboard with the "smarts" in the telescope mount.

And:

After unpack and assembly, all went well while it sprang into acquiring
GPS and then it just hung until after 20 minutes or so it gave me the
option to enter location manually. This seemed fairly crude - the best
location option was Cambridge (England) about 40 miles away. Then I
entered the time - after the last entry, changing am to pm the handset
said calculating and hung again - nothing happened for an hour when I
turned it off. Then I tried to update the software (and the firmware)
via autostar update (5.9) and it hung again with dire warnings not to
turn it off. After about 3 hours the batteries died and now it is all
over the place. I will try and refresh the firmware via an SD card. I
hope it works - I really don't want to send the big box back!
Mike here: Hopefully, the miniSD card will get it back to life and get the software current as well.

And:

The saga continues. I finally found an SD card that the updater would
recognise - after it failed to spot 5 others! It then programmed the
card (with 1.02) but failed to finish - it just sat there cycling but
adding no bytes to the card. I thought, what the hell and tried to put
the card in the ETX-LS. It doesn't fit - nor do any of my SD cards. I
waited until after Christmas and then paid an awful lot of money for my
turkey!
Cheers
Martin
Mike here: As noted in the ETX-LS manual, you need a miniSD card, not a SD card. Also, it needs to be between 0.5-2GB in size. And the current version of the ETX-LS software is 1.3.

And:

I admit to never coming across a mini SD card, though phones and GPS and
cameras nave made me accumulate a lot of SD and micro SD cards. What
with an input power socket that doesn't fit any of my accumulated psus,
I begin to wonder if Meade are deliberately awkward. I've ordered a 2gb
mini sd card and if the English blizzards ever let up I should get one
day.

The updater program (5.9) tells me I'm up to date with 1.02 - and I
can't find a way of downloading 1.3 except through the updater. I've
purged the system of all things Meade and reinstalled the updater (and
updated it) three times - it still says 1.02 is the only game in town.
Mike here: Yeah, lots of "standards"! Version 1.02 is the "loader", as mentioned in the ETX-LS Notes" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	RE: ETS-LX automatic tracking
Sent:	Monday, January 4, 2010 14:51:04
From:	ANTONIO ROBERTO PIRIZ . (Roberto.Piriz@uclm.es)
In fact. I  had already imagined that it was possible SYNC once the
telescope was aligned but the question is if I can still SYNC without
alignment because I cannot do it from my backyard because of the small
sky area I can see in addition to light pollution. In spite of that, I
can still observe many objects and point the telescope "manually" (using
the arrow keys to move it because I cannot use the GOTO function). Then,
I would like t track them automatically instead of using the arrow keys
to keep the object within the field of the eyepiece. Is it possible?

Thank you very much for your kind attention

Roberto (Ciudad Real -Spain)
Mike here: Unless the AutoStar knows the current geometry of the sky, tracking in Alt/Az is not going to be very good. Supposedly, Meade will be releasing a wedge for the ETX-LS (and I assume LS and LT models). You can always "fake" the alignment. Use Easy Align, accept the two stars as centered, and then do a SYNC later. The better the initial HOME position for Easy Align, the better the faked alignment will be.
Subject:	ETX-LS Feedback
Sent:	Sunday, January 3, 2010 15:00:21
From:	tforums@me.com (tforums@me.com)
Mike great site thanks for the help. 

I tried updating using a 1gb mini sandisk. 1st of all i had to jam the
sandisk in and im not sure if it is broken inside for I never heard a
click. And it moves around a bit. However when i put it in it does not
go straight to the introductory audio. So i assume it is reading it. I
have tried several times now to only have the handheld stay blank with
or without card inserted. Is there a way to reflash the memory then try
to load the sandisk through an external card reader connected through
the usb-a connector.


Thanks for all the help
Mike here: You can update the ETX-LS via Meade's ASU application by using either a USB connection from the computer or via the miniSD card slot. But you can not update via the card connected to the USB port on the telescope. As to the card slot, have you inserted the card all the way into the slot.
Subject:	ETX-LS Feedback
Sent:	Saturday, January 2, 2010 15:20:55
From:	kees kemps (kees@kempsenco.nl)
I have bought my Meade 6"LS-ACF .

I have 2 problems.

The alignment gives problems. During the automatic alignment the t/coop
find a star and I can see the star op the video sceen.

The T/coop focus on the star, but when I look through the t/coop I see
the star on the edge of the image.

It seems that the T/coop and the camera are not parallel.

After the automatic alignment I have the same problem. After "go to"
star .., the star is not in the center but stand beside.

How can I solve this problem?

My second problem is the red dot finder.

It works sometimes. When I turn the switch on, it works sometimes for a
while and than it does nothing. The brightness adjustment have no
result, What can be the reason?
 
Kind Regards
Kees Kemps
The Netherlands
Mike here: Check the ETX-LS manual for "Finder Center" calibration (page 28). That should solve that problem. As to the red-dot finder, I'm not certain why it could turn on initially and then fail to work after that. You might check the batteries.
Subject:	ETX-LS8!!! ???
Sent:	Friday, January 1, 2010 15:36:52
From:	Cesar Arreguin Medrano (cam3905@yahoo.com.mx)
Know something about this?
 
http://www.kosmos.com.mx/tienda/catalog/lightswitch-acf-uhtc-p-1612.html?language=en
 
This is the homepage of the official distributor of MEADE in Mexico.
 
César Arreguín M.
Chihuahua,México
Mike here: Yep. See the item "Q. What is the difference between the ETX-LS, LS, and LT models?" on the ETX FAQ page.

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Copyright © 2010 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
Submittals Copyright © 2010 by the Submitter
URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/jan10/etx-ls.html