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ETX CLASSIC FEEDBACK
Last updated: 31 January 2010
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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:	Eyepiece advice?
Sent:	Sunday, January 31, 2010 18:07:59
From:	George Finlay (george@principiainc.com)
Clearly, I need something other than the 26 mm Super Plossl that comes
with the the ETX125AT. Being Scottish, and therefore a bit of a
tightwad, I a leaning toward just one good high magnification eyepiece
to bring me closer to my most likely objects of interest -- moon,
planets, satellites. But then I see that assortment Meade offers on
their website, and I wonder if maybe I am thinking too small scale.
Ideas?

George Finlay
Mike here: There are several articles on eyepieces on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page. Yes, there are a lot of choices. Be certain you consider the maximum magnification for any telescope; see the ETX FAQ page if you are unsure how to determine that.
Subject:	ETX-125 Azimuth drive questions
Sent:	Friday, January 29, 2010 10:24:33
From:	George Reiswig (human.factors@verizon.net)
Mike, Dr. Clay,

Sorry to bother you.  I am having some strange behaviors in my ETX-125.
Trying to train the drives against a terrestrial object, I notice first
of all a strange software bug (?) or something I am doing wrong: if I
create a landmark, go-to it, then try to move the scope away from it, it
sometimes (by itself) just slews right back to it without me telling it
to do so. Most unhandy if trying to create a second landmark, for
example.  Have you heard of this?

My go-to's are not good.  Even if I can get centered on a star like
Rigel, slewing to Betelguse is off, and syncing on Betelguse and slewing
back to Rigel is also off.  I've tried training the drives per the
excellent descriptions on the ETX site, but I am still having imprecise
go-tos.

Perhaps related, I am having some strange things happen in the azimuth
drive.  If I am slewing left to right, center on an object, then reverse
direction, the scope will clearly move slightly in the left to right
direction FIRST, before sitting still while backlash is removed and
starting to reverse.  That tells me something is hinky.  Maybe binding,
maybe part of the plastic gear frame is being stressed and flexing back
once load is removed...I'm not sure.

So I opened the scope to have a look.  The driven end of the worm gear
clearly has some up/down play.  This is play not along the axis of the
worm gear, but literally up/down if the scope were mounted in alt/az
mode...i.e. parallel to the forks.  I don't know if the bearing is worn
or what, but that seems like a good place to tighten up tolerances and
gain back some precision.

But I also can't really investigate: there is a pair of black disks (the
clutches?) in the way of pulling this worm gear out and looking for
wear, and I am leary of trying to do anything that might permanently
disable the scope altogether.  Is there a way of pulling these disks off
the shaft to get to the worm gear without messing things up?  Or is
there some other repair that I can make?

Many thanks in advance for the advice and help!

George Reiswig
Mike here: Before we assume that major surgery is required, have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR? That should be done whenever the power source is changed, including swapping in fresh batteries. Follow that by a TRAIN DRIVES. If those steps, in that order, don't solve the problem, do a RESET, CALIBRATE MOTOR, and TRAIN DRIVES, in that order.

And:

From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
I would not start trying to dismantle the scope.
What you are describing is classic "rubber-banding" which is corrected
for the most part by an accurate Train Drives.

Go in and make sure that your Alt and Azimuth backlash percentages are
below 10% before trying to train drives.  The fact that it is recoiling
during a Train command is puzzling, since there should be no motion
whatsoever in the system except in ONE direction.

I would attempt a RESET before I started trying to self-destruct the
telescope.  I doubt this is mechanical at all.

Another thought which just occurred is to assure that the Telescope
Model is correctly selected on Autostar.

Dr. Clay
_____
Arkansas Sky Observatories
MPC H45 - Petit Jean Mountain South
MPC H41 - Petit Jean Mountain
MPC H43 - Conway West
http://www.arksky.org/

And:

Many thanks to you both.  I'll try (again) and see if I can retrain
things better.  I was hoping that pulling the worm gear would not be
major surgery, so that I could have a look and see why there was play in
that bearing. Realistically, play on that axis should have less effect
on backlash than play along the worm drive axis, so hopefully you are
both right and that software training will take care of it.  

As the drive works to rotate the scope, you can clearly hear the load
change on the motor...a slow, speed up, slow, speed up cycle.  Those
gears can't have very tight tolerances, but then it shouldn't need it as
long as the motor rotation counts are accurately reflecting the two
movement parts: backlash and actual movement.

And:

You are welcome....play in the bearing would not result in the symptoms
that you are seeing; I suspect that this is an electronic issue and a
RESET, Calibration, and Train Drives will likely take care of.

Please keep us updated.

Dr. Clay

Subject:	Dew Shield
Sent:	Thursday, January 28, 2010 18:29:58
From:	kkennedy8802@charter.net (kkennedy8802@charter.net)
Do you know of anywhere that actually has in stock a #670 Dew Shield
(for an ETX-70)? Everywhere I look only has those foam ones. Thank you
soo much for answering this! Your site is great.
Kevin in St. Peters, Mo.
Mike here: Sorry, but I don't track available stock at dealers. The #670 Dew Shield has been discontinued. However, you can make a dew shield fairly easily. There are several such articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.

And:

THANK YOU MIKE !

Subject:	Re: Progress on telescope decision
Sent:	Wednesday, January 27, 2010 17:28:49
From:	George Finlay (george@principiainc.com)
First observations with my new Meade ETX-125AT this evening. Mars and
the moon. Two star alignment with Betelgeuse and Rigel went swimmingly.
I am a kid with his first toy train!

Thanks for your help. I am sure to have many more questions.

George Finlay

Subject:	ETX-80
Sent:	Sunday, January 10, 2010 13:05:01
From:	Graham Aubrey (aubrey1976@hotmail.com)
I am a complete newbie when it comes to telescopes and astronomy but the
thought of viewing plants and DSO's just made me want to buy a telescope
and learn about what is out there.

I have setup the ETX-80 with ease and the GO-TO system works fine.

I only have the 2 eyepieces supplied but viewed Mars and was left a
little disappointed with the red/orange fuzz that I saw.

I live in Athens, Greece and get great clear skies for most of the year
but was wondering if this is thge best that I could see when viewing
Mars or other DSO's.

Could you please advise / recommend the correct eyepieces that I should
look for to be able to see things more clearly of is this all I will get
from the ETX-80 Scope?

Do you have any images that you have taken from an ETX-80 to give me an
idea of what I should be seeing?
 
Kind regards
 
Graham
Mike here: You can read my ETX-70 comments (with photos) on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page. The ETX-80 is very similar to the ETX-70. There are ETX-80 user observation reports on the Helpful Information: User Observations page. The ETX-80 is a fine wide-field telescope and can provide great views of some objects. But due to the short focal length, the views of the planets can be disappointing, depending on the expectations. As to eyepieces for the ETX-80, keep in mind the theoretical maximum magnification for any telescope (see the ETX FAQ page for how to calculate that). The short focal length and small aperture of the ETX-80 will be limiting factors.
Subject:	RE: Frustrated with my Brand New ETX-125
Sent:	Friday, January 22, 2010 18:05:53
From:	Bill Bunker (poptown@metrocast.net)
Thanks Mike for  you assistance.  I tried everything including a reboot
and finally called Meade and the technical support told me that if that
did not work that the motor was defective.

They sent a call tag today and I sent it back.  According to the tech,
they should receive it by next Thursday and then send a new scope and
tripod out immediately overnight for next Friday.

Hope it works like that.  Luckily I received my LXD75 10" so these
starry nights are not being lost to the lack of a scope.  Of course as a
last resort I could always take out my TAL2 but I prefer computerized as
it is easier to locate events.

Mike, if I picked up another lxd75 mount, could I mount the TAL on it, I
mean, would it work if I was able to attach a dovetail and tube rings?

In any event......thanks for your sound advice.
Mike here: You can mount small telescopes on the LXD75 with the proper dovetail and rings. Just keep things in balance.
Subject:	70 mm lens
Sent:	Thursday, January 21, 2010 13:37:44
From:	Robert Ridens (rridens@insightbb.com)
do you know where can I get an etx-70 front lens at
Mike here: Try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page).
Subject:	RE: Some basic questions from a new 125 owner
Sent:	Wednesday, January 20, 2010 15:16:36
From:	George Reiswig (human.factors@verizon.net)
Me again.  Okay, you'd asked why I thought I might need to break into my
scope to check things out.  Some recent testing with my scope makes me
wonder about the mechanical integrity of the drives.  I went through
training the drives in polar mode (45 degrees), and after training I
tried slewing manually a bit, just within a few degrees.

The RA drive slews very slowly for a second, then speeds up
considerably. It does this in both directions.  The Dec drive just seems
to have slop in it...it whirs for a fraction of a second, then starts
moving, but moves at a consistent speed thereafter.

I also have to tighten the Dec arm fairly tight to keep it from
slipping, which seems to be consistent with others' observations of
having excess grease somewhere.  How tight is "too tight?"  Well...I can
do it, but it's more than I think should be needed for such a small bolt
and set of threads; I'm worried about it stripping over time.

But I wasn't able to find Jordan Blessing's article on this, which Dr.
Clay references specifically.  I find a link to it at
http://web.archive.org/web/20100105230338/http://home.att.net/%7Ejblessin/etx.htm , but it is dead.  I can't seem to
reach Blessing.

Do you have some suggestions?  I'm mechanically adept and careful, but
always like to read the instructions before disassembly.

Best,

George Reiswig
Mike here: You can find Jordan's article linked from the article "ETX/EC Tune-up" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. As to Jordan himself, he has apparently dropped offline. Regarding the odd movement of the drives, did you CALIBRATE MOTOR before doing the TRAIN DRIVES? If not, do it and then TRAIN DRIVES. Also you can adjust the "backlash" percentages; there are some articles on "percentages" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	Re: finder ETX 125
Sent:	Tuesday, January 19, 2010 16:10:26
From:	Tyron Yun (tyun3@austin.rr.com)
Don't you hate it when it looks like someone to whom you've kindly
responded didn't read your email carefully?!  I do apologize for
repeating what you said in your original email response; I think I just
read it too fast and got spooked at the thought of drilling into the OTA
itself.

Anyway, I got up the courage to actually remove the one screw holding
the saddle onto the rear cell (easy) and took a look underneath.  There
definitely seems to be enough room under there for a nut.  In fact the
LNT module is mounted with two small lock washers and nuts on the bottom
side of the saddle.  So now I need to find a mounting shoe with the
right radius for the saddle.  I'm planning on holding onto the scope for
a long time so resale value shouldn't be a factor at least for now and
besides, if it adds functionality/convenience maybe resale value will
increase!

Thanks,
Ty

And:

From:	Henrik (henrik.van.holthoon@wanadoo.fr)
Hello Tyron attached photo of bracked glued to tube ETX105 PE I use for
this instrument a 8 x 50 illuminated finder works fine.
Succes Henrik

photo


Subject:	Re: finder ETX 125
Sent:	Tuesday, January 19, 2010 10:19:04
From:	Tyron Yun (tyun3@austin.rr.com)
Many thanks to both of you for your valuable advice.  Henrik, would you
happen to have a photo of your scope showing the finder and bracket?  I
think glue is the most straightforward option.

But I am also considering drilling holes in what I'm calling the saddle
which is that semi-circular piece of plastic on top of the rear cell to
which the LNT unit is attached.   From all the material I've seen on
your Mighty ETX site, that saddle seems easy to remove temporarily for
drilling and there seems to be enough room underneath to allow a nut to
hold the mounting screw.  This option still involves drilling but not
into the OTA itself.  What do you guys think?

Thanks again!
Mike here: As I mentioned in my first response, removing the plate (saddle) and drilling the holes should work, if there is sufficient room for a bolt head or nut underneath. Of course, any such mod might decrease the resale value, especially if cracks in the plastic develop.
Subject:	can't get your updates, how to resubscrib?
Sent:	Monday, January 18, 2010 12:38:07
From:	jose rua (jalexrua@yahoo.com)
Mike here: Sorry you missed the Site announcements about that back in October and November 2009. Here's what you missed: http://www.weasner.com/etx/site/site.html
You haven't been alone in missing the announcement, so I've mentioned it several times on recent Feedback page updates.
Subject:	Some basic questions from a new 125 owner
Sent:	Sunday, January 17, 2010 16:35:18
From:	George Reiswig (human.factors@verizon.net)
I bought a used ETX-125, and would like to use this time of rain and
poor seeing (Oregon in winter) to optimize my scope.  Looking through
Dr. Clay's pages on tightening up "trunions" with teftape (what is he
talking about there?), he talks also about Jordan Blessing's ScopeTronix
"ETX Tuneup" pages, which seem to be offline.  Is there another place
that shows more detailed pictures of how to take things apart to
optimize, and so forth?

Next question: the port at the back of the scopeI know I can flip the
mirror and make the image go straight to that port, but I have no idea
what fits that thread.  Do I have to get another visual back to mount an
eyepiece to it?

Many thanks for a great site and great community, both of which
influenced me to buy this particular scope!
 
George Reiswig
Mike here: First, what is wrong that makes you believe you need to "improve" the telescope? For many owners, nothing need to be done. I still have my original ETX-125 (from 1999) and it works fine. Regarding the rear port, there are some different accessories that can go there. Meade has a camera adapter specifically for the ETX (model #64). You would need a T-Ring for your specific SLR or DSLR. See the brief review on the "Meade T-Adapter" on the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page. You can also mount a visual back there and use a star diagonal or eyepiece there at the rear port. For one example, see the "Shutan Visual Back" on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page (but note that Shutan is no longer in business). Some SCT accessories can be mounted at the rear port of the ETX but you need the ETX specific "SCT Accessory Adapter" (see the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page).

And:

Wow!  Talk about service!  Okay...is this going to a public forum?  I
wasn't able to find a very active public forum for the ETXs, but your
site is as close as I was able.

As far as the "improvements" to the scope, Dr. Clay had written that
there were some substantial mechanical issues with clutches and such
that should be dealt with before they become a problem.  That's the kind
of thing I was talking about there.

Thank you for the suggestion on the Shutan visual back.  I gather that
this port is a standard thread and diameter for 1.25" visual backs?  I
feel pretty dumb asking questions like this, but I'm a noob.  What can I
say?

I'm hoping to post a couple of things pretty soon.  For one thing, I
mounted a green laser to the tube with just poster putty, but it is very
low-profile, relatively stable, and easy to re-aim if needed.  But it
amazes me how it doesn't really need re-aiming much!  I'll take some
photos and post them when I get a chance, to see if I can contribute
back to the community a bit.
Mike here: There is the ETXAstro Yahoo Group with many experienced ETX users. But my ETX Site is also a "public forum". Dr. Clay's articles may be of benefit for older ETX models. Whether the tips will be applicable to yours remains to be seen. I recommend you use the telescope before deciding on what is needed, if anything. The ETX rear port is a special thread, unlike the SCT rear port thread which is standard. No point in ruining a perfectly good telescope by making some mistake. Looking forward to your contributions! Thanks!

And:

Interesting...the only link I can find to the Yahoo group is
"forbidden." Guess they heard about my reputation.  ;-)

On your site, the one area that seems to be forum-like is the "feedback"
section...is that what you'd prefer we use for questions like this?  I'm
afraid I'm new enough at this that I still am asking questions like "If
I get a visual back for that rear port, do I also need a focuser of some
kind?"

Thanks very much!

George Reiswig
Mike here: Try http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ETXASTRO/ . As to the "forum" on the ETX Site, see the Site Guide, linked beneath the large image at the top of the ETX Site Home Page.
Subject:	Frustrated with my Brand New ETX-125
Sent:	Saturday, January 16, 2010 17:19:53
From:	Bill Bunker (poptown@metrocast.net)
I purchased an ETX-125 from a reputable online store.  After reading the
manual several times I got ready tonight to set up and do some serious
star watching.

I turned the scope on and testing the up and down slewing and then
pushed the left and right buttons and nothing happened.  I will not slew
right and left at all.

So, I set it up outside and tried to align the two stars and it would
still not slew right and left, it would only go up and down.  Is this an
issue with the telescope or am I doing something wrong?

I also purchased a LXD75 10AT and will receive it on Monday.  I am
wondering if I will have the same issue with that scope as well.    I
really thought that this would be easier to work with than my 8"
Newtonian reflector but so far after two attempts, it looks like this
might be a poor purchase choice???????
 
Help please from anyone
Mike here: Could you be overtightening the horizontal axis lock? It should only be finger-tight. The lever may not need to be fully to one side of the depression it is in. Also, have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? If not, do those. As to the LXD75, the mount is totally different but again, don't overtighten the axes. And you should also CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES with the LXD75. For more on the LXD75 you can see my LXD75 site (http://www.weasner.com/lxd) but note that I'm no longer supporting the LXD models (as mentioned on the site) but there is still a lot of good info there.
Subject:	RE: etx70 focus spindle
Sent:	Saturday, January 16, 2010 09:00:12
From:	jon (zeron@btinternet.com)
I sent it back and bought a new one, all ok now.
Thanks
jon

Subject:	finder ETX 125
Sent:	Saturday, January 16, 2010 03:05:15
From:	Henrik (henrik.van.holthoon@wanadoo.fr)
Drilling holes in the tube seems to me not a good idea, using double
sides tape is also not good to flexible and it will fall of after a
certain time (as Mike mentioned).

I glued,with 2 component glue, a 8 x 50 finder bracket on the tube on
the other side as the LNT unit it works great,  I removed the smart
finder glass this is not working for me.

Succes Henrik

Subject:	usb/232 adaptor
Sent:	Friday, January 15, 2010 10:52:22
From:	brenda cremmen (crembren@talktalk.net)
I have a laptop with just a u.s.b connection. I have a 125 etx with auto
star and a RS 232 adaptor which is useless at the moment.  Rather than
buy a u.s.b connector can you not buy a lead with the correct
connections at both ends ? If not, why would Meade produce a product
that needs modifying. Even desktops have u.s.b connections or is it all
about money ?

I would not be able to splice items together. I would want to buy off
the self.

Thank you for any help 
Phil cremmen
Mike here: The protocol conversion from RS-232 to USB requires more than just connecting wires. You need some electronics and software. So, you will have to purchase a USB-serial adapter. Meade has one but it is limited to Windows only. Other companies make adapters that work with both Windows and Mac OS X. However, not all adapters work reliably with the AutoStar. See the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. I recommend using a Keyspan adapter.
Subject:	Hello
Sent:	Thursday, January 14, 2010 00:52:58
From:	Ben Freke (benofreke@googlemail.com)
My name is Ben. I'm 15, I live in England and am really interested in
astronomy. I am taking an astronomy GCSE at the moment. I also have my
own website (http://jabbah.co.uk) it's not set up yet, but it soon will
be. I am really interested in the work you do. I have a Meade ETX 60,
which I got for Christmas. I would like to take some good photos, but
have no idea where to start. I have seen the cloud belts on Jupiter with
my telescope, but could not see mars in great detail (if any). Have you
any tips for using this telescope and getting a good image with it.
Also, (a bit of a personal question) but I would like to set up a mini
observatory in my backyard. My parents say if I can buy one, I can put
it in. I would like to know how you financed your observatory, where you
got the stuff from ect...

Also, would you recommend purchasing the Meade LPI for my telescope, and
if not, which other photographic instruments could I use with my
telescope.

Thanks for reading this e-mail
Yours Truly,
Ben Freke
Mike here: First, my apologies for the delayed response. I usually respond to emails within a few hours, sometimes within minutes. Due to the ambiguous subject line, your message was rejected and deleted UNREAD as SPAM. Fortunately, I was able to undelete it before it disappeared forever. As mentioned on the ETX Site home page, please read the "Submittal Guidelines" to avoid this in the future. The subject you used is specifically called out as SPAM-like and that is one of the reasons I request on the ETX Site home page that visitors read the "Submittal Guidelines". Thanks for understanding.
The ETX-60 is a fine telescope for wide field viewing. But since it has a short focal length, viwing of the planets will usually show only a small disk. And with Mars being at an unfavorable opposition this year, its disk is very small. As seen on the ETX Site, you can do some nice wide field astrophotography, as well as lunar photography. If you have a digital camera, you may be able to use that. The Meade LPI is a nice simple but effective imager. But for best use, it requires an AutoStar #497. You likely have an AutoStar #494 with your ETX-60. For more information on astrophotography, see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page on the ETX Site.
As to my observatory, I ordered it from SkyShedPOD (http://www.skyshedpod.com) in Canada. They ship worldwide and have several different configurations available. However, with the ETX-60 being so portable, do you really want to spend a lot of money on a fixed observatory? If you get a larger telescope, then having your observatory really helps you enjoy it.

And:

I am intending to get a bigger telescope in the not so distant future,
but I wanted to see if I liked robotic telescopes first; there would be
no point buying an overly expensive one and not being able to use it.

Do you have any telescopes that you would recommend. I have 600 put
away, and was wondering if there was a decent scope that I could get
with that money. Or would you recommend saving some more, and then
buying an even bigger one? Also, I do have a digital camera, but would
you recommend a digital SLR more than just a standard camera?

Thanks for the reply,
Take Care,
Ben
Mike here: First, you need to determine just HOW you plan to use the telescope. Visual, or photographic, or both. Moon, planets, DSOs. Do you need portability? Remember, the best telescope is the one that gets used, not the one that ends up in the closet because it is too large or too cumbersome to set up. The ETX-125 is a fine compromise in aperture vs portability. Of course, you can get a Dobsonian with a larger aperture but you may (or may not) find it difficult to use. For brighter objects, almost any digital camera can capture some images. A DSLR is better but with the ETX-60 you need to be concerned about adding extra weight. For more on using various cameras, see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page.
Subject:	[none]
Sent:	Wednesday, January 13, 2010 07:57:51
From:	sam roth (s.roth@live.co.uk)
hi my name is sam and im trying to locate or put my hands on a tronic
power suply the one i would like is a tronic power glibe 3106,
do you have any ideas? sorry to contact you out of the blue. 
 many thanks sam roth 
Mike here: First, my apologies for the delayed response. I usually respond to emails within a few hours, sometimes within minutes. Due to the blank subject line in your email, your message was rejected and deleted UNREAD as SPAM. I accidently discovered it and was able to undelete it before it disappeared forever. As mentioned on the ETX Site home page, please read the "Submittal Guidelines" to avoid this in the future. Thanks for understanding.
All I know about the Tronic power supplies is what you will find if you do a search on the ETX Site for tronic.
Subject:	re: motor unit fault
Sent:	Wednesday, January 13, 2010 23:03:09
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Will it let you perform a
Setup/Telescope/Calibrate Drives  [enter]?

That sometimes clears it.

There may also be a blob of grease obscuring the optical sensors.

The MUF indicates that the Autostar commanded a motion, but then it
didn't see the encoders actually -moving-.

good luck
--dick
Mike here: Good point. I was assuming, possibly incorrectly, that the fault was occurring immediately on power on and that menu tree was not accessible.
Subject:	RE: etx70 focus spindle
Sent:	Wednesday, January 13, 2010 01:03:46
From:	jon (zeron@btinternet.com)
Sure I will. Its just the position of the rod I need to know, as their
must be some datum point as to fix in position. I will look at the tips
page when I get home later today.
Cheers
jon

Subject:	(etx-70) Eyepiece-mounted filters interfering with lip internal to	the eyepiece tube?
Sent:	Tuesday, January 12, 2010 15:59:59
From:	Cathal Ferris (cathal.ferris@gmail.com)
Congrats on having built up such a useful resource for ETX owners
worldwide.

I got my ETX recently in the local Lidl discount shop for 150 - good
price for a great scope.

I've bought a Lumicon UHC filter to get the best of those winter nebula,
but I've run into a little bit of a problem.

I use the set of plossls that Meade sold as an add-on to the ETX (32,
12, 6.4mm parfocal, with a dark-green moon-filter as well. When I have
the UHC filter in place on the eyepiece barrel, it interferes with a
little lip at the bottom end of the eyepeiece "drawtube" where the
barrel of the tube joins the mirror chamber.

Has anyone else came up on this problem, and would it be as easy to
dremel this lip away (after covering the flip mirror and protecting the
lens etc.) so that the filter would extend through the bottom of the
eyepiece barrel and allowing the eyepiece to sit flush with the tube?
Otherwise the filter holds the eyepiece about 3 mm proud of the barrel,
making it a bit unsteady and hard to tighten in place.

Regards from a cold and cloudy Ireland,
Cathal.
Mike here: If you can still reach a focus, I would recommend not cutting away that lip. If you do decide to cut it, you should disassemble the telescope tube (to avoid debris getting where you don't want it). Then you would have to reassemble it, get the focus shaft properly engaged, and then realign the optics. With the ETX-70, none of that is easy. But it you decide to proceed, the article "ETX-70AT Repair Guide" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page might help.
Subject:	etx70 focus spindle
Sent:	Tuesday, January 12, 2010 15:04:07
From:	jon (zeron@btinternet.com)
Hi mike please help
Im an engineer so not scared to do some adjustments,  i have  taken
delivery of this scope for a good price but the circlip looks to have
come off  within the focus tube, therefore the spindle just travels out
of the back of the scope instead of push or pulling the optic sleeve,
can i repair this, do i take the back off and slide the tube out like
you would if collimating a 125,
 
Thanks
Regards
Jon
uk
Mike here: It is major operation. But if you want to attempt it, see the article "ETX-70AT Repair Guide" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	not getting your etx web site updates
Sent:	Sunday, January 10, 2010 18:19:58
From:	jose rua (jalexrua@yahoo.com)
Please advise as to how to resubscribe.  We are not getting your updates.
Thank you.
J. Rua
Mike here: Sorry you missed the Site announcements about that back in October and November 2009. Here's what you missed:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/site/site.html
Subject:	Mounting a Finder Scope on ETX-125PE?
Sent:	Sunday, January 10, 2010 15:07:15
From:	Tyron Yun (tyun3@austin.rr.com)
I've looked around quite a bit on your great website but couldn't find a
specific answer to my question (my apologies if I just missed it) and
I've looked at numerous photos online to try to see the details but was
unsuccessful.  Is it possible to somehow disconnect the finder scope
mounting bracket from an older ETX-125 (one with the #825 8x25 finder
scope) and mount that bracket onto an ETX-125PE?  I would like to mount
it around the 2 o'clock position (relative to the 10 o'clock position of
the SmartFinder) on the rear cell where there's currently the Sun
warning sticker (see photo below)?

photo
Many thanks, Ty
Mike here: Well, you could remove the older ETX finderscope mounting bracket and then drill a hole (ouch) for the mounting bracket into the ETX-PE model. You should remove the upper plate (the one with the LNT module attached) before drilling. I don't have an ETX-125PE so don't know how much room there would be on the back of the plate. The ETX-105PE that I do have has about 1/4 inch of surface.

And:

Thanks so much for your quick reply!

I'm glad to hear you tell me that it's at least possible but "ouch" is
right when it comes to drilling a hole.  I have read many posts on your
website from those that have used double-sided tape to mount accessories
- do you think this is a viable alternative, i.e. do you know whether
the bottom of the mounting bracket has enough surface area with the
proper curvature for a firm tape grip on the upper plate?

Regards,
Ty
Mike here: If your finderscope is like mine, the mounting bracket should likely have the same curvature. Whether double-sided tape will work for you will depend on how you use/abuse your telescope. I had a finderscope mounted that way but fairly quickly the tape dried out and the finderscope came off.
Subject:	motor unit fault
Sent:	Sunday, January 10, 2010 07:29:51
From:	whacula@aol.com (whacula@aol.com)
What gives with these etx80's brand new, motor unit fault. plugged
unplugged on off same muf , is meade just a ripoff or what no way to fix
it, seems like a cheesy outfit meade that is.

any help you have would be greatly appreciated if you can help me fix
it, I do solemnly swear to never buy any meade junk again

let me guess it only cost $350.00 so it should be a piece of garbage.
MEADE SUX.
Mike here: Have you tried putting in fresh batteries?

And:

yes they're new @6 AA @ 9.45 volt
Mike here: Be certain you are not overtightening the axis locks. If the problem persists, contact your dealer for an exchange since it is new.
Subject:	question
Sent:	Thursday, January 7, 2010 09:38:05
From:	Tom White (alcyone@northstate.net)
I have an older EXT 125 EC with, among other problems, a sticking focus.
Given the extensive files on various repairs/mods, etc. available on
your site, does anyone run a business bringing these scopes up to par?
Other than Meade? 

Thanks. Tom White
Mike here: First, my apologies for the delayed response. I usually respond to emails within a few hours, sometimes within minutes. Due to the ambiguous subject line, your message was rejected and deleted UNREAD as SPAM. Fortunately, I was able to undelete it before it disappeared forever. As mentioned on the ETX Site home page, please read the "Submittal Guidelines" to avoid this in the future. The subject you used is specifically called out as SPAM-like and that is one of the reasons I request on the ETX Site home page that visitors read the "Submittal Guidelines". Thanks for understanding.
Regarding an ETX repair, contact Dr. Clay Sherrod for his Supercharge service (link on the ETX Site home page).

And:

Thanks, Mike. Sorry about the "spam" thing. Your book on the ETX is
excellent, by the way, but some of the mods and repairs are probably a
bit beyond my capabilities. Tom

P.S.  Already sent e-mail. Just what I was looking for!! Many thanks!

Subject:	Motor Unit Failure in RA Axis
Sent:	Friday, January 8, 2010 05:54:00
From:	Tony Carr (anthony.carr@btinternet.com)
Thanks for pointing me in the right direction for updating Autostar.
Updated to 4.3Eg successfully and carried out reset etc procedures plus
your original suggestions of using batteries ,reversing HBX lead etc but
the motor unit failure message when I try to move the telescope in the
RA axis still persists.

Can you please suggest any further action I can take or does it look
like I will need to send it away for repair?

Many thanks for your help so far.
Yours

Tony Carr
Mike here: If trying to slew in RA in either direction results in the error or no movement AND the axis is not overtightened AND there is no obstruction to free movement (when the axis is unlocked) then there is likely a problem with the circuitry. But try one last test; unlock the RA axis, power on the telescope, and then try to slew in RA in both directions. You should be able to hear the motor running. Can you hear it? Does the error still occur?

And:

Thanks for such a quick response - I've done as you suggested, unlocked
RA axis and slewed in both directions under power - no sound of motor
running and error message still occurs!

This looks like it is as far as I can go - thanks very much for all your
help.

Yours 
Tony Carr
Mike here: Well, for some reason, the motor probably isn't getting any power. Could be a bad motor, bad circuit board, or a disconnected or broken wire. You could open up the base; perhaps you'll see a disconnected or broken wire to the motor. Otherwise, you might want to contact Dr. Clay Sherrod for his Supercharge service (link on the ETX Site home page).
Subject:	Autostar upgrade from #494 to 497
Sent:	Friday, January 8, 2010 01:17:06
From:	Ron Harries (rharries@telus.net)
I have an ETX-80AT with autostar 494. Can this be upgraded to #497 and,
if so, do you think it would be worthwhile to do so? I don't need it to
find objects. I usually search by using the RA and Dec.

Thanks

Ron Harries - Salmon Arm BC
Mike here: If you don't use the AutoStar for GOTOs then you don't really need to get a #497 AutoStar. If the #494 were to ever fail, then you could get a #497, which can be user upgraded via software.
Subject:	Repair for an ETX-125
Sent:	Thursday, January 7, 2010 22:20:25
From:	Dave Trombino (david.trombino@att.net)
I have had my ETX-125 for almost 10 years and it has been great.  I
really appreaciate your site.  I just got a USB to serial adapter so I
could finally update the AutoStar software.  In the middle of the update
my laptop PC rebooted, so the AutoStar is locked up (I need to somehow
get that fixed too).

But the bigger problem is that when I replaced my batteries this time, I
put them in backwards (yes STUPID on my part) and when I turned the
switch to on I got blue smoke and nothing more.

Any advice for a good repair service?  I could send it to Meade, but I
thought I would ask you first.

Thank you again for your web site and any suggestions.

Dave
Mike here: Meade likely won't repair one that old. Contact Dr. Clay Sherrod for his Supercharge service (link on the ETX Site home page). As to the AutoStar, there is a SAFE LOAD procedure that will let you re-load the ROM. Of course, you'll have to have power for the AutoStar. You could make a 9V adapter for the AutoStar (see the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page). Or just let Dr. Clay handle the update. As to the USB-serial adapter, not all work reliably with the AutoStar. See the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page. I recommend using a Keyspan adapter.
Subject:	ETX 90EC R/A motor
Sent:	Thursday, January 7, 2010 16:53:49
From:	Bruce Brooker (zbrook1@netsync.net)
If I could take a moment of your time I have a question to impose. The
R/A motor on my ETX 90ec will not operate, The DEC works fine. Here is
what has been done so far. The bottom removed of course. With a 12 volt
adapter plugged in the wall and then plugged into the 12V plug in the
base of the scope and the scope turned on I put a multimeter across the
two pins(R/A motor connector removed) on the PC board  and pressed the
left and right buttons on the Autostar. I did not read any voltage on
the pins. I would like to remove the PC board in the bottom of the scope
but can not remove it because the switch PC board is in the way and I
can't figure out how to remove it. Do you know how to remove the switch
plate on the side of the scope? I work in aviation and the guys I work
with in the avionics shop can look at my PC boards if I can get them
out. Meade wants 150 + shipping to fix it.Thats 1/2 the price of a new
scope. Thanks Mike...........Bruce    zbrook1@netsync.net
Mike here: See the article "Repairing Battery Cutoff Switch" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. It may help.
Subject:	Scopetronix
Sent:	Thursday, January 7, 2010 15:10:33
From:	Bellomy, Robert S.
Is Scopetronix back in business as Scopetronics??  Also, how is your
ETX-LS6 doing??
 
Robert Bellomy
Mike here: Same company; both domain names. I recommend reading the Other: Editorial Page for lots of words on Scopetronix. Still waiting for the ETX-LS to be returned from Meade.

And:

I am sorry to hear that your ETX_LS is still @ Meade.  Seems like it has
been way beyond their estimate of 2-4 weeks. I contacted
John.Elwood@meade.com as I had no other email address to write about the
problem with the ETX-LS6.  John Elwood was listed as the CFO for Meade
and I merely asked him to forward my email (listing my concerns) to
someone other than the fellow in customer service. Mr. Elwood took it
upon himself to investigate the issue and said he was surprised that the
issues were not getting proper attention. Within one week I had a new
scope sent to me.  I have been out with it several times and it always
aligns itself.  Bear in mind that it isn't 100% right on, but I need to
get the time to make some adjustments and fine tune it.  I believe that
this problem with the LightSwitch and the lack of good customer service
has done irreparable damage to Meade's quality and integrity.  This is
visible in their stock market adjustment and current stock price.
Perhaps they delivered the product too soon to market or moving the
assembly plant to Mexico was not good and has had an affect on quality.

By the way, I am writing you from work and using the etx@me.com because
your web site has been blocked by the IT group.  Here is the message
for failing to get access to your site:

"Social Networking and Personal Sites;Society and Lifestyles"

Thanks for your answer about Scopetronics.  I am forwarding your message
to my private email and will go to your site tonight.

Robert Bellomy
Mike here: Ah yes, I remember corporate IT policies! My sites weren't blocked but several Mac sites were (the IT group hated Macs). But when I pointed out that I was the manager in charge of video training and that we did video recording, editing, and DVD production on the Macs, they opened up the access to those sites.
Subject:	[none]
Sent:	Tuesday, January 5, 2010 13:00:54
From:	Solomon, Lisa (lsolomon@helena.k12.mt.us)
I am looking to buy my daughter that is turning 10 a telescope.  I
fouond some meadeETX 60-w/ autostar computerETX -60AT a ETX 70At Meade
ETX M Astro and Meade ETX 90/ Ec telescopes  not sure which one is best?
There was one ETX 90 like new but need to repair some electonic
mechanism basically it only moves manually and it about 120.00. Not sure
if thats worth it or how much it'll be to replace it to work right.

Thank you,
Lisa
Mike here: First, my apologies for the delayed response. I usually respond to emails within a few hours, sometimes within minutes. Due to the missing subject line, your message was rejected and deleted UNREAD as SPAM. Fortunately, I was able to undelete it before it disappeared forever. As mentioned on the ETX Site home page, please read the "Submittal Guidelines" to avoid this in the future. Thanks for understanding.
There are significant differences in those telescopes. Read my comments on the various models on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page. Also, you should read through some of the articles on the Helpful Information: User Observations to get a feel for each model telescope. Keep in mind that expectations usually exceed reality, especially in a very young person. After you've read through the articles mentioned, feel free to ask specific questions.
Subject:	ETX 125 Clutch Washer
Sent:	Tuesday, January 5, 2010 15:09:10
From:	Bruce Brooker (zbrook1@netsync.net)
I removed the right OTA adapter (swing arm) because of some play. Now I
need to re-install all removed parts but I could use a little help.
Could you look at the enclosed picture and if you know could you tell me
which way this washer is installed. Do the raised serrations on this
washer face the DEC gear or away from it. Also is the way the parts in
the right upright installed in this order from the inboard side to
outboard. #1 Serrated washer(pic) #2 DEC gear #3keyed washer with stop  
Thanks for the help Mike
Bruce     zbrook1@netsync.net

photo

Mike here: Now you know the importance of documenting the order of things when doing surgery. Even just taking photos as you disassemble each piece can be a BIG help! As to that washer, if it is what I think it is, the smooth side goes on the outside (away from the OTA).

And:

Yes I know the importance of documenting the removal procedure-but I
thought I would be going right back together right then and there but
things never work out the way you planned. As to the order of the parts,
the gear would be next and than the keyed washer with the shoulder on
the keyed washer facing out away from the OTA, correct?
Mike here: I've not needed to disassemble mine so I'm not certain of the order. But it should be obvious.
Subject:	ETX 125 right OTA support
Sent:	Sunday, January 3, 2010 10:05:31
From:	Bruce Brooker (zbrook1@netsync.net)
The key way groove on the right tube support on my 125 is larger in one
area than the key on the washer. With this situation the tube stills
moves up and down after it hits the stop up or down. Do you you where I
can purchase a new OTA support(Meade excluded)? Thanks     Bruce   
zbrook1@netsync.net
Mike here: Meade doesn't sell this part nor does anyone else. However, if you need to repair the Right Tube Adapter, see the article "ETX-90EC DEC fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. If something else is the problem, there are several other articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page that may be appropriate.
Subject:	Motor Unit Failure in RA Axis
Sent:	Saturday, January 2, 2010 11:07:02
From:	Tony Carr (anthony.carr@btinternet.com)
Having not used my telescope (3 year old ETX 105 PE with LNI and 497
handset) for a few weeks due to lousy weather I found that it was
impossible to align the telescope in automatic alignment mode - both the
RA and Dec were out by several degrees. I carried out a full reset
followed by re-calibrating the motors, re-training the drives and
re-entering all required data. Dec was now OK but RA was still out by
about 15 degrees.

I tried a further reset etc. but when I tried automatic alignment
nothing happened and a Motor Unit Failure message came up on the
handset. I tried moving the telescope using the arrow keys and the Dec
axis works fine but nothing happens when using the left or right arrow
keys except the motor makes a slight whirring noise and the lights on
the handset and the power light both dim .I use a 12 volt external power
source so low batteries are not the problem.

So far I have tried a further reset etc. disconnecting and re-connecting
the handset and the power supply and loosening the RA knob but the
problem still persists.

Any advice and guidance would be much appreciated but I should say I am
not technically minded and would be reluctant to do too much inside the
works!

Yours

Tony Carr
Mike here: First, I would suggest trying internal batteries. That would eliminate the external power supply as being the source of the problem. If the problem persists, try reversing the HBX cable. Also, check for dirty or bent pins on the connectors and jacks. If the problem continues, you may just need to reload the AutoStar ROM (with version 4.3Eg). Of course, you'll need a #505 serial cable and a RS-232 port on your computer to do that. As to that 15 error in RA that you mentioned, that sounds like a Daylight Saving setting error. Did you change that, assuming you live in an area that changes twice a year.

And:

Thank you for such a quick response to my enquiry - no wonder your site
is so popular with the ETX community.

As you suggested I have tried reversing the HBX cable still with
external power supply; installing internal batteries and trying the HBX
cable both ways and have carefully checked all connections.
Unfortunately the problem still exists!

I have downloaded the latest ASU software and version 4.3Eg (I have the
required cables). Before I try updating the Autostar, could you please
point me in the direction of a step-by-step guide for the updating
process as I understand that it can sometimes cause problems?

I note what you say about the Daylight Saving setting causing the RA
error and will check this out once I can get everything up and running
correctly.

Thanks for your help
Tony Carr
Mike here: See the article "How to use the 3.x Updater" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. It is still pretty much appropriate for the current ASU version. Also, see the article "AutoStar & Your Computer" (web or Powerpoint version).

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