ETX CLASSIC FEEDBACK
Last updated: 31 January 2013
This page is for comments and user feedback about ETX telescopes. ETX models discussed on this page 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, 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: Bent focuser rod Sent: Monday, January 28, 2013 20:00:20 From: Jesse Bryce (email@example.com) I have a question about my ETX-125ec. across a major problem and my focuser rod seems to be bent. I've been searching on how to open the telescope and then hoping to some how bend the rod back into place. Is there anyway you could guide me in repairing this problem or if it is even repairable.
Mike here: See the article "Focus Shaft Fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. That should help you get access to the shaft. But if it is bent, you'll have to unbend it.
Subject: Re: ETX 125 with standard (non-autostar) controller
- Mode/ sidereal rate selection failure Sent: Monday, January 28, 2013 04:12:46 From: Gunter Dombrowe (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thanks for your help. I did not manage to fix the hand controller but found a new Autostar 497 for a good price on eBay which has now arrived and is working perfectly. Regards Gunter
Subject: ETX60AT Sent: Sunday, January 27, 2013 21:25:06 From: Sai Lam (email@example.com) I've search your website but I couldn't find my problem. I can't loosen the knob on one of the axis, its the one with the number degrees. The other side is fine. I know I didn't over tighten it before. I don't want to force anything I'm not sure about so is it suppose to be one side tight and the other side loose (not loose but a firm tight turn)? I remember when I was training to drive I had it set at 0 degree on home position. But now I cant even turn it counterclockwise to loosen the knob. SaiMike here: You can probably turn the knob using a rubber glove or a rubber "jar lid opener".
Subject: ETX 105 Sent: Sunday, January 27, 2013 10:49:06 From: Ian Robinson (firstname.lastname@example.org) I haven't used my ETX 105 for a few years but my son has been showing an interest recently so we set it up today only to find that whilst it will slew left, right and up it will not move downwards. Lack of down moment is present even when the button operation is reversed in setup so appears not to be problem with the button itself. The Autostar also flickers momentarily when the down button pressed which doesn't happen on any of the working buttons. Is there any obvious explanation for the problem? Ian RMike here: Assuming the Right Tube Adapter (RTA) on the Dec lock is not broken, it could be a power problem. Have you put in fresh batteries? And do a CALIBRATE MOTOR to adjust the AutoStar to the current power levels (always do this when swapping batteries). Have you done a TRAIN DRIVES recently? Remember, you have to do both axes. You can check for broken RTA by raising the tube and locking it. If the tube wants to fall back to the base, then the RTA is broken.
Thanks very much I will try these. Ian R
Subject: ETX-90 EC Soft Case Sent: Saturday, January 26, 2013 10:33:43 From: Jeffrey Zerbe (email@example.com) I have been looking for a good soft case for my ETX and have been unsuccessful. Any recommendations on a current case that would fit my ETX. Thanks, JeffMike here: There are some soft cases reviewed on the Accessory Reviews: Cases page. Just about any soft case can be used for the ETX-90, even some camera gadget bags. I used a backpack for a trip to Australia.
Thanks for the quick reply. I have tried to locate everyone on that page and I am a few years late. I really like the Lowepro Vivdam 6 bag but it is no longer made. I will keep looking. Thanks, JeffMike here: Yes, many of the ones discussed are no longer available. However, they should give you lots of ideas of what to look for.
Subject: Dis assembly Sent: Saturday, January 26, 2013 09:47:05 From: Vince Lannutti (firstname.lastname@example.org) big fan of your site. I want to un-mount my ETX90 and use it as a guider on my Orion Atlas EQ-G mount with a 10" Newtonian. But I am unsure of the procedure for taking the ETX apart. I want to be able to reassemble it should I decide to use it again. Could you pleas point me to the section that would cover this on your website? Clear Skies to you! Thanks, Vince LannuttiMike here: See my instructions near the bottom of my ETX-90EC comments page: http://www.weasner.com/etx/90ec_comments.html
Wow, thank you for the prompt response. I had suspected this was the case and you have confirmed it. Now it's off to the shop to fabricate a dovetail and start guiding. Vince
Subject: I Need Replacement Parts Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 11:44:34 From: JOHN DOBRY (email@example.com) I own a Meade ETX-80-AT-TC Astro Telescope. Recently the tripod slipped and it fell over causing gear damage inside. I have tried to re glue it with no success. I have tried to find replacement parts with no success. The Meade Rep said "we don't stock parts for low end telescopes" That's his opinion, this is my first quality telescope and would like to repair it or send it to be repaired. The telescope gear axle for rotation broke where the gears slide into it. I hope you can guide me on how to or where to get parts for my telescope. With highest Regards, John W DobryMike here: There are several gearbox repair and replacement articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: Live forum is not allowing new posts Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 10:35:56 From: Brian Henderson (firstname.lastname@example.org) posting as guest, as "awooga" i posted about secondhand 125ext with random dec lurches.. and cannot post additional info. Stripped dec/ra drives and removed grease on plastic gears. Ra drives, Dec still wont (but will lurch up/down... calibrate???). New issue is at RA endstop locking ra just and no more cuts power, move off endstop and engage RA and power returns. Is this likely dec wires going thru body being pinched ? thanks in advance regards brian (awooga)Mike here: Thx for the Live Forum problem report. I'll check it. (working when I checked it)
cleared IE8 form data, could have been auto-populating guest data badly. Able to post to forum now, new HBX socket implemented, scope drives in dec and ra... :) thanks. brian
Subject: Great Website - Question About ETX 90PE Hard Stop Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 17:15:53 From: Kevin Coxon (email@example.com) Mike, you have the greatest side for ETX owners. It's been a real help to me. I have a question regarding the purpose of the hard stops on my EXT90 PE. I purchased the scope off of craigslist for a very reasonable cost. The scope was in near mint condition and you could tell it had hardly been used. This is the first "ETX" scope I've purchased so when I looked at it before purchasing I wasn't very familar with it's operation. I got it home and started going through the instructions to get it aligned to see if everything worked. The first thing I noticed is there was no hard stop when I rotated the mount in either direction. I then found out that the verticle axis did not run. The horizontal axis was OK. I browsed your site and found enough information to help me diagnose the issues. The hard stop is broken and the wiring for the motor in the arm was completely twisted up and broken off inside the center bolt where they are routed through to the electronics in the base. I was able to dig the wires out and get enough pulled out to resolder them so I could see if the rest of the mount worked. Everything works OK and I was actually able to get the scope to auto align properly. My problem is I had to stretch the wires so much that they are very tight at the entrance into the center bolt. My fear is they won't last too long in this condition and they will just wear break off again in a short time. What I wanted to know is........... are the hard stops used just to help set the "home" position and to prevent the wiring from getting broken like what has happened or are they used by the scope's electronics to determine when it's a a certain position (motor current probably rises when it hits the stops - does the electronics use this to signal when it hits the stop)? If the hard stops are not used during the normal operation of the mount when using the "goto" feature my plan was to not repair the broken hard stop. I'm not sure where to get a replacement part and I can't afford to buy another used mount to for sapre parts. I was going to take the wires coming out of the arm and route them ouside the mount at the base of the arm using a long "telephone" type stretchy cord and have a plug that goes into the side of the mount and reconnect them to the circuit board plug from there. I would make the cord long enough to handle the mount going around several times before I would have to stop and reposition. Appreciate any advice you can give. The scope is great and I was hoping to use the mount with the "goto" features. Otherwise I was going to remove the OTA from the mount and adapt it to one of my manual EQ mounts. Thanks and take care, Kevin CoxonMike here: Hard stops are used to prevent internal wiring from wrapping up as the telescope is rotated horizontally. There are some "hard stop" repair articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: ETX-60AT Viewing Through Camera Port Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 13:22:29 From: William Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org) I picked this used scope up at an auction so I am new to it. The flip mirror is stuck in the camera position and I'm exploring my options . Is there an adapter available that would enable viewing through the camera port. If available, how would this effect image quality. Thanks BillMike here: You need a "Visual Back" designed for the ETX models. See the "ETX Visual Backs & Camera Adapters" link on the Astronomy Links page on the ETX Site.
Subject: Declination on "new" etc 90 Sent: Monday, January 21, 2013 19:14:24 From: ROBERT CUDNEY (email@example.com) Has anyone published a cutaway or description of the declination drive of the "new" etx? I've got a little rocking, and it seems to take an inordinate amount of tightening of the clamp to get it to hold. Plus, it "clicks" if I move it manually and the clamp isn't really, really loose. I simply do not understand how the declination clamp works; if I look inside the hollow declination pivot with the clamp unscrewed, nothing moves, so I suspect that somehow the clamp either pulls something into position or works by magic. It appears that the entire clamping force is applied to pull the declination trunnion outward, and push the teflon bearing inward, or something like that, but I'm hesitant to dismantle anything without a better idea of how it works. I understand that removing the OTA on the "new" models may be somewhat different, I'd appreciate a link for help on that as well. Thanks! Great site, by the way.Mike here: Hi from my observatory.
So I took it apart today. The diagonal flip mirror cell is attached to the trunnion arms by 4 socket head screws with nuts inside; if you remove the screws, you'll be doing more disassembly right away. The OTA is actually held to the flip mirror cell by the 4 Phillips heads in the back, and the focus knob. Remove those and the OTA slides right out. THEN you can remove the 4 socket heads and nuts, remove the flip mirror cell, and other stuff. The arms are 100% plastic, with 5 self-tapping screws holding them together. The declination drive is slightly different from earlier models, having about a 1" diameter shaft with an internal thread. The worm is spring loaded to pull it into the worm wheel, where it is held by two screws (sounds complicated, isn't. easy to set up). The clutch was the problem, I cut another friction plate for the inside of the worm wheel from an old credit card (thanks, Bank of America!) so the wheel had a friction plate on each side. De-grease everything but the trunnion bearing, and the declination clutch works fine, with minimal effort to tighten. It's a somewhat cheaper re-design, my only quibble is the use of hidden nuts to hold the flip mirror cell to the trunnion arms. It really should be pressed-in threaded bushings.
Subject: ETX-60AT Flip Mirror Stuck In Down Position Sent: Monday, January 21, 2013 16:13:44 From: William Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org) The flip mirror is stuck in the down position. It will move only slightly when you move adjustment knob. Is there an exploded view I can download or any advise as to a solution . ThanksMike here: There are a couple of articles on "Flip Mirror Repair" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. They probably are not what you are looking for however. So, if you want to write a repair article, with photos, I'll be happy to post it.
Subject: re: Power cable for Meade ETX60AT Sent: Sunday, January 20, 2013 19:48:43 From: richard seymour (email@example.com) As long as the polarity of the connector is correct, it will operate the ETX60 (i use a similar one for my ETX70). The 12v of the battery is fine (the scope will slew faster) The amperage only requires that the plug supply *at least* 1 amp, and it will do that. It would be nice if the fuse in the cigarette plug was reduced to 3 amps (it's probably ten). A Celestron Power Tank has a 12v battery inside, so using one would be exactly like connecting to a "jump box". have fun --dick
Subject: Power cable for Meade ETX60AT Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 14:25:11 From: Sai Lam (firstname.lastname@example.org) I found a cigarette power cable from ebay. My question is..can I use a jump box for it. I'm not sure if it matter if its too powerful or what. One end is a cigarette light plug in.. the other end is to connect to a 9v connector. I have a small old jump box (for cars) at work that I plan to use with it. Do you think its ok? But the way...does it have to be Meade brand? Thanks SaiMike here: As long as the polarity is correct, the voltage is 12VDC, and the amperage is 1A, it should be OK. Doesn't have to Meade brand. For more info, see the "Power Supplies" section of the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Remember to do a CALIBRATE MOTOR when switching from the internal batteries to an external power source (or back to internals).
Thanks. its one of these cable: http://www.ebay.com/itm/360496902307?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2648 I will find out about the jump box voltage and amperage. I know its a 12v...but not sure on amperage. Thanks again for the info.
Do you think this jump box work with the cigarette lighter plug? http://www.centurytool.net/product_p/shuxp400.htmMike here: I didn't see a cigarette lighter jack. Also, I wonder about the steady-state power output since it seems designed to handle the extra power requirements of jump starting a car. Some jump-start power packs work fine (I think there are several discussed on the Telescope Tech Tips page). Some people like these. I prefer (and use) the Celestron Power Tank (see the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page).
It actually does have a cigarette lighter jack. You mention about 12VDC and 1A earlier so I was just wondering if it would work. I was also looking at the Celestron Power Tank also. Thanks againMike here: Power-wise, it is sufficient. As long is the steady-state is OK.
I've settle for the celestron power tank..but according to reviews on amazon, many people have complaints on battery not charging after few uses. Did you have any of those problems?Mike here: Mine still charges and is usable even though the battery is many years old.
Kool thanks for all your help and your website
Subject: re: Meade ETX125PE or Meade LX90 8" EMC Sent: Friday, January 11, 2013 15:31:31 From: richard seymour (email@example.com) Quote: "Meade Planetary Imager Camera and software (never used)" Be warned that the driver for the LPI does not work on Windows 7 or newer. It is only "supported" in Windows 98 and XP. On your dilemma: the ETX-125 is much easier/portable, so you stand a better chance of setting it up on a whim (hey, it's not raining! Lets peek through the holes in the clouds!) BUT you WILL see "more stuff" with the LX90 ... it can gather 2.5 times as much light to help capture dimmer objects or to magnify brightish ones (like planets). I have both an ETX-90 and a 10" LX200gps... i use them both (sometimes next to each other). The quality of the "seeing" at your site (i'm in-city) will also affect how "good" they are... most nights my 10" is "wasted" by the city air... but on a *few* nights, or if i take it traveling (it's 60 pounds to heft...), then it really shines. But the ETX-90 is still far far "easier" to take traveling (fits in car, unlike LX200 which only fits in van). have fun either way --dick
Subject: Meade ETX125PE or Meade LX90 8" EMC Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2013 20:02:01 From: Sai Lam (firstname.lastname@example.org) I always wanted a nice telescope since I was a kid. So now I'm seriously thinking about getting one. Something with great optics and a all around scope but also portable. I did many many readings and people are happy with the ETX125. My question is if I get the ETX125PE ($900 not sure if thats a good price or not but comes with Meade aluminum hard case Meade Series 4000 eyepiece kit; (6) eyepieces, filters, 2X Barlow, aluminum case Meade Planetary Imager Camera and software (never used) SCV Solar filter Meade Atomic Time Update Module (never used) Prostar flex dew shield Camera adapter Meade ETX accessory tray 12V rechargable field battery and charger) used in mint condition..would I be able to see some of the images posted on google with this scope or do I have to add some more eyepiece to it. I also read that the gears are horrible, I'm not sure if they fix that yet. I just need to keep on doing research but I would like to hear your opinion on both scope. Thanks SaiMike here: Both of these telescopes, which I assume are used ones, will make good observing instruments. However, do not expect to see the same details or colors with your eye as images show. Check the Helpful Information: User Observations page for user reports on the ETX-125.
OMG i missed that page. Thank you for the fast reply. Your site is extremely helpful. Thank you
Subject: Meade #884 tripod parts? Sent: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 07:28:11 From: Jones, Richard (RIJONES@pa.gov) Anyone know who manufactures this tripod? Mine was mishandled in shipment by a second-hand seller, and one plastic "foot" was cracked and broken off. Meade service says no parts available, so I am looking to see if they have a second-party manufacturer who might have them, OR if anybody out there with the same prob has an alternative solution. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanx! Richard Jones West Chester, PAMike here: Don't know who the manufacturer would be but I suspect it was made in China. You might try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page) for replacement parts.
Subject: Telescope Initialisation using Autostar Sent: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 13:47:20 From: chris Jones (email@example.com) I am trying to Align a Meade ETX125 using the Autostar and ran into an issue. After setting the telescope in Home position and chosing the alignment type , the telescope starts to slew and after several attempts always ends up pointing vertically upwards and at 90degrees to the base. This happens irrespective of what stars are chosen. At this point I can hear the motors running and the telescope attempts to make a few more moves but is more or less in the same vertical movement. I have tried this a few times and turned the telescope off. Could you kindly let me know if this is a common issue and if there is something I should try. Many thanks in advance. Kind Regards Chris.Mike here: This is a common indication that a CALIBRATE MOTOR needs to be done from the AutoStar. Just select it from the menu. Whenever batteries are low or fresh batteries are installed, a CALIBRATE MOTOR should be done.
Subject: About your astronomy resources - very helpful, thanks :) Sent: Monday, January 7, 2013 10:01:59 From: Christine Walker (firstname.lastname@example.org) I just wanted to take the time to contact you and let you know that my classmates and I have really enjoyed using your page (http://www.weasner.com/etx////links.html) for our astronomy projects and presentations. My tutor, Mrs. Walker, thought it would be nice if we wrote you a thank you note (using her email) to let you know that it's been such a great help for us :) As a small token of our appreciation, we all thought it would be nice send along another helpful resource that we came across during our project: http://www.pegasuslighting.com/visible-light-astronomy.html It has some great information and resources to learn about astronomy (history, telescopes, light pollution, etc.), that we thought could maybe help out other students too. And if you decided to add it to your other resources, I'd love to show Mrs. Walker that the site was up to share with other students as well working on astronomy projects :) But thanks again for your help! And I hope to hear back from you soon. Sincerely, Emma Corbell (and the rest of Mrs. Walker's class) __________________________________ Mrs. Christine Walker, Head Tutor Elmgrove Community Center email@example.com Phone: 220-5144 ext. 1130 "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." -Nelson MandelaMike here: I have decided to stop linking to commercial lighting web sites that have subpages on astronomy that are either not linked to from the web site home page or are not findable via the web site's search capability. Such is the case for "Pegasus Lighting". I receive many requests similar to yours, that even look very similarly worded, and are therefore suspected as being SPAM. I will post your message as an alert to others.
Mike here again: Further to the above. I spoke with the VP and CIO of the lighting company mentioned in the above email. It turns out that the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) service they use sends out this type of bogus marketing emails on behalf of the companies they represent. He was very displeased to learn that this was being done and that it reflects negatively on his company. The SEO company has been informed of their unacceptable behavior.
Subject: ETX125PE Solar Tracking Help Sent: Sunday, January 6, 2013 05:55:51 From: Michael Gaydon (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have a ETX125PE which I have recently purchased, and I want to use the scope to view and image the sun using a Baader solar filter. I will not be viewing the sun directly through the scope, but using a video camera (Orion Starshoot) attached via the eyepiece and to a monitor screen, and of course with the Baader filter fitted. The main reason for doing this is to observe/image sunspots, and to correlate that with measurements made at radio frequencies. I don't really want to be bothered with the seemingly complex Meade alignment procedure just to image and track the sun, so is there a simple procedure to set up the scope - maybe using it in polar mode, with the handset to then select a mode that will track the sun. I'm a newbie with this scope so any help would be greatly appreciated. Kind regards Mike Gaydon England, UK.Mike here: You can avoid the "star alignment" by setting up the telescope once at night, doing a normal alignment (Polar or Alt/Az), and then doing a PARK from the AutoStar. The next time the AutoStar is powered on it will remember the previous alignment; you just need to enter the date and time. Before moving the telescope indoors, mark the position of the tripod legs on the ground. When you set up again, just place the tripod legs in the same position. If you don't want to be bothered with this type of alignment and setup, you can just "fake" the star alignment by accepting the alignment stars as "centered" even though you can't see them in the daytime. The more accurate the HOME position, the more accurate the faked alignment will be. To GOTO the Sun, I suggest using the "Sun as Asteroid" technique; see the article "Adding the Sun" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. For more on solar tracking, see the article "Setting a Solar Tracking Rate" on the AutoStar Info page.
Many thanks for your reply, it makes perfect sense. I look forward to giving this a try, and also hoping we will see more of the sun here in the UK than in 2012! You have a great website which I will be exploring much more - thanks again. Best regards Mike Gaydon
Subject: ETX 125 with standard (non-autostar) controller - Mode/Mike here: I suspect the EC handcontroller has gone bad. You could try to replace it but getting an AutoStar #497 is probably your best solution. Perhaps Dick Seymour has a thought on the EC handcontroller.
sidereal rate selection failure Sent: Thursday, January 3, 2013 09:22:56 From: Gunter Dombrowe (email@example.com) I have a non-Autostar ETX125-EC with the standard electronic hand controller. The manual controls for the two drive axes are working fine and can be set to different speeds with the 'Speed' button, but the sidereal rate drive can no longer be activated. The Mode Screw A at the bottom rear of the hand controller has been removed, so the sidereal drive should come on automatically, which it doesn't. Thring to select Mode manually, when pressing the Mode button immediately after switching the power on, it does not lead to the expected behaviour of flashing controller lights but just briefly activates both motors and settles on the fastest manual slew setting ( top controller light 'on'). When pressing the Mode button after having pressed the Speed button first, there is no reaction at all. Any hints for checking/repair please or is the a case for professional service? Gunter Dombrowe (UK)
From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) I "lost" my EC control when i sent it (along with scope and Autostar) to Meade for service in 2002... the scope and 497 came back, but not the EC. So i can't speak from other than vague memories. The EC consists of a small PIC chip which does all the work... it's either not seeing the missing screw (or a scrap of conductive dirt/grunge is providing a current path equivalent to the screw... open it up and clean that area?) or a trace/solder joint is cracked, or the PIC has developed a bad memory bit that "crashes" that portion of the program. IF you really want "just an EC", i'd suggest advertising (well: posting "EC wanted") on the various sites, such as Mike's, the various Yahoo groups (ETX-Owners, for example), contact Bill Vorce at Telescopes Warehouse a call at 877-391-7755 or email him at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.telescope-warehouse.com (he specializes in obsolete meade hardware) ...and there's always eBay and Craig's List. I do NOT know if "all ECs are the same"... so i don't know if an ETX-125 would be well-served by an LXD55's EC (different gearing, different encoder vane count). good luck --dickMike here: Good point about a replacement EC handcontroller and about compatibility issues. As Dick will probably recall, I tried using an old ETX EC handcontroller on my LXD55 mount. While it initially seemed to work and let the GEM track in Right Ascension, the next time I tried it, there was no RA movement at all although the handcontroller would still manually slew it in all directions.
Subject: Price list Sent: Tuesday, January 1, 2013 16:28:44 From: john hope (email@example.com) Dear sir, I am a new user, I am haveing trouble finding a price list for all the acc. That are on page 32 , for the , Meade EXT-80AT-TC...if you could email me a price list, or some help with this matter, I would appreciate it...thank you in advance,, John hope Sent from my iPadMike here: Assuming your message is NOT SPAM, and it sure looks like it could be, please see the "Notes" section on the ETX Site home page. Thank you. (And since no reply was received, this has been determined to be SPAM.)
Check the Feedback Archive for previous editions of the Feedback page.
Go to the ETX Home Page.