Last updated: 31 July 2007
This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX, DSX, and DS models. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.
Subject: Battery compatment Sent: Monday, July 30, 2007 08:31:34 From: S.Jegathesan (firstname.lastname@example.org) I own an etx90.Suddenly the battery compartment went dead.I am not able to use the scope with auto star as a result of it.Short of sending to meade is there any thing I can do.Thanks for the help JayMike here: The external power "cut out" switch may have kicked in. If that is the case, see the article "Repairing Battery Cutoff Switch" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Another article that you might want to see if "Repairing Broken Battery Wires". Have you tried an external power source?
Thanks Mike for the reply.I have used an external power source and it works.Just another load to carry.I usually observe for about 2 hours.I will look into the sources you have mentioned.Much appreciated. jay
Subject: ETX 125 problem Sent: Saturday, July 28, 2007 17:05:33 From: George Konstantopoulos ((Mobile)) (email@example.com) i have an ETX 125 telescope and tonight i heard a strange low noice on left / right motor (Azimuth), and the telescope doesn't move at all to this axis. What might have happened and how i can fix it ? Best RGDS George KonstantopoulosMike here: Could be several culprits. A gear tooth (or teeth) could have broken off, a gear mount could have broken, or a wire could have been cut by the gears. You would have to go inside the base to see. If the telescope is still under warranty it would be best to contact Meade or your dealer.
Many many thanks for your reply, how i can look inside ? how i can open ? do you have any photo of a service manual ? Best RGDS George Konstantopoulos AThens / GreeceMike here: There are many tips on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: Polar aligning question Sent: Saturday, July 28, 2007 13:23:41 From: frank ryan jr (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have had my ETX now for over a year and only used it in Alt/Az mode. Currently I am going through the steps in the manual to set the scope up for polar / equatorial alignment. I have the 'High Alt Leg' pointed North. The latitude set to my latitude. The OTA pointing straight up (reads 90 deg. on the Setting Circle Wheel) So it is now orientated like 'State 3' in the image here: http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/2004/polarhome.html My question is; Is there a 'home' position for the Right Ascension? Because in the Alt/Az mode you must rotate the RA counterclockwise until it 'stops'. In the current state my RA setting circle reads '' 20 over 4 '' in line directly above the 12v power point on the computer control panel. The reason why I ask is I dont want to damage the RA drive if it is in the wrong position. I'm also having trouble imagining how the ETX tracks in Polar mode in the current "state 3" position. If you are to 'go -to' a star, does the OTA drop down in Declination then travel around in Right Ascension untill it centers the object, the just use the RA drive to track? Sorry if this sounds redundant! Kind Regards from rainy Ireland. Frank Ryan Jr.Mike here: Disregard the RA Setting Circle reading; you don't use it when using the AutoStar. And you still have to do the counterclockwise/clockwise rotations to/from the hardstop. Usually that is easier for new users to do with the telescope in State 1 on that page.
Thanks for the quick reply Mike but I still don't understand! If I rotate the ETX around in RA to the hard stop and clamp it, in this position the OTA won't point to Polaris. For it to do so I have to rotate to the hard stop, then rotate about a quarter turn clockwise until the the fork arms are in such a position that the OTA can be pointed straight up to Polaris. Regards, Frank.Mike here: Your second paragraph will work. You can point the telescope and fork arms towards Polaris (the telescope tube and fork arms will be parallel) and then do the rotations in RA.
Subject: Advice - Differents Between ETX 125 Models Sent: Saturday, July 28, 2007 11:32:23 From: Tim Durham (email@example.com) Thanks in advance. I'm considering a used ETX 125 (EC, AT, PE) but I'm not sure about the differences (pro/cons/newer/older/preferred) between the models. Any advice or URL suggestions would be most appreciated. How big a deal is UHTC? The ETX sounds like a nice scope to always have packed in my RV....my dobsonian is just too big sometimes. Regards, TimMike here: See the FAQ page for the differences in the models. And yes, UHTC is definitely worth the extra cost; it is like adding an extra 1" to the telescope aperture.
Someone local to me is selling an old style 125 with the plastic, sheet-metal reinforced forks. I've read on your site how to tell the difference, but can't find any comments about potential disadvantages of the old style. Your kind advice or URL pointer is again requested. Again, thank you. TimMike here: Basically, the newer forks are stronger than the older ones. BUT that probably won't make any difference. I still have my original ETX-125 (circa 1999) and the forks are fine. Where the difference would become noticeable is if you add a LOT of extra weight to the telescope or otherwise want to abuse the telescope; the stronger forks will be more tolerant. But in normal use you probably won't detect any difference.
Subject: Astronomy Campgrounds Sent: Friday, July 27, 2007 18:42:41 From: Steve (firstname.lastname@example.org) Two things. Do you know of any campgrounds that are just for astronomy? Second, You might be gratified to know that I occasionally get emails from people asking questions about astronomy and cataract surgery, so the posts on that subject are doing some good.Mike here: There is one in Arizona, the name of which is escaping me right now. And some of the National Parks are now catering to astronomers.
We are going to Jack Newton's astronomy bed and breakfast in Canada in September. I know of several other astronomy bed and breakfasts, but no campgrounds. I wonder if there would be much interest in something like that?
Subject: Meade Customer Support Sent: Friday, July 27, 2007 14:09:04 From: Jim Shamus Bryers (Shamus@musician.org) Has anyone else tried to contact Meade Customer Support lately? I am having a very difficult time getting a hold of anybody. One time I got the operator who just put me back on hold. If you hold long enough you get disconnected. They dont even have an email address listed on their web site. Makes me think twice about ever dealing with them again. Jim "Shamus" BryersMike here: There have been some recent reports of getting disconnected. Meade has never posted a customer support email address although they did have an online support web page for a short period of time. Unfortunately, Meade is not unique in how they handle customer support. There are companies that are better and there are companies that are much worse. Can I be of assistance?
Thanks for the offer, but I recently had to purchase a new 497 Autostar from them. When I went to try it, the Dec motors dont work. They work fine with the simple standard controller. I think I tried everything possible but still cant get it to work. So I am trying to get a hold of someone overthere to get a new one. You said that there are companies that are worse, but I dont see how much worse Meade can get. Jim "Shamus" BryersMike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes)?
Subject: EXT 90 EC DRIVE GEAR BOX Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2007 14:56:36 From: Chuck Rames (email@example.com) Hello Mike, you have a wonderful website. Long story long we purchased the referenced scope in 2005. It is out of warranty. We have not been able to use it until recently. When we set it up the other day, the horizontal, (not the barrel up/down) made a ratcheting sound with no movement. Something stripped, we surmised. I took it to Anacortes to have it looked at, but they do no repairs. Upon getting home, I took the base plate off and immediately noticed that the top of the gear box was cracked. Evidently, a gear had jumped the gear race, and had stripped after cracking the plastic top. I removed and inspected and noticed that a couple of the cheesy plastic gears were indeed stripped. I epoxied the top back together, dressed the gear teeth that were damaged, and reassembled the affair. It worked for about two minutes of slow slew testing. Then it did the same thing. Meade wants me to send the whole scope back to them, whereupon they will order the same cheesy assembly from china who knows how long that will take. They also said the I could get a new aftermarket gear box with brass gears from Peterson, but I went to pererson and it's only for the lx200. Ultimately, my question is where can I get a new box and gears, preferably not the oem affair that came with the scope, or even an oem without having to send my scope to meade, as I was not too happy about my customer support experience with them, and they will not sell repair components. Thank you so much for your answer. We want to use our scope !!! Chuck Rames Bellingham, WAMike here: You can try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page). Also, you might check out the articles "Gearbox Replacement" and "Fix for Worm Gear" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Thanks again, and we'll keep reading your site !!! Chuck
Subject: focus knob on ETX 90 Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2007 18:08:04 From: Robert Jones OD (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hello, I was looking for some help on fixing a friends ETX 90. The scope is about 1 year old and has never been used. We opened it up and noticed that the focus knob did not do anything, it was as if it was not connected, very little resistance when turning it. We thought that maybe the knob was not fastened to the shaft so we took the knob off the shaft. Guess what happened? We heard a clunk, it was the sound of the shaft dropping inside the scope. We put away thinking we could send it back under warranty. Well a divorce and year later my friend found the scope in the basement. I told him I would try to fix it for him. Is there a guide for the ETX 90 on how to fix the focus knob? I saw one on an older 70 model but it does not look like his 90. I called Meade for a schematic but they don't have one. The tiny bolts that hold it together are very small and some do not look to be standard allen wrench heads. When I tilt the scopes objective down I can hear the focus shaft sliding and the primary mirror actually rachets forward to the front. It looks like I just need to take the tube off the forks then the back off the tube. Just wondering how difficult it is. I am a computer geek and have built PCs but not any scopes. I figured it can't be that hard but I thought I would ask first. Thanks! Bob..Mike here: That's why it is recommended to keep the telescope pointed upwards about 45 degrees whenever the focus knob is removed. The article "Focus Shaft Fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page should help you.
Yes hindsight is 20/20 for sure. Do you really think we even read the directions? He was so excited that he just had to set it up and use it before anything as rational as reading the docs. The 45 degree upward tilt was never read but through some pain will now be remembered :) Now the directions are lost (He has no idea where they are) Flying blind on this one. I think I will take some digital photos of this project and send them up to your site (If it all works out, knock on wood) Thanks for the help. Bob......
Mike, do you know if Meade uses metric or american allen sizes? I need to purchase some small ones for the project. Thanks!Mike here: Yes, they do. Use both, that is. But first choice is probably metric for most things since parts come from overseas suppliers. A telescope manual is available on Meade's Site (see the FAQ page on my ETX for the link).
Subject: mySKY Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2007 09:42:05 From: Niels Peter Ditlefsen (email@example.com) Thanks again for your indispensable site!! Have you received "mySKY" for reviewing? If not yet, when do you expect it to happen? Kind Regards Niels Peter 56.1N / 10.5EMike here: Not yet. With some luck, maybe this weekend. But Meade isn't shipping them yet; according to the OPT web page: "The first shipments of the Meade mySKY are scheduled to occur in late July or August."
Subject: ETX Eyepiece lock screws Sent: Monday, July 23, 2007 17:42:14 From: AlSiratPub@aol.com (AlSiratPub@aol.com) I love your site and my ETX-90. Both are part of my observing resources upon which I have come to rely. Mental health requires such pleasures. Unfortunately, I managed to drop the eyepiece lock screw into our rather deep lawn in the middle of a Lunar session last night. Groping, a red flashlight, and a magnet all failed to locate the item. Do you know what thread this is? I found a flat-top guitar bridge adjustment screw that fit perfectly, though I don't know the origin of the guitar (old junk drawer). The screw measured 0.115" outer diameter with 42 TPI. That could be a 4-42 but that seems a strange thread to encounter. As these screws seem easy to lose the issue may have been addressed before. I could not locate a reference. Since the old guitar bridge adjuster had a screw on each end, I have one on the scope and a spare. I would prefer to have a few more on hand. Just in case I manage to unwind a little too far, again. Best regards, R.G. Rienks, Astronomical League Member-At-LargeMike here: Using the search feature on the ETX Site Home page and entering "eyepiece screw" would point you to the FAQ page for the answer.
Thanks for the reply. RGR
Subject: power supply Sent: Monday, July 23, 2007 08:22:11 From: Henrik van Holthoon (firstname.lastname@example.org) Most AC/DC power supplies give a higher voltage when not charged as your voltage meter draws very small current I guess 1 to 2 mA (2/1000 A) you get a higher then rated output voltage, the moment you draw a reasonable current the voltage will drop down to near stated voltage. Checking at the shop another power supply unloaded (no current) will not help you. I advise to use a battery pack 12 V they are safe and give clean power and no transients. Regards Henrik
Subject: Re: ETX Motor Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2007 15:51:53 From: P. Clay Sherrod (email@example.com) You have your hands full....the newer ETX are "customer protected" with this large metal disk, which also serves to prevent wires from becoming engaged in the gear teeth. The large disk can only be removed with a very large vise grip plier and many times it is necessary to apply some direct heat to the very center of the disk WITHOUT getting the wires hot....if you damage the wires going through the disk, you have damaged the DEC operation. That black disk is superglued as well as screwed onto the center axle post and is going to be very difficult to remove; Meade has a special tool and technique just for removing the device. Dr. Clay ------------- Arkansas Sky Observatories Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway) Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South) http://www.arksky.org/
Subject: Fork Mount Sent: Friday, July 20, 2007 06:11:57 From: Frank Kessler (firstname.lastname@example.org) Do you know of any place where I can purchase the fork mount for the ETX-125? My OTA is fine but my fork mount melted in a house fire L Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Frank KesslerMike here: Ouch. Did the optics and tube survive? There are some plastics and glue in the tube. As to a replacement mount, try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page).
Subject: ETX Motor Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2007 12:33:34 From: shaer ilan (email@example.com) About two months ago I asked you what to do with the problem we have with our ETX and in the end it was worked out that we need a new RA Motor Assembly. We now got our hands on one, but we seem to have a problem removing the black cover from over the worm gear (please see attachment picture) so that we can remove the old motor and place the new one. How shall we do it?? Thank you for your help, Toby
Subject: etx finderscope Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 17:26:53 From: Nigeldakin@aol.com (Nigeldakin@aol.com) i have purchased a meade etx 105 ec.......thing is i was wondering if i could replce the original finder scope+bracket (held on by one allen screw) with a red dot type i dont want to be buying brackets or sticking the scope to my tube...but a direct replacement would be simple and great regards nigelMike here: There are some finderscopes on the Accessory Reviews: Finderscopes page but you would likely have to do some modifications for mounting. Check the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page for some ideas on that.
Subject: Telescope Question Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 14:03:50 From: Laszlo P. Bagi (firstname.lastname@example.org) My name is Laszlo Bagi. I want to purchase a telescope for my 13 yo son. Could you tell me what the difference is between the Meade ETX-125EC & PE? Thanks Laszlo Everyday I beat my own previous record for number of consecutive days I have stayed aliveMike here: The ETX-EC model is the model of the ETX first released in 1999. It is AutoStar capable, and today usually includes a #497 AutoStar and a #884 tripod if sold in the "AT" configuration. The PE (Premier Edition) ETX models are the latest release and also include the #497 AutoStar and #884 tripod. But there are main differences in the EC (or AT) and PE models: the EC/AT has an 8x optical telescope whereas the PE has a 1x "red-dot" style finderscope. The PE models also have the LNT (Level North Technology) which adds a degree of alignment automation.
Thank you for your time and information
Subject: Re: Re: smart finder Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2007 09:04:42 From: email@example.com I did some reading on your site - great information - I realize it is the AT - is that a problem? Now I just have to find the right scope.Mike here: No, definitely not a problem. The AT is a fine telescope.
Subject: smart finder Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2007 14:19:51 From: pamchewning (firstname.lastname@example.org) I recently purchased the ETX90 from a store that was going out of business. After a few hours of trying to figure out what I was doing, I realized I had no "smart finder" viewing piece. The folks at the store didn't have a clue and since I got such a great deal I didn't press. Now I can't find one to buy. Any suggestions?Mike here: If you got a Premier Edition model ETX that comes with the LNT module and Smartfinder, are you missing just the Lens for the finderscope? Or are you missing the entire LNT module assembly? In either case, contact Meade; they will likely send you a lens replacement. Don't know if they would send you a free LNT module or not. If this is NOT a PE model, then there is no Smartfinder included.
I was told it was the ETX90 PE - retail $699.99. - (solid blue tube) That's what I've been going by to find information. Any add I read for the scope says it comes with the Smart Finder. To the left of the top viewing opening is a round clamp about 1 1/2" dia. On my old scope, this is where the spotter scope went. (the old crosshair type) I can't find anyone that has one in stock that I can look at. Thank you for responding. Any help is appreciated. Thanks again. PamMike here: If there is a finderscope mounting bracket, then it is NOT a PE model but is instead the older EC (or AT) model. The PE model has the LNT module infront of the eyepiece hole and the Smartfinder attaches to that. If you want to checkout alternative finderscopes, check the Accessory Reviews: Finderscopes page.
Subject: re: ETX 90 Problem Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2007 20:05:58 From: richard seymour (email@example.com) Take off the eyepiece, remove the front cover plate. Now look into the eyepiece hole. You should be seeing out the "front" of the telescope (the round secondary mirror, surrounded by whatever's in front of the scope, probably out of focus.) There's a flip=lever on the lower right of the rear mirror cover. Flip it. That should move the "diagonal mirror" up and down... when it's up, your view is blocked. When it's down, the top eyepiece can see out the front. Now remove the cover that's in the center of the rear mirror cover. That's the "straight through" light path (for cameras). Flip the lever again. When the top hole is blocked, the rear hole should see through the scope. When the rear hole is blocked, the top hole should have the visual pathway. Sometimes the mirror falls off its carrier, sometimes the spring that holds the mirror "up" and "down" (but not half-way) isn't working. I suspect the flip mirror is the cause of your symptoms. You can unscrew the rear screws and pull the "telescope" away from the rear cover and work on the mirror. You have to remove the focus knob to do that. There are photos of opening this area in the Telescope Info page in Mike's site. good luck --dick
Subject: ETX 90 Problem Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2007 11:49:09 From: Brian (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm having a problem with my ETX 90 and was hoping you could point me in the right direction. There appears to be something loose in the telescope itself, at times I can see something through it and most of the time its just blackness and cant see any light or objects at all. Do you know of a repair guide that's available on your site? (Do you need more specific information about the telescope?) I'm going to check Meade's site again but I'm uncertain if the instate retailers also repair the scopes or not. Thanks for your consideration. Brian BradshawMike here: If you look at a land object in the daytime, like a distant building or radio tower, do you mean that the view is black or just not in focus? I need a little more information to help determine what might be wrong. As to dealers, most don't do repairs but would just return it to Meade for a repair.
You basically can't see anything, just darkness. Its not a fuzzy image as there is nothing I can see to even try to focus.Mike here: If it is an older ETX-90 then the secondary mirror could have fallen loose. If you look down the tube should might see it if it has come loose. Caution; if it has come loose then any movement could scratch it and/or the primary mirror. You could try to repair that yourself (which wouldn't be easy) but it would be best to return it to Meade. If the flip mirror has fallen off (which could also damage its surface or the primary mirror, again you could try to repair that yourself but it would be best to contact Meade for the repair.
Subject: Noisy ETX 90EC Sent: Monday, July 9, 2007 10:42:34 From: martyn (email@example.com) I have purchased the above ETX90EC and found it a lovely instrument, but are they all as noisy as this one when moving around the sky? In England it is still light and I have to go out late and I am sure the Neighbours are starting to have funny thoughts about the noise!! Is a kit available , or some sort of noise reduction tips page which I have not seen yet. I have looked at the tips but don't seem to have found anything as yet. Congratulations on your time and effort you give so generously to the whole world, well done. Martyn Webster Woodhall Spa U.K.Mike here: Well, many telescopes are not quiet when slewing. Reducing the slew speed will quiet the sound somewhat. I typically use a speed setting of "7" on the AutoStar for major slews and "4" for minor slews.
Subject: ETX declination clutch Sent: Monday, July 9, 2007 01:42:49 From: Ray Schmidt (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have an ETX125 and a 14" LX200GPS, both of which I use for different purposes. Recently I applied the Petersen Engineering EZ Clutch fix to the LX200 which now locks very solidly with just the lightest touch on the locking knob, while I almost have to wring the ETX's neck to get it to hold, even after a thorough degreasing job. Are you aware if anyone has tried to engineer a similar mod for the ETX? I have emailed Bob Petersen about doing it, but he said that as he does not have an ETX, he would be reluctant to take on the task. Cheers, RayMike here: Haven't heard of one exactly but there are several tips on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: advice on ETX-125PE versus LXD75 SN-6 AT Sent: Sunday, July 8, 2007 21:22:08 From: T N (email@example.com) I've read your ETX feedback forum but would appreciate your suggestion as well as comparison between these two scope that I have narrowed down to. Objective is for the family to be interested and enjoy exploring other galaxies for a very long time. Regards TNMike here: You have probably already seen my frequent comment: "keep in mind that the best telescope is the one that actually gets used rather than the one that sits in the closet because it is too large or too cumbersome to set up and use". That said, the ETX is a good planet and Moon telescope whereas the SN is best at deep sky objects. However, both can do planets, Moon, and DSOs. I have the LXD75-8"SC and also have an LXD55/75 web site (www.weasner.com/lxd) in case you want to check the feedback pages there for SN comments.
Subject: Meade etx-125 PE Sent: Sunday, July 8, 2007 15:30:15 From: chefken (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have spent some time on your site and have a couple of questions. this will be my first telescope. I am a photo buff with a collection of lenses and am looking to get into photographing stars and plants. I currently use a canon 30d. Your readers have mentioned several problems on the Meade etx-125. Would this be a good first telescope or would you personally choose another unit. My price range would go up to about $2500.00. thank you for your time Kenneth JohnsonMike here: Certainly a larger aperture telescope with a sturdier mount would fit within your budget and desires. However, keep in mind that the best telescope is the one that actually gets used rather than the one that sits in the closet because it is too large or too cumbersome to set up and use. That said, the ETX is a fine telescope that can provide years of excellent use. And as you can see from the astrophotography on the ETX Site, can do some amazing things.
Subject: What defines an appropriate and safe case to store an ETX-125EC ? Sent: Sunday, July 8, 2007 15:02:54 From: Phil G (email@example.com) Well, I am kinda anal about equipment so I have a Doskocil case for my ETX90-RA that has served well for years. It is O-ringed and waterproof. Took some custom fitting with the "pluck-out" foam. I have the Celestron case for my Nextar5. Same story. The thing I like about them is I can put them both in the trunk of my Pontiac GTP and find dark sky. Also, I can hose them off in my driveway when the spiderwebs get too bad. I'm a big fan of hard shell cases. I use them for all my musical/video/camera/telescopes. Phil
Subject: Vertical (or Declination) lock Sent: Sunday, July 8, 2007 14:56:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) I see there haven't been any posts in 3 years so I hopr you are still alive and taking questions! We need a replacement Declination lock, and I can't find a part on Meade's website. Any suggestions? Regards, WesMike here: You should always start with the ETX Site Home Page (www.weasner.com/etx). You will see that the Site has been updated a lot over the past three (and ten years); in fact the last update was 4 July (and another one will be done later today). As to replacement Right Tube Adapter, there are some tips on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page or if you have an ETX-90EC/AT, see the "Astro Hut Right Tube Adapter Replacement" link on the Astronomy Links page.
Subject: MEADE ETX 105EC Sent: Sunday, July 8, 2007 08:56:40 From: John O'Brien (firstname.lastname@example.org) I was just wondering if you've ever heard of people buying brand new ETX's but they look slightly marked? I finally bought an ETX 105EC but the base looks slightly scratched, theres a few marks on the edge of the telescope near where you scew off the cap and also the inspection sticker is a bit peely. Ive been back to the shop where it was purchesed and the guy said its not ex display. He said its not been opened since it was delivered. Im just curious as i cant see Meade sending out telescopes with blemishes on them. Any info is much appreciated. Thanks again - John O'BrienMike here: The ETX-105EC has been discontinued so the unopened box must have been sitting around awhile. However, anything is possible. The marks could have occurred if the box was treatly roughly, either in transit or in the store, or they could have occurred as the box was initially packed at the factory. If they JUST received the shipment from Meade then it could be a "refurbished" system but they should know that.
Subject: Please help with ETX125 Sent: Sunday, July 8, 2007 04:17:09 From: SamSki001@aol.com (SamSki001@aol.com) Hello there and sorry to bother you.... I posted a message on the Astronomy site and someone told me to look up your site about ETX 125 model telescope. My wife bought me this great gift about 5 years ago and one thing lead to another and I never got around to using it, even though I would always try to put it into my mind that I wanted to get it out of its case and learn about it. Well a few days after school was out, we are both teachers, I called the 800 number to get some help, and boy was I surprised that they really were not helpful. So with whatever they helped me with I was trying to use the scope last night and was trying to align it with the auto star and then all of a sudden the machine was turning clockwise and it jammed and would not turn anyone while the motor was running! I got worried and turned it off, now it only moves up and down, not left to right but the motor is working is it out of gear and I tried to look at things and I could not see any more than I could see with my own eyes, PLEASE HELP! If you want I would even give you my house number.... SamMike here: First, I recommend you read the manual, three times. Then play with the telescope indoors until you understand how to set it up, how the alignment process works, and how the telescope moves during the process. Once you are comfortable with it, then go outside in the dark and actually use it. Trying to learn how to use any telescope in the dark leads to mistakes and frustrations, such as you are experiencing. That said, there are a couple of things you need to do. First, do a CALIBRATE MOTOR from the Autostar. Then aim the telescope at a distant land object (radio tower, street light, etc) and do a TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes). Both are options on the AutoStar menu. As to not seeing "any more than I could see with my own eyes", it sounds like you were looking at stars. Stars, due to the distance, will not magnify in any telescope and will remain just points of light. However, the Moon, planets, and many other objects will magnify and let you see some details. Look at Venus; it is in the western sky at sunset. Or Jupiter, in the south eastern sky after sunset.
Subject: ETX power Sent: Saturday, July 7, 2007 16:17:07 From: Charles Jagow (email@example.com) I am the fellow who contacted you a couple of weeks ago about the RA oscillation that occurs in ALT/Az but not in Polar. I have submitted this problem to Meade to see if they have a response as well. I have observed it now in several ETXs including a brand new one. I have also found some other curious things. The CONDOR AC/DC converter model # D12-15A that Meade is selling as the appropriate power supply for their ETX line is a very unclean DC power source. I was outside with one of my ETXs that I had performed the tune up on and it had been performing satisfactory gotos previously. However, this night everything was amiss, the alignment stars were 10-20 degrees off and the alignments would fail because I had to slew the scope so far to get to the alignment stars Autostar assumed I was on the wrong star. I spent four or five hours fighting this and wondering what in the blazes was different. Then it dawned on me that I was using power derived from AC/DC using the AC/DC adapter and the previous nights I had been using my marine batteries for convenience. So I went into the garage and drug out a marine battery that was fully charged. Turned everything off, hooked up the battery to the ETX and away I went with successful alignments that put the alignment stars in the field of view on the finder scope and gotos that placed the object in the field of view of my 12mm Nagler every time. The same performance I had previously experienced. So I shut back down, hooked back up the AC/DC adapter and tried again. Again I was presented with horrible alignment positioning of the stars and a failed alignment. I shutdown again and acquired a different AC/DC adapter, this time a brand new one. I again experienced very poor alignment star placement, about 10 degrees off but, I was able to get a successful alignment. The gotos were horrible, never in the 12mm FOV, barely in the 32mm eyepiece FOV. I experimented the rest of the night with another ETX and various power sources. I used the marine battery, a Pyramid regulated 12 VDC bench power supply and the AC/DC adapters each time repeating the results previously observed. Last Friday I borrowed a 100mhgz O-scope from work and brought it home to look at the wave forms riding on the DC output from the various power sources I had available for the ETXs. I found that the Condor adapters M/N: D12-15A actually put out a 300 millivolt peak to peak 6 millisecond saw-tooth wave riding on their DC output. This equates to a significant amount of noise. I tested five other DC power sources for noise. With the marine battery being the cleanest with no observable noise. The next best was the Pyramid model PS-9KX power supply followed by a Radio Shack regulated 3 AMP 12 VDC P/N 22-507. Then came a regulated Radio Shack 1 AMP12 VDC P/N 22-505 which costs twenty bucks less than the previous unit. The second worst power supply was an old laptop power supply I had cut the laptop plug off and replaced it with a cigarette lighter receptacle. The all out noisiest power supply is the Condor model D12-15A that has been sold as a primary AC/DC adapter for ETXs scopes. This may explain why so many folks have problems with their scopes, while many others have not. I am now only operating my ETXs off of either my DC batteries or from my Pyramid bench power supply. Just thought you might want to know. v/r Chuck Jagow Rott'n Paws Observatory 36:46:23N - 76:13:31WMike here: Just a point. Whenever the power source is changed (batteries to AC to DC or whatever), it is best to CALIBRATE MOTOR. This ensures that the encoders output is properly measured.
When I did find the problems with the AC/DC adapter that Meade sells, the Condor unit, I did try a reset along with calibrating motors and retraining drives. That did not cure the wildly bad alignment pointing to the alignment stars and horrible gotos on the other Condor adapter. The main point being the dirty DC coming from the AC/DC adapters and the power supply within the ETX units not filtering for it. It galls me to think Meade has such good optics and then such poor execution all around it. It is like buying a 2 ct flawless diamond and then setting it in tinfoil... Now don't get me wrong, I love my little ETX probably as much as I do any of my other scopes (10 scopes - 16" dob down to an ETX70), I just imagine what the ETX would be like if Meade put as much effort into the rest of the telescope as they do the optics. v/r Chuck JagowMike here: "...imagine what the ETX would be like if Meade put as much effort into the rest of the telescope as they do the optics." And the price would double!
I am sure the price would be reflected, but you believe it is a worthy trade off?Mike here: Yes, but they would sell less, pushing some people to the other low-end optical telescopes. Always tradeoffs! For better fork mounts with excellent optics, there are the LX90 and LX200 series.
Subject: [none] Sent: Wednesday, July 4, 2007 16:45:55 From: Jill STAFFELBACH (firstname.lastname@example.org) I've taken apart many things, but I am unable to figure out how to access the azimuth gear-motor mechanism in my ETX-90. It is not slewing properly and I want to see what's going on. I was quite surprised that I could not find any repair info on the Internet. Can you help? Regards, Greg Staffelbach, Highlands Ranch, COMike here: First, your email was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing Subject entry. PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page; thanks for understanding. As to accessing the mechanism, you have to remove the base plate and circuit board. There are many tips on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: Great Book! Great Scope! Sent: Tuesday, July 3, 2007 23:26:54 From: Paul Littlecoyote (email@example.com) I just bought a copy of your ETX book. I scarcely opened it and started to read it when it solved a devlilling problem! For a couple of years now, I had problems getting my ETX90 to function with Autostar. It worked for a while and then started to misbehave! Seems that it would just "beep" at me and give me a message about a bad drive motor. I seriously considered selling the ETX as junk. After reading that the problem could be solved by training the drive motors - I did just that. It worked. I just spent most of last night using Autostar to find and track many Messier objects! I am so glad that the scope works as well as ever. There is a little drift and slop in the gears, but I will have to have the scope serviced anyway. Your book saved me a lot of money and frustration! Thanx! You can bet that I'll be reading it tonight and every night - until I finish with it! Good read too! Maybe you can come out with one on the LXD-75? Paul Littlecoyote Big Bear Valley Astronomical Society Erwin Lake Ca. firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: Don't forget CALIBRATE MOTOR. That might cure the drift/slop. Then re-TRAIN DRIVES. As to a book on the LXD75, as Apple Inc. says, "we don't talk about unannounced products" but thanks for the input.
Subject: What defines an appropriate and safe case to store an ETX-125EC ? Sent: Monday, July 2, 2007 13:53:17 From: Kevin (email@example.com) First and foremost I want to say Thank You for your site! It has made a big difference for this novice telescope user. I will try to be clear, to the point, and would like to inquire about a case to store my ETX-125EC ... in hot and humid SW Florida. I have read many, if not all, posts on your site (and others) and I am still confused about how much, or how little, protection a stored telescope needs. Articles range from storing in a shed with a blanket and tarp, to soft bags with little foam, to hard cases that might sail across the Gulf Of Mexico. I will not, nor would I ever, leave my telescope outside covered with pillow case and tarp. I cannot see storing my scope in a soft bag either. So I am down to hard cases and there are many of those as well...to choose from. I am wondering if there is such a thing as over-kill? Such as with the Pelican cases. They do seem far superior than any others I have found on the net. But at a cost of $250+ vs. a converted Craftsman tool chest for $100+ Does a telescope really need to be enclosed in an air/water tight container? I know moisture and dust are not friends with a telescope...but then why all the cheap cases and outside storage articles more common with no one stating problems in doing such? I am looking to purchase a hard case and leaning towards the Pelican brand since they seem to offer the best, but having a hard time justifying the cost especially since so many seem to get by with a lot less of a case. I hope my question was clear enough. Thank you. Kevin Ball Software EngineerMike here: If you plan to store it where water or moisture MIGHT be a problem (like a leaky garage or where rain during a hurricane MIGHT get in), then you will probably be happy if you got one of the high-end cases that provides such protection. Call it insurance. On the other hand, if you decide that there is little risk, then one of the other type of cases could do just fine. If you still have the foam and plastic bag that Meade shipped the telescope in, you could use them for added protection. For my LXD 8"SC OTA I got a large case from The Container Store, used the foam packing (slightly cut up to fit the case) and plastic bag, and now I have a nice transportable (it has wheels) case that provides a good deal of protection. No, it won't float but I don't see that as a problem here in Southern California.
Subject: ETX 125 arghhhhhhhhhhhhh Sent: Sunday, July 1, 2007 16:14:40 From: Bob Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org) A local person sold me an etx 125, and I think (thanks to you and others) that I have it figured out. the declension (?) drive in right arm is making a clickity clack sound and won't track or move the scope up or down. the Horizontal (ra?) is OK and moves smoothly left and right. Since this scope is not in warranty and I am not too good at repairs (although willing to try) can you help me get this fixed. I saw something about a man named CLAY who fixes them but can't contact him. Any help would be greatly appreciated since this is my dream scope. Thanks in advance Bob Jones Port Huron, Michigan.Mike here: When you lock the vertical (declination) axis, does the telescope tube stay in place or does it tend to fall back to the base? If it falls, the Right Tube Adapter has failed. You could try a repair yourself; see the article "ETX-90EC DEC fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. If the tube stays in place you could have a broken gear. You could contact Meade for the repair or contact Dr. Clay Sherrod for his Supercharge Tune-up Service. See the link on my ETX Site home page.
Thanks so much. The tube does not fall, so I can use it without the motor drive, but it does move enough to be a bit maddening even when locked. I will contact Dr. Sherrod. I tired to do that yesterday too, but his email came back as undeliverable. ( I found it in an article, so it might not be his correct one.) I am wondering if I could open the arm and take a look to see if it has just been tightened too much or if I can adjust the worm gear as one of your articles suggests. What an awesome web site, and I am so pleased to meet you. Thanks, Bob JonesMike here: Dr. Clay changed his email address several years ago. Use the one on the Supercharge article linked from the ETX Home Page. You could open up the fork arm but you may or may not see anything useful.
Thank again Will do! Bob
Subject: Thread Size on Rear Port Sent: Sunday, July 1, 2007 09:29:20 From: Johnny Perkins (email@example.com) I need to know what the size of the threads on the rear port of an EXT 90-105-125s. There is an adapter that is sold that changes these to SCT standard threads to use SCT accessories. I have a differnet telescope but believe this part will work on this scope but I just wanted to confirm the size of the threads. If anyone can provide this information, I would appreciate the help. JohnnyMike here: The ETX-SCT adapters convert from the ETX port to the standard SCT rear port so that SCT accessories might be used on the ETX. I say "might" as some will be too heavy or too large to be used effectively on the ETX models. As to the size of the threads, I don't have a way to measure that so hopefully someone will respond.
I appreciate the reply. I found a post somewhere that mentioned they were Pentax screw mount size which is m42. But I am still not sure. I have the same problem measuring the threads. I know how big they are but that doesn't tell me too much. Most sites that mention thread sizes use differnet terms. I'll wait on the reply hoping someone has the means to measure them or just knows by chance. I might call Meade and ask them on Monday. Thanks, JohnnyMike here: Based on an accessory I'm now reviewing, I think the M42 size is the SCT port type, not the ETX port.
Subject: Re: Questions about ETX 125 Sent: Saturday, June 30, 2007 23:04:01 From: NOSBYANDCRASH@aol.com (NOSBYANDCRASH@aol.com) Ok Mike. Ill try again. This is a new scope out of the box. The verticle axis lock needs to be tighened very tight to engage the clutch. The tube doesnt move with the declination motor going unless the verticle axis lock is tightened with alot of elbow grease. Do you take phone calls?
To clear up the confusion, no matter what position the scope lies on the declination axis(fully down and resting on the table, horizontal, 45 degrees up OR straight up. the scope will not move yy handbox slew control OR automatically by GO to or alignemt UNLESS the verticle lock is tightened very tight. The motors turn as i can hear them BUT it seens the scope slips by the clutch unless locked very tight. This is the way it came out of the box.
Mike. I called on you needing your help with my concerns. It is a well know fact that people percieve you as an authority on the EXT scopes. I am having a very hard time with Meade, the dealer who sold me the scope and the scope itself. I am trying to be serious and get help with my concerns and it seems like having this conversation is a "Whats on first who's on second" scenario going on. Thats why I asked you if you can be talked to directly on the phone. Mike let me know if you can or want to answer what I asked you. If not, thats OK. I can go to my astronomy club and ask an oldtimer or other measures. Clear skys.Mike here: I prefer to not take calls. I just don't want to set that precedent (especially right now for personal reasons). However, there may not be a concern here. If you tighten the lock and it locks and allows AutoStar slewing then you should be OK. I agree that you don't want to overtighten the lock but overtightening is not a science with the lock. Since this is a new model perhaps Meade changed the mechanism to a better locking mechanism than was used on past models.
From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) Many people have opened up the vertical clamping mechanism and removed excess grease to improve this problem. There are many articles on Mike's TechTips page http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips.html covering the opening of the forks and (among other steps) removing some of the grease. I don't have an ETX-125, so i can't specifically describe the process, but i did a similar operation to my ETX90 and it allowed less clamping force. have fun --dick
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