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 (
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
Mike 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.

Subject:	ETX 125 problem
Sent:	Saturday, July 28, 2007 17:05:33
From:	George Konstantopoulos ((Mobile)) (
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 ?
George Konstantopoulos
Mike 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 ? 

George Konstantopoulos
AThens / Greece
Mike 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 (
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: 

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 (
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

The ETX sounds like a nice scope to always have packed in my
dobsonian is just too big sometimes.
Mike 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.
Mike 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 (
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

Subject:	Meade Customer Support
Sent:	Friday, July 27, 2007 14:09:04
From:	Jim Shamus Bryers (
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" Bryers
Mike 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" Bryers
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes)?
Sent:	Thursday, July 26, 2007 14:56:36
From:	Chuck Rames (
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

Thank you so much for your answer. We want to use our scope !!!
Chuck Rames
Bellingham, WA
Mike 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 !!!


Subject:	focus knob on ETX 90
Sent:	Wednesday, July 25, 2007 18:08:04
From:	Robert Jones OD (
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.


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.



Mike, do you know if Meade uses metric or american allen sizes?  I need
to purchase some small ones for the project.

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 (
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 / 10.5E
Mike 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: (
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-Large
Mike 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.


Subject:	power supply
Sent:	Monday, July 23, 2007 08:22:11
From:	Henrik van Holthoon (
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 (
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)

Subject:	Fork Mount
Sent:	Friday, July 20, 2007 06:11:57
From:	Frank Kessler (
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.
Frank Kessler
Mike 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 (
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,


Subject:	etx finderscope
Sent:	Tuesday, July 17, 2007 17:26:53
From: (
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
Mike 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 (
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 &

Thanks  Laszlo

Everyday I beat my own previous record for number of consecutive days I
have stayed alive
Mike 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
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 (
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.

Mike 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 (
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

Subject:	ETX 90 Problem
Sent:	Tuesday, July 10, 2007 11:49:09
From:	Brian (
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 Bradshaw
Mike 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
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 (
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
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 (
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.
Mike 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 (
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.

Mike 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 ( 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 (
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

thank you for your time

Kenneth Johnson
Mike 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 (
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

I'm a big fan of hard shell cases. I use them for all my


Subject:	Vertical (or Declination) lock
Sent:	Sunday, July 8, 2007 14:56:23
From: (
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?
Mike here: You should always start with the ETX Site Home Page ( 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 (
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'Brien
Mike 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: (
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....
Mike 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 (
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

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

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.
Chuck Jagow
Rott'n Paws Observatory
36:46:23N - 76:13:31W
Mike 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

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.

Chuck Jagow
Mike 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
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
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?
Greg Staffelbach, Highlands Ranch, CO
Mike 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 (
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.
Mike 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 (
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 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 Engineer
Mike 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 (
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.

Bob Jones
Mike 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!


Subject:	Thread Size on Rear Port
Sent:	Sunday, July 1, 2007 09:29:20
From:	Johnny Perkins (
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.
Mike 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

Mike 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: (
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 (
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
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

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