Last updated: 17 July 2008

This page is for user comments and information specific to the ETX PE (Premier Edition). Feedback on the specific PE technologies (Automatic Alignment + SmartFinder, Level North Technology) will be covered here. Feedback on the Autostar Suite AE (Astronomer Edition) will be posted on the regular Autostar Suite feedback page. Items that are applicable to all ETX models (EC, AT, PE) will continue to be posted on the other appropriate feedback pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	ETX 125 PE Smartfinder problem
Sent:	Wednesday, July 16, 2008 07:40:43
From:	John Cowan (
A little while ago you helped me get the Smartfinder off my scope so I
could re-attach it following a domestic accident that broke the

Now before all this happened I had another problem. I was trying to set
the Smartfinder and the Autostar went blank. The red light on the scope
showed, but nothing on the Autostar. Suspecting a problem with the
Autostar I sent it back to the retailer. Then I had the mishap and broke
the mounting. Yesterday I got a new Autostar (I only waited 7 weeks)
(version 43 I think?) and the result was the same. Turn the power on,
the scope lights up but nothing on the handset.

Now having been able to get the Smartfinder off the scope I decided to
see what difference it would make if I disconnected it so I took the 4
cable connector apart. Now at switch on the Autostar lights and all
"appears" ok. Re-connect the Smartfinder and everything is still ok. But
then switch off and switch back on and nothing on the Autostar.
Therefore clearly a problem with the Smartfinder and I think this was
always the case despite the intervening  accident with the mount.

Next I disconnect the Smartfinder, switch on and re-connect Smartfinder.
Further investigation then shows that Autostar won't let me navigate to
the Finder Set: Set display. Obviously Autostar and Smartfinder aren't
communicating, therefore I can't turn on the red dot or adjust it. Also,
when Autostar starts up it always asks me for the date and time. It
seems to keep the date but the time resets to 08:00:00pm each time I
turn it on. Although I have had the scope 5 months, because of various
problems it has only been useable for a very short period, and I can't
remember if this is normal. I know there is a battery in the
Smartfinder, which I have checked is ok, but does the Smartfinder do
anything else in the overall scheme of things except display a red dot?
The circuitry and chips suggest it has a bigger role to play but is this

Does it have anything to do with Autostar's settings? Is there anything
else in the scope that might be causing these problems? The scope seems
to move and track objects ok (at least it appears to be doing all the
right things).

My question is really, do you think my Smartfinder is crocked, and
therefore needs replacing, or is there possibly a more fundamental
problem with the scope?

Any thoughts or advice will be appreciated as I would like to know if am
I looking at a replacement Smartfinder, or a replacement scope.
John Cowan
Mike here: Without the LNT/Smartfinder connected (and working) the AutoStar will always default to the last entered date and 8PM (2000 hours). It does sound like something is shorting out the power to the AutoStar with the LNT connected. Unless the batteries in the ETX are really low.
Subject:	Re: 125PE Not Keeping Time
Sent:	Thursday, July 10, 2008 18:38:49
From:	Neil Sumner (
Thanks For the Quick reply. The Battery's are Brand new. I went over to
OPT in Oceanside. talked to a guy by the name of Mike he said that ETX
dose NOT keep Time. that you have to enter the time every time you start
up the ETX 125PE I told him that my last one kept time he said that this
could not happen I told him I swore on a stack of bibles it kept time
anyways I'm lost I know you will be busy over at OPT this weekend but
maybe you could take a peek at it for me.  I just went and did a reset,
retrained the drives, entered my zip code and time turned it off for 15
min turned it back on and looked at the time its 15 min. behind the
built in time STOPS every time I turn it off. I went into the menu
looked for Finder the only thing that come up is intensty, blink ON or
Off and how many sec. do you want to blink for thats it the 8 Battery's
says 100%.

Thanks for helping out Neil

And an update:

I found out what it was it was a dead battery CR2032 in the view finder,
replaced works fine thanks for all your help I'll see ya at OPT.

Subject:	125PE Not Keeping Time
Sent:	Thursday, July 10, 2008 16:34:10
From:	Neil Sumner (
I have A question or two. I just got my replacement ETX 125PE from
Astronomics. The First one I had Kept time every time. But this New one
I just Put Brand New battery's in it When I set the time and keep it on
for a few minutes it keeps time BUT after I turn it off for lets 30 min.
and power it back up the time is behind 30 min its like when it gets
turned off the time stops too. Astronomics said put it in PARK mode
(witch did not help)is this right for this to do this. Please Help,
Thanks Neil
Mike here: Do you have the Atomic Clock Module for the LNT? If not, then the AutoStar will always default to 8PM (2000) when powered on. Is that what you are experiencing?
OH, WAIT, you do have the LNT. Is the AutoStar seeing the LNT (Finder option appears in the MODE menu)? If so, check the battery. If not, then there is some communication failure from the LNT to the ETX. Check the troubleshooting articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	broken LNT
Sent:	Tuesday, July 1, 2008 06:12:42
From:	Henrik van Holthoon (
If the broken parts of the smartfinder (LNT device) are easy to assembly
you could glue them with 2 components glue this very strong and will
hold. To give you an example I glued a viewfinder bracket to my 105 PE
scope it holds perfect. Again it depends hoe the parts are broken not
too many pieces i.e. (araldite 2 components)
Good luck


From:	John Cowan (
Dear Henrik,
Thank you for this, I think I have solved my problem.

I suspected what I had to do but couldn't solve it as I didn't know how
to get the whole LNT unit off.

As you know one screw is all that holds it in place and Mike helpfully
provided that info. I couldn't work that out!

My problem was that the other 2 screws no longer held the unit to the
base plate, the mounting having been broken in my curtain incident. Once
I was able to get these screws out I then replaced them with similar,
but slightly longer ones which I cut to size. These and 2 washers on the
outer casing can now hold the unit tight to the base again,  it was the
washers I needed all along. Not a perfect look but pretty neat and
should be up to the job. I only did this last night.

As I told Mike this is the second time the mounting has broken on me -
there is definitely a weak point in that any pressure on the LNT will
strain the plastic surrounding the 2 screws.

Hopefully this should now hold it all together.

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