ETX-LS EDITION FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 July 2009

This page is for user comments and information specific to the ETX-LS. Items that are applicable to all ETX models (RA, EC, AT, BB, PE, LS) 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 for posting. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message per the Site Email Etiquette. Thanks. Remember, tips described on this site may invalidate the warranty on your telescope or accessories. Neither the submitter nor myself are responsible for any damage caused by using any contributed tips.

Mike here: The new Meade ETX-LS telescope is now available! This feedback page allows current and prospector ETX owners to chime in on their thoughts about the new model. User observation reports with the ETX-LS are now being reported on the Helpful Information: User Observations page. If you don't already know about the ETX-LS, check out these web sites:

Oceanside Photo and Telescope

Subject:	ETX-LS Feedback
Sent:	Friday, July 31, 2009 18:36:38
From:	Louis Welke (wwtpoper@yahoo.com)
I believe that the ETX -LS Telescope is very sensitive to the conditions
around it.

If you have any tall trees nearby it may not be able to get a GPS fix
and that seems to be what everything else depends on.

It works best in a field with no large objects anywhere nearby.

I am still testing my LS out to find the best location in my yard to get
a good fix but I may have to go out to a large open area to be able to
do this.

Lou Welke
Mike here: That's likely true of all GPS telescopes, or any GPS device.
Subject:	Meade ETX-LS 6 ACF
Sent:	Thursday, July 30, 2009 21:12:06
From:	Robert Bellomy (robert_bellomy@hotmail.com)
You probably don't remember me, but I remember you.  I used to work for
Northrop in Redondo.  We spoke a few times about the ETX scope.  Well,
my latest addition to my collection is the LS6 ACF.  l am working
through some issues with it and thought you might like to know about
them.  First, the scope doesn't auto align as advertised.  I have had
difficulty for several evenings.  I finally resorted to doing the
alignment myself, just like I do with my LX200R.  While troubleshooting
the autostar menus, I discovered that the scope used GPS to place me in
Barstow instead of Redlands.  I guess this accounts for me being several
degrees off in the auto alignment.  Also, when taking a photo with the
camera, the scope tells me it cannot take a photo because there is no SD
card.  So, I have to remove the card several times and re-insert it only
to get the same message.  Also, remember, you cannot have the card in
the scope before turning it on.  Doing so will prevent the scope from
operating.

I spent some time with Meade today and the person was not any help. 
They did, however, provide me with a return authorization.  Turnaround
time is approx 2 weeks.  I haven't decided to send it to them yet as
there are some additional things I would like to try.  The only SD card
I could find is a micro card inserted into a "mini" adapter.  Mini cards
are hard to find.  Frys didn't have any.  Anyway, I thought you might
like to know this for now.  I will let you know what I intend to do. 
Oh, I almost forgot.  I will checkout your advice about the version of
the autostar and the controller.  Perhaps that is a problem too.  On the
good note, the optics are very very good.
 
Best regards,
Robert Bellomy
Mike here: The SD card does seem to be a problem for some users. And apparently there are some issues with some of the ETX-LS models that have been shipped. Returning is probably the right thing to do if you have done the CALIBRATION steps.
Subject:	RE: ETX-LS auto align not working
Sent:	Wednesday, July 29, 2009 17:19:04
From:	Stephen Holland (s_n_holland@hotmail.com)
It is Version 1.07, which is the very latest. Since sending the last
message, I was able to get a helpful person on the phone at Meade's
headquarters in California. He has offered to replace the entire scope
with a new one and they are paying the shipping costs. He told me there
has been just a couple of units with issues so far and the majority of
problem calls have been user errors. Mine is obviously not user error
but a hardware/software issue. I'm anxious to get my replacement, when
using it manually, I was impressed with the optical quality of the
scope.
Mike here: Super! Keep me posted on how the new one works out. Mine should ship next week.
Subject:	re: ETX-LS Feedback
Sent:	Tuesday, July 28, 2009 19:43:03
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
> It would seem that the LS should automatically know
> the magnetic declination of the observing site from the GPS readings.

Local (short-range) magnetic deviation can be -very- different from
an "average" as calculated by the Autostar (if it's like the LX200gps,
they use a 5 or 10 degree grid and interpolate).

For example, my VFR pilot's chart for the Pasco area warns about
a 6 degree anomaly a bit west of the town of Hood River.

Near or inside the observatory there may be additional sources
of magnetic variation.

The older Autostars have a "Calibrate Sensors" procedure to allow
you to -tell- the Autostar about your local conditions.... the scope
slews to where it thinks Polaris is, and then you center that star.
The difference between theory and reality is thus measured (it misses
Polaris by more than 5 degrees at my house in Seattle).

> Now, I'll just have to find the time to troubleshoot the telescope.
>  It is at our college observatory and I live about 35 miles away.

Um... bring it home?

have fun
--dick
Mike here: In reading the ETX-LS manual (while waiting for ETX-LS to arrive), I was rather surprised to not see a CALIBRATE SENSOR option to correct for finding North.
Subject:	ETX-LS Feedback
Sent:	Tuesday, July 28, 2009 13:19:43
From:	Tony George (triastro@oregontrail.net)
Our college bought the LS6-ACF.  It was not able to find true north by
itself, so the subsequent star field recognitions software was basically
lost.  Two-star worked OK, but then why pay extra for a telescope that
works exactly the same as the cheaper older models.  We have not yet
contacted Meade about this problem, as our Observatory director is on
leave of absence, but when school starts again in the fall, I hope to
get this resolved.  It would seem that the LS should automatically know
the magnetic declination of the observing site from the GPS readings. 
Perhaps the lookup table of magnetic declinations if faulty, or, as I
suspect may be the case, they just don't have such a table and Meade is
using magnetic north instead of true north.
 
 
Tony George
Astronomy Instructor

Columbia Basin College
Pasco, Washington
Mike here: It is supposed to convert Magnetic North (from the built-in compass) to True North (using the location from the GPS). Have you verified that the location lat/long are correct? Also, have you checked the Daylight Saving setting? That could account for an error of up to 15 degrees in star positions. Also, what version of the AutoStar III software is in the AutoStar? I haven't received mine yet so can't answer more specifically on what might be wrong.

And:

No, I didn't check coordinates or DST setting.  I presumed that these
issues would be derived correctly from the GPS, as there were no
instructions to input DST.  I'm now getting quite a stream of input from
Meade staff, as I responded directly to a PR email they recently sent
out, saying the LS does not work as advertized.  Now, I'll just have to
find the time to troubleshoot the telescope.  It is at our college
observatory and I live about 35 miles away.

Thanks,

Tony George

Subject:	ETX-LS auto align not working
Sent:	Sunday, July 26, 2009 08:44:56
From:	Stephen Holland (s_n_holland@hotmail.com)
I just picked up my new ETX-LS two days ago. I turn it on, and it
aquires GPS, finds north, and then I see "Alt Az Align Find Mount Tip".
The scopes rotates,stops, rotates on and on and does nothing further.
The optical tube is parallel to the horizon, not looking up at the sky.
I have not called Meade's help line yet. Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Steve in Ontario, Canada
Mike here: My new ETX-LS has not arrived yet but should soon. So I can't answer directly. I don't know how applicable the old troubleshooting tip of CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES is to the LS model but you might try that. I hope to read the manual (PDF version) in the next day or so. I have been busy with unpacking from the move and then getting ready for and assembling my new observatory, so haven't had time to read the manual yet. One other thought; what happens when you try a different (non-Auto) Alignment mode?

And:

I tried the 2 star alignment method as well. After finding north and GPS
info, it proceeded with the same routine as previously mentioned.
According to the manual it should say that it is searching for 2 bright
stars which didn't happen. I did try the "train drives" operation. This
hasn't helped. Incidently the owners manual is not very good explaining
this procedure but I was able to do it after trial and error. The Meade
guy that I phoned today was no help at all. The dealer where I purchased
the scope gave me the name and number of an "expert" at Meade but he
hasn't returned my call yet. My frustration level is growing. I may
"super nova" if I can't get this thing fixed soon!
Mike here: What version of the AutoStar software do you have on the AutoStar III?
Subject:	ETX LS camera card
Sent:	Monday, July 13, 2009 13:46:49
From:	Louis Welke (wwtpoper@yahoo.com)
I just wanted to let any new owners of Meade's ETX LS telescopes know
that the SD slot for the mini-SD card that fits into a adapter will not
accept the regular adapter with the mini-SD card, this adapter is a
little too wide It requires a SD adapter card that is slightly narrower
and guess what? that adapter is extremely hard to find and I have been
told it is no longer in production but thanks to a person that gave a
review on your LS forum he told me to order the SD  adapter with a mini
SD card from Tiger Direct which sells it with (2) adapters and a mini SD
card for under $15.00 and I believe it is a 4 gig mini SD card. I have
ordered it and should have it in a few days.

I wonder why would Meade make a telescope that needs a mini SD card
adapter that is now no longer available or very difficult to get??

Lou Welke

Subject:	ETX-LS Feedback
Sent:	Thursday, July 2, 2009 20:40:10
From:	Louis Welke (wwtpoper@yahoo.com)
Possibly you may have already known that I purchased a 6" ETX-LS with
ACF today from Optcorp and just received a notification of it being sent
to UPS for shipment. From some of the reviews I have read it seems that
many love this scope but there are others that are having problems.

I hope that those folks are the exception and not the rule, Optcorp
offers a membership with a rewards number that can save a member a few
dollars so this should be a consideration along with the friendliness
that I received when I ordered.

Louis Welke

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Copyright © 2009 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
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