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Last updated: 31 July 2010
This page is for comments and user feedback about the "ETX Classic" telescopes. ETX Classic models include the ETX-60/70/80/90/105/125 (EC, AT, BB, Premier Edition). This page also includes comments and feedback of a general nature. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to the ETX-90RA, DSX, and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me for posting. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message per the Site Email Etiquette. Thanks. Remember, tips described on this site may invalidate the warranty on your telescope or accessories. Neither the submitter nor myself are responsible for any damage caused by using any contributed tips.

Subject:	etx 125 az motor issue
Sent:	Saturday, July 31, 2010 15:55:15
From:	Stephen Williams (
when using the horizontal drive there is a delay in the movement though
not with the gears.  The horizontal lock is fully engaged.  To clarify,
I first move to the right, after a moment the gears "catch" and the unit
turns.  Then if I move to the left there will be a delay while I wait
for the gears to catch again.  I think this is throwing off my autostar
alignment.  Do you think a horizontal lock set screw adjustment (like
the one you have listed on the site) to further engage the horizontal
lock is needed here?

Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES (train on both axes)? If not, do those. If the hesitation is still there, you can adjust the "percentage" to start moving faster; there are some articles about that on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	etx 125 focusing knob issue question?
Sent:	Saturday, July 31, 2010 15:50:48
From:	Stephen Williams (
I have a etx 125 with the standard focusing knob.  When using the knob
the field of view shifts, at 200X it is almost impossible to keep a star
in view while trying to focus on it.  Is there anything that can be done
by me at home to fix this?

Mike here: Some image shift is normal but it should not be excessive. If it is excessive, and it sounds like yours is, then there are some solutions. If you telescope is new, I suggest contacting Meade or your dealer for an exchange under warranty (or Meade's "First Light Program"). If the telescope is no longer under warranty, then there are three articles on "image shift" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. It could also be that the telescope is seriously in need of collimation. Have you done a star test? If not, do so. See the Collimation section on the Telescope Tech Tips page for more info.


I did the star test.  The ring is perfectly symmetrical at X75 but it
does have some lopsided narrowing of the bands at X200.  I'm not sure
how much is too much though.

The image shift only occurs for the 1/4 turn of a new direction on the
focus knob.  In other words I can make the star go back and forth if I
alternate clockwise/counter clockwise just a little on the knob.  But if
I keep turning in one direction there is only the initial shift.  What
do you think?
Mike here: It could be that the primary mirror is sticking during focusing. You might be able to loosen it up by moving it through its full focus range, back and forth, several times. Otherwise, see those "image shift" articles.
Subject:	bino ocular
Sent:	Sunday, July 25, 2010 00:45:33
From:	Henrik van Holthoon (
Hi Avelino,

In your message to Mike Weasner you mention a binoviewer you use on the
ETX125 that might be part of the problem this binoviewer is in fact to
heavy (you state 950 gr) even with good balance.

Try first with the standard ocular 26 mm see if problem is solved.

Good luck Henrik


From:	Avelino Dias (
Thank you again.
When I refer the binoviewer weight of 950 gr is the all group (binoviewr
+  2 zoom eyepieces). The binoviewr it selve have about 500 g. So I ask
you if with one adapter counterweight on the ETX 125 AT the motors are
strong enougth to work well with the binoviewr. I try only with que
standart ocular 26 mm and the problem maintain.
Att. Avelino Dias
Mike here: I doubt that the weight is causing the Motor Fault. But that's easy to check. Just use the standard 26mm eyepiece by itself and see if the MOTOR FAULT still occurs.


I agree with you, and I just tried what you recomend and the problem it
still at the same. But I think it could be some electric problem with
the electronic components of the scope. I just send the scope to the
dealer and I still wainting for ther avaliation.
T Y.
Avelino Dias

Subject:	Question about ETX-90 weight limits
Sent:	Thursday, July 22, 2010 10:32:56
From:	Philip Browne Jr. (
I have an ETX-90AT, and I've been wanting to see if it would be possible
to piggyback a second, perhaps smaller, scope on it.  I would want to
use one scope for imaging, and the other for auto-guiding.  However
before I attempt to do that, I wanted to know if the ETX's drive and
mounting would be able to support the additional weight.  Do you have
any knowledge of this, or know anyone with first had experience?  I
would be using a lightweight webcam for auto-guiding, and a camera that
is under .5 pounds to do imaging.  I know of course that if it where
able to support the weight, I would also have to use count weights to
balance the scope.

Thanks for all of your knowledge!
Mike here: Well, it may work (depending on the actual weights and counterweights). However, as you can see from my experiments with a "Dual ETX", piggybacking an ETX-90 OTA on other ETX-90 did not work out too well (without a major counterweight system, which I did not have). Keep in mind that the ETX mount was not designed to handle great loads.


I would only be using a 60-70mm scope, that I think would weigh less
than the ETX-90 OTA.  Thanks for the link, I didn't see it on your page!
It's good to know that the drive can at least handle a few extra
pounds, so it will be a good tinkering project for me!
Mike here: There are several articles on counterweight systems on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page.
Subject:	RE: ETX125
Sent:	Wednesday, July 21, 2010 07:00:51
From:	Timo der Kinderen - AESC (
I just had contact with my dealer. He talked to Meade and they want to
send the scope back to Meade so they can fix it. This means that I
eventually will have bought a new "refurnished" Meade for regular
pricing. Also it will probably take 2 months. What are your thoughts on

Met vriendelijke groet, kind regards,
Timo der Kinderen
Mike here: See Meade's First Light Program web page (


That should help. Thanks!

Met vriendelijke groet, kind regards,
Timo der Kinderen

Subject:	ETX 125 motor fault
Sent:	Monday, July 19, 2010 10:10:25
From:	Avelino Dias (
I appreciate your work in Weasner's Mighty ETX Site. It's very usefull.

I would like to ask an technical advice about the ETX 125.

When I calibrate the motors, just the Alt motor moves, and the Az motor
stay stopped.

This problem appears at my second day of use. I try to change the power
transformation, new 8 AA batteries, and I upgrade the Autostar to the
5CE1 version, but this problem do not desappeared.

I am very confused because sometimes, after the scope is out of power
connection, it work ok for a few moments, and the Az motor moves at my
command. Sometimes after this the scope dont respond at my commands
(only the Az motor), and make same moves for it selve.

I used on the ETX 125 a binoviwer and two eyepieces (total weight 950
g), and I just now realize that I should use also a counter-weight to
equilibrate the scope. It could be this the motive of the problem?

Some times appears on the hand control this message "Motor Fault".

I will apreciate very much your technical advice.

Avelino Dias
Mike here: Have you set up the telescope in the proper HOME position before powering on the telescope? If you don't set up in the proper HOME position, the telescope can hit a hard stop in Azimuth.


Thanks for your response.
Yes. The scope is on the home position when occured the Az motor error
that I related to you.
Should I make some other tests.
Tk. you again.
Avelino Dias 
Mike here: First, check that there is free movement horizontally from hard stop to hard stop. Unlock the axis and slowly rotate the telescope; it should move nearly twice around between hard stops. If it doesn't move that far then there is some obstruction; don't force it to move as you could cut a wire if that is what the obstruction is from. If there is proper movement, then do a RESET, then CALIBRATE MOTOR, and then TRAIN DRIVES.


I check that the scope rotate in horizontally almost 2 complete rotates
(less one quarter).

Then I reset and I calibrate motor (and its all OK). Then I try to train
drives and the horinzontal move arrows dont respond any more. I try to
calibrate motores again and just the Alt motor respond.
Tk. again.
Avelino Dias
Mike here: OK. So probably not a hardware problem. Do you know if you have the AutoStar #497 or the #497EP? There are different software versions for those two models. The Meade AutoStar Update application 5.9 is supposed to detect the model and only download the prooer version.


I ckeck my autostar and is the 497EP.
Because my PC have not a DVD or CD drive, I do not install the software
that came with the scope. Instead I download the Autostar updapter from
the net (Meade site).
What do you think off it?
Mike here: OK, then you have the right version of the AutoStar #497EP software. Since the telescope is new, perhaps the best solution is to contact your dealer for an exchange. But before you do that, ensure that you are not overtightening the axis locks. They should be just "finger tight".


I want to thank you again your techical advices. 
I just think your work is great and fabulous. Just go on.
I just send my ETX to the dealer.
Avelino Dias

Subject:	hello.
Sent:	Sunday, July 18, 2010 01:34:41
From:	martin gauckwin (
My name is martin i am from merseside in the uk. I think your site is
very interesting having myself always being interested in astronomy. It
is only now at age 36 i have invested in some equipment. I have bought
myself a meade etx 125. I have some questions if you don`t mind. I
already have a helios 10" reflector...which was expensive and i sort of
regret buying as i couldnt find anything to look at because i didnt know
my way around the sky. so... Which scope is best helios 10" reflector or
meade etx 125 - in terms of looking at this is my main
interest?. And my 2nd question is about my neximage ccd camera. I
believe that it is equal to a 5mm eyepiece. Well if this is correct then
my meade with its 1900mm focal length must be over magnifying. The image
i get is blurred and i thing a focal reducer maybe the answer....what do
you think? Thanks for your time and keep up the good work. Regards
Mike here: As requested on the ETX Home Page, please read the Etiquette and Submittal Guidelines. Your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the subject you used on your email. The Email Etiquette discusses (among other things) the proper use of email subject lines and requests that senders not mix topics in the messages. Thanks for understanding. Generally, for DSO observing, the larger the telescope aperture, the better, as the larger aperture has more "light gathering" power. Can't answer the question about the NexImage from Celestron. But a focal reducer can help in many respects. Just be certain to get one that works with the ETX.
Subject:	ETX125
Sent:	Sunday, July 18, 2010 04:48:47
From:	Timo der Kinderen - AESC (
I was hoping U could bother you with a short question. I bought an
ETX125 last week.

Setup went good and I started the two star alignment set up. When the
ETX was going to the first star for alignment at a certain point it
stopped going upwards. The motor kept running but the scope would not
move up. I hear a clicking sound like something is stopping it from
moving. I sounds like perhaps the knobs on the side are too tight and
stopping it from moving. When I loosen them the grip is so light that
the scope front comes down.

I changed batteries, bought an adapter but nothing seems to fix the
problem. I tried adjusting in vertical and horizontal locks but the
problems remains. Did you ever hear anything about this? I am thinking
about sending it back to Meade but thought I'd give this a shot first.
Thanks in advance!  
Met vriendelijke groet, kind regards,
Timo der Kinderen
Mike here: Does the tube move freely up and down by hand with the altitude axis unlocked? If so, have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes)?


Thanks for the quick response. It moves up freely by hand. 

I tried train drives and calibrating the motors. The problem is that for
example during calibrating of the motor, the telescope has the same
problem. Therefore I cannot complete calibration. The problem also
occurs when I use the arrow key's to move the scope or let it
automatically find a star for alignment. The scope goes left, right and
down, but up is the problem. Then is refuses and the clicking noise

I included a video I just made of the problem. It's best to turn on the
sound. Thanks!!

Met vriendelijke groet, kind regards,
Timo der Kinderen

Mike here: STOP. Something is catching in the gears for the vertical motion. Since the telescope is new, I suggest contacting the dealer for an exchange.


I guess that's good news since I was first thinking I did something
wrong :-) I will contact the dealer tomorrow. Thanks for your help. I
really appreciate it.

Met vriendelijke groet, kind regards,
Timo der Kinderen

Subject:	DEC Drive fix
Sent:	Saturday, July 17, 2010 22:23:51
From:	Philip Browne Jr. (
Tonight I went to a star party, and lo-and-behold my DEC drive for my
ETX90-AT flakes out on me!  The gears are spinning, but the scope will
not move!  After several frustrated moments out on the field, I decide
to pack it up, head home, and tear it apart to find the fix.  After all
was said and done, it turned out to be simple!

I tore the entire mount apart, removed the OTA, and got to the guts of
the thing (No small task mind you!).  I checked and rechecked every worm
gear and motor drive, and finally narrowed it down to the DEC knob
having been too tightly engaged.

The motor engages when the deck knob presses against the setting circle
and applies friction to the gear causing it to catch the OTA and thus
drive the scope.  However the setting circle is very thin aluminum, and
when the DEC knob is screwed in too tightly, it warps and does not press
evenly against the gear and won't engage it.

A simple washer will solve this problem and prevent it from happening in
the future, thank goodness!  I was worried that I'd have to replace
something expensive!  I think I remember reading something about adding
a washer to the DEC knob on your site somewhere, but I have no idea if
it relates to this.  Anyways, I just wanted to inform you and the rest
of those who read your website so that maybe I can save someone else the
time and frustration!
Mike here: Over-tightening the DEC axis lock can break the Right Tube Adapter. The lock should be "finger tight", that is, just tight enough to hold the OTA in place.
Subject:	RE: Used ETX 125 AT - is it for me? - Follow-up
Sent:	Saturday, July 17, 2010 10:32:27
From:	Len Schiavino (
Checked out the ETS 125 AT on Friday.  It is, in fact in excellent
condition as stated.

There was one issue, though. While checking out the GOTO in the store, a
motor drive error occurred.  They are going to check it out and get back
to me.

Is this something of concern??

My wife and I enjoyed viewing your pictures the other night...great job.

Tnx agn, &

Best regards,

Mike here: Depends on WHY the motor error occurred. Sometimes, just swapping in new batteries and doing a CALIBRATE MOTOR will solve that problem. Sometimes, it can be more serious.


Tnx for the advice.

Will get back to you when they determine the issue.

Have a great day!

Best regards,


Subject:	ETX-125PE; Alt not working after checking Az gearbox
Sent:	Sunday, July 11, 2010 15:58:16
From:	Luke MacMillan (
My ETX-125PE started to "jump" (as viewed in the eyepiece) every 15
seconds while tracking. After reading many posts on your wonderful site
I decided to have a look at the Az gearbox in the base to see if it had
any cracked areas other users have described. In short, there were no
cracks so I put the gear box, circuit board and cover plate back
together. I turned on the tracking motor and still heard the little pop
sound that accompanies the "jump" movement.

I then tried using the controller to move the telescope and it worked
fine in Az direction but only made an initial slight movement in Alt
direction and then completely stopped working. Now all I hear when I
press the Alt controller keys is an intermittent dim sound but no
Any ideas?

Luke MacMillan, B.Sc.
Calgary, AB
Mike here: Check that you didn't loosen any wires. As the sound from the AZ motor, check the setscrew in the gear shaft. The gear could be slipping. Also, assuming you didn't damage anything, it would be a good idea to do a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES (once you get things working again).
Subject:	Used ETX 125 AT - is it for me?
Sent:	Saturday, July 10, 2010 16:16:09
From:	Len Schiavino (
A local telescope store has subject scope for sale.  The ad states that
it was well cared for.
The equipment includes the following:
Telescope & tripod
3 Meade Series 4000 super Plossl eyepieces  26, 20, and 9mm
Mead 2x telenegative Barlow
Meade electronic focuser
Meade hard carry case
The package is offered at $449
I have rekindled my interest after a lengthy absence.  So I would be
considered a beginner.

Am currently enjoying the skies with my 3 binos  7x50, 10x50, and 17x70.
Your thoughts would be appreciated.
Many thanks!
Best regards,
Mike here: Sounds like a good deal. But I would check it out fully in the store, including a star test after dark. Check that the AutoStar works, check the focuser, check that all the eyepieces and Barlow Lens are clean, as well as the optics on the telescope itself, and check that the tripod isn't missing any obvious parts. Ask the store about their return policy should you discover wrong later.


Tnx vy much for the lightning quick reply.

I will do just that.

Tnx for the tips!

Best regards,



One other question. As I stated, I would be considered at the beginning

You might say that I am semi tech-savvy, at best.  Hold Amateur Radio
Extra Class license, as well as using and dealing with computers in my
accounting practice.

So, given those facts, how difficult is it to use?  And also, how long
does it take to set up every time (given limited time on occasion).

BTW, fabulous website!!

Tnx agn.

Best regards,

Mike here: Like any new hobby or activity, what you get out of it depends on the effort you put into it. Yes, there are things to learn when you get a new telescope. You have to learn how to use it (read the manual, several times, and play with the telescope indoors before going outside with it in the dark), you have to begin to learn the terminology of astronomy, and you have to learn the night sky and how to navigate around the sky. Fortunately, the ETX (and similar GOTO telescopes) make that navigating simple. None of this is difficult; people have done it for centuries (except learning how to use the GOTO systems, that is a recent invention, relatively speaking). Assuming you learn to use the telescope indoors first, your first time out will probably be the longest setup time. It will take you a few minutes to set up the telescope in the proper orientation, power it on, locate the alignment stars, and start using the telescope. Later on, you'll be aligned and using the telescope in a couple of minutes.


Tnx agn, Mike!  Great advice.	

Will ck it out.

Best regards,


Subject:	Fw: ETX Stripdown post ( Hardstop mechanism )
Sent:	Saturday, July 10, 2010 16:08:54
From:	Andrew Johansen (
Gday Mike
Just saw this and have added a comment or two

Subject: ETX-125 Strip down
Sent: Thursday, July 8, 2010 19:26:50
From: Andy (
My last message regarding this subjet i promise

..Can I ask if you can think of anywhere i may be
able to get a replacement hard stop ring from at all?

I was thinking about just trying to knock one up and do it by trial and
error. Its just that as i can see what sort of angles those sticky out
things protrude from the hard stop ring, But i would have to guess the
lengths of them.  Another thing that puzzels me is what are the holes at
the base of those sticky out things for as i cannot see any purpose that
they can perform other than to weaken the sticky out bits can you Mike?
I also cannot see why the sticky out bits lie at the angles they do as i
dont think that will have much impact on the amount of degrees the base
can turn but then again from what i see i still dont understand or see
the possiblity of more than 360 deg rotation with the current
configuration But Meade claim 720 degrees do they not?

The file i sent you a while ago "Analysis of ETX125PE" shows how the stop
mechanismn works. ( You can just see the pins in the photos )

It appears that the outer 2 fingers on the "floating" hardstop disk
merely act as simple shock absorbers,
and the holes near their bases just allow them to flex more "easily".
The inner 2 fingers just appear to be "more solid" backstops
to prevent the outer 2 fingers from snapping or bending too far.
There are also two "stop" pins fitted,
one to the base and one to the rotating table,
and these are set at different radii so they can pass each other.
"Both" of these pins are normally positioned in the large free space outside
of the fingers.
Thus when starting at one hardstop, you rotate say 340deg till the "moving" pin
picks up the floating stop ring, which is now free to move in that direction.
The "moving" pin then carries the stop ring a further 340deg till it hits the "fixed" pin
and that is the other hardstop, ie nearly 690deg.
Thus on reassy,
it is important to ensure neither pin is sitting inside the four fingers.

He could probably make a simple replacement stop with a single
lug on it, but would need to know that on hitting a stop with no give,
it may shear off the pins next time.
The length of the fingers is pretty arbitrary
as all it they have to do is solidly contact the outermost pin.

Andrew Johansen

Subject:	ETX-125 Strip down
Sent:	Thursday, July 8, 2010 19:26:50
From:	Andy (
My last message regarding this subjet i promise

Right at this presant time i have my ETX-125 stripped down into all its
conponents parts. I did this during the early hours as i sometimes
cannot sleep. and its quiter as well. Now i have the unit in its
conponent state i can see another way to make the replacing of the
central wiring loom easier other than spliting the top and bottom base.
But If you need to get to the hard stop then he only way is to split the
unit. Now mine is split  I have found that all 4 of my sticky out things
on my hard stop ring where missing. So this has prevented me being able
to measure and recreate the ring on paper Thus enableing me to fabricate
one I intended using a fibraglass reenforced blank i have made. (which
should be stronger than either the old or new type that Meade supplies)
But as i said this is now a bit pointless as i cannot find the sizes to
machine a replacment to. Can I ask if you can think of anywhere i may be
able to get a replacement hard stop ring from at all?

I was thinking about just trying to knock one up and do it by trial and
error. Its just that as i can see what sort of angles those sticky out
things protrude from the hard stop ring, But i would have to guess the
lengths of them.  Another thing that puzzels me is what are the holes at
the base of those sticky out things for as i cannot see any purpose that
they can perform other than to weaken the sticky out bits can you Mike?
I also cannot see why the sticky out bits lie at the angles they do as i
dont think that will have much impact on the amount of degrees the base
can turn but then again from what i see i still dont understand or see
the possiblity of more than 360 deg rotation with the current
configuration But Meade claim 720 degrees do they not?

Anyhow enough about the ring I also have a failed ETX-125 base unit on
its way to me and when i have it i would like to do two pictorial strip
downs The first showing how to get to and replace the central harnes
without spliting the base unit. And the second a pictorial of splitting
the base unit to remove and replace the hard stop ring? Would you like
me to send then to you when done?

I also fitted the 2pin non reversable plug and socket which i robbed
from a old mother board  (The fan to M/B connection plug was removed and
used) This was fitted in line between the battery box and  the power
panel. This made it a lot easier to work on the unit just by being able
to unplug the base cove from the base altogether.with no soldering.

Also thanks Mike for all your help and paitience during my problems with
the ETX

Regards Andy
Mike here: You can try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page). But I have my doubts that he would have just the hard stop part available. You might be able to measure the photos on the articles "ETX AZ Hard Stops" and "Hard Stop Repair" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. The design is Meade's design. Gotta be a reason for it. And the rotation is just slightly less than twice around. Would love to post the article. Thanks.
Subject:	Meade ETX-90EC
Sent:	Tuesday, July 6, 2010 16:19:46
From:	steven stengel (
You are obviously the Meade master of the internet.
Let me ask you a question, please.

I received a used ETX-90, with AutoStar 497, for free.

But it has a major malfunction - on occasion, it just starts 'driving'
one way or the other for no reason.  Also, the 2-star set-up often fails
because it will just drive to the mechanical limit (I always stop it
before it gets there), and I have to shut if off and start over.

I just downloaded and installed the latest update for the AutoStar -
43E. It didn't help any.

Have you ever heard of such a failure?

I'm assuming that the motor-drive circuit in the base unit must be
defective - is there a schematic available?

Mike here: Do a Calibrate Motor and then Train Drives (both axes). If that doesn't solve it, do a Reset, then Calibrate Motor, then Train Drives.


Reset, calibrate, train did not help any.
It still drives for no reason.

One thing I noticed is that with no controller plugged in, it will even
start driving. Floating inputs?

I then made a new cable, but it is now even worse - the connector in the
remote seems to be poor.


Mike here: No cable movement is normal. But since you are still having a problem, try this: remove the original HBX cable and reverse it end-for-end. Sometimes that resolves problems. If that doesn't do it, check the connectors and jacks on the cable; the pins should be clean, not bent sideways, nor too depressed. Also, check that the internal batteries are good and inserted correctly.

And an update:

Seems like it's fixed!
Poor connection at the remote - bent the 8 pins up in the jack - they
were too depressed, as you say.

Subject:	re: etx-80 problem
Sent:	Monday, July 5, 2010 19:24:16
From:	richard seymour (
The central Meade dealer in London (and a subsidiary of the
importer/distributor) is Telescope House:

good luck

Subject:	ETX125 PE - snapped lug on gear shaft
Sent:	Monday, July 5, 2010 13:21:22
I hope you or one of your readers have suggestions for fixing my ETX125

As you can see from the attached photos of the underside of the base,
the lug that supports the shaft of the largest white gear wheel has
snapped. It seems to be part of the black housing that holds all the
white gears and particularly, it ensures a close mesh of the gear teeth.

	1.	Is this a DIY-fixable problem?
	2.	If so, what needs to be done?
	3.	My take is that a new housing is needed. As far as you know,
	are such spares available in Europe/UK?
	4.	Even if so, I baulk at the prospect of dis-assembling and
	re-fitting all the gear wheels. Would this be a straight forward
	'out with the old & in with the new' job  or would various
	adjustments need to be made?
The circumstances of the 'crash' were that I selected a Messier object,
pressed 'go to' and the OTA did a nose dive i.e. suddenly pointed about
20 degrees downwards. I powered off & re-started. The hand box showed 9
June 2008. I re-set the date, calibrated motors, did an automatic
alignment and all seemed OK except that when trying to locate anything
near zenith the left/right, up/down response is erratic. Since then I've
retrained drives and the same wandering persist.
Any 'diagnosis', suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Gordon Law


Mike here: There are several articles on "gearbox" repair and replacement, as well as an article on "Replacement Gears source" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Try those for some guidance.
Subject:	ETX-80AT No Power?
Sent:	Sunday, July 4, 2010 11:56:58
From:	al henry (
I have a ETX80AT scope (2 months old). Replaced batteries (6-AA), power
indicater light does not come on. Tried a standard 9v battery and got
power but not enough I guess.

Scope worked great before this. I'm thinking maybe bad battery case? I
appreciate your expertise in this matter.

Thank you 
Al Henry
Mike here: You get power from a 9V battery? Then the wiring to the telescope is OK. There are some articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page that might help you add a replacement power source. By the way, if the telescope was purchased new, it is still under warranty. You might prefer to contact your dealer for a replacement or Meade for a repair.


Thanks for the prompt response. Went back to try it again & the scope
powered up acted as if nothing where wrong!   At least it's working &
I'm checking your site for an alternative power source. Great site!! 
Mike here: Glad all is well now. Sounds like it was either a loose wire in the battery pack or a bad connection someplace.
Subject:	etx90 ec gearbox stripped gear
Sent:	Sunday, July 4, 2010 07:48:17
From:	Chrs Henderson (
I wondered if you knew of any suppliers for replacing gearbox in the 90
EC model. I have looked inside the base and discovered 1 single gear has
strripped the rest of it is fine. Can't afford the repair costs to send
back to meade. Thanks, Chris Henderson
Mike here: See the article "Replacement Gears source" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	ETX wows
Sent:	Saturday, July 3, 2010 21:03:14
From:	Andy (
My ETX wows continue Last week if you may remember i wrote and asked if
you had any information on the Autostar hand set as it would come on
then go directly off. And that i eventuall found a fix that was on your
site and it was by resetting he handset, This was done from a list of
key presses seeing as i could not see the autostar display Anyway as you
may recall i wrote again thanking you for the super site and that i had
it fixed.

Well I am new to astronomy and i got my ETX-125 from a very respectable
gent a Chairman of a club over here so i knew it should be a fair scope.
I have had it for around a couple of months and up to last week had not
had it out due to my health and the weather. So last week was the first
which was cut short by the handset problem Friday night the 2nd of July
again was cut short due to bad information from the met office And guess
what tonight was also cut short (i dont think this ETX likes me very
much) This time halfway through doing a twostr align it stopped slewing
(there was a instance just before this that when i placed the hand set
on velcro it reset itself I put this down to bad fitting RJ11's? I HOPE.
Anyway to the main problem. It stopped slewing half way to Arctorus and
came up with the motor failur message I switched off and again it
started to go to Arctorus but stopped as soon as it started to slew and
again the motor failur message came up. Now the motor message is all i
get when going into any align mode. So another night wasted The worst
part being that it is 80 miles to our dark site :( I managed to grab a
few views in other people scopes Probebly beter than i would have got
but thats not the point And from my position of a beginer in astronomy
it was a bit off putting to say the least But im determind to try and
try again.

Anyway on reachng home like i did the first time when the handset would
not work i hit the net and serch and serched till I found somthing about
the horizontal limit which made me think mmmm Iv never felt this limit
as its only been out of its prison cell twice So i got it out and it can
turn free in both directions no stopping it at all? Me having a full
engineering background both mechanical and electical/electronic knew the
consiquences straight away and my suspisions where confirmed as soon as
i had the back off The wires had turned and turned upon themselves till
one had given way. The read one. I managed to get enough of the red wire
to be able to rejoin to test the scope and with this rejoined it all
works as it should (or should i say looks like it works as it should) So
my task now is either to repair the wire properly and encase in more
heat shrink Or replace the whole wire through the scope. I have seen
from a posting on here a while ago your resident tech guy said its a
hard thing to do. I just wondered how hard he would say it is to do for
someone with a bit of tech experiance? The next thing is while i have it
down i migh as well do some of the maintainance and take up some of the
play and end float in the worms and gears Also sort out the
effectiveness of both clutches on the ETX can you also suggest any other
mods i could do while at this stage of strip down.

Also you may recal a few lines ago i said that i could feel no hard stop
for the rotation of the horizontal mount Can you or your tech guy tell
me where this should be located so that i can see if it has either come
loose or is missing totaly and then i can try and make somthing to do
the job. I have a model makers lath and mll in my workshop so it should
be do able provided i know where it should be and what to look for.

Im sorry if iv go on a bit Mike but its been all the explaining and
getting it all across. Again many many thanks for your site its another
jem among all those which twinkle abobe us most nights

Regards Andy

P.S. sorry if the spelling off as my spell check is also not working
Mike here: Sorry to hear about the continuing difficulties. A broken or missing hard stop can cause a wire to cut. Glad you solved that problem. As to replacing the hard stops, there are three articles on replacing or repairing hard stops on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.


Thanks for the reply, Its either my eyes or the red mist that has set in
for some reason i can find just two of the topics those are
"ETX AZ Hard Stops (04/14/0"
"Hard Stop Repair (06/12/07)"

Sorry to be a pain but could ypu possibly point me in the direction of
the other artical please.

Many many thaanks

Regards Andy
Mike here: Just do a Find for "hard stop" on the Telescope Tech Tips page. You will then locate them.
Subject:	etx-80 problem
Sent:	Saturday, July 3, 2010 16:12:23
From: (
I have a problem with my ETX-80.  I think i've damaged the horizontal
motors as when in use the scope won't track horizontally.  I'm going to
attempt to calibrate and train the motors but if that fails what can i

There doesn't seem to be any support contacts in the UK and i had a
quick look at the bottom the scope where the access panel is and there
is minimal access to the inner workings of the horizontal drive

I've had this scope 3 years and never used it in its full capacity as an
auto tracking scope.
Can you help??
Kind regards
Steve Galloway
Mike here: Do you know HOW you think you damaged it? Or could you be just overtightening the horizontal axis lock? Lets start with the simple solutions first: try a RESET. If that fails, check if the motor runs when the axis is unlocked. Do you hear anything with the axis unlocked?


Wow that was a super-quick reply. I think I've damaged it by manually
moving it horizontally whole locked.  I live near Liverpool,UK and I
took it to the Liverpool Astronomy societies open night last week. One
of the guys there listened to the scope as I attempted to slew left and
right and he said from the sound of it he thinks I've damaged the cogs.
He recommended I telephone Meade and describe the problem to them and
have them run through a diagnostic procedure over the phone but I can't
find any UK Meade support. I'll try what you said tomorrow as it's 1am
now here and I'm off to bed.

Kind regards

Steve Galloway

And more:

I reset the scope by going through the setup menu on the autostar
handset. The scope is still the same. No horizontal movement using the
arrow keys no matter which position I have the horizontal lock in. I'm
told the horizontal lock should freely but mine doesn't.

Should I attempt to open up the base? 

Kind regards

Steve Galloway
Mike here: Do you mean you can't UNLOCK the horizontal axis? If the locking lever moves freely, it may be loose on its shaft. Check that. You do need to unlock the axis before you can do that second item I mentioned earlier.


The horizontal lock lever moves but it's stiff. The arrow keys won't
move the scope horizontally no matter what position the lever is in
Mike here: Then it does sound like the locking mechanism isn't unlocking or there is some obstruction preventing horizontal movement. Sometimes a wire inside the base can shift, causing the obstruction. You don't want to force the movement since you could cut that wire. You'll need to open up the base and look around.

And more:

I opened the hatch at the bottom and it just shows the back of the
motor.  I removed the screws in the base but this didn't loosen the base
so I still couldn't see any of the mechanism inside. I'm guessing I'll
have to remove screws from the fork columns to gain further access to
the base mechanism. It's just a shame there aren't any online guides or
maybe a YouTube video on this. As it stands I'll have to give Meade
support a call from here in the UK

Thanks for all your help

Take care

Steve Galloway
Mike here: There are several articles on disassembling and repairing the ETX-60/70/80 models on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page on my ETX Site.


Fantastic news. I will check those pages out lunchtime. 

Cheers again Mike

Subject:	#884 Deluxe Tripod Repair
Sent:	Friday, July 2, 2010 16:43:56
From:	Rori Baldari (
I have lost the c-clip washers and springs that keep the bolts on my
#884 tripod above the base plate. It is really hard now to line up the
screws with the holes in the ETX base. The screw tops are level with the
plate and no longer protrude above it as they are supposed to. Meade
does not supply these replacement parts. I have the original #884, not
the current model, so they don't support parts for it any longer. A trip
to the local hardware store proved frustrating. It's almost unusable as
now it has become a two-person job to attach the scope to the tripod,
especially in the dark. Any suggestions on how I can fix it? Thanks.
-Rori Baldari
Mike here: See the article "#884 Tripod Fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. You could put the washer on the other side of the mounting plate so that the bolts don't fall out.

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