ETX PREMIER EDITION FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 30 June 2007

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-125PE failing to Goto and wandering
Sent:	Friday, June 29, 2007 23:10:16
From:	BRANDON LUBLIN (brlarl@sbcglobal.net)
I just purchased an ETX-125PE.  This is my first real telescope in a
long time, and my first goto scope, which is why it appealed to me.  I
am so far satisfied with the optics, though I am only using the 26mm
eyepeice that comes with it.  I am, however, far less than impressed
with the automation.

My first action was an auto align, which worked a little.  The ETX would
slew to objects I requested, but not within the field of view. 
Following some reading on your web site, I verified I have the current
version software on the autostar.  I then took it out during the day,
did a complete reset, loaded the zip code (I am in a city in the middle
of nowhere, so nearest city is at least 20 or more miles away), verified
the date and time are correct, and then trained the drives on a radio
tower.  I took the scope out tonight and calibrated the motors and the
sensors.  I made sure the tripod was as level as I could get it prior to
this action.

Following the calibration, I attempted another auto align, which this
time came much closer to the alignment stars than ever before (arcturus
and vega).  However, the scope will still not goto any object with
accuracy that I feel confident in.  I have also tried easy, one star,
and two star alignments.  Each has a varying degree of accuracy, but all
still miss the feild of view.  I become quite frustrated when I see the
the object go directly to the center of the eyepeice, only to fine tune
out of the field of view again.

Ever more frustrating is the fact that the ETX seems to wander on its
own.  For example, when I align on arcturus, the scope seems to obey my
inputs.  Howver, when I align on vega, or regulus, or most other stars,
I will center the star in the eyepeice only to see that the scope
wanders away, almost always placing the star in the left of the
eyepeice.  I recenter it, and the ETX wanders away again.  How do you
trust the alignment when it will not ley you center.

I know I may have rambled on here, but I am fairly new at this and I am
feeling somewhat helpless.  Is there anything I am missing or can do to
help mitigate these problems.  Thanks for the patience and assistance.

VR/
Brandon R. Lublin
Mike here: Since you have the PE model, have you aligned the SmartFinder to the telescope optics? Are you using the SmartFinder red-dot or the telescope eyepiece for the AutoStar alignments? Personally, I don't recommend using ZIPCODE. There seem to be more problems when using that vs City Name or Lat/Long.
Subject:	Uncontrollable drifting with ETX-105
Sent:	Thursday, June 28, 2007 02:19:24
From:	Greg Holland (G.Holland@manchester.ac.uk)
I recently bought a second hand EXT-105 (before the PE version) with
Autostar 497 controller using software version 31Ee. Once easy-aligned
it slews to an object in the sky of my choosing with no problems but
then it wanders off at a rate far quicker than sidereal.  If I try to
bring it back or indeed move it in any direction a mystery force seems
to push it further from view.  So in alt/az mode, an up left down right
sequence that should move it in a square and bring it back to where it
started will result in a wander out of finderscope range even though the
scopes internal Ra and dec have not changed from the initial finding of
the object.

The motors move fine before alignment when the scope is switched on.
Therefore, if I get really fed up with trying to fight it, I switch the
scope off and back on and track the object manually, which is fine, but
then of course I need to realign to find something else.

I've read some comments about 'dance' and 'drift' but I'm not sure this
is the same thing.  I've reset, calibrated, trained etc.  Could it be a
software problem?  Any help would be very much appreciated!
 
Many thanks,
Greg Holland 
Mike here: Since you have done a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES I would recommend updating the AutoStar to the current version from Meade's site. You will need a #505 serial cable (which you can easily make; info on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page). If you have Windows the software and ROM update files are on Meade's site (http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html). If you have Mac OS X you can use AutoStarX (on the AutoStar Info page). If your computer only has USB you will need a USB-serial adapter. NOTE: not all work reliably with the AutoStar so see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	125PE etx
Sent:	Wednesday, June 27, 2007 13:07:25
From:	Tony Malone (tonymalonelondon@googlemail.com)
Tony from UK again. Something that you might want to note for future
reference for your readers,  My ETX is 4 weeks old, and had to go in for
repair. Telescope House my local meade dealer were great and are sorting
it all out.

The problem lies in the rotation unit. I noticed after setting it up
that I couldn't turn the telescope through one rotation, let alone the
expected 2+ rotations. It was as if the end lock had moved -which seems
to be the issue. They are not sure what caused this, but it is
apparently easy to fix and not their first one to have this problem. The
other minor glitch is the LNT module keeps working loose and 'wobbling',
which is not a good thing in a sight-finder.

I should get it all back next week, and I might order a Light-Bridge
Dobsonian while I'm picking the ETX up.

Best wishes,

Tony.
Mike here: There have been some reports of this on recent PE models. Apparently there was a bad batch.
Subject:	broken horizonal lock on etx 105 pe
Sent:	Thursday, June 21, 2007 19:43:58
From:	josh rhines (mic00n64@yahoo.com)
i got a replacement from opt and none of the allen wrenches that i got
with the telescopes  fit. Do u have any idea what kind of tool i need to
get the the damn thing out. its very frustating. Meade should make that
metal
 
thanks josh
Mike here: Unfortunately I don't have an accurate way to measure that. Was the lock broke on receipt? If so, I recommend contacting OPT.

And:

i was using the telescope when the horizontal lock broke on me. i
contacted opt and they sent me another one for free but i cant get the
broken one of the telescope
 
josh
Mike here: Hopefully someone will respond with the hex key size.
Subject:	My ETX90PE telescope 'gets lost'
Sent:	Tuesday, June 19, 2007 05:41:00
From:	Gabriel Pizani (gpizani@hotmail.com)
I'm pretty sure I press Enter before GOTO on the Autostar, however next
time I will make sure I do it and see what happens.  It actually has a
keypad so it must be the #497. 

I don't use the telescope every night so after each session I turn it
off and take it inside the house.  Then following time I set it up
again, turn it on and align it again.  Is this OK?

Gabriel Pizani
Mike here: Yep, that is perfectly OK and is what most people do.
Subject:	My ETX90PE telescope 'gets lost'
Sent:	Friday, June 15, 2007 18:34:26
From:	Gabriel Pizani (gpizani@hotmail.com)
My name is Gabriel Pizani, I live in Adelaide, Australia. I got my
ETX-90PE (Autostar-LNT-Smartfinder) in 2006 and although it offers quite
exquisit views I think I am not using it correctly, so after it is
aligned and I for instance run a 'guided tour' it gets lost and doesn't
seem that accurate.

Telescope included #506 Astrofinder Software and #494 Autostar

I always do the automatic alignment (set to home position, and then
point to two brightest stars) and usually it's successful.  Then when I
run a guided tour, even sometimes when I go to the first object after
pressing 'go to' the telescope slews but then the object is off the
eyepiece and I have to adjust manually.

I have done the 'training the drive' procedure they recommend in the
instruction manual, but it didn't seem to work, although last time I did
it, when I took a guided tour the accuracy on the first couple of
objects was quite good, but then it got lost again. Questions:

1.  If I set the automatic tracking feature, do I have to do it after
alignment?  And if so, once I've aligned the telescope, do I have to
turn it 'on' and 'off' every time I want to move to a different object?

2.  Usually after finalising alignment and before starting the guided
tour, the smartfinder's pointer turns itself off, so I have to move go
back to the smartfinder's setup menu and then back to the guided tour. 
I'm sure this shouldn't be necessary!!!

Since I got the telescope I haven't done any updates to the software,
downloads, etc.

If you can please provide with a few 'tips' as to what's the best way of
'moving' the telescope that would be great, sometimes it gets a bit
frustrating having an equipment qith such potential and not being able
to seize it. Also, the instruction manual is not so 'user friendly'.  I
know I'm saying the telescope is getting lost, but I'm sure it is me who
is a bit lost here.  Your help will be quite appreciated!

Thanks for your help, kind regards

Gabriel Pizani
Mike here: First off, do you have the #494 AutoStar (no number keys on the keypad) or the #497 (has number keys)? You should have the #497 for the PE model. If you don't, contact your dealer for the correct AutoStar. Before you press GOTO, do you select the displayed object by pressing the ENTER key? It sounds like you might not be doing that. You only need to align once per observing session (assuming you don't move the telescope or turn it off). You can set the SmartFinder mode from the MODE key menu (hold the MODE key down for about two seconds and then scroll through options).
Subject:	RE: Can't seem to find North with LNT
Sent:	Tuesday, June 12, 2007 23:33:32
From:	mhogansr@comcast.net (mhogansr@comcast.net)
When doing Auto Align, make sure the scope is in the LNT Home position.
Also, when the OTA is against the CCW stop, it should be pointing
approximately south west. If necessary, rotate the whole base or tripod
to obtain this orientation.

This prerequisite is not mentioned in the Manual, but it seems tp be
necessary and has corrected the "can't find north" problem for other
people.

Regards, 
Mike Hogan

Subject:	re: Meade ETX 125pe Question
Sent:	Tuesday, June 12, 2007 21:58:37
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
The warning message is because the Autostar has the wrong
travel limits set.

The easiest way to return everything to "normal" is to
perform a Setup/Reset[enter][enter]

(after that you will need to  do a
Setup/Telescope/Calibrate Motors
and a
Setup/Telescope/Train Drives
)

but it should correct the error messages.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	ETX 125 PE Finder
Sent:	Monday, June 11, 2007 11:21:05
From:	James Farley (jfarley@macnexus.org)
Is there a difference in the models that have the finder glass on the
side and the newer ones with the glass on the top?
Thanks, Jim Farley
Mike here: Yes, there is a difference. The newer one seems to be better (but I don't have one so have no experience with it yet).
Subject:	Meade ETX 125 PE Blue vs Astro
Sent:	Friday, June 8, 2007 22:15:38
From:	Patrick (Patrick20@comcast.net)
What is a blue tube and what is the Astro tube and what are they used
for ? Is the Meade ETX 125 PE a good beginner set?
Thanks
Pat
Mike here: You can see these models on the Survey: ETX Tube Design page. The color or photo is just decorative. As to the ETX-125PE, yes that is a good beginner and long term relationship relationship telescope. For more on the ETX, you can read my comments on the ETX-125AT and the ETX-105PE models on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page. For reports from other users, see the Helpful Information: User Observations page.

And:

Thank you for the answer and your
time
Pat

Subject:	Meade ETX 125pe Question
Sent:	Wednesday, June 6, 2007 21:36:56
From:	Steven Tye (tyes@sbcglobal.net)
I've recently acquired a Meade ETX 125pe. Whenever the telescope
attempts to auto level, I receive an error indicating that slewing to
that location will cause damage. The controller is unresponsive from
this point on. If the telescope starts up & prompts to do an Alt/Az
align, I receive the same message; upon inspection, nothing is
obstructing the telescope & pressing "go to" will cause the scope to
slew - albeit pointing to a location no where near where it is supposed
to be ... I was wondering if you know what is going on... This is my
first experience with AutoStar; it's very frustrating to say the least.
At this point I miss the dob I traded for this scope. :(

Steven Tye
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES from the AutoStar menus? Are you putting the telescope in the proper HOME position before starting the alignment?
Subject:	Can't seem to find North with LNT
Sent:	Sunday, June 3, 2007 07:21:56
From:	Christopher Montanez (MontanezC1@comcast.net)
I currently am experiencing a problem finding north with my LNT. When I
try easy align, my telescope slews  and finds level, but when it tries
to "calc North" it just keeps turning clockwise nonstop. I Attempted to
calibrate my sensors, ant it performs the same function as easy align,
but it cannot find north. I have attempted many times by changing the
position of the LNT, but it just keeps turning clockwise and displays
"calc north". I've wanted about 20 min last time while it was "calc
north" but it just kept turning clock wise.  How can I fix the problem?
Mike here: First, I presume you are referring to Auto Align and not Easy Align. Does Easy Align work? (Remember, the HOME position is slightly different from that for the Auto Align.) Suggest you check the LNT troubleshooting tips on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Also you might try loading the latest version of the AutoStar ROM from Meade's web site; you will need a #505 serial cable (easy to make; see the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page), a RS-232 port on your computer (see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page if your computer has only USB), and Windows (to run the Meade AutoStar Update application) or Mac OS X to run the AutoStarX application (see the AutoStar Info page for the link to AutoStarX).

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Copyright © 2007 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
Submittals Copyright © 2007 by the Submitter
URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/jun07/etx-pe.html