Last updated: 30 June 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: Questions about ETX 125 Sent: Friday, June 29, 2007 21:02:18 From: NOSBYANDCRASH@aol.com (NOSBYANDCRASH@aol.com) I received my ETX 125 and have a few questions: 1) Upon removing the Meade Dew cover i had screwed on, the corrector cell started unscrewing with it . I tightened it back up again and was wondering if this has thrown off the alignment. 2) I noticed that the vertical lock on the declination clutch has to be tightened really tight to engage it without having the scope slide put of locked position as thought it has been over lubricated at the factory. Is this normal on some scopes from production and can it be made to grip tighter without tightening it very tight? 3) When I use GO TO for finding objects after two star alignment, alot of times, the same object cant be brought into view in the same spot twice and even doesnt come into field of view. This scope is new out of box. Is this common and would train drive and calibrate sensors correct this?Mike here: 1) Generally, when you retighten the corrector lens housing after being slightly loosened, there is no problem. You can always do a "star test" to confirm that. 2) The tube should stay put when the axis locked. You could still push on the tube to move it but that is not a normal operation and should not be done. Do NOT overtighten the axis lock; if you do you can cause the "Right Tube Adapter" to fail. 3) You should CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES before using it "out of the box". This should correct the problem.
Thank you for your answer about declination clutch slipping when I tighten the Verticle Axis lock " Hand Tight". I have to tighten it very tight to make it engage or it just sits there slipping and tube doesnt move. You recommend NOT over tightening . Is there anything I can do to remedy the problem?Mike here: You have me confused now. You said "it just sits there slipping and tube doesnt move". When you raise the tube (say to 45 degrees upward) and then lock the axis, are you saying that the tube wants to fall back down to the base? Or are you saying that when you tighten the axis lock, that using the AutoStar to slew the telescope vertically, the tube doesn't actually move?
Subject: burned ics from control Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2007 16:38:15 From: antonio de leon garcia (firstname.lastname@example.org) sorry,for english,im from monterrey ,mexico,in my etx-90ec telescope,its burned ics from movement,can you helpme?can you sayme wich number ics are?i can send an a picture from damaged zone,i will apreciate,any helps,thanks for your time, ing. antonio de leon kobrex,s.a.de c.v.
Subject: Tripod for ETX-90 EC Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2007 11:01:20 From: Phan, Dai (Dai.Phan@va.gov) Thank you for the excellent Website. I had no idea that this is a popular machine! I have been trying to buy camera tripod for the Meade rather than paying 200 bucks for the real thing but I have no luck! The screws on those pods don't fit the ETX. Beside buying the real thing, can you suggest any options? I am sure there are camera tripods that can work for this ETX-90EC? Thanks! BTW I am waiting the arrival of the Celestron C-10 N GT. Do you have any comments about this scope? Dai PhanMike here: The ETX base has two mounting holes (for stability) vs the single bolt on a photographic tripod. If you purchase a heavy duty tripod, which you should do for image stability since you'll be viewing objects at high magnifications, you can easily spend a couple of hundred dollars PLUS the price of an adapter plate (see the Accessory Reviews: Tripods page). With that in mind, the price of an ETX tripod from Meade doesn't seem that costly. You could also make your own; see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. No comments on the Celestron.
Subject: ETX 125 EC Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 18:23:26 From: JoelS551@aol.com (JoelS551@aol.com) Thanks for the great site. I admire your dedication to the ETX. I have a ETX 125 EC that was purchased new about 3 months ago. After experiencing go to and tracking problems I decided to get into the guts and see if I could improve things. I studied a lot of the stuff on your site before getting in to it. As I am sure you know my ETX is a good bit different from the pictures I have seen. The similarities in the RA drive are pretty close and I was able to clean up the clutches and re grease the gears with white lithium grease. The ALT is another story. It seems that the trunions and the clutch assembly are sealed units that were pressed in to place. I have no problem with that in fact its probably a great improvement in design. The only thing I could find that needed improvement was the trunion on the left (setting circle) side. It has a little play and needs to be tightened. Is there a way to improve that or will I just have to live with it. Question #2-I have read the technical tips from Dr Sherrod dated 2001. Is the sections regarding autostar-training-mounting etc still aplicable to my scope. Thanks JoelMike here: Is the play evident when you PUSH on the telescope tube or when slewing using the AutoStar? If the former then I wouldn't worry about since you should NOT be pushing on the tube when the axes are locked. As to using the AutoStar, yes, his tips should be OK, especially the RESET (if necessary), CALIBRATE, and TRAIN steps on first use and thereafter if the power source changes (CALIBRATE MOTORS) or if oddities occur.
Thanks for the prompt reply! I will go through the rest of the document regarding autostar. Joel
Subject: Meade 125 ETX question Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 13:51:29 From: Paulo Lobo (email@example.com) I'm from Portugal. Since you are an expert could you help me about a possible buy of a 125 ETX? I found someone here that sells a second hand one. What need I search to find the good shape or not of the telescope? How many versions were made since the 125 introduction? Etc, etc. Thanks. Regards, paulo lobaoMike here: There are many versions, the changes to which are not easily evident to end users. I wouldn't worry about that too much. If the telescope is functional then you should get years of use from it. So what is "functional"? If you have the chance to actually use it before buying I strongly recommend taking it out for a some nights of testing. Check it out on the Moon, planets, and stars. Do the images focus? Are there internal light reflections visible? Aim the telescope at a bright star and rotate the focus knob back and forth on both sides of infocus. There should be concentric rings visible around the star when the image is slightly out of focus. Is the tracking and slewing smooth? Are there obvious dents, scratches, or other noticeable "damage" on the telescope tube, base, and/or optics? Does the handcontroller (original EC model or AutoStar) work in all modes? Does it come with the standard 26mm eyepiece? If so, check that plus any other included accessories. Check the battery compartment for evidence of leakage. Rotate the telescope tube horizontally from one hard stop to the other (it should rotate almost but not quick twice around). When the axes are locked, do they hold the telescope tube in position? If a tripod is included, check it for stability at all leg extensions and verify that the leg locks work when the legs are extended. If there is no manual included you can get one online (see the FAQ page for links).
Subject: RED DOT FINDER? Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 13:32:17 From: John O'Brien (firstname.lastname@example.org) Sorry to trouble you again! I ended up borrowing money from someone to buy an ETX 105EC. It arrives tomorrow.......im very excited. lol. I was thinking of buying a red dot finder but didn't know which was best. Can you recomend any that will fit onto this ETX model? I didnt really want to strap it on but rather place it where the original finder scope is. Any suggestions? I've had a look on your ETX page but i can't really decide. Thanks again for your help - John O'BrienMike here: I don't know which ones might fit the existing finderscope bracket. But the Rigel QuikFinder is a nice add-on. I discuss it on the Accessory Reviews: Finderscopes page.
Subject: observation site elevation. Sent: Monday, June 25, 2007 11:46:46 From: Hrald HIVET (email@example.com) Hello, tried to google it but it didn't find any answer to this question: some planetarium softwares i've tried ask for your precise coordinates and elevation of your observation site (ie: altitude above ocean level) Autostar don't ! my observation site (my backyard) is located 1,000 ft above ocean level: does it matters with accuracy ? a gps device display much more precise coordinates including seconds (xx xx' xx") when editing site info on autostar it does'nt ask for seconds.. regards.
From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) > my observation site (my backyard) is located 1,000 ft above ocean > level: does it matters with accuracy ? No. 1000 feet (300 meters) will have no visible effect upon Autostar accuracy. Even 10,000 feet would be unnoticable. One reason for the "it doesn't matter" is the alignment procedure. Any "errors" (and they'd mostly affect the close-to-horizon edge) will be compensated for when you "center the star" during alignment. >a gps device display much more precise coordinates including seconds > (xx=C2=B0 xx' xx") when editing site info on autostar it does'nt ask > for seconds.. The LX200gps -does- use the seconds portion of its GPS message, but it does not use the altitude. You can -experiment- and prove to yourself how much/little these things matter. Try changing your Lat/Long by two, then ten, arcminutes. See if you can even -tell- that the change had happened (have a friend do the change after rolling a pair of dice to provide the error to insert... and not tell you. That will generate a randomized, double-blind test.) I have made intentional 30-mile (30 minute) changes to my ETX90, to see the effect upon both star and *satellite* tracking. The induced error was less than my ETX's usual "looseness". (not involving the Autostar, but the only thing such an error would affect might be whether or not you see an Iridium satellite "flare") Since 10,000 feet is still tiny compared to the earth-moon distance, i doubt you'll see the effect given the arcminute catalog accuracy of the 497 Autostar. have (sufficiently accurate) fun --dick
Thanks again, it's good to know how things work... firm documentation is very poor! clear skies. Herald.
In most consumer documentation in the US, companies do not tend to mention things which don't apply to the product. So rather than have the manuals say "your elevation does not matter", they simply don't talk about it at all. By the same token, they don't bother to say "Do not try to use Autostar under water" or "telescope may not be able to show stars during a thunderstorm". (I live in Seattle... i (all too) frequently -do- use my telescope in completely overcast conditions... you can still see bright stars and planets through the scope that are invisible to the naked eye... and that's good enough for testing) On the other hand, people keep wondering what the "safe" temperature ranges for storage and operation of the scope are. Meade (again) doesn't -say-, so they avoid being held accountable for possible poor performance in extreme (or not too extreme) conditions. It is entirely possible they have not fully explored or determined by engineering analysis what the "safe" ranges really are. Folks have -used- the scopes from over 100 F to below 0 F. (the LCD display on the handbox is probably the most range-limited *easily identifiable* component. I would worry that the internal cable ends (which use "insulation displacement" techniques) might suffer most from temperature -cycles- (vs. absolute conditions). have fun --dick p.s. the above "temperature range" commentary is speculative opinion. I have not attempted to determine the ranges in any particular way, and Seattle doesn't lend itself to exploring the "above 100F" and "below 20F" ranges, for which i'm thankful. Below 32F i keep my Autostar in a mitten when it's not actively being used.
Subject: CHEAP TELESCOPES!? Sent: Sunday, June 24, 2007 14:49:57 From: John O'Brien (email@example.com) I was hoping you could help me. I live in the UK where most telescopes are far too over priced compared to the USA. I've been after a Meade ETX 125PE for some time but can't really afford to splash out in one go. I've been reading things on your website and have to admit it's the most detailed site for ETX's around. You really know your stuff and explain it in the easiest way! I was wondering if you knew anywhere that shipped to the UK which does this telescope at a cheap price? It's just that every US site I've looked at wont ship to the UK! By the way, how the hell did you even go about getting free telescopes from Meade? Did you just contact them to see if you could test them out for them? I need to know how to get a free one!!! Ha ha. Anyway, im sure I've taken up far too much of your time as it is. Any info would be really appreciated and sorry if this seems like a completely pointless email. Take care - John O'BrienMike here: Meade and their dealers just have to follow certain rules I guess. One of these days (maybe) we'll truly have a "global economy" and such rules and regulations will be history. So, you may be out of luck getting a new one for a reduced price. As to "eval units" just establish yourself as a respected industry source (he says humbly).
Thanks for getting back to me. Guess i'll have to follow after the master on this one. Thanks again for the fast reply. Take care - John
Subject: Allen wrench for horizontal lock Sent: Friday, June 22, 2007 19:18:48 From: Jim Contos (firstname.lastname@example.org) .050 Jim Yes, I'm back! The Jim Contos that tore apart his ETX 90 RA so many years ago and then posted on your site. Glad you're still around.
Subject: ETX-125 Tracking issues Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2007 23:19:03 From: Charles Jagow (email@example.com) First of all, thank you for maintaining such a storehouse of knowledge. I picked up a secondhand ETX125 from Astromart. It is a fairly newer unit, maybe a year or two old and it is not in too bad of shape. I already did a cursory inspection of things , cleaning gobs of grease and tightening the base screws in the fork and in the base. I have not tried to adjust the gears or anything like that yet. I did clean the grease off of the clutch in the fork assembly. What I am experiencing is that when I am trying to center an object using a 12mm eyepiece and using speed 4, 3 or 2 if I push the down arrow, the object in the eyepiece actually seems to be drifting up for a period of time before it starts to meander toward the bottom, though not very straight I might add. The opposite but same holds true when I push the up arrow. It seems to go down for a little while then starts to meander up but not in a straight line. I have calibrated motors and trained the drives on a terrestrial light tower about six miles away using a 9mm reticle. I have the most recent version of Autostar downloaded. When I push the right button the object seems to move left for a short distance before it goes right. When the left button is pressed it seems to then work the best. If this is a common issue, please advise the proper solution. v/r ChuckMike here: Check that the gear housings are not loose.
Thanks for the response. I have her apart right now. The gear housings are tight. The RA has a big 2" diameter black (metal) wheel covering the gear that meshes with the worm gear, makes it almost impossible to see the tooth-tooth action. Do I need to remove it? I do not see any means to adjust backlash out of the worm gear for RA? v/r ChuckMike here: I doubt that there is a tooth problem (unless you hear a clicking sound when the drive is running). There are some articles on backlash percentages on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
I have the base off of the ETX125 and I am observing very closely the large plastic gear that is the first gear in the plastic gear drive train. I have the unit on, all clutches released, performed a mock alignment and it is tracking a star. This large gear starts out doing exactly what I would expect turning slowly. After a short while it begins to oscillate forward and backward about one or two degrees for two or three seconds and then it will go back to turning at the normal rate. The oscillating occurs at random sometimes as little as four second apart and as much as fifteen, but it is a quite continuous cycle. The DEC motor does NOT do this. Does this mean I have a bad stepper motor assembly? v/r ChuckMike here: Try a test. Put the AutoStar into Polar Mode and then start the tracking. Does the RA motor still show the oddity?
Thanks for the reply, I have been diddling with it most of the day. I have also been conversing with Dr. Clay. I have found an odd little problem in the RA. I have the bottom cover off, I have done all the checking for play and grease removal and all that, everything seems OK. Now when I do have the ETX125 do a fake alignment (all clutches disengaged) it goes to Acrturus and I sit and watch the large plastic gear that is the first gear in the train from the motor, right next to the gear that drives the speed sensor wheel. It turns ever so slowly and smoothly for as long as I care to watch it, no problems. So I poke Enter and it goes searching for Vega. It stops waiting for me to poke Enter. Now I watch the same gear it again is moving slowly. But every so often it oscillates back and forth and then continues on nice and slowly. It is intermittent in the time between these periods of oscillations, sometimes they are five or ten seconds apart and sometimes they twenty or more. I marked a spot on the gear with a Sharpee to see if it was happening at one certain point, no dice - random. I then slewed the scope to Arcturus and watched it track. No oscillations. Watched it for ten minutesl, still not a single one. Slewed back to Vega, it began the oscillations with in ten seconds. I slewed to several other stars some experienced oscillations, some did not. What do you think???
Polar mode on. I cycled power off/on and then mock realigned the scope using Artcurus and Vega. No oscillations observed on VEGA!!!!!!!!!!! So that means it is a glitch in how Autostar is processing RA when in Alt/Az mode. How do we get them to believe it?Mike here: Lets try one more thing: Do a RESET, CALIBRATE MOTORS, and TRAIN DRIVES.
OK, that will take a few minutes. Have to eat dinner and put the OTA back in. I'll get back to you with the results.
I have performed in the following order: Reset Calibrate motors Train drives (both RA & DEC) Exact same symptoms. Oscillates in Alt./Az. and is steady in Polar mode. Where do I go from here? Operate only in Polar, I would rather not. v/r Chuck Jagow Rott'n Paws Observatory 36:46:23N - 76:13:31W
Subject: Power Supply advice for etx105 Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2007 23:21:06 From: ray-hill (firstname.lastname@example.org) Firstly thanks for all the help that your site has given me.I have just purchased an ac/dc adapter to power my ETX the adapter is variable and supplies voltages from 3-12 volts DC with an amp rating of 1.000mA It also shows a figure of 800mA9.6Va(max) on the side of the transformer.I was confident when purchasing the unit that it would do the job but after reading some of your feedback comments I have become very concerned as to whether I might destroy the telescope if I have got it wrong It has a variable polarity switch which I know should be set to + at the plug end Please can you advise me as to whether I have got it right I have been using rechargeable batteries in the past but they seem to give me lots of problems with eratic motor speeds so would like to resolve this issue completely Thanks Ray Hill email@example.comMike here: You will need 1500mA to reliably power the ETX-105. And the center pin is +.
Subject: etx125 help thanks ... Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2007 07:45:31 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I allow myself to write them because mine etx125 and broken and I do not have idea from where I must begin, the "wheels bites" of the motor have been broken off and I would want to replace them, but like making? where I can find information? thanks thousands and compliment for the situated one web! luca ps: I make excuses myself for my English, Italian and FrenchMike here: Your best bet would be to contact a local Meade dealer or Meade in Europe. Second possibility would be to contact Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page).
Thanks for the answer! What I try to know, and as works the regulation of the motors with l'autostar if I succeed to know as it comes managed the velocita one, I can reconstruct a distribution system (this time not in plastic) ... Thanks 10000!!!!! a+lucaMike here: Not certain what you are asking if asking anything.
Subject: Question about Eyepieces, ETX-125 PE I am new! Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2007 09:50:19 From: Erika Jimnez (email@example.com) I found your page and is fantastic!!! Thank God for your help!!! I live in Costa Rica, Central America. I order my ETX-125 PE in Satec S.A., a local Meade Seller. My telescope arrived today at the store, and tomorrow I will gather it,. I bought the Meade ETX Telescopes Accessory Kit 07853. My question is: In addition to these eyepieces, which others I can buy? I am interested in nbulas, the galaxies, also the planets. Sorry for my english, and thanks for your advice. Erika. P.D. By the way, I am a complete Amateur, but I love Astronomy! IMike here: Before purchasing other eyepieces, try out what you have and learn to use your telescope. As you start using the telescope you may find that you want to purchase additional (non-eyepiece) accessories. And if you spend all your extra money on eyepieces then you won't have money for the other accessories.
Thanks for your advice, in fact I want a CCD camera, but you're right, first I need to learn to use my ETX!!! Today with my old Tasco 525x can see Saturn, Venus and Jpiter, it's great cause here is the rainy season, so, It's hard to see anything if your sky is cloudy!! Thanks again, Erika.
Subject: etx question Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2007 09:09:45 From: Norman Crowson (firstname.lastname@example.org) May I ask ask a quick question relating to table top telescopes for handicapped astronomers? I'm looking for a small fork-mounted telescope that can operate without a tripod or pier.... we are thinking of mounting it on a very stable concrete table similar to the ones found in many state parks. Can the ETX series be used while mounted on a solid flat surface such as a tabletop, perhaps if attached to a large flat plate for additional stability? And, how large a fork-mounted scope might this concept accommodate? Any comments would be appreciated... Thanks, Norman CrowsonMike here: The ETX line can sit directly on a sturdy flat surface without using a tripod. The GOTO system will work fine in Altitude/Azimuth (Alt/Az) mode with base horizontal. You may not even need a large plate depending on how sturdy and flat the surface is. The ETX line goes up to a 5-inch telescope (ETX-125). You could do it with a larger telescope (like the LX90 models) but that would be more prone to image vibrations as people touch the table.
Subject: Clarification on Polar alignment Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2007 07:53:57 From: Wayne Taylor (email@example.com) I'm currently helping out at an RV Park that has an observatory. They have a Meade LX200 16" on a permanent mount. We're trying to realign using Dr. Clay's precise alignment with the Kochab Clock method. Are we to understand that once the scope is setup and aligned on Polaris (after all is level and plumb) that all we have to do is raise the scope mount STRAIGHT UP 1 degree and not to angle it or offset it 1 degree? All else seems to be straight forward. Thanks for your help and the great site. Wayne Taylor
From: P. Clay Sherrod (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hello Wayne... You can only raise the mount straight up IF Kochab (the star) is located that way. It is very simple: merely move the mount in whatever direction necessary TOWARD Kochab and away from Polaris in a straight line, slightly less than one degree....that is all there is to it. It does help to use a PC planetarium program to determine when Kochab will be in one of the four cardinal directions (north, south, east, west) of Polaris, since then you only have to move the wedge (in your case) in ONE direction as you suggest in your letter. Enjoy and best of luck.... Dr. Clay ------------- Arkansas Sky Observatories Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway) Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South) http://www.arksky.org/
Subject: Link to your ETX website Sent: Monday, June 18, 2007 02:23:15 From: Tony Malone (email@example.com) Firstly: Great site! I've just bought an ETX 125 PE and found your site not just useful but required reading for all the little oddities that the Meade manual does not cover fully. I hope you do not mind, i've set up a website to chart my progress in learning about astronomy: http://ward-malone.blogspot.com and included a link to your site as a recommendation. I trust this is OK. Kind regards and thanks again. Tony.
Subject: Re: Reverse polarity Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 12:11:11 From: Roger Lange (firstname.lastname@example.org) Received the scope in great working order. Took a little over three weeks turnaround. Meade also included a new finder bracket and a new 495 Autostar with the latest upgrades installed at no charge. I know that is old technology by now but was still a nice surprise. The controller itself used to cost double what the electronics repair was. Seventy five dollars with return shipping included. Roger
Subject: Meade #1247 Electric Focuser Discontinued? Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2007 13:19:46 From: Johnson, Eric C ((US SSA)) (email@example.com) I love your site - great stuff. I have been looking for an electric focuser for my ETX 125EC. Recently, I've been starting to experiment with my new LPI and (as many have commented) have found focusing to be fairly tricky. I would like to get a Meade #1247 Electric Focuser to help with the problem. I've read your reviews and the other comments on your site, but I can't seem to find them in the Meade 2007 catalog anymore. I've noticed that several telescope shops (including OPT) don't seem to have them listed any more or show them as out of stock. Do you know if they have been discontinued? If they have been discontinued, do you happened to know if they plan to replace it with anything or are we now stuck with 3rd party focusers? (or hoping a decent #1247 shows up on Astromart) Thanks! Eric JohnsonMike here: The focuser had some problems with the PE models (which are now the current models). So it is not surprising that the focuser would be discontinued (at least until AND if it is updated to work with the PE models). You might try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page); they might have it.
Thanks for the quick response. The Telescope Warehouse site appears to be down for some maintenance. They pointed to their eBay listings, which don't appear to have the #1247. Oh well, I guess I have to either wait to see what Meade does or investigate other focusers. You commented on the JMI MotoFocus on your ETX site, but the information is pretty dated (1998). Do they still make one for the ETX-125? Didn't see one at OPT, either. I'll have to check some of the other dealers. It would seem like an advantage to have a single Meade integrated product, so maybe I will wait and see what happens. Thanks again! Eric JohnsonMike here: I haven't checked the JMI web site for current offerings.
Subject: ETX 125 question Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 19:10:09 From: chris price (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hey there, i figured your THE man to ask, Meade cant seem to help much and even if they could i could buy a new scope for the price they want. I like many i would assume have overtightend the outer fork vert lock and popped the inset screw. meade was able to send me a new knob but i now after failed surgery need the ota mounting bracket that the knob screws into threw the fork itself. Its the rather square piece thatmounts on the ota via two hex screws and has the post that the outer tension knob with inset screw attatches to. ANYWAY, I need to find a parts source mainly just that piece but i could buy a new fork if i had to. I was just going to reach out to you to see if theres anywhere, or anyone you could point me towards for this. Ive seen fork assemblies on astromart but they where $300, I only paid $500 for the whole set up which included 2 televues...I love ebay. Well, I leave you alone with that. I appreciate any input you might could give me and hope to get back out there observing soon. Thanks again, ChrisMike here: Exact parts can be hard to come by (but try Telescope Warehouse; link on the Astronomy Links page). Alternatively there are some articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page that might: "DEC lock mod", "ETX-90EC DEC fix", and "ETX DEC knob fix".
Subject: Telescope purchase Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 13:45:47 From: Ange (email@example.com) I am trying to research telescopes and determine what would be best to purchase. I have no clue when it comes to this stuff!! Are you able to provide a suggestion on where to start? Makes / models? I would like to buy one for my husband for his birthday and it is just for basic night sky viewing. Would really like to see planets etc.... Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am in New Brunswick Canada and have no clue where you are, so if you have any suggestions on how to go about purchasing a telescope that would be appreciated as well!! Thanks in advance, Angie.Mike here: Well, the best telescope is one that gets used. That means that the user does not become disappointed with its capabilities (unless willing to get a bigger telescope) and one that is not cumbersome to learn and setup for use. It also has to fit within your budget! I recommend avoiding "department store" telescopes. I recommend Meade products (but Celestron and Orion and also options). Get the largest telescope you can afford AND that will get used (see the "cumbersome" comment). Remember that the smaller the telescope the less detail that will appear and the smaller the image will appear in the eyepiece (which can lead to disappointment). And don't expect to see the same views as you see in the photographs in magazines, web sites, and even on the telescope box. The eye is not a good camera for astronomical objects. Lastly, I would recommend you look for a local dealer where you can go to ask questions, see the telescopes and play with them before purchasing. You could also look for a local astronomy club. The Sky and Telescope web site (www.skypub.com) has info on clubs and the Meade site (and I presume the same for Celestron) has info on dealers.
Subject: What should i purchase ? Sent: Friday, June 8, 2007 13:19:17 From: Johan Ledeboer (Johanledeboer@mac.com) Celestron Nexstar 6i, William Optics 110 ED APO or EXT 125PE I was happy to find your very extensive website delivering a lot of info ...... Tell me why shuld i buy the EXT 125 EP ? I want to go mobile, backyard , holiday, fast set-up, easy seeing, contrast ect .... Seeing first, Photo later Suggestions ? Johan Ledeboer The Hague The NetherlandsMike here: Normally you should purchase the most aperture you can afford. That said, the best telescope is the one that gets used and doesn't end up in the closet because it is too cumbersome to set up. Certainly all the telescopes you mention can satisfy your basic requirements; just keep in mind their differences in aperture, focal length, mounting, and GOTO system. 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.
Subject: Re: ETX supercharge Sent: Thursday, June 7, 2007 08:49:20 From: Kevin Simmonds (firstname.lastname@example.org) Just to let you know I am back in action again. As the second owner of the scope (and therefore not covered by the warranty), I was looking at a repair cost of 120. I was therefore very pleasantly surprised when the team at Telescope House repaired and returned my ETX free of charge (it was tightness in the ra as you had suggested). It is rare to receive this level of customer service and needless to say I will be using them again for future purchases. It has certainly made me more wary of buying second hand, even a scope that is only a few months old and particularly from someone new to astronomy. In my case, the original owner genuinely did not recognise the fault. Thanks again for all your help. Kevin
From: P. Clay Sherrod (email@example.com) That is a happy ending. Excellent and thanks for letting us know the outcome! Dr. Clay ------------- Arkansas Sky Observatories Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway) Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South) http://www.arksky.org/
Subject: Oracle Observatory Sent: Wednesday, June 6, 2007 05:50:19 From: Matt Bishop (firstname.lastname@example.org) Happened across your site whilst cruising the 'net looking for info on Maksutov- Cassegrain 'scopes. Looks like you have things pretty sorted in the equipment area and I'm certainly inpressed with your setup. I'm fairly new to the whole obseving with a 'scope thing, although i have dreamed of owning a good sized telescope from being a young boy looking at books with pics of Orion nebula and the planets. I have had an 8" newtonian for about 8 months now and am loving it, mainly observing from my back yard in outer suburban Melbourne Australia with occasional forays to darker sites, though I am now looking at upgrading the optical setup to something a bit more portable than the Newtonian. Anyway, just thought I'd drop a line from the other hemisphere on the other side of the world to say G'Day and liked what I've seen of your site so far. Regards, Matt Bishop. P.S Did you hapen to catch any of comet McNaught? It was awsome down here, even from within light polluted city skys.Mike here: Missed the comet; clouds until it got too far south.
Subject: etx-125: 360 RA Limit Sent: Sunday, June 3, 2007 22:52:46 From: Daniel Harris (HossHarris@cox.net) Thanks for the awesome site I have learned a lot! I purchased a used ETX-125-EC (that had been meade upgraded to include the autostar and tripod). My RA (azimuth) is limited to slightly less than 360 degrees, whether motoring or with the RA lock open. It's crushing my will to live because Autostar thinks it has 720 or so and every time it "stops out" I have to re-align. Both stops (CW and CCW) feel firm like a real stop and not like FOD inside the base. I haven't opened anything up yet, and sure would appreciate some advice. I'm fairly competent with mechanical and electrical repairs/modifications. Thanks in advance! Pete HarrisMike here: Yep, not right. You could open up the base and look for some obstruction. The normal hard stops should not have moved so there must be something causing the movement restriction. It could be a wire or some FOD. If a wire, use caution so that it is not cut. Do you know if the previous owner had a problem?
Previous owner didn't really say (ebay). I knew I was rolling the dice, but the price was right, even with a few problems. I'll crack open the case and let you know what I find. Other than misrouted/snagged wires or debris are there any other common causes for this problem? Pete
I've removed the battery case (bottom) and there isn't anything remarkable or binding in that "layer." How do I get to the next "layer?" It looks like my current impediments are a large black metal disk threaded on the very end (top of the upside-down base) of the shaft (dec wires run through it), then the actual gear, then a "nut" of sorts that is smooth around the circumference with two holes on the face. I've tried loosening the black metal disk by hand to no avail. How do I get further into the base? Thanks PETEMike here: You will likely have disassemble the rest of the base to find the culprit. I suspect something is bent that is catching on the rotating portion and therefore acting like a hard stop. Before going further, rotate CCW to the first hard stop and verify that that is a real hard stop. It should point the telescope towards the southwest. If it does then you probably have reached a real hard stop. Next rotate CW until you get to the next hard stop. If that isn't almost (but not quite) twice around then you have reached a fake hard stop. Leave the telescope rotated to that spot and remove the base plate and battery compartment. Look around inside the base along the outer edge and see if you can see the obstruction. If you need to further disassemble you will need to remove the large nut (use caution and note the position of all the pieces in order to reassemble properly). If you are nervous about causing further damage (like breaking wires, the circuit board, or the encoders or gears, you should probably contact Meade for the repair or perhaps Dr. Clay Sherrod for his Supercharge Tune-up Service.
Thanks ... I got the hollow bolt holding the dec wire out (no damage). Now I just need to figure out how to get the ra clutch and gear off the shaft so I can get at the rest. Any thoughts? BTW ... do you know of any good images of how the connectors hook up? I don't want to install one backwards (red wire on the side the blue one should be on) and fry stuff.
And an update:
Viola! (spelling error intentional) The key to getting the RA gear out is rotating the motor since that gear and worm are under some pressure. The white plastic ringy-thingy that is integral to the hard stops was damaged. It looks like someone let the motor crank against the hard stop for a long long while. All I need for reassembly is some info for hooking up the electrical connections. The wires have a "memory" but I don't trust it. I'll send pics of the repair later tonite. Thanks again for all the help! PETEMike here: There are several disassembly articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page; which ones have images I don't recall.
Subject: A generally subject question . Sent: Saturday, June 2, 2007 01:50:14 From: Johngen (email@example.com) Well look , i decided to buy one 'famous' and as I have seen very qualitative etx telescope. I will begin with the 9cm one. Here is the question: Becasuse here ( Greece ) the old series 90at isnt in stock ,its stock only in U.S. and the price for the new premier series is too affordable for me now i came to the conclution that the only way to buy one of these right now is to find the 90 AT. Look in U.S. the difference isnt that big , BUT here is toooo big. Well I found a way to do this ,( i could also have asked you if you can help me and if it wasnt much trouble for your time :)), Well my concern now is who retailer to chooce. Because there are too many , and also the amazon one i decided to chooce the OPT one you mention in your site. My concern is the reliabily of this retailer.(Among others ,through the sites, it seems much reliable than others.) Tell me please. Also tell me if you know retailers that i have to avoid. Answer me please because i want this piece toooo badly. Thanks anyway. John , Greece.Mike here: OPT is a fine dealer. So is Shutan Camera and Video. However, there are certain restrictions on shipping Meade products outside of the US; check with them on the latest. Amazon is OK; just don't expect any after-the-sale support like you would get from a dedicated telescope dealer. You might want to check out some of the European dealers; some links are on the Astronomy Links page or check the Meade site for international dealers.
i also want to tell me what do you think about the OPT 'S Store used But in 'excellent condition rated' 90 RA. Yes yes the old one. Its a very good choice for me concerning the price.And also i know about telescopes and i dont need the autostar that much. ( or its very very helpful ? , tell me please) Also i dont know if the 90 RA works with the meade dsi and planet imagers, and if i can connect it with a computer. Thank you. john, Greece.Mike here: The RA model is a fine telescope; I still use mine a lot. However, it can not be used with the AutoStar controller and computer control is not possible (without a lot of work and add-ons). It will work with imagers but you won't be able to take advantage of any software that requires the AutoStar (like for autoguiding and pointing).
You ARE THE BEST. Bye and lets all have a good summer.
I decided to order one used 90RA from OPT. I will take the risk because i will do my job (first touch with a telescope) with very little money and i will also take The Lpi and 2 eyepieces!. Also the used meade are being delivered everywhere , so no problem. I know about telescopes and i dont mind very much without the autostar. I like also the simplicity of the 90Ra without too much mechanisms wires - gadgets and only 3-batteries and the manual handling.( manual handling is not something bad for a portable telescope , its on the contrary nice for a begginer who knows and want to play with it ). I hope it will be ok the telescope.It says that its rated in 'excellent' condition. I hope there is nothing wrong with the lenses.I hope. I will order it maybe tommorow or after tommorow so if you have reasons that it maybe something its not going to be ok the piece please tell me about it. Bye.Thank you. John, Greece.Mike here: Enjoy! As long as you understand the differences with the RA model and the current model then you should be OK.
Subject: re: autostar 494 controller Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2007 22:38:36 From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) > I want to use the ds motors and 494 controller from an alt/az > telescope on a gem mount. Is there a patch for the gem mount ? There are no patches for the 494, since there are no published rom files for updating it. However Meade -made- a 494 programmed for GEM for their 4504 and 114EQ/DH-4 4.25" Newtonians. Join the 4504 Yahoo group, and someone may have a spare available. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Meade4504Telescopes/ The other option is to buy a 495 or 497 Autostar. have fun --dick
From: Gmail (email@example.com) thanks ... I just got a 497
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