Last updated: 30 June 2008

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

Subject:	EXT 90 Auto align
Sent:	Friday, June 27, 2008 15:39:41
From:	K R Campion (
Like many its seems, I'm having problems auto aligning.

I'm new to astronomy but keen to get up and running. I've recently
purchased an EXT 90 PE but when I go through the auto align procedure
Autostart selects two stars to align with. Firstly Arcturus which it
gets relatively close then selects Vega which is miles away from its
actual position in the sky. However when I align the scope (with
autostars keys) to Vega and press enter, Autostar tells me the alignment
failed! I have checked my position, time, date and the procedure
numerous times but still I cant get autostar to align. As a new comer
its important to me to have autostar goto the things I want to view as
I've yet to learn the key star positions (hence the reason to purchase a
goto scope). That said, it seems a petty that you can't simply align the
scope to a known star and tell autostar which it is and have it
calculate the rest from there on. However any advice you could offer
will I'm sue help greatly.

Thanks in advance,

Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES on the AutoStar? If not, do them. Also, if the first alignment star in the Auto Align procedure is way off you may need to do a CALIBRATE SENSOR. Have you tried an Easy Align? Do you still get the alignment failed message? To help ID the alignment stars there are a couple of AutoStar Alignment Star charts articles on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.


I've trained the drives but have not done any calibrations yet as its
only a week out of the box but I will give them a try. I will also try
easy align and see how that goes and read your articles on Id'ing the
alignment stars. Given the instructions and the video tutorials on the
Meade site, my expectations have been that the scope will work right out
of the box. Is this not the case? Surly Meade calibrate their
instruments at the factory before shipping?

Many thanks for your help.

Kind regards,

Mike here: It DOES work out of the box. But you have to take some steps yourself to get the best performance. Doing the CALIBRATE MOTOR step is one such step; it is simple - just select it from the AutoStar menu and the motors are briefly run. It measures the power output from your batteries (or external power source). It should be done whenever swapping batteries or power sources or whenever the batteries get low and you don't have a fresh set.


Thanks to your help, I now have a fully functional scope!

The main problem seemed to be with calibrate sensors. Polaris was way
off during this procedure. After correcting that and realigning, I
slewed to a globular cluster via my laptop. I then looked through the
scope and dead centre was NGC 6205.

Thanks again,


Subject:	ETX 125 Problem
Sent:	Friday, June 27, 2008 03:05:01
From:	John Cowan (
I am new to the site and Meade telescopes having bought an ETX 125 in
February but I have hardly used it due to various mishaps. However it is
obvious that this is the place to go for help! I spent time researching
scopes and Meades seemed the best for my needs and budget but I haven't
really put it to the test yet.Currently the handset doesn't work and has
been returned to the retailer - 5 weeks later and I am still awaiting a
replacement. I was trying to set the rangefinder and everything went
blank - a fuse blown somewhere I guess.

The latest misadventure involved my wife, the scope and a curtain pole
(don't ask). The upshot is that the rangefinder has come away from the
body of the scope. You will know that it is held in place by 2 screws
and these are still in place, it is the surrounding plastic which has
broken away leaving the finder dangling by the wires.

Now this is not the first time this has happened to me. When I got the
scope one of the screws in the base plate of the tripod was not a good
fit. In trying to set the scope on the tripod the scope slipped and fell
1 foot to the floor, and the rangefinder came away, exactly as now. It
took 2 months to get the scope replaced.

My question (finally) is this - is there any way to get the 2 screws
that hold the rangefinder in place out? I tried the first time I had
this problem and they turned and turned but didn't unscrew out of the
scope body. if I could get them out I could fit some washers and get the
plastic bit holding the finder back in place. My wife says glue it ( I
could glue her) but I don't think that will hold.

Knowing if I send it back to the retailer it could be another 2 months -
is there anything you can suggest?
Yours hopefully.
John Cowan
Mike here: You didn't say which model ETX you have. Is it a PE model with the LNT/Smartfinder or a non-PE with an optical finderscope? (None have a "rangefinder", which is a different optical device with a difference purpose.) I will assume it is a PE model since you did say there were wires. See the articles "ETX-125PE Mechanical Assembly Notes", "Removing the OTA, LNT", and "Replacing the SmartFinder/LNT Module" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.


Wow - thanks for the speedy reply Mike.

It's a PE model - pardon my uneducated use of "Rangefinder" - I couldn't
think of the right phrase.

I'll check out the articles and get back to you if I have any more

It does seem like a weak point in the construction in that there's 2
screws but the plastic is a bit thin there. However the curtain pole
didn't help!

Best wishes from the Isle of Man,

Mike here: I'm sure Meade didn't design the LNT add-on to be attacked. But many of us have commented that it does appear to be a flimsy attachment method, unlike finderscope mounting brackets.
Subject:	ETX 125 Question
Sent:	Monday, June 23, 2008 13:52:41
From:	David Kurtz (
I consulted with you years ago about my ETX 125EC purchased in 1999. 
Now my new question: I am planning to buy a new ETX125PE with the nebula
graphics from Astronomics for $698.  Both Meade and Astronomics confirm
there is nothing different from the current blue tube 125.  Meade said
they still make the 125 with the nebula graphic.  So, should I pull the
trigger for the $698.
Mike here: I believe the "astro" tube models have been discontinued. Which is why Astronomics got a good deal on the mass buy. It is the same as the purple tube model.
Subject:	New LNT
Sent:	Friday, June 20, 2008 21:48:56
From:	James Rosendahl (
Well, it is up and working. I am looking at Saturn right now and my
scope is tracking fine.

My question is about the red dot. I went to the LNT setup (by holding
down menu for 2 secs.) and adjusted the intensity to 1, I want it barely
visible. Yet when I go to align the scope the intensity is at max. How
can I get the intensity to stay low, and how can I adjust it while using
the scope. Can I enter the LNT menu during use of the Scope?
Mike here: You can press MODE anytime to get to the Finder options. I don't recall whether it defaults to full bright during alignment (haven't used my ETX-105PE in a long time since one of my ETX tripods was stolen along with the LXD75-8"SC and many accessories).
Subject:	Replacement LNT module
Sent:	Friday, June 20, 2008 19:27:14
From:	James Rosendahl (
Wow, that was fast. I received my replacement LNT module today. I was
already able to align the red dot to the OTA, nice. Now I'm just waiting
for nightfall.

One cool thing about the new module, the battery can be reached without
taking it apart. There is a rubber cover that pushes into place to cover
the battery access now.

Subject:	Topic: Alignment of ETX-90PE (From jpr9845)
Sent:	Sunday, June 15, 2008 10:12:45
From: (
I want you to check out "Alignment of ETX-90PE" on Meade 4M Community
Forum.  To view it, please click this link:

A comment has also been added regarding this topic:
I am still having troubles. See End of thread.

Mike here: Which style of Smartfinder do you have? Is permanently attached on the top of the LNT or is it a plastic lens inserted on the side of the LNT?


It is attached permanently to the LNT, I really want to replace it with
a Meade #825 8x25mm Right-Angle Viewfinder but I'm not sure how because
of the LNT.
Mike here: If you are unfamiliar with using a red-dot finder, you might want to read the article "Using the SmartFinder" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. There should be two centering knobs on the LNT; I can't check mine as my LX90 with the new LNT hasn't been received back from Meade yet. As to adding another finderscope, the article "Multiple Finderscopes on ETX" on the Telescope Tech Tips page may give you some ideas.


I have read everything on your site relating to SmartFinders, mine does
have two centering knobs, one on the right side and the other is on the
bottom. There is little to no change when turning these from stop (all
the way in) to almost coming out.



Mike here: If there is no movement at all then the LNT may be defective. You could contact Meade; they may send you a replacement.


Thank you for all your help, I am going to contact Meade tomorrow. I
hope I can just send the LNT unit, not everything. I don't have the box
for the scope.
Mike here: In the past Meade has just sent out replacement LNT/Smartfinder modules.

And an update:

Well, I called first thing this morning. I did not even get a machine.
Davidson answered and within 5 minutes I was set up to exchange my LNT
for a replacement. I have to go through the ship it to them first and
pay the postage routine, but other than that Game ON!!! I will ship it
out today so we'll see in about 10-14 days (maybe sooner with some
luck). He could not believe that I have had my scope for 9 months and
have yet been able to successfully use it.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, I keep you up to date.

Thanx again,

Subject:	Auto alignment of ETX-90PE
Sent:	Saturday, June 14, 2008 12:00:53
From:	James Rosendahl (
Sorry to bug you so often, but you are the only person I have found that
actually helps. Anyway, I have the ETX-90PE purchased last August and I
have yet to successfully align to the stars. I even bought your book
"Using the Meade ETX".

I trained my scope IAW page 55 of the owners guide. Here's what I am
dealing with.

I put my scope in Home position for Auto alignment (OTA
counter-clockwise to stop)

Then press enter to start the alignment.

The unit slews to a point in space where there is nothing anywhere near
my FOV. If I just play along and accept both of the alignment stars and
then perform a GOTO; let's say to the moon, it will slew to a point that
is not even close to the actual position of the moon.

I have double checked all of my AutoStar info and it is correct
(Location, Time/Date, etc)

I'm looking at your book right now, page 161 (Performance Enhancement 
Creating the Perfect "GOTO" ETX), is this where I should be looking or
can you offer any other suggestions so I don't decide to sell my toy

I feel like I have wasted my money right now.
Mike here: First, the book predates the PE model so it doesn't address things like "Auto Align" that are available on the PE models. That said, lets check a some things. When you select Auto Align does the ETX go through the leveling and finding North process? Did you use ZIPCODE for the location or CITY NAME? (I find CITY NAME is more accurate.) Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR? Does Easy Align work better for you? If so, you might need to a CALIBRATE SENSOR for the LNT. I don't think you need to do any of the performance enhancements steps at this time.


Yes, it goes through the leveling, finding North and find tilt routine
just fine. I use City and yes I have done CALIBRATE MOTOR! I have not
tried Easy Align. I am not familiar with the CALIBRATE SENSOR but my LNT
(which is I believe the unit the ViewFinder is attached to)
Mike here: Give the Easy Align a try. That will verify that the AutoStar is working OK. Remember, the Home position is different for Easy Align vs Auto Align. As doing the CALIBRATE SENSOR, just select that from the AutoStar menu tree and follow the prompts. That calibrates the True North location for your Site.


I cannot find calibrate sensor anywhere on the AutoStar menu. Even my
going into the LNT menu. Calibrate sensor is not listed in the AutoStar
menu list on page 22 of the owners' guide.
Mike here: It should appear under SETUP>TELESCOPE (see page 27 of the manual). If not, check the MODE menu (hold down MODE for 2-3 seconds); does the FINDER options appear? If not, then the AutoStar is not seeing the LNT. For more on troubleshooting the LNT see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.


Found it thanx, now Polaris basically stays in the same place, correct?
If this is true then my sscope is way off, it point to a spot at almost
the right altitude (DEC) but it was pointing about 30' maybe even 40' to
(030-040). Would this have been my problem, and if yes by manually
moving the scope (via handbox controls) to the North Star, does this
align my scope?
Mike here: If the sensor is way out of calibration then the LNT will think that True North is in a different direction that what it really is. So, if you follow the steps for CALIBRATE SENSOR that should set the LNT correctly. Then the Auto Align will use Magnetic North to determine where True North is for your (adjusted by the CALIBRATE SENSOR) location.


That did the job, I can't wait for a clear night. It seems like it clear
every night I work but my nights off nothing but clouds.

Anyway, thank you so much for your time and making my investment seems
like an investment rather than an expensive paper weight.


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