Last updated: 30 June 2008
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: The Meade MySky Sent: Friday, June 27, 2008 09:09:30 From: Steve Ringwood I was very interested to read your comments about the problems you've had on your second unit (posted 4th June). I am wondering how you had got on since. I was given a unit last year (Aug/Sept) to review for Astronomy Now, here in the UK. I was unimpressed. The identify and goto pointing errors were on average nine degrees (sometimes greater) - and updating the software had no effect; quite the contrary. At the time, it was suggested to me that poor quality control was the reason - and that there was a 'bad' batch in circulation. I have since understood that these rogue units had been withdrawn and that new units were now trouble free. Obviously not. Have you had any communication with Meade about this? Trouble is, pointing errors will only be obvious to experienced astronomers who actually don't need these functions (i.e. they already know what they're pointing at!) - and may not even buy them for that reason. My unit could not even find the Moon. Sadly, the uninitiated will trust the identifications made by a faulty MySky because they won't know any better; thus it is misleading the very people it is designed for! I was really hoping that my experience was a one off - I don't like beginners being let down by poor equipment. And the unit is not cheap either! I would want 100% accuracy all the time for that money. After all, you can nowadays buy a fairly high spec laptop for the same dosh! I am wondering if Meade were pushed into rushing out this device as a response to the Sky Scout, without spending enough on R&D. Best regards Steve RingwoodMike here: My last mySKY report update (4 June) is the last time I tried it. I plan to take it with me when I go to SCAE next month since Meade will be there. There was a recall from dealer stock when it was first shipped but my first unit was OK (until it locked up getting the GPS fix) and it was a post-recall unit. The second unit (the one with pointing errors) came direct from Meade.
Subject: Question about Double Stars and magnification Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 21:19:45 From: julie clayton (email@example.com) Hi; I'm looking for some guidelines on how to determine power required to split stars. Found these suggestions: Peoria astronomy group provides this rule of thumb: X = 240 / S ( " ) Sky and telescope provides this one: X = 740 / S ( " ) I can understand that splitting stars depends on many many factors, like viewing conditions, equipment, magnitudes of stars.. but that seems like a huge difference .. any enlightenment is most appreciated. Thank you.Mike here: You can use the "Eyepiece Simulator (11/15/00)" on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page. You enter the telescope, eyepiece, and object specifics (in this case their separation) and you will get to see a simulation of what you would see in the eyepiece. It is an Excel spreadsheet; there is one for Mac and one for Windows.
Subject: Satellite tracking in the ETX-125 PE Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 19:33:54 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I'm really struggling with Satellite tracking. I'm going to copy a CN post and an email I sent to Meade: ----- I'm having a great deal of trouble getting my ETX-125 to track ISS. It's not all that close (off several degrees and tens of seconds). I enter the coordinates from Heavens Above or Celestrak, and predict a pass, and the pass prediction from the ETX is several degrees off from the Heavens Above prediction (azimuth location too high in the Autostar by 2-4 degrees). When actually outside, the Heavens Above prediction tends to be right, and the ETX wrong. I've checked everything I know to check - the coordinates, my site location, motor calibration and training, sensor calibration, date, and time. I even tried predicting on Heavens Above with zero altitude (I'm 5340 feet ASL), with no appreciable difference. But none of that would explain why the ETX prediction using the same AOS - 10 - and data would be 3-5 degrees different in azimuth from the Heavens Above prediction. In addition, even if I compensate for the azimuth error and start the track early (which is on-time), the scope very quickly falls behind and I end up needing to hold 6 or 7 just to keep up. Even if I ignore that it's out of the frame and just let Autostar go, it's a bit jumpy, running, stopping very briefly and then starting up at the next faster or slower velocity, instead of smoothly accelerating/decelerating. ----- I've discovered two things that might be related: Satellite data isn't referenced to UTC, but rather to TDT, which is different by about 32 seconds. Second, if you don't do the oblate spheroid correction in the satellite calculations, you'll end up off about 3 degrees at my latitude (40). Both of these errors are just about exactly what I observe between the Autostar calculations and Heavens Above, which is itself quite accurate. I'm a bit surprised that anyone gets this to work at all, without essentially manually tracking the satellite with the arrows, and indeed this is what comments on your site seem to imply. I have firmware 4.3e. Do you have any idea if these errors are corrected in either the later versions of any of the patch kits available? At least for me, the satellite tracking is just not getting anywhere even close to the satellites, and I'm a bit shocked about this given the number of revisions of this firmware since release. Note that I have tried in Alt-Az and polar (no difference) and my gotos are quite accurate so I don't think it's my alignment. It's just autostar just doesn't do the calculations correctly. Any thoughts? I'm also working with David Wiggins at Meade on this, but I'm not sure if that will go anywhere or not. Lee Jay FingershMike here: You might want to read the articles on satellite and ISS tracking on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
I'm pretty sure I read every post on the topic on your site before emailing you. Lee JayMike here: OK. Perhaps our resident AutoStar, who has done satellite tracking, can offer his wisdom.
Subject: RA circles and Dec disk on my ETX125 mount Sent: Sunday, June 22, 2008 11:35:55 From: Dave Harris (email@example.com) Very new user here (1 day... not even used at night yet!) My ETX125 has a rotatable 'tape' marked off in 24 hr subdivisions around the base of the 'scope - presumably for indicating RA and on the forks are discs marked off in 4 sets of 90 degrees (360 degrees) Can you advise me how these are used? I tried setting them to a known star's RA and Dec, which I got from some astronomy s/ware - then went to another star and I sort of expected the new RA and Dec of the next star to be indicated on these scales ie it could be used to determine the RA and Dec of some unidentified object that I might look at next but this didn't seem to work! Can yu point me in the right direction to using these scales? I apologise if this is an inane question but....! Cordially! daveMike here: See the item "Q. The Right Ascension (azimuth) setting circle tape moves, what do I do?" on the FAQ page as well as the article "Software, Using the Setting Circles" on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page and the article "Using Setting Circles" on the Helpful Information: Observational Guides/References page. However, if you plan to use the AutoStar then you will not need to use (or set) the setting circles.
Thanks for your faster than lightning response! I look forward to getting up to speed with this kit! ...I am glad to say that I am an AltAz user! but I think I shall print out a hard copy as I think that perhaps this is a good thing to know about! Best! dave
Subject: a MySky tiny notelet... Sent: Friday, June 20, 2008 22:20:40 From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) The MEade end-of-year investor conference call said that the MySky contributed $3,000,000 (3 million) income. At $400 each, that's 7500 units. At $299 each, that's 10,000. If one assumes a 50% dealer markup (which is probably a stretch), you could double those numbers. They didn't say a peep about teething problems. They did say that by Christmas 2008 there'd be new video content. have fun --dick
Subject: etx 125 P.E. Loose focusing shaft. Sent: Friday, June 20, 2008 20:07:31 From: WAYDE WALKER (email@example.com) i was hoping to get some advice on how to fix my etx 125.The problem is when i turn the focus shaft, whatever image i have centered in the scope will move around alot and even get hung up on the outer edge of the field of view untill i turn the knob some more.The shaft has good tension when turning counter clockwise. but when turning clockwise very little tension and easy to wiggle up & down & side to side. THANKYOU.Mike here: If you are mechanically inclined see the article "Focus Shaft Fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. However, you can make things worse, including messing up the optical collimation, so if you are not comfortable with this risk you should contact Meade for a repair.
Subject: Have you heard any thing about Digi-Kits? Sent: Friday, June 20, 2008 21:00:19 From: carl cohen (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have a Fuji S5100 automatic and manual setting digital camera that does not alow me to remove the lens. It is not a DSLR. I was doing a search on camera adapters and found the CNC parts Supply web site http://www.cncsupplyinc.com/. They sell Digi-Kit rings that would allow me to attach the camera to an eyepiece. I have a ETX 125 and a PST and am wondering if you know how good it would work with those telescopes. Thank You, CarlMike here: I really liked my Digi-T from Scopetronix (when they were a reliable company). You can read my review on the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page. I suspect the CNC offering is similar. However, you may wish to read the Editorial Page on my ETX for more information on both companies.
Subject: Where can I get assembly/disassembly Diagrams Instructions? Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2008 22:11:41 From: Steve and Lou Anne Hirschi (email@example.com) Where can I get diagrams or instructions on disassembly of the ETX125 mount and tube? On a beautiful observation night my ETX125 mount jammed and would only rotate about 30 degrees. I found a loose phillips screw wedged in the azimuth part of the drive. I removed the tube from the mount but there is a weird retaining nut holding the drive together. Any suggestions on how to remove the nut?? I pulled everything apart a long time ago and the tube diagram would save a lot of puzzle time. Thanks Steve Hirschi firstname.lastname@example.org P. S. Liked your bookMike here: There are several disassembly tips and photos on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: Question About My Sky Pricing Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2008 01:48:24 From: John & Andrea Beaderstadt (email@example.com) I've now seen My Sky selling on Amazon for as little as $279, off from the original price of $499. Any idea what's behind it? It seems like a great time to buy, but it's so great a drop in so little time that it could be interpreted as the merchants are dumping stock in a hurry.Mike here: The price was dropped to $299 at most dealers. Not surprising; many products are introduced at a higher price and then reduced sometime later. Early adopters usually do pay more for the privilege of being the first on their block to have a new item.
A vendor on Amazon Marketplace had a couple of floor models for $219, each. They now have one left at that price. Advertised to come in its original box with all accessories (except batteries) and warrantees. Just thought you might want to post this so someone else can snap one up at this price.
Meant to ask, before. Would you mind taking a peek at the customer reviews on Amazon? They seem to be running 5-1 against. I got mine on the strength of your experience, plus the theory that a floor model has been tested.Mike here: The initial release of the mySKY was troubled by software bugs. Meade actually recalled the product from dealers for a while to update the software. Unfortunately, there was another serious bug that didn't appear until the year changed so that required another update. You can read about my experiences with 2 mySKY units on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page.
Yes, I've been reading your "blog." Have there been any new developments? I believe the story so far is that the My Sky, itself, is ~5 degrees off, but is dead-on when it controls your ETX-125 (which is my own 'scope, although an older model).Mike here: I plan to take it with me next month when I attend SCAE in Oceanside, CA. Otherwise, nothing new.
Subject: Meade #1247 Electronic focuser has a broken gear Sent: Friday, June 13, 2008 23:22:54 From: carl cohen (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have a Meade ETX125 and a Meade #1247 Electronic focuser. I took it out after not using it all winter and when I tried to focus it, it just spun and spun without focusing the scope. I decided to open up the electronic focuser and saw that the small white plastic gear that sits on top of the motor was in two pieces! Do you have any idea where I can get a replacement gear or how to fix it. I am afraid to just glue the gear for fear of it cracking again. Thank You, Carl CohenMike here: You might check with Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page). Also, check the article "Replacement Gears source" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Thank you for responding and pointing me toward Telescope Warehouse. I spoke to them and he has the part I need! Dark Skies, Carl
Subject: EC -vs.- PE Sent: Friday, June 13, 2008 10:02:11 From: James Rosendahl (email@example.com) I am just wondering what, if anything, is different between the ETX-90EC and the -90PE. Can you clarify this for me? Thanx, -JimMike here: See the FAQ page on the ETX Site.
Subject: How to stop tracking using an ETX-125? Sent: Friday, June 13, 2008 09:44:41 From: firstname.lastname@example.org Is it possible to stop tracking on an ETX telescope and thus use it manually? Using the arrow keys stops tracking for only a few seconds. After that, the telescope reengages tracking.Mike here: On the AutoStar use Setup > Targets > Terrestrial
Subject: Tracking the Moon with the ETX90EC Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 2008 20:59:48 From: Charles Powell (email@example.com) I think I may have gotten the polar north problem fixed. I set up the etx90ec with a compass with 3.3` dev. and trackes the Moon for over one hour in a 26mm eyepice and made no ajustments after the frist two or three minutes and the moon stayed centered in the eyepiece. Thank you for your help in setting up my telescope. Hope you get to photograpm the new Moon like you want. Charles
Subject: ETX-90, 105, 125 base component interchangeability? Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 07:36:36 From: Spencer, Darrell (DSpencer@sjm.com) I just acquired an ETX-125EC to complement my ETX-90EC (which I'll probably sell). I have a spare base and fork assembly for the -90 that has a bad panel board (the one with the connectors, power switch and LED). Everything else, all drive circuit boards, encoders, gears and motors are good. I kept it for spares should something else break in the new base I installed on my -90. My question is: are there enough common components between the -90 and the -125 to make keeping it for -125 spares a good idea? I had planned on including it in the sale of my 90. Now, I'm not so sure, especially if it contains expensive parts that I MIGHT need in the future. Hopefully, this hasn't already been discussed in the vast archives on this site, but if it has, I didn't get any search hits on it. Thanks in advance! Darrell
And from our resident hardware expert:
From: P. Clay Sherrod (firstname.lastname@example.org) Unfortunately there are NO common components unless some adaptations are made in brackets, spacing, and even some gears. All three are markedly different. 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/
Many thanks from a disappointed ETX'er. I'm not surprised, but figured maybe Meade might have economized by keeping some common components. I'll probably pull the -125 open anyway, just because now I'm curious about those differences. Thanks again for the typical, rapid response and for tag-teaming this one! Darrell Spencer
Remember that the OTA can be taken off the fork mount and used on a small GEM; many people do that and have much better performance overall. They also can be mounted as a terrific guide telescope on a larger SCT or other telescope. Dr. ClayMike here: I had done that with my ETX-90RA OTA as a guide scope on my 8" (before the 8" was stolen).
Did they take the ETX 90 as well Mike?? Dr. ClayMike here: All my ETX telescopes had already been moved. But the LXD75-8" and most of my observing and astrophotography accessories were stolen.
Man, oh man.....so sorry to hear about that. Sounds like Arkansas.Mike here: Thanks. Was and continues to be a major bummer. I'm still waiting for a working LX90-ACF from Meade.
I can't even imagine. I've got a 10" dob, 120mm refractor, a C8 SCT and now two ETX's - all in the same spot. Not to mention a respectable binocular collection. If I got hit, they'd need a pickup to cart it all off. I think if it happened to me, it would seriously be like having an organ removed - without anesthesia. There would be a huge hole in my life. Best of luck in recouping the expenses through insurance - and with your new gear. And thanks for the GEM suggestion. Hopefully, I won't need to go that route any time soon. I had the "new" 125 out last night splitting tight doubles just to verify that the optics were on a par with the 90's. They were. It's a keeper. I genuinely respect the sustained enthusiasm you guys show to the community at large. Thank you@ Darrell Spencer
Thanks for the kind comments and enjoy. Dr. Clay
Subject: Re: ETX-125 - problem with alt motor Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 03:15:45 From: Hypercube (email@example.com) Thought you might like an update from the email chain below - sorry I didn't get back earlier - We ended up returning the scope to the dealers who had a look and confirmed one of the motors was faulty & they gave us a replacement scope. The new one is working like a charm - we initially had some trouble with auto align so we have been using two-star align and this works really well - pretty much every object is within the field of the 26mm lens first time round. We are now looking to have a bit of a play with astrophotography & have purchased standard adaptor & connecting ring to my Canon EOS 350D DSLR. We haven't taken it outside yet (it is winter here down under and haven't had a clear sky for a few nights!) but I set it all up tonight in my lounge room so I know what to do... One question - I have read a few discussions about counterweights, but the camera assembly described above doesn't seem to pull the telescope back at all. Is a counterweight really necessary with these lighter modern cameras? I don't want to go fiddling around making/buying one for the sake of it but on the other hand I don't want to do any damage to the scope! I also don't know how I would tell if I was putting too much strain on it. Interested in your views.....Mike here: I don't use a counterweight with my Nikon D70 DSLR on my ETX-90 or ETX-125. My ETX-70 would need one as it slips due to the camera weight. So you may or may not need a counterweight. However, keep in mind that the extra "strain" from the camera weight may reduce the life of the telescope mount. But so far for me that hasn't been an issue.
Subject: etx 90ec Sent: Monday, June 9, 2008 07:23:06 From: Ron Vavra (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am new to astronomy and have tried to use the scope a couple times last year. before I get into trying to use the auto star, I thought it might be fun to just go outside and point it at the sky and look around. Only problem with that is that when I manually move the scope - manually meaning using the hand controller - the scope keeps adjusting to what it thinks is tracking sky movement. But since it hasn't been set up for this, it doesn't track what I'm looking at. So how can I stop the scope from moving by itself so I can just manually move it and leave it in one spot? Thanks, great site! RonMike here: I assume you want to turn off tracking. There are two ways to do that. 1. Do NOT turn on the telescope power. Or 2. Turn on the power and go to the SETUP -> TARGETS menu and select Terrestrial. In both cases you will have to unlock the axes and move the telescope tube to center the object. You will also have to manually track the object yourself to keep the object in the eyepiece. If you use #1 you have to move the tube by hand; if you use #2 you can use the slewing control arrows on the AutoStar.
Subject: Weasner's Meade ETX-125 User Feedback - Sent Using Google Toolbar Sent: Friday, June 6, 2008 07:13:24 From: Bill Beavers (email@example.com) I have been reading bits and pieces of articles on your site as well as any others that can offer me nuggets on how to purchase an ETX-125EC within my budget and while some good deals abound, I keep getting hung up on whether a scope without UHTC is a deal breaker over one that DOES have UHTC. Just how significant do you feel the optic differences are between these two telescopes? I mostly like planetary gazing, etc., but I do also like to peer out into deep space ocassionaly, but I guess I am wondering if I should just not even consider a telescope that has all the goodies EXCEPT the UHTC optics. I know that is a mighty important part of the experience, but is there an analogous way to describe the difference and or should there be much of a price difference between a telescope that has UHTC and one that does not even if they are the same make and model? I just can't understand how there can be a ETX-125EC WITH and WITHOUT the UHTC. Thanks, and I REALLY like your site and the helpful information!Mike here: You can read Dr. Clay Sherrod's analysis (all positive) of UHTC on the Announcements: Meade page. Bottom line: it is like adding an inch of aperture to the light that reaches your eye. So, whether doing planetary or DSO observing, UHTC is good to have. As to your last question, the ETX-125EC (no included AutoStar) model predates UHTC. The ETX-125AT (which is the same as the ETX-125EC but included the AutoStar) and ETX-125PE models can have UHTC.
Subject: re: Problems with new etx Sent: Wednesday, June 4, 2008 21:27:49 From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) I wonder if your "old tripod" spins-forever problem might be due to a magnetized tripod leg? I've heard of these occasionally appearing in the LX200gps group. Your old 125 PE may have been Calibrate Sensor'd on that tripod, so it has figured it out... but the first new one may have required that operation before it is happy. good luck on getting the first one back from the retailer... (if that's your wish) -dick
Subject: How do you tell if your ETX 125 has UHTC coatings Sent: Sunday, June 1, 2008 19:27:33 From: Michaels hotmail account (email@example.com) I'm selling my ETX 125 and someone wants to know if it has UHTC coatings. The front says it has coatings but it does not say UHTC. How can I tell? Thanks, MichaelMike here: There should be a UHTC label (if it HAS the UHTC coating) on the underside of the OTA. You can see a photograph of it on my ETX-105PE review.
Subject: Stable Equatorial Mount - LXD55/75 or ? Sent: Monday, June 2, 2008 09:40:50 From: Donn Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org) Your ETX site has really been a great help many thanks!. I'm getting back into astronomy now after a few years of my LX200 Classic (8") sitting in it's case while I pursued other things. One of the issues that limited my observing was the time and effort it took to setup the LX200 (which I can't imagine doing with one bigger than 8"! ;-). So I recently bought an ETX-125PE UHTC (blue-tube). The first brand new factory sealed ETX had all kinds of pointing issues and made grinding noises the second one is significantly quieter and seems to goto more accurately (did a calibrate motors and trained both drives), but I'm still waiting for a good clear nite to fully check it out. I'n not real happy about the overall quality though like why would they mount the red-dot LNT finder in such a flimsy way? I had quite a time getting it to even come into adjustment range. (Sounds like you're having a few Meade QA issues of your own with the LX90 :-o ) My reason for writing is that I'm looking to get a decent but inexpensive equatorial mount (if the two can be found in one device) that I can use for a homemade rich-field scope or other OTAs (nothing heavier than an 6" refractor). I saw the Meade LXD75s online and it seems you can sometimes find one used at $400 or so. What would you consider to be the best equatorial mount one could get for under $500 not so concerned about GOTO / computer control, but I will wind up using it for astrophotography. Would an LXD75 be the best bet (or LXD55 but I don't know what the difference is)? Any advice you could offer would be much appreciated I'm sure you've played around with quite a few different ones! Thanks much! (BTW, if there are some used models that would be a good solution if tweaked, I have a lot of mechanical and electronic engineering / product design experience, so I wouldn't mind doing some refurb or modifications in order to save some money and wind up with a good mount. Thanks again!) Peace & blessings, Donn Williams email@example.comMike here: I'm surprised that your ETX-125PE had the older style LNT/Smartfinder. All new ones have the better design with the Smartfinder permanently attached on the top of the LNT module. As to the LXD75 mount, it is a fine mount (and better more stable than the older LXD55 mount). If you don't need the GOTO capability you might be able to get a Vixen GEM tripod for less cost. Meade uses the Vixen GEM tripod for the LXD models. Alternatively, you could make something yourself; lots of ideas on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
No - it is the new style LNT - not the one you have to snap the plastic lens into. But with this little item providing north and level references, you would think they wouldn't have put it on a flimsy little plastic arm (that had loose mounting screws to start with :-o ) Even after tightening the screws, the little plastic cowling it attaches to that seems like they added on as an afterthought to hide the cord, is not very stable. My main complaint however, is that with what I feel is reasonable torque on the altitude clutch wheel, it still slips with minimal pressure on the OTA. I can't imagine what it would take to tighten it enough to hold a DSLR on the back! Is there any way to improve these new 125PE alt clutches? I'm afraid to over tighten and damage something... Thanks for the feedback on the LXD75 -- I was checking out Astromart and noticed that a few have sold in recent weeks - one was even under $400 with the 497 Autostar. Unless there's something with more bang for the buck, I'll probably wait for one of those to pop up -- or maybe even one of the 5 or 6" LXD75 refractors. (I'm just hoping the tolerances and quality are a little better than my ETX-125PE ;-) Thanks again! Peace & blessings, Donn Williams - firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: Yes, the LNT attachment is somewhat odd and does seem like an "add-on" (which it is). My LX90-ACF has the same LNT add-on. Maybe someday they will be fully integrated on the telescopes. As to slippage, you could add a counterweight; see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page for lots of tips.
Subject: DIY focuser's and Meade #1244 replacement 58 RPM gearhead motor Sent: Sunday, June 1, 2008 16:11:10 From: Marilyn Zunk (email@example.com) If anyone is trying to build their own electronic focuser or are trying to adapt the Meade #1244 focuser (#1244 fits ETX90 and ETX105 unmodified) to other models. Take a look at www.AllElectronics.com. They have an exact replacement motor for the Meade #1244 focuser (CAT# DCM-318) and several other mini gearhead motors that look very good for this type of application. They also supply an assortment of small plastic nylon and metal gears, belts, pulley's, bearings, etc. I replaced a badly vibrating #1244 focus motor and improved the visual and the time to focus, considerably Larry Zunk Waxahachie, TX
Subject: Problems with new etx Sent: Sunday, June 1, 2008 09:34:39 From: Gerrygaitens@aol.com (Gerrygaitens@aol.com) Thought you might find this info useful. I have just bought a new ETX 125 PE and dicovered two problems that rendered the scope unusable. I should explain that I already own an ETX 125 PE which I bought three years ago and is still working fine (I fancied a new one because of the modifications). I erected the tripod supplied with the scope(#884) and placed the ETX on the mounting plate. When I tried to screw the two attachment knobs into the holes in the base of the scope I realised that the screws did not protrude far enough thru the plate to engage with the holes in the bottom of the scope. Puzzled by this, I got my old tripod (same model) to make comparisons. I immediately noticed that the diameter of the screws on the attachment knobs on my old tripod were uniform down to the point were they joined the plastic attachment knobs. On the new tripod there is (erroniously I presume) a wider diameter `shoulder` at the point where the screw shaft joins the attachment knob. This `shoulder` prevents the attachment screws from protruding far enough to engage the screw holes in the base of the telescope rendering the tripod useless. I then mounted the new scope on my old tripod with ease, confirming that the fittings on the new tripod are at fault. Having now mounted new scope and entered the date,time,location etc, I then levelled the tripod and turned the scope on. I selected auto-align and let the scope do it`s thing. It appeared to be following the procedure - finding level, tilt etc and then, as it should, it began to locate north. Unfortunately, instead of stopping at north, the scope kept on rotating endlessly until I switched it off. I removed the scope from the tripod and placed it on my table trying to think what the problem was. I turned the scope on again and once again selected auto-align. This time the scope found north and successfully completed the alignment. So I put the scope back on the tripod and again it rotated endlessly until I switched it off. I pondered this for a moment and out of curiosity, I switched it back on, selected auto-align, waited for the continuous rotation only this time I lifted the scope off the tripod while it was still rotating and placed it on the floor at which point the scope quickly found north! I have now tried this several times and it is only when the scope is on the tripod that it malfunctions. To me, this indicates that the electronic alignment is being affected by the metal mounting plate on the tripod and, as I assume that these telescopes are `bench tested` and therefore not tested whilst mounted on the tripod, it occured to me that there may be other scopes out there with this problem. Of course, it`s possible that the problem lies with this particular instrument. Wierd though. Regards GerryMike here: I think Meade's Quality Assurance function has gone missing due to the money problems they are having right now. Bummer. As to the alignment issue, did you do a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? If not, do that as it will likely cure the run-away drive motor. I don't understand why there is a difference when mounted on the tripod.
Thanks for the reply. I mentioned in my e-mail that the mounting screws in the new tripod did not protrude as far as the screws in my old tripod. Although that is the case, I realised that the difference was by a small amount and that the screws should still have connected with the threads inside the base of the telescope. So I turned my attention to those threads inside the base of the new scope and, again by comparing them to my other ETX 125PE I could see that the ones in the new scope were recessed twice as deep as in my old scope. This combination made it impossible for the scope to be mounted onto the tripod. I, of course, arranged for this scope to be returned to the retailer, and they sent out a new one which arrived a few hours ago. I immediately set about setting it up and was dismayed to find that once again I could not mount the scope onto the tripod for the same reasons. But it got worse. I decided to try out the new scope anyway, and once I had it set up, I selected auto-align. The autostar said `finding level`, the scope moved a fraction of an inch and the next message on the autostar was `motor fault - autostar has detected a motor failure` I came of of Auto-alignment and when I tried to move the scope by using the arrow keys it would move vertically but not horizontally confirming the motor failure. I knew that Meade had moved production to China and I did feel a bit apprehensive about buying a new ETX, it looks like those fears may be justified. GerryMike here: Did you do the CALIBRATE MOTOR on the new one? Also, you might try reversing the AutoStar cable.
Have just tried calibrating the motors. The `testing motors` message appears on autostar and the scope moves, but only in the vertical axis. Change the autostar cable round but it makes no difference. I reckon it`s a dud.
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