ETX CLASSIC FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 23 June 2009

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


Subject:	RE: ETX-105RA "sticky" Right Ascension
Sent:	Sunday, June 21, 2009 11:59:33
From:	Cussons (cussons@blueyonder.co.uk)
An overly exciting week on the ETX front. Having made a special tool to
unscrew the main nut (loctite and crud were the prob) we needed a child
free and quiet hour to explore further. A week later.... releasing the
base unit, the stop ring had broken teeth. Not sure if I did this by not
'homing' properly or it this is wear and tear. Removed broken bits and
reset the ring and pegs in top and bottom. Cleaned up the bearing
surfaces and did the RA tune up. Did a test, but the stop pin was
jumping past the stop ring tooth. Solved this by removing the weak
tooth. All this was done carefully protecting the wires with two pairs
of hands. But on reassembly, we discovered that we must have broken the
wires to the arms when we undid the RA clamp initially. So now we
disassembled nearly everything to get those wires back into the DEC
drive board. A deeply sweaty hour. My husband is a hero; I certainly
could not have done it. With invaluable help from photos on Mike's site,
we got the wire connections figured and everything reassembled. I
switched it on. Did it work? I still can't believe it, but yes, it did
and very well, at least for a daylight test.

I am so grateful to Mike and all his contributors for all the
information they have so generously posted. We couldn't have done the
open heart surgery without the pics of the wiring etc. I am also
grateful I married a plastic surgeon with model engineering and
electronics as a hobby!  Mind you, you should have seen his face when I
suggested that we take out the OTA again and do the DEC tune up... Maybe
next week.

Not finshed yet... but thanks a million for the help and support.
Stephanie
London UK

And:

From:	Nohr Tillman (ntillm01@yahoo.com)
Stephanie,
 
Glad you and your husband were successfull! You are welcome and I'm glad
I could offer my little bits of information.

Now on to finishing up my own (keeps getting pushed aside, plus no clear
nights here for some time)

Nohr

Subject:	What am I suposed to see.
Sent:	Sunday, June 21, 2009 07:14:22
From:	ROGER PFEFFER (r.e.p@shaw.ca)
I realize I am suposed to see the moon and the Planets but I do not see
anything at all. When I set it on a star it is no different then looking
at it without a telescope. What I see is not the darkness of outerspace.
I flip the mirror then it all goes dark when I flip it again it is
bright. I was out last night at 12:30 Am. Location Northern Alberta
Canada. The paddle has a focus in and out buttons but dose nothing. I
have the ETX 90 EC. What say you. Thank you.
Mike here: First, stars are too far away to show any magnification when using a telescope. However, you should see more stars (if viewing from a dark site) when using a telescope. As to not seeing anything, have you tried using the telescope during the daytime? Focus on a distance building or tree. Does that work? As to what you will see with an ETX-90, check out the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the Helpful Information: User Observations page on my ETX Site; there are many articles on the ETX-90.
Subject:	Re: ETX125 PE Can't find North
Sent:	Saturday, June 20, 2009 07:20:42
From:	mhogansr@comcast.net (mhogansr@comcast.net)
When you set the scope to the LNT Home position, is the OTA pointing in
a southwesterly direction? If not, try re-orienting the tripod (or the
base if not on a tripod) until it does. For some reason, the Autostar
can get confused if the scope is pointing too close to north or to the
east when it starts looking for north.
 
Hope this helps.
 
Mike Hogan.

And:

From:	Theofilos Tsoris (ttsoris@gmail.com)
I've just done that and it stills keeps on turning CW till it reaches
the stop. It can not find North. I checked with my dealer and he intends
to send me a new LNT module to check if this is the problem. If not I
will have to send the whole scope back.
Thanks for the advice though. I will use it when everything is working
properly on the scope.
Cheers,
Theofilos
Mike here: Keep in mind that the normal Home position when doing an Auto Align is with the OTA pointing towards the SW (at the CCW hard stop).
Subject:	New Astonomy Enthusiast
Sent:	Friday, June 19, 2009 10:04:46
From:	Rob Rabenston (tioga@roadrunner.com)
I am definitely a neophyte regarding this hobby.  Little bit of info
overload at this point however I will give it a shot:

1.       Thinking about buying a used ETX 125 UHTC for my first
telescope.  Tube only for about $300 (together with eye pieces/go to
controller)  so I will have to purchase tripod and mount.

2.       Understand light gathering ability is key criteria so I felt
this scope gives 5 inch aperature which is not quite in the 8"DOB world
but gives me decent start.

3.       Regarding tripod,  from what I see the  #883 (or is it #884)
should suffice although others report the  Bogen 3022 is superior.

4.       Regarding WEDGE,  I assume this is not mandatory buy would put
telescope always in Polar alignment on mount which saves time on the set
up.

Do you feel the above is  beyond my reach at this point?  Realize I will
have to learn how to align for equatorial scope such as this.   I am
also considering it because of size and portability. Realize you are
busy however would appreciate any comments you have.

THANKS

Rob
Mike here: First, I would recommend you not start with equatorial mounting. You can use a #884 tripod in Alt/Az and let the AutoStar GOTO controller handle tracking and GOTOing. Then as you get more familiar with using the ETX and if you need to mount in Polar mode (say for long duration astrophotography), then you can set the #884 tripod in equatorial mode using its built-in wedge. No telescope should be beyond your capability. You just have to take some time to learn to use it properly.

And:

Thanks Michael.  Appreciate this.
Do you think this telescope would be good start for me in comparison to
8inch DOB which would give more light ??   DOBS's are just too big for
carrying around.

Rob
Mike here: The best telescope for anyone is the telescope that gets used. If the telescope is too cumbersome and difficult to set up, it ends up in the closet, unused. So, while a larger aperture telescope can provide better views of some objects, if it is in the closet, those views (and aperture and money) are wasted.
Subject:	ETX 125 PE with LNT can not find North
Sent:	Wednesday, June 17, 2009 12:45:37
From:	Theofilos Tsoris (ttsoris@gmail.com)
I have acquired an ETX 125 PE with LNT a couple of days ago and here is
the problem I encountered from day one:

I follow all the instructions from the instruction manual correctly till
the automatic alignment. I press 0 for automatic alignment. I place the
scope at the LNT Home position and tighten all the locks. Then the scope
finds the level correctly and then it goes in the mode "Finding North",
from this point on it keeps on turning clockwise till it reaches the
other stop. Even then it keeps on trying to turn. After I hear the
motors complaining I turn off the scope.

I have tried it in different locations and I checked for magnetic
interference (there was none). I have tried with different batteries
(the batteries were new and the indication was at 100%). I calibrated
the sensors and the hole process get stuck with the indication "Finding
North" (and the complaining noise of the motors). I calibrated the
motors and then tried automatic alignment again and it can not find the
North, still. I have tried the whole procedure several times but nothing
seems to work.

My guess is that there is some sensor mulfunctioning in the LNT module
in the smartfinder.

Has anybody else experienced the same problem with me?

Any information is valuable at this stage :-).

The Autostar I am using is the #497 version 43Eg

Thank you,
Theofilos
Mike here: You could try a RESET on the AutoStar but I suspect the LNT module is bad. Contact Meade or your dealer for a warranty exchange (assuming it is new).

And:

Thank you for your quick response. I have tried it already a couple of
times. The telescope is new so I am going to contact my dealer.
Cheers,
Theofilos
Mike here: If you don't get any satisfaction from the dealer, there are some LNT troubleshooting tips on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. It could be a loose wire or something with the module.
Subject:	ETX-80AT-TC time chip
Sent:	Tuesday, June 16, 2009 11:49:44
From:	Sven-Ove Auno (so.m.auno@bredband.net)
I hope you or someone reading this on your web-site can give me an
advice regarding the precision of the time chip in the ETX-80AT-TC. I
have noticed that during a two week period the time error of the time
chip in my ETX-80 will be approx. 30 seconds. Is this normal or does it
indicate that the battery providing current for the time chip should be
changed to a new one? If the latter is the case do you know what kind of
battery is needed?

Regards,
 
Sven-Ove Auno

Subject:	1247 Electric focuser
Sent:	Tuesday, June 16, 2009 00:06:37
From:	Aucoin, Richard (G.) (raucoin@ford.com)
Hopefully someone out there will have a answer to this problem, I
recently aquired a #1247 focuser, no instructions. When I went to the
Meade site, all they had was the #1244 instructions which shows a
mounting plate, my #1247 came with no mounting plate. So does the 1247
suppose to have one or not? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks again and your site is the best thing for us newbies.   Rick
Aucoin, raucoin@ford.com
Mike here: I don't recall one when I attached a #1247 to my ETX-125 (see the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page). My telescopes and manuals are all packed for my upcoming move so I can't check.
Subject:	Part Needed
Sent:	Wednesday, June 10, 2009 18:30:16
From:	Larry Zunk (lzunk@yahoo.com)
Enclosed is a picture of the part I need. It is part of the side clutch
on a late model ETX-125. Please notice in the picture (circled)  the
sheared off key part in the middle of the clutch disk part. If anyone
can supply this part or knows of an alternative repair (I am considering
super glue at this point)

Thanks, our site is a GodSend, Larry Zunk

photo

Mike here: You could try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page).
Subject:	re: ETX 90
Sent:	Tuesday, June 9, 2009 23:30:19
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
I'm sorry to say that i can't remember similar reports...
except you might simply be seeing either mechanical misalignment
or an effect of guide speed's motion in RA/DEC coordinate space
instead of pure alt/az.
But that latter should -not- affect Train Drive operations.

How -far- off does it move?
(my ETX90 has ellipsoidally-worn DEC bearings, so the OTA does
shift left and right when commanded to go up and down.
Pure mechanical looseness being "explored" by the different load vectors.

good luck
--dick

And:

Jan Henrik Kolst wrote:
> Well,thanks for responding.I've made a drawing of the situation. Hope
> it's understandable.

photo

Very understandable... and it shows two critical items:

(a) the black lines are parallel to the red lines... so the scope
(probably) shifts at the -start- of the motion, but then tracks
parallel to the axis... (a slanted line would be difficult to explain).
This is good, and what i expected to see.

(b) the -amount- of shift is "not too bad".... it's a 12mm eyepiece,
so the field of view is about 23 arcminutes on an ETX90.
So the -shift- is only about 2 arcminutes (using Word's ruler).
That is quite reasonable.

Since the shift is on the -other- axis than the one you are training,
it does not actually affect the procedure (very much).
At this point i would *not* worry about it.
You might investigate if you can -see- how/when the shift occurs by slewing
when looking at distant landmarks, with the scope in "Terrestrial" mode
(so that the sidereal drive does not affect the results).

I see a similar lateral (sideways) shift when i am training DEC (Alt),
quite likely up to twice the shift you are seeing (it's obvious in a 13mm
without a reticle).  I don't see a shift when i am training RA (Az).
The sources of my shift included flexing of the plastic fork which held
the Alt motor/worm drive, plus the worn Alt bearing.

As a quick test, how much can the image move with the motors *off*,
if you simply grasp the "nose" of the scope and shift it side-to-side
and up-and-down?  My ETX90 had 3 degrees of vertical "slop", but far
less than a degree of horizontal "slop", when new.
Even with that much looseness, it was able to achieve "within 5 arcminutes"
GoTo accuracy.  My Az Training would yield 1100 measured arcseconds, and
the Alt Training would yield 3300 measured arcseconds of backlash.
(my curiosity about those numbers was a prime driving factor towards making
patch kits).
Nine years of usage (plus three weeks being driven around Memphis Tennessee
in a parcel truck when UPS mislabeled it) have made the horizontal shift
much worse.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	repair parts for ETX 125
Sent:	Sunday, June 7, 2009 12:02:28
From:	ben (bentetzner@sbcglobal.net)
Is there any way to post and ask if somebody on the site knows where to
buy parts for the ETX 125? I forgot to ask you in my last email.
Ben
Mike here: See the item "Replacement Gears source" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. For other replacemnt parts, try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page).

And:

You really do have a great website.
Thanks,
Ben

Subject:	etx 125 will not slew right or left
Sent:	Sunday, June 7, 2009 06:48:19
From:	ben (bentetzner@sbcglobal.net)
Started playing with the scope again this week. Turns out it will slew
up or down, but will not slew left or right. To the right there is a
clicking noise in the gearbox, and to the left it just does not slew at
all using the arrow keys on the autostar. Is this common, and if so, is
there a simple fix? There is virtually no info. in the manual. Thanks
for any suggestions.
Ben
Mike here: The "clicking" sound makes me think that the gearbox or gear is loose. Besides a gear problem, it might also be an obstruction. Does the telescope rotate freely in the horizontal with the axis unlocked? Don't force the movement (don't want to cut a wire). If it moves freely and before you open up the base, have you tried a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? If that doesn't solve it, try a RESET, CALIBRATE MOTOR, and TRAIN DRIVES. If those don't help, you will have to open up the base.

And:

You sure get up early, as do I !
I can't believe a relatively new telescope is this problematic ! I tried
several functions including a motor test. It still does not move right
or left.It moves freely if the base is unlocked. I am convinced that
there is something loose in the gearbox. Is there an easy procedure for
taking these apart? I am pretty mechanically inclined,but I am sure
there are several things that need to be timed.
Ben
Mike here: Yes, I'm an early person. Right now, got to continue packing for the upcoming move.
There are disassembly and gearbox articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. However, if the telescope is new and still under warranty, you might want to contact your dealer or Meade before opening it up.

And:

I got it off ebay, and it probably is no longer under warranty. I opened
up the gear box and found the problem immediately. The support for the
larger gear in the gearbox broke. These things are really poorly
designed as far as quality. I gues I will have to get some repair parts.
Thanks,
Ben
Mike here: Ah, eBay... There is an article about a replacement gear source on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	ETX 90
Sent:	Sunday, June 7, 2009 01:21:46
From:	Jan H Kolst (koja@tele2.no)
I discovered that when I Trained drives the Etx 90 didn't move in a
straight line neither horizontally nor vertically.The problem is not a
great issue, but I can clearly observe that the ETX doesn't move 100%
horizontally or vertically when using the reticle(12mm). I have never
used a reticle earlier when Training drives on my Etx.I have RESET-
Calibrated Motors and reinstalled the latest versions from MEADE AND
STAR PATCH.The ETX 90 was like this before I did these updating and it
was the reason for doing it.I thought the reason was that it was a long
time since I had used it.

This is not the case with my LX 90. Any suggestions?
 
Jan
Norway
Mike here: This problem has been occasionally reported in the past. I don't recall the specifics. Perhaps Dick Seymour does.
Subject:	question of eyepieces concerning the ETX - 80
Sent:	Wednesday, June 3, 2009 02:54:18
From:	magnificitaliani@comcast.net (magnificitaliani@comcast.net)
Hello. I recently inherited an ETX - 80 telescope and have been getting
into astronomy using it. My question is, are there more options on eye
pieces? It came with a 25mm and a 9mm. I was wondering if anything lower
than the 9 would actually help or distort the image. On your site and
some other sites I've noticed, there seem to be longer eye pieces
attached to the scope, much longer than the 9 or 25 I have. What's the
story with this? I'm having trouble finding info on it.

Thank You.

Rob
Mike here: You can use eyepieces of different "focal lengths" with the ETX-80. However, there is a theoretical maximum magnification for any telescope. As you get closer to or exceed this limit, the image will get fuzzy and breakup. You can sometimes exceed the limit on brighter objects, like the Moon. See the ETX FAQ page for how to determine this and how to calculate magnification if you are uncertain on that. As to what to expect, there are some articles on eyepieces (including simulators) on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page page. Also, see the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page for some reviews.

And:

Thanks for the info! Much appreciated!

Subject:	ETX 125 PE focusing problem
Sent:	Monday, June 1, 2009 01:39:36
From:	John (johnhill38@hotmail.com)
I purchased my ETX 125 PE in December of last year and successfully used
it several times.  Last night I was focusing on the moon when the
focusing knob/shaft became loose and sloppy in its housing.  I cannot
now focus using the focusing knob but I can move the telescope mirror by
pushing and pulling on the focusing knob/shaft.  If the telescope tube
is point up at an angle and I push the mirror up the tube it slides back
down under its own weight.  I suspect that something mechanical has come
adrift.  I intend to contact the supplier today but thought it may be
useful for the ETX group to know about this.

Have you heard of similar problems?  If anyone knows of a simple 'fix'
please let me know.
 
Regards, John
johnhill38@hotmail.com
Mike here: It sounds like the focus shaft has become disconnected from the primary mirror housing. This can happen if the focus knob is removed and the telescope tube is pointed below horizontal. See the article "Focus Shaft Fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Since the telescope is under still under warranty, Meade should repair (but you'll have to pay to ship it to them).

And:

Thanks Mike.  The focusing knob has never been removed and I've
contacted the dealer to get a 'return authorisation' slip.  Thanks for
your help.

Regards, john

Subject:	Great website on Astrophotography
Sent:	Monday, June 1, 2009 01:20:19
From:	Ian Jarrett (ian.jarrett@gmail.com)
I just wanted to thank you for your very helpful and informative website
on astrophotography.  I've just purchased my first ever telescope (a
Celestron Nexstar 102 SLT) and I plugged my Nikon D50 onto the back over
the weekend to snap the moon.  Through trial and error I got some OK
shots.  I stumbled across your website this morning, two days after my
first photos, and it has already answered some nagging questions that I
had.  So, once again, thanks, and I look forward to reading the rest of
your website.

cheers,

Ian

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