|This page is for comments and user feedback about ETX telescopes. ETX models discussed on this page 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, 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: Help with wiring for ETX-90 Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2011 05:07:44 From: Yoh, Michael (MBYOH@ship.edu) I emailed you a number of months ago when the hand controller stopped working with my ETX-90. I've tried everything else with no luck. I'm finally getting around to opening up my ETX-90 to see why motor stopped responding. Do you have a wiring schematic for the ETX-90 you could email me? My electronics engineer who is helping me today said that a schematic would help greatly. Thanks, Mike YohMike here: No schematics available. Howwver, several of the articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page will show wiring photos.
Subject: Early and later ETX fork Sent: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 09:35:51 From: John Lovda (firstname.lastname@example.org) Can you please tell me the link that includes a picture comparing the earlier and later forks (with a metal core)? I cannot find it or know what search words to use. ThanksMike here: I am not aware of any comparison photos.
The picture that I saw showed the surface under the large side knob (on the side with the gearing) on each of the two versions. They did look different ThanksMike here: Meade has made many changes in the ETX models since 1996.
Subject: Meade archives Sent: Saturday, June 25, 2011 18:01:44 From: Erik H (email@example.com) I wanted to say THANKS A TON for your documents, software, archives, and help you keep on your Meade archives. I just upgraded my AS 495 to a 497 with resources that you made readily available. I hope you have to wade through hip-deep piles of "THANKS A TON" emails every day. A very appreciative jackass, Erik
Subject: Azimuth Motor Problem Meade ETX 80AT-TC Sent: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 14:00:30 From: Ryan Goodman (firstname.lastname@example.org) About a year ago, I purchased a Meade ETX 80AT-TC (with the standard AutoStar). The telescope has served me very well over the years, but recently, the Azimuth motor will either fail to engage or slip. If I nudge the telescope, it will continue moving, but this significantly decreases the accuracy of the Go To capabilities. Has anyone experienced this problem before? I'd be willing to do some manual repair work, but I would really like a protocol so I don't screw things up worse than their current state. I called Meade, and the guy seemed pretty clueless. (I'm sorry if someone already posted this question, but I couldn't find it.) RyanMike here: First, you need to determine whether it is physical restriction causing the problem or a loose gear or something else. Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES recently? If not, do those. If that doesn't solve the problem, unlock the azimuth axis and slowly rotate the telescope back and forth several times around by hand. Do you feel any restriction in the movement? (By the way, this can also cure some problems by redistributing the lubrication.) Lastly, with the axis unlocked, run the motor. Does it sound normal?
Thanks for your help! I had already calibrated the motor and all, but it seems like rotating the telescope back and forth on problem areas really did the trick! I guess that indicated a lubrication problem. Thanks, again. Ryan.
Subject: etx-125 spare parts Sent: Monday, June 20, 2011 06:04:26 From: Konstantinos Tsintarakis (email@example.com) Hello from Greece, I bought an ETX 125 PE two years ago. Yesterday I try to replace the batteries and I got one contact lead broken, also some more leads will be in the same condition soon. Are those batteries contacts leads available as spare parts? Were can I find some (3-4)? Thanks in advance. Konstantinos Tsintarakis
Subject: RE: ETX-125AT electrical power issue Sent: Saturday, June 18, 2011 14:27:51 From: Alan Boniface (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thanks so much for your prompt reply. I am somewhat shocked at the adapter sensitivities of this scope. I will try Telescope Warehouse as you suggest. I'll keep you posted. Thanks again. Regards AlanMike here: Some people have added devices to protect the circuitry. See the articles "Circuit Polarity Protection" and "ETX-90EC Wiring Protection" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Thanks again Mike. I really appreciate your help and suggestions, not to mention the quick responses. I have emailed Bill Vorce at Telescope Warehouse and await his reply. Regards Alan
From: richard seymour (email@example.com) You asked: > 2. Is it likely to be more than just the one circuit board that > has gone faulty, ie has anyone had a similar fault experience with an ETX? You should ask the repair person whether and *traces* on the power panel card have been burned. If they have, then most likely one of the motor cards has a damaged component, and the power panel damage was due to the power panel acting as a "fuse" due to the excessive current. But if it's only the switch that's damaged, you could simply bridge the switch points with wire, and control the "on/off" by disconnecting the power cord (or removing a AA battery from the base). > 3. Is the repairer right that I need a whole new circuit board or > should he be able to effect a repair on the current board, ie is the > repairer not doing his job properly? The approximate schematic diagram for the power panel is the same as the LX-90's, which is shown here: http://jan.eaglecreekobservatory.org/powerpanel.html Without knowing a *lot* more about what you asked the repairer to do (did you allow him the leeway to cut the switch out of the circuit, as i suggested above?) i cannot guess if he's doing his job "properly". Meade does *not* make it easy to remove the power panel (i believe they melt the telescope base's body plastic to hold it in place... so simple removal is *not* "simple". You might give Don Whiteman at BinTel (Binocular And Telescope) in Melbourne a call or email: firstname.lastname@example.org ... he may be able to supply the parts needed. good luck --dick
Thanks so much for your insights and the link to the LX-90 schematics. I'll pass them onto the repairer to see if he can work with the info. I really appreciate your feedback. Cheers Alan
Subject: ETX-125AT electrical power issue Sent: Saturday, June 18, 2011 05:16:14 From: Alan Boniface (email@example.com) I have a 3-year-old ETX-125AT which has developed a fault that I am struggling to get help with. I hope this forum can assist. When I last used the ETX about 6 months ago it initially powered up via the normal AC adaptor (12v 2.5A) but during alignment the scope tube suddenly started going down and bottomed out on the horizontal base. Before I was able to get the power switch turned off there was a slight electrical burning smell and then no power at all and hasn't been ever since. I guess that there has been a short inside the ETX. The New Zealand Meade distributor is unable to assist me so on their advice I took the ETX to a local electronics repair shop and he confirmed that there is no power getting from the first circuit board, ie the one that has the AC power running into it and the switch attached is burned out as no power is being passed out of it to the rest of the circuitry inside the ETX. The repairer has asked me to get a new board and he will install it for me. I do recall from the conversation with the NZ distributor that the ETX scopes have 3 fairly simple circuit boards in them so I hope the feedback from my repairer can help isolate the correct board. As I don't know what part I should be asking for I was hoping someone in this forum might know. I will need to try to source the right circuit board from a dealer outside New Zealand so I'll most likely try in California directly. So I have three questions: 1. Does anyone know what part number(s) I need to be asking for? 2. Is it likely to be more than just the one circuit board that has gone faulty, ie has anyone had a similar fault experience with an ETX? 3. Is the repairer right that I need a whole new circuit board or should he be able to effect a repair on the current board, ie is the repairer not doing his job properly? Any help or guidance would be gratefully received. Thank you. Regards Alan Boniface Auckland, New ZealandMike here: I suspect the AC Adapter was at fault. If it was an older Meade #541 AC Adapter, I posted a warning about that a few years ago on the Announcements: Warnings! page. As to getting a board replacement, try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page).
Subject: ETX-90 Polar alignment Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 11:08:11 From: Jake Putz (firstname.lastname@example.org) I was reviewing your ETX comments page and took note of the alignment for the polar home position. Is this the recommended position for the deluxe field tripod? I have also seen the alignment with the aperature pointed toward Polaris and the fork arms parallel to the OTA while mounted on a tripod. Which is the correct alignment? JakeMike here: You didn't specify which model ETX-90 you have nor exactly which article you mean (there are many "comments" pages). However, you will find many polar alignment articles in the "Alignment Tips" section on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
The old model ETX-90EC, the same one you reviewed and had problems aligning properly until firmware rev 1.2. This is also the article I am refering to, in concert with the performace enhancement part 5 article.Mike here: Polar alignment is done with the fork arms pointed at Polaris and the OTA rotated the same as with Alt/Az mounting.
Thank you for helpiong me clarify that. Happy observing. JakeMike here: Don't forget to see those articles I mentioned.
Subject: Compliments on your great Astronomy Links page :) Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 06:44:26 From: Lucy Nelson (email@example.com) I enjoy astronomy very much, & I am frequently looking online for new & interesting information. I stumbled on your Astronomy Links page http://www.weasner.com/etx/links.html in one of my searches, & thoroughly enjoyed it, so I really wanted to say great job, & thanks! Secondly, & I hope this doesn't seem rude, but I also wanted to make a suggestion for your page. I thought you might be interested in another helpful astronomy resource that I found recently: http://www.surveillance-video.com/astronomy-sept-2009.html I think it has some great information, so I thought it might be a really helpful/useful addition to your page above! Thanks again, & take care, Lucy
Subject: Your review of MX-1 Sent: Saturday, June 11, 2011 03:19:11 From: Miguel Calejo (firstname.lastname@example.org) THANKS! That's one of the best technical reviews I read anywhere about any product! And I've read a few. Best Regards, Miguel Calejo Declarativa
Subject: Re: Dec Locking Knob:: Fixed Sent: Thursday, June 9, 2011 13:15:09 From: Betty L Myers (email@example.com) Thank you Mike; I got it done, and its working fine. It tock me awhile but when I went to the Hardware store and found the peaces I needed it all fell together... Thanks... Betty
Subject: question on harness Sent: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 19:10:06 From: David Shina (firstname.lastname@example.org) I've got a question on your 11/28 blog at: http://www.weasner.com/etx/cases.html You stated you got a shoulder strap harness for lugging your heavy equipment. I need to do the same thing. I am an environmental chemist and I have to lug equipment, etc all over the place and I've been searching for a good rig. One that collapses and folds compactly for taking up little space in my luggage. How did it work out? I will have to carry equipment weighing around 20 lbs in a container that is shaped like a messenger bag. What was the make and model number? I've tried a rig that just had the shoulder straps, but this was too painful after a while. I want to try the waistbelt/shoulder harness combo. I think it will distribute the weight better. Thanks for any help.Mike here: I'm not certain which case you are referring to on that page. But see my report on my 1999 trip to Australia with the ETX-90:
And later:Now that I'm back from the observatory, I see which case you are referring to. That is the case I used on the trip to Australia.
Subject: Re: eyepieces Sent: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 17:25:53 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) First of all thanks for your reply. Could you please clarify; could I possibly be limited by my hardware, ETX-125? MIKE AMONETTMike here: The ETX-125 has very high optical quality, so using a low quality eyepiece will hurt the views. So, yes, the Meade series 5000 eyepieces can provide excellent views. However, two things to keep in mind: the ETX uses 1.25" diameter eyepieces, and the ETX is not very happy with a lot of weight added. As long as you use the smaller eyepieces, weight should not be a problem.
Subject: ETX 125 PE Red Dot Finder Problem Sent: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 12:09:37 From: Language Quest (jfh@LanguageQuest.com) I have had an ETX125 PE for a couple of years now. When the telescope arrived, the only thing wrong was the mounting of the red dot finder. I couldn't adjust the red dot to come anywhere near high vertically to align with the telescope. As a 'short time' solution, I pushed a small piece of wedge shaped wood under the front of the U-shaped holder that clamps onto the OTA to elevate it slightly and that worked OK. But over the years the finder housing became increasingly unstable. Just touching the finder slightly would move it out of alignment. A couple of days ago I decided to see if I could fix it. I removed the horizontal and vertical adjustment screws and removed the cover from the finder. There was a piece of plastic with a nut encased in the middle that had come loose and broken off. I bought some epoxy and glued the piece onto the place where I believe that it should go (where the vertical adjustment screw comes up from the bottom of the finder holder). That piece is now firmly attached again. In the process, I accidentally pulled the LED from the top of the finder housing so that the LED and its wires are now free and elevated by the stiff wires above the circuit board. I was about to put it back into the top of the finder when I thought I should check to be sure that the LED lit properly. Alas, it doesn't light. I have tried setting the finder blink on/off, tried pushing the "0" key, etc. But at no time does the LED show any light. Everything else seems to work OK. The scope adjusts with the "Level North" technology. I am using an external battery source; the Autostar seems to be working fine; the scope moves in Azimuth and Altitude without any problems. I can do a false align (indoors) and it seems to align OK. The only thing is that the LED on the finder doesn't light. I don't think I did any damage while disassembling the finder - apart from accidentally pulling it from its housing. The connections to the LED appear to be solid and also to the circuit board. The top housing is all plastic - so I don't think there is an electrical connection that needs to be made (a ground for example). The time and date appear OK on the Autostar - so I assume that the battery is OK. That is a question I have though - does the LNT battery power the LED? Any suggestions on what I may have done wrong? The red dot appeared without fail before I "fixed" it! Regards, JimMike here: See the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page for LNT/Smartfinder troubleshooting information. I don't recall which article mightg have the LED info.
Subject: Barlow lense Sent: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 07:36:30 From: Lawrence Ward (email@example.com) I have recently purchased an etx-70 which I intend to use primarily for terrestrial use. I am, however, slowly purchasing accessories to make it a complete and total unit. My questions are: 1. What is a "Barlow" lense. 2. What are the limitations on using a "Barlow" with the etx-70. 3. What size do you suggest, I've even seen one that varies from a 2 to a 3. Thank you for your assistance Lawrence A. Ward Oakhurst, TXMike here: A Barlow Lens is an optical magnifier that extends the focal length of the telescope, which increases the magnification provided by eyepieces. Typically, they come in 2X, 3X, or zoomable ones up to 5X. See the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page for some reviews. Two things to keep in mind: the ETX needs a "shorty" style Barlow Lens (otherwise you may not be able to focus with all your eyepieces) and you don't want to exceed the theoretical maximum magnification for your telescope. If you don't know what that is or how to calculate magnification, see the "ETX FAQ" page.
Subject: eyepieces Sent: Sunday, June 5, 2011 18:16:04 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) Is the difference between the Meade 4000 and 5000 series worth the price difference? I have an ETX125 and only use it for stargazzing. Thank You.Mike here: Yes, there is a significant difference but depending on your observational experience, the Series 5000 may or may not be overkill for you and your ETX.
Subject: Question on Selling ETX telescope Sent: Saturday, June 4, 2011 20:06:18 From: Ron Leadbeater (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hello, found your site while doing a google search. I have a Meade ETX Telescope Product id 3514-030-01. I am looking to sell and would like your advice on where to sell and value. Its all in the original box and in great shape. Looks hardly used. Appreciate your response. Thanks, RonMike here: I'm in my observatory now. Can't easily look up the model number. Can you be more explicit? Does it have the AutoStar? As to where to sell, there is eBay, Astromart, and of course, I can list it on my ETX Site.
Subject: Dec Locking Nob Sent: Thursday, June 2, 2011 12:12:06 From: Betty L Myers (email@example.com) I am in trouble.. The Dec locking nob on my ETX 125pe has snapped off. The Nob and the setting circle are lose but together and there is a metal spacer about 1/2" around the screw that comes off and under that there is a black hard like plastic that the screw is in. It has snapped or broken from the arm. I can not tell if the screw itself has snapped, but in the arm you can see the rest of the black hard like plastic and screw in it.. Is there two separate screws here, one from the nob and one from the arm? Or is this supposed to be one screw from the nob? What do I need to do to fix this? Thank you very much for keeping up this site. I read it often and it has help me many times in the past.. BettyMike here: See the article "ETX-90EC DEC fix (Right Tube Adapter repair)" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
I am in trouble.. The Dec locking nob on my ETX 125pe has snapped off. The Nob and the setting circle are lose but together and there is a metal spacer about 1/2" around the screw that comes off and under that there is a black hard like plastic that the screw is in. It has snapped or broken from the arm. I can not tell if the screw itself has snapped, but in the arm you can see the rest of the black hard like plastic and screw in it.. Is there two separate screws here, one from the nob and one from the arm? Or is this supposed to be one screw from the nob? What do I need to do to fix this? Thank you very much for keeping up this site. I read it often and it has help me on many occasion .Mike here: I take it you did not see my previous reply, so I will resend it.
Subject: Meade DSI II Autostar cable. Sent: Thursday, June 2, 2011 04:45:42 From: martin gauckwin (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have recently purchased a Meade DSI II cam for my MEADE ETX 125 scope. I can get the camera working fine but when I try to connect the Autotar handset to my PC for autoguidance I dont have a socket for it? please help. Martin.Mike here: I assume you mean your computer does not have a RS-232 port. If your computer has only USB, then you will need a USB-serial adapter. Meade has one for Windows. But I recommend Keyspan for Macs and Windows.
Subject: Re: ETX 125PE "Dead" Sent: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 09:39:33 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) Ok, so progress so far. During closer inspection, it came to my notice that some of the wires on the connector on the circuit board, the one that connects the front HBX and Aux ports, were decidedly poor connections, so I remade the connector. The result was no different in so much as the scope was still dead with the LNT connected. However, with the LNT disconnected, the autostar fired up and the RA motor was now operative and responding to commands. The DEC motor is still non operative. The conclusion I have come to is that there may well be a break in a power wire that connects the DEC motor and perhaps the LNT. To get at this I need to remover the OTA but I am not clear how to go about dong this. There are some posts on your web site that indicate that you simply use brute force to spread the forks apart - can this be true? Many thanks TonyMike here: There are four screws (two each side) that hold the OTA to the tube adapters connected to the fork arms. Once you remove those screws you still do have to gentle pry the fork arms away from the OTA.
And an update:
I now have a working ETX!! The OTA slid out pretty easily in the end. The problem is certainly with the LNT cable it is truely a dreadfull design, it is very tight and gets pulled about by the tube movement. Although I can't be sure exactly where the problem lay, the fault disappeared when I introduced some slack and push home the connectors on the DEC motor circuit board. I stabilised the LNT cable with some glue so it does not move around. If it fails again I will re-route the cable, probably externally. Many thanks for your expert help. Tony
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