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ETX, GENERAL FEEDBACK

Last updated: 30 June 2013

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:	ETX60 missing parts,
Sent:	Friday, June 28, 2013 18:23:59
From:	Bruce Hinton (asdc.enterprises@gmail.com)
[First, thanks for all you do with your site for others.]

Obtained used ETX60, seems to be newer than the last one I tried, this
has rack and pinion front element focus.  I bought it to regularly loan
to Ft. Clinch St. Pk., here on Amelia Island, for a "little folks
table", on Astronomy Nights.  Still has a good computer, and base
responds properly, so this could go off well.

The flip mirror was mostly blocked, mechanism to move the top eyepiece's
Barlow fore and aft was missing, except for the chrome lever, and it had
no control knob outside.

So;   Just need a good diagram, probably have to kluge some parts which
I assume are long gone from the Earth.

If anyone can help, it must be you.  Much searching, even Dogpile, -no
internal drawings that I could find, though my search-fu could be weak...

TIA, and put minimal time into this.  If it isn't handy, I'll be OK with
that.
Bruce Hinton
Mike here: Don't have any ETX-60 schmatic that shows that part. However, there are several ETX disassembly articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page that will show how the flip mirror operates. As to a "Barlow Lens", that is only on the ETX-80 model. And there was no stock "rack and pinion" focus mechanism, just the focus knob that moves the objective lens housing along the telescope tube. If you want to try to find a part, try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page). He may or may not have what you want.

And:

Wow that was fast!  I thought a day or a few...    OK, As usual, I
messed up the message. 

Flip mirror works fine now that I figured out how to move the little
lens in the top of rear housing forward and out of the way, it lays
horizontal under top eyepiece carrier, and slides forward, out of the
optical path, or fully back, under the eyepiece.  This is the missing
mechanism, -to change magnification.  The rack and pinion focus I spoke
of, still moves the whole front lens tube, but it is a vertical axis
knob instead of the straight-through threaded rod of the previous ETX-60.

In the event this is an odd duck item, I'll send you a couple of pics
tomorrow.

Bruce

P.S.   BTW, I checked left of the sax player, right of keyboard, still
couldn't find the little PayPal button on your main page...
Mike here: From your description it does sound like a slightly different model than I've seen. Photos would help. But if all you need to replace is the focus knob, there are some tips on the Telescope Tech Tips page about that.
As to a contribution, see Supporting the Mighty ETX Site: Making a Contribution on the ETX Site home page.

And:

Even that peculiar focusing mechanism works fine.

The only missing parts are those which move that little horizontally
mounted lens under the top eyepiece.  I also suspect there is an
interconnect to the flip mirror, so folks won't get confused should the
two clash.

I'll be interested to hear what you have to say on this thing, none of
the pics I yet seen, nor the .pdf's  have this configuration.

I'll hit the tip jar tomorrow also, sites like yours are too often taken
for granted in the new "We share everything " world.

Thanks for your time,
Bruce

And this:

First, no missing parts.  So,

Here are the photos of the possibly weird scope, -attached, (From your
guidelines, I didn't think you wanted them embedded in the message):

1.  You can clearly read the ETX-60 350mm f5.8, despite my dramatic
lighting!!!

photo

2.  Vertical focus knob, you can feel the gears working when focusing,
even though it just moves the front element tube just as in the long
threaded screw type of my first ETX-60, and all the pix I've found.

photo

3.  Open view from top eyepiece carrier mirror in position for viewing,
magnifying, (negative), lens stowed at front.

photo

4.  Magnifying lens halfway to rear.

photo

5.  Magnifying lens fully back in viewing position.

photo

6.  45 deg. prism has it's own negative magnifying lens, cannot focus
without it.

photo

7.  The lens is convex/concave negative as expected.

photo

8.  The piece I thought was missing on the left inside of rear housing. 
It is slotted for the little lever whose hinge pin comes through the
left side of the rear housing.  It had no knob, and fell inside, -caused
me great confusion...

photo

9.  View of left side showing the lever's hinge pin above the flip
mirror knob.

photo

10. This has a wonderful accessory holder for a brace, with lock.  The
other ETX-60 had a clip-on.

photo

11. The hold-down screws are 1" instead of the 3" on the first ETX-60.

photo
Mike here: After a little web searching, I finally found out that this is the discontinued ETX-60 BB Back Pack model. This ad on Astromart shows a photo: http://www.astromart.com/classifieds/details.asp?classified_id=554793. And searching my ETX Site for "ETX-60 BB" I found several articles that discuss the apparently Walmart only ETX-60 BB. Two articles in particular you might find useful are a feedback page from April 2011 and a Telescope Tech Tips article on the ETX-60 BB.


Subject:	Meade etx70 EC question regarding motor drive
Sent:	Saturday, June 22, 2013 22:39:11
From:	Dipak Panigrahi (dipakp@mac.com)
I found your site via google and have to say that it is an amazing
repository for a starting telescope enthusiast like myself.

I acquired the above telescope at a garage sale for $50.  It has no
manuals.  I went online and have been using the manual from the Meade site.

I am having a problem in that the motor drive does not appear to work to
move the telescope upwards (all other axis work)

also, it does not appear that the handheld focus buttons are working
though i can manually focus.

any thoughts?

i have not tried the autostar system at all as I am a novice.

many thanks
dipak panigrahi, MD
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes)? If not, do those. Also, have you tried changing the slew speed to a faster one? If the telescope is placed in a horizontal position and the axis locked, does the tube stay put or does the lens end want to fall down towards the base?
As to electric focusing, what electric focuser do you have? The ETX-70 did not originally ship with one.

And:

Thank you Mike and WOW on the response time.

I have not done the calibrate and train- i will try that now.  The slew
is set to the fastest speed and the unit moves in all other directions
except up.  I can actually hear the motor running but it does not move
again- only in trying to move the unit up.

now that you mention it, when the unit is place at horizontal like you
ask the tube dies tend to fall towards the base.

the unit I have is actually an etx 70 ec.
on the remote control that plugs into the hbx, in addition to the 4
arrows to move the unit and speed there are 2 arrows that say focus.
i assume these are for electronic focusing- no?

many thanks again for the amazing support.
Dipak
Mike here: If the tube goes down then it is likely that the Right Tube Adapter lock has failed. Not an easy fix. There is a repair tip on it on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Also, check out the ETX-70 Repair Guide there.
Yes, those buttons are for a focuser you don't have.

And:

thank you Mike
this dosnt sound good- ill look to the website.
worth fixing or better to just buy another unit?
Mike here: I'm back inside now from my observatory. Moon was way too bright tonight!
For $50, it is worth trying. However, removing the RTA is not as easy on the ETX-70 as on other models in the ETX line.

And:

I know
part of the reason i set it up tonight was to take advantage of the "big moon"
my 6 year old daughter loved it as did my 7 and nine year old.
i will look into the rta repair
thanks so much
Mike here: Glad they got to enjoy it! I'm going to take a little nap and then go back out to the observatory to image the precisely Full Moon at 4:32 AM my local time.

And:

Your support is really amazing
good luck tomorrow am with the moon!


Subject:	broken etx
Sent:	Saturday, June 22, 2013 21:20:39
From:	walter kennison (walterkennison@yahoo.com)
craigslist purchase,,, $300,,,,etx125ec
 
asked,,,are the gears stripped?   answer,, no!
 
well they didn't know they weren't fibbing
 
I need to send my scope in for supercharging and repairs,
I understand packing,,,
have original box 
please give address for shipping and format for payment,
 
thank you
 
if this is redundant for you ,,,please forgive me,,,I worked 12 -14 hour
shifts the past 3 weeks w/o a day off  (entrepreneur)  and it is taking
its toll at 52 yrs old
 
wally
Mike here: See the Supercharge Tune-up link on my ETX Site home page. Details there.


Subject:	Cassiopeia Observatory Comment
Sent:	Friday, June 21, 2013 06:55:52
From:	Caufield, Timothy (caufield@bnl.gov)
I bought an etx 125 about a year and a half ago. I haven't been able to
use it and it sits in my living room. I had a few dobs -8's & 10's- I
cant align it cause all the trees on my property block the alignment
stars and I just don't have the time To change them. Also my sky is
washed out I live on long island ny and I used to be able to see m57
with an orion 8" dob.  It's a beautiful looking machine but I miss star
hopping with a dob. Also last nite while trying to find Saturn the gears
started clicking as if i  went too far  did I break it? Wheres the best
place to sell it ? or get it repaired-I think im going back to a dob-
hopefully a 12 will bring back m57-very much enjoyed your surfing your
site thanks tim caufield
Mike here: You can see M57 with an ETX-125, depending on your skies. Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? Are you setting up in the proper HOME position? (that's assuming you are doing an alignment) Remember, even if you can see the alignment stars, you can always assume they are centered and accept them. The better your HOME position, the more accurate the "faked alignment" will be. Once you have the AutoStar "aligned", GOTO to a star you can see and hold the ENTER key down until you see SYNC TO ALIGN. Center the star in the eyepiece and press ENTER. The AutoStar will then be aligned and provide reasonable good GOTOs. As to slewing until the telescope reaches a HARD STOP, as long as you immediately stopped trying to slew, you probably didn't damage it. You can find many more tips on my ETX Site.


Subject:	ETX - repair
Sent:	Wednesday, June 12, 2013 11:36:23
From:	Mike Morrison-Smith (mikems@live.co.uk)
Its mike from Saudi Arabia.
 
The local school has five brand new but broken etxs, still with tissue
paper around the otas.

I have offered to look at them and just repaired the first two. One had
a broken finderscope foot, I just glued it back together. Someone had
ripped the foot off the two bolts, so I put the locking washers on top
and glued the rubber insert to the inner foot. The Saudis are rough with
stuff.

The second one was more interesting, it was jumping teeth on the fast
slew. I looked inside and the black hoop that sits around the white cog
onto the RA worm has snapped, so on slew it pulled away. I glued the
broken hoop back together and glued a hoop of string around one side to
strengthen it. I used super glue and it has worked. I do have a spare
gearbox casing and can swap over if this is not a long term repair.

The three other broken ones have one or the other above faults.

The total cost zero and about three hours time.

I also have offered to fix the broken LX 200 16" SCT at Dhahran. The
worm has become adjusted enough to skip over the RA wheel. A simple job
(I think) but a lump to take off the pedestal. I also have a broken C8
orange tube SCT to fix there as well. The dec housing has snapped.

What would they do without me!! And what do I get in return, apart from
a free house, car, holidays and a silly salary.
 
Kind regards,
 
Mike MS.


Subject:	Problem with AZ(RA) drive on ETX 125AT  from 2006
Sent:	Monday, June 10, 2013 15:30:09
From:	RABuchroeder (rab5@mindspring.com)
I recently purchased a lightly-used, well-maintained ETX 125AT with Std.
Coatings, with a 2006 sticker.

Has a problem with the AZ drive, when trying to ALIGN in any of its 3
possible modes. It runs continuously, well beyond 360 degrees, until it
finally runs into the mechanical Stop.

Called Meade today, they no longer support this version, but suggested I
train the drives.

Anybody know what the problem is, and whether I can fix it myself?

Thanks, Dick Buchroeder, Tucson, AZ.
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES (both axes)? If not, do those from the AutoStar.

And:

Wow, talk about fast turnaround!!! Thanks!

I just noticed this on one of the FAQs.

I didn't realize you were just up the road, hope to meet you some time.

Regards, Dick B.

And more:

I'm not sure I did what I was supposed to, but flipping thru the memory,
I was first offered the chance to TRAIN DRIVES, which I did.

Then I found something labelled 'TEST MOTORS', didn't see choice of
CALIBRATE MOTORS, so I entered and the telescope did a quick jig on alt
and az motions.

Then I meandered back to ALIGN (I'm not sure I really understand the
paths....for example, I later tried to redo Train Drives and Calibrate
Motors, and couldn't find them again.

Anyway, after the first Train and Test, I tried single and two star
alignment, and in both cases the AZ still runs wild until it hits a
mechanical stop.

I'll calm down and try again later.

Regards, Dick.
MIke here: Do you have the manual? If not, you can get it from Meade's web site (http://meade.com/software-manuals/telescope-manuals/etx). The ETX/AutoStar manual will have a diagram showing the AutoStar menu tree. CALIBRATE MOTOR just tests the motors and adjusts the AutoStar to the power level of the batteries (or other power source). TRAIN DRIVES adjusts the AutoStar for the rotation of the gears. TRAIN DRIVES (done separately on each axis) should be done using a distant object that doesn't move. In a pinch, you can also use Polaris.

And this:

I'm tempted to visit you tonight....and drag my ETX125 with me to let
you show me how to use the dam thing!

BTW, I'm expecting to take delivery from A-mart on a used LX200R 8" this
Wednesday, the predecessor to the ACF, actually just the same but
renamed due to litigation.
Just in time to try it on the moon before the monsoons!
How do you like yours?

Currently I have a Meade 7" Mak-Cass, an ES 5" f/7.5 Apo, and a bunch of little stuff.

Thanks! Dick.
Mike here: Bring it up when you come; best at night so we can do real star alignments. I have a lot of fun with my 8" LX200-ACF.

And:

Yep, have the manual. Need to memorize it.

Did the right things. Just didn't solve the problem, unless I undid
something acccidently.
Did not change the power input from 12V external battery.

Did turn the power off each time the OTA ran into stop limits.
Mike here: Just to be certain there is no obstruction, does the telescope rotate freely almost twice around between hard stops? Unlock the Azimuth axis and slowly rotate the tube by hand.

And:

I'm pretty sure I followed setting the Home Position faithfully. Many
turns CCW, then back to put an arm over the sockets on the base, which
was more than 90 degrees.

If you don't mind, I'll just bring it with us when we come to visit you
on Saturday.


Subject:	Should I lubricate anything on a never used
7+ year old ETX-125PE that I just purchashed?
Sent: Friday, June 7, 2013 10:37:03 From: Andy Corbiere (andy@bitebuzzer.com) I just bought my first telescope and it is an ETX-125 PE with the picture on the outside of the tube (pre 2007?). It still has all the original packaging and even the tissue paper on the tube. No scratches or wear whatsoever. Before I install the batteries I am wondering if there is anything you would do before using it. For instance lubricate the gears or any other parts since it has been sitting for 7+ years in a box. Also is there any way to find out exactly how old it is? The serial number on the base is B0710062041207 if that helps. Thanks in advance. Andy
Mike here: Unless the lubrication is GONE, all you probably need to do is to unlock both axes and slowly move the telescope by hand up and down, and left and right (hard stop to hard stop) several times. That should loosen and redistribute the lubrication. As to age, it is probably from 2006-8.


Subject:	Leveling ETX-80 question
Sent:	Wednesday, June 5, 2013 06:06:51
From:	Phillip Morawa (p.morawa@hotmail.com)
I have an ETX-80 backpack setup. I am very familiar with leveling
tripods from a background in surveying. When I carefully level my tripod
and secure the telescope to it, the telescope bubble shows a side to
side drift compared to the centered tripod bubble. Which should I
believe? Going back to survey practice, should I center the scope bubble
using both tripod leg and Alt tweaking until I can rotate the scope in
Az with the bubble staying centered? Is this crazy overkill or really a
necessity for accurate alignment? Thanks, Phillip
Mike here: Actually, I wouldn't get to worried about precise leveling of the tripod of the OTA when doing the AutoStar alignment. The AutoStar software is very forgiving of errors in leveling. I usually just eyeball the leveling.


Subject:	RE: ETX-70
Sent:	Monday, June 3, 2013 07:59:19
From:	Eleni tell you later! (eleni-kitten@hotmail.com)
Thank you both very much for your help!!! :D
Much appreciated! Now I have my telescope connected with an
appropriate adaptor and I can finally use it for as long as I want
and to it's full potencial..! Thank you! :D

Best Regards,
Helen


Subject:	Re: ETX 125 motor unit failure
Sent:	Monday, June 3, 2013 06:52:05
From:	John Urbanchuk (jurbanchuk@gmail.com)
Thanks to you and others on the forum for advice.  Unfortunately the
instructions were a bit too technical for this poor dumb economist so I
finally decided to remove the OTA and will mount it on a Celestron VX
GEM or new iOptron ZEQ25 in the next week or so.  I am donating the
failed motor unit/mount to another member of the Astronomy club
(BucksMont Astronomy Association) to which I belong who will harvest it
for parts.

Removing the OTA was easier than I expected.  The directions on the
Forum Telescope Technical Tips for maintenance of the ETX 105 were right
on the mark.  Biggest issue I had was finding the correct size Allen
wrenches (I lost the original ones).  For anyone else trying this, the
right size is 7/64.

Thanks again!  I should be up and observing with the ETX 125 very soon
and hope to do some astrophotography with the help of the GEM.

Regards,

JMU


Subject:	Opinion
Sent:	Sunday, June 2, 2013 18:45:47
From:	Patrick Horan (pjh6970@att.net)
I have had some insightful dialogue with you in the past and value your
opinion.

I'm wondering if you've ever had any experience using any type of stereo
binocular viewer eyepieces, i.e., Celestron model 93691, or anything
similar...

photo

It adds 5" of length (and width) to whatever eyepieces are being used
with it. which can sometimes be 3 or 4 inches long as it is. Do you
think this may reduce the ergonomics of the machine?

Also, do you think the extra weight would throw off it's center of
gravity or otherwise overburden the motors?

To be able to view with two eyes seems to be a great idea, but I don't
know if it's all it's cracked up to be...

Thanks in advance for any feedback you may be able to provide.
 
~ Patrick ~  
Mike here: I have never used binoviewers but you will find some reviews by others on the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page on my ETX Site.


Subject:	anywhere to get the old ETX 90 Meade electric focuser?
Sent:	Sunday, June 2, 2013 04:31:49
From:	JonI (ji425bt@verizon.net)
I am looking around for an older Meade ETX-90 electric focuser.  The one
I had consisted of a motor, a belt (which looked like an o-ring), a
large cylindrical knob to replace the original focusing knob, and a two
button remote with variable speed control.  I'm not sure who made it,
but it wasn't very expensive.... I would guess Scopetronix but not sure.
Anyway, I'd like to replace this with the cheapest electric focuser
possible.

Thanks for your help,
Jon
Mike here: The JMI MotoFocus I have attached directly to the focus rod and didn't use an O-ring. The JMI MotoDec did use an O-ring to drive the original ETX (now known as the ETX-90RA) in Declination. However, it appears that some models of the MotoFocus did use an O-ring. You could contact JMI (link on the Other: Astronomy Links page) and ask them if they have still have any available. Or you could contact Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page) and see what they have available (including the Meade focuser). You could also make one; there are several electric focus tips on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. The old Scopetronix is no longer in business. See the Other: Editorial Page for some background on Scopetronix vs CNC Parts Supply.


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