Last updated: 31 March 2007

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:	stuck lens cap on etx125 pe
Sent:	Saturday, March 31, 2007 08:39:24
From: (
Hi Mike, any idea how to get a stuck lens cover off of an etx 125. This
has'nt happened in 2 years.
Mike here: Grab a rubber jar lid opener (and perhaps a rubber glove as well). Stand in front of the ETX so that you look at the lens cap from the front of the telescope. Hold the lens housing in place with one hand (wearing a rubber glove). Place your hand over the cap with your fingers gripping the edge of the cap on as much of the circumference as you can (using the rubber jar lid opener). Start applying turning force counterclockwise (the top, 12 o'clock if you prefer, should move to the left). If you hold the housing in place the cap should eventually turn.
Subject:	click-clack sound on ETX 90
Sent:	Saturday, March 31, 2007 00:50:04
From:	Steve Ritter (
A few nights ago I left my ETX-90 outside tracking the moon which was
pretty high in the sky, while I went in the house to get a snack.  After
a little while I began to hear this loud and repetitive click-clacking
sound, which unfortunately I attributed to my noisy neighbor.  When I
went back outside 5 or 10 minutes later, I realized to my horror that it
was the scope that was making the noise.  It was pointing almost
straight up and sounding like a woodpecker.  I turned it off and assumed
I had stripped the gears and would be sending it in for an overhaul. 
Tonite I mustered the nerve to turn it on in the house and see if it
even moved.  I put it through a "mock" alignment (it was indoors) and it
click-clacked a little, but seemed to get through it alright.  After it
began "tracking" the click-clack happened once every 30-35 seconds.  Of
course, since I was testing it inside, I don't know how accurately it
was tracking.  How badly do you think I damaged it, and is there
anything I can try to remedy the situation.  I'm not terribly mechanical
and the idea of taking it apart doesn't thrill me.
I would appreciate any diagnosis and suggestion you might offer. 
Thanks !
Steve Ritter
Mike here: I suspect the battery power got low and caused a "random slew" the altitude hard stop. The clicking sound you heard was probably the gears, although there can be other causes as well. Whether any damage was done by the prolonged running against the stop will have to be determined. The indoor clicking you heard might be due to a broken tooth on a gear or it could be due to a loose gear mount. But before you get too worried, replace the batteries (assuming you were running on batteries), do a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES. Do a normal alignment and GOTO some object. Watch how smoothly the telescope tracks over a period of time. Try a second object in a different direction as well. If you see jerks in the image as well as hearing the clicking sound, you have a problem. If you don't see jerks then you are likely OK. If the sound still occurs but there is no or very little jerking at the same time as the sound the cause might be a wire that is too close to the gears. If there is a problem and you don't feel comfortable working inside it, contact Meade. At least you are somewhat close to their Irvine facility.


The only problem with your battery theory is that I was running on AC

Mike here: Depending on the AC Adapter and your local power company, an electrical line "glitch" could also cause the random slew.
Subject:	Meade ETX-125EC
Sent:	Friday, March 30, 2007 03:55:36
From:	Diane Soall (
I bought my husband one of the above telescopes about two years ago and
we have tried on several occasions to set it up for use with the
Autostar Controller.

Can you please tell me whereabouts on the telescope is the built-in
spirit level and whereabouts on the leg does it show at "N" in order
that we may set this leg facing North.

Also in order to double check we have input the correct data for our
position, can we access the area on the handset where we input our
longitude again?  We understand it only asks for this info at the
beginning of set up but we would like to double check it.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Diane Soall
Mike here: If your tripod has one, the bubble level should be on the flat portion at the top. If the leg has the "N" it will be near the top of the leg where one of the legs connects to the top flat part of the base. However, if you are setting up in Alt/Az mode then which leg is on the North side is less important than having the ETX control panel on the West side. As to re-entering your site location, you can do that from the Setup: Site: Edit menu.


Many thanks for your prompt reply.   It would appear that our Model
(ETC125EC) did not come with the spirit level.   Also we have worked out
which leg it should be pointing north, and although there is no "N"
marked, there is a small mark which the other legs do not have, so we
assume this must be it.

We are just waiting for a clear night now to try it out again.

Thanks again for your help

Diane Soall
Mike here: Some tripods might have a "star" instead of a "N".
Subject:	etx-90/ec help with lens cap.
Sent:	Thursday, March 29, 2007 19:01:02
From:	Christopher RYAN (
I have just taken my etx-90/ec telescope out of retirement and just
found out that the lens cap has been overtigtened.  I don't even know
which way to unscrew it. I have used those craftsman rubber bottle
openers on it to no avail. It keeps removing the whole top lens assembly
from the unit.   I have even tried a hand held jar unscrewer which only
stripped the small little notches on it.  Any suggestions?? I am afraid
to use wd-40 on it fearing that it might damage the lens.
Please help
Mike here: Grab that rubber jar lid opener (and perhaps a rubber glove as well). Stand in front of the ETX so that you look at the lens cap from the front of the telescope. Hold the lens housing in place with one hand (wearing a rubber glove). Place your hand over the cap with your fingers gripping the edge of the cap on as much of the circumference as you can (using the rubber jar lid opener). Start applying turning force counterclockwise (the top, 12 o'clock if you prefer, should move to the left). If you hold the housing in place the cap should eventually turn.
Subject:	Re: Replacing the ETX  RA Mechanical stop 
Sent:	Thursday, March 29, 2007 10:33:39
From:	Al Mlinar (
Thanks for the info. on replacing the Mechanical Stop. When I removed
some parts, I found that it is the Ra plastic Stop Ring that is broken.
Would you be kind enough to advise me as to where I can purchase one.

My scope is a ETX-105EC. No model number to be found.

I had trouble removing the large nut. I ended up using a Socket wrench.
I still couldn't loosen it by force. I had to tap on the wench handle to
break it loose. I suspected Loc-tite and I was right. It took two of us
to remove the nut. One holding the scope and the other removing the nut.

If it wasn't for Dr. Clay's Instructions, I never would have attempted
the repair.

With age comes determination. I'm 92.
Al Mlinar
Little Falls NY
Mike here: Hey, I'm proud of you for digging into this! Well done!
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
Wow....way to go Al....we're proud for you.

Regarding the hard stop ring, that is something that you are not going
to be able to talk Meade out of; they are each part of a bill of
materials for a complete telescope and not listed as a repair item. 
However, you CAN make your own hard do not need for them to
be as you see them.  Be creative.  I have made azimuth hard stops out of
small nylon bushings held in place with small self tapping screws, or
you might even try using Gorilla glue and gluing a self-made stop to the
position of the broken WILL work.

Sounds like you will come up with something.  I like your style.

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)

Subject:	Meade ETX-90
Sent:	Monday, March 26, 2007 10:30:31
From:	Wendi Scott (
So you can take pictures with the Meade ETX-90? I have been looking at
getting one for my son. I want something that will take pictures and I
can't find anything that says whether it does or not. From the looks of
your website it obviously does. Do you need attachments to get it to
take pictures?
Thank you,
Mike here: You can see MANY examples of astrophotography with the ETX-90 on my ETX Site. So, yes, you can do it. BUT keep your expectations in line with the small size of the telescope. As to attachments, yes, you will need an attachment to mount a camera unless you plan to get one of the dedicated astrophotography imagers. For more on astrophotography, see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page.
Subject:	Tosday's EPOD was assisted by an ETX90...
Sent:	Sunday, March 25, 2007 13:58:34
From:	richard seymour (
Today's (25-mar-2007)  Earth Science Photo of the Day (EPOD)
was taken by a camera riding piggy-backed on an ETX90:

have fun

Subject:	Question about ETX you might know.
Sent:	Saturday, March 24, 2007 20:01:13
From:	Mariano Vincent de Urquiza (
Hi!.  I have an ETX and recently I bought a #64 adapter to do some
astro-photography.   I have a Nikon D70 but the telescope doesn't hold
it, it is completely impossible to hold the declination with the camera
on.  Also it seems that the declination lock doesn't work since I'm able
to manually move the OTA with or without tighten it.

I search in your website and found that you had a problem that required
to replace one of the tube adapters.   Besides the problem of adding
weight to the scope, if I don't load it with anything seems to keep its
position.  My question is if you know how much weight is too much for
the scope, or if I would need to replace the locking mechanism.

I'd really appreciate your help.
Weston, FL
Mike here: You didn't say WHICH model of the ETX you have but as you may have noted, I found that my Nikon D70 DSLR was too heavy for the ETX-70 in Polar Mode. It works fine on my ETX-90RA and other ETX models. You can alleviate some of the weight problems by using a counterweight (see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography for lots of tips on counterweights). If you DEC lock doesn't hold the the telescope in position then the Right Tube Adapter may have failed; contact Meade for a replacement unless you want to try one of the tips on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.


Thank you for your prompt response. I have an ETX-90AT, so I guess I
have had a right tube adapter failure since it doesn't hold the
declination in either Alt/Az or Polar modes with the camera installed.

I'll contact Meade for a replacement part and use your article as a
guide to replace it.

Thank you.

Mike here: I don't believe Meade will sell this as a replacement part; they will want to do the repair.


Problem fixed.  I disassembled the arm and cleaned the clutch
thoroughly, assembled it again and now it holds the camera weight

Your web site has been a source of good information so I really thank
you for that.

Thank you.

Subject:	105 End Stops
Sent:	Saturday, March 24, 2007 11:23:16
From:	young (
I purchased a105 with Autostar in 2004 from a dealer in the UK.
Should this model have end stops . I can feel no mechanical stops or
resistance to rotation.
Thanks for your help ,
Regards, Ron Young  Wiltshire England
Mike here: Yes, there should be two. You should hit one and then go almost but not quite twice around before reaching the 2nd one.


Thanks for your reply, I have had a look in the base unit and there does
not appear to be any damage or any thing obviously missing, I guess I
will have to try and make contact with Mead. but the unit is now three
years old but hardly used.


Mike here: So when rotating the ETX you go continuously around and never reach EITHER stop no matter how many full rotations you do in either direction?


I got up to approx. ten and then gave up as I assumed that there were
not stops.

That seems to be the case,  I have rotated the base with the cover
removed and supported by my wife,  the wiring inside is in good order,
and is arranged so as not to be affected by the rotation the base.

I am a complete novice on telescopes but I am a qualified engineer and
there dose not seem to be any thing missing or damaged  as far as I can

Autostar tells me it has successful aligned when  I practice setting up
the system. But I have not yet had a clear night since finding out about
the stops to check weather is has actually aligned. I have been using
the 'scope to look at the moon and other stuff by manual alignment. I am
now very confused !!

Mike here: Yep, they are gone. Not a fatal problem since you can enable "Cord Wrap" in the AutoStar but it should be repaired to avoid future problems.
Subject:	Replacing the ETX  RA Mecanical stop 
Sent:	Saturday, March 24, 2007 10:04:41
From:	Al Mlinar (

I'm using your Technical Tips for replacing The ETX RA mechanical stop.
I'm at a point where I'm removing the RA axis nut. Do I have to remove
the worm gear assembly to remove the nut. Hope there is a way to get
around this.

I have a long way to go.
Al Mlinar
Little Falls, NY

From our resident hardware expert:

From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
I would recommend always removing the RA worm assembly but do not take
it completely out...remove the three Phillips screws and let the worm
assembly "hang" in place supported by the worm gear assembly that goes
into the small reducer gear box.  Remember that if you remove the nut,
the entire wiring assembly must pass through the axle opening....if not,
it will break all the wiring going into the DEC assembly....much care.

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)

Subject:	Request for Assistance
Sent:	Saturday, March 24, 2007 07:49:53
From:	Rem alex (
I broke the CD ( the one that came along with backage ) , its 4 the
Meade ETX - 60AT digital telescope , i really need it and im very far
way from anything related 2 markets and shops , how can i get 1 ?? just
the CD not the whole backage .
thanx .
Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Site Home Page. Your email was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the ambiguous and SPAM-like subject line. Thanks for understanding.
As to a replacement CD-ROM, contact Meade. You might be able to use their online customer support request web page.
Subject:	RE: I need help with my ETX-125 hardware problem
Sent:	Saturday, March 24, 2007 06:40:19
From:	Bob Frey (
Thank you....I meant the right tube won't stay in the
vertical position.

You have a great site...very helpful!!


Subject:	Re: ETX90 on DS2000 mount?
Sent:	Friday, March 23, 2007 17:56:59
From:	Possma Net (
Thanks for Your very fast answer!

But as far as i can see the DS-mount descriptions are using the DS-60 or
DS-80 mounts - but i intend to use the DS-2114 mount, as You can see
here, for example:

I couldnt find a description for this thing on Your site - maybe i just
didnt find it?

If im really having this tool time, i will take pictures and write a
description for Your site!

Posma Net
Mike here: The DS mount you are considering is very similar to the DSX mount that holds either a ETX-90 OTA or -125 OTA. So you could be OK. You'll just have to find a way to attach it; hopefully the articles will help. Feel free to write up a tech tip and send it along if you do try it.
Subject:	ETX90 on DS2000 mount?
Sent:	Friday, March 23, 2007 17:22:15
From:	Possma Net (
first of all: Great site! It did help me a lot!

But i have a question i didnt find an answer to yet - maybe You can help
me out with that: I own an ETX90RA and astrophotography is just next to
impossible with my thing. Right now i'm thinking about buying an DS2000
(or DS2114 - i think the mount is the same) and putting the ETX on that
mount. I'm planning to use this on a wedge. Do You think this makes
sense? Or is the DS2000 mount to weak?

Posma Net
Mike here: There are some articles on mounting an ETX OTA on some DS mounts on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Whether that will provide you with a stable enough platform for astrophotography will depend on many factors including the type of astrophotography and local conditions.
Subject:	I need help with my ETX-125 hardware problem
Sent:	Friday, March 23, 2007 17:17:33
From:	Bob Frey (
I can no longer tighten the right ascension clutch to hold the scope in
an upright position. I sounds like gears slipping as the scope slips
down to pointing at the ground.
I live in Little Rock, AR.
Any idea's who may be able to repair this for me?
Bob Frey        
Mike here: I'm confused. Do you mean that the lever for the Right Ascension (horizontal, azimuth) won't move far enough to lock the ETX into position? If so, see the FAQ page. If you mean that the Declination (vertical, altitude) lock won't lock (which might be what you mean when you indicated "upright") then it could be that the Right Tube Adapter is broken. If that is the case you can try one of the fixes discussed on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page or alternatively contact Meade for a repair. However, since you live in Arkansas you might consider contacting Dr. Clay Sherrod for his Supercharge Tuneup service. The link to his info is on the ETX Site home page.
Subject:	recticle broke
Sent:	Friday, March 23, 2007 11:10:30
From:	Stephen Olson (
It seems that my recticle eyepiece is broke. The tube that slides in the
mount has a hole in it where one of the alignment screws fit. I think
that when I bought my scope it was used...not a display model. Thats
another story. I am really getiing into astrophotogaphy. just bought the
DSI II pro. Love it. My question is do I really need the recticle to
align with polaris? Or can I use the regular eyepiece? I just cannot get
the recticle to stay in position and have to keep adjusting it. Driving
me nuts. takes me 1hr each time to readjust it. Any suggestions? I
called meade...they were NO help. I would love to get my hands on a new
reticle eyepiece. You have any? Thanks again for all your help. Hope you
have a great weekend!
Mike here: No you do not NEED a reticle eyepiece for aligning. I typically only use the 26mm eyepiece when aligning. However for more precision you can use a shorter focal length eyepiece and/or put the image out of focus (which can help when centering the star). I normally only use a reticle eyepiece for guiding during astrophotography.


Thanks Mike. Your a godsend! hey I normally dont send video links but this one should be on your site

too funny!

Mike here: Great video!
Subject:	ETX125PE, Electric Focuser and Autostar Problem
Sent:	Thursday, March 22, 2007 12:13:59
From:	Cafarella, Edward M. (
OK, so I have an ETX125PE with the 497 Autostar controller along with
the electric focuser.  I have the focuser hooked up to run through my
Autostar handset and ditched the original controller that came with it
because I was tired of changing batteries.  My problem has to do with
how it works with Autostar.  I've noticed an annoying thing however: 
whenever I'm in Guided Tour - Tonight's Best, and I'm viewing the tenth
item into the list, say M42, when I want to focus the scope, I hold down
the Mode key for a few seconds and it allows me to focus the scope with
the arrow keys.  All fine and good.  But when I'm done focusing and want
to go back to the Guided Tour to view the next object, I press Mode
again and the Guided Tour is back at square one. I have to scroll
through the first ten to get to number eleven.  I guess what I'm asking
is if there's a way to exit out of the focus mode and get back the the
Guided Tour where I left off?  Any suggestions, or am I doing something
Ed Cafarella
Mike here: Hadn't experienced that before but then I've never gone through that scenario. Sounds like maybe a bug report to is in order.
Subject:	Scopetronix?
Sent:	Wednesday, March 21, 2007 08:50:51
From:	Bronco Maniac (
Have you any idea how to get in touch with ScopeTronix? They don't
answer any e-mails (at any of their addresses) and list no phone number.
I need a J.M.B. Inc. class A solar filter for an EXT70.

Mike here: As frequently noted recently, Scopetronix is going through some difficulties. I recommend not using them until their issues are resolved even though their web site is still available. I suggest contacting another dealer such as Shutan Camera and Video or OPT (I have a relationship with OPT).


I hadn't known about the difficulties Scopetronix is going through.
Thanks for the tip.


Subject:	Drive/Base Back From Meade
Sent:	Monday, March 19, 2007 05:13:46
From:	Mark Gerald Dilley (
My ETX base is back from Meade.  Meade shipped it back to me in a new
ETX box.  At first I wasn't sure whether they had just replaced the base
but a little glue from an attempt to secure the left fork arm after I
brought the scope home.  Motors work more firmly and quieter now. 
Working on perfecting a homemade equatorial wedge and a base for the
wedge that I can mount to our old swing set in the backyard.   Its away
from the house and shielded from the lights of the house and most of the
neighborhood streetlights.  Goofy pictures once I finish it.

Subject:	Using DS-20xx mount to replace broken etx
Sent:	Monday, March 19, 2007 04:12:48
From:	Wasserman, Adam ((Home)) (
My ETX-90 is no longer successfully doing it's go-to thing.  I'm pretty
sure that the problem came from piggy-backing my PST, which overloaded
the ETX mount (might warn the faithful).  I was considering getting a
DS-20xx series mount and attaching my ETX-90 tube to that as a
replacement, the alternative being a $300 trip to Dr. Sherrod.  I was
wondering what your opinion was of this set up?
Thanks for taking the time.
Adam Wasserman
Mike here: I have successfully and without any problems piggybacked my PST on my ETX-90RA. As to putting the OTA on a DS mount, there are some articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page that discuss that. Alternatively you might try to get a replacement mount online (try Telescope Warehouse; link on the Astronomy Links page). On the other hand, you might try just tuning up the ETX mount using some of the techniques on the Telescope Tech Tips page. Or perhaps all you need to do to is CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES from the AutoStar.
Subject:	ETX-80 AT - Shipping to UK
Sent:	Monday, March 19, 2007 02:21:01
From: (
I love your site, and it has been really useful since I decided I would
like to buy the ETX-80AT to get myself and my kids in to Astronomy.
However I am miffed at the price I may have to pay for this telescope in
the UK compared to the US.

Do you or any of your friends know of any stores, online or otherwise,
who would be willing to ship Meade products to the UK?  All the sites I
have visited reply at checkout saying they do not ship Meade products
outside the US or Canada!

Keep up the good work.

Many thanks

Mike here: Due to the legal ramifications and export/import laws around the world, such restrictions are a fact of life in today's "global economy".
Subject:	Telescope Cable
Sent:	Thursday, March 15, 2007 12:52:24
From: (
I looking to get the USB to RS-232 Bridge Cable from Meade.  This cable
is going for $40.  I have found similar cables for a lot less.  I am
wondering if this Meade cable is "special" or is it just over priced?
Thank you for your time.
Mike here: As you can read in the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page, not all adapters work with the AutoStar update application. So, while you can get cheaper ones, using the Meade will ensure compatibility. But I suggest you read the article for some alternatives.
Subject:	Re: ETX 70 vertical lock knob
Sent:	Wednesday, March 14, 2007 18:47:28
From:	Bronco Maniac (
I own an ETX scope and a 5" reflector. I picked up a 4000 series 26mm
plossl today after reading your list of must-have items. I own some
Parks super plossl optics and some nice Apogee eyepieces. I'm looking
forward to trying the Meade. How do they compare to the standard Meade
super plossl? I have a few of those.

Mike here: I look forward to your comparison.
Subject:	Re: ETX 105 Lens problem with dirt?
Sent:	Wednesday, March 14, 2007 12:57:41
From:	Carlos Aviles (
This is a follow up to my last e-mail about "cleaning the lenses" on my

As suggested I shipped the telescope to Meade for inspection and
cleaning.  The telescope was received by Meade in mid January and I was
told to expect some delays as the holiday season's returns where just
then coming in.  The first week of February I called and it turned out
that although the system showed the telescope delivered by UPS, it was
nowhere to be found, but I was told to call back in a week as the post
holiday rush was still in full swing.  I called the following week and
at that point I was told that the scope was still MIA and that they
would issue and expedited work order and that if in two weeks the issue
was not resolved that they would send me a replacement.  Two weeks
passed and as promised I was told that a replacement was going to be
shipped.  Today 3.14, I received the replacement and it turned out to be
a brand new unit, not refurbished or a return and to top it off it has a
silver signature from Buzz Aldrin on the OTA. (Are this original
signatures?)  At all times the customer service folks at Meade where
very helpful and they volunteered to send me a replacement when at some
point I asked what my options where. I never waited more than 10 minutes
on the phone.  I am very impressed. I am very happy with my decision to
purchase an ETX and to have received so much help from the factory and
from you and your magnificent site.  Know, like they say in the
commercial.  "let's go light this candle"

As a side note, before I shipped my old ETX to Meade in January my wife
and I where observing Sirius ( she can focus the instrument a lot better
than I can) and she kept telling me about this smaller, less bright star
next to it and I told her that knowing that we had some problems with
the lenses I was pretty sure it was some reflection or something else. 
Later I was reading one of the astronomy magazines and found out that
Sirius has a "companion".  I guess she was right after all, like always.
She is hooked on the ETX.

Clear Skies,

Carlos Aviles
Mike here: Good for Meade! As to the small star your wife saw, it likely was not the acclaimed companion to Sirius, which is difficult to see due to the brightness of Sirius and its closeness to Sirius.
Subject:	Alt movement when Az slewing
Sent:	Tuesday, March 13, 2007 12:15:12
From:	Alex Lam (
I just got a new ETX125PE, but I am getting more and more frustrate with
its mechanics.

One that I hate most is the Alt movement when I slew the scope on the Az
axis. The image would swing up/down a bit before moving left/right and
sometime swing back down/up. This mainly happens when I slew in a
different direction from what I was previously slewing.

Is it a symptom of bad Az/Alt percentages? Or bad tension somewhere in
the gear or clutches?

Mike here: This occasionally comes up. Sometimes it seems like it could be a bad controller or AutoStar. But I'm leaning towards just torque for some of the reports. Obviously electrically sending a slew command to one motor should not drive the other motor. So what it could be due to is overtighten (perhaps) axis lock or perhaps an out-of-balance condition mass-wise.
Subject:	DEC Issues
Sent:	Sunday, March 11, 2007 08:36:37
From:	Jeremy Porter (
Thanks for your hard work maintaining your site. I see a lot of good
information! However, I'm not sure if I have missed something. I have an
125-ETX EC. It seems that when I use the motor for declination it will
move upward but not downward again. It just "clicks" loudly. That makes
me think the gears are slipping (not good!). I wonder if there is
something I can do to easily fix this or if I should just send it in for
repair. I know it is out of warranty as I have had it for several years
and just started using the motor to take photos.
Mike here: Clicking sounds are not good. It could be indicative of a loose gearbox or broken gear teeth. Since the problem only occurs in one direction I suspect the gearbox is loose. If you want to try a repair yourself there are several articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page that could help.
Subject:	Re: Faulty drive motor on etx-90
Sent:	Friday, March 9, 2007 09:48:46
From:	Alexander David Grushky (
Thought id let you know that I just decided to return the telescope for
another one, and this one works perfect. Once I calibrated the sensors,
motors, and trained the drives, it worked perfect. Thanks for all the

P.S. Do you have any opinion on the best way to do astrophotography?
Mike here: Glad you are working again. As to the best way to do astrophotography, hop on the next rocketship to the far side of the Moon. Take your 3.5m telescope and 1 degree imager with you. Or did you have something else in mind, like maybe using that new ETX-90? If so, see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page. Best solution for you will depend on how much effort you want to put into, what equipment you may already have, what you plan to shoot, and your budget.
Subject:	OT_Pluto is again a planet...IF you live in New Mexico!
Sent:	Thursday, March 8, 2007 09:40:10
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
I thought this would give many of you an uplift.  Thanks to Arizona for
sky pollution laws, and now New Mexico for putting some sense back into
astronomy and some integrity back into discoveries made of USA soil.

New Mexico has just passed legislation to now designate officially PLUTO
as a planet once again.  Interesting reading.

I have posted a brief abstract as well as a link on the ASO Current News
or the direct link:

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)

Subject:	ETX125 total power failure after using new mains power supply
Sent:	Thursday, March 8, 2007 01:55:18
From: (
I have owned a second-hand ETX125 (not sure of the exact model) for
about a year. I recently got a new Uniross 1200R mains power supply with
variable DC output voltage, supplied by a reputable telescope retailer.
I tried running the scope using the 12V setting, centre pin positive.
The scope ready-light LED came on very dimly, then went out when I
plugged the Autostar controller in. Since then the scope refuses to
power up using either (fresh) alkaline batteries or the power supply.
The power supply seems to be working OK (on the 6V setting it powers a
small radio just fine) but I have no electronic test gear to check it.

In previous use with internal (alkaline) batteries I had noticed that
the scope was slow to power up, often requiring up to a minute or two
before the LED reached full strength and failing to power up at all if
the Autostar controller was plugged in when the scope was turned on.
However, it always powered up in the end and then worked fine for the
rest of the session. I've always put this down to cold batteries.

My initial thoughts are that this is a glitch with the battery/mains
power switchover (I've read a couple of posts on this topic). I'm
fervently hoping it's not something more serious. I'm more-or-less
electronically ignorant but I would be prepared to attempt a home repair
given clear enough instructions. I'm based in the UK, so returning to
Meade for repair may not be practical unless some kind soul can
recommend a UK-based repair shop.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Best regards,

Jon Crowe
Mike here: Since you had experienced slow power on prior to switching to the external power source I suspect that something was failing inside the ETX base. If that is the case then your best solution would be to contact a local Meade dealer (there are several in the UK, see the Astronomy Links page or Meade's site if you need to find one).


Thanks for the prompt reply. I'll send the scope to hospital instead of
trying surgery myself.

Subject:	Fwd: Serial #
Sent:	Wednesday, March 7, 2007 06:10:44
From: (
Can you confirm that ETX telescopes vintage 2001 do not have serial
numbers on them?

Meade customer service says no.  But you are the man :)

We are doing an inventory of our club's hard assets and own a 125 ETX
that we won from the IDA.


Steve Petzold
-----Original Message-----
From: keith
Sent: Tue, 6 Mar 2007 8:40 PM
Subject: Re: Serial #

On Tue, 6 Mar 2007 14:04:05 EST, wrote:

Weird, I was reading all kinds of threads saying that so and so serial
numbers on ETX scopes determined what kinds of bugs the scope had or how
it was built after certain serial numbers.

OK, no S/N.  Thanks.


>Meade customer service verified that there is no serial # on the ETX  scopes. 
> I looked all over it.
Mike here: I don't recall the exact year and model numbers when they started but early models did not have a serial number.
Subject:	Faulty drive motor on etx-90
Sent:	Monday, March 5, 2007 20:17:07
From:	Alexander David Grushky (
Thanks for the advice on the eyepieces, I went with the set containing
the 6.4, 12.4, and 32 and it's working out great.

Unfortunately, tonight I tried to align my autostar operation and
realized that the telescope moves horizontally, but not vertically. I
ran a "calibrate drive" test and again, the same result. Interestingly,
the motor makes a sound, it just doesn't move. I'm wondering if this is
a common problem that is fixable or is this something that needs to be
sent in and dealt with.

Thanks again!
Alex Grushky 
Mike here: Couple of possibilities: could you be overtightening the vertical axis lock? Could you have overtightened it at some point and now it has failed? To check for the latter, manually raise the tube upwards to about 45 degrees elevation and lock the axis. Then let go (but keep your hand under the tube); does the tube tend to go downward? If so, the Right Tube Adapter has failed. Let me know what you find out.


I did what you said, manually raised the scope and then locked the axis.
Once locked, it dropped maybe a millimeter, though im not sure if that's
what you meant by go downward. Also, since the drive doesn't work, I've
been manually locating objects and notice that to center vertically I
have to raise it a little higher than center, and then it will fall into
center (note: this isn't due to the earth's movement).

Last night I unscrewed the locked and pulled it off to see the
mechanism. The knob and plate came off and all appeared in good
condition, meaning the screw and bolt are in tact.

As far as over-tightening, its very possible I over-tightened. Since
there's no real stopping point and the manual says "firm feel", I always
just tighten it a little past snug, perhaps a little too far. However,
this vertical drive has never worked properly since I got it, so I doubt
my tightening had an effect.

Thanks again 
Mike here: Since the tube doesn't fall back to the base when the axis is locked the Right Tube Adapter hasn't failed. Lets try one more thing: repeat the CALIBRATE MOTOR and then TRAIN DRIVES; when training be certain to do both axes. Can you move the telescope vertically during the training process?


Please forgive the lengthiness. Just performed the CALIBRATE MOTOR and
TRAIN DRIVES outside and got an odd result. For the CALIBRATE test, it
was the same result, horizontal is fine but the vertical is immobile but
makes a sound. The TRAIN DRIVE yielded a nice result for the az/RA test,
with it working perfectly left and right. The alt/dec is where it gets
interesting. I had tightened the lock to what I felt was firm, and again
it wouldn't budge. Then I tightened past what I felt was snug, and
suddenly it starting moving down (not up). At this point, I decided to
fool around with it a little bit, loosening it and raising it to ~45
degrees, then tightening it past "my firm", and again it moved down, but
this time it moved slightly up (~1mm). So, after trying this a few times
and getting this same result of only downwards movement, I loosened it
again and raised it almost directly  vertical manually. I then tightened
it again to "my firm" and this time it moved up well, but down ~1mm. I
repeated this again, and this time it went up, and then amazingly
started going down! Although, only to ~45 degrees I should add. Then for
the next few tries, it didn't move up or down. Finally, I just moved it
back to almost upright, and again it moved up towards vertical, but not

I wondered if it had anything to do with the temperature outside (here
in MI it's around 15), but I figured it would've affected the horizontal
motor as well which it doesn't.

Thanks again. 
Mike here: I doubt that the air temperature had any affect and since the horizontal and vertical locks are different, that wouldn't have been a good test anyway. I presume that when you do the CALIBRATE MOTOR you are not getting an error on the AutoStar display. But it does sound like there could be a problem with the axis lock. There are several articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page if you want to try dealing with the problem yourself (will require opening up the fork arm) or you could contact Meade for a repair. But before you do those steps, lets try one more thing. Does the lack of vertical movement (up or down) occur at all slewing speeds when you try to manually slew using the AutoStar?
Subject:	Repairing the declination drive clutch
Sent:	Monday, March 5, 2007 15:44:25
From:	Alexander Roth (
Great web site you have.
I have an etx 125EC which seemed to have a declination clutch that
didn't disengage.   I could forcibly turn the knurled knob CCW but it
wouldn't loosen.

I managed to remove the knurled knob but the stud remained behind  but
now the stud and the setting circle disc rotate freely and and now I
can't engage the clutch.

I'd like to get inside the right side fork but I haven't spotted any
letters on your site with info on how to do it.  Is there one that I
missed, or do you have a link to something which will help?
Thank you,

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Alexander Roth
Mike here: See the article "ETX/EC Tune-up" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page; it may help. Also, see the article "ETX DEC knob fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.


One of the links was right on target.  Thank you so much.
Alex Roth

Subject:	ETX-90 Declination Knob Part
Sent:	Monday, March 5, 2007 15:10:00
From: (
I'm stuck.  I have a broken part on an ETX-90.  The right declination
knob turns freely and I have determined that it is NOT the knob itself,
but rather the part that the knob screws into.  The broken piece is the
female brass fitting that is pressed into black plastic (plastic broke).
Funny thing is that last week I ordered a new declination knob from
Meade direct (hoping that this piece would be attached).  So I got the
new knob and I called Meade back to order the other part.  They told me
that they did not sell parts direct!  Hmmm...they did last week!  I'm
trying to reach a supervisor, but perhaps you have a) another idea of a
source for this part and b) the "name" of the part?

Jim H.
Mike here: Sounds like a Right Tube Adapter failure; Meade doesn't sell the RTA to users. However, see the link "Astro Hut Right Tube Adapter Replacement" on the Astronomy Links page. Alternatively, see the article "ETX DEC knob fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.


Thank you for the advise.  The two articles you pointed me to will
help.  Thanks, Jim.

Subject:	Upgrading older ETX 215 to LNT
Sent:	Monday, March 5, 2007 01:20:25
From:	Aucoin, Richard ((G.)) (
Ok, quick question, I have a ETX125 AT, is it possible to install the
LNT module from Meade? From what I've read in your posts, no definite
answer was seen. Any ideas on the subject would be appreciated.   Thanks
again And the site is the best source of info for us newbies(meade
should have hired you..)  Rick Aucoin
Mike here: See the article "Adding a LNT to a non-LNT Telescope" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	re: GPS and local time
Sent:	Sunday, March 4, 2007 18:11:18
From:	richard seymour (
> Am I right in thinking that when you do the alignment
> procedure that all you are doing is letting the telescope work
> out exactly where it is...and that if you could program in your precise
> latitude/longtitude there would be no need to go through the alignment
> proccess?

Almost.  What the alignment -process- does is tell the telescope
how you have -physically- placed it on the planet.

If you place your ETX on a -level- surface, with the optical tube
-level- (optical axis tangent to local level), pointed -exactly-
due true north, then you don't have to align.
Give it the correct location (latitude/longitude) and the correct
UTC time (more on this later), and a GoTo should center the star.
This is, in essence, how "One Star" alignments work.  It trusts
you to get the physical setup correct, and then it goes to where
it has calculated the star to be.
I have a 100-meter distant landmark which lets me do this.
I use a carpenter's level to level the base, and the telescope
barrel, and i sight upon my distant landmark.
I tell it my local time and site (to within an arcminute).
I can now GoTo a star and expect to arrive within an arcminute or
five (which is probably the reading accuracy of my bubble level).

> Also, when I enter the time; should I enter my precise local time (eg: I
> live 1degree and 9 minutes West of GMT which equates to about 4 minutes
> and 37 seconds behind GMT) or stick to GMT.

Enter your GMT.  The Autostar uses your longitude number to perform
the 1 d 9' "shift" of Local Sidereal Time.

> Maybe I'm being presumptive, but I did presume that as long as the
> telescope knows your precise Lat, Long, and, local time, then it would
> automatically know where everything in the sky should be?

This is how it works.  The alignment process is merely showing it
how -you- messed up the physical placement (non-level base, not
pointed at true north, non-level optical tube).
If you have an LNT module, there are still reading errors possible
(magnetic north not -quite- what it thinks), and the errors in the
gear system may lower accuracy.

have fun

Subject:	GPS and local time
Sent:	Friday, March 2, 2007 19:42:28
From:	andrew roberts (
Thanks for producing such an informative site.

I've recently bought an ETX90 (RT I think). I already owned a Garmin GPS
receiver. Am I right in thinking that when you do the alignment
procedure that all you are doing is letting the telescope work out
exactly where it is...and that if you could program in your precise
latitude/longtitude there would be no need to go through the alignment

Also, when I enter the time; should I enter my precise local time (eg: I
live 1degree and 9 minutes West of GMT which equates to about 4 minutes
and 37 seconds behind GMT) or stick to GMT.

Maybe I'm being presumptive, but I did presume that as long as the
telescope knows your precise Lat, Long, and, local time, then it would
automatically know where everything in the sky should be?

Yours, in appreciation,

       Andy Roberts.
Mike here: "RT" model? There is an RA model, an EC model, an AT model, and a PE model. Don't know about a RT model. Unless the AutoStar is getting its time from the GPS, then you do enter your local time. Same applies to the Lat/Long. With those entries the AutoStar knows where the telescope is and what time it is. BUT it doesn't know where True North is (except on the PE models). So you have to put the telescope in a "Home" position as a starting point. From there it figures out where True North is using the star alignment steps.

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