Last updated: 31 March 2008

This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX, DSX, and DS models. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	Re: ETX-125 repair in Arizona
Sent:	Sunday, March 30, 2008 13:53:20
From:	Dale Wollschlager (
Thanks for the help Mike, I just got thru calibr. the motor and train
both drives....I'll see tonight how that helps out,

I downloaded ASU to upgrade my software and for some reason the updater
cant find my handbox connected.  I have the 505 cable but needed a male
pin to USB adapter since the 505 cable is so old I dont have that type
of connection on my laptop

Mike here: Not all USB-serial adapters work well with the AutoStar. See the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. I use a Keyspan adapter on my Macs and it works fine. You could also try the StarGPS application, which seems to work more reliably with the AutoStar through USB. It is available at Or you could be seeing a port conflict on the PC.
Subject:	Rechargeable batteries in an ETX125 PE
Sent:	Saturday, March 29, 2008 09:25:30
From:	xlimey78 (
I have comments & questions concerning the section "Rechargeable
Batteries" in the "Miscellaneous Accessories" section of your site.
Michael Morris reported the substitution of rechargeable batteries for
alkalines. I have had my ETX125 PE for 1 week now and as to be expected,
I've only had one clear night so far! I am using alkaline batteries in
the base of the EXT and would like to continue with such an internal
power source rather than an adapter connection to some outside socket,
so I was very interested in Michael's use of NiMH rechargeables, after
all they are indeed way cheaper in the long run. However I have tried
such a substitution of AA size alkalines in electronic equipment (a pda)
in the past and came up with two "killer" problems associated with NiMH
rechargeables. Firstly they are slightly larger in diameter than
alkaline batteries, which can, and did in my case, prevent four NiMH
rechargeables from fitting into the space vacated by four alkalines.
With eight batteries needed for the ETX125, such a size difference would
be accentuated. However, since Michael made no mention of such a
difficulty I must presume there is sufficient excess space to
accommodate the wider rechargeables. (Although larger capacity
rechargeables than his 1800mAh may have larger diameters.)

The other problem I found with rechargeables is one of chemistry. They
each provide 1.2 volt, not the 1.5 volt of alkalines. Once again, the
more batteries needed in series, the bigger this difference becomes.
Eight rechargeables will provide 8x1.2=9.6 volt instead of the 8x1.5=12
volt from alkalines. The ETX motors I suppose will treat 9.6 volt as if
it came from a partially discharged alkaline set, and thus still work,
but I am concerned that running electric motors at, albeit a constant,
9.6 volt, rather than the mostly higher voltage from alkalines for which
they were designed, may lead to the motors burning out sooner in the
future. I would appreciate other folk's views on this before I switch to
the 2200 mAh rechargeables I have in much of my other electronic stuff.
(Four rechargeables in my radio for example, constantly register as
"half empty" in the display, but with no other apparent ill effects.)

Duncan Pont
Mike here: See the article "Rechargeable Batteries" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Using such batteries is likely to be unreliable, especially with the larger ETX models. Using AC or an external DC power pack (such as the Celestron Power Tank discussed on the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page) would work fine.
Subject:	ETX-125 fork and base question
Sent:	Friday, March 28, 2008 05:16:25
I have just purchased an ETX-125. This is my first "serious" telescope,
my previous scope was a 4' reflector that my parents purchased me back
in the 1970's. The scope I bought was used and has a MPN of 05150002SP
with the UPC 709942351422. The scope came with Autostar 497, a rather
large tripod with what look to be 1 1/2" dia. legs with a top that can
be tilted for alt-az config(I think that's what it is used for), a 9.7mm
meade plossl, and a 8x25 spotting scope. I Assembled the scope in my
living room and noticed that there is a setting circle with  Declination
numbers under the left "knob" as looking at the back of the scope, there
are however no numbers on the base of the scope. I am at a loss as to
how to align the scope without those numbers on the base of the scope.
Is this a defective base? I have searched your site and the web but can
find no reference to anyone else who has come across this problem. Can I
purchase the base with the "numbers" and replace the  base on my scope?
or should I sell this scope and purchase another. I really want to be
able to use the go-to feature that this scope offers. It is the main
reason I purchased the ETX. I would send a picture of the scope but for
some reason the flash on my camera quit working and I am unable to get a
good picture.
Thank you
Kevin Spaulding
Mike here: First, you have your directional terminology backwards. The tripod (it sounds like a model #884) mounting plate tilts to provide "equatorial" mounting. You leave it horizontal for altitude/azimuth (alt/az) mounting. For most visual purposes alt/az is fine as the AutoStar will control the telescope in both axes to compensate for the Earth's rotation. The Right Ascension setting circle probably came off for the previous owner. It is not required when using the AutoStar to perform the alignment. Mine came off years ago and I have not re-attached it.
Subject:	ETX-70 and ETX-90
Sent:	Thursday, March 27, 2008 13:28:27
From:	Mark Coady (
First off, Mike, I would like to thank you for having this web page up
and running. I recently bought an ETX-70 off of E Bay and am grateful
for the info you can provide me. I have several fellow club
(Peterborough Astronomical Association) members who have various ETX
scopes. I have forwarded the link to your site to them.

One thing of note. Jim Kendrick, of Kendrick Astro Instruments (which
recently stopped being a distributor of other company's stuff), has a
used ETX-90 with case, eyepieces, and JMI motofocus, for $450 CDN
(which, depending on the day, may be worth more or less than USD). If
you have anyone on your list who is in Canada, or lives close, here's
the contact info, as his website does not list it.
Phone: (416) 762-7946 Toll Free: 1-800-393-5456 E-mail:
Mark Coady
Director, Publicity and Light Pollution Abatement
Peterborough Astronomical Association
Member, RASC Belleville Centre
Member, International Dark Sky Association
Member, Planetary Society
1038 Ward Street, Bridgenorth, ON K0L 1H0
(705) 292-0458
"Stars Up! Lights Down! Support light pollution abatement in your community!"

Subject:	I want to use a HD tripod with an 80ETX and a 8" to 10" SN
Sent:	Wednesday, March 26, 2008 20:10:31
From:	Michael (
I'd like to buy one HD tripod for use with an 80 ETX as well as mounting
some other mounts/telescopes to that tripod.  I have my eyes on the
Celestron CG5, CG4, Atlas CG5, LXD75, Viven and Vixen/Orion, and the
tripods used on the LX200s.  The LX200s are the ones I'd like to use the

Can I buy an adaptor for the 80 ETX to mount to the LX200s and the CG5s
which are my favorite mounts/tripods?  Then I must be able to use the
LX200 or CG5 to mount say a SN8 or 10 to do astrophotography.

I'd like to keep the components goto with tracking.  What suggestions do
you people have?
Mike here: Keep in mind that you really need a sturdy mount for the heavier telescope tubes; that is, anything larger than 6-8", depending on design and weight. The LX200 mount is certainly a heavy duty one. You would need rings and a mounting rail to mount the ETX-80 on the LX200 OTA. Adding a SN to the LX200 fork mount will be difficult since you would have to piggyback it on the LX200 OTA and that would be a problem due to the size and design. The more you add the sturdier the mount will need to be.
Subject:	re: ETX125-EC will not align
Sent:	Tuesday, March 25, 2008 22:23:46
From:	richard seymour (
re: the fried component.

That is a feed-through inductor whose job it is to suppress
electronic noise in the scope.
As a first attempt, it can be replaced with a piece of -wire-,
or (better) a fuse (1 amp max).

It died to protect whatever was upstream from incorrect wiring,
but it may not be the only damaged component... it's just
the -visibly- damaged one.

You're in the UK, so Telescope House is capable of servicing the ETX125.

good luck

Subject:	ETX 125 PE DUST COVER
Sent:	Tuesday, March 25, 2008 17:14:11
From:	Todd Ramsey (
I am having trouble removing the dust cover from my new scope.  I have
called customer support and searched online to find out that it unscrews
counter-clockwise.  It is just on there so tight.  I have used a flat
screw driver to help but it seems all I do is scratch the rim with it. 
Is there any tips you have before I scratch my new scope to pieces.
Todd Ramsey
Mike here: This comes up frequently. So you'll find the answer on the FAQ page on my ETX Site.
Subject:	ETX125-EC will not align
Sent:	Saturday, March 22, 2008 07:18:01
From:	Grimly Fiendish (
well, the lead finally arrived and I connected the Autostar 497 to the
pc and the ETX 125.

Did several resets, reloads to version 43g.

Tried Safe Mode flash reloads and the software seems to go into the
controller ok.

have RESET, CALIBRATED, TRAINED etc..... but the same fundamental
problem still shows itself.

That is, I try and do the easy align and it picks its first star as
Sirius which seems strange as this one is quite low down for my
location. ( Yes, my location is correct, so is the time, date etc...)

It drives round then starts to motor upwards..... and upwards...and
upwards until it hits the end stops and you get a very load clicking
noise as the driving mechanism tries to keep on motoring past the

I really do not know what to do next....

When I got the drive it was wired up incorrectly, the two looms inside
the ETX were not connected...... I followed several images of internals
for the ETX125 from google images and wired it up again and the system
came back to life.

Do any members have any images or diagrams showing wiring inside the ETX
125 just so I can be super sure its wired correctly....

Any other suggestions about the align process, gratefully received.
Norwich, UK
Mike here: Have you tried reversing the AutoStar cable? Also, check the condition of the pins in the connectors and jacks; they should be clean, not bent sideways, nor too depressed. There are several articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page that show the various internals of the ETX. Since you said there was a problem at the start when you got the ETX I have to wonder if the problem isn't more serious.


Just what I am thinking, it may be a more serious problem.

Do you have any internal wiring guides at all Mike?

Pins were all checked and cleaned anyways, will try reversing the
autostar cable now.
Mike here: There are several articles on wiring and "inside" the ETX models on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.


I think I may have sussed it.

The red/black motor cable was the wrong way round.

Seems to be playing better now but wont be able to tell until I get a
clear night and can try to do the align properly.

Fingers Crossed.

May be handy though and just for reference for someone to provide either
a wiring diagram or connector guide for the ETX 125. All the images I
could find didnt have enough details or failed to show the wiring fully.

Hopefully someone reading this will put a good quality image of the
inside of a working ETX 125 so we can see the connectors and wires

I'll report back after the align



I " think" that I have located the problem....yes..another one.... Had
another check inside the ETX 125EC last night and found that there looks
like a burnt out component. I have attached some images of the cabling
and also the faulty component. Hopefully this could be something I can
change/replace myself, if not, looks expensive. Does anyone do spares?
Regards, Mark





Subject:	RE: etx125pe
Sent:	Friday, March 21, 2008 16:50:25
From:	lee critchley (
as usual mike you were spot on the time was well off i think it was the
excitment of getting the 125 that threw me lol ive just received my lpi
and im wondering if you can give me a few tips in using it thanks lee
critchley this has to be the best amateur astronomer site on the web
Mike here: You can read my comments on the LPI in the article "AutoStar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. There are other AutoStar Suite articles there as well. Also, see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography for more on the LPI.
Subject:	Scope damage or fire
Sent:	Friday, March 21, 2008 16:46:46
From:	Lou Welke (
Is there a possibilty if a telescope is left without a front lens cover
on it and is pointing outside through a window/observatory that on a
clear day the Sun in it's travels across the skies may enter the lens
and cause damage to the scope or a fire?

I know the odds are not that great but still is the possibility there?

So maybe a good lens cover on your scope keeps the lens clean and
eliminates another possibility.
Lou Welke
Mike here: Yes, if the Sun light enters the telescope the telescope can be damaged (depending on the design) and a fire could be started (depending on several factors).
Subject:	ETX-125 repair in Arizona
Sent:	Thursday, March 20, 2008 21:23:29
From:	Dale Wollschlager (
I have an ETX 125 that I purchased from a friend.  I know Dr Clay can
supercharge this scope but I'd rather not send it to Ark.  Do you happen
to know anyone in Arizona that can help me out with upgrading gears,
repair, cleaning etc.
Thanks so much
Dale in Phoenix
Mike here: Sorry, I don't know of any repair shops in Arizona. Are you sure it needs repairs? What is wrong with it?


Im having problems with tracking and aligning...I polar align it as far
as leveling the tube to 90 degree....turning counterclockwise, then
putting the fork over the control panel and then moving the entire scope
towards polaris.  I have trained both drives as well,  however on
initial 2 star alignment its off about 10 degress.......i slew the 125
to center each star and then synch them,  but when I "go to" the moon or
saturn,  it wont align on it and it wont track

Thanks for your time Mike,  I appreciate it very much
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR? If not, do that and then TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes). When you say it won't track, do you mean there is NO motion or just running too fast or too slow or in the wrong direction? As to the 10 degree error on the initial alignment, that is close to being 1 hour of Right Ascension off and that usually comes from an incorrect Daylight Saving setting. If you have Phoenix as the City then you should select NO for the Daylight Saving setting. One last point: is the altitude scale correct? You said you set the tube to 90 degrees but if the scale is off (which it can easily be) then you have introduced an error there. Personally I ignore the scale and just eyeball the OTA leveling. If the scale is off and you want to correct it, see the FAQ page.
Subject:	Scope stuff,what else!
Sent:	Wednesday, March 19, 2008 08:54:13
From: (
First, thank you for your site!!! Second, I need to remove the fork arms
and table from the base on a ETX 105 EC. I have done this on the RA
models and found it to be simple, but the EC models have me somewhat
confounded. Are instruction posted on your site?
Mike here: The article "Extending the Fork Arms" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page might get you started.
Subject:	etx125pe
Sent:	Tuesday, March 18, 2008 14:51:29
From:	lee critchley (
thought id let you know that ive sorted my deluxe tripod problem
was the 3 rubber feet stopping me from aligning the screws speaking of
aligning everytime i try to align my scope it aligns ok but when i ask
it to go to saturn its saying that it doesnt rise till a specifyed time
yet i can clearly see it and when i go to manually find it i do so any
ideas? cheers lee critchley
Mike here: Have you set your location and date/time/daylight saving settings correctly? Is Saturn the only object you see this error on? What about Mars and the Moon? Are "fixed" objects in the sky OK?
Subject:	Meade ETX 150 EC Motor Wires
Sent:	Tuesday, March 18, 2008 11:02:14
From:	Chipman, Steven R (
I just upgraded from an ETX60 to a ETX 125 EC. It was on eBay, so when
I received the telescope I discovered the motor wires came disconnected
during shipping. No big deal, but can you tell me the polarity of the
wires to the motor. I know I have a 50/50 shot, just wanted a more
experienced Input.
 Thanks for your Time.  
Steve Chipman
Mike here: The subject line had me for a second. Thought maybe Meade had released a new model: the "ETX-150"! Anyway, see the FAQ page.


Yes, I have the only one....ha ha my mistake.
That was very helpful.

 Thanks Again.

Subject:	ETX-125 horizontal knob underbolt broken :(
Sent:	Monday, March 17, 2008 22:36:41
From:	Matias Petrela (
We've talked a couple of times in the past, although I don't expect you
remember with all the email volume you get :)

Anyway, this is the trouble that brings me here today: Have you seen
that cheap plastic knob that the ETX-125 has on top of its base to
loose/lock the horizontal rotation? Well, that piece quitted on me some
years ago already, and I replaced it with a steel tool. Unfortunately,
the other night, while trying to lock the axis, I 'overadjusted' and the
bolt somehow broke in the inner end because from then on it has entered
a 'free spin' mode in which it can be rotated effortless between the two
stop positions and can no longer be locked. With the H axis loose, the
electric motor no longer moves the thing.

Since this telescope was not designed to be turned manually (no fine
tuning) I have no choice but open it -- it's useless as is anyway. Never
done this surgery before and would like some advice (besides the logical
carefulness) so as to not ruin it further.

So that's it, I'm all ears. If anyone on the site has been through this
before, I'd very much appreciate an experienced word before proceeding.

Mike here: If you broke the bolt you would have to replace it. The article "Inside the ETX-125EC" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page might help.


I'll be looking there. Thanks a lot!

Subject:	ETX-125EC - Will not align
Sent:	Monday, March 17, 2008 12:48:36
From:	Grimly Fiendish (
My ETX125-EC will not align.
Tried everything, Alt Az home position pointing North and East Align.
When it tries to go to the first star (Rigel) it motors vertically and
keeps driving against the end stops making a horrid clicking sound.

Also tried disengaging the locks and doing an align to see if the motors
would reset, no joy. Scope seems to have a mind of its own when slewing
to an object.

My time, date, location are all correct, I'm using the Autostar 497.
Tried Training the scope, Calibration, Resets, Sync to an object etc

The only thing is that I have not had the opportunity to download the
latest software/firmware to the AutoStar handset.

Could this be responsible for the ETX125 not aligning correctly or you
have any other ideas.....
Mike here: I had a similar problem a couple of months back with slewing to full vertical. I did a full upload of the AutoStar ROM and then had to do a full hard RESET from the AutoStar menu. That solved it. Also, don't forget to CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES following the restore and RESET.


cables should be here tomorrow so I can connect AutoStar Handset to my
Laptop. Sounds very similar though, slewing to full vertical etc.

Wish me luck, I'll report back for the feedback page.


Subject:	Can you mount a 90-125 ETX OTA on an 80 mount
Sent:	Sunday, March 16, 2008 22:55:24
From:	Michael (
I bought a ETX80 which needed some parts.  The vertical lock knob, rear
port cap, eyepieces and the 494 are missing.  I got a price from Meade
for the vertical knob and rear cap but they didn't call me back about
the evypieces.  They initially also said the 497 wouildn't work on the
80 but when I pressed they asked tech who said I could use the 494 or
497.  I hate for the scope to get trashed and I will 'resurrect' it if I
can get the parts.

I didn't go my homework and I see it would have been better to do
astrophotograhpy with the 90-125 series due to back focus problems and
options for mounting a DSLR directly to the scope using the scope
optics.  So I wished I had gotten the 125 or even 90 and not the 80
which is out of production and seems to have little accessories.

Is there a way to put a 90 or 125 OTA on the 80 mount?  I want to use
the 497 with a 90 or 125 with that mount if possible.   Will I have slew
problems esp with a DSLR attached?  Is there a way to use the 80 OTA and
fork to do astrophotography fairly easily if I can't use a 90 or 125
with the 80 fork?   I have looked at the FAQ and the 60,70,80 section. 
It seems the 60,70 is one system, the 80 another, then you have the
Mike here: You would have to make some major modifications to the ETX-80 fork arms to fit a 125 OTA inside and then you would still have problems of stability and usability as the mount really isn't designed for the heavier 125 OTA. However, you could put an ETX-90 OTA in there without too much work. See the article "Putting ETX-90 on ETX-70 forks" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. As to models, the ETX-60/70/80 are all refractor models and the ETX-90/105/125 are Maksutov-Cassegrain.
Subject:	ETX 125 PE can you see deep space objects?
Sent:	Sunday, March 16, 2008 10:14:52
From:	Mr Clive Musselwhite (
My ETX 125 PE telescope replacement does seem to be operating very well
now. We have had a lot of cloud these last two weeks but I have managed
to see Saturn in pale yellow and the orange disc of Mars. The moon is
very impressive but I cannot get anything on deep space objects such as
nebulae and galaxies. It has found the Andromeda galaxy as I said which
appears as a faint misty white patch. Could you tell me if the ETX 125
PE telescope is capable of seeing these objects with the observing eye.
I realize it can with astrophotography where shots can be taken over a
great deal of time.
Thanks for your time.

Mike here: Yes, you can see DSOs -- just don't expect them to look like the photographs you see. Most DSOs will appear as "faint fuzzy blobs". When viewing M31 through a telescope you typically are just viewing the central nucleus and not the spiral arms. That's why you see a fuzzy patch. It really helps to observe from a dark sky site. Don't give up. There are many observations of DSOs on the Helpful Information: User Observations page.


Thank you for letting me know Mike. Yes - I'll keep looking. I'm looking
forward to seeing Jupiter - it rises around 4:50 am round these parts so
I'm waiting for that one. I have only done observing from my garden at
the moment which is fairly dark but by means completely.

Subject:	deluxe tripod
Sent:	Sunday, March 16, 2008 08:56:50
From:	lee critchley (
in regards to my problem attaching my etx125 pe to the deluxe tripod i
removed the c clip which intern allows me to remove the spring i then
removed the 3 rubber feet from the bottom of the scope and to my
surprise it fits as snug as a bug 

thanks for all the help and feed back
lee critchley
Mike here: Without the clips to hold the bolts, be careful when loosing them in the dark. You don't want to lose them!
Subject:	ETX125 Rubbery feel to Altitude lock
Sent:	Saturday, March 15, 2008 14:35:29
From:	Paul Del Priore (
I have a new ETX125 and when I lock the altitude lock the tube is not
firmly locked but feels rubbery. Rubbery is the best description I can
think of. Not firm.

Mike here: I'm not certain what that "feel" means. But does the OTA stay in place when the axis is locked? Is tracking OK?


The OTA does stay in place but if I put some force on it the OTA is not
firmly locked, it moves depending on the force I use.However it does
return to the original position after the force is removed. I have only
used it to observe once and the tracking seemed ok. I have an 8" LX200
gps and when I lock the altitude lock the OTA is very firm.

Thanks for the quick reply.

Mike here: The axis locks are friction style locks so the tube will move if you apply force. But if the tube stays put and doesn't slip on its own it is probably OK.
Subject:	ETX-125EC  - no Battery power
Sent:	Saturday, March 15, 2008 12:38:52
From:	Grimly Fiendish (
I have purchased a faulty ETX-125EC as " broken" no drive working a
bargain at 200 with tripod and AutoStar as well.

Found that someone had been poking around inside and the wiring cables
were not connected probably.

Reconnected them correctly, now it works fine with the 12v external
power but nothing at all if you try using batteries. I have measured
inside and theres a 12v current running through but no red led light,
drive or anything.

Be useful to get the battery side of things working just to eliminate
the hassle from connecting a 12v power supply everytime I use the scope.
Any ideas or similar problems????
Mike here: You might check out the articles "Repairing Battery Cutoff Switch" and "Repairing Broken Battery Wires" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.


Thanks for getting back to me Mike.

Does anyone have any instructions, guides or images of this elusive
battery cut out switch and how to go about replacing it?


Subject:	ETX125EC Dec Motor Problem
Sent:	Saturday, March 15, 2008 00:21:44
I just purchased a used Meade ETX125EC that has a runaway dec motor when
first turned on with the autostar installed. Both drives work properly
with standard controller. I opened up the dec motor compartment and
performed the 'supercharge'-cleaned grease and roughed up the 'clutch'
surfaces. There didn't seem to be any grease on the sensors. I put it
all back together and had the same problem. What happens is I level the
tube. I turn on the telescope with autostar attached. It goes through
the initialization and the dec motor starts moving the tube in
increments towards the straight up position until it reaches the stop. I
went into setup and calibrate motors and one time when I did it I got a
Motor unit failure. The last time it didn't give me a motor unit
failure. The Up and Down and RA controls don't control the telescope. I
am considering a reset of the telescope. I am also considering an update
of the autostar.  It has version 30Eb on it right now. I have not yet
checked into the base to clean the RA motor and sensors. Other than the
autostar not controlling the drives, I seem to be able to get through
all the menus. You have a great site, with a lot of information. I
googled your site for runaway dec and motor unit failure, but didn't
seem to come up with my exact problem.

I need some guidance from someone with experience with this scope. Thank
You in advance.
Mike here: The symptom you experience is very similar to what can occur if NO controller (standard EC handset or AutoStar) is connected. Try reversing the AutoStar cable. Also, check the pins in the jacks and on the cable ends; they should be clean, not bent sideways, nor too depressed. I would recommend doing the AutoStar update. If the previous tips don't solve the problem updating MAY solve the problem if the cause is a corrupted AutoStar ROM.
Subject:	Oracle fun !
Sent:	Friday, March 14, 2008 21:07:26
From:	Glenn AE0Q (
I just visited your Oracle Obs site and enjoyed your pix from last week.
Sure looks like a pretty site that you've found!!

The picture of the Zodiacal light is great!

Regards from Colorado
Glenn Pladsen

"Remember, any tool can be the right tool!" Red Green


Subject:	ETX-70AT Flip-up mirror
Sent:	Friday, March 14, 2008 17:32:29
From:	Michael Treacy (
The mirror in my 70AT came off today and I managed to get it glued back
on.  However it got a tiny bit scratched and when I went to clean it
with a glass-cleaning moist tissue, it seemed to remove some of the
silver coating on the mirrored surface.

So, I guess my question is, can I replace the mirror and if so with
what? Or do I leave the mirror flat and buy an extension that will flip
the image through 90 degrees.
Mike here: Yes, commercial glass cleaners can damage "first surface" mirrors, like those used in telesopes, and should not used on telescope optical components. You could try Telescope Warehouse or ScopeStuff (links on the Astronomy Links page) but you will likely not have much luck finding a replacement. Adding a diagonal or even just a visual back (see the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page) may be your only good alternative.
Subject:	ETX-125 AT Alt/Az clutch interference
Sent:	Wednesday, March 12, 2008 19:12:06
From:	Dan Murphy (
I'm looking for some help on fixing an interference problem between the
Alt/Az clutch plate and the worm gear bracket on my ETX-125 AT. I
purchased it two years ago, around Jan. 2006. I've had severe play and
backlash problems with it, basically, from day one. I fixed the worm
gear end play problem by deburring the washers, cleaning the parts,
degreasing and loctiting the nut to the worm gear threaded end. I've
reduced a lot of the play. I still had some backlash between the worm
and the drive gear so I tried to remove it by following the tech tips on
your site. I ran into the problem (picture attached) where the Alt/Az
drive clutch hits the worm gear bracket. I can remove all the backlash
but the clutch will not engage. If I back off on the worm gear to allow
the clutch to engage I have too much backlash. If I could remove the
black disk I could dremel the area of interference. My question is how
do I remove the disk?
Dan Murphy


Mike here: I will let Dr. Clay Sherrod, our resident hardware expert answer.
Subject:	Re: ETX-125 AT Alt/Az clutch interference
Sent:	Wednesday, March 12, 2008 19:32:10
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
By all means do NOT remove the disk nor should you adjust it; the Tech
Tips regarding working on the azimuth drive do not apply at all to the
newer UHTC and PE model ETX scopes.  The RA drive for all intensive
purposes should not be tampered with except to remove end play on the
worm driver assembly as you have done.

Nearly all ETX scopes have some degree of backlash....I am wondering if
you might be referring to "play" as in back and forth motion, rather
than backlash, which is actually the time it takes for the gear assembly
to completely reverse itself and begin actually showing motion opposite
to that from which it stopped.

By all means back off the large disk and leave it close but not
touching.  You are binding the assembly the way you have it
have not removed any play or backlash, you have only bound up the
azimuth motion so that it will not move.

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


Thanks for the rapid response. Yes, I removed all of the end play by
tightening the nut that compresses the belleville washer on the end of
the shaft. This is the back and forth movement that you refer to in your
response. Since there is so much interference between that disk and the
bracket I end up with nearly 5 secs of movement delay when I reverse
directions at speed setting 5. Settings 1,2 & 3 much, much longer and
that's with  the backlask compensation setting on the Autostar
controller to 90%. The question is can I get much DSI to work with this
much error in the drive mechanism?
Hello Dan....
The 1, 2, and 3 speeds on the ETX scopes of late are pretty much not
even functional, and if you are expecting to be able to autoguide via
the DSI or any other camera or guider, it is likely going to be
frustrating if not impossible.  The newer, metal reinforced, ETX mounts
have some plusses, but for the most part they are not anywhere as near
"adjustable" when it comes to problems such as that you are describing. 
I suspect that the delay is NOT in the areas that you have been
looking.....most of the problem is in the black plastic collar that
holds onto the large nylon spur gear to the left of the main RA drive
bracket, going into the RA gearbox.  That black collar binds the spur
gear shaft and extension badly....concentrate there and you might be
able to improve your situation.

Best of luck on this.

Dr. Clay


Thank you very much. I'll take a look there.
Take care,

Subject:	Re: ETX 105 or ETX 125PE suggestion
Sent:	Sunday, March 9, 2008 20:55:04
From:	Stewart Graff (
Thanks again for your quick response.  It took a little hunting, but I
found the sections of your site that you refer to.  I read the ETX-105PE
comments and those of some users and I think I would prefer a
traditional non-red-dot finder scope.  I also read a couple of good user
reviews of various filters.  I think I'll go for the used ETX-105, as it
seems like a good fit for me and saves me a couple hundred dollars.

Thanks again,


Subject:	ETX 125PE specs
Sent:	Saturday, March 8, 2008 09:42:54
From:	Joe Duider (
Hello, great site.  I just received my ETX125PE last night and set up
the software on my laptop.  I picked up the ugly astro tube on the
clearance sales that are going on with the new smartfinder.  I have a
question though, what are the specs to put in for the scope info?  The
software asks for the Guide scope and main scope diameters in D:M:S.  I
don't know what those values are.
Mike here: The software sounds like it is asking for the field of view in Degrees, Minutes, and Seconds. That is not applicable for the Smartfinder Red-Dot 1X finderscope. For the telescope, that depends on the eyepiece used (and with or without a Barlow Lens or Focal Reducer). Check out the "Eyepiece Simulator" on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	MySky files
Sent:	Friday, March 7, 2008 15:50:23
From:	Steve Lewis (
I need some help please. My MySky seemed to fry the data that was on the
card during their update. I'm trying to get a copy of the files and the
directory structure. Meade is the pits for this. They have no clue and
are going to send me a new card instead. What a waste of time and money.

If you know of anyone who has a copy of the files and directory
structure from the SD chip can you please ask them to email them to me?

Thanks in advance,

Steve Lewis
Mike here: Are you using the latest updater from Meade's site? There were some issues with the one of the CD.
Subject:	ETX 105 or ETX 125PE suggestion
Sent:	Friday, March 7, 2008 14:45:49
From:	Stewart Graff
Your site is great and has gotten me very interested in getting a Meade
ETX.  The problem is, I don't know which one to get.  I saw on your site
that Walmart was clearing out some ETX backpacking kits for a great
price.  While they are cheap, I'm not sure how much I would get out of

I was more seriously looking at a used ETX-105 with UHTC, a 9mm eyepiece
(and the standard 26mm), a power cable (works with a car or wall plug)
for $450.  Then I saw a new ETX-125PE (the clearance astro tube one) for
$700.  I have seen and tried the 105 in person and seems to be in
excellent condition.

Can you tell me what differences I'll notice between two?  Will I be
able to see nebulas and DSOs with both?  Am I correct in thinking that
it is easier to get accessories and replacement/repair parts for the
125PE compared to the discontinued 105?  Any help will be greatly

I would prefer that you do not post my email address online if you post
this on your site.

Thank you very much,

-Stewart Graff
Mike here: As you can read on my comments about the ETX-105 and ETX-125 on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as reports from others on the Helpful Information: User Observations page, yes, you will be able to observe DSOs (although most will appear as "faint fuzzy blobs" to your eye). Get repair parts for any ETX model is problematic. Meade typically doesn't make repair parts available to end users. Certainly the larger aperture of the ETX-125 will come in handy. And since the discontinued model has UHTC you get even more light to your eye. But your choice: lots of accessories upfront with a smaller telescope (which has its pluses and minuses) at less upfront costs or limited accessories but a larger telescope for more money.


Thank you Mike,

I'm leaning more towards the ETX-105, but will have to think about it
some more.  Have you used the red-dot finder scope on the PE scopes? 
I'm curious how they are since the placement of the finder scope on the
ETX-105 was right by my nose making it fog up occasionally.

One last questionwould a filter make nebulas more distinct in the
ETX-105 or will they always be indistinct blobs?

Thanks again,

-Stewart Graff
Mike here: Did you read my ETX-105PE comments? I discuss the Smartfinder a lttle there. You can read about other red-dot and 1X finderscopes on the Accessory Reviews: Finderscopes page. Nebula fllters typically need more aperture; you can read about some of them on the Accessory Reviews: Filters page.
Subject:	deluxe field tripod 
Sent:	Friday, March 7, 2008 11:26:23
From:	lee critchley (
im having problems attaching my new etx 125pe to the tripod i just dont
seem to be able to get the two screws to bite any ideas?
Mike here: Do you mean the #884 tripod that comes with new ETX PE models? If so, the bolts are spring-loaded so you may not be getting them sufficiently inserted.


yes mike thats the one ive been trying for over an hour and a half and i
just cant seem to manage it is this a common problem?
Mike here: Typically the problem is to get the holes on the ETX base lined up. Try centering the base as best you can on the tripod, then rotate it until one of the bolts will go into the base. Don't tighten that bolt yet; rotate base some more if necessary to get the other hole to line up with the bolt and then tighten that one. Go back and tighten the first one.


i think there must be a fault with mine as ive been trying now for three
days at 4 hour sessions to attach mine and to no avail im going to
contact the supplier as to be honest its driving me up the wall mike the
screws start to bite then just loose there bite it seems to me that they
just dont seem long enough to grip thanks for the help tho mate cheers
Mike here: The bolts don't come out very far. Keep me posted.
Subject:	Using 2" SP eyepieces on an ETX 125 PE?
Sent:	Friday, March 7, 2008 11:10:22
From:	Kenneth Jandes (
Is there any way to use my 2" O.D. Meade 4000 SP eyepieces from my 7"
Mak on my new ETX 125 PE?  The  ETX 125 has an f/15 focal ratio.  Is
that an issue as well even if there is some kind of 1.25" converter?
Thanks, Ken
Mike here: Yes, they can, with some limitations. First you need a 1.25-inch to 2-inch adapter (see the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page). The limitations will be that some eyepieces may not reach a focus, vignetting, and weight.
Subject:	new etx125 
Sent:	Wednesday, March 5, 2008 11:07:07
From:	lee critchley (
ive just purchased a etx 125 p.e. the thing is it appears to have a L
shaped scratch on the mirror inside the tube is this a major problem im
thinking of sending it back id like to hear your thoughts on this matter
thanks lee critchley
Mike here: A scratch on a new mirror is not good. Was something loose inside the OTA when you received it? I suggest contacting the dealer for an exchange.


thanks mike ill do just that super website by the way

Subject:	Mead 0.3 reducer
Sent:	Wednesday, March 5, 2008 09:41:25
From:	Frederick Littler (
Hi there Mike could you please advise me I see that the Mead 0.3 reducer
also has a tube and I am uncertain as to if the lens itself is 0.3 or if
one has to also use the tube to achieve a 0.3f.
Your help will be most helpful. Take care
Regards. Frederick
Mike here: If you mean the "Variable T-Adapter", then using it varies the focal ratio. I suspect the lens by itself is a f/3.3 but I don't have one to check.
Subject:	re: ETX 125-AT or ETX125-PE?
Sent:	Tuesday, March 4, 2008 20:59:38
From:	richard seymour (
There are -two- model of ETX125-AT, the "old" and "new".
The "new" has much more metal in the fork, and ball bearings
supporting the DEC axis.  There are a number of comparison
photos linked from Mike's Telescope Tech Tips page.

If it's the "new" one, i'd certainly choose the -AT
(however, i must admit that i far prefer an 8x25 viewfinder
over the red-dot, but that's just my personal preference).

Of course, to -really- upgrade from an ETX90 for goals such
as planetary detail, i'd recommend an 8 inch or 10 inch scope.
In the Meade line, an LX-90.
Going from an ETX90 to an ETX125 gives you slightly less than
twice the light, whereas an 8" (200 mm) provides almost 5 times
the light gathering area.

Perhaps the "extra" $450 can be used to purchase a "previously
owned" 8 inch Dobsonian?

have fun


Thanks for the advise Dick!  I'll check the LX option


Subject:	ETX 125-AT or ETX125-PE?
Sent:	Sunday, March 2, 2008 15:21:28
From:	Ariel Caceres (
Let me start by saying THANK YOU for the awesome work you do in
helping/teaching/inspiring all of us with your website.

I'd love to get your point of view on the following:

I've been using an ETX-90PE for 3 years and loved it. This was my first
ever scope (and the only one I've used) and proved to be a great way to
get into astronomy.

I feel however that is time to move to something a bit more powerful
since I'd like to get better detail at planets and also be able to do

My first idea was -- not surprisingly -- to trade up to an ETX 125-PE,
but when talking to the guy in the telescope store he said they have one
ETX 125-AT that they used only as exhibition model and is in perfect
condition (it has actually never been used for real observing outside
the store). The price difference between a brand-new PE and this AT is
significant where Ilive (around $450), so this is making me really
hesitate. The guy also mentioned something on the lines of "this 125AT
is USA assembly, versus the new 125PEs come all from China". Not sure if
this has any real importance.

Regarding the differences between the AT and PE models, I can only think
of two: the LNT module and the red-dot viewfinder.  I don't think I'll
miss the LNT module too much because by now I can align the scope
without issues. The viewfinder is a different story: I have never used a
scope with a 8x25 finder (so I can't really tell if they are easy to use
or not) but I have  frequently found the red-dot smartfinder of my
ETX90-PE very handy when the scope doesn't center the object well and
you need to compensate manually.

Net: I'd appreciate your opinion on:

1. am I loosing on anthything important by choosing the AT model vs the
PE, that would justify not saving those $450

2. is there a real difference between USA assembly and China assembly,
assuming both scopes went through Meade Quality Assurance tests ?

3. Am I likely to regret moving to a 8x25 viewfinder after having used a
red-dot one for 3 years?

Thanks in advance.
Mike here: Since you don't NEED the LNT/Smartfinder I'd recommend going for the AT model. It won't take you long to get used to the refractor-style finderscope. If you find that you'd still prefer a 1X red-dot style you can always add one later. As to China vs the USA, hard to say. My iPhone was assembled in China, under Apple's watchful eyes however. The jury remains out on Meade's offshore ETX experiment.

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