ETX-60, ETX-70, & ETX-80 USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 May 2007

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT, ETX-80AT-TC, and ETX-80BB. Additional information is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX 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:	MEADE ETX-70AT - SET LANGUAGE
Sent:	Tuesday, May 29, 2007 08:54:41
From:	Julie Burnham (julieburnham@tiscali.co.uk)
I am British but live in Portugal and have bought an EXT-70AT here in
Portugal, the default language is Portuguese and I would like to change
it to English, could you tell me how to change it as I can not find
anything in the menu for changing the language.

Many Thanks
Ian Burnham
Mike here: See the FAQ page for information on how to change the language. But that information is for an AutoStar that can be changed (and unless yours is really old, you are out of luck other than contacting Meade).

And:

Thanks you so much for taking the time to get back to me, I have tried
the fix on your web site but it didn't work so I must have the model
that don't change. I have contacted Meade via email and they replied
asking me to call them but I just get the automated phone system which
sends me around in an endless loop of automated menu options and I have
never actually managed to speak to a human being, which would have been
nice and a little more helpful. It was after calling them and getting
know here that I contacted you, I'll try them again and one day I will
hopefully be able to contact you to chat about the star and planets I
have seen.

Thanks again for your help, great website by the way.

Ian

Subject:	Meade's response to Astigmatic ETX70
Sent:	Friday, May 25, 2007 10:36:50
From:	Maximiliano Guzman (maxi.guzman@telefonica.net)
Hello Mike, hello people;
I wrote to the forum last January speaking about two ETX-70 bought at a
Super Market chain in Spain (Lidl). Both showed so large astigmatism
aberration that were useless for anything different that very low power
deep sky observation. I contacted Meade Germany and they suggested me to
get back the scopes to my closest Meade warranty point (Barcelona) and
then they will be sending replacement, tested and prefect operational
ETXs, without any astigmatism.

I'd like to say that I have been a very happy owner of an old an
venerable Meade Premiere LX 8" SC from the early 90's (I still feel that
this system is one of the best ever packed setup for long exposure
astrophotographie) and  knowing  of  the  long years of perfect
mechanical and optical performance of my blue friend telescope I could
not believe that Meade had put in the market so bad 70mm doublets. And
it had not. *Thanks Meade (Meade Germany this time) for the fast and
right response to my request*. I sent back one bad scope and I got a
nice one that performs as the best 70mm achromat doublet that anybody
could buy. After testing it carefully I have to say that no hint of any
aberration (other than chromatism, it is a very short F ratio tube) can
be discerned. Saturn is still small in my Meade UW 4.7mm, but Cassini
division and the disc shadows on the rings can be seen without doubt; 
pushing the power to the limits with a 2X barlow and the UW4.7, the moon
sometimes makes me think that much can be seen with a good modest
telescope. The GOTO pointing accuracy is also very good (sometimes I try
to get a new body with the 4.7mm eyepiece fitted and it does it!). Let
us say that 95% of times the search ends with the Messier body close to
the center of a University UW16mm.

Treating Meade this way to their customers, I recomend to anybody
thinking in buying a scope, to buy from Meade. It was a nice surprise to
discover that Meade did not allow to get a non-satisfied purchaser and
did its best for correct the situation. Thanks *Mr. Hans-Georg Fastring*
(tech support of Meade Germany).

(note: I am not working for Meade, but we must give to the king what He
owns, be sure that in the opposite situation -bad after sales support-
my critics to Meade would be so acid as my reduced English could
allow...)

Maximiliano Guzman
Zamora, Spain

Subject:	ETX 70 AT control box
Sent:	Friday, May 25, 2007 03:02:00
From:	Andres Hebberecht (andres.hebberecht@gmail.com)
I have my ETX 70 AT completely dismanteled on the table, I want to check
the dec. motor unit ( if burned or not..) and can't get out the computer
controls, the printed circuit together with the HBX-ON OFF- and AUX
sockets, how should I proceed??Thank you
Mike here: I didn't find any articles on this on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. I would welcome an article on the complete disassembly and repair with photos if you want to do that.
Subject:	Plastic Tension Spring for ETX-60AT Azimuth Drive
Sent:	Thursday, May 24, 2007 21:34:04
From:	Dan Kies (danielk1172@msn.com)
I was wondering if there are any pictures available showing this spring
and how it connects so I could possibly manufacture a new one.
Thanks,
Daniel Kies
Mike here: There are several ETX-60/70 azimuth fix articles as well as the "ETX-70AT Repair Guide" article on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page; suggest you read through them.
Subject:	recomended camera fot etx-60at?
Sent:	Tuesday, May 22, 2007 10:07:38
From:	Jimmy Bradley (jsbradley@charter.net)
What camera would you rcomend for use with the etx-60at?
Is there a digital camera that will work with it?
 
Thanks
Jimmy
Mike here: Almost any digital camera can work with the ETX (or almost any telescope). Obviously, the more capabilities the camera has, the better. For example, removable lens, slow shutter speed and "bulb" setting, wired or wireless remote triggering of the shutter. Checkout the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page; you will get a feel for some of your options.
Subject:	EXT-70 black ring
Sent:	Friday, May 18, 2007 00:46:11
From:	Greg Haff (m19speeder@sbcglobal.net)
Between the large and small main tube on my EXT-70 scope there is a
black ring. This black ring I guess keeps dirt from getting inside the
main tube. But the black ring on my EXT-70 is loose. So I was thinking
of glueing it in place. Also the stardard tripod #882 is almost
worthless. I have replaced one leg and a second leg fell apart today.
Also could use info on getting a tool box that the EXT-70 would fit into
as the hard case is out of stock.
Thank you
Greg Haff 
Mike here: I would be nervous about glueing it in place as many glues can outgas, with a potential for coating the optical surfaces. For alternative tripod solutions see the Accessory Reviews: Tripods page as well as the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. For some ideas on cases, see the Accessory Reviews: Cases page as well as the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	declination motor stops working
Sent:	Thursday, May 17, 2007 06:43:05
From:	andresalbiplaya@jazzfree.com (andresalbiplaya@jazzfree.com)
I checked my ETX 70 AT telescope with two autostar 494 units and on both
the declination motor fails. This motor stopped unexpectedly while
lining up the telescope on two stars. I had a look at all the faq's
about autostar and declination axis problems but can't find the answer,
could you help me ?? By the way I use a HP printer powersuplyunit that
gives 10.6  volt DC at 1.32Amp rating instead of bateries.thank you for
your help.
Mike here: Does it fail when doing GOTOs, slewing by using the arrows keys, or both? Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR? Have you done a TRAIN DRIVES? The power supply should be 12VDC 1000mA so the voltage might be a little low. I presume you have the polarity correct, otherwise you would have likely fried something.

And:

Thank you for your mail. The motor stopped while slewing to the second
alignment star, to the first one all went ok. It does not stop while
doing GOTO's. The powersupply seams ok while it is not the first time it
is used, all autostar readings are ok, the tlescope moved ok in the
past, etc,.By the way I can't get out of " controlling the drives" which
is automatic now, so I can't any more calibrate motors or train drives.
? A second autostar unit ( my son's...) also shows the same problems,
slewing on azimuth is ok but there is no response on using the up and
down arrows and now, " motor failure" appears on the screen.
Mike here: Since two AutoStars are experiencing the same problem I suspect one of two things: either the HBX jack has some bent or dirty pins (easily checked for but just looking inside the jack with a magnifying glass OR there is a more serious problem with the circuitry inside the ETX. But just to rule out the power supply, have you tried it on internal batteries?

And:

thank you again for your help.

I tried the scope on internal bateries and it won't work either. so
maybe i have to open the etx70 and look for broken wires etc. I first
have a look on faqs of cause.

I found out that it is not an autostar problem, the ETX 7o AT telescope
of my son is working ok on my autostar. Looking at your first mail,
where you speak about the Voltage beeing low ( 10.6 DC instead of your
requested 12 Volt),but bateries give only 9 volt ... and they are due to
work well for some time...

I'll have a close look on the HBX socket, to see if I can clean it. I'm
collecting all possible news about ETX 7o in the faq sections, also the
recommendations on opening a scope...I hope to get to it later, never
before you tell me to do so.  ..

Subject:	Re: Saturn better without scope
Sent:	Saturday, May 12, 2007 22:50:47
From:	Greg Haff (m19speeder@sbcglobal.net)
While looking at Saturn tonight with my EXT-70 with a 25mm eyepiece,
Saturn looked better without using the scope. Pushing the scope power up
(25mm-17mm-6mm) and thing really went down hill. Most of the time it was
like looking though a microscope then a telescope. Time to sent it back
for a tune up?

The EXT-70 was picked up used on ebay and is my third scope. My first on
was a Baytronix (junk). Then a Meade DS-2130 that came with a baddly
dented tube. And my last scope is a Orion Starblast.
 
Thanks you
Greg Haff
Mike here: I think your expectations may not match the performance of the ETX-70.  You can see the Rings but they will be small.  You probably can't see the Rings with your eye alone.  For more on the ETX-70 you might want to read through my ETX-70 comments on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as comments from others on the Helpful Information: User Observations page.
Subject:	Re: EXT-70 black rings between lens
Sent:	Saturday, May 12, 2007 17:59:50
From:	Greg Haff (m19speeder@sbcglobal.net)
Dr CLAY: On my EXT-7- scope, there is a black ring between the two tubes
that keeps coming loose. I was thinking of glueing it in place, but
wanted to check with you first.
Thank you
Greg Haff
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
Hmmm.....a black ring between two tubes.  Can you please get us a little
closer description of which "two tubes"?  Are you referring to the
azimuth scale (the ribbon scaled hour circle) that is on the base of the
scope?  I am not aware of any ring that can come loose on the telescope
optical tube.

Please give us a better description of what you are referring to and I
am sure that we can help.

Dr. Clay
-------------
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)
http://www.arksky.org/

Subject:	ETX-80AT-BB telescope for my son
Sent:	Wednesday, May 9, 2007 13:33:48
From:	smeredith797 (smeredith797@sbcglobal.net)
I found a ETX-80AT-BB telescope for $150 and wondered if this was a good
beginning telescope for an astronomy-crazy 5-year-old.  He has been
wanting a telescope for some time, but we have put it off because we
don't know where to begin.
 
Thank you,
 
Allison Meredith
Mike here: I have an ETX-70 (as well as other ETX models), which is very similar to the ETX-80; you can read my report on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page. Also, you might want to read through some of the Helpful Information: User Observations.
Subject:	Meade ETX 80 as a beginning scope
Sent:	Wednesday, May 9, 2007 11:07:44
From:	Tims Mail (sacmetrofire@comcast.net)
I was wondering if you have used the above subject line telescope? My
son wants to be able to see Saturn, Jupiter etc. Would this Telscope
suffice? If not, what othe Meade options do I have???$500.00 price
range.

Thankyou

Tim H
Mike here: I have an ETX-70 (as well as other ETX models), which is very similar to the ETX-80; you can read my report on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page. Also, you might want to read through some of the Helpful Information: User Observations. As to other options, you could check into the DS models.
Subject:	Re: Factory Service for ETX 60
Sent:	Tuesday, May 8, 2007 06:48:45
From:	David Hofland (hofland@jsu.edu)
Thanks Mike for the explanation on the par-focal eyepiece question. Here
is another question.

Last night was my third time using this ETX-60.  First night out after
receiving it about a week ago (bought used on Ebay for $100)  I got
motor unit failures during set-up/alignment, and awful focus, quit
trying after a few minutes and gave up. Called Meade about service,
wrote a letter to the seller wondering if she would consider taking it
back and refunding my money.  I felt like giving it another try if for
no other reason than to convince myself that it really was
non-functional.  So I took it out again the next evening, totally fresh
batteries, ran the focus in and out from stop to stop a few times
thinking that would loosen it up and maybe get better focus (it did a
little), got it to align OK, no motor unit failure messges, sent it on
its way to find a couple bright Messier's, it found a couple of them,
more or less, not really centered in the field but more or less at in
it, or close to the edges, but with a 6 degree wide FOV (40mm Plossl)
that isn't saying much.  Still it was close, but it was a humid hazy
night and clouds moved in so I only had it operating for an hour before
I shut it down.  I was thinking maybe it wasn't all that bad, emailed
the seller and told her it was OK and I would keep it, and I was looking
forward to giving it another try when the sky was in better shape.  So
my email question about the par-focal issue was after that second night
out.

Last night I had the ETX-60 out again and it was a very good clear night
and the moon wasn't coming up until after midnight so I was looking
forward to playing with the little toy, feeling somewhat optomistic
after it seemed to do OK on night two.   After the end of twilight,
using 2 star alignment I got align successful.  The tripod I am using is
rock solid and totally level, I put in 6 brand new batteries just to be
safe.  The alignment stars selected where Denebula and Arcturas and
while neither was anywhere close to center of the field after the unit
slewed to them they were both close, in the eyepiece edges, and centered
up without much trouble. Hit "Enter" on one, "Enter" on the other and
got "align successful.   But for the rest of the night the go-to
function never worked well at all.  Even using a nearly 5 degree wide
FOV with a 40mm Plossl it usually didn't get the object in the FOV, and
most of the time wasn't even able to get within 10 degrees.  I shut it
down and did the 2-star alignment again, same thing, align successful
but actual go-to performance terrible, at best within 5-10 degrees or
so. Anyway, the question is, if an ETX's go-to is operating poorly is it
worth a $75 refurbish at the factory? After the terrible experience the
first night, as I mentioned above, I called Meade to see about sending
it in for repairs. They set me up with a contract to ship it back to
them where the gal said they would check it out and repair it for $75. 
After giving it another try on night two when it didn't seem so bad I
was contemplating not sending it it, but after last night I am so
disappointed in this telescope's go-to, as wewll as the optical
performance, I don't know what to do.   Is the go-to of the Autostar 494
and the little ETX 60 AT just that unreliable or would a factory
top-to-bottom bring it to better performance? The motor sounds awful
when its turning and it doesn't look like it is turning smoothly at all.
 
I read about people taking the whole thing apart themselves, breaking
off a plastic nut that holds the thing together, cleaning out gobs of
too much grease, and doing a lot of stuff that is supposed to help the
thing turn better and all that but no way I am going to go digging
around in there myself.  Meade's  service contract for $75 is supposed
to go over the entire unit and fix whatever needs fixing.  But I sure
don't want to spend $75 on a little 60mm that I already spent $100 on
only to find it comes back doing the same thing with the same problems
in go-to and the same mediocre optical performance.  What is your
opinion on that?  Have people had good results with sending their units
back to Meade?  Using my eye and sighting over the top of the tube I was
able to get closer to objects I was looking for than using the go-to. As
far as the optics go, that's a whole 'nother story.  Focus at best is
mushy, crisp certainly would not be a good term for star focus at any
magnification.  I have a pair of $50 10x50 binoculars with a stabilizing
device that I built and I get a better crisp focus and I am able to view
objects in binoculars that can't be seen at all in the ETX period at any
magnification.  Last night was a good clear night.  In binoculars I was
able to view (Averted vision primarily of course but these were all
unquestionably visible) M66/M65, M106, M101, M81.  But put the ETX right
on target (using my eyeball sighting over the tube and then slewing
around to star-hop it to get it lined up after the go-to got it at best
could put it in the right constellation) with the 40mm (9x) on those
same objects and no amount of effort, averted vision, patience, towel
over my head, nothing could bring those galaxies out of the background
with the ETX-60.  Anyway, point being that I never expected the ETX 60
to be in the Herschel class or anything.   I did expect that at least
the go-to would point in the right direction even if I wasn't able to
see the dim objects lying there-in.  So I'm not too disappointed in the
optical performance as I didn't expect much, but I am very disappointed
in the go-to mechanism.

So as the most recognized expert on the internet for all things ETX
related I am hoping you can help me decide whether to go on with the $75
service at Meade to get it to at least point in the right direction with
Autostar.  If you think the Meade factory service can get the Autostar
to work accurately I will give it a go.  Otherwise, if pointing at the
right constellation is about as good as it gets I will either sell it on
Ebay with an honest description of its terrible performance and maybe
get a few dollars for it, or save it to use as a finder scope or
something.  What do you think?

David Hofland
Mike here: First off, alignments will be more accurate if you use a higher power eyepiece than a 40mm; at a minimum the 25mm or 26mm that comes with the telescope. Second, have you done a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES? Anytime you swap out batteries you should CALIBRATE MOTORS. I can assure you that GOTOs with the AutoStar #494 are more accurate than you are experiencing. I suggest you read the various alignment tips on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Ignore any comments about rotating to a hard stop; the ETX refractor models do not have hard stops in azimuth. Lastly, I don't recommend opening up the telescope base unless you POSITIVELY ABSOLUTELY WITHOUT A DOUBT know that something is wrong inside. And at this point, based on what you have said, I don't think we're there yet.

And:

OK, That's encouraging and I appreciate the help.  I didn't realize the
motors needed calibration, I thought they just did what they did.  OK,
more to learn.  Gee whiz this little gizmo requires a lot of training
time on the part of the user.
Mike here: Not a lot of training on the part of the user is required; just some basic knowledge to get the best out the telescope (true for any telescope).
Subject:	Why is the focus so different with different eyepieces?
Sent:	Monday, May 7, 2007 14:42:12
From:	David Hofland (hofland@jsu.edu)
I just bought a ETX-60 AT as a second telescope to play around with
while my 10" dob is getting a refinish job on its primary.  Obviously
the little 2 inch aperture refractor isn't up to the task of seeking out
the Herschel objects I'm working on, but its fun to play with and the
go-to is a hoot after years with nothing but the dob.  I liken the
little guy to like having a puppy and sending it to go fetch.  I've been
amazed that it actually does a respectable job of putting the Messier
objects in the eyepiece somewhere, if not in the center.  But using a
wide angle low power eyepiece for object location and then changing to a
higher power once the object is found, I find that every change of
eyepieces requires a LOT of focus adjustment.  I have a set of very good
$200 bucks each William Optics UWAN 16mm, 7mm, 4mm that are very close
to exactly the same focus when I use them in my dob, but in the ETX they
require several turns of the focus knob to get focus between eyepiece
changes.  I have the same problem with my Sirius Plossls, there is
always a lot of focus adjustment.  These lens are pretty much par-focal
in my 10" dob, is there an explanation why the ETX is different?
 
David Hofland
Mike here: I suspect your Dob has more travel from a given degree of focus knob turning than the ETX-60. The ETX refractor models move the objective lens to focus and the where Meade designed it it does take MANY turns to change the focus even a little bit.

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Copyright © 2007 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
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