GENERAL FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 May 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:	Astronomy Link
Sent:	Thursday, May 29, 2008 15:44:13
From:	dbeauvais@canyonwestcases.com (dbeauvais@canyonwestcases.com)
I would like to add my web site to your Astronomy Links under Dealers.
Canyonwest Cases supplies shipping and carrying cases of all shapes and
sizes. We also create custom foam packaging for sensitive equipment like
telescopes.

I'm happy to offer a 5% discount for new customers. Your members can
contact me directly.
 
Thank you for your consideration.
 
Best regards,
 
Don Beauvais
Canyonwest Cases L.L.C.
dbeauvais@CanyonwestCases.com
CanyonwestCases.com
480.816.9652 Direct
877.816.9652
206.203.0674 Fax

Subject:	stuck ETX90 OTA front lenes cell
Sent:	Wednesday, May 28, 2008 17:29:37
From:	Charles Powell (powel_charles@yahoo.com)
I have aETX90 OTA with a stuck front lenes cell.I need to repair the
sec. light bafful and have found the tect tips on how to do it. The
front cell will turn at all. It acts like it is locktited on. The ring
holding the lenes into the cell was a little lose. Could the lenes be
taken out and the cell holder be litely taped whiel truning with a strap
wrench? Thank you for your time. Charles
Mike here: I would think so but have never done that.
Subject:	ETX 125 PE problem
Sent:	Monday, May 26, 2008 02:26:23
From:	jose LOSA (jose.losa@free.fr)
I am from France,

I have an ETX 125 PE brand new since 2 years but I used only a couple of
times. In this scope I noticed a big play when the brake is made, in
rotation. I removed the lower cover (batteries side) and see play in the
RA axis in the east-west direction :

ref    http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/etxtu.htm   step 5

If I tight the main bolt it's better but too mutch friction...

Is there any fix or adjustment to do ?

Any help will be welcomed

thanks in advance
Jose LOSA
Mike here: I would avoid making any adjustments on the main bolt. But just to confirm: what do you mean by seeing "play" in the azimuth direction? Do you mean that you can physically push the telescooe tube in the horizontal direction with the axis locked? Remember, this is a friction-style lock and so you can force movement. OR do you mean there is a delay (backlash) in slewing with the AutoStar? Or does the azimuth lock just not get tight enough?

And:

yes I can move the telescope when the axis is locked in the horizontal
direction without any friction. This give a delay when you change the
direction with the AutoStar I include a photo there is a lateral play
between axis and mantle (bearing ?) The main bolt was a little bit
loose, I thight it whit the fingers

photo

Mike here: I think I'll let our hardware expert, Dr. Clay Sherrod, respond to the lateral play. Over to you Dr. Clay.
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
First of all, I totally agree with Mr. Weasner that NO adjustments to
the central bolt should be made; this is not where the play can
originate.  Have you clamped the telescope with the base cover off and
examined the gear train while rocking the RA axis? Typically this much
play is coming from the worm assembly drive gear; there is an end
adjustment nut that sometimes too loose.  Also, the entire worm driver
assembly (three small screws secure) many times comes loose.

If these are secure and you still have play, then you unfortunately
probably have one of the PE series that was made with a large tolerance
error in the actual axle and trunion housing when the assembly was
milled; I have seen over a dozen with such play.  If this is the case,
there is simply no remedy.

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/

And:

Thanks a lot for your propt answer, Dr Clay
unfortunately the play is not between the gears but in the axis(see the
arrow in the photo), play lateral the cluth tight.
There is no loctite in the main bolt, so I can turn it without effort.
Have you any diagram of this mecanism ?
Thanks again
best regards
J.Losa
The bolt does not serve as adjustment for any play; it is merely to
secure the axle onto the base.  There is no diagram....it is a simple
axle going through a bearing with a nut on the end.  The problem as you
describe it is that the axle is actually milled too small for the
bearing assembly.  There is no fix for this problem and many ETX PE
scopes got out of manufacturing with this problem I am afraid.

And:

thanks to you for your help
thaks  for the "quality" of the Meade's products

The thing I do'nt understand is; when I tight the main nut, just over
the arrow,I can't turn the scope.
If there is a bearing, it should not totaly be bloqued by the nut.
I'am afraid to have made a language error: when I said bolt it was in fact *nut *
I am very sorry to insist and thank you again
J.Losa
Once again, the nut is not an adjustment; it is merely to keep the base
on the fork arms.  DO NOT adjust the large central nut.

Dr. Clay

Subject:	Ethos Eyepiece and ETX90
Sent:	Monday, May 19, 2008 10:39:34
From:	Andrew MacRobert (amacrobert@yahoo.co.uk)
Would the new Televue Ethos 13mm eyepiece work in  the ETX 90 or would
it need a counterbalance? I think it weighs about 1 lb.
 
Regards,
 
Andrew MacRobert
England
Mike here: I've seen no reports on an Ethos on at ETX (I don't think it is shipping yet). But it should be OK if 1 lb. Don't know about the focus range though or whether vignetting would be a problem. And of course, the eyepiece costs nearly as much as the telescope!
Subject:	Tracking with a ETX90EC
Sent:	Sunday, May 18, 2008 20:08:30
From:	Charles Powell (powel_charles@yahoo.com)
I have changed a ETX90RA to a EXT90EC base.It uses the EC controler not
the AutoStar goto. I was tracking the Moon tonight and was well pleased
with the scope. The only thing I had to do was move the scope down to
keep the Moon centered in my 26mm eyepiece. Does this mean that my polor
aliment was off? I live in Houston Texas and te city lights wash  out
the north star making it hard to setup. I went into the tracking mode
and set the tracking speed to about 5 steps slower than the sidereal
rate. Any sujestions to keep me on track. Charles
Mike here: It has been a long time since I've used the standard EC handcontroller but I don't recall there being any tracking speed adjustments there. It does have a SLEW speed adjustment however. As to the Moon drifting out of the eyepiece over a short period of time, that means something was off in the setup. Either your latitude was off or the telescope polar axis was not pointed at True North. However, keep in mind that you still might have to re-center objects over a period of time since tracking may not be that accurate.

And:

Thanks for fast reply. I think that my true nort setup is off. I have to
drive out of the city and try to setup then. Your site is a Godsend for
people like me. My first telescope was a hand helded three tube I got
way back in 1962. I now have the Meade ETX 60AT, ETX90EC, ETX125PE,
Tasco 500mm reffelector, and a Jason 90mm refactor. Now that I have
retired maybe I can lean to use them. I may sell the Tasco and Jason.
Thank you for being there when people need help. Charles

Subject:	Meade/Coronado PST Repair
Sent:	Saturday, May 17, 2008 10:57:50
From:	Bill Helms (bill.helms@wildblue.net)
I own a Coronado PST that has the dreaded "rust" problem.  I am quite
nervous about sending it back to Meade, because of their recent history
of financial problems, and because I have heard (on the Coronado PST
Yahoo group) that PST repairs are being outsourced to Mexico, with very
long (months and months) lead times for repairs.  Do you have any
insight to what I should reasonably expect for current repair lead time,
and is there any danger of my PST getting caught in a Meade financial
meltdown, and never getting it back?
 
As a Meade 4M advisor, I appreciate any insight you can offer.
 
Bill Helms
NASA Physicist (Retired)
President, Alachua Astronomy Club
Mike here: As a Meade 4M advisor I don't have any specific insights. I haven't experienced any "rust" problem on my PST. Yes, Meade is sending some repairs out of the USA. As to their current financial difficulties, I don't think that is cause for concern (at this point). If I did I wouldn't have purchased a 8" LX90-ACF (which immediately after receipt was returned to Meade for replacement/repairs). Time for repairs tend to average 3 weeks, with some shorter (a week) and some much longer (months).
Subject:	Shifting Azimuth on 884 Tripod?
Sent:	Saturday, May 17, 2008 06:06:08
From:	Steve (driller_sm@yahoo.com)
I was wondering if anyone has made a modification to the 884 tripod
mount to allow movement in azimuth?  As it is now, only the elevation
can be changed when doing a Polar alignment to true north; to shift the
azimuth the tripod must be moved, and this will then most likely upset
the leveling.

I was thinking along the lines of making an additional mounting plate
that would then be attached to the present wedge plate, but which could
be shifted laterally. The scope would then be attached to this
additional plate.

Any comments/ideas?

Subject:	Coronado PST article
Sent:	Thursday, May 15, 2008 11:25:23
From:	Bill (astronutski@yahoo.com)
I saw your webpages on the Coronado PST and wanted to thank you for
putting them up!  I am new to solar, but not new to amateur astronomy.
Actually build dobs for myself and close friends, and after 20 years of
off and on DSO astronomy, I'm getting interested in solar.

I just don't know where to jump in and was hoping for some advice from a
seasoned pro like yourself.  I have a few basic questions I was hoping
you could answer.

1. I am considering the PST, but with the current excellent sale I'm
considering jumping into the 60 .7 for $2k, down from $3700.  Would that
make a huge difference (roughly 4x the price) over the pst?  I realize
this is a total subjective question, but I really have no idea.

2. I see you also have an ETX with a filter.  Do you like that setup? 
Is that a good alternative to the PST?  Can you see granulation or
flares?

3. I am into photography so I would want something I could use my Canon
20D d-slr with.  Are any of these scopes able to handle that?

I'm not afraid to spend the money (that I don't have, lol) to get
something that won't break, won't need replaced, won't disappoint.  Of
course justifying $2k for a 60mm objective is pretty difficult when I
put $2k into an 18" Newt mirror a few years ago, and have since upgraded
to a 24".

Thanks so much for your website and advice.  I look forward to your
reply.

Clear skies,
Bill Mitchell
Erie, PA
Mike here: The PST is an amazing Hydrogen-Alpha solar telescope. For the price it is hard to beat. However, it does have a fairly wide bandpass, which tends to reduce the amount of details and clarity seen on the Sun. Solar telescopes with a smaller bandwidth will allow better views. As to the ETX for "white light" solar observing, yep, I like that. With the ETX-90 I piggyback the PST and so get the best of both worlds when observing the Sun and I get tracking with the PST. As to photography, I have been unable to reach a focus with my Nikon D70 DSLR attached to the PST (although I can with the ETX and other telescopes). For more on astrophotography see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page.

And:

Wow, thanks for the quick response Mike.
And WOW, I didn't see your homepage, only that one page I was commenting
on, link from Yahoo search.  Holy CRAP!  You've got a lot of info there,
will take me years to read it all.  Good, lol.

And wow, so sorry to hear about the theft, yikes.  People never cease to
amaze me (negatively), they'll get what's coming to them eventually. 
Hope you get back what was taken and more.

Take care,
Bill

Subject:	Attaching #1244 Auto Focuser to ETX 90 EC
Sent:	Wednesday, May 14, 2008 09:33:07
From:	Johnson (fwjohnson47@wcc.net)
Recently purchased #1244 Meade Auto Focuser for my ETX90EC! Being new to
attaching electronic components to telescopes, hearing horror stories
about frying the circuit boards after attaching different items
together, and not finding where to attach [plug-in] the auto focuser on
the ETX 90, here is the question. Where do you plug-in the focuser in
order use the 497 controller to focus the scope?
 
Fred Johnson
Mike here: The Meade electric focuser connects to the AUX port on the ETX base. Then you use the MODE display on the AutoStar to see the focus menu and use the SLEW arrows to control the focus.

And:

THANKS Mike,
I suspected that by reading the manuals on both units, but neither one
said for sure. Like I said, I have heard of other folks plugging other
components in and damaging either the scope circuit board or the unit
plugged in.

Again, a BIG super thanks for quick response and correct answer.

Fred Johnson

Subject:	A plug for all your efforts
Sent:	Tuesday, May 13, 2008 18:15:28
From:	Steven M. Wyatt (steven@thewyattfamily.org)
I really appreciate all the help you have provided me the past several
weeks.

Unfortunately, my scope needed to go back to Meade. L

Anyway, In my "downtime", I decided to start my own website, and just
wanted to let you know I placed links for all of you as thanks for your
help.

You can find them on the links page at: www.thewyattfamily.org/astronomy

Heck, and if any of you are in Massachusetts, I'll buy you a beer too!
 
Thanks guys!!

Subject:	etx 125 pe handbox
Sent:	Tuesday, May 13, 2008 15:51:14
From:	Peter (petere@tbaytel.net)
Hi, you gave a fix previously for my ETX125pe, I was wondering if you
could help me again?  A fewe weeks ago my handbox was working fine, now
when I turn it on there is power to the telescope itself but no power to
the handbox, do you have any ideas?
Mike here: Check the cable connectors and jacks. The pins should be clean, not bent sideways, nor too depressed. You might also try reversing the cable. Also, have you replaced the batteries?

And:

Hi again, I tried all the options. I even checked that power was going
thru the cord with a voltmeter. It checked out. Could you tell me what
the reset options were again. I tried the enter and scroll down and turn
power on and hold for 4 secs but that didnt work. I guess I need a new
handbox.
Mike here: You might try making an external power box; see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page for some articles on that. If the AutoStar is indeed dead, the SAFE LOAD procedure (ENTER and SCROLLDOWN keys held down when powering on) won't help. You could try a reset from software; see the article "AutoStar RESET from Software" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	ETX-90/EC battery pack problem
Sent:	Tuesday, May 13, 2008 12:26:14
From:	David Kraeuter (kraeuter@earthlink.net)
I am trying to repair the battery pack in an ETX-90/EC I got at a yard
sale. The positive terminal and the negative terminal of the battery
pack each have a wire attached, but the other ends of the two wires are
disconnected. Does anyone know where these wires should be reattached?
Thank you.
David Kraeuter
Mike here: Does the article "Repairing Broken Battery Wires" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page help?

And:

Thank you, Mike. That article provided the clue I needed to solve my
problem.

Subject:	Thanks for the help with my telescope!
Sent:	Saturday, May 10, 2008 08:06:43
From:	JIM HAMRIC (cirmah1@sbcglobal.net)
I just wanted to say that you saved me last night with your polar
alignment article that you posted.  Your article is the ONLY one out
there that I found that mentioned that YOU HAVE TO USE THE COMPLEMENT OF
YOUR LATITUDE IN SETTING UP THE WEDGE.  Even Mitty's site doesn't
explain this.  I may send an email to Frank Sperl at Mitty to explain
this.  He's a great guy.  Clay Sherrod is a childhood friend of mine,
and he and I have been keeping in touch since I bought this scope last
week, but I just wanted to tell you that your site is a life saver. 
Thank you Mike!!!!!!!!!
 
Jim Hamric
Little Rock, AR.
Mike here: Nice to hear from a childhood friend of Dr. Clay. He is a super guy!

And:

Yes, Clay is a tremendous help to anyone interested in this great hobby,
have you ever emailed him?...and don't sell yourself short either,...you
have contributed greatly yourself.  Like I mentioned, yours was the ONLY
site that said anything about the complement of the latitude angle,...I
would have still be pulling my hair out if it hadn't been for you.
Mike here: I have emailed Dr. Clay MANY times and even met him back in 2002. You can see a photo of us at: http://www.weasner.com/etx/fun/etx_star_party_2002/etx_star_party_1002.html.

And:

Hey, thanks for sending that.

Subject:	SCOPETRONIX
Sent:	Saturday, May 10, 2008 05:41:37
From:	JEFF HIATT (jshiatt103@hotmail.com)
My name is jeff and  live in Punta Gorda,florida but I work in Fort
Myers which is just across the caloosahatchee river from Cape Coral. I
too tried ordering some items fome Scopetronix and had similar results,
I since then ordered and received these items from
Telescopes.com.However I am going to try and find the new store CNC next
week and will let you know if I find anything out .
                                           Jeff

Subject:	etx or nexstar? thanks Mike!
Sent:	Friday, May 9, 2008 23:02:19
From:	starseeker (moody1515@msn.com)
Im trying to figure out which scope to get for extreme portability. I
live in a very light polluted area (Long Island, NY-- 25miles from the
center of NYC), so I have to travel a long ways for clear, dark skies
(Poconos- PA). I need a highly portable set up and Ive been trying to
decide between the ETX 125 PE and the Nexstar 6SE.

I would use this set up for visual use only, although I might dabble in
some astrophotography with a point and shoot digicam afocally. Lunar,
Planetary and some bright deep sky work (M13, M31, M42) are the main
uses, although I would also do some daytime work (birding, digiscoping).
Which is the best choice? Ive read the Weasner ETX forums and they rave
about the ETX planetary performance, with a few people saying they can
get to 360X-430X performance on Jupiter and Saturn, yet I dont see such
claims being made for the Nexstar 6SE (although, several people have
told me it has very good image quality.) Also, a couple of people have
said the Nexstar 6SE is not as good optically as the C6-SGT (which I
will use for my photographic setup), although Im not sure why this would
be-- arent they supposed to be identical optically? Perhaps, they meant
the mount? On this account, Ive also been told the dual fork mount of
the ETX125 makes it more stable than the Nexstar 6SE single fork setup.

On the Nexstar 6SE's side, it has an extra 1" of aperture, although Im
not sure how much of a difference it would make from my still light
polluted viewing location (44% brighter, 20% more resolution). Also, I
dont know how well the Nexstar 6se stacks up for daytime use-- the close
focus of the etx125 is 15 feet, dont know what the figure is for the
nexstar 6se.

Are the optics of the Nexstar 6se equal to that of the etx 125 pe, or
even better, perhaps? I'm wondering of that extra inch of aperture would
overcome the etx125 even for planetary and lunar work, despite the sharp
etx optics? Any input is welcome, thanks!

Best Regards,

Alex
Mike here: I have no recent experience with the NexStar models. You can read my NexStar5 comments through my "My ETX-125EC Experiences" article on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page. Keep in mind that UHTC is effectively adding about an inch of aperture in the light that reaches your eye (vs older coatings). I don't know how the NexStar coatings perform.
Subject:	Burned circuit board.....
Sent:	Thursday, May 8, 2008 15:33:51
From:	JOHN SRAJER (johnsrajer@msn.com)
I have an etx 125.... I has not worked for 2 years. I kept getting the
motor unit failure message. I finally took it apart and discovered a
burned up circuit board in the fork motor controller.  To me this seems
fatal. I have stared to look for a new telescope but the Phoenix area
seems to be sold out.

Is the circuit board thing fatal???
 
Thanks
 
John S
Mike here: The board is necessary if you want to electronically control the Declination (Altitude) motor. But the AutoStill will still give the error if you want to use that. So replacing the board is needed if you plan to really use the telescope for astronomical purposes and track the sky movement. You could try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page) or you would have to contact Meade for a repair (they won't send you a replacement board). Alternatively, you could mount the OTA on a different tripod. See the article "ETX-125 on a LXD75 Mount" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page for one such idea.
Subject:	re: StarGPS for an ETX125
Sent:	Wednesday, May 7, 2008 19:17:41
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
I don't know which model of the StarGPS you were looking at
(i have the "plain" StarGPS which requires the Autostar firmware
update, and i've played with the StarGPS-LX and -NX)

You don't need a PC attached to the GPS or Autostar -during-
the GPS operation, you only need a PC to update the Autostar's
firmware to allow the Autostar to understand what the GPS is saying.
Once you've loaded the update, it becomes a "standalone" system
(no PC needed in the field)

If you were looking at the StarGPS-LX or StarGPS-NX, they do
-not- require updating the Autostar's firmware, they just work as-is.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Re: Applicability of Tuneup Tips for late model ETX-125's
Sent:	Tuesday, May 6, 2008 15:09:12
From:	Lorenzo Rota
Thanks Dr. Sherrod and Mike!

All went well. 

First, the OTA was easily removed.  

As the DEC encoder wheel is completely inaccessible even with both fork
covers removed. To get to the DEC encoder wheel, I did have to remove
both inner and outer fork covers.  Then remove 3 screws from the DEC
motor assembly.  Also had to loosen the 3 screws on the worm drive ( I
carefully scribed a line on inside of fork to indicate mounting position
of the worm drive assembly so I could go back to same pre-load position
for the worm drive).  I didnt have to remove the worm drive but it
helped to loosen it so that the DEC motor assembly could be disengaged
from the main gear driving the worm gear shaft.  Then the DEC motor
assembly was carefully dropped down and out of the fork.

I did use your tip to run a screwdriver into the OTA arm bearing as I
removed the OTA arm from the fork bearing.  It didnt appear like
anything would actually drop out as the bearings seemed to be pressed
into the fork.  But the screwdriver did prevent the main gear, DEC stop
ring, etc from falling down into the arm, although it seemed that it
wouldnt drop down too far even if I didnt insert the blade.

I then cleaned the dec motor sensor and encoder.  Also...there was alot
of metal filings/shavings all over the interior of the fork assembly and
on motor assembly from the machining process at the factory which needed
to be cleaned up before it caused a short on the circuit board. It
doesnt appear they properly cleaned/degreased the metal fork before
installing all the other mechanicals and electronics. Metal filings were
everywhere.

The OTA arm went back in smoothly once it was properly keyed.  And
everything is running smoothly and calibrated etc.

Overall, it was not that difficult at all but I am fairly mechanically
inclined.  The key was to go slow, not force anything, take pics as I
went along, and keep track of all the screws.  I cleaned off all excess
greases and lightly greased with lithium grease only where necessary.

Again, thanks to both of you for the assistance.

Regards

Lorenzo Rota

And:

From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
Glad it was successful, and you are correct:  going slowly and
deliberately is the key.

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:	StarGPS for an ETX125
Sent:	Sunday, May 4, 2008 16:30:35
From:	JOHN SABELLA (johnsabella@hotmail.com)
I checked the site to see if there were any articles about the StarGPS
used with the ETX125 and found none.

I had visited a local store who was telling me a little about this unit,
but I'm a little hesitant without check with you first.

I beleive you need to use it with a Laptop which I could do, but I would
find that inconvenient. I'm hoping Meade someday will update the ETX
with a GPS option soon.

If you heard anything about this StarGPS, please let me know. Thank you.

John
Mike here: Did you try to use the Search feature on the ETX Home Page? I searched for "StarGPS" and got many pages of "hits" including the GPS articles on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. As to needing a laptop, nope. Some GPS models will connect to the AutoStar.

And:

I'll try again but what I did see was for different models.  I was just
wondering if you had any experience with that particular product
yourself? Thanks.
 
John
Mike here: Well, there is my review "StarGPS-LX Review" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.

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