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: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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. CharlesMike 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 (email@example.com) 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 LOSAMike 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?
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
From: P. Clay Sherrod (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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/
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.
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 (email@example.com) 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 EnglandMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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. CharlesMike 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.
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 (email@example.com) 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 ClubMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.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, PAMike 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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 JohnsonMike 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.
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 (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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?
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 (email@example.com) 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 KraeuterMike here: Does the article "Repairing Broken Battery Wires" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page help?
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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!
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.
Hey, thanks for sending that.
Subject: SCOPETRONIX Sent: Saturday, May 10, 2008 05:41:37 From: JEFF HIATT (email@example.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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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, AlexMike 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 (email@example.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 SMike 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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
From: P. Clay Sherrod (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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. JohnMike 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.
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. JohnMike here: Well, there is my review "StarGPS-LX Review" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
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