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ETX CLASSIC FEEDBACK
Last updated: 31 May 2011
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This page is for comments and user feedback about ETX telescopes. ETX models discussed on this page include the ETX-60/70/80/90/105/125 (EC, AT, BB, Premier Edition). This page also includes comments and feedback of a general nature. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to the ETX-90RA, DSX, 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 for posting. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message per the Site Email Etiquette. Thanks. Remember, tips described on this site may invalidate the warranty on your telescope or accessories. Neither the submitter nor myself are responsible for any damage caused by using any contributed tips.

Mike here: If you are thinking of purchasing a SkyShed POD for a portable or permanent observatory, you can now support the ETX Site by making your purchase via this link to SkyShed POD. The link also appears on the ETX Site Home Page under the "Supporting the Mighty ETX Site" section. It also appears at the bottom of the ETX Site Home Page. If you have followed my "Road to Oracle Observatory" blog (March 2008 to August 2009), and my subsequent "Cassiopeia Observatory" web site (August 2009 to the present), you know that I have been extremely happy with my SkyShed POD GPOD XL5 observatory. Thanks to everyone who has supported the ETX Site over the years. I hope that some of you can take advantage of this opportunity to support the ETX Site via your purchase (and subsequent enjoyment of) a SkyShed POD.
Subject:	ETX 125PE "Dead"
Sent:	Tuesday, May 31, 2011 03:43:57
From:	tonyfilsak@aol.com (tonyfilsak@aol.com)
So here's the story, any help would be appreciated:
 
I was going through the normal auto align process. It found north,
level, tilt etc, and slewed to the first alignment star as normal. I
went to centre the star with the handset, the scope would move left and
right but not up or down so I decided to switch off and start over. On
switching again, the thing was dead, no display no beep no nothing, just
the red LED power light was on.

No different in the morning, so I checked the handset lead with a meter
- OK. Took the base of the scope off to check for loose connections etc
- all OK. Not sure what made me do it but I disconnected the LNT module
and it all fired up except that both the motors fail to operate.
Re-connected the LNT and dead again.

Power supplies are fine and I even changed the LNT battery but the scope
is still dead. Is there anything obvious I should look at before sending
the scope away for repair?

Regards
 
Tony Filsak
Mike here: You didn't explicitly state it so I'll ask. Have you chanegd to fresh internal batteries? If you were using an external power source, disconnect it. With the AutoStar disconnected, what happens when you turn on the ETX?

And:

Yes I was using an external power source at the time of the original
failure i.e. an external 12V lead acid battery (power tank).  But I have
done all subsequent testing with fresh internal batteries.  With
autostar disconnected, just the red power light comes on.
 
Thanks for your very rapid response, appreciate your help.
Mike here: Normally, with the AutoStar disconnected, there should be some movement at power on. Since that is not happening, it would appear that something is wrong electrically. That could be a broken wire, a bad battery cutout switch, or something failed on the circuit board. You will have to open the mount to look for a disconnected/broken wire. If the battery cutout switch is bad, the tip in the article "Repairing Battery Cutoff Switch" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page may help. If the circuit board is bad, that will require either board level troubleshooting or a replacement.

And:

Many thanks once again, I'll check it all out, should keep me busy this
evening!
 
Regards
 
Tony

Subject:	ETX 70 Time retention with autostar 494
Sent:	Tuesday, May 31, 2011 03:41:24
From:	Garry Ferdinand (ferdels@gmail.com)
Just picked up an ETX70 to lug round in our motorhome here in New
Zealand. It seems to remember the location and date after initialising ,
but the time has to be set every activation.
Is it normal behavior? am I missing somthing? or do I live with it?
Love the site, its been a big help and inspiration.

Thanks

Garry
Mike here: The ETX does not have a real-time clock. It will always default to 8 PM (2000 hours) on power up.
Subject:	Upgrading ETX 70
Sent:	Monday, May 30, 2011 15:27:38
From:	Emanuel Tobal (etobal@donapaula.com.ar)
I'm a big fan from your site. I bought a ETX 70 about 6 years ago, I
haven't use a lot. I will like to stargazing again. Which lens should I
Buy to get the best from mi ETX 70
Mike here: I assume you have the 25mm and 9mm eyepieces that came with the ETX-70. Given the short focal length of the ETX-70, adding other eyepieces doesn't gain much at either end of the magnification range. However, one useful item would be a 2X Barlow Lens, that will double the number of "eyepieces" you have available.
Subject:	ETX 70 'motor Failure/under construction' message
Sent:	Monday, May 30, 2011 08:27:25
From:	richard farrelly (richardandteresa163@hotmail.com)
I have been reading your site and it is brilliant.
But I have a problem with my ETX 70 that I cant seem to find an answer
for on your forum.

When I first start up the telescope it goes through the normal start up
procedure but then when I try and start the easy alignment the telescope
starts to move up for a second then moves to the side for a second but
then stops and the 'motor failure' notice comes up.

I have tried putting new batteries in, resetting the hand set,
calibrating the motors all to no avail.

If I use the manual controls on the hand set it will slew left and right
no problem but when tracking up and down it will move for 3 seconds then
the 'motor failure' message comes up but is quickly replaced by the
'under construction' message.

I hope you can help as I am really looking forward to using it.

Richard.
Mike here: If the optical encoders are dirty, then errors can occur in sensing the light. Sometimes you can clean the encoders by just slowing rotating the telescope back and forth and up and down by hand. Go slowly as do the rotation several times around (on the refractor models). If further cleaning is required, see the article "Cleaning the Encoders" on the Telescope Tech Tips page. HOWEVER, the "under construction" error will usually mean that the AutoStar ROM has become corrupted. You can find some articles on the ETX Site that discuss "under construction" by searching for "under construction". If it is indeed a corrupted ROM, then you have very limited choices since there is no user-installable ROM update. You can contact Meade for a repair, replace it with another #494 AutoStar, or get a #497 AutoStar (which works fine with the ETX-70 and is user updateable).

And:

Thank you for the speedy reply you are a star I will give it a try now.

Sent from my HTC

Subject:	Re: ETX 70 base removal
Sent:	Sunday, May 29, 2011 17:45:01
From:	StevePinney@cox.net (StevePinney@cox.net)
Mike, just wanted to say thank you for the encoder tip, stripped
everything down pulled out the encoders cleaned them, reinstalled
everything, did a reset and calibrate and it works like a champ.

Can't wait to try some of the tune-up tips.

Thanks again.

Steve

Subject:	ETX 70 base removal
Sent:	Thursday, May 26, 2011 19:31:47
From:	StevePinney@cox.net (StevePinney@cox.net)
I have a Motor Unit Fault, tried reset, calibrate and train, no luck, so
I thought I would see what was going on in the base as that seems to be
were the problem is.
I have seen a couple of disassembly articles on your site, but I am
stuck. I have seen one where he talks about unscrewing the nylon nut
(mine won't unscrew) and another one were the guy said to put a socket
on it and break it off (not happy with that).
Any other options?
Will Meade fix it? and is it worth it?
Thanks
Steve
Mike here: I have not personally disassembled my ETX-70 so I can't be any direct help other than what the various articles say. Meade may or may not repair it but there can be several reasons for a MUF error. Have you replaced the batteries? Also, check for dirty encoders. Check the HBX jack and connector for dirty, bent, or too depressed pins.

And:

Yep had it hooked up to the power supply and checked the pins, as it
turns you can hear a clicking noise.

What and Where is the encoder located?

Thanks.
Mike here: I would suggest NOT using the external power supply so that you can rule that out. However, the clicking sound you mention could be the culprit. Typically there are three sources of clicking: loose or broken gearbox, broken gear teeth, or some obstruction catching some place as the telescope is rotated. There are several articles on "gearbox" tips on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. If you can hear the clicking sound when rotating the telescope slowly by hand, then it is likely an obstruction is the culprit, especially if you can feel it catching. Use caution when doing the rotation; if the obstruction is a wire, you don't want to cut it. The encoders are optical devices that read the movement of the telescope. If they are dirty, then errors can occur in sensing the light. Sometimes you can clean the encoders by just slowing rotating the telescope back and forth and up and down by hand. Go slowly as do the rotation several times around (on the refractor models). If further cleaning is required, see the article "Cleaning the Encoders" on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	new ETX 90 owner
Sent:	Thursday, May 26, 2011 08:06:41
From:	Alfred E. Neuman (oldcrow@tampabay.rr.com)
i have found that the spotter scope that is supplied with the scope is
worthless.
what do other ETX 90 users have for spotter scopes?
 
i have an old tetrad, but that seems to be an over kill.
 
thanks
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews: Finderscopes page and the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page for some alternative finderscopes and mounting techniques.
Subject:	Re: ETX-125PE RA/Azimuth Clamp Replacement
Sent:	Sunday, May 22, 2011 15:52:53
From:	John Schirra (jschirra@charter.net)
Here is a recap of my journey with the Ebay special EXT-125PE so far. 
The moral of the story is don't buy a scope you haven't seen.

The scope was found to be missing the RA bolt lever cap, LNT module
finder lens and focuser knob.  I just ordered the RA bolt cap from Meade
customer service.  They are out of stock but will hopefully come in a
few weeks.

Meade no longer have lenses for the old LNT finder.  I asked if Meade
has a method to mount a different finder but they had no suggestions on
that item. I made a lens out of flat thin plastic and found that the
finder has so much error it is virtually useless.  I read somewhere that
the lens is curved and I will attempt to curve my homemade lense to see
if it works any better, otherwise I will adapt a different finder.

I worked on the scope quite a bit to fix the wiring.  I had to remove
the motor assembly in order to reconnect the motor leads.  Had some
trouble getting the worm gear assembly loose to remove the motor board
assembly - very tight fit.  Also had some trouble getting the clutch
assembly to loosen but persistance paid off.  Finally got all the parts
and pieces out and reassembled.  Added a little lithium grease to the
worm gear since what was on it had dried out.  Of course, I soldered the
motor leads back with reverse polarity the first time and had repeat the
exercise to get it right. I also added a short length of wire to the
black lead of the battery holder since it had pulled off as well.  I
don't understand why Meade makes this lead so short - it will invariably
get pulled off whenever doing work inside the base.

I checked on the stop limits.  I get 1-3/4 rotations (630 degrees) stop
to stop.  Is that within specs?

Initial tests after the repairs kept resulting in a motor failure alarm.
The scope slewed correctly manually in all directions and battery
voltage was fine.  I tried a reset of the Autostar controller and all
the problems went away.  I trained the drive and calibrated the sensors.
It now tracks correctly and comes close to its target.

During the drive training, I noticed that the Alt will raise or lower
slightly when changing direction in Az.  The base appears to be rising
or dropping causing the change in Alt?  Any ideas on how to correct that
issue?

I found that the corrector retaining ring was loose which made me worry.
The gasket between the ring and the corrector was sticking out which
brought it to my attention.  I loosened the retaining ring, caefully
lowered the front of the scope and dropped the corrector onto a clean
sheet of paper into my hand.  There was some dust on inside which I blew
out with canned air.  I replaced the corrector in the same position and
carefully reinstalled it and tightened the retaining ring.

I did an unfocused star test using my Hubble artificial star indoors and
found that the collimation appears to be quite off.  At 380x
magnification (5mm eyepiece) and in focus, the bright point is at the 10
o'clock position of the outside of the airy ring.  Now I need to
determine if I should try collimating the thing myself or send it to
Meade.

The adventure continues.

John Schirra
Mike here: Yep, that's right for hard stop to hard stop. As to collimation, see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page; several articles on collimation there.
Subject:	ETX outdoor storage
Sent:	Friday, May 20, 2011 13:55:02
From:	Kris Torrey (kristorrey@hotmail.com)
While browsing your Mighty ETX site, as I do periodically, I came across
an outdoor storage question involving the use of a Rubbermaid or similar
small shed. I would like to go on record as the voice of experience and
discourage anyone from doing that.  I bought a POD to store my ETX-
125AT so that I would not have to set up and tear down the scope each
time I wanted to observe.  I also had a Supercharge done by Dr. Clay
before the scope was installed in the POD.  A few years later, here is
the chronology of the learning experience:

Everything worked beautifully initially. Then, about two weeks into the
hottest part of the summer problems with erratic slewing showed up. They
were worst in the early evening but improved markedly as the night got
colder.  The cause was found to be component overheating due to infrared
radiation. A podder with experience in infrared photo- graphy confirmed
that the HDPE from which the POD was made was transparent to infrared.

Lining the POD with Reflectix and fashioning a scope cover of it seemed
to solve the infrared problem, but the scope cover trapped overheated
air around the scope.  A thermostatic outlet and small fan to direct air
up under the cover helped that problem somewhat, and my schedule of
observations went on fairly well from there.

Unfortunately, there is a bit of a static problem with Reflectix, so
taking the scope cover off and on created a static problem just strong
enough to attract a lot of dust, aggravated by the fan blowing up
underneath from about 14 inches off the floor.  The solution for that
was a flannel scope cover underneath the reflectix.

Along came the winter rains, which meant high humidity inside the POD.
that was addressed by replacing the fan with a 60 watt bulb under the
scope so the heat would be just enough to prevent condensation.  I had
not noticed until I started using the bulb that there were small rust
spots forming on the tripod legs.  The bulb worked very well, and kept
the scope warm enough to prevent dampness and provide a wonderful winter
home inside the mount for a rapidly reproducing family of earwigs.  They
set up housekeeping and soon I had an entire village of the little
monsters living inside the grinder.  They had not managed to get into
the OTA as I had blocked the opening under the bottom of the tube with
polyethylene foam packing material.

Last Fall the mount stopped working completely.  Fearing another
invasion of earwigs, I took the mount apart and discovered the gears,
made of plastic, had gotten brittle enough to start loosing their teeth.

Enough was enough. I took the OTA off the now useless mount, and gave it
a thorough checkup. Then I mounted it on a Celestron CG-5GT. It now
resides on that GEM, being moved through the night on brass gears. When
the observing session is over, the OTA is stored in a foam lined case,
and the mount is locked into its own Pelican case. Only the steel tripod
remains unprotected, and even that is wiped down with Armor-All and
covered after each session.

The project this Spring is to build a 10 x 10 foot wooden deck with a
pier, for the POD's new home.  The deck will be surrounded with plants
and raised with a layer of pea gravel underneath. This will cut down on
the insect intrusions and keep down the dust as well as make for easier
temperature control.

Outside storage is OK for more robust scopes and mounts than the ETX,
but with such fine optics mounted on such a vulnerable mount, the tiny
bit of trouble it takes to move the scope inside, even if only to an
insulated unheated garage, is well worth it to protect your investment.

Subject:	ETX-125PE RA/Azimuth Clamp Replacement
Sent:	Thursday, May 19, 2011 10:47:21
From:	jschirra@charter.net (jschirra@charter.net)
I purchased a used ETX-125PE through Ebay.  That was a mistake - and I
knew better but I did it anyway.

The first thing I noticed is that the scope had been "supercharged" by
Dr. Clay, a nice discovery.  The second thing I found is the RA clamp
lever had been replaced with a standard hex-head bolt.  I assume this
was not a Dr. Clay modification.  The bolt can't be hand tightened
without using a wrench and I am hesitant to do so without first making
sure no damage will occur.  Can you point me to an aricle on your site
that describes the proper disassembly/assembly of the RA clutch assembly
so I can see if this modification can work?  Also, do you have any
suggestions on where I can obtain the correct part to replace the bolt?

I also found that the two wires to the RA motor are disconnected from
the motor.  I can't see where these wires may have been snagged by a
gear or something else.  I can easily solder them back in place but I
have an uneasy fealing as to why they are loose.  Have you seen this
before?

Lastly, the LNT module on this scope has the plexi sighting lens on the
left side missing.  Is this worth atttempting to obtain/fabricate a
replacement or should I just mount another finder?

Thanks in advance for your assistance and providing this great site.

John Schirra
photo

photo

Mike here: There are three "lever" articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. As to the Smartfinder lens, you could contact Meade; they MIGHT send you a replacement. If not, making a replacement would be difficult (although not impossible). But you could add a finderscope; several articles on that on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Also, see the Accessory Reviews: Finderscopes page.

And:

Thanks for the fast response.  I will check on the lever articles.

Any guess as to what may have caused the motor lead wires to break off
or should I just solder them back on and hope for the best?

Thanks again.

John
Mike here: Are the azimuth hard stops still functional? You should be able to rotate the telescope nearly twice around between hard stops. If one of the hard stops is broken, the telescope can rotate too far and pull a wire loose.

And:

The hardstops are still there.  Takes two or three turns to hit them.
However, looking at the motor and the controller board, they are both
fixed to the base and rotate togehter with the base.  I don't see how
the RA motor leads could get pulled free.

I just looked at a video on the disassembly of an ETX-90 and the lever
is apparently a cap to the hex-head bolt.  Any idea where I can get the
right cap?

John
Mike here: If it rotates 3 times, then one of the hard stops is broken. As to a lever replacement, besides those articles I mentioned, you can try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page).
Subject:	ETX 125 question (please help)
Sent:	Monday, May 16, 2011 15:20:03
From:	Ilya Pitin (ilya.pitin@gmail.com)
I found your site while searching for possible solutions to my problem.

I purchased a Meade ETX 125 at a charity store recently, and I think it
may be broken. I am as green as green can be when to comes to telescopes
and astronomy, so please bear with me if this is A) normal and/or B)
easily fixable.

The remote that attaches to the telescope is not an AutoStar from what I
can tell - it is much more simple looking, with a left/right/up/down
button and a few other buttons. When I turn it on and try to move the
scope, it is does not move up and down. I have tried to loosen the locks
on the right and left sides of the scope, but that doesn't seem to have
any effect. The scope also want to constantly "fall forward" with the
front pointing down. It does not want to "stay up" with the front facing
the sky. It does move left to right though. Is it broken? Am I doing
something wrong? I paid less than I would have for a new unit, but it
was still expensive, so I hope it's not going to be a giant paperweight.
:-(

It came with the 883 tripod, if that is of any consequence or
importance.
 
I really appreciate your time in helping me.
 
Sincerely,
 
Ilya
Mike here: Yes, you have the original ETX "EC" model that came with original handcontroller. As to the axis locks, DO NOT overtighten the locks. That is what likely has happened to the vertical lock (on the right fork arm). The lock is broken since the tube wants to fall back down to the base. You may be able to repair it; see the article "ETX-90EC DEC fix (Right Tube Adapter repair)" on the Helpful information: Telescope Tech Tips page.

And:

Thank you for the response, Mike. It's good to hear that it's not
something catastrophic!

I think I may be able to handle that repair. Is the disassembly pretty
easy (I am not a novice to assembly/disassembly of things, but am also
not a pro). In the chance I am not successful, can a local
astronomy/telescope store/shop repair something like this?
Mike here: Well, you may be able to do the repair yourself. Most telescope stores won't do it. If you do decide to try it yourself, be certain to read the article "Disassembly Procedure" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page (besides the article I mentioned earlier).
Subject:	RE:ETX 125 as appropriate choice for terrestrial photography
of automobile at 2400ft for Frontal Area calculation
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2011 18:04:45 From: Mike Hogan (mhogansr@comcast.net) Your proposed method for determining the 2-dimensional frontal area of a vehicle is valid but doesn't seem very useful for aerodynamic drag purposes. Drag is a function of shape as well as area so without the 3-dimensional shape factor, you won't get any meaningful data. Just my 2 cents. Mike Hogan, big NASCAR fan

Subject:	ETX 125 as appropriate choice for terrestrial photography 
of automobile at 2400ft for Frontal Area calculation
Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 12:13:25 From: Mark Paxton (MPAXTON@ganassi.com) My name is Mark Paxton, I am an Engineer working for Chip Ganassi Racing we compete in the Indycar and NASCAR racing series. I appreciate any feedback you might have regarding a project I am currently working on. We conduct aerodynamic testing of our racecars and other vehicles. For aerodynamic data processing, it is important to know the 'Frontal Area' (maximum cross-sectional area of the vehicle when viewed from the front). Complex and expensive processes exist for measuring and calculating the Frontal Area of vehicles these include dedicated laser units and complex 3D body scanning processes. A simpler method is to capture a digital photograph of the vehicle from a long distance away with a high magnification optic and then 'count pixels' of the silhouette. By taking the photo over a long distance, perspective angle errors are minimized. We have access to long, level surface of 2400ft length which can be darkened by turning off the lights. The concept is as follows: Utilize Canon 30D digital camera body connected to a Meade ETX 125 Telescope with T-Mount and Sections 1 and 2 of the #64 T-Adapter which should result in a focal length of 2310mm per the Meade ETX user manual Position the EXT 125 and camera securely on a tripod precisely in-line with the vehicle with the camera height set at mid-vehicle height ~ 30-36" above floor Diffusely Illuminate the vehicle by hanging a white sheet behind the car with a light source directly behind the sheet Switch off the facility indoor lighting except the lighting behind the vehicle Use a remote control or laptop PC connected to the camera to trigger the shutter with long exposure time (to avoid vibration while triggering the shutter) Replace the vehicle with a 'reference' shape of known area photograph the reference shape without making any adjustments to the camera position or focus Use software to 'count the pixels' in the images of the car and the reference shape then scale the car image pixel count based on reference shape pixel count to obtain car frontal area in usual units Based on Angular Field of View calculations for the Canon 30D, I believe that 2310mm focal length at 2400feet should result in: - X 22.3Ft - Y 15.5Ft Typical vehicle frontal areas are 20 to 30SqFt for example: - X 6Ft - Y 5Ft With the Canon 30D resolution of 8.2Megapixel the calculated Field of View should result in excellent pixel density. I have put some time into Internet research on Astrophotography and Meade ETX products, as well as calling the Meade Customer Support folks. As I have no previous experience with digital photography through telescopes, I would be grateful if you might offer feedback on the feasibility of this concept. Is there a fundamental reason why this concept would not work? Is there a better telescope candidate you might recommend? Do the Angular Field of View calculations for Canon 30D camera seem approximately correct? Thanks so much I look forward to any insight you may be able to offer, Mark. Mark Paxton Chip Ganassi Racing Teams Inc. 7777 Woodland Drive Indianapolis, IN 46278 mpaxton@ganassi.com www.chipganassiracing.com 2010 Indianapolis 500 Winner 2010 IndyCar Series Champions 2010 Grand-Am Series Champions P Consider the environment. Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to.
Mike here: From a Hoosier who enjoys the Indianapolis 500 every year (but who has attended only time trials back in the 1960s), best wishes for this year's race!
As to your concept, it sounds like you have done the right research. Certainly the optical quality of the ETX should provide you with excellent images. Keep me posted!
Subject:	lternatives to the expensive Meade AC adapter for the ETX-125 EC.
Sent:	Tuesday, May 10, 2011 19:59:11
From:	Martin Heermance (mheermance@gmail.com)
I searched your site but didn't specifically find this question
answered. After 10 years my Meade AC wall wart to car plug adapter has
died.  I checked the Meade web site and they want an outrageous amount
for a replacement.  On top of the insult of discontinuing the ETX-125's
electric focuser which I never got around to buying!

The ETX 125 runs off car power, or eight AA batteries, so it doesn't
seem picky.  I would think that as long as the power is around 12 volts,
1.5 amps, and tip positive the scope should be happy.  Security camera's
run off this power and their adapters are $10.

Do you know of any gotchas or errors in my thinking?

Thank you,
Martin Heermance
Mike here: As an alternative to Meade's universal AC adapter, I recommend the ETX power supply from ScopeStuff.com. I use their LX200-ACF model on my LX200-ACF and it works well.

And:

Great thanks.

Subject:	Question about Outdoor Storage of an ETX-125
Sent:	Friday, May 6, 2011 15:50:23
From:	Robert Amdahl (rramdahl@yahoo.com)
I have an ETX-125PE and another question for which I would appreciate
any advice or counsel that you could provide.  Granted the ETX is not
that hard to lug outdoors and back inside when I'm done but I was
wondering if it would be a good idea to get an outdoor storage shed to
keep it outside.

What I'm thinking is one those plastic/vinyl horizontal garden-type
storage sheds; the kind that has two doors and a top that can be lifted
up. These aren't the larger kind that you can walk in.  That way, I can
just open the shed and pull the mounted scope out, move it a few feet
and I'm ready to go.  I know that Rubbermaid and Suncast are two
manufacturers and that they are available at Home Depots or Lowes.

Do you think that this might be a reasonable idea?  Also, would you have
any thoughts about what might be potential problems?  One thing to
mention is that I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico which is a climate
probably not that dissimilar from yours in Arizona.  The days are
usually hot, dry and sunny and the nights get a little cooler.  Blowing
winds and dust are a concern, as well as bugs and such.  I hope to find
a shadier  spot for the shed or at least cover the top with a white
sheet to reduce the Sun effects.

Like I said, any advice or counsel that you can provide will be
appreciated; including being told that this is a stupid idea, if you
think it is.

Thank you again for your time and also your web site.  I can't end an
email without saying that it is awesome!  :-)

Thanks,
Bob Amdahl

btw, I bought a PST two weeks ago and after seeing your old (2004) post,
I also ordered a Baader solar filter and a JMI piggyback mount so I can
mount the PST on the ETX-125.  This stuff is getting fun!
Mike here: Well, you will have the same "problem" I have in my POD with the LX200-ACF. It gets warm inside during the summer months. That means 120°F during the daytime. And the POD is insulated to prevent heat transfer into the POD. I have a small fan connected to a plug-in thermostat which helps move the air around during the daytime in the hot months and that seems to help. And yes, the LX200 is more tolerate of the high temps than the ETX. So, that said, your main concern will be the sustained heat buildup inside the closed shed. Given the small size of the ETX, I'm not certain there will be much benefit to a "permanent" structure. I have heard of one POD owner who has an ETX inside it, but that is a more expensive, real permanent solution. As to the sun and solar viewing, the sun is now getting exciting again, yielding some really nice views in the PST and white light.
Subject:	telescope problems
Sent:	Thursday, May 5, 2011 19:17:17
From:	Zain Jawed (zain_jawed182@hotmail.com)
Hi there, I have a Meade ETX-90 telescope, and a Fujifilm finepix s1900
camera. I want to be able to take pictures of the moon and sun, how do i
connect them in order to do so? What equipment do i need? Is the camera
appropriate for taking pictures of the moon or sun? Can i view the moon
or sun through my telescope if i have a 26 mm eyepiece? If i want to
view the moon could i just point the telescope towards the moon and use
the focus knob to make a crisp and clear image? Why do people connect
their telescopes with their laptops? please, please answer my question,
i would really appreciate it if you would help me out, i would have gone
to the nearest astro/telescope shop but there aren't any and i can't
seem to find much help on Google.
Mike here: Lots of questions but I didn't see any mention of "telescope problems" as your email subject indicated. First, read the telescope manual, three times. Play with the telescope indoors to get used to how you make it move. Before starting astrophotography, get comfortable using your telescope to view the moon, sun (with a proper safe filter), planets, and other objects in the sky. Yes, you can just point the telescope at an object but you will have to manually track the sky motion to keep an object centered. You didn't say WHICH model ETX-90 you have. If it has the AutoStar, I suggest getting familiar with using it; it will allow you to more easily locate and track objects once it is aligned. Yes, you can connect a computer to the telescope (if you have the AutoStar and the #505 serial cable). But again, before doing that, get used to using your telescope (and AutoStar, if you have one). Once you are comfortable with using the telescope, then you can check out all the information on my ETX Site for doing astrophotography and for connecting a computer.
Subject:	Re: Failed ETX
Sent:	Thursday, May 5, 2011 10:27:08
From:	Derek (skyman@globalnet.co.uk)
You may recall that I e-mailed you with a problem I had with my ETX125
last April.

Having carried out all the tests that I could do, I decided there was no
output from the Azimuth board and so returned it to the Meade agent in
the UK (BC&F).  I pointed out to them that very soon after I bought it
from them I had to return it for a similar problem, that was 2 years
ago..

It is now been repaired at a cost to me for just the shipping.  I
understand that they replaced the azimuth drive board.

Although well out of guarantee and, from what I've read about Meade
servicing, I well pleased and consider that to be a pretty good service.

Derek
Gloucester UK

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