Last updated: 30 November 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:	newbie etx questions
Sent:	Sunday, November 30, 2008 09:52:15
From: (
i am a new-used etx owner. i have been learning much on your site.
thanks for all your efforts. its basically a etx90 as a spotting scope.
no drives or fork mount. mostly terrestrial observation, will start to
stargaze soon.

a couple of questions that are bugging me that i have not found answers
to yet. am i not looking in the right place? maybe they are worth
additions somewhere.

the diagonal mirror shaft squeaks when i operate it. its annoying. lube?
no lube? how? i have not seen a parts breakdown to see what the shaft
rides on to see where lube might be needed.

cool down- how long? how do yo know if you are cooled down?

thanks in advance

Mike here: I don't recommend disassembling the tube but if you want to try it, see the article "Doc G's ETX OTA Guidescope & Disassembly Photos" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. When you reassemble the tube you may find the telescope optics need to be recollimation (not something to be undertaken casually and without accepting the risk of making things worse). There are several articles on collimation on the Telescope Tech Tips page. As to lubrication, a very very very small amount of lithium grease should do the trick. And I do mean a VERY VERY VERY SMALL amount. As to cool down, the rule of thumb is 30 minutes per inch of telescope aperture. Do a star test to check if thermal equilibrium has been reached. See the article "Star Test Images" on the Telescope Tech Tips page; pick the Maksutov180 telescope. If the rings are not concentric as seen in the images, then either thermal equilibrium has not yet been reached AND/OR the optics need to be collimated.


thanks for your reply.

i am not looking to take the scope apart. i do not want to collimate it
unless i absolutely have to.

i was looking for pics of how the mirror assembly is so i could try and
figure out what all is on the shaft and where it might be binding and
squeaking. it sounds like hard plastic on metal. i assume that the shaft
is supported on some sort of bearing to keep the alignment. i do not
want to wear it out.

if i remove the knobs and apply a little grease on the tip of a
toothpick, do you think it will work its way in far enough?

Mike here: It depends on where the noise is coming from. You don't want to get any grease on the optics, either accidently or from moving over time.


i hate to be a pain, but i was hoping you could confirm something.

looking at a couple of pages, most notable this one at Doc G's-

the back cover with the mirror and eyepiece tube will come off the main
OTA. the collimation will not be affected by removing the black plastic
cover. i can access the mirror shaft here and can lube it up as needed.

Mike here: Well, yes and no. Removing the eyepiece and flip mirror end can result in getting the optical axis not aligned unless you are careful to get the back end reattached in exactly the same way as it was when it was removed. It "should" go back on correctly but it is possible to have some misalignment.

And an update:

thanks. i took the plunge. 3 screws, the cover slid off.

the squeak was the detent spring on the 90 deg quadrant rubbing between
the two stops. it almost looked like mold flash on the plastic quadrant
piece. a >TINY< drop of oil on a piece of tissue skewered on a toothpick
quieted it up.

we'll see about alignment after i look at something.

thanks for your encouragement!


Subject:	Meade 90 EC Knob fix
Sent:	Friday, November 28, 2008 14:34:57
From:	Mark Weber (
I just purchased a used broken Meade 90 EC Telescope.  The knob that
connects to the telescope broke.  I took the telescope out of the forks
and can see the plastic broke on the connection that is molded on the
tube.  The knob on the outside of the fork turns but it won't unscrew. 
I can see the sprocket on the inside of the fork but I can't see the
plastic turning at all when I turn the outside knob.  Is there a home
repair I can do or does this need to be sent back to Meade?  What parts
do I need to order and any advice on how to fix would be appreciated.
Mike here: See the article "ETX-90EC DEC fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	RE: Did ETX 90EC change dec housing design?
Sent:	Tuesday, November 25, 2008 08:29:40
From:	Schmitt, David CTR USAF AFSPC AFSPC/A5FS (
Here's a follow-up.  George does have the correct 90EC dec housing!
Hopefully the change out will be easy.  I sent him a check for the
housing, the knob, and two tripod feet.  All for $17.50!  I will let you
know if everything works smoothly with him, as he could be a good
resource for other ETX owners looking for parts.


Can you please tell me how you utilize your 70AT?  Thanks.
Mike here: I use it for wide field observing. Great on the Milky Way.
Subject:	Cleaning an ETX-90
Sent:	Tuesday, November 25, 2008 07:04:39
From:	Rick Seal (
OK, I have the mineral spirits, the white lithium grease, and enough I
have read enough about the cleaning of my ETX-90 to be dangerous. Couple
of questions, Should I remove the old green grease with a Q-Tip and
mineral spirits? I'm sure you don't want too much of the spirits in the
control box but I would want to get most of that old grease out of there
before applying the lithium grease. Second, I'm kind of bothered about
the "clips" when the OTA is removed from the fork arms. Have you found
that they go back in pretty easily? My biggest fear is I get into this
thing and have a screw left over when I'm done!! Lastly, have you
personally done one of these tune-ups and did you find it helped with
goto and tracking? I appreciate your site, probably the best of any
telescope site on the web, and one day I want to buy the property next
to you in Arizona. It looks beautiful out there.
Rick Seal
Mike here: I'd avoid using cleaning solutions around the plastic. You can use a Q-Tip remove grease however. Just take your time. If you remove the tube adapters from the OTA a lot, then over time you can weaken them. But normally the adapters snap back in without problem if you work at it. Personally, other than cleaning the optics (rarely) I have never felt the need to do the "performance enhancements". But those who have have generally reported excellent results.
Subject:	Did ETX 90EC change dec housing design?
Sent:	Monday, November 24, 2008 14:18:13
From:	Schmitt, David CTR USAF AFSPC AFSPC/A5FS (
You may remember, I'm the guy with the ETX 90EC with heat damaged dec
housing and knob.  A guy in NY, George Cushing, responded to my ad in
Cloudy nights looking for ETX parts.  I asked if he had a dec housing
for the ETX 90EC and to confirm it with a picture.  The picture he sent
looks similar, but is much longer (maybe an inch longer), than the 
housing for my ETX-90EC.  Did they change the design?  It doesn't look
like the 70AT housing because my 70 has the plug inputs on the housing
and this doesn't.  The good news is, he does have other obscure parts I
need.  Thanks.
Mike here: I think the original ETX-70EC base/forks was similar to the ETX-90EC. That had the control panel on the base and not the fork arm. (I'd have to dig out my old Meade catalogs to be certain.) But I don't think the reverse was true.


Thanks, Mike.  That explains it.  George said the guy he works for
bought about 50 used ETX-70's from Meade and that they were different
from the later Meade 70s.  And that was why he said I could convert my
90 onto one of those older Meade 70 bases.  It all makes sense now.  I
either want the exact replacement part or I'm leaving it alone.  It's
only cosmetic and works fine as is.

Subject:	ETX-125PE - Underside OTA
Sent:	Sunday, November 23, 2008 08:09:25
From:	Ludwig Krijgshaftig (
Attached picture shows the underside of the OTA of my ETX-125-PE. Any
idea what these threads or nuts are for? Is this to piggy-back the ETX
on another scope or is there another purpose?

Kind regards,


Mike here: The ETX comes in two models: the astronomical telescope model and a spotting scope model. The spotting scope is normally mounted on a photographic-style tripod. The astronomical telescope model also includes these standard photographic tripod mounting holes. Some accessories have been known to use those holes as attachment points.
Subject:	Telrads and ETX's
Sent:	Friday, November 21, 2008 06:47:43
From:	David Lamont (
Not being too techy, I hope this gets through to you.
I would appreciate some advice.
I purchased a Meade ETX 125 PE two years ago and am not satisfied with
the red dot system, the one with the piece of plastic like a lens
sticking out of the top of the tube. Yuck! There is an element of luck
because one can move ones head and the object will be nowhere near where
you want to put the scope.

Is it possible to put a telrad on the tube and is it worth it? What
about balance? I would hate to put it on wrong and grind the gears to
dust. And I am sure one cannot drill in to the tube. And what about
other devices of the same sort.

I am a complete novice to the practical side of astronomy but have been
interested for 50 years. I am now living in France having moved from the
UK two and a bit years ago.

I will  be most grateful if you could point me in the right direction
(no pun intended!)
Very many thanks.
Kind regards and good seeing,
David Lamont
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews: Finderscopes page for Telrad. Also, if you search the Site for "telrad" you will get lots of hits. As to using the Red-Dot, see the my comments to the "ETX-125PE Smartfinder Parallax" email on the ETX Premier Edition feedback page (for November 2008).
Subject:	Removing the Meade ETX90EC OTA
Sent:	Friday, November 21, 2008 05:07:28
From:	Morris Clive ADN/CYLLID (
I was thinking about removing the OTA to check whether the RTA was
broken and then I came across a post on the Society for Popular
Astronomy website,which I have copied below. Someone with a ETX105 had
obviously had similar trouble to me.
	"Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Help removing
	tube from Meade ETX 105

	If you really, really want to do this, the easiest way is to remove
	the metal optical tube from the plastic housing first.

	I'd like to say that this exposes the flip mirror assembly, & the
	open rear port of the OTA itself. So, if you decide to do it, tread
	carefully, and at your own peril! Remove the three small allen
	screws which are recessed deep into the rear plastic housing
	(located at 1:00/4:00/9:00 (if I recall correctly)). Then remove the
	focus knob by loosening the small grub screw. The metal OTA should
	then slide out (cover the rear port immediately, and place it
	sideways somewhere where it will not roll). Once the OTA is removed,
	you should then be able to make out the presence of the small notch
	that holds the forward part of the fork arm to the plastic housing.
	Pull out the rear of the fork arm (where the two screws were), and
	slide rearwards disenaging the notch. Once this is done, you should
	be able to swivel it free from the rear plastic casing, so the
	second can also be removed.

	Be careful, go slowly, & don't force it ."
I must admit this post has made me think twice about removing the OTA
from the forks.

I wonder if you could comment on this post.
Many thanks,
Clive Morris,Caernarfon,Gwynedd,Wales,UK.
Mike here: Removing the OTA from the fork arms is actually easy. No need to disassemble the OTA. See near the bottom of the page of my ETX-90EC comments:
Subject:	Updated Autostar goto telescope building address in links page
Sent:	Wednesday, November 19, 2008 11:57:11
From:	bill
Several months ago I contacted you and supplied an updated address to my
site, which you have linked to on your links page (goto telescope
building using an Autostar conversion). Unfortunately my latest free
webhost proved even more unreliable. I have finally switched to a paid
hosting plan and purchased a domain name. This gives more reliable
service, but again means I have to ask everyone kind enough to link to
my site to update their links. At least with my own domain name, this
will be the last time for this.

My website "Bill's goto telescope building and astrophotography" can now
be found at  If you have linked to a specific
page, all you need to do is replace the old "" string
with "" and the page structure should still work.

Once again, sorry about having to do this so soon after the last link
update, but with more site down-time than up-time, it makes this

Thanks in advance and I greatly appreciate your linking to my site. I
get a lot of great traffic and visitors originating from your pages.
Mike here: Thanks. I've updated the link.
Subject:	RE: Focus Rod disconnected on ETX-90
Sent:	Sunday, November 16, 2008 21:02:17
From:	Howard Visser (
Thanks for pointing me to this link. Yes I can see it's not for the
faint hearted but still looks manageable. I'll see how it goes



I fainted! Oh did I do a bad bad thing. After I undid the screws that
hold the OTA to the mount I proceeded to try and remove the three screws
that hold the back of scope to the OTA. Frustrated at trying to get the
Allen key into the screws I proceeded to tilt the scope forward so I
could get a better view when to my dismay the mirror slipped forward and
dropped to the other end of the OTA. My heart just about stopped. I
carefully raised the tube expecting the absolute worst. Luckily I did
not damage the primary mirror. So regaining my composure I leveled the
OTA, removed the screws carefully, and unscrewed the mirror mount
remembering to mark its position relative to the main tube. After
putting all the pieces together and re-threading the focusing rod I
reassembled everything. Haven't had a chance to try it out and see if
the optics are still in alignment.

All in all the task wasn't that difficult but I'd put a big warning that
if you believe that the focusing rod has been disconnected (which it has
or you wouldn't be doing this) from the primary mirror do not I repeat
do not tilt the scope forward. I lucked out because it certainly could
have been worse.

Thanks again for the helpful advice.


Subject:	re: ETX 125 drives moving after centering an object,
not sure if synchronization is an issue
Sent: Tuesday, November 18, 2008 10:13:43 From: richard seymour ( You didn't mention if you tried adjusting the "Percentage" settings after your Training. What you're seeing is frequently referred to as "rubberbanding" by the Autostar. It's caused by mis-tuning of the anti-backlash servo loop. The Train Drives tells the Autostar how much backlash you have in your gear system, and the "percentages" tells it how much of that -you- would like applied to overcome it when the motors are reversed. Backgrounder: I tend to run mine with a -low- percentage, since i find it easier to tap the slew key to go -further-, than to have to fight rubberbanding. have fun --dick
From:	Schmitt, David CTR USAF AFSPC AFSPC/A5FS (
Can't wait to try it.  Had the 125 out this morning and was very
impressed with how Saturn looked. Very nice.
Mike here: Wait'll you see Saturn with its ring system tilted more. Right now the rings are almost edge-on.


Yes, that will be spectacular, but a few years away, right?  It looked
like the shadow of the rings was on the planet. Was it?
Mike here: It will start opening up again in a few months, but only a little bit. It will take longer for them to fully open up again. And yes, that was probably the rings shadow you saw.
Subject:	Re: ETX 125 Spotting Scope, 2.0" Barrel"
Sent:	Tuesday, November 18, 2008 09:12:11
From: (
I have decided on the Meade 24mm Series 5000 1.25" Super Wide Angle
eyepiece, but the high magnification x79 bothers me a bit. would a focal
length reducer be an option, if so can I get one for a Meade ETX 125
spotting scope without adapters.

Second question, I have seen a flex cable attachment for the ETX focus
control, where can I buy one?
Thanks for your help, I will order through OPT.
Mike here: There are several focal reducers for the ETX models; see the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page. Scopetronix sells a flexible focus cable. However, before you order from them see the Editorial Page on the ETX Site for some important information. You can easily make such a cable; see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page for lots of possibilities.
Subject:	disintegrator beam
Sent:	Tuesday, November 18, 2008 07:56:46
From:	Dave Wallace (
As a theft deterrent system, a disintegrator beam is a nice idea, Mike. 
But why not use a miniature black hole instead?  This has the added
advantage that when you're observing, you can use the BH as a
gravitational lens and have an Einsteinian Barlow.  :)

-- clear skies!
Mike here: Good idea. But BHs are hard to create and control once you have them going. I figured a disintegrator beam would leave no mess to be cleaned up.
Sent:	Monday, November 17, 2008 22:05:15
From:	Dora Nagle (
Mike have you heard anything about the new MEADE ETX-LS SERIES?
Anacortes is advertising it.
Mike here: I can only comment on what I've seen on OPT's site:
Subject:	ETX 125 Spotting Scope, 2.0" Barrel"
Sent:	Monday, November 17, 2008 11:56:26
From: (
I'm not sure I have the right site, if not a referral would be

I have a Meade ETX 125 Spotting Scope. I would like to use a Meade 40mm
Series 5000 2" Super Wide Angle eyepiece. Is a 1.25" to 2.0" barrel
adapter Okay or should I replace the Erecting Prism. If so where can I
buy one?
Many thanks,
Mike here: You can get a 2"-1.25" adapter. For more info, see the Accessory Reviews: Eyepieces page. However, keep in mind that the 2" eyepiece may be rather heavy so balance and strain on the axis locks may be a problem. As to where you can purchase an adapter, any good telescope dealer should have them. If you don't have a favorite dealer, checkout Oceanside Photo and Telescope (OPT; Note that I have a relationship with OPT. Keep in mind that you will get some vignetting with the 2" 40mm and you'll likely notice the secondary mirror in the view.
Subject:	ETX 125 drives moving after centering an object, not sure if synchronization is an issue
Sent:	Monday, November 17, 2008 10:44:49
From:	Schmitt, David CTR USAF AFSPC AFSPC/A5FS (
My question has to do with something my 90EC and 125EC both do.  After
either tracks to an object, if the object isn't centered, I will
synchronize the scope.  That is, I will hold the enter key to set the
synchro mode, then move to scope using the drives to center the object,
then hit enter again.  So far, so good.  Then if the object wanders
away, I will use the drives to re-center, but then the drive decides to
move again, on its own, back to where it was before.  Actually, this
happens whether I synchro or not.  It always seems to move the same
amount, so I can overcome it by moving it twice as far in the opposite
direction, if that makes sense.  The 90 has the latest software version
and the drives (on the 90 at least) have been trained and calibrated. 
Any idea what's going on?

As an aside,  yesterday I bought the ETX-125 with gold trim I told you
about.  My first 125!  It didn't matter that the skies were hazy I took
it out last night anyway.  It had a nice flat field with pinpoint stars
with a 12mm plossl, so it seems pretty good.  BUT, it turns out it's not
gold trim; the black has faded off!  LOL.  And I think it's due to
exposure to something, maybe the sun.  I say that because it is still
black underneath the finder and where the bracket protected the finder. 
Scope has UHTC (seller didn't mention that) and seems in very good
condition, but the finder has been beat.  It could use replacement.  I'm
searching.  The eyepiece was beat too but it protected the inside of the
scope.  Fortunately I have plenty of eyepieces like I'm sure you do,

I'd like to ask you how you use your smaller ETX's since you have a 125
as well?  I've been looking for an ideal scope to easily take places and
this 125 looks like it will fit that need.  As beautiful as my 70AT and
90EC are, I'm not sure of their utility at this point.   What are your
thoughts on that?  Thanks, Mike, I know this is a long one.
Mike here: Using SYNC on the object you are trying to center is not ideal. But to cure the "rubberbanding" do a TRAIN DRIVE. Sometimes, you may need to do a CALIBRATE MOTOR (especially if the batteries are low, you have replaced the batteries with fresh ones, or you have swapped the power source from the internal batteries to an external power source or vice versa). Then do the TRAIN DRIVES. When training, be certain to train on both axes. In rare cases, you may need to RESET, CALIBRATE MOTOR, and then TRAIN DRIVES. SYNC is used to refine the alignment in that area of the sky. But it assumes you have well-trained drives. As to my ETX-90RA, it is my grab-n-go telescope. It also has a piggyback camera adapter so I use it for wide-field astrophotography with my Nikon D70 DSLR. I also use it for solar observing. I have a white light filter for the ETX-90 and piggyback my PST on the ETX-90RA.


Thanks, Mike.  I'll try training again.

Subject:	Stolen Meade SCT
Sent:	Sunday, November 16, 2008 09:20:32
From:	Joseph Perkel (
So sorry to hear about the theft. I have the same scope at my vacation
home, and worry about the same.

I worry that having an amateur observatory website, may be advertising
precisely what goodies are to be found. As a result, I think I will
ixnay on a companion site to my primary hobby, (A WWI replica plane).

I had been considering an observatory site, when I start imaging, but
now have second thoughts.
Best of Luck.
Mike here: Hard to say why my stuff was stolen. It could be that someone saw an empty house (we were moving) and broke in. But securing stuff in an observatory is important. I'm looking at including my SkyShed POD (when I get it next year) on the alarm system. Of course, the best security will be the disintegrator beam I'm having installed. Break-in; get disassociated to your atoms.
Subject:	Focus Rod disconnected on ETX-90
Sent:	Sunday, November 16, 2008 01:33:45
From:	Howard Visser (
It has been a long time since I visited your site but it's good to see
that your website is still up and running.

I've run into a problem with my ETX-90 in that I've unthreaded the
focusing rod (using the electric focuser) not realizing what was
happening until it was too late. I did a quick scan of the website and
it appears that my only option is to send the scope in for repair.
Unless I missed something is this my only option?

Howard Visser
Mike here: If you want to try the repair yourself, see the article "Focus Shaft Fix" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. NOTE: you may to re-collimate the optics after putting the telescope back together. This is not something to be undertaken lightly. It will require a lot of patience.
Subject:	etx-125EC
Sent:	Friday, November 14, 2008 07:34:46
From:	Steve Petty (
I have an ETX-125EC with plastic forks. Do you have or know how I can
get a new Dec arm. The mounts have busted. I Love the scope but hate the
design. Any ideas.

Mike here: Since Meade doesn't sell repair parts, you have limited choices. You can contact Meade for a repair. Or you can try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page). Or you could look for a used mount (on Astromart or eBay). Or you could try to repair it yourself. What exactly does "busted" mean?


Busted meaning the two small plastic pillars holding the dec motor
assembly are completely gone.
Mike here: If you want to replace the mount, there are many articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page on mounting the ETX OTA on alternative mounts, such as a LXD75.
Subject:	Re: ETX 125 Wedge
Sent:	Wednesday, November 12, 2008 04:54:56
From:	Doug Machado (
Thanks, i did.
Mike here: Hope you found out what you wanted to know.
Subject:	Scopetronix
Sent:	Tuesday, November 11, 2008 23:37:55
From:	Caesar Samsi (
I found your page through google:

Thought I'd let you know and suggest you revise your editorial on

		They have apparently now removed their telephone number. 
		Not replied to my mails regarding my order
		Charged my credit card without a notification of shipment
		Not replied to my mails regarding the credit card charge

Placed the order on Oc 26, credit card charged Nov 4th, mails sent Nov
7, Nov 10, and today.

BTW, are there other outfits to order from?

Thanks, Caesar.
Mike here: There are later articles on Scopetronix on the Editorial Page on my ETX Site. The bottom line is that I don't recommend using Scopetronix. As to alternatives, there are many excellent telescope and accessories dealers. Check the Astronomy Links page for several. Personally, I tend to deal most with Oceanside Photo and Telescope (OPT). (Besides being a happy customer I also have a relationship with OPT.)


Many thanks Mike!

Subject:	Age of ETX 125 w Gold trimmed eyepiece and finder
Sent:	Tuesday, November 11, 2008 17:47:31
From:	david schmitt (
I'm looking at a used ETX 125 that has gold trim on the 26mm eyepiece
and finder.  I've seen a lot of used 125's but never w/ gold trim like
this.  I asked him how old it was thinking it must be REALLY but he said
only 4-5 years old.  Do you know what's up with the gold trim?  Was it a
feature on old, old 125's?  Here's a picture to show you.  Thanks.



p.s. You asked me to let you know what happened with the ETX-90EC I have
with heat damaged declination knob and housing.  I couldn't find the
declination housing/knob for the ETX-90EC so I just left it alone. 
Seems to be cosmetic only.  It does have a new home in a solid Meade
case when not in use. 
Mike here: The first ETX-125EC came out in May 1999. I have one. And it doesn't have any gold trim. I wonder if this was a special gift model.



Subject:	New ETX 70 owner
Sent:	Monday, November 10, 2008 16:11:11
From:	Dwayne (
Greetings. I just purchased an ETX 70 telescope, it did not come with
any manuals or the StarNavigator CD. I have located the instruction
manual, what other documentation is there and where can I find the
software? Thank you for your time.
Dwayne Kukovich
Mike here: The software is only available from Meade. You can contact them; they may send you a CD. The only documentation that comes with the telescope (besides a catalog) is the manual.
Subject:	ETX-125PE Horizontal Drive Problems
Sent:	Sunday, November 9, 2008 07:28:43
From:	David Schwartz (
I am new to astronomy and a friend has recommended the ETX-125PE Blue
Tube as my first purchase.  However, I have found some comments on both
your site and on indicating serious problems with the
reliability of the horizontal drive gears.  Can you please comment on
this?  Has this problem been resolved in the newest models?
David Schwartz
Mike here: Define "serious problems". My 1999 model ETX-125AT is still working fine. Most users receive working telescopes. Occasionally something be a wrong (a defective hard stop in the ETX-PE125 has been the most often mentioned problem lately). However, keep in mind that most users will not comment about how great their telescope is. Most comments are from users with a question or a problem. So the percentage of problem telescopes appears to be much higher than it is.
Subject:	Mike, what tripod do you use for your ETX-125?
Sent:	Thursday, November 6, 2008 15:42:49
From:	Mike Pilgrim (
Mike, in the centerfold photo on your web site I see a tripod
configuration I don't recognize.  Can you please direct me to the
definition of that equipment, or might you please describe it to me.  I
am considering investment in the Meade #887 tripod.  It would appear
that is what you use also.  Apparently you see the #887 advantageous for
some reason.  Can you please reveal why that might be the case?

I have one additional question I hope you can address, or direct me to
the answer.  In many telescope publications I see a Guide Scope
configured as a piggy back addition to the main scope which (for
example) might be used for astrophotography.  I have a difficult time
understanding the function or advantage of a guide scope.  Where might I
find discussion to explain that application?
Mike Pilgrim
Boca Raton, Fl
Mike here: The tripod/wedge in the ETX Site Home Page photo is a JMI WedgePod ( with my ETX-90RA on it. The WedgePod was among the stuff that was stolen in December 2007. So now I'm using a Meade #883 with the ETX-90RA and Meade #884 tripods with my ETX-105PE and ETX-125AT. I don't have a #887. When you have a camera or imager using the main telescope optics, it is difficult to impossible to manually or electronically guide (provide tracking corrections) using the telescope optics (unless you have an Off-Axis Guider). So some astrophotographers will attach a secondary telescope piggyback on the main telescope and use that for guiding.
Subject:	ETX-125 OTA reassembly
Sent:	Wednesday, November 5, 2008 20:50:16
From:	Woody Schlom (
I'm about to reassemble an ETX-125 OTA that internally fell apart and am
looking for advice on greases, the recommended use of something like
Loctite to prevent things from unscrewing again, and recommended
tightening torques.

I've been through your site, but really haven't found what I'm looking
for. Do you have any specific recommendations?

Woody Schlom
Mike here: No info on torque; just don't overtighten. As to grease, use lithium grease. For more on that, see Dr. Clay Sherrod 's "Performance Enhancement" articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.



How about using Loctite on the threaded assembly that holds the primary
mirror in?  This is the thing that unscrewed last time.  Or do I just
hand-tighten it firmly?

Mike here: I would recommend just handtightening. Some people have used nail polish or Loctite but I always worry about outgassing coating the optics.


I hadn't thought of outgassing.  Thanks for the tip.

Subject:	Oracle Observatory
Sent:	Wednesday, November 5, 2008 22:24:01
From:	Amanda Melquist (
Just a quick note about your Oracle Observatory thread.  I just spent
the last 2 hrs reading every post you put out there and wanted to drop a
quick line saying thankyou for your consitant and competent blogging! 
When it's cloudy and i can't get out, (like tonight) reading about your
experiences both good and bad are a great substitue for what would have
otherwise been a useless night (astronomy-wise.)  I'm really interested
in what pans out with the GPod housing.  Particularly around the
security it provides the enclosed equipment - with respect to both
weather and uninvited, ill-intentioned vermin/people.  At any rate, you
must be jumping outta your shoes in anticipation of a new house and
observatory in black-sky country!  I'm jealous!

I started out in astronomy using an ETX105EC I got 2 months ago, and
constantly watching craigslist/ebay which recently yeilded a great
opportunity to upgrade.  I am purchasing an Meade 8SC on a lxd500B mount
tomorrow from a guy locally and plan on upgrading the mount to an LXD75
($600 investment to pursue long exposure photography!)  when funds and
wife permit.  I was amazed when i started reading your Oracle
Observatory thread and found out this was the same setup you had (before
the unfortunate event of which we won't speak).  This goes a long ways
as to squashing any lingering fears of making a bad upgrade decision.
Keep blogging!
-Jason Melquist
Mike here: From what I've read and seen of the POD, they do provide good security (from all sorts of evils). I have visited two local POD owners and they are extremely pleased. And the conversations on the POD Yahoo Group are all very positive. I'm really looking forward to having one.
Subject:	ETX 125 Wedge
Sent:	Wednesday, November 5, 2008 11:58:34
From:	Doug Machado (
Hi, i saw your wooden wedge so are you selling any yet? How much? Looks
very cool!  nice job!
Mike here: That's not MY wedge. Check with the author of the article you saw.
Subject:	Re: ETX-90 fails Declination
Sent:	Wednesday, November 5, 2008 05:26:41
From:	Dennis and Elvie (
Thanks for your suggestion. I did indeed find a broken wire to the Dec
control board. It was the black wire in the base, it was broken where it
passes in through the centre bolt. I pulled enough of it through to
solder, I thought I still had a problem after fixing it as it did some
crazy things when testing it, turned out I had to run a calibrate before
it started behaving. All good now and I know to keep an eye on the other
three colors in the future in case they decide to go on the fritz as

Regards, Dennis.

Subject:	EXT motor card
Sent:	Tuesday, November 4, 2008 10:50:09
From:	astronomer marty (
Thank you for the informative web pages on the ETX.  I have a ETX 125PE
with a bad Dec. motor control card. Meade won't sell me the part.

Is there a source or are you a source for parts?

thank you,

m. moyer
Mike here: Meade typically doesn't sell component-level repair parts. Try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page).

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