ETX-60, ETX-70, & ETX-80 USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 28 October 2007

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT, ETX-80AT-TC, and ETX-80BB. Additional information is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.


Subject:	flip mirror replacement
Sent:	Friday, October 26, 2007 06:33:17
From:	Ashby, Peter (Peter.Ashby@edfenergy.com)
Well yesterday I was lucky to pick up a scrap etx80, the problem, well
sitting in 2" of water wasn't helping any, and the flip mirror was loose
and flapping around inside., OK I thought, since this thing has got to
come to pieces to be dried, lets strip it down. That went quite easily,
and within an hour I had a box full of parts, and some zip lock bags
with all the small parts. Now to look at the mirror, well once I got the
lithium grease off of it (very carefully), I inspected to flip mirror
mechanism, now how did it go in, and how does it come out. Very gently,
pushing on the blank end of the shaft, and carefully at the same time
using a screwdriver blade to stop the flip mechanism (quite thin
plastic) from moving you only need to get this a short way and the shaft
comes off of the flip section, and can then be withdrawn through the
holes.

Fixing the mirror back is very easy as you have superb access to the
surface, and a good quality epoxy does the trick, refitting is the
reverse of removing

Peter Ashby

Subject:	telescope
Sent:	Wednesday, October 24, 2007 14:47:45
From:	rpeverini@aol.com (rpeverini@aol.com)
We have etx-60at and we are wondering how to locate the ISS in our
location. Our zipcode is 92354. Thanks.
Rpeverini
Mike here: There are several articles on the ISS on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Also, be certain to check www.Heavens-Above.com for visibility information.
Subject:	Moveable Objective Lens Cell "Broke" Off
Sent:	Thursday, October 18, 2007 18:41:21
From:	Cheryl Isaacs (cheryli@valornet.com)
Yesterday one of the lovely neighbor kids must have picked up our
ETX-70AT by the end of the tube because my son found his telescope in 2
pieces.  The moveable objective lens was completely separated from the
optical tube.  There are 3 plastic pieces sticking out on the moveable
part (the part that moves back and forth when focusing) and it looked
like if I just pushed those toward the center I could slide it back on. 
First I decided to call our local camera/telescope shop that sells the
telescope but they referred me directly to Meade.  The Meade technician
(after checking with another tech-she seemed unclear herself) said that
the telescope was unrepairable.  She said that there was a seal broken
internally and that there is nothing to be done to fix it.  They offered
me an upgrade to the 80AT for $209 or the 90AT for $489.  I forgot to
ask if these were new or refurbished. So here are my 2 questions:

1)  Is the telescope toast or can I selvage it?  I carefully placed the
moveable objective lens back in place and it did go back but doesn't
feel as solid as before.  It is not moving back and forth smoothly when
trying to focus.  Now the technician said I would not even see anything
through the scope (which I can!) so was she correct?  The issue now
seems to be focusing!

2)  IF I upgrade, what do you think of the 80AT?  I already have the
original lenses that came with this telescope (25mm and 9mm) and have
recently purchased the 2X Barlow lens.  Are they all interchangable?  I
checked around but wasn't sure I saw as many good reviews of the 80AT
and I did for the 70AT when I purchased it.  Not sure I want to spend
the money to upgrade to the 90AT since this was not in my budget to
purchase a new scope right now.  Just got a new digital camera and
planned on getting the accessories to use my camera to take lunar
pictures for my son.  So I need to make sure that I can get the pieces
to do this with whatever I purchase.

Any info you can provide me with would be so appreciated as I have a 13
year old in tears right now!

Cheryl
Mike here: If the focus shaft connection is broken, then using the telescope without a lot of manual work to focus an eyepiece or using an alternative focus control will be a pain. It is also possible that the optics are now misaligned. You may or may not be able to repair the telescope, depending on the full extent of the damage and your skills with optics and mechnicals. As to a replacement, if you are happy with the views through the ETX-70 then the ETX-80 will make a nice replacement. You could also look online for a used ETX-70. As to an ETX-90AT, check the current offerings on new PE models with the rebate. You may find that a better deal than a used (potentially) ETX-90AT.

And:

Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly Mike.  I wound the
focus button all the way forward and back twice each and it is moving
smoothly now.  I have not taken it outside yet but set it up in the
house and can get a clear focus on objects in the next room.  I still
don't know what the Meade tech meant about not being able to see
anything through the tube. I clearly have a picture and  the image is
crisp and clear.  She told me it was not fixable only after speaking to
another tech as she said she was not familiar with the piece I mentioned
(the moveable objective lens).  I hope to prove her wrong and save a
bunch of $$!

The moon is not visible now as it has fallen below the level of all the
houses in the neighborhood but may give it a try tomorrow night if
weather permits.

Is is possible that the optics are fine?  My best guess is that it was
picked it up by the end of the tube and it pulled out of the proximal
part of the tube.  The plastic appendages that I mentioned on the
moveable portion of the tube were all without breakage.  Also, the focus
shaft was fine.  Just needed to thread it through the hole in the base
tube and reattach the focus button.  I don't believe that the base/tube
portion fell while it came apart.   I would have heard that from
downstairs.   I hope and pray that we have resurrected it.  Would much
rather put the money into accessories this Christmas as I had planned.

May take it out now and see what else I can view.  Thank you so much
again. Wish me luck!

Cheryl
Mike here: It is certainly possible there was no additional damage other than the focus shaft being disconnected. If that was all that happens, thank your lucky stars!

And an update:

Well, I'm not so sure I have corrected it.  I felt the distal part of
the tube move again as I put the lens cap on.  Will take it to a local
store tomorrow and see what they have to say.  They have been helpful
with accessories in the past and are listed on Meade's website.

Thank you again,
Cheryl

Subject:	Re: ETX70
Sent:	Tuesday, October 16, 2007 10:56:27
From:	William Russo (willyr99@cox.net)
is it best to use a 2X Barlow or a 3X Barlow with this scope? with a
26mm eyepiece, or a 9mm eyepiece.
thanks
Willy Russo
Mike here: As with any telescope, using a Barlow Lens reduces image quality slightly over what you get with an eyepiece alone of the corresponding magnification. And as with any telescope, approaching the theoretical maximum magnification for that telescope will cause the image quality to deteriorate (see the FAQ page for how to determine magnification and maximum magnification if you don't know how). That said, a 2X Barlow Lens will usually give better results than a 3X Barlow Lens but it also depends on the eyepieces used.

And:

From:	Rose Hansen (redroseann@cox.net)
My name is Rose and I am William Russo's significant other.  I apologize
for his using all CAPS, but he knows nothing about, nor cares about the
conventions that others easily follow.  I tell him, too but he doesn't
listen.  So, sorry for that.  (He was a musician and is not verbally
inclined.  In addition, he is dyslexic and has his own problems
deciphering writing conventions.)

I used the scope the other night, and I put the scope in the home
position, leveled the scope and made sure it was pointed to north.  The
only thing I didn't do was to check the declination setting.  When I
turned the scope on, it never read the sun warning, nor did it ask for
country or state or city.  It did ask for the date and the time.  I
entered the time in the AM/PM format rather than military time.  I had
it in Alt/AZ and did a two-star alignment.  The scope was pretty far off
target.  I had used the scope the previous night, and the tracking was
right on target, so I was really surprised.  I don't know what made the
difference.  Willy assumes automatically that I did something wrong,
even though I was confident that I had followed proper procedure.

For me, this scope is a fun thing, and I don't want to make it a full
time job and spoil the fun of using it.  If I can't enjoy it, I don't
want to do it.  So, learning about it casually and at my own pace is the
way to go.  Of course, I welcome constructive advice and suggestions,
but he goes into full blown investigation mode and gets mad at me if I
don't want to do the same thing.  If you e-mail him again, please tell
him to relax, chill out, and enjoy the adventure.  I tell him, but he
isn't listening, and it spoils my enjoyment of the activity.  However,
please don't just hit "reply."  It would be better to begin an all new
e-mail; he'd be furious if he knew what I just said.
       
Thanks,
Rose Hansen
Mike here: Enjoying the what the Universe has to offer is what is it all about! So you are correct in wanting to do just that. The country, etc, stuff are only asked for on initial use and once set they are stored (unless you do a RESET or otherwise want to change them). In some versions of the AutoStar you can disable the Sun Warning (and Getting Started display); you must have done that at some point. Your set up sounds generally correct; once you did the alignment stars centering steps, were the GOTOs correct?

And:

We actually got this scope from someone in our astronomy club, so I
think he is the one who disabled the sun warning and put in the country,
state and city.  Willy worked with it a little yesterday and discovered
some of the settings in the utilities menu.  The next time I take it
out, I will make sure to set the declination as well.  The GOTOs were
close, but not perfect.
Rose
Mike here: Keep me posted. And remember, the more accurate your HOME position and initial centering of the alignment stars, the more accurate the GOTOs will be.
OK--will do! And thanks for your input.
Rose

Subject:	Taking pictures with ETX-80
Sent:	Monday, October 15, 2007 10:01:47
From:	Makepeace, Caleb (Caleb_Makepeace@ADP.com)
I am brand new to telescopes and astrophotography in general.  My fianc
just bought me an etx-80 for my birthday.   I have taken the telescope
out on a couple of evenings and am very happy with what I have been able
to see through the eye piece so far.   I do have a few questions
however.

1.	What "basic" equipment do I need in order to actually take
pictures through my telescope?  I'm on a shoe string budget so I am not
looking to spend a lot of money but would like to be able to take some
good pictures.

2.	I find that the internal Barlow Lens of the etx-80 makes things
extremely dark and I have to do a lot of re-focusing in order to see
anything at all with the Barlow engaged.  Any hints on this or can you
explain the reason for this in further detail? 

3.	If I am using a 4mm eye piece, and the focal length of the etx-80
is 400mm - then magnification would = 100x?  with Barlow turned on
roughly 200X?  Is this math correct?
 
Thank you!
 
Caleb
Mike here: 1. Almost any camera can take images of bright objects through the eyepiece. Focus the telescope to your eye on the Moon (a good target right now); focus the camera lens at infinity and aim the camera lens through the eyepiece and shoot. If your camera has a viewer screen you should be able to see the Moon's image on it before you take the shot. Play with the exposure settings (if they are adjustable). Keep at it and you'll be amazed at what you can do. If you want to go beyond just that there are many options available to you; see the Helpful Information: Astrophotography for lots of information. 2. The Barlow Lens increased the telescope's focal length and make objects appear larger, spreading the light out over a larger area. The addition of more glass and this spreading out of the light results in a fainter image. 3. You got it correct.
Subject:	ETX70
Sent:	Saturday, October 13, 2007 17:43:55
From:	William Russo (willyr99@cox.net)
How do I get more infocus?
I tried a 26mm and a 9 an a 12, to focus the sun using a sun filter, but
all I need it a bit more infocus.
HELP!
Willy R
Mike here: Can you describe what you mean by "infocus"? Normally, the focus is very obvious, especially with a 26mm eyepiece. Are the images, including distant land objects, not in focus (i.e., blurry), or are you seeing "color fringes"? Or something else?

And:

I WAS LOOKING AT A STAR, AND I TURNED THE FOCUS KNOB ALL THE WAY TO THE
RIGHT, AND ALL I NEEDED WAS A BIT MORE AND THE STAR WOULD BE IN PERFECT
FOCUS. I THINK I FIXED IT, THE FRONT LENS WAS HITTING A SUN FINDER I PUT
ON THE SCOPE.SO I MOVED IT WAY BACK.

ALSO WHEN I TELL THE SCOPE TO GO TO A STAR IT'S WAY OFF.

DO YOU THINK IT'S THE BATTERIES?
Mike here: Please read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page regarding the use of ALL CAPS. Thanks for understanding.
Yes, an obstruction that prevents free movement of the objective lens cell can cause focusing problems. Glad you found the cause. Without that piece of information I could not have helped you because I would not have known what was wrong. As to the GOTOs, please describe the steps you do when setting up the telescope and aligning the AutoStar. That way I can see if you are doing anything wrong.
Subject:	Meade etx 70mm broken Lock Nut
Sent:	Thursday, October 11, 2007 12:17:47
From:	BRENNAN THACKRAY
recently got an etx 70mm at. being heavy handed i overtightened the
vertical lock nut and broke it off! reglued it and ok but now when i try
to align the scope autostar says "slewing to this object the telescope
may hit the mount"
is there a reset procedure ?
 
many thanks
bren.
Mike here: I am not certain why you now get that message. Check that the telescope model and mounting mode selected in the AutoStar are correct.

And:

thanks for the rapid response ive reset country/location/scope and mount
all seem to be working fine now
fantastic site many many thanks again
 
clear skies
 
bren

Subject:	Re: [Bulk] Re: Is there any way to restore ROM on a 494 handset?
Sent:	Monday, October 8, 2007 13:50:36
From:	Kyle Hunter (odiekyle66@sbcglobal.net)
Thank you for your quick response. I did contact Meade, and a new
controller is their advice as well, (big surprise), but I'll keep my eye
out for one on ebay. Thanks again and I love your site, very
informative.

Kyle

Subject:	Motor Controller Problem
Sent:	Sunday, October 7, 2007 21:40:57
From:	Richard (yarberbd@datasync.com)
I bought a ETX-60AT this saturday in a yard sale. It was in its original
box with all the books and software. I was told it had been used one
time in Hawaii where it was purchased in 2001. The Autostar controller
still had the protective tape on the display panel. When I check the
battery holder it had batteries in it and they had leaked and caused
some minor corrosion but it cleaned up easily. I installed new batteries
and turned on the power switch. No response. I rechecked the connection,
it was ok. Figuring it was probably corroded contacts on the switch I
disassembled the scope to gain access to the electronics. The switch is
ok. I then check the battery connection to the motor control board., 8.9
volts. I turned the switch to the on position and the voltage dropped to
1.5 volts. I disconnected the motor leads, optical sensors and LED's one
at a time, same voltage drop. With everything disconnected from the
board the voltage still drops to a little over 1 volt and Q1 and Q2
start to warm up if I leave power on it. I'm assuming that it was put in
the box with the power on and the controller wedged as to push one of
the directional buttons and fried the board.

I lost seven scopes when Katrina destroyed our home here in Biloxi.
Having rebuilt and starting to have some time to "look up" I'd like to
fix this little scope if possible for now. Later I plan on bigger and
better things. . The board number is 15-6855-00 Rev b-c.

I have searched the net looking for parts to no avail. That's how I
found your site. I will call Meade tomorrow and see if parts are still
available and if the will sell them to me. I am also trying to repair a
Celestron 114 GT I recovered. Celestron WILL NOT sell me parts for it.
Bottom line, do you know where I can get a board for this ETX and is it
worth the effort?

Thank you,
Dick Yarber
Mike here: Meade will likely not sell the circuit board to you either. You could try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page). As to whether it is worth the effort depends on what you paid and what you want to do.  If you remove the OTA from the forks you could mount it on another mount.

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