Last updated: 31 October 2008

This page is for user comments and information specific to the ETX PE (Premier Edition). Feedback on the specific PE technologies (Automatic Alignment + SmartFinder, Level North Technology) will be covered here. Feedback on the Autostar Suite AE (Astronomer Edition) will be posted on the regular Autostar Suite feedback page. Items that are applicable to all ETX models (EC, AT, PE) will continue to be posted on the other appropriate feedback 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:	Smoke from left side of scope....anyone have this happen?
Sent:	Friday, October 31, 2008 00:14:54
From:	Steve and Brenda Gladfelter (
First off, thank you for your informative site.  I just purchased an ETX
125PE and got it in on Monday.  All day Monday, I had it powered up in
the daytime to align the finderscope (red dot) and play with the slew
speed, lag percentages, and customizing to my location by lat/long in
anticipation of doing the auto alignment after it got dark.  When it was
good and dark, I took the scope outside, set it to home position,
engaged the clutches, and turned it on.  The autostar faithfully beeped
it's welcome and version message showed on the screen.  The second I
pressed 0 to auto align, the autostar went blank and I heard a sizzle
and saw smoke coming from the left side of the scope.  I believe it came
from the LNT module and am wondering if that was the first time power
actually went to it as all my terrestrial work during the day was done
manually slewing the scope with the buttons.  Anyway, I could get the
red power light and that's it; scope and autostar dead.  I have waited my
entire life to purchase a scope after becoming interested at the age of
3, and first night at age 59my birthday,  out it fries.  Anyone heard of
this happening?  The good news is that I bought it from OPT and they
told me they would send me a brand new tube and autostar and had me send
the old one back.  So, I just have to wait another week or so, but I am
gunshy now.  Was this a fluke or could anything I did have caused this
problem.  I know it wasn't a battery/power problem because, as I said, I
spent several hours with it running during the daytime.  Only when I
went for "first light" at night did it fry. Second, and unrelated to
this, is there an electric focuser for the etx 125?  I find one for the
90 and 105, but not the 125.  Would an extender cable work as well for
me?  And finally, I ask an opinion for a total newb.can you recommend
the best mag, Astronomy or Sky and Telescope for someone just starting? 
Again, thank you so much for your site!
MIke here: Other than inserting the batteries the wrong way, there isn't much you could do that would cause such a problem. So, lets assume it was a fluke (perhaps something broke during shipment). I've never heard of the LNT smoking! JMI has an electric focuser for the PE models ( But you might want to try a flexible cable first; you can easily make one (there are several articles on this on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page). As to a magazine for beginners, I started with Sky and Telescope as a beginner back in 1962. My subscription has run continuously since then (and I still have all the issues). You might want to go to your local bookstore and get an issue of both magazines (Astronomy, Sky and Telescope) and see which you prefer.
Subject:	ETX 125 PE
Sent:	Wednesday, October 22, 2008 08:26:36
From:	John Herman (
Mike I am sorry for the bother but here is a problem I am having with a
new overwhelming125 PE I just purchased. I know I read something about
on your site but I can't find it. Here's my problem. I set everything up
in the start up menue including my actual Lat & Hor position. The
telescope worked right off by auto update of the time in my region as
well as date. Now it asks for me to provide the time and date every time
I start up. I have gone to the setup menu three times to check the
information which all seems to be correct but it still isn't responding
when I start up.

I don't have any idea as to how to correct or if I have a problem with
AutoStar? I checked both the New Sser Information on your site and
Tutorial Information but I just can't locate the information that was
provided to correct this problem. So any help that I can get would be

Your site is so helpful and I know just about every entry starts with a
"Thanks for your Site". By the amount of entries it is at times
overwhelming with the amount of information being shared by yourself and
others. Frankly, I don't know how the user of other products can get
help and information. So thanks again.

Best regards, John
Mike here: PE/LNT module troubleshooting tips are on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. If the AutoStar does not "see" the LNT then it will ask for the date/time. You can check the MODE menu for the FINDER option; if it appears then the AutoStar is seeing the LNT. If it doesn't appear then the AutoStar isn't getting info from the LNT. Check the LNT battery.
Subject:	Meade 7609 case
Sent:	Saturday, October 18, 2008 08:59:24
From:	Paul Del Priore (
You have a great site and deserve much credit!

I have a 5" ETX 125PE and have been searching for a case. Some sellers
say that the Meade 7609 will now take the PE with the fixed lens on the
LNT Finder. I purchased one and learned that the PE with that finder
will not fit. However the case is large enough to take the PE if the
telescope is rotated 90 degrees around the optic axis from the position
shown in pictures of the case. Have any of your correspondents tried
modifying the foam to fit this way? I'm looking for some help from
anyone with this experience.

Mike here: Well, not exactly a "case mod" but there is the article "Premier Edition Case Tip" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	electronic focuser for etx 125pe
Sent:	Tuesday, October 14, 2008 10:34:20
From:	Brian King (
I am trying to find an electronic focuser for the etx 125pe. I am
guessing that it is the 1247 but am not sure.

From all that I have read on your site it is not the right one because
of the lnt module. Is there an electronic focuser out there for the

Thanks Brian
Mike here: The 1247 can be made to fit the ETX-125PE; see the article "Meade #1247 Focuser Mod for ETX-125PE" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Alternatively, check out JMI's Motofocus:
Subject:	ETX-125 question
Sent:	Sunday, October 12, 2008 19:11:12
From:	Barry Schmidt (
Your ETX website is great, I have enjoyed and taken advantage of
many of the tips provided.

My ETX-125 is a fine scope, but how can I dim the red dot in the
finder scope.  Even the lowest setting is way to bright for me,
washing out dim objects.  Before I try to modify the electronics,
adding a in series resistor, I thought I should check with the

Thank you 
Barry Schmidt 
Hagerstown, Maryland
Mike here: You could cover the LED with some tape or make a pinhole out of cardboard or black paper and cover the LED.


Thanks Mike, had not thought of something that simple, was trying to
over think it.....Our local club, Tristate Astronomers just had a two
night star party, over thirty scopes and well over three hundred
visitors at the Antietam Battlefield, Maryland. The moon was a little
too full, but everyone had a great time.  A lot of WOWs and Oh My's.
Mike here: Sometimes a simple solution is the best!  Star Parties are always fun!
Subject:	Cant align Red Dot with scopeview
Sent:	Sunday, October 12, 2008 05:00:03
From:	Wim Lammerschaag (
I having problems with aligning the Red Dot of the LNT with the
scopeview of my ETX125pe.

Red dot is lower than the scopeview when its al turned up. Any


Wim Lammerschaag
Mike here: Which style LNT/Smartfinder do you have? Is the lens on the side or the top? In either style there are two knobs on the LNT to move the red dot. But the side-mounted lens can be inserted incorrectly, making alignment difficult. There are some Smartfinder tips on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.


Thanks for the quick responce mike!
I have the lens on top (new model). I checked pages already, couldnt
find the right anwer.
This is already the second scope with this problem, the dealer just
changed the other scope.
Guess i overlook something or a wrong series.
Thanks again,

Wim Lammerschaag
Mike here: When you rotate the knob does the dot move?


Yeah it moves but not enough, if i press the cap to the end (screw is
too long for it, reaches the end of the hole) it reaches the alignment
But the cap is all to the lnt module than, guess thats not how it should
Scope is brand new.


Wim Lammerschaag
Mike here: Not clear what you mean by pressing the "cap" and whether you mean the screw is too long or too short. But since new if there is a problem, work with your dealer.


The dealer is not around the corner.
Screw is too long in my opinion so i put some washers on it, now can
align it, guess a minor mishap at the factory.

Thanks for the help and giving me directions to solve the problem, now
waiting for a clear sky..

Wim Lammerschaag
Mike here: First time I've heard of that problem with a too-long screw. Glad you were able to solve it.
Subject:	re: My ETX 125 Learning Curve Continues
Sent:	Saturday, October 11, 2008 21:48:53
From:	richard seymour (
Mike wrote:
> Check the Daylight Saving setting. Right now for most states it should be OFF.

Um, Mike?  Even though -you- moved to Arizona, the -rest- of the US is still
observing DST... so the setting is still "ON" (or ">YES") until November 2nd.

If everything -else- in the sky is being properly GoTo'd, see if you have
mis-set the YEAR.  One year error will shift Jupiter about 30 degrees.
But the stars won't change.

have fun
Mike here: Oops. I meant ON. I've gotten used to being OFF since moving to Arizona. (Daylight Saving, not me.)


From: (
"What is the significance of the control panel facing west? I tried this
and the scope aligned to other stars not used the night before."

When you do an Auto Align, the scope starts by rotating CW from the CCW
stop looking for the first magnetic null, which it expects to be
magnetic north. Depending on your geographical location, magnetic north
can be offset 20 degrees or more from true north but the Autostar will
make an approximate correction for this based on the location entered
for your Site.

Facing the Control Panel west insures that CW rotation from the CCW hard
stop will be at least 20 degrees before it sees the north magnetic null.
If the Control Panel is facing in some random direction, east for
example, the LNT could get a false null and designate a completely wrong
direction as true north. Since true north and level are the starting
points for all calculations, if one is wrong all subsequent position
calculations will be wrong.

Mike Hogan


From:	Duane D. Will (
I don't know if this helps with the home position, but I can only assume
the home position for the ETX and the ETX Premier are the same.

Try the following link to the Meade website, and the instruction video #
7 for the standard ETX.  Ted may very well find what he needs there.
Duane Will
Pt. Pleasant, WV
ETX-125   LS200GPS 12"
Mike here: The HOME Position is the same for non-Auto Align modes. However, for the LNT Auto Align mode it is slightly different. Thanks for mentioning the video.
Subject:	My ETX 125 Learning Curve Continues
Sent:	Thursday, October 9, 2008 06:18:55
From:	Ted Trostle (
I am now well into my 2nd week of ownership and I stumble onto new
things the more I read and try to use the scope. My next newbie
situation is....

The other night after doing the auto align the scope seemed to be off to
the west. That is, I selected Jupiter and the scope went to a position
where Jupiter would be in about 1 hour. I checked the clock and it was
about 5 minutes off.

Would this be caused by me not really locking in on the right alignment
stars? I guess I could have missed the correct one...finder scope user

Is the Atomic clock module for the LNT a worthwhile accessory?

Also at the beginning of the alignment, the Autostar controller tells me
to set the LNT in the home position. What is this? There is no
instruction in the manual about it. Maybe I should just let the computer
do what it does and not worry.
Mike here: Check the Daylight Saving setting. Right now for most states it should be OFF. Normally if you center the wrong star during alignment the AutoStar will show ALIGNMENT FAILED. I don't think the clock module is critical as long as you have a watch and don't mind entering the date/time when necessary. As to the HOME Position for Auto Align, that's in the manual. But basically set the telescope up with the control panel on the base on the west side of the tripod. Position the tube roughly horizontal and rotate it counterclockwise (looking down from above) until it reaches a hard stop. This will result in the ETX pointing roughly towards the Southwest. Then power on. Be certain you have done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES first. Note that you only need to CALIBRATE MOTOR when the batteries are low, you replaced the batteries, or you switch power sources. TRAIN DRIVES only needs to be infrequently and not before each use.


I rechecked the manual and there is no specific description of what the
LNT home position is. At the beginning of the auto alignment, the manual
does state to rotate the base counterclockwise until it comes to a stop
then lock it, but that is all. Maybe that is what is intended to be the
LNT home position.

What is the significance of the control panel facing west? I tried this
and the scope aligned to other stars not used the night before.

I changed the time to EST instead of DST and the scope was really close.
Mike here: The LNT will handle many HOME position setups but pointing the control panel on the west side just makes the starting position standard. It is set up that way for the non-Auto Align modes. Changing the Daylight Savings setting results in a one-hour change in the position of objects in the sky. That translates to 15 degrees of difference.

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