|This page is for user comments and information specific to the ETX-LS. Items that are applicable to all ETX models (RA, EC, AT, BB, PE, LS) 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 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.|
Subject: Electric focuser for ETX-LS? Sent: Saturday, October 31, 2009 08:33:24 From: Yihan Goh Hi, I was wondering if you know of any electric focuser that would work with the ETX-LS? There seems to be a plug for an electric focuser on the ETX-LS itself - do you know if there are specific Meade models for this scope? Thank you.Mike here: JMI has one listed on this page: http://www.jimsmobile.com/buy_motofocus.htm#Meade
Many thanks, Mike. So none of the existing Meade models would work?Mike here: Certain none of the ETX electric focusers will work. The Microfocuser (for the LX200) might work but since I've not received my ETX-LS back from Meade yet, I can't test that.
Many thanks again, Mike.
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback For Mike Sent: Friday, October 30, 2009 10:53:01 From: blkhole (firstname.lastname@example.org) Do you know anywhere that I can get a blueprint or assembly drawing of the GPS unit on the ETXLS from. I'd like to see how its put together before I make any suggestions for improvements to Meade. I would have thought that an antenna connector for an external antenna would have been a good idea. This would not be too hard if the Meade antenna plugs in and is not hard wired in. Simply replace it with your own higher quality antenna. If anyone has ever taken one apart and has photos that would be helpful. Thanks GuyMike here: I've not seen any telescope with an external antenna jack. In fact, I don't recall seeing any GPS device with an external jack. But interesting idea. I suppose if you Google for the GPS part number (whatever it is), you might find some info on the Web.
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback - another bad 'scope! Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 21:39:55 From: Scott Recker (email@example.com) After a week's delay (so much for "cross-shipping"), Meade sent my replacement ETX-LS. Ser# 1019xx, build date 9/30/09. System 1.2g is factory installed. Interestingly, the vssver entries I described earlier are in there! Specifically: choose "Guided Tours," you get "Tonights Best" ... "vssver". If you choose vssver you get an error message telling you that the "file does not exist." Also, the 'scope crashes at random times - it just freezes, requiring a reboot. So I reinstalled System 1.2g without the vssver.scc files, and it seems to work fine. So I guess the vssver.scc files I found in the update weren't my imagination after all! (or a result of downloading the update with a Mac) Anyway, this 'scope doesn't work, either. It's a different problem than my first one, which wouldn't find North. Now, the GPS won't find my location. Turn it on, it starts up, starts looking for satellites ("Satellites:0"), and finds none. I tried numerous times in numerous locations with perfectly clear skies. When I input my city and the time, it aligns successfully, and things work pretty well (still doesn't slew to objects very well - it's a little better after using Finder Center). Meade agreed to take this one back, too. Sigh! Scott Recker
Subject: re: Possible solution for weak GPS signals Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 21:19:42 From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) blkhole recommended: Portable Re-Radiating Antenna set (MCX) GAR08X Cost $39.90 from Pc-Mobil at http://www.pc-mobile.net/gpsant.htm and Mike wrote: > Looking forward to some real-world feedback on it. Unfortunately, that product (and -all- GPS re-radiators) are illegal in the USA (blkhole's in Canada, so he's safe). The US FCC bans all such devices, since they *will* mess up adjacent (passing ambulances? low flying helicopters?) GPS signal users. The OFFICIAL word: http://www.fcc.gov/eb/Orders/2005/DA-05-1107A1.html (as discussed in a judgement against a vendor) In 2007, they levied a $75,000 fine against another vendor: (fairly far down, seek "GPS" or "radiator") http://www.atcb.com/news.htm have fun (but don't buy one in the USA) --dick
Subject: Mini Disk for ETX-LS Sent: Monday, October 26, 2009 10:22:09 From: Warren Spreng (email@example.com) Sorry to hear that blkhole is having so many problems with the GPS unit. I sent my unit in because I had fried the Autostar and could not find a mini disk that wouldn't just shut the scope down when I tried to use it. They adjusted my GPS antenna while it was in to be re-loaded and now it finds the satellites in about 1 minute. Speaking of the mini disks, I finally received one today that I ordered from Amazon.com and it works!! It is the SanDisk Ultra II Mini SD 1.0 GB. Previously when I would try to "Take and Store Picture" after inserting a disk, the scope would freeze up and I would have to turn it off and back on again. I put this one in, did the same and everything worked fine! Even got a picture of my living room! Just thought I'd throw that in for any LS users that were having the same problem. (PS, I had formatted each of the previous ones with FAT32 as well as this one) Also I thought I would comment on Meade Service. I sent my scope in on September 9th and they said it would be 4 to 6 weeks including shipping. I emailed Meade after about 3 weeks as to the status and they quickly emailed back that it should be shipping back soon. I received it back on October 8th. Everyone I have corresponded with has been very helpful and returns my emails promptly. Appreciate your site and input!
Subject: Possible solution for weak GPS signals Sent: Saturday, October 24, 2009 15:30:53 From: blkhole (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hi Mike I said I would do some investigating and I came up with this solution. Cheapest way to go. It is now possible to boost your GPS reception for your telescope GPS even though it doesn't have an external antenna. I found this item on the internet Portable Re-Radiating Antenna set (MCX) GAR08X Cost $39.90 from Pc-Mobil at http://www.pc-mobile.net/gpsant.htm Re-radiating antenna consists of 2 parts - receiving antenna and transmitting antenna. Receiving antenna has internal signal amplifier so requires power. 3 x AA batteries (Rechargeable Ni-MH or alkaline) Amplified signal is transferred to the transmitting antenna which "radiates" the signal onto the antenna of telescope GPS. In places where reception is marginal, e.g. in woods or streets with high buildings. Because re-radiating antenna "amplifies" the signal so you might get 4-5 satellites when you can get only 2-3 with your handheld GPS with its own internal antenna. Connect the external receiving antenna to the transmitting antenna by the MCX connector, put it somewhere where it has best view of the sky. Switch on the transmitting antenna (LED power indicator shows it is on and has adequate battery power). Place the radiating antenna loop onto the telescope GPS. You should see the result immediately (allow TIFF - time to first fix). For best result, use the supplied rubber band to strap the antenna loop onto the telescope GPS so that it is secure even if you move the telescope GPS about. Characteristics and positions of internal antenna vary so experiment with different positions to get best result. After your telescope has finished its set up the re-radiating antennas can be removed. This does not void warranty as you are not opening or tampering with any telescope parts. You are just temporarily amplifying a signal so your telescope can pick it up. Hope this helps with some of the problems. Guy WestcottMike here: Looking forward to some real-world feedback on it.
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback Ver 1.2g not much improvment. Sent: Thursday, October 22, 2009 19:44:51 From: blkhole (email@example.com) Well Mike I am finding that the new software ver 1.2g doesn't improve the location and detection of the GPS sats very much more than the original software. So tonite I thought I would test it out. It said it had to detect 4 GPS sats and just didn't do anything for 1/2 an hour. I thought it might be the location so I got my cheap explorist GPS unit out and put it on the telescope in the handset holder on the base. My GPS picked up 9 sats in under 10 minutes and most were strong signals. So the problem here is either the GPS unit on the telescope not working well enough or the antenna that they use for the GPS unit isn't strong enough to pick the sat signals up. The scope finds level and North fine. If you punch in your Location and Time it does the star alighnment fine and when you go to an object no problem. Just for a test I asked it to find M57 from my roof in the middle of the city. 20 seconds later we were looking at the ring nebula and had a very good alighnment and view even though the skies were really bad with smoke and clouds. So although this telescope does have problems with finding GPS sats (the down side) it does give excellent views of planets and deep sky objects from very light polluted sites. I think this scope will only start to come into its own when Meade actually spend some time and do a real update to the GPS software or antenna system. Maybe a plug in antenna mod would make a difference. I'll have to see what I can come up with to amplify the GPS sat signals. Guy WestcottMike here: It is certainly possible that the GPS unit or antenna could be faulty, or even the antenna cable (assuming there is one) is disconnected (from a jar during shipping?). Unless you want to open up the GPS unit module, you will probably have to contact Meade for a repair.
Subject: Your ETX-LS6 Sent: Thursday, October 22, 2009 14:20:36 From: Bellomy, Robert S. (ROBERT.S.BELLOMY@saic.com) Did you ever get your scope replaced or repaired?? I have been bad about getting my situation posted online in a timely fashion. I have been dealing with a (at work) spacecraft issue prior to launch and it has dominated my time. After getting in touch with the Meade Chief Financial Officer by email and explaining my situation to him, Meade called me and said they were sending me a new telescope. I did receive it and though I didn't have much time to play with it, did power it up and noticed it did a "fair" alignment, only off by a small margin. I was aware of the software upgrade to the handbox, but still not enough free time. Well, my spacecraft did launch this past week and so I downloaded the new version v1.2g and updated the handbox. I took the scope out last evening and it aligned itself. Although not perfectly centered, I can adjust the AZ-EL drives to get it as close to centered as possible. I then took a quick tour for objects I knew I would be able to see. The scope did a good job. I only hope that your issue has been taken care of and that you are up and operating. Like I said before, the optics are very, very good. The camera is interesting and I tried it for a fixed focus wide field shot of stars. It performed adequately, but I will probably never use it when I have a better camera to use. Functionality was overall very good with all Meade's claims being met. Robert BellomyMike here: I will post an update of my ETX-LS comments when I get the telescope back.
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 20:57:17 From: blkhole (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hi Mike. for those people that are wondering I've been into astronomy for about 55 years and I always seem to find my way out of problems. Here's what I found out. If you update your telescope to 1.2g with only the batteries or a battery pack it seems less likely to take and more likely to give you errors. This is what happened to me the first time. The second time I updated I used the meade supplied power pack and had no troubles. I think when you are updating any variance in the voltages screws up some of the data reading and writing. Also just about any problem can be fixed by turning off the light switch and cycling through back to on. When you turn it back on go directly to the shut down telescope menu and shut it down this is like putting a car in neutral and then allows you to start all over again with a clean slate. The manual isn't wery explicit when it tells you to put in the time and location...you actually have to put the location in first before you get to the time screen or at least that's the way mine came up. Will keep you posted on any other problems that I have and fixes that I come up with. If you want anything tried out let me know, this one has all bells and whistles including the mini monitor. Guy Westcott
Subject: Mini SD cards FOUND THEM Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 20:40:52 From: blkhole (email@example.com) I found a source for the mini SD cards they are 1 gbit cards and they come with an adapter to the standard size. They are also not HC so if formatted at Fat 32 they should work real well. The price is $13.99 Canadian they are: Transcend 1GB Mini SD Card (T555-1018) MPN: TS1GSDM from www.tigerdirect.ca Hope this helps anyone out there still looking for the miniSD cards. Guy WestcottMike here: TigerDirect also has a 2GB mini SD card.
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback LS6 not locking on Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2009 19:11:13 From: blkhole (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hi Mike finally got a clear nite. Went out turned telescope on and let it do its thing. After half an hour it asked me to put the time and location in manually. Although I tried every thing in the manual I could find no way to enter the data manually nor would the telescope go back to shutdown mode so that I could reprogram with the new files and updates. Finally turned it off just as it was. Put the sd chip in and turned it back on to see if it would update. It is now in the middle of updating. It has now updated and asked me to remove the chip and restart. I might also add that my telescope has the same white piece in the card slot as Gregs does. I found that this is just an indicator showing you which way to put the chip in. Cut away on the adapter to the bottom...white arrow to the top and fingure connectors facing out towards the side of the on off switch. I am now going to restart the LS keeping my fingers crossed. It restarts at ver 1.02 but the handbox says Time and Location on the top lineand get from GPS on the second line. Only button that does anything is the media button and that just starts the media presentation again Back button and mode do nothing...so I can't even get the telescope in the shut down position. I'm starting to think that this is a white elephant and not such an easy telescope to use even for advanced amateurs. Guy WestcottMike here: The latest version of the AutoStar III software is 1.2g. I don't know why you are seeing 1.02 after updating to the current version. Up until recently, ETX-LS telescopes were shipped with 1.07. I suggest reformatting the mini SD card, re-installing the software on it, and then re-install the software into the ETX-LS. Thanks for the info on the card slot.
Yes Mike I just checked it again and it definetely is saying Ver 1.02 not 1.2g The download onto the chip and into the telescope went ok software file is called EFINDERETX and is five folders and two bin files (firmware and the FlashFirmware) total size is 243 Meg. The telescope arrived with Ver 1.07 but after not finding the gps sats very well I updated. I wonder what others are seeing as to version on their handsets after updating?
And an update:
Just redownloaded and burnt a new sd chip and reprogrammed it this time it came up as Ver 1.2g so maybe now it will lock on with the gps and other processes a little better. Told it to goto Jupiter and it found it ok. the optics are very clear and sharp for a 6" used a Xcell 18mm eyepiece and could see the cloud bands and details easily. So first light worked well you watch I'll get another week of rain and clouds now. Thanks for the help Mike. Guy
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback Sent: Saturday, October 17, 2009 00:11:34 From: Louis Welke (email@example.com) Did you get a replacement for your ETX-LS yet?, I am hesitating doing anything yet partially because of the weather and being worried that upgrading it to the Version 1.2 might make it worse. Did you try using the newer version of the software before you sent your LS back to Meade? It seemed strange that at one time and one time only my LS did everything it was supposed to do and this also makes me wonder if there were certain situations present that either helped or hindered the proper alignment of the LS. To know that there are others having similar problems like I do makes me feel like I am not alone in seeking answers to these problems. Lou WelkeMike here: Version 1.2g had not yet been released when I sent the ETX-LS back to Meade. And it hasn't arrived back here yet. As to the update, it seems like it resolves the problems that were affecting some users.
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback - finally gave up Sent: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 19:20:54 From: Scott Recker (firstname.lastname@example.org) I never got my ETX-LS properly aligned (even with 1.2g). It would find (near) South when looking for North, even after I took it 5 miles out of town under very good conditions. I believe, based on other physical problems, that it was damaged in shipping. After explaining the entire saga to Meade, they are graciously shipping me a brand new one. Kudos, Meade! Scott ReckerMike here: Sounds like a bad LNT module, which is what I suspect mine had.
Let's see . . . LNT . . . "Loch Ness Tribble?" . . . nah . . . "Lunar Never Terrestrial?" . . . nah . . . Oh, I've got it . . . "Look North, Telescope" . . . I give up; what does it stand for? BTW, thanks for the info page. Very helpful! Scott ReckerMike here: LNT = Level North Technology. Name used with the ETX Premier Edition models.
Subject: Re: ETX-LS Feedback Sent: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 18:35:19 From: Professional Family Consultants (email@example.com) I have downloaded the new version onto a micro card adapter that has another wee small micro card inside of it. Is this the same as a mini card that Meade says we need? Just wondering because my card is not going into the telescope slot. Thanks for your help. Francis StewartMike here: The micro SD card fits inside a "mini SD" card adapter. The slot is a "mini SD" card size. From reports I've received, you have to push the card well inside to get it to "click" in. However, I just received a report (below) of some "obstruction" preventing the card from being inserted.
Thanks, Mike. That is exactly what my problem is. There is an obstruction at the top of the slot.
Subject: Meade ETX-LS 6" ACF SD Card Obstructed Sent: Sunday, October 4, 2009 19:15:28 From: Greg Wilkins (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hello, I have a quick question and maybe somebody can answer it. I have a brand spanking new ETX-LS 6 ACF. It appears that there is a small white metal tab or stub at the top of the SD card entrance. This keeps you from inserting a card. I have both Mini SD and Micro SD with adapter. They will not slide into the slot. Any help would be appreciated. At the price that this scope costs, it should arrive to you with no problems. I am really disappointed with Meade Quality Control Thanks for taking the time to read my question. I have included a couple of pictures to demonstrate the issue. Sorry for the blur but they were taken with my camera phone. You can clearly see what i am describing.
Subject: [none] Sent: Saturday, October 3, 2009 04:34:39 From: Varga, Les (LVarga@Nordson.com) I was finally able to able update by ETX-LS firmware to version 1.2g with help from Meade Customer Service. It helps when you actually follow the directions, format the SD card to FAT32, and give the device the time to do the loading process, etc. My scope worked well before the upgrade. It appears to acquire GPS faster now. For me, this scope is beautiful and both the dealer, OPT and Meade provided excellent service...one man's opinion. Regards, Les Varga Cumming, GAMike here: I accidently noticed that your email had been DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing subject line. PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Site Home Page. Thanks for understanding. And thanks for the report.
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback AutoStar III version Sent: Friday, October 2, 2009 20:58:04 From: blkhole (email@example.com) Well I finally got to turn my LS on for 30 sec just to see the version. I got mine at the beginning of Sept and the ver is 1.07. Sorry Mike no viewing yet as you know the rules...You buy a new telescope and you get the equivelent number of days of rain and clouds times twice the telescope size. Thank god I didn't buy a light bridge. When I do run it I'll see if it works ok and then update from sd chip to ver1.02g (how come the update is 1.02g and not 1.07a or 1.08? I might also have a solution for Hajri Mohammed's problems. If his repair shop can't get a new slot have them hard wire an SD chip Mini adapter in place then all he has to do is plug the micro sd chip into the adapter. I have also found that it is easier to leave the adapter in all the time if you dont have the proper mini SD chip as that way it is easier to get the micro chip in and out. The other way he could go is to get a standard SD chip holder out of an old camera and replace the mini one in the telescope with the standard one. Any electronic service shop if it's good should be able to do this for him at a price less than having to ship it all the way back to the US. Guy WestcottMike here: I assume that versions 1.08 through 1.19 were not entirely ready for primetime or had features that were older than what is in 1.2g. So, 1.2g is the latest feature set with the latest bug fixes.
Subject: mac and upgrade Sent: Friday, October 2, 2009 15:54:00 From: Murray Harris (firstname.lastname@example.org) 8 or more people out of 10 have a windows pc, I am sure most have a friend that has a windows pc, and would be happy to download the upgrade to the sd card so the mac users could upgrade the scope, a minor inconvienence, but it is not like they will be doing upgrades daily.Mike here: Good point. It is true that some friends of Mac users use Windows, that is, until they switch to Macs. Not counting many of my friends through my ETX Site, most of my Windows using friends now have Macs. Hum...
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback Sent: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 22:40:44 From: blkhole (email@example.com) I purchased the new ETX-LS ACF and agree with every thing you say. But there are a few items that Meade should deal with. The SD slot on the telescope is a Mini SD slot and not a standard SD slot The mini SD chip however went out of popular use about a year ago and they are very hard to find. You can always fit an adapter however but getting the chip back out is extremely difficult unless you are female and have long nails. Also no mention is made as to whether the scope will accept SDHC chips, THIS SHOULD BE IN THE MANUAL. Meade could have easily supplied an SD chip with the scope. When I phoned and asked they were more interested in selling me an extended warrantee than correcting problems.The scope should be supplied with the AC power adapter, not everyone has a stock of batteries around their house. Meade does not at present make a carry case for the telescope but for $375 JMI does. No 2 optical back, this would have been nice. Given the option of a finder scope or a red dot finder would also have been nice. One major change that Meade gets points for is that now all their accessories have the same thread patern as Celestron this enables me to use a vast collection of bits and pieces that I have accumulated over the years. On the whole I liked the telescope it performed well after I updated the AutoStar to Ver1.2 at 212mb (this refined the GPS tracking) A bit expensive for the begginner but for someone older (retired) and hard of seeing to line things up, its ideal.Mike here: Adding the AC Adapter as standard would have increased the price somewhat. And not everyone can use it. So having it as an option is probably still appropriate. The SCT adapter thread is a standard across many manufacturers including Meade and Celestron. So most SCT accessories should work with the ETX-LS. Your concerns about the mini SD card are valid. Sometimes decisions are made early on in a project's design stage that get left behind as technology moves on. Only a few manufacturers (like Apple) can lead technology changes rather than lag them.
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