Last updated: 30 September 2009

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.

Mike here: The new Meade ETX-LS telescope is now available! This feedback page allows current and prospector ETX owners to chime in on their thoughts about the new model. User observation reports with the ETX-LS are now being reported on the Helpful Information: User Observations page. If you don't already know about the ETX-LS, check out these web sites:

Oceanside Photo and Telescope

Subject:	Re: ETX-LS AutoStar III version
Sent:	Monday, September 28, 2009 23:08:33
From:	Adam Koebel (
Just an update. My LS has no problems getting a GPS signal or aligning.
It hasn't failed me once yet. It even aligns itself in partly cloudy
conditions. This is with the 1.2g firmware.

Also a tip for the built in camera and MiniSD cards. Some MiniSD cards
come formatted FAT, but the scope will only work with FAT32 formatted
cards. If the card is formatted just regular FAT then the handset will
crash/lock up when you adjust the capturing settings or try taking a
picture, requiring a reboot of the scope.

It can be formatted to fat32 easily in windows. 

Subject:	ETX-LS AutoStar III version
Sent:	Monday, September 28, 2009 21:17:05
From:	Scott Recker (
Just  got my ETX-LS 2 days ago (from an online vendor). Version 1.07.

Too cloudy to see if anything works.  I had a broken dust cover (pin), a
defective diagonal, and a defective red dot switch. Sheesh! The dealer
is replacing the parts.

You would think Meade would have gotten the GPS right before shipping.
Mike here: Sorry to hear about the problems but good to know your dealer is taking care of you.
Subject:	ETX-LS Feedback
Sent:	Sunday, September 27, 2009 19:49:34
From:	Free Tyme (
Hi All , New here and I got the ETX-LS ACF. awesome so far. Actually can
see things. tried the Deptment store scope but gave up. this this is
just what I needed. did the upgrade but have not have the weather to try
it out yet, You will need to use a mini SD card (or a micro SD card) to
restore the software onto the ETX-LS. Some one said they were hard to
find. got mine from Tiger direct.

Heere is the link. $12.99 CDN.

Kingstons microSD card with an extra miniSD and full-size SD adapter is
a simple and practical, crossplatform storage solution that is useful in
multiple devices. The adapters transform the microSD card into either a
miniSD or full-size SD card, making it extremely versatile. The
combination of a microSD card and multiple adapters means users can pack
light and do more with a single card, interchanging it with many

Will keep you updated

Subject:	ETX-LS Feedback
Sent:	Saturday, September 26, 2009 01:55:39
From: (
Let me see if I get this right,I should get the upgrade V1.2G and have
it placed on a mini-sd card and then place this card in my LS and
hopefully it will begin a upgrade. I guess you get this upgrade from
Meade's website and have it transfer to a mini-sd card? In the manual it
mentions that the mini-sd card has to be reformatted to (I believe Fat
32) which I always thought all mini-sd cards were when you purchased
them. Can the information from the mini-sd card be transferred to the LS
by way of the computer port so that issues with the card in the slot be
eliminated? I have heard of problems with the card being stuck in the
slot and of course the ability of the LS to take photos is compromised
by this.
Thanks again for all your help

Lou Welke
Mike here: The Meade AutoStar Updater application is used to get the software for the ETX-LS from Meade's site. It can either put the software on a mini SD card (or micro SD card) or it can be used to connect to the telescope and upgrade via the USB port from your computer.


Thanks for getting back to me, but does a mini-sd card or any other card
have to be formatted in Fat 32? or is it already that way when it is

Lou Welke
Mike here: Who knows how it is formatted or what Windows viruses may be on it when you purchase one. I'd recommend reformatting before using.
Subject:	RE: ETX-LS SD card slot damaged
Sent:	Saturday, September 26, 2009 00:13:37
From:	Hajri, Mohammed OSE26B (
The latest with my Electronic board is that the repair shop did not find
the replacement of the SD card slot; instead they just soldered the
broken slot hoping that will solve the issue.

But that did not work as the card it self had a missing leg and one was

NB; I have tried my autostar with another similar scope and it did work
fine, does this mean that the software is fine with mine? If yes then I
am expecting that the scope is sensing as if the SD card is inserted
into slot, if this is the case then I would like to know how to cancel
the whole SD business and if I want to upgrade or take picture I can do
that with my laptop.

Mike here: Unlike other ETX models, the "smarts" of the ETX-LS is in the telescope, not the AutoStar III handcontroller, which is just a keypad and display unit. So, if the telescope works with a different handcontroller, then the software is OK.
Subject:	re: ETX-LS Question
Sent:	Friday, September 25, 2009 16:17:33
From:	richard seymour (
(it always amuses me to read the knee-jerk Mac addict's (over)reaction to Meade's update process:
"they don't do it on a Mac, i won't buy the telescope!")

Well, for the ETX-LS, updating can be done by copying files on to a FAT32-formatted mini SD memory card.

So if your Mac are capable of that, you can (in theory, i'll try it next week) update
an ETX-LS whilst remaining purely Mac.

have fun
(who owns and manages Macs, PCs and helps manage the most powerful Linux
computer system on our campus.  They all have their virtues and faults)
Mike here: Just to confirm, you are saying that you can copy the download file from Meade's web site to the mini SD card and boot the ETX-LS from that. That would be nice! Couldn't you do the same thing from Windows, thereby passing the AutoStar Updater application?


From:	Jim Szczodrowski (
If this works, then I can consider buying a new scope.

Please understand it is not a knee jerk reaction but simple fact that
not everyone owns or has access to a windows PC. I simply do not have
access. Home, work, family, are all Mac based with not a PC in sight.
The stores by me that sell Meade scopes, the Meade website and Meade
themselves have all stated a WIndows PC is required.

With Meade having quality difficulties lately (MySky, this scope) which
have often been solved by updating firmware, having a computer that
works with the scope is pretty much required.

Should I buy a $1600 scope I would not expect to then have to buy a full
version of Windows and the required yearly subscription for virus
software in order to use said scope.

Your assistance is appreciated.

Mike here: ETX-LS AutoStar III 1.2g and AutoStar Update 5.9 were released on 18 September. This hopefully corrects the problems that occurred when applying the 1.2g update via ASU 5.8. From Meade's web site:
The new LS telescope version 1.2g software update includes GPS performance improvements for faster and more reliable alignments. This update is available for download now by running the AutoStar Updater (ASU) on your PC and selecting "Upgrade AutoStar Software Now". Check back frequently for more information on future software updates.

Subject:	ETX-LS Question
Sent:	Wednesday, September 23, 2009 05:36:19
From:	Jim Szczodrowski (
Short of using Windows on a Mac (which I refuse to do) how do Apple
Macintosh owners update to the new firmware?
Mike here: I don't know if one of the free "Windows" VM apps will allow it but it would be worth a try. I'd recommend trying it with a mini SD card instead of the direct USB cable method. Other than that, we can only hope that AutoStarX will be updated at some point to handle the newer AutoStars (right now it only works with the AutoStar #497).


Thank you!

Since I refuse to jump through hoops to make full use of a purchase I
guess I don't buy an LX.  Meade's archaic "Windows" requirements will
cause them to lose a sale. I've also not purchased a DSI from Meade for
the same reasons. It's nice that Meade can afford to alienate customers
willing to spend money.

Meade needs to realize that the computing world is not a one trick pony.
All my home systems are Mac's. For the last 20 years both my employers
were all Mac based.

It's about time Meade write their software in a contemporary fashion to
run multi-platform.
Mike here: Of course, Meade is not alone in limiting their offerings to a single platform. Celestron does it as well. It is unfortunate. But as Apple's marketshare (and mindshare) goes up, hopefully these short-sighted and 1990s decisions will be reversed.  And when you look at the professional and academic communities, you see LOTS of Mac OS X systems.
Subject:	ETX-LS AutoStar III version
Sent:	Tuesday, September 22, 2009 12:00:33
From:	Adam Koebel (
Received my ACF version of the ETX-LS today and it has the 1.07
firmware. I made the decision to upgrade to 1.2g off the bat.. will
report back with results once I am able to use it.

Subject:	ETX-LS Feedback
Sent:	Monday, September 21, 2009 13:24:20
From:	Louis Welke (
I wanted to tell you that I have version 1.07 for the ETX LS  and have
not done too much with my scope since I last talked to you.

I just called up your website yesterday and after reading what other
users of the LS have been experiencing  has caused me to believe that
Meade has a lot of work ahead for themselves both in repairing the LS
scopes and their reputation. I have been busy with other issues around
my home and haven't used my LS for the past two weeks or so and actually
I feel I don't have as severe a problems as many of these users have.

I was looking forward to hearing from you on your ETX site about how
your LS is now if you got it back or how is the new one if you got a
replacement but I hear that you are still waiting for your scope.

Possibly this might tell me that replacement LS scopes have been checked
out better before shipment to eliminate problems by users.

I still have about 10 months left on my warranty and hope that a better
upgrade is coming that answers the GPS and alignment problems and if the
problem is more severe I can get a replacement.

Thanks again for your help.

Lou Welke
Mike here: Got a report that 1.2g solved a GPS problem. Still waiting on mine.
Subject:	ETX-LS autostar upgrade nightmare
Sent:	Sunday, September 20, 2009 19:22:40
From: (
After hearing from your site that there was an update fixing GPS
problems i decided to plug my PC and update.

i should have remembered how windows programs are unpredictable.

After installing autostar suite and usb drivers i restarted then plugged
the ETX , it then signaled that i had V 1.07 and i went ahead with the
operation wchich i discovered was a 200 meg or so download. then the
updater program resurfaced so again i clicked install then the autostar
signaled not to turn off the etx while in progress...then the updater
did well nothing for an hour and a half. So with total absence of a
progress bar( thats a critical  flaw for an updater!) i decided to
interrupt the prog and tried the operation again this time everything
was severely frozen the ETX the pc and me... So i eventually had to
turned off the ETX and when i switched back,  nothing , zilch , no
system no database .

So tell me can i reprogram the ls with  with the updater on a mini sd

I cant believe it... this, its so frustrating i have done so many
successfull firmware update on so many different technologies and some
so primitive that it makes the LS looks like Big blue on steroid , 
anyway i strongly suggest that LS owners be aware of the risk involved

tx and sorry but i really had to vent a bit.

Jean-pierre Brie
Mike here: You will need to use a mini SD card (or a micro SD card) to restore the software onto the ETX-LS.
Subject:	Monitor Tip
Sent:	Sunday, September 20, 2009 06:14:37
From:	Varga, Les (
Sorry to hear about the GPS fix trouble people seem to be having.  My LS
has been working flawlessly so far.  I will wait a bit on updating the
software.  I do have an interesting tip though for those that haven't
thought of it yet.  When we purchased a new minivan it came with built
in monitors.  So that left me with two of the small portable monitors
from the old vehicle.  These monitors are perfect for attachment to the
LS tripod with the Velcro straps usually found on them.  I think these
are still sold but can likely be found easily on Ebay or elsewhere for
very little money.  They are lightweight and are easily powered from one
of the ports on the Celestron power tank that I use.  Just thought I
would pass this alongmine were just sitting on the shelf in my shop
waiting to get re-tasked.  This was a perfect fit and the work great.
Clear Skies!

Subject:	ETX-LS ver 1.2g report
Sent:	Saturday, September 19, 2009 21:25:34
From:	R L Laffoon (
I downloaded the new version of the Meade ETX-LS software this
afternoon, (9-19-09), into my SD card.  I inserted the card into the
ETX-LS, turned on the scope and watched the hand box display the
uploading information.  It took about 20 minutes to upload the new
version into the scope from the card.  This evening I went down to the
SMAS Observatory site at NCEEC, (, and took along the ETX-LS for
a trial run of the new software.  Everything worked.  The scope had no
problems finding the GPS and the alignment stars.  Tracking was
excellent.  Clouds rolled in around 10:30 and covered about 80 percent
of the sky.  Just for fun I turned off the scope, waited about a minute
and then turned it on again.  Once again it worked great!  GPS worked
fine and to my surprise, with only about 7 bright stars visible the
scope still was able to do an alignment!  Then I had it slew to Jupiter
and it appeared right in the center of the field of view in the 26mm
eyepiece.  So, as far as I'm concerned  everything works fine with this
new update from Meade.

Subject:	Re: ETX-LS Feedback, Mini SD Card
Sent:	Friday, September 18, 2009 07:46:16
From: (
Amazon. com has micro-to-mini SD adapters for $0.45. Look for 'Sandisk
MicroSD to MiniSD Adapter '.

They also have a package that includes a 2GB microSD with mini and
standard adapters for $6.99.  'SanDisk 2GB Microsd Card with SD & MiniSD

Mike Hogan

Mike here: If you have received your ETX-LS, drop me an email with the version of the AutoStar III software you have installed. It is displayed when you power on the ETX-LS. You can also find it in the "SCOPE INFO" display (via the MODE key) on the AutoStar III. Include the date you received your ETX-LS. So far, everyone has reported having version 1.07. Lets see if there are different versions out there. Thanks!
Subject:	Meade ETX-LS (LightSwitch) updated firmware for GPS fix
Sent:	Wednesday, September 16, 2009 02:10:38
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
Note to anyone who is using the latest ETX-LS (LightSwitch) telescope
from Meade that there is now a fix for the problematic GPS system in the
scope; the GPS actually is functional, but the CODE in the existing
firmware has been in error, preventing reliable or most times ANY GPS
fix to be obtained.

The new code is now posted in the firmware 1.2g (ETX_ls) at:
which is a rather huge 212 meg file zipped.

"Version 1.2g for the (ETX) LS telescope is available to improve GPS

Best of luck on this new firmware.

Thus far, all three of the ETX-LS scopes that I have had in my shop have
failed to obtain GPS fixes and ultimately time out in the process -
using the factory installed firmware, so hopefully this will remedy the

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
MPC H45 - Petit Jean Mountain South
MPC H41 - Petit Jean Mountain
MPC H43 - Conway West


Subject:	ETX-LS updater warning
Sent:	Wednesday, September 16, 2009 11:47:10
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (
A major warning for anyone wishing to update the ETX-LS to the newer
firmware in search of a fix for the errant or slow GPS:

Do not attempt....not with the ASU 5.8 updater or any previous.  There
is a bug in the updater program that corrupts the upload and apparently
sends ETX 497 data into the Autostar III, which pretty much wipes out
the database.  Meade has just confirmed this issue and they are looking
into it....if you have a working ETX-LS, do not attempt to upgrade your
firmware at this time.

There is a new version (v1.2g) that apparently fixes the slow (or
non-existent) GPS fix, but having to enter the date and time manually is
better than no operation at all.  Note that Andrew Johansen has pointed
out that if you insert TWO C-cell batteries in the compartment, in the
slot closest to the eyepiece end of the OTA, your LS will retain time,
date and location with its internal clock.

Those who do lose their operating system will need to flash load the
database via a mini-SD card inserted into the card port on the
telescope; no USB connection can be made to the telescope once the
firmware is corrupted.

Dr. Clay


Hi...also note that "MINI-SD" cards are nearly impossible to find; I
have been all over Little Rock looking for them and no one has
them....all users have gone over to "micro SD" or standard SD cards.....

Unbelievable that Meade did not research this more thoroughly.

Subject:	Re: ETX-LS 6 problems (continued)
Sent:	Friday, September 11, 2009 20:33:44
From:	richard seymour (
Duncan Sinclair wrote:
> Thanks for that info.
> So it can take over an hour for GPS to find itself?? It says "It should 
> only take a minute or two." I've tried for 15 to 20 minutes and it's 
> always eventually rolled over to "Enter manually" which is why Meade 
> said I should send it back to them.

...and that's certainly valid.
In my experience, the -first- time i turned on the eTX-LS,
it managed to get a fix... but the next three times, it didn't.
So i knew the GPS -could- work.
Recently it's been getting a fix fairly quickly every time,
but i -am- starting my sessions an hour later than the first series.

> Interesting that you say you CAN specify a latitude/longitude location, 
> as the Meade guy told me this could not be done. I'll try that when I 
> get it back from repair.

Note that i said "at least, that's how the Classic autostars do it"
I'm 2500 miles from my ETX-LS access, so i can't -test- my method to confirm it.

> FYI, I called Meade again this morning to find out if they were going to 
> pay for shipping (they said they would call me to let me know, but that 
> didn't happen) and supposedly they will be emailing me the UPS labels 
> any time now.

Ah!  So you still have the scope!  So you can see if the Lat/Long is accessible.

good luck


Sent:	Saturday, September 12, 2009 08:30:35
From:	Duncan Sinclair (

Instead of shipping my scope to Meade, I decided to expedite things by
driving it there myself (about 90 minutes away). So I got to talk to the
customer service people (two very helpful guys) face to face. Here's
what I found out...

There is a bug in the v1.07 firmware that causes issues with the GPS.
They have developed a new version, but it's not available to the public
yet. They're updating unsold units with it, apparently. Since I was
there, they updated mine (I think it said v1.2) and we tried the scope
out in their parking lot. Alas, in my particular case, it still did not
find a single satellite, so they determined that my scope has a hardware
problem and will have to be shipped to Mexico for repairs. Either that,
or they'll send me a replacement (but they're out of stock at present).

I asked the head of customer service if you could enter specific
latitude and longitude and he said yes. I wasn't able to try this out,
and am now scopeless for a week or two.


And some additional info:

Andrew Johansen commented:
Just for info, if people have access to a TV or display
The Acquiring GPS screen actually shows a set of
bars for the satellite reception strengths
It even works indoors ( doesnt fix, but the bars update )
Might be a useful "quicky"  test for people to see if "anything"
at all is happening.


have fun


In the new firmware version, the handbox shows how many satellite's have
been found, instead of just saying "Acquiring GPS."  Mine stayed on
"Satellites - 0" but supposedly it gives you a progress report of how
many satellites it's receiving from.

I think the video monitor would be a great addition. Navigating those
menus without it is a pain!
Mike here: Yep, when I get my ETX-LS back, I'll have to drag out my old (circa 1981) Apple II color CRT.
Subject:	RE: ETX-LS Feedback
Sent:	Friday, September 11, 2009 15:35:26
From:	Tony George (
I would like to report that I have worked with the ETX-LS at my home
where I had more time to experiment with various features.  It does have
a calibration for azimuth on the software.  I have not used it yet.

Also, when I set it up at home, it mysteriously found north correctly,
Vega as first target star easily centered in eyepiece and then second
star and all alignments thereafter were within 25mm eyepiece FOV.

So, at least it works as advertized... I'm glad to report after all...

Tony George

Subject:	ETX-LS 32 or 64 bit problem
Sent:	Friday, September 11, 2009 10:29:47
From:	Nicolas Potter (
I received my ETX-LS with autostar3 V. 1.07 July 10, and have had a lot
of fun with it. I have not been able to connect it to auto star suite v.
5.5 via USB-A. I am running vista with a 64 bit OS. Meade customer
service told me that it would only work with a 32 bit OS. He also said
that the telescope would track objects without being connected. Whenever
I enter an object it slews to the object and then stops. I'm thinking
about buying a USB to serial port cord, to see if that works. What
should I do Mike?
Mike here: See the comment about the driver that was posted further down this ETX-LS feedback page.
Subject:	Some answers from Meade
Sent:	Wednesday, September 9, 2009 12:31:22
From:	Duncan Sinclair (
I was just on the phone with Meade about my ETX-LS6 problems, and here
are some answers...

Since my GPS was not working at all, he said immediately that I should
send it in for repair.

There is no way to enter latitude and longitude of one's position - only
cities. This seems bizarre, but his answer was "Not at this time" so
maybe it will be a future update.

"Finding Home" is the scope trying to determine where North is, as
opposed to "Acquiring GPS" which is the scope trying to figure out where
in the world it is.

Pressing "Mode" once or holding it down does not cancel the scope's
current activity. You need to press it four or five times in succession
for it to cancel. I have since tried this, and it works.

My connection errors with my PC were because I had not installed the
driver for the scope. Although I had installed Autostar on my computer,
I had overlooked that there was another item on the DVD which needed to
be installed - the driver! Now my scope and PC are speaking to each
other (although version 1.07 is still the latest). I also needed to tell
the Autostar software which serial port was connected to the scope by my
USB cable (in the Telescope pulldown menu). Not being very technically
savvy, this was a bit of trial and error for me, but eventually I got

Shipping to Meade for warranty repairs is generally paid for by Meade if
within 30 days of purchase. Since I won this telescope in a raffle and
have no paperwork, they're still determining if that applies to me.

I hope this information is helpful to other users.

Mike here: A separate driver, huh? Good to know!


Subject:	re: ETX-LS 6 problems
Sent:	Friday, September 11, 2009 05:35:09
From:	richard seymour (
A few random answers/glimmers...

On the ETX-LS, the MODE switch does not factor in "duration" of press
(unlike the 'classic' Autostars).
One tap is the same as leaning on it.

There are (as in the 'classic' autostars) some operations which do NOT
get interrupted by tapping MODE (until they're ready).  As you've seen,
"Finding Home" is one example.

A large number of the 'classic' PC-to-Autostar commands are not yet implemented.
That situation will improve with further updates.

Meade is working on improving the firmware.
As of your posting, 1.07 was the current version.

GPS behavior seems to get better over time.
Even an hour's difference in when you start setting up can affect GPS fixing.

have fun (and a big dollop of patience)

And more:

To set/change the LAt/Long coordinates of your site:
(a) use the Nearest City to establish one
(b) then menu to   Setup/Site/Edit
(c) the subcategories of that let you edit/change the name,
the Lat, the Long, the timeZone (set it for your standard time offset)

(at least, that's how it's done on the Classic Autostars)

My ETX and LX200gps experience is that "within 30 miles" is good enough
for everything except low-earth-orbit satellite tracking (and usually
good enough for that, too)

have fun


Thanks for that info.

So it can take over an hour for GPS to find itself?? It says "It should
only take a minute or two." I've tried for 15 to 20 minutes and it's
always eventually rolled over to "Enter manually" which is why Meade
said I should send it back to them.

Interesting that you say you CAN specify a latitude/longitude location,
as the Meade guy told me this could not be done. I'll try that when I
get it back from repair.

FYI, I called Meade again this morning to find out if they were going to
pay for shipping (they said they would call me to let me know, but that
didn't happen) and supposedly they will be emailing me the UPS labels
any time now.


Subject:	ETX-LS Scope
Sent:	Tuesday, September 8, 2009 07:54:08
From:	Bellomy, Robert S. (
After Meade had my telescope for three weeks, the customer support
representative told me it would take 2-3 additional weeks, but no
explanation as to why.  Therefore, I took matters into my own hands and
searched for the CEO's email address.  However, I was only able to find
the email address for the CFO, John Elwood.  I emailed Mr. Elwood and
told him what my concern was and I needed him (or someone there) to
redirect my email to the customer support management.  I received two
emails from Mr. Elwood, the final one stating that he had looked into my
inquiry and decided that Meade would replace the scope with another one.
I received a voice mail later that day from the manager of customer
support stating that they had a shipping number for me and that the
scope would be sent out this week.  I wasn't crazy about emailing the
CFO, but his was the only email address I could find.  You see, Meade
has removed the email address for customer service and replaced it with
the "800" number for service.  While being able to speak with someone is
nice, the customer support staff cannot answer questions concerning the
status of the repair.  Perhaps this may change as a result of my email
(I can only hope).  But, for now, they are sending me a replacement
telescope.  I will let you know if there are any other issues.
Mike here: I suspect that parts for the ETX-LS are in short supply given the newness of the ETX-LS and most parts go into the manufacture of full telescopes.

And more:

I have exchanged several emails with John Elwood, Meade CFO.  He was
very gracious and apologetic about the very slow service provided by the
customer support group.  He took out the time to research my issue and
based on some preliminary testing and my detailed letter, decided that
they needed to replace the telescope.  This was in keeping with the
"First Light Policy" that Meade has.  The contact with Mr. Elwood was
Friday, Sept 4.  Since Monday was a holiday, I called the customer
support assistant manager (as I was instructed) and he told me they
shipped out another scope on that Tuesday morning.  I received the scope
at home on Wednesday.  I didn't have a lot of time to set it up and
hence not a real good alignment.  However, given the obstacles I have in
my back yard, the scope came remarkably close to auto aligning.  I did
abort the auto alignment and did a two-star alignment.  Perfect!  Also,
I took a look at Jupiter and the 4 moons I could see.  The optics are
really really good, very crisp and I could almost make out detail in the
bands despite being in a light polluted environment.  I look forward to
trying the scope out this weekend and do some planetary imaging.  The
only change in the scope was the lens cover for the camera.  It was a
new design and very large and bold (at least I shouldn't lose it).  I
have not tried the mini SD card yet.  Next try will be in the front yard
as there is more open space out there.
Robert Bellomy
Mike here: What AutoStar version? Still 1.07?
Yes, still 1.07.  I was told there is a new software update coming soon
(perhaps by the end of the week).

Robert Bellomy

Subject:	ETX-LS 6 problems
Sent:	Sunday, September 6, 2009 15:38:31
From:	Duncan Sinclair (
I used my ETX-LS6 for the firs time last night, version 1.07.

I must say, the owner's manual leaves out a lot of information, and I'm
in the dark about a number of things.

The GPS positioning didn't work at all. It tried for about ten minutes,
and then told me to enter manually. I tried the GPS again, no luck.

Entering manually, I couldn't find an option to enter coordinates - just
cities. I guess the option is there somewhere, I just don't know how to
find it yet. After telling it I was in Los Angeles (big area to choose
from), it successfully aligned to two stars, and slewed correctly to
Jupiter, which was probably the only thing worth trying to see on a full
moon LA night! I was happy with the image quality.

Since then, I've been digging through the manual, trying to navigate
around the menus (which would definitely be easier if I had the optional
video monitor), and also tried to check if I had the latest software.
Here's my experience of this...

The telescope goes through a procedure it says is "Finding Home" which I
don't find explained anywhere, and I don't know how that's different
from its initial alignment process.

Pressing "Mode" is supposed to stop the telescope from doing whatever
it's doing, but most of the time, it doesn't seem to have any effect at
all, and I have to wait for it to finish "Finding Home" before I can
tell it to do anything else.

Connecting the telescope to my PC according to the manual's directions,
I apparently couldn't get it to connect at all. The PC keeps giving me
connection/communication error messages, and I don't know how to find a
solution, since that is also not explained anywhere, to my knowledge.
Consequently, the "Ugrade Autostar software now" doesn't work, as my PC
and scope are not talking to each other.

I intend to call Meade when they reopen on Tuesday to see if I can get
some answers to my questions.


Duncan Sinclair
Mike here: Do you have reasonably open access to the sky to receive GPS satellite signals? If will need to see 3 or 4 of them to get a good fix. You should be able to ADD or EDIT a site location. Although in looking at the manual, I didn't see that option in the AutoStar menu tree (I don't have my ETX-LS back from Meade yet to check). Finding Home is part of the initial process it goes through to determine where in the world the telescope is located and where to start its alignment process (finding North and level). You have to hold the MODE key for about a second to abort an operation. If you hold it 2-3 seconds, you will see the MODE display ("Scope Info"). I tried using AutoStar Suite 5.5 to connect via the USB port (using Parallels on my Mac) but was unsuccessful. Since AutoStar Suite doesn't have a USB connection mode but the ETX-LS has a "serial emulation mode", I wasn't certain where the problem was. As to the version, 1.07 is the current one available.


Thanks for that info.

I forgot to mention that I was on the roof of my apartment, with a very
clear view all around. The only interference I could guess at would be a
TV antenna and a couple of Dish Network dishes - all of them maybe 30
feet away.

Yes, I held down the Mode button for different durations - often it
didn't seem to do anything.

The very first thing it did was "Acquiring GPS" so I'd like to know how
"Finding Home" is different from that, or if it's in fact the same
thing, and why holding down Mode doesn't stop it. I'll ask Meade about
that next week.

Mike here: Since I don't have mine, I can't check. But "Finding Home" could be referring to the HOME POSITION, which is the initial position before starting the star alignment steps.
Subject:	ETX-LS sd-card Clarification
Sent:	Sunday, September 6, 2009 10:37:38
From:	jean-pierre Brie (
I have been reading all sorts of reports on the web as to what is the
proper memory card for the LS and i have to admit i am totally lost .
Maybe if you could post as to what type of card is the proper one .

TX for your time

and hope you have your LS back from Meade...

Jean-pierre Brie
Mike here: The ETX-LS manual makes it very clear what type of card is required. As it says on page 36,
"Mini SD Card" or a "Micro SD Card" in a Mini Card Holder
However, other places in the manual they just say "SD Card" or "Mini SD Card". So, if users don't read the whole manual, they could miss some important clarifications.
Subject:	RE: ETX-LS SD card slot damaged
Sent:	Saturday, September 5, 2009 20:45:11
From:	Hajri, Mohammed OSE26B (
Thanks for your feelings, with regards to software installation using
the Mini SD did not work most probably due to card slot being damaged.

By the way I took the electronic board to the repair shop and they are
looking for the SD spare parts to replace most likely they will have to
order from USA I will come to know that today.

Kind regards,

Subject:	ETX-LS Feedback
Sent:	Saturday, September 5, 2009 20:25:29
From:	Warren Spreng (
I received my ETX-LS scope at the end of June.  I have had the best time
using this scope, the only flaw being the Mini SD slot.  Why they chose
a mini rather than a standard SD I'll never know but that's neither here
nor there.  The problem I had was that if I put a formatted card in and
selected "Take Picture" the scope would freeze up.  I then would have to
shut it down and start it up again and it would do everything else just
fine.  I ignored it up until last week since I had not planned to use
the built in CCD camera for pictures anyway.  I spoke with Meade and
decided to go ahead and send the scope back to have the card reader
fixed/replaced so everything on the scope worked the way it should.

I have had very little problems with the scope and have done more
observing in the past 2 months than in the prior 40 years that I have
been interested in astronomy!  I have also just started doing some CCD
imaging and this scope makes that extremely simple for a beginner like
myself.  I never thought that after a few nights out I would actually be
able to get images of such objects as the Ring and Dumbbell Nebula, and
although they are nothing like I see from images with large scopes, they
are very pleasing to me!  The optics on this scope are terrific and the
portability was exactly what I was looking for.  I can be set up and
observing or taking pictures in about 20 minutes, and I haven't built up
a sweat trying to wrestle with a heavy piece of equipment.

One of the features I have not seen anyone else comment about is the
option of "Precision Slew".  When this option is selected, when you
select a Deep Sky Object, the scope first slews to a nearby bright star
and requests that you center it in the eyepiece and then hit enter. 
When you do this it then slews unerringly to the object you have
selected.  This is great when you are looking for nebula or galaxies
that you might miss in the eyepiece.  I slewed to the whirlpool galaxy
and wasn't sure I was even there until I set up a 15 second exposure
with the DSI III camera, and there it was, dead center!!

I can't wait until I receive my scope back from Meade to get started
again.  It won't be long until the Orion Nebula is in the sky and I
can't wait to get a shot at that with the scope.  Just for fun I
attached a photo of Jupiter I took on August 22nd and one of the Ring
Nebula that I took on August 14th with the scope.  These were some of my
first efforts into CCD imagin.



Mike here: "High Precision" GOTOs have been in the AutoStar since the beginning back in 1999 (I think it was).
Subject:	etx-ls feedback
Sent:	Wednesday, September 2, 2009 17:40:26
From:	Murray Harris (
Man, am I the only one that got a working scope.  The only issue I had
was with the sd slot, I bought a different sd card that was a mini sd
adapter with a 2 gb micro sd card installed, it seems to see this card,
have yet to try taking pictures.  The only other issue is that the lat
and long is correct, but they have the wrong city assigned to it,  It
shows up as Ogden, Utah, when in fact it is Salt Lake City, and vice
Mike here: There does seem to be some oddities in the GPS database.
Subject:	ETX-LS SD card slot damaged
Sent:	Tuesday, September 1, 2009 23:51:33
From:	Hajri, Mohammed OSE26B (
I received my ETX-LS scope sometime ago, tried to auto align it but
failed every time as the scope kept stating while aligning with the star
that the star is either blocked by a building or a tree (When observing
through the eye piece I find the star is out of view any way).

When I started aligning it manually with two stars it works fine, then I
decided to confirm the operation of the CCD camera, so I tried to insert
the normal SD card (and not the Mini SD card recommended). I used a
force to insert the SD card which caused the damage to the card slot.
After this someone suggested to confirm the right SD card which is Mini
SD, so I borrowed one from someone using it in his GSM, inserted it and
it was the correct one but then it corrupted the software and now my
telescope is totally not operating at all.

I cannot install the software using Mini SD card as the card slot is
damaged and trying to install using my PC but there is no communication
between telescope and autostar. I wonder how to come out with my mess?

Above all I am living far away from USA in a country called Oman which
is located in the Middle East and there is no way of communication with
Meade at all.

I will only looking for help through web sites and will try to repair
the damaged SD card slot which looks so difficult. I hope that I can
replace the electronic card in a worse situation, but I would need some
help to find out the card ordering number.
Kind regards,
Mike here: Sorry to hear that you damaged the card slot by using the wrong card type. Good warning to others though. But just to confirm, you did install the software onto the (correct) mini SD card, and then inserted that into the ETX-LS and powered it on after it was inserted? As to updating via the USB cable, I wasn't able to get a connection via USB but I don't know if that is because I was using Parallels Desktop or if there was some other problem. If so, hopefully someone will have a solution for you.
Subject:	ETX-LS AutoStar III version
Sent:	Monday, August 31, 2009 20:14:29
From:	Manuel Fernndez (
Got mine last week.
Version: 1.07 Autostar III


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