|This page is for comments and user feedback about ETX telescopes. ETX models discussed on this page include the ETX-60/70/80/90/105/125 (EC, AT, BB, Premier Edition). This page also includes comments and feedback of a general nature. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to the ETX-90RA, DSX, and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me 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: September 2011 is the 15th anniversary of my first ETX and setting up this ETX Site. This Site would not be the resource that it has become over the past 15 years without the many contributions from ETX and other telescope users around the world. All of you have my sincere appreciation for helping make this site the "Mighty ETX Site". Here's to 15 more years!
Subject: Congratulation Sent: Friday, September 30, 2011 09:05:06 From: Jan H Kolst (email@example.com) CONGRATULATION WITH THE 15 FIRST YEARS!!! BEST WISHES FOR THE FUTURE FROM NORWAY I do hope that the Mighty still will be alive for years to come for beginners and upwards. If it hadn't been for this page /site many of us wouldn't have enjoyed the sky the way we do. Thanks a lot Mike! Jan Norway
Subject: Submission of additional ideas on ETX 235-EC rebuild/tune-up Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2011 05:30:31 From: Kenny G. Dubuisson, Jr. (firstname.lastname@example.org) Using the great info from this site, I decided to do an extreme rebuild of my 125-EC. With my degree in computer engineering, minor in industrial engineering, almost 30 years of technical experience in live television sports and entertainment events (related experience is working on 6-figure lens and 5-figure tripod setups), years of building remote control airplanes and cars and throw in being the son of a NASA quality engineer on the space shuttle engines, I only know how to do rebuilds in an extreme (some may say insane) way. I mention all of this because I have a good number of suggestions on different modifications that I think might be beneficial to others. My question to you is whether you would have me submit them all in one email/document or submit each in separate emails with specific subjects covered and email subject lines? I would really love to combine everything I've done, most of which is from other posts on your ETX site, into one major rebuild document but I have no idea when I could complete something as large as that and would like to at least get the additional info out first. Just let me know. I hope to be a long-term valuable contributor to your site and would like to know how to proceed. FYI: I get to try out all my mods starting tonight as the next few days will be perfect and I hope to finish everything in the next couple if hours. Peace, KennyMike here: Your choice actually. But if more convenient to do multiple articles, we can make a series out of them, like Dr. Clay Sherrod's Performance Enhancement" articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: 2000 ETX 125-EC internal connector diagram Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2011 05:14:01 From: Kenny G. Dubuisson, Jr. (email@example.com) I'm doing a complete (extreme) rebuild of a 2000 ETX 125-EC scope I was given and I made one major mistake: I forgot to document the layout of the two 4-pin connectors which plug in to a PCB in the RA base (which has the Autostar, power and accessory connectors on the other side) and run to the Dec and RA drive sub-assemblies. The connectors and wires are the same and I don't want to cross up the Dec and RA motors. Could someone provide me with the correct orientation of those two connectors where they plug in to the 8-pin header on the internal Autostar/power PCB please? Thanks in advance, Kenny Sent from Kenny's iPhone 4Mike here: Ah yes, you didn't read my "Important Information BEFORE You Work On Your Telescope or Accessory (or in fact, almost Anything) Disassembly Procedure" article on the Helpful information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Naughty. There are some disassembly articles on the Telescope Tech Tips pgae which have photos that may show sufficient details.
I read it but killed too many brain cells when I was younger to remember!
And an update:
For those that forget to take a photo of their internal wiring like I did, here is the proper wiring connections inside the base of a 2000 ETX 125-EC: The four-wire connector for the RA drive, which runs from the RA drive sub-assembly PCB to the PCB behind the remote control panel, the 4-pin connector on the RA PCB plugs in to JP2 (the only 4-pin connector on this sub-assembly) with pin 1 (black) away from the gears which means pin 4 (blue) is toward the gears. The other end of this cable plugs in to JP3 on the 8-pin header on the control panel PCB with pin 1 toward the center of the PCB which means pin 4 is next to the rest of the pins which go to the DEC drive. The DEC drive sub-assembly cable plugs into JP5 on the control panel PCB with pin 1 if the cable plugged in to pin 5 of the PCB header. This then uses all 8 pins of the header on the control panel PCB and hooks up control of both drives. Hope this helps other lost people like myself. Peace, Kenny
Subject: Sun photos Sent: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 12:31:34 From: GPLeask@aol.com (GPLeask@aol.com) Not sun photos, but a Happy 15th birthday. Well done. Here's looking forward to the next 15 years. All the best, George
Subject: ETX RA rotation problem Sent: Sunday, September 25, 2011 17:10:15 From: John Waechter (firstname.lastname@example.org) While out observing with my ETX-125 PE last week the RA-motion suddenly seemed to stall during a slew. I examined the mount and discovered that it will no longer rotate fully in the RA axis, either manually with the axis unlocked, or driven by the drive. The maximum rotation is about 340 degrees. I took off the bottom cover and found two small washers loose in the base but could find no obvious binding problem. I see that this problem has been mentioned in the past a couple time on the Mighty ETX site, but no definate solution given. I am not confident in my ability to dissasemble the entire base. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank You John Waechter N.Canton, OHMike here: There are some disassemble articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. You do want to determine the culprit. If there is an obstruction, and it sounds like there is, if it is a wire you don't want it to get cut. If you don't feel qualified to make a repair, either contact Meade or Dr Clay Sherrod for his Supercharge Tuneup Service.
Subject: etx site Sent: Sunday, September 25, 2011 15:29:25 From: Jenny Morgan (email@example.com) I'm sure someone has said it already, but I wanted to add to the adulation. You have one of the most dynamic sites on the web. You update religiously, genuinely care for your users and provide a service that takes a dope like me and makes me capable to handle an instrument well beyond my experience. And to that, you deserve a THANK YOU, DUDE, of the brightest magnitude. Although these days I have not a penny in my pocket (as an unwitting victim of this wonderful economy), when things get better, I'd love to make a donation. Thank you for all your efforts. Most sincerely, Jenny Morgan Milwaukee, WI
Subject: meade 1240wiring diagram Sent: Saturday, September 24, 2011 14:53:59 From: andy ward (firstname.lastname@example.org) is it possible to get the wiring diagram for the meade1240 electronic controller. i want to use a spare one for a project thanks andy wardMike here: Not from Meade. And I'm not aware of any one being available from another source.
Subject: Re: Thanks so much for site Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2011 12:48:45 From: Kenny G. Dubuisson, Jr. (email@example.com) Is there a forum area on your ETX site that I could post some questions to (am I just missing it?). I'm having problems with the ETX 125-EC I was given (yes given, along with 883 tripod, every SP eyepiece from 6.4 to 40, CCD, etc...I was blessed by a doctor friend of mine) and have some detailed questions but I don't want to use all your time so if you could tell me a way to post my issues or get help, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks so much, Kenny P.S. I was very disappointed with Meade's phone support guy I talked to...that's why I'm asking. Sent from Kenny's iPhone 4Mike here: See the Site Guide on the ETX Home Page. The "forum" is discussed there. If you prefer to use a "forum" style discussion group, there is the ETXastro Yahoo Group. Lots of good people on it.
What took you so long to reply? Ha, just kidding as that's very nice of you to get back so quickly (I'm trying to get my problems fixed before Saturday as my son and I are planning a night of viewing.) Now I see the "Submittal Guidelines" link. Sorry and thanks again. Being a computer engineer with tons of deep back-country excursion experience understanding navigation, it will be a very detailed (read "long") submittal to show all the things I've tried so which would you rather me do as I really don't want to use a bunch of your time. I can see the incredible amount of time you've spent on your site and appreciate all you've done for the community and don't want to get in the way. Kenny P.S. Glad to see you use "real" computers and phones. My favorite is my AppleTV box though my iPad also is great.
Subject: New user observations Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 08:01:31 From: Dave Adams (firstname.lastname@example.org) First off I would like to say thank you for all the great information that you have compiled on your web site. For my birthday this year I was hinting about wanting a telescope. I had one years ago, and really enjoyed it. The first object I viewed was Saturn...holy smokes! I was hooked. But kids, time and such took away much and got away from it. So, when I thought, I'd like to get another telescope, I started seaching the web for information available. I didn't want to get a cheap pile and also didn't need a huge "over my head" scope. It didn't take much looking around to get numerous hits leading to your website! It gave me tons of information on many models of scopes that would fit my desire. I opted for the ETX 90 AT. Well, that is what I told my wife.....sure enough she somehow swung it and on the evening of my birthday, her and the kids presented me with my new telescope. What a beauty!! The hardest thing to do, and also probably the smartest, was to not fire it up and just start pushing buttons and trying to find stuff. I spent much time surfing your site reading about initial start ups, aligning, do's and don'ts, etc. So finally I was ready. My first aligning attempt was not completely successful, but of course I was able to manually move around and view the skies. Jupitier was out, and I was throughly impressed with the detail I could see with the standard 26mm lens...very nice. After more attempts and tons of reading instructions provided on your site, I was getting my aligning technique closer to proper. I learned many things though. One....take your time and go through all the motions. Most times after unsuccessful aligning attempts, if I thought back I could come up with what I did wrong. Most times it was stupid mistakes. Go to hard stop, back til control panel is lined with fork arm. Lock down. Move whole tripod so tube faces north. Not quite right so I loosened the lock and moved the tube.......later I thought what? Moron. Once I was close...but not quite, afterward I thought, um, you didn't level the tube! Good grief. Forgot to level the tripod base once. Heck, it was on my 3rd or 4th attempt that I realized that the compass provided actually fits in the eye piece holder. That sure helps in aligning to mag north. I can't find Polaris in my sky at viewing times, so just going with the magnetic north for now. But finally I got a couple of good alignments and the go to worked awesome. "Go to Mars" bam, there it was. "Go to Jupiter" yep...there it is. Very cool stuff. Viewing in my backyard is not optimal, but it is not bad. Looking forward to being comfortable enough with my aligns and such to take it up on one of the mountains one night and do some serious viewing. I live in the northwest, and there are PLENTY of great spots not far away to set-up and enjoy! So, again, just wanted to say thanks to you and all the work you put into this hobby and sharing all you have learned with us. Keep up the good work. Thank you Dave Adams
Subject: Availability Sent: Monday, September 19, 2011 17:06:28 From: Chad Jewell (email@example.com) Thanks for all the great information. Unfortunately, while going shopping there aren't any 125's in any web store. Do you know off hand if this is rare or a frequent occurrence? Hopefully this isn't a setback. Thanks, Chad JewellMike here: Sometimes stock runs out as Meade does what it does. With reliable dealers like OPT (and others) you can place an order and it will be shipped when available.
Subject: MEADE ETX105EC Alignment Issue Sent: Monday, September 19, 2011 13:54:27 From: Paul Ingham (firstname.lastname@example.org) Following a gearbox rebuild to replace some stripped gears with the some from gizmozone (a tip from your site) I have successfully calibrated and trained the drives and no sign of the "motor drive failure" message (YES!) but when I try to do a 2 star alignment the scope spins clockwise and hits the stops, It is definitely in the "Home" position and that aside it would spin for more than 360 degrees. I guess I have done something during the rebuild but have checked and double checked and everything appears as it should (I took picture before and during the strip down), I did have to resolder the ve battery cable as I made the school boy error of letting the base with the battery compartment pull on the cable, could I have damaged something then? Or damaged the sensors for the motor rotation (the scope does stop but well after 360 degrees of movement would have occurred). Kind Regards PaulMike here: Is this only occurring during the alignment steps? Is slewing normally otherwise? Have you tried the other alignment modes? Perhaps the AutoStar software needs to be reloaded?
Subject: re: parts Sent: Sunday, September 18, 2011 15:02:08 From: richard seymour (email@example.com) Mike wrote: "Try to get a replacement logic board for your computer from the manufacturer." ..that's probably an Apple experience. Us Windows/Linux PC users *expect* to able to replace any part easily (but rarely have to). have fun --dick p.s. Dell users may experience different mileage on very old machines
Subject: Thanks so much for site Sent: Saturday, September 17, 2011 18:10:22 From: Kenny Dubuisson (firstname.lastname@example.org) I just had to drop a note to say a HUGE thank you for all you've done to provide fantastic information on the Meade ETX 125EC that I just got. I'm only a couple of nights into using it and still learning/experimenting a lot but I'm actually doing pretty well mainly because of your site. I don't want to keep you long as I just wanted to send you a big THANKS! Peace, Kenny Kenny Dubuisson, Jr. email@example.com P.S. I live in Gulfport, Mississippi (30 deg 25 min N and 89 deg 3 min W). Also, I can't wait until I get a SLR mount and get good enough to take photos and I'll send you some.
Subject: etx 80 focuser parts Sent: Friday, September 16, 2011 07:56:15 From: Dave W (firstname.lastname@example.org) Bought this 80mm etx in like new/unused condition, but when the box was opened had a few issues, the lower blue tube that attaches to the mount has a 3 prunged plastic part that snaps into the upper tube (the tube with the lens in it) the part has a threaded part that the focuser threaded shaft goes thru. The plastc part was broke, so a little superglue repair was a quick fix. The focuser is very stiff now so would like to replace the broken part. Do you know if the 60-70 and 80 lower tube parts are interchangable or are they all different? Can I get parts somewhere? I'm trying scopehed, waiting for a reply. If I need to buy a parts scope it would be nice if I could use parts off a 60 or 70, seams 80's are rare. thanks for any and all help DaveMike here: Don't know if the parts are interchangeable between the various ETX refractor models (but I doubt it since the focal length is different). Try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page) for parts.
OK, I'm waiting for a reply from scopehed. thanks Dave
Just talked to Meade, they can not answer my parts compatability question. Not real happy with there help at all or there attitude. I also have the Meade DS series scopes and am aware of some of the issues, thats why I moved up to the ETX series, thought these would be better quality, lov the software but the hardware has me questioning my decision. Is there a site that has the parts breakdown with part numbers so maybe we could order parts direct from the Manuf. ? thanks DaveMike here: Meade does not supply repair parts generally to users. They are not alone in that policy.
That's a policy I don't understand, but it is a throwaway society. You see I can't stand to throw away something that just has a few flaws, you know recycle, conserve natual resources etc. Don't they understand we keep these barley functioning devices around complaining all the while about Meade or others when we could be a happy customer and happy to buy new when we truly want to upgrade, not holding back because we know the seller won't support what they sell the day the warranty exspires, happy to pay more if needed if we know what we buy will last a while and if not we can get the parts to fix it not fill the landfills full of throw away stuff. never to buy from them again. thanks DaveMike here: Well, as I said, Meade is not alone in that policy. I've read that Celestron is the same. And of course, try to get a replacement camera for your cell phone from the manufacturer. Try to get a replacement rack & pinion for your car from the manufacturer. Try to get a replacement transformer for your HDTV from the manufacturer. Try to get a replacement logic board for your computer from the manufacturer. Some companies have safety concerns, some have proprietary products that they are concerned about, and some companies don't want to deal with the "I broke it trying to replace...". While many of us could do the repairs, safely and correctly, the policies do hinder us. Just a fact of life today.
Yah your right, life sucks nowadays....just kidding, the problem is the Manuf. end up getting none of my dollars when I have a mind set to buy 2nd hand to avoid the big hit if I were to buy new at the full price with a short 1 yr warranty when clouds only clear a few nights a year limiting use of the shinny new brand new scope. Guess that's why I'm more a diy, ebay and craigslist buyer. with a win some loose sometimes atitude but that doesn't mean I don't voice my opinon. Guess I'm getting old, I remember 25 years ago doing componet level ic replacement (solder in type) in the field on the customers desk, them were the days, no throw aways just repair, repair and repair again. Thanks Mike, your site is the best DaveMike here: The hobbyist days do seem to be going away.
Subject: Question on Meade ETX selection Sent: Thursday, September 15, 2011 06:43:06 From: Chad Jewell (email@example.com) Over the last few years my son ( 6 ) and I inherited a very basic telescope (not to be crass but I call it the "Toys R Us Special") and now we are looking to upgrade and view bigger and better optics. I have researched for approx 2 weeks and came across the Meade site and, as you probably know, the great reviews with the very economical prices. At first I was leaning towards the ETX-80 but my thoughts are that this might be limiting for me as I want to view anything and everything that I can discover in the heavens. Then I thought the 90 but for just a small nominal increase I am leaning to the 125. I guess my question to you is should I start small with 80 and work up or just begin with the 125. I find that Astronomy will be more than a hobby as I also want to get into Astrophotography as my abilities increase. I also have to point that I am approximately 5 linear miles from a modest International airport that is quite lit. Another of my leaning to the 125 was the increase in light absorption. I also like the Autostar features because other than the Dippers and Orion I can't name any other constellation. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated and I look forward to your comments. Your website has been extremely informative. The Astrophotography images are amazing and I notice most are of the 125. Another reason I lean to the 125 over the 80 or 90. My next course of action is also to look into attending a local Astronomy club meeting. Thank you for all your help, Chad Jewell Hermon, MaineMike here: The ETX-80 is fine wide-field instrument. It has a short focal length and will provide excellent low magnification views of star fields and the moon. However, the views of the planets and small faint Deep Sky Objects (DSO) are usually disappointing to new users. The ETX-125 is a long focal length telescope, providing excellent views of the moon, planets, and DSOs. Its larger aperture will mean that you will see more fainter DSOs than with the ETX-80. For astrophotography, the ETX-80 would be like using a 400mm telephoto lens on your camera. The ETX-125 would be like using a 1900mm telephoto. For more on what you can see with these telescopes see my ETX-70AT and ETX-125AT comments on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page as well as reports from others on the Helpful Information: User Observations page. And visiting a local astronomy group can be very beneficial. But expect to overwhelmed with advice, pro and con, about any telescope.
Thank you for responding so quickly. I will review those areas a bit more in depth but I think that the 125 is where I will be going. Ah, that excitement that will ensure in time. Have a great day. Chad Jewell
Subject: Your have a great site. Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 12:25:55 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) I have wanted to say how much I really enjoyed your site and all the info you have posted. I have an Iphone also and have taken some shots with my ETX 80. I noticed some of the ways you were mounting your I phone to your telescope. I highly recommend this www.Iphone-tripodholder.com. Its only $10.00 +shipping and handling and used a camera adapter that hangs on the eyepiece. Again love your site and hope you have clear skies. Thanks, George Zderich Locust Grove, Ga
Subject: ETX-125 & 884 unkown parts fell out Sent: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 14:24:37 From: Scott Wegeman (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am an new user of my ETX-125 and enjoy reading on your site. But last night about the tenth time using my telescope I set it up on my deck and fully extended the 884 tripod and I heard some parts fall out of the scope. I looked all over and don't know where they go could you help. 2 metal shims that i think go on the tripod leg tension nut and a black cap that i have know idea where it would go? Are these parts essential?
Subject: Hi got your e mail from a helpful report you posted.......where you dscribe the use of an ETX 105 Sent: Monday, September 12, 2011 05:52:09 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have bought a second hand etx 105 for myself and my son. i do not fully understand the set up procedure or, if I do, my telescope is not working. Given my level of experience (ie zero ) its hard to tell which one is right. This is set up on a tripod. Sorry to bother you on this but you posted a note a while back where you have been through all of this before so maybe you can help. I have programmed the location city closest to me. Set the time and date. I then rotate the scope counter clockwise until it stops. Do you do this with the motors "engaged" or with the friction lever off so that the scope moves freely. I've been doing it engaged but this could be wrong. I've also tried it without but still it doesn't seem to work. I then go through the alignment on 2 stars process described in the manual but the scope finds nothing and even if I set it on something huge like the moon, it will not move to it. Is there something obvious that I'm not doing as I have a terribly disappointed nine year old! thanks JOnathan Jonathan D Evans BirminghamMike here: First, be certain to read the "Submittal Guidelines" on the ETX Site for info on the email address to be used and the subject line. Thanks for understanding. As to your alignment questions, you can manually move the telescope to the hard stop by unlocking the lock or you can use the AutoStar to slew to the "Home Position" with the axis locked. Obviously, it is quicker to do this by hand with the lock unlocked. Next, whether you leave the telescope at the hard stop or rotate it back to point to True North will depend on whether you are doing an Auto Align (with a PE model) or an Easy/One Star/Two Star Align (all models). If doing an Auto Align you leave at the hard stop; if doing the others you rotate back to True North. Of course, the tube is level in all alignment modes (when mounted in Alt/Az mode). For more alignment tips, see the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Next, DO NOT use the moon, sun, or any planets for alignment targets. That can create GOTO errors. Always use stars. Next, be certain you have the Daylight Saving setting correct. If none of this helps, please describe in more detail what you do when setting up the telescope, how you do alignment, and how far off the pointing is when the telescope slews to the first alignment star, and then how far off subsequent GOTOs are.
Brilliant. Thank you very much for your help. Jonathan
Mike here: In the days just prior to 11 September 2001, I was making final preparations for the "Mighty ETX Star Party". Everyone involved with "Nightfall" and the "Mighty ETX Star Party" agreed that we would still have the star party even though we knew that some who had planned to attend would be unable to come. Two special attendees that were scheduled to speak could not travel due to the flight restrictions that were in effect in the days immediately after 9-11. But "Nightfall" and the "Mighty ETX Star Party" were still a success, demonstrating that freedom speaks more loudly than explosions.
Subject: removal of etx125pe lnt/smartfinder Sent: Friday, September 9, 2011 14:49:39 From: bill willey (email@example.com) sorry about the deceptive subject line,but, my question is simple. after removing the level north technology module and the additional plastic saddle can the electric focuser, #1244, I think,be installed.or does it still not fit. love the site thxMike here: There are a couple of articles about the "#1244" focuser on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Perhaps those will help you.
thank you for your quick response to my question,but, removing the focus rod to take to a metal milling place is simply not going to happen. I'll just order the meade electric focuser and if it doesn't fit I'll send it back.
Subject: ETX125 Counter weight Sent: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 09:11:18 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) I have seen a few articles on your site about balancing the OTA of the ETX. In your oppinion would a counterweight attached to the rear of the etx125 in order to counteract the front heavy OTA be a good idea? At first it seems like it might make it easier for the motor and gears to point the tube and reduce wear on those parts. Then again, would the extra weight be a problem because the whole assembly would weigh more, (have more inertia) and this would be harder on the drive train? Mike AmonettMike here: Generally, the ETX is designed to be "nose heavy". However, adding weight to the rear can be beneficial, depending on what other accessories are used.
Subject: Index for etx Manual Sent: Monday, September 5, 2011 19:15:12 From: Paul Del Priore (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm almost afraid to ask. Has anyone compiled an index for the etx manual? I've searched over and over to no success. Your site is so valuable. PaulMike here: Not that I've heard of. But you can download the manual from Meade's site as a PDF (http://www.meade.com/manuals/index.html) and search it for words.
Subject: Re: "Power Supply Table", FDBK 8/31/11 Sent: Thursday, September 1, 2011 05:37:32 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) I think the question was about charging current. The 300 amps in the table is for output current. Probably any charger designed to charge a 12VDC battery will work but how long it takes for a full charge will depend on the output capability of the charger. A 1 amp charger should work with no problems. Regards, Mike Hogan
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