ETX CLASSIC FEEDBACK
Last updated: 20 September 2012
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.
Subject: I have broken my red dot finder and can't find a new one that fits! ETX125 Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2012 03:28:32 From: Christopher Mancrief (email@example.com) Hello, this is my first time here, having recently acquired an ETX125AT but I will be doing a lot of reading I think. Due some clumsiness by me the dovetail clamp on the red dot finder of my ETX125 has broken. The mounting for it is undamaged. I have tried to get a replacement but the dovetail at the top of the mount seems to be a lot narrower than the norm and all the finders I have tried have been way too loose and I don't fancy the idea of packing it out, I want something that fits properly. The broken finder is the same as the one shown in my 2009 manual. I have tried using the clamps off other finders but the spacing of the bolts is always wrong. I am getting nowhere fast and would appreciate suggestions on what to do next. Thanks. ChrisMike here: Have you tried to get a replacement LNT/SmartFinder module? Try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page). As to an alternative finderscope, you would have to use one of the techniques mentioned on the Accessory Reviews: Finderscopes page or on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: ETX-105 Sent: Saturday, September 15, 2012 13:39:31 From: dorothy yoh (firstname.lastname@example.org) Okay, I'm hoping you can help with this. My wife tripped on the tripod leg of my ETX-105 and it fell over. Knocked loose the eyepiece tube but I was able to press it back in firmly. However, when I focus on a star and turn the focusing knob the star wanders about a bit in the finder, from center to off to the side a bit then back to center when you turn the know. I figured to disassemble the scope and clean the mirror while looking for anything loose that would cause this. I downloaded Doc G's article from your site and have the barrel out of the mount. However, his article is not clear on how to remove the back plate with mirror. There are three flat head hex screws with loctite on the back, and three non-headed allen screws, but I don't think any of these actually are for removing the back. It almost looks like it should unscrew, but I'm not sure. Doc G's shows the back off, but doesn't tell how to get it off. I see no screws into the side of the barrel to hold it. Before I just put it back together and use it as is, any help would be appreciated. Mike Yoh
Mike here: Why do you want to clean the mirror, and possibly damaging it in the process? I suspect the image shift is due to the optics being out of collimation from the fall. I'd suggest reassembling everything and do a star test. If collimation is the issue, that will become very apparent. For more on star testing and collimation, see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: ETX 125 decision Sent: Friday, September 14, 2012 20:56:27 From: Max Byerly (email@example.com) I bought a ETX 125 last week for $250, and I had some problems with it. The RA motor would not work, and there was a lot of backlash in the RA gear. So, I fixed all the problems, but now the declination drive doesn't work because the little wires that go down through the bottom, got torn off around the top of the bolt somehow. So I have a decision to make and I'm looking for some help or suggestions of what you guys think I should do with it. First of all, I should start out by saying that this scope was intended to be used as a quick grab and go, for casual lunar and planetary viewing and occasionally deep sky or double stars. I can have it sent back to Meade for $150 plus shipping, but with all the issues with tracking and goto accuracy, I don't know if that's the right move. I could just sell the OTA separate and sell the mount for the parts. Or I could keep the OTA and put it on another mount. I'd prefer it to be a goto and track, and I was thinking an iOptron cube or tower of some sort but I've heard mixed things there too. So, in this situation, if it were you, what would probably do? Thanks!Mike here: Hi from my observatory.
I have, but they won't go back in right and the plastic casing on the top is not going back. A zip tie would be perfect. You think I should try and fix it? Max Sent from my white iPad 2Mike here: Yep.
Ok, I took the OTA off and I need to get the plastic top that the bolt comes through off. You know the one in the top of the base. Do you know how to get this off. The minute I do, I can fix it easily MaxMike here: I'm not certain what part you mean but there are many disassembly articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: Re: ETX Bracket for 8x25 Rt angle Finder Sent: Friday, September 14, 2012 10:02:14 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) I am still messing with this ETX125 I forgot what you said about sending Dr. Clay photos I sent some but they were to large. How do I get them smaller he just needs 2 photos but do no no how to re size them on my computer ??? Thanks JimMike here: You need to use an application on your computer to edit the file size (JPEG compression and/or image dimensions). I use the excellent GraphicConverter on my Mac. You can also use Preview (standard with OS X). I'm sure there are useful programs on Windows that can do resizing but I have no experience with any.
Hewres my ablum at Photo bucket with the pics for Clay. http://s107.photobucket.com/albums/m291/suburude/Mike here: Let me know what he has to say. I haven't disassembled my ETX but in looking at the Tube Adapters in your photos, the left one appears to be different than the right one. Could they have been reversed on the forks?
They are different Mike . But they are exactly how the OTA came out. They were snapped in and I pyned to pull the OTA out . All worked fine till the terrible day the little screw fell below the fip mirror. JimMike here: Hi from my observatory.
From: P. Clay Sherrod (firstname.lastname@example.org) Please understand that I am not going to argue about this; both Mike and I attempted to assist you; I do not think that Mr. Weasner intended for you to "pry" with a screwdriver or tool as it appears you have done. I have told you what I think the problem may be but it was not what you wanted to hear. You need to refrain from "shooting the messenger" when people are trying to help you. By prying with a tool you have slightly warped the OTA adapter(s) out of square to the pegs on the OTA and it is going to take just the right position for it to lock back in....not brute force, not any tool and not excessive pressure. At one place, and one place only, will the OTA find all three of the guideposts that are required for it to lock into place; as I have said it is very important to set the RIGHT side first and leave the clutch unlocked with NO screws in place and then gently work on the left side to get it to find position. Dr. Clay _____ Arkansas Sky Observatories MPC H45 - Petit Jean Mountain South MPC H41 - Petit Jean Mountain MPC H43 - Conway West http://www.arksky.org/
Subject: Re: Fiesty ETX90 Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2012 14:49:01 From: Patrick Horan (email@example.com) Awesome.
Subject: Re: Fiesty ETX90 Sent: Monday, September 10, 2012 06:20:01 From: Patrick Horan (firstname.lastname@example.org) I did remember your calibrate advice, I've done that. Should I do that every time I take it out, even if I will only be using batteries from now on? My next investment is a dew shield, thanks so much for the leads on how to make one, I appreciate it. Last night it didn't clear up till 2:00am, humidity 93%. The scope lasted about 5 minutes before it started whizzing around on it's own, and that was the end of that. Without exaggeration, the minute I brought it inside, it did not do that anymore. You're right, humidity levels that high are bound to be a nuisance in more ways than one. Y'know, as if the clouds don't limit this hobby enough as it is, now on a clear night, I have to check humidity levels too! Ugh.
Do you own, or have you ever owned an ETX125? Is it worth upgrading to?Mike here: See my ETX-125 comments on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page. I still use it, as reported on my Cassiopeia Observatory reports.
Of course. Btw, Cassiopeia is quickly becoming one of my favorite constellations. There's alot going on in that region! Ok, have a great day, and thanks again. One more thing - you've been up, you've probably seen alot of strange things at night. In your experience, have you ever seen what looked like a typical satellite, perhaps slightly larger, glowing on and off in aprx 3 second intervals (gradually illuminate and gradually dim again)? This one rose in the northern horizon and rode along the milky way all the way to the southern horizon. Directly overhead was the only time it stopped 'glowing'. The whole process took about 3-5 minutes. We've all seen satellites, but have you ever seen one illuminate in this manner?Mike here: Tumbling satellites, typically rocket boosters, can show that behavior.
That makes perfect sense. When it went out overhead it was because there was little or no surface to reflect the light. Speaking of which, what source of light created this illumination? It was directly overhead. Could it have been the sun at 3am?Mike here: Depending on the satellite altitude, it can be illuminated by the sun for much of its orbit or for only a portion of its orbit.
Subject: ETX 125 Sent: Saturday, September 8, 2012 22:33:43 From: Max Byerly (email@example.com) I picked up a ETX 125 PE for $270 today and I have to admit, not bad for $270, but its got a lot of issues that maybe you can help. 1. Rubber banding from the Autostar (version 4.3Ea) 2. 2 degrees of declination flip (this is a big issue, you can't focus without it bouncing) 3. RA drive doesn't engage immediately when the gears move Hopefully you can help me with these problems. Max Sent from my white iPad 2Mike here: Since the telescope is used (I assume), I'd suggest first doing a RESET. Then do a CALIBRATE MOTOR and then TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes). That should solve #1 and perhaps #3. You might also consider updating to 4.3Eg (best version for the old #497 AutoStar). You may be able to tighten up the DEC axis (#2); there are several articles on DEC mods on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: Re: ETX Bracket for 8x25 Rt angle Finder Sent: Thursday, September 6, 2012 16:58:31 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) Well Mike this is now the 3rd maybe fourth week and hours of of messing with this. I sould have left to screw in the bottom of the black plactic deal below the lift mirror. I have tried and tried to aignthis tube so l the right acesion arm fits snapps into the slot. Left arm no pobblem. I am doing this by myself so its easy! JimMike here: Unless something is damaged, it should have just worked.
It came off just fine? I dont know what could have changed ? Why is the left arm going on so easy?Mike here: Have you tried reversing the re-mounting? Don't let the left side snap in until the right side does (if it does).
Good idea! I will try it! Thanks! Jim
Subject: Fiesty ETX90 Sent: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 21:38:59 From: Patrick Horan (firstname.lastname@example.org) I don't know if you recall but I was/am having electrical issues with my ETX90 which seem to be related to high levels of humidity/moisture (80%+ @ dew point). Which power source I use isn't making a difference. It slews on its own in all directions. It seems to me the only way they can fix this is to practically waterproof it which I don't see happening. I've only had this scope about two months. I already had to repair a broken wire inside the spotter scope to re-light the failed LED as well. Meade has issued me a return for repair auth which is active for 60 days but I am hesitant to send it back. Should I return it and assume the risks of all that, or just use it when I know it will work? It's a sensitive intrument, maybe things like this should be expected? What would you do? I'm trying to enjoy it, not get it lost in the mail. I know there's insurance but it's still a hassle. Being able to afford one was a long time in the making, I don't want to give it back! lol PatrickMike here: As I said last month, I haven't seen such a humidity related problem reported in the past. That's not to say that it can't happen, as you seem to be experiencing. As I said then, some exposed wire or connection could be the culprit. Of course, determining where that problem is might be difficult, for you OR Meade. Since lots of moisture causes observing problems (dew, corrosion, poor seeing), perhaps you would be better off (and save some money) by using it when the humidity is lower. You have 60 days to decide. Use the telescope when the humidity is lower (assuming it does get lower as the season changes). One problem that does come to mind is the handcontroller. If a contact inside the controller is flakey, high levels of moisture MIGHT cause problems by creating a contact or lack of a proper contact. Trying another handcontroller (if you can borrow one from a local astronomy club or dealer) might indicate whether or not that is the problem. Same with the HBX cable.
Thank you. I thought about a damp controller also, given its fragility. The 9v power terminal might get damp as well, as it is relatively exposed. If the moisture levels were any higher it would be the equivalent of using it in the rain. I don't think that would work out too well for anyone's 'scope! This one is for the books. Warm summer evening moisture levels seem ok, but cooler, dewey autumn evening moisture so far has wreaked havoc. I'm still learning what conditions it can handle by trial and error. Maybe when it gets colder, clearer, and drier it will return to normal. Strange. It performed wonderfully on 'blue moon' night, so it's not exactly broken. I took my first picture, let me know if you'd like to see it. For an amateur and a hand held sanyo camera it came out really good. I like your point here; "Since lots of moisture causes observing problems (dew, corrosion, poor seeing), perhaps you would be better off (and save some money) by using it when the humidity is lower". They can't have it back, hehe. I'm still in 'wait and see' mode, I can't help it. Still experimenting...Mike here: If you want to try cleaning the AutoStar, see the article "Keypad Cleaning/Repair" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. BUT, one thing you said bothers me: "The 9v power terminal..." The ETX requires 12VDC and 1500mA for reliable operation.
The adaptor is 12 vdc/1000mA. I had the rep at Meade read me the output data on the back of their 546 adaptor which my scope requires. I read my aftermarket version and they matched. But what if it is 500mA short? What happens? The thing runs almost twice as fast when plugged in and pretty loud but at this point I don't mind if I never use AC power again. A few moments ago I was viewing the ring nebula, the scope is working great. Humidity 93%, temp 67, dew point 65. Anyway...Mike here: The Meade Universal Power Supply is 2500mA (I believe) and works with all their telescopes. The original power adapter (#541) for the ETX-90/105/125 was 1500mA. I'd suggest 1500mA for reliable operation.
I don't even want to deal with AC power at all. It's gets loud and quiet mode is too slow. Plus I feel someone will go flying over the black wire in the dark sooner or later. Last night the conditions were worse than during the nights it had failed but there were a couple of barely noticeable hiccups. It held it's own for an hour and a half until the glass became too wet. That's ok, I'll just remain terrified that every time I boot it up it could either go horribly wrong or delightfully well, especially if I have someone over! By the way, am I the only genius that figured out that if you'e already aligned and disorient the scope by hitting enter at the wrong time, one can manually slew to a known object and synchronize which will re-orient the scope. Do I get a 'helpful hint of the week' award for that one or has that ground been well-covered? : }Mike here: Actually, there should be no speed or noise difference in AC vs batteries. Be certain you have done a CALIBRATE MOTOR when changing the power source. Letting the telescope dew up is not a good idea. But let it air dry inside. To avoid dew, add a dew shield. You can easily make one. See the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. As to SYNCing on an object, that is a standard technique to align the AutoStar to improve the alignment IN THAT AREA of the sky. But use only fixed objects and not the moon or planets.
Subject: Re ETX 105 RA Sticking Sent: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 06:44:27 From: Ron (email@example.com) I don't know if this will help but my ETX 125 PE motor board and gear train has some very small O-Rings under the board where the screws attach the board to the aluminum casting. They are mentioned in the article in Tech Tips under Analysis of ETX 125 PE. While not a PE, the 105 may have had the O-rings at one time too. They are very small and can get lost vey easily. They give some spacing and allow the board and gear train to flex as needed. I tightened the screw just enough to seat the board against the O-Rings but not squash them. One other thing is when I had my ETX125PE apart I found the worm gear was tight in its carrier from the factory. I loosened it (they used loc-tite substance at the factory) then reset it to what I felt was a good fit but not as tight. Ron
From: Max Byerly (firstname.lastname@example.org) How do I loosen the worm gear. That is extremely tight, like you were saying about yours Ron. All the tension comes from when you put the worm gear in its holder and tightened the screws. And yes those rubber washers are in place Max Sent from my iPhone
And an update:
So, I think I fixed it. The problem was resolved when I adjusted the two allen screws that are behind the worm gear on the side of the mounting bracket. Once I adjusted this, the tension went away and the motor quoted up. I adjusted it enough that there wasn't any slop, but doesn't strain the motor and gears. Everything is smooth moving now and seems to work good. I'll have to try it out under the sky later this week when it clears. Thanks again for all the help. I saw those screws last night, but I didn't think I should adjust them, and sure enough that was the problem. Thanks for contacting your fellow ETXer. He really helped a lot! Thanks again Max Sent from my white iPad 2
Subject: Re: ETX 105 RA sticking Sent: Sunday, September 2, 2012 13:43:22 From: Max Byerly (email@example.com) Well I was able to fix it and try it out under the starry night. I noticed though the accuracy is not nearly as good as it used to be. Every object was in the field of my 26mm eyepiece, but not now. It will sometimes out it in the corner, or not in the field at all. I also noticed the motor sounds a lot noise than before and at certain spots sounds like it strains more, maybe I put the gears or something in a little to tight. Any ideas why my accuracy is compromised since I fixed it? Thanks again Max Sent from my white iPad 2Mike here: Have you redone the CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES?
YesMike here: If the gears sound like they are straining, they probably are. Check their alignment and bracket tightness.
Ok, I pulled it apart, looked at all the gear individually. I removed all the gears from the housing, inspected all of them cleaned them and put everything back in the way it should. The shaft go certain ways and I made sure of all that. They all mesh just right. Then I put it back in the RA drive, everything looks good, so tighten all the screws that hold everything in and again it sounds like motor or gears are straining. What I don't understand is if you don't have those 2 screws that hold the gear box firmly to the base, it sounds fine. I can't seem to see the issue.Mike here: Can you elaborate on that statement (about the two screws)?
Sure, When you put the gearbox in the RA base, you have the two screws that attach it firmly in there. When you do, that's when you get this straining sound. If you take them out amid the gearbox is free, but the worm gear is still attach, that entire gearbox will tilt when the motor is trying to move the scope. But when you tighten those screws and you secure the gearbox in the base, that's when I'm getting these sounds. And you cannot operate the scope without that gearbox being firmly tightened in there. MaxMike here: Two thoughts: the gearbox is cracked (has been reported occasionally by others), or the mounting angle is somehow incorrect or applying too much pressure on the other gear when tightened down.
Also, if you try to move the gears by hand, the large spur gear, if you turn it to the right a little and you let go, it will move back to the left a little bit. It retracts back, and the same if you do it to the right, it will come back to the right.Mike here: Tension-created. Lubrication issue?
I don't see any cracks, so how would I fix the angle?Mike here: If the angle is wrong for some reason, you would have to insert some sort of shim to change that angle. Of course, if that's the problem, determining the "proper" angle could take lots of trial-n-error experimentation.
I'm just trying the think of what could cause tension. Would lubricant help? MaxMike here: I'd think if lubrication (is in lack of) the problem would be more prevalent and not just at some points in the rotation. I think we may have done this before, but if not, try it. Unlock the axis and slowly rotate the telescope from hard stop to hard stop (almost twice around), back and forth several times. See if you can detect any resistence. If that test is OK, with the axis still unlocked, run the motor at slow, fast, and fastest speeds; see if you can detect any "straining" in the motor.
What would be the best lubricant to put on it. I don't have any lube, I used to from my Peterson Upgrades I did on my 7" LX200GPS Mak, but not now. What would be the best stuff to put on everything in there?Mike here: Most people have successfully used lithium grease in a VERY VERY small amount. Keep it away from the optical encoders. By the way, how'd the tests go?
Well I greased all the gears and there is any broken teeth or anything. If you have the whole assembly out and in your hand, you can run the motor and it sounds fine. But the minute you put the worm gear in its slot and tighten it down, that's when it happens. So, I wonder why it's doing it, everything is in the way it should. It's like the tension is coming from the worm gear. MaxMike here: Got me stumped.
Subject: ETX Finder Scope alignment screws Sent: Sunday, September 2, 2012 07:07:55 From: Grebnesi (firstname.lastname@example.org) I bought a used Meade ETX-105 on eBay. The scope is fine, BUT the plastic screws that hold and adjust the finder scope are so deformed I can't use them. The finder was not mounted when this was shipped (very well packed) but somewhere along the way these screws got badly bent. Where can I buy identical replacements? thank you, Mike Isenberg Alamogordo, NMMike here: Check ScopeStuff.com.
Thanks for the link for the screws.
Subject: 884 tripod configuration question? Sent: Saturday, September 1, 2012 10:03:25 From: john (email@example.com) My question is,I bought a real nice condition 884 tripod on ebay it is real nice condition, I bought it because the one on my etx-125AT is not in the best shape, problem is the mounting screw's on the old one are inline with the latitude adjustment leg, the new tripod the mounting holes are horizontal to the north facing adjustment leg. I never saw this before? Can I still use it on the etx-125?? And how do I align it??. Got me stumped here. Thanks johnMike here: I have two #884 tripods and both have the mounting bolts inline with the platform tilt axis. One bolt is between the pivot bolts and the other near the latitude adjustment rod. If yours is different, I'd say it was defective. Or perhaps it was NOT designed for the ETX. Does it have a "Meade" label by the latitude adjustment lock?
I have taken a couple of small size pics of the mounting plate of this weird tripod config, It is a meade tripod,the hole spacing is right, the etx-125 mounts up good, the casting show that the bolts are drilled through the beefed up area of the casting?? I am going to try to contact the seller about this and try to find out what scope it came with. Seeya john
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