Last updated: 31 July 2002

This is a "User Opinions" page where YOU can express YOUR opinions. Contributions are welcome of course.

Subject:	New ETX Performance
Sent:	Tuesday, July 23, 2002 16:10:27
From: (Michael Knapp)
I recently read a negative opinion concerning the quality of newly
purchased Meade ETX scopes. I must agree (although not as negatively)
with the author. If I buy something new, I expect it to work perfectly.
I understand that the "EC" scopes are built and priced so someone can
get into astronomy without spending a fortune. But is it really in
Meade's best interest to sell an item that may or may not be working at
its best? I look at it this way...I would love to own...say... a Jaguar,
but because I cannot afford one, I own an Eclipse (not that there is
anything wrong with the Eclipse...just an example). However, the Eclipse
STILL comes with a full warranty and is STILL expected to perform
perfectly. What I have sacrificed are engine size, features, looks,
ETC., but it must still PERFORM as new or else it is fixed FREE OF
CHARGE. Perhaps Meade, in the interest of repeat business, should
consider a pre-delivery arrangement or maybe a service agreement
contract of some sort with Dr. Sherrod. Personally, I would have agreed
to split the cost of a "Supercharge" with Meade given the option if it
guaranteed me a perfectly working scope.


I am looking very forward to October and hope to meet both you and Dr. Sherrod.
Clear skies!


Mike Knapp
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Hello Michael and we are looking forward to seeing you as well.  I know
that there are many reported deficiencies on the Meade
there are on Celestrons and others as well. However, I still say that
for the price, you are getting cutting edge technology that truly is
evolving all the time you own your scope.

Most issues are software/firmware related and can be easily rectified
via a new firmware upload from only two years there have
been many new and very innovative changes that I have been very happy to

Are the scope good?  YES....excellent.  Do they need some tweaking to
get them "better"?  YES....nearly every one of them.  But I never bought
a piano that did not need tuning before it was played, nor a VCR that
worked right out of the box without my children showing me how to
program it.

Have you bought a digital phone lately?  My last one was totally
abandoned until I had the next door neighbor's 14-year-old come over and
program it for me.

Considering the state of technology and that nothing "high tech" seems
to work well right out of the box, I frankly think that Meade does a
pretty darned good job!  I have seen vast improvements on the overall
design of the ETX scopes, simply from the many modifications that I was
doing in the they DO pay attention.

As much as I enjoy working on these scopes, I really hope that Meade
does not want me to Supercharge every one they sell.....boy, I have a
tight schedule already!  I might miss the October star party!

Thanks for writing!

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Mike here: If the telescope was perfect (according to 100% of potential users) then it would likely cost at least as much as it does plus the cost of Clay's Supercharging, if not more (can you say "LX200"?). Could the telescopes cost less? Yes, someday (or some year). Or more features or capabilities could be added at the same price points (such as occurred when the original ETX was enhanced to become the ETX-90EC). Should products work right out of the box "as intended"? Of course. Will there be problems right out of the box? Occasionally. (I could pick on Microsoft but won't...)


Agreed totally.  Love those ETX scopes....particularly the 105!!



From: (Michael Knapp)
Don't even get me started with Bill Gates.
Just to clarify...I have had only software related problems with my
90EC...I also think that what "we" get is a bargain for what we pay, BUT
I can understand someone being upset with an "new" scope that simply
does not work. Seems to me unacceptable.
Mike here: Agreed. The dealer should honor an exchange for any telescope that does not work.
Subject:	RE: July Editorial
Sent:	Wednesday, July 24, 2002 11:30:48
I've spent a lot of time roaming your web site (it is wealth of
information) and read a lot of negative and positive feedback on the ETX
series of scopes. In response to the editorial section dated July 23rd
I'm still amazed that people continue to believe that they should get a
perfectly operating telescope right out of the box. The car analogy I
sent you a few weeks back "Is it fair to expect the quality and
workmanship of Mercedes Benz when all you paid for was a Chrysler?"
still stands. With the ETX you did not pay for the "Mercedes" of
telescopes (like the LX 200) so let's stop complaining about what we did
pay for and move on! It appears Meade has tried to address some of these
issues on new stock but that's not going to help those who purchased
scopes before these changes were implemented.

So here's the question. Have you ever bought a car that hasn't had to
have some warranty work? If you have, then you know what it's like to
get that work done - the dealerships are willing to help you but I doubt
that they would offer you a replacement vehicle while yours is being
repaired. Mercedes on the other hand might well do something like this
since after all you've paid 2 or 3 times the price of that Chrysler and
probably would expect them to bend over backwards to help you out. It's
what you paid for to some degree.

So what's this got to do with telescopes? A new ETX will come with some
issues (just like your car) regardless of what we say or expect. So
faced with a less then perfect scope your options are to return it to
the place you purchased it from and ask for a replacement (this won't
work at Chrysler) and hope that solves the problem. Of course that may
not be an option for all of us or maybe the dealer is unwilling to
assume the responsibility of dealing with Meade to get the scope
repaired. Given that, your next option is to send it to Meade for
warranty work, which will cost money because you have to ship it to
them. Now this is where everyone probably starts to cringe since you
will now be without your scope for an extended period of time, you've
had to send it to the only facility in the world that can repair it, you
are at the mercy (depending on their workload) of their repair
department and your a paying for that pleasure.

Imagine putting your Chrysler on the back of truck to ship it (at your
cost) back to the factory for repairs not knowing when you may get it
back. Ouch! This is part of the warranty/support problem since Meade
does not have an extensive network of qualified people (like Chrysler
does for its cars) who can repair their scopes. That makes our belief
that the telescope must be delivered in a flawless state all the more
important because nobody wants to explore the wonders of Meade support
system and the cost of doing so. Perhaps Meade should look at developing
a support network to help their customers out that would be faster and
more convenient than the current strategy. Take a look at all the
feedback from people in Europe ..... nobody there wants to ship their
scope back to Meade for repairs if they can help it. Ever wonder why?

Oh and here's the real kicker. Even if the scope came in perfect working
order you will have to at some time depending on how frequently you use
the scope have to have repairs done it because it will wear and parts of
the drive system will develop slack and the clutches will start to slip
just like the mechanical wear we expect to deal with on our cars. Each
of us will have to spend some time and money (like a Supercharge)
keeping our scopes in good operating order. We shouldn't be surprised by

All I can say is everyone needs to do their research and put together a
budget that not only buys them the scope they want optically but also
provides them with the overall features (i.e. superior mount - how much
does a good Losmandy mount go for these days?) that they need. Let's not
forget that the ETX has great optics so with a little effort you can
overcome the electronic/mechanical headaches of the ETX mount and truly
enjoy what this little scope has to offer.

As an after thought it made me think that if we could "clone" Dr. Clay
about 60 to 70 times over, make him fully multilingual, park his
expertise all around this world  we could solve this whole issue of
warranty and support.


Subject:	etx scopes
Sent:	Sunday, July 28, 2002 20:20:09
i like your site it has a wealth of information for these etxs.

i must take offense to clays comments in defense of the etx.

he took a shot at celestron, and i am here to say as a owner of both the
meade etx,i have two and the nexstars i have one.

i started out with meade a etx 90 ra and switched to celestron because
of the poor quality of the meade scopes.

celestrons scopes are far better optically and mechanically, and i bet
if you were to get 100 meade etx125, and 100 nexstar5s, that all the
celestron would be working and 3/4 of the meades would have something
wrong with them. the q.c. is horrible on meades part i have owned two
celestrons a g5 and now have the nexstar 8, and as isaid i never had a
problem with either celestron. i also have a etx90ra and a etx70at i
keep them to show people the differance in quality between the two

mike as i said i like your site and it is easy to see you are an etx man
all the way,

just as some people like ford better than chevy.

but mike, i believe that you and clay have lost yor objectiveness when
it comes to coparing these two brands of scopes. after all clay makes a
lot of money fixing meades mistakes.

in closing i am sure that you and clay are very nice people and i hope i
can make it to your mighty etx star party this year, continued sucess
with this fine site and i hope your book is doing well.
                 nexstar8 etx 90,70 owner
Mike here: Telescopes, like computer OSes, seem to foster "religious wars". People should buy and use what works for them. I use Meade and Apple. Others use Celestron and Windows. And there are others that use Meade and Windows. And some use Celestron and Apple. Each to their own.

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