Last updated: 4 December 2004
This is a "User Opinions" page where YOU can express YOUR opinions. Contributions are welcome of course.
Subject: ETX Premier? From: Michael Teige (email@example.com) Date: November 30, 2004 14:13:08 PST This looks dandy but I am questioning the "Magnetic North" finder they have built into the thing. I have read over and over again that you need Celestial North and not Magnetic North as the magnetic north pole moves about. Sometimes it is so far off from true north that go-to will be affected pretty badly. Using my handy compass to find North Irefer to the magnetic variance-o-the-day on the Internet to properly align my ETX 90AT. Once as a test I did not bother with the variance and go-to was far from perfect when it tried to find the alignment stars. I suppose part of the whole 2 star alignment procedure is centering the star and if it gets close enough I guess it would work. But is the elimination of the bubble level (the level I place on the tube to ensure it is perfectly horizontal) and the hand-held compass to find North really worth the $100+ extra? It is selling for $695 no UHTC and for $745 with UHTC. Both include the #884 tripod and the Autostar. This is Meade's list of extra crunchy features: Electronic Level Sensor - Like I said, I use a simple bubble level from my toolbox to ensure the tube is level. I also place the level just under the tube on the base to ensure the tripod is level with the ground. No brainer there. Electronic Magnetic North Sensor - I use a $5.95 hand held compass to find Magnetic North and check the Internet for the variance as I cannot see Polaris (too dim) from the backyard with the naked eye. If you can see (and locate) Polaris you don't need the compass at all I suppose. Even if I don't bother with the variance I can usually find the alignment star in question with my handy-dandy David H. Levy planisphere and then move the scope right to it. High Precision Internal Clock - Currently my ETX 90AT tracks stuff a lot longer than Icare to look at them. I have not tried long exposure astrophotography but others have successfully with a properly working ETX 90AT, so how much better is this new clock over the old one? I for one do not leave the scope ticking away for days and days on end so what was the issue with the old clock that needed to be corrected with this new version? Red Dot Viewfinder (SmartFinder) - I personally don't care for red dot finders and if I really wanted one I could slap one on the thing for cheap in tandem with the stock viewfinder. I really like the stock correct image viewfinder and would really miss it if it was gone. Since I don't own binoculars I took the viewfinder to WrestleMania XIX here in Seattle and it worked really well. We were up in the cheap seats and the little viewfinder zoomed in on the ring better than some of the binoculars some people were using with a crisp clear image. Spiffy graphics on the tube - Whee!It's pretty but so what... They are good enough to throw in the PC interface cable so that's a plus. In short these improvements seem aimed to make the experience easier for a novice user and no real incentive for me to say upgrade to a 125PE from the 90AT. The mount and base are mostly still made of plastic and I suspect the clutch, gears and bearings arethe same old same old as well. A built in dew shield would have been great. Oh well just my rambling thoughts on the subject :) Maybe I can find a 125AT at a bargain price if these PE things make the AC's obsolete! Later, -Michael Teige Monroe WAMike here: I suspect, but don't yet know for certain, that with your location input they apply the correct magnetic variation for that location. As to whether the new features will be useful to you, only you can say. They will appeal to many new purchasers. Others will find them unnecessary or unwanted.
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