Last updated: 5 December 2005
Subject: DSX-125 New User Report Sent: Sunday, September 4, 2005 12:18:16 From: SpiritHDMC@aol.com (SpiritHDMC@aol.com) First off, your site has been a tremendous help! I have never even looked through a telescope until a few weeks ago and I'm 40 years old! I was so impressed by the views through the NGC-70 that I purchased at Wal-Mart, that I went on a hunt for a "bigger, better" telescope. I purchased the Meade DSX-125 from the Meade Factory Outlet (EBay Store). Yes, I've had my share of problems! There is no information out there on this set up. Here is some of the key information that I've discovered since I've purchased this scope. This may help many people who are looking for information on this particular scope and looking for help: 1. It uses an ETX125AT Telescope but don't be confused! It is not the typical ETX model! It is mounted on a DS2114 mount assembly! So, if you're having problems with the AutoStar, alignment process, or leveling - the ETX125 information is used only as a reference! 2. The power source is 12V though it uses a 9V connector. I used a small tool box that has an upper tray. I used foam to pad my eyepieces in the top and placed two 6V Flashlight batteries in the bottom. I connected the batteries in series. One wire goes from positive to negative, then you run the other positive and negative to your scope. I took apart a broken kids toy and used the 9V connector. You have to reverse the positive and negative on the plug for your cable so that it matches the connector of the scope. I will use this for field observations for now - since the 8 AA batteries died after only one night of use. Also, this can be hooked into a car battery or a marine battery. I will be making another connection cable using a cigarette lighter adaptor. I'm placing a 1500MA fuse in line just in case. 3. Slop - and lots of it! If you remove the battery cover and the batteries, you will see a single bolt in the center - 9/16. Once your telescope is mounted to the tripod, check to see if there is any play on this horizontal axis. If so, tighten snug but don't over tighten. Just get the slop out! NOTICE: Everywhere I see people complaining that their telescope will not move in altitude! You have to tighten the hand knob fairly tight. Tighter than I believe it should be! It messed up my first alignment and I had to start from scratch. So, test the motors completely each time you set this guy up! I still haven't had a good viewing night! I've been able to watch Mars each evening and that's been the best and only part of it. There's other problems to deal with and (hopefully) will be solved this evening. DEW! This can kill a night of observation! It can also build enough frustration that you want to kick the thing over! Don't do it! Anyway, I plan to follow other's advice and pay a visit to a hobby store to get some "Flexi-Foam" and Velcro. I am going to fashion a 6" long dew shield. To assist in dew removal, I have found an old Christmas present - one of those really cheap ones that you hate to get! Well, I hung on to them and they may actually pay off! They are called "Hot Hands-2". They are small packets that heat when exposed to air. They are used as hand warmers. I ride motorcycles and someone thought I could slip these in my gloves to keep my hands warm while riding. Wrong! Anyway, I will try placing one on the top of my scope just over the collector tonight and let you know how it goes. You can get a box of these for about $4.00! I will also place one in my tool box, top shelf in hopes of keeping the eyepieces above the dew point. I just can't figure out why Meade did such a pitiful job on this telescope! For example, if leveling and North settings are so important, why isn't there a level and compass on this thing? I had a cheap camera tripod that even had a level on it! Too bad I sold it! Even the NGC-70 has a bubble level and compass installed on it for $148.00 at Wal-Mart! I used a cheap compass and paid the price! It just has a single "pointer" and it sticks! I'm sure there's most of my alignment problems right there! Also, I've been using a rather large torpedo level. Nowhere to really put this thing! So, Home Depot it is today to find a compass and level. I order an alignment tool from Scopetronics - I believe. Two weeks and it's not here! So, I'll flip a few more bucks for instant gratification! Also, I saw a neat Drive Training example on the Yahoo discussion forum. Try taping (securely) a lazer pointer to your telescope. Make a bullseye with a piece of paper. Place it on a wall about 20 feet away and at about a 45 degree angle. Align the lazer to the bullseye and start training your drives! There's no need to even look through the eyepiece! This can even be done inside if you're anxious to get the job done! A couple of Questions: How can you accurately figure the AZ Percentages? I've read the information but I'm still confused if I need to go up or down! I'll center the object and "boom" the telescope wants to go somewhere else when I'm done! Hopefully, tightening the base will assist in this as well - it was sloppy! I could move it probably 20 degrees just by pressing lightly on the mount! How can I get the "jitters" out of the focusing knob? It jumps around everywhere when I use a 12.4mm or 9mm eyepiece! Just the slightest touch slings Mars out of the FOV. Lastly, thanks again for providing the information on this website! You have a vast library and it's very thrilling to read and study. Sincerely, Ricky Anderson Jackson, TNMike here: Regarding your final questions, don't forget to CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES. That should "configure" your Autostar to your telescope and set the percentages correctly. As to locks, remember, they are friction locks, sort of like car brakes; if you push on the tube you will be able to overcome the friction. But normally this shouldn't be a problem since you will (or should be) using the controller to move the telescope. As to focusing aids, there are flexible cables that you can buy or make, or even use a clothes pin; see the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page for more info.
Subject: DSX-125 Follow Up Sent: Friday, September 23, 2005 09:46:38 From: SpiritHDMC@aol.com (SpiritHDMC@aol.com) After completely leveling every item on this telescope - I've had near perfect "Go-To's". With the purchase of a dew shield and Kendrick heater, I no longer have the vampire of the night sucking the life out of my observations! First real night out - after several disappointments - I aligned with Polaris and adjusted my magnetic compass. The two stars selected for alignment were in the 26MM eyepiece. After centering them, away we went. I'm very new to this! So, I selected a couple of items that I knew in the sky to check the alignment. Vega being one, BOOM. Almost dead center of the eyepiece! After a couple of successful slews, I selected Mars. I checked out Mars for at least an hour. It's so bright and high in the sky right now. Can't wait until October! I selected "Solar System" from the AutoStar menu to see what was out tonight. I got a good peek at Neptune but was unsuccessful at finding Uranus. Not too much excitement there but it was a good feeling and brought out a smile. Then I selected Saturn. . ."Beep" Rises at 2:48 AM. Just another hour. I toured many of the "Tonight's Best". Great slewing! The first look at the Double Cluster was fantastic through the new Celestron 32MM that came with the hard case set I had just received! NOTE: I first had magnification mania! I wanted 6MM, 4 MM, and 2MM eyepieces to really zoom in on stuff. Boy, was I wrong! You get such a better view with the larger eyepieces! Finally, 2:50 AM! I had to attempt a look at Saturn! My very first peek at our ringed neighbor. The sky was lit in the East by a nearby town and there was nothing visible in that direction. I was prepared for a disappointment. I placed the 32 MM eyepiece in and selected Saturn. The telescope slewed and then beeped. I wasn't expecting anything to be visible at this time but I lowered my head to the eyepiece. WOW! I was stunned! Without even having to touch the focus, Saturn stood out proudly. My heart pounded! Tears came to my eyes! "My God! It's really out there!", I said to myself. The feeling that came upon me was incredible. I wasn't prepared for this at all. Up until this point, I had only seen the Moon, Mars, Venus, and Neptune through the eyepiece. I was captured by Mars right away. Nothing prepared me for Saturn. Sure, I had seen all the pictures but I knew that pictures and telescope views were not even close. However, in this case, they are close! I could see the rings standing out perfectly even in the 32 MM eyepiece. The 2X barlow brought it in closer and clear as a bell. I also noticed a small, gleaming object just off to the side. I'm sure it was Titan. I used several different magnifications but I returned several times to the 32 MM. As Saturn climbed higher in the sky, the view became even better - even with a 98% Moon glaring overhead! I left Saturn for a little while, since I had such success finding objects tonight. I selected the Great Orion Nebula. It was unmistakable in the eyepiece. No, there was no color like I had hoped. The books I've read prepared me for that. However, The gas clouds were very visible. Once again, with a bright Moon shining overhead! Again, I used several eyepieces but returned to the 32 MM. I never thought that I would prefer the lower magnification so well! It just captures the entire scene so well and the view is crystal clear with no blurring at the edges! Great Telescope? Great Eyepiece? Absolutely a GREAT view! I then selected the Andromeda Galaxy. Again, a perfect slew (I had selected High Precision prior). Not much detail here. The Moon was putting a strain on everything! Yet, I was able to make out the shape. It appeared as a distant "cloud" through the eyepiece. Yet, again - with the 32 MM. I used higher power but was not able to clear the image at all. Disappointed? Not at all! Not a bad night even with a near full moon, fog settling in, and an orange glow from the city lights. Not too bad for first light - the fourth or fifth time around! HA! A great deal of preparation came into play to get here! Leveling the scope was one of the biggest things. The ETX125 paired with the DS2000 mount wasn't an engineers delight from my point of view. However, with a little tweaking on the leveling, I'm finally having some rewarding experiences. My major disappointments are gone - hopefully! I hade to request some rubber mounts that were missing from the motor base that sits inside the tripod. I was pleased that Meade sent them to me without question and without any charges. I was missing one and they sent me six! Where the scope itself attaches to the mount arm, I had to place several shims under the scope to get a true level. The scope was cocked to one side for some reason. Performance Update: I purchased a 12V 22 Amp Hour portable battery booster at Wal-Mart for $60. It has two cigarette lighter adaptors and jumper cables. It comes with an AC cord for charging as well as a 12V adaptor for car charging. I also purchased a 12V cigarette lighter extension cord from Wal-Mart for $4! I cut the female end off and soldered a 9V connector stolen from an old clock radio to the end. After three nights of viewing, hours upon hours of constant slewing, I still have a high charge on this battery! Wonderful!! Also, upgraded to the latest version of software for the AutoStar from the Meade website. Everything went well. The download was successful and there was no need for a reset. Experienced People: Tell me. . .is using Barlows a good idea? I have found that using the 32 MM eyepiece and a 2X Barlow gives me a wider field of view, crisper image, and better eye relief than using a 15 MM eyepiece. I wear glasses and the eye relief on the 32 MM is fantastic. Should I invest in a 3X, 4X, or even a 5X Barlow? This would give me a complete range using only one eyepiece! Besides, the Celestron 32 MM seems to be a fantastic eyepiece. Thanks, Ricky AndersonMike here: Barlow Lenses are fine if of high quality. Remember, you are adding glass to the optical path. But they make a fine compromise. Yes, you may get a wider field of view, depending upon the eyepieces compared and you normally keep the eye relief. But keep in mind that there is still a limit on usable (theoretical) maximum magnification (see the FAQ page).
Subject: Final DSX-125 Report Sent: Saturday, December 3, 2005 11:21:32 From: SpiritHDMC@aol.com (SpiritHDMC@aol.com) I truly appreciate this website! The information is invaluable! As for my DSX-125, I've made just a couple of additional changes. I soldered a new cigarette lighter adapter to the 9V connector and I use a 12V jump start package from Wal-Mart. Tons of power for long viewing sessions. Also, purchased heaters from Scopetronics! A must have in the damp area I live in. With Winter here, the new sites are grand indeed. The crisp, clear skies open up a whole new world, literally, for viewing. With a fully charged power system and heaters in place, The views are grand. Also, with a little time spend on leveling and North alignment, the goto's are near perfect. This little scope is fantastic. I've been able to view the planets in great detail. Saturn and it's rings stand out majestically! Mars and it's red surface is grand and you can get a glimpse of the polar ice caps. Uranus is visible and a blue / gray disk and definitely seen as a planet. I'm anxiously awaiting the earlier arrival of Jupiter in the night sky. Venus puts on quite a display in early evening. Seeing it go through it's phases is a unique site to see. The Great Orion Nebula stands out as a great fog bank in this telescope. Best viewed with a 32 MM eyepiece. I was amazed! Bigger isn't better! I've seen the Ring nebula bright and clear as well - even without any nebula filters. The Andromeda Galaxy eluded me for some time. Now, with near perfect gotos and a clear sky, I wonder how I ever missed it!! Spend some time here. With a little time and light adjusted eyes, you can see more detail than I ever thought possible. I'm anxiously awaiting early spring to get a better look of other galaxies out there - spring is when we're looking through the least amount of "dust" from our own Milky Way. If the views are this great now, I simply can't wait. Hey folks, HEATERS! I was so disappointed in the DSX-125 at first. Dew killed my viewing sessions every single night! Even with a dew shield, a few hours and I was done for! Taking my shirt tail and scrubbing the lens was a serious thought running through my mind! I bought the Kendrick heater controller and heaters from Scopetronics. Best money I've spent thus far! Forget about eyepieces, photography stuff, and accessories. Get a heater! I also recommend a heater for the spotter scope. That's next on the list for me. Once the spotter is dead, it's difficult to take a look at what else is in your field of view. Besides, centering the alignment stars is almost impossible during alignment. I've used this scope at 25 degrees and no fog or icing - though I spent many trips inside to warm myself! This is a great starter / advanced scope. For the price, I say starter - for the views, I say advanced. I do want to expand in the future. I want to get one of the new Meade SCT - perhaps the LX200 GPS 8" or 10" but that will be a while because of cost. Here's wishing everyone great views and new finds. Sincerely, Ricky Anderson
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