Last updated: 28 August 2005

Subject:	DSX-125 Report
Sent:	Friday, August 26, 2005 17:01:56
From:	John Zimmerman (
I just received a DSX-125 through the close out sale in the Meade
Factory Outlet.  Here's a first light report:

Well, when I got home this evening the familiar Meade box was on my
doorstep - the DSX-125 had arrived. I had to take advantage of the
factory outlet sale.

I was impressed with the packaging. Inside a single shipping box is the
fancy Meade box with all the seductive language and pictures.  Inside
that, each component of the scope (tripod, tube, motor arm, accessories)
were packed in separate boxes.

Assembly was fast and straightforward. In spite of the instructions in
the manual, the metal support for the tube is already bolted on the fork
arm, so this is a step you can skip. I like the little shelf that sits
on one of the tripod legs - you can hang the Autostar controller off of
the shelf, and put 3 1-1/4" eyepieces on it. This means you can fold up
the tripod without having to remove the shelf. I also like the way the
tube attaches to the fork arm - you can adjust the position of the tube
so you get a perfect balance - this is in contrast to the ETX-125 where
there is no adjustment and it is always heavy on the corrector end. One
thing to be careful of with the DSX-125 is, with the tube in a balanced
position, it sits far to the rear of the fork arm, shifting significant
weight to that portion of the tripod. This means it would be easy to tip
the thing over if you're not careful.

Overall, the scope looks nice set up. I laugh at the silver color of the
tube - I think it's close to the silver color that Celestron used on the
NexStar i series. Total weight 19.5 lbs, making this a very portable

I inserted some AA batteries (they had about 85% power remaining) and
fired her up. Everything looked okay, although I noted that I had to
tighten the altitude clutch really tight to get it to move in altitude.
It also sounded like the motor/gears were straining in altitude. It
wasn't long before I heard a 'pop' in the altitude gear area, and the
scope stopped moving. "Ah nuts" I said, Meade strikes again!

But curiosity got the best of me, and I took apart the altitude fork
assembly. Unlike the ETX, all of the gears are nylon in the DSX. There
is a small spring that wraps around the shaft of the clutch that had
slipped out of a groove. By pushing it back into the groove, the problem
was fixed. Still, this is a weak area of the scope, and I do not believe
it is prudent to loosen/tighten the clutch to move the tube in altitude.
All movement will have to be done with the controller. It should be
noted that, unlike the ETX's, the azimuth axis has no hard stops. This
means you don't have to fuss with the ETX routine of having the control
panel facing west, rotating the fork assembly fully counterclockwise to
the hard stop, then clockwise 90 degrees.

Anyway, I took the scope outside, trained the drives, then did an Easy
Align. The results were most impressive. It missed each alignment star
by only 2 - 3 degrees. And once declaring alignment successful, I found
GOTOs to be pretty good - most within the field of view of a 32mm
eyepiece, some just outside. Tracking was also good. In fact, the
GOTO/tracking performance of this scope is comparable to an ETX-125 I

Optical quality isn't bad either, though I suspect it is a tad bit out
of collimation, as defocused star images weren't perfectly concentric -
but seeing wasn't the best, so I need to reserve judgment on that issue
for awhile.

Some of the objects I viewed looked nice for the DSX's 5" of aperture.
These included M-27 (Dumbell Nebula), M57 (Ring Nebula), M31 (Andromeda
Galaxy) and the Double Cluster. Epsilon Lyra was spilt at 127x in
slightly below average seeing conditions. Mars, while somewhat still low
in the sky and shimmering due to seeing conditions, nonetheless showed a
polar cap and dark markings.

Focusing was very smooth and precise - much better than what I
experienced with the ETX-125 I had. No need for an electric focuser with
this scope.

As others have noted, the tripod isn't very good. There is a fair amount
of vibration. I did try a set of vibration suppression pads, and they
made a remarkable difference. Using a 6.4mm eyepiece (297x) on Mars, a
sharp tap on the tripod caused about 2 seconds worth of vibration before
things settled down - that's not too bad.

The motors/gears aren't too loud, in my opinion. They do make some
interesting noises when tracking - almost sounds like a child's toy or a
small animal munching its dinner.

Overall, this is not a bad deal for $475. I feel good about this
purchase. I was originally going to get an ETX-125, but a desire for
extreme portability led to the decision to get an ETX-90. But with the
low price of the DSX-125, I now have both a 90 and a 125 Mak for about
the price of an ETX-125.

John Z

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