Last updated: 11 May 2008
Subject: ETX-125PE review Sent: Friday, May 9, 2008 10:46:18 From: Blue Moon Woodcrafts - Peter Perrone (firstname.lastname@example.org) Some comments about my intro to this scope. I was out in New Mexico this past week with the scope I purchased used but in new condition. It had been upgraded and tweaked by Dr. Clay at some point prior to my buying it. What I first noticed was that the scope's RA and Dec axis were a bit sloppy in that they did not hold tightly. This did not seem to effect tracking in use but possibly effected initial alignment. The scopes red dot finder I found to be awkward in its design and use. The mount for it is far too flexible and repeated adjustments needed to be made during the observing session. A bullseye would have been better than a red dot as well. One star, two star, and automatic alignment procedures all failed the first few nights I tried them. This was when manually entering the site, date, and time using the Autostar controller. I found, but don't understand why, when I let the GPS and LNT with the atomic clock antenna update the location, date and time automatically the alignment procedure worked OK each time. The LNT module does a nice job of alignment regardless if the tripod is level or not. Alignment did fail though following the procedure in the manual for automatic alignment. Rotating the scope completely counter-clockwise to its stop produced the error. When placed maybe 20 degrees prior to the stop the automatic alignment procedure worked each time. Once aligned centering and tracking seemed to work well with objects always within the range of a 22mm eyepiece. Using a 13mm or more powerful eyepiece seemed fruitless. There was simply too much vibration and not enough clear resolution to make viewing anything enjoyable. Using the scope in polar mode is simply not worth the effort. With no fine adjustments to latitude or longitude on the scope base or mount using polar mode is a waste of time so photography is not advisable. The tripod was adequate although putting it together and taking it apart provides the opportunity to lose parts in the dark. The overall optics were as sharp as my 10" LX200 and the views were surprisingly rich in detail from the dark New Mexico site I was at. The set screw for the eyepiece is located in a bad spot and you need small fingers to get to it. While the electronic focuser may be nice to have I found it to be too slow and not worth using in practice. I eventually removed it. The Autostar worked as expected but having come from using a classic LX200 controller I found it cumbersome at times. It's not as easy to manipulate as the classic's controller. It did make a nice travel scope and was easily carried as checked baggage on the airline. The tripod and its bag fit easily as carry-on luggage. The supplied Meade documentation was lacking but that's nothing unusual. The internal batteries seemed to last two nights before needing changing. I had one almost major issue while using the supplied Mead AC adapter. When powered on the internal controller board in the base of the scope began to smoke. I was able to remove the power before any real harm came to the scope and later found out through a lot of investigating that the AC adapter had been wired wrong. The positive and negative terminals had been soldered in reverse. Before I found the problem I contacted Meade for assistance and as expected their response was to send the scope in with $100 plus the cost of parts and shipping to repair it if needed. Thanks to a tip from Mike Weasner to check the polarity on the adapter I did not have to go that route. The scope packs a lot of features into its small size and made a good travel scope to dark sites but for serious viewing larger aperture would be better especially when not at a dark site. Blue Moon Woodcrafts - Peter J. Perrone
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