Last updated: 16 September 2009
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback - Mike in San Jose, California Sent: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 15:46:11 From: Michael Bailey (firstname.lastname@example.org) After reading all the postings, I thought I would add my own experience. I purchased an ETX-LS about 4 weeks ago (from OptCorp), and finally had a good opportunity to try it out last night with no Moon to degrade seeing conditions. In San Jose we have a lot of light pollution, and I also had some scattered clouds to deal with. The ETX powered up and failed to get a GPS fix (as others have noted), and asked me to manually entire the location and time. Since I read all the postings recently, I avoided the mistake of misinterpreting the "Daylight Time" prompt, and entered "yes". The scope found north (checked against Polaris), tilt, and tip, and then slewed to the alignment stars. It was satisfied with the two stars, and reported a successful alignment. I slewed first to Jupiter and it was right there, slightly off-center in a Televue Ethos 13mm eyepiece. I estimated that the scope had made a pointing error of about 1/5 of the true field, which is 1.3 degrees (if I did the calculation correctly). This was pretty good since the 2 alignment stars were on the opposite side of the sky. I decided then to take the Guided Tour, but before doing that I selected the High Precision Alignment mode. This turned out to be a good choice, as the scope was never more than 1/6 of the field offset from dead center for any of the objects in the Tour. Note that if the Tour item is a star, it actually skips the star-centering step used in this mode, and just points at the star in question. I assume Meade did this because the stars in the Tour are the brighter ones (e.g., Vega). An object that I have found to be difficult to locate is the Andromeda Galaxy, since it is faint and large. With the combination of the High Precision Alignment and the Televue eyepiece (better contrast), the scope put me right on top of the Galaxy, with no apparent pointing error. I could also see the companion galaxy. However, I found a bug in the software, because apparently the High Precision Alignment mode does not work when viewing the planets, and I consistently got an error that the planet in question was still below the horizon. Of course, right now Jupiter was right above me at 9:30 pm. This was corrected by turning off the mode, but I would still like to see this bug fixed. So the imager-based alignment works as advertised, but so far not the GPS. In my case, since I was next to my house it may have had difficulty getting the fix, but I am considering contacting Meade based on what I have been reading in these posts. By the way, the optical quality is superb I observed perfect diffraction rings on both sides of the focus point, indicated that the scope was properly collimated. I also noticed that this held out to near the edge of my field of view both with the Meade-supplied 26mm Plossl and with my Televue (well they were pretty expensive!). I think they will clear out all the bugs in due time. So I'm not too worried about the GPS, since the features I like about this telescope (I had an 8-inch LX200GPS previously) are the imager-based alignment, and the portability of the telescope and tripod. My previous telescope was very heavy and difficult to set up (nearly 60 lb). But they should fix the GPS. Michael J. Bailey
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