Subject: Review: Meade ETX LS 6 Sent: Thursday, October 8, 2009 08:41:44 From: steve nastos (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hi, there's no question here, simply my extremely frustrating story with the LightSwitch 6". I just thought I'd share. Thanks! Steve Thursday Oct 8, 2009 After taking a long hiatus from astronomy I've decided to get back into it, mostly due to the Meade 'for dummies' ETX LS 6. I was never able to properly align my old telescope, thus it sat unused. The idea that I could have a self aligning telescope really peeked my interest and last week I decided to get one. It has probably been the most frustrating week I've had in a long time (maybe my expectations are too high). I've read many reviews of people having success with the alignment in cloudy days, close to buildings, bad conditions, etc, so I figured my backyard should be adequate. Day 1: When purchasing the telescope, my dealer filled me in on a communication that was sent by Meade to the dealers outlining their return policy and that there's new firmware for the scope. Right away I knew this wasn't a good sign, new firmware in any product (cell phones, cameras, etc) this early means there's something wrong. The telescope is well built, easy to set up, but I strongly recommend printing the full manual (found online or the included CD), because the quick setup guide that it comes with isn't very detailed. I was a little frustrated that Meade did not include a power adapter (or batteries), so my first night with the scope was a bust due to my lack of 8 C batteries. Day 2: After purchasing 8 batteries, I waited for nightfall and took the scope out to my backyard. I turned it on, and viola! A voice begins and I'm super excited. I feel like it's Christmas, except there's no snow and instead of Santa leaving the scope under the Christmas Tree, he left me a big Visa bill in my mailbox (but close enough). After listening to the intro the voice then proceeds to tell me it will now use 4 satellites to get GPS position and time, it should only take a few minutes. I would say about 10 minutes later, it doesn't find a single one. So I move the telescope and try again, but also it's unsuccessful. The Autostar prompts to "Enter location manually", I scroll through the option locations and my location isn't there. I know Toronto, Ontario isn't the biggest or best city, but the fact they have the most obscure States/Provinces/Countries in their very small list and don't have Toronto annoyed me. So I resort to plan B, upgrade the firmware to version 1.2g which has "much better GPS support". I figure I'll connect my laptop upgrade the firmware and we should be in business - yea right! While I go inside and prep my laptop, I decide to give the GPS one more shot (which was unsuccessful again). I bring my laptop, usb cable, manual, and everything else I need outside and hook everything up. Of course the Autostar software doesn't work all that well with Vista but I forge on. I update the Autostar software on my laptop and begin downloading the newest firmware on to my laptop to transfer it. No one told me it would be 200+MB. Once the download is complete I attempt to upgrade the firmware on the telescope. I attempted, and I failed. Now I have a nice blue brick on a shiny tripod. Day 3: So I researched the fix and thanks to many great sites like this one, I found that I now have to update the firmware via the MiniSD card. Of course finding a MiniSD that is 2GB or smaller (not an SDHC) isn't the easiest of tasks, but nonetheless I get one. Format the card as FAT32, copy the necessary files using mySKYupdate and insert it into the Telescope. The MiniSD slot on the telescope is terrible! Once I turn on the scope it begins updating. The update took a while, but it went flawlessly and now I'm using version 1.2g. So I try again, back to the backyard with my new firmware set up in the middle of the yard, turn it on and... nothing. It doesn't find a single satellite. At this point I call Meade, he told me to reset defaults using the keypad (which I did) but it still didn't help. He then said, maybe it doesn't work in your backyard. Great, I've got a self aligning telescope which won't self align in the one place I use it the most! He suggested I take it somewhere flatter. Day 4: I decide to take my scope to the park. It travels very well, easy to set up on site, I was happy about that. I went to a local park that is popular for city astronomy. Turn on the scope, hold my breath, and nothing. No satellites. Once I get home, I call Meade, the offer to change the entire unit, I spend 20 minutes on the phone with a gentleman who takes all my info, and tells me to pack up the scope, and you'll get a UPS shipping label in your email. I wait 5, 10, 15 minutes for this email, and it never comes. I call back and apparently they can't find this order that was just placed, so I spend another 20 minutes giving my details and I eventually do get my shipping label. Day 5: That's where my story ends for now. I haven't sent off the scope and at this point I'm really regretting buying it. I don't understand how an Iphone can have GPS that works flawlessly, and something as large as a telescope, they're unable to put GPS in it that won't work near a house; a car; anything metal; power lines or trees. Nice try Meade, but better luck next time.Mike here: Sorry to hear about the problem. Sounds like it might have a bad GPS receiver.
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