Last updated: 6 November 2002

ETX-125EC First Light

Subject:	My New ETX-125EC
Sent:	Tuesday, November 5, 2002 14:33:16
From: (Richard Simon)

I recently purchased a "Supercharged" ETX-125EC from Sight and Sound,
and I wanted to share my experience with users of this site.  By way of
background, I am a professional astronomer, with both optical and radio
observing experience, although these days I spend my time doing project

I became an astronomer because of my fascination with the night sky, and
I was hoping that the ETX125EC would allow me to revisit fondly
remembered objects, see new ones, and generally enjoy the type of
observing that a small scope allows.  After some consideration, I chose
the 125, for its combination of portability, optics, and ease of use.  I
am familiar with what coated optics can do, so I didn't hesitate to
include the UHTC.  After reading many of the posts on this site, I also
decided to order the machine "Supercharged" by Clay Sherrod.

My purchase experience was great;  Sight and Sound had the machine when
promised, and sent it on to Dr. Sherrod, who worked his magic and sent
it to me quickly.  Thanks to both for a flawless order!

The day the machine arrived, I unpacked everything, familiarized myself
with the controls, and waited eagerly for darkness.  Once outside, I did
my first align - not much else to do, since the Supercharge service
includes the initial drive calibration, updating the software, etc.  My
first attempt at alignment failed - oops!  Back inside, look at the
instructions again (ohhh..., so that's what the "Home" position means!)
and try again.  Bingo!  Like a dream, the ETX was moving to objects I
selected, letting me see old friends for the first time in years.  Even
though I was working in Alt-Az mode, without anything more than casual
leveling and orientation of the tripod, the telescope was working well,
and easily finding the objects I selected.  From walking outside with
the telescope in my arms to successful alignment and GOTOs was about 45
minutes, including newbie mistakes!  On subsequent nights, my setup time
is only 10 minutes or so, now that I am more familiar with the scope.
New users should keep in mind the time that might be needed for the
telescope to reach temperature equilibrium on cold nights;  I certainly
saw some odd images when the warm telescope first opened up on a cold

I was truly impressed by the image quality and the high contrast that
the ETX-125EC UHTC provides;  I believe that in most ways the images are
comparable to the 8" Newtonian I owned many years ago, thanks to the
small secondary and UHTC in the ETX.  The image contrast and definition
are especially impressive.  Clay Sherrod's inspection, adjustments, and
software installation/updates were also well worthwhile.   It's too bad
that Meade's quality control during the assembly is only so-so;  it is
fortunate that an expert is available.  I know from personal experience
how tricky it can be to properly adjust a drive system;  Clay's
experience and familiarity with the ETX is invaluable.  My ETX really
worked as expected right out of the box, and I am optimistic that I can
avoid any warranty issues.

For new users who are not professional astronomers, I think the ETX
could be a good choice, as long as they are willing to take the time to
understand the steps required to orient the telescope to the sky when
they start observing.   All one really has to do is set the telescope to
its home position, level the tube, orient the entire thing to the north,
the run a "setup" on the autostar.  It was helpful knowing the names of
some of the brighter stars.  I certainly recommend the Supercharge
service, to avoid initial problems with a mal-adjusted telescope,
especially for those with less experience.  While fooling with the
optics and mechanical components is interesting and "fun", I wanted to
avoid the risk of damaging things through lack of expertise and the
potential time that would be consumed bringing a telescope fully up to

I purchased my scope with the autostar controller, the electric focuser,
the UHTC option, a dew cap, an erecting prism, the 884 field tripod, a
power adapter, a hard case, and of course the "Supercharge" from Dr.
Sherrod.  Separately I have also purchased the MaxView 40mm eyepiece
from Scopetronix, and adapters to fit my Canon G2.  Everything works
well, and is a pleasure to use.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with the ETX125EC, and find it a good
match to my needs.

Clear skies, and my appreciative thanks to all those who have made this
such a useful web site!

Richard Simon

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