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Just bought ETX-125 PE and Smartfinder is broken.

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#1 vermontster

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 09:57 PM

Just bought my first scope, an ETX-125 PE with the constellation tube not the blue tube. Copyrights on the CD are 2006 and I read they stopped making them in 2007. Everything is pristine except that the "Smartfinder" was broken off. I have googled for 'smartfinder etx-125' and 'LNT ETX-125' but can not locate a replacement part. I can return the scope, and I could also just live without the part and hook on a spotter scope and not have the LNT/auto align/auto level, but I'm surprised that I can not find the part to even see what the price would be! Any suggestions? Also is there any parts number manual for these scopes? Thanks in advance!

#2 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 05:12 AM

Call Meade customer service.

#3 orion61

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 09:59 AM

You could put an ad here in the Wanted Classifieds
for one. Can you fix it with JB Weld? I have fixed many things with it, including a cracked 6 cyl engine Block leaking water! Drove it for 6 years afterward! Probably still going.

#4 rmollise

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 02:59 PM

JB weld is not the thing to use for the transparent Smartfinder lens.

The easiest thing to do is just put a red dot sight on the tube. The smartfinder base should stay on because it contains the RTC battery and sensors needed to do the PE's auto align. You'll just sight in with the red dot.

#5 vermontster

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 03:32 PM

I will call customer support on Monday since they are closed for the weekend. Seems strange that they do not have schematics and diagrams of all their scopes with part numbers and the ability to order on their website. I have a John Deere mower and when something brakes it's a piece of cake to find the part and order it.

#6 vermontster

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 03:44 PM

It's not the lens that is broken, it's the plastic housing that attaches to the telescope. Maybe that's why I can't find it. I might be searching for the wrong name? I need the plastic housing that contains all the other stuff like the smartfinder lens, LED, LNT, smartfind alignment screw, and circuit board. This is where some nice diagrams with part numbers would come in handy!

#7 vermontster

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 03:46 PM

If I can't find the part I might give JB Weld a try, Thanks.

#8 Geo.

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Posted 10 June 2013 - 09:34 PM

One thing you'll learn about the old Meade is that any help with parts or repair aids were pretty much unobtainium. Made little difference if your were a tier one dealer or an owner of a classic. The answer was generally send it back. Then it bacame; if it's out of production, forget about it.

I think I have one of these things. PM me if interested.

#9 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 05:32 AM

One thing you'll learn about the old Meade is that any help with parts or repair aids were pretty much unobtainium. Made little difference if your were a tier one dealer or an owner of a classic. The answer was generally send it back. Then it bacame; if it's out of production, forget about it.

I think I have one of these things. PM me if interested.


That is an over-generalization that isn't true.

If Meade customer service has the part sitting in inventory, they will generally sell it to you without much trouble. Optical components (mirrors, lenses, correctors) are the biggest standard exception.

Parts for discontinued models will depend if they still have some of them left.

After a while, spare parts for discontinued models inevitably run out and the scopes won't even be repairable by Meade.

For better-or-worse, this is a common issue with most manufacturers.

#10 Geo.

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 03:09 PM

My experience when working for a dealer was that even when electronics parts were available they could only be rarely obtained and then only with great difficulty. Your mileage may have varied. There are no publically available parts lists, price lists or service manuals as are common with most manufacturers. Yes, Kubota is out of stock on some parts for my 20 year old tractor, but the price lists, diagrams and manuals are available online and I have four repair facilities within 25 miles. I don't have to ship the tractor to Japan for repairs.

#11 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 04:08 PM

I have it from several reliable sources that the availability of and policies concerning parts will change significantly for the better after the acquisition and the reorganization of upper-management.

Hang in there and we'll see where it goes.

#12 vermontster

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 04:31 PM

I called Meade Customer Unsupport, and the answer was "That model is discontinued and we do not have that part, and there are no plans to make more.". I hope you are right Chris, and they change upper management! I will know better when I buy my next scope to find out about the company's support record. Unless Meade does change I would not even consider them again. This make no sense. I own a small manufacturing company and once you have the injection mold made (which is the bulk of a parts cost)it makes no sense to not keep it in storage and as you run out of older parts you just do a short run and make some more. You can even charge a premium for these older parts as people understand the added costs of storing them. This is especially true for telescopes that people plan on keeping for years. It's also good for the company's reputation. Sorry, I just had to vent...

I was able to use some plastic repair on it and remount the unit to the scope. Time will tell if it holds up!

#13 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 06:33 PM

Bummer!

I hope the repair holds for you.

#14 vermontster

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 10:38 PM

Chris, it sounds like you have some close contacts with Meade. If so and it ever comes up(hopefully any new manager at Meade will read this ETX forum, like a good Meade manager should,as this site ranks towards the top of the search list when inquiring about Meade products! :question:) please suggest that if they don't plan on producing/stocking older plastic part they at least put a link to the 2d/3d part dimensions they have from when the part was produced. Being in manufacturing I recently had 3 plastic parts (a little smaller, but more detail than the part I need from Meade) made from 3d CAD drawings and were printed on the new generation of 3d printers. Each part was about $30 and can be made from many plastic materials as strong as any Meade plastic part! The quality was unbelievable and the price of 3d printing is constantly going down. Meade customers could simply download the 3d file and have it printed if they do not want to deal with there older products.

#15 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 10:48 PM

Chris, it sounds like you have some close contacts with Meade. If so and it ever comes up(hopefully any new manager at Meade will read this ETX forum, like a good Meade manager should,as this site ranks towards the top of the search list when inquiring about Meade products! :question:) please suggest that if they don't plan on producing/stocking older plastic part they at least put a link to the 2d/3d part dimensions they have from when the part was produced. Being in manufacturing I recently had 3 plastic parts (a little smaller, but more detail than the part I need from Meade) made from 3d CAD drawings and were printed on the new generation of 3d printers. Each part was about $30 and can be made from many plastic materials as strong as any Meade plastic part! The quality was unbelievable and the price of 3d printing is constantly going down. Meade customers could simply download the 3d file and have it printed if they do not want to deal with there older products.


Although Meade is listening/reading and we should expect to see many good changes over time, we also need to be a bit patient. Problems that have been building up for years don't get fixed overnight and they have some really-big fires to deal with first.

#16 vermontster

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 11:11 PM

I'm hoping to have my scope for years, I can wait, as long as my eyes hold out! That reminds me, have you ever used the 'binocular' lens I've read about on this site? I'm 48 and have borderline glaucoma (runs in the family)and have no glasses now(but I think I will the next time I see an eye doctor) :(. Do binoculars telescope lens help people with glasses? Do you need to use different lenses base on you vision or if you wear glasses?

#17 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 11:28 PM

I'm hoping to have my scope for years, I can wait, as long as my eyes hold out! That reminds me, have you ever used the 'binocular' lens I've read about on this site? I'm 48 and have borderline glaucoma (runs in the family)and have no glasses now(but I think I will the next time I see an eye doctor) :(. Do binoculars telescope lens help people with glasses? Do you need to use different lenses base on you vision or if you wear glasses?


Do you mean a binoviewer?

If so then yes, I have a Denkmeier-II with power switch and like it very much. However you will need a bigger scope to handle a binoviewer in any kind of satisfying way.

Binoviewers can give impressive views because of the way the human brain operates. In fact seeing disabilities are less noticeable when using both eyes.

#18 vermontster

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 05:09 PM

Yes, I meant binoviewer. Thanks for the info. That gives me one less thing to look at!






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