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Considering a Meade ETX

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#1 Brent Campbell

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 09:47 AM

I'm looking for a scope to be used as a "point to scope". That is a Goto scope with a laser finder on it to be used to locate objects for my other two scopes. I originally was looking at Celestron Nexstars. I once had a Nexstar 102GT that I bought cheap and used, and it broke. :bawling: It wasn't such a bad thing because I sold the OTA for $70.00 and used the dovetail off of it for my CG-4 (saving me around $50.00) and I still have the controller. Not bad for a $100.00 investment.

I have been wanting to replace this scope however. Recently prices on Nexstar mounts have gone up which is making me consider the Meade ETX.

I have some questions on them. Seeing the various models on Ebay there is the Meade ETX 60 which I can get for around $120.00 shipped, the Meade Etx 70 $125.00, The Meade Etx 80 around $150.00, and the Meade Etx 90 which I can get for around $150.00.

My thinking is that the Meade ETX 70 is a good fit. There are a ton of them around, and its a fast refractor instead of a Mak Cass. This would be useful for fast cool down. The Meade Etx 90 is tempting (it seems to be a good value) but the ETX 70 is not a bad value as well.

I'm trying to look for scopes that include the carrying bag, the tripod, and the auto-star controller. Some of the scopes do not include the tripod. Can the ETX 60 or ETX 70 use a standard photo tripod? Do either of these scopes include legs for table top viewing? Can a standard Synta Finder shoe be mounted on the ETX?

Is there anything I should watch out for? I know about doing a star test, but most of these scopes are available through on-line auctions. I will probably use E%ay buyer protection to ensure no DOA. As for the optical quality, I want the GOTO not necessarily the optics....

#2 kc6zut

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 11:19 AM

My experience with my ETX-70 is that it is a good little scope. I am always amazed by the view from such a small scope. The tripod is not too durable but that can be worked around. I haven't used the scope for a while (haven't used any of my scopes for a while) but last time I was impressed. As to the price, I bought mine a decade ago so I don't have a clue as to how much to pay.

#3 kc6zut

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 11:19 AM

My experience with my ETX-70 is that it is a good little scope. I am always amazed by the view from such a small scope. The tripod is not too durable but that can be worked around. I haven't used the scope for a while (haven't used any of my scopes for a while) but last time I was impressed. As to the price, I bought mine a decade ago so I don't have a clue as to how much to pay.

#4 REC

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 12:47 PM

Interesting idea with the laser pointer. Have it point say to a dim DSO and then take a closer look through something like a manual Dob?

I have a ETX-90 and a 125mm now for ten years and they still work well. Never looked through the smaller 60-80mm versions, but have seen some amazing photographs of DSO's with them

#5 stevenf

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 01:35 PM

I use my ETX60 as a pointer sometimes. I put the laser right into the diagonal using an old film cannister with a hole drilled through the centre to hold the laser. Works pretty good (the few times I've done it).

#6 Brent Campbell

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 01:36 PM

Interesting idea with the laser pointer. Have it point say to a dim DSO and then take a closer look through something like a manual Dob?


Same idea except a manual SCT. Can the ETX take a Synta finder shoe? (so I can mount my laser). How is the cool down time on the ETX 90?

#7 Brent Campbell

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 01:38 PM

I use my ETX60 as a pointer sometimes. I put the laser right into the diagonal using an old film cannister with a hole drilled through the centre to hold the laser. Works pretty good (the few times I've done it).


A what? :lol: Can't find one of those these days!

#8 stevenf

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 02:51 PM

You can still find film cannisters! Check the aisle of the store that also has typewriters and 8-track cassettes :)

#9 REC

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 09:48 AM

Any camera stores left in business still sells 35mm film!

#10 Brent Campbell

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 01:47 PM

Just purchased a Meade ETX 70 less than 100 miles from my home! Paid $150.00 with shipping. Included was the tripod bag, several eyepieces, and the autostar controller.

#11 dogeddie

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 07:25 AM

Just purchased a Meade ETX 70 less than 100 miles from my home! Paid $150.00 with shipping. Included was the tripod bag, several eyepieces, and the autostar controller.


Dang - I saw your post this morning and was going to sell you one that I have! Good luck!

#12 Stew57

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 08:16 AM

Is your scope a 70 or 80? I may start looking for an 80 especially a broken one, as mine has the coating off the objective, that I would like to replace.

#13 dogeddie

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 08:28 AM

Is your scope a 70 or 80? I may start looking for an 80 especially a broken one, as mine has the coating off the objective, that I would like to replace.


Stew - it's a 70 - barely used. I bought it from a guy who literally tried to set it up in 2004 as evidenced by the date on the Autostar, got frustrated and packed it up. So it sat in the box all those years. I got it and used it twice, then found a deal on a 90 and now use that instead.

It's funny - because the ETX 90 I got had a similar story. It was still in the plastic packaging and the box was sealed! Totally virgin. Turns out the owner was wealthy and pretty much bought everything on a whim. Needless to say, that didn't last and he is no longer rich. So I bought it from the owner of the storage unit where the scope left as he was trying to recover debt from said previously rich/now poor owner.

#14 Hitech

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 02:00 PM

I have owned and used an ETX-60, ETX-80, ETX-90 and ETX-125 so I can say with some credibility that I've experienced the good & the bad with each. I started out buying low and then flipping a scope at a profit and continued that way up to my present ETX-125. The 60mm & 80mm are OK but that's it in my opinion. They are portable grab'n go scopes. Views of Saturn were disappointing and good focusing was a chore. Even using Meade 4000 Super Plossl and some Orthoscopic eyepieces, the views weren't anything to croak about and IMHO my old Bushnell SkyChief 60mm (Towa) showed better images of Saturn. The matching tripods are on the flimsy side adding to instability issues. But heck for the $15 I paid for the ETX-60 Back Pack Observatory package, I'd say I shouldn't complain. The 80mm cost me $80 and views were slightly better, but nothing more notable over the 60mm. I think the rough focus mechanism is partially due to the design of having the objective tube move in and out rather than have an eyepiece draw tube move. Now the ETX-90EC was a real step up in performance overall. Mechanical focus was still a bit touchy but better and the front optics are stationary. I could just make out the Cassini division in the rings. The drive motors sort of labored due to excessive grease, mechanical slop, etc. and the wires through the center bolt were getting chewed (typical!). After a good refurb on my part it worked smoothly and motors sounded healthy.

The ETX-125 is a real beauty! It is to the 90mm, what the 90 is to the 60mm! The deluxe field tripod is steady and the whole system is heavy enough to be stable yet still managable for moving about. Focus is crisp as is the smooth mechanism. My scope is pristine and it's a keeper. I bought it with supplied extras for far less than what many ETX-90s are selling at used! Views are impressive and what I expected from an upper-level scope from Meade. If you ever have the chance to buy an ETX-125 at a reasonable price, DO IT!

Finally, in fairness to all of the ETX models, perhaps I'm used to gazing through research-grade scopes costing well beyond $15,000.

#15 jgraham

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 03:44 PM

For a point-to system the ETX-70 should work fine. Cool-down really isn't an issue unless you plan on using this for observing as well. I was going to convert my ETX-80 into a point-to system, but I had enough spare parts laying around to piece one together using a DS-2000 mount and a Meade 2045s, a 4" f/10 SCT. Not only is this a cute little scope, it works great! I don't go through great pains to set it up precisely, I just re-start it from a parked position and synch it on an alignment star to get started. For precise pointing (as precise as you can get with a DS-2000) I'll synch it on a star near my target. I built this as a point-to for my homebuilt 16.5" f/6.5 Newtonian, but of course it works with any scope. I've also used it with my Lightbridge 16 and my 10" LX6 (before I de-forked it).

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#16 Brent Campbell

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 05:49 AM

I should get the ETX 70 next week sometime. Due to work issues it probably won't get first light until September!

Interestingly, my Express 80 was originally purchased to be put on the Nexstar mount to fill the roll that the ETX will now fill. Once the Nexstar mount broke I couldn't bear to part with the express 80 and I remounted it on a used CG-4 that I purchased for $125.00. This was to be temporary until I figured out how to either add DSC's to the CG-4 or get another Nexstar mount. The problem came is that DSCs for the CG-4 mount are just too expensive, and the CG-5 (or now the celestron VX) is much more expensive than what I paid. There are some deals on used Nexstar mounts, but every time I see one used its missing parts or has been beat up!

So now my scopes have gone from one to three in the past year. Hopefully, this new obsession will not take up all my storage space! I hope this next scope covers me for awhile. I've got the express 80/ CG4 for wide field grab and go, my manual SCT for aperture, and the ETX 70 to add goto while also being another grab and go.

#17 Kon Dealer

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 05:27 PM

Don't!!!

#18 redlinedb16a

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 07:01 PM

I used my cheesy view finder,removed the lens and used that to hold my $10 amazon green laser pointer

Works like a charm

#19 Hitech

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 08:35 AM

Don't!!!

Care to explain further on your single-word response?

#20 redlinedb16a

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 10:19 AM

I have had a etx125 since 2005
The only major issues I had were power issues,once I realized that the aa batteries were the cause of motor faults I bought a sealed lead acid 12 volt 7.5 amp battery
Problem solved
I flocked my tube and re greased the scope and its a beast

I recently purchased the etx90ra,it's a 1996 model
Works perfect as well,I mounted a green laser to it now its my grab and go

No complaints here ow if I had to choose one
Optically I'd go with the 125 any day,larger image and can clearly see the Cassini division and atleast 3 of the Cassini moons.

Use ablity

The etx90 gets my vote,just screw in the legs,line it. Up if ur using the ra mode,point and enjoy
I can just make ou the Cassini and with averted vision I see1 moon

Not the the etx is hard to set up its just not as fast as the table top ra

The jump from 90mm to 125mm is a very noticeable diffrence.
At 125mm dso start to come to life,it leaves you needing something atleast 3" bigger lol

#21 orion61

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 03:05 PM

Id go the Celestron 127 SLT, you never hear of problems with those.

#22 Brent Campbell

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 11:08 AM

I have ran into two Celestron Nexstar GT mounts, both dead. Although the GT is older than the SLT two for two really?

Look at the resource boards for the Nexstar. They aren't exactly trouble free either.

Now, the only thing I need to do is mount a synta finder shoe on my Etx 70......Wish someone had this already engineered.

#23 m1618

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Posted 17 August 2013 - 10:12 AM

If you live in light pollution like me, I'd stick with the ETX 90. I've had the ETX 70 and with the faster scope there's not much contrast in the view (not certain if that's the reason) and it's not going to give much magnification. It's like looking through binoculars.

ETX 90 on the other hand was impressive for planets and the moon and bright objects. Got lot more use out of the ETX 90 than my other scopes. Check youtube to see what was viewed through them.

#24 Brent Campbell

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Posted 17 August 2013 - 01:45 PM

The ETX is being fitted up with a laser pointer to show the other two scopes where to point to.....I agree the ETX 90 is a great little scope - I may get one in next years astronomy budget which is typically in the latter part of the spring.






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