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New ETX owner! (ETX-125 AT)

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#1 Jack Tripper

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 01:58 PM

Posted Image I just couldn't resist any longer. Last evening, I ran out and purchased a brand new ETX-125AT, just as the local store was closing. It cost me less than my Ethos!

I had to have this poor man' Questar. I just tried some daytime viewing, and was positively thrilled at the sharpness. Awesome.

The supplied 26mm Plossl was a little restrictive for me. I'm not used to that narrow of a FOV. So I tried my Meade 28mm SWA (in a 2" to 1.25" adapter) and I was loving the view. A little edge darkening, but I was surpised that a Mak could provide such a comfortably wide FOV. (I'd like to get my hands on a Meade 24mm SWA.)

I didn't purchase a power cord (didn't know I needed to), so I haven't tried out the electronics yet. But I was also pleasantly surprised at how smoothly I could hand guide it.

I was a little disappointed because I was supposed to get the PE version, but was "tricked" into buying an AT version. (The cardboard box that they packed it in said PE, but when I opened the cardboard box, I saw that the Meade box said AT).

No big deal. If I understand correctly, one positive is that I won't have to deal with any possible battery failure in the LNT.

It really gives me good feeling to look over at this beautiful scope. At the risk of offending any Questar owners, it looks very much like a Questar to me, almost as nice. 5" of aperture never looked so good, unless you are willing to spend 10x what the ETX cost!

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#2 dogeddie

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 02:07 PM

Congratulations! Have fun!

#3 Mike Cook

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 02:40 PM

Congrats! I've had the ETX125 PE for quite a while now, and it has been very enjoyable. I'm sure you will have a lot of fun observing sessions with yours as well. Like you I didn't like the included 26mm Plossl either, couldn't understand why the lens barrel is so long, reducing the eye relief. I bought a few accessories for mine, such as a WO binoviewer, erecting prism, T adapter and ring, and a few Hyperion eyepieces.

#4 StarWars

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 02:43 PM




Very nice.. :)

I like the new finder... :bow: :jump:

I wouldn't mind seeing more photo's of the all new ETX-125AT... :photo:

#5 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 03:01 PM

You don't really need the LNT module-- although it is handy. Just do your two star Automatic alignment, train the drives, and do a Calibrate motors using the same power source you will use outside at night.

You can practice doing alignments and gotos inside the house and learn the hand controller.

Clear Skies!

#6 jgraham

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 04:14 PM

Cool! About the only thing you miss with the LNT is the semi-automated alignment which is nice to have, but far from necessary. I'm assuming this came with the Autostar #497 controller. You can operate this scope off of 8xAA batteries that go under the base, but you're much better off with an external battery or AC/DC power source. I use a 12VDC jumpstart battery with mine. I bought my ETX-125PE specifically as a visual companion to my imaging gear, and I've been absolutely delighted with this scope.

P.S. Are you absolutely sure that's not a PE? The tube looks like an AT, but the finder module looks like a late-production PE. The LNT module is tucked under the red dot finder. The only battery problem I've had with mine was the test-battery it came with. Once I replaced it with a new battery it's been fine. If it's a PE the Autostar will ask you about using the auto-aligment when it powers-up. Be sure to carefully calibrate the motors and train the drives before using the GoTo.

Have fun!

#7 rcd47

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 05:28 PM

I think you're really going to like the views through this scope. I love my 125PE. I have to agree about the included EP...looks really well built, but eye relief seems short for a 26mm.

#8 Jack Tripper

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 01:31 AM

Thank-you one and all! I have wanted this telescope for a long time. The entire ETX line has to be one of the best values this hobby has ever seen.

Cool! About the only thing you miss with the LNT is the semi-automated alignment which is nice to have, but far from necessary. I'm assuming this came with the Autostar #497 controller. You can operate this scope off of 8xAA batteries that go under the base, but you're much better off with an external battery or AC/DC power source. I use a 12VDC jumpstart battery with mine. I bought my ETX-125PE specifically as a visual companion to my imaging gear, and I've been absolutely delighted with this scope.

P.S. Are you absolutely sure that's not a PE? The tube looks like an AT, but the finder module looks like a late-production PE. The LNT module is tucked under the red dot finder. The only battery problem I've had with mine was the test-battery it came with. Once I replaced it with a new battery it's been fine. If it's a PE the Autostar will ask you about using the auto-aligment when it powers-up. Be sure to carefully calibrate the motors and train the drives before using the GoTo.

Have fun!

Speaking of operating from AA batteries, can you use rechargeables AA's? Or is that not recommended...

Now I'm not sure I got the AT version! The box said AT on the top corner, but now you gentlemen have informed me that the finderscope looks like its from a PE model. Thanks for the tip about powering it up to find out which model it is.

Either way, its a dream purchase. This has to be to most compact 5" GoTo on the market. I'm so happy that Meade did not discontinue this line as it seemed was the case. Thank-you Meade!

#9 jgraham

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 04:16 AM

You can try using rechargeable batteries, but I suspect the scope would be quite sluggish. Normal AA's are 1.5V each while NiMH batteries are only 1.2V each. I used a set of rechargeable alkaline batteries in mine, but I'm not sure these are available any more. An external battery works so much better as it can easily support the draw from the motors while the telescope slews.

#10 rcd47

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 09:20 AM

I agree with John, the scope runs MUCH better on an external batt.

#11 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 10:27 AM

DO NOT! skimp on power. Use a separate 12 volt power pack. The 497 hand controller will go a bit "crazy" when the battery power drops into the 60% range.

#12 SteveThornton1

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 02:48 PM

I think you're going to like your scope just fine. I specifically got the 125 ETX AT version because of all the problems I heard about the PE version. The 125 ETX is perfect for quickly setting up and taking down. Being a avid lunar observer, I particularly like what you can see with this scope. I remember looking at the moon with 275X power and a red filter and being amazed at the results. With good seeing and a decent cool down, this scope really performs. You ought to check out Mike Weasner's ETX site.

Steve

#13 rmollise

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 03:38 PM

I think you're going to like your scope just fine. I specifically got the 125 ETX AT version because of all the problems I heard about the PE version. The 125 ETX is perfect for quickly setting up and taking down. Being a avid lunar observer, I particularly like what you can see with this scope. I remember looking at the moon with 275X power and a red filter and being amazed at the results. With good seeing and a decent cool down, this scope really performs. You ought to check out Mike Weasner's ETX site.

Steve


The AT is fine...but so is the PE. There were a few problems early on, but even my _very_ early example has been problem free over the last four years or so.

#14 Jack Tripper

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 04:32 PM

Sounds like it doesn't much matter which version it is.

I just powered it up for the first time...it is a 497 controller, and it did not ask me to use auto-alignment. So I guess its the AT version.

I am pleasantly surprised at how nice the slewing sounds. From Terence Dickinson's description, I was expecting to hear awful noises, but it sounds very precise and powerful. Not in the least bit annoying...more like reassuring.

I did one of those "fake" alignments, and things sure seem normal. It pointed to the areas of the sky that I was expecting it to point. Very easy and quick alignment process.

What an happy purchase. I am curious...does anybody know what the ETX-125 cost when it was first put on the market? This thing makes me feel like I got the deal of the century!

#15 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 06:05 PM

Did it revert to something like 8:00pm at night for the TIME? The AT version will do this and want you to set the correct time.

The LNT module keeps the time EXCEPT when the watch battery inside the module goes dead. I usually replace the watch battery every year just in case.

#16 rmollise

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 06:36 PM

Sounds like it doesn't much matter which version it is.

I just powered it up for the first time...it is a 497 controller, and it did not ask me to use auto-alignment. So I guess its the AT version.

I am pleasantly surprised at how nice the slewing sounds. From Terence Dickinson's description, I was expecting to hear awful noises, but it sounds very precise and powerful. Not in the least bit annoying...more like reassuring.

I did one of those "fake" alignments, and things sure seem normal. It pointed to the areas of the sky that I was expecting it to point. Very easy and quick alignment process.

What an happy purchase. I am curious...does anybody know what the ETX-125 cost when it was first put on the market? This thing makes me feel like I got the deal of the century!


Around a grand. With no Autostar. That was extra. All you got was a "manual" HC.

#17 Jack Tripper

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 06:41 PM

Thanks Rod! Now I feel even more lucky! I just checked, and the Autostar sells seperately for $200. That makes the original purchase price $1200!

I still find it remarkable that I was able to purchase this wonderful 5" GoTo for less money than my Ethos. I think the entire astronomy community lucked out when Meade introduced the ETX line.

#18 Jack Tripper

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 06:44 PM

Did it revert to something like 8:00pm at night for the TIME? The AT version will do this and want you to set the correct time.


Yes Joe! It keeps going back to 8:00 PM...but doesn't take very long to fix. Definitely to AT version then.

I just ordered the Meade 24mm SWA as my low power EP. I was really impressed with the feeling of optical freedom I was getting when I tried my Meade 28mm SWA. I foolishly expected the view through a Mak to always resemble that of a Plossl. Happily I was wrong!

I also ordered a Dew Shield. That, plus my Zoom EP will leave me set-up. I really like how this telescope is pretty much complete right out of the box. No need to really add much.

The manual is pretty long. Its a good thing its a long weekend! Happy observing everybody!

#19 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 06:51 PM

You will enjoy your telescope- Clear Skies!

#20 rmollise

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 07:09 PM

Thanks Rod! Now I feel even more lucky! I still find it remarkable that I was able to purchase a wonderful 5" GoTo for less money than my Ethos. I think the entire astronomy community lucked out when Meade introduced the ETX line.


I know I still love my little ETX 125, Charity Hope Valentine, goin' on five years down the road. She has her quirks, but there is more good in her than bad:

http://uncle-rods.bl...-honeymoon.html

http://uncle-rods.bl...e-and-good.html

http://uncle-rods.bl...6/etx-love.html

In fact, I planned to take her out to the club dark site this very evening. The clouds had other ideas. :bawling:

#21 Jack Tripper

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 07:22 PM

Thanks again gentlemen. I had 2 of those links already bookmarked long before I bought my ETX! I will go and enjoy that 3rd one right now...

#22 Jack Tripper

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 09:12 PM

Just saw Saturn! So darn sharp...I am not used to this level of sharpness. It appeared so white and against a sharply defined jet black background. Awesome.

I like the red-dot finder very much! I've banged against it several times, and its holding it's accuracy. I am not a fan of installing and lining up any type of finders. I'm glad Meade did it so well at the factory.

I can't say enough about this beautiful gem. I am so happy I bought it. I don't think I have had a true grab-n-go since my first telescope from long ago, a 60mm refractor.

And Saturn was just a dot in that little refractor.

#23 rcd47

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 09:56 AM

I think you've found the one thing that every ETX owner will agree on...Image contrast and sharpness is excellent on this scope. :grin: It still amazes me as to how good the optics are on this little scope. Then, combine that with go-to in a reasonably portable package and that explains why I love mine. Oh, it has a few little things that I wish were different or better, but the good outweighs the bad by a long shot.

#24 Frank2

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 10:37 AM

I use NiMh rechargeable batteries in my ETX-90 PE and they seem to work out well for my needs. On fully charged batteries I can pretty much observe as long as I want on any one night. If the scope is taken out for normal observing sessions a charged set of batteries lasts 3 or 4 nights. Using the batteries would be a lot more convenient if I had a 1 or 2 hour charger that accepted all 8 batteries at once. My charger accepts 4 batteries at a time and takes 6 or 7 hours to charge when fully depleted so I must plan ahead if batteries are drained and want to observe that night. Wal-Mart used to sell small rechargeable 12v power packs (about the size of 3 decks of cards stacked together) for powering cell-phones and small camping gear that would easily strap to the tripod leg, but, those seem to have been discontinued. I just don't like having an extra item to lug outside or a cord to dance around, especially if neighbors/guests are also taking a look through the scope.

Jack you will love the ETX, it is so much fun. BTW say hi to Janet and Chrissy for me.

#25 Jack Tripper

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 12:12 PM

Lol! That was hilarious! You are the first to ever publicly recognize my username's significance. I think I will mosey on down to the Regal Beagle to celebrate.

Getting back on topic... You have intrigued me with your rechargeables batteries. Especially since I have a 15 minute charger already. I think I may try using batteries when I take the ETX to my friend's house. (All he wants is a quick look at Saturn...he's never seen it before). Thanks for your input (...and the laugh!)


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