Meade ETX-90C Equipment

Photos of the Equipment | Notes About the Equipment | Bought for...

On this page, I show photos of my previous telescope equipment, a Meade ETX-90EC telescope, purchased in 1999 at the Pittsburgh airport, and further equipment that I bought in Germany. Furthermore, I make some notes about the pieces of the equipment.

See also page Meade ETX-90EC Information and Michael Weasner's ETX archive: www.weasner.com/etx/menu.html

Note: I sold the telescope at the end of 2009. I therefore can no longer report any experiences with this telescope.

 

Photos of the Equipment

Click the photos for seeing larger versions of the photos - the larger photos appear in a new window that has to be closed manually.

Meade ETX-90EC with Angular Viewfinder (optional) and 26mm Super Plössl Eyepiece

With manual and remote control (center)
The metal screw on the right is for focusing. In the base, there is a metal lever for fixing the telescope horizontally

Bag for the Telescope

Table Tripod (optional)

Angular Viewfinder

Sun Filter

Autostar Computer 497 (left, optional) and Remote Controls (right)

Connection Cables (optional), Exchanged Mechanical Part

Newly Bought Plössl Eyepieces (40mm, 15mm and 9.5mm)

Complete Equipment (Without Bag)

Photos Using the 1:50 Method (Camera Held at Eyepiece)

Please do not take these photos seriously!

 

Notes About the Equipment

Meade ETX Telescope and Viewfinder

I had learned about the ETX-90EC on the Internet and wanted to own it, because it was compact and nevertheless powerful. Since the telescope was hard to get at in Germany, I used a conference visit to Pittsburgh in 1999 to buy it at the airport briefly before take-off (I learned that I was not the only person who bought an EXT at the airport in the USA). The German customs, however, demanded a lot of money from me... I also bought the Autostar computer and a bag for the telescope.

The telescope comes with a straight viewfinder. When it stood on a table and the tube was pointing upwards, I had more or less to squat down below the tabletop to be able to look through the viewfinder (the eyepiece itself has an angle of 90 degrees and can be look through comfortably). Therefore, I bought an angle viewfinder and replaced the straight viewfinder with it. Now I had another problem: viewfinder and eyepiece were so close together that I could only look through my longer eyepieces (e.g. the 26 mm and 40 mm eyepieces) comfortably - I also had to use my left eye. Therefore, I attached the viewfinder at an oblique angle to increase the distance between it and the eyepiece - not an ideal solution...

Table Tripod

If you simply put the EXT on a table, you got a so-called altazimut mount, which did not allow for tracking star movements automatically. The table tripod (or any "real" tripod) allowed for an equatorial mount with polar alignment, for which an automatic tracking of stars would work, provided it worked at all. The ETX was infamous for having a poor mechanical construction with a lot of slack, and I never really used the motor control at all. Usually, I used the ETX like a kind of Dobsonian telescope, searching and tracking stars and planets by hand. Consequently, I bought a Dobsonian telescope in 2009...

Sun Filter

One of the typical uses for an EXT are observations of the sun - however, a sun filter is MANDATORY in order to avoid damage to your eyes! With my additional 40mm eyepiece, I was able to take photos of the complete sun disk.

Examples (return using Browser Back)

Remote Control

The ETX telescope was delivered with a simple remote control. As the was a lot of slack in the mechanical parts, controlling the telescopes was sometimes like a lottery. In addition, you had to consider that the image that you see was side-inverted (but not upside down as in many other telescopes). This required some time to get used to...

Autostar 497 Computer

As already mentioned, I bought the Autostar computer already at Pittsburgh airport in 1999. In principle, the computer allows to "go to" thousands of starts automatically, provided you use the correct mount. I never really tried that for a number of reasons. I failed already during the alignment phase, because the section of the sky that we can see here was too small (you need to align using three stars that are fairly distant from each other). I used another less precise method and also failed...

Connection Cables

In Germany, I bought a set of connection cables. One can be used for cloning your Autostar settings to another Autostar computer. I wouldn't have bought it if it had not been included in the set...

The second cable served for connecting the Autostar to a PC using a serial port. But serial ports have vanished and were replaced by USB ports... Another problem that I encountered was that I owned an Apple Macintosh, not a PC. However, software updates were only made available for the Windows platform. Meade announced a universal Java version of the updater but never made it available... Using Windows emulators, I made one or the other update, but never managed to have the Autostar computer software "up-to-date." Moreover, often the updater application froze...

Eyepieces

I bought three used Plössl eyepieces at Astro-Himmel, Sulzbach:

The 40 mm eyepiece (I keep it until 2016) seemed to be very good and offered a large and clear field of view (it was fairly expensive). However, due to its long focal length older people are no longer able to oversee the whole field of view - that's really a pity...

The 15 mm and 9.5 mm eyepieces offered more magnification than the default 26 mm eyepiece but did not bring any additional advantages. Perhaps, in our region the air has to many turbulences, and the sky is definitely spoilt by light pollution. I sold them together with the ETX.

Bag

I bought the bag already in Pittsburgh. The ETX just fits into it, there is not much room left for accessories. I kept the ETX in this bag.

Issues

As already mentioned, the ETX was infamous for having a poor mechanical construction (the optics are praised, however). As a result, a plastic part broke. First, I glued it - that worked! - but then I decided to contact Meade and ask for a replacement part. This was delivered at no cost. As this problem was well known on the Internet, I found instructions for repairing the ETX there. The instructions helped me to replace the defective part.

On the Internet, there were also instructions for improving the mechanical constructions, but I did not dare to apply their recommendations.

 

Bought for...

Part
Original Price
ca. EUR
Bought at...
ETX 90/EC with Autostar-497-computer, bag, 26 mm eyepiece (4000 series) and 5 x 25 straight viewfinder 1650 DM (Original price at Astro-Himmel)
850 $ (1570 DM + 328 DM Zoll)
785 + 164 customs tax Nature Company (or similar), Pittsburgh, USA, at airport
       
40 mm Plössl eyepiece (Pro-Optic) 245 (298 new) DM 120 Astro-Himmel, Sulzfeld, Germany
15 mm Plössl eyepiece ca. 150 DM ca. 75 Astro-Himmel, Sulzfeld, Germany
9.5 mm Plössl eyepiece (Meade 3000 series) 159? DM 80 Astro-Himmel, Sulzfeld, Germany
       
Sun filter 148+9.50 DM = 157.50 DM 76 Astro-Himmel, Sulzfeld, Germany
Table tripod 148+12 DM = 160 DM 75 Astro-Himmel, Sulzfeld, Germany
Connection cable set (2 cables) 42 (+ 15P) = 60 DM 21 Thiele, Wiesbaden, Germany
5 x 25 angular viewfinder 128 DM 64 Thiele, Wiesbaden, Germany

I sold the complete equipment through Astrocom for only 120 EUR at the end of 2009 (I kept the 40 mm eyepiece until March 2016). This was due to some deficiencies of my ETX...

 

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09.12.2017