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I'll buy the beers in Exeter, Devon ...


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I've a Meade ETX telescope which I enjoy using. However, I'm having real trouble aligning it so that it tracks objects using the supplied Autostar controller. 

I've followed the instructions and taken advice from the shop where I bought it. The shop has checked the telescope and says its operating correctly, so it must be user error...! So what I really need is to meet someone who knows a thing or two about telescopes to show me what to do to track a real star or planet. 

So if you're based in Devon - ideally near to Exeter - I'll drive out to meet you somewhere and - whether you help or not, I'll buy the beers in the pub afterwards.

I'm hoping to do this in the next couple of weeks or so before it gets too light in the evening.

Thank you in advance

Steve

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Hello and a warm welcome to the SGL. Unfortunately I live a bit far away to offer you practical help, but I am sure someone will be along soon with advice. Have you looked at any of the help videos on YouTube ? There are many which deal with aligning scopes.

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I used to have an ETX-125, but Exeter is too far away I'm afraid.

In what way is it not tracking objects?

Is it going out in Alt, or in Az ?

Or do you mean it's not GoTo-ing objects - Meades are generally poor in finding planets, as their motions are far more complex than stars.

Michael

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Meades are easy enough.

You will find a couple of items help:

A 40mm plossl or a 32mm plossl, doesn't have to be good you just want a wide view.

A thing called Alignmate - simple bubble level.

What data have you entered?

Exeter is 50  45'  and -3  30'

Set this as a custom location, time zone is 0.

When it asks DST is Yes.

Being a Mak the scope needs to start out as level as you can and aiming a close as possible to North.

This really is important on a Meade, especially a 90/105/125.

Do the 2 star alignment, with the long eyepiece, centreing as best you can each one.

Do not use Venus or Jupiter as an alignment item, planets are a pain.

If the data is correct and the supplied DST and Time correct one option is to tell the scope to goto say Arcturus, then centre this yourself so it is very central, then hold Enter down for about 2 seconds. Handset will ask to Sync on Arcturus and as you have already centered it press Enter again. This tells the scope that where is it not pointed is Arcturus and it uses this as a reference from then on. You can repeat a few times during the night.

If you wanted to view say Jupiter then you do the sync by going to Regulus, centering, syncing, then selecting Jupiter as the next goto object. As the hop is short the accuracy should be good.

Problem is not knowing exactly what the data supplied is.

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Meades are easy enough.

You will find a couple of items help:

A 40mm plossl or a 32mm plossl, doesn't have to be good you just want a wide view.

A thing called Alignmate - simple bubble level.

What data have you entered?

Exeter is 50  45'  and -3  30'

Set this as a custom location, time zone is 0.

When it asks DST is Yes.

Being a Mak the scope needs to start out as level as you can and aiming a close as possible to North.

This really is important on a Meade, especially a 90/105/125.

Do the 2 star alignment, with the long eyepiece, centreing as best you can each one.

Do not use Venus or Jupiter as an alignment item, planets are a pain.

If the data is correct and the supplied DST and Time correct one option is to tell the scope to goto say Arcturus, then centre this yourself so it is very central, then hold Enter down for about 2 seconds. Handset will ask to Sync on Arcturus and as you have already centered it press Enter again. This tells the scope that where is it not pointed is Arcturus and it uses this as a reference from then on. You can repeat a few times during the night.

If you wanted to view say Jupiter then you do the sync by going to Regulus, centering, syncing, then selecting Jupiter as the next goto object. As the hop is short the accuracy should be good.

Problem is not knowing exactly what the data supplied is.

Nice easy instructions to understand I like this ronin

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The problem of an ETX is that at the start it assumes very simply that it is totally level and exactly North.

If you are 2 degrees off when it slews to the first alignment star it will be 2 degrees wrong therefore, and 2 degrees you cannot determine by eye.

Since the field of view of the Mak with a 32mm plossl is about 1 degree which is actually +- 0.5 degrees then the first alignmnet star will be 1.5 degrees off from the centre so not in view.

So thinking it is close enough is not adaquate, actually I think Meade started supplying the bubble level bit.

I know this by having one.

Drove me nuts, still does. :grin: :grin: :grin:

Occasionally I have evil thoughts about doing something "nasty" to mine.

Maybe I should look for a deforked ETX and buy the fork mount bit.

The other thing is that for all goto's being able to dump the configuration data would make life a lot easier to diagnose a problem.

Sort of this is the setup data whats wrong or not quite right??

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I've never used a Meade but have a "sometimes love sometimes hate" relationship with goto scopes. If you've followed the manual correctly, then keep persevering with it, they seem to have a habit of coming right in time and you'll never fathom out why. Getting someone who's used to them is a good move, if nothing else, either you'll know the scope works fine and gain confidence with it or alter your expectations of and still enjoy your astronomy with it.

If you're ever a bit further West, look us up at Cornwall Astonomy Society.

Hope you get sorted soon.

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