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steve_bham

Meade EXT 125 AT

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Overview

Well id thought id do a light hearted review on my new scope, im sorry to say that im not that knowledgeable in astronomy to give you the wavelength of the mirror etc so will base it on purely my viewing pleasure!

When I was a kid I used to spend hours looking at the Broadhurst Clarkson & Fuller catalogues at all the mega expensive scopes that I could only dream about owning. Some people thing of a telescope and automatically visualise a refractor style, but for me it was always the twin arm mounted scopes that remind me of spending many Sunday afternoons looking at the catalogue!

So when a Meade EXT 125 AT came up for sale on Astro Buy and Sell at a very reasonable price (cheaper than a skymax 127) I decided to go for it as a great grab and go planet killer.

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Ive read many reviews and some people love the scope and some think it is plagued by problems, and too plastic looking.

All that disappeared when I went to view the scope. Optics are USA made and in A1 condition, mount and outside of the OTA are also Mint with no scratches and does not feel or look too plastic.

The ETX125 is F15 having a focal length of 1900mm making it ideal for planets.

The motors are exceptionally quiet, much quieter than the nexstar 6se and nexstar 5 I had. It also has a very good feature that allows you to reduce the slew speed if your still worried it will wake up the neighbours.

You can disengage both Azimuth and altitude motors to allow you to move the scope manual which is a nice feature if you want a quick 5 mins outside or practice starhopping to learn the sky.

The motors don’t appear to be as heavy a drain on the power pack as my old nexstar mount so I could easily get away with a smaller unit.

The supplied 6 x 25mm finder is not ideal and id much prefer a red dot finder (which I will add later). However it does what its meant to locate the star so you can centre it in the eyepiece.

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The focuser is in a strange position and id imagine would be a pain use, im lucky to have a flexi-focuser which is much easier to use. There is slight image shift when focusing but not enough to bother me.

The ETX has a rear port that can be used for basic photography, ive not used this so cant comment if its any good or not.

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Ive been used to the Celestron hand control and was pleasantly surprised that the Autostar is nicer to use, has a better display and a little red light on top on unit that can be turned on and off by pressing the “0” key. Its just bright enough to read a star map.

One major thing Meade forgot about was somewhere to place the handset!!! Easily fixed by using a bit of Velcro on the tripod leg.

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First night out.

Before the first night out I followed the manual to train the drives, this is the feature that I don’t fully understand! But hey I did it anyway to make sure the goto would be accurate.

I viewed from my very light polluted home so only managed to look at venus, Saturn and the moon. WOW! Optics were spot on, clean crisp views with only a 25mm and 10mm cheapo eyepieces. It easily outperformed my old 6” Celestron OTA with some pretty naff eyepieces. Cant wait to take it over the farm and really push the limits of the scope.

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So the things I like about the scope are:

Mount

Optics

Quiet Motors

Autostar Handset

Can manually move scope to star hope.

Compact size.

The things I don’t like about the scope are:

Slight image shift when focusing

Supplied finder is a tad small

Location of focuser

No handset holder

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Glad that you like your ETX. I had one until a couple of months ago. I found that decently levelling the tripod and using the finder to align on Polaris gave a very good GoTo. I used to spend ages focusing, even with a Hartmann mask. Make sure that you make/buy a Bahtinov (Spelling?) mask. Focusing problems just go away! Have fun.

Pat

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Nice review Steve.

Having just picked up a second hand 105 I can agree with everything you stated.

I haven't had an opportunity to view the planets, on the moon it's stunning.

One issue I did have was cool down time, looking at the moon soon after I set it up it looked like I was viewing through a heat haze, have you noticed this?

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Thanks for coments, its a great scope and yes a few things could be improved on but i think thats the case with most mid range price scopes.

Ive taken off the stock finderscope as i just didnt get on with it and replaced it with a GSO multi red dot finder. Ill put some pics up of it later.

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I had one of these too. Optically it was brilliant. Gve me some superb views of the moon and planets. Focus was an issue - it was not very forgiving, though the addition of a flexifocus improved things no end. Not so hot on DSO's with that f/15 focal ratio but, as my first scope after getting back into astronomy, it did just fine. Mechanically, though, it was nothing special. I could never understand why Meade, having gone to the bother of upgrading the mount from the original with aluminium forks and ball bearings, made such a poor job of it- so much slop, especially in declination. It was really irritating. Hope yours is better.

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I had one of these too. Optically it was brilliant. Gve me some superb views of the moon and planets. Focus was an issue - it was not very forgiving, though the addition of a flexifocus improved things no end. Not so hot on DSO's with that f/15 focal ratio but, as my first scope after getting back into astronomy, it did just fine. Mechanically, though, it was nothing special. I could never understand why Meade, having gone to the bother of upgrading the mount from the original with aluminium forks and ball bearings, made such a poor job of it- so much slop, especially in declination. It was really irritating. Hope yours is better.

Yeah my mount is very good if honest, read alot about the problems so made sure it was ok before i brought it, and the bonus is its nice and quiet!

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I bought a 105PE recently and I must say that it is a cracking scope. I wonder why they weren't that popular in the uSA.

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I wonder why they weren't that popular in the uSA.

I asked this question on Cloudynights and the answer I got was the price, it was more expensive than the Celestron 4 inch Nexstar and they decided to stop production.

I was given a loan of a Nexstar 4 and I believe that the ETX is a superior scope. The optics are similar, but I was more impressed with the ETX's hand controller and mount, the fork mount I believe is more sturdy than a singe arm mount. I have more confidence in two arms.

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I never really liked the small 6x25 finderscope so i brought a red dot finder to help star hop and alignment.

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Next additional will be a 9x50 finderscope, just got to work out the best way to mount it!

Also brought a stanley tool chest to allow for easy movement and storage, bargin for 40 quid.

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can you get every thing the toolbox inc tripod as iam looking for some thing my self have got 127 skymax

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Hi, I just got the Meade ETX125PE. I found that the lock was very fragile, that fragile i snapped it!. It has a tiny grub screw at the side. I unscrewed this and took it off. My spanner works just as well, lesson number one for me.......be gentle. Just waiting for the clear skies now.

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I used to have an ETX105 and found it to be excellent optically. It was also very easy to use like a dobsonian type mount if doing some quick demonstrations to the public. I sold it in the end as I moved into astro imaging and although I managed to take some Moon and planetary images with it, it wasn't suitable for long exposure.

However I have since bought myself a 2nd hand de-forked ETX125 which I mount on my NEQ6 for imaging the planets, so I have the ETX optics and the equatorial mount, so I have the best of both worlds.

Carole

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i just aquired a Meade ETX125 last saturday.. it is on an Orion Skyview Pro mount.... it is my GRAB n GO... i have only viewed through it once for about a half hour... and the moon was nearly full...the moon still looked great...color was very pleasing... the scope probably had not reached thermal equillibrium.. it is a nice little scope and it looks really cool with the rings and dovetail....

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