My Meade ETX-125 is the first serious telescope I've owned.
It is well-baffled and produces very nice views, although it can't compete with my 4" apo. I've enjoyed countless
hours with it. Mine was an early production model with some deficiencies that were addressed by Meade
later on. I recently removed the optical tube from the forks and mounted it on a Meade LXD55 equatorial mount (see
photos below). The improvement is dramatic.
It's a mystery to me why Meade doesn't offer the ETX on an equatorial
mount. This is a very nice looking package and still quite portable. It would be a great addition to the new LXD75
Using a Scopestuff L5DB solid dovetail and a pair of oversized Scopestuff CR63
cradle rings, I mounted the optical tube on the LXD55 mount. Three 2mm layers of Darice Foamies peel & stick
rubber sheet on the cradle rings provided a snug fit. The base of the OTA clears the dovetail.
The right-angle finderscope has always been a problem with the ETX - it pokes
you in the left eye. If you roll it out of the way, then it hits the forks. I tried a straight-through finder
but couldn't aim it upward because of the base. But now I can keep the finder rolled out of the way without crashes.
The new ETX models have a 1x red dot finder to avoid this problem.
The LXD55 and the ETX share the same Autostar hand controller and software. The ETX's electric focuser plugs right in and works just fine.
This new configuration solves several problems:
- The old 883 tripod is known for "telescope suicide" when used in equatorial fashion. But in alt-az mode the
scope vibrated badly even with the Meade fix-it plate installed. The view improved a lot when you turned the motors
off. Vibration problems are gone now with the LXD55. Meade provides a much sturdier tripod these days.
- My ETX had the older sheet metal forks, which were very flimsy and shook badly in windy conditions. Meade corrected
this problem by providing cast aluminum forks on newer ETX models. The LXD55 mount is much more sturdy than
my old ETX forks were.
- I may have damaged the drive recently. Bolts furnished with my aftermarket keypad holder seemed too long
and may have hit the internals.
- I can now use the finder without hitting my left eye. I'll probably install a straight-thru finder again, much easier
- With this more solid mounting, you could probably even focus by hand with the original ETX knob. But the electric
focuser is way too nice to give up.
I've also had thoughts of rigging the ETX up for use with the Losmandy G11 (maybe someday).