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  1. #1
    DrNature's Avatar
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    Default ETX-125AT on the Road to Superchargedom!



    Well, the ETX-125 if off to Arkansas for Dr. Clay to work his magic!

    Everybody within 100 miles of Chattanooga - you're welcome and enjoy your clear skies!

    Keep you posted!

    Richard
    Looking for Clear Skies in SE Tennessee USA
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  3. #2
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    Default

    I have a nice 125 EC, and am curious about Dr. Clays service also! Please let us know how long it took, and of course, the results!

    What kind of condition was your ETX in? Motor problems, dec/ra slip, etc. dirty optics...?

    Andy

  4. #3
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    Default

    Hi Andy!

    Yes, I will keep this thread updated. Joe Lalumia just had his 125 done and his experience (and a little bit of overtime pay) convinced me to pull the trigger.

    So far my interaction with Dr. Clay has been very positive! I sent him a summary of my scope and he already had some ideas as to what the issues are. Setting up an appointment was very easy, and Dr. Clay is extraordinarily-responsive to any question you have.

    My 125 is practically brand-new - purchased last November and used at least a dozen times (I don't like really cold weather, and we have had an unusually cold and snowy winter for Chattanooga). I was planning on getting the service more as prevention, as I plan on keeping this scope for a long time. I want to get it done before he retires!

    It has developed some issues. I think that RA and Dec slop is standard from the factory; I can't get the clutches to really hold (but I am concerned about overtightening the knobs/levers). GoTos range from dead-on to way off. I have a bit of trouble training the drives to my satisfaction, and changing the %'s to improve responsiveness of the handbox has no effect.

    It has also developed an annoying habit of slewing slightly in the opposite direction before proceeding normally. Dr. Clay suspects that some of the fasteners holding the gears may have loosened; this is evidently pretty common. The last time I had it out I noticed that when it started tracking the DEC motor would sound like it was jammed a little, then it would release with an audible 'pop' and a definite shudder in the image; this went away after a while but it still bothers me.

    I will update this thread with my experiences. Joe L. did the same and was most helpful.
    Looking for Clear Skies in SE Tennessee USA
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  5. #4
    DrNature's Avatar
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    Default

    Well, Dr. Clay has my 125 and has been working on it a couple days.

    His initial report has been a bit of a mixed-bag (but mostly good :

    As far as the optics are concerned, he reports it as one of the finest 125's he has ever seen - everything is bang-on perfect.

    Regarding the mount, he has indicated that it has some issues but is much better than most of the 125 mounts he has seen. But the issue I have with a slight drift in the opposite direction when I slew (small, but noticeable and annoying) is caused by an engineering/milling issue in the worm gear. He indicated that he can improve it, but but not eliminate it. Well, I guess that means I have a nice, individual scope-quirk. I just hope I can get my drives trained properly, improve my GoTo's, and smooth-up my low-speed slews.

    The kind of bad news is that evidently I have an Autostar controller that doesn't like to be updated will all the wonderful things that are part of the supercharge service. It is evidently a 497EP, which I guess stands for "Extra Problems".

    His recommendation is to try to find an older 497 unit, which he has offered to update and load up for free (normally a $25 service). Not quite sure where I want to go with this...

    Anyway, my scope should be back home next week and I can't wait to try her out!

    Oh, and the skies in Chattanooga have been spectacularly clear the last several nights. Folks: enjoy it while you can!!
    Looking for Clear Skies in SE Tennessee USA
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  6. #5
    Joe Lalumia's Avatar
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    Default

    Here is my review of a Supercharge service:

    First Light with ETX125PE- Dr. Clay Supercharge

    How I shipped my ETX to Dr. Clay


    You can buy 497 hand controllers from time to time USED for about $80 on AstroMart.com and on Ebay.
    Last edited by Joe Lalumia; 04-07-2011 at 09:43 PM.
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  7. #6
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    Default

    The 125 is on it's way back home! Dr. Clay indicated that it "turned out terrific!"

    Clouds rolling in for the end of the week now...

    I'll post my impressions when I get my hands back on it!
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  8. #7
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    Default

    I'm anxiously awaiting your results!

  9. #8
    Joe Lalumia's Avatar
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    All will be OK in just a few more days.

    Congratulations!

    Joe
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  10. #9
    DrNature's Avatar
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    Default Well, It's Back

    My "Supercharged" ETX-125 arrived home Thursday!

    Before I go into a little detail (I am not going to air it all out here), I have to say that mechanically the scope is much better - the slop is gone, the axes now lock down like they should; views of the moon, Saturn, and a few double stars that I had a chance to get Thursday evening were stupendous. The focusing mechanism is now absolutely silky smooth! I was not able to set the scope up as perfectly as I would have liked (trees!!), but nonetheless the GoTos were very good and I have every reason to believe that when I can get out of the yard and away from the trees and really set it up that the scope will perform brilliantly. The scope is definitely more responsive to the handbox, and the funky slewing issues that were developing have been greatly reduced (this is a problem with Meade and not a problem with the Supercharge. This is a quirk, and I am fine with it. The position dots for the RA lock lever are absolutely brilliant!

    But...

    I have to admit that what has transpired since (Thursday evening and Friday morning) has left me absolutely bewildered and I guess a little sad that things have gone the way they have.

    Of course, I was super-excited to see and try out the telescope! So I opened the package and removed the case (I have it in the Meade Hard Case), opened it up, and there are all the items wrapped up in plastic bags. One more layer to go ! I placed the scope on the table to remove the bag for the 'big reveal', and viola! Huh?

    Well, I don't need to go into details, but it certainly was not the gleaming 'better-than-in-the-showroom' scope I was expecting. Which struck me as very odd, because that is not all all what others have reported. Now, I did not send this scope to Dr. Sherrod for the purpose of a wax job; I am perfectly capable to doing that myself. I am certainly not basing my opinion of the Supercharge service on the cosmetic condition of the scope. But I did think that Dr. Sherrod would want to know about it when I let him know that the scope arrived safely and what my impressions were.

    Evidently, that was my first mistake.

    Now, I love the highlighted marker for the DEC circle, and thought I had read on the website that the RA circle marker would be highlighted and the setting circled secured. I noticed that mine wasn't, and I mentioned it.

    That was my second mistake.

    Lastly, I noticed that there was a distinctly different sound in the RA drive between slewing clockwise and counter-clockwise. It is a distinct 'clicking' sound that, well, sounded strange (and a little alarming). Overall, I found that slewing was much smoother and quieter than before the service (except for the clicking in CCW). Now, in the massively detailed documentation that Dr. Sherrod returned with the scope, it was mentioned that some things need to 'seat' and that with use they will improve (I understand that concept). But still I thought I should inquire as to whether that was normal or one of the things that would improve with use.

    Strike 3.

    What transpired next was completely unexpected, especially considering all of the perfectly delightful correspondence we had had to that point. I know that email can be a terrible medium for communication in many ways, and that I may certainly have not communicated things as effectively as I could have. But that still doesn't explain the tone or content of the responses from Dr. Sherrod. Wow. I even wrote him a carefully crafted apology and restatement of my position that I was good with things but am just concerned with the RA motor sounds. The response was still very much in the vein of what had gone on before.

    I hope everything is OK with Dr. Sherrod. The abrupt change in our relationship really makes me wonder if something happened...

    Unfortunately, the cloud gods have realized that my telescope has returned home so I don't know when I will be able to really give it a go. When I can get it out and put it through its paces I will update my experience.

    In the meantime, I do recommend the Supercharge service to anyone whose scope is not performing up to expectations. It is pretty amazing!
    Looking for Clear Skies in SE Tennessee USA
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  12. #10
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    Like you-- my ETX motors made a different "sound" after he worked on them. BUT the gotos are now very good-- and the scope is actually a little quieter than before.
    ETX 125PE, Stellarvue 80mm BV & Televue TelePod tripod,
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