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Meade ETX-80BB Backpack Observatory Telescope

Item # HN-MEAD316

Dimensions & Specifications

Aperture
80mm
Battery
8xAA
Battery Included
No
Brand
Meade
Component
1.45 Resolution, SP26mm Eyepiece 2, 1.45 Resolving Power, 12 Limiting Magnitude
Eyepiece 1
SP9.7mm
Features
Alt-Az Mount, GoTo
Focal Length
400mm
Focal Ratio
f/5
GPS
No
GoTo
Yes
Highest Useful Magnification
160x
Mount Design
Dual Fork Arm
Object Database
1400 object library
Optical Design
Refractor
Power Source
Battery
Recommended Usage
Viewing the Planets, Viewing the Moon
Star Diagonal
1.25 Inches
Telescopes Series
Meade ETX Telescopes
Warranty
1 Year

Product Guarantee

Manufacturer Warranty

Return & Exchange Policy

  • Automatically locate and track thousands of objects
  • 1.25-diam. eyepiece allows crisp, clear, wider field of view
  • Internal computer guides telescope over the best objects in the night sky
  • LCD display teaches you about what you're viewing
Images
Full Description
Specifications
Guarantee & Returns
Customer Reviews

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
Meade ETX-80BB Backpack Observatory Telescope
 
4.1

(based on 33 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (9)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (21)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

94%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Quality lenses (20)
  • Compact (18)
  • Strong construction (18)
  • Accurate (17)
  • Comfortable eyepiece (9)

Cons

  • Difficult to focus (5)
  • Unstable (5)

Best Uses

  • Astronomy (30)
  • Travel (19)
  • Bird watching (13)
  • Hiking (8)
  • Bright conditions (6)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Casual/ recreational (29), Avid adventurer (3)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (7)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Great starter, great value

I bought the ETX-80BB for my daughter who is now old enough for her own scope. I wanted something that was low cost, compact, lightweight, simple, with go-to functionality - everything you...Read complete review

I bought the ETX-80BB for my daughter who is now old enough for her own scope. I wanted something that was low cost, compact, lightweight, simple, with go-to functionality - everything you want when dealing with smaller children. Low cost keeps your wallet safe in the event of a catastrophic "accident", compact, lightweight, and simple works well should a child ever have to handle the gear. Go-to is a godsend when you have little ones with the typical attention span of about 30 seconds. The scope arrived in great shape. I bought the AC adapter to go along with it. Everything assembles quickly and flawlessly. First light with this scope went without a hitch. The alignment routine is straight forward. We were observing in just a few minutes. The optics were crisp. Having a 2x barlow flip system built in is a nice feature. This is a widefield scope, so it's great for terrestrial, the moon, bright clusters, double stars, and some of the brighter and larger galaxies. Most anything else I wouldn't waste a lot of time on. The aperature just won't support it(visually). And the super short focal length is not going to give you a giant saturn in your view. You need to stack a second barlow in front of your eye piece to get a respectable view of the planets. The backpack is a great thing, but it's a very tight fit. If you aren't hiking a cliff with the scope, I'd suggest buying the hard case for it instead as a method of transport. The focuser has such tiny gearing that it takes a seemingly endless number of rotations to bring an object in to focus, but on the other side of that coin, it does permit very fine focusing. I strongly suggest an electic focuser, however. The Go-To is extremely precise as long as center the alignment stars. The tracking is good too. On first light we put Saturn in the center of the field of view. My daughter fell asleep in the chair. Just before I finished my sessions with my scopes, I peeked in her eyepiece and found Saturn just where I left it. Not bad for a Go-To scope under $300. I bought the AC adapter for mine as well. It's better than constantly burning batteries, but Meade should consider changing the connector design. You plug it in through the battery housing inside the base, and it uses that flimsy "9 volt battery" style connector and the cable comes out through a small hole in the battery cover. It's high risk for pinching if you're not careful in the dark.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Maybe a little too light!!

The unit is nicely portable and easy to set up but is very susceptible to vibration due to the light construction of the tripod and light duty gearing. I successfully viewed Jupiter and its moons...Read complete review

The unit is nicely portable and easy to set up but is very susceptible to vibration due to the light construction of the tripod and light duty gearing. I successfully viewed Jupiter and its moons on first use, but image stability was not good. The zipper construction on the back pack is light to flimsy and should be more durable for a product that will be used primarily at night. The unit has no external power capability (like a Celestron Power Tank), so you must rely on AA batteries.

Reviewed by 33 customers

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Great Within Its Limitations

By TomMeyer

from Quincy, MA

About Me Casual/ Recreational

Pros

  • Compact
  • Easy to Use
  • Excellent Beginner Scope
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Difficult To Focus
  • Small Aperture

Best Uses

  • Astronomy
  • Beginners
  • First Scope
  • Hiking/Backpacking
  • Public Star Parties
  • Travel

Comments about Meade ETX-80BB Backpack Observatory Telescope:

If you're either a beginner or someone looking for extreme portability who's happy looking at the brighter highlights in the sky, this is an excellent and affordable little scope. That may sound like faint praise, but I've gotten tremendous enjoyment out of my ETX at star parties and with family and friends. I'm unaware of anything in its price range with equal quality, ease-of-use, and portability.

That said, a few caveats:

1) Given the small aperture, there's a limited number of objects worth observing: the Moon, planets, some of the brighter Messier's... a few dozen objects at the most (not that one can't do a lot with those). Sure, the on-board computer can point you to 1,200+ other objects, but you're not going to see much there.

2)It requires a telrad or some other viewfinder. Though the-two star alignment works well *once set up* it can be a little tricky to find those objects initially without help.

3) As others have said, focusing can be laborious when switching lenses.

4) It eats batteries. My set of 6 AA rechargeables is good for no more than 2 hours, temperature dependent. I've considered an external power supply, but that would impact its portability.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Exactly what I was expecting.

By Brandiddleyandon

from Garden Grove, CA

About Me Casual/ Recreational

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Accurate
  • Compact
  • Easy to Use
  • Lightweight
  • Quality Lenses
  • Strong Construction

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Astronomy
    • Travel

    Comments about Meade ETX-80BB Backpack Observatory Telescope:

    I use this product to observe objects in the sky near and far. I love the autostar feature, because I also love learning about what I am seeing. The backpack is a little cheap, one zipper already broke on it, but I'm using the one that's left on it. Small backpack, barely fits almost everything, but doesn't fit the other plastic cylinder thing that goes on the end of the telescope anywhere.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Very Good Value, But Do Your Homework

    By Old Dob Guy

    from Bend, OR

    Pros

    • Compact
    • Lightweight
    • Portability

    Cons

      Best Uses

        Comments about Meade ETX-80BB Backpack Observatory Telescope:

        Picked up the ETX-80BB as a third scope. Already have a 13.1" Dobsonian and a 4" reflector. Primary goals were a portable grab-and-go scope for camping, and solar viewing. Added a Seymour Solar filter for the latter. I think the scope is a very good value for my needs. Would advise that folks do their homework and be clear on advantages and limitations.

        Physical setup is straightforward. Read the manual. If you take your time to truly level the scope and align to true north, the two star alignment does a pretty good job of getting you to within a low-power field of view of your object. The alt-az mount makes viewing objects directly overhead a bit troublesome, but just wait until they move off zenith.

        Portability is outstanding. Focus setting affects tube length, and therefore fit within the backpack.

        Tripod is on the lightweight side. That's the tradeoff for portability. The ability to hang a weight on the tripod helps some.

        Battery life is apparently an issue. Was very easy to pickup a cheap 12v lighter adapter and 9v battery snap leads to rig a cable for use with 12v battery pack. Reverse the 9v leads to mate with the scope.

        Meade plossl eyepieces are good quality. Diagonal seems to be of a bit lesser quality. It takes a lot of refocusing to change, especially if you flip on the barlow feature (like 20-30 turns).

        Drive is not quiet, but not hideous either. Slewing in the middle of the night will be noticeable.

        I will be adding a Rigel Quickfinder. I'm used to the convenient point-and-shoot of a big dob. I appreciate the features of the AutoStar, but can see times when I know where I'm going in the sky and just want to 'get there'.

        Be aware of the dynamics of a short focal length. At 400mm, it takes a very short eyepiece to get the same magnification you would on a dob, SCT, or long tube refractor. It will take a 4mm eyepiece to get you 100x, which is approaching the useful limit for an 80mm objective. This scope is best for wide-field and low power viewing.

        So far, viewing of the sun, moon, saturn, M81/M82, and M13 has been really good for an 80mm. Overall quality of the lens system seems quite good. I'm anxious to see the Perseus double cluster and the rich regions of Cygnus and Sagittarius through this little guy.

        Overall, for the total investment I have into the scope, solar filter, and quickfinder, I think it's a very good value for my particular needs. I'd recommend as a second scope. For a beginner's first scope, I think I'd stick with a 6" dob for the same money, due to the ease of use and aperture.

        Service and delivery comments:

        Delivery was prompt. No complaints.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

        (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Love d telescope but delivery was aweful

        By Vras

        from GA

        About Me Casual/ Recreational

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy to Use
        • Quality Lenses
        • Strong Construction

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Astronomy
          • Camping

          Comments about Meade ETX-80BB Backpack Observatory Telescope:

          Very easy to take along and put together

          Service and delivery comments:

          It took 4ever for the company 2 send the order. It was out of stock but we where not notifyed until we call to find out why it was taking so loooooong. Even after we were given a delivery date the order took a few more days to arrive.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • Yes

          (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Portable

          By Bubbie

          from WV

          About Me Casual/ Recreational

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Accurate
          • Compact
          • Easy to Use
          • Lightweight
          • Strong Construction

          Cons

          • Poor Lens Quality

          Best Uses

          • Astronomy
          • Bird Watching
          • Hiking/Backpacking
          • Travel

          Comments about Meade ETX-80BB Backpack Observatory Telescope:

          Very sturdy and versatile for weight and size. Threads on one eyepiece would not accomodate filters, otherwise good value. Manual could be just a tad clearer but will get you through setup OK.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          Customer Q & A

          4 Questions About This Product
          Q: "Does this scope and tripod fit into the backpack? 
          A: All of the included items in this package fit conveniently inside the backpack.
          Q: "I believe the back pack version can be run from a laptop, do I need to purchase additional items to do this?"
          A: Yes.   For PC operation you will need the #506 AstroFinder Software and Connector Cable.    You can locate this item on our site by searching for item # MEAD079.
          Q: "What size and types of battery does this use? And how long do they last?"
          A: This telescope takes 6 AA batteries and the battery life is 20hrs.
          Q: "Does the #506 AstroFinder and Connector Cable work with Vista? USB version? ?"
          A: No the Meade #506 AstroFinder Software and Cable Connector Kit for ETX 70/80AT and DS2000 Series Telescopes is not compatible with Windows Vista.
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