I bought a Meade Series 5000 3X TeleXtender mainly for use on my 8" LX200-ACF but I was curious how well it would perform on some of my ETX telescopes. It costs $99 from OPT. The TeleXtender comes in a box and includes a registration card and a Meade Series 5000 product brochure, as seen in the photo on the right.
Taking advantage of a break in the clouds, I tested the TeleXtender on M42 and Mars with a 25mm eyepiece on my ETX-70AT and a 26mm eyepiece on my ETX-90RA and ETX-105PE. Even though the TeleXtender (similar to a Barlow Lens) is not a "shorty" design (best for the ETX models), I was able to reach a focus with the eyepieces I tried (25mm, 26mm, and 5.5mm). The views of M42 and Mars were good when using the 25mm and 26mm eyepieces. Using the 3X TeleXtender with a 5.5mm eyepiece greatly exceeded the theoretical maximum magnification for all the telescopes, yielding a very fuzzy and very faint image. I was impressed with the overall image quality with the TeleXtender with the longer focal length eyepieces.
The TeleXtender comes with only one cap for the lens end. There is no cap for the eyepiece end, so the tube is open to collecting dust. I had a spare eyepiece hole cap from one of my telescopes and it fit OK on the TeleXtender.
Meade could learn something from Apple, Inc. Use minimalist packaging. The 3X TeleXtender box seems especially large for the product. Reducing package size while still protecting the product would decrease their "carbon footprint" and help make Meade a more "green" and cost-efficient company.
Depending on what eyepieces you already have and your specific telescope, the 3X TeleXtender may be something worth adding to your accessories collection. I will be testing the 3X TeleXtender on my 8" LX200-ACF and will write up the results on my Cassiopeia Observatory blog.
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