Last updated: 31 August 2004

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This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all LXD55 models. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Sent:	Monday, August 30, 2004 01:05:29
From:	john kalantzis (acent2@otenet.gr)
I am the amateur astronomer from Greece John Kalantzis and as you know I
am owner of a MEADE LXD 55   8''  SC  telescope.

I informed about the new MEADE product for astrophotography DEEP SKY
IMAGER. I want to know:

1 )  Will I have the wished result with my scope ?  ( because the LXD 55
equatorial mount has not the same high precision motion of the LX200
mount )

2 ) Can DSImager give a real time image of a deep sky object on the PC 
screen ?

3) Is it similar a 6mm focal length eyepiece like PLI  ( Lunar planetary
Imager ) ?
Mike here: At this time, all I know about the DSI is posted on the DSI page on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page on my Site.
Subject:	LXD-55 Az/RA Ratio
Sent:	Monday, August 23, 2004 06:28:16
From:	GERALD SMOLEN (geraldsmolen@optonline.net)
My original AutoStar hand held died and I replaced it with a used 497
unit.  After reloading I realized that the Az/RA and Alt/DEC ratio
values are incorrect.  Is there any way to determine the original
Thanks for your help.
Jerry (whitefox06614@yahoo.com)
Mike here: Do a RESET, CALIBRATE, and TRAIN DRIVES with the (new) Autostar. That will set the values to the right values.
Subject:	Solar Filter suggestions for LXD55 SC-8
Sent:	Sunday, August 22, 2004 16:34:01
From:	Lamar McLouth (lmclouth@a1isp.net)
I also have an LXD55 SC-8 and I was thinking about buying a solar filter
for it.

Do you have any preferences or "things I should look out for"?

Thanks for your input.

Mike here: Take a look at the Accessory Reviews - Filters page on my ETX Site. You might consider the AstroSolar Safety Film for low cost but a safe solution. Quality glass filters that are full aperture for the 8" are expensive. Of course, you could stop down and use a smaller one.
Subject:	Fixing a Slipped Right Ascension Gear
Sent:	Saturday, August 21, 2004 10:48:08
From:	Hendrik Goossens (hendrik_goossens@yahoo.com)
In the article about "fixing a slipped right ascension gear" you use a
2/32" hex key to tighten down the RA gear.

The problem is that i can't find that hex key anywhere. Do you know if
you can use another hex key or do you have an internet-site where i can
buy it?

Regards, Hendrik
Mike here: I've seen a report that my measurement was off. Unfortunately, I don't have a better way to measure it so try what you've got.
Subject:	re:   General Feedback - Calibration
Sent:	Friday, August 20, 2004 19:58:16
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
If you have my patch kit for v32Ea (or newer, 3Eh's kit will be
written this weekend) installed, you can use the :EP serial command
to look at your Calibration results.

If you send the command  :EP46605#  over the rs232 line,
you will receive a number back.
Convert it to hexadecimal (or do a MOD(256) and a divide-by 256)

The high byte is the Az calibration, the low byte is the Alt calibration.

You are invited to run your proposed tests and report back.

Details on how to talk to your Autostar with hyperterminal are given at:

have fun

Subject:	question
Sent:	Tuesday, August 17, 2004 09:48:11
From:	Hendrik Goossens (hendrik_goossens@yahoo.com)
I have a question. When you turn autostar on you can choose 'yes' or
'no' with daylight savings. But what does 'daylight savings' mean?
Many thanks, Hendrik
Mike here: Please read the Email Etiquette item on the LXD55 Site; your message was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the ambiguous subject line.
Daylight Savings is a time adjustment that is made in the USA and some other countries. If it is not applicable in your country, select NO.
Subject:	General Feedback - Calibration
Sent:	Tuesday, August 10, 2004 05:56:56
From:	Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com (Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com)
I found an interesting comment from Dick in the LXD55 Yahoo Group where
he stated "...Calibration is used to adjust the enocder's light sources
to match the power supply...all they care about is the battery..."

Does that mean, if I calibrate my drives with a new battery on a warm
day (which most people may do) and go out the next - cold - night with a
battery that dropped - let's say - 0.8V, my calibration does no longer
match? Does calibration depend on whether I use batteries, an
accumulator or an external power supply?

Thanks for your answer,
Mike here: There have been comments that calibration needs to be done any time the power source has changed, whether that is changing from batteries to AC, or changing from one set of batteries to a fresh set. So, by extension, I would think you are right in your assumption.


any idea HOW sensitive calibration is to changes in power supply? If it
is VERY sensitive the only reasonable is a regulated power supply. I use
for example a 12V 7AH lead-gel accumulator. It surely will drop from
about 12.5V to 11.xV during a normal observation night.
Mike here: I've not seen any measurements of it.
Subject:	Fixing a Slipped Right Ascension Gear
Sent:	Sunday, August 8, 2004 20:48:40
From:	Don Venardos (dvenardos@verizon.net)
I have this exact problem with my LXD55 AR-6, when taking apart the
motor assembly I am unable to tighten the set screws (both the gears
gold and silver are completely loose) using a 1/16 inch hex wrench. It
is such a small space I can't tell if the hex wrench is the right size
or not. Any suggestions on tightening the set screws, or someplace I
might be able to take the gears to find the right tool?

Don Venardos
Mike here: It is a small area to work in but you should be able to tighten the setscrews. Can you remove the setscrews? If so, that would tell you that you are turning them. You could take the assembly to a hardware store.
Subject:	problems 
Sent:	Tuesday, August 3, 2004 07:07:39
From:	archie (archie2@cogeco.ca)
My name is Ed Archambault .I bought a LXD55 mount&tripode a couple of
months ago .it was working ok but about a week ago it started to
malfuntion.the other night I ste it up and on the first star it was
pretty close but when it went to the second star the tube went down to
the ground at high speed .When I tryed to stop it, the hand pad would
not respond.then after the pad would not respond to the arrow for
dec.I'm getting very fustrated over it .I was wondering if you have any
suggestions.Clear skys Ed
Mike here: Anytime the Autostar acts up, do a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES. If that doesn't solve it, do a RESET, CALIBRATE, and TRAIN DRIVES.
Subject:	Right angle viewer
Sent:	Sunday, August 1, 2004 12:21:53
From:	David Guibert (PlutoVIP1@cfl.rr.com)
Just a fast note to let you know that if any of the other LXD-55 SN
owners would like to stop breaking their necks trying to look through
their view finders, that the Orion 9 by 50 Right-Angle Correct Image
Finder Scope is the ticket. They will need to purchase an adapter
through ScopeStuff to fit the Meade SN telescopes. It fits perfectly and
the adapter uses a single thumb screw to lock the assembly in place, so
it can be easily removed for shipping from home to Star Parties and
back.  Also it takes just seconds to align it. The Meade viewfinder was
a pain to work with. The ScopeStuff adapter is part No. L5FB for SN-8
and SN-10.

Also Your site recommendation for Flocking the inside of the tube, which
I did with ProtoStar and replacing the Meade focuser with the JMI
Crayford  NGF - 55 motorized focuser was right on target.  I didn't know
how much I was missing on Deep Sky objects until I finally got correct
focus with the JMI. Plus no tube wobble when focusing.  All I have left
is to Hyper-tune the mount and replace the bearings with Teflon bearings
(which I have already purchased).

Last thing is I also purchased the ScopeStuff Green Laser Star Finder
with remote switch.  I also got an additional rail for my ETX-105. Once
set it is so simple to use, just point the green laser and in most
instances just look right in to the focuser and there's your target.  I
can't tell you how good this is with the ETX!  It takes seconds to get
on target, period!
Dark Sky's
David Guibert
Melbourne, FL
PS.  I also have and use a Denkmeier binoviewer at least 98% of the
time, this makes for a very heavy tube with all the other stuff on it. I
need to purchase another counterweight to balance properly so for all
you folks out there consider that into your budget if you are going to
flock and add larger viewfinders and focuser's.

Subject:	RA Drift Problems --Left Paddle Button
Sent:	Sunday, August 1, 2004 07:22:22
From:	Michael A. Howell (mhowell@gvtc.com)
I now have done a complete reset, trained drives, calibrated motors,
polar alignment (iterative 7-8 times), adjusted RA percentages from 40%
to 99% and anywhere inbetween to no avail, and even PEC trained with
updates using only the 3 other buttons.  Regardless of how well I am
aligned, the left-button (set on #2 or 3 speed) drift lets/restricts me
to working with just the 3 other paddle buttons.  Two and three-star
alignments and GOTOs are fine and within specs.

However, I continue to be stumped by this. If I just tap the left
Autostar paddle button (RA) the star in a high powered reticle(100X)
begins moving left to right (correct direction) across the FOV, but does
not and will not stop for 3-5sec after I hold down the right button
trying to change direction.  This makes any PEC training that uses the
left button impossible in that it sends the star so far off target that
it ruins the training session.

The other three buttons work perfectly and stop on their own when you
let off the button (as things should be).

Only the left button will cause the star to take off and continue
moving, even with the slightest and shortest tap. Is this a problem

* The Autostar paddle

* RA backlash too tight

* Something else?

Michael Howell
Mike here: I am beginning to suspect a bad Autostar unit. Any chance of trying a different one?


Maybe.  I have a couple of friends in San Antonio with refurbs and just
need to get down there (~40 miles) and hold an LXD55 mini-star party so
that I can try different handsets on my mount.  Actually, I need to get
them up here as I have the dark skies (5.9 limit vs. > 4.0 in town). 
Thanks for helping out on this.

Michael A. Howell
Mike if you feel inclined here is a copy of what I am sending to Meade
Techs as I feel they should know what is going on:

LXD55 mount with AutoStar
OK, I continue to be stumped by this. If I tap the left Autostar paddle
button (RA) the star in a high powered reticle begins moving left ot
right (correct direction) across the FOV, but does not and will not stop
for 3-5sec after I hold down the right button trying to change
direction. Its like a runaway train without brakes! If I don't hit the
right button the star just keeps on moving like the Everready Bunny! The
other three buttons work perfectly and stop on their own when you let
off the button.

Only the left button will take off and continue moving even with the
slightest and shortest tap. Is this a problem with the Autostar? HELP!

I have done a complete reset, train drives, calibrate motors, polar
alignment, even PEC training with just the 3 other buttons (regardless
of how well I am aligned, this "drift" problem lets me work with only
the 3 other buttons.  This makes imaging while guiding impossible.  So
much for having PEC.

Michael A. Howell, Ph.D.
Mike here: Just a thought: reverse the L/R buttons from the Setup: Telescope menu. That should allow you to check with it is a physical problem with the button.


I'll try that the switching as you suggest.  Additionally, I have found
at least two others on the LXD55 group that seem to have the same
problem with the "<" button but switching will me to eliminate one more
possibility thus narrowing the field of possible causes.

Michael A. Howell
And more:
I copied the following from a post on LXD55 since I have not had a
chance to swap the buttons myself:

"I've come to the conclusion that the problem is definitely not
hardware-related. The autostar, after you switch the Left-Right button
swap option in the Setup submenu, the RA gears perform equally bad *but*
in the opposite direction, in other words after pressing the right ">"
key the gears go back for a few seconds bby decreasing to the sidereal
tracking rate.  So, bottom line is, the Autostar does not care whether
is the right or left key, it must be a programming command inserted in
the ROM code that makes such adjustment. THis is the only thing I can
conclude after swapping the function keys by the pad.  Again, this
behaviour does not appear in Terrestrial Target mode."


Subject:	RE: Stupid Question on LXD55 Mount
Sent:	Saturday, July 31, 2004 21:28:20
From:	kevin keyes (fishonkevin@sbcglobal.net)
I read your question to Mike Weasner that you posted on July 31. I own
an LXD-55 AR-5 and a Re-furb Lxd-55 mount only. Like you I wanted to use
the re-furb for other OTAs. I was able to purchase a second stock LXD-55
dove-tail plate from Astromart which I mounted a Celestron 80mm ST. I
also have a LXD-55dovetail that is manufactured by Scopestuff. I use the
Scopestuff dovetail with my ETX-125 OTA. The Scopestuff dovetail is
twice the dovetail that Meade sends with the complete telescope.

With the 2 dovetails I can switch scopes thoughout an observing session
(not photographic session).

If you are going to mount an ETX-125 OTA I recommend the Scopestuff 6.3"
cradle rings. They are larger than the ETX but you can add some
weatherstrip(either foam or felt) and build them up for a snug fit.

It is time for me to see if the full moon is past my nieghbors trees, so
I hope this helps.

Good Luck and Clear Skies,
Kevin Keyes

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Copyright © 2004 Michael L. Weasner / mweasner@optcorp.com
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