Last updated: 31 December 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.

Subject:	autostar malfunction
Sent:	Tuesday, December 28, 2004 11:28:52
From:	MICHAEL SANDERS (michaelsanders580@msn.com)
i have a lxd55 with 497 autostar updated with newest version and i am
having a problem. when powering up the autostar unit after the initial
beep and showing ver#on display i tried to do a calibrate motors and the
display read slewing but motors do not move. i also tried to do a align
it again says motors slewing but nothing happens. i tried another cable
and still nothing. i tried the autostar unit on another  mount and still
nothing. i tried a second autostar that was good and after powering up i
smelled a burning smell. i opened up the unit to find the pic chip
burned. i purchased another new autostar and tried it on my known good
mount and all worked fine. tried on suspect bad mount and after powering
up when i tried to do a calibrate nothing happened and display went
blank. tried 3rd autostar on good mount and no go. how can i find out if
i have a bad motor or a bad circiut that is causing these units to burn
up. thanks in advance  mike
Mike here: I suspect a bad circuit on the mount. Either that or a shorted cable (assuming the same cable was used for all the fried Autostars). Best to contact Meade. With all the holiday sales you should expect a long hold-time.


thanks for the fast responce, i already have the mount and autostar
boxed up to ship to meade just in case.

Subject:	LXD-55 8" SCT with GPS?
Sent:	Sunday, December 26, 2004 12:18:17
From:	Sergio C Tognolotti (sanctuary@arnet.com.ar)
i change my ETX-125 for a LXD-55 8" SCT and i love this!!
but now my question.... you know how connect a GPS receiver (a cheap
Garmin Etrex Legend) whit my Autostar 497? i have the Meade cable #505,
and the GPS to PC (serial) cable, i see the StarPatch software from
Pixsoft Inc. but whit this software i need a "registration key" for U$S
79.00 and i dont agree. I respect much the Chris Carson`s work! but...
is not a good price for me, im sorry.
Any help would be great.

Sergio C. Tognolotti
Mike here: Check the December 2004 Autostar feedback page on the ETX Site for the GPS comments. Maybe that is what you want.


Thanks for your fast answer!
Merry christmas and happy new year!

Subject:	backlash
Sent:	Sunday, December 19, 2004 00:13:30
From:	Nikos Paschalis (paschalis@skt.forthnet.gr)
Hi I have an lxd55 5'' a.refractor and my problem is that when I push
the hand's control key (in declination ) I can see in the crosshair that
the telescope is moving for 5 sec more (although I have stopped pushin
the button)

Is it backlash? How can I fix it?


Mike here: First, do a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes). If that doesn't cure it, you can adjust the percentages manually. This is somewhat a trial-and-error method; see the article "Saving Backlash Percentages" on the Autostar Info page on my Sites.
Subject:	LXD55-SN10 observations/photography Web Site
Sent:	Thursday, December 9, 2004 18:08:28
From:	Mark and Teresa Trudgett (m.t.trudgett@optusnet.com.au)
First, let me say - as I'm sure many already have, that you've put
together a great site with packet-loads of very useful information! (I'm
just about to go and make my own Hartmann screen, for example! :-)

I bought my LXD55-SN10 in March last year - and I've had a great time
with it - and just upgraded the Autostar software to the latest LXD75
version!! Can't wait to try out the 3-star alignment and PEC and some
longer-than-8" exposures! ... and I'm awaiting delivery of my first 2"
eyepieces too!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I've put together my own (far
inferior) astronomy pages:


... and I thought that you may want to add a link from your site. Feel
free to use/abuse anything on my site. I don't care about (my) copyright
etc etc... I just like to share my learning experiences with other

Kindest regards - and thanks for all the effort that you put into your

Mark Trudgett
...and thank YOU for that, Mike!

I didn't expect you to be awake - such a quick reply was a bit of a
shock!! :-)

There's much more that I'd like to do... But getting everything
organised and writing down is another thing...

All the best, Mark

Subject:	LXD v LX90
Sent:	Thursday, December 9, 2004 11:11:34
From:	Alison Livingstone (alison.livingstone1@btinternet.com)
I have to say that I've thoroughly enjoyed both your mighty ETX and
LXD55 sites even though I don't own own and probably don't intend to own
either scope (possibly).  Both sites are a great source of general

As a current 4" refractor owner I've been advised that an 8" SCT is
probably the best all round scope to consider for portability, good
planetary and DSO performance and eventually astrophotography (the Meade
LX90 was recommended but I'm also considering the Celestron variants).
I'm just slightly puzzled why you opted for the LXD rather then the LX90
given concerns about the stability of the ETX mount with heavier scopes.
 Was it to avoid the need for an additional wedge for astrophotography
(although Meade market the LX90 as well suited) presumably the
computerised alt/az mount has too many 'steps' for astrophotos?

Mike here: The ETX and LXD mounts are totally different whereas the ETX and LX90 mounts are somewhat similar. The main reasons LX90 vs LXD55 were the price and GEM mounting.
Subject:	DEC motor housing - East or West?
Sent:	Monday, December 6, 2004 18:27:36
From:	Sertaclub@aol.com (Sertaclub@aol.com)
Great sight by the way.  

I purchased a LXD 75 in Aug. 2004 and my dec. motor drive is on the west
side of the mount too.  It runs fine, although there are some balance
issues.  It could be that it they changed assembly from when the manual
was printed.

Mike here: West side or east side? West is normal...


I guess it would be the east side, opposite from the mount in the manual.
Thanks for the quick response.
And more:
I've just spoke to Meade in the US and they confirm that the Dec drive
motor should be on the EAST side of the mount when in polar home
position in the northern hemisphere as per mine and Ken's setup, not
west as shown in the manual.

The guy on the phone (I think his name was Chris) said that the manual
was incorrect and the picture was for illustration purposes only, East
is definitely the correct side.


And more:
From:	Dave Wallace (d_wallace@ecrm.com)
Here's a photo of my brand new LXD-75 SC/8 (so new it's yet to see first
light).  The arrows on the mount are lined up.  And the motor in
question is definitely on the EAST side of the mount.  Maybe a design
change?  Meade's ad copy shows the motor on the opposite side.

Mike here: Can the OTA mounting bracket be rotated 180 degrees and the OTA properly mounted then? That would put the motor housing on the west side.


Well, yes they probably could but then the arrows on the mount would not
line up (unless you had the telescope looking into the ground to the

For what it's worth, there are pictures in the manual (even the new one)
that show the motor on the west side and others that show it on the east
side.  (The one that shows how to identify the parts shows the motor on
the west; the one that shows how to attach the tube for the SC-8 shows
it on the east.)

The most definitive diagram, though, is the description for polar home
position (page 17 in the new manual).  In this diagram the motor is on
the east side. For those who are wondering what the "new" manual is,
it's the one whose back page has a designation "14-7500-01 9/04B" in the
bottom right corner of the last page.  On-line at


On another note: my scope arrived with the old manual but with the
collar and c-clip modification for the T-handle lock and shaft.  I had
to print out a copy of the addendum from the Meade site -- the first
time I assembled the mount I had those two pieces left over.  :)  The
addenda are on-line as

which is the revised T-handle instructions and


which describes a counterweight shaft extension not included with my
Mike here: I suppose it is easier to mis-apply the stick-on arrows than to mis-mount the motor housing... But whatever works.


Except that in the -75, the arrows are part of the casting, not

My guess is that the shots that show the motor on the west side are
actually LXD-55 mounts painted white.  This is typical dodge used by
companies when preparing ad copy and manual photos while the product is
still undergoing final design and fabrication (especially as the
fabrication was being done in China).

Subject: Autostar 497 allmost dead
From: "Lasse Lindh" (3L@comhem.se)
Date: December 1, 2004 16:05:22 PST
I bought a LXD75 with Autostar 497 controller. I did use a AC/DC power
supply with 11.6 V 500 mA. I initialized the Autostar and after the
warning text about not watching the sun I clicked 5 to continue.
Autostar displayed MOTOR TESTING and the DEC drive turned, then the
RA-drive. Not a sound or movement and the display seemed to have frozen.
I couldnt get further so I restarted. same proceedure and same ending. I
check all cables, re-attach them and continued. After a few more tries
the Autostar was dead. The display does light very very weak and there
is a ticking sound from the piezo inside.  I disconneted the power
supply and bought batteries. The Autostar didnt change. Still that
ticking sound for a few seconds and the rest seem to be dead.  I checked
the power supply and it seemed like the voltage did go beserk when fully
loaded. It ran up to 15 V a few times.  It looks like the power supply
killed the Autostar. Is this a correct asupmtion or is there any hope?

best regards

Mike here: It is possible that the Power Supply hurt it or the circuitry in the LXD base, especially if the polarity was reversed. Plus 500mA was not sufficient for the LXD75; you probably need something more like 2.5A.


Thanks for your reply.  Polarity was never changed. 


Subject: re: Tips & tricks #1 LXD Dec Drive position
Date: November 30, 2004 09:44:47 PST
Reading the info posted on your website about the position of the dec
drive. I have just purchased a new 6" SN LXD and like Ken's my dec drive
is on the East side of the mount when in polar home position with the
meade arrows aligned.

Is it possible that meade have made an alteration to the config of the
mount?? Or have they just sent out a bad batch of mounts with the labels
on incorrectly?? My mount performs well and goto's are spot on, do I
need to worry? Should I contact Meade to check which position my drive?

Many thanks in advance 

Mike here: Could you have the telescope on the mounting bracket backwards? Personally I've not come across any LXDs with the DEC motor housing on the wrong side.


From: "kenmenzies" (kenmenzies@bigfoot.com)
Interesting!! I don't think it makes much difference which side it's on
since the axis is symmetrical. Unless internal cable wrap becomes an
issue. I was also able to get the scope to "goto" fine either way. Maybe
Mike can bug Meade about this.

I have found that their customer support people don't know the answers
to obvious questions like this?? The mounts are made in China. I asked
recently for the size of the screw hole on the top of the OTA cradle.
They apparently had to ask someone in China !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I thought
they would have the design on CADD in the US engineering office. By the
way, they reported that it's M6 X1. You have to ignore the paint on the
threads which makes tightening a little difficult.

Mike here: It really should be on the west side. If you have everything set up correctly (ignoring the arrows) and it is still on the wrong side, contact Meade.


Thanks for your quick reply.  Admittedly the scope will go on the mount
either way, but ignoring whether the tube is on the mount or not, if you
line up the meade arrows the Dec motor is definitely on the East (right
hand) side of the mount, unless the tube in polar home position should
point towards the ground, I'm assuming I'm getting it in the tube rings
in the correct orientation.

My concern is that if I setup the scope with the motor on the west side
of the mount as in the tips and tricks doc I may damage the mount  when
the scope slews to certain objects.  Do you think it's worth a quick
email to Meade to clarify this??

Mike here: A quick call is probably in order. Meade doesn't have a technical support email address.

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