Last updated: 26 February 2004

LXD55 8sc logo

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:	cleaning meade lxd55 sct corrector plate
Sent:	Thursday, February 26, 2004 02:33:26
From:	Paddytee@aol.com
hi i'm writing for some advice on how to clean a corrector mirror

I have used some window wipes but they have smeared it

It is when i look through the eyepiece that the stars seam to have
trails after them

Is this cause by the smearing

I would like your opinion on this matter
 thank you 

Mike here: I think there is something in the manual (I'm not close to it right now to check) about cleaning. The usual caution is to never use window cleaning materials. Now that I've made you feel bad, read the article "Cleaning Optics" on the Buyer/New User Tips page on my ETX Site.
Subject:	optics cleaning
Sent:	Wednesday, February 25, 2004 06:59:39
From:	"Alun Halsey" (ALUN@halsey593.freeserve.co.uk)
It has come to that daunting time of having to clean the correcter lens
of my lxd55 8" SN,and after reading that there is only one solution that
can be used so as not to damage the UHTC coating and spending 20 minutes
or so trying to explain to my local pharmacist that i need 91% proof
alcohol,I am now having great trouble getting hold of the Kodak photflo

 Over here in Reading UK I have 5 camera shops in the area and not one
of them has ever heard of this chemical or one of them don't sell
chemicals since the digital age!! yes....ok.

 Now what I was wondering was as only a very small amount has to go into
the solution or the results won't be good can I possibly leave out the
photoflo or do you know of a substitue chemical that has equal quality?

       Alun Halsey
Mike here: If you are following the cleaning solution suggested by Dr. Clay Sherrod (on the Buyer/New User Tips page-->Cleaning Optics) I don't know if any mods to his formula can be made. As to cleaning in general, are you ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY certain that cleaning is necessary. Most users will want to over clean their optics.


Thanks for the quick response on this topic.

That's just the point until I actually clean the corrector lens I
don't know that the lens needs it or not! by this I mean that whilst
looking at the glass in daylight I can see clear spots all over its
surface and although it does nothing detrimental to the view in the
eyepiece nor the images produced by my ccd camera it just looks a mess!.
The spots didn't appear until one evening a heavy dew formed on the
glass and having dragged the scope indoors and left to warm up(no cover
on)so I thought that save having it get worst I would attempt to clean
the glass but if  I can not modify the solution in any way and there are
no other alternatives then I will have to leave it as it is.

  Alun Halsey

Subject:	LXD55 mount
Sent:	Monday, February 23, 2004 09:59:25
From:	"J Smar" (jesmar@netnitco.net)
I have purchased some quality white lithium grease for my lxd55 SN - I
have cleaned the original Meade "goo" off of the focuser and re-greased,
and would like to do the same with the rest of the mount, as I live in a
cold weather climate and the mount movements get very sticky during
veiwing hours.  I am hesitant to take the mount apart to clean the rest
of this off and re-grease (actually, I am afraid of it not going back
together correctly).  How hard is this procedure, and, are there any
"exploded" views of the GEM mount that I can download and use as a
reference?  Any help would be appreciated.
Mike here: I don't recall seeing any "exploded views" of the mount. I also don't recommend going inside unless you absolutely positively must. But if you must, take pictures! I'll post them.
Subject:	LXD55 8" SC  alignment error
Sent:	Sunday, February 22, 2004 07:53:32
From:	"Peter C" (paso57@hotmail.com)
I'm hoping that you may be able to help.

I have been having an alignment problem with the above telescope since
new. I have scanned the internet including yahoo user groups, your site
downloading whatever info I could to resolve the error (which I describe

Selecting 2 star alignment the scope slews approx 30 degrees past the
selected star. Manually correcting this then selecting the next star
only ends in alignment failure. Hence I cannot use the goto function.

I have calibrated, trained the drive etc. It was suggested that I reset
and try again. Unfortunately this hasn't solved the problem, in actual
fact it now seems worse with the scope slewing more than 360 degrees and
still not ending up on the correct star.

I have been aided by others at a local viewing site, (one gent who has
an LXD55 SN has been most helpful) but we haven't been able to resolve
the error.

We have come to the conclusion that the fault lies with the Autostar
handbox. The version of software I have is 25 or 26E.

I have downloaded the Autostar Update program and version 31E of the
software but I am yet to install. Visiting the LXD55 Yahoo group site
tonight I noticed a message posted by someone having what appears to be
the same problem with an AR6.

Do you have a solution or advice to offer?


Peter Cameron (Perth, Western Australia)
Mike here: Do the Autostar Update to see if that resolves the problem. When the update it done, the Autostar should RESET; if it doesn't, do one anyway. Then CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES (don't forget to do both axes). Let me know if this helps.


Thanks for your quick response.  I'll keep you advised.
Mike here: By the way, don't forget to select the model/mounting mode after you update.
Subject: RE: LXD55 8" SCT / Autostar query
Date: 2/20/04, 07:42
From: Niall Saunders (niall@njs101.com)
This follows on from my earlier post concerning the lack of information
on the "LXD SETUP" option that appears in the "Setup -> Telescope" menu
tree (AFTER you have selected one of the LXD-55 mounts from the "Setup
-> Telescope -> Telescope Model" menu option).

I have been through MOST (ALL ?? !!) of the posts on your site (and the
LXD55.com portal), AND all of the latest PDF versions of the 'official'
manuals from the MEADE website - and NOWHERE can I find any reference to
this function.

As I said, it appears in both v2.6Ec and 2.6Ed, so it is nothing 'new'
(but MEADE obviously cannot be 'bothered' to upgrade the 'organogram'
menu chart - not even in their electronic versions of the manual).

That was why I was hoping for some input from others.

I will keep on searching!


Subject:	LXD55 for Astrophotography?
Sent:	Thursday, February 19, 2004 19:02:49
From:	"Jake Myers" (jacob.myers@insightbb.com)
Hello!  I am quickly growing out of my etx90 and wishing to get into
adecent scope for beginning astrophotography with a digital camera.  I
have aNikon Coolpix 4300.  There is a LXD55 6" Achromatic Refractor on
ebay for apretty good price right now, and I was wondering if this would
be a goodchoice.  If not, what do you reccomend under $1000?  Is the etx
125 a betterchoice?  I have been searching and searching and cannot find
much info onthe refractor type.  I really appreciate your feedback. 
Mike here: If you like refractors, the AR models are nice. But check the focal length vs the ETX-125. Depending upon the objects you intend to observe/photograph, and given your familiarity with the ETX, you might find that works better for you.


Geez you are fast!  Thanks for your input!

Subject:	(no subject)
Sent:	Thursday, February 19, 2004 07:52:09
From:	Paddytee@aol.com
I have just purchase the meade lxd55 sct

I can't get it to align it keeps turning up side down with the weights
up and the scope down

my ra drive goes and then stops then goes then stops

what could be the problem

I have no experience with autostar

could you help me please

I live in n.ireland
Mike here: Please read the Email Etiquette item on the LXD55 Home Page; your message was DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing Subject entry.
Did you set the telescope model, mounting mode (GEM), CALIBRATE, and TRAIN DRIVES using the Autostar? This is necessary for initial use.
Subject:	Totally confused !!
Sent:	Thursday, February 19, 2004 04:00:22
From:	andy.georgiou@bt.com
I want so much to buy the Meade LXD 55....6" Achromatic refractor. Then
I saw the Meade 6" ED  APO !!! I liked that, then I saw the 7" ED APO.

Then I read your review on the 7" ED APO. I also understand the 7" ED
APO is being discontinoued.

What's worth buying in your expert opinion ?
Meade 6" LXD 55 Achromatic ?
Meade 6" ED APO ?
or break the bank for the 7" ED APO ?
Thanks  Regards
Mike here: I don't have the refractors so you didn't read any review from me and I have no experience with them.
Subject: LXD55 8"SCT
Date: 2/17/04, 15:00
From: Paul (pwp1964@sbcglobal.net)
I am still really enjoying my new ETX90EC with UHTC, Autostar, and 884
Tripod. It is a revelation compared to my 90RA!

Anyways, I have been pondering for several months about the possibility
of getting a bigger scope. I have primarily been looking at 8-10
LX200GPS-SMT models. But I noticed that you bought the 8 SCT LXD55. I
realize the optics are the same and the mounts are different. And of
course the LX200 costs about double what the LXD55 costs too.

So if I may ask, what was it that made you choose the LXD55 over the
LX200 or LX90? And if you had to do it again, would you do the same


Mike here: Cost was the main reason for going with the LXD55-8"SC over the LX90 and LX200 models. If the 8"SC had not been available in the LXD55 series I would have gone for the LX90 though. It was the 8"SC that I wanted!


Yes I understand what you mean about cost. A grand is a grand after all.
And with the LX200/LX90 models you do need to also go out and purchase
the wedge/super wedge for equatorial alignment and that adds another
$150-$300 to the cost. Well I will keep deliberating and enjoy my ETX90
while I procrastinate...LOL


Subject: LXD55 8" SCT / Autostar query
Date: 2/17/04, 04:11
From: Niall Saunders (niall@njs101.com)
Whilst still trying to get to grips with my ETX-105, I now also have
access to my next door neighbour's LXD55 8" SCT (like a kid in a candy

However, in reality, it has just made the learning curve even steeper -
although the 'head-start' that we both had with my ETX-105 certainly has
helped enormously. At least we were both 'comfortable' with the
Autostar. But, there is one function that we have had little or no
success with - and cannot find background information on - and that is
the "LXD55 SETUP" option that appears in the <SETUP-TELESCOPE> menu
after you have selected the LXD55 mount.

Whilst the "CALIBRATE MOTORS" and "TRAIN DRIVES" entries still appear,
what is this 'extra' routine designed to accomplish?

All we have been able to achieve is to make the GEM DEC motor casing
crash into the RA casing, causing motors to stall and MUFs to be
generated. VERY scary the first time it happened!

I have searched both your LXD55 and your ETX site (my favourite
pastime!!) but (so far?) have not yet come across information on this
facility. Have I missed something?

Does anybody have the answer?

Many thanks once again.

(the ETX-105 - my "scope from hell" - is now working peacefully again,
although it still needs to go back to Meade UK to have the DEC wiring
replaced, and to have RA endstops fitted)
Mike here: I've not needed to use the Setup function but it helps to align the polar axis with the optical axis, which is necessary for celestial alignments. It is described in the "LXD55 Tips and Tricks, Vol 1" on the LXD55 Site home page.


I will go and re-read that printout (yes, I have VOLUMES printed from
your sites!).
Mike here: Oops. I may have steered you wrong (I was running on only three hours of sleep and was waiting for a plumber for emergency plumbing repairs). Check the LXD55 manual for the LXD55 Adjust.


Yes, I double-checked the PDF (which I had already re-read last night,
at 02:30 !!) and found nothing. I am heading next door to re-read the
manual (if all else fails - read the book!).

Subject:	Poor coma correction in Panoptic 19mm with SN8
Sent:	Saturday, February 14, 2004 10:39:28
From:	"Tim Haymes" (tvh.observatory@btinternet.com)
I am a long way from Oceanside, living in the UK. Today I posted a  note
on the LXD55telescopes group saying that this Pan does not work on the
SN8 - The first reply is in agreement.  Can you recommend a 65 to 70 FOV
eyepiece (1.25" fit) giving 1.0 to 1.5 degree real field. ( fl = 15 to
20mm ) that has less coma than the 19mm Pan, or maybe you have a
favourite in the medium bordering on low magnification that is good to
the edges.

I like this telescope.  I've seen M33 and M31/32/110 with ease because
of the low powers one gets - Astronomy has been an interest since 1968
and I have owned a number of F/8 and F/6 Newtonians. The LXD55 8SN is
the first "fast goto".  The user group has been a huge help.


Mike here: I have no experience with the SN telescopes. I suspect the comments on the Yahoo Group are the best source from actual users.
Subject:	autostar LXD55 8"SC
Sent:	Thursday, February 12, 2004 21:40:53
From:	"BullFox" (bullfox@comcast.net)
Here is some encouragement for those suffering frustration with
autostar.  The first time I used autostar, it wound up pointing at the
ground.  I never did figure out what I did wrong, but I got more
familiar with the system, and the second time a month or so later, it
was pointing at the sky, but about 15  degrees ahead of where my target
was.  I finally realized 15 degrees is an hour, and I had daylight
savings time wrong.  the third time, a few days ago it was pointing off
about 3 degrees, but I was having alignment problems because it kept
picking alignment stars behind trees. (Is there a way to force it to
pick a certain aligment star?)  Between attempts to use autostar, I've
learned how to get pretty good polar alignment and I have the drives
trained now so it tracks pretty good.  I was looking a Venus tonite with
a 9 mm evepice.  I went inside for about 10 minutes and when I came back
Venus was right where I left it.  There is still more I can do to
improve pointing accuracy, so I think if I keep plugging away at it,
I'll eventually get it to work as advertised!  There is a learning
curve, especially if you are a complete novice, as I am, and I gotta say
thanks Mike,  your website has been a tremendous help, but to those who
are having frustration, keep at it, persistance pays. 
Mike here: Yes, experience as well as making certain all settings are correct really helps. No, you can not force it to use specific stars during the alignment but you can skip stars by pressing the DOWN arrow key when it selects one behind an obstruction.
Subject:	Power Supplies
Sent:	Thursday, February 12, 2004 14:39:35
From:	kevin keyes (fishonkevin@sbcglobal.net)
Having just ordered a new LXD-55 AR-5, I thought I would check out your
LXD site. I am an avid follower of your "Mighty ETX" site already.

One of the reasons I chose the LXD-55  the versatility of the mount.
After fabricating second dovetail I feel that this mount would supply a
very good platform to use my ETX-125 ota on for Astrophotography. I've
tried using my ETX in it's own forks, but just can't quite get the knack
of balancing it with my Canon Digital Rebel. The equatorial LXD-55
should make this a lot easier. I have a question for you. What settings
would you use in the Autostar? It's obivious that you can't tell it your
using the ETX-125. My thought is to say that it is the 8"SC. But
then how about Az/Ra and Alt/Dec ratios and percentages, these would
have to be changed also? I love my ETX, but let's faceit, the mount
wasn't made with Astrophotography in mind. Your thoughts on this and any
ideas you might have since you own both would be appreciated.

Now for the subject of the message. I checked out the chart on portable
power supplies, and was wondering which of these you decided on or if
you had found different one? I to am looking into purchasing one.
Mike here: Actually, I think I would just start with the LXD55-5"AR setting. Once you have set the mount, the Autostar knows how to slew and track. The other specifics about the telescope are for eyepiece and other calculations. If you find that the drag is different you could try adjusting the percentages but I would leave the ratios alone. As to power supplies, still looking. I guess I keep waiting for the ultimate one!


I called Meade after I sent you the message yesterday and they said that
I could possibly recieve my AR-5 next week considering when I ordered it
( Jan. 8). I hope the skies here in Michigan clear. I can dress for the
cold but can't control the clouds.  I'll let you know if I find the
"Ultimate" portable power supply.

Subject:	LX200 7" Maksutov
Sent:	Wednesday, February 11, 2004 10:52:43
From:	"Or Dubnov-Raz" (ord@012.net.il)
I have been a happy ETX owner and an addicted visitor to your site for a
few years, and I want to use this chance to first thank you for all the
help you and Dr Sherrod are offering ppl in this wonderful hobby, with
these wonderful machines... I so much like the Maksutov design, that I
am now upgrading to the LX200 7" Mak.

Have you observed with it?

Anyway, I just wanted to ask if you have any general advice or
recommendations for accessories (e.g: 7" Mak has narrow FOV -> Focal
Reducer...) or knowledge of any ppl you know who are into this
telescope, maybe drop a question if one arises etc...

Only thing I could wish for at this point, was that someone did to the
7" what you did with a home for all ETX users worldwide...  Even half
would do!  :-)

So - Thanx again for everything,
Or Dubnov-Raz
IAA 2003 Moon Photo-Contest Winner using an ETX-125 !!!  ;-)
(     representin' !     )
Mike here: No, I have looked through the 7" Mak but I would expect it to be a step up (optically) from the ETX-125. I haven't searched the web for such a site. You might want to consider the LX90 8" or LXD55-8"SC though.


Thanx for the quick reply.

I did consider the 8", but decided to go for the 7" for the higher contrast,
magnification, flat field, and the attractive no-need-for-collimation....  I
know I am paying an inch of aperture for this plus some other issues that
are not optical (price, weight...), but since most of my observations are
within (moderately polluted) city lights, most targets will be moon,
planets, double stars, brighter nebulas and clusters, so it seemed to me as
a bit more suitable. Does this make any sense to you?

Will be glad to send you some photos taken with the 7" when I finally get
it....  should i send to this e-mail?

Thanx again,

Clear Skies,
Mike here: Yes, you can use this email address (mweasner@optcorp.com) but since the site is devoted to LXD55 telescopes I probably won't post them. But would love to see them!
Subject:	LXD55
Sent:	Sunday, February 8, 2004 17:42:00
From:	"J Smar" (jesmar@netnitco.net)
I have a 6" SNT and live in a humid part of the country.  This spring I
plan on getting a dew-control heating system.  My question is, should I
just get one for the correcting plate, or do you recommend putting one
on the primary, also?
Mike here: For most users, just heating the exposed optics reduces the likelihood of dew forming.
Subject:	Encoder error
Sent:	Sunday, February 8, 2004 10:39:58
From:	Amit Ashok (ashoka@ece.arizona.edu)
I bought a LXD55 SN 8" about 8 months back from Astronomics. The
Autostar GOTO function has never worked for me! I have replaced the Dec
motor once as it was slipping a bit. However, that didn't fix the

Ok here is what happens, I have tried all types of alignments Easy, One
Star, Two Star. I have levelled the mount using bubble leveler. I have
done polar alignment using the polar scope in the mount. However,
whenever the Autostar starts the alignment procedure it is always off by
asmuch as 10-20 degrees in RA and DEC, which is bearable. Once, I center
the alignment star and the Autostar flashes "Alignment Successfull", I
trying doing a GOTO to a bright star and the scope ends up very far from
the the target. I have updated the Autostar to 30E version, which I
believe is the latest and that hasn't solved the problem either. When
the scope is aligned with the Polaris using manual alignment the
tracking is pretty good, however, the GOTO still doesn't work. The only
thing which comes to my mind is that somehow the encoder wheels on the
DEC motor are malfunctioning. I just don't know what to do about GOTO. I
bought Autostar mainly for GOTO function and now I am very frustated
that it never works. Any suggestions/help would be extremely
appreciated. Thanks in advance for you time and help.

Mike here: 3.1Ee is the latest version. Since you indicate an error around 15 degrees, that can indicate a time error, usually the result of not properly setting the Daylight Savings setting. Check that. Also, check your location settings. Try using a different nearby city. If none of the above, redo the CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES steps (don't forget to do BOTH axes when training). If that doesn't help, do a RESET, CALIBRATE, and TRAIN DRIVES. I'm now using One-Star alignment on my LXD55-8"SC and am happy with that. Others have reported doing a One-Star for the initial alignment, followed by a Two-Star alignment for even better results.


Thanks for the suggestions. I will try these out tonite. I live in
Tucson,AZ which is actually in the database, so I think that shouldn't
be a problem, but I will check the Lat/Long values in Autostar against
the published Tucson location. As far time is concerned, I say NO when
it comes to Daylight settings and MST does not use Daylight Savings. I
will try both YES/NO in Daylight Saving setting just to check. Thanks

clear skies,

Subject:	What is the correct barlow?
Sent:	Sunday, February 8, 2004 02:49:46
From:	"John Kalantzis" (acent1@otenet.gr)
I am interested to buy a 2X Barlow lense for use it on my scope ( MEADE
LCD55 SC8" ) and LPI Imager. I am about to choose between MEADE #122
Barlow and MEADE #140 Barlow. Surfing in www.optcorp.com web site I find
out that the first one is best for scopes with a focal ratio of f/6 and
up, and the second is corrected for scopes with a focal ratio down to
f/4. ( As you know our scope has f/10 ). Since than I confused because
no one MEADE catalog writes somthing like this. Can you help me ?
Mike here: I'm not familiar with the #122 nor do I have the #140 but the #140 is a better Barlow Lens than the one I do have, which is the #126. I bought the #126 in 1996 when I purchased the original ETX (known now as the ETX-90RA). I've used it on my LXD55-8"SC without noticeable problems.
Subject:	Lxd55 Used with Cartes du Ciel Program
Sent:	Saturday, February 7, 2004 15:07:20
From:	"Joseph  Guerra" (jcgx530@charter.net)
I was wondering if first of all, you knew about the Cartes du Ciel
program before? If so, I have used it with my LXD55 SCT using the Meade
connector cable #505. I have found that it is alot easier to use instead
of surfing through the menus. Its accuracy is the same as autostar.
Mike here: Yes, I've heard that it is a nice program. But since it is a Windows app I don't personally use it.
Subject:	LXD55 with stripped T-handle mount threads
Sent:	Wednesday, February 4, 2004 12:52:22
From:	Mike (ktmbigdog17@yahoo.com)
I wrote you 3 weeks ago about stripped threads on the mount where the
t-handle screws in.  I'm happy to report receiving my repaired mount
with a heli-coil in it yesterday.  The made for a 20 day turnaround time
with 13 days of shipping time.  I live in Florida. 

I had initial problems with customer support, but once John Pippen at
Meade became involved everything went smoothly.
Mike Gesellschap

Subject:	reply to "lxd55 weight capacity" posted 1/31/04
Sent:	Monday, February 2, 2004 23:21:53
From:	"Penning, Jan Paul" (popules@westbrabant.net)
In response to Jim Cadien's message, my Meade spec sheets give the
following net scope weights:

AR-5 = 15 lbs; AR-6 = 27 lbs;
SN-6 = 13 lbs; SN-8 = 24 lbs; SN-10 = 30 lbs;
Furthermore the C-8 weighs about 13 lbs, the C-9.25 20 lbs.

From my own experience, the LXD55 can easily support the AR-5,
especially when you get a proper tripod (see LXD55.com -> Mount Tips).
But I can hardly imagine how it would support e.g. the SN-10 which has
twice the weight. Personally I would keep the total scope weight under
25 lbs, preferably under 20 lbs. This leaves too little room for a
guiding scope, in particular when you consider the proper guiding
magnification for the C8

Regards, Jan Paul Penning

Subject:	just cant decide
Sent:	Sunday, February 1, 2004 18:56:15
From:	"Patty" (yourpalpat@comcast.net)
hi my name is patty and first i want to tell you that your site is very
informative..learned alot. a quick question if you wouldnt mind. im
really torn on what telescope to buy the etx125 or the ldx 55 8 inch i
want to look at everything planets and deep space id also at some point
like to learn to take pictures i dont want a telescope that ill grow out
of quickly, and since you have both i thought you could point me in the
right direction. first which preforms the best and second which is
easier to use id really appreciate any info     thanks in advance..
Mike here: The ETX-125 is easier to use (due to being able to support Alt/Az mounting). The larger LXD55-8"SC will give better views over the smaller ETX-125 (obviously), although the views through the ETX-125 are still nice. As you can see on my ETX Site, the ETX-125 can do some types of astrophotography. So it may come down to price vs focal length vs aperture vs mount. And don't forget ease of setup. You may find the ETX-125 more easily moved than the larger LXD55-8"SC. You might want to visit a local telescope dealer and do a size comparison. Decisions, decisions, decisions...


thanks so much for the input i think ill go with the ldx55 i only have
to move the scope about 10 ft to use it and the best view is what im
really looking for.. again thanks,patty


sorry to bug again i emailed you last night about buying a etx 125 or a
ldx 55. theres 2 different models the sn and the sc whats a better deal 
(budget concerns) the sn with the uthc or the sc without it. thanks
Mike here: Get UHTC if you can. The SN and SC are totally different telescopes. Design and focal length are completely different and so you would be comparing dissimilar systems.
Subject:	Questions
Sent:	Sunday, February 1, 2004 16:41:14
From:	"BullFox" (bullfox@comcast.net)
Here is a really basic question,  The focal length of my 8 inch SC is
2000mm.  The tube is 400 mm long.  The light path is three times back
and forth in the tube plus about another  200mm thru the diagonal to the
eye piece and that totals only 1400 mm  What am I missing?  I thought
the focal lenght is the total lenght of the light path.

Also, I got the $99.00 evypiece deal but wound up putting the eyepieces
away and just using the case!  I bought two 1 1/4 inch Televues, a 14mm
Radian and a 24 mm  Panoptic.  I have read that the maximum
magnification is about 300x.  Do you have a recomendation for a 1 1/4
inch Televue in that range?

Also,  I solved my problem with Polaris being behind our lemon tree.  I
found that the magnetic deviation in the SF bay area is about 15
degrees,  So I got out my compass, lined up my mount 15 degrees west of
magnetic north and cut away at the lemon tree until  I could not see any
leaves thought the polar mount,  That night, Bingo! I was right on.  
Mike here: Curved optics change the effective focal length. That's what happens when you add a 2X Barlow Lens. You double the focal length without actually doubling the length of the telescope. As to maximum theoretical magnification, most people cite 50-60X per inch of aperture or the more conservative twice the aperture in millimeters. Either way, 300X is low.
Subject:	various LXD 55
Sent:	Sunday, February 1, 2004 16:06:22
From:	"BullFox" (bullfox@comcast.net)
In reponse to recent updates:  Regarding the Celestron power tank.  I
recently bought one for my LXD 55 8 inch SC and found that it works
great, however the telescope store guy said if you use it with the
supplied Celestron cord you will fry the LXD.  The polarity is wrong. 
You have to use the Meade cable that plugs into a 12 volt car cigerette
lighter plug. 

Regarding weight, I closed my tripod legs and balanced the tripod,
scope, and mount with one 10 lb. counter weight on a bathroom scale,  It
weighs about 47 lbs.  The manual shows net tripod weights of 35 lbs., 45
lbs., and 55 lbs., so that must be everything except the optical tube
with either one, two or three counter weights. The manual also indicates
the net telescope weight for the 10 inch SN is 30 lbs., and for the 8
inch SC is 24 lbs., in which case I should get 59 lbs total on my
bathroom scale.  Oh well.  The SC comes with two 10 lb. weight, but I do
ok with only one, right at the end of the shaft.  Its hard to believe
the 10 inch SN is only 6 lbs. heavier that the 8 inch SC.  I think the
problem with the 10 inch is that it is longer with most of the mass at
the ends, so its moment of inertia is a lot higher.

Subject:	play in dec shaft
Sent:	Sunday, February 1, 2004 13:26:29
From:	"Alun Halsey" (ALUN@halsey593.freeserve.co.uk)
I just received your e-mail concerning my problem with play within the
dec shaft of the lxd55 mount.

  You advised me to look in the pages of  "lxd55 tips and tricks, vol 1"
but on looking there does not seem to be any mention of removing any
play on either shaft.

  But i did find the solution within your site by going over to
lxd55.com, under the user tips section and all it needed was an
adjustment to the gear block now everything is sound.

 I thank you for your help and prompt input and keep up the great work.

   Alun Halsey

p.s. I wonder if there are any other mounts and scopes out there other
than the lxd's giving folk problems like we are getting ??

Subject:	battery pack for sc8
Sent:	Saturday, January 31, 2004 18:25:17
From:	"Dwight" (daugh@alltel.net)
Is the celestron Power Tank safe and compatible with the lxd55 sc8
telescope?  I think you have to have a specific power cord for the dc
plug, but is the volts and amps safe to use?  D cell batteries are
chewing my budget up!  Thanks
Mike here: If it supplies 12VDC 2.5A it will be OK.
Subject:	lxd55 weight capacity
Sent:	Saturday, January 31, 2004 14:09:13
From:	Jim Cadien (jcadien1@cox.net)
I am interested in knowing how much weight an LXD55 mount can handle
adequately.  I currently use a C8 on the mount and want to add a
refractor to it to use with a webcam as an autoguider.  I have looked on
the Meade site and there is no direct mention there.

However, in the specs section there is the following information:

Used with a 6" SN the total net weight is 48 lb
                  8" SN                                    69 lb

Now, if that total weight is the scope + mount & tripod and the
counterweights supplied we can say this:

SN6 + mount + 10(CW) = 48
SN8 + mount +20(CW) = 69

SN6 + mount = 38
SN8 +mount = 49


SN8 - SN6 = 11 , the difference in weight between the two scopes is 11
lb.  I don't know how much the SN6 weighs, but assuming it is 10 lb the
mount can handle at least 21 lb.  Since the mount also handles a SN10,
it must be more than 21 lb, how much I do not know.

Does this sound reasonable to you?


Jim Cadien
Mike here: Seems logical. However, I have seen some reports that indicate that the 10"SN is almost too much for the mount. It is OK for the 8"SC, which I have. I've added a 2" diagonal and a TeleVue 2" Panoptic eyepiece (certainly not lightweight) to my 8"SC without problem. You can add additional counterweights if you have a balance problem.


So you know how much your SC8 weighs?  I assume it is somewhat less than
the SN8?
Mike here: I haven't weighed it separately. But I do believe it is lighter than the 8"SN.
Subject:	play in dec shaft
Sent:	Wednesday, January 28, 2004 09:42:49
From:	"Alun Halsey" (ALUN@halsey593.freeserve.co.uk)
I am using the lxd55 mount with different ota's on board and it is
performing quite well,but i have noticed that whilst using my 5"
refractor on the mount there is a bit of play within the dec
shaft,whilst looking at the half moon i can move the image from center
to edge using a 26mm eyepiece. Can this play be sorted before it gets
worse or is it something i have to put up with ? all the locks are tight
so the bearing is moving as well.

Thank you for your brilliant web site and your help
        Alun Halsey
Mike here: You might want to take a look at the "LXD55 Tips and Tricks, Vol 1" under the LXD55 Information.
Subject:	My web page
Sent:	Friday, January 23, 2004 02:36:18
From:	"John Kalantzis" (acent1@otenet.gr)
With a lot of pleasure I sent you my web page to lern more about us.
Best regards from Volos - Greece.
John Kalantzis

Subject:	Re: Stripped Polar Alignment T-Screw
Sent:	Wednesday, January 21, 2004 15:32:25
From:	"Big Dog" (bigdog@knology.net)
The mount is on the way back to Meade.  Kind of frustrating since it
would have been easier and cheaper for both parties if they just shipped
the bottom piece that I needed.

In the meantime I have had some interesting discussions with customoer
service about the eyepiece offer.  Basically the customer service person
thinks it is unreasonable for me to expect them to process my fax in 10
days and to call me for payment since I did not want to fax my credit
card info. I was told one thing by one person and another by the next
with the second guy not willing to take my payment information.  The
second guy said he didn't want to deal with me and abruptly cut me off
by transferring my call to John Piper.  I had to leave a voicemail, but
John returned my call within a few hours and quickly resolve the issue.

I've also had to have the autostar cable replaced and the polar
alignment scope was loose.

I've been fairly dissappointed with my experience so far.  These types
of problems don't appear to be occurring with the Celestron CG-5 GT.

I'm probably going to pier mount my SN-10 and then get a CG8S-GT for

I'll keep you posted.


Subject:	RE: Meade LX range choices..
Sent:	Saturday, January 17, 2004 01:33:05
From:	"Peut Kotze" (PK@nanoteq.com)
I searched the web but can't find a comparison between the Meade 8" SC,
and the Meade 10" SN telescopes. They are more or less in the same price
category $1350 (8"-SC) and $ 1250 (10"-SN) both with UHTC. I definitely
want to do astrophotography, since they have the same GEM mounts, which
one of these will you recommend, or what is the pro's and con's between
the two.

Thank you very much, sorry to bother you with a question like this, but
I'm not sure and don't what to spend the money just to found out later I
should have made the other choice ;-)

Peut Kotze 
Mike here: Have you compared the specs on Meade's website? You will find these are two totally different telescope designs with different apertures and focal lengths. If your main interest are DSOs, go with the SN. If your main interest is planetary work, go with the SC.
Subject:	Meade LX range choices..
Sent:	Friday, January 16, 2004 05:05:03
From:	"Peut Kotze" (PK@nanoteq.com)
Thank you for a brilliant site!! I am living in South Africa and want to
buy one of the Meade telescopes in the +- $1500 price range. More
specific there are the Meade LX10 SC-8", LX90 SC-8", LXD55 SC-8", LXD500
SC-8" and the LX50 SC-8". I want to use it for planet as well as deep
space viewing AND photography. I have a Canon Digital Rebel (or 300D)
digital camera that I want to hook up.

Now my question ;-) ... which of these 8" telescopes above will you

Thank you for your time and advice.

Peut Kotze 
Mike here: Since only the LXD55 and LX90 systems have the Autostar GOTO system, I would suggest picking from those. If you want a GEM, go for the LXD55-8"SC. If you want the ease of use of the Alt/Az and the stability of the fork mount, go for the LX90. I do suggest adding the UHTC option.


Thank you for the prompt response!

In that case I'll think I go for the LDX55 SC-8.

Happy star guising
Best Regards

Subject:	lxd55 tripod ht
Sent:	Wednesday, January 14, 2004 17:11:51
From:	"Larry Chao" (larry4012@comcast.net)

My name is Larry Chao and I am considering getting an lxd55.  I got your
name from an internet search of lxd55 users.  I have a couple of
questions about this mount.  Can you help me out please?

How high is the tripod from the ground when it is fully
extended? (actual vertical distance from ground to the top of the
tripod) And how many pounds is it able to carry? My heaviest scope is
15lb and 40" long with focuser fully retracted.

I currently own an Orion Skyview Pro.  I like it but it's too short for
my refractors.  I hate being on my knees most of the time.  I am
considering getting an lxd55 because of the autostar however its
tripod height doesn't look too long either. 

Can you please help me out by measuring the height from the floor to the
top of the tripod with legs fully extended? 
Thank you very much
Larry Chao
email: danceking40@yahoo.com
Mike here: I don't use my tripod with the legs at their full height (for stability and usability reasons). I wasn't certain where you wanted the measurement but the center of the top of the GEM head OTA mounting bracket is 49" on my set up. The leg length is set for 36" and there is still 7" more available. The weight should be OK.
Subject:	Stripped Polar Alignment T-Screw
Sent:	Tuesday, January 13, 2004 20:05:29
From:	"Big Dog" (bigdog@knology.net)
I have managed to strip the threads on the mount for the poplar
alignment T-Screw.  I have only had the scope out a few times and
tonight I wanted to do a more precise polar alignment.  Basically the
south facing T-Screw came right out.  Completely stripped the threads in
the mount.  I have and SN-10. 

I've been using telescopes for 24 years now, I race off road motorcycles
and I am an engineer.  I'm not the kind of person that ever abuses
equipment or over tightens anything.  Have you heard of this happening
before?  The real killer is I was setting up my scope to show a friend
who was considering and LXD-55 with the SC-8.

BTW, thank you for your helpful site.
Mike Gesellschap
Mike here: I don't recall of hearing such a report before. But the mount head is rather soft metal so I imagine it is possible to strip the threads if the bolt had ever been overtightened.


That's the killer.  I carefully balanced the scope.  When I made
adjustments I supported the scope to take the pressure off of the
screws.  This problem blew me away.  In my youth I stripped many a bolt,
but it has been at least 6 years since I've done that.  I will be
talking with Meade tomorrow.  Why would you design a mount softer than
the bolt?    There were no warnings in the manual.

I left the bolts so loose I could have turned them without the

On a side note:  What is the best way to reduce vignetting?  I'm going
to be using an Olumpus 3040 with my scope an then hopefully a Digital
Rebel.  My intuition tells me to go with a 32 mm eye piece and zoom in
with the camera.
Mike here: Let me know what you hear from Meade. As to reducing vignetting, using the camera's zoom capability is the right answer, regardless of the eyepiece.
Subject: Polar Alignment
Date: 1/11/04, 09:43
From: Andres Valencia (avalencia_arval@hotmail.com)
I have updated the pages on the polar alignment of a Meade LXD55
telescope to include the availability of the LPI camera and its

See http://www.oarval.org/LXD55PolAlign.htm

Andrés Valencia
Observatorio ARVAL
Caracas, Venezuela

Subject:	A question for the expert
Sent:	Sunday, January 4, 2004 15:07:41
From:	"RocketMan" (FrankU@publicmissiles.com)
This question is about the LXD55 mount but here is the background

I currently have a LX50 10" and am very dissatisfied with the fork
mount, drive, wedge, and tripod. Even after sending my drive unit etc to
Meade several times, the scope will not track correctly.

I am thinking about scrapping the entire mount and putting the OTA on a
GEM mount. Ideally I would use a Losmandy G-11 but it is way to
expensive for me right now.

I have a chance to buy a used LXD55 mount right now for about $600.00
(without a OTA). Can I use this mount with my 10" LX50 OTA and get
better results than I'm getting now? Is $600.00 a fair price for the

I have a very small window of opportunity to buy this mount so if you
can, please respond ASAP. Thank you in advance.

BTW, you have an awesome site!

---Frank Rocketman Uroda

P.S. Sorry but I forgot to mention that the whole point of this for me
is astrophotography of DSOs.
Mike here: You can get a new LXD55 mount WITH telescope for nearly the same price. So if you want the tripod and GEM get a new one, not a used one. And yes, you can mount the telescope on the GEM but you'll need a proper bracket or mounting rings. Check Losmandy.
Subject:	polar alignment/trees
Sent:	Saturday, January 3, 2004 15:12:54
From:	"lynn medinas" (bullfox@comcast.net)
There are several trees around my back yard, but there is one spot that
is relatively clear in every direction but north, in which direction a
Lemon tree blocks the view of Polaris.  Is there a way to get a good
polar alignment without being able to see Polaris?  Alternatively, if I
stand with a compass in hand where I am going to set up the telescope, 
How much deviation, and in which direction, will there be between
magnetic north and the position of Polaris?  I might able to figure out
how much of the tree I have to cut to clear a line of site to Polaris.
Mike here: There are a couple of ways to get close: 1) Use the compass but correct for your location's Magnetic Variation (see the Astronomy Links page on my ETX Site for sites that provide this). 2) Set up with your best quess on where Polaris (or True North) is located, then start an Easy Two Star Alignment. When the Autostar stops slewing, pick up the telescope/tripod and move it to get the first alignment star as close as possible to where the telescope is pointed, then use the Autostar to center the star. Lastly, complete the alignment normally on the 2nd star.
Subject:	Sac7b ccd camera
Sent:	Saturday, January 3, 2004 22:37:13
From:	Richard A Folkes (r.folkes@juno.com)
How much does this camera weigh?
Mike here: I haven't weighed my SAC-IVb but it was not too heavy for the ETX. For info on that model see the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page on my ETX Site. As to the 7b, check the SAC Imaging website (http://www.sac-imaging.com/).
Subject:	Meade Autostart 4.5 Telescope
Sent:	Thursday, January 1, 2004 12:49:27
From:	"Dennis Zmijewski" (defens23@nc.rr.com)
I need a website or book with regards to using the above telescope.
Please advise with this information if available. Thank you
Mike here: I'm not familiar with an "Autostart" model. Do you have any more specifics?

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