Last updated: 31 July 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:	Stupid Question on LXD55 Mount
Sent:	Thursday, July 29, 2004 19:55:02
From:	Mike Smith (msmith0612@yahoo.com)
In reading your website, I noticed that you did graduate work at UW
Madison in meteorology. That reminded me that I took the Meteorology 101
course as the "easy" course in the fall of 1972 to balance my freshman
course load in Chemical Engineering. I got A's in everything but
Meteorology. Was that you teaching that course??????? You're probably
not old enough.

You would think that a guy with a degree from a Big 10 school could
figure this out, but.....

What's with the head on the LXD-55 mount? I just bought one of the
refurbished ones on Ebay. Looks good, I guess, except the small glue-on
scale on the RA axis is off the scope - adhesive didn't hold. That's
easy. I'm sure I can do the hyper-tune thing by myself - gears, lube,
etc. isn't hard, I don't think.

Is the head strictly designed for the LXD series scopes? I bought this
mount because I wanted a mount that I could put a variety of scopes on
(and which I still have to acquire - like the Orion ED80, maybe an
ETX125 OTA, etc.) I have an LX200 and tire of the setup / weight / etc.
and it's time for a change that just lets me VIEW once in a while.

I see some dovetails advertised - ScopeStuff, a couple of archived

Do these simply fit in the existing slot on the mount? Or do they
replace it?

Again, this seems like such a newbie question - and I'm really not. But
I haven't done mount mods before.

Sorry for the length of the email.

Go Badgers!

Thanks -

Mike Smith
Mike here: Nope, wasn't me. The GEM mount is pretty much the same as the Vixen (and others). See the "Vixen Mount Polar Alignment Instructions" on the LXD55 Site home page to prove it. Some adapters may replace the existing bracket and some might slide in.


Actually, I was asking even a more basic question. What is the
terminology? Is that the "adapter" on the top plate - the adapter for
the LXD series scopes?

I'm hesitant (somewhat) to take the top of the mount off. Are there
other "adapters" that will screw in place that will fit a variety of
scopes? I see "Televue" and "Takahashi" type "adapters" for tube rings,
etc. I think I'm looking for a dovetail-type head for the mount that
will match other dovetail-type components that I can put on other

I spent an hour on the net the other night, and as stupid as it sounds,
I ended up confused. I see dovetail adapters for the Vixen series; do
those fit into the existing LXD55 head or replace it?

Actually, why don't I just ask the direct question. I want to use this
mount as a visual-only mount - one that I can pop on a refractor, pop on
a Mak, etc. So I'll have dovetail-or-something already on the OTA's, and
need a corresponding head/adapter on the mount.

What is the best solution without spending a ton of money on something
like a Losmandy - which is meant for much heavier loads?

Any opinions? What do you use?

Thanks - Mike
Mike here: As to the mount, I haven't researched that myself but I know that many people on the LXD55telescopes group on the Yahoo Groups have talked some about other mounting modes. I just use the standard Meade LXD55 with their 8"SC on it.
Subject:	2"camera adapter
Sent:	Thursday, July 29, 2004 04:21:45
From:	Jorda126@aol.com (Jorda126@aol.com)
i want to purchase a 2"camera adapter for my lxd55 6"newtonion.will  i
need any extensions or  will the camera come to focus with just the
                                                                                   john j.
Mike here: If you mean to use a camera for prime focus or eyepiece projection photography (instead of afocal photography) that will depend upon many factors. If you know which adapter you plan to use and can determine (or guess) at its length, you can hold the camera at that distance from the telescope and see if it reaches a focus.
Subject:	RE: LXD55 RA Drift Problems
Sent:	Wednesday, July 28, 2004 19:28:04
From:	Michael A. Howell (mhowell@gvtc.com)
I did 3 star alignments prior to PEC and at least three iterations of
polar alignment, back and forth between Archturus and Polaris.  GOTO
function worked like a champ, but still need better tracking (better
alignment). Tracking, once settled in, seems to be within specs but it
is the application of hitting the "lefthand" arrow that throws the star
in motion until stopped by the pushing of the "righthand" arrow.
Michael A. Howell
Mike here: Go ahead and do a RESET. Then do the CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES again (don't forget to do both axes when training). If that doesn't solve it, try downloading 3.2Ee which could fix any possibly corrupted code in the Autostar.
Subject:	LXD55 RA Drift Problems
Sent:	Wednesday, July 28, 2004 13:24:32
From:	Michael A. Howell (mhowell@gvtc.com)
Can you tell me if this is normal, OR, how to correct the following

WHAT I HAVE:  I have a "new to me refurb" and have loaded latest
firmware 32e__, hypertuned, regreased, and installed Teflon bearings in
the mount.  I calibrated and trained motors prior to last night's setup.

PROBLEM:       After polar alignment (3 times iterative), while
attempting to  train the PEC, every time that I pushed the "left" RA
arrow for a correction the guide star just kept on going across the FOV
at the correction rate but would not stop unless I pressed the
"righthand" arrow.  I ended up training the RA PEC in one direction only
(right arrow) as well as making many corrections in DEC for my poor

Once tracking (with a less than good polar alignment) I did manage to
get at least 1 min images with little drift:


The drift seen in these images is not the problem I am talking about. 
The amount of RA movement when pressing the "left arrow" briefly, is as
if someone were holding the button down continually.

I am new to GEM mounts, having spent 7 years with my LX200 so in
learning the LXD55 I am not sure to do to correct this.  Is this
something that a complete "reset" would fix?  My refurb has obviously
had another owner in its past as the scratches, electrical tape inside
of the polar scope, and something other than black grease inside.

Michael Howell
Mike here: Those are pretty good images! I haven't yet tried PEC (haven't even updated to 3.2Ee yet). Forgetting PEC for a moment, how is tracking and GOTO with 2-star and 3-star alignments?


Tracking is not what I get with the LX200 (2min qt-2500mm or 5min at 400
routinely) but I am hoping to do much better with my little 80ED on top
of the LXD55.  Three minute images looked really bad on the alignment of
the night, but plan on improving that quality.

Alignment seems to be better than on my LX200 "classic," especially with
the 3-star alignment and the "synch" function.

But what do you know about my wandering star and the "left-hand" arrow
key? I did rest the AutoStar but haven't had the chance to try it at
Mike here: Again, forget PEC first and try 2-star and 3-star alignments. Let me know.
Subject:	Silicon glue warning-LXD55 clipectomy
Sent:	Sunday, July 25, 2004 18:23:50
From:	res05aih (res05aih@gte.net)
Just a note about using silicone adhesives near expensive optical

Most silicone glues release acetic acid vapors as they cure. This could
damage the aluminum coatings used on telescope mirrors.

A much safer silicon glue is made by Dow Corning for use around
electrical components, it is their product number 3145. This silicon is
grey in color and does not contain corrosives that could damage your

I've used this product for many projects and while it costs a little
more than other types, think about how much that scope cost you! It also
doesn't have that "run you out of the house" vinegar odor.

Hope this helps,
Tim M.

Subject:	re: Grenade view of LXD55 mount
Sent:	Wednesday, July 21, 2004 21:43:09
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
If you dig through the pages and pictures at the 
various LXD55 "fan" sites,  you'll find some of what you seek.

Among them are:
(not in order of usefulness, just in the order they're in my notes)
http://www.lxd55.com      (well, duh, as they say...)

..and googling on "lxd55" yields 56,000 hits....
(i don't think i'll list them...)

have fun

Subject:	Dew Heater on an LXD55 SC-8
Sent:	Wednesday, July 21, 2004 13:01:21
From:	lmclouth@a1isp.net (lmclouth@a1isp.net)
I have an LXD55 SC-8 and I'm thinking about getting a dew heater for it.
I already have an Astrozap flexible dew shield (with the notch) and it
works quite well.  I have a couple of questions about a dew heater and
the LXD55 SC-8:

   * Do you place the dew heater between the OTA and the bottom bar
     or do you put it over this bar?

     If you put it over the bar, the dew heater would need to be

   * Do you place the dew heater below the Astrozap dew shield or
     is it safe to put the dew shield on top of the dew heater?

     I'm thinking the latter might be okay since Astrozap now has
     a dew shield that has a dew heater built in.

Thanks for your excellent site.

Mike here: The dew heater is to heat the air near the objective so you would have to add it to the far end of any dew shield for best results. You could run it over the bar but as you noted it would have to allow for that.
Subject:	LXD75 Manual now on line
Sent:	Wednesday, July 21, 2004 09:55:38
From:	Dave Wallace (d_wallace@ecrm.com)
For all those who have been waiting, Meade has put up the LXD-75 manual
on their site:


Subject:	Grenade view of LXD55 mount
Sent:	Tuesday, July 20, 2004 13:05:43
From:	Michael A. Howell (mhowell@gvtc.com)
Do you know where I can get a grenade view (parts diagram and listing)
of the LXD55 mount without paying $30 for a video or $90 for a hypertune


Michael Howell
Mike here: Nope. Sorry.
Subject:	lxd55 allignment error
Sent:	Thursday, July 15, 2004 14:55:20
From:	Francisco Jesus Cortes Hidalgo (fcortesh@yahoo.com)
I have bought recently a lxd55 8''SC and I got some problems with the
autostar allignment.

I think I got the telescope well centered to polar and making the two
star alligment process, the first one Arcturus go past then I use cursor
keys to center; the second one Vega, and oh my god it goes near
Altair... then I use cursor keys again to center to Vega and now I make
a GOTO to other star, and the error is too big. Then I try the one star
allignmet, autostar choose polaris and after a while it says to me
"unsusecsfull alignment, can't reach" (well, something in spanish that
should be like this message).

When I turn on the autostar the initial message is "2003 Autostar

I use other battery which makes 12v DC and between 5 and 7 Ampheries
which I think is more powerfull than the common batteries.

Please what can I do? 
thank you for your help
Mike here: Have you selected the telescope and mounting in the Autostar? Have you set the proper location and date/time settings? Have you done a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES? If you can handle the English version (and have a #505 cable and Windows) you might want to consider updating to the current version from Meade's web site.


First, congratulations for your web page, it is very very usefull.

Yes, I had selected the right telescope. I can't select other mount than
"Polar". The location, date and time and saving time are right. I'll try
to update my version, I have to build or buy some cable. Do you know if
my "31s" is a very old version? I can't find a date for that version
launch on autostar. And is it old enough to have the big error I
describe you?

My steps are: (after setting the correct time/date/location/saving time
1 - balace.
2 - check motors.
3 - reset (which makes another motors check and it asks me
time/date/location etc again).
4 - train drive.
5 - axis adjustment pointing to a low mountain, for declination and
altitude. (altitude only is necesary the first time I do, after is ever
6 - I level the tripod and make the home position, which makes me not to
use the mount polar eye finder because if I do I loose the most correct
declination position so, I only use the viewfinder and telescope to
point to polar.
7 - Easy Allignment failure.

Thank you Mike.
Mike here: 3.1 should be OK for the LXD55. But upgrading won't hurt, and even give you new capabilities. I didn't see a CALIBRATE step mentioned but if I follow the other steps correctly, you should be OK. But actually you may be going a little overboard. I set up in the GEM Home position (nothing exotic for me; just set for latitude, point at roughly north), then I do the One Star Alignment, which uses Polaris to start with. That allows me to correct the north and latitude positions; GOTOs are usually good after that. I don't do all the other adjustments.

And more:

Yes, I make calibrate step before and after the resets.

Well, after cloudy nights I've tried again: * I can't do one star
allignment. When I do I can't choose other star than polaris, and it
gives me ever the same error, something like "allignment error: not

* I can do two star allignmet but how!: First home position and I choose
Arcturus, the telescope slew and ops, it goes past about 10 declination
degrees or more and some in R.A. too. After I choose the second star
Deneb or Vega it goes past about till declination for altair and not
enough altitude for R.A. Never Successful if I correct with the arrows
the correct position for each star. Successful if I correct with the
arrows only for one star and with the other I free the knobs for the 2
axis and move the telescope manually (not the mount nor the tripod ;-)

* Allign easy successful ever I do and although I correct with the
arrows the correct position.

So, I've tried three times easy allign successfully but the big
declination error persist.

I've re-trained drives again, and the same. I've tried to re-train again
and that time (only that time) making it badly and that is doing that
never reach the exact center of my current terrestrial object which is
at least 3Km(2 milles more or less). The error is the same when
alligning. And now go past the exact center of that terrestrial object.
And the error again the same when alligning.

The version in autostar shown in the display is 31s and in the back of
the keypad appears printed 26Ec.

I think that could be:
*The version.
*I've never made a right train drives (I've made 15 at
least, some of them should have been the good.)
*the board that control the motors is wrong.

The date, hour, saving time, location (Madrid/Spain), the model of the
telescope LXD55 8''SC...... the mount is "polar"... all is well filled
and indicated.

What is your opinion?
Thank you very much.
Mike here: When using One Star, it aligns on Polaris to start with (follow the prompts on the Autostar display). Beyond that, from your descriptions it has got me stumped. If you are OK with the English version, maybe you want to upgrade to 3.2Ee.
Subject:	Interesting Info...
Sent:	Wednesday, July 7, 2004 11:35:03
From:	WarpedCorp (warpcorp@swbell.net)
Just got off the phone with Meade - long technical conversation.  Some
interesting info regarding the new version of AutoStar software and the
LXD75 mounts.  I didn't know if it would be appropriate to post - and
again you may already know this... so, I'll let you make the call since
you seem to have the connections... and you two know the AutoStar as
well as anyone on the planet.

First, said there is a possibility that some 75's will ship before the
end of the month... just taking longer than expected.  Substantially
beefier castings necessitated by the addition of the bearings.  Load
factors should handle the SN10 with no problem.  Biggest caveat with the
SN10 or heavier scopes is the momentum they induce and the energy needed
to start and stop them.  Quiet slew eliminates this problem.  Motors on
the new 75's have been improved and are smoother.

Biggest factor is the change in the software which corrects an error in
one of the algorithms used to compute goto coordinates.  It seems in the
previous software that the closer you were to a perfect polar alignment,
the less accurate your goto calculations would be.  If you were
"perfect" in the polar alignment, this problem did not exist.  However,
close but not perfect was a problem.  The new version of the software
fixes this problem so a one star with repetitive slews back to Polaris
should be the preferred method of alignment if someone is interested in
really good polar alignment and accurate goto's.

Really sounds like Meade has gotten their ducks in a row with this new
mount and software.  He said their biggest problem is that with the
mount priced where it is it attracts too many newbies which have no
understanding or experiences with GEMS which are by far the best type of
mount but demand the most from the user in setup and alignment.

Just FYI....

From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
I think what you sent is/was perfectly appropriate to post,
however, it has one ambiguity... by : 
>  The new version of the software fixes this problem...
do you mean the firmware which was just released (32Ea),
(which i expect they're loading like mad)
or  The Firmware Which Is Yet To Come?
> ...ducks in line...
Never walk behind a line of ducks in bare feet....
have fun

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