Last updated: 31 March 2004
Mike here: If you have sent me email and not received a reply, usually within a day (and many times within just hours or even minutes), then your message was classified as SPAM and deleted unread. Now why would I do that? See the Email Etiquette page for more info.
Subject: SN-6 LXD55 Polar Alignment Question Sent: Monday, March 29, 2004 21:34:27 From: Howard Zelizer (email@example.com) These questions will amply demonstrate my total confusion about setting up the LXD55 (SN-6), polar alignment, and telescopes in general, but here it goes anyway: The scope is in the home position (both little arrows aligned on both axes).I level my tripod, point it due north, sight Polaris in the polar scope and adjust latitude and altitude handles to line it up on the illuminated graticule. Should I now be able to see Polaris through a 32mm plossl (~2 degree FOV), should I be able to see it through my 6x30 finderscope? Assuming I've aligned the mount correctly (granted, a BIG assumption), what is adjusted incorrectly if I'm supposed to see Polaris at this point, but I can't? Do I simply adjust RA and DEC until I do, and then lock them both and proceed with "Easy" autostar setup I've tried reading the miserable instructions so many times I know it by heart, but I'm still not clear on whether I'm even close to setting it up right. How does the "Axis Alignment Procedure" affect all of this (again the instructions are beyond abysmal) Needless to say any help you might provide would be greatly appreciated. One additional question, the focuser on my SN-6 has a little lateral play in it, to the extent that, with a large lens and barlow, if I use a laser collimator and collimate it in one orientation then flip the scope to the opposite orientation (focuser to the right of scope, then focuser to the left of scope)the collimation is off again (using the Orion Lasermate Deluxe the laser beam becomes visible again requiring as much as an 1/8 of a turn adjustment to one of the primary adjustment screws). Is this normal for this scope, or should I be sending the OTA back to Meade? Thanks, Howard ZelizerMike here: First off, do you intend to use the Autostar or are you planning to not use it for alignments and tracking? I ask because that makes some difference in the degree of accuracy required on the polar alignment. If you always intend to use the Autostar, forget about using the polar alignment scope (at least until you get more experience with your telescope and astronomy in general). You still need to put the telescope in the Polar Home position (are you unclear about that?) and then follow the Autostar alignment steps. I like the One Star alignment mode personally. The scope slews to point to where it thinks Polaris is in the sky and then you manually (by moving the tripod head) put Polaris in the finderscope and then the eyepiece. (Of course, it helps tremendously if you have previously aligned the finderscope to the telescope; I recommend doing this in the daytime on a distant object.) Once you have centered Polaris in the eyepiece, just follow the prompts on the Autostar. Also, the telescope's optical axis should be aligned with the polar axis of the tripod (which it may or may not be from the factory; mine was OK). As to the focuser, do you mean that the one screw that holds the eyepiece in place is allowing some side-to-side motion? Some small movement is normal if you wiggle the eyepiece. That could affect collimation using a laser pointer; which is one reason to not use it.
Thanks for the advice, I am using Autostar and I'll give the One Star Alignment a try as soon as clouds clear, this weekend hopefully. Howard Zelizer Wading River, NY
Subject: light pollution filters for camera lens Sent: Monday, March 29, 2004 15:43:29 From: Jorda126@aol.com can i use step up or step down rings to mt a 2" LPF to a 55mm lens? i realize one is metric and one is regular.but is there a ring close enough in size to work? johnMike here: Yes, that should work. Check your local camera store; they should have selection of rings that might be adapted.
Subject: questions on colimating sct8" Sent: Tuesday, March 23, 2004 14:21:00 From: "organgrinder" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hello, I was wondering if you could help me with a few questions about collimating the SC 8". I should receive my scope in the next few days, will I have to collimate it or will it be set from mead factory? What causes the scope to loose its collimation? im sorry to be a pest but your obviously experienced in using telescopes. yours faithfully S.Pugliese (UK)Mike here: Normally you should not have to recollimate the SCT. Telescopes can get out of collimation over time from use or abuse.
Subject: Fwd: very nice site!! Sent: Saturday, March 20, 2004 17:13:09 From: organgrinder (email@example.com) hi there, my name is salvatore, i live in england and i was browsing the net for info on telescopes and found your site (now in fav's) I have orderd my MEAD lxd55 SCT 8" and am awaiting its dilivery with bated breath!! as soon as i get a new digi-cam i will send you some pics of the telescope all the best Salvatore Pugliese p.s Organgrinder is my nick
Subject: My LXD55 story Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2004 07:55:19 From: Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com I have been working with my MEADE ETX-125EC now for about 1 1/2 years and I am very satisfied with it. This 5 inch Maksutov-Cassegrain, small and portable in size but with f/15 is an excellent instrument for relatively BRIGHT and SMALL objects that allow / need HIGH MAGNIFICATION (e.g. sun, moon, planets, bright GC's, PN's, double stars). On the other hand it would be nice to have an instrument for relatively WEEK and EXTENDED objects that should be viewed with LOW MAGNIFICATION. I studied a lot of articels on the web (not only on Mike's sites) and last but not least - my bank account - and decided for the MEADE LXD55 Schmidt-Newtonians. This was December last year and at that time not a single LXD55 SN-10 was available in whole of Germany. So I ordered one at my local dealer to be shipped from the States. It took me TWO MONTHS of waiting until the scope arrived. My first expression, when I picked up the two boxes at the dealer was: is that big and heavy; how do I get it in my little car. But it worked. When I opened the boxes at home I found the 'quality labels' that had been added when MEADE Germany checked the device. I don't know what they checked but definitly not the RA motor. As soon as I put power to the device the motor would start to move jerky and with bad noises. I checked if I had setup something wrong, did a reset and wanted to train the drives - but how to train a drive that's moving jerky even in TERRESTRIAL mode... What a bad day. As my ETX Autostar showed the same behaviour I took the LXD55 mounting back to my dealer the next day. More than two weeks later I convinced my dealer to not wait for MEADE's return but exchange the LXD55 mounting. Back at home I put all together again, setup the Autostar, trained the drives and waited for the next clear night - all was fine and a broad grin of satisfaction came to my face. Yesterday - quarter of a year after ordering the scope - I stood in my garden at a clear, warm spring night and switched the power on - nothing happened. I checked all, unplugged the Autostar and power device and plugged in again. The Autostar gave me a 'beep' and I started to ... MOTOR FAULT. Well, to keep a long story short, I took everything back into the house and found bent contacts in the RJ socket for the Autostar. Probably my exchange mounting came from the exhibition room. I fixed it and kept in mind: a motor fault may occur because of bad RJ connector socket contacts! So finally I had my 'first light'. The view of M42 was great; I saw with my EYES as much as I had PHOTOGRAPHED with my ETX-125EC. A turn to Saturn showed it together with five moons and surrounded by many stars. Some experiences, dos and donts, pros and cons, opinions and reality: 'The LXD55 is beyond it's limits with a 10 inch Schmidt-Newtonian' = absolutely NOT; it's sturdy and if you have balanced everything well it tracks smoothly 'The tripod is much to week' = it's not sturdy but it's firm enough - especially if you keep the legs short (what I do with my ETX as well) 'You can't do astrophotography, the tracking is too bad' = that may be true for someone doing a 30 minute exposure, but for us 'webcamers' it's extremely good 'Forget the bad focusser! = if you have your 'microfocusser' in your fingertips you can do it (I'm not using a flexible or electronic focusser on my ETX too) 'It's extremely loud' = that is true, if you keep it the standard setting; I switched to 'quiet mode' and now every noise it makes is MUCH more quiet; if it's tracking you definitly do not hear it at all! The optics of the 10 inch are extremely good - as I have expected from a MEADE product. In the manual you don't find a word about how to use the polar finder. But fortunately we have Mike's site. I'll check the instructions there. Setting up the scope for abservation takes less time than I'd expected. If you do a quick and dirty alignment you may be ready in 15 minutes. Be carefull to move the whole thing; it's heavy (about 40kg / 85 lbs!) The 6x30 straight finder scope hardly can be used without bumping your head at the tube; I'll replace it some day. It's a good idea to use a 12V / 7Ah lead-gel rechargeable accumulator instead of batteries. You have to get aquainted to the 'thinking GoTo'. An ETX moves both axis simultaneously until it reaches the destination, the LXD - because of the GEM - has to take care not to bump at something so it may start the RA motor, stop, start the DEC motor, stop, etc. Don't take a saw and cut the focusser (as I thought I would have to do yesterday to get the webcam in focus), you can unscrew the extension tube from the focusser. But unfortunately you will have to screw it in again for using a Barlow lense; a longer way to go in and out would have been fine. To my astonishment the scope hardly needed recollimation after the transport, so having done it once I think I will not have to collimate again. Take care not to 'center all'; the f/4 design requires some offset; read the manual for it. The MEADE SWA 24,5mm as well as a 9mm UWA give fine dotted views of stars for at least 2/3 of the field, so the Schmidt correction plate works fine. So for the final conclusion after 'first light' (after the first quarter of a year...): It's a great telescope (great in any way) that I will use for DSO in my garden, probably not taking it with me in the fields. As Mike always says 'the best telescope is the one that gets used' it may be a 50:50 between the LXD and the ETX. Thanks for your patience reading this long article and I hope to post some pictures soon... Dieter Wolf (Munich, Germany)
Subject: collimation, mount Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2004 21:58:27 From: "J Smar" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Two questions for you - 1.) I have a LXD 55 Schmidt-Newt. I purchased an Orion laser collimator. I realize collimating a Schmid-Newt is slightly different than a standard Newt. When I collimate with a laser collimator as instructed, is the collimation accurate (concerned about the 1/8" offsets) ? Images seem to be very sharp with the laser collimator. 2.) During last night's session, I beleive I have discoverd a problem with my mount. When I slewed to M37 and did a spiral search, because image was not even close, I confirmed that one of my axis seems to be "slipping". I say confirmed, because this happened the last time I was out also. I am almost sure it is the R.A. axis. I seem to recall something on your site about a slipping gear, but I'm not sure. Do I need to send the mount back to Meade, or can this somehow be fixed? If the R.A. gear is "floating" somehow, it should be an easy at-home fix. When I brought the mount inside later, I plugged it in and slewed in both axis, with very slight pressure from my hand on the mount, to see if I could re-create this, but there seemed to be no slippage. I know I am not goofy - one axis was slipping. Help? Thanks!Mike here: I've never used one of laser collimators so can't speak to that. On my LXD55 Home Page under the LXD55 Information is the article "Fixing a Slipped RA Gear".
Subject: Re: 201xt AutoGuider Date: 3/9/04, 23:20 From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org > Is there a way to interface the Meade 201XT Autoguider to the LXD55 Mount / > AutoStar 497? If so, what else would be needed? I've never seen a 201XT, does it have the "standard Meade CCD" autoguider port? (a 6-pin RJ11) If so, that will interface with a $50 Meade 909 APM module, which should/could/might/might-not work with an LXD55 (i think operation has gotten -worse- with newer firmwares) Meade software-blocks operation of the 909 APM with all models of telescope -except- the LX90 and (used to be) LXD55. But the LXD55 operation is unsupported, and is reportedly erratic. (if you read the LXD55 group's early postings, this was discussed, and a couple of members bought 909's with not-great results. (it moved, but not accurately). have fun -dick
Subject: Fwd: drive problem Sent: Sunday, March 7, 2004 14:19:44 From: Paddytee@aol.com hi i wrote to you about my mirror about it smearing but i got it sorted out now. I have a new problem with my dec drive. When i got the telescope(lxd55 sct meade) the drive worked ok but now the drive won't drive now. The wheels will turn but it will not turn the scope. What could be the problem Can i fix it myself and how? On your website you tell of how to fix the rec dive but not the dec drive. I could use you help. Thank you. PATRICK TIERNEYMike here: Fortunately, I haven't had a DEC drive problem so had no need to remove it. But check the LXD55 Portal (link on the LXD55 Site home page); under their FAQ/Support section is a page "LXD55 Drive Mount Pictures" with photos.
Subject: Sn LXD 55 10 electric focuser Sent: Friday, March 5, 2004 10:31:22 From: "williamh50" (email@example.com) I am a new armature After 3" scopes I made a big jump to the 10" sm LXD 55. From some of the horror stories I've read on line I am one of the lucky ones my scope came in with no problems. I am planning to build a building to house my scope this summer and I need to know if JMI is the only electric focuser made for my scope. Or is it a good focuser I have ran several searches on line and can't find anymore. William H. CaudillMike here: All the reports I recall seeing were positive about the JMI one. They are a good company.
Subject: LDX55 Conversion Sent: Thursday, March 4, 2004 09:16:35 From: "Nicholas Georgakopoulos" (firstname.lastname@example.org) I've enjoyed and learned a lot from your site. I wonder if you have an answer to a peculiar question. A friend of mine has a Celestron 8" optical tube with a non-computerized tripod. He wants to use his tube on my goto LXD55 tripod (on which I have the Meade 8" Smith-Newtonian scope), but we do not know if the Celestron mount would work with the dovetail that Meade has on the LXD55 tripod. If they will not fit, do you have any ideas on how I might find an adaptor? Thanks, NicholasMike here: I don't know if there would be a direct match but I have seen reports that people either made one or came up with other solutions for mounting non-Meade OTAs.
Subject: ldx55 motor source Sent: Wednesday, March 3, 2004 18:19:37 From: Terry Garbutt (email@example.com) Last year I bought some DS motors and a cg5 mount hoping to update to an autostar mount. Unfortunately someone stole my cg5. I recently bought a EQ6 mount and am looking for LDX motors. (unfortunately the ds motors aren't an easy retrofit. do you know of any source of ldx55 motors. Thanks for your assistance. TerryMike here: Try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page on my ETX Site).
Subject: gps Sent: Wednesday, March 3, 2004 11:09:23 From: "G.J. Scheffer" (firstname.lastname@example.org) do you have any experience with a seperate gps device which can be connected to the Autostar of the LXD 55? I saw an advertisement of this device here in the Neherland which should be automatically recognized bij the autostar? regards Gert Jan SchefferMike here: I don't have any experience but you can read reviews on one on the Autostar Info page on my Sites.
Subject: Hartmann Mask? Sent: Sunday, February 29, 2004 20:47:34 From: kevin keyes (email@example.com) I looked over your description of how you made your "Hartmann Mask". I would like to make masks for my ETX-125 and also for my Celestron 80st. I was wondering how you determined how big and where to locate the holes? Is there a general rule of thumb for these measurements? Getting the optimal focus is a must. Thanks, KevinMike here: Make them as big as the diameter and any obstruction allows. If you have two holes put them opposite each other.
Subject: Info Motor LXD 55 Sent: Saturday, February 28, 2004 08:59:43 From: Sandro Sandro (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hi, I would like to know where I can purchase the motor LXDs 55 (understood the encoder); I have not succeeded in finding them yet. Thanks.Mike here: Try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page on my ETX Site).
Hi, where have you bought the motor LXDs 55? This is the answer of www.optcorp.com /: ********************************************* Hello Sandro Unfortunately, at the present time Meade does not sell the motors and encoders separately, although we do sell the #497 AutoStar. There are digital setting circles available for many types of telescopes, but these are not "go-to" systems. Thank you for your interest in OPT. Craig ******************************************* Thanks.Mike here: That's true; Meade doesn't sell them. But Telescope Warehouse might have some. Have you tried them as I suggested?
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