Last updated: 26 April 2005

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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:	s/hand 10"lxd 55
Sent:	Tuesday, April 26, 2005 10:54:00
From:	m.s (uz.ere@ntlworld.com)
Hello there, im am goingto buy a 10" lxd 55 s/newtonian,with uhtc
etc.What problems should i be aware of or look for before handing over
my hard earnt dosh,list as many as you can, if there is any .Also if
there is any are they easy to correct???

thanks for your time and much appreciated knowledge
from engand
Mike here: Check the condition of the optics and the physical condition of the tube and mount. If there is no obvious damage then you can rest a little easier. But I would still do a "star test" on a real star just to check for less obvious (but easily seen problems; the stars should appear pretty much as pinpoints of light and not oblong smears). Check the general cleanliness of everything. As to the mount, check that there is no rubbing or hesitency in movement. If the optics are out of collimation (those smeary stars) you can correct that yourself. If the mount has problems, you may or may not be able to fix that.
Subject:	Feedback - LXD MOUNT and Autostar
Sent:	Friday, April 15, 2005 03:49:39
From:	Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com (Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com)
the problem you discovered with locking up or simply not working of the
Autostar did happen with my LXD55 (about 1 year old) too. I discovered
it was a simple contact problem between the Autostar cord and the
connector you plug it in in the LXD55. As the filter - which I have on
the cord - is a little bit heavy, you can run into intermittend contact
problems. Cleaning and adjusting the pins and jacks did not help, so I
simply fixed the cable into the jack with some stripes of 'TESA'. Now,
as it can't move anymore, I never got that problem again. And yes, I
never remove the Autostar from the LXD55.

May be that helps you...

Dieter from Munich, Germany

Subject:	LXD55 Question
Sent:	Wednesday, April 13, 2005 07:16:25
From:	Thompson, Dana (dana.thompson@ohio.gov)
I am considering purchasing a Meade 152mm refractor on a LXD55 mount
with the autostar tracking and it has Celestron stainless steel tripod
legs.  I intend to take digital pics (afocal-with a camera mount) of the
moon, some I'm guessing could be at over 200 power.   Any info about the
LXD55 and taking pics would be appreciated!

Dana T.
Mike here: See this LXD55 Site for lots of info, including astrophotography.


Thanks, I quess I just should have asked you if you think I should buy a
use 6" meade refractor on a lxd55 mount or hold out for a stronger

dana t
Mike here: The LXD55 6" refractor model is fine. The LXD55 holds up to the 8"SC model OK; the 10"SN model is a little bit much for the mount.
Subject:	laser pointer solution for my 8" Meade Cass.
Sent:	Monday, April 11, 2005 14:52:51
From:	George (ghammer@rochester.rr.com)
Just thought I would pass a long a tip gained from a need to mount a
green laser on my scope.

After many failed attempts to home brew a mount for my laser printer I
discovered a simple solution that bested my cleverest engineering
think/rethink.  By removing my finderscope mount and placing the laser
pointer in the bracket (screwed into the scope)  I could use nylon
screws to hold the laser pointer in place and also use one of the screws
to activate the laser (by screwing one of the screws  turn on the laser
power button).  Works Great for aligning on that star during
calibration.   I purchased a new finderscope bracket (works a lot better
than Meade solution) that OPT recommended and mounted it on the opposing
side for the best of both worlds.   Sometimes the simplest solution is
the best application.

Subject:	First Light: LXD-75 SC/8
Sent:	Monday, April 11, 2005 08:46:51
From:	Dave Wallace (d_wallace@ecrm.com)
After four months, the weather gods smiled upon me last Saturday night
(9 April 2005) and I was able to take my new scope out.  Results were

When I arrived at the observing field, I discovered that the club was
having their much-postponed Messier Marathon that night.  So there were
about three times as many people (and cars in the parking lot) as usual.
 I wound up parking on the side of the road.  Which meant I had to carry
my gear about twice as far as I'd planned.  That made the $200 or so I
spent on JMI carrying cases worth the money!

Set-up was easy.  The field is aligned north-south so getting the tripod
to point due north took only a couple of minutes with a compass.  Though
I probably could have gotten close enough for visual astronomy by just
setting the tripod square with the borders of the field.  Leveling the
tripod was not quite so easy.  The LXD doesn't have a built-in level,
but I had a small plastic spirit level in my kit.  Extracting the
various parts and fitting them together kept me occupied for about ten
minutes.  I was ready to go about thirty minutes after sunset.

Polar alignment:  I encountered my first problem attempting to polar
align the mount.  Somehow in the last four months, the reticle
illuminator got turned on. Dead batteries.  Fortunately, the sky was
still bright enough to see the reticle and at the same time dark enough
to see Polaris.  I tweaked the azimuth and made a minor correction to
the latitude setting -- not sure if I had set it incorrectly or if the
tripod wasn't exactly level.

Fired up the Autostar, set the date, time and DST, confirmed the
telescope model and made sure I'd set "targets=astronomical".  (I'd
previously done a Train Drives.)  Did an Easy alignment.  Or tried to. 
The target stars were Sirius and Capella, both were clearly visible from
my locale.  The slew to Sirius was off by around 45 degrees.  The slew
to Capella was off by 90! Re-positioned to polar home after doing a
Calibrate Motors and tried again. Same result.  So I gave up on the
Autostar and operated the telescope by controlling the drives with the
arrow keys. (More about this problem, below.)

First object was Jupiter, about ten degrees above the eastern horizon. 
By Jove, I think I got it!  Nice grouping of the moons: Io on one side
and the other three opposite.  The GRS wasn't visible that evening (it
came around the limb of the planet at about 10:30 local time.)  Jupiter
was so bright I wound up using my moon filter to cut the glare.  At
200X, there was pretty good detail visible in the cloud bands, too.  I
didn't want to push the magnification any higher because the air wasn't
all that steady and the tube was still cooling.

Second object was Saturn, almost dead overhead in Gemini.  A bit of a
challenge, given the straight-through finder.  My first attempt hit
Pollux instead.  No rings and too small.  :)  Got it on the second try,
though.  The Cassini division was plainly visible and I could see a
couple of cloud bands on the planet itself, something my ETX-90 has
never shown.  I didn't spot Titan or any of the lesser moons, but I
wasn't really trying to -- they were in the field of view.

Since it was Messier Marathon night, I decided to try for the only two
Messier objects whose locations I knew and which were visible without a
telescope: the Great Nebula in Orion (M42) and the Pleiades (M45).  M42
was easy to locate but hard to recognize -- there was more detail and
the nebula was more extensive than I'd ever seen.  I'm sure I saw five
and maybe six of the trapezium stars. On the other hand, I couldn't get
the whole of M45 in the field of my 40 mm eyepiece; it's just too big
for 50X and 44 degree AFOV.  But again, there were more stars visible in
the eyepiece than I usually see in the ETX-90 where I can get the whole
object in the field.

Mizar split without difficulty.  So did Polaris.  And that lead to a
happy surprise: I could perceive Polaris as golden yellow.  It looks
white to me in the ETX-90.  The extra aperture gathered enough light for
my color vision to kick in.  In the ETX-90, isolated stars don't
normally appear colored to me unless they are magnitude +1 or less.

Collimation was dead on, as far as I could tell (seeing wasn't perfect).
Vibration was minimal and damped quickly.  The scope basically feels
like an instrument and not a toy, as it should.  Tracking is smooth and
the scope follows the arrow keys without rubber-banding or backlash (I
can't wait to hang a camera on this sucker!).

About the pointing problem:  I'm pretty sure the error is due to having
set polar home position incorrectly.  As I said, the errors were
enormous and not consistent.  It looked to me like the Autostar knew
where north/south was but was getting east/west backwards.

For the set-up Saturday night, I started with the declination drive
motor on the right-hand side of the mount (as viewed when looking north,
i.e.: from behind the scope).  This causes the declination alignment
marks on the casting to line up.  But this orientation is controversial
-- there has been an ongoing discussion on Mike's site about which way
is correct.  The Meade manual shows pictures with the motor on BOTH
sides, so it's of little help.  If I understand GEM mounts (unlikely --
this is my first), the orientation of this motor defines which end of
the dovetail is the north end.  So what I may have done was point the
mount due south and compensate by installing the OTA onto the mount
backwards.  I plan to take advantage of the next clear evening to try
setting up with the opposite orientation and see if that fixes the
pointing problem.  I'll also make sure that the Autostar knows I'm at 42
degrees NORTH latitude.  Stay tuned...

Summary:  Optically, the 8" SC is all I hoped for and more. 
Mechanically, I have no complaints at least for visual observing; I'll
try astrophotography soon and let you know about that.  With respect to
the Autostar, the jury is still out but it's probably operator error.  I
chose this particular scope because it had the largest aperture I felt I
could comfortably transport (my home has *no* view of the sky and is
subject to much local light pollution). On first try, I was faced with a
good test of this and it passed: lugging the pieces back and forth to
the car was no hardship (with the JMI cases, at least).
Follow up:  Yes, the DEC motor belongs on the WEST side.  Once I got it
that way (which meant *ignoring* the index marks on the mount), the
Autostar found the right part of the sky every time.

Moral:  Always do a dry run indoors before taking a new scope into the
field. (Like Mike says.  :) )

Subject:	LXD MOUNT and Autostar
Sent:	Thursday, April 7, 2005 23:55:31
From:	CigTech (CigTech@verizon.net)
I Just got the LXD55-ec mount and put my Autostar on it. after I first
turned it on it worked ok. So took it out side and started the align
thing. after it went to the first star the AutoStar powered down but the
power on LED was still on. I turn it off and on a couple of time but
still the Autostar would not come on.

So I unpluged and repluged it a couple of times and it started working
again. So I started the Align thing again and it worked. After tracking
Jupiter for about flawlessly the AutoStar locked up when I hit mode to
start a new go to. It would not move, change speed or anthing. So I had
the start all over again.

I think it is being caused by the cord being pulled or moved. But this
does not alway happen just every once in a while.

I seen a post about a filter of some kind ? Is this filter on the
AutoStar cord? I do have one on the power cord but not the AutoStar. If
I get a filter from Radio Shack would this help? or could it be the cord
itsefl? Please let me know.

Mike here: There are lots of possibilities. Since it seems the Autostar is loosing partial power, the cord or the connection points would be suspect. Adding the filter would only help if interference was the cause. It was a problem on the original LXD55 models and so the Autostar that came with it had a filter on the Autostar cable. The filter was placed on the end that connected to the LXD55 control panel. If yours doesn't have the filter, try reversing the cable; sometimes that helps. Also, take a look at the pins inside the jacks (both the control panel and the base of the Autostar). If the pins are depressed they won't make good or continuous contact with the connector.
Subject:	lxd electric focuser help
Sent:	Tuesday, March 29, 2005 01:00:14
From:	Terry King (terry.king46@ntlworld.com)
I can find a focuser for ETX scopes on almost every site visited,but not
for the LXD55 8SN. Have seen sites that show home made devices, but I a
need a ready to go unit.
Any advise or help,please.
Best regards
Terry King
Mike here: I believe JMI has some for the LXD models.

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