Last updated: 30 June 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:	run away scope
Sent:	Saturday, June 25, 2005 14:44:01
From:	ROBERT WARD (npwtennis@yahoo.com)
i bought a used lxd55 sn10 and it is my first scope. when you try to use
the autostar after alignment it just takes off like it is out of
control. i took it to an astronomy shop they said something about
declination run away.what is this and what can i do to fix it.thanks
Mike here: There may be a simple cure. Whenever the batteries are changed or you change to a different power source (batteries to AC, for example) you need to do a CALIBRATE MOTORS from the Autostar. Then you should do a TRAIN DRIVES. Let me know if those don't fix the problem.

And an update:

mike this did fix the problem. i did not do it my self but i told
someone with alot more knowledge in this area he did what you said and
now it seems to work fine thanks for your help

Subject:	how to increase back focus on SN-10
Sent:	Tuesday, June 21, 2005 20:17:23
From:	jalesce@bellsouth.net
I really dig your website.  You have an uncanny wealth of knowledge
here.  Anyway, I own a LXD-75 SN-10 scope.  I want to start take
pictures with it, so I purchased a Meade off-axis guider and 9mm
illuminated reticle and coupled it to a Minolta 35mm SLR that I already
owned.  The camera has no problem with prime focus when attached
directly to the scope, but when I add the off-axis guider, I can't focus
in enough to make the image clear.  Will adding a barlow or focal
reducers of some sort correct the problem?  I do not really want to do
this afocally. But if push comes to shove, is there some place where I
could purchase a 55mm filter thread to T-thread adapter?
Thanks a lot,
Birmingham, AL 
Mike here: A Barlow Lens or Focal Reducer may or may not extend the focal plane enough for use with that combination. Perhaps someone will have a solution that works. As to the adapter, try Scopetronix; they have many solutions.
Subject:	Ten inch Meade SCT on the LXD 55
Sent:	Saturday, June 18, 2005 19:41:21
From:	Dean (deandddd@uol.com.br)
I sent this e-mail to the LXD 55 list. I havent really gotten much

I have recently mounted a ten inch SCT on an LXD 55, but it seems to be
off when I leave the area where I synchronized. Is this flexure caused
by weight?

Do you know of anyone who has successfully mounted a ten inch SCT on the
LXD 55? I would like to communicate with such a person.
--- In LXD55telescopes@yahoogroups.com, "deandddd" wrote:

Who has experience with a ten inch Meade SCT on the LXD 55? We are still
working on orthogonality in relation to the tube and dovetails, we arent
exactly there yet.

But it seems to me that the actual mount and shaft might be giving way
to some kind of flexure with the ten incher on. When we go outside of
the hemisphere where we have synchronized, and down towards some other
horizon, the goto loses accuracy. This doesnt happen with the 9.25 SCT

Thanks for the advise,
Mike here: Have you properly counterbalanced with the extra weight?


Oh yes, 30 lbs.

Mike here: Have you done the "LXD Adjust" procedure? Might help.
Subject:	Re: LXD75 GOTO accuracy problems.
Sent:	Saturday, June 18, 2005 10:42:46
From:	Gilbert Chang (gilbertchang@gmail.com)
I've just finishing testing my LXD75 mount in my front yard.

First, a recap of what I've done since my last posting :

1. Upgraded AutoStar to 3.4Ec.
2. Did another RESET right after the 3.4Ec update
3. Did calibration and drive training (used the tip of a lightning
arrestor on a water tower a mile away, with 8mm EP + 3xBarlow)
4. Applied some lithium grease on the gears - smoother and quiter
5. Fresh new set of batteries for the drives
6. Did 1 indoor testing, without OTA & Counterweights - put masking
tapes on RA + DEC circles (ref my previous postings), the RA+DEC
drives are functioning and did return to all previous positions
accurately (although RA markings were sligntly off due to the
tracking). Drives checks out OK.

FYI, I'm using a Meade 826 8inch f/6 Newtonian OTA, LXD75 mount +
original pier, 8x50 finder, Rigel finder.

This was what I did for my outdoor testing (18 June 2005, 11:35pm
GMT +8)) :

1. Setup, level the mount, balance, power up & selected Easy Align.
2. Slew to Arcturus, approx 6 deg off. Centered it and hit ENTER
3. Slew to Antares, closer, 3-4 degrees off, Centered it & hit ENTER
4. Align Successful.
5. GOTO Arcturus - off a bit, centered it, then SYNC
6. GOTO Antares - dead center on 26mm EP!
7. GOTO Vega - 5-6 degrees off, centered it & SYNC
8. GOTO Antares - 4 degrees off
9. GOTO Arcturus, slightly off, Centered & SYNC
10. GOTO Antatres, slightly off center in 26mm EP
11. GOTO Vega - 4-5 degrees off
12. GOTO M7 - slightly off the FOV in 26mm EP
13. GOTO Jupiter - 1.5 degrees off
14. GOTO Moon - 0.25 degrees off
15. GOTO Antares - dead center again!

Alternating between Arcturus + Antares seems OK. Going to Vega seems
to be consistently way off. How do you explain this ?

General conclusion - much has improved since my last attempt. The
past week has been very cloudy. Finally had the chance to do the
outdoor testing tonight. I am quite pleased with this GOTO
performance this time (thanx for all your feedback and
encouragement!)... just need to find out why Vega is still way off.
Mike here: If the LXD75 has it (the LXD55 does), you might try a "LXD75 Adjust" procedure from the Autostar.
Subject:	lxd55 sc8 problems
Sent:	Friday, June 17, 2005 04:25:38
From:	ron grguric (rongatlga@yahoo.com)
thanks for taking the time to answer this question.

i hava a Meade sc8  on the lxd55 mountt  that is aprox 2 years old.
purchased new.  for the past 2 weeks the Hi precision mode had been
totally unusable.  i tried to slew to know locations  such  as m13  or
m57  and the scope points in a totaly different locatiin. I called Meade
and they suggested  not using Hi precision. i have reset the scope twice
trained the drivetwice  and calibrated the motors . short of returning
the moung to meade ,  which i do NOTwant to do  is there anything i can
do to correct this error? thaks again for you help  you can respond at
your  comvience to      rongatlga@yahoo.com
Mike here: Without using High Precision, how is the GOTO and tracking accuracy? What version of the Autostar ROM do you have?
Subject:	Re: LXD-55 Reverse Polarity Woes
Sent:	Tuesday, June 14, 2005 21:32:57
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
A further thought: since it's difficult to tell how much damage was
done (you've got two motor control cards, plus the Autostar, and
the PIC chips on all three are custom chips unavailable elsewhere...)
this may best be handled by Meade.  They have a flat-fee repair price,
and it makes you elegible for the "Sky Assurance" program.

good luck
From:	Damian Kessler (akaredbeard@mindspring.com)
Thanks for the feedback and the hints.  Yeah, I guess expediency won out
over caution in this case.  When I put the cable together I (being
inexperienced) didn't realize that simple red/black color coding would
be inadequate at dusk by flashlight.  The engineer in me knows that the
right way would be to install a polarity protected connector to the
battery and an inline fuse.  I also think that Meade should have the
same or a protection diode at least.  But, as I've said, since I was in
a rush to make it work I did what I could.

I removed and separated the halves of the RA motor/connection box.  I
immediately noted the encoder wheel and how fragile it is.  (Note to
others-DON'T TOUCH THE ENCODER WHEEL)  There is a small circuit board 
with the connectors mounted to it that did indeed have a fried trace
making an open circuit.  The circuit diagram that you pointed me to at
http://m1.aol.com/kewtasheck/powerpanel.html  for the LX90 power panel
may be helpful if Meade uses a similar design for the LXD-55.  I guess
I'll find out when I get a chance to get in there and repair the trace. 
If that doesn't work, then it'll have to go back to Meade...

Again, thanks for the help and advice.

Damian K.
And more:
Again, thanks for the information and the help.  I wish I could better
document what I did but the outcome was success.  The Autostar and mount
are working again and there don't appear to be any anomalies.

The problem appeared to be solely the burned through trace on the
connector board in the mount.  That one trace must have acted as a fast
blow fuse and protected the main motor control card and components. 
Just as a precaution, I desoldered the power switch to see the opposite
side of the board.  What I found there was evidence of heating-enough to
remove the green coating over one of the traces there.  Fortunately, it
had not blown as had the other one on the other side of the board.  My
fix was to apply solder to the non-blown trace just to make sure and to
solder a 26 ga. Wire jumper across the open trace.  After assembly
everything worked fine.

Wouldn't it be nice to entertain the fantasy that Meade designers
purposely made that trace marginally sized to act as a protection fuse
for just this case?  Yeah, it's just a fantasy....

Anyway, lesson learned and thanks again.    

Damian Kessler
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
Excellent news and congrats....thanks for letting us know.
Be careful!!

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H45 (Petit Jean Mountain South)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain)
My fantasy (or question): why didn't you replace it with a FUSE,
instead of a piece of (now MUCH thicker) wire?

have fun
---dick (do as i say, not as i do...)

Subject:	LXD-55 Reverse Polarity Woes
Sent:	Tuesday, June 14, 2005 14:26:54
From:	Damian Kessler (DKessler@sbs.com)
First off I've gotta say you have a really great site and the
information is excellent.  In searching the web for Lxd-55 and Autostar
info your site is simply the one to go to.  Thanks lots and keep up the
good work.

What I'd like to ask is this:  I powered my LXD-55 mount with a 12V
motorcycle battery successfully until, the other night when it was
almost dark and my red terminal/clip color coding was nigh invisible, I
reversed the polarity.   You've heard this story before and the answer
is usually "contact Meade".  But, what I wanted to ask is if anyone,
maybe D. Seymour, has reverse engineered the motor control circuitry
enough in the mount to be able to provide a circuit diagram-even a
partial one?  I think I could repair it if I had that.

It's not clear, but from your site it sounds like the circuitry draws
lots of current when reversed polarized and traces on the board get
vaporized.  Those are something I could repair and even do component
replacement if needed.  But I have to know what they are first.  So, any

I suspect I know why Meade doesn't put in a protection diode.  They
don't want even that small voltage drop in the system in order to get
the most out of the cheesy battery packs..The mount worked very well
using the battery  but moved slow and sounded labored with the D-cell
pack even when the batteries were new.  The mount has been "hypertuned"
so it wasn't a friction issue

Any help would as you know, be greatly appreciated..
Damian Kessler
Mike here: Ouch. You could possibly purchase a replacement board from a place like Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page on my ETX Site). As to repairing it, we'll see what Dick or Dr. Clay Sherrod have to say.


Thanks mucho for the help.  I tried to put on an observing session for
my scout troop when it happened and ended up doing it manually without
tracking so I'd like to get it back online ASAP
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
(the following three  lines are to impress upon Mike's -other- readers
things to consider (or avoid), you're already in a world of hurt)

No fuse, huh?  Depending upon color coding in the dark, huh?
Not using polarity protected connectors?
Murphy stalks the ill-prepared astonomer...

Well, what's done is done... 
however you -may- be able to repair it yourself.
Frequently it's only the circuit board traces on the power panel
which blow away (act as fuses).. although sometimes its parts
of the Autostar itself which die.

A close-enough-for-repair diagram of the power panel distribution
is at Janet Miller's LX90 site, at the bottom of her pin-out page:

I don't have detailed circuit diagrams of any of the scopes, sorry
(except the LX200gps, someone posted a set to the Yahoo group).

good luck
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
Thanks...and well stated!

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H45 (Petit Jean Mountain South)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain)

Subject:	A Novice astronomer Just getting Started
Sent:	Monday, June 13, 2005 13:21:15
From:	Charles Durrwachter (old_cedar@durrwachter.com)
I am a semi retired Chemical Engineer looking at the Meade LXD75 SN-10"
and a Meade Deep Sky Imager using the AutoStar Suite software.  I was
pleased to find your page concerning the use of the software with VPC/MS
2k.  I too am a Apple user from early 80's for similar reasons.  Albeit
I started with a Mac 128 that went thru a number of Hardware iterations
before I moved the office onto networked SE 30's in '88.  Although I
officially closed the business in 2000 I still have a number of Macs and
to my wife's amusement keep getting more.   I am wondering if you have
furthered your work on this and how has the imaging progressed?  Also
does AutoStar Suite work in VPC/MS XP?

I am somewhat disabled due to old injuries, and thus was hoping to be
able to set up the system outside of my office and view and navigate
from within to avoid the mosquitoes and other nighttime critters.  I
live in a some what remote woodsy area on 10+ acres with a fair view of
the sky.  It looks like the system might do that adequately for me, such
that we could view the images from my Computer Screen.

I have also looked at several image softwares [i.e. AstroArt, SXV
Software, etc.] but all seems geared to MS OS.  Could images captured by
the CCD be enhanced equally  in Photoshop?

My younger brother Mark is the rabid astronomer in the family he has
built his own 16" and is thinking about a 20".  He retired last year.

---------- *** ----------
Charles Durrwachter
ChE and FSA
---------- *** ----------
If you need a hand, you know where I am.
Mike here: Hi. I too started with the Mac 128K and that was while I was still using my Apple II+. As to VPC, nope, haven't done more with it. And yes, Photoshop can do a good job, even if you have to do some stuff manually. There is an excellent Photoshop book for astrophotography, see the Accessory Reviews: Books on my ETX Site for more info.


Thanks for your reply.

Subject:	LXD75 GOTO accuracy problems.
Sent:	Thursday, June 9, 2005 09:57:25
From:	Gilbert Chang (gilbertchang@gmail.com)
I'm having goto problems since I received my LXD75 5 weeks ago. I am not
sure it is me or the mount.

I have read almost all the recent postings at your web site, they were
very helpful but I still cannot seem to get my LXD75 to point accurately
i.e. to be consistently in the FOV of my 24mm eyepiece for any object.

My first 2 nights out were not OK. I found out that the set screws for
the DEC motor is loose and got it fixed.

Subsequent nights out - reset, calibrate, train drive. Did 3 star
alignment - Rigel Kent, Antares, Hadar. All 3 are off the FOV, I
centered all 3.  After that I did a GOTO Rigel Kent (it was 2.5 deg
off), Antares - way off (several FOV!), Goto Jupiter - it was 2 deg off
(I was using a Rigel QuickFinder, it was at the edge of the  outer
circle). I centered it, used 8mm EP, tracking was OK, left it there for
15 mins, came back, still centered. Goto Rigel Kent, it was way off.

Later I did some tests indoors to check on the accuracy. I used masking
tape to RA and DEC circles (both sides of each circle) and I did a 3
star allignment and mark each star position with a line across the
masking tapes on RA and DEC circles. After the initial alignment, I
issued several GOTOs i..e my 3 star alignment stars were - Rigel Kent,
Vega, Rigel Kent (marked all 3 with a line on RA + DEC circles). Then
goto Jupiter, marked position on circles, GOTO Rigel Kent, the lines I
marked earlier match up exactly on RA + DEC. Goto Vega, the lines match
up (RA is slighly off becuase of the tracking tho).  Goto Regulus,
marked the position. Goto Jupiter, marked position. Goto Regulus, lines
match up. Goto Rigel Kent, lines match again, Goto Jupiter again, lines
match up exactly. I observed the gears and drives operating, there were
not backlashes. I have not reset the Autostar since the incident the
night before.I did not use any arrow keys to center these stars. I just
hit enter to accept each star as aligned.

I did the above tests with and without the OTA, the results are the

My questions :

1. With the above "experiment" can I conclude that there is nothing
worng with the RA + DEC drives ?
2. The only difference between my indoor exercise and my outdoor
experience is that I used the arrow keys to adjust and center the
alignment stars. Can that be the cause of the problem ?
3. I did ensure that the mount is level (with a bubble level as
suggested) and ensure that the OTA is pointing north, I used a compass.
Is there anything else I should check to ensure that the home position
is correct ?

FYI I live near the equator and Polaris is not visible. Autostar version
is 3.2Ea.

Appeciate your advice. Thank you.

Gilbert Chang
Mike here: Yes, it sounds like the drives are OK. I have tried two techniques and the second one does seem to give the best results. 2 Star Easy Align, and a 1 Star Align followed by a 2 Star Easy Align. You might try that. Also, I suggest updating to the latest ROM from Meade's site, 3.4Ec.


Will update the software, then retest indoors with and without OTA. Then
I'll take it outdoor and do it again.

I will double back on the mount setup to see if I missed out on any
critical things.

FYI, my OTA is an 8" f/6 from my old Meade 826 Starfinder. I used back
the old pier but the mount is an LXD75 one.

Subject:	lxd 55 scope
Sent:	Wednesday, June 8, 2005 10:06:03
From:	kevin phillips (commanderkev@hotmail.co.uk)
hi there my name is kevin phillips i live in London. i have been into
astromomny since i was 10 myears old but never taken it very seriously.
now i have and over the last few years my scopes got bigger and bigger.
now i am a pround owner snice last year 8 inch LXD 55 MEADE. GO TO WITH
GPS MATE.anyhow i was recommend to write to you because i tried so many
times to set this up with out sucsses and even though i follow the
instruction the scope gose the oppsite dierection to where it suppose to
go.  now i do`nt know wether i need to do the alignment.  can you please
if you can for advice what to do with both aligment and tips of seting
the scope to track correctly i be very grateful.  what i very much liike
to do is to by in time a cd imager and a lap top, but i feel there is
not point right now until can learn and figure out how to set it all up
right so it can track correctly.
many thanks for any help

clear skys
Mike here: Bottom line: Yes, you need to do an alignment. So for starters, have you ensure that the LXD55 model and proper mounting mode are selected in the Autostar? Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes)?


i i have not train it,  so i will have to study up on this in the
manuel.  i have no idea. but i figure i will work it.  if i get stuck
with this you would`nt mind if i pope you an email?  i will do what i
can first of all. thank you again for your help.

ps i like your cats, me and my wife we have only one cat her name is
charlie she is a fiest one.


Subject:	Re: Feedback - LXD MOUNT and Autostar
Sent:	Tuesday, June 7, 2005 04:07:23
From:	Gernot Stenz (stenzg@in.tum.de)
Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com) writes:
>34Ga is -newer- than 33El.  You can certainly use 34Ga
>(i see that Meade Europe is ahead of Meade US in terms of posting it)

Ok, got the Firmware, installed it...

>>Yup, but for the time being I would be happy with just ordinary tracking while
>>PEC is active.
>I forgot to mention doing a PEC Erase before the Training
>And doing the two updates after the Training seems to help make the
>data -much- better.

... and did all that. Didn't help. RA drift is less obvious than before
but still noticable. After wasting several nights with this issue I am
beginning to lose patience with the LXD.

While doing the PEC-Training, I always got the impression that the left
arrow button was a lot more responsive than the right arrow button (and
reading through this website, I am not the only one to experience this).
I am wondering whether the observed behaviour might be caused by drive
gear wheels meshed too tightly. Could it be that the RA motor is simply
labouring against the gear wheels?

CS Gernot

    __o  Gernot Stenz  e-mail:stenzg@informatik.tu-muenchen.de        /\
   -\<,          WWW:  http://www4.in.tum.de/~stenzg               /\/--\
_(_)/(_)_Fromentine - Paris: 3584 km______________________________/      \
Mike here: Have you checked the balance lately in all orientations? Out of balance can cause some "labouring".


Yes, of course. I routinely balance the scope every time I set it up.

Mike here: OK, lets back up a step. Forget the PEC training for now. Do a CALIBRATE MOTORS and an accurate TRAIN DRIVES (both axes). How well does the Autostar perform?
Subject:	RE: LXD - 75 Refractor
Sent:	Wednesday, June 1, 2005 04:42:13
From:	dennis.rhoades@vba.va.gov (dennis.rhoades@vba.va.gov)
I didn't calibrate the motors prior to training the motors.  I did train
on both axes though.  Thanks so much.  I'll give it a shot, along with
your advice on over tightening the axis lock.


Dennis K. Rhoades 

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