Last updated: 28 February 2006
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: LXD 75 8"SCT vs. LX90 8"SCT Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 08:14:39 From: alex wilson (email@example.com) Just read Nialls comments about which scope too buy and agree with most of his comments ,but would like to mention that the lxd55 mount is very easy too work on as it is more a nuts and bolts model, The lx90 is more challenging too get into if the need ever should arrive, Nial took his scope apart as he can only do,and rebuilt it with no problems and it has worked well ever since. So what im saying is think about your own ability as regards repairs . Alex M Wilson Clinterty Observatories (Founder Member) Aberdeen, SCOTLAND
Subject: LXD55 8" SCT Manual Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2006 18:45:19 From: Tom Hadoulias (firstname.lastname@example.org) I recently purchased a used Meade LXD55 8" SCT and cannot locate a manual for it. I really just need the OTA manual as I have it mounted to a SkyView Pro mount. I have been to the Meade site and cannot find any downloads specific to the SCT. The search constantly produces the manual for the Refractors and SN's. Any assistance would be appreciated, Great site, Tom HadouliasMike here: There is no separate manual for the OTA. Try the "LX200, 7" Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope 8", 10", and 12" Schmidt-Cassegrain (Classic)" manual on Meade's site.
Subject: LXD 75 8"SCT vs. LX90 8"SCT Sent: Wednesday, February 8, 2006 15:21:28 From: Niall J. Saunders (email@example.com) Hi Dennis, I read on Mike Weasner's site of your intention to buy a new scope after 30 years. Well, not so long ago, I found myself in exactly your position !! I started off with an ETX-105, bought through eBay - and had several 'teething problems'. Some were due to the fact that the previous owner had never used the scope under Autostar control - and had not realised the damage he was causing once he had forced the Azimuth motion past its internal hard-stop (which he had broken in the process). As an electronics engineer, and with access to a comprehensive mechanical workshop as well, I certainly learned a lot about the ETX mechanism as I repaired the faults and re-built the mechanisms. I was then quite happy to get a hold of a second ETX (again through eBay), this time the 'new-style' (although still pre-LNT) ETX-125. I bought this scope off someone who had walked into a shop with a credit card, and declared some form of vague interest in Astronomy to an eager salesman. He walked out of the shop with every kind of widget and gadget available!! Needless to say, he found his new hobby thoroughly un-satisfying - and a new baby on the way forced him to off-load everything. I bought the job-lot at less than 50% retail price. I kept what I needed, enjoyed the scope for a few months, and ended up selling off everything I didn't want, including the scope, for MORE than I had paid in the first place! By now I was suffering from a mild case of 'aperture fever' - even though I was, by then, unemployed. However - I now had a full set of Meade 'anniversary' eyepieces, amongst various other items; I still had my ETX-105, and I had my small profit left over. During this time my neighbour, again in the same boat as you (and I) had carefully saved up enough cash to commit to his telescope of choice. He had purchased a brand new LXD55 8"SCT. At least, by the time his scope had arrived, we had both worked our way up the steep, slippery (and sometimes treacherous) learning curve that is the Autostar. So when his scope first went out on a clear night we were able to marvel at just how much better the 8" aperture was - compared to the 4.5" of my ETX-105 (which had not really been improved on that much by the 5" ETX-125). In fact, for about two weeks or so, I had the ETX-105, the ETX-125, my neighbour's LXD-55 8"SCT, and my newly acquired LX90 8". Once my neighbour's LXD had arrived, I had wasted no time scouring eBay for a similar item - but felt that I would be happier with a fork-mounted scope, like my ETX's. Again, I was lucky and found someone who had spent far too much money on a hobby he did not really understand. And now that we have both built roll-off roof observatories, and have pier-mounted both our scopes (mine also on a home-brew equatorial wedge), I feel that I was justified in my choice. There just seems to be a magnitude of quality difference between the two designs. Although there is (understandably) little, or no, difference in the OTA's - both have the UHTC coatings - the design of the LX90 seems to have huge numbers of physical improvements. Certainly, when using my DSI on either scope, it just is more difficult to keep the LXD as 'stable' as the LX90 - and that is despite (for some unknown reason, although most likely the diameter of the foundation block) the fact that his pier is more 'rigid' (I had to eventually add an external casing of dry sand around my steel pier - just to dampen the oscillations that I now believe are due entirely to a heavier top loading - the LX90 mount itself is heavier, and my all-steel wedge adds several more pounds on top of that). That said, it is often 'easier' to use his scope for visual observations - no matter where the OTA is pointing, it is simplicity itself to rotate the permanently fitted 2" Williams Optics diagonal such that the eyepiece is at a suitable height for viewing. In my observatory I regularly have to use a footstool to be able to see through the eyepiece, or I spend ages fitting and removing my 2" diagonal (and re-focusing) during an evening's viewing session. This is less of a problem nowadays, as nearly all of my viewing is with the DSI and, in fact, I have not fitted an eyepiece to my scope since December 2005. It sometimes seems surreal when I think how, nowadays, I can just switch the scope on (I never 'PARK' the scope when I am finished for the night, I just 'pull the plug', slip the clutches, and manoeuvre the OTA into a horizontal position to allow me to roll the roof closed), slip the clutches again, point the OTA (very roughly) towards an Autostar alignment star (at this time of year I use Alnitak, in Orion's belt (simply because Alnitak is one of the stars at the beginning of the alphabetically sorted list Autostar's 'Named Stars' - and is thus 'easier' to scroll to). A quick tweak using the Finder Scope (which I certainly DO spend time ensuring it is kept co-aligned with the main OTA) and I can quickly get this onto the DSI display on my PC (de-focussing and over-exposing certainly helps sometimes). A couple of fine adjustments, a quick Autostar 'SYNC', and that is usually me sorted for the night. I might, sometimes, set the Date and Time, but not always. The Autostar seems to sort itself out after the first Sync, and using High Precision for the rest of the time eliminates a lot of other problems. So, I don't think you will regret buying either style of scope mount, LXD or LX90. It is a bit of a shame that you can't 'avoid' buying the LNT technology - you will eventually realise that you don't really need it - its primary purpose is to help the true 'novice' (although I sometimes feel that a real novice could be more bewildered by the technology, rather than being supported by it - but that is a learning process that is greatly helped by such wonderful sites as Mike's). What would I recommend? Given the fact that I have access to both, I just feel that the extra rigidity afforded by the fork-mount design of the LX90 has significant benefits over the GEM style of the LXD (55 or 75). However, I have not seen or used the LXD75, and certainly the advertising blurb suggests that many of the weaknesses in the LXD mount were addressed at least (if not overcome) by the LXD75 mount re-design - so I do not think that you would necessarily be disappointed if you chose that route. But, if you were considering the second-hand route into modern telescope technology, then you might want to seriously think about an LX90 (with UHTC, but pre-LNT, unless you feel that you are 'novice' enough to benefit from a computerised set-up each viewing session). The money saved by going down that route will by you LOTS of glittering accessories that your new toy will seemingly be crying out for. Hopefully these ramblings will have helped, rather than confused you - and maybe others will also give their feedback and share their experiences (for example, Mike's recent experience of a failed drive mechanism due to s loose grub screw - a problem that has also repeatedly appeared on my neighbour's LXD55 mount) Regards, Niall Saunders Clinterty Observatories Aberdeen, SCOTLANDMike here: Price and capability typically follow this upward path: DS, ETX, LXD55/75, LX90, LX200, RCX400.
Subject: Will the LXD 75 track the sun? Sent: Sunday, February 5, 2006 02:32:27 From: dennis sebranek (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am getting back into astronomy after 30 years and have been researching what telescope to buy. I am pretty sure it will be an LXD 75 8SC. Meade's instructions state never to use a Meade telescope on the sun, etc. and I cannot find anything in those instructions about tracking the sun. My question is can the computerized system track the sun? Thanks, DennisMike here: You can track the Sun easily. What I typically do is a normal alignment and just assume the stars are centered when asked to center them. Of course, the better your Home position the better your alignment will be. Then just slew to the Sun. Since the Sun almost takes the same period of time to move across the sky as the stars in the background over the period of a few hours you should haven't much tracking error. Of course, you need to use proper protection like a quality solar filter for the main telescope and finderscope (or leave the finderscope covered). I have piggybacked my PST on my LXD55-8"SC and this worked well.
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